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AUGUST - SEPTEMBER 2021 EDITION 42

Judi Dench

OUR VERY SPECIAL DAME ENJOYS PUBLIC ACCLAIM AND SHEER AFFECTION IN THIS COUNTRY

Get the Garden Look

DISTINCT STYLES AND HOW TO CREATE THEM IN YOUR OUTDOOR SPACE

USA Road Trip WITH AVIS

E-Motion

KEEPS YOU FIT, THE AIR CLEAN AND THE WHEELS TURNING

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CONTENTS | 50 PLUS MAGAZINE

IN THIS ISSUE 4-5

TWITTERING ON By Angela Kelly

6-7 TRAVEL Iceland - If you don’t like the weather, wait 15 minutes 12-13

DAME JUDI DENCH Enjoys the public acclaim and sheer affection in this country

14-15

A SECURE FUTURE With Equity Release

Twittering On

Judi Dench

BY ANGELA KELLY

AWARDED OBE AND DBE

18-20 HOME Tips to improve your home 21-23 GARDENING Get the garden look 28-30 FOOD AND DRINK Simple recipes to create a sizzle 31 MOTORING Steve Howarth test drives the discovery sport 32-33 HEALTH ADVICE For mature women 36-37

Gardening

Home

GET THE GARDEN LOOK THIS SUMMER

TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR HOME

SILVER TRAVEL ADVISOR Choosing the perfect walking boots.

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TWITTERING ON

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50 PLUS MAGAZINE

TWITTERING ON BY ANGELA KELLY Stepping up To Stay Healthy TO many of us as we get older, living in a bungalow seems to make all kinds of sense. We finally get rid of stairs (especially if limbs and joints no longer seem keen to employ that daily exercise) and long for the ease of everything being on one level. While much of that is true, there is apparently now something we need to take into account that may make us think twice – the possibility of “bungalow leg”. Medical experts warn that making the move to a bungalow too early can actually speed up the physical decline that old age brings. In fact, it can lead to a phenomenon now being called “bungalow leg.”

Dog-fouling Blights Communities THERE are thousands of dogs in the UK – we’re known as a nation of pet-lovers and dogs are arguably the No.1 pet. The logistics of this is equally mindboggling amounts of dog poo. Unfortunately, much of this is on public highways and pavements. Now, responsible dog-owners naturally take out those little bags with them on walks with their pet and swiftly pop the offending matter into the bag to either drop off in a bin or take home to put in their rubbish. Sadly, there is a significant number of dog-owners who simply don’t see this as their problem and are happy to leave poo wherever their pet deposits it. We live near a rural area and scores of dog-walkers pass our house daily. We’re dog-owners ourselves and we like to see our canine friends and their owners happily out walking. We like it, that is, until you notice the increasing number of owners who just let their dogs foul where they want to and do nothing about it. We watched one just the other day. An older chap who let his dog stop and do his 4

business – and then leave the mound of poo on the pavement. This was outside our elderly neighbours who are plagued with the problem and in despair. By keeping an eye on him, we discovered that this man lived very nearby, only a road or two away. So we reported him to the local authority. Their relevant officials promised to monitor him, using the reasoning that people tended to regularly walk their dogs at similar times and on similar routes. Reporting him was actually our second choice as our first choice was to bag up the poo and leave it by his house. However, we wanted to follow the rules – although our preferred course of action would have been more satisfying and probably more just. I really don’t understand anyone – especially someone living in the same area – allowing it to be blighted by dog poo. It’s unsightly, unhygienic and dangerous. It takes selfishness to a new level and personally I’d like to see far more individuals not only fined but named and shamed. The dogs are not to blame but these are irresponsible owners who need to be made to care about their communities.

This refers to the gradual weakening of muscles in the leg which has often been identified with those who have moved to a single-storey home without the daily physical challenge of using stairs. This came originally from a study in Japan involving 6,000 people aged 65 or over who had various types of homes, including those with stairs. They were monitored over three years. One English physiotherapist who treats elderly patients points out that keeping as active as possible is the key to a healthier


life and that we need a good range of movement throughout to stop stiffness.

even temporarily, the worries of the world.

As the move to a bungalow often comes when we have reduced muscle mass anyway, that old saying “use it or lose it” becomes truer than ever.

A team from an organisation called the Max Planck Society found that feelgood films have an element of humour, a classic happy ending and certain recurring plots and characters.

So, the next time you’ve forgotten something upstairs and end up cursing them, just remember: stairs may be keeping you healthy!

What makes a film feel good? WHAT’S your favourite movie? Is it a horror flick, a comedy, true life drama or just an old-fashioned feelgood film? Personally, while I like a really good drama, a feelgood film can make me feel better and brighter about my day. So I often go for traditional favourites like Notting Hill, Pretty Woman, Sleepless in Seattle and Forrest Gump. They always do the trick, however I’m feeling. Now, a new study uses science to show just why films like Love Actually and the rest make viewers laugh and smile and forget,

This typically includes an outsider in search of love who proves themselves and fights adverse circumstances until they find a fitting role in the community. The Society conducted a study with people from Germany, Austria and the German-speaking regions of Belgium and Switzerland. Their responses pointed to romantic comedies being particularly effective in emotional uplift. They don’t just have romance and humour; there is also often some drama. The study showed that scenes and plots with a strong emotion also fall into the feelgood category. It emphasised that many people watch feelgood films specifically to relax and lift their spirits. Interestingly, while those taking part agreed that feelgood films may be sentimental, they were not kitschy. Above all, they were technically well-made.

The study also made the salient point that the views of those who felt positive about such films differed considerably from the mainly negative perspective of professional film critics. Now that definitely resonates. Many times I’ve read what the critics have said about a film when I’ve been considering watching it. I’ve even been put off from seeing it but. if I’ve persevered, I’ve found my view of it completely different from the critic’s. Theirs is not an exact science, though, and, to be fair, I’ve seen far more films than not because of what a critic I like has said about it. And that felt good.

or email: help@aamail.org

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surprise with the average temperature rarely creeping above 20 degrees. Apparently there was one day of heatwave earlier in the month (25 degrees) and an official half day off work was declared.

ICELAND – IF YOU DON’T LIKE THE WEATHER, WAIT 15 MINUTES!

By Debbie Marshall for Silver Travel Advisor Iceland is currently one of the handful of destinations on the “green” list for travel, and whilst escaping to the Mediterranean sun may be tempting, I strongly recommend taking the chance to visit the land of the midnight sun where every kind of weather condition is a possibility. I travelled to Iceland in June a couple of years ago, and whilst scheduled flights at civilised times are available, I selected the low cost option, the downside being a brutal departure time of 1am from Stansted (just a few tourists, some hardy looking Icelandic natives and the cleaners in the deserted departure lounge). The plane took off in the darkness (and rain) in the middle of the night; but that was the last time that we would see the dark until the return flight a few days later. By 3am we were in broad daylight and flying over a slightly surreal and barren landscape of volcanic earth, larva and rocks. There didn’t seem to be a building in sight apart from the odd farm. After landing at Reykjavik airport, an easy 40 minute coach journey brought us into the capital city (there are no railways in Iceland, and in fact no motorways either). It was chilly and, until reaching the city outskirts, it felt like the road to nowhere. 6

Reykjavik itself would be a provincial town anywhere else in Europe, but 80% of the country’s 320,000 population live in or near this pleasant pint-sized capital. As our guide explained, there is Reykjavik and there is the countryside; nothing else. She was right: once you get past the final building in the outskirts, it’s back to nature at its most powerful. And the whole world became very aware of that back in April 2011 when Ejafjallayokl (pronounced Aye-a-fiat-la-yolkel) erupted and brought European air traffic to a standstill. A day is sufficient to see most of Reykjavik; it’s easily navigated on foot. A fabulous new glass fronted cultural centre (the Harpa) has been built on the water’s edge with a comprehensive programme of entertainment (ranging from comedy to classical music). The shops appear to mainly sell woollens and warm clothing. Bearing in mind this was June, I didn’t see anywhere selling summer clothes. And that’s not really a

There’s a charming casualness amongst the locals in the way they dress, akin to après-ski wear. Even the more fashionable Icelandic ladies wore sturdy shoes and everyone looked like they were ready for a day’s hiking. The pace is relaxed, and there seems to be no sign of any class system or ostentation. Doubtless there are plenty of wealthy Icelanders, but they are not flash. In fact I had to remind myself that this was the scene of the banking crisis in the not too distant past, and yet it felt nothing like a financial centre. A few businessmen ambled by (in suits and walking boots), but nobody looked like they were in a hurry to close a deal. For my three day visit I wanted to pack in as much as possible so selected a half day Golden Circle tour, a full day South Shore tour and finally a Blue Lagoon experience. That combined with a half day in Reykjavik was a perfect combination. The Golden Circle is a tourist route, but worth doing because it takes in some important


landmarks. Firstly, Thingvellir, the seat of the original Parliament, then the quite breathtaking Golden Falls, and finally the Geysir (the eponymous geyser), which obligingly spurts most impressively every 5-7 minutes. En route, we learned from our guide about sagas, the tales of Icelandic folklore, the elves and their semi-circles of rocks. We saw some of the 80,000 Icelandic horses that roam the countryside (that’s more than 1 for every 4 people). We learned about the way in which people are named in Iceland – a man takes his father’s Christian name, plus Son, and a woman her father’s Christian name + daughter. And finally I understood how Magnus Magnusson came to be named. Magnus, son of Magnus - literally. It’s all so simple. Day two saw us on the South Shore excursion, a spectacular full day of driving, magnificent waterfalls, villages, raging sea, volcanoes, glacier walking, a folklore museum and a lot of talking by our guide who was truly a living encyclopaedia of his country. Day three was a visit to the Blue Lagoon, the only really smart commercial place we visited. It’s set up for corporate trips with the staff in dressed up in fancy uniforms

with bow ties which, given the laid-back nature of the rest of the country, seems a little excessive. But the lagoon itself is incredible, the world’s largest natural swimming pool complete with mud face packs and an unforgettable view. Iceland is a raw and beautiful wilderness, a geographer’s paradise, and a sculpture of the forces of nature. Visiting in the mid-summer and experiencing the midnight sun is highly

recommended, although of course a price must be paid for all that summer light, and a visit in winter would find daylight for only a sparse few hours. And the weather? Four seasons in a day; beautiful clear skies, thick clouds, strong winds, heavy rainfall, bright sunshine, hot enough for a t-shirt, chilly enough for a jacket. Constantly changing and all the more enjoyable an experience for it.

Recommended tour operators to Iceland include: Intrepid Travel www.intrepidtravel.com or call 0808 274 5111 Ramblers Walking Holidays www.ramblersholidays.co.uk/ or call 01707 818953 Kirker Holidays www.kirkerholidays.com/ or call 020 7593 2288

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Trip Advisor’s Travellers’ Choice We are proud to announce that five of our group – Bournemouth Sands, Daish’s, Devonshire, Abbey Lawn, County – have been awarded the coveted TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice award for 2021.

Isle of Wight

Torquay

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Blackpool

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Don’t miss these coach inclusive breaks! Local pick up points from make it easy to get away. Price includes return coach travel from:

Gloucester, Cheltenham, Swindon, Calne, Chippenham, Bristol. All offers are subject to availability and standard terms and conditions (see brochure or website for T&C’s). DATE

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DATE

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NOVEMBER

SEPTEMBER 06

Esplanade Hotel – Scarborough

5

£299

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Abbey Lawn Hotel – Torquay

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£219

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Somerset Hotel – Llandudno

5

£289

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Imperial Hotel – Eastbourne

5

£219

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Devonshire Hotel – Torquay

5

£269

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Daish’s Hotel – Isle of Wight

5

£214

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Barrowfield Hotel – Newquay

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£249

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Esplanade Hotel – Scarborough

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£224

16

Sands Hotel – Bournemouth

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£274

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Russell Hotel – Weymouth

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£219

17

Hotel Prince Regent – Weymouth

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£289

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Somerset Hotel – Llandudnoy

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£224

15

Devonshire Hotel – Torquay

5

£209

17

County Hotel – Lake District

5

£234

18

Barrowfield Hotel – Newquay

5

£199

19

Sands Hotel – Bournemouth

5

£209

20

Hotel Prince Regent – Weymouth

5

£229

OCTOBER 02

Imperial Hotel – Eastbourne

5

£244

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Prices shown are per person based on two people sharing a Standard Room. Supplements apply on twin/double rooms with sole occupancy. Optional local excursions can be booked at the hotel. Many more coach or self-drive holiday dates available in 2021. If you would prefer to self-drive, deduct £20 per person from prices shown. Offer ends 15th September 2021

10 fabulous locations, 12 great hotels. Bournemouth

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Daish’s Blackpool Hotel

County Hotel

Call 01202 638 840 or visit daishs.com

facebook.com/daishs

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to a show of 1,200 dancing fountains, whilst the Mirage hosts an erupting volcano each evening. There are an astonishing number of shows to entertain visitors and we took in KA by Cirque de Soleil at the MGM Grand. It was a marvellous combination of acrobatics, special effects and stage manipulation that is all alleged to have cost $165 million to stage. Worth every penny in our opinion and hats off to the skill and strength of the performers. No human creation can match nature’s own though and our helicopter ride and landing in the Grand Canyon was wow moments heaped upon wow moments. It’s an extraordinary experience to get up close and personal with even a relatively small section of a canyon that is 277 river miles long and measures a staggering 18 miles at its widest point.

USA ROAD TRIP WITH AVIS

By Steve Aldridge for Silver Travel Advisor

its Roman Forum streetscape (with a magnificent sky ceiling which mimics the sky outside), the great hall, spiral escalator, aquarium, and the animatronic Fall of Atlantis show. The Bellagio Hotel treated us

Our road trip began in Nevada, as we overcame our jet lag with a few days in Las Vegas. Sing along now, “...give ‘em the old razzle dazzle, razzle dazzle ‘em, give ‘em an act with lots of flash in it...”. Whilst the words might come from the musical Chicago, the description pretty much defines Sin City (as Las Vegas is often known). Yes, it’s brash and sometimes outrageous, but there’s plenty to admire and so much that is exceptionally well done. Caesars Palace has much to marvel at and we took our time to take in its treasures, particularly 10

AVIS conveniently delivered our hire car to the MGM Grand hotel (to save us travelling out to the airport pick up depot) and whilst it didn’t quite have the power of the helicopter the previous day, the Chrysler 300 packs a decent punch. Its 3.6 litre V6 would give us plenty of pulling power for the mountainous roads ahead, whilst the boot (I know they call it a trunk) could accommodate our 3 medium/large holdalls.


Inside we were cosseted in leather seated luxury, with a built-in satnav to help guide our way. We’d gone for the full package, zero excess insurance, breakdown cover etc. Preferring to know that whatever happened AVIS had us covered and no unexpected bills awaited us on return. , the road trip began and where better to test out the efficiency of the car’s air conditioning than the driest desert and hottest place in the world, Death Valley. This truly had to be one of the best drives of our life. From the heights of Dante’s View at 5475ft we could see Mt Whitney & Badwater with spectacular views over the whole basin. This location was used in Star Wars, Episode IV, A New Hope for the view looking down on Mos Eisley (may the force be with you). Driving down to the basin, we marvelled at the moonscape scenery of the devil’s golf course. Here we could literally hear the salt crystals popping in the heat (bit like a bowl of Rice Krispies snap crackle pop). At the salt flats of Badwater (the lowest point in North America at 282ft below sea level) it is eerily beautiful, but a hike out into the basin at 43.4C/110F to see the salt formations (which take the shape of large polygons), left me gasping to get back to the car’s air-conditioned coolness. Perhaps the best aspect of the valley (from a driver’s perspective) is Artists Drive, a one way scenic route which shows off some of the best geological aspects of the park and had us gawping around every turn. We spent the night at Stovepipe Wells, within the boundary of the Death Valley National Park, relishing our day. Our accommodation was close to the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes (also used in Star Wars as the sand dunes of Tatooine) but otherwise in the middle of absolutely nowhere! Could our next stop have been a greater contrast? I think not! We stayed alongside June Lake, which has a scenic loop we drove around. Along the way we saw cascading

waterfalls and stopped at some some truly tranquil spots alongside the various lakes (Silver, Grants) where fishermen bob about the lakes in small boats hoping to catch one THIS BIG! From there an interesting and scenic drive (with views of snow-capped mountains) took us to the south side of Mono Lake. Here the underground streams have bubbled up from below the surface for centuries and created calcium deposits called Tufas. These deposits create strange other worldly towers, some in the water and some on land due to the reducing level of the lake. It’s quite a site to behold and well worth the trip out here. Some quick driving tips for USA At crossroads (without lights) you proceed in the strict order of arrival. Takes a little getting used to but locals are very disciplined, so it works well. Petrol (gas) stations mostly require pre-payment prior to filling. Double check that they will give you change/refund if the car takes less than you think, particularly if you use a credit card. Gas prices vary greatly, the more remote your fill up, the higher (rule of thumb). Google Maps often gives you gas prices in the reviews section of the app. For more information visit www.avisworld.com or call 0808 284 5566. Silver Travellers receive a 10% discount. Avis offer a Safety Pledge to ensure minimal contact with Covid-safe procedures at every stage. Their all-inclusive car-hire packages ensure that there are no hidden extras and fully transparent pricing. 11


CELEBRITY INTERVIEW

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OUR VERY SPECIAL DAME FEW actors or actresses at 86 enjoy the public acclaim and sheer affection in this country that Dame Judi Dench does. Yet, every new film - including her latest Six Minutes to Midnight - stage appearance or TV role is greeted with an outpouring of genuine interest and expectation from her thousands of fans Perhaps that’s not so surprising when you consider her variety of roles runs from Sally Bowles to Queen Victoria. Nor that she has won a record-breaking number of awards and nominations which continue today. But not everything always ran so smoothly for the young Miss Dench. Born in York and a doctor’s daughter, Judi made her “acting debut” as a snail in a play at her Quaker junior school and later played an angel in one of the York Mystery Plays. However, she wanted to study theatre design so went to art school but switched to a course at London’s Central School of

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Speech and Drama when she realised that, actually, she preferred to be on stage rather than designing stage sets. Here, she was in the same class as Vanessa Redgrave. She made her professional debut in Liverpool before going on to the Old Vic in 1957.

Hall persisted and she won rave reviews from both theatre critics and TV audiences. Interestingly, since then she has played virtually all of Shakespeare’s leading ladies and won an Oscar for her brief, although pivotal, role in the 1998 film Shakespeare in Love.

At her first film audition, she was told “Miss Dench, you have every single thing wrong with your face.” This unusual perception, though, did not either harm her future film career nor stop her from becoming a favourite of Director Peter Hall at the Royal Shakespeare Company.

She has also won many plaudits over the years for her Shakespearian roles. In 2004, an opinion poll of the Royal Shakespeare Company voted Dench’s performance as Lady Macbeth in Trevor Nunn’s 1976 production of Macbeth as the second greatest Shakespearean performance of all time. Only Paul Schofield’s masterful King Lear was ranked higher.

He asked Judi to play the title role in a staged, and then later televised, production of Cleopatra. The self-effacing, 5’ 1” Dench refused, insisting that her Cleopatra would be a “menopausal dwarf.”

Although known internationally for her acting, early in her career she starred in musical theatre. She created the role of Sally Bowles in the London premiers of


the musical Cabaret and was cast to play Grizabella in the original West End production of CATS but tore her Achilles Tendon and was forced to quit the show. Elaine Paige replaced her. Judi Dench’s skill is not only her reliability as trusted actress but also her chameleon quality. Although she has always specialised in playing dignified, strong-willed women, she has an equally light hand at comedy. She was a genuinely funny Madame Arcati in this year’s re-make of the film Blithe Spirit and her highly recognisable warm tones have made her a popular voiceover choice for everything from children’s programmes to video games. As well as a much-respected stage star, she is a TV favourite. Judi is a 10-time BAFTA winner including Best Actress in a Comedy Series for A Fine Romance in 1981, in which she appeared with her husband Michael Williams.

beginning and end of the film. They did the same with M in Skyfall in 2012, all adding to Dench’s international reputation and star stature. Film-makers always saw her as bringing a special gravitas to a production, and she has always chosen well in her roles.

But it is probably in films that she has proved the greatest influence. Although she had made several films prior to making Mrs Brown with Billy Connelly in 1997, it’s fair to say that this was her breakthrough movie as a film actress. She won her first Oscar nomination as the doughty monarch - and Hollywood began taking real notice of her. When she won an Oscar the following year for Shakespeare in Love, the producers of the Bond franchise gave her character M a much larger role in GoldenEye. This was one central to the film’s plot rather than just bookend scenes at the

She has been in several films which were nominated for Best Picture Oscar including A Room With A View (1985), Chocolat (2000) and Philomena (2013). She has played St Joan, Sybil Thorndike, Mistress Quickly and Titania but her wonderful acting skills have been equally evident as Evelyn Greenslade in the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel in 2012 and the delightful TV series Cranford as gentlehearted Miss Matty. She is a life-long animal-lover and a strong matriarchal figure in real-life. She has a daughter, Finty Williams, and one grandson Sam. Judi had a long and happy marriage to Michael Williams before his death in 2001. “We were just happy to be in the same room together,” she has recalled. Her only regret was that “I didn’t have more children.”

Her life has been full and rewarding in many ways so far, though. She was awarded an OBE in 1970, and a DBE (Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in 1988 for her services to drama. Judi has never been known to brag about her undoubted acting skills. “I don’t think anybody can be told how to act,” she explained. “I think you can give advice. But you have to find your own way through it.” In spite of all her personal achievements, she is also pragmatic about her acting success. “The passion doesn’t lessen over time but you get more anxious,” she has stated.

You’re only as good as the last thing you did. But that anxiety feeds what you’re doing. It gives you energy. It’s very much part of me. And whatever drives Judi Dench, we just want her to carry on doing it for a long time to come.

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FINANCE

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A SECURE FUTURE WITH

EQUITY RELEASE? THESE days we have to look at a variety of ways to raise cash and ensure that our future will be secure and one popular way for anyone over 55 to do just that is via equity release, which offers the chance to access the cash – the equity – tied up in your home. It can be as a lump sum or in several small amounts, or a combination of both. There are two equity release options: lifetime mortgage and home reversion. The Money Advice Service explains that a LIFETIME MORTGAGE means that you take out a mortgage secured on your property, provided it is your main residence, while retaining ownership. You can choose to ring-fence some of the value of your property as an inheritance for your family or you can choose to make repayments or let the interest roll-up. The loan amount and any accrued interest is paid back when you die or when you move into long-term care. 14

Most people who take out equity release use a lifetime mortgage. Usually you don’t have to make any repayments while you’re alive and interest “rolls up” (unpaid interest is added to the loan), meaning the debt can increase quite quickly over a period of time. However, some lifetime mortgages do now offer the option to pay all or some of the interest. Some will let you pay off the interest and the capital. In the same way ordinary mortgages vary from lender to lender, so do lifetime mortgages, and if you’re looking at this option it’s worth knowing that the minimum age for this is usually 55. As we’re now all living longer, the earlier you start the more this is likely to cost in the long run. The average borrower in their late 60s can usually borrow around 35% of the value of their home, but how much can be released is dependent on your age and the value of your property. The percentage typically increases according to your age when you take out

the lifetime mortgage, while some providers might offer larger sums to those with certain past or present medical conditions. Many lenders offer interest rates which are fixed or, if they are variable, have a “cap” or upper limit which is fixed for the loan’s duration. Check whether the product has a “no negative equity guarantee” This means that, when your property is sold and agents’ and solicitors’ fees have been paid, even if the amount left is not enough to repay the outstanding loan to your provider neither you nor your estate will be liable to pay any more. Consider whether you can pay none, some or all of the interest. If you can make repayments, the mortgage will be less costly. However, with a lifetime mortgage where you can make monthly payments, the amount you can repay might be based on your income. Providers will have to check you can afford these regular payments.


Look at whether you can withdraw the equity you’re releasing in small amounts, as and when you need it, or whether you have to take it as one lump sum. The advantage of being able to take money out in smaller amounts is you only pay the interest on the amount you’ve withdrawn. If you can take smaller lump sums, check if there is a minimum amount. It’s also worth finding out if you have the right to move to another property, subject to the new property being acceptable to your product provider as continuing security for your equity release loan, as different lifetime mortgage providers might have slightly different thresholds. A HOME REVERSION involves you selling part or all of your home to a home reversion provider in return for a lump sum or regular payments.You have the right to continue living in the property until you die, rent-free, but you have to agree to maintain and insure it. You can ring-fence a percentage of your property for later use, possibly for

inheritance - the percentage you retain will always remain the same, regardless of the change in property values, unless you decide to take further cash releases. At the end of the plan, your property is sold and the sale proceeds are shared according to the remaining proportions of ownership. You will get a lump sum or regular payments – normally between 20 per cent and 60 per cent of the market value of your home, or the part you sell. With home reversions, it’s worth checking whether or not you can release equity in several payments or in one lump sum and the minimum age at which you can take out a home reversion plan. Some providers insist you’re at least 60 or 65 before you can apply. Keep in mind the percentage of the market value you will receive. This will increase the older you are when you take out the plan but might vary from provider to provider. Also check whether you have the right to remain in your property for life or until you need to move to long-term care, provided the property remains your main residence

and you abide by the terms and conditions of your contract. Again, check whether you have the right to move to another property, subject to the new property being acceptable to your product provider as continuing security for your equity release loan and whether the product has a “no negative equity guarantee”.You will also need to know what level of maintenance you’ll be expected to carry out and how often your property will be inspected – this could be every few years. Overall, equity release might seem like a good option if you want some extra money and don’t want to move house, but it’s worth bearing in mind that equity release can be more expensive in comparison to an ordinary mortgage. It’s also worth considering any additional changes taking out equity release could make to existing arrangements, with the potential to lose means-tested benefits being key among them. It’s also worth considering involving your family throughout the process, as any equity taken out of the home will impact their inheritance later down the line.

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Speak to one of our advisors for your free, no obligation quotation and to find out how much tax-free cash you can access to spend as you wish. They will explain how equity release could affect the amount of inheritance you can leave and if your entitlement to means-tested benefits could be affected now or in the future. Equity release may involve a home reversion plan or a lifetime mortgage which is secured against your property. To understand the features and risks ask for your personalised illustration. Equity release requires paying off any existing mortgage. Any money released, plus accrued interest, would be repaid upon death or moving into long-term care. Only if your case completes would a typical fee of 2.25% of the amount released be payable (minimum £1,695). 1 You only continue to own your own home with a lifetime mortgage. *UK’s No1, based on volume of plans, source: Touchstone data 2018 - Q2 2020.

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E-Motion: Keeps you fit, the air clean, and the wheels turning The founders of Swindon-based E-Motion Electric Vehicle Co. recognised the benefits of electric cycling back in 2009, and were one of the first specialist e-bike retailers to open up shop in the UK. Partner Mark Butler told us “At the time we were one of very few shops nationwide that stocked e-bikes, and far fewer people knew about the benefits of electric vehicles than today. E-bike technology was in its infancy – steel bike frames were necessary to carry the lead acid batteries, making early electric bikes rather heavy – and the batteries took a long time to charge too. Now things are quite different, lithium batteries are light-weight and charge within hours.” There’s more choice for cyclists: commuter bikes, folding bikes, mountain and hybrid bikes, tourers, shoppers and tricycles are all available as electricpowered bikes. 16

More people have discovered their love of cycling since the first lockdown. A quarter of people surveyed by Mintel said they became first-time cyclists, or had started cycling again, during the pandemic. The benefits of cycling, and of simply being outdoors, on our health and well-being are clear. Equally important is the positive impact on our environment. The executive director of the UK’s Bicycle Association said in June: “It’s brilliant that the UK has been out buying and repairing their bikes under lockdown. Especially for commuters, every journey made by bike frees up space for those who have no alternative to using public transport. E-bikes have the potential to make even longer or more hilly cycling commutes practical and enjoyable”.


E-Motion regularly hold e-cycling events for the public, and at local businesses, to demonstrate the benefits of electric cycling for leisure and commuting. “We also promote the Government’s Cycle to Work scheme which can subsidise the cost of a bike to you by 40% and, through the Cycle Association, we can finance your purchase too” Mark told us. “A number of our early customers love the solid, early e-bikes they bought from us and we help keep them on the road.

We’re members of the Association of Cycle Traders and always try to find the right part to keep a bike running smoothly.” E-Motion recently opened its new, purpose-built and fully-equipped bike repair workshop. Its technicians are fully trained to work on Bosch,Yamaha and Shimano electric-bike systems and, as enthusiastic cyclists, have the skills to service ‘traditional’ push-bikes, keeping more cyclists safely on the road. In Swindon and beyond, the E-Motion team definitely keep the wheels turning.

They’ll answer any query you might have on starting your e-bike journey, converting your existing push-bike to electric, styles and manufactures of electric bikes, cycling clothing and accessories, and servicing – pop into their shop at

373 Cricklade Road, SN2 1AQ, phone 01793 251200 or email: email@e-motionevc.co.uk

To celebrate the opening of its workshop, E-Motion are offering FREE LOCAL COLLECTION AND DELIVERY for ANY traditional or electric bike serviced until 30th September 2021 AND a 25% DISCOUNT.

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You may want to be fairly modest in the colours you choose to paint the outside of your home but a splash of colour on your front-door can prove really eye-catching. You might even want to invest in a new front-door. After all, it’s the first thing that greets visitors and doors today are both stylish and practical so do have a look at what’s available.

IMPROVE YOUR HOME IF we’re not thinking of moving these days we’re apparently indulging in altering our homes – sometimes minimally but sometimes dramatically. IF we’re not thinking of moving these days we’re apparently indulging in altering our homes – sometimes minimally but sometimes dramatically. It’s mostly the knock-on effect of lockdown and being at home so much more. Many of us have realised the shortcomings of where we live and are determined to do something about it. We’ve probably also saved some money by not going out and not spending much all those months so there may well be a budget for home improvements, if not for moving home completely. If this seems too dramatic, though, too life-changing – or you’ve simply not got the money currently to spend large amounts on either moving house or a major home alteration – there are things you can do that won’t cost as much. In fact, you may opt for a mixture of affording a couple of more expensive 18

changes and doing a few clever fixes of your own. On the simplest level, giving your home a fresh coat of PAINT can make any space – inside or out – cleaner, brighter and more modern.

The first thing that visitors see when they get inside your home is often the STAIRS. If your stair carpet is looking a bit shabby, and this coincides with your hall flooring needing updating, why not consider stripping the whole area back to the wood and sanding and wood-staining it? An eye-catching stair-runner can show off the warm wood and look very contemporary at the same time. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune, either. Go along to your local flooring store and see what’s on offer. If your hallway is rather dark, use bright paint again to lighten it and invest in a large mirror to reflect light and open it up. Charity shops are great places for large mirrors at really pleasing prices – and you get the satisfaction of helping a charity as well. Is your LOUNGE looking in need of a revamp? Whether you have a bare chimney


one or two new items, this is certainly one that is well worth it. If, though, you’ve got an older or vintage sofa in good condition that just looks a bit sad or the coverings are threadbare, consider re-covering it. Clever needlewomen (and men) may look on this as an enjoyable challenge but it’s worthwhile getting a professional upholsterer in for the job. Alternatively, there are several well-known companies that have a wide range of bespoke covers to specifically fit your sofa or comfy chairs. Just having new covers, or even throes in a rich or modern fabric, can make a real difference to the whole room. Again, consider your flooring here and think about the original wood, if your floorboards are suitable. Glowing floors and cosy rugs in a lounge can give it a new lease of life.

today’s fireplaces come in a huge variety of styles – including traditional ones to match the décor on older houses so it’s definitely worth having a look around.

breast where a fireplace used to be or not, consider installing one. It can provide a focal point for the room instead of the TV. You can pick up old fireplaces at car boots and antique shops, perhaps along with a handsome fire grate if you like that style. If you want something more modern,

Decorating here with a mixture of plain and wallpapered walls can also make your home feel up-to-date. Contemporary wallpaper

Your SOFA may be past its best and need replacing and, if you are going to invest in

23 years ago David designed and installed our new kitchen Now we have been back for a refurbishment “The kitchen that David fitted 23 years ago is still in good condition,” says Mike & Tracy Mason of Wroughton

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“We just wanted a new look, so David suggested replacing the doors. The existing kitchen had non standard doors, but we can supply made to measure replacement doors and door fronts. “It has made the room look brighter and refreshed,” says Tracy. “David`s son Oliver did the fitting, he was still at school when the original kitchen was fitted. I would recommend nuimage to anyone, they are a friendly family business who care about their customers.”

Tracy with David Dukes from nuimage

AFTER

Book your free no obligation visit today, call us on:

01793 644600 www.nuimagekbb.co.uk REPLACEMENT DOORS

KITCHENS

BATHROOMS

BEDROOMS 19


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comes in all kinds of patterns and textures for plenty of choices and can make a room more interesting. Creating your own shelving for recesses is also both satisfying and cost-effective. Invest in a couple of new pictures to help alter the look of your lounge. Group family photos on a wall and look around for pictures with interesting frames to enhance the room.

Converting your loft into an extra bedroom with an en suite bathroom not only adds value to your home but gives you so many more living options. Use it as a work space, playroom or second lounge if this suits your lifestyle better. Alternatively, if you’ve got dark corners upstairs, install a skylight to a bedroom or landing area.You will need some professional help here but go to places like Checkatrade to find installers.

Again, charity shops score here - as they do if you’re looking for material to make striking new curtains or blinds. Mill shops are also great places to get beautiful toning material. Add home-made matching cushions or throes for a co-ordinated look If you can’t afford completely new units for your KITCHEN, a lick of paint and new handles can make all the difference. Or, go for new worktops, possibly in a cheaper design that mimics a high-cost one, and match-up kitchen accessories to the new colour scheme for trendy styling. You can also transform a kitchen with a new splashback or tiles. Adhesive glass splashback panels are easy to fit and brighten up this area, as they do in BATHROOMS. If you do want to make your home bigger but can’t afford an extension or a large conservatory to give you another room, think about converting your LOFT.

Manor Garden Centre Cheney Manor, Swindon SN2 2QJ

And if you’re looking at WINDOWS generally, this may be where you want to invest some money. New windows dramatically change the look and lifestyle of your home – not to mention cutting bills. If you’re looking for more home-changing ideas, there are plenty of blogs and websites online and places like Pinterest show how to recycle everyday items to enhance your lifestyle.

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An exciting new development including stunning 2 & 3 bedroom wheelchair adaptable apartments. Ninety Five Peckham Road is a development of just 33 contemporary apartments with a delightful treelined courtyard garden by award winning architects Peter Barber. Set on Peckham’s vibrant cultural mile alongside Theatre Peckham and the South London Gallery, and close to the thriving café and restaurant scene of Rye Lane. It is particularly well connected with frequent direct trains from Peckham Rye to London Bridge, Victoria, Blackfriars, St. Pancras, Clapham Junction and Farringdon.

Register your interest now: Email sales@kuropatwa.co.uk


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round evergreen backdrop as do Japanese azaleas, which give added value with vibrant coloured flowers. Alongside grass Ophiopogon japonicus consider Nepeta subsessilis (Japanese catmint) with flowers in blue, pink or white. To represent the different seasons use a cherry tree like Prunus ‘Kojo-no-mai’ for its wonderful spring blossom. And no Japanese garden is complete without the dazzling foliage of a maple like Acer Palmatum ‘Bloodgood’ in autumn. Plant choice should include trees and shrubs like Buxus Sempervirens (box) and Taxus baccata (yew) that can be pruned in true Japanese fashion to represent cloud shapes and the natural world.

GET THE GARDEN LOOK

SEARCHING FOR GARDEN DESIGN INSPIRATION? GARDENING WRITER JULIA HEATON, LOOKS AT FOUR DISTINCT STYLES AND HOW TO CREATE THEM IN YOUR OWN OUTDOOR SPACE. reflection pool has a calming, natural appeal to the senses; An area of grey gravel or sand: Use a rake to create the pattern of flowing water and rocks to represent the natural world of mountains or islands rising out of it;

Japanese style Take inspiration from larger gardens open to the public. Red is an iconic element of Japanese design. This is all about creating a tranquil space for meditation and contemplation, where you can feel closer to nature. Minimalism is key so that all the style elements have space to shine. Evergreens in different shades of green and a few choice plants help to re-enforce the calming atmosphere as does having only one plant at a time in flower. The idea is that the beauty of each can then be enjoyed alone. Landscaping elements: A water feature: To symbolise renewal. The sound of trickling water or the stillness of a

Bridges: Crossing the gravel stream or a pond and painted red to represent wisdom and transformation; Pagoda: Used as outdoor temples in traditional Japanese gardens, these are ideal spots from where to view the garden; Winding stepping stone pathways: To represent the journey through life; Gates: Symbolise a threshold, to give the sense there’s something to discover on the other side; Bamboo: Use a bamboo fence to block unwanted views; Stone lanterns: Shaped like pagodas for added character. Plant choice Bamboo and conifers provide a year-

Mediterranean style The Alhambra Palace garden in Spain incorporates many of the classic elements of a Mediterranean garden. The rustic charm of a Mediterranean garden will conjure up holiday memories of sunny days and warm balmy nights. At its heart is scented, colourful planting and an informal atmosphere for outdoor dining with friends and family. This style has the added bonus of being low maintenance, leaving more time to unwind and enjoy. Landscaping elements: Gravel and paving: Replace a high maintenance lawn with gravel pathways and use paving stones in warm terracotta tones to create seating areas. Gravel keeps weeds down and conserves moisture. Plant through it at irregular intervals for a relaxed feel and soften hard-edged paving with ground cover plants; Pots: Arrange groups of plants in terracotta pots and use a Grecian urn to make a statement focal point; 21


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Shady spaces: Fragrant climbing plants on a pergola give shade from the sun and protection on a cold windy day. Place weathered wooden tables and benches underneath for dining; Water feature: Add a small stone fountain or a trough; Mosaic tiles: These add a splash of colour and pattern to dull walls and steps; Cooking area: A purpose built barbecue or pizza oven is an outdoor living essential; Plant choice Clipped box hedging (Buxus sempervirens) adds structure and height and can be used to define one space from another. It’s also evergreen as is slender, conical shaped conifer Thuja occidentalis ‘Smaragd’. Use this either side of a gateway or at intervals along a path. For gorgeous wafts of perfume around your pergola choose white flowered climber jasmine (Jasminum officinale). Climbing roses and a grape vine are pretty special too.

with its blue/green foliage. For a frost hardy tree go for an olive in a pot. Keep in mind that many Mediterranean plants like this are drought tolerant so you need to provide them with well-drained soil.

Plant lavender and rosemary along pathways and they’ll give off a wonderful aroma as you brush past. And nothing says Mediterranean more than a lemon tree or bougainvillea, although these will need to be in a pot and moved to a conservatory or greenhouse for winter.

Cottage Garden A cottage garden can be created in any size space. This natural, informal, look doesn’t require a lawn and the dense, colourful planting is a mix of ornamentals and edibles that has no rules. Traditional materials and vintage repurposed items like planted-up wheelbarrows and barrels turned into water features complete the look.

Other plants for that authentic sunny look are: geraniums; low maintenance agapanthus; succulents like sempervivums to soften paving and grasses like Festuca glauca

Landscaping elements: Fencing: A picket fence to contain overflowing planting in the front garden is the ultimate in kerb appeal. Use it in the back

Quality TGB garden buildings for any situation Bespoke sizes available Base laying & installation available

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garden to give spaces, like a veggie patch, their own identity. Go really rustic with woven hazel or willow fencing; Pathways: Whether gravel, reclaimed brick, bark or cobbles, keep pathways winding and simple. Let planting cascade onto them as they meander to a point of interest; Obelisks, gazebos, arbours and pergolas: These structures add height, are attractive and provide support to scented climbers like honeysuckle; Ornaments: Rising out of the planting a strategically placed birdbath, sundial or statue provides a focal point and contrast to the lively planting; Planting style Deep borders, overflowing with a mix of perennials, annuals, edibles bulbs and shrubs in a variety of colours, foliage textures and fragrance. Repeat plants around the plot to form natural drifts of colour and to visually tie the theme together. Cottage style is famed for tall spires of plants like delphiniums, hollyhocks and lupins. Another way of adding height is with sweet peas, which will clamber up an obelisk or wooden wigwam to explode in a profusion of colour. And when it comes to walls, you can’t go wrong with clematis and wisteria or a climbing rose. In fact any type of rose is a must-have. Leave seed heads of plants like allium, rudbeckia and echinops to form and provide structure in the colder months. And use self-seeding plants like aquilegias, Verbena bonariensis, erigeron, nigella and foxgloves that will naturally develop the planting scheme for you.


Don’t forget to plant up bulbs for spring interest. And remember, there’s no right or wrong place to grow edibles, so you’re free to plant fruit, herbs and veg where you like, even if that’s alongside pathways. Coastal inspired Even if you live miles inland, there’s no reason why you can’t recreate a coastal garden. Simply plant where you like for a fun, laid back seaside vibe.

Shells and pebbles: Use crushed shells as a mulch around plants in pots. Write the names of plants on larger shells and use them as plant markers and dot different sized pebbles in amongst the gravel/shingle surface to add texture and interest; Decking and sleepers: Arrange sleepers at intervals into gravel to form an unstructured pathway and lay decking to provide a surface for outdoor entertaining; Weathered timber: Stand a variety of lengths on end in a row to represent breakwaters; Find and repurpose: Hunt down seaside artefacts in junk shops. Items like fishing

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nets, lobster pots and glass fisherman’s floats look striking against shingle; Driftwood: Makes a lovely structural focal point and can also be bought on-line;

Seating: Hammocks are fun and sum up the theme perfectly as does a classic deck chair; Colour: Pale grey or white painted walls, buildings, fences and any other structures mirror the weathered seaside look. Go for a universal paint that can be used on all surfaces;

fescue (Festuca glauca) is an ideal evergreen and feather reed-grass calamagrostis has lovely golden seedheads that last into winter. And for the look of seaweed Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’ is ideal amongst a group of pebbles. Choose different textures in muted colours, planting clumps at intervals to form drifts of the same grass. Away from the rolling grasses the architectural shapes of the cabbage palm (Cordyline australis) and trachycarpus will form an evergreen backdrop. Contrast them with the frilly silver/green foliage of sea kale (Crambe maritima).

Planting style Look to perennials like sea holly (eryngium), euphorbia, sedum and scabiosa. Prickly, MAINTENANCE, This is the ideal space for rock plants like purple coned sea holly adds texture to a thrift (Armeria maritima), an evergreen PAINTING OR planting scheme and loves full sun. with brilliant pink flowers, the fragrant REPAIRS FORBlue25 YEARS! Imitate grasses found on sand dunes. dianthus and daisy-like flowers of fleabane Time is precious. So is your personal outdoor(erigeron). space. Guaranteed† not to warp, That’s why more and more people are turning to EASY ColourFence. For not only is ColourFence beautiful crack, shrink, rot or peel

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to look at. But it requires virtually no effort to keep its good looks year after year after year. In fact, ColourFence is guaranteed for 25 years. Guaranteed not to warp, crack, shrink, rot or peel. For 25 years, you’ll be free from the drudgery and expense of laborious fence maintenance, painting and repairs. Free to enjoy the pleasure of your garden and a fence that’s always easy on the eye. There is a good choice of design and colour options to create the setting that you desire. ColourFence will even withstand windgusts of up to 130mph. Making it, probably, the world’s best maintenance-free fence. Competitive pricing, easy payment plans and free no-obligation quotes are all part of the service. To see the full ColourFence range, including ColourSheds, and receive your free copy of the Good Fence Guide, freephone us today. It makes sense to choose ColourFence.

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CONSERVATORY SPECIALISTS IN SWINDON

Our glass roof conservatories could be at least £10,000 cheaper than an extension. Our skilled and experienced team are always on hand to help and answer your questions, so call us today to find out more. With the very latest changes in the building regulations where now all solid or non-translucent roof buildings should now go through the process of acquiring building regulation approval. Customers who are just looking for a quicker solution to having an extra room on their property using the new glass technology so they can use the room all year round. With reasonable lead times you could be using the extra room by Autumn. They would do no better than look at a conservatory which is by far the most cost effective way forward while they are still exempt from planning and building regulations. Here at The Conservatory Centre in Swindon, we offer the best quality roofs, frames and climate glass, available on the market at the best possible value.

OUR CONSERVATORIES All our conservatories are built on traditionally constructed bases and with the quality of our glass and frames, you are essentially buying another room for your home. Our conservatories really are all year-round rooms, staying comfortable during the summer, and warm during the winter. ULTRAFRAME We work most often with Ultraframe – a world-leading supplier of high-performance roofs perfect for a wide range of homes. With a range of innovative features and modern, sleek designs, Ultraframe conservatories represent the very cutting-edge. Don’t hesitate to get in touch to find out more about our product range. 24

A RANGE OF STYLES Our collection includes Performance, Designer and Classic conservatories, so there’s an option for every style preference. Our Performance range includes the most cutting-edge technology, while Designer conservatories are all about the aesthetic appeal.

A Classic conservatory will offer traditional, timeless style for a vintage feel. BESPOKE DESIGNS We work closely with every client to ensure the finished conservatory matches your vision. We’ll take the time to discuss your requirements and collaborate with you in drawing up a design that you’ll love.

Apart from the climate controlled roof glass with a U value of 1 they can have insulated internal pelmets with plastered surrounds and downlighters to add ambience and make it look like a proper room without making the room you are covering any darker. 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


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!

more than a glorified greenhouse! The higher the U-value figure, the greater the heat loss will be; conversely, the lower the U-value figure, the lower the heat loss. Remember! for an energy efficient conservatory, compare U-values and GO FOR LOW.

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

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.

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) 

OUR SERVICE

We believe in giving customers the time to make their decision. All our conservatories are tailor-made to your requirements and we quote based on the exact measurements of your space. We have the largest dedicated conservatory show site in the area - providing our customers with a realistic and homely setting to view our range, from standard conservatories to orangeries and lightweight, tiled roof extensions.

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HOME

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50 PLUS MAGAZINE

LOCKDOWN LESSONS WE’VE LEARNED ABOUT OUR HOMES WE could never really have envisaged a time when we would be incarcerated in our own homes for weeks and weeks, could we?

As the lockdown days turned into weeks and then months, our four walls became a safe haven or a prison – depending on the individual and sometimes on the day. So, we had plenty of time to examine our homes in minute detail and decide just how we wanted to change our surroundings. What many of us did discover is that our homes were sometimes not fit for purpose. They were too big or too small, too dark, too cluttered and just not suitable for the way we lived our lives. The result has been a rush to estate agents to move to something more suitable or a willingness to re-think the homes in which we live and, finally, do something about them. The great thing about this latter decision is that these kinds of home improvements can actually add to the value of your property. One of the most popular changes people are already making to the outside is for a fresh coat of paint to WALLS and the FRONT 26

DOOR. It might even be time for a new front door now that we’re actually able to leave the house. If you’re brightening up the property generally inside, opt for neutral shades as this allows for future plans when you might want to sell your home. A prospective buyer is better able to imaging their own lifestyle if you go for neutrality in room furnishings. While we’re looking at neutral colours, another simple way to update your home is by painting both the exterior and interior WINDOWSILLS. Nothing says old-fashioned like wooden or stone sills and painting them gives your home a fresh look. The HALLWAY is another area that may have become an irritant during lockdown. If it’s dark and dingy, or just simply cluttered, now is definitely the time to open it up and appreciate its real proportions. New carpets or wooden flooring, mirrors and a fresh coat of paint can make it a very welcome entrance to your home once more.


SPACE is something we’ve definitely come to appreciate during those months indoors: space to home-school children, lay out jigsaws, bake or just enjoy your favourite craft hobby. So rather than complain, do something about it. Could you build an EXTENSION, an ORANGERIE or add on a CONSERVATORY? Organisations like rated people allow you to post the job, get up to three quotes and see how other people rated individual builders.Go to www.ratedpeople.com/local/builders Try to see work your selected builder or supplier has carried out locally and talk to their customers if you can. The online world now allows all areas of opinion to be aired so you can easily find out more about what customers thought about any tradesman’s skills and value. One thing is certain: it’s always best to go to the experts for major work at home. Can you re-purpose specific rooms to suit your new approach to your lifestyle? Is the way you currently have your FURNITURE in particular rooms making the most of space there? Sometimes, decluttering needs to start with furniture rather than possessions. If you have realised that your old sofa is actually uncomfortable after you’ve spent long hours watching Netflix, or your dining room table and chairs are just too bulky, consider a change if you can. Side tables, large furniture and awkward cupboards could be replaced with streamlined, more modern items and built-in units that make the most of existing space to suit your daily lifestyle. The bonus for charity organisations like Emmaus and the British Heart Foundation is that they will often collect your unwanted items free in order to help fund their vital work. Light has become particularly important in our homes during lockdown, especially on grey days. So, is this time for new, more modern and more efficient WINDOWS? Today’s market offers a multiplicity of styles and sizes which keep warmth in and cold out better than ever and – perhaps most importantly now – bring light into many new areas of your home.

And while we’re looking at your property’s outside, GARDENS have proved really important to people’s mental and physical welfare in recent months so take a fresh look at yours. Even the smallest outdoor space can be used well: jet-wash a garden patio to make it look bigger and brighter. Fill a bare space with big tubs of plants or quirky containers of flowers. Find cheap seating to allow you to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. There has also been a huge upsurge in hot tub sales in the last months to make the most of outdoor living. If this - or even installing a swimming pool – appeals to you, go to the website of the British and Irish Spa and Hot Tub Association (BISHTA) at bishta.co.uk for general advice and suppliers.

Look at brightening up previously dark areas including landings or attics with roof windows like Velux. These help create rooms from unused part of the home and give an illusion of space in cramped areas. Are you now WORKING from home? If so, you may have outgrown the kitchen table and long for a real office space. The key here is to create a separate office environment that makes a clear distinction between home and work. Find the best place for your new office – a spare room or even rarelyused bedroom, for example, or just a small space you like. Ensuring you get the most natural daylight and fresh air possible here is a must. You’ll need enough plug sockets for your laptop and phone, drawers and/or a desk and a really good office chair. It’s worth getting the best, most ergonomic chair you can afford as you’ll be sitting in it for long periods. Many successful home workers now have a purpose-built “shed” or separate building in the garden – it doesn’t have to be huge. Pop into stores like IKEA for home office furnishing ideas that won’t cripple your budget. 27


FOOD & DRINK

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50 PLUS MAGAZINE

FOOLPROOF BBQ SIMPLE RECIPES TO CREATE A SIZZLE Everyone loves to fire up the barbecue on a sunny day - but how often do you end up with blackened steak, raw chicken or collapsing veggie kebabs? Never fear Genevieve Taylor, BBQ and live-fire expert and cook, is here to solve your barbecue problems with foolproof recipes to make your summer party a sizzling success.

AUBERGINE WITH FETA, CURRANTS & PINE NUTS SERVES 4–6 3 medium aubergines (eggplants) 2 tbsp olive oil 75g (21/2oz) pine nuts, toasted 75g (21/2oz) currants a handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped 200g (7oz) feta, crumbled extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling 1 lemon, halved sea salt and freshly ground black pepper To serve seeds from 1 pomegranate 1 tsp Aleppo pepper flakes (optional), to garnish

Aleppo pepper (also known as pul biber) is a type of chilli flake with a lovely lemony flavour. Find it online or in Turkish or Middle Eastern food shops. METHOD Fire up the barbecue ready for indirect cooking so you can cook the aubergines (eggplants) away from the high heat of the fire. Slice the aubergines in half lengthways, then score a diamond pattern deeply into the cut surface of each half using a small sharp knife, taking care not to pierce the skin. Drizzle over the olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Set the aubergine halves onto the grill bars, cut-side up, lower the lid and cook 28

indirectly for 15 minutes, rotating once or twice so they cook evenly.You want them to soften all the way through, so keep them away from the direct fire. Turn and cook cut-side down for another 10 minutes with the lid down, until they are soft and tender. Cooking time will vary depending on the size of the aubergines. Meanwhile, mix the pine nuts, currants and parsley in a bowl. Once the aubergines are tender, slide them, cut-side up, onto a fireproof baking sheet then scatter over the nut and herb mixture. Sprinkle over the feta and grind over some black pepper.

Slide the tray back onto the barbecue, this time over the direct heat, and leave to cook for a further 10–15 minutes, or until the cheese is softened. Use a metal spatula to transfer the aubergines to a serving plate then drizzle with plenty of extra virgin olive oil and squeeze over the lemon juice. Scatter over the pomegranate seeds and a good sprinkle of Aleppo pepper, if you have some. Serve warm.


PORK, FENNEL &LEMON BURGERS WITH GRILLED AUBERGINE SERVES 4 100g (1 cup) fresh breadcrumbs 50ml (3 tbsp) milk 500g (1lb 2oz) pork mince (ground pork) 50g (31/2oz) Parmesan, grated 1 egg finely grated zest of 1 lemon 1 garlic clove, finely chopped 2 tsp fennel seeds, ground a small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, chopped 1 large aubergine (eggplant), cut into 1.5cm (5⁄8in) thick discs 2 tbsp olive oil, plus a little extra for brushing sea salt and freshly ground black pepper TO SERVE 4 ciabatta rolls, sliced open a generous handful of rocket (arugula) leaves tomato relish or chilli ketchup (optional)

Soaking breadcrumbs in milk is an Italian trick that helps keep pork mince tender.They can be a little delicate on the grill but chilling them before cooking helps hold them together. METHOD Put the breadcrumbs into a mixing bowl, pour over the milk, then leave to soak for 10 minutes until the milk is absorbed. Add the pork mince (ground pork), Parmesan, egg, lemon zest, garlic, ground fennel seeds, parsley and a generous seasoning of salt and pepper. Mix with your hands until evenly combined then shape into 4 evensized burgers. Chill in the fridge for 1 hour to firm up, or leave for up to 24 hours if you like. When you are ready to cook, take the burgers from the fridge and brush on both

sides with the olive oil. Fire up the barbecue ready for direct cooking. When hot, put the burgers on the grill bars, lower the lid and cook for 8 minutes on each side. Pork mince is prone to sticking. Test the burgers are ready by sliding a metal spatula under a corner of one burger. If it comes away easily from the grill and has a deep caramelized crust, it’s ready to turn. If it’s stuck, leave it for a further minute or two before turning, then grill until cooked through.

Once the burgers are on the grill, brush the aubergine (eggplant) slices with a little extra oil, then lay them alongside the burgers to cook, turning them a few times until lightly charred and tender all the way through. Toast the ciabatta rolls, cut-sides down, for a minute or two on the grill. To serve, put some rocket (arugula) onto the base of the bun and top with a burger. Add a couple slices of aubergine, and top with a dollop of tomato relish or ketchup, if using, before adding the bun lid.

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FOOD & DRINK

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50 PLUS MAGAZINE

GRILLED PINEAPPLE WITH CHILLI & RUM BUTTER SAUCE SERVES 4 1 medium pineapple 100g (7 tbsp) butter 3 tbsp soft brown sugar 3 tbsp rum (or orange juice) 1–2 hot red chillies, to taste vanilla ice cream, to serve

A totally tropical take on a pineapple. The rum is optional, so replace it with orange juice for an alcohol-free version.

METHOD Fire up the barbecue ready for direct grilling. Once hot, give the grill bars a good scrub with a wire brush. Use a large sharp knife to chop off the top and bottom of the pineapple, then slice down in thin strips to remove the peel. The pineapple will now be left with lots of unsightly brown eyes that you don’t want to eat.You will see that the eyes are in spiral lines running diagonally around the pineapple. Turn the pineapple on its side, take a small sharp knife and cut a deep V-shaped trench down either side of each row of eyes, removing the row in one piece. Rotate the pineapple and move onto the next row. Repeat until all the eyes are removed. Cut the pineapple into 1cm (1/2in) thick slices.

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Put the butter, sugar, rum (or orange juice) and chillies in a small fireproof tin or pan (no plastic or wooden handles) and rest on the grill bars, slightly away from the fire, and leave to melt. Lay the pineapple slices on the grill bars directly above the fire. Use a silicone pastry brush to baste the pineapple with the butter and rum sauce as it grills, turning regularly until the slices are deeply caramelized. Once the pineapple is cooked, lift each slice into the tin and toss in the remaining sauce. Serve a couple of slices of hot pineapple on each plate, top with a scoop of ice cream, drizzle over the remaining sauce and tuck in.

Foolproof BBQ by Genevieve Taylor (Quadrille, £12.99) Photography ©Jason Ingram


MOTORS | 50 PLUS MAGAZINE

STEVE HOWARTH’S TEST DRIVE The final engine option is the plug in hybrid P300e which has a 1.5-litre petrol engine that drives the front wheels and an electric motor for the rear pair and means up to 38 miles on electricity alone and a combined output of 305bhp, which gives a 0-62mph time of just 6.6 seconds.

2021 DISCOVERY SPORT NOW regular readers of this column will know I am a bit of a Land Rover fan with three of the green oval models currently in the big boy’s toy box at Howarth Towers. Over the years I have been testing new cars those lovely people at Jaguar Land Rover have supplied me with some fantastic vehicles to try out from bonkers 600bhp SVR Range Rovers to basic spec Defenders. But one which has so far slipped under the radar for a longer-term test is the entry-level model to Land Rover ownership and their second best-selling SUV. I am, of course, talking about the Discovery Sport, which took over from the Freelander in 2014 as the most affordable new Land Rover. Now JLR have given the model an update for 2021, adding new tech and features plus a new engine, safety kit and another trim level. They have also strengthened the platform to take electric drivetrains. The new engine is a 290hp mild-hybrid petrol engine for range-topping Black Edition cars while existing 163hp and 204hp diesel engines have also been given the mild-hybrid treatment to improve economy. The battery powers ancillaries like air conditioning and power steering so the engine can switch off during deceleration to save fuel. Our test car was the base spec ‘Core’ edition which is from £36,765 on the road and it

But this is a Land Rover - so that is what you expect it to do best and while I did not manage any mud plugging our four-wheeldrive version will be excellent when the going gets tough with Land Rover’s terrain response system and off-road driving mode selector giving that go anywhere confidence. All Discovery Sports come with front and rear parking sensors plus a surround-view camera as standard. LED headlights are also standard across the range but our base spec car did not have sat-nav or adaptive cruise control – however the former is rapidly becoming redundant thanks to smart phone connectivity and route finding apps such as Google Maps and Waze. There’s plenty of leg room and head room is among the best in its class – even if you add the optional panoramic glass roof our car came with (£1,150).

had one of these MHEV set ups. While it cannot be driven on electric power alone the system does boost MPG figures and during a week of very mixed driving I managed around 40mpg – not bad for what is a familysized SUV. And speaking of family the Disco Sport’s USP is that it can transport seven adults in relative comfort (but make sure the smallest go in the third row seats). This is something most of its rivals cannot offer and you have to move up to Large SUVs (with much larger price tags) to find this feature in other premium brand products. Talking about the charges for 2021 the updated Sport’s interior has a new 10-inch touchscreen display which can receive overthe-air software updates and can connect two smartphones to the infotainment system at the same time. New safety features have also been added including a rear traffic monitoring system in the plusher, more practical interior.

All versions have Land Rover’s excellent automatic gearbox and our lower power 163bhp 2-litre diesel engine still felt brisk with 0 to 60 coming up in a very respectable 9.8 seconds and a top speed of 112mph. Standard equipment across the range also includes dual-zone climate control, automatic lights and wipers, alloy wheels, ambient interior lighting, heated windscreen, and those off-road modes with Terrain Response, hill descent control, traction assist and infotainment, visibility and safety aids including auto emergency braking and lane keeping assist. Most test cars I get are range topping versions loaded with extras but fair play to JLR who are confident enough about the new Sport to send a base spec vehicle which proved to be a great, comfortable drive and was practical and relatively economical. For more test drives visit www.50plusmagazine.co.uk

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HEALTH

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50 PLUS MAGAZINE

HEALTH ADVICE FOR MATURE WOMEN Staying healthy becomes even more important as we get older. When we’re young, we can easily overcome illnesses, falls, and other issues, but as we age these things become more difficult. However, if we take care of our health in the long term, we can ensure that we feel and perform well no matter how old we get. Below, you’ll find the essential health advice mature women should follow in 2021: Stay Up To Date With Your Healthcare Provider Start by staying up to date with your healthcare provider. Don’t ignore letters asking you to book an appointment, and don’t ‘worry about making a big deal’ out of any health concerns. Booking a private covid test could be the best thing to give you peace of mind. Eat A Balanced Diet  A balanced diet should include plenty of color, so fruits and vegetables should be a regular purchase at the supermarket. Balance also means eating a little of what you fancy, however deprivation is not the key to happiness, and happiness is a must for health, too! Try to make smart choices, but don’t go to extremes. You should enjoy your food.  Stay Active Exercising can help you to strengthen your muscles and bones, and improve your flexibility and stamina. This can help you to go about your day to day life with ease, as well as reduce your risk of trips and falls. Just find a form of exercise that you really enjoy and you should have no trouble sticking to it. Do something you enjoy, and start slow if you need to. There is plenty of time to build up your sessions and increase intensity if and when you feel ready to do

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so. Don’t feel under pressure. A gentle yoga session can be just as good for your health as a more intense resistance workout. Enjoy A Rich Social Life  There is a risk of loneliness as we age and lose touch with our loved ones. This is why it’s so important to put effort into cultivating a rich social life. Join clubs and meet like minded people, and call your friends and family to catch up every so often, even if only for 10 minutes.  Don’t Neglect Sleep We tend to need less sleep as we age, but this totally depends on how much we naturally need, as well as how active we are. 8 hours usually allows us to perform out best, but it’s up to you to pay attention to how much sleep helps you to feel great. Remember that less than 6 hours is just as bad as none at all, and it can even mean a shorter lifespan. Keep Your Brain Active Keeping your brain active is one of the most important things you can do later in life, too. Doing puzzles, reading, and learning new things can all help you to keep your brain and body healthy.You’re never too old to learn something new, and keeping your brain sharp will ensure you stay healthier for longer.


How to clear your brain fog Many of us have been talking about brain fog of late, whether that is because of ageing, feeling burnout, recovering from illness, or juggling too many balls in the air during this incredibly difficult last year. So what is brain fog and how does it relate to memory and what exactly can we do about it? What is brain fog? Brain fog can range from mild to severe and is associated with poor memory, not being able to focus clearly, not being able to retrieve information and a lack of clear thinking and can negatively affect all aspects of our lives. Brain fog can be most apparent when we struggle with our memory and our ability to acquire, store, maintain and reclaim information that we have previously experienced or learned. A review by Theoharides et al (2015) discusses evidence that suggests stress, exposure to certain toxins and medical health problems causes inflammation of certain molecules in the brain which can contribute to brain fog. Even lack of sleep and nutritional deficiencies can add to the problem. So, what can we do to help ourselves? How to clear brain fog, sharpen our thinking & improve our memory Make sleep your top priority. On average, a person goes through 3-5 REM (rapid eye movement) cycles per night which is when we dream and is vital for mental and emotional regulation. It is important to maintain a regular and healthy sleeping pattern in order to prevent or clear brain fog and to be at your sharpest and allow your brain to do all its sorting and coding. Exercise to get the oxygen flowing. Exercising increases oxygen and blood flow, so incorporate 30 mins of exercise into your daily routine to help clear out the cobwebs especially if you can get outside.

DO YOU FIND YOU ARE TIRED AT THE END OF THE DAY? 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. 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. It is said that untreated hearing loss has a negative impact on our health equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

Miss Hearing, sufferin

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

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

Don’t overload. Take time to properly focus on activities and avoid trying to do too many things at once. The misguided notion of multitasking has been linked to poorer episodic memory, along with a reduction in efficiency, performance and focus. Slow down and do one thing at a time.

• •

Brain fog could be hormonal. Low levels of hormones, particularly oestrogen, have been linked to changes in memory and difficulties thinking or processing information. These disturbances most frequently occur during the menopause. Check medications. Some over the counter medications can cause brain fog so check the label for side effects. Chemotherapy can prevent the production of oestrogen which may explain changes in memory otherwise known as ‘chemo brain’, which is another type of brain fog. Consult a medical professional if you think depression, sleep disorders, anxiety or medication you are taking could be contributing to the brain fog. Reduce stress. Most importantly if you are feeling overwhelmed, remember to be kind to yourself. Have downtime, work out what you need to feel better that can be realistically achieved and surround yourself with positive people.

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Ear wax removal Hearing Assessments Up to date digital Hearing Aids www.reedsear.co.uk reeds@reed Personal Attention & Lifelong aftercare Hearing protection 4 Raglan Close, Lawn, Swindo

Call: 01793 692815 reeds@reedsear.co.uk www.reedsear.co.uk Amnigilda, 4 Raglan Close, Lawn Swindon. SN3 1JR

REEDS HEARING CARE LTD 33


Committed to fighting FRAUDLENT ACTIVITY Council Tax Benefit Council tax bills are based on the assumption that two adults occupy the property as their main home. If it’s occupied by only one adult, and the property is their main home, the bill is reduced by a single person’s discount of 25%. In addition, there are certain groups of people who we do not count for Council Tax purposes when counting the number of adults in the household. These groups are known as ‘disregarded persons’. If there is an adult from one of these groups living in your property, they may not be counted for Council Tax purposes and you may be entitled to a discount. Examples of disregarded persons are: • people on some apprentice schemes • 18 and 19-year-olds in full-time education • full-time college and university students • student nurses • foreign language assistants registered with the British Council • people with a severe mental impairment • live-in carers who look after someone who isn’t their partner, spouse or child • diplomats Fraud within the Council Tax system costs each lawful Council tax payer. Fraud can get into the system a number of ways but the most common issues are: • Making a false statement at the outset, i.e. misleading the Council into accepting information which at the time was not true. • Failure to report relevant changes to circumstances to the Council Tax service, for example; someone over 18 has moved into your address and you receive a Single person’s discount. If you suspect that someone may be defrauding the Council Tax system in any way you can help by reporting you concern’s in confidence to: CALL 0118 937 2143 Email antifraud@reading.gov.uk Report via web pages http://www.reading.gov.uk/ internalaudit

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Who is eligible for a blue badge? If you are disabled, you may be able to park in restricted areas under the blue badge scheme. The scheme is for drivers and passengers. Who can get a blue badge? Some people can get a blue badge automatically. This is called being eligible without further assessment. You fit into this group if one or more of the following applies to you: • you are registered as blind/severely sight impaired • you receive the War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement • you receive the higher rate of the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) • you receive the mobility component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and you scored at least 8 points in relation to the ‘moving around’ activity in the PIP assessment, or least 12 points in the mobility activity for planning and following journeys • you have been awarded a lump sum benefit from the Armed Forces Compensation scheme (tariffs 1 to 8). You have also been certified as having a permanent and substantial disability which means you can’t walk or find walking very difficult • you receive a government grant towards your own vehicle. If you were on higher rate mobility component of DLA, but you had to claim PIP instead and didn’t get enough points to be eligible for a blue badge, you can continue to use your badge until it expires. If none of these apply to you, you may still be eligible. This is called being eligible subject to further assessment, and will apply to you if you meet one of these criteria: • you have a permanent or substantial disability which means you can’t walk or find walking very difficult • you are a driver and have severe upper limb disabilities • as a result of a mental disorder you are unable to follow the route of a familiar journey without the assistance

of another person. Anyone aged over two years can be eligible under this condition, including people over 65. • you are applying on behalf of a child under three with a medical condition that requires them to be close to a vehicle for emergency medical treatment or transporting bulky medical equipment. If you have any queries about whether you’re eligible for a blue badge, you can contact the national blue badge helpline on 0844 463 0215. How are you assessed? If you are eligible subject to further assessment, your local authority will look at the evidence of your disability to decide whether you can have a blue badge. You may need to have an independent mobility assessment. If you have applied for or held a blue badge previously, your GP may have carried this out. Assessments may now be carried out by an independent mobility assessor. This is usually a medical professional such as an occupational therapist or physiotherapist, who has never treated you before. If your local authority wants you to have a mobility assessment, it will refer you to the assessor. You will not be charged for the assessment. You may not be required to undergo an assessment if your council says it is very obvious that you are eligible or ineligible. Blue Badge (disabled parking permits) Fraud: Disabled Parking Permits or Blue Badges are issued by your Local Authority to persons with a genuine need to access facilities and park within easy reach of these. However there are some people who are prepared to misuse or fraudulently acquire these badges. The Investigation Team are committed to fighting fraudulent activity but need your help to do so! If you suspect someone of committing Blue Badge fraud please contact us in confidence. CALL 0118 937 2143 Email antifraud@reading.gov.uk Report via web pages http://www.reading.gov.uk/fraud


Tenancy Fraud in Reading We’re closing in

When somebody with a council or housing association home rents it out without permission or obtains a home through providing false information, they are guilty of housing fraud. They are using up valuable housing spaces and depriving families and vulnerable people on the waiting list. It’s not fair.

CALL: 0118 937 2143 Email: antifraud@reading.gov.uk Report via web pages: http://www.reading.gov.uk/fraud

If you suspect someone of unlawfully sub-letting tell us. Your report will be treated in the strictest confidence and can be given anonymously.


TRAVEL

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50 PLUS MAGAZINE

50 Plus Travel

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CHOOSING THE PERFECT WALKING BOOTS By RichardVillar for Silver Travel Advisor “How do they feel?” asked my grandmother, as she watched me march the length of the climbing shop. “Fine,” I grunted monosyllabically. I was only 12 years old. Granny nodded. “We’ll have these,” she declared to the shop assistant and pointed at the leather walking boots that were weighing down my feet. “They’ll last forever and will see him out.” Granny was wrong, as my feet grew, the boots leaked and were soon replaced by others.Yet that was the understanding of the era. Walking boots would last for life and be with you to the end. I now know differently. Granny’s shopping was followed by a lifetime of poor footwear,

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including a spell in the British Army, which seemed to feel that all feet were identical. One look at my shoe cupboard and a disorganised pile of mountaineering footwear falls out. Boots, trainers, approach shoes,

even mountain sandals. My favourites are the trainers, as they are lightweight, should not leak but do, and carry the Quicklace system, which saves me tying a bow. One tug with ice-cold hands and the trainer is secure. For a day’s walking in the mountains, especially when carrying a rucksack, my trainers struggle. Should that happen, on go my boots. I try to be lightweight, which means synthetic, as leather is generally heavy. Lightweights can wear out quickly, so I buy a new pair each year.


Be warned that lightweights can pong. I once spent six weeks crossing the Alps, from Geneva to the Mediterranean, and slept in many cramped mountain refuges. Walkers were usually on bunks. One night it happened. “What is that terrible smell?” I heard a Frenchman say to his colleague. They were in a far corner of our crowded dormitory. “Disgusting,” the colleague replied. “Ugh!” exclaimed another. “I’m going to be sick,” said a fourth, and headed for the door. I lay in silence, feeling guilty. The smell was my lightweights, positioned under my bunk. You make no friends going lightweight, especially in a refuge. The weight of footwear is important, as mountain lore has long declared that one pound on the feet is five pounds on the back. My two mountain trainers weigh 1.8 pounds (0.82 kg) and I barely realise they are on. My winter boots, with crampons, weigh 10 pounds (4.5 kg), a fifty-pound rucksack on my feet. I try to stay light. There are no shortcuts when buying new boots, as a wrong fitting can be ruinous. The secret is not the boot, but the sock. I spend as long choosing the one as the other. My socks are woollen for sure, merino especially, with something man-made thrown in. This gives socks strength, allows them to stretch, as well as survive a washing machine. Socks chosen, next the boots. I buy them in the afternoon, when my feet will be bigger, and I do not do a last-minute dash the day before a holiday. I know what design I seek before I enter the shop, and I choose an assistant who understands mountains. For most, a boot should be flexible but not too bendy. If I seek full bend, I choose a trainer. I like a rand that covers the toe, while for the sole, Vibram is my favourite. This was named after Vitale Bramani who, in 1935, saw six of his friends slip to their deaths in the Alps, thanks to leather soles and hobnails. Bramani set to work and soon patented the sole now used worldwide. I go nowhere without Vibram. Then comes the fitting, but I do not put on the boot. I remove the insole, lay it on the floor, and stand on it. I can instantly see if the boot might fit. I keep a forefinger’s width between the tip of my longest toe and the front of the insole, in case my foot slips forward when descending.

Then it is time for the boots. Back go the insoles, in go my feet, and the laces are tied in a jiffy. If it is fine, that is good. If not, no worries. I keep trying until I am happy. Next stop the mountains. However, perfect my boots, I still think blisters. At the end of a long march in the Army, we would be stood barefoot and to attention, ready for inspection. Anyone with a blister was punished. Thanks to that experience, and before I pull on a sock, I coat a whisker of petroleum jelly on my foot. I then slither on the sock, wool on jelly, next the boot, tie the laces, and I’m done. Since jelly, I have never had a blister. Thank you, Granny, for buying me those boots. Over decades, I have learned plenty. 16 steps to boot-buying 1. Take your time - buying walking boots is not a rushed aprocess. 2. Try the boots on in the afternoon, when your feet may be slightly swollen. 3. Do not buy new boots the day before a walk. 4. Start by choosing the sock, one pair only. Bring your own, not one offered by the shop. 5. Decide if you want trainers, walking shoes, walking boots, or something for snow and ice.

6. Ignore the question a shop assistant may ask, “Where are you going walking?” All walks are varied, and it is impossible to generalise. 7. Lightweight or leather? Lightweight is normally synthetic, leather is heavier. 8. How flexible is it? There is a B-rating of boots. B0 (fully flexible) or B1 are right for most. Try B2 or B3 (stiff as a board), if you wish to fit a crampon. 9. Waterproof? Mine are. Think Gore-Tex. 10. What type of sole? I am a fan of Vibram, which is used the world over. 11. Be sure there is a rand, in case you stub your toe. 12. Do they fit? Take out the insole and place it on the floor. Put your foot on the insole and assess the fit.You need a single finger’s breadth between the tip of your longest toe and the front of the insole. 13. Replace the insole, try on the boot, and lace it up. Check the tongue does not press uncomfortably on the top of your foot. 14. Walk up and down a slope to see how the boot feels. 15. Try the boot at home but stick to carpet in case you need to return the boot. 16. If all is well, next stop are the mountains.

For walking holidays, Silver Travel Advisor recommends: HF Holidays www.hfholidays.co.uk or call 0203 974 8878, Ramblers Walking Holidays www.ramblersholidays.co.uk or call 01707 818953

Thameswood Vets "Making life better for you and your pet" We are a family run practice providing a caring and professional service within hospital standard facilities.

Come and meet our staff. 62-64 Purton Road, Swindon SN2 2LZ. Tel: 01793 526780 1A Oppenheimer, Greenbridge Road, Swindon SN3 3LH. Tel: 01793 511267 39B Station Road, Royal Wootton Bassett, SN4 7ED. Tel: 01793 230 266

www.thameswoodvets.co.uk

£10 OFF

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CONSULTATION FEE with this advert 37


For those of you who know Swindon, our store by the Moonrakers has suffered a double blow, covid and the never-ending roadworks. We are reliably informed by Swindon borough Council that by the time you are reading this article, the roadworks should be finished. Chris and Bea are looking forward to welcoming customers old and new into our revamped Swindon store. We have free level access parking at all our stores with the Swindon store having parking at the side and rear of the store. In all our stores you will find a large range of mobility items including aids to daily living, walking aids, mobility scooters, wheelchairs, rise & recline chairs, beds etc. From the end of August at our Wroughton site we will have a bespoke assessment centre for our customers with severe disabilities and complex needs, who require more specialist aids to assist in their independence. The new assessment centre will be stocked with high end lightweight wheelchairs and powerchairs from leading manufactures in the industry, including Sunrise Medical and Invacare. For the more specialist wheelchairs and power chair users the seating systems and add-ons are almost as important as the base products, the assessment centre will be well stocked with specialist seating systems including the Sunrise Medical range of J cushions. Some of the exciting add-ons that we will be stocking are e-motion wheels and powered and manual wheelchair bikes which clip on to just about any wheelchair.

Our new premises in Wroughton

THE MOBILITY STORE NEWS As we move out of the pandemic it is nice to be welcoming our customers back into our stores in a more relaxed way. Like all retail businesses the last 18 months have been challenging to say the least, but that does not mean we have let the grass grow under our feet, moving our Wroughton store to larger premises and at our other stores we have carried out general improvements to the décor and store layouts.

Whether it is a touch of arthritis or a more complex disability our aim is to make your life easier and as independent as possible.

THE MOBILITY STORE SWINDON 7 Clive Parade Cricklade Road, Swindon SN2 1AJ

MAKE LIFE EASIER

• Large range of Mobility Aids • PPE • Hire services • Wheelchairs • Stairlifts

FREE HEARING HEALTH CHECK

01793 701313

swindon@thehearingandmobilitystore.co.uk

THE MOBILITY STORE MARBOROUGH 56 George Lane, Marlborough SN8 4BY

Our stores always welcome visits for consultations regarding advice on choosing the right mobility equipment or service.

01672 511550

wiltshiremobility@mail.com

THE MOBILITY STORE WROUGHTON Shoes and slipper Footcare appointments

6 Devizes Road Wroughton SN4 0RZ

01793 815083

wroughtonmobility@mail.com

Rise and recline furniture Adjustable beds

Mobility scooters Mobility scooter repairs

FREE LEVEL ACCESS PARKING AT ALL STORES www.thehearingandmobilitystore.co.uk

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THE MOBILITY STORE BOURTON ON THE WATER Lansdowne Bourton on the Water GL54 2AR

01451 810088

bourtonmobility@mail.com


‘Out of the box thinking’ on how care should be delivered. Providing care within the community has over the last few years changed and evolved to the extent that it is hard to recognize the services provided as Care. With the bureaucratization of the sector those who provide the care are finding that they must do more and more to conform with the requirements of the regulator, more evidence-based information for each visit is required thus encroaching into the time that Care professionals spend with their customers. Care providers are generally having to work a lot harder, implement more technology, employ more skills to provide the service, and then plea to the government for more money. Care professionals are no longer able to provide what I would call intuitive care, let me explain. Each customer must now have, what they would call a ‘person centered care plan’, this care plan is a bit like a flight plan and enables the dedicated care professional, or care professional to go into the customer with a predetermined check list of tasks that must be done. No longer is the care professional able to use their initiative, common sense, or intuition in providing the care during that allotted time slot. Because of this, those who administer the care are no longer able to provide the same level of personalized intuitive care that they used to. This ultimately discourages many care professionals from continuing with the profession, as they feel that what they have to offer is overlooked and no longer appreciated. Certainly, there is a place for regulation, but regulation alone does not provide intuitive or a care service that customers want or deserve. Helping Old Friends was born because of many hours of discussion as to how we can offer a truly cost-efficient service to those people who for whatever reason miss out or do not qualify for services supplied by the formal sector. A service to those who’s family are spread far and wide and cannot immediately be available to provide for their loved ones. At Helping Old Friends, we can provide intermediate companionship services with the knowledge that we are providing a truly bespoke service to each person. The possibilities of the services which we can provide are broad and varied. Whether it be a social call, accompanying to a social event or preparing a meal, do some essential maintenance, or help with writing your memoirs, we can arrange to have it all done. Nothing is too much trouble. Helping Old Friends can set up regular visits to suit your requirements with well-matched companions who will listen, help do the odd jobs or just be there for you. Through our advanced scheduling software, they can ensure that you will get the visit when and where you want them with a Companion best suited to your character to provide the service that’s best suited for your individual need. Our companions are our most important asset. These very special people, who for whatever reason do not want to stop work but want to slow down a little and share their life skills within the community. Our services are performed by our companions who want to provide that intuitive service that is appreciated by the customers we serve. All our companions do go through a formal selection process, go through some training and will be subject to the normal checks that you would expect with responsible governance. Having an intuitive companion by the side of your family loved one can make all the difference to the family’s peace of mind as well as to the person to whom we are providing the service Our aim is to change people’s lives for the better.

HE L PIN G Old Friends

Offering services & companionship to people, who for whatever reason find themselves living alone and isolated. With over 25 years of experience, we recognise that there is a necessity for a service that provides, more than anything, companionship to people who, for whatever reason find themselves living alone and isolated. We can provide a check in call when required or a longer visit which could include; l l l l l l l l l l l l

Light housework Putting home deliveries away Shopping calls Preparing and cooking meals Assistance in attending doctors appointments Hairdresser appointments Attending hospital appointments Social calls Assistance with writing memoirs Gardening and home maintenance Accompanying to social events Or just somebody to have a chat and cup of tea with.

(We do not provide any Personal Care or assist with medication administering).

All our staff have an enhanced police check and relevant training annually. They are Covid Vaccinated and use full PPE following Government Guidelines. Sometimes you need to have a person just to talk to, someone to replace that lightbulb, someone to help navigate around the internet to fill in a form, Mow the lawn or find a handy man to do the job that has been left undone for ages. That is where Helping Old Friends comes in… We can set up regular visits to suit your requirements with well matched companions who will listen, help do the odd jobs or just be there for you.  Through our advanced scheduling software, we can ensure that you will get the visit when and where you want them with a companion best suited to your character. Having a caring companion by the side of a family loved one can make all the difference to the family as well as to the persons themselves. We aim to change people’s lives for the better.

If you have any questions about our services, please get it touch

01793 550895

Katrinasimms@helpingoldfriends.co.uk Helping Old Friends Ltd | Suite 4a | Lucena House Shaw Village Centre | Swindon SN5 5PY

www.helpingoldfriends.co.uk 39


FROM START TO FINISH WE WILL BE THERE EVERY STEP

FIREPLACE SOLUTION LOGO 2.pdf

1

10/01/2018

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B EAU T I FU L FI REPLACES & S TOVE S Fireplaces expertly installed. On display we 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 adviceVisit and our tips on the type of fire and installation that you need. It’s the kind of valuable support showroom and advice you won’t get if you buy online or from most large retail stores. That’s because we specialise in fires and fireplaces. (We can for some 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

www.fireplacesolutions.co.uk

installed by gas safe technicians

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Profile for 50 Plus Magazine

Swindon Issue 42  

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