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

WINTER Edition 2014 Complimentary Copy



KIRSTIE ALLSOPP Her Crusade Against Cancer



YOUR COTSWOLD OFFERS Shop Local and Save with Our Privilege Card

MICHAEL CAINES A Chef’s Life Story




Christmas & New Year Events


Beautiful Cotswold Homes

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coNteNts 8-11

edITor’s WeLCome Welcome to the 2014 Winter Edition of Cotswold Homes magazine. There’s much to see in this issue, all commencing with what we believe is our most generous competition giveaway to date.Tickets to not one, but two sensational family theatre shows, plus tickets to see the fantastic The Shoemaker’s Holiday at the RSC with dining included, passes for Festival Trials Day at Cheltenham Racecourse, London’s Olympia equestrian event and Adam Henson’s Cotswold Farm Park – AND signed copies of Sofka Zinovieff’s latest book. Phew! Entry couldn’t be easier, so do chance your arm – you might end up with a few extra festive treats. We have some exciting news: Cotswold-based author M.C. Beaton (the most borrowed author in UK libraries, don’t you know) will be able to witness her most beloved character, Cotswold sleuth Agatha Raisin, totter onto our screens this December (played by the fabulous Ashley Jensen) – and so will Agatha’s legion of adoring fans. Actor Matt McCooey gives us the inside scoop.

agaTHa raisin onsCreen It’s all about Agatha – get the skinny on the Cotswolds’ brassiest detective and her new Christmas show moTHer goose aT THe THeaTre CHipping norTon Chippy’s latest has us in a proper flap: panto writer Ben Crocker gives up the goose

28-29 sam TWisTon-davies Racing’s rising star, proudly sponsored by Harrison James & Hardie

We’ve also had the inestimable pleasure of meeting television presenter and home guru Kirstie Allsopp - who had much to say on a serious matter close to her heart – and chef Michael Caines, whose life story is as interesting as his dedication to food. Elsewhere, you can find out how to throw the perfect Cotswold cocktail party, discover how the humble sheep has transformed the Cotswolds, learn about the crazy life of the riotous ‘Mad Boy’ of Faringdon House and explore the RSC’s production of The Christmas Truce. And, as usual, we have the very best of Cotswold property, with an array of expert advice. Our exclusive Privilege Card Offers will help you save money and support local trade this season (and do make sure you catch our pick of winter’s events). Hope you enjoy the issue and we’ll see you in spring.

39 HoW To: THroW a CoTsWoLd CoCkTaiL parTY Julia Sibun spills the secrets to an excellent cocktail-fuelled shindig

48-49 Design team: Alias www.wearealias.com

0845 257 7475 sayhello@wearealias.com

Star Chamber Offices, Hollis House, The Square, Stow-on-the-Wold, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire GL54 1AF


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cotswold-homes.com the ProPertY & lifestYle maGaZine for the north cotswolDs

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THe CHrisTmas TruCe

skeTCHes from THe fronT: bruCe bairnsfaTHer

Meet writer Phil Porter and be inspired by the true story of The Christmas Truce – on stage at Stratford this Christmas

14 -15 oXford’s neW maggie’s

The story of the ‘trench cartoonist’ whose wildly popular drawings from the front are on display in Stratford

THe mad boY & me Author Sofka Zinovieff tells the story of her unruly grandfather – and her surreal inheritance

We visit the stunning new Maggie’s centre in Oxford, where Kirstie Allsopp tells us why she supports the charity




THe sTorY of THe sHeep Counting Sheep author Philip Walling tells us how the countryside – and indeed, British life - has been transformed by a humble ruminant



miCHaeL Caines Culinary sensation Michael Caines reflects on past, present and future

44-46 HoT properTY

Two hundred years of racing at Cheltenham – and a festive ski twist this Christmastime evenTs & priviLege Card offers

The best of the North Cotswold housing market, plus advice from our experts on all things property

50-98 Cotswold Homes Magazine Our next edition, Spring 2015, 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 February.

CHeLTenHam raCeCourse: a TaLe of TWo CenTuries

Our pick of the very best winter events in the Cotswolds – plus Privilege Card offers to help you save whilst supporting our excellent Cotswold businesses


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

cotswold-homes.com the ProPertY & lifestYle maGaZine for the north cotswolDs



Cotswold Homes Competition

Winter Competition GiveaWay We’Ve GoT eVeN more fab PrIZes ThaN eVer To WIN ThIs WINTer – aNd eNTerING CouLdN’T be easIer. Win a panTo nigHT aT CHipping norTon THeaTre for aLL THe famiLY* *For a family of up to five. Catch the sensational Chippy Panto, Mother Goose, at 7.30pm on Wednesday 10th December and find out why The Daily Telegraph and Jeremy Clarkson rave about a visit to Chipping Norton Theatre. Included in this evening will be a goodie bag with a souvenir programme, badges and vouchers for drinks and ice creams. To enter, all you have to do is email admin@ cotswold-homes.com with PANTO in the subject field, remembering to include your address and contact details so we can contact you in case you win. Alternatively, you can enter by liking our Facebook page and sending us a private message at www.facebook.com/cotswoldhomespage. Entries will be drawn on the 5th of December. Good luck!

WIN a ‘HorribLe CHrisTmas’ TreaT aT bIrmINGham’s oLd reP TheaTre We’re in for a horribly fun time this Christmas when HORRIBLE HISTORIES: HORRIBLE CHRISTMAS comes to The Old Rep Theatre, Birmingham from 13 Nov to 17 Jan. (Box office: 0121 245 4455 www.birmingham-box. co.uk.) Christmas is under threat from a jolly man dressed in red, one young boy must try & save the day! From Victorian villains to Medieval monks, Puritan parties to Tudor treats, this latest Horrible Histories show will take you on a hairraising adventure through the amazing history of Christmas. Full of silly jokes, funny songs and

lots of hysterical historical facts, it’s great entertainment for all the family from 5 to 105! To win a free family ticket to see Horrible Christmas on Saturday Jan 3rd email admin@cotswold-homes.com with HORRIBLE in the subject field, remembering to include your address and contact details so we can contact you in case you win. Alternatively, you can enter by liking our Facebook page and sending us a private message at www.facebook.com/ cotswoldhomespage. Entries will be drawn on the 18th of December. Good luck!

WIN a TrIP To The rsC IN sTraTforduPoN-aVoN To see THe sHoemaker’s HoLidaY WITh afTerNooN Tea aNd a £50 shoPPING VouCher Love shoes? Win a trip to Stratford-uponAvon to see The Shoemaker’s Holiday, with afternoon tea in the Rooftop Restaurant and a £50 voucher to shop at Stratford-upon-Avon’s boutique Nuha. Filled with fun, frivolity, and the fashion of 1599,The Shoemaker’s Holiday is a glorious comedy of class, conflict and cobblers in love, with gorgeous period costumes. Spend the day in the charming town of Stratford-uponAvon, browse the beautiful shoes at Nuha, and indulge in a delicious, decadent festive afternoon tea in the stunning surroundings of the Rooftop Restaurant. (The date of the performance is Saturday 3 January, 7.30pm. A table is reserved in the Rooftop Restaurant for afternoon tea at 4pm. Cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer. No cash alternative will be offered. Nuha voucher may only be used on shoes, boots and handbags, excluding sale items.) For your chance to win, all you have to do is email admin@cotswold-homes.com with STRATFORD in the subject field, remembering to include your address and contact details in case you win. Alternatively, you can enter by liking our Facebook page and sending us a private message at www.facebook.com/ cotswoldhomespage. Entries will be drawn on the 18th of December. Good luck!

WIN aN aNNuaL famILy TICkeT (2 X aduLTs + 2 X CHiLdren / 1 X aduLT + 3 X CHiLdren) To adam heNsoN’s CoTsWoLd farm Park Visit Adam Henson’s fabulous farm park all year round with this great pass. Feed the goats and pigs while teaching the little ones all about livestock, food production and rare breeds at this award-winning attraction. For your chance to win, all you have to do is

email admin@cotswold-homes.com with FARM PARK in the subject field, remembering to include your address and contact details in case you win. Alternatively, you can enter by liking our Facebook page and sending us a private message at www. facebook.com/cotswoldhomespage. Entries will be drawn on the 18th of December. Good luck!

like us on facebook for more chances to win! www.facebook.com/cotswoldhomespage 6

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Cotswold Homes Competition

Winter Competition Giveaway WIN 4 X Tickets to Olympia Horse Show (Thursday 8th December Afternoon Performance) in London Olympia is one of the very best equestrian events going – and you and three others could be a part of it for free! Find out more about this fantastic event by visiting www.olympiahorseshow.com or turning to page 40 and reading our Olympia feature by our equestrian correspondent Collette Fairweather.The afternoon performance includes the Horsezone.com Santa Stakes, the Osborne Refridgerators Shetland Pony Grand National, the Kennel Club Medium Dog Jumping Grand Prix, the Ukrainian Cossacks – and much, much, more.

To enter, all you have to do is email admin@ cotswold-homes.com with OLYMPIA in the subject field, remembering to include your address and contact details so we can contact you in case you win. Alternatively, you can enter by liking our Facebook page and sending us a private message at www.facebook.com/ cotswoldhomespage. Entries will be drawn on the 5th of December. Good luck!

WIN 4 X Tickets for Festival Trials Day at Cheltenham Racecourse (24th January) Arguably the best one-day Jump fixture anywhere in the UK, with top class action unfolding during every race and notable pointers of horses to follow ahead of The Festival in March.

consecutive year, behind Lord Windermere.

Many of the horses that run on Festival Trials Day are having their final preparation before The Festival and it is rare that this meeting doesn’t feature at least one subsequent Festival winner. In 2014 we saw Lac Fontana win on Festival Trials Day, before winning the Vincent O’Brien Hurdle in March.

Gates Open at 10.30am with the first of seven races at 12.40pm. The last race is at 4.10pm.

In addition, The Giant Bolster won the Argento Chase, one of the most popular chasers of recent years. He went on to be placed in the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup for the third

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

After racing there is another Brightwells Bloodstock sale. See the Brightwells website for more information.

For your chance to win, all you have to do is email admin@cotswold-homes.com with RACECOURSE in the subject field, remembering to include your address and contact details in case you win. Alternatively, you can enter by liking our Facebook page and sending us a private message at www.facebook. com/cotswoldhomespage. Entries will be drawn on the 18th of December. Good luck!

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

WIN 2 X Signed Copies of Sofka Zinovieff’s book THE MAD BOY, LORD BERNERS, MY GRANDMOTHER AND ME

The Mad Boy was the wild and handsome young lover of the composer, painter and writer, Lord Berners. During the 1930s they lived in an aesthetes’ paradise at Faringdon House near Oxford.The doves were dyed all colours of the rainbow, dogs had jewelled collars and exquisite food was served to many of the great minds, beauties and wits of the day.The visitors’ books are signed by numerous Mitfords, Sitwells and guests as diverse as H.G. Wells, Gertrude Stein, Harold Nicolson, Frederick Ashton, Elsa Schiaparelli and Evelyn Waugh. When, during the war, the Mad Boy suddenly got married to Jennifer Fry, a high society beauty, everyone was shocked… Read the sensational history of Faringdon House and its eccentric occupants in Sofka Zinovieff ’s brilliant new book. Read our interview with Sofka and see how the story continues with two free signed copies (all images copyright Sofka’s personal collection). For your chance to win, all you have to do is email admin@cotswold-homes.com with MAD BOY in the subject field, remembering to include your address and contact details in case you win. Alternatively, you can enter by liking our Facebook page and sending us a private message at www. facebook.com/cotswoldhomespage. Entries will be drawn on the 18th of December. Good luck! 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.

like us on facebook for more chances to win! www.facebook.com/cotswoldhomespage www.cotswold-homes.com


IT’S all aBoUT aGaTHa

PREPARE FOR A COTSWOLD CHRISTMAS SENSATION AS LOCAL AUTHOR M.C. BEATON’S BELOVED CREATION FINALLY MAKES IT TO THE SCREEN This Christmas, readers of M.C. Beaton’s quirktastic Agatha Raisin crime series can celebrate as Aggie at last makes it to the screen. Starring the sublimely funny Ashley Jensen as the eponymous Agatha, Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death will come to Sky 1 HD this December. Bossy and determined PR supremo Agatha Raisin decides to chuck in her big city lifestyle and decamp to the Cotswolds, anticipating quaint cottages, rolling landscapes and restful summer days. But when her ways are greeted with raised eyebrows, she decides to ingratiate herself with


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the locals by sneakily entering a shop-bought quiche into a cookery competition – only to end up poisoning the judge. Can Agatha rally a few friendly souls to her cause and clear her name… and enjoy a little Cotswold romance with her dashing new neighbour while she’s at it? Ashley Jensen – perhaps best known for her hilarious turn as Ricky Gervais’ hapless best mate in BBC comedy Extras – might not precisely match some readers’ imaginings of the middleaged Agatha, but is in our view (and, crucially, the view of M.C. Beaton) an excellent choice. And M.C. Beaton herself seems equally enthused,

tweeting: ‘Ashley Jensen who plays Agatha is a delight. A great comedy actress. Got a great reception. After the Hamish Macbeth TV lot, it was lovely.’ Supporting is a fine cast including Gavin and Stacey’s Mathew Horne and not one but two Cold Feet alumni, Hermione Norris and Robert Bathurst. This is the second sleuthy drama to film in the Cotswold area recently, as the BBC’s adaptation of G.K. Chesterton’s Father Brown books has shot two series in recent years.

IT’S all aBoUT aGaTHa

WE CAUGHT UP WITH ACTOR MATT McCOOEY, WHO PLAYS AGATHA’S LOVELORN ASSOCIATE, INSPECTOR BILL WONG, TO GET THE SCOOP ON THE NEW SERIES. Hi Matt. Tell us about your character, Bill Wong… Bill is the local police inspector in Evesham. He’s a very nice guy. He’s been living in Carsley for a while, thinking that the professional life of a police inspector might not be as exciting as he first thought. All of a sudden, in comes this glamorous, attractive lady from London, which pricks up his ears a bit – and then, of course, there’s a murder to be solved. He’s jolted back to life a bit… personally and professionally. So is Agatha a romantic interest? I think he fancies her. He finds her quite intriguing. He’s been surrounded by only a few village women this whole time…he’s lovelorn. There’s a dating website he’s checking the whole time. Let’s say the pickings are fairly slim [laughs]. Agatha’s adventures have created legions of devoted fans.

What was it like to work with Ashley? How does she play Agatha? She was brilliant. I think she does a great job with Agatha. She’s very brash and assuming. She really shakes up the village and isn’t afraid to get stuck in. Was this your first time in the Cotswolds? Apart from when I came here on a stag do, yeah. It’s truly stunning. I grew up next to a little village

much like Agatha’s, with all the fetes and crickets and such. But I have to admit that the Kent countryside has got nothing on what I saw in the Cotswolds. Reading a book or a script, you have images of how it might be, but in real life?…Wow. Have you had a chance to meet author M.C. Beaton? I’ve met her a couple of times, actually – first at the read through in London and then when she came down to set one day. She’s very lovely…I can’t believe that she’s still knocking out these books regularly. An Agatha and a Hamish MacBeth every year! Of course, she’s been burned before by the televised adaptation of Hamish Macbeth…Will this time round be different? To be honest, I can’t remember watching that one, but I think the cast didn’t match the story and the experience she had with the people making it was not a good one. Ashley doesn’t quite resemble the Agatha of the books – she’s blonder, she’s not middle-aged, she’s Scottish – but I know that Marion made a blog post when she visited the set. She wrote that while Ashley doesn’t look much like Agatha she’s playing it absolutely true to the character. A frustrating, determined, sometimes difficult lady. Agatha’s got a massive following. What is it about these stories that causes such devotion? I’m not sure what the term is, it’s kind of easy reading – it’s not dark and gritty, they’re not like hard work like some Scandinavian crime novel. The work has lightness and humour to it. Plus it’s set in a picture perfect place with a real sense of Britishness to it. I always imagine people smiling as they read them. Yes, it’s about death and murder, but it’s done very lightly – and I think there’s a real market for that. Are there any other adaptations on the horizon? Would you be up for another stint as Bill? Well yeah! I think the plan is to see how The Quiche of Death is received, how it looks after the edit, but I’d certainly love to spend a few months in the Cotswolds every year.



IT’S all aBoUT aGaTHa

A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO AGATHA RAISIN Agatha Raisin? That’s an unusual name… Well, Agatha’s certainly not your ordinary detective. Born in a ‘tower block slum in Birmingham’, Agatha Styles had the shyness knocked out of her by bullying colleagues during an early stint in a biscuit factory. She soon fled to London where she met and married the wealthy, shifty Jimmy Raisin (who the ambitious Agatha ditched while he lay in a drunken stupor). Having made a reasonable wedge in the Public Relations game, Agatha decides to throw in the towel and, remembering a much-loved childhood holiday, takes an early retirement in the Cotswold village of Carsely (who can blame her?). But it wasn’t quite the peaceful retreat of her imagination, and she soon faced a struggle to clear her name after her shop-bought quiche happens to poison the judge of a cookery competition. This little escapade, Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death, is the first of Agatha’s adventures, and the subject of Sky’s new adaptation (starring the supremely funny Ashley Jensen). Goodness gracious! Was it curtains for Agatha? You’ll have to read the book (and watch the series) to see what happens, but seeing how many books there are in the Agatha Raisin series…But here’s a fun fact: Agatha sets up her detective agency in the fifteenth book, having only been something of a hobbyist murdersolver before. What’s Agatha actually like?


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‘Bossy, vain and irresistible.’ Hardly the most winsome attributes, but Agatha has an incredibly devoted following – many of her fans claim to see something of themselves in this unlikely heroine. Despite her all-too-real faults (or perhaps because of them?) she’s actually rather endearing, and easily more relatable than a hard-boiled, trench-coat wearing gunslinger. And she doesn’t exist in a timeless void: she’s already in her fifties in Quiche of Death, and ages accordingly as the series progresses. Her friends include local constable Bill Wong, old pal (and occasional lover) Sir Charles Fraith and on-again-off-again boyfriend James Lacey, a rather charming neighbour. When Ashley Jensen was cast as Agatha, she had this to say: ‘I am absolutely delighted to be on board! It's not often a part like this comes along for a woman. Agatha Raisin is a strong forthright, independent, driven, successful woman, who is both funny and flawed, a real woman of our time.’ Has M.C. Beaton written anything besides the Agatha Raisin series? Has she ever! Aside from the twenty-five odd Agatha adventures, the extraordinarily prolific Marion Chesney has written a variety of other works under several pseudonyms (M.C. Beaton is reserved for crime and mystery). There are twenty-nine books (soon thirty) in her Hamish Macbeth series. She’s also written over 100 (!) historical romances, published under such names as Helen Crampton, Ann Fairfax, Jennie Tremaine, and Charlotte Ward. It’s little wonder she’s the most borrowed Adult author in UK libraries.

M.C. Beaton

So is this the first television adaptation of her work? Erm, not exactly. But Marion isn’t particularly fond of the Hamish Macbeth series, so the less said about that the better. It can at least be credited with launching the career of actor Robert Carlyle. Are the locations found in Agatha’s Cotswolds real or imaginary? Mostly real. Agatha often visits villages and towns such as Moreton-in-Marsh, Stow-on-the-Wold, Chipping Campden and Evesham, but Carsely and Mircester (where Raisin Investigations is based) are fictional, so don’t go looking for them – though they are inspired by real places.

IT’S all aBoUT aGaTHa

I am absolutely delighted to be on board! It's not often a part like this comes along for a woman. Agatha Raisin is a strong forthright, independent, driven, successful woman, who is both funny and flawed, a real woman of our time.’ ˜Ashley Jensen www.cotswold-homes.com


Cowley Manor

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Cowley Manor




How do you capture an iconic and incredibly unlikely moment of peace in a bitter war? We interview the writer of The Christmas Truce, Phil Porter, about putting the famous story on stage. Tell us about the process of writing this play and the influence of the story-sharing day hosted by the RSC. I’d been working on the script for about two or three months by the time we had the story-sharing day, so I knew what the overall story was going to be.The day came at a great time for me – people came in with pictures and stories about their relatives, some quite quirky artefacts, postcards and medals and shell cases…One woman brought her grandfather’s ‘Do It Yourself Phrenology’ booklet, which I managed to get into the play – it’s all about head measuring and what you can supposedly tell from that, which was apparently quite a popular pastime in 1914! The day was also very useful for me in that there were a lot of photographs.There are a lot of young male characters in the play and it can be quite hard to flesh them out in your mind, so I used them to help picture one character or another. I also saw various letters home – some of the details contained in those letters might have made their way into the play… What do we know about the Royal Warwickshires and the part they played in the truce? The truce is intriguing partly because it happened in so many places along the Western Front with various different regiments involved, but the part involving the Warwickshires is one of the best documented – partly because Bruce Bairnsfather was there, and he was a very popular writer and artist at the time.The Warwickshires were involved in an area they called Plugstreet, which was their own British take on ‘Ploegsteert.’There had been some quite big battles about five days before 14

Cotswold Homes Magazine

Christmas, so both sides had lost a lot of men. They were pretty grim times. But at that point the two trenches of the opposing forces lay quite close together – the Warwickshires could hear the Germans singing, could shout out across No Man’s Land. Eventually there was a small meeting on Christmas Eve based on a bit of banter that was going back and forth, and the next morning the officers went out and negotiated a more formal truce.There are differing ideas on how long that truce might have been, what the terms were. In our play, it’s 48 hours and all men are able to come out, exchange gifts, play football and celebrate Christmas together. You just mentioned the trench cartoonist Bruce Bairnsfather – what sort of a role does he play in The Christmas Truce? He’s pretty much our central man, really. He was

There are differing ideas on how long that truce might have been, what the terms were. In our play, it's 48 hours and all men are able to come out, exchange gifts, play football and celebrate Christmas together.

a Second Lieutenant, one of the lowest ranking officers.The way I’ve portrayed him is that he’s very good with the Tommies and very good with the officers. He’s obviously very well brought up in a military kind of way, and fairly posh – able to communicate well with the colonel. But he’s also a captain with a small ‘c’ for the men. As well as being a cartoonist and writer, he was also very interested in theatre and used to put on shows and pantomimes. In the play he organises a concert party after they lose one of their friends to rally the men and cheer them up a bit, lifting the morale of the team. But he’s also changed through the experience of the truce, and also learns quite a lot through that interaction. How do the soldiers relate to one another in the trenches? Are there conflicts between them or is there always a sense of congeniality or comradeship? I tried to show something of everything of what would happen if you put a large group of men in a very difficult situation – they will probably bond very quickly and form very close friendships through that hardship but also, inevitably, there’s a certain grumpiness and a certain fearing for your life. We have characters appear that Bairnsfather created in his cartoons, Old Bill and Bert, who are old sweats who fought in South Africa – they’ve seen it all and done it all before. But most of the lads are younger in years and less experienced, or else they’re reservists.There’s a clashing between those old guys and the young, who don’t really like being told what to do. But in the end the overriding feeling is one of friendship – and it’s humour that they use to get them through this difficult time, more than anything. It’s very similar to how Bairnsfather’s cartoons show that there is humour and light even in the darkest of places.



Photos from www.ww1photos.com

What was it like writing that moment when a tentative, spontaneous peace is struck between two forces? The source material is so dramatic in itself that you’re already off to a good start.The presence of music is another tool that I can use to create a tension, but also the beauty of the moment, I suppose.There’s singing and there’s calling between the trenches then one guy goes out and then they’re all playing football – so dramatically it’s sort of a gift, because it unfolds in a very interesting and satisfying way. Probably my favourite thing to write was the scene where Old Bill goes out to meet the Germans in the dark on Christmas Eve.There’s so much tension there – the idea of climbing up over the parapet, making your position known, when up to that point the only thing to go between those two places has been bullets and artillery.That was really enjoyable to write. On a personal level, did you feel a sense of empathy for these men – did you ever reflect on the fact that if you were born earlier it might very well have been you in that position? Yeah, absolutely. Writing about people wandering around in the trenches in the dark and the cold makes you realise how ill-equipped you would be to deal with it, living now in a relatively peaceful time… What do you hope audiences will take away from The Christmas Truce? I think it’s a very optimistic story, and a story about the spirit of Christmas more than anything. I also think our younger audience may well learn things about the war, and that’s great. But I think what makes it such a great story is that it’s about the enduring nature of Christmas and the Christmas spirit, and how it thrives even in the unlikeliest place. It says a lot about friendship and humanity, and I hope that’s what people take away from it.

The Christmas Truce


The Christmas Truce tells the story of a group of young Warwickshire men 100 years ago. Warwickshire, August 1914 A glorious summer is interrupted by the outbreak of war and the British Empire's bureaucratic machine swings into action. Reserve soldiers and nurses are called up and readied for action while others with military experience are encouraged to re-join. Among the returning soldiers is Second Lieutenant Bruce Bairnsfather, a charismatic young man from a military family, with a flair for drawing and painting.

Three months later...

After considerable casualties at the First Battle of Ypres, the Reserves are called upon to provide reinforcement. Bruce travels to Belgium with a group of such soldiers, joined also by Bill and Bert, a couple of old sweats. Arriving to pelting rain and a heavy bombardment, they are taken straight to the Front Line where they learn to adapt to the terrible conditions of the trenches. Meanwhile, at a Clearing Hospital a few miles away, reserve nurse Phoebe Bishop arrives for work and immediately finds herself on the wrong side of Matron. Bonded by shared experience, the soldiers become close friends, but their morale is damaged when they lose their first man to a sniper. Bruce organises a concert party, repairing their spirits, but their happiness is short-lived as they receive orders to attack. The attack is unsuccessful, though they are saved from total obliteration by a seemingly miraculous stroke of luck. Devastated by the loss of several comrades, the surviving men bed in for Christmas.


Christmas Eve The Section is disappointed to be in the trenches for Christmas. But the evening takes a magical turn when they see a line of Christmas trees along the German Front Line. The German soldiers sing carols across No Man’s Land and the Tommies sing back. A growing atmosphere of festivity leads to an offer from the German side of a meeting in No Man’s Land. Old Bill meets the enemy face-toface and they exchange gifts. Meanwhile, in the Clearing Hospital, the injured soldiers are woken by the nurses putting up decorations. Matron demands that the decorations are taken down.

Christmas Day

Bruce and his friend Captain Riley meet a German officer and arrange a truce, though Bairnsfather will not shake the German officer's hand. Soldiers from both sides step out from the trenches and meet. They bury and pay tribute to their lost friends, and then a game of football begins. The spirit of the truce reaches the hospital too, as Phoebe and Matron, inspired by the news from the Front Line, agree to put aside their differences for the common good. And later, in No Man’s Land, the German officer convinces Bruce that their similarities outweigh their differences. Their own personal truce is sealed with a handshake. For a fleeting moment all is peace and goodwill, until the British High Command, fearing mutiny, demand an immediate end to the truce. The war resumes, but they will remember this very special Christmas forever.






Mark Warby, leading Bruce Bairnsfather collector and writer, and Jo Whitford, Head of Exhibitions at the Royal Shakespeare Company, reveal more about Bairnsfather’s life and the RSC’s new exhibition commemorating his work. What was Bairnfather’s life like before the war? Had he found much in the way of commercial success? 16

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Bairnsfather had originally been destined for an Army career and spent a year with the 5th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment (Militia) in 1907-08. But he resigned his commission to take up art, which was his real passion, and after spending some time at the John Hassall School of Art in London, had moderate success over the following years with commercial designs for firms such as

Players Tobacco, Lipton’s Tea and Beecham’s Pills. However, he was unable to earn enough to sustain a full-time career as an artist, so he worked for a local firm of electrical engineers based in Stratford-upon-Avon, with his occasional commercial art sales supplementing his income. One of his jobs during this time was to work as part of the team installing electric lights in the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre.




Old Bill represented a ‘type’ of soldier who everyone could relate to and feel a familiarity with. He was a veteran of war, a stoic survivor who had been through it all before, and was a philosopher of the trenches. He was a bit of a grouser, but loyalty and comradeship were paramount to him. Almost everyone probably knew an Old Bill ‘type’ and was able to engage with the character

Why did he pick up his pencil again in the trenches? When he went out to France in November 1914, art was the last thing on Bairnsfather’s mind. But in December 1914, at St Yvon, on the edge of Plugstreet Wood, to relieve the monotony of trench life – there were often long periods during the day when the soldiers were not able to move about freely – and to avoid being seen by the enemy, he began to draw. To amuse himself, and those around him, Bairnsfather began making comic sketches on any scrap of paper he could find, and these were soon in great demand, often pinned up in dug-outs up and down the front line. His Colonel even asked him to decorate the walls of the Battalion HQ with some of his cartoons. How did his war drawings first come to publication? It wasn’t long before the popularity of

Bairnsfather’s sketches with the men he was serving with led to him becoming known as the artist of his regiment. One day, a fellow officer suggested “why don’t you send something off for publication” – and early in March 1915 this is exactly what he did. While resting in billets two or three miles behind the front lines, he made a finished drawing inspired by an incident in the trenches at St Yvon, and sent it off to The Bystander, a popular weekly magazine published in London. He later said he chose The Bystander after seeing a copy lying around which someone had been sent from home, and he felt the magazine’s style and format suited his drawing. The drawing arrived with Vivian Carter, Editor of The Bystander, who immediately liked it and published the cartoon in the magazine on 31st March 1915. What do you think it was about the Old Bill character that proved so enormously popular?

What responsibilities did Bairnsfather’s War Office appointment as ‘Officer Cartoonist’ entail? From August 1916, Bairnsfather was attached to the War Office Department of Military Intelligence Sub Section MI7b, which dealt with press propaganda. In this capacity he made visits (at the request of each of the Allied armies) to the French, Italian and finally American fronts, and subsequently drew a series of cartoons based on each of these visits. He also illustrated propaganda articles written by officers attached to MI7b, which were distributed throughout the dominions, and he was used for other illustrative propaganda work. There is also evidence to suggest that propaganda messages were inserted by MI7b into Bairnsfather’s replies to letters from his fans. What effect did Bairnsfather’s work seem to have on morale? Bairnsfather’s cartoons had an immeasurable effect on morale. He struck a chord with the





soldiers fighting in France and their families back home. They knew he had seen active service at the front and was drawing from his first-hand experience. He knew what the soldiers and their families were going through. They knew he wasn’t mocking the soldiers but picturing them in situations which many men had experienced. Soldiers would write home telling their families that life at the front was just like Bairnsfather drew it. The public demand for reproductions of his cartoons in all forms was incredible, and everyone wanted to own something by him. His cartoons had a “carrying on” spirit that was able to lift the public mood even when the outlook seemed grim. Published volumes of his cartoons sold over 1 million copies, and hundreds of thousands of colour prints, postcards and other merchandise were sold. People flocked to exhibitions of his original drawings, and eagerly awaited the next published volume of his cartoons. His play about Old Bill became one of the greatest theatrical successes of the war. He made millions laugh, even in the face of adversity, but could also portray the serious side of war, as shown in a number of his drawings. How well known did Bairnsfather’s work become across the world? From 1916, Bruce Bairnsfather’s work was known throughout the world. His cartoons were reproduced in newspapers overseas, and the compilation volumes of Fragments from France were published in America, Canada and Australia as well as the UK. Merchandise – including postcards, playing cards, jigsaws, Christmas cards, colour prints and more – produced by The Bystander – was also sold worldwide, as was the hugely popular range of Bairnsfather Ware china made by Grimwades of Stoke on Trent. Bairnsfather’s play, The Better ‘Ole, which ran in London for 15 months from August 1917 and was taken around the UK by several touring companies, was also produced successfully in America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and even India, through to 1920. By the time the war ended in 1918, Bairnsfather was truly an international celebrity, and there was great demand for his work, worldwide. He was present at the Christmas Truce of 1914. What effect did being present at the ceasefire have on him? In his book Bullets and Billets, Bairnsfather described this moment as something he wouldn’t have missed for anything. He had started Christmas Eve day feeling down on his luck, accepting it wouldn’t really involve any of the usual seasonal festivities. But on this perfectly still, cold and frosty December day he began to feel there was something invisible and intangible in the air; a kind of feeling that the two sides had ‘something in common’. He describes the truce, as an ‘invigorating tonic’, an event that put back something human and a moment where there was a friendly understanding between them that Christmas would be left to finish in peace. 18

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HE SPENT HIS LATER YEARS LIVING QUIETLY IN ENGLAND, MUCH OF HIS TIME OCCUPIED WITH LANDSCAPE PAINTING. BRUCE BAIRNSFATHER DIED IN WORCESTER ON 29TH SEPTEMBER 1959. What did life hold for Bairnsfather after the war had ended? At the end of the war, Bairnsfather was in great demand. Early in 1919 he undertook a lengthy lecture tour of the UK, and from 1919-20 edited his own weekly paper, Fragments. He continued to contribute cartoons to The Bystander until 1923. He undertook a lecture tour of America in 1920, and in 1922 wrote and appeared in a new play, Old Bill MP, which toured the provinces and had a successful London run. He later appeared in variety theatres in the UK and in vaudeville in America, and lived in New York for several years in the late 1920s, contributing to many popular US magazines such as Life, Judge and the New Yorker. In 1927-28 he wrote and directed a film, Carry On Sergeant, in Canada. In the 1930s he returned to England and contributed to popular magazines such as The Passing Show, Illustrated and the British Legion Journal. He toured in variety from 1935-38 and was the first cartoonist to appear on BBC television in 1936. There were further lecture tours in America in the 1930s. From 1938-42 he again contributed to The Bystander, and in 1939 he created a new strip cartoon, Young Bill, for Illustrated magazine. In 1940 the film Old Bill & Son was made, with John Mills as Young Bill. From 1942-44 Bairnsfather was attached to the US Forces in Europe as an accredited correspondentcartoonist, and contributed more than 200 cartoons to the US Forces newspaper Stars & Stripes. He spent his later years living quietly in England, much of his time occupied with landscape painting. Bruce Bairnsfather died

in Worcester on 29th September 1959. What works of his can we expect to see at the exhibition? The exhibition features a selection of Bairnsfather’s cartoons from original magazines, books and on a variety of merchandise from the time such as teapots, matchbox holders and jigsaws. It includes famous cartoons such as A Better ‘Ole, Coiffure in the Trenches and Where did that one go? The exhibition also includes archive photographs of Bairnsfather, from his early family life in Stratford-upon-Avon, as a soldier on the frontline and later, as a successful artist and household name. You can see original poster and leaflet designs for brands such as Fry’s chocolate and Lipton’s tea and early examples of his work before he went to war, along with memorabilia related to his work in theatre and film. What did it feel like to be able to honour his life and work right here in Stratford-upon-Avon? Bruce Bairnsfather once wrote “Warwickshire is my county, and I love everything about it” – so it is particularly fitting that this exhibition should be held in Stratford. And more so that the RSC should honour the cartoonist who began his working life as a young electrical engineer, installing electric light at the original Memorial Theatre, and working the lighting switchboard at one of the annual Shakespeare Festivals. He lived at Bishopton, just outside the town, for over 17 years, and many of his famous war cartoons began life in his studio there.


the Christmas Truce. Silent Night (or Stille Nacht in German) is the one most associated with the event but Allied soldiers rarely mention this hymn in their letters. O Come All Ye Faithful and others listed include It's A Long Way to Tipperary, Auld Lang Syne, While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks and O Tannenbaum.

It’s a true tale of peace and reconciliation in the face of a grisly war that captured the hearts of the civilian population back home. ‘The Christmas Truce’ describes a series of unofficial cessation of hostilities that occurred along the Western Front in France during the cold and wintry late December days of 2014. By this point, World War I had been raging for several months, but stories started to circulate during that Christmas of incidences of German and Allied soldiers laying down their arms, stepping out of their trenches and meeting in no-man’s-land. Some chatted and swapped souvenirs, others were reported to have played in a football match. As we commemorate the outbreak of World War I in its centenary year, it’s difficult for us to imagine how different the world was in 1914. European society was a much more rigidly structured affair, with many monarchies still in situ (including those of Russia, Germany, Italy and Austro-Hungary). It was famously the assassination of the heir to the Austrian throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and his wife in Sarajevo on 29th June 1914 that sparked a rapid sequence of events that led to the outbreak of war.The spell of that golden summer of innocence had well and truly been broken.

between the opposing trenches, culminating in the Christmas Truce. Much of that December of 1914 in France had been wet. However, on Christmas Eve the temperature dropped and the landscape was enveloped in a sharp white frost.The edgy banter and shouting that had developed between the trench lines subtly changed when the German troops started singing carols and placing Christmas trees with lanterns above the trenches. Interviewed by the British press afterwards, a subaltern who had been part of the Christmas truce said: “Their trenches were a blaze of Christmas trees, and our sentries were regaled for hours with the traditional Christmas songs of the Fatherland.Their officers even expressed annoyance the next day that some of these trees had been fired on, insisting that they were part almost of the sacred rite.” A truce, which days earlier had seemed inconceivable, was now almost an inevitability.The singing of hymns and carols between the trenches is perhaps one of the most atmospheric motifs of

Although there is some dispute as to whether a football match did take place, most letters home from the trenches at the time mention that soldiers chatted, swapped jokes, exchanged mementoes and souvenirs and sang songs and hymns. Despite the magic of the Truce being quickly dispelled after Christmas Day with a taking up of arms again – indeed, artillery fire had continued throughout Christmas in some parts of the Front the enduring legacy of the truce has been positive. Today, it's often looked upon as a wonderful example of humanity during a dark hour in our history. It has been the inspiration for many works of arts, paintings, books as well as songs. But its greatest legacy must surely be the message of hope. As a Highland Regiment officer said in The Times in 1915: "It is a great hope for future peace when two great nations hating each other as foes have seldom hated, one side vowing eternal hate and vengeance and setting their venom to music, should on Christmas day and for all that the word implies, lay down their arms, exchange smokes and wish each other happiness."

Britain declared war on Germany on 4th August, reacting to an ignored ultimatum to remove German troops from Belgian soil by the end of the previous day. The beginning of August saw the German army sweep past Luxembourg and Belgium on their way into France, initially making rapid progress. With both the German and Allied armies trying to outflank each other, a battle line was eventually drawn across France – the Western Front - stretching from Lorraine in the south to the English Channel in the north. This was the start of trench warfare, with soldiers digging out miles of trenches and erecting barbed wire to hold their positions. With some trenches just yards apart, progress of the armies was slow and these underground tunnels became increasingly fortified. Lines were strengthened on both sides with more men and it was soon realised that this was going to be a war of attrition – a ‘winner’ could only be declared if one side ran out of men or ammunition. Being so close to the enemy in some parts of the Western Front allowed the soldiers to shout out to their opponents or stick signs on wooden boards. After particularly heavy artillery fire, for instance, the soldiers might shout out “Missed” or “Left a bit”. It was this black humour that provided the backdrop to the conversations that started


For younger readers:

Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks

Private Peaceful, Michael Murpugo

A Farewell to Arms, Ernest Hemingway

War Horse, Michael Morpugo

The Regeneration trilogy, Pat Barker

War Game:Village Green to No-Man’s-Land, Michael Foreman

A Long Long Way, Sebastian Barry

The Amazing Tale of Ali Pasha, Michael Foreman

Goodbye to All That, Robert Graves

Charlotte Sometimes, Penelope Farmer

Testament of Youth,Vera Brittain

The Flambards series, KM Peyton

Memoirs of an Infantry Officer, Siegfried Sassoon





Are you ready for a trip to the theatre? In celebration of the RSC’s sensational winter season, we’ve produced a special, online-only edition of the magazine – free for UK residents - dedicated to all the fantastic productions playing at Stratfordupon-Avon. Containing interviews with the writer of The Christmas Truce, Phil Porter, director of The Shoemaker’s Holiday Phillip Breen and director of Love’s Labour’s Lost Christopher Luscombe, our magazine offers you a sneaky look behind the scenes and an insight into the creative minds responsible for the winter line-up. Have a look at the work of trench cartoonist Bruce Bairnsfather (exhibiting at Stratford 10th October 2014 – 15th March 2015) and find out how community stories helped shape The Christmas Truce.


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AND THERE’S EVEN AN EXCLUSIVE COMPETITION FOR OUR READERS TO ENTER! WIN 2 Pairs of Tickets for The Shoemaker’s Holiday on Wednesday 17th December in the Swan Theatre - including a pre-theatre dinner for two at 5.30pm in the Rooftop Restaurant for each pair. Readers of this special edition can enter our competition to win a brilliant trip to the theatre to see the RSC’s new production of Thomas Dekker’s The Shoemaker’s Holiday – and entering our draw couldn’t be easier. With dinner in the Rooftop Restaurant included, this is a treat not to be missed. Dekker’s story of love, war, cunning and cobblery is arguably his best work, springing from a time that, although now distant, bears curious similarities to our own (read our interview with director Phillip Breen for more information on this wonderful tale).

THE SPECIAL RSC EDITION can be downloaded now on Pocketmags (free for UK residents) - a free app must be downloaded first. (Link to RSC issue: http://bit.ly/14lrWop . From this page, button links to other platforms – Apple, Android etc - can be found).The magazine is currently available on Android Google Play, Amazon Kindle Fire and Windows 8 via the Pocketmags App. It's free for UK residents, but £2.49 for the rest of the world ($3.99 / €3.59 / AUD$4.99).


The Great Rissington Sorrow:

The Death of Five Brothers The BBC revisits the unique tragedy of the five Souls brothers who lost their lives in the Great War, shattering a family. outside the village until writer Michael Walsh took an interest after a visit to Great Rissington church, poring through battalion and grave commission records to unearth details of the Souls brothers’ fates. Interviewing a 101-year-old resident by the name of Maud Pill, Walsh discovered that the brothers were ‘nice-looking’ but ‘not very tall’ (Fred, Alf and Arthur joined a ‘Bantam’ force for short-statured soldiers) and all were unmarried. Arthur had won the Military Medal, but the details of his act of valour had been lost. In the picturesque Cotswold village of Great Rissington, there exist few reminders of a wartime loss almost peerless in its tragedy. But for the curiosity of a writer, the story might have been forgotten entirely. In the centenary year, the tale of the Souls brothers is remembered again. BBC Points West recently visited the village to hear its schoolchildren tell of the local family ruined by the Great War. Of the six sons born to Julia ‘Annie’ Souls and her husband William, five were killed in WWI. Twins Alfred and Arthur came into the world together; they died just five days apart. Albert, Frederick and Walter Souls all died in the summer of 1916, with Frederick perishing in the Battle of the Somme (where there were over 1.5 million casualties) and Alfred and Walter losing their lives at Bully-Grenay and Rouen. Walter was not killed outright, but was transferred to hospital in a cheery mood after suffering a leg wound, where he soon contracted a blood clot and died. Annie was given one shilling per week for each death – scant compensation for the loss of a son, and with five boys dead her suffering was doubtlessly immeasurable. Yet there were some in the village who considered that the bereaved Mrs Souls had received a generous allowance from the government, and by some accounts Annie was viewed with suspicion by certain members of the small community. After the death of the third brother, Prime Minister Herbert Asquith sent her a letter conveying

‘the sympathy of the King and Queen for Mrs Souls in her great sorrow.’ She kept a candle burning in a small window overlooking the road in memory of Fred, whose body was never found after he disappeared over the top at the Somme.

In the summer of 2014, the Year 6 children of Great Rissington School were been involved in a research project with Cotswold Homes magazine, exploring the story of the Souls Brothers and the plane crash that occurred in the garden of The Lamb Inn in 1943.

The scale of Annie Souls’ loss recalls the plot of war blockbuster Saving Private Ryan, where a special team led by Tom Hanks is dispatched to recover the missing Private Ryan after his three brothers are killed in action. However, the story of the Souls received little recognition

‘Now in the 21st century we remember and appreciate the Souls,’ wrote the children. ‘Their bravery has been recognised, and with the centenary of WWI and our local connection with these men, we are sure that everyone admires these people and their heroism.’

Photo: Lynne Milner

The edition of BBC Points West concerning the lives of the Souls Brothers aired 6.30pm on Friday 7th November.





Kirstie Allsopp and Richard Curtis, centre, open the new Maggie’s centre in Oxford

The event was attended by Maggie’s Chief Executive Laura Lee and officially opened by television presenter and author Kirstie Allsopp, film director Richard Curtis and writer Paul Mayhew-Archer, in support of Maggie’s Oxford. The new Centre has been designed by acclaimed architects Wilkinson Eyre and was developed by Maggie’s working in partnership with Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust to enhance the cancer care and support already on offer at the 22

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hospital. Every year 5,000 people in the region are diagnosed with cancer. As the number of people living with cancer increases, support becomes even more important. This year Maggie’s is celebrating 18 years of supporting people with cancer and the new Maggie’s Oxford Centre at the Patricia Thompson Building will be the 18th Centre to be opened in 18 years. The first Maggie’s Centre opened in Edinburgh in 1996 and Maggie’s Oxford at the

Patricia Thompson Building joins 15 other Centres across the UK, an Online Centre and a Centre in Hong Kong. Maggie’s Oxford at the Patricia Thompson Building has more space and increased facilities for visitors to access a range of support that Maggie’s offers, including psychological support, benefits advice, nutrition workshops, relaxation and stress management, art therapy, tai chi and yoga.


BECCI’S STORY Becci Berry was on site to tell us about her experience in dealing with Maggie’s ‘I live on a farm at the edge of the Cotswolds, between Faringdon and Lechlade. In 2010 my husband Rich was diagnosed with bowel cancer. We originally had the diagnosis in Swindon – it gave us three months at the outside, and the news wasn’t broken particularly well.’


After ‘transferring to Churchill to see the lovely oncologist’ she and Rich found comfort – and a cup of tea – at the onsite Maggie’s centre, then just a portakabin. ‘I can’t really say what exactly they did at that moment…it was just the fact they were there. They brought the humanity back, took us out of that clinical environment into a warm, supportive space. They’re a reminder that you are still you, and there are things that you can do.’ ‘Rich went on to do meditation and mindfulness courses and received nutritional information that transformed his way of thinking. For the nine months during the illness, he was fitter and healthier than he had been for a long time, ironically. It totally changed the quality of his life and the time we spent together as a family. He had his time where he could talk to other sufferers – particularly about how he was

coping as a man, which can be very different to how you might [handle] it as a woman.The professional side and practicalities were well taken care of – things we aren’t even aware of, like the benefits that we could receive.’ ‘As Rich was running a farm, it was hard. Being in bed with cancer didn’t mean things stopped – he’d still be on the phone running things. Even sitting attached to a chemo drip he’d be writing lists of things for me to chase up.The advice we received was so helpful, even after Rich passed away and it was just me and the girls.’ Now she is successfully running the farm herself, with a little help from her family. ‘Rich was passionate about dairy and a typical Cotswold farmer. He was a very big part of the local farming community. He was only 34 when he passed away, so he was absolutely in his prime. We live on an idyllic farm owned by the National Trust - Rich was born in that house and died in exactly the same place that he was born, in the same room.The farm is him, and I didn’t want that to disappear for my daughters’ sake.’ ‘So I’ve taken on the farm and today have a dairy herd of about 170 cows. Rich had embarked on a cross breeding programme, and I’ve continued with it.’ ‘Coming to the new centre has reminded me how important Maggie’s has been to our family.’




WE SPOKE TO PRESENTER KIRSTIE ALLSOPP ABOUT HER REASONS FOR SUPPORTING MAGGIE’S. Kirstie, what’s your story? How have you been touched by the issues surrounding cancer? Cancer is sadly very familiar to my family, I was 17 when my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and after seeing her journey with the illness I realised the importance and value of having the right support to complement medical treatment. Something my mother believed strongly in. Maggie’s programme of support provides this for people with cancer and their Centres are warm places where you can find answers to questions and meet people who understand what you are going through. So now the centre is open and not just a concept – what are your thoughts? It’s really remarkable. It’s extraordinary because obviously the NHS doesn’t have masses of land to give out, so the land that Maggie’s is given is often quite compromised.You can’t build conventional foundations because of the tree roots and actually it works fantastically well because it’s a sloped area. And I love that this is an area where the oncologists used to come and have their cigarettes – so we’re not just treating cancer patients, but also preventing it! I’m a big fan of Maggie’s. I think that the work that the doctors do is remarkable, but the very nature of what they do means that they cannot spend as much time as they want to spend treating the effect cancer can have on a

patient’s family, their work colleagues, a patient’s individuality. It can be a tad shocking if you’ve never been in a medical environment before – life can be very, very different. So what Maggie’s do is they put the individual back in a patient, and puts them in a space that doesn’t feel municipal. This could actually be a really cool house of a really cool friend, someone who went to art school and built their own house! It even has its own fire. It has sofas and rugs and cushions – I’m a great cushion lover. So for me the difference between homely and municipal is a cushion.

How difficult is it to fit all these philanthropic engagements into your schedule? I’m always, always, always [busy]. I’m filming Location, Location, Location tomorrow and it basically never stops. And that’s what’s great about giving time to something like this. There’s always the odd day here and there and my life is wonderfully flexible in that respect, but…I’m very lucky in my job and there are downsides to being a well-known person, but one of the most important is this: being able to give your time and energy to something you passionately believe in.

So how did you decide to become involved? Interestingly I’ve always known about the work of Maggie’s, as my mother had cancer for twenty-five years. My partner did a charity bike ride for Maggie’s four years ago and he came back and said ‘Right, that’s it, we’ve got to support Maggie’s in every way we can’ and I said ‘I can’t possibly fit another charity in!’ He responded ‘Well, I’ll do it, so if we need you can come.’ Basically, he’s a huge supporter of Maggie’s and I pitch up when required. I feel passionately about it and feel it is remarkable in every way. There are already 55 Maggie’s centres, and I think there can be one put alongside every cancer ward in the UK. It can be achieved.

How do think things might be different if the sort of emotional support that Maggie’s offers becomes more widely available? My mother was remarkably well spoken, but what I find disturbing is that people ring me up who have no family experience of cancer, no knowledge, who simply are completely in the dark when they receive that diagnosis. Those are the people who Maggie’s can help so well, and that’s what happens at these centres. My grandmother had cancer too. I came from a cancer family. Loads of people don’t. It’s a big, terrifying word and they know nothing about how to cope – until they walk into this warm, calm, beautiful space, and they think ‘this is all to do with cancer? Perhaps this is something I can deal with.’


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soFKa ZinoVieFF

for nearly twenty years the eccentric composer lord gerald berners and his gay lover, the romping, fiendishly handsome ‘Mad boy’ turned faringdon house into a bohemian paradise. their home became an exotic playground for the great and the good, the famous and infamous: dali, hg wells, stravinsky, evelyn waugh, nancy Mitford…all frolicked under a skyful of implausible pastel-coloured doves. but their lavish life was put on ice by another world war - and the arrival of the pregnant beauty Jennifer, who became the Mad boy’s wife. now the Mad boy’s (sometimes contested) granddaughter, the writer sofka Zinovieff, has written a book about the extravagant characters responsible for her unexpected inheritance… radio presenter david freeman interviewed sofka about her new book, the Mad boy, lord berners, My grandmother and Me. So, Sofka.Where do you live? Well, since last month I’ve been living at Faringdon House, which is a very big change because before this it was thirteen years in Greece and five years in Italy. Now, you’ve collected some very interesting names, haven’t you? [Laughs] Sofka Zinovieff is my maiden name. I don’t use my married name but my children do, so it’s around the place quite a lot, and it’s Papadimitriou. All of us who live nearby have seen the folly the tower (once complete with notice warning: ‘Members of the public committing suicide here do so at their own risk’). Is that yours? No, it’s not.The folly was built in 1935 by Lord Berners, supposedly as a present for my grandfather the Mad Boy, Robert Heber-Percy. But in the 1980s it had become very dilapidated and was quite a problem and – I hope for only noble reasons – the Mad Boy decided to donate it to the people of Faringdon. So I’m a trustee but it doesn’t belong to me. So in the book that you’ve written, The Mad Boy, Lord Berners, My Grandmother and Me, the Mad Boy is your grandfather, correct? Yes. Robert Heber-Percy was his full name, but many knew him as the Mad Boy. I don’t want to ask an impolite and intrusive question, but…are you sure? [Laughs] Well, as they say it’s the wise man that knows his father. It’s a complicated question and as you read the book you will get to that point. My grandmother was a beautiful, dashing and fairly wild young woman 26

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during the war and there came a point where my mother’s paternity needed to be investigated, some hints were dropped, so no, I’m not 100% sure. It’s quite interesting how some people are convinced he is, some are convinced he’s not. And the question is going to remain, I’m afraid.

That house that is now yours, it isn’t very modest, is it? The funny thing about it is, well, of course it isn’t modest, and anyone would agree, but…although it looks grand, and has quite grand rooms, it is quite cosy.The rooms are all on a human scale.

Does it bother you? No, it really doesn’t bother me, because I think those sort of relationships -especially once you get to the grandparental generation – are so much more to do with the heart and so much less to do with a spare sperm.

And how did Lord Berners acquire it? Basically his mother married for the second time after she was widowed and rented Faringdon in the twenties, and when she and her husband died (both in 1931) Berners decided he would make it his main home. He had a home in Rome, a home in London – he was a great traveller, formerly a diplomat, had lived in Constantinople. He sort of knocked around in a Rolls Royce with his chauffeur (in fact the chauffeur’s daughter still lives in Faringdon). It was in the year he made Faringdon his base that he ran into the Mad Boy.

The house that is now yours was originally Lord Berners’.Would it be fair to say that his heyday was the 1930s? Yes. Absolutely. What was he famous for? He was famous for firstly being a composer – music was his first great love – but he also wrote books, which many would say were quite light, although there are a couple of lovely memoirs, and he also painted landscapes, some portraits – not great art, but accomplished and charming. Was he well known in his time? I think he knew that being a bit of an eccentric and moving in the right circles would bring a bit of fame to you. He was very good at composing, very serious about it, and knew a lot of people in that world. Stravinsky thought he was OK. At the British premiere of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring a piece by Berners was played as well, which puts it in perspective.

Most of us spend our lives worrying about money, but he didn’t do that… No. When he inherited the title in 1918 he also inherited quite a bit of money, so he didn’t have to worry about that. But he did, sometimes, in the way that rather rich people do. He was a depressive and a melancholic. But then he went to a house party and met the Mad Boy…Is that the sort of thing one did in those days, go to something like an upmarket sleepover? Exactly [Laughs] Yeah.They were all going around visiting each other. [A man named] Michael Duff has this lovely great house and there were lots of people staying. Berners fell head over heels with the Mad Boy, who was a wild twenty year old, a great daredevil

soFKa ZinoVieFF

a difficult situation – how kind of him.’ Not actually a characteristic that was typical of him. He was many things but not a particularly kind or thoughtful person. When I looked at dates I realised that actually, she would have only have known she was pregnant if you’d given her a two week band for getting the test done…She could have only really known for one week before they got married. Now that’s pretty quick to actually say ‘Hey Mad Boy, old friend, would you do the decent thing’ and arrange and marriage in London and get the parents to come and all this sort of thing… My guess is that’s it’s all much more unclear than it was in their minds.The Mad Boy’s good friends told me that he believed that my mother was his daughter and I was his granddaughter. But it isn’t clear-cut. All images © Sofka Zinovieff

Did you know him? I did know him, but not very well. I met him and went to stay with him for the first time when I was seventeen. My mother hadn’t got on all that well with him. I’d met him a couple of times as a child and at age fourteen but when I was seventeen my mother took me to stay at Faringdon. It was an extraordinary experience, rolling up at the front of the house and the coloured doves flying up. And there was the Mad Boy with a drink and a cigarette, rather dapper in his suit and with a sort of naughty look on his face. He welcomed us into the house – it wasn’t exactly ‘Hi Granddad!’ but there

and very handsome: the sort who’d dash off naked on a galloping horse, leaping over the hedges. He was obviously intrigued enough to go back to Faringdon with Berners. They became this most unlikely partnership.You can imagine Berners’ friends –some were more eccentric than others, but they were high society people, Lady This and Duchess Of That, they were just astounded at this handsome young Mad Boy. But then the story gets more astounding, because a pregnant young girl arrives… But you have to remember that this is ten years later, so they’ve had a good decade of living the high life, travelling around Europe, making Faringdon into this jewel of a place with coloured doves… They dunked the doves in paint, did they? No, not paint, lovely vegetable dye. As we still do! [Laughs]. OK, so they had ten years of this… …And then the war came, which changed everything for everybody. Berners moved into a little lodgings in Oxford and gradually moved back to Faringdon: the army moved in to Faringdon, camping in the grounds, soldiers sleeping in the attic…it was a very different environment to what it had been.The gardeners had all gone off to war, so the grass was wild, and there were sheep grazing on the lawn. Probably they managed to have a few vegetables in the garden and

they dunked the doves in paint, did they? no, not paint, lovely vegetable dye. as we still do! some cream from the farms, so it was perhaps better than what people had in the cities. It was at that point that the Mad Boy said: ‘I’m getting married to beautiful Jennifer Fry.’ The question that then emerges is why? Why, on all fronts? I think there were many reasons. I think that labels about gay, straight, bisexual these sort of [orientations] were perhaps not so clearly defined, and maybe that gave people a freedom that we don’t have today, when people may have more rights in that they won’t be sent to prison for being gay but they are obliged to define themselves. Perhaps things were more fluid then in that you didn’t have to say ‘Yes, I’m gay.’ The Mad Boy was never very camp, he was manly and tough and good-looking. He had girlfriends too, so I suppose he was what we call bisexual now. My suspicion is that he and Jessica had a fling (he was pretty keen on flings) but they were good friends as well. Why they decided to get married at that point is really tricky to establish. She was just pregnant. When I was researching the book I’d always assumed, like many people did, ‘Oh maybe he helped her out of

was champagne. He said to me at a certain point: ‘Do you see that handbag there?’ and he pointed to this amazing old chair and there was a white wicker fishshaped handbag lying on the chair. ‘That belonged to your grandmother Jennifer, who left it there when she left in 1944.’ By this time it is 1979. Pretty astounding. That began my friendship with him. ‘Astounding.’ Is that how you felt when you found out he left you this house? It was flabbergasting. Absolutely shocking. I was a seventeen year old who had been brought up in hippie London and here I was, entering this world of the 1930s. It was like ‘Oh, this is Nancy Mitford’s bed’ and I would be brought breakfast in bed by the housekeeper with a breakfast set that was probably the same as the set Nancy Mitford was given, with a great big magnolia flower. So eight years later, having visited fairly regularly but not often, Robert called me on my own one day. I was a research student at the time, doing a PhD in Social Anthropology and living out in Greece. He summoned me there and said he wanted to leave me Faringdon. It was a gigantic shock. I can still feel the aftershock today.

The Mad Boy, Lord Berners, My Grandmother and Me by Sofka Zinovieff is available from all good booksellers. www.cotswold-homes.com


the theatre ChippinG norton

The Theatre Chipping Norton Presents

MOTHER GOOSE It’s time for another of Chippy’s unmissable Christmas pantos – and this year’s Scandinavian snowbound smash, Mother Goose, has got us in a real flap. We chat to awardwinning panto writer Ben Crocker about the show – and how to write the perfect panto…

Tell us about the story of Mother Goose – one perhaps a little lesser known than Cinderella or Aladdin… It’s one of the younger pantomime stories – I think it was first devised for the Drury Lane pantos in around about 1900. It isn’t centuries and centuries old like some of them. Fundamentally, Mother Goose is a lovely lady who looks after geese but unfortunately a demon – or in our case, a wicked troll named Smorg – tries to ruin her by proving the fact that she is weak like all humans…in her case, her sin is vanity. He aims to cause her downfall by exploiting her vanity. (That’s Smorg as in smorgasbord, by the way!). So, Mother Goose is full of snow and woolly jumpers – does it maybe have a bit of a Frozen vibe to it? We’ve decided to set it in Norway. We wanted the Northern Lights and a very rich atmosphere and place to set the story. I actually did this independently of Frozen and only afterwards did I see the resonances. But we didn’t do that deliberately! So how did you become a writer of pantomimes? I used to put on the panto in the theatre I ran down in Exeter and I started writing them. My father wrote pantomimes before me, though I never looked at that and thought ‘that’s what I want to do’. It’s just something that happened really, and I’m delighted to have been doing them for the last six years at Chipping Norton. It’s been six years that you’ve been associated with the panto at Chippy.Which has been your favourite to date? Oh, the current one.The current one is always your favourite! That’s the way of things: the one that you’re 28

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the theatre ChippinG norton

working on is the one you like the best. Chippy must have a special place in your heart… It has. It’s a lovely theatre and I used to tour to it in the 90s when we ran a theatre company. I think I’ve acted it a couple of times, done about four shows there…it is just the most intimate, lovely little theatre. Are there any panto stars returning to the stage for Mother Goose? Yes! JJ Henry is coming back, who was the dame last year. He’s back as the dame again this year – a lovely, warm dame. Actually, he was one of the reasons I wanted to do Mother Goose, because he was just such a cracking dame.Traditionally Mother Goose always provides the dame with a very substantial role. We loved his Dame Trot in last year’s Jack and the Giant, so we’re really looking forward to his elevated role.What ingredients does the perfect panto have? What do you try and bring to these classic tales as a writer? Well, I think that one should always pay a lot of attention to the telling of the story.That’s what anchors all the silliness and everything.The script should aim to tell the story clearly and truthfully – that should be the skeleton of the script. Within that, you’ve got to have loads of opportunities for fun and song…and most importantly, you have to build a connection with the audience.That’s the one thing that really makes panto unique. Finally, what are audiences going to enjoy seeing in Mother Goose?

Photography by Ric Mellis

I think audiences are going to enjoy a really funny, intimate show in an absolutely unique venue. The pantomimes at Chipping Norton are always absolutely unique.

IT’S COMPETITION TIME! We are delighted to announce we have free tickets to Mother Goose to give away to a lucky winner! For further details and terms and conditions, please turn to page 6. Also: 25% Off tickets on the following dates! Wednesday 10th December at 4pm and 7.30pm / Thursday 11th December at 4pm and 7.30pm / Friday 12th December at 4pm. TO BOOK YOUR TICKETS, CALL THE BOX OFFICE ON 01608 642350 QUOTING CNT-25

This year brings an ‘eggs’-tra week of panto with an extended run – catch Mother Goose 18th November 2014 – 11th January 2015! To book tickets and view times visit www.chippingnortontheatre.co.uk

P.S. Don’t forget to wear your most ridiculous Christmas jumper – there are prizes to be won! Tweet or Facebook your Christmas jumper pics to @chippytheatre. All pictures will then be displayed publicly in The Theatre bar.



Consider the Sheep


the Sheep

Spare a thought for the humble sheep, the innocuous grazer of the roadside fields. The fleece on its back not only built the wealth of the Cotswolds, but the animal itself transformed English society and the even landscape we inhabit. People and sheep go back far further than most imagine. Radio presenter David Freeman interviews Philip Walling, former barrister, former sheep farmer and now author of the recently released Counting Sheep: a Celebration of the Pastoral Heritage of Britain.

I live in a place called Shipton, there’s Shipston-on-Stour, Shipton-under-Wychwood – were these originally sheep towns? They were. That’s a rather expansive answer, for a barrister! I was hoping for something rather more – [Laughs] I’m sorry. Yes they were. They are all over the place, as the foundation of the wealth of the medieval time. England – and it was mostly England – was sheep country. The entire country was populated by sheep. We have a unique climate, a unique topography for keeping sheep and very little snow cover in any winter – it is very rare for there not to be any grazing for sheep. And, of course, there’s enough rainfall to keep things green. The Cotswolds are so beautiful. Rock stars want to live here, royalty has second homes – how much of the beauty that we enjoy in this area of the woods is down to sheep? The landscape was shaped and formed by sheep over centuries, millennia - the Celts kept enormous flocks of sheep. It’s a misunderstanding to suggest that the monasteries were the first to keep sheep, because they weren’t by any stretch of the imagination. What largely happened with the monasteries was that they took over existing sheep-keeping economies, refined them and improved them and enlarged them. I’ve come across documents in the borders in the Southern Uplands of Scotland showing that the kings of Scotland gave land to monks from northern France. There were lawsuits that the locals brought a claim against these new monks, accusing them of appropriating common land and preventing them from grazing. They were terribly aggrieved by this. They thought that the monks took over their grazing rights. In a way it’s true, but they expanded the green as well – they used it as a base from which they expanded all over the Southern Uplands. There are arguments raging at the moment about re-wilding in Derbyshire, fencing around the land and leaving it, ignoring it. The notion is that somehow the land is better kept in a wild state, and that humans and their sheep are somehow an illegitimate interference with the state of the landscape. But it’s a gross misunderstanding because there were huge Celtic flocks of sheep before the Romans ever came to England. Most of Derbyshire, the Pennines, the Lake District and the Southern Uplands haven’t had trees on them for around two thousand years. Coming back down to the southern area, to Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and this area – how much of the undulating patterns of land and the views that we see have been formed by the grazing of sheep? Quite a lot of it. The landscape and the shape


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Consider the Sheep

of fields and the way that land has been used is a result of accommodating land to graze the sheep. Sheep were the essential domestic animal of every country person until, I don’t know, 150 years ago. Sheep provided soil fertility, which can be underestimated because poor soils would grow nothing without sheep grazing – the ‘golden hoof.’ Many areas would be nothing without sheep. And of course there’s the wool, which made people rich, and don’t forget that before electricity there was also tallow, which they produced… Which in your book, you say was more valuable than the meat… It was at one time, yes, more than twice the value of the meat. For a period it was worth more than the wool. In your book you list ten things that you get from sheep. If you were a sheep merchant you might have had a quite a spare bit of cash, as all this gorgeous architecture might suggest. Did all that come from trading with sheep? Most of the churches in England were built on the profits of wool. Cotswold churches in particular, but also in Norfolk and Lincolnshire there are fine churches. Wool was like the North Sea oil of its day. Everybody wanted to keep sheep, and you’d find them grazing at the roadsides and at the edges of commons, anywhere you could avoid paying rent – village greens, churchyards (where the grazing was popular as it kept the grass down on the graves). There is a story about the popularity of farming towards the end of the 18th century – a parish rector decided to plough up a graveyard to plant turnips, the new crop, for his sheep. And the bishop came round for visitation and was annoyed with the Rector and said: ‘Now look, this must stop, this must change.’ And the Rector said: ‘Oh yes, it’ll be corn next year.’

enormous weaving industry in modern Belgium. The crown had the wool staple – all wool had to be sold through that so the crown could levy a tax on it, and it became unlawful to sell wool other than to staple merchants. Originally the staple was in Calais (which we then owned), and the wool would go through Calais and into Flanders, Florence – and those two places took most of the wool from England. The crown wanted to repatriate it and took the staple back to seven or eight towns in England, which didn’t work, so it went back to Calais. There came a point where the crown made it taxable to send wool abroad so the people in Flanders found themselves making a loss. So the Flemings came to England – so anybody with the name Fleming or any derivative of that will have come here to set up in Norfolk and various other places. Witney blankets were made from British wool for centuries, but not any more. So what happened? Competition from other fabrics, cheaper manufacturing methods abroad, lower wages abroad and there’s no great support in Britain for home-grown industry. It’s happened over thirty or forty years: there isn’t the energy to do it. There is still a limited wool manufacturing in the Scottish borders, based on tweed, but even that is suffering. Was it more important that sheep produce wool than milk, say, or meat? Milk was minimal apart from in the wilder places. There was milk production in Wales. They’d take the lambs off after ten to twelve weeks and milk them for another ten to twelve weeks until their milk dried up – to make cheese for winter, which in the borders was known as ‘white meat.’ It was hard, almost inedible, but it sustained them through the winter. Milking

How much of our local affluence would have come from wool? In the Cotswolds? Farmhouses, villages, churches: almost all of it built on the profits of wool. The more you look into it you realise the central role wool played in the English economy. Consider that the revenues to the crown of Henry II almost two thirds came from a tax on wool or profits of wool manufacture. Was there international trading? We’re now learning that Stonehenge might have been a trading centre for bronze-age artefacts. Would a wool-rich area like this have been international, or were all efforts for home consumption? None of it was for home consumption. Most of it was sent to Flanders – and still is, there’s an

Most of the churches in England were built on the profits of wool. Cotswold churches in particular, but also in Norfolk and Lincolnshire there are fine churches. Wool was like the North Sea oil of its day.

sheep was not universal, and they didn’t eat them. Pastoral people don’t eat their animals, contrary to popular conception, but keep them for other reasons: their wool, their manure, their horns, their bone – which could be used to make drinking vessels and utensils. They’d tend to eat older sheep, but the idea of killing lambs was regarded as horrifying to a lot of primitive pastoral people because they considered it to be wasteful and pointless. So was there a demarcation between sheep kept for wool and sheep kept for meat? The great 18th century breeder Robert Bakewell had a great aphorism: If you breed them for the wool, the meat will suffer, if you breed them for the meat, the wool will suffer. There is a balance to be struck but if you strike a balance you get poor meat and poor wool. You have to decide which you want. There was a huge turning point in the 18th century when we began to be industrialised when people want meat, and the advent of cotton meant that there was less demand for wool. In 1750, 1760 the demand for meat in the growing towns and cities became such that it was recognised that the way forward was to kill young and provide small joints – rather than, as in the old days, to provide huge, barely edible carcasses. The old wool sheep were almost inedible. One last question, then: what is the message of your book? Isn’t this wonderful? Look at this and realise that we are the pre-eminent sheep breeding country in the world and, if we’re not careful, we’re in danger of underestimating it and losing it.

Counting Sheep by Philip Walling is available at all good booksellers. www.cotswold-homes.com


Cheltenham raCeCourse

a Tale of TWo cenTuries looking back on 200 years of racing aT chelTenham

With a £45,000,000 development at Cheltenham Racecourse expected to be completed by March 2016, racing at Cheltenham has come a long way since its turbulent birth so many years ago. What better time to look back on all that has happened? Judgment, thousands of that vast multitude who have served the world, the flesh, and the devil, will trace up all the guilt and misery which has fallen upon them either TO THE RACECOURSE OR TO THE THEATRE!

fire anD brimsTone

The earliest racing at Cheltenham was savaged by a popular priest - finishing in an inferno before rising phoenix-like from the ashes. It all began nearly two centuries ago.The first races in Cheltenham were held first on Nottingham Hill in 1815 and later at Cleeve Hill in 1818 as a three-day event supported by Colonel William Fitzhardinge Berkeley (a flamboyant character who was said to have horsewhipped the editor of the Cheltenham Chronicle when he was criticised in its pages). Unlike the racing we know Cheltenham for today, these races were held on the flat; but in in 1819, the first race for a ‘Gold Cup’ was held… This was boom-time for the town of Cheltenham. Its mineral spas attracted the leisured classes seeking relaxation and remedy. Soon the races were drawing excitable crowds of up to 30,000 townsfolk and travellers. At Cleeve Hill, the racing itself was only the heart of the entertainment: around its fringes, one could see minstrels and Punch and Judy shows, purchase drink, sweets and food and visit a variety of stalls. And, of course, one could put a little bet on.

It was in one or other of these that youthful modesty was first polluted, it was in scenes of this nature that the early bloom of virtue was rudely violated, and every subsequent step which they have taken in the downward road to perdition must be traced to this first aberration from the path of rectitude. Such vices, and such like, more terrible in degree, and numerous as they are terrible, are the consequences of the race week.’

Cheltenham Racecourse as it was

purchasing a one-way ticket to Hell: a precarious first step towards damnation:

But some regarded the races with suspicion and disgust, fearing the meetings as a downright evil influence. Cheltenham’s new priest, the Reverend Francis Close, was dismayed by the ‘guilty revelry’ on display and considered it deeply sinful that such sums of money were gambled while inequity existed within the town.

‘It is notorious that on this occasion numbers of the most worthless members of society flock in from every part of the country to partake in the unholy revelry, and to increase the amount of crime and guilt which is chargeable upon us. And it is scarcely possible to turn our steps in any direction without hearing the voice of the blasphemer, or meeting the reeling drunkard, or witnessing scenes of the lowest profligacy…

Close was a man with an aggressive approach to sin, believing that it should be attacked outright, rather than merely avoided.To his mind, the worldly pleasure they offered was a source of corruption: he regarded the races as ‘a torrent of vice.’ For him, going to the races was in essence the same as

Many a diligent and affectionate wife weeps in secret over this season of guilty revelry, and curses the day when it was first established. I could tell of many young people, servants and apprentices of both sexes, ruined in body and soul by this destructive amusement. And I verily believe, that in the Day of


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The strident sermons of the new priest found an eager audience in his parishioners. Close played to a crowded church and became a prolific pamphleteer, distributing around 3,500 copies of a work entitled ‘The Evil Consequences of Attending the Racecourse Exposed.’ Though support for Close strengthened, many were repelled by this extremist attitude to a bit of fun. They recognised the races not as a horrible hub of excess, but as an economic asset.The 142nd edition of The Gentleman’s Magazine featured an angry, lengthy rebuttal of Reverend Close’s ‘ultra-piety’: ‘…Now, as we do not like killing hens which lay golden eggs, and have friends at Cheltenham who have property that would be deeply injured by the success of his hypercalvinism…As long as there are passions there will be vices, yet if pleasure and passion were not attached to existence, the latter would be a horrible curse… ‘If the suppression of the Races at Cheltenham would put an end to licentiousness and gambling, by all means let the Races be abolished, but as

Cheltenham raCeCourse

Many champions have been made at Cheltenham. But there is one horse whose name is inextricably linked with the course that made his fortune, and that is the legendary Arkle. we do not think that demolition of the Strand or Covent Garden would put an end to prostitution… In short,TEMPORAL ENJOYMENTS ARE NOT PROHIBITED, IF THEY ARE ACCOMPANIED WITH INNOCENCE AND CHARITY.’ But the ill feeling turning violent in the annual race meeting of 1829, when Close’s followers gathered to hurl insults (and various missiles, including rocks and stones) at the riders and their horses. Bad as this was, the next year was a catastrophe.The night before meeting, the racecourse caught fire and was incinerated. Whether or not arson had been committed in a bid to stop the races, the course was destroyed: the racing, it seemed, was over.

aT presTbury reborn

Racing revived in a new location – one that would witness the rise of legends… But, as it turned out, the destruction of the Cleeve Hill course would only serve as the foundation for the major racecourse located at Prestbury today. With the flat course lost to the flames, Colonel Berkeley turned his attentions to something he considered rather more thrilling: steeplechasing. The Victorian age saw an emerging interest in jump racing, and such races were held locally in nearby Andoversford from 1834 onwards. In 1865 a course was created in Prestbury Park, but it wasn’t until Mr Baring Bingham purchased the course in 1898 that a Grandstand and railings were added.The first steeplechase race took place here in this same year. It was a big investment, but it paid off: a two-day ‘Cheltenham Festival’ in 1902 drew a huge crowd and in 1904 a four-mile National Hunt steeplechase saw Cheltenham established as a pre-eminent racecourse.The Roaring Twenties saw the arrival of both the Cheltenham Gold Cup as a three-mile-plus steeplechase in 1924 and the Champion Hurdle in 1927. After WWII, the Festival was extended to three days owning to racing’s burgeoning popularity. 1959 saw the first running of the Queen Mother Champion Chase (then called the National Hunt Two Mile Champion Chase), so named in 1980 in recognition of one of racing’s most devoted patrons. A great lover of jump racing and long-term attendee of The Festival, she had 449 winners in a career spanning 50 years. Just as The Beatles formed in 1960 at the beginning of a culturally transformative decade, the Tattersalls Grandstand was opened to accommodate growing crowds. In 1964, Racecourse Holdings Trust was created to secure the development and prosperity of Cheltenham. Now known as Jockey Club Racecourses and wholly owned by The Jockey Club, the trust currently owns 13 other racecourses.

Arkle in 1965

arkle – The legenD of ‘himself’

Record-breaking and rivalry immortalised of the greatest horses ever to compete at Cheltenham Many champions have been made at Cheltenham. But there is one horse whose name is inextricably linked with the course that made his fortune, and that is the legendary Arkle. On the 4th of August 1960, an unnamed threeyear-old gelding for sale at Ballsbridge caught the attention of one chaser expert Tom Dreaper, who secured him for Anne, the Duchess of Westminster – widow of the richest man in Britain - for 1,150 guineas. Appearing ‘gangly’ and unimpressive to those who stabled him at Greenogue, the horse soon demonstrated an aptitude for jumping. His first start over the fences was at Cheltenham in 1962 when he took the Honeybourne Chase by twenty lengths – and in the next year, he repeated the trick at the three-mile Broadway Chase at The Festival. A great result for Arkle, but the media was buzzing about the formidable Mill House, who had taken the 1963 Gold Cup by twelve lengths: future wins for this strapping character seemed assured.The two first clashed during a dismal November day at Newbury for the Hennessy Gold Cup, which Mill House won by eight lengths, leaving Arkle in third. But it transpired that Arkle and rider Pat Taaffe had a lot more to give. The stage was set for the 1964 Gold Cup, which

was this time level-weighted.The race was even moved from its Thursday slot to a Saturday to give enthusiasts the best chance of catching the action, with Mill House at 8/13 and Arkle at 7/4. Arkle snatched an explosive five-length win and made record time. ‘This is the champion,’ announced the BBC commentator. ‘This is the best we’ve seen for a long time.’ 23 days later, success followed at the Irish Grand National, and the legendary Arkle had arrived. Mill House and Arkle battled again in the 1965 Gold Cup.This time, Arkle took the race with an astonishing twenty lengths over his rival. And in the very next year, 1966, Arkle scored a hat trick when he finished thirty lengths ahead of Dormant – despite blundering at the 11th fence. With three consecutive Gold Cup wins, at still only nine years of age, Arkle seemed to have much more ahead. But just 13 days after a Handicap Chase win at Ascot, Arkle fractured an off-fore pedal bone attempting to take a second King George VI Chase. Despite all hopes to the contrary, his career had been dealt a fatal blow. His retirement was announced in 1968 and he was put down two years later, having suffered from pronounced stiffness and lesions. It was a tragic end for one of Cheltenham’s brightest. However, with a total of £75,107 in prize money and three consecutive Gold Cup wins amongst his many triumphs, his place in racing history was secured – his standing in the public consciousness only matched by greats such as Red Rum. A bar, a statue and a championship race honour him at Cheltenham. www.cotswold-homes.com


Cheltenham raCeCourse

Construction underway on the Grandstand in the early 1980s

The neW age

The dawn of a new millennium brings unprecedented development at the Home of Jump Racing Throughout the late 20th century many additions and alterations were made to the fabric of the iconic Racecourse, but recent years have seen more invested in Cheltenham Racecourse than ever before, and the Prestbury site has since become much more than just a course. Between 2003-2004 around £17,000,000 went to create events and conferencing centre The Centaur, which today hosts concerts and gigs from the best stand-up comedians and musicians. Conferencing facilities continue to host national and local commercial clients attracted to the venue’s astonishing capacity and prestige, establishing ‘the Home of Jump Racing’ as a centre of business as well. (The recent addition of a 2K, 3D enhanced digital cinema has also made The Centaur a popular destination for moviegoers, with new special screenings of hit films such as Frozen and The Rocky Horror Picture Show).

In April 2014 construction began on a £45,000,000 development including the construction of a new five-and-a-half story Grandstand (to be completed for The 2016 Festival) and the refurbishment of the See You Then bar, Weighing Room and Horse Walk. (Despite the scale of the improvements, no construction work will affect the racing). Nowadays The Festival itself is worth an estimated £50,000,000 to the local economy, becoming a much greater asset to the region than the naysayers of two hundred years ago could ever have imagined.

5,000 people are employed over the course of The Festival, which boasts the largest tented village of any sporting event. Around 214,000 pints of Guinness and 18,000 bottle of champagne are typically consumed, indicating that the races are still a time of great revelry… And with around £6,000,000 in prize money to be won by champions old and new at Cheltenham every year (with £3,670,000 of that awarded at The Festival alone) there’s never been a more exciting time to spend a day at the races.

Find out more about Cheltenham Racecourse at www.cheltenham.co.uk


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Cheltenham Racecourse

This December, Cheltenham Racecourse Hits the Slopes Ski party finishes off a year of racing thrills

During The International on Friday 12th and Saturday 13th December, Cheltenham Racecourse and Rock the Cotswolds will be throwing an ‘Après-Ski’ party which will be open to all racegoers. Created in partnership with Rock the Cotswolds - a campaign that aims to increase recognition of the many entrepreneurs, creatives and innovators native to the area – the ski party is a fresh, exciting addition to an already thrilling day at the races. Featuring a ski simulator, Jacuzzi, photo booth and plenty of dancing, the party will let racegoers see out the day in seasonal style. For those who have maybe never considered a day out at the races, the party will demonstrate that the Sport of Kings is really all about fun. Ian Renton, Regional Director of Cheltenham Racecourse, said: “We’re rounding off an incredibly successful year by holding a party like no other. We love that Rock the Cotswolds is showcasing the cool, creative and gregarious side of the Cotswolds, so we’ve invited them to help us celebrate the sociable side of racing: racing is one of THE most fun sporting days out with friends. We have a fair few younger racegoers who often come racing here but the Après Ski party will be enjoyed by all – they really will feel like they’ve stepped into an Alpine resort.” Pictured: Ian Renton, Cheltenham Racecourse Regional Director and Oli Christie, Founder, Rock The Cotswolds

... the party will let racegoers see out the day in seasonal style.

For more information and to book tickets to the Cheltenham Racecourse Apres Ski parties contact: Cheltenham Racecourse on 0844 579 3003 or visit www.cheltenham.co.uk.Tickets will go on sale on Friday 14 November and will cost just £10 in addition to the normal Club/Tattersalls tickets, which

is £22 on Friday 12 and £25 on Saturday 13, when booked in advance. The Rock The Cotswold Après-Ski Party will be open from 2.30pm until 7.30pm, with the last race expected to take place just before 4pm both days. www.cotswold-homes.com


saM TWisTOn-DaVies

Sam Twiston-Davies: A Super Star In the Making Columnist for the Racing Post, Stable Jockey for Paul Nicholls – It’s All Happening for Sam!

The Showcase on Friday 17th October was the very first day of the new season’s racing at Cheltenham and proved to be a great one for Paul Nicholls, Sam Twiston-Davies and his father Nigel, and equally Sam’s second-season sponsors, local estate agency Harrison James & Hardie. Having recently become Paul Nicholls’ stable jockey, Sam got off to a flying start by bringing back the trophy on Vicente in the first. Then came an equally splendid win on Sybarite for Nigel, followed by a very honourable second place in the fifth - much to the delight of the directors of Harrison James & Hardie, who had also sponsored that race. “Sam could not possibly make us more proud than we already are, especially with all the attention and coverage he is getting, but more so because he’s a fabulous chap and he deserves all his success,” said Principal Director James von Speyr. Sam has since gone on to similar success with spectacular wins at The Open. In the Jockey Club’s official preview magazine The Open, Paul Nicholls and Sam talk candidly about their working relationship. Paul Nicholls is looking forward to the new season as he prepares to re-build a stable following the retirement of legendary greats Big Buck’s, Tidal Bay and Celestial Halo.

*Photo and interview reproduced by kind permission of Sophia Brudenell, Executive Editor of The Open - a Racing Post production for Cheltenham Racecourse

“I’ve won four Gold Cups, eight King Georges, a National and I’ve no intention of stopping there,” says Nicholls to Steve Dennis. “This summer we’ve put in a new gallop, it’s all about the future and I’m as enthusiastic as I’ve ever been to get on with forging a new team and having another successful season.” Nicholls goes on to reveal: “I’ve been very

impressed with Sam from the time he started as an amateur, impressed with the whole package, the way he talks, everything. There were strong rumours that [owners] Simon Munir and Dai Walters were about to offer Sam a retainer and I had to act, to move quickly to bring him on board...” He concludes: “There are a lot of young horses here, a young jockey, so much potential for the future. I can’t wait.” Dennis likewise reports back to The Open readers: “Sam is as keen to embrace the coming season as his new boss… Enthusiasm, youth and talent make an irresistible force undaunted by any notion of an immovable object.” Sam confirms this is his dream job, that he is in a hugely privileged position and intends to “grab [his] chance with both hands”. He will still be able to ride for father Nigel when he can, including his beloved The New One for the Champion Hurdle, but he is very clearly inspired and thrilled by the quality and the future prospects of the horses at Paul Nicholls’ stables. “I’m still getting to know them all, but schooling the novice chasers has been wonderful fun. It’s very hard not to get carried away with them… “ He also acknowledges the stresses of expectation on his young shoulders but embraces the challenges that his new position brings: “Yes, there’s more pressure now. As you step up, people put pressure on you to succeed in the same way as you put pressure on yourself… It’s the pressure every jockey wants - it improves you, it makes you a better person – and it goes with the territory, where I am now, where I want to be.” www.cotswold-homes.com


eQUesTRian laDY


O LY M P I A w

An Olympic Event Other than the Olympics at Greenwich, London is not generally thought of as a natural home for equestrian competition. Although every Christmas time the Olympia Exhibition Hall in Hammersmith becomes just that, putting its lofty space to use hosting one of the biggest dates in the equestrian calendar. Our Cotswold equestrian correspondent Collette Fairweather looks for racing fun a little further afield…

The London International Horse Show Olympia is held from the 16th to the 22nd December and accommodates the finest display of equine disciplines in an enormous, purpose-built central ring. Towering seating encompasses this central stage, ensuring a fine view for even the shortest of visitors in the most cost-effective of seats. Never has an uninterrupted view been more important when you are watching the equestrian equivalent of a variety performance.And although the Queen is not on the guest list, a very jolly fellow with a wispy white beard with a dashing crimson suit takes great pride in making an appearance every night! 40

Cotswold Homes Magazine

The matinee and evening performances are compiled of a range of classes.The Metropolitan Mounted Police are one of the many segments, and rather than a display in crowd control, horses will be showcasing their bravery, jumping through fire rings and threading through one another at full-out gallop, whilst riders simultaneously remove their saddles and hoist them triumphantly above their heads.

it were derby day itself, cutting the inside track, little legs going like the clappers, each urging their mount’s flaring nostrils over the line first.

Another marvellous sight is the Shetland Pony Grand National, where miniature ponies scurry over fences at an astonishing rate, each sporting breed-specific bouffant manes and long-limbed riders in bright jockey colours.These steely-eyed mounts ride as if

Although the Olympia International Horse show offers a diverse array of entertainment within its programme, I - like most visitors - make the pilgrimage to watch the very best competition horses in the world.

For those keen to see other four-legged creatures strut their stuff, the Kennel Club put on a high-fuelled dog agility display, testing canine speed and wit, and the fitness of their handlers!

eQUesTRian laDY


Photos: Kit Houghton

“I SIT IN AWED SILENCE AS THE GREATEST SHOW JUMPING HORSES IN THE WORLD TACKLE THE MOST FORMIDABLE OF TRACKS: FULL COURSE OF FENCES A METRE AND A HALF HIGH, AND THE SAME DISTANCE WIDE, LEAVES PRECIOUS LITTLE ROOM FOR ERROR HORSE AND RIDER ...” World Cup horse and pony driving is a highly anticipated class, with carriages that seem to defy gravity as they weave through their obstacle courses in heated competition for the fastest times. Olympic-standard dressage displays are a tonic for audiences drained of adrenaline. Here horse and rider work in perfectly synchronised partnership, producing fluid combinations of the most technical and intricate moves. Calm and controlled, it never fails to impress when you consider the only communication is between hand and leg. I am always delighted by the wonderful variety in the classes at Olympia (half of which I don’t have the room to mention) but I go for the show jumping. I sit in awed silence as the greatest show jumping horses in the world tackle the most formidable of tracks: full course of fences a metre and a half high, and the same distance wide, leaves precious little room for

error for horse and rider (but nail biting delight for the audience). The puissance class is the real crowd-pleaser. Horse and rider are pushed to their jumping limits - with each round, the red brick jumping wall grows. Challenging the world record, horse and rider fearlessly tackle heights of over two metres! If you can drag yourself away from the packed programme, a supporting shopping village will provide the opportunity to stretch your legs and

browse new products, grab an autograph from some of the featured riders, or peruse the stalls and grab a few last-minute Christmas presents for both two-, and four-legged friends. Olympia is a show to rally your inner equine enthusiasm at a time when the majority of owners question their sanity. In my opinion, it’s a family day that’s undeniably worth the effort of a commute - a marvellous show the weather can’t threaten, an international competition adorned with tinselled festive cheer.

For further information and tickets www.olympiahorseshow.com or 0871 230 5580 To be in with a chance of winning one of the two pairs of free tickets we are giving away, visit our Cotswold Homes competition page www.cotswold-homes.com


Michael caines



Culinary genius Michael Caines is a superstar of his trade and certainly not to be confused with his illustrious namesake – although, as Collette Fairweather finds out, a biopic of his life would make for a rather good movie… Adopted into the Caines family at just six weeks old, Michael was the youngest of six siblings. Growing, eating and cooking were a family affair, and it was around the kitchen table that the seeds of his interest were sown. With an unruly enthusiasm Michael enrolled in catering college, and despite a turbulent first year graduated with the ‘Student of the Year’ award in 1987. After cutting his teeth for eighteen months in London at the Grosvenor House Hotel, Michael seized the opportunity of a position at Le Manoir au Quat’Saisons in Oxfordshire, after a chance meeting with its founder Raymond Blanc. Under the guidance of Monsieur Blanc, Michael honed his natural instincts and knowledge, encouraged to make his own mark rather than to hide behind the safety of established dishes. After three years, and with Raymond’s recommendation, Michael headed to France to work with some of the greats of gastronomy. After a year, home beckoned in more ways than one. Gidleigh Park in Exeter was recruiting for a new head chef, and they wanted Michael. However - left exhausted after only two months in his new position - he fell asleep at the wheel whilst driving to a family christening. The accident saw him loose his right arm from the elbow down. Had it not been for the former military doctor 44

Cotswold Homes Magazine

who happened upon him, Michael would have lost his life. But fortune favours the brave, and after a mere four weeks he was back in the kitchen. His fortitude was honoured fours years later when he was rewarded with a second Michelin Star, and his consistency has kept that second star for the last sixteen years, and seen Gidleigh Park named the number one restaurant in the Sunday Times Food List last year. Today we find ourselves sliding about on the silky sofas of Lower Slaughter Manor, the venue for tonight’s evening with Michael Caines MBE (with rations of tea and delicious home baked biscuits). Michael is forthcoming, his voice soft yet self-assured. ‘The idea is to extend and promote what the Gidleigh collection is here at Lower Slaughter Manor and Buckland Manor too. I cook my signature dishes from Gidleigh Park with the wines that have been specifically chosen to accompany those dishes; I go out with each course, talking through each dish. So it’s almost like a relay. It’s very much about the synergy of food, wine and service.’ I wonder, how au fait is Michael with our beautiful Wolds?

‘I have lots of friends in the Cotswolds and have hosted a selection of other demonstrations in the area. When I was at Le Manoir, I often came over this way; it’s a beautiful area, particularly the villages. I even used to come up here and take a B&B for the weekend.’ ‘It’s a great region for food. The Fosseway has played a huge part with these old coaching houses, so it has have developed quite naturally. A great strength of the region is great produce combined with great restaurants. It’s a real draw, and we struggle to match that quintessential feel in other counties.’ I must agree: I certainly feel lucky as an unabashed foodie to live in this neck of the woods. However, I wonder if Michael is aware of the challenges the independent producers of the area face. ‘I hate the lack of opportunity that independents get,’ he says, ‘and to get these producers into cities, in the old days market towns were just that.You go to France and they still have market days, in the UK, where the markets used to be, it’s now tarmacked over for parking. And then we complain and moan that the local economy isn’t doing well and that nobody actually buys any of these local products.’

Michael caines

“I grew up in a household where we ate around the table, and something that we really looked forward to. We took the time to cook the food and people used to have the time and take the opportunity to cook as a family.”

‘The access to regional food has grown, and so provenance is key, sustainability is key, and the best way to sustain your local economy is to buy locally, to keep farmers farming. Agri-tourism in Italy or France is such that you can create food memories that are specific to that area. It’s what going to new places is all about - it’s something that we should really be pushing in this country.’

have the time. In France, Italy, Spain food is such a large part of their culture. So therefore, they take the time to make the meal time a part of their day. We don’t give ourselves the quality of life I think we deserve and I think that in general we all need to slow down and take time and enjoy the moments that life affords us.’

‘And people must understand that the true cost of living is worth paying for.’

‘I thought that everyone sat down and ate as a family, as I did in childhood, and I realised all too soon that it wasn’t so. We shouldn’t abandon these civil things, if you’re sat at a table you are engaging in conversation - and each other.’

I feel a swell of pride, in that this chef who has built his reputation in fine dining, exclusive by its very nature, remains grounded by the inestimable value of simply sharing food.

‘I love food and culture and travel, but I am equally in love with lifestyle and food is a lifestyle. It is accessible to everyone on all different levels - if only we gave it priority.’

‘I grew up in a household where we ate around the table, and something that we really looked forward to. We took the time to cook the food and people used to have the time and take the opportunity to cook as a family. [Now] the household is such a different place, and the pressure of time means that people are time-poor and they opt for convenient options.’

He adds with a sly smirk:

Drawing himself up in his seat he adds:

‘People believe that we are poorer than other nations, and part of that problem is that we don’t

‘I like to think a lot of the world’s problems could be sorted out over a good meal.’ We move on to his new book, Michael Caines at Home. Having salivated over the recipes and delectable photography, I really felt a strong, seasonal influence, and wonder if perhaps this harkens back to his own training whilst under the wings of Raymond Blanc. www.cotswold-homes.com


Michael Caines

‘There are two real ‘keys’ that I took away from Le Manoir, one being the use of the seasons and the other importance of your palate - something I emulated when it came to the book. I also tried to instil the things that interest me when I’m cooking - my focus has always been the produce, through the regions and through the seasons.’ ‘The history of produce is equally fascinating I wanted to do a book that lead with the ingredients, and therefore when you do that the seasons do obviously come into that.’ I wonder how one makes a start. ‘Well for me, I started with alcohol, because it’s always the best way to start!’ Gathering his thoughts, he adds with a sober tone to his voice: ‘What writing does is it takes fine dining - an exclusive a place to get to - and makes it accessible. You can go to my restaurant and experience a few dishes, but a book will give you the ability to taste a wealth of different recipes and taste combinations, and if they are well written they will give you the confidence of execution. There is definitely more than one book in me, but the problem being time, and also, that I felt a little constrained by the format of books.’ ‘I am also very interested in travel and the origins of food, and if that involves me having to travel the world to research it, then so be it!’ And again, that wry smile into his teacup: ‘I think my biography would be an interesting story to write one day.’ I get the distinct feeling that we have met on the cusp of a new chapter in Michael’s life. This is confirmed somewhat with his next reflective statement: 46

Cotswold Homes Magazine

“I like to think a lot of the world’s problems could be sorted out over a good meal.” ‘There’s a great expression that I heard from an entrepreneur once – “the best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago, but if you didn’t plant it then, well it’s today”. And it makes me think that I need to plant my trees in my own garden, not someone else’s.’ So tell us about your saplings… ‘Earlier in the year I stepped back from being the director of food and beverage, although I still work within Lower Slaughter Manor and Buckland, I need to get my direction back as an individual rather than as part of someone else’s concept.’ ‘I do have a meeting after this one about a project in this area.’ What a tease! ‘What is important is that I’m looking around for opportunity, I’m ready for a new adventure, I don’t want to be everywhere and nowhere, but I am keen to get involved in new ventures.’ ‘You have to be careful, that with reputation comes expectation. It is important that you start with understanding what you want to create without compromising in terms of delivery, but at the moment I’m looking for conversation and see what materialises from that.’ How much of an adventure? Surely he will stay with Michelin-starred fine dining?

‘Cooking in a two star Michelin can be quite restrictive, where as cooking in a different market leaves you freer in the style of cooking, which sometimes is quite refreshing and appealing.’ One venture he’s a hundred percent committed to however is Williams Formula One and his passion for motor sport. Michael looks like the cat that got the cream as he describes this glorious combination. ‘I’ve been working with them for four seasons - I was introduced by a friend, who thought it would be interesting to introduce an element of focus on the hospitality at a time when the team weren’t performing so well on the track. I was staggered to see the determination to create quality, but I could see the restrictions within their space and their repertoire. I helped to put a focus on creating what is considered to be the finest hospitality within the paddock of F1, with what I can only describe as a pop-up restaurant: it’s like a travelling circus really!’ With pride he adds: ‘It feels very special to say I’m part of the Formula One team.’ Special feels like the right word to describe Michael. Adversity seems to have fuelled him in his pursuit of excellence and, whatever the next project is, I’m sure of one thing: it won’t be ordinary.


Specials Scottish Langoustines…£8.00 1/2 Dozen Oysters…£8.50 Soft shell crab, sweet chilli & soy sauce…£7.50 Fish/Shell fish chowder…£9.00 start, £15.00 main Tempura prawns with dipping sauce...£7.50 Lobster with sweet white crab meat, cucumber, apple and mayo dressing…£15.00 Moules Mariniere, crusty bread…£7.50/£13.00 Aberdeen Angus Prime Fillet Steak…£20.00 Whole 18oz Dover Sole...£19.00 Wild Sea Bass…£17.50 Rack of Cotswold Lamb...£18.00 Classic Lobster Thermidor…start £15.00 or main £25.00 Supreme fillets of John Dory, infused in a creamy light sauce with scallops…£20.00 Roast Local Partridge, wrapped in bacon and sage, Chefs red wine Jus…£19.00 Grilled Sword Fish...£15.00



This festive season, why not entertain at home with your own cocktail party using Julia Sibun’s definitive guide What could be more than fun than inviting your family and friends to a festive soirée at home during the holiday season? It is a wonderful opportunity to get together with friends and also to say thank you for all those summer barbeques and dinner parties with friends during the year!

give you time to plan your evening according to your guest numbers, and don’t hesitate to call people for responses – as knowing your numbers will help to ease the planning. Make sure you are aware of how many people you can take in your home at one time!

First send your invitation in good time, perhaps four to six weeks ahead in the festive period, as everyone usually has the same idea to entertain during the holidays – be sure to include a rsvp date which will

You will need a space cleared in the house whether that is the drawing room, conservatory or any other easily accessible downstairs room – but as we know the best parties always take place in the kitchen!

If you are worried about available space, fear not because small frame marquees can easily be attached to your drawing room or dining room – and with a little bit of additional lighting and decoration they are an extremely quick and easy way to extend the house for the weekend. There are usually many decorations around the house at the holiday time of year, but quick ways to create a party atmosphere include ensuring that you’ve plenty of spice-scented candles in tea-lights, and hurricane lamps in clusters on tables and window-sills. Also why not bring some of the woodland indoors with natural branches and then hang from them sparkling icicles – this creates a gorgeous frosty look! And don’t forget fir cones and spruce will give you a festive perfume around the house, and another added touch is to have a bowl of hyacinths or paper white flowers in one of the entertaining rooms to give your guests a glimmer of the season ahead. If you are lucky to have open fireplaces in the house – make sure they are lit and crackling for guests on arrival – one quick way to warm your guests as soon as they walk through the door. Give thought to the food and drink that you would like to serve to your guests. If it is a particularly cold evening why not serve mulled cider or mulled wine on arrival – then you can always follow up with serving champagne or Prosecco because it is festive and offers so many mixing opportunities. How about an Elderflower Bellini, a totally delicious drink using Prosecco and a drop of St Germain Elderflower Liqueur, or a Peach Bellini with peach juice. It is also fun to have a couple of delicious signature cocktails such as a Negroni or a Spiced Cosmopolitan – please see the special festive cocktail recipe for a Spiced Cosmopolitan on the next page from Matthew Jones, General Manager at Wesley House. Don’t forget the drivers on the evening and have a couple of jugs of non-alcoholic cocktails available such as Virgin Moscow Mule, Ginger Pineapple Sparkling Punch or a delicious simple elderflower and pomegranate presse decorated with pomegranate seeds. Nearly all wine merchants sell their wines, drinks and champagne on a sale-or-return basis so there will not be a problem of over ordering – no-one wants to run out of booze on the night of their party! Food needs to be small, delicious and easy to eat whilst holding a drink and chatting to friends – a few ideas for easy-to-make at home canapés are spiced parmesan biscuits, fresh white crab mayonnaise en croute, salmon on blinis with sour cream and dill, asparagus wrapped in cured salmon with parmesan shavings, mini glasses of hot butternut squash soup, sticky Asian spiced pork belly, prawn and chorizo skewers and bloody mary shots with horseradish. Head Chef at Wesley House, Rob Owen, gives his favourite festive canapé recipes on the following page. Plates and trays for the service of the food can


Cotswold Homes Magazine


Spiced Cosmopolitan Ingredients:


25ml white rum

Shake well and strain into martini glass.

25ml vanilla vodka 30ml cranberry juice

Garnish with green or red apple slices.

10ml lime juice 10ml sugar syrup 1 clove, 2 cardamom pods, ½ teaspoon cinnamon (either muddle in or use as syrup instead of the sugar).

Mushroom Arancini stuffed with Mozzarella Ingredients: 1 chopped onion 2 cloves garlic – finely chopped

look appealing by being decorated with colourful flower heads, herbs, painted fir cones, banana leaves and other small Christmas decorations. If you are passing canapés with a dipping sauce place a thin citrus slice under the sauce cup to prevent it from sliding around on the tray. Don’t forget to stock up on plenty of small colourful cocktail napkins available as well! Where possible make as much as you can ahead of the date and freeze – this will only save time leading up to the date of the party and will keep the food preparation as stress free as possible. Pop on some background music to help your guests relax and create the perfect atmosphere and be prepared to have a few good dance tunes on the playlist as guests normally love to end up having a “boogie” in the kitchen at the end of the evening! If dancing is definitely on the cards why not a rent a jukebox?! Live music can also make a wonderful difference to the occasion – perhaps a small choir singing on the landing or musicians playing upbeat and festive music in the hall. Student musicians are an excellent source for quality and affordable entertainment. If it is a dry evening you may like your guests to spill out on to the terrace – so have at the ready a roaring brazier or two, or even one of the authentic fire bowls keeping the home fires burning! Towards the end of the evening have coffee available for any guests who may need a little assistance at the end of the party – also your local taxi company number should be handy and offered to guests who do not wish to drive home. Outside garden flares lining your driveway and festoons of outdoor lights in the trees will add a final festive party touch to finish a wonderful evening as you say farewell to your guests. Julia Sibun Director Wesley House Events

225g chestnut mushrooms – finely chopped 350g arborio rice 150ml dry white wine 1.2 litres hot vegetable stock

Method Soak the Porcini mushrooms in hot water for 10 minutes, and then drain well. Heat the oil in a large, heavy based saucepan and add the onion and garlic – fry over a gentle heat for 2-3 minutes until softened. Add the chestnut mushrooms and fry for a further 2-3 minutes – until browned.

100g plain flour

Stir in the rice and coat with oil. Pour in the wine and simmer, stirring, until the liquid has been absorbed. Add a ladleful of the stock and simmer, stirring again, until the liquid has been absorbed. Continue adding the stock until all the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is plump and tender.

2 large eggs – beaten

Leave the risotto to cool.

25g butter 2tbsp chopped parsley 75g mini mozzarella balls

130g breadcrumbs Vegetable oil

Bourbon Glazed Pork Belly

Drain the mozzarella balls – press 1 ball into 1 tbsp risotto and shape to encase the cheese – repeat. Put the flour, eggs and breadcrumbs onto 3 separate plates – roll the risotto ball in the flour, then the egg and finally the breadcrumbs. Put onto a plate and chill for 30 minutes. Fill a medium pan with 5cm of oil then heat until a cube of bread turns golden brown in 30 seconds. Fry the balls for 3-4 minutes until golden brown. Serve hot.



200ml bourbon whiskey

Preheat the oven to 160C/140C fan/Gas 3.

1 star anise

2tbsp soy sauce

Pour 100ml of the bourbon into a small shallow roasting tin and add star anise. Season the pork belly, put in the tin and cover tightly with foil. Bake for 3 hours. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for at least 1 hour.

2tbsp clear honey

Heat the oven to 200c/180c fan/gas 6.

800g pork belly 4tbsp tomato ketchup

Remove the pork from the tin. Using a small, sharp knife, pare away the rind from the meat and leave a small layer of fat. Slice into 2cm chunks and return to the tin. Roast for 20 minutes until crisp and sizzling, turning regularly. Meanwhile, place the remainder of the bourbon, soy sauce, honey and ketchup into a small pan and bring to the boil until thick and syrupy. Pour over the pork and coat. Roast for a further 10 minutes until sticky. www.cotswold-homes.com


Hillside, Bourton on the Hill

Guide Price ÂŁ700,000

A lovingly restored Grade II Listed village property with an abundance of character features including the large, original bread oven and a wealth of recovered historical artefacts, dating back to as early as 1815. The property also boasts beautifully landscaped gardens, flexible accommodation space and off road parking. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Dining Room | Family Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Utility | WC | Five Bedroom | Two Bathrooms | Garden | Off Road Parking | EPC Exempt Fine and Country Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 653 893

1 Red Lodge, Little Compton


A stylishly presented Victorian property situated on the edge of this sought after Cotswold village and benefitting from a self-contained annexe. Entrance Hall | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Sitting Room | Family Room | Utility Room | W.C | Master Bedroom with En-suite | Two Further Double Bedrooms | Shower Room | Office/Music Room | Workshop | Open Fronted Double Garage | Driveway and Garden | Annexe comprising Bedroom | Shower Room | Sitting Room with Kitchenette | EPC Rating: D Fine and Country Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 653 893

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

1 Pinchester Cottages, Little Compton ÂŁ475,000 A well-proportioned Cotswold stone period home, located in a quiet backwater of this traditional Cotswold village. Offered with no onward chain. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Dining Room | Study | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Utility Room | WC | Two First Floor Double Bedrooms | Bathroom | Second Floor Double Bedroom (with additional room ideal for dressing room or study) | Parking | Garden | EPC Rating: E Fine and Country Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 653 893

3 & 4 Manor Farm Cottages, Donnington ÂŁ420,000 A traditional Grade ll listed Cotswold stone cottage located in a quiet backwater of this highly sought after and picturesque Cotswold village. The property offers scope to improve and extend (subject to the necessary consents) and benefits from a generously proportioned and secluded rear garden. Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Sitting Room | Family Room | Two Double Bedrooms | Mezzanine Bedroom | Bathroom | Garden | EPC Exempt Fine and Country Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 653 893

Country Homes from harrison james & hardie

Wyck Hill Lodge, Nr Stow on the Wold

Guide Price ÂŁ795,000

A delightful and traditionally styled Cotswold stone Grade II Listed lodge, benefiting from a delightful mature and well-tended garden extending to approximately 0.441 acre with exceptional views over the adjoining countryside, stable block and paddock extending to approximately 1.065 acre. Entrance Hall | Drawing Room | Study | Dining Room | Kitchen | Utility | Bedroom | Ensuite | First Floor Master Bedroom | Ensuite | Second Floor Guest Bedroom | Ensuite | Parking | Gardens | Stable Block | Paddock | EPC: Exempt Fine and Country, Harrison James & Hardie, Bourton on the Water 01451 824 977

Oxleigh & Honeysuckle Cottage, Bourton on the Water ÂŁ720,000 A pair of semi-detached cottages with ancillary accommodation, used for many years as holiday cottages. Oxleigh - Entrance Porch | Sitting Room | Dining Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Cloakroom | Utility | WC | Three Bedrooms | Bathroom | Shower Room | Garden | Parking | EPC Rating: E Honeysuckle Cottage - Entrance Porch | Sitting Room | Dining Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Cloakroom | Utility | WC | Three Bedrooms | Bathroom | Garden | Parking | EPC Rating: D Annexe - Sitting Room/Bedroom 2 | Reception/Laundry | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Bedroom with Ensuite | Bathroom | Garden | Parking | 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

3 Greystones, Cold Aston


A well-presented Cotswold stone period two double bedroom cottage situated in the desirable village of Cold Aston.The cottage benefits from a sunny patio, garden and off road parking, perfect as a second home/investment or to be enjoyed as a main home within this reputable village. No onward chain. Entrance Hall | Cloakroom | Dining Room/Potential Third Bedroom | Kitchen | Sitting Room | First Floor Main Bedroom with Ensuite Bathroom | Second Bedroom | Family Bath and Shower Room | Off Road Parking | Patio Terrace | Garden | EPC Rating: G Fine and Country, Harrison James & Hardie, Bourton on the Water 01451 824 977

Honeysuckle Cottage, Condicote


A charming two bedroom stone cottage set in a rural position offering views over farmland, near to the unspoilt village of Condicote and market town of Stow on the Wold. Entrance Hall | Open Plan Sitting Room/Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Two Double Bedrooms | Bathroom | Parking Area | Small Garden Area | Raised Terrace | EPC Rating: E

Fine and Country, Harrison James & Hardie, Bourton on the Water 01451 824 977

Country Homes from harrison james & hardie


Ask the experts

Ethical Karen Harrison


Estate Agency?

We have an old house with an acre garden but need to move to something much more manageable. We asked to look at an ideal property with a local agency but were very taken aback to be told that they would not consider a viewing unless our own house was already on the market. Apparently they have a cash offer, albeit not at an acceptable level. The agent suggested she might persuade the vendor to wait for us to if we instructed her company to sell our home. is this even remotely ethical behaviour?

All estate agents hope to gain new instructions on the back of a particularly desirable local property and i would venture there is nothing wrong in chain-building, per se, when it ensures the best possible outcome for the existing vendor. indeed, it seems sensible in a rising market to encourage the vendor to wait whilst you try to sell, given your house is particularly desirable and likely to go under offer very quickly. When there is competition, this is likely to raise the bar on the eventual sale price, after all. Being in a comparatively weak position, though, you might feel the pressure to offer close to the asking price in order to persuade the vendor to wait. equally, this might force the cash buyer to make a higher offer in response - all good strategic play as far as the agent is concerned, right the way to Best and Finals! in this situation, you are effectively the cat’s paw and do bear in mind that the agent is obliged at all times to work in the vendor’s best interests. that’s the important caveat – not your best interests, nor the agent’s best interests, either. the ethics of representation can get complicated when instructing a company that already has the house you want to buy unless they are scrupulously careful, and it’s almost better not to use them if you have a whiff already of unethical behaviour. An agency most certainly should not oblige you to instruct their company nor make it a condition of viewing the property in the first place. This is effectively blackmail, by implying they will put you in a stronger position only if you give them your business, and the irony is they probably can’t and won’t. Don’t give in to such tactics. they would like your property on their books, of course, but you might very well lose out on this particular property and then find yourself tied in to their agency for another three to four months. At the very least, negotiate only a short tie-in period on one-off viewings rather than a sole agency, but also ask out another couple of reputable local agents before


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you make any decisions about who should sell your own home. it really is important to seek recommendations and do your research. Does the agency regularly sell properties of a similar value to your home, therefore having plenty of registered applicants in that specific price range, or will they have to rely on website listings to generate interest? Will they have the sophistication of approach at your price level when it comes to negotiating the sale on your behalf? Discover the relative merits between apparently similar agencies, look beyond the shop front and online presence to the service standards they actually deliver, by calling in and registering with each agency. Who is most experienced, knowledgeable, friendly, helpful and reliable? Who is most straightforward, honest and yes, ethical in their approach? Which agency, ultimately, do you feel has the best marketing strategy, know-how and service standards to sell your house at the best possible price? no matter how much pressure you are under to avoid disappointment with this property, never succumb to a lesser agency just because they happen to have the property you want to buy. the better the agency’s position within the local marketplace, not at a regional or national level, the more skills and contacts they will have established and the more skills they will have developed to find you a buyer at the best price in the best possible timescale. even if you do miss out on this particular property, don’t despair. it might not feel like it but i promise there will always be another house, equally suitable, possibly even better. the more able the estate agency, then the more they will know about other potential properties for you and the more likely they will be to secure your perfect home in the end, even if it is not the first one you happen to see. 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.


Ask the experts

The North Cotswold Property Market “The better the agency’s position within the local marketplace, the more skills and contacts they will have to find you a buyer at the best price in the best possible timescale.” Karen Harrison, Ask The Experts, Cotswold Homes Winter Edition 2014

By the end of October, independent estate agency Harrison James & Hardie had already agreed over two hundred house sales and let another hundred homes throughout the North Cotswolds, from small apartments to grand country pads. Renowned amongst its competitors in the North Cotswold marketplace, the company has maintained pole position for well over a decade since it was launched as an independent at the turn of the New Millennium. This year, the number of agreed sales (excluding new homes sites) has actually outstripped the instructions the company has listed, underlining why the company is the local agency of choice right across the price range. Karen Harrison explains why this year has been “the best ever for our company”. ‘We always hope to provide an exemplary standard for the local marketplace. We launched with guiding principles that remain just as important today - a commitment to the most up-to-date technology and innovative marketing methods, backed up by superlative service standards provided by a team of hardworking, experienced, friendly people offering in-depth knowledge of the marketplace. Everyone who joins our company is expected to work to the same high standards, gaining professional qualifications and membership of NAEA or ARLA. Apprenticeships and on-going training are key factors in our consistency – staff turnover is exceptionally low. We have an impressive 150 years’ experience of the North Cotswold marketplace between us, despite an average age of only 32!’ ‘In addition to a great sales and lettings team, we ensure the widest possible promotion online for all our properties, featuring on major property portals such as Rightmove, Prime Location and Zoopla plus associated sites such as the Sunday Times, London Evening Standard, Telegraph and Daily Mail, and another seventy portals via the Guild of Professional Agents and Fine & Country. Combined with Cotswold Homes as another unique sales tool, we utilise every available avenue on behalf of our clients to market all our properties in the best possible way from local to international level.’ ‘For example, the London market has become increasingly important to our success – we have an exclusive licence in the North Cotswolds with Fine & Country and regularly hold Cotswold property exhibitions in the Mayfair office. By collaborating with 240 independent agencies in the UK and abroad, Fine & Country provides us with an exceptional

upper quartile marketing strategy, garnering huge acclaim and winning many important industry awards over the last few years.’ Given their sales and lettings result in 2014, how does the local market now compare with the height of the property boom in 2007 and what does the New Year hold in store? James von Speyr says: “Despite much tighter lending criteria, a lack of stock is really helping to drive prices slowly upwards across the board, so buyers will continue to fight for the best new instructions and will start to consider offers on properties that have been lingering, too. But much depends on the political landscape after the general election. “If mansion tax becomes a reality, this will be an immediate game changer in London and the effects will ripple out to the Cotswolds’ upper quartile sector. Similarly, if Help To Buy incentives are withdrawn or if interest rates start to rise, these changes will slow things down again in the residential sector. My advice is to stop waiting for the right moment and just get on with it. The going is good now on both sides of the fence, whether buying or selling, and one thing is for sure - such excellent interest rates won’t last forever’. Caroline Gee is confident, meanwhile, about the Lettings market in 2015: ‘Young couples are really struggling to save up enough money for a deposit to buy, snapping up two and three bedroom properties to rent in the meantime,’ says Caroline. ‘We have a managed portfolio of over a hundred homes, and it takes an average of only two viewings to let any property that we advertise, so I predict that investment will be strong in Lettings during 2015.’ Should you be thinking of selling or letting your property, for further information and to book an appointment to discuss marketing with Harrison James & Hardie, please telephone: Fine & Country North Cotswolds and Residential Sales: James von Speyr: 01451 822977 Karen Harrison: 01608 651000 Residential Lettings: Caroline Gee: 01451 833170








set up company in June 2000; responsible for Residential sales and Lettings 20 years’ experience in corporate and independent residential agency, north Cotswolds

Joined 2001; responsible for Fine & Country North Cotswolds 24 years’ experience in corporate and independent agency, Cheltenham & north Cotswolds

Assisted company set-up in June 2000; based at stow on the Wold branch; Diploma in lettings 20 years’ experience in corporate and independent agency, north Cotswolds




Joined in 2006 as apprentice with 3 ‘A’ levels; 8 years’ experience; Diploma in residential sales

Joined in 2000; 17 years’ experience; Diploma in residential lettings; working towards MnAeA



Joined in 2003 with 13 years’ experience in local agency; Diploma in residential sales

SOPHIE KEOGH, SALES NEGOTIATOR, FINE & COUNTRY BOURTON ON THE WATER Joined in 2014; 3 years’ previous experience in london marketplace; working towards MnAeA


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Joined in 2004 as apprentice with 3 ‘A’ levels; 10 years’ experience; Diploma in residential sales

Joined in 2008 as apprentice with 3 ‘A’ levels; 6 years’ experience; Diploma in residential sales


STEVEN BUCHANAN MNAEA, EXECUTIVE SALES CONSULTANT, RESIDENTIAL SALES MORETON IN MARSH Joined in 2005, 11 years’ experience in oxon / north Cotswolds agency; Diploma in residential sales

EWAN PEASTON ARLA, NEGOTIATOR, RESIDENTIAL SALES MORETON IN MARSH Joined in 2011 as apprentice with 3 ‘A’ levels; Diploma in lettings; working towards MnAeA

JAKE LOMBERG-WILLIAMS BSc (Hons), SALES NEGOTIATOR, FINE & COUNTRY MORETON IN MARSH Joined in 2014; Degree in Property Agency and Marketing, Cirencester Agricultural College




Joined in 2013; 5 years’ previous experience in local agency; Diploma in residential lettings

Joined in 2014 as apprentice with 3 ‘A’ levels; working towards nVQs / Diploma in lettings and ArlA

Joined in november 2014; 6 years’ previous experience in local agency; working towards ArlA

WHAT CUSTOMERS SAY ABOUT HARRISON JAMES & HARDIE… We would both like to thank you all so much for all the hard work and effort involved in selling [our previous home] and [our new home] to us. We highly recommend you as estate agents. ~ Mr & Mrs M

Thank you Lucy, you have been brilliant! ~ Mr o

I was very pleased with your service and very impressed with Lucy Driver. ~ Mr F

Level of personal service was second to none: ~ Mr W

Special thanks to Lucy Driver – she was fantastic. Couldn’t have done it without her. ~ Mr & Mrs g Steve Buchanan was excellent. ~ Ms L

Thank you again – great service goes a long way. ~ ~ Mr M

Thank you very much for your hard work and professionalism. ~ Mrs d M Thanks for helping us find a home - it has been a pleasure dealing with Harrison James & Hardie. ~ ~ Mr C

After my previous bad experience with a local agent I have now got peace of mind that my three properties are being managed properly to the highest standard, thank you. ~ Mr P Amy Coldicott handled the whole process from start to finish with great service and professionalism; she is a huge asset to your company! ~ Ms V All of the staff at HJH I found very approachable and willing to help - the whole team gave excellent customer service. ~ Mr C




Ask the experts

Funding a Self-Build Project Sue Ellis


My husband and i enjoy watching programmes such as grand Designs and this has got us thinking more and more about the possibility of building our own house. how does it work, given we will need finance to fund such a project and don’t really want to sell our own home first? A surprising number of people opt to build their own homes every year and many others will undertake a renovation project or conversion of a property – up to 20,000, according to one source. Of course, the first stage is to find a suitable plot of land – quite possibly also the hardest task, given that land is at such a premium in the north Cotswolds! You should also source a good architect or qualified designer to draw up the plans with you and remember you will probably need other professional help - for example, consulting a structural engineer or quantity surveyor. it is vital from the outset to get the right people – failure to do so might otherwise prove disastrous in the longer term. in my experience, recommendation from trusted friends, including your local estate agency, is probably the best place to start. Before you start your project, do consider whether your ideas are going to fit the plot and location, when it might be a good idea to invite your local estate agent to visit the site, to give you an opinion on the plans and likely value of the finished project, because eventual value must govern your spend as much as how to fund the project. You need to do some serious sums when considering how the project is going to be financed – inevitably things will run over budget, so it is important to be realistic about the true costs and to allow yourself some contingency, usually around 10%. not all lenders will be prepared to consider self-build projects – those that do tend to be limited to a small number of specialist lenders, both banks and building societies. these mortgages work differently, too, in that the traditional ‘self-build mortgage’ will release funds in arrears as the build progresses, lending in clearly defined stages, starting with the purchase of the land (normally


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between 50% and 85% of the purchase price/value of the land) and finishing with the completion of the build. Funds will only be released once each stage has been completed and signed off by the lender’s appointed valuing surveyor, so your work must be to an acceptable standard, in accordance with building regulations and planning restrictions, especially in an Area of outstanding natural Beauty such as the north Cotswolds, where you must be extremely careful to keep to the rules if you don’t want your house to be demolished afterwards – it has happened! the self-build mortgage option is normally better suited to people who have substantial savings. Remember, you not only have to buy the plot but also get it to the first stage of the build before any funds will be released. Alternatively, you can take a mortgage that releases funds in advance rather than in arrears, lending up to 90% at each stage. this will enable you to buy materials, pay builders and manage your exposure to risk if there are delays on the build for any reason. this option is also ideal if you don’t want to sell your existing house to release equity, allowing you to keep a roof over your head until the new one is built, or if you want to hold some cash in the bank as a contingency fund! interest rates tend to be higher than normal residential mortgages - at the time of writing, a two-year, fixed rate, ‘arrears’ style self-build mortgage is around the 5.25% mark, when lending up to 80% of the value. Self-build can be seen as a daunting challenge but, with thorough research and the right professional team on your side, it is also exciting and a worthwhile project. typically, one can expect to end up with a property that is larger than one of equivalent value on the open market – and, of course, you have the ultimate satisfaction of your home being exactly to your taste in the first place! 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

Claire Barker


Planning Your Retirement

My husband and i are nearing retirement and are concerned that we do not have enough pension provision to live as we would like to do.We have heard people talking about equity release as an option – can you tell me more about it? “When i was young i thought that money was the most important thing in life; now i am old, i know that it is,” said oscar Wilde. it is very likely that a vast number of today’s ageing population would agree with the sentiment. According to the equity Release Council’s Spring Report 2014, there has been a 36% increase in uptake of equity release products in the past two years alone. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that the majority of people still don’t really understand equity release and how it can be used. equity release is not suitable for everybody and alternatives should always be explored - downsizing, going back to work, investigating eligibility for benefits or home improvement grants, help from family, etc. - but it can provide a solution to lack of liquid cash in retirement, alleviating concerns about how to make ends meet once salary dries up and a meagre pension kicks in. more and more people are seeking to supplement their retirement income using equity release and yet, when groups are questioned, knowledge about the products (and how they work) appears to be low. if i had a pound for every time i have been told by a client that a solicitor has suggested they should go with norwich Union for their equity release, i would be a rich person by now. norwich Union rebranded to Aviva in 2009 and yet many people do not appear to have caught up. nor have they cottoned on to the fact that many other products exist nowadays to serve a huge raft of needs. more importantly, solicitors should not be advising on suitability of products.this is firmly the remit of a financial adviser, who will be qualified and regulated to give best advice. Fortunately, equity release is now one of the most heavily regulated products in the financial services sector, allaying fears about safety. Quite simply, an equity release product cannot be taken up without specialist financial and independent legal advice, without full understanding on how the product works and all the obligations attached to it. Without proper professional advice (see www.equityreleasecouncil.com for a specialist) this vast

array of products is far too difficult to navigate. For example, it is now possible to pay the interest on an equity release product rather than letting it compound and roll up. this can be a very useful way of releasing a lump sum at a relatively low cost, providing it is possible to service the interest payments with income. Alternatively, the drawdown product has proved extremely popular. A lump sum to suit a client’s immediate needs is drawn down and then a cash facility is ring-fenced; no interest is charged on the cash facility until it is drawn down, whereupon interest is set and then fixed on that portion of the loan forever. others are choosing to take a large lump sum in order to repay interest-only mortgages at the end of the term, especially useful when a lender starts clamouring for repayment. in general, since the 1990s interest rates have dropped for equity release products and are now typically around six per cent. even so, homeowners are confused as to why the rates are apparently high, when a typical bank mortgage hovers between three to four per cent. the reason is simple - in most transactions there is no requirement to make any payments during the life of the loan. the loan, plus interest, is only paid back to the lender when the property is eventually vacated, either due to death or long-term care. this could be twenty to thirty years, which is a long-range bet for lenders in terms of funding, when no repayments are coming in! providing equity release is carried out in a fully informed manner, assisted by experts, it should be a painless and rewarding process. Figures produced for the equity Release Council’s Spring Report 2014 shows that homeowners released almost £1.1bn during 2013. Certainly, for the majority it will have been a life-changing experience, enabling them to continue to live life to the full. Claire Barker is the Managing Partner of equilaw Ltd, a unique law firm specialising in giving legal advice to homeowners who are considering equity release. she is also a Partner at Thomas legal group and an Advisory Member of the standards Board for the equity Release Council, which is the industry body promoting excellence in this sector. Please contact Claire at claire.barker@equilaw.uk.com.




Ask the experts

Andy Soye

Mat Faraday

Holiday Letting Out of Season – The Secret To Success


i would like to purchase a holiday let property as an investment but i’m really worried about the winter months – will there be enough bookings to cover my mortgage and other associated costs? Holiday home owners who consider letting their properties often assume that the Cotswolds is primarily a summer destination for visitors, which can leave them concerned about the prospect of being without bookings during the off-peak months in the winter. excluding the Christmas and new Year weeks, which always generate prime bookings, the off-peak season runs from just after the half-term holiday in the last week of october, right through to the following march. to many owners these four months can seem like a long time, when they perceive that they will earn little or no income from their asset.

continue marketing your property effectively, no matter what time of year it is. At Character Cottages, we maintain our marketing expenditure consistently throughout the year, rather than just focusing on peak months, so that interest is constantly generated and bookings are taken all year round. We have also devised a dynamic pricing system, so that prices typically reduce the closer the date gets to an available booking slot. this has been a very successful strategy for our owners and has allowed them to generate profitable income in months when some people perceive it to be too quiet to be able to make any money. Another aspect of being successful out of season is making sure you are flexible to guests’ requirements. For example, at Character Cottages, wherever possible we will happily modify standard

“Due to its location in the heart of England, The Cotswolds is also easily accessible from both the north and the south, and is less than two hours by train from London’s Paddington station.” it is easy to forget, however, that booking a holiday in the Cotswolds “out of season” is actually an extremely attractive idea. Holiday homes with open fires and cosy furnishings, welcoming country pubs, long walks in the clean crisp air and picturesque villages in beautiful rolling countryside all provide the most wonderful setting for perfect weekends away. Due to its location in the heart of england, the Cotswolds is also easily accessible from both the north and the South, and is less than two hours by train from London’s paddington station. this accessibility, combined with the charm of the region, ensures that beautiful holiday cottages get a steady flow of bookings all year round. the key to maximising the number of bookings out of season is to

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booking slots, offering prices for any start and end dates, therefore offering a high quality, tailored service to guests. if you are planning to let your holiday home, there is absolutely no need to wait until the spring or summer to get started. it can take less than four weeks to get a well presented property completely ready to let, so there is still plenty of time this year to start benefitting from the off peak market.You can rest assured that, even out of season, your Cotswold property will be very much in demand. Andy soye and Mat Faraday are the 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.


Ask the experts

Robert Hamilton


Feeling the Cold? Sustainable Solutions

i have recently bought a lovely big old house but with the cold weather beginning to bite, it’s already quite difficult to heat. Any suggestions before the very worst of winter sets in?! period and traditionally built properties can be quite challenging to heat. the glib answer is not to let your house get cold in the first place. Thick masonry walls will act as massive storage radiators but have to be ‘got up to heat’. it is also far easier, more efficient and ecologically desirable to maintain a good ambient temperature than to go for ‘boom or bust’ when heating up a cold house. Whichever fuel source you choose, it’s not wise to depend on a single source, either – electric power is clean and immediate but the supply does dip at times of heavy demand, just when you need to cook your Yorkshire puddings at Sunday lunch, and can fail completely on occasion. As a back-up heat source LpG and oil are both excellent fuels, much more ecologically acceptable these days, especially good in smaller houses and for an AGA / Rayburn in a large country kitchen, to provide consistent warmth where it matters most. Sources of ambient heat are becoming more popular and hence increasingly affordable. My favourite is underfloor heating - an insulating layer under simple electric wiring or fluid filled pipework, topped by your chosen floor. Stone floors are ideal with electric systems but better to use ‘wet’ (fluid filled) systems with wooden floors. Wet systems can gather heat from geothermal sources, although these are still rare. i have also started to see large country houses heated by wood chip furnaces, fuelled by specifically grown biomass products. These are very efficient but need a large storage capacity to ensure sufficient fuel is on hand, therefore are less suitable for smaller properties. Ground source heat exchangers work on the same principle as a fridge but in reverse - these are also increasingly popular. You will find some surprising brand names on offer including panasonic, Vaillant and mitsubishi! Solar panels attract subsidies but generally are not permitted on Listed buildings and have to be discreetly sited in Conservation areas. However, if you are lucky enough to have a large plot of land facing South West, you could have ground-sited panels - english Heritage have useful information on their website and the

Planning Office is equally very helpful. Traditional roaring fires are still enormously popular but they do require supervision and stoking, and the cost of air-dried logs has increased greatly in the last few years. they also create dust and waste a huge amount of heat straight up the chimney, so better to invest in a closed stove and/or use your fire to heat your water, too. Like the old-fashioned back-boilers, there are plenty of modern, stylish and super-efficient systems today – remember, though, that fires will only burn efficiently if chimneys and flues are swept regularly. ‘Lookalike’ wood and coal stoves fuelled by gas give almost instant, controllable heat with a similarly comforting appearance but are much cleaner, relatively economical and can even be operated by a phone app or remote controller! All forms of heating will be rendered more efficient by effective insulation. ensure roofs and attics have a good layer of minimum of 270mm mineral wool. other loft insulation can be used: sheep’s wool or hemp that absorbs Co2 during growth, for example. Double-glazing can be difficult in Listed properties but fit removable secondary glazing or wooden shutters and use thick curtains to insulate against cold, draughts and noise. With all this warming and insulation it is also imperative to have great ventilation or you will run the risk of condensation and damp issues, of course. it is wise to have a survey on your property before you buy, to check whether flues are intact and chimneys are functioning properly. Ask if liners are still under warranty and get safety certificates, especially for gas boilers, then make sure you have regular services on all heating systems. Last point - do remember to bleed your radiators to ensure that heat is circulating properly! 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.




steppes Cottage

Steppes Cottage and The Wool Shop, High Street, Blockley Blockley is a very special village and for those who settle there, the place soon becomes a love affair. it is the village as much as the house that drives a desire for change, informs tastes and channels their secret yearnings. registering with local agents, these prospective buyers will describe their dream home - something older, with potential, more space and a larger garden for their expanding family or conversely, something smaller with a less vertiginous staircase perhaps, somewhere they can be self-sufficient, closer to the village centre. But they are always adamant - this house must be in Blockley. no matter how great the need, they are always prepared to hold out until the perfect house comes up. of course, being Blockley, would be residents have plenty of competition from second-homers. This is also the village of choice for London investors, retirees and escapees, actors and writers, city high flyers and quiet celebrities whose love affair is just as passionate, who speed down the A40 at the close of business every Friday craving the cheerful pub and village shop, the comfort of a traditional church service, the rigour of a brisk countryside walk, the warmth of a log fire and the happy chaos of a sunday roast with friends. 62

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The garden is vast, running away down the hillside in a sweep of lawn, terraced, ending in an ordered, generous kitchen garden complete with fig trees, raspberry canes, rows of beans and peas and potatoes.

Blockley is, for those who don’t know, a village with a unique history. in times gone by this was not a peaceable, rural cluster of cottage dwellers, obediently serving the Big House and tipping their cap to the establishment like so many of its neighbours, but shaped entirely differently, rapidly, fired by the vigour of Georgian industry. Blockley was new money, not from the wealth of sheep or corn but gained by the rush of water. Quickly and dramatically populated, rows of tiny workers’ terraces and the grand houses of business folk were squeezed into the valley, a thirst fuelled by seventeen silk mills harnessing the powerful flow of natural streams and springs in the folds of its hills. At its centre was the ancient cart-wide high street, suddenly thronging and busy with a whole service of shop fronts – a baker, greengrocer and butcher,

post office, bank, and at the end of the High Street a magnificent church telling proudly of its riches. This affluence, the delight in good fortune of its residents still remains today, although the high street is quiet again. the new village shop and the Crown Hotel are all that tell of the original commercial hub. nonetheless, the village still reveals its story, like a visit to a stately home - its history is writ large and the high street is its drawing room. if you are in the know, as true Blockley people are in the know, there is a ‘right side’ to the High Street – just fifteen houses, hugely desirable, discreetly facing away from the hustle and bustle, whose windows look out on marvellous views, over the gardens of the valley below and upwards to the high horizon of hills beyond, a pastoral


steppes Cottage

landscape of handkerchief fields dotted in the far distance with cows, horses and sheep, rising to a tree-lined brow and a burst of sun. one of these quiet gems is almost invisible, a set of stone steps under an archway, something hidden behind what was once a little old wool shop, but nothing to see. if you didn’t know, your eye might be drawn to the wooden garage door on the street, peppered with community notices of fund-raisers and social gatherings, (what a luxury for someone, a place to park the motor) but you wouldn’t even begin to suspect the house itself. And what a lovely house it is.

steppes Cottage

When the present vendors moved to Blockley they started off their love affair on the other side of the high street but, like so many residents, settled on the next home of their dreams when visiting Steppes Cottage, and immediately saw its potential. they were lucky to snap it up when it came to the market some time later, waiting patiently for their opportunity. they commissioned a clever interior designer with a passion for open spaces who set about harnessing the ood of natural light, knocking out walls, moving doors, putting in windows and creating clean sleek lines, armed with a pale palette of Farrow and Ball colours. She transformed the house entirely. www.cotswold-homes.com



steppes Cottage

now a large, square kitchen / breakfast room has pride of place, fitted with a bountiful range of high gloss units, enough to satisfy the guiltiest maximalist hoarder. this is somewhere deeply welcoming, somewhere to congregate around the table and to watch the cook at work, with a wide wall of glass to one end, patio doors opening out onto a sunlit patio, drinking in the stunning view, warmed by under-floor heating. A formal sitting room beyond is bright on two sides with huge windows and the same beautiful outlook – a cosy, comfortable retreat for sunday papers and slippers, with a bleached stone fireplace and a sunburst mirror above. the dining room between is lined with stylish floor-to-ceiling bookshelves and display cabinets, even a backlit drinks cupboard ingeniously recessed under the stairs – the perfect place to host family and friends at Christmas. upstairs are four decent bedrooms, again fitted with plenty of cupboards and storage spaces, rooms that enjoy the views at their best and are served by luxurious bathrooms - a party 64

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house, an eminently practical house, a proper family home. the garden is vast, running away down the hillside in a sweep of lawn, terraced, ending in an ordered, generous kitchen garden complete with fig trees, raspberry canes, rows of beans and peas and potatoes. Half way up is a rustic double seat swing for the grandchildren, stretching their feet up to touch the top of those hills. An informal and picturesque retreat, the garden is full of mature shrubs and cottage flowers, places to hide, to build dens and to run around, safe and sound. Beneath the Wool shop (now a bijou cottage for two, and available by separate negotiation) is a cellar, accessed at garden level and used by the main house, and another couple of store rooms - space for all the paraphernalia of country living, for the detritus of skateboards and bicycles, the family kit of surfboards and wet suits, toboggans and skis. the garage has to be the ultimate luxury in this narrow high street, where

the previous owner famously used to bounce in his car at speed, a strategic mattress placed at one end – the current owners are rather more circumspect, safe to say. Much of the potential of this house has been realised, realised with great style, but the vendors have found a brand new house on the Cornwall coast that they have chosen as their ultimate retirement dream, and so steppes Cottage and the Wool shop will come onto the market in the new Year, launching with an open Day in midJanuary. the owners did once drill a small hole through the wall of one of the bedrooms, just to see if it would be possible to access the cottage in front, and it is. One could definitely do with both, should funds allow. this tiny self-contained property is a little gold mine – a handy sleepover for extra guests, a holiday let, a granny annexe, a writer’s snug, a nanny flat, a teenage den… Too good to lose, given the opportunity to secure it, and fortunately the owners have committed not


steppes Cottage

steppes Cottage

to sell the Wool shop before the buyer for the main house has had first refusal. There are bound to be plenty of investors for whom just the tiniest slice of Blockley High street would be a pleasure, who have popped a hopeful note through the door before – those in the know, who have fallen in love like so many visitors and residents before. steppes Cottage and the Wool shop will be offered for sale by the Moreton in Marsh offices

of Harrison James & Hardie Fine & Country north Cotswolds - to make an appointment to view on the open Day in January please telephone 01608 651000 and speak to Branch Manager tom Burdett, who will be happy to provide more information. if you are reading this magazine on our Cotswold Homes App, you can hover over hotspots for more photos and floor plans, otherwise simply visit www.cotswoldhomes.com and click on the Harrison James & Hardie badge on the landing page.

A formal sitting room beyond is bright on two sides with huge windows and the same beautiful outlook – a cosy, comfortable retreat for Sunday papers and slippers, with a bleached stone fireplace and a sunburst mirror above.




Cherry orchard

A Brief Buyer’s Guide To Blockley Blockley is situated on the western edge of the North Cotswolds, about three miles from Moreton in Marsh and a similar distance to Chipping Campden. the beautiful centre boasts a wonderful, new community-run village store and coffee shop, plus two great pubs and a hugely popular primary school. Renowned for its active social calendar and positive community spirit, this is a happy and integrated village where many families have lived for generations. There has also been an influx of London buyers over recent years, partly because of the relative number of smaller period properties that are available. as a result of the georgian silk mill industry, terraced cottages are relatively abundant and these, of course, provide ideal investment opportunities for second homers.


Cotswold Homes Magazine

should you wish to purchase a little slice of Blockley, a terraced property averages around £275,000 to £300,000 and a grander, detached property around £525,000. that’s rather more expensive than Moreton in Marsh but not nearly as eye-watering as Chipping Campden where, according to Rightmove, the average house price had already topped £500,000 by the end of 2013. some of the disparity between Blockley and Chipping Campden prices can by explained by the fact that more terraced homes were sold in Blockley than any other type in 2013, whilst in Chipping Campden the sale of detached properties came out top of the list at an average price of over £750,000. in fact, in 2013, Chipping Campden’s average price was 16% up on the previous year, a very impressive localised surge compared with Blockley (and the average

Cotswold price hike) of around 6% in the same period. so, what is likely to happen in the next twelve months to the market place in Blockley? Just as in central London, would-be buyers may very well start to radiate their search outwards from Chipping Campden, seeking slightly more affordable alternatives and, without a doubt, detached family properties are likely to be greatly in demand, too. given the golden postcode kudos of Blockley, a significant rise in average value could well be on the cards and of course, the benefit of this depends greatly on whether you happen to be a vendor or a buyer! if you are thinking about buying in Blockley, evidently now is a good time to get ahead of the crowd – so what can you get for your money either to buy, to rent or simply for a weekend away?


Tom Burdett, Branch Manager of Harrison James & Hardie, Fine & Country Moreton in Marsh says:

The beautiful centre boasts a wonderful, new communityrun village store and coffee shop, plus two great pubs and a hugely popular primary school.

“there is no doubt that Blockley is a fabulous place to settle upon, either as a family seeking all the comforts and benefits of traditional village life or as an investor seeking a good return. Park Road in Blockley is the perfect destination of choice for second-homers – a long row of terraced, period village homes with stunning panoramic countryside views and cottage gardens. number 55 has recently come onto our books at £289,950 with a kitchen/ breakfast room, sitting room, two double bedrooms and bathroom on the upper ground floor plus two double bedrooms on the first floor, and a lovely little garden overlooking the views. “Family-sized, period detached properties are harder to find. Cherry Orchard sold through us recently - an eminently desirable home that had recently undergone significant refurbishment, offering two reception rooms, kitchen and conservatory, an en-suite master bedroom, dressing room/ study, two further bedrooms, bathroom, garage, gated parking for several vehicles, plus a great garden with some beautiful countryside views. At £525,000, it was unsurprisingly snapped up!”

Caroline Gee, Director of Lettings at Harrison James & Hardie, says: “Just a few yards away from steppes Cottage, 3 Milton Court has an awesome outlook over the surrounding countryside, yet is centrally located on the High street. At £695 per calendar month, this spacious period apartment has great character, including high ceilings and a stone fireplace with wood burning stove. there’s a kitchen/ breakfast room and sitting room, master bedroom and en-suite bathroom plus a second guest bedroom and bathroom – it’s a super home but also would make an ideal property as a little trial weekend pad, if you can afford to visit often enough to make the rental worthwhile!” And how about a weekend away in Blockley? Holiday let company Character Cottages has a number of properties in Blockley on the books, including Brook Cottage. Andy Soye says: “Brook Cottage is an idyllic cottage, full of traditional character in an absolutely picture-perfect location, offering the complete antithesis to life in the city. sleeping four, staying Friday to sunday, will cost less than £400 for a quick, wonderful pick-you-up in one of the most desirable villages in the Cotswolds.”

3 Milton Court

Brook Cottage

55 Park Road



Star Cottage, Bourton on the Hill Offers In Excess Of ÂŁ500,000 A beautifully presented Grade ll listed cottage with an abundance of character and charm. The property benefits from a well-proportioned rear garden, large stone built garage and off road parking. Entrance | Sitting Room | Dining Room | Inner Hall | Kitchen | Family Room | WC | Three Bedrooms | Two Bathrooms | Garden | Garage | Parking | EPC Rating: E Fine and Country Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 653 893

Wayside, Little Rissington


A newly refurbished character cottage situated in the heart of Little Rissington. Entrance Lobby | Sitting Room | Kitchen/Diner | Two Bedrooms | Bath/Shower room | Rear Outside WC | Garden Store | Separate Garden Shed | Rear Garden | EPC Rating: F Fine and Country Harrison James & Hardie, Stow on the Wold 01451 833 170

High Jinks, Great Rissington


Alderley, Bourton on the Water


A Cotswold stone detached upside-down design property, situated in a desirable village. Entrance Hall | Master Bedroom with Ensuite | Two Additional Bedrooms | Utility | Shower Room | First Floor Open Plan Sitting/Dining Room with Balcony | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Further Bedroom | Bathroom | Parking | Garage | Rear Garden | EPC Rating: C

A beautifully presented four bedroom detached property, benefiting from private gardens and off road parking, situated within a level walk to the village centre.The property is currently run as a successful holiday let but would make an excellent family home.Available with no onward chain. Entrance Hall | Cloakroom | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Sitting/Dining Room | Utility | Bedroom | Ensuite | Three Double Bedrooms | Three Ensuite Facilities | Car Port | Off Road Parking | Side 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

21 The Gorse, Bourton on the Water


Badgers End, Stow on the Wold


A well-presented detached bungalow situated in a quiet cul-de-sac location, available with no onward chain. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Three Bedrooms | Bathroom | Front and Rear Gardens | Driveway | Garage | EPC Rating: E

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 | Ensuite | Second Bedroom | Bathroom | Bedroom | Cloakroom | 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

Primrose Cottage, Little Rissington


Lyon Cottage, Northleach


An immaculately presented Cotswold stone end terrace modern cottage situated on a quiet lane in the village of Little Rissington. Entrance Hall | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Sitting/Dining Room | Conservatory | Utility | Cloakroom | Three Bedrooms (Master with Ensuite Shower) | Family Bathroom | Off Road Parking | Garage | Rear Garden | EPC Rating: C

A charming Grade II Listed town house offering a wealth of character. Lyon Cottage is an ideal investment or family home, set within walking distance of the centre of this historic market town. No Onward Chain. Sitting Room | Study | Kitchen | Dining Room | Cloakroom | Two First Floor Bedrooms | Bathroom | Potential for Two Further Second Floor Bedrooms | Rear Garden | Period Outhouse | EPC Rating: excempt

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

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

Dolls Cottage, Bourton on the Water


An opportunity to purchase a top performing holiday cottage situated within walking distance of the village centre. Dolls Cottage is available for sale as an investment holiday let with firm bookings already established for next year.Viewings can be arranged between changeover times - please contact Harrison James & Hardie for information. Sitting/Dining Room | Kitchen | Cloakroom | Conservatory | First Floor Double Bedroom | Bathroom | Second Floor Double Bedroom | Off Road Parking | South Facing Garden | EPC Rating: D Harrison James & Hardie, Bourton on the Water 01451 822 977

Sunnydale, Bourton on the Water


A double fronted Cotswold stone detached cottage, within walking distance to the centre of the village. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Utility/Cloakroom | Two Double Bedrooms | Bathroom | Sunny Courtyard Garden | Driveway | EPC Rating: D

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

view all our properties at harrisonjameshardie.co.uk

Keystones, Broadway


29 Summers Way, Moreton in Marsh


A beautifully presented 4 bedroom detached home located a short walk from the centre of this picturesque North Cotswold village. Reception Hall | Sitting Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Study | Utility Room | WC | Master Bedroom with En-Suite | Guest Bedroom with En-Suite, Two Further Bedrooms | Bathroom | Garage | Garden | Parking | EPC Rating: C

A recently constructed substantial detached residence located on the popular Moreton Park development. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Dining Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | WC | Master Bedroom with En-Suite | Three Further Bedrooms | Study/Bedroom Five | Bathroom | Garage | Garden | Parking | EPC Rating: B

Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651 000

Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651 000

Rosebank, Ebrington


3 Lemynton View, Moreton in Marsh


A traditional period cottage occupying an elevated position within this popular North Cotswold village. The property is currently operating as a successful holiday let and benefits from a large detached garage and off road parking. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Dining Room | Kitchen | Conservatory | Utility Room | Three Bedrooms | Bathroom | Detached Stone Built Garage | Parking and Garden | EPC Rating: E

An immaculately presented family home, offering spacious and contemporary accommodation. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Dining Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Utility Room | WC | Master Bedroom with En-Suite | Three Further Bedrooms | Family Bathroom | Garden | Garage and Parking | EPC Rating: C

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

Fairview, Longborough


36 Blenheim Way, Moreton in Marsh


A traditional Cotswold cottage, with scope for improvement and modernisation, set in the desirable village of Longborough. Sitting room | Dining room | Kitchen | Bathroom | Two First Floor Double Bedrooms | Further Attic Bedroom on the Second Floor | Garden | EPC Rating: D

An immaculately presented 4 bedroom property situated on a much sought after development on the Northern edge of the town. Entrance Hall | Sitting/Dining Room | Kitchen | WC | Master Bedroom with En-Suite | Three Further Bedrooms | Bathroom | Garden | Garage and Covered Parking | EPC Rating C

Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651 000

Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651 000

Corner Cottage, Moreton in Marsh


34 Redesdale Place, Moreton in Marsh


A two bedroom period cottage requiring some modernisation located in a central position within the town. Entrance | Sitting Room | Dining Room | Kitchen | Shower Room | Master Bedroom with En-Suite | Guest Bedroom | Garage | Garden | Parking | EPC Rating: E

Situated in a quiet residential location at the end of its street, and in the Cotswold AONB, this extended and recently refurbished family home offers flexible and well-proportioned accommodation including three substantial reception rooms and benefitting from a large rear garden. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Dining Room | Utility Room | Family Room | Three Bedrooms | Bathroom | Garden | Off Road Parking | EPC Rating: C

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


Wyck Hill Lodge

Wyck Hill Lodge, Stow on the Wold & Woodlands, Kitebrook 74

Cotswold Homes Magazine

the north Cotswolds is undoubtedly horsey country. Whether the particular obsession is pony club, point-to-point, hunting, eventing or jump racing, everyone from knee-high upwards knows someone whose thoughts revolve completely around horses. of course, this is the landscape of true professionals. A dozen renowned trainers can be found in these hills, their victories the stuff of legend: synchronised, Don’t Push it and imperial Commander to name but a few. no doubt, there are whole hosts of fresh contenders in Jonjo o’neill’s stables plus the beloved new one at the twiston-Davies yard in naunton, of course, but it’s not just about the sport of Kings. Many people keep horses for nothing more complicated than sheer love, to ride out, for hacking across the open Cotswold countryside or, re-igniting their childhood passions, finally capitulating to their own children’s pleas for a pony. if you are not that horsey then you can’t understand it but when horsey people look for a house it’s often only the land that matters – space for a stable, a ménage and a couple of flat paddocks, not a single mention of


Wyck Hill Lodge

Wyck Hill Lodge

WYCK HILL LODGE IS A VICTORIAN-GOTHIC DELIGHT. THE PROPERTY WOULD ONCE HAVE BELONGED TO WYCK HILL HOUSE (NOW A GRAND COUNTRY HOTEL) BUT HAS LONG SINCE BEEN SEPARATED FROM ITS ORIGINAL PURPOSE. bedroom sizes or access to amenities. Despite being in the middle of the countryside it is surprisingly difficult to find something to suit a horsey spec, or even just a house with an acre or two, especially if the budget is somewhat less than a million pounds. Land is at a premium and has been for many years since larger period village properties have long since parcelled off their land for development, infilling and capitalising, whilst terraced cottages that were formerly tied to estates have only pocket handkerchiefs and new builds are always maximised for profit, squeezed into smaller and smaller plots. even if it’s not the horse that counts, where does one find a home with an acre but without breaking the bank?

the answer is on the edge of a village, a little more out of the way, on a road perhaps - a lodge to a former estate or a detached modern house, something not necessarily of the traditional Cotswold vernacular but built when land was more plentiful. such homes have a particular, luxurious joy afforded by the openness of their setting, blessed with lovely aspects over surrounding countryside, large gardens and, most significantly, great plots. And so, Wyck Hill Lodge is a Victorian-gothic delight. the property would once have belonged to Wyck Hill House (now a grand country hotel) but has long since been separated from its original purpose. set half way up Wyck Hill on the road from stow to Burford,

hidden and protected by a slice of mature woodland, this house enjoys a truly wonderful aspect with wide-open views that soar across the broad Windrush valley. For the non-horsey, a description of the property is enough to lure one in: grade ii listed, constructed of natural Cotswold stone under a slate roof with a pretty front gable façade, arched stone mullioned windows and a covered verandah set upon pillars, extended recently to provide generous, versatile accommodation including a substantial entrance hall that leads to a drawing room, study and dining room, interlinked to the kitchen by a separate utility room, with three en-suite bedrooms arranged on three floors, of which the first floor master bedroom has a particularly fine outlook, having great ceiling height and a large picture window designed to take full advantage of the position and views. now, for horsey folk, the very exiting bit. Beyond a delightfully mature and well-tended garden there is a timber-built stable block comprising two stables, a foaling box and a tack room, with a further paddock extending to just over one acre. www.cotswold-homes.com



Woodlands, Kitebrook

If it’s more the land and not the horse that counts, then further northwards on the Oxfordshire boundary of the Cotswolds is another home, set at the edge of Kitebrook on the way towards Chipping Norton. This recently improved and substantial stone-built residence was constructed during the early twentieth century using reclaimed materials sourced from a nearby ancient chapel. Immaculately presented with an abundance of character - including fabulous, arched stained glass windows, an impressive elm staircase and balconied landing, open fireplaces, beamed ceilings and exposed stone walls - Woodlands is approached via a gated driveway that affords plenty of privacy, looking out over manicured grounds and a glade of mature, deciduous trees. The rooms are particularly well proportioned with a sitting room, conservatory, dining room and kitchen/ breakfast room and upstairs a master bedroom with dressing area and en-suite shower room, a 76

Cotswold Homes Magazine

second double bedroom plus family bathroom, then two further bedrooms on the second floor above. Outside, there’s space for a positive flotilla of motors including a detached double garage with a room above, a second double garage and an open-fronted carport – but best of all is the plot, approximately two acres in total. Both properties are marketed by Harrison James & Hardie Fine & Country North Cotswolds. Wyck Hill Lodge is on offer at the Bourton on the Water branch and Woodlands at the Moreton in Marsh branch. For more details, floor plans and photographs, hit the hotspots if you are reading our App, or otherwise visit www.cotswold-homes. com and click on the Harrison James & Hardie icon on the landing page. To arrange a viewing, strictly by appointment, contact Katy Hill, Branch Manager at Bourton on the Water, 01451 822977 or Tom Burdett, Branch Manager at Moreton in Marsh, 01608 651000.


Woodlands, Kitebrook





The iconic Arlington Row in Bibury defines our image of the Cotswolds. In any building rush, thoughtful planning is what’s needed.

Don’t Shoot The Planning Officer! Builder Craig Siller bewails the amateurish over-development of our beautiful local countryside With its quaint cottages, isolated farms and sprawling mansion houses, it seems the North Cotswolds is alive likes fleas on a dog with planning applications right now. Everyone owning more than a garden shed-sized plot is trying to capitalise on the new planning rules, proffering odd little parcels of land for planning permission, speculating on anything from one to a hundred homes, putting forward their land as if they are doing the local council a favour whilst setting down caveats with peculiar lists of preconditions (that the development must not be too close to their own property, that the houses must have windows pointing upwards or downwards, that the inhabitants must not have satellite dishes and cannot store caravans or fire up barbecues when the wind blows in an easterly direction, etc.) It would not surprise me if planning departments soon have to bring in Men-In-Black-style bouncers to protect their staff against the literal flood of green-wellie-wearing enthusiasts who are descending like a veritable army upon hapless council officials, frightening the life out of poor junior planning assistants, heavily armed with weird historic maps, quotes from ministers and important hand-drawn plans (sketched out on kitchen tables in front of their Agas, no doubt). Give the guy on the front desk some security glazing and a panic button lest he is peremptorily abducted to a field in the middle of nowhere, exhorted to admire the view then to contemplate how much better it would look with a few six-bedroom houses. 80

Cotswold Homes Magazine

“Above all, we must petition to bring back tougher planning laws and put a stop to the wilful destruction of our countryside before it’s too late.” Landowners are offering everything for consideration from Great Aunt Maude's old apple orchard to ancient ridge-and-furrow fields, and even negotiating on parcels of land it turns out they don’t actually own. Meanwhile, the countryside is literally undergoing a revolution, a siege from within, being slowly attacked by those who might pretend to be addressing the housing shortage but who are quietly rubbing their hands with ill-disguised glee. The truth is that these bits and pieces of land are often too expensive for anyone to make a sensible return, let alone that the homes themselves are often poorly "planned" and when no-one gives a fig about infrastructure. (You know, the non-important stuff like electricity, water or drainage… Does anyone actually realise the exorbitant amount of money required to live “off grid” in one of these pseudo-eco homes?) Really, what we need is more land that has been professionally and efficiently planned, homes built upon brown sites in suburban settings where amenities will flourish and services already exist, sensibly designed and thoughtfully considered developments that take into account the actual needs of the local area and are empathetic

towards the lives of those people who will actually have to settle there. We should fight for sustainable, quality-built homes that utilise the knowledge, skills and wisdom of good local professional architects, planning consultants, engineers and builders. Above all, we must petition to bring back tougher planning laws and put a stop to the wilful destruction of our countryside before it’s too late. (Anyway, I have just received a call from a landowner who reckons there’s potential for twenty homes on his field of holiday yurts and needs my advice… Got to go and make an honest buck, dear reader…)

Visit www.alderwoodconstruction.co.uk to view a portfolio of our building projects and request a free quote for your building works.


Oxleigh and Honeysuckle Cottage

A Nest-egg in the

North Cotswolds Andy Soye and Mat Faraday of Character Cottages run a successful holiday let company. The majority of properties on their books are situated in the North Cotswolds so they have a keen understanding and detailed knowledge of the local market place. Here, they propose two pairs of properties suitable for a holiday-let portfolio that would produce a reliable, yearround income for someone on the verge of retirement. 82

Cotswold Homes Magazine


I am in my late 50s and plan to retire in three years, moving from Yorkshire to be closer to my daughter and the grandchildren. I have £850,000 from the sale of my late mother’s property and would like to buy two holiday-let properties in the North Cotswolds, using one property occasionally but otherwise letting it out until I am able to move in permanently, and the other providing a consistent holiday let income, especially necessary when I give up work in due course. What do you suggest?

Oxleigh Cottage

Oxleigh Cottage

Oxleigh Cottage

Andy Soye says: The North Cotswolds is a perfect part of the world to ensure a consistent flow of holiday let income even in the winter months. Of all the places you might choose, Bourton on the Water comes up very high on the list as a popular all-year-round destination for holidaymakers. Not only an iconic Cotswold village, it is also a central point for visiting the whole of the North Cotswolds, large enough to be provided with a wealth of attractions and amenities yet surrounded on all sides by beautiful countryside - a wonderful place to live and the ideal base for you, until you are able to retire. As luck would have it there is a perfect pair of cottages currently on the market, ticking every single box on your wish list. Oxleigh Cottage and Honeysuckle Cottage are situated on Moore Road, just off the High Street – slightly away from the hustle and bustle where one can walk to the centre within a couple of minutes, pick up the

paper and enjoy the a quiet early morning stroll along the riverside before the tourists arrive, or in the early evening when they all go home! There’s plenty to do in the village itself, including Birdland, the Motor Museum and the Dragonfly Maze, and a host of great places to eat out – a thriving and well-provided community for residents and visitors alike. With loads of “kerb appeal”, built of Cotswold stone with mullioned windows, full of traditional charm, these two cottages have the benefit of a large, shared garden to the rear. Certain to drive great revenues, they can run independently but are ideal for ease of maintenance when it comes to a gardener, cleaner, etc. There is even an annexe at the back you can use as a private bolthole on an occasional basis, thereby ensuring that both cottages can be let all year round without diminishing your potential revenues. Whilst each property might be able to sleep six at a push they

“Oxleigh Cottage and Honeysuckle Cottage are situated on Moore Road, just off the High Street – slightly away from the hustle and bustle where one can walk to the centre within a couple of minutes ...” are really better suited to accommodate five, in which case each cottage is capable of delivering around £30,000 gross income per annum - a total of £60,000 gross annual income, plus use of the annexe whenever you wish. www.cotswold-homes.com


HoLiDay MaRket

Bull Pen

Mat Faraday says: Until recently, rosebank in ebrington was on our books, so we know it provides a reliable holiday let income. i envisage this delightful property as your eventual home, somewhere wonderful to retire to - a chocolate-box cottage with really good ground-floor space and full of character with a private garden, parking and double garage. it is situated in a picture-perfect village; rows of honey-coloured stone cottages surrounding a wide central green and served by a great pub, renowned for its friendly community feel. Being within easy reach of Moreton in Marsh, Chipping Campden and Stratford upon avon, the location provides a fantastic base for holidaymakers visiting the northern edge of the Cotswolds and as such, rosebank generates £30,000 gross income per annum, come rain or shine. I would happily pair Rosebank with The Bull Pen in Ditchford, a property situated on the Fosseway about five minutes north of Moreton in Marsh. One of a recent conversion of farm buildings forming a beautiful courtyard of individual, characterful properties, the Bull Pen is presented in immaculate order. I would utilise the ground floor study as a fourth bedroom, thereby sleeping eight. Having a wonderful, fresh modern finish including a lovely open plan kitchen/dining room as its glamorous centrepiece, the gorgeous interiors of 84

Cotswold Homes Magazine

Bull Pen

The Bull Pen will certainly attract plenty of interest. Within a stone’s throw of Moreton in Marsh, this location will remain a strong contender for holidaymakers throughout the winter months and should generate around £45,000 gross income per annum. Even if you were to use Rosebank quite regularly until your retirement, compared with the potential revenues you can generate from the two cottages in Bourton on the Water by using the annexe, Rosebank gives you the luxury of accommodating your own guests as often as you wish without worrying about the overall impact

on your revenues, taking into account the larger income that The Bull Pen will provide. I admit the purchase will stretch your budget a bit, being about £50,000 more than you want to spend, but together they should produce £75,000 gross income per year, compared with £60,000 in Bourton on the Water – within three years you will have evened out the figures! As a footnote, have a look at Steppes Cottage and The Wool Shop in Blockley (p.64 – 67), another two properties that provide another winning combination, generating similar revenues for around the same initial budget – choices, choices, choices!

HoLiDay MaRket

Bull Pen


“The Bull Pen will certainly attract plenty of interest. Within a stone’s throw of Moreton in Marsh, this location will remain a strong contender for holidaymakers throughout the winter months and should generate around £45,000 gross income per annum.” rosebank




HigH Jinks

Having seen BBC 2’s the Great interior Design Challenge I have been inspired to find a house where i can create my own “wow factor”. i am looking for something a bit tired where i can open up the space and do something innovative, rather than a complete renovation and / or extension. With two children, i need a minimum of three bedrooms and two bathrooms and would prefer a detached, period property with a garden and views in a quintessential Cotswold village. i have a budget of £600,000 max to spend on the finished project.

homes will dislike a very modern scheme because they expect a traditional Cotswold vernacular – inglenooks, stone floors, exposed beams and pale colours. Bold transformative design in a modern property is more likely to confound expectations in a good way and your money will also go a lot further. Far better to seek out something that requires imagination and updating, that won’t require listed buildings consent, where you will have more space to play with and can be really creative with a broad palette of colours, materials, fixtures and fittings.

Karen Harrison says: “Period properties are inherently gorgeous and they usually have small reception rooms that might look good if knocked through but alterations inevitably require permission (if you can do it at all) and will cost heavily in materials and labour. Whilst liberating your creative side, you must also keep an eye on future saleability even if you intend this to be your forever home. Many buyers of period

Modern family homes can get a bit passé and tired, especially when there isn’t cash to splash around beyond the exigencies of everyday life, so there are occasional gems to snap up. For example, seventies chalet-style houses have great footprints and large gardens, and spending around £50,000 upon innovative design, opening up spaces and upgrading kitchens and bathrooms can be really transformative. A substantial makeover is


Cotswold Homes Magazine

only worthwhile, however, if it enables your family to live there for at least five years or so. Spent wisely, you should see every penny back but this is about indulging your passion for good design and not about making a quick profit, which is the reason why developers ignore such properties (unless something can be significantly extended or there happens to be a potential in-fill plot in the grounds). High Jinks in Great Rissington, priced to sell at £545,000, cannot be extended and is not in need of anything more substantial than a lick of paint and some energetic gardening, but you could easily do something quite inspirational to create a really stunning home. It’s a four bedroom “upside down” house built of Cotswold stone, situated in an ideal village for a family. With an outstanding primary school and a traditional pub on your doorstep, plus a convenience store just along the road in Upper Rissington, and the A40 and A417 accessible in a few minutes, Great Rissington is as

High Jinks

“Bold transformative design in a modern property is more likely to confound expectations in a good way and your money will also go a lot further.” picturesque and traditional as you could hope to find anywhere in the North Cotswolds, making it a highly desirable place to live. With plenty of potential to indulge your creative urges, I would begin your transformation on the first floor where the living accommodation takes best advantage of views over the surrounding hills and garden. Currently, there is one living / dining room plus a comparatively small kitchen / breakfast room, bathroom and bedroom. I would totally mess with this space to create a huge kitchen / dining / living room, New York loft-style. Open plan living is very restful and sociable, and given the dimensions and the shapes in the main room, with deep eaves looking out to the views, the effect could be quite stunning. I would also knock out the existing kitchen, and the bathroom and bedroom, to create a wide-open ‘L’ shaped living space, given you only need three bedrooms.

You could make another formal sitting room with dual aspect if you prefer, but remember to save some of that space for a generous cloakroom and loo - storage for garden coats, boots and so on, beyond the provision on the ground floor. Downstairs, there are already three great bedrooms and two bathrooms plus the utility room - keeping the noise of washing machine and tumble dryer away from open plan living makes perfect sense, so it’s a very practical family home and the general arrangement works really well. However, because the house is built into the side of the hill and the upward sloping garden is a bit overgrown, the bedrooms don’t get quite enough of the available light, compounded by a substantial wooden balcony that serves the first floor. The balcony is a fantastic benefit and a lovely feature, catching the sun in the heat of the day and large enough to dine out with family and friends, but

could do with an overhaul to allow light to flood through below – perhaps interspersing some of the floorboards with toughened glass might do the trick. Meanwhile, the lower part of the garden could be dug out a little further into the bank in order to give a broader, sunnier patio, when it would make perfect sense to install pairs of glazed doors opening out from the bedrooms at the back – how lovely to eat breakfast outdoors in your dressing gown and read the Sunday papers in complete privacy! The rest of the garden is great for children as it is, with a good flat lawn half way up, but by creating a series of interesting, well-maintained terraces climbing up towards a summerhouse at the top, say, you would have somewhere really beautiful and more grown-up to relax with a glass of wine and to revel in one’s good fortune at having snapped up a designer’s gem!” www.cotswold-homes.com



Melville Cottage, Great Rissington


A charming two bed period cottage, set within the beautiful village of Great Rissington. Large Kitchen/Diner | Sitting Room with Wood Burning Stove | Downstairs Shower Room | Two Double Bedrooms | Bathroom | Off Road Parking | Garden | Awaiting EPC Fine and Country, Harrison James & Hardie, Stow-on-the-Wold 01451 833 170

4 Hazel Grove, Bledington

ÂŁ1,450 PCM

A well presented detached family home set within the heart of the pretty village of Bledington. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Kitchen/Diner | Utility Room | WC | Master Bedroom with En Suite Shower Room | Two Further Bedrooms | Family Bathroom | Workshop | Rear Garden | Off Road Parking | EPC Rating: D 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


3 Milton Court, Blockley

£695 pcm

50 Croft Holm, Moreton in Marsh

£1,075 pcm LET AGREED

A spacious period apartment located in the North Cotswold village of Blockley. Entrance Hall | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Sitting Room | Master Bedroom | En Suite Shower Room | Second Bedroom | Bathroom | EPC Rating: D

A substantial detached family home situated within walking distance of the popular High Street of Moreton in Marsh. Reception Hall | Dining Room | Sitting Room | Kitchen | Utility | Cloakroom | Two Double Bedrooms with En Suites | Further Double Bedroom | Single Bedroom | Family Bathroom | Garage | Off Road Parking | Garden | EPC Rating: D

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

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

4 Church Street, Willersey

£895 pcm LET AGREED

May Cottage, Kitebrook

£845 pcm LET AGREED

A charming period cottage set within the heart of the picturesque village of Willersey. Entrance Lobby | Kitchen Diner | Utility Room | Sitting Room | Ground Floor Shower Room | Three Bedrooms | First Floor Shower Room | Rear Garden | Car Port | Off Road Parking | EPC Rating: E

A delightful refurbished semi-detached Stone Cottage with extensive rural views and some original character features. Entrance Hall | Sitting room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Two Double Bedrooms | Family Bath and Shower Room | Off Road Parking For Two Cars | Outside Storage/Utility Room | Front Garden | Large Rear Garden | Sunny Patio Area | EPC Rating: E

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

Can’t Buy, Won’t Buy, then Rent!

The Manse at Naunton, offered through the Lettings department of Harrison James & Hardie, is a stunning example of just such an opportunity - a luxurious home in an outstanding setting that would absolutely justify your decision to rent not buy. 90 Cotswold Homes Magazine

Can’t Buy, Won’t Buy, then Rent!

Who Lives In A House Like This? Can’t Buy, Won’t Buy, Then Rent! If you yearn for a traditional Cotswold home and won’t compromise on your style but your budget doesn’t quite stretch to the kind of properties gracing the pages of this magazine, then don’t despair because we have the solution. Why not put invest your funds in stocks and shares and rent something wonderful instead? Everyone tends to associate the lettings market with bland, modern properties but there are some exquisite period village homes to be found, if only you know where to look. The Manse at Naunton, offered through the Lettings department of Harrison James & Hardie, is a stunning example of just such an opportunity - a luxurious home in an outstanding setting that would absolutely justify your decision to rent not buy. Situated in the glorious village of Naunton on the western edge of the North Cotswolds (less than half an hour’s drive to Cheltenham, with the centres of Bourton on the Water and Stow on the Wold both providing a wide range of day-today amenities and services), the Manse is a period

Cotswold stone Grade II listed detached home presented in gorgeous decorative order, having lovely gardens and breath-taking views over adjacent countryside and the River Windrush. Recently the subject of extensive renovation, you will have the benefit of two reception rooms, a kitchen with an Aga, four bedrooms and four bathrooms. Make this exquisite property into your very own country pad and turn all your friends and family green with jealousy for £2,600 per calendar month* - but hurry, it takes Caroline Gee and her team an average of two viewings to let a property so it won’t be available for long! For further information on this and other period homes to let through Harrison James & Hardie, contact Caroline Gee, Lettings Director on 01451 833170. For more photos and a floor plan visit www.cotswold-homes.com or, if you are reading this on our App, simply hover over the hotspots! *(plus upfront deposit monies and tenancy administration costs of £350.00 + VAT) www.cotswold-homes.com



The Henever

Investing in

Upper Rissington Since the RAF base at Upper Rissington was sold by the MOD for development sixteen years ago, those who have brought up families here over the last few years will tell you what a wonderful place Upper Rissington is to live. Set high up on a Cotswold plain and surrounded by open countryside within a triangle formed by Stow on the Wold, Burford and Bourton on the Water, this little rural community has much to offer on its doorstep. Now, a new development is well underway, including a brand new school being built in the middle of the village, serving as a split site with the Outstanding primary school at Great Rissington.

The Henever


Cotswold Homes Magazine

Also nearing completion is a fabulous community centre with a badminton court, a stage, changing rooms and showers, a large meeting hall and a fitted kitchen, designed to bring the whole village together for social occasions and a variety of sports / evening classes, and to provide a new home for the resident playgroup. Allotments and cycle paths are planned in the outer edges of the village, through woods and across fields offering wide-open views over the Oxfordshire edge of the Cotswolds. The village market square will boast an improved range of amenities including a supermarket, shops and a restaurant.The location gives easy access to major arterial routes, not least a mainline station to

The Henever

London Paddington within a quarter of an hour’s drive and now a bus route from the village, too. Whilst some new build environments take a time to settle and mature, here the site is blessed with a huge variety of beautiful, established British trees, providing new residents with an immediate and delightful sense of life in the countryside. The village is already overrun with wildlife – hedgehogs, squirrels, muntjac deer, pheasants and green woodpeckers are all occasional visitors to gardens whilst a clamour of crows and red kites soar above in the broad skies, engaged in aerial combat. Light aircraft and gliders make the most of good weather


"... HEDGEHOGS, SQUIRRELS, MUNTJAC DEER, PHEASANTS AND GREEN WOODPECKERS ARE ALL OCCASIONAL VISITORS TO GARDENS WHILST A CLAMOUR OF CROWS AND RED KITES SOAR ABOVE IN THE BROAD SKIES, ENGAGED IN AERIAL COMBAT." at weekends and occasional troops of parachutists can be seen floating down beyond the wood - the RAF still makes occasional use of the airfield, a great enticement for any anorak plane spotters!

The Henever

A select development of new homes are rising up fast on the southern edge of the village, with many new families taking up residence over the last six months. Mirroring the vernacular of the old part of the village, starter homes and family properties will broaden out into little cul-de-sacs of luxury homes in generous plots with double garages, enjoying splendid views.The Henever is a Bovis Show Home, exemplifying the style and quality of properties currently being built on the development, with one of this design available on the current phase being offered to the market at £410, 995.This detached property has a free-flowing living space including a study, open-plan kitchen/dining room and a sitting room with patio doors opening out onto a private, enclosed garden. On the first floor there are four generous bedrooms and two bathrooms, all arranged around a wide, light-filled balcony landing. Outside, there is a detached garage and ample parking, making it a perfect family home. Amy Coldicott from Harrison James & Hardie Lettings reveals that investment buyers are also snapping up properties:

The Henever

“I have another four homes being offered out to rent as soon as they complete at the end of November. Rental values are really good – averaging £925 per calendar month for a three bedroom property - and there is a ready supply of eager young couples and families who are unable to get onto the housing ladder, who cannot afford the deposit or who don’t qualify for the shared ownership scheme, falling over themselves to secure a property to let up here, instead.” To find out more about buying a property at Upper Rissington, simply arrange an appointment via the sole agents Harrison James & Hardie on 01451 822977, or for lettings details telephone Amy Coldicott on 01451 833170. For floor plans, photographs, house types and prices, go to www.cotswold-homes.com property section or, if you are looking at this on the App version, simply hover over the hot spots!

The Henever



Interested in promoting your business in Cotswold Homes? Turn to page 123 to find out how!



Yes, I remember Adlestrop – the name, because one afternoon Of heat the express-train drew up there Unwontedly. It was late June. The steam hissed. Someone cleared his throat. No one left and no one came On the bare platform. What I saw Was Adlestrop – only the name And willows, willow-herb, and grass, And meadowsweet, and haycocks dry, No whit less still and lonely fair Than the high cloudlets in the sky. And for that minute a blackbird sang Close by, and round him, mistier, Farther and farther, all the birds Of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.

It is a work of endearing simplicity, a noting of an uneventful, unplanned stop at a Cotswold railway station. A few lines of inspiration snatched by a poet from a moment of nothingness: No one left, and no one came. Yet when read in the context of the four years of world-consuming bloodshed that was WWI – resulting in the death of the poem’s author, Edward Thomas – these lines are heavy with tragedy, their imagery almost bitterly poignant. The ‘Guns of August’ loom somewhere in the background of this richly evoked late June day. Peace, like a summer day, suddenly seems a fleeting, ephemeral thing. Thanks to Thomas, we too still remember Adlestrop - though the Cotswold station enshrined in one of the nation’s favourite poems was in fact closed in 1966.The village has continued to attract visitors seeking to experience Thomas’ own Adlestrop, even though 102 Cotswold Homes Magazine

he never really experienced it (and they are inevitably disappointed to find that famous station has long since gone). In the July of the following year, 1915,Thomas enlisted to fight – even though, at the age of 37, he was not required to. His decision was to prove fatal. Why did he willingly throw himself into that danger? With a wife and three children to support, perhaps his motives were, in part, financial. Since graduating from Oxford, Thomas had chosen a difficult path, eking out a life as a critic and a reviewer of books, and their life had often been frugal. But given that the often-melancholy Thomas was of a thoughtful disposition, it is likely there were more complicated reasons involved in his choice to fight. Since Thomas was generally disdainful of jingoism

and immune to propaganda, many speculate – with good reason - that it was his friendship with the great American poet Robert Frost that pushed him to go to war. Though the two poets are now well known, at the time of their first meeting in 1913 in London, neither had made a significant mark. Frost’s poetry had impressed the discerning Thomas, who through his newspaper work had become an influential critic of poetry. Theirs became a friendship of mutual admiration and mutual assistance: Thomas raised Frost’s profile, and Frost saw in Thomas’ prose the possibility for beautiful poetry (for despite publishing numerous books and thousands of articles, Frost had not yet allowed himself to write a poem). When word of war arrived in 1914, both were sitting on a stile near Frost’s Gloucestershire cottage, joking about the possibility of hearing guns from where they sat, then far away from danger.


“THANKS TO THOMAS, WE TOO STILL REMEMBER ADLESTROP - THOUGH T H E C O T S W O L D S TAT I O N E N S H R I N E D I N O N E O F T H E N AT I O N ’ S FAV O U R I T E P O E M S WA S I N FA C T C L O S E D I N 1 9 6 6 . T H E V I L L A G E H A S C O N T I N U E D T O AT T R A C T V I S I T O R S S E E K I N G T O E X P E R I E N C E T H O M A S ’ O W N A D L E S T R O P, E V E N T H O U G H H E N E V E R R E A L LY E X P E R I E N C E D I T . . . ” The pair took many reflective walks together in Gloucestershire (which they called ‘talks-walking’) during which Frost would tease his companion about his indecisive nature. On one such outing they encountered a gamekeeper who ordered them out of the woods, called them ‘cottagers’ and threatened them with a shotgun. Frost boisterously challenged the man, even tracking him back down to his cottage, but the meeker Thomas’ instinct was to withdraw, perhaps sensibly, from a man pointing a gun. But this self-perceived act of cowardice was to hound his thoughts for months to come. When Frost sent Thomas an advance copy of his poem The Road Not Taken (found many, many years later by the Favourite Poem Project to be America’s best loved poem), the introspective Thomas might have read in those striking lines a subtle if affectionate rebuke – a reference to his indecisive nature - and felt compelled to make a gesture of bravery and certainty. Thomas’ mind itself had long been a battlefield, and he questioned himself ceaselessly. Since university he had wrestled with black moods, and was plagued with doubts of his worth. Later, his widow Helen wrote: ‘Our time together was never, as it were, on the level – it was either great heights or great depths.’Thomas would estrange himself from his family for weeks at a time, resenting himself for venting his misery upon them. But he also believed that England – or the very idea of England – was itself threatened by the war. ‘It seems foolish to have loved England up to now without knowing it could perhaps be ravaged and I could and perhaps would do nothing to prevent it,’ he wrote in a notebook on one of his walks with Frost.There can be little doubt that the English countryside was the primary inspiration to Thomas, who even though

now commonly regarded as a war poet, wrote more about it than anything else. Even so, when Frost left England,Thomas acknowledged in a letter to his friend that ‘Frankly, I do not want to go, but hardly a day goes by without thinking I should.’ It was the arrival of Frost’s The Road Not Taken that appeared to settle matters in Thomas’ mind.The pair disputed the intended meaning of the poem, with Thomas left affronted and perhaps comparing himself unflatteringly to his more freewheeling American friend. He abandoned a notion that he had long entertained – of joining Frost in America – in favour of fighting in the war, though their friendship remained fast. His wife, Helen, wrote a letter to Frost after her husband had reached Arras: ‘What a soldier. Oh he’s just fine, full of satisfaction in his work, & his letters free from care & responsibility but keen to have a share in the great stage when it begins where he is…And he said “Outside of you and the children and my mother, Robert Frost comes next.” And I know he loves you.’ However, the censor returned Helen’s letter. Before she had the opportunity to send it again, she received news of Thomas’ death. At the bottom of the letter, she added: ‘This letter was returned by the Censor ages after I posted it. I have had to take out the photographs.’ ‘But lately I have just received the news of Edward’s death. He was killed on Easter Monday by a shell.You will perhaps feel from what I have said that all is well with me. For a moment indeed one loses spirit [and] feeling. With his love all was well & is. We love him, & someday I hope we may meet & talk of him for he is very great & splendid.’

Thomas was killed on the very first day of the battle of Arras, struck by the concussive blast of one of the day’s last shells while he stood up to light his pipe. He had been in France for two months. Helen fell into a deep despair, and her next letters to the Frosts present a picture of a wife and mother in the grip of a near intolerable grief: ‘I try to think the children will fill my life and he filled it, but I know they can’t. And how can I fill theirs like he did.’ Unfortunately, Helen’s relationship with the Frosts took an awkward turn when she published her memoirs, As It Was, in 1926. What was for her an exercise in confronting her grief seemed, to Robert Frost, to be an unnecessarily revealing and intimate account of her husband, perhaps contrary to Thomas as Frost wished to remember him.There fell a spell of silence between them that would last many years. Frost became a titan of poetry and Helen Thomas continued to write and publish. She died in 1967 – the year after Adlestrop Station was closed. One of the reasons why we love the tiny, untroubled world of Adlestrop so much is because it evokes a ‘golden age’ that existed prior to the war. But perhaps that time was anything but. The suffragettes were clamouring to win rights for women; the ‘great unrest’ of 1911-1914 saw the working class fight burgeoning inequality with massive industrial action. It was in many ways a time of turbulence, unfairly overshadowed by the magnitude of the events to follow. In short: don’t go to Adlestrop.The station is long gone – the ‘England’ we imagined before the war was never really there at all. And poor Edward Thomas was only ever passing through. Pictures supplied by the Edward Thomas Fellowship

www.cotswold-homes.com 103 103


Dental Health

Matters Acid Attacks

Dr Trevor Bigg, Milton Dental Practice BDS, MGDS RCS(Eng), FDS RCS(Ed), FFGDP(UK) Dental decay is caused by bacteria or germs in our mouth, feeding on the sugars we eat and producing an acid - dentists call this an ‘acid attack’. It only takes a few minutes for this acid to be produced, but it remains in the mouth for at least 20 minutes. In time, the acid will eat through the outer layer of enamel, through the softer dentine beneath and even through to the pulp or nerve of the tooth. This can cause an abscess, which could lead to the tooth’s extraction. Dental decay has four components: 1. Carbohydrates or sugar in its many forms. Many experiments have shown that without sugar we get no tooth decay. 2. Plaque. This is the name dentists use for the colony of bacteria that form daily on our teeth. 3. A susceptible tooth surface. Decay is more likely to start in the fissures on the biting surfaces of teeth, or at the contact points between two teeth or, as we age, along the gum-line. 4. Time. The longer the sugar is in the mouth, the more decay we will get. Reduce the number of ‘acid attacks’! Dental decay is not a one-way process. The two most important healing factors are saliva and fluoride. The body can heal small areas that have had an ‘acid attack’ by means of calcium, fluoride and other salts carried in the saliva. There are two types of saliva made by the body. When we eat we are stimulated to produce a lot

"There are two types of saliva made by the body. When we eat we are stimulated to produce a lot of thin saliva. This contains salts that help remove the acids produced by plaque." of thin saliva. This contains salts that help remove the acids produced by plaque. When we are not eating we produce thicker saliva to lubricate the mouth. This saliva contains fewer salts to neutralise plaque acids. This is why a pudding or sweet after a meal will do us less harm then sweet foods eaten between meals. So to prevent dental decay: • Clean your teeth after meals with a toothpaste that contains fluoride and use floss or inter- dental brushes to reach the hidden areas where decay starts. • Try not to eat snacks that contain carbohydrates between meals. That includes

sweets, chocolates, biscuits (particularly so- called energy bars), cakes and soft drinks. • If you can’t clean your teeth, try to finish a meal with a little cheese or use sugar-free gum. If you want more information about the contents of the article, go to the British Dental Health Foundation web site at Tell Me About/Dental Decay, or 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. www.cotswold-homes.com 105



It has a wider range of facilities under one roof and the sky! With a huge amount of outdoor space we have been able to build a fifty-station obstacle course, as well as up-to-the-minute equipment and the latest types and styles of fitness training, for example Barrefit, Cross training, Tabata and mud runs. The biggest challenge has been no sleep - I had a vision and a timescale to ensure it opened on time, which meant maintaining the current gym to our high standards and working all hours behind the scenes. It’s been very physically exhausting because of the diversity and size of the project. My wife & I couldn’t have done it without the immense help of our family, trainers and close friends.

I wanted to offer a better solution to overall health and fitness and provide a better quality of training that would interest and excite a wider range of people. It made sense to integrate the land with the established training business to embrace a brand new concept in fitness training, offering a unique indoor and outdoor facility in beautiful Cotswold countryside, encompassing all aspects of health and fitness. We are lucky enough to have twenty-eight acres of great terrain where we will be able to host new and exciting classes, 360 personal training and mud running, as well as offering effective advice on lifestyle and nutrition.

how does freestyle 360 stand apart from other local gyms and what challenges have you faced? 106 Cotswold Homes Magazine

The new gym under construction

the fIfty-statIon obstacle course sounds rather challengIng. who Is thIs aImed at? This course is aimed at anybody who likes the


idea of challenging themselves and taking their fitness to another level. That isn’t to say you have to be an elite athlete - it’s based around fun outdoor fitness for all ages and abilities. It’s a new dimension offering a total body workout over a challenging terrain and obstacles. We are so excited about this and our idea for a Mud Run Obstacle event next year, too - mud runs are really addictive, so watch this space!

"You will get a big warm welcome from someone who will listen and understand your needs and goals, who will take you by the hand without judging, to help you achieve the results you want."

I have never walked into a gym before so what would entice me into yours?

We pride ourselves on client care, supporting and motivating each person one hundred per cent of the time. You will get a big warm welcome from someone who will listen and understand your needs and goals, who will take you by the hand without judging, to help you achieve the results you want. We now use Myzone, for example, as a way of recording your personal progress, truly to understand how you are performing whilst you are training, which is a great motivator.

How does the monitoring system Myzone work, exactly? Quite simply, it’s similar to a heart rate monitor that is also linked to a hub within the gym, so it downloads everything you do and calculates all that information into a comprehensive list of statistics. It also helps with nutrition and allows your trainer to tailor your fitness programme to your optimum level, as you can both look back and analyse your performance. It can be used wherever you are in the world to record your results, with lots of great potential applications - for example, during a class it can display your heart rate on a screen, which is an interactive experience that certainly adds a new dimension to spinning classes!

You have always had a strong entrepreneurial flair and are very driven in business. What motivates you, what aspirations do you have for Freestyle 360 and how are you

preparing for your success with this project?

Not wanting to fail drives me to succeed but really, it’s about being creative and coming up with an idea, then putting it into practice and seeing it grow - that’s the bigger motivation. I want Freestyle360 to be known as the best place to train in the area, somewhere that people can come and enjoy fitness and be among likeminded people. As far as longer-term aspirations go, I’d like national recognition for being a training venue for mud running. We already have a great team of trainers, but we are also taking on new staff and employing an apprentice to learn how to train the Freestyle 360 way, in order to allow the business to grow quickly but organically. As we move into 2015, we are already planning a whole calendar of events such as mud runs, our own take on a strongman / woman competition, corporate days and team building events. Due to the location and ample parking the venue is perfect for private parties. We have an amazing

music and lighting system - and even a disco ball!

Blockley holds a great attraction as a holiday destination, too – how about something for weekenders?

As you say, there are many second-homers and holidaymakers in the Cotswolds who work and live away during the week, so we will also offer a weekend-only membership that will enable people to train more cost effectively without the commitment of a full membership.

Will there be any special offers for the launch on 8th December and what do you get as a new member? New members receive a health appraisal and a bespoke training plan with their membership card plus a Freestyle360 drawstring gym bag, a water bottle and car sticker. Yes, we plan to offer a number of opening offers, such as waiving our joining fee, and on-going offers that will either feature on our website or be sent out via e-mail. Guests are welcome at any time - just give us a call because we’d love to show you round. I promise you won’t want to leave!

www.cotswold-homes.com 107

Diary of a Farmer’s Wife

Winter Winter, my second favourite season after spring. I love the dark days, log fires and the exciting run up to Christmas. My husband is not so keen on early starts in the dark and early finishes in the dark equals much grumbling about ‘not getting anything done’. The net result of this anxiety about shorter daylight hours is, basically, that if I want a log fire then I need to chop the wood. I don’t have a problem with this in principle, as I am more than capable and since my parents gave me a little axe for Christmas last year, kindling is now something of a speciality. However, the fact that our wheelbarrow has had a puncture since January makes getting the wood to the back door something of a challenge. On the farm, the focus has switched from arable to beef. The winter crops are sown and the cattle are in their housing and need feeding twice a day – quite a commitment. Up until this year feeding the cattle involved manually forking hay up into hay ricks that ran the length of the barn along both sides of a passageway. This was an achievable task for a young man who needed to work off the excesses of college life but fast forward over a decade to one suffering from (what I call) parenting fatigue and we have an urgent need for improvement. Enter William Brittain-Jones, a childhood friend 112 Cotswold Homes Magazine

"On the farm, the focus has switched from arable to beef. The winter crops are sown and the cattle are in their housing and need feeding twice a day – quite a commitment." of Jimmy’s who works wonders with agricultural buildings. At the beginning of autumn he pitched up and set to on the farm, working wonders on the barn. 1260ft of timber, 432 man hours, 250 welding rods and quite a few cups of tea later, the cattle now eat their hay and silage through ground-level feed barriers (upcycled and therefore ‘on trend’). The new wider passage also means that Jimmy can drive his tractor into the shed and use a silage feeder to distribute the feed along the passage. The time it takes for him to feed the cattle has now reduced from three to two hours a day - that’s one extra hour a day that has suddenly become available. Time that I happen to think would be very well spent mending wheelbarrows and chopping wood. Happy days! Anna MacCurrach

Working on through Winter


As the Cotswold Farm Park closes its doors to visitors for eight weeks, things must keep turning over behind the scenes. Countryfile presenter Adam Henson anticipates the arrival of spring…

As you might expect, each year follows a very similar pattern for us here on the farm, both on the arable side of the business and for the livestock. Things don’t just run like clockwork by themselves though – a lot of hard work goes on behind the scenes throughout the year. One of the main highlights, particularly for visitors to the Farm Park, is our lambing season. We reopen our gates to the public on February 14th and we’ll be hoping to have our first lambs born at around the same time. In order for that to happen, though, my Livestock Manager, Mike, carefully plans the dates using the average gestation period of 5 months. After some fairly rigorous health checks to ensure they’re all ready for the task ahead, the ewes first meet their suitors at the end of September, marking the start of ‘tupping’. Each ram is fitted with a special harness called a ‘raddle’; it has a wax block attached to the chest and each week, the colour of the block will change. This helps the Livestock team and I to estimate the ewe’s due

The Farm Park closes to the public for 8 weeks and we can all put our feet up for a while … if only! date, as when she becomes pregnant, the ram will lose interest. We can tell by the colour of the marking on the ewe when the last mating would have taken place and bring them into the lambing shed with plenty of time before their due date. Before we greet another wonderful (albeit hectic) lambing season though, we have the winter months to get through. The Farm Park closes to the public for 8 weeks and we can all put our feet up for a while … if only! In reality, the farm itself continues as normal, but sometimes with the added complication of adverse weather conditions. Being 960ft above sea level, we are usually the first to see snow falling and then we’ll still be trudging around in it days after the slush has disappeared from the lower ground! There are still crops to fertilise and keep an eye on, as well as all of the livestock

to feed, look after and in the case of some of the more vulnerable animals, keep sheltered from any severe conditions. The Farm Park continues to be a hive of activity as well. We start compiling lists of ‘winter improvements’ all the way back in September, so if you’re a regular, see if you can play spot the difference! We prepare for the new season with lots of site maintenance work, as well as staff induction and training days to make sure we’re all at the top of our game, ready and waiting for our first visitors of the year. Hoping to see you soon,

Ada m

www.cotswold-homes.com 113

Photo: Lynne Milner

A Message of Hope And Peace for the New Year, in Memory of the Fallen Like most communities, on the 11th November we remember the fallen. In our little corner of the Cotswolds this year, on the hundredth anniversary of the outbreak of WW1, we were reminded once again of the tragedy of the Souls family of Great Rissington. Annie Souls had five sons who went to war. None of the five returned, all killed in action. A parent’s worst fear realised, emphasising the sacrifice made by so many families. As this year draws to a close and another dawns, I find myself looking back over the last twelve months. 2014 has caused us to look so much further back than usual, over the last hundred years – remembering, and giving thanks for all who offered, and still offer, their lives in service of Queen and Country. The end of a year also prompts me to look forward to what the New Year might hold. Some of us may do so with fear, worrying what war might bring, but we should also look forward with hope. Our remembrance of the past, its lessons and pain, serves to emphasise the need to learn from those experiences and to pledge to strive together for a different future, where our best hopes might be realised rather than our worst fears. There are no guarantees but the Christian message is one of hope. In the last week of every 114 Cotswold Homes Magazine

“2014 has caused us to look so much further back than usual, over the last hundred years – remembering, and giving thanks for all who offered, and still offer, their lives in service of Queen and Country.” year, during one of the busiest times of year, we should pause to remember a baby, the Christ child Immanuel whose name means “God With Us” and in whom, as the beautiful Christmas Carol tells us, our ‘hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight’. I hope that 2015 is a year of peace, joy, love and hope, but even if there is sadness and despair, that the message of Christmas continues beyond the end of the Christmas leftovers and after the decorations are down, to remind everyone that God is with us, now and for always. Rev Rachel Rosborough Rector, Bourton on the Water with Clapton & the Rissingtons

WHAT THE GAMEKEEPER SAW Guiting-based Gamekeeper Adam Tatlow always keeps his camera handy so he can capture his encounters with the wildlife of the Cotswolds. Having received no formal education in photography, Adam has nonetheless attracted much attention for his work, exhibiting around the Cotswolds and having his photographs published in local and national media. His next exhibition will be held at WWT Slimbridge from December 7th to February 8th. Visit Adam’s website to browse his portfolio and buy images and cards online www.cotswoldkeeperphotography.com

www.cotswold-homes.com 115


Business Showcase

Beautiful Bags and Artisan Satchels Kira Watkin shares the story of her business, from a London College to the Cotswolds via the French Riviera - and tells of her unrivalled passion for British manufacturing.

Hi Kira.What’s special about your designs? My bags and accessories are constructed to last, and the leather we use ages beautifully with use, so in turn I needed to create designs that have longevity. There's no point buying a bag to last years if it is so stylised you would grow bored of the design in 6 months. Hence, the pieces are classic with a quirky or modern twist.

strong manufacturing history and it is lovely to still be part of that.

Who is your target market? Who buys your products? I have actually found that the designs are appealing to both young and old. I feel like I've succeeded in my design goal with that though - classic enough to appeal to the older generation whilst quirky enough for the younger generation.There are young trendy city girls carrying bags in London and yummy mummies travelling the Cotswolds with them.

What are your plans for the future? I would love to open a shop. Currently we do online sales, which are obviously a crucial part of trading these days, and country shows and fairs including CLA, Moreton-in-Marsh and the Daylesford Christmas Fair. I love doing the shows, I find it exciting and love speaking to customers and hearing all the lovely comments from people. If you ever see the Tanner & Oak tent at a show then pop in and say how pretty my bags are, even if you don’t intend on buying one - it really does make my day! Unfortunately, with a baby on the way (due in the Spring) the shows have been put on hold next summer. A little shop is my ideal next step. I'd love a high street presence, but at the moment it is hard to get in the shops. I made a conscious decision when I set up Tanner & Oak to not scare customers away with the prices. Obviously it is much more expensive to manufacture in the UK than overseas, so as a result I have very low margins. Unfortunately, this makes wholesale to shops tricky as most operate a margin

What made you decide to become a designer and where did you train? I trained at the London College of Fashion but didn’t think I would end up running my own design business as I have always been the product side rather than the business side of fashion. After a move to the French Riviera working with some amazing French and Italian designers at Faconnable, along with a big boost in self confidence (moving to a foreign country on your own without speaking the language will do that to you!) I felt like I could take on the challenge. I always imagined that if I were going to be my own boss, it would be much later in life. What’s important to you about British manufacturing in particular? I have always had a love for the old-school British factories. Over the years I have visited some amazing manufacturers around the world, and don’t get me wrong, there are some slick operations in beautiful countries like Italy - and I am also not opposed to 'Made in China'. People often think that it means cheap, but it doesn’t have to. More often than not, it does, but that is because it is what the consumer wants. Asian production has no limits and almost anything is possible. But for me, there is a real romance in British manufacturing and visiting the family-run factories with all their old-school techniques and machinery. Our country has such a 116 Cotswold Homes Magazine

Which is your favourite piece? Why? It’s hard to choose. I love the attention the Leighstone bag gets when I'm out and about, but I just adore carrying the satchel as well. If I could have the Leighstone in every colour I would!

anywhere from 3 to 7 times cost price - which I just can’t compete with. I'd also love to hire someone to do my social marketing - not my strong point! Oh, and a weekend bag next year… What motivates you to succeed in business and what has been your proudest moment so far? I did a collaboration project with Bristol Motors earlier this year that I'm very proud of. Bristol have the most stunning cars, I used to love going to the office and sneaking a peak at all the beautiful vintage cars. We did a folio cover for them. It's great being associated with such an iconic British company. What’s your background & what do you like about the Cotswolds? I grew up all over the place, most of my childhood was in Berkshire, so not far from the Cotswolds, and then Devon. I moved to the Cotswolds when I came back from France two years ago, and just couldn’t be happier! Every time I take the dog, Chester, out on a fabulous weekend walk or drive to friends and look out of the window at the rolling countryside and gorgeous little towns I feel so lucky. All of our London friends adore coming up to see us - the Cotswolds is just so untouched and beautiful, we love it. I can’t imagine leaving and we are so thrilled we get to raise a little family here now as well.

Find out more and browse products at www.tannerandoak.com


ADAM RUBINS, CEO OF AWARD-WINNING MEDIA AGENCY WAY TO BLUE, IS AN UNAPOLOGETIC MOVIE JUNKIE. USING HIS POSITION TO PREVIEW THE COLDEST SEASON’S HOTTEST RELEASES, HE’S HERE TO GIVE OUR COTSWOLD READERS A SNEAKY GLANCE AT WHAT’S IN STORE FOR UK CINEMA AUDIENCES, FROM ARTISAN FESTIVAL FAVOURITES TO ANIMATED BLOCKBUSTERS. BUT HE’S BEEN LEFT FLUMMOXED BY AN EMERGING PHENOMENON…AN INCREASING TREND FOR OVERLY-LENGTHY FILM TITLES. It’s that time of year again and your Movie Insider is feeling rather Christmassy. This issue, we take a look at the films that will warm your icy bottoms over December, January and February – and, boy, is there plenty to choose from. I’m feeling besieged by films with these everlengthening movie titles that seem at war with my shrinking word count – check out the abundance of colons in this little lot. In December we have animated spin off Penguins of Madagascar (5th), The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies (12th), Night At The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb (19th) and Ridley Scott Moses epic Exodus: Gods And Kings (26th). In January, the colon gets a further two outings with horror sequel The Woman In Black: Angel Of Death (1st) and Matthew Vaughn action spy thriller Kingsmen: The Secret Service (29th). A little relief arrives in February with The Second Best Marigold Hotel (27th). Moses, mummies, penguins, spies, hobbits and ghosts…Well, it’s a real pick n’ mix in December’s bag, that’s for sure. So from long titles to potential Academy challengers, this time of the year usually sees critics’ favourites lead the late charge for award

Big Hero 6

The Hobbit

season. Look out for Angelina Jolie’s war drama Unbroken on December 26th and Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory Of Everything on January 1st. Additional darlings from the festival circuit include the return of Michael Keaton in Birdman (Jan 2nd), Steve Carrell drama Foxcatcher (Jan 9th), Miles Teller starrer Whiplash (Jan 16th) and Reece Witherspoon drama Wild (Jan 16th). And if that’s not enough, we round out with a wide variety of fun filled blockbusters. The return of Harry and Lloyd in Dumb and Dumber 2 (Dec 19th), musical re-make with Jamie Foxx and Cameron Diaz Annie (Dec 26th), Liam Neeson sequel Taken 3 (Jan 8th), Disney musical Into The Woods (Jan 9th), Seth Rogen Korean comedy The Interview (Feb 6th) and don’t forget to lock up your partners on Valentine’s because it is Fifty Shades of Grey time, as the kinky smash-hit franchise finally arrives on screen (Feb 13th). If you’re looking for family fun January brings you the next Disney Feature Animation adventure in Big Hero 6 (30th) and in February Shaun The Sheep comes to the big screen (6th).


Now, at this point I usually like to leave you with a few personal tips. Outside of the contenders that we have already discussed (Kingsmen, Birdman, Foxcatcher, Whiplash and Wild), look out for Alex Garland’s sci-fi drama Ex Machina (Jan 23rd) and Paul Thomas Anderson crime comedy Inherent Vice (Jan 30th). My suggestion? Start saving now, because with these flicks you’ll be spending the vast majority of Winter in a cosy theatre near you.

The Woman in Black







OUR FAMILY PICK: MOTHER GOOSE AT THE THEATRE CHIPPING NORTON TUESDAY 18TH NOVEMBER – SUNDAY 11TH JANUARY If you only see one panto every year, make it the Chippy panto: beautifully designed, boisterous, laugh-a-minute…fun is virtually guaranteed. This year’s frolic is suitably infused with ‘snowmen, northern lights and woolly jumpers…and even the occasional moose.’ Mother Goose asks its audience: What would you give to be rich and beautiful? Featuring fabulous songs from a TONY award-winning composer. www.chippingnortontheatre.co.uk

SANTA SERVICE AT THE GWR STEAM RAILWAY SATURDAY 29TH NOVEMBER – SATURDAY 24TH DECEMBER Give your children an adventure they won’t forget by getting some tickets for this special Christmas service, featuring special appearances from Father Christmas. You can either depart from Cheltenham Racecourse and visit the grotto in Winchcombe or leave from Toddington and meet Santa on board – but don’t delay, tickets go fast. Visit the website for more details. www.gwsr.com/planning-your-visit/2014-events-calendar 118 Cotswold Homes Magazine

ENCHANTED CHRISTMAS AT WESTONBIRT ARBORETUM FRIDAY 28TH NOVEMBER - SUNDAY 21ST DECEMBER 2014 A one-mile illuminated trail lights the nature lover’s way into Christmas this year, featuring Father Christmas in green, a chance to see reindeer and many fantastic new varieties of plant life to discover. www.forestry.gov.uk/westonbirt-christmas


SLEEPING BEAUTY PANTOMIME AT THE EVERYMAN THEATRE FRIDAY 28TH NOVEMBER 2014 – SUNDAY 11TH JANUARY 2015 Giffords Circus fave Tweedy the Clown returns to the Everyman with his own imitable brand of hilarious capering for a new panto season. Get ready to whoop, cheer and boo as the time-honoured tale of Sleeping Beauty is brought to life. www.everymantheatre.org.uk

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST PANTOMIME AT THE ROSES THEATRE, TEWKESBURY SATURDAY 29TH NOVEMBER 2014 - SATURDAY 3RD JANUARY 2015 See The Roses’ take on this timeless tale of beastliness and hidden beauty with an extended run. Will Belle see through the beast’s foreboding exterior to the gentle heart within? Take the children along and find out. www.rosestheatre.org

VICTORIAN LATE NIGHT CHRISTMAS SHOPPING FRIDAY 5TH DECEMBER 2014 Bourton-on-the-Water once again welcomes all-comers to its traditional late night shopping. Make sure you’re there at 6.00pm for the lighting of the Christmas Tree (proudly situated in the middle of the River Windrush) and stick around for Father Christmas, the jazz band and the hog roast.

CHRISTMAS ORATORIO CONCERT, GLOUCESTER CATHEDRAL SATURDAY 6TH DECEMBER 2014 Come to the inspiring Gloucester Cathedral to hear the Gloucester Choral Society perform Bach’s ‘Christmas Oratorio’, accompanied by the Corelli Orchestra. A festive treat for music lovers. From 7pm, tickets £10 - £30. www.gloucesterchoral.com/2014-2015-season/j-s-bach-christmasoratorio/

VICTORIAN CHRISTMAS AT THE HOLST BIRTHPLACE MUSEUM, CHELTENHAM SATURDAY 6TH DECEMBER 2014 Why not partake in a Victorian Christmas at the Holst Birthplace Museum. Make some festive cards, stir the Christmas pud, get crafty and have a sing-along around the piano while enjoying a visit to the birthplace of this famous composer. Tickets £5, con £4.50.

SANTA (& REINDEER) LIVE IN CHELTENHAM SATURDAY 6TH DECEMBER & SATURDAY 13TH DECEMBER MEET FATHER CHRISTMAS ADAM HENSON’S COTSWOLD FARM PARK SATURDAY 29TH NOVEMBER - SUNDAY 21ST DECEMBER 2014 Have you been naughty or nice? Find out by taking a trip to the much-loved Cotswold Farm Park to see Father Christmas himself (Saturdays and Sundays only). Admission to the grotto is included in the ticket price, so there’s no excuse not to bring your lists along! www.cotswoldfarmpark.co.uk/whats-on/event/meet-father-christmas/

WINCHCOMBE CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL TUESDAY 2ND DECEMBER 2014 All the delights of a Christmas Fayre – shopping, street entertainment, Santa’s grotto – all hosted in one of the Cotswolds’ oldest and most appealing villages. Join in the festive fun times from 5-8pm. www.winchcombe.co.uk

BROADWAY LATE NIGHT CHRISTMAS SHOPPING FRIDAY 5TH DECEMBER 2014 Beautiful Broadway gets into the Christmas spirit with its traditional pageantry. Carol singing, horse and carriage rides, hog roasts, chestnuts – get the full festive package from 5.30-8.30pm.

Be careful not to miss these two appearances at Cheltenham’s Brewery – Santa’s on a tight schedule! From 12pm-4pm on Saturday 6th and 13th December 2014 you can come and cuddle a reindeer. Make sure you’ve got your lists ready!

GLOUCESTER QUAYS FESTIVE FAYRE FRIDAY 12TH - SUNDAY 14TH DECEMBER 2014 Hear the brass band, meet a real-life Rudolph and get in some lastminute Christmas shopping done at Gloucester Quays this Christmas season. Shrewd shoppers can even pick up a Christmas tree. www.gloucesterquays.co.uk

THE INTERNATIONAL AT CHELTENHAM RACECOURSE FRIDAY 12TH DECEMBER – SATURDAY 13TH DECEMBER 2014 Featuring the Stan James International Hurdle, one of the most important hurdles of the season (won last year by Nicholls-trained Zardandar) and Brightwells Bloodstock Sale. What better way to see off the year than with three days of thrilling race action? For up-todate times and online ticket purchasing, head to the website. www.cheltenham.co.uk/fixtures/the-international/about/tickets-andpackages/ www.cotswold-homes.com 119





DAVID DURSTON: TWO GENRES, CORINIUM MUSEUM CIRENCESTER SATURDAY 10TH JANUARY - SUNDAY 8TH FEBRUARY 2015 Award-winning local artist and beloved educator David Durston exhibits his ‘Two Genres’ exhibition in the Corinium Museum. The title ‘Two Genres’ makes reference to the dual strands, developed in parallel, in more recent works – abstract and figurative. Painting techniques, from both styles, have served to inform each other resulting in the production of vibrant images. People familiar with Durston’s work may be both surprised and interested by his development as an artist.

JANUARY NEW YEAR’S DAY RACING AT CHELTENHAM RACECOURSE THURSDAY 1ST JANUARY 2015 What better way to see in a new year and brush off the Christmas lethargy than by catching some blood-pumping racing action at Cheltenham Racecourse? Seven races, tours and children’s entertainment including face painting and a special appearance from Peppa Pig make a visit to the racecourse the winning choice for new year family fun. Gates open 10.30am – ticket prices and booking online. www.cheltenham.co.uk/fixtures/new-years-day/about/tickets-andpackages

GLOUCESTER RUGBY VS SARACENS, KINGSHOLM SATURDAY 10TH JANUARY 2015 Rugby titans clash when AVIVA Premiership finalists Saracens return to Kingsholm for another go at the Cherry and Whites. Will Gloucester be able to avenge their last defeat? Find out from 3pm. Tickets online. www.gloucesterrugby.co.uk

COTSWOLD CIRCULAR WALK, FROM THE CHEQUERS CHIPPING NORTON THURSDAY 1ST JANUARY 2015 A circular walk of 5.0 miles. Bring good walking shoes or boots (or, if wet, wellingtons) plus weatherproof clothing. Dogs on leads are permitted. Children with parents come along free of charge. Walks usually start and finish at a country inn for easy parking and for those who wish to partake of a light pub lunch upon return (at your own expense). Meet at 10.00am, cost £5.50. 120 Cotswold Homes Magazine

PHILHARMONIA ORCHESTRA, CHELTENHAM TOWN HALL SUNDAY 11TH JANUARY 2015 And now for something a little more refined…Don’t miss this concert from the highly acclaimed Philharmonia Orchestra, returning to Cheltenham to the delight of Cotswold music-lovers. Led by Domingo Hindoyan of the Berlin State Opera, the orchestra will treat audiences to Beethoven’s ‘No.5’ in E flat major, followed by ‘Symphony No. 7’ in major plus Grieg’s ‘Holberg Suite, Op. 40’. Tickets from £11.50 www.cheltenhamtownhall.org.uk


STUART MACONIE, CHELTENHAM TOWN HALL SUNDAY 18TH JANUARY 2015 Beloved radio personality and journalist Stuart Maconie swings by Cheltenham Town Hall to discuss his book The People’s Songs, an informal social history as told through the fifty influential tracks. From 7.30pm, tickets £15. www.cheltenhamtownhall.org.uk

A GIRL WITH A BOOK, THE THEATRE CHIPPING NORTON THURSDAY 22ND JANUARY 2015 It’s October 2012. Gunmen stop a bus in Pakistan and shot three girls for wanting to go to school. How can a writer respond? Can a Guardian reader really be prejudiced? Knowing nothing about the situation, able to offer little more than outrage this writer was forced to come out from behind his desk and go into the community searching for answers to help him tell the story of a brave young woman’s fight for girls’ education. When his research uncovers attitudes at odds with his liberal convictions he also has to deal with what he learns about himself. From 7.45pm. Tickets £13.00 / Concessions £11.00 / Schools £8.50 www.chippingnortontheatre.com

CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL TRIALS DAY, CHELTENHAM RACECOURSE SATURDAY 24TH JANUARY 2015 Pick up some tips for The Festival at Trials Day, with seven action-filled races and bloodstock sales. Come along and see if you can identify a future Festival winner. Racing starts from 12.40pm. Ticket prices £12 and £25 per day in advance, or £15 and £30 on the day (packages and group discounts available). www.cheltenham.co.uk/fixtures/festival-trials-day/about/tickets-andpackages

FEBRUARY FOLK THREE FESTIVAL, CHELTENHAM TOWN HALL FRIDAY 13TH - SUNDAY 15TH FEBRUARY 2015 Six acts, three nights and one stage. Take in three barnstorming headliners (Shooglenifty, Eliza and Martin Carthy and Seth Lakeman) and three fabulous supports as Cheltenham gets folked up good and proper. Pick and choose which evening to attend at £20 a night, or visit all three for only £50. A must for music lovers. www.cheltenhamtownhall.org.uk/whats-on/festivals/folkthree

STEPHEN K. AMOS, THE THEATRE CHIPPING NORTON FRIDAY 13TH FEBRUARY 2015 The maestro of feel-good comedy is back on tour with his new show. Fresh from sell-out tours of Australia and New Zealand, as heard on BBC Radio 4 Life: An Idiot’s Guide and What Does the K Stand For? All tickets £18 / Starts 7.45pm. www.chippingnortontheatre.co.uk

MICHAEL PORTILLO ‘LIFE: A GAME OF TWO HALVES’ AT GLOUCESTER GUILDHALL FRIDAY 20TH FEBRUARY 2015 Since quitting politics Portillo has since made a name for himself in presenting and reviewing. There will be much for him to discuss when he visits Gloucester, from his days advising Margaret Thatcher to his programmes on single motherhood, teenage suicide and railway travel. Doors 7.30pm, tickets £16. www.venues.gloucester.gov.uk/Freetime/Guildhall

JIMMY CARR’S ‘FUNNY BUSINESS’, CHELTENHAM TOWN HALL TUESDAY 24TH FEBRUARY 2015 Comedian and presenter Jimmy Carr takes his latest sell-out tour on the road, and if you’re a fan of Jimmy’s close to the bone, cringe n’ giggle comedy style, you better book fast – tickets to his shows go like hot cakes. www.cheltenhamtownhall.org.uk/event

AND THEN THERE WERE NONE, EVERYMAN THEATRE CHELTENHAM MONDAY 26TH TO SATURDAY 31ST JANUARY 2015 / THURSDAY 29TH JANUARY 2015/ SATURDAY 31ST JANUARY 2015 It’s the tenth anniversary of the Agatha Christie Theatre Company, and to celebrate they’ve adapted the author’s masterpiece And Then There Were None, which has sold over more than 100 million print copies. When ten strangers are suspiciously drawn to a distant island under wildly different pretexts, it’s anyone’s guess as to which of them – if any – will survive. From 7.45pm (matinees on Thursday and Saturday from 2pm). Tickets begin at £16. www.everymantheatre.org.uk www.cotswold-homes.com 121



STEP 1. BECOME A MEMBER OF COTSWOLD HOMES DIRECTORY OF INDEPENDENT BUSINESSES: from only £10 plus VAT per month for annual membership Get a two page listing on Cotswold-Homes.com, receive free entry to our networking events and up to 30% discount on all magazine, social media and online advertising

STEP 2. EVENTS CALENDAR OR PC OFFER: only £112.50 plus VAT per quarter (with annual membership) Our standard campaign includes: Monthly e-marketing to thousands of residents and visitors via our Cotswold Homes database, Facebook and Twitter A Feature Advert on Cotswold-homes.com Privilege Card Section / Events Calendar A Space in the Privilege Card section or Events Calendar in one edition of our magazine

STEP 3. ADVERTISING: from only £112.50 for a quarter page (with annual membership)

CHRISTMAS TREE FESTIVAL ST EDWARD’S CHURCH STOW ON THE WOLD THE FESTIVAL RUNS FROM BETWEEN 10.00AM AND 5.00PM ON THURSDAY 4TH TO SUNDAY 7TH DECEMBER. There will be 40 real Christmas trees, provided by Fosseway Garden Centre and decorated by children’s groups, schools, organisations and businesses. The choice of favourite tree in each category is voted for by the public. Plus a celebrity choice will be made this year by Tony Archer of Radio 4’s The Archers


We offer many marketing USPs for established businesses and events including promotional editorial, bespoke e-marketing campaigns and minimags on Cotswold Homes App


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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.


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

Free property appraisals, free photographs and up to £500 cash back for new joiners until the end of Feb 2015 T: 0208 935 5375 W: www.character-cottages.com E: owners@character-cottages.com



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10% DISCOUNT OFF ALL NEW FURNITURE AND FABRIC. Valid until the end of February 2015. Tel: 01608 659091 5 Threshers Yard, West Street, Kingham Oxfordshire, OX7 6YF


Profile for Cotswold Homes

Cotswold Homes Winter 2014  

Welcome to Cotswold Homes Magazine, your indispensable guide to lifestyle and property in the UK's most beautiful region. In this seasonal i...

Cotswold Homes Winter 2014  

Welcome to Cotswold Homes Magazine, your indispensable guide to lifestyle and property in the UK's most beautiful region. In this seasonal i...