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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.

to be found in the hard copy version of our magazine.we’re excited to announce that we will soon be launching a brilliant new interactive map containing our valuable archive of information on the north cotswolds - you will be able to search for places of interest, cultural events and local history, even find your ideal home for sale / to let! If that’s not enough, our new-look property section will also offer a host of new features on every aspect of the local housing market, with wise advice dispensed by our panel of experts on a wide range of subjects from becoming a professional landlord to buying your first home. Just watch this space!

Cotswold Homes also has a growing database of around 7,000 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 beautifully designed and informative online magazine ( 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 not

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!

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 Instagram.

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

cotswold homes reflects the ethics and values of great small business. our local magazine is as glossy, gorgeous and high-end as you might

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.



Cotswold Homes Magazine


to the AUtUmN / WiNter 2016 eDitioN oF CotSWoLD homeS mAGAZiNe.

CoNteNtS ComPetitioNS Win tickets to the RSC, complimentary meals at Rick Stein’s new restaurant, and much more

Looking back over our back catalogue, one thing we’ve done very well at is interviewing some of the country’s very finest and bestknown chefs. We’ve featured Jamie Oliver, Michel Roux, Raymond blanc, thomasina miers, tom kerridge, nigel Slater, the fabulous Baker Brothers…we could go on.

6-11 riCK SteiN Collette Fairweather lightly grills Rick Stein

Now Rick Stein joins that illustrious list as our resident foodie Collette Fairweather asks about his Cotswold childhood memories – and the opening of his new restaurant in Marlborough. We’ve done pretty well on the arty side of things, too, working with our fabulous local galleries to highlight the creative endeavours of some of the very best Cotswold artists. This issue, Annabel Playfair talks us through her triumphant return to painting while guiding us around her rather fetching home (really, you’ve got to see the mural above the Aga).



Annabel’s vivacious paintings are certainly a balm for the soul in the bleak midwinter, but in truth, the Cotswolds is one of the best places to be when it gets all chilly. Why? There’s the new season at Cheltenham Racecourse, for one. And our theatres are positively bursting with life and colour at this time of year – not only thanks to Chippy’s world famous Christmas pantomime, but also the creative offerings of The Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford upon Avon. That’s not to forget the innumerable other events and fayres you can visit this winter – see our events section for the very best of these. Last in this issue, but by no means least, is our expansive property coverage, showcasing not only the very best of Cotswold property but also providing a rich resource of invaluable advice: how to present your home for sale, advice for first time buyers – and so much more. Read on to equip yourself with expert knowledge. Oh, and don’t miss our competitions – there’s enough prizes in there to make Father Christmas blush.

DiArY oF AN eQUeStriAN LADY Up-and-coming young star Ella Hitchman’s path to success

eVeNtS What to do in the Cotswold winter


Cover image Meadow Along the Fosse by John Hammond SWAc. An exhibition of over forty of John’s new paintings from home and abroad opens on Saturday 5th November and runs for two weeks at The Montpellier Gallery, Stratford upon Avon. Telephone 01789 261161 or see for more details.


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Design team: Alias

0845 257 7475

3 Imperial Square, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire GL50 1QB


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At home With: ArtiSt ANNABeL PLAYFAir


CheLteNhAm rACeCoUrSe What to expect at the Home of Jump Racing

Annabel tells us what painting means to her



the rSC

BeComiNG the DAme

Explore the RSC’s productions of The Two Noble Kinsmen and The Seven Acts of Mercy

Cabaret star Andrew Pepper on becoming a Panto Dame


hot ProPertY Expert advice and the best of the North Cotswold marketplace

Julia Sibun helps your New Year go off with a bang

60-61 cotswold homes magazine Our next edition, Spring 2017, 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:

82-130 Editor’s Desk: Property: food & Drink/equestrian: Marketing & Sales: Website & Admin:



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WiNter SeASoN GiVeAWAY BoNANZA Get ready for our greatest giveaway yet!

Winter is on its chilly way, but fear not - we’ve got some great prizes to warm your spirits! Pantomime tickets to see The Theatre Chipping Norton’s next family filibuster; free trips to The International at Cheltenham Racecourse; a meal for two at Rick Stein’s new restaurant…this festive giveaway would make Father Christmas blush! It’s all going on in the Cotswolds this season, so don’t miss your chance to enter – visit to enter all our prize draws.

WIN! A 2-COURSE SET LUNCH (moNDAY-FriDAY) FOR 2 PEOPLE AT RICK STEINʼS NEW MARLBOROUGH RESTAURANT Foodies should be thrilled by this chance to visit Rick Stein’s new restaurant in Marlborough and enjoy a free 2-course set lunch in this beautiful venue. Entering our competition draw couldn’t be easier. Recently opened at Lloran House on Marlborough’s high street, Rick Stein’s new restaurant delivers the sensational cuisine the celebrity chef is known for to a whole new audience. Here diners can enjoy some of Rick’s most iconic dishes such as the Dover Sole a la Meunière and Turbot Hollandaise as well as a selection of new dishes including Salt Pork Belly

with split pea puree and sauerkraut, and Baked Guinea Fowl with garlic beans and smoked sausage. Alongside Marlborough’s a la carte menu, the restaurant also offers a set lunch menu available Monday to Friday, and a traditional Sunday roast. Read our interview with Rick in this very magazine to find out more. To enter our draw for two to win a 2-course set lunch, simply visit competitions-and-offers/. The competition closes on 10th January.


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Jump racing is at its best in the middle of the winter and this fixture offers two days of action to get you into the Christmas spirit. The feature race of the fixture, after which it is named, is the StanJames. com International Hurdle, won last year by Old Guard - jointly owned by Jeremy Kyle, The Brooks Family and The Stewart Family. Don’t miss your chance to win a free trip to the action on Saturday 10th December. To enter this competition, head to the competition section of Competition closes 24th November.

What a truly fantastic prize we’ve secured for Cotswold Homes readers! Racing has taken place at the Pitchcroft course, close to the banks of the River Severn, since at least 1718, making Worcester one of the oldest racecourses in Britain. Located just 5 minutes walk from the city centre, the racecourse offers a great day out for all the family. We’ve got a 2017 Annual Badge to give away to one lucky winner. Worth £285 and valid for the whole of 2017, Badge members can enjoy all the following benefits: • County Enclosure admission to all meetings at Worcester racecourse as well as reciprocal visits to a host of other courses around the UK and in Ireland. • Voucher for cup of tea/coffee and a muffin at all Worcester fixtures • Half price admission to all County games at Worcester County Cricket Club ground • Accompanied children under 18 go free • General admission to all of the other ARC courses (with some exceptions to major dates) To enter the draw to win this great prize, head to the competition section of Competition closes on 10th December.

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 (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.



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We’re offering a great prize for the county’s equine lovers, courtesy of the Heythrop Hunt (thanks chaps!). Enjoy all the action at the Point-to-Point on Sunday 22nd January 2017, taking place at the Cocklebarrow course near Northleach. Sponsored by Harrison James & Hardie, this Point-to-Point race meeting is always a popular event and winners of the Family Ticket prize (for 4 people) can indulge in a spot of lunch, too. To enter this prize draw, head to the competition section of Competition closes 10th December.

Travel in style with this fabulous prize! Fancy a festive excursion to see family and friends? How about a luxurious post-Christmas London shopping trip? With these prize tickets, you can plan a stress-free winter-warmer getaway for you and a friend, courtesy of GWR. To see train routes and find out more about GWR services, visit Happy travelling! To enter this competition, head to the competition section of Competition closes 1st December.

WIN! A FAMILY TICKET TO ADAM HENSONʼS COTSWOLD FARM PARK Adam Henson’s Cotswold Farm Park has delighted audiences for years with its collection of rare breeds making every visit as educational as it is entertaining. Now here’s another chance for you and your family to go free with our prize of a Family Ticket! One word of advice - plan your visit for after 11th February 2017, as the Farm Park closes from the end of October 2016 for its usual winter break. To enter this competition, head to the competition section of Competition closes 16th December.


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WIN! A FAMILY TICKET TO ROBINSON CRUSOE AND THE PIRATE QUEEN AT THE THEATRE CHIPPING NORTON ON 16th DeCemBer Set sail for adventure with our strapping hero Robinson Crusoe, armed only with a treasure map, his mum, and the ship-shape crew of the Saucy Nancy. A tale loved through the ages of shipwrecks and desert islands, retold as you’ve never seen it before, with pirates, mermaids, cowboys and the fearsome Pirate Queen, Betty Babcock! For your chance to be a winner of a family ticket* to see Robinson Crusoe and the Pirate Queen at The Theatre Chipping Norton on Friday 16th December at 4pm, just visit the competition section of Competition closes on 1st December. *The prize includes tickets for a family of up to four persons plus a goodie bag with souvenir programme, badges and a poster. The competition prize is for the date and time stated and cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer.

WIN TWO PAIRS OF TICKETS TO SEE THE RSCʼS THE SEVEN ACTS OF MERCY AT THE SWAN THEATRE, STRATFORD-UPON-AVON Naples, 1606. Inside an unfinished church, a painting is emerging from the darkness. The Seven Acts of Mercy is Caravaggio’s masterpiece - and his first painting since he killed a man and fled Rome. As the artist works, he is fuelled by anger, self-loathing and his driving need to create a work that speaks of compassion in a violent world. Bootle, the present day. A retired dock worker teaches his grandson, as around them a community is disintegrating under the pressure of years of economic and political degradation. With all he has left, a book of great works of art, he tries to open the boy’s eyes to the tragedy and beauty of the life he faces. And the boy reciprocates in the only way he knows. Playing out across a gap of 400 years, Anders Lustgarten’s visceral new play confronts the dangerous necessity of compassion, in a world where it is in short supply. Directed by RSC Deputy Artistic Director Erica Whyman. Read our article on pages 42-43 to discover more. To enter this competition to win one of two pairs of tickets to The Seven Acts of Mercy at the Swan Theatre, head to the competition section of Our winning entrant must choose from available times on 17th, 21st or 22nd December. Competition closes on the 2nd December.



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WIN! A FREE INTERIOR DESIGN CONSULTATION WITH AMANDA HANLEY WITH £100 VOUCHER FOR EVERY £1,000 YOU SPEND ON FABRICS, FURNISHINGS AND WALLPAPERS AT AMANDA HANLEYʼS BURFORD STORE Dreaming of a refurb? Then this is the competition for you! Enjoy a consultation with our longtime Interior Design expert, Amanda Hanley, at her beautiful Burford premises. Consultation will take place at Amanda’s Burford showroom. The voucher is valid January March 2017. To enter our draw, visit the competition section of Competition closes on 10th December.



On Christmas Eve, Marie’s wooden nutcracker doll is transformed into a beautiful prince who takes her on a magical journey. Before they leave, they must confront the Mouse King, whose army is threatening Marie… Christmas would not be complete without the enchanting tale of young Marie and her nutcracker prince! Danced by the Bolshoi’s principals, Russian ballet master Yuri Grigorovich’s staging of E. T. A. Hoffmann’s fairy tale will transport children and adults alike to a world of magic and wonder for the holiday season. Please note that this screening is pre-recorded. To enter our draw to win a family ticket for 4 people (2 adults, 2 children) to this screening of The Nutcracker at The Roses Theatre,Tewkesbury, on Wednesday 21st December at 10am, head to the competition section of Competition closes on 8th December.

The Regal Cinema in Evesham is a lovingly restored art deco style cinema with a coffee shop and licenced bar that attracts moviegoers 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, visit the competition section of Competition closes on 1st December.


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WiN! 1 moNth’S Free memBerShiP At the rUNNerBeAN heALth & FitNeSS GYm, UPPer riSSiNGtoN There are no excuses for not getting fit with this great prize*! One lucky winner will receive one month’s free membership to The Runner Bean gym in Upper Rissington. *The prize includes gym induction, programme design, 1 x personal training session, unlimited gym use Monday - Sunday and all in-house classes. To be claimed anytime during January or February 2017. Competition closes 10th December.

WiN! FoUr Free triAL YoGA SeSSioNS to reLAX YoUr BoDY, miND AND SoUL With emmA LAWreNCe oF the YoGA tree

WiN! BrUNCh AND BUCK’S FiZZ For 4 PeoPLe At the hANGAr, UPPer riSSiNGtoN. Warm up your winter with the best way to start your day! Indulge in Brunch and Buck's Fizz for four people at the Market Square’s new café, The Hangar. Valid any day from beginning of December 2016 to end of January 2017. Competition closes 24th November.

Never tried yoga before? Want to be more supple than you are? Then why not give yoga a try with four free sessions* with yoga teacher, Emma Lawrence.

*Wind Down Sessions on Monday evenings at 7.15pm (School Hall, Upper Rissington). Competition closes 10th December.



Rick Stein


Cotswold Homes Magazine

Rick Stein

R ick

WIN DiNNer For tW o See PAG e6

Stein’s Marlborou�h Endeavour

Collette Fairweather meets with rick Stein and family to discuss a childhood in Churchill, a new venture in marlborough and long weekends in europe. Rick sits almost motionless at a perfectly laid table tucked into the corner of the grand Georgian dining room. A plethora of tradesmen scramble around him to complete their duties before the restaurant’s looming launch, yet Rick remains statue-like in the circus of happenings. He’s focused on the task in hand: giving an interview to publicise his new inland restaurant venture in Marlborough, just over the border into Wiltshire – aptly named Rick Stein Marlborough. It’s due to open in mere days, so no pressure there, then. I wait my own turn for an interview, watching quietly. Rick is soon joined by the middle of his three sons, Jack, who as Executive Chef, oversees the kitchens in all of the Rick Stein restaurants. Jack has taken the lead in this interview. Loitering in the wings while waiting my turn at the plate, I attempt to nonchalantly observe the scene. I can’t help but wonder: has the father of fish momentarily lost his mojo? Christopher Richard Stein, or ‘Rick’ as he was dubbed by his brother while a child (and so remaining forever known), was discovered when appearing as a guest on the late, great Keith Floyd’s 1984 television series Floyd on Fish. Since

the beginning of the triumphant thirty-odd year career that followed, he has accumulated an ever-multiplying selection of restaurants, a cookery school, a fish and chip shop, a delicatessen, a patisserie, a pub or two, a collection of holiday cottages, twenty odd books, countless TV series, three sons and a couple of wives.

‘You know, rides and games and that kind of thing - how do you not know what a mop is?’ Rick says. ‘A fair, it’s like a travelling fair.’ He starts to sound a little nostalgic. ‘We had a local mop when I was growing up – Chippy Mop, as we called it. I used to visit Chipping Norton, and we all used to go mad for it.’

Over his career he has educated a nation, urging us to take advantage of our island status and dine from the ocean. Rick has done for fish what slicing did for bread, and he has been awarded an OBE for his efforts. But as I glance across at one of my culinary heroes, I’m wondering if, without the veneer of media filters, his passion has simmered out?

Slipping in to the hot seat, I admit to my unashamed earwigging and tell him that it was Chippy Mop only last week, in fact.

Luckily, however, this isn’t my interview. Despite her efforts to encourage conversation, the defeated journo sounds the retreat and wraps up, enquiring as she departs after the launch date. The PR person interjects with details, which seems to hit a nerve with Rick. ‘It’s a bloody balls-up, really, it’s the mop on that weekend - the whole street is going to be closed off.’ Jack looks quizzically at his father. ‘A mop?’ Jack asks. ‘What the hell’s a mop?’

‘Really? How funny. What a coincidence.’ It’s the perfect way to start my brief time with Rick - right at the story’s beginning, with his childhood in the Cotswolds. It’s a topic that seems to rejuvenate proceedings. ‘I was born on a farm just outside of Churchill and actually, I went back there last year,’ Rick reveals. ‘The same people own it now that we sold it to in the late 1960s. We filmed there for the One Show about 3 or 4 years ago, when they did a little sequence on sending people back to where they were born. And so we went to the farm and filmed in the kitchen where my mother had cooked, and it was almost unchanged. It was quite surreal’.


Rick Stein

great local shoot that would love to supply us. ‘But this has been the most engaged local food community that we have ever had. The best part of opening a new restaurant is getting all those emails from the local suppliers, saying we can supply this and that and then actually going out and visiting them. And it’s amazing when you unearth a hidden gem of a product.’ A passion for produce obviously runs in the genes.

Before I go, I must ask Rick about the new book and the TV series. ‘I catch up with the BBC and have an interchange of ideas every now and again. As I was walking out I said: would you be interested in doing a series about long weekends in Europe? And they said, yeah we might actually; I don’t think anyone has done that before.

With the warmth of recollection, he leans in and adds: ‘I think it’s a stud now, but back in my day it was a mixed farm - it had everything, apart from ducks. And although I wasn’t cooking at the time, it’s a very important part of my culinary background. My mother - and father actually, but particularly my mother - they were very good ‘British’ cooks. So we had fantastic food, all - inevitably as was in those days – as organic and local and as fresh as you like it. My father used to boast at Sunday lunch that everything, including the beef, had come from the farm. ‘I was lucky in that they not only loved their produce, but they travelled quite a lot – they were very familiar with French and Italian food, which influenced so many of their dishes. My father in particular liked to be very social…it used to drive my mother nuts. She would either be saying: ‘would you get out of my kitchen!’ or ‘I never get enough help!’ You never knew which way to go.’ We turn our attention to the Marlborough venture. With the majority of Rick’s restaurants based in or around Padstow in Cornwall (or PadStein as it’s been dubbed), I’m interested to know what has driven him inland. ‘We are always looking to open restaurants in areas where people would like to eat our food, and many of the people around here would enjoy the seafood restaurants in Padstow. So that’s really what it’s all about.’ Jack adds: ‘I did the food festival a couple of years ago, one of the ones where you turn up not expecting much and being so surprised at how well it was organised and supported. I was quite taken aback. I walked into town with a local 14

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lady and she talked me through every shop and offering. Suggesting, half tongue-in-cheek, that we should open here, as there was nowhere like us to come and eat.’ The building itself is an impressive Grade II listed Georgian structure, sympathetically restored by Rick’s son Ed, daughter-in-law Kate and first wife Jill: the family team that have produced all the interiors for all of the Rick Stein ventures. Effortlessly blending the contemporary with the classic features over two floors while working with the original layout of the building, they have created a selection of dining rooms. Each differing slightly in their feel, they all are beautifully outfitted with dark wooden furniture, glinty metals and glassware, whilst the plush banquet seating and muted tones of the textured wallpaper evoke bygone glamour. As most of Rick’s restaurants are coastal, taking advantage of the local produce, I wonder: how will the menu differ in the new land-locked location? ‘We will have the classic Padstow dishes, because that’s what we are known for. But we have a head chef here who is more familiar with meat, game and poultry dishes – [so] the menu will be more ‘meaty’ than our other restaurants. We are endeavouring to get to know our local suppliers here. It’s so important as you do tend to get better produce if it’s local - and also, it is very good PR!’ Jack elaborates: ‘Like we did with our previous restaurant opening in Sandbanks, we put out on our social media channels, simply asking: ‘what do you want?’ and the response came back with lots of people suggesting game, further saying that there is a

‘The series is based on my holidaying habits, as for a number of years my Australian wife and I have been going to European cities for long weekend breaks, as you can do from the UK simply not possible if Australia is your home. And the Aussies love coming to London and nipping on a plane for a couple of hours and ending up somewhere pretty exotic. ‘It’s worked out really well - it was in fact designed to go out on non-prime time television, but I think because we did such a good job, we got bumped up. (Rick Stein’s Long Weekends will be broadcast at 9pm on Fridays from the beginning of November). And the supporting book is out now, and it has ten or so recipes from each of the ten hosting cities, so it has got over 110 recipes, which are, inevitably, all rather good. I’m very happy with how it all worked out.’ And with a coy smile, he adds: ‘It will probably do alright – hope so, looks nice.’ It’s this unassuming charm that has launched his enviable career, and created the brand that is ‘Rick Stein.’ So it’s really no surprise that the trimmings that accompany such large success that have this morning weighed down his enthusiasm: after all, chefs don’t become chefs for their interest in public relations. The shop talk with Jack, the recollection of a Cotswold childhood, the dishes, the wines and the local produces – all these things ignite his enthusiasm, reminding me that a love for good food is at the heart of it all. Rick remains a passionate and romantic creator of all things culinary. Marlborough is now open – for more details, plus information on Rick Stein’s restaurants, recipes and cookery school, visit

Rick Stein

“We are always looking to open restaurants in areas where people would like to eat our food, and many of the people around here would enjoy the seafood restaurants in Padstow. So that’s really what it’s all about.”


At home with Artist Annabel Playfair

At home with Artist

Annabel Playfair Visiting other people’s houses is always revealing. Our homes are our sanctuaries, after all: the only pieces of an exhausting, unruly world we can tailor to our own sensibilities. As we impress our lives upon them, our houses tell stories of who we are, who we were, who we hope to be. And when you’re visiting the house of somebody whose job it is to create things, like an ar tist or a designer or a writer well, it’s rarely less than interesting. Inevitably, questions arise that aren’t answerable with John Lewis or Ikea. Questions like: who did that mural? Where’s that unusual sculpture from? How did you acquire that enormous piece of snakeskin hung up there, casually stretching from one wall to another? When I visit the Cotswold home of ar tist Annabel Playfair, a clear story star ts to emerge: that of the gifted professional making a very spirited return to the field after a long absence. You see, Annabel’s triplets (triplets!) are all about to fly the coop. Now she’s throwing her energies back into her great passion: painting.


Cotswold Homes Magazine

At home with Artist Annabel Playfair


At home with Artist Annabel Playfair

‘About three years ago I star ted painting full time,’ Annabel tells me over coffee in the kitchen. ‘My dream was to come back, concentrate properly on my painting, and have an exhibition of my oils.’ Let’s be clear, though: Annabel’s no dabbling hobbyist. Her mastery of depth, space and tone speaks of her careful years of training and practice. Annabel’s definitely paid her dues, learning her trade at the City and Guilds of London, Chelsea School of Ar t and Les Beaux Ar ts in Paris (making five years of classical training in all). This is ar t produced the traditional way – with a solid grounding, informed by countless hours of observation. Do not let the star tling speed and confidence with which she works trick you into thinking such skill is easily come by. ‘In City and Guilds, for the foundation, we weren’t allowed to use colour until the last term. There were three terms: the first was black and white, while the second was tonal – warm and cold colours, painting the whole room with a limited palette. And we did perspective, too – rooms full of ladder and string, painting a room in pencil point. 20

Cotswold Homes Magazine

At home with Artist Annabel Playfair

‘[It was] a very classical training, sometimes so frustrating you’d want to pull your hair out. I can go out now and do the tone, colour and everything – the groundwork is done.’ When Annabel graduated she held three solo exhibitions and worked as a painter-for-hire who would produce murals or do decorative work for photo shoots. That uncompromising trade soon taught her the importance of working quickly and confidently: ‘They’d pay for splodgey backgrounds; they’d pay for trompe-l’œil; a handle to match a paint pattern…anything. That made me very quick. If you’re booked for half a day they shoot at lunchtime – you’ve got to have it ready.’ Then came Annabel’s first child, and after that, triplets. One can only concede that four children deplete the reserves of time and energy – not to mention opportunity – necessary to paint. ‘I kept my eye in throughout, but I thought I’d enjoy the children and come back to it,’ Annabel says, of the desire to paint. ‘I didn’t suppress it, but I put it behind a slightly closed door.

Wherever I went I thought: I’d love to sit here, I’d love to come back and paint this properly.’ Now that the triplets have finished school, she’s entered a period of explosive productivity. Once stowed or sidelined ideas seem to be arriving to be realised all at once, in a giddying rush: ‘I had a friend who said: have you got all these paintings in your head? I said yes, I had. He said: you owe it to yourself to get them out there – nobody can see them right now except you. And I woke up the next day and started.’ The fruits of this blossoming are everywhere. What an outpouring of work there’s been: it’s clear that her early work as a muralist working for photo shoots has served her well. The result today is that Annabel can produce an accomplished painting in a matter of hours. You have to be pretty confident in your painterly skills to apply them to the walls of your own home: Annabel’s house bears two striking murals. Above the Aga, there’s a cosy, sensitive depiction of ducks, chickens and one appealingly pink and lifelike Gloucestershire Old Spot pig.


At home with Artist Annabel Playfair

But the real show stopper, for me, is the lounge that bears hand-rendered ‘wallpaper’ - delicate leaves and vines and birds of pale blue that took under a week to complete. Oh, and the design was unplanned, the placement and appearance of each motif emerging spontaneously from the paintbrush. The thought’s enough to make nervy over-planning types break out in a sweat, but it’s resulted in a captivating organic design that’s quite unlike anything I’ve seen in any Cotswold home. But let’s talk about the creative hub of the house: Annabel’s studio is to die for. A bright, 22

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wood-beamed ex-stable, it’s full of life and colour, most of which springs from the canvases hung and placed around the room in various states of completion. ‘I’m very lucky to have the studio. It was two stables; we were very horsey. But the horses are gone – painting instead!’ Annabel laughs. ‘I moved in here at Easter.’ Anybody that paints (or writes or sews or cooks) has an idea of their perfect place, a dreamy room that’ll bring out their very best. This charming space, formerly used to stable

horses, is as close to my own idea of ‘the dream studio’ as I’ve yet seen. Soon after the interview, Annabel will paint in France and Tuscany in preparation for her 2017 show at the Fosse Gallery in Stow on the Wold. I have no doubt that she’ll create many more fascinating works between now and then. Visit Annabel’s website at www.annabelplayfair.

fosse gAllery

For the love f art Since the mid-twentieth century, the Cotswolds have been famous throughout the world for antiques and art galleries. The Fosse Gallery, set up in 1980, was originally owned by Don Steyn and Gerald O’Farrell; I joined the team a decade later and, after years of being guided by one of the best, in 2006 I had the good fortune to be passed the baton. today the gallery deals on a global scale, but my principal aim is still to exhibit and sell beautiful pictures. sourcing art from all over the uK, the gallery represents over seventy top talents, ranging from aspiring artists to some of the most successful and exciting contemporary artists on the scene. by exhibiting studio work we are able to maintain a balanced pricing structure and to guarantee provenance; sometimes we also deal directly with a deceased artist’s estate, thus exhibiting never seen before paintings. My biggest pleasure is planning the exhibition programme. Staging ten shows per year, it’s my time to be creative and to take clients on a roller coaster year of art, for the more we

look and experience, the more we know what we like. With so much art and choice on offer, there really is no excuse for local homeowners not to have an original painting or two on their walls! Still in its splendid original Cotswold location on the market square in Stow on the Wold, Fosse Gallery is often described as one of the most important UK art galleries outside London. Founded in 1980, it has handled some of the most prestigious contemporary British art, showcasing artists of investment quality and international standing. see present and upcoming exhibitions by visiting

sharon wheaton,the fosse gallery in stow on the wold


Cheltenham’s Race Season Begins

Cheltenham’s Race Season Begins The new season at Cheltenham Racecourse is underway! Here’s a look at all the heart-racing action on offer in the run up to The Festival in March.


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Cheltenham’s Race Season Begins


Cheltenham’s Race Season Begins

THE SHOWCASE Thrilling competition gets the season off with a bang


21st October 2016 | 12:00 - 18:00 Opens 12:00


22nd October 2016 | 12:00 - 18:00 Opens 12:00, First race 1:40pm, Last race 5:10pm After a six-month summer absence, racing at Cheltenham returns all raring to go. The new season is inaugurated with seven races on each day of The Showcase - look out for runners from the spor t’s top owners, trainers and jockeys. But it’s not just about the spor t: don’t miss The Food and Drink Showcase in The Centaur, featuring champion local food and drink producers - all taking this oppor tunity to tempt gourmet racegoers with their delectable wares. Visit The Showcase this October and you’ll be well catered for. 28

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Cheltenham’s Race Season Begins

THE OPEN Relish three days of action at the Home of Jump Racing

Countryside Day 11th November 2016 | 10:30 - 18:00 Opens 10:30, First race 1.05pm, Last race 4.00pm There’s a reason why Countryside Day is one of the most popular days of the season. Racing isn’t the only highlight of the day: racegoers flock to Cheltenham to soak up a country fayre atmosphere, with many displays and demonstrations set to celebrate country life. A tradition over two decades old, Countryside Day raises money for worthy causes the Countryside Alliance and the Injured Jockey Fund. A silent auction and other activities will raise awareness of their achievements, and help raise funds for the continuation of their good work. This year, the Hip Cats will be providing music from the Best Mate plaza - as will The Chip Shop Boys, who you can see in the Final Flight Bar after the first thrilling day of race action comes to an end.

BetVictor Gold Cup Day 12th November 2016 | 10:00 - 18:00 Opens 10:00, First race 12:40pm, Last race 4:05pm BetVictor Gold Cup Day may just be one of the most popular days of the season, outside of perennial favourite The Festival.

That’s down to seven top-quality races, including the BetVictor Gold Cup Steeplechase. The 2015 renewal of the feature race was won by Annacotty for trainer Alan King. There’s no doubting that last year’s contest will be just as exciting. Day two of The Open brings more live music throughout the day. The Hip Cats will perform again, while the Chip Shop Boys will treat racegoers to their musical stylings in The Centaur after racing. Jazz Festival favourites, the acoustic trio Thrill Collins, will also be performing in the Final Flight Bar after the racing finishes.

The Open Sunday 13th November 2016 | 11:00 - 18:00 Opens 11:00, First race 12:50pm, Last race 3:45pm The Open Sunday is the only Sunday where racing takes place at Cheltenham throughout the year it’s a great opportunity to get the children along to enjoy a day out (and remember, under 18s can go with you to the races for free - excepting The Festival)!

With Sunday being a family day, look out for a variety of free children’s entertainment. Characters Chase and Marshall from the hugely popular kids programme PAW Patrol will be making personal appearances throughout the day at 11:30, 12:30, 13:30, 14:30 and 15:30. Don’t miss The Family Fun Zone, situated in a new location in the shopping village where you can catch Chase and Marshall - but keep your eyes peeled for Showtime Shane performing on the hour live magic for all the family. There’s also face painting, miniature Shetlands, a donkey, chickens, ducks, rabbits, a dog, pet mice, guinea pigs - even a duck pond (and a spot of cow milking) to explore and enjoy. Don’t forget ‘balloon artists, indoor inflatables, a magic mirror, rosette-making, colouring-in zone, plaiting-a-horse main zone and dressing-up-as-a-jockey zone.’ Phew! And we’ve yet to mention the six great races that take place on The Open Sunday.


Cheltenham’s Race Season Begins


e7 see pag

THE INTERNATIONAL After the thrills and spills of The Open, The International is your next chance to watch the stars of the sport. What better way to get the Christmas season started with a visit to the races?


9th December 2016 | 10:00 - 17:00 Opens 10:00, First race 12:00pm, Last race 3:30pm The Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase is Friday’s feature race. This is the finale of the Crystal Cup, a series of unique races across Europe. It’s the perfect time of year for enter taining, so The International is a great oppor tunity for taking friends, family or clients to the races besides, two days of action is a fine warmer for next year’s festival. So why not see 2016 out in style?


10th December 2016 | 10:00 - 17:00 Opens 10:00, First race 12:05pm, Last race 3:35pm Warm up the festive spirit with Saturday’s blistering action! The International Hurdle is Saturday’s race of the fixture. Last year it was won by Old Guard - jointly owned by Jeremy Kyle, The Brooks Family and The Stewar t Family. Come along and see race history in the making. 30

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Cheltenham’s Race Season Begins

NEW YEAR’S DAY See in the New Year with Race Action and Family Activities 1st January 2017 | 10:30 - 16:00 Opens 10:30 There’s no better way to see in the New Year than with a flutter at the racecourse - and this year, the following Monday is a bank holiday, too, so we can excuse all indulgences.There’s plenty of family fun in store for the first day of 2017: Characters Sid, Scrat & Diego from the hugely popular Ice Age will be making personal appearances throughout the day at 11.00, 12.00, 13.00, 14.00 and 15.00.The Hip Cats will also be returning for a song or two - and keep your eyes peeled for Cheltenham’s very own beatboxing trio, DUKE, whose skills must be seen to be believed. Don’t miss the new Family Fun Zone in the shopping village. Come along for Shetland ponies, face-painting, rosette-making, balloon artistry - and Showtime Shane’s hourly magic show.

Capeland ridden by Sam Twiston-Davies wins the EBF Stallions & Cheltenham Pony Club Standard Open NH Flat Race during the New Year’s Day meeting at Cheltenham Racecourse.

FESTIVAL TRIALS DAY Warm up for The Festival with a day of fierce competition 28th January 2017 | 10:30 - 17:00 Opens 10:30

Seeyouatmidnight ridden by Brian Hughes goes on to win The BetBright Realfansonly Novices Chase during the New Year’s Day meeting at Cheltenham Racecourse

This is the crucible where future stars of The Festival are made. As the season gathers momentum, heading towards the centrepiece action of The Festival, seven races provide hugely competitive action to enjoy. Watch out for the BetBright Trial Chase, taken last year by the Smad Place.

In Brief: The Showcase

Friday 21 and Saturday 22 October 2016

The Open

Friday 11, Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 November 2016

The International

Friday 9 and Saturday 10 December 2016

New Year’s Day

Sunday 1 January 2017

Tickets, Packages and Concessions

Festival Trials Day

Tickets for any of the race days, as well as further information can be found via or by calling the booking hotline on 0344 579 3003.

Saturday 28 January 2017

The Festival

Tuesday 14,Wednesday 15,Thursday 16 and Friday 17 March 2017

The April Meeting

Wednesday 19 and Thursday 20 April 2017

Hunter Chase Evening

Friday 5 May 2017

We advise you to use online booking, where you’ll be able to view a range of ticket options, restaurant packages and prices for each event. You can find a handy guide for first-timers here:

Children: Under 18s are admitted free to all enclosures, so why not start their passion early? Please note that at The Festival full admissions rates will apply for children aged 5 or over. All children must be accompanied by an adult. Young Racegoers: If you’re aged 18-24, look out for our special ticket prices available on the day through the season. An 18-24 ticket will also be available on Ladies Day, the second day of The Festival. Proof of age is required and tickets need to be bought on the day.


The Anonymous Tipster



To say I’m pleased the season is properly up and running is an understatement! I love jump racing - and I mean LOVE. I’ve tried to get enthusiastic about the flat but I just can’t - even with all the glitz, glamour, breeding and equine perfection it just doesn’t penetrate the surface with me, I’m afraid. Blink, the race is over and then, having proved ability over a couple of seasons, the latest racing sensation will be dispatched to the breeding sheds. Financially brilliant, yes, but I can’t fall in love with the horses in the same way as I do with the jumpers. Apart from Frankel, the only flat horse that had me in a quandary whether to watch a veterans chase from Worcester or the flat, and yes, I confess he won me over every time. There will never be another like him (or his late trainer Sir Henry Cecil) and I’d even go as far to say that I found watching him race for the last time very emotional (but please don’t tell anyone that). My tip for the flat is to keep your eyes open for his progeny - he’s as outstanding a sire as he was a racehorse and they’re something special.

Champion Hurdle or an Aintree horse. As a die-hard jumps fan, I love the fact that it’s possible to follow the story of a three year old from first star t over hurdles right into the Gold Cup winners’ enclosure aged seven or even older - Kauto Star, anyone? So, moving to the season ahead and the horses I will definitely be following:

Jump racing, however, lets you fall in love over time. There is a summer transfer market of sor ts when trainers will find some new raw recruits, when a few horses will be switched from one to another yard and others will be retired, but a core of horses will see out their careers without ever being moved and age will be the only thing to catch up with them, not the breeding sheds. So, we star t by following the young gangly-legged beginners - their first race best described as a dash of terror, the jockeys doing their best to look like they’re in control (but invariably not!) then improving on their second run - jumping better, staying in a straight line, enjoying themselves. Now we allow ourselves to daydream what the following season might bring for every horse in training - a step up in trip, a switch to fences or back to hurdles - and whether one of these youngsters could (in time) be a Gold Cup, a

and his major target is likely to be The World Hurdle, particularly as it is very unlikely he will bump into Thistlecrack on the way there.


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Thistlecrack - last season’s outstanding staying hurdler will be making the switch to fences and, if as good as he was over hurdles, he will win some big races. Ballyandy - last season’s Cheltenham Champion Bumper winner has had his first run over hurdles; he was narrowly beaten by the 2015 Champion Bumper winner in a scrappy race so I haven’t lost any enthusiasm for his prospects.

Ballyoptic - has already won a decent prize on his first run of the season

Vautour - I felt that three miles distance didn’t suit him, so I tipped him for the Ryanair Chase last season rather than the Gold Cup (and felt very smug when he duly won!). This season will be subject to great debate and until he makes his first appearance only those closest to him will know. His owners are desperate to win the Gold Cup but I think the next horse on my list has a better chance and is, coincidentally, in the same ownership. Djakadam - had a great season last year and I think will be out to stake his claims on the Gold Cup. He has a great chance but it’s going to be a very, very competitive division.

Photography: Sarah Matthews Reproduced by kind permission of Worcester Racecourse

diaRy of an eQuestRian lady: ella hitChman

FrOM tEEN drEaMS tO GOLd MEdaL tEaMS Collette Fairweather visits high-achieving Young Rider Ella Hitchman and discusses grafting, gold medals and good luck. Bangrove Farm lies nestling under the hills of Cheltenham, a working farm and the childhood home of Ella Hitchman. A stripling of only twenty years old, Ella will be one of the youngest equestrian stars I have interviewed, yet she’s already met with great success, taking Team Gold and placing 4th individually in the 2015 Young Rider European Championships. After I pull up the farm’s well-worn drive, Ella greets me with bounding exuberance and shows me to the yard. It’s a refreshing change to see open plan barn stabling, with lots of room to roam the kind and relaxed nature of the horses suggest it’s been well received, too. Ducking under par titions, I scratch dozy ears and receive affectionate nudges from all of her horses, a charming contrast to the coiled competitiveness of so many high level yards.


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Ella’s dear friend, the boisterously named Rocky Rockstar, seems just as relaxed as the rest of the horses with his bright eyes and nuzzling muzzle exploring all my pockets for treats. Like his rider, Rocky lulls me with his childlike pony club charms, making it all too easy to forget this horse is a gold medal winning machine: 16.2 hands of rippling warmblood, with thir teen years of experience under his gir th. His striking grey appearance makes him a handsome and exciting horse to watch in competition. Yes, this unassuming pair makes a killer team, though modest Ella downplays her achievements, attributing so much of her success to ‘wonderfully good luck’. But lucky people don’t win gold medals: the talented and the committed do. Ella is young, but as with so many stories of success, hers has been a tough one, and a long time in the making.

‘Having done Pony Club and carried on with eventing, I found myself wondering, as ever yone wonders at 17 – what am I going to do?’ Ella says. ‘It’s all been building for so many years, from when I did the junior UK teams (age 14-18) with Rocky. And as it turned out I was long listed, and then selected. We were individually [placed] 9th at the championships.’ Her success only seemed to whet her appetite for serious competition: ‘The winter after that, I’m hacking out, thinking: where do I go from here? What am I aiming for now? Young Riders are aged 19-21, so it was a long shot - as I was only just nineteen - but it was the obvious step. So we decided: let’s aim to long list for the Young Riders and continue progressing at home as an individual; to continue taking the horses to competitions and qualifying for as much as possible.’


Yes, this unassuming pair makes a killer team, though modest Ella downplays her achievements, attributing so much of her success to ‘wonderfully good luck’. But lucky people don’t win gold medals: the talented and the committed do. Filling the following season with successful competition caught the eye of the selectors, and Ella and Rocky found that they were once again on the long list for the European Young Riders Team headed for Poland later that year : ‘I was lucky, in that I won the final trial. We had to stay locally afterwards, and then the next morning, to trot up (to check the horses are sound after competition). And then you wait. It’s a long cruel old morning. I was lucky in the knowledge that I couldn’t have done any more.’ And after a gruelling morning spent waiting, the team and individuals were revealed. ‘I ended up on a squad with fellow eventers that I had been following and really admiring for a long time: Will Furlong, Isabella Innes-Kerr and Emily King. It was all so surreal. And then, suddenly, we were in Poland. And then the scary stuff really star ted!’ Team GB dominated from the start, leading the dressage on day one. By day two, the team accumulated a mere couple of time

faults cross-country. Completing the week’s competition with an exciting and confident show jumping round, Team GB took team gold as well as individual gold and silver, with Ella herself finishing just outside the medals in four th overall. ‘When it came to the prize giving, it was 36 degrees and scorching [hot]. Eventing attire doesn’t really suit that type of heat. Even the poor horses couldn’t escape as they had special rugs to wear for the ceremony. It was completely surreal, the most wonderful type of unbelievable.’ Where does that medal live now? With a giggle, Ella admits: ‘I keep my medal under my pillow superstitious lot, us equestrians!’ And so Ella is back to the reality of yard life, and her focus has returned to competition here in the UK. So we must ask the question that Ella kept asking herself, spurring herself on – what next? ‘Rocky and I have been lucky enough to be shor tlisted for the European Young Riders teams again this year. The final trial is the last

bank holiday of August, so we will know soon after that. They will be taking another team of four and two individuals to Italy this time - so fingers crossed!’ It’s hard not to be energised by Ella’s contagious enthusiasm. So, with fingers crossed and our (imaginary) medals tightly clasped, here’s wishing Ella more of the good luck that she claims she keeps having.


wyChwood foRest

Is the Wychwood Forest Oxfordshireʼs Amazon? andrew Mitchell is the Founder Director of the global Canopy programme, an environmental think tank based in Oxford. Here he discusses the ancient Wychwood Forest, which once stretched over vast swathes of our local countryside what can be more uplifting to the human spirit than hacking through a woodland carpeted in bluebells on a fresh may morning? i used to enjoy this immensely, when what remains of the once vast wychwood forest in oxfordshire was more open to riders than some stretches are today. it got me thinking. how do we put a value on these things, and who has the right to control access to them? Things of inestimable value, such as art, are often called priceless. Such value is, however, relative. A dying man in a desert might trade a priceless painting for a bottle of Evian. Nature, like art, is ephemeral. The beauty of a butterfly wing, or the eye of a tiger, is but a moment in evolutionary time. Currently, rhino horn is worth much more than gold. Rhinos are likely to be traded to extinction this century, the last few increasing in value like vintage wine. When the last rhino is gone, will ecosystems fail; will Wall Street crash? No, but when a whole ecosystem, like a forest, is swept from the evolutionary table, we are playing a game with much higher stakes. While riding through the countryside, a banker once asked me, “Can you put a price on nature?” 36

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The question is not as simple as it first seems.The answer is easy for nature that we use every day. For example, recently I rather fancied ‘The Queen of Sweden’, and for £17 she was mine. Such a glamorous rose comes at a price in my local garden centre. In a supermarket, the bewildering variety of biodiversity on offer, from haddock to haricot vert, comes neatly barcoded and valued with a swipe of my credit card. But what price the English woodlands we ride through, or even a rainforest, the most complex example of evolution ever invented, with a beauty and power that most people never experience except from the comfort of their sofa in the company of Sir David Attenborough on TV. What price are we all prepared to pay, just to know that wilderness exists? Existence value is essentially the basis upon which for the past 30 years the world’s conservation movements have tugged at our heartstrings to persuade (often poor) countries to keep their forests standing. Not surprisingly, it has not worked and it did not work for Wychwood Forest either. The Wychwood Forest, where the Heythrop has its home range, was once the home of a fierce

rather untamed tribe named the Hwicce.The forest stretched over an immense area of Oxfordshire, stretching from Chipping Norton to Oxford.The name Wychwood derives from the Hwiccewudu people that originally lived there. A royal hunting lodge was established at Woodstock in the reign of Ethelred II (978-1016).The Norman colonialists probably forced the last Hwicce out and their lands were turned over to royalty for hunting and equestrian sport and became officially known as a “forest”.This was a legal term originally from the Roman word “foris”, denoting land outside the manorial system and therefore reserved for Royal use. At the time of the Domesday Book survey published in 1086, the Wychwood area covered some 182 square miles.Today it is less than 1,000 acres. So what happened? A look at the website of the marvellous “Wychwood Project” provides the clues. A growing population meant that villages began to be established in the 11th and 12th centuries and clearance ate away at the edges. Finstock is first recorded in 1135; Ramsden (1146), Fawler (1205), Leafield (1213), Crawley (1214) and Hailey (1240).

Wychwood Forest

Despite this, it was Wychwood’s use for sport and a steady demand for timber to build navy ships that maintained the woodland under some form of protection. Blenheim, Cornbury and a large area near Kingstanding Farm belonged to the King.The real death knell for the forest was when it no longer was useful either as a hunting reserve or a timber reserve.

“At the time of the Domesday Book survey published in 1086, the Wychwood area covered some 182 square miles. Today it is less than 1,000 acres. So what happened?”

In 1792 a scathing report by the Crown Commissioners found only 173 oaks of ship-building quality, with fences down, coppices full of deer, cattle and swine, and the locals helping themselves to firewood. By 1809, a surveyor could not find “one fine tree of navy oak” in a ride of 16 or 17 miles. The 10 square miles of Wychwood remaining as Royal Forest was taken out of Forest Law in 1857 by a Parliamentary Act of Disafforestation. Ancient forest rights, granted to commoners, were ended. Within two years, 2,000 acres of woodland had been converted to farmland.Ten miles of new roads had been built.This allowed agriculture in, and just 10 years later the enclosure act followed leaving the small area of forest that we have today, just 870 acres, much of which is protected as a Site of Special Scientific Interest. I have spent much of my life encouraging governments in countries such as Brazil or Indonesia to stop deforestation. Brazilians chuckle when I expound on the delights of a Wychwood forest walk near Milton.The Amazon is the size of Western Europe. Indonesians frown when they ask me how much native woodland exists in Britain and I answer just 2%.Theirs covers almost half the country. What I find remarkable is how similar the pattern of deforestation in the United Kingdom has been, to what I have discovered in the Amazon.The difference is, while ours was played out over a millennium, the greatest scale of deforestation in the Amazon has happened just in my lifetime. A couple of years ago, I was invited onto a Peruvian/ Brazilian-led expedition to find the ultimate source of the Amazon River.The source of the Amazon rises from the base of El Mismi volcano in Peru, the snowcapped summit of which provides the water that bubbles out of several springs and thence 6,400 km to the sea (this was first identified by the National Geographic photographer Loren McIntyre in 1974). Few people go there today. While it did not involve horses, my journey to the source of the Amazon river, 5,000 metres up in the Andes, was rather more challenging than discovering where a little stream rose a few hundred metres up in the Cotswolds. On returning and thinking of many enjoyable rides around the Swinbrook Estate, I was inspired to search for the source of the Swin brook that once flowed through the Wychwood forest and has bequeathed its name to that village, and make a comparison.The Swin flows in to the Windrush that is 65 km long and thence to the Thames that is 380 km from source to sea. Only the Nile is longer than the Amazon. I started my trek down the Swin, having discovered its source below three gnarled oaks guarding a small copse, visible down in the valley opposite South Lawn.

As several horses clip clopped up the hill, two pairs of mallard got up as I traced our stream through the valley bottom past red willows, through to the duck pond at hit-or-miss. From there the stream bubbles on past Glen Cottage and Summer Haze and eventually opposite Swinbrook Manor Farm, enters a steep meadow. Here a depression and bund, once no doubt filled with water from the stream, before it was diverted down the road, might provide a clue to its name. I once cored this area and found almost three metres of alluvium. No doubt it is all that remains of an ancient watering hole where mediaeval swine and perhaps even the Hwicce, had once slaked their thirst on hot summer days. Near El Mismi, I had witnessed llamas and Andean geese grazing the high altitude meadows filled with snow melt, as I trudged up the mountain trail. Rising above 4,500 metres there was so little oxygen that I could only make ten long steps, and then pause. Exhaustion and severe headaches from altitude sickness slowed the pace and three team members called it a day. Coca leaves and regular shots of Pisco strengthened my limbs, as efficiently as a tot of port at the start of a day’s hunting, so I eventually arrived at the small spring set within a huge copper-coloured mountain amphitheatre, just behind the Shamans and priests from a village far below, who had led the way.

They blessed the waters here and with offerings of flowers, spices, llama fat, shells, starfish and salted water to represent the sea, they muttered incantations and prayed for rain. In the last two decades almost all the snow has melted from the mountains here, due to warming global temperatures and reducing precipitation. Inexplicably, out of a clear sky came thunderclaps and it started to snow. I drank from the headwaters of the Amazon and it was good. Cupping my hands, I drank clear sweet water from the Swin.The headwaters of the Amazon are no bigger than our village stream. It is remarkable that from such small beginnings, these Andean streams go on to feed the giant rainforests in the Amazon basin - what the village leaders called “Corazon del Mundo”, the Heart of the World. Now when riding through our countryside, I remember that the Wychwood forest was once the natural heartland of Oxfordshire, and we should cherish what remains. To visit the Wychwood Project, go to This article first appeared in the Summer 2016 Edition of Heythop Hack magazine.



T h e S e v e n A c ts o f M e r c y b y A n de r s L u st g a rte n Naples, 1606. Inside an unfinished church, a painting is emerging from the darkness. The Seven Acts of Mercy is Caravaggio’s masterpiece - and his first painting since he killed a man and fled Rome. As the artist works, he is fuelled by anger, self-loathing and his driving need to create a work that speaks of compassion in a violent world. Bootle, the present day. A retired dock worker teaches his grandson, as around them a community is

disintegrating under the pressure of years of economic and political degradation. With all he has left, a book of great works of art, he tries to open the boy’s eyes to the tragedy and beauty of the life he faces. And the boy reciprocates in the only way he knows. Playing out across a gap of 400 years, Anders Lustgarten’s visceral new play confronts the dangerous necessity of compassion, in a world where it is in short supply. Directed by RSC Deputy Artistic Director Erica Whyman.


A n de r s L u st g a rte n What is the play about?

What do you hope audiences take from the play?

It is two interweaving stories. The Seven Acts is the first painting Caravaggio did after he killed someone and fled to Naples. Half the story is Caravaggio’s relationships with his life models and others as he paints it, especially a woman who turns out to be much more than she seems. The other half is set in modern Liverpool, about a dying ex-docker and his grandson’s attempt to find him seven modern acts of mercy before he dies, many of which lead him down dark strange paths.

A sense of purpose and importance of art as a building block of human connection and a decent society. Like everything else under the thieving klepto-capitalism of modern politics, art has been reframed as only valid if it adds to the economic bottom line. Art is fundamentally in antagonism with money and power, because it posits a much deeper and more important basis on which to live. And Caravaggio will stab you if you disagree…

What inspired you to write The Seven Acts of Mercy? I’ve always been a colossal fan of Caravaggio. His desire to tell the truth about the world, and reclaim art for real people motivates my own writing. The aesthetic of his work and his personal violence and self-loathing are intensely theatrical. The idea of compassion, which animates The Seven Acts of Mercy and his work in general, is drastically needed in the modern world—and as a counterweight to the prevailing tendencies of British theatre. If I had to characterise my writing style or my attitude to life in general, “violent compassion” would be as close as anything. Can you tell us a bit about your writing process? Unlike most writers I start from having something to say and work backwards to generate a surprising and inventive way to say it. I’ve had the premise of this play in my head for years. It was really a case of finding the best and most fulfilling expression of the compassion and intensity inherent within it. 40

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C a s t a n d C r e at i v e s CAST:


Joe Allen Jimmy Sally Bankes Sandra James Corrigan Vincenzo Tom Georgeson Leon TJ Jones Mickey Lena Kaur Donna Edmund Kingsley Marchese Patrick Knowles Razor Leon Lopez Prime Paul McEwan Damien Allison McKenzie Lavinia Patrick O’Kane Caravaggio Nicky Priest Danny Paislie Reid Jennifer Anthony Renshaw Company Gyuri Sarossy Lee Eloise Secker Emily

Writer Anders Lustgarten Director Erica Whyman Designer Tom Piper Lighting Charles Balfour Music Isobel Waller-Bridge Sound Martin Slavin Movement Michael Ashcroft Fights Paul Benzing Video Nina Dunn



SEE pagE 9

I’VE HaD THE prEMISE OF T H I S p L ay I n M y H E a D F O r y E a r S . I T Wa S r E a L Ly a CaSE OF FInDIng THE BEST anD MOST FuLFILLIng EXprESSIOn O F T H E C O M pa S S I O n anD InTEnSITy InHErEnT W I T H I n I T.




The Two Noble Kinsmen is a lesser known Shakespeare play – what made you want to direct it?

grey – and a binary and patriarchal culture on top. So my vision is everything that relates to that.

The idea of directing a Shakespeare play that very few people have seen or read is incredibly exciting.

There are places where it maps onto contemporary life and I hope to bring those out. For example, Athenian culture in the play is chaotic, casual, celebrity- and leisure-obsessed while Theban is much more repressive and austere.

The Two Noble Kinsmen also appealed to me because I think that it goes into unusual territory for Shakespeare: it's a different kind of beast, so in performing it we are going to be challenging people’s opinions about what Shakespeare is. What’s your vision for the production? My job is to find out what the play is at its core and bring that out as fully and intensely as possible, however weird it is. This is a play about a clash between life as it is lived - messy, complex, irrational, polysexual, full of shades of


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Both are pretty sexist, and both have extreme versions of ideas about gender difference that are still common with us – for example, the romantic expectation that men pursue and women wait to be picked, that men are active and women desireless. The costumes are a mixture between modern dress and Alexander McQueen doing ancient Greek. The set combines aspects of classical and



What can audiences expect when they come to see The Two Noble Kinsmen? Visually, some exciting stuff is going to happen. Crazy fights and striking costumes. A wedding anthem inspired by Queen. Gods coming down to earth. All the kinds of love there are. And we have various other tricks that I don’t want to give away… The play itself is funny, humane, ridiculous and upsetting. It’s a very deeply imagined, different universe. It changes tone line by line. It’s really hard to sum up in a couple of words –you feel like you've landed on a different planet when you watch the show. It will be deeply immersive, absurd, painful, imaginative, strange. Photo credit: Donald Cooper © RSC

modern sporting arenas. We’re going to have sheets of metal mesh which can become prison bars, cage fighting zones or woods. I hope it will be visually striking. Have you undertaken specific research in staging this play? Of course! The Knight’s Tale, which is the basis for the play, uses a set of ideas about astrology and the cosmos that form the basis for later thinking about medicine and the humours, personality, destiny, even biology – Mars responsible for the

sex drive, Venus for the blood system, and so on. So we’ve been looking at those, and into Jacobean ideas about the planets. And I’m trying to get my head around some Jung. There are three powerful recurring images in the play – horses, the sea and woods – which seem to be ways of exploring subconscious drives using symbols. Oh, and cage fighting! We're all going on an expedition to a cage fighting place next week. The boys playing Arcite and Palamon are going to learn the ropes.

What is the significance of bringing this play back to the Swan Theatre for the first time in 30 years? It feels like a responsibility because the bar was set insanely high - the 1986 cast was incredible! I did a play with Gerard Murphy (who played Palamon in the 1986 production of The Two Noble Kinsmen) the year before he died, and he was one of the loveliest men I’ve had the privilege of working with. So for his memory I need to do a properly good job. I suspect, from what I've read about the 1986 production, that ours will be very different. But I hope that it will be equally exciting as a piece of theatre.






Andrew tells us what makes an unforgettable dame and why Chippy’s pantos are different from the rest. In London you’re known as a star of the cabaret circuit. How did you get into cabaret? I got into cabaret over a decade ago. Cabaret’s not like acting, where you’re dependent on somebody giving you a job - you decide you’re going to do it yourself, put on your own work. And if you stick at it people might ask you to join them in their venues. How I started - there was a performance venue called the Battersea Barge, literally a barge on the River Thames.You could hire it for free and they took all the money on the bar, so it was great for people who wanted to put on their own thing. I hired it maybe ten, twelve years ago, and invited friends to put on a cabaret with me. And it just kind of worked! We carried on. Over the years I got invited to do guest spots at other people’s gigs and it just snowballed, really. Your years as a cabaret performer must have proven excellent training for your first turn as a dame. Oh yes, the perfect training! For me [being a dame] was perfect because it married all the things I do - I’m an actor as well as a cabaret performer so I got to work with script, work with text, but also there are all these cabaret elements: talking to the audience, ad libbing, going amongst the audience. So I got to sing, act, do a bit of cabaret…It was awesome. So talk us through the process of becoming the dame. How did you work with the Chippy team to become Connie Clatterbottom in Robin Hood last year? It happened very organically. I didn’t feel especially qualified to do it - I hadn’t spent lots of time as a grown up watching pantomimes - but Abigail Anderson, our director, said that every dame is personal to the performer, so just think of it as like your cabaret work: find yourself in the character.

For panto lovers young and old, the highlight of any show is often the dame. Far more than just a man in drag, a good dame can belt out a great tune, carry off towering costumes with aplomb - and, of course, collar the parents in the audience for a spot of playful humiliation. Described as a ‘show-stealer’ by The Times, Cabaret star Andrew Pepper made his lauded first turn as panto dame as Connie Clatterbottom in The Theatre Chipping Norton’s 2015 production of Robin Hood - now he’s dressing up again for Chippy’s Robinson Crusoe. 44

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I went through lots of videos on YouTube, watched interviews with various dames - and every dame was completely different, you could see that. Some were more traditional; some were more anarchic and played with the idea of a man in a dress.. There were no rules: the role of dame was just entirely personal to you. So I thought - I’m just going to go in and trust my instincts.There wasn’t any process where I studied specific people or certain women. I just went and started reading the script and when people started laughing, I’d think: ‘Oh, that works, I’ll keep doing that.’ I remember when I first started working on a song with the composer Sarah Travis - my first number. I said: ‘Okay ladies, I have never done this before. If this is wrong, if I’m sending it up, if it’s grotesque or


I’m breaking the rules - just tell me.’ I went with my instincts and they said: ‘Spot on, it’s wonderful.’ How much stamina do you need to be the dame? I imagine it’s quite intensive. It can be exhausting, as it can be for anybody who works in pantomime. We were doing 12 shows a week and a large portion of those were morning shows for schools. I found it knackering because it was a big sing for me - as well as the ensemble numbers I had two solo songs - one a big in-yourface show-stopper. Which I loved doing! But singing is a very physical thing, it’s physically tiring because you’re using muscles and engaging your whole body. It built into this big crescendo where I had to sing top notes at the end of my range. I made my entrance about ten minutes into the show - so at 10.25 some mornings [for the school shows] I was having to whack out these big old notes. It can be draining! Often with shows some people have a bit of a social life - I think I went to the pub five times tops, I used to just crawl home and watch Netflix. I was writing a show at the time, and when I started I thought: ‘Great, I’ll have all this spare time in the evenings, and I’ll do loads of writing’ - but of course I’d just have a nice sleep [laughs]. Oh well, it’s only ten weeks! Audiences love a good dame. Why do you think they still find the figure of the dame so compelling, after all these years? Good question - I suspect somebody’s written an MA thesis on that! The first reason that occurs to me - and this is something I remember viscerally experiencing - when you go into the audience you can feel a lot of the men thinking: ‘Oh God, Christ, is she really coming towards me?’ [Laughs] And the women love it, often you see them pointing to their husbands and communicating to me: ‘Pick on him! Pick on him!’ They love any excuse to laugh at the men they’re with. Basically, anyone who’s not getting picked on enjoys the other person getting picked on. That’s funny. As human beings we enjoy watching it happen to other people - in a nice way, not in a horrible way. And that’s something you get in theatre that you can’t get in cinema or television. You’re reminded that you’re in a live event, you’re in a room full of people, united. And I think that’s the power of the dame - she can go in and really unite and galvanise an audience in a way that the other characters on the stage can’t,

John Terry, and Abigail Anderson who directed last year - they know their stuff. They have really studied the craft of pantomime, what makes it special - they’re really steeped in the tradition of panto, and all the ancient games that exist in the structure of panto actors playing with audiences, and all good things that make up a pantomime.

and in that way it’s very fun to play the dame. So you’re Robinson Crusoe’s mother this year? Yes, Camilla. [Laughs]. I think I’ve got something like six big old costumes. The costume department started work way earlier, like in the middle of the summer, and I know that they work on the script and music for a long time. We actors begin rehearsal in about three weeks. Gosh, it comes around quickly. I haven’t done much yet but read the script and laugh at it. It’s very funny. But all of the design elements are very much ahead of the game. They’ve made a cast of my head so that they can fit and make my wigs. Why do you think Chippy’s pantos are so popular? What’s the secret ingredient? I think it’s the fact that they’re not put on cynically. They’re not relying on a television personality or a celebrity to sell them. They’re not shoe-horning in pop songs to make things easier for the audience - they’re doing it with a hell of a lot of integrity. They’re creating something fresh. It’s actually crazy when you look at the workload that’s going into it - because what they’re doing is creating a brand

new musical, in effect. Because as well as a brand new script, there’s a score of songs created for the show, which will never get sung again. It’s a completely new show, created from scratch. It’s why I think people come back year after year - it’s not recycled. And they’re done with a lot of charm, and a lot of warmth - and that goes for a lot. The problem with panto is that it’s got quite a bad name now, actually, because of people throwing in celebrities and doing any old thing to make it cheaper…but pantomime is actually a very strong and beautiful and ancient tradition that goes way back. It’s a real art form if you look closely and unpack it. [Director] John Terry, and Abigail Anderson who directed last year - they know their stuff. They have really studied the craft of pantomime, what makes it special - they’re really steeped in the tradition of panto, all the ancient games, routines and rules that exist in the structure and history of panto. There’s a lot of work and understanding, in the same way that a Morecambe and Wise sketch is created, in a specific and beautifully crafted way. Find out more about the sensational Andrew Pepper at

Robinson Crusoe and the Pirate Queen plays at the Theatre Chipping Norton (Tuesday 15 November - Sunday 8 January). Book online at or call the Box Office on 01608 642350 (Mon to Fri 10am - 6pm, Sat 10am - 2pm)



We are very proud of our designer collection of prestigious brands such as Mulberry Home, GP & J Baker, Designers’ Guild and Lewis & Wood.

Superior Interior Design The Home of

A year after the opening of her Burford premises, our expert interior designer Amanda Hanley invites us to her new Fabric & Wallpaper Studio. Amanda Hanley, renowned designer and a familiar face to Cotswold Homes readers, has added a fantastic new interiors resource to her showroom Amanda Hanley by Design in Burford.

We talk to Amanda about the new Fabric & Wallpaper Studio and how the shop is doing on its first birthday.

© Mulberry Home

Hello Amanda.Your showroom on Burford High Street is now one year old – so how has your first year been? Well, it has been a very busy and exciting year. The showroom has gone from strength to strength - particularly with the addition of our new Fabric and Wallpaper Studio - and we have spent the year developing our product range through listening very carefully to what our customers want. We are lucky enough to have already established a good reputation for top-notch customer service and an extremely hands-on, friendly approach. Having worked in the business for 30 years we have a very loyal clientele who have supported us in our big move to the High Street. We couldn’t be happier with the welcome and response we’ve had! So what inspired you to set up a new Fabric & Wallpaper Studio in your showroom?


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At Amanda Hanley by Design you will find a wonderfully eclectic collection of furniture, lighting, fabrics, wallpaper and home accessories.

We have great relationships with a wide range of fantastic fabric designers and like to stock samples of the most iconic and latest fabric collections that we know our customers will love. This means we have hundreds of fabric and wallpaper sample books and swatches to display, as well as accessories, which take up a huge amount of space! We decided the space upstairs in our showroom could work perfectly for a studio, and would mean we could keep all samples together so clients can compare and mix and match with ease. So we transformed the room into a wonderful space that clients can relax in comfort and take their time over making their interior choices.

How will this beneďŹ t your customers? Our local customers now have somewhere they can browse a huge selection of the latest designer fabrics and wallpapers without having to go to London. We pride ourselves in offering the best customer service possible. So when our customers visit the new studio they receive as much assistance as they need - from a few tips to a full consultation. We quite often have visitors stay for the afternoon so we work through the best solutions together and come up with truly exciting, inspirational ideas. We offer a full service from upholstery to

full renovation projects, and have an excellent network of trusted local suppliers, tradesmen and architects that have worked with me on a number of successful projects. How do you source your stock? We have been taking frequent buying trips to Europe for a long time now, building up excellent relationships with suppliers and designers on the continent so we can showcase an exclusive stock that is different, quirky and full of character. We are also very proud of our designer collection of prestigious brands such as Mulberry Home, GP & J Baker, Designers’ Guild and Lewis & Wood. | T 01993 822 385 | M 07976 353 996 Amanda Hanley by Design, The Gallery, 69 High Street, Burford, OX18 4QA



cotsWold events

So, another bumper summer has come and gone - but don’t despair, because as the chill sets in, the Cotswold calendar starts heating up again. Thrillingly pyrotechnic firework displays and a generous dose of Christmas cheer - all these delights wait just around the corner.

Nestled between the seasonal entertainment, it’s easy to miss some of the other offerings that deserve your attention in the latter part of 2016. Kingham FireWorKs (& other FireWorK displays) 5 november

The UK loves a good Bonfire Night - and the Cotswolds is certainly no exception. Many Cotswold villages will stage their own fireworks event this November - Kingham’s comes with a family fair, hog roast and plenty of mulled wine. Grab your sparklers and come celebrate. 50

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the open meeting, cheltenham racecoUrse 11-13 november

The Open provides three days of adrenalin packed action to enjoy at the Home of Jump Racing! Read more about The Open - and other fixtures this season - in this issue’s coverage. To book tickets and view packages, visit for the most up-to-date information.


CHRISTMAS EVENTS There’s no better place to celebrate Christmas than in the Cotswolds. With plenty of traditional village fairs, a range of theatres staging their own Christmas productions and night-time shopping extravaganzas, you definitely won’t be short of a thing or two to do this year. Here are a few of our favourites - don’t forget to check online for any adjustments to the events planned.

the Joy oF christmas cheltenham toWn hall, 3 december

A wonderful festive treat of seasonal music and readings, featuring presenter Vernon Harwood (BBC), Conductor Ian Higginson, Jubilate Chamber Choir, University of Gloucestershire & Community Choir, English Concertante Orchestra, Charlton Kings Junior School Choir, St Edward's School Senior Choir, St Edward's Preparatory School Choir and St Gregory’s School Choir. There will be a retiring collection. Sponsored by St Edward's School, Cheltenham and St Edward's Preparatory School.

a tapestry oF christmas mUsic cheltenham choral society pitville pUmp room cheltenham 6 december

Cheltenham Choral Society is joined by guest musicians and the two school choirs who delighted last year's audience for the annual feast of festive music in the delightful setting of Pittville Pump Room. Breathtaking, unique and radiating regency refinement, Pittville Pump Room is monument to the more than 100 years of fame Cheltenham enjoyed as a spa town, and perhaps the most famous example of regency architecture in the area.

enchanted christmas at Westonbirt arboretUm Westonbirt 25-27 november (5pm-9pm); 2-4 december, 9-11 december, 16-18 december (5pm-9pm) gWr santa specials gloUcestershire-WarWicKshire railWay, toddington 3-4 december; 10-11 december; 17-18 december; 20-24 december Yo ho ho! Hop aboard a very festive express to meet a certain Father Christmas (and his elves) while enjoying a steam-powered ride from Toddington to Winchcombe. All children will receive presents, courtesy of Santa himself, and mince pies and drink will be provided at Winchcombe.

Children under two can ride for free - provided that they do not occupy a seat - and will receive a smaller gift (though a larger gift will be given if you purchase a Child’s Ticket). Make sure you book early for these very popular journeys! Visit for more details.

See Westonbirt’s trees and plant-life illuminated with colourful light during the festive season, creating a colourful family trek through the foliage that all will enjoy. Pre-booking is advised for this popular event. Choose your time slot from 5, 6 or 7pm, and enjoy your walk. Walks take around an hour to complete. Adults £12, children £6, students £10. Visit uk/westonbirt for more information.

sUdeley castle - christmas carols at the castle Winchcombe 16 december

Music-lovers, come and warm your hearts around the magnificent ruins of Sudeley’s Banqueting Hall for the Castle’s annual carol evening. Surround yourselves with stately history as Christmas creeps closer! Proceeds will go to charity. For more information on the castle (and its illustrious former inhabitants, including Henry VIII’s last wife, Queen Katherine Parr) please visit:

The concert will feature both new and familiar settings of carols and other Christmas music. There will be a retiring collection for a local charity.

neW! christmas ‘trail oF lights’ at blenheim palace, WoodstocK 25 november - 2 JanUary

Come along to Blenheim this Christmas to see the Palace’s very first illuminated trail, including a Fire Garden with flames and lanterns. Enjoy the parkland designed by celebrated designer Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown as it comes alive with light! Please see for more details.



LATE NIGHT SHOPPING & FAYRES Wellchild Christmas Fair 2016 Daylesford Organic Farm (nr. Kingham) 7-9 November

The Fair features over 180 stalls selling enticing high quality British designed gifts including homeware, luxe cashmere, hand-printed textiles, jewellery, millinery, leather, beautiful children’s toys and clothes and tasty treats. An array of free workshops sponsored by AGA will also be available to enjoy across the three days, and not forgetting delicious home-grown food and refreshments too. The Fair begins with a special preview evening on Monday 7th November from 6pm - 9.30pm. This year the Fair will officially be opened by Tom and Henry Herbert - AKA The Fabulous Baker Brothers. For more details, and to buy tickets, please visit:

Late Night Shopping at Blenheim Palace 1 December

Pick up some festive treats at the birthplace of Winston Churchill - and why not pick up a tree grown that’s been grown on the estate? (Now that’s a prestigious Christmas tree!). Come along to the East Courtyard Shop from 12pm - 7pm, and get your fill of food and drink while carol singers tickle your ears with seasonal tunes. (Visitors must purchase a Park and Gardens ticket - or hold an Annual Pass - to access this event). Please see for more details. 52

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Late Night Christmas Shopping in Broadway 25 November & 2 December

Bath Christmas Market 24 November – 11 December

Moreton-in-Marsh Christmas 26 November

Winchcombe Christmas Festival 6 December

The picturesque village of Broadway – often described as one of the prettiest villages in the Cotswolds – lights up again in 2016. With street entertainers, music, mulled wine, edible treats and double-decker rides, Broadway’s a very good bet for a festive frolic.

Moreton’s Christmas celebrations are back for a seventh outing! Come along for all your stocking filler needs – wreaths, soaps, trinkets galore await in over fifty stalls bringing the town’s historic High Street to life. Father Christmas will be setting up shop in the Redesdale Hall this year - so little ones take note.

You can find the Christmas Market nestling between the Roman Baths and Bath Abbey. 170 wooden chalets and generous helpings of mulled wine await this year’s shoppers – can Bath beat last year’s total of over 30,000 visitors? 87% of stallholders are businesses from Bath and the surrounding area. For more details, please visit

Pop along to Winchcombe for the town’s latest seasonal offering. Organised and partially funded by the the Winchcombe Forum, the festival will see shopkeepers, restauranteurs, business people and publicans alike joining forces to celebrate the festive season in style by laying on Christmas offers, events and entertainment for shoppers and visitors who visit the Cotswold town throughout December.


SEASONAL SHOWS &PANTOMIMES robinson crUsoe the theatre chipping norton 15 november - 8 JanUary

a christmas carol everyman stUdio theatre 7-21 december

Set sail for adventure with our strapping hero Robinson Crusoe, armed only with a treasure map, his mum, and the ship-shape crew of the Saucy Nancy.

Ebenezer Scrooge has no time for his fellow creatures - no time for anything except making a profit. Most of all he has no time for Christmas. Alone, bitter and hard as flint, he goes home to his chilly rooms while the world celebrates the season of goodwill.

A tale loved through the ages of shipwrecks and desert islands, retold as you’ve never seen it before, with pirates, mermaids, cowboys and the fearsome Pirate Queen, Betty Babcock! With hilarious routines and deeply daft mayhem, this exotic treasure chest of a show has all the stunning design and fabulous original music that Chipping Norton audiences have come to know and love.

That night, Scrooge is taken on a ghostly journey that will turn his life upside down and change him forever. But has redemption come too late? What better way to celebrate the festive season than with Red Dog’s sparkling retelling of Dickens’ heart-warming tale? ‘May it haunt your houses pleasantly!’

Panto as it should be, from what many regard as the national home of traditional panto. Splice your main braces and buckle your swash for the most colourful show of the year! See for more details.

romeo & JUliet the roses theatre, teWKesbUry 9 november

Join Ballet Theatre UK and their passionate and innovative recreation of the world’s greatest love story, Romeo And Juliet. As the nation celebrates 400 years of William Shakespeare’s legacy, Ballet Theatre UK create a new production to tell the tragic tale of star-crossed lovers with astonishing grace and heart-breaking intimacy. Stunning costumes and innovative stage sets transport you to Renaissance Verona where our tragic tale of the Capulet and Montague families unfolds. From the balcony scene’s elated pas de deux to the lovers’ heart-breaking ends, Romeo And Juliet is an audience favourite and a highlight on any calendar. Book online at

the snoWman and paddington bear’s First concert cheltenham toWn hall 23 december the great bear oF the north everyman stUdio theatre, cheltenham (1-21 december) & gloUcester gUildhall (17-21 JanUary)

When Freya stumbles upon a lost bear cub in the snow she finds a new friend - but Loki soon grows too big to live in Freya's little cottage. So the pair set off on an adventure taking them to the far north in search of Loki's true home. But Christmas is coming, the nights are cold and dark and there are greedy trolls bent on mischief. Come and find out what happens to Freya and Loki on their surprising and magical journey. This wonderful introduction to live theatre for 3 to 7 year olds promises perfect Christmas entertainment.

Following last year's spectacularly successful concert by the Mozart Symphony Orchestra, they are back again this year at Cheltenham Town Hall with the perennial favourite The Snowman plus Paddington Bear's First Concert - a piece for narrator and orchestra that follows Paddington from Peru, via the Portobello Road to a concert at Cheltenham Town Hall! So head along to the screening of The Snowman, with a live orchestral accompaniment. The film famously features the aria 'Walking in the Air'.

FESTIVE EXHIBITIONS Art lovers rejoice! Head along to The Gallery at the Guild at The Old Silk Mill in Chipping Campden (18 November - 2 January) for a Christmas exhibition of contemporary and traditionally made artworks. Over in Cirencester, there’s an exhibition of award-winning British illustrator Tony Meeuwissen’s work showing at the Corinium Museum (1 December - 8 January).



What better way to pass the season than by curling up by the hearth with a new book? So we’ve selected our favourites - each one perfect for present-giving or a self-given treat.

ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE BY ANTHONY DOERR FICTION | PERFECT FOR: THE CURIOUS READER, LOVERS OF MID-CENTURY FICTION, THOSE WHO WANT TO CURL UP AND BE UTTERLY ABSORBED IN THE STORY Be prepared to be surprised, and delighted, with All The Light We Cannot See. It’s a cynical old world that makes us (well, certainly me) cast aspersions on a prize-winning book before you’ve even read a single word. But this was the situation I found myself in when, although I had read some favourable reviews of this US smash-hit book, a Pulitzer-Prize-winner, no less – and even been recommended it twice over from other discerning bookworm-friends – I was still reluctant to give it a go. In a moment of devil-may-care attitude one day, I was persuaded by that faithful commercial giant of the e-book world to download the book onto my Kindle. At the back of my mind (yet still) were the dispiriting experiences I’d had of trying to read previous book-prize-winners – those shoved angrily aside after a couple of excruciating chapters. I was wrong to have doubts. This book deserves all the accolades, the praise, the wonder that has been heaped upon it. My faith in judge-and-jury book awards, restored. For at heart, Doerr has created a story to lose yourself in. One that will transport you into the narrative and make you really care about the characters. It’s been so long since I actually read a proper page-turner - one with a beginning, middle and an end plus, joy of joys, a plot that makes sense - that the shear amazement of feeling as though you were 10 years old again and wanting to shut the world out for the day whilst you got on with reading was a memory, gladly reawakened. From the start, we’re clear who the two main protagonists are in this story, a story that has a bit more than a touch of other-worldliness. Marie-Laure is a blind French girl, whilst Werner 54

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is an undernourished German boy; their paths inevitably collide but it’s Doerr’s ability to tell a good yarn that will take you on an unexpected journey with them. The story may well have the backdrop of occupied France during World War II but if, like me, you are thoroughly fed up with war novels, then rest assured this isn’t your usual good versus evil narrative. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her museum locksmith father builds a perfect miniature of their neighbourhood so she can memorise it by touch and navigate her way home through Parisian streets. The advent of war and a Nazi-occupied city force Marie-Laure and her father to flee to St Malo in Brittany. Here her reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea but they bring with them what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel. In parallel, in a desperately grim mining town in Germany, Werner and his younger sister grow up without parents, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes fascinated with its workings, developing expertise at building and fixing these crucial new instruments. This wins him a place at a sadistic academy for Hitler Youth, and a special assignment to track the resistance follows. Not clear of his purpose, and also not wanting to participate in any war cruelties, Werner’s travels take him right through the heart of the war where his and Marie-Laure’s paths eventually converge in St Malo. If you’re looking for a book to lose yourself in this winter, then All The Light We Cannot See will not only pull (gently) on your heart-strings but reward you with some incredibly satisfying writing and an evocative sense of physical detail. All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr Fourth Estate £8.99 in Paperback


“This book deserves all the accolades, the praise, the wonder that has been heaped upon it. My faith in judgeand-jury book awards, restored.”


BEING A BEAST BY CHARLES FOSTER NONFICTION (NATURE WRITING) | PERFECT FOR: ANIMAL LOVERS, RAMBLERS, THE CURIOUS READER ‘When you put a worm inside your mouth, it senses the heat as something sinister.’ This is your typical sentence from Charles Foster’s Being a Beast, in which the intrepid author seeks to understand the lives and experiences of animals through imitating them. Casting off the comforting cloak of civility, Foster plunges into a more elemental existence.The result is bizarre, re-vitalising and thought-provoking. Mankind began beating our chaotic environment into a more amenable form millennia ago. In more recent years, the gap between the human and animal experience has widened even further. Now we perceive our lives, and the world, through screens; our weekly sustenance delivered, pre-foraged, to our homes. We seldom consider the manner in which the vixen outside sniffs and slinks and scavenges for nourishment. What she sees, smells, feels. When we do tell stories of animals, they’re used as metaphors for people - for our society, our behaviours (certainly Animal Farm isn’t about animals). Lazily, we label people as ‘cows’ and ‘shrews’, ‘night owls’ and ‘lone wolves’ - never aware of how such creatures perceive the world. Foster makes an empathic effort to discover what the rudimental experience of ‘being a beast’ really means. ‘Nature writing has generally been about humans

striding colonially around, describing what they see from six feet above the ground,’ Foster writes, at the beginning of his book, ‘or about humans pretending that animals wear clothes.This book is an attempt to see the world from the height of naked Welsh badgers, London foxes, Exmoor otters…to learn what it is like to shuffle or swoop through a landscape that is mainly olfactory or auditory rather than visual.’ And so: ‘When I’m being a badger, I live in a hole like a badger and eat earthworms. When I’m being an otter, I try to catch fish with my teeth.’ Obviously, to truly reproduce the experiences of such creatures is impossible (as the author is only too aware) but the result, as Foster puts it, is a kind of ‘literary shamanism’. He sincerely attempts to avoid being as ‘whimsically ridiculous’ as a man attempting to be a badger might otherwise be seen. He’s interested in what secrets modern neuroscience might reveal; in muscle-spindles and ‘batter[ies] of sense receptors’ rather than magical souls and noble spirits. He does not sentimentally idealise the wilderness as a lost paradise. He does not seek to literally become a man-animal hybrid, like ‘a peregrine falcon with a Cambridge education’ or a mystical ‘man-badger.’ He stands, as himself, at the frontier - knowing the futility of his task, but glimpsing something meaningful in the attempt (and the telling).

And he’s bloody funny. Foster is a tremendously skilful writer. Reading this book is like snuffling through a forest of sensual delights, relishing sentences like sprouting truffles. (Writing about otters is ‘an accountancy exercise.They are metabolic businesses running very tight margins’). And - more valuable than any prize truffle - he awakens our senses to the possibility of differently functioning senses; of a billion different experiences of the world. Which makes the environmental havoc we humans have carelessly unleashed upon our shared world even more saddening. Being a Beast by Charles Foster Profile Books £8.99 in Paperback


MY BRILLIANT FRIEND (FIRST OF THE NEAPOLITAN NOVELS) BY ELENA FERRANTE FICTION | PERFECT FOR: LITERATURE LOVERS, THOSE WHO WANT TO CURL UP AND BE UTTERLY ABSORBED IN THE STORY The best thing about mid-winter is that you can practise the Danish art of hygge (sounds like heu-gah to you and me, so beautifully close to a hug) and Christmas is high hygge season, of course. Defined by all those small, embracing and pleasurable day-to-day rituals that give comfort and warmth, then surely being immersed in a socking great saga whilst snuggled up by an open fire is pure hygge for bookworms and if so, Elena Ferrante’s ‘Neopolitan’ novels have superlative hygge value. All four books would make a very generous Christmas gift but just the first novel, My Brilliant Friend, is quite enough to kick-start an addict’s habit. Narrated in first person, Ferrante details the progress of two young girls - the clever and bookish Elena and the fiery, beautiful Lila - as they move from childhood to maturity, set within a poor working class district of Naples as Italy emerges from the second world war. Her dense and acutely observant descriptions of the girls’ experiences and inner life are far from

cosy, frequently crackling with anger and frustration, but Ferrante’s rigorous investigation into the preoccupations of the female psyche amid the shifting nature of day-to-day relationships is always deeply fascinating and absorbing. Authentic, perceptive and compassionate, Ferrante delves into the forces of predetermination as each novel continues to chart the intertwining lives and friendship between the two women. Whilst the liberty of a higher education allows Elena ultimately to free herself from the restrictions of a frequently brutal and insular, inherently chauvinistic society, Lila’s desperate struggle for liberty and personal happiness is invariably complicated by her obstinate refusal to compromise, forcing her to engage in a series of passionate and often dangerous choices that serve only to embroil her more deeply into the community she equally longs to escape. My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante Europa Editions £8.99 in Paperback




Dinner parties made easy

Get in the party mood with Anna and Katie of The Travelling Kitchen, who’ve selected some of their favourite recipes to get your seasonal socialising off with a bang

Some weekends there’s nothing better than sitting round a table with friends old and new, sharing good food and a glass (or three) of wine. The conversation flows even better when the cook is relaxed and actually present at the table, rather than having a quick nervous breakdown in the kitchen! We like this menu as the majority of the work will be done way before the guests arrive, giving you the chance to chat with your friends and actually enjoy the food. There’s plenty to eat, no tricky ingredients and it won’t cost a bomb. To make this menu even friendlier, it is gluten free and can be adapted to be

dairy free with very little fuss and absolutely no scrimping on flavour. Our friendly, laid back autumn meal for eight includes oven-baked chicken with a delicious red lentil and rosemary sauce, which we serve with a seasonal roasted vegetable salad with zesty tahini dressing. After that there’s an indulgent (make ahead) chocolate and Cointreau cloud cake with caramelised cardamom oranges.

Chicken with red lentils and rosemary (serves 8

(from ‘Light and Easy’ by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall)

4 ta blespoo ns olive or rapesee d oil 3 mediu m onions, sliced 7-8 garlic cloves, choppe d

16 skin-on, bone-i n, free-ra nge chicken thighs (or 2 mediu m chicken s jointed into 16 pieces) Sea salt a nd freshly grou nd pepper

Gently cook the sliced onion in the oil, stirring regularly, for 6-8 minutes until it begins to soften. Add garlic, rosemary and a little seasoning and cook for another 5 minutes, then add lentils and stock. Season the chicken thighs and place skin side up in the casserole so that most of the chicken skin is still exposed above the lentils. Bring to a simmer on the hob and then transfer to tahe oven and bake, uncovered, for about an hour until the chicken is fully cooked through and lentils are soft. Adjust seasoning and scatter with chopped parsley before serving.

F lat-lea f parsley, choppe d to garnish

Note: This recipe is gluten and dairy free.

Four sprigs of rose mary, leaves re moved 400g red lentils, well rinsed 1 litre chicken or vegeta ble stock


Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4. You need a big casserole dish or oven proof pan that will comfortably hold all the chicken pieces (for 8 people you may need two).

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Roasted vegetable salad:

Anna and Kat ie of

The Travelling Kitchen

This is more of a guideline as this salad is endlessly adaptable depending on what is in season. Start with a large wooden chopping board and cover the base with a layer of salad leaves – we use bagged salad, spinach leaves or sometimes just shredded romaine lettuce. On top of this you need four or ďŹ ve of the following:

Cherry or vine tomatoes chopped into bite-sized pieces Chopped cucu mber Roasted carrots / butternut squash / sweet potatoes Roasted chickpeas (particularly good well-seasoned with spices such as cu min or coria nder) Lightly cooked green bea ns or other green vegeta bles If dairy is not a n issue you ca n add a strong cheese such as feta Arrange prettily on the board and serve with a tahini dressing on the side (made up of tahini, crushed garlic, honey, orange juice, olive oil, seasoning and enough water to thin to a pouring consistency).



Chocolate Cloud Cake (serves 8-12) (from ‘Nigella Bites’ by Nigella Lawson)

250g dark chocolate (min 70% cocoa solids) 120g u nsalted butter / non-dairy margarine 6 eggs; 2 whole, 4 separated 170g caster sugar 2 ta blespoons ora nge liqueur (optional) Grated zest of 1 ora nge (optional) Start by preheating your oven to 180C/gas mark 4 and lining the bottom of a 23cm springform cake tin with baking parchment. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of boiling water or in a microwave, add the butter/margarine to melt. Beat the 2 whole eggs and 4 egg yolks with 70g of the caster sugar, then gently add the chocolate/butter mixture, the liqueur and the orange zest (if using). In another bowl, whisk the 4 egg whites until foamy, then gradually add the remaining 100g sugar and whisk until whites are holding their shape but not solid. Gently fold the egg white mixture into the chocolate mixture, then pour into the prepared tin and bake for 35-40 minutes or until the cake is risen and cracked and the centre no longer wobbles. Cool the cake in its tin on a wire rack; the middle will sink when it cools. You can make this cake the day before but wait until you are ready to serve the cake before you unmould from its tin. To accentuate the orange flavor, we serve this with Cointreauflavoured whipped cream and rindless thinly sliced oranges in a cardamom caramel. The caramel is 500g sugar and 500ml 58

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water brought to the boil with 10 crushed cardamom pods. Keep simmering until the caramel becomes light brown and sticky and then pour over the sliced oranges and their juices in a shallow dish. The oranges can be refrigerated until needed and are also absolutely delicious in the morning with some Greek yoghurt and a little granola for crunch – yum! Note: This recipe is already gluten free, to make it dairy free, replace the butter in the cake with non-dairy spread – we promise you won’t notice the difference!

The Travelling Kitchen:

Anna and Katie set up The Travelling Kitchen in 2015 when they realised the food that they like to eat with their families and friends - food made with seasonal ingredients, locally sourced where possible and cooked with greedy passion - had a wider appeal. Contact Anna on 07967 395784 or Katie on 07843 282262.

Freely distributed from the offices of Harrison James & Hardie, at local GWR stations to Paddington and in the Members' Enclosures at Cheltenham Racecourse, 10,000 beautiful glossy copies of our Spring Edition 2017 will be delivered door-to-door to homes and businesses in 90 villages and towns in the North Cotswolds

To advertise your business please contact




GET YOUR 2017 OFF WITH A BANG WITH THESE TIPS FROM EVENT PLANNER JULIA SIBUN New Year’s Eve is one occasion when you can really make the most of having a party at home with friends and family: it’s a lovely time of year to celebrate. However, it’s important to ensure maximum fun for all by planning ahead of the evening. So - where on earth do you begin?


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Firstly, work out how many guests your house can comfortably accommodate, standing and sitting, and which of the larger pieces of furniture you will need to move. If you really need to make use of as much space as possible, and there is not enough room in the garage or shed, then furniture can be temporarily housed in a rental van parked close to the house.

Once numbers have been worked out, draw up the guest list, and send the invites out to family and friends well ahead of time to make sure everyone gets the date in the diary. Invitations can be sent out with your Christmas cards which will help on the postage – and do include an RSVP date to ensure that you know your guest numbers in good time.


EVENING OF ENTERTAINMENT 8. AN Plan the entertainment – create a few themed playlists of great party tunes that will last through the evening, five to six hours should be a good length. Don’t forget Big Ben at midnight so that everyone can join in with the countdown, and thereafter you can celebrate with fireworks in the garden or sparklers outside on the patio! Make sure you have a few party games up your sleeve as well – these are always excellent as an ice-breaker during the evening (especially drinking games).


3. GLASSWARE MANAGEMENT 5. SPECTACULAR TIPPLE Start thinking of the menu, and ensure that you have enough glasses and plates in stock – a nibbles-and-drinks-style party is more informal and allows you and your friends to circulate amongst the guests with drinks and nibbles throughout the evening. Glassware can be easily hired to save space in the house, and will save money on buying additional glassware which is only required once or twice a year.

As well as serving wines you can also spice up the bubbles by adding a sloe gin, or a brandy to make some delicious cocktails. Other festive drinks to consider are Grapefruit Mimosas, Pomegranate Moscow Mules and Cranberry Sauce Margaritas.

Don’t forget to prepare the house – doubtless you will have all the wonderful Christmas decorations still up, but make sure there are plenty of candles and tealights out on the sills and ledges, and you can also buy amazing strings of lights to add that extra party magic. Rearrange the furniture to create space and store away any precious items. Make sure the drinks table is set up with a corkscrew, bottle opener, ice bucket, lemon and lime slices and plenty of glasses for guests to help themselves. Freeze as much ice as possible (and if it is cold enough, it can be stored outside). Crucially, work out where the mountain of coats and umbrellas can be stored, so they don’t hamper the party action.

4. NIBBLES ALLOCATION An ideal number for nibbles is 10 – 12 canapes per person, and work on at least half a bottle of wine per person. Ideas for delicious nibbles are Marmalade and Cranberry Cocktail Sausages. Cocktail sausages arrived on the party scene in the 70s and have never looked back! These stickilyglazed bangers are irresistible and they take nextto-no-time to prepare – once made, heat them through and let them cool before serving. Other ideas for homemade nibbles are Mini Yorkshire Puddings stuffed with Beef and Horseradish, Cambozola and Cranberries served in Chicory Leaves, Stilton Bites served on Cucumber and Peppers, Star-Shaped Pizza Bites, Coronation Turkey served in Lettuce Leaves, Mini Thai-Style Fishcakes and Salt ‘n Pepper Sweet Potato Fries. You can then follow up the savoury bites with Mini Mince Pies, Chocolate Brownies and homemade Chocolate Truffles! Yum.

6. CARING FOR NIGHT GUESTS Work out how much sleeping space you will be able to provide for guests who do not live locally. You may need to borrow a blow-up mattress or camp bed, or alternatively, make bookings early on with local B&Bs (places fill up even faster than you think in the festive season).



Why not add paraffin flares around the garden? Festooning the trees with lights will add a special touch when guests arrive. Lastly, do not forget to text your guests with local taxi numbers so that they can pre-order a taxi home!

Guests like to make contributions to parties, and to prevent any doubling up, it’s perfectly acceptable to be specific with your guests about what you would like them to bring – whether it’s a sweet dish, drinks or a plate of nibbles.

Julia has been organising weddings, parties and special occasions of all kinds since setting up her own event management business in 2002. Find out more at




MISS DASHBOARD ON THE PROWL IN THE NORTH COTSWOLDS Alexandra Tilley Loughrey takes a country lane road-trip in the Jaguar F Pace Starting our outing in the F Pace was akin to controlling a wild cat. For a sports car, it’s a huge beast, with a predatory front grille, muscly haunches and one hell of a roar when you put your foot down. But, being a Jaguar, it has an elegance about it that quickly adapts to a more gentler driving style on the narrow lanes of the North Cotswolds. After piling my family of six (a lurcher and a scruffy rescue mutt are part of the package) into the car, we nipped over to Snowshill. En route we passed cyclists stopping for a pint on the pub wall and tourists peering into the church and browsing the book-stall on the green. I’d planned a coffee at Snowshill Manor, but the kids refused to get out, as they “were too comfy” snuggled in the “perforated Windsor leather” seats. When I first got the keys I’d been decidedly concerned about this level of luxury, with our dogs’ claws having the very real potential of scratching the aluminium trim – and shedding hair over the carpet in the boot – so I was relieved to discover that the rugs inside the car are reversible – carpet on one side, rubber on the other – pure genius for a family life which encompasses dogs, wellies and running spikes. We stopped for a dog-walk above Taddington, 64

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“FUNCTIONS SUCH AS LANE DEPARTURE WARNING ARE IRRELEVANT ON COTSWOLD COUNTRY LANES, BUT A COMFORT WHEN RELEASING THE BEAST ONTO THE MOTORWAYS TO BREAK FREE OF RURAL SPEED RESTRICTIONS.” with stunning views across the valley to Cutsdean, before bombing down Stanway Hill to Stanway House. It was surprising to find there was no wedding on at the church opposite the chocolate box cottages, but at least the car couldn’t be accused of trying to upstage any

bride. The day before I’d realised that it was like being some sort of “lesser spotted” animal, because as soon as I arrived in the car park for the school play it was apparent this isn’t the car you can be camouflaged in. I (well not me, the car) got lots of admiring looks and questions



up to 60 miles to the gallon (for the 2 litre diesel engine)


£110 – £295 per year, depending on model


numerous air-bags and innovative technology, including an overtaking sensor, to warn the driver if another car is fast approaching.


A wifi hotspot allows connection for up to eight devices that can be displayed on the easy to use, tablet-sized touchscreen with digital radio, iPhone connector and satnav. USB ports-ago-go for young ones who need entertaining on long journeys, to older kids who need to be permanently plugged in.


InControl app helps drivers access the car remotely – turn on the heating and check fuel in advance and even track it down in a busy multi-storey.


10 options covering white, black, silver, blue and red, but sadly not a hint of jaguar, or even leopard print.

THE DRIVE from a crowd of drooling fathers – several children and even a mother or two. On the chestnut-lined lane to Stanton, we hunted down a cricket match, stopping to watch a few overs – and positively giided over the ridge and furrow field to get as close as possible to our prey without having to get out of the car – this was down to laziness, but also a proliferation of sheep droppings. And then for a drink at the Mount Inn, with views to the Malverns. The F Pace leapt assertively up the steep incline to the pub, where I’ve witnessed many a crunched gearbox over the years. At least the ascent is now one way, unlike Castle Street in Winchcombe, where the “hill launch assist” function was a dream – no rolling back, having stopped abruptly to let another car down the narrow road. And then more hills - up past Hailes to admire one of my favourite views in the Cotswolds – from the fruit farm below, back towards virtually untouched Farmcote clinging to the upper side of the valley – although it was sadly too late in the day to nip into Farmcote herbs for some mint for a sundowner. This is a fabulous breed of car with a huge boot that can easily devour a weekly food shop, school bags, a pushchair – even the new bike I

picked up in Cheltenham for our family holiday. There are big comfy luxury seats in the front and back – plenty of room to cocoon new borns in isofix car seats – right through to three leggy teenagers (or adults). Functions such as lane departure warning are irrelevant on Cotswold country lanes, but a comfort when releasing the beast onto the motorways to break free of rural speed restrictions. The kids were particularly excited about the activity key wristband that they dug out of the glovebox, but I wasn’t keen to wear a piece of black plastic and envisaged it ending up inadvertently in the bin with a load of sweet wrappers, so I returned it to its safe place. In hindsight, had I not been such a pussycat, it might have prevented my habitual problem of “losing” the keys at every stop. Am already thinking I need to “borrow” this car again. The F Pace is billed as the fastest-selling Jaguar ever, but I don’t think there’s any danger of it becoming extinct.

As you’d expect from such a big cat, this is a solid, beast, but it can have the lightness of a much leaner, smaller sports car, still with loads of oomph for when you need to pick up speed.


four – prestige, R sport, portfolio and S. All models come with super-shiny alloy wheels, InControl infortainment & satnav, as well as luxury you’d expect from Jaguar, such as electrically adjustable seats in the softest of “Windsor cross-grain” leather.


a choice of both across three engines and rear or 4 wheel drive.


This car can almost park itself! The Park Assist function assesses the size of the space, then parks the car, while you control the accelerator and brakes.

WARRANTY 3 year unlimited mileage



tIS tHe SeASoN to Get StreSSy

Tis the Season to Get Stressy

Nuked turkeys. Grim in-laws. Offensive presents. Make it through to the New Year intact with our Guide to Christmas Stress-Busting

Dodge Glutton’s Regret

It’s all too easy to over-indulge at Christmas – in fact it’s positively encouraged. But before you throw that hard-won new waistline to the wind, consider this: Sugar is pretty bad for you. Sugar is seriously addictive, and once it gets its claws into your brain, you’ll soon be craving another hit of empty energy. And what are all of the best Christmas treats (chocolate, mince pies, red wine) laden with? That’s right: sugar, Santa’s own crack cocaine. University of Oklahoma research has shown that the average amount of weight gained over the season was just over 1lb.The first step to putting a stop to that is by saying ‘no’ to second helpings. Many of us keep on eating long after we’ve had our fill – because we hate waste, or don’t want to seem impolite. But take a stand for your poor belly this Christmas. Swap chocolates for unsalted nuts, satsumas, dates and figs. Don’t make treats so easy to access: refrain from keeping brimming bowls of Celebrations/ Miniature Heroes right there on the kitchen table. And be aware of your sweet intake.Yes, scoffing a quick handful of Maltesers to keep you perky when the veg is being prepped is no bad thing, but it all adds up – and fast. If you want to stay sane and stable this Christmas, watch what you put in your gob.You might see Christmas as a break from normality – your blood pressure, bowels and stomach might not thank you.

Breathe . Smile .

We’ve all produced a forced rictus at the sight of a diet book gifted by the in-laws, or at one of Uncle 68

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Harry’s quasi-racist jokes. Surprisingly, the very act of smiling seems to dupe the body into producing feel-good chemicals, so wearing a smile throughout the day isn’t just gracious – it’s a lifeline. And breathing – one should never overlook the effectiveness of controlled breathing. Breathe deeply and slowly. Avoid the snatched little panicky breaths that so often accompany (and exacerbate) stress, and you’ll lull your own body and more into a more blissed-out condition. Just don’t hold your breath too long or you might topple face-first into the cranberry sauce. Finally: manage the pressure you put on yourself. Don’t feel bad about asking guests (and lazy family members) to pitch in – many hands make light work.

Intelligent Gift Giving

One of the most stressful things about the run-up to Christmas is the social obligation of spending oodles of money of people whose presence you can only tolerate once a year. With the proliferation of online services and stores, it’s easier to give those tricky adolescents vouchers so that they can purchase according to their own tastes. It’s much less half-arsed than a tenner in a card, but puts all the angst-provoking purchasing decisions in somebody else’s hands. Lots of websites now offer gift subscriptions - so investigate! Some people’s tastes are so arcane or specialised that you might balk at the idea of investing large sums in something they might not like. For these people, we’d recommend using something like The Discovery Store ( or

Flying Tiger ( where you can browse a huge variety of inexpensive yet entertaining (or practical) presents. What about your ‘nearest and dearest’? A quick and often overlooked resource for inspiration is a quick peek at their social media sites (Facebook, Twitter and so on). What have they liked? What have they expressed excitement about? Use these as pointers that’ll show the way to a thoughtful gift.

Get those Muscles Moving

Once you’ve all feasted like pigs at slop, it’s all too easy (and downright enjoyable) to slump into sofas and armchairs to find out if Ian Beale really did murder Phil Mitchell in the festive special of EastEnders. Instead, plan activities at definite times. Make a family activity diary/timetable and keep it in plain sight. Think: Ice-skating at 3.00pm, Christmas Eve. Walk around the woods from 12.00-2.00pm, Boxing Day. Don’t just unthinkingly default to lethargy, as it’s all too easy to do. Besides, gentle activity is a lot better for your digestion than napping or sitting.

Finally Enjoy Yourself

Let’s be honest.You don’t have the resources of time or money for a Hollywood bonanza. And who cares if the potatoes get a little too roasty? If you’ve fallen into the role of being the one on whom all of Christmas depends – take a moment to remind yourself that you need a break too, and remind others of what they could be contributing. With a few minor alterations, you’ll be surprised at how less worried you feel.

revereNd rACHel roSborouGH

An Epidemic of Kindness Celebrity deaths, Isis rampages, the refugee crisis, Brexit divisions and a warming planet: 2016 has been nothing if not memorable - for all the wrong reasons. How can we keep our chins up when the news seems so relentlessly grim? The Reverend Rachel Rosborough has seen the light.

Here we are hurtling towards the end of 2016, and winter and Christmas are not so far away. 2016 has been quite a year, and there have been a number of times when people have wished we could simply rewind and start it over again. Early in the year, we suffered some big losses thanks to the unexpected deaths of well-known figures like David Bowie, Prince, Terry Wogan, Alan Rickman and others. In addition, there have simply been far too many times when we have switched on the TV and seen yet another report of violence and attack, fear and terror, death and destruction all over the world, close to home in Europe and further afield. In June, we had the EU referendum that unfortunately divided a nation and seemed to bring out some of our worst behaviour and attitudes. All of this gets ceaselessly reported to us in our newspapers, via the Internet and on our TV screens. Sometimes, we are bombarded with so many pictures and reports of bad news that we may find ourselves wondering if there is any good news left. I find myself seizing any small bit of good news reporting, and delighting in it - they seem few and far between. One of the lovely things about being a member of the clergy is that I get to see lots of good news, often in small acts of gentleness and kindness, in care of neighbours and moments of welcome. It reminds me that actually, if we put aside our newspapers for a moment and just observe life, there are lots of good news stories to celebrate. A few weeks ago, I went to the local shop to get some pizzas for a lazy Friday night dinner. I needed to go to the cashpoint first and found myself waiting behind an elderly gentleman who took a very long time to use the cash machine. However, as I waited, he was assisted very patiently by a younger woman. I assumed she was a relative who was accompanying him to the shops but then she left him to it, once she was sure he was OK, and drove off. I was so touched by her kindness and patience, as well as his very sincere apology, after he had finished, for holding us up. It would have been impossible to

I find myself seizing any small bit of good news reporting, and delighting in it - they seem few and far between. respond with anything other than a cheery ‘no problem!’ even if I had wanted to. Kindness and patience, it seems, is catching!

with her. The woman replied that this was not a problem, welcomed them all into her car and drove them off to the model village.

While I was waiting for the elderly gentleman to finish using the cash machine, I noticed a foreign tourist stop to ask a local person where the Model Village was (note: the Model Village is well worth a visit if you are in Bourton on the Water at any time!). The local woman began to describe how to get there, then she paused, took in the rain that was falling quite steadily now, and offered the visitor a lift. The visitor explained that she had her dog and two friends

I was only at the shop for a few minutes but I caught a glimpse of what I think is actually quite common but which goes by largely unnoticed, certainly unreported – most people are kind and generous of spirit, wanting to help and support others and also that it is very hard to react to kindness with anything other than more kindness. Kindness is a biblical and godly thing that we often overlook (Galatians 5:22). I would rather like it to become an epidemic.


yoGA For teeNAGerS

YOGA FOR TEENAGERS A TOOL FOR LIFE Yoga teacher Emma Lawrence has been tutoring today’s over-stressed, over-stimulated teenagers – with encouraging results

for some of us, our teenage years are a long way off. We all have some angst-ridden memories, and might even occasionally flashback to pop star-endorsed walls (and other cringe-worthy recollections). but being a teenager today is not the same as it was in my Bon Jovi-loving years. The difference with GCSE-taking students today is the pressure that they (and the teachers, and the schools) appear to be under. Pressure of all kinds is passed down to the pupils and can manifest itself in all sorts of ways - from headaches, sulking, stomach problems, and fainting to outbursts, isolation, selfharming and eating disorders. The other huge change in today’s life as a teenager is technology. Constantly messaging, uploading pictures and snap chatting, much of a teen’s world exists virtually, and much of the validation they 70

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Physical Education Teacher Mr Chris Jones took part in Emma's session. He said:

I'D NEVER TRIED YOGA BEFORE AND FOUND IT QUITE PHYSICALLY DEMANDING BUT VERY ENJOYABLE. receive is in the form of ‘likes’, and comments. Equally most of the bullying is done via social media.There is no escape from it unless you turn it off - and that, in turn, comes with a fear of ‘missing’ something. Teens can often be overcome with fear. Fear that they don’t fit in, fear that they will fail, fear that they aren’t good enough.They are also in the midst of crucial developmental changes, both hormonal and physical, whilst pressure from school and parents starts to mount. Pressure to perform well

academically along with the emotional stress that can come from ever-changing friendships and family situations. However, as we all realise as we grow older, stress and pressure are not only limited to adolescent years. We soon realise there is more to deal with once we have families, employment and more meaningful relationships, and then when exhaustion and illness come into play. Studies show that meditation, relaxation and yoga

yoGA For teeNAGerS


Louise Minns:




Freddie Roberts - a keen sportsman and rugby player - said:

IT WASN'T SOMETHING I'D NORMALLY DO... BUT I FOUND IT VERY RELAXING. can help reduce stress and can help with academic performance and concentration - as well as helping teens cultivate empathy and impulse control.Yoga isn’t just about exercising the body - we can teach them tools for life.Tools to help them switch off, calm down, remain unruffled and find some inner peace when all around them appears chaotic and demanding. In September, I ran workshops with the Year 10s at The Cotswold School. It was part of their Personal, Social and Health Education. Out of 230 children, only a handful had ever had any experience of yoga or relaxation. As I expected, they were skeptical to start, but open to what I offered as tools to aid potentially anxious times ahead. We started our session with some very basic breathing techniques. All were able to follow and practise these. Starting the class this way had the dual purpose of calming what were excitable and wary pupils, and making them realise they were capable - capable of learning and practising a new technique. Confidence is important. We then moved on to asana (yoga postures) and sun salutations (a series of poses performed in a sequence to create a flow of movement). I explained that I teach all ages, sizes and abilities, from children only 3 years old, to my oldest client - just turning 75 years. I told them that yoga is an ancient form of exercise that focuses on flexibility, strength and breathing to aid physical and mental wellbeing.

Laura Palmer:

IT WAS VERY CALMING AND RELAXING AND I WILL DEFINITELY BE TRYING THE BREATHING TECHNIQUES AGAIN FOR EXAM STRESS. To my surprise, most of them were quite inflexible physically and this I can only put down to sedentary after-school lives, as I know The Cotswold School is very passionate about sport and exercise. I think they were also surprised. The boys particularly liked the strength element, especially when I informed them that many footballers and international rugby teams now supplement their training with yoga - and lots of it. Finally, we finished with fifteen minutes of Yoga

Nidra.Yoga Nidra is among the deepest possible states of relaxation while still maintaining full consciousness. Everyone lay down very still, closed their eyes - and some even fell asleep. I was very privileged to be able to see so many 14year olds lying motionless, relaxed and rested, their worries washed away and their nervous systems calm (and not a gadget in sight). for more information on classes and course, please visit:


All About Ayurveda

Herbalist Anne McIntyre’s Cotswold garden is informed by the teachings of Ayurveda, an Indian medical tradition that addresses mind, body and spirit

Anne McIntyre lives in an area of the country that most would consider to be traditionally English/British, but her practice and treatments have a distinctly Indian feel. Patients coming into the dispensary can see bottles of tinctures and jars of powders labelled with familiar names like lavender, rosemary, marshmallow and rose alongside more exotic herbs such as amalaki, brahmi, shatavari and ashwagandha. ‘When I was sixteen I fell in love with Indian philosophy and began to practise meditation. In my twenties I qualified in Western herbal medicine, but still felt I needed to keep searching for more knowledge to equip myself sufficiently for being in clinical practice. After studying remedial massage, nutrition, aromatherapy homeopathy and counselling, I heard about a course on Ayurveda with Dr Vasant Lad and thought ‘This is it! Something that combines meditation, nutrition, herbal medicine, massage and the use of oils to bring about balance in body, mind, heart and spirit and totally in keeping with my love of Eastern philosophy.”’ As one of the few Ayurvedic practitioners in the UK, Anne has seen the ever-increasing popularity of Yoga raise awareness of its sister science, Ayurveda. With its emphasis on preventative health, healing and promotion of longevity, Ayurveda is completely in tune with the need for us to enhance well-being through a union of physical, emotional and spiritual health. The origins of Ayurveda go back thousands of years. It is thought to have evolved in the far reaches of the Himalayas over 5000 years 72

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ago and yet its ideas are very up-to-date and still applicable today as modern research is demonstrating. In recent years, Ayurveda has increasingly attracted attention from medical scientists in the USA, Japan and much of Europe and the World Health Organisation has resolved to promote its practice in developing countries. One of the most interesting facets of Ayurveda is its classification of people into constitutional types which makes diagnosis and treatment of disease much more specific and therefore more effective than treating all people with the same condition in the same way. Our constitution depends on the balance of our doshas.

According to Ayurveda energy is manifested in different ways described as the five elements; ether, air, fire, water and earth, which together form the basis of all matter. These five elements combine to form three basic forces, known as doshas: Vata is created from ether and air Pitta is created from fire and water Kapha is created from earth and water According to Ayurveda we are all born with our own particular balance of the doshas which is

All About AyurvedA

set up by the balance of our parents at the time of conception, and this determines our constitution. Our body type, temperament, and susceptibility to illnesses are largely governed by the predominant dosha in our individual constitution. The first requirement for health apart from good digestion is the balance of our doshas. If this is disturbed by diet, lifestyle or stress, for example, illness of one kind or another eventually results. The disruption may be felt in physical discomfort and pain, or in mental and emotional suffering such as fear, anxiety, anger or jealousy. Generally treatments of imbalance of the doshas fall into 3 main categories; natural medicines, dietary regimes and lifestyle changes. ‘There is a vast amount of new research demonstrating just how vital the billions of bacteria that live in our gut are for our health and this ties in with the Ayurvedic view that disease generally starts in the gut due to the wrong diet and poor digestion resulting in fermentation and toxicity. A good way to start your journey back to health and well-being is to take probiotics and fermented foods to increase heathy bacterial biodiversity.You also need to address the overgrowth of “unfriendly” gut microorganism that may have proliferated after years of bad diet, sugar, medication, artificial hormones, etc.

The best way to do this is to drink ginger tea first thing in the morning and to add plenty of culinary herbs and spices to each meal as they all have antimicrobial actions and so help to combat unfriendly gut bacteria. I tell my patients to look at each plate of food, breakfast, lunch and dinner and check it includes herbs and spices and if not, put them in! ‘When I first started using Ayurveda none of my clients had even heard of it. I would keep quiet about the concepts of vata, pitta and kapha as people already thought herbalists were so out of the ordinary and I wanted to appear as normal as possible! I used to talk about heat and cold instead, but now most people come to see me specifically wanting Ayurvedic treatment and they often understand a lot about it themselves.’

With over 35 years in practice both treating patients and teaching about herbal medicine and Ayurveda, Anne has a wealth of experience explaining Ayurveda to the Western mind. she has used this knowledge to write three books; The Ayurveda Bible,The Treatment of Children from Western and Ayurvedic Perspectives and Dispensing with Tradition. Anne has also worked with American polarity therapist, gina Mastroluca, to set up an online course in Ayurveda called Living Wisdom, which can be found at Anne runs practical weekend workshops in Ayurveda from both her home in the Cotswolds and beautiful locations such as The Clover Mill in Malvern, and at the end of the year will be launching a new online short course, Introduction to Ayurveda. Anne is offering anyone who quotes ‘Cotswold Homes’ a copy of her book The Ayurveda Bible for the special price of £10.99, rather than the rrP of £14.99.



Halting the Progress of Parkinsons Bourton gym heralds revolutionary treatment for Parkinson’s Disease Co-ordinated Therapy - an effective exercise regime The benefits of exercise are well known and well documented to all; heart health, improved blood pressure, weight loss – the list goes on. but in the case of neurological conditions, the benefits go much further.

‘My client Richard Carter - a farmer in his seventies - was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease ten years ago and is a great example of how skilled movement therapy can help to manage the condition on a day-to-day basis,’ says Ed.

The brain has tremendous ability to change its connections based upon its incoming stimulation - its inherent plasticity allows it to recover lost function and movement patterns by re-organising pathways through repetitive, co-ordinated movements.

‘Richard complained of general low back and foot pain leading to postural instability, gait disturbances, slowness of movement and general lack of confidence. Having been active all his life, Richard was really frustrated by his decreasing strength and mobility - even though he made time to walk with support for at least three quarters of an hour each day, he found he was now relying greatly upon his wife for getting around.

At this year’s World Parkinson’s Congress, the latest research into the benefits of specific combinations of exercise was discussed in great detail, looking at both cardiovascular (heart health) exercise and skilled (task-related) exercise. The synapses in the brain are responsible for transmitting nerve messages around the body - conditions such as Parkinson’s disease inhibit these messages, causing disrupted motor and non-motor functions. On a neurological level, whilst cardiovascular exercise (walking, cycling, running, swimming etc.) increases blood flow in the brain, it doesn’t provide an increase in synaptic numbers, whereas skilled exercise (learning a new motor skill) increases the number of synapses per neuron without the corresponding increase in blood flow. Therefore, it is reasonable to conclude that the optimum conditions for effective neuroplasticity will occur through synergy of the two types of exercise. The Co-ordinated Therapy team specialises in creating skilled exercises as coordinated movement therapy, specifically designing goaloriented motor movements that challenge temporal and spatial accuracy, stimulating and re-organising the nervous system through a series of movements to trigger the recovery of lost functions. 74

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‘We started therapy to improve his general balance, to make positive changes to his left gait movement and to reduce the incidents of freezing and slowness of movement. On his first visit, Richard took part in two filmed tests: ‘Get up and go’ and ‘Ten metre walk’ and there was a clear delay between being instructed to stand up and actually moving, despite his determination. ‘For the next six weeks, Richard underwent three sessions per week of between 20 and 40 minutes of low intensity Co-ordinated Therapy. At the end of these sessions Richard would spend some time concentrating on his walking, sometimes emphasising the knee lift or even walking backwards. ‘After just one week there was a noticeable difference in Richard’s ability to walk unaided and he mentioned that his muscle tone felt much looser. After six weeks we repeated the initial tests and were very pleased with the obvious improvement - he was significantly stronger, could stand up and walk with no delay and no balance issues, able to walk both forwards and backwards with great confidence and having a muchimproved posture.

‘His aches and pains had also diminished and his wife commented upon how much his general mood had improved, too, which was wonderful. ‘Our gym also provides traditional exercise regimes designed to promote great physical fitness and a range of complementary therapies including osteopathy and hypnotherapy, so we are able to help with many common problems and conditions, of course. ‘However, to be involved in the revolutionary treatment of debilitating conditions like Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy and MS, that cause so much distress and physical deterioration, and finding an effective way to halt and indeed reverse the effects, is incredibly exciting and rewarding,’ says Ed.


Our gym also provides traditional exercise regimes designed to promote great physical fitness and a range of complementary therapies including osteopathy and hypnotherapy ...

Anne Carter, Richard’s wife, says: ‘Ed and Alex were very helpful, encouraging and enthusiastic. I was very sceptical when I watched the video of a man with Parkinson's before and after using Co-ordinated Therapy but I was amazed when I saw the difference it made to my husband. His balance is much better, he is more upright, he doesn't drag his left foot so much and he is walking with more confidence.’

Find out more about Co-ordinated Therapies by visiting


mindful massage

Chris Elmer of Mindful Massage explains how a mixture of massage and affirmation can lead to lasting wellbeing, and a better connection with the Here and Now. In recent years there has been much written in the press and social media about how meditation and mindful practice can enhance the health of the nation. There have also been decades of clinical studies that prove that massage has huge health benefits for us too. What is fascinating is that they both share the same benefits. Just a few of them are: • Decreases anxiety and stress • Relieve muscle tension • Lowers high blood pressure • Improved immune system function • Enhanced sleep quality • Improved cognitive skills & creative thinking They work using slightly different means but achieve remarkably similar results. I have massaged and meditated over many years

and have found that combining the practices creates a unique experience that people find very helpful and effective. It helps to gently slow down the continuously chattering mind that creates so much of our perceived stress and anxiety. Not only do clients feel physically more relaxed and refreshed, but they also have greater insight into the challenges that they encounter during day to day living.

breath and body and this helps to direct thought to the present moment. The mind has a tendency to wander off into the past or the future and what needs to be done. The essence of the actual moment is lost in a ‘stream’ of thought. It is by gently bringing your attention back to the ‘here and now’ that space begins to surround the thoughts you have. You’re less attached to them and are able to let them pass.

Mindful Massage uses guided affirmations that are sometimes spoken and are also felt through touch. It’s this mixture that makes the session so special.

The massage, being a palpable experience, is a powerful tool that can help focus the mind on the now. A physical affirmation that is felt as the present moment. It’s the way in which I blend the massage and mindfulness together that gives the session a quiet, peaceful, meditative quality. It’s this which gives you a fresh perspective on life’s situations and can have a lasting influence on your health and wellbeing.

There are different qualities of touch, and the way in which they are given can express more than that can be spoken by words. A Mindful Massage is given with attentive care. This can be felt in many ways. The speed, pressure, or even the types of massage stroke are all indirect affirmations of the intent and care given. It is reassuring and nurturing, and the body takes this as a cue to relax. This is coupled with mindful practices. I talk through the process of focusing attention on the

Do give me a call if you’d like to discuss how this can benefit you, on 07768639914 For more information, discounts and special block booking offers, visit Chris practices from Isbourne Holistic Centre in Cheltenham, Moreton-in-Marsh, Chipping Norton, the Cotswolds and the surrounding area.


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dr Trevor Bigg, Milton dental Practice BDS, MGDS RCS(Eng), FDS RCS(Ed), FFGDP(UK)

there are still occasions when, even today, a tooth has to be extracted and an extraction can lead to an unsightly gap or difficulty in eating. HOW CAN WE FILL THIS GAP? There are many ways of restoring a gap in the mouth, some are relatively simple and inexpensive, while others are more complicated and therefore cost more. DENTURES • A plastic or acrylic denture is the quickest and least expensive way to fill a gap, but in a mouth where some teeth are present they can cause decay by holding food or plaque next to the teeth. They can also damage the gums. In fact dentists call them ‘gum-strippers’, as they can peel back the gum around the remaining teeth causing looseness and eventual loss. • A chrome-cobalt denture is the ideal solution to the problems caused by acrylic. The denture has a strong metal frame that can be cast in thinner sections covering fewer teeth, so that gum disease and decay risks are reduced. Rests and clasps can be built into the design making the denture more stable and supported by the teeth and not the gum. However, there is an increased price to pay for the chrome denture and, even with all its advantages, it still has to be removed at night. WHAT IF I DON’T WANT SOMETHING I HAVE TO TAKE OUT AT NIGHT? For those who can’t stand the thought of something removable in their mouth there are other alternatives.

For those who can’t stand the thought of something removable in their mouth there are other alternatives. BRIDGES


If the gap is not too large then a bridge can be permanently cemented in place. A bridge uses the teeth next to the gap to support a false tooth or pontic.

Implants are the treatment of choice if the bone and gum condition are good. A small surgical procedure is undertaken to place artificial roots of titanium into the jawbone. Once this is healed, the implant can be used to support a crown, a bridge and even dentures.

• Conventional bridges are constructed by cutting down the neighbouring tooth to support the pontic. Conventional bridges can be expensive, but of greater importance, a lot of tooth is cut away to make the bridge. This can lead to fracture and tooth loss later. • ‘Sticky bridges’ or Resin Bonded bridges are designed to minimise tooth loss. A tiny plate of metal is made to fit over the neighbouring tooth and permanently glued into place with the pontic attached. No preparation of the supporting tooth is made and the risk of later fracture is much reduced.

If you want more information about the contents of the article, go to www.dentalhealth. org/tell-me-about/topic/routine-treatment, or contact Penny at Milton dental Practice: 01993 831396 or email and come to see us for a consultation. To accompany this article, we are offering a new Patient Examination at the reduced fee of £64.00 (normally £96.00) and a free denplan Examination.



Anna MacCurrach takes the opportunity to educate a chemistry student in country matters, when a girl from France pitches in at Tagmoor Farm.

AUTUMN for the second summer in a row we have enjoyed the company of a french student during the summer holidays. It began in 2015 when a call came from a cousin of Jimmy’s, who lives in france. she told us that she knew of a student that needed a six-week overseas placement and wanted to come to england. Could we give her a shot? Louise, a chemistry student studying in Lyon, was super and the experience of having an ‘au pair’ was deemed an enormous success - despite the fact that the upstairs of our house, now accommodating six people, resembled a shanty town for the entire duration, and my youngest child barely acknowledged her presence. This year we were contacted by Safina, also a chemistry student; she had heard about Louise’s stay with us and, having enjoyed a visit to Sheffield about ten years previously, decided she would like to revisit England for her placement.

This year we were contacted by Safina, also a chemistry student; she had heard about Louise’s stay with us and, having enjoyed a visit to Sheffield about ten years previously, decided she would like to revisit England for her placement. thought that a fridge full of milk in traditional bottles meant my brother-in-law was a dairy farmer.

I accepted immediately. And warned her that our corner of the Cotswolds is nothing like Sheffield.

There was one very awkward moment when we thought she had actually asked us: ‘what is a cow?’ (much relief all round when we realised she meant ‘calf ’). Horrified by this detachment, we set about arranging combine rides and tractor-driving lessons.

Now, I am aware that not everyone is exposed to the ways of the countryside and the agricultural industry around here. Safina’s upbringing has been so far removed from it that, though, that she couldn’t explain to her father what a combine harvester was – she didn’t know what it did, or what the French name for it was, let alone the English one. She

Regular picnics was another fairly alien concept. We love them, and thanks to the weather enjoyed many with friends and family during the holidays. Our French guest, however, thought the whole thing completely bonkers. Packing everything into containers, bags and baskets, and hauling it across fields or through woods is, undeniably, a massive


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hassle. She thought I had actually lost my mind when I asked her to help me make Scotch Eggs to take along to one riverside picnic in Naunton, just down the road from our friends’ perfectly good house. It was an absolute pleasure having her around for the summer, she was great company and on some level I am sure it is good for the children. We said as much in the review we were asked to complete. The last question asked us to comment on any areas she could improve on - we answered with the only thing we could think of: ‘more confidence when driving tractors.’ Find out more about Tagmoor Farm at


Guiting-based gamekeeper/photographer Adam Tatlow’s work is no doubt familiar to many Cotswoldians through his range of gift cards – and with Christmas and New Year just over the horizon, it’s certainly a good time to be sending salutations! So keep in mind that on November 20th, Adam will be at the National Star at Ullenwood for their Cotswold Christmas fair. As Adam says: ‘it’s an excellent opportunity to purchase Christmas gifts in a unique venue.’ In the meantime, browse Adam’s photography and order prints online at


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FarM park


The Farm Park team ended the season with some spooktacular half-term Hallowe’en treats before getting ready for a very busy winter ahead! The final quarter of the year is never as quiet here as you might expect it to be. For the last few years, we’ve stayed open to the public for longer and enjoyed all the festivities of December with our own unique take on Christmas. and anyone with farmer friends will also know that the arable and livestock sides of the business are both pretty much an all-yearround job! This year is going to be a bit different for us though. The Farm Park will be closed to the public from the 30th of october until the 11th of February next year and in that time, we’re hoping to make a start on some exciting developments. We submitted a planning application earlier in the year for changes to both the Park and the farm itself and at the time of writing, we’ve just received permission, so spirits are high! We know there’s some hard work ahead though and although the Farm Park will be closed, the animals will still need to be cared for and next year’s crops drilled and sprayed. As usual, we’ll be at the mercy of the weather and hoping for some dry spells so that the ground doesn’t become too wet. on the livestock side of things, our rams and ewes are all very busy at the moment, as tupping (mating) season has begun! The process is actually a lot more involved than herding them all together and hoping for the best though. There are full health checks at the

beginning to ensure all of the ewes and rams are in peak condition. Then every week each ram is fitted with a harness called a ‘raddle’, containing a wax block that marks the ewe when mating. We replace the block every week with a darker coloured wax, so this colour ‘overwrites’ marks left by previous mating. We’ll know that the darkest colour is the date of conception because the rams lose interest once the ewe is pregnant. The ewes will become receptive to the rams every seventeen days, for around 30 hours. The rams have sensitive receptors underneath their top lip which helps detect hormones, so he knows exactly when a ewe is ready to mate. So you might be wondering – why do we need to know exactly when the ewes were impregnated? We monitor the ladies throughout pregnancy and make modifications to their diet, so they have the best chance of producing healthy lambs. We also like to bring them into the lambing shed once they’re around three weeks away from their due date, to keep a closer eye on them. By the time we reach mid-november, the last of the rams should have left the ewes. lambing should begin on the 11th of February next year – just as we re-open to the public. Before i sign off, let me tell you about a little half term treat we have in store…

We celebrated the end of our wonderful 2016 season with a Hallowe’en party week of spooky fun. Children were invited to get creative and dress up in their favourite costumes – those who attended in fancy dress were given a lucky dip from our ‘trick or treat’ basket and we got arty with some fabulous scary face painting before letting the children loose to play ghoulish party games inside our giant witch’s hat (our Tipee!) our wonderful eco animal encounters Team was also on hand to introduce children to the beastly collection of reptiles, arachnids and insects inside our animal encounters’ Den. The children were able to handle all the fascinating creatures and ask lots of questions before rounding off the day in the best possible way with a delicious spooky afternoon tea in the café!


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The value of Fine & Country

JAMeS Von SPeyR, co-FoUnDeR & PRinciPAl DiRecToR

The value of Fine & Country An international marketing platform


I bought and sold through Harrison James & Hardie in 2007 when you had your own ‘Cotswold Country Homes’ department. I was really impressed by the company’s service and sales skills and wonder what Fine & Country offers, over and above what you were doing at that time?

The Mayfair Office, Fine & Country

Bringing together an impressive combination of resources and entrepreneurial personalities was an inspired answer to the complacent reactive style of the old boy network


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An international marketing platform

Fine & Country was quickly hailed as a new standard for the luxury international marketplace


Fine & Country is a highly proficient and professional international marketing agency that has won countless awards for innovation and performance in the competitive international upper quartile marketplace since it was launched at the dawn of the twenty first century.

Bringing together an impressive combination of resources and entrepreneurial personalities was an inspired answer to the complacent reactive style of the old boy network; by uniting these extremely capable but disparate agencies Fine & country massively amplified their ability to compete.

The original concept behind the brand was simple – experienced independent agencies around the Uk unified to mount a challenge to the traditional ‘old boy network’ agencies that had always dominated the marketplace including knight Frank, Savills and so on.

With combined buying power unlocking the wherewithal to devise and develop expensive marketing strategies, not only using traditional national media but also embracing the very best in cutting-edge technology and modern sales techniques to attract their buyers, a creditable alternative soon challenged the seemingly unassailable supremacy of the old guard.

The desire was to create something new, completely different and refreshingly forward-looking, based on the broad range of skills, knowledge, experience and proactive energy of outstanding local independent representatives whilst utilising international brand marketing that, up to now, had been associated only with high end agency. each representative within Fine & country today has already spent years at the top of local agency, gaining strength from experience in their particular field and enjoying a formidable reputation for excellence within local circles.

Fine & country was quickly hailed as a new standard for the luxury international marketplace and many prestigious industry awards followed in the wake of its success. The directors of Harrison James & Hardie were headhunted by Fine & country in 2009, shortly after joining the Guild of Professional estate Agents where we held property exhibitions in Mayfair that year specifically to attract the london market.

We acquired the exclusive licence for the north cotswolds because we had long recognised that the only barrier preventing us from gaining more instructions at the top end of the local market was a nationally recognisable image and buying power, particularly when it came to national newspaper and magazine marketing, for example. Whilst we were highly experienced and successful in the local marketplace as you say, we were keen to tap deeper into the london investment market on the behalf of our clients, and to secure access to additional specialist knowledge and skill in bespoke categories such as land and equestrian property. now, marketing via Fine & country north cotswolds, the company takes full advantage of a host of platforms to communicate the benefits of our finest properties, of whatever type, to the widest possible range of potential buyers regionally, nationally and beyond. To speak to James, telephone 01451 822977 or e-mail


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It’s all in the timing

It’s all in the timing

Why a timed launch is the best method of sale Prior Bank, Blockley: After a timed launch, sold in excess of £100,000 over the asking price


My cottage has been marketed for less than a week. I received an offer just below the asking price from the first applicant who came to view and the agency is pressing me to accept. Without first testing the levels of interest, how can we be sure that the optimum price has been achieved?



our main aim, whether acting as Harrison James & Hardie in the local residential marketplace or as Fine & Country north Cotswolds in the ‘london’ marketplace, is to sell every client’s home swiftly, at the best possible price and to a buyer happy to fit in with their timescales. a clear, informed and concise strategy is fundamental to achieving this; after all, your home is your most valuable asset, so why leave the result to chance? As the leading specialists in local agency we invariably have a list of potential buyers registered for every home we list; more often than not, the first person we introduce is likely to be amongst the best buyers for that property. However, unless


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you trust that your agency is similarly positioned in your local marketplace you can be left with a niggling feeling that you might have got more money. We know that choice-led investment buyers will frequently circle a property for a few weeks in the hope the sale price will come down, so you might be right about other opportunities that haven’t been exhausted by your agency’s approach. For desirable properties like your cottage, a timed launch would have left you feeling far more confident in the outcome. As such, a timed launch to the national marketplace is the ideal way to ensure that you have achieved not just a quick sale but attracted

the widest possible number of potential buyers, including the most motivated buyer in the strongest position. A timed launch clearly does not apply to every property, only when it is certain to appeal to a wide range of different buyers. To achieve the best possible price in such instances we use a complex, tried-and-tested marketing strategy: The Fine & Country north Cotswolds’ property launch. in accordance with our client’s preferred timescales and our experience, we decide upon the best date to launch the property to the marketplace. At least a month in advance, we carefully prepare our range of marketing material - professional

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Why a timed launch is the best method of sale

Michaelmas House, St Mary’s House & Steppes Cottage: After a timed launch, all were sold well in excess of the asking price

We know that choice-led investment buyers will frequently circle a property for a few weeks in the hope the sale price will come down, so you might be right about other opportunities that haven’t been exhausted by your agency’s approach photography, a drone video and internal property video, stunning printed glossy brochures and a beautifully written accompanying lifestyle article that will appear in an array of traditional media and property portals, both via Fine & country’s PR department and cotswold Homes magazine. Two weeks before the launch we ‘go live’, linking our presence on a wide range of property portals with Facebook, Twitter and instagram, alerting our cotswold Homes database of 7,000 local residents and frequent visitors to the north cotswolds with a bespoke e-mailer announcing the launch, too. This impressive array of marketing material is precisely designed to provoke maximum interest amongst our registered applicants and those elusive cash-rich choice-led buyers searching via the web and national media. everything works towards that single launch day. Viewings are booked strictly by prior appointment and no one is allowed to attend beforehand, thereby amplifying anticipation and competition between buyers. With a senior member of the sales team to conduct viewings we can assess motivation, identify opportunities and secure formal interest as early as possible. What we hope for is multiple offers – to secure some bids on the day, followed

As we have already qualified the buyers we can quickly advise our vendors, accordingly. An ideal outcome is the luxury to choose a buyer not just on the level of offer but also on timescales and buying position. it’s lovely to have a couple of disappointed buyers prepared to jump in if that sale should fall through for any reason.

time, whilst offering a completion date to suit. This strategy was perfectly illustrated by Fine & country north cotswolds when selling Prior Bank, a beautiful village home in Blockley. With fifteen buyers viewing the property at the launch, we received five asking-price offers and the sale was eventually agreed at an excess of £100,000 over the asking price to a buyer who exchanged contracts within four weeks.

Ultimately, the aim of a ‘delayed gratification’ strategy is to focus interested applicants on the importance of making a swift decision when the opportunity arises. choice-led purchasers are often aware of the control they exert, not being subject to the pressures of a chain or of borrowing criteria, and can make them prone to unexpected whims and anxieties. Given that the national statistic for fall-through is around 30% of gross house sales, it is a proven fact that significantly reducing the length of time between an offer and exchange of contracts will positively affect the likelihood of a successful outcome.

in the main residential marketplace we have also employed a timed-launch strategy on occasion. even though modern properties cannot always produce such a high number of competing buyers, this can still result in a Best & Final offer from two or more interested buyers, when the price can be driven up to, and occasionally well beyond, the asking price. To illustrate, Harrison James & Hardie recently marketed a development opportunity in Swan close in Moreton in Marsh that resulted in six bids from competing buyers, generating four Best & Final offers, and went on to achieve a sale at the full asking price.

over and above price alone, we will always recommend the buyer who is able to proceed to exchange of contracts in the shortest possible

To speak to Tom, telephone 01608 651000 or e-mail

by more over the next couple of days or so.


The Willow House, Great Wolford

ÂŁ725,000 (Sale Agreed)

A charming, cleverly extended, substantial village home partly dating back to the seventeenth century, presented in beautiful order throughout and occupying a prime central position in the rural village of Great Wolford. Reception Hall | Sitting Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Family Room | Study/Bedroom 4 | Utility Room | Downstairs Shower Room | Master Bedroom with En-Suite | Three Further Bedrooms | Family Bathroom | Gardens to Front and Back | Garage | EPC Rating: D

Fine and Country, Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651 000

Bank House, Blockley


An individual, detached modern property set in an elevated, central position in this most desirable Cotswold village. Entrance Hall | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Dining Room | Sitting Room | Master Bedroom with En-Suite | Three Further Bedrooms | Bathroom | Garden | Parking | EPC Rating: D

Fine and Country, Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651 000

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

Norton Cottage, Aston Magna

£489,000 (SALE AGREED)

A period village property occupying an elevated position within the heart of this picturesque Cotswold village. The four bedroom home exudes character and charm and benefits from off road parking and a private garden stretching over 100ft to the rear. Entrance Porch | Sitting Room | Dining Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Utility | WC | Master Bedroom | En-Suite | Three Further Bedrooms | Bathroom | Outbuilding | Garden | Parking | EPC Rating: F

Fine and Country, Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651 000

Spring Cottage, Chipping Norton


Quietly situated in the ancient market centre of Chipping Norton, enjoying views towards West Oxfordshire’s pleasant rural landscape from the upper floors, yet conveniently close to a delightful range of bijou independent shops including the famous theatre, Spring Cottage undoubtedly enjoys the best of both worlds. With parts of the cottage reputedly dating back to medieval times and later mid-nineteenth century additions, this spacious Cotswold stone period home offers two reception rooms and four bedrooms. It has been beautifully renovated by the present owners, combining an abundance of original features and inherent charm with a contemporary, pared-back scheme. Entrance | Living Room | Dining Room | Kitchen | Three First Floor Bedrooms | Bathroom | Second Floor Bedroom | Courtyard Garden | EPC Rating: G Fine and Country, Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651 000

Country Homes from harrison james & hardie

Wheelwrights Barn, Chedworth


A Cotswold style, detached four bedroomed home with planning permission to extend, situated in a plot approaching half an acre and occupying a glorious elevated position in the sought-after village of Chedworth. Entrance Hall | Living Room | Dining Room | Kitchen | Conservatory | Utility | Study | Cloakroom | Four Bedrooms (One With En-Suite) | Bathroom | Barn (currently Garage and Store) | Gardens Approaching Half an Acre | EPC Rating: D

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

Lesta House, Bampton ÂŁ725,000 An elegant double fronted Grade II listed town with a pretty walled garden and off road parking. Lesta House is situated in the thriving village of Bampton and provides accommodation over three floors. Entrance Lobby | Reception/Dining Hall | Drawing Room | Family/Sitting Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Utility Area/Cloakroom | Four Bedrooms | Two Bathrooms | Attic Room | Walled Garden with Summer House/Potting Shed | Carport | EPC Rating: Exempt

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

Little Court, Bourton on the Water

Guide Price ÂŁ725,000

A well-presented 3-4 bedroom chalet style detached house situated on the edge of the village set in a plot of just under half an acre, with development potential for two additional dwellings. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Kitchen/Dining/Living Room | Office | Cloakroom | Family Room | Guest Bedroom | En-Suite Bath and Shower Room | First Floor Master Bedroom | En-Suite Bathroom | Bedroom Three | Dressing Area | Bathroom | Access to Loft Space | Three Stables | Tack Room | Workshop | External Office | EPC Rating: D Fine and Country, Harrison James & Hardie, Bourton on the Water 01451 824 977

Lime Cottage, Stow on the Wold


Located within walking distance of the pretty market square of Stow on the Wold, this detached and spacious family home benefits from wellappointed accommodation, a generous front and rear garden and a private gated driveway with ample parking. Entrance Hall | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Sitting Room | Dining Room | Garden Room | Study | Utility | WC | Master Bedroom | En-Suite Shower Room | Dressing Area | Two Further Double Bedrooms | Bath and Shower Room | Two Attic Bedrooms | Front and Rear Garden | Garage | Gated Private Driveway | EPC Rating: D Fine and Country, Harrison James & Hardie, Bourton on the Water 01451 824 977

Country Homes from harrison james & hardie

The Granary, Condicote


5 The Terrace, Armscote


An attractive period conversion providing ideal accommodation for a family or second home buyer, the well-proportioned stone built home is situated at the end of a quiet village lane and has the benefit of a double garage and parking for two cars. Entrance | Sitting Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Conservatory | WC | Master Bedroom with En-suite | Two Further Bedrooms | Bathroom | Garden | Double Garage | Parking | EPC Rating: D

A beautifully presented cottage situated within this picturesque and unspoiled village, benefiting from a generous plot and several outbuildings. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Lean Too/Boot Room | Three Bedrooms | Bathroom | Outbuildings | Garden | Parking | EPC Rating: E

Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651 000

Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651 000

33 Halifax Way, Moreton in Marsh


27 Halifax Way, Moreton in Marsh


An exceptionally well-presented detached home offering stylish and generously proportioned accommodation.The property and garden have been lovingly enhanced by the current owners to create a wonderful family home occupying a prime location on the perimeter of Moreton Park. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Kitchen/Dining Room | Utility Room | WC | Master Bedroom with En-Suite | Guest Bedroom | Two Further Bedrooms | Bathroom | Garden | Integral Garage | Parking | EPC Rating: C

A detached four bedroom home located in a prime position on the perimeter of Moreton Park.The property is immaculately presented and benefits from a stylish kitchen/dining room with a glazed atrium style roof. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Kitchen/Dining Room | Study | Utility | WC | Master Bedroom with En-Suite | Three Further Bedrooms | Bathroom | Garage | Garden | Parking | EPC Rating: B

Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651 000

Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651 000

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

17 Spring Street, Chipping Norton


128 Fosseway Avenue, Moreton in Marsh


A comprehensively refurbished and extended three bedroomed period cottage situated opposite the famous theatre in the heart of Chipping Norton, offering beautifully presented accommodation and enjoying farreaching countryside views. Living Room | Kitchen | Conservatory | Two First Floor Bedrooms | Bathroom | Second Floor Bedroom | EPC Rating: E

A recently improved semi-detached home located within a popular residential area of Moreton in Marsh.This three bedroom property offers further potential to extend (subject to the necessary planning consents) and benefits from parking for several vehicles and a garage. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Bathroom | Master Bedroom with En-Suite | Two Further Bedrooms | Garage | Garden | Parking | EPC Rating: D

Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651 000

Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651 000

5 Northview, Blockley


10 Coachmans Court, Moreton in Marsh


Forming part of an historic mill this completely refurbished duplex apartment offers well-proportioned and nicely presented accommodation overlooking the communal grounds and river beyond. Sitting Room | Kitchen | Utility Room | Two Double Bedrooms | Bathroom | Use Of Communal Grounds | Parking | EPC Rating: D

A well-presented one bedroom apartment located on the second floor of this popular complex, which is situated just a short walk from the mainline train station to London Paddington. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room open to Kitchen | Double Bedroom | Bathroom | Parking | EPC Rating: B

Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651 000

Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651 000

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Windy Ridge, Stow on the Wold


The Old Shop, Turkdean


This detached single storey barn conversion boasts generously proportioned accommodation on the edge of this popular North Cotswold town. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Kitchen | Conservatory | Study | Shower Room | Utility/Laundry Room | Master Bedroom | En-Suite | Four Further Bedrooms | Bathroom | Garden | Parking | EPC Rating: F

A period detached house set in a pretty, rural village being within easy reach of Northleach and Bourton on the Water. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Kitchen/Dining Room | Four Bedrooms | Bathroom | Garden | Garage | Off Road Parking | EPC Rating: E

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

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

Hillcote, Stow on the Wold


Coho Cottage, Stow on the Wold


A beautifully presented, bright and spacious 1920’s bungalow located within walking distance to the centre of Stow on the Wold.The property has been recently refurbished throughout and benefits solid oak flooring, exposed natural stone and landscaped rear garden. Entrance Porch | Hallway | Sitting Room | Kitchen | Three Double Bedrooms | Bath and Shower Room | Shower Room | Rear Garden | Front Garden | Off Road Parking | EPC Rating: D

Situated within the grounds of the beautiful Fosseway House, this delightful two bedroom cottage boasts practical accommodation, an abundance of charm and character, parking and a pretty, private rear garden.The property is located within walking distance to the centre of Stow on the Wold. No Onward Chain. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Dining Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Conservatory | WC | Master Bedroom | Guest Bedroom with Balcony and En-Suite Shower Room | Bathroom | Roof Terrace | Enclosed Rear Garden | Driveway with Parking | Separate Garage | 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

1 Avro Road, Upper Rissington


1 Church Piece, Lower Swell


This attractively presented detached family home boasts well proportioned accommodation and occupies a mature and well screened plot within the popular village of Upper Rissington. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Dining Room | Study | Utility | W.C | Master Bedroom | En-Suite | Second Bedroom | En-Suite | Two Further Bedrooms | Family Bathroom | Garden | Garage | Parking | EPC Rating: D

A link detached house situated in a popular village, just outside of Stow on the Wold. Entrance Hall | Dining Room | Sitting Room | Conservatory | Kitchen/ Breakfast Room | Downstairs Shower Room with WC | Three First Floor Bedrooms | Bathroom | Front and Rear Garden | Off Road Parking Area | EPC Rating: D

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

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

Dalmeny Cottage, Bourton on the Water


1 Batsford Close, Bourton on the Water


A charming Cotswold Stone character cottage located in the desirable village of Bourton on the Water.The property benefits from a host of traditional features, a courtyard garden and off road parking. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Three Bedrooms | Family Bathroom | EPC Rating: D

A well-presented three bedroom detached family home offering bright and spacious accommodation.The property is located on the desirable Bourton Chase development, situated within walking distance to the centre of Bourton on the Water and the Outstanding Cotswold Academy. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Dining Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Utility Room | Master Bedroom With En-suite Shower Room | Two Further Bedrooms | Family Bathroom | Private Walled Garden | Garage | Off Road Parking | EPC Rating: B

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

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

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asK the eXPerts

Predicting the market

KAren hArriSon BA hons, Co-FoUnder & PrinCiPAL direCtor

Predicting the market The impact of the referendum and changes in stamp duty No estate agent, no matter how experienced, can tell you exactly what your home is worth but the more working knowledge in that marketplace, the more accurately it is possible to predict what is actually achievable. With the very best agencies it’s a complex mix of skills - part research, part instinct, part memory - plus an informed and detailed understanding of wider trends and influences upon the local marketplace.

to enable an intelligent and structured approach towards gaining the best possible price, at harrison James & hardie we start our detailed assessment before we go out to a property by compiling a file of similar homes from our own extensive ‘sold stock’ records and additional information provided by Rightmove / Zoopla. these latter reports are available to any agent of course, anywhere, irrespective of proven sales ability in the local marketplace. however there are trends and fine-tuned variations on price, even from street to street, that someone simply printing out a report based on land registry statistics won’t begin to know. achieving the right price is not a simple art. It relies on the benefit of something best described as ‘informed gut instinct’, built upon a seasoned understanding and longevity within the local marketplace. As with all things in life, the longer you have been doing something, the better you get at it subconscious competence, if you like. Achieving the right price can be positively affected by a sensitivity to a mood or a fleeting memory when inspecting the property, something that prompts us to take a calculated risk on a really ambitious figure or reminds us of the perfect buyer we went out to see last month, someone who hasn’t yet got their home on the market but would jump for the right thing, for example. An out-of-town agency would


Cotswold homes magazine

struggle with a list of sold prices when it comes to unique period properties, where an experienced local agency has a huge inbuilt advantage.the north Cotswolds is a massively varied marketplace that requires a consistent team - each person in harrison James & hardie has worked for years acquiring detailed knowledge and a broad memory bank. A property on Blockley high Street may have little in common with its neighbour but reminds us of a beautiful cottage we recently sold in Bourton on the water, for example. if we are lucky some of the disappointed purchasers may still be looking because, of course, to value correctly it is important not only to know your property but also to know your purchasers. we always take into consideration the requirements of our list of registered applicants, their spending power and confidence levels - without knowing detailed specifics of potential buyers you cannot hope to pitch the marketing price at exactly the right level. At harrison James & hardie we invariably list in pairs, as some of the team will have an overview of the whole marketplace whilst others on the team will know which registered buyers are likely to suit a particular property– if it’s a large cottage within grounds of a couple of acres then a director might go out together with a branch manager whilst for a starter home in moreton in marsh, ewan or Jake will know of several registered buyers prepared to

offer and will therefore be best placed to advise.the most important thing, with ten of us listing day-today, is always ‘best person for the job’. our stamping ground at Upper rissington is a perfect case in point. with a detailed background history over a period spanning three decades, the team at the Bourton office have a clear edge when assessing the critical tipping point on values between ambitious and plainly unachievable. having been involved from the sell-off of the original base and as advisers to the new homes developers, we perfectly understand the differing benefits between the old rAF homes and the new. we also know, for example, that Smith Barry Crescent and Circus can command up to 10% more than similarly sized properties elsewhere on the development, because we always have several potential buyers for this address at any given time. we have recently achieved full asking price sales and/ or competing bids on several properties in the village, old and new, even after they have been unsuccessfully marketed by other agencies beforehand, proving there is no substitute for experience and that such valuable knowledge translates into success for our vendors. More generally, seasonal peaks and flows amongst different categories of buyer also create shifts in demand, which pattern only becomes obvious from sales information built up year after year. A

asK the eXPerts

The impact of the referendum and changes in stamp duty

The High Street, Broadway

property suited to the Cotswold retirement market will find more potential purchasers by launching in early spring than in late autumn, for instance, whilst families prefer to complete on transactions when there are no exams, from late July until Christmas. to know these variations gives us a well-developed sense of potential and opportunity.then there are the wider influences – what is going on in London, what is happening in the mortgage markets, whether there is a general election or indeed a referendum – all of which impact on the local market, of course. information is power. reading the prevailing mood and asking our purchasers how they feel about the market when out viewing, talking to our partners in Fine & Country in mayfair and discussing the general pace of the market with local solicitors for example, our conclusion about the likely value of a property is dictated by the anticipated level of confidence and competition between buyers for a particular type of property at the precise moment it is launched - and timing can make very a real difference to the result. The best example is the evidence of the first six months of 2016. Just before stamp duty increased by an additional 3% for investment buyers, we knew there would be a surge in demand for prime period properties and for small modern homes that were particularly suited to the residential lettings marketplace. we advised vendors in those sectors to be really bullish on price but to work to exchange as quickly if possible. record times for exchanges were achieved in the first quarter with

To know these marketplace variations gives us a well-developed sense of potential and opportunity

Bourton on the Hill

many agreed sales completing in days - we even negotiated for one vendor to stay in the property as a tenant for the following six months so that the deal could complete in time. normally choice-led, cash rich buyers are never under pressure, rarely in a chain, independent of financing, inclined to stick than twist if there’s a confidence dip. Each

transaction has to be a serendipitous mix of perfect opportunity and desire - if it’s not right, it won’t happen. mature, sophisticated and mortgage free, these purchasers will usually just choose to sit tight than make an impetuous decision (even if they initially offer) because doing things right now is rarely important.


asK the eXPerts

Predicting the market – The impact of the referendum and changes in stamp duty The first quarter of 2016 simply created an unsustainable spike in the upper quartile marketplace, a lovely opportunity for those who timed it well but with the additional meltdown following the eU vote, this sector was bound to be hard hit as investors temporarily scurried for cover. once the new stamp duty threshold came into effect on 1st April this year, coupled with the waiting game on the eU referendum, the number of investment buyers was always likely to subside. So should we be worried about the lack of activity in London, now, for example? Given a home priced at £1.2 million that would have commanded less than £65,000 in stamp duty taxation until April now requires a cash lump sum from a second home purchaser of just under £100,000, and beyond that price it is even more punitive, if George osborne intended stamp duty hikes to create a sharp braking effect on escalating sale prices in central London and to prevent investors from dominating desirable areas such as the north Cotswolds then he has achieved the trick. the autumn / winter market is usually extremely active with ‘London’ buyers but there does seem to be a bit of a hiatus – such purchasers are keen for a bargain and clients are dead set against price reductions - however with a flurry of new instructions coming in towards the end of october, and despite news of a plummeting pound, it has been business as usual in the main marketplace. Prices may still have to undergo a reality check in the upper quartile sector then, but for now it’s more of a waiting game than panic stations. Suffice it to say that if a prime property is placed at a sensible price, there will still be plenty of interest as we discovered in August when we achieved over asking price for Brewhouse Cottage in oddington immediately after it was launched. London-centric agencies are largely dependent on the international investment market place but we are equally strong in the local residential marketplace and have found good reason to be cheerful. As one sector weakens, the other has simply picked up pace – as we reach the end of 2016 our company figures are likely to equal 2015’s result, the best in a decade. why? well, families were always far more likely to be interested in looking once the exam season was over, and as the first quarter concluded we realised that this sector was quickly building in confidence and competition. For spacious modern homes including luxurious properties up to £850,000 and above, an energy surge has been driven by entirely different motives and constraints no matter what the outcome of the referendum – a house bursting at the seams, an aspiration to fulfil, a seductive mortgage opportunity to secure and an impatient buyer pressing for exchange, the summer a perfect time to complete and so on. Given the number of attractive mortgage products that have recently


Cotswold homes magazine

Upper Swell

The far greater impact in the residential market upon activity and confidence is not the woes or the successes of the stock market but the availability and attractiveness of finance been launched and the severe disincentives set in place to deal with investor over-enthusiasm, the battle for local homes of all types since the referendum has been largely between young couples and families. we recorded an extraordinarily good first quarter this year based on the surge of investment purchases, but the decline we initially expected after Brexit has failed to materialise. we conducted more viewings and agreed more sales in the second quarter than the first – then peak activity in July and a remarkably brisk summer holiday period. of course, this concerted revival can be traced back to a significant difference in recovery rates in the main residential market over the last decade compared with the prime second home market. A desirable period village home today will typically command 20% more than its pre-crash value whilst a modern estate property will achieve much the same as it would have at the height of 2007. Availability of new-build stock has been suppressing competition of course, coupled with a general lack of willingness amongst lenders (until recently) to agree high loan-to-value borrowing.the far greater impact upon activity and confidence is not the woes or successes of the stock market but availability and attractiveness of finance – whilst the impact

of Brexit may have left the pound reeling, the advantage has been exceptionally low lending rates. when selling and buying in the same locality, there is always a balance between the price you sell for and the price you pay. Right now, first time buyers local families have come out to play, feeling relatively safe from the challenge of a speculative investor landlord. At last, they can actually afford to buy a place or to upgrade to a larger family home after many years of having to squeeze and make do. if there has been an impact on the health of the local marketplace it is the very top end that is feeling the pain right now, whilst the outlook for the main market in 2017 still feels remarkably healthy. whatever happens as the impact of Brexit takes effect we will be anticipating change, reading the signs and advising our vendors accordingly. Please just bear in mind if you want to achieve the best possible price that the cheery chap extending a licked finger in the air and offering you a cheap fee is not your answer, nor the poor soul who only deals with ‘the London market’ reporting as if the world has come to an abrupt end. there is every reason for confidence as long as you choose an agency that really understands the local market and is demonstrably able to stay ahead of the curve.


The Coach House, Upper Swell

ÂŁ2,600 pcm (LET AGREED)

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 | Cloak Room | Drawing Room with Open Fireplace | Kitchen/Breakfast Room with Aga and Pantry | Rear Boot Room | Utility | Dining Hall | Garden Room | Second Kitchen | Sitting Room/Library | Rear Entrance Hall | Ground Floor Double Bedroom with En suite Bath and Shower Room | First Floor Master Bedroom with En Suite | Third Double Bedroom | Bathroom | Dressing Room/Study | Walk-In Closet | Front and Rear Gardens | Ample Off Road Parking including Under Cover Parking | EPC Rating: E Fine and Country, Harrison James & Hardie, Stow-on-the-Wold 01451 833 170

Vine House, Blockley

ÂŁ1,200 pcm (LET AGREED)

A Grade ll listed Georgian double fronted property having been extensively and sympathetically renovated and designed to offer a luxurious and stylistic village home located on the picturesque High Street of Blockley. Sitting Room with Open Fire Place | Dining Room | Kitchen | Master Bedroom with En Suite | Second Double Bedroom | Bathroom | Further Bedroom/ Study | Private Terrace Garden Fine and Country, Harrison James & Hardie, Stow-on-the-Wold 01451 833 170

Country Homes from harrison james & hardie

Station HouSe


Station House is a detached Victorian property with a renowned history. Built in 1854, it served as home to the stationmaster at Adlestrop for over a century until Beeching’s infamous purge of rural rail networks during the 1960s when the station was finally closed. Other than the serendipitous geography of its position - tucked neatly between road, rail and river, looking out over pasture fields on the border of two Cotswold counties - those who lived there might have thought it unremarkable but for Edward Thomas, the First World War poet, who would forever immortalise the station in verse.

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


Cotswold Homes Magazine

Station House

A century on again from this delightful description, stationmaster and poet might be hard put to recognise the house today. Life and the railway have changed immeasurably, of course – no steam, no stop, a second or two’s blast of streamlined carriages en-route to London and gone again - though there are still cows grazing in the opposite field and the adjacent shallow river hosts a teaming wildlife: small brown trout, some chub, the odd pike and a generous stock of crayfish, an elusive otter or two, swans and thirsty deer, and at the bottom of the garden chicken pens and compost heaps, just as there ever was. But the once square little two-up-two-down redbrick cottage (unassuming but pretty, of course, and solidly built to befit its rigorous engineering heritage) has been gloriously transformed over the last few years into a much

larger, bright and beautiful, fabulously individual family home. Situated just off the road from Stow on the Wold to Chipping Norton, Station House enjoys a high degree of natural privacy, surrounded by fields and tucked in beneath the railway bridge, almost out of sight from passers-by. Standing in grounds of approximately three quarters of an acre (some of which is left to field, used and maintained by the neighbouring farmer), it is approached by a long driveway that leads onto a turning circle, with an attractive oak-framed detached double garage to one side.

Double doors open out to enjoy far-reaching views across the neighbouring countryside, an eminently sociable space but equally a complete retreat from the busyness of modern life beyond.

Comprehensively renovated in 2007, the house retains plenty of period detail and charm. Two Victorian front rooms and the bedrooms above remain much as they once were, working fireplaces intact and brass doorknobs even bearing the GWR insignia, but beyond is a large


Station House

100 Cotswold Homes Magazine

Station House

“Life and the railway have changed immeasurably, of course – no steam, no stop, a second or two’s blast of streamlined carriages en-route to London and gone again ...” new extension running the width and height of the original house, transforming it completely. Upstairs, the characteristic sloping eaves of the original cottage have been replicated seamlessly, with extended accommodation now providing three generous double bedrooms and two bathrooms – plenty for a family and friends to stay. The piece-de-resistance, however, is unquestionably the kitchen / living room. Running the breadth of the house, cheerful and welcoming, under-floor heated, luxurious and open-plan, providing ample relaxation with a brace of cosy sofas to one side and a copious range of beautiful oak kitchen units to the other (divided solely by a central island console), it is flooded with light from all sides. Double doors open out to enjoy far-reaching views across the neighbouring countryside, an eminently sociable space but equally a complete retreat from the busyness of modern life beyond.

Outside, the picturesque front garden is laid mainly to gravelled paths and formal beds bordered by a low, gently flowing river (perfect for a spot of fishing if required). To the rear a sweeping landscaped garden is a children’s paradise with plenty of places to roam and play, with a woodland glade at the far end occupied by chickens (a benign trespass onto land that is technically owned by Rail Track but for which it now has no use and can be formalised by licence if required for a peppercorn annual rent). Marketed by Fine & Country North Cotswolds, a sale was agreed after fourteen viewings on the first weekend. Tom Burdett, Sales Director, observes: ‘There is so much to be said for a timed launch, when the best possible price can be achieved by generating the maximum level of demand over the shortest period of time on the open market.” For more information, turn to pages 84-85 101

Fox Lodge, Aston Magna

Fox Lodge A house in the country

102 Cotswold Homes Magazine

The majority of properties in Aston Magna are simple rows of terraced stone cottages that would have originally been tied to the Batsford estate to provide a workforce for the arboretum, sawmill and surrounding farms. Fox Lodge was also once an estate property but stands in comparatively glorious isolation, elevated and detached within its own generous plot in the centre of the village, occupying a tranquil setting surrounded by estate land and a copse of mature trees. Much more humble in its original condition, it had fallen into considerable disrepair by the end of the twentieth century but was fully restored and so skilfully extended by the owner’s predecessor that it is barely possible to detect new from old today. Approached by a gravelled driveway and turning circle, providing parking for at least a dozen cars, Fox Lodge is now an impressively luxurious four bedroomed Cotswold stone property. It possesses a particularly pleasing architectural symmetry to the front, with a central chimneystack and single low-hipped roofline. The plot extends to a half-acre of landscaped, spreading lawns with a timber cottage and office also situated within the grounds (of which, more later). Separated by a post and rail fence and running the entire length of one border is an adjoining acre of paddock complete with an ancient stone barn, belonging to the Batsford estate but rented for several years by Fox Lodge at a peppercorn annual sum. Whilst this agreement does expire with the current ownership, it would be eminently sensible to

renew, considering the sense of substance and additional privacy it accords to the property. The interior of Fox Lodge has had an equally careful and sympathetic restoration to its exterior. Original features and appropriate period details are evident throughout, all giving a sense of substance, quality and solidity as well as integral character to the whole property, including exposed roof beams, timber lintels and stone walls, stripped pine doors and wooden sills. Each room has been meticulously finished to the highest standard, with close attention paid to general comfort and ease of living. The ground floor is sociable and friendly: an enclosed,

cosy porch opens onto a wide, welcoming central hallway complete with a Victorian fireplace, stairs rising, with a study to one side and well-equipped laundry room to the other. Two main reception rooms flow from one to another, connected by a grand conservatory opening out onto a broad terrace, served by a traditionally companionable kitchen-breakfast room. Above, four generous double bedrooms and a family bathroom are set into the eaves, all individual in character and beautifully finished; of these, the two principal bedrooms overlooking the front of the property are both fitted with copious built-in wardrobes and luxurious ensuite shower rooms. 103

Fox LoDge, ASTon MAgnA

Sitting in a sweeping circle of landscaped gardens and terraces, elevated from the street and benefitting from considerable natural privacy, the sense of seclusion is aided by dry stone walling and strategic planting around the borders including an array of mature deciduous and coniferous trees, the whole providing an idyllic sense of barely contained, encroaching nature; the adjacent barn tucked into the most private edge of the garden is covered with a profusion of dog roses and clematis, the beds are full of cottage garden flowers and verdant shrubs, all held at bay by a neat expanse of carefully maintained lawns. At the far edge of the property and comfortably at a distance from the main house are two single storey buildings of solid timber construction – the first a wellequipped office with plumbing and electricity, the second a Dutch barn style two-bedroom cottage fitted to the highest standard for use as a successful holiday let. Andy Soye of Character Cottages says: “This unique property presents a fabulous letting opportunity for one lucky buyer! Finished in a beautiful classic contemporary style, exactly what the modern holidaymaker is looking for, it is bound to command great interest as a large holiday let. The main house is well laid out with ample sociable space and, with the separate cottage, gives occupancy for twelve people. As such, we estimate Fox Lodge would command approximately £75,000 per annum of gross rental income.”

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The cottage in the grounds

Fox Lodge is marketed at £995,000 by Fine & Country north Cotswolds. For more information and to arrange an appointment to view, contact Sales director Tom Burdett on 01608 653893.


Ask the experts

Andy Soye

Mat Faraday

The Changing Nature of Holiday Letting in the Cotswolds


I have a lovely cottage in the Cotswolds that I’ve been thinking of holiday letting, however with all the uncertainty around, including Brexit and changes in the market, I’m worried that now may not be the best time – what is your opinion?

contemporary style that appeals to the modern traveller and to use professional photography, to really showcase the property on a website with large, high resolution images – there is no point having a beautiful property if it is not shown off in the best possible way.

There is no doubt that there are a lot of factors driving change in the holiday letting industry at the moment, however for owners of high quality cottages in areas such as the Cotswolds, a lot of these factors should have a positive benefit.

Once you have a well presented cottage, the next challenge is to ensure that your pricing is optimised, to take account of factors such as seasonality, length of stay and market demand. In particular, the modern traveller does not want to be locked into old fashioned patterns, such as week only bookings in summer, therefore it is absolutely critical to understand how to price booking slots that allow visitors to start and end on virtually any date, without losing income from a fragmented calendar.

One of the big events recently has been the “Brexit” vote to leave the European Union, which is making many people nervous about the future prospects for the UK economy. From a holiday letting perspective, however, the fall in the value of the pound relative to other currencies is very positive for the UK holiday industry, making it cheaper for overseas visitors to come to the UK, and more expensive for British people to go abroad. A very important trend in the holiday letting industry over recent years has been the demand from guests for much higher standards of holiday cottage, whereas in the past holiday cottages were often viewed as the “cheap and cheerful” option. Nowadays many well-heeled travellers want to vary their holidays, potentially spending part of their time in a stylish hotel and part in a luxury holiday cottage, furnished and presented to the same high standards. Fairview Cottage in Longborough, marketed by Character Cottages, is a great example of the luxury style that many guests are now seeking and are willing to pay for. This trend has recently been recognised by all the major online travel agents, with, for example, Expedia buying HomeAway, so that they can package holiday cottages with hotels, flights and car hire. At the same time, travellers have become more demanding, expecting to be able to book a holiday cottage instantly, just as they can do with their flight, car hire and hotel. Looking at these trends overall, it is clear that high quality, UK based, instantly bookable holiday cottages are in a very strong position to capitalise on increasing levels of demand. In order to maximise your opportunity, the starting point is to present your cottage in a

Finally, to maximise the performance of your well presented and optimally priced cottage, it is important to work with a partner who can provide both a local and a global marketing strategy, and, in particular, who is able to offer customers a genuine instant booking facility, rather than leaving them waiting once they have booked all the other parts of their holiday. At Character Cottages, we are experts in the Cotswold holiday letting market. From our formation we have been specialists in marketing modern, contemporary cottages, and can show you real examples of the styles that drive the highest levels of performance. We provide free professional photography, to ensure your cottage is perfectly showcased on our website, and we have developed a market leading proprietary pricing system, specifically designed for the demands of the modern traveller, which maximises your profit whilst minimising wasted booking slots. Last but definitely not least, we invest heavily in very effective local and global marketing strategies, and our stylish website provides the essential instant booking option that customers now demand. Andy 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: email: 105


The Paddocks, Bourton on the Water

£1,550 pcm LET AGREED

The Old Stables, Bourton on the Water

£945 pcm LET AGREED

A detached and well-presented modern family house situated at the end of Lamberts Field on a private corner driveway location, with adjoining paddock (not for equine use).

A well-presented detached Cotswold stone character cottage with courtyard garden and off road parking within walking distance of the centre of Bourton on the Water.

Entrance Hall | Sitting Room with Open Fireplace | Large Kitchen / Diner with Double Doors to the Rear Garden | Utility Room | Cloakroom | Master Bedroom | En-Suite Shower Room | Three Further Bedrooms | Family Bathroom | Front and Rear Gardens | Parking | EPC Rating: C

Sitting Room | Kitchen/Diner with Integrated Appliances | Ground Floor Bedroom with En Suite Shower Room | Two Further First Floor Bedrooms | Family Bathroom | Courtyard Garden | Off Road Parking | EPC Rating: E

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

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

61 Lamberts Field, Bourton on the Water

£915 pcm LET AGREED

A bright and spacious three bedroom family home located in a desirable location within walking distance to the centre of Bourton on the Water and the Outstanding Cotswold Academy. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Kitchen | Conservatory | Three Bedrooms | Family Bathroom | Generous Rear Garden | Garage | Off Road Parking | EPC Rating: C Harrison James & Hardie, Stow-on-the-Wold 01451 833 170

The Old Dairy, Longborough

£595 pcm

(plus £180 to include council tax, electricity, telephone line rental & broadband and water )

A delightful furnished two storey property located in the heart of the village of Longborough which would be ideally suited to a single professional person. Kitchen / Dining Room | Sitting Room | Double Bedroom | Bathroom with Separate Shower | EPC Rating: F Harrison James & Hardie, Stow-on-the-Wold 01451 833 170

Country Homes from harrison james & hardie

WheelWrights Barn

Wheelwrights Barn Chedworth


heelwrights Barn is a modern, detached four bedroomed home with planning permission to extend, situated in a plot approaching three quarters of an acre and occupying a glorious elevated position in the sought-after village of

Chedworth. Bordered by Cotswold dry stone walling to the front, approached via a five bar gate and a paved driveway with ample parking for at least eight cars, the property enjoys far-reaching views towards distant hills. Nestled at the edge of the valley on a sheltered lane towards the top end of Chedworth’s three-mile stretch, Wheelwrights Barn is conveniently yet tranquilly located within walking distance of the primary school, tennis courts, village hall, parish church and traditional ‘Seven Tuns’ public house.

108 Cotswold Homes Magazine

WheelWrights Barn

From here, a cosy sitting room is equipped with a wood-burning stove, leading through to a conservatory and west-facing patio ideally situated to take full advantage of the summer sun.

since the current vendors took over the property six years ago, they have overseen a major transformation of the interior and grounds. A broad welcoming hallway opens out to a luxuriously equipped ‘L’ shaped kitchen / breakfast room that now forms the natural centrepiece of the home, flooded with natural light and fitted with a generous range of fitted cupboards, larder and integrated appliances. The working side of the kitchen leads through to a study, utility / boot room and WC, whilst to the opposite end a large informal dining area can host twelve people comfortably. From here, a cosy sitting room is equipped with a woodburning stove, leading through to a conservatory and west-facing patio ideally situated to take full advantage of the summer sun. Such a sociable arrangement of the ground floor space ensures this property is eminently suited to family life. Upstairs there are four bedrooms – a master bedroom and newly fitted family bathroom, two further doubles and a guest suite. The whole overlooks beautifully landscaped grounds with formal raised terraces, heavily stocked borders, mature trees, spreading lawns and a prerequisite vegetable garden. There is even a short stretch of footpath to the far boundary, (strategically hidden by a stretch of tall, manicured hedging and latch gate, running between Cheap Street and School Lane), perfect for young children to make their way safely to the nearby primary school. 109

Wheelwrights Barn

Despite the work that has been carried out there is considerable potential for which planning permission has fortuitously already been gained. (Details are available online via Cirencester District Council’s planning register.) The proposition includes a new garage and a glamorous garden room with an open fireplace and pitched tiled roof, designed to replace the existing conservatory; in the attic, a raised roofline would permit an impressive master bedroom suite with dressing room and bathroom. Although no enquiries have been made, it seems sensible to install a floor above the garden room, thereby providing the master bedroom with its own en-suite bathroom and dressing room. Given the position of the property within the plot, too, there is clear potential to suggest that the grounds could be divided to provide another independent dwelling, making it of potential interest to a developer, of course. As it is, the property already enjoys the considerable benefit of an attractive, traditional Cotswold stone built barn (currently serving as a garage and store) with full planning permission to convert into a stunning one-bedroom cottage with double height open-plan living accommodation (or perhaps a mezzanine). Naturally taking advantage of the same beautiful views and elevated position, this conversion could easily be provided with separate parking and private garden, thereby creating ample independent living ideal for elderly parents or a nanny, for example, or indeed as a source of income as a holiday let. Wheelwrights Barn is marketed at £925,000 by Fine & Country North Cotswolds. For more information and to arrange an appointment to view, contact the Bourton on the Water office on 01451 824977. 110 Cotswold Homes Magazine

Update on Upper Rissington

Update on

Upper Rissington Launch of new village hall and central market square provides the perfect finish to the new development

“Yes, it’s been lying idle for over a year whilst the parish council resolved various issues but success at last - it’s now open and it’s terrific!” says Wayne Fisher, one of the residents patiently overseeing the set-up of a trust to manage the new village hall. “It’s already proving to be an enormous asset. Warm, spacious, clean, an ideal hub and a welcome replacement for the inadequate, dated wooden hall we had to cope with previously, the fabulous sports hall and well-equipped kitchen now provides a perfect venue for existing groups such as the popular Mothers and Toddlers’ Little Hurricanes and for the new Scout group, too.” David Harrison adds: “We can now offer a range of sporting activities for all ages including table tennis and fitness classes as well as Aikido and Judo. There’s also a useful community room for business and coffee mornings, for music and movement, baby massage classes and our well112 Cotswold Homes Magazine

We already put on many traditional events such as the Christmas Pantomime, Easter Egg Hunt, Summer Fete and Curry Quizzes but this bespoke space, opening out onto the village field, offers many more possibilities for whole village entertainment. supported Upper Rissington Photography Club, doubtless just the beginning of many such clubs.” The first big social event in September provided a useful stress test when a Barn Dance and Hog Roast was completely sold out. Gratifyingly, the high-energy family evening had a universally positive response.

“It’s a fantastic resource,” said Richard Arnell, Chairman of the Upper Rissington Social Committee. “We already put on many traditional events such as the Christmas Pantomime, Easter Egg Hunt, Summer Fete and Curry Quizzes but this bespoke space, opening out onto the village field, offers many more possibilities for whole village entertainment.”

Update on Upper Rissington

There is so much opportunity here, and as time goes on we will extend our range of classes to provide specifically for different age groups and abilities ...

The Runner Bean gym, established for some years in Upper Rissington is already up-andrunning in its new location, now fabulously equipped to provide a wide range of personalised fitness regimes with regular classes including Tabata and Yoga and much more to come. Laura Scarrot-Brookes, the owner, says: “There is so much opportunity here, and as time goes on we will extend our range of classes to provide specifically for different age groups and abilities, whether you are a teenage girl or a silver surfer, and many health and beauty treatments from tanning to sports massage.” Next door, The Hangar will serve a versatile daytime menu for everyone from gym bunnies to yummy mummies, opening from 7 am until 7 pm during the week and providing delicious lazy brunches at the weekends. From morning coffees and healthy juices to teatime treats, best of all there’s a licensed wine bar for an early evening aperitif after work. Owner Donna Holland is an experienced restaurateur, but with Bourton on the Water’s Chester House Hotel and The Croft under her belt she has a far more modernist vision for Upper Rissington. The fabulous industrialised interior is fitted out with a corrugated iron ceiling, exposed copper pipework, finished with the slate greys and teal blues of RAF battle dress.

Dean Beard, Chairman of the Upper Rissington Village Hall Trust, agrees. “We have such exciting investment and development plans – it’s the natural home for music and the arts, sports and fitness, family and community events. Supported by a large group of volunteers, we will work hard to ensure the heart of the village for everyone in every sense.”

For more details on the Upper Rissington Village Hall, visit Meanwhile, the old corner Co-op store in Sopwith Road will be imminently replaced by a far more spacious supermarket in the modern market square, flanked by The Runner Bean gym and an exciting new meeting place, The Hangar.

“A traditional Cotswold teashop would have been quite out of place here given its history, so we have created a beautifully pared-back space that will reflect the contemporary vibe of this exciting new village,” she explains. What will The Hangar provide? “I don’t want to be prescriptive and much prefer to develop things organically, but it should be perfect for a variety of different occasions from a regular book club to a one-off private dinner party. Just watch this space!” 113

ilMington shop

The GLORIOUS REVIVAL of THE ENGLISH VILLAGE SHOP We look to Ilmington, where the community-owned and volunteer-run shop and cafĂŠ is providing a template for successful village ventures.

every community needs a heart, a hub, a gathering place - especially so the rural village, where elderly and less able residents deserve the access to amenities that town and city dwellers take for granted. But modern times have been tough on traditional community tentpoles, such as churches and pubs. Sometimes, too, small local shops have fallen victim to the incursions of supermarket chains, or have been simply squeezed out of business in a challenging economic climate. In 2012, Ilmington’s village shop suffered closure. Owners Vincent and Julia Gajny regretfully shuttered the shop after 14 years of community service, citing post-recession blues, competition from large stores and business tax concession cuts as amongst the culprits for the loss. But the people of Ilmington didn’t take it lying down, and rounded together to investigate the possibility of opening a new shop. After a process of exploring the possibilities, the committee 114 Cotswold Homes Magazine

ilMington shop


discovered that the Catholic Church was ceasing operation of St Philip’s - making it the ideal venue for the new shop. A co-operative was formed. ‘The shop had to be viable on business terms,’ says treasurer Tim Allen, who was only too aware of the necessity for the co-operative to be able to make ends meet. ‘We surveyed villagers quite intensively on what services and facilities the shop should offer. It was a very assiduous process.’ A share-offering run in 2014 raised £186,000, which was further bolstered with grant money. Though a paid manager is employed, the services are otherwise run by volunteers, who all have a stake in seeing the endeavour succeed. ‘Over 340 members invested in the business, and are therefore owners. Since it is a co-operative the key decisions are democratically made - we operate on a ‘one shareholder, one vote’ basis,’ Tim says. So no matter if an owner offered the minimum investment of £10, or if their contribution stretched to thousands of pounds - all have an equal voice in the development and future of the project. And it’s no longer just a shop - a café has now also opened, with toilet and car parking facilities also added. The shop itself is profitable, so far fulfilling the original objective. Today the Ilmington

Community Shop and Café opens its doors not only to residents, but also to the cyclists and walkers who regularly stop by the village, looking for rest and relaxation away from the road. For Tim, it’s exciting to have finally established a new gathering place for the village. ‘When the old shop was open, there was a real buzz as people went to buy their papers….we have succeeded in creating a new hub and the vast majority of people seem very pleased with the result.’ In a hyper-globalised world, with our food so often sourced by competitive market chains,

much of our local infrastructure has been lost. The decisions of unaccountable moneymakers - who usually possess no personal stake in the continuation of our centuries-old communities can have sweeping ramifications for village life. It is highly encouraging, therefore, that the people of Ilmington (and many other communities) have taken a stand against the loss of local facilities with a traditional, pragmatic and very British-seeming approach. It all goes to prove that there’s fire in the ‘sleepy’ Cotswolds yet. 115

Upper Rissington

We all love a friendly village shop, so if you’re hoping to find your ideal home in Ilmington or Upper Rissington here’s a quick Buyers’ Guide! Sold In Upper Rissington

9 Smith Barry Crescent, Upper Rissington

8 Wellington Road, Upper Rissington

Situated in a cul-de-sac in the quietest part of the village, bordering fields and woodland with views towards Oxfordshire, No 9 Smith Barry Crescent is one of only six original homes built for the highest-ranking officers on the former air base. Extended by the present owners, the property is blessed by a generous plot overlooking landscaped gardens bounded by dry-stone walling and offers substantial accommodation. Entrance Hall | Living Room | Dining Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Utility Room | Shower Room | WC | Five Bedrooms | Bathroom | Garden | Off Road Parking | Garage | EPC Rating: E

The property occupies a corner position and is within a stone’s throw of The Rissington Primary School (An outstanding school) and is also within the catchment area for The Cotswold Academy (An outstanding school).The well-presented accommodation is over three floors and comprises of: Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Dining Room | Study | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Six Bedrooms (Three En-Suite) | Family Bathroom | Lawned Rear Garden | Off Road Parking for Several Vehicles | Garage | Carport | EPC Rating: F

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

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

7 Delfin Way, Upper Rissington

3 Barnes Wallis Way, Upper Rissington

An exceptionally well-presented detached house situated on the edge of this extremely successful development and within walking distance of The Rissington Primary School. Entrance Hall | Cloakroom | Sitting Room | Kitchen/Dining Room/Family Room | Utility Room | Master Bedroom with Ensuite | Three Further Bedrooms | Family Bathroom | Gardens to Front and Rear | Driveway Providing Parking | Single Garage | EPC Rating: B

A well-presented three bedroom semi-detached house situated on the edge of this extremely successful development and within walking distance of The Rissington Primary School.The property falls into the catchment for the Outstanding Cotswold School. Entrance Hall | Sitting Room | Kitchen/Dining Room | Master Bedroom with En-suite Shower Room | Second Double Bedroom | Single Bedroom | Family Bathroom | Rear Garden | Two Allocated Parking Spaces | EPC Rating: B

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

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

116 Cotswold Homes Magazine


Sold in Ilmington

Killaloe, Ilmington

Dumbra, Ilmington

A detached stone built property occupying a central position within the heart of the village, the property benefits from a generous plot and has potential to substantially improve and extend (subject to the necessary consents). Entrance hall | Sitting Room | Conservatory | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Utility | Large Master Bedroom with En-Suite | Two Further Double Bedrooms | Bathroom | Double Garage | Gated Driveway | Outbuildings | Orchard to Front and Side | Generous Garden to Rear | EPC Rating: E

A deceptively spacious character cottage, constructed of Hornton stone, Dumbra has been tastefully extended and offers beautifully presented accommodation whilst occupying a prime position within this popular North Cotswold village. Entrance Porch | Sitting Room | Dining Room | Family Room | Kitchen/ Breakfast Room | Utility Room | WC | Master Bedroom with En-Suite | Second Bedroom with En-Suite Shower Room | Third Double Bedroom | Family Bathroom | Garden | Parking for Several Vehicles | EPC Rating: D

Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651 000

Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651 000

Lilac Cottage, Ilmington

Clematis Cottage, Ilmington

A beautifully presented detached stone cottage situated on one of the most picturesque lanes within this highly sought after village.The property boasts a well manicured garden to the rear and a pretty village outlook to the front. Entrance | Sitting Room | Dining Room | Kitchen | Utility Room | Shower and WC | Three Bedrooms | Bathroom | Stone Build Store | Garden | Parking For Several Vehicles | EPC Rating: E

Constructed of golden Hornton stone this 3 bedroom period cottage occupies a tucked away and secluded position and is conveniently situated within just a short walk of the village shop and two pubs. Dining Hall | Sitting Room | Kitchen/Breakfast Room | Utility Room | Ground Floor Bedroom With En-Suite | Two First Floor Bedrooms | Bathroom | Mature Cottage Garden | Off Road Parking | EPC Rating: E

Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651 000

Harrison James & Hardie, Moreton in Marsh 01608 651 000 117


Time to sell?

Make your home more valuable and help it to sell faster, with our essential tips Preparing your home before putting it on the market (or ‘home staging’) will not only help your property to sell faster, but can also add thousands to its value. Interior designer, Amanda Hanley, has put together some useful advice to help you present your home in a way that will attract as many potential buyers as possible.

Clean and de-clutter The most important thing you can do to prepare your home for sale is to get rid of clutter. Clutter won’t sell a home - it will make it look smaller and untidy. Distance yourself from your home and look at it through a viewer’s eyes - potential buyers will find it difficult to imagine themselves living in a home if it’s full of other people’s belongings. Personal photographs, collectables and clutter need to be removed and put into storage, and replaced with some tastefully selected table top pieces that will dress your home perfectly. Have a good spring clean! Deep clean bathrooms and kitchens, remove limescale and clean tile grout, clean windows inside and out, make any minor repairs, wax wood. A sparkling floor will give instant appeal and a proper clean will make your home smell fresh. Bad smells are the biggest turn off for potential buyers so ensure you do everything to eliminate them - clean drains, wash bins, sinks, toilets, showers, damp patches, air the house and wash all bed linen.

118 Cotswold Homes Magazine


Make a good first impression First impressions count. Most buyers form their first impressions of a house within seconds of walking through the door, therefore spend time grooming the outside of the house – do some planting, repaint the front door in an eyecatching colour, keep the path/drive swept and tidy up the garden: this might not add much value to your home but it makes it more likely to sell as people can see themselves enjoying the garden. The kitchen is the most valuable room in a house and therefore worth paying attention to when planning to sell, as it can make the difference to an unsure buyer. Re-facing your

kitchen cabinets is a much cheaper option than a brand new kitchen and often as effective. Wonderful aromas make a property instantly inviting. The smell of fresh bread and coffee will be enough to entice people into the kitchen, and scented candles and diffusers will create mood and increase the appeal of a living room or bedroom. Plants and fresh flowers bring colour, life and light to a room and smell wonderful - fresh orchids will liven up a room and beautiful silk flowers are a fantastic choice for a year round display that will never look faded.

Amanda Hanley by Design silk flowers

~ Cole & Son Mariinsky Fonteyn Wallpaper

If you want to create a wow factor in a key living or dining area, a stunning feature wall with beautiful wallpaper can transform a room without too much expense.

Think about redecorating Think about the impression that your home décor is giving. Neutral colours won't put any buyer off. Giving your walls a fresh lick of neutral paint will make your home seem lighter and bigger and will allow viewers to imagine how they would adapt the rooms to their lifestyle. 'Chalky Downs 3' Dulux Trade is a fabulous grey that you can use all around the house. If you want to create a wow factor in a key living or dining area, a stunning feature wall with beautiful wallpaper can transform a room without too much expense. Wall mirrors make a room look much bigger and lighter, particularly in smaller rooms or hallways.You can also use large mirrors to bring in more light. Make sure the windows are properly dressed

with blinds or curtains, as naked windows make a space feel impersonal and drab.You can have dress curtains made up with the latest designer fabrics relatively inexpensively - these touches will add a new dimension to your home and help it to look stylish and current. If your carpets are looking very tired you may consider a new one to increase value and appeal - Westex Twist 'Major' will give an extremely luxurious feel and will last for years. Ensure that your lighting works well - lamps in dark corners and a soft lamp in the bathroom can create a warm glow. A light and airy room feels bigger and makes the property more attractive. People need to be able to envisage living in your house, so make it easy for them to see all the fantastic living space your home has.

Amanda Hanley by Design lighting | T 01993 822 385 | M 07976 353 996 Amanda Hanley by Design, The Gallery, 69 High Street, Burford, OX18 4QA 119


Ask the experts

Sue Ellis

A Helping Hand - Becoming A Guarantor


My daughter wants to buy a property however, despite saving hard for a deposit, it seems her income is not sufficient to support a mortgage. A friend suggested that we look into being a guarantor - what does this mean and what does it entail? Guarantor mortgages used to be popular when I started in the Financial Services sector many years ago - it was quite the norm, then. Lenders were happy that only one party would be residing in the property so it was a great way to enable young buyers to get on the first rung of the property ladder. Parents were named on mortgages with their children (or vice versa), simply in order to ‘prop up’ the income needed to fund the required mortgage amount. Over the years, this type of lending has diminished in popularity and / or availability. However with the change in the Stamp Duty rules recently introduced by HMRC – an additional 3% of the property value in tax now payable by anyone already owning a property and buying a second, whether to live in or not - I have had more enquiries to find a way round this by acting as a guarantor. As a guarantor you are not the legal owner of the property rather a legal ‘guarantee’ is set up, hence the name ‘Guarantor’. This means you are liable to cover the monthly repayments and debt if your daughter is unable to do so. Failure to pay would result in the lender pursuing you instead - including potentially seizing your personal assets, including your own home! Understandably, this is an undertaking that should not be taken lightly and one that should most definitely be taken with fully independent legal advice before signing on the dotted line. Generally, lenders are still cautious about guarantor mortgages and stipulate specific reasons for the circumstances when this form of borrowing can be facilitated: • The property is for a young professional who is likely to have a quick increase in salary within the next few years,

and will ultimately be able to support the mortgage in the long term • The customer will never be in a position to afford the loan but due to a close relationship to the Guarantor can establish a long-term commitment, be that parent, sibling or child • For business reasons, the self-employed customer wants to act as a Guarantor for their spouse/partner If your application fulfils the criteria above, the lender will look at your income rather than your daughter’s, so you must have sufficient to cover the mortgage along with any liabilities / mortgage commitments you have on a personal level. Bear in mind that the loan will also be based on your age – given the guarantor is always likely to be older than the borrower a shorter term will reduce the amount that can be loaned, of course. There are alternatives to a guarantor mortgage. Some lenders have recently started to offer a ‘joint borrower sole proprietor’ mortgage - lending is still assessed on both borrowers’ circumstances but without the need for a legal guarantee, and a charge is normally placed on one property rather than two. Of course, both borrowers would still be jointly and severally liable for the mortgage debt, so again expert legal advice is essential. Or, your daughter could go down the shared ownership route, as Ewan Peaston explains in his Guide for First Time Buyers (on page xx). This is a great, affordable part-buy / part-rent option that would allow your daughter to purchase more shares in the property as her circumstances improve, usually up to 100% of the whole value. 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

Authorised & Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority 120 Cotswold Homes Magazine


Ask the experts

Robert Hamilton

Want Cosy Toes This Winter?

Opt For Under-Floor Heating


I am renovating an old cottage but not sure about the best central heating system - radiators seem so out of place in a period home. What do you recommend? I agree with you that radiators can look terribly out of place in a really old cottage but the problem with a modern lifestyle is that we expect to live with comfort all year round. If we really wanted to retain the historic aspects of our cottages we would bathe once a week in a tin tub by the fire, take hot water bottles to bed and huddle around the kitchen range in the depths of winter! Increasingly, I find myself recommending under-floor heating when clients undertake a major renovation project. These modern systems have been developed in countries where winters are much colder than here. Whilst we have been slow to recognize their effectiveness and economy they have two huge advantages over conventional radiator systems, requiring heat at a lower temperature and providing a constant ambient temperature, on the whole far better for the fabric of a building than the thermal extremes created by timers or thermostats. They can also be arranged in ‘zones’ so that an area not often in use can be kept at a lower temperature, for example, and perform equally well with engineered wood as well as stone / ceramic tiles. As this type of heating becomes more common, systems have become much cheaper, too - competitive to install, under-floor heating ensures considerable saving in heating bills, too, especially when combined with appropriate insulation methods. Either ‘wet’ or ‘dry’, it all boils down to your preference and budget but I favour ethylene glycol filled systems rather than water. Electric heated ‘mats’ are the cheapest system, acting rather like electric blankets in a bed. If your cottage has flagstones laid on bare earth then underfloor heating is relatively simple to install. The flags need to be

lifted carefully and saved, either to put back again or to sell on, should you wish – just note that flagstone floors should not be replaced without prior consultation with the Heritage Office if your property is listed, but genuine flags can be very valuable and are much sought-after by restorers. The earth floor needs to be dug down by a minimum of thirty centimetres (but go lower to give yourself more headroom if desired) over which a waterproof membrane is fitted then covered with insulation material such as Celotex / Kingspan polystyrene boards / foamed concrete. Simply ensure that pipes or wire-carrying mats are laid regularly so there are no cold spots then cover with a load bearing ‘screed’ of sand and cement, making ready to lay the floor of your choice. Upper floors can be similarly adapted, too. Flexible plastic is easily manipulated so simply take up floorboards, lay reflective insulation and then fit piped liquid heating between the joists under the floor surface. If a ground floor is suspended wood on a subfloor void, again remove the floorboards and joists then carry on as before. Airbricks in the lower part of the walls that were used to ventilate and prevent fungal decay, providing the air intake necessary for solid fuel or gas fire combustion, will no longer be needed so these so they can be covered up or removed. Too often I see them plugged with builders’ foam, both unsightly and amateurish, so please don’t make that faux-pas and just remember, whilst it’s still lovely to have a fire in one of the rooms it will need an air supply! 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 121


Getting ahead of the game

Getting ahead of the game Top tips for first time buyers

As an estate agent there is no better feeling for me than handing the keys over to a happy, smiling new homeowner, so my tips are designed to help you achieve this with the least amount of stress and to make sure you start off on the right foot. Whilst there will be plenty of well-intentioned people prepared to help, what you really need is expert advice from a few trustworthy professionals who have demonstrable experience in the local marketplace. Providing you choose those experts wisely, no one is going to ‘do EWAN PEASTON MARLA, MNAEA, SENIOR SALES NEGOTIATOR

one over on you’ as so many parents fear!

The first step is to organise your finances before you start looking. Knowing your spending limit will help you narrow down what size, style and location you can achieve. It’s great to be aspirational but be informed. There’s no point in champagne tastes and beer pockets, looking at potential properties that turn out to be beyond your price range. Conversely, you might be surprised how better options present, if you make proper use of all the help available.

An independent financial adviser is a must. A financial adviser will calculate your finances and ensure that you have an agreement in principle (AIP for short, of which more later) but will also assist you in working through all the serious amounts of paperwork you will encounter right to the end of the transaction. Many lenders offer direct deals but having your hand held by someone who can sift through the market for you and give you guidance on the right thing to say and do is particularly helpful at stressful points in the buying process - attempting to do so alone might result in losing your mortgage offer or worse, your property.

Buying a home can be a costly affair but there is proper help for first time buyers in particular. Government schemes are extremely beneficial. There are two different ‘Help To Buy’ options: the

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This two bedroom property recently sold by us in Moreton would be an ideal first property

first is effectively an interest-free loan of 20% on a new build property and the second is a mortgage guarantee scheme that only requires a 5% deposit. These should be discussed further with your financial adviser who will be best placed to help you decide, based on your particular needs and situation.

There are also various property schemes that offer a fantastic way to step onto the first rung of the property ladder. The most common is the Shared Ownership Scheme, an option that allows you to purchase a property at specific percentage of the full price.

For example, with a shared ownership you might buy at 50% of the property’s worth, with the other 50% funded by a local authority for which you pay a monthly rent. This is such a brilliant way to get started - you can borrow less but still get the perfect first property and, as most schemes are now stair-cased to 100%, secure a greater share of the property as your finances improve. It’s also often significantly cheaper than letting the same property type on the open market - but without the fear that the landlord may want it back at some point. As long as you keep up your regular monthly payments (an absolute must with any mortgage) and look after the house as required by the detail of the shared ownership agreement, then you have complete security of tenure.


Top tips for first time buyers

Ewan Peaston advising first time buyers in the Bourton on the Water office

There are two different ‘Help To Buy’ options: the first is effectively an interest-free loan of 20% on a new build property and the second is a mortgage guarantee scheme that only requires a 5% deposit

Rather than endlessly trawling property websites, register with your local estate agency. The best properties will be under offer by the time they show up online but you can rely and trust a good independent agent will look after you, will genuinely care about your needs and even protect you from your own inexperience, knowing just how it feels to be a first time buyer. Contrary to what your parents suspect we are here to help, not itching to push you into something unsuitable!

Try not to fall back on your parents to make your choice for you.

11 Summerfield Close: A shared ownership property in Blockley

Your loved ones will feel duty bound to point out all the disadvantages of your potential purchase because they care about you and have often contributed significantly to your purchase, however I have seen too many first time buyers lose out on the perfect property simply because they were made to feel insecure about their ability to make a sensible choice. Owning a house is about being a proper grown-up and taking full responsibility for your decisions, so start now and stand on your own two feet. 123


Top tips for first time buyers

Keep in touch regularly, demonstrate you are serious by coming out to view at a moment’s notice, be prepared to listen to the agent’s advice and don’t be overly suspicious. If you are reliable, open, polite and communicative then a proactive, friendly local agent (like me!) will not only have an ear to ground but will let you know as quickly as possible about any new opportunities, putting you in the best possible position to secure the house of your dreams.

Don’t view too many properties and identify your needs. At any one time, the current stock of properties in your price range will be reasonably representative of what you will find no matter how long you look - if you have viewed four or five properties, you have seen quite enough to make a comparison. You will only confuse your sense of what is truly achievable by making a wish list of the best parts of a dozen houses rather than sticking to what you cannot do without …“If it had the same garden / sitting room as the first one and / or the same location as the last one we looked at it would be perfect”… It might be perfect but it would also be in a different price bracket!

1 Mascot Flats: We agreed a sale on this two bedroom apartment in Stow on the Wold before it even went online so make sure you are registered with us so you don’t miss out on a similar opportunity

If you like something, be swift and rational. The first time buyer market in the North Cotswolds is extremely competitive - there are many cash-rich professional landlord investors looking for the same thing as you - but it is still rare to find a typical first home priced significantly above its natural market so don’t come in with a silly offer. Whether you can avoid paying the full asking price depends on how quickly you act – yes, it is your knockout blow if there are several viewers lined up behind you but negotiate with your other strengths in mind first.You are not in a chain, you can be flexible on timescales and you have your finances in place, backed up with an AIP. This last point is vital - It places you in a strong position as a serious buyer and gives your offer a lot more weight than simply blurting out the asking price at the first hurdle.

With service industries cheap does not mean good value for money, it means trouble. Agreeing your purchase is only the start of it. Up to 30% of transactions fall through before

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Sopwith Road: Upper Rissington is a great location for a first home, such as this one that was recently offered for sale with us

exchange of contracts, often through lack of effective communication. Don’t go for a bargain basement online conveyance service when you really need a proactive, kind, reputable, established local solicitor to fight your corner, not only to guide you through the process and remain regularly in contact but because they will have a good working relationship with your estate agency, too, therefore best placed to ensure the exchange happens as soon as possible.

And lastly… the good bit. It can be a daunting prospect taking those first steps to owning your first home. It's a large financial investment and a weighty responsibility but ultimately it will pay off. Just imagine the feeling of freedom and achievement when we finally hand over those keys to you! To speak to Ewan, telephone 01451 822977 or e-mail


Wise advice for would-be tenants


First in line

Wise advice for would-be tenants Renting a property can sometimes be a daunting process at the moment, as demand for rental homes continues to outweigh the number of properties available. Good properties are being snapped up super-quick, so Katy Hackling offers some great advice to prospective tenants about how to get ahead of the competition.

The first thing you must do is register with local agencies. Harrison James & Hardie Lettings’ database is full of registered applicants, all of whom are called as soon as a suitable property is taken on. Don’t expect us agents to do all the legwork for you, though – the squeaky wheel gets the oil, so phone in once a week or so; you never know, something might just come up in the diary. As we often have multiple applicants booked in for each new instruction, we also recommend signing up for Rightmove and Zoopla alerts; make sure that you are checking these sites regularly to ensure that you don’t miss an opportunity when a new property comes to the market. Don’t be fooled into thinking that because things move quickly that the home you want will be immediately empty. Few properties coming to to the market are vacant: most new instructions will appear when the current tenant gives us notice, so won’t be ready to move into for a month or two. Therefore, start looking at least two months before you plan to move. If your perfect property is ready to move into earlier than you want you may be able to negotiate or, conversely, if you really are desperate be prepared to overlap the new tenancy with your current rental, simply to avoid losing it to a competing applicant who can move in before you. When you are viewing properties, it is important to remember not to be too picky. If you just fancy a change then fine, but if you do need to move then inevitably there will have to be some compromises. Decide what factors are ‘musts’ and what are ‘would likes’ and go from there. To get an idea what might come up within your price bracket ask us for examples that have recently let so you can manage your expectations, and be aware that the average rent is likely to rise, particularly at entry level, if you spend six months looking! Nothing can be left to the last minute or to chance if you want to succeed in getting something at the right price in the right location for you.The key thing to remember is to be flexible.The quicker you can move the better – speak to your employer about working through lunch hours to be able to snag the early appointments, be ready

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to pay a holding deposit to secure a property right away, make sure that both you and your partner (if you have one) are both available to view the property at the same time so that you can make a decision quickly, and have references and contact details for referees ready to hand. Once you have found you have to move fast so get your ducks in a row! First duck - check your credit score. Is it high and if not, why not? If you don’t have the best credit score then don’t panic, but do be honest about it. We understand that life doesn’t always go to plan, particularly financially, but there is nothing worse than doing a credit check for you to then fail. If you do have bad credit history, particularly bankruptcy, with an IVA or a CCJ against you, be prepared to provide a guarantor or to pay six months’ rent in advance. Next duck – funds. Most agencies will require a month’s rent in advance, plus a deposit (usually one and a half times the monthly rent) and an administration fee to cover the cost of referencing, the tenancy agreement, inventory, check-in, etc., which can be up to £400 plus VAT. The final duck – line up your referees. Landlords are likely to get itchy feet if the referencing process takes too long. Ask your employer to confirm on company letterhead how long you have worked there, your salary and any bonuses, and whether you are on a permanent contract. A character reference will also be required, so have a think about who would be best to ask and get them to write a letter for you. You will also need copies of bank statements and wage slips so dig them out and put them in a safe place for when you need them! So remember, in order to get ahead as a tenant you need to be flexible, willing to negotiate and have everything ready to go – my advice, even if you have months to go to your moving date, is to pretend you only have hours! To speak to Caroline, Amy, Katy or Deirdre in the Lettings Team, telephone 01451 833170.


Preparing your home to go on the market

Get yourself sale-ready! Preparing your home to go on the market

When you are preparing to put your property on the market it is really important to take some time to get your paperwork in order, to sort out the garden as well as the house itself, and to finish all those little jobs on your ‘To Do’ list, especially if you want to find a buyer for the best possible price in the shortest possible time. JO HETHERINGTON MNAEA PA & ADMINISTRATION MANAGER

As agents, we used to be able to discuss and sell the benefits of our new instructions to an exhaustive list of prospective buyers before photos and details had even been prepared, because everyone would register with all the local agencies the moment they decided to look for a new home. Now we often hear from new applicants after they have done their research on the web, when they ring up to view a specific property. With your ‘first viewing’ online, a poor impression can instantly rule your property out even if it actually ticks all the right boxes compared with other properties in the same price range. We pay for professional photography to ensure the best possible impression online but we also need you to do your bit by de-cluttering and (to a reasonable extent) de-personalising your home. That half-finished decorating project, the falling-down fence and spare room full of junk are obvious musts for a successful early sale but beyond this it is important to present a neutral personality with a proper sense of functional space throughout.

If you do not have a spare set of keys it’s worth getting another set cut in advance. Keys are always tagged up and locked away securely in our offices so will be perfectly safe – likewise, we can manage alarms and keep pets safely shut in, of course. However, if your viewer is not an animal lover (or worse, allergic!) then the presence of Tiddles or Rover can put off a potential buyer so it’s worth asking a neighbour if they can look after your pet during a viewing and a good opportunity to take the dog out for a walk, anyway! To prove that we have taken all necessary steps to ascertain the correct information relating to your property there are various legal requirements to fulfil, too, prior to marketing. As dictated by HMRC, the most important is to provide original photo evidence of your ID, usually a passport or driving licence. We also require supporting evidence that you own the property - something showing the address in your name, dated within two months of signing the terms of business, such as a council tax demand, bank statement or recent utility bill. Similarly, we must have ordered your

With your ‘first viewing’ online a poor impression can instantly rule your property out, even if it actually ticks all the right boxes compared with other properties in the same price range. Ensure each room is presented to its best advantage - get a few rolls of wallpaper and borrow a cot or a desk to re-model that junk room into a practical living space, for example. Put all those family photographs, plastic toys and teddy bears into storage, minimise the clutter on kitchen surfaces and clear the dining table loaded with paperwork. Accumulation of ‘stuff ’ is part of every day life and an expression of personality but it’s important not to hamper your viewers’ ability to imagine your house as their home. No one is expecting perfection – you still have to live, of course - but a lack of basic tidiness and cleanliness is off-putting to prospective buyers so make time to do the washing up, hoover up the pet hairs, empty litter trays and pooperscoop the garden, clean the loos and bleach the sinks, especially before you leave the house for the day. Much as we always try to give our vendors at least twenty-four hours’ notice, you never know when your buyer may walk through our door and we don’t want to delay a viewing just because you haven’t made the beds that morning!

Energy Performance Certificate and you will also need to fill in a ‘Fact Find’ questionnaire giving basic information about the property, supported by relevant certificates regarding heating, plumbing and windows for example, proof of building regulation inspections and planning permissions, which solicitors will require anyway when a sale is agreed. Finally, we need to have written confirmation from you (either a signed and dated set of details or an e-mail) approving the content of our particulars before we can release the brochure, so it is really important to keep an eye out for this and to deal with it promptly. Knowing what to expect and getting everything ready in advance will enable us to find your perfect buyer as soon as possible and save you considerable stress down the line! To speak to Jo, telephone 01451 822977 or e-mail 129


Getting chatty with it

Getting chatty with it Traditional marketing makes way for social media Lucy Gainford, Marketing and PR Manager at the leading North Cotswolds estate agency Harrison James & Hardie, explains why Cotswold Homes’ multi-media platform is LUCY GAINFORD MNAEA PR & MARKETING MANAGER

custom fit for twenty-first century estate agency


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We finally took the decision to stop appearing in the local paper around a year ago, having monitored a substantial decrease over several years in enquiries from this particular method of marketing. Before the recession we spent well over £100,000 a year on local paper advertising and although we had reduced that commitment to concentrate on far more effective, targeted marketing with Cotswold Homes and Fine & Country, it was still a large drain on our resources. @harrisonjameshardie


Traditional marketing makes way for social media

Links from e-mailers to our property editorials and expert advice columns on Cotswold Homes website are by far the most popular content

Property 2016 - an expert guide to the North Cotswold marketplace 2016 - is produced by Cotswold Homes, providing helpful advice and informed insights from our panel of experts on all aspects of Letting and Sales. Read the online version at or simply pick up a free copy from the offices of Harrison James & Hardie

Backed up by independent statistics confirming that readership of local papers has been falling by a national average of 10% year-on-year, property portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla have undoubtedly had a drastic impact on searching habits for a very long time. However, most estate agencies maintained that local papers were still a method of gaining new instructions but we found that the vast majority of our clients relied far more on Sold boards, recommendations and property portals to choose our agency. None of our competitors had the courage to pull out of local advertising, fearing that it would be a massive loss of profile if other rivals chose to remain, so we decided to be first to rip the plaster off. And we haven’t looked back! That’s not to say that we have withdrawn from conventional newspaper advertising, full stop. Quite the contrary, national newspaper advertising remains incredibly valuable as a way of accessing the

London marketplace. As Fine & Country North Cotswolds we have access to a host of national broadsheets including The Sunday Times and The Evening Standard, with a team of journalists within the Fine & Country PR department working to secure additional editorial publicity throughout the national press. Statistics provided by the PR department at Fine & Country reveal that positive editorial coverage has ten times the value of equivalent advertising space, backing up our decision to promote our properties via Cotswold Homes magazine instead of the local paper. As a unique marketing tool, 10,000 hard copies are freely delivered each quarter to homes and independent businesses in over ninety villages and towns throughout the North Cotswolds, including high-traffic meeting places such as Cheltenham Racecourse and train platforms to Paddington at Kemble, Moreton and Kingham. The magazine has a massive local readership of at least 50,000, including online pageturner versions, and provides us with exclusive access to an ever-expanding database already comprising more than 7,000 e-mail addresses of residents and frequent visitors to the local area. We also link information on our properties to our social media accounts with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, well aware that prospective purchasers are starting to branch out beyond traditional online portals to find their dream home. It is /cotswoldhomespage


estimated that by 2017 the global social network audience will total 2.55 billion as sites continue to grow exponentially in popularity. Today, users not only keep in touch with family and friends via social media but also seek out information and share it with others. Mobile devices have become ubiquitous and therefore social media provides a natural online solution for finding a home. We are tapping more and more into this amazing resource in order to promote our properties on a daily and even hourly basis, communicating with potential buyers in a creative, instantaneous way that simply cannot be achieved by orthodox paper advertising. Links from e-mailers to our property editorials and expert advice columns on Cotswold Homes website are by far the most popular content, so we have recently been funding the development of a fabulous property website that will be hosted within Cotswold Homes, providing a searchable, content-rich source of valuable information about all aspects of the local property market to an inexhaustible host of potential customers. As such we have been specifically able to target both a local and ‘London market’ audience in a far more effective way than the paper could ever have enabled, including those who may not even realise they are looking, as you quite rightly say! To speak to Lucy, telephone 01608 651000 or e-mail

@cotswoldhomes 131

Profile for Cotswold Homes

Cotswold Homes Autumn / Winter 2016 edition  

In this bumper edition, our resident foodie Collette Fairweather talks to chef and restaurateur Rick Stein about his new venture in Marlboro...

Cotswold Homes Autumn / Winter 2016 edition  

In this bumper edition, our resident foodie Collette Fairweather talks to chef and restaurateur Rick Stein about his new venture in Marlboro...


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