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Rutland Covering Rutland, Market Harborough and the surrounding area

LIVING April 2018 ÂŁ1.50

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Lonsdale Park


Barleythorpe Road, Oakham, LE15 6QJ One and two bedroom age-exclusive apartments from £189,950◊ Setting the trend in age-exclusive living, Lonsdale Park is a stunning development featuring a collection of luxurious apartments close to the heart of Oakham and within easy reach of the town’s ever-popular cafes, boutique shops and local amenities. Live retirement to the full at Lonsdale Park with one of our low-maintenance apartments boasting spacious living areas, fully-fitted kitchens, generously-sized bedrooms and contemporary shower rooms. With a dedicated House Manager, a stylish communal lounge and landscaped gardens, you or your loved one can enjoy peace of mind in the safety and security of this beautiful development. Our Show Complex is open 7 days per week, 10.30am - 5pm. Come & see it for yourself this spring.

Homeowners’ Lounge

Typical living room

Typical kitchen




Oakham Station



Costa Coffee



Oakham School


Oakham Library










Oakham Castle




St Joseph's Catholic Church



BARL EYT To Melton Mowbray

I was rattling around in my previous property, and the upkeep was taking up all of my time. It’s a relief not to have to worry about time consuming chores anymore, and it’s a real joy to chat with likeminded people, or sit down to read a book and not feel guilty. Mrs Parkin McCarthy & Stone Homeowner

Enjoy more time for an easier life We believe that your retirement should be everything you hoped it would be, that you deserve it and that you shouldn’t have to compromise on quality of life or the level of freedom you’re used to. Far from it. That’s why we do things the way we do We create a place that you can call your own. Privatelyowned spacious apartments located near the centre of town that give you the level of freedom you want.

COME & SEE FOR YOURSELF and receive a £10 M&S Gift Card* Come along and see for yourself the lifestyle on offer at Lonsdale Park and receive a £10 M&S Gift Card as a thank you for visiting* Call us today to book your visit.

Call us on freephone 0800 153 3050 for more details or visit † Additional charges apply. #Subject to availability. *T&Cs apply. Offer valid for new visitors aged 60 years and over when you take a tour before Friday 27th April 2018. One gift card per household. Offer may be withdrawn at any time. ◊Price correct at time of print.







Contents April 2018


FASHION, HEALTH & BEAUTY 14 Fashion: New Season Accessories 50 Health & Beauty: Dare to be Different! 54 The Stamford Eye Clinic


18 National Garden Scheme 26 Alexander Lewis & Claire Simpson Interiors 40 Outdoor Living


Cover photography this month: RL and MHL: Bigstock (

28 Nature’s Pantry 30 Food News & Reviews: The Jackson Stops; The Wicked Witch 32 Food News & Reviews: The Lake Isle; Kāfae on the Square 35 The Olive Branch: Breakfast


Editor Clare Peel Advertisement Manager, Rutland Tracy Watkinson 01572 813187 Advertisement Manager, Market Harborough Kirstie Mitchell 07864 065778 Advertising Copy & Subscriptions Rachel Beecroft 01780 765320 Head of Design Steven Handley Designers Sarah Patterson, Calum Handley, Chris Strickland Publisher Nicholas Rudd-Jones 01780 765571 Printed by Warners of Bourne Subscriptions: annual rate £25 (UK only). Please write to the Publisher at Local Living Ltd, PO Box 208, Stamford PE9 9FY, with a cheque payable to Local Living, or go online to

22 42 46 48 69 74

Artists of the Month: Stamford and Rutland Photographic Society Rutland Walk: Barrowden Round On Your Bike! Rutland Water’s Aggressive Coots Little Living Out & About History: The Indefatigable Cuthbert Bede

PEOPLE & PLACES 10 12 20 38 56

Rutland Heroes: Dove Cottage Joy Everitt, Arts For Rutland Rutland Goldsmiths Visit Thrapston Lynnette Ford, Stamford Shakespeare Company



6 Editor’s Page 60 Nevill Holt Opera, Oakham Sings! 62 McCarthy & Stone, Uppingham Summer School (Easter Holiday Courses) 64 Chez Soi, Your Pet’s Paradise 66 Schoolreaders, Upp Property

Stamford Shakespeare Company at Tolethorpe Hall

The Merchant of Venice


12th June - 1st September 2018

The Merry Wives The School of Windsor for Scandal

For 10% off ticket price quote code TOLERUTLIVMA when booking.

☎ BOX OFFICE: 01780 756133




Welcome This is the eighth issue of this magazine that I’ve edited and I wanted to take the opportunity to say thank you to all the people who work so hard to make its monthly production possible. Special thanks go to my super talented team of writers – all based locally and passionate about bringing you engaging, informative articles on the best their area has to offer. Thanks, too, to the advertising team and all the advertisers who are vital to the production of Local Living magazines and without whom we wouldn’t be able to distribute to so many homes and cafes, restaurants, hotels, retailers, etc,

across the region. Huge thanks, too, to our team of distributors – the ones who deliver copies to you. And, finally, to all the readers who take the time to tell me how much they’ve enjoyed a particular article – this makes my day! I was bowled over by the fabulous feedback on our March issue – from brides-to-be inspired by our weddings feature to all those who so kindly commented on my (highly recommended!) makeover or who told me they love our positive, all-inclusive editorial values and really appreciate the quality of the writing. For April, here’s to warmer weather and longer daylight hours offering us

all the opportunity to spend more time outdoors in this beautiful part of the world (open gardens, walking and cycling features on pages 18–19, 22–23 and 42–43) and to a very happy, peaceful Easter. Congratulations, finally, to Rutland on it being 21 years since it regained independence. Cheers to the county coming of age!


@rutlandliving @rutlandlivingmag

Editor’s selection Some of my highlights for April

Easter events Oakham School Music At Lunchtime A little reminder that in All Saints’ Church, Oakham, each Wednesday during term-time, Oakham School holds free recitals that have a large and loyal following from the local community and school. For more details of exactly what’s on, as well the lowdown on other concerts organised by the school, see

Castles reopening fully for business

The lead-up to Easter marks the reopening of most of the castles in the area, meaning full access to their gorgeous parks and gardens, in addition to their interiors. Grimsthorpe Castle reopens fully on 29 March – check the website for opening times, as the estate closes on certain days each week. Burghley’s house and gardens are now open again to the public after its winter closure, and Rockingham Castle reopens on Sunday 1 April (Easter Sunday). Grimsthorpe:; Burghley: www.; Rockingham:



Easter is nearly upon us, but don’t panic those of you who will have children to look after during the holidays – there are lots of lovely events organised to keep your young charges busy. These include, from Friday 30 March to Sunday 15 April, a special Easter Egg Trail/Quiz run by Rutland Cycling for a cost of just £2 per entrant. Cycle from Whitwell to Normanton and find the clues along the way. To tempt little cyclists to take part, there’s an Easter Egg for all participants. Rutland Cycling Whitwell Store (open daily), Bull Brigg Lane, Whitwell, Rutland LE15 8BL, 01780 460 705,

Craftfest 2018

From Thursday 29 March to Monday 2 April, The Grainstore in Oakham is hosting a festival showcasing 30 craft lagers and ales and – new for this year – 40 craft gins, with live music and food served all weekend. Simon Brannon, from Two Birds Spirits in Market Harborough, will be on hand with this local brand’s signature countryside spirits, including a new rhubarb gin launched in February.

Diamonds are for April This month, diamonds – the birthstone for April – take centre stage. There’s an elegant, timeless feel to this bespoke diamond “Swirl” ring made in platinum by Heidi Kjeldsen, whose showroom is on Oakham’s Mill Street. In the current climate of celebrating empowerment for women, it is poignant to note that according to De Beers women are an active and growing segment of diamond self-purchasers. If the budget allows and you’re tempted, why wait for someone else to treat you? Heidi Kjeldsen, 5 The Maltings, Mill Street, Oakham LE15 6EA, 01572 722666,


Fatherly Love by Sue West Stamford Main Street by Tom Carlil

Fenland Furrows by David Baxter



Artists of the month Stamford and Rutland Photographic Society Veronica Watson is a member of Stamford and Rutland Photographic Society. She spoke with Amander Meade about the group’s activities and their quest for new members. Originating in Stamford and recently expanded into Rutland, the society meets monthly on the third Thursday of each month at Casterton Church Hall between 8pm and 10pm. “We are a very welcoming and convivial group,” explains Veronica, who describes members as having a broad range of ability from absolute beginners to those who are much more experienced. “For anyone interested in amateur photography as a hobby, it’s great to have that range of ability, as our very experienced photographers love to share their knowledge, and the beginners are appreciative of the great advice,” she adds. The first part of the group’s monthly meetings usually consists of members bringing along some images taken around a monthly theme – these are displayed and “judged” informally and anonymously by the other members. “These friendly monthly competitions are not rigorous or compulsory in the least and are designed to encourage and stimulate improvement to composition and technique.” Members of the society are offered the opportunity to take part in external competitions throughout the year too or to apply for distinctions awarded by the Royal Photographic Society, if they wish. Following refreshments, the second half of meetings usually involves a brief talk or demonstration by a guest speaker or one of the members about a specific style, interest or subject. Although most members work with a DSLR camera, Veronica is keen to stress that expensive equipment is not necessary and that the ethos of the group is about creating an image with whatever equipment you have to hand. “It would be wonderful to attract some younger members who are so adept at creating images all the time with their iPhones and could bring new energy from a different perspective.” “Well that’s lunch sorted” by Gordon Brown

Top: Light Lifting Power by Tom Carlill

Anyone interested can contact Gordon Brown at for more details about membership, which costs £30 for the year. All information about the society and meeting dates are at



Ruth Lees and Mary Len are specialist palliative care nurses of many years’ experience. Along with their team they run Dove Cottage Day Care Hospice in Rutland. A year on from their launch, Amander Meade visited and found an inviting place full of warmth and joy in an inspiring rural setting.

Dove Cottage




What is the nature of the work at Dove Cottage? We run a day centre for guests who are dealing with long-term conditions. Twice weekly, we offer guests the chance to come along and spend the day with us and experience all kinds of holistic therapies including armchair yoga, massage, beauty and relaxation treatments, and arts and crafts, amongst other activities. Above all, we offer the chance to talk frankly about personal situations or, just as importantly, not talk – simply to enjoy some company and a change of scene. Coming to Dove Cottage provides the opportunity for our guests and their carers to spend some time apart and have some fun in a safe environment. Can you describe a typical day at Dove Cottage? Our guests arrive at around 10.30am and join in with any of our activities, if they wish, followed by an excellent three-course lunch. Guests and staff all eat together, and lunch is the highlight of the day with lots of laughter in a family atmosphere. We have around eight guests each Tuesday and Thursday – some are referred by health professionals, and others find out about us and self-refer. Anyone of any age is welcome. We are assisted by a dedicated team of volunteers and we are keen to recruit more – again all age groups are welcome. Volunteers typically get involved in activities, play cards or board games with guests or simply chat and listen. The term “hospice” can be misleading – the ethos here is all about creating a place to enjoy living, despite difficult circumstances. Why is the work of Dove Cottage so important? It is the only place in Rutland where local people living with long-term conditions can get support without travelling long distances. We offer an open-house policy for guests and carers, who greatly value our experience when it comes to talking and support. Because we have only been open a year, we are adding to our offering all the time. We have recently launched a

chaplaincy service, a bereavement service and a carers support group, all of which have been well received. As we are a registered charity, there is no charge to guests who attend, and transport can also be arranged. We would urge anyone interested in becoming a guest or volunteer to come along, look around and spend some time with us – our guests are our greatest advocates and they are delighted to meet visitors and recommend the Dove Cottage experience. How can readers help? Our goal is to expand our twice-weekly sessions when funds allow, so fundraising is key to our future. We would love readers to consider us

as a recipient for sponsored events, payroll giving, donations, one-off fundraising events, legacies and bequests. We have been fortunate to have had some wonderful support from local organisations so far and are hoping to spread the word about Dove Cottage to encourage more help to develop our work. To find out more about attending Dove Cottage as a guest or to volunteer, contact either Ruth or Mary on 01572 722630 or visit You can find Dove Cottage at Jubilee Lodge, Brooke Road, Rutland LE15 9AJ.

The term “hospice” can be misleading – the ethos here is all about creating a place to enjoy living, despite difficult circumstances. 10


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Joy Everitt, her husband John and their young family arrived in Rutland almost 40 years ago from Peterborough. With a lifelong love of performance, Joy established herself as a leading light with the local amateur dramatics society and from there became involved in all kinds of community ventures. Joy spoke to Amander Meade about her latest project: Arts For Rutland.

Champion of the arts “For me, the most important role of Arts For Rutland is enabling grass-roots initiatives to get off the ground in the first place.”



OY trained as a nurse and midwife before a career in health visiting and was so keen on amateur dramatics she prompted and organised productions in the community and in the hospitals wherever she worked. On arriving in Rutland in the early 1980s she immediately joined the RATS – Rutland Amateur Theatre Society. “We were originally based in Braunston Village Hall but when we were offered the opportunity to perform at the newly constructed Queen Elizabeth Theatre at Oakham School, the company really went from strength to strength,” she recalls. OAKHAM’S FESTIVAL

At that time, Oakham’s arts Festival was also very much centred on the school’s productions, but when Joy and her dear friend, the late Sue Stephens (founding editor of Rutland Living), were approached to run the event, the pair knew they wanted to broaden the reach much further into the community. “Over the next few years the festival grew and grew. We involved pubs, clubs, societies and schools, with hundreds of volunteers delivering annual programmes of poetry, dance, drama and all sorts of wonderful 12

productions. There was a memorable comedy night featuring some comedians who were just on the brink of TV fame, including Jimmy Carr and Lee Mack, Jeremy Hardy and Jo Caulfield – that was a magical highlight.” ARTS FOR RUTLAND

After 15 years at the helm and a catalogue of wonderful memories, Joy decided to leave the Festival in the capable hands of her committee. Her next project was to be Arts For Rutland. “We are a team of arts lovers who aim to coordinate and promote the arts in the county. We have a website and administer a collection of staging and lighting equipment, which is available to anyone to borrow at no charge. We also invite groups and individuals to apply for up to £1,000 of funding for their own arts projects. We welcome all applicants and ideas, and have funded drama projects such as the one from Uppingham that went on to the Leicester Comedy Festival, plus saxophone workshops and dance projects. We hold the annual Rutland Open Art Exhibition and competition (open to both adults and under 18s), which are very well supported. In all over £15,000 has been spent on independent arts projects in the county.


“We are also responsible for Cinema for Rutland and the ‘Live and Local’ initiative on behalf of Rutland County Council. ‘Live and Local’ is a nationwide initiative that subsidises professional touring companies to bring their productions to small towns and village halls for a fraction of the cost. The shows are magnificent and always get great support. We produce a brochure at the beginning of every season and try to provide a really varied programme of events with a broad appeal.” HERE TO HELP

Looking forward, the Arts For Rutland team is planning a major community play this year based around the stories of returning WWI service personnel. “All the schools will be involved, and anyone interested in taking part can look out for details on our website and in the local press. My enduring ambition is to spread the word about all the resources available through Arts For Rutland – we are here to support arts projects, so please use us… we’d love to help.” Find out more about Arts For Rutland, the schedule of events, the grant scheme and equipment to borrow at


New season accessories

Give your wardrobe a boost with some new accessories for spring. Here’s a selection from a number of our favourite fashion stores across the region. WORDS: CLARE PEEL PHOTOGRAPHY: ELLI DEAN



Twist & Tango dress, £99, Unisa sandals, £89, Unisa big blue bag, £89, necklace, £35, earrings, £15, Vilagallo scarf, £45; all Jacks for Women.

Marie Méro accessories, prices from £27; from Vanilla.

Pink scarf by Cream, £39.99, jewellery by Nour London, prices from £18.99; all from Duo.

Leather bags, made in Italy, from £63, necklace, £18, earrings, £12; all from Albar’s Den.

Paul Smith Swirl Hobo Bag, £575, Paul Smith Grand Stripe Brogue shoes, £350, Paul Smith plait belt, £119; all at Cavells. Abro handbag, £145, Paul Green trainers, from £130; all from CoCo.

Blue scarf, £10, brushed silver jewellery by Dansk Smykkekunst, from £18.99; all at Duo.

Big thanks A huge thank you to our local boutiques for selecting on-trend accessories for our feature and for letting us shoot on their premises. Thank you to Emma for modelling the items from Jacks. Thanks, too, to our lovely photographer Elli Dean, 07932 055548, DIRECTORY Albar’s Den 1 Crown Walk, High Street, Oakham, 07977 002260, Cavells 16 Mill Street, Oakham, 01572 770372, CoCo 29 High Street, Oakham, 01572 757646, Duo Boutique 29a High Street, Oakham, 01572 722116, Fords of Oakham 8 Church Street, Oakham, 01572 722654, Jacks for Women 16 Church Street, Market Harborough, 01858 431396, Vanilla 23b Mill Street, Oakham, 01572 757577,

Handbags by David Jones, Paris, from £29.99– 39.99; all at Fords of Oakham.




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For the last 90 years, the National Garden Scheme has been offering people access to some of the most beautiful private gardens in the country. Fiona Cumberpatch previews the 2018 season in this region…

Gunthorpe Hall


Come into

the garden!

NSPIRATIONAL gardens come in all shapes and sizes. Rolling country acres or a tiny urban plot, there is no limit to what can be achieved with a little knowledge, a lot of imagination and some hard graft. The beauty of the National Garden Scheme (NGS) is that it celebrates the British obsession with gardening in all its varied and eccentric glory. Some 3,700 gardens now open countrywide under the NGS umbrella, and the charity has donated over £50 million to beneficiaries such as The Queen’s Nursing Institute, Marie Curie, Carers Trust, Hospice UK, Perennial, and Parkinson’s UK. And what nicer way could there be to contribute to a good cause? During most weekends from March to October, it’s possible to find an open garden. Use the NGS website or the “NGS Find a Garden” app to help you. With tulips in April, peonies in May, roses in June and glorious kitchen gardens in late summer, there is always something to look forward to in the seasonal calendar. Simply turn up, pay the modest entry fee and spend a happy few hours exploring. In many cases, children go free. An added bonus might be a cup of tea and a slice of delicious home-made cake, a plant stall, and the expertise of the owner, most of whom are only too pleased to share their knowledge. Even more pleasurable is when a number of gardens in the same village get together on the same day. This will be happening on Sunday 24 June in Empingham, when four garden owners will be sharing the date. Don’t miss the beautiful Prebendal House, opening after a break and under new ownership. There is also the tiny and charming Lavender Cottage, and a new garden, Honeylea, that has been specially adapted for wheelchair use. This is just one of a host of regional highlights to look forward to.

Rutland and Leicestershire Northamptonshire Gunthorpe Hall Blatherwyke Estate 25 March, 2-5pm. Home-made teas. £4. Don’t miss this large garden with extensive views over Rutland and carpeted with drifts of daffodils. There are five distinct areas, including a lawn with mulberry, cherry and lime trees. There’s a new tulip bed, and a charming old orchard.

Wing gardens 17 June, 11am-5pm. £5 admission (covers seven gardens). Teas served in Wing Village Hall. One not to be missed is this collection of seven village gardens in pretty Wing. Sizes range from half an acre (Stonecrop House and Autumn House) to the small and charming with stunning views (the artist’s garden at 33 Morcott Road). From formal to cottagey, you cannot fail to be charmed, and if you can find a better cream tea than the ones served in this village hall, then we’d like to know about it!



Blatherwyke, Peterborough PE8 6YW 22 July, 11am-4pm. Home-made teas. £4. See the transformation of a stunning walled garden which has been restored from dereliction. The house, Blatherwyke Hall, was knocked down in the 1940s, and the grounds left to run wild, but in April 2011 reconstruction began. There’s a large kitchen garden, pleached fruit trees, seasonal beds, and wild flower meadows. An arboretum is currently being planted.


Cambridgeshire Manor House Alwalton PE7 3UU. 17 June, 1.30-4.30pm. Home-made teas. £4. Gardens of a 17th-century farmhouse, with a formal walled garden divided into “rooms”, and with a path leading to a wild area overlooking the River Nene. Pretty mixed borders.

Castor House 136 High Street Irchester NN29 7AB. 29 July, 12-4pm. Home-made teas. £3.50. An attractive, half-acre plot, which is a riot of colour in July. Varied borders including sunny, shady and bee-friendly ones. Wildlife pond.

Peterborough Rd, Castor PE5 7AX. 19 August, 2-5pm. Home-made teas. Admission £6. Some 12 acres of gardens and woodland on a slope, which was terraced and redesigned in 2010. There’s a potager with a greenhouse and exotic borders, a willow arbour, rose and cottage gardens and new loggia.

39 Foster Rd Campaign Avenue, Sugar Way, Peterborough PE2 9RS Open by arrangement. Email: See what can be done in a modest estate plot when two plantsmen let their imagination and skills run riot. Large number of pots, over 250 hostas, daphnes, acers and an impressive selection of trees and hedging in a small space. Four British shorthair cats add extra charm!

16 Leys Avenue Desborough NN14 2PY. 15 July, 2–6.30pm. Light refreshments. £3. Opening for the first time with the NGS, this town garden has been transformed from a long, flat plot to a place full of interest with five raised beds, a pond flanked by a 12ft boat, shingle pathways and a large variety of acers.

Lincolnshire Yew Tree Farm Westthorpe Road, Gosberton. 29 July, 11am–5pm. Home-made teas. £4. A stunning country garden thriving on rich Fen soil, with deep borders crammed with tall, plants in a tapestry of colour and shape. There’s a pond and two bog gardens, plus an organic vegetable plot and a magical meadow of yellow and orange annuals that looks as if someone has spilt sunshine across the fields. Quirky garden antiques make attractive focal points.

Willoughby Road Allotments Willoughby Road, Boston PE21 9HN, 19 August, 10am-4pm. Light refreshments. £3. Seed and plant stall. Over 60 plots growing veg, fruit, flowers and herbs, an orchard and a wild flower meadow. Come and pick up some growing tips and enjoy the sense of community in this space.

“I welcome visitors to my garden!”


NGIE Jones and her husband Jonathan have been opening their garden, Willow Holt, in Thorney, Cambridgeshire, with the NGS since 2006. Their two-acre plot is peacefully relaxing, with trees, shrubs, wild flowers, ponds, metal sculptures and an impressive collection of plants and shrubs. Angie and Jonathan will be opening on Sunday 27 May and Monday 28 May, 11am5pm. Home-made teas. Tel: 01733 222367.

Does your garden need to be super tidy and professional to be accepted by the NGS?

I never stop gardening. It would be just the same if we didn’t open the garden What sort of questions do people ask?

A garden needs to be well maintained but that doesn’t mean perfectly neat and tidy. The scheme welcomes gardens designed for wildlife, and these can never be pristine. All styles of garden are welcome in the NGS. There are small and tidy ones, large and rambling, formal and informal gardens. There are also allotments and smallholdings in the scheme. Why do you like being involved?

Is it hard work just before you open?

I love hosting visitors, meeting different people, discussing plants and gardens. Conversation moves in some very interesting directions, and we’ve heard some fascinating stories over the years. Everyone is complimentary about the garden… or maybe too polite to criticize! We have a then-and-now photo album that stimulates discussion.

Questions are usually about plants – any that are looking good on open day or something that is unusual. Do you ever meet other NGS garden owners?

Yes, we meet up once a year for a talk and distribution of garden posters and tickets etc. Those that open their gardens also get complimentary tickets to visit other gardens and meet up that way. Is this something you’d recommend to other gardeners?

I would. It’s great fun and it raises millions for the caring charities.



Going for gold

Amander Meade pays a visit to the Rutland Goldsmiths’ workshop, where fine jewellery is still designed and crafted by hand using centuries-old techniques.





KILLED goldsmiths Peter Keightley and Krys Sekula have worked together for many years, having formed their working relationship at much-missed Uppingham jewellery shop Rubinstein Keightley. Having decided to move away from traditional retailing to concentrate on his first love of jewellery design, Peter invited Krys to join him in creating bespoke pieces by hand in a small Rutland-based workshop, where every commission is lovingly created from scratch.

Delicate, refined design… “I was surprised recently when a client asked me which software I used to make my designs look hand drawn,” remembers Peter. The answer was: “They are hand drawn!” Although Peter still undertakes occasional bench work, he predominantly works with clients, tailoring the design of each piece of jewellery around their individual ideas. Krys will then transform Peter’s pencil drawing into a spectacular item of jewellery. “It is a fully collaborative process from start to finish,” adds Krys. “We work together to make sure each piece is as perfect as it can be both aesthetically and functionally.” You won’t find any computer-aided design equipment in the Rutland Goldsmiths’ workshop, and this approach is quite deliberate. Still using the same craft skills and hand techniques that were honed centuries ago but with a nod to current innovation, Krys uses laser welding technology where it’s applicable. “On the whole what we do today at the bench is the same ‘nuts and bolts’ process that has been used in all the famous workshops around the world throughout history,” explains Peter. “To some this sounds preposterous, but with the ever-increasing technical advances and mind-

boggling complexities of modern life we prefer simple, traditional hand skills – and so do our clients. We are quite happy being dinosaurs.”

“Fundamentally, jewellery is all about an emotional investment – we use it to celebrate and commemorate.” Using precious and semi-precious stones set in any kind of metal, Peter and Krys create all kinds of original designs and particularly enjoy reinventing a dated or damaged piece of jewellery into something new and wearable. “We recently melted down two white gold rings, both of which were damaged beyond repair and reused all the original diamonds to create a stunning contemporary ring that the owner can really enjoy wearing. We work with a lapidarist, meaning we can re-polish and recut stones into a different shape to transform an out-dated piece. It’s wonderful to take something that has enormous sentimental value to a client and change it, so it can be enjoyed in a new way.” Not surprisingly, the pair have a loyal clientele and many repeat commissions from customers all around the UK and beyond. “I have been designing jewellery for so long now that I am making engagement rings for clients whose family commissioned me for their christening gift – which makes me feel ancient,” laughs Peter. With a bulging order book and an increasing demand for hand-crafted, highquality work, I think he is a good way from taking it easy any time soon. For more information, contact the Rutland Goldsmiths on 07793 651599 or visit




Harringworth Viaduct


Park on the green in Barrowden and take the Morcott Road west out of the village. At the first junction turn left towards Harringworth, and after a few yards you will see the path taking off down a drive to the left. After 10 yards cross the stile in the fence on the right, leading diagonally across a field towards the disused railway line. Just before coming to the line, follow the path right up the field edge, until you reach a track that takes you across the disused line. Turn immediately right and you have great views of the Harringworth Viaduct as you head west towards it for 0.75 miles. On reaching a stile and a metalled track, turn left and cross the bridge over the River Welland; then turn immediately right and follow the riverbank for two fields. At the start of the third field, cut across it due south towards the tiny hamlet of Shotley. Proceed up this tiny road, past a few houses and then along a track between fences. Go through two field gates and then you will begin your ascent up the valley edge. As you reach the field boundary at the top of the hill, go left on the south side along the field boundary. This is not marked as a right of way, but it is a permissive path, NB32; pass through a gate in front of you and continue to follow the path, now between fences, until you reach a gate leading into the disused quarry. On reaching the quarry, turn left along the track along the quarry bottom, and you will soon see the track snaking out of the quarry to your right and heading up towards a coppice. You have now re-joined the public right of way. Follow the well-marked grassy track east, over a concrete strip (the old WWII Spanhoe Airfield) and you will reach a field. The path goes straight across this field; aim for the more established coniferous trees, where you join a very solid forestry track. Stay on this metalled track as it heads east and north. After 1.3 miles, as you are heading north, you will see a wide grassy track straight in front of you heading up slightly, with an interpretation panel on your left, whilst the metalled track continues to the right.

2 3

4 5


Barrowden Round

This is a gem of a walk, with a huge mix of terrain and a pub with a glorious view of the Welland Valley to finish. Stop whatever you are doing on the next fine day and enjoy this burst of wonderful countryside. KEY DATA

Distance: 7.5 miles Typical time: 3 hours OS map: Explorer 234 or Landranger 141 Start & finish: Barrowden Village Green (LE15 8EQ) Terrain: Potentially muddy at the start; note the steep climb up Shotley Hill Stiles: There are 8 of these, of which only 2 have dog gates Getting there: Barrowden is located 5 miles east of Uppingham on the A47, then 0.5 miles south


The Exeter Arms, 28 Main Street, Barrowden, LE15 8EQ, 01572 747365, Friendly local, with great pub grub. Barrowden & Wakerley Community Shop, Wakerley Road, Barrowden LE15 8EP, 01572 748748 22


The Exeter Arms

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St John the Baptist Church, Wakerley


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Take this grassy track ahead and follow it for about 300 yards before bearing right (due east) for a further 400 yards; on reaching a more defined track with a small white sign with red strip, turn left, and stay on this path due north (do not take the path as it swings right) until you exit the wood onto the Wakerley Road. Turn left on the road, go past the new Wakerley Quarry on your left, and after a


Wakerley Great Wood


few yards the path takes off up some steps to the left behind the church of St John the Baptist in Wakerley and down to the village itself. Take the road through Wakerley in a westerly direction until you see a footpath sign directing you right, back to Barrowden; you pass under the disused railway bridge, cross the Welland on a footbridge, and the rest is plain sailing!

© Crown copyright 2018 Ordnance Survey. Media 020/18


Oak tree and blue skies


Spot the blue plaque commemorating Thomas Cook at West Farm, Barrowden, close to the start of the walk. In 1833 Cook married Marianne, the farmer’s daughter. In 1841, he hired a train to take some Leicester Temperance supporters to a rally at Loughborough. This turned out to be the start of the Thomas Cook travel agency. Spanhoe is a disused WWII airfield. The concrete taxi ways and access routes still exist, and you can see where the runway must have been. The Commanding Officer of US 82nd Airborne division left for Normandy from here the day after D-Day: “I climbed heavily up the ladder of the plane that was to take me to France. In the doorway, I turned for one last look at the sweep of the English Midlands, now grown soft and green with spring.” Wakerley Great Wood is an historic ancient woodland, containing rich and diverse archaeological remains. The oldest features are two rare Bronze Age cairns. The waymarked walk follows the medieval boundary of Wakerley Great Park, remnants of the 13th-century deer park. The curious brick towers at Wakerley were kilns built for calcinating iron ore, built during WWI by German PoWs. Rather amazingly, they are Grade II listed! RUTLAND & MARKET HARBOROUGH LIVING APRIL 2018



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The greatest attention to detail coupled with a commitment to excellent customer service are just two of the elements that cement the working relationship between bespoke furniture makers Alexander Lewis and interior design expert Claire Simpson. Amander Meade visited the Alexander Lewis showroom in Market Harborough to find out more.

Perfect partnership Alexander Lewis and Claire Simpson Interiors


STABLISHED in 1995 by Matthew Wright, Alexander Lewis is recognised as one of the finest manufacturers of bespoke furniture in the UK. Over the years Matthew’s team have worked on numerous projects alongside interior design expert Claire Simpson, and the two are now offering clients the opportunity to take advantage of their combined expertise. Technical understanding and vision Claire trained with the KLC School of Design and has been consistently commissioned to design all kinds of interior projects from cottages in Rutland to Grade II-listed country homes, plus everything in between, both in the UK and Europe. “Matthew and I met several years ago when we were commissioned separately to work on a new-build project near Market Harborough,” explains Claire. “On that occasion Alexander Lewis was supplying a kitchen, but it soon became clear that more and more clients require the same standard of furniture design in every part of their home. We discovered we share not only an aesthetic view but also a very singular idea of what customer service involves and have collaborated on many projects since, from libraries and living spaces to wine rooms and bathrooms,” she adds. Over the years Matthew has been approached on dozens of occasions by interior designers keen to tap into the tremendous reputation of his team, but, until now, he has always resisted any kind of interior design endorsement. So what makes Claire different? “Claire is an exception to the rule. Both her technical understanding and vision are impeccable, and we have an innate understanding of each other’s role on a project, which combines to make things very straightforward and fluid for our clients. Our skill sets complement each other perfectly, and the fact that we are both based in Market Harborough really helps, as we meet in person both in the planning stages and on site, ensuring plans are executed in the minimum time frame and with as little disruption to clients as possible.” Singular customer service Something else the pair agrees on is the vital importance of impeccable customer service. “Building a strong relationship with customers is at the heart of what both companies strive for. Our clients tend to be very discerning and have very high expectations,” says Claire. “Matthew and



I are delighted to rise to and exceed expectations, and we both have a high proportion of repeat business – something we are each very proud of. The beauty of this collaboration is that we can ensure a smooth flow of ideas and technical skill throughout a project, whether a single room or an entire home.” Later this year the Alexander Lewis showroom on Church Street in Market Harborough will be replanned and refitted to become a design hub and studio, with Claire at the helm showcasing an expansive range of fabrics, soft furnishings, window treatments, accessories and furniture. Both companies will continue to operate independently, with clients having the option to use one or the other or a combination of the two when required. “There will be absolutely no pressure to use Claire for interior design or ourselves for furniture making,” assures Matthew. “We are simply endorsing each other’s expertise as fellow professionals and making it easier for clients to access a complete service where appropriate. We are very excited about the new showroom and the potential for working together on more and more projects across the region.” To find out more or discuss a project, contact Alexander Lewis on 01858 434444 or visit


A little under two years ago home cook Emma Steed and her partner Matthew Wray set up Nature’s Pantry in Market Harborough. The business promotes natural food and play via a deli, children’s cooking classes and selling sustainable toys. Matthew looks after the business side, whilst Emma creates an amazing array of recipes, using only natural ingredients. Lily Canter spoke to Emma to find out why the couple set up this unique enterprise.

Nature’s Pantry What gave you the idea for the business? I was living in London working as a nanny and Matthew was living in Market Harborough. It was a long-distance weekend relationship and because my family is also in Market Harborough I decided to move back up here. We were talking about what we could do, and I wanted to do something similar to the mums’ clubs I was going to in London. We wanted to create a safe place for children to play, where parents could also have a coffee. If someone comes for a cooking class, then they are a member for a week and can come in and have lunch with their children and use the space. Where does your interest in natural food stem from? I have always been interested in cooking and I used to be a nanny and I worked for wealthy families around the world. They wanted everything cooked from scratch – it was never food from a jar or the freezer – so I was always cooking. What types of food do you sell in the deli? We are not a health-food shop, we are a real food shop, and we cut out artificial flavourings, colours and sugar and make everything from scratch. We have everything from vegan and gluten-free treats to chicken ciabatta with barbecue sauce. We have over 80 combinations for wraps and ciabatta and make all of our own sauces. We also sell smoothies made with coconut milk, almond milk and coconut water. We don’t add apple or orange juice and we use frozen fruit and vegetables. What do you love about having your own business? It is really nice when I hear positive feedback about children no longer being fussy eaters and trying new things. It is all about making good food more accessible. I like to focus on the vegetables and a plant-based diet, and it is great to be able to do that within the business. Tell me about your customers. They are really lovely people who care about what they put into their bodies and about the welfare of animals. But we also get customers who just want a delicious wrap for lunch. Some people think it is going to be “healthy” food and not normal, but it is food for everybody, and it’s tasty and filling, and they really like that. How do you decide which children’s toys to stock? All of the toys are sustainable and Fairtrade wherever possible. We stock Lanka Kade toys, which are from a Fairtrade Market Harborough company and sourced from Sri Lankan villages. They are all wood, and we are trying to move away from plastic entirely in the business. We use sustainable coffee cups and encourage people to bring their own cups and Tupperware, and we will eventually have no plastic. What is your favourite food to eat at home? I like to make quick and easy dishes. On a Sunday I use all of the leftovers from the shop and make a lovely big vegetable lasagne. I am always playing around with everything. I like to make quick, delicious but filling meals. What do you like about living and working in Market Harborough? It is a nice market town with lots of great independent shops, and Church Street is a great location for us amongst all the independents. We also love the countryside, which is beautiful. We borrow my sister’s dog and go for walks along Brampton Valley Way or around Launde Abbey or have a picnic on the fields behind our house.




Weekend recommendations


Hiring a barge at The Wharf, Market Harborough, and trundling along the Grand Union Canal.



Shopping for fruit and veg at Farndon Fields farm shop.

Having a scrumptious lazy Sunday brunch at Bowden Stores.

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The lowdown on some of the fabulous places to eat and drink in our region.

Food & Drink News

Jackson Stops – beautiful food in a relaxed setting

Words and photos: Amander Meade Tucked into the heart of a pretty Rutland village, The Jackson Stops country inn might be easily overlooked without the burgeoning reputation of the quality of food to be found there. Proprietor and chef Rob Knowles cooked at several notable Rutland eateries, acquiring many accolades including 2AA rosettes, East Midlands Hotel of the Year and East Midlands Restaurant of the year along the way. Now running the charming Grade IIlisted pub with his wife Mandy, son Richard and daughter Libby, Rob says the priority is to provide great food in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere. My hope when perusing the menu was the same as ever when I eat out – please let there be a decent offering for non-meat eaters… God forbid the ubiquitous goat’s cheese tart, which is the all-too-frequent vegetarian option and never fails to make my heart sink. I need not have worried here. As well as an eclectic mix of meat and fish dishes, there was an additional trio of special vegetarian options into which Rob says he puts as much effort as the rest of the menu. “We take great pride in offering

the best locally sourced meat, and I don’t see why those preferring fish or vegetarian food shouldn’t expect the same high standards and imaginatively cooked meals.” My colleague Tracy tried the smoked haddock, lobster, spring onion and brown shrimp fishcake, which she declared delicious and just the right size to be a substantial starter without spoiling her appetite. My main course was a roasted root vegetable tart with chargrilled halloumi, marinated artichokes

and baby new potatoes with a red wine jus. We thoroughly enjoyed every delicious mouthful and still managed to savour a wickedly sinful dessert. Generous is the adjective that best describes The Jackson Stops: generous in imagination, portions that are generous without being overwhelming, and a generous spirit of hospitality offering superb value for money. I am one of the pickiest eaters I know, and, if I love it, the chances are you will too.

In a nutshell… • Michelin recommended four years in a row with a Michelin Plate awarded for 2018. • Expect to pay £5.95 for starters or desserts and from £10.95 for a main course. • Signature dish – Rob’s risotto is a favourite among regulars. • Small bespoke parties (max 24) are a speciality. The Jackson Stops, Rookery Lane, Stretton, Rutland LE15 7RA, 01780 410237,

The Wicked Witch Nicholas Rudd-Jones discovered that it’s the extra touches of expertise that really make the food offering at this local pub shine out Dameon Clarke has a culinary pedigree as long as your arm – including Le Gavroche in London and Tetsuya’s in Sydney, which at the time was amongst the best five restaurants in the world, then his own establishments culminating in lucky old us having him to cook for us in Rutland, settling here with his wife Victoria. What we experienced was fabulous pub dining with twists that only Dameon can add from his vast reservoir of experience, such as the sashimi of tuna that we started with, with flavours of the Orient – Vietnamese shallots, ginger gel, yoghurt and pickled cucumber – all in all a delightful way to begin our lunch. Our friends joining us for the occasion had the Rutland scotch egg (“delightful yellow yolk”) and grilled goat’s cheese with marinated beetroots, golden raisins and walnut nougatine (“soft and juicy”).


For the mains, our friends both had the pan-fried Skrei cod, with pak choi, a chilli and ginger dip, and with coriander taking it to a completely new level – a sweet sauce that delighted both, as did the generous portions. I enjoyed the hearty roast rump of beef, whilst Clare tried the pan-fried organic chicken breast with crispy bacon, creamed wild mushrooms and leaks, with pink fur potatoes. She loved the rich, creamy sauce that complemented the succulent chicken wonderfully. Everything was beautifully presented, with the visually appealing hand-crafted plates and bowls adding further to the pleasure.


We just found space for desserts and coffee, then sat back to enjoy the relaxed ambience of the pub. We all rated the food exceptionally highly and felt that this plus the friendly, efficient service and the buzz of our many fellow diners made for a hugely enjoyable meal. A final thing that impressed me. I went online a few days later to check the menu we had been offered, and it had already changed – we had better head back soon! The Wicked Witch, Bridge Street, Ryhall, Stamford PE9 4HH, 01780 763649, Lunch was £14.95 for 2 courses/£17.95 for 3 courses.

M I C H E L I N P L AT E AWA R D 2 0 1 8

The Jackson Stops Great food in a relaxed setting Extensive wine list, local ales, wide range of gins


(Available Tuesday to Friday. Excluding Good Friday. Booking advisable - please mention offer when booking)

Rookery Lane I Stretton I Rutland I LE15 7RA







Only 10 minutes from Stamford

Call us on 01780 410237 or Email

SHOWCASING THE BEST LOCALLY SOURCED, FRESH AND SEASONAL PRODUCE. OUTSIDE CATERING NOW AVAILABLE Weddings, Birthdays, Canapé Parties and more… NEW Have a Wicked Witch Hog Roast at your event. Special offer for April Join us for dinner, Tuesday to Thursday and receive your 3rd course FREE Quote “FREE PUDDING LIVING OFFER” T: 01780 763649 E:

#TheWickedWitchExperience Like our Facebook page & keep up to date with our events THE WICKED WITCH, BRIDGE STREET, RYHALL, PE9 4HH 31

Clare Peel checks out two excellent venues in Uppingham and Stamford

Food & Drink News

The Lake Isle

Clare Peel reviews an upmarket Uppingham classic and is delighted by the romance of its literary name and by its exquisite cuisine


AMED after a poem by W.B. Yeats about the idyllically tranquil island of Innisfree in County Sligo, Ireland, The Lake Isle “restaurant with rooms” (there are 12 of these) in Uppingham is reached not from its high street front door but down one of the town’s historic passageways. It was my first visit there, so this unexpected mini detour only added to the feeling of escape and of The Lake Isle being the inviting haven that its name implies. Stamford Living editor Nick and I went there for a weekday lunch and were warmly welcomed by owner Richard, who explained that he and his wife Janine (co-chef with Stuart Mead) took over the business in 2001 after being regular visitors to the establishment themselves. Some 17 years later, the restaurant, which is housed in a Grade II-listed, centuries-old building, has a well-established 2AA Rosette rating and an excellent reputation for its upmarket offering. We reviewed the menu in the bar prior to heading into the main dining room and were both impressed by how it reflected a confident chef comfortable with making daring ingredient choices. Notably, the menu included unusually good options for non-meat eaters – of five classic mains, two were vegetarian and one was a fish dish. To begin with Nick chose the moules marinière (£7), which were substantial in portion size yet had a delicacy (with mussels like “morsels”) that made for a winning choice of starter. I went for the baked Stinking Bishop cheese coated in oats and crumbs, with pears, parsnip, honeyed hazelnuts and watercress (£6.50). Any concern over this famously pungent cheese being overpowering were unfounded, as its richness was perfectly

offset by the refreshing juiciness of the pears (gorgeous dinky things) and a light coleslaw. Texture and crunch were added courtesy of the nuts. Fabulous. For his main, Nick went for the braised shoulder of lamb (£13.50) – a classily presented dish with a super-rich accompaniment of red cabbage with dates and pecans, some delicious “hotpot” potatoes (rather like a dauphinoise) and an architectural rosemary garnish. The meat was gloriously succulent, melting in the mouth. All round “astonishing” was the verdict. My main course – mapleand chilli-glazed salmon with toasted corn, sweet potato purée, pak choy, coconut king prawns and avocado mayonnaise (£14) – was entirely different in style, with exotic flavours, yet equally impressive and once again characterised by wonderfully complementary textures and flavours. For dessert we sampled the chocolate and Cointreau pudding (£7), served with hazelnut ice cream, together. The sweet is not usually my favourite course, but this was exceptional – the truffle was rich but light, dissolving delicately in the mouth, while the subtly flavoured ice cream went brilliantly with its

bold chocolatey counterpart; some delicately positioned chocolate sticks, meanwhile, added bite and the visual wow factor. What was striking was how well the dishes were put together – so cleverly thought through, superbly balanced and beautifully creative. This exquisite cuisine, coupled with the elegant, calm atmosphere, made for a dining experience that was just as dreamy as the restaurant’s poetic name. If you’re in the market to sample the restaurant’s wines, it’s worth noting that this is a speciality, with around 160 wines in the house cellar. Whether for a special occasion, a grown-up lunch or perhaps an upmarket get-together for a slightly larger party (the restaurant has two dining rooms upstairs that would be perfect for small groups – one seats a maximum of 16, while the other takes up to 8 guests), this Uppingham classic is a sophisticated stunner. If time allows, a wander along the town’s lovely high street and a browse in some of the independent shops there either before or afterwards only adds to the pleasure. The Lake Isle, 16 High Street East, Uppingham, Rutland LE15 9PZ, 01572 822951,

Kāfae on the Square W

E just had to give a little shout out for this fabulous new addition to Stamford’s coffee scene. Located on St George’s Square, this independent coffee house with a relaxed Scandi vibe offers top-notch speciality teas (including bubble tea – yippee!) and coffees – the latter is specially roasted by Hot Numbers of Gwydir Street in Cambridge and for me it was up there with the likes of Monmouth, which is praise indeed. Food options include pastries and cakes (croissants, flapjacks, brownies, Portuguese custard tarts – all hard to resist) and, on Fridays, Saturday and Sundays, granola breakfast bowls and bacon sandwiches, and, on Fridays and Saturdays, an Asian hot dish such as a curry or soup. There’s free WiFi, magazines to read (Stamford Living, of course), local art on the walls and even a bike rack for cyclists. And in case you were wondering, the loo’s just out the back. Looking forward to updates on their Supper Club, which is in its planning stages. Convivial, quality and super cool. Kafae on the Square is at 9a St George’s Square, Stamford PE9 2BN. Closed Mondays. For more information, follow them on Twitter at @KafaeOn or on Facebook.



Fresh New Look Lunch Menu Tuesday – Saturday 12-2pm Enjoy a warm welcome and fine food all served with a smile in our award-winning restaurant. Great for a treat, a business lunch or a quick bite to eat. Our mouth-watering delights include: Classic Moules Mariniére. Honey & Black Pepper Marinated Goats Cheese with roasted butternut squash, sweet ‘n’ sour peppers and baby spinach. Braised Shoulder of Lamb, with hotpot potatoes, red cabbage with pecans and dates. Maple Chilli Glazed Salmon, toasted corn, sweet potato puree, pak choy, coconut king prawns and avocado mayo.

The No.1 Hotel & Restaurant in Uppingham on Trip Advisor You can book your table online at and see all our menus. High Street East, Uppingham, Rutland LE15 9PZ T: 01572 822951 E:

Country Inn and Restaurant A warm welcome is assured at our quintessential old English county pub, bringing you the best of British home cooked meals and a choice of well kept Real Ales.

Why not join us for Sunday Lunch? Choice of 3 roasts all served with the traditional trimmings £9.95 for one course up to £15.95 for three courses

Curry Night

1st Thursday of every month. Two course menu with selection of starters, followed by three homemade curries £10.95 a head

Friday Lunchtime Special

2 Portions of Cod, Chips and Mushy Peas for £10 Tue, Wed, Thur 12pm – 11pm (Food 12pm – 2.30pm/6.30pm – 9.30pm) Fri, Sat 12pm – 12am (Food 12pm – 2.30pm/6.30pm – 9.30pm) Sun 12pm – 6pm (Food 12.30pm – 3pm).Closed Mondays


14 Arnhill Road, Gretton | Northants, NN17 3DN

Tel: 01536 770268 33

The George at Ashley

APRIL EVENTS AT THE GEORGE Easter Sunday Lunch - Sunday 1st April, £25pp Special Easter Quiz Night with Eggs as Prizes!! Tuesday 3rd April. Only £2 entry from 7.30pm 6 Course Tasting Menu, £35 with Optional Wine flight (extra) Saturday 14th April French Cheese & Wine Tasting Thursday 26th April, 6 Cheeses & 6 Wines, £20pp 21 Main Street, Ashley, Northamptonshire. LE16 8HF T 01858 565411 E 34

Ever thought about going to The Olive Branch for breakfast? Chef and owner Sean Hope reckons you should, and shares two trade secrets…

The perfect breakfast! PHOTOGRAPHY: CLIVE DOYLE


E serve breakfast daily from 8am at The Olive Branch for both overnight guests staying in Beech House and for anyone else who fancies it (you do need to book though). We like to think that over the years we’ve perfected our petit déjeuner and last year were proud to win an AA Breakfast Award. The accolade was “in recognition of a very special, high-quality breakfast, with emphasis on freshly prepared local ingredients”. As with most things to do with food, getting it right is everything to do with the quality of ingredients and the details! With that in mind, this month I’m letting you into a secret – well, two to be precise. For the first time I’m revealing The Olive Branch’s ketchup and fruity brown sauce recipes! Make yourself a few jars of these at home, and I guarantee they will transform your breakfast from an also-ran into something out of the very top drawer – as long as you get the best sausages, eggs and bacon, too, of course. If you can’t find the time to make these sauces at home, you can always buy them from our Pub Shop.

Eggs and avocado Benedict

Coming up… Julien Schaal Wine Dinner

The jams and marmalades used at breakfast are made in-house at The Olive Branch too.

On Wednesday 25 April, from 7pm, we’re holding a seven-course dinner matched with wines produced by Julien Schaal from his vineyards in Alsace and South Africa. Julien is a talented young producer who makes wine from Grand Cru vineyards in Alsace and produces a small selection of Chardonnay in South Africa. He will join us to present a few of his favourite creations, matched to dishes prepared by me! Julien has the kind of life we all covet, spending his time shuttling between Alsace and South Africa, making amazing wines! I’m looking forward to preparing and cooking all the dishes with my team during the evening. On the night I’ll introduce the dishes and explain my thoughts behind each one. Julien will introduce the wines he has chosen to match. To book, call 01780 410355.

If you don’t want to make your own sauces, you can buy these in The Olive Branch Pub Shop.

The Olive Branch Full English – sausage, bacon, Olive Branch black pudding, grilled tomatoes, grilled mushroom and free-range eggs (chicken or duck), as you like.

The Olive Branch tomato ketchup and brown sauce Chickpea and chorizo ragu, tomato sauce 1 red onion – roughly chopped 2 garlic cloves – roughly chopped 500g ripe plum tomatoes – roughly chopped 10 black peppercorns – crushed 2 tsp chopped thyme Small piece of cinnamon stick 120g caster sugar 2 bay leaves 1 tbsp olive oil 150ml red wine vinegar Half a teaspoon of xantham gum 1. Sweat off the onion and garlic until soft. 2. Add all the ingredients apart from the vinegar and the xanthum gum. 3. Cook out to a soft pulp until most of the moisture has disappeared – approximately 45 minutes. 4. Add vinegar and cook for a further 5 minutes. 5. Allow to cool to room temperature in the pan before blending to a smooth consistency with half a teaspoon of xantham gum. 6. Chill then serve.

The Olive Branch fruity brown sauce 4 plum tomatoes – roughly chopped 3 Braeburn apples – peeled, cored, roughly chopped 1 white onion – peeled, roughly chopped 5 Victoria plums – stoned, roughly chopped 200g soft dark brown sugar 50g malt extract (or you can use treacle) 200ml Worcester sauce 200ml white wine vinegar 1 small pinch cayenne pepper 1. Place all the prepared ingredients into a large saucepan and bring to the boil. 2. Turn down to a gentle simmer and cook slowly until the mixture resembles a chutney. 3. Remove from the heat and allow it to cool slightly before blending it all to a smooth sauce-like consistency. 4. Place into sterilised jars or bottles, seal. 5. Keep refrigerated (lasts up to one month).


If you are passionate about local food and drink then you might like to join Great Food Club. • Sign up at, free of charge.





Visit Thrapston Take a trip to this compact high street full of enterprising independent local businesses WORDS: FIONA CUMBERPATCH

Situated close to the River Nene, Thrapston is a lively Northamptonshire town with history. Its thriving Tuesday market has been in existence since 1205, and the handsome, centrally located Church of St James dates to the 13th century. With a population of over 6,000, the town sustains a number of interesting shops, selling gifts, homewares, toys and clothes, a café and art gallery. Auctioneers Bletsoes run weekly livestock sales and a Fur and Feather market on the first Saturday of every month.

Jollys Toys and Games Hilly Horton Home 36a Goss Court, High Street, NN14 4JH, 01832 358894, Hilly Horton has put together a fantastic collection of homeware and gift products from artisan makers and craftspeople, many of them based locally. Printmaker Sam Wilson’s designs, translated beautifully to cushions, kitchen textiles and cards, sit alongside a range of stunning teardrop-shaped wooden bird houses, decorative laser-cut metalware from Whittlesey-based artist Jenny Cairns, tiny handmade hares from a Thrapston maker and homeware and paintings by popular local artist Sam Purcell. Throws, lamps and glassware are carefully styled together in the two-storey showroom, which is a former print shop and listed building. There’s a capsule clothing collection in tasteful neutrals, and excellent, well-priced jewellery. Hilly also stocks a range of original vintage pieces such as roughly hewn dough bowls from Hungary, wooden chairs, and painted vintage furniture, which is repurposed in her own workshop by business partner Sarah Whiteside. “We’re a destination shop,” says Hilly. “My aim is to source pieces that you can’t find anywhere else in the area or on the high street.” She also runs courses throughout the year – see the website for details.

28a High Street, NN14 4JH, 01832 358915, Charlotte Croser has developed a lovely children’s gift shop, catering for babies to teenagers. There are products for every purse, from 75p pocket money treats, to “Thinking Putty” at £3.50 a pot (snap it, stretch it, bounce it!), Playmobil kits, board games, arts and crafts ideas, collectables, wooden toys and educational items. The complementary giftwrapping service is rightly popular, and you can always expect super-friendly service with a smile.

Funky L’il Feet 36 Huntingdon Road, NN14 4NQ, 01832 734500, Fresh, bright and appealing, with novelty aeroplane seats, this shop aims to take the stress out of children’s shoe shopping. With many years’ experience in fitting, including shoes for children with orthotics and young people with special needs, staff really do go the extra mile with service. Brands stocked include Start-Rite, Ricosta, Petasil and Berberlis.



Visit Thrapston H Johnson and Sons 58 High Street, NN14 4JH, 01832 732417 This butcher has been owned by David Milson for two years and is a popular fixture on the high steet. There’s a large range of appetising pre-prepared meats such as marinated lamb cutlets, peri-peri chicken and Mediterranean pork loin steaks. Beef is sourced from Grange Farm, Haddon. Try the fresh-looking selection of pies, cheeses and cold meats, and locally produced Titchwincle honey, and there are plenty of recipe ideas if inspiration is lacking. Look for the outstanding-value family packs, £20 for a selection that may include a chicken, a pie, mince, stewing steak and delicious sausages.

Inspired Interiors 65 High Street, NN14 4JJ, 01832 733800 Bespoke curtains in a wide choice of fabrics, and gifts including hats, bags and cushions.

The Bread Basket Thrapston Barbershop 24 High Street, NN14 4JH, 01832 735006 Jonny Hedges wanted to combine his passion for motorbikes with his skill as a barber, and that’s exactly what he’s done at this ultra-cool salon, which opened last August. The former RAF engineer has created a stylish industrial style space, with real bikes to peruse, free Coca-Cola, X-box and convenient opening hours (from 10am to 7.30pm).

32 High Street NN14 4JH, 01832 735366 Fresh bread, rolls and cakes, plus filled rolls, wraps and tasty toasties to take away. A good range of sweets and confectionery too.

Frocks 66 High Street, NN14 4JH, 01832 733100, A huge range of dresses for special occasions such as weddings, proms and parties. Opt for sparkle and bling or go for something a little quieter: all tastes are catered for here with names such as Amphora and Tahari. Downstairs, there is an accessories department with clutch bags, wraps, scarves, fascinators, hair accessories, and a huge selection of earrings. We loved the “Daisy” range of jewellery and the fluoro clutch bags to add a pop of colour to any outfit. Affordable prices, too.

Siam Grocery Shop 7 The Bullring, NN14 4NP, 01832 732951, A Thai grocery store, offering fresh exotic fruit and veg, curry pastes, tapioca flours, frozen dishes and all the seasonings you need to prepare authentic Thai food.

Café at No 34 34 High Street, NN14 4JH Enjoy a great breakfast or a light lunch such as home-made soup, garlic mushrooms on toast, or maybe a savoury pancake stuffed with roasted sweet potato and halloumi, in this busy little café, which comes under the Hilly Horton Home umbrella and is run by Becky. There are lots of gorgeous own-baked cakes from which to choose, and, if the weather is nice, you can sit in the sheltered garden. Does takeaways too.

Luke Williams Luxury Hair Design 33 High Street, NN14 4JJ, 01832 735946 This hairdresser only opened in May 2017, but it’s already very popular, and the imaginative window displays, created by owner Luke and partner Scott, have proved a real talking point in town. A Wella salon with four stylists, it’s Luke’s first solo venture. “I’m delighted with the response,” says Luke, who’s returned to the area after a spell in Australia. “We’ve had so much local support.”

Primrose Gallery 26 High St NN14 4JH, 01832 730022, This gallery offers a whole range of art services from specialist picture framing and frame restoration to high-quality Giclée printing and picture cleaning. Owner Neil Duguid, who also owns a business in Northampton, organises exhibitions of local artists, and sells ceramics, art glass and sculpture in contemporary and traditional styles. Offers a great selection of cards, sketchbooks and notebooks.


The Taste of Nepal Nepalese Exec Chef Khadak Singh Khatrichetri opened The Taste of Nepal within the Bridge Hotel on 17 July last year. He brings with him a wealth of experience working in Nepal, Northern India, London and more recently in Stamford and Market Harborough. His food is “Punjabi comfort style inspired by popular street food”. We received a warm welcome from Holly, who recommended dishes for us to try such as Momos, which are delicious little lamb dumplings served with tomato chutney (similar to Dim Sum). Aloo Tiki Chat was another recommendation: delicious spiced potato cakes on a bed of chickpeas with a tamarind dressing. The Gurkha-style lamb curry with Nepalese spices, potatoes celery and carrot was rich and flavoursome, perfect food for a grey wintery day. There are a plenty of vegetarian options and even a “clean eating” selection on the menu. We found the food to be both appetizing and creative. Bridget Steele Taste of Nepal, The Bridge Hotel, Bridge Street, Thrapston NN14 4JP, 01832 732320



Outdoor lighting Twinkly is not just for Christmas – use outdoor lighting to bring your garden to life as the weather warms up and to extend its use into the evenings. Install strips of waterproof LED rope lighting around your favourite borders or to illuminate pathways. Giant solar-powered light bulbs create an impact when hung around outdoor eating areas or secret corners of the garden. Try NOMA Solar Lights from The Langton Greenhouse and Garden Centre, And if you’re lucky enough to have a pond, you can even float solar lights on it for a magical display.

OutDoOr LIviNg Rebecca Chatterton reviews some garden trends for 2018 and highlights plants to look out for this month.

Good-looking, aromatic and friend of the butterfly and bee, herbs are something that should fill every garden. Appearing in so many different sizes and colours with wonderful different smells when brushed against, they provide interest as well as usefulness in cooking. Think about planting the shorter herbs such borage, chervil and coriander in pots dotted about near doors and windows. Chives are pretty in borders with their purple blooms, which can be picked and used as garnishes in salads. Evergreen Mediterranean herbs such as rosemary, lavender and bay are useful because they like welldrained soils and can be planted in drier, sunnier corners of the garden, where it’s harder for the hose to reach. We know which herbs we like to use in our cooking but try adding dried bay leaves to boiling water for a soothing tea to boost your immune system.

Update your outdoor furniture

Herbs and healing plants

Lavender is popular as a flower to pick and arrange but consider growing spearmint with its lilac-pink bells for cutting or let dill and marjoram go wild to produce tall fronds of striking flowers. Learn more about the amazing variety of herbs at The Herb Nursery in Thistleton

Wild garlic April is a great month to discover woods filled with carpets of fragrant wild garlic, historically called “Stinking Jenny” for its effects on milk when eaten by cows. The vibrant new leaves appear before the pretty white flowers, and, when picked, these leaves can be whizzed up with olive oil and parmesan cheese to make a delicious pesto or blanched and used instead of spinach. Although the leaf is similar to that of the poisonous lily of the valley it’s easy to tell the difference – just crush the leaves between your fingers to release that distinctive garlicky smell. If you are foraging, always follow sustainable foraging guidelines such as the ones available at The website also gives details of woods in our area.



This month is a great time to start thinking about outdoor furniture for your garden. Do you just need to clean up your existing pieces or is it time to invest in some new ones? Take inspiration from the ranges on show at local garden centres such as the Rutland Garden Centre in Ashwell and Welland Vale Garden Inspirations. For more details, see and Here are some tips to get you going, if you are thinking of buying new: • Measure your space so that you know for sure what will fit. • Decided what material is best suited to your needs? Wood is warm but will need maintaining, whereas metal is cold but extremely robust. Plastic is typically a good choice if you’re on a budget. • Are you going for a modern look (metal brights are great for this) or rustic (rattan or wood or larger-scale metal designs)? Furniture in cool greys and pale greens is great for achieving that stylish contemporary finish. • Consider investing in indoor/outdoor furniture – designs that work equally well inside and out. This is an option that offers value for money, as it means year-round use. • Think about how to protect your furniture year round or if the weather takes a dip for the worse. Do you have indoor storage space, eg in a garage, or will you need to invest in a set of protective covers? And think how to store any loose cushions, etc.

Run off those Easter eggs A great way to get fit is to find a park run near you. For more information about an invigorating run around Rutland Water or to runs near Melton, Market Harborough and Corby, visit



with design problems, hot, dry or shady places, screening issues or just with that idea

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Gretton Garden Services Reliable landscape gardener located in the Gretton area and offering a range of gardening services including: • Grass Cutting • Hedge Cutting • Fencing • Decking • Patios

• Driveways • Turfing • Weed Spraying • Scarification • Pressure Washing

Call Chris Stubbs to see how his practical knowledge can turn your dreams into reality

Mob. 07976 286664/Home. 01536 772434 email


On your bike! Innovative clothing

With its long stretches of declassified roads, scenic hotspots and rolling hills, the region is a Mecca for experienced cyclists but is also a great place for individuals or families to get on their bike for an exhilarating day out. Lily Canter explores the popular routes and resources that make Rutland and south Leicestershire the perfect cycle destination.

Regional routes With 200 members aged three to 83, Welland Valley Cycling Club is a fountain of knowledge when it comes to riding routes in the region. Club committee member Chris Dainty believes that cyclists can get the best of both worlds with plenty of steady, flat routes for beginners, together with gruelling hills for a challenging workout. “There are some fantastic routes in the Welland Valley. The scenery is stunning, especially towards Oakham and Uppingham, and the roads are relatively quiet. It is a very good part of the world to be a cyclist.” Chris recommends three regional routes of varying difficulty and length:

Tucked away on The Manor rural business complex in Tur Langton is an innovative startup company developing “wearable tech”. Launched a year ago by cycling enthusiast Paul Molyneux and his two colleagues Chris Carr and Tristan Gilby, Metier has developed the world’s first high-performance cycle wear with built-in illumination. Their launch product, the Beacon Collection, has a series of LED lights integrated into the front and rear of the jackets and gilets, giving cyclists greater confidence on the road. The lights, which can be set to flash, last for up to 70 hours before having to be charged. The clothing is also hydrophobic, windproof and fully breathable and can be cleaned in a washing machine. “Our philosophy is that we want to make visibility part of the ride,” said co-founder Paul. “People can put it on and then forget about it. Riders say it makes them feel safer, and people in vehicles notice them and give them enough room. We are targeting people who need really good kit, are experienced cyclists and know they are getting value for money.” The company, which sells stock via its website and cycling shops such as Café Ventoux, is currently developing a wider range of seasonal wear for cyclists. Find out more about Metier on our podcast available via Twitter @rutlandliving

Easy 10 miles: Start in Thorpe Langton and head east to Welham. Take the right-hand turn to Weston by Welland. Approaching Weston, take the left-hand turn before the pub (Wheel and Compass). Cross the River Welland and pass the old railway line. Turn left at the T-junction for Slawston. Pass through Slawston and proceed to the T-junction on the Kibworth to Hallaton Road. Turn left and head for Cranoe. Turn left in Cranoe, heading back to Welham. Pass the Red Lion in Welham on your right-hand side and cycle back to Thorpe Langton. Medium 18 miles: Start in Medbourne and head east to Drayton and on to Great Easton. Turn right in Great Easton and go towards Caldecott. Turn left on to the A6003 towards Uppingham. After 300 yards turn right onto the B672. After 1.5 miles turn left to Lyddington. After passing the Old White Hart in Lyddington (on your left), turn left and climb the hill. On reaching the junction with the A6003, go straight over and down through Stoke Dry to the Eyebrook Reservoir. Follow the road round the reservoir to a T-junction. Turn right and proceed to the junction with the B664 near Stockerston. Turn left onto the B664 and go up the hill; follow the road down to Medbourne. Hard 35 miles: Head east from Hallaton through Hornighold and on to Stockerston. Turn left onto the B664 and climb King’s Hill to Uppingham. Turn left in Uppingham onto the A6003 and go down to the roundabout, where the 6003 meets the A47. Take the second exit on the roundabout to Ayston and go on to Riddlington and Brooke. Turn left to Braunston-in-Rutland, then turn left in Braunston on the road to Tilton on the Hill. After two miles take a left turn to Launde Abbey and head up the steep climb through Launde Park and on to Loddington. Bear right towards Tilton on the Hill. In Tilton, turn left onto the B6047 and take the first right turn upon leaving the village. Turn left after two miles towards Billesdon. Look for a right turn in the centre of the village near the pub and shop. Take the next right turn, signposted Gaulby. Turn left in Gaulby for Illston on the Hill and follow the road to Three Gates. On reaching the B6047 turn right and immediately left, going on to pass Noseley Hall and then turn towards Goadby on your right. At the T-junction, turn right and return to Hallaton.



Off-road cycling routes If you are unsure about cycling on the roads, then there are plenty of accessible cycling routes. Try out some of these: • Rutland Water • Fineshade Wood • Pitsford Water • Grand Union Canal • Desborough Airfield

Social spokes Whether you are a novice looking for your first challenge or a proficient cyclist ready to compete, there is a club or event for you in the area. Welland Valley Cycling Club, based in Market Harborough, is one of the biggest cycling clubs in the East Midlands, but it retains a friendly, family feel. It stages junior and adult races, time trials and mountain bike events through the year and organises weekly club runs at a variety of speeds “from the steady to the bonkers”. Some members compete at regional, national and international levels, while others just want to ride with like-minded individuals on a sunny Sunday morning. Meanwhile Velo Club Rutland also offers something for every level of fitness and experience and has access to novice and competitive events. Anyone can join from mountain bikers to road and touring riders of any age. The club hosts a weekly Cafe Ride from Oakham for those returning from injury or wanting a more leisurely experience at the weekend. And there is no better time to sign up for an event with the Market Harborough Festival of Cycling hitting the roads this month. Riders have until Monday 2 April to sign up for a 50k, 100k or 100-mile cycle, starting at The Robert Smyth Academy on Sunday 8 April. Now in its fourth year, the event includes a children’s coaching session and is expected to attract 500 participants. “It is the biggest cycling event in the area and we wanted to make sure there was something for everyone from novices up to more serious cyclists. Riders get a time but not an order, so it is not a race. Most of all it is about getting around the route and enjoying it,” said founder Brian Corcoran.

The event is part of the Race Harborough series, which includes a series of running events throughout the year and a triathlon in September. “We wanted to create a vibrant scene in the town with events that were accessible and would enable people to go on and do something with it. People are doing the events to fundraise and inspiring their kids to go on and do stuff which is great,” said Brian. Located on the Route 64 national cycling route, Café Ventoux is a multi-award-winning cycling destination based on the outskirts of Tugby in a former chicken shed. It features a cafe with homemade food, a bike shop, bike fitting service, Wattbike fitness studio and a

range of social events and celebrity product launches throughout the year. Three years old this summer, the business has already been named the number one UK cycling cafe and attracts riders from a 50-mile radius including Milton Keynes, Birmingham and south Yorkshire. “It is all about the touch, taste, feel, sounds and sights. We are designed around the needs of cyclists but are not exclusively for cyclists,” said director Brian Jordan. A two-hour mixed social ride is hosted every Saturday by the cafe from 9.30am. And a women’s one-hour ride is held on Sundays from 10am. The rides, which are led by a Ventoux ambassador, are free and no booking is required, just turn up and ride out.

Motors in around 1898. Since the 1950s it has been a cycling shop owned by a variety of business men including ex-professional cyclist George Halls. It also has an eBay store, which specialises in spokes, brake lever hoods and small parts. And if you are looking for service, repair or a bespoke bike fitting, then these services are offered at Mega Bike UK, based on St Mary’s Road in Market Harborough. The company also stocks a range of carbon road bikes and is a stockist of Scott bikes. The team has 10 years of industry experience and knows that cycling is about more than just good maintenance, so it offers a range of services to help improve fitness and technique.

DIRECTORY Brampton Valley Cycle Surgery 07703 755699, Café Ventoux 0116 2598 063, George Halls Cycle Centre 01858 465507, Mega Bike UK 07710 409420, Metier 0330 1132294, Oakham Cycle Centre 01572 757058, Race Harborough Rutland Cycling 0330 555 0080, Velo Club Rutland Welland Valley Cycling Club 0116 279 2756,

Equipment suppliers So, you are ready to get cycling but you don’t have a bike or are in desperate need of some new equipment. Fortunately, there is an abundance of cycle hire and cycling shops in the area. Rutland Cycling has stores at Rutland Water (Whitwell – the flagship store, open 7 days a week – and Normanton, one of the world’s biggest Giant Bikes brand stores), Pitsford Water and Fineshade Wood along with sites in Peterborough and Cambridgeshire. Here you can also hire mountain bikes, hybrid bikes, electric bikes, tandems and kids’ bikes. Also available for hire are child seats, buggies, comfy saddle covers and helmets. There are special offers for family hires, group bookings and OAPs. Rutland Cycling organises a regular programme of rides and events aimed at a broad range of abilities and ages. Meanwhile, George Halls Cycle Centre in Market Harborough sells a range of mountain, road and BMX bikes plus scooters and accessories for children and adults. The shop on Northampton Road started out as St Mary’s




Call James on 01780 752119

Garden Design & Construction

THE GUILD OF MASTER CHIMNEY SWEEPS Powering chimney sweeping into the 21st Century

FOR ALL OF YOUR CYCLING NEEDS Servicing I Bike Fitting I Spin classes I Sales and accessories






GEORGE HALLS CYCLE CENTRE 10-12 Northampton Road, Market Harborough, Leics, LE16 9HE. 01858 465507

KEALS GIFTS & INTERIORS Email: Tel: 01858 431994

Unit 1, 87 Saint Marys Road, Market Harborough, LE167DT 44




Rutland Water’s aggressive coots WORDS AND PHOTOGRAPHY: MICHAEL TAYLOR


HE coot is a very common bird, which is resident throughout the UK with the exception of North West Scotland. The current population estimate in terms of breeding pairs is around 32,000. These water birds can be seen all year round on lakes, rivers, canals and, locally, at Rutland’s reservoirs. Plump in appearance, they’re about 36–38cm in length and have a wingspan of around 70–80cm. Apart from a dark grey head, the entire plumage is black in appearance; their eyes are a fearsome-looking blood red. Coots have a very distinctive pure white bill with a matching white patch above it that’s known as a frontal shield. Indeed, the word bald in the phrase “bald as a coot” is derived from the old English word “bala”, which means white patch.


The coot is a plump-looking water bird.


The moorhen is a close relative of the coot.


One of the coot’s closest cousins is the moorhen. Slightly smaller in size, it’s frequently seen in the same habitat, and it, too, has a frontal shield that matches most of its bill colouring, which is vivid red. This prominent feature provides an easy way of distinguishing between these related birds, especially when they’re seen at a distance. Another fundamental difference between them is that of territorial behaviour. Moorhens are very sedate and polite when in close proximity to other birds on the water, whereas the coot is extremely aggressive and, for its size, punches well above its weight!

Head down close to water, this coot is in the early stages of attack on an intruder.

Coots sometimes build nests on semi-floating debris.


If all else fails, a fight between breeding pairs can break out.

The coot’s breeding season begins in earnest around early May and often continues into June, through July and into August, often resulting in the rearing of up to three broods. As the breeding period nears, the birds’ aggression against other pairs in particular can become really feisty, and such behaviour may continue for the duration. Coots constantly monitor potential incursions into their nesting territory and will launch an attack on almost any bird on the water to defend that territory. With experience, the onset of an attack can be anticipated, as the aggressor seems to go through a set sequence of actions before finally launching itself at the intruder. The first sign of possible trouble begins with a relatively slow but direct approach by a bird towards an intended target; as it does this, it keeps its head low and close to the water. More often than not the trespassing bird gets the message and begins to paddle slowly away, until suddenly the aggressor launches an attack at speed, which is the signal ABOUT MICHAEL for the intruder to retreat at an equal pace. Based in the East An actual attack usually begins from a distance of about Midlands, Michael has 5–15m from the unwanted visitor. This enables the aggressor been photographing to gain enough speed to virtually run on water during wildlife for over 20 years. the chase, before appearing to peck at its foe’s rear, as it His work has appeared flees – also seeming to almost run on water. However, on in national, regional and occasion when defending its territory against other coots, photography publications. the aggressor comes up against an opponent that just won’t Knowledge of your turn and run. This usually results in a noisy stand-off, with equipment, the subject, each bird raising its rear feathers in an aggressive posture perseverance, practice and as it faces its opponent down. During these scenarios, patience are crucial when their breeding partners frequently join in as back up, and, photographing wildlife. if neither pair retreats, a fight ensues. Such clashes can That said, luck can play a be highly charged and will continue until one of the pairs big part; being in the right eventually gives way. place at the right time The sight of a coot running at speed in pursuit of its often pays dividends! adversary is quite a spectacle. It’s an event that the wildlife You can see more enthusiast shouldn’t miss, and, with some patience (required of Michael’s work at with any wildlife watching!), one that you have a good chance of witnessing at Rutland Water.

Below: The coot’s diet varies from vegetation to small aquatic creatures such as crayfish.

Running on water? A coot launches an attack against an intruder. RUTLAND & MARKET HARBOROUGH LIVING APRIL 2018


A liTtlE ACtiVitY

A liTtlE FUndRaiSinG

A liTtlE COdiNg

My two boys love exploring the woods and every walk turns into an imaginative hunt for the Gruffalo. So it’s great to hear about the forest school Root and Branch Out running in Rutland on Wednesday mornings from 10am. Sessions currently run in term time and can be booked for six-week blocks for £45. Children of all ages can learn and play outdoors, working together with the local community. Find out more at www.facebook. com/rootandbranchout/. And if your children love cycling or perhaps want to hone their skills, then sign up for the Welland Valley Cycling Club Whizz Kids session at this year’s Festival of Cycling in Market Harborough. The club will be delivering Go-Ride coaching activities for those aged four to 12 years old at Robert Smyth Academy on Sunday 8 April at 10.30am. Come along with a bike and helmet after booking your place here:

Have great fun jumping in muddle puddles whilst raising money for a charity close to home. Between Monday 23 and Sunday 29 April Save the Children is encouraging families to take part in a sponsored Muddy Puddle Walk to raise funds for the international charity. Whether you splash in puddles along a trail at the park or get creative and make your own puddles indoors from paper and foil – raise funds in the way that suits you. Visit for a free fundraising pack with activity ideas and tips for walks indoors and out.

Do your kids love playing with technology? Then the Code Breakers club at Market Harborough Leisure Centre could be just the right Sunday morning activity to wake up their curious brains. Running for an hour each week from 10.30am, the club covers various projects, including how to code, how to make games, designing basic websites, 3D printing, green screen technology and much more. Sessions are £5 each and can be booked by calling 07969 139305.

LIttLe livIng

Now that spring is in fully upon us, it is a great time to make the most of our beautiful surroundings and connect your littles ones with nature. And if you’re concerned about April showers, don’t worry – Lily Canter has plenty of indoor suggestions for those unpredictable rainy days.

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Face up to your inner demons with the help of delightful, musical production “You’ve Got Dragons”, showing at Uppingham Theatre on Saturday 21 April. Presented by Taking Flight Theatre Company and based on the book by Kathryn Cave, this humorous intergenerational tale features creative captioning, interwoven British Sign Language and audio description. Tickets are £7 per person or £24 for a family of four. Tickets are available at

A liTtlE NAtuRe-expLorIng Discover nature in the wild with the help of expert spotters at Barnsdale Gardens on Sundays from 12pm. Take the kids for a special tour of the gardens and make your own simple bird feeder to take home. You can even get a great view of hidden wildlife on the woodland webcam. Note that between Friday 30 March and Monday 2 April, inclusive, there are special Easter events at the gardens, with egg painting between 12pm and 4pm on the Saturday and kids’ Easter hunts on all of those days (free with garden admission). Find out more at

A liTtlE SHopPinG Fords of Oakham have a beautiful range of Frugi children’s wear this spring, all made from super soft organic cotton with no harmful chemicals or dyes. If you are taking part in the Muddy Puddle Walk, then the £35 Rainbow Magic puddle buster suit is the perfect outfit. Or let your little one snuggle up in the Bon voyage reversible fleece, priced at £32, or have a splash of colour and magic with this Little Lola unicorn dress (£28).



A liTtlE BAkiNg Emma Steed, of Nature’s Pantry in Market Harborough, has created another delicious and nutritious snack that is easy to prepare with children of all ages. These Spring Veggie Quinoa Bites can be made with any combination of vegetables and herbs and are gluten free. They can also be a tasty dairy-free snack, if created without the cheese, making them the perfect lunchbox treat to feed any little mouth. Emma runs children’s cooking workshops at her deli in Church Street, Market Harborough. Find out more at:

Spring Veggie Quinoa Bites • 1 1/2 cups of cooked quinoa • 2 cups of precooked mixed greens, chopped small (Emma used spinach, peas and broccoli) • 1 cup of grated cheddar

• 2 eggs (lightly whisked) • 1 medium garlic clove (minced) • 1/2 cup mixed herbs (mint, coriander and parsley), finely chopped.

Method 1. Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl. 2. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper and shape the mixture in large discs. 3. Bake at 180ºC for 20 minutes. 4. Enjoy!


HEALTH & Dare to be different! Have you always craved a certain beauty treatment but never plucked up the courage to try it? Fancy taking a break from the norm with your hair? Do it! Catherine Varney declares it’s the month to step out of your comfort zone and try something new…

Facial rehydration If you’re always looking for new ways to turn back time, then try Redensity Beauty Booster, now available from Dr Debbie Lashbrooke at the Islington Studio Rutland in Langham. She told me: “It’s a new approach to replenishing and hydrating the skin and can be used for holding back the appearance of first wrinkles or smoothing out mature skin. It is a special combination of hyaluronic acid, anti-oxidants, minerals and vitamins, all of which are naturally present in the skin. The treatment consists of tiny micro-injections of Redensity over the surface of the whole face, or focusing just on the areas requiring improvement. For an optimal result, three sessions, three weeks apart, are recommended, but results can be seen immediately after the first treatment, with skin less creased and more hydrated and supple. My clients have commented on a ‘glow’ or ‘radiance’ that returns to the skin after treatment.” Prices start at £200 for initial consultation and first treatment.

Cavitation and Cryolipolysis permanent fat reduction If you like the sound of looking slimmer in your bikini without hitting the gym, then these unique fat-reduction treatments could be just for you. Performed by experienced aesthetics technician Lesley Spencer at The Chaelis Clinic, both Cavitation and Cryolipolysis are ways of removing stubborn pockets of fat in hard-to-shift areas such as the tummy, buttocks and back, giving the body a more streamlined look. Cavitation uses ultrasound technology to release fat lipids into the lymphatic system and liver to dispose of them over a course of treatments, whilst Cryolipolysis is a one-off treatment that removes between 20% and 40% of fat cells by freezing them to kill them permanently. Sounds intriguing? Look out for the full review in next month’s magazine…


Go colour crazy If you’ve been paying attention to the beauty pages of all the big fashion magazines this season, then you won’t have failed to notice a whole host of new hair colours on the market. Pastel shades are still big news, but more vibrant colours are also gaining popularity, and Wella has recently launched a range of toners, “Colour Fresh Create”, which wash out after 10 to 15 shampoos – perfect for a change without the commitment and upkeep of a permanent colour. They are available at Thomas Hairdressing in Oakham, and Thomas Potts told us: “Our personal favourite at Thomas is the steel grey; however, the range does include soft pastel pinks, bold coral and even some lavender shades – they’re guaranteed to lift your look and give your hair stand-out appeal. For more information contact our expert Kelly Yeoman at our Oakham salon.” And Market Harborough clients won’t miss out either because this innovative range is also available at Head Candy, where owner Leah Burnell has had fantastic results so far: “These 12 semi-permanent shades are intermixable for bespoke colouring results, meaning we can closely match the client’s skin tone – from soft coral pink to inky petrol blue, there’s something for everyone. Come along for a free consultation!”

Hopi ear candling This holistic treatment has been around for a while now, but how many people have actually tried it? Renowned for providing a whole host of health benefits, this simple and relaxing treatment is one of the most overlooked. Mica Krotochwil, the Spa Manager at Barnsdale Spa (at Barnsdale Hall Hotel), told me: “Firstly, it is very reasonably priced at £26 for 30 minutes, and it will particularly help anyone suffering from migraines, hay fever, anxiety and stress, asthma, vertigo and colds and flu. It’s also extremely effective for anyone who has problems with blocked ears due to flying pressure or excess water. It induces a pleasant feeling of warmth and a balance of pressure in the ears, forehead and sinuses, so it’s very soothing and wonderfully relaxing.”


& BEAUTY Zone Face Lift I’d read a lot about the Zone Face Lift before I went along to visit reflexologist Karen Joseph to try it. Various press articles have hailed it as the “award-winning face lift that takes off 10 years in 12 weeks”. Created by high-profile therapist Ziggie Bergman, it has received rave reviews in the media as an all-natural alternative to botox to lift face and spirit. So how does it work? Using Asian body mapping and pressure-point massage to naturally stimulate collagen and elastin from the inside, it tightens, plumps, sculpts, smooths and lifts the face, leaving a glowing complexion after just one treatment. Karen explained that it works holistically to rebalance your body, with the idea being if we experience inner wellbeing and nourish the soul, then this is reflected in the face. After all, any stresses in your body will naturally show externally and often manifest themselves as frown lines and areas of tension, so, over a series of treatments, the skin on the face and neck can appear tighter, smoother and plumper. Karen started by cleansing my skin and then applied a beautifully scented natural serum before beginning the pressure-point facial with quartz crystals – which was firm but still very relaxing. As she worked, I became very aware of a tightness in my jaw, which wouldn’t seem to release. (Perhaps my husband’s complaints of teeth grinding were true after all?) Karen massaged each area of my face methodically, and, in conjunction with a reflexology foot massage, she worked to release and dispel any toxins from my body. So do I look 10 years younger? Not just yet! But I have certainly been sleeping better, which has helped with the bags and dark circles under my eyes, and my jaw feels far less tense – and apparently I no longer grind my teeth! I really can see the benefits of this alternative approach to conventional anti-ageing treatments: ensuring you are balanced and in harmony on the inside means you will look your natural best on the outside. All in all, it’s the perfect place to start.

DIRECTORY • Barnsdale Spa, Barnsdale Hall Hotel, Oakham, Rutland, 01572 771313, • The Chaelis Clinic, Sten Beren, Main Street, Lowick, Kettering, NN14 3BH, 01832 733811, • Head Candy, 26 Church Street, Market Harborough, 01858 464395, • Islington Studio Rutland (Dr Debbie Lashbrooke), Cold Overton Road, Langham, 07815 787573, • Karen Joseph Reflexology, Tur Langton, 07967 645886, • Olive Tanning & Beauty Studio, 5&6 Crown Walk, Oakham, 01572 755750 • Thomas Hairdressing, The Maltings, 15 Mill Street, Oakham, 01572 756561,

Dermaplaning facial This facial – essentially an exfoliation treatment that uses a tiny blade on the surface of your skin to remove fine hair and dead skin cells – is certainly creating a buzz in the beauty industry. I went to see Claire Elizabeth at Olive Tanning & Beauty Studio to give me the lowdown: “Dermaplaning leaves your skin brighter, smoother, glowing and more youthful. You can expect to see an instant improvement in skin texture and tone, while the long-term effects are increased cell turnover, fewer wrinkles and dark spots, reduction of acne scarring, and the removal of fine facial hair.” Now whilst I loved the sound of removing dead skin cells I was concerned that any facial hair would grow back as a full-on beard. Claire reassured me this wasn’t the case, and removing the hair had benefits I hadn’t even considered: “Removing the peach fuzz (vellus hair) is beneficial because the fine hairs trap debris and oils and give skin a dull look. After dermaplaning, skincare products perform much more efficiently, since they can penetrate the skin more easily; your make-up will go on far more smoothly as well.” With benefits like that, I was certainly willing to give it a try. Claire used a serum on my face to create a smooth surface for the blade, and set to work in small strokes, holding my skin taught as she went. Any fears I had immediately dissipated – it wasn’t in the slightest bit uncomfortable, and the angle she held the blade meant there was no risk to nicking the skin at all. To finish, Claire applied a cocoa enzyme mask, which was able to penetrate deeper into the dermis and do its job of exfoliating and brightening my skin further. And the results? Fantastic! My skin immediately looked smoother and brighter and my foundation went on like a dream the next morning. Two weeks on, I’m still reaping the benefits of fresher skin; it feels incredibly smooth and much softer than it has in a long time – and best of all, there’s no 5 o’clock shadow! RUTLAND & MARKET HARBOROUGH LIVING APRIL 2018



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The Stamford Eye Clinic PHOTOGRAPHY: ELLI DEAN


S soon as you enter the Stamford Eye Clinic, in St Peter’s Street, you get an immediate sense of both their professionalism and friendliness. The clinic has a fresh, modern feel about it and offers a warm welcome – you will be offered a cup of tea or coffee if you have an appointment or even if just browsing. The key to the clinic is the quality of the staff and the high levels of customer service. Whilst I was there, for example, a client came in with a broken pair of sunglasses; a call was made to the manufacturer and everything sorted there and then, and the sunglasses would be back repaired within a few days. The range of frame brands is impressive, sourced from around the world, in many cases handmade and not stocked by the multiples. Lenses are by Zeiss and Essilor, two of the most renowned makers in the business. EYE MANAGEMENT

I booked an appointment because I was starting to find reading, especially in the evening, difficult; and also because of a family history of glaucoma. The very capable and friendly Mr Singh, formerly of Boots, conducted a series of tests on my eyes. First, he carried out a visual field test, then he took a retinal picture, then a mini-MRI of the eye, checking for abnormalities or dystrophies. Finally, he looked into the back of my eyes and carried out the “puff test” for glaucoma. A very thorough check that lasts 40 minutes or so, and re-assured me about all aspects of my eye health. Plus, we chatted lots about cricket. I then received a report that I could take back through to the “dispensing” optician, Malvinder Singh. Malvinder talked through my needs in great detail, what I required glasses for, whether my job was computer-orientated, my lifestyle etc. From that came advice on the type of visual aid required, be that glasses, sunglasses, contact lenses, sports glasses, swimwear goggles, safety glasses, you name it… 54



Next was the consideration of single focus, bi-focal or varifocals. In the end, I opted for varifocals, which offer a subtle and invisible shift from short focus (reading) to longer focus (driving), which I have subsequently found to be invaluable. Finally, we looked at frame options. Malvinder seems to have the knack at proposing ones that you immediately feel are right for your style… clever skill that… This was followed by accurate measurements involving digital devices and aids that specified to 0.1 mm and designed the lenses to ensure optimum vision from my spectacles! DELIVERY

After a week or so the glasses were ready for collection. Malvinder had made a “fitting appointment” for me, and again I did not feel rushed, as he went through all aspects of what I had chosen and gave tips on getting the best out of my glasses. There is a final vision check, ensuring that the glasses are fitting exactly right and then, hey presto, I am free to enjoy them…an exciting moment, at which point I feel sure: a) my eyes’ health has been checked thoroughly b) I have received the optimal vision solution c) the glasses look how I want them to look…not bad! AFTER-SALES SERVICE

Malvinder recommends coming back after a month or so to check the fitting, and also to have a full service after six months. You will also be notified of your next eye test. Brilliant service, friendly team, great solution – I will be back! The Stamford Eye Clinic, 32 St Peter’s Street, Stamford, PE9 2PF, 01780 767403, Email:


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As the Stamford Shakespeare Company celebrate its 50th anniversary, Louise Goss talks to Lynnette Ford about its history, her role and her memories of the company’s founder.

Lynnette Ford T

HERE is a saying that behind every great man is a great woman; in the case of Stamford Shakespeare Company the saying could be, that behind every great performance is Lynnette Ford. Stamford Shakespeare Company (SSC), renowned for its resplendent annual productions in the grounds of Tolethorpe Hall, marks its 50th anniversary with what it hopes will be its most successful year ever. The work of the actors, directors, costumiers and stage crew is staggering and evident in all the performances, but you rarely hear about the woman behind the scenes, who, with the Marketing Director, works throughout the year to keep the company and its impressive home at Tolethorpe, running smoothly. Lynnette Ford holds the title of Administrator and Company Secretary, but it’s a role that encompasses looking after the grounds, the house, security services, all the planning (of which there has been a huge amount), as well as supporting the board of directors. Lynnette started in 1995, when the SSC was still headed by its founder, Jean Harley. “I miss Jean,” says Lynnette. “She knew so much about Shakespeare and the theatre and she was terribly interesting.” Jean secured Tolethorpe Hall in 1977 after launching the company in 1968 with a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, performed by local actors in the grounds of The George hotel. She died in 2014, and Lynnette holds fond memories of her and her husband, Rev. David Harley. “He did everything for her,” Lynnette says. “She never put petrol in her car, never cooked, nor did the housework, because she lived and breathed for this place.” She remembers how Jean would sit and sew everyday in a room known as the Fairy Factory, because it is where many of the props, such as fairy wings for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, were made. “It would be so cold in there; she would have her old Singer sewing machine and do a lot of the sewing herself.” Initially, the whole company was run by volunteers. “They would act, but they would also do the grounds and build sets,” Lynnette says. “Founder members like Mark Hooson would work tirelessly and then be in a play that evening… but as Jean used to say, ‘Expect all good and expect it now.’” Eventually, to increase sales, they employed Derek Harrison, who Lynnette worked with for a time and recalls working, with cigarette in mouth, “in a great frenzy… and full of ideas”. With Tolethorpe’ s rich history spanning nearly 1,000 years, there are many visitors to the hall, and some who still have links to the families who used to reside there. They are predominantly from the USA, with connections to the Browne family who lived at the hall for over 300 years 56

from the 1500s. They were connected to The Pilgrim Fathers in America and some were among the pioneer settlers of Boston. A big part of Lynnette’s job is to show visitors around, and she enjoys calling Tolethorpe her workplace, even with tales of the White Lady walking through the house and up the garden steps. “I sometimes get a funny feeling and have heard footsteps and things, but I’ve never seen anything,” she says. She has, however, seen many plays. “King John is my favourite Shakespeare play, and Hobson’s Choice is a brilliant story,” she says. “I quite like the restoration comedies, they’re brilliantly written.” Has she ever been tempted to turn her hand to acting? “No,” is the emphatic answer. “I like


to stay in the background.” However, she once experienced being on stage. “I was in a scene in Henry V,” she says. “We have a school who come every year from Leicester and that particular year one of the children wanted to go on… They said, ‘why don’t you both go on?’ We were just part of the first milling around scene. The headmaster told me last year that that boy is appearing in the West End now. He got bitten by the bug.” That is just one of the many tales that form the SSC’s own story, and there are plenty of ideas about how to mark its 50th year, which include a costume exhibition and revamping the bar to celebrate the history of the theatre. Now preparing for a new season, the SSC is setting the scene for the next chapter and the next part of Tolethorpe’ s history.

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COULD RETIREMENT BE BAD FOR YOU? When you look ahead to your retirement, are you excited and full of hope, or does the prospect of stopping work fill you with dread? Having the time to pursue your passions may sound like the ultimate idyll, but could the reality be damaging for your wealth and wellbeing?


n 2011, the economist Josef Zweimuller, co-authored a study that found that early retirement, as much as we may crave it, seems to be bad for our health. The study showed that for every extra year of early retirement, workers lost about two months of their life expectancy. Sadly, this is not the first study to show a strong relationship between early retirement and earlier death. The facts point to one conclusion: It seems we aren’t actually very good at retirement.

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With many of us spending in excess of 25 years in retirement, it should be a time of happiness, new adventures and enjoying the fruits of our labour. As a company, we want to help many more people create the retirement of their dreams. This isn’t just about the money, The truth is that retirement is a hugely we want to show you how to design a painful and emotional stage in life. You rewarding and fulfilling Life 2.0, the spend your whole life earning money, and now you need to turn off that tap and new version of your life, and to create the health and wellbeing to allow you to live off what you have accumulated for enjoy it. So, to help with this, I wrote ‘The the rest of your years. Will you run out, Dream Retirement: How to Secure Your or will you die the richest person in the Wealth and Retire Happy’, which was graveyard? And that’s just the money; published in 2015. retirement is about so much more than the money, but that gets forgotten. Will ‘The Dream Retirement’ shares you be living out a boring, broke and brief retirement because you don’t have secrets on how you can have a fulfilling life after retirement. It has valuable the health or the balance of activities to information on what you can do in facilitate something better? ensuring how you can maximise your funds without taking unnecessary As a truly independent Chartered risks and how you can take care of Financial Planning business, we know yourself by managing your time, the secrets to a successful retirement health and relationships. from a financial perspective and have

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News & Notes

Helping you to make the most of Rutland and Market Harborough living

Nevill Holt Opera – 2018 season overview


HIS year, Nevill Holt Opera (NHO) reveal their most hotly anticipated season to date, with two stand-out productions and the long-awaited grand unveiling of their new theatre. It promises to be an exciting two weeks of perfectly pitched entertainment and first-class food, all delivered in the delightful surroundings of the Nevill Holt Estate, with a glorious panoramic view of the Welland Valley. The new Nevill Holt theatre will open to festival audiences in June, with a brand-new production of Mozart’s opera, Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro), featuring Leicestershire’s very own James Newby as Count Almaviva. Due to popular demand, Nevill Holt Opera recently announced an additional performance of Figaro, for which a limited number of tickets still remain. It promises to be a joyful masterpiece, which pirouettes its way through a day of madness at the Count’s Spanish palace. Figaro has the hots for his bride Susanna, but so does the Count, his master. With the help of the rejected Countess, Figaro and Susanna attempt to outwit the philandering Count before the day is done. The NHO festival will continue to impress audiences later on in the month, as they stage their second offering of the season, a saucy and stylish comic opera written by one of the UK’s most celebrated young composers, Thomas Adès. Powder her Face is a fivestar production inspired by the sensational personal life of Margeret Campbell, the “Dirty Duchess” of Argyll. It’s England in the 1930s, and audiences eavesdrop on the marriage of two of high society’s most recent famous divorcees: Margaret Sweeney and Ian Campbell, the Duke of Argyll. The Duchess’s serial seductions throughout the marriage become the talk of London, as does the couple’s infamous, ensuing divorce case. With a beautifully stylish period production from distinguished designer/director Antony McDonald, this production wowed the critics last year. For its outing to Leicestershire, Nevill Holt Opera is delighted to welcome the acclaimed ensemble Britten Sinfonia as orchestra in residence. For more information, and to access the last remaining tickets for this year’s Nevill Holt Opera Festival, visit

Oakham Sings!


FTER the success of her first choir “Stamford Sings!”, local musician and songwriter Brooke Peverell is launching a new women-only choir called “Oakham Sings!”. Starting on Monday 23 April, Oakham Sings! will run in a style similar to that of Stamford Sings!, with a wide variety of songs. Brooke’s singing sessions have a huge emphasis on fun and friendship, whilst also aiming to improve each individual’s singing ability and confidence. Singing has been proven to release endorphins and oxytocin, which improve your mood, lower your blood pressure and improve blood circulation; it also boosts immunity by promoting a healthy lymphatic system. There are no auditions to join Oakham Sings! and anyone is welcome regardless of ability or experience. Sessions will run weekly at Braunston Village Hall, each Monday from 6.45–8pm, at a cost of just £5 per person. When you join the choir, you will be entitled to discounted one-to-one lessons with Brooke. If you would like any more information about Oakham Sings! or any of Brooke’s other choirs, please do not hesitate to get in touch on 07772 055935.



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News & Notes A golden moment in Oakham, as Olympic legend Dame Mary Peters opens retirement complex


AKHAM retirees were joined by an Olympic sporting legend earlier this week, when Dame Mary Peters marked the opening of McCarthy & Stone’s new retirement living complex, Lonsdale Park. Dame Mary Peters, who won the women’s pentathlon gold medal at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, was joined by staff and homeowners and their relatives to perform a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the development on the Barleythorpe Road. She delivered a talk about her sporting past, before stopping for a bite to eat and a chat. She said: “I was delighted to be invited to Oakham for the opening of Lonsdale Park. It was an absolute pleasure to be able to chat to homeowners there, reminisce about the good old days and ‘share’ my gold medal with them. I was so inspired by some of their stories; and I thoroughly enjoyed taking part in the ribboncutting and opening celebrations of what is truly a remarkable development.” The launch was also a great opportunity for retirees in Oakham to have a guided tour of the complex to see for themselves how they could enjoy their retirement in a high-quality, lowmaintenance apartment. The Rutland Living team went along and was hugely impressed. Cheryl Bissett, Regional Sales and Marketing Director for McCarthy & Stone, commented:

“We were thrilled to welcome Dame Mary Peters, as well as so many people from the local area, to celebrate the opening of Lonsdale Park and give it the golden treatment it deserves. “We are committed to delivering an exceptional lifestyle, and, as such, the development enjoys a prime location with access to a superb array of local amenities, and the highest specification fixtures and finishes throughout.” Now over 60 per cent sold, Lonsdale Park consists of 43 stunning one- and two-bedroom apartments for the over-60s. Facilities include a stylish homeowners’ lounge, ideal for socialising with friends, plus beautifully landscaped gardens, an on-site car park and a convenient guest suite, should homeowners have friends or relatives to stay. A House Manager takes care of the smooth running of the development, while a security entrance system and 24-hour emergency call points provide added peace-of-mind for homeowners. Prices at Lonsdale Park currently start from £189,950 for a one-bedroom apartment and

£299,950 for a two-bedroom apartment. For more details, contact McCarthy & Stone on 0800 201 4811 or visit

Easter holiday courses at Uppingham School


F you are looking for a way to keep the children entertained over the Easter holidays, don’t panic, as Uppingham Summer School is here to help with a range of enticing-sounding courses. Creative children aged between 10 and 15 will love Art Week (9–13 April, £280), when they will spend five days exploring different styles and using a variety of media, with their own portfolio of masterpieces by the end of the week. Or, if words are more their thing, new for Easter this year is a creative-writing course for 9- to 12-yearolds, Write Away (9–13 April, £245). There will be plenty of sports on offer too, including a cricket coaching course (3-6 April, £192), headed up by Level 3 cricket coach Tom Flowers. These courses are always hugely popular and provide technical coaching in a fun environment. There is also a week of tennis coaching (9–13 April, £240). All the sports courses are aimed at children of all abilities aged between 8 and 14, and are the perfect pre-season training opportunity or introduction to the sport, or ideal if they just want to have a few days of fun! Uppingham School is also running a range of intensive tutoring courses from 3–8 April for students sitting their exams in 2018. Courses offered will be IGCSE Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Maths, and, new for this year, are courses in A Level Business, Economics, Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Maths. IGCSE students will receive 12 hours of tutored revision over two days for each of their chosen subjects; A Level subject courses will be broken down into exam topics, and students will receive 14 hours tuition per course. Each course will include reviewing core areas of the syllabus and particular topics and improving understanding of key facts in order to boost 62


confidence and motivate each student. Tutors will recommend different revision techniques, and students will practise past papers under exam conditions. Additional set work will be given each evening to prepare for the following day. Class sizes will be a maximum of 10. Both residential and nonresidential places are available. Residential students will have an opportunity to take part in sporting activities at Uppingham School Sports Centre at the end of each day, and there will be supervised study time each evening after dinner in the boarding houses. Prices start from £375 for a two-day IGCSE Revision Course, and £440 for a two-day A Level Revision course. For further information please call Uppingham Summer School on 01572 820800 or visit

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News & Notes Your Pet’s Paradise: a new dog-sitting service for Rutland


OUR years ago, Anna Bowen from Peterborough was looking after dogs for friends, who told her how invaluable her help was to them. This soon started to form an idea in her mind for a business, and her dog-boarding agency, Your Pet’s Paradise, was born. Anna set about recruiting “Holiday Homes” – people who are dog lovers and take dogs into their homes and look after them while the dogs’ owners are away. Your Pet’s Paradise has been such a success that Anna is continuing to expand the area covered by her business and is now coming to Rutland! If you’d be interested in becoming a dog sitter, see the box below. All of the “Holiday Homes” treat each visiting dog like a member of the family. Some have their own dog, but a lot don’t; all of them shower love and attention on their temporary furry charges. Anna matches dogs to the best “Holiday Home” for them, and owners are more than welcome to visit the Home beforehand, taking their dog with them, to make sure they are completely happy. If you would like more information, contact Anna on 07590 282005 or at You can also visit

Dog sitters wanted!

Chez Soi


NE of the real gems amongst Stamford’s collection of wonderful independent retail shops is Chez Soi, situated in St Mary’s Street in the old Stamford Hotel building. There are two separate showrooms, with the larger one, Chez Soi Interiors, featuring beautiful handmade tables, larger European pieces of furniture, lighting and an extensive range of mirrors. In addition, the Interiors showroom offers the full range of Farrow & Ball traditional paints and wallpapers. Across the impressive marble-floored hallway is Chez Soi Vintage. This is a relatively new addition to Chez Soi and offers unique hand-painted furniture pieces, a gorgeous selection of faux flowers, and hand-turned lamp bases with shades made from vintage fabrics. The full range of Annie Sloan paints is also now available here, together with advice on colour scheming and paint-finishing techniques. Plans are in place to offer decorative workshops during the year, so if this is of interest, please contact Chez Soi to register your details. Chez Soi, St Mary’s Street, Stamford PE9 2DF, 01780 757446,, 64


Are you a dog lover who could offer a loving home environment to a dog while their owner is away? Maybe you don’t want the commitment of owning a dog yourself or you have a dog who would enjoy the company of others. Your Pet’s Paradise is always looking for more “Holiday Homes” – sitters who are happy to have dogs to stay in their homes. Anna, who owns Your Pet’s Paradise, will match the right dog to you and work around what suits you. If you’d like more information, please get in touch with Anna using the contact details above.


News & Notes Schoolreaders’ volunteers needed in Rutland and Leicestershire


O you have an hour or two a week to listen to children read in a local primary school? Schoolreaders is a non-profit organisation that provides and matches volunteers from the community to listen to children read on a one-to-one basis in a local primary school. This service is free to schools, and the organisation is now looking for volunteers in Leicestershire and Rutland. The scheme is flexible to fit in with a volunteer’s availability and location, although Schoolreaders requests a minimum of a year’s commitment. No qualifications are necessary – just a good command of spoken and written English. Volunteers get enormous pleasure and fulfilment from seeing the difference that their time makes in helping children with their reading and thereby increasing a child’s life opportunities. Having launched in Bedfordshire in 2013 in just 12 primary schools, Schoolreaders currently delivers approximately 4,500 weekly reading sessions with a child each week in over 230 schools across the country. Jane Whitbread, Founder and Trustee of Schoolreaders commented: “Approximately a quarter of children are leaving primary school unable to read to the expected standard. Children leaving primary school with a compromised reading ability can face potential disadvantage at secondary school, as they may not be able to access the curriculum and as a result can have restricted opportunities in life. One of the reasons that many children are not learning to read as well as they could by this age is that there is

insufficient opportunity to read to an adult on a one-to-one basis. “Schoolreaders is passionate about helping to give children the best start in life and we recognise that reading is key to a child’s development and life chances… We hope to encourage people living in Leicestershire, who might be able to spare an hour or two a week, to sign up with Schoolreaders and assist children at a local primary school.” If you are interested in becoming a Schoolreader volunteer or are a school wishing to register, this can be done via For more information, please call 01234 924111 or email admin@

Rutland homeowners see property values rise by more than 256% over the last 20 years With UK interest rates expected to stay low in 2018, local property advisor David Crooke, owner of UPP Property looks at their impact on the Rutland property market and other factors affecting property values in the area.

in 2016 and that will continue into 2018. Property ownership is a medium- to long-term investment, so, looking at that long-term time frame, the average Rutland homeowner who bought their property 20 years ago has seen its value rise by more than 256%. The majority of that historic gain in values has come from property market growth, although some of that will be homeowners directly adding value by modernising, extending or developing their home. The chart below compares the different property types in Oakham and the profit made by each type.


VEN with the additional 0.25% increase in interest rates that is expected in May or June, this rise will add just over £20 to the typical £160,000 tracker mortgage, although, with 57.1% of all borrowers on fixed rates, it will probably go undetected by most buy-to-let landlords and homeowners. It’s also unlikely we will see any more interest-rate rises due to the fragile nature of the British economy and the Brexit challenge. Even though mortgages will remain inexpensive, with retail price inflation outstripping salary rises, it will still very much feel like a heavy weight to some households. The Rutland and Stamford housing market in 2017 was a little more subdued than

Looking at the factors that could affect future local and national house price growth/ profit, one important element has to be the building of new homes. This has picked up in 2017 with 217,350 homes coming on to the UK


housing ladder in the last year (an increase on the previous year’s figure of 189,690). Another factor that will affect property prices in 2018 is the likely shift in the balance of power between buy-to-let landlords and first-time buyers, tipping more towards firsttime buyers. The Council of Mortgage Lenders expects the number of buy-to-let mortgages to drop by 34% from levels seen in 2015. This is because of taxes being increased recently on buy-to-lets and harder lending criteria for buyto-let mortgages. First-time buyers will also be helped by the Chancellor eradicating Stamp Duty for all properties up to £300,000 bought by first-time buyers in the recent budget. Buy-to-let landlords will have to work smarter in the future to continue to make decent returns from their investments. Even with the tempering of house-price inflation in 2017, most buy-to-let landlords and homeowners are still sitting on a copious amount of growth from previous years. However, to ensure this growth continues will require landlords and homeowners to “strategically manage” their investments and to make informed decisions in relation to return on investments, yield and capitalgrowth requirements over the short, medium and long-term. If you would advice on the above, feel free to call David on 01572 725825.

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Out & About

Amander Meade selects the best entertainment in the region this month National Garden Scheme, Hambleton

This month and throughout spring EVENT: National Garden Scheme Discover the hidden beauties of Rutland gardens in Market Overton, Uppingham, Empingham, Burley, Whissendine and Wing. The National Garden Scheme (see pages 18–19) has been raising money for nursing and caring charities since 1927, and donations now amount to millions. Admission ranges from £4 to £5 with children free, and 80p in every pound going straight to the charity. For full details and directions of all the gardens involved visit Thursday 5 April, 7.30pm EVENT: Cinema for Rutland This month’s film is “Breathe”, which is directed by Andy Serkis and tells the moving story of Robin Cavendish, who became paralysed from the neck down by polio at the age of 28. Early next month

Anna Chilvers

on Thursday 3 May the film will be “Murder on the Orient Express”. Rutland County Museum Tickets are £5 from Oakham Wines

Tickets £2 from Oakham Library including refreshments. Pre-booking is advisable.

Friday 6 April, 7.30pm EVENT: Lyddington Film Night A chance to see “Murder on the Orient Express”, Agatha Christie’s tale of 13 strangers stranded on a train, where everyone is a suspect. One man must race against time to solve the puzzle before the murderer strikes again. Kenneth Branagh directs and leads an all-star cast. Lyddington Village Hall Admission is £5 on the door Sunday 8 and Monday 9 April, various performance times FAMILY SHOW: Dear Zoo The timeless children’s classic book by author and illustrator Rod Campbell, is making its stage premiere featuring engaging puppets, music and lots of audience interaction. The Core at Corby Cube Tickets are £13.50 at or on 01536 470470 Tuesday 10 April, 2.30pm TALK: East Coast Story – an illustrated talk with music In 2015, writer Anna Chilvers walked from St Abbs in Scotland to Ely in Cambridgeshire, a total of 500 miles, in the footsteps of 7th-century princess St Etheldreda. Anna has since used this experience as the basis of a novel, “East Coast Story”. She will talk about some of her experiences and how she has used them to help create fiction, and will also read extracts from the completed novel. Oakham Library

Wednesday 11 April, 7.30pm TALK: Working in Stone in Harborough Dave Cale and Paul Wintersgill of Harborough Stone are the guests of Market Harborough Historical Society this month. For the last 30 years they have continued their craftsman tradition in stone- and letter-cutting, working in the Harborough area repairing war memorials, churches, tombstones and houses. Dave and Paul will discuss how they work and some of the many projects with which they have been involved. The Roman Way Community Centre Admission is £3 for non-members Wednesday 11 April to Saturday 14 April, 7.30pm plus Saturday matinee, 2.30pm MUSICAL THEATRE: Guys and Dolls Rutland Musical Theatre is set to dazzle audiences with its production of Guys and Dolls. This all-time favourite romantic musical was a huge Broadway and West End hit and tells the story of Sky Masterson and Nathan Detroit, whose every day is an opportunity to hustle and every dispute can be settled with a roll of the dice. Lady Luck is on their side, until one night they both take a chance on love. A spectacular score featuring well-known hits. Uppingham Theatre Tickets £14 available from Uppingham Sports and Books or at



Out & About

Amander Meade selects the best entertainment in the region this month Rockingham Castle

Saturday 14 April, 7pm MUSIC: Musique dans L’Église Ashley – Sull’aria Sull’aria is a group of six musical friends from southern France – four French and two ex-pat Brits – who have been singing and playing together for 16 years. They are returning to Ashley after a break of five years, and will be performing popular opera, and both sacred and secular music, in their own inimitable style, accompanied by the Ashley Choir. St Mary the Virgin Church, Ashley Tickets are £10 (under 16s free) to include a glass of wine or soft drink and canapés on 01858 565294. Friday 20 and Saturday 21 April (various performance times) FAMILY SHOW: Christopher’s Caterpillars Everyone’s favourite guinea pig Christopher Nibble and his best friend Posie have been busy growing plants and food in their garden whilst taking care of their six hairy pet caterpillars. But when their crawly comrades disappear without a trace the gardening Christopher Nibble at Curve

guinea pigs swap their trowels for magnifying glasses and turn detective. Suitable for children aged 2–7 and their families. Curve, Leicester Tickets £6 at or on 0116 242 3595 Saturday 21 April, 1.30pm and 4pm FAMILY SHOW: You’ve Got Dragons Lots of people get dragons – bad dreams, swirly tummy, feeling prickly and sometimes they make you feel alone. So what can a child with a bad case of the dragons do? A delightful tale of one child’s journey to come to terms with their dragons. With live original music this is a humorous and touching exploration of the dragons we all face. Uppingham Theatre £7 or £24 for a family of four from Uppingham Sports and Books, by calling 01572 820820 or at Wednesday 25 April, 7.30pm FAMILY SHOW: Ensonglopedia of Science A remarkably inventive, fun-filled, one-man show from storyteller John Hinton. Twenty six silly science songs to delight the inquisitive mind – one for every letter of the alphabet. “Here’s a treasure – utterly

You’ve Got Dragons



accessible and engaging.” The Times. For ages 7 years plus. Braunston and Brooke Village Hall Tickets £10 on 07956 308808. Wednesday 25 April, 7.30pm TALK: Civil War at Rockingham This month’s guest speaker at Great Easton History Society’s meeting is the head guide at Rockingham Castle, David Shipton, who will be treating members to a picture of life and events at the castle during the Civil War. Great Easton Village Hall Admission is £2 for guests and visitors. Thursday 26 and Friday 27 April, 7.30pm THEATRE: The Memory of Water When three sisters reunite to share memories of their recently passed mother, plenty is revealed. Some laugh-out-loud moments, as well as poignancy and melancholy. Presented by staff of Uppingham School raising money for MIND. Uppingham Theatre Tickets are £6 from Uppingham Sports and Books, by calling 01572 820820 or at Sunday 13 May, 8pm Book early for… Shalamar Celebrating the 35th anniversary of the multi-million selling “Friends” album, the USA soul legends are returning to Peterborough for the final show of their tour. With over 25 million record sales under their belts, original members Howard Hewett and Jeffrey Daniel, along with the newest member Carolyn Griffey, supply their trademark dynamic blend of funky feel-good music. Broadway Theatre, Peterborough Tickets from £24.50 from the box office 01733 306071 or




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The indefatigable Cuthbert Bede WORDS: CAROLINE ASTON


ACK in January 1881 the local papers around Rutland were full of accounts of the five-day visit of HRH The Prince of Wales and his wife to Lord Aveland at Normanton Park. There had been shooting parties and luncheons, triumphal arches lit by lanterns carved from Rutland-grown turnips (really!) and 100 school children in Empingham had sung “God Bless the Prince of Wales”, as Lord Aveland’s four-in-hand carriage had clattered through their village on the way to deal out death and destruction to a large number of hares and pheasants. A good time had been had by all, including 400 of his Lordship’s tenants, who’d enjoyed their own beano – a sumptuous supper, a band for dancing and a party that lasted till 4am the following day. Visitors to Oakham Castle can see the horseshoe donated by the Prince’s beautiful Danish wife Alexandra in accordance with tradition, though sadly it wasn’t finished in time to be hung up when she visited. She had to content herself in picking the spot where it was to be finally displayed. It wasn’t just the local press who were interested in all this. On Saturday 15 January, the very day the Prince and Princess travelled on to Stamford, a detailed account of the visit appeared in The Illustrated London News, written by their correspondent Cuthbert Bede. That name, a curious-sounding one to today’s ears, was very familiar to Victorian readers and not just for his journalism. Mr Bede was also a novelist. At the time of the royal visit he was almost 54, and his greatest literary triumph had been 28 years before, in 1853. He had published “The Adventures of Mr Verdant Green, an Oxford Freshman. With numerous illustrations designed and drawn on the wood by the Author”. Verdant Green comes across as a sort of juvenile Mr Pickwick, engaging in jolly japes and harmless fun, though one of the original illustrations entitled “Mr Verdant Green kissing the Maids on the Stairs after his return from Oxford College” was omitted from later editions! Cuthbert had trouble getting the book published at all, but eventually Nathaniel Cooke of the Strand published it in three parts between 1853 and 1856. Ultimately, the three parts were bound into one volume, and by 1870 around 100,000 copies had been sold at one shilling each. A six-penny version sold twice that amount, and Mr Bede made £350 from his book, almost £30,000 in today’s money. The book seems an extremely faithful picture of Varsity life at Oxford, but Mr Cuthbert Bede had not graduated from there, nor indeed was he actually called Cuthbert Bede. His real name was Edward Bradley and he had studied at Durham


Pen and black ink on brown tracing paper – a study of the Conventual Buildings for an illustration in Cuthbert Bede’s “Fotheringhay, and Mary, Queen of Scots”.

– in fact Cuthbert and Bede are the two patron saints of that city. Not only that, he was also a clergyman and lies buried in Rutland at Stretton, where he was Rector from 1871 to 1883. His journey to Rutland had been an interesting one. Born in 1827, he was the son of a Kidderminster surgeon and had gone to grammar school there before going to University College, Durham, in 1845. He did spend a year at Oxford but never matriculated from there and took holy orders in 1850. He was already contributing pieces to the London News by then and had livings in Staffordshire and Huntingdonshire before being appointed to Stretton. He seems to have been an absolute ball of fire and set about renovating Stretton Church, which was then dilapidated to say the


least, with his own money. He managed to raise £2,000 (over £150,000 today) by giving lectures in surrounding towns. Apparently, the man who gave us jovial Mr Verdant Green was much in demand as an expert on “Modern Humourists”, “Wit and Humour” and “Light Literature”. You can imagine Bradley/Bede travelling to various lecture halls lit by lamp and gaslight and the ripples of laughter from his intrigued audiences in those pre-television days. How hard he worked to restore his Rutland church. He was a pale, intense-looking man, so much so that when younger he had been introduced to someone as “Mr Verdant Green”, and the gentleman had looked him over and said “Really? I would have said Mr Blanco White!” Lord Aveland of Normanton presented him to a new living in 1883. Bradley left for Lenton, near Grantham, where he was as indefatigable as ever, establishing a free library, a school bank and numerous “improvement societies”. As “Cuthbert Bede”, or sometimes “E.B.”, he wrote for Punch, Boy’s Own and The Field, among many other titles, and introduced one of the first types of crossword puzzle in The Illustrated London News. He died in 1889, deeply mourned by his Lenton parishioners, three years after publishing “Fotheringhay and Mary, Queen of Scots”. But it was to the peaceful verdant green churchyard at Stretton, which he had seen laid out during his time there, that his body was returned. He lies there at rest in the shadow of the church he had worked so hard to restore.



Rutland Living April 2018  
Rutland Living April 2018