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ISSUE 39 MAY/JUNE 2020


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Message from the Editor Welcome all, to our special digital edition of Oswestry Life. We have moved online for the time being, so we can continue to support all things related to our community and to share stories we see coming out of all the changes we have recently experienced. We have been thoroughly inspired by the incredible work being carried out by all key workers and organisations in the community and we send out a special thank you to you all. How encouraging it has been to see the community following social distancing guidelines, in the supermarkets and out and about exercising. Could this be a time for us to have an internal re-set I have wondered? I have never been a fan of walking but with the government allowing one daily walk or run or bike ride (whatever suits), I have re-discovered walking is actually quite a calming form of exercise. Whereas previously, I have favoured the more adrenaline pumping activities, like running and weightlifting. I imagine, with families having to spend more time together, you may be finding out more about each other than you ever thought possible. But it is important to still have some space from each other. Across social media, I can see the community spirit remains strong and we are pushing through this unexpected phase. For those of you living alone, please stay connected to others via social media and if ever there was a time for catching up, this is it. If you know of someone living alone, just touch base with them. Human contact (albeit from a distance), is one of the things we do need. You may have seen we have been busy with the Facebook page, promoting supporting local businesses. Some businesses have been able to change direction because their services have allowed for this, for example the food establishments who have created takeaway menus and those providing deliveries when that wasn’t originally part of their business model. All our local businesses deserve our support, so remember them if there is something you need. On a very positive note, the weather has finally turned, and it is warming up. Stay strong and keep to the lockdown rules but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the sun on your skin during your daily walk or run. I know it’s been a while, but wear sun cream and stay hydrated. We have a responsibility to look after ourselves now, more than ever. We have done brilliantly so far as a town, so let’s carry that forward for as long as it takes. As a final note, if you have an uplifting story from the community, please send it in to us here at the magazine. We want to hear about all things positive. Stay safe.

Victoria McKenna EDITOR

www.oswestry.life 7 Lower Brook Street, Oswestry, Shropshire, SY11 2HG Telephone: 07986 293294


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LEFT FROM TOP: Staff on Ward 28 at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital were treated to a pizza delivery. Lots of food outlets have kindly donated meals to staff. A balloon artist has made an air-filled rainbow that is on display at the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford. (L) Members of Oswestry Border and Hope Church have made laundry bags for staff. Demonstrating one of these is Jo Evans, who works at SaTH. (R) Wendy Thorne dropped off some scrub bags with matching face masks - just one of many donations! West Mercia Police delivered Easter Eggs to the Children’s Ward at the Princess Royal Hospital. In total, thousands of Easter Eggs were delivered to the hospital, including 9,000 from Cadbury’s and hundreds from Morrisons. Shropshire Council and Telford & Wrekin Council have painted messages of support on the roads outside RSH and PRH. RIGHT FROM TOP: Council highway maintenance staff worked through the night to surprise hospital staff on their morning commute Avon representatives have been supporting staff on the frontline by donating hand creams. Staff om Ward 9 at PRH holding knitted hearts that have been kindly donated. Dunelm have dropped off washbags for staff that they made in store.


Local news

Hospital Trust overwhelmed by support, kindness and generosity of community The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH) has thanked the public for their support and donations during the coronavirus pandemic. Local communities and businesses have rallied to show support to hospital staff, donating a range of treats to brighten up their days, including handmade scrubs, hot takeaway meals, chocolates, toiletries, uniform wash bags and more. Louise Barnett, Chief Executive at SaTH, which runs the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford and the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, said: “From lovely rainbow coloured cards from children to beautiful handwritten notes to staff with encouraging words, the support and generosity shown to us has been truly heart-warming. “The way people have come forward with such kindness has been phenomenal. It means so much to us all knowing that we have the support from our local community during these unprecedented times. “I would also like to thank our staff who are doing a fantastic job. I am incredibly proud of the way they have stepped up to meet the demands of running our services during the outbreak.” Telford & Wrekin Council and Shropshire Council both surprised staff with messages of thanks painted on the roads by both the Princess Royal and Royal Shrewsbury hospitals, while a balloon artist brightened up everyone’s day with a wonderful air-filled rainbow display at the Princess Royal Hospital The generosity of the local community has also enabled SaTH to create dedicated staff health and wellbeing hubs at both hospitals. These tranquil spaces are open to staff 24-hoursa-day and provide staff with a relaxing place

to recharge throughout with complimentary refreshments and toiletries. Food and hot drinks are also being provided free in the hospital’s dining rooms to staff who are working overnight, and again local councils are helping support this. Doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers at SaTH gather every Thursday evening at 8pm to take part in the national round of applause. Dr Arne Rose, Medical Director at SaTH, said: “The recognition we are receiving from our community means so much to us all, while it is also an opportunity for us to say thank you to our fellow emergency service colleagues and other key workers who are keeping the country running during the coronavirus pandemic. “We are also clapping those in our communities who have shown us such amazing kindness, support and generosity, and for listening to the Government advice and staying home to help protect our vital services.” Ben Reid, Trust Chair, said: “The way people have come forward to show their support for our staff has been phenomenal. I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has got in touch over the last few weeks and supported our teams throughout these challenging times.”

If you are interested in supporting the hospitals, visit the website to find out how you can help www.sath.nhs.uk or email we.supportsath@nhs.net

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Learning curve

Home school

You may have been given a plan to follow to continue your child’s learning over the next few wee around that and padding it out as they would in a normal school day is going to be unchartered There are other ways we can help our children and bringing everyday tasks into the mix is a great way. Plus, we should be enjoying this process with our children.

Start the day with some movement

Joe Wicks has arrived in our living rooms, so with the explosion of free online exercise sessions, this will get the endorphins going and put everyone in a good mood. It doesn’t have to be lengthy, but something fun and happy will set the tone for the day. We recommend: YouTube for all age ranges and abilities - anything from aerobic style movement to yoga for little ones.

The What’s Missing game

Ever remember playing this at school? Simple yet effective. Put a number of objects on a tray, everyone in the room has a minute or two to memorise what’s on the tray. You take the tray away, remove one object and bring it back into the room for everyone to decide what’s missing by shouting it out first. It’s a game of observation, memory, speed and reaction. You can replace shouting out the answer with writing it down, if there are a few of you and it may be the best of three that makes the winner.

Write a play or story

This will meet the creative needs of some children, including writing and drawing skills. You may find yourself playing a part too! Work with your child about how to write and plan a good story: find an idea, who is the character ? what problem needs to be solved? when does it happen? where does it happen? Stories have a

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beginning, middle and an end, so once you have the plan outlined, asking your child questions about what the main character is doing will give you all the detail.

Reading time

This needs no explanation, we could all do with some of it. Letting your child sit quietly with their favourite book or a new one (physical or on an iPad), will keep their imagination alive with little pressure. Maybe you could add in a short pop quiz about their book at the end of each chapter. For little ones, this can be reading time before bed, which may fit in with your routine anyway.

Let them teach you

This will work for all age ranges. Every child has their favourite subject, whether it’s dinosaurs or makeup. The subject matter can be anything if it encourages them to get their research hats on (books and iPads will come in handy here) and deliver a lesson to teach you all about it. Encourage a demonstration if it means they can show you how something works. They will probably learn even more about it in the process.

Maths!

Not every parents favourite, but here’s a good way to practice outside the textbook. Cooking! You’ll be measuring, weighing, using solids and liquids. Maths is very much at play here with different types of measurements and working out how many grams are in a kilogram for example. Baking and cooking will also encourage children to follow instructions closely to see the best outcome. This is a great teamwork exercise.


eks but creating structure territory for lots of parents.

FREE EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES: CBeebies - www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies (little ones) Phonics Play - www.phonicsplay.co.uk (little ones) BBC Bitesize - www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize (6-16yrs) BBC Teach - www.bbc.co.uk/teach PlanBee teaching resources - www.planbee.com Natural History Museum - www.nhm.ac.uk BP Education Service - bpes.bp.com (Science 11-19 yrs) Fuse School - www.fuseschool.org (Maths, Biology, Chemistry, Physics) Maths - amathsdictionaryforkids.com (interactive, printable) Education resources - www.crickweb.co.uk (Yrs 1 to 13)

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range of activities for our students. It is important to keep things as normal as possible whilst lockdown continues.” Face2Face takes place each Friday evening within term-time and is based at the newly built Holroyd Community Theatre. The Academy is open to children aged 9 - 18, with the desire to develop their skills in acting, singing and dancing. For more information about the Academy email: face2face@moretonhall.com

Learning curve

FACE2FACE PERFORMANCE ACADEMY A stage school near Oswestry, continues to provide exciting opportunities for its young performers, despite the lockdown restrictions. The Face2Face performance academy which is based at The Holroyd Community Theatre, Weston Rhyn, has decided to keep its curtains open with a series of online masterclasses from stars of the West End. The first session will be delivered by Christina Modestou (pictured), star of SIX the Musical. Ahead of her class, she said: “I’m really looking forward to teaching the Face2Face students. I think it is brilliant that technology can allow us to do this. “I hope that the students enjoy my session, and gain an insight into the industry.” Christina has also starred in; The Boy in the Dress; The Winter’s Tale; Little Shop of Horrors, The Last Mermaid and Shrek. As well as these masterclasses, the performing arts students have been developing their skills with online video lessons and tutorials from their regular coaches. Face2Face manager and head coach, Michael Jenkins said: “We’re thrilled to be offering a 8 | Oswestry life

VIRTUAL EVENT FOR PROSPECTIVE STUDENTS A virtual experience event will be held by Wrexham Glyndwr University between 3pm and 6pm on Wednesday, 6 May– giving prospective students the chance to discover more about its courses. There are also a range of online experiences, subject taster videos and more which are designed to give prospective students a flavour of what studying at Wrexham Glyndwr University is like – as well as dedicated sessions where prospective students can talk to both their lecturers and to current students about their experiences. Marketing and Digital Communities Manager Antonia Jones said: “The university runs regular events each year at our campuses across North East Wales for prospective students, including postgraduate Open Evenings and our popular Open Days. “For obvious reasons, our current plans for on-campus events are on hold. “Instead, we have developed a range of online experiences which will allow our prospective students to join us at Glyndwr – without leaving their house!” To find out more about what will be on offer, to take a look at some of the blogs, tours, and videos already available, or to book your space, visit: https://www.glyndwr.ac.uk/en/ VirtualExperiences/

MUSIC SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITIES Two talented musicians will get the chance to continue into Sixth Form education at Ellesmere College with the aid of music scholarships funded by two families. The Mullock Arts Scholarship and the Walker Music Scholarship - both funded by two families associated with the College - are now looking for applications for September 2020. Donated by two families, with a passion for education and love of the arts, these scholarships have so far made it possible for seven students to achieve outstanding academic results and receive worldclass music tutoring in the nurturing environment of Ellesmere College. The Walker Music Scholarship has been presented by the Walker family for the past six years after their daughter came through the College Sixth Form on a Music Scholarship and is now a music teacher herself. The Mullock Arts Scholarship has supported four students through Ellesmere so far and is presented by David and Robyn Mullock who wanted their love of the Arts to be passed on to the next generation. Elan Roberts, a Mullock Scholar said: “Ellesmere is a very special place and I have been able to achieve outstanding A Level results whilst being part of an award winning choir with access to first class voice coaching.” Elan is now studying music at the University of Liverpool. The choral programme has seen the College awarded the Education Business Award for Music 2018, in recognition of its all round delivery and inclusion of music within the College and wider community. Director of music, Tony Coupe said: “Music is an integral part of life at Ellesmere College and we value the talent, enthusiasm and dedication displayed by all our students.” For further information please contact Director of Music, Tony Coupe: tony.coupe@ellesmere.com More information about Ellesmere’s Arts Programmes can be found at www.ellesmere.com


Learning curve

Time to explore? With all that has taken place in the last few weeks, this may already have run through your mind... This could be a time to really take stock and assess if you are doing what you really want to. You could apply this to anything really, including hobbies, health and fitness. But what really are the options for re-training if you are a little older and have spent the last 10 years say, in a career you know inside-out? Actually, we have a lot of options and resources whilst at home that we can take advantage of. It will of course help your cause if you have access to the internet as a lot of resources are available this way and it can open a whole world of opportunity from your sofa in these quiet weeks. So, where do you start? Let’s take a look at some interesting subjects we can learn or build on.

what exactly you are looking for. Nutrition and baking also work together, so if you are a secret star baker at home and want to make that into something big, there’s definitely more to explore with a healthy edge thrown in. Time to practice those wacky recipes of yours!

Spruce up your written word skills

This covers any number of things. Engineering, fashion, art, architecture, graphics, manufacturing. Depending on what your focus is, you may want to consider exploring CAD (Computer-aided design). Whilst you might need a higher education establishment to be open to pursue qualifications, that doesn’t stop you finding reading materials online. This could answer some questions you have and give you the green light you’ve been looking for. Whilst there are a lot of courses out there, free and with a price, we found a platform (www.futurelearn.com) to search for reputable establishments offering free courses. Some then lead to qualifications which you can then pay for or explore further. Always make sure you check out the provider of any course you pay for if you don’t recognise them.

Whether this is because you’ve always enjoyed writing and want to start writing a book, or maybe you want to smarten up your CV. There are some reasonably priced online courses available or if you prefer, you could download an eBook or something for your Kindle that gives you some knowledge around these subjects. There are also free CV templates available on the internet to use as a guide.

Health and wellbeing

Nutrition is so important and this industry is huge and varied. If it’s fitness and health that really gets your attention, there are qualifications you can work for. There may be higher costs associated with that, depending on

Learn a language if you intend to travel If you had plans to go travelling but these are now just on hold, what a perfect time to learn a language. Even just the basics can help you in a foreign country. You never know where this might lead to and a language is always a bonus in any job role. Try some of the language apps available before you settle on one that’s right for you.

Design

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Six of the Best

8+

Board games

Older children: Jumanji, ages 8+, Players 2-4, £15.00

No one will be bored with these boardgames! Keep everyone entertained, from the classics with a twist, to some new entries. Order online and fun will arrive at your doorstep in no time.

Amazon

14+

Adults: Blockbuster: The Game (Big Potato Games),

ages 14+, Players 4-8, £19.97 Amazon

8+

5+ For the whole family: Pie Face (Hasbro), ages 5+,

Players 2+, £11.24 Amazon

Family: Monopoly Voice Banking (Hasbro), ages 8+, Players

2-4, £29.99 Argos

5+

Family charades: Einstein Eats Eggs (Clarendon Games),

ages 10+, Players 4+, £25 John Lewis & Partners

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3+

For little ones: Superhero Lotto Match and Memory Game

(Orchard Toys), ages 3+, Players 2-4, £8.00, John Lewis


Pets and Covid-19

We are aware of how it can impact us as humans but what about our pets? The guidance from pet charity PDSA is in line with that from the World Health Organisation and British Veterinary Association and should help you make the right decisions for you and your family when following the Government’s instructions.

Can my pet catch it?

Current findings are to be treated with caution and there is still no evidence that animals can transmit the virus to humans. The best thing you can do is to follow guidance on pet care which can be found on the website and to practice precautions such as washing your hands after stroking, feeding and cleaning up after your pet.

Can I walk my dog?

Yes, you can! The current Government guidelines are that we can take one walk outside per day, per person. Follow the social distancing policy for you and your pet when outside. This is currently keeping two metres in distance away from other people and that includes your dog’s distance from other people and other dogs. If you live with other adults, you can take turns to walk the dog during any one day, so you each get a walk if you have a particularly energetic dog!

What if my pet falls ill?

Your vet is still your first port of call for your pet, so follow the usual process for reporting any issues your pet may be having. Currently, you will need to ring your vet in the first instance due to the Government guidance in place. Be aware that some other processes may have changed since you last visited, so things may require a little patience. Your vet will have the best advice for your situation though. PDSA have an online symptom checker you can use for your pet. Go to www.pdsa.org.uk/taking-care-of-your-pet/ your-pets-symptoms

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 f O r T h o u g

Things have definitely been very strange recently. Whilst we, as humans, are doing our best to adjust, remember your pets are experiencing similar stresses and anxieties. Triggered by changes in their environment and routines, such as adults being at home more often and walks happening at random times of the day. There can be a feeling of heightened anxiety which our pets definitely pick up on and mirror, being the sensitive and sentient creatures that they are. It is not unusual for your pet to be confused at this time. It may express this by needing to bounce around or become withdrawn and take to its bed. So, spend some time with your pet, to reassure it and keep life as normal as possible. Continuing exercise is imperative for a dog’s physical and psychological wellbeing. So, while you are stuck at home, have some free fun and exercises with your furry friend. To begin, provide opportunities to sniff and search for hidden dog treats (hide and seek) around the home. Nose work comes very naturally to dogs. But caution, to stop them getting too tubby, remember to decrease portion sizes in their dinner bowl! Then, there’s running up and down the stairs after a soft ball or a toy. It is high impact so be careful on slippery surfaces with those joints, and any valuable family china! “Teach this old dog some new tricks”, e.g. roll over, give paw, the Waltz...there is nothing to stop you both appearing on Britain’s Got Talent 2021. And don’t forget now is a perfect time to reinforce those recall, walking to heel and wait commands while in your home, whether you have a young pup, or an older dog. They love learning, pleasing and praise. Hall ball is where a softball gets rolled down the hallway/landing. This provides a controlled opportunity to race after the ball without unpredictably tearing through the house as your dog tries to let off steam. Finally, catch the toilet roll tube (and then shred it to pieces as if it was hunted prey). Dogs love being able to shred freely, as it exercises one of their naturally instinctual skills. I hope you stay safe and well, now with no excuses not to exercise your dog! Rebecca Evans of Knowing Noses - Botanical Self-healing for Animals Oswestry life | 11


w o d w isnill

Gardening on a

by Graham Mitchell In the current conditions, we all might need a bit of ingenuity to maximise our gardening. It is a great time to get the children interested in cultivation and nature, especially when it comes down to growing something that you watch and then may actually eat. Obviously, a lot depends on whether you have seeds or can order them online. Even if you don’t, you can still grow from leftovers or use seeds from your larder or kitchen waste.

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Select three or four stems from a bunch of basil or coriander. Then strip all leaves from about 3/4 of each stem with a sharp knife. Put the stems in a jar of water and place in a sunny location. Change the water every other day. You’ll soon see new roots forming along the stems. When the roots grow to about two inches in length, plant the individual stems in a pot. Keep the pots somewhere that gets plenty of sunshine each day, and water regularly. Pick when the plants are fully grown but do not take all the leaves at one time. When you are growing from scraps, the key is to regularly change the water, mist and allow plenty of sunlight. With cabbages, place the discarded outer leaves in a bowl and add a small amount of water into the bottom. Place the bowl in an area that receives a lot of sunlight. Every couple of days, replace the water and mist the leaves with water. When roots and new leaves begin to appear, transplant the cabbage into the garden. Harvest when fully grown, then repeat with the new leaves. Celery is one of the easiest vegetables to re-grow. Cut the base from a bunch of celery, rinse with water and place in a small bowl. Fill the container with warm water, cut stalks facing upright. Place the bowl in a sunny area. Leave the base for about one week changing the water every other day and use a spray bottle to mist the plant. The small leaves around the centre of the base will grow thicker and turn dark green. After a week, move the celery base to a planter and cover it with soil, but leaving the leaf tips uncovered. Keep the plant watered. The celery leaves will grow from the base, as well as a few small stalks. Harvest when fully grown, then repeat the process. If your garlic starts to grow shoots, you can grow garlic sprouts—also known as garlic greens—from the clove. Place


▲ Balance

the avocado pit using cocktail-sticks, so its base just stands in water. You won’t grow avocados, but you can grow a great plant. Spice jar coriander sprouting after a week.

a budding clove in a small cup. Add water until it covers the bottom of the container and touches the base of the cloves. Be careful not to submerge the cloves in order to stop them rotting. Change the water every other day and keep on a sunny windowsill. In a few days, the clove will start to produce roots. Sprouts will grow. Cut one inch off the top of the sprouts once they’re around three inches tall and use on top of baked potatoes, salads, or as a garnish Other things to try are carrot tops, or the base of your lettuce or even the top of a pineapple. Same method: stand in water to cover the base, change the water every 2 days and keep in the light. With an avocado pit, you need to balance using cocktail-sticks, so its base just stands in water. You won’t grow avocados, but you can grow a great plant. Next time you have a salad sandwich, save the tomato pips and pepper seeds. Keep some of the butternut squash seeds too. Dry them off for a good few days and then sow as if they were bought seed. While we are it, have a look in your spice rack. You’ve plenty of seeds in there. Some may have been processed but it is still worth trying. You will need mature, intact seeds to germinate so use a quantity to allow for failures. Germinate between sheets of damp kitchen roll. Coriander, Fennel, Dill, Fenugreek, Cumin, Mustard are all a possibility. Once germinated transfer to pots of damp compost. Coriander seeds are usually gathered from a specific variant that tends to flower more than produce foliage, so use the first method for growing your leaves to sprinkle on your curry. Above all, have fun. None of these will have cost anything, and although many might not come to anything some will and it’s a great sense of achievement when they do.

None of these will have cost anything, and although many might not come to anything some will and it’s a great sense of achievement when they do.

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Together

WE CAN

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Health & wellbeing

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COUCH TO 5K

Taking up running can seem like a scary prospect, especially if you’ve never considered it, you feel out of shape or unfit. NHS Couch to 5K will help you gradually work up towards running 5K in just nine weeks. What is it? Couch to 5K is a running plan for absolute beginners. It was developed by a new runner, Josh Clark, who wanted to help his 50-something mum get off the couch and start running, too.The plan involves 3 runs a week, with a day of rest in between, and a different schedule for each of the 9 weeks. How does it work? This plan starts with a mix of running and walking and gradually builds up your fitness and stamina. Week 1 involves running for just a minute at a time, making the challenge feel achievable right from the start. Who is it for? It is for everyone. Whether you’ve never run before or if you just want to

get more active, Couch to 5K is a free and easy way of getting fitter and healthier. If you have any health concerns about beginning an exercise regime like Couch to 5K, make an appointment to see your GP and discuss it with them first. Benefits? For starters, it’s an easy way of improving your physical health. You don’t need equipment, just a good pair of running shoes that suit your foot type. Running regularly will improve the health of your heart and lungs. It can also help you lose weight, especially if combined with a healthy diet. There’s evidence it may help increase bone density in some people, which can help protect against bone diseases like osteoporosis. There are also mental benefits of running. Running regularly can also be a great stress reliever and has even been shown to combat depression. ➽

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Health & wellbeing

Let’s get started Week 1 - For your three runs in week 1: begin with brisk 5-minute walk, then alternate  1 minute of running and 1-and-a-half minutes of walking, for a total of 20 minutes. Week 2 - For your three runs in week 2: begin with a brisk 5-minute walk, then alternate  1-and-a-half minutes of running with 2 minutes of walking, for a total of 20 minutes. Week 3 - For your three runs in week 3: begin with a brisk 5-minute walk, then 2 repetitions of 1-and-a-half minutes of running, 1-and-a-half minutes of walking, 3 minutes of running and 3 minutes of walking. Week 4 - For your three runs in week 4: begin with a brisk 5-minute walk, then 3 minutes of running, 1-and-a-half minutes of walking, 5 minutes of running, 2-anda-half minutes of walking, 3 minutes of running, 1-and-a-half minutes of walking and 5 minutes of running. Week 5 - Three different runs this week: Run 1: brisk 5-minute walk, 5 minutes running, 3 minutes walking, 5 minutes running, 3 minutes walking and 5 minutes running. Run 2: brisk 5-minute walk, 8 minutes running, 5 minutes walking and 8 minutes running. Run 3: brisk 5-minute walk, 20 minutes running, no walking. Week 6 - There are three different runs this week: Run 1: a brisk 5-minute walk, then 5 minutes of running, 3 minutes of walking, 8 minutes of running, 3 minutes of walking and 5 minutes of running. Run 2: a brisk 5-minute walk, then 10 minutes of running, 3 minutes of walking and 10 minutes of running. Run 3: a brisk 5-minute walk, then 25 minutes of running with no walking. Week 7 - For your three runs in week 7, you will begin with a brisk 5-minute walk, then 25 minutes of running. Week 8 - For your three runs in week 8, you will begin with a brisk 5-minute walk, then 28 minutes of running. Week 9 - For your three runs in week 9, you will begin with a brisk 5-minute walk, then 30 minutes of running. ■ 18 | Oswestry life

Mental health and isolation by Lesley Greenwood, Psychotherapist (BSc Psychology (hons), MSc Clinical science), Psychology Today.

In life, whoever we are or however strong we may feel, we are faced with daily challenges that we have to overcome. Strength of mind is paramount to accomplishing many tasks. However now we are faced with this all-consuming pandemic of the Covid-19 virus, our lives have changed dramatically. Coping with change, accepting and adapting to change can be very difficult. Those with mental health issues often find change really quite daunting and extremely hard to adhere to. Mental health spans across many different illnesses and is extremely complex. However, a commonality is people like familiarity and stability and in these challenging times that can be quite difficult to achieve. There are ways to help yourself. Try sticking to a routine, get up, get dressed and start your day with a little exercise. Yoga and meditation are reported to be great activities for both the mind and body. Eating good nutritious, healthy food can help; foods with high vitamin and mineral contents are beneficial both to our bodies and brain function. Try and find a hobby that will get you in to a state of “flow”. Flow is a phenomenon whereby time passes, but you haven’t noticed because you are totally engaged in what you are doing. Reconnect with nature, take in your surroundings, the sky, the birds, the trees and plants. Try not to let the little things bother you, it’s about getting through this the best we can. And remember we are all different, so each one of us will have different coping mechanisms. If you do have a wobble, a meltdown or a panic attack, let others know how you feel. TALK to them and discuss your emotions, it’s by far the best way. Keep connected with love ones by Skype or FaceTime. And finally enjoy the tranquillity and downtime, if you’re lucky enough to have it. For many of us it may be the first time in our lives that we have had time to sit back and “smell the roses”. Cherish it. For others in the NHS or keyworkers they have probably never worked so hard and are putting their lives on the line everyday to look after us. For those that do feel they need extra help, there are many charities and online therapists there to support you through these difficult times. We can get through this, and when we do let’s really appreciate and celebrate the lives and loved ones we have. We’re in this together! Sources of support: www.mind.org.uk, www.samaritans.org


HEALTH

with Dr Paul Middleton

“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being” WHO definition of Health It’s quite difficult to write a health column when we are surrounded by illness, anxiety and isolation. By the WHO definition of health, none of us are healthy right now. So, let’s try a distraction – let’s talk about keeping happy! We all know happiness when we feel it but there is no accepted definition of this ubiquitous human experience – perhaps “overall appreciation of one’s life as a whole” (by Ruut Veenhoven, a Dutch sociologist) is the most succinct although Charles Schulz’s (the creator of Snoopy) “Happiness is a warm puppy”, comes a close second for me. Happiness is measured across the world and scales of international happiness are published (generally best to live in Scandinavia according to these), not least because happiness and health are related: happy people are usually healthier people. So, in the absence of puppies how can we try and stay happy? The Oxford Happiness scale may help here. Developed to measure the individual experience, it gives us some pointers towards a happier day-to-day existence. Take an interest in other people, relationships are vital here and, despite my misgivings about social media, it is now coming into its own. Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter and now Houseparty are busier than ever. Use the phone more, see it as a way of helping yourself and others. Try and find life rewarding by counting the positive aspects of your life. Happiness is often goal-related – set goals you can reach, reach them, enjoy them and then set more. Laugh and smile more – it really does release those endorphins. Try and see beauty and positivity wherever you can, even in the little things of life. Re-live good memories, look at old photos, play music you like, watch films you enjoyed, feel that each day has something satisfying about it. Lower your expectations without lowering your mood. Limit your exposure to the constant drip feed of media negativity and think further ahead when the future will be better. If you can help others join a Volunteer group – the old adage “you can’t help anyone else without helping yourself” has never been more true. Try to sleep and eat well, get some fresh air and exercise. So that seems like quite a lot to do really! Some people may learn a new language, write a book, take up painting or a myriad of other pastimes but most of us will not, even with the best of initial intentions. So, as in most of life, our minute to minute, hour to hour and day to day actions will be those that help our happiness. Let’s finish with a truism written two thousand years ago by Marcus Aurelius Antoninus: “Very little is needed to make a happy life. It is all within yourself, in your way of thinking”. Please try and keep well.

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B  UNCE BACK Be vocal about local

www.oswestry.life

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THIS PAGE RIGHT: Rose chafer BELOW FROM TOP: Non-biting midge; blood-vein moth; peacock butterfly

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Backyard safari through the lens of Graham Mitchell

There are times you go out hunting for wildlife and there are times you have to wait for it to come to you. Even in my tiny courtyard, once you start getting some sun, the garden comes to life. From a photographic point of view, you have two options. First option is to get in close. This is perhaps the simplest way. Most cameras and even phones offer a macro function allowing you to focus down to an inch or two. However, this has numerous drawbacks. Do you want to get that close to a wasp or large spider, perhaps not! Being that close, means you’ll probably scare anything apart from a snail away. Also, to get as much “depth of field” and nice sharp picture, you will need good light, as bright as possible. Hunching over an obliging model and focussing to a few inches invariably means you will be working in your own shadow. My preferred option, especially

Using a telephoto lens, I adjust the focus to “spot” so I know it will focus on the subject dead centre. Then I wait.

with flying beasties, is to sit back in my deckchair and take time to see where the insects tend to visit. Using a telephoto lens, I adjust the focus to “spot” so I know it will focus on the subject dead centre. Then I wait. So, what turns up? Well you never know. Even in the centre of town you can be surprised. Quite often when you take the picture you just know it’s an insect. Half the fun is downloading the images and then


THIS PAGE CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE: Lesser stag beetle; comma; hoverfly; spiders like sun too! RIGHT: White-tailed bumblebee

spending hours trying to identify these little wonders of nature. In the UK we have 27,000 varieties of insect, 650 of spiders and 120 types of snail. Some are incredibly difficult to identify, but you can usually work out the general family. Wonderful beetles like the Rose Chafer are some of the easiest to identify. I have a favourite insect to photograph, the hoverfly. Often mistaken for a wasp these black and yellow flies are common in gardens and tempt the photographer by hovering in the same spot until you are just about to press the shutter. I have so many photos of empty blue sky. In spring you will start seeing the butterflies coming out of hibernation. They will be usually a bit tatty, unlike the pristine wings of this year’s broods. Over-wintering pupae will have started to emerge in April, but we will have to wait until June for the Painted Ladies to arrive from North Africa. Oswestry life | 23


Permaculture

w inthatu r e

Engaging

Olly Boon of Earth Repairs explains the principles of permaculture

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Amidst the Covid-19 crisis more and more people are becoming interested in the future of our food security and what it means to be truly resilient during these uncertain times. Many are taking to their gardens and growing food. For many, it is their first time and knowing what systems are best to include and where to place them, can be confusing! Olly and his team are here to lend a helping hand. In today’s environmental climate together with socio-economic and environmental instability, there is a growing need to take responsibility for our own needs. There is a call to reconnect with the land and move a step further than sustainability and actively regenerate our landscape. For us, COVID-19 has highlighted that many mainstream systems, on which we rely, are fragile and uncertain. Perhaps a potential gift we can all take away from this

Once your ‘food forest’ is installed there is very little maintenance, and as the years go by the harvests increase, the soil gets healthier and the wildlife becomes more abundant. situation is to re-evaluate what’s truly important and take ‘responseable’ action. We can all become more resilient on an individual and community level by creating lifesupporting systems which provide water, food, shelter and energy, and are designed to generate enough


The main purpose of this design was to create functional, usable spaces throughout the site and grow an abundance of low maintenance food.

surplus to share when times are tough! Earth Repairs is our small ecological design company which was set up in 2018 by Olly Boon. We specialise in creating edible landscapes through the adoption of Permaculture principles. Permaculture is a design science grounded in ‘systems thinking’ which enables us to meet our basic human needs (and beyond), while improving the health of the environment which supports us. Our designs demonstrate what can be achieved by working with nature (rather than against it), by observing the patterns of how nature functions and applying this wisdom in our human landscapes. This approach results in the creation of beautiful, resilient, edible ecosystems which are ‘wholistic’ and integrated; with each part of the

system being supported by the whole and the whole being supported by each individual element. A clear example of a system like this (and one we specialise in), is a “Food Forest” or “Forest Garden”. These systems are essentially, edible ecosystems which mimic early-stage forests consisting of seven layers ranging from tall fruit and nut canopy trees, through to understory shrubs, perennial vegetables and herbs, root crops, climbers and groundcovers. Once your Food forest is installed, there is very little maintenance to do and as the years go by the harvests increase, the soil gets healthier and the wildlife becomes more abundant.  Through our design services, we support both residential and commercial clients to achieve their ‘key functions’. Whether that be to

enhance wildlife, generate food yield or manage energy flows and water management through a site, all the while guided by core ethics as our compass. We offer consultations, designs, installations and maintenance and customised DIY installation packages to support your gardens throughout all stages of their development. Earth Repairs are happy to help and are providing free webinars to aid people in getting started on their own regenerative journey. Visit our website: www. earthrepairs.com for more info. 

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Wildlife wonders for little fingers! Encouraging kids to enjoy their garden and the wildlife that share it Keeping children occupied in the holidays is challenging enough but add in prolonged time at home outside of the holidays, now that can be tough. Why not allow the nature in your garden to help by encouraging children to step outside into another world? It’s healthy, fun and educational and can give you just the break you need. The experiences children gain now will develop an ongoing enthusiasm for caring for wildlife which benefits everyone. There is so much more to be experienced in the garden, and a healthier way to spend family time. It is important to teach our children to enjoy nature and develop an interest and respect for wildlife ongoing; it is their future. Small hands are a great help for sowing vegetable seeds and planting delicate flowers so encourage the little ones to share gardening at home. It will keep them active and is a great way to improve your garden’s attractiveness to wildlife. Give them their own tools and an area to look after. They will find it rewarding to see new things appear after all their hard work. Celebrate their efforts during National Children’s Gardening Week this year between 23-31 May. Take learning outdoors with your own version of a forest school. If you can include insect hotels or simple log piles plus a shallow water feature, there will be opportunities for seasonal antics to watch. From wriggly worms, vibrant fluttering butterflies or the fascinating work of pollen-laden bumblebees. The more adventurous can explore minibeasts using bug viewers but everyone benefits from the joy of a child’s reaction to tadpoles with legs! Providing food and nest boxes in your garden helps both resident birds and give fleeting visitors a reason to stay around. Many of our most common garden visitors are bright, attractive birds that are

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hard to ignore and can light the initial spark that fires a lifetime’s interest. Make bird feeding part of your child’s daily routine to check and fill the feeder – it’s a great way to instil responsibility for wildlife. CJ Wildlife has a vast array of garden and window feeders for getting started plus build-your-own kits that enable children to build and decorate their own creations and have a personal connection with the birds that use them. Or set them a challenge with the Peanut Butter Modelling Clay to make inspired treats that the birds will love. To complement their efforts in the garden, there is a great range of books and guides to capture their imagination and play games to identify birds, butterflies and bugs. CJ Wildlife website has a special kids section known as The Den (www. birdfood.co.uk/the-den) which has lots of great ideas and free resources for creative colouring and wildlife activities to keep them occupied in the fresh air. And then when the sun goes down or if you just need a little quiet time follow the bird families of the CJ Wildlife live nest box webcams (www.birdfood.co.uk/webcams). Providing a fun and educational approach to ‘screen time’ these 24/7 cameras give children an egg-citing insight into the family routines of some special birds like owls, kestrels, peregrins and more. There is so much to see; meet the new Tawny Owl chick and look out for other new arrivals. CJ Wildlife are keen to share their enthusiasm with all generations, and offer a range of products specifically for children, to encourage more wildlife into gardens and take pleasure in wildlife in general. Everyday can be a nature day with wildlife books, games, gifts, toys and activities – all available from CJ Wildlife at www.birdfood.co.uk or freephone 0800 731 2820.


Interiors by Stephanie Dhillon Orange Ribbed Office Chair with Short Back £199 from Cult Living www.cultfurniture.com ▼ Bumble Sidetable Yellow £80 from Habitat www.habitat.co.uk

▲ Oberon

Brass Noughts and Crosses Set £48 from Artisanti www.artisanti.com ▼ Doodle Tablecloth - Colour and Draw £39.95 from Eat Sleep Doodle www.eatsleepdoodle.com

stay home

▼ Griffin Table

Lamp - Orange £25, from Habitat www.habitat.co.uk

*

Cactus Desktop Organiser £12 from Red Candy www.redcandy.co.uk

▲ Home

Our homes have a massive impact on our wellbeing and the way we live, and now with the emphasis on staying in we could all do with some fun and positivity in our living spaces. So, whether it’s increasing your productivity in the home office, using what you already have or wanting an injection of humour here are some ideas to inspire you. 

Sweet Home Doormat £19.95 from Mint and May wwww.mintandmay.co.uk

Orla Kiely 70’s Flower Enamel Set of Three Herb Pots £50 from Wild and Wolf uk.wildandwolf.com

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*

▲ Rainbow

vase £25 from Red Candy www.redcandy.co.uk Cuckoo house clock grey £67 www.redcandy.co.uk ▼ Mr P toilet roll holder £18 www.redcandy.co.uk

▲ Home Typography

Print £19 from Rocket Jack www.rocketjack.co.uk

▲ Bride

& Wolfe Rainbow Mirror - Classic £74 from Antipodream www.antipodream.co.uk Our House Magazine Holder £17.50, from Red Candy  www.redcandy.co.uk ▼ Indoor Allotment £24.99 from Prezzybox www.prezzybox.com

Batman on Loo Print £18.95 from Lime Lace www.limelace.co.uk

*


Home from home Virtual valuation service now being offered

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the housing market is still moving; homeowners are still considering selling, and buyers are still searching for their perfect home. However, with the subsequent lockdown measures in place, the buying and selling process has had to adapt and become virtual. Lucie Bromley, Sales and Office Manager at Woodhead Sales and Lettings said: “A new virtual valuation service was needed to continue providing sellers with a professional valuation without having to physically visit the property. As a member of The Guild of Property Professionals, we now have access to a virtual valuation service, an interactive platform that enables us to carry out a professional valuation remotely. During the lockdown, estate and lettings agents are evolving and coming up with innovative ways to ensure they can meet the needs of home movers and allow the process to move forward in a way that protects all parties. The virtual valuation service differs from other online valuation tools by allowing a professional valuation meeting taking place remotely. Unlike instant automated valuation tools, the virtual valuation platform allows us to collect as much information as possible from sellers to give a professional valuation of the property. In the virtual face-to-face meeting, agents can discuss the services they provide, answer any questions clients have and will be able to give them a realistic price for the property, whether that is for sale or for let, explains Lucie. All a homeowner or landlord needs to do is complete a questionnaire and upload a short video and/or some photos of their property, as well as choose the best date and time for them to take a video call. Based on the video, photos and information provided, we will be able to fully research the property and then conduct the faceto-face virtual meeting where we will be able to provide an accurate valuation, giving a realistic sales or rental price for the property, all at a time that is convenient for the homeowner or landlord. Following the meeting, we will send a detailed report on the property providing pricing expectations, much like any other valuation process, he/she notes. If the client decides they would like to go ahead, we are then able to start the process of marketing the property and conducting virtual viewings through our Virtual Viewing Tool. We have all the necessary tools and services in place to be able to go through the entire process remotely and find either a buyer or tenant for a property without there ever being any physical meetings. No one knows what the future holds or how people will interact with each other once restrictions are lifted. Potentially virtual valuations and viewings will continue to be a part of the ‘new normal’. If that is the case, we are ready to ensure that we can meet those needs and continue providing an excellent service to our customers; they are in safe hands with us,” Lucie concludes.

I’m

www.oswestry.life

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Property

Be proactive with your property We’re at home at the moment; working, living, caring, existing. So, can we take the time to prepare for the other side of lockdown? We think so. What are we talking about? Home projects that you’ve been meaning to do because you’ve be thinking of putting your house on market. Trying to think outside the box can be difficult when you are inside it.

So, lockdown came into our lives not allowing for much at all. However, if your plan was to put your property on the market this year or maybe even next, this could be your opportunity to tackle those areas that needed an uplift or change to bring the aesthetic back on track.

I don’t know where to start, what should I do?

Maybe it is just a lick of paint. Those tins you’ve had in the garage are begging to be opened and if you get ahead of the game with a fresh layer on, when you’re ready to bring the house to market, you may only need to do a few touch ups.

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If you want to show off the size of a room, a great way to do this is to set it up for a specific use. For example, a child’s bedroom, an office, a games room. You may not have children, but you can hint at suitability with a few carefully placed items for viewing days. Remember those things we always hoard from our childhood? They may just have a final use after all! A few teddies on a bed and some old board games on a chest of drawers, could be enough to suggest a smaller room is suitable for a child – perfect. Garden maintenance - this is a great one to tackle. If a garden appears easy to deal with and even if a potential buyer wanted to create a garden worthy of a Chelsea Flower Show trophy, if there is a clean canvas to start with it is likely to raise more interest.

I don’t have a lot of money spare to smarten the house up…

It’s ok, more often than not, things can be improved with a bit of time and some elbow grease. It is surprising how sometimes, when you think an item has had it, it bounces back and looks as good as

new. The oven is a classic example along with the bathroom. Try a bit of bleach on the areas that used to be white. As a last resort, if you do need fresh grouting or silicone putting in, there are plenty of instructional videos on YouTube to teach you a new skill.

I don’t have the biggest house on the street…

This should not be an issue because whatever size your house is, the people viewing it are within the right demographic. After all, they will have seen the details. However, there is a lot to be said for kerbside appeal. First impressions do count, as we know. Start by just tidying up, parking the bins to one side, cutting back what’s overgrown and sorting out anything like peeling paint. It’s the little things that can make the difference for you. And finally… Don’t forget to register with your local estate agent. Some of the Oswestry estate agents are still working remotely and are available to help and advise you. Check the websites for best means of contacting and have a discussion about how to prepare to sell.


Commemorate the end of WWII by celebrating with your family friends and neighbours

Stay at home

STREET PARTY Decorate your house red white and blue and enjoy a picnic in your front garden

VE DAY years Oswestry life | 31


h t i w k id s

Cooking

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Getting children involved in cooking from an early age can help them to develop the skills they need to plan and cook healthy meals throughout their lives as well as overcoming picky-eating. With most children being schooled at home during the Coronavirus pandemic, now could be a good opportunity to teach them some healthy cooking skills. With fast food outlet closures, it may also be a great time to get your child to ditch the junk food and start enjoying some nutritious home-cooked meals. Below are some tips for involving kids in cooking some simple and healthy meals at home. It is important that children are supervised by an adult, particularly when using sharp equipment or heat.

Meal planning

Try to involve the kids in planning meals by looking through the cupboards, fridge and freezer together to plan a healthy main course and a dessert. Use recipe books or find recipes online to get some inspiration. Encourage your child to include a good source of protein (e.g. eggs, fish, lean meat, lentils, beans or yoghurt), plenty of fruit and vegetables and a portion of carbohydrate (e.g. rice, pasta, bread or potatoes).

Develop your child’s technical skills in the kitchen

Younger children can safely learn how to use basic equipment in the kitchen, such as stirring food in a bowl with a wooden spoon or pouring ingredients into a bowl. Older children can be supervised when weighing out ingredients, breaking eggs, chopping up fruit and vegetables and using the hob/oven.

Encourage your child to taste a range of foods

Encouraging children to taste a range of different foods in a relaxed and fun environment can help overcome pickyeating. Making a simple fruit salad with your child, using fresh, frozen and/or tinned fruit can provide the opportunity for your child to taste small amounts of a wide-range of different fruits. For older children, this activity can also develop their skills in peeling and cutting fruit as well as opening tins. You can find lots more healthy tips, advice and recipes at heartresearch.org.uk

Heart Research UK Healthy Heart Tip, by Dr Helen Flaherty, Head of Health Promotion at Heart Research UK


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Natasha of Cave Valley Kitchens


An authentic taste of Jamaica, in Shropshire Liz and Natasha are the duo behind Oswestry based Cave Valley Kitchens, which was launched in January 2019. The name comes from Natasha’s father’s (Joselyn) birthplace and home in Jamaica before he came to the UK, like so many other of the Windrush generation. Joselyn was an avid cook and allotment keeper, growing many of the ingredients he was unable to source in the UK, such as callaloo and okra, and taught all his children his beloved family recipes. It started as an experiment, just a pop-up street food bar to see if Jamaican food could really be sold in rural Shropshire. It was also a tool towards recovery from other issues that had troubled Natasha for some time. An outlet to gain back confidence, social skills and a vehicle to get back into the workforce. An initial grant from Three Parishes Big Local and a loan to buy a van got them off the ground and over the next 12 months saw them going from strength to strength. Attending food festivals, jazz festivals, doing kitchen takeovers, corporate work, getting a permanent pitch on the steps of the Oswestry Indoor Market and then joining locally owned Zoom Food to provide a delivery service. Cave Valley Kitchens have linked with as many local suppliers as possible to source much of the

ingredients from small, ethical farmers and smallholders, including Welsh Goat Meat from Llanerfyl, Brambletigh Produce of Chirk and Ifton Beech Sheep of St. Martins. They also have a completely green policy on all the packaging, utensils and waste produced, with all of the green waste being put into their own compost. This has allowed them to follow in Joselyn’s footsteps by growing more of the vegetable components of the dishes. Winter is a hard time of year for street/market traders with much of the work being seasonal and with the added pressure of Covid-19, Cave Valley Kitchens have had to dig deep and

The team at Cave Valley Kitchens and the popular ‘Kingston Burger’: Two handcrafted patties, chilli cheese, mango salsa, lime and mint mayo with salad on a brioch bun

bend to allow the business not just to survive but also thrive. January had seen wedding bookings coming in and invitations to attend high profile events. With the announcement of lockdown, the Cave Valley team had to take decisive action. Liz says, “Our first step was to contact all couples getting married and put in place guarantees that if they needed to postpone, we would prioritise their most important day over other calendar events we had in the year. “Secondly, we had to adapt and change our menu to suit the needs of what a locked down population wanted. This has seen an explosion in orders of our Sunday roasts. With many major fast-food outlets shutting, we have added more convenient dishes such as burgers and light bites. We have also used this slower pace to spend time with professionals who are giving us advice of the best way to grow our business. We have, (with the help of another grant from Three Parishes Big Local) been able to work with Heading for the Coast to build a fantastic website and Be a Better Fish. Shortly we will be marketing our secret spice blends and have other growth markets that we are working towards getting into.” For takeaway ordering information, visit www.zoom-food.co.uk For further information, visit the Facebook page, Cave Valley Kitchens. Website soon: www.cavevalleykitchens.co.uk

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RECIPES

s c i bas

Back to

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You may not be able to get everything you would like in the shops right now, but with a few basic ingredients your store cupboard can become your new best friend

Chocolate Croissants Courtesy of inspiredtaste.net

In only 35 minutes, these are so simple to make and you can experiment with or without fillings. We will be chopping up our favourite chocolate bars to test! This recipe makes little croissants so assume two per person…or more! INGREDIENTS 1 large egg 1 tablespoon water 1 sheet of puff pastry, thawed 113 grams chocolate chips or chunks, marzipan, favourite chocolate bar chopped in to small pieces METHOD Heat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line two baking sheets with greaseproof paper. Beat the egg and water in a small bowl with a fork or whisk then set aside. Lightly flour your work surface. Unfold the pastry sheet then lightly dust top with flour. Use a rolling pin to roll the sheet into a 16-inch square. Cut pastry square in half then cut each half into four rectangles (making eight, 8-inch by 4-inch rectangles). Now, cut each rectangle diagonally into two triangles (making 16 triangles). Place about 2 teaspoons of the chocolate pieces down the center of each triangle. Then, starting at the wider end, roll each triangle up. Place each croissant seam-side down so that the tip of the triangle is tucked under the rolled croissant. Then, bend in the edges, creating a crescent shape. Lightly brush tops of croissants with egg wash. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until they are golden brown.

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Crumpets

Recipe courtesy of jamieoliver.com You don’t need much to make these and they work for breakfast, snack time or afternoon tea. You will need egg rings, but if you don’t have them, you can make them from kitchen foil. INGREDIENTS 400ml milk 1 tablespoon dried yeast 1 teaspoon caster sugar 300g strong white flour Half teaspoon bicarbonate of soda Vegetable oil for greasing METHOD Gently warm the milk. In a bowl, dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warm milk and 100ml of tepid water. Leave in a warm place for 15 minutes, or until frothy. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and 1 teaspoon of fine sea salt into a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in the yeast mixture. Whisk from the centre outwards until the consistency of double cream – this will take a few minutes. Add a splash more water, if needed. Grease four 10cm egg rings with vegetable oil. Wipe a little oil around a large frying pan or iron skillet and place over a medium-high heat. Arrange the rings in the frying pan and, once hot, spoon 4 tablespoons of the batter into each ring. Cook for 5 minutes, or until little bubbles appear on the surface.

Slather with butter or top with your favourite sweet or savoury treat for something more substantial

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Once the bubbles have burst, leaving little holes, use tongs to carefully lift off the rings and flip over the crumpets, then cook for 1 minute on the other side. Re-grease and reheat the rings and pan before cooking the next batch Serve the crum content_id:238397402 pets warm, with a slather of butter. If making them in advance, just toast lightly on both sides when you come to serve them. HOW TO MAKE FOIL RINGS Cut a length of tinfoil 33cm long. Place flat with shiny side up (facing you). Fold in half along the length. Then fold up the edge closest to you, 2cm along the length and repeat until you are left with a strip 33cm long and 2cm wide. Mark 32cm along the strip and cut off the end at this point. Curve the foil strip by running it gently over the edge of a table. Bring the ends together in to a ring and staple together. Finish moulding the ring shape with your fingers.


Pitta Bread

Recipe courtesy of monasterykitchen.org If you don’t have any yeast to hand, this is a handy recipe and can be frozen. Use for sandwiches, with soup or as a snack with some salad and hummus. Also great for kids if you add some jam. INGREDIENTS 272g plain flour 1 teaspoon salt Half teaspoon baking powder 177ml warm water 3 tablespoons olive oil METHOD In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, salt and baking powder. Stir in the water and olive oil and knead to form a moist dough. Form into a ball. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rest for 5-30 min. Roll out the dough into a long log on a very lightly floured workspace. Cut the dough into 8 equal parts and form 8 balls. Using a lightly floured rolling pin, flatten each into an 1/8” high flat disks. Lay pitta breads on two baking trays lined with baking paper spacing the disks apart from each other. Spray lightly (or brush) with water and bake immediately for 6-8 min. or until puffed and golden. Remove from oven and serve immediately or allow to cool to store for later. Store in a zip lock bag, air-tight container or freeze.

Supermarket wines Full bodied reds - the supermarkets aren’t doing too badly this year and there are some vegan/vegetarian friendly options on the shelf along with them. These can be found in the heart of town, so when you make your one trip out or place your online order, consider these beauties as a treat to bring some warmth in with your meal. Let’s work our way through the crate! Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference Argentinian Morador Malbec at £8.50 is a good start for dinner. With a base of black fruits, it sits brilliantly with a steak or even a barbecue and with a Fairtrade certificate, makes it all the more enjoyable. Vegan/vegetarian friendly, the Spanish Aldi Toro Loco is a plummy, cherry flavour with a degree of vanilla. At £5.49, it has incredible value and suits pasta and perfect for any cheese lovers out there. Across town in M&S, there’s a nice little French red at the £7 mark. The Gold Label Merlot is a fruity, simple wine which does well on its own as well as with meat dishes. Back to the vegan offerings and the Co-op’s £7.50 Italian Vanita Negroamaro won’t disappoint. Another great to pair with a hearty meal or just on its own, if you love cherry notes this is the one for you with an undertone of caramel. Enjoy a virtual wine tasting night with your friends! Sign up to Zoom and it’ll feel like everyone is in your living room with you. Pop on some music and you’ll have plenty of fun.

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tak

ies

y & delive a w r ea

DINE IN

Please observe government policy on social distancing Cave Valley Kitchens Home delivery. Jamaican classics also now supplying roast dinners and desserts. Call 07939 473055 or order through www.zoom-food. co.uk Fat Rabbit Takeaway and delivery. Website is now live for orders. www.fatrabbitvegan.com Heat and eat curries Home delivery. Oswestry Tandoori head chef Rukon is busy creating blast chilled meals which can be ordered online to heat up at home when required. Delivered every Tuesday (order by 6pm Monday) and Thursday (order by 6pm Wednesday) to Oswestry and surrounding villages www.rukons.co.uk Kana with Kassie Home delivery. (Fijian, Burgers, curries) deliveries 10am-2pm and 5pm-9pm. through www.zoomfood.co.uk Lepones Italian Restaurant Takeaway and free home deliveries within 5 mile radius of Oswestry. Friday and Saturday only 5pm-10pm. Pre order on 01691 659965. www. leponesitalian.co.uk/takeaway. Momentum wines Takeaway service only. A wide selection of wines, gins and beers. Details of how to pre-order on their website at www.momentumwines.co.uk

40 | Oswestry life

Naz Eastern Eye Takeaway and delivery. Open 7 days a week. Call for orders or use JustEat. 01691 679441 Not Today Seitan Home delivery. Home made vegan food deliveries 6pm-late 7 days a week. To see menu and place an order go to zoom-food.co.uk or contact Jess 07568 088607 Oswestry Tandoori Beatrice St, Oswestry. Takeaway and delivery. 100% contactless order and pay online oswestrytandoori.net or by phone 01691658080. We will not take orders in-shop. Sebastians Deliveries to your door. Delivery free within a 5 mile radius (minimum spend £25) Details on their website -www.sebastianshotel.com/delivery Simla Indian Restaurant Takeaway and delivery. Opening Tuesday-Sunday 5pm-10pm. We request contactless & over the phone payments where possible. Please be observant of social distancing guidelines within the restaurant. Stonehouse Brewery Takeaway service only. Stonehouse & Henstone Distillery bottles.Message them on info@ stonehousesbrewery.co.uk or through their Facebook page.

Tam’s Noodle Bar New St, Oswestry. Takeaway and deliveries. Open: Monday 4-9:30pm, Tuesday-Saturday 12-9:30pm, Sunday 4-8pm. Delivery within 3 miles only with minimum £12 spend plus £2.50 fee. Sorry, cash only 01691 238156 The Cemist/Green Inn Takeaway menu. Fridays: A selection of their popular homecooked dishes in addition to a Steak Menu. Pizza Menu will be available on Tuesdays with Sunday lunch in due course. Check their Facebook page for details. The Corner Cafe Traditional all day breakfasts Deliveries 10am-2pm and 5pm-9pm. www.zoom-food.co.uk The Last Inn, Hengoed Home delivery of Sunday lunches. Book early to avoid disappointment. Call Jeremy or Karen on 01691 659747 to confirm delivery details and order (choices on their Facebook page) The Navigation Inn, Maesbury No contact takeaway service for food and drink which is currently available Tuesday - Saturday from 5pm-7.30pm (last orders). This is a book by phone service only on 01691 672958 The Sweeney Please call 01691 652450 or follow their Facebook page for details.


Bookshelf A recent survey carried out by the National Literacy Trust found only 52% of eight to 18-year-olds read for pleasure. Research has shown that those that do are more likely to do better in exams; so encourage independent reading by picking some great books and reading to your child. It is a great bonding experience for both of you, and one that can start them on the path to a lifelong love of reading.

5-8 year olds Matilda’s How to be a genius Roald Dahl RRP £7.99 Paperback

Matilda Wormwood is a genius - her brain fizzes and bubbles with brilliance. She outwits her gruesome parents, and even her terrifying head teacher, the monstrous Miss Trunchbull. Now, you too can baffle, bewilder and bamboozle your friends and family! Astound them with feats of calculation, scientific miracles, incredible creativity and fiendishly clever tricks, all with simple, step-bystep instructions. Inspired by Roald Dahl’s terrific tale, this is the perfect book for budding brainboxes everywhere!

Fing David Walliams RRP £12.99 Hardback

Myrtle Meek has everything she could possibly want. But everything isn’t enough. She wants more, more, more! When Myrtle declares she wants a FING, there’s only one problem… What is a FING? Mr and Mrs Meek will do anything to keep their darling daughter happy, even visit the spooky library vaults to delve into the dusty pages of the mysterious Monsterpedia. Their desperate quest leads to the depths of the jungliest jungle where the rarest creatures can be found. But will they ever find a FING?

9-12 year olds

www.b ookab oo shop online kshop.co.u k at y books our local hop

Teens & young adults

The Boy at the back of the class Onjali Q. Rauf, RRP £6.99 Paperback Announced as the overall winner of the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2019, Onjali Q. Raúf’s remarkable debut is a story of hope, friendship and the importance of kindness. When a new boy joins their class, a group of children try to befriend him. They soon learn that Ahmet is a refugee and has been separated from his family. None of the grownups seem to be able to help him, so the friends come up with a daring plan, embarking on an extraordinary adventure.

Tom Gates Biscuits bands and very big plans Liz Pichon

The Poet X Elizabeth Acevedo RRP £7.99 Paperback

When it comes to standing her ground in her Harlem neighbourhood, Xiomara lets her fists and her fierceness do the talking. But X has secrets - her feelings for a boy in her bio class, and the notebook full of poems that she keeps under her bed. And a slam poetry club that will pull those secrets into the spotlight. Because in spite of a world that might not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to stay silent. A novel about finding your voice and standing up for what you believe in, no matter how hard it is to say.

Boy 87 Ele Fountain RRP £6.99 Paperback

RRP £6.99 Paperback Tom Gates and his band The DogZombies have some big plans that need to be actioned. MY VERY BIG PLAN: 1. Write more songs about VERY important things like... biscuits 2. Make sure there’s a good supply of SNACKS for our band practice 3. Avoid Delia at ALL COSTS, she thinks I’ve been SNOOPING in her room. (I have of course but she doesn’t need to know that!) 4. DOODLE as much as possible, especially if Marcus is watching”

Shif is just an ordinary boy who likes chess, maths and racing his best friend home from school. But one day, soldiers with guns come to his door - and he knows that he is no longer safe. Forced to leave his mother and little sister, he embarks on a dangerous journey; a journey through imprisonment and escape, and a perilous crossing by land and sea. as he makes his way to a future he can only imagine. A gripping and uplifting tale of love, survival and human kindness

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Culture

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FILM OF THE MONTH Fighting with my family (12)

AVAILABLE TO STREAM ON NETFLIX, AMAZON PRIME AND MORE. With the temporary closure of cinemas in the UK, now is a great time to try some of the streaming services if you haven’t already. Now is also the time for settling down with your loved ones and watching a feel good film. Something uniquely British that will entertain a wide age group would be great. This month’s film hits the spot, throws in a classic triumph of the underdog story and gets it in a headlock! Fighting With My Family (2019) is based on the true story of Norwich wrestler Paige Knight, she became a huge star in the colourful world of US wrestling. The beauty of Fighting With… is that it’s ultimately about finding your place in the world and achieving your ambitions, and a film where triumphing against the odds is never in doubt is sorely needed right now. Director Steven Merchant assembled a great cast including Nick Frost, Vince Vaughn, Florence Pugh (Sparkling in the

lead role) plus a hilarious guest appearance from The Rock. It’s genuinely very charming and heart-warming, with a great script, as British as a Sunday Roast and just as enjoyable. A perfect film for these difficult times, so gather round the TV and watch something that will lift your heart.

Liked this? Try Game Night (2018) The funniest mainstream Hollywood film of recent years. A modern screwball comedy, Game Night sees a murder mystery evening spiral out of control when real crooks get involved. Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams lead a superb ensemble cast in a film that never stops being funny, right through to the brilliant end credits. Available to stream. Until Kinokulture reopens, Oswestry Film Society are running a Virtual Film Club, recommending a film every week that’s available to stream for free on catch up services. More information at www.oswestryfilmsociety.com . Chosen by Michael Hudson of Oswestry Film Society


POEM

BOOK REVIEW

The Art of Conversation BY JUDY APPS

Available on Kindle, Audiobooks, Apple Bookstore Conversation is an art but not one that comes naturally to everyone. How does it work? How do we hold a decent conversation with someone we’ve only just met? What sort of topics get everyone going? We don’t have the answer for every situation, but this little treasure goes a long way to helping you find some guidance. Whether you’re at home or just about to go for the interview of your life, the hints and tips cover a wide range of scenarios. Not only that, but it cleverly breaks down the behavioural side which makes it even more interesting. Author Judy Apps adds in snippets of the odd awkward encounter she remembers which actually lightens the whole subject and you can definitely relate. She also covers confrontations and how you can calmly deal with those, which I think we all need reminding of sometimes! This is a great little book that is easy to pick up and understand. A great boost if you are not so comfortable around others and if you know you have an important meeting on the horizon, this may help you prepare confidently. Or maybe it’s your first date in a few years and you want to remind yourself of how to keep the conversation going. Whatever it is, this is sure you give you some great pointers.

It had started out like any other day... Have you ever met a mouse? I mean really met a mouse a mouse that converses in human tongue. I did once upon a time. I found her in the library peeping out from Lewis Carroll. “Ssshh” she said. “The children are asleep.” I turned from ‘The Old Curiosity Shop’ my interest piqued; knelt and raised a finger to my lips, to show I understood and whispered “where are they? Where are they asleep” “In there” she said, with tiny paw pointing to ‘Great Expectations’. “May I see them, may I see the little mites?” She sat upright on her haunches, her jet bead eyes fixed on mine, her whiskers twitched and her tail curled in. “Yes” she said “Yes you may, I sense your kindness, but remember, ssshh, we must be quiet.” I slowly opened the gilded cover; there nested, in a neat round cup of chiselled fine paper, four tiny pink, furless, newborns breathed the breath of sleep, in Dickensian words. I marvelled at her ingenuity, her intelligence. Compared her to chimpanzees and the corvids.

THE ARTS Bring some culture into your home... Exhibitions online at www.willowgalleryoswestry.org Painting with words until 2 May The Picturemakers/Y Llunwyr: Changing Landscapes until 2 May ‘Lines’ photography exhibition online at https://qube-oca.org.uk/lines/ View online and vote for ‘The People’s Choice Prize’ by emailing art@qube-oca.org.uk Pentabus Theatre company at www.pentabus.co.uk Shropshire theatre company is releasing recordings of past shows Streaming for free - released every Friday at 2pm for anyone to access National Theatre at home at www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/nt-at-home 30th April and then on demand for a week: Frankenstein 7th May and then on demand for a week: Antony & Cleopatra

She scampered across the page her feet, light as a feather not making a sound, snuggled in with her young. “Would you please now, close out the light” she asked of me. “Of course, and thank you” I said “Sleep well and thrive. It’s been a pleasure to meet you; have you a name?“ “Little Nell” she yawned and shut her eyes. Jan Hedger Oswestry life | 43


Business

Hi-tech

When the world changes suddenly overnight and your customer base can’t come to you in person or you can’t visit them, how do you deal with that? How is business going to continue and will staff be able to cope? These are some of the questions that all our local businesses have faced. Oswestry resident and business owner, Billy Haining explains how lockdown has impacted his company and staff. Launched in the summer of 2017 and based in Ruyton XI Town, Colander Technology specialises in helping industry and businesses communicate seamlessly and securely. Their staff includes wi-fi and network consultants who have delivered national surveys for many household companies such as John Lewis, Sainsbury’s and River Island. They also have a cyber security team, who specialise in training staff to improve their behaviour, in order to help prevent cyber-attacks. With companies now having to rely more on their online presence during the lockdown, this could become ever more critical for business strategies, especially looking further ahead.  Billy explains the immediate impact lockdown has had on the business. “The main issues we have faced is that all physical site visits and onsite consultancy have understandably been postponed indefinitely. The other main issue is ensuring we keep our staff motivated, physically active and that their personal wellbeing is being considered during this unprecedented time.  “Having multiple strands to the business has meant that although there are no physical customer visits,

44 | Oswestry life

we have actually seen an increase in interest in our cyber security offerings as companies want to ensure staff working from home are doing so securely. Currently, video is a key application for businesses and our consultants have remotely been assisting them to improve their ability to communicate internally and externally. “Regarding our staff, we are used to working from home and using video, so this is normal for us, but we are trying to make our weekly team catchups more fun by not talking about anything work related. Introducing some fun activities such as guest speakers who join us remotely, weekly fitness competitions and we recently had a lunch pub quiz over video with some of the NHS heroes from the Shropshire Community Health team.” Understandably, providing a service and virtual product may be easier to deliver remotely, but people buy from people and business transactions are primarily based on trust. Whether it’s business to business, or business to customer. So, learning to embrace the ‘Zoom Apps’ of this world, is very much of the moment.  Billy advices of the steps that have proven critical for his business to survive. “Caring for our staff. Establishing robust and frequent communications with our staff and trying to understand how they are being personally impacted by the virus was top of the list. People need reassuring in times like these, so we’ve made sure they know how we planned to support them.

People need reassuring in times like these, so we’ve made sure they know how we planned to support them.

“Our customers, suppliers and the general public are also important and also need reassuring we are taking appropriate measures to combat the outbreak. Social media has been a great platform for this as well as sourcing ideas from other people. “Lastly, we have been able to make the most of some of the spare time to think about developing new services and reviewing things like internal governance to ensure that when restrictions have been lifted, we’re ready to hit the ground running. “Getting through this period is key but when we do, I believe the opportunities that will present themselves will be significant for ourselves but for most businesses, as the economy starts to recover.” We are all looking forward to life getting back to normal and from a business perspective, no matter what it is you are selling, now is the time to pivot and prepare for the recovery. For further information, contact bhaining@colandertechnology.co.uk or call 03330 032 277.


Investments what should I do? As I write, the global Coronavirus pandemic has changed daily life for most of us in a way that many have never experienced. We have also seen a large impact in the financial markets which has seen large drops and huge volatility. At these times, concerned investors contact their advisers and seek guidance, usually asking – ‘should I take it all out and wait for this to pass?’ and often get frustrated with the response – ‘no, that is usually the worse thing you can do’. Here are some reasons for this response, and some reassurance:

The markets have seen this before

While the events that surround the recent market turmoil may be new, the effects on the markets are not. Looking back, a series of events have rocked the markets and each time they have recovered. By dis-investing you risk missing out on the recovery when it comes. This is important; nobody can predict the bottom, but by moving out of the market you are guaranteed to miss it!

I’m

Your portfolio is already (and will keep on) doing its job

We always stress the importance of diversification. This means spreading the risk across types of investment, geographic region and sector. An investor who only holds shares in airlines would be feeling a lot of pain now, which shows the risk of not diversifying. While holding different types of investments cannot protect you from the falls, it can help soften the impact.

Remember, investment is for the long term

Investing in equities (company shares) should be considered a long-term proposition. Short timescales increase the risk of losing out given the inherent volatility of share prices. However, with time on your side, the risk of portfolio declines becomes smaller. If you are concerned about your investments at this challenging time, or want to explore the possibilities investments can offer, why not speak to one of our advisers? We offer an initial consultation free of charge and we could help you achieve your financial goals.

www.oswestry.life

Oswestry life | 45


Fashion

What is happening to fashion? With the news full of stories of the latest big names going into administration, what does that mean for the boutique brands in the fashion world? Our editor and local fashion brand owner, Victoria McKenna, sheds some light on what is happening with her brand due to the changes in the market.

46 | Oswestry life

made locally, when things start getting back to normal. A bold move you’ll agree, but as Victoria explains, “I think recent events have shown us that we should work more with our local and national resources, so we are more likely to be able to survive a sudden change such as the virus brought about. Fashion is tricky in the sense that some items are just not manufactured within the UK, but now is the time to change that and start creating the opportunity for skills to come back to our country.” We are excited to see Victoria’s brand expanding further during 2020 and she is now running a fantastic competition for an NHS worker or key worker to win one of her famous silk blouses. Made in London with couture finishes, the blouses are beautiful and are extremely wearable. Watch the Oswestry Life and fashion brand’s page for announcement of competition launch. Visit: victoriajanemckenna.com or Facebook: Victoria Jane McKenna Ltd VJM Active Sculpting Leggings and Lounge Sweatshirt

Before the lockdown, brands like Victoria’s worked on a range of routes to market. Online sales through websites, shop concessions, but then a lot of brands (including some high street names) spend time attending and selling to customers and trade at local and national events. Victoria describes how her brand has developed over the past 12 months. “I had a number of events booked into my calendar that I had been invited to and accepted. The events I like to show the brand at, always involve a charity that will benefit from the fundraising on the day with raffles and ticket sales. It is my way of being able to give back to the community. The charities are locally based to the events and usually have sponsors organising the events. I have also been fortunate enough to make some incredible friends along the way, so when the lockdown arrived, I was so disappointed for the charities and can only hope at this point they can re-schedule. “These type of shopping events are not only vital for the charities, but also for the brands because there, you are receiving feedback directly from your customer base and hearing what they want going forward. This is the reason why I brought the activewear into the brand. I was being asked for it constantly but at affordable prices, with the quality of the expensive leggings. So that’s what I created and I love that element of the brand. Keep your eye on the activewear range, I am adding new items regularly. “The silk blouses are still a large part of the business and I am developing new designs with a locally based team. Soon, the new blouses will be made not far from home at all! But you’ll have to wait for the details, which will be coming to the website where you will be able to see sneak peaks of designs and planning.” The newest additions to the brand have been the handbags and handbag hooks. These have proven very popular and Victoria tells us her next move is going to be to have her bags


The Izzy Bag

▲ Audrey

shirt in navy Handbag hook Maggie blouse in wisteria

Victoria Jane McKenna is running a competition during May, for an NHS or key worker to win one of the signature blouses (worth up to £400) through nomination. The competition will be announced on the brand’s Facebook page, so keep your eyes peeled!

Oswestry life | 47


Fashion & beauty 2

Calm& casual We need some inspiration! So here it is in the form of some comfortable, but glamorous outfits to slip into. Everything is comfortable and cool at the moment as the weather is starting to warm up and life is much slower in pace. Even if we are at home, we can still look and feel gorgeous. Try hese for size.

3 1

Relax

2. Belted Dress £18, www.primark.com 6. Guiliana Sunglasses £30, www.dunelondon.com

Chic

4. Collection Jumpsuit £59, Trainers £19.50, www.marksandspencer.com 3. Satin Blouse £29.99, Cargo Pocket Jeans £39.99, www.bonprix.co.uk

Cute

1. Summer Dress (due in summer 2020), www.riverisland.com 5. Floral Dress (due in Summer 2020), www.riverisland.com

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6

4

5


Head to toe HAIR - Color Wow Dark Brown Root Cover Up £28.50 www.marksandspencer.com EYES - Eyemask £25, www.purecollection.com FACE - Daily Cleansing Ritual £20, MOA Magic Organic Apothecary, www.moa.co.uk FACE - Natural Clay Face Mask £10, www.wearthlondon.com BODY - M&S Restore Bath Salts £6.60, www.marksandspencer.com HANDS - Goats Milk Avo Hand Nail Cream 30ml £5, www.dobbies.com

r e p Pam

day

Ladies, don’t forget to take some time to look after yourself. Our hair and skin can start to look dull quickly with makeup and being inside for hours on end. Using good quality products targeting specific areas can really make a difference on the outside and inside, because you will feel brighter. Try our suggestions here to boost your overall glow.

Something soft Spa Cotton Light Blue Towels from £12, www.habitat.co.uk

Oswestry life | 49


Q&A

I’m

Can I get temporary custody of my children during the COV-19 pandemic? Q. I have two children who live with my former partner who has been described as a key worker during this dreadful pandemic. Because of this she has insisted on sending our children to school. I am at my wits end as I think she is placing them at risk of contracting Coronavirus. I believe she is just being difficult for the sake of it, because I work part time from home and could easily care for the children. So, they really do not have to go to school at all. Is there anything I can do to force her to let me look after them in my home for the time being while the country is in crisis? A. Where parents cannot agree about child arrangements one will usually need to make an application to the Court. When deciding what Order to make, which in your case is whether the children should attend school or not, the court will look at a number of criteria as set out in the children act 1989. These criteria are commonly referred to as the welfare checklist. Ultimately, the Court will make their decision based on what they believe is in the children’s best interests. One of the criteria the court are required to consider is the child’s short term and long-term physical, emotional and educational needs. To this end they will consider which parent is best placed to provide these needs and this will usually be based on evidence that has been submitted to the court. To achieve the best chance of providing what you clearly believe to be the safest option for your children, you should make an appointment to speak to a family solicitor as soon as possible. For safety reasons some solicitors such as ourselves are currently conducting telephone appointments, so do be patient as call volumes will be higher than usual.

www.oswestry.life

50 | Oswestry life

This question has been answered by Nathan Wright a Partner with GHP Legal. If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter it is still possible and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we continue to offer our high levels of service to our clients. In accordance with government guidelines, most of our lawyers are currently working remotely which means you may not now receive a response as promptly as you may expect. Please kindly bear with us and we will respond as soon as we are able. Where possible, we ask that you communicate with us by phone or email. If you have a new enquiry, please use the ‘Contact us’ form on the website or call 01978 291456. As a firm, you will appreciate that we are still extremely busy, and whilst our colleagues are well equipped to work remotely, due to current circumstances work may be interrupted – however cases are still ongoing and will be prioritised by urgency and need. Stay safe and thank you for your support.


Oswestry life | 51


Victory Party

52 | Oswestry life

On bank holiday Friday 8 May, it is VE Day and this year marks the 75th anniversary of this very important day. On this day in 1945, Winston Churchill announced to the country that the war was over in Europe and so it’s a time to remember the sacrifices that were made at home and abroad. Put the bunting up and get ready for a very British afternoon tea. Here are some ideas to help you celebrate at home and maybe wave a flag or two out the window. If you’re planning some daytime activities with the family or children, the official announcement came at 3pm back in 1945, so you could raise a toast then. Alternatively, tune in to the BBC at 9pm for the Queen’s pre-recorded address to the nation. The Queen’s address will commemorate the 75 years passed. Don’t miss the sing-a-long with Dame Vera Lynn.


Try these party ideas: Afternoon tea

You can’t get more British than a Victoria sponge, scones and finger sandwiches. Oh and don’t forget a pot of tea.

Flag making

Settle down with the kids to make some flags as decorations or that you can wave. You can use wooden spoons to attach the flags to if you don’t have access to any sticks.

Make your own bunting

Visit bbc.co.uk/makeadifference for everything you need to make your own bunting and decorate your house or garden.

Play some music

70 years ago, it was the likes of Dame Vera Lynn, Doris Day and Bing Crosby who could be heard over the radio. Familiarise the family with some famous songs and re-create the atmosphere.

Dance like it’s 1945

Pop on YouTube and have a go at some of the dance styles. You’ve probably heard of it, but the Lindy Hop was very popular and a big part of the Swing-era! Give it a try but make sure you move the furniture to one side first.

Memories of 1945

Visit the VE Day pages on the www.bbc.co.uk/teach website to hear real celebrations recorded from the day. ➽

For further information visit www.veday75.org The following websites have downloadable packs to help you prepare your party at home, including recipes, 1940s playlists, colouring posters for kids and your windows and templates for bunting to make with the children to decorate your home: www.ve-vjday75.gov.uk/plan-your-ve-day-party www.english-heritage.org.uk/ve-day Oswestry life | 53


ROCK BUNS Ingredients

8 oz wholemeal/wholewheat flour 4 teaspoons of baking powder 1/2 teaspoon mixed spice/all spice 2 oz margarine 2 oz sugar 2 oz sultanas or dried mixed fruit 1 egg or 1 reconstituted dried egg milk 2 teaspoons sugar for topping

Method

1. Sift the flour, baking powder and spice 2. Rub in the margarine 3. Add the sugar, dried fruit and the egg 4. Gradually add enough milk to make a sticky mixture 5. Put a spoonful onto parchment paper on a baking tray (makes 12-14) 6. Sprinkle with the sugar 7. Cook in a hot oven for 12-15 minutes

POTATO SHORTBREAD Ingredients

3 ozs margarine 2 ozs rice flour Pinch of salt Little almond flavouring 4 ozs warm mashed potato 3 ozs plain flour 2 ozs sugar

GINGER BEER

1 gallon / 4.5 litres of boiled water 1 lb / 450g sugar ½ oz / 14g yeast 1 level teaspoon ground ginger 1 level teaspoon cream of tartar

Method

1. Put the yeast in a basin with 280ml water and 1tsp of sugar. Stir and leave to stand until the yeast rises. 2. Put the boiled water, sugar, ginger and cream of tartar into a large jug. Once the water is lukewarm warm, stir in the yeast. 3. Leave to stand until cool, then skim well and bottle carefully. 4. It will be ready for use in two days.

Why not bring some authenticity to your party by trying some of these wartime recipes?

Method

1. Cream fat and sugar 2. Add mashed potato and beat well 3. Add rice flour, salt and flavouring. 4. With hands lightly press the flour (containing a little baking powder) into the mixture, roll out to around 1/2 inch thick and cut into shape 5. Bake in a moderate oven for around 25 minutes

54 | Oswestry life

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A very British bear Bevan makes a comeback as part of the Merrythought’s blue ribbon campaign

Based in Ironbridge, Britain’s oldest remaining teddy bear manufacturer which is 90 this year, is supporting the NHS and the coronavirus fighting fund thanks to a special souvenir bear and his cuddly companions. Bevan the Bear, originally created to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the NHS, is making a comeback and will be joined by a selection of Merrythought’s traditional, British-made teddy bears to raise funds for the NHS Charities Covid-19 Appeal and SATH, the company’s local Hospital Trust in Shropshire The ‘Blue Ribbon’ campaign collection also includes Merrythought’s best-selling London Curly Gold bear, together with Oxford, Traditional Cheeky and of course Bevan - named after founder of the NHS, Aneurin Bevan. Paying tribute to the NHS frontline heroes, Merrythought has chosen only teddy bears that wear a blue ribbon, with a minimum of 20% of all online sales to be donated to the charities. “While a Merrythought teddy bear is the ideal companion to get you through challenging times such as these, choosing a special bear for either yourself or a loved one will now also help the NHS and those affected by Covid-19,” said fourth-generation managing director of Merrythought Sarah Holmes. “Bevan is a particularly special bear for us, and we were very proud of our collaboration with Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust, our local NHS Trust. We now want to build on this to help the wider NHS as it faces such an unprecedented crisis. “We appreciate the difficulties that families and the NHS are facing at the moment and are keen to see the Merrythought teddy bear giving some financial and emotional support to those affected by Covid-19. Merrythought is very much a business which has been at the heart of the community for the last nine decades, and we hope to continue to be so for generations to come.” While the Merrythought Shop in Ironbridge has had to close in line with current Government restrictions, orders can still be placed online. “We are proud that our teddy bears are British made, and we appreciate all the efforts across the community to support British businesses as we all try our best to get through this crisis together.”  Bevan is available alongside the rest of the Blue Ribbon Collection at  www.merrythought.co.uk. 

I’m

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PUZZLE PAGE

Exercise your brain with our local wordsearch

C A E G L A S P A R K F W S C

A A F D O Q N Y T N Y G O R B S F M J U B S T N I A S W E N T R G B X S O A R T S H S R E L N E I R O N W O R K S M I W E H R H S I I G E S G S U H O D I I H G Y A S A N H G E S D L L W Y D M A N S I O N S P E E L H P B F E S R S K H U O R I F T S H E L F B A N K M R F F O H Y L L A H D L I U G H L T R K D B S T O S W A L D S I T T N O T G N I T T I H W I W A D D S K D A E H Y E L I

A B

S L G Y S W O O S W E S T R Y Can you find the 20 following words hidden in our local wordsearch? The answers can be found running backwards or forwards, horizontally, vertically or diagonally. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

OSWESTRY CAMBRIAN RAILWAY HILLFORT MUSEUM BAILEY HEAD CAE GLAS PARK ATTFIELD CASTLE IRONWORKS SHELF BANK

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11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20.

SOLUTIONS QUBE ST OSWALDS WHITTINGTON GOBOWEN LLWYD MANSION WILFRED OWEN GUILDHALL BROGYNTYN NEW SAINTS SHROPSHIRE


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