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We look back at the Winter Paralympics in Sochi, get behind the wheel of the latest Ferrari and Porsche, and take a trip to the beautiful Tuscan countryside.

E D I T I O N 1 S T

SPRING 2 01 4

Energy, Understanding and Innovation


PERSONAL EXPRESSION MEETS MUSICAL PERFECTION PIANOS AS UNIQUE AS YOU ARE

WITH STEINWAY & SONS CUSTOM PIANOS DIVISION STEINWAY & SONS 44 MARYLEBONE LANE LONDON W1U 2DB TEL: 0207 487 3391 WWW.STEINWAYHALL.CO.UK WWW.STEINWAY.CO.UK


Front Cover Image: Ruislip Manor High Street.

Hillingdon Office 109 Hillingdon Hill, Uxbridge UB10 0JQ 01895 230 103 hillingdon@coopersresidential.co.uk Uxbridge Office 279 High Street, Uxbridge, Middlesex UB8 1LQ 01895 257 566 uxbridge@coopersresidential.co.uk Ruislip Office 126 -128 High Street, Ruislip HA4 8LL 01895 625 625 ruislip@coopersresidential.co.uk Ruislip Manor Office 71 Victoria Road, Ruislip Manor HA4 9BH 01895 677400 ruislipmanor@coopersresidential.co.uk West Drayton Office 1 Tavistock Road, West Drayton UB7 7QT 01895 459 950 westdrayton@coopersresidential.co.uk Fitzrovia Office 22 Cleveland Street, Fitzrovia London, W1T 4JB 0207 580 9658 info@coopersoflondon.co.uk

www.coopersresidential.co.uk www.coopers-tv.co.uk

Welcome Welcome to Coopers’ first edition of Street Magazine. The aim of this publication is to offer our local residents an insight into the specific dynamics of the property market in Middlesex, along with all the latest properties we have available and some carefully chosen editorial pieces. So what’s happening in the borough of Hillingdon? Well, the latest data shows us that prices are up 7.5% over the last 12 months with an increase of 1.1% in January alone; the average price in the borough is now £285,144. As the year moves on I can only see these figures increase at a more dramatic rate. How long will the market continue to rise for? Well of course it’s impossible to say, but with interest rates at an historic low and mortgage lending more readily available, combined with the Government’s Help to Buy Scheme and an increasing demand for property, indicates that there is some way to go. The latest national statistics tell us that property prices in England and Wales are up 4.2% annually and 1% over the month of January. Compare this with an annual increase of 10.9% for London and a monthly increase of 2.1%; this gives you some indication of how London really is a separate market altogether. The average

price of property in the capital is £409,881 in comparison with the average for England and Wales of £168,356. The lettings market remains strong, and whilst some of our tenants have made the decision to buy a property the demand for good rental accommodation still remains, with most landlords enjoying capital growth and yields of around 5%. Lenders are also offering low interest rates with deposits of just 20% meaning that many of our landlords are now looking to increase their portfolios. With much activity in the market we would welcome the opportunity to come and visit you to discuss your move further and we do hope you enjoy reading Coopers’ first edition of Street!


E D I T I O N

SPRING 2 0 1 4

1 S T

Graphic Design Andy Tripp Editorial Lead Simon Burton Contributing Editorial Faith Back Sam Store Claire Durkin Kevin Haggarthy Contributing Copywriters Colm O’Rourke Rebecca Seward

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Advertising T: 0845 521 5221 E: sales@cream-group.co.uk Editorial T: 0845 521 5221 E: editor@cream-group.co.uk Š Cream Club. All rights reserved. Reproduction is forbidden except by express permission of the publishers. The content of this magazine is believed to be correct but its accuracy is not guaranteed and does not form part of any offer or contract. Coopers cannot accept responsibility for any omissions or errors. The views expressed within editorials are those of the writers and not those of Cream Club.


67.

85.

Contents 6.

64. Events

81. Sport and Fitness

Property section

A brief history of man

Breaking the ice ceiling

A selection of some of the finest properties currently available in your area from Coopers.

We explore one million years of the human story at the Natural History Museum’s new exhibition.

We look back at a record breaking Winter Paralympics for Team GB in Sochi.

56. Arts and Culture

67. Home and Garden

85. Fashion and Beauty

Sensing spaces

Country house music

Fashion rules OK

A world of architecture is revealed at the Royal Academy of Arts.

As Knebworth House marks 40 years of staging rock concerts, Julie Loughlin, Knebworth’s Marketing and Groups Coordinator, relates what else the estate has to offer.

A new exhibition at Kensington Palace shows how the gowns of three royal women reflected changing fashion and the rules of diplomacy.

75. Food and Drink

92. Motoring

The gourmet’s gateway

Fond memories of 2013

Looking back at the 2013 Abergavenny Food Festival, we discover what makes it a must for any food-lover’s diary.

Kevin Haggarthy reflects on his three most rewarding drives of the last year.

Property

59. Travel

La dolce vita in Tuscany Claire Durkin basks in the luxury hotel of Borgo San Felice, a converted and restored medieval Chianti hamlet.

59.

www.coopersresidential.co.uk www.coopers-tv.co.uk

92.


6

Linden Gardens

ÂŁ900,000

2 bedroom flat This fourth floor flat is situated in a classic stucco fronted property on a tree lined cul-de-sac just off Notting Hill Gate, and offers a wide range of sought-after shops, bars and restaurants along with the famous Portobello Market. The greenery of Hyde Park is a short walk away as are the world-class amenities of Kensington high street and Westbourne Grove. The property comprises: entrance hall leading to; bedroom one (currently used as a study), reception room, large eat-in kitchen, bathroom and master bedroom to rear. The roof terrace has private access and offers potential for a delightful roof top garden.

Hyde Park is a short walk away as are the world-class amenities of Kensington

Fitzrovia Office 0207 580 9658 | info@coopersoflondon.co.uk

View all our properties at www.coopers-tv.co.uk


7

Bramah House Sloane Square is within walking distance as are the rail links of Victoria

Fitzrovia Office 0207 580 9658 | info@coopersoflondon.co.uk

View all our properties at www.coopers-tv.co.uk

ÂŁ799,950

1 bedroom apartment Situated in the popular Grosvenor Waterside development is this well-presented second floor onebedroom apartment. Benefits include: an open-plan reception room with modern fitted kitchen, solid wood flooring, an integrated surround sound system, lovely bathroom suite, utility cupboard and floor-to-ceiling windows looking out onto quiet communal gardens. The development also provides residents with a 24hour concierge, underground tandem car parking spaces, a fabulous residents-only gymnasium with spa facilities and an on-site crèche and kids club. Sloane Square is within walking distance as are the rail links of Victoria with its fast connections to the City and Gatwick Airport.


8

Campden Hill Gardens

ÂŁ725,000

1 bedroom flat This spacious one-bedroom lower-ground floor flat is situated within a classic period property, which is located just off Notting Hill Gate. The property benefits from a private terrace, a feature cast iron fireplace and high ceilings throughout. The immediate area offers a wide range of sought-after shops, bars and restaurants along with the famous Portobello Market and Holland Park. The greenery of Hyde Park is a short walk away as are the world-class amenities of high street Kensington and Westbourne Grove.

A classic period property located just off Notting Hill Gate

Fitzrovia Office 0207 580 9658 | info@coopersoflondon.co.uk

View all our properties at www.coopers-tv.co.uk


9

Bonneville Gardens Located in a popular mansion block in the heart of Abbeville village

Fitzrovia Office 0207 580 9658 | info@coopersoflondon.co.uk

View all our properties at www.coopers-tv.co.uk

ÂŁ599,950

3 bedroom flat This spacious three-bedroom first floor flat, measuring approximately 950 sq ft, is located in this popular mansion block, which is situated in the heart of Abbeville village. The property is being sold with no onward chain and benefits from a generously proportioned 15 ft lounge, 16 ft kitchen/breakfast room, 14 ft master bedroom, 13 ft second bedroom, 10 ft third bedroom and shower room with separate WC.


10

Salamanca Place

ÂŁ350,000

1 bedroom apartment Situation just off the Albert Embankment in SE1 is this well presented one-bedroom apartment. The property comprises an open-plan kitchen/reception with floor to ceiling south facing windows, one double bedroom and a family bathroom. This development is located moments from Lambeth Bridge providing a short walk to Parliament Square, the South Bank and the West End providing excellent transport links with a frequent bus service and the rail links of Waterloo, Westminster and Vauxhall on the doorstep.

Located moments from Lambeth Bridge providing a short walk to Parliament Square

Fitzrovia Office 0207 580 9658 | info@coopersoflondon.co.uk

View all our properties at www.coopers-tv.co.uk


11

Meridian Place Close to Canary Wharf with its large selection of leisure facilities

Fitzrovia Office 0207 580 9658 | info@coopersoflondon.co.uk

View all our properties at www.coopers-tv.co.uk

ÂŁ340,000

1 bedroom apartment This large, modern one-bedroom apartment is situated in a sought after complex close to Canary Wharf with its large selection of bars, restaurants and leisure facilities. Jubilee Place shopping facility is also very close by. There are a number of train stations within very close walking distance to the property, including South Quay, Canary Wharf and Crossharbour providing direct links to The City. The property benefits from secure parking and a private balcony.


12

Ocean Wharf

ÂŁ325,000

1 bedroom apartment Situated in this Riverside development is this well presented and spacious one-bedroom apartment. The property benefits from an open plan lounge with fully fitted kitchen, patio doors leading to a private balcony, a master bedroom with built-in wardrobes and main four piece bathroom, which contains a separate shower cubicle. The property benefits from a concierge service, secure parking and is located within a short walk of Canary Wharf.

Located within a short walk of Canary Wharf

Fitzrovia Office 0207 580 9658 | info@coopersoflondon.co.uk

View all our properties at www.coopers-tv.co.uk


13

Baltimore Wharf Conveniently located by Crossharbour Docklands Light Railway

Fitzrovia Office 0207 580 9658 | info@coopersoflondon.co.uk

View all our properties at www.coopers-tv.co.uk

ÂŁ320,000

Studio apartment Situated on the seventh floor of this luxury development is this spacious studio apartment. Benefits include a 24-hour concierge, communal leisure facilities and a private balcony. Baltimore Wharf is conveniently located by Crossharbour Docklands Light Railway and is within walking distance to the business centre in Canary Wharf.


14

George Hudson Tower

ÂŁ250,000

1 bedroom flat This bright one-bedroom flat is located in the One Stratford development on Stratford high street, in the shadow of the Olympic Stadium and Park. Public transport links are excellent with several local buses providing access to The City and Canary Wharf. Pudding Mill Lane (Docklands Light Railway) is a five minute walk away and Bow Road, Bromley-by-Bow and Stratford tube stations are all also within easy reach. This first floor property comprises: entrance hallway leading to open plan kitchen/reception, modern bathroom and double bedroom with built-in storage.

Bow Road, Bromley-by-Bow and Stratford tube stations are all within easy reach

Fitzrovia Office 0207 580 9658 | info@coopersoflondon.co.uk

View all our properties at www.coopers-tv.co.uk


16

Elm Tree Cottage

ÂŁ799,950

6 bedroom family home Unquestionably one of Hillingdon village’s grandest homes; it is a landmark property unparalleled in grace, style and traditional grandeur. It offers an iconic family residence with palatial proportions and period details. The property was built in 1874, measures in excess of 3,000 sq ft and is positioned on a large corner plot just a stroll from all the village conveniences. Beyond its picturesque facade, this sixbedroom, double fronted character filled family home offers generous proportions with a wide range of layouts, an abundance of natural light, high ceilings and many original features.

A landmark property unparalleled in grace, style and traditional grandeur

Hillingdon Office 01895 230 103 | hillingdon@coopersresidential.co.uk

View all our properties at www.coopers-tv.co.uk


17

Harlington Road Located on a popular residential road with easy access to local shops and schools

Hillingdon Office 01895 230 103 | hillingdon@coopersresidential.co.uk

View all our properties at www.coopers-tv.co.uk

ÂŁ599,950

6 bedroom detached house This imposing six bedroom detached house is located on a popular residential road, and offers easy access to local shops and schools including Bishopshalt Senior School, bus/road links including the M40 with its links to London and the Home Counties along with Stockley Park and Heathrow Airport. Accommodation is made up of a porch, 23 ft living room, 14 ft family room, 10 ft utility room, 11 ft sixth bedroom, 11 ft dining room and 13 ft kitchen. Upstairs offers a 21 ft master bedroom with en suite and walk-in wardrobe, 11 ft second bedroom, 11 ft third bedroom, 10 ft fourth bedroom, 10 ft fifth bedroom and family bathroom.


18

The Rise

ÂŁ595,000

5 bedroom detached property Perfectly positioned within Hillingdon village on a highly sought after residential road where property rarely becomes available, this imposing five bedroom detached warren built residence offers generously proportioned rooms and pristine, modern finishes. Accommodation boasts porch, entrance hall, 13 ft dining room opening on to the 12 ft lounge, 15 ft kitchen/breakfast room, utility area and downstairs WC. Upstairs is made up of a 13 ft master bedroom, 12 ft second bedroom, 12 ft third bedroom, 10 ft fourth bedroom, 8 ft fifth bedroom and family bathroom. Outside offers off street parking, access to garage and a large private rear garden.

Generously proportioned rooms and pristine, modern finishes

Hillingdon Office 01895 230 103 | hillingdon@coopersresidential.co.uk

View all our properties at www.coopers-tv.co.uk


19

Tupelo Lodge Within walking distance of Hillingdon train station and Court Park

Hillingdon Office 01895 230 103 | hillingdon@coopersresidential.co.uk

View all our properties at www.coopers-tv.co.uk

ÂŁ525,000

4 bedroom detached house This charming four-bedroom detached house is located on a sought after residential road in North Hillingdon, which is within walking distance of Hillingdon train station, Court Park and a number of highly regarded schools. The accommodation is made up of an entrance hall, 19 ft kitchen/breakfast room, 18 ft lounge opening on to a 15 ft dining room and downstairs WC. Upstairs boasts a 13 ft master bedroom with en suite, 14 ft second bedroom, 14 ft third bedroom, 12 ft fourth bedroom and family bathroom.


20

Hillingdon Hill

ÂŁ425,000

3 bedroom detached house This three-bedroom detached house is located on Hillingdon Hill with its bus links to Uxbridge and Ealing and its local shops. There are well regarded schools in close proximity including Bishopshalt and the American Community School. Accommodation on offer is a spacious hallway, 13 ft lounge, 12 ft dining area that is open plan to a recently fitted modern 12 ft kitchen and a light and airy 16 ft conservatory. The first floor is made up of a landing area, 13 ft master bedroom, 12 ft second bedroom, 8 ft third bedroom and family bathroom.

Located on Hillingdon Hill with well regarded schools in close proximity

Hillingdon Office 01895 230 103 | hillingdon@coopersresidential.co.uk

View all our properties at www.coopers-tv.co.uk


21

Daleham Drive Conveniently located for local shops, schools and Uxbridge town centre

Hillingdon Office 01895 230 103 | hillingdon@coopersresidential.co.uk

View all our properties at www.coopers-tv.co.uk

ÂŁ305,000

2 bedroom semi-detached bungalow This charming two-bedroom semi-detached bungalow is located on a residential road in Hillingdon, which is conveniently located for local shops, schools and within easy reach of Uxbridge town centre. Accommodation is made up of an entrance hall, 16 ft living room, 11 ft kitchen, 14 ft conservatory, 14 ft master bedroom, 11 ft second bedroom and family bathroom, while outside boasts both front and rear gardens and off street parking.


22

Harlington Road

ÂŁ229,950

2 bedroom end of terrace cottage A beautifully presented two bedroom end of terraced cottage that combines modern family living with the character of a period property. The property is located on a popular residential road offering easy access to local shops and schools including Bishopshalt Senior School, bus/road links including the M40 with its links to London and the Home Counties along with Stockley Park and Heathrow Airport.

Combines modern family living with the character of a period property

Hillingdon Office 01895 230 103 | hillingdon@coopersresidential.co.uk

View all our properties at www.coopers-tv.co.uk


23

Finians Close This contemporary haven has been designed to facilitate easy care living

Hillingdon Office 01895 230 103 | hillingdon@coopersresidential.co.uk

View all our properties at www.coopers-tv.co.uk

ÂŁ229,950

2 bedroom apartment Light filled and flowing across the ground floor, this contemporary two bedroom haven has been designed to facilitate easy care living. It occupies a premium end position in North Hillingdon. Accommodation commences with communal hallway; once inside the property, there is a 14 ft lounge/diner, 11 ft fitted kitchen, 12 ft master bedroom with fitted wardrobes, 13 ft second bedroom and family bathroom. The apartment is surrounded by well-maintained communal grounds and comes with an allocated parking space.


24

Robinwood Grove

ÂŁ219,950

1 bedroom split level apartment This rarely available one-bedroom split level apartment is ideal for first time buyers or investment buyers alike. Robinwood Grove is a luxury modern award winning gated development built in the 1980s, and situated within the tranquil setting of beautifully kept communal grounds that back directly onto Hillingdon nature reserve, but yet is still only a short stroll from Hillingdon Hill and its access to bus/ road links, local shops and Hillingdon Golf Course.

Situated within the tranquil setting of beautifully kept communal grounds

Hillingdon Office 01895 230 103 | hillingdon@coopersresidential.co.uk

View all our properties at www.coopers-tv.co.uk


25

Clarkes Drive Easy access to the M4 and M25 along with Uxbridge town centre

Hillingdon Office 01895 230 103 | hillingdon@coopersresidential.co.uk

View all our properties at www.coopers-tv.co.uk

ÂŁ159,950

1 bedroom maisonette This one-bedroom first-floor maisonette is located on a residential road by Hillingdon hospital and just a short walk from Brunel University. There are a number of bus/road links close by, creating easy access to the M4 and M25 along with Uxbridge town centre with its multitude of shops, restaurants, bars and Piccadilly/Metropolitan line train station. The property is made up of entrance hall, 12 ft lounge, 13 ft kitchen, 11 ft bedroom and family bathroom. Outside offers communal gardens and an allocated parking space.


26

The White House

ÂŁ1,650,000

7 bedroom detached house This fabulous detached house is designed for a busy lifestyle and growing family. It retains many original features including an original church door and barrel doors, along with some smart modern additions. The ground floor comprises: beautiful entrance hallway; lounge; family room with French doors leading into the garden; dining room with wood panelling from the Duke of Northumberland’s London home; kitchen; separate utility room. On the first floor the impressive landing leads to five bedrooms and family bathroom. The master suite has a stylish en suite and dressing room, and bedroom two also benefits from an en suite. The second floor has two further bedrooms, both with en suite shower rooms.

Many original features including an original church door and barrel doors

Ruislip Office 01895 625 625 | ruislip@coopersresidential.co.uk

View all our properties at www.coopers-tv.co.uk


27

Swakeleys Road Nearby tube stations offer easy access into central London

Ruislip Office 01895 625 625 | ruislip@coopersresidential.co.uk

View all our properties at www.coopers-tv.co.uk

ÂŁ785,000

4 bedroom character residence Offering a great opportunity to enjoy a designer haven in a convenient location in Ickenham, this character four-bedroom residence offers an understated lifestyle of comfort for the modern family. This family home is in close proximity to Ickenham high street and its selection of shops, cafes and restaurants. West Ruislip and Ickenham tube stations are nearby offering easy access into central London via the Central and Metropolitan / Piccadilly lines. The house is a short drive to the A40/M25 with its access into London and the Home Counties.


28

Bury Street

ÂŁ625,000

4 bedroom detached house This beautiful four-bedroom detached house blends traditional themes with smart modern additions providing an ideal setting for family living. The ground floor comprises a magnificent hallway, formal living room, modern kitchen and separate dining room. To the first floor, there are four bedrooms, including one with an en suite, and a stylish family bathroom. This superb residence offers flowing interiors and private outdoor areas delivering the ultimate family haven. Bury Street is a popular road in North Ruislip, with easy access to all of Ruislip amenities and transport. Close to a number of highly regarded schools including Whiteheath.

Flowing interiors and private outdoor areas deliver the ultimate family haven

Ruislip Office 01895 625 625 | ruislip@coopersresidential.co.uk

View all our properties at www.coopers-tv.co.uk


29

Bury Street Five minutes’ walk from Ruislip high street

Ruislip Office 01895 625 625 | ruislip@coopersresidential.co.uk

View all our properties at www.coopers-tv.co.uk

£665,000

4 bedroom detached residence Completed to perfection with spacious living options, this contemporary four-bedroom detached residence delivers an exceptional family lifestyle. The home has been thoughtfully considered and enjoys excellent proximity to shops and schools, and is located on Bury Street, a sought after road, five minutes’ walk from the high street offering easy access to all of Ruislip amenities.


30

Greenway

£439,950

3 bedroom semi-detached house This charming three-bedroom semi-detached house has been extended to include stylish interiors and a choice of generous living areas. The Greenway is ready made for completely relaxed living and is set in an ultra convenient location, between Pinner and Northwood Hills’ extensive high streets offering a selection of cafes, restaurants, transport and shopping amenities.

Set in an ultra convenient location, between Pinner and Northwood Hills’ high streets

Ruislip Office 01895 625 625 | ruislip@coopersresidential.co.uk

View all our properties at www.coopers-tv.co.uk


31

Blagrove Crescent Relaxed living in a quiet yet ultraconvenient location

Ruislip Office 01895 625 625 | ruislip@coopersresidential.co.uk

View all our properties at www.coopers-tv.co.uk

ÂŁ375,000

2 bedroom coach house With a tranquil sense of seclusion, this charming two-bedroom coach house provides a peaceful retreat and blends the classic and new on a spacious single level. Ideal for a young family or downsizers, it promises relaxed living in a quiet yet ultra-convenient location. Blagrove Crescent is within the Sandringham Grange development and therefore within easy reach of Eastcote for shops, transport options, schools and parks.


32

Ladygate Lane

ÂŁ325,000

2 bedroom terraced home Presenting an exceptional opportunity for first home buyers or investors, this two bedroom terraced home is wonderfully positioned within strolling distance to Whiteheath School, Ruislip shops and amenities. The property is located on Ladygate Lane, which is a popular road situated in North Ruislip.

Wonderfully positioned within strolling distance to local amenities

Ruislip Office 01895 625 625 | ruislip@coopersresidential.co.uk

View all our properties at www.coopers-tv.co.uk


33

Masters Court The ideal lifestyle for any potential purchaser looking to downsize

Ruislip Office 01895 625 625 | ruislip@coopersresidential.co.uk

View all our properties at www.coopers-tv.co.uk

£289,950

2 bedroom apartment This two-bedroom apartment is peacefully set in ‘Masters Court’, which is a popular retirement apartment complex, conveniently located a stone’s throw from Ruislip high street and its array of shops and restaurants. Masters Court offers the ideal lifestyle for any potential purchaser looking to downsize. This retirement apartment is on the first floor with a larger than average hall, two double bedrooms, lounge, kitchen and bathroom.


34

Shenley Avenue

ÂŁ485,000

3 bedroom semi-detached house This well-presented three-bedroom semi-detached Bowers style house is located on a sought after residential road in Ruislip, close to a number of local schools including Sacred Heart, Warrender, Ladybankes and BWI. Ruislip, Ruislip Manor and Ruislip Gardens stations are nearby offering access to the City and West End on the Central/Metropolitan/Piccadilly lines. Additionally, parks, shops and local amenities are all within easy walking distance.

Parks, shops and local amenities are all within easy walking distance

Ruislip Manor Office 01895 677400 | ruislipmanor@coopersresidential.co.uk

View all our properties at www.coopers-tv.co.uk


35

Palace Road A wonderful home for the growing family

Ruislip Manor Office 01895 677400 | ruislipmanor@coopersresidential.co.uk

View all our properties at www.coopers-tv.co.uk

ÂŁ410,000

3 bedroom end terrace house Designed for a busy lifestyle and growing family, this fabulous home offers expansive living, neatly nestled in a quiet, family-friendly street. The property, which has been extended, offers fresh modern decor, and is located on Palace Road, which is a quiet residential road in South Ruislip. Additionally, it is close to local shops, schools and transport facilities making this a wonderful home for the growing family.


36

Denbigh Close

ÂŁ365,000

2 bedroom semi-detached bungalow Perfect for buyers seeking a convenient and easy lifestyle, this two-bedroom semi-detached bungalow offers well cared for interiors and a beautifully maintained garden. Its desirable use of space is complemented by being a short walk to both Ruislip and Ruislip Manor high streets. It is offered to the market with no further chain.

Perfect for buyers seeking a convenient and easy lifestyle

Ruislip Manor Office 01895 677400 | ruislipmanor@coopersresidential.co.uk

View all our properties at www.coopers-tv.co.uk


37

Royal Crescent Benefits from a superb landscaped south facing rear garden

Ruislip Manor Office 01895 677400 | ruislipmanor@coopersresidential.co.uk

View all our properties at www.coopers-tv.co.uk

ÂŁ359,950

2 bedroom mid-terrace home Offering generous living accommodation, this two double bedroom mid-terraced home is located on Royal Crescent, a residential road within walking distance of South Ruislip. Central line and Metropolitan line stations are nearby offering access to the City. The house is conveniently located to the A40 with its access into London and the Home Counties. This property also benefits from a superb landscaped south facing rear garden and off street parking to the front.


38

Clyfford Road

ÂŁ320,000

2 bedroom terraced home Offering open, light filled interiors and a highly functional floor plan, this well-presented home is an excellent option for first homebuyers and young families. This two-bedroom terraced home is conveniently located close to Ruislip Gardens school and Ruislip Gardens tube station.

Conveniently located close to Ruislip Gardens school and tube station

Ruislip Manor Office 01895 677400 | ruislipmanor@coopersresidential.co.uk

View all our properties at www.coopers-tv.co.uk


39

Dulverton Court Set in an ultra-convenient location

Ruislip Manor Office 01895 677400 | ruislipmanor@coopersresidential.co.uk

View all our properties at www.coopers-tv.co.uk

ÂŁ259,950

2 bedroom maisonette Deserving of a smart makeover, set in an ultra-convenient location, this first-floor two-bedroom maisonette is an ideal opportunity for both those looking to get into the marketplace for the first time or an investment buyer, offering an opportunity. It is larger than average and comprises an entrance hallway, family bathroom, kitchen, spacious lounge, double bedroom and a second bedroom. This property also benefits from a garage to the rear.


40

Cowslip Close

ÂŁ595,000

5 bedroom detached house This imposing five bedroom detached house is situated in a convenient and sought after location within walking distance of Uxbridge town centre with its Piccadilly/Metropolitan Line Station, array of shops, bars, restaurants and a number of highly regarded schools. The property has been well maintained by the current owners offering a well laid out, generously proportioned and modern home for the growing family.

A generously proportioned and modern home for the growing family

Uxbridge Office 01895 257 566 | uxbridge@coopersresidential.co.uk

View all our properties at www.coopers-tv.co.uk


41

Generously proportioned and well laid out accommodation throughout

Uxbridge Office 01895 257 566 | uxbridge@coopersresidential.co.uk

View all our properties at www.coopers-tv.co.uk

Moorfield Road

ÂŁ375,000

3/4 bedroom semi-detached house This charming three/four bedroom semi-detached house offers generously proportioned and well laid out accommodation throughout, and is located on a popular residential road. There are a number of bus/road links close by creating easy access to Heathrow Airport, the M4 and M25 and Uxbridge town centre with its multitude of shops, restaurants, bars and Piccadilly/Metropolitan line train station.


42

Merryfields

ÂŁ375,000

3 bedroom detached house Occupying a prized community setting and located just a short stroll from Brunel University and Uxbridge town centre with all its amenities, including shopping centres, restaurants, bars and tube station, this three bedroom detached house offers generously proportioned rooms throughout. The ground floor of the property benefits from an entrance hall, 14 ft lounge, 9 ft dining room and 11 ft kitchen, while the upstairs of the property is made up of a 12 ft master bedroom, 12 ft second bedroom, 8 ft third bedroom and family bathroom with separate WC.

Located just a short stroll from Brunel University and Uxbridge town centre

Uxbridge Office 01895 257 566 | uxbridge@coopersresidential.co.uk

View all our properties at www.coopers-tv.co.uk


43

Orchard Way Located in a popular residential area of Uxbridge

Uxbridge Office 01895 257 566 | uxbridge@coopersresidential.co.uk

View all our properties at www.coopers-tv.co.uk

ÂŁ315,000

3 bedroom semi-detached house This three-bedroom semi-detached house is located in a popular residential area of Uxbridge just a short walk from Brunel University. Uxbridge town centre with its multitude of shops, restaurants, bars and Piccadilly/Metropolitan line train station is within walking distance, while the M4 and M25 are a short drive away. The ground floor of the property benefits from an entrance hall, downstairs WC, 10 ft dining room, 14 ft lounge, 15 ft kitchen/breakfast room and conservatory. To the upstairs of the property you will find a 12 ft master bedroom, 10 ft second bedroom, 10 ft third bedroom with en suite shower and family bathroom.


44

Dellfield Crescent ÂŁ310,000

Frayslea ÂŁ250,000

This captivating three-bedroom semi-detached house is positioned perfectly on the sought after Dellfield Crescent. The property benefits from an entrance hall, proceeding into the 12 ft living room, 10 ft dining area and 10 ft kitchen. The upstairs accommodation consists of a 12 ft master bedroom, 11 ft second bedroom and a 7 ft third bedroom, along with a family bathroom. Outside there is off street parking to the front, whilst the shared drive leads to the fully enclosed private rear garden.

Promising a lifestyle of perfect convenience just a short distance from the town centre and its multitude of amenities, this two-bedroom terraced home offers an outstanding entry level for young families into a popular residential cul-de-sac. The accommodation on offer comprises porch, hallway, 13 ft lounge, 9 ft kitchen and 13 ft sunroom. To the first floor, there is the landing area, 13 ft master bedroom, 12 ft second bedroom and family bathroom. Outside offers front and rear gardens with access to a garage and the property also benefits from no onward chain.

Uxbridge Office 01895 257 566 | uxbridge@coopersresidential.co.uk

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Kings Mill Way £225,000

Cleveland Road £180,000 Uxbridge Office 01895 257 566 | uxbridge@coopersresidential.co.uk

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Setting the benchmark, this stunning one-bedroom ground-floor apartment is located within this sought after development, and offers sleek modern finishes, light filled interiors and tranquil outlooks, creating a great living space in this executive apartment. The accommodation comprises an entrance hall, 15 ft living room open plan to an 11 ft kitchen space, 12 ft bedroom and stylish three piece bathroom suite. This apartment offers a lifestyle convenience and is a superb opportunity for investors or downsizers. Outside offers tranquil grounds and allocated parking.

Set within a stone’s throw of Brunel University, this first-floor one-bedroom apartment is ideally placed for other local amenities including Hillingdon Hospital and Stockley Park and is within walking distance of Uxbridge town centre with its multitude of shopping facilities, restaurants, bars, bus links and Metropolitan/Piccadilly line train station. Ideal for investors and first time buyers, the property comprises an entry phone system, entrance hall, 15 ft lounge, 8 ft kitchen, 11 ft bedroom and family bathroom.


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Sipson Way

ÂŁ329,950

3 bedroom semi-detached house This generously proportioned three-bedroom semi-detached house is situated on a residential road, which is conveniently located giving access to a variety of amenities including local shops, bus links, numerous schools, Heathrow Airport, Stockley Park and the M4 with its links to London and The Home Counties. The accommodation is made up of a porch, 11 ft study, 14 ft dining room, 22 ft living room, a large hall, 12 ft breakfast room and 10 ft kitchen and downstairs shower room. Upstairs is made up of an 18 ft master bedroom with en suite, 12 ft second bedroom, 12 ft third bedroom and family bathroom.

Conveniently located for a variety of amenities

West Drayton Office 01895 459 950 | westdrayton@coopersresidential.co.uk

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Magnolia Street The rear garden benefits from a garage with access

West Drayton Office 01895 459 950 | westdrayton@coopersresidential.co.uk

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ÂŁ250,000

2 bedroom semi-detached house This spacious two-bedroom semi-detached house, which is presented in a clean and tidy condition, would benefit from certain cosmetic updates, and is offered to the market with the benefit of no onward chain. The ground floor of the property comprises an entrance hall, 16 ft kitchen/breakfast room and 16 ft living room, while upstairs is made up of a 16 ft master bedroom, 10 ft second bedroom and family bathroom. Outside the property are front and rear gardens, with the rear garden benefiting from a garage with access.


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Garland House

ÂŁ225,000

2 bedroom apartment This delightful two bedroom apartment has been maintained to a high standard throughout and offers secure and well laid out accommodation, ideal for first time buyers and investment buyers alike. Located in the ever popular Parkwest development, the property provides easy access to West Drayton station with its direct access to Paddington in 23 minutes, Stockley Park golf course, Brunel University, Heathrow Airport and Stockley Park business centre.

Maintained to a high standard throughout

West Drayton Office 01895 459 950 | westdrayton@coopersresidential.co.uk

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Wren Drive Situated in a tranquil location next to a nature reserve

West Drayton Office 01895 459 950 | westdrayton@coopersresidential.co.uk

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ÂŁ215,000

2 bedroom apartment This two-bedroom ground-floor apartment is situated in a tranquil location next to a nature reserve, yet is still within walking distance of West Drayton town centre and all its amenities including shops, schools, bus/road links and British Rail Train Station. The property itself briefly comprises an entry phone system, hallway, 17 ft lounge, kitchen, master bedroom with en suite shower room, second bedroom and family bathroom. Outside offers allocated parking and communal gardens.


50

Lowdell Close ÂŁ210,000

Peplow Close

This two-bedroom terraced house is ideally suited to first time buyers and investment buyers alike. The property is located within a development just off Royal Lane, and offers easy access to local shops, Hillingdon Hospital, Brunel University, Stockley Park and the M4, M25 and M40. Internally, the property benefits from an entrance porch, 15 ft living room and 10 ft kitchen. Upstairs is made up of a 10 ft master bedroom with fitted wardrobes, 9 ft second bedroom also with fitted wardrobes and family bathroom.

Blending modern functionality with clean crisp lines, this recently refreshed two-bedroom ground-floor maisonette is situated just a short distance from West Drayton high street and all its amenities. The property itself comprises a porch, 15 ft lounge, 8 ft fitted kitchen, 11 ft master bedroom, 9 ft second bedroom with storage cupboard and family bathroom. There is one allocated parking space along with a small communal area to the rear.

ÂŁ179,950 West Drayton Office 01895 459 950 | westdrayton@coopersresidential.co.uk

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51

Candover Close

Stylish, fresh and filled with natural light, this one-bedroom first-floor maisonette is nestled away in the delightful 13th century Harmondsworth village providing access to a variety of amenities including local shops, bus links, numerous schools and Heathrow Airport. The accommodation briefly comprises an entrance hall, 8 ft kitchen, 14 ft lounge, 12 ft master bedroom and a modern three piece bathroom suite.

ÂŁ172,499

Boxwood Close ÂŁ119,950 West Drayton Office 01895 459 950 | westdrayton@coopersresidential.co.uk

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This ground-floor studio apartment offers clean crisp living close to West Drayton high street with all its amenities, including West Drayton railway station. Just a short drive away is Uxbridge town centre with its multitude of shopping facilities, metropolitan and Piccadilly line tube station, restaurants and bars. Accommodation briefly comprises an entrance hall, shower room, a generous 15 ft studio room and 7 ft modern kitchen. Outside benefits from residents parking and a communal garden area.


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Opening new doors

n January 2nd 2014, we opened the doors to our new West Drayton office, providing sales and letting services in the areas of West Drayton, Harlington, Yiewsley, Cowley and Sipson.

With West Drayton undergoing a large redevelopment programme combined with the Crossrail coming to the town in 2018, we saw a fantastic opportunity for us to extend our incomparable service. After several years of wanting to operate in West Drayton, we finally found the perfect home for our new office on the corner of Tavistock Road and the High Street. 1 Tavistock Road was formerly a washing machine repair shop but had been vacant for approximately a year. We completely cleared the premises and refurbished it with a state-of-the-art design, including a back-lit interactive map, stylish sofa and modern chandelier. We feel that it may even be our best office yet! Having now completed the trio of offices – Hillingdon, Uxbridge and West Drayton – Coopers can offer a unique platform to sell or let homes for our clients in the immediate areas. If you are thinking of selling or letting a property in West Drayton or in the surrounding areas, we would be delighted to help. Please contact us on 01895 459950.

Coopers celebrates the opening of our brand new office in West Drayton - EXCLUSIVE

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tel 0118 932 0828

www.aji.co.uk Creating beautiful interiors from concept to completion


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Home in the City

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After four years of building a lettings portfolio across the capital out of a serviced building, Coopers of London has now opened a brand new office in the heart of Fitzrovia.

The new office is located at 22 Cleveland Street, which we decided was the perfect home for the company as Fitzrovia is a vibrant neighbourhood renowned for being a village of boutiques, independent traders and its eclectic mix of charming stores and galleries. The office is also opposite the Fitzroy Place development, a collection of prestigious new homes, renowned shops and exquisite cuisine. And with studio suites costing around £1 million, this demonstrates the exclusivity of this par t of London. Previously Coopers of London was a lettings only agent but in order to meet demand and provide clients with an unrivalled service, we have introduced a sales department which is managed by an extremely knowledgeable and experience team. The building the new office occupies was once home to the famous English author Charles Dickens, and because of the rich heritage a blue plaque was recently erected on the building’s exterior to publicly identify its significance in English history.

Coopers welcomes our new London office in thriving Fitzrovia

To show our appreciation to the building’s history, we are holding a Charles Dickens evening on the 28th March. Dr Ruth Richardson, author of Dickens and the Workhouse (Oxford University Press), will be present to share her knowledge of the famous author who once lived in the building. Availability to this event is limited, so please confirm your attendance by sending an email with your full name and postal address to info@coopersoflondon.co.uk. If you are thinking of selling or letting a property in London we would be delighted to help. Please contact us on 0207 580 9658.

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Sensing spaces

We explore the Sensing Spaces – Architecture Reimagined exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts. Words: Sam Store

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ow do buildings make us feel? How does architecture influence the way we live and what power does it have over us? These are the questions that the Sensing Spaces exhibition will be inviting visitors to consider until 6 April at the Royal Academy of Arts in London. What makes this exhibition especially unique is that different perspectives from seven architectural practices from around the world will be represented. The seven selected architects have been set a challenge to reimagine literally what we think about architecture. Therefore, this is no ordinary exhibition. Instead of designing a piece in a conventional fashion, the challenge is to consider architecture from a human perspective. This means taking into account how vision, sight, sound and memory factor in our perceptions of space, proportion, materials and light. This extraordinary event will be enhanced by the fact that the chosen architects all come from an array of backgrounds – meaning not only will each piece be entirely unique, but will also reflect a contrast of cultures and ideas. Those who attend the event will be in for a fascinating experience as they discover the different moods, senses and feelings that will redefine the way we think about architecture. Each architect has been selected for his/her ability to create pieces that respond to people and places, but with distinctly varying approaches. Chile-based

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architects Mauricio Pezo and Sofia Von Ellrichshausen will be creating a monumental structure, which will challenge our sense of perspective, while Japanese architect Kengo Kuma will be highlighting the sense of scent. Half German and half Burkinabé architect Diébédo Francis Kéré is producing a tunnel that will invite visitors physically to interact with the structure’s fabric. Li Xiaodong, from China, will be putting together a labyrinth, which will represent a sense of containment and compression, in contrast to Irish architectural pair Grafton Architects’ exploration of light. Last but not least, Portuguese duo Eduardo Souto de Moura and Álvaro Siza will create subtle installations encouraging visitors to consider the history of the Royal Academy of Arts building. As Kate Goodwin, the Royal Academy of Arts curator, says on the Sensing Spaces website blog: “When putting together this group of architects I purposefully sought out those who would bring a variety of perspectives on how we think about architecture and the spaces around us. I sought those from different cultures, generations and geographies.” With thirteen galleries, the Royal Academy courtyard and more than 23,000 square feet of architectural magic to explore, Sensing Spaces leaves nothing else to say other than that: “The greatest pleasure will be discovering these transformed spaces for yourself when the exhibition opens on the 25th January.”


57 Biographies Álvaro Siza (born 1933, Matosinho, Portugal) has worked internationally but is best known for his buildings in Portugal including the Boa Nova Teahouse (1963), the SAAL Bouça Housing estate (1977) and the Church of Macro de Canaveses (1996). He received the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1992, which is considered the highest distinction in architecture.

done, and aware of their potential – their capacity to do something – they’ll care about it; they’ll appreciate it much more. The collective experience is always par t of things you do in Africa, but here the collective experience is to be inspired by something that is there, to be together to see, to consume this object. We describe seeing it, experiencing it as consuming.”

“You walk along the street with all its traffic and find yourself in front of the big archway. Inside it is the cour tyard, which comes as a surprise. The building’s façade, with its por tico and columns, which are whiter than the rest of the stone, has a very strong presence, though the scale is domestic rather than monumental.” – Siza when commenting on the Piccadilly entrance to the Royal Academy of Ar ts.

Francis Diébédo Kéré (born 1965, Gando, Burkina Faso) studied in Germany, star ting his Berlin-based practice, Kéré Architecture, in 2005. He has built a number of schools and community buildings in Burkina Faso and across Western Africa, receiving the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2004 for his Primary School in Gando (1999). “In Burkina Faso it’s impor tant that when people are a par t of the projects, you create a strong attachment. But at the same time if you are making people responsible and aware of what they have

Kengo Kuma (born 1954, Kanagawa, Japan) leads a large practice with a worldwide profile. Recent buildings include the Asakusa Tourist Information Centre (2012), Sake No Hana restaurant interior, St. James’, London (2007) and the upcoming V&A Dundee (on-going). “‘Weak architecture’ is also about our relationship with space, and I believe that the human body responds to this kind of weakness. For instance, the ground is not like concrete – there are leaves and particles of soil, details that provide diversity and richness, which is what human beings need to find in architecture.” Li Xiaodong (born 1963, China) is Professor of History and Theory at the Tsinghua University School of Architecture and also runs his own small atelier. His work includes the Bridge School, Xiashi, China (2009) which won an Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2010 and the Liyuan Library, China (2011).

Eduardo Souto de Moura (born 1952, Porto, Portugal) worked for Álvaro Siza as a student before setting up his own practice upon graduation. Timeless buildings like the Paula Rêgo Museum, Cascais, Portugal (2009) and the Braga Stadium, Portugal (2004) have won great acclaim for the architect. He received the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2011. “The Classical language of architecture appeals to me because it’s clear, it’s organised and it offers a sense of security and continuity. In a building like the Royal Academy, as soon as you arrive at the entrance, you know where the exit will be and the doors are just where you expect to find them. It’s like a story or a movie that you understand from beginning to end.”

story, with a feeling of time. How might you take these very classical galleries, and by way of locating pieces, enable people see it differently.”

Grafton Architects were founded in Dublin in 1978 by Shelley McNamara (born 1952, Ireland) and Yvonne Farrell (born 1951, Ireland).They have designed domestic homes, as well as major public buildings, becoming renowned for education buildings such as the University Luigi Bocconi in Milan, Italy (2008) and this year’s Stirling Prize-nominated University of Limerick (2012). “I would like to start to think about galleries themselves. Very often within an exhibition there is a datum. Perhaps scale. For instance, it would be interesting to think about small things in a big space, or large things in small spaces; or about light; or a sense of movement in section and in plan. I like the idea of taking something which feels static and making it feel fluid, like a woven

“From a distance you think of a mountain range as a series of objects seen in silhouette. But once you are within it, you start to perceive it as a series of spatial relationships that surround you. Your awareness of scale, distance, texture and enclosure all come alive and you become conscious of your own presence within it. Recognising this was a beautiful moment.” Pezo von Ellrichshausen was founded in 2002 by Mauricio Pezo (born 1973) and Sofia von Ellrichshausen (born 1976) in Concepción, Chile. Their work lies at the crossroads between art and architecture with a portfolio that includes installations and houses in Chile, USA, Portugal and Spain. Their best known works are the Poli house in Coliumo, Chile (2005) and their home and studio the Cien house in Concepción, Chile (2011). “This space is based on something very hard; square openings, square spaces, very rigid but also so soft. So I think whoever goes through it wonders: how is it so diluted and informal when it’s so contained?”

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La dolce vita in Tuscany J Claire Durkin explores ancient Tuscany from the comfort of the Borgo San Felice – Relais & Chateaux

Above: Huge terracotta planters adorn an attractive piazza at Borgo San Felice – Relais & Chateaux Inset: Claire Durkin

ust saying ‘Tuscany’ evokes a rich, warm feeling for this seductive, ancient Etruscan region of Italy. It could be the light, the architecture, the history, food, culture and palate-thrilling wines. Or maybe it’s a deep infusion of it all that leaves the visitor with memories that are almost palpable. The classic Tuscan landscape is of golden villages, towns and cities dating from the Renaissance nestled among vibrant, green hills covered with oak forests, cypresses and orderly rows of verdant vines and gnarled, age-perfect olive trees. The throaty, musical Tuscan dialect lies deep in the roots of the current standard Italian language. The wonderful, hidden away Borgo San Felice – Relais & Chateaux is a phoenix raised from the former medieval Chianti hamlet, which stands firmly in the Castelnuovo Berardenga area of the Province of Siena; the towers of the city of Siena are visible on the horizon. San Felice is typical of many Tuscan settlements with its cocktail of narrow streets and picturesque squares, a Romanesque chapel and shrines. The entire historic village has been lovingly and diligently restored and converted into the hotel rooms; there are 29 guest rooms and 17 suites. All have an aristocratic ambience with rich fabrics, carved antique furniture, beamed ceilings, terracotta floors, stone arches and Tuscan tiles. The outside areas are absolutely lovely with huge terracotta planters strategically placed for the best effect in the mellow evening lighting.

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Above: Siena skyline; its distant towers can be seen from Borgo San Felice (below) Right: Siena Catherdral is one of the great examples of Italian Romanesque-Gothic architecture; the main faรงade was completed in 1380 Overleaf: Wine cellars and sauna facilities at Borgo San Felice

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The bright and airy Poggio Rosso restaurant is supervised by Michelin two-star chef Francesco Bracali, who puts his own stamp on local culinary traditions and offers very original (if a little unusual) modern Italian cooking. There is a lovely spa with steam and sauna, and a wellness centre operating under Dr Paulo Vranjes, who is a full-on pharmacist/chemist and artisan perfumer committed to beauty and cosmetics. He works from his Florence-based laboratory, using techniques handed down through generations. He uses all natural ingredients and blends them with the world’s finest essential oils. This is serious pampering. The wine shop features some truly excellent wines made at the winery on Agricola San Felice’s 140-hectare estate and at their other winery at Montalcino. The wine list features labels developed from the Sangiovese grape such as Vigorello, Poggio Rosso and Campogiovanni a Brunello di Montalcino DOCG. If you are an enthusiast, the hotel offers wine tastings under the expert guidance of enologist Leonardo Bellaccini, as well as guided tours of the vineyard of Agricola San Felice. The wine production all happens under the masterful management of Davide Profeti and, my goodness, we consumed some exceptional samples.

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Remember, there are also many other wineries in the surrounding area; trips out to these should be high on your list, not only because of the bottles you’ll bring home, but also because they will provide you with different stunning views of the Tuscan landscape. As well as the fabulous wines, Agricola San Felice also produces gorgeous extra-virgin olive oil from their plentiful trees. I was encouraged one evening to pour a little of the beautiful, rich liquid treat onto my dinner; the transformation changed something delicious into something sensational. Honestly, I could have drunk it out of the bottle.

all the usual services that you would expect. Breakfast time presents you with an astonishing array of choices from cold to hot including things you would never even expect to be offered. All of these wonderful choices can be washed down with whatever takes your fancy, including ice-cold champagne. Not a bad way to start the day, especially if someone is playing the grand piano and sending music floating through the dining area and out of the doors.

“The entire historic village has been lovingly restored and converted�

If you are stepping out, a visit to Siena is an inspired choice. The ancient streets close to the medieval cathedral in the centre, which is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, are lined with restaurants, galleries, cafes, boutique shops and curios. The madly popular Palio horse race still takes place in Piazza del Campo. This wild gallop happens twice a year, on 2 July and 16 August and has been a fixture since 1656; it is a heart-in-the-mouth experience, not to be missed. Back at the hotel, other amenities include a business centre, a fitness centre, a heated outdoor pool and

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The atmosphere is comfortable and relaxed but it also gives you a feeling of spontaneity and energy. At the risk of sounding a bit soft, exploring the grounds and wandering through the vines gives you the sensation of walking through a painting.

The whole of this dreamy venue is presented by the charming and delightful General Manager, Achille Di Carlo, who is always there to see to your comfort; he just makes everything work so well. I would love to come here again, to this enchanting place where the past is still present. Tuscany is magical. Come and be spellbound like me. For more information visit: www.borgosanfelice.it


UberKuchen Ltd 520 High Road Ilford, Essex 1G3 8EG Info@unberkuchen.com 020 8599 3988 www.uberkuchen.com


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A brief history of man Near right: The Natural History Museum’s imposing entrance Far right: Realistic reconstructions of a Neanderthal (top) and Homo sapiens (bottom) Images © The Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London

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The fossils and the artefacts mainly come from different areas of Britain but, as Elin points out, a higher proportion come from the south of the country: “Multiple glaciations which covered Britain during the period, and particularly in the north, have eroded the evidence of very early humans in the north; therefore, a higher proportion of finds are from the south of Britain.”

The Museum has worked closely with curators and researchers to select more than 200 specimens and artefacts found in Britain that reflect the human story and the environments which helped to shape that story over the past one million years.

Alongside the displays of original bones will be some life-size models of our ancient predecessors, which Elin believes will be one of the most popular exhibits: “We have stunning life-size and very realistic reconstructions of a Neanderthal [our closest extinct relatives] and a Homo sapiens [our own species]. They will allow you to stand face-to-face with your ancient relatives.”

Among the most important human fossils are the tibias (leg bones) of Homo heidelbergensis from the wellknown Boxgrove site in Sussex, as Elin explains: “This fossil, which was related to both Homo sapiens and Neanderthals, is the earliest known evidence of humans living in Britain. The exhibition will show how at least four different species of humans have attempted to colonise Britain in phases of occupations.”

These naked and tattooed representations of different species of early man were specially commissioned from the Kennis brothers in the Netherlands, twin artists who specialise in scientifically accurate sculptures of ancient humans and animals. Drawing on scientific data and provided with replica bones, the twins rebuilt the skeletons of these ancient humans in their studio at Arnhem in the Netherlands and used clay to form the

he Natural History Museum’s latest special exhibition, which has taken three years to create, focuses on the earliest part of the human story in Britain – the Palaeolithic – and brings together for the first time some of the UK’s most important human fossil remains, some of which have been especially lent by other collections.

Top to bottom: 400,000-years-old antlers, hand axe and elephant bone from Swanscombe, Kent

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muscles and tendons. A cast was taken of each body, which was then filled with silicone to create the models. With advice on skin pigmentation, markings and hair style from Museum palaeontologist Professor Chris Stringer, the brothers coloured the silicone from the inside out to recreate accurate skin tone and tattoo patterns. The Neanderthal model is based on a skeleton found in a cave in Belgium of a short, stocky man who was in his 20s. The Neanderthals colonised Britain many times between 400,000 and 50,000 years ago as the ice sheets came and went; sometimes they adapted to the fluctuating environments, but at other times they disappeared altogether. The artists were surprised by the scientific evidence of the Neanderthal’s anatomy, particularly his flat bottom. Based on evidence from recent and ancient DNA, the Neanderthal is lighter skinned than the taller Homo sapiens model, which is based on a man in his 50s and whose ancestors arrived from Africa some 40,000 years ago. Although modern humans did not evolve from Neanderthals directly, it is fascinating to realize that a large part of the population has a small percentage of

Neanderthal DNA as a result of ancient interbreeding. The artefacts on display have been chosen to highlight how skilled the Neanderthals were at tool-making and hunting. The exhibition also includes objects made by Homo sapiens that were not necessary for their survival, but which demonstrate how they were the very first species to interpret the world around them through artistic expression. As well as humans and their artefacts, a great number of the animals that inhabited the changing environments will also be on display, including extinct forms of lions, rhinos and mammoths that used to be common in Britain in prehistoric times. Elin’s personal favourite exhibit is also one which gives important historic environmental information: “There are many amazing objects and specimens in this exhibition, but amongst them are three cones from pine and spruce, which have survived an astonishing time – they are between 850,000 and 950,000 years old.” Geared mainly toward an adult audience, there are elements that will appeal to younger visitors, including for example, touchable specimens and, of course, the

human models, while other notable objects to marvel at include the oldest wooden spear in the world and the largest stone hand axe found in Europe. The exhibition was inspired not only by the rich collections of the museum itself but also by the Ancient Human Occupation of Britain (AHOB) project. The project, under the directorship of the Museum’s palaeontologist Professor Chris Stringer, has been a 13-year multidisciplinary collaboration between researchers in archaeology, palaeontology and earth sciences from the Museum, the British Museum, Oxford and Cambridge universities, Royal Holloway and Queen Mary University of London, and others. Funded by the Leverhulme Trust, AHOB aimed to build a calendar of human presence and absence in Britain during the Pleistocene Period (about 2.6 million to 12,000 years ago). It has revolutionised what is known about human life in ancient Britain, pushing back the date for the earliest known occupation nearly half a million years to around 900,000 years ago. For more information visit: www.nhm.ac.uk

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Timeless Beauty

路 路 路 路

A choice of FSC and PEFC certified, sustainable and bespoke hardwood flooring Bespoke designs for those wishing to create a unique wood floor Five year warranty on all our installations Renovation service available for your wood flooring requirements

www.woodfloorsurrey.co.uk Wood Floor Surbiton Ltd, 27-29 Brighton Road, Surbiton, Surrey KT6 5LR 21 Woodbridge Road, Guildford, Surrey GU1 1DY


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Country house music

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nebworth House in Hertfordshire has stood for many years longer than its Victorian decoration suggests: the turrets, domes and gargoyles hide a red brick house dating back to Tudor times. Knebworth has been the Lytton family home for more than 500 years, and is the present home of The Hon Henry and Martha Lytton Cobbold, the 19th generation of the family.

In the year marking 40 years of rock concerts at Knebworth, Henry Lytton Cobbold, owner of Knebworth House, Park and Gardens tells us about the many aspects of the estate

Photographs by permission of Knebworth House

Knebworth achieved fame in Victorian times as the home of the novelist, playwright and politician Edward Bulwer Lytton, author of the words ‘The pen is mightier than the sword’. Other notable past family members include Constance Lytton, the suffragette and her father, Robert Lytton, the Viceroy of India who proclaimed Queen Victoria as Empress of India at the Great Delhi Durbar of 1877. Other famous visitors include Queen Elizabeth I, Charles Dickens, Winston Churchill and many more. Edward Bulwer Lytton offered tours of the house back in 1850 but it was not until the 1970s that Knebworth became a modern tourist destination. Visitor amenities were created by moving two 400-year-old tithe barns across the estate. At the time, they were the ‘largest buildings ever to be moved in England’ and drew huge crowds. Further contemporary barns were added in stages from 2001 to 2011 to create the conference and banqueting

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centre, gift shop and tea room. The state-of-theart presentation equipment at the barns creates the perfect venue for conferences and business meetings for up to 200 delegates. Today, Knebworth is also known as Hertfordshire’s premiere venue for weddings and celebrations. Each year, more than 100,000 visitors come from around the world to enjoy Knebworth’s fascinating house, deer park and delightful gardens. In the summer months, families enjoy a day at the adventure playground; Fort Knebworth is equipped with climbing activities and there is an astro slide and a drop slide (for the brave) as well as a zip wire, swings and beams. The first interactive water feature has recently been installed, which involves a see-saw ‘pump’ which sprays water into the air – huge fun; a second phase will open for the 2014 season. There have been gardens at Knebworth House since at least the 17th century, but the present layout dates largely from the Edwardian era. The architect Sir Edwin Lutyens, who married into the family, simplified the ornate Victorian garden with lawns and avenues of pollarded lime trees. Popular features of the 28-acre gardens include a maze, the walled kitchen garden and the herb garden designed by Gertrude Jekyll. A favourite with younger visitors is the Dinosaur Trail in the Wilderness Garden, which features 72 life-size model dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals with informative displays and interactive dial-up activities, including a selection of dinosaur roars! Groups may book a tour of the gardens with a member of the Gardens’ team and, one afternoon a week during July, day visitors can join a free garden tour. The new cutting garden keeps the house supplied with fragrant and colourful blooms, and visitors can often buy a posy of sweet peas to take home. A small dedicated team, including the family, keeps Knebworth ticking over throughout the year with 15 full-time members of staff and over 100 casual helpers during the open season. The gardeners are assisted by horticultural students and volunteers during busy periods. The Knebworth House guides not only provide groups of visitors with a tour of the house (included in the house admission ticket) but also lead the popular education programmes. The behind-the-scenes maintenance and administration teams ensure that everything functions well and that visitors have an enjoyable time, while sustaining Knebworth as a family home. With such an old property, ongoing repairs are necessary just to maintain the fabric of the building. The efforts of the Knebworth House Education and Preservation Trust (KHEPT) are concentrated on halting the decay of the most vulnerable decorative features and historic artefacts collected, and on display

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in, the 500-year-old house and its formal landscaped gardens. Visitors to Knebworth in 2014 can see the newly restored gate piers topped by griffins, guardians of the estate. Martha Lytton Cobbold, Managing Director of Lytton Enterprises and Administrator of KHEPT comments: “Knebworth House is on the English Heritage at Risk Register, and as such, it is a wonderful accomplishment to continue restoration projects on this scale. There is still much to do with only five of the ten major phases complete, but we are delighted that the visitors can experience the work in progress and enjoy seeing the newly restored griffins emerge.” Knebworth has held the Sandford Award for excellence in heritage education since 2001. The educational programmes for all key stages of the curriculum offer both variety and quality with an emphasis on hands-on activities; young scientists, for instance, can enjoy ‘From seeds to Cedars: How Plants Grow’. With the curriculum’s requirement for a knowledge of the local area, Knebworth provides a ready source of material for study from Tudors to the present day; young students can participate in the ‘Tudor Treasure Trail’ and ‘Victorian Ventures’ as well as explore the garden in ‘Monsters and Mazes’. As home to the renowned Victorian novelist Edward Bulwer Lytton, author of the famous opening line ‘It was a dark and stormy night…’, Knebworth House also lends itself to creative writing programmes aimed at older GCSE pupils. Knebworth has been a popular venue for film makers over the years, from Batman (1989) to The King’s Speech (2010), offering a versatile location for both period and contemporary dramas. Sharp-eyed viewers will identify Knebworth as the ‘scene of the crime’ for a number of TV detectives including: Miss Marple, Poirot, Midsomer Murders, Judge John Deed, Inspector Linley, Lovejoy and Jonathan Creek. Other popular TV recordings at Knebworth include BBC’s Antiques Roadshow, Countryfile, Great British Railway Journeys with Michael Portillo, and one of the summer 2013 heats for Food Glorious Food. However, Knebworth Park is internationally known as Britain’s largest music venue, and the British home of classic rock. The Park’s natural bowl and easy access from the A1M makes it an ideal venue for large events. In excess of 100 major artists have played Knebworth festivals since their inception in 1974, in front of more than two million fans. From the first show in ‘74 with the Allman Brothers, Van Morrison and Doobie Brothers, to the Sonisphere rock festivals of the past few years and last summer’s Eastern Electric dance event, the gothic-house backdrop has become emblematic of the best in music.

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For many music lovers, the Knebworth concert they attended defined their generation. In the ‘70s, Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, Frank Zappa, Genesis and Led Zeppelin all played Knebworth. In 1986, Queen ended their ‘It’s a Kind of Magic’ tour at Knebworth; their last ever gig. Audiences grew and 120,000 people attended the 1990 charity gig featuring Pink Floyd, Paul McCartney, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, among others. In 1996 Oasis booked a 250,000 ticket show over two nights, defining the Britpop era in a weekend. Sonisphere 2010 saw the largest live audience in the UK ever for a non-English language music concert while, at Sonisphere 2011, Bill Bailey entertained the largest live UK audience for a comedy show. The most memorable, and still one of the UK’s biggest music events ever staged, was the Robbie Williams concert, which attracted a staggering 375,00 people over three nights in August 2003. Sonisphere returns to Knebworth Park in July 2014, organised by Martha Lytton Cobbold and her team, and there is a busy schedule of events planned for the year. Knebworth are pleased to host the East of England Food Festival in April, and later in the month there will be jousting in front of the house. The Hertfordshire Garden Show is in May, followed by classic motor shows and the Country Show in the summer. There are also smaller, one-day events such as Dino Day and the popular Ghost Talk & Bat Walk. The summer sees outdoor theatre productions on the sunken lawn in front of the house, while in December there are performances of Christmas Music in the magnificently decorated Banqueting Hall. This year, the American virtuoso guitarist Doyle Dykes will be entertaining guests and local choirs will be singing carols from the minstrels’ gallery. As part of the 40th Anniversary celebrations there will also be a fascinating exhibition of Knebworth rock and concert memorabilia in the house throughout August. As Henry Lytton Cobbold comments: “I am proud that Hertfordshire is home to the largest single-stage music venue in the country and that, over 40 years, Knebworth Park has become legendary worldwide for its classic shows. At Knebworth Park we are very proud of our reputation as the home of classic British rock – and look forward to a fifth decade of being the biggest and the best!” For more information visit www.knebworthhouse.com or call 01438 812661.

- HOME & GARDEN


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©Abergavenny Food Festival: Tim Woodier

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The gourmet’s gateway We review the 2013 Abergavenny Food Festival and discover what makes it such a distinctive event and a must for any food-lover’s diary Words: Faith Back Cyrus Todiwala, pioneer of fusion cooking, gives a masterclass

D

ubbed as the ‘Glastonbury of Food Festivals’ by Carole Cadwalladr of The Observer, the Abergavenny Food Festival was born some 15 years ago as a result of the BSE crisis, which raised the issue of food quality to unprecedented levels of concern. The Festival sought to celebrate, in an atmosphere of conviviality and feasting, the craft of good food at every stage from production right through to cooks and writers. The embryonic event was a local community supper in the town’s Market Hall set alongside a few stallholders and a demonstration by Franco Taruschio, Abergavenny’s very own maestro and founder of the town’s Michelin-starred Walnut Tree restaurant. New ingredients were added to the Festival’s basic mix year by year; and in 2013, approximately 30,000 visitors were attracted to the main weekend event on 21-22 September, which was set across five ticketed venues. It featured some well-known culinary celebrities and more than 200 stallholders offering a wide range of the highest quality local, regional and occasionally international artisan food produce. While around 60 per cent of the Festival’s visitors come from within a commutable 30-mile radius, Abergavenny’s position at ‘the gateway to Wales’ brings in gourmets from further afield, including the M4 corridor up to London. The Festival benefits the wider Welsh economy by an estimated £2-3m as Cathy Green, the Festival’s Communication Manager explains: “Most hotels and bed and breakfasts are booked up well in advance by people from around the London

- FOOD & DRINK


76 ©Abergavenny Food Festival: Tim Woodier

Left: Brindisa’s master carver explains the finer points of Ibérico ham Right: Tom Kerridge gives a demo Below: Tutored tasting with master chocolatier Marc Demarquette Below right: Arun Kapil with Green Saffron’s high grade spices and sauces

©Abergavenny Food Festival: Tim Woodier

©Abergavenny Food Festival: Tim Woodier

area; also, it’s not unusual for the Festival to be people’s first experience of south Wales, so it provides a great way of encouraging them to make repeat visits, explore further and stay longer, which benefits local shops and other attractions.” Every year, the tradition of the community supper continues, now scheduled on the preceding Thursday evening as a prelude to the weekend event; in 2013 The Festival Fanfare Feast’s theme was the Great Gatsby, as Cathy elaborates: “People were invited to dress up in the style of the jazz bands’ era, which many did. The Feast is set in the wonderful Victorian Market Hall and it’s also the time when the hall’s annual sculptural decorations by Arts Alive Wales are unveiled. The theme for 2013 was Gardens of Plenty – a colourful ensemble of garden tools and garden produce. These amazing decorations stay up all the year round.”

- FOOD & DRINK

©Abergavenny Food Festival: Adrian Reilly

Blessed with good weather and guided by an inclusive 88-page full colour Festival Guide published in association with Fork magazine, visitors with stroller tickets in the form of wristbands were able to access all of the five town centre venues, namely Abergavenny Castle, the Market Hall, the Priory Centre, Lion’s Place and the Brewery Yard, and visit all the stallholders (many award-winning). They could also enjoy a range of experiences such as the chef dems on the Robert Price Kitchen Stage in the Market Hall, while the castle hosted the Grillstock Stage and a full rolling programme of events for children including: hands-on cooking workshops for younger children at the Food Academy, sponsored by Organic Centre Wales; the head-to-head finals of the annual cookery competition for secondary schoolchildren; and lots of other family friendly activities

and entertainment. “We’ve always made the festival as inclusive as possible,” says Cathy, continuing: “We offer free entry for children under 16 if accompanied by an adult and, over the years, the demographic of the event has become younger; we also employ up to 100 staff over the weekend, who are largely university students, this year all wearing bright pink T-shirts – blokes included – and they give the event a young face.” In addition, there were more than 40 separate ticketed events including masterclasses, food talks, tutored tastings, walks and forays, kicking off on the Friday evening with a sell-out talk at the Borough Theatre by Rick Stein, which coincided with the launch of his memoirs, Under a Mackerel Sky. Most of these separate events were sold out beforehand, including ‘Proper Pub Food’ by Tom Kerridge, chef and owner of the only


77 Michelin-starred (two stars, in fact) pub, the Hand and Flowers in Marlow, Buckinghamshire.

©Abergavenny Food Festival: Tim Woodier

Tickets were also rapidly scooped up for the Chocoholic tutored tasting by returning master chocolatier, Marc Demarquette, who has received more than 50 Gold Awards in less than five years. He is a huge fan of the Abergavenny Food Festival: “It’s the best food festival in Europe by a mile; a buzzing place for tantalizing smells, exotic foods and smiling faces all over. Pure joy. It’s now part of my annual food pilgrimage to discover likeminded food crafters, where I can enjoy buying foods I cannot get hold of in London – and selfishly enjoy them among close friends.” Pioneer of fusion cooking, Cyrus Todiwala OBE, (seen on BBC2 last autumn in The Incredible Spice Men with Tony Singh) is another Abergavenny Food Festival enthusiast and this year was involved in every aspect of it, as he explains: “Abergavenny has been special to us since we were first invited 11 years ago. It began with just demos, and then we put up a pickle/chutney stand. Now we have our full assemblage; the food stall at the Castle, the pickle stand in the Brewery Yard and me still doing my demos and rants.” In 2013, when Masterchef winner (2012) Shelina Permalloo had to pull out due to ill health, Cyrus stepped into the breach and gave a further rendition of his own sell-out masterclass, which featured dishes from his new book, Mr Todiwala’s Bombay: Recipes and Memories from India. Cathy adds: “He’s a brilliant performer and raconteur – an absolute natural – and his food is fantastic. He and his wife are totally passionate about what they do, and he’s always a sell-out. “Another really interesting person at the 2013 Festival was Magnus Nilsson,” asserts Cathy, continuing: “He runs a tiny restaurant seating only 12 people near the Arctic Circle in Sweden and was in conversation with Valentine Warner at the Borough Theatre; everything in Magnus’ restaurant is taken off the land, so there’s a lot of pickling and preserving with really interesting sounding recipes, such as ‘top blade of a retired cow’!” While the Festival is never short of big names, its focus is on artisan producers, as Cathy explains: “We’re interested in the new movers and shakers and the innovators in the culinary world, those who are up and coming and who are doing new, interesting and diverse things. Our stallholders tend to be generally medium-scale to small-scale producers; but we have a special area called the Souk in the Priory Centre for first-timers who’ve been trading for less than two years and haven’t got the economy of scale to run for two days – stallholders can change over between Saturday and Sunday and come for just one day.” Among the ravishing diversity of stallholders offering delights from every possible category of food and drink were Patchwork Foods, established by Margaret Carter. She started selling her homemade pâtés to pubs in Llangollen, and then moved to a purpose-equipped factory in Ruthin. Here everything is still made to her original recipes in small batches, without artificial colouring, additives or preservatives; her products have more than 80 taste awards to their credit. Award-winning Trealy Farm Charcuterie from Monmouth, who use only free range and traditional breed meats, showcased a variety of their products

©Abergavenny Food Festival

“We’re interested in the new movers and shakers and the innovators in the culinary world, those who are up and coming and who are doing new, interesting and diverse things”

Above top: Val Warner gets attention at the Food Academy Above bottom: Sampling at Demijohn’s ‘liquid deli’ in the Market Hall

- FOOD & DRINK


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Thursday evening’s Fanfare Feast in the decorated Market Hall

©Abergavenny Food Festival: Tim Woodier

including Fennel Salami, Monmouthshire beech-smoked and air-dried ham, and Hot Smoked Bath Chaps; owner James Swift also took part in a tutored tasting session on ‘blood products’ partnered by France-based Nicky Marshall, a chef and home charcutier. While Welsh produce is always important and well represented, the Festival is also concerned to celebrate the best of food and drink from the rest of the UK and internationally. Forage Fine Foods came from just over the border to display a selection of their products derived from blends of ethically and sustainably picked unusual wild ingredients (some seasonal); their Pontack, which can be used like Worcestershire sauce or a very special vinegar, is made from elderberries soaked in cider vinegar, onions and spices, and is a favourite with broadcaster and journalist, Charlie Lee

- FOOD & DRINK

©Abergavenny Food Festival: Tim Woodier

The Market Hall at the weekend

Potter. Visiting for the first time from Edinburgh came Demijohn, acclaimed by its founders, Angus and Frances Ferguson, as the ‘world’s first liquid deli’ and proffering predominantly British-sourced artisan liquid products, ranging from Organic Rhubarb Vodka Liqueur to Apple Vinegar. Moving further afield, both geographically and in taste, Green Saffron, an award-winning family business based in Cork, offered their high grade, farm-fresh whole spices and proprietary blends for use in the home and in professional kitchens. A key feature of the Festival is the exchange of cuisine culture, as Cathy explains: “Last year, we had quite a big Spanish presence, via Spanish importers Brindisa, as well as representatives from La Boqueria, one of Spain’s oldest and venerated markets located in Barcelona. We’re planning to make a return visit with

Welsh producers out to Spain. The previous year we did something similar with Italy’s Divingusto (Food and Wine Festival in Puglia). In 2013 we had quite an eclectic mix including, for the first time, Vietnamese street food.” The Festival is also a distinctive event because it’s embedded in the existing built-up environment of the town; similar festivals hosted on Greenfield sites tend not to have a lot of atmosphere. But Abergavenny has it in plenty; Tim Hayward of The Guardian describes the Festival as “A food festival so mystically lovely, so unspoiled and evanescent, that it’s like a farmers’ market in Brigadoon.” Cathy adds: “Its fab atmosphere and great hospitality are what it’s best known for. That’s a comment that


©Abergavenny Food Festival: Tim Woodier

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comes back to us year after year, both from our guest performers and from our visitors.” Cyrus Todiwala and Marc Demarquette agree. Cyrus says: “The Abergavenny bug has smitten us hard. We just love to be here and, each year as we come again, we make many more new friends. Also, the visitors come with such definite purpose; they come to enjoy, sample and buy fabulous local and further-reaching British and international fare; they really love coming, get totally involved and leave satiated and happy.” Marc says: “It’s a place in which all walks of life enjoy a two-day banquet where the entire town acts as the banqueting hall and everyone joins in the making, eating and feasting; a cocktail of food, fun, music and amazing people.”

Above and below: Bhangra band RSVP wowed the Party at the Castle

“Its fab atmosphere and great hospitality are what it’s best known for” And the food, fun and music reached its zenith on Saturday evening with the separately ticketed Party at the Castle, as Cathy extols: “With a capacity of a thousand, the beautifully lit castle grounds had an amazing vibe. We had RSVP, the UK’s favourite festival Bhangra band, who were absolutely rocking, they were brilliant. There was wonderful food to buy and there was also a fireworks’ finale.” So make sure you mark the weekend of 20-21 September 2014 in your diary and prepare to join in the fun and the feasting. You’re in for a real treat.

©Abergavenny Food Festival: Tim Woodier

- FOOD & DRINK


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Breaking the ice ceiling

We take a look at Team GB’s record breaking Winter Paralympics in Sochi Words: Sam Store

Photo © Alex Aranda

F

ollowing the record-breaking success of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012, Team GB heralded in a new era of sporting success for Britain.

With London two years gone, this year it was time for the Winter Olympic and Paralympic athletes to take centre stage. Building upon the success of London would never be easy, with Britain never particularly excelling in the cold weather games. But Team GB did just that at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, equalling Great Britain’s most successful ever Winter Olympic Games, with one gold, a silver and two bronze medals. Following Lizzy Yarnold’s gold in the skeleton, the silver for the men’s curling, a bronze for the women’s curling, and Jenny Jones’ bronze in snowboarding (Britain’s first ever medal on snow), it was up to the Paralympians to follow in the footsteps of their record-shattering countrymen and bring home the medals for Team GB. And sure enough, they delivered.

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While Team GB left the 2010 Paralympic Games in Vancouver empty handed, there would be no repeat of that showing in Sochi. Team GB took home a record-best six medals, including one gold, three silver and two bronze. The pride of Britain’s first ever Winter Paralympic gold medal came to skier Kelly Gallagher, after she won the visually impaired Super-G. Along with her guide, Charlotte Evans, Kelly revelled in the success: “I have to thank Charlotte for getting me to the line. We just threw ourselves at it. I prayed for the strength to ski and have fun.” Charlotte was equally pleased: “We won a gold medal and it feels amazing.” While Kelly got the plaudits for her gold medal win, fellow skier Jade Etherington, with her guide Caroline Powell, claimed an equally impressive prize. Jade and Caroline won a record-breaking four medals, with second places in the super-combined skiing, the slalom and the downhill events, as well as a third in the Super-G. Jade said: “Looking back, we haven’t skied as well as that ever. We are really annoyed not to get gold, but we got a medal and we will continue fighting.” Caroline added: “Jade has definitely reached her peak. Together we have formed a great bond. There is a great communication between us; it has worked so well throughout the season and we have peaked at the right time. We have managed to get four medals and we are so happy with that. We are obviously devastated not to get the gold, but we can’t do anything about that.” Even with the record-breaking achievement of the Sochi Games, the disappointment of missing out on a gold medal shows that expectations have been raised since the success of the London Games.

Prior to the Paralympics, Aileen spoke to us about the training and preparation that takes place in the run-up to a big competition: “As full-time athletes we have

- SPORT

A major part of any Olympic and Paralympic games is the importance of leaving a lasting legacy to benefit the country. The London Paralympics, for example, did wonders for Paralympic Sport in Britain, with around one and a half billion people tuning in worldwide and the opening ceremony attracting eight million UK viewers on Channel 4. The Games also left an impressive legacy with sport participation levels up; while the results of a BBC poll revealed that 79 per cent of non-disabled people thought that the wider perceptions of disability had improved. While Britain’s athletes have come through Sochi with flying colours, the venue and event itself had a certain degree of scepticism to overcome in the build up. Controversy surrounding human rights, security threats and overblown budgets posed potential distractions from the competition.

Photo © Vladimir Arndt

With the event now at an end, Sochi has come through generally unscathed. Prior to the event, International Paralympic Committee President Sir Phillip Craven admitted that: “In Russia there are over 13 million people with an impairment, yet many are isolated from society and face daily hurdles to participate in everyday life. Sochi has the potential to change all of that. There is already some excellent work going into creating barrier-free environments, which will make Russia more accessible to people with an impairment.” This may be the true legacy of these Games, as stated by Sir Phillip: “If, after the closing ceremony of the Games, we can say that 13 million Russians with an impairment are now par t of a more inclusive barrier-free society, then the Games will be hailed a huge success.” One thing that was not ever in question, however, was that the facilities in Sochi would be of the highest quality. Russia poured billions into the Black Sea venue, leading to the event becoming vastly more expensive than the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver and the

Photo © Vladimir Arndt

Aileen Neilson captained the Wheelchair Curling team, who completed the medal haul with a bronze. Aiming for a play-off finish before the Games, Aileen was delighted to come away with a medal. Speaking to BBC Sport she said: “It’s been a very emotional competition, a real rollercoaster ride and I’m absolutely delighted and thrilled to come away with a bronze.”

been working hard with our coach Tony Zummack to become technically more proficient, tactically more aware and developing and enhancing our team dynamics. We can be on ice four or five times a week, up to four or five hours a day. We attend gym sessions to develop strength and conditioning as well as team workshops to discuss strategy and shot selection.”


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Photo © Martynova Anna

Above: The Bolshoi Ice Dome – the main ice hockey arena – under construction Below: Sir Philip Craven takes a look at the progress Photo © Martynova Anna

Summer Olympics of 2012 in London. Part of this is down to Russia’s aim for the legacy of the Games, hoping that Sochi will become a Black Sea holiday resort. The costs also relate to the fact that Sochi is a completely new spor ting venue, with the expenses funding 14 Olympic facilities, including stadiums, skating rinks, ice hockey arenas and alpine ski trails, as well as 30 four-star and five-star hotels and 54 three-star hotels. With dazzling facilities and strong competition, both the Olympic and Paralympic Games have been more successful than was potentially expected. And as the latest event in an amazing run of medal successes for Great Britain, the British Paralympians are just the latest group of athletes to do their country proud. London and Sochi have been massively successful for Team GB, with records broken left, right and centre. Benefiting from momentum spanning back to London 2012, who’s to say that, with the right planning and funding, Rio 2016 and Pyeongchang 2018 won’t bring further record-breaking success?

- SPORT


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85 © Historic Royal Palaces

Fashion rules OK We discover the sparkling new exhibition of Royal fashion at Kensington Palace: Fashion Rules Words: Faith Back

Above: Dresses worn by Diana, Princes of Wales, from left to right – a delicate Zandra Rhodes evening dress (1986); a red evening gown by Bruce Oldfield (1986); a Jacques Azagury dance dress (1985) © Historic Royal Palaces

K

ensington Palace has everything for the discerning visitor: a fascinating history of royal residents; stunning state rooms; beautiful gardens; and unique exhibitions. The latest exhibition is a real showstopper – five rooms are devoted to a glamorous new display featuring 21 carefully selected haute couture dresses worn by HM Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Margaret and Diana, Princess of Wales. The dresses, which range from evening wear to day dresses, bookmark the changes in Royal fashion from the 1950s to the early 1990s. The selection sheds light on the influence of, and the impact on, high street fashion, and on the differing restrictions and freedoms experienced by individual members of the Royal Family. The exhibition also includes film and photography, which set the scene of the times in which these gowns were worn.

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Five dresses worn by HM The Queen, including the first item that visitors will see – Hartnell’s oystercoloured, scissor cut gown (1963) © Historic Royal Palaces

The garments on show from the wardrobes of HM The Queen and her sister Princess Margaret compare and contrast their differing lifestyles from the 50s, 60s and 70s. In 1949, the end of rationing allowed British fashion designers such as Norman Hartnell and Hardy Amies to follow the trend set by Christian Dior’s ‘New Look’ collection of 1947, which, after the hardships of wartime, indulged in voluminous skirts with nipped-in waistlines. A new optimism set in and the London couturiers rapidly built the capital’s reputation as a design centre for exquisite evening gowns and exemplary tailoring – with the help of patronage by a beautiful young Queen and her sister. The earliest example on show from the Queen’s collection is a stunning apricot silk evening gown, probably by Norman Hartnell, who had designed her wedding dress in 1947 and went on to create her coronation gown in 1953. The dress shows the influence of Dior’s ‘New Look’ – it has a full skirt supported by layers of tulle, while extra volume and movement is

- FASHION

provided by silk flounces, which extend from the bodice. The dress is ornamented by ornate floral lace enriched by gold thread and would have been worn with long white evening gloves. Hartnell’s rival, Hardy Amies, was granted a Royal Warrant in 1955 and, although better known for the daywear he designed for the young Queen, is also highly regarded for the sumptuous evening gowns he created for her such as the grey satin evening dress on display, which was worn for a dinner at the German Embassy, London, in 1958. This fabulous gown has subtly gradated beading in an intricate fern motif. A further example on show by Hardy Amies dates from 1959 and was worn on a visit to Nova Scotia during a Commonwealth visit to Canada. This dress exemplifies the art of ‘diplomatic dressing’, which the Queen upheld when visiting countries as head of the Commonwealth. The ‘rules’ required references to the host country to be included in the design of her evening gowns – in this case, the grey silk organza

is embroidered in silk thread with a pink mayflower motif, the provincial flower of Nova Scotia, and embellished with spangles and bugle beads. A similar example of ‘diplomatic dressing’ was made by Hartnell for the Queen to wear at a banquet hosted by President Ayab Khan of Pakistan, on the first day of a six-week tour to Pakistan and India in 1961. The white duchesse satin evening dress has a slightly narrower skirt, reflecting a move towards the vertical fashions of the 1960s, and has a theatrical waterfall train in the white and green national colours of Pakistan. The front of the dress is deliberately plain to allow the Queen’s insignia to be displayed to advantage – the pinholes are still visible. The generally pale colour palette of the Queen’s gowns reflects the need to stand out against large crowds, particularly with regard to black and white film and photography. The oyster-coloured evening gown of duchesse satin created by Hartnell for the opening of the New Zealand parliament during a Commonwealth


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Visitors can use an on-site interactive app to create their own fashion illustrations © Historic Royal Palaces

Diplomatic dressing. Left to right: Hartnell’s green and white dress (1961) worn by HM The Queen in Pakistan; Hardy Amies grey silk organza dress with pink mayflowers (1959) worn by HM The Queen in Nova Scotia, Canada © Historic Royal Palaces

visit in 1963 is a good example of this and is the first in line for visitors to see at the exhibition. This dazzling dress is embroidered with pearls, beads, diamante and sequins in a bold diamond pattern with tassel drops formed by alternating silver and gold bugle beads; further embroidery is revealed by the scissor cut skirt, which also creates fullness. A greater freedom in the Queen’s formal dress gradually evolved during the 1960s, as shown by a striking silk chiffon dinner dress, worn in 1970 for a dinner at Government House, Sydney, during a Royal tour of Australia and at a charity function with Tom Jones. The straighter style is enhanced by floor length sleeves, which open at the side to allow for the customary hand-shake greeting. The dress was created by Ian Thomas, who had worked for Hartnell for 17 years but left to start his own couture business in 1969. The last example from the Queen’s wardrobe dates from 1972 and was worn for her Silver Wedding Anniversary thanksgiving service at Westminster Abbey

is quite different; Hartnell created a contemporary short, A-line dress and jacket in bright blue silk with a fur trim, which ensured that she was visible from her open coach to the large crowds that thronged the streets.

traditionally adopted by Royal women. Its daring design was widely commented upon in the press, who were nevertheless even more exercised by the discovery of the Princess smoking a cigarette.

The nine garments on display from the Princess Margaret Collection have been lent to the exhibition by Viscount Linley and Lady Sarah Chatto; seven of them have never previously been on show. They are noticeably more liberal in style and colour than those of her older sister. They illustrate how the Princess had greater freedom to adopt changing fashions and how she was under less pressure to choose only British designers.

A year later, in 1952, Hartnell created one of Princess Margaret’s favourite dresses, which she wore on several occasions in 1952 and 1953, including the races at Ascot and at the wedding of her cousin, The Honourable Gerald Lascelles to Angela Dowding. The dress has a modest neckline and the boned fitted bodice is intricately constructed in layers of grey silk net with grey leaf-patterned lace underneath. The fullness of the skirt has been created with nine layers of stiffened net.

Her greater freedom is particularly exemplified by one of the star items in the exhibition – a stunning evening dress dating from 1951, which is made from cream silk satin by an unknown designer. It was worn by the Princess at a London film premiere, and at a dinner in Paris, where she was the guest of Prince Paul of Yugoslavia. Its plunging neckline and halter-neck straps were a radical departure from the modest style

Also on show is a day dress, which dates from a decade later and reflects the defining fashion of the 1960s, when hemlines became progressively shorter. Created by an unknown designer, it is made of a light weight fabric and incorporates antique pont de gaze needle lace that was probably made in Belgium between 1870 and 1890. It is described by the exhibition as having

- FASHION


88 Front and rear views of the stunning kaftan worn by Princess Margaret Historic Royal Palaces © Lord Linley and Lady Sarah Chatto

‘a more whimsical feel echoing more romantic trends which gained popularity with the hippy movement in the late 60s and early 70s’. What more can one say. Glamorous fur coats were a hallmark of the Princess’ wardrobe throughout the 1960s and 1970s; a beautiful example from Christian Dior is part of the display. Marc Bohan, chief designer at the house of Dior for 30 years, created garments not only for Princess Margaret, but also for Princess Grace of Monaco and other high profile clients such as Jackie Kennedy, Elizabeth Taylor and Brigit Bardot. In 1961, Marc Bohan presented his first collection under the Dior label entitled ‘Slim Look’. Inspired by the straighter silhouette of the 1920s, his dress designs were a radical departure from the hour-glass shapes of the 1950s. Several other examples of Bohan’s creations for Princess Margaret are on display, all of which date from the 1970s. These include a deep green velvet coat dress from 1975 with double breasted gold buttons. While reflecting the wider trend for a more androgynous look, it is also military and ceremonial in style.

- FASHION

A bright purple slim line evening dress by Bohan, which is heavily embellished with a sequined floral design, shows Princess Margaret taking advantage of the brighter colours that became more popular in the 1960s and 1970s. The dress, which the Princess wore for the Silver Jubilee Celebrations of Queen Elizabeth II in 1977, has a matching full length sleeveless jacket with a high collarless neckline, which is reminiscent of the style popularised by the Beatles. Bohan often adapted pop fashion into haute couture, enabling Dior to remain at the cutting edge of fashion while maintaining its reputation for producing elegant and wearable clothes. Another fine example of this kind of adaptation, dating from 1979, is a brown short day dress with a rounded collar and cuffs and a ribbon tie, which evokes the influence of Mary Quant’s high street designs. A sleeveless slim line evening dress, this time by Hartnell, was worn by the Princess for HM the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977. In the same year, Princess Margaret also wore it to present a music award to pop group ABBA;

“The selection sheds light on the differing restrictions and freedoms experienced by individual members of the Royal Family”


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Left: A dance dress by Jacques Azagury (1985) worn by Diana, Princess of Wales Below: Conservators add an evening dress by Murray Arbeid, worn by Diana, Princess of Wales (1986) © Historic Royal Palaces Above: Historic Royal Palaces © PEOPLE Magazine/Time inc

she was known for her interest in pop culture during the 60s and 70s and was frequently photographed with famous figures of the time. The final example from the Princess Margaret collection, never previously displayed, was worn for a fancy dress party held on the Caribbean island of Mustique in 1976. It is a wonderful kaftan made from Indian sari silk with a matching jewelled turban designed by Carl Toms. Throughout the 1970s, when the Princess spent much of her time at her Caribbean residence, she favoured cool Eastern-style kaftan designs, which also reflected the ‘ethnic’ clothing then flooding into the fashionable boutiques of Carnaby Street and the Kings Road in London. Completing the exhibition are five stunning dresses worn by Princess Diana. The earliest item, a blue and black dance dress, dates from 1985 and has never been displayed before. It has been lent to the exhibition by PEOPLE magazine/Time Incorporated, who bought it at the 1997 charity auction of Diana’s dresses held

by Christies in New York; the magazine featured The Princess on their front cover 57 times. The dress is made of synthetic velvet embroidered with sequins and glass beads and strongly evokes the 1980s with its padded shoulders, dropped waist and oversize bow. The Princess wore the dress for a dinner given by the Mayor of Florence during a visit to Italy. The designer, Jacques Azagury, trained in London and became wellknown in the 1980s following the success of his ‘New Romantics’ collection. A midnight blue strapless evening gown with a fish-tail skirt of multiple layers of tulle by London designer Murray Arbeid is also on show for the first time;The Princess wore this dramatic and figure-flattering dress for a dinner given in honour of the President of Greece at the Claridge’s Hotel in 1986. Dating from the same year but completely contrasting in style is a delicate evening dress by Zandra Rhodes, which was worn for a state banquet in Kyoto, during a Royal visit to Japan; its colour references the pink cherry blossom, which was in flower at the time of the tour.

- FASHION


90 A striking red dress with long sleeves, a high neckline and a full length skirt was designed for a royal tour of Saudi Arabia to take into account the modest dress customs of that country. The designer, Bruce Oldfield, nevertheless incorporated highly fashionable features, including wide shoulders and a dropped waistline. Launching his first couture line in 1978, Oldfield started designing for Lady Diana Spencer in 1980 and continued to do so for some ten years. He organised the Bruce Oldfield for Barnado’s gala evenings at London’s Grosvenor House ballroom in 1986 and 1988, which the Princess of Wales attended. The final item, designed by French-born Catherine Walker, dates from 1991 and was worn by Princess Diana on a state visit to Brazil for a banquet at the Itamaraty Palace given by President Collor. By this time, the Princess had adopted a more streamlined

Right: Dresses worn by Diana, Princess of Wales, including in the background an asymmetrical, single-sleeved gown by Catherine Walker (1991) © Historic Royal Palaces

- FASHION

and sophisticated look in keeping with the changing fashions and often wore asymmetrical dresses with a single sleeve. Based in London, Walker was self-taught and shunned publicity; her reputation grew by word of mouth and she was noted for having supplied more than 1,000 outfits to Diana, Princess of Wales. This relatively small but diverse exhibition encapsulates how three royal women kept up with changing fashions within the strictures of their differing degrees of wardrobe diplomacy – it makes for fascinating viewing, whether you’re an aficionado of haute couture or royalty, or both.

For further information visit www.hrp.org.uk/KensingtonPalace/


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92

Fond memories of 2013

Kevin Haggarthy looks back at three great drives of 2013 and celebrates the fact that great cars have never been better


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I

t’s been a year of McClarens, Maseratis, Bentleys, Lamborghinis, Rolls Royces – you name it, we drove it in 2013. Yet there were three great drives that stood out the most; cars that for us hit that ultimate sweet spot every keen driver is addicted to. There’s no logic here by the way, it’s not about comparisons or arguing ‘which is best’; just the instinctive enthusiasm these cars create, the pure ‘petrol-headedness’ – our three most rewarding drives of 2013.

Ferrari 458 Spider: One of the best supercars on Earth I could begin this piece by telling you how fast and powerful this Ferrari is. You’d expect that, because ‘it’s a Ferrari’. But what I really want to say is much more emotional, subjective, arguable and controversial; namely, that this car is one of the best supercars on the planet. There, I’ve said it. Car buffs will be aware that Ferrari have just launched a hyper version of the same car, the 458 Speciale. It’s meaner, rawer, lighter and faster, yet, once given the brief, even Ferrari engineers had to scratch their heads on how to improve the car we are testing here.

“It’s the first midrear-engine car to sport a retractable hard top, which means you get the best of both worlds without compromise”

So my ‘one of the best supercars on the planet’ statement is one I am ready to defend. Of course there are a handful of readily identifiable exotica that are faster and more expensive than the 458, including Ferrari’s own F12. So what makes the 458 so special? Its unique combination of speed, power, handling, grip and noise? The drop dead gorgeous looks? Well yes, partially, for in the shape of the 458, Ferraris have at last become beautiful once again. But it’s more than that. It is the innate ability this car has to reach the deepest parts of your soul, to wrench every ounce of emotional driving ability out of you, and to transform your mood into one of optimism and excitement every time you get behind the wheel. The very second the normally aspirated V8 pierces the air, every household within 500 yards soon knows that a Ferrari is in the ‘hood. If you’re feeling down, skip the doctor and drive the 458 instead; it is the perfect anti-depressant. Sadly, at £200,000 (starter money) it is a rather expensive one too. Yet the price/accessibility equation adds even more to the sense of occasion, especially when onlookers literally clap and celebrate your arrival throughout; time to remind yourself that the car is the celebrity. The 458 Spider brings open top motoring to an already exhilarating experience. The geniuses at Pininfarina must be congratulated for creating a 458 design innovation that has original stand-alone beauty in its own right, rather than the awkward unnatural after-market look that often spoils beautiful classic

original designs when manufacturers turn them into convertibles. Several inquisitive admirers commented how great it would be if the roof came down, and when I advised them that it did, they were noticeably surprised! It’s the first mid-rear-engine car to sport a retractable hard top, which means you get the best of both worlds without compromise; hard top noise and weather insulation with the optional pleasure of the open air when it suits. It tucks away neatly in front of the engine bay in only 14 seconds, allowing you to savour the delight of one of the world’s most engaging exhaust notes. Just behind you sits an engineering masterpiece: a 90 degree V8 engine, generating 562 bhp at a heady 9,000 rpm, all from its natural DNA rather than the assisted boost of a turbo. It hits 60 mph from rest in the time it has taken you to read this sentence (3 seconds), and tops 199 mph according to official figures. Open the ventilated rear hood, and you will see that engines too can be beautiful again. Yet it’s on the road where it all counts. The power is delivered via a seven-speed F1 dual clutch transmission; a slightly controversial issue for me the first time I test drove a 458. Being a die-hard fan of the traditional manual gearbox, I knew I’d need some convincing, but the 458 is just too fast for manual shifting – it can be up through two further gears whilst you’re still lifting your clutch from the previous change! For the first time in my whole life I have to accept that the paddle shift set-up for this car is the best. However, it’s not the stats, the power or the technology that sell this car to the soul. It’s the addictive driving experience – the overwhelming reward of piloting a machine made by people who love cars, have a passion for beauty, and understand how to evolve a legend into a state-of-the-art expression of everything that makes Ferrari, ‘Ferrari’. You simply cannot create an experience like this unless driving emotion is a genetic part of your DNA. You will grin into every fast bend, and grin again on the sheer burst of emotional energy on exit. Everything – steering, brakes, grip, chassis, acceleration – can be intricately mixed and balanced into pure driving poetry. The sheer sense of speed and excitement that top down 458 driving creates is immense – and nothing can prepare you for that gut-wrenching power and sheer pace until you experience it. Once you’re in ‘the zone’ with the 458 you lose all other cares; it is compelling, engaging, and addictive. You drive the 458 for the sake of driving, and least of all you care about where you’re going.

- MOTORING


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The Porsche 911 Carrera: The King of Kung Fu This was simply crazy. We were easily doing 70 mph in second gear – with another five gears to go! And this from a 7 speed manual ‘entry level’ Porsche 911! There we were high up in the hills of North Wales, on the A453 from Betws-y-Coed leading to Denbigh and Ruthin on the A525. These roads are God’s gift to the keen driver. And the 911 was loving it – so ‘at home’, relishing in the pace, and executing bends with gobsmacking precision. Like a Kung Fu master it was ready to attack within a millisecond of the first opportunity. Victory is all this car knows. As soon as it was on the tail of a car ahead, the 911 took charge of the situation, overtaking with attitude yet with dismissive ease. This is what it’s all about – challenging open roads with a machine that loves to master them. We spent 1,000 miles doing this in the 911, and when we got home we just wanted to go back and do it all again. It took some self-discipline choosing the entry level 911 Carrera for our test drive. Price wasn’t the issue as we weren’t parting with our own money. The 911 S with its extra 30 bhp was tempting; we’d driven it earlier in the year and loved it. The Carrera 4 was also on the cards for the added traction bonus, but the purer cornering capability of rear-wheel drive appealed more. The Turbo to our mind, was just too fast – you really need to drive it at warp pace to really understand what the car is capable of, and the GT3 we felt was a little on the hardcore side for comfortable long distance driving of this magnitude. The only niggling worry was if the standard entry-level Carrera had the pace and speed we wanted for our epic North Wales assault. But we took the plunge anyway, mainly because the entry-level car is what every current variant of the 911 is based on. As such, it’s the best all-round compromise of performance, comfort, and economy. It took no time for the 911 to dispel our worries. Even second gear was probably good for 85 mph. The stats say our ‘basic’ Carrera is good for 0-60 mph in 4.8 seconds and tops 179 mph. Yep, that’s enough! This 6 cylinder 3.5 litre car comes off the shelf at £73,000. Add our special Mexico blue paint (great colour – £2,883), special 20 inch Carrera S wheels (£1,902), Porsche Ceramic composite brakes (a whopping £5,787), Sports exhaust (£1,772), Porsche torque vectoring, the Sport Chrono package, front and rear sensors, telephone module, sports seats, rear wiper, and of course floor mats (yours for £121 – now that’s a bit stingy!) and you’re talking £89,623 for the car you see here. Don’t hesitate, for once you see it in the

- MOTORING

flesh, you’d have to have them too. You are treating yourself, remember, and you only live twice; once for normal living, and twice to drive a 911! We opted for the M54/A5 route for the initial haul up to North Wales, partly to allow familiarisation time with the car, but also to get a feel for its abilities as a long distance cruiser. It lapped up the 238 miles up from London with ease, and with suspension set to ‘normal’ and the sports exhaust button left dormant, the Carrera was a comfortable, fast, relaxed, yet communicative cruiser. In short, a 911 eats 200 miles of motorway for breakfast. Speaking of food, it was time for supper at our overnight stay, the Best Western Waterloo Hotel in Betws-y-Coed; another great option for combining comfort and economy for a couple of days. Warm, obliging staff, and conveniently located, we discussed over dinner the virtues of a car that was already proving its point, feeding our anticipation and hunger for the A road challenges planned ahead. So power was no longer an issue, but what of the seven-speed manual gearbox? Ahhh... real driving back again; we spent the whole time ‘heel-and-toe’ gear changing, (a racing technique) squeezing out the range in each gear, savouring the unrelenting progression of the car, and the growling acoustics accompanying it. It’s so good, is this 911. We were soon on a roll, going as hard as safety and discretion allowed, relishing the challenge of tight fast bends again and again, the ceramic brakes easily dismissing the speed on entry, interrupting the turn-in only by a quick blip of the throttle under braking to get gearbox and engine singing in harmony, and then slingshotting away! Wow, this is 911 heaven; every nut and bolt of the car working with the driver to create an unforgettable driving experience. Apparently there is some logic to ‘no manual option’ for the new hyper 911s like the Turbo and the new GT3 – and I guess our recent Ferrari 458 experience showed that it’s because these cars are simply so fast, the old-style intrinsic driver satisfaction you get from a good manual gearbox in a great car has been surpassed by the state-of-the-art ‘speed-ability’ of ultimate high performance cars. Yet the manual 911 Carrera proves that there is still an immovable place for traditional manual shifts – you need 30 per cent more driver skill (often painstakingly acquired) to live up to it. But hey, isn’t that why we love driving, love cars, and thus simply adore 911s?


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“We were easily doing 70 mph in second gear – with another five gears to go! And this from a seven-speed manual ‘entry level’ Porsche 911!”


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“I wonder if Michael Caine is still looking for a driver to have another try at the Italian Job before his pension runs out?�


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Mini John Cooper Works GP: Mini John Cooper versus a wannabe ‘Vettel’ It was the perfect day. Six pm on a dry sunny and quiet Sunday afternoon to be exact; the time I had chosen to take the fastest Mini ever produced on a brisk cross-country test drive. Just me and this amazing car enjoying ourselves in the middle of Kent’s finest countryside, the Italian Job CD blaring away in the background (of course). Yes, I’m sad, distracted only by pauses for thought to appreciate the excellent Recaro seats, the cool piano black trim, anthracite roof, and the red stitching of the leather. The GP and I were surrounded by Kent’s finest greenery, the law allowing us only 60 mph to play with, sun shining; it was the perfect day. Until a wouldbe Formula One World Champion ‘Sebastian Vettel’ showed up. The wannabe ‘Vettel’ pulled out from a side road to the right of me ahead, clearly on full throttle and rudely interrupting the Mini GP’s relaxed, brisk, poetic pace in his highly modified Ford Fiesta XR2 – a proper Halford’s accessory job. ‘Vettel’ took a long curious look at my Mini Cooper John Cooper Works Grand Prix as he took advantage of his positional gain to show me that he had the greatest driving skills and the fastest modified boy racer XR2 on the planet. He failed. Miserably; embarrassingly in fact – for to the Mini GP his pace was merely an annoying doddle, and this rather embarrassed and easily forgotten non-hero couldn’t even create an inch of gain on the GP, so I backed off – no contest, and this is not the place to prove a point. He won’t be telling his mates about this in the pub. To the contrary, if I was him I’d be fondly reflecting on the abilities of the Mini GP in his rear view mirror, and about what could possibly be under the bonnet of my Apollo 16. Well, engine-wise it’s a familiar recipe: a turbocharged 4 cylinder 1,598 cc engine producing 215 bhp at a heady 6,000 rpm and a hefty 206 lb of torque, achieved equally between the 2,000 and 5,100 rpm mark. It’s all driven via the front wheels and interpreted through a sweet six-speed manual gearbox. It’s a great engine, notably more powerful than the Cooper S, and even sprightlier than the car in the next tier of the Mini hierarchy and just one below this – the standard Mini John Cooper Works. Credit for this must go to the substantial chassis

and handling makeover given to this special Limited Edition motorcar. Regular chassis components have been replaced by adjustable coilover suspension to achieve a ride height reduction of 20 mm, mated to high performance dampers that are stiffer longitudinally at the front. Extra grippy tyres are fitted to the 17-inch wheels, specially developed for this car by the Korean manufacturer Kumbo, and the addition of front and rear braces stiffen up the car somewhat – the latter replacing the rear seat, and at the least reminding you of the single purpose nature of the Mini ‘GP’. A Turbo-charged two-litre front-wheel drive engine with 215 bhp, and pulling on only 1,253 kg of weight means lots of power, and torque steer that needs reining in like a wild horse. The steering’s a pleasure to use though, and the grip of this car is fantastic, period. It’s a genuine wolf in sheep’s clothing, and shocks the hell out of you when you star t pushing on, such is its sheer pace and tenacity. The ‘snap’ ‘crackle’ and ‘pop’ from the exhaust with Spor t engaged is a bit ar tificial and tuned for pure enter tainment, but you’ll love it nonetheless; it just adds aural excitement to the adrenaline. And that’s what driving a car like this is all about – fun and pure tactile feedback. But it’s also a very fast and serious motor car – maybe too much so to be exploited properly on our roads; you must take to the track for experience with this car – then it’s got you for good. At some point you will ask yourself if the £30k price tag is justified – well, give it a good test drive first and find out. You need to get to know this car to appreciate it fully, and I really don’t understand how anyone could really buy it on the strength of a quick run around the block; it is the Mini way of doing things at this level, and an investment in pure performance. Understand it that way philosophically, and this car is worth every penny. We have one day left with the car, so I have to go and drive it again; it’s compelling. I wonder if Michael Caine is still looking for a driver to have another try at the Italian Job before his pension runs out? If he is, I’m there – with the Mini GP of course.

- MOTORING


Living with nature No matter what the English weather can throw at us, clever landscaping and design can greatly enhance the value and look of your home. With constant demands on our financial resources, gardens can often be overlooked when it comes to refurbishment and improvement.Yet with careful management it can be one of the most rewarding areas for many reasons. Russell & Son Gardening & Landscaping Services is a family-run business based in Essex with an impressive reputation for clever garden design. With a vast showcase of elite garden installations featured within our portfolio and glowing references from satisfied customers, Russell & Son can deliver a trustworthy and outstanding tailor-made solution for your garden. Free consultation and preliminary planning: an essential grassroots look at your garden. We create a bird’s-eye view and architectural plan to make sure your ideas are carefully considered and the potential of your garden is fully realised. We guarantee that after our initial consultation you will be as excited as us about your new project. We make sure that we take into account all aspects of your garden including architectural features, planting, garden furniture, BBQ areas and surrounds, sourcing only the best materials and using only the finest plant suppliers in Europe to ensure quality is at its peak.

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