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inside Technology Support During Lockdown Q&A with Peter Pestell from The Sun Felmersham Made In Bedford – The ethos behind the business Marston Vale Forest – Accessing Nature in a global pandemic £25 Prize Crossword www.bedslifemagazine.co.uk

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Council News Richard Fuller MP Mohammad Yasin MP Volunteering Opportunities Made in Bedford Q&A with Peter Pestell from The Sun Felmersham The Composing Cook Recipe – Giant triple choc chip cookies Book Review Marvellous Minds Marston Forest – Accessing nature in a global pandemic Mamma’s House Safer Internet Day Technology support during lockdown Become a foster carer Prize Crossword Phoenix French Bulldog Rescue Wood Green Acorn House – Arthritis in dogs & cats Gardening – Heavenly Hellebores Bedford Town FC Bedford Blues Last Months Crossword Answers

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council news COVID-19 Vaccinations Roll Out The first vaccination centre, run by family doctors and their teams has opened in Bedford as the roll out of the biggest vaccination programme in NHS history gains further momentum. All of the Primary Care Networks (PCN) in Bedford have started to deliver the vaccine to registered patients over 80, with the first administered on Wednesday 6 January.

Fully trained vaccinators will be administering the jab at Kings House Conference Centre in Ampthill Road to ensure there is plenty of room for social distancing when waiting, as well as a recovery area, where people will be monitored for 15 minutes after the vaccination. The NHS will contact people in the priority groups when it is their turn to receive the vaccine.

Be Scam Aware

Tackling Food Poverty in Bedford Borough

With the vaccination programme being rolled out across the country, criminals are coming up with new ways to scam people out of their money. We’ve received notification of scammers who are sending fake text messages offering residents the COVID-19 vaccine. This features a link that takes you to a fake NHS website that asks for personal details. Anyone who receives these texts should not click on the link and should instead forward the text to 7726. The message will then be investigated by your service provider, who can take the appropriate action to deal with the scam. The NHS won’t ask you for personal or financial information to have your vaccine. When it is your turn, you will be contacted by your GP to book an appointment. For more advice on identifying a scam, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. 4

The Higgins Bedford celebrates LGBT+ History Month The Higgins Bedford have an exciting programme of virtual events and content to celebrate LGBT+ History Month this month, including the annual ‘OUTing the Past’ Festival on Saturday 20th February. Please keep an eye on The Higgins Bedford website for upcoming details at www.thehigginsbedford. org.uk.

Before Christmas, Bedford Borough Council launched ‘No To Hunger in Bedford Borough’, a campaign to support access to food for those in need, so that every child in the borough will be well fed this winter. As part of the package of support, the Council provided £203,890 worth of free school meals food vouchers to 6,264 eligible children and young people over Christmas and the New Year, and 80 slow cookers have been provided for local families with more to be sent out in the coming weeks. The scheme will run at least until 31 March 2021.

Home Counties Loft Ladders, Quality You Can Trust! These days most homeowners suffer from a lack of storage space. So many precious items that need to be kept – but where to store it all? That’s where Home Counties Loft Ladders come in. The company, based locally, offers homeowners the opportunity to maximise their storage space with a loft ladder, 50sqft of boarding and a light - all fully fitted in less than a day from just £355! But it’s not just the affordability of the package that makes Home Counties Loft Ladders stand out, as manager Jamie Oakley explains: ‘Our

watchwords are Quality, Integrity and Value. Quality in the materials that we use for all our installations and the fact that all our loft packages are fitted by time served tradesmen, so our customers are assured of the best job.

- that simply wouldn’t happen if we didn’t adhere to our overriding principles. At the end of the day the old adage that happy customers lead to more happy customers is true and we work hard to make that happen for

every installation we carry out!’ So, if you want to make use of your loft space, call Jamie free on 0808 301 9559 and he’ll be happy to pop round and give you a no obligation quote so you too can make use of your loft!

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views from

Richard Fuller, MP for North East Bedfordshire

We are mid-way through the most extensive vaccination programme in our history; and one being done at speed in our efforts to overcome the spread of the virus and reclaim our freedoms.

By mid-February, the NHS will have completed the task of giving the first dose of a Covid vaccine to over 13 million people in the four most vulnerable groups: older care home residents and staff, everyone over 70, all frontline NHS and care staff, and the clinically extremely vulnerable. After a stuttering start to the rollout in Bedfordshire, when I had to have some sharp conversations with our local NHS and the Minister, steady progress has been made and increasing numbers of vaccination centres have been opened making it easier for those who take up the vaccine. If all goes well and these groups have had time to build some immunity - and with everyone else playing their part, using their common sense, following the guidance and helping relieve pressure on our hospitals - the worst of this nightmare can be behind us. Amen. As your Member of Parliament, when the new variant began to escalate Covid infection rates, I had to weigh up the immediate risk to public health from the pressure on our local hospitals. In my view, the further restrictions we have been enduring will provide our local hospitals with


more time to manage higher levels of admissions, including to critical care beds. These restrictions, and those introduced since November, have caused substantial economic harm, reduced educational attainment and separated families when they would most want to be together. To support people and businesses through this time, the Chancellor announced a range of further support for business, including extending the furlough scheme, providing certainty for millions of jobs and businesses ahead of the Budget on 3 March. I continue to lobby the Chancellor to extend support to the owner-directors of our small businesses who have not received any financial support this year. I also want to see measures in the budget to support our pubs and restaurants including cuts in beer duty, an extension of lower VAT rates and crucially, a further extension of business rates relief or outright reform in favour of a digital sales tax, This country is not responsible for the emergence of this more contagious variant of Covid but this country has a responsibility to contain it. This country has been responsible for being a leader in funding the development of vaccine research, obtaining regulatory approvals and making a fast start on mass vaccinations. The challenge now is to complete this programme effectively, swiftly and safely enabling this long, dark period in our history to come to an end.

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views from

Mohammad Yasin, MP for Bedford and Kempston

Save the Bees

Three years ago, the EU introduced a Europeanwide ban on the use of neonicotinoids (neonics) a type of pesticide that has proved deadly to bees and aquatic life. At the time, the UK Government supported the ban and confirmed that it would maintain these increased restrictions post-Brexit. Just weeks after Brexit however, the Government is showing what deregulation will look like, reintroducing the deadly pesticide much to the horror of wildlife organisations. It would appear the Government acquiesced to the demands of the Farmers Union and UK sugar who were secretly lobbying the Secretary of State for DEFRA, George Eustice to allow neonics to be reintroduced after Brexit. In a memo to sugar beet farmers in December sharing their plans, the Union told its members to “Please refrain from sharing this on social media.” They all know how unpopular this move will be with the public, as my postbag testifies. Although the Government say the use of Syngenta’s Cruiser SB is for emergency, “limited and controlled”use, they also admitted that the risks to bees would not allow its use under standard approval and that “risks to birds from consuming treated seeds were not demonstrated to be acceptable.” DEFRA approved it anyway. There will always be bad weather events, insects and other factors that will damage crop yields and therefore its likely many other worthy appeals will be made to use the dangerous pesticides – “just 8

this once”. Already the gate for further approvals is open. The Government’s statement on the decision notes states that neonics may be needed for three years until 2023 despite the fact this authorisation is only for 2021. I have added my support to a crossparty group of Parliamentarians led by Caroline Lucas MP who have written to George Eustice deeply concerned by his decision to authorise this use. Although we all empathise with the multiple challenges faced by farmers, including responding to this Government’s damaging Brexit policy, authorising the use of neonics is regressive and risks disastrous long-term consequences for our environment and particularly vital pollinators. Bees pollinate up to 3/4 of crops which makes the use of this pesticide incredibly counter-intuitive. Neonics are known to damage bees brain development, immune systems and can even leave them unable to fly. With 40 percent of insect species in danger of extinction and bee populations in severe decline it presents a disturbing picture for pollination and crop yields. Instead of taking the easy option, the Government must invest in innovative and non-chemical alternatives to pest management, rather than allowing only recently banned pesticides. When the UK pledged to back the ban, Michael Gove, then the environment secretary said: “The weight of evidence now shows the risks neonicotinoids pose to our environment, particularly to the bees and other pollinators which play such a key part in our £100bn food industry… We cannot afford to put our pollinator populations at risk.” Yet that’s exactly what his Government has done. Another deceit to be added to the pile of broken manifesto promises.


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VOLUNTEERING Refill Bedford Social Media Volunteer Refill Bedford is looking for someone to help grow their online presence and keep their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts exciting and up-todate. Could you help them?

Chair of Campaign to Protect Rural England Bedfordshire We are looking for someone with a big passion for environmental and countryside issues who wants to make a difference in Bedfordshire. Ideally you will also have some experience of the charity sector or board management and the ability to inspire others.

Volunteering Opportunities

Many organisations are having to cut down on the activities that volunteers would normally engage in due to the pandemic. Others are busier than ever and not in a position to train new volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering, please register on our system and be patient as it may take a while for organisations to be able to accommodate you. Search for any of this month’s featured roles by adding the name of the organisation into the keyword field on our Simply Connect opportunity search at cvsbeds.org.uk/volunteer

43 Bromham Road, Bedford Call 01234 354 366 or Email: volunteering@cvsbeds.org.uk www.cvsbeds.org.uk 10

Greensand Country Volunteer Researcher Greensand Country Landscape Partnership is looking for volunteers to uncover and gather stories, past and present, from across Greensand Country. These stories will provide inspiration for our commissioned artists, whose work will be presented during The Greensand Festival in May 2021. Ideal for someone interested in local and oral history looking for a project that can be done remotely.

Brownie Youth Leader, Kempston Girlguiding Bedfordshire provides a rewarding volunteering role for those wanting to get stuck into adventures and activities and develop great relationships. The Brownies is about trying new things that teach girls aged seven to ten about themselves, their community and their world. The Kempston group meets on Wednesdays between 6 and 7.30 pm.

Family Support Volunteer – Home Visiting for Together@FACES Project FACES are always looking to recruit home-visiting volunteers to support families with children aged 0-19 and who are struggling to cope for one reason or another. Challenges may be parental or child ill health, mental health, social isolation, practical support, support with child development. Volunteers are matched to families and support is tailored to a family’s needs. You should be prepared to offer the minimum of 3 hours per week and an additional 2 hours for one to one supervision approximately every 6 weeks depending on the complexity of the family situation.


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Mabel’s behaviour and emotional wellbeing improved during the course, but there was still

Talk to Wood Green’s team on 0300 303 9333 or visit woodgreen.org.uk to find out more.

Lockdown 3.0 Lockdown 3.0 has once again had a massive affect on the hospitality industry with many local small businesses suffering from being unable to open for trade as usual. The next few pages are dedicated to promoting independent local businesses that are offering


a takeaway/delivery and those who have gone the extra mile to adapt to still serve their customers. If your local eatery is offering a takeaway or delivery service please do support them or they may not survive.

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Ciara Mac Call Photography

Made in Bedford Number 13 In March 2019, a new café opened at 13, St Paul’s Square, Bedford’s first plant-based eco café including a shop selling the work of local artists and makers. From the beginning, the ethos behind the business was to minimise its impact on the environment and to work with and support as many local businesses as possible. ‘The idea was to use reclaimed and reused materials to create the café and shop’ says Rachel Atkinson of Made in Bedford ‘we were fortunate to have the help of local furniture designer Nikkita Palmer, who created a fantastic space using pallet wood and scaffold boards’. The decision was soon made to change the vegetarian menu to 100% plant based. ‘With animal agriculture producing more greenhouse gas emissions than transport, it was the only way to go’ says Rachel ‘we wanted to create delicious homemade food which was ethical and sustainable and appealed to both vegans and non-vegans’.

Up to 25 local makers have a permanent space in the shop at Number 13 and up to 80 artists and makers attend the twice yearly Artisan Fairs in the Corn Exchange, organised by Made in Bedford. ‘We are a big family’ says Rachel, ‘this has been so important over the past year, where our network enabled us to hold together and support each other during the pandemic. We have had to adapt to circumstances but this has brought opportunities to work more closely with other ethical businesses’. Past activities at Number 13 included craft workshops, supper evenings and music events. All of which will resume in the future when possible. With its commitment to working with local businesses, Made in Bedford will be teaming up with Scrumdiddly Kitchen this year to create an exciting new vegan menu. “Working together can only make us stronger’ says Rachel. @madeinbedford @madeinbedford 15

Q&A with Peter Pestell

Landlord of the The Sun in Felmersham

ii) What are your plans over the next few weeks whilst the restaurant trade is still restricted? As well as different takeaway menus six nights a week we don’t see lockdown as a reason to stop feasting so there’s a Burn’s Night Dinner, Winer Dinners with our Friends at The Wine Cellar (now also in Felmersham!) and for the romantics… our Valentines Dinner

Pete, please tell our readers a little about yourself and your business? Well I’m Pete and together with my wife Conny I run The Sun, a pretty, free-hold Pub and Dining Room in Felmersham, North Bedfordshire. I spend most of my time behind the stove while Conny does the hard graft.


How was your business before Covid -19 and how was impacted? Being the only Pub in the village every day is different at The Sun and there is always lots going on however we strive to be an Affordable Pub serving Local, Seasonal Food and Drink. Before the big C came along it was a pub where our super locals and some from further afield piled in for their tipple of choice and something to tuck into.


We have watched with admiration on how you’ve effectively evolved and adapted your business during this time please can you tell us?


i) Your thoughts and adaptions of your business during lockdown 3.0? Lockdown 3 wasn’t anyone’s choice way to start 2021 was it. However we are using the opportunity to continue to use cracking produce from our top notch suppliers all based here in Bedfordshire to cook all sorts of tasty takeaway dishes!

iii) What has been the reaction so far?, What has been the most successful idea implemented? We have had so much support from our lovely customers. We really are blown away! The highlights include cooking thousands of takeaways, hundreds of NHS meals all paid for by our customers and Launching Café Felmo’s (temporally closed in lockdown 3) our covid friendly truck selling mega bacon rolls, fresh coffee and of course CAKE. iv) Tell us more about your ethical approach to your business during lockdown and how you have put the local community at the forefront? The Pub should be about more than just a place for a good knees-up (although trust me, it is). If there is anyway The Pub can help to support the community or help local charities then surely that’s what we should do? If we have to stop hugging each other and piling into The Pub for a bit to help stop the spread then you know what, that’s what we have got to do. However I believe our local community has been more of a support to us than we have been to them.


What are the long term goals/visions for your business? /Where do you see yourself in 5 years time? We love it here, the support is great, our suppliers keep bringing us the good stuff and we have the best team going. Where do we want to be in 5 years? Felmersham would be nice I reckon! 17

The Composing Cook The Composing Cook

GIANT TRIPLE CHOCOLATE CHIP C KIES As we approach Valentines Day, there’s only one way to say “I Love You”, and that is through Chocolate. Not just one type, but how about a triple hit of it, via my Giant Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies. Come on, you know you want to.

INGREDIENTS: 125g butter 75g light brown sugar 50g caster sugar 125g dark chocolate 1 large egg 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 150g plain flour 30g cocoa powder 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda ½ teaspoon salt 125g dark chocolate chips 125g milk chocolate chips 100g white chocolate chips Makes 12 Giant Cookies

Preheat the oven to 170° or fan 160° and have 2 baking trays ready, which have been lined with greaseproof paper. In a free standing mixer, add the butter, light brown sugar, caster sugar and beat until well combined. Melt the dark chocolate in the microwave and add this to the mixer along with the egg, vanilla extract and give it another mix. In a separate bowl mix together the plain flour, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt. With the mixer on add this dry mix, 1 tablespoon at a time, to the mixer until well combined. Now add all the chocolate chips and mix well. Take a tablespoon and divide the mixture into 12 rough balls, placing six on each tray making sure you leave enough room in between each one. Place trays in the oven and cook for 18 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave on the baking trays for 5 minutes. Place the cookies on a cooling rack so they continue to cool and harden. Once cooled, eat at your pleasure and remember to share, let’s not forget; it is Valentine’s Day after all.

You can watch me make the Giant Triple Chocolate Chip cookies by visiting www.youtube.com and in the search engine type: The Composing Cook, and there you will find me. In the video, I do also show you how to freeze these in batches so you always have an emergency stash ready for when you need that chocolate hit.

Having grown up in Bedford Eleanor set up Tutor Doctor in 2019 having previously worked in a local school as a Careers Officer. She has been helping students grow in confidence and ability within Bedford and the surrounding villages ever since. Tutor Doctor Bedford offers a tailor-made tutoring service which is designed to meet the child where they are and get them to where they want to be. Eleanor thoroughly assesses a student’s needs and then carefully selects the best-fit tutor based on goals, personality and learning level. As a

working mum of two school age children, Eleanor completely understands the constant juggling families are facing and also recognises just how hard it can be for children at the moment. The online provision provided by schools has improved dramatically since the previous lockdown, but Eleanor is seeing first-hand how some children are struggling to maintain focus and motivation. This is where one-to-one, bespoke tuition can really help. Eleanor’s tutors are all hand-picked, experienced and well qualified. All of them have an enhanced DBS check and will help students with their studies in addition to helping develop those all-important executive functioning skills, add routine to the week and help maintain resilience during these challenging times. All tuition is currently delivered online via a purpose-built virtual learning platform and can move to in-home once it is safe to do so, at times which are convenient to you and your family. If you would like to speak with Eleanor about your child’s education then give her a call on 07837 268217 or contact her at efox@tutordoctor.co.uk

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book review

New Bedford Blues Home and Away jerseys launched


by Carrie Hope Fletcher

Bedford Blues are delighted to reveal their brand new home and away kits for the proposed 2021 Championship season. Somewhere in every town or city is a special place. A place where real life is suspended, and you can forget about your problems. A place that shows us life in all its details. The ups and downs, love, death, joy, and sadness. It shows us life as we wish it was and life as we hope it will never be. That place is of course, the theatre. This novel catapults you into that world and provides a fascinating glimpse of life backstage where the audience usually never get to venture. Part romance and part ghost story When the Curtain Falls switches between the present day and 1952, where two young lovers try to steal moments together backstage as life begins to echo the drama being played out on stage. Tragedy strikes and one of them is destined to remain forever haunting the dressing rooms. Nearly 60 years later and their fateful play is revived at the same theatre. Among the cast are Olive and Oscar, also stealing moments together to keep their budding romance secret. But strange things start to happen as a previous occupant is reawakened. Sometimes (especially right now) you need a light, easy-to-read, novel for a bit of escapism. When the Curtain Falls fills that brief. 20

The new shirts go #backtothefuture with a design uniquely inspired by the last time Gilbert produced the club’s kit nearly 15 years ago.

The Complete Roofing Specialists

Earlier this year, Bedford Blues were pleased to re-join forces with Gilbert Rugby in a long-term partnership and become the only Championship club linked to the most recognisable brand in rugby, sharing the values of history and heritage.

START 1967


The new Blues home shirt remains a familiar concept, a mainly navy or Oxford Blue, this time with thin sky or Cambridge Blue hoops. The away jersey is a reverse of the home shirt, with both strips designed to give a modern edge to our traditional past. The most striking addition to this season’s design is 50 supporter names on the bottom panel of Experts Insurance Work bothLeadwork jerseys having taken advantage of the ‘Put Tiling Council Approved your name on the Shirt’ initiative. Slating All Work Guaranteed Flat Roofs All Types of Roofing Due Facias to our most COVID-19 risk and recent Guttering management plan, the Club Shop at Goldington Established 1967 with over 40 years experience Road will remain closed to the public, orders can only be placed online. However, collection can be requested and pre-arranged. Head to https://shop.bedfordrugby.co.uk/ order. MK41 8DJ 3, PRINKNASH ROAD, PUTNOE, to BEDFORD,

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At Marvellous Minds Tuition we offer affordable, high quality tuition and educational support to families, specialising in maths, English and science tuition for students aged 4 to 18. We are conveniently located in Bedford town centre and students are able to access tuition from our team of expert tutors in our bright and spacious classrooms, or online from the comfort of their own homes. Our classes are small which allows students to interact and learn with like-minded peers whilst still enjoying the benefits of tailored one to one support from our teachers. All our classes are teacher lead because we believe in real tutors, not computers. Our tuition starts from as little as £10 per class and as an Ofsted registered tuition centre we are also able to accept childcare vouchers, making our services even more affordable to families. 22

“My son attends Marvellous Minds and has been since January 2020. And what an improvement it has made! He has caught up nearly 3 years of work in the space of 10 months. Would highly recommend... Massive thank you Kayleigh” This is a testimonial from one of our parents, but don’t just take her word for it, come and see for yourself! We offer a free trial for new students. Contact us today to arrange a trial to get a feel for our tuition services and the structure of our classes!”

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Accessing nature in a global pandemic

With the New Year came a new lockdown, and adapting to the changing restrictions has been a really challenging time for a lot of people. But when we’re all spending more free time inside, how can we make sure that we’re still accessing the natural environment? 24

Planting trees is important for wildlife and for the benefit of the planet, but a big part of tree planting is also for people: creating outdoor places that we can enjoy and use to connect with nature in a meaningful way. Even for just a small amount of time, being in a forest, park or any green space has been proven to stimulate our senses, improve our mood and mental health and enrich our lives. Taking a break outdoors improves our physical health, but even if our daily exercise only consists of a quick walk around the block it can be a great opportunity to connect with our environment, if we look out for signs of nature threaded through our community. Staying close to home is important in the circumstances, so spend some time looking at your local area to see if there are walks or green spaces nearby that you can explore. If you get stuck try asking for recommendations on social media community forums, or look for local walking routes in your area like on our website marstonvale.org/ walks-and-routes.

• If you’ve got the space try making a log pile or compost heap, or leave an area of your garden naturally unkempt for small mammals to nest and insects to live Or if you’re feeling particularly crafty – or want to learn a new lockdown skill – you could even search online for the plans and create a hedgehog house or bird box.

Interacting with wildlife is something that can be achieved even without leaving your home, and a great way to access nature. Think about what you can do to encourage wildlife in your garden or outdoor space, whatever size it may be -

For an indoor activity, why not get creative? Paint, draw or write about what you can see from your window. Use your sense to start planning your next adventure once restrictions allow – what does a perfect day outdoors feel, look or even smell like? What would you like to do? What would you like to see? Capturing the benefits of nature and how they make us feel now can help us to appreciate that feeling later.

• Window boxes, wall-mounted bug boxes and bird feeders are all readily available online, and a great way to support a range of species over the winter months in a limited space

Being in touch with the natural world during these difficult times is so important to our wellbeing, and being mindful to take some time and make a small connection every day can make a big difference. 25


isn’t cancelled

It’s been a tough year, friends and family usually at the centre of our lives have had to stay at a distance. Many of us have missed sharing important mile stones with our loved ones. Grandparents especially can feel isolated and lonely and as though they are missing out on their grandchildren growing up. But it’s all to keep each other safe, and one day soon we can make new memories together. So until then here’s five ways you can spread the love on Valentine’s Day (and any other day) with Grandparents and loved ones.

It’s been a tough year, friends and family usually at the centre of our lives have had to stay at a distance. Many of us have missed sharing important mile stones with our loved ones. Grandparents especially can feel isolated and lonely and as though they are missing out on their grandchildren growing up. But it’s all to keep each other safe, and one day soon we can make new memories together.

For more follow @ mammas_house on Instagram 26

1. Go old school and call. Phoning regularly can be a great way of feeling more connected to grandparents. It’s lovely to catch up and fill each other in, or just to check everyone is ok. 2. Make a card and post it. The post service is still going (thank you posties) and everyone loves receiving something in the post. Even better it doubles up as some craft time with the kids. So get the craft box out and make something full of love. 3. Let grandparents join in on bedtime. Children don’t always want to sit still for a chat. So having a purpose for a virtual call might help. It also allows grandparents to continue to feel as involved as before lockdown. Letting them read the bedtime stories is a great way to help them feel more involved. 4. Drop off some homemade treats at the doorstep. Why not make some marshmallow crispy hearts (recipe on my Instagram) for your grandparents and loved ones and leave them on the doorstep. 5. Promise a future visit. Keeping each other safe is the priority at the moment, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel. So sow some hope to the future with a promise to an in person visit.


A r o ma C l e a n o f f e r a f r i e n d l y , r e l i a b l e &h o n e s t d o me s t i c c l e a n i n g s e r v i c e t a i l o r e d t o y o u r n e e d s P o l i c e C h e c k e d &F u l l y I n s u r e d

T a k i n g c a r e o f a l l y o u r h o me c l e a n i n g . . .

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Safer Internet Day Tuesday 9th February

Safer Internet Day is now celebrated globally in February each year to promote the safe and positive use of digital technology. The day helps to highlight positive uses of technology and to explore how we create a better and safer online community. This year’s slogan is Create, Connect and Share Respect: A better internet starts with you. Here are some steps we can all take to stay safe online: Create complex passwords – Create strong, unique passwords for all your critical accounts. Corporate hacks are commonplace now. One database breach can reveal tens of thousands of user passwords. If you reuse your passwords, a hacker can take the leaked data from one attack and use it to login to your other accounts. The best advice is to use a password manager to help you create and store strong passwords for all of your accounts. Boost your network security – Now that your logins are safer, make sure that your connections are secure. When you are at home or at work a password-protected router will encrypt your data. When you are out and about you might be tempted to use free, public Wi-Fi. But this is often unsecured, which means it’s relatively easy for a hacker to access your device or information. If you access the internet a lot when you are away from home it’s worth investing in a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN is a piece of software that creates a secure connection over the internet, so you can safely connect from anywhere. Use a firewall – This is an electronic barrier that blocks unauthorized access to your computers and 28

devices. It is often included with comprehensive security software. A firewall ensures that all of the devices connected to your network are secured, including Internet of Things (IoT) devices like smart thermostats and webcams. This is important since many IoT devices aren’t equipped with their own security measures, giving hackers a vulnerable point of entry to your entire network. Watch what you click – Many of today’s online threats are based on phishing or social engineering, when you are tricked into revealing personal or sensitive information for fraudulent purposes. Spam emails, phony “free” offers, online quizzes all use these tactics to entice you to click on dangerous links or give up your personal information. Share selectively – Be cautious about what you share, particularly when it comes to your identity information. Information could be used to impersonate you, or guess your passwords and logins. Think mobile! – Mobile devices face new risks: dangerous apps and fraudulent links sent by text message. Don’t respond to messages from strangers, and only download apps from official app stores after reading reviews first. Make sure that your security software is enabled on your mobile, just like your computers and other devices. By Ian McMullan

Technology support during the lockdown With information technology playing such an important role during the lockdown, if problems develop with your computer, tablet, mobile phone or internet connection, it can severely restrict your connection to the internet. It will affect whether you can work from home, connect to school, college or university for remote learning, receive important communications or simply stay in touch with friends and family. Home Computer UK is committed to keeping your IT equipment correctly set up and working well by offering support if you are experiencing technical difficulties. So, regardless of whether you use your equipment for communication, work, home learning or entertainment we continue to offer free diagnostic and consultation services to clients in the Bedfordshire area.

Many issues can be resolved remotely allowing you to work with your computer or mobile equipment without interruption. Software installations, fixes and updates can be arranged and speed and access problems can be quickly sorted out. Replacement equipment and parts are available if needed.

Friendly, helpful and no-obligation advice is always available by calling free on 0800 246 1175. If ‘Bedslife Magazine’ is mentioned during your call, a 7.5% discount will be applied once, to the hours you request.


Looking for a new challenge

this year?

We make many resolutions at this time of year, whether it’s to give more of our time to others, to spend more time with family, to give back to the local community or to learn new skills. If your 2021 resolutions look like this, or you have it in your heart to make a difference, then fostering could be for you. Almost anyone from all walks of life can foster, whether you practice a religion, have or haven’t got children, are married, single or in a same-sex relationship. It doesn’t even matter if you have pets at home or think you’re too old… You’re needed! All that is asked, is that you have a spare bedroom.

Nexus Fostering, a local, friendly and professional fostering agency are recruiting Foster Carers in Bedford to support local vulnerable young people. Nexus Fostering offer full training, so you don’t need to come from a background of working with children and you’ll be supported right from the start. You’ll receive a competitive ‘fostering allowance’ which covers the professional fee to you as a Foster Carer as well as covering the cost for caring for the child. You’ll also receive 24/7 support from them and assigned your own Social Worker. Being a Foster Carer means that you’ll be able to have a fulfilling career as a highly trained carer whilst making a difference to the lives of vulnerable children in Bedford. You’ll become a member of a wider team working towards the health, happiness and stability of young people and be valued and recognised for the contribution you make to supporting children. 30

For more information on starting your journey, visit www.nexusfostering.co.uk or call 01525 571 103 for a relaxed chat about fostering.


Complete the crossword, fill in your details below, cut out this section and send to the address below before Friday 12th February Prize Crossword, BedsLife, 17 Foxbrook, Stevington, Bedfordshire MK43 7QY


Last Months Crossword Winner – S Sullivan, Bedford

ACROSS 1 4 8 9 10 11

13 16 19 20 22 23 24

Celebrity, headliner (4) No longer in use (8) Teaching period (6) Libretto, dialogue (6) Pockmark, healed wound (4) Single spot of precipitation (8) Persistence, tenacity (13) Going to ground (5,3) Belongs to you and me (4) Frail, ailing (6) Joined (6) Long-handled frying pans (8) Effortless (4)

DOWN 2 3 4 5

6 7 12 14 15 17 18 For last months answers please turn to P46

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Wilful betrayal (9) Set aside, save (7) Proprietor (5) Period of sustained drinking (informal) (7) Enticed (5) Apex (3) Without scent (9) Small glamorous white dog (7) Defeat decisively (7) Prizes awarded for peace, physics, literature etc. (5) Home of Snowdonia National Park (5) Large deer (3)

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we know that many people find a great deal of comfort and purpose by creating a tribute fund in their name, for a cause close to their heart. By

for a loved one, please visit inmemory.woodgreen. org.uk or contact Wood Green’s In-Memory Giving team on 0300 303 9333 option 3.

Raising Frenchies from the Ashes, with TLC

Phoenix French Bulldog Rescue has been established in the UK since 2017 not only to offer a home to any French Bulldog, or cross-breed thereof, in need within the UK, but also to educate the public on this wonderful breed, promote and support good ownership and to help keep Frenchies at home with their families wherever possible. Sometimes, people just need advice and support to be able to manage and keep their pet, at other times they need our non-judgemental, professional help in rehoming their dog. As much


as we can often be heard to say that it is ‘all about the dog’ we never lose sight of the fact that there is often a broken-hearted human at the end of a surrendered dog’s lead. We will never judge and all our volunteers are mindful of this. Other dogs may be genuine ‘rescues’ and our Team are well-versed in collecting these and seeking appropriate medical attention immediately, before they even reach their specialist foster-homes where the real mending can begin. All our dogs receive the very best care, medically and psychologically, during foster and afterwards in adoption. We will never turn away a dog in genuine need unless there are extremely exceptional circumstances For General Enquiries please call 0300 772 7716 or email: enquiries@phoenixfrenchbulldogrescue.org www.phoenixfrenchbulldogrescue.org Registered Charity No. 1171943

A lasting tribute to those no longer with us A new tribute site from Wood Green, The Animals Charity gives pet lovers the opportunity to celebrate the life of a beloved friend, family member or pet by creating a space to come together, share anecdotes and keep the memories of loved ones alive. Giving a gift in someone’s memory is a wonderful way to commemorate their life, whilst also supporting Wood Green’s work to care for thousands of vulnerable pets every year. Jensen Calleemootoo, from Wood Green’s InMemory Giving team, said: “Losing someone is never easy and we understand how painful it can be. Although nothing can replace them, we know that many people find a great deal of comfort and purpose by creating a tribute fund in their name, for a cause close to their heart. By

donating or fundraising around key milestones such as birthdays and anniversaries, those loved ones stay with us forever – and help Wood Green be there for even more pets in need.” For Len, a gift to Wood Green was the perfect way to honour his late wife, Val: “Leaving a lasting tribute to Val means her love for animals lives on through the care Wood Green gives to homeless pets. Supporting a cause which brought her so much joy and happiness gives me comfort. I have something positive to focus on, despite the pain I felt since losing her.” To find out more about setting up a tribute fund for a loved one, please visit inmemory.woodgreen. org.uk or contact Wood Green’s In-Memory Giving team on 0300 303 9333 option 3.


Setting up a tribute fund is a wonderful way to commemorate a life whilst making a difference to pets in need.

Wood Green, The Animals Charity, Registered Charity No. 298348

Celebrate the memory of a loved one

Visit www.inmemory.woodgreen. org.uk or call our In-Memory Giving team on 0300 303 9333 option 3 35

Book your vaccination & nurse appointments online! Visit our website or Facebook page. acornhousevets.com/ online-appointments

Acorn House Veterinary Hospital Linnet Way, Brickhill, Bedford MK41 7HN

Tel: 01234 261839 www.acornhousevets.com Register online today. 36


in dogs and cats

Arthritis can affect the joints of dogs and cats as they get older. As advances in pet care allow more pets to reach a good old age, pet owners need to be aware of the signs of arthritis so that they can help out their furry friend.

What is arthritis?

Most cases of arthritis in dogs and cats are osteoarthritis. This is also known as “wear and tear” arthritis, where the cartilage over the ends of the bones wears thin and the bones can end up rubbing against each other.

What are the symptoms of arthritis?

If arthritis affects one leg more than the others, an obvious limp may be seen – either all of the time, or particularly after exercise or a long period of rest. But if all of the legs are affected equally, a specific lameness will not be seen and pets will show more subtle signs. These may include an uncharacteristic grumpiness or irritability, reluctance to exercise, or altered habits such as avoiding jumping onto furniture or being restless at night.

Which pets are most at risk of arthritis?

Any dog or cat can develop arthritis. However, risk increases with age and also with bodyweight. Pets that are born with poorly fitting joints (hip or elbow dysplasia) or have suffered accidents to joints in the past, are likely to develop arthritis in these joints earlier than others.

How is arthritis diagnosed?

Veterinary surgeons will ask pet owners questions about their pet’s exercise and behaviour habits and consider these alongside a general physical examination with closer orthopaedic and neurological examinations. Xrays (and sometimes CT or ultrasound scans) will provide further information.

How is arthritis treated?

Occasionally arthritis can be “cured” if affected joints can be replaced (for example with a hip replacement). More commonly, arthritis is managed with a combination of antiinflammatory medications, pain relief, weight and exercise management, physiotherapy and home modifications to keep pets comfortable and mobile.

Heavenly Hellebores I fell in love with Hellebores a few years ago after an early spring visit to the Botanical Gardens in Cambridge where there are some beautiful displays. They provide a spring garden with elegant colour, and I admit to being quite excited when they appear. They are poisonous plants so are probably best avoided if you have young children. They have a somewhat magical history. A mythological physician named Melampus was said to have observed the cathartic effect of hellebore on goats who munched on the plants. Melampus allegedly then used the milk of the same goats to cure the daughters of the King of Argos of their madness. The plant was used for its purgative properties into the Middle Ages and beyond. Personally, I would recommend growing them only for their attractiveness! The original species originated in the northern parts of Greece and Turkey, but they grow incredibly well in British gardens. Having said that, I was disappointed when my first hellebore plants didn’t thrive initially. They seemed to succumb to disease quite easily. I subsequently learned this this was black rot. Then I heard Alan Titchmarsh’s advice to carefully cut the large fingered leaves from the plant at ground level in January, taking care not to damage the buds. This somewhat brutal treatment has worked a treat and my hellebores are now flourishing. Hellebores like well-drained soil in sun or dappled shade. My clumps are happily increasing in size

year-on-year. The stems shoot up to 25-30cm high between late January and February and the flowers appear at the top. Colours tend to be subtle: green-tinged white, yellow, oxblood red or dull purple but they glow in the more subdued light at this time of year. They would certainly appear washed-out in the bright sun of late spring and summer. The flowers are rich in nectar so provide food for early bees. There are many varieties of hellebore, with single or double flowers. Just note that not all of them are easy to grow. I have struggled to get the Christmas Rose Helleborus niger to survive, never mind flower, but I’ve had much more success with the Green hellebore, Helleborus viridis, the pretty pink Lenten rose Helleborus x hybridus, which self-seeds quite nicely, and also the Helleborus x hybridus Ashwood Garden hybrids, which come in a variety of colours but don’t seem to self-seed as freely, at least in my garden. Dig in plenty of mushroom compost before planting, and mulch after you’ve cut the leaves off. Dust with a blood, bone and fishmeal mix after flowering and mulch again with wellrotted leaf mould or compost. Dig up any small self-seeded plants and use them as gifts, or to increase your own colony. Happy gardening, By Rachael Leverton


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Bedford Town

Football Club

Blues Foundation support technology drive

BRIDGE ROOFING All aspects of roofing, facias and guttering. quotes Blues Foundation Free and Bedford Blues RFC have joined the High Sheriff of All work guaranteed Bedfordshire’s efforts to tackle the A club is only as good as its fans, and that is certainly the case with Bedford Town, whose supporters have stuck with them through thick and thin over the years. From the days of taking on Arsenal and Newcastle at the original Eyrie in Queens Park, to nowadays as the sleeping giant begins to wake at their home in Meadow Lane. Bedford Town Supporters Club is there as the link between fans and club management, but they are much more than that, they provide vital support for the club on match days, and through the social events and working parties they organise. New members are always welcome. This year’s opportunities have been limited, but even with the season suspended they have remained active via social media on Twitter @BT_Supporters, Instagram @ bedordtownsupportersclub and Facebook @ btfcsupportersclub and the club shop. This season the club shop has had a revamp and is the one stop shop for all Eagles merchandise from replica shirts to their newest line, this years must have item Eagles face coverings. The Supporters Club are pleased to offer Bedslife readers an exclusive 10% discount on merchandise purchased via the online shop at btfcsupporters.co.uk until the end of February 2021 using the discount code: bedslife10.


digital divide and help children and young people access technology through the third national lockdown.

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One of the biggest problems highlighted during lockdown has been digital poverty, with The Office for National Statistics believing 12% of young people aged 11-18 have no internet access through this lockdown.


With the majority of school and university students told to remain at home during this current nationwide lockdown and complete work online, the need for technology has never been more prevalent. After a successful first collection of devices in January, there still remains a dire need for technology to be given to disadvantaged and vulnerable families in the local community so that children and young people across the county have all the tools needed to complete their online learning. If you think you can help tackle the digital divide, lookout for your closest drop-off point of which a full list can be found on the Blues Foundation website or their social media channels. Blues Foundation Manager, Tom Harwood said: “It’s been great to support young people across Bedfordshire access education with nearly 100 devices already distributed. We want to continue our support throughout 2021 and beyond, if you would like to help support our work in the local community please get in contact to discuss options.”

Bedford Town

Football Club

Blues Foundation support technology drive

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www.cjohnsondecorators.co.uk certainly the case with Bedford Town, whose supporters have stuck with them through thick and thin over the years. From the days of taking Tel: 01234 960304 on Arsenal and Newcastle at the original Eyrie in Mobile: 07929 181619 Queens Park, to nowadays as the sleeping giant begins to wake at their home in Meadow Lane.

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Bedford Town Supporters Club is there as the link 1 between fans and club management, but13/08/2015 they are much more than that, they provide vital support for the club on match days, and through the social events and working parties they organise. New members are always welcome. 28 YEARS EXPERIENCE This year’s opportunities have been limited, FULLY INSURED but even with the Domestic season suspended they Commercial have remained active via social media on Industrial Twitter @BT_Supporters, Instagram @ Fire Alarms bedordtownsupportersclub Fault Finding and Facebook @

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This season theAND clubQUALIFIED shop has had a revamp and is the one stop shop for all Eagles merchandise from *NO JOB TOO SMALL* replica shirts to their newest line, this years must have item Eagles face coverings.

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MOBILE: 07760 821221 The Supporters Club are pleased to offer Bedslife readers an exclusive 10% discount on EMAIL: INFO@MHALLSELECTRICAL.CO.UK merchandise purchased via the online shop at btfcsupporters.co.uk until the end of February 2021 using the discount code: bedslife10.

Blues Foundation and Bedford Blues RFC have joined the High Sheriff of Bedfordshire’s efforts to tackle the digital divide and help children and young people access technology through the third national lockdown. One of the biggest problems highlighted during lockdown has been digital poverty, with The Office for National Statistics believing 12% of young people aged 11-18 have no internet access through this lockdown. With the majority of school and university students told to remain at home during this current 09:24 nationwide lockdown and complete work online, the need for technology has never been more prevalent. After a successful first collection of devices in January, there still remains a dire need for technology to be given to disadvantaged and vulnerable families in the local community so that children and young people across the county have all the tools needed to complete their online learning. If you think you can help tackle the digital divide, lookout for your closest drop-off point of which a full list can be found on the Blues Foundation website or their social media channels. Blues Foundation Manager, Tom Harwood said: “It’s been great to support young people across Bedfordshire access education with nearly 100 devices already distributed. We want to continue our support throughout 2021 and beyond, if you would like to help support our work in the local community please get in contact to discuss options.” 43


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The Will Writing Company Mayfair House 11 Lurke Street Bedford MK40 3HZ Tel: 01234 964911

Free Will & Testament The Will Writing Company is celebrating its 22nd Year in business and is offering a free Will & Testament (joint or single) to all readers. If you have been meaning to make a Will, now is your chance to take advantage of this exclusive offer and give you and your loved ones peace of mind. By making a Will, you decide who takes care of your children and who inherits your estate. Storage facility optional.

To take advantage of this offer and book an appointment or for further information please call n the above number between the hours of 9:00am-5:30pm Monday to Friday.

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Terms and Conditions. Office and telephone appointments available. This voucher can not be exchanged for cash – The voucher must be produced at your appointment.

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BedsLife February 2021