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Cotswold Homes Cotswold-Homes.com The Property & Lifestyle Magazine for the North Cotswolds

AUTUMN Edition 2014 Complimentary Copy


Thomasina Miers & Emily Watkins Serve Up Their Stories

SPECTACULAR STANWAY At Home with Lord Wemyss

Hot Property

Beautiful Cotswold Homes

LOVE’S LABOUR’S LOST & WON The RSC’s Ambitious New Productions


Author Colin Dexter Speaks

Cotswold Homes Magazine CONTENTS Visiting Stanway House


At home with Lord Wemyss




Our pick of the upcoming events

Love’s Labour’s Lost & Won


Behind the RSC’s ambitious new productions

Thomasina Miers


Author Colin Dexter talks Inspector Morse


The Mexican food superstar and Masterchef graduate provides new recipes

Emily Watkins

The Man Behind Morse

The Misunderstood Monster



The strange story of a Cotswold dinosaur


The Great British Menu finalist on her life from Florence to the Cotswolds

War and Words, Music and Madness


Remembering Ivor Gurney, the troubled Cotswold war poet 98

The Showcase


Cheltenham Racecourse’s Next Spectacular

Diary of an Equestrian Lady


Camilla Henderson talks fashion, the racing life and sports psychology

Hot Property


Presenting our pick of the North Cotswold property market

Privilege Card Offers


Shop and save locally with these exclusive offers

EDITOR’S WELCOME Hello and welcome to the Autumn 2014 edition of Cotswold Homes, the lifestyle and property magazine for the North Cotswolds. In this issue, we pay a visit to a home with more history than most: the stunning Stanway House, home of the tallest gravity fountain in the world, and meet two great chefs – the wonderful Thomasina Miers and Emily Watkins - notable for their appearances on Masterchef and The Great British Menu respectively. We’ve included three of Thomasina’s recipes, that are certain to make your season a little more flavoursome. One hundred years after the beginning of the Great War, commemorations have been occurring all across the Cotswolds.The Royal Shakespeare Company has been influenced by the centenary in the creation of a new double bill of Love’s Labour’s Lost and Love’s Labour’s Won, set in a charming manor house both before and after the conflict. Speaking to director Christopher Luscombe, we find out what to expect. Later, we remember the Cotswold war poet, Ivor Gurney – an amazingly accomplished composer and writer who paradoxically only found relief from his mental illness during the turmoil of war. It’s also been our great honour to interview author Colin Dexter, the writer who created the world’s favourite Oxford-based sleuth, Inspector Morse, and find out more about the man who poured so much of himself into the iconic character. We’ve also got pages and pages of the best Cotswold property, unique Privilege Card offers to help you shop and save around the Cotswolds (once you pick up one of our free Privilege Cards) and events listings to help you get the most out of our beautiful area. Enjoy! Cotswold Homes Magazine Our next edition, Winter 2014, will bring you more upcoming events, offers and articles showcasing the local area – helping you to get more out of life in this beautiful part of the world. We will be distributing the next magazine from late November. Design team: Alias www.wearealias.com

0845 257 7475 sayhello@wearealias.com

To speak to a member of our team, please telephone 01451 833171 or email: Marketing and Sales: emma@cotswold-homes.com Editor’s Desk: matt@cotswold-homes.com Property: karen@harrisonjameshardie.co.uk Star Chamber Offices, Hollis House, The Square, Stow-on-the-Wold, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire GL54 1AF



Cotswold Homes Competition

AUTUMN TICKET GIVEAWAY EXTRAVAGANZA THIS ISSUE WE HAVE THREE VERY SPECIAL PRIZES INDEED - AND ENTERING OUR FABULOUS PRIZE DRAWS COULDN’T BE EASIER. BEST OF LUCK! WIN 4 X TICKETS TO THE THE SHOWCASE AT CHELTENHAM RACECOURSE (17TH & 18TH OCTOBER 2014) Thrills and spills abound as The Showcase arrives at the prestigious and stunningly scenic Cheltenham Racecourse, home of The Festival – make sure you’re part of the action by entering our free prize draw. For your chance to win 4 x tickets to either day of The Showcase at Cheltenham Racecourse, all you have to do is email admin@cotswoldhomes with SHOWCASE in the subject field before the draw date of September 30th 2014. Remember to include your name, address, email address and telephone number so we can contact you in the event that you win. You can also enter by sending us a private message on Facebook or Twitter (and don’t forget to ‘Like’ and ‘Follow’ us while you’re there!). Visit www.facebook.com/cotswoldhomespage and follow @CotswoldHomes for more details and updates from the Cotswold Homes team.


WIN AN ANNUAL PASS TO ADAM HENSON’S COTSWOLD FARM PARK Adam Henson’s Cotswold Farm Park has been a firm favourite for many years – now here’s your opportunity to win a free Annual Pass for your family. For your chance to win an Annual Pass (2 x adults & 2 x children/1 x adult & 3 x children) to Adam Henson’s Cotswold Farm Park, all you have to do is email admin@cotswold-homes. com with FARM PARK in the subject field

before the draw date of September 30th 2014. Remember to include your name, address, email address and telephone number so we can contact you in the event that you win. You can also enter by sending us a private message on Facebook or Twitter (and don’t forget to ‘Like’ and ‘Follow’ us while you’re there!). Visit www.facebook.com/ cotswoldhomespage and follow @CotswoldHomes for more details and updates from the Cotswold Homes team.


Cotswold Homes Magazine

Cotswold Homes Competition


Photographs of Edward Bennett and Michelle Terry at Charlecote Park

The RSC’s new winter season productions are Shakespeare’s two great romantic comedies, Love’s Labour’s Lost and Love’s Labour’s Won (usually known as Much Ado About Nothing) set either side of the First World War in the glorious Edwardian summer of 1914 and in post-war England, when the world had changed forever.The Royal Shakespeare Theatre will be transformed into the magical setting of Charlecote Park, the stunning National Trust property just down the road from Stratford-uponAvon and the RSC is giving away a fantastic prize to see both productions for one lucky winner. TERMS & CONDITIONS

Entry to the competition is open to all except the employees (and their families) of Cotswold Homes or Harrison James & Hardie. Winners will be drawn at random and notified via Facebook, by e-mail or by phone and may be posted on our website. No alternative prize or cash substitute is available for any of the prizes. In the event of a winner being unable to accept their prize then another winner will be drawn. This giveaway is open to residents of the UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man and Republic of Ireland aged 18 years or over, except employees of Cotswold Homes Magazine, their families, agents or anyone else professionally associated with the giveaway. It is a condition of entry that all rules are accepted as final and that the competitor agrees to abide by these rules.The decision of the judges is

The prize includes two tickets to both Love’s Labour’s Lost and Love’s Labour’s Won on Saturday 11th October in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and dinner between the two shows in the RSC’s Rooftop Restaurant.* For your chance to win the two tickets, all you have to do is email admin@cotswold-homes. com with SHAKESPEARE in the subject field before the draw date of September 30th 2014. Remember to include your name, address, email address and telephone number so we can contact final and no correspondence will be entered into. Entries must be submitted via the Facebook ‘Like’ system or emailed to admin@cotswold-homes.com (or as specified in entry terms of a specific prize) and entry is restricted to one per person. Late, illegible, incomplete, defaced or corrupt entries or entries sent through agencies and third parties will not be accepted. No responsibility can be held for lost entries and proof of dispatch will not be accepted as proof of receipt.The winner will be drawn at random from all entries received by the closing date and notified via Facebook message or contact details supplied. The winner will be contacted within seven days of the closing date of the prize draw. Should the Promoter be unable to contact the winner or should the winner be unable to accept the prize, the Promoter

you in the event that you win.You can also enter by sending us a private message on Facebook or Twitter (and don’t forget to ‘Like’ and ‘Follow’ us while you’re there!).Visit www.facebook.com/ cotswoldhomespage and follow @CotswoldHomes for more details and updates from the Cotswold Homes team. *Terms and conditions apply. Must be used on selected date only. Cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer.Tickets cannot be exchanged or refunded.The RSC will contact the winner regarding ticket collection and restaurant Reservation. reserves the right to award the prize to an alternative winner, drawn in accordance with these terms and conditions. The prize is described as available on the date of publication and all prizes are subject to the terms and conditions of the supplier.The prizes do not include travel insurance, food and drink, personal expenditure, or incidental costs, other than where mentioned. All elements of the prize are non transferable and there are no cash alternatives.The winner may be required to take part in publicity. Events may occur that render the prize draw itself or the awarding of the prize impossible due to reasons beyond the control of the Promoter and accordingly the Promoter may at its absolute discretion vary or amend the promotion and the entrant agrees that no liability shall attach to the Promoter as a result thereof.



At Home With Lord Wemyss

At Home With

Lord Wemyss We stop by Stanway House for a cup of tea and a chat about Thomas Cromwell, the translation of Egyptian hieroglyphics and the tallest gravity fountain in the world 8

Cotswold Homes Magazine

At Home With Lord Wemyss

The Cotswolds have more than their fair share of gorgeously historic country homes. Some of these rambling piles have ended up managed and maintained by the National Trust, the dynasties that once occupied them now little more than curiosities for the daytripper. The clocks have stopped in such residences - these are the grand family homes that have succumbed to the passage of time, becoming museums instead. Not so at Stanway House, where the story of the Tracy family and their descendants continues after centuries. The public are allowed to wander the house and its grounds to their content, in select summer months at least, but those expecting to find a palace preserved in aspic will be disappointed. For all its old world charms and treasures, Stanway remains resolutely lived in, a place that still lives and breathes. Today it is a fine home to James Charteris, Earl of Wemyss and March and his Countess, Amanda Feilding. Lord Wemyss allows us a little ramble before we convene in the kitchen for a spot of tea. Constructed from beautifully mellow ‘Guiting Yellow’ stone and distinguished by Jacobean mullions and gables, the house is situated in a hollow and surrounded by breathtaking parkland. Inside, much of the furniture has been in the house since its creation, including a Charles I shuffleboard table. We are surprised when, during a inspection of a collection of curiosities, a modest rectangle of dark marble reveals itself to have been a

piece of Hitler’s desk from the Berlin Chancellery, portioned up amongst the victorious Allies and acquired by Ian Fleming, the husband of Lord Wemyss’ cousin Ann Charteris. ‘The estate goes back to 715, we think,’ says Lord Wemyss in the AGAwarmth of the kitchen, buttering up a slice of homemade soda bread that he takes with a cup of Japanese rice tea. ‘It was given to Tewkesbury Abbey by Odo and Dodo, two Saxons who lived in the Winchcombe area. Then in 1533 it was leased to Richard Tracy. Richard had a bee in his bonnet about the fact his father was declared to be a heretic after he was already dead, his body being dug up and burnt. So he became friendly with Thomas Cromwell, who was leading an anti-monastic campaign at the time. Cromwell – who was so powerful at that point - suggested the abbey lease the land to Richard and it was done within four days of Cromwell writing the letter.’ He marvels at the expediency of this: ‘You could hardly do something like that today, even with the Internet…’ It happens that a crew have recently filmed here for a televised adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Booker-winning Cromwell novel, Wolf Hall. It is fitting that that the story of the infamous Thomas Cromwell – the blacksmith’s son who became Henry VIII’s most trusted advisor and the chief architect of the dissolution of the monasteries – should include Stanway House: after all, it was Cromwell who delivered it into Tracy hands. ‘It was rather curious… www.cotswold-homes.com


At Home With Lord Wemyss

‘It was rather curious…they had the actor portraying Cromwell here in the Great Hall, being filmed interrogating subjects in Lambeth Palace. I wouldn’t be sitting here today if it wasn’t for Cromwell.’ they had the actor portraying Cromwell here in the Great Hall, being filmed interrogating suspects in Lambeth Palace. I wouldn’t be sitting here today if it wasn’t for Cromwell.’ But although Cromwell was later toppled and beheaded in 1540 – the very year after the Abbey of Tewkesbury was dissolved – Richard survived: this in spite of the controversial tracts and dangerous opinions he continued to circulate. Stanway was eventually secured for the Tracys when they purchased the freehold from the crown. ‘My family married what turned out to be the last Tracy, Susan Tracy, in 1771 and she inherited it in 1817. ‘The Tracys were squires. They got an Irish peerage at one point, and became Baronets at one point, knights quite often - but they were never peers in the English parliament. Their roots remained in Gloucestershire really. They were a typical old, honourable, knightly Gloucestershire family, and that’s why they built such a lovely house because they were completely rooted in that home. They had a very ancient lineage – they traced their descent back to Charlemagne, something not very many people could do. To have an old lineage in the 18th century was the one thing you were valued for.’ Under the Tracys and their descendants, Stanway House withstood the subsequent Civil War and the tumultuous 20th century; its Jacobean grandeur, 18th century water garden (most likely designed by Charles Bridgeman) and attractive situation fostering a uniquely peaceful atmosphere. Does Lord Wemyss enjoy losing himself in the annals of his family history? ‘I find out as much about family history as I can. One of the best sources we have is the from a daughter of the house, Anne Tracy, who wrote a diary between1723-25 that gives you a very good picture of what life was like. The excitements were things like somebody you might marry coming over so you might go for a walk through the fields together, or somebody else giving birth to a baby in a barn. There was a lot of sewing. When it was summer you went down into the cellar to get cool – you didn’t shed your clothes and hop into a bikini, you kept them on and went and sat in the cellar.’ The 20th century witnessed the arrival of some rather noteworthy houseguests. Peter Pan author J.M Barrie summered at Stanway House with a troupe of his illustrious friends for six weeks every year between 1923-1932 (his literary 10

Cotswold Homes Magazine

cricket team, the Allahakbarries, famously included Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, H.G. Wells, A.A. Milne and G.K. Chesterton). ‘H.G. Wells stayed here, as did L.P. Hartley, author of The Go Between. Edith Wharton was here once or twice, and David Cecil, who wrote books about Lord Melbourne. Barrie was an insomniac and David Cecil used to have to amuse him for an hour or two every night or he’d end up groaning, making these strange noises. He had a terrible cough that went on the whole time, particularly at night. His room was situated at the corner of two long corridors so his coughs would be heard in every bedroom. ‘But he was very generous. The staff loved him because he left big tips, and in many ways he saved the house by renting it every year. He kept the show on the road for just over ten years. In 1924 he bowled a hat trick and built the cricket pavilion in ’25 to commemorate it with.’ Tea finished, we take a stroll around the grounds. Of particular note is the Egyptian-styled memorial stela to Lord Weymss’ aunt, Helen Murray, complete with hieroglyphic inscriptions – a prayer for the deceased - and a symbolic doorway to allow her spirit passage in and out. It is a

beautifully crafted monument, and one that has required no small amount of research to create. ‘My aunt was an Egyptologist of sorts,’ says Lord Wemyss. ‘She came from Capetown and was in coastal artillery in the war. They had a lot of women spotting for the 9.2 inch guns they had around Capetown. She rose to be a staff sergeant: she was the sweetest, mildest, frailest aunt that you could imagine ever being a staff sergeant. ‘In order to write [her prayer] I had to learn quite a lot about hieroglyphs. But it is the most charming language ever invented, so clever and rooted in its countryside. Most of the objects represented are things you find on the farm – the ribcage of an ox for instance. The symbol for beauty is actually the windpipe and lungs of an ox. By using a repulsive object to symbolise beauty, or sort of unite the beautiful and the ugly. Farm instruments represent sublime concepts. The thing you feared most if you were an Egyptian was a dog digging up your mummy and ending your afterlife, so you make the dog-headed god Anubis the guardian of your cemetery. It’s a clever way of going about things and they were a brilliant people.’ ‘They had about 770 signs and we’ve only got 26.

At Home With Lord Wemyss

And all their myths are woven into the language: they had a completely consistent worldview, no loose edges. And their whole life would be spent preparing for the afterlife.’ Onto the canal, where that enormous fountain abruptly gushes into life: a single jet, two inch nozzle creates a magnificent plume capable of reaching up to 300 feet into the sky. Since the opening in 2004 it has been an understandably popular addition to the grounds, and it is certainly a talking point. ‘It is the tallest fountain in Britain, and the tallest fountain in the European Union because the fountain in Geneva that is much taller is not in the EU. It’s about the only reason I know I have for wanting the EU to exist,’ Lord Wemyss laughs. ‘And it’s not a very good reason.’ ‘This fountain is never the same for two seconds. It is always on the move.’ This extraordinary fountain is driven through a 2km long pipe leading from a 100,000-gallon reservoir situated 530 feet above the canal. When the wind catches the plume it carries the water out into a curtain of rippling mist. Wherever did they get the idea to have such a thing put in?

‘The idea of putting the canal back was mine, based on a painting displayed in the hall. The architect Paul Edwards suggested we put in a fountain behind the pyramid, so we made some minor adjustments to a small pipe and got a seventy-foot fountain. The problem was it drained the pond behind the fountain when you turned it on, so I was trying to think of a solution…’ ‘It happens that the gods were kind, because a sheep urinated in the spring we were providing a water company…Suddenly all the water they were previously taking away was made available for our fountain, and it was all thanks to one sheep.’ It’s a funny old world when you think about it. No letter from scheming Cromwell, no Stanway House as we know it; a sheep piddling in the water eventually births the world’s biggest gravity fountain. ‘That’s history for you,’ says Lord Wemyss. Here at Stanway House, many things seem possible. Find out more at www.stanwayfountain.co.uk . Stanway House opens on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2.00 – 5.00pm in June, July and August



Cowley Manor

Celebrate at Cowley Manor in the Cotswolds ... Cowley Manor is a contemporary, country house hotel that sits in the glorious Cotswold countryside surrounded by rolling parkland, woods and meadows. The gardens feature several natural springs, a series of lakes and Victorian cascades. Cowley Manor and its award-winning design and architecture combined to pioneer a new wave of country house hotels. With emphasis on comfort, service and very few rules, Cowley Manor is the ideal place to relax, unwind and indulge in the heart of the British countryside. From small and intimate gatherings to large and opulent parties, we have the space and flexibility to accommodate a wide range of events. Contact our dedicated events team, who will be happy to help you with your next celebration or gathering.

Cowley Manor, Cowley nr Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL53 9NL +44 (0) 1242 870 900 events@cowleymanor.com www.cowleymanor.com 12

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CoWLey mAnor



Royal ShakeSpeaRe Company

The Royal Shakespeare Company presents

LOVE’S LABOUR’S LOST LOVE’S LABOUR’S WON SHAKESPEARE’S TWO GREAT ROMANTIC COMODIES EXPLORE LOVE, LIFE AND LOSS WITHIN A ‘RAVISHINGLY BEAUTIFUL’ COUNTRY ESTATE, SET DURING THE YEARS BEFORE AND AFTER THE GREAT WAR This season, the Royal Shakespeare Company is presenting a double bill of Love’s Labour’s Lost and Love’s Labour’s Won (which you may already know as Much Ado About Nothing, but more on that later) as part of its own imaginative centenary commemorations. Showing from September 2014 until March 2015, at The Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, the two productions cleverly present two of Shakespeare’s most brilliant comedies as portraits of love and life both before and after the war to end all wars. Inspired by Charlecote Park – an estate that lies just five miles outside of Shakespeare’s birthplace and home, Stratford-upon-Avon – the RSC are bringing the beautiful country home into the theatre as a backdrop to the two stories.Though the stately setting (and indeed the cast) will remain largely unchanged between the plays, the changes wrought by conflict and the turbulent birth of a new world will be only too apparent. Also featuring this season will be a new play by Phil Porter, The Christmas Truce, which remembers the famous festive respite in the fighting between English and German troops on the frontline 100 years ago (Performances from November 2014 to January 2015). Here director Christopher Luscombe reveals the inspiration behind connecting these two superlatively emotive Shakespeare comedies with historic events.

“Showing from September 2014 until March 2015, the two productions cleverly present two of Shakespeare’s most brilliant comedies as portraits of love and life both before and after the war to end all wars.” Photographs of Edward Bennett and Michelle Terry at Charlecote Park 14

Cotswold Homes Magazine

Royal Shakespeare Company

The plan is to transform the Royal Shakespeare Theatre stage into an English stately home. Both plays take place on an estate. As for characters, there’s the family that live there and visitors to the house parties that go on.

Director Christopher Luscombe on Love’s Labour’s Lost and Love’s Labour’s Won On setting the two plays in pre-war and post-war period: ‘When I was asked to do these two shows, artistic director Gregory Doran put it to me that it might be interesting to put them either side of WWI, because we’re commemorating the war this year. But not only that – the plays really do seem to suit that period very, very well. There’s something idyllic and golden and beautiful in the world of Love’s Labour’s Lost. Everything seems to be perfect – rather in the manner of the Edwardian summer that we like to imagine was perfect before the war came along.The dark side of the play, at the end – when the princess learns of her father’s death – seems very much in keeping with the ominous early days off the war with the men going off to fight. And then there are the men coming back from war in Much Ado About Nothing, and that of course fits perfectly with that world of 1918-1919, and the beginning of the Bright Young Things and a new social order. Everything has changed. The plan is to stage the plays at an English stately home. Both plays take place on an estate. As for characters, there’s the family that live there and visitors to the house parties that go on. The fabric of the building will remain the same for both plays, but fashions and music – they all change. So hemlines and hair go up for the ladies and they look completely different. It’s only a few years apart, but everything really did change at that time.’ www.cotswold-homes.com


Royal ShakeSpeaRe Company

Photographs of Edward Bennett and Michelle Terry at Charlecote Park

On the decision to link the two plays:

The two plays are being linked together in a really interesting way, I think. Shakespeare did write a play (we believe) called Love’s Labour’s Won. And nobody really knows what this play is. Is it possibly a lost play?

The two plays are being linked together in a really interesting way, I think. Shakespeare did write a play (we believe) called Love’s Labour’s Won. And nobody really knows what this play is. Is it possibly a lost play? Or is it simply one of his well-known plays under a different title, in the same way that Twelfth Night also has the title What You Will? We’ve decided to be very brave and bold and call Much Ado About Nothing [by the name of] Love’s Labour’s Won. So we’re pairing these two plays, but be reassured that Love’s Labour’s Won is the play you know and love as Much Ado About Nothing.

On modelling the setting on a real country estate: Once we’d decided to set the plays either side of


Cotswold Homes Magazine

the Great War, it seemed an easy step to imagine them both taking place in an English stately home. I was keen to place them in the vicinity of Stratford, as that’s where we’ll be performing. I immediately thought of Charlecote, which I used to visit when I was an actor with the RSC in the 1990s. Going back to Charlecote with the designer, Simon Higlett, we were both reminded that it is of course an Elizabethan house, which was remodelled in the 19th Century, so although it feels like the home of an Edwardian family, it also has links with Shakespeare’s own time. Indeed, there’s the much-loved story of him poaching deer there as a young man. The estate fits the plays like a glove, and we’ll be recreating so many of its magnificent features - the gatehouse, the deer park, the billiard room, the library,

Royal ShakeSpeaRe Company


TICKIN See E paG TS e 5

Love's Labour's Lost

Love's Labour's Won

Set in the summer of 1914, love and merriment ensue in Shakespeare’s sparkling comedy, before the lives of the blissfully unaware lovers are about to be utterly transformed by the war to end all wars.

Autumn 1918.A group of soldiers return from the trenches. Shakespeare’s comic romance plays out amidst the brittle high spirits of a post-war house party, as youthful passions run riot, lovers are deceived and happiness is threatened – before peace ultimately wins out.


1:15pm OCT 31 NOV 1

NOV 8, 11, 15, 22 13, 20, 31


3, 8, 31


17, 22


12, 26


5, 7, 14, 19, 21,28



MAR 7, 12, 14

1pm the church - we’re even setting a scene up on the roof! It’s wonderfully helpful to the actors to be able to visit the property - everything suddenly seems so much more real. And of course, Charlecote is ravishingly beautiful - appropriate for two of Shakespeare’s great romantic comedies.

OCT 15

7:15pm SEP

23, 24, 25, 26,27

OCT 8, 10, 14, 17, 21,22, 23, 24, 27, 28 NOV 3, 4, 7, 10, 14,15, 17, 21 DEC

12, 20, 30


1, 6, 7, 16, 20,21, 26


2, 3, 4, 7, 9, 11,13, 18, 21, 27

MAR 6, 7, 11, 13


OCT 15

7:15pm OCT 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, 11,13, 16, 18, 20, 25,29, 30, 31

NOV 1, 5, 6, 8, 11,12, 13, 18, 19, 20, 22 DEC

13, 15, 22


2, 8, 12, 13, 17,19, 22, 23, 30


5, 6, 12, 14, 16,17, 19, 20, 23, 24,25, 26, 28

MAR 2, 4, 5, 9, 10,12, 14

On what the audience can expect from the productions: I’ll tell you what I can guarantee from these two shows – they are very funny, very glamorous, and they’re really moving. There’s a lot of humour in them - lots of wit, some real funny stuff. They deal with big emotions and I think they will take people on quite the journey. But above all, I think people will have fun.



Cotswold Homes Goes Global From September, everyone can now download the Cotswold Homes Magazine App for free! Full of a wonderful wealth of articles on our rich North Cotswold history, culture and lifestyle, including the very best of local homes currently on the market, this much loved quarterly magazine is now available to read across the world. Editor Matt Dicks says: "We know that the Cotswolds are beloved by many ex-pat and Englishspeaking communities like Malta, South Africa and Dubai and of course, by tourists from Japan, America and Australia - when www.cotswold-homes. com was launched simply as a local property portal in June 2000, the website generated an astonishing million hits a month from 80 countries around the world, so we expect that our new app will be equally popular!" 18

Cotswold Homes Magazine

The Play’s The Thing! Behind the Scenes at the RSC - Special Edition October 2014

Cotswold Homes goes back-stage to talk to the director of Love’s Labour’s Lost and Love’s Labour’s Won, set in Downton-esque splendour at the nearby stately home of Charlecote Park, and discovers the real-life stories that inspired The Christmas Truce, one memorable Christmas Eve in the trenches, experienced by the local boys of the Warwickshire Regiment. www.cotswold-homes.com


ThomaSIna mIeRS

Quickfire in the Kitchen with Thomasina Miers

Photography © Tara Fisher

Thomasina ‘Tommi’ Miers is a chef, presenter and writer. She is the founder of the Wahaca chain of Mexican street food restaurants, having been strongly inFLuenced by the gap year she spent travelling in Mexico. Tommi won Masterchef in 2005, wowing judges Greg Wallace and John Torode with her bold cooking. She is has presented shows such as Wild Gourmets and Mexican Food Made Simple and is the author of multiple books including Cook: Smart Seasonal Recipes for Hungry People. What inspired you to be a chef?

and eat and laze around, enjoying just hanging out.

I have always cooked since I was a small girl. I wasn’t very good at playing with toys, so I played with food instead, watching what my mother did and being taught all the building blocks of staple cooking.

Did you grow up in the Cotswolds? What do you love about visiting here?

Your parents live in the beautiful village of Guiting Power here in the Cotswolds.When you come and visit where, if anywhere, do you like to eat? I love the Kingham Plough, have yet to go to the Wild Rabbit and think Le Champignon Sauvage do really wonderful things with local ingredients. Mainly though we tend to cook when I’m home. I love cooking at the weekends and on holidays and there are so many wonderful delis and farm shops in Gloucestershire that we are really spoilt for ingredients. So we cook


Cotswold Homes Magazine

My grandparents have always lived in the Cotswolds so I did much of my growing up here. I have always loved going round the wonderful houses too. Chastleton, Stanway, Sezincote – there is so much to see, so much glorious design and beautiful gardens. I love being in the countryside and feel the need for regular injections of trees, rolling hills, beautiful landscapes. What do you do to relax? Cook, play with the kids. I used to play tennis, do yoga, swim a lot but I haven’t had much time for that

since babies. I am sure it will all come back! I love reading the weekend papers, that is the biggest treat, or curl up in front of a boxset. Did your parents have any influence on your desire to experiment with food and different flavours? Yes, definitely. I learnt how to cook from my mother who always made us delicious food when growing up. And my father loved good food too. Special treats invariably involved going to a good butcher/ fishmonger and getting something really delicious to cook rather than going out to a restaurant. You have a twin brother and a sister.Are they as creative and ‘foodie’ as you? They love their food. It is probably fair to say that

ThomaSIna mIeRS

How do find time to juggle family life and such a hectic schedule with all your restaurants and marketing? I don’t know! I am constantly trying to perfect the work-life balance. I think it’s the fate of all working mothers… Do you have any particular tips for people wanting to ‘dabble’ in Mexican cooking? What would you suggest they conquer the art of first? Salsas. Mexican food is all about a good salsa. Fresh, healthy and full of zingy flavour. Get on the internet, buy a few chillies and start experimenting. Are there any particular recipes of flavours you think people should try this autumn? Prawn tostadas with avocado and spicy peanut oil, linguine with a deliciously spicy pumpkin seed pesto (good for Halloween) and Middle Eastern rose-scented, falling apart lamb – and maybe dark chocolate, chilli caramel and macadamia nut tart. How often do you visit Mexico? Once or twice a year at least in order to learn more and gather more inspiration. Have you taken your two girls?

I love cooking at the weekends and on holidays and there are so many wonderful delis and farm shops in Gloucestershire that we are really spoilt for ingredients. So we cook and eat and laze around, enjoying just hanging out.

Tati came when she was 10 months but it’s high time we all went there on holiday! They’ve become accustomed to Mexican food – they eat it when they come into Wahaca with me and sometimes at home too. What do you think is the best way to inspire children to cook? Getting them trying lots of different flavours as early as possible. I don’t think I ever really cooked them separate food, apart from when weaning them of course. I always just give them food that we’re eating (without the salt of course). Who does the cooking at home?

they are not quite so obsessed with it as I am but they do love it.

My parents, of course! I think they were dancing at a party at the time…

…Erm, me? Sometimes my husband, who is a brilliant bread maker, but largely me.

Did you have a chance to travel much as a child? Mexico in particular?

What are your current projects?

You have a few products that have made it to the supermarket shelves. Can we expect any more in the near future?

No, I did virtually no travelling as a child, which is why that first trip to Mexico, aged 18, was such an eye-opener.

I am working on a new column idea, working on a TV series idea to travel the world, investigating chillies, working on new dishes for the menu at Wahaca and working out if I’ve any time leftover to start getting some hobbies!

Who suggested that you apply to Masterchef? Nobody. I did it in secret, having spied the advertisement in a magazine by chance. I was too embarrassed to tell anyone. Who was the first person you told when you realised you had won?

We can see that you have been involved in the opening of DF Mexico…is this entirely your idea? I dreamt up DF Mexico with my business partner, Mark Selby, and our amazing team at Wahaca, inspired by a particularly brilliant trip to Chicago and New York where we tried the most amazing food.

Yes! I certainly hope so. Where is the best place to pick up one of your fabulous cook books? I hope most good book shops. Rupert Pendered at the post office in Guiting Power is always amazing at stocking my books. Online too I think. Thank you,Thomasina. Readers, see some of Thomasina’s recipes overleaf!



ThomaSIna mIeRS

Linguine with a deliciously spicy pumpkin seed pesto Pumpkin seeds are an important source of protein and good essential oils, and have long been a staple of Mexican cuisine: the Aztecs and Mixtecs would grind them down with spices and chillies to make rich, exotic sauces. This is my simple version; it works beautifully with pasta and is also delicious with grilled chicken or poussin. Heat a large, heavy-bottomed frying pan over a high heat. Place the whole tomato, garlic cloves and chilli in the pan and dry roast until they are blackened, blistered and soft. The tomato will take a little longer, so fish out the garlic and chilli first as they are cooked (about 5–10 minutes). Slip the skins off the garlic cloves and cut the chilli in half, removing and discarding the stem, seeds and inner veins.

1 large, very ripe tomato 3 garlic cloves, skins on 1 habanero/Scotch bonnet chilli 75g pumpkin seeds 1 tbsp fresh oregano leaves a large handful of coriander leaves, roughly chopped 1 tsp salt 1 small shallot, peeled and roughly chopped 70g pecorino, freshly grated, plus more for serving Juice and zest of ½ lime Juice and zest of ½ orange 120ml extra virgin olive oil 300g linguine



Meanwhile, toast the pumpkin seeds in another dry frying pan until they become toasted all over and start to ‘pop’. Blitz the pumpkin seeds with the herbs and salt in a food processor and then add the tomato, garlic, chilli, shallot and pecorino and blitz again. Finally add the citrus juices, zest and olive oil and blitz to a pesto. Cook the pasta until al dente in plenty of wellsalted boiling water and drain, reserving the cooking water. Toss the pasta with the pesto,

followed by 2–3 tablespoons of the reserved cooking water. Allow to sit for a minute or two and add a few tablespoons more water if needed to loosen the pasta. This stops it from becoming dry when you get it to the table. Serve with lots of freshly grated pecorino and, if you like, a green salad.

Middle Eastern rose-scented, falling apart lamb Lamb is always such a treat and although I love lamb chops or a leg still pink and juicy in the middle, there is something irresistible about a shoulder cooked long and slow until it is falling apart and melting in its own juices. This voluptuous dish is made for the weekend, when all you want to do is throw a joint in the oven and not worry too much about the timings. The rich fLavour of lamb lends itself perfectly to exotic, warm Middle Eastern spices. Trim the shoulder of lamb of its outside layer of fat and make incisions all over the flesh. The fat is normally dry and comes away easily with a knife. Cut the heads of garlic in half and slip the cloves from one of the halves out of their skins into a pestle and mortar, leaving the remaining 3

1 shoulder of lamb (about 2kg) 2 heads of garlic 2 tsp cumin seeds 2.5cm cinnamon stick 1 tbsp coriander seeds 1 tbsp sea salt 3 tbsp Harissa 1 lemon, zested and quartered 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 1 tbsp rose syrup (optional) 1 kg acorn squash, peeled and cut into (roughly) 2cm chunks 500ml dry white wine


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halves for later. Heat the spices in a dry frying pan for a minute or two to bring out their flavour and then add to the pestle and mortar with the salt. Grind to a rough paste before adding the harissa, lemon zest, olive oil and rose syrup, if using. Rub the lamb shoulder with the spice paste and leave to marinate for at least a few hours, preferably overnight. Four hours before you are ready to eat, preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/gas 5. Lay the squash out on a deep baking tray with the lemon quarters and the rest of the garlic and place the lamb on top. Roast for half an hour, then turn the heat down to 130°C/250°F/gas ½, add the wine and continue to cook the lamb for another 3½ hours or until the meat is falling away from the bone and smells enticing. Serve with pilau rice and coriander raita.

ThomaSIna mIeRS

Dark chocolate, chilli caramel and macadamia nut tart This is a very naughty play on the fLavours of a Snickers bar with layers of chocolate ganache, wickedly good caramel and toasted nuts. The caramel is really dark and not too sweet, fLavoured with a hint of chilli and sea salt for a mysterious character. You will need a 30cm round cake tin (or two 20cm round cake tins), brushed with melted butter, and a sugar thermometer



1 quantity of pastry recipe (see below) or 375g ready-made all-butter shortcrust pastry 1 egg white

For the chilli caramel 50g macadamia nuts ½ tsp chilli flakes 150g caster sugar 50g unsalted butter 75g soft brown sugar 3 large tablespoons golden syrup 150g crème fraiche ¼–½ tsp sea salt

For the chocolate ganache 2 eggs plus 2 egg yolks 70g caster sugar 300g dark chocolate, broken into small even-sized pieces 200g unsalted butter, diced 60g flour A few tablespoons of cream, if needed

Pastry recipe For the pastry 200g plain flour 40g icing sugar 60g unsalted butter (cold), diced 60g lard, diced 1 egg, separated To make the pastry, place the flour, sugar, butter and lard into a food processor and pulse a few times until the butter vanishes into the flour. Add the egg yolk and pulse again. In a separate bowl, lightly beat the egg white. Save a third to brush the pastry case and whizz the rest into the mixture, little by little, until the pastry comes together into a ball. You may need to add up to a tablespoon of ice cold water to bind the pastry. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for at least an hour.

Roll the pastry 2–3mm thick to fill the cake tin and lift it onto the tin. Press down firmly into the sides and corners of the tin, prick all over with a fork and trim away the excess pastry, allowing for a 1cm overhang. Freeze for half an hour or chill in the fridge for up to a day.

except the nuts, and keep stirring to combine until the mixture has reached 110°C. Remove from the heat and stir in the nuts.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Press some kitchen foil weighed down with baking beans inside the cake tin, ensuring that you fully cover the pastry. Blind bake for 25 minutes before removing the baking beans and cutting away the pastry overhang. Brush the pastry with a lightly beaten egg white and bake for another 5–10 minutes until the pastry is pale golden.

Whisk the eggs with the sugar until light and fluffy. Place the broken chocolate and the butter in a heatproof bowl over, but not touching, a pan of simmering water. When the chocolate has melted into the butter, fold in the eggs and flour. If the chocolate splits – which it will do if you have over-heated it – beat in a few tablespoons of cold cream.

Turn the oven down to 130°C/250°F/gas ½. Heat the macadamia nuts until they are lightly toasted, then roughly chop them. Crumble the chilli into a saucepan with the caster sugar and 25ml water and place over a medium-high heat until the sugar starts to darken in patches. Swirl the sugar around to mix the dark bits into the lighter ones without stirring. Once the sugar has turned a very dark reddish brown (just before it starts smoking and turning black), add the butter and stir to mix in. Then add the rest of the caramel ingredients,

Spoon enough caramel to just cover the bottom of the tin. Pour over the molten chocolate, bake in the oven for 5–10 minutes until just set, then remove from the oven and leave to cool to room temperature. Serve with lashings of crème fraiche or double cream.

For the ganache, preheat the oven to 170°C/335°F/gas 3.

Tip – Making pastry is much, much easier than it sounds and unbelievably quick, whizzed up in moments in a food processor ready to rest in the fridge for an hour, or a few days, if needed.

All recipes © Thomasina Miers. Recipe taken from Chilli Notes by Thomasina Miers (Hodder & Stoughton £25)




Restaurateur and The Great British Menu star Emily Watkins on Heston Blumenthal’s kitchen, running the Kingham Plough and her daring escape to Florence in pursuit of a cookery dream… When was the first flowering of your love for cookery? I guess I’ve always been quite greedy. As a child, my sisters and I all wanted to cook and get involved. Generally, I just enjoy eating good food – I don’t eat to stop me collapsing from hunger, I eat because I enjoy the taste of food. I love food, always have done. I don’t know why I wanted to be a chef – people often ask me that. I knew very little about the industry, relatively. My mum’s the manager of a country house hotel in Dorset so I was roughly aware of how much it entailed. I remember being asked to prep a box of spinach taller than I was, doing some waitressing. But I was determined to be a chef.

an office job in London like you said – and I just thought no, I’m really bad at this, and the reason I’m bad at it is because I don’t enjoy it. I really want to be a chef, so that’s what I’m going to do.

one of them took pity on me and gave me a job – unpaid at first, but it was absolutely fantastic… partly because I had no idea what they were saying when they shouted at me.

The reason I went to Italy was because I was very aware that if I’d tried such a drastic career change in London - where my friends were all working 9-5 jobs – I was worried I’d fail, because I would not want to commit to the hours or that lifestyle. It is a totally different way of life. And with the class system being what it was, I knew if I walked into the kitchen as a girl from a boarding school not knowing anything they’d just tear me to shreds, and I was worried that would make me not want to stick it out.

So you didn’t speak a word of Italian at all – did you pick it up in the kitchen?

So I went to Michelin guide and went to the restaurants I really wanted to work at. Eventually

Yeah, and by the end of my time there I did speak Italian fluently. Although…we had a big glass-fronted kitchen and the customers quite frequently would come up to talk to the chefs, and the boys in the kitchen would always send them to me and sit there crying with laughter while this girl – who had learnt the language in a kitchen amongst blokes from many different regions – would be using Sicilian slang and upperclass Venetian language, speaking entirely from a bloke’s point of view.

But you had quite an interesting path to getting there, didn’t you? You quit an office job and just hopped on a flight to Florence looking for restaurant work – what was that like? And why Italy? I felt very naïve. Interestingly, I went back to my sixth form college the other day to give a talk about a career as a chef, which I’d been invited to do. I found that quite ironic, as when I’d mentioned that I wanted to be a chef at school they’d just laughed at me – ‘No, come on, what do you really want to do?’ So I went off to university and got a degree in business, I got 26

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I remember Heston (who didn’t often give bollockings unless it was justified) giving me a bollocking because there was a slight break in the salmon skin (which is so incredibly delicate) there and there and it was like: ‘But the fish is twice the size of the board! It’s going to break!’


Did you learn anything in Italy that has remained within your cooking philosophy? Lots. The Italians – and I guess this is what has instilled in me this great passion for using whatever local produce is available – they are so passionate about their produce, their locality, their heritage. It tastes amazing. They are all about the taste and flavour and freshness and seasonality. How did you go from Florence to working in the Fat Duck with Heston Blumenthal? Basically I grew up in Italy - they gave me a massive opportunity. I started off in the pastry section and worked my way around the whole kitchen. After two and a half, three years into it I started getting itchy feet and thinking about my

next move. I talked to my head chef and he said: ‘Well, where would your dream job be?’ and I said ‘The Fat Duck.’ So he said: ‘Well, try.’ So I wrote to them and got a call back saying they had a chef de partie role available, but I’d have to come over for a trial the next week. So I took a day off, flew out for the trial, got the job, returned to Italy, handed in my notice, left a week later. Great opportunity, great timing. What was the kitchen ethos like at the Fat Duck? Everyone was there for one reason: to do it right and to learn. There are no second chances at that level. There was no doubt in your mind that if something was not perfect, it wasn’t going out.

We worked extremely hard, but it was an exciting moment to be there. We got the third Michelin star, we got the best restaurant in the world for the first time… The kitchen then was completely different to the kitchen as it is now. There were ten of us working and the kitchen was small, minute. Because of the size of the kitchen and the amount of chefs in it, your chopping board is only so big. So you’re prepping everything from fresh, including these whole salmon – I remember Heston (who didn’t often give bollockings unless it was justified) giving me a bollocking because there was a slight break in the salmon skin (which is so incredibly delicate) here and there and it was like: ‘But the fish is twice the size of the board! It’s going to break!’ www.cotswold-homes.com



attention that they need and that I want to give them – it is quite obvious when I haven’t spent enough time with them. What do you consider the greatest compliment you’ve been paid in your career thus far? Obviously getting into the 100 Best Restaurants has been fantastic, really chuffed with that. But the biggest thing, I think, is when customers come back. When people stop you and say they’ve had a great time, from the scones at breakfast through to dinner, and that they’ve booked again, that’s great. When even on a Tuesday night the place is full and buzzing, people relaxing after wine and a good meal – that’s amazing. Is there a dish that you associate with a fond memory?

... I knew if I walked into the kitchen as a girl from a boarding school not knowing anything they’d just tear me to shreds, and I was worried that would make me not want to stick it out.

But it was great. We all just lived it – there at six in the morning, leaving God-knows-when at night (though to be honest I still do that here). It was madness, insane, but it was really cool. We were grafting - when we did it we were running three menus, but now there’s only the tasting menu and there’s like forty chefs with a whole building of prep areas, whereas we had to do the whole lot! Tell us about opening the Kingham Plough… were there many challenges transitioning from chef to business owner? Yes. I’d been a chef for years, but had no idea how to run a business. And it’s not just a restaurant – we’ve got the pub side of it and the bedrooms, too: essentially three businesses in one. My business partner had about as much knowledge as I did, which is to say: not as much as we thought we did. On the day the doors opened, we realised there was quite a lot more. We were very lucky in that Simon Davis wrote a very nice review about us in the Evening Standard very early on, which was fantastic. It brought a lot of people (and other reviewers) in. But the first year was tough. I only had a commis chef to 28

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begin with. There were people coming in having read the reviews, but there was no front of house manager, nothing like that – we did get some slatings for our service, justifiably, because we just didn’t have the staff, even though we were trying to recruit (and not having enough hours in the day to do the recruiting). So we’ve now grown. We’ve got eight chefs in the team, and I’m usually in there. And I’ve now learnt a lot about business – employment, HR. There’s also so many little things to manage: arranging housekeeping, dealing with the florists who do the flowers… You have said that the nature of the beast is that you give your life to the job. Have you managed to strike an acceptable work life balance – particularly in the wake of all the recent publicity? I’ve got better at it. There are times when it really wavers, week to week. Recently we’ve had a fantastic run off the back of The Great British Menu, lots of publicity and people coming in. So I’ve been in the kitchen doing doubles. Our head chef Ben is brilliant at running the kitchen but until we can recruit some more chefs I need to be at a station. It’s difficult giving the children the

Lots, for different reasons. The dish I won with on The Great British Menu – Fight Them On The Beaches [grilled scallops, smoked cockle broth, seaweeds and morels] – that’s one with a lot of memories tied into it! A lot of the desserts tend to be inspired by childhood. At the moment we’ve got an arctic roll-based one. I actually bought [an arctic roll] at the supermarket the other day because I was feeling very nostalgic and you know - they’re truly disgusting! But the one we do isn’t disgusting – I don’t think so, anyway! It’s a dark chocolate and cherry one, so you’ve got a flourless chocolate sponge around the outside so it doesn’t get hard. In the middle you’ve got fresh cherry ice cream with poached cherries dipped in tempered chocolate with cherry syrup… We always have a wellington on the menu (never a beef wellington, though I don’t know why…), but the way we do it is quite original. The reason why I base a lot of our menu on old dishes from the area is because prior to transport and importing and exporting they did rely on local ingredients, so basically if it’s a recipe from the area then it is going to be using indigenous ingredients from the area. That’s a great starting point for me. The Evesham valley has incredibly fertile land and was the biggest producer of wine in Europe in the 1800s. You mentioned before the influx of people that can come when there’s a good review. Now we’re in the ‘Age of the Internet’, word of mouth spreads so much faster. In your opinion have open review sites like Trip Advisor created a healthy culture for restaurants to operate in? You’re only as good as your last service. You only have to have one member of the team be grumpy or not be pulling their weight and it affects the whole service. Every single customer that comes in is a VIP as far as I’m concerned, so it’s a good thing they know that they will be caught out. So it’s a good thing for staff in that respect. It would be arrogant of us not to take on board any comments left for us on Trip Adviser.


However, you do get the odd occasion where you get customers who are clearly not in a good mood when they enter, perhaps because they’ve had a row on the way over. Maybe they don’t speak to each other, stand at the bar and sulk, snap at the waitress and don’t like the table – or any of the others you then show them to. You do your very best to please them, but…That’s the kind of customer who will go onto Trip Advisor and slate us, and I think that kind of review is absolutely unfair, because it’s unjustified…And if you write back and say what you want to say you can come across as a prat. As my husband Miles pointed out, I’d rather respond to the nice reviews: ‘Thank you for coming and hope you come back again,’ because you want those people to return. It’s a difficult one. There are pros and cons. Yes, you can learn from it and yes, it helps me to visualise things when I spend so much time in the kitchen. And I use in when I’m checking out new places to go, so I can’t totally diss it… But I think people give too much weight to it. The thing is every establishment is different, and that’s to the benefit of us as consumers. Places are not going to be suited to everybody, while I’d love everybody to love here – and take it very personally if somebody doesn’t. I actually love that The Wild Rabbit is here, because although we do similar things, the way we do them is very different. Choice means that people can find a place that best suits them. Over the last few years we’ve had a lot of volatile kitchens on television. What kind of kitchen culture gets the best results on the plates? For me it is silence and concentration. The only thing that you should hear is the noise of the cheque machine coming through and you should be listening out for your pan cooking something. You can hear when something is cooked, generally, because it has stopped fizzing or because water’s cooked out. You can hear a lot, and when you’ve got sixty-five things to do in the kitchens – which you do, at all times – it is very important to be using all of your senses. And concentration – you want no distractions so you can see and hear everything that’s going on. If you’ve got your eyes on the chopping board in front of you and you’re listening out for your pans behind you and you see a shadow move past, that’s the larder chef taking his meal out which tells you it’s time to take your plate out…Basically, you need to have your full wits about you. You need also to be listening to whoever’s on the pass, whether that’s me, or my head chef, Ben – it’s like [paying attention to] to the conductor of an orchestra.

being quite polite! Well, perhaps polite isn’t the right word, but it was stressful and when we had to build our own kitchen…No-one had even started prepping and it was 6pm, and we had all those people coming the next day – actually not funny. And we had to build a kitchen! The thing we liked about The Great British Menu was that it wasn’t just about food. Most of you had relatives who fought in the war. Was that a time of reflection for you? Yes, for all of us – we all found out stuff we didn’t know about, or know much about. I mean most of the chefs in the final were like ‘I didn’t really realise I had a grandfather in the Navy who did all these things,’ perhaps because it was never really talked about. And it’s a little bit sad really, because it’s come too late – I don’t think there was anybody there whose grandparents were still alive. And so to realise what they’d done without a whinge or a whine…it was pretty amazing what we’d discovered about what our own families had done, as well as that generation as a whole.

Finally – If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would you choose? Miles and I have talked about this sort of thing and we decided that we’d change the ‘final meal’ into a ‘final week of meals’ (to include transportation by private jet) because my thing about great food is that it is so dependent not just on ingredients but on situation. There’s nothing like eating a dish that is native to that area, because for me it’s about all the sense. When you eat a dish in Thailand – be it a simple curry or bowl of noodles – the flavours are completely different. And you need the heat and the smell and the noise and it’s just amazing. Take that dish and transport it to London, and it doesn’t taste the same. Same thing goes for eating in Italy in the Tuscan hills where there are these fantastic courgette flowers. And sometimes the cooking up there is quite rustic, especially in the little places in the hills, and it just doesn’t work as well anywhere else. But really I could feel like pizza on Monday and fine dining French food on the Tuesday: I just can’t pin it all on one dish.

When you eat a dish in Thailand – be it a simple curry or bowl of noodles – the flavours are completely different. And you need the heat and the smell and the noise and it’s just amazing. Take that dish and transport it to London, and it doesn’t taste the same.

Do you find the pressure that occurs naturally in a kitchen magnified when you’re being filmed by television cameras? Well, when we did the Albert Hall banquet for veterans – talk about stressful. Obviously it is edited to some degree but I think we were all www.cotswold-homes.com


Diary of a Farmer’s Wife

Autumn Anna MacCurrach reflects on the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness Autumn…My second favourite season. After a summer of salads and shorts (though of course I’m not complaining) I do look forward to a few misty mornings, apple crumbles and jumpers. The farming routine changes too – once the cattle are brought in James will be feeding them twice a day, so it’s back to the tractor trundling up and down past the house. And now that our son is on his feet I can look forward to a wrestling match to get him to nursery when all he wants to do is follow the tractor down to the cowshed. The summer season has been excellent, bumper amounts of fruit and veg all around (please, no one give me any more courgettes!) but it’s the hedgerow season that is really exciting (free food, hurray!). What better afternoon activity with the children than picking blackberries to stock the freezer for the coming months? Sloes, too, are plentiful at here at Tagmoor when the season has been good – with a bit of effort and a bottle of gin we’ll have ourselves a delicious little something to snaffle at the end of the day. 32

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I don’t yet know what my husband’s plans for cultivating ahead of drilling next year’s crops will be. Usually it depends on the preceding weather and how wet the ground is. I do, however, quietly dread him having to undertake acres of ploughing. It is such slow progress. Sometimes he can be gone for a twelve-hour day (although often it feels much more like 24), come home exhausted and only have ploughed five acres (just 125 to go, dear!) I may exaggerate slightly, but it is definitely the slowest progress ever. Having said that, there’s nothing like the sight of a ploughed field to know that autumn is on its way - watching the landscape change from my kitchen window is something I will never tire of. Just like I never tire of a small glass of sloe gin by the fire of an autumn evening. For more information on the goings on at Tagmoor Farm, have a look at www.lovemycow. com and www.fieldbarnpark.com In addition to mucking about on the farm and raising three children, Anna also has a farm shop in Bourton on the Water www.toastthecotswolds.com.



On the prehistoric foundations of Adam Henson’s Cotswold Farm Park



It might seem a funny thing to imagine today, but this whole area – in fact, the greater part of South-West England – was once covered by the sea. The shallow, sub-tropical waters were a haven for ancient organisms both big and small, from shellfish and corals to colossal marine reptiles (including the Plesiosaur, a huge snake-necked monster you certainly wouldn’t want in your swimming pool). Over time, the waters receded and sediment became rock – the very honey-coloured stone that we have quarried to build our dwellings, churches and dry-stone walling with today (‘Oolitic limestone’, as it is known to geologists: Ool meaning egg in Latin, and when viewed under a microscope the rounded grains of our limestone look very egg-like indeed!). So the world-famous Cotswold ‘character’ is very much founded on the remains of a forgotten world – one completely different to our own. And the story of stone is one that’s very important to us farmers – particularly as the alkaline

Only a couple of years ago Megalosaurus footprints were discovered at our neighbours, Huntsmans Quarries. properties of limestone help neutralise acidic soils. The limestone is ground to a fine powder and spread over the acidic areas, helping our crops to grow by enabling them to absorb nutrients more efficiently. It’s a curious meeting of modern farming knowledge and technology with materials hailing from the deepest prehistory. But sometimes we end up brushing up against the past in more dramatic ways.You see, before all that sea sediment solidified, it was very loose and impressionable – enough to preserve, for all time, the gigantic footprints of the now extinct beasts that once wandered across it…beasts including the famous spiky-tailed, well-armoured Stegosaurus (a creature all children will recognise) and the carnivorous Megalosaurus – the very first dinosaur to be named. Only a couple of years ago Megalosaurus footprints were discovered at our neighbours,

Huntsmans Quarries. That was a very exciting day for the park, as it proved, beyond all doubt, that these incredible animals reigned over our land for millions of years. Word has it that there are still dinosaurs at the Cotswold Farm Park. Of course, they look a little different these days: scientists say that chickens are amongst the oldest surviving relatives of dinosaurs (and indeed, recent research suggests that certain dinosaurs may have a few more feathers than previously thought). Don’t believe us? Take a look at their feet next time you’re at the park, and then check out a Megalosaurus footprint. Then be glad you’re living in the time of chickens.

Visit www.cotswoldfarmpark.co.uk for more information on the Farm Park – or pop over to the park and enjoy our Jurassic Dig! www.cotswold-homes.com


Cheltenham Racecourse



After almost six months, racing returns at Cheltenham Racecourse, with The Showcase meeting taking place on Friday 17th and Saturday 18th October 2014.

To get the season back in full swing, the leading Jump trainers, jockeys and owners will return to the Home of Jump racing for two days of action. There will be seven races each day, as well as the traditional, additional Showcase activities, so racegoers will be able to learn a little more about the sport of horseracing. For the first time, the season opener will also showcase all that is great about the local region to Cheltenham, the Cotswolds.The racecourse sits in the heart of the Cotswolds and there are many amazing elements of the region that will be celebrated in The Centaur on both days.There will be a food and drink zone, showcasing local producers and manufactures, a local art exhibition 34

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and demonstrations of one of the local, traditional skills, dry stone walling. In addition, the launch of MONOPOLY:The Cheltenham Edition will take place at the racecourse on the opening day. Cheltenham Racecourse has changed significantly since it shut its doors at the end of April. Works for the ÂŁ45 million grandstand development will be well underway, and the newly refurbished Weighing Room will be in use at The Showcase. The new horsewalk, between the paddock and the racecourse, will also be operational at The Showcase. Over the autumn months, two new bars will be opened, the See You Then Bar and a bar underneath, which will serve tapas food. Both of these are situated at the top of the paddock. Over

the winter, another area at the top of the paddock will be opened, with a betting shop, with a terrace above it, overlooking the paddock.There will be tours around the racecourse so that people can see the changes that have already been completed and understand those to come, as the remaining building works progress over the next 18 months. All other facilities on site, such as The Centaur, private boxes, Hall of Fame, North Entrance, the Arkle Bar and the Mandarin Restaurant will be in use as normal. To book tickets visit www.cheltenham.co.uk or call 0844 579 3003.Tickets start at just ÂŁ9 when booked in advance* *Best Mate enclosure.


Jonjo & Jacqui O’Neill at last year’s Showcase

For the first time, the season opener will also showcase all that is great about the local region, the Cotswolds

Lac Fontana – winner of the Maiden Hurdle on Friday of The Showcase in 2013



Cheltenham Racecourse


CHELTENHAM RACECOURSE Cheltenham Racecourse is situated in Prestbury on the outskirts of the historic spa town of Cheltenham. The Home of Jump Racing, Cheltenham Racecourse is the venue for the world’s pre-eminent Jump Racing meeting, The Festival, which takes place in March every year. Set against the beautiful backdrop of the Cotswolds, Cheltenham Racecourse is a stunning natural amphitheatre and offers the highestquality action throughout the Jump season. Cheltenham has been voted Britain’s Racecourse of the Year for the last 10 years by members of 36

Cotswold Homes Magazine

the Racegoers Club. Please find more details at www.cheltenham.co.uk and through Twitter (@ CheltenhamRaces) and Facebook www.facebook. com/thehomeofjumpracing Cheltenham Racecourse is part of The Jockey Club, which has been at the heart of British racing for more than 260 years. Today the largest commercial group in the sport, The Jockey Club runs the largest racecourse group in the UK by turnover (2012: £142.1m), courses (15) including those at Aintree, Cheltenham, Epsom Downs

... Cheltenham Racecourse is a stunning natural amphitheatre and offers the highest-quality action throughout the Jump season.






Cheltenham Racecourse is set to open a refurbished bar named after three-time champion hurdler See You Then, the horse that provided top trainer Nicky Henderson with his first Cheltenham Festival winner. and Newmarket, attendances (2012: 1.8m), total prize money (2012: £35.3m), contribution to prize money (2012: £16.5m) and quality racing (Group and Graded races); more than 3,000 acres of world-class training grounds in Newmarket and Lambourn; The National Stud breeding enterprise and education provider; and the charity for racing’s people in need, Racing Welfare. Governed by Royal Charter, every penny The Jockey Club makes it puts back into British racing. More information is available at www. thejockeyclub.co.uk

Bursting into prominence in the mid-1980s, See You Then died in Italy in 2011, just days before his 32nd birthday and after 21 years of retirement. He was only the fourth horse to win three consecutive Champion Hurdles (years 1985-87) after Hatton’s Grace, Sir Ken and Persian War. Henderson credits See You Then with ‘putting me on the map’. By Henderson’s admission, See You Then was ‘one of the best’ and ‘still at the top of the tree with the greats for me.’ The re-opened bar that bears the champion’s name is only one of the redevelopments at Cheltenham scheduled to complete by Autumn/Winter 2014. Others include the repositioning of the horse walk and the refurbishment of Weighing Room and the area formerly known as Hurdler’s Hall.



saM TWisTon-daVies

National Hunt hero Sam Twiston-Davies signs a second year’s sponsorship deal with local independent estate agency Harrison James & Hardie

Aiden Coleman once told me not to get worked up because, at the end of the day, it is just galloping horses around a field - I have never forgotten that.

The North Cotswold racing fraternity delights in its association with the Twiston-Davies dynasty – local trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies is the only current trainer to have won the Grand National more than once and all five races over Aintree. He has also had thirteen winners at the Cheltenham Festival, most memorably a triple victory in 2010 when Imperial Commander was crowned champion in the Gold Cup, Baby Run won the Foxhunter’s Chase and Pigeon Island came first in the Grand Annual Chase. Sons Sam and Willy have an impressive heritage – mum Cathy was also a fearless eventer and point-topointer - and they have both done their parents proud. Sam was only seventeen and Willy even younger when they each enjoyed successes on Baby Run – Sam at Cheltenham and Willy at Aintree. In April, Sam replaced Daryl Jacob as champion trainer Paul Nicholl’s number one jockey and is now widely considered the biggest future challenger to AP McCoy’s seemingly unassailable supremacy. Meanwhile Willy, who suffered a number of painfully memorable falls in jump racing before changing to the flat, has had great success recently, riding as stable jockey for Mick Channon, spending much of 2014 on the racecourses of Dubai. Sam and Willy attended the local Cotswold School but, at home on Grange Farm in Naunton, they were surrounded by experienced jockeys. “Carl Llewellyn was stable jockey when I was a young boy. He won two Grand Nationals then sat down for breakfast with us before school on Mondays! I learned so much - there’s no way I would be riding as well as I am without my start here. Aiden Coleman once told me not to get worked up because, at the end of the day, it is just galloping horses around a field - I have never forgotten that. At the same time, I spent a lot of the early days trying to prove myself, to show

that I wasn’t just getting rides because of my dad.” What advice has Sam for aspiring jockeys who don’t have such good fortune? “The British Racing School is a great place - expensive but very educational - where you can learn about every stage in a jockey's career, from the basics of riding out to improving and schooling your horses. When you are good enough you will get your license and can ride as an amateur.” Sam may have become a star of the National Hunt circuit but he is still a loyal local lad. Despite being signed by Paul Nicholls he will continue to ride The New One, the top-class hurdler trained by his father and a strong candidate for next year’s Champion Hurdle. Recently, he also agreed another year’s sponsorship with local independent estate agency Harrison James & Hardie, sporting their distinctive purple and white logo whenever possible. Principal Director James von Speyr managed a double-whammy himself when sponsoring one of the opening season’s races at Cheltenham last year, presenting the Fine & Country North Cotswolds’ trophy to Nigel Twiston-Davies and jockey Jamie Bargary, who was riding his first winner at Cheltenham. “I get a real buzz from everything that goes on around the sport of jump racing and have been a member at Cheltenham for many years, so I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to sponsor Sam originally and absolutely delighted to continue for another season, if not longer!” said James. Certainly, the company has benefited massively from all the publicity but Sam readily acknowledges that James’s ongoing support and enthusiasm was the driving factor in his decision to sign for another year. “It’s a great pleasure to be sponsored by a great team,” Sam told Matt Dicks, editor of Cotswold Homes. www.cotswold-homes.com


eQUesTrian LadY

Diary of an Equestrian Lady

ALL THINGS EQUINE Camilla Henderson oers a little insight into how the racing world has shaped her life, leading her to become both an amateur jockey & sport psychologist

Camilla & Sisters with Father Nicky Henderson / Photo Ed Whitaker

Racing will always be part of me. It is very much in my blood: my mother Diana was the first female jockey to ride under rules against men (she even managed to win that race!) and my father Nicky Henderson was a champion amateur jockey back in his day and is now a champion in training National Hunt race horses. He has been at the top for a good few years now. 40

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My sisters and I have all done our own thing going to different universities, choosing diverse career paths. However, our lives in one form or another are still very much grounded in the world of racing and horses. We grew up learning how to ride almost before we could walk on our own two feet. We knew nothing different whilst living in Lambourn: it was

always riding before school and riding after school and helping out in whatever way possible in the yard that stood behind the house. From an early age until eighteen, I competed at National Level Three Day Eventing and did a fair bit of show jumping. I got onto the FEI pony England team and rode at Ballendensisk and various PC & FEI championships at Sansaw Park. From there it was into academia: I then went to study

eQUesTrian LadY

More and more racecourses are now hosting ladies’ days with best-dressed competitions. It is a great way to encourage more people to try out a day at the races: even if you don’t know so much about the horses or the betting, you can always relate to the frolics of fashion ...

The intriguing world of millinery. Photo by Ed Whitaker

I have been point-to-pointing now since I was eighteen years old. In the summer I normally go to Charlie Hill’s yard. This year I have been based at Manton Estate, riding for Brian Meehan. My involvement in racing gives me great pleasure I’m always trying to get friends, clients and work into investing some fun days out at the races, especially if there is a charity function or party afterwards as part of it. There is no better way to raise money and have a good time than at the races with friends.

At Newmarket. Photo by John Hoy

Psychology at Bristol University followed by a Masters in Sport Psychology. My sisters and I are all very different, but we do still try to get together as often as possible. When we do, it’s usually at a racecourse, supporting our father on a Saturday in the winter or at Seven Barrows having a BBQ in the summer. We do not directly work for my father but we are all still mad keen on watching the horses run and helping him look after his owners at the races – and we all still ride in some form or another. One plays polo, one just goes hunting when she feels like it, and I ride the racehorses at home.

I’ve also really loved getting involved in racing fashion, the millinery and trying out fun and different styles. More and more racecourses are now hosting ladies’ days with best-dressed competitions. It is a great way to encourage more people to try out a day at the races: even if you don’t know so much about the horses or the betting, you can always relate to the frolics of fashion – the simple yet irresistible pleasure of getting dressed up and having the very best time with your friends. My great friend Cara Meehan is a milliner and has been so kind over the years, giving me so many hats! In March I somehow managed to win the best-dressed lady at the Cheltenham Festival, winning some great prizes including a lovely weekend spa break with Cara at the Greenway Hotel in Cheltenham. But the racing world is far from all fun and frolics. Every top trainer, jockey and racing professional knows only too well how much of yourself you have to give if you really want to make a go of it. Since finishing my Masters I have been working as

a Sport Psychologist and I’ve been at it for three years now. I am currently finishing off my BPS Stage 2 contract, which will eventually entitle me to chartership status. I have carried out various research projects, including research on the Beijing Olympic Three Day Event Team looking at the relationship between state and trait anxiety and psychological coping strategies adopted. So far I have worked individually with professional and amateur jockeys, event riders, dressage riders, polo players, rowers, motorbike riders and golfers. It really is rewarding work - especially helping jockeys through their rehabilitation programmes, coming back from injury and helping them come back to attain their peak performance on the track. In an exciting development, I have just finished my first season working with Bristol Rugby. I am very much looking forward to the new season ahead: the team will be focusing on getting into the premiership once again. My aims are to become fully contracted to an international team of some sort, to work at the Rio 2016 Olympics. I would like to extend my work in specific sporting areas where Sport Psychology, mental skills and mental intervention take a crucial role in helping athletes become the best they can be. I’m very much looking forward to becoming involved with golf, cricket, tennis and athletics at an international and national level – beyond racing, the world of sport is a broad and fascinating place. If you are at all interested in the world of sport psychology, please do follow me on Facebook and Twitter for more of my insights and articles.

Follow Camilla on twitter @camillahendo, visit her website at www.camillahenderson.co.uk or Facebook page at www.facebook.com/CamillaHendersonSportPerformanceConsultancy



CoTsWoLd CaLendar



THE 12TH TETBURY MUSIC FESTIVAL 2 - 5 OCTOBER Where would you expect to hear Steven Isserlis, Stephen Hough, Paul Lewis, Sarah Connolly or Arcangelo? Perhaps in London, Vienna, Berlin or Edinburgh? But not probably in Tetbury, Gloucestershire. The Patron of the Festival is none other than HRH The Prince of Wales and its Artistic Director is Jonathan Cohen, who took over from Steven Isserlis CBE in 2013. Each year leading instrumentalists and singers fly to Tetbury - previous performers read like a Who's Who of the classical music world. www.tetburymusicfestival.org.uk

OCTOBER CRUCIBLE 2, GLOUCESTER CATHEDRAL 1 SEPTEMBER – 31 OCTOBER A spectacular sculpture exhibition featuring work from many internationally famous artists, supported by Arts Council England. Crucible 2010 exhibited over 70 works of art and attracted 136,000 visitors to the city, generating an enormous boost to the local economy. Crucible2 will have 100 sculptures on display both inside the Cathedral and outside in the grounds of this magnificent building. Free admission. www.gloucestercathedral.org.uk

AMERICAN CLASSIC AUTUMN WEEKEND AT PRESCOTT HILL CLIMB 4 - 5 OCTOBER This Stars and Stripes-coloured weekend features all of the brightest and brashest American automobiles, from Pontiacs, Cadillacs, Mustangs, Chevys to hot rods, Harleys and fast-n-furious choppers. With foot-stomping music from the Bravo Boys and the Demon Drome Wall of Death (some say the oldest Wall of Death in existence), this is high-octane entertainment at its finest. www.prescott-hillclimb.com

THE MAN JESUS AT EVERYMAN THEATRE, CHELTENHAM 5 OCTOBER Simon Callow, one of Britain's best-loved actors, performs this fresh and moving account of biblical stories including the raising of Lazarus, the wedding at Cana and the journey to Jerusalem. His powerful portrayal of the tyrants, traitors and madmen in Jesus’ life asks people of all faiths and none: what sort of a man was able to inspire the history of the world? www.everymantheatre.org.uk

THE TIMES CHELTENHAM LITERATURE FESTIVAL 3 - 12 OCTOBER The attractive spa town of Cheltenham again becomes a haven for lovers of literature. Featuring authors from all walks of life – actors, politicians, novelists, comedians, designers and more – there’s something in the programme for everyone, and always plenty of fun for children, too. This year Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood, Mark Haddon, David Nicholls, Ian Rankin, Mary Beard and Edward St Aubyn are just some of the guest speakers in attendance. Please see the website for the most up-to-date listings. www.cheltenhamfestivals.com/literature 44

Cotswold Homes Magazine

CoTsWoLd CaLendar

STRATFORD-ON-AVON MUSIC FESTIVAL 16 - 25 OCTOBER Featuring a fantastic line-up of artists from the classical, jazz and folk worlds, including Craig Ogden, Guy Johnston, all girl choral ensemble the Mediaeval Baebes and harpist to the Prince of Wales Hannah Stone. Please see the website for the full programme. www.stratfordmusicfestival.com

THE SHOWCASE, CHELTENHAM RACECOURSE 17 - 18 OCTOBER Cheltenham’s season begins with a bang. As the leading horses, jockeys and trainers return to the spiritual Home of Jump racing, The Showcase provides the perfect opportunity to come racing with friends, family and colleagues. As well as all the action on the track, race-goers will also be able to get behind the scenes of ‘The Sport of Kings’. www.cheltenham.co.uk/fixtures/the-showcase/about

NOVEMBER THE OPEN, CHELTENHAM RACECOURSE 14 - 16 NOVEMBER Three days of the best racing that Cheltenham has to offer, and one of the most important meetings in the first half of the Jump season. Be one of the enthusiastic thousands who flock to this exceptionally scenic course, the Home of Jump Racing, to soak up the atmosphere and the thrills and spills of a Cheltenham race day. www.cheltenham.co.uk

THE CIRCUS OF HORRORS, CHELTENHAM TOWN HALL 6 NOVEMBER Not for children! The daring and bizarre take centre stage as this offkilter troupe storms into the Shire with zombies on the brain. Sword swallowers, knife throwers, daredevil balancing acts and a demon dwarf all feature. As seen on TV. www.circusofhorrors.co.uk

MOTHER GOOSE, CHIPPING NORTON THEATRE 18 NOVEMBER - 11 JANUARY This classic panto tale is transported to a sparkling Arctic adventure through the Scandinavian snows, crammed full of trolls, snowmen, woolly jumpers and even the occasional moose. Stunning scenery and costumes, gobsmacking songs from a TONY award winning composer and an avalanche of laughter. Come to one of the nation's favourite pantos for a tale told under the northern lights. www.chippingnortontheatre.co.uk


DECEMBER SANTA SPECIAL, GWR STEAM RAILWAY TODDINGTON/CHELTENHAM RACECOURSE WEEKENDS IN DECEMBER Ride the steam train from Cheltenham Racecourse to Santa’s grotto in Winchcombe or take the train from Toddington and meet Santa on-board. Whichever way you choose, everyone gets great presents, drinks and plenty of heart-warming mince pies. www.gwsr.com/planning-your-visit/2014-events-calendar

WINCHCOMBE CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL 2 DECEMBER (5 - 8PM) Come along to delightful Winchcombe for traditional fun this Christmas. Visit the craft market, marvel at the street entertainment, follow the Children’s Trail and stop by Father Christmas’ grotto for additional cheer. www.winchcombe.co.uk

BROADWAY LATE NIGHT CHRISTMAS SHOPPING 5 DECEMBER (5 - 8.30PM) Broadway – doubtlessly one of the most attractive Cotswold villages – will provide even more festive frolics as we enter December. Carriage rides, crafts, and plenty of cheer abound as the Christmas fun continues.


Beautiful Broadway features all the festive delights you could hope for in its traditional Late Night Christmas Shopping Event: horse & carriage rides, carol singing, swing bands, hog roasts and (of course) mulled wine and roast chestnuts. Why not see in the festive season in style in Broadway?

One of the most festive and atmospheric of the Cotswold Christmas markets, Bourton offers a great spectacle – the sight of the grand Christmas tree illuminated as it stands in the River Windrush – and all the usual entertainments as live music, food stalls, Punch & Judy and shopping tickle the senses.



It’s fitting that this attractive old market town plays host to over fifty stalls in its own Christmas celebrations, selling everything from gifts and wreaths to heart-warming food. Featuring carol singing from local children - and Father Christmas himself will appear to illuminate the town.

Caution! Not for the faint hearted! Ready yourself for a bracing width or length of Cheltenham’s lido in pretty peaky conditions. All participants (adults only, mind) must sign a waiver before so much as dipping a toe in. www.sandfordparkslido.org.uk www.cotswold-homes.com


CheLTenhaM LiTeraTUre FesTiVaL

The Times Cheltenham Literature Festival 2014:

THE HIGHLIGHTS The full details of this year’s Cheltenham Literature Festival have been revealed, and it looks promising indeed. Running from Friday till Sunday, October 3- 12, the programme is led by Guest Directors Shami Chakrabarti, Omid Djalili, Amit Chaudhuri, Sophie Hannah and Michael Rosen. The theme of this year’s Festival, Brave New Worlds, influences a series of events which will ask big questions such as: Is democracy at risk? Is technology changing our brains? What future for words? What does the next century hold?

Speakers include Will Self, Caitlin Moran, India Knight, Camila Batmanghelidjh, Russell Kane and Educating Essex’s Stephen Drew. This year’s remarkable line up also includes appearances from authors Salman Rushdie, Kazuo Ishiguro, Hilary Mantel, Margaret Atwood, Ian McEwan, David Nicholls, Rose Tremain, Mark Haddon, David Mitchell,Victoria Hislop and Kate Mosse. The Festival will also celebrate new writers, such as Emma Healey and Costa winner Nathan Filer, with The Sunday Times ‘Must Read’ platform and the ‘Fiction at 6’ series of events shining the spotlight on emerging authors. Journalist and broadcaster Kirsty Wark will be presenting a debut novel, as will Andrew Marr, Caitlin Moran, Sheila Hancock and James Naughtie. Acting royalty Judi Dench delivers a little Hollywood glamour to the occasion, as will Brian Blessed and husband and wife team Damian Lewis and Helen McCrory, who bring to life some of the greatest love poetry of all time in the first of a new Allie Esiri Poetry Corner series, followed by what promises to be a fascinating interview. Comedy legend John Cleese will be presenting his new book So, Anyway and Richard Curtis will talk screen and song writing with his musical idol Mike Scott of The Waterboys Grayson Perry will reflect on the ‘value‘ of art and Queen guitarist Brian May and co-author Denis Pellerin will introduce The Poor Man’s Picture Gallery, a collection of 3D Victorian images. In a stunning celebration of almost a century of fashion history, Vogue’s Features Director, Jo Ellison, presents a sumptuous collection of the magazine’s most iconic gowns. Former England cricket captain Kevin Pietersen speaks about his highly anticipated autobiography and is joined in the Festival programme by sporting heroes Nicole Cook, Gareth Thomas, Roger Bannister, Sol Campbell, Trevor Brooking and Geoffrey Boycott. For Sci-Fi and Fantasy fans there’s plenty on offer, 46

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Photo: Charlie Birchmore

Photo: mcphersonstevens.com

Photo: mcphersonstevens.com

including a celebration of Marvel comics with Fantastic Four and X-Men writer Mike Carey and former editor Alan Cowshill as the brand reaches its 75th year. Leading voices in Sci-Fi and Fantasy, Ben Aaronovitch, Joe Abercrombie, Mitch Benn and Sarah Pinborough, join author and journalist David Barnett to celebrate the rise of the genre. The Festival’s spectacular Spiegeltent returns with award-winning chefs Tom Kerridge and Heston Blumenthal talking about their career highlights and favourite recipes, while Lorraine Pascale shares her inspiring journey from a childhood in foster care to one of the nation’s best-loved TV chefs.

Photo: Spencer McPherson

Historian Mary Beard explores frivolity, humour, wit and irony in Ancient Rome and masters of historical fiction Lindsey Davis and Simon Scarrow take an in-depth look at the history that shapes their bestselling novels, as well as Natalie Haynes standing up for the Classics. And there’s just as much for children: Guest Director Michael Rosen leads the stellar Book It! line up with five Children’s Laureates, including Malorie Blackman and Michael Morpurgo, alongside authors such as Judith Kerr, Mackenzie Crook, Henry Winkler, Charlie Higson, David Baddiel, Cressida Cowell, Lauren Child and Cathy Cassidy.

For times and bookings, visit www.cheltenhamfestivals.com

MoVie insider

Adam Rubins is CEO of global comms agency Way to Blue – and a big film buff. Here he shares the best of autumn’s movie harvest.


SEPTEMBER And on that note, September kicks off with the Cameron Diaz comedy Sex Tape (3rd) which poses an interesting question - what do you do if you tape something naughty and accidentally upload it to the cloud? September also features my one to watch, Wish I Was Here (19th), Zach Braff ’s follow up to the wonderful Garden State as well as the animated Boxtrolls (12th), James Brown biopic Get On Up (19th). And if you want a dose of action, Denzel Washington turns Edward Woodward in The Equaliser (26th). Thankfully this time the D isn’t silent so it’s not Enzel replacing Ewar Woowar.




October looks highly competitive, starting strongly on the 3rd with Dracula Untold taking on the literary classic plus Gone Girl directed by David Fincher and starring Batfleck - or Ben Affleck, as he’s more affectionately known. Maze Runner (10th) looks like a lot of fun and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (17th) ups the fun count further with the shellbound heroes who were last big in the nineties. The 24th sees four films go head to head with family comedy (and bit of a mouthful) Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good,Very Bad Day, animated Book Of Life, Robert Downey Jr starring in The Judge and Brad Pitt war drama Fury. And if that’s not enough, the month ends with Daniel Radcliffe fantasy Horns (29th)

plays a little older, bound to play a little younger is the Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part One (20th). Rounding out the month is the Jason Bateman sequel Horrible Bosses 2 and our favourite bear Paddington (28th). So another great 3 months, with a really interesting blend of genre powerhouses and ambitious indie flicks. If I had to pick 3 to watch out for, it would be Wish I Was Here, Gone Girl and Interstellar. Join me next time as we explore what will be warming your bottoms over Christmas. Enjoy your popcorn and please, no talking.

The Boxtrolls

Finally in November, we start to embrace the blockbuster again as we hurtle towards Christmas. Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar kicks us off (7th) in what could be one of the most interesting films of the year judging by the trailer. If this movie




The Man Behind Morse

Broadcaster David Freeman interviews Colin Dexter, the author responsible for Inspector Morse Few writers in any genre have had quite as much an impact as Colin Dexter.The creator of the much-loved detective Inspector Morse has been awarded an OBE for services to literature and four Crime Writers’ Association Daggers, as well as the freedom of the city of Oxford (third to be awarded the honour after Nelson Mandela and Aung San Suu Kyi). Author of thirteen Morse books and numerous short stories, he remains heavily associated with television programmes Inspector Morse, Lewis and Endeavour (and is famous for his many fleeting cameos onscreen).

were very fond of teaching.Why did you stop in 1966?

The 83-year-old writer made headlines earlier this year when it was rumoured he may have written a clause into his will banning any other actor from playing the character after his death so as not to detract from his friend John Thaw’s iconic and definitive performance.

I used to be a very good teacher. I was popular with the boys and girls I taught and the parents. With school teaching I just had this feeling of doing something immediately positive. I was as anxious to get them through the exams as they were – I would just say ‘don’t be a bloody fool, make me and your parents proud!’ I’ve always thought if you work hard enough you can do any bloody thing in life.

Here Colin and his friend broadcaster David Freeman discuss Morse, Colin’s early memories and his much-loved teaching career. Morse is unimaginable without Oxford, but you read Classics at Christ’s College, Cambridge… I was lucky enough to scrape into Cambridge. When I went there I always wanted to do Classics, Latin and Greek. But I had a bit of a disadvantage because everyone expected me to do them well. So I wrote to the college and said ‘Why don’t you want me? I’ll re-read Homer’s Odyssey and then I’ll be a bit better than I was when I came to see you.’ The chap wrote back to me, bless his heart, and said: ‘Don’t worry too much about Homer. Read Middlemarch. If you read that I’ll transfer you to the classics department.’ After graduating you became a schoolmaster and 48

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I’ve had no end of good luck in life except that deafness pursued me and instead of what I should have done, which was being able to say to everybody ‘please speak up, I can’t hear a bloody thing’ I pretended all the time [I could hear]. I’ve had five surgical operations on my ears that aren’t even in the books now. But it was my bad luck to be born into a family with lots of deafness, particularly in later life.

My brother and I would get into the Enid Blyton books but they were only about four pages long. I did love the Sexton Blake stories.The first writer I really enjoyed as a crime writer was the American John Dixon Carr, one of the great writers of the ‘Golden Age’ mysteries, the king of the locked room mystery – somebody’s beheaded or strangled in a room, all the doors are locked from the inside, nobody having the faintest idea how the murderer got in or out…And Agatha Christie I think had more imagination than all the rest of the crime writers put together – I’m not saying the writing or plots are excellent, but the surprises are superb. I wish I had met her because she was a fantastic writer in my opinion. You are notorious for your fleeting cameo appearances in Inspector Morse episodes.Were you in every one? Out of all the episodes perhaps the only one in which I didn’t appear was the Australia episode,

“I haven’t had a beer for about fifteen or sixteen years. They told me I was killing myself, but you know, I used to love beer and scotch. I’m still frightened to death of heights as Morse was. And I still don’t like sanctimonious people either!” But in the end I remember teaching a class that was laughing at me and somebody came up to me afterwards and said: ‘But you can’t hear it, can you?’ I decided I had better pack it in. So I came to live at Oxford. But I would have continued teaching if not for my hearing. Were you a fan of detective fiction before writing Morse?

Promised Land.They took me to one side and said: ‘We can’t really afford to send you…It is very far away, you know…’ And I didn’t mind that at all. Morse famously shares many of his great passions and vices with you – the beer,The Archers, crosswords,Wagner…Do you still indulge in the same pleasures?

The Man Behind Morse

Irreplaceable: John Thaw remains the definitive Morse

I haven’t had a beer for about fifteen or sixteen years.They told me I was killing myself, but you know, I used to love beer and scotch. I’m still frightened to death of heights as Morse was. And I still don’t like sanctimonious people either! When did you first fall in love with some of these things? I remember my brother playing Beethoven’s seventh very loudly downstairs at about midnight on a big old wireless. And I ran downstairs saying ‘for Christ’s sake, it’s the middle of the night,’ and his response was: ‘You stay right here and listen to this with me.’ I

saw in the second movement tears running down his cheeks.That was one of the great moments of my life: if it meant as much as it obviously did to him, then I might as well join in. And that same feeling happened [to me again] enormously with literature…a wonderful door had opened. Did you feel protective over your ideas and characters when they were being adapted for television? In my contract I have it that I have to see all the scripts for Morse, Lewis and Endeavour - I said ‘You’ve got to send them all to me.’

Why would you not want Morse to be portrayed again? Is it as simple as believing nobody can better John Thaw? The problem [with many adaptations] is everybody says “I think he or she” was better in that role, like what has happened with Poirot. So what we’re not having is someone coming along and saying: “I think he was better than John Thaw.” The Daily Mail wanted me to write a Christmas story featuring Morse, Lewis, crosswords and Oxford. I said – if you pay me a bit more – what I will do is go back to him at his youth, as the years 18-24 are absolutely crucial. Have you formed friendships with the actors who have featured in the various Morse adaptations? Oh yes. Sean Evans who stars in Endeavour is a remarkably fine actor, chiefly because he doesn’t try to copy accents or mannerisms from anything he’s seen before, like they do with Poirot. And Kevin’s [Whately, who played Lewis] always been wonderfully kind to me. And John was a good friend. I’ve always said that we were enormously lucky to get John and Kevin together. I don’t think John was very sociable in many ways, but he was certainly popular with the cast. For many years we didn’t know what Morse’s first name was.The ‘E’ was there, but did you know his name was going to be Endeavour when you started out?

Morse tours take in the iconic sights of Oxford

Oh no. When I decided we were going to have a young Morse I said to my wife Dorothy ‘we’ve got to call him something!’ We had to find something to fit the E… www.cotswold-homes.com



FOR THE LOVE OF ART Sharon Wheaton is the owner of The Fosse Gallery in Stow on the Wold. Here she recalls the emergence of the Cotswolds as a Mecca for art-lovers and her path from drama school into gallery management.

Stow on the Wold, our aim is to exhibit and sell beautiful pictures. Sourcing artists from all over the UK with ages ranging from in their early 20s to senior painters in their 90s we represent over 70 top artists. Exhibiting studio work we can keep the pricing structure balanced and guarantee provenance. We also sometimes deal directly with a deceased artist’s estate, thus exhibiting never seen before paintings. My biggest pleasure has to be planning the exhibition programme staging 10 shows per year. That is my time to be creative, and I aim to take us on a roller coaster year of art - for the more we look and experience, the more we know what we like.

When I was growing up I really thought I was going to become a famous actress.With theatrical tendencies in my family, I was encouraged and soon became a member of the National Youth Theatre. I left school at 16, somehow got myself an Equity card and made my way to drama school – with head held high, convinced this was to be my destiny. Little did I know that many years down the line I would become a glorified social worker for artists, stage ten exhibitions a year and own the Fosse Gallery, a place I loved to visit with my mother in the early 1980s and from which I purchased my first painting. Even in my teenage years, the Cotswolds were famous throughout the world for antiques and had some well-known art galleries. John Noot was based in Broadway, Brian Sinfield Gallery has moved to Burford but John Davies and the Fosse Gallery, then owned by Don Steyn and Gerard O’Farrell, were located here in Stow on the Wold. Based on mutual respect, and an understanding not to poach artists from each other, these galleries thrived, attracting prestigious artists to exhibit and buyers to travel into the area.The Cotswolds, from 50

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that point on, became a Mecca for the art world. When I joined the Fosse in 1997, hired one day a week to help out, the gallery was keenly exhibiting Scottish art and works by Royal Academicians. In his Times obituary, Don Steyn was credited for creating the enthusiastic Cotswold market for Scottish painting - indeed it would be unusual to find many a Cotswold picture gallery today without some Scottish work on offer. However, by the time I joined the Fosse I think Scottish had reached its height. As we know, things never stay the same. Don Steyn succumbed to dementia, as had Gerard O’Farrell before him. After years of being guided by one of the best, I was fortunate to be passed the Fosse Gallery by Don in 2006.He had been determined that the gallery should continue to represent the best of British figurative, narrative painting and be ambitious, and this move secured the gallery’s future and changed my life. The Fosse, now in its 34th year, remains faithful to its characteristic handwriting but continues to evolve and develop as the art market expands on a global scale. Still in its splendid original location in the Manor House, commanding the square in

With a strong following now for Welsh art and our continuing association with the Royal Academy we understand how important it is to be an exhibition platform here in the Cotswolds. It means a lot to my mother (and many others) that she can see works by Royal Academicians here in Stow.There is a major RA exhibition planned for next year, and between now and the end of 2014 we have three solo exhibitions and a mixed group show running up to Christmas. With so much art and choice on offer in the area, there is no excuse for local homeowners not to have a painting or two on their walls. It is also great to see so many good galleries in the Cotswolds being led by women these days in what was traditionally a man’s world.The founding fathers of the art market here, whose combined vision and tenacity built the foundations of today’s booming industry, continue to thrive and remain unrivalled on the art stage. And that stage was my destiny, from the moment I purchased my first proper painting. Still in its splendid original Cotswold location in Stow on the Wold, Fosse Gallery is often described as one of the most important UK art galleries outside London. Founded in 1980, it has handled some of the most prestigious contemporary British art, showcasing artists of investment quality and international standing. See present and upcoming exhibitions by visiting www. fossegallery.com


Cotswold Homes Magazine presents the winning entry of the AsparaWriting Festival 2014 short story competition

Here in the Cotswold afterlife, we enjoy a certain extraordinary class of spectre. We have the notorious Mitford Sisters. We have the smallpox-beating Dr Edward Jenner. We have that poor murdered progenitor of English democracy, Simon de Montfort. Some say even Sir Winston Churchill himself will pace the parks of his Blenheim birthplace (perhaps in search of his ancestor John, from whom he inherited his military prowess). I could go on: rock stars, pagans, artists, Roman invaders, Saxons, authors and fighter pilots alike haunt these Wolds. In death, as in life, people just seem to like it here. Stood against this mongrel crowd, you wouldn’t think that the ghost of a recently deceased patio salesman would arouse much interest.Yet in the afterlife I have come into a most unwelcome celebrity: I am the only one in the netherworld to have been murdered with a solid gold asparagus spear. Here, an amusing death dogs you forever. Only 52

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the tragedy of others eases the melancholy that grips most ghouls, and the tale of my murder can turn the gloomiest rictus into a happy grin. As I can hardly conceal the distinctive golden trophy sticking out of my head, I have been forced to endlessly retell my story (indeed, I have never encountered another ghost with a mortal wound so conspicuous). I suppose the one benefit of this endless humiliation is that it unites phantoms from all ages in laughter. Bullet-riddled highwaymen chuckle as I recount my death. (Oh, how I would kill for a discrete bullet in the heart!).Throttled handmaidens choke with laughter, dandy cavaliers clutch their ruptured spleens and those stony-faced centurions shake in their armour. Even the monks break their solemn reflections to titter and chastise. In this eternal embarrassment I feel I have come to know the true Hell that so terrified the holy men who once lived in the destroyed Abbey of Evesham - the Cotswold town where I was born, lived and died. And so I’ll tell my sorry tale again, though it pains me: let it serve as a warning that there is no force on Earth more passionate than mankind’s regard for Vale of Evesham Asparagus.

In life I was known as Roger Fenton. I will spare few words to describe my corporeal form (red-faced, old, bearded, paunchy and hairy; my body was 67 years of age when it was buried in 2006). What is of far greater significance to this tale is my lineage: I believe it is this that proved to be what dramatic folk call my fatal flaw. Permit me to explain. I am descended from a long, honest line of farmers, field-workers and grocers - though I thought little of this as a young man. When I came to adulthood I spurned such grubby work to pursue a career as a patio salesman. At this I excelled, and quickly rose through the ranks to assume the role of regional manager. One may say I came to a position of local prestige – certainly I was affluent enough to sponsor the Vale Knitting Derby and other such pursuits. But when I retired, I felt empty. By most standards, I had lived a prosperous life: I owned a nice house with four bedrooms and a tasteful conservatory. I had a beautiful and talented wife (more on her in a moment) and I ate exceptionally well. But despite my accomplishments, I felt cut off from my roots roots mired in honest soil and vegetable matter.You see, the whole world knows the quality of Evesham


produce, and yet in my lust for material wealth I had severed myself from that proud legacy. I always felt -or thought I felt - the reproachful gaze of my dead ancestors fall whenever I signed a customer up to a discount installation of my triple-glaze draft-proof double doors. In short, I began to have a late-life crisis. I don’t know exactly what triggered this malaise, but I suspect it was a casual visit to the town’s museum (housed in a rather fine 15th century Almonry) where, nestled amongst the relics of wars past and wounded stone chunks of the vanquished abbey – there is a great collection of earth-tending tools and woven fruit baskets. I placed my soft fingers on the handles of these instruments, worn smooth by the labour of long-gone Vale men – and felt real shame at my absence of callouses, at my office-bred slouch and paltry biceps. I realized the materialistic selfishness of my life’s efforts. Growing food…Filling stomachs…Now that was real work, was it not? And so just when I was feeling at my lowest ebb, I heard of the plans to host a national festival of asparagus in Evesham. I brushed off such designs as lunacy at first, but the townspeople were soon whispering of wonderful things: heritage bus tours of asparagus fields; asparagus-casting fortune tellers; asparagus cooking seminars and even men who dressed as animate spears of asparagus who would lecture schoolchildren on the myriad health benefits of asparagus-eating. It was an eccentric manifestation of local pride, to be sure – but it was pride, nonetheless. I wanted to find it foolish, but I could not. I wanted to be part of it. ‘Maybe they’ll ask you to be a judge of a cookery competition,’ said my dear wife Maude one day as she served me up a steamed asparagus butty. ‘You always have loved asparagus over all things.’ ‘Almost all things, Maude,’ I said, giving her bottom a little pinch. Poor Maude was a wonderful wife, not least because she could prepare my beloved gras in over thirty different ways. But nobody did ask me to be a judge, despite my assured status in the community as an esteemed local benefactor.This oversight bothered me so much that Maude pushed me to ask for a ceremonial position. I would not usually have endured the embarrassment of begging, but there was something about this festival idea that tore at my soul: perhaps by involving myself in these celebrations I could redeem myself in the eyes of my green-fingered forefathers. But when I humbly approached the festival offices, I was turned away like Joseph at the inn. ‘I’m awfully sorry, sir,’ answered the bureaucrat who picked up the phone. ‘Such was the local enthusiasm for the festival that all the voluntary positions available have been filled.’ ‘Is there nothing that can be done?’ I asked the

provincial pen pusher. ‘I assure you, my fondness for asparagus is unmatched.There is no greater connoisseur in the Vale.’ ‘I’m sure that’s the case, sir. But there’s nothing that I can do…’

‘Well, of course,’ she said. ‘But it won’t really be rigged, because my dish really will be the best on offer.You of all people can testify to my flair with your gras.’ It was true. Maude really was the best there was.

But all was not lost. Using the initiative that had sailed me to the top of the patio game, I immediately devised a solution: ‘Could I not simply create a new competition myself, and be the judge of that?’

So it was that my proposal for The Mastergras Asparagus Fusion Cuisine Cup was accepted, and Maude hurriedly devised a prize-winning recipe. Meanwhile, I set about designing the trophy that would later occupy our mantelpiece.

There was a moment of silence on the line.

‘I think I’m going to do it Japanese-style,’ my wife declared, ‘Asparagus Sushi! But my sister has just called from Cheltenham Hospital - she’s fractured her hip and I need to visit, so I’m afraid you’ll have to do the shopping for my recipe. Here’s the list.’

‘I’m not sure, sir,’ the voice said eventually. ‘If you write down your proposal and mail it to the festival offices I’ll see what we can do. I really must go now – we’re rehearsing the parade in five minutes and I’m supposed to be conducting the flotilla.’ ‘Good news, Maude,’ I told my wife over supper that evening. ‘The festival mandarins have allowed me to submit an idea for a competition and be the judge.The only trouble is I haven’t the foggiest what to propose.’ My wife clapped her hands excitedly. ‘Why darling, I have the perfect idea! You can do The Mastergras Asparagus Fusion Cuisine Cup!’ ‘Fusion cuisine? What’s that?’ I asked, puzzled. ‘It sounds foreign.’ ‘Really, darling, you’re such a dinosaur. Fusion cuisine means the combination of two or more culinary traditions in a single dish. It just so happens that I have just started a cookery course on the very subject…’ ‘Ahh,’ I said, perceiving her plot. ‘You wish to enter the competition and for me to proclaim you the victor?’

‘But Maude,’ I protested. ‘I’m designing our trophy.’ Maude leant over my desk and, seizing the pencil from my hand, scribbled a large asparagus spear over my intricate design. ‘Have that done in gold,’ she said. ‘Make it look sort of like the Oscar statuette, but in the shape of an asparagus spear.’ So it was, dear listeners, that my wife and I devised the very instrument of my demise. With my wife tending her wounded sister, I was dispatched to the market to purchase the ingredients for her Asparagus Sushi. It was here, perhaps, that I truly sealed my fate. Perusing the asparagus stall was a vision of loveliness – a raven-haired, tawny-skinned woman of incomparable beauty. Though I had never met this woman before, I knew www.cotswold-homes.com



exactly who she was. Indeed, there was only one person she could be. It was Zara Batty, the so-called Black Widow of Evesham Vale. The Battys were an ancient land-owning dynasty that had lived for generations on the same few scrubby acres. Little by little this once-proud family dwindled until only mad old Royston Batty remained. It is said that in the grip of drunken loneliness Royston reached out to the deepest, darkest corners of the Internet.Two weeks after he did so, Zara arrived at the mouldering Batty manor.Two weeks later, Royston Batty was married to her. And two weeks after that, the poor old duffer was dead. Rumours congealed around this Zara woman like the fetid stink of slurry on fields. Within moments of seeing her, I had dismissed them all, and bounded over to her as eager as a puppy. ‘You must be Zara,’ I said. ‘Such a shame about old Royston – you have my sincerest condolences. I’m Roger Fenton, by the way. Choose that spear there – it’s wonderfully firm, but also yielding.’ She raised an immaculately shaped eyebrow. ‘And I suppose you are an expert in these matters?’ she said, rather archly.

‘My dear, as charming as those dreams are, you are just too lovely to be found grubbing through the muck,’ I insisted. ‘What would you do for a career if you could do anything in the world?’ Zara considered. ‘Why, I would be a celebrity chef,’ she said. ‘Just like your funny Jammy Oliver or Nigella Lawless.’ ‘You want to be a celebrity chef?’ I mused. ‘Darling, if you win my little competition…maybe one day you will be.’ And so, dear listeners… I fell into cahoots with two women, conspiring to somehow give the prize to both. (If this makes you loathe me, do remember I get my comeuppance in the end). On one hand I had my faithful wife of many years, a winsome, loyal and intelligent woman who was a goddess in the kitchen and a true mistress of gras. Truly, she understood all the subtleties and flavours of the plant on an almost spiritual level.Though she fiercely desired the prize and could resort to mild skulduggery to get it, this was in part merely a wish to see her skill recognised. Her father was a raging carnivore who hated the myriad subtleties

would accept such an insult. So I simply watched time march on, whispering tips and suggestions in each woman’s ear, reduced to a shadowy snake of a man. Maude made me endless variations on her Asparagus Sushi in attempt to perfect the formula. Zara spoon-fed me morsels of her scrumptious Gras Paella. As a natural gourmand, I should have been very happy. But I was far from it. All I could do was watch the clock tick towards the contest like Faustus waiting wretchedly for the devil to claim his soul. The date of the Festival arrived with great ceremony – or so I was told. I did not know, for I had been incapacitated by ferocious stomach cramps. Doubtless they were brought on by anxiety, for The Mastergras Asparagus Fusion Cuisine Cup was just days away. After all my deliberations, I had at last decided whose heart I was willing to break. To distract myself from the impending betrayal, I turned my attentions to attire. What would I wear as judge? I decided that only a tailored suit in the finest gras green would do. I wanted to look as dashing as possible for the woman I had finally chosen. ‘Are you sure you want green, sir?’ said the tailor as

‘I certainly am,’ I said. ‘As a matter of fact I’ve been called upon to judge a cooking competition at the asparagus festival. I’m quite well off, you see, so I eat the very best asparagus all the time.’ ‘Is that so?’ she said, her permafrost melting fractionally. ‘I have tried to grow asparagus on my poor dead husband’s land. It is very difficult.’ ‘I’ll show you how sometime,’ I bluffed. ‘Gras must be coaxed from the soil with the most tender attention...’ And so we began to chat. I can’t even remember what we talked about – I was simply lost in the forests and valleys of that luxurious voice. Just standing alongside her was like basking in the warmth of a sunny orchard. ‘It really is wonderful to meet you at last,’ I said after a time. I meant it, too. ‘Do you know some of the fools in town actually believe you are a criminal?’ ‘But I am a criminal,’ said Zara with a hangdog look. ‘In my home country I did time for manslaughter, forgery and battery.’ I shrugged. ‘Well, who hasn’t sinned a little? I haven’t done anything bad myself, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t in the future.’ This earned me a pious look. ‘My criminal past is behind me.Though I have many convictions for bad behaviour, my only desire now is to lead a new life of toil and honesty.Though it is very hard indeed.’ 54

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of asparagus and banned it from the house, so she revenged herself on his memory by cooking every spear she could get her hands on. Winning the contest would be the final proof of her triumph.

he wound the measuring tape around my paunch. ‘Sir’s complexion is rather red, and red and green put together can look terribly Christmassy – elf-like, even.’

On the other hand I had a ravishing exotic beauty with crazy ambitions and a mottled past. I would sit in her kitchen (in her dead husband’s chair, no less), listening doe-eyed to her harrowing tales. She claimed to have been engaged to a mafia don who had forced her into every nasty thing she had ever done, before accidently running him down in her car as she reversed out of their drive. One time she even claimed a love connection with royalty. She was full of deceit and delusion but in her mouth all things seemed true and lovely. And she quickly became a damn good asparagus chef, though she didn’t have Maude’s raw sensuality. Zara’s spears had a grainy bitterness to them that no Cotswold ale could wash away.

‘It absolutely must be asparagus green, as is appropriate for the festival,’ I said. ‘Could you possibly make some sort of sash I could wear – something that would distinguish me as a judge?’

Meanwhile, the golden trophy I had commissioned arrived by courier. It was a fine thing indeed, but I could not take much pleasure from it. At nights I would sit in my armchair and stare at it in distress. What was this trophy’s destiny? Would it remain with Maude in our cosy home – or would it (and indeed, I) go to live with Zara in her dramatic farmyard ruin? The choice was mine. I struggled in vain to find a solution. Could I not simply announce a draw? No, no. Neither woman

‘I would imagine that, wearing an asparagus-green suit, sir would look quite distinctive already,’ my tailor said through gritted teeth. And so it came to pass:The Mastergras Asparagus Fusion Cuisine Cup. I had expected the affair would be hosted in a trifling little tent not much larger than an outhouse. To my chagrin the organisers had erected a grand marquee of such capacity it would make the Albert Hall blush. I stepped inside with some trepidation. Running down the centre of the tent were several vast tables replete with functioning hobs. Each to me resembled a flame of hell awaiting a witch’s cauldron. I grabbed a passing official. ‘I’m the official judge of this event,’ I informed him breathlessly. ‘How many entrants do we have so far?’


‘Oh, no more than sixty-five,’ he replied. Sixty-five! There would be sixty-four people who might as well have stayed at home, for I was to manipulate the result. One by one the multitude of contestants took their places. Watching keenly for my wife and Zara, I shook their hands and muttered greetings and they smiled and wandered past with their bags of ingredients. A bustle of activity at the far side of the marquee caught my eye. ‘What’s that going on in the corner there?’ I asked the official. ‘Over there, sir, are the television news crews.’ ‘Crews? Plural?’ ‘Yessir. All the main channels are here, plus all the national and local papers. Something about your idea must have really set the public imagination afire.’ He smiled and scurried off.Turning my attention back to the cooking area, I felt my skin turn white as I saw my wife and Zara had somehow appeared while I was distracted and had set up immediately opposite one another.You could not ask for a coincidence more foul. The official appeared again and tugged on my arm. ‘Excuse me, sir, but the television companies would very much like you to address the contestants and audience…’ ‘Audience?’ I said, and noticed that suddenly the tent was full of people. ‘Yes, sir.They only need ten minutes of footage or so…’ ‘Very well,’ I said. ‘Very well.’ ‘There’s a podium over here, sir…’ He took me gently by the hand and led me away. I stood behind a podium, clenching the sides for dear life. I seriously believed that if I let go I would topple headfirst into some unspeakable abyss. At that moment the flimsy wooden podium was my anchor. I glanced out at the crowd of expectant faces. Zara and my Maude beamed up at me at me, both blissfully unaware of their proximity to The Other Woman.The glass eyes of a thousand cameras glared into my face. ‘People of Evesham,’ I announced, pausing briefly to dab my temple with a handkerchief. ‘Gras lovers, contestants, media members…Welcome, one and all, to The Mastergras Asparagus Fusion Cuisine Cup.’ There was an eruption of applause. ‘I first conceived of the cup as a way to reward the creative spirit that I believe is particular to the people of Evesham,’ I lied. www.cotswold-homes.com



I re-assumed my place at the dratted wooden podium, the golden trophy in hand. ‘There will be no runner-uppers in this contest,’ I announced dolefully. ‘No second…no third…Just as it is in Masterchef, there can be only one true victor…’ I felt one thousand gimlet eyes upon me. ‘And so the winner of this contest,’ I gulped. ‘Is… Zara Batty.’ There was a shower of applause. Cameras flashed. Zara stalked up to the podium and planted a sensuous, paella-flavoured kiss on my cheek. I passed the statuette to her like a rugby ball and turned at once to the sea of clapping townspeople. But the person I was searching for was no longer in the crowd. Maude had gone. There was an after-party of sorts, but I simply couldn’t face it: doubtless the scandal was already circulating, whispered between friends and wives. No question about it: my name would be forever blackened in Evesham. So was it worth it? Zara and I adjourned to the pub, where I quietly plotted my escape as she nursed a gin and petted her shiny trophy. I was finished in this town: greener pastures needed to be found.The thought of eking out a life from the barren Batty soil now seemed so desperately unappealing, even if I had hitched my star to a ravishing new bride. Zara lifted my spirits with a few kisses, but we were soon interrupted by a familiar figure that appeared like Banquo at the feast. Maude regarded me with watery eyes. ‘Roger? You’re leaving me…Can this really be true?’ There was hysterical cheering. ‘It goes without saying that we people of the Vale have more affinity with the fruits of the Earth than any other, uh, tribe that has ever lived…’ I cannot remember the rest of the nonsense. I only know that at some point I ended matters by making a dramatic chopping gesture and shrieking: ‘Let the fusion BEGIN!’ Fortunately my melancholy did not entirely forbid me from enjoying the sensual delights of the contest. I stalked that tent like a wild beast, leaning over the simmering pans and cauldrons, inhaling the heady vapours that rose and danced. The passion and ingenuity I saw that day was truly inspiring. Oriental gras stir-fry…Gras strudel…Gras spongecake…Gras twinned with frogs’ legs…Gras and mascarpone parcels…Numerous morsels were slipped into my mouth that day. It was a shame that all that ingenuity was for naught. I managed to give Maude and Zara’s table a 56

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wide berth for much of the contest. Maude would occasionally lift her head and shoot me a conspiratorial wink, unaware that just feet away her love rival kept a hawkish eye on a simmering pan of paella.

‘My dear, I’m afraid it is,’ I admitted. ‘Zara has opened my eyes to the world beyond the Vale…’ ‘So get lost, you old hag,’ said Zara succinctly. Maude fled in tears.

Eventually I could defer no longer, and allowed myself a mouthful of Maude’s sushi. It was truly delicious.

‘What have I done?’ I mumbled, chilled to the core. The trophy shone in Zara’s claws, a golden beacon of guilt. Maude’s own design…Oh, Maude…

‘It’s rather good, isn’t it?’ she said proudly. ‘I think the monkfish fillet pieces compliment the asparagus nicely.’

‘Cheer up you! Enough memory lane,’ said Zara, pinching my cheek to break my reverie. ‘Let us retire to the farm and plot our grand destiny. As my deceased husband used to say: life is too short for regrets.’

‘Never mind that,’ scoffed Zara from the other side. ‘If it is the richest flavours of the sea you desire, you have only to dip your spoon in my traditional paella.’ ‘Do you know my husband?’ Maude frowned. ‘Oh,’ Zara smirked. ‘He’s popped in once or twice.’ I had to leave before I had a massive coronary. And so, dear listeners, the moment everyone was waiting for: the hour of judgement.

The night arrived like a great black dog. Braying and scratching at the door, it found Zara and I slumped around her dining table, our lecherous, wine-soaked lips illuminated by candlelight. We were desperately drunk and both words and wine were running dry. A cruel wind ceaselessly shook the old stones of the ramshackle farmhouse. ‘No more misery,’ Zara announced, snapping her


So when the lights suddenly went out, I did not immediately mind.The candles I had set out for Zara and I provided sufficient glow for moping. I did care, however, when I ran out of wine.Then I remembered then that poor old Batty - mad as he was - nonetheless kept an excellent cellar. I decided to plod down the stairs and grab the most ancient vintage I could find.

fingers like some soused flamenco dancer. ‘Put all that past behind you. Now it is time to go after the television studios. We’ll be the new Fanny and Johnnie Cradock – isn’t that what you promised?’ ‘I believe I’ve had enough of cookery altogether,’ I sighed. ‘Today has left a foul taste in my mouth – no offence to your delectable paella, of course. But really, I think we should sell this ratty old place and make a fresh start – maybe in that country you’re from, wherever that is.’ Zara’s face darkened. ‘But you promised you would help me become a famous TV chef.You said you would introduce me to Jammy Oliver and Nigella Lawless.’ ‘My dear,’ I said. ‘I’m afraid you were mistaken - I do not hobnob with such people. As the judge of a local produce festival, my sphere of influence is rather limited.’ ‘Then you have lied to me,’ Zara said. ‘Perhaps you were accidently misled,’ I confessed. ‘But what is mere fame when one has a love like ours? We have shared so much. I believed those fanciful dreams of yours to be but one thread in the grand tapestry of our romance...’ ‘You and your tapestry will burn in Hell,’ she cursed, her beautiful face suddenly contorting into a demon’s mask. I could not help but chuckle a little at this. ‘My dear, if some God is up there tallying up our misdeeds, I believe I will be standing in the queue for Hell substantially further back than you.’ She regarded me with dead eyes. ‘I am retiring to my bedchamber,’ she said. ‘You may sleep on the sofa. But in the morning, you will be gone.’ She clicked her fingers again for emphasis. I shrugged. ‘Fine by me.’ Zara disappeared in a hot cloud of rage and perfume. I remained in the kitchen with the wine. Forgoing a glass, I gulped from the neck of the bottle. How could I have stabbed my dear wife in the back for this impetuous wench? I was full of guilt and gloom and regret.

I trod the old cellar stairs with less caution than becomes a sober person.The antiquated wood creaked in protest – just another irksome noise in the Cotswold dark. A country night is full of groans and scrapes and wheezes – but I suddenly fancied there was something out there that night, or maybe inside the house, slinking around in the darkness. Maybe a burglar…? More likely it was Zara fumbling around in search of the toilet. I ignored the pantomime impulse to look behind me. One hundred dusty bottles lay before me like long lost friends. ‘Oh, hello,’ I purred, lifting bottle after bottle and peering groggily at the labels. ‘2003…1998…1975…So this is how you spent those lonely nights, dear old Batty, before your crazy new wife made you die of a heart attack. Well, I won’t make the same mistake.’ As I reached out for a 1953 I heard footsteps behind me. There came a laugh from the darkness. ‘But darling, you’ve already made the mistake of a lifetime,’ an unhinged voice said. As I straightened up, I felt something swing down and into my skull. ‘Oh,’ I groaned. In my heart of hearts I knew Zara was a bad egg – but I never imagined she could end my life! Still in shock and too sloshed to feel pain, I whirled to face my attacker. The figure stepped from the gloom.The flame of my candle illuminated an all-too familiar face. ‘Your infidelity is quite one thing, dear,’ said Maude. ‘But to give the prize to some random hussy when I’ve been serving you the most delectable asparagus dishes for forty years is just bad manners.’ As I sank to my knees, blood gushing from my head and soiling my gras-coloured suit in streaks, my only thought was Gosh, the tailor was right – red and green really do look awfully Christmassy together. And so, dear listeners, that’s more or less the end of my tale. Please reflect on the rare ability of gras to rouse such fury and devotion. Learn well from my mortal blunders, lest you never be able to partake of its singular deliciousness again. I suppose, though, I should reveal the fates of the women in my life. Zara was understandably terrified to find me not

asleep on her sofa but dead in her wine cellar with her trophy buried in my head. Fortunately for her, Maude’s prints were all over the thing. In the end Zara did sell up and depart for destinations unknown, bolstering her finances by flogging her dead husband’s wines on eBay. She sold the Batty farm to a charming young family from London who promptly bulldozed and built over the whole rotten complex. It would have been pretty churlish of me to insist on haunting a new build. Maude confessed to my murder without hesitation. She was tried and sentenced by a judge who had been married to a pie-loving adulterer, and so received as much leniency as could be afforded in the circumstances. My wife was sent to a highly liberal women’s prison, where inmates are allowed to roam the spacious grounds and sleep on goosefeather pillows.There she marshals the kitchens and canteens – some say that her efforts have turned the joint into a five-star destination for cons. As for I, you ask? Evesham town and I are tied for eternity. If any of my gras-farming forebears were pleased with my little contest I do not know, for none have deigned to visit. I occasionally socialise with the good-natured spooks at the Almonry, but I try to keep my head down for understandable reasons. The British Asparagus Festival, meanwhile, goes from strength to strength.

The AsparaWriting Festival is ‘the first literary festival specifically designed for aspiring writers’, an offshoot from the everpopular British Asparagus Festival situated in the Cotswold town of Evesham.The inaugural festival featured nine two-day events hosted by a series of professional authors including Stella Duffy, Quintin Jardine, Michael Jecks and Alyson Hallett who altogether have published 300 novels between them. The 2014 short story contest was judged by senior commissioning editor for fiction at Simon & Schuster Clare Hey (who also runs digital-only short-story publishing house Shortfire Press), mystery author Ruth Downie and literary agent Paul Moreton, a director at London-based agency Bell Lomax Moreton. The conditions of entry were that the story had to be set either in Evesham or the Cotswolds, be no more than 6,000 words and fit into the crime genre – and, of course, to include asparagus. First prize was £100 and a rather nifty gras-green fountain pen, courtesy of Cult Pens.The shortlisted ten entries were published in the AsparaWriting Festival 2014 collection. Fancy writing your own asparastory? Keep your eyes on www.asparawritingfestival.co.uk where details of next year’s festival (23rd April – 21st June 2015) and competition will be announced. www.cotswold-homes.com



In the Cotswolds, the past is always close at hand - and we’re not talking about chocolate box nostalgia, but something altogether more primeval. You see those pretty honey-coloured houses everyone lives in? They’re made out of oolitic Jurassic limestone, quarried out of the local landscape. And sometimes the men who dig up that golden stone unearth strange things… In 2013 giant footprints were excavated in Huntsmans Quarries, the neighbour of Adam Henson’s Cotswold Farm Park. These formidable impressions prove that colossal beasts once stomped across these now pleasant lands – where today the largest creature to impede a walking group would be a mild-mannered cow. And unlike any dozy, grass-chewing bovine, the originator of these footprints, the Megalosaurus (or ‘Great Lizard’), was a monstrous thing. A nine-metre long flesh-eating theropod reminiscent of the illustrious T-Rex, it’s certainly an interesting beast on its own merits. But when you consider its story once humans enter the picture, some 165 million years later, things get more than a little weird. Our story begins in an Oxfordshire quarry at Cornwell in 1676 – not a far cry from Chipping Norton. An ancient bone is exhumed and ends up in the hands of one very distinguished gentleman: Robert Plot, Professor of Chemistry at Oxford and the very first curator of the Ashmolean Museum. Plot correctly identified the fragment as the lower extremity of a thighbone, but quickly 58

Cotswold Homes Magazine

“An inaccurate model of Megalosaurus was one of the dinosaurs depicted by Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins (under Richard Owen’s direction) as part of the famous Crystal Palace dinosaur sculpture exhibition created in the years around 1854 ...” surmised that no animal in all of England was large enough to have produced such an outsized bone. So Plot came to a colourful conclusion: the bone fragment must have belonged to either a Roman war elephant or even, as he latterly decided, a giant. Plot published a description of the bone, as

well as an exquisitely detailed illustration. This engraving found its way into another book, published many years later (in 1763, to be exact) by physician Richard Brookes – who in doing so created a rather naughty controversy. You see, due to the unfortunate resemblance of the bone fragment to a disembodied pair


of testicles, Brookes had decided to caption this picture with the Latin words scrotum humanum – in other words, the human scrotum. Fortunately for poor Megalosaurus’ posterity, the name is no longer considered valid. Because scrotum humanum was not used in subsequent literature it can be classified as a nomen oblitum – a forgotten name. The offending (or offensive) fossil has also been lost to time. But in the early 19th century, more discoveries were made in Oxfordshire’s Stonesfield quarry, including a lower jaw. In 1824 an eccentric naturalist by the name of William Buckland enters our story. Buckland was an interesting, insatiable fellow, a natural showman who rose to become President of the Royal Geographic Society. Alongside his many intellectual appetites, he was a voracious eater of as many types of species as he could get his hands on – consuming in his lifetime such delicacies as mice on toast, crocodile, puppy, mole, ostrich and even (according to writer Augustus

Hare) what was proclaimed to be the preserved heart of Louis XVI (he reported bluebottles to be the foulest tasting creature he’d ever sampled). He also kept a collection of fossilised dung inlaid in a coffee table, delighting in telling his guests what they’d just eaten from. As a lecturer at Oxford, he once terrorised an undergraduate with a hyena skull, announcing: ‘The stomach rules the world! The great ones eat the less, the less the lesser still!’ With the help of the French comparative anatomist Georges Cuvier, Buckland eventually identified the Stonesfield bone fragments as belonging to some kind of gigantic, extinct reptile, which he named Megalosaurus – meaning ‘Great Lizard’. And yet this was still 18 years before the controversial palaeontologist Sir Richard Owen coined the word ‘dinosaur’. (Indeed, Megalosaurus was one of the three ancient genera on which Owen based his ‘Dinosaur’ category). Owen was an outstanding naturalist and fossil interpreter, who became known for his bitter clashes with his rivals

in the scientific community (more on that later) In the years after its classification, Megalosaurus became what has been called a ‘waste-basket’ of sorts. A multitude of new therapod specimens that began to be discovered across Europe were all tossed into the Megalosaurus genus, including what we now recognise as Dilophosaurus (a dinosaur immortalised in Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park as the filly-necked dino that spits blinding venom). But with precious few skeletal remains of Megalosaurus unearthed, its true form was to elude depiction for many years. An inaccurate model of Megalosaurus was one of the dinosaurs depicted by Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins (under Richard Owen’s direction) as part of the famous Crystal Palace dinosaur sculpture exhibition created in the years around 1854 – the first attempt to describe, in three dimensions, the appearance of these extinct behemoths. Queen Albert and Prince Albert were known to have been fond of these statues, visiting them several times.

“You see, due to the unfortunate resemblance of the bone fragment to a disembodied pair of testicles, Brookes had decided to caption this picture with the Latin words scrotum humanum – in other words, the human scrotum.”




Although some of the statues are amazingly inaccurate compared to what what we know about dinosaurs today, these models are Grade I listed monuments and are of key significance to the history of science, demonstrating how scientific theories evolve in light of new discoveries – pre-dating Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species by six years (Indeed, Owen and Darwin clashed over matters of evolution so heatedly that Darwin remarked: ‘I used to be ashamed of hating [Owen] so much, but now I will carefully cherish my hatred & contempt to the last days of my life’). Our own dear Megalosaurus is one of the Crystal Palace dinosaurs to have suffered most from Owen’s imaginings, reduced to an ungainly hunchbacked thing shambling forward on four great clumsy feet.

Buckland delivers a lecture

60 Cotswold Homes Magazine

“With the help of the French comparative anatomist Georges Cuvier, Buckland eventually identified the Stonesfield bone fragments as belonging to some kind of gigantic, extinct reptile, which he named Megalosaurus – meaning ‘Great Lizard’.”

But Megalosaurus bears yet another distinction: it is the first dinosaur to ever appear in a work of fiction – in a work by Charles Dickens, no less. Here are the opening lines of Bleak House: London. Michaelmas term lately over, and the Lord Chancellor sitting in Lincoln's Inn Hall. Implacable November weather. As much mud in the streets as if the waters had but newly retired from the face of the earth, and it would not be wonderful to meet a Megalosaurus, forty feet long or so, waddling like an elephantine lizard up Holborn Hill… So there you go. Not content with being the first dinosaur to be discovered and named, Megalosaurus might just be our most interesting neighbour of all time.


War & Words, Music & Madness Cotswold-born war poet & composer Ivor Gurney died in a mental hospital, his life’s work near forgotten. Now historians believe he has been unjustly overlooked – and argue that the war years, when he was both shot and gassed, may have been the best of his life… But perhaps that light is growing brighter, as Gurney’s work has benefitted from renewed media focus in this centenary year. In the BBC documentary The Poet That Loved The War, University of Exeter Professor William Kendall made a compelling case for changing our understanding of Gurney – the man who called himself the ‘War Poet’. Time and tragedy have greatly diminished Gurney’s reputation. A prolific poet and a talented composer, his creative legacy has been overshadowed by the sad details of his life and death: after a lifelong struggle with mental illness, Gurney succumbed to tuberculosis on the Boxing Day of 1937. He perished within the City of London Mental Hospital, where he had been resident since 1922. He was only 47 when he died. Sparsely mourned, his meagre end did little to reflect the promise and spirit he had demonstrated in earlier years, or the many works he continued to produce up until his death. Professor Kendall has combed through this latter material to provide us with a more complete picture of a conflicted artist. The son of a tailor, the Gloucestershire-born

Every attentive schoolchild knows the names of war poets Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen, but very few would be familiar with Ivor Gurney. A haunted figure that once rambled through the Cotswolds at night, a war-survivor simultaneously crushed by the burden of mental illness and convinced of his own greatness, Gurney has been almost entirely overshadowed by his more illustrious contemporaries – his light tended by a faithful few. 62

Cotswold Homes Magazine


A stained glass window was recently installed in Gloucester Cathedral as a tribute to Gurney

Gurney began composing music at the age of 14 and later attended the Royal College of Music on a scholarship.There, his great potential was recognised: his professor said that he was potentially ‘the biggest of them all’ (‘them all’ presumably including such illustrious former students as Gustav Holst) but he was also ‘unteachable’. Gurney struggled to focus on his work, and suffered his first breakdown in 1913. After a spell of recovery, he returned to academia before his studies were again rudely interrupted – this time by the outbreak of a global war. But while WWI was to cause immeasurable suffering to millions of young men, it brought Gurney composure.To him, war meant a time of discipline and purpose that provided relief from his turbulent inner world. Enlisting in the Gloucestershire Regiment, he began to write poetry in the field. For him, as for many others, it was a period of creative flourishing. Gurney was busily working on his first volume of poetry when he was shot through the shoulder. He recovered and secured a publishing deal, only to be shelled and gassed at Passchendaele (the gassing he later shrugged off as ‘no worse [than] a bad cold’). Falling in love with the pretty VAD nurse who treated him in the Edinburgh hospital where he recovered, Gurney was heartbroken when she later ended their association.This rejection may or may not have been a factor in a series of worsening breakdowns that occurred after the war had ended. Gurney returned to college, but soon withdrew; meanwhile, reviews of his second volume of poetry, War’s Embers, were mixed.

Gurney’s breakdowns were often attributed to shellshock, but in truth he had demonstrated bipolar tendencies since his teenage years. In spite of his suffering, Gurney continued to write and compose – with some success. His poetry was published; his music performed. Creatively he appeared to be thriving, but his personal life was collapsing. He took long walks in the dead of night and believed the police were torturing him with radio waves. His increasingly frustrated family sought medical help; he was declared insane in 1922 and incarcerated. Within the asylum, Gurney coped with imprisonment by retreating into his mind. He

dispatched letters without postage, writing ‘War Poet’ where a seal would be. He descended into grandiose self-description, making frequent appeals for the ‘honour’ he felt he deserved. In 1923, he drew up a list of his contemporaries – ‘War Poets at a Guess’ - that Professor Kendall believes is a personal ‘league table’ of war poets. Gurney positioned himself at the top, above names like ‘Robert Graves’ and ‘S. Sassoon.’ (Setting aside the self-glorification, it is a shrewd appraisal of his literary peers – many would agree with his rankings). Later, he wrote to the city of Montreal: ‘I write [as the] First War Poet of England, and have the right of honour and wound and to have sung also as none did but I.’ Despite Gurney’s unshakable preoccupation with the bygone war and his place in its pantheon of writers, Professor Kendall believes the conflict provided the young poet with the most security he’d ever had: ‘The war years were pretty much the most stable of Gurney’s adult life, and it was after the war that he broke down completely…Army life gave him a sense of regimentation and discipline that otherwise he wouldn’t have.’ Crucially, he seems to be a different sort of poet from most of his peers. While Sassoon and the others have given us indelible images of horror, injustice and suffering, Gurney was interested in comradeship and a ‘sense of place…and belonging’. As strange and objectionable it may be to consider, perhaps Gurney was that rare soul who was perhaps spiritually helped – rather than completely destroyed – by being on the frontline during the Great War. www.cotswold-homes.com


The Tallot, Bourton on the Water


A stunningly well-presented Cotswold stone house situated within a gated development of just 3 architect design homes with elevated views across the rolling countryside. Entrance Hall | Cloakroom | Sitting Room | Dining Room | Kitchen | Utility | Master Bedroom with Ensuite | Guest Bedroom with Ensuite | Three Further Double Bedrooms | Bathroom | Patio Area | Gardens | Double Garage | Parking | EPC Rating: C Fine and Country, Harrison James & Hardie, Bourton on the Water 01451 824 977

Almond Lodge, Wyck Rissington

Offers over ÂŁ595,000

Almond Lodge is a Cotswold stone detached property, situated on a quiet lane overlooking the village green, in a desirable village location. No Onward Chain. Entrance Porch | Entrance Hall | Cloakroom | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Dining Room | Study/Family Room/Breakfast Room | Sitting Room | Utility | Master Bedroom with Ensuite | Three Further Bedrooms | Bath and Shower Room | Front, Rear and Side Gardens | Driveway and Parking | EPC Rating: E Fine and Country, Harrison James & Hardie, Bourton on the Water 01451 824 977

Bourton on the Water | Moreton in Marsh | Stow on the Wold | Mayfair | Lettings

Rushdale, Naunton


A delightful Cotswold stone cottage situated in the idyllic village of Naunton, retaining many original features. Entrance/Dining Hall | Kitchen | Sitting Room | Bathroom/Shower Room | Two Bedrooms | Study | (plus potential to create another bedroom with ensuite - planning permission has been granted but has now lapsed) | Front Garden | Rear Garden | Studio Outbuilding | Summerhouse | Off Road Parking | EPC Rating: E Fine and Country, Harrison James & Hardie, Bourton on the Water 01451 824 977

April House, Bourton on the Water


A Grade II listed Cotswold stone character property situated in a tucked away location, yet within walking distance of both the outstanding Cotswold School and the village centre. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Dining Room | Cloakroom | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Three Double Bedrooms | Bath/Shower Room | Two Further Second Floor Bedrooms | Garage | Storage Shed | Rear Courtyard Garden | Front Garden | Off Road Parking | EPC Rating: E Fine and Country, Harrison James & Hardie, Bourton on the Water 01451 824 977

Country Homes from harrison james & hardie

Frampton House, Stourton


A deceptively spacious 6 bedroom detached family home with a substantial 1 bedroom bungalow/annexe with private entrance and garden. The property enjoys beautiful views across the open countryside and its generous plot extends to approximately 1 acre and borders the river Stour. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Dining Room | Conservatory | Family Room/Bedroom 7 | Shower Room | Kitchen | Utility Room | 6 First Floor Bedrooms | Bathroom | Annexe Comprising Sitting Room With Fireplace | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Bedroom | Shower Room | Garden | Ample Parking | Paddock Bordered By The River And Stables | Tandem Garage | EPC Rating: D Fine and Country Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 653 893

Dumbra, Ilmington


A deceptively spacious character cottage, constructed of Hornton stone, Dumbra has been tastefully extended and offers beautifully presented accommodation whilst occupying a prime position within this popular North Cotswold village. Entrance Porch | Sitting Room | Dining Room | Family Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Utility Room | WC | Master Bedroom With En-Suite | Second Bedroom With En-Suite Shower Room | Third Double Bedroom | Family Bathroom | Garden | Parking For Several Vehicles | EPC Rating: D Fine and Country Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 653 893

Bourton on the Water | Moreton in Marsh | Stow on the Wold | Mayfair | Lettings

Lucies, Great Wolford


A charming period property located at the heart of this traditional Cotswold village, the property offers deceptively spacious accommodation with an abundance of character features and a generously proportioned cottage garden. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Kitchen | Dining Room | Breakfast Room | Family Room/Bedroom 5 With En-Suite | Two First Floor Double Bedrooms | Bathroom | Two Second Floor Double Bedrooms | Garden | EPC Rating: G Fine and Country Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 653 893

Seaford House, Moreton in Marsh


A charming period townhouse located on the much sought after High Street of this traditional market town. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Dining Room | Kitchen | Conservatory | WC | Master Bedroom | Bathroom | Two Further Bedrooms On The Second Floor | WC | Cottage Garden | EPC Rating: D Fine and Country Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 653 893

Country Homes from harrison james & hardie




“This year has been phenomenally busy - we have agreed as many sales as we have taken on new instructions. By the time our properties are listed online, some have already gone under offer.” Karen Harrison Principal Director Harrison James & Hardie, Fine & Country North Cotswolds


Ask the experts

How to Find the Karen Harrison

Home of Your Dreams


We have a lovely old cottage that will sell really quickly in Wiltshire so we don’t want to go on the market yet.We are searching for something similar in the north Cotswolds, but everything on your books has gone under offer by the time we get to see it. We’re stuck between a rock and a hard place - help, please!

i do sympathise - partly the reason the market feels so over-heated is lack of choice and that’s been epidemic since the recession. lenders are making it really difficult to port good mortgages and Cotswold homeowners are conservative by instinct. Maybe they are worried about what will happen after the election in 2015 but, for whatever reason, many people around here still seem to want to sit tight for a while longer. Having been the dominant north cotswold estate agency over the last fourteen years, our company figures for the residential market place are very instructive.this year has been phenomenally busy. With 20% fewer properties coming onto the market in 2014 than at the previous height of 2007, we have agreed as many sales as we have taken on new instructions – that’s 100% efficiency for you! This compares with the fever pitch marketplace of 2006 when we sold around 80% of the number of new instructions and the deep gloom of 2008 when we only sold around 50% of the number of new instructions (whilst also being the top performers in the marketplace). you have to get your own house on the market to get yourself in the best possible competitive position.you are looking in the most desirable part of the market, one that withstands the vagaries of recession and recovers most quickly, where you will always find yourself up against a variety of buyers – buyers in rented accommodation, buyers on the point of exchanging contracts, buyers investing in a second home / holiday let and retirement buyers who can simply find the cash without selling first. All of these buyers are seriously engaged right now, prepared to come out on a phone call and happy to view at a moment’s notice.These buyers are supremely confident in their decisions (cancellation rates are currently at 15% for the year compared with 33% in 2008) and, of course, are willing and able to compete for the best properties. inevitably, because they have taken the time to get to know us, creating a relationship by viewing everything we suggest, they will be among the first to be contacted when a new instruction comes onto the market – much of the time, we are just adding a new property to a list of other viewings with them. you are suffering the effects of a rapidly improving marketplace, especially living at a distance. When the market is slow, there is plenty

of time to phone out a new instruction to everyone (although many agents still don’t manage to do so) but when the market recovers, the opportunity to work systematically through accumulating lists of applicants becomes much harder, with most of the day taken up doing viewings. after the last recession, when the market broadly recovered in 1997, my fellow director caroline and i were working as sales negotiators in Moreton in Marsh. From april to July of that year we didn’t manage to touch our registered list of applicants – we could only deal with people phoning up or walking in, running out with them on viewings there and then, selling everything we listed and going home each evening literally shaking, exhilarated but exhausted! In July this year, similarly, Steven and Ewan at our Moreton office carried out 202 viewings between them - most viewings were arranged within a couple of hours of a new instruction so, yes, by the time our properties are listed on-line, some have already gone under offer. any negotiator worth their salt will have at least ten people in mind, out viewing and ready to buy, who will be looking for exactly the same kind of property that you desire most. no doubt you have many potential buyers for your own home and, of course, I understand why you are worried that you won’t find the house of your dreams when there seems to be so little available to view. i appreciate your concern – you don’t want to end up letting your purchasers down as well as bearing the cost of instructing solicitors (but one can choose solicitors who offer no sale no Fee). However, competing bids are increasingly common and if your property is highly desirable then you might even have a choice of buyers, too. Agree a sale on the basis of flexible timescales and set a longstop completion date that can be brought forward by mutual consent. Most buyers will agree to wait for their ideal property when there is so little choice and so much competition. once you are under offer, you will be able to compete against the ready, willing and able purchasers - so take the plunge if you want to be in the running for the best properties. Even though it might still take time to discover the ideal property, you will be in a position to act fast when you do find the home of your dreams. Karen harrison is co-founder and owner of hArrison JAmes & hArdie estate agency, a local independent company that has enjoyed consistent success as market leaders and specialists in residential sales and lettings of north Cotswold properties for well over a decade, and is the appointed agent for Fine & Country in the north Cotswolds.To speak to Karen, telephone 01608 651000 or 01451 824977 or e-mail karen@harrisonjameshardie.co.uk To view properties for sale or to let, visit www.cotswold-homes.com.



Mossgiel, Bourton on the Water


Eastwick House, Great Rissington


A substantial detached four bedroom property which has remained in the same family for five decades, Mossgiel offers spacious accommodation and is available with No Onward Chain. Entrance Porch | Entrance Hall | Kitchen/Breakfast room | Utility Room | Downstairs Shower Room | Sitting Room | Snug/Study | Garden Room | Master Bedroom with Ensuite Bathroom | Three Additional Bedrooms | Bathroom | Separate Upstairs Cloakroom | Generous Front Garden | Side Patio Sun Terrace | Private Rear Garden | Greenhouse | Driveway | Tandem Garage | EPC Rating: D

A Cotswold stone traditionally built property situated in this desirable village. Entrance Hall | Cloakroom | Dining Hall | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Utility | Garage | Sitting Room | Conservatory | Master Bedroom with Ensuite | Three Further Bedrooms | Shower Room | Landscaped Garden | Parking | Garage | EPC Rating: F

Harrison James & Hardie, Bourton on the Water 01451 822 977

Harrison James & Hardie, Bourton on the Water 01451 822 977

3 Maugersbury Park, Stow on the Wold


Badgers End, Stow on the Wold


A well presented, semi-detached property situated on the southern edge of the town, benefiting from scope for further extension, subject to necessary consents. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Dining Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Garden Room | Four Bedrooms (Master with Ensuite and Balcony) | Bathroom | Front Garden | Generous Rear Garden | Driveway | EPC Rating: D

A beautifully presented property situated down a private drive, within walking distance of the town centre of Stow on the Wold.The property is ideal as a main home, second home or holiday let investment. Entrance Hall | Kitchen | Sitting Room | Dining Room | Cloakroom | Master Bedroom with Ensuite | Second Bedroom | Bathroom | Second Floor Bedroom with Cloakroom | Private Rear Garden | Parking | Garage | Store | EPC Rating: D

Harrison James & Hardie, Bourton on the Water 01451 822 977

Harrison James & Hardie, Bourton on the Water 01451 822 977


Bourton on the Water | Moreton in Marsh | Mayfair | Lettings

Kate’s Cottage, Stow on the Wold


Greenacres, Naunton


Kate’s Cottage is a recently constructed delightful detached Cotswold stone cottage, situated in a tucked away location within walking distance of the town centre.The property offers a wealth of charm and character whilst proved to be a successful holiday let/second home investment. No Onward Chain. Entrance Hall | Two Double Bedrooms | Bathroom | Sitting Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Walled Courtyard Garden | Parking | EPC Rating: C

A detached chalet style property situated in a quiet cul-de-sac in this desirable Cotswold village. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Conservatory | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Cloakroom | Shower Room | Dining Room | Double Bedroom | First Floor Master Bedroom | Walk-in Wardrobe (currently used as an office) | Ensuite Bathroom | Potential to Create Additional Loft Space for an Additional Bedroom (subject to necessary consents) | Gardens to Front, Rear and Side | Driveway Parking and Garage | EPC Rating: D

Harrison James & Hardie, Bourton on the Water 01451 822 977

Harrison James & Hardie, Bourton on the Water 01451 822 977

3 Woodside, Turkdean


A well-presented, semi-detached property occupying a fantastic rural position backing on to open countryside. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Conservatory | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Utility Room | Bathroom | Master Bedroom with Ensuite Shower Room | Two Further Bedrooms | Front Garden | Driveway and Parking | Rear Garden | N.B. The property has a restriction giving local people an automatic consent to purchase; anyone from out of the area must get approval to purchase | EPC Rating: D Harrison James & Hardie, Bourton on the Water 01451 822 977

20 Greens Close, Great Rissington


A well-presented semi-detached property situated in the desirable village of Great Rissington. Entrance Hall | Cloakroom | Sitting Room | Dining Room | Kitchen | Conservatory | Four Bedrooms | Bathroom | Front and Rear Gardens | Driveway | N.B. The property has a restriction giving local people an automatic consent to purchase; anyone from out of the area must get approval to purchase | EPC Rating: E Harrison James & Hardie, Bourton on the Water 01451 822 977

view all our properties at harrisonjameshardie.co.uk

Cheverney, Blackwell


Cherry Orchard, Blockley


A substantially extended and beautifully refurbished 4 bedroom family home with countryside views to front and rear. Reception Hall | Sitting Room Opening To Family Room/Dining Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Utility Room | WC | Master Bedroom With En-Suite Shower And Dressing Area | Three Further Double Bedrooms | Bathroom With Separate Bath And Shower | Garden To Rear | Driveway Parking | Open Countryside To Front And Rear | EPC Rating: C

This stunning period property has undergone significant refurbishment and offers flexible accommodation presented to a high standard with some beautiful countryside views. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Dining Room | Kitchen | Conservatory | Utility Room | W.C | Master Bedroom With En-Suite | Dressing Room/ Study | Two Further Bedrooms | Bathroom | Garage | Garden Store | Garden l Gated Parking l EPC Rating: D

Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651 000

Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651 000

Topiary House, Moreton in Marsh


2 Sweetmore Close, Lower Oddington


A substantial detached five bedroom house presented to an impeccably high standard, located in a sought after position on the edge of Moreton Park and benefitting from many optional extras. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Dining Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Utility Room | WC | Master Bedroom With En-Suite | Four Further Bedrooms | Bathroom | Double Garage | Garden | Parking | EPC Rating: B

A well presented and generously proportioned family home, situated in a sought after village location and benefitting from landscaped garden and car port providing off road parking. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Study | WC | Four bedrooms | Family Bathroom | Second Floor Master Bedroom With En-Suite And Dressing Room | Garden | Carport | Two Additional Parking Spaces | EPC Rating: D

Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651 000

Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651 000


Moreton in Marsh | Bourton on the Water | Mayfair | Lettings

Goff Cottage, Longborough


Lavender Cottage, Long Compton


A charming Grade ll listed cottage offering scope for improvement and situated within a premium Cotswold village. Sitting Room Open To Dining Area | Kitchen | WC | Two Bedrooms | Bathroom | Garden To Rear | Outbuilding Consisting Of Garden Store

A characterful period cottage tucked away in a pretty and peaceful location with a generous garden and parking. Entrance | Sitting Room | Dining Room | Kitchen | W.C | Thee Bedrooms | Bathroom | Garden | Parking | EPC Rating: E

Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651 000

Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651 000

4 Fairview Terrace, Moreton in Marsh


Orchard View, Stretton on Fosse


An immaculately presented and tastefully extended Victorian end of terrace property with a large well maintained garden. Sitting Room Opening To Dining Room | Kitchen | Master Bedroom With En-Suite | Three Further Bedrooms | Bathroom | Garden | EPC Rating: TBC

Situated within the old part of the village, this detached two bedroom cottage has been fully refurbished and finished to an extremely high standard. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room With Fireplace | WC | Fully Fitted Kitchen | Two Bedrooms | Study | Bathroom | Garden | EPC Rating: E

Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651 000

Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651 000

view all our properties at harrisonjameshardie.co.uk

Oxleigh & Honeysuckle Cottage, Bourton on the Water


A pair of semi-detached cottages with ancillary accommodation, used for many years as holiday cottages.Whilst we are offering the cottages as a whole, they are registered separately and with some remedial works could easily become two private residential houses once again. Honeysuckle Cottage comprises: Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Dining Room | Sitting Room | Cloakroom | Utility Room | WC | Three Bedrooms | Bathroom | Porch | Garden | Parking | EPC Rating: D | Ancillary accommodation of Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Bedroom with En-Suite | Bathroom | Sitting Room/Bedroom 2 | Bathroom | Reception/Laundry Room | Garden and Parking | EPC Rating: D. Oxleigh Comprises - Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Dining Room | Sitting Room | Cloakroom | Utility Room | WC | Three Bedrooms | Bathroom | Porch | Garden | Parking | EPC Rating: E Fine and Country, Harrison James & Hardie, Bourton on the Water 01451 824 977

Elmdean, Stretton on Fosse


A substantial detached family residence with four bedrooms, three bathrooms and a generously proportioned garden.The property occupies an elevated position within the village and enjoys distant countryside views. Entrance hall | Sitting Room | Study | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Utility Room | W.C | Master Bedroom with En-Suite | Guest Bedroom with En-Suite | Two Further Double Bedrooms | Bathroom | Double Garage | Garden | Parking | EPC Rating: C Fine and Country, Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 653 893

Bourton on the Water | Moreton in Marsh | Stow on the Wold | Mayfair | Lettings

Cosy Cottage, Bourton on the Water


Greystones Cottage, Stow on the Wold


A stunning Cotswold stone Grade II Listed cottage situated in a central position within the heart of the desirable village of Bourton on the Water. The cottage enjoys a wealth of character and is available with No Onward Chain. Entrance Porch | Open Plan Kitchen, Sitting Room and Breakfast Area | First Floor Bathroom | Double Bedroom | Second Floor Additional Second Double Bedroom | Courtyard Garden | Utility Room | Storage | EPC Rating: E

A charming period Cotswold stone cottage which has been lovingly restored by its current owner, situated on a quiet lane within walking distance of the centre of Stow on the Wold. No Onward Chain. Sitting Room | Central Hallway/Cloak Area | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Double Bedroom | Ensuite Shower and WC | Second Double Bedroom with Ensuite Bathroom | Front and Rear Gardens | EPC Rating: D

Harrison James & Hardie, Bourton on the Water 01451 822 977

Harrison James & Hardie, Bourton on the Water 01451 822 977

Holme Cottage, Stow on the Wold


7 Webbs Court, Northleach


A delightful Cotswold stone period cottage situated within walking distance of the centre of Stow on the Wold, enjoying a private rear patio and garden, ideal as a character home or investment holiday let. Entrance Porch | Sitting Room | Kitchen | Conservatory | Two Bedrooms | Bathroom | Rear Garden | EPC Rating: D

An immaculate second floor apartment situated on the fringe of the historic market town of Northleach, overlooking neighbouring countryside. No Onward Chain. Entrance Hall | Open Plan Sitting Room/Dining Room/Kitchen | Master Bedroom with Ensuite | Additional Bedroom | Bathroom | Views | Off Road Parking | EPC Rating: D

Harrison James & Hardie, Bourton on the Water 01451 822 977

Harrison James & Hardie, Bourton on the Water 01451 822 977

view all our properties at harrisonjameshardie.co.uk


Ask the experts

Sue Ellis

To Fix or Not To Fix, That Is The Question


Our fixed rate mortgage deal is shortly coming to an end and our monthly payment is going to increase sharply, reverting to our lender’s standard variable rate. We want to remain on a fixed rate - we like the security of knowing our payment will not change for a certain number of years. however, we are unsure whether to opt for a short-term fixed rate that initially offers lower rates or should we go for the certainty of a longer-term deal, albeit at not quite such good rates?


Your uncertainty is one that a lot of people are feeling at the moment, particularly those people who have come off higher long-term fixed rates having taken deals around the 6.5% mark during 2008/09. In such instances, it’s a case of once bitten, twice shy. With hindsight, those borrowers would far better have opted for a shorter-term fixed rate, or even a tracker or discounted deal, rates having been at such a low level for such a considerable period of time.

near future? Will you be starting a family? are you considering a career change? Is it likely you can make a lump sum payment on the mortgage, at some point soon? these are all important factors that need to be considered in order to give some sensible structured advice when making a recommendation, both with a new purchase or re-mortgaging, before obtaining a new deal. With most mortgage deals these days, borrowers are committing to remain with that product and the lender for a specified period of time – there’s a hefty penalty to consider before jumping ship. There are certainly some good fixed term deals available at present, whilst it is difficult to give a definitive answer in this column - every borrower’s circumstances are different, with a range of factors to consider – so I cannot give a carte-blanche answer that suffices across the board. However, broadly speaking, it comes down to ‘making hay while the sun shines’.

“Fixed rates are still, by far, the most popular types of mortgage deal. Fixed rates, as you say, give borrowers the security of knowing exactly what their payments will be over a set period of time.” of course none of us know for sure what interest rates are going to do, not even the Bank of England – it is all very much a gamble. We can only surmise the likely trend in rates, both short and long term. Fixed rates are still, by far, the most popular types of mortgage deal. Fixed rates, as you say, give borrowers the security of knowing exactly what their payments will be over a set period of time. tracker rates (which follow the Bank of england Base rate) and other types of variable rate deals have fallen in popularity, due to the general consensus that interest rates will have to rise at some point. At the time of writing, for example, the lowest two year fixed rate available for a new mortgage deal with equity of 40% of more is as low as 1.58% - or for a typical longer-term fixed rate for five years is 2.89%. With less equity of around 25%, then you are looking at 1.94% for a two year fixed rate or 3.24% for a five year fixed rate. I always recommend to clients that they need to think ahead about their future plans. Might you be moving house in the


Cotswold Homes Magazine

Should you opt for a two-year deal at the lower level perhaps you could look to overpay, although you do need to check the conditions of the mortgage with regard to this suggestion, in order to bring the capital down at a faster rate. alternatively, if your circumstances look pretty set for the next few years, a longer-term fixed rate is a more sensible option, giving you ongoing security and peace of mind. But as I’ve said many a time - if I had a crystal ball, I’d be a rich woman! Please do come and have a chat – we have a Privilege Card offer for readers of Cotswold Homes (every little helps!). once I know about your particular circumstances, I can help to illustrate all the pros and cons to find the best product for you. sue Ellis works alongside Johnny magee as a mortgage Broker at Jem Financial Planning. The team has over 50 years’ experience in investment, retirement and inheritance planning, mortgages, protection and general insurance. To speak to sue or Johnny, telephone 01386 840777 or visit www.johnny-magee.co.uk.


Ask the experts

Philip Ryder

In the Know - Buying A Listed Home


We have found our dream home, a beautiful 17th century cottage. We want to make an offer but the house is listed and various alterations have been made over the years. What do we need to know? english Heritage is responsible for maintaining the national Heritage List of listed buildings in england, the purpose being to recognise and celebrate the wealth of historical, cultural and architectural interest in this country. the planning system, working alongside the list, preserves that heritage for future generations. almost all buildings built before 1700 are listed, as are the majority built before 1840. Generally, the older a building is, the more likely it is to be on the list. there are over 300,000 listed buildings in England, and different categories of listing. Only a small proportion are Grade I Listed – buildings of exceptional interest, such as palaces and castles. Grade II Listed buildings are buildings of more than special interest and the majority of listed buildings are Grade II Listed – those of national importance and of special interest. Buying and owning a listed building can be a great pleasure but it will come with additional planning obligations. Buyers need to know what they are buying, what changes have been made in the past, and with what consents. You also need to know what you can and cannot do in the future, taking into account your plans for the property. Your solicitor will carry out a search via the local authority and obtain a copy of the listing itself. Speak to english Heritage with any queries. Most listings cover the whole building, including the interior, unless parts of it are specifically excluded in the list description. It can also cover other attached structures and fixtures, garden features and extensions or additions carried out after the date of the listing. the enterprise and regulatory reform act recently made amendments to the planning laws that allow English Heritage to say definitively whether attached or curtilage structures are protected, and provide clarification about whether a part or feature of a listed building is not of special interest, for the purposes of listed building consent. the fact that a building is listed does not mean that it cannot be altered but listed building consent must be applied for in order to make any changes, along with the usual consents.

Listed buildings can be altered and extended in consultation with the local authority, who use listed building consent to make decisions about balancing the historic significance of a house against other issues such as its function, condition or viability. If you wish to make alterations you should liaise with the listed building officer at the local authority, only making changes after having obtained listed building consent and in accordance with the terms of that consent. When buying a listed property it is important to understand what changes have been made since the date of the listing. It is wise to arrange for an expert to check all such changes because it is very difficult, often impossible, to obtain insurance to protect against the risk if these have been made without consent. equally, obtaining retrospective listed building consent can be expensive and risky. the law contains a number of criminal offences aimed at protecting historic buildings, making it an offence to carry out works that require listed building consent without such consent. not all works need consent (for example, in Grade II listed buildings, generally you can decorate without asking permission), but major work such as demolition, alteration or extension certainly will do. the local authority decides whether proposed changes will affect the character of a building, so check first. Consent often requires traditional building methods or materials to be used - this can increase the cost of maintenance, of course. However, none of this should deter you from buying a piece of the wonderful architectural history of England – just ensure you investigate all the implications, costs and responsibilities that come with it, first. If you would like help further advice, do use our Privilege Card offer for Cotswold Homes readers. Philip Ryder is a Partner at Thomas legal group – one of the Cotswolds’ premier property law firms: The Conveyancing Experts. Please contact him via email at info@tlg.uk.com or via the website www.thomaslegalgroup. co.uk for information on the cost of conveyance upon your property sale or purchases.




Ask the experts

Robert Hamilton

Structurally Speaking… Dealing With Damp


seems an unlikely topic after the blazing summer we have had, but interestingly a number of recent surveys have flagged this as a problem in some houses.There are several common causes of dampness, and the ancient cotswold stone houses are sadly often affected if not properly managed. however, even modern construction can suffer badly from dampness as i will show later in this article. rising damp:this is the term used to describe moisture literally ‘rising’ up the walls due to capillary action within the fine pores of the stone or bricks (think of drinking straws).the water may come from soil outside or from beneath the floor construction.To prevent this effect an impermeable layer of moisture barrier or damp proof course (DPC) is incorporated into the walls at low level. this can be variously slate, engineering bricks, bituminous resin or, nowadays, synthetic material such as butyl or PVC. Care must be taken when landscaping that the external ground level does not get above the level of the DPC or it will be made ineffective. For old walls without a DPC, or where an existing one has failed, there are methods of drilling into the wall and injecting chemicals which are then absorbed into and fill the pores of the stone or bricks to create an impermeable layer. Porous ceramic tubes (patented by royal Doulton no less!) can also be inserted into the walls.the latter were used pre WWII in Westminster abbey… the second problem with rising damp is that the moisture going up the walls carries mineral salts which are themselves hygroscopic (attracting water). these are then deposited on the surface of the wall and attract moisture back from the atmosphere into the wall, so after the DPC has been reinstated, the affected parts have to be repaired also. But this type of dampness is actually natural to old stone and other construction such as cob, indeed if cob dries out too much it falls apart . . . so keeping old properties well heated and ventilated is the answer albeit a costly one. Penetrating dampness:this is a more knotty problem as it has many causes and water will find each, any and every point of access possible. Failed mortar pointing, render cracking and joints around doors, chimneys, roofs and windows are all vulnerable. Bricks degrade over years and some stone is porous. Southwest-facing elevations face the most moisture-laden winds and nearby trees can literally deluge buildings with every leaf acting as a tiny water reservoir. this is before we start to look at plumbing failures, gutters and downpipes blocked, damaged or just inadequate for the task. Large areas of roof call for larger diameter gutters and bigger hoppers. Make them an architectural feature! Cavity walls are not immune either, as the cavity can be ‘bridged’ by areas of rubble that has fallen into the cavity or mortar dropping onto the ties during construction. Penetrating dampness, particularly, can be a problem after prolonged dry spells such as we have had recently when some components


Cotswold Homes Magazine

may have shrunk in the heat and left a gap that can admit water. So, take advantage of the fine weather to tidy up pointing, seal joints and clean out your gutters! Condensation damp:this most counter-intuitive cause of dampness in hot weather is condensation.the air around us contains much water vapour and, as the temperature rises, so does the capacity of the air to hold moisture.then, when it is cooled either by natural cooling as the sun goes down or by meeting a colder surface e.g. stone, it is deposited as a film of moisture. Nowadays, we all produce a lot of water vapour from cooking, bathing and showering and drying clothes. I don’t want to stop anyone taking a bath or shower, but PLeaSe open the windows to let the steam out…or run the extractor fan. I recently went to a let property where the tenant was complaining of mould in the shower room.the house was like an oven inside and she was leaving wet washing, as well as towels on the heated towel rails, to dry because she would not go out to the garage to use the tumble dryer, let alone peg them out on the washing line. every window was tightly shut and the switch for the fan was quite high up and she said she could not reach it. We are all so keen to reduce heating bills that we install double glazing and sophisticated heating systems, but remember that gas is a ‘wet’ fuel so a gas cooker, hob or fire contributes to the water vapour content. Good FENSA regulation windows have trickle vents or integral ventilators, but I have seen these stuffed with tissues… trapping water vapour in the house increases the likelihood of condensation dampness and subsequent mould growth. I have listed these three in such an order that the most frequent is actually the last. We can’t help breathing (very moisture producing!) but we can ensure that condensation is kept to a minimum by using good ventilation such as the lockable ‘night latch’ mode on double glazing, using extractor systems which actually extract (often they merely recirculate) and keeping other producers of moisture to a minimum e.g. drying washing outside! A final story; a friend had problems with his gamekeeper’s cottage which was extremely damp last winter, to the extent that the walls were literally running with water. after investigation I discovered that he brought all his dogs into the house every night in cold weather. Just one Labrador breathing creates as much H2o as two grown men, so several (plus spaniels) in a small unventilated kitchen caused many litres of condensation a night. . .leaving the windows open was the answer! Central Surveying has offices in the Cotswolds and Knightsbridge, specialising in independent professional surveying and property consultancy services for commercial and residential clients in the cotswolds, south West and london. Robert hamilton works from naunton in the heart of the north cotswolds.To contact Robert, telephone 01285 640 840 or visit the www. centralsurveying.co.uk.


Ask the experts

Summer Holiday Letting Andy Soye


i have a beautiful, three bedroom cotswold cottage and i am considering holiday letting as a means of generating additional income. From your experience, what are the main drivers of a successful holiday cottage? With proper preparation, a high quality holiday cottage has the potential to earn you significant income, when it would otherwise be lying empty. the location is perfect as well, as the Cotswolds is one of the UK’s most popular year round destinations, for visitors renting holiday homes. at Character Cottages, we market and actively monitor a portfolio of over 60 beautiful Cotswold cottages and, in our experience, there are certain key factors critical for success. The first is style and equipment. The majority of guests who rent high quality holiday homes in the Cotswolds are seeking cottages that blend traditional character features with modern, stylish finishes. Extensive feedback also shows that guests are willing to pay more for warm, inviting homes with unique touches, rather than for bland, or overly traditional cottages. It is therefore important to maintain the right balance between decorating your cottage in a way that is personal to you and ensuring that it will also appeal to the majority of today’s holiday makers. Ideally, a high quality holiday home in the Cotswolds also contains some of the following features: inglenook fireplaces, exposed brickwork and wooden beams, child friendly enclosed garden, well presented kitchen, with sufficient and appropriate crockery, cutlery and utensils, and comfortable seating for all guests. the second factor to success is size and occupancy. Most period Cotswold cottages were built for farm labourers, or wool and silk factory workers, so were quite small, typically with one or two bedrooms. Because there are so many cottages that sleep two to four guests in the Cotswolds, they have a lot of competition in the holiday letting market. However, larger properties sleeping five guests or more are scarcer and, consequently, have less competition, commanding comparatively higher prices. these properties perform very well in the Cotswolds, typically outperforming smaller cottages in terms of revenue and profit per guest. For example, in its first year as a holiday let, we achieved more than £45,000 of gross income from over 55 bookings

Mat Faraday

for a beautiful, detached three-bedroom cottage in the north Cotswolds. It is therefore important to look at the potential capacity of your property - accommodating just one extra guest can increase your gross annual income by more than £5,000. If you are confident that the house is not going to be overcrowded, ask yourself if you can turn a ground floor study or a loft into extra sleeping space, possibly just by adding a decent sofa bed. another important factor is location. the Cotswolds is easily accessible from both the north and the south of the UK, and is only 90 minutes by train from London’s Paddington station. In addition, the sheer beauty of the area ensures that it retains its charm and appeal all year round, whatever the weather. In terms of the ideal location, cottages in the main market towns, such as Chipping Campden, Stow-on-the-Wold and Bourton-on-theWater typically perform very well. Many holiday makers will pay a premium to stay in the beautiful villages that are often found close to these market towns, such as Lower Slaughter, Blockley or the oddingtons. there is strong demand for high quality holiday cottages located throughout the Cotswolds, however, those that are located away from busy roads, are within walking distance of a nice pub and have country walks nearby, are in particular demand for the perfect weekend away! this is a brief guide - at Character Cottages we are very experienced at marketing and maximising the returns on holiday properties. We can offer owners a wide and detailed range of support and advice on many key holiday letting factors, including furnishing, pricing, occupancy, security deposits and overall property management. To find out exactly what your cottage can do for you, see details of our Privilege Card offer [ on page 129 ] and get in touch with us! andy soye and mat Faraday are co-founders and owners of character cottages, an independent company specialising in the holiday letting of luxury properties in the Cotswolds. To find out more about their services visit www.character-cottages.co.uk or telephone 020 8935 5375.




Hamlet: Noun

1. A small number of houses 2. (In Britain) a village without its own church

Tallet house



Often used to describe a very small village, in Britain, apparently, a hamlet has to be somewhere without a church. So Hazleton doesn’t qualify whilst Ascott does - nonetheless, both are tiny ancient settlements boasting all the benefits of splendid isolation that one associates with hamlet life and both are perfect hideaways.


Cotswold Homes Magazine


hazleton is situated on the south-western fringe of the north Cotswolds, one of a triangle of tiny settlements including Brockhampton, Sevenhampton and Hawling, served by the ancient market towns of northleach, Winchcombe and Stow on the Wold. this part of the north Cotswolds enjoys a gloriously rural position and is surrounded by countryside as far as the eye can see. Yet, all these outposts are only a twenty-minute drive or so into Cheltenham, with its cosmopolitan shops, restaurants, theatres, festivals and (of course) the racecourse. this is the north Cotswolds at its most traditional despite their proximity to the a40 these villages feel timeless, feudal and remote. think Bridget Jones or Vicar of Dibley – little picturesque jumbles of stone cottages approached by single track lanes cutting through open farmland. For more of a flavour, simply visit the Facebook page of nearby Hawling. Here are beautiful photos

from Farmer Bob of sheep in mid-winter, a snow-covered red phone box and rabbits sitting cheek by jowl with a partridge on a summer’s day. Horses, of course, feature highly – the news feed discusses fly grazing and gives an update on an abandoned mare. Villagers share their pictures of contented rural life: a recent garden open day, the church’s harvest festival, a local bride walking up the lane on her wedding day. What to buy? Tallet house in hazleton forms one of a cluster of barn conversions in the centre of the village. It’s a substantial property with six bedrooms and bathrooms, (two on the ground and four on the first floor), the whole full of light and space, overlooking open countryside at the rear.

–at one end a double-height ceiling, where large comfortable sofas are gathered around a lozengeshaped, rotating wood-burning stove. to the other end, the ceilings are lower and cosier, with a dining table set for eight (but room for more) beneath a grand chandelier. there is a certain 60s futuristic aesthetic – a sleek and minimalist kitchen/ breakfast room is fitted with creamy gloss Corian units and a leather banquette curving around a pedestal table.

The grand centrepiece of the ground floor is undoubtedly a huge open plan reception room

Upstairs, however, the original structure of the barn imposes a more timeless feel, with the exposed ‘a’ frame forming natural divisions between rooms and making the most of period features. Here, the bedrooms are vast, luxuriously carpeted and deeply set into the eaves; the ensuite to the master suite is as big as a bedroom with a freestanding bath and a separate, doublewidth shower.

There is a certain 60s futuristic aesthetic – a sleek and minimalist kitchen/ breakfast room is fitted with creamy gloss Corian units and a leather banquette curving around a pedestal table.

outside, the barn wraps around a wide, central gravelled courtyard with parking for several cars and a three bay open-fronted garage. Behind low dry stone walling, lawned gardens open out onto fields and hills with paved terraces offering spaces to dine and to relax, to make the most of the sun and to luxuriate in the peaceful feeling of time stood still.

Tallet house




The grand centrepiece of the ground floor is undoubtedly a huge open plan reception room –at one end a double-height ceiling, where large comfortable sofas are gathered around a lozengeshaped, rotating woodburning stove.

Tallet House

Tallet House

Tallet House

Tallet House is being marketed by Fine & Country North Cotswolds at Bourton on the Water. For more information contact James von Speyr on 01451 824977 or for details and a oor plan simply visit www.cotswold-homes.com

Tallet House 84

Cotswold Homes Magazine


Ascott and Whichford are just inside the Warwickshire boundary on the opposite northeastern fringe of the Cotswolds, with Oxfordshire beginning at the top of Whichford Hill, looking out towards the Clent and Chiltern hills. The villages are predominantly built from local Honington stone, with thatched cottages dating back to the 1700s. This stone gives a golden, reddish warmth rather than the weathered silvery grey of western cousins. The villages in this area are served by another triangle of ancient market towns Chipping Norton, Shipston on Stour and Stratford upon Avon. The hamlet of Ascott is separated from its neighbour Whichford by an expanse of rolling fields in an Area of Outstanding natural Beauty. The Reverend Francis Witts, whose son was about to become a curate at Whichford in 1838, is quoted in the parish plan: “The character of the country, especially the steepness of the hills, and the general seclusion of the village in a valley out of a high road, must preclude much society with neighbouring families.” The paragraph concludes: “[Today] Whichford still retains the quiet rural character given to it by its location in an enclosed valley very much off the beaten track. The hilly landscape is very beautiful, with alternating patches of arable land and pasture and, overlooking the village, the ancient woodland of Whichford Wood.

The Old House

The surrounding hills have up to now mostly been free of development, and these stretches of unspoiled high open countryside form an essential element in the character of the village.” In the parish plan one can also find photos dating back over generations, of horses and drays, donkeys with carts, little girls in smocked dresses - an unspoiled community, supported and defined by its farming heritage, maintaining a population of just three hundred or so for the

last two centuries. One of the highlights of this community is the annual Whichford and Ascott Flower Show on August Bank Holiday, a traditional village fete with cream teas, country music and dancing on the green, with festivities continuing well into the night. On the broad expanse of green at Whichford is the Norman Knight public house - a perfect meeting place, along with St Michael’s church, for the locals to gather and fortunately, within a level half-mile walk of the hamlet of Ascott.

The Old House




The Old House

The kitchen is fitted out with traditional oak units, where double doors are thrown open onto a terrace that is perfect for sunlit Sunday breakfasts, and a separate dining room one can imagine will be beautifully dressed for Christmas.

The Old House

The Old House


Cotswold Homes Magazine


The Old House is being marketed by Fine & Country North Cotswolds at Moreton in Marsh. For more information contact Tom Burdett on 01608 651000 or for details and a floor plan simply visit www.cotswold-homes.com

What to buy? The Old House at Ascott is a perfect hideaway, a chocolate box period stone cottage, sitting side-end on to a little singletrack lane, surrounded by ancient garden walls, enjoying peace and privacy from a handful of neighbours. This is your quintessential Cotswold idyll – photogenic, roses around the door, a cottage garden. Step under the stone porch through the front door to find just what you hope and expect – an open hallway with a balustrade staircase leading upwards and a sitting room with exposed beams, deep-silled windows, sofas arranged around a large inglenook fireplace. The kitchen is fitted out with traditional oak units, where double doors are thrown open onto a terrace that is perfect for sunlit Sunday breakfasts, and a separate dining

room one can imagine will be beautifully dressed for Christmas. This is a sociable, comfortable, grown-up house that would suit a professional couple: upstairs, of two large bedrooms one is currently used as a study, an ideal place for those seeking space and tranquillity to work, with rows of fitted cupboards for storing paperwork and a delightfully pretty outlook for inspiration (to daydream). Beyond the broad landing is a luxurious master suite and, upstairs to the second floor are another two double bedrooms, served by a ‘Jack and Jill’ shower room. This is a very sensible arrangement, as the vendor explains: “When my daughter and grandchildren stay, they can have the whole top floor to themselves whilst I am undisturbed on the floor below!” www.cotswold-homes.com


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Cotswold Homes Magazine


A dilapidated property is a wonderful find and an increasingly rare prospect in the North Cotswolds. A cottage largely untouched for forty or fifty years save for the most basic of modernisation (running water, an inside toilet) inspires a mix of emotions. Most often, it will be a deceased estate of someone whose latter years were spent coping with only basic facilities in a gradually deteriorating property, but certainly determined to remain in the family home of generations. There is always a sense of excitement at the possibilities offered by such a property. Cottages like these always create a rush of viewings. Potential buyers queue up, yearning with enthusiasm, caught in the moment, envisaging the finished project rather than the limitations of their wallets and the substantial and unpredictable challenges that historic buildings throw up. Usually there will be a bun fight ending in Best & Final offers. Among the competitors will be at least one seasoned developer with the wherewithal, the skills and the cash to take on such a project. After the romantics have properly considered a list of structural faults, planning difficulties and listing restrictions, they tend to back away.

way for the bigger picture, the broader scope of possibilities ignored on the grounds of cost. The end goal is a profit, after all. But somehow the cottage has acquired a look of sameness and an accessible, homogeneous style – it has lost a bit of its soul, its peculiar uniqueness.

Typically, the developer will win – head, not heart. In a relatively small space of time, maybe six or twelve months, the cottage will come back on the market. It will be a great renovation, expertly done, easy to sell and entirely fit for purpose - but sometimes, there will be a creeping sense of disappointment. One can’t help but remember the quirkiness of the original house, the little features that have been knocked out or covered up to make

So began a love affair of epic proportion, an obsessive labour of love, led by Dr Firth, with the help and support of his wife and teenage children. Of course, this was never a profit-making exercise. No one in their right mind excavates half a collapsed house by hand, stone by stone, over two years, to preserve the integrity of the site. But Dr Firth did. Rather than bulldoze away the remains of a former building, as any developer would

Except, of course, when the words “too much work” are not just a euphemism for “let’s negotiate” but “I really can’t take this on”. In the recession, this is what happened to Hillside in Bourton on the Hill. There were no takers. Viewer after viewer trudged in and out, week after week, but after several months nobody had the courage to take it on. From their house opposite, Dr Firth and his wife watched the comings and goings as the months passed. They remembered their neighbour Clare Fardon, the resilient old lady who had lived there all her life, often watching the world go by from the living room bay window, with its views up and down the village, whilst her beloved house slowly aged with her. Eventually they wondered if this was a project they could take on to transform this tired house into something wonderful?

“A cottage largely untouched for forty or fifty years save for the most basic of modernisation inspires a mix of emotions ...”




have done, he conducted meticulous research. From his knowledge of village history - his Book of Bourton-on-the-Hill, Batsford & Sezincote was published in 2005 - and also evidence of old photos, he discovered that this cottage once had a tall, probably three-storey, rear wing with a commercial bread oven which, together with two others, served the whole village. He proceeded, well informed and determined, to obtain permission to build a replacement wing on the footprint, not quite as tall but almost as substantial as the former. Carefully, he continued to excavate and unbelievably, found the huge bread oven still largely intact, albeit with a small tree growing through it. During the work several items were recorded or discovered that reveal the varied history and uses of the property. A roof truss is late medieval in character, along with malting floor bricks and a host of treasures under floorboards - a 1793 woollen trading coin, hundreds of lace pins, weights that were possibly used in the bakery and a number of historic ink bottles. Newspapers were discovered under early wallpapers, used 90 Cotswold Homes Magazine

as backing paper, some of which Dr Firth has deliberately left in situ for posterity. These date as early as 1815, including reports of the Duke of Wellington inspecting his troops on the continent in the wake of the battle of Waterloo, whilst others 1834 and1870s are evidence of previous makeovers. There is no doubt that this was once a very busy and prosperous site, with historic references to barns, stables, a malt house and outbuildings. In part of his will in1838 a previous owner (Thomas Cornmell) leaves his gold watch, silver-mounted gun and pair of silver spurs to his grandson. In 1905, The Old Bakery (as it was known by then) featured in a popular book on cottages and farmhouses in the Cotswold District. It is also the centrepiece of the most well-known, early twentieth-century print of Bourton on the Hill (often found on E-bay). A very young Clare Fardon is almost certainly one of the girls outside the front door. This rich and lengthy history certainly encouraged Dr Firth to make extensive use of traditional materials, designed to reveal and retain the property’s character, including Cotswold stone and slates, lime plaster, cast-iron rainwater goods and hardwood flooring. However, within

the historic skeleton, modern services have also been integrated - the cottage has been completely re-wired, the roofs have been insulated, modern plumbing and gas fired central heating have been installed, ensuring a comprehensive structural and functional restoration. There is no doubt that the result has been worth the energy, the extensive research, the attention to detail and the creative vision. The new wing of the house is truly beautiful. Stepping up from the cottage into the new half of the house, the two parts are united by a glass atrium that overlooks the garden – an ingenious device, letting in sunshine and opening up views to the garden from the darkness of the original hallway. The ground floor has the bread oven as its central feature, in a room most likely to become the dining room. “It would make an excellent wine cellar,” observes Dr Firth as we peer into its cool cavernous depths. Above by a few steps is a well lit double height, vaulted room, with its waistheight windows offering framed views of distant hills, glass doors opening out onto a sheltered suntrap. The quality of light and the high, clean

Hillside Cottage is being marketed by Fine & Country North Cotswolds at Moreton in Marsh. For more information contact Tom Burdett on 01608 651000 or for details and a floor plan simply visit www.cotswold-homes.com

“this is still A WorK in progress, After All – it’s the WAy With lAbours of love.” spaces are perfect for vast canvasses - an artist’s studio, perhaps. On and up in a different direction is a lovely double bedroom ideal for guests – a characterful but conventional space, level floored and square walled, fitted with cupboards and wardrobe, served by a bathroom. As such, it is the only bedroom that conforms to any sense of regularity of form and function – technically there are four more bedrooms in the main cottage but, as Dr Firth says, these rooms could be anything you want them to be. The old part is labyrinthine and curious, a set for Alice in Wonderland with occasional sloping floors, mullioned windows, an ancient doorway that now leads to nowhere, a luxurious and lopsided bathroom, a double bedroom with an outsized fireplace in one

corner, more wooden spiral stairs to clamber up, half bent over. A small heavily beamed attic bedroom with the church tower looming large in the window, a squat but extensive roof space beyond where a child might build a train-track on a rainy day - each room and the spaces between are structurally photogenic at every turn, nothing smooth or straight but tactile, lime plastered, beamed and thick-walled, robust. The history, the timeline of the house remains – the hall that was possibly a passageway between two separate cottages, the added Victorian bay window in the front room, and the cosy low ceilings and window seat of the farmhouse kitchen. The garden has been similarly restored and improved – a long stretch of scrubland has become sculptural and magnificent with an

expanse of smooth, newly-seeded lawns punctuated by stepping stones and rod-straight trees that soar towards the skyline; hardy shrubs, herbs and vegetables planted in freshly-built raised beds and a walled, sun terrace that looks out over the rooftops towards distant hills. On our last visit, Dr Firth was still as busy as ever, toiling on a rockery. This is still a work in progress, after all – it’s the way with labours of love. But finally, they are ready to sell and the property will be coming onto the market in late September. Whoever buys this home will enjoy something exceptional and unique - rescued from neglect and dilapidation, restored with endless love and care. And Dr Firth has his own legacy, a priceless gift to the village he has lived in for over twentyfive years, by recovering a lost part of its history and making it good for generations to come. www.cotswold-homes.com


Halford House, Bourton on the Water SOLD STC

Guide Price £1,000,000

A fabulously presented Grade II listed property situated at the centre of this sought after village, significantly upgraded by its present owners as a sister to the renowned Dial House Hotel. Full of light and character, with 6,000 feet of living space arranged over three floors, looking out over a pretty, secluded garden and shielded from view behind a high stone wall, this property would work equally well for a family. Entrance Hall | Dining Room | Sitting Room | Lounge | Kitchen | Office | Reception Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Two Shower Rooms | WC | Cellar | Bedroom | with Ensuite and Dressing Room | Bedroom 2 with Ensuite | Two Further Bedrooms | Bathroom | Second Floor – Four Bedrooms with Ensuite | Gardens | Garage | Parking | EPC Rating: E Fine and Country, Harrison James & Hardie, Bourton on the Water 01451 824 977

The Granary, Clapton on the Hill

Guide Price £925,000

A stunning detached Cotswold stone barn conversion nestled in the desirable village of Clapton on the Hill, the property enjoys a wealth of character with exposed beams, Cotswold stone flagstone flooring in the central hallway, a feature double height galleried landing, inglenook fireplace, stunning master suite with three additional bedrooms and family bathroom, private well stocked garden and sun patio with water feature, gravelled driveway and double garage. Entrance Hall | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Sitting Room | Dining Room | Cloakroom | Utility | Feature Galleried Landing | Master Suite with Dressing Area, Bathroom and Generous Bedroom | Two further Double Bedrooms | Study/Bedroom Four | Bathroom | Gravelled Driveway | Double Garage | Garden | EPC Rating: D Fine and Country, Harrison James & Hardie, Bourton on the Water 01451 824 977

Bourton on the Water | Moreton in Marsh | Stow on the Wold | Mayfair | Lettings


THE H O LIDAY MAR KET: Three Cotswold Cottages Perfect for Letting

Andy Soye assesses three Cotswold cottages that he believes would make ideal holiday homes

Elm View

Elm View

Elm View

“Elm View in Banks Fee, Longborough is a perfectly situated cottage in one of the most picturesque but practical villages in the North Cotswolds.” Banks Fee has a very rural feel, looking out on panoramic landscapes of rolling hills, green fields and spreading trees, horses gently grazing in the foreground, in the most desirable part of Longborough.The village is ideally situated to access the whole of the North Cotswolds and whilst being too remotely located to serve as a short cut, its position is serendipitous. In one direction, Stow on the Wold and, a mile or so in the other, Moreton in Marsh, which is served by a host of local amenities including the main train line to Paddington.There is also a wide range of eclectic independent shops, bistros and day-to-day services in Stow on the Wold, including Tesco’s, within a five minute drive.

Elm View is a gorgeous property – not only does it look entirely the part, being constructed of mellow, ancient Cotswold stone with a cottage garden overlooking beautiful views, but it is also fabulously presented inside, too. Comprehensively modernised by the present owners, it has a restrained but charmingly retro vibe, full of features beloved by city-dwellers and Cotswoldians alike. On the ground floor is a warm and welcoming kitchen/ breakfast room leading to a glazed conservatory / summer room and a cosy sitting room with wood-burning stove providing the perfect setting for grand occasions like Christmas. Above are three bedrooms, the master enjoying a picture-perfect

view of the surrounding countryside, with exposed wooden floors and sloping ceilings, served by a family bathroom. This pretty, classic example of a Cotswold cottage is exactly what holidaymakers are looking for. It can sleep five people very comfortably, with fabulously sociable living space. It’s also within walking distance of a great local pub and rolling countryside, giving ample opportunity to stride out further afield, making it hard to imagine a more perfect location – as such it would generate a gross annual income of around £30,000. www.cotswold-homes.com



Manor Farm Cottages

Manor Farm Cottages

Manor Farm Cottages

Manor Farm Cottages

“3 & 4 Manor Cottages is a traditional Grade ll listed Cotswold period property located in the highly sought after and picturesque Cotswold hamlet of Donnington.”

Once two farm workers cottages, 3 & 4 Manor Farm Cottages were combined to create a deceptively spacious property with flexible accommodation, offering huge scope to remodel to suit a variety of needs. The property oozes character with beamed ceilings, boasting a large inglenook and a grand sawn stone fireplace in two well-proportioned 96

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reception rooms. The kitchen/breakfast room overlooks the garden, where a stable door opens onto the southerly facing patio and onto a substantial cottage garden, bordered by tall dry stone walling and mature shrubs – a sunny, secluded sanctuary. Two first floor double bedrooms have charming views over the garden and across the village

lane, lined with ancient cottages, to the front. With good, spacious living space and a quirky mezzanine bedroom allows this property to sleep a total of six people. Assuming all three bedrooms are used, and a little work is done to modernise the property, we would anticipate an annual gross revenue of around £35,000.


Quince Cottage

Quince Cottage

“Quince Cottage, Bourton on the Water, is a delightful property occupying an enviable position in one of the most popular of Cotswold destinations.”

This chalet-style cottage is situated on a desirable lane south of the river, within walking distance of the centre and a host of tourist attractions, amenities and facilities yet equally perfect for hiking out into the nearby open countryside.

bedroom with en-suite bathroom on the first floor. This arrangement will attract many different types of holidaymaker and with its pretty gardens, parking and garage, it would be in great demand.

The cottage is blessed with flexible accommodation: there are two reception rooms, a kitchen/breakfast room plus a double bedroom with bathroom on the ground floor, and two first floor bedrooms and master

It has big, social living spaces that are great for families and friends but the ground floor accommodation will also appeal to older guests – there is the also the opportunity to create another bedroom on the ground floor

by converting the dining room. If used as four bedrooms, we would expect the annual gross revenue to top £45,000. For more information on these properties, and many more, visit www.cotswold-homes.com. To read back issues of this magazine, offering a broad selection of cottages that have been assessed by Character Cottages for the holiday let market, simply click on the image of this magazine on the landing page.

Quince Cottage is marketed by the Bourton on the Water office of Harrison James & Hardie – speak to Katy Freeman, Branch Manager on 01451 822977. The cottages at Longborough and Donnington are marketed by the Fine & Country North Cotswolds department at Moreton in Marsh – simply contact Tom Burdett, Branch Manager, on 01608 651000.

Quince Cottage




1 Red Lodge

There is no doubt about it. We are truly blessed in the Cotswolds. Blessed with quaint doublefronted cottages situated on winding country lanes, roses around the door and gardens backing onto rolling fields with glorious views that go on for miles - and blessed with hobbit-like interiors where you must be under 5 foot something to be able to stand up straight. However, the typical traditional Cotswold cottage is not all we are blessed with. We are also blessed with 98

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occasional but fine examples of grander Victorian properties, constructed in an era of prosperity, romanticism and refined sensibilities, when the low ceilings and sills of teeny workers’ cottages were swapped for high ceilings and large sash windows, enabling light to cascade in, highlighting the ornate cornicing of each room, where cumbersome inglenook fireplaces were replaced by elaborate cast iron fireplaces festooned with luxurious materials, when local hand-cast brick

became the symbol of wealth and fine living, and gothic architecture seized the imagination. Victorian properties may not be the first to spring to mind, daydreaming about an idyllic Cotswold retreat, but should certainly be on the wish list, as the vendors of No. 1 Red Lodge in Little Compton and Christmas Cottage in Great Wolford can attest to – two beautiful examples of period living that offer a wonderful lifestyle and, bonus, a potential income.


No 1 Red Lodge is a substantial semi- detached property, a superior example of Victorian architecture combined with the modern day comforts of the 21st Century, situated on the edge of the North Cotswold village of Little Compton. Having undergone substantial renovation in recent years, the property offers immaculately presented accommodation in a contemporary style yet still retains much of the original character of the building. From the exterior, the eye is initially drawn to the Flemish Brick bond that adorns the windows, typical of a Victorian property built in 1880. However as you enter and proceed through into the large kitchen/ breakfast room, there is a wealth of stylish and modern day features to admire and appreciate. The space has been thoughtfully created to provide an area ideal for family life, whilst the sitting room and separate family room offer a cosier place to snuggle up on the sofa in front of

the wood-burning stove or to retreat to with a good book. Upstairs, the opulent touches continue with the master bedroom, beneďŹ tting from a freestanding slipper bath (very Downton Abbey-esque), two further double bedrooms and a family shower room. Outside, the long gravelled driveway approaching the house passes by a well -stocked, mature garden and leads to a (more recently constructed) open bay double garage. Above is a self-contained annexe comprising living area, bedroom and kitchen that the vendors currently run as holiday accommodation. However, the space would also be ideal as extra room for guests, for a live-in nanny, or for multi-generational families as a teenage den. Alongside the garage is also a workshop and a study/music room – these could be combined to create a larger workspace or additional accommodation (subject to the necessary consents).


1 Red Lodge

1 Red Lodge

1 Red Lodge

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Christmas Cottage

Christmas Cottage once formed part of the Redesdale estate and was built in 1846, of local Cotswold stone clad with handmade brick. It has retained much of its original character and many period features but has been empathetically modernised and extended by the present owners over the last five years. Set within delightfully landscaped gardens bordered by a stream-fed lake teeming with wildlife and surrounded by open countryside on all sides, enjoying farreaching views over two counties, including the local parish church, it forms half of a pair but was built to appear detached, (back-to-back rather than side-by-side) thereby benefitting from considerable privacy. Now, it provides a sitting room with woodburning stove, a dining room with a large open fireplace, an extended kitchen / breakfast room and separate utility fitted with a generous bespoke range of solid maple wood units, plus a newly-built ground floor double bedroom with en-suite shower room, where a door leads out onto the garden, looking out onto a little folly built by the present owners. With three further bedrooms and bathroom on the first floor, the property also has a large, separate building originally designed as a soundproofed recording studio that might easily be used for a variety of accommodation purposes, with heat, light, power and water. Indeed, some thought might be given 100 Cotswold Homes Magazine

Christmas Cottage

Christmas Cottage

Christmas Cottage


Christmas Cottage

Andy Soye, of Character Cottages, provides an assessment for the holiday let market:


as to whether the grounds afford sufficient space for a separate dwelling entirely, subject to the necessary consents, given there is a separate entrance leading to a large, detached wooden garage that might provide a useful footprint for planning purposes. To complete a luxurious country lifestyle, the owners have installed a spa hot tub and a wooden summerhouse, available by separate negotiation, where they have hosted many dinner parties and social events -including a wedding function! “The village is full of history and there are many beautiful walks including a route through the Wolford woods towards Todenham - a special joy when the bluebells are out in full bloom. However, the grounds are the real delight

of this property – our garden leads down to the lake’s edge that forms a natural boundary. We have idled away many hours watching the fish jumping to catch flying insects, seeing the ducks and moorhens bringing up their young; even crested newts have made it their home. We have planted extensively whilst we have lived here so each section is full of mature shrubs, but it is also a working garden – we have two varieties of eating apple and a plum tree, two raised vegetable plots, a green house and a potting shed. We will be hugely sad to leave our Good Life and are only moving because my partner is taking over the family farm, seventeen miles away. We hope whoever takes over from us will continue to cherish the projects we have started and will love living here as much as we have done.”

Red Lodge is a very attractive period cottage, with heaps of kerb appeal. With a fabulous modern interior, the kitchen/breakfast room is a great feature, always a hit with the modern holidaymaker. There is an excellent opportunity to convert the flat into letting space to boost occupancy and could then sleep 10, assuming two additional bedrooms. Sitting in a desirable Cotswold village, and within walking distance of the Red Lion pub, it would command gross annual rentals of around £60,000+ Christmas Cottage is a substantial property placed amidst rolling countryside, making it an ideal holiday let. Rich with character features, beams and fireplaces, it will certainly appeal to a wide range of holidaymakers. With four bedrooms plus a studio space, the house could accommodate 10 in total. Nearby Great Wolford is a gorgeous Cotswold village with lovely walks and a great local pub so, assuming the studio could work as a bedroom, then the property should deliver gross annual rentals of around £55,000+

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UPDATE ON UPPER RISSINGTON Upper Rissington occupies a “golden triangle” between Bourton on the Water, Stow on the Wold and Burford, neighbouring some of the most affluent villages of the North Cotswolds and set within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Soon to be provided with a range of amenities that will make it a very easy place to live despite its rural location, the village also has great access to a network of major road and rail links to London and other major cities; the A40, the Fosseway and Kingham Station are all within a few minutes’ drive. This is, without a doubt, an up-and-coming community. Houses both in the original and the new part are proving highly desirable – and as the village continues to take shape and word spreads of how lovely the new development is, demand for properties across all price ranges is escalating. 106 Cotswold Homes Magazine

Over the summer, work at Upper Rissington has also continued apace. An array of lovely new homes, from two bedroom shared-ownership to luxurious five bedroom detached properties, wend their way deeper into the previously semi-industrial part of the old RAF base. These modern homes, designed to reflect the Cotswold vernacular, enjoy large plots looking out over wide, open landscaped spaces that are already blessed with a variety of mature British trees. Demolition work continues to reveal stunning new vistas over the surrounding countryside - a massive aircraft hanger came down earlier this year and the remaining two are scheduled imminently. Not all the houses are new-builds - an original 1940s administration building has been converted into a row of beautiful, Georgian style townhouses and other buildings of architectural

merit will similarly be rescued for posterity, including the grand but sadly decayed Officers’ Mess. On the fields between the older houses and the new, a community centre/sports hall is nearing completion, providing a perfect meeting spot for all the villagers. A market square is also planned, incorporating a large food store, restaurant, gym and shops, where units are now being offered for lease or sale. Perhaps most welcome of all, the new school building will be ready for occupation by February 2015. This school is designed to serve as a split site with Great Rissington primary, a small highly popular school originally of around 100 pupils, afforded Outstanding status by Ofsted. Catering for pupils from Reception through to Year 6, the new school site will mirror the original model



in Great Rissington, with two small year groups per class, overseen by one head teacher, Mrs Bannister. Two classrooms will be immediately operational on completion - pupil numbers have risen exponentially over the last few months. Two more teachers have been appointed recently to accommodate the rising numbers; a Reception/ Year 1 class and a Year 2/ 3 class will move into Upper Rissington in February (currently occupying a temporary terrapin and the school hall at Great Rissington!). Applications for pupil places come in thick and fast as more houses are sold and so it is likely there will be a Year 4 / 5 class at the Upper Rissington site by September 2015. Indeed, predictions suggest the school will be full by September 2016 - fortunately there is provision for another three classrooms to be built in due course, giving a capacity for 240 pupils in the longer-term. Amongst the new families to move in most recently are Ellen Worley and James Titmus with their two little girls Madeline (aged 4) and Amelie (aged 1). James was brought up in the North Cotswolds – his parents live in Long Compton and he went to Kingham Hill School. He left to pursue a university education at Birmingham where he met Ellen, who was training to become

a primary school teacher. Having completed a Masters degree at the British School of Osteopathy in London, during which time he and Ellen lived in her hometown in Hertfordshire and started a family, James was keen to come back to the Cotswolds. “Initially, I didn’t like the idea of a new home because plot sizes tend to be small but I knew that Upper Rissington was an up-andcoming village, so we decided to look here.”

To find out more about New Homes for sale at Upper Rissington simply contact Katy Freeman, Branch Manager at the Bourton on the Water offices of Harrison James & Hardie, on 01451 822977

Ellen says: “We were both really delighted with the size of the house and the garden, especially as Bovis Homes gave us a deal with everything included in the price, rather than lists of extras. It’s a lovely place to live - there are many safe open spaces where the children can play and a range of amenities within walking distance, including the new school, of course. It’s so friendly – everyone we have met has been welcoming and very keen to tell us how much they love living up here, which is great to hear!” James has recently set up his own clinic, Osteopaths of Stow. “The Cotswolds is a fantastic place to bring up a family - I am really happy to have been able to come back here to work and settle with my young children, so that they can experience the wonderful lifestyle, too.” www.cotswold-homes.com 107



The idea for an historic Year Book was originally proposed by Karen von Speyr - an associate governor and owner of Cotswold Homes magazine - as a timely charitable project to raise funds for the school at a time of great change. (Copies of the Year Book can be purchased from the school at £3 per copy). The Year Book contains a host of interesting information about the school over the last hundred years and also looks forward to the near future, including an interview with Colin Campbell, chair of Governors, about the transition. Mrs Bannister, Head Teacher, was truly overwhelmed and delighted with the results. “This Year Book is timely as it marks our move to becoming a split site school with classrooms at Great Rissington and Upper Rissington from Feburary 2014, hence some nostalgic interviews with ex-pupils and memories of the school’s history. The main stars of the show are, of course, our wonderful Year 6 pupils, who have devoted all their last days as pupils to putting together this wonderful record of life at our fantastic school. As their enterprise project, Year 6 students will decide how the money raised will be used to benefit the school.”

Mrs Bannister

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Pages from the Year Book


We have future-proofed the building, though - the roof structure is strong enough for solar panels and there is tracking for cabling, so we can convert to solar energy in due course.


Why is the new school site being built and will the old site eventually close? The new school site is being built because 300 homes are currently being built at Upper Rissington – we will need to find spaces for about 80 new children in due course. There will be four classes at the new site with the facility to build another three classrooms but Great Rissington school won’t close, even when there are seven classes at Upper Rissington, because demographic studies indicate the sheer volume of new housing in the North Cotswolds will create more and more demand for school places everywhere. Do you think the new site will go well and what challenges will it bring – for example, will friends manage to stay friends when the new site opens? The new school site will work exactly like the existing school, sharing the same head teacher - Mrs Bannister - the same governors, the same excellent educational standards and the same curriculum. Moving into a new school building is a bit like moving into a new house - things don’t always work quite as you expect, so no doubt there will be a few teething problems! The minibus will help, as you say, with the challenge of maintaining friendships – it will be up to Mrs Bannister to create lots of opportunities when all the children can get together. The Friends of Great Rissington school managed to raise £17,000 to purchase a minibus recently. What are the benefits of the minibus

Front Cover of Year Book

and will we need another one in due course? The minibus will provide day-to-day transport for families with children at both sites and of course, for swimming, sports fixtures, and so on, but we can also use Pulham’s coaches until we grow large enough to need a second vehicle. How eco-friendly is the new school building going to be, what facilities are there and how is it all being paid for? The developers paid for the building to second fix - it is not quite as eco-friendly as we would have liked, although much more eco-friendly than the existing school building. We were hoping for ground source heat pumps and solar panels but there simply isn’t enough money in the pot. We have future-proofed the building, though - the roof structure is strong enough for solar panels and there is tracking for cabling, so we can convert to solar energy in due course. We were initially given £50,000 by Shire Hall to equip the

classrooms with desks, chairs, etc., which was not enough. With the children’s help, Mrs Bannister and I did some detailed research to work out what we would actually need and, as a result, that sum has been doubled to £100,000! This site will be fitted with an Apple computer system, providing huge i-pad screens instead of whiteboards at the front of each classroom, with i-pads for all children at both sites in due course. There will be a large professional catering kitchen - food will be transported to the Great Rissington site, too, by minibus – especially useful because all Key Stage 1 children are entitled to free school dinners from September. There will be lots of room, with a large hall suitable for indoor sports plus a playing field, netball court and football pitch, and we can even use the wood behind the school for our Forest School activities! Many thanks to Mr Campbell from Olivia Bonner, Jack Wadsworth, Jimmy Dyer, Murray Douglas and Ellie Gabriel, who conducted this interview. www.cotswold-homes.com 109

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Primrose Cottage

Who lives in a house like this? do you want to try the area before you buy? are you lusting after your dream home but don’t have the budget yet? don’t despair - it is possible. keep hold of your ten per cent deposit – you, too, can have roses around the door without living on baked beans for the next five years. it’s cool and clever to rent, if you can lay your hands on homes like these. We asked harrison James & hardie’s Lettings director, Caroline Gee, and Fine & Country Lettings Manager, amy Coldicott, for suggestions. Caroline has come up with two pretty homes to rent for under £1000 a month whilst amy proposes the Old Bakery at Paxford, a period home for just under £1600 per calendar month. Caroline’s first choice is in one of the most favoured villages of the north Cotswolds 114 Cotswold Homes Magazine

– COTSWOLD COTTAGES TO LET Primrose Cottage, Great Rissington. “With three bedrooms and two reception rooms, period features and wonderful views over open countryside to the rear, this is a peach, available to let at £995 per calendar month.” What’s the best thing about living in Great Rissington? “A great pub, The Lamb Inn, within walking distance.” And are there any downsides to this property? “no cats or children, I am afraid, and you will need to behave – the owner lives next door!” Her second choice is a double-fronted, picturesque cottage in an equally desirable location – no 2, Red Lion Steps, Blockley. “Situated towards the quieter 'Dovedale End' of Blockley, this semidetached cottage has generous living space with an open fireplace, and oodles of character. There are two double bedrooms, one with far-reaching

views over rooftops towards the surrounding countryside.” What’s the best thing about living in Blockley? “Two pubs and a village shop.” And are there any downsides to this property? “Again, it’s not suitable for pets or children.” Amy thinks The old Bakery at Paxford is the pick of the bunch. “As this was once the village bakery it is a listed property, full of beautiful character features, with an open fireplace in the drawing room and another in the kitchen/breakfast room. There are three double bedrooms on the first floor with two bath / shower rooms, and another large bedroom with en-suite shower on the top floor.” What’s the best thing about living in Paxford? “The point-to-point!” And are there any downsides? “Because it’s listed, the windows aren’t double-glazed.”


Act quickly...on average it takes only two viewings for our company to let a property… so be prepared to get your skates on if something you fancy comes up to rent! Caroline Gee Harrison James & Hardie’s Lettings Director red Lion

The Old Bakery

As this was once the village bakery it is a listed property, full of beautiful character features, with an open fireplace in the drawing room and another in the kitchen/breakfast room. What is typically involved in letting a property, Amy? “You must have a deposit and you have to go through referencing. As the tenant, you also pay the set-up costs - these include all the administration, the referencing, drawing up the tenancy agreement and the inventory charge, plus the check in and check out.” What are average costs, other than the deposit monies, likely to be? “Between £300 and £400, depending on the size of the property.”

Amy Coldicott Fine & Country Lettings Manager

Does Caroline have any further advice? “Act quickly, as on average it takes just two viewings for our company to let a property, so make sure to register, keep in touch with us and do be prepared to get your skates on if something you fancy comes up to rent!” for further advice and to register your requirements, call Caroline and Amy on 01451 833170.

Primrose Cottage

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LET AGREED Burghfield Cottage, Bourton on the Water

£2,100 PCM

A very well presented hidden away country cottage enjoying views over adjacent countryside set within the beautiful town of Bourton on the Water. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Dining Hall | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Cloakroom | Four Bedrooms | Two Bath/Shower Rooms | Garden | Detached Home Office | Off Road Parking | Electric Gates | EPC Rating: E Fine and Country, Harrison James & Hardie, Stow-on-the-Wold 01451 833 170

LET AGREED The Old Bakery, Paxford

£1,595 PCM

An Attractive Village House Formerly An Old Bakery Situated in The Heart Of The Popular Village of Paxford. Entrance Porch | Sitting Room | Dining Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Master Bedroom with en suite bathroom | Three Further Double Bedrooms | Two Bath/Shower Rooms | Courtyard Garden | Detached Rear Garden | Off Road Parking | EPC Rating: E Fine and Country, Harrison James & Hardie, Stow-on-the-Wold 01451 833 170

Bourton on the Water | Moreton in Marsh | Stow on the Wold | Mayfair | Lettings


Let Agreed Primrose Cottage, Great Rissington


Let Agreed 31 Barnes Wallis Way, Upper Rissington


A quintessential period Cotswold cottage set in the heart of the village with beautiful rear countryside views. Entrance Hall | Cloakroom | Sitting Room | Kitchen | Conservatory | Three Bedrooms | Family Bathroom | Gardens To Front And Rear | Off Road Parking for Two Cars | EPC Rating: E

Set in a peaceful Cotswold location and part of the new Victory Fields development, 31 Barnes Wallis Way is a stunning four bedroom detached home designed to offer generous accommodation that is perfect for family living. Entrance Hall | Cloakroom | Kitchen with Integrated Appliances | Dining/ Family Room | Living Room | Master Bedroom with En Suite | Three Further Bedrooms | Family Bathroom | Garden | Garage | Off Road Parking | EPC Rating: B

Harrison James & Hardie, Stow-on-the-Wold 01451 833 170

Harrison James & Hardie, Stow-on-the-Wold 01451 833 170

Let Agreed 11 Sandy Lane Court, Upper Rissington

Let Agreed 10 Corders Lane, Moreton in Marsh



An immaculately presented mid-terrace three bedroomed property arranged over three floors, situated in the up and coming village of Upper Rissington . Entrance Hall | Kitchen | Sitting/Dining Room | Three Bedrooms | Family Bathroom | Garden | Off Road Parking | EPC Rating: C

A well presented two double bedroom property conveniently located in a central position within the market town of Moreton in Marsh. Entrance Hall | Kitchen | Sitting Room | Garden/Dining Room | WC | Two Double Bedrooms | Bathroom | Courtyard Garden | Garage | Off Road Parking

Harrison James & Hardie, Stow-on-the-Wold 01451 833 170

Harrison James & Hardie, Stow-on-the-Wold 01451 833 170

Country Homes from harrison james & hardie

from the Area Dean of the North Cotswolds On arriving recently to lead a service at one of the village churches, i watched a gentleman sitting on a small stall in the adjoining lane. Pencils in hand, he sketched the view ahead of him – Cotswold stone buildings, climbing up the hill, away from the river eye, draped in the soft light of a warm day. This area is a popular place for artists, both professional and casual. Driving around the area, it can be like travelling through a painting where colours are always evolving, depending on the time of the year. The snowscapes draw us into a beautiful yet cold and occasionally hazardous route; the spring draws us into the newness of life with the lambs and hedges bursting with life whilst the summer has brought to us the ripened wheat and oats with straw bales prepared, ready for the winter bedding of the animals here and around the country. It’s an ever-changing landscape with colours that are as inspirational to the painter as they are to the visitor and resident. When Jesus spoke to the people who were interested in him and his ministry, nearly 2000 years ago, he often spoke in parables - stories based on everyday life that revealed a hidden truth, for those who heard. As we give thanks for the harvest this autumn, I’m reminded of the Parable of the Sower (also known as the four Soils). Even as the sown grain 118 Cotswold Homes Magazine

struggled on the poor ground and was squeezed out by the weeds and thistles, eventually a crop was harvested. During this year we have seen the crops sown in the Cotswolds struggle against the early rain and wind, yet come through to a large early harvest. The words of this parable, found in the beginning of the fourth chapter of the Gospel of Mark, are as relevant today - with the seed being the word sown into people’s hearts by the ministry of Jesus, energised by the Holy Spirit. faith can change like the seasons, being as vibrant as the colours of the countryside in the warmer weather, and as challenging as the winter feels when the temperatures drop and the wind across the escarpment. The painter was still there when I left the church, with his pencils and paints packed into the top-box of his motorbike, as the light of the day continued to be softened on the Cotswold stone. no doubt he will reflect the turning of the seasons in his paintings, as we too see the colours change and the fields offer up the harvest for the winter months ahead. I wish you all every blessing of the season and, as I move on to another post within the Church of England, let us give thanks for gracious living. Yours, Revd Canon Veronica James

Harvest festival services assure you of a warm welcome (accepting tins and packets in support of the north Cotswold food Bank – thank you for your generous donations) Lower Slaughter – St Mary’s Church, Sunday 26 october, 11am – GL54 2HY Upper Slaughter – St Peter’s Church, Sunday 5 october, 6pm GL54 2Jf Naunton – St Andrew’s Church, Sunday 19 october, 11am GL54 3Ax Guiting Power – St Michael & All Angels Church – Sunday 5 october, 11am GL54 5TY Temple Guiting St Mary’s Church – Sunday 12 october, 11am – GL54 5RW Cutsdean – St James’ Church – Sunday 14 September, 3pm – GL54 5Rx Farmcote - St faith’s Church – Sunday 5 october, 3pm – GL54 5Au

WHAT THE GAMEKEEPER SAW Guiting Power based photographer and gamekeeper Adam Tatlow gets up close and personal with all manner of Cotswold fauna in his line of work. The culling of badgers to prevent the spread of Bovine TB has been the source of much controversy and intense argument of late, but there’s no denying that the badger is one of the most distinctive creatures to inhabit the Cotswold countryside. Adam’s work will be featured as part of an exhibition at Lower Slaughter Gallery running from 17th-23rd September and he will have a solo exhibition at WWT Slimbridge from the 7th of December 2014 to the 8th of February 2015. Cards and prints can be ordered and purchased from his website at www.cotswoldkeeperphotography.com www.cotswold-homes.com 119



A TOTALLY ELECTRIFYING EXPERIENCE Having evolved from old-fashioned outdoor cross-country, it features a multitude of obstacles to challenge you at every turn - often with an imaginative theme to add a little drama. It’s tough, it’s dirty…it’s the Mud Runner! Across the country thousands of people are turning out, not necessarily to compete but rather to get around immensely challenging outdoor courses that involve endurance running, climbing skills, power and strength. Here are some of my favourites.

120 Cotswold Homes Magazine






Launched in 2010, it covers 10-12 miles with up to 100 obstacles. It is one of the hardest events to complete but still proves to be a worldwide favourite.

There are many of these across the UK attracting an interesting group of people. Start with 3 lives, run a 5K obstacle course and try and get back home with a life line intact…Oh, and dodge the 100 or so very realistic looking and terrifying zombie actors as they appear from the woods trying to grab you.

Celebrating 5 years of torture, this all round obstacle course offers plenty of bang for your buck with a wall of fire to run through at the end, just to finish you off.

This military-based course is exactly as it sounds and is not for those who are out of shape. If the gruelling course doesn’t break you, then the marine-style beasting will.








HAVE FUN AND FEEL AMAZING IF YOU REQUIRE INFORMATION ABOUT OTHER PROGRAMMES WE RUN, BOOT CAMPS OR PERSONAL TRAINING PLEASE EMAIL TIM@RAPID-FX.COM OR CALL 01386 701231. ALWAYS CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE EMBARKING ON A PROGRAMME OF PHYSICAL EXERCISE. Rapid-FX is situated in Draycott Business Village, just outside Moreton in Marsh, with a sister studio Personal Best situated in Chipping Campden. Visit www.rapid-fx.com and www.pbfitnessstudio.com to find out more about these gyms and what they can offer you. www.cotswold-homes.com 121


*for younger children try PUMPKIN FACE. Cut out a variety of silly/scary eye, nose and smile shapes and put them in separate bowls, then blindfold each player in turn, hand them the bowl and get them to pin the pieces on the pumpkin one after another. Stand back and marvel at the Picasso-like results!


You will need: Ten paper cups, pens, ten empty plastic bottles weighted with sweets, some apples

ASSEMBLE-A-SKELETON* You will need: Chalk (or pen or pencil), double-sided tape, a few sheets of paper & scissors, a tea towel for blindfold In this spookier, slightly more complicated variant of Pin the Tail on the Donkey, draw (or stick) the silhouette of a person on a wall or floor. Cut out from paper a variety of bone shapes: skulls, hipbones, ribs, jaws & hands (make as many shapes as the number of children and/or adults who are playing the game), fixing a piece of double-backed sellotape to the reverse of each piece. Then, blindfold each player in turn as they try to put their shape in the right place – a prize being given to the most anatomically correct. Try tracing around the bone shapes on the silhouette so the children have something to aim towards – or for added difficulty, don’t have a silhouette at all and see if the kids can assemble a skeleton from scratch!

122 Cotswold Homes Magazine

Decapitate a line-up of Halloween meanies with this tasty twist on Ten Pin Bowling! First, give each of the children an apple that they can carve a miniature pumpkin face into (or just use a ball if you don’t want to waste fruit): these will serve well as bowling balls. Next, give the kids the ten paper cups and pens to make horrifying monster heads with – the more fiendish the better! Next fill up the ten plastic bottles with sweets and arrange in a ten-pin formation, then place the head-cups atop the bottles. Each time a monster is bowled over its head will fly off and sweet treats will spill from inside.

PLAY-DOH DR FRANKENSTEIN You will need: A few tubs of Play-Doh

It’s a dark and stormy night and electricity is crackling – unleash your inner mad scientist with a 3D version of the Surrealists’ favourite macabrely named pastime, Exquisite Corpse! In Exquisite Corpse, a piece of paper is passed around and folded while different sections of a body are drawn by each artist – the only portion of the whole ‘body’ that the artist can see is the bit he or she is working on.

In our version, children should sit with their backs turned to one another while each is given a quantity of Play-Doh and a limited amount of time to sculpt a limb (for example, a party of six should be able to produce a head, body, two arms and two legs). When the time is up the pieces can be joined together and the whole group can take responsibility for the monster they’ve created! Perfect the illusion of life with a couple of googly eyes.


You will need: A quantity of wide-mouthed balloons, a pen, a balloon pump, small gifts Blow up a bunch of medium sized balloons (however many you like), draw scary faces on them and hide them around the house. Then send adult supervised teams out to collect the balloons and whoever returns with the most ghosts wins a prize! (Remember to stick NO ENTRY signs on doors of rooms you don’t want ghost hunters to go into). For an added element of fun, put small gifts inside the balloons before they are inflated. When the hunters return, you can ceremoniously pop the ghosts to reveal and distribute the grave goodies within. Important: adults required when popping balloons, as pointy objects can be hazardous in small hands.


Dental Health


White Fillings Dr Trevor Bigg, Milton Dental Practice BDS, MGDS RCS(Eng), FDS RCS(Ed), FFGDP(UK)

Patients may not be aware of it, but the biggest single change in the practice of dentistry in the past 20 years has been the gradual movement away from silver amalgam restorations to ‘white’ or tooth coloured fillings. Silver amalgam has been used to fill teeth for the past 150 years or more and, although there have been many attempts to associate the mercury in the amalgam with the onset of neurological disease, it has been shown time and time again to be a safe filling in the mouth. So why are dentists no longer placing silver fillings? In October 2013, the Minamata Convention on Mercury took place in Japan. Minamata was the site of the world’s worst outbreak of mercury poisoning, which came from factory wastewater. The Convention met to decide how mercury contamination of wastewater could be reduced to the minimum. As dentistry is the second biggest user of mercury in the world the Convention, which included the European Union, agreed to phase out of the use of silver amalgam restorations over the next 2 years. What effect will this have on your dental treatment? Gradually silver fillings will no longer be used. Apart from a few exceptions, all restorations will be made from tooth-coloured composite resin or glass ionomer cement (GIC). GIC is a weaker material and is more suitable as a temporary filling. Composite fillings are much stronger, but 124 Cotswold Homes Magazine

“As the next generation of patients see their dentist, they will benefit from smaller fillings with less tooth removal, fewer fractures and, hopefully, a better-looking mouth with less treatment in the years to come.” have quite a few failings: • They take longer to place • They require much more skill to place properly • They are more expensive • They are more prone to secondary decay under the filling than the silver restorations were. But in their favour: • Less tooth is removed as they can be placed in much smaller cavities • They bond to the remaining tooth, reducing the risk of fracture later • They do look much, much nicer!

So in the end white fillings will improve mouths? Yes! As the next generation of patients see their dentist, they will benefit from smaller fillings with less tooth removal, fewer fractures and, hopefully, a better-looking mouth with less treatment in the years to come. If you want more information about the contents of the article, please contact Penny at Milton Dental Practice: 01993 831 396 or email penny@ drbigg.com and come to see us for a consultation. To accompany this article, we are offering a New Patient Examination at the reduced fee of £59.00 (normally £89.00) and a free Denplan Examination.




Beautylicious in Bourton on the Water has been tucked behind Loton’s Hairdressing for the last three years. During this time, Verity Edwards-Flaherty’s business has grown from a small new business to a fully-fledged beauty salon, offering a broad range of treatments, from spray tans to hot stone massages. warm whilst I work on one foot at a time.

Always keen to maintain her high standards, Verity regularly attends training seminars to develop her personal professional development while keeping well on track with what's new in the ever-evolving health and beauty industry. Having recently undertaken training to become a fully qualified Reflexology Practitioner at the Cotswold Academy of Health and Beauty in Cirencester,Verity is now planning to move to the new Community Hub on Moore Road in Bourton on the Water.

You may feel a little sensitivity if there is an imbalance in a certain areas, although on the whole the treatment is a very relaxing process. Some patients/clients may experience ‘Contra Actions’ as a result of the treatment due to the balancing and detoxification process taking place throughout the systems. These can include: feeling thirsty, headaches, more frequent toilet trips, feeling tired and lethargic, nose becoming blocked up or very runny or feeling feverish.

Here, she can offer more spacious facilities to perform her treatments and ensure that clients feel welcome and comfortable from the moment they walk through the door.

‘These symptoms are what is known as a ‘Healing Crisis’ whereby the body is allowing this crisis to take place in a bid to boost the immune system and self-healing abilities to areas of the body where it is most needed. The Healing crisis can last from 24-72 hours after our appointment and clients usually see a big difference in them selves afterwards.

‘I have always been interested in the holistic approach to therapies, particularly aiding wellbeing to both body and mind,’ says Verity. ‘The positive effects holistic therapies can offer to the client are really quite astonishing! After benefiting from Reflexology myself about four years ago I decided that I would like to help others.’ So, what is reflexology? ‘Reflexology is a holistic therapy based on the principle that there are areas and points on the feet, hands, and ears that map via the nervous system to corresponding parts of the body. When pressure is applied to these areas and points it stimulates the movement of energy along the nerve channels, and helps to restore homeostasis (balance) in the whole body. ‘I may find crystals or blockages surrounding the 7000+ nerve endings of your feet, toes and lower legs throughout the session - I shall perform a variety of movements to release these congested areas and enable them to be cleansed from the body through its natural elimination process. ‘Our bodies are very complex and capable of healing themselves - anything from a small cut or bruise to a major injury or emotional trauma. Reflexology can help facilitate this natural function

within all systems of the body to bring about good health and wellbeing with an entirely holistic approach.’ She continues: ‘Reflexology may help with many problems such as poor digestion and IBS, arthritis/ general aches & pains, anxiety and depression, sleep problems, low immune system, hormonal imbalance, infertility, migraines, sinus congestion and skin disorders.’ So what can we expect from the treatment? ‘Your initial appointment will last around 1hr 15mins as I will need to carry out a full, thorough consultation to ascertain your needs and requirements, enabling me to tailor the session specifically to you as a client. The session lasts around 50 minutes to one hour where you will be made comfortable on a couch and wrapped up

‘In addition I have a special interest in Preconception and Pregnancy Reflexology. I have attended a two-day course in Sydenham, London recently to further my skills and knowledge with Registered Nurse and Reflexology Author Sally Earlam. Sally has written various books, training manuals and also works for the Association of Reflexologists with whom I hold a full membership. ‘I will still be offering my full range of beauty treatments and massage alongside the Reflexology. There will be a spacious area for your treatments, together with a separate reception area where clients can test various products and relax before and after their appointments. In addition to my existing products - Organic Elements Skin and Body Care products, Royal FM make up - I am intending to use Songbird Reflexology Wax, which unlike some other products, is unscented and does not contain any essential oils unsuitable for use during pregnancy. Visit www.beautylicious-bourton.com www.cotswold-homes.com 125




Car lege D IS

Fre e

WHere Can i get a PriVilege CarD?

Pick one up from the offices of HARRISON JAMES & HARDIE in Bourton on the Water, Stow on the Wold and Moreton in Marsh - it couldn’t be easier. (Not local? Simply register by clicking on the Cotswold-Homes Club button at www.cotswold-homes.com.) You will receive a monthly e-mail with a list of offers like the ones in this magazine, all from independent North Cotswold businesses.

sHOP lOCal anD saVe MOneY!

With a bumper selection of Autumn offers from a host of local businesses, make sure you pick up your card as soon as possible!

neW Patient eXaMinatiOns FOr OnlY £59.00 (nOrMallY £89.00). WitH a Free DenPlan eXaMinatiOn. asK PennY FOr Details. VALID UNTIL THE END OF NOVEMBER 2014. trevor Bigg Breakspeare House, Shipton Road, Milton-Under-Wychwood, Oxford, OX7 6JW 01993 831396

MOVING HOUSE? THEN CONTACT THE CONVEYANCING EXPERTS AND GET 15% OFF OUR STANDARD LEGAL FEES! CALL 01452 657950 FOR FURTHER DETAILS Thomas Legal Group is a dedicated provider of conveyancing services in and around the Cotswolds Tel: 01452 657950 Thomas Legal Group, Brunswick House, Brockworth, Gloucestershire, GL3 4AA Web: www.thomaslegalgroup.co.uk E-mail: info@tlg.uk.com

Cotswold -Homes.com



15% OFF


20% OFF sUrVeYs

PriVilege CarD DisCOUnt MUst Be reQUesteD BeFOre QUOte is PrOViDeD, CannOt Be UseD in COnJUnCtiOn WitH anY OtHer OFFers, DisCOUnts Or PrOMOtiOns. ValiD Until tHe enD OF nOVeMBer 2014. Tel: 01285 640840 Central Surveying, 17 Black Jack Street, Cirencester, Gloucestershire, GL7 2AA




Beautylicious (Loton's Hairdressing) High Street, Bourton on the Water GL54 2AP

Butterfly Kisses, Windrush Cottage, Riverside, Bourton on the Water, GL54 2DP

tel: 01451 828192 or 07900 058919 www.beautylicious-bourton.com

info@butterflykissesshop.co.uk www.butterflykissesshop.co.uk

Cotswold -Homes.com

10% off a 2 hour fun and unique children’s party

10% OFF high quality individual clothing

Valid until 30/11/2014.


07968 151 016 info@thefabuloushat.com www.thefabuloushat.com

01865 516 256 229 Banbury Road, Summertown, Oxford, OX2 7HN

20% Off Colefax & Fowler.

the burrow café 10% off breakfast Monday-Wednesday*

Valid until 30/11/14

Valid for one person only per Privilege Card. *Served between 9.30-11.30am Valid until end of November 2014

01993 822385 Mob - 07976 353 996 www.amandahanley.co.uk

Sheep Street, Stow on the Wold, GL54 1AA tel: 01451 831384 theburrowcafestow@gmail.com

6.30-9pm Friday, Saturday, Sunday: Select your fish at time of booking & it will be delivered fresh on the day. Valid until 30/11/14.

01451 870 210 Digbeth St, Stow on the Wold, Gloucestershire, GL54 1BN www.treebusevents.co.uk

20% Off

our premium made-tomeasure hardwood window shutters. Call for a free no obligation survey & quote.

50% OFF A 30 MINUTE RIDING LESSON FOR NEW CUSTOMERS OR BUY 2 LESSONS AND GET THE 3RD FREE. UNTIL THE END OF NOVEMBER 2014. Durham’s Farm riding school Chastleton Moreton-in-Marsh gloucestershire gl56 0sZ 01608 674867


Valid until 30/11/14


tel: 01242 649592 37 Eldon Road, Cheltenham. GL52 6TX

tel: 01608 650567 Fosseway Business Park, Stratford Road, Moretonin-Marsh, Gloucestershire, GL56 9NQ



JEM Financial Planning, The Granary, Draycott, Moreton in Marsh, Gloucestershire, GL56 9LQ tel: 01386 840777 JEM Financial Planning is a trading style of John Magee which is authorised & regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.


5 High Street, Moreton in Marsh, GL56 0AH Tel: 01608 652862 sales@cotswoldcheese.com www.cotswoldcheese.com

10% Off any bag. Visit www.tannerandoak.com (Valid until the end of November 2014). tel: 01993812466 www.tannerandoak.com info@tanerandoak.com

Free property appraisals, free photographs and up to £500 cash back for new joiners until the end of Nov 2014 t: 0208 935 5375 W: www.character-cottages.com e: owners@character-cottages.com

Privilege Card Offers



(NEW CLIENTS ONLY) Valid until 30/11/14 Tel: 01386 701231 Unit 6, Draycott Business Village Draycott, Nr Moreton in Marsh Gloucestershire, GL56 9JY


10% OFF saUsages. 5lBs OF rinDless BaCK BaCOn FOr £9.99 VALID UNTIL 30/11/14 24 High Street Moreton-in-Marsh Gloucestershire GL56 OAF 01608 651002

10% OFF EVERYTHING IN STORE, PERFECT GIFTS FOR FRIENDS AND FAMILY. UNTIL THE END OF NOVEMBER 2014. Tel: 01451 822800 Box of Delights, High Street, Bourton-on-the-Water, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL54 2AQ

10% DISCOUNT OFF ALL NEW FURNITURE AND FABRIC. Valid until the end of Nomvember 2014. Tel: 01608 659091 5 Threshers Yard, West Street, Kingham Oxfordshire, OX7 6YF

15% discount with your Privilege Card London-styled express nail bar & sunbed salon Extensions - shellac Open 7 days a week & until 8pm weekdays Victoria Street, Bourton on the Water GL54 2BX tel: 0800 999 7720 www.luxetanandnails.com

COtsWOlD Carriers FREE PACKING MATERIAL FOR YOUR MOVE IF YOU QUOTE THIS NUMBER WHEN YOU CONTACT US: 730500 UNTIL THE END OF NOVEMBER 2014 01608 730500 Warehouse No 2, The Walk, Hook Norton Road Chipping Norton, Oxon OX7 5TG

Cotswold Homes Exhibition in London To launch our Cotswold Homes Magazine App and our forthcoming Winter Edition 2014 magazine (out late November), we are holding a Cotswold Homes Exhibition in London - with a special Privilege Card offer to accompany the event, courtesy of Harrison James & Hardie Fine & Country North Cotswolds. The Cotswold Homes Exhibition will take place on Saturday November 29th 2014 between 10.30 am and 4.00 pm at the Guild of Professional Estate Agents’ National Property Centre in Mayfair. This event will be promoted in the national press beforehand - on the day, we will be showcasing a wonderful range of beautiful Cotswold Homes, across all price ranges, to London buyers. We will be distributing copies of the Winter Edition 2014 magazine and promoting our fabulous new Cotswold Homes Magazine App, now available both in the UK and throughout the rest of the world. The directors of Harrison James & Hardie Fine & Country will also be attending the event, as local experts with a wealth of experience in the North Cotswold market place. In conjunction with Harrison James & Hardie and Fine & Country North Cotswolds, you can showcase your property at the exhibition entirely free of charge. Simply instruct Harrison James & Hardie by October 24th 2014 to guarantee free inclusion in the advertising pages of our forthcoming Winter Edition 2014. In addition, if you have a beautiful period home marketed by Fine & Country, then you may also be offered free professional photography and editorial to appear as a feature property in our Hot Property section! To find out more contact Karen Harrison, Principal Director of Harrison James & Hardie Fine & Country North Cotswolds, on 01608 651000* *If you are currently on the market, please check the terms of that agreement to avoid paying two fees

Profile for Cotswold Homes

Cotswold Homes Autumn Edition 2014  

The Autumn 2014 edition of Cotswold Homes explores Stanway House, takes a peek at the Royal Shakespeare Company's ambitious new productions...

Cotswold Homes Autumn Edition 2014  

The Autumn 2014 edition of Cotswold Homes explores Stanway House, takes a peek at the Royal Shakespeare Company's ambitious new productions...