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RUTLAND LIVING Covering Rutland, Market Harborough & surrounding villages

October takes off

Autumn’s in full swing, so we’ve got snuggly knits, cosy interiors, Halloween highlights and more

OCTOBER 2017 £1.50 10

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October Contents Welcome to the October 2017 issue of Rutland & Market Harborough Living magazine


’M delighted to be able to share the news that I’m now your permanent editor. I’ve loved working on the magazine these last few weeks and am over the moon to be able to continue in the same vein. Thank you to everyone who’s made me feel so welcome. So here’s to October. Autumn is really kicking in, with shorter nights, chillier days and, dare I say it, first thoughts of Christmas. As I write this, there are 100 days to go, so it’s a great time to start planning. We’ll be bringing you several Christmas features over the next few issues, but first up, on pages 24–28, is a look at the diet-busting range of festive menus and events in Rutland, the Market Harborough area and across the pond in Stamford. I know it probably feels as if the summer holidays have only just finished, but the kids (mine at least!) are counting down not only to Christmas but also to their next vacation. Yes, half term is just around the corner, so see pages 8–10 for the lowdown on family fun during the break. Halloween, of course, is a big highlight. With the drop in temperature, it’s time to wrap up, so check out the gorgeous autumn knits in our fashion feature on pages 17–20. Cosy interiors are covered in this issue, too, on pages 50–51. Finally, our Rutland Heroes article this month (page 6) is on the Rutland Befriending scheme. Do read it and consider taking up volunteering in this way. My grandmother, Connie, sadly passed away in September, but she was fortunate enough to have daily visits from family members in and around Oakham. (Heartfelt thanks to the medical and care staff from Rutland Memorial Hospital and Oakham Medical Practice for their exceptional care of her.) There are many older people who don’t have this kind of support network from family or friends, and befriending really can make a difference in the winter of someone’s life. It’s hugely rewarding, too.


4 Editor’s Selection

50 Home & Garden

6 Rutland Heroes

52 Updates

8 Out & About

55 Local History

14 Local People

56 Sport

17 Fashion

61 Sport

24 Food & Drink

63 Updates

32 Food & Drink

66 Health & Beauty

October Highlights

Rutland Befriending

Fun for October Half Term

Jennie McCall

Wrap Up and Get Cosy!

Festive Menus and Venues

News & Reviews

News & Views

George Whyte-Melville

Rider Fitness

Anyone for Fives?

News & Views

Autumn Essentials

34 Food & Drink

70 Local Business

36 Food & Drink

73 Updates

38 Food & Drink

76 Harborough Happenings

Autumn Spirits

The Olive Branch Recipes

Great Food Club

42 Updates News & Views

44 Activities

Setting up a Book Club

@rutlandliving @rutlandlivingmag

Autumn Interiors

46 Local Business Door to the Himalayas

Homefield Grange

News & Views

News & Events

78 Out & About Burghley Sculpture

80 Out & About What’s On

86 Local People

Margaret and Robert Miles

Editor Clare Peel Advertisement Manager, Rutland Tracy Watkinson 01572 813187 Advertisement Manager, Market Harborough Sosennah Every 07884 124316 Advertising Copy & Subscriptions Rachel Beecroft 01780 765320 Head of Design Steven Handley Designers Sarah Compton Calum Handley Publisher Nicholas Rudd-Jones 01780 765571 Printed by Warners of Bourne RL cover: Richard Brown MHL cover: Bigstock

Subscribe to Rutland & Market Harborough Living Subscriptions – annual rate £25 (UK only). Please write to: Publisher, Local Living, PO Box 208, Stamford PE9 9FY, enclosing a cheque made payable to Local Living Ltd. Or subscribe online at




A few things to look out for this October

THE GRAINSTORE BREWERY TOUR The Grainstore’s beers are familiar from pubs throughout the region, and, if you fancy learning more about the brewing process, sign up for one of their excellent guided tours. The friendly, hugely knowledgeable brewers (or “beer wizards”, as they endearingly like to be called) will take you from the raw ingredients to the finished product, giving the lowdown on the Copper, the Mash Tun and the fermentation system along the way. After the tour, which lasts for about 1.5 hours, you are invited to try mini samples of the Grainy’s flagship Ten Fifty, Cooking and Triple B ales, which can also be purchased after your tour as single bottles or in gift packs. A tasty ploughman’s is also recommended to complement the ales. • If you are interested in booking a tour, call the brewery on 01572 770065 from Mon–Fri 9am–5pm. Tours are at various times. For more details visit

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO LILY LOVES SHOPPING Congratulations to Market Harborough’s Lily Loves Shopping – this lovely independent store, which stocks gorgeous Scandinavianstyle homeware and gifts, will be celebrating its 1st birthday on Saturday 14 October. Head along between 9.30am and 5pm, as the team will be having a party to celebrate! There will be Prosecco and cake, and they will be giving all customers 10% discount for the day to say thanks. It might even be a good time to start thinking about Christmas shopping… • 2 Adam and Eve Street, Market Harborough LE16 7LT, 01858 433220,


RUTLAND FOOD & DRINK WEEK Oakham’s farmers’ market on Saturday 21 October kicks off Rutland Food & Drink Week, which will include food-related events, themed menus, workshops, cookery demonstrations from local chefs, mouth-watering local produce for sale, and more. The week culminates in the Rutland Food & Drink Festival on Sunday 29 October, when foodie attractions will spill out from Oakham Castle into the Market Place and along to the Victoria Hall on the High Street from 10am–3pm. • Rutland Food & Drink Week is taking place between 21–29 October. Oakham’s farmers’ market is held along Gaol Street on the third Saturday of each month (8am–1pm).


COFFEE AND CAKES October’s not everyone’s favourite month – it’s a bit of an inbetween one, signalling the shift towards winter. However, it heralds a few national events that should give comfort on those increasingly short, chilly days. First up is International Coffee Day, on 1 October, followed by National Cake Week, and then National Baking Week. All three are fabulous excuses to check out the many excellent cafes in our region, from the Castle Cottage, Fika, Kavanagh’s, the Lean Pantry Co. and Otter’s Smokehouse and Deli in Oakham to Uppingham’s Scandimania and Welland Vale Orchard Café, or, towards Harborough, Bowden Stores, Farndon Fields and the Wistow Bistro to mention just a few. • International Coffee Day: 1 October; National Cake Week: 2–8 October; National Baking Week: 16–22 October.


HAPPY HALLOWEEN To say that my two children (aged five and eight) are crazy about Halloween is quite the understatement, so we’ll be at the front of the queue for some of the spooky-sounding events organized locally in half term. I’ll be sharpening the knives ready to carve out our own pumpkin – picked locally to add to the excitement and to teach the kids about buying local produce while we’re at it – and we’ll be doing the Burghley trail, checking out Barnsdale’s Scary Spooktacular and building broomsticks at Rutland Water. Just don’t bring that spider anywhere near me… • For more on Halloween, see pages 8 and 82.


AUTUMN BIRDWATCH You can never know enough about local wildlife, and there’s a great opportunity to learn more about autumn birds at Barnsdale Gardens on Sunday 8 October. Meet the Gardens’ bird-watching experts and follow respected ornithologist Phil Rudkin on a twitcher’s tour. There are 38 gardens here and they provide a wide variety of habitats for wildlife. Even the youngest visitors will be able to get a great view using the woodland webcam. Marvellous! And it’s not just the kids who get to have fun… Watch local craftsmen building birdboxes – which will be for sale – and make a simple bird feeder yourself to take home. Fish out your binoculars and head along – everyone is welcome, young and old! • Autumn Birdwatch is on 8 October, from noon–4pm. It’s included in Barnsdale Gardens’ normal admission fee, which is £8.50 for adults, £7.50 for concessions and £4.50 for children (under 5s free). For more details visit

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You need a friend HEROES

Yvonne Rawlings works for Leicestershire & Rutland Age UK in Oakham and coordinates a wealth of services to promote the wellbeing of older people, including the Rutland Befriending scheme. Amander Meade discovers why this project is so important. PHOTOGRAPHY: AGE CONCERN UK

Living alone in Rutland Befriending makes such a monumental difference to the lives of those involved, and it is so simple to become a volunteer. Befrienders simply visit older people in their own homes to provide companionship and support. According to statistics provided by Age UK, in Rutland 21% of residents are aged over 65. This is disproportionately high; in Leicester, for example, the proportion of residents over 65 is only 11%. The older population in Rutland is rising dramatically and predicted to grow by a further 25% by 2024, so the situation is far from levelling out. Over 2,000 older people live alone in the county, and this has implications for social isolation, loneliness, physical and mental health. Who uses the befriending service? Most of our befriendees are aged between 70 and 100, but there are younger people too, many of whom have had stimulating careers and fascinating lives, so they really miss conversation and contact with others. Family members might be living a long way away, so some elderly people just don’t have anyone at all calling in, and it’s so very sad for them.


What kind of person makes a good befriender? Anyone at all – everyone has a skill we can use. Our job is to match the right befriender to the right client. One lady was losing her sight and just wanted someone to pop in once a week to read her post to her. Most people just want a chat and the knowledge that someone is popping in to see them.

“In my experience, the befrienders get as much out of the scheme as the clients.” What exactly is involved – is there a major commitment? Absolutely not – lots of people worry that they will become too involved but they really shouldn’t be concerned. Befriending is purely social – there is no cleaning, nursing or personal care whatsoever; our role is just to provide company. Befrienders specify the amount of time they can spare, which can be as little as an hour a week, and whether they would like to befriend a lady or a gentleman, and then I match them up based around their interests. All of our volunteers receive support, and we try to make sure we pair you up with someone nearby.


What difference does the scheme make? Befriender visits are so precious to the recipients. In reality, if your spouse has died and you have no family nearby, a befriender might be the only person you speak to. One client with no family nearby told me “It’s just so quiet and I get so sad – what a difference it makes to have my visits.” There is a generation that lived through the Second World War and its aftermath, who ask for very little but have so much to offer. In my experience, the befrienders get as much out of the scheme as the clients. What else does Age UK provide for older people in Rutland? There’s so much going on – lunch clubs, drop-in mornings, a support group for carers, a social group for single people over 50, tea dances, keep fit, days out and even computer tuition. We have a lot of fun, and anyone at all is welcome to join us at any of our events.

• Do you know someone who would benefit from regular visits? Would you like to volunteer to become a befriender? For further information contact Yvonne on 01572 770324 or visit

L i ve B e a u t i f u l l y 27 Mill St, Oakham, Rutland, LE15 6EA 01572 722 345



Family fun for October half term There are some great things planned in and around the area to keep the kids happy this half term. Katie Mitchell takes a look at some of the highlights.

HALLOWEEN CATTOWS FARM DAILY 9AM–5PM Leicestershire’s largest pick-your-own pumpkin field will be pumpkin ready at the beginning of October. Some 11,150 seeds and more than eight different varieties of pumpkins, squashes and gourds have been planted at the farm, so that should be plenty to keep your mini witches, wizards, ghosts and vampires happy. Cattows Farm, Swepstone Road, Heather, Leicestershire LE67 2RF, 01530 264200,

half term of exploring, making and creating. Activities will include pumpkin rolling, Halloween-themed chocolate workshops and, on Thursday 26 October, spooky stories and story walks (booking recommended) from the ever-popular Tom the Tale Teller. There’s also jumping in leaves, finding conkers, following the Wren Trail around the 12 acres of gardens and simply kicking a ball and playing on the vast lawns. Adults: £7.25; children £5.00 (tickets include general admission to the gardens). Book online. Easton Walled Gardens, Easton, Grantham, Lincolnshire NG33 5AP, 01476 530063, BARNSDALE GARDENS 29 OCTOBER 12–4PM Come for a walk in the weird woods, take part in a terrifying treasure hunt and carve your own petrifying pumpkin to take home – the annual Scary Spooktacular event is frightening fun for all the family, and kids in costume visit for free! Adults: £8.50/£7.50. Barnsdale Gardens, The Avenue, Exton, nr Oakham LE15 8AH, 01572 813200,

BURGHLEY HOUSE 18–29 OCTOBER, DAILY 11AM–5PM Tread through the crispy autumn leaves and find the hidden spooks dotted around Burghley’s Sculpture Garden in order to receive a treat. Admittance is included with a House and Gardens or Gardens only ticket (annual passes not accepted unless bought on the day). Burghley House, Stamford PE9 3JY, 01780 752451, RUTLAND WATER NATURE RESERVE 28 OCTOBER 2–4PM No witch or wizard is complete without a broomstick, so come along to the Nature Reserve’s Hootingly Haunted Halloween event to make a magical one to take home. There’ll be pumpkin carving, spooky crafts and seeing what goes on under the cover of darkness with the dissection of owl pellets, too. The best fancy dress costume wins a prize. £10 per child. Rutland Water Nature Reserve, Egleton, Oakham, Rutland LE15 8BT, 01572 770651, EASTON WALLED GARDENS 18–29 OCTOBER, WED–FRI & SUN 11AM–4PM Easton Walled Gardens has a strict “Keep on the Grass” policy, welcoming children for a


WEST LODGE RURAL CENTRE 14–31 OCTOBER, DAILY 9.30AM–5PM Lots of spooky activities are planned at West Lodge this half term, including pumpkin carving, witch’s house tours, spooky tractor rides and pantomime-style ghost stories. In addition, there’s all the usual fabulous farm activities, including an indoor and outdoor play area, 3.5 miles of nature trails and some very friendly farm animals. West Lodge has also converted the old grainstore to create a new indoor play barn, offering a truly authentic British woodland experience inside – it’s opening soon (hopefully for October half term) and promises to be amazing. Adults from £6.45, children from £5.45; for a full list of prices, see the website. West Lodge’s Mo told us, “We have created an immersive floor-to-ceiling playscape that features an outstanding centrepiece – a giant hollow oak tree with an enchanting treehouse looming from the upper branches. The centrepiece is surrounded by woodland climbing structures, ‘burrowing’ areas, an ‘iron ore mine-inspired’ climbing wall using net bridges, stepped platforms, slides, boardwalks, a climbing wall and ledges, all creating a magical experience whilst children flow around the playscape. We are hoping that the Old Grain Barn will be ready for October half term.” West Lodge Rural Centre, Back Lane, Desborough, Kettering, Northants NN14 2SH, 01536 760552,

NATURE RUTLAND WATER NATURE RESERVE: AUTUMN EXPLORERS 18 OCTOBER 10AM–4PM Children aged 5 to 10 are guaranteed a full day of fun as they make bug houses to help the tiniest creatures get through winter and take part in autumn-inspired craft activities. £30 per child; booking essential. Rutland Water Nature Reserve details as before FINESHADE WOOD VISITOR CENTRE DAILY 10AM–5PM Bring the Gruffalo and other characters to life with the “Gruffalo Spotters” trail and exciting


augmented-reality app (Fineshade’s “The Gruffalo Spotter” app, which it’s advisable to download before visiting). Once you’ve got the app, as you head along the trail, look out for clues leading to footprint marker posts – point the app at these and watch Mouse, Fox, Owl, Snake and the Gruffalo himself appear before your eyes. It’s great fun! There’s a charge for parking, but the trail is free. Fineshade Wood, off the A43 between Stamford and Corby, opposite the turning for Wakerley Woods (postcode for SatNav is NN17 3BB), 0300 067 4340,



OAKHAM TENNIS CLUB, 16–18 OCTOBER, VARIOUS TIMES There’ll be tennis classes for 4 to 16 years olds, going from basic strokes to full court play. Visit the website for times and further details. The Vale, off Cricket Lawns, Oakham LE15 6JQ,

THE LOOGABAROOGA FESTIVAL 18–24 OCTOBER, VARIOUS TIMES The Loogabarooga Festival of Incredible Illustrations and Brilliant Books will be back once again in Loughborough during half term, and this year it welcomes Waterstones Children’s Laureate, Lauren Child. The opening day, Wednesday 18 October, is jam-packed with exciting Lauren Child-themed activities, including the author herself at Loughborough Town Hall and parties for all the little Charlie and Lolas out there. The festival is supporting new talent through workshops, and promises to have lots of great interactive events to ignite and inspire those young imaginations. Events are at different venues across Loughborough, for details visit www.

ONE TOUCH FOOTBALL VARIOUS DATES THROUGHOUT HALF TERM A great time is promised for any football fan aged 4–14 years at this holiday club where kids practise their passing, dribbling and shooting skills with UEFA/FA-qualified teachers. Fun tournaments are also held. The clubs are running in Cottesmore, Melton Mowbray, Stamford, Wittering and Grantham from 9am–3pm. Specific dates and booking details are available online at


RUTLAND WATERSPORTS DAILY, VARIOUS TIMES A fabulous time is promised out on the county’s biggest pond, with Rutland Watersports. Whether your kids are interested in kayaks, stand-up paddle boards, canoes or even a RYA Stages 1 & 2 Combined Sailing five-day course, head down to Whitwell, on Rutland Water’s North Shore, for some fabulous fun. There are also engaging, instructor-led, two-hour sessions at £20 per child; these include everything from kayaking and raft building to fun waterbased games. Call them or visit the Rutland Watersports Facebook page (www.facebook. com/RutlandWatersports/) for more details. Rutland Watersports, Bull Brigg Lane, Whitwell, nr Oakham, Rutland LE15 8BL, 01780 460154,

The Paint Pottle, 43 St Mary’s Road, Market Harborough LE16 7DS, 07900 090851,

THE PAINT POTTLE TUE, THUR, FRI 10AM–3PM, WED & SAT 10AM–5PM This friendly pottery studio in the middle of Market Harborough is a lovely place to paint your own pots, with a great selection of half-term workshops on offer during the Leicestershire holiday week (16–20 October; call for details). A wide choice of pre-fired pottery is ready for decoration, and paints and glazes are non toxic and food-safe. After you have painted your pottery, the team glazes and fires it in the on-site kiln (called Dorothy), ready for you to pick up the next week; it can also be posted (at cost).

OAKHAM STUDIOS TUE–THUR 10AM–3PM, SAT 10AM–3PM, SUN FOR BOOKINGS ONLY Tucked away behind Oakham Baptist Church, the Studios offer pot painting for all ages. No expertise is needed… just come and have fun creating! There’s a wide range of blank bisque from which to choose , including plates and animals, and prices range from around £7 to £15 per item. Oakham Studios, 38A Melton Road, Oakham LE15 6AY, 01572 724047,






ROCKBLOK HALF TERM ADVENTURE CLUB 23–27 OCTOBER 8.30AM–5PM Following on from the successful Summer Club, Rockblok at Whitwell are running the Rockblok Half Term Adventure Club for children aged eight and over in the second week of the Rutland half term. If you’re looking for one day of childcare, juggling work with school-holiday fun or need to book consecutive days for your child, the Rockblok team is here to help. Rockblok instructors will guide adventurers in hands-on activities from rock climbing and high ropes to exploring, trying out mini watercraft and building dens, shelters and campfires. There’ll also be painting, treasure maps and much more. Supervisors, co-ordinators and instructors are DBS checked and have the appropriate first-aid qualifications along with a wealth of experience in providing supervision and activities for young people. There’s also a shared desire within the team to make this an exciting and memorable experience for children. Bring friends or come along and make new ones. Cost: £30 per day, with a 15% discount for three days or more. Booking is essential – please contact Rockblok on the number below or visit the Rockblok website for more information. Rockblok, Whitwell Leisure Park, Bull Brigg Lane, Whitwell, nr Oakham on the Water’s North Shore, Rutland LE15 8BL, 01780 460060,

NATIONAL SPACE CENTRE SPOOKY SPACE 14–29 OCTOBER, MON–SAT 10AM– 4PM, SUN 10AM–5PM With six interactive galleries, the UK’s largest planetarium, unique 3D Simulator Experience and the iconic 42m high Rocket Tower, the award-winning National Space Centre is an out-of-this-world experience. Plus, this half term you can join them everyday for “Spooky Space” to discover The School of Science Magic, make your own slime to take home and drop in for a session that will have your head spinning. Adults: £14; children: £11; under 5s: free. National Space Centre, Exploration Drive, Leicester LE4 5NS, 0116 2610261,

ARMOURGEDDON DAILY, VARIOUS TIMES Enjoy a brilliant day out at Armourgeddon, which has a range of activities for the under 16s, including woodland paintball, air-rifle shooting, archery (all minimum age 12 years) or children’s military vehicle parties (minimum age 8 years). There is also a museum (daily 10am–4pm; £5 per person; free to anyone on activities and the under 5s), jam-packed with military vehicles, guns, cannons and military paraphernalia to check out. Armourgeddon is open throughout half term, but all activities must be booked in advance (tel below). Armourgeddon, Southfields Farm, Husbands Bosworth, Leicestershire LE17 6NW, 01858 880239, www.




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Spooky cake decorating with Kooky Caroline Scary Face painting with Cackling Connie Trick or treat games - Fangtastic Fancy dress competition And much more throughout the day

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AUTUMN PROPERTY UPDATE WITH MOORES AUTUMN IS THE NEW SPRING! Its official – autumn is a great time to market your home to waiting buyers. According to sales results at Moores Estate Agency, there were more properties exchanged in the latter half of last year that the first – something that may surprise local vendors. Managing Director Vernon Moore commented, “The last couple of years have been skewed by political events such as the Brexit vote and the general election which caused a stalling in spring and summer sales and an increase in the latter part of the year. The traditional high spots for sales in spring and summer have made way for an increased level of activity in the autumn – so much so that last month we attended the Autumn Move to the Country Show in London where hundreds of potential buyers were keen to find out about this region. We were delighted to take the details of buyers from London and the South East looking for properties in Rutland and Stamford and we will be accompanying them on viewings during October and beyond.”

The message is clear – don’t wait until spring 2018, buyers are ready now.

REMARKABLE RESULTS ON LINE Moores are delighted to welcome Olivia Craft to their growing team of specialists. Olivia is a media marketing expert who specialises in creating targeted geographical on line sales campaigns for Moores and is driving some remarkable results. “Olivia is able to use social media platforms to directly seek out buyers in areas such as Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Essex where we know interest in moving to this region is high,” explains Vernon. “Using this specific approach, we are able to reach potential buyers without them having to search for us first and the results are really exciting.”

them about our area. Grantham station has been a great success and we are expecting Peterborough to be even busier. We already have buyers requesting to meet us!

OUR LONDON TAXI WILL CHAUFFEUR BUYERS TO OUR HOMES! To have your home offered to these out of area buyers, we are offering a Peterborough launch package for home owners where we will look to match / better any other quotes you have received to market. We look forward to being of assistance.

NEW PETERBOROUGH TRAIN STATION OFFICE We are hoping to have the Peterborough train station open for the spring once Network Rail have completed the landscaping taking place around the station. We will then be able to offer our “meet and greet” service; meeting buyers from the train and driving them around the properties we can offer and talking to

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Jennie McCall – sculptor, illustrator, collector Exhibiting across the UK and internationally, Jennie McCall creates award-winning work that evokes mystery and intrigue. Amander Meade paid a visit to her studio.


ENNIE was raised in the Scottish borders and her early creative influences came from the local textile industries and the rich tradition of folklore in the region. From her earliest studies in graphic design at Leeds University, Jennie was marked out for success when she was awarded a bursary by the Royal Society of Arts enabling her travel to Mexico to carry out research into the country’s artists. A further RSA bursary led to an exhibition and a commission by the Royal Mail for stamps featuring images of British folklore. Work as a freelance illustrator directed a move to London, where, over the years Jennie’s work evolved and expanded to include pure graphics, three-dimensional work, textiles, sculpture and photographic montage, but recently she admits to being pulled back to her first love – ceramics. From her studio at home on the border of Leicestershire and Rutland, Jennie has produced her latest body of work based on collections (some going back to her own


childhood) of objects found in nature. “As a youngster I was always outside foraging for feathers, interesting leaves or natural pieces and bringing them home in a collection,” she explains. There are currently two collections developing simultaneously – the first is entitled “Nest + Nurture” and is inspired by land-based and woodland flora and fauna; the second, called “Ebb + Flow”, contains pieces with coastal themes. “Everything begins with an idea or a concept, and at the moment nests are a big creative theme for me, bringing in links with my family and a sense of nurturing. Following the initial idea comes lots of sketching and research around the subject, before I commit my thoughts to the clay.” Jennie works in Parian, which is a type of white, semi-matt porcelain with marble-like qualities, and her mastery of the medium captures its translucency brilliantly. “Like porcelain, Parian can be unforgiving and technically challenging, but it ultimately allows for a deeply sensitive outcome.”


The work includes strikingly realistic animal skulls as well as delicate sculptural nests, bones and feathers. A complex process of ceramic transfers allows images of dried flowers to appear on some pieces, making them beautifully unusual. “I want everyone to make the connection with their six-year-old self – when finding something on the beach or on a walk felt magical. These pieces are highly tactile and are just asking to be picked up.” Also commissioned for much larger installations, Jennie’s work is very diverse, and she credits her seamstress mother for instilling in her a love of creating. “Mum taught me that the joy was in the making,” recalls Jennie. “I love mixed media, but my first love will always be ceramics.” • Jennie’s work is currently on sale at the Old House Gallery, 13 Market Place, Oakham, as well as at the Cank Street Gallery in Leicester and the Focus Gallery Nottingham. Find out more on 07887 998692 or at


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Wrap up and get cosy! The X Factor and Strictly are back on the TV and there’s a slight chill and the faint smell of bonfire in the air. It’s time to embrace this season’s beautiful knitwear. FASHION: NIKKI BEATTY PHOTOGRAPHY: ELLI DEAN

Des Petits Hauts red jumper, £183, For All Mankind jeans, £189, Essentiel Antwerp blouse, £168, all Cavells




Essentiel Antwerp dress, £125, Essentiel Antwerp cardigan, £194, both Cavells



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Carlton grey jumper, £85, Peregrine, Foil black skirt, £65.99, Duo

BIG THANKS TO: Natalie, our gorgeous model, and Elli Dean, for the fabulous photography, 07932 055548, STOCKISTS Albar’s Den, Oakham, 07977 002260, Cavells, Oakham, 01572 770372 CoCo, Oakham, 01572 757646, Duo, Oakham, 01572 722116, Peregrine (stocked at Cavells and online), Vanilla, Oakham, 01572 757577, For more fashion inspo, go to fashion editor Nikki Beatty’s Instagram @styleinthestix




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Christmas and New Year menus and venues

BARNSDALE HALL HOTEL North Shore, Rutland Water, Rutland LE15 8AB, 01572 757901, Once a hunting lodge, Barnsdale Hall is now an imposing hotel set in 65 acres of conservation parkland. The location, right by Rutland Water, is fabulous. The offering this Christmas and New Year includes a festive lunch menu, with all the Christmas classics covered; this runs from 1 to 23 December, Monday to Saturday, and offers two courses for £14.95 or three courses for £17.50. On Sundays during that period there’s a festive carvery – a three-course Sunday lunch at £18.50. On Christmas Eve, there’s a £44.50 menu, while on the big day itself there’s a traditional lunch at £79 (£39.50 for children 6–11 years and £17.95 for those under 6). These are included in the residential package – see below. It’s not just about the meals, however – the hotel is also hosting party nights, at £31.50 per person on dates throughout December (see the website for details). And, to cap the year off, there’s the annual (adults-only) New Year’s Eve Black and White Ball, which sounds wonderfully glamorous. This costs £85 per person and includes champagne on arrival, canapés, starter, main course and pudding, plus truffles, as well as a table magician and a disco. A two-day Christmas residential package is also available, from £270 per person for the two nights of 24 and 25 December. Don’t forget that after all that celebrating, overnight guests can detox at the hotel’s leisure centre and health spa. Perfect!


It’s never too early to plan for the festive season, so here’s a selection of some of the excellent venues in our area for your Christmas or New Year celebration, whether that’s a family get-together, an office party or even Christmas Day lunch itself. It’s all making new editor Clare Peel feel incredibly hungry…

New Year celebrations. The team can cater for private dining from intimate gatherings for small groups to large party nights – there’s something here for everyone. There’s a Hotel Festive Menu for lunch and dinner, available Monday to Saturday, starting 5 December (until 23 December). Lunch is £18 per person for two courses or £21 for three; dinner is £25 a head for three courses. A threecourse Sunday lunch is available at £21.95 per person. During the same period, for parties of 12 or more, a set two-course lunch is available at £19 a head (three courses £22), and a set three-course dinner is on offer for £28. On Christmas Eve there are Christmas carols with Exton Village Choir around the Christmas tree between 6–7pm, followed by dinner. On Christmas Day there’s a five-course lunch at £87 per person, and on Boxing Day, there’s a three-course lunch for £35 per person (booking essential for both, as places are limited). To extend your visit, you can stay the night or go the whole hog and opt for a Christmas

BARNSDALE LODGE The Avenue, Rutland Water, Rutland LE15 8AH, 01572 724678, With a cosy atmosphere that is spot on for the winter months and a beautiful setting right by Rutland Water, Barnsdale Lodge comes highly recommended for your Christmas and



Barnsdale Lodge

package, available from £485 per person for three nights. Expect to find a stocking from Santa on Christmas morning! Another option is a stay in one of the hotel’s stylish self-catering Rural Retreats just across the road. In addition, why not go along to one of the Festive Party Nights (9, 13, 14, 15 and 20 December) with a three-course dinner and a disco (£28.50 per person, Sunday–Thursday; £30, Friday–Saturday)? Saturday 16 December is the date for the Annual Barnsdale Christmas Ball 2017. Tickets for this black tie event cost £49.50 per person, to include champagne on arrival, a four-course dinner, a magician and music by the excellent Funk Soul Brother. Finally, on New Year’s Eve you can enjoy a six-course dinner dance at £92.50 per person, with fireworks and optional black tie. Fabulous! THE BERKELEY ARMS 59 Main Street, Wymondham, Leicestershire LE14 2AG, 01572 787587, Neil and Louise Hitchen offer a warm welcome at The Berkeley Arms in Wymondham – an award-winning pub, where the food continues to impress. For the sixth year running the pub, which has an excellent reputation locally, has received a Michelin Bib Gourmand for good cooking at moderate prices – “appealing, gutsy dishes rely on seasonal produce”, reads the Michelin entry. This Christmas they are offering a two-course festive menu with coffee and mince pies for £30, with a third course for £5 (a £10 non-refundable deposit per person is required on booking). The menu includes all the traditional festive classics as well as

evenings in December. It’ll certainly be a change from the usual classic Christmas fare. For more information on what’s on offer at Fish Tank, give them a call or visit the website; see also our review on page 32.

The Berkeley Arms

dishes including Long Clawson Stilton panna cotta with watercress, butternut squash and caramelized walnuts for starters, roasted breast of local pheasant or fillet of Cornish Cod for the main course and, for pudding, chocolate tart with clementine sorbet or Christmas pudding parfait with brandy panna cotta. Scrumptious! THE EXETER ARMS (BARROWDEN) 28 Main Street, Barrowden, Rutland LE15 8EQ, 01572 747365, This quintessential village pub, which has had the Wade family at the helm since April 2016, is frequently praised for its warm, welcoming atmosphere, customer-focused service and delicious, locally sourced, elegantly presented food at sensible prices from head chef Fred Trenwith. The views out the front, over the village green complete with duck pond, aren’t bad either! It’s well worth tying in a festive meal (for more specifics on the menu, call the pub or visit the website) with a walk in the stunning surroundings – it’s perfect on a crisp winter’s day. The pub has three B&B rooms, if you fancy staying over. It’s all very tempting… FISH TANK SUSHI 4 Church Street, Oakham LE15 6AA, 01572 720077, For a completely alternative Christmas party, why not head to the newest addition to Oakham’s culinary scene, Fish Tank Sushi. Part or all of the restaurant should be available for private party hire on Wednesday/Thursday

THE FOXTON LOCKS INN Bottom Lock, Gumley Road, Foxton, Market Harborough LE16 7RA, 0116 2791515, Warm up after a winter’s visit to Foxton Locks with a traditional Christmas meal at this historic inn based at the bottom locks – it’s lovely watching the canal boats pass by at all times of year. Dogs are welcome too. Call or visit the website for details of festive menus; the inn is open from 11am daily. The Foxton Locks Inn is run by the same team as the Fox & Goose in Illston-on-the-Hill (0116 2596340;, a quintessential cosy country pub offering excellent hearty food and a warm welcome. Look out, too, for their newest venture, The Swan, in Kibworth Beauchamp ( THE GEORGE AT ASHLEY 21 Main Street, Ashley, Market Harborough LE16 8HF, 01858 565411, We’ve previously described this beautifully refurbished pub in an elegant 18th-century building as one of Ashley’s best-kept secrets. Landlords Chris and Carol are keen to promote The George as a destination eating and drinking venue, and head chef Steve Bulmer, whose career has included years working with Raymond Blanc at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons as well as Marco Pierre White and Gordon Ramsay, has a festive offering that reflects this. The Christmas menu will be served from 1 December at lunch and dinner, and will feature two courses at £18 and three courses at £25. Starters include a warm pea, basil and tomato tart, with a parmesan crisp, pea shoots and chestnuts, while mains include venison loin, with cocoa, pomegranate and butternut squash, and roast winter vegetable linguine. Save room for afters, though, because there’s

warm figgy pudding, Christmas pudding ice cream, dark chocolate and almond tart with tangerines, or a cheese option. If you’d like to stay over, The George has six luxury rooms in an adjoining coach house. A beautiful place with beautiful food. HAMBLETON HALL Oakham Road, Hambleton Peninsula, Rutland LE15 8TH, 01572 756991, With its fabulous setting overlooking Rutland Water, a Michelin-starred restaurant spearheaded by chef Aaron Patterson, a luxurious interior decorated with sensational seasonal ornaments, and impeccable service, Hambleton Hall is an exquisite choice for a Christmas meal or festive party.

Hambleton Hall

The Study, one of its private dining rooms, is perfect for Christmas parties for 6 to 16 guests. Party groups are offered the Special Limited Choice Menu, available from Sunday to Thursday for £65 per person for three courses (£80 per person for four courses), plus an additional “middle course” showcasing the best fish catch of the day. Starters include a terrine of sea bass and artichoke, mains include Jacob’s Ladder (beef short ribs) with smoked potato, horseradish and red wine jus, and, to follow, there’s prune and Armagnac soufflé (the soufflés are magnificent here), among others, then coffee and homemade chocolates. There are special rates for guests booking in conjunction with a Christmas party and reserving two or more bedrooms from Sunday to Thursday. On Christmas Day, the restaurant is offering a six-course lunch and dinner menu at £150 per person. This features lovage and smoked salmon, ballotine of foie gras, roast turkey with traditional accompaniments, orange and Grand Marnier soufflé, plus coffee and homemade chocolates. All, no doubt, fabulous! Other highlights of the festive season include a Christmas concert in St Andrew’s Church, Hambleton, on Tuesday 5 December (7pm), with Glühwein and mince pies served beforehand. Tickets for the concert only are £25 each; the concert in combination with a three-course dinner at Hambleton Hall, including a champagne aperitif, and coffee and chocolates to finish, costs £130 per person.




Hothorpe Hall & The Woodlands

HOTHORPE HALL & THE WOODLANDS Theddingworth, Leicestershire LE17 6QX, 01858 881500, Hothorpe Hall is a large, elegant Georgian manor house set in acres of gardens and with fine countryside views. Nestled in its grounds are The Woodlands, a contemporary timberand-glass village-style venue, complete with luxury treehouse. Both options are well suited to festive celebrations, and there’s a range of appealing events on offer for 2017. Enjoy a festive lunch at Hothorpe Hall on Sunday 17 December, with table bookings between noon and 3pm. Additionally, there are (shared) party nights in the Hall on Friday 15 December and at The Woodlands on Thursday 21 December, offering guests a three-course meal, disco until midnight and bar until 12.30am (tickets £37.50 per person; B&B £75 per room). And for something a little different – this sounds amazing – there’s a three-night stay in the luxury treehouse from 24 to 27 December for £600, including a continental breakfast hamper for Christmas morning. Visit www. for further details. KAVANAGH’S TEA ROOM 2 Church Passage, Oakham LE15 6DR, 07427 936763, Kavanagh’s has made a mighty impression on Oakham since it opened earlier this year, even making it onto the shortlist of the Great Food Club’s Awards 2017 (see pages 38–39). From what owner and chief baker Clare Kavanagh tells me, their first Christmas season is set to get the tea room even more noticed still. The building itself looks like it’s come straight out of a Dickens’ novel, and the team are capitalizing on this with a traditional Victorian Christmas. A special two-week “Hogwarts Christmas” event is also planned (booking recommended), in addition to festive food. Kavanagh’s is currently open daily and for bistro evenings on Fridays and Saturdays – for more details, check the website or Facebook page. Christmas dinner will be available as a two- or three-course meal throughout December. All diets are catered for – please ask. (It’s great for gluten-free options.) The venue can accommodate small parties in a range of stylishly decorated rooms. And, if you’re in need of a gift, how about a Kavanagh’s Christmas hamper? Festive season – sorted! LAKE ISLE 16 High Street East, Uppingham LE15 9PZ, 01572 822951, If you’re after a meal that will really deliver in terms of high-quality food, plus a seriously good wine list, set sail for Uppingham’s Lake


Isle (the name, incidentally, is inspired by the poem Lake Isle of Innisfree by WB Yeats). This hidden gem, housed in a Grade II-listed late-18th-century building, offers beautifully prepared seasonal, local food by chef Stuart Mead and has 2AA Rosettes. From 4 December up to Christmas Eve they are offering a Christmas Fayre menu for lunch Tuesday to Saturday and, for tables of eight or more, for dinner from Monday to Thursday too. It’s £26.50 a head for three courses with all the traditional favourites on the menu plus enticing-sounding interpretations of festive dishes such as a lemon and white chocolate arctic roll dessert. There are special menus on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, although the latter is apparently already fully booked. On New Year’s Eve there’s a £65-a-head menu for four courses, including a Lake Isle five bird terrine for starters. Lake Isle has a private dining room that seats up to 16 and is ideal for intimate special celebrations; the restaurant seats up to 36 guests. There are also 12 en-suite bedrooms, should you wish to stay over. THE MARQUESS OF EXETER 52 Main Street, Lyddington, Rutland LE15 9LT, 01572 822477,

The Marquess of Exeter


With a traditional bar area with roaring fire, a cosy snug and the recently refurbished restaurant to choose from, it’s no wonder that the Marquess is such a popular destination for a Christmas celebration. Head chef and owner Brian Baker and the team offer outstanding food and drink in fabulously festive surroundings, from the great-value set lunch to à la carte dining options. Whatever you are looking for this Christmas or New Year – from a small, intimate get together to a larger gathering or party – the Marquess will help you to celebrate in style. For details of menus, call or visit the website. THE OLIVE BRANCH Main Street, Clipsham, Rutland LE15 7SH, 01780 410355, This Rutland classic, which combines its attractive setting with a laid-back atmosphere and topnotch food from chef and coowner Sean Hope, has just been named “Leicestershire & Rutland Dining Pub of the Year” by The Good Pub Guide 2018 (see page 32), which bodes well for its seasonal offering. A three-course gourmet festive lunch menu, plus coffee and mince pies (£29.95 per person; not available on Sundays), and a five-course gourmet festive dinner menu, with coffee

Throughout the Christmas season The Orchard Café will also be offering mince pies and mulled wine as well as a non-alcoholic mulled apple juice option – ideal refreshments if you’re visiting the garden centre for your Christmas tree, Christmas wreaths, decorations and gifts. Look out, too, for Two Birds’ sloe gin and “Christmas Spices” vodka, produced near Market Harborough, and on sale here.

The Olive Branch

and petit fours (£35 per person; not available on Saturdays), will be served throughout December. Expect dishes such as crab and chive mayonnaise, with apple jelly and pickled apple, followed by roast haunch of venison, then Christmas pudding soufflé with mango sorbet. Special menus are also available for lunch on Christmas Day (already fully booked) and Boxing Day (£55 per person for three courses and coffee and petit fours). The Olive Branch’s private party room, The Barn, can cater for parties up to 20 and will be full of Christmas spirit, with a log fire, candlelit table, decorations, and a record player and bar billiards table to create that special party feel. There’s also a luxury gourmet “Christmas Escape” package that includes a two-day feast from Christmas Eve through to Boxing Day and a stay at the restaurant’s beautifully refurbished Beech House, just across the road. The total cost is £365 per person, based on two people sharing a superior room. At New Year, The Olive Branch is hosting an informal evening at £75 a head. Dishes include a starter of grilled Queen scallops St Jacques, a roast Gressingham duck main, a gorgeoussounding rose champagne sorbet and, for dessert, iced white chocolate and pistachio soufflé. On New Year’s Day, the full menu will be on offer, plus a Sunday roast. Finally, if you’re stuck for Christmas gift ideas, check out the on-site wine store and shop. You can even buy gift vouchers – great for hard-to-buy-for foodie friends and relatives. THE ORCHARD CAFÉ, WELLAND VALE GARDEN INSPIRATIONS Glaston Road, Uppingham LE15 9EU, 01572 824935, Ideal for a laid-back meal, the café at the Welland Vale garden centre will be serving its traditional Christmas lunches from 1 to 23 December (reservations necessary). Choose from a single course at £12.95, two courses at £15.95 and a three-course meal at £17.95 per person (complimentary tea/coffee is served with two or three courses). For starters there’s homemade soup and Brixworth or mackerel pâté, for mains there’s a choice of traditional Christmas lunch with all the trimmimgs or vegetable galette and, for dessert, it’s Christmas pudding with cream or an indulgentsounding white chocolate cheesecake.

RUSHTON HALL Rushton, Northamptonshire NN14 1RR, 01536 713001, This festive season treat yourself to afternoon tea or dinner in Rushton Hall’s 3AA Rosette restaurant. There are Christmas parties planned throughout December (£55 per person for three courses), and the big news this year is that they’ll be held in the hotel’s gorgeous new Orangery (see page 76). A limited number of bedrooms will be available to party-night guests from £120 for bed and breakfast. Festive afternoon teas are on offer from 1 to 30 December (not Christmas Eve, Christmas Day or Boxing Day), at £26 per person or £36 with champagne. There’s also a seasonal dinner menu from 1 to 23 December, at £60 per person for three courses. Special menus are also available for dinner on Christmas Eve (£60 per person for three courses) and lunch on Christmas Day (£140 per person and £65 for children under 12, including a gift), starting with champagne and canapés, then four courses plus coffee and mince pies. On Boxing Day there are lunch and dinner options, while on New Year’s Eve there’s a gourmet black-tie dinner in the Orangery, followed by dancing (£150 per person, including a glass of champers). Lunch on New Year’s Day is £45 per person for three courses (£25 for children under 12). A range of “Winter Warmer” dinner and residential packages are also available – see the website for details. THE SUN INN 25 Main Street, Cottesmore, Rutland LE15 7DH, 01572 812321 New owners Christian and Gemma, who took over the pub in May 2017, are hugely looking forward to their first Christmas at the helm. This historic pub looks like an ideal winter retreat from the outside, with its impressive thatched roof, and inside there’s a lovely, cosy, convivial atmosphere that’s just right for a

festive celebration. During December they’ll be open seven days a week, with the Christmas festive menu available from 1 to 23 December. At lunch, there’ll be two courses for £15.95 and three courses for £18.95, while dinner is £18.95 for two courses and £21.95 for three. Expect to see all the traditional classics, plus vegetarian alternatives – all homemade. They’re happy to cater to those requiring gluten-free dishes – please just ask. There’s great beer, too. Dogs welcome – Ted, the super-cute pub dog, often features on The Sun’s Facebook page. No doubt he’s looking forward to some festive treats! WISTOW CAFÉ BISTRO Wistow Rural Centre, Kibworth Road, Wistow, Leicestershire LE8 0QF, 0116 2593756, Wistow Bistro owner Jane Clifford celebrates her ten years in business this year. “Our core menu consists of all the classic favourites,” she says, “but we tweak and alter ingredients and add dishes both seasonally and according to what our customers tell us they like.” This creative approach is reflected in the bistro’s Christmas offering, which includes festive brunches (smoked salmon, eggs Florentine, avocado on toast, and sausage and bacon patties), available from 2 to 23 December at £16 a head. Then there’ll be Festive Afternoon Teas, from 2 to 23 December (£22 per person), including smoked salmon blinis, hand-cut festive sandwiches, pigs in blankets and prawn cocktails, plus a glass of Prosecco or nonalcoholic mulled wine, and a hot drink. From 18 to 22 December there’ll be Festive Sharing Lunchtime Platters, with baked camembert, mince pies, etc – ideal for ladies (and gentlemen – don’t let’s forget you) who lunch, and priced from £25 for two, including some drinks.

Wistow Café Bistro. Photo by Dorte Kjaerulff RUTLAND & MARKET HARBOROUGH LIVING OCTOBER 2017



Christmas menus and party rooms in and around Stamford In neighbouring Stamford there’s a fabulous range of fine local establishments in which to celebrate the festive season. Stamford Living editor Nicholas Rudd-Jones takes a gander… THE BULL & SWAN AT BURGHLEY High Street St Martin’s, Stamford PE9 2LJ, 01780 766412, The festive lunch (two courses for £19.95 or three courses for £24.95) and dinner menus (two courses for £25 or three courses for £30) represent great value, and are available for parties of six or more throughout December. They must be pre-booked and pre-ordered. Christmas Day lunch is available at £77 per person (£38.50 for children). Menus can be found on their website. There’s always a great pubby ambience here. THE CROWN HOTEL All Saints’ Place, Stamford PE9 2AG, 01780 763136, our-pubs/the-crown-hotel There’s a special ambience in The Crown at Christmas, and a real buzz about the place. Festive Party menus can be found on their website and are great value at £30 for three courses, offering all the traditional favourites. They also offer a Christmas Day menu for £85 (children under seven, £45). THE EXETER ARMS (EASTON-ON-THE-HILL) 21 Stamford Road, Easton-on-the Hill, Lincolnshire PE9 3NS, 01780 756321, I love the atmosphere and service at this pub – there are such good spaces to tuck yourself away in and enjoy great hospitality and conversation. The chef is now the owner too, so there is a big emphasis on really well-cooked food. The Christmas party menu is good value and always delicious. Find more details of their menu on the website. LAMBERT’S 5 Cheyne Lane, Stamford PE9 2AX, 01780 767063, Owner Stephen Conway is a chef with bags of experience, and you can be guaranteed a topquality Christmas meal here. Lambert’s has become one of Stamford’s favourite eateries. This year’s menus are great value and are available at lunchtime – it’s best to book ahead, but there may also be availability on the day. Served from 12pm until 2.30pm Tuesday to Friday the menus offer one course at £14.95, two courses at £17.95 and three courses at


£21.50. Starters include soup of the day as well as an oak-smoked salmon and prawn salad topped with avocado and herb crème fraîche. For mains, there’s roast breast of turkey served all the trimmings, or baked butternut squash and goats’ cheese tart with wilted young leaf spinach and toasted pumpkin seed dressing. To finish, there’s a traditional Christmas pudding with brandy sauce or a selection of cheese and biscuits with chutney and celery. The Christmas Dinner menu offers four choices per course and is served from 7pm until 9pm Thursday and Friday. Two courses are £24.50, while three courses are £29.50. THE MAD TURK 8–9 St Paul’s Street, Stamford PE9 2BE, 01780 238001, The secret here is that you will not be subjected to a Christmas festive menu at all – just great, authentic Turkish Cypriot dishes. To create an extra sense of the unusual, why not pop in to the garden for a quick puff on the shisha pipes? This year you will find The Mad Turk open at lunchtime too. THE WICKED WITCH Bridge Street, Ryhall, Lincolnshire PE9 4HH, 01780 763649, You can always be sure that the food at The Wicked Witch will be cooked with flair, under the guidance of Head Chef Dameon Clarke. The Christmas Party menu, with five choices per course, is available throughout December; advance booking and pre-order are necessary. Two courses are £24.95, while three courses are £29.95. As well as traditional Christmas favourites, there are some more unusual dishes; for starters, for example, there’s pigeon sausage roll, with beetroot salad and walnut vinaigrette;


for mains, there’s pheasant pithivier, with chestnut puree, roast parsnips and game chips; for dessert, there’s plum and almond cheesecake, with poached plums and almond fudge ice cream. THE WILLIAM CECIL High Street St Martin’s, Stamford PE9 2LJ, 01780 750070, The Festive Dinner menu offers lots of choice and is good value at £35 for three courses (or £30 for two). I liked the look of their starters: classic salmon gravadlax, crisp pea shoots, sweet mustard and dill ice cream. To follow: Norfolk black turkey or sirloin of Lincolnshire beef, both served with duck fat roast potatoes, pork and apricot stuffing, pigs in blankets, sprouts, roasted root vegetables and fine beans, with a red wine reduction. The Festive Lunch menus are great value at £19.95 for two courses or £24.50 for three courses. Tables of eight or more must be pre-booked, with the food pre-ordered. Party Nights are on Friday 8 December (£38) and on Wednesday 13 and Thursday 21 December (both £33) and will include a threecourse dinner (tables of ten) and dancing. ZADA RESTAURANT 13 St Mary’s Hill, Stamford PE9 2DP, 01780 766848, Specialising in Turkish cuisine, Zada has already made its mark, having been recommended in the 2017 Michelin Guide, in which it says, “its name means ‘fortunate’ and the locals [that’s us!] are lucky to have it in town.” The Christmas menu is great value at £25.95 for two courses or £29.95 for three. Feast on Turkish specialities and finish off with a Turkish mixed dessert plate that includes a selection of baklava, Turkish delights, fresh fruits and a choice of Turkish coffee or tea.

Outstanding food and drink in charming surroundings… Daily Specials - Sharing plates Artisan Burgers - Children’s menu - Seasonal Cocktails As the nights draw in let Brian and the team at the Marquess look after you - treat yourself to a hearty meal in our cosy restaurant or a relaxed drink in front of the fire.

We look forward to welcoming you soon…! Call now to book… 01572 822 477 Lunch & Dinner 7 Days a Week | 17 Modern Bedrooms 52 Main St. | Lyddington | LE15 9LT w w w . m a r q u e s s e x e t e r . c o . u k

Neil & Louise Hitchen welcome you to

Award Winning Country Pub

Find us in the latest editions of The Michelin Guide, Hardens Food Guide, Waitrose Good Food Guide and Alistair Sawdays Pubs & Inns.

59 Main Street, Wymondham, Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire LE14 2AG 01572 787587 29

The George at Ashley

We are now taking Bookings for Christmas and New Year Situated in the Rutland village of Cottesmore, The Sun Inn is a delightful traditional pub offering great beer, fresh local homemade food and a warm welcome. THE SUN INN 25 Main Street I Cottesmore I Rutland I LE15 7DH Tel: 01572 812321


3 Course Festive Menu - 2 Courses £18, 3 Courses £25 Roast Turkey, Smoked Bacon, Leek Parcel, Parsnip, Cranberry, Brussels. Halibut, Curried Kale, Mussels.

Venison Loin, Cocoa, Pomegranate, Butternut Squash.

Sunday Lunch only £12.50 served 12-3pm Please see website for details and Menus 21 Main Street, Ashley, Northamptonshire. LE16 8HF T 01858 565411 E

Christmas Parties 2017

‘The Study’ – one of Hambleton’s fabulous private dining rooms is perfect for Christmas parties of 6 to 16 guests. We are offering parties a Special Limited Choice Menu, Sunday to Thursday, £65.00 per person for 3 courses. (£80 per person for 4 courses) Hambleton Hall is one of Britain’s finest country house hotels, overlooking Rutland Water the hotel provides the most wonderful setting for a Christmas Party. Log fires, a beautiful Christmas tree, sensational Christmas

decorations and lovely bedrooms to rest your weary head.

At the end of the evening why not stay the night?

If you would like to stay after your Christmas Party and book two or more bedrooms on a Sunday to Thursday, we are offering a special rate of £240.00 per night, based on 2 people sharing one of our Standard double bedrooms, including full Hambleton breakfast & vat.

Terrine of Sea Bass & Artichoke Foie Gras Chicken Liver Parfait with Fig Wild Mushroom Risotto, Parmesan & Tarragon ***

Middle Course Offer - the best fish catch of the day *** Fillet of Turbot, Cockle, Clams & Cucumber Merryfield Duck, Caramelised Endive, Cucumber & Plum Jacobs Ladder, Smoked Potato, Horseradish & Red Wine Jus *** Prune & Armagnac Soufflé Golden Chocolate, Passion Fruit Sorbet Lime Meringue Pie & Lime Leaf Ice Cream *** Coffee, Chocolates All menus are subject to a discretionary service charge of 12.5%




The Olive Branch is named Leicestershire & Rutland Dining Pub of the Year 2018


Fish Tank Sushi


MENTIONED in last month’s issue of this magazine that I didn’t think I was the only one counting down the days until Oakham’s new sushi restaurant opened. Well, finally it has, and I took my dad along in its first week to see if it lived up to expectations. The restaurant is the brainchild of husband and wife team Sam and Romy Letteri, and there’s been a lot of press around Sam’s background as tour chef to musicians such as Take That and Elton John; Romy also worked in the industry. The couple have young children, however, and a life on the road is hard to combine with that, hence they decided to take the plunge and set up a restaurant in Oakham. It’s great to see the gates to the old Bakers Yard open for business again, and it was exciting to head through them towards the funkily branded Fish Tank, as it’s really something quite different for this area. Inside, the decor is low-key industrial chic, in line with a minimalist Japanese aesthetic. The menu is divided into five categories: fish/ seafood; sashimi; meat; vegetarian/vegan; and hot dishes/specials (from miso soup to katsu curry to Yakitori, etc). There’s an excellent range for vegetarians, and it’s brilliant for those on a gluten-free diet; the back of the menu features a detailed breakdown for anyone with allergies. Don’t be intimidated if you don’t know your nigari from your kimchi – the staff are ever so welcoming, offering help with deciphering the menu and determining how much to order. We plumped for several plates to share to get a good overview of what’s on offer. First up was miso soup, which cleansed the palate and warmed up the taste buds. Everything else swiftly followed all together, with the sushi being exquisite to look at and hugely inviting. My favourites were the California crab rolls, generous rounds of rice filled with buttery sweet crab and delicate cucumber that popped in the mouth. I loved the pretty fennel leaf


decoration. They were delicious – thank you again to dad, who selflessly let me have the extra one of the three. Next we tried the asparagus maki – beautifully fresh little rice rolls tightly enveloped in seaweed and crammed with appealingly bright, crunchy asparagus. Dad’s top choice was the Teriyaki chicken: tangy and super succulent, with the lovely sweet and salty flavour characteristic of this grilled Japanese dish. The accompanying sesame sauce was super moreish too. We also opted for an Oriental salad – a seemingly bottomless bowl of healthy grains and crisp edamame beans. The crunchy texture went well with the softness of the sushi rolls and the meatiness of the Teriyaki skewers. Then there were crispy duck rolls: juicy little packages with refreshing cucumber and spring onion. Everything was excellent and it absolutely made me want to come back again to try some more. This is a superb addition to Oakham – it’s very well priced and it’s brilliant for lunch, dinner and even takeway (they do bento boxes – great for those days when you fancy a lunch upgrade). There’s even a house blend of Two Chimps coffee as well as smoothies on offer. Fish Tank Sushi is fun, fresh and very funky, with tiptop healthy food. The music industry’s loss is most certainly Rutland’s gain. Clare Peel • Fish Tank Sushi, Bakers Yard, 4 Church Street, Oakham LE15 6AA, 01572 720077,


ASSIVE congratulations to our regular columnist, The Olive Branch, on being named “Leicestershire & Rutland Dining Pub of the Year” in The Good Pub Guide 2018 – impressively, it won the same accolade in 2017. Ben Jones, joint-proprietor with chef-patron Sean Hope, said: “The whole team works hard to ensure The Olive Branch is a great country pub. We’re now open all day, every day and have increased our range to include breakfasts for non-guests, plus afternoon snacks and afternoon teas. We’re always trying to better ourselves and winning awards like this is great recognition for the whole team’s consistent hard work.” Ben and Sean bought The Olive Branch in 1999 after meeting while working at Michelinstarred Hambleton Hall. In 2004 they bought Beech House, a private Georgian dwelling opposite The Olive Branch, and converted it into accommodation with six luxurious bedrooms. In 2014 The Good Pub Guide named The Olive Branch as Pub of the Year for the whole of Britain. Ben said: “We set out to do something we love and we’ve just carried on. We’re passionate about pubs, good food, good beer, good wine and hospitality. We just do what we enjoy.” • The Olive Branch and Beech House, Main Street, Clipsham, Rutland LE15 7SH, 01780 410355,


Georgie Fenn tells us how to make the most of the British hedgerows this autumn


Fall in love with autumn Port


LOVE smells, and autumn is one of my favourite bouquets. The earthy smell of leaves as you tread, wood smoke gently folding out of chimneys, cooking apples that haven’t made it into a pie wafting up their acidic aromas, and the scents of horses and hounds as you watch them steaming in the crisp morning air are all quite possibly unbeatable. I’m a strong believer that nature provides the cure for everything, and now we’ve come to the end from September/start of October, it is time to harvest sloes, damsons and what’s remaining of the blackberries. These strong acidic fruits are perfect for fighting off winter colds with a tasty fruit crumble or, if you’re like me, can be used to produce delicious sloe or damson gin and even port. In this area, you may have to get your wellies on to get the best pickings. If you’re feeling ambitious, I recommend following the river from Stamford to Ketton to find some exceptional fruit. If you plan this walk on a Monday, you could treat yourself to a delicious steak at The Northwick Arms before following the footpath home. Another possibility is cutting through Stamford meadows up to Easton-on-the-Hill and seeing what the hedgerows have to offer that way. The Exeter Arms provides perfect replenishment and drinks, and it’s all downhill on the way home, so you can have more than one. Both of these pubs are dog friendly, so feel free to take your companions with you on your foraging adventure. I’ve had some success with sloe gin and, more recently, port, so I can recommend the following (very estimated) recipes:

After doing some research on what on earth to do with the leftover sloes, I found a thread online where someone had managed to create port. Port is a fortified wine, originally made by adding brandy to fermenting grapes, so why not add brandy and red wine to fermented sloes? I added a bottle of red wine, some more sugar (poor teeth) and a mug full of brandy to the sloes. Then I followed the same routine; I left them a year and, voilà, I have created some delicious port. I might see if the sloes have got one more bottle left in them and after that I plan on just using them as a decoration to champagne – they must be absolutely lethal by now.

Wining away the weekend Stamford-based Georgie has started a new blog on one of her passions, wine! Here’s a roundup of what to drink in this month:

Sloe Gin

It’s a really tough job discovering so many great wines, but someone’s got to do it.

When it comes to sloe gin, it depends how much you want to make, but this recipe, which uses an Old Rosie 2L container, produces enough to fill two empty Sipsmith 70cl bottles. If you’re not a fan of Old Rosie, you don’t have to drink it, but definitely don’t just pour it down the sink. Cider is the perfect accompaniment to cooking, especially when added to a slow cooker with some gammon, onion, carrots, cloves and seasoning. It’s always best to pick sloes after there has been a frost; this is because it removes the white film, making them juicier, and I also like to think it makes them a little bit cleaner. Some people prefer to just put them in the freezer, but why bother when nature does it for you. For the 2L container, I picked around two old Stork margarine containers full of sloes then put them into a mixing bowl – pricked them with a skewer until they were bleeding and stuffed them into the sterilised Old Rosie bottle. Once you have your sloes, you need to add around two mugfuls of sugar and then a litre of gin. I used Gordon’s. Now, a lot of recipes say that you should have delicious sloe gin by Christmas, but I think, frankly, that it needs a lot longer. I shook my bottle everyday for around a month, then weekly for a further two months. Then, I just left it in a dark cupboard until the following autumn, where I strained it through muslin and bottled it up – it was delicious and didn’t last long.

RED WINES The Wicked Witch, Ryhall – McPherson Shiraz 2014, Australia, £5.90 for a large glass or £16.95 for the bottle. Waitrose – Camino Roja Cariñena Gran Reserva 2007, Spain, £6.69 for a bottle.



WHITE WINE The George of Stamford – Chablis Premier Cru Montmains 2015, France, £9.90 for a large glass. You can read more on my blog

CHRISTMAS PARTY MENU Amuse bouche Starters Sherry Cured Salmon Mulled wine sorbet and chive mayo Game Terrine Cumberland jelly and horseradish cream Pigeon Sausage Roll Beetroot salad and walnut vinaigrette Duck Liver Parfait Cranberry chutney and hazelnut brioche Roasted Chestnut Mushroom Veloute Stilton tortellini and coffee syrup

Mains Pheasant Pithivier Chestnut puree, roast parsnips and game chips Salt Baked Turkey Breast Ballotine of leg and bacon, turkey chipolatas, confit Brussel sprouts and Lyonnaise potatoes Confit Duck Leg Duck cottage pie, braised cabbage and honey roast carrots Pan Fried Cod Braised leek, dauphinoise potatoes and red wine shallots Sage Gnocchi Roasted squash, squash veloute and sheep’s curd

Desserts Christmas Pudding Brandy butter and vanilla ice-cream Dark Chocolate Tart Mascapone sorbet and amarena cherries Plum and Almond Cheesecake Poached plums and almond fudge ice-cream Lemon and Cranberry Meringue Candied lemon and cranberry sorbet Panettoni and Orange Parfait Cinnamon biscuits and orange sorbet

TWO COURSES £24.95 THREE COURSES £29.95 Available from 1st - 23rd December Tuesday - Saturday only


Late November dates maybe available with pre arrangement.

Boxing Day Lunch

2 courses £20.95/3 courses £25.95 T: 01780 763649 E: Like our Facebook page & keep up to date with our events THE WICKED WITCH, BRIDGE STREET, RYHALL, PE9 4HH 35


Pasta masterclass! The Olive Branch’s head chef, Sean Hope, has got handmade pasta on his mind, thanks to a course he’s running at his pub soon



Golden Cross Goats’ Cheese Made in East Sussex by Kevin and Alison Blunt, this ripened goats’ milk cheese is first rolled in ash, then matured to develop a complex yet subtle flavour. The texture is like that of ice cream.

H, real pasta! It’s hard to beat, especially when you’ve made it yourself. This issue’s recipe is a delicious ravioli dish, and I’ve chosen it to coincide with a new Pasta Masterclass I’m running at The Olive Branch. Attendees of the class, which launches soon, will learn how to handmake four different types of pasta (squid ink, saffron, lobster and tarragon), in four different styles (tortellini, ravioli, cannelloni and tagliatelle). For this recipe, I suggest you make your own ravioli using a pasta machine – if you’re passionate about pasta, you’ll need one. They’re great tools to have, and you can pick up a new one from around £20. If you don’t have one, you could buy fresh lasagne pasta sheets from the supermarket and make your ravioli from those. In the ingredients list below, I suggest you use goats’ curd to enhance this dish, but actually you could use several types of cheese to great effect. I’ve highlighted three varieties from our pub cheeseboard that you might want to try. Each brings its own distinct flavour and texture. Why not experiment?

For the ravioli pasta dough • 1 whole egg • 2 egg yolks • 2 tbsp water • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil • 0.5g saffron sachet • 250g pasta (“00”) flour (available from most supermarkets) • Pinch of salt


Battlefield Blue A unpasteurised blue cheese made by Jo and David Clarke in Market Bosworth, Leicestershire. It is aged for 8–12 weeks, is creamy and mellow, and has a distinctive blue bite.

Naturally, Italian wines are always brilliant with pasta. Try a Gavi di Gavi made with the Cortese grape from the vineyards around Gavi in Piedmont. It’s wonderfully crisp and floral, with the perfect acidity. One of the most exciting pasta and wine matches we’ve tried is chocolate pasta with Gorgonzola with a glass of unoaked Barbera D’Asti red wine. With this butternut squash ravioli dish, we suggest an oaked Chardonnay (we have a great one at The Olive Branch from Chamonix Vineyards in South Africa). The oakiness offers a slight smoked sweetness that complements the butternut squash, with good acidity to cut through the butter. Prefer a beer? In that case we would recommend a dry IPA but one that is a described as spicy rather than fruity – Harbour Brewery IPA from Cornwall or Beatbox from Wales’s Tiny Rebel Brewery, for example.

Serves 4

Butternut squash filling • 1 butternut squash oven baked in its skin (hot oven for 30 minutes) • Knob of butter • Juice of 1 lime

Cropwell Bishop Blue Stilton Made in Nottinghamshire and with a huge number of awards under its belt, this Stilton is rich and creamy with a deep and lingering flavour.



1. Mix together the eggs, water, rapeseed oil and saffron. 2. Place the flour and salt into a food processor, switch on, and then gradually add all the egg mixture until combined. 3. Remove the pasta dough from the bowl and knead on a floured surface for five minutes. 4. Cover the dough with cling film and allow it to rest in the fridge for a further five minutes. 5. Using a pasta machine, start rolling out the pasta on the first setting. Continue to roll out the pasta through all the settings until it’s nice and thin. 6. Place four tablespoons of the butternut squash filling (see below) on half of the rolled-out pasta. 7. Gently lay the other pasta sheet over and press firmly to seal. 8. Cut out the ravioli pieces with a 6–7cm pastry cutter. 9. Carefully poach the ravioli in simmering water seasoned with salt and pepper for 7–8 minutes. 10. Remove from the simmering water, drain, season and serve.

Here are three cheeses that we serve on our pub cheeseboard. Why not try one in this recipe?

• 1 teaspoon chopped sage Seasoning 1. Remove the baked butternut squash from its skin while still warm and place into a bowl. 2. Mash to a pulp with a fork and add the butter, lime juice, chopped sage and seasoning. 3. Allow to cool and spoon on to the rolled-out pasta (continue from step 7 above). Pine nut brown butter • 50g unsalted butter • 1 tablespoon finely chopped onion • 1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts • Pinch of parsley, finely chopped • Juice of 1 lemon 1. Place the butter in the pan and heat to a golden-brown colour. 2. Add the chopped onion and fry for 30 seconds. 3. Add the pine nuts, parsley and lemon juice. Season to taste. Burnt onion caramel • 1 white onion, peeled and roughly chopped • 100g caster sugar • Juice and zest of 1 lime • 100ml sherry vinegar


1. Place the chopped onion on a roasting tray and roast in a pre-heated oven at Gas Mark 6 (200ºC) until a deep golden brown with blackened edges (around 25 minutes). 2. Remove from the oven and place to one side. 3. Put the caster sugar into a saucepan, dissolve in a little water, then bring to the boil. 4. Heat to a golden caramel, then add the lime and sherry vinegar. 5. Bring back to the boil and add the burnt onion. Cook out for five minutes. 6. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly before blending to a smooth purée. FINAL ASSEMBLY 1. Place a spoonful of the onion caramel onto the base of a soup plate. 2. Top the caramel with the ravioli. 3. Spoon the warm pine nut brown butter over the ravioli. 4. Place the goats’ curd onto the ravioli and garnish with herbs. • For more information about The Olive Branch Pasta Masterclass, call the pub on 01780 410355.

WE’RE DINING PUB OF THE YEAR! Everyone at The Olive Branch was very proud to be awarded “Leicestershire & Rutland Dining Pub of the Year” for the second consecutive year by The Good Pub Guide 2018. We also appear in the book’s list of the UK’s Top Ten Dining Pubs of the Year and the UK’s Top Ten Wine Pubs of the Year. It’s fantastic to get recognition of this kind and it reflects the whole team’s consistent hard work to ensure we maintain high standards. It’s amazing to think that we’ve run The Olive Branch since 1999. Where does the time go?!


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

The Mad Turk


Reservations – 01780 238001 Takeaways 01780 238282

8/9 St Paul’s Street, Stamford, PE9 2BE

Now taking bookings for Christmas 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 37


The Great Food Club Awards 2017/18: The Shortlist

Drum roll please. Here are the food and drink independents that you voted for…


FTER counting more than 1,500 public votes cast over the summer, we can now announce the shortlist for the Great Food Club Awards 2017/18! The shortlist is based on public votes cast via the GFC website. There are some wellknown names on there, and some you might not have heard of, but all of them have one thing in common: they are passionate about food/drink and customer service, which is why people made the effort to vote for them. As you read this, the final judging by the Great Food Club team is taking place to decide the champions. How do we judge those on the shortlist? We visit each business in person and score them in several categories including service, presentation, food/drink quality and value for money. Judges are drawn from the GFC writing team, and there is one judge per category to ensure consistency across the board. The winners will be announced in the next issue. Congratulations to everyone listed and thanks to all who voted! On these pages we’ve zoomed in on a few of those on the shortlist that are within striking distance of readers of this magazine.

A closer look at some on the shortlist…

Great Food Club Awards 2017 Shortlist PRODUCER CATEGORY • Freshly Spiced, Nottingham • Hambleton Bakery, Exton, Rutland • Harker’s Farm Shop, Clipston on the Wolds, Nottinghamshire • Redhill Farm Free Range Pork, Gainsborough, Lincolnshire • Yorkshire Dama Cheese, Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire

SHOP CATEGORY • Bulwick Village Shop, Bulwick, Northants • Christopher James Deli, Leicester • Farndon Fields Farm Shop, Market Harborough, Leicestershire • Waterloo Cottage Farm, Great Oxendon, Northants • Welbeck Farm Shop, Welbeck Estate, Nottinghamshire

PUB/RESTAURANT/CAFÉ CATEGORY • The Bewicke Arms, Hallaton, Leicestershire • Hambleton Hall, Hambleton, Rutland • Kavanagh’s Tea Room, Oakham, Rutland • Nourish at No. 44, Belper, Derbyshire • The Royal Oak, Evesham, Worcestershire

FOOD-AND-DRINK EXPERIENCE CATEGORY • 45 West Gin School, Nanpantan, Leicestershire • The Bristol Food Tour, Bristol • Hobby Cooks, Northampton • The School of Artisan Food, Welbeck, Nottinghamshire • Seasoned Cookery School, Catton Hall, Derbyshire

STREET-FOOD CATEGORY • The Garage Bakehouse, Market Harborough, Leicestershire • Homeboys, Nottingham • Nanna Mexico, Cambridge • Steak & Honour, Cambridge • Vivia Crump at Southbank Centre Food Market, London, & Rutland


NB: All duplicate votes cast from the same IP address were removed before the counting took place. For more information go to


STEAK & HONOUR, CAMBRIDGE Leo Riethoff and David Underwood have now added a permanent Cambridge bricks-andmortar restaurant to their fleet of distinctive vintage vans. Steak & Honour the restaurant sits next to the Cambridge Corn Exchange. It is yet another addition to Cambridge’s burgeoning list of independent eateries. Sticking to their principles of no-nonsense, honest food using top-quality ingredients, they serve up a honed list of exceptional burgers. Simplicity is key, as are the ingredients, which they source from producers who care. They use Riverside chuck steak minced daily, together with brioche buns specially made for them. Order at the counter and then either take out or sit in the upstairs dining areas, which seat 40 people. You can’t book.


Get the 2017 Handbook The Great Food Club Handbook 2017 is out now. With over 100 pages, the new Handbook is a handbagor glovebox-sized publication with one simple aim: to guide you to some of the best independent restaurants, pubs, farm shops, breweries, food producers, delis and cafes. It is available to buy now for £4.95 including postage. Go to www., scroll to the bottom of the home page and click “Buy the Handbook”. VIVIA CRUMP AT SOUTHBANK CENTRE FOOD MARKET, LONDON, & RUTLAND Vivia Crump, based near Oakham, is probably best known in this area for her delicious chutneys. However, she has another side of her business, too. From her small kitchen on Rutland Enterprise Park, she also bakes superb quiches and very special sausage rolls. She sells these alongside her chutneys on her stall outside London’s Southbank Centre every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It isn’t easy to become a regular trader here, as there is a rigorous tasting and vetting procedure to go through before the Southbank Centre’s committee allocates stalls. Vivia’s dedication means that she is on the road by 4am every Friday to load the van with her Rutland produce, beat the traffic into central London, set up her stall and bake the day’s savoury pastries. The stall must open at 12 noon. Friday trade is mainly locals and office workers, while Saturday and Sunday are more touristy. In summer the market closes at 9pm, and Vivia sells countless free-range pork, chicken and vegetable sausage rolls (all with her chutneys baked inside). Customers also enjoy Vivia’s caramelised red onion and red Leicester quiche, and broccoli and Stilton quiche, all handmade in Rutland using local eggs from Old Broody’s Farm, Tilton-on-the-Hill. Vivia arrives back in Oakham around 8.30am on Monday morning to review the weekend sales with her team and plan the week’s production of chutney and quiche before hitting the road again on Friday. It’s not a nine-to-five routine for sure, but it rarely is for small independents. Vivia appears to thrive on it! By Robin Stewart THE BEWICKE ARMS, HALLATON, LEICS The Bewicke Arms is a classic English country pub in the charming village of Hallaton. The focus is on locally sourced, seasonal pub classics served in a relaxed and friendly environment. Leading the kitchen is Tom Cockerill, former chef-proprietor of Leicester’s Entropy restaurant. Tom’s previous establishment was the highest-rated restaurant in Leicestershire in The Good Food Guide for nearly a decade. The Bewicke Arms’ menu evolves from day to day, typically featuring classics such as Dexter steak and kidney suet puddings using beef from Tom’s family farm, Brancaster mussels in Bottle Kicking cider, as well as game,

Join Great Food Club mushrooms, fruit and herbs foraged from the surrounding countryside. Great Food Club members get 10% off the total bill at The Bewicke Arms for up to four people per membership card. THE GARAGE BAKEHOUSE, MARKET HARBOROUGH The Garage Bakehouse is a small (“possibly the smallest bakehouse on Earth”, according to their Twitter profile), independent bakery in the heart of Market Harborough, selling artisan bread, coffee, cakes and more. Also shortlisted in the Great Food Club 2015 Awards after receiving a large number of public votes, this bakery has lots of loyal fans, who love the friendly service, excellent baking and the fact that it is a welcoming, family-run business. It was launched by Daniel Cadoo and his mother Karen in 2014 and is housed in an old garage. Whether you grab a sourdough loaf, a bag of croissants, some Turkish bread, a raspberry frangipane, some of The Garage Bakehouse’s famous cheese-and-Marmite swirls, or just fancy a chat and a coffee, you’re guaranteed to be back for more in no time. Don’t go to one of the chains – shop here and support this fantastic family bakery. Great Food Club members get 10% off all products at The Garage Bakehouse when you show your membership card.

With its new editing team, Great Food Club is on a mission to unearth brilliant food and drink gems in your area and beyond. We currently recommend around 320 pubs, restaurants, producers and food shops, and around 200 of them run exclusive offers for Great Food Club members. Offers include 10% off at Stamford Cheese Cellar, 10% off at The Tobie Norris, a complimentary cocktail when you dine from the à la carte menu at The Olive Branch, 10% off at The King’s Arms in Wing, and 25% off at The Fox & Hounds in Exton. It is completely free to join and get a membership card – no catches – and we never share your data – sign up at

About the writer Matt Wright founded and runs, a Leicestershire-based website that celebrates and promotes local food and drink. His Great Food Club Handbook 2017 is out now.



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UPDATES News & Views

Retirement celebrations commence for Stephen Diggle Jewellers


ASED on the High Street in Oakham, Stephen Diggle Jewellers has announced that it will close its doors for the last time this Christmas after 23 years of successful trading, as Elaine Diggle, who primarily runs the shop, gets set for retirement. Elaine explains: “We have no children to leave the store to, so we have to clear all our stock by holding a massive closing-down sale. There will be many hundreds of thousands of pounds of stunning fine jewellery for sale, all at 50% off.” The Oakham store was a joint venture for Elaine and her husband Stephen, who are both passionate about jewellery design, and it holds many happy memories as the location of their first business venture. Elaine explains: “We both have a background in jewellery design and manufacture. Stephen

Ask us HR


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Two awards for QKS


KS Ltd is delighted to announce that it has won the 2017 BUILD Excellence Award for Home Improvements. The firm, which specialises in creating “inspirational spaces” in the home, is particularly pleased to have received this award, as its design and build team strives hard to provide the best products and services for its customers. The other exciting news is that QKS is the winner of the new Solidor Style Wall campaign, which is showcasing outstanding projects from Solidor installers


spent many years working in a jewellery workshop and subsequently as a jewellery buyer for a large chain of stores. I had moved into teaching Art and Design; but we both dreamed of running our own jewellery business.” Fast-forward a few years and Stephen set up a small workshop in the spare room, and started making jewellery. He says: “We decided to look for a shop, and Oakham was the perfect town for us.” Elaine and her loyal team of staff have loved providing a personal and unique service to the people of Rutland over the decades. The closing-down sale, which kicked off in midSeptember, gives everyone a chance to bag an amazing bargain. • Stephen Diggle Jewellers, 17 High Street, Oakham LE15 6AH, 01572 722737.

one-off piece of work, an outsourced HR department or on-going support for your in-house team, you can be assured of a collaborative and straightforward approach delivered with Alicia Coates integrity. Kate Saunders is a CIPD-qualified professional. She has a successful track record as a business partner in multiple industries, including financial services and travel. Alicia Coates has 20+ years HR experience and Chartered MCIPD status. Her approach to providing HR solutions is always pragmatic and effective. Kate and Alicia offer HR Support, for example in employee-relations advice such as discipline and grievance, absence management, managing poor performance, managing redundancy, mediation and personal

on Twitter, under the hashtag #SolidorStyleWall. QKS won the campaign for their Flint 2 Composite door in Golden Sand (shown left), created for Mr and Mrs Orme of Stamford, who commented, “we are extremely pleased with the service we have received from QKS… It is an honour to know our door has won this prestigious award!” • For more information on QKS Ltd, visit You can also find out more at Unit 4 Priory Industry, Cherryholt Lane, Stamford PE9 2EQ or on 01780 756666.


counselling. They can also give support with HR projects such as: developing a contract of employment and appropriate people policies; facilitating a change in culture and values; introducing a new appraisal system; designing and delivering an employee engagement programme; team-building events; management training; or designing a well-being programme, etc. What could be particularly useful to a small business is that they also offer a range of retained HR department packages to suit the size and type of firm concerned. These packages include: • an HR “health check”, followed by a proactive HR service from either Kate or Alicia, including attendance on site • telephone/email/skype contact between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday included. • Get in touch with Kate on 07879 622046 or Alicia on 07866 723125 to find out more.

Alexander O’Neal at The Broadway, Peterborough


ERE’S a little advance notice that soul legend Alexander O’Neal will be live in concert at The Broadway in Peterborough on Saturday 9 December as part of his “30 Years of Hearsay” world tour. Tickets (all seated) go from £20. • Book online at Call The Broadway on 01733 452336 or visit for more details.



How to set up a successful book club There is nothing better than snuggling up on a comfy sofa with a good read as the evenings draw in. But sharing your exhilaration or frustration over the latest bestseller can be even more satisfying, and a book club is the perfect setting in which to do this whilst making new friends. Joining an existing club can have its complications, particularly when firm friendships have already formed, so starting your own group is a great way to ensure members are all on an even keel from the beginning. Lily Canter sought advice from children’s writer and avid reader Gemma Barder, 36, who set up a book group in Market Harborough two years ago and recently joined a second club on her estate. Here she shares her top 10 tips.


Research the demand

Whether you have moved to a new area or are just looking for a different pastime, setting up a book club is a great way to meet local people and socialise. But, before you get too carried away, it is always worth putting feelers out to see how much demand there is – you don’t want to be sitting in a pub, book in hand, with no one to talk to. Ask friends and family, put notices in the library and get posting on social media to gauge interest. “When I moved to Market Harborough I put a message on a few Facebook community pages asking if there were any book clubs. A lot of people said they would like to be in one, but they didn’t know of any. It was quite organic, but I could see there was interest, so I set one up,” says Gemma.


Find a good place to meet

There are usually two meeting options, either rotating around members’ homes or gathering at a central location, for example a pub or café. There are pros and cons to both approaches, but if you are the organiser then do what feels comfortable, which may be meeting in a public space for the first event at least. Gemma’s own book club meets at various pubs, such as Mercado Lounge, The Freemasons Arms and The Oat Hill, but her estate club convenes at each other’s homes. However, it is not always convenient for people to host a book club at their house. Gemma says: “If you meet in a pub, it can feel more like an event, and no one has the pressure of hosting. But I find that meeting at someone’s house means you tend to talk about the book more and it feels a bit cosier.”



Have something to break the ice

The first few sessions can be awkward, as everyone gets to know one another, and you don’t just want to launch into a deconstruction of the latest tome. Everyone needs to feel relaxed, so they are able to talk honestly about the text without feeling like they are being judged, particularly if they hate the book choice. Reading is an extremely emotive and personal experience, which can evoke extreme reactions, so in order for your club to thrive members need to be able to express their opinions freely. “You definitely need something to lubricate the group, whether it be drink or nibbles,” advises Gemma. “And you need someone to lead it who is quite chatty, even if they are inwardly dying.” If you are hosting then ask everyone to bring a snack and have a few opening questions on hand: How has your week been? Have you seen the news? What else have you been reading?


Be open about reading choices

It might seem obvious, but you cannot run an interesting book club if you only read thrillers and bestsellers. Be


prepared to read a range of genres, including not only fiction but also autobiographies, self-help and even graphic novels. “The whole point of a book club is to read things you would never normally read. It opens you up to new experiences. It is interesting to hear why other people like something that you hate,” says Gemma. “We have covered everything from the genteel Raymond Briggs graphic novel Ethel & Ernest to sexual body horror Consumed by director David Cronenberg.”


Pick a book title out of a hat

You might think that the fairest way to choose a book would be to rotate the choice around members. But for some people this can be an unwanted pressure and may lean them towards a safe option. Gemma recommends some book research time before all members make two or three suggestions and drop them into a hat. At each meeting a new suggestion is pulled out, alleviating the pressure of “it’s your turn this month – quick, come up with something”. There are now endless digital book clubs online where you can find reading suggestions and reader reviews before selecting your choices.

Quinns, Market Harborough

Oakham Library

the Richard and Judy book club for recommendations,” says Gemma. “I was slightly unsure to begin with but I have been surprised by the mixture of books on there.”


Have a fixed date


Decide on a meeting structure

This will all depend on your group dynamic and may take a few meetings to get right, but from the beginning you need to think about structure, otherwise the conversation will soon veer onto unrelated topics. First of all, how often do you want to meet and do you want a break over the summer? Do you want someone to present the book each meeting, giving a brief background to the author and their response to the novel? Do you want someone to prepare questions in advance for the group to consider at the meet up? Are you going to rate the book? “I like having questions posed before we meet. It extends the conversation and makes you focus more,” says Gemma.


Use online resources for recommendations

The UK publishes more books per capita than any other country, so picking just one from the thousands published or reprinted each week can be an incredibly daunting task. Thankfully there is also a burgeoning recommendation industry with digital book clubs picking the best and publishing reader reviews. “We use

This is probably the most important tip and can make or break your book club. “You have to be strict,” warns Gemma. “Having a date that is airy-fairy doesn’t work. At the end of each meet up we put the date in for six weeks ahead and that is set in stone. If it is flexible, it just keeps moving back and back, and six months go by and you haven’t met.” You could even book in all your dates a year in advance, so everyone has plenty of time to plan other commitments around the book club.


Pick one communication method

reaching to the back of your mind for a relevant nugget of information about a previous storyline. “At my estate book club we have a blank notebook. We all write a paragraph about what we thought of the book. We can refer back to it. Someone recently wanted to remember the name of a character who was similar to someone in a book we just read, so they used the notebook to dig it out. It is a really useful and nice record to have.”

Existing book clubs If you’d prefer to join a ready-made club or would like to follow a digital book club, see: • Kavanagh’s Tea Room Hosting a brand new book club for Oakham, with the first get-together on 28 September.

Whether it’s email, Facebook, WhatsApp or any other means, choose one communication method to make sure everyone is receiving all of the same information. “My own book club moved from Facebook to WhatsApp because people couldn’t access Facebook at work, but the estate group uses Facebook. It is whatever works for everybody – the key thing is keeping up the communication. A month or six weeks can be a long time. It is good to send out reminders a week or so before the next meet up,” recommends Gemma.

• Oakham Library Runs two book clubs, on the last Thursday of the month. Call 01572 722918 for details.


• Waterstones Market Harborough The next club at the Harborough branch is on 28 October at 6.30pm. www.waterstones. com/bookshops/market-harborough

Keep a reading record

As your book club develops, you will find yourself crossreferencing books that have gone before, or

• One Book One Facebook A big online book club, with one book every few months. www.facebook/com/groups/ greatreads/ • Richard and Judy Book Club Now a classic, with lots of content to inspire.




Door to the Himalayas Amander Meade meets the Rutlander determined to provide a global marketplace for the stunning work of the Himalayan communities she loves. Chetana Women’s Skill Development Project

Master craftsmen at work

Intricate hand embroidery on pashmina

Ollie Honeywood Photography


NITIALLY it was her work as a yoga teacher that took Helen Philips to India, where she came to know some of the communities of weavers very well. With a background in textiles herself, she was ideally placed to help them market their exquisite wares.

Seven generations of skill

Helen explained that the term “pashmina” has become corrupted to describe inexpensive manufactured scarves from all over India and the Far East. True pashminas are becoming increasingly rare to find and are made by Kashmir’s highly skilled artisans, whose families have had their skills passed down to them since the time of the Mughal Empire. Helen has become great friends with some of the master craftsmen, which she describes as an honour and a privilege: “For seven generations, these families have been working patiently with skill and devotion, specialising in hand-embroidery on 100% pure pashmina.” One such craftsman is Noor Mohd Ganayee, who followed his father into the art of pashmina embroidery aged 13; now at the age of 78, he is the oldest of the master craftsmen and teacher to two generations. “These shawls are of the highest quality, taking between 18 months to


three and a half years to complete. The detailing makes them collectors’ items worldwide,” explains Helen. “How long this tradition will continue depends very much on the ability to bring these shawls to a wider market. The current political isolation for Kashmir has resulted in fewer tourists visiting the region.”

Captivating tales

Helen personally chooses a selection of these fine pieces and brings them back to the UK to sell through her company “Door to the Himalayas”, making sure that the craftsmen are properly recompensed for their work. “In this way we can ensure that all the families involved in producing these shawls are paid a fair price and can afford to educate their children.” As well as trading in handmade products Helen has become deeply involved in several charitable endeavours such as the Chetana Women’s Skill Development Project, which is a non-profit organisation in Nepal, dedicated to providing life-changing opportunities through education and skill development for women. Another is fundraising and volunteering at Rishikesh’s Pankh Creative School, which provides free schooling to children whose parents would otherwise be unable to afford to educate them.


Helen is an expert on the Himalayas and has captivating tales to tell about the individuals she has met on her adventures. “It is still quite unusual for a woman to travel alone in some of the more remote areas, so I have had some ‘interesting’ moments,” she laughs. Despite the increasing challenges, the craftsmen can rely on their resolute champion thousands of miles away in Rutland to expose their magnificent work to a Western audience, helping to keep their art alive. • Find out more: Helen gives fascinating talks about her work, travels, mentoring and fundraising. She can advise on independent travel as well as organising her own group trips to the Himalayas. To see a full range of authentic products visit www.doortothehimalayas. Join Helen at Priddy Essentials in Uppingham on Tuesday 21 November 7.30–9.30pm, for a presentation on “The Master Craftsmen of Kashmir… and the Search for the real Pashmina”. Tickets: £10 (including a glass of wine), available from Priddy Essentials. All proceeds go towards library books for the Pankh Creative School in Rishikesh.

Ask us HR Ltd is a small consultancy offering expert HR advice to local businesses

We tailor our work to the specifics of the  HR challenges you face; whether it be a one-off  piece of advice or on-going support; we always  have the best interests of your Company at heart.   If you would like a free  informal chat call either  Alicia on 07866 723125  or Kate on 07879 622046. 47




Warm up your home this autumn with some inviting style updates Make sure you stay snug and on trend this season by choosing key pieces to enhance your interior. Anna Morley highlights how to create serious comfort factor with some cocooning additions.


ITH the nights drawing in, now is the perfect time to shift your attention to your interior scheme. Prepare for hibernation by turning your space into a welcoming retreat.

Lighting Go for low-level options in living areas rather than one overhead ceiling light, unless it can be dimmed. Ideally have several table and floor lamps, so that you can control the brightness depending on the look you want to create and what task you’re doing. Both Harborough Lights and Lumison Lighting have a great selection.

Lumison Bologna brass reading light, £215

Harborough Lights Enna desk light, £POA

Under foot A well-chosen rug is a quick and easy update to your space: warm on the feet and pleasing to the eye and available in a huge variety of sizes and materials – your toes will thank you for it. Of course, carpet is the king of comfort too, and now could be a good time to upgrade your room or stairs with some wall-to-wall softness. Try the ranges at Barefoot Flooring, Oakham Rugs, the Rug Studio or Brookside Carpets.

Oakham Rugs vintage over-dyed Persian carpet, from £800 per 2m x 1.5m

Vibrant Senses “Complete Bliss” Neom candle, £30

Lily Loves Shopping “Hello” floor mat, £25

Brookside Carpets & Curtains Wool Crafty Hound Whippet alternative flooring, £48.99 per sq m


Vibrant Senses Noble Isle Fireside Candle, £39 (including snuffer)


Ambience Create a real comfort zone by lighting candles to give your room an atmospheric glow as well as brightening up dark corners. Opt for seasonally scented varieties to enhance the mood. Vibrant Senses stocks the Neom range, which has therapeutic benefits to relieve stress, calm and relax, aid sleep, boost energy or lift a mood.


Heatsource Morso woodburning stove 7948 on pedestal, £2,612


No perfect autumn evening would be complete without a roaring fire to relax in front of – and perhaps a glass of wine. For heat and style, wood-burning stoves are a great option. They can be fitted into a variety of areas in the home, plus they create a striking focal point. Choose a traditional or modern style, depending on your interior. For a beautiful range with expert advice, try Heatsource and Harborough Stone.

Harborough Stone ACR Birchdale 5kw in Arctic White Enamel 0815, £1,210

Add touches of texture to your environment by layering soft woollen throws with chunky knits alongside plump cushions. These will not only create a sense of comfort for you and your guests, but also provide a practical use as a throw or cover, as the evenings get cooler. The Wool Room has a wide selection of cosy accessories.

Sarah Harding Interiors Matthew Williamson “Sirius” wallpaper, £60 per roll, and “Folklore” chair fabric, £75 per m


The Wool Room “Arncliffe” wool throw in Aqua, £59.99

Elizabeth Stanhope Interiors Marlborough chair in linen with a blue stripe, £799

Decor Displaying artworks and objets d’art is great for adding character and style whatever the season. Move current pieces around, trying them in new surroundings to give a nice refresh to your scheme. Alternatively invest in something new that can become part of your home’s much-loved collection. Vibrant Senses now sells artworks, along with other items for your interior. For other arty updates check out the Trent Galleries and Jeffrey & Day French Antiques.

Lily Loves Shopping handprinted Netflix mug, £6

What could be nicer after a brisk countryside walk than sinking into an oversized chair? For supreme snugness, fabric gives more comfort, but if you already have leather or wooden furnishings, consider covering them with a soft throw, adding a layer of warmth. For a more permanent update, you could upholster an existing chair and breathe new life into old. Some beautiful new fabric designs and furnishings are available from Sarah Harding Interiors and Elizabeth Stanhope.

Vibrant Senses Kingfisher in flight print by Cathy Whittall, from £90 (A4 size)

DIRECTORY Barefoot Flooring, Oakham, 01572 759752, Brookside Carpets & Curtains, Market Harborough, 01858 433334, Elizabeth Stanhope, Oakham, 01572 722345, Harborough Lights, Market Harborough, 01858 467716, Harborough Stone, Market Harborough, 01858 410033, Heatsource, Uppingham, 01572 829953, Jeffrey & Day French Antiques, Market Harborough, 0779 8718370 or 0783 4104709, Lily Loves Shopping, Market Harborough, 01858 433220, Lumison Lighting, Oakham, 01572 724600, Oakham Rugs, Oakham, 01572 724441, Rug Studio, Uppingham, 01572 829927, Sarah Harding Interiors, Uppingham, 01572 823389, Trent Galleries, Oakham, 01572 722790, Vibrant Senses, Market Harborough, 01858 289235, The Wool Room, Empingham, 01780 461217, RUTLAND & MARKET HARBOROUGH LIVING OCTOBER 2017


UPDATES News & Views

Local garden designer Ken Rawson shares his holistic approach to creating an outdoor space


ESIGNING a garden is very often treated as a mechanical process – a series of requirements, solutions to problems and reactions to outside influences all brought together into a clever shape on paper. It can, of course, result in a perfectly good garden, but there can be a spark missing. Ken Rawson takes a holistic approach to his garden design, hoping to inspire those moments in which you have a heightened awareness of feeling glad to be alive and a strong sense of well-being. “I think it comes down to the planting and how it speaks to us and how we react to it. Things green have a positive benefit on us and our well-being. It is the colour of life. It is calming. It is soothing.” Sometimes colour – and lots of it – is the main and only criterion for a designer’s ideas, says Ken, and there’s potentially much more to it than this. He shares with us the three fundamental aspects he brings to his designs. Provide comfortable seating: A sitting space usually means a set of furniture on slabs or decking. Ken advises that you should make your sitting areas cosy, with planting

surrounding you, “hugging you, involving you,” as well as screening out unwelcome eyes. “It should be the open-air equivalent of the cosy welcoming lounge,” he says. “And have several perches to sit. Nothing brings you into an unexplored part of the garden like a seat.” Don’t be afraid of height: Allow some planting to venture above eye-level. It gives another layer of interest and lifts the eye to the sky. Sunlight coming through those green leaves does wonder for the spirit. “We feel safe with plants that are smaller than us, but they do nothing for a sense of excitement. Plant something tall.” Create harmony in contrast: To have contrasts in a garden is to give it energy: open space vying with cosy intimate places, large with small, and calm with busy. Ken says, “I particularly like using light and shade in tandem, as chiaroscuro does in painting. Stepping from light into shade and out again as you walk through a garden plays with the full range of emotions. And don’t think of

Weaving a little magic across Rutland


OST of us have experienced that sinking feeling when a glass or mug has accidentally been knocked over onto a rug, carpet or upholstery, or when you realize your beloved pet has had an accident in the home. Some stains can be tackled by yourself, but more problematic ones are best left in the hands of the professionals. Mistakes with delicate fabrics can cause shrinkage, damaged fibre texture or even colour loss, resulting in expensive damage. For a local cleaning firm with national accreditation, Oakham-based Weaver (UK) Ltd comes highly recommended. The firm is an advance member of the National Carpet Cleaning Association (NCCA), the only nationally recognized trade association in the UK for carpet and upholstery cleaners, and its founder, David Weaver, is a Director of the NCCA. Weaver (UK) Ltd is also “Trustmark” approved business and a “Trusted Local Cleaner”. It offers a 24-hour emergency service for small floods, spills and accidents. Perfect for giving you peace of mind. In addition to emergency cleaning services, Weaver (UK) Ltd is also expert in giving tired-looking carpets, rugs, fine


fabrics, antiques, wool, leather and even stone floors a new lease of life. Natural stone floors can be cleaned, restored to their former beauty and then sealed. Tile- and grout-cleaning services are also available. Curtains up to five metres high can be cleaned in situ, saving you the time and hassle of taking them down and rehanging them. The firm also operates a full service Oriental rug-cleaning workshop in Oakham. David offers a round-the-clock service and is happy to offer free advice and free quotes. Don’t hesitate to get in touch. • Weaver (UK) Ltd is based at 24F Pillings Road, Oakham LE15 7SX. For more information, contact David on 01572 759899 or visit


shade as the enemy – even if you simply use it as a background to set off an ornament or shapely plant.” Gardening is often cited as good for your health. It certainly is in physical terms, of course, but the emotional and mental-health benefits are key too, especially in these increasingly fast-paced times. “Think of the look of your garden in holistic healing terms rather than a collection of garden-centre features,” says Ken, “and you may find that special place right at home.” • Ken Rawson is based in Easton-on-theHill, Stamford. For further details call 01780 481624, email or visit

Quality furniture from Russell Francis of Market Harborough


HE independent Russell Francis furniture store, which will be celebrating 20 years of trading in Market Harborough next year, is set in a beautiful mill building on St Mary’s Road, a short walk from the town centre. The three-floor showroom has one of the most comprehensive ranges of quality sofas, dining and occasional furniture in the Midlands and includes an entire floor of beds, mattresses and other bedroom furniture. The high-quality brands stocked include Duresta, G Plan, Parker Knoll, Stressless, Celebrity ROM, Hypnos (shown here – double mattress from £849) and Somnus beds. Also on show is a range of mirrors, lamps, coffee tables and occasional furniture. Come along and visit and let the highly knowledgeable sales staff guide you and advise on comfort, style and colour for your home. • Russell Francis is at 98 St Mary’s Road, Market Harborough LE16 7DX, 01858 435999. Visit for more information.

STONE FLOOR CLEANING • I wish my stone floor could be cleaned • I wish the grout could be restored • I wish the natural stone could be sealed We will grant your three wishes and give you a 10% discount on production of this Rutland Living advert Travertine, Limestone, Sandstone, Terracotta & Slate


Please contact Weaver Ltd on

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or visit and watch our video.

24F Pillings Road Oakham LE15 6QF





George Whyte-Melville The village of Boughton lies about 14 miles south of Market Harborough. Just across the street from the golden ironstone church of St John the Baptist stands The Whyte Melville pub. Now that’s an unusual name for an inn, and the man it commemorates was a most unusual character. Caroline Aston tells us more…


AJOR George John Whyte-Melville was born in Scotland in 1821. He came from an army family, and his maternal grandfather was the Duke of Leeds. After leaving Eton in 1839 he joined the Coldstream Guards, eventually retiring in 1849, two years after marrying The Hon. Charlotte Hanbury-Bateman – and thereby hangs a tale!

George married Charlotte at the über-smart St George’s church in London’s Hanover Square on 7 August 1847. Two years later the relatively newly wedded pair were hit by scandal: WhyteMelville had a summons for maintenance issued against him by a woman called Elizabeth Gibbs. Described by excited press reporters as “a smartly dressed and interesting-looking young woman”, Miss Gibbs alleged that she had known George since December 1846 and had borne his child in September 1847, one month after his wedding. Letters between the pair were closely scrutinized, but the judge felt that there was reasonable doubt as to whether the handwriting was actually that of the accused and found in Whyte-Melville’s favour. George’s retirement from his prestigious regiment swiftly followed, however. Whyte-Melville’s choice of post-scandal occupation was unorthodox – he became

a novelist. Ultimately, he went on to publish 21 novels, most of them about his great love, fox hunting, though there were a few with historical themes too. The only break in his literary output came during the Crimean War of 1853-6, when he volunteered as a Major in the Turkish irregular cavalry. Now Whyte-Melville was no Dickens or Trollope, and reading his books today is, to say the least, a chore. He uses stock characters, some of which appear in more than one novel, but to field sports-obsessed Victorian readers his creations were instantly recognisable: “hard” men and women to hounds, social climbers determined to join fashionable hunts, snobbish stud grooms, drunken steeplechasers and fascinating sporting widows who were not just hunting foxes. His first offering, Digby Grand, came out in 1852 and was a huge success, as was his 1861 work entitled Market Harborough, or How Mr Sawyer went to the Shires! Harborough country was well known to foxhunters back then, as it remains today – though now without the foxes, of course. The eponymous Mr Sawyer was one of Whyte-Melville’s stock characters and, to be honest, it’s a fairly stock storyline too. Bachelor Mr Sawyer, a keen rider to hounds, decides to spend a season enjoying his sport in the shires and arrives in Market Harborough country along with his horses, his groom Isaac and a stable lad known only as “Boy”. A chance meeting with a very rich fellow hunting fanatic called The Honourable Crasher at the tailors leads to warm friendship on and off the hunting field. There are many, many characters, but the most interesting ones are Mr Tiptop, Crasher’s groom (quite a dandy), plus Miss Dove, foxhunting daughter of foxhunting parson Reverend Dove. Naturally, Sawyer falls for Miss Dove – literally! Trying to impress her, he flashes his cash and rides far too recklessly for safety, eventually taking a tumble and breaking his collarbone in a steeplechase. Miss Dove falls into his arms, and the two are wed, but you are left

with the distinct impression that the new Mrs Sawyer had been more interested in husband hunting than the Market Harborough foxes – on marriage she sells her chestnut hunter, and all poor old Sawyer’s horses go in the sale ring too. Miss Dove has got her man and she is going to make sure he is not exposed to temptation! Her character isn’t particularly likeable; she is highly manipulative and it looks as though she is wearing the trousers under her crinoline – maybe the author was thinking of that scandal of some 12 years before! This simple plot is wrapped up in so many words and so detailed a description of hedges, hunting and horseplay that you need to lie down in a darkened room after reading a chapter. However, that didn’t stop it being reprinted in 1984, meaning that you can still pick up an inexpensive copy online. And the last chapter in Whyte-Melville’s own life? Around 1875 he moved to Tetbury, Gloucestershire, so that he could ride with the Beaufort and Vale of the White Horse (VWH) hunts. He was killed by a fall during a ride with the VWH in 1878 and was buried in the church of St Mary’s, Tetbury, just across the road from his house.




Rider fitness

As horse ownership reaches record levels in the UK, it is as important as ever to be riding fit. Sosennah Every met Sarah Carlisle from SC Equestrian Coaching and Steve Rutherford-Bate from Body Fitness to discuss their new rider fitness programme. How did you start working together? Sarah: Like any rider, I’ve had my fair share of injuries from falls, but it was having a baby and a C-section that completely ruined my back. I had five prolapsed lumbar discs in two years and I could barely walk, let alone ride or teach riding. When I was told by my consultant rheumatologist that at 45 years old there was nothing more that could be done for me, I was completely distraught. A friend recommended I try Body Fitness, and when I met Steve I was using a Zimmer frame, taking pain-relief drugs and using heat pads. Steve: Sarah came to me from a very low place, not only physically but mentally too, and over three years I have helped her radically change her body from hobbling around to being one of our fittest clients. This has taken hard work and dedication from Sarah, but together we believe we can help other people to get riding fit. What does the rider fitness programme involve? Steve: Not all riders will come to us from Sarah’s position of pain and immobility, but we understand that there are many amateur riders locally who would benefit greatly from doing some core-strengthening work, endurance exercises, and flexibility, movement and neurological control work, which can all be achieved with a personal trainer at Body Fitness using a specific set of exercises tailored to each person. Sarah: If a rider doesn’t do so well at a competition, or they feel there is something wrong with the horse, they will always look to the horse’s needs first – checking the horse’s


fitness, nutrition, care etc. But working in partnership with the horse is key, and riders need to check their balance, strength and flexibility too. Often it is a case of mixed messages from the rider putting the horse off balance and this can be rectified with specific exercises to enhance a person’s balance, posture and co-ordination both in the gym and on the horse. Who is the programme exactly aimed at? Sarah & Steve: It is aimed at everyone who enjoys riding – we have worked with people as young as 15 to the over 70s. Riders want to ride for as long as possible, but without learning the right warm-up exercises and flexibility and corestrengthening work, they will only succumb to more and more injuries, and eventually stop a pastime or vocation they love. We know that this programme can be effective for everyone who enjoys their riding. What have you seen from some of the clients you have worked with? Sarah: Firstly they feel a sense of relief that they can begin to change within just two to three sessions, and ultimately I see a huge improvement in their confidence levels. Once they are stronger, their relationship with the horse completely changes for the better. We have a responsibility to the horse and can’t sit lop-sided and out of condition and expect the horse to perform its best. I feel it is so important to educate riders of all ages to have the discipline to be fit and strong themselves, so that the relationship with their horse can flourish. Steve: Vicky came to us three years ago with severe rheumatoid arthritis, but her goal was to


ride a medium-level dressage test. Vicky says, “I have trained with Steve at Body Fitness for over three years and have recently added dressage lessons with Sarah, in parallel with my other coaching, and gym sessions with Steve, which were specifically designed to help my riding but also continuing with my fitness and strength. How is it going? Well, I have completed my first BD [British Dressage] medium test and am already working towards advanced medium!” What exercises do you recommend? Steve: We have developed key exercises to help riders – a warm up is crucial and rarely practised by riders. Exercise-wise we focus on balance, co-ordination, core strength, mobility and suppleness, and fit all this into our training programme as well as focusing on the nutrition side. Sarah: Neurological fitness is important, as it can’t be underestimated how much a rider has to cope with – their horse’s temperament, other riders, traffic, the environment – all making quick reactions vital. Ensuring the body can stay strong and focused whilst thinking about other things is as important as stamina. • SC Equestrian Coaching is run from The Cottage Farm Knaptoft but travels for clients across Leicestershire and Rutland. • Body Fitness studio is based at the Archway Health Hub, Lubenham Hill, Market Harborough LE16 9SZ, www. • Riders should contact either Sarah on 07855 393960 or at scequestriancoaching@ or Steve on 01858 410820 or

Vicky Earnshaw photographed by Rose Rodgers






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

You need somebody? Call James on 01780 752119

Garden Design & Construction

01780 481624 Easton-on-the-Hill, Stamford. Established 1986




Anyone for Fives?

A historic, little-known court game is witnessing a renaissance, no more so than in the East of England, as Nick Preston discovers.


OT often is the smallest county in England credited with being the catalyst for a sporting revolution, but in the second half of the 19th century Rutland spearheaded the introduction of a brand new “revolutionary” sport across the country. The sport was called “Eton Fives”. Indeed, Uppingham and its school was one of the first locations after Eton to introduce the game as part of an important and radical idea to place sport into pupils’ otherwise classical and religious curriculum. Over time Rutland had more Fives courts per capita of population than any other county; 36 at its peak, all hidden away behind closed doors, gardens and walls. It’s also remarkable that the vast majority of Uppingham’s population had absolutely no idea about the existence of the sport or the fact that hundreds of boys were playing it right under their noses! But, given that in those days the town and school rarely mixed, this is perhaps not so surprising. What a pity that so many people were excluded from what was becoming a very popular sport throughout the country and indeed across many parts of the Empire including India, Nigeria, Malaysia and Singapore. There was even a court built within the grounds of the Forbidden City in Beijing. Once established at Uppingham, the game was transported by its Masters to Shrewsbury and as far afield as Dover College, where one court still exists. Fast forward to the 21st century, and this game that many people have still never heard of is expanding around the country. This seems to be no more so than in East Anglia and the East Midlands with a resurgence of the game at both Uppingham and Oakham, while Cambridge has recently built three brand new, state-of–the-art indoor courts, and Ipswich has a community of more than 100 regular Fives players.

So what exactly is Eton Fives? No prizes for guessing its origin; in fact it’s the only game that Eton itself managed to “transport” into the wider community. It started on the entrance steps to Eton’s chapel, when boys relieved their boredom by throwing a round-like object against the building’s walls and buttress before going in. The antics became popular, and a “replica” purpose-built court was constructed featuring the “buttress” and the chapel’s walls, ledges and steps as its key components. The origins of the second half of the name are less clear, although it is commonly believed

that it comes from using the fingers of the hand (the “bunch of fives”) to hit the ball. The game is often described as a one of hazards. The small ball, made out of rubber and cork, is hit around the court by hand (with padded gloves), and ricochets off ledges and the buttress at all angles and speeds, causing both laughter and surprise, and demanding a large degree of concentration, fleet of foot and hand/eye coordination. Yet Eton Fives is a surprisingly versatile sport. It suits both old and young, and fit and not so fit. It’s a sport where men and women, and boys and girls, can play on equal terms (it doesn’t rely on brute strength), and it’s one of the few sports that is entirely ambidextrous. In this day and age, it is unusual in that it has no referee or

umpire. It is entirely self-regulatory between the four people on court (always two teams of two), where lets are offered and not asked for, and a serve is exactly what it means: a “service” to your opponent… not a means to smash the ball as hard as possible! And, once you have access to a court (complete with “buttress” and ledges, etc), it’s cheap. No expensive kit is needed – merely a pair of Fives gloves and a ball – and the shared court fee to pay! Unlike squash and tennis, Eton Fives was never established as a community sport, remaining entirely within schools. Yet now the game is expanding beyond its public school mantra. The first community courts have been built at Westway, in West London, and another inner city centre is opening in Hackney, in East London, next year. And closer to home, in East Anglia, Cambridge aims to become the leading centre for Fives outside of London. Its courts have already attracted visits from Dutch schools as well as visiting teams from Switzerland. And now its doors are wide open to anyone who wishes to come and experience this extraordinary game. The aim is to attract as many people from the local community as possible to at least try their hand. Since September, the new Cambridge University Sports Centre on Madingley Road has been offering introductory sessions for adults, children and schools. Fives is also witnessing a resurgence at both Uppingham and Oakham. There are immediate plans to establish over 60 new courts across the country over the next seven years, which should ensure that this historic game survives for future generations. • The Cambridge University Sports Centre on Madingley Road is offering introductory sessions for adults, children and schools. Visit to find out more.



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UPDATES News & Views

Making a will


AKING a will is extremely important and ensures that your estate is distributed in accordance with your wishes. It is possible to make a will yourself without instructing a lawyer, but Hegarty Solicitors recommends that you do consult one, particularly if you have a young, step or second family. This will make sure that all the options are explained and that your wishes are followed in your will to prevent problems arising after your death. Jo Wild, from the Peterborough branch of Hegarty Solicitors, gives the following tips to help you to prepare for a will-making appointment with a lawyer: Make a list of assets It is advisable to prepare a list of your assets together with values, in particular any specific items you wish to include in your will. You will also need to bring with you an existing will if

you already have one, or a copy. Bring the full names and addresses of the people you wish to refer to in your will. Who will receive your assets? In addition, you should consider who you wish to receive your assets after you die, for example your spouse, partner, family or friends. Think about funeral wishes It is sensible to give some thought to any funeral wishes that you may have, for example whether you would prefer a burial or cremation, and bring with you any funeral bond/plan that you have in place. Decide on executors and guardians It is also necessary to decide who you want to appoint to be your Executors, who would carry out your wishes as set out in your will. It is advisable to check with them first to make sure they are happy to take on this responsibility. Similarly, if relevant to your situation, you

Rutland’s mortgage time bombs… This month our local property advisor David Crooke, owner of UPP Property Agents, scrutinises Rutland’s mortgage market.


CCORDING to my research, 1,672 of the 4,690 properties in Oakham have mortgages on them. Some 87% of those mortgaged properties have owner-occupiers, while the rest belong to buy-to-let landlords. However, the concerning part is that 361 of those mortgages are “interest only”. Each year between 2017 and 2022, four of those households with interest-only mortgages will mature, and, of those, one household a year will either have a shortfall or no way of paying the mortgage off. Anyone in this situation is at risk of repossession if they don’t have some means to repay these mortgages at the end of the term, which is typically 25 to 35 years. Banks and building societies are under no obligation to lengthen the term of the mortgage and, when deciding whether they are prepared to do so or not, will look at it in the same way as an application for a new mortgage. Back in the 1970s and 1980s, when endowment mortgages were all the rage, having an endowment meant taking out an interest-only mortgage and then paying into an endowment policy, which would pay the mortgage off (plus hopefully leave some profit) at the end of the 25- to 35-year term. There were advantages to that type of mortgage, as the monthly repayments were lower than those with

should think about who you would like to appoint as Guardians to care for your children if you die before they become legal adults – again, do check that they would be happy to be nominated. • To contact Jo Wild about making a will, please call 01780 752066 or email For Peterborough, Oakham and Stamford branch details, visit

a traditional capital repayment and interest mortgage. Only the interest, rather than any capital, is paid to the mortgage company – but the full debt needs to be cleared at the end of the full term. Historically, plenty of homeowners bought endowment policies to run alongside their interest-only mortgages. However, because the endowment policy was a stock market-linked investment plan, and the stock market performed poorly between 1999 and 2003, the endowments of many of these homeowners didn’t cover the shortfall. Nonetheless in the mid-2000s, when the word “endowment” had become a dirty word, the banks still sold “interest-only” mortgages, but this time with no savings plan, endowment or investment product to pay the mortgage off at the end of the term. It was a case of “we’ll sort that nearer the time”, as property prices were on the rampage in an upwards direction! Thankfully, the proportion of interest-only mortgages sold started to decline after the credit crunch, from a peak of 43.81% of all mortgages to the current 8.71%. Increasing the length of the mortgage to obtain more time to raise the money to cover it has gradually become more difficult since the introduction of stricter lending criteria in 2014, with many mature borrowers considered too old for a mortgage extension. Whilst the banks and building societies could do more to help, homeowners must take personal responsibility for understanding what they are signing up to. It’s not just the monthly repayments but the whole picture in the short and long term. • For more thoughts on the Rutland property market, visit David’s blog: For professional advice on buying, selling, renting and managing your homes and property investments, please call UPP Property Sales & Lettings on 01572 725825. RUTLAND & MARKET HARBOROUGH LIVING OCTOBER 2017


New Listings

Sales Agreed



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New instructions report for: Stamford & Rutland

Sales agreed report for: Stamford & Rutland

PE9 3 | PE9 1 | PE9 2 | PE9 4 | PE8 6 LE15 6 | LE15 7 | LE15 8 | LE15 9

The information is based on the following filters: Date range: 1st January 2017 to 6th September 2017

PE9 3 | PE9 1 | PE9 2 | PE9 4 | PE8 6 LE15 6 | LE15 7 | LE15 8 | LE15 9

The information is based on the following filters: Date range: 1st January 2017 to 6th September 2017

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Autumn essentials From lines and wrinkles to the problems posed by autumnal weather, Catherine Varney looks at this season’s best beauty hacks.

Banish wrinkles with an amazing anti-ageing treatment at The Chaelis Clinic Let’s face it, we all know the only way to permanently get rid of wrinkles is to go under the knife, right? Wrong. If you’re bothered by the inevitable signs of ageing but want to avoid the cost and trauma of cosmetic surgery, I’ve found a very exciting alternative. Advanced Plasma treatment is available from Lesley Spencer at The Chaelis Clinic and uses a Plasma BT machine, which heats up a tiny needle to a very hot temperature. This is then held fractionally away from the skin to generate plasma in the minuscule air gap, causing pinprick-size

burns to aid regeneration of new, tighter skin and the production of collagen and elastin. It’s excellent for getting rid of crow’s feet, upper and lower eye bags and the lines that run from the nose to the lips (smokers’ lines). Lesley suggested we tackle the crow’s feet at the corners of my eyes and the lines underneath. Admittedly, I didn’t have particularly deep wrinkles, as I do try and take care of my skin, but since I turned 40, they have been getting increasingly noticeable and I have been looking more tired than AFTER I used to, even after a good night’s sleep.

Treatment day: Lesley applied a very strong anaesthetic and left it for half an hour before prodding me with a cocktail stick to ensure I couldn’t feel anything! It’s worth pointing out that if you’re going to have someone “mess” with your face, then you need to trust them – and Lesley clearly knows her stuff. She’s an expert on all aspects of aesthetic treatments and practises the very highest level of hygiene standards. Day 2: My joy was short-lived when I awoke the next morning looking as though I had done ten rounds in a boxing ring. My eyes were puffy, swollen and sore, and looked altogether far more traumatised than they had the day before. Lesley had told me this would happen, but it was still a bit of a shock… thank goodness that oversized sunglasses are in! Day 3: The puffiness had dissipated, but the burn marks were as noticeable as ever, and, although I had been told I could conceal them with makeup, I was worried about




Once I was considered to be sufficiently numb, Lesley started the procedure, and, actually, it was nowhere near as bad as I thought. Yes, I could smell burning. Yes, it smarted a bit. But the anaesthetic had done a very good job, and I managed to endure the procedure with minimal discomfort. Immediately afterwards, the treatment area showed signs of brown burn marks, which I was told could last for a week, but I felt it was a small price to pay for youthful, wrinkle-free skin.

dislodging the scabs that were forming (a big “no-no”) and didn’t have anything thick enough to cover them anyway. If you’re considering getting this done, be prepared to look a bit odd for about a week. Day 7: By the end of the week the last of the scabs had fallen off and new, smooth, pink skin had emerged underneath. Whilst I have had facials that have reduced and refined the appearance of wrinkles in the past, none has actually removed them, but this has done the job, and my under-eye area looks far fresher and younger than it has in years. The results last between 3 to 5 years (depending on how quickly you naturally age), and a second treatment will be needed if lines and wrinkles are particularly deep-set. However, in my opinion, at £700 for a single treatment (£200 for subsequent ones), it is far more costeffective and much less invasive and time-consuming than surgery – for very credible results.

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Anti-ageing clinic comes to Langham I met with Dr Debbie Lashbrooke, an experienced GP who has recently opened a clinic in Langham offering wrinkle-smoothing injections and hyaluronic acid dermal fillers. Debbie offers a holistic approach to anti-ageing and told me: “I’m keen to remove the stigma attached to botox and fillers, BEFORE as these are very safe treatments that have been used in medicine for years. Unfortunately, there are lots of myths and rumours surrounding them (and well-known celebrity disasters), but, when done correctly, they can really enhance looks and provide a real confidence boost for anyone concerned AFTER with how they’re ageing.” Debbie offers a thorough consultation and assesses the client’s overall needs before suggesting which treatments they should

consider to ensure their facial anatomy remains balanced and naturallooking. Botox is excellent for the upper part of the face, and is used on the glabella (frown lines), horizontal worry lines on the forehead and crow’s feet, whilst fillers are used to soften the signs of ageing in the lower part of the face including the nasolabial lines (from the nose to the corners of the mouth), marionette lines (from the corners of the mouth downwards) and for lip augmentation. Prices start from £199 – book your free consultation today to find out what Debbie can achieve for you.

Five seasonal essentials


Blackberry picking: Dior Addict Lacquer Stick in Dark Flower (£27.50) is a juicy, fullbodied berry tone that combines saturated lip colour with brilliant shine. If you’re going to add one impact lipstick to your make-up bag this season, make it this one.


Crisp mornings: the first sign of frost when you wake up is beautiful, but it can be anything but for your looks. Your lips are particularly vulnerable to dry, cold weather, so keep them protected and moisturised with MAC Lip Conditioner (£12.50), which contains almond oil, shea butter and avocado extract to lock in moisture.


Snuggle down – nothing says autumn like curling up with a good book and a blanket when the weather turns cold outside. Make your “me-time” even more relaxing with a scented candle to work on your senses and leave you feeling thoroughly rested and revived. My favourite is the Neom’s Organics Tranquillity Candle (£45).



Woodland walks: fresh autumn air is great for your lungs, but it can dry skin out in an instant. Put a barrier between you and the elements with Dermalogica barrier repair cream (£40), which helps shield against environmental triggers.

OCTOBER NEWS Flower power at Ellique Ellique is offering an exciting new Decléor range that harnesses the power of plants to refine skin texture and leave it with an airbrushed look and feel. The White Petal collection contains salicylic acid to remove imperfections, as well as essences of neroli, sweet orange and chamomile. Products start at £34, and the range is ideal for anyone suffering from pigmentation problems such as age spots or over-exposure to the sun, with the hydrating lotion working to brighten the skin and the dark spot corrector targeting localised areas with a precision applicator. Hero product: If you love the laid-back approach to skincare, simply apply the Sleeping Mask to cleansed skin two to three times a week; this infuses the skin with


Mud pies: whilst these may have been a childhood favourite, mud is still one of the best beauty products you can use – although I’m not talking the garden variety! Invest in a deep-conditioning hair masque and it will work wonders for dry, brittle hair, restoring volume and shine. I love ESPA Pink Hair and Scalp Mud (£33).

vitamin B3 overnight, and you’ll wake up to a transformed complexion with renewed texture and clarity. New ESPA collections at Creme Hair and Beauty For a limited time only, Creme have the ESPA 25th anniversary collections in stock. Designed specifically for this special occasion, they include “The Optimal Collection” (£77) for dewy, radiant skin and “The Regenerating Collection” (£78), which provides extra nourishment for ageing skin. If you have combination skin and suffer from congestion with occasional outbreaks, “The Balancing Collection” at £50 is ideal, containing a foam cleanser, herbal toner, a balancing moisturiser and facial treatment oil. Treat yourself – or stock up early for Christmas, as these covetable gift packs won’t last.

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Detox your way to health at Homefield Grange Kirstie Mitchell speaks to Suzanne Peck on her incredible journey and how it is possible to achieve health and happiness.


IFE-defining moments are sometimes what it takes to change the course of our lives, and this was certainly true for Suzanne Peck, co-director of Homefield Grange. For readers not yet aware of this little gem on our doorstep, Homefield lies in the historic village of Rushton and is nestled in 23 acres of beautiful Northamptonshire countryside. It is a small dedicated venue offering a completely holistic approach to anyone wanting to lose weight and improve their general health and well-being. It offers detox treatments, therapies and residential packages, and it’s no wonder that a number of celebrities (naming no names here, but there is feedback from some famous faces on Homefield’s website) see this as their go-to venue for red-carpet events. The compassion and dedication of cofounder Suzanne is what makes the retreat so special. It was a personal health experience in Suzanne’s early thirties that forced her to step back and look at her own diet. Sport and fitness run in Suzanne’s family (her dad was a professional football player), but it was only after experiencing for herself the benefits of a powerful detox programme that she realised the important role that nutrition plays in health. Suzanne explains: “Due to ill health and low energy levels I went to a detox retreat. Back then detoxing was still in its infancy in the UK. I couldn’t believe what I what seeing. The pivotal moment in my life was witnessing a lady being wheeled in with an undiagnosed condition, and after seven days of detoxing she walked out to be greeted by her husband, who just couldn’t believe it!”


Suzanne wanted to learn as much as possible about nutrition to help others. She spent seven years gaining as many qualifications as possible in nutrition and holistic and naturopathic remedies. With her partner, Hans Looser, she set up Homefield in 2004 with one purpose in mind – to help others feel and look amazing, inside and out. “If you don’t have your health, you haven’t got your life. I want to help people make positive changes to how they look and feel about themselves. Your health is your greatest investment.” Guests see great results, which is the main reason for Homefield’s success and reputation. “Every guest is unique, with different needs, and we work with them to set them up for positive results, not failure, and that’s why they keep coming back!” Homefield’s staff are seasoned professionals, who have access to state-of-the-art equipment and technology, and are trained in all fields of naturopathy, nutritional therapy, personal fitness, life coaching, mindfulness, live blood analysis and intolerance testing. With 13 bedrooms and a maximum of 15 residential guests per week, Homefield can offer visitors exceptionally high standards and a personalized, attentive service. There are packages available to help you lose weight, kick start better ways of eating and change bad habits, and, for anyone with health concerns, there are dedicated professionals who can help you detox, relax and improve your energy levels. Homefield Grange has introduced several pre-wedding treatment plans to ensure bridesto-be and members of the wedding party are


looking and feeling their best on their big day. Skin analysis, prescriptive HydraFacial treatments, nutritional and diet advice, personal training and laser hair removal are just some of the options available. The future for Homefield looks extremely exciting, as plans include a new Day Spa opening in March 2018; this will focus on health benefits rather than just a day’s pampering. Facilities will include saltwater hydrotherapy beds, deep-water relaxation massage beds and a herbal sauna. Day guests will receive the same care and attention as those on a retreat, with medical questionnaires, food demonstrations by the resident chef and prescriptive treatments. Look out, too, for specific wellness support days such as Cancer and Diabetic Days, which will be informative and guide guests to a better understanding of how to manage nutrition with respect to their health. • Homefield Grange, Manor Road, Rushton, Northamptonshire NN14 1RH, 01536 712219,

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18 Catmos Street I Oakham I Rutland I LE15 6HW

Happy 20th Birthday

The team at Tonnerre would like to thank all their loyal customers and regulars, and to celebrate our 20th anniversary this October, we are offering

10% off a colour service, as well as a glass of Prosecco.* *Offer valid during Oct 2017 -

For more details or to book an appointment, call 01572 723096 or email


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UPDATES News & Views

Tonnerre is 20 years old this October!


ANY congratulations to Oakham’s Tonnerre hair salon on reaching its 20-year anniversary on 15 October. Tonnerre was established in 1997 by Shani Radford and Tracey Salmon, who had previously been colleagues (and then friends) at a different Oakham salon. They opened Tonnerre together in Catmos Street, where the salon is still located today. After three years, they outgrew the original premises, so they extended into an outbuilding at the back. Shani and Tracey will be celebrating this wonderful achievement, along with team members Pat Vaughan (who has also been with the salon from the start), Ashlee Mears and Vicky Smith, who have both been with Tonnerre for 14 years, and Meggan Doust, now in her third year with them. Throughout October they are keen to celebrate it with you, too. They are offering customers 10% off a colour service for the month of October 2017, as well as a glass of Prosecco. Sounds fabulous! The team at Tonnerre wanted to convey many thanks to all their loyal and regular customers.

Barnsdale Hall Hotel celebrates 25 years with RCI


ongratulations are in order again, as Barnsdale Hall Hotel celebrates 25 years in partnership with the RCI group, a leading worldwide exchange company. RCI’s vice president, Dimitris Manikis, extended his thanks and praise to the hotel and to our gorgeous county: “Barnsdale Country Club affiliated to the RCI Holiday Exchange Left to right: Peter Moore chairman of BOA, programme in 1992. Marj Anderson of RCI, and Barbara Hodges Benefiting from a prime and Russell Waters, both of Barnsdale Hall location in England’s smallest county, Rutland, overlooking the beautiful Rutland Water conservation area, it has long been a much-in-demand holiday option for our members. At RCI we do everything in our power to ensure the resorts affiliated to our programme provide a quality holiday experience in every way. The staff at Barnsdale have always been 100% behind us in this, having held a top RCI resort quality award for the entire 25 years of its operation and affiliation with RCI. For the past 14 years, Barnsdale has held the RCI Gold Crown quality rating and it can be very proud of that fantastic achievement.” Russell Waters, Barnsdale Hall Hotel’s General Manager, said, “This is a fantastic achievement for Barnsdale Hall Hotel and this close relationship with RCI creates a much bigger exposure worldwide for Rutland, the smallest county in the UK.” • Barnsdale Hall Hotel, Stamford Road, near Oakham, Rutland LE15 8AB, 01572 757901,

Photo by Elli Dean

• Tonnerre is located at 18 Catmos Street, Oakham LE15 6HW. For more details or to book an appointment, call 01572 723096 or email You can also visit the salon’s website:

Slinky Sally says support, good food and friendship are the key to weight loss

Sally before


SLIMMER who transformed her life by losing over four stone is using her success to shape a whole new career helping other people to change their lives and achieve their weight-loss dreams too. Sally-Anne Walton joined her local Slimming World group in Greetham, near Oakham, and dropped from a size 22 to a size 12. Now she is taking over the same group. “Like a lot of slimmers, I had tried to lose weight so many times before by following numerous diets, but they were never sustainable because I’d always get tired of Sally restricting what I ate. Slimming World is after different… I never felt like I was on a diet. The plan encourages you to eat filling foods such as pasta, rice, potatoes and lean meats, so you are never hungry and no food is banned.” “I love my group – it is so friendly and supportive – and, so, when the opportunity arose to take it over, I was thrilled.” • Sally will be running the group at Greetham Community Centre, Great Lane, Greetham, Rutland LE15 7NG, from 9 October, with classes at 5.30pm and 7.30pm. Call 07437 010235 for more details. RUTLAND & MARKET HARBOROUGH LIVING OCTOBER 2017


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HARBOROUGH HAPPENINGS Market Harborough News & Events

Free valuations at Gildings Auctioneers


HIS welcoming local family firm provides a broad range of specialist auctions, including fine art, antiques, furniture, house contents and collectables, from its prestigious Market Harborough salerooms. With more than 20,000 lots auctioned each year, Gildings has quite rightly positioned itself as one of the region’s leading salesrooms over the last 21 years. Highly experienced valuers are on hand in the salerooms that are now based in The Mill, a beautiful historic building on Great Bowden Road. The firm offers, by appointment, free valuations, providing auction-sale estimates and answering any questions that you may have. Whether you are looking to value much-treasured family heirlooms or curiosities found in the cellar or attic, Gildings is on hand to advise. Forthcoming sales for the next couple of months include 20th-Century Decorative Arts, Christmas Fine Art & Antiques including Jewellery, fortnightly Antiques & Collectors, and Aeromodel Engines. • Gildings Ltd, Auctioneers and Valuers, The Mill, Great Bowden Road, Market Harborough LE16 7DE, 01858 410414,

A beautiful new Orangery at Rushton Hall Hotel and Spa


Kibworth Beauchamp welcomes No.56


O.56, located at 56 High Street, Kibworth Beauchamp, is home to a friendly new, contemporary business, combining retail space, a studio/workshop and a café. The two owners behind the business, Louise Jopling (Tactile) and Mandeep Dhadialla (The Laughing Cactus Printmaking Studio) hope that it will fast become a destination of choice for those seeking creative workshops, events and talks, or art and craft and haberdashery supplies, with textiles and home and gift wares all supported by a lovely café. Louise and Mandeep met when they both had studio/shops at The Manor, Tur Langton, and soon decided to grow their businesses together under a new roof – and so No.56 was born! Over the summer they have been working on their new space and on putting together a programme of workshops (including printmaking, millinery, yarn techniques and Christmas-related themes), events and regular groups. • You can see what’s on the programme by dropping in, visiting the Facebook/Instagram pages or joining the mailing list (email:



ttractively situated in the Northamptonshire countryside just northwest of Kettering, in 25 acres of grounds with a lake and ancient trees, Rushton Hall is a magnificent Grade I-listed, four AA red star-rated hotel. It has a luxury spa and boasts the county’s only three AA Rosette restaurant. Here, you can luxuriate in the rich history and splendour of 16th-century surroundings, but you are also encouraged to feel very much at home and to relax. Rushton Hall has just revealed a beautiful new Orangery, which complements the rest of the magnificent-looking hotel and offers a gorgeous setting for weddings and other events (see page 27 for details of their festive offering), with a capacity of up to 250 guests. From the moment you arrive at the Orangery, you will feel special, with its high ceilings, huge chandeliers, elegant windows and plush soft furnishings, all creating an impression of space and glamour. There’s a ballroom with stucco ceiling for drinks receptions, a light, spacious room that is ideal for a civil ceremony, plus two adjoining banqueting halls. Attention to detail was paramount in the planning stages of the design, from the layout and flow of the rooms, to the furnishings, to the kitchen, with its state-of-the-art equipment to ensure that food is produced at the consistently high standards expected of a three AA Rosette venue. French doors open out onto the grounds, so that guests can use the garden for drinks receptions, or for games to keep the little ones entertained during the summer months. Absolutely magical. Bonfire Night at the home of the Gunpowder Plot Back by popular demand on Saturday 4 November is the Bonfire Night Gala Dinner, which will be held in the new Orangery. It’s an appropriate venue for a Bonfire Night event, since Rushton Hall was once the home of Francis Tresham, a notorious gunpowder plotter. This will be a spectacular evening in the Rushton Hall calendar of events, and certainly one not to miss. The evening starts with a predinner glass of champagne, followed by a three-course dinner and then coffee. Afterwards, you can enjoy a glass of mulled wine while you watch the fabulous fireworks display. All for £75 per person. Rooms are available on request. • Rushton Hall is located in Rushton, Northamptonshire NN14 1RR. To book or for further information call 01536 713001, email or visit



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Burghley Sculpture Exhibition 2017 Michael Shaw, curator, describes this year’s visually startling sculpture exhibition, which you can still visit until very late October.

Robert Fung, From Far Away Great Changes Come as Forms You Thought You Knew


HE EXHIBITION “Naturally Sculpture” is an adventurous exploration of natural materials and forms at Burghley Sculpture Garden. Massive sculptures abound, including a life-size tank and a humongous Trojan Horse. These are complemented by wondrous kinetic wind sculptures that depict the flight of birds and movement of fish. Various floral tributes bloom, including a swathe of waist-high snowdrops and a triffid-like allium. Fauna emerges in the guise of a groovy mole, giant spider’s web, oversize crab claw and a surprisingly elephantine sculpture. Natural forms result from man-made materials including electrical cables, iron, stainless steel, highly reflective plastics and even fake grass! The humour in Lucy Strachan’s “Grassfall” is deadpan and, on first viewing, prompts a doubletake and wry smile. Cascading over the top of the wall comes not a torrent of water, but fake grass, its tufted artificiality channelled into rivulets and drips of liquid green. The elephant in the room, or shall we say garden, belongs to artist Jim Unsworth. “Another Surprise for Fabricius Luscinus” is by no means shy – it bursts out like a jack-in-the-box. Half tame, half wild. His muscular sculpture is both striking, dynamic and jocular. Other intrigues include Jenny Pickford’s triffid-like “Stargazer Allium”. The sculpture’s title also alludes to the experience it induces, which, given its scale, means one must look up to the flower head. Doing so fully enlivens the glass flowers, as their translucency and coloration are revealed and intensified by sunlight. Some sculptors have taken materials from the natural world and transformed them into man-made objects on an immense scale. A life-size American tank has been sliced, spliced and slotted back together through a process of digital manipulation and computer-controlled cutting of plywood. “The Deconstruction and Reconstruction of an Army Tank”



by Peter Mountain is enriched by attentive detailing all over, be it the mud flaps, tracks or turret. The blackened charring of the tracks heightens the sense of a sculpture on manoeuvres. The war footing continues on a gargantuan scale with Robert Fung, his sculpture clad in a veneer of oak-slab offcuts. Of course, the notion of cladding to finalise appearance is central to the conceptual undertow of his convincing Trojan Horse. Potentially a gift to the city of Troy, Fung’s “From Far Away Great Changes Come as Forms You Thought You Knew” is replete with a trapdoor, mane of sticks and tail of brushwood. It has even been assaulted by a flurry of arrows! Way below the aerial, another sculpture has literally tunnelled up into view. “Fatkin the Mole”, by Marjan Wouda, pierces the earth and proudly surveys his work, with his powerful broad legs and feet splayed in a ta-da pose. The sculpture relates to an abandoned mine, where Fatkin was the nickname of the last working miner. The mole’s normally velvety surface has been impregnated with the tools of the colliery trade. Look closely and you can see bits of rope, cogs and chains. Its final intrigue is coal dust impregnated into the mole’s skin. Fatkin the Mole is a somewhat cheeky sculpture, but, dig deeper, and layers of meaning can be excavated. Overall, the exhibition “Naturally Sculpture” reveals how sculptors can modulate the form of materials to depict nature and natural phenomena, as well as transforming natural materials into man-made forms. This dialogue between three-dimensional form and the natural world may remind us of the beauties and fragilities of nature, as well as our dependence upon it. So, why not come to Burghley and take a walk on the wild side to find your own pathway between nature and sculpture. The Sculpture Garden at Burghley is open daily 11am–5pm until Sunday 29 October. For more details, visit

Marjan Wouda, Fatkin the Mole

Peter Mountain, The Deconstruction and Reconstruction of an Army Tank

Lucy Strachan, Grassfall

Jenny Pickford, Stargazer Allium

Jim Unsworth, Another Surprise for Fabricius Luscinus RUTLAND & MARKET HARBOROUGH LIVING OCTOBER 2017


OUT & ABOUT Amander Meade selects some of the best entertainment in the region this month. Throughout October It’s one of the busiest months of the year at Barnsdale Gardens with courses and events galore from Organic Vegetable Growing to painting with pastels. Join Nick Hamilton for a special guided walk or meet bird-watching expert Phil Rudkin and make a simple bird feeder to take home. 01572 813200. Tuesday 3 to Saturday 7 October, 7.45pm plus Saturday matinee THEATRE: Rumours by Neil Simon Friends are gathering for an anniversary party, but the host, a leading member of the government lies bleeding in the bedroom, and his wife is nowhere in sight. His lawyer, Ken, must get “the story” straight before any of the guests arrive. Confusion mounts, and the evening spins off into classic farcical hilarity. Harborough Theatre.

Tickets £11/£9. 0333 6663366 or in person at the Box Office.

£16 (students £3) from Uppingham Sports and Books or Oakham Wines.

Uppingham Town Hall. Tickets £5 on the door.

Friday 6 October, 7.30pm THEATRE: Lady Windermere’s Fan When a mysterious new beauty enters high society, the in-crowd are sent scattering to find out exactly who they’re dealing with. Oscar Wilde’s raucous social comedy pulls apart the intricacies of etiquette and flips expectation in this scathingly funny satire. Uppingham Theatre. Tickets £14/£12. 01572 820820

Wednesday 11 October, 7.30pm for 8pm showing FILM NIGHT: Hidden Figures This month’s film is a biographical drama about African American female mathematicians working for NASA. Ashley Village Hall. Admission £5/£3 (under 16s)

Friday 13 October, 7.30pm MUSIC: Slade, Jenkinson & Young Trio Oakham School music teachers Keith Slade and Richard Jenkinson are joined by pianist Jeremy Young for this professional recital of trios. Enjoy Muczynski’s Neoclassical Fantasy Trio, Beethoven’s Trio in Bb major and Brahms’ Clarinet Trio in A minor.

Saturday 7 October, 7.30pm MUSIC: Frith Piano Quartet In the season finale for Music in Lyddington, the Frith Piano Quartet will perform work by Carl Maria von Weber, Strauss and Schumann. St Andrew’s Church, Lyddington. Tickets

Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 October, 10am to 4pm EVENT: Melton Mowbray Food Festival Now in its 14th year, the Festival is one of the top regional food events in the country. Hosted in Melton Mowbray, the UK Capital of Rural Food, the festival takes place in Melton’s historic livestock market, so is all under cover. Around 200 stands will showcase some of the region’s finest food and drink complemented by a Street Food arena serving hot food from around the world. Tickets on the door £6 or £5 in advance from Ye Olde Pork Pie Shoppe, Melton Mowbray.



Thursday 12 October, 7pm for 7.30pm showing FILM NIGHT: Viceroy’s House This relaunched cinema club has screenings on the second Thursday of the month. October’s film puts a spotlight on the household of the last British Viceroy of India, Lord Mountbatten, in the lead-up to Partition, the division of British India in 1947. The ticket price includes complimentary soft drinks and homemade nibbles.

Oakham School Chapel. Tickets £10 (free for school-age children) from Walkers Bookshop (Oakham) and Saturday 14 October, 7.30pm FUNDRAISER: Premier Cru This popular professional band will play music from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s at an event held in support of the Matt Hampson Trust. Whissendine Village Hall. Tickets on 07955 213327.

Sunday 8 October, 10am to 4pm CHARITY EVENT: Musicathon Organised by local musician Harriet Flather in support of Dementia UK, the event features music of all genres from big band to multi-instrumental solo pieces. There will be continuous live music throughout the day, culminating in the Rutland Big Band at 3.30pm. Musicians playing include Eleanor Turner (above), Eleni Demetriou, a single reed choir, a wind quintet, Clarinet Charisma, a jazz quintet and many more. Musicians will play 15-minute slots, and music lovers are encouraged to pop in at any time throughout the day. Although admission is free, the musicians are hoping visitors will make donations to the charity. Additionally, clarinet and saxophone players are invited to join the respective ensembles. Anyone interested should contact Anne Mortimer, 07710 054699, for further information. Oakham Castle.


OUT & ABOUT Amander Meade selects the best entertainment in the region this month.

Monday 16 to Saturday 21 October, 7.30pm MUSICAL THEATRE: Hairspray The international smash hit musical comedy returns to Leicester’s Curve. In Baltimore in 1962, Tracy Turnblad is a big girl with big hair and an even bigger dream: to dance her way onto national TV and into the heart of teen idol Link Larkin. An irresistible feelgood show. Curve, Leicester. Tickets from £18.50. 0116 242 3595.

Wednesday 25 October, 7.30pm TALK: Great Easton and District Local History Society Air-display director and aviation consultant Roy Smart, a former Royal Navy pilot, is this month’s guest speaker, on “Percy Pilcher, Pioneer Aviator”. Great Easton Village Hall. Admission £2 Saturday 28 October, 7.30pm MUSIC: Lady Be Good – The Ella Fitzgerald Songbook

To mark the centenary of the iconic singer’s birth, Sarah Moule – accompanied by Simon Wallace – will recount the life and work of one of the best-loved jazz singers of all time. Drawing from Ella Fitzgerald’s six-decade career, this show features a beautiful selection of her signature songs. This is a chance to see two of Britain’s finest jazz musicians performing a popular programme of songs in an intimate space. There will be a licensed bar.

Wing Village Hall. Tickets from John Hackett at £10 each, with nibbles provided. 01572 737394 Thursday 2 November, 7pm (preview night), Friday 3 November till Sunday 5 November daily, 10am to 4pm EXHIBITION: Art in Lyddington A fundraising event to raise support for the further repair and maintenance of Lyddington’s magnificent medieval church and for other charities supported

by the High Sheriff (Air Ambulance, Dove Cottage Hospice and Warning Zone). Visitors can expect to see painters, printmakers, mixed-media creatives, textile artists, sculptors and ceramicists exhibiting a wide variety of exciting and affordable fine art. St Andrew’s Church, Lyddington. Tickets are required for the preview from Barbara TaylorHarris, 01572 822210. General admission to the exhibition between Friday and Sunday is free.

Saturday 28 October, 7.30pm CONCERT: Brahms’ Requiem The Harborough Singers will perform this uplifting and inspiring concert with a new relevance for modern audiences. Four hands on the piano will be provided by Melanie Reinhard and Andrew King. The programme also includes Brahms’ Violin Sonata No. 3 in D minor, with Christopher White on violin. St Andrew’s Church, Lyddington. Tickets £10 from, Uppingham Sports and Books, The Old White Hart or The Marquess of Exeter in Lyddington.

SCARY FUN FOR HALLOWEEN We cover Halloween for kids on page 8 (find admission details there), but events include: Burghley Halloween Trail/Spooky Tours Wednesday 18 to Sunday 29 October (Spooky Tours to Tuesday 31 October) They cater well to kids at Burghley, and Halloween is no exception with a cool trail through the Sculpture Garden (11am–5pm). Evening Spooky Tours (£16; 01780 752451) are also offered – aimed at those aged 11+. Hootingly Haunted Halloween Saturday 28 October, 2–4pm Pumpkin-carving, broomstick-making and spooky crafts at Rutland Water. Barnsdale Gardens’ Scary Spooktacular Sunday 29 October, 12–4pm This event is fun for all the family with a spooky treasure trail and pumpkin-carving.



Monday 6 November, doors at 7pm MUSIC: Jake Bugg To coincide with the release of his album “Hearts That Strain” Jake is playing a series of solo shows. The album was recorded in Nashville with some of the best session musicians in the world and was produced by Grammy Award-winning producer David Ferguson. De Montfort Hall, Leicester. Tickets £22.50. 0116 2333111.

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Miles cathedral cycle

An appropriately named Rutland couple have recently completed an impressive 1,700 miles by bicycle in their quest to visit every Anglican cathedral in England. Margaret and Robert Miles tell Amander Meade about their journey.

Outside Bradford Cathedral


ARGARET and Robert have enjoyed “social cycling” for a number of years and have undertaken many trips around England and further afield. Having both recently left full-time jobs, they saw the summer of 2017 as offering the perfect opportunity to explore England with the added bonus of admiring the country’s magnificent cathedrals and raise much-needed funds for two charities close to their hearts.

No special training required

Cloisters of Gloucester Cathedral

Planning the trip was relatively simple, with the couple carving up England into six “zones” to tackle separately at a rate of one per month between March and August last year, returning to their home base in Clipsham between bouts of cycling. Each trip was either a circular route or a line from home to a group of cathedrals and back again, with Margaret and Robert cycling with their own luggage and staying with friends or in inexpensive accommodation en route. “We never wanted the trip to become a chore,” explains Margaret, who is also at pains to point out that she and Robert did not undertake any special training for their endeavour and Window in they used ordinary bicycles. “The beauty Durham of cycling is that it allowed us to really Cathedral enjoy the sights, sounds and scents of each region and to hop off at a moment’s notice to further explore great places. It’s also very sociable – coffee stops and picnics are always welcome and it seems to be an easy way to meet the locals and other cyclists,” she adds. With the help of an app called CycleStreets and Robert’s trusty Garmin device – a satellite navigation system for cyclists – the couple chose quiet rural roads, disused railways and canal routes, and managed to avoid main roads for most of their journey, which made their trips stress free and a real pleasure. “Perhaps the most challenging part of the whole journey was covering



the Blackdown Hills, near Exeter, where we seemed to be travelling for a good while in warm weather without coming across anywhere to buy some provisions,” remembers Margaret.

Unique history

The cathedral visits themselves were a surprising revelation too, and the couple include Bradford, Portsmouth and Blackburn as some of the buildings that defied their preconceptions. “More locally, I would strongly recommend people visit Peterborough’s impressive cathedral too,” says Robert. “Without exception the guides who showed us around each cathedral were wonderful and so pleased to talk about the unique history behind each place.” Robert and Margaret chose one national and one local charity to benefit from the £8,000 plus that they raised. Outside Hereford Cathedral Nationally, “Young Minds” is committed to improving children’s well-being and mental health by supporting parents, empowering young people, training professionals and changing attitudes. Locally, the Sustainable Land Trust at Burrough on the Hill offers a range of practical, Window outdoor training in a rural in Lincoln Cathedral setting to widen the horizons of disadvantaged young people. “We visited and learned about both charities and are completely satisfied with the wonderful work they do,” says Margaret. “We thoroughly enjoyed our adventures and would urge others of any age to take to their bikes to really enjoy the landscape in Rutland and beyond.” • Read more about Margaret and Robert’s journey at or donate to their chosen charities by visiting the Sustainable Land Trust’s website,, or Young Minds at



Rutland Living October 2017  
Rutland Living October 2017