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Cotswold Homes Magazine Whether highlighting the successes of local entrepreneurs, broadcasting the work of local charities, cheering on our young sports stars, debating current affairs that impact upon our community or featuring an impressive list of events from arts projects to theatre productions and festivals, we celebrate all the historic, social and cultural influences of the North Cotswolds that make this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty such a wonderful place to live.To that end, our fabulous property section is provided by Harrison James & Hardie, the North Cotswolds’ leading independent estate agency, featuring some of the most gorgeous homes currently available to purchase or to let, whether as a family home or as an investment.

not to be found in the hard copy version of our magazine. Cotswold Homes also has a growing database of around 6,000 residents and frequent visitors to the local area who are registered with us to receive weekly e-mailers on property, events and news plus exciting competitions and offers from independent North Cotswold businesses and renowned tourist attractions such as the RSC, Giffords Circus, Cheltenham Racecourse and Adam Henson’s Cotswold Farm Park.

Our newly designed, beautiful and informative online magazine (www.cotswold-homes.com) includes a back-catalogue of fascinating content, with exclusive interviews from influential local figures plus advice and opinion from expert professionals on topics as diverse as sport, health and garden design, as well as bonus features

Marketing with Cotswold Homes


Cotswold Homes was originally the name chosen to launch Harrison James & Hardie’s website at the turn of the new millennium, conceived at a time when property portals like Rightmove did not exist.Two years later, the bespoke property website was attracting a million hits a month. In the recession, recognising that many local businesses were struggling to fund expensive traditional advertising, Karen Harrison added an online business directory for fellow independents to benefit from all that traffic.The magazine, originally devised as an online page-turner, provided great editorial copy about local businesses – a hugely positive response from readers and clients alike ensured that a printed quarterly version was the logical next step.The rest is history!

the homogeneity of big brands threatens to overtake every high street.We understand that advertising creates a clear identity and the power of simple repetition reinforces brand awareness but we believe that a good story, well told, does far more to illuminate the abilities, intentions and values of independent businesses, encouraging trust and loyalty by focusing upon the experience, skills and knowledge of the people who make that business work and drive its success, rather than just their products and services.We provide a host of simple, effective marketing strategies to suit, combining the benefits of expertly written editorial with traditional advertising, the clever use of e-marketing and social media platforms such as Facebook,Twitter and Pinterest.

Our aim is to support local independent businesses as a significant part of the North Cotswolds’ unique identity, at a time when

Cotswold Homes reflects the ethics and values of great small business. Our local magazine is as glossy, gorgeous and high-end as you might

Cotswold Homes Magazine

find anywhere, full of interesting content with great production values, but we are a very small team and that allows us to offer excellent, affordable opportunities for local businesses compared with other publications of a similar quality and reach. Cotswold Homes produces 10,000 copies of our seasonal glossy magazine each quarter. Freely distributed so that every copy finds a reader, solely funded and supported by local independent businesses, the magazines are posted through the doors of the loveliest homes in around ninety villages and towns. Stands can also be found at Cotswold train stations including Kingham and Kemble en-route to Paddington, in the Members’ Enclosure at Cheltenham Racecourse and outside the High Street offices of Harrison James & Hardie in Bourton on the Water, Stow on the Wold and Moreton in Marsh.



Matt grew up in the North Cotswolds. After gaining an honours degree in London, he returned to help set up Cotswold Homes and now divides his time between Gloucestershire and London. He is the main features writer for Cotswold Homes and has enjoyed interviewing a wide variety of inspirational and creative people, including writers, artists, sporting stars and chefs. He has spent lots of pocket money in our splendid local bookstores and his greatest pleasure is tea and cake (preferably lemon drizzle).This winter he’s looking forward to seeing the latest productions at Chipping Norton and Stratford.

Collette also grew up in the North Cotswolds. An accomplished equestrian, she is also a talented chef and foodie who loves to entertain. Now settled in Longborough with husband Ollie and toddler Sebastian, surrounded by her family and beloved horses, Collette has been a regular columnist with the magazine since it was launched, enjoying a dual role in marketing and on the editorial team, writing as the voice of Diary of An Equestrian Lady as well as the enthusiastic, informed interviewer of many celebrity chefs who work in the Cotswolds.

We have many regular editorial contributors who provide expert wisdom and valuable insight into their particular professions, including: Karen Harrison (above) and her team at Harrison James & Hardie (estate agency) Robert Hamilton (property) Sue Ellis (finance) Andy Soye and Mat Faraday (holiday let management) Amanda Hanley (interior design) Susan Dunstall (garden design) Anna MacCurrach (farming) Julia Sibun (events management) Tim Spittle (personal fitness) Trevor Bigg (dental health) Reverend Rachel Rosborough (spiritual health) Emma Lawrence and Anne McIntyre (personal health).

Rachel’s family moved abroad to Germany when she was young but after returning to forge a career in the UK, she finally settled in the Cotswolds. Since living in Moreton in Marsh she has developed a keen love of the countryside and a passion for rural issues, as well as savouring the advantages of our rich cultural heritage, both theatre and literature festivals, as an avid theatregoer and self-confessed bookworm. A freelance website copywriter specialising in online marketing, she has been instrumental in developing our new website and the intelligent use of social media, as well as being responsible for admin and client account management.

Marketing consultancy Alias, based in The Square in Stow-on-the-Wold, has been closely involved with the development of Cotswold Homes’ magazine since the first (but one) edition, continuing to refine its signature look and to evolve a house style over the last four years. Recently, they have turned to the Cotswold Homes website, working to improve both functionality and presentation to reflect that style, creating a proper place for the magazine’s valuable local archive of editorial content. Alias has worked across sectors as diverse as sport, healthcare, food and drink, automotive, fashion and retail – their experience, input and creativity continues to be an invaluable part of Cotswold Homes’ success.

Kim lives in Blockley with her young family. She has always had a particular passion for property, with a love and flair for interior design. Having worked part time for several years in local estate agency she began working with Karen Harrison in 2014, now dividing her time as front-of-house for the letting department and for Cotswold Homes as marketing manager, where she maintains close working relationships with the many independent businesses in the North Cotswolds that have become regular clients of the magazine since it first launched.




Cotswold Homes Magazine

CONTENTS COMPETITIONS AND OFFERS See what you can win this issue, and what local discounts are exclusively available to readers of Cotswold Homes Magazine


EDITOR’S WELCOME Brr! Since we started work on this issue, it’s definitely got nippier.The cruel rapidity of winter’s arrival is always a shock, but a Christmas in the Wolds always takes the edge off the chill, as market squares bristle with stalls and streets are festooned with glowing lights.Take a look at our events section to see where you can dose up on cheer – and perhaps win a ticket or two with our competitions.

AT HOME WITH SAM TWISTON-DAVIES We meet with racing’s rising star, who makes us a mean cuppa and shows us around the family home


This issue we interview top Cotswold jockey Sam Twiston-Davies, who invites us into the family home, lets us meet The New One and shares his musings on the challenges of past and future seasons. Later, schoolgirl and dressage star Phoebe Peters shares the story of her international successes. We’ve had the pleasure of meeting two award-winning storytellers this issue. Prolific writer and Doctor Who episode-penner Paul Cornell introduces us to a witchy tale of superstition and evil invasive supermarket chains as he tells all about his new novel, Witches of Lychford, set in a Cotswolds rubbing against other worlds than ours. Meanwhile, Humans director Lewis Arnold tells us what it was like to work on the hit Channel 4 android drama - and how childhood secrets have inspired his film career. Elsewhere, we explore two big issues – the dairy farming crisis and the problems faced by lonely and isolated people in the Cotswolds. A New Year is always an opportunity for change and renewal, and so – inspired by the government’s investigations into our national happiness – we’ve provided a series of articles loosely arranged around the theme of ‘mind, body and soul.’ Let us know of any tips and tricks you might have by writing in. Enjoy!


INTERVIEW: PAUL CORNELL Award-winning writer Paul Cornell introduces his new book, Witches of Lychford HOW CAN WE SAVE DAIRY FARMING?

Our front cover is a work by Lucy Pratt, a widely exhibited contemporary British artist whose paintings convey the vitality and spirit of a joyous moment in space and time, Having travelled the world in her twenties she is now settled in the Cotswolds with her young family. As part of our focus on dairy farming in this Autumn/ Winter edition, Lucy has very kindly allowed her painting Autumn Mottled Milkers to be used as our front cover. “I am passionate about the countryside. It is absolutely vital we support our farmers,” she said.Thank you very much indeed, Lucy! In our Spring Edition 2016, we feature more of Lucy’s paintings and an exclusive interview about her life and work.


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Chair of the NFU Dairy Board Rob Harrison tells us what’s needed to fix the dairy farming crisis

70-73 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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A brand new super-grandstand is only the beginning. See what’s up this season

Schoolgirl and dressage champion extraordinaire Phoebe Peters talks first ponies and world records


LE MANOIR Cookery classes with Raymond Blanc’s protégé, Mark Peregrine, delight our resident foodie

46-48 THE LONELINESS PROBLEM We look at what help there is for the Cotswolds’ most isolated residents

INTERVIEW: LEWIS ARNOLD Award-winning director Lewis Arnold on Humans and his career




Find out what’s on with our seasonal Cotswold calendar

Explore the best of the North Cotswold property market with our experts

76-81 Cotswold Homes Magazine Our next edition, Spring 2016, 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. To speak to a member of our team, please telephone 01451 833171 or email:

88-130 Editor’s Desk: matt@cotswold-homes.com Property: karen@harrisonjameshardie.co.uk Food & Drink/Equestrian: collette@cotswold-homes.com Marketing & Sales: kim@cotswold-homes.com Website & Admin: rachel@cotswold-homes.com




eXCLUSive ComPeTiTionS anD oFFeRS




In the first of three acts, Ballet Cymru present TIR; a collaboration inspired by and based around Cerys Matthews’ acclaimed album of Welsh folk music.

Congreve's glorious Restoration Comedy Love for Love is racy and fast-paced, full of larger-than-life characters, extravagant costumes and hilarious situations. Valentine is in love, and in debt. His attempts to woo his beloved Angelica are failing and to pay his debts he must sign over his inheritance to his younger brother. With chaos all around him, Valentine must take


drastic action to secure what is rightfully his. This is a real treat for theatre-lovers and a great alternative to a panto over the winter season. Love for Love opens in the Swan Theatre from 28th October. To enter our draw, simply visit www.cotswoldhomes.com/competitions-and-offers. The competition closes on 10th December.

Playing in the Swan Theatre from 19th November, Queen Anne is a gripping new play from Helen Edmundson, exploring the little known story of a monarch caught between friendship and duty. It’s 1702 and William III is on the throne as England is on the verge of war. Princess Anne is soon to become Queen and her advisors vie for influence over the future monarch.

In Celtic Concerto, Ballet Cymru team up with renowned harpist and Wales-based composer Catrin Finch to produce a stunning new work based on Catrin’s first composition. Finally, Ballet Cymru present Traces Imprinted; a newly commissioned work from one of the UK’s most renowned choreographers, Marc Brew. To enter our draw, simply visit www.cotswoldhomes.com/competitions-and-offers. The competition closes on 5th November.

The RSC has secured a great cast for this new play, including Natascha McElhone as Sarah Marlborough and Jodhi May in the title role as Queen Anne. To enter our draw, simply visit www.cotswoldhomes.com/competitions-and-offers. The competition closes on 10th December.


Cotswold Homes Magazine

eXCLUSive ComPeTiTionS anD oFFeRS




What’s up in Sherwood Forest, and just what is the Sheriff of Nottingham up to? Find out in another stellar panto from The Theatre Chipping Norton, as the man in the hood brings the English legend to colourful, hilarious life! Watch out for flying sweets and prepare for a singalong. Robin Hood opens on 17th November at The Theatre Chipping Norton and plays to 10th January. To enter our draw to win a family ticket for 4 (plus a goody bag which includes a programme, poster, badges and drinks voucher), simply visit www.cotswold-homes.com/competitions-andoffers. The competition closes on 3rd December. Please note that the prize is for the performance date & time advertised only.

The Regal Cinema in Evesham is a lovingly restored art deco style cinema with a coffee shop and licenced bar that attracts movie-goers from across the region. It hosts a wide variety of events that include live music and comedy performances, live sports broadcasts and transmissions of live theatre productions, as well as the latest blockbuster films! The lucky winner of this pair of tickets will be able to see a film of their choice for free (subject to availability). To enter our draw, simply visit www.cotswold-homes.com/competitions-and-offers. The competition closes on 29th November.

Entry to our competitions is open to all except the colleagues (and their families) of Cotswold Homes. Winners will be drawn at random and notified 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.

Entries must be made via the competition section of the Cotswold Homes website www.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. The winner will be drawn at random from all entries received by the closing date and notified via the contact details supplied.

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 final and no correspondence will be entered into.

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 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.



eXCLUSive ComPeTiTionS anD oFFeRS




We’ve secured tickets for two pairs of lucky winners to one of the most exciting events in the Jump season calendar. Paddy Power Cup Day, the second day of The Open, will provide you with plenty of heart-pumping thrills, just as the racecourse opens its brand new Grandstand to visitors.

An absolutely perfect prize for a fun family day out! Take the kids to Adam Henson’s Cotswold Farm Park and be enthralled by rare breeds, entertained by talks and demonstrations – and don’t forget to buy some feed for the animals and take a tumble in the play area before you go!

To enter our draw, simply visit www.cotswold-homes.com/ competitions-and-offers. The competition closes on 5th November.

To enter our draw, simply visit www.cotswold-homes.com/ competitions-and-offers. The competition closes on 29th November.



Need a bit of design inspiration to brighten up your bedroom or lend some style to your sitting room? Well, now you could be in with a chance to win the expertise of Gloucestershire-based interior designer, Amanda Hanley – renowned for her classic style and friendly approach. And Amanda’s also offering the lucky winner £300 to spend on sumptuous Mulberry Home fabrics and wallpapers available at her beautiful new store at The Gallery at 69, High Street, Burford. To enter our draw to win this great prize, simply visit www.cotswoldhomes.com/competitions-and-offers. The competition closes on 29th November.

Here’s a real treat for gastronomes! We’ve got a great prize of a dinner or lunch for four people to be won at The Horse & Groom in Bourton on the Hill, the recent winner of The Good Pub Guide’s Pub of the Year 2016 award. To enter our draw to win this foodie prize, simply visit www.cotswoldhomes.com/competitions-and-offers. The competition closes on 29th November. The dinner or lunch may be enjoyed any time in December up until (and including) Wednesday 23rd December.


Cotswold Homes Magazine

eXCLUSive ComPeTiTionS anD oFFeRS



EXCLUSIVE OFFER! HONE YOUR CULINARY SKILLS AT THE RAYMOND BLANC COOKERY SCHOOL AT BELMOND LE MANOIR Don’t miss the chance to sharpen up your skills in the kitchen in a beautiful location and with top-class teaching. Through November and December, the Raymond Blanc Cookery School at Belmond Le Manoir is hosting multiple Winter Dinner Party and Christmas Dinner Party courses to help make Christmas entertaining easy and fun. You will learn cooking and entertaining tips for creating starters, main courses, and desserts with minimal fuss, to ensure you have maximum time to spend with your family and friends. These are full day courses running from 9am to 4.30pm. Cotswold Homes readers will receive a 20% discount on all midweek one-day cookery courses (Monday to Friday) until the end of the year. Make sure you mention the magazine and the code CHLMWN15 to receive your discount.

RECEIVE £45 OFF HERBAL MEDICINE PRACTITIONER ANNE MCINTYRE’S ONLINE LIVING WISDOM COURSE Anne McIntyre FNIMH MAPA has been practising herbal medicine and Ayurveda for over 30 years. She holds clinics in London and the Cotswolds and prescribes herbal remedies and lifestyle changes with profound effects. Anne's online course, Living Wisdom, has been written as a comprehensive introduction to Ayurveda from a Western perspective. As an exclusive offer, Cotswold Homes readers can sign up for the course for the special price of £350, saving £45 on the usual price of £395. Valid until the end of January 2016. Just quote the code CHAMWN15. Tel: 01451 810 096 www.annemcintyre.com www.learnlivingayurveda.com



eXCLUSive ComPeTiTionS anD oFFeRS


only with Cotswold Homes AMANDA HANLEY BY DESIGN


20% off Moon fabrics during November and December in Amanda Hanley by Design’s Burford store


10% Off Sausages & 5Lbs Of Rindless Back Bacon For Just £9.99


R&D WALKER T/A P Checketts, Moreton in Marsh Our own favourite P. Checketts is an excellent family butcher’s, easily found in the centre of the High Street in Moreton in Marsh!

20% Off premium made-to-measure hardwood shutters Shuttercraft window shutters and blinds offer you the UK’s widest and best quality range of internal Plantation shutters and made-to-measure wood slat venetian blinds available in your area.

T 01608 651002

Quote code: CHRDWWN15

T 01242 649592 www.shuttercraft-gloucestershire.co.uk

Gloucestershire interior design consultant, Amanda Hanley, is renowned for her classic style, insider knowledge and friendly, inspirational approach. To claim your 20% discount off sumptuous Moon fabrics, just quote code CHAHWN15. Offer valid during November and December. T 01993 822 385 M 07976 353 996 www.amandahanley.co.uk

Read Amanda Hanley’s interior design column on page 68.

Quote code: CHSHWN15



Character Cottages was founded in 2011 to create a distinctive, high quality holiday lettings business with a focus on fabulous country homes in beautiful towns and villages throughout the Cotswolds.

Offering advice in all areas of financial planning in today’s often confusing market with a wide range of effective and bespoke solutions for clients, including an online view of financial affairs and a chance to communicate securely using a private messaging service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.*

Free Property Appraisals, Free Photographs and up to £500 Cash Back for New Joiners

Are you thinking of letting your Cotswold Cottage or empty second home? If you are a current holiday cottage owner, or would like to buy a holiday home, Character Cottages can help you to maximise your holiday cottage returns and minimise the effort required on your part. T 0208 935 5375 owners@character-cottages.co.uk www.character-cottages.co.uk

Free Initial Consultation

When JEM Financial Planning deals with people's finances, a personal touch is of top priority, giving them a chance to both identify and evaluate your own personal needs and circumstances. JEM Financial Planning is a trading style of John Magee that is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. T 01386 840777 john@jemfinancial.co.uk www.jemfinancial.com

Quote code: CHCOTWN15

Quote code: CHJEMWN15 Read Andy Soye & Mat Faraday’s expert advice on dispelling holiday letting myths on page 104.

Read Sue Ellis’s financial advice column on page 103.


Receive a free goodie bag of toys (worth at least £10) when you spend £40 or more during November The Toy Shop embodies all that is magical and wonderful about childhood, all wrapped up within 9 rooms in a beautiful 17th century former coaching inn. With a central position on the High Street in the Cotswold market town of Moreton in Marsh, this independently run Aladdin’s cave of a shop has been in the same family for more than 50 years. To receive a free gift worth at least £10 when you spend £40 or more in the store during the month of November, just quote code CHTSWN15 at the till. Tel: 01608 650756 www.thetoyshopmoreton.co.uk


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eXCLUSive ComPeTiTionS anD oFFeRS


only with Cotswold Homes MILTON DENTAL PRACTICE


New Patient Examination only £62 for CH Readers (Standard Price £93) with free Denplan Examination

20% Off Surveys

As highly experienced independent building surveyors, chartered surveyors and property consultants, Central Surveying are aware of the considerable factors involved in ensuring astute selling, buying and renting of property, offering a wide range of professional surveying and property consultancy services.Their extensive sector expertise, in-depth local knowledge, wide-ranging capabilities and special brand of personal service add up to exactly what our clients want - a reliable full service resource under one roof. T 01285 640840 office@centralsurveying.co.uk www.centralsurveying.co.uk

Quote code: CHCSWN15

Read Robert Hamilton’s expert advice on hidden hazards in your home on page 102.

Milton Dental Practice is situated in the beautiful Oxfordshire Cotswold village of Milton-underWychwood.


Free Packing Material for Your Move Moving house can often be a stressful event – why not take some of the weight off your mind with this exclusive offer from Cotswold Carriers? A family run business with 35 years of experience specialising in domestic and commercial moves, Cotswold Carriers operate under the motto ‘Moving People With Care’ and strive for a stress-free moving experience for each customer, offering noobligation quotes.

Freestyle 360 is a gym with a difference: it’s a brand new, unique indoor and outdoor facility with obstacle and mud run training course, set in 28 acres of beautiful Cotswold countryside in the picturesque village of Blockley, open 7 days a week. Now with this special booking discount, you and your friends and colleagues can enjoy a day of exercise for a reduced price. T 01386 700 039 info@freestyle360.co.uk www.freestyle360.co.uk

Wesley House is a 15th century Merchant’s House in the historic Anglo Saxon town of Winchcombe in the Cotswolds. With a AA ** rosette awarded restaurant, it has developed a reputation for excellent food, elegant surroundings and exemplary service. Wesley House take pride in delivering great food, using local suppliers and organic produce wherever possible. T 01242 602366 enquiries@wesleyhouse.co.uk www.wesleyhouse.co.uk

Read Trevor Bigg’s advice column on page 58.


10% Off All Online Purchases Blubalou.com is an online store offering thoughtfully chosen gifts that are often quirky, sometimes offbeat, but always exquisite. Based in the picturesque Cotswolds, this is a familyrun business with a real passion for tracking down the kind of gifts you don’t find every day. Cotswold Homes readers can benefit from an exclusive offer of 10% off all purchases made on the BluBalou.com site until 25th December. Just quote the code CH10% at the online checkout.Valid for 3 uses per customer. Tel: 01451 810216 www.blubalou.com

Quote code: CHWHWN15

Quote code: CHFRWN15 Read Tim Spittle’s column on how to get fit for OCR courses on pages 66-67.

Quote code: CHMDPWN15

Quote code: CHCCWN15

10% Off Lunch at Restaurant – Wine Bar & Grill, Valid for 2 Persons

10% off OCR Mud Run Course Group Bookings of 10 or more

T 01993 831396 reception@drbigg.com www.drbigg.com

T 01608 730 500 dean@cotswold-carriers.com www.cotswoldcarriers.com



It is a private practice dealing with all aspects of dental treatment but we specialise in cosmetic dentistry, including composite or plastic veneers, porcelain veneers, tooth whitening and the treatment of worn teeth and jaw joint disorders. Please contact Penny for details regarding this offer and all other treatments available at the practice.

Why not savour Wesley House’s Christmas cake and pudding recipes on page 50.




Sam Twiston-Davies

At Home with Sam Twiston-Davies We meet up with Sam on a late summer afternoon at his family home in Naunton. Grange Hill Farm sits amongst spreading patchwork fields with panoramic views that sweep around the valley and hills, the perfect spot for a ninetystrong collection of racehorses being trained by his father Nigel at their yard. am is cheery, relaxed and chatty despite a long slow drive back from Ditcheat. There are chickens pecking away serenely in the garden, roses crowding round the back door and an Aga draped with clean washing in the farmhouse kitchen - an archetypal, informal Cotswold embrace that emanates comfort and warmth. Sam makes us a cup of tea, sitting in his socks at the kitchen table, talking about his love of good food and home comforts. “In everyone’s life there’s a rock and for me, that’s Mum. Mum is great. If ever I am down she’ll always be the first person to ring and she’ll always be here. Here, there are no enemies and I always feel welcome.There’s always chocolate in the fridge, ice cream in the freezer, crisps in the larder - home is just a great place to come back to every day.” We hear you love Haribo, can make a mean omelette and great eggy bread – aren’t jockeys supposed to spend their time trying to lose weight? “I’m lucky. I never have to sit in the sauna. I’m around ten stone in the summer and will eat a big meal a day. When I need to lose a few pounds I do it by eating less. I’ll have a cup of tea in the morning, then ride out two or three lots at Paul’s and get home having had a breakfast bar and maybe some fruit. I try not to eat a meal after 6.30 in the evening when I am riding, to give my body a chance to burn off some of it before bed. When I sit down I can get bored – just thinking about food makes me hungry - so then I will pick away on Haribo whilst I am playing on my X-box. Sweets don’t weigh much and are fast-burn. For Willy [his brother, a


Cotswold Homes Magazine

flat jockey], it sounds crazy, but sweets are very important just to keep his body running because he has to keep his weight down [to around eight and a half stone] whilst the worst for me is if I have to do a ten stone after Christmas. Fortunately, these days I am usually at Kempton in the King George, a level weights race, or riding for Paul or Nigel in the handicaps, hopefully on heavyweights!” Will you be at home this Christmas or spending the day with your girlfriend, Camilla? “Camilla has always been at home at Christmas and I’m sure it won’t be far off to our first Christmas together but this one will be a bit different anyway because Nigel’s newly married and he will probably spend the day with [wife] Vic and the girls, so I would really like to be here with Mum and Will if he’s around. I can’t imagine being anywhere else. We always have a right laugh. On Christmas Eve we go out hunting together and on Christmas Day Mum has the Irish lads up – they can’t go home because they’re working. Aidan [Coleman] has been up here before, as have all the Irish lads for their lunch and tea, sitting down with us rather than being on their own. Mum gives them all a present to open, too. She’s from a large family, one of six, so she loves a big Christmas and making great memories.” Do you generally spend a lot of time at home? “I do. When Mum has a dinner party I hide upstairs – I’ll say a quick hello, grab something from the fridge, go up to my room - there’s nothing like coming in and just crashing. Jockeys are under a lot of pressure so you do things that take you as far away as possible from racing. I’m good at finding

ways to switch off; I like going to the cinema, playing footie for Hollow Bottom FC, and when I’m on my X-box the last thing I think about is racing. It’s important to have that downtime. “Camilla works for [trainer] John Ferguson – she and I get on so well because she understands why sometimes I don’t want to speak. When I have a great day the phone will be flat out on the way home but on a bad day no one wants to speak to you - Camilla’s the first to ring along with my agent Chris Broad and Dad.These are the people you really need in your life, who are there for you, care whatever happens, who tell you things are all right and give you back a sense of perspective, because the game we are in is really such a small bubble and you can get so caught up in it sometimes.” Having a trainer as a father must have been good preparation for the pressures of life as number one jockey for Paul Nicholls? “The pressures and competition are more intense now than when I was growing up, when there was no riding on a Sunday, when the boys would be going out, when there was no summer racing and they’d go off on long holidays, that’s just how it was. AP [McCoy] really helped to change the face of all that - doing it in a way that everyone followed, the good diet and the way he operated. Back in the day, if someone didn’t go out, the lads would ask: ‘where were you last night, is there something wrong with you?’ but now if I were riding tomorrow I wouldn’t go out. It’s Olympian now at the top of the sport, these days, riding amongst the very best from all over the world.

Sam Twiston-Davies

“The thing Paul’s taught me is to keep focused on the next race. If we have a win he’ll celebrate it, then it’s straight onto the next one and the one after. I love that hunger in him, the fact that he’s looking forward all the time.” www.cotswold-homes.com


Sam Twiston-Davies

“I have seen how hard it is being a trainer, the ups and downs my father’s been through - to be able to give that amount of yourself to every owner, it’s hard.” 16

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“Everyone says AP is their hero, one of mine too, but I have learned more from Carl Llewellyn [now Nigel’s assistant trainer] than anyone else – about mortgages, how I talk, how I look and how I present myself, not just at the races but day-to-day. He’s lived with us since I was small - seeing him work with Dad was second to none as experience. They’re the best of friends, always have been. Both are my role models, my heroes.They’ve barely ever had a cross word and I like to think I can get on with Paul in the same way. Obviously it’s different because I live here, he lives there, but that’s a good thing. If he has something to say after a bad race I can go home, think about it without getting heated and the next day he’s back to normal. He’s great because he never bears a grudge. He’s moved on so I have to, too. “The thing Paul’s taught me is to keep focused on

the next race. If we have a win he’ll celebrate it, then it’s straight onto the next one and the one after. I love that hunger in him, the fact that he’s looking forward all the time.To him failures are just opportunities to evaluate, to assess the mistakes so we don’t make them again. I have learned from him to brush myself off, get on with it and move forward. “I have seen how hard it is being a trainer, the ups and downs my father’s been through - to be able to give that amount of yourself to every owner, it’s hard. If I have had a bad day I like to switch the phone off so I wouldn’t make the obvious choice to follow in Dad’s footsteps whereas Willy is a great communicator, really good at lifting everyone back up after a difficult day. If he does, I will support him all the way. My dream for the future is to be there with Paul seeing the future stars come

Sam Twiston-Davies

through, watching the three year olds and seeing them as chasers, the potential Gold Cup winners, seeing everything we have worked for flourish and enjoying longevity together like dad and Carl, like Paul and Ruby [Walsh]. Was losing on Big Bucks a turning point for you? “Well,Twitter’s an interesting one but I probably learned more from riding Big Bucks than from any other defeat.The whole of the community of racing can be behind you but then you can get so much – I don’t want to say hate because that’s not the right word – so much anger. At the end of the day there were only three things that really mattered - that the horse came back okay, that Paul and [owner] Andy Stewart were happy. “At the time, though, it was very hard – hundreds of vicious tweets on the way home, even telling me

they hoped I crashed my car, people coming up to me in the street in Cheltenham when I was out that night with the lads telling me I was no good, that I had given him a poor ride, crazy stuff. It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to go through but it’s true that sometimes you learn more from defeat than you ever can from winning. Now I am able to deal with disappointment much better - I don’t bite back. I try to rise above it, put it in perspective. It’s definitely made me the jockey I am now.” What’s easier to deal with - Twitter trolls or being snogged by Frankie Dettori? He laughs. “Yeah, Frankie’s really sound but he got me once when the camera wasn’t on him and I was like, that was different, and then the camera was on him and he did it again! That was one of the best days ever, to win on Dodging Bullets in a Grade One. Frankie bred him, knew him from a

very young horse and it must have been a hell of an excitement. It’s the same when I watch Willy or Ryan Hatch, people I am very close to like Jamie Bargary, for example.You’re hoping and thinking with the jockey, you ride the race with them, you see how they are travelling and the lines of thought they are on, how things are going. “With AP that’s what made him so amazing to watch - he made so few mistakes.You look back at the race and wonder what must he have been thinking five strides before then, because he did this rather than that. His instinct is something all jockeys would love to employ into their own riding – the best jockey that you will ever see, impossible to beat, riding ninety five per cent of the time without any mistakes. All I can do is learn and strive to get better, to be stronger, to try to be more like him, but no one will ever match him. www.cotswold-homes.com


Sam Twiston-Davies

The question is, can you get enough rides to become Champion Jockey this year? “Dickie [Richard Johnson] has had a flying start because he has been riding a lot of the horses that AP would have done. AP rode for John Ferguson, too, so my good friend Aidan’s also getting lots of winners. Paul is always quieter in summer whereas we’re guaranteed to be busy every Saturday for the rest of the winter. I’m raring to go now, especially having been down to Paul’s yard and schooled a few of the young ones. I’m thinking that one’s going to win, and that one, and that one – wow, all these horses in one yard! Lots of novice chasers, maybe thirty graded horses and a few handicappers – it’s staggering to see so many coming through, plus the established horses like Dodging Bullets, Saphir du Rheu and Silviniaco Conti, all likely to do well again this season. “Last year, Paul had a winner for twenty Saturdays in a row – each time the team is not just hoping but confident that something is going to win, everyone’s going round thinking positively, and a lot of the time it works on the big days, too, the belief that you are making the right decisions. It conveys itself to the horse as well – your confidence creates great trust, so you’re both at your best. “Going round on Dodging Bullets at Cheltenham was like clockwork, everything on a heartbeat, flowing, lovely, just finding that rhythm – it was wonderful. Putting the championship aside, I believe Paul gives me the best chance to win the big races.Take Saphir du Rheu - Irish Saint had taken a Grade Two apart at Kempton but Saphir beat him by fifteen lengths at a canter at Aintree - he’s got the potential, he’s very exciting. Obviously 18

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All I can do is learn and strive to get better, to be stronger, to try to be more like him, but no one will ever match him [AP Mccoy].” everything has to go right but if all turns out well in the prep stages. We’ll have to see what he does in the Hennessy, if he goes. If he can step up, then he could well be a Gold Cup horse.”

his beloved horse whilst laughing at his known contrariness towards treats, explaining he turns his nose up at everything from Polos to carrots, being simply content with his usual feed.

Before we leave, how about a photo or two of you with The New One? We step out into the sunshine again, and as we walk down to the yard Sam points out various horses including Brian, a carthorse belonging to his mother Cathy, who was trusted with the boys when they were little. In another field is Bindaree whose owner Mr Raymond Mould, Sam’s godfather, passed away only a week before. “Our whole family will always be deeply indebted to Mr Mould - as Nigel’s longest standing owner he ensured our yard’s good fortune. It was his kindness that made Mr Mould best friend to Dad for many years - they were on the phone to each other every day and inseparable to the end.”

Would you ever let anyone else ride The New One? “Hopefully the occasion will never arise but The New One I realise is a true hero.The New One’s nearly a guaranteed winner and I have always been loyal to him - but Dodging Bullets is a great horse, too. I rode him for the first time at Aintree the year before last and then hadn’t sat on him again until Cheltenham.You’d never get close to the adrenalin rush of winning at Cheltenham. With the Tingle Creek I promise you that was such a surprise.To see him transform like that was unbelievable, it felt like he could go round again, making a mockery of every other horse out there. It was mad. He felt like my horse because we progressed through our first major season together, and of course, he was the horse that really cemented me and Paul as a team. I think Dodging Bullets and The New One will always be my favourites.”

It is clear how much Mr Mould is missed today, and how hard his loss is on everyone at the yard. As we reach The New One’s stable, Sam fusses

Sam TwiSTon-DavieS

Tell us about your relationship with Harrison James & Hardie – you have just agreed your third year with the company as your sponsors but surely you must have had better offers this season? “It’s more the relationship we have than anything else. Being a jockey takes a lot out of you and it’s great to work with people who understand what you do and are passionate about it. I have worked with other people in the past, but what's great about working with Harrison James & Hardie is all about what we can do for each other. “The directors are very easy in the demands they make of me and work around my schedule. My day is so hectic, I am all over the place - for example, next week I will be in Perth and then maybe at Paul's, then Warwick and Newton Abbott – and sometimes my plans change at short notice but it’s never a problem even if I have to re-schedule things we have agreed. I try my best to do everything that I can for them, of course, but it’s amazing to be allowed that time and flexibility. “That’s what makes it work so well for both sides - it’s a mutual understanding and it’s so pleasing that they are genuinely interested in the

Sam at Stratford with Harrison James & Hardie Director James von Speyr

sport. For example, the directors usually sponsor one of the races at the Showcase so I will go up to the Panoramic Restaurant before they have lunch to tell them what I think about the day ahead, giving my opinion on who’s got a chance in this race and whether I reckon I will do well in a particular race, for example. It's great as they really appreciate my input because it makes it more exciting for them and it’s the same for me too, knowing that I am making their day even more enjoyable.

“It’s infectious that everyone in the company is so interested and passionate, especially James. Although it sounds crazy, the race I would have loved to win last season was the Harrison James & Hardie Maiden Hurdle at Cheltenham, after the company sponsored the Amateur Chase the year before, which my father won and I was so jealous because I couldn’t ride in it. Then last year in the Maiden Hurdle I came second – I am determined one day, hopefully, that it’s going to go the right way!”




A New Welcome to

Cheltenham Racecourse

As the incredible new Grandstand finally opens its doors, we look to the rest of the season at Cheltenham

Every year, Cheltenham brings thrills and spills to racing lovers across the world, as fortunes are made and new champions born.

house thousands upon thousands of visitors over the coming years.

But this year, the experience will be even better for those who flock to the Cotswold Mecca of Jump Racing. Now, after many months of development and building work, the £45 million Grandstand has opened to the public, just in time for The Open.

Five-and-a-half storeys tall, the new Grandstand caters for every type of race-goer. Holders of Club tickets on Paddy Power Gold Cup Day or The Festival or Club/Tattersalls tickets for any other days of the season, will be able to make use of a vast new bar on the ground floor, while the first floor holds a champagne bar and a bar for annual members.

Formally opened by HRH The Princess Royal and featuring a dressage performance by A.P. McCoy, Charlotte Dujardin and Carl Hester (raising money for Team GB), the Grandstand will

The second floor features an Owners and Trainers Bar and the Cotswold Club, serving those who had boxes in the old A+R buildings. Floor three plays host to the Royal Box and


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other private boxes, while the fourth – featuring stunning panoramic views – is the preserve of The Cheltenham Club. With its glass rotunda overlooking the Cheltenham Paddock and Winners’ Enclosure, members of The Cheltenham Club will enjoy the finest The Jockey Club has to offer. A.P. McCoy serves as The Cheltenham Club’s ambassador, ensuring that members are surrounded by top talent. Now, let’s look ahead and see what Cheltenham has to offer throughout the rest of this year – and into the next, as the remainder of a thrilling Jump season plays out.




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What’s on at

chelteNhAm RAcecouRse

November 2015 the opeN

COUNTRYSIDE DAY | 13TH NOVEMBER 2015 | 10:30 - 18:00 PADDY POWER GOLD CUP DAY | 14TH NOVEMBER 2015 | 10:00 - 18:00 THE OPEN SUNDAY | 15TH NOVEMBER 2015 | 11:00 - 18:00

Trainer, Paul Nicholls (left) and jockey, Sam Twiston-Davies hold the Paddy Power Gold Cup after Caid Du Berlais’s win during Day Two of The Open at Cheltenham Racecourse.

Considered by many as the first weekend that Jump racing really gets underway, visitors will be treated to fantastic racing on all three days. The Open begins with the much-loved Countryside Day, which packs in displays and demonstrations with a special ‘country fayre’ flavour. Next up is the Paddy Power Gold Cup Day, featuring six other races alongside the main event – a real seasonal favourite for Jump fans. Last year’s contest saw top jockey Sam Twiston-Davies and Paul Nicholls take their second Paddy Power Gold Cup wins. Competition is fierce when there’s £300,000 at stake. But it’s not all about racing – live music and a shopping village help make it a day to remember. Finally, The Open Sunday (the only Sunday to feature racing at Cheltenham) provides great fun for families. Don’t miss the Shloer Chase and the Greatwood StanJames.com Handicap Hurdle, where the stars of tomorrow take centre stage.

December 2015 the iNteRNAtioNAl

Balthazer King winner of Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase ridden by Richard Johnson

Jockey Barry Geraghty acknowledges as he is lead into the winners’ enclosure on Uxizandre after winning the Shloer Steeple Chase during day three of The Open 2014 at Cheltenham Racecourse

January 2016

FRIDAY | 11TH DECEMBER 2015 | 10:00 - 17:00 SATURDAY | 12TH DECEMBER 2015 | 10:00 - 17:00 Even on a cold, crisp day in December, the magic remains with two days of the hottest Jump racing around. The International Friday and Saturday provide the perfect lead in to Christmas. Friday brings an exciting European twist with the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase, as part of many cross-country challenges across the continent with the Crystal Cup Challenge. Don’t miss Sunday’s StanJames. com International Hurdle, won last year by father & son team, jockey Sam Twiston-Davies and his trainer father, Nigel, with the locally-trained The New One.

Rock on Ruby ridden by Noel Fehily left jumps the last with Vaniteux ridden by Barry Geraghty right on their way to victory in the Dornan Engineering hurdle race at Cheltenham Racecourse, Cheltenham.

New YeAR’s DAY 1ST JANUARY 2016 | 10:30 - 16:00 Raise a glass to 2016 with friends as large and enthusiastic crowds begin the New Year in style, with festive fresh air and fantastic racing. What a way to see in the New Year! There’s nothing better than joining friends and family on the first day of the year to banish the hangovers – and seeing that New Year’s racing is on a Friday this year, who could blame you if you fancy a little more indulgence? Don’t forget that under-18s go free on racedays (excluding The Festival), so why not head on over for seven thrilling races and post-race relaxation at the Final Flight Bar (with live music from the Chip Shop Boys).

Sam Twiston-Davies kisses The New One after their victory in the StanJames.com International Hurdle during day two of The International at Cheltenham Racecourse

FestiVAl tRiAls DAY 30TH JANUARY 2016 | 10:30 - 17:00 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.

Any Currency ridden by Aidan Coleman before the Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase 22

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Seven races to enjoy include trials for the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup, the JCB Triumph Hurdle and the Ladbrokes World Hurdle, amongst others. Take a trip to Cheltenham to pick out the ones to watch during the four day spectacular in March. Which leads us nicely on to…


March 2016 the FestiVAl™ CHAMPION DAY | 15TH MARCH 2016 | 10:30 - 18:00 LADIES DAY | 16TH MARCH 2016 | 10:30 - 18:00 ST PATRICK’S THURSDAY | 17TH MARCH 2016 | 10:30 - 18:00 GOLD CUP DAY | 18TH MARCH 2016 | 10:30 - 18:00

Coneygree and Nico de Boinville winner of The Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup

The Festival™ epitomises and encompasses everything that is great about Jump racing, whilst delivering an unbelievable occasion as the finest horses, jockeys, owners and trainers battle it out for the highest racing honours. Four days when the nation’s eyes are on Cheltenham: nothing can beat the thrill of being there for yourself, seeing new champions rise and old heroes falter. It all begins with Champion Day. After Gold Cup Day, it’s the busiest, and that first-day buzz makes the seven races an electrifying start to the proceedings. Last Year’s Stan James Champion Hurdle saw trainer of winner Faugheen Willie Mullins into the winners’ enclosure – just one of his four wins that day.

Coneygree and Nico de Boinville winner of The Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup

Ladies Day adds a touch of class, as lady race-goers turn proceedings into a high-fashion spectacle. But let’s not forget the racing: not least of the seven races is the Betway Queen Mother Champion Race, taken in 2014 by Dodging Bullets and Sam Twiston-Davies. Are you 18-24 years old? Then take advantage of the discounted tickets on offer for the Tattersalls Enclosure, which are available on the day with ID. Then we welcome the Irish crowd on St Patrick’s Thursday, where two big races – the Ladbrokes World Hurdle and the Ryanair Chase (which last year was A.P. McCoy’s last Festival win) – get the blood pumping just before the big day itself.

Dodging Bullets and Sam Twiston-Davies, Faugheen and Ruby Walsh winner ofThe winner of The Betway Queen Mother Stan James Champion Hurdle, Champion Chase

Finally, it’s Gold Cup Day – the highlight of the season and one of the biggest draws around. The Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup is of course the main attraction (as well as the crowning moment of the Jump season) so make sure to book tickets and accommodation as early as possible to avoid disappointment. 2015 was an interesting year – Coneygree’s win marked the first time a novice had won the race since Captain Christy in 1974. What will this year bring?

April 2016 the ApRil meetiNg APRIL - WEDNESDAY | 13TH APRIL 2016 | 12:00 - 18:00 APRIL - THURSDAY | 14TH APRIL 2016 | 12:00 - 18:00 The April Meeting gives you the chance to enjoy two weekday fixtures. Even though the season is beginning to wind down, there is still great action on the track. After a manic March, there are still plenty of thrills in store as the season winds down. Usually the sunniest of the fixtures, the April Meeting provides an excellent chance to break up the week with some Springtime race excitement. Distinguishing the April Meeting is that four of the seven races are Mares Only.

Quinz and Joe Hill win the Bonhams Men’s Open Point-to-Point Championship Final Hunters’ Steeple Chase

huNteR chAse eVeNiNg 27TH APRIL 2016 | 15:30 - 21:00 The season finale showcases all that is great in another part of equine racing – all seven races are Hunter Chases.

Anay Turge and Tom Scudamore winners of The Teenage Cancer Trust Silver Trophy Steeplechase

And now for something different: an evening fixture. Make sure to catch the action at Cheltenham while you can, because it will be your last chance to do so for almost six months. Take the children – free entry for under-18s – and bid goodbye to the season in style in Spring sunshine. All races are Hunter Chases. www.cotswold-homes.com








Unlike the majority of equestrian stars I’ve interviewed, Phoebe Peters does remember a life before horses. ‘I wasn’t originally into horses,’ she says. ‘I didn’t touch a pony until I was four. When we moved to the Cotswolds around my sixth birthday my sister and I got our first ponies. Mine was a very cheeky pony and I couldn’t do much with him because he was so naughty. My sister, however, had a lovely pony and in typically sisterly fashion, I stole him from her.’ The pony in question was Beau Supreme, a little new forest pony and the foundation of Phoebe’s success story.Together, they worked their way up through the seemingly complicated age and pony height defined groupings. ‘Little Beau really started my journey - from him I’ve gone on to ride other great ponies and on to winning gold medals.’ As is the nature with dressage grading, 2015 marked the last year that Phoebe was eligible to compete in the under-16s pony riders category. ‘It was my fourth and final European championship. The competition starts much earlier in the year, 26

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when we have to qualify for Europeans through selection at international competitions in Britain, Holland and France. It is hugely dependent on our results at those competitions and also [about] catching the eye of GB selectors.This season, Lucci and I were beaten in only one test out of the nine selecting competitions. So we went into the Europeans in a really good position.’ SL Lucci is the other half of this winning combination, a dark bay German bred gelding. His perfect paces and wonderful attitude towards schooling has enabled the pair to champion their sport. ‘He’s the cheekiest, funniest pony and really lights up the yard. He loves competing and really rises to the occasion.’ The 2015 Europeans were held in Sweden, over four days of competition. Phoebe and Lucci competed in three different events, claiming gold in each of the individual, the team and the individual freestyle to music. ‘In all of the tests Lucci was hoof perfect. In the


team competition, which was first, I was the anchor rider, heading in last. We were in bronze position before I went in and so there was a huge pressure there - but that pressure made me up my game a little bit and it came off. ‘We scored a new world record in the individual test and the freestyle to music. We took team gold first, which was phenomenal as we had never won a team gold under-16s before. [It was] surreal, and none of us really believed it until we did the awards ceremony. When it came to the individual competition, having won the individual gold with Lucci in 2013 and to be winning it a second time meant I broke another record, as no one has won an individual gold twice.’ It was the most fitting of swansongs for the


pairing who have dominated the junior dressage world for the past three years. ‘Being that it was my last year in this grouping, I knew it was my last international show with Lucci and so it was very emotional. It was my last everything with him.’ With the trophies on the mantel and the record books updates, where next for Phoebe Peters? ‘This is a career. Lots of my fellow competitors aim for a specific Olympics, but I’m just going to take the time to develop my skills through the next 16-18 year old grade and see where it goes.’ I have no doubt that we will see much more from Phoebe Peters - maybe not in Rio, but watch out Tokyo...



A comedy of money, mischief and madness

The miracle today is that we find A lover true: not that a woman’s kind Love for Love is a racy, fast-paced and hilarious restoration comedy: a truly uproarious alternative to pantomime over the festive season, and an evening you won’t soon forget. Selina Cadell (The Rivals, Arcola Theatre 2014) makes her Royal Shakespeare Company directorial debut this winter with William Congreve’s glorious restoration comedy, where love for love is stronger than love for money. The dissolute libertine Valentine is in a bind.The only way to keep his creditors at bay is to surrender to his father Sir Sampson Legend’s wish to pass on his right of inheritance to his younger brother. But, fearing that accepting the deal will mean he will be spurned by his sworn love Angelica,Valentine is compelled to take drastic action - and soon finds himself in a whirl of chaos… Disguises, deceptions, larger-than-life characters and sexual gamesmanship abound as Congreve uses his play to explore the frivolity of his society. To celebrate this lavish production, we’ve been granted a sneaky glimpse inside costume designer Rosalind Ebbutt’s sketchbook to view the designs for the extravagant costumes you’ll see in Love For Love. Swan Theatre, Stratford upon Avon 28th October 2015 – 22nd January 2016 Box Office: 01789 403493 www.rsc.org.uk 30

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WITCHCRAFT, DALEKS EVIL SUPERMARKETS: Inside the Fantastical Imagination of Writer Paul Cornell


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Multi-award winning writer Paul Cornell has written episodes of Doctor Who, Superman comics and even spent a brief stint on Coronation Street and Casualty. Now he’s turned his attentions to the supernatural, publishing a tale of witchcraft set in the Cotswolds after moving here with his wife and son.

Hi Paul.We were pleased to discover that not only have you written a book set in the Cotswolds, but you actually live in the Cotswolds, too… We’ve been here since last October. My wife is the vicar of Fairford, which sounds a bit like a Thomas Hardy novel! Tell us about how Witches of Lychford came about. It’s the second in the Tor novellas range. They’re going to be releasing a new one every week for the first month, and then one every month. It’s a pleasure to be second in that list. It’s a whole new publishing initiative for Tor – novellas and short novels are an untapped resource. So, tell us about the witches in your story… There are three very disparate women in a small Cotswold town. One is a very bitter pensioner disliked by almost everybody; another is the new vicar who is not settling in well at all, despite the village being her childhood hometown, and has lost her partner recently in a car accident. The third is her former best friend, who has opened a magic shop in town despite being an atheist… she’s had a vastly traumatic event in her life that the vicar knows nothing about, leading to a real gap between them, a sundering of friendship. The book is about how awful it feels to lose friendship, and how the three of them come together in an unlikely way – to fight the incursion of supernatural evil into their town in the form of a major supermarket chain… There’s a lot of comedy, but real horror in it. There’s that sort of Buffy the Vampire Slayer mix in it. Maybe a bit darker… I always thought that the Cotswolds would be well used as a horror location like Buffy’s hometown of Sunnydale: outwardly lovely, but with a Hellmouth lurking underneath… It’s exactly that, actually. The idea is that the geography of the Cotswolds puts Lychford on

the boundary of the world of faerie and all other kinds of mystical places. Judith, the ancient lady, is the last person charged with upholding these boundaries, but things are falling apart and she has to get help. The lovely thing about contemporary fantasy – which I’d call ‘urban fantasy’, except this story’s not very urban at all – is that you can talk about the real world with that huge metaphor of magic to help. So it’s about austerity; it’s about what happens to small communities if they don’t pull together and try to hold on; and about the ways in which money can divide people. It’s dedicated to the good citizens of Fairford. We love it here, and we’ve found a real welcome from people who are very special. [Laughs] That doesn’t sound very good, does it? The idea of a coven is an interesting one, when you’re thinking about village relationships, that kind of clannishness… Actually I’ve written a short history of fantasy set in the Cotswolds, which went up on Tor.com the day of the book’s release. (Editor’s note: Go read it!) You also wrote a very detailed article about witches that come in threes, (also published on Tor. com)…Did any of your research influence how you portrayed your three witches? There are surprisingly often three witches. It seems to date back to Shakespeare’s Macbeth, but it goes beyond that to Greek and Classical patterns of the Fates, and indeed in Shakespeare’s stage directions - or rather the Holinshed Chronicles where he draws his historical material from - the women are specifically identified as the Fates. Probably they were also originally meant to be beautiful, but they’ve almost never been portrayed as such in more modern ages. Actually in my book, the title is the name of the magic shop, and they’re not all witches, at least at the start. Judith is a witch, while the vicar is by no

means a witch – but she is the local conduit to the numinous. And I find it amazingly interesting that [vicars] are indeed a conduit to the numinous but they’re deemed cosy enough for sitcoms! Tell us about your ‘way in’ to writing professionally… I dropped out of astrophysics at UCL – I just couldn’t handle the maths. What I thought was my life’s course was over, but I desperately needed to make a living – so I fell back on writing. Many years of poverty later, I managed to make a go of it. It was all about keeping trying over a very long time. I’d always written fan fiction and things like that as a hobby – I suppose it was Doctor Who originally. I got a novel commissioned in the gap between the old show and the new show, in those years where all sorts of creativity blossomed and the new show was basically invented in a dry dock. Gradually things started to move… The Doctor Who novel that you wrote called Human Nature, where the Doctor becomes a human, a schoolteacher in fact, to hide himself – that actually became an TV episode of the revived Doctor Who, one you wrote the script for… It was very odd. It’s strange, I suppose, to get one’s life ambition done. You sort of cast around and swim away from it quite hard in order not to sink with it, to find a new set of goals, and that’s what I’ve been doing the last few years. And I feel quite cosy now in having achieved some of them. I’m quite happy to pop back to Doctor Who now and then. When you talk about that hinterland between the cancellation of Doctor Who and the new series that was launched in 2005…It’s interesting how the writers of the new show mostly came from writing material in that gap between the old and new. I think every big property should go away for a few years and let its fans grow into professionals. It’s like letting a field lie fallow. www.cotswold-homes.com



“RUSSELL T DAVIES SAID SOMETHING LOVELY ABOUT ME: ABOUT ME OPENING UP MY HEART EVERY TIME, LAYING IT BARE. THAT WAS VERY KIND OF HIM.” Your episodes were remarkable for their emotional content. I remember watching Father’s Day in 2005, where the Doctor’s companion, Rose, misuses timetravel to stop the road accident that killed her father – to a terrible cost. Well, thank you. It was always my thing in the books to dive into the emotional stuff. Russell T Davies said something lovely about me: about me opening up my heart every time, laying it bare. That was very kind of him. But it’s what I tried to do, and it was a new tactic in Doctor Who at the time. Since then, it’s become very much part of the fibre of the show. Other people have done much the same in other sorts of ways – Tom MacRae and Gareth Roberts, for example. Not least [current showrunner] Stephen [Moffat] and Russell themselves. But…back in the day, in the fifteen years where there was no Doctor Who on TV, I had a very early book. Mine was one of the first. I got to change Doctor Who a lot, to throw in stuff that hadn’t been featured in the old TV show, and a very emotional domestic context was one of those things. You also wrote an episode of Corrie. Oh, I worked on that for about a year, learning a lot by being part of a yelling, romping writer’s room where people would leap up and yell out plots. I was horrible at it. When my time came to write an episode, I introduced Deirdre’s conman fake pilot husband who got Deirdre arrested… That was my one small contribution! Which eventually led to the ‘Free Deirdre’ public outcry…

I wonder how many people would have noticed that on the first airing… I wonder! Again, it was in the gap between the old show and the new, when nobody admitted to being a fan! Looking over your CV, you’ve written stories for a lot of very famous characters over a wide variety of media. Obviously there’s Doctor Who, but there’s also Wolverine, Superman…Is it liberating writing for a character who is very well known - or is it somewhat intimidating? You’ve really got to switch off any sense of being daunted. If I was going to be daunted it would have been writing the word ‘Doctor’ and giving him some dialogue! Sometimes the increased attention can be a bonus, at others it can be an inhibiting factor. My reaction to what I’ve done with such characters has varied tremendously: I loved my run on Superman, writing for his (arch-nemesis) Lex Luthor mostly, because Superman himself was away in another comic for about a year. I actually wrote the 900th issue of Action Comics, so it was nice to do a big anniversary. I went to a pub quiz in Amersham, and suddenly they asked a question about what happened in that issue of Action Comics! It had come out the previous month, got quite a bit of media attention. I was saying ‘I wrote that! It was me!’ Nobody believed me [laughs]. You go to these really big ‘geek culture’ events like San Diego Comic-Con…

And then I bounced down the steps, battered by the experience! But I had a much better time writing Casualty. I did six episodes of that. They gave us a lot of budget to have adventures with paramedics back then, and it was great to be a part of.

Oh yes, it’s brilliant! If you get to know it, it’s very warm and cosy. San Diego downtown is not a huge town, so it’s like an army of fans invaded and conquered a small town. Costumes are everywhere, and every bar is decked out to attract that sort of clientele. It’s all my people right here, right now.

There was one episode of Casualty where I named every character after characters in Doctor Who: The Seeds of Doom.

It’s the biggest book industry gathering, as well. It’s where you get to meet all the editors. It’s where movie and TV are. It’s useful, it’s exciting.


Cotswold Homes Magazine

I do feel sorry for people who have to queue up to get into the big panels, but there’s still a cracking comic convention right in the centre of that, where I can go to meet all my comic writer heroes from the seventies, who’ll be speaking to audiences of less than a hundred! This year I accepted a Lifetime Achievement award on behalf of my friend, Terrance Dicks. That had an audience of about thirty. But there’s all sorts of things inside Comic-Con…you just have to learn the system to get around… And it must be nice for people who have pretty insular trades like writing to have a big social event… Oh, yes. It’s like we’re cane toads released into Australia. Good lord! Staying up late, the bar life – especially when you’re in three different gangs like me, with Doctor Who, Comics and Science Fiction… In your latest comic, you’ve written four incarnations of the Doctor simultaneously…


“THERE WAS ONE EPISODE OF CASUALTY WHERE I NAMED EVERY CHARACTER AFTER CHARACTERS IN DOCTOR WHO: THE SEEDS OF DOOM.” devil. It’s like Spinal Tap meets Ghostbusters, told to the camera in the style of a documentary. The publication of Witches of Lychford is something that’s not quite the ‘norm’. Have you got any idea where the novel might be going in the 21st century?

I’ve got two comics coming out as we speak! One is Four Doctors, from Titan Comics, featuring the 10th, 11th and 12th Doctors teaming up, and the other is This Damned Band from Dark Horse, two issues into a six issue miniseries. It’s about the biggest rockstars of 1974 who like to go around saying ‘we’re worshipping the devil’ finding out to their horror that they really are worshipping the

I think it’s remarkably resilient. I think there’s something about getting lost in a novel (I read all my long fiction on my iPad these days). But there’s something that happens to the brain when one is lost in long fiction. There’s a sense of satisfaction you get on completing it. The novel shows no sign of going away, and I suspect that’s because as a mental experience it’s different from everything else. I suspect shorter chunks may be[come] a thing, but still - people buy really big novels now! Something Steven Moffat and I always agreed about was that we didn’t like people who slagged off the lack of education of younger people, pointing out that a work of their popular fiction like Harry Potter runs to about 800 pages. People

like a big chunky fantasy, and that’s a sign that the novel has centuries left in it yet…People like to be given a lot of information and a unique world to live in. Finally, it feels at the moment like science fiction and fantasy has come to the fore, culturally. Do you think the current enthusiasm will hold up or will it wax and wane as trends dictate? I think something happened about ten or fifteen years ago. Suddenly, it became OK to be a geek, and everybody became a fan of something. And I think Doctor Who came back at just the right point to do that, in a very family friendly, mainstream friendly way. Some of my geek companions do actually like to maintain the walls of the ghetto from the inside [laughs] but you really don’t have to live inside it anymore… I think that’s a lot healthier. And I like to say ‘We Won’. Thank you, Paul.



ABiGAiL Anderson

‘tIS thE SEaSon WIn for mErrY mEn… tIckEtS

SEE paG E7

…for panto season’s here again! We interview abigail anderson, director of robin hood for the theatre, chipping norton, on chippy’s latest smash. Why do you think we all still love the story of Robin Hood? Robin Hood is a truly English hero and while he might not have powers like Spiderman or Wolverine, he’s brave and quick-witted and fights for the rights of the underdog. As a story, it has brilliant characters like Friar Tuck and Maid Marion and provides a good excuse for sensational action sequences. A bit like Doctor Who, every generation has a favourite Robin: from Errol Flynn, to Richard Greene, to Michael Praed, to Kevin Costner or Jonas Armstrong, so the story is constantly being re-invented for new audiences.

Jack & The Giant (2013)

What are the ingredients of a perfect panto, in your opinion? A panto has to have a big heart: it’s a celebration of family and community at a very special time of year. Our job is to welcome the audience into our world and create a party-like atmosphere that entertains, spreads joy and brings the audience and actors together.The ingredients you need for this are imagination, mischief and the ability to remember what going to the theatre was like when you were very small and still amazed by everything. What do you think makes Chippy pantos unique? I think the history is what makes them unique: an amazing tradition going back over 40 years of creating huge shows in a tiny theatre, cherished and supported by generations of families from the town. Our lighting designer, Christopher Nairne, used to come along with 25 members of his family for over 15 years when he was a child – that kind of loyalty in your audiences can’t be rivalled. How many pantos (and which ones) have you tackled before? I love panto and I’ve directed five before at various theatres around the country: Jack and the Beanstalk

Cinderella (2012)

twice, Cinderella, Mother Goose and a rather more unusual one, Rapunzel. Tell us something interesting about this year’s production. The Chipping Norton pantomimes are always spectacular, with a good dash of silliness, and this year will be no exception. The exciting new element is that the story of Robin Hood gives us an opportunity to have dashing sword fights, archery contests and scenes of ‘derring do’. We have a brilliant fight director on board, Philip D’Orleans, who will be putting our energetic cast through their paces! Where did you train? I began directing when I was a student at Oxford University where I really threw myself in to the drama scene and took on every possible job backstage as well as directing my first ever shows. I then went on to do a post-graduate course

Mother Goose (2014)

at Central School of Speech and Drama, which involved lots of new writing as well as my first experiences working with puppets and sitespecific work. Since then I’ve done courses on improvisation, clown and physical theatre – but the best training for a director is always just getting on and doing it! What are the challenges of directing pantomimes over more ‘serious’ fare? Pantomimes have so many different elements to marshal compared to ‘straight’ plays’: music, dances, stage effects, comedy routines, quick changes and often epic storylines with elements of magic or the exotic. The biggest difference, though, is the amount of interaction with the audience that is impossible to rehearse before you meet them on the first night. It’s something you always try to prepare actors for if it’s their first experience of panto, but you often find it’s just a case of watching them jump in with both feet and hoping they’ll swim! Illustrations: Emily Brady

robin hood plays at the theatre, chipping norton 17th nov 2015 to 10th Jan 2016 Box office 01608 642350 | www.chippingnortontheatre.com


Cotswold Homes Magazine

WHAT THE GAMEKEEPER SAW despite their small size, stoats are easily capable of killing much larger, full-grown rabbits by delivering a bite to the base of the skull, thanks to the hunting skills they develop during play-ďŹ ghts in infancy. Their slim, low-slung, agile bodies make them effective hunters of vermin, and you might catch them active by day and night. Guiting-based gamekeeper Adam Tatlow uses his camera to capture the most intimate moments of Cotswold wildlife, and has had his work featured in national newspapers. View a gallery of his work and order prints and greetings cards online at www.cotswoldkeeperphotography.com



Lewis ArnoLd

hoW to dIrEct a ROBOt uPRisiNG

Photo: Hal Shinnie


Cotswold Homes Magazine


Lewis Arnold

Humans director and Gloucestershire-educated filmmaker Lewis Arnold on the secret of the Channel 4 drama’s smash-hit success - and his path into film After achieving a 1st Class Honours degree in Video Production from the University of Gloucestershire, Lewis Arnold’s career has taken him from multi-award-winning shorts, to music video production, to directing episodes of superhero teen drama Misfits, Russell T. Davies’ sexually charged Banana and most recently sci-fi hit Humans (Channel 4’s biggest drama opening ratings-wise for twenty years, with 6m viewers). Here, he tells us how he turned actors into androids – and all about a childhood lie that inspired one of his films.

CH: Hi Lewis. Sci-Fi can sometimes be seen as a hard sell to TV audiences, but Humans has been very enthusiastically received.Why do you think this is? LA: I think at its core Humans is a drama about family, which makes it very accessible for audiences of all ages. Also if you take away the fact that it’s set in a world where robots exist, it’s really an exploration of how we interact with technology today and how that is breaking down and dictating the way we interact and live our lives. These two themes give you a drama that also happens to exist within the sci-fi genre, broadening its audience appeal. We heard that the actors who played the synthetics received special coaching, to weed out all the naturalistic tics and mannerisms that people have. What was it like to direct people who had to be convincingly inhuman? All the actors and extras on the show that played a synth had to go to synth school with movement director, Dan O’Neill, before working on the show. This was to make sure everyone was working towards the same uniform movement and mannerisms, whilst also teaching a few basic techniques to help with their performances. Dan

was then available on set throughout the entire shoot, in order to help and give advice to the synths but also as an incredible resource for the directors to tap into. With Dan and the actors we were able to tackle each scene and the movement within it as we approached it. It was a lot of fun exploring and playing with the synth movements, given a number of different situations. There’s a great scene (my favourite) in episode six where the camera crawls towards the android Anita as she’s riding in the backseat of a car, and she gasps as her buried ‘real identity’ suddenly surfaces, causing the car to veer out of control – what was the most memorable scene in the series for you, choosing from your episodes? Gemma is wonderful in that scene. I was really worried it wouldn’t work out as planned within the one shot, as on the day of filming the low-loader was too bumpy to hold the shot, so we ended up having to cover it more conventionally. But luckily my editor Johnny Rayner was able to find one take that delivered the sequence, that only required a little bit of stabilising in the edit. I was really fortunate to direct Episode 6, as it had so many wonderful moments written by Sam Vincent and Jon Brackley that paid off from the whole series - for example, the moment Mia finally reappears in the Hawkins house. However I took great pleasure in planning and filming the lead up to and including Max’s death. He was one of my favourite characters and I loved the innocence that Ivanno Jeremiah bought to the character, so that was a lot of fun to do. When did you first know you wanted to be a director? Did you try out a number of artistic disciplines first or was it always going to be film? I’ve always loved storytelling and when I was young

I did this through drawing, but I knew I wanted to be a director when I was around 17 years old. I’d started making skit and skateboard films with my friends, filming and editing them over the course of a year. This experience, alongside an already healthy obsession for cinema, cemented my desire to be a director and make films. It was only when I saw the Video Production Course at the University of Gloucestershire that I realised that it was actually a viable career. Your short films have won quite a few festival awards. Do you have a favourite amongst these films? I’m proud of them all in some ways. Shorts are so personal and are more often than not passion projects so I have fond memories of making them all. Without sounding incredibly corny, I suppose they all represent a time in my life. Echo is the film that most people ask me about when talking about my work and it’s the most personal film I’ve made. Have events or incidences in your life ever provided inspiration for your work as a filmmaker? My NFTS graduation film Charlie Says is very loosely based on an incident from my own childhood. The film follows a young boy who tells a naive lie in order to gain the attentions of his sister and her friends and how this lie threatens to grow into something more dangerous and how for Charlie, it exposes the flaws of his father, changing the long-term dynamics of their relationship. I told a similar lie to my own family during a holiday in Cornwall, which fortunately didn’t escalate in the same way. However, I always remember feeling that I had let my own father down, that he knew I’d lied and was disappointed in me. It turned out when we started developing the project that he was never really sure whether I’d lied or not. Sorry, Dad, but I did lie. www.cotswold-homes.com


Lewis ArnoLd

Photo: Hal Shinnie

Photo: Hal Shinnie

Which directors do you look to for inspiration, or have influenced your style & progression (if any)? I’m inspired by lots of filmmakers as there are so many talented directors working today but like many people in their 30s I initially grew up on a diet of Spielberg films and I still often revisit them on a weekend or evening - with Jaws still being one of my favourite films. When I first started making films I was obsessed with Edgar Wright as he’d just made Spaced and I was such a huge fan of his visual storytelling, that extra layer of comedy he bought to the show through the use of the camera. I did my dissertation on him whilst studying at the University of Gloucestershire so spent a year analysing and watching his work over and over. It was a lot of fun. Nowadays I look a lot at other filmmakers working within TV too. Julian Jarrold (Kinky Boots, Cracker, Brideshead Revisited) is someone whose work I admire a lot. What sort of stories are the most interesting to you? What sort of characters are you most drawn towards? Within my short film work I think I’ve always been drawn to characters with an internal conflict, whether it’s a young girl dealing with grief, like in Echo, or a prison officer struggling to deal with the crimes of the convicts around him, like in Stained. There is something really interesting about getting under the skin of these characters and often that means exploring the darker side of the human condition. Do you think that television is becoming a more interesting medium for storytellers than cinema? I’m still old-fashioned in that I believe the story should exist first and then you choose the best medium for which to tell that story. So I don’t think it’s that one medium is more interesting or better, I 42

Cotswold Homes Magazine

think it all depends on the intention of the story. However, it is a really interesting time where directors from both film and television can now more easily step from one medium to the other, with auteurs like Shane Meadows stepping into television drama and TV directors like Alan Taylor moving into much bigger studio films. I think this is because the quality of television drama is extremely high at the moment both in the UK and across the Atlantic, so I don’t think people see TV as a step toward making a feature film anymore. It’s a place where they can express themselves just as much as they would within the medium of film.You can see this shift in the fact that some series are now being directed by one voice, one vision. For example, Toby Haynes directed all 7 episodes of the BBC’s Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. What recent productions have made a particular impression on you (TV, film, theatre, any)? There is so much strong work out there right now and some fantastic writers working within all three mediums. Whiplash was one of my favourite films of the last year, with two award-winning performances at its heart. I found it such a tense viewing experience. I’m a huge fan of television drama at the moment and with audiences demanding more from broadcasters, we’re benefiting by getting great cinematic, dramatic shows like Breaking Bad, The Wire and The Walking Dead in the U.S, and Luther, Appropriate Adult, Red Riding, Sherlock and Top Boy to name but a few in the UK. More recently I really enjoyed The Missing, Happy Valley, Better Call Saul - and I’m also a bit of a comic book nerd so I loved Marvel and Netflix’s Daredevil. How does television production compare with short film work? Is one more natural than the other? The process is generally the same, but in TV

you are working on a much bigger scale. The big difference is that you have much less time throughout the process, compared to what you might have for a short film. So with Misfits, I had to prep and edit two one-hour episodes in the same time as I’d prepped and edited Charlie Says, which is only a twenty-minute short film. What are you working on currently/in the future? Will you be onboard for more Humans? I’m just finishing off series 2 of Prey for ITV and Red Productions and will start reading new material this September as there is so much great stuff out there right now. In regards to Humans, if asked I’d love to go back as it was such a wonderful show to be part of but at the moment it’s very early days and Sam and Jon are currently developing the series - so who knows? You graduated from a course in video production at the University of Gloucestershire, and later got an MA. Do you think that these days a degree is essential for new/developing filmmakers? I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer here as for each person it will be different, depending on circumstance. For me personally it was very

Lewis ArnoLd

important, as both courses enabled me to make films and continue to develop as a filmmaker under the guidance of strong tutors and peers. The NFTS in particular, gave me a superb platform where I was able to get signed by my agent, who has been instrumental in everything I’ve done since graduating. It’s a cliché you hear all the time but the most important thing as a developing filmmaker is to keep making stuff. I know so many people who don’t go to university and get caught in the trap of running or becoming an A.D. with the ambition of working their way up the ladder. I think this is a great idea as you gain experience - but you have to also find time to keep making films and developing your voice, and this is where some people fall down. If you want to direct, write or edit, whatever it is, you have to be doing it as much as possible, even if you don’t share your work, as this is where you learn and develop. Thank you, Lewis. Find out more about Lewis and view samples of his work at www.lewisarnold.co.uk

Photo: Angus Young



MArK PereGrine

an EdUcatIon In

SELf-confIdEncE coLLEttE faIrWEathEr GLEanS thE moSt Important kItchEn SEcrEt from thE hEad of BELmond LE manoIr’S cookErY SchooL, mark pErEGrInE. Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons is revered for a great many things. Not least its resident creator, Monsieur Raymond Blanc, who, over the past thirty years, has created in this serene hotel and two Michelin-starred restaurant a heaven of relaxation, creativity and - above all - consumption. From the beginning, Raymond was adamant never to place the plate on the pedestal: that no diner of his should have to bow at the altar of gastronomy. Respect for the seasons and passion are his mantra, a lesson well learnt by his protégés (and so too his guests). His commitment to education has effectively safeguarded this simple ideology. The ideals of Belmond Le Manoir are safe in the hands of the head of the cookery school, 46

Cotswold Homes Magazine

Mark Peregrine. Mark first met Raymond Blanc back in 1979, and was his very first apprentice in his very first restaurant, Le Quatre Saison, in Summertown, Oxford. ‘I lived around the corner from the restaurant, and as a 16 year old I messed up my O-Levels, and so my mother suggested I approach him and find out how best to get in to the trade. ‘I remember us trotting off to meet him, we sat down and it just so happened he was looking for an apprentice, I still remember him saying to my mother ‘ I will be able to tell you within a season, Madame, if your son has the ingredients to be a chef ’. We are now thirty-six years on from that day.’ As is usual with so many protégés, Raymond

MArK seCTion PereGrine HeAder

I StILL rEmEmBEr hIm SaYInG to mY mothEr ‘ I WILL BE aBLE to tELL YoU WIthIn a SEaSon, madamE, If YoUr Son haS thE InGrEdIEntS to BE a chEf’. WE arE noW thIrtYSIX YEarS on from that daY.

supported Mark in his choice to head off to develop his palate, firstly in France, working in some of the greatest Michelin-starred restaurants, then later at the Cordon Bleu Cookery School in London and the National Institute of Culinary Art in the USA. However, just over five years ago he came back home to share his experience and run the cookery school at Belmond Le Manoir. The schoolroom itself is an oasis of domesticity among the sterile steel efficiency of the professional kitchen, where an army in white uniforms carry out the necessary preparations. Originally, pupils were taught in the commercial kitchens, between services. However, the homestyled classroom is a far less daunting setting. ‘As much as you aim to relax people, the premises are so commanding it can be very daunting for our pupils. People often question their own ability or even their suitability to be attempting one of our courses, simply because it is Belmond Le Manoir. It’s very important to stress that the cookery school is all based around the values of home cooking – it is really all based around the values Raymond’s mother instilled in him.’ Mark’s team consists of Mark and three additional chefs, supported by the everimportant kitchen porter, who whisks away the debris so that every precious moment can be focussed on the lesson. This decadent pupilteacher ratio provides the foundation of every www.cotswold-homes.com


MArK PereGrine

mY tEam arE So aWarE that [cookInG] IS So mUch morE than JUSt a rEcIpE, and So WE conScIoUSLY takE thE tImE to EXpLaIn WhY WE do thInGS thE WaY WE do thEm. pupil’s success and - most importantly - subtly instils the self-confidence required for the creation of such intricate dishes. ‘We aim to teach you some of the techniques we use in the professional kitchen, to pass on the hints and tips that often simplify and refine cooking processes. We want to disperse the myths and misconceptions that so often paralyse the home cook. ‘My team are so aware that [cooking] is so much more than just a recipe, and so we consciously take the time to explain why we do things the way we do them. You have to understand your ingredients, and most importantly the season, which is fundamental to what we do here.’ As the name would suggest, the seasons have always held key control over Belmond Le

Manoir and the merriment of the festive season is understandably well catered for in the impeding curriculum. And with the change in temperature comes a change in menus and among many other courses the addition of a new canapé course. This three hour canapé course takes a maximum of ten people, working in pairs, through complete creation and assembly of six different types of canapé, such as salmon tartar, smoked halibut grebiche, chicken liver parfait and mango chutney – several of these recipes are taken directly from canapés served within the restaurant. Refreshingly, these show-stoppers have not only been chosen for their ability to impress your guests but also in consideration of the realistic time constraints and requirements of hosting. A consideration that is also reflected

in the course price of £180, making it an ideal gift or perhaps simply for a little confidence boost. It’s made even more appealing with our exclusive 20% reader discount, available on any one-day courses running until the end of the year. This includes the following courses: Winter Dinner Party, Christmas Dinner Party (which encompasses starters, mains and desserts), as well as pastry courses, fish and shellfish courses, and kids’ courses too - just turn to our Offers page for more information. Balancing the lesson and the social enjoyment has always been Belmond Le Manoir’s forte, and when home-time beckons, the class disperses back to their own kitchens with their arms full of the day’s creations, certificates and goody bags. But the true gain is your own glow of selfconfidence, without doubt the secret to success with every dish.

for fUrthEr InformatIon VISIt WWW.LEmanoIr.com 48

Cotswold Homes Magazine

Horse And GrooM

a famILY rEcIpE for SUccESS WIn

dInn horSE E&r at thE Groom

SEE paG E8

With the recent announcement of the 2016 Good Pub Guide winners, Collette Fairweather seeks the opportunity to catch up with Tom Greenstock of The Horse and Groom, Bourton on the Hill - one half of the brotherly duo who have secured the prestigious honour of ‘Gloucestershire Dining Pub Of The Year’ and the top nod of national ‘Pub Of The Year’. The Good Pub Guide has remained Britain’s bestselling national travel guide for over thirty years, compiled of independent reader reports, ensuring that only the very best of the nation’s watering holes make the cut – so Tom and Will Greenstock have good reason to be proud. Despite the recent recognition, they are no newcomers to the area.They have been the proud owners of the Horse and Groom for ten years, and before that they both worked in the family pub, the Howard Arms - just over the Warwickshire border in Ilmington. ‘We were doing well, but I was always looking out for a place of my own. We had seen a few different premises, when a couple of our regulars at Ilmington mentioned their village local,The Horse and Groom was for sale and so I wrote a letter of enquiry. When we came to look, we fell in love.’ The Horse and Groom is a handsome Grade II listed Georgian building, invitingly perched atop Bourton on the Hill. With its large windows and

high-ceilinged rooms, it provides a unique feeling of space unusual to the typical Cotswold eatery. ‘We wanted to return to the more informal dining, get that pub sense back, rather than the restaurant feel. ‘We have always been about the food, but it’s about creating an area that adds to your experiences here. We may be casual and somewhat less formal, but we’re still offering a high level of reliability in our offerings.The most important lesson we learnt from mum and dad is the importance of consistency. Mum has a saying - that you’re only as good as your last meal – and nothing could be truer in this trade.’ An ever-rotating menu, chalked daily upon a dominating board in the bar area is undeniably challenging for a busy service, but is reflective of the locally sourced produce they are fastidious about using. ‘I can be up and down the ladder like a yoyo some days amending the menu, which some diners can find irritating, but this is because we source from small, independent producers, and it is the nature of that beast.’ Whilst Tom takes the helm as front of house, Will has taken charge in the kitchen. ‘We don’t really get involved with each other, I

leave the kitchen entirely to Will and he leaves the front of house totally to me. Obviously we cross paths now and again, but I think our brotherly trust enables us to focus on our own parts in complete faith that the other is striving as hard as you are. And so were not spreading ourselves too thinly.’ One wonders, with the acknowledgement of their success, what the future holds for this young team. ‘For about five years we have been toying with the idea of a second premises, however one of the reasons it works so well here is that we are actually here everyday, making it happen. And that’s not to take anything away from the team - many have been with us from day one. ‘It is tempting: nothing beats the excitement of a new challenge, and I love the reward of establishing yourself, which is totally different to the routine of day-to-day service. I would relish a new venture, but I wouldn’t want to jeopardise what we have here.’ But the look in his eye suggests the real temptation of expansion. He adds: ‘Watch this space.’

fInd oUt morE at WWW.horSEandGroom.Info



Whip Up a Christmas CraCker

Whip Up a Christmas Cracker Richard Burkert, Group Head Chef of Wesley House Events, reveals his two favourite recipes for Christmas cake and Christmas pudding Considering the numerous different ways and recipes I have come across and taken from different great chefs that I’ve worked for over the years, I can reveal that the basics are much the same. But for me it’s the little extras that I find give this recipe a real difference - and after my own little tweaks, here it is! I find the stout gives it a deep richness and the liquorice provides a hint of the warmth needed on those cold winter nights associated with Christmas, with all those great sensations of mulled wine, poached fruits and spices. As seasons change, I always associate such smells with childhood. My mother and grandfather were wonderful cooks, so the house was always full of aromas!

Christmas Pudding

Christmas Cake

Christmas puddings are not complicated and they can be made and cooked 12 months before the big day and, if stored properly, can mature with age.

This is from my grandmother and it is such an easy recipe - even today I still fear a basic sponge if I’m not used to the oven. The trick is: once it’s in the oven, leave it alone - and don’t open the door!

50g chopped apricots 150g sultanas 100g chopped dates 150g currants 150g prunes 175g brioche crumbs 100g plain flour 1 teaspoon of cinnamon ¼ teaspoon of ground mix spice 1 teaspoon of baking powder 150g soft light brown sugar 150g mix chopped peel 1 chopped apple peeled and cored 1 chopped pear peeled and cored 175ml sweet sherry 125ml brandy 100ml of dark stout 3 large eggs 1 vanilla pod 1 liquorice stick or tea bag A pinch of ground ginger


Overnight, soak the fruit with the sherry and brandy and add the liquorice stick (or tea bag) and scraped vanilla pod - but take out the stick/teabag out after 1 hour.They can be soaked for up to a week if needed. Then just lightly beat the eggs and add all the other ingredients, mix in the fruit and all the liquid and combine to a nice wet paste. You can cook the mix two ways, either in a large buttered, then floured, Xmas pudding bowl over a suitable pan with boiling water for 5 hours, or in smaller individual bowls in a deep tray in the oven, covered with foil, and with water in the tray at gas mark 2/150 C for 2 hours, checking after 1 hour. Top up the water for both methods if need be!


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6oz glace cherries 4oz raisins 4oz currants 8oz sultanas 2oz mixed peel 5fl oz brandy 7oz butter 8oz brown sugar 8oz plain flour 2 table spoons of orange juice 4 eggs 1 teaspoon ground mix spice ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg 3oz chopped nuts 2oz ground almonds Vanilla pod

For decoration Apricot jam Marzipan roll Icing sugar roll


Put the fruit, orange juice, scraped vanilla pod and brandy in a pan, bring to the boil and put to one side. Meanwhile, beat the sugar and butter together until creamy, then add the eggs slowly.Then add all the other ingredients just until it’s all mixed together and pour in the fruit and liquid, removing the vanilla pod. Bake in an 8-inch cake tin that’s been grease-proofed at gas mark 2 /150 C. Once it’s cold, tip out and spread a thin layer of jam over, then cover with the marzipan and tuck it around the cake nice and tightly.Then over again with the icing sugar - you can do this on a suitable cake board. Decorate the top with nuts or dried colourful fruits – don’t forget to put a ribbon around for extra Christmas cheer!

Whip Up a Christmas Cracker



Mind, Body, Spirit

Mind, Body, Spirit: Launch yourself into 2016 with our contributors’ advice on the trinity of wellbeing There’s a good chance that the first words out of your mouth in 2016 will be ‘Happy New Year!’ It’s a wish made so often that it seems bland and without meaning. Each year, we make ourselves promises - large and small - about balancing out our lives. But is it possible to truly achieve ‘happiness’ as a general state of being? We’ve always known that happiness is important, but we’re only just starting to realise how important it might be. These days, studies that show the emotional and physical benefits of happiness come in thick and fast: they say that happy workforces are 12% more productive (from Happiness and Productivity, University of Warwick); that emotional health in childhood is more important to future satisfaction than money, success or educational achievement (from the Wellbeing programme, London School of Economics’ Centre for Economic Performance); that strengthening and investing in your very closest relationships and choosing to be happy with what you do are the cornerstones of a fulfilling life (Harvard’s on-going research efforts include the Grant Study, a 75-year longitudinal study of Harvard college sophomores from the classes of 1939-1944).

There has been much coverage of the technique of ‘mindfulness’ – which, in précis, can be said to be the art of recognising how what we think can affect our feelings, living in the moment and being fully aware of what is going on inside and outside ourselves. This means opening up to the sensations experienced moment by moment by the body (such as the warmth of a cup of tea, or the feel of clean, freshly-laundered clothes) to interrupt the ‘tunnel vision’ we often stumble into, as we move

Interestingly, while modest links between happiness and higher incomes have been found, extravagant wealth or success seems to be no guarantee of good feelings.

through life preoccupied with work, wealth and agonising over things that we have little control over. Essentially, it’s about a new perspective. Mindfulness can involve watching the stream of your thoughts and identifying where you are simply chewing over past events or problems or ‘pre-living’ future problems and reducing the anxiety such thoughts bring. Let us not forget, too, the importance of the body to happiness. Researchers from Penn State University found that people who exercised regularly were more excited and enthusiastic. What’s also interesting is the Journal of Business and Psychology’s findings that bosses who exercise regularly are less stressed and are less likely to take it out on their staff, indicating that your own wellbeing might just be having an impact on those around you. So in the next few articles, we turn attention to mind, body and spirit from different perspectives – and take a look at the negative effects of isolation and loneliness – hopefully helping you to have a happy(er) new year.

Meanwhile, the UK’s ‘Happiness Index’ seems to look beyond productivity as a measure of a successful society. Interestingly, while modest links between happiness and higher incomes have been found, extravagant wealth or success seems to be no guarantee of good feelings. The creator of the phenomenally successful videogame Minecraft, Markus Persson, wrote on Twitter of being ‘isolated’ and ‘empty’ after the sale of his company Mojang to Microsoft for a truly incredible $2.5 billion.



Anne McIntyre

Herbal help Herbalist, Ayurvedic practitioner, author of over twenty books, lecturer and gardener, Anne McIntyre has lived and worked in the Cotswolds for more than three decades. Mother of three, she has specialised in the treatment of women and children, working from home and her London clinic, using her own blend of herbal medicine and Ayurveda. In January she launched her online course www.learnlivingayurveda.com, a next step for people wanting to widen their knowledge of Ayurveda, either to benefit their own lives or their practices, and this November she launches her first residential course in herbal medicine in Majorca. you can serve as juice, chopped into a teaspoon of honey or added to food, and should be eaten every two to three hours. Common spices such as ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, coriander, clove and black pepper are some of the best remedies for both the digestion and for enhancing immunity. These can be added regularly to cooking for a little extra boost or they can be made into tasty, hot teas for all the family that can be taken every couple of hours throughout the day. If spicy teas do not appeal, then at the first signs of infection try peppermint and elderflower which are effective decongestants and expectorants, helping to relieve catarrh and fever, flu and sinusitis. Now autumn is well established and the chill winds of winter are in the air, those troublesome cold and flu viruses are likely to be on rampage again. The best treatment is prevention and the best way to stave off infection is to build a healthy immune system. We are all more aware of how important our lifestyle is to our health – this includes a good diet with plenty of nutritious (preferably organic) foods, a balance of work, play, exercise and relaxation, sufficient sleep and prevention of exposure to pollution, as well as the need to develop a positive attitude to dealing with everyday stresses by actively cultivating harmony and happiness in our lives. Central to our health, however, is digestion – the gut is responsible for eighty per cent of 54

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immunity. If our digestion is good, the food we eat will be digested well and absorbed into the system to nourish our cells and tissues but if our digestive energy is low, digestive juices and enzymes are not secreted as they should be, and much of what we eat will remain partially digested in the digestive tract where it can start to ferment, to disturb the delicate balance of the healthy bacteria and to produce toxins that can permeate the body, lowering our resistance to winter ailments. How can we make sure our digestion is good enough? Fortunately we only need to look as far as the kitchen cupboard. Garlic is a brilliant remedy for digestion, and for combatting gut and respiratory infections - but it needs to be raw! Fortunately it can be given as capsules but

Ginger’s delightful pungency warms and strengthens the digestion, stimulates the flow of digestive juices and invigorates the whole body. It is highly antiseptic, activating immunity, combatting unfriendly bacteria in the gut and dispelling infections. A hot cup of ginger tea at the first sign of colds, coughs or flu will help to clear catarrh. Just sip two to three cups a day for best results. Turmeric is wonderfully effective, too. A teaspoon of the powder can be mixed with honey and taken off the spoon or stirred into a cup of hot water at the onset of symptoms, then drunk every couple of hours throughout the day. Similarly, cinnamon is perfect for warding off the effects of the cold, invigorating the digestion and detoxifying the body. Did you know that the

Anne McIntyre

volatile oil in cinnamon is one of the strongest natural antiseptics known? Its antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal properties make it an excellent medicine to prevent and treat a whole range of infections - ideal for keeping the gut bacteria in balance. A hot cup of sweet and exquisitely aromatic cinnamon tea with its expectorant and decongestant effect will always help to relieve coughs and colds, flu and catarrh. Chamomile is useful in all children’s infections, containing antimicrobial volatile oils that resolve infection, reduce fever and clear congestion but also soothe fractious behaviour, promoting rest and sleep to aid recovery. Without doubt, the most popular remedy today is Echinacea. Since the 1950s, nearly four hundred studies have shown that Echinacea enhances the immune system in many ways. It is extremely safe, effective and is excellent for children. Twenty drops of the tincture can be taken in a little water every two hours for acute infections and three times daily for chronic problems. www.cotswold-homes.com


sUsan dUnstaLL

tHe poWer of HeaLIng gardens

garden desIgner susan dunstaLL reveaLs How to de-stress usIng tHe restoratIve strengtH of your outsIde space Since ancient times, many countries have realised the power of gardens to heal with trees and flowers, water and more specifically medicinal planting. Gardens were used to restore the sick back to health, and were vital in that process with their beautiful settings for patients to begin their mental and physical recovery. Often parts of hospitals originally, these are now becoming part of many treatment centres once again. The same principle can apply to our own gardens; with the pace and stress of our lives today, we need to create that refuge in our own homes. It can help us both mentally but also physically as we ‘garden’, to create and maintain our space for contemplation and relaxation allowing us to feel safe, sheltered and protected. tHe BeneFitS Our mood can be improved after spending time outside, going from stressed and anxious to becoming calmer, with energy restored through our positive reaction to nature. A sensory garden will appeal to the five senses of sound, sight, touch, smell and taste using plants and other elements.

creAte yoUr oWn HeALinG GArden Size doesn’t matter, if your garden is large or small you can still transform your space using the elements of water, scent, colour and sound with planting schemes to create a ‘sensory’ healing garden.

sound The gentle noise of trickling water is one of the most restful sounds, so include a water feature. Remember, too, the sound of plants rustling in a gentle breeze, most commonly bamboo or ornamental grasses.

Keep things simple, you are trying to create a restful space.

sIgHt Colours impact how you feel. Warm colours, such as reds, oranges and yellows can make you more active while the cooler colours of blues, purples and white are more soothing and tranquil. Green is found to be the most restful colour of all (especially grass green), renewing and restoring energy.

If space allows, create different ways to experience the garden, allowing you to choose a different route to walk, stopping to sit and reflect on one of several seats. Each giving a unique perspective and feel, include some secluded as well as open spaces. AddreSS tHe FiVe SenSeS: smeLL Choose plants that smell good. Walking through a path lined with lavender, over a bed of thyme or brushing against fresh mint are all pleasant and memorable experiences. Add scented climbers near your seating areas – breathing the heady aroma of evening jasmine feels so good. toucH Have things to touch – grasses are tactile and good to run your fingers through, while the shiny bark of Prunus serrula is just meant to be stroked.

taste The satisfaction of growing and harvesting the edible plants, fruits and vegetable and herbs and spices is often underestimated; if you don’t have the time or space for a dedicated kitchen garden just include some amongst the flowers. As you will want to use your garden all year round, make sure there are plants that look good in winter, too. Light the garden and give it heat – a simple firebowl with logs will let you stay out later into the evening. But above all - create something that you love and want to spend time in!

susan dunstaLL Is a garden desIgner based In cHarLbury, oxfordsHIre, provIdIng LandscapIng and garden desIgn proJects across oxfordsHIre, gLoucestersHIre and tHe cotswoLds. desIgns cover any sIZe garden and styLe, from contemporary to tradItIonaL, cottage garden to urban, Japanese or tropIcaL. contact Her on 07879 842934 or vIsIt www.susandunstaLL.com


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seasonaL yoGa

seasonaL yoga HeaLIng mInd and body In wInter

Seasonal living is something that would never have been talked about two hundred years ago. We got up when it was light, we went to bed when it was dark, we ate local produce when it was in season, we joined in with the energy and the festivals of the local community; we were totally in tune with energy and its natural cycles. However, now we can shop, eat, even do our banking just sitting in front of our computers twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.We pay no attention to our energy fluctuations and, thanks to the invention of electric light we continue to work until late and at the same pace throughout the year, often under light far removed from the natural world. In so doing we ignore the early warning signs of tiredness that are a precursor to sickness, before our bodies take over and finally make us so ill we are forced to listen.

bodies with intention along the energy channels can help to strengthen, re-balance and re-energise not just that part of your body but all body systems and organs. Every day I get onto my mat and I carry on my yoga journey, hopefully improving my mind, body and spirit. My decision to become a yoga teacher was born of the belief that almost anyone can benefit

for autumn, which is when we deal with the insand-outs in life - breathing properly being one of them! Now, as winter approaches, seasonal yoga is all about retreating, resolving, conserving energy and preparing for spring. Water is the element for winter. Water regulates the body, bathes the brain, cleanses the body and clears the toxins. Our kidneys and liver are therefore the organs we need to focus upon – to look after yourself and take care of your body by staying well hydrated and eating properly. Rather than dieting or detoxing, eat mindfully, sensibly and as cleanly as possible. Ease off cow’s milk and use coconut, hemp or rice milk instead and keep your insides warm by eating porridge for breakfast, adding seeds like flax, pumpkin, sunflower and a drizzle of honey. Traditional stews, casseroles, soups and roasts are all suited to this season but replace heavy wheat and gluten products with oats and gentler grains like spelt, rye and buckwheat.

seasonaL yoga Is founded on tHe knowLedge tHat we are a part of nature and tHerefore part of Its cHanges.

Nothing in the natural world exists in isolation. We can clearly see this in the opposites of day and night, light and dark, cold and hot, wet and dry, expansion and contraction, movement and stillness and, of course, summer and winter. Seasonal Yoga is founded on the knowledge that we are a part of nature and therefore part of its changes. Balanced energy flowing throughout the body equates to improved health; when the body is in a state of dynamic coherent energy there is a reduced risk of disease and therefore we adapt our practice to promote health on every level, mentally, physically and emotionally.The practice profoundly influences our wellbeing and motivation, forming the essence of personal development and healing. Moving our

too, even if practising chair-yoga due to age or injury restrictions, and so I encourage people of all ages and shapes to come along to my classes. Everyone feels welcome and comfortable because there really is no “type”– indeed, some of my most dedicated class members originally thought that yoga was not for them.You don't have to be flexible or 'good at yoga' to join a class – coming along is the point everything else is a bonus. My yoga class always takes into account energy changes according to the season. In winter we concentrate on gentle flow to rejuvenate the nervous system whereas springtime is all about detoxing & energy building. Early summer is high energy, intended to stimulate the heart and to make you happy. Late summer is the right time to work on immunity, to become more earthed in preparation

I make sure to end each class with plenty of time for relaxation.Yoga nidra is a type of meditation, a state of lucid sleep, that helps conserve and consolidate the energy from yoga poses and flows, flushing out body toxins as it relaxes the entire system. Just thirty minutes of yoga nidra is considered the equivalent of four hours’ sleep. It is natural to feel more emotional and sensitive at this time of year, so embracing the deeper levels whilst in retreat mode and welcoming opportunities to reflect upon your life is particularly important during winter, in order to keep healthy in body and mind.

for LocaL yoga cLasses, contact emma Lawrence on 07968 151016, emaIL Her at emma@tHe-yoga-tree.com or vIsIt www.tHe-yoga-tree.com www.cotswold-homes.com


dentaL heaLth matters

dentAL HeALtH


your moutH – tHe body’s fIrst LIne of defence Dr Trevor Bigg, Milton Dental Practice BDS, MGDS RCS(Eng), FDS RCS(Ed), FFGDP(UK)

We all know how important a healthy mouth is to look good and to enjoy a healthy diet. But research is beginning to show that a healthy mouth is also important for a healthy body. Why is the mouth so special? The mouth is a unique place. Elsewhere the body is sealed from infection by a layer of skin or mucous membrane. Only in the mouth is this layer broken by the teeth passing through a mucous membrane, in this case called the gums. So how is infection prevented? A shallow channel, called the sulcus, surrounds each tooth. This is kept moist by a flow of fluid from the blood vessels of the gum. The fluid contains the defence mechanisms that the body has to combat infections. However, 80% of us have some form of gum disease and this can affect the delicate balance in the sulcus and lead to some of the germs entering the blood supply. What happens when germs enter our blood? Our blood contains special cells that eat up foreign bodies such as bacteria, but if gums disease is present, the number of germs can be too great and they travel round the body through the blood system. So far research has shown that gum disease may be linked with:

“... 80% of us have some form of gum disease and this can affect the delicate balance in the sulcus and lead to some of the germs entering the blood supply.”

• Diabetes – people with diabetes are more likely to have gum disease and gum disease may make it more difficult for the diabetic person to control their blood sugar

• Lung Disease – gum disease increases the risk of bacteria from the mouth entering the lungs, which can lead to pneumonia

• Heart Disease – gum disease may increase the risk of heart disease. The bacteria in the blood may attach themselves to the thickened heart arteries or valves causing infective endocarditis

If you want more information about the contents of this article, go to www.dentalhealth. org/tell-me-about and click on ‘Healthy Gums & Healthy Body’. Or contact Penny at Milton Dental Practice on 01993 831396 or email penny@drbigg.com and come to see us for a consultation.

So good oral hygiene and regular visits to the dentist don’t just give us a nice smile, they will help us to live a longer healthier life.

For details of an exclusive discount for Cotswold Homes readers, please see Trevor Biggs’s offer on page 11!


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• Stroke – one study has shown the people who had a stroke were more likely to have gum disease

reVerend raCheL rosBoroUGh

Body, Mind - and Spirit Reverend Rachel Rosborough muses on the nature of spirituality Body, Mind and Spirit! Whatever image this phrase brings to your mind it is unlikely that it was the Christian Church. In recent years the popularity of body, mind and spirit fairs, alternative therapies and simple ‘spirituality’ has increased. At the same time, we are led to believe that the church is in decline. Does that mean the days of the church are over? Are we an ancient relic that is no longer relevant to people as we move on to new ideas? Well of course, I, as a Church of England minister, would say no. I may however recognise that the church has not always been so good at dealing with the questions and explorations of those with queries, problems, doubts and unexplainable experiences. But I do believe that Christianity still has a great deal to say in this whole area. God is essentially spiritual; perhaps most of us would describe him as just that – a spirit (although often he is portrayed as an old man with a white beard!). This suggests something or someone that is abstract, untouchable, mysterious or unknowable and in many ways, this is a fair way to look at certain aspects of God – the God of creation, the sovereign God, the Holy Spirit. However, Christian faith also means a belief in a God who did not, and does not, remain mysterious or merely spiritual, but a God who took on flesh and became a human. At Christmas we celebrate the incarnation, literally the putting on of meat or flesh, God coming to

Christianity is also about the value of each person, body, mind and spirit. earth in human form. The Christ child. A baby who grew and developed and matured into the man Jesus, completely God and completely human. Now that is pretty mysterious but it does mean that Christians believe in a God of body and mind and spirit. God has experienced the realities of a human body – its strengths and its weaknesses, its pain and its pleasure, its needs and its demands, its astonishing complexity and its limitations. He has experienced the development of the mind – education, creativity & ideas and the fullness of emotion – connections with others, friendships, grief and joy. And within all this we see the fullness of God, his Spirit and the promise of the same for each person.

Christianity is also about the value of each person, body, mind and spirit. The bible tells us that we are each fearfully and wonderful made, that our bodies are unique and precious, to be cared for and nurtured. It tells us that we are complex, intelligent, creative beings with minds capable of the apparently unimaginable and it tells us that deep down our spirit longs to connect, to connect with the God who made us and to connect with our fellow human beings. So amidst the plethora of belief systems, therapies, rituals and practices, may I make a plug for the ancient, mysterious, real, exciting, dynamic religion of Christianity and commend to you the local church as a place for exploring, searching and questioning. www.cotswold-homes.com


Carry me home, kate

cArry Me HoMe, KAte: why a giant rugby ball was passed around the wolds – and beyond…

cAMpAiGn e t A K e M o H e #cArryM

You might have heard the whispers, the rumours; even seen strange images here and there. Perhaps you’ve even handled it yourself. After 5,000 weird and wonderful ‘passes’, an oversized rugby ball has made its way around, passed from person to person – from skydivers to celebrities to ballerinas – to raise money and awareness for Kate’s Home Nursing. The campaign to send a giant rugby ball on a journey of a lifetime was officially kicked off on 15th July with a unique ‘line-out’. Rising rugby star and Gloucester player Elliott Stooke – spotted and nurtured by Stow RFC – returned to his roots with teammates Tom Savage, Mark Atkinson and Jacob Rowan to launch the drive. Stooke was an under20s World Cup winner. Community stalwarts who backed the campaign included butchers, a ballerina, mechanic, firefighter, chef and auctioneer – alongside the Kate’s nurses also pitched in – and the Cotswold Farm Park’s and Countryfile presenter Adam Henson. People across the county and beyond were inspired to dream up their own novel ‘passing’ events.

Pictures taken at Adam Henson’s Cotswold Farm Park

tHe IconIc baLL was specIaLLy made by gILbert rugby, worLd cup suppLIers. It features tHe #carrymeHomekate sLogan, Logos of tHe rugby cLub and tHe campaIgn’s maIn sponsors and Is edged In kate’s pInk and bLue coLours. #CarryMeHomeKate campaign chairman Sean Clarke said: ‘Initially I thought ‘let’s see if we can beat the Guinness World Record for passing a rugby ball’ – 297 continuous times. ‘But there were so many rules, such as the ball having to be passed backwards or sideways (in-line) and over 5m distance, that it lost its fun element,’ he explained. “So we’ve decided to make up our own rules, being as imaginative as possible, and set our own record.’ The iconic ball was specially made by Gilbert

Rugby, World Cup suppliers. It features the #CarryMeHomeKate slogan, logos of the rugby club and the campaign’s main sponsors and is edged in Kate’s pink and blue colours. Kate’s Home Nursing played a vital part in the life of Sean Clarke. His father, Christopher, was the first to receive the palliative care for six weeks before he passed away in 1998. ‘A lot of people aren’t aware of these nurses before it’s too late,’ stressed Sean. ‘But they offer a safety net and a warm embrace.

‘They don’t just do wonderful work looking after the patient but also support the family, rather like osmosis, just by being there,’ he added. ‘They take a huge weight off your shoulders by giving practical help, such as showing how to lift someone out of bed.They also help you emotionally, without being in your face. With dad, they typically came in twice a day morning and night and when it got closer to the end they were there for longer. And if you know your loved one is getting the best care – and it’s from a charity – that takes off an awful lot of pressure too.’

aLtHougH tHe campaIgn Is now over, you can watcH vIdeo footage of tHe Journey at www.facebook.com/carrymeHomekate and, untIL december, you can stILL donate at www.JustgIvIng.com/carrymeHomekate to HeLp reacH tHe totaL of £20,000.

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The Loneliness Problem

The Loneliness Problem ‘GP Prescriptions to tackle loneliness in the elderly’; ‘Loneliness affects general health’; ‘Isolation experiment mimics lonely life for the elderly’… these are just some of the many headlines addressing an issue of burgeoning social concern: isolation and loneliness.

that an isolated elderly person might see day to day can diminish rapidly.The pressure to be seen as ‘self-reliant’ by society’s standards can make even the admission of loneliness taboo. Time, too, determines how the elderly can experience solitude. Many report feeling ‘useless’ as they do not, or are no longer able, to operate as ‘contributory’ members of society. As days and weeks go by, these feelings settle in, and an almost cyclical depression can follow. Consider the following passage from the Mental Health Foundation’s Lonely Society report: ‘But it is the time factor that decides how harmful loneliness may be: research shows that ‘loneliness becomes an issue of serious concern only when it settles in long enough to create a persistent, selfreinforcing loop of negative thoughts, sensations and behaviours’. In other words, it is long-term, chronic loneliness that wears us down rather than loneliness that is ‘situational’ or passing.’ The irony of the situation is that the world has never been more connected. But the rapid development of communications technology has happened at a pace so fast that the old have seen the landscape of society change considerably – without necessarily being presented with the opportunity to participate. For every grandparent whose grandchildren demonstrate how to use the latest touchpad device, there are others to whom the ‘online world’ represents a nebulous and confusing place that they cannot easily understand. From the way modern society is constructed today,

Studies now show there are real health effects from loneliness. Raised blood pressure, suicidal thoughts, increased risk of dementia – one study even reported that it can be as bad for health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, thanks to the effect it can have on your immune system, stress hormones and cardiovascular function. In a speech Jeremy Hunt declared the problem ‘worse than obesity’ in health terms and described it as a ‘national shame.’ But awareness of the problem is changing. Now councils in England are being rated on how they tackle problems of loneliness and isolation within the community – at the same time as budgetary reform has decreased the amount of aid and support available for social initiatives. Many different kinds of people can experience chronic loneliness: those alienated or restricted in their movements by illness, those who are unemployed, those who have been isolated by moving, or by their closest associates moving away. It can affect people of any age, but the elderly are the demographic at greatest risk. Not only do retired people lack the stimulus and support network offered by employment, they can experience mobility issues (an issue of special importance in a place like the Cotswolds) and increased health problems. As old friends may get ill or die, or family move away, the amount of people 62

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Helping people in this way brings lots of benefits for the driver, too. Not only do you get to know all of the beautiful out of the way places in the local area, you get to find friendship with people and have full understanding of the local community.

The Loneliness Problem

In a speech Jeremy Hunt declared the problem ‘worse than obesity’ in health terms and described it as a ‘national shame.

you’d be forgiven for thinking that we didn’t need people in our lives at all.To be seen to be forever busy and successful is prized, families have gone nuclear, working arrangements have become more atomised and changeable, and communities are no longer tied by location. With the inevitability of change accelerated by an increasingly capitalistic world, there’s plenty of opportunity for people to slip between the cracks. But actually, it’s likely we’ve evolved to not simply desire but to require social stimulus in order to thrive. We’re social animals, and the exchange of dialogue, opinion and emotion is perhaps as essential to our good health as good nutrition and adequate shelter. The need for social connection is strong. Beautiful as the Cotswolds is, its unique landscape can present issues. What might work as a retirement home for a socially active and healthy couple in their sixties might be much less manageable twenty years later, when one half of the couple might have become a carer and have reduced access to public transport. What recourse is there for an ageing person who becomes a sole carer, bound by routine and socially limited by poor transport connections? These are just some of the problems that society urgently needs to address. Now, with the problem starting to be acknowledged – despite an overall restriction in funding - what solutions are there? For decades, organisations like Cotswold Friends have been focusing on providing practical solutions to the problems experienced by the isolated elderly. Since they were established in 1978 as a transport organisation, Cotswold Friends has branched out into offering a multitude of services, including carer respite and befriending services as well as community and social lunches.

Now, with 8 part-time members of staff and a network of over 200 volunteers, they support more than 1,000 older and vulnerable people in the North Cotswold community. To get a sense of how Cotswold Friends engages with the local community, we attended one of their Lunch Clubs in Moreton-in-Marsh. (For a full list of Lunch Club locations, see www.cotswoldfriends.org/ services/community-activities/lunch-clubs) Over a lovely roast held in St David’s Hall, we met some of the locals who regularly attend the Lunch Clubs to find out their thoughts on the community and local issues. ‘I’m eighty-five now and I dread not being able to drive,’ said one diner, who still has full use of her car. ‘I’ve been coming here for about three years and get to mix with all sorts. In the time [I’ve lived in the Cotswolds] the community has changed tremendously. In my village, it sometimes seems that half the houses aren’t lived in.’ What is interesting is the attitude of the Lunch Club diners towards technology.There are those who know little about the Internet (the sort who are benefitting from Cotswold Friends’ new Connect Programme), those who shun it completely – and those who embrace it wholeheartedly. Despite having a son who is a systems analyst for IBM, a Moreton couple I meet show no interest in computers. ‘I’m more comfortable with a lathe, actually – I have something of a workshop in my garage.’ As a matter of fact, they have been volunteering for Cotswold Friends for years, first providing furniture-moving services and later providing lifts for those in need. ‘Helping people in this way brings lots of benefits for the driver, too. Not only do you get to know all of

the beautiful out of the way places in the local area, you get to find friendship with people and have full understanding of the local community. ‘You meet all types of people and get to all types of places - I once gave a lift to a gentleman who was a retired professor at Oxford University and had a great time chatting, and giving rides has taken me to Bournemouth, Derbyshire, Coventry, Bristol, Oxford and Banbury.’ He’s just one of a fleet of volunteers all managed and co-ordinated by a bespoke database system, ensuring that service users needing lifts are matched to transport providers best placed to manage the journey. For the cost-covering fee of 50p per mile, drivers will take those in need to see friends, family, and for appointments – and the trip includes two hours of waiting time. The befriending service, which comes with no charge attached, is also a great way for the isolated to meet regularly with somebody new for a chat. Trained volunteers are matched with a weekly visitor who provides variety, good conversation and a chance to unwind. With plenty of other community projects to get involved in, it’s remarkable that Cotswold Friends has grown to take on such a wide remit – all thanks to the efforts of its volunteers and organisers. In an ever-changing world it’s uncertain how advances in healthcare and policy will affect the experience of being old in the decades to come – but Cotswold Friends proves that good-old-fashioned care in the community and giving a little bit of time to help others can make all the difference in the world. Think you can spare a bit of time to brighten somebody’s day? Visit www.cotswoldfriends.org to find out the ways in which you can help. www.cotswold-homes.com




When Helen and Paul Jeffrey’s family first set up their beautiful traditional toyshop in Moreton in Marsh over fifty years ago, the world of retail was a very different place indeed. At the time, just like every other town in the North Cotswolds, the town was blessed with busy streets full of friendly family-run businesses that provided for every daily need from greengrocers to butchers and bakers, ironmongers and haberdashery (if not perhaps, by this day and age, many candlestick makers). By the mid 1980s there were emerging signs that wholesale change was imminent, and a decade later estate agent Martin Elliot was moved to open protest by the arrival of Tesco, but at the end of the twentieth century the attractions of this beautiful part of the world were still defined as much by the character of our high streets and cornucopia of independent retailers, as by the chocolate box charm of our villages. However as the millennium turned so Tesco turned out to be a comparatively benign threat, at least compared with the double blows upon our market squares that were to come, first with the inexorable rise of online shopping then by the most savage recession for nearly a century - when for a while, at least, it seemed the only survivors on our streets might be charity shops. 64

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Of course, we cannot behave like King Canute nor indulge in sentimentality for the way things used to be - the march of time cannot be held back and progress is inevitable. Day-to-day life, although not so cosy or so insular, is certainly different but generally easier in so many ways than it was in the good old days. The worldwide web has undoubtedly wrought the biggest change to our high streets but has also revitalised those rural villages whose existence - as anything other

than second home retreats, at least - had, by the mid-90s, been seriously in doubt. Now, these lovely satellites of our market towns have been re-populated by thriving, invested families often of erstwhile second-homers, those London city dwellers who once would have bought a weekend cottage but have moved here full time, now needing to commute just once in a while back to town. The truth is that change is inevitable and for any business of any size, anywhere,





complacency is far the bigger villain to survival than progress. To survive and prosper, businesses must anticipate and embrace change. Helen and Paul’s toyshop represents a handful of third generation businesses here in the North Cotswolds whose tenacious and determined owners have managed through sheer hard work, reputation and intelligent thinking to meet all the challenges that modern life has thrown at them

and continue still to thrive, despite that onslaught of inevitable change. Their toyshop is a marvellous thing, an anachronism fit for the twenty-first century. The North Cotswold community should – and does - embrace everything it stands for: a former seventeenth century Grade II coaching inn that is now a veritable emporium, stocking thousands of individually selected, traditional, quality-made goods from over one hundred and fifty suppliers, nine rooms bursting at the seams

with the stuff of every conceivable children’s wish list from dolls’ houses to airguns, from puzzles to penknives, suiting every budget from pocket-money purchasers to the most indulgent of grandparents. The toyshop prospers not only because we recognise it is a jewel in the crown of our local community and as such a rare place to treasure, but also because the owners have ensured its survival by continuing to provide what this community needs and wants, no more so than today. Now we are emerging from the recession wiser and re-calibrated, necessity has meant that we have found the time and the goodwill to embrace post-materialistic values.The way we buy, as well as where, is just as important as our means to buy here in the North Cotswolds, because we realise what is important to our wider, communal happiness and sense of wellbeing. We embrace personal, knowledgeable service offered by businesses with an equally invested relationship in our community; we appreciate being served good things by our neighbours and friends. We know it’s not expensive, in the wider context, even if it costs a little more. We take time to consider the genuine pleasure that our independent high streets bring to our daily lives and succumb less often to the quick and easy, cheap homogeneity of big businesses that actually threaten to take away what it really means to live in the North Cotswolds.To ensure that we do remain “a nation of shopkeepers” as Bonaparte once described us, there is no better way to protect our precious way of life than simply to take a walk along our local high street, instead of simply going online this Christmas. Karen Harrison www.cotswold-homes.com





So if you’re OCR-ready or stepping out with a view to train for your very first run, prepare to revolutionise your training, build your endurance and get mud strong. Obstacle courses have become extremely popular over recent years. They are tough, require a sustainable level of all round fitness and test the body in so many different ways. Exercise is divided into planes or fields of movement, categorised by functionality, levels of cardiovascular intensity, strength, flexibility and core stability. OCR training ticks all the boxes and in return will improve heart fitness, bone density, lean muscle mass, the immune system and recovery. This in turn may help to reduce the risks of CHD (cardiovascular disease) obesity, diabetes and some cancers.


So get outside, train hard and have fun!

EXPLOSIVE OCR STRENGTH TRAINING: Get prepped, warm up & mobilise

Preparation is key! Ensure you are fully hydrated, then FUEL your workout with a protein rich, carbohydrate meal 90 minutes before you train. Grab a backpack, water, towel and timer, then head off to your local OCR training facility, or park and get ready to sweat. Run a 10 minute circuit at 60 -70% of your maximum heart rate (6-7 out of 10 perceived exertion) to get warm and increase blood flow. Then two minutes of high knees, side lunges, deep squats and windmills (rotating arms) that will loosen you off & reduce the risk of injury.


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Select one exercise from Group A, one from B and one from C, then carry out each of them for 60 seconds in succession with good form and maximum intensity, rest for 90 seconds and repeat. Work down the list keeping the groups in order, but to prevent boredom you can mix up the sequences of exercises.

BEGINNERS – carry out 1 of each set

(4 sets in total).

INTERMEDIATE – repeat each set you do twice.

ADVANCED – repeat each set 3 times & try to reduce recovery time between sets.


*(SELECT ONE EXERCISE, PERFORM FOR 60 SECONDS & MOVE TO B) 1. Bulgarian Split Squat (Deep single leg squats, 30 seconds each leg) 2. Prisoner Squat (Deep squats with head forward, straight back engaging glutes) 3. Step Up (Position& keep one foot up on a platform, then drive your knee repeatedly up to chest from floor, 30 seconds each side keeping a straight back with core engaged) 4. Saxon Press (Fix your ankles under a solid rail, then with a straight back slowly drop to hands slowing the fall with hamstrings and glute engagement, press back up & repeat)




2. Overhead Press (Create an overhead press using bodyweight only, the higher the angle the hard it gets. Keep a straight line and emphasis the press from the shoulders)

4. Pull-Up/Towel Pull-Up (Chins, pull-ups, wide grips or any variation. Try a towel to improve grip also good for beginners)

POWER CARDIO Pushing yourself when you’re tied on obstacles is tough, so preparing for that level of intensity and summoning up bouts of explosive power at times of exhaustion is testing. Perform this power cardio workout non-stop 1-2 times a week and train your engine.

1. Press-Up Variations (Find an obstacle and use it to elevate your press-up, or flip it and perform declines. Think creatively, change arm width, depth & speed to challenge your ability)

3. Row (Find an obstacle, hang with straight arms angled torso and pull chest to bar, avoid hyper extending your back as you get tired.




Drop down & do 16 -20 push-ups RUN 0.5k at 85% HR (8 out of 10 perceived exertion) Drop the pack & bunny hop over the bag side to side with high knees, do 30 jumps


RUN 0.5k at 85% HR (8 out of 10 perceived exertion)


Hit the bars & pull-ups, perform between 10 & 20, use a towel if required. (Can’t do pull-ups? Then use a lower bar, lie angled underneath and pull chest to bar.) Rest, then repeat to a maximum of 60 minutes. Test your endurance over a total of 3k, 5k or whatever you can manage. Cool down, stretch & a post workout out meal are in order.




For OCRs you will require a strong core and not just a six pack to pull yourself over a 9ft wall or hurling bodies up overwhelming obstacles, you need a rock solid mid-section.

1. Box Jump (plyometric) (Select a stable jumping surface, squat, then jump with both feet landing lightly, standing tall, drop down & repeat)

Try these core exercises – add them to the end of your workouts.

2. Bar Jump (Find a bar around shoulder height, then squat down & power up into the air locking arms, then dropping down to the start position with speed)

Side Plank (3 x 45 seconds left & right)

3. Burpee Shuttle (Sprint 10 metres, drop to a burpee, sprint back & repeat with maximum intensity)



4. Bunny Hop (Look for a waist high obstacle/bar, grip with both hands and bounce over with feet high from side to side)

Hanging Leg Raise (3 x15 reps) Overhead Braced single leg ski sit (3 x as long as you can hold) Enjoy these workouts, be creative and think out of the box to jump over it & train hard!


Cool down, stretch & take post workout out meal. Perform this workout twice a week for amazing results 8 weeks prior to your next run.




Inspirational Cotswold Entrepreneurs Cotswold Homes catches up with our expert interior designer, Amanda Hanley Amanda Hanley, renowned interior designer and a familiar face to Cotswold Homes readers as well as her many established clients, opened a flagship interior design store on Burford High Street earlier this year. unexpected aspects of taking on a High Street store? The most challenging has been the total ‘24/7’ commitment needed, multi-tasking with so many new projects on the go – I am being invited out even more on interior design projects each day as my ‘profile’ has risen so much.There just aren’t enough hours in the day.Thankfully, I’ve had great support from my family, even those not involved in the business! It’s been challenging but great fun.This really is the best job in the world. I can spend my day meeting lovely people, working with beautiful products and visiting all sorts of amazing houses. What has been unexpected is for the shop to have attracted new clients from all over the world not simply from local customers. I have been asked to ship products out to places as far flung as Australia, Italy, Switzerland as well as London and Cornwall. This really surprised me, but of course it’s due to the large number of tourists who visit Burford each week.They spot something unusual and are keen to take it home. For example, I have recently had to arrange for a three-seat sofa to be sent to Venice. This meant organising a gondola for the final stage of delivery! Image copyright of GP&J Baker

Hello, Amanda, we hear that everything has been going very well for you since you opened your new store? I am so delighted with the overwhelmingly enthusiastic response from both clients and other shop owners in Burford. Everyone calls in to say that The Gallery is stunning, quirky, has a lovely atmosphere and is just what Burford needs. I’ve tried to put together a really inspiring mix of sofas, chairs, fabrics and wallpapers - customers all seem to be very impressed. I thought I might need to provide more gift products as a high street shop but in fact supplying sofas, chairs, upholstery and re-upholstery seems to be the biggest part of the business. You have a reputation for outstanding personal service with an eye for stunning products and great industry knowledge - how do you replicate that with your staff? What seems to be very popular with new clients 68

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What trends would you say seem to be is that I am prepared to go their very ‘now’, this season? homes and help them with ideas A FREE DESIGN and I plan to build on this. I always The choices I offer are unlimited CONSULTATION have a ‘brainstorming’ session, as it is and always bespoke and I encourage SEE PAGE 8 often hard for clients to know where people to be individual rather than to start. Having been in the business following a trend, but eclectic velvets for over thirty years, I know instinctively upholstered onto sofas and chairs are really what needs to be done or changed - sometimes popular - I’m selling them all the time because they the ideas they already have just need ‘tweaking’ so are of superior quality, last a long time, are often this doesn’t mean spending a lot of money.You’re very quirky but stunning in design, so comfortable right, with a shop it does need to be top-down. to sit on and a real talking-point in any room. Fortunately we’re now a true family business as our son, Matthew, has come on board and is training to What plans are in place for your store in 2016, become an interior design professional. It is great bearing in mind such a strong start? working with him - we spend the day laughing - and our younger son, Edward, helps out at weekends. My plan for 2016 is to extend the showroom They are fully in sync with my work ethos, of it’s being plastered and refurbished as we speak, course! providing two further rooms full of furniture and a gallery of original artwork, with stock changing What have been the most surprising, challenging, or weekly.



DISCO IS NOT A DANCE BUT A COTSWOLD WAY OF LIFE Entrepreneurialism is an essential characteristic of the local community, no better embodied than by Ross Limbrick-Langford and his mother Jayne Langford.Together, they have created two mutually supporting but entirely different, thriving businesses based in the centre of Bourton on the Water. Ross established Bourton Land Rovers in a central village location in 2001, investing in the site with his mother, who launched her own business at the same time next door. Over the last fifteen years both Mary’s Laundry and Bourton LR, as it is now known, have become essential necessaries to life in the North Cotswolds. Ross had developed an early passion for the Land Rover brand having spent his childhood on his cousin’s farm in nearby Sherborne, learning to drive a 1950s Series 1 Land Rover (off-road!) by the tender age of nine. At thirteen he was obsessed, spending art lessons drawing Land Rovers and taking every available free day, weekend and school holiday to work as an apprentice with a Land Rover specialist in Cheltenham. Continuing for a decade with the company and honing his mechanic skills, like many entrepreneurs Ross finally realised that his passion and loyalty to the brand was not going to serve him well as an employee. He needed the liberty and challenge to develop his own business. “I was worried about finances, especially as I was only in my early twenties, but in acquiring the premises with Mum I was able to alleviate some of the usual pressures associated with starting up on my own. What surprised me was how quickly everything took off – within months we had brought many new customers to the workshop.” His youthfulness turned out to be an unforeseen asset when charged with all this volume of unexpected work, allowing him free reign to devote his whole time to the business. But it was equally the character of the person as the product that drove his business. Ross already had an enviable amount of experience and detailed knowledge of the brand; his reputation for honesty, reliability and hard work cemented his success. Over time, as demand grew for his services, he took great care to employ like-

minded hobbyists and enthusiasts who would reflect his own ethos and passion, whether as apprentices or skilled mechanics.


Today, he acknowledges that there are always new, unforeseen challenges to any established successful business. He knows that losing the Defender was a devastating surprise to all Land Rover lovers but that there is no point in worrying about something that cannot be changed. “What will be will be. We have to evolve and progress.The Discovery as well as the Defender, along with Freelander and Range Rover, is very much the ubiquitous badge of the North Cotswolds and owners are very loyal to the brand. We focus most of our day on ensuring the smooth running of these vehicles, servicing and maintaining them to a high standard, not so much to carry about hay bales and sheepdogs but more as the main family car!” www.cotswold-homes.com





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CH: How does the life of a dairy farmer today compare with that of one ten or twenty years ago, earnings and lifestyle-wise?

In real terms, how much money might the typical farmer have lost over twelve months of production?

average 1 million litre producer. Costs have gone down slightly, but farmers have gone from making a sensible profit to huge losses in the last year.

RH: In general, as farmers we are having to work harder, get bigger and produce more over time to maintain the same level of income. It has also changed as the industry has moved from support, we have more volatility in prices. So we have a few reasonable years followed by a few years of losses – which isn't helpful for confidence, investment and just maintaining an income and lifestyle.

The dairy industry has been plagued by various crises. The huge capital required and the perishable nature of our product make it less transparent and too easy for the chains to take advantage.

Are we currently facing a situation where there might be a huge exodus of farmers from the dairy industry? What can prevent this?

There is a huge variation, but in the last twelve months most farmers have lost about a third of their income - around 10ppl or £100,000 for the

We are likely to see a huge change in agriculture and in particular dairy if things don’t improve shortly. No one will be able to continue with these losses for a long time, so it will accelerate the www.cotswold-homes.com





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trend of fewer, larger farms unless prices pick up soon. It will also take some of these farms years to get back to the status quo. What is frustrating is that consumers are on our side, and we aren't self-sufficient in dairy products - importing 20% of our needs.

because we are subject to imports, milk and dairy are priced on the global price, which is currently on the floor because of various political and economic factors. Liquid milk in supermarkets would only account for 25% of the UK dairy market.

How transparent are supermarket buyers with their finances? Where are farmers’ losses going?

In what ways do you think we can see farmers paid a good price for their milk while achieving a cheap price for the consumer? Can this be done?

Supermarkets, food services and other end-users are pretty ruthless in their buying to try and improve profits and maintain competitiveness, whether that’s liquid milk or through the butter that goes into biscuits. The pound is strong, and

On liquid milk, it’s already happening with Waitrose, M&S, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Co-op. It’s up to those retailers to decide charges. We need to see more


Are there any other ways in which the industry is vulnerable? As a nation we are importing more and more food - is that sustainable and sensible, with a growing world population? Disease and weather events are always on the horizon, whether that’s drought or floods. As primary producers we are expected to produce more food cheaply and it is too easy for those further up the supply chain to push prices down to us. We also have a responsibility to the environment and all these factors aren’t compatible and make modern farming challenging. The public is concerned about the low price paid to farmers by major retailers, but this might not be enough of a motivation to change spending habits. How do you think we can best educate the public? In what ways can the consumer help? The first thing is to always buy British or local and support British farms. We look after, and have created, the wonderful countryside we live in as well as supporting the rural economy. Every pound you spend on British food goes into that. Look for the ‘red tractor’ to ensure provenance and quality. Consumers have the ultimate power in driving change, [and can help] by buying from retailers that treat suppliers fairly and [while] making an honest buck.

arrangements across the whole dairy category: cheese, butter etc, but also a fair price paid for ingredients, such as the cheese on a pizza.

You’ve had your own brushes with TB.What is the emotional and financial impact of the disease on farmers?

How do you balance your responsibilities at Greystone and the NFU?

TB is hugely frustrating, as we know what needs to be done. The government has a 25-year TB eradication strategy which involves a combination of measures, but government inaction has meant we haven’t started it 3 years after publishing. It costs taxpayers and farmers millions. Personally, we are lucky that the last 12 months have been ok. Testing your cattle is a huge emotional rollercoaster of worry and the financial impact can be devastating, depending on the scale and length of the outbreak.

With difficulty! Being a dairy farmer is a challenging job in its own right, I am lucky that I have a great small team of dedicated staff and we try and keep everything simple. It is important that farmers are well represented as thousands of small individual businesses we lack power and are very isolated dealing with a few large multinationals or government.

Rob was elected as Chairman of the National Dairy Board in March 2014. He farms 430 acres in North Gloucestershire in partnership with his wife Emma and their three young children, milking approximately 220 Friesian red and white cows. Read more about the NFU at www.nfuonline.com




My interest in cooking has grown steadily over the years, driven primarily by a love of eating. The amount of cooking I actually do has also grown steadily over the years, driven primarily by the need to feed a growing family. In the last year, however, growth has gone off the scale since I was asked to help in the kitchen of a local shoot. It was made to sound so easy, I signed up straightaway.

WINTER It isn’t difficult work, there is just rather a lot of it. Two of us feeding between eight and twelve guests breakfast, an elevenses hamper, lunch and sometimes tea, as well as twenty beaters’ lunches. Forty eight times over a four month period. It can rather take the edge off a love of cooking for one’s family. The ‘shooting scene’ is not one I have spent a lot of time in, despite being a farmer’s daughter, wife and agricultural college graduate. We have enjoyed some fabulous days on some fabulous farms and estates over the years, and I have done my fair share of beating, but it isn’t until now that I have truly begun to appreciate the level of activity it involves. It is so easy to cast judgement against it as a ‘cruel’ sport, enjoyed only by the privileged few, but I see a side of it that makes up an enormous part of the rural economy. The list of people, from all walks of life, who earn a living from it must be pretty much endless, as is the amount of work that goes into running one. The one thing that really grates, though, is the lack of demand for game birds on the table. Certainly they are bred to be shot and, in being shot, have fulfilled their destiny but 74

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to not then eat them is a waste of a potential meal, and a good one at that. In my experience, pheasants and partridges can make life seriously hard work for the eater. The meat just doesn’t seem to want to come off the bones, it is as if they are unwilling to be eaten. Cut the breasts out, however, and it’s a whole different ball game. Curries, pies, casseroles –

“Start with a curry; I have made both the River Cottage Murgh Makhani (a three day process) and Patak’s curry-paste-in-a-jar (an hour at most) versions and both have resulted in clean plates.” delicious! When I started with the shoot I was outraged that neither the guns nor the beaters were served game for their lunches. I was determined to make a change: “they won’t eat it” I was told…“they bloody will!” I said in return - and guess what? They do!

My tip for this shooting season is to seek out your local shoot, chat up the gamekeeper and bag yourself a brace of pheasants. Start with a curry; I have made both the River Cottage Murgh Makhani (a three day process) and Patak’s curry-paste-in-a-jar (an hour at most) versions and both have resulted in clean plates. Worried your guests won’t eat pheasant? Tell them it’s chicken. Works like a dream.






GREAT MILK TILL THE COWS COME HOME NELL’S DAIRY HAS BEEN PRODUCING OVER 1,000 LITRES OF CREAMY ORGANIC MILK EVERY DAY FOR THE LAST FIVE YEARS, FROM 23 GORGEOUS CHOCOLATE-AND-WHITE GUERNSEY COWS AT EYFORD HILL FARM. THEIR MILK IS SLOWLY PASTEURISED, NOT HOMOGENISED, AND IS AVAILABLE TO THE CONSUMER IN SOME RATHER INNOVATIVE WAYS…WE CAUGHT UP WITH EMMA TO FIND OUT MORE Your slogan is ‘milk like no other.’ How is this the case? We’re an organic Guernsey herd, one of only three in the country. Our cows are unstressed and have a very free lifestyle – they’re only milked once a day. The milk itself is pasteurised very slowly, rather than with the modern pasteurisation method of heating at high temperature very quickly. Instead we do it to a lower temperature but for longer, retaining more of the flavour. It’s got a marvellously creamy, buttery look. How is that achieved? That’s just how the milk is naturally produced by the Guernsey cows! It’s high in Omega 3 and Beta Casein - it gives it that colour, unlike in milk from intensive dairy herds. Tell us about the history of the farm. Owners Caroline and Adam bought the farm eleven years ago. They had always dreamt of having a dairy herd and having spent a fair bit of time travelling in Europe came across milk vending machines, which was where the idea took off. Five years ago we bought our first Guernsey cows and started selling our milk locally through vending machines situated at Adam Henson’s Cotswold Farm Park, The Kingham Plough and Burford Garden Company. Our easy-to-use Milk Stations offer a convenient, hygienic, and environmentally sound means of buying our delicious Guernsey milk. Before you start, you’re going to need a clean container to hold your milk. Either bring your own or purchase a reusable glass bottle from our bottle machine.

“OU R EASY-TO-U SE MILK STAT ION S OFFE R A CON VEN IENT, HYG IENI C, AND ENV IRON MEN TALLY SOU ND MEA NS OF BUY ING OUR DELIC IOUS GUE RNS EY MILK .” And you can also order Nell’s Dairy milk online! What are the benefits of doing that? If you’re nowhere near one of our vending machines, or if you’ve had a holiday in the Cotswolds and have a hankering to try some at home you can now buy some online and have it delivered to your door! Tell us about the Nell’s dairy team and how they run the dairy. Flo does the day-to-day milking of the cows - she looks after them and manages the processing and order side of things, too; Business owners Caroline and Adam do a lot of PR and marketing and talks, spreading the word about the benefits of cutting out the supermarket and going back to the farm - and telling everybody about our unique product as well!

BUY NELL’S DAIRY MILK ONLINE AT WWW.NELLSDAIRY.CO.UK/BUYGUERNSEY-MILK-ONLINE • Buy our Guernsey milk online and we'll deliver it overnight. • Our milk is organic and approved by the Soil Association. • It's a2 so easily digestible for those with lactose intolerance. • It's unhomogenised unlike most supermarket milk, and better for you. • And our Guernsey cows lead happy lives in the Cotswolds like the bumpkins they are. • Nell’s Dairy unhomogenised A2 organic milk from our Guernsey cows delivered to your door. • We take orders throughout the week, 24 hours per day, however we despatch the milk once per week, on Thursdays. • Orders received before 7am on Wednesday will be despatched in that week, and orders placed after that cut-off time will be despatched the following week. This means it will be delivered to you on Friday. Nell’s Dairy Eyford Hill Farm Stow-on-the-Wold Gloucestershire GL54 1HD Tel: 07795 220267 Email: info@nellsdairy.co.uk Twitter: @NellsDairy





5 Valleys Fireworks at Mar ling Playing Fields, Cainscro ss, Stroud


Come and celebrate 20 years of Stratford’s very own Music Festival this October. Amongst the artists and concerts this year are pianist Lucy Parham with guests Henry Goodman and Joanna David, Eboracum Baroque and Laura van der Heijden (BBC Young Musician of the Year). www.stratfordmusicfestival.com


They say Withington Manor is haunted. Find out for yourself as you navigate the treacherous obstacle course filled with all manner of tricksters and spooks. Who’ll make it out alive? £25 admission to this fright show.

Stratford-upon-Avon Music Festival


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Fifty years of fireworks? This birthday bash is bound to be a biggie! See the night skies lit alight alongside the good people of the Five Valleys this October. Fireworks make this fundraiser something really special. www.fivevalleysfireworks.org.uk


Brace yourselves – big bores forecast for the Severn this October & November. Think ‘big wave’ and you’re on the right track. It’s certainly an interesting sight…just don’t get washed away! Check the online timetable for times. www.severn-bore.co.uk/2015_times.html



Come and shop in the beautiful Cotswold countryside for a lovely day of vintage and antique shopping. Featuring a wonderful selection of stallholders selling lovely pieces for you, your home and garden. Admission £2. Under 16s Free. Free Parking. Refreshments and light lunch served. www.antiques-atlas.com/antique_fair/cotswold_the_art_of_vintique_ and_artisan_fair/af1629


Halloween ‘Steam & Scream’ Special at GWR

Come to Church Barn for this one day only art extravaganza, all in aid of Kate’s Home Nursing. A vibrant range of artists, sculptors and ceramicists has been brought together in an eclectic selling exhibition in an historic setting. This is a show of artworks of the highest quality, including those of much-collected artists, with the rare opportunity to buy these pieces at ‘direct from the artist’ prices. From 10.00am-4.30pm. www.cotswoldsartshow.com


Are you ready to ride the ghost train? Find out just where this spooky steam train will take you this October…Wear your creepiest costume, but beware the Witch of Winchcombe and dodge the death-rays of the platform-patrolling Dalek! Embark at Cheltenham or Toddington…if you’re brave enough. www.gwsr.com/planning-your-visit/2015-events-calendar/steam-andscream.aspx


The Grandstand opens at last to welcome new visitors – just in time for one of the most exciting events in the Jump season. See our special feature on pages 20-23 for more details. www.cheltenham.thejockeyclub.co.uk/events-tickets/whats-on/the-open

Horse head: Nic Fiddian-Green

The Cotswolds Pop-Up Art Show, Guiting Power

Cheetah: M ichael Coo per


What’s up in Sherwood Forest, and just what is the Sheriff of Nottingham up to? Find out in another stellar panto from The Theatre Chipping Norton, as the man in the hood brings the awesome English legend to colourful, hilarious life! Watch out for flying sweets and prepare for a singalong. www.chippingnortontheatre.co.uk/index.php?p=whatson&id=2812

n Robin Hood, The Theatre Chipping Norto


Take a trip to Tewkesbury to revel in the festivities a little early. Enjoy the Farmers’ Market, fairground rides and meet the cast of the Christmas panto. We hear that any letter brought to the attention of Father Christmas will be answered… www.tewkesburychristmaslights.co.uk/


Handel’s mighty oratorio Israel in Egypt has long remained second only to Messiah in popularity, setting words from the Book of Exodus and telling the story of the parting of the Red Sea in a sequence of magnificently dramatic choruses, which find the composer at the peak of his powers. http://www.burfordsingers.org.uk/events/israel-in-egypt-sunday-22ndnovember-2015 www.cotswold-homes.com



Bath Christmas Market


Looking for a truly fantastic festive shopping experience? Then look no further than the award-winning, beautiful Bath Christmas Market. Each year the centre of Bath is transformed into a magical Christmas shopper’s paradise, as over 170 chalets, packed full of gorgeous Christmas gifts line the streets surrounding the Roman Baths and Bath Abbey. www.bathchristmasmarket.co.uk

27TH NOVEMBER BROADWAY LATE NIGHT CHRISTMAS SHOPPING Enjoy a fun, festive evening in the picturesque Cotswold village of Broadway with some shopping in the independent stores. Plenty of eateries will see you well fed as well as laden down with shopping bags.

retum Enchanted Christmas at Westonbirt Arbo


Dust off those ball gowns and polish up your glass slippers - The Everyman Theatre’s annual panto is back, packed full of laughs, magic and music. Featuring Tweedy the Clown, William Elliott as Cinderella’s Mother and Ruth Betteridge as Cinderella. www.everymantheatre.org.uk/m-shows/cinderella-1/


Soak up the fairy-tale atmosphere with an illuminated celebration of Westonbirt’s trees, every Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening from 27th November to 20th December. Take a walk among the trees and see what you discover. www.forestry.gov.uk/westonbirt-christmas


The market town of Moreton-in-Marsh comes alive every Christmas – don’t miss out on the fun this year, with festive frivolity and all the trimmings you could want from a Cotswold Christmas. Expect food, lights and merriment, Moreton-style. www.cotswold.gov.uk/residents/events/community-events/moretonchristmas-market/11-28-2015


Directed by Ben Crocker, Cinderella promises to be every bit as magical and wondrous as The Roses’ previous pantomimes. The muchloved rags-to-riches tale is told with magic, a fantastic cast, music and dancing throughout - and more than a few surprises along the way! www.rosestheatre.org/events/entry/cinderella2#.VeWgymSrToA 78

Cotswold Homes Magazine


Santa Specials at GWR Toddington

29TH NOVEMBER ALDSWORTH CHRISTMAS FAYRE, ALDSWORTH VILLAGE HALL Raffle, refreshments, and festive cheer! Come along to Aldsworth as we swing into the festive season to stock up on gift ideas, decorations, foodie treats, jewellery and so much more.



Hop on the Santa Special to be whisked on a steam ride through the Cotswolds – and Father Christmas himself might just put in an appearance on-board. A great thing to do with the family this Christmas. http://www.gwsr.com/planning-your-visit/2015-events-calendar/santaspecials.aspx

What better way to see in December than by taking a trip to one of the most historic Cotswold towns around? The festival will see shopkeepers, restaurateurs, business-people and publicans alike laying on Christmas offers, events and entertainment for shoppers and visitors who visit the Cotswold town throughout December. www.winchcombe.co.uk


Enjoy a fun, festive evening in the picturesque Cotswold village of Broadway with some shopping in the independent stores. Plenty of eateries will see you well fed as well as laden down with shopping bags.

Broadway Late Night Christmas Shopping





Head to Bourton-on-the-Water to see the lights and spend a few pounds on treats and gifts. Soak up the traditional fayre atmosphere and take a riverside stroll – admiring the tree stood in the centre of the River Windrush. www.bourtoninfo.com/news-events/christmas


Come along to this festive day showcasing local Cotswold craft and food producers. Indoor stalls, decorations, music and mulled wine will tantalise shoppers in Northleach this Christmas. www.escapetothecotswolds.org.uk/events/view/935/christmas-food-andcraft-market

The Gloucester Choral Society presents Handel’s Messiah, Gloucester Cathedral


Cotswold Homes Magazine


‘Monumental, majestic, dramatic and quite simply the best music both to sing or listen to’: Don’t miss this stunning performance at Gloucester Cathedral. Music lovers are in for a treat. www.gloucesterchoral.com/2015-2016-season/handel-messiah-2015/

11TH – 12TH DECEMBER THE INTERNATIONAL, CHELTENHAM RACECOURSE The season is in full swing. Even on a cold, crisp day in December, the magic remains with two days of the hottest Jump racing around. Are you ready to see out the year in Cheltenham style? http://cheltenham.thejockeyclub.co.uk/events-tickets/whats-on


Bourton Christmas Market

Toy & Train Fair, Bingham Hall, Cirencester

Toy & Train Fair, Bingham Hall, Cirencester

20TH DECEMBER TOY & TRAIN FAIR, BINGHAM HALL, CIRENCESTER One of the brightest new fairs on the circuit, with dealers offering a diverse cross section of toys, games, figures, models and collectable from all eras of the 20th century. Includes unique ‘Bring & Buy’ Auction. Items submitted on the day for auction starting at 1:30 pm (10% Buyer’s Premium). Open 10am - 3pm. Entry: £2, concessions, under 16s free. http://www.antiques-atlas.com/antique_fair/cirencester_toy_train_fair/ af1825


After a few days of Christmassy indulgence, there’s no better way to finish festivities than to take a trip to Cheltenham racecourse, have a flutter and enjoy the convivial trackside atmosphere. http://cheltenham.thejockeyclub.co.uk/events-tickets/whats-on/new-years-day

Bibury Duck Race, Bib ury


The final concert of the year – come along for a traditional celebration in this most beautiful of settings and sing a mix of traditional carols and seasonal choral pieces. As always, you’re encouraged to join in and raise the rafters! Admission is free but each year the Choral Society support a local charity – there will be collection at the end. www.gloucesterchoral.com/2015-2016-season/carols-for-all-2015/


A riverful of rubber ducks awaits visitors to Bibury this Boxing Day. Sponsor a duck for charity and don’t miss the second race of the day, where around 2,000 ducks hit the water. A real Christmas quacker. www.cotswold-homes.com




Adam Henson reveals what the rams and ewes get up to in the brief period they’re kept together – and the formalities that must be observed before they’re allowed to ‘mingle’…



As we approach the end of the year here at the Farm Park, something very important happens between late September and the middle of November. In order for there to be lambs for the visitors to see next February, this is the time we must put the rams and ewes together (who are kept apart for the remainder of the year) and let nature take its course. This process is called ‘tupping’, and it’s always a lot of work for the rams – all ewes need to be ‘covered’ because of the five-month gestation period, ensuring we’re on track to have our first lambs when the park re-opens to the public. But before that can happen, there’s a lot of preparation that needs to occur. Before the tupping itself takes place, a series of rigorous health checks are carried out. Not only are the animals wormed but they are also examined in the areas that are important in keeping them healthy and mobile – legs, feet, teeth and udders (both sides must be working well in order to raise healthy offspring). Ewes in particular get a bit of a treat before the main event, having about four weeks of top-quality grazing to ensure they are well nourished.This is all about ovulation rate – the condition of the ewe 82

Cotswold Homes Magazine

“Ewes in particular get a bit of a treat before the main event, having about four weeks of topquality grazing to ensure they are well nourished.” really determines how successfully it can reproduce so a rest and a recharge between breeding seasons is absolutely essential. Ideally, each ewe will produce twins, but it is inevitable that some will produce less, and others more. And as for the rams? Well…let’s just say they need a lot of energy for the work ahead, so they are given extra feed to balance out the weight loss that results from their exertions. Twelve weeks before breeding, they’re condition-scored – this gives us long enough to correct the weight of any males we notice to be under or over weight. Other areas that we must pay careful attention to are the chest (as sores here can make their activities painful) and – naturally – the testes. Once we’re satisfied, the tupping can begin.

About eighty days into the gestation period, as the foetus grows large enough to be easily detected, ewes will receive scans – this is very much the same as it is for humans. Sheep are examined in turn from a special tent that shields the scanning equipment from the sun’s rays and makes it easier for the specialist to decipher the wiggly shapes and blobs onscreen. It’s vital for us to know how many lambs each ewe is carrying (and mark them out with coloured dots) so we can provide the mother with the correct diet. It’s a lot of work for all concerned, but the looks of delight on visitors’ faces in Spring really makes it worthwhile. Make sure to come and see the fruits of our labour next year – and try some bottlefeeding with the new arrivals!

Visit www.cotswoldfarmpark.co.uk for more information on Adam Henson’s Cotswold Farm Park

A Winter’s Tale

A Winter’s Tale

Matt’s Pick: The Shepherd’s Crown by Terry Pratchett So, here it is: the final book from one of England’s foremost humourists, the late, great Terry Pratchett. Many fans are genuinely too heartbroken to begin this book, knowing that it will be their final visit to Discworld… …Which is, by the way, a flat Earth whisking through space, borne on the back of a giant, celestial turtle; a fantastical world where practical witches rub up against the mostly inept, face-stuffing wizards of the Unseen University and where Death himself appears regularly SPEAKING IN SOMBRE CAPITALS, JUST LIKE THIS. The Shepherd’s Crown is the story of budding witch Tiffany Aching, and is written for a younger audience than most of Pratchett’s Discworld fare (though Pratchett still manages to get in his fair share of innuendos). When the boundary between worlds grows thin,Tiffany must thwart an invasion of elves – not the beautiful, fey creatures of your granddaughter’s storybooks but malicious tricksters whose utmost delight is inflicting pain and suffering.Yikes. I’m a bit of a latecomer to Pratchett, having only read about six books out of the staggering number of available Discworld titles. Happily, I’ve discovered he is so much more than a Tolkienspoofer: behind the warm wit and cosy prose is a world-wise subversiveness and a first-rate imagination. He’s the sort of excellent satirist that only the British know how to produce, and I’m sorry he’s gone. Pratchett died in March, by all accounts before he’d had a chance to polish this story until it was just to his liking.Yet a full and moving story it is, with very little sketchiness or suggestion of being incomplete. Long-term fans will benefit from seeing extended (and fleeting) returns of some of Pratchett’s best characters, with a few shocking developments: the rest will enjoy a coming-of-age tale about the sort of magic that really matters. With a tribe of irate blue Scottish pygmies tossed in, naturally.

Rachel’s pick: Where My Heart Used To Beat by Sebastian Faulks Sebastian Faulks is perhaps best known for his novels set during war-time, Birdsong and Charlotte Grey, both of which have either been televised or made into a film. But as with his most recent book, Faulks is, in my opinion, best appreciated when reading his elegant and poignant prose. He has the ability to take you back to a not-so-distant past in full technicolour whilst also fleshing out his characters so they come across as very real – full of contradictions, as we all are. I first discovered Faulks’ books almost twenty years ago and over the intervening period he has never failed to impress. I still have my much-creased, coffee-stained paperback of Birdsong – and in that initial foray into his writing, I recognised a certain haunting quality, which made it a perennial favourite on novels written on the First World War. War is a recurring theme with Faulks. It rears its head in Where My Heart Used To Beat, but it never threatens to overwhelm the book. I will put my head above the parapet and say that I think this is the best novel he’s written so far. On the one hand it is a page-turner that grabs you from the start, encouraging you find out what happens next.This is particularly felt during the first-person-perspective scenes from both the First and Second World Wars. But on the other hand, it manages to combine this with being an extremely perceptive, beautifully articulated essay on the human mind, its strength, its frailty and whether one sits alongside the other. As the main protagonist, Robert Hendricks, says during the novel, ‘Cows do not hear the voices of non-existent cows when they are alone in a field so why do some of us do?”The mind and our mental state is another theme that Faulks likes to frequently explore in his books, but here it is handled with a mastery that combines a lighter touch than that of Human Traces, with brilliant originality and a profound insight into the human condition. 84

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A Winter’s tAle

wiTh The SeaSon of GivinG Upon US, Three of The CoTSwold hoMeS TeaM piCk Their Top fireSide readS for The winTer - perfeCT for fillinG BookworMS’ SToCkinGS. kaRen’s Pick: The red noTeBook by Antoine Laurain The Red Notebook is much like exquisite lingerie - flimsy, gorgeous, beautifully crafted, a book for bedtime, guaranteed to seduce. Part detective novel and part romance, this delicate and deftly woven tale recounts the trials of a middle-aged man who experiences a melancholy, reciprocal yearning for love and companionship in a woman he has never met.

“The Red Notebook is much like exquisite lingerie - flimsy, gorgeous, beautifully crafted, a book for bedtime, guaranteed to seduce.” Finding a diary in a discarded handbag, a widowed Parisian bookseller is so intrigued by the private thoughts of a stranger that he embarks on an apparently hopeless quest, driven by an inexplicable compunction to reunite the writer with her journal. Encouraged by his incorrigibly romantic teenage daughter to small acts of madness, he becomes consumed by the need to discover the woman’s identity. Meanwhile, recovering from the mugging in a hospital bed, Laure is unaware that her handbag is not lost but the source of small clues to her existence - clues that will finally bring the notebook, and him, back to her. If you are considering the perfect romantic gift for your beloved this Christmas, you can do no better than simply to tuck this novella between sheets of tissue paper and sprinkle with rose petals before placing under the tree.

otheR Book Picks to lose YouRselF in this winteR:

SweeT CareSS by William Boyd

laTeST readinGS by Clive James

The hearT GoeS laST by Margaret Atwood

Boyd takes us on the beautiful, bittersweet journey of Amory Clay through love and war and the highs and lows of the twentieth century.This is truly evocative, emotional piece of writing – you won’t want it to end.

Australian-born Tv critic Clive James is known for his acerbic wit but perhaps less well-known for his poetry, which he turned to after being diagnosed with terminal leukaemia in 2010. He says 'If you don't know the exact moment when the lights will go out, you might as well read until they do' and his new memoir, Latest Readings, also contains essays on some of his favourite writers, simultaneously offering a revealing look at James himself.

This is Margaret Atwood at her most original and mind-altering best.The Heart Goes Last starts in a dystopian near future where the main characters embark on a Truman Showstyle social experiment and ends in vegas with Elvis impersonators and all manner of weirdness.



Great Western Railway

Honouring the Past, Racing into the Future The re-branded Great Western Railway adopts a beautiful new look as it invests in the future and renews its mission

Travellers on the North Cotswold line will no doubt have noticed over the last few months that a big change was on the horizon. The full scale of that change has only now been unveiled as distinctive and strikingly liveried trains begin to take pride of place on the line, badged with a new (yet comfortingly familiar) set of initials: GWR. To connect with their heritage, First Great Western changed their name to Great Western Railway (GWR) in September 2015 as part of their £7.5 billion schedule of improvements – the biggest investment since the network’s founding days 182 years ago. The new name is a symbol of change, but it also looks to the past - celebrating a history stretching all the way to the ingenious civil engineer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, honouring the legacy of the man whose iron will and innovative outlook made the Great Western Railway possible. But the new name is only one aspect of the package of changes and improvements that GWR will deliver. Uniforms designed in consultation with staff, new train liveries, locally sourced food* go alongside faster journeys, more seats and more frequent journeys as part of the new remit. (*They’ve even created a Little Black Book of Seafood that promotes ‘food heavens’ in the South West and London). 86

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All the changes won’t happen overnight: it's one of the UK's largest and most complex rail networks after all, carrying 1.5 million passengers every week on 9,000 services, and calling at 276 stations.

Improvements along the North Cotswold Line

But it goes without saying that GWR are now steaming ahead into a different era of rail travel – with electric-powered Super Express Trains a symbol of new times for the company and its passengers.

Those using Kingham Station to travel to and from London and other destinations will be delighted to discover a new car park (containing additional spaces for 122 cars) and a new footbridge connecting the platforms.

The changes usher in an exciting set of developments for rail travellers in the Cotswolds.

Great Western Railway

Moreton-in-Marsh Station will be fully transformed by a makeover, with new landscaping and signage bringing the station, one of visitors’ main gateways into the Cotswolds, into line with the new vision. Meanwhile, local history was honoured at Evesham Station, where the historic Battle of Evesham was commemorated with signage commemorating its 750th anniversary. On the London-bound platform, a Revenue Protection Inspector’s office will open.

“The new name is a symbol of change, but it also looks to the past - celebrating a history stretching all the way to the ingenious civil engineer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel ...”

All eleven stations on the line will be furnished with new welcome signs and new poster frames where customer information will be displayed. New ramps have been installed and access to station toilets improved for disabled passengers. In Charlbury, Kingham, Moreton-in-Marsh and Evesham stations, RADAR locks have been fitted, meaning that anybody possessing a special RADAR key, used to access accessible toilets around the country, will be able to use them at any time – not just during station opening hours. Alan Field, Station Manager, North Cotswolds, said: ‘It is always encouraging to see our stations being improved and to be able to provide better facilities for customers. ‘Some of our stations are quite old so to be able to provide better access to toilets and improved ramps is a big enhancement.’

To book journeys and see service updates, visit www.gwr.com www.cotswold-homes.com


Ashbury House, Notgrove


A late Victorian detached Cotswold stone house, which has been lovingly extended by its current owner to create a generous four bedroom property, situated in a rural position, enjoying a quiet location backing onto open farmland. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Family Room | Kitchen | Dining Room | Utility | WC | Master Bedroom | Ensuite Shower Room | Three Further Double Bedrooms | Family Bathroom | Garden (measuring approximately 0.5 of an acre) | Off Road Parking | Outbuildings | EPC Rating: E Fine and Country Harrison James & Hardie, Bourton on the Water 01451 824 977

2 Roel Cottages, Nr Guiting Power


2 Roel Cottages is a charming,Victorian, Cotswold stone cottage with approximately half an acre of garden which wraps around the cottage and is bordered by railway sleepers and a beautiful Cotswold stone wall, with hedgerows and trees to the rear. Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Sitting Room | Garden Room | Master Bedroom with Ensuite Bath and Shower Room | Two Further Double Bedrooms with Ensuite Shower Rooms | Garden | Double Garage | Private Driveway | EPC Rating: C 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

Fosse Cottage, Fossebridge


A beautifully refurbished, detached, 19th Century Cotswold stone cottage which has been lovingly restored and boasts many period features, a good sized garden and off road parking for a number of vehicles. Dining Room | Sitting Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Cloakroom | Master Bedroom | Two Further Double Bedrooms | Family Bathroom | Driveway Parking | Garden | EPC Rating: E Fine and Country Harrison James & Hardie, Bourton on the Water 01451 824 977

9 Windrush, Nr Burford


A Grade II Listed, Cotswold stone semi-detached three bedroom cottage situated in a tucked away location backing on to neighbouring countryside. Sitting Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Outbuilding/Studio | Additional Stone Coal Store | Three Bedrooms | Bathroom | Generous Front Garden | EPC Rating: E Fine and Country Harrison James & Hardie, Bourton on the Water 01451 824 977

Country Homes from harrison james & hardie

Steppes Cottage, Blockley

£675,000 – SOLD

An exceptional opportunity to acquire an exquisite village property, forming part of the history rich High Street of Blockley and enjoying breath taking views over far reaching countryside. This discreetly positioned property enjoys the very best of such a sought after village, and has been lovingly styled into a beautiful family home. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Dining Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Utility | WC | Master Bedroom with En-Suite | Three Further Bedrooms | Family Bathroom | Mature Garden | Garage | EPC Rating: D Fine and Country Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 653 893

Yew Tree House, Lower Brailes

£569,950 - SSTC

A tasteful four bedroom village home constructed of natural stone with a detached garage, workshop and a well-proportioned and mature garden. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Dining Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Study | WC | Master Bedroom with En-Suite | Three Further Bedrooms | Family Bathroom | Generous Landscaped Garden | Double Garage | Workshop | Off Road Parking | EPC Rating: D Fine and Country Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 653 893

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

West Cottage, Bourton on the Hill

£525,000 – SSTC

A traditional Cotswold Stone cottage with much character and charm. This beautiful country retreat occupies a tucked away position at the end of a long driveway and benefits from off road parking and a mature cottage garden. Sitting Room with Open Fireplace | Dining Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Two First Floor Bedrooms | Bathroom | Separate WC | Two Second Floor Double Bedrooms | Bathroom | Garden | Parking | EPC Rating: E Fine and Country Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 653 893

St Peters Cottage, Stretton on Fosse

£499,950 – SOLD

A beautifully presented double fronted Grade II Listed cottage with an abundance of character and charm. Thought to date back to the 1600’s the property has been lovingly restored, using reclaimed materials wherever possible and retaining many of the original features, to create an idyllic family home within this peaceful Cotswold village. Sitting Room | Dining Room/Family Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Master Bedroom with En-Suite | Three Further Bedrooms | Bathroom | Garden | EPC Rating: C Fine and Country Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 653 893

Country Homes from harrison james & hardie


The Coach House, Upper Swell

£2,450 pcm

A charming detached Cotswold stone former Coach House, positioned in a lovely village location with light, spacious and flexible accommodation set in landscaped gardens. Entrance Hall | Drawing Room | Dining Room | Garden Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Cloakroom | Library/Third Reception Room | Secondary Kitchen | Ground Floor Bedroom | Bathroom With Separate Shower | Utility Room | Master Bedroom With Dressing Room And Bathroom | Guest Bedroom With En-Suite Bathroom And Dressing Room/Child’s Bedroom/Office | Gardens To The Front | Private Courtyard Area And Landscaped Garden Leading To Outside Garden Room | Off Road And Undercover Parking | EPC Rating: E Fine and Country, Harrison James & Hardie, Stow-on-the-Wold 01451 833 170

11 The Long Close, Stourton

£1,595 pcm

A well-presented modern village house built of natural stone, situated in a quiet corner plot on the outskirts of the pretty village of Stourton. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Dining Room /Study | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Utility Room | Cloakroom | Master Bedroom With En-Suite Bathroom | Two Further Double Bedrooms | Main Bathroom | Garden To Rear | Double Garage | 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


11 Beceshore Close, Moreton in Marsh

£1,695 pcm

The Bungalow, Sezincote

£845 pcm

A delightful well-presented modern detached family house, set on the outskirts of the Market Town of Moreton in Marsh. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Dining Room | Study | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Utility Room | WC l Master Bedroom with Dressing Area and En-Suite Shower Room | Guest Bedroom with Dressing Area and En-Suite Shower Room | Two Further Bedrooms l Family Bathroom | Off Road Parking | Double Garage | EPC Rating: D

A detached single storey dwelling in a rural location positioned just outside Sezincote and Longborough, offering flexible accommodation. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Conservatory | Dining Room | Kitchen | Utility | Two Double Bedrooms (one leading to the other) | Good Sized Rear Garden | Off Road Parking | EPC Rating: EPC E

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

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

6 Manor Cottages, Stretton on Fosse

£875 pcm

2 Stables Cottages, Bourton on the Hill

£825 pcm

A fully furnished and immaculately presented cottage situated in the heart of Stretton-on-Fosse benefiting from a private courtyard garden and off road parking. Entrance Hall | Kitchen | Sitting/Dining Room | Two Double Bedrooms with En-Suites | Courtyard Garden | Off Road Parking | EPC Rating: F

A stone built cottage full of charm and character set within the grounds of a traditional country estate. Shared Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Kitchen/Dining Room | WC | Three Bedrooms | Shower Room | Garden | Allocated Parking | 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

4 Wellington Road, Upper Rissington


22 Letch Hill Drive, Bourton on the Water


A detached four bedroom property situated in a quiet tucked away location in the village of Upper Rissington.The property benefits from refitted kitchen/breakfast room, additional conservatory, private garden and double garage. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Study | Dining Room/Play Room | Cloakroom | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Utility | Master Bedroom | Ensuite Bath and Shower Room | Three Additional Double Bedrooms | Family Bath and Shower Room | Driveway | Garden | EPC Rating: D

A beautifully presented detached bungalow situated in a quiet cul-de-sac within walking distance of the centre of the village. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Open Plan Kitchen/Breakfast Room/Garden Room | Three Bedrooms | Bathroom | Rear Garden | Garage | Driveway | EPC Rating: D

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

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

8 Moore Road, Bourton on the Water


Hazledene, Bourton on the Water


A well-presented Cotswold stone four bedroom property, situated in the central yet sought after location of Moore Road.The property benefits from off road parking, garage and generous rear garden with potential to extend, subject to necessary consents. Available with no onward chain. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Dining Room | Kitchen | Utility | Four Bedrooms | Family Shower Room | Off Road Parking | Garage | Generous Rear Garden | EPC Rating: E

A semi-detached three bedroom property with potential to extend, situated on a quiet lane built in this much sought-after village.The property was built in the 1950’s and has belonged to the same family ever since, and benefits from driveway providing parking, garage and generous garden, and would benefit from modernisation. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Kitchen | Utility | Cloakroom | Three Bedrooms | Family Bathroom | Front Garden | Generous Rear Garden | Garage | Parking | EPC Rating: E

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

Weavers Cottage, Bourton on the Water


Staddle Stones, Great Rissington


A rare opportunity to purchase a Cotswold stone period cottage situated in a central position within the heart of this desirable village. Weavers Cottage is currently run as a successful holiday let and is available with no onward chain. Entrance Hall | Kitchen | Dining Room | Sitting Room | Downstairs Cloakroom | Two Double Bedrooms | Family Bathroom | Off Road Parking | Private Courtyard Garden | Cotswold Stone Outbuilding | EPC Rating: D

A three bedroom semi-detached property with off road parking and private rear garden, situated in the desirable village of Great Rissington. No Onward Chain. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Conservatory/Garden Room | Family Room | Kitchen | Three Bedrooms | Family Bathroom | Front Garden | Off Road Parking | Private Rear Garden | EPC Rating: D

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

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

Conifer Cottage, Upper Rissington


11 Station Meadow, Bourton on the Water


An extended and beautifully presented three double bedroom semidetached property offering spacious living accommodation and a generous rear garden. Entrance Hall | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Sitting Room | Dining Room | Utility Room | Three Double Bedrooms | Family Bathroom | Front and Rear Garden | Off Road Parking | EPC Rating: E

A recently updated bungalow situated within walking distance of the centre of the village.The property has been decorated throughout and benefits from two ensuite bedrooms and a generous rear garden. Available with no onward chain. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Bedroom One | Ensuite Bathroom | Bedroom Two | Ensuite Shower Room | Front Garden | Generous Rear Garden | EPC Rating: D

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

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

view all our properties at harrisonjameshardie.co.uk

The Stablings, Stretton on Fosse


1 Marsh View, Moreton in Marsh


A delightful character barn conversion offering spacious, well presented accommodation and a pretty cottage garden, occupying a tucked away position within the village. Entrance Hall | Cloak Room | Sitting Room | Kitchen open to Garden/ Dining Room | Family Bathroom | Master Bedroom with En-Suite Double Shower | Second Double Bedroom | Private Gardens | Carport | Parking | EPC Rating: F

A stylish and contemporary brand new town house with open plan accommodation, gated off road parking and southerly facing rear garden. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room open to Kitchen and Dining Area | Utility | WC | Master Bedroom with En-Suite | Two Further Bedrooms | Bathroom | Garden | Parking | EPC Rating: B

Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651 000

Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651 000

7 Butlers Road, Long Compton


29 Stirling Way, Moreton in Marsh


A substantial attached family home with generous parking and garden that offers potential for further extension (subject to the necessary consents). Entrance Hall | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Sitting Room | Cloakroom | Conservatory | Utility Room | Master Bedroom with Shower Room | Three Further Bedrooms | Family Bathroom | Generous Off Road Parking | Garage | Generous garden | EPC Rating: E

An attractive double fronted Cotswold Stone three bedroom home with parking and garage. The property was built as a part of the popular Moreton Park development and offers the usual benefits of a modern home such as an NHBC guarantee. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Master Bedroom with En-Suite Shower Room | Family Bathroom | Two Further Bedrooms | Garden | Parking | Garage | EPC Rating: B

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

7 Errington, Moreton in Marsh


53 Beceshore Close, Moreton in Marsh


A newly constructed detached property completed to an impeccably high standard, located on the Eastern edge of the town within walking distance of the town centre. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Master Bedroom with En-Suite | Two Further Bedrooms | Bathroom | Garden | Off Road Parking | EPC Rating: TBC

A two bedroom semi-detached property with garage and parking located in a quiet cul de sac on the highly sought after Blenheim Way development. The property is ideally situated for access to the town’s amenities and offers a great opportunity for investment buyers and owner occupiers alike. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Utility Area | WC | Master Bedroom with En-Suite | Guest Bedroom | Bathroom | Garage | Parking | Garden | EPC Rating: C

Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651 000

Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651 000

1 East Street, Moreton in Marsh


1 Old School House, Shipston on Stour


A conveniently located three bedroom Cotswold stone character property tucked just off the high street in the popular market town of Moreton in Marsh. The property is currently run as a successful holiday investment but equally would make an ideal bolt hole or weekend property. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Kitchen/ Breakfast Room | Three Bedrooms | Bathroom | Balcony | EPC Rating: D

A charming two bedroom home forming an integral part of a beautiful Victorian school conversion, located close to the town centre. This property is ideally suited to first time, retirement or investment buyers. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Kitchen | Two Bedrooms | Bathroom | Garden | Parking | EPC Rating: E

Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651 000

Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651 000

view all our properties at harrisonjameshardie.co.uk

5 Northwick Terrace, Blockley

£550,000 – SALE AGREED

An imposing and beautifully refurbished Grade ll listed stone built village property with spectacular countryside views, a mature garden and useful garage/outbuilding. Kitchen/Dining Room | Utility Area | Sitting Room | Master Bedroom with En-suite and Dressing Room/Nursery | Guest Bedroom and Bathroom | Two Further Bedrooms on the Second Floor | Garage | Potting Shed | Garden | Parking | EPC Rating: N/A Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651 000

1 Brook Lane, Blockley

£325,000 – SALE AGREED

A stunning example of a quintessential Grade ll listed Cotswold cottage, forming part of what is perhaps the most picturesque scene in the village. Sitting Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Two Bedrooms | Bathroom | Beautiful Gardens | EPC Rating: N/A Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651 000


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


Ask the experts

Jake Lomberg-Williams

Does The Season Make a Difference When Selling Your Home?


I am preparing to sell my second home in Blockley and having seen a number of your Sold boards springing up in the village, i have been recommended to your company for advice. i realise now is not the right time but what would be your strategy to make the most of traditional early Spring demand?

details, photographed the property nicely, put it on all the right websites, got a board up and waited for the phone calls. Not here. By the time we have launched a property online it’s among the last not the first of our tasks - more often than not, we will have already introduced the most likely purchaser.

“After spending my first year with the company I realise that the North Cotswold marketplace, and especially Harrison James & Hardie’s approach, doesn’t conform to the general trend and activity in sales. In fact, the autumn and winter months are unbelievably busy here - just as busy as spring and summer. I joined the company at the end of October, expecting to have a nice easy start and to settle in slowly, but it was absolutely manic from the moment I arrived all the way to Christmas - and as soon as we came back in the New year the pace picked up without missing a beat! It’s highly likely that most sales we agree by the end of October will exchange before the end of the year because buyers are very motivated to secure, and ideally occupy, their new homes before Christmas. However, for vendors who are reluctant to move out during the festive season, we find buyers are usually happy to exchange with delayed completions that can be scheduled later in the New year, for example.

“The moment we are invited out to a property we consider who it might suit on our register and advise applicants that something might be coming up for sale, accordingly. There are ten experienced, dedicated sales heads in the company who all work very proactively with a coordinated approach, sharing information on properties and applicants quite happily because everyone benefits from every sale. By the time we are instructed, we usually have viewings arranged in principle – certainly we will have phoned everyone registered with us in the first forty-eight hours. We arrange viewings as close together as possible, often on a specific viewing day as we did with Prior Bank [overleaf], and again with Brook Lane and Northwick Terrace [opposite] most recently, generating strong competition and offers within a few days. We will also launch the property online and in the local paper of course, to ensure that anyone as yet unregistered also has a chance to view – however, these buyers can find they are at a disadvantage, with offers already being considered by the vendor in some instances.

“Whether you instruct us now or early in 2016, it’s our strategy that is really important to making the most of any marketplace, not the time of year. I have learned so much here, especially compared with my previous experience at another agency and again at university, and have seen first hand what an enormous difference the agency you choose makes to your chance of getting the best possible price. What I thought I knew was just simple agency - that you signed up, wrote the

“The best time to sell at the highest price is usually in the first three weeks of marketing – our approach is designed to ensure the shortest possible time on the open market in order to achieve the best possible price for our vendors. We will suggest the most sensible marketing price based on recent comparable sales and our knowledge of potential purchasers, also taking into account the preferred timescales for our vendors, of

www.cotswold-homes.com 99


Ask the experts

… I have seen first hand what an enormous difference the agency you choose makes to your chance of getting the best possible price… course – in the North Cotswolds it’s not always the price but the purchasers’ flexibility that determines the right deal and sometimes the fact that a buyer is local can be the deciding factor above all other considerations. Choosing which offer is best for their circumstances is always our vendors’ prerogative but we thoroughly investigate every aspect - from finances, chain details and motivation to intended timescales – before instructing solicitors on a sale. “Sales negotiation and progression are the most sophisticated disciplines where the skills of the sales team really underpin the success of the company’s strategy. We know all the pitfalls that can occur with chains and mortgages, all the sticking points that can undo a transaction, especially with period properties that attract lots of interest but can unearth issues at survey, for example. We advise tight timescales to exchange and will continually check on progress right along the chain, delving more deeply when we suspect a problem in order to solve it as quickly as we can. More often than not, if a buyer starts inexplicably to drag their heels or if we discover problems down the chain that threaten the sale, we will already have a back-up purchaser in place. None of this happens by accident – it’s a combination of a whole team approach, long experience, consistency, knowledge, skill and intelligent thinking that makes this company so incredibly good at what it does.”

100 Cotswold Homes Magazine

Jake Lomberg-Williams MNAEA was brought up on his family’s farm near Cirencester.After gaining A-Levels, he worked for a local estate agency before going on to complete a degree in Property and Land Management at the Royal Agricultural University. Despite following entirely different career paths, he discovered after being offered a job with Harrison James & Hardie that he had been introduced by the same recruitment agency as an old school friend, Sophie Keogh, who unbeknown to him had joined the company only a few months earlier. He has been working at the Moreton branch in the Fine & Country department since October 2014. With superlative service standards provided by an experienced, friendly, consistent and professionally qualified sales and lettings team, Harrison James & Hardie Fine & Country North Cotswolds has three central offices based in Bourton on the Water, Stow on the Wold and Moreton in Marsh. Recently celebrating fifteen years as an independent specialist residential agency, leaders in the local marketplace, in 2009 the company also secured an exclusive licence as Fine & Country, an award-winning national and international marketing platform designed for properties in the upper quartile sector.To find out more about the company’s innovative marketing strategies, please telephone: Bourton on the Water: 01451 822977 Stow on the Wold: 01451 833170 Moreton in Marsh: 01608 651000 Mayfair, London: 0207 079 1515

Prior Bank, Blockley


A unique and superior property set in arguably the finest position within the much sought after Cotswold village of Blockley. Enjoying exceptionally stunning views over neighbouring roof tops to far reaching countryside, Prior Bank offers the rare opportunity to acquire a one off property in a central yet almost completely private spot. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Utility Room | Shower Room | Master Bedroom with En-Suite Shower Room | Three Further Bedrooms | Family Bathroom | Detached Home Office and Shower Room | Garden | Off Road Parking | EPC Rating: D Fine and Country Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 653 893

Country Homes from harrison james & hardie


Ask the experts

Robert Hamilton


Hidden Hazards In Our Homes

One of the joys of period homes, particularly up here in the Cotswolds, is the way they have evolved over centuries. Once upon a time, whatever came to hand was used as a building material including stone, thatch, wood, wattle-anddaub, you name it. in more recent years we have made use of various substances that at the time were considered perfectly acceptable, even a la mode, but are now considered hazardous. Not all scaremongering is justified.Take animal hair in old lathand-plaster. Long, strong hair is often used to reinforce plaster (my wife’s horses have donated mane and tail hair to be used in our cottage restoration) but this was first considered as a problem to restorers and builders in the 1950s, when it was mooted that Anthrax spores might be carried on animal hair. In fact, de-contamination of hair and skins from abattoirs was in place as long ago as 1919 and the HSE now regard the risk of contracting Anthrax (by ingestion, inhalation or through open cuts) as ‘very low’. Asbestos is a much more recent, more common material used in general building, a naturally occurring substance mined particularly in Canada, the US, Australia, China and Russia that we now realise has lethal consequences when inhaled. The most common is ‘white’ or chrysotile asbestos. Over five million tonnes was imported from 1940 to 1998, when it was finally banned in the UK. Asbestos had a variety of applications - in farm buildings corrugated asbestos was used for roofing sheets, gutters and downpipes. In homes, asbestos was commonly used in flues and storage heaters, as fireproof barriers behind fireplaces and as insulation in boiler furnaces as well as made into floor tiles, mixed into adhesives and Artex – the list was endless! Nowadays, even the mention of asbestos is like throwing a bucket of cold water on a purchaser but it is important to look at the type of material and to consider whether it is necessary to remove or to leave undisturbed. In London, for example, where many apartment blocks have such large

102 Cotswold Homes Magazine

amounts of asbestos that it is impossible to remove, asbestos is simply cased off and labelled. What is hugely important is not to damage it or cause dust. If you suspect asbestos do not drill, file or break it. Trained specialists will ensure it is kept wet at all times, wearing masks and protective clothing whilst removing the material, but with roofs it is now considered more sensible to keep entire, to cover with a polymer based coating such as Asbestoseal, or to cover with another roofing material if the sheets are in poor condition. Lead is another poisonous nasty. Lead water pipes are still in place in some period properties even though legislation was introduced in 1970 to ensure non-lead water supplies in newbuild homes. Lead pipes are best replaced to prevent water contamination. Old paint primers also contained lead oxide, considered as a very effective way of combating rot and decay, which is true. But again, it’s a contaminate, so you must warn your builders if you suspect ancient paint finishes and they must take care not to create dust. Not all minerals in our home are avoidable.This area has very hard water that, whilst in itself not a hazard, will cause a build-up of calcium deposits. Using unfiltered water will create strange crunchy deposits in hot drinks and ensure a short lifespan for the kettle. Untreated water will also cause deposits in pipework, thereby reducing flow rates and at worst causing washing machines, dishwashers and showerheads to cease functioning altogether. Fortunately, installing a modern water softener is an inexpensive solution to this local problem! 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 www.centralsurveying.co.uk.


Ask the experts

Sue Ellis


To Fix or Not To Fix?

The Bank Base Rate has now been at a record low for a considerable period of time. I keep hearing conflicting information both in the media and indeed from experts, speculating that this may increase shortly, then other commentators saying that the prospect appears unlikely in the short term. Is this is a good time to fix my mortgage rate? As you rightly say, the Bank of England Base Rate has been stuck at 0.50% since March 2009 – this is by far the greatest period of time that it has remained static for at least the last forty years. No one, not even the leading economists, could have honestly predicted that the base rate would be maintained at this level for such a long time and, as you say, opinion is now divided amongst industry experts, all conflicting in their opinions regarding likely changes in the base rate over the next two to three years. In the budget earlier this year it did seem that there would be a likely rate increase of around 0.50% by the end of the year, with more increases to follow. However, with the recent developments in China and the resulting knock-on effect upon the world’s stock markets, any rate increase now seems unlikely until mid to late 2016. As one commentator says: ‘at this stage, we are minded to put back slightly our expected first interest rate hike from 0.50% to 0.75% by the Bank of England from February 2016 to May 2016, but we would by no means rule out a move in the first quarter’. Three years ago, I wrote a similar article on this subject and at the time there was speculation that the base rate may fall further, something that is now about as likely as finding little green men on Mars but, even if it did, those with variable rate mortgages, and in particular those on a ‘Tracker’ linked to the Bank Base Rate would not enjoy a decrease, as lenders have

put a ‘floor’ on the lowest rate that borrowers can pay. Clearly, whatever financial experts and economists predict everything is speculation, just as it was then – none of us have that magic crystal ball! This brings me back to the question as to whether you should fix your interest rate now. Borrowing remains cheap at the present time although it must be said that there has been a slight shift up recently in the fixed rates that are on offer from some lenders. Whilst it is impossible to advise regarding your particular needs in this short piece - and everyone’s personal circumstances differ – generally, if you see a deal being advertised that would apply to your particular situation in terms of borrowing against value (LTV in mortgage speak) and that you’d be disappointed to miss out on, then it might be wise to grab hold of it. As you are coming to the end of a fixed rate or tracker product it’s particularly important to consider your options now. There are still a large number of borrowers who are sitting on standard variable rates and therefore their payments can be raised at their lender’s whim. This happened back in October 2012 when Santander, one of the major lenders in the market place, announced a 0.5% hike in its Standard Variable Rate to 4.74%, even though at that time the Bank Base Rate had not moved for over three years. I would suggest that you come and see me sooner rather than later, when we can discuss your personal needs in particular, and when I can offer independent advice on the wide range of possible options to explore. 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.jemfinancial.com

Authorised & Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority www.cotswold-homes.com 103

Hot ProPErtY - aSK tHE EXPErtS

Ask the experts

Andy Soye

Mat Faraday

Dispelling Holiday Letting Myths: #1


My holiday cottage is fully booked for the next six months.That’s great, isn’t it? We understand that the fact your cottage is fully booked several months in advance must sound amazing. Many traditional agencies and online marketing portals would claim that having a large forward booking pipeline of customers is clear evidence of success and must surely be a good thing. However, if your aim is to maximise the amount of money you make from your holiday cottage, the answer is: Probably Not. Let us try to explain why! Over the years the holiday letting industry has built up many stories and myths regarding how things should, or should not, be done. Given our experience in this market place we cannot help but get frustrated by the perpetuation of such myths, and so over the next few editions of this magazine we aim to dispel many of the preconceptions passed from property owner to property owner and to bring some much-needed clarity to this sector of the investment market place, as we always do when advising our own clients. All things being equal, the cheaper a holiday cottage is the more likely any particular booking slot is to sell because, of course, everything comes down to price. As an extreme example, if we offered your cottage at £10 per week, whilst you would be fully booked every week for the next year and this might look great to anyone looking at your calendar, you would not be very happy with us given the costs of running the cottage would significantly exceed your income. For owners who are interested in maximising the revenues generated from their investment, a much better measure of success is the total letting income generated by each property. One booking at £1,000 is clearly better than fifty bookings at £10 per booking, even though the calendar would be empty virtually all the time. In reality, the best answer is to optimise the pricing of a cottage throughout a year to get the right balance between the number of bookings you take and the average value of these bookings. At Character Cottages, one of the factors we look at very closely when working out the optimum price is the “booking lag” information on all of

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our properties. Booking lag is the average number of days between when we take a booking to the start date of that holiday. For large properties where lots of people have to coordinate diaries, it is reasonable for the average booking lag to be in the range of 120 – 180 days whereas the average booking lag for a two bedroom cottage is often much less, typically only 45 – 60 days, because couples and small families will more often make last-minute holiday decisions. Very few holiday cottage owners know what the natural booking lag should be for their type of property and are therefore easy to please and very happy if their cottage is fully booked months into the future. The truth, of course, is that the average value of these bookings is probably much lower than it could be and the pricing has not been properly optimised. As you can probably imagine, pricing optimisation is a very difficult problem to solve, requiring lots of data and financial analysis skills. Most letting agents, both online and traditional agencies, will focus primarily on marketing rather than financial analysis, so it is inevitable that they tend to under-price properties. Knowing that clients accept the myth of a fully booked holiday cottage as evidence of success, such agencies are in no hurry to invest the necessary money and time, as well as the skill and expertise, in the systems that would provide such valuable information. At Character Cottages, we are experts in the analysis of financial data. We specialise in both marketing and pricing, and are passionate about ensuring the best outcome for our clients.This investment into our systems ensures that, as well as generating lots of bookings for our owners, we do so at the right price each time to maximise the total letting income, and therefore to improve the level of profit it is possible for us to achieve on their investments. Andrew Soye and Mat Faraday are both qualified Chartered Accountants and are the founders of Character Cottages, one of the leading luxury holiday letting businesses in the Cotswolds. Telephone: 020 8935 5375 Website: www.character-cottages.co.uk Email: owners@character-cottages.co.uk

Bolton Farm

Investing in

the holiday let marketplace Andy Soye and Mat Faraday run a successful holiday let company offering around ninety beautiful homes, from delightful romantic cottages to grand country houses, most of which are located in the North Cotswolds. In this article, Andy Soye considers the attractions of Bolton Farm, currently on the market with Fine & Country North Cotswolds, as a property with great potential for the holiday let marketplace. We find that the larger properties on our books are more likely to let well throughout the year. This is a certainly a growing and lucrative trend. Groups and extended families find such properties are the best way to get together to celebrate events and also prefer to let a place that works out, on a price per person, great value for money compared with hotels or B&Bs.

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Holidaymakers are always attracted in every season to the North Cotswolds, particularly in the winter months when coastal bookings are less appealing, so this area provides a regular and reliable source of income for anyone who is considering buying a property, either as an investment or a way of part-funding the costs of owning a second home.

Bolton Farm

Our main delight has been the wonderful view over the lake that changes through the seasons. We have so enjoyed rowing over it and picnicking alongside it, keeping ducks, watching swans come and go, spying an occasional otter and a wide array of wildlife ...

We offer very flexible options for our clients, allowing them to offer their properties as and when they wish, with a range of marketing tactics that ensure high levels of occupancy for the times when they are unable to make use of their home themselves. Properties used as an occasional place in the country, particularly period homes that need to be kept warm and dry, are less likely to deteriorate when frequently utilised, so this opportunity makes sense on a practical level, beyond the immediate financial benefit. Clearly, whilst large properties require a considerable initial investment there are economies compared with a portfolio of small properties. Other than the frequency of lets, the running costs – council tax, maintenance, etc. – are often less onerous with one big property than two smaller places. Bookings tend to be for longer periods of time, for a week rather than short getaways, so turnaround can prove more economical, too. Properties that have particular appeal, other than the number of guests accommodated, are those with plenty of archetypal Cotswold character – period, stone built homes with lovely immediate surroundings and kerb appeal will score highly from photographs alone. Traditionally presented interiors including open fireplaces, exposed beams and a high standard of furnishings are essential must-haves for most of our holidaymakers. Those that are able to host big

get-togethers around the dining table, especially in the winter months, are always attractive and the most popular are often located in villages where one can take a walk to a good local pub, places with easy access to the surrounding countryside and within reach of a range of popular tourist destinations, centres like Bourton on the Water, Broadway and Stratford upon Avon offering a wealth of attractions no matter what time of year. A property that would instantly stand out on our books and attract an instant raft of enquiries is the delightful Bolton Farm. Situated on the western edge of the North Cotswolds in Offenham, this ancient and charming home is an eminently desirable holiday let, a country retreat that will certainly stand out from the crowd. In addition to the rural position, the land surrounding the property and the picturesque lake make very attractive and unique features and as such, these can only add to a ready list of selling points that will attract larger groups. Provided simply with some kayaks and lifejackets, perhaps some wellington boots and raincoats in various sizes and picnic baskets for the use of, the opportunity for those who seek adventure and for nature lovers wishing to commune with the great outdoors, this property becomes a real winner. As the present owner confirms, the upkeep of such land and the lake is not an onerous proposition. www.cotswold-homes.com 109

Bolton Farm

“Our main delight has been the wonderful view over the lake that changes through the seasons. We have so enjoyed rowing over it and picnicking alongside it, keeping ducks, watching swans come and go, spying an occasional otter and a wide array of wildlife - foxes, hares, roe and muntjac deer, herons and green-woodpeckers and, on the domestic side, ducks, sheep and horses – you name it! The lake is self-managing, being spring-fed and discharging into the brook beyond, and the land is mostly and usefully very level for grazing or cultivation. It’s been a great adventure playground for children but the previous owner used one field as a golf course. The acreage could just as easily be managed as a wildflower meadow, for various hobby-interests or more commercial applications including DIY livery, husbandry of rare breeds, niche crops and so on – one can make it as much or as little work as you want it to be. Our time here has been our own little slice of the Good Life, growing and enjoying wonderful fruit and vegetables, living simply in harmony with the changing seasons, overlooking the frozen lake 110 Cotswold Homes Magazine

The village of Offenham boasts two pubs and a local shop and is situated close to Broadway and Stratford, both major Cotswold tourist destinations for visitors from all over the world, especially Americans.

and white grounds of the winter months to the lush greens and dappled light of high summer, and we could not have loved it more.” Accommodating groups of ten to twelve guests, internally the arrangement of living space is ideally laid out for families, offering plenty of living space and comfortable areas to chill out together, with very appealing period and character features that add interest to the property such as the galleried landing, exposed beams and brickwork, and a sizeable log burner – a prerequisite for most holidaymakers in colder months. The cellar

could usefully be a place to store personal items when the property is let out but equally likely to intrigue older children, perhaps somewhere to create a teenage den. The village of Offenham boasts two pubs and a local shop and is situated close to Broadway and Stratford, both major Cotswold tourist destinations for visitors from all over the world, especially Americans. As such, and taking into account the benefits of the lake and grounds for adventure-style holidays, the property could happily command a gross income in the region of £60,000 per annum.

Bolton Farm is currently under offer through the Moreton in Marsh branch of Harrison James & Hardie Fine & Country North Cotswolds.To register your details looking for similar properties, please contact the office on 01608 651000.

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West Allotment Cottage




West Allotment Cottage & Willow Corner

Sophie Keogh was brought up in the South Cotswolds before forging her early career in London working with two top international property agencies in Mayfair. The call of home, horses, her beloved dog and the lure of open countryside finally became too much. Two years ago she found her way back, albeit a little further north, appointed as Senior Sales Negotiator with Harrison James & Hardie, Fine & Country North Cotswolds in Bourton on the Water.

112 Cotswold Homes Magazine

Sophie’s opening gambit when registering applicants, “I used to work in London”, has been affectionately adopted by her colleagues as her nickname and so we thought who better to ask, should you be seeking a a place in the country with enough character to impress the Chelsea set or a transatlantic swap that’s impressive enough for a re-make of that famous winter classic The Holiday (insert your favourite Hollywood heartthrob / dame here, if you must replace Jude Law and Kate Winslet).

“Well, I would say to look no further than West Allotment Cottage in Lower Slaughter or equally Willow Corner in Armscote [page 114-115]. My first choice is a delightfully photogenic period property that would certainly look good on celluloid, recently refurbished to a very high standard and situated in one of the most favoured and internationally recognisable of ‘Cotswolds, England’ destinations,” says Sophie. “My second choice is another gorgeous cottage fit to warm the heart of a lovelorn romantic


lead - it’s so sweetly quaint and chocolate-box, it should equally do the trick!” Situated on the quiet edge of the village of Lower Slaughter, West Allotment Cottage is a Cotswold stone-built property originally commissioned by the Whitmore family for their estate workers during the latter part of the nineteenth century. Indeed the cottage has the family initials, CSW, carved into the stonework on the gable end, a pedigree to match other fine buildings in the village.The Whitmores were Lords of the Manor and until the 1960s the internationally renowned Manor House Hotel was their country home.They were great benefactors. During 1867, in the same year as the cottage was built, the Whitmores re-built St Mary’s church and a few years later added the village hall, originally as a ‘gentleman's reading room’. Their investment, combined with the beauty of local mellow stone, rustic architecture and serendipitous position straddling the shallow River Windrush, is without a doubt why Lower Slaughter has become one of the most famous of all villages in the Cotswolds. Serene and picturesque, set amongst open countryside and yet only a stone’s throw from the amenities of Stow on the Wold and Bourton on the Water, the gorgeous chocolate box appeal

of this quintessentially Cotswold village ensures that every home commands a high premium. However in 2009, West Allotment Cottage was damp, dark, gloomy, languishing in a very poor state and requiring a complete programme of repair and refurbishment to be transformed into the eminently desirable home it is today. Using only the best natural materials and remaining sympathetic to the traditional local vernacular, the owners began by addressing the deterioration in the fabric of the cottage by installing a modern damp-proof course and sound-proofing the party wall before removing the original back wall in order to create a bright, airy open-plan kitchen-dining room that has become the sociable hub of daily life. On the first floor, their decision to install two more stone mullion windows has brought a flood of welcome light into the two bedrooms; meanwhile,

the bathrooms were stripped out and re-configured to a high standard of comfort and luxury that is mirrored throughout the property. One of its original attractions was a generous plot which, with the efforts and energy of the present owners, has become a stunningly beautiful, traditional cottage garden complete with heavily stocked flower borders, well tended lawns and a sweeping gravelled drive. A few derelict outbuildings on the boundary created the footprint for a new annexe, completed in 2011, and this inspired space has been the making of the cottage. Suitable for a wide range of uses, for everything from occasional guest accommodation to a teenage hideaway, it is provided with a sitting room, bedroom, bathroom and kitchenette - an excellent addition that offers a perfect place to work, to relax or entertain away from the main house.

"A few derelict outbuildings on the boundary created the footprint for a new annexe, completed in 2011, and this inspired space has been the making of the cottage." To find out more about West Allotment Cottage, offered to the market at £659,950, and to book an appointment to view strictly by prior appointment, please contact Sophie on 01451 822977.

West Allotment Cottage



Ask sophie

Willow Corner

Armscote is located close to the town of Shipston on Stour, half way between Stratford upon Avon and Moreton in Marsh, affording easy access to a wealth of amenities including a mainline station to London Paddington at Moreton yet enjoying all the tranquillity of rural life. Little happens of important note save a major historic event recorded in the seventeenth century, occasioned by the visit of George Fox. The famous Quaker founder visited Armscote in 1673, preached and was then arrested. The barn where the event took place was demolished in 1680 to make way for a stone Quaker meetinghouse that still stands today. Since then, the hamlet has remained peaceful and relatively undisturbed by the passage of time and is exceptionally attractive, with several noteworthy buildings including a Jacobean manor house. Amongst them is Willow Corner, the ultimate picture-postcard period Cotswold cottage, built of mellow stone with two rows of latticed windows peeping out beneath a heavy-browed thatched roof onto a gardener’s paradise of manicured lawns surrounded by traditionally stocked borders populated by old English favourites – wisteria, irises, mallow, roses, sweet peas, fruit trees, vegetables and herbs all crowding together in a profusion of glorious colour. 114 Cotswold Homes Magazine

“Enjoying a central position on the main street of this peaceful and desirable hamlet on the northern edge of the Cotswolds, nestled amongst similarly characterful cottages and barely a stone’s throw from the highly regarded gastro pub The Fuzzy Duck ...”

accommodation and now it currently functions very happily as two independent cottages within one, half of which is let out to holidaymakers. This change to the layout was part of a much larger refurbishment project, including the replacement of the ridge on the thatched roof and the installation of newly fitted kitchen/dining rooms and bathrooms.

Enjoying a central position on the main street of this peaceful and desirable hamlet on the northern edge of the Cotswolds, nestled amongst similarly characterful cottages and barely a stone’s throw from the highly regarded gastro pub The Fuzzy Duck, it is not surprising that this picturesque property boasts a long and successful history as a Bed & Breakfast business.

Having four decently sized bedrooms on the first floor, the cottage has an abundance of ground floor space, provided with a spacious entrance hall and two reception rooms, two kitchen/dining rooms and a utility room. Outside, the drive allows parking for several vehicles, with a garage that can also be accessed through the utility room, an ideal storage facility should one wish to run both sides of the cottage as occasional holiday lets and/or a second home. Equally, the layout makes it ideal for a family as a supremely comfortable main home.

Recently, the current vendors installed a second staircase and reconfigured the internal layout so that it could provide separate owner’s

Presented in beautiful decorative order, the cottage’s centrepiece is undoubtedly a huge inglenook fireplace in the main sitting room but it is blessed throughout with an abundance of character, both modern and original: beamed ceilings, latched and braced doors, stone tiled floors and an Aga, all of which convey a sense of timeless quality and the simple but luxurious pleasures that are inextricably associated with country life.

Ask Sophie

Willow Corner was recently marketed by the Moreton in Marsh branch of Harrison James & Hardie. For more properties like these please speak to Sophie on 01451 822977.

www.cotswold-homes.com 115

Ask ewAn


Seaford House, Moreton in Marsh and The Manor, Stow on the Wold

Ewan Peaston has always lived locally and attended the Cotswold School. After gaining A-Levels, rather than go to university he became one of four students from local sixth forms who were offered formal apprenticeships by Harrison James & Hardie during the depths of the recession. Following in the footsteps of senior colleagues, Ewan began his apprenticeship in administration before going on to gain experience first in Lettings and then Sales. Today, with professional qualifications in both estate agency disciplines and membership accordingly of ARLA and NAEA, he now works at the company’s offices in Moreton in Marsh as a Senior Sales Negotiator.

Seaford House (centre)

118 Cotswold Homes Magazine

I am hoping to open a little place in Moreton in Marsh, something that allows me to ‘live over the shop’ on the High Street. I have around £500,000 to spend, with a contingency for reconfiguration of any potential premises. Do you have any suggestions? “Moreton in Marsh has much to recommend it. Situated within a cluster of prosperous market towns including Burford, Stow on the Wold, Chipping Campden and Chipping Norton, the town’s wealth was founded on the wool trade and a serendipitous position on the Fosseway, half way between Cirencester and Stratford upon Avon, Oxford and Cheltenham. Today, with a mainline station providing a regular train service to London in less than two hours, such accessibility

to major road and rail links has ensured many amenities for the town, with a wide range of prosperous independent shops dotted along its characterful High Street. “At the northern edge of the High Street is a lovely run of stone cottages, forming a pleasing combination of shops and pretty homes, tucked behind a wide and leafy green, protected from passing traffic on the Fosseway, within easy walking

Ask Ewan

distance of a host of day-to-day services. Amongst this row is Seaford House, ideally situated for trading, close to the famous toy shop, plus other independent retailers selling beautiful gifts, clothes, furniture and art. “Offered to the market at £475,000, Seaford House’s charming exterior belies the extent of accommodation and even more surprisingly perhaps, delightful countryside views to the rear, looking out over the surrounding roof tops towards Batsford. There is a sitting room, dining room and study on the ground floor, with a sunny, sheltered conservatory and patio garden, plus pedestrian access onto Hospital Road. This ground floor could be converted (with the necessary planning consents) to a retail show room, given the accommodation on two floors above. On the first floor, there is a large master bedroom and a dressing room with access onto a flat roof, then on the second two further bedrooms and a WC. With the shower room already at the end of the landing, this whole first floor could then provide a sitting room and kitchen with a balconied roof terrace taking full advantage of the lovely views. “However, you have rather a lot on your wish list and it’s important to separate want from need.You specify an affordable high street property suitable for conversion but also something with living space above, in a good trading position within a specific town - finding something workable in a sensible timescale will be tricky and meanwhile prices are rising steadily. A solution might be to widen your search, for example to nearby Stow on the Wold, a town renowned as one of the most enduringly popular tourist destinations in the North Cotswolds, where we have recently agreed a sale on The Manor [overleaf].

The ground floor could be converted (with the necessary planning consent) to a retail showroom, given the accommodation on two floors above.

www.cotswold-homes.com 119

Ask EwAn

The Manor

On the edge of the square is The Manor. The buyer is planning to develop and refurbish this impressive period property into luxury holiday lets, but it also has a little retail showroom adjacent to the renowned Fosse Gallery.

“Surrounded by numerous chocolate-box villages that have always attracted plenty of second homers and affluent families, Stow on the Wold has plenty of local customers who are keen to support great independent businesses rather than travel to larger towns for their daily provisions and services. Stow on the Wold hasn’t seen the exponential rise in population that Moreton’s traders have benefitted from in the last decade but the town enjoys a well-established reputation for high-end retail. Recently, a couple of high street chains including Fat Face have moved in – there must be sufficient revenue and footfall here too, for them to do so. “On the edge of the square is The Manor. The buyer is planning to is planning to develop and refurbish this impressive period property into luxury holiday lets, but it also has a little retail showroom adjacent to the renowned Fosse

120 Cotswold Homes Magazine

Ask Ewan

Gallery. This might sound like a big compromise at first but it might prove perfect. If you were prepared to lease the premises instead, simply taking one of the apartments above on a shorthold assured tenancy, then a great opportunity might open up for you. “The largest of these apartments offers around a thousand square feet of living space and has many period features including high ceilings, huge sash windows, even a feature fireplace, enjoying delightful views over the green, across the bustling market square towards the fine parish church.Yes, it will be more expensive to rent on a short-hold basis, being designed to let out to the lucrative holiday market rather than a standard short-hold tenancy proposition, however it is clear you could have the best of both worlds, combining both work and home in the same place but without the risks attached. Here, the shop and apartment will

have been completely refurbished before you move in, enabling you to enjoy a luxurious, fit-for-purpose property in a lovely location without the headaches of conversion, of on-going maintenance or the considerable stresses of a building project, and without dipping into your capital at a time when you might more sensibly divert your funds, energies and attention into launching your new business.

too. By leasing premises at this particular point, and letting rather than buying your home, you will still enjoy the benefits that drive your wish list but without creating a proverbial basket for all your eggs. At least until your business is established, this makes sense to me - if everything takes off rather quickly, you can relocate to larger premises nearby without having to move home in the same process!”

“Of course, there is money to be made in properties that can be converted as you describe, but such projects will have unforeseen downsides of the usual enough variety – delays caused by planning difficulties or build complications, for example. But add into that the risks involved in any new enterprise, however convinced you are of its certain success, and the thought of the mortgage payments mounting up before you even open the door… well, your worries could soon mount up,

Seaford House, offered to the market via the Moreton in Marsh branch of Harrison James & Hardie and The Manor, marketed by the Bourton on the Water branch, had both gone under offer subject to contract at the time of going to press. For further information regarding potential opportunities please speak to Ewan on 01608 651000.

www.cotswold-homes.com 121

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Old Warden in Grevel Lane, Chipping Campden is a charming, Cotswold stone-built detached house dating back to the early 1950s, occupying a sought-after location at the edge of this eminently desirable market town. The property has been so much loved that, to date, it has had only three owners. The first occupant was an elderly lady who lived there until her death in the late 1960s when it was taken on by the Cotswold warden – hence the name – a wealthy and greatly respected figure in the community. Although he modernised and updated his home inside and out when he first moved there, by his nineties he was living principally in one room. Over decades, the once finely appointed house had become shabby and dilapidated, the beautifully landscaped gardens seriously overgrown and the whole in need of comprehensive refurbishment. Bequeathed to the National Trust on his death in 2006, even though it was marketed at the 126 Cotswold Homes Magazine

WE FELL IN LOVE WITH CHIPPING CAMPDEN MANY YEARS AGO. IT’S BEEN A BRILLIANT PLACE TO LIVE, SURROUNDED BY STUNNING COUNTRYSIDE WITH A WONDERFUL RANGE OF SHOPS AND SUCH A FRIENDLY, ACTIVE COMMUNITY WHERE THERE IS SO MUCH GOING ON ALL THE TIME. very height of the property boom, such was the amount of work required that the first buyers pulled out. Fortunately, Old Warden had also caught the eye of a retired couple trying to relocate permanently to the town. Having recently moved to their second home in nearby Park Road, they had been coming backwards and forwards to the North Cotswolds from Essex every weekend for the last fifteen years and were now desperate to secure a permanent home in their beloved

Chipping Campden. Unlike other buyers they were happy to take on the challenge of Old Warden; having already built their own home in the past they were equipped with the skills, experience and instinct for what would make a great project. As this was to be their last move, and with the luxury afforded by living only a short distance away, they spared no expense or detail in the redesign and upgrade, extending and reconfiguring



Old Warden is marketed by Fine & Country North Cotswolds Moreton in Marsh at £850,000. To find out more or to book an appointment to view, strictly by prior arrangement, please phone Tom Burdett on 01608 651000.

each room to maximise its full potential, stripping everything back to first fix so that all the new wiring and pipework could be chased in, re-siting doors and pushing out walls, sometimes only by a few inches, before hiding all the supporting steels and re-plastering, determined both from aesthetic principle and opportunity to make the best use of every available space. They added a full length, single storey extension to the rear of the property with under-floor heating and a porcelain tiled floor, topping with a huge roof light to brighten a stunning open-plan kitchen and dining room, with a double set of patio doors and additional full length windows to each side looking out over an entirely private, richly planted and newly landscaped garden. Outside, as the trees came down and the garden was slowly tamed, so the skies opened up and light came flooding back into the house. “We literally couldn’t see the house for the trees when we first came,” says Mrs Barber. “We had to take down

at least ten massive trees, removing overgrown bushes and shrubs, substantially cutting back the lovely beech hedge that had grown to about fifteen feet wide and that towered over everything, making it so dark and gloomy inside. The front of the house was so crammed that once we had cleared it all, paved and gravelled everything, we discovered there was easily space for five cars.”

edged mullioned windows. Upstairs, interior stud walls have been re-positioned and windows have been moved to create four roomy, beautifully appointed bedrooms. There are two en-suites and a main bathroom, all with matching floor and wall tiles that help to create clean and simple lines, installed with luxury showers and solidly elegant porcelain suites.

Stepping inside, the old gloomy hallway has been transformed into a brightly welcoming space, the dark wood balustrade removed and light from a first floor window now illuminating bespoke bannisters of glass and oak. Decorated throughout in a palette of cream and honey, the owners have researched and installed the best quality fittings for their kitchen: German-made white goods, high gloss cabinets and a bespoke granite work surface that was selected from its raw state to ensure the colour and finish. In the sitting room, a fireplace was commissioned from a local stonemason to match the original bevelled-

Such is the loveliness of their creation it is impossible to imagine why, after only seven years, the owners have decided to leave behind their intended forever home. “We fell in love with Chipping Campden many years ago. It’s been a brilliant place to live, surrounded by stunning countryside with a wonderful range of shops and such a friendly, active community where there is so much going on all the time. It will break our hearts but we are moving closer to family where it will also be easier to visit our daughter who has rrecently had our first grandchild – she is the true joy of our lives.” www.cotswold-homes.com 127






Bourton 01451 822977 | Moreton 01608 651000

Stow on the Wold 01451 833170



Celebrating fifteen years as the leading agency for the North Cotswolds For outstanding results, from first time apartments to grand country homes, simply the best choice for the North Cotswold marketplace Sales Bourton on the Water High Street, Bourton on the Water, Glos GL54 2AN Tel: 01451 822977

Lettings Stow on the Wold Church Street, Stow on the Wold, Glos GL54 1BB Tel: 01451 833170

Sales Moreton in Marsh High Street, Moreton in Marsh, Glos GL56 0AF Tel: 01608 651000

Country Homes Sales and Lettings Fine & Country North Cotswolds Head Office: Park Lane, Mayfair, London – 0207 079 1515

harrisonjameshardie.co.uk Superlative service standards, impressive local knowledge and an internationally renowned marketing platform as Fine & Country North Cotswolds

Profile for Cotswold Homes

Cotswold Homes Autumn/Winter 2015 Edition  

This combined Autumn/Winter edition has a wealth of interesting articles, top local events, fabulous competitions and offers and the best of...

Cotswold Homes Autumn/Winter 2015 Edition  

This combined Autumn/Winter edition has a wealth of interesting articles, top local events, fabulous competitions and offers and the best of...