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WIGAN, WARRINGTON & ST HELENS EDITION 56

AUGUST - SEPTEMBER 2021

Judi Dench

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

Foolproof Barbecue

SIMPLE RECIPES TO CREATE A SIZZLE THIS SUMMER

Get the Garden Look

DISTINCT STYLES AND HOW TO CREATE THEM IN YOUR OUTDOOR SPACE

Toxic Plants

TO KEEP AWAY FROM PETS

WWW.50PLUSMAGAZINE.CO.UK

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Part of

Self-drive & coach inclusive breaks

Group

GREAT VALUE 5 DAY HALF BOARD BREAKS

£189 from

per person

When it comes to inviting, relaxing breaks, we have the ideal holiday for you.. Whether you’re looking for a romantic break for two, a family holiday or getting away with friends, Robinsons’s Holidays offers 12 hotels in 10 of the most popular UK destinations. Our fleet of 26 luxury Mercedes coaches provide return travel in comfort and style from your pick up point and will take you directly to your hotel, aiming to arrive between 3 – 5pm. If you’d like to get out and about to explore the local area on your holiday, then all of our breaks can also be booked on a self-drive basis so you’ve got the freedom of having your own car.

Request your brochure now!

Every break includes: Return coach travel (self-drive option available)

Comfy en suite accommodation

Breakfast & 3-course evening meal

Live nightly entertainment*

Trip Advisor’s Travellers’ Choice We are proud to announce that six of our group – Barrowfield, Daish’s, Devonshire, Bournemouth Sands, Claremont, Hotel Prince Regent – have been awarded the coveted TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice award for 2020.

Isle of Wight

Torquay

Bournemouth

Llandudno

Newquay

Blackpool

Lake District

Scarborough

Eastbourne

Weymouth


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

W1 Pick-up: Leyland, Chorley, Coppull, Standish, Wigan, Ashton in Makerfield, Newton le Willows, Warrington, Lymm Services. All offers are subject to availability and standard terms and conditions (see brochure or website for T&C’s). DATE

HOTEL

DAYS

PRICE

DATE

HOTEL

JULY

DAYS

PRICE

SEPTEMBER

10

Imperial Hotel – Eastbourne

5

£274

11

Somerset Hotel – Llandudno

5

£289

11

Daish’s Blackpool Hotel - Blackpool

5

£249

12

Imperial Hotel – Eastbourne

5

£284

17

Abbey Lawn Hotel – Torquay

5

£254

18

Russell Hotel – Weymouth

5

£279

28

Russell Hotel – Weymouth

5

£249

19

Abbey Lawn Hotel – Torquay

5

£264

30

Esplanade Hotel – Scarborough

5

£249

AUGUST

OCTOBER

05

Esplanade Hotel – Scarborough

5

£289

06

Somerset Hotel – Llandudno

5

£289

11

Daish’s Hotel – Isle of Wight

5

£239

08

Daish’s Hotel – Isle of Wight

5

£269

18

Sands Hotel – Bournemouth

5

£204

15

Sands Hotel – Bournemouth

5

£269

23

Hotel Prince Regent – Weymouth

5

£219

20

Hotel Prince Regent – Weymouth

5

£294

25

Somerset Hotel – Llandudno

5

£189

27

Devonshire Hotel – Torquay

5

£249

30

Devonshire Hotel – Torquay

5

£199

29

Russell Hotel – Weymouth

5

£274

facebook.com/robinsonsholidays1

@RobinsonsHolida

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.

Call - 0800 083 9900 Quote - 50PlusRW1 or visit robinsons-holidays.co.uk

10 fabulous locations, 12 great hotels. Bournemouth

Llandudno

Newquay

Weymouth

Weymouth

Eastbourne

Bournemouth Sands

Somerset Hotel

Barrowfield Hotel

Hotel Prince Regent

Russell Hotel

Imperial Hotel

Isle of Wight

Scarborough

Torquay

Torquay

Blackpool

Lake District

Daish’s Hotel

Esplanade Hotel

Devonshire Hotel

Abbey Lawn Hotel

Daish’s Blackpool Hotel

County Hotel

Call 0800 083 9900 or visit daishs.com robinsons-holidays.co.uk

facebook.com/robinsonsholidays1

@RobinsonsHolida


CONTENTS | 50 PLUS MAGAZINE

IN THIS ISSUE 8-9

TWITTERING ON By Angela Kelly

10-11 TRAVEL Iceland - If you don’t like the weather, wait 15 minutes 16-17

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

26-27 HOME Tips to improve your home

Twittering On

Judi Dench

BY ANGELA KELLY

AWARDED OBE AND DBE

32-33 GARDENING Get the garden look 38-40 FOOD AND DRINK Cook the perfect barbecue this summer 41-42 MOTORING Steve Howarth test drives 2 popular models

Bridgeman House 77 Bridgeman Street | Bolton | BL3 6BY. Sales Enquiries : T: (01204) 238180 E: artwork@mcgrathmedia.co.uk

4

Gardening

Home

GET THE GARDEN LOOK THIS SUMMER

TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR HOME


Now's the time... ...TO MAKE TIME FOR YOU ...TO INVEST IN YOUR HEALTH ...TO FEEL GREAT AGAIN 12 month Anytime Membership for £300 Saving you £90 • State-of-the-art gyms

• Group fitness classes

• Swimming pools

• Racket sports

• Free at home workouts

• Friendly, expert instructors Terms & Conditions

Join online: www.livewirewarrington.co.uk/now50 or call into your local site with this advert

EXCLUSIVE

OFFER

2 Months Half Price USING PROMO CODE Now50

• Join and receive your first 2-months membership half price (initial pro-rata payment applicable). ‘Now50’ promo code must be applied at point of sign-up. • Minimum commitment period is three months – third month to be taken at the standard price • Concessionary memberships must be signed up to at site – appropriate ID required • Adults only - 16 and above • Standard membership terms and conditions apply • Offer expires 31.10.21 • Offer applies to monthly direct debit memberships only • LiveWire holds the right to withdraw the offers at any time.

@yourLiveWire livewirewarrington.co.uk

5


HOLIDAYS B14 William Way

& TRAVEL l

Moss Industrial Estate

l

Leigh WN7 3PT

Quality Door to Door Coach Holidays 2021

BARGAIN BREAKS

6 DAYS

Devon Delights

ONLY

Queens Hotel

£399

Great Value British Holidays you’ll love!

Our tours enjoys a full entertainment package and excursions are to great places of beauty and interest around Devon.

What’s included

4 Home Pick-up 4 Executive Coach Travel 4 Entertainment every night 4 Indoor Swimming Pool 4 Day Excursions including: Totnes, Buckfast Abbey, Exmouth, Dartmouth l

5 nights dinner, bed & breakfast

26 September.................................. £399 Single Supplement NOA 4 DAYS

Durham, Kynren

ONLY

An epic tale of England

£299

ONLY

Scarborough is the original seaside resort; stunning scenery, glorious beaches, loads to see and do – is it any wonder that people have been flocking to Scarborough for nearly 400 years now? You can still immerse yourself in Scarborough’s history with Scarborough Castle and the Rotunda Museum of geology.

What’s included

What’s included

4 4 4 4

4 Home Pick-up 4 Executive Coach Travel 4 Day Excursions including: Darlington, Durham,Kynren Show, Beamish, Keswick

6 DAYS

3 nights dinner, bed & breakfast

4 nights dinner, bed & breakfast

Single SingleSupplement SupplementNOA £64

Single Supplement NOA | Sea View Upgrades Available

North Wales, one of Britain’s oldest established tourist regions, offers an abundance of excellent holiday attractions within a relatively small area. Road signs proclaiming “Croeso i Gymru” (“Welcome to Wales”) greet visitors as they enter the country and bear witness to the warm and inviting hospitality of the Welsh. The elegant little town of Llandudno is one of Britain’s longest established seaside resorts.

What’s included 4 4 4

l

04 October....................................... £319

Chatsworth House Hotel

£399

Home Pick-up 4 Executive Coach Travel Family run hotel with indoor Pool Nightly Entertainment 2 Day Excursions including: Bridlington, Goathland (home to Aidensfield), Whitby

27 August......................................... £299

Llandudno Summer Break

ONLY

Red Lea Hotel

£319

A captivating city with winding cobbled streets and a prominent peninsula crowned with the dramatic Durham Cathedral and Castle World Heritage Site – one of the most stunning city panoramas in Europe and now home to Open Treasure, the Cathedral’s world-class exhibition experience.

l

Scarborough

5 DAYS

Home Pick-up 4 Executive Coach Travel Seafront Hotel with Entertainment every night Day Excursions including: Blaeanau Ffestiniog Railway Train Journey, Porthmadog, Amlwch, Beaumaris, Trefriw Woollen Mill, Betws-y-Coed, Conwy Town l

5 nights dinner, bed & breakfast

Blackpool Illuminations

4 DAYS FROM

Park House Hotel

£245

Blackpool Illuminations enthral millions of visitors every year. The greatest free light show on earth has been a major part of Blackpool’s attraction since 1879 when they were described as ‘Artificial Sunshine’.

What’s included 4 4 4

Home Pick-up 4 Executive Coach Travel Stop at Cleveleys for lunch on outward journey Excursions including pleasant drive to Clitheroe where there is a small market today, visit to Boundary Mill, Southport and on return journey calling at Fleetwood with visit to the Outlet Centre. l

3 nights dinner, bed & breakfast

05 September.................................. £399

08 October....................................... £245

Single Supplement NOA

Single Supplement NOA


6 DAYS

Cornish Splendor

ONLY

£399

Poldark & Doc Martin

ONLY

Grange-over-Sands is a quiet seaside retreat on the Southern tip of the Cartmel peninsula, between the mountains and the sea, and only 7 miles from Windermere. Grange is a pretty resort with an Edwardian flavour and a mild climate. It is on the shores of Morecambe Bay.

What’s included

Home Pick-up Executive Coach Travel with tea or coffee on arrival Full Entertainment Programme 3 Day Excursions including: Port Issac, allowing time to explore, Padstow (famous for Poldark), Charlestown, St. Ives, Falmouth

l

What’s included

4 Home Pick-up 4 Executive Coach Travel 4 Light Lunches served on board with coffee 4 Day Excursions including: Ambleside, Bowness, Ulverston

5 nights dinner, bed & breakfast

l

28 October....................................... £299

Single Supplement NOA

Single Supplement £64

£345

FROM

£375

The Belgrave Sands is a luxury 4 Star Spa Hotel just off Torre Abbey Sands Beach in Torquay, Devon. The Belgrave Sands Hotel & Spa is a great destination for tourists. The hotel offers a fine dining experience followed by entertainment, a bar, lounge, indoor swimming pool, sauna and steam room. Lift.

What’s included

4 Home Pick-up 4 Executive Coach Travel 4 Excursions including: Fakenham, Great tickets to the Thursford Christmas Spectacular, Sail on Norfolk Broads

Itinerary

l

Day 1: Outward journey to Torquay with suitable stops en-route

Day 3: Our day excursions includes Newton Abbot for the in and outdoor markets, Teignmouth, a stunning coastal town with historic Georgian buildings, long sandy beaches, and fresh local food and Babbacombe a charming and characterful village with stunning sea views, colourful promenade and picturesque buildings. Day 4: Full day at leisure in resort. Day 5: Sadly we depart for our journey home stopping en-route for suitable breaks.

What’s included

Home Pick-up 4 Executive Coach Travel 4 Full Leisure Facilities Nightly Entertainment 2 Day Excursions including: Totnes, Dartmouth, Teignmouth, Newton Abbot (for the markets), Babbacombe

4 nights dinner, bed & breakfast

18 October................................................................... £345 Single Supplement NOA

Holiday Inn Norwich

Thursford Christmas Spectacular has entertained more than 6 million visitors of all ages from across the globe since opening its first Christmas Eve performance over 40 years ago, becoming one of Europe’s biggest seasonal shows. 

Torquay is a seaside resort town on the English Channel in Devon, south west England. Known for beaches such as Babbacombe and cliffside Oddicombe, its coastline is nicknamed the English Riviera. Torquay Harbour near the town centre offers shops, cafés and a marina. Torre Abbey, a monastery founded in 1196, has art galleries and extensive gardens featuring plants from local writer Agatha Christie’s novels.

Day 2: Our day excursion visits Totnes, a historic market town that combines breathtakingly beautiful countryside with a fascinating history, Kingsbridge that is surrounded by lush, green rolling countryside, Slapton Sands to view Sherman Tank Memorial and Dartmouth on the mouth of River Dart, one of South Devon’s most scenic historic towns.

Thursford Christmas Spectacular

3 nights dinner, bed & breakfast

19 November................................... £395 26 November................................... £375 Single Supplement £90 5 DAYS ONLY

£329

Bodelwyddan Castle, North Wales Warner Lesisure Hotel Winter Warmer Set in 200 acres of parkland, with breathtaking views of the Clwydian Hills and the mountains of Snowdonia less than an hour away, the Grade II listed Bodelwyddan Castle offers an experience that’s truly unforgettable.

What’s included

4 Home Pick-up 4 Executive Coach Travel 4 Use of Leisure Facilities 4 Nightly Entertainment 4 Excursions including: Betws-y-Coed, Llandudno, Caernarfon Beaumaris. l

4 nights dinner, bed & breakfast

29 November................................... £329 Single Supplement NOA | Signature Rooms Available BRITISH

2022 BROCHURE OUT IN SEPTEMBER!

For booki ngs or holidaymore inform ati s call: O1942 72on on any of our 8 96O

www.me moryla netrav el.co.uk

l.co.uk

COVER

final.ind

d 3

Quality Door

to Door

HOLIDAYS

Day Excu rsions

Bookin g Hotlin O19 e:

Y LANE

m Din inu & TRAVEL

|

42 www.m 728 96O emory lanetr ave MEMOR

fo ew r 2 er

Coach Holiday s | Sh ort Brea ks

Holiday s

1 O2 Tour

Booking hotline: 01942 728 960 or visit www.memorylanetravel.co.uk

HOLIDA YS & TRAV & EURO EL PEAN COAC H TOUR S 2021

N

Devon Explorer

4 DAYS

Pla t

Torquay

ONLY

l

4 nights dinner, bed & breakfast

18 October....................................... £399

5 DAYS

4 4 4

Autumn Diner Tour

£299

Our tours enjoys a full entertainment package and excursions are to great places of beauty and interest around Cornwall.

4 4 4 4

Lake District

5 DAYS


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 8

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. 10

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

IMAGINE...

LIVING THE HAPPY, SAFE LIFESTYLE YOU’VE ALWAYS DREAMED OF CALL OR VISIT OUR WEBSITE TO CLAIM YOUR FREE BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO PARK HOME LIVING

“We’ve always wanted to live in a wonderful, friendly and safe community. We have now found that perfect place. We couldn’t recommend Tingdene Parks highly enough.” Mr B, Tingdene Resident

t: 01933 427800 e: info@tingdene.net www.tingdene-parks.net

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OUR DOOR TO DOOR PICK UP AREA

Luxury Coach Holidays DOOR TO DOOR TAXI SERVICE Included in the price of all our coach holidays is a taxi collection service. This means a taxi or minibus will collect you from your door at the start of your holiday and return you from the coach at the end, thus avoiding all the hassle of getting yourself and your luggage to a coach pick-up point. QUALITY HOTELS We place a great importance in providing hotels of very high standards and are constantly striving to improve further the quality of hotels included in our programme. They are usually all of a 3 or 4-star standard and most importantly, ALL hotels include en-suite facilities, tea/coffee making facilities and colour TV in the room. LUXURY AIR CONDITIONED TOURING COACHES Our fleet of Luxury Coaches feature:

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High back reclining seats

Tinted and bonded double glazing

On board hot and cold drinks

Height adjustable air suspension

Seat belts

Toilet/washroom

Air Conditioning

Sanitizer stations, antibacterial wipes

Sanitizing fogging spray used daily

CALL TODAY FOR A BROCHURE


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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 14

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. 15


CELEBRITY INTERVIEW

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50 PLUS MAGAZINE

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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TRAVEL

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50 PLUS MAGAZINE

A SAFE AND RELAXING HOLIDAY: 4 TIPS TO ENJOY A UK CAMPING WEEKEND THIS SUMMER The vaccine rollout has given many people over 50 the freedom and confidence to return to travelling. However, not everyone feels comfortable boarding a plane and dealing with local Covid-19 restrictions in their holiday destination. If you have always been on the cautious side, you might not want to fly abroad just to deal with a sudden lockdown! And, with 4 in 5 Brits deciding to enjoy the beauty of their country in 2021, you are certainly not the only one! But there is nothing to worry about! The UK is dotted with beautiful sights, great walks, and breathtaking views - most of which are likely to be within a few hours’ drive from your doorstep!  With the right tips, you can start planning for a safe, relaxing, and highly comfortable staycation!

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Explore Nearby Locations

When it comes down to exploring the UK, there is no need to travel far. Anywhere you are, there is likely to be an attraction or place of natural beauty not too far from your home. And,


· VISIT ·

you can always find something that fits your preferences.You can opt for a fishing weekend, a few romantic nights away in a log cabin, or an exciting afternoon spent discovering one of the country’s historical cities. If you aren’t comfortable driving for hours, you might consider checking out some of the best nearby destinations, including Devon, Cornwall, Cumbia, or the Scottish Highlands!

Try Glamping

Camping weekends are a dream for some travelers. But not everyone is as happy staying in a small tent, sharing toilet facilities, and sleeping on an inflatable mattress! After all, this is your holiday, and you should do everything you can to ensure that it is comfortable and relaxing. For this, glamping might be a great solution! Not only you can enjoy luxurious accommodation, but you can also make the most out of your time in nature while also looking after your health!

Get in All the Right Clubs

The UK has always had excellent camping, caravanning, and touring culture - but there’s no doubt that the pandemic has caused more and more people to take an interest in this kind of holiday! Thanks to such a thriving community, today, you can count on an endless number of clubs that won’t only grant you exclusive discounts but will also offer you all the support you need. From BritStops to the Camping And Caravanning Club, you explore the beauty of the UK in total relaxation - and on a budget!

Test It Out With a Used Vehicle

If this is your first time enjoying life on the road, you are probably not ready to invest in a luxury camper van. Instead, you might look for ways to keep the costs low and find out whether this kind of staycation is the right one for you. Luckily, you don’t necessarily need to stay in a small tent to keep the costs down! Start searching “car to find the best deals on used vehicles that can get you anywhere around the UK - from cars that can hold a roof tent to larger vans ready to be converted!

A traditional market with over 200 stalls, Fleetwood Market is a shopper’s delight for gifts, clothing and household goods!

· Open ·

Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 9am to 4.30pm

All year round! Victoria Street / Adelaide Street, Fleetwood, Lancashire FY7 6AB

Cash machine on site

Dementia friendly market

We are Covid-19 secure

Follow us at FleetwoodMarket FleetwoodMkt www.fleetwoodmarket.co.uk

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TRAVEL

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50 PLUS MAGAZINE

50 Plus Travel

sponsored by “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.

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, 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. 20

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.

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

Cakes for all occasions Find us on Facebook and Instagram @occasioncakesuk

www.occasioncakes.co.uk | info@occasioncakes.co.uk 108 Chorley Old Road, Bolton, BL1 5AZ

CALL: 01204 532693

16 Marsden Street, Wigan Town Centre (Royal Arcade)

CALL: 01942 495464

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The Atkinson is Southport’s home for music, theatre, art, literature and history. They offer an exciting and varied destination for families, cultural tourists and arts enthusiasts alike, with a full day and night time offer. Their traditional Theatre and dynamic Studio space present an outstanding programme from some of the UK’s foremost musicians, actors, performers and companies. In celebration of performing arts returning to the stage, we have selected some highlights from The Atkinson’s upcoming programme.

Renowned for an endless string of soulful yet socially aware hits including ‘Forgotten Town’, ‘Ideal World’, ‘What’s in a Word’ and many more, The Christians (3 September 2021) enjoyed huge acclaim in the late 80s and early 90s both in the UK and Europe. The phenomenal live band are headed by enigmatic lead singer Garry Christian.

BBC antiques presenter & historian David Harper takes a funny look at life in Britain during the period from 1714-1830 in his new tour, David Harper’s Romp with The Georgians (23 September 2021). The show will recall an age of lavish and dangerous fashions, terrible jobs, strange events, outrageous characters and dastardly historical stories our history teachers didn’t tell us! 22

The Ballroom Boys double act return in 2021 with a brand new show – Ian Waite & Vincent Simone: Act Two (5 October 2021). The fabulous Strictly Come Dancing stars promise a wonderful evening of oldfashioned variety – dance, comedy and song! Featuring beautiful costumes and world class routines, the boys will be joined by their stunning dance partners and a world class singer.

With a career spanning two decades, multi award-winning comedian Dave Spikey is one of the most sought-after comedy talents in the UK. In his latest show, Dave Spikey: A Funny Thing Happened… (29 October 2021), Spikey reminds us that funny things happen all the time; at home, at work, out shopping, at the vets, in prison, out with your Gran… Adapted for the stage from Helen Forrester’s million-selling book, By The Waters Of Liverpool (9 - 12 November 2021) is a stunning period drama set in

the 1930s. The production also features flashbacks to Helen’s earlier books ‘Liverpool Miss’ and ‘Twopence To Cross The Mersey’. The star-studded cast from stage and screen includes Mark Moraghan, Sian Reeves, Parry Glasspool, Lucy Dixon and Eric Pott.

The award-winning spectacular Totally Tina (13 November 2021) presents the UK’s supreme Tina Turner, Justine Riddoch, supported by dazzling dancing girls in sequins, feathers and diamonds! Come shake a tail feather in this breath-taking recreation of a live Tina Turner concert. Justine Riddoch has the looks, she’s got the moves, but most of all, she’s got the voice!

The Atkinson is open throughout the year and present a varied seasonal programme and changing exhibitions, events and lectures, so whatever time of year you visit, they offer a fun, creative and varied day out with family or friends. theatkinson.co.uk The Atkinson, Lord Street, Southport, PR8 1DB


Box office: theatkinson.co.uk 01704 533 333 (Booking fees apply)

The Atkinson Lord Street Southport PR8 1DB

COVID-19 health & safety measures in place.

Welcome Back Southport’s home for art & culture

Free Entry Mon – Sat 11am – 4pm

EXHIBITIONS

Brick Wonders: Natural High 19 June 2021the Around 19 March 2022 world in LEGO bricks Reconnect with nature Until 26 September 2020

Fatal Attraction: Paul Kenny: Lilith and Seaworks her Sisters 26 June - 23 October 2021 Until 27 March 2021

in this contemplative Historical, and modern exhibitionnatural of British wonders of the world are landscape scenery from recreated from over The Atkinson’s finehalf art acollection. million LEGO bricks.

Working the without Exploring historyaofcamera, the Paul Kenny creates abstract femme fatale through characters onliterature small glass incompositions art, history and plates with objects found including Lilith, Aphrodite, on beaches and crystallised Medusa, Helen of Troy and sea water. Cleopatra.

Cats on the Courage & Page 12 September – Devotion

The Red Triumph Rum 3 July - 2 October 2021 of Art

12 March yourself 2022 with the Reacquaint captivating cats who come Remembering the lives of to life in books, manuscripts the Polish Airmen and artworks. These based feline at RAF Woodvale characters are sure toduring delight all ages,and especially anyone WW2 the iconic who loves cats! Spitfire.

Celebrating artformshistory Southport’sthe greatest portrayed in our newly restored makers, the incomparable painting, The Triumph of Art by Red Rum. Nicolas Pierre Loir (1624–1679). Featuring highlights from The Atkinson’s fine art collection.

926 January 2021June 2021

9 October – ThisDecember exciting new 12 2020exhibition

pays homage to one of

MUSEUM

200817_Welcome Back Advert_v2.indd 1

Discover Ancient Egypt

Between Land & Sea

Journey through what life was like in ancient Egypt at the time of the Pharaohs. Our stunning Egyptology museum showcases Mrs Goodison’s personal and varied collection, including the Mummy of Nes-Amun and many other artefacts.

From prehistoric times to the present day, our local history museum showcases the development of Sefton’s tourist towns, Southport & Birkdale, the outstanding natural habitats from Marshside to Formby and Bootle’s industrial port.

18/08/2020 11:26


The Williamson is Open!

All displays drawn from the gallery’s own collection.

Your Williamson – a selection made from the favourites posted on social media during 2020. (illustration: Morning at Lamorna Cove, SJ Lamorna Birch – detail)

William T Rawlinson (1912-1993) – Liverpool-born printmaker of outstanding quality. (illustration: Fledgling owls, William T Rawlinson)

The Great Outdoors – a celebration of what fresh air means to us all. (illustration: In the orchard, RG Hinchliffe – detail)

Please note new temporary opening times Wednesday – Saturday 12.00 – 5.00 Open WilliamsonWilliamson Open Williamson Open

Della Robbia Collection Della Robbia Collection Della Robbia Collection

of Oxton people of Oxton Portraits ofPortraits people of Portraits of people of Oxton

Birkenhead, SlateySlatey Road, Road, Birkenhead, CH43 CH43 4UE 4UE Slatey Road, Birkenhead, CH43 0151 666 4UE 3537 0151 666 3537 0151 666 3537 www.williamsonartgallery.org www.williamsonartgallery.org www.williamsonartgallery.org Open Wednesday to Saturday 12noon until 5pm artshop, supply shop, book shop Cafe, artCafe, supply book shop and gift and shopgift shop

Cafe, Oxton Books –independent newcraftspeople and second-hand books – Workshops with craftspeople Workshops with independent and artists Cafe, art supply shop, book shop andand gift artists shop Adult art classes and drop in family art sessions Adult art classes and drop in family art sessions and gift shop including locally-made crafts Workshops with independent craftspeople and artists Free park and free wifi wifi Free cardrop park and free wifi Free carincar park and free Adult art classes and family art sessions Free car park and free wifi


The The Chapterhouse Chapter House

The Chapel The Conway Conway Chapel

The TheUndercroft Undercroft

Birkenhead Priory & St Mary’s Tower

Priory Street, Birkenhead CH41 5JH 0151 666 1249 or 0151 666 3537

www.thebirkenheadpriory.org

Birkenhead Priory & St Mary’s Tower remain CLOSED at present.An announcement will be made about reopening as soon as possible. The website and all social media will carry the announcement.

Car park at end of Church Street CH41 5EQ The oldest standing building in Merseyside, a scheduled monument with history museum and Friends of the Conway museum. St Mary’s Tower gives unrivalled views over the River Mersey to Liverpool and Cammell Laird shipyard. Guided tours available from our knowledgeable Priory Volunteers.


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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. 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?

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.

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

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.

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.

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 changes and doing a few clever fixes of your own. 26

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 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.


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 want something more modern, 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. Your SOFA may be past its best and need replacing and, if you are going to invest in 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. Decorating here with a mixture of plain and wallpapered walls can also make your home feel up-to-date. Contemporary wallpaper 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. 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

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. 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. 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.

WIN A PAIR OF TICKETS TO SEE CAST AT WARRINGTON – PARR HALL IN AUGUST! Visit - 50plusmagazine.co.uk/category/competition to find out more and to enter the competition! 27


FINANCE

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50 PLUS MAGAZINE

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. 28

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.

To find out how much money you could release and to request your FREE guide call

Freephone 0800 141 3628 Age Partnership Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. FCA registered number 425432. Company registered in England and Wales No. 5265969. Company address: Age Partnership Limited, 2200 Century Way, Thorpe Park, Leeds, LS15 8ZB. VAT registration number 162 9355 92.

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fragranced plants around seating areas and opt for some that are renowned for releasing their scent in the evenings. Oenothera biennis, (common evening primrose) will be a talking point as it opens its flowers at dusk and hardy annual Mattihola longipetala (night-scented stock) is good for the front of a south or westfacing border where it will flower from April to September.

IT’S A WAY OF LIFE Garden writer Julia Heaton has design inspiration and planting ideas to suit the way you live.

It’s so important to choose a garden design to match your lifestyle. There’s nothing more disheartening than not having the time to care for a courtyard garden full of high maintenance pots. And what’s the point of having numerous borders to dig if you find it physically demanding and would prefer to potter around raised beds? The trick is to treat your outdoor space in the same way you would when configuring a room indoors. Think about how you live and what purpose you want the space to serve. Get it right and it really will be an extension of your home. Here’s some different garden styles to fit the way you live. A garden for entertaining Seating zones Give guests the opportunity to form clusters. Use a mix of classic garden furniture, fold-away seats and surfaces built into raised beds. This allows you to keep the dining table as the main event and people to mingle. Make your primary seating area a space that can be used throughout the year by including an outdoor fireplace and

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seating that can store outdoor rugs and soft cosy blankets. Keep the weather in mind by designing in spaces for shade and rain like a pergola, clad in climbing plants, or a summer house. Alternatively, a gazebo with a plastic corrugated roof will take the guesswork out of what the weather will do. Or go for a more permanent one that fits against the house and incorporates polycarbonate or glass roofing. Light the way Fairy lights always have a magical look in the evening. Team these with spotlights angled on focal points like statues or particular plants. Place up lights amongst the foliage to create mood lighting and torch lights on spikes in the borders and at the garden gate. A water feature incorporating a light is a point of difference, while hurricane lamps are purpose-made for the table. Scented planting Gorgeous wafts of perfume add to the ambiance of a gathering. Introduce

Cooking area The area you devote to this will depend on whether you just want to throw the odd barbecue or go all out to replicate your indoor kitchen. Consider whether you want storage to keep kitchen accessories. Do you need wired lighting or will solar be fine? Most importantly, what fuel will you be using to cook with as this will also have a bearing on where you’ll position your kitchen in relation to neighbouring properties. Outside bar Whether a simple wall-mounted, dropdown surface made from pallets or a gazebo-covered counter, this creates another space where people can gather. Where you site it needs consideration. Keep it as a simple surface outside the kitchen window, where drinks can be served directly from the fridge. Alternatively, it could be an extension to the cooking area, where food prep can also take place. Or, if your garden enjoys a good view, then position it over-looking the scenery. Garden for relaxation and wellbeing Landscaping and plant colours A winding path will encourage you to walk it and forget the outside world. If it can be circular, so that you don’t have to retrace your steps, then even better. Along the way introduce features that appeal to the senses.You may want this to be a feast for the eyes in the shape of a sculpture you love or some fragrant planting. Pale, weathered brick pavers set against pale cream painted fencing have a natural, easy-on-the- eye look. Use a planting palette of whites to


Grow native Wildflowers native to where you live have adapted naturally so the soil already contains all the nutrients plants need. Most are drought resistant, so require less need for watering, and tend to be more resistant to pests than non-natives. Importantly they link the garden to its wildlife and the surrounding countryside so they support each other. Plant to eat Whether a native fruit tree, one raised bed or large veg patch, there’s nothing quite like the taste of home-grown food. It not only reduces environmental impact but also saves money too. echo this with green and hints of pastels like lilacs and mauves.

Other sweet-smelling growers are jasmine, honeysuckle and roses.

Set out seating Introduce seating areas along the path – a bench or maybe even a swing seat – where you can break the journey and appreciate your surroundings. The aim is to interact with the space, to concentrate on what’s in front of you as you walk or sit and let any thoughts of the world outside drift away. For taking in that view make sure the seating is comfortable enough for you to linger and has some gorgeous fragrant planting close by, inviting you to stay longer as you touch and smell it. Think also about seating that you can move around the garden, maybe to catch the last rays of sunshine at the end of the day.

Ammi majus, an annual, cow parsley lookalike and Verbena bonariensis, are both willowy and lovely border fillers. And to help block out sound go for the evergreen structure of white flowered shrub Fatsia japonica and laurel Prunus Laurocerasus ‘Genolia’. Others that will fit the bill include scabious, cosmos, michealmas daisy, lilac phlox and white guara.

Introduce water The gentle sound of a bubbling water feature is soothing to listen to and watch as it catches the light. It will disguise outside noises like traffic and can add a new dimension by attracting wildlife, which is always interesting to watch. Planting choice Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia ‘Munstead’) is fragrant and popular with pollinators. Also look to ornamental grasses like Briza maxima and panicum along with bamboos, which sound wonderful as they rustle in the breeze. Chamomile, amongst paving and around a seating area, is evergreen and gives off a heady fragrance when touched.

Eco-friendly garden Re-purposing and recycled materials Start with items around the house. For instance, an old washing-up bowl makes a great mini pond, or hunt down old zinc baths and Belfast sinks for planting up.You can also buy planters made of recycled materials like tyres and garden furniture from recycled plastic and hemp fibres; Pavers are now made from recycled materials that are permeable. Reduce the carbon footprint of your buys Buy items made from locally sourced materials wherever possible, searching out boot sales, junk shops and reclamation yards. Salvage yards are good places for paving or edging tiles. Reuse any concrete slabs, bricks etc. of your own or look up the nearest freecycle group (www.freecycle. org) where local people save items from landfill by giving and receiving them for free.

Provide for wildlife Go for plants with single, open flowers, that will provide pollen and nectar for as long a season as possible. And investigate how to make homemade shelters and places to nest. Waste not want not Make the most of everything. This means using water butts to capture rainwater, creating a compost heap from items like lawn clippings, teabags and bits of corrugated cardboard.You can also make leaf mould to use as a soil conditioner. Add water Any size of water feature is going to be beneficial to wildlife. Ponds will provide a place to drink and bathe but if space is really limited then even making your own birdbath from a shallow, watertight bowl, will help. Conserve water Sprinklers and hose pipes can cause a lot of water to be wasted so focus attention on getting it straight to where it’s needed – the plant roots. An automated drip system can do this and can be attached to a water butt to help save even more water. If yours is a container garden then go for large recycled plastic pots as these will hold moisture for longer than terracotta. It’s also a good idea to add a mulch around plants in pots and borders. Organic mulches like wood chips, straw and your own grass clippings or dried shredded leaves.

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Plant choice Bamboo and conifers provide a yearround 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.

GET THE GARDEN LOOK

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.

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 32

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.

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

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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

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garden. Simply plant where you like for a fun, laid back seaside vibe. Landscape elements: Gravel and shingle: Replicate the beach by laying weed suppressant material on top of your soil, planting through it and adding a top layer of gravel or shingle; 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 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; Planting style Look to perennials like sea holly (eryngium), euphorbia, sedum and scabiosa. Prickly, purple coned sea holly adds texture to a planting scheme and loves full sun. Imitate grasses found on sand dunes. Blue 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). This is the ideal space for rock plants like thrift (Armeria maritima), an evergreen with brilliant pink flowers, the fragrant dianthus and daisy-like flowers of fleabane (erigeron).


environmentally friendly way to enjoy smaller scale BBQs. Terra cotta pots can be found for a few pounds in most hardware stores, or there might be one left unloved in the garden. They are the perfect size to sit on a heat-resistant table and aside from the pot, all you need is a rack to cook food on. The larger the terra cotta pot, the harder it will be to heat up. Place bricks at the bottom to fill the base and retain heat.

HOW TO BUILD A BUDGET BBQ Brits are being shown how to make DIY budget BBQs, to entertain and make up for lost time with guests this summer. The penny-pinching pros over at NetVoucherCodes.co.uk have collated expert advice on how to keep the cost of summer fun down, by building or making a structure to cook on with low-cost materials that can be found around the home. Nothing screams British summertime more than having friends and family over for a BBQ. Whether it’s a temporary, portable or permanent structure that will suit the BBQ needs of your guests best, there are plenty of cost-effective tips to get grilling. Cheap DIY methods of cooking dinner al fresco include using roasting trays, terra cotta plant pots and an old toolbox! A spokesperson for NetVoucherCodes. co.uk said: “It doesn’t matter how small your BBQ budget is this year, as we have collated some ways to save money, by making a new outdoor grill to cook for guests on. “As people start fully emerging from lockdown for social occasions, outdoor events are likely to carry on being the preferred and safest option. “The best part of making tailoring your own grill station is that you can keep the cost down whilst still customising everything you want, from the size of the cooking area,

down to the materials you use to design them.” Little charcoal grill Cheap and easy disposable grills can be made using a thick foil baking tray, saving you a fortune on buying them from the shop each time you want a tasty meal outdoors. Pick the type of large tray used to cook a turkey, an inexpensive cooling rack to place food on and some charcoal to get the fire going. To fireproof the floor from flames and heat, stand the tray on some old cinderblocks or bricks. This little charcoal grill is easy to pack and portable enough for a camping trip Brick BBQ base Those with excess bricks or cement left over from another job are best placed to build a solid based BBQ. This one will require a fair amount of DIY, but it is easy enough. Create a square or squared semi-circle out the materials available and cement together to make it a sturdy structure that is a comfortable height to cook at. Once built, lay a grill over the top. This idea also works on a smaller scale. Instead of making the structure waist height, lay a small base of 12 to 15 bricks and build it up a brick or two high around the edges of the small structure. Terra cotta pot grill This tiny grill might not be able to feed the most, but it is an affordable and

Toolbox Old metal toolboxes are the ultimate stylish upcycled garden accessory and grill. If you don’t have an old one knocking about, they often make an appearance on online auction sites. The larger the toolbox, the more food will be able to cook at one time. Coat the toolbox with a heat resist pain for extra safety and to add a splash of colour. Once the toolbox has been prepped, pop charcoal in the bottom and a grill or cooling rack over the opening. BBQ barrel Metal barrel BBQs can be made with clean bins, casks and kegs. The metal cylinder will need to be cut in half and hinged and painted with a heat protected coat. One of the trickier DIY tasks will be making a stand to keep the barrel on. The stand can be made out of things like scaffolding and fence posts. Once finished, the BBQ barrel will look highly professional and you will barely be able to recognise it as a DIY job. Built-in pit This ambitious project is the timeliest and trickiest BBQ to attempt to make on the list, but any bog-standard DIY-er will be able to create this easy breezy built-in pit. The process is similar for both in-ground and overground pits, but parents with young children should seriously consider opting for a raised feature. Use a shovel to dig out the pit, as it will need to be around 50cm deep to sit over the ground. Sunken pits will need at least a metre of space below ground. Use a metal firepit ring or non-combustible materials such as concrete, fire bricks, or landscaping stones to build up and decorate the sides of the BBQ. Once safe and sturdy, add charcoal and a large grill to entertain and cook for guests.

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EIGHT PLANTS FOR AN ANTI-ALLERGY GARDEN Hay fever season has well and truly arrived, so experts have revealed eight plants which are best suited for an anti-allergy garden. The flowers on the list all score low on ‘The Ogren Plant Allergy Scale’ which rates the allergy potential of plants from one (least allergenic) to ten (most allergenic). Ensuring the garden is sheltered enough to prevent pollen from other gardens flying into the space can also help reduce the number of allergens in the air, meaning hay fever sufferers can make the most of the outdoors. Fruit Trees Fruit trees such as apples, pears and cherries are insect pollinated, meaning the insects are doing the pollinating, as opposed to the tree itself. Once established, fruit trees are very hardy and will produce fruit yearly.

in the sun. Flowers can come in all different colours, including with stripes, so they can be a colourful addition to your anti-allergy garden.

Conifer Planting conifer hedges along the boundaries of the garden will help block pollen from other patches blowing in. It can also provide more privacy and give your space a great canvas before you plant flowers. Double-Flowered Hollyhocks The double-flowered variety produces less pollen than the single-flower, making them a wise choice for allergy sufferers. They also attract hummingbirds and butterflies which will help brighten up the garden even more. Petunias Petunias need regular watering and can grow in shady patches, although they perform best 36

Magnolias Depending on how high your magnolia plant, they can be a brilliant way to introduce different heights and levels into your anti-allergy garden. This versatile plant needs to be in a sheltered position where it will catch the sun. Female Trees Although female trees do drop berries or seeds, they don’t produce pollen meaning they’re perfect for those who suffer from allergies. The easiest way to tell the difference between the genders is to look at their flowers, but they should be labelled when purchasing trees.

Fuchsia The unique teardrop shape of this versatile shrub can make thick hedges and also grow well in amongst other flowers. They come in a wide range of colours meaning they will complement other flowers found in your garden. Fuchsias are also edible and are common in jams.

Geraniums The hardy Geranium plants can survive well in most areas of the garden as they don’t need to spend so much time in the sun. Regular deadheading can encourage flowers to grow back even quicker.


EIGHT TOXIC PLANTS TO KEEP AWAY FROM PETS Pet owners are being warned about deadly, toxic, and harmful plants commonly found in the garden.The experts at Lazy Flora, a plant subscription site, have revealed a list of things growing in gardens, that need removing when curious pets are around. Safety at home for pets to be able to roam freely is paramount. Peckish pets put in a scenario with lethal berries and leaves will increase the risk of accidental poisoning.

Larkspur

Foxglove

Rhubarb

Lily of the Valley

Oleander

Tulip and hyacinth bulbs

Lantana flowers

Deadly nightshade

Larkspur Belonging to the buttercup family, Larkspur is a flowering plant that is grown for its graceful, vividly coloured blossoms. This plant is low maintenance, making it a favourite among newbie gardeners. However, all parts of the Larkspur plant are toxic to pets, with the leaves and seeds containing the highest levels of alkaloids. These alkaloids are toxic and can cause vomiting, nausea, painful burns in the mouth and a slow heartbeat. Foxglove These pretty bell-like blossoms add a bright pop of colour to the garden but watch out, as the plant is packed with toxins. Accidental ingestion of any part of the plant could lead to nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and irregular, or slow heartbeats. The berries are bright and juicy looking, meaning they are more likely to attract pets. Rhubarb Whilst this popular ingredient in crumbles appears innocent enough, the mistake is made when people or pets attempt to eat

the leaves of the plant. They are high in toxins, such as oxalic acid, which could affect the kidneys. In high doses, these toxins can lead to kidney failure and in some cases, death. Lily Of The Valley This beautifully dainty, fragrant flower is surrounded by bright gorgeous green foliage, but be warned, it is highly toxic to human beings and animals alike. The flower naturally produces a whole range of cardiac glycosides, a highly toxic compound that is powerful enough to send a grown adult to A&E. Accidental ingestion may lead to headaches, drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, irregular heartbeat, and skin rashes, but severe poisoning without immediate treatment can be fatal. Oleander Popular among gardeners for its pretty pink flowers, the oleander looks like an unlikely danger. There have been reports of death, as a result of adults ingesting a single leaf of the plant, due to how toxic it can be. Pets who eat any part of the plant may suffer

from heart arrhythmia, vomiting, cold extremities, and even death. Tulip and hyacinth bulbs The toxic part of tulip and hyacinth plants is concentrated within the bulbs and when it is ingested by pets it can have some serious side effects due to irritation in the mouth and throat. The most common symptoms among dogs that have ingested these bulbs include drooling, being sick and difficulty breathing. Lantana flowers All parts of the incredibly pretty Lantana flower are particularly toxic to dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, and horses. In large volumes, it can cause damage to the liver and increased sensitivity to light. Deadly nightshade As the name of the plant suggests, these pretty plants can have deadly consequences. The round purple and black juicy looking berries are highly toxic and eating them can potentially cause drowsiness, facial flushing, fever, vomiting, confusion and hallucinations. 37


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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 38

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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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.

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MOTORS

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There’s a digital display behind the steering wheel and one neat safety feature is that the left or right dials switch to a blind spot camera view as you indicate. All versions get front and rear parking sensors and a rear-view camera, as well as full LED headlights.

KIA SORENTO KIA have made great inroads in the past few years into the UK car market especially in the value for money small to medium size family car sectors. But if my latest test vehicle is anything to go by the Korean car maker looks set to conquer more upmarket territory as their latest Sorento model is very impressive indeed. Now even though the HEV self-charging hybrid ‘4’ model we tried out for a week is a top spec, mid-price range £46,945 that is still value for money as the quality, performance and kit list is on a par with premium manufacturers who charge much more for the same level of equipment and finish. Redesigned for 2021 the new Sorento has a more squared off look, again reflecting more expensive competitors, while the new interior is plush indeed, even - dare I say - a bit Bentley-esque! With quilted leather heated seats (all round) plus cooled with memory function in the front and quality materials used throughout (although some of the leather is faux) the latest Sorento boasts other premium refinements like a heads up display, adaptive cruise control, panorama 42

glass sunroof, a full seven seats, 360 degree camera system, wireless phone charging and smart power tailgate. It’s a full 4x4 yet, thanks to that hybrid set-up, I managed a shade over 41mpg during a week of very mixed driving, which is not bad for such a large SUV. The car has a 1.6-litre petrol engine and a 59bhp electric motor to drive down CO2 emissions and fuel consumption while the plug in version’s larger battery can deliver a pure electric range of around 35 miles. Four-wheel drive and an automatic gearbox come as standard and our ‘selfcharging’ hybrid (HEV) is sprightly with 0-60mph taking 8.7 seconds thanks to 226bhp on tap. The plug-in PHEV model has a bigger battery and electric motor so 0-60mph takes 8.4seconds. Higher spec 3 and 4 trim versions have larger 19in wheels and come with self-levelling rear suspension for better stability. The car switches seamlessly from electric to petrol power and its automatic gear changes are smooth and the brakes good.

The central 10.3in screen is sharp but a little fiddly with attractive graphics and all three rows of seats have USB ports (eight in total). Entry-level models get a sixspeaker stereo while our top-spec 4 trim boasts a more powerful Bose system with 12. This is a big car so there’s plenty of space for the driver and passengers with the third row seats being full adult sized – unlike some seven seat competitors. That external redesign for this bigger all round fourth generation Sorento sees a more aggressive large front grille and radically redesigned rear lights while the platform is reworked, the engine range expanded and active safety and driver assistance technology boosted to tempt in potential customers who have never considered a Kia before. I enjoyed my week with the latest Sorento, which may well convert large SUV lovers over to Kia – and for those badge snobs who still turn their noses up at the value for money brand then it is their (financial) loss. As with all Kias the Sorento comes with an industry-leading seven-year (or 100,000-mile) warranty and prices start from £39,110 for the self-charging hybrid in ‘2’ trim up to £53,755 for the top spec 261bhp plug in hybrid. By Motoring Editor, Steve Howarth

For all the latest car tests see the motoring section of our website at www.50plusmagazine.co.uk/motors/


SOUTH LANCASHIRE BREAST SCREENING Saves lives through detecting cancer early Don’t forget breast screening because we haven’t forgotten you!

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Services across country in one way or another. The sure it is safe for you and our staff when it restarts. Routine breast screening appointments were cancelled but Routine breast screening appointments were cancelled but Attending your breast screening appointment breast screening appointments were cancelled but we used sure it is safe for you and our staff when it restarts. East Lancashire Breastwe Screening Service is exception. used opportunity to no re-design our to we used this this opportunity re-design our service service to make make this opportunity to re-design our service toto make sure itrestarts. isLancashire Covid-19 CHECK anything unusual with your doctor sure is for you our when Now plans in and place tostaff resume theit sure it itthat is safe safe forare you and our staff when it East restarts. Routine breast screening appointments were cancelled but Attending your breast screening appointment safe for you and our staff when it restarts. 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Please read this because theare attend your appointment due to If you Now that plans are place to resume the East Lancashire Now that plans are in in place tocarefully resume the East Lancashire Attending your breast screening appointment East Lancashire Screening Service isCovid-19. noLancashire exception. invited for breast screening, additional information will information will include you will need to follow Breast Service, there will be changes when you Breast Screening Service, there will bemeasures changes you Breast Screening Screening Service, there will bewhen changes when youbeto Routine breast screening appointments were cancelled but Attending your breast screening appointment help keep you and the Radiographer safe during your sent to you. Please read this carefully because the *Additional information will be sent to you regarding attend your appointment due to Covid-19. Covid-19. If you you are attend your appointment due to If are attend yourthis appointment due to Covid-19. Ifservice you are we used opportunity to re-design our to appointment. information willthis include measures you will need to follow invited breast screening, additional information will invited for for breast screening, additional information will be beto Covid-19 procedures. Please read carefully because themake invited for breast screening, additional information will be help keep you and the Radiographer safe during your sent to you. Please read this carefully because the sent to you. Please read this carefully because the sure it is safe for you and our staff when it restarts. Now that plans are in place to resume the East Lancashire information will include measures you will need to follow appointment. information include measures you will need sentScreening to you. Please read thiswill carefully because information will include measures you the willyou need to to follow follow to to Breast Service, there when to help keep you and the safe during your helpRadiographer keep youwill andbe thechanges Radiographer safe during your your help keep you and the Radiographer safe during information will include measures you will need to follow to attend your appointment due to Covid-19. If you are appointment. appointment. appointment. Attending breast screening appointment help keep youyour and the Radiographer during your invited for breast screening, additional safe information will be appointment. sent to you. Please read this carefully because the Now that plans are in place to resume the East Lancashire information will include measures you will to follow Breast Screening Service, there will beneed changes whento you help keep you and the Radiographer safe during your attend your appointment due to Covid-19. If you are appointment. invited for breast screening, additional information will be sent to you. Please read this carefully because the 01942 774713 www.wwl.nhs.uk/specialities/breast_screening information will include measures you will need to follow to bescreened BSUappointments@wwl.nhs.uk help keep you and the Radiographer safe during your appointment.

South Lancashire is your Local Breast Screening Service


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. 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. ONCE THE FOG HAS CLEARED, IMPROVE YOUR MEMORY BY:Activating as many senses as you can. Sensory memories are fleeting, and we are not often aware of them. But stimulating the senses can help us feel better which encourages us to continue that activity thus bringing it into our conscious awareness, enjoying the process and develop long term memories. Using mnemonic tools such as using as a phrase, acronym, song, rhyme or image to help remember a list of facts in a certain order. Learning something new that you enjoy. Novelty is a sure fire way to get our attention. So think of something you haven’t done before, try it and if you enjoy it keep going. The neural plasticity of the brain is incredible and you will lay down new connections and pathways and have fun at the same time. Attaching meaning to what you want to remember. If you are bad with names or dates attach a meaning by associating it with something familiar.This link provides a stronger association in your brain, increasing the likelihood of you remembering it next time. Repetition. Intentionally repeating something that you would like to recall in the future is one of the oldest tricks in the book – but it works. Repetition will encode information beyond your sensory and short-term memory, into your long-term memory. MANAGING ANXIETY COMING OUT OF LOCKDOWN During the pandemic we have all coped in different ways; some of us have adjusted more easily whilst others have had to deal with pain and hardship, or with feelings of burnout or isolation. Whilst people who have had to shield may understandably need time to adjust to coming out of lockdown, many of us may be

feeling anxiety for a variety of reasons. Now as we are slowly opening up the world again it is important to ensure that we are best equipped for what may still be a series of uncertainties and ups and downs. Here are some tips that may help:Take your time – Before getting up each day perhaps listen to the birds or practise gratitude for a few minutes and make happiness and health a daily choice. Going forwards in the weeks ahead, try to avoid rushing big decisions, prioritise what needs to be acted upon first, take your time to get it right, avoid comparing yourself with others. Positive thinking - Facing challenges head on and realistically whilst thinking positively helps to move forwards and build resilience. Research shows that those who face adversity with a positive mindset deal with stress and problems better and have a better health outcome long term. Avoid the traps of negative thinking and swap in more positive language. Re-examine negative situations from a different angle and try to find a workable solution. Ensure you live a healthy lifestyle including regular physical exercise, a good sleeping pattern, low stress and a healthy diet. Focus on things you can control. Be safely social and inclusive - Follow the rules but remain sociable where possible, even if that means keeping events virtual. Through brain imaging, scientists have found that when people experience social exclusion and social distress some areas of the brain are similarly activated as if they were experiencing physical pain. Work out your new priorities – The pandemic has made many revaluate their priorities, leading people to ask themselves what truly makes them happy. Are you happy at work and in your relationship? Are you happy in your own skin? Set some goals for yourself which you feel will make you happier and revisit them once a month to track your progress. They could be anything from exercising, to getting in touch with old friends to getting a promotion. Be careful of burnout - Identify the signs early. Signs of burnout include fatigue, irritability, sleepless nights despite feelings of exhaustion, anxiety and physiological changes in your body like raised blood pressure. Ensure you aren’t consumed by your old life once restrictions lift and that you use what you learnt in lockdown including perhaps slowing down. 45


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Established over 35 years

Your Local Mobility Store HEAD OFFICE (LEIGH BRANCH) PARSONAGE GARAGE, KIRKHALL LANE LEIGH WN7 5RP TEL: 01942 606668 sales@llgwheelchairs.co.uk www.llgwheelchairs.co.uk

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LLG WHEELCHAIRS LLG Wheelchairs Ltd have been in the mobility business since 1983, offering a high quality service to our customers throughout the UK. We carry one of the largest stocks of new and used mobility scooters, powered wheelchairs and mobility accessories in the North West. We don’t just sell wheelchairs and mobility scooters in Leigh – we can also supply small household mobility aids to stair lifts and everything in-between throughout the North West and the UK. Our after-sales customer care is second to none. If you have a disability or mobility problem our aim is to help you to find the best solution, so why not contact us or call into our showroom. Our experienced staff are always happy to offer friendly and useful advice on the best mobility solution for your needs.

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HESKIN HALL PHOTOS.pdf 1 26/01/2018 11:15

Step into Summer

COACHES WELCOME

With over 40 boutique shops, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Butchers, Deli, Fruit & Veg, Clothing, Handbags, Jewellery, Art Gallery, Babywear, Personalised Gifts, Homewares, DIY, Occasion Cakes, Crafts, Gifts, Stoves, Furniture, Hair & Beauty we have it all.  The Two Birds Tea Room makes an excellent stop for lunch with indoor and outdoor dining, freshly prepared sandwiches, salads, toasties, daily specials, great coffee and cake plus special Afternoon Teas.  OPENING TIMES Mon - Closed Tue - Sat 10am - 5pm Sun 10.30am - 4.30pm Bank Holidays 11am - 4pm

ALL COVID GUIDELINES ARE IN PLACE

FREE PARKING & FREE ENTRY

We look forward to seeing you!

Wood Lane

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Heskin

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Chorley

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PR7 5PA

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T: 01257 451464

www.heskinhallshoppingvillage.co.uk

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Wigan, Warrington & St Helens issue 56  

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