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Debbie Harry

Wonderful Holidays, Historic Wonders






Twittering on With Angela Kelly Just get on with life – don’t dissect it I’M not a major fan of New Year Resolutions – mostly because my track record means I hardly ever keep them beyond January 12.

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However, I’m going to make an exception this year, thanks to a rather game 90 year-old called Vera. She booked an 11-day P & O cruise with a 91 year-old man she had met just 45 minutes before. She was on a coach trip and when they stopped for lunch, this charmer called John – not with her group – got chatting to Vera over a glass of wine about holidays. The upshot was that he took her over the road to the travel agents and paid £3,700 for them to have an 11-day Mediterranean trip.


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It was all above board: they had separate beds and enjoyed a lovely time. But the really interesting bit of this rather sweet tale is Vera’s take on the whole thing. When asked why she had done it, she replied: “I would say to people ‘Seize the day’.” Coming from a feisty 90 year-old, that is good advice. In other words, don’t waste too much time pondering over everything – just get on with living. Now that will mean different things to different people. To the adventurous, it might mean going travelling for a year, sailing right around the British Isles, finally getting a tattoo or changing your hair colour – or your husband. It might be something much less dramatic like taking a new work qualification, starting a particular hobby you’ve always been interested in or booking that longed-for sunshine holiday. Whatever it is, the message is clear. Life is just too short to worry too much

about the small stuff. So why not grab it by the horns and simply enjoy it? And the interesting postscript to Vera’s story is that John asked her to go on holiday with him again – to the Caribbean. Our Vera, though, has other plans. “I just haven’t got the time to waste,” she stated. “I could pop off tomorrow – I’ve got things to do.” Just love it!

Old stations and routes could be back on track THE name “Dr Beeching” may not mean much these days but at one time it was synonymous with the destruction of the Great British Railway as we knew it. Richard Beeching was, for a short time, chairman of British Rail as it then was and an affiliate of the Labour Party who, in the early 1960s, became a household name for restructuring the national rail network. His “axe” fell on more than 4,000 route miles and dozens of small stations were closed on cost and efficiency grounds. His name has been back in the papers more recently because the current Government is suggesting re-opening some of these lost lines and stations in order to drive house-building nationally. Irrespective of any political motives, this seems like a fascinating move to me and, I would guess, to many other people who love train travel. It’s such a sensible way to move through this country of ours, seeing villages and towns in a relaxed way that driving can never offer. Of course, it won’t be like in Dr Beeching’s day. Trains and train travel have altered dramatically in the intervening years. Although trains are generally more comfortable, a lack of investment and rolling stock has also meant that some busy commuter routes

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have turned into “sardine specials” with passengers cramped and standing in a small number of carriages. The plan may mean, though, much better and easier journeys for many, and the opening up of areas which currently struggle for direct transport. I suppose we shall see exactly what it involves as 2018 unfolds. For me, though, the plan transports me back to the regular train journeys when I was young and each Summer we journeyed to my mother’s home town of Swansea in South Wales and the glorious Mumbles’ coast. As the miles clicked by and all the little stations took us nearer to our destination, my Mum’s Welsh accent got broader and broader and we all became more relaxed. Trains do that. They allow you to sit back and consider life. And if this new plan promotes easier, stress-free travel then it will definitely be a move in the right direction.

Here is the news – and it’s actually true WE’VE all heard plenty about “fake news” over the last year or two and how information can be manipulated especially via social media. As a journalist, I’m always horrified that anyone will accept spurious stories on face-value because I’ve had a working life of checking and re-checking information before it goes out to the public.

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It’s just all too easy to see something online and take it as true because someone else has put it out there. Commonsense, really, dictates that we should question the source and try to verify it but sometimes I guess we just can’t be bothered. All of which is why it’s good news that, according to a report from Ofcom – the UK’s communications’ regulator - children are becoming increasingly savvy about fake news on social media. More than half of youngsters aged 12 to 15 use Facebook and Twitter to access news online. Often, they click on stories that have been recommended by “friends” in their network or by users they “follow”. They like to access news in this way. Now, however, they are becoming more selective about trusting these articles. The majority are making an effort to check out these items for veracity, possibly with other news’ sources, and are also checking if it was published by an organisation they can trust. This is very heartening, especially as, if they do discover an item is fake, they will often alert parents or another family member and may post comments telling others that it’s false. All we need now is for adults to follow their lead and question news’ sources, relevance and accuracy and we’ll raise news’ reporting standards at a stroke.

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sponsored by everything that the Romans gave to the world. As we walked the history of these remarkable people, and as the rain began to soak into our DNA (and jeans!) POMPEII BEGAN TO WORK ITS MAGIC. This is archaeology at its most vivid and compelling. Walking around town showed how uneven the roads were and how uncomfortable a ride in a cart would have been. If you started with a full load of lemons as you entered Pompeii it was a fair bet that you wouldn't have many left as you exited fruit jumping up and down like balls in a bingo caller's number machine.

Up Pompeii - Roaming Around a Roman Treasure By Dave Harcombe from Silver Travel Advisor Off to Pompeii. We had obviously upset the Roman Gods, somehow, because as we set off on the train from Sorrento it began to rain in torrents. The great Vesuvius was hidden by mist and clouds. Water everywhere and people too. The roads, paved with Vesuvian stone, were underwater—it felt a bit like rock pooling on Bamburgh beach. Over 3 million visit Pompeii each year and it appeared that most were here today. Hordes of people splashing water everywhere. And, of course, Japanese coach parties running from one photographic site to another. Sightseeing at a pace. Very few with coats, never mind umbrellas. We had come prepared. If the Roman army could live for years along Hadrian's Wall wearing nothing more than flimsy Italian designer clothing then a good old British brolly should do the trick in Pompeii. And we were unlucky with the weather; it’s more often beautifully warm and sunny. Pompeii is amazing. The visual drama is intense. Rough and rugged, beautiful and so atmospheric. The eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79 flung a deep,



protective blanket of pumice over the whole town and its surrounding landscape. It lay completely buried for centuries and was only rediscovered in the 1700’s. Brought back to life from its ash-filled grave, it continues to reveal discoveries of unparalleled value and breathtaking detail. To many, Pompeii is just a load of ruins, but for others, me included, this UNESCO World heritage site represents

The preservation is staggering; loaves of bread in an oven, a bowl of eggs on a table. Even the people themselves have left us their body casts, entombed in ash. I began to imagine hooves on stone echoing through the narrow streets. Look carefully and you can make out the furrows left by heavy wagons that passed to and fro. Via dell' Abbondanza was the main street in the town. It was lively with open bars and takeaways facing the street. On every corner a Subway and Starbucks of the day. Like a moment frozen in time, it really captures the imagination and brings history to life. Wooden shades overhung the entrances providing relief from the blistering sun, and the rain today. A jumble of terracotta red roofs, this was a busy, thriving Roman town. Stepping stones enabled the good folk of

TRAVEL Above the five cubicles are painted images of sexual acts. Pictorial notice boards of the services on offer, perhaps? Or just ancient erotica, there to arouse prior to activities? An early Viagra maybe? A fascinating insight into Pompeii leisure time. We finally began to tire a little after seeing so many amazing and thought-provoking things. Time for a rest. In deference to Mars, the Roman God of War, we ate one of his chocolate bars. It did the trick. The sun began to shine and the crowds began to thin out. Grazie.

Factbox: The best way to visit Pompeii is with a company that doesn’t rush you around but gives you the whole day to take it all in, with an expert guide to bring it to life, and with several days to explore the magnificent archaeology and scenery of the whole Bay of Naples, including Herculaneum, the National Archaeological Museum, and other fabulous sites.

Pompeii to cross the roads with ease - ye olde Pedestrian crossings, with gaps to allow carts to pass unhindered along the road. It is a fallacy that the phallus was simply an erotic symbol. It is thought that in the Roman world it was also a symbol of good luck and happiness. No more erotic than hanging up a horseshoe. It was quite a common presence in the town, playfully carved or painted on the walls, or fashioned into oil lamps and objet d’art. The archaeological museum in Naples has a whole room full of such art. An attractive Italian lady had "L'ammore nun s'accate e nun se venne" emblazoned across the front of her t-shirt. It translates as “you can't buy or sell love”. Well maybe not love, but certainly in Pompeii you could buy sex. Plenty of it, in the Lupinare—the brothel. It is fascinating and the most popular attraction in the town.

We recommend Hidden History Travel, who specialise in such tours and have a great itinerary with seven nights in a lovely hotel, daily excursions to all the main sites, and a knowledgeable tour director to help bring it all together. Their 2018 departures are on 28 April, 26 May and 07 September. And the price is from only £1195 per person. Visit for more details or call 0121 444 1854 to speak to an expert.

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Debbie Harry

Delighting UK Audiences Since The 70’s DEBBIE Harry has been delighting UK audiences in the same way that she first did 50 years ago – with a mixture of talent and charisma. The Blondie star is unbelievably now 72 and still looks like the startling singer who first crashed into the public consciousness in the early 1970s. Her career is the stuff of films. In fact, glamorous Malin Akerman did play her in a film about seminal punk club CBGB. But any director would struggle to cover the broad spread of events, achievements and milestones in her life so far. She was born Angela Tremble in Miami, Florida but at three months was adopted by Catherine and Richard Smith Harry and raised in Hawthorne, New Jersey.



In the 1960s, she worked as a Playboy Bunny and hung out at Max’s Kansas City, a famous nightspot frequented by pop artist Andy Warhol. Her professional singing career began in 1968 as a backing singer with a folk band which later broke up but in 1973, she met Chris Stein who became her longtime boyfriend. They were both in a group called the Stilletoes. Then, together, they created punk rock/New Wave group Blondie in 1974. It was originally called Angel and the Snake but eventually took its name from the catcalls numerous truck-drivers would yell out to Debbie in the street. Her bleached blonde hair, sparkling green eyes, photogenic face and seductive voice teamed with a series of catchy songs - mostly co-writtten by her - quickly became a successful formula for the group. They swiftly transcended the cult elitism of punk to enjoy

mainstream hits in the US and UK, with Debbie taking on iconic status during the late 1970s and early 1980s. She had always wanted to be an underground artist and her new role satisfied her. As she later recalled: “That was what I always felt was the beauty of rock ‘n’ roll, it was entertainment and showbiz yet it had the idea of the voice of the people. It had an essence to it which was socially motivated. “Not that I want to change the world, you know? But it was sort of relevant to real life. It involved the real essence of poetry or the real essence of fine art. But it was also entertainment. That was the real vitality.” Whatever the formula, Blondie and Debbie Harry proved to be a major success with the record-buying public, sending hit singles like Heart of Glass, Picture This, Sunday Girl, Hanging on


Blondie in 1977

the Telephone, Call Me and the Tide is High soaring up the charts. Like many groups do, however, Blondie broke up in 1982. Debbie took a few years out to care for Chris Stein, who had been diagnosed with a rare auto-immune skin disease, then she moved onto a solo career. This allowed her not only to record solo albums but to take up a film and TV career which saw her become a highly visible star. She played a female wrestler in Teaneck Tanzi on Broadway and even dyed her hair red for her role as James Woods’ masochistic girlfriend in the film Videodrome.

The British public clearly still has an appetite for both Blondie and its music, and they are certainly still fascinated by Debbie Harry. She once said: “The only person I really believe in is me”. And perhaps it is that unique element of her that has so caught the attention of her fans over the years and is now bemusing a new generation. Well, she is unusual. After all, not everyone can be immortalised as a Barbie Doll as she was – and still be wowing the concert crowds in her 70s.

Blondie re-formed in 1997 and achieved renewed success and a No.1 single in the UK with Maria in 1999 – exactly 20 years after the group’s first UK No.1 single with Heart of Glass. They have sold more than 40 million albums over the years. The group has toured extensively and regularly throughout the world ever since and was inducted into the Rock ad Roll Hall of Fame in 2006. Their 11th studio album, Pollinator, was released in May this year. The title is not a random choice. Debbie has long been associated with a variety of good causes and has put on many benefit shows for AIDS charities as well as being outspoken on various subjects. She is currently running Blondie’s BEE Connected Campaign to raise awareness of the decline in the bee population by promoting organisations dedicated to conserving and improving the health of pollinators through education, consumer empowerment and political activation.




GARDEN Which material? Think about how much the area is going to be used, a terrace with a table and chairs needs a flat surface, a high footfall path will need a hard wearing, non-slip material, a path to an occasional bench could be constructed from a less expensive material such as bark or gravel. Natural stone paving: The range of paving available to the UK market these days is vast, from natural stone, reconstituted stone and now, porcelain. Natural stone is a popular choice due to it’s wide range of colour tones and textures, derived from the geological formation of the locality where the stone is quarried. Imported stone from India, Europe and further afield has made natural stone more affordable with sandstone, slate and granite being widely available. Finishes vary from the traditional riven or tumbled with raw edges and uneven surfaces, to sawn, polished stone creating sharp, uniform edges and smooth surfaces, suitable for a contemporary design.

Extending your home into the Garden Garden Designer, Sarah Plested, offers advice on selecting hard landscaping materials. With space at a premium, our gardens have become an extension to the home, providing extra living space for dining, entertaining or simply to enjoy a morning coffee. The trend for open plan living and kitchens with large bi-fold doors into the garden, further develops the outdoor room, with clients requiring a seamless transition between inside and outside space. When designing a garden, the hard landscaping creates the bones of the garden providing terraces, paths, walls, steps and other structures for both function and aesthetics. When selecting materials for these elements, budget is a key consideration as hard landscaping is a significant proportion of the overall cost.

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Consider the size and pattern of your paving, random sized project packs are suitable for a traditional laying pattern whilst large format pavers, laid in a uniform stretcher bond pattern suit a clean, minimalist look. If budget is tight, a more contemporary feel can be achieved by combining the cheaper riven sandstone with a more modern size and pattern. Pointing also impacts on the final look of the terrace with 15mm gaps usual for traditional riven paving where the edges are uneven, going down to 5mm for sawn sandstone. Natural stone can become slippery, particularly in shady areas where algae can flourish. Most stone is porous and therefore prone to staining, a sealant can be applied to help reduce long term maintenance and protect the stone. Unlike reconstituted stone, the colour and texture run right the way through the paver so jet-washing can clean the paving, removing algae, without damaging the appearance of the surface. When purchasing natural stone, be aware of the ethical trading policies of the supplier, there are several schemes which support the responsible quarrying and transportation of material. Design tip: Curves are more expensive than straight lines requiring more cuts which increases wastage and labour charges. Plan the size of your terrace based on the size of paving you are going to use. For example, if your paver size is 600mm x 900mm, work in increments of 600mm to ascertain the depth of the terrace; a 4.2m terrace equates to 7 rows of pavers. Vitrified paving: Porcelain and ceramic paving has increased in popularity over the last few years as advances in the technology have resulted in a paving range that is guaranteed even in our unpredictable climate. Porcelain paving offers the solution to the seamless transition between inside and outside space with the same tile being used internally and externally.


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Manor Garden Centre Cheney Manor, Swindon SN2 2QJ. Telephone 01793 526691 - OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK

The surface of the paver is produced by embossing a 3D texture during manufacture, using sophisticated technology to capture an actual image of the material the paver is mimicking whether stone, slate or wood. Good manufacturers will randomly rotate and scale these images to avoid repeat patterns. The vitrification process results in the paver being completely impermeable to liquids, the pattern should never fade, blister,


crack or stain and the pavers are not affected by algae, moss or frost. No wonder then, that porcelain is the go to product for designers. However, it is pricey and more difficult to install, requiring special equipment to cut the porcelain. The cut edge exposes the core material which can be unsightly on steps and raised edges so most suppliers offer special pavers for such situations. Setts, bricks, cobbles and aggregates: The small size of setts and cobbles lend themselves to winding paths, intricate patterns and edging. A gravel path can be edged in setts, a stone circle extended with concentric rings of setts or bricks, or cobbles set in feature panels within a terrace. Granite and sandstone setts are supplied as traditional rough setts or sawn for a sharper look and usually come in a couple of sizes. When using bricks in a path or in fact generally in the garden, make sure they are frost proof. Clay pavers are designed for landscaping and come in a rich range of reds and browns. They offer the opportunity to explore laying patterns such as herringbone and basket weave. Using brick in the design scheme can be a way of picking up the house detail and so linking the house design style to the garden. Gravel is worth considering for covering large areas or low traffic areas. Don’t settle for standard pea gravel which can look utilitarian, investigate local aggregates as there are many different stones from flint and granite to limestone and slate. The softer stones such as limestone tend to break down quicker creating a fine dust, whereas flint is hard wearing but has sharp edges. Concrete: Concrete technology has also moved on since the days of being considered as the poor relation to natural stone. Concrete lends itself to being moulded into interesting and unusual shapes and the manufacturing process guarantees consistency. Concrete pavers come in a range of sizes, shapes and finishes, but don’t be fooled into thinking these ranges are cheaper than natural stone, some are sophisticated products with in-built coatings and detailed surfaces, and a price tag to match. Retaining walls: If your garden is sloping or has significant changes of level, more than likely the design will require a retaining structure and probably steps. Changes of level add interest in the garden and offer a wealth of opportunities in terms of design. In order to keep within your budget, it is worth considering what to build these structures from.

More traditional styled garden designs will probably use brick or stone for retaining structures, reflecting the stone or brickwork of the house or natural stone of the local area. Picking out the detail of the brick pattern or construction of local walls and incorporating this into the garden design gives the garden a sense of place, anchoring it in the wider landscape. Steel: I’m a big fan of steel as it’s so versatile. Weathering steel turns a lovely rust tone with age, but steel is also supplied powder coated so is suitable in many different situations. All shapes and sizes can be fabricated for use as low edging to a gravel drive, bespoke sculptural shapes or retaining walls and even steps. It offers a cost-effective option for curves and can be shaped on site.

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If budget is tight, we tend to build from oak sleepers either laid lengthways, or on end if a curve is required. Installation is simpler because foundations are not required. Oak is preferable to softwood as it doesn’t need treating, turning an attractive silver grey with age. Contemporary gardens often feature white rendered walls that are constructed from concrete blocks and then coated with a silicone based render. Constructing walls in this manner allows the designer to create bespoke features in the garden relatively simply, incorporating benches, lighting, water features, planters and screening into the design. Painting feature walls in a striking colour adds an accent to the garden in much the same way as a feature internal wall, the colour can then be picked up in the planting scheme. These walls look fabulous but they do need to be kept clean to maintain the impact over time.

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U-value figure, the lower the heat loss. Remember! for an energy efficient conservatory, compare U-values and GO FOR LOW. With our latest range of intelligent Smart Glass for roofs in active blue, aqua, neutral or bronze tints and our Wall Glass: Total 1.1-1.2 U-Value crystal clear ‘planitherm’, argon gas filled cavity double glazed units. Europe’s top selling solar controlled ‘Low E’ glass made in Britain.

The Conservatory Centre’s Large Showroom at Cheney Manor

An additional room to enjoy all year round One of the fundamental requirements and first requests made by people contemplating a conservatory or glazed garden room is that they wish to us it THROUGH THE YEAR, not solely a glazed room for grey Summer days. Those familiar with well designed glazed sun rooms, may suggest they are not really suitable for that purpose. However, the many thousands of people who have such buildings and find them to be by far their most popular and well used room, thoroughly wish to disagree! Many enjoyable evenings are spent well into the early hours, comfortably enjoying the unique opportunity of dining and being entertained in a conservatory. The temperature outside was well below freezing and often snow on the ground. Heating was of course required - but not much more than will be required within your home if the conservatory is designed and constructed to a suitably high specification. If you’re pushed for space, and have considered moving to a larger home, think again. For a fraction of the cost of moving, you could install a conservatory. You’ve acquired a new room, full of light. A fabulous place to have your morning coffee and enjoy views into the garden. You can also


reflect on the cheering thought that you’ve added around 15% to the value of your house. The Conservatory Centre based at Cheney Manor have a large showroom displaying a wide range of styles and finishes. They provide a full conservatory package including tiling and furniture all under one roof, using specialist professional teams of surveyors and fitters. The whole project from initial design to completion usually takes only six to eight weeks. Can a Conservatory be energy efficient? Stephen Wright site manager of The Conservatory Centre explains: “A conservatory which is cold and expensive to heat in winter and unbearably hot in summer would represent poor value whatever the price paid. We all would like a room that we can enjoy in the cold winter months and hot summer days. So how do we achieve this? How do we compare what’s on offer? Quite simply the term ‘U-value’ is used as a measure of heat transfer through a given material. The huge area of glass, and maybe polycarbonate in the roof of a conservatory, if not in line with the very latest technology can reduce your investment to little more than a glorified greenhouse! The higher the U-value figure, the greater the heat loss will be; conversely, the lower the

This glass really does make a difference to the all year round comfort of the conservatory. Our customers who have experienced the difference tell us this! Ordinary Pilkington double glazed units have a U value of 1.9 and will lose 2 times more heat through the glass. Another type of heat retaining glass, sometimes called low e glass or Pilkington K has a U-value of 1.6 which, although better will still let in 50% more heat than ‘Planitherm’. Furthermore, crystal clear Planitherm Total 1.1-1.2 does not suffer the hazy sheen often associated with Pilkington K glass. As an added bonus, Planitherm Total 1.1-1.2 glass reduces 70% of harmful radiation passing through the glass, protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful effects, and reducing fabric fading. In summer this amazing glass technology with a .74% solar factor and a .85 shading coefficient keeps your conservatory comfortably cool. (g ISO905 M1) Frames: Bowater ‘Rustique’ 1.1 U-value, 5 chamber PVCu frames. A few years ago, virtually all the PVCu frames systems incorporated 3 lateral internal insulating chambers, which gave the frames a U-value of around 1.8 Advances in glass technology resulted in a glass centre pain U- value as low as 1.1-1.2 a clear gap between the energy efficiency of glass and PVCu frames. In many European countries, 1.1-1.2 centre pane u value glass is the norm (Austria, for example is 100% 1.1-1.2 U-value glass). Taking into account the close proximity of the glass to the frame, this clear disparity in u values presented a problem for the more responsible PVCu frame designers. Moisture in the air is attracted to the coolest surface (the frame) forming condensation, just one reason why frames and glass should have similar U-values. The ideal conservatory will have 1.4 U-value frames 1.2 U-value glass. As a major European manufacturer, selling

frames across Europe, Bowater Group Laboratories accepted the challenge to match the frame and glass U-values, a few years ago Bowater announced the development of it’s top of the range ‘Rustique’ - Europe’s first fully sculptured 5 chamber frame, driving down the U-value to just 1.4 with zero air leakage, an incredible achievement. The majority of PVCu frames (even those of many leading brands still being sold in 2018) still incorporate the old 3 chamber design, with a U-value of 1.8, losing 60% more heat through the frame, creating dreaded condensation! Many rival companies who copied the 5 chamber design have still only achieved U-values of around 1.4-1.5 illustrating the technological superiority of the Bowater Group testing laboratories. Our ultraframe roofs with vented eaves and ridge beam : 1.2 U-value polycarbonate, 35mm thick 7 wall

construction comprising of 6 insulating compartments with optional ‘sunshield’ Cheaper typical 25mm thick polycarbonate, made up of 5 layered frame walls, with just 4 insulating compartments, has a U-value of just 1.6, losing 33% more heat, straight through the roof. Should you be concerned about overheating in direct summer sun, The Conservatory Centre will install SUNSHIELD protection free of charge. SUNSHIELD prevents most of the sun’s heat passing through the roof. Now as standard for 2018 secure ventilation can be achieved through your roof ridge and around the perimeter.Both create thermal air flows in the conservatory, cooling and relieving stuffiness in hot weather, these may be closed as required. Remember - Compare U-values and ‘GO FOR LOW’.

The Conservatory Centre attain Which? Trusted Trader status The Conservatory Centre based at Manor Garden Centre at Cheney Manor was recently endorsed as a prestigious WHICH? Trusted Trader. Much like the successful WHICH? Best Buy Scheme, WHICH? Trusted Traders can use the icon. Each Trader is put through a rigorous assessment meaning that consumers get the best service and WHICH? Trusted Traders get the business and recognition they deserve. The Conservatory Centre is one of a very exclusive section of their industry to achieve this award.

One of the many testimonials from The Conservatory Centre, Swindon. “Both Joanne and I had to write and let you know how happy we are with our new conservatory and are very pleased we decided to go with The Conservatory Centre. Martin and Joanne Buck.

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The nights have drawn in and the temperatures have dropped but your home can be a cosy refuge during the Winter months. should be on your warmer home list. Double glazed windows and doors really help create a cosier home and cut heating bills at the same time. Choose a front door which allows plenty of light into your HALL. This offers a welcome to your home and if your hall is gloomy, chilly and unwelcoming, it’s not just visitors who won’t enjoy coming in through your door – you will feel the same.

However, are you making the most of it and what can you do to improve it for a season when you will probably spend more time than usual at home? And it’s not just all about getting the right energy tariff - although that is obviously important. The key to getting your home as cosy as possible is to start from the outside ad work in. Ensure that the fabric of your property is weather-proof and waterproof and that Nature can bring on its worst and your home will stand up to it. If you live in a house with solid WALLS, according to the Energy Saving Trust, you are losing 45% of your heat that way which costs you money. So insulating the walls dramatically prevents heat loss. Cavity wall insulation can also help prevent huge heat loss in homes. This stores the heat with the inner walls, bouncing it back into the room and holding it for longer.

Since “cosy” is as much about the atmosphere created in your home as keeping warm, take an objective look at your hallway and see if it could do with painting and decorating. A light colour, even in a small hallway, can brighten it – one colour works best in a smaller space. Having a small cupboard for shoes and a place to hang coats here – even if it’s only hooks – also helps your lifestyle. FLOORING is important to the warmth and look of your home and there are plenty of modern choices these days, including traditional carpets, so it’s definitely worth taking a look at what’s available. Getting new carpets can make all the difference to your home and you don’t necessarily have to pay a fortune if you shop around. Actually visiting carpet stores gives the opportunity to feel the quality and warmth of carpets and other flooring that online shopping doesn’t allow. Lined CURTAINS are a stylish way to stay cosy this Winter as they not only help to keep heat in but also look more homely than bare windows. Toned in with wallpaper and other décor in your lounge or sitting room they provide a fashionable look guaranteed to give you a warm glow, especially matched with cosy CUSHIONS.

Loft insulation is another important way to prevent heat loss - as much as a third of the heat you pay for in some cases. Go to to find out more about what you can do to improve the fabric of your home. There may also be schemes available to help you pay for insulation improvements; log on to green-deal-energy-saving-measures to find out more. Check that there are no leaks in your FRONT DOOR. Have you had the door for a long time and does it need replacing? You can lose a lot of heat through an ill-fitting front door so it’s worth considering investing in a new one. The Energy Saving Trust says there is a 20% heat loss through doors and WINDOWS so taking a look at both


There is simply no nicer way to feel cuddled up when it’s chilly outside than around an attractive FIRE.





BEAU T I FU L FI REPLACES & S TOVE S Fireplaces installed. On display we expertly have a huge range of electric fires, gas fires, solid fuel fires, hole-inthe-wall fires, plus multi-fuel and wood burning stoves. Then there’s our range of Warm smiles guaranteed!

stunning fireplaces, again traditional and modern, with stone, marble, or wooden surrounds. You can even have a bespoke fireplace, specially created to suit your living room and décor, and to suit every pocket there are models from £300 to £3000. What’s more we have expert fitters on tap (including Gas Safety Technicians) that will remove your existing fireplace, make good any work that needs doing and install your new fireplace. At Fireplace Solutions we offer the full package. And because we are a family company with over 14 years experience, we can give you all the advice and tips on the type of fire and installation that you need. It’s Visit our the kind of valuable support and advice you won’t get if you buy online or from showroom most large retailfor stores. someThat’s because we specialise in fires and fireplaces. (We can amazing advise you on your central heating requirements too). deals!

Visit our showroom for some amazing deals!

• Stone, marble & wood surrounds

OPEN: MON-FRI, 9am - 5pm, SAT 10am - 4pm • Central heating surveying, FREE PARKING maintenance GORSE HILL SN2 8AF TEL: 01793 640485

installed by gas safe technicians

HOME Contemporary fires and fireplaces come in all styles – you can even get fires with crackling fake flames although you may prefer the real thing with a gas fire or wood-burning stove. Whatever your choice, it creates a charming centrepiece for any room. Attractive THROWS also not only add colour and texture to plain suites but are also lovely to keep you warm while you’re watching TV. You can certainly cheer up an old sofa by adding a colourful fur fabric throw although Winter is often an ideal suite. As it’s also the time of year when you spend most hours at home, a new TV might also be on the agenda this year. There are now TV’s of all sizes and types available. To helpful advice on finding the best type for you and your TV needs go to the Which? site If your bathroom or toilet are particularly chilly, consider a WALL HEATER, and ensure that your bedroom is not too cold,either. This might actually be just the right time to buy


a new BED. Having a good night’s sleep is vital for Winter health and treating yourself to a really good bed now is a great investment in your wellbeing.

And if all that doesn’t prompt sweet dreams and a cosily deep sleep this Winter, nothing will!

Tomato Lycopene and Prostate Health By Prof T G Truscott (Keele University) and Prof Fritz Boehm (Medical Consultant, Berlin)

As men get older the risk of prostate diseases, from prostate enlargement to aggressive prostate cancer, increases. While enlargement is common in men aged over 50, the risk of getting prostate cancer is no more for such men than it is without this problem. The main prostate disease, which DOES concern older men, is prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, with near 1000 new cases diagnosed every week – it can develop slowly. If you have a close male relative, such as your father or brother, with prostate cancer you are at a higher risk. This means if you have this disease your son(s) are also at a higher risk, especially so if another male relative has the disease. One of the most common tests for prostate cancer is a blood PSA test (Protein-Specific Antigen) - while this test can sometimes be unreliable (a high PSA level may not be due to cancer) it can be useful in detecting early prostate cancer.

Lycopene and Prostate Cancer

Another trial comes from America - Omer Kucuk (Oncology Professor, Detroit) studied men with existing prostate cancer who were to have radical prostatectomy. The trial results, (published in The American Institute of Cancer Research) led Professor Kucuk to report: “Lycopene from tomato extract may not only prevent prostate cancer but may also be useful to treat prostate cancer”. As well as these and other promising results for men with established prostate disease, what about those currently free of the disease but possibly at higher risk? Here, we believe the results of a large trial from the USA are important. Professor Edward Giovannucci, (Harvard Medical School), has followed 50,000 men, investigating the relationship between the incidence of prostate cancer and lycopene intake. In a recent paper (published in ‘The Journal of National Cancer Institute’ - Oxford University Press), he concluded: “Dietary intake of lycopene was associated with reduced risk of prostate cancer, especially lethal prostate cancer”.

Lycopene is the red colour in tomatoes - it is known to accumulate in the prostate and there is evidence that lycopene can help those with established disease as well as those at a higher risk. A trial at Kings College Hospital, London, used Lycoplus (10mg Lycopene per day). All the men on this 1 year trial had established prostate cancer, an average age of 70, average PSA 23ng/ml and they were monitored during and at the end of the trial. The trial results (published in the journal Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Diseases) showed that 70% of those on the trial had a significant reduction in the PSA rate or a PSA reduction. The urologists running the trial reported ‘‘Our clinical study lends weight to the probability that dietary supplementation from Lycopene [from Lycoplus] slows disease progression in men with prostate cancer”. The reason why only 7 out of 10 men showed an improvement and 3 showed no improvement is not explained in this work. We believe some men are unable to take up sufficient lycopene and so a higher dose may have increased the number who would have benefited. This is why we have increased to dose of bio-available lycopene in Lycoplus capsules, since this trial, from 10mg to 15mg/capsule.

Nigel Johnson BBC Radio Stoke Football Commentator says:

“Tomato feast may keep prostate tumours away”

“Tomato pills that could fight prostate cancer”

The Times

Daily Mail (online)

“Tomato pill to save your life - a cancer-fighting extract found in tomatoes”

“Lycopene’s effect on preventing cancer of the prostate is near miraculous”

Daily Telegraph

The Times

While the trials so far indicate the benefits of tomato lycopene for those men with established prostate cancer, more extensive trials would be worthwhile. However, many men are not waiting but are taking bio-available lycopene, such as Lycoplus, to reduce the risk of prostate disease and, we believe, mitigating the disease if it is already present.

What our customers say: We get many letters, emails and phone calls telling us of the success of Lycoplus. Often these tell us of a rising PSA value being stabilised or sometimes actually falling. Typically, recently a new customer from South Wales has told us his PSA has fallen 25% after only 12 weeks of taking Lycoplus.

Stay Informed: To order or for a free newsletter please call 08000 234 235 or visit

“I take Lycoplus every day to reduce prostate problems and maintain my good health.”

Natural Lycopene

What the papers say:


Each lycoplus one-a-day capsule contains 15mg of natural lycopene plus 60mg of Vitamin C and 10 mg of vitamin E. These enhance the effect of the lycopene supplement.

One box of 30 capsules (one month’s supply) £17.95 Save









2 boxes

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George & Partners Limited, Keele University Science Park, Staffordshire ST5 5NL

To order or for a FREE Newsletter call freephone 08000 234 235 or visit


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Accommodation is in compact, en-suite cabins of varying configurations – again, all combinations happily satisfied. Breakfast of the hearty continental variety and a tasty 3 course dinner, using produce bought en route, was served onboard each day. We were introduced to the ‘packed’ lunch by our charming Italian crew: essentially cheese, cold meats, fruit, chocolate bars and rolls were provided each morning so you could create your own picnic to eat along the way. Although it must be said that we stopped each day near cafes, so there was always the chance to have a plate of pasta or pizza instead.

Bspoke Tours – Bike and Boat By Jennie Carr from Silver Travel Advisor The best things in life are so often simple, and so it is with Bspoke Tours and their Bike and Boat trip in Italy, cycling from Venice to Mantua. Take a large converted barge, many bicycles (some electric), an international group of passengers of all ages, great Italian food, a hilarious and charming crew and two expert guides for a week of cycling along the mighty River Po. You cycle along the rivers during the day, meeting the boat late afternoon, for a short cruise to an evening destination, where you take a walk for cultural points of interest, have dinner onboard and then repeat again tomorrow! It’s a recipe that’s attractive to couples, single travellers and families – we had three generations on our trip, which was in total a small group of around 30. We travelled with Italians, Swiss, Brits, Germans, Canadians and Americans. What’s more the cycling is flat, a word I like in relation to bicycles. Distance I can do, hills I’m not keen on. Everyone is provided for – the


ebikes a real bonus for older legs and clever tandems, where a child’s bike can couple (and de-couple) easily from an adult bike for younger legs. Our age range of 7 and a half (most important) to 82 worked beautifully!

This trip is a variation of the escorted tour (a self-guided option is available) and as always in this situation, much depends on your guides. Our Dutch, endlessly energetic and efficient Hugo, proficient in all languages needed (at least 5!) and a positive walking Wiki on this route was partnered by Italian, friendly Frederico – a European version of Little and Large, if I’m honest! We were delighted to leave the planning and logistics in their highly capable hands, we woke up and did as instructed – a holiday in


itself. And I must highly commend the ‘extras’ which we were not expecting, walks around the destinations where we moored, full of interest and information. I’m always humbled by in-depth knowledge – Hugo had it in spades!

exchanges with our companions and the sheer glory of Italy, fresh air and exercise made this week filled with pleasure and many happy memories, and remarkably free of any aches and pains.

We hit the trail on day 3, having spent time in Venice on foot on the day before. The boat left Venice, in the mist, very evocative, with a parting glance at St Mark’s from the water. We headed to the island Litorale di Lido, playground of the rich and famous, glamourous and sophisticated, as could be seen from the fabulous houses. Mornings started briskly at about 8am for breakfast and ‘packed’ lunch making, with seats in the saddle being taken by 9am at the latest! The 7.57am to Marylebone it was not. A pitstop at a beach café and then on to ferry for 5 minutes to Pellestrina, with an entirely different atmosphere: it is a working fisherman’s island with scores of trawlers along the promenade. You sense not much has changed here in generations. Just one bar was open for lunchtime drinks, the siesta is still an essential part of life here. The cycling was easy along well marked trails or almost empty roads. We picked up the boat and sailed to Chioggia, for an afternoon walk in the sunshine. The town has an impressive fishing fleet and is a combination of working port, with a charming town. Our evening routine then followed: shower and change, pre-dinner drinks on the sun deck, a hilarious explanation of the meal by our Italian chefs (a career in TV must surely be waiting!) and then we ate companionably at three long tables, a set menu with variations for any with ‘dietary requirements’. Good value local wines (including a very decent Amarone), beer and soft drinks were available and paid for at the end of the trip. We took a further evening stroll in Chioggia, although bed was calling after all the fresh air and exercise! No sluggards on this trip, and we were excited to enjoy what each day would bring. Hugo’s enthusiasm, the jolly

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Supporting independence with care at home It’s that time of year again where we take stock, consider our life goals and look forward to the year ahead and what it might bring. For those of us who have reached our half-century this is often a time of changing life circumstances. Work priorities may have altered, children have flown the nest or are less reliant on us and we can find we have more disposable time to devote to ourselves. Apart from finding new hobbies or devoting more time to those we already enjoy, discovering new career opportunities can be life enhancing. Job satisfaction is often sited as one of the most desirable qualities we look for in employment but is sadly not always easily achievable, especially when local factors such as job availability need to be considered. This is where Domiciliary Care comes in. In recent years we have seen an increase in the percentage of people reaching their 80’s, 90’s and beyond


and hopefully with improving healthcare screening this is a trend that is likely to continue. The resultant effect of this is an increased need for care workers to provide Domiciliary Care for this growing community. For those unfamiliar with the term, Domiciliary Care is providing care in the home allowing the person to continue to live in familiar surroundings but with additional support with their day-today needs. These can be as diverse as, accompanying on a shopping trip, cooking a meal, helping with cleaning, or reading the daily paper but also includes more specialised care which would be provided by those with appropriate training. For those in the 50+ age bracket considering a career in this rewarding sector, there are a number of factors that make this a particularly appealing choice. Firstly, complete flexibility allows you to choose to work as many hours as you want and at times that fit

in with your other commitments, from just a few hours a week to full time employment. Secondly, whilst you may be quite happy doing a couple of hours a week, opportunities for advancement through training and personal development are there for those looking to take a step on a new career path. Choosing to work in care can often highlight strengths you didn’t know you had. This could be a skill for organisation or a natural ability to lead a team, whatever you find your strengths to be, there will be a career path for you to follow with full support provided at each and every step. It’s worth remembering that working in care can mean behind the scenes too, so if you have a background in administration that can also be put to good use. Although most of your time will be spent working alone, don’t forget that you are part of a team of care workers, some of which you will see each week when you visit the office to collect your work schedule. You will usually visit the same people each week at the same time, this allows you to build a working

relationship with them, understanding their requirements and how you can help them achieve them. You are there to help the person achieve as much independence as possible. A career in caring can be particularly well suited to those of us over 50 as our life skills and experience allow us to empathise with those we are caring for, helping us to form relationships that can make an enormous difference to those who may feel isolated or lonely. Leaving work at the end of the day or even after a short shift knowing you have made a huge contribution to someone’s daily life can be enormously satisfying. Ian Kell, a care worker working for Carewatch said, “When my daughter asks what I do for a living, I am proud to tell her, I help people”. Gloria Thompson, who is 72, is celebrating 20 years of caring says “I enjoy spending time with people, building relationships and trust”. Gloria says she considers her role more of a vocation than a job and during her time working for the Carewatch family she has enjoyed helping countless people continue to enjoy the comfort of living in their own homes with her support.

If you are 50+ and believe you have the qualities that would make an excellent care worker and would like to learn more about working in Care then give Carewatch a call on 01793 432666, alternatively, you can visit us at our offices in Swindon, we are located in The Shaftesbury Centre in Percy Street.

Become a Care Worker and make a positive difference to peoples lives! Supporting people at home is one of the most rewarding jobs in your community EXPERIENCE IS NOT REQUIRED AS FULL TRAINING WILL BE GIVEN

I FULL-TIME I PART-TIME I WEEKENDS I EVENINGS I Contact us to find out how you can join our team:

 01793 432 666


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Out & About A guide to the amazing events around the region for 2018 So, go on, make a brew, make a difference! www.prospect-hospice. net/makeabrew or call 01793 816161.

Making friends in Swindon

Make a brew, make a difference! Bake a cake and put the kettle on! Invite your family, friends, colleagues, neighbours or the general public for a cuppa and a slice of cake in return for a donation, and help support the care and services we provide. Something as simple as a brew and a slice of cake could raise enough to pay for 24 hours of care for a patient on our In-Patient Unit

Swindon IVC is a lively social activity club, begun in 1980, run by and for its members. The club currently has around 50 members - singles and couples - of all ages. Our activities are as varied as the interests of the membership. They include meals out, film-viewing, book club, pub-going, theatre trips, walking, canoeing, cycling, racquet sports and much more. Members have organised long away weekends in other parts of the country, cycling weeks in France and city breaks in Europe. Essentially, if there is a social or sports activity a member wants to do, they can invite others with similar interests to join them. Swindon IVC is a member of the national Association of IVC Groups (aIVC), This means we can meet up

with similar groups in the wider area, such as Cardiff, Gloucester and Bristol, and members can join in activities organised by clubs all over the country. So you could find yourself sailing off the south coast, dancing the night away in Birmingham, or holidaying abroad with other IVC friends. To find out more, visit uk or email membership@swindonivc. 4 Feb and 11 March 2018

Big Band Brunch Enjoy music from the Girls Only Jazz Orchestra. Performing Swing classics and fresh new hits, this group will blow you away with its Big Band sound. Top it off with an equally big breakfast from the CafÊ’s special brunch menu. Salisburys Arts Centre Bedwin St, Salisbury SP1 3UT 01722 321744

Hear better feel better Hearing loss can happen at any time, at any age. But treatment of hearing loss can improve social participation, relationships and earning power. So the sooner you take action the better. To book your free initial assessment call Mary Hare Hearing Centre on 01635 523 343 or come and see us at 10 Weavers Walk in Newbury.

Quality hearing care by the experts 24 | WWW.50PLUSMAGAZINE.CO.UK

Saturday 24 March 2018

Swindon Male Voice Choir In Concert with the Band of the Household Cavalry Starting at 7.30pm. Doors Open 6.30pm Treat your senses to the uplifting sounds of the Swindon Male Voice Choir, in Concert with the world renowned Band of the Household Cavalry. This event is expected to be a sell out, so get your tickets while you can! Tickets £12.50 per person (sorry, no concessions). Tickets are available from: Swindon Male Voice Choir Tickets tel: (01793) 822495. Museum of the Great Western Railway, Fire Fly Avenue, Swindon SN2 2EY Sunday 01 April 2018 10:00am - 04:00 pm

The Great Lydiard Park Easter Trail Hop into Easter at Lydiard Park! The trail begins at the Coach House Activity Centre and you’ll travel round the lakes, woodlands and lawns. Search for clues hidden around the park to claim your Easter surprise.

Drop in anytime between 10am and 3pm. £5 per child - Cash only accepted

the stories behind them, are captured to perfection.

Lydiard Park, Tregoze, Swindon SN5 3PA 01793 466664

Swindon Arts Centre 6 Devizes Road, Swindon SN1 4BJ W: T: 01793 524481

Wednesday 11 April 2018

The Bob Dylan Story The Bob Dylan Story is the stunning multimedia tribute to a songwriting genius and Nobel Prize winner, who spoke for a whole generation. Enhanced by a top backing band and visual imagery from his 1960s heyday, the show lovingly and authentically recreates the many songs that made Bob Dylan the living legend he is today, the way we all remember hearing them. The heady idealism of Blowing In The Wind and The Times They Are A Changin; the electric venom of Subterranean Homesick Blues and Like A Rolling Stone. Timeless love songs like Lay Lady Lay and I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight; the mysticism of All Along The Watchtower or Mr Tambourine Man. The lyrical tour de force of Hurricane to the catchy simplicity of Knocking On Heaven’s Door - these and many more memorable songs, along with some of

Sunday 15 April 2018 11:00am to 1pm

Stroke Association: Resolution Run What’s your resolution? Whether you’re looking to shed a few pounds, aiming to be a bit healthier or just looking for something fun to do with friends, start your resolution today. Join others taking on their first 5k or challenging themselves to a longer distance around the beautiful grounds of Lydiard Park. Whether you run, jog or walk the route the Stroke Association will support you every step of the way. With your support, we can do so much more to provide vital local and national services for people affected by stroke. Sign up online at resolution Lydiard Park, Tregoze, Swindon SN5 3PA 01793 466664


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OUT AND ABOUT 5 May 2018

Downton Cuckoo Fair 2018 The Downton Cuckoo Fair is an ideal family event and entry is FREE! There are also ample car parks where cars are charged at £5.00 per car with all the proceeds going to local charitable organisations within the village.  Accessible toilets for visitors with disabilities, ramps to aid access to village green. It is held on the greens in this picturesque village 6 miles south of Salisbury. There are over 250 craft and other interesting quality stalls, some under cover in marquees. Included in The Downton Cuckoo Fair is rural craft demonstrations; maypole and morris dancing; street

entertainment; music and plenty for the children including Punch and Judy, roundabouts etc. Also car parks and refreshments. Accessible toilets for visitors with disabilities, ramps to aid access to village green. Downton, Wiltshire, SP5 3NG 01725 511059 Fri 25th until Mon 28th May 2018

Chippenham Folk Festival 2018 This is the our 47th Festival and we still maintain it's original core objective "... to be primarily a participatory festival promoting and presenting some of the best in English Folk Song, Music and Dance ...". It does this by presenting over 200 individual events and

workshops, all in one weekend on the Spring Bank Holiday. Check it out at Sunday 10 June 2018 11am to 4pm

National Garden Scheme The Walled Garden will be open for charity as part of the National Garden Scheme. Enjoy spectacular displays of beautiful flowers and bulbs, alternating with topiary, elegantly presented alongside unique garden features. Tickets - Please pay on the gate Adult £3. Child (3yr-15yrs) £2 Light refreshments will be available in the Coach House Tea Rooms, opposite the Walled Garden. Lydiard Park, Tregoze, Swindon SN5 3PA 01793 466664

Saturday 30th June

Prospect Hospice Starlight Walk Light up the night and support Prospect’s nursing care this June. All of the sponsorship raised at this event goes directly towards supporting their nursing care in the local community. Take part in either the 10km or 15km route around Swindon, and look out for the beautiful illuminated areas on both walks. As well as wearing your bright Starlight T-shirt, take the opportunity to wear your brightest colours and anything that glows or lights up!

Every week someone wins £1,000!

Early bird registration is just £12 until the end of March, to register visit

Visit or call 01793 816190 to join.

We are delighted to announce that the Cheese and Chilli Festival will be returning to Lydiard Park this year.

Registered with the Gambling Commission. Registered Charity No. 280093.

For full details and to buy tickets, please visit the official Cheese and Chilli Festival website.


7 and 8 July 2018. 10am - 5pm.

Cheese and Chilli Festival

Lydiard Park, Tregoze, Swindon SN5 3PA T: 01793 466664

Indoors, if you are struggling to get up and down your stairs The Mobility Store can source you a bespoke stairlift – straight or with angles and a choice of seating, fitted as quickly as is needed to help you keep your independence. If you need any more information on any products or services just give their friendly, helpful staff a call at any of their stores.

Make Life Easier The Mobility Store has branches near you in Wroughton, Swindon and Marlborough as well as Bourton on The Water. They all have a large range of mobility scooters and wheelchairs to buy, or hire if you need something short term or are just out and about for the day when the sun is shining.

MAKE LIFE EASIER On the move: Mobility scooters Footcare: Mobility scooter repairs shoes and slippers Large range of mobility aids Footcare appointments Hire services FREE Hearing health Stairlifts The Mobility Store 7 Clive Parade Cricklade Road Swindon SN2 1AJ

01793 701313

THE MOBILITY STORE 54 Devizes Road Old Town Swindon SN1 4BG

01793 436800

Rise and recline furniture Adjustable beds



01672 511550



Unit 9A Ellendune Shopping Centre Wroughton SN4 9LN

Lansdowne Bourton on the Water GL54 2AR

01793 815083

01451 810088



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JAMES MARTIN'S SLOW COOKING PORK AND ARMAGNAC TERRINE This dish is a must for me, as my family were pig farmers, and it’s from them that I got a real taste for pork. It’s just so simple, and uses all the best parts of the pig. The recipe comes from a château kitchen in the south of France, where I was inspired by its pure, simple flavours. There’s no need to be put off by making a terrine – it’s very simple, and it’s actually the dish it is cooked in (the terrine) that makes it easy for us. Serve it with pickles, chutney or gherkins and some crusty bread and butter. Serves 10–12 INGREDIENTS 300g pork liver 900g pork mince 120ml good white wine 6 tbsp Armagnac 16 thin back bacon rashers 2 eggs 100ml double cream 1 tsp sea salt 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper A good pinch of nutmeg 3 fresh thyme sprigs

First, the meat needs to marinate for 24 hours before cooking. Cut the pork liver into dice, place in a food processor and process to a purée. Combine with the pork mince in a large bowl, pour over the wine and Armagnac, mix well, cover with clingfilm and place in the fridge overnight. Preheat the oven to 140°C/275°F/Gas Mark 1. Line the sides and the base of a 30 x 11cm terrine with the bacon, allowing it to hang over the sides. To make the filling, whisk the eggs and the cream in a bowl and slowly pour onto the marinated pork meat mixture, then add the salt, pepper and nutmeg. Pack the mixture into the


terrine and press it down as you do so, with either a spoon or a spatula. Once the terrine is full, place the thyme on the top and fold the bacon over it, then cover with a lid or a piece of foil. Place the terrine into a deep baking tray and half-fill the tray with hot water, then cook in the oven for 1½ hours, or, if you have a thermometer probe, until the centre reaches 70°C/160°F. Leave the terrine to cool completely before putting it in the fridge to chill and set. Turn it out to serve.

BRAISED HALIBUT WITH CHICKPEAS AND CHORIZO Spain has some of the best ingredients in the world. Of all the amazing produce you can find in the markets there, the pork products have to be the best of the bunch. Chorizo sausage is made from pork, salt and pimentón peppers, which give it a fantastic smoky flavour and rich colour. Look out for the picante (spicy) version, and try to buy soft cooking chorizo, rather than the dry-cured version, which is better for slicing. Serves 4 ingredients 250g cooking chorizo 2 banana shallots 2 garlic cloves 2 fresh thyme sprigs 6 tomatoes 400g tinned chick peas, drained and rinsed

200ml white wine 500ml chicken stock 4 x 200g thick fillets halibut on the bone 2 tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F/Gas mark 3. Slice the chorizo, thinly slice the shallots and crush the garlic cloves. Heat a flameproof casserole dish until medium hot, then add the chorizo and fry for 4–5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the oil is released. Meanwhile, roughly chop the tomatoes. Add the shallots, garlic, thyme and tomatoes cook for a further 3–4 minutes. Add the chick peas and stir well, then add the white wine and chicken stock and bring to the boil. Cover with the lid and bake in the oven for 1 hour, then remove and place the halibut on top of the chick peas. Cover again and return to the oven for a further 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to rest for 5 minutes before removing the lid. Roughly chop the parsley. Carefully lift out the fish using a fish slice and place on a serving dish. Stir the parsley into the chick peas, season with salt and pepper, and serve them alongside the fish.

Slow Cooking by James Martin (Quadrille, £12.99) Photography © Tara Fisher

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| 29

HEALTH home environment as light and airy as possible, making the most of what daylight there is.

Five top tips to help you wipe out winter weariness Many people feel more tired and lethargic during the winter months, which can also manifest itself in low moods, sometimes called the ‘winter blues’. When the temperature drops, the mornings are darker and the days shorter, it’s hardly surprising that so many of us find it harder to get out of bed and get on with the day ahead. Some people just want to hibernate through the winter and emerge when spring arrives! But keeping healthy through the winter months means keeping going, and there are many ways to combat and even wipe out winter tiredness and the apathy it can bring. Here, from the NHS Choices website, are five ways to do just that: Let some light into your life: The long hours of darkness in the winter months can disrupt your normal sleep pattern and leave you feeling drowsy even when you’re awake. The lack of sunlight


means your brain produces more of a hormone called melatonin, which makes you feel sleepy. The antidote is to let as much natural daylight into your life as possible. If it isn’t icy underfoot, wrap up warm and get outside in the fresh air and natural daylight. Taking a little walk will also get your circulation and respiratory system going. Just remember to always stay within your limits and don’t overdo it. If you don’t want to go out, try to make your

Get a good night’s sleep: A little exercise and fresh air during the day will also help you sleep better at night. Try to resist the temptation to ‘hibernate’ through winter and instead stick to your normal bedtime and getting up routine. Also try to resist snoozing in the chair during the daytime, as this will also disrupt your sleep pattern. It’s not always easy, especially if you’re keeping your home warmer than you usually would, but if you can stay awake during the day you’ll reap the benefit of quality sleep at night. We don’t actually need any more sleep in winter than we do in summer. Everyone’s different, but most people do best on around eight hours’ sleep per night. Exercise when you can: It’s tempting in winter to ‘hole up’ indoors and do as little as possible, but exercising however you can and whenever you can will benefit both body and mind. A little and often is the key and it’s important not to overdo it or put yourself at any risk, but any exercise is better than none. Some people find it easier to join an exercise group (your local council or GP surgery should have details of what’s available in your area), while others prefer to work out their own exercise routine at home. It’s important to keep

your body moving, especially in later life, and exercising regularly will increase your energy levels rather than make you more tired. It’s also been proved that a little exercise can boost your mood and help combat depression. If you’re planning to begin an exercise regime, it’s a good idea to consult your GP or another medical professional first, especially if you have an underlying or long-term health condition.

eating a healthy and balanced diet, with plenty of fruit and vegetables. Try to avoid too much starchy and stodgy food, or balance it out with healthy winter veg such as carrots, swedes, parsnips and turnips. There are lots of ways to prepare them for a little variety. Also, try to avoid too many sweet treats, especially around Christmas. There’s no need to deprive yourself, but by having ‘all things in moderation’ you can avoid winter weight gain which would be bad for your health generally. Also, try to eat at regular times and limit snacking inbetween meals – this will also help you sleep better by giving your body a routine. Drinking plenty of milk will also boost your energy levels. Make time to relax: When the days are shorter you might feel under more pressure to get everything done. This is especially true in the days and weeks running up to Christmas, but allowing yourself to become stressed is bad for your body and your mind. Try to make time in each day to relax and, as the young people say, “chill out”. Whether it’s reading a good book, watching your favourite TV programme, taking the dog for a walk or practising deep breathing techniques, everyone has their own way to calm down and ‘de-stress’.

Eat healthily: Very few people fancy a salad in the depths of winter, when a bowl of hot stew and some bread to dip in it are much more appealing. But it’s important to keep

Do you find you are tired at the end of the day?

Miss Hearing, sufferin

Remember that if you are eligible for hearing aids they will Consult a local indepen only be as good as the Audiologist that programmes them.

Consult a local independent professional, Dr David J Reed BA MS Dr David J Reed BA MSc MBA AuD RHAD

Are you having problems remembering what has been said to you? Do young people babble and not speak clearly?

• •

These are all signs that you may have a slight impairment in your hearing.

When you do not hear 100% your brain has to fill in the gaps in conversation.

This can require significant effort by your brain, which leads to you being more tired earlier in the day. When the brain is trying to fill in the gaps of conversation it can be too busy to store the information leading to you presenting as forgetful. Unfortunately, we are not able to multitask as well as we would like to think. Missing subtle parts of the conversation is like completing crosswords, not all the information is there.

• • • • •

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Hence the conversation sounds more like babble.

Consider seeing an Audiologist to check out your hearing, improving your hearing can give you many health benefits, including feeling better about yourself, more engagement in company and less embarrassing misunderstandings.

Amnigilda, 4 Raglan Close, Lawn Swindon. SN3 1JR


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Dementia: Making Arrangements with a Lasting Power of Attorney The Conservative party’s proposal to increase the threshold on what people would pay for adult social care in the run up to the general election didn’t go down well with many voters. Dementia is the leading cause of death in the UK and as the population ages, the number of people affected is set to rise to over a million by 2025. As such, adult social care – and the cost of it – will become an increasingly thorny issue, regardless of which party is in power. Dementia is a degenerative condition that can’t be cured. It’s described as a set of symptoms which include memory loss, difficulty with problem solving and thinking. It can also lead to changes in a person’s temperament or mood. There are 850,000 people currently living with the condition in the UK and around 500,000 of them are women. It’s not certain why this is, but the view is that it’s because more women are living into their 80s - in fact, nearly three in four people aged over 90 are women. According to academic research for the Alzheimer’s Society, in 2014, the majority of people (around 69%) in residential care across the UK had dementia. Another report from the


UK Homecare Association in 2013, stated that, including those not formally diagnosed, around 60% of people receiving care at home had dementia. While the healthcare needs of dementia patients can be treated by the NHS, much of the care that is needed is with day-to-day living; eating, washing, dressing and household chores, for example. These tasks are not covered under the NHS, so those affected need to decide whether they go into residential social care, a nursing home or continue to live at home with the support of their families and carers. As it stands at the moment, if a person has less than £23,250 in capital, councils pay for all or part of their social care based on a sliding scale, following a financial assessment. If a person is in residential social care, or a nursing home, the value of their home is included within their capitol, but if they have a dependent, liable relative living with them, it isn’t. If the local authority is able to offer a deferred payment option, paying for their care can be put off until after their death so that the costs are taken from their estate, or the sale of their home, but there are complex criteria for eligibility to this.

A person with dementia living at home, who has less than £23,250 in capital will be means tested. This is a difficult calculation which takes into account a person’s assets, including their home in some circumstances, to identify what contribution they can make towards their care. If they need more than four home visits a day, it’s usually deemed that care would be more cost effective and they would be better suited in residential social care or a nursing home. With all these factors in mind, it’s important to ensure that you have all your arrangements in order should you develop dementia. Being diagnosed ultimately means there will be issues with maintaining your independence and well-being. As your metal ability starts to fail, it’s important to know that someone will be there to look after your interests when the time comes that you can’t do it yourself. A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that gives a person, or persons, nominated by you (your attorney) the authority to make decisions on your behalf. Essentially, there are two types of LPAs. The first deals with your financial affairs, while the second addresses your welfare. You’re not obliged to take out both LPAs but if you do, you can have the same attorney for both or they can be different. Making an LPA doesn’t mean you’re giving up control of your finances or treatment as it allows you to decided when your Lasting Power of Attorney becomes effective.

Pooleys Solicitors LLP will be pleased to help you with


A property and affairs LPA allows your attorney to handle your finances, such as any property and savings you may have, paying for care fees or arranging the sale of your home if necessary. One thing to be aware of with a finance LPA is that your attorney isn’t allowed to have been declared bankrupt. A welfare LPA addresses your personal well-being. It outlines what medical treatment you should receive or where you live, for example. You can even give your attorney the power to accept or refuse life-sustaining treatment on your behalf. Although it’s a legal document, what an LPA gives you is peace of mind. No one wants to think that they may develop life limiting conditions, but the reality is dementia can affect any of us at any time in later life, so it’s reassuring to know that if you’re unable to make a decision yourself, they’ll be someone who can. Because you’ll have chosen your attorney, you’ll know they will have your best interests at heart and will make decisions based on what you want, rather than leaving it to a stranger or someone you don’t trust. An LPA also prevents family or friends having to apply for similar powers in the future, which can be an expensive and time-consuming business. The key to remember, however, is that you can only set up an LPA while you’re well because the law won’t recognise it as a legally binding document once you’ve lost capacity.

If you’re interested in drafting your LPA, contact Pooleys Solicitors and we will guide you through the regulations and discuss what’s right for your circumstances.

Conveyancing & Energy Performance Certificates


Probate & Trusts

Tax Planning

Matrimonial & Family Law

Lasting Power of Attorney

l l l l


10-15 Regent Circus Swindon SN1 1PP.

Tel: 01793 488848 Fax: 01793 511209 email: www.


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Live-In Care:

One-to-one care in the home you love. Britain’s older population is set to increase

dementia and arthritis being among the

hand to oversee any issues and to offer

dramatically, with the number of over 65’s

most common reasons for hospitalisation.

a fully supported care service. Bluebird

increasing by 51% by 2030. Public services

Providing the older generation with

Care completes all the necessary

are already feeling the pressure and care

adequate care that can handle these

employment checks, such as with the

homes are over-crowded and under-staffed

conditions by staff who receive

police or criminal records authorities and

as it is. With the impending influx of those

appropriate training could easily prevent

care worker references. Each care worker

needing an extra hand looming large,

many hospital admissions.

receives on-going training and support

alternatives to residential care need to be

while they are looking after you at

considered, live-in care being one such

Care homes are struggling as it is with

home. We asked Ben Curtis, Operations


tight budgets and often specialist

Director at Swindon based Bluebird Care

training is over-looked causing quality

to give his perspective on a number of

Nearly half a million older people are

of care to suffer as a result. Live-in care

questions frequently asked when families

hidden away in care homes, out of sight

professionals, such as those provided by

are considering live-in care for their loved

and out of mind. Not only damaging

Bluebird Care, are hand-picked for each


for those kept from their loved ones but

unique placement and are given training

we also suffer as a whole community,

tailored to meet the specific requirements

missing out on the invaluable voice of

of the client. With just the one customer

experience that our older generation

to care for, the carer is able to devote

provide. Caring for older people within

more time to carry out the basic tasks that

their own home allows them to retain as

are so often forgotten or overlooked in

A. Rather than several visits from home

much independence as possible as well as

residential care homes.

care assistants each day, your loved one would have a dedicated carer to

to continue being part of their much-loved communities.

Q. What does live-in Care entail?

As a nationwide provider, Bluebird

provide the care they need twenty-

Care works to accredited training and

four hours a day, every day. This way

The NHS is already straining under

induction standards and are able to

pressure caused by an increase in older

provide full support and supervision in

they can enjoy independent living in

patients, with age related ailments such as

person with the management team on


their own home, but with the advantages of care on the spot

whenever it is needed. Receiving this

we can arrange breaks, hospital

that every effort is made for the live-in

one to one care supports the growth

visits and introduce a new carer on

carer to feel supported and cared for to

of a fantastic working relationship

the same day in the event of

enable them to concentrate on doing a

between carer and customer providing

unplanned circumstances.

fantastic job.

Q. What do I need to consider to be ready for a live in package of care?

Q. How do you monitor the quality of both the caregiver and the package of care you provide?

the stability, real time support and continuity of care.

Q. What happens if the regular caregiver becomes ill or needs to leave at short notice? A. Although the live-in care package is a partnership between a regular caregiver and your loved one they are both supported by a large local team of carers, supervisors, office staff and care managers that are never more than thirty minutes away. Providing this local infrastructure ensures we can respond rapidly to the changing needs of both the carer and customer,

A. Our management team can support you and your loved one with all the information you will require and assess the customers’ needs to ensure an individual package of care. One thing to take into consideration is carer accommodation. A live-in carer must have their own uncluttered room with a

A. Bluebird Care uses a software system which is available on our carers phones to collect real time data around the tasks completed each and every day. Our carers and management team will also be available to spot check and supervise the

suitable bed and with a functioning heat

package of care regularly ensuring our

source. The carer must have access to a

high standards are met consistently and

shared or private bathroom and ideally

any issues or concerns can be resolved

Wi-Fi so they can communicate regularly


with the office and their family. We ask

My life My home My cuppa, just the way I like it Home care from Bluebird Care Swindon

Find out more about home care and the difference it can make to your life. Email the Bluebird Care team: or call us on 01793 239499


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Swindon issue 35  


Swindon issue 35