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

Spring Edition 2012

ÂŁ2.50 where sold

Behind the Scenes at The Races A Cotswold View of the Sport of Kings

North Cotswold Hunt Ball Photos from the Kasbah

A Lovely Spring Wedding Getting Married in the Cotswolds

Hot Property: Ask The Experts Investing in the Lettings Market

Out and About in the Cotswolds

Snowshill Manor Quincentenary of Sudeley’s Queen

Picnic Baskets at Paxford P2P Easter Bank Holiday Monday

Trade Local & Save Money

Exclusive Offers from Aptus Suits,Cotswold Flowers, The Frock Shop and much, much more....


Cotswold-Homes Magazine CONTENTS THE NORTH COTSWOLD’S EQUESTRIAN LOVE AFFAIR Behind The Scenes At The Races The lives of local people involved in the sport of horse racing.

HOT PROPERTY - ASK THE EXPERTS 4

Andrew Soye and Mat Faraday of Character Cottage

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Johnny Magee of Jem Financial Planning Philip Hanley of Philip James Financial Services Robert Hamilton of Central Surveying

Rocking the Kasbah 20 Eastern Promise at the North Cotswold Hunt Ball photography by kind permission of Louise Bowles - www.louisebowlesphotography.com Anna Lythgoe - www.annalythgoe.com

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Will Down from Montrose Property Maintenance Amanda Hanley from Amanda Hanley by Design

GETTING MARRIED IN THE NORTH COTSWOLDS

Horses as Therapy, Therapy for Horses The work of Karin Major

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Easter Bank Holiday Monday: Paxford P2P Diary of an Equestrian Lady

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Cotswold Weddings 76 Veronica James, Dean, on how to get married in a Cotswold Church and a team of experts with ideas, tips and advice on your Cotswold Wedding Christine Kilsby from The Frock Shop in Stow on the Wold

photography by kind permission of Sarah Farnsworth - www.sarahfarnsworth.co.uk

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Sue Heath from Cotswold Flowers, Bourton on the Water

OUT AND ABOUT IN THE COTSWOLDS

Katie Sanders from the Wyck Hill House Hotel, near Stow on the Wold

Glimpses of Guiting’s Past A history in photographs of Guiting Power

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The Curious Delights of Snowshill Matt Dicks takes a personal tour of the Manor

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Culture, History, Murder and Mystery 36 in Winchcombe Quincentenary of a queen, an imaginative tour, a gruesome history and a Festival Farming the Natural Way Conygree Farm on the National Trust Estate

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Karen Harrison, director, and her team at HARRISON & HARDIE

photography by kind permission of Gavin James - GJMultimedia.co.uk Gary Cleghorn - www.cotswold-images.com

Equestrian Art Local Equine Artists: Nigel Brunyee and Tilly Tayler-Levy

Investing in the Local Property Market A team of property experts offer advice on how to make the best of your home

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Alex Edwards from Aptus Suits, Dean, near Chipping Norton Tim Spittle from Rapid FX, Draycott, near Moreton in Marsh Martin and Emma Crean from M Spa, Chipping Campden

COTSWOLD HOMES BUSINESS DIRECTORY Cotswold-Homes Privilege Card Offers offers and discounts from independent North Cotswold businesses

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Something you’d like to share? Perhaps you’ve had a business success, an inspirational day out or would like to pass on a recipe to our readers? You too can become a Cotswold-Homes contributor simply email matt@cotswold-homes.com

To speak to Collette about Ad Sales,

please telephone 01608 653899 or e-mail collette@cotswold-homes.com

To speak to Matt about editorial features or forthcoming events, please telephone 01608

Editor’s WELCOME

653899 or e-mail matt@cotswold-homes.com

To receive a Privilege Card through the post, visit our website www.cotswold-homes.com, click on the Cotswold-Homes Club button to register. To see a complete list of current offers, click on to the Magazine and Gallery, Privilege Card section on the home page.

Design team: www.wearealias.com Not picked up your FREE Privilege Card yet? To get

one, simply fill in this form, cut out and hand to any of the businesses listed in this month’s Privilege Card section (pages 79 - 81) Name:.................................................................................... E-mailaddress...................................................................... Address.................................................................................. ............................................................................................... Postcode........................Tel:.................................................

Welcome to our Spring Edition of Cotswold-Homes, the property and lifestyle magazine brought to you by independent North Cotswolds businesses. The North Cotswolds is home to all things equestrian – we go behind the scenes at Cheltenham, rock the Kasbah with the North Cotswold Hunt Ball and anticipate the joy of the annual Paxford P2P on Bank Holiday Monday, even finding time for an historic trip to the horsey set’s favourite villages, focusing on Winchcombe, Snowshill, Guiting Power and Sherborne. HARRISON & HARDIE’S team of local property experts explain why investing in the lettings market is the new best thing, with advice from Karen Harrison, Johnny Magee, Philip Hanley and Andy Soye of Character Cottages, who come up with some great advice about how to go about it and a selection of beautiful homes just perfect for the rentals and the holiday letting market. Easter is a fabulous time for a Cotswold wedding – Wyck Hill House Hotel’s Katie Sanders shares her wisdom on hosting everything from a big traditional do to a small, grown-up affair, the Frock Shop and Cotswold Flowers find inspiration from the Four Seasons, Louise Bowles shares her wedding albums, fitness fanatic Tim Spittle gets bride and groom into shape, Aptus Suits set the golden rules for well-dressed grooms and Collette gets blissed out with a perfect chill-out for brides and hens at M Spa. With all that and exclusive offers to holders of the Cotswold Homes Privilege Card from independent local businesses, this magazine is a real keeper, a coffee table treasure to see you right through Spring. We hope you enjoy it! Matt Dicks, Editor, Cotswold Homes

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




at the races

Ruby Walsh rides Big Buck’s to his 15th consecutive win on 28th January

“Something over half a billion pounds will be staked on the outcome of just 27 races, at least a million pounds cash placed on each race with 250 bookmakers at the course alone.” 

Cotswold Homes Magazine


Behind the Scenes

at the races With 10,000 tipsy heads falling onto pillows each night after celebrating wins in local pubs and restaurants, figures for Gloucestershire Tourism estimate the value to the wider local economy of the Festival at £50 million. Something over half a billion pounds will be staked on the outcome of just 27 races, at least a million pounds cash placed on each race with 250 bookmakers at the course alone. Gate receipts total £7 million – that’s around 230,000 people coming to watch the horses, to do business in hospitality boxes, to socialise in the restaurants and bars, to

shop at 80 stands, to eat three miles worth of fast food laid end to end - and to booze on 220,000 pints of Guinness and 310,000 bottles of champagne, wine and beer! Race-goers flock from every part of the UK and by every means - a stream of taxis, buses, trains, 2,000 coaches, 30,000 cars clogging up every known and little-known route into Cheltenham during the Festival. Additional flights are hosted by Ryanair to bring in the Irish massive. Guests from neighbouring Ellenborough Park Hotel - suites aptly named Arkle, Istabraq, Stormy Fairweather, Kauto

Star – enjoy a private shuttle service by golf buggy over the fields. Meanwhile helicopters, circling the cheery blimp and dropping like dragonflies, land 650 flights on the busiest temporary airfield anywhere in the UK. www.cotswold-homes.com




at the races

Edward Gillespie has been Managing Director of Cheltenham Racecourse for many years. “There is so much I love about Cheltenham: the passion of the customers, the quality of the racing, the focus of the trainers and jockeys on this place – and the wonderful views. My memories are so many and various - in the 1980s, when Michael Dickinson trained the first five in the Gold Cup, when Dawn Run became the only horse to win that race having won the Champion Hurdle, when it snowed, Desert Orchid’s win, the years of Istabraq and, later, Best Mate, then Kauto Star and Denham…I could go on! I couldn’t possibly give a highlight, there is always a new one just round the corner but yes, I have had favourite horses - many of them are those that never quite won, such as Tied Cottage and Run and Skip. Grands Crus is the obvious one to watch this year, but there will be more!” Andy Clifton is Communications Manager at Cheltenham Racecourse. “I fell in love with horse racing through betting at university – afterwards I was lucky enough

to land a job at at the Jockey Club – over the years I have also worked at Ladbrokes, was PR Director at the Tote, a consultant for Racing UK and MD of Favourites Racing – through it all, I’ve only missed one Festival since 1987 and none in the last 20 years. It has always been my favourite place anywhere on the planet, so it is a thrill to work here, helping to put on such a huge event as The Festival. This year, the highlight looks set to be the Kauto Star / Long Run battle, but the Festival has 26 other races and there will be plenty of other great stories during the week. I’d be amazed if Big Buck’s is beaten, but I’m not always right, as my bank manager will tell you!” John Francome is a Racing Commentator for Channel 4. Once a champion jockey, he became known for his best-selling crime novels based on the world of racing - producing a book a year since 1986 “Finally, after 25 novels based around horse racing, I have run out of plausible ways to murder people! While it lasted, using horse-racing as a backdrop made writing, or rather research, much easier - hardly a week passes without something happening that could make a good book. Race fixing, blackmail, corruption in general, extra-

Long Run breaks for victory over the final fence in the Gold Cup, Cheltenham 2011 

Cotswold Homes Magazine

marital affairs…and all that from yesterday’s paper! My happiest days were, undoubtedly, working as a lad at Fred Winters and going racing with other jockeys. There was more money in running one of my fish and chip shops than I earned as a jockey - salaries at the top end of the sport are as good as ever and riding fees have kept pace with inflation, especially at Cheltenham, but look down the list and you will find prize money at the smaller tracks - where most jockeys ply their trade - is half what it was five years ago. 90% of jockeys will struggle to make a decent living but, fortunately, there is a long list of lads willing to give it a go!” The lure of £3.38 million prize money at the Festival alone goes a long way to explain why the equestrian heart of the North Cotswolds beats to the Sport of Kings. The racecourse at Cheltenham, in particular the Festival, is the centrifugal influence around which a veritable industry can be found in some of the most sleepy and picturesque villages – Condicote, Naunton, Evenlode, Snowshill, to namedrop but a few. Here in the North Cotswolds, everyone knows someone involved in the racing world – shopkeepers, surgeons, stable girls, jockeys, trainers, owners… Looking Behind The Scenes, we illuminate the lives of local people who all take part in the grand love affair of horse-racing.


Sam and Willy Twiston-Davies are young, up-and-coming Cotswold jockeys. They get their competitive spirit not only from their famous father, Nigel Twiston-Davies, but their mother Cathy, too – as a youngster she competed in point-to-point, later eventing and team-chasing with her own fair share of success. Certainly, she considers her sons masters of their own destiny. Willy looks set to follow his brother’s success but has recently suffered injuries that have impeded his efforts. “Sam and Willie are very determined,” says Cathy. “Sam has been very successful but still wants to improve, learning from everyone and every ride. Willy has not had an easy start but his attitude towards getting back to full fitness and race riding is one of steely determination. I find watching them nervewracking and am always relieved when they get home safe and sound but I badly want them to win, too, it’s only natural. If they ride the best they can and learn from every ride then that is a bonus, and if in the process they make mistakes, then so be it. Life is a roller-coaster, ups and downs.”

“If they ride the best they can and learn from every ride then that is a bonus, and if in the process they make mistakes, then so be it. Life is a roller-coaster, ups and downs.” Sam says: “Mum gets very nervous when we are racing. Sometimes she watches us on the TV, sometimes she comes to the race meetings, but I know either way it terrifies her. She is very supportive though, because we have always loved racing and always wanted to be jockeys. I had my first ride for my father when I was 12. I admire A. P. McCoy immensely and I’m so pleased he won BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 2010 - I hope that will be me, one day.”

Willy Twiston-Davies Cathy and her young

boys

Willy remains philosophical: “This year’s been strange. I’ve experienced real highs and lows – now I’m simply focused on my learning. I’ve just got to keep improving and moving on. I’m working full time with Dad, which can be demanding, but it is very rewarding. There’s a bit more pressure when we ride for him because we want to make him proud, to prove that we can do the job and haven’t got the position because we are his sons. Maybe he’s a little bit harder on us, but we don’t mind because he has always given me very good advice.” Sam at Cheltenham, 28th January www.cotswold-homes.com




at the races

Jonjo O’Neill moved several years ago from Penrith to the Cotswolds, settling in at Jackdaws Castle, once home to the Duke. Describing it as an ideal location, with undulating countryside to exercise the horses and geographically well positioned to travel the length and breadth of the country, Jonjo is undoubtedly among the most famous and the most respected of all trainers. Here, he explains how he overcame cancer to continue his career. “After I became a professional jockey, I began to think how I would really like to become a trainer but in 1986 I had a fall that just felt different - it wasn’t that it was a bad fall, it just took longer to get over it. I became tired very quickly, I found myself having to stop on the way home from a race to rest because I was falling asleep at the wheel. I don’t usually get ill so I just kept going, just thinking I was getting older and when I did finally go to the doctors, I was eventually diagnosed with cancer. It was a terrible shock, especially for my family.

Trainer Martin Keighley was once stable lad with the legendary David Nicholson, who was affectionately known as The Duke. Martin came as a lad to Jackdaws Castle where he met Belinda, his future wife, both going on to work at Cheltenham Racecourse for some years whilst establishing their yard. Martin describes the Festival as “the Olympics of National Hunt Racing.” “Jackdaws Castle was a wonderful place to start as a young lad because everything was done correctly. You had to turn yourself and your horses out immaculately, too. The Duke was a great person to be involved with, as you knew where you stood with him - if you did something wrong you got a bollocking and that was that. I picked up lots of ideas - I owe so much to him. I miss his guidance now I’m training - he never minded you ringing regularly for advice and, as frustrating as it sometimes was, he was usually right! “We have been lucky at Kempton Park and Ascot, and in Newton Abbot during the summer - so far I’ve trained six winners at Cheltenham, a massive achievement for a small, relatively new yard like ours. The Festival has been my dream since I was seventeen. My highlight last year was Champion Court finishing fourth in the Albert Bartlett Novice’s Hurdle. Warren Marston came back in buzzing about him and assuring me he was a very nice horse in the 

Cotswold Homes Magazine

making – he went on to win the Grade 2 Dipper Novices’ Chase on New Year’s Day at Cheltenham. “As far as what makes a great jockey, often they just need a lucky break. However, there are those that set themselves apart - staying on a horse after a mistake when other jockeys may not. Horses jump better for them, they are able to judge pace in a race better and produce horses at the right time. One young jockey who impressed me recently is 16 year old Brendan Powell Jnr - after watching him a couple of times I thought he stood out

“So far I’ve trained six winners at Cheltenham, a massive achievement for a small, relatively new yard like ours.” - hard to believe he is only 16. Too many lads these days think it is all going to fall in their laps. When I was a young jockey there were lots of us chasing the same rides - you had to take all the knocks on the chin and still smile, keep your head down and just work hard, when we got rides and winners it was all the more satisfying but you have to be realistic, too. If you’re not going to have the opportunities you need to make the grade, know when the time is right to move on and do something else. It was the best thing I ever did!”


“I just kept telling myself it would be all right and I would get better. After my treatment I bought an old Landrover and used to drive it half way up one of the fells where we trained the horses. I would get out and walk as far as I could with my red bobble hat on, so the stable lads could see me and not mow me down. Each day I would mark how far I got and the next day I would push myself that little bit further, even if just a few inches. I knew if I kept doing that I would beat it and I did. Another thing that kept me fighting was a piece of advice from a very good friend, also a trainer who had suffered from cancer, who said: “Don’t give up your trainer licence.” The thought of entering the winner’s enclosure with a horse I had trained kept me focused. I had my first win as a trainer in 1989 - it was a great feeling. “I would say that training a horse is all about nurturing it, looking out for signs that it is happy or not. I study all the horses with the stable lads; together we build up a character, a story of what makes each

“I would say that training a horse is all about nurturing it, looking out for signs that it is happy or not. I study all the horses with the stable lads; together we build up a character, a story of what makes each horse tick.” horse tick, we know when it is ready to race or not and which race to enter. Sometimes we get it wrong, quite a bit of the time we seem to get it right, but you can never really tell. My philosophy is to know your horse. Horses that have only cost their owner a few thousand pounds can turn out to be the best horses, and horses that are bought for hundreds of thousands don’t perform well. The trick is to keep studying the horse and to try different techniques until you get the right formula. Every horse we train is treated with the same care and dedication, no matter how much they cost the owner.” www.cotswold-homes.com




at the races

Graham White, groom, works for local legend David Bridgwater. Here he reflects on the duties involved in the job he loves. “Passionate about horse racing all my life, to be given the chance to work in a proper yard was a dream come true. A typical day involves a lot of mucking out, grooming, changing rugs, tacking up, riding out on the gallops (the best bit!), washing down, cleaning tack, finishing about 5.30 - unless we’re racing, when it can be any time up until midnight. On race days, we arrive at least two hours before the race so that the horses have time to relax at the racecourse stables. Once the horses settle in, it’s time for a bite to eat in the lads’ canteen, a brilliant place for a warm meal, to catch up on news and gossip, and to exchange a fair bit of legpulling – no one is immune! “We prepare the horses about an hour before the race without getting them overexcited – if they get wound up, they can lose their race before they even get onto the track. We warm them up in the pre-parade ring while the trainer collects the jockey’s saddle from the weighing room. Saddle on, it’s into the parade ring - the nerves start to build as the bell rings for jockeys to mount and go out onto the track, and then all the groom can do is hope that the horse runs well and comes home safe – the best feeling is leading our horse into the winners’ enclosure for the photos and cheers! My career highlight would have to be when The Giant Bolster won at Cheltenham although leading in my first winner, Pagan Sword at Wetherby, was also hugely exciting. One of my best memories was riding out

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Cotswold Homes Magazine

“The relationship between a jockey and his valet is parental, one of loyalty and longevity - a bond, once established, is seldom broken. It’s an unwritten law, I suppose, that once you have worked for a jockey a few times, they stay with you... The jockeys ring me up with their races for the season and we turn up with their kit, simple as that.” upside John Suthern. I dreamed of riding racehorses all through my teenage years and suddenly I was alongside one of my heroes with David Bridgwater, who rode hundreds of winners, tucked in behind - life couldn’t get any better!” Chris Maude, jockey’s valet, rode several winners for Martin Pipe and Nigel Twiston-Davies but retired in 2001 when he ‘stopped bouncing so well’ and now valets for some of the most renowned jockeys currently riding including Richard Johnson, Frankie Dettori and recent Sports Personality of the Year, A.P. McCoy. “We have to be at the course four hours before the first race to get everything ready

for when the jockeys arrive. Every jockey has his own kit. We wash and prepare everything including their boots, helmet goggles and the all-important saddle. Some of the jockeys like to wear lucky pants and they all wear women’s tights for warmth because they are so light – and some of the Irish lads wear a medal of the patron saint for jockeys, Saint Eligius. A jockey can’t afford to be burdened with too many lucky charms - they spend enough time in the sauna to reach their target weight. After the race, the jockey strips off, leaving everything on the floor for us to pick up and take away to be washed for the next time. Now I know exactly how my wife feels when the kids and I leave all our dirty clothes on the floor! “The relationship between a jockey and his valet is parental, one of loyalty and longevity - a bond, once established, is seldom broken. It’s an unwritten law, I suppose, that once you have worked for a jockey a few times, they stay with you. I never have to advertise and I don’t have a website. The jockeys ring me up with their races for the season and we turn up with their kit, simple as that. Occasionally, jockeys can develop a celebrity complex and some of them are a bit precious, especially the flat jockeys, but in general we all get on and have plenty of laughs, especially when they win. It’s a great feeling when your jockey wins and the champagne flows. You do end up having a close working relationship - being a father, I now understand how the jockey’s parents must feel. Some of the younger jockeys are sons of my contemporaries - their parents feel better knowing I can keep a watchful eye on them, true. If they have a nasty fall, I always try to contact the parents to put their minds at rest.”


Rick Brown, orthopaedic surgeon at the Cheltenham General, lives in a small village in the heart of the North Cotswolds, hailing originally from Ireland. He is enormously proud to be one of the medical team who regularly attends the Racecourse, here describing his love of the spectacle and the drama, and what his role entails. “We spread out across the course – three doctors tracking the jockeys as they race, another in the paddock, one more in the jockey hospital or at the final fence, as the Horse Racing Authority stipulates that a fallen jockey must be assessed within one minute. We have at least one anaesthetist for severe head injuries or airway emergencies, one orthopaedic surgeon for the inevitable list of broken bones, and GPs who are interested in sports medicine. Sometimes, we feel very

privileged to have the best seat in the house, just ten metres from the horses travelling at speeds of up to thirty five miles an hour and yes it was amazing, cheering for Long Run following him around the final bend. My favourite moment has to be standing two feet from the final fence watching Imperial Commander with a winning ticket in my pocket, and following winners up to the parade ring, hearing the “Cheltenham Roar” directed straight at you, that’s incredible, too.

“The excitement of the race is instantly replaced when a rider falls, by the uncertainty of what injuries we may face.”

“However, the excitement of the race is instantly replaced when a rider falls, by the uncertainty of what injuries we may face. We have all been doing life-saving surgery and procedures for decades in hospitals and can do most of these either on the grass or after performing a “ scoop and run” of the patient back to the jockey hospital, behind the weighing room. We have land ambulances and an air ambulance helicopter for serious problems. The procedures and drills are exactly the same as in Casualty, except bits of grass get in between your fingers and there’s also the additional pressure to keep up to speed, so not to delay Channel 4 and the waiting nation! The most common injuries that we encounter are fractured clavicles, minor concussion head injuries and major bruises but we have treated a broken pelvis, ruptured spleens and kidneys, open fractured long bones, most things. In fact, legend says that the crowd doctors delivered a baby one year… “Inevitably, we get to know all the top jockeys and the up-and-coming ones quite well over the years and continue to treat them throughout their recovery. Cheltenham has a very good reputation and we often act as a kind of referral hospital for jockeys, to double-check that they are recovering well from injuries sustained elsewhere in the country. We like to think of ourselves as friends, a source of confidential support away from the limelight. However, we are ready to be enemies when we have to give them a medical red card, preventing them from riding in their dream race. We try to hold these guys back to allow their injuries to heal, of course, but they are so keen to live for today and our advice about long-term consequences is often difficult for them to follow.”

Rick Brown, orthopaedic surgeon at Cheltenham General, (left) at Cheltenham Racecourse

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at the races

“Incredible horses, incredible place!” some wonderful dresses this season, as do Joseph, Max Mara and Fenn Wright Manson. The only dampener is wet weather and the only solution is a Barbour - warm and waterproof, they still look fabulous, now available in a range of styles along with the classic original.

The Webbs from Stow on the Wold, are instantly recognisable amongst the racing elite, both being involved with different aspects of the business of racing. Alan Webb, once a champion jockey, designed the famous Weblite saddle (with its distinctive “W” on the side) that appears in most racing paddocks from the Gold Cup to the local point-to-point. “My favourite memories have to be my Cheltenham wins – in 1978 I won the Grand Annual Steeplechase on Young Arthur and in 1982 I won the Daily Express Triumph Hurdle on Shiny Copper. As a jockey, I broke collar bones, ribs, wrists, legs, my jaw twice, my neck, the list goes on. Tack today is lighter and protection is better, skull caps are more advanced, body protectors are now mandatory in races. Having been a jockey, I know how a saddle should feel. The overall style of my saddle is similar to others but the materials used, and the ultra light saddletree, make it unique. There will be plenty of jockeys using my saddles at Cheltenham if you want to spot one -– A.P. McCoy, Barry Geraghty, Richard Johnson, others, too. My competing days are over now and so I valet at Cheltenham races; I always cheer on my horse on the day. I was lucky enough to valet for Jim Culloty when he won on Henrietta Knight’s Best Mate - that was a great day.” Alan’s saddlery, Mangan & Webb, is his passion since retiring - wife Boni also has her own clothing stores, The Square in Stow, where amongst a range of renowned designers and fashionable couture, she stocks gorgeous race-going fashions. Here, she provides advice for a lady invited to the members’ enclosure for the first time and wishing to look her best at this year’s races. “To look classically elegant there is nothing better than a nice tweed skirt, a crisp ruffle shirt, a really feminine jacket teamed with some gorgeous Belstaff boots. There are some lovely hats out there for the more adventurous. Vivien Sheriff’s are so individual you can tell hers at a glance, or Whitley hats and fascinators, of course. Ralph Lauren has exquisite tweed jackets and coats, Fabiana Filippi does a fantastic range of unique outfits and Marella has 12

Cotswold Homes Magazine

Lend Your Support to Save Bourton Vale Equestrian Centre

eyr d Daisy von Sp Elena, Lottie an n sons at Bourto les eir th ing enjoy re nt Ce ian str Vale Eque

“There aren’t many taboos for ladies at the races these days but I think just above the knee is the shortest you should go and ladies should always make an effort with their appearance! My favourite local milliner would have to be Gill Fox designs. Her hats are completely different to anyone else’s, stylish and comfortable, with a variety of accessories that you can simply pin on to the hat - flowers, feathers and brooches. For accessories, think pearls – classic enough to dress up any outfit. Nice jewellery doesn’t always have to be expensive - a plain dress and a show-stopping necklace is great, a busy dress with some plain bangles looks equally impressive. Just remember less is more!”

The land on which Bourton Vale Equestrian Centre sits was recently proposed for housing development, and owner Leanne Launchbury has been seeking approval for a new position just outside Lower Slaughter. Our correspondent reported from the local parish council meeting, where objections were aired that this most rural of all enterprises might somehow impact on the village, with one resident complaining about an increase in the number of horses passing through the centre. Whilst wondering how this lovely bucolic scene could conceivably cause angst to residents (yet delighting the hosts of visitors who flock to the village, no doubt) it is a cause that Cotswold Homes feels most worthy of our active support. And we are not alone. Recently setting up her “Support Bourton Vale Equestrian Centre” Facebook page, Leanne has had messages of love and support from hundreds of local people who have joined the group to ensure that this endearing local business, now in its 50th year, should be allowed to prosper.

“…come on people, let’s keep this amazing little riding school going!..”


COTSWOLD-HOMES GOES TO THE RACES!

“Please remember that every penny counts and give what you can, by following the link http:// www.justgiving.com/ LindseyHunting”

Supporting Lindsey Hunting on her Charity Ride for Cancer Research UK at The Cheltenham Festival We are delighted to announce that this year, Cotswold-Homes is involved directly in The Festival. We are one of Lindsey Hunting’s main sponsors in the St Patrick’s Day Charity Race on Thursday 15th March at 5.15 – she will be sporting both CotswoldHomes and HARRISON & HARDIE logos, so you should be able to spot her in the field! She will be riding Wild Desert – trained by Charlie Longsdon from Chipping Norton, owned by Stephen Dunn and White of Coventry.

Lindsey is riding to raise money for Cancer Research UK - her work as a nurse gives her a very personal insight into the devastating effects that cancer has on so many people. As part of our commitment to this most worthwhile of causes we will be doing as much as we can to help her raise as much money as possible. The target that she has set herself is £5,000 - our aim is to blow this out of the water! We hope that all our Cotswold-Homes readers, including HARRISON & HARDIE estate agency’s clients and customers, will show their support by making a donation, no matter how large or small. Please remember that every penny counts and give what you can, by following the link http://www. justgiving.com/LindseyHunting Lindsey will be posting regular updates on our blog – simply visit Cotswold-homes. com and click onto the Magazine and Gallery section. Lindsey explains:

Paddy Brenan

“I’m a 28 year old nurse, working at Worcester Royal Hospital in the Medical Assessment Unit (MAU), where I look after patients with a variety of medical conditions

including people who are diagnosed, living with or dying from cancer. My partner Paddy Brennan suggested that I should enter the St Patrick’s Charity race, but I didn’t really think I’d get picked as nearly 100 people applied. When I did I was a little shocked and started to feel the nerves kick in immediately! “I watch Paddy racing nearly every day, so I understand the sport and the thought of riding around Cheltenham in front of 60,000 people is truly terrifying! I have been riding for years but I have never raced; I only started riding racehorses when I met Paddy a couple of years ago. It’s a very different style of riding - you have to be extremely fit and strong to ride a racehorse properly and safely. “I have never done anything for charity so this was the perfect opportunity to raise money whilst doing something I love, even if I am very nervous!. Cancer is an awful disease and I see first hand the way in which it destroys people’s lives. Every penny that goes to Cancer Research UK can only help take us one step closer to finding a cure. We have to hope.” www.cotswold-homes.com

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HISTORY OF THE HORSE

A Brief History of

the horse Today, England’s vibrant racing industry enjoys substantial media presence and generates billions. Yet for almost as long as society has existed, people have depended on our equine friends for far more than sport - our development and survival have been heavily reliant on our relationship with these animals. Crucial to transport, agriculture, war and worship for thousands of years, the horse has been of inestimable worth to civilisation.

industries and drew thousands of spectators, entertaining crowds and developing the standards of horsemanship needed in battle (modern pursuits like dressage, show jumping and eventing all have military origins). Indeed, the first formal horse races to be held here in Britain were probably organised by Roman soldiers.

The earliest cave paintings at Lascaux – around an incredible 16,000 years old – exhibit clearly depicted horses, signifying their importance (as food or perhaps mythical beings) to the very earliest forms of society. Later on, in Celtic times, worship of animals was common - their goddess of horses, Epona, was even co-opted by invading Romans, becoming a protector of cavalry. The giant chalk horse at Uffington, Oxfordshire, also seems likely to have had religious significance. In the Roman Empire, chariot and mounted horse racing became huge

“As time passed, horse racing in England became associated with nobility and the ruling classes. James I is said to have spent so much time at Newmarket that the House of Commons had to petition him to spend more time on matters of national importance!”

As time passed, horse racing in England became associated with nobility and the ruling classes. James I is said to have spent so much time at Newmarket (where he had introduced racing) that the House of Commons had to petition him to spend more time on matters of national importance! Thoroughbred racing (the ‘Sport of Kings’) became popular - most thoroughbreds today can be traced back to three founding stallions. In 1654, Oliver Cromwell banned horse racing – even though he had a stud farm of his own. It is not surprising that horses have long inspired artists and storytellers - typically appearing throughout art history as military symbols, as signs of nobility or as the subjects of artistic study. England’s most famous painter of horses, 16th century painter George Stubbs, believed that art could not surpass the splendour of nature, spending months dissecting and studying horses, publishing a book on their anatomy. The suffering of horses has been an enduring theme – Stubbs used the motif of a lion preying upon a horse in his more allegorical works. In modern literature and theatre, stories such as Peter Shaffer’s Equus and Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty use horses as devices to depict the human potential for cruelty and compassion. With the development of the automobile and war machinery, horses began to be phased out of travel and combat but millions, however, lost their lives in the great battles of the early 20th century. A tormented horse famously appears as part of Picasso’s seminal ‘Guernica’ – screaming in an inferno, it has become an icon of the brutality of war. Again, Morpurgo’s famous novel, now turned by Spielberg into the film “War Horse”, is an homage to the courage, strength and determination of a horse on the battlefields of World War I, a moving tale embraced by critics and thousands of movie-goers across the world. Here in the North Cotswolds, our love for the horse is integral to social life, work and sport, whether for hunting, eventing or racing – children plodding around on ponies, stable girls riding out in the early morning mist, a crowd with binoculars on a country lane straining for a sight of the chase or downing a pint at the Hollow Bottom to celebrate the winners at Cheltenham - whilst in the village of Nether Westcote, it is widely rumoured there are actually more equine residents than people!

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equestrian art

EquestrianArt The horse is a powerful muse, and here in the Cotswolds, there are many equine painters and sculptors – among them, Nigel Brunyee and Tilly Tayler-Levy

Nigel Brunyee Nigel Brunyee, who has a local base at Conygree Farm, Aldsworth, is a professional artist specialising in equine portraiture. Since 1981, he has sold his work almost exclusively at racecourses, including Cheltenham, and regularly exhibits his paintings up and down the country. A level of accuracy and detail rare to be found in pastel work distinguishes each of his originals. Nigel’s eye for movement and character is unique. On his website (www.nigelbrunyee.co.uk) you will find images of just some of the work painted over the past few years, from current stars of the turf to past champions.

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Tilly Tayler-Levy At the age of four, Tilly Tayler-Levy’s family moved to a training yard in Newmarket, the Headquarters of Horseracing. It was here that she discovered her passion for horses - racing, hunting and competing her show ponies. As a child she had drawn and painted for as long as she could remember but it was at Oundle School where she discovered sculpture. One of the first major pieces she completed, aged 17, was a relief sculpture of 14 horses’ heads cast in fibreglass bronze resin. This magnificent equine relief now resides in the Champions Gallery in the Millennium Grandstand at Newmarket racecourse. Tilly now lives in the beautiful village of Guiting Power and continues to find inspiration from the local racecourses, training grounds and hunting fields. See the Privilege Card Section from Tilly and Nigel

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Rocking

Rocking the Kasbah

the

Kasbah at the North Cotswold Hunt Ball

Kimberley Ferguson, Ed Horton and Tilly Tayler-Levy David Pick, Shelley Spencer, Kate Young and Tom Clarke

Emily Carenza, Kate Langsbury, Eliza Gabb

The Comittee - Louise O’Hara , Hannah Drury, Kirsty Shaw, Kristina Jelley, Faye Evans. 20

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Richard & Barbara Wall

Rod Wood, Bridgette Smart, Peter Hemming, Laura Wood and Spike Buckland.


The North Cotswold Hunt Ball, undeniably the highlight of the equestrian social calendar, was held in December by kind permission of Mr and Mrs Butler, who provided the customary venue of Nayles Barn. A grand marquee erected in Cutsdean’s usually tranquil pastures hosted the elegant occasion which - thanks to the hard work of committee members Louise O’Hara, Hannah Drury, Kirsty Shaw, Kristina Jelly and Faye Evans – was in keeping with the evening’s theme and truly rocked the Kasbah!

Two vodka-filled ice sculptures, by The Plough at Ford, proved to be the most talked about pair of the night amongst the glamorous guests in their evening finery. When the main dining area was revealed, it brought the mingling swiftly to an end: vast rooms were filled with table upon table of crisp linens, candles and flowers. As the guests took their seats, a harem of beautiful young ladies from the North Cotswold Pony Club were introduced as waiting staff for the night.

Oasis Events’ sumptuous marquee took shape in the style of a Bedouin tent, with patterned saffron walls and gilded lanterns; we half imagined the carpets would take flight. Shelly Young of Broadway Florists created dramatic displays of fiery reds and citrus greens that succeeded in warding away the winter chill, perhaps also due in part to the flow of champagne provided by Bennetts Fine Wines as hundreds of guests filed into the reception.

Raffle tickets, wafting in the form of helium balloons, were sold and tied to chair backs. Before long, the food was served from the famous Williams Kitchen of Calcot Manor. In keeping with the Moroccan theme of the night, they served deliciously spiced chicken with flatbreads and dips, followed by roasted lamb shanks and rounded off with lightly perfumed, rose-water pannacotta. All at once the band struck up - without bidding, guests migrated towards the dance floor and merrily swung around to the live music. Casino tables magically appeared in the reception area to amuse guests arriving with after-dinner tickets. The dance tent, a new addition to the hunt ball format, seemed to be the where the main action was - DJ Ben Hall enticed the most unlikely cross section of guests to fill his blacked-out tent. Like desert sand through an hourglass, the evening slipped away. Soon, waiting staff were found wandering serenely through the marquee with trays of breakfast baguettes, providing sustenance to the tipsy and the weary - with refreshed zeal, the guests partied on until “Carriages at 3!”, when a mass exodus rendered the giant carcass of a marquee finally silent - until next year.

James McNaught Davies, Jamie Ball-Hooker, Andrew Haskins and Lisa Haskins

Craig Brown & Vicky Saddler

Sam Bushell, Lily Melaert, Rachel Farren, Martin Crean, Nikki Bayes, Martene Mallett, Emma Thompson

Sue Woodward, David Woodward, Nigel Peel Master of the Hunt, Louise O’Hara and Joey Ritblat

Camilla Grossman, Frankie Courtney, Maddy Pearce, Lottie Organ, Charlotte Plum, Millie Mather, Abi Stock and Briony Lusted www.cotswold-homes.com

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Rocking the Kasbah

Milly Ingles, Jazzy George, Gus Langbury, Molly Rogers, Amy Albert, Chloe Pinchin Tom Mc Ewern, Alice Smith, Tori Cannon, Will Thompson, George Forbes

Sue Woodward and David Woodward

Carole Oliver, Simon Holmes, Tim Birks

Brian & Vicky Tew, Julie Tew, Jess Pidcock, Jo Geddes 22

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Alexander Grant, Amy Hart, Joanna Shea, Oliver Brand


Charlotte Dennis, Bobbie Pratley and Sarah Farnsworth

James Walters and Lucy Holmes

Billie Brewer, Lisa Laporter and Blair Comerford

Ex-Master Michael Little and Danni Little

Natasha Clifford, Edward Kehoe, Derek Kehoe and Harleigh Kehoe

Edwina Boyd-Gibbons, Hugo Watts, Helen Dyson

Swedish supporters: Stig Mortsjo, Anna Mortsjo, Enrica Halvarsson, Bo Laestadius, Khristina Laestadius, Lars Erickson, Lena Erickson and Mats Halvarsson.

Jane Morris, Bill & Jackie Ferguson and Penny Valender

Charlie Drury, Melissa Dean, Stacey Wilson, Samantha Hughes, Vanessa Malin and Mark Oldham.

Charlie Drury, Kristina Jelley, Collette Fairweather, Josh Harrison, Anna Matthews

Samantha Hallman, Frederica Holmes, Simon Holmes and Penny Valender www.cotswold-homes.com

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karin major

Horses For Therapy, Therapy For Horses Karin Major’s Road To Recovery Inspirational riding instructor, Karin Major, overcame a history of chronic back pain using the techniques she incorporates into her riding lessons today. Her work at the Overdale Equestrian Centre concentrates upon developing body awareness with her pupils. Teaching both Ride With Your Mind techniques and the Feldenkrais method of movement education, Karin enhances sporting performance and personal wellbeing by improving physical and mental flexibility.

to understand much more than just the basic mechanics of riding. But that’s not all. Overdale has also provided a second home and work for rescue horses that have been disowned or have suffered from past neglect. Some, like the lively Chico (‘the boss of the ponies,’ says Karin) have even been rescued en route to the slaughter-house. The beautiful black Dartmoor crossbreed, Jazz, made the papers when her former owner was successfully prosecuted by the RSPCA; the poor horse was

in such a weakened and worm-riddled condition that immediate treatment would have killed her. Now recovered and working at Overdale, Jazz is in rude health. It seems that given the purpose and attention they so need, even the unhappiest of horses can flourish into responsive, gentle and much-loved friends. To find out more about Karin’s horses, history and practices, visit: www. overdale-equestrian.co.uk See the Privilege Card Section for an offer from Karin Major

Aged only 11 years old, Karin was hospitalised by an undiagnosed ailment that left her without the feeling in her left leg. Over the following years, physiotherapy sessions and relentless medical examinations interfered with her schooling, as she developed back pain that grew increasingly worse. ‘Until then I was very active, swimming, dancing and riding, but from then on pain, or fear of pain, seemed to dominate any sporting activities,’ she recalls. ‘When I started working...there were whole weeks when I was virtually unable to move and I was seeing a chiropractor almost every month to be ‘straightened-out’.’ Things improved when, in 2000, she met both Mary Wandless (Author of Ride With Your Mind) and Feldenkrais practitioner Shelagh O’Neill, who helped her to comprehend how her body habits affected her riding and the amount of pain she experienced. Not only was she able greatly to reduce the number of chiropractic sessions she needed, but her newfound body awareness also bolstered her abilities as a riding instructor. Today, applying the same lessons and techniques that benefitted her, Karin has helped to create a place where people can come www.cotswold-homes.com

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Diary of an Equestrian Lady

The Cotswold Diary of an Equestrian Lady Paxford P2P

Every Easter Monday, by kind permission of Mrs Adams and her family, many a Cotswoldian gathers en-masse in Paxford to watch the annual Point-to-Point. The first race does not commence until 1pm - however, as soon as the gates open at 10.30am a wave of queuing vehicles will flood through. The title may be “horse racing” but the subtext is most definitely “lunch”! Gastronomic delights of the sort found in deli-counter displays are soon spread over crisp tablecloths, whilst glasses of chilled wine and champagne are clinked in a haze of sunglasses and broad smiles. Year upon year, we are more often than not blessed with glorious sunshine - many of us sunbathe in deck chairs brought for the occasion and lazily soak up the decadence. Whilst the organised ones feast on lovingly prepared picnics, the more spontaneous simply take advantage of aromatic food stalls and bars dotted about the grounds. Time seems to gallop effortlessly by. Finally,

the crowds amble down to the paddock, greeting and meeting as regular and familiar faces pass one another. Horses are paraded and studied, their form scrutinised, bets are placed - some on form, most on a whim - before being led down to the start. Then, all at once the field screams off around the course, sailing over fences and almost out of sight. Keen supporters lean over the rails, cheering on their chosen four-legged athletes as horses and riders romp back into view, scrambling for the coveted win. Despite the relaxed atmosphere, these races hold high merit in the eyes of the professionals. Paxford Point to Point 2012 has been chosen to host one of the Aga Total Control Lady Rider Championship qualifiers which, translated for the less knowledgeable, means the top three riders will have the opportunity to run at the Cheltenham meeting in March. A final challenge of the day is the ‘Fun

“Keen supporters lean over the rails, cheering on their chosen four-legged athletes as horses and riders romp back into view, scrambling for the coveted win.” Race’, open to anyone who fancies a go. As terrifying as the concept seems, in reality the race is usually an array of experienced hunt members racing on their own horses – the carnage is minimal and unbridled excitement simply mounts to the point of grand hysteria by the time everyone crosses the line. And with that last race sadly signifying the end of the day, hampers are crammed with remaining debris, children piled into cars and fond farewells fill the air. Whether or not they enjoy a winner or two, there is no doubt visitors are always sold on the winning combination of friends, food and the odd flutter. See the Privilege Card section for an offer from Dereham Farm and Karin Major www.cotswold-homes.com

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Glimpses Glimpses of of

Guiting’s Guiting’s Past Past

Local history enthusiast David Hicks invites you to view a bygone way of life with his new book, Glimpses of Guiting: Memories and Photographs of Guiting Power. Painstakingly compiled from old photographs, remembered stories and amusing anecdotes, the book presents a compelling portrait of village life as it was in the early 20th century. Mindful of changing times and communities, David writes: ‘The photographs give a glimpse of a time when life was much harder but perhaps less hectic. As Guiting was fairly isolated it was largely self-sufficient. Villagers were interdependent and because of this there was a stronger sense of community. Living conditions for rural families were simple and often substandard. Most people worked on the land or provided agricultural services and products: the blacksmith, hurdle maker, traction engine contractor…they all relied upon the farms for business. Their lives were governed by the seasons. They worked long hours, attended church or chapel and perhaps went to the pub. In the early years of the 20th century, the Flower Shows and Point to Point Races provided a welcome diversion from the hard grind of day-to-day life and attracted huge crowds.’

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“......Life was much harder but perhaps less hectic. Villagers were interdependent and because of this there was a stronger sense of community.” Thanks to the policies of The Guiting Manor Amenity Trust, Guiting Power is well served with two pubs and shops, a bakery, guesthouse, nursery school, church and chapel. Interested in Cotswold history? Visit The Upper Windrush Local History Society - www.upperwindrushlhs.org.uk. The society hosts a range of talks, walks and events throughout the year. David’s book may be viewed and purchased online at: www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/1615093

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snowshill manor

A Rather Imaginative Manor

The Curious Delights of Snowshill Matt Dicks visits the astonishing collection of a man whose family motto was ‘Let Nothing Perish’ It all began with his grandmother’s cabinet. Just once every Sunday, the young Charles Wade was allowed to remove and play with one of the exotic items it contained (if he’d been well behaved). This weekly treat was to be the seed of a lifelong devotion. As the son of the wealthy owner of a sugar plantation, Wade was able to spend his lifetime and inheritance hoarding a collection of around 22,000 incredible items, which he would showcase in a renovated country manor. To an observer today, that inspirational cabinet looks much like a prototype of the uncanny Snowshill Manor where it is now kept. With its many small treasures, beautiful compartments and hidden drawers, it has the very same essence as the fantastical world he dedicated his time to creating.

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Wade discovered the manor after being asked to wallpaper the officer’s quarters when serving in the trenches during WWI. Covering the walls with old magazine pages, he spotted an advertisement for the sale of a dilapidated estate that had once belonged to the Tudor queen, Catherine Parr. Upon his return to England, he was surprised to see that it was still for sale and promptly purchased it – from then on spending most of his life transforming it into a grand showcase for his eccentric artefacts. A theatrical man with an alchemical imagination and a passion for craft, Wade is today chiefly known as a prolific collector, yet he was also a highly talented artist, architect and self-taught craftsman who was always engaged in some practical pastime (he built

“A theatrical man with an alchemical imagination and a passion for craft, Wade is today chiefly known as a prolific collector, yet he was also a highly talented artist, architect and self-taught craftsman”


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snowshill manor

“His collection seems to represent something of the ‘universal craftsman’. Restlessly creative, he was always making, playing and exploring, and this extravagant hobby seemed to be an extension of that.”

an entire model village, which he named Wolf’s Cove, around the edge of his pond). He never actually inhabited the manor itself, instead living in a somewhat more snug cottage next door, accompanied by a small wooden cat (a gift from friends who believed he needed company but was too distracted to care for a living thing). Rather, the renovated house was used for entertaining – Wade often attracted famous guests to his costume parties. Noteworthy attendees included Graham Greene and Virginia Woolf, but he was equally keen for local people and passers-by to enjoy the manor and its grounds. The doors were always open for children who wanted to play inside, and it seems that he never lost the sense of wonder and discovery that the young possess.

I was able to see Snowshill for myself in December, during a spell when the manor undergoes a deep clean and is closed to the public. Marauding insects, light, moisture and poor weather conditions all take their toll, and the winter period is the most work-intensive for the National Trust team. They all speak fondly of the house’s former master, admiringly referring to him as ‘Mr. Wade’ – understandable, seeing how vividly his spirit has endured. It is largely due to their dedication that visitors can still enjoy the collection intact; the preservation requires intimate knowledge of both Wade’s philosophies and all his odd belongings. I first see them busying about a room that is bristling with Japanese samurai armour. With their ferocious expressions and intricate ornamentation, these ceremonial suits are particularly popular with the visitors - perhaps due to their resemblance to modern film villain Darth Vader. I asked if Wade had to travel to Japan to get these suits – but apparently he bought most of them from a plumber in Cheltenham who had displayed a helmet in his shop. (‘Things seemed to find him – he was that sort of a man’ said Kathy, who guides me through the manor’s rooms. ‘He saw value in things when it wasn’t always apparent to others.’). Yet the stories grow stranger still. It was said that when returning home from London with more samurai gear and finding it difficult to transport, Wade decided to wear it and was strolling down the street in the warlike attire when he was stopped for questioning by the police. Today the collection is better organised than it might have been in Wade’s time, but it

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remains sincere to his creative vision. The eye of the observer is directed by light and colour - around the grounds there are flashes of ‘Wade Blue’, the paint he created to mix the hues of the heavens above and the garden below. Within the house, items are displayed according to shape, contrast and colour, giving the exhibition a timeless dynamism. The rooms themselves are evocatively named and mythologise their contents; ‘A Hundred Wheels’ contains various sorts of bicycle and, incongruously, a model of a ship, whilst ‘Dragon’ is so-named after the largest hearth that I have ever seen, guarded by some sentinel-like suits of armour. I was also allowed to climb into the usually inaccessible ‘Witch’s Garret’, painted with an occult symbol and beautiful mural. The manor is also riddled with hidden passageways that served Wade well - he delighted in surprising his guests with ghostly noises and sneaky appearances. So what compelled Wade to gather so much stuff? As a whole, his collection seems to represent something of the ‘universal craftsman’. Restlessly creative, he was always making, playing and exploring, and this extravagant hobby seemed to be an extension of that. The unique objects he united at Snowshill were mostly made by unknown craftsmen and used to invoke curiosity, rather than to cultivate the impression of wealth. Leaving the manor open to absolutely anyone who cared to visit, whilst living modestly in the old priest’s quarters, Wade displayed an inclusive generosity of spirit uncommon for someone of his fortune. Whatever else, the legacy that he has left to the people of the Cotswolds is a brilliant testament to the power of the imagination. MD www.cotswold-homes.com

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WINCHCOMBE FESTIVAL

Photos by Jo Ward Photography

WINCHCOMBE FESTIVAL The historic town of Winchcombe is gearing up for its second Festival of Music and Arts in May – and already the event promises to be a right royal affair. The 2012 programme will feature special celebration events for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and to mark the 500th anniversary of the birth of Queen Katherine Parr, the last wife of Henry VIII who lived and died at Sudeley Castle in Winchcombe. Already an impressive programme of scores of events is planned, ranging from art exhibitions, poetry readings, coffee concert to children’s events. There will be pub nights, blues, jazz, folk and medieval music gigs, plus classical recitals and a Jubilee and Gala Night featuring a symphony orchestra. The Festival takes place at various venues in and around the town with morning, lunchtime, afternoon, early evening and late evening events. Festival Chairman Rover Paine said 2012 promises to be another great Festival and this 36

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year will have a strong royal influence: “Not only will we be building on the success of our first Festival last year which went down extremely well, but we will also be celebrating two unique events on the British calendar – the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and Queen Katherine Parr’s Quincentenary.” The Festival will run from Monday May 28th to Sunday June 3rd and will culminate with Diamond Jubilee parties, entertainment and a street fair. Roger said: “Based on feedback from last year’s Festival we are expanding the programme in several areas and offer new events where we believe there is demand. “It’s going to be another great week for the town and surrounding area, the Queen’s Jubilee and Katherine Parr celebrations will add yet more sparkle to the events.” A festival brochure will be available in April and tickets will go on sale soon after. For up to date news on ticket sales and brochure information, please visit www.winchcombe.co.uk/festival.


Murder Mystery

Murder Most Horrid Wickedness in Winchcombe Local baker Roland ‘Crusty’ Rowles has been slain and his pie recipes stolen. Only Cotswold-Homes can flush out the culprit. Matt ‘Sherlock’ Dicks and Leah ‘Columbo’ Quinn take to the streets of Winchcombe to trial Treasure Trails’ Murder Mystery… Fancy yourself a bit of a Poirot? Treasure Trails Ltd caters for would-be sleuths and budding explorers everywhere with over 800 unique trail locations nationwide (now that’s a lot of legwork). So how does it work? Budding detectives follow a series of clues, absorbing nuggets of local trivia as they go. Trails are usually written by licensees who specialise in local knowledge, so with a selection of trails available in the Cotswold region, Leah and I wanted to put our brains to task. The conundrum of who killed Crusty led us around Winchcombe’s streets and the surrounding countryside in search of the cryptic clues to eliminate the innocent from a list of suspects. They all looked as guilty as sin to me: blank-faced, suspicious fellows with names like Carol Phoenix and Reg Prance. Hiding somewhere in this cartoonish rogues gallery was Crusty’s assassin – but the murder weapon also had to be identified. Finding both entitled us to a chance of a cash prize, providing the motivation to attempt the challenge in bleak midwinter. The directions provided by the trail were sufficient for map-less navigation whilst encouraging us to keep our eyes peeled at all times (but should clue-spotters run aground, a

special text service provides assistance). After a stint on the historic High Street, we were directed around the picturesque grounds of Sudeley Castle. Here, Leah proved an unreliable Watson, moaning about the sheep droppings stuck to her shoe, even when surrounded by the fantastic panoramic views that the route offered – an outlook including the spectacle of an unseasonably sunlit castle shining out from under angry storm clouds. Luckily, Leah’s sleuthing did improve in pedestrianised areas where the risk of lurking poop was much smaller – so, note to self, wear sensible footwear for the trail. Participants can expect to spend over two hours on this mystery. We certainly felt exercised at the end – the trail was a mild physical and mental workout, at least for us office types. As a chirpy and puzzle-based means of learning local history, it was rather entertaining; outdoorsy and involving, it presented simple yet rewarding challenges and encouraged exploration – and was far healthier than an afternoon gazing at the computer screen, that’s for sure. So then – who killed Crusty? Well, that would be telling. We suggest you grab a magnifying glass and hit the streets – this particular murder won’t solve itself… www.cotswold-homes.com

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St. Kenelm

The Strange Tragedy of

St. Kenelm In the magnificent church of St. Peter’s in Winchcombe, two stone coffins are kept. Ancient and empty, they were transported there years ago from an abbey that has long since vanished. But just whose relics should they contain? Perhaps the answer can be found in local legend…

Kenwulph dies, naming his son Kenelm as heir – seeing an opportunity, the conniving princess Quendryda plots to murder her infant brother and to seize the crown for herself. She enlists the help of her lover Askobert (the child’s tutor) to help dispose of poor Kenelm.

The tale of the unfortunate boy king, Kenelm, has scant basis in fact but, nonetheless, it’s a ripping yarn, featuring a murderous princess, prophetic dreams and, in some versions, a magic cow. Its earliest form is found written on a 12th century manuscript by a monk inhabiting Winchcombe Abbey – the place no longer stands today but the tale survives.

Kenelm’s soul escapes in the form of a dove, and after flying to Rome, drops a scroll at the foot of the Pope that reads: ‘Low in a mead of kine under a thorn, of head bereft, lieth poor Kenelm king-born.’

Our sad story begins when the Mercian king

Late one night, the unsuspecting boy has a prophetic dream. In it he finds himself climbing a large tree and surveying his new kingdom. Yet there is a mutiny below and as the tree is hacked down he transforms into a dove and flutters away. After waking, he relays the dream to his nanny who – having mystic tendencies of her own – starts weeping as she realises that the young king is not long for the world. During the next day’s hunting trip, an exhausted Kenelm stops for a nap. The treacherous tutor Askobert (perhaps getting slightly ahead of himself) begins to dig a grave for his pupil. Awakening, Kenelm scolds his would-be assassin, driving his walking stick into the ground where it takes root, flowers and - over the years - grows into a magnificent ash tree. Undeterred by this miracle, Askobert sticks to the plan, leading Kenelm up the Clent Hills where he is promptly decapitated. Kenelm’s soul escapes in the form of a dove, and after flying to Rome, drops a scroll at the foot of the Pope that reads: ‘Low in a mead of kine under a thorn, of head bereft, lieth poor Kenelm king-born.’ The Pope then writes to the Archbishop of Canterbury, who immediately enlists a party of monks from Winchcombe to recover the corpse. Directed by a pillar of light, the monks discover Kenelm’s grave and transport his body to the abbey. When her reading is disturbed by the toll of bells announcing the return of her brother’s body, Quendryda exclaims ‘If this be true, may my eyes fall upon my book!’ Sure enough, in a grisly quirk of justice, her eyeballs pop from their sockets and roll upon the pages. She and Askobert die a gruesome death and their bodies are tossed into a ditch. Kenelm’s remains are respectfully interred - he is revered as a martyr, his tale becoming an inspiration for pilgrimage. But where does the magic cow come in? In another version recorded in the South English Legendary, a medieval compilation of the saints, Quendryda bans any mention of her brother’s name, so God commands a cow to sit on his grave so that he cannot be forgotten. This holy beast produces milk even when unfed. When a dove appears bearing salutations from the dead Kenelm, the villagers know exactly where to look for his body – right underneath the extraordinary cow.

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Sudeley Castle

Queen of the Castle 500 years after her birth, this year Sudeley Castle will remember the life and times of Henry VIII’s final wife with a special programme of events. Interred in the grounds of the magnificent Sudeley Castle, Katherine Parr is indeed an exceptional figure – not only was she the last of Henry VIII’s six wives, she remains the most-married Queen in English history with a total of four marriages to her name. Amongst other achievements, she helped to reconcile Henry with his daughter Mary and promised to provide future monarchs Edward and Elizabeth with an education. Fluent in Latin, Italian, French and Spanish and with her own religious ideas, she was an intelligent and influential woman who had the daring to disagree with a headstrong king. Before her (third) marriage to England’s infamously amorous monarch, Katherine was wed to John Neville, a harsh critic of Henry’s divorce and subsequent marriage to Anne Boleyn. During this time, Katherine and her stepchildren were even held hostage and threatened by rebels who wished to manipulate Neville during the Uprising of the North. After his death, Katherine caught the King’s eye in the household of his daughter, Lady Mary, and saw it as her duty to wed the king despite a proposal from her suitor, Thomas Seymour. Henry sent his former brother-in-law Seymour abroad, clearing the path for another royal marriage. Yet once she was wed to the king,

Katherine remained true to her own views and opinions, quarrelling with Henry over matters of religion – his anger at this led to him issuing a warrant for the arrest of his own wife, which he later retracted when she claimed that she only wanted to distract his attentions from the pain of an ulcerous leg.

“Katherine’s story doesn’t quite end with her death. Strange tales surrounding her remains have entered into folklore. A man named John Locust claimed to have discovered her coffin in 1782, buried in the ruins of Sudeley Castle chapel.” Seymour returned to court following Henry’s death, and swiftly married Katherine in secret, causing something of a scandal. Following this, she wrote Lamentations of a Sinner, which drew accusations of Protestant sympathies, and later invited Elizabeth to live with her at Sudeley Castle (sending her away after Seymour started

to exhibit questionable behaviour towards her). Despite remaining childless through her previous three marriages, she fell pregnant, and died six days after giving birth from a complication similar to that suffered by earlier queen, Jane Seymour. Her daughter, Mary, went to live with the Dowager Duchess of Suffolk after Lord Seymour was beheaded for treason after several-less-than-subtle attempts to curry power. But Katherine’s story doesn’t quite end with her death. Strange tales surrounding her remains have entered into folklore. A man named John Locust claimed to have discovered her coffin in 1782, buried in the ruins of Sudeley Castle chapel. After prising open the coffin, he was astonished to discover that her remains were in good condition, with the flesh of one of her arms mostly unmarred. The coffin was allegedly opened several times over the following years, even manhandled by drunkards. Whatever the truth of these later stories, Katherine’s body was respectfully re-interred in a restored chapel – where she remains to this day. The quincentenary is a perfect occasion to celebrate her unusual and eventful life.

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Conygree Farm

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Embracing Traditional Values

Farming the Natural Way at Conygree Farm Spring is an exciting time at Conygree Farm. As the days lengthen and the skylarks rise and sing over the farm’s wildflower meadows, Jonathan and Mel Brunyee will be lambing their pedigree Cotswold sheep, tending Old Spot piglets and expecting their first calves from their new herd of Traditional Hereford cows. Conygree, the Anglo-Saxon word for rabbit warren, is something a little special. Forming part of the National Trust’s Sherborne Park Estate near Northleach, in the heart of the Cotswolds, the farm is 75ha of organic limestone grassland and arable land managed for farmland birds, bees and butterflies. It is also the foreground to the Trust’s historic Lodge Park. Jonathan and Mel are passionate about farming and the natural environment, believing that for the two to thrive they must go hand in hand. Rare breeds, local food, resource (air, soil, water and carbon), conservation and educational visits are also part of the Conygree mix. ‘We are not interested in producing the highest yields or fastest growing lambs; we want our farm to be a landscape rich in heritage, flora and fauna, and grazed extensively by naturally

maturing native breeds,’’ Jonathan explains. ‘Our rare Cotswold sheep, otherwise known as the Cotswold Lion, are famed for their long golden fleece but they also make very tasty lamb and mutton. Our cattle are from the original Horned Hereford strain and have never been crossed with other larger breeds. They can live outdoors all year round and fatten slowly on our species-rich grasslands, producing beef full of flavour, Omega 3 fatty acids and fine marbling.’ Jonathan, from a farming family and conservation background, has been the tenant of the National Trust at Conygree for 7 years. Mel, who previously helped to manage some of Norfolk’s finest nature reserves with sheep, cattle and semi-feral ponies, recently moved to the Cotswolds. Mel has fallen in love with the area

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Conygree Farm

and says: It’s a beautiful place to live and work, and we are very lucky to be part of a thriving rural community. We plan to make more of the environmental and business opportunities around us, including a green farm tourism enterprise, more farm educational work, wool craft and added value meat products.’ They may be doing things differently at Conygree, but Jonathan and Mel are definitely tapping into the yearning for a return to traditional values and to simpler, more natural ways of life, at a slower pace. Their farm is a veritable advert for their ethos, with happy animals nestling in outstanding countryside and tended with care. They already provide two local pubs and the shop at Sherborne with their

meat, delivered in wool- lined cool boxes (of course!) and customers who would like to shop at the farm are equally welcome. Producing great tasting meat, naturally, from a highquality environment, may yet become the norm, again, if we can only find more Jonathans and Mels to take up the mantle. As well as working on the farm, Jonathan supports other farmers and landowners, advising on environmental management and business development (see www.cumulus-consultants. co.uk). ‘Getting off the farm sometimes and seeing what other farmers, conservationists and rural entrepreneurs do is very important to me,’ says Jonathan. ‘I am always learning and having mad ideas for Conygree!’ See the Privilege Card Section for an offer from Conygree Farm

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INVESTING IN PROPERTY

Ask the experts...

The lovely village of Bourton on the Water, a popular tourist destination and an ideal place to own a holiday-let cottage

INVESTING IN PROPERTY IN THE NORTH COTSWOLDS – SAFER THAN THE STOCK MARKET, WITH UNDERLYING GROWTH AND BETTER RETURNS THAN MONEY IN THE BANK. SHOULD YOU BE JUMPING ON THE BANDWAGON? WE ASK A PANEL OF EXPERTS TO ANSWER QUESTIONS ON HOW TO MAKE A SECOND PROPERTY INTO A PROFITABLE ASSET

“There have always been cash-rich investors to sustain the market here but the question is whether investors are happy to spend their money right now” Karen Harrison is owner and principal director of HARRISON & HARDIE, the North Cotswolds specialist residential estate agency, and has worked in the local market place since the early 1990s.

Karen says: The property market in the North Cotswolds is bound up with confidence – the market did take a massive hit in 2008, along with the rest of the UK, but recovered very quickly and has subsequently sustained prices at mid-2009 levels, about 5 to 10% per cent below the height in general terms. The recession has made a huge difference to some sectors. The residential sales market of modern estate, family homes has suffered with the lack of available mortgage funds but conversely, the investment market, especially for traditional cottages and substantial country homes, has recovered to the point that prices in some cases have outstripped values achieved in late 2006, the true height of the market. 44

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There have always been cash-rich investors to sustain the market here but the question is whether investors are happy to spend their money right now? The answer is yes, of course. What is interesting is the change in how investors are spending their money. In 2009, the recovery in prices was largely restricted to traditional cottages and homes around the half million pound mark and above. Investors sought out perfect second-home, holiday-let and lifestyle change properties, leaving the residential, needs-based market behind. The effects of job uncertainty, coupled with tightened lending criteria and the requirement to stump up larger deposits impacted more heavily on the “needs based” property market - modern starter homes and estate properties are still only achieving prices comparable with

mid-2005, about ten per cent below the height. The effect of economic uncertainty on some sectors of the market has, however, created a huge demand for rental properties – not as a stop-gap just to facilitate a chain-break, not just for those passing through as seasonal workers, not even as a stepping stone for young couples - but as a long-term, affordable alternative for hard-working families wishing to settle in the North Cotswolds. Getting on the housing ladder in this area has always been tough, but now people who once would only have thought to buy a property are turning their attentions to the lettings market and competing fiercely for the best of homes. On average it now takes our Lettings Department only three viewings to let a property, often after only a couple of days on the market. As more tenants continue to spill


“Eventually, as our economy recovers, the needs-based sales market will recover, too - more mortgage products will come along”

Lilac Cottage, Stow on the Wold - £325,000

Windrush Cottage, Bourton on the Water £425,000

into the market place, demand is bound to grow for rental properties. As a result, savvy investment buyers are now buying up spacious and affordable properties that are still competitively priced compared with their more glamorous-looking sisters - those properties that will be perfect for shorthold tenancies, not just the holiday market. Investors are choosing tired modern properties to refurbish cheaply and then to let out easily, understanding that they will typically see a better return than on savings kept in a high interest account. A history of cyclical fortunes in the property market encourages investors to have confidence in underlying capital growth, especially in the North Cotswolds where demand for properties is always greater than the supply and the lifestyle so exceptional. Investors clearly feel

Holly Cottage, Stow on the Wold - £299,950

secure about renting out properties for a few years before being able to sell them on at a decent profit. Eventually, as our economy recovers, the needs-based sales market will recover, too - more mortgage products will come along, confidence will grow as affordability improves, demand will increase for starter and family properties to purchase rather than to rent and investors will be able to take the longer-term prize, to sell at a comfortable profit! The lettings market in the North Cotswolds is a great investment for speculative buyers - purchasers should see more stable growth than gambling on the stock market, particularly at the moment, of course. If you have a sum of money burning a hole in your pocket and can afford to take the long-term view, the buy-to-let market is back in full swing. By the same token, the holiday-let market place is remarkably healthy too, with a “staycation” being an

affordable alternative for cost-conscious families still desperate to get away from it all. The North Cotswolds is a great area for tourism and holiday-let companies like Character Cottages are seeing great demand for cottages. Returns on a holiday-let model being considerably higher, properties with “roses round the door” are also considerably more expensive to purchase, so if you have less than £250,000 to spend the buy-to-let market is probably your better option. To discuss your property requirements or the marketing of your home with the team at HARRISON & HARDIE contact: Bourton on the Water 01451 822977 Stow on the Wold 01451 833170 Moreton in Marsh 01608 651000

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INVESTING IN PROPERTY

Ask the experts... INVESTING IN THE BUY-TO-LET MARKET

19, Bleriot Road, Upper Rissington £239,950 - a 3/4 bed semi-detached home with a generous garden

“A sensible investment would be to buy a small property in the village of Upper Rissington, where many investors are snapping up properties” Caroline Gee runs the Lettings Department at HARRISON & HARDIE, based in Stow on the Wold – the company has the lion’s share of the rental market. We ask her advice on what properties are particularly suitable for investment into the buy-to-let market.

Caroline says: Tenants are generally looking for accommodation offered in good decorative order - modern properties close to amenities and good transport links are easier to let, but period properties in good villages are also in demand and command much higher rents, of course. A sensible investment would be to buy a small property in the village of Upper Rissington, where many investors are snapping up properties at the moment. The imminent building of 350 new homes in the village is planned, bringing shops and a new primary school, improved public transport links and better amenities – there is already a school bus to Bourton on the Water, bus services to the surrounding area and an open-all-hours Co-op that is sufficient for day-to-day needs – there will be improved bus services to Kingham train station and a much larger supermarket in due course. Viewed by many residents as the North Cotswolds’ best-kept secret, Upper Rissington is a great place to buy. Properties are solidly built, occupying decent plots and have generous accommodation, situated high up 46

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on the escarpment where the air is fresh and clean, the village is quiet and neighbours are friendly - its a safe and happy place to bring up a family. Typically, the more bedrooms a property offers, the more one can ask in rent, so a three bedroom terraced property in Wright Close will fetch around £800 per calendar month and a bigger, detached four bedroom home in Avro Road will fetch around £1200 per calendar month, for example. Any family property within the catchment of the Cotswold School is in demand, as it is among the top secondary schools in the UK, having been awarded Outstanding (in all 42 categories) of the most recent Ofsted report. Facilities and amenities are good, too, in Bourton on the Water, due to the large and regular influx of tourists – a range of independent High Street shops, two little supermarkets, a regular bus service to Cheltenham and the surrounding area, a community health centre, a well-appointed leisure centre with a public swimming pool, several pubs, hotels and restaurants – a great place to live. Equally, Moreton in Marsh is a place to invest. Starter homes and apartments for young professional couples do well in Moreton in Marsh, having excellent train links and

access to major road network that allow easy commuting to Oxford, London and Worcester, whilst being within a stone’s throw of some of the most beautiful Cotswold countryside, great rural pubs and plenty of local amenities. HARRISON & HARDIE have a sole agency for a new homes site now being built by Bloor on the former Fire Service College, where a total of 150 properties for private ownership will come into the market in the next two to three years, mirrored by the same number under social housing schemes. Properties that are presented in immaculate order fetch much better rents, so new-build properties make ideal investment opportunities, with very little maintenance to consider for several years. These properties are likely to be highly in demand with aspirational young couples and families currently living in the town. Older estate properties such as those in Croft Holm and Fosseway Avenue will offer even greater opportunities for the investment market, for the same reasons as those in Upper Rissington – with good plots and potential to refurbish and extend, these homes provide decent accommodation and a quiet family environment, at a more affordable level.


Three Crowns Cottage

I have around £200,000 to spend on a property to let out. What are the most desirable properties and what kind of return can I expect?

“an apartment in this converted mill in a highly-sought after village would be ideal as a second home or as an investment property” Tilly Tayler-Levy works alongside Caroline in the Lettings Department and has a long list of tenants waiting to find suitable properties.

Tilly says: 6 South View at Blockley has recently come onto the market at £199,950. A spacious and characterful two-bedroom apartment situated on the second floor of this converted mill in a highly sought-after village, would be ideal as a second home or investment property. The property will attract in the region of £700 - £750 per calendar month on a shorthold assured tenancy.

South View, Blockley, £199,950

The attraction of long term capital growth is my reason for buying a second property, as long as I can cover my outgoings in the meanwhile. I would prefer to let to a family who are likely to look after a property and to live in it for a few years. What do you have on your books to suit, under £450,000?

Tilly says: Spring House, Naunton (£415,000) is an ideal example of a desirable property that will suit a longer-term investor. This Cotswold stone, detached property is situated in one of the most desirable North Cotswold villages. It has a beautiful kitchen/breakfast room, large living room and separate playroom/study, 4 decent bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and garage, and a lovely, paved garden to the rear. It will fetch around £1300 per calendar month. To discuss your property requirements or the marketing of your home, contact Caroline on 01451 833170 Spring House, Naunton, £415,000 www.cotswold-homes.com

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Bloor Homes

Ask the experts... We are particularly interested in purchasing a new-build property for investment purposes in Moreton in Marsh – what can you tell me about the new homes at the edge of town, their release dates, prices, etc?

“Ranging in size from terraced starter homes to detached 1600 sq. ft luxury homes with double garages, we have no doubt that properties will be snapped up very quickly as they are released” Tom Burdett, branch manager at Moreton in Marsh.

Tom says: Bloor Homes are building 150 properties over the next two years or so, half for the private marketplace and the remainder under a social housing scheme, with 300 houses being built in total on the site. The houses will be released in tranches - the first selection of 12 homes is available to reserve now, ready for occupation from late Spring. With 2, 3, 4 and 5 bedroom homes to choose from, ranging in price from just under £200,000 to around £465,000, we can organise viewings at the show home seven days a week, by simply telephoning 01608 651000. Register your requirements by visiting our High Street offices in Moreton in Marsh or by e-mailing me directly - tburdett@ harrisonandhardie.co.uk, when we will be delighted to discuss properties in more detail and arrange an appointment to view. Ranging in size from terraced starter homes to detached 1600 sq. ft luxury homes with double garages, we have no doubt that properties will be snapped up very quickly as they are released, so do let us know your requirements as soon as possible, when we will keep you up-to-date with all the latest news. Should you be considering a part-exchange, we can offer a no-obligation marketing consultation on behalf of Bloor, at a time to suit you within office hours, so that you can establish as early as possible whether this might prove an ideal solution to suit your timescales and financial position. For first-time buyers, Bloor Homes is taking part in a government scheme to provide mortgages of up to 95% of value, but these are not available to investment buyers. For more information about this and other ways of raising finance, you should read Johnny Magee’s column on buy-to-let mortgages, which is very helpful.

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JEM FINANCIAL PLANNING

Ask the experts... We are considering whether to buy a new-build property as an investment, what are our options for financing this purchase? Bloor Homes at Bourton on the Water

John, Sue and Sophia John Magee has always lived in the North Cotswolds, now with his wife Zoe and two children in the village of Draycott. His business - JEM Financial Planning - is based nearby in the gorgeous town of Chipping Campden. An independent financial adviser working alongside Sue Ellis, a Mortgage Broker, they have 47 years experience between them. Sue and John have helped countless young couples when buying their first home and thereafter with larger, family homes, their experience proving a reliable barometer of the local residential property market.

We are in our late 40s, both in good jobs and with only a small amount remaining on our mortgage. Our daughter, aged 25, still lives at home - she earns about £18,000 a year, as does her boyfriend. They hope to marry soon and are saving hard, but we are increasingly worried about their chances of ever getting onto the local housing ladder. We are considering whether to invest in a small two-bedroom property to let out so that, in a few years, we can provide for our daughter when she wants to settle down and raise a family. We also understand that there is a new incentive scheme available with new build properties. Can you tell us more? Will we be able to use the scheme to invest in a second property or is it simply for those buying their first home? Here at JEM Financial Planning we have noticed an increasing demand for Buy to Let (BTL) properties in the North Cotswold Area, either by homeowners looking to gain an investment to ‘top up’ or even in some cases replace their pension arrangements, providing an income in the meantime and also, as in your case, to provide a property for your children to move into in the future. A few years ago, BTL mortgages were regarded

as expensive, difficult to obtain and with few lenders - however more and more are entering this market. You would be able to offset interest payments and expenditure associated with the property against your tax liability, however should you sell it in the future, there could be a Capital Gains liability on any profit made. This leads on to your second question about ‘affordable housing’, something which is badly needed in the North Cotswolds, due to the income/property value ratio. To encourage young people to get onto the housing ladder, the Government is keen to ensure young people can still buy their own homes, introducing various schemes such as the ‘Homebuy’ that you mention. This is a mortgage loaned on a specific percentage of the property’s value, with the remainder being funded by an equity loan from the government/developer, repayable when the property is sold. This scheme is purely for people buying their first home, not as an investment proposition. As only a 5% deposit needs to be provided by the buyer, it does offer an excellent way to buy your first home! You might consider whether to loan your daughter the deposit monies - it seems, from what you say, she and her boyfriend could afford to buy one of the new-build properties under this new scheme.

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ASK THE EXPERTS

Ask the experts... My wife and I are considering investing in a holiday let property in the North Cotswolds, what do you advise?

Emily’s Cottage, Ebrington £695,000

Philip Hanley has almost 30 years of experience in financial services and has run his own financial planning practice, Philip James Financial Services, since 1994. He has completed the Chartered Insurance Institute’s Advanced Financial Planning qualification and is a member by Diploma of the Personal Finance Society. He lives in, and runs his business from, the Cotswold village of Fulbrook, near Burford in Oxfordshire, and is married with three sons and a daughter.

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We read recently in the Times that prices for “roses round the door” properties in the area around Chipping Campden and Moreton in Marsh are now higher than they were in 2006. We have just sold our main home – we are planning to downsize to a new-build Bloor property in Moreton, freeing up £300,000 cash in the process. If we do, we can buy a cottage in the local area to use as a holiday let. We figure that with the underlying capital growth and the predicted gross income on top, it is more of a sure thing than investing in the stock market. What are the implications and benefits, from your point of view? You should think about how buying another property stacks up against other investments, and the pros and cons of holiday letting against other lets, but the advantages of investing in property have been written about many times. It’s tangible (you can see what you’ve got - it’s not just a piece of paper or an entry on a computer!). It can give you a great income. If you’re in for the long-term, and buy in the right place and at the right time (which could be now), it should grow in value.

You’ve already done your research on location, location, location - more important than ever for this type of purchase! Holiday lets can generate as much income in a week as a normal let does in a month. And there are some tax advantages compared with standard lets. For instance, you should be able to claim ‘capital allowances’, and offset the cost of kitting out the property. You can offset any losses against other income, and if you sell the property, you may be able to take advantage of Capital Gains Tax reliefs, such as ‘Business Asset Roll-Over Relief’. To make sure your property qualifies, it must be furnished, available for at least 140 days a year and actually let for 70 days at market rate - not cheaply to friends and family. So, yes, holiday letting is a great income generator with tax advantages. It could give you a great ‘going concern’ to sell or move to yourself in future years!


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Wyck Beacon

Ask the experts... We have been house-hunting on behalf of some would-be investors for great second homes that would create holiday let revenue to boot! The team from HARRISON & HARDIE offer a choice of suitable properties and Mat and Andy, from Character Cottages, assess the potential gross annual revenue for the holiday-let market. I am in the UK with my family for only a couple of months each year - the rest of the time we live in Dubai – so we need to keep our UK property cared for and a managed holiday/second home appeals. We would like to have some acreage and views, not too far from amenities, but giving privacy from neighbouring properties with large, well-presented living spaces and at least six double bedrooms, to spend no more than £1.3 million.

Wyck Beacon House, Nr Stow on the Wold, offers in excess of £1.15 million

“this property enjoys complete privacy from neighbouring properties, having around 2 acres of landscaped gardens ” Katy Hill, Branch Manager at HARRISON & HARDIE in Bourton on the Water, suggests a former 1940s farmhouse, situated in a rural location not far from amenities:

Katy says: Wyck Beacon, (offers in excess of £1.15 million) is an excellent choice. With around 4,000 ft of living space, spacious enough to suit all your needs and only a few minutes’ drive from Bourton on the Water and Stow on the Wold, this property enjoys complete privacy from neighbouring properties, having around 2 acres of landscaped gardens and tennis court, parking and garaging for several vehicles and lovely views across open countryside. Presented in good decorative order, this property could be extended further, either into the capacious attic spaces or on ground floor level looking over the gardens, perhaps with a grand conservatory leading out from the existing kitchen-breakfast room (for which plans have been drawn up) to maximise potential. 54

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Mat Farraday: Classic detached country homes are very much sought after by large groups and families. Hidden away from view, the grounds are pretty and discreet, protected by electronic gates and therefore safe for children. The ground floor space is large, stylish and furnished beautifully - a magnificent dining room, a huge formal sitting room, a ground floor double bedroom for anyone finding stairs difficult and an additional playroom just for the kids, this property has it all! With four en-suite doubles on the top floor, plus another double and family bathroom, sleeping 12 in total, this would probably bring in the region of ÂŁ60,000 per annum gross revenue.

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Chimneys

Ask the experts... We are looking for a home offering great living accommodation but not too much outside space to maintain – a secure, lock-up-and-leave property, as we spend six months of the year abroad. We appreciate period properties are wonderful but the upkeep is a worry, so ideally we would like an individual, modern home in a traditional village location. We have £750,000 max to spend.

Chimneys, Great Rissington, £695.000

“flagstone floors, exposed beams, log burners, views and a country-style kitchen-breakfast room ” Steven Buchanan is Sales Manager at Bourton on the Water – he suggests a detached, extended Cotswold stone property with character features and lovely views, situated in the village of Great Rissington.

Steven says: Chimneys is a substantial four bedroom modern home with all the attractions of a more traditional cottage - flagstone floors, exposed beams, log burners, views and a country-style kitchenbreakfast room. With wrought iron gates, gravel driveway, double garage and a securely bordered rear garden, there’s certainly enough space to host a party and to entertain children, but little work to keep in good order and its position affords considerable privacy. The benefits of a village position are clearly seen at first floor level, with large windows providing lovely, far-reaching views glimpsed from many of the rooms, looking out over cottages and the church to beautiful countryside beyond.

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“With views overlooking the Windrush Valley and beautiful walks from your front door, this is an ideal location for a country escape” Mat says: In many ways this is the perfect blend of farmhouse and modern, with wooden and flagged floors, open fireplaces, country kitchen and crisp granite work surfaces, the arrangement makes the most of the large space, with separate rooms for eating, cooking and relaxing, with the option to convert the study into an extra single bedroom. The master bedroom provides the wow factor, and will make the perfect reward for the lucky couple winning the coin toss! Two further doubles and a small single means this property could sleep 8. Great Rissington is an outstanding village and home to the Lamb Inn, a wonderful pub serving quality food. With views overlooking the Windrush Valley and beautiful walks from your front door, this is an ideal location for a country escape, and could bring in approximately £40,000 per annum gross revenue. www.cotswold-homes.com

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Ashbury House

Ask the experts... We are avid race-goers and would like a second property to use during the Festival and on odd weekends when we are not in London – this proves jolly expensive if you rent, of course. A home that we can make money from out of season (racing season that is!) particularly appeals. A period, detached home surrounded by countryside would be the ideal respite from our city life, if you can find us something for under £600,000?

Ashbury House, Notgrove, £550,000

“Cotswold stone floors, a country style kitchen with Belfast sink, exposed stone walls and open fireplaces” Lucy Dicks, Sales Negotiator at HARRISON & HARDIE’s Moreton branch, proposes a detached Victorian property surrounded by countryside half-way between Cheltenham and Stow on the Wold.

Lucy says: Ashbury House, (offers in the region of £550,000) is a Victorian detached Cotswold stone property occupying a rural position on the edge of Notgrove, backing onto open farmland and lovingly updated, ideal for a second or a main family home. With approximately half an acre garden, ample parking and a stone outbuilding, there’s still plenty of potential to extend. The house has many attractive features - Cotswold stone floors, a country style kitchen with Belfast sink, exposed stone walls and open fireplaces, three double bedrooms (all of which have original Victorian fireplaces) and a newly fitted bathroom with a roll-top bath and double shower. You can drive to the centre of Cheltenham (barring Race traffic!), or to Stow and Bourton, in around 20 minutes, a brilliant half-way house between town and country.

Mat says: Set in an isolated, peaceful location with views across open countryside and a large garden, perfect for children to play and adults to relax in, stunning views and great walks accessible from the front door, this property will particularly suit guests seeking to “get away from it all”. A beautiful country house with three double bedrooms all of a similar size, suitable for families or groups of friends, we would expect to achieve in excess of £30,000 per annum in gross revenue. 58

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Three Crowns Cottage

We absolutely love Blockley and have stayed in holiday cottages in the village over the years. We would dearly love to own a property there, if only we could accommodate our large family and pay for its upkeep - your last article got us thinking seriously about the prospect! We have a maximum of £500,000 to spend - what can you suggest? We have four children and a granny who we want to bring too, but she can’t manage stairs at all now.

Three Crowns Cottage, Blockley, £475,000

“lovely, period, detached, four/five bedroom home offering superb space for your family needs” Amy Nicholson, Sales Negotiator at the Moreton branch of HARRISON & HARDIE, believes Three Crowns Cottage would be ideal.

Amy says: Three Crowns Cottage at £475,000 is a lovely, period, detached, four/five bedroom home offering superb space for your family needs, with an enclosed, lawned garden to the front, and offstreet parking for two cars. The ground floor is great for a sociable family - a large sitting room and separate dining room with kitchen-breakfast room - and has a bedroom en-suite, perfect for your mother. Arranged on three floors, your children can argue over who gets the top floor bedroom with the porthole window! Within walking distance of all the amenities and surrounded by beautiful countryside, this lovely cottage really would make a wonderful holiday home.

Andy Soye: A detached, pretty property with a safe garden and parking, affording flexible accommodation with bags of character including impressive exposed beams and open fires to give that country house ambience, this is a great prospect. We would market it to sleep 8 but give an option to place a sofa bed in the largest of the bedrooms, giving extra capacity for those seeking value for money. Blockley is a truly fabulous Cotswold village, with two good pubs and a great local shop - this location is an ideal, peaceful retreat, with Moretonin-Marsh just three miles away for access to larger shops and facilities. We would expect the gross revenue, with the sofa bed, to be approximately £45,000 per annum. www.cotswold-homes.com

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Murray Cottage

Ask the experts... We would like a little get-away-from-it-all property in the North Cotswolds – we can afford up to £300,000 on a buy-to-let mortgage. We would like a detached property, preferably with views and an edge of village location, with three bedrooms.

Murray Cottage, Clapton on the Hill, £299,950

“With outstanding views perched looking down over wide open countryside” Leigh, Sales Manager for Stow on the Wold, thinks he has the cottage that will tick all the right boxes.

Leigh says: Murray Cottage, at £299,950, is a rare detached cottage within budget, situated in Clapton on the Hill. With outstanding views perched looking down over wide, open countryside, the cottage has a first floor balcony to enjoy the extraordinary aspect on sunny days – the outside space is limited but the outlook is everything and, for a second/holiday home, perfect. Presently offering three bedrooms, bathroom, kitchen and sitting room - the internal garage, subject to planning, could create additional ground floor accommodation.

Andy Soye: “With a small, enclosed garden and stunning views, this little cottage is a very cosy bolthole, enjoying period features including exposed beams, inglenook fireplace and wood-burning stove. Ideally suited to a family of four, located at the end of a no-through lane in a hill village approximately a couple of miles south of Bourton-on-the-Water, it would make an ideal base to explore the Cotswolds, whether by car or by bike, and taking advantage of all the beautiful walks that are accessible straight from the village. We consider approximately £20,000 per annum of gross revenue is possible from this property. 60 Cotswold Homes Magazine


Making Money From Your Second Home

Making Money From Your Second Home Mat and Andy, from Character Cottages, have had a number of enquiries following their assessment of potential revenues on properties currently for sale in the North Cotswolds with estate agency HARRISON & HARDIE. Here, they continue to debate the benefits of letting out a second home to holiday-makers. Mat, you have had a lot of interest from second-home owners who previously would not have considered letting out their holiday home – why do you think that is? Even though the North Cotswolds is in a wealthy part of the country, we are all going through a time of sustained economic hardship and everyone has been exercising belt-tightening measures. The impending abolition of council tax discounts is going to further increase the costs of owning second homes. It seems sensible to turn an increasingly expensive liability into a profitable asset, rather than to dispose of a much-loved second home that is lying empty for much of the time.“Staycations” are increasingly popular in the UK and demand for Cotswold holiday cottages is very high. For example, we are able to achieve rental income in excess of £30,000 for attractive three bedroom properties in pretty Cotswold villages. But isn’t it all a bit of a headache? Owners are not going to be able to use their cottages at peak times, are they? Many second home owners are put off by the

effort associated with running a holiday let, however, we are able to provide a full suite of services to owners, from arranging housekeeping services to settling utility bills, even preparing accounts and liaising with an owner’s accountants. Owners can relax in the knowledge that their prized asset is earning an annual income and being looked after by professionals. Some agents do impose onerous charges on owners who wish to use their cottages at peak times, however, we believe that the best solution is to work around owners’ requirements (it is their property, after all!) – some will wish to use their property a bit more themselves, whilst others will want to maximise their cottage’s revenue potential. What about the financial management side, let alone the change-overs? As Chartered Accountants, Andy and I set up Character Cottages to ensure that holiday home owners could profit from their investment and to ensure that we could provide all the letting services required by owners, managing all the necessary service providers, paying their invoices and then preparing detailed monthly accounts for owners, showing all income and expenditure. We will work with owners’ accountants to ensure that they utilise any furnished holiday letting tax benefits. Our expertise lies in helping second homeowners to convert their properties into successful holiday lets, enabling them to maximise their returns, whilst still enjoying all the benefits of owning a country retreat.

How do you assess a cottage for its income potential? First and foremost, every property should be attractive to look at and have some character features, such as inglenook fireplaces, exposed oak beams or fabulous rural views, situated in a great location away from the hustle and bustle of normal urban life, furnished with certain modern facilities including wireless broadband, comfortable beds and well-equipped kitchens. We aim for child friendly, safe environments - enclosed gardens, no ponds or steep drops - enabling families to fully relax during their holiday. Generally, cottages should be close to a good country pub and, ideally, a shop offering local produce.

Andy Soye Character Cottages

Mat Faraday Character Cottages Visit Character Cottages website: www.character-cottages.com, or talk to them on 0844 870 8532 or e-mail them enquiries@character-cottages.com

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Baroque Ardor

Baroque Ardor Baroque Ardor Celebrating their first birthday this February, bespoke furniture makers Baroque Ardor have already caused quite a stir within the lifestyle and fashion arenas - names as big as Vogue and Nota Bene have recently used their designs in illustrious magazine photoshoots.

Baroque creatives Kerrie Peploe and Jill Francome work together to re-invigorate robust vintage furniture, their contemporary style-over creating timelessly beautiful pieces that would be at home in any country interior. With ranges inspired by Cotswold lifestyle and the ‘country farmhouse’ aesthetic, it looks like the pair have perfected their own brand of retro chic. Typically working with Victorian and Edwardian furniture of sturdy oak and pine,

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they tactfully paint and reupholster to craft striking pieces that harmonize with their surroundings. Thoughtful flourishes like tasseled keys and subtle gilded finishes complete the designs.

‘We paint sympathetically, considering age and style,’ says Jill, who has around twenty years of painting expertise to her name. ‘If someone likes one of a pieces but it isn’t quite a colour match, we will paint the furniture to blend into an existing colour scheme.’ ‘We like to take furniture with ‘history’ and give it a new lease of life – a new energy,’ adds Kerrie, ‘often pieces that are robust and are smart or grand-looking. We use our chalky paints to bring out the details. Jill’s very experienced, very skillful with painting – I’ve never met anyone with more knowledge


in this area. Our re-style essentially gives a touch of modern country glamour to these lovely old works.’ Some of their ranges are themed; the ‘Equus’ cushions incorporate stunning prints, the equine motif recalling their very first trade show at the Cheltenham Racecourse. Jill’s famous brother, the television presenter, novelist and legendary jockey John Francome, has also lent his name to a range. Plenty of romantic glamour is provided by wedding-inspired cushions ‘Bride’ and ‘Groom’. Meanwhile, stand-alone items like cabinets, dressers, bookcases, tables and mirrors all display a playful grandeur, each object with its own intrigues. Whatever they’re crafting, it seems that character is one thing Baroque Ardor does in abundance. We can’t wait to see their next project. Visit Baroque’s beautiful online gallery at: www.baroque-ardor.co.uk. Kerrie and Jill are happy to receive visitors at Medbourne farm by appointment.

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ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE: NEWLANDS


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Newlands is a retirement community set in the heart of the North Cotswolds - but seems much more like a luxurious country house hotel with its handsome architecture, tranquil setting, impressive grounds, stunning views and beautifully appointed rooms.  This is a retirement home second to none, an independent establishment that prides itself on its first class reputation and extensive facilities, with a registered care home at its heart. Just as Newlands is an extraordinary place, so the residents are an interesting community - many of them have led varied and incredibly productive lives, with a number who have been recognised for their contribution to British life. 

There is no doubt that Newlands endeavours to address the most exacting standards of these residents. An attentive, professional, caring team is on hand 24 hours a day so that residents are provided with an atmosphere akin to a rather comfortable country club, where simply nothing is too much trouble. Cuisine of the highest quality is provided in an elegant, fully licensed restaurant. For less formal occasions, there is a cosy coffee shop where, on warmer days, one can enjoy views of the beautifully landscaped gardens from the sunlit terrace. If wishing for a more intimate experience, one can arrange to meet friends in the library, doubling as a private dining suite. In preparation for such social occasions, a spot of pampering with the hairdresser can be paired with a relaxing session in the beauty therapy room for the ultimate in “me-time”!  Indeed, this is care of the very best kind.  Set in acres of landscaped terraced gardens with spectacular views over the surrounding Cotswold countryside, the location offers the best of both worlds - a stunning, rural outlook yet with the all the wonderful amenities that Stow on the Wold has to offer literally just around the corner.  Whether seeking an opportunity to take domiciliary care, hospitality or merely to be surrounded by home comforts on reaching a decision to move out of one’s original family home, Newlands certainly takes some beating. In addition to the grand house itself, Newlands has also built some stunning assisted living apartments and cottages, with a floor space and quality of finish that exceeds any provided by local competitors. 

Over the years, Newlands has built upon its reputation, establishing a business that is widely respected and, just as importantly, totally integrated into the life of one of the most stunning of Cotswold towns. “We aspire to excellence,” says the management team. “We aim to provide a high quality service and seek to establish standards not seen thus far in our industry. We have a dedicated staff, caring professionals who take enormous pride in their work.  The quality of care, hospitality and service we provide, coupled with our breathtaking surroundings, set us apart from our competitors.” What has been their greatest success and, looking forward, what plans do they have for the future of Newlands?   “We are very proud to have established an authentic retirement community which has consistently produced the highest standards and certainly ranks amongst the best, if not the very best example of its kind.  We look forward to seeing the community flourish and are committed to setting even higher standards within our industry, in order to provide the very best possible experience for all our customers.” To arrange a visit to this beautiful home, please contact the team at Newlands on 01451 832323 or write to: Newlands, Evesham Road, Stow on the Wold, Gloucestershire, GL54 1EJ.  Alternatively, visit www.newlandscourt.co.uk.

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ASK THE EXPERTS

Ask the experts... We are purchasing with cash, the property seems in very good order and we are loathe to part with several hundred pounds more for a full structural survey. What do you advise?

with Robert Hamilton of Central Surveying

Do I need a survey? As with many ‘second hand’ products (excluding new homes), all properties have history that is useful to know. A survey will highlight construction and legal issues, it will also advise on things to watch out on in the future, such as maintenance issues, thereby avoiding unpleasant and expensive surprises after moving in. Surveys are documents that add value to the property (if purchased) and should be seen as an investment rather than just another cost. A house with the benefit of a survey can fetch a higher price in the market. As does a Mercedes, for example, with a full service history! What type of survey should I have? For a Mortgage Loan, a Valuation Surveyor visits on behalf of the Bank or Building Society - not for you - and won’t highlight personal concerns or give details of condition, only whether the property offers suitable security for the loan secured against it. The RICS offers two types of survey for buyers, either a Building Survey (formerly a Full Structural Survey) or a Home Buyer Report. A Building Survey is suitable for all residential properties and gives full details of the construction and condition, especially recommended for unusually built, run down, listed and older properties, or for properties

that have been significantly altered or where you are planning a major conversion or renovation, especially in the Cotswolds. The Home Buyer Report includes an inspection, a report and a valuation. It is designed for modern/new built houses, bungalows and flats and contains ‘Condition Ratings’ (Scaled 1-3) to elements of the building, highlighting the most important issues or defects that may require immediate attention or could affect the value. It also includes the surveyor’s opinion of the current market value and reinstatement cost for rebuilding required for insurance purposes. If the survey highlights problems, what should I do? Read the survey carefully to check your understanding; don’t hesitate to ask for clarification. Buyers often panic but most problems are solvable. Expect some issues to be highlighted within a report, especially if the house is over 20 years old, and speak to both the agent and your surveyor about the findings, liaising to work through the problems and to find a resolution. If work is required, speak to your surveyor before calling in the builders so that you have a good idea of what specifically needs to be done and how much this should cost. Most surveying practices will recommend preferred specialis

contractors or will have consultants to advise in specialist areas such as under-floor heating or heat pump technology. You can ask your surveyor to oversee the works, to ensure that it is being done properly and checked regularly. If the property is in a Conservation Area or is a Listed Building, how might this restrict any future alterations? Firstly, obtain details about “Listed Buildings of England” (http://list.english-heritage. org.uk/). If you are looking to renovate or develop in any way, you must follow the strict guidelines and will require Listed Building Consent in addition to planning permission. Your surveyor should have good knowledge of what changes are acceptable and will be able to liaise with the Heritage Officer in charge of the area, in order to work through constraints so that permission is granted. See the Privilege Card Section for an offer from Robert Hamilton www.cotswold-homes.com

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amanda hanley

COTSWOLD INTERIORS Amanda at home in her studio

Amanda Hanley is a renowned local interior designer with an impressive portfolio of work, ranging most recently from an historic grand country house in Oxfordshire to projects in London and across the county. We visited her showroom in Fulbrook, near Burford, to ask about her work. Crammed with beautiful pieces of furniture and ornaments, sourced locally and from France, draped with exquisite fabrics, glassware and lamps, the whole apparently artlessly arranged to create a beautifully eclectic palette of textures, colours and styles, Amanda’s artistic vision is clearly evident in her choices on display. Warm, welcoming and effusively enthusiastic about her love of interior design, Amanda is also a seasoned task-mistress and keen negotiator who uses charm and discipline in equal measure to project-manage on behalf of her clients, keeping timescales and costs, as well as her workforce, under strict control. Clients clearly love her no-nonsense business approach and empathetic, relaxed, endlessly

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helpful manner, gaining her an impressive reputation for creating beautiful interiors within budget and on time. The notion of interior design does, unfortunately, encourage an awful lot of dabbling - everyone thinks they can ‘do’ interior design - so what really defines a good interior designer? I think that the most important thing an interior designer brings to the table is experience. Indeed many people think they ‘have a good eye’ for design (and indeed some do) but the engagement of any professional service into the equation must be because of knowledge - the type of knowledge that can only be gained from past experience. With that experience comes understanding and the skill sets that involve finding solutions to meet expectations. The other obvious advantage is awareness of supply, and access to supply. I have spent

many years cultivating relationships with manufacturers and distributors of design goods, as well as builders, to offer a fully comprehensive consultancy and management service. You have been involved in some stunning projects, including a stately home - what was it like to work on such a big scale and what were the biggest challenges? The stately home project was a classic example of my earlier point. Every commission brings with it complexities and considerations. Yes, it is lovely to work on a ‘grand’ project and in such a lovely location, however, there are many similarities with all projects. The most important thing is to listen to the client... help them through the decision process, guide them, advise them. In conjunction with this you must have empathy with everyone involved, including the planners, architects and builders, who


“The job of an interior designer is to offer professional advice and help the client through the decision process. I would like to think I have this ability without imposing my own personal taste or ideas to the extent that it became detrimental, in any way, to the objective.”

must all be given consideration to make sure everything is achieved in the most practical and cost-effective way. Above all, the client must be happy with the end result. The biggest challenge is the responsibility to please everyone! If you are handed a blank canvas, do you have a signature style? Do you prefer to embrace the traditional Cotswold vernacular or are you equally comfortable with an ubermodern interior? Again, I think it is important to listen. If your client has no idea then I think you owe it to them to keep an open mind and explore with them opportunity and possibility. Again experience prevails, not one design works everywhere. The job of an interior designer is to offer professional advice and help the client through the decision process. I would like to think I have this ability without imposing my

own personal taste or ideas to the extent that it became detrimental, in any way, to the objective. Retro-chic has been really big in the last few years - an enduring trend for this decade, too, or could we be on the cusp of change to geometric patterns and vibrant colours? If so, will you be joining in? I think ‘design trends’ will always be apparent and affect decision-making, and they are undoubtedly impacted by economic climate and media influence. Retro-chic has its place, as do geometric patterns and vibrant colours. The beautiful thing about design is there is no real right or wrong! The important thing is, if you are going to live with it, you must be happy with it. My job is to help you get there! To discuss your design requirements with Amanda, phone 01993 822385 or 07976 353996

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spring clean your home

Spring Clean Your Home with Ten Top Tips from Will Down

Montrose Property Maintenance tackles lots of spring-cleaning on behalf of landlords – they let us in on a few insider tips to help you bring the sparkle back to your home! Spring is just around the corner – spring sunshine is wonderful but it shows up all the dust and winter dirt so it’s time to give your home a new lease of life, especially if you are planning to sell - first impressions count! Pick up a duster, delve into your wardrobe, here are Will’s ten top tips to help you clean up, de-clutter and revitalise your living space with the minimum of fuss… 1. Method: Work from the top down, inside and out, to avoid what you just cleaned getting dirty again and work methodically - clean one room at a time. This will conserve your energy and you can see your progress as you go, ensuring nothing gets missed out. 2. Recycling: Your environment always benefits from having a periodic clear out. For a basic rule of thumb, consider disposing of any clothing or general item that hasn’t been used in the last two years. Charity shops are always willing to take good, clean and usable items and for anything else, use recycling bins provided in supermarkets and local car parks, of course. 3. Ovens: The job everyone keeps putting off, especially after winter roasts - cleaning the oven! To make this easier, add 1 tablespoon bicarbonate of soda to 250ml water, mix into a paste and smear over the inside of your oven, including the door, and leave for a few hours, ideally overnight, then simply wipe away with a damp sponge - ideal if you don’t want to use chemical cleaners. 4. Carpets: Carpets accumulate a lot of dust, dirt and even fungi over time. Up to 80% of carpet dirt can be removed with regular vacuuming but to tackle those really stubborn stains, hire steam-cleaning equipment. You don’t have the time or inclination? Hire a professional - it isn’t as expensive as you might think! 5. Storage: Always wash /dry clean wool or wool mix garments before putting them into storage - perfume and deodorant stains will oxidise and worsen over time. Moths feed on proteins in wool – they especially love yummy skin and hair particles in our clothes. Don’t underestimate lavender bags - they leave a lovely perfume in your wardrobes and moths hate the scent. Store seasonal garments in breathable cotton bags – plastic will attract dust and condensation. 6. Cleaning Grout: To ease the chore, mix one part bleach to three parts water and spray over tiles and grouting - especially good for removing mould and mildew it disinfects, too, removing stains and dis-colouration from white grout – but don’t use on coloured grout as it can cause fading. Never use bleach with any other kind of cleaner - in fact, never mix cleaning chemicals, especially those containing ammonia. 74

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7. Glass: It’s time to get that natural light flooding in through your windows without embarrassment. Mix one teaspoon of washing up liquid, half a teacup of white vinegar, two teacups of warm water. Spray onto your windows and use a soft, dust-free rag to wipe clean. Damp newspaper is a quick, easy way to make windows and mirrors sparkle. 8. Vases: Give a grimy vase a new lease of life by pouring frozen peas into the bottom, fill with cold water and swill out. For stubborn grime, fill with water and a dash of bleach, leave for a few minutes - the dirt should have completely disappeared. 9. Candle Wax: The key to removing wax is to harden it with ice and then gently chip it off and then, if possible, soften and melt off the remainder with a cool iron over brown paper. Methylated spirits will remove any residual

marks on fabric - check first on a test piece that doesn’t show. 10. More Kitchen Cupboard Cleansers For Carpets, Work Surfaces and Walls: Lemon juice has been a popular stain remover for centuries. It will remove rust and stains from plastic. Either neat or diluted, it can also work on some curry stains, especially those left on carpet. Beer spillages on carpet can be removed with soda water. Watermarks on wooden surfaces can be removed by rubbing half a brazil nut onto the area, having made sure the surface is completely dry. To rub off greasy fingerprints on walls, take a slice of stale white bread and gently wipe away the marks. See the Privilege Card Section for an offer from Will (pages 96 - 98)


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local churches

How to get married in a

COTSWOLD CHURCH With the warmer weather, we can look forward to all the spring flowers and beautiful colours dotted in the hedgerows and in the verges adjacent to Cotswold stone walls. In our rural landscape we experience the joy of new life, particularly in late afternoons when fields are full of lambs bounding around, and this brings hope in new creation.

with the local parish priest. Couples need to confirm one of the following ways:

The churches in villages and market towns lend themselves to be decorated with this new burst of spring colour, as Easter is celebrated throughout. Whether you are a visitor to this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty or reside here, we can all appreciate and enjoy how our lives can be enriched. In churches this Easter time, the story of the Risen Christ will be told again through music and word. If you visit www.achurchnearyou.com, this will give details of services and events.

To have attended church services in the parish for a period of at least six months, and /or to be on the church’s electoral roll

It is a beautiful time of year in a lovely part of the world, understandably prompting brides and grooms to dream about having their wedding in a sacred Cotswold Parish Church. Through The Wedding Project, trying to say “Yes!” to those enquiring about the possibility, the Church of England offers a guide to exploring their ideas

Couples can be considered for marriage in a church - providing one of them has been baptised. The bride or groom needs to live in the parish (or to have lived in the parish for a period of at least six months)

To have been baptised (christened) in the parish church and/ or to have been prepared for confirmation in the Parish Church (or one of their parents were confirmed there) at any time after they were born

There are differing views on divorce, and generally speaking it is best to seek the advice of a parish priest, who will be happy to provide assistance. There are also many opportunities to have a wedding blessed, whether to celebrate a special anniversary (such as 25 years) or following a marriage ceremony carried out at a registry office. For more information about marriage law, please see: www.churchofengland.org’ Every Blessing – Veronica Revd Veronica James, Area Dean of the North Cotswold Deanery

Or, again, if one of their parents or grandparents has regularly attended normal church services for a period of at least six months and/ or was married in the parish If none of these conditions seem to apply, couples can still marry in church if they apply and are granted a Special License from the Diocesan Ecclesiastical Registrar.

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the frock shop

Brides, M aids Mothers

he Frock Shop on Park Street in Stow on the Wold is full of exquisite dresses for brides and all the entourage. All ages and tastes are catered for - occasion dresses for mothers, slinky evening wear for matrons of honour, sweet, pretty frocks for little tots. Glittering accessories, feather boas and fascinators hang here and there and, at the heart of the shop, Christine keeps a careful eye on the hustle and bustle around her, measuring and pinning, nonchalantly slicing half a metre of red satin from the hem of a dress with a huge pair of scissors, chatting to me about my sister-in-law’s wedding this March whilst my three little girls preen and prance in front of long mirrors, admiring themselves from every angle. Christine recently moved premises to this new, much larger shop from a little boutique off the square where she had been for years, but already the shop is crammed to the brim and we feel comfortably at home, eavesdropping openly on another bride’s plans for her big summer wedding next year. Blonde and pretty, the bride-to-be sports a pair of large black biker boots - my six year old style queen eyes them suspiciously, clearly concerned she might forget to swap them for a pair of more elegant heels on the big day. My daughter, who has come dressed for the occasion in silver tights overlaid with a floaty white angel dress from the dressing up box (no halo just red sparkly heels) is in heaven. It’s a girlie-girl’s shop for all ages.

I slip my envelope of questions from brides-to-be into Christine’s hand as she shares advice with another lady about new rules for hats in the Royal Enclosure. She glances at my paper and turns to her assistant - “questions for the magazine, interview with the radio, end of year tax returns... When do you want these back?” I apologise ruefully for the short notice and wonder how she will fit everything in, but on the appointed deadline I receive e-mail after e-mail, photo after photo of elfin girls in pastel tulle, delicious concoctions and glamorous gowns of every hue. One thing’s for certain, Christine is busy because she knows her stuff - my four brides have come to just the right person for advice. Q: Having chosen to get married in the winter, I would like our wedding to be very sleek and contemporary with diamonds, snow and ice as my inspiration - what kind of look would you go for? Firstly, this is not a look for pale blondes unless you use deep accents of colour, or you might end up looking more like the witch in Narnia! Use berry red, dark chocolate or evergreen on bridesmaids’ sashes, perhaps, and keep your make up bold - scarlet lips, smoky eyes and shiny hair. Accessorise with a tiara, droplet ear rings, a sparkling necklace - maybe a soft fur shrug with a big, crystal-encrusted clasp, or ostrich feathers and lace to create elaborate head dresses and stoles, like the ones on page 80. Keep your bouquet strong and structural

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the frock shop

Photography by Antonia Deutsch ad@antoniadeutsch.co.uk

- dark green spikes of holly with white arrum lilies, for example. A gown like this beautiful one on page 78 picks up sparkle detail on the hip and would work well with the addition of more dramatic accessories.

The v in ta g e t he m e i s a lo v e ly one to w or k w i t h - p r e t t y f lo w e r s a r r a n g e d in j a m j a r s , h o m e m a d e b u n t in g a nd a t r a d i t i on a l v il l a g e c h u r c h a s y o u r b a c k d r op.

Q: I am in my early twenties, getting married this spring with a vintage, rural theme. I would like advice on how to run the theme through for my mother’s outfit, two little bridesmaids and my own dress, please?

Q. Having turned thirty-five this year, I have had plenty of time to save for the extravagant wedding I have imagined since childhood. We have hired a castle for our big day and I hate to sound like too much of a prima donna but I would like two dresses - one for the wedding service and one for the after party! What would you suggest?

The vintage theme is a lovely one to work with - pretty flowers arranged in jam jars, home-made bunting and a traditional village church as your backdrop. Your dress must have a timeless, classic cut but with a youthful edge - you will have a bouquet of cottage garden blooms so let the detail of the dress speak for itself and put the bridesmaids in retro, floral colours - pale mint greens, faded pinks or powder blues would all work well. For your mother, this outfit by John Charles bottom left, page 80 is ideal, an English country garden print that will pick

How lovely and why not, this is meant to be the best day of your life! For the day I would propose a glamorous gown with lace overlay, a style very much in vogue since the Royal Wedding. This particular dress (top right) is very opulent, grown-up and sophisticated; a gown by Intuzuri Costura, a European designer specialising in luxury bridal dresses. The bridesmaids should share in all this gorgeousness – shown here in dresses designed by Morilee bottom right, but not a chance of outshining you on your Big Day! For the

by John Charles

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up the colours of the girl’s dresses and your bouquet.


evening reception, what better than a fabulous, sumptuous evening gown, so that you can descend that baronial staircase looking like a beautiful 40s film star! Q. I did the big white wedding when I was younger and have opted for a low key, intimate affair for my second marriage. We have booked the local registry office in October and a local restaurant for a small reception afterwards. I love the colours of Autumn - have you any particular outfits that might suit? It is tricky to get the balance just right when you don’t want to wear a bridal gown as such, and even if you want to keep things simple and understated you must be sure that you don’t end up choosing an outfit that might also be picked by any of your guests, of course. You could run the risk, even if you opt for higher end brand names such as LK Bennett, of doing exactly that - so I would go for something that gives a sense of occasion and will make you feel special without looking like a classic bride. Ian Stewart produces wonderful occasion wear - that would suit you very well. See the Privilege Card Section for an offer from the Frock Shop www.cotswold-homes.com

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flowers for all seasons

Flowers Seasons for all

The Heaths of Cotswold Flowers, in Bourton on the Water, have been creating beautiful bouquets and stunning floral arrangements for many years. Here they answer some questions from brides-to-be about how to make the most of seasonal flowers with their chosen colour themes. Q I am getting married in March. With soft lilacs and pinks as a basic colour scheme, daffodils are just too yellow for my wedding. I would really like my flowers to be seasonal, so what would work well in my bouquet? Spring brings with it the prettiest flowers and blossoms, in a palette of soft pinks and creamy yellows. To create a soft lilac and pink colour scheme, use delicate pastel pink tulips, sweetscented lilac hyacinths and creamy-scented and cheerful narcissus. If combined with variegated and subtle grey eucalyptus foliage, this will help to soften the overall bouquet and create a gorgeous, highly scented, delicate bridal posy. In keeping with the season and colour scheme, for the groom’s buttonhole, choosing a pink tulip with soft lilac hyacinth-pips would complement the bridal bouquet perfectly.

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Q I have always wanted an explosion of colour at my summer wedding but how do you advise using a big, bright palette without looking messy and uncoordinated? Summer provides a wealth of choices but when wanting to make a statement stick to three vivid and bold colours. For your choice of flowers, for example purple hydrangea, cerise-pink Milano roses and zesty orange gerbera framed in hosta leaves make an eye-catching bouquet. To continue the theme throughout, introduce seasonal flowers such as delphinium, gladioli & lilies into large pedestal arrangements for the church and/or your reception venue - for that extra zing, lime-green Molucella and Alcamilla Mollis will bring the whole theme together in one colourful explosion! Rows of cube-shaped vases filled with brightly coloured blooms such as Aqua pink roses and lime-green anthuriums are great for adding impact on your tables at the reception.


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flowers for all seasons

Reflect the changing season by allowing the flowers to provide a cosy warm feel but still remaining sympathetic to the surroundings. Q We chose to get married in October when we can reflect the glorious colours of the countryside in our rural, tithe barn setting. What would you put together for an autumnal wedding feast? Autumn, with its cool crisp days, can be warmed by choosing a rich russet palette for your flowers. Reflect the changing season, especially with reception venues such as a tithe barn in a countryside setting, by allowing the flowers to provide a cosy warm feel but still remaining sympathetic to the surroundings. Garlands of natural ivy wound round original rustic beams and strategically placed, large galvanised containers with red oak leaves, sunflowers, golden chrysanthemum blooms, euphorbia and corn will create an informal and natural feel. Continue at the tables with smaller galvanised containers holding eucalyptus, red oak leaves, Cherry Brandy roses, orange viburnum berries and corn, embracing the rural surroundings throughout the barn. Q We are getting married at Christmas and would like to achieve a glamorous look with traditional colours but don’t want to be too obvious - I suspect holly might be a bit of a cliché. What would you suggest? Winter is a lovely time to be married and whether you prefer rich reds or cool whites, choosing from a host of beautiful flowers and berries available for a Christmas wedding can really prove a difficult decision. Keeping it traditional and simple can ultimately achieve a really glamorous look, as the impact is far greater if only a few types of flowers and colours

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are used. For example deep red roses with Ilex berry and Skimmia Japonica create a simple yet stunning bridal bouquet. Short mirror-cubed vases compact with Deep Red Roses and Bear Grass, placed on mirror plates, can create truly glamorous table centrepieces. Alternatively, an all-white colour scheme can be easily achieved, with a stunning pure white Phaelonopsis Orchid shower-style bridal bouquet and coordinating groom’s buttonhole. Use tall slim vases as table centrepieces with white Phaelonopsis Orchid and shoots of steel grass, to add a touch of glamour.

Churches are usually decorated just before Christmas because of Advent, so it’s always best to speak to the local church flower lady beforehand, to see what their plans are, as they may be willing to incorporate your ideas and colour scheme. Large candles placed in between holly, mistletoe and mixed foliage are simple, yet classic church arrangements. See the Privilege Card Section for an offer from Cotswold Flowers


Wyck Hill House Hotel

A Grand Do at Wyck Hill House Hotel

Katy Sanders is Events Manager at The Wyck Hill House Hotel and has presided over many weddings. Calm, helpful, good-humoured and wonderfully organised, she is always happy to contribute with a host of great ideas, taking account of personalities, themes and budgets to ensure that every couple takes away wonderful memories of a uniquely special occasion.

The best part of a summer wedding is being able to bring the outdoors in. Our Adams Room with its doors flung wide, overlooking a wide terrace, spreading lawns and panoramic countryside views, is just perfect for a late afternoon ceremony, capturing the golden hues of warm evening sunshine. Already beautifully and classically decorated with an ornate ceiling, it needs little else to keep the look simple, yet sophisticated.

We are planning to marry in the summer - we are in our mid-40s, second time round for both of us. We don’t feel comfortable with the white dress, top hat, big occasion thing - but we do want something really special, understated and elegant, perhaps a late afternoon affair, with around 40 guests... How would you advise us to go about achieving our vision?

To make this celebration special, pamper your guests with beautiful food and ply them with fine wines and champagne. After the ceremony, provide ice-cool, refreshing Pimms and mouthfuls of tiny canapés on the garden terrace before seating your party of friends and family at beautifully crisp, white tables with sparkling glass, to enjoy a sumptuous summer meal. A warm evening requires light and delicious food - a bowl of salad leaves tossed with slowroasted chicken, pancetta and parmesan to start, followed by a simple but luxurious panfried fillet of sea bass, South Coast Crab Bon Bon perhaps, with a baby spinach and caviar dressing and rounded off with a delicate tuille basket of summer fruits, accompanied by a raspberry sorbet with a champagne sabayon.

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Small posies, with white roses and candles, are delightful centre-pieces – as the summer dusk sets in and the candles are lit, they will continue to give a warm, sophisticated glow to the room.

My daughter is planning a big, traditional wedding next Easter with 100 guests, plus another 50 or so at the evening reception. I am worried, when it comes to feeding all those people after the ceremony and again in the evening, how to fulfil her dreams without breaking the bank! If you are working to a budget but planning a classically large wedding, then dates are key. Easter itself is expensive, but if you keep to the school holidays to ensure everyone is able to attend, discounts can be secured for weekday weddings. Keep to a simple menu and choose house wines. Cater for all those extra guests in the evening by providing platters of hearty and filling bacon butties - perfect to accompany a celebratory party drink - but opt for sparkling wines rather than champagne when you are toasting the bride and groom. Flowers can work out very expensively for large weddings where you have lots of tables,


As your guests return from church, warm them by roaring log fires and serve mulled wine with toasty-hot mince pie canapés. We decorate the hotel with our own, stunning Christmas decorations and garlands, so you can take free advantage throughout every room as guests flow through the hotel for the wedding breakfast! Our great chef is always happy to create unusual menus to embrace your wintery theme, from piping hot bourguignons to traditional pan-seared, oak-smoked salmon or roast parsnip and chestnut soup starters. Pork tenderloin served on a bed of wilted baby gem lettuce, accompanied by fondant potatoes and a red wine jus, can be followed up by a gorgeous winter pudding of festive brownies. In the evening, celebrate with a white chocolate fountain whilst dancing the night away to all your favourites Christmas tunes.

We are getting married in foggy November - we don’t want grand, fussy and formal, just a hearty meal and some good old boozy fun in the evening! We thought we might work on a traditional country, old-fashioned English pub idea.... What do you suggest?

but by selecting seasonal flowers this can help - a spring wedding gives a profusion of pretty blooms such as daffodils, tulips and yellow gerberas - or try alternatives, such as glass plates with tea-lights and crystals, scattering rose petals on the tables, or goldfish bowls filled with flowers that can double up as presents for bridesmaids, groomsmen, friends and family at the end of the evening.

We are so excited to be getting married in December and the lure of a Christmas theme is too strong to resist – how do we go about having a gorgeous Winter Wonderland wedding?

I would say, start as you mean to go on! When guests arrive at the hotel for the drinks reception, serve them a glass of traditional ale and hot, sea-salted fish & chip canapés, followed by a wedding breakfast of individual steak and kidney puddings or caramelized sausage and cheddar mash, and everyone’s favourite English dessert - warm apple pie with lashings of creamy custard. Decorate the room with red, white and blue chair ties and place enamel jugs on the tables as centre-pieces, each holding a wooden spoon table number and filled with pretty, cottage garden flowers, continuing the colour scheme with simple, union jack bunting to edge the tables. I don’t blame you for being excited, and creating a Christmas Winter Wonderland is so easy to achieve. Decorate the room with snow-covered trees, tables littered with ivy and berries and romantic, tall candelabras with glowing candles. LED lighting can help create a snow-covered glow against glass and crystal ornaments whilst stunning white flowers such as tulips, gardenias or calla lilies with a sprinkle of glittery stems will be elegantly in keeping with your theme.

An English country pub theme is even more fun to embrace for your evening reception – let your hair down with a great live band, hire a pool table, darts board and skittles to give that traditional feel, whilst providing an assorted hot roll menu with roast pork and stuffing, sausages and home-made tomato sauce or delicious slices of rare, roast beef. See the Privilege Card Section for an offer from Wyck Hill House Hotel

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tim’s top fitness tips

Country Health and Fitness:

Spring into

Action Tim Spittle is getting married in May this year, so he knows all about getting in shape for the Big Day. Here are his wedding workouts, one for the bride and one for the groom! With warmer days and longer nights ahead, brides & grooms throughout the Cotswolds will be springing into action for the arduous task of getting lean, toned and trim ready for the Big Day. Grooms must battle hard against those bulging overhangs - and brides will spend sleepless nights dreaming of toned arms and nipped-in waistlines. For your own wonderful wedding, you’ll want to get into your best shape ever – or find a way to make the man of your dreams fit for a princess! If you want to shed a stone you should allow around 12 weeks - you will also put on some lean muscle too, so take some measurements (waist, hips, chest arms & legs) as this will give you a better understanding of how you are progressing. Choose a diet plan that works for you - there are hundreds out there and it may pay to consult a trainer, slimming group or dietician. Generally, eat six small meals a day, use higher amounts of protein to suppress your appetite, keep your diet clean and avoid high sugars and saturated fats. Save the alcohol for big day bubbly and keep hydrated with natural water. Just remember to eat enough to keep your metabolism high and your body looking and feeling great!

Outdoor Bodyweight Circuit Carry out each exercise for 45 seconds in succession with 100% effort. Rest for 90 seconds & repeat 2-3 times. Train hard and you will be amazed what you can achieve, physically & emotionally.

1. Hill Climber – Alternated high speed run on all fours

2. Press Up – Nose past fingertips, straight back, stomach in

4. The Burpee – Squat down, kick feet back, then forward, then spring into the air, repeat with tempo

Do you take this man...? The Perfect Groom Work-Out!

Grooms, time to burn fat fast - what better way than to get outside in the fresh air and start running? If you want results, start with 3 runs or run/walks in the first 2 weeks then move to 4 or 5, thereafter. You should aim for a 45 minute workout, with 5 minute warm up and 10 minute cool down & stretch. Once you’re running well, add in some 45 second sprint intervals and hill runs. 2-3 times a week, blast the fat halfway through your run with this effective bodyweight circuit! 88

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7. Flutter Kick – Lie on back, straight legs 12” from the floor, small kicks up and down. Important, take care you hold this position in your stomach and do not cause discomfort in your back

6. Bodyweight Squat – Toes, knees, hips in line, head up and squat with tempo


Do you take this woman …? Get A Wonderful Wedding Body!

Brides! My first piece of advice – don’t starve yourself! Simply throw away the naughties and eat clean foods. You will need all the energy you can get for the build-up to the wedding, to keep yourself physically and emotionally focused. Remember, you need to lose 3,500 calories to burn 1lb of fat and this should come from eating better foods and by exercising it away. Start your campaign with 2-3 light runs or cardio workouts at the gym, and then begin to work hard with the following programme: Carry out 1-2 fat-burning cardio sessions a week, working at a rate of 70-80% of your full exertion. This will do some good steady fat burning. Do tummy-flattening exercises 3 times a week in addition to your workout and avoid stomach bulging crunches!

Upper Body Bridal Workout Beautiful arms and a defined back are a bride’s delight, so add this specific workout to your programme twice a week, allowing 2-3 days recovery between each one. Ensure all exercises are done with good form. Select weights so that you can complete the set of 12 reps but are finding it difficult at rep 10 or 11. Lift carefully and seek advice from a trainer if unsure.

1. Press up – With straight back and tummy pulled in. Perform on your knees or your toes. 3 x 12 reps 2. Dumbell Row – Body form should be as illustrated. Raise and lower dumb-bell just off arm, lock-out up to chest, maintaining a straight back and tight core. 3 x 12 reps, left & right.

You should also complete 2 high intensity cardio sessions. This can be done in the gym on a treadmill, bike, rower, step or cross trainer. Start with a 5 minute warm up, then 30 seconds fast/1 minute 30 seconds slower recovery. Build up towards 45 seconds fast and 1 minute recovery. You are aiming to complete 12-14 intervals in one session and finish with 15 minutes warm down at a slower pace. This will raise your metabolism and keep you burning fat the next day.

3. Bicep Curl – Draw tummy in, alternate dumb-bells from hip to shoulder at a 2 second tempo. 3 x 12 reps, left & right.

See the Privilege Card Section for an offer from Rapid FX Photographer: Antonia Deutsch email: ad@antoniadeutsch.co.uk 4. Triceps Kickback – Follow form as illustrated, keep shoulder steady, extend weight backwards from elbow. 3x12 reps left & right

3. Bicycles – Alternating elbow to knee, crunching stomach & extending legs

5. Overhead Press – Standing or seated, draw in tummy and press dumb-bells overhead, lowering each time to shoulder. 3 x 12 reps

7. And lastly... get more distance on your bouquet throw....with the kettle-bell swing!

5. Bench Dip – Dip arms up & down with a straight back using a bench or similar

6. Punch Bag – When you have finished, hit the punch bag for 15 minutes of hard intensive boxing and turn up your fat burning to the max

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Find Your Inner Calm

How to Find Your Inner Calm? Collette Fairweather discovers the answer to a bride’s prayer! I could barely contain my excitement when, as part of our Cotswold Wedding feature, M Spa invited us to try the pampering delights they offer. A piece of necessary research, I reasoned, on behalf of all the soon-to-be brides in the North Cotswolds, so how could we refuse?

Nestling in the rolling hills surrounding Chipping Campden, an oasis of opulence and guilt-free indulgence just waiting to be discovered within a beautifully converted Cotswold stone barn, no aspect of experience is left to chance, with the most careful consideration given to specifically trained staff, organic products and personal service. When the list of gorgeous treats was proposed, it sent me into an agony of anticipation – a full body scrub and massage, a luxurious facial, a wash and blow dry with Martin himself – would my boss simply claim the perks and privilege of seniority? The diary settled things, (the boss was too busy!) and on the appointed day I set off with an air of what she described, somewhat caustically I thought, as “transparently gleeful”. Later that evening, dining at a posh restaurant to make the most of my glamorous hair-do, blissed out on endorphins and positively gleaming with newly buffed skin, I happily confirmed that never has there been a more effective way to escape the pandemonium of wedding planning or to satisfy the most diverse flock of hens. The brainchild of brother and sister team, Martin Crean and Ema Thompson, Martin had already set an extremely high standard

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with MODE, his hair salon, with a team of award-winning stylists and a trophy cabinet to prove it. Martin and Ema have undoubtedly raised the bar again with M Spa. Whilst giving effusive thanks, I ran through with them how they would look after a bride on the run up to the wedding day.

café, if they so desire. What we aim for is to combine luxury with affordability for all, as an occasional treat or a regular luxury, and a hen party here will be fabulous for all the girls, of course.

A traditional Cotswold wedding is the stuff of childhood dreams, a bride’s time to take centre-stage, but it all has to be perfect - how do you help to make her fantasy a reality? Martin: We have always focused on the detail and we have pride in what we do and achieve, taking a genuine interest in our customers and always aiming to exceed their expectations. Planning and preparations are so vital, but often stressful - we aim to be there every step of the way, supporting and helping them to step back, relax and realise just how special this time is for them.

Martin: We start with a hair mock-up, working with the bride to create a hairstyle that suits the face, the dress and the theme. We take this opportunity to discuss wedding make up with our freelance artist, to ensure brides are camera ready. A few days before, brides usually come in for a full body exfoliation and one of our organic spray tans, as white can be such a draining colour and there is nothing more attractive than sun-kissed skin. We use shade and sculpt techniques to elongate the limbs and enhance the collarbones and, being organic, the tan won’t fade away in a blotchy, freckly fashion.

Ema: We organise luxury spa parties with exclusive use, where a group of guests can enjoy a variety of treatments, which is an excellent idea with different ages. We encourage every guest to take their time, ensuring everyone can expect a royal welcome – for example, we can order in lunch or guests can wander down to the

Ema: It’s important not to forget the manicure, as a bride’s hands will be photographed endlessly on the wedding day, and she will need to make sure they are looking their best. With an impending honeymoon, it is just as important to address the practical, so we arrange an appointment with our specialist waxer too!

What about the week before the Big Day?


photography All in the image

And how do you soothe inevitable nerves on the day before? Ema: We suggest that the bride seeks sanctuary in one of our signature rituals and highly recommend the Lavender Dreams, our full body scrub and massage, as it’s very easy to drift away and escape the pandemonium of wedding practicalities. If she has had one of our organic tans, we propose a full body massage to realign the flow of energy, using organic aromatherapy oils. We follow that up with a facial, to replenish and revive tired eyes. How do you help the bride to find time for everything on the day itself? Martin: We can come to a bride if she wishes, but being in a converted barn, the salon can accommodate the whole bridal party, giving

us room to move and the bride to breathe, on what can be a stressful and often suffocating day. Our make-up artist will be on hand to give the radiance every bride deserves. Ema: A tip for the bride is to wear a buttoned blouse, so she doesn’t have to pull her top over freshly pinned hair. What do you suggest for the mother of the bride to, ahem, help reverse the inevitable results of time and gravity? Ema: We offer the K Lift Management System, which uses LED light and microcell impulse current to educate muscles to tighten and lift, to encourage new cell development. A course of treatments is best but she will notice immediate effects with her first session. It’s perfect, whatever your age, as a workout for the face - preventing the

arrival of unsightly jowls is always easier than the cure! And presumably the groom is equally catered for in these metrosexual times? Martin: Of course, we cater for the boys too, with specific facials that are designed for the unique requirements of male skin. We would highly suggest this treatment before the most photographed day of a groom’s life, as it addresses the issues of razor burn and leaves the inevitably tired groom looking fresh and revived. I would also get the groom to book in for a cut and finish a few days before, when we will have time to talk through how he intends to style his hair on the day. See the Privilege Card Section for an offer from M Spa

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best dressed grooms

The Perfect Suit for the Perfect Day

how to Look your Best On Your Wedding Day Alex Edwards from Aptus Suits, near Chipping Norton, shares expert advice on how to get a suit just right and why, on the most important occasion in a man’s life, there is no better choice than a bespoke suit.

We men are notorious for leaving things to the last minute and the wedding suit is no exception. The net result is often an ill-fitting suit in a style/cloth not suitable for its purpose. There are a few simple tips however, that can help you avoid these unnecessary wardrobe mishaps. Put simply, there are three key areas to focus on, when picking the perfect wedding suit: * Cut * Cloth * Comfort Cut: There is nothing worse than a jacket that looks like a tent or a coat that looks like a strait jacket. A good fitting suit is an absolute must for every groom getting married. With a number of designs, cuts and looks of wedding suits available, choosing the most appropriate is important for leaving a lasting impression for the groom’s big day. There are several key areas of the suit’s fit that should be acknowledged: Shoulders – ‘off the shelf suits’ are notorious for over padding the shoulders, these often leave the groom looking “square”, with excess material around the shoulder blades. This is particularly noticeable during wedding services, when

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long periods of time are spent with your back to your guests. Your shoulder pads must end with your shoulders. Jacket Length – With your arms by your sides your knuckles should be even with the bottom of your jacket. Generally speaking your jacket should split your body in half, and men with particularly long or short arms should take this into consideration. Jacket Cut – The top button of a twobutton suit or the middle button of a three-button suit should not fall below the belly button. Sleeve Length – Jacket sleeves should fall to where the base of your thumb meets the wrist. As such the shirt should be bought slightly longer on the sleeve length, so about 1 cm of shirt is visible below the suit sleeve. Trouser Length - it is important, when buying trousers, that you wear the shoes that you intend to wear on the day. The trouser should fall onto the last rung of the shoelaces on the front and reach the top of the heel at the back. While pleated trousers can add volume to a thinner frame, flat-fronted trousers can impart a slimming effect to stockier builds. It can be infuriating at times trying to find an off-the-peg suit, where each and every aspect of the cut fits as it should. Often, tens of jackets are tried on and still the net result is only an average looking suit. Bearing in mind that your bride will spend many hundreds, possibly more, on a dress for the occasion, you really should consider

“Bearing in mind that your bride will spend many hundreds, possibly more, on a dress for the occasion, you really should consider getting a bespoke suit, on the most important day of your life.” getting a bespoke suit, on the most important day of your life. We take over 30 unique body measurements, ensuring each suit is cut to work in harmony with each of our client’s individual body shapes. A stressful process pounding the high street searching for the right suit will actually become quite enjoyable if you decide to get one made. You will be able to choose every aspect of the suit from cloth to linings to cuts, all under the expert guidance of your own personal fitter. Cloth: After taking your unique measurements, the next thing that your personal fitter will advise you on is cloths. There is no point having a great fitting suit if the cloth is not suitable for its purpose. Two things to consider are: where you are getting married and at what time of year, which in turn affect the weight and colour of the cloth recommended. If you are lucky enough to be getting married in a sunny climate with warm temperatures, the last thing you want to be wearing is a heavy weight woollen suit.

‘Panama’, ‘Tropical’ or ‘cool wool’ are terms commonly used to describe a plain-weave cloth and are indicative of the ability of this type of cloth to allow air to move through the garment and keep the wearer cool. If, on the other hand, you are having a winter wedding, a heavier cloth is recommended. A fully milled, fine worsted fabric will offer warmth and density. Alternatively, we have seen an increase in the number of individuals opting to use tweed in their wedding suits. Tweed offers both warmth and variety, making it a perfect choice for any groom wanting to stand out from the crowd. Colour: Choosing the right colour for the groom’s suit nowadays tends to be more of a personal preference. Generally the groom wears a traditional black suit, but grey, navy and lighter colours are becoming more popular. A nice touch is to pick out colour themes from the wedding and highlight these in the suit. For example, you might match the lining to the bridesmaid’s dresses or the button-holes to the flowers. With a tailored suit, options are endless. Comfort: Finally, but equally as important, is comfort. Comfort runs hand-in-hand with the cut and construction of the suit. Every jacket needs support in the forepart (front panels) to hold its shape. Fully handstitched, tailored suits have a full-length canvas sewn into the jackets in such a way that enables them to move. As a result the jacket will sit better on the body, whilst feeling more comfortable and breathable. A tailored two-piece wedding suit from Aptus Suits costs from as little as £550.00, alternatively a morning suit starts from £650.00. Book a consultation with Alex on 01608 645306 and benefit from your Cotswold-Homes Privilege Card with a free tailored shirt worth £105 with every morning suit ordered. See the Privilege Card Section for an offer from Aptus Suits

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Louise Bowles photography

SmilePlease Louise Bowles is a professional photographer specialising in weddings and portraiture. Based in the charming village of Blockley near Moreton-in-Marsh, she’s situated near many of the Cotswolds’ most beautiful wedding venues. Louise’s relaxed style and unobtrusive manner allows her to capture uniquely warm images that reflect the true character of every happy occasion. In the studio, Louise directs contemporary family photoshoots with energy and a keen sense of fun. She’s also a member of the SWPP, the Society of Portrait & Wedding Photographers - a worldwide trade association for professional photographers. Here, we’re sharing some of her work that we feel captures the very essence of an idyllic Cotswold wedding. See the Privilege Card Section for an offer from Louise Bowles (pages 96 - 98) 94

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Cotswold -Homes.com

Privilege card offers 10% off

all bouquets of flowers until the end of March 2012 The Broadway Florist 3 Keil Close High Street Broadway Worcestershire WR12 7DP

until the end of April 2012

01451 820 778 07585 308 838 Tel: 01386 853000

£40 off your

first purchase until the end of March 2012 MacNish Chair Risers Barn 2 Oxpens Farm Yanworth Cheltenham GL54 3QE

50% off returns following outbound journeys within a 20-mile radius of Bourton

Tel: 0845 370 70 18

Buy one get one half price for 1 on 1 lessons and/or enjoy a family hack for 4, normally £126, now £75, until the end of April 2012 Durham’s Farm Riding School Chastleton Moreton in Marsh Gloucestershire GL56 0SZ 01608 674867

Cotswold -Homes.com

www.hopeprivatehire.com

10% off celebration cakes until the end of March 2012

Cacao Bean Carfax House High Street Moreton in Marsh Gloucestershire GL56 0AT

Tel: 01608 652060

Book dinner at the Dial House, order 3 courses for 2 people from any of our menus and get a free bottle of house wine until the end of April 2012

Dial House Hotel High Street Bourton on the Water GL54 2AN 01451 822244

30% off all reprints and framed products

valid until the end of April 2012 Call: 01386 701520

Nigel Brunyee equine artist

Tilly Tayler-Levy, Artist 10% off pastel animal portraits valid until the end of April 2012 Gloucestershire 07769 896966

£100 off commissions, normally £695 Valid until the end of April 2012 171 Windsor Road Carlton in Lindrick Worksop Nottingham S81 9DH 07791 777476


Visit the Magazine and Gallery section for a full list of Privilege Card offers from local businesses current during March and April. Register on-line by clicking on Cotswold-Homes Club button to get your FREE card or pop into one of the offices of HARRISON & HARDIE at Moreton, Stow or Bourton to pick one up, or telephone us on 01608 653899 and we will send one to you in the post within 7 working days! Then start saving on all sorts of products and services, from gifts to food to beauty and clothes!

The Cotswold Hide and Fleece Company

conygree

farm Farming the natural way

£5 off

every box of meat valid until the end of April 2012

Conygree Farm Aldsworth Cheltenham Gloucestershire GL54 3PW 01451 844342 / 07886 305508

Get a 1 hour adult introductory lesson for the price of 45 minutes valid until the end of April 2012

Nether Westcote Chipping Norton Gloucestershire OX7 6SD 01993 832520

Free shirt with every jacket or coat (excludes sale items) valid until the end of April 2012 3 Church Street Stow on the Wold Gloucestershire GL54 1BE 01451 831 200

20% OFF Jan Constantine Cushions

valid until the end of April 2012 High Street Bourton-on-the-Water Gloucestershire GL54 2AQ 01451 822800

10% off 3ft X 2ft Footstalls, valid until the end of April 2012 Naunton Gloucestershire GL54 3AY 07778 000419

20% off all

services from the Cirencester office valid until the end of April 2012

17 Black Jack Street Cirencester Gloucestershire GL7 2AA 01285 640 840

Wyck Hill House Hotel & SPA

10% off all legal fees valid until the end of April 2012

Thomas Legal Group is a dedicated provider of conveyancing services in and around the Cotswolds Brunswick House Brockworth Gloucestershire GL3 4AA 01452 657950

15% off all exterior decorating and landscaping

until the end of April 2012 Unit 65 Northwick Business Centre Blockley Gloucestershire GL56 9RF 08447 405065 07898 200121

Book dinner in our Restaurant and get £10 off per person Dinner for £29.00 instead of £39.00. Valid Sunday – Thursday only. Valid for a maximum of 4 people per table. Valid until the end of April 2012

Burford Road Stow-on-the-Wold Gloucestershire GL54 1HY 01451 831936

Cotswold -Homes.com


Cotswold -Homes.com

Privilege card offers 10% off

all stocked hats and fascinators, until the end of April 2012 2/3 Park Street Stow on the Wold Gloucestershire GL54 1AQ 01451 832309

Organic Mirri facial & full body Kodo massage for £90 usually £120, booked and received before the end of April 2012 Lapstone Westington Hill Chipping Campden GL55 6EG 01386 841123

Free delivery on orders over £25 within a 10 mile radius of Bourton on the Water - valid until the end of April 2012 Moore Road Bourton-on-the-Water Cheltenham Gloucestershire GL54 2AZ 01451 821306

The Lamb Inn Great Rissington

3 for 2 personal training sessions for each new client

valid until the end of April 2012 Unit 6 Draycott Business Village Draycott Nr Moreton in Marsh Gloucestershire GL56 9JY

Tel: 01386 701231

R&D WALKER T/A P Checketts 10% off our special ‘6 Nations’ sausages and the chance to win an England Rugby shirt valid until the end of April 2012

24 High Street Moreton-in-Marsh Gloucestershire GL56 OAF 01608 651002

Cotswold -Homes.com

15% off all food until the end of March 2012 No discounts on set menus e.g Sunday Lunch Great Rissington Gloucestershire GL54 2LP 01451 820388

Free property appraisals plus free professional photographs with no fixed annual letting fees valid until the end of April 2012

4 Ember Lane Esher Surrey KT10 8ER 0844 870 8532

Free tailored shirt worth £105 with every morning suit ordered valid until the end of April 2012 (Appointments Only) Claridges Barn Near Dean Chipping Norton Oxfordshire OX7 5XG

Tel: 01608 645306

4 months Total membership for the price of 3 and No Joining Fee Valid until the end of April 2012 Station Road Bourton-on-the-Water Gloucestershire GL54 2BD 01451 824024


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Wonderful Weddings at Wyck Hill House

Wyck Hill House Hotel and Spa is a truly wonderful romantic setting, with stunning views, beautiful gardens and the delightful combination of a traditional setting with modern facilities and attitude; the perfect mix for your special day! Whether it’s an intimate party of family and friends or a large gathering of up to 120 guests, our dedicated wedding co-ordinator will be delighted to work with you to capture your vision, build your perfect package and ensure that your special day is as individual as you are. Dates still available for 2012

Wyck Hill House Hotel & Spa

Burford Road, Stow-on-the-Wold, The Cotswolds, Gloucestershire, GL54 1HY T: 01451 831 936 E: mev.wyckhillhouse@bespokehotels.com W: www.wyckhillhousehotel.co.uk

Cotswold Homes Spring Edition 2012  

Cotswold Homes Issue 4

Cotswold Homes Spring Edition 2012  

Cotswold Homes Issue 4