Cotswold Homes Cotswold-Homes.com The Property & Lifestyle Magazine for the North Cotswolds
AUTUMN Edition 2012
£2.50 where sold
HOT PROPERTY THE LOCAL MARKET - ASK THE EXPERTS GORGEOUS COTSWOLD HOMES
NAZIS AND NOVELISTS THE MITFORD SISTERS’ LEGACY
WIN TICKETS BLENHEIM PALACE, PRESCOTT HILL CLIMB, FRANKIE AND JOHNNIE OPENING NIGHT
THE BBC IN BLOCKLEY
FATHER BROWN COMES TO TOWN
PRUE LEITH’S LOVE AFFAIR HER LIFE, HER LOVE, HER FOOD
A TOUR OF CHURCHILL’S BIRTHPLACE
SUPPORT INDEPENDENT BUSINESS AND SAVE MONEY!
Cotswold Homes Magazine CONTENTS Cotswold News
Nazis, Novelists and Revolutionaries Meet the Mitford sisters
The Great Cotswold Homes Giveaway 5 Win tickets for Blenheim and Prescott Hill Climb
The Filming of Father Brown The BBC in Blockley
Stone on Show Stunning sculptures at Asthall Manor
An Autumn Arboretum Batsford at its best
Boot Camp! Luxury weekend or beach retreat, anyone?
Oddington’s Medieval Murals Damnation and Salvation
All Smiles After 30 Years Trevor Bigg’s pearls of wisdom
Out and About This Autumn
Frankie And Johnnie Chipping Norton Theatre stages its very own production
Blenheim Palace An insight into Churchill’s family home
Life Enhancing Garden Annie Pearce’s green finger guide to success
The Best of British Show Carol Vorderman takes to the skies
Ask The Experts Holiday cottages, mortgages, legal matters, the housing market?
The Big Feastival Jamie Oliver and Alex James’s cook up The Moreton Show Simply the best country show!
Halford House, Bourton on the Water The ultimate luxury Bed & Breakfast
Prescott Speed Hill Climb The thrill of the classic car chase
Diary of an Equestrian Lady Cotswold team-chase, Blenheim trials and Cheltenham
Literary Locals Mistress of Mystery Rebecca Tope on the inspiration for her Cotswold thrillers
Harry Potter’s Gloucestershire JK Rowling’s backdrop to her famous novels
Great Rissington School An outstanding education
Stepping Stones Claire Wilson’s guide to nursery care
Season’s Salutations Revd Canon Veronica James
What the Gamekeeper Saw Adam Tatlow’s photography
An Agronomist’s Tale Farmer’s friend and crop savant
Castlett Mount, Guiting Power A hill top idyll
Going for Gold Charlie Beldam’s taste of the rich and famous
The Corner House, Stourton Chocolate box traditional thatch cottage
Prue Leith Her life, her loves and her fabulous recipes
Dormers, Ilmington Village views and roses round the door
Cider and Perry Revolution A fruitful harvest Richard Chamberlain’s ode to Autumn
Working From Home The Naunton office of Robert Hamilton
Cotswold Clever Clogs The Cotswold School An academy in action
Trade Local Cotswold Homes Privilege Card Offers Great bargains from local businesses
Directory of Independent North Cotswold Businesses
Editor’s WELCOME No Cotswold autumn would be complete without a visit to Batsford Arboretum, once home to the Mitford sisters. We discover how a Mitford girl and a Gloucestershire childhood inspired famous novelist JK Rowling - our local literary links continue with Rebecca Tope’s murder-mysteries and G.K Chesterton’s Father Brown. The BBC filmed Chesterton’s stories here recently - his eponymous hero is played by none other than Ron Weasley’s dad (that is, renowned actor Mark Williams!) - and we were lucky enough to be invited on set. Autumn begins with the best country show at Moreton and Jamie Oliver’s Feastival in Kingham - on page 5, find out how to get free tickets to Blenheim Palace the opening night of “Frankie and Johnnie” and the Prescott Hill Climb, too. As children return to school we debate the importance of education, from the formation of very young minds to the impact upon local house prices of our superlative local state schools.
For those old enough to have recited poems off by heart in the classroom, we remember “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness! Close-bosomed friend of the maturing sun...” Today, bringing in the harvest is just as integral to village life, as Area Revd Canon Veronica James reminds us: “All is safely gathered in, ere the winter storms begin!”. We investigate the vital role of an agronomist to the bounty of the countryside and celebrate fruitful windfalls with seasonal recipes from renowned chef Prue Leith, whilst our resident foodie, Richard Chamberlain, pens an ode to British perry and cider. Last but not least, we have windfalls of our own, with lots of fabulous autumnal offers from local businesses - all you need is a Cotswold Homes Privilege Card! Matt Dicks, Editor, Cotswold Homes
Cotswold-Homes Magazine Cotswold Homes is a quarterly magazine. At least 7,000 copies are distributed freely through doors in 60 villages and towns in the North Cotswolds and at local events (like the Moreton show), including 2,000 distributed to luxury hotels, spas, gyms, tourist attractions, restaurants, pubs and other meeting places, including HARRISON & HARDIE, Fine & Country. The next edition, Winter 2012, has a large section devoted to Christmas in the North Cotswolds. Copy deadline for proof-ready advertisements is Friday 5th October for distribution first week in November. Membership of the Cotswold Homes Directory gives exclusive access to discounted advertising rates and the Privilege Card scheme. For marketing and advertisement rates, contact Collette Fairweather; for editorial content, contact Matt Dicks. 01608 653899. Design team: www.wearealias.com Cotswold-Homes.com The Property & Lifestyle Magazine for the North Cotswolds www.cotswold-homes.com
Cotswold Homes Competition
Spectacular Autumn Issue
Guess what? We’ve rounded up another lot of free prizes for our readers to win after the success of our summer competition! This issue, we’re giving away: VIP Tickets for the opening night of the sensational love story Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune at The Theatre, Chipping Norton
(Wednesday 19th September, 7.30pm). These tickets are for a family of up to five. Included in this evening is a goodie bag with a souvenir programme and vouchers for drinks and ice cream – plus a chance to meet the show director, John Terry!
A ride up Prescott’s historic hill in a vintage Grand Prix Bugatti, plus a weekend pass (for 2 adults, 2
children) for The Autumn Classic (Weekend 6th-7th October) – the ‘coolest classic car festival this side of the pond’!
Three Family Annual Passes to Blenheim Palace – these will
allow either 2 adults/2 children or 1 adult/3 children to visit the ‘Witches and Wizards’ event on the 27th October to the 4th November, as well as Blenheim Palace for the remainder of 2012.
How to enter:
It couldn’t be simpler – either ‘Like’ us on our Facebook page www.facebook.com/ cotswoldhomespage OR email admin@ cotswold-homes.com with ‘Autumn Giveaway’ in the subject field with your name, email address and telephone number in the message (so we can contact you if you win). Winners will be drawn on Monday 10th September. Good luck!
Terms and Conditions Entry to the competition is open to all except the employees (and their families) of Cotswold Homes or Harrison & Hardie. Winners will be drawn at random and notified via Facebook, by e-mail or by post and posted on our website. No alternative prize or cash substitute is available for any of the prizes. In the event of a winner being unable to accept their prize then another winner will be drawn at random.
like us on facebook for more chances to win! www.facebook.com/cotswoldhomespage www.cotswold-homes.com
Filming Father Brown
F i lm i n g
Father Brown — Behind the Scenes with the BBC —
Actor Mark Williams is in town, starring in an unusual new detective series for BBC Daytime. Read on to discover the curious world of Father Brown… Since the dawn of television, audiences have lapped up the adapted adventures of their favourite fictional detectives, transported from page to screen. Take the perennial Agatha Christie adaptations, or the recent success of the BBC’s Sherlock, a flashy ‘reboot’ of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous sleuth. If there’s one thing that unites these many investigators, it’s often their iconic, larger-than-life eccentricities: Sherlock Holmes with his singular mind and cocaine habit; dapper Hercule Poirot with his curly moustache. Yet consider the lesserknown Father Brown - a very different detective, being a dumpy, rural Catholic priest with a ‘round and dull face’. He’s a homely-looking amateur, a humble man of God; more of a dowdy dabbler than a mastermind, as crime just seems to fall into his lap. It’s Brown’s philosophy and methods that make him unique. Unlike Holmes, who solves cases with his cool deductive intellect and scientific reasoning, Brown catches the crooks with his intimate knowledge of human darkness – insights gleaned from his long years at the confessional. To the priest, even the most dastardly of crimes is a veiled appeal for redemption and love. The creation of portly novelist G.K Chesterton, Brown has starred in over fifty short stories since his debut in the 1910 story The Blue Cross, where he outwits the infamous criminal Flambeau. Occasionally revisited by radio and television, the stumpy priest nevertheless feels slightly overshadowed in the line-up of great fictional detectives. 6
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That is, until now, as the Father is starring in his own BBC Daytime series with none other than the legendary Mark Williams (he of Fast Show and Harry Potter fame) filling the eponymous role…and what better place to locate Brown’s new adventures than in the Cotswolds? Given a village parish and a supporting cast, the wandering priest of Chesterton’s tales is more firmly rooted in the community and will be involved in a mixture of new and revisited stories. Now set in the 1950s, Father Brown will see the titular character investigating a string of murders and disappearances – including a curious case
where a naked corpse is found stuck halfway up a tree. We first meet with the crew whilst they’re filming at the recently disused police station at Moretonin-Marsh; emptied and covered with flourishing ivy, it makes an ideal location. Set dressers have busily furnished the interior to a match that of the 1950s station where Brown will meet with Inspector Valentine (Hugo Speer) – a man who, according to the press release, ‘finds himself torn between admiration for Father Brown and frustration with the priest’s curious moral code’ – a code which involves pushing for the redemption of sinners, even when it contradicts our earthly laws.
Mark Williams as the benevolent Father Brown
“We first meet with the crew whilst they’re filming at the recently disused police station at Moreton-in-Marsh; emptied and covered with flourishing ivy, it makes an ideal location.” Hugo Speer as Inspector Valentine
There are around 40 people at work behind the scenes during filming – which according to BBC Birmingham Producer Ceri Meyrick, is a modestlysized team. ‘We’re a really small crew, believe it or not…a slimmed-down version of a TV crew!’. Has shooting been impeded by the crazy weather this summer? ‘We can handle rainy…but when it’s rain, sun, rain, sun, rain…that really screws us up!’ They’ve mostly been shooting in picturesque Blockley, where Mark and many other actors are also accommodated. ‘We saw Blockley on the very first ‘reccy’ we did,’ says Ceri. ‘We saw lots of other lovely places, but we kept coming back to Blockley because that central street just looked perfect – iconic Cotswolds, basically.’ Things are fairly cramped in the old station so we
Nancy Carroll as Lady Felicia
leave them to it – having ensured an even better invitation for next week. The following Tuesday we head on over to the beautiful Sudeley Castle, where the crew are filming episode six – a story where the detective priest finds himself at odds with the charismatic leader of a pagan sun cult. Excitingly, we’re promised an interview with Mark Williams himself after he finishes a climactic scene within Sudeley’s chapel – where the remains of Henry VIII’s last wife, Katherine Parr, are interred. We catch up with Ceri again while filming is conducted inside the ancient chapel. Did she always have Williams in mind for the central role? ‘From quite early on, yes. Really it was seeing him play Mr. Weasley,’ she says. (Williams played Arthur Weasley, father of
Alex Price as Sid Carter
Filming Father Brown
– bar none!’ He’s certainly enthusiastic about our produce. Has he tried Evesham asparagus, then? ‘Yeah, of course! And the peas have been good this year. The broad beans, though? A bit too big for my liking,’ he jokes. We step outside and he poses for a couple of photographs before joining the food queue for some well-deserved grub. We should see his Father Brown debut around the end of March next year – it seems a while to wait, but there’s always his upcoming performance in the next series of Doctor Who to relish in the meantime, where he’ll be playing the father of the Doctor’s companion Rory (his character appropriately named Brian Williams). Leaving Sudeley, we bid adieu to the good Father for now, but with our appetites whet for next spring. God willing, the team’s efforts will deliver some sensational television – and a little more love for our corner of the world.
“I’ve been a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company two or three times, and I lived for a year in Chipping Campden, halfway up Dover’s Hill. It was one of the best years of my life.” - Michael Maloney Harry’s best friend Ron and head of an extensive magical family). ‘He was able to take what could have been a boring part – a character who is simply ‘good’ – into something quite interesting and funny. He had real heart. He didn’t come across as wet: he came across as strong.’ While we’re waiting, we also get to spend some time with the lovely Michael Maloney, who luckily for us is not nearly as sinister as Kalon, the sun cult chieftain he’s portraying. And, as it turns out, he absolutely loves the Cotswolds (‘I’ve been a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company two or three times, and I lived for a year in Chipping Campden, halfway up Dover’s Hill. It was one of the best years of my life.’). It’s a mystery as to whether his Kalon believes in the New Age stuff he’s peddling, or if he’s simply an opportunistic charlatan. We’ll have to wait until episode six broadcasts to find out… Filming finishes and – emerging from the chapel Mark graciously invites us inside his trailer for a chat. We saw him strolling around Moreton the other day, but it’s quite different actually talking to him in person – that famous face immediately familiar from one of the nation’s favourite productions. Now, he’s reviving a character created over a hundred years ago. What does he find most interesting about Brown? ‘What Chesterton did was to make Brown interested in something other than the intellectual problem of crime – it was about souls, about faith,’ says Mark. ‘If you had committed a murder, there was more than just the crime – your soul was in peril. It’s the theological side that fascinates Chesterton, and by extension, Brown. It’s not just about the crime 8
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somebody has committed – it’s about how they can save their soul.’ Has he read a lot of Chesterton’s work in preparation? ‘No!’ Mark laughs. ‘I haven’t really – it’s almost the worst thing you can do. I’ve read a bit, but I read much more about the world of theology – and poisons! Chesterton is quite Edwardian…his stories are quite verbose, in their way, and haven’t kept their currency. They’re all in print, but it takes a lot of effort. The Blue Cross is brilliant, though…with the later ones, which are more like novellas, you start to feel the serialization a bit.’ Has he worked down this way before? ‘Well, I did my National Service at Stratford [at the RSC],’ he chuckles, ‘without which there’s the sneaking suspicion, in Britain, that you’re not a proper actor!’ And is he enjoying being in the Cotswolds now? ‘Oh yes. I was brought up in Bromsgrove, and we came out to the Cotswolds quite a bit, as Granny and Granddad were quite keen – our way into the Cotswolds was Broadway, which is the first place you hit. But it’s really great to spend some time in the countryside…Driving over from Blockley and realising quite how big it is, how farming is still so important…In particular, I love the areas around Winchcombe, and around Stow and Moreton – they’re just superb, so beautiful. And I’ve got on really well with some of the locals.’ Next Mark starts rhapsodizing about some meat he recently purchased in Chipping Campden. ‘My God! Sausages, a gammon joint and a chicken: Superb! And the veg here is the best in the world
Kasia Koleczek as Susie Jasinski
Frankie and Johnny
IN TICKET see P AGE S! 5
Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune It’s a sun-soaked day in Chipping Norton, and I’ve got an appointment at the Theatre with John Terry, director of the upcoming Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune - a bittersweet story of two jaded singletons, set in a night-time New York apartment. Here in this honey-stoned country market town, the electric vistas of nocturnal Manhattan seem completely alien. Yet come this September, theatre-goers will be fully immersed in a transatlantic love affair.
“It’s something that’s really exciting to work on: Can we get that New York feel into a little theatre in the Cotswolds – the feeling of being lost in a massive city?”
Before we launch into F&J, John treats me to a tour of the building. Turns out this place is quite the Tardis. The ‘structure’ of the site encompasses the old Salvation Army citadel – which contains the stage and auditorium, where a set for The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists is in mid-build – and two re-purposed cottages that provide offices, studio space and dressing rooms. There are more people working here than I was expecting, all dotted throughout a number of cosy rooms (“people don’t realise quite how big our team is!” John remarks). The stage, too, is surprisingly large – big enough for Theatre Chipping Norton’s grand ambitions. Behind the scenes, the atmosphere is warm and almost homely, which must be the benefit of working from ex-residential. The Green Room, vibrantly plastered with posters and fliers, has a similar vibe to a well-kept student kitchen. Yet despite the comfortable atmosphere here, there’s no doubt that this is a polished and highly professional operation. For its last pantomime, the Theatre Chipping Norton sold 96% of its tickets across 80 performances. John tells me of patrons who routinely fly from places as faraway as Italy and New York – specifically to watch the performances held here. We settle at a café table overlooked by Graham Rust’s fantastic murals – paintings of beloved pantomime characters that caper around the foyer. It’s a good place to talk about the bold new direction the Theatre will be taking with this new play.
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Caroline Lawton plays Frankie
Marcus D’Amico plays Johnny
Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune is Chipping Norton Theatre’s first in-house production in around six years. It is usually known for being a receiving theatre, meaning that it plays host to touring companies (the pantomimes are the theatre’s own – they’ll be celebrating their 40th this year). Now, however, it wants to show you how it can stage its own productions – productions that can compete with anything you’ll see in London. ‘It is absolutely vital that this place is special to people,’ John says. ‘We need to be special in people’s hearts…It is so important that people don’t see us as crusty or creaky but an up-to-date professional operation. It’s about believing that it is possible to put on absolutely top notch work without being in a metropolis.’ It seems like quite an undertaking. Is he daunted by the idea of stepping out of receiving theatre and into in-house production? “In a sense. You’ve got nobody to blame if things don’t work out – it’s your baby!” So, what more can he tell me about the play? “Frankie and Johnny is about all the reasons – or why we find reasons – not to love someone. It’s a very funny play – it has some of the funniest lines I’ve ever read – but there’s a real element of truth, of recognition there. You watch it and you recognise your own behaviour – you hear the things you’ve once said and in remembering you can’t believe you’ve said them!’ he laughs. ‘[Writer Terrence McNally] perfectly captures the way people behave. It’s like watching a very good observational comedian. It is just hilariously spot on.”
“ It does indeed have some sparkling dialogue, with plenty of sparring and some rather moving moments. I can’t wait to see these characters come to life on stage - let’s hope that lovelorn Frankie and Johnny will steal our hearts, too.” relentlessly rural Cotswolds? “We’re building a gorgeous set which is an apartment – but you’ll be able to see through the walls into the city beyond. You’ll see those apartment blocs and fire escapes…This isn’t just a story about Person A and Person B. It’s about the experience of actually living in the city: the grand sights and the melancholy that there can be. Theatre can take you to a very different place - you can enter a space and just get completely spirited away. “It’s something that’s really exciting to work on: Can we get that New York feel into a little theatre in the Cotswolds – the feeling of being lost in a massive city?” Success will rest on the interplay of the two actors assuming the titular roles. At the time of interview Frankie has just been found – American actress Caroline Lawton, who has a strong background in comedy. Casting is underway for ebullient diner cook Johnny, who aims to win over the disillusioned Frankie by the time the night is out. Throughout the play, the only intruding voice will be that of a radio DJ, whose classical playlist provides the soundtrack to the couple’s tentative romance. These two roles will demand stamina, great rapport and perfect coming timing from their players. Theirs is a relationship it is crucial for us to believe in.
Why start producing with a story like this? “I wanted something very different from spectacle - something with fantastic writing and fantastic acting, but not something that was too intellectual, too challenging. I think a lot of theatre makers are scared of the word ‘entertainment’.”
When I get back to the office I have a read-through of the script that John has emailed over. It does indeed have some sparkling dialogue, with plenty of sparring and some rather moving moments. I can’t wait to see these characters come to life on stage - let’s hope that lovelorn Frankie and Johnny will steal our hearts, too.
I’m eager to know how the set will appear. How does one transport a slice of 1980s Manhattan – all towering apartment buildings, fire escapes and crudely honking taxis – into a former Salvation Army citadel in the
Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune is at The Theatre Chipping Norton 19-29 September. Tickets £14, £12 con & groups, £8.50 schools. Box Office: 01608 642350 / www.chippingnortontheatre.com
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Blenheim Park The first thing that strikes you as you enter Blenheim Park is space: there’s acres and acres of it – over 2,000 acres of landscaped parkland (courtesy of legendary garden designer Capability Brown) and 100 acres of formal garden. It’s a massive area, pristinely managed, and the effect is breathtaking. Then you see the Palace. It truly is a Palace, too: an awesome baroque edifice, its vast courtyards overlooked by emblems and eagles, lions, crests and cannons (reminding one of the military might of the two greatest Churchills, John and Winston. The Palace was made for John, and Winston was born here in 1874). The building is so imposing that it is quite difficult to behold up close – indeed, the architect’s intention was for it to be appreciated best from afar. Many of England’s grand estates have ended up under the management of the National Trust, but not Blenheim, still serving as the private residence of the 11th Duke of Marlborough. Thanks to his efforts, the palace is now one of the country’s most visited and beloved of stately homes. Declared a World Heritage Site and one of the Ten Treasure Houses of England, its illustrious history and magnificent stature attract thousands of visitors every year - and everything is operated without state funding. The Duke recently was honoured with a VisitEngland Lifetime Achievement Award for turning an expensive ancestral pile into a must-visit destination. Of course, estates of this magnitude take a mammoth amount of maintenance, and for centuries the Marlborough’s fortunes have been mixed. Profligate spending by the 5th Duke (who possessed an unfortunate fondness for rare and expensive plants) meant that many of the house’s historic treasures were later sold off, and the construction of the ambitious palace was itself arduous and fraught with conflict. For many years the family’s finances were in the doldrums.
TICKIN see P ETS AGE ! 5
Today, all of these troubles are just a part of a long and curious history enthusiastically told by the Palace’s knowledgeable guides. There’s certainly a lot of Marlborough history to get through here, including the exceptional series of wall-mounted tapestries depicting John Churchill’s epic conquests. Of course, much space is also dedicated to the most famous family member, Sir Winston Churchill. A permanent exhibition does a good job of delving behind the cigar-chewing caricature, revealing Winston as a keen artist, a troubled and rebellious schoolboy, prolific writer, ambitious cadet and young romantic – alongside the great statesman and orator we all know. Letters and accounts from Sir Winston’s childhood years reveal a difficult, rebellious child whose grand destiny was far from obvious. He hated the bleak strictness of
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his education (he would later refer to his schooldays as a ‘sombre grey patch’ on the ‘chart of [his] journey’) and underperformed in most subjects, though he had a facility for English. He found his calling when he ended up at Sandhurst – his letters from this time are full of confidence and optimism. Churchill’s early correspondence is often strangely touching, because much of it displays what seems to have been a remote and difficult relationship with his father, Lord Randolph Churchill, who died at the age of 45. Much of Winston’s affection belonged to his beloved Nanny Everest, who took care of him as a boy. A walk around the palace grounds also reveals the Temple of Diana, the small sanctuary where he proposed to his sweetheart Clementine in 1908. There’s almost as much to behold in the
surrounding parkland as there is within the Palace itself. A particularly striking feature are the cascades, waterfalls designed by Capability Brown to be heard before they are seen. The masterwork of landscaping created here by Brown (frequently called ‘England’s greatest gardener’) is faithfully maintained, though splendid formal gardens create a pleasing counterpoint to the natural curves and enormous lake of his creative vision. Much effort has been made to accommodate visitors and all has been accomplished without compromising the grandeur of the estate. An interactive exhibit informs of the many Dukes’ various eccentricities and provides an overview of the palace’s construction and history. There are still plenty of treasures to behold in the many enormous rooms – we’d definitely advise having a guided tour or two.
A Potted History of Blenheim Park A Home Fit for a Hero The 1st Duke of Marlborough, John Churchill (1650 – 1722) was instrumental in breaking the power of the French king Louis XIV. He was granted both a huge sum and the land to construct a suitably grandiose dwelling as his reward. Yet the construction of the palace was fated to be a lengthy, expensive and problematic affair. With the foundation stone laid in 1705 (to much local celebration), work would not near a state of completion until around 1722 – the year of the Duke’s death. Argument and Exile Churchill’s wife Sarah, the 1st Duchess of Marlborough, had wanted Christopher Wren, the architect of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, to create their home, envisioning something that would serve as both a national monument and a comfortable home. Yet her husband chose John Vanbrugh – better known as a dramatist – for the commission. Vanbrugh and the Duchess were to feud bitterly over the course of the project; over costs, over the English Baroque design and over the craftsmen he employed. By the time Blenheim was finished, Vanbrugh had been effectively banished from the site, his reputation rather tarnished.
Even if you’ve never visited, chances are you might have seen Blenheim Palace somewhere on screen. The Palace served as the Palace of Lilliput in Jack Black’s recent comedy escapade Gulliver’s Travels, and an ancient Cedar of Lebanon tree from the grounds featured in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Blenheim’s long history of movie cameos is the subject of a special tour. As the website puts it: ‘The Palace has on film at least, been set on fire; been the scene of grand parades, angry protest, feasting, intrigue and murder.’ There’s plenty to do all year round as Blenheim has a diverse calendar of activities, from horse trials to half marathons, Halloween events and the canon-blasting Battle Proms. Blenheim’s heritage and its commitment to deliver a growing and exciting programme to
its visitors ensure that it remains a must-visit destination all year around.
“At Blenheim I made two decisions - to be born and to marry. I am happily content with both” Winston Churchill
But what had really hampered construction was funding – or lack thereof. The ambitious plans had been founded on the assumption that the nation would continue to stump up the capital needed for the works. Though the Duchess was a close friend of Queen Anne, the two argued so fiercely that Anne eventually withdrew all state funding. The Marlboroughs went into exile, returning after the Queen’s death in 1714. In the Long Library, visitors can see a magnificent marble Rysbrack sculpture of Queen Anne. The Duchess had it made in 1735 as a gesture of apology for their quarrelling. A Tigress in the Gardens The 4th Duke George Spencer, a ‘man of taste, vigour and wealth’, inherited his title and estate in 1758 (aged only 19) and can be credited with employing Capability Brown to re-envision the grounds. Clive of India gave the Duke his very own tigress, which was kept in a specially constructed cage in the gardens and fed meat from the local butchers. The Duke’s compassionate wife, Caroline, had almshouses built in Woodstock for the poor of the area.
Lost Fortunes The matter of money would plague future generations of the family after the 5th Duke of Marlborough (1766-1840) lead a lifestyle of wanton spending. His excesses left the estate depleted. The 7th and 8th Dukes were responsible for auctioning off a great many of the family’s treasures, including the contents of the Long Library and over 200 old master paintings, to improve finances. The Magician’s Laboratory The 8th Duke, George Spencer Churchill installed a laboratory for his own scientific experiments (which some staff thought supernatural) and introduced electricity, gas and central heating to the home – as well as devising his own telephone system. Being a practical man, he saw that the funds raised from the sale of paintings were sensibly used. His brother Randolph was Sir Winston Churchill’s father. The Birth of Winston Churchill In 1874, Winston Churchill was born in a
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ground floor bedroom inside the Palace – two months premature. As a child he spent many happy hours playing in the palace’s landscaped grounds. The Palace exhibits a selection of the letters the young Churchill had written to his father – in one, he describes how his beloved Nanny Everest would not let him kill a snake he had spotted. Later, as a young man, he proposed to his beloved ‘Clemmie’ in the Temple of Diana. Churchill would maintain a great interest in the life and achievements of his ancestor, John Churchill – and in later life would write an exhaustive, multi-volume biography of the 1st Duke of Marlborough. It seems natural to conclude that this admiration helped shape the military career which resulted in Britain’s victory in WWII. The Unhappy Heiress Forced to find a solution to the estate’s financial troubles, the 9th Duke married money. Wedding the beautiful railroad heiress, Consuelo Vanderbilt, in 1895, he rescued the estate with an American fortune – but at the cost of creating an unendurable, loveless marriage. Consuelo was deeply unhappy, and
– in a rare and scandalous move for the time – actually left her husband, deserting him in 1906 before the pair finally divorced in 1921. During their time together, the estate was reinvigorated and equipped with an expanded staff as the couple set about refurnishing and redecorating the interior. The emptied Long Library was at last replenished. In certain rooms, visitors can see Consuelo’s influence in unusual blends of French and English styling – hearkening back to the décor of the Vanderbilt mansion. During WWI the Palace doubled as a military hospital. Consuelo and Winston Churchill were good friends. Shelter for Schoolboys – and for Spies In WWII, Malvern College for Boys evacuated its students to Blenheim, away from the perils of falling bombs. After the pupils left, MI5 moved in. The 10th Duke, Albert Spencer Churchill, worked as a liaison officer with American forces stationed in Britain, while the Duchess became the head of the Red Cross. For further information, please see www.blenheimpalace.com
DRESSED TO IMPRESS
DRESSED TO IMPRESS On Sunday 15th July, picturesque Painswick was transformed into an eccentric carnival of creativity for the 2012 Art Couture Painswick (AKA The Wearable Art Festival). Strutting their stuff through the churchyard catwalk were all manner of surreally attired models, including the ancient god Pan, a waspish queen bee and a number of circus-inspired starlets. Assessing this year’s entrants was an illustrious judging panel, featuring designers Savannah Miller, Beatrix Ong and Selina Blow with artist Daniel Chadwick. Yet this was no exclusive event for frosty fashionistas; a massive community turnout and whole streets lined with arty stalls and eateries ensured that absolutely everybody got
involved. Vintage beauties, The Strumpettes, teased the crowd with their gorgeous vocals whilst Painswick-born Tim Mahendran blew the assembly away prior to his forthcoming musical debut in Broadway.
Established in 2010, the ACP Festival has attracted serious attention and the numbers of attendees have exploded since its recent inception. Last festival saw award-winning artist/ television-presenting transvestite Grayson Perry lend his talents as a judge. Judging by this year’s great success, Art Couture Painswick should be an essential appointment in the Cotswold calendar. To learn more about this exceptional festival, head on over to www.acpfestival.co.uk
“Assessing this year’s entrants was an illustrious judging panel, featuring designers Savannah Miller, Beatrix Ong and Selina Blow with artist Daniel Chadwick.”
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best of british
Carol Vorderman takes to the skies for the Best of British Show Celebrating its launch in the year of the Diamond Jubilee and the 2012 London Olympics, the Best of British Show affirms that there’s never been a better time to be British. We were invited along to the Cotswold Airport, where an exclusive media day provided a thrilling taster for the forthcoming festivities.
There were also a few rather special guests in attendance. Television presenter Carol Vorderman braved the windy weather and took to the skies in a snarling red Bulldog aeroplane before touching down to answer questions. With a keen interest in aerobatics, the Loose Women and Countdown star has been undergoing intensive training to qualify for a pilot’s licence by the end of 2012. A famous supporter of the RAF Wings Appeal, Carol was eager to promote the show, which will be representing charities The RAF Benevolent Fund, Fly2Help, Help for Heroes and the Dogs Trust. Other guests included wingwalker Sarah Tanner, who was suitably attired in an especially patriotic Union Jack flying suit. A beautiful white arctic Gyrfalcon, two cuddly meerkats and an impeccably behaved snake were also on hand to welcome the press – a preview of the interactive wildlife zoo that will be sure to delight visitors to the show. There was a breathtaking display of aerobatic prowess as an RAF hawk twisted and turned through the sky for our delight. Streaking with red, white and blue, the Hawk also displayed (with a cheeky flash of its underbelly) the heart logo of The RAF Benevolent Fund. Most enjoyable, however, was the generous opportunity for us to take flight in a classic 1944 Dragon Rapide. The flight granted us the astonishing spectacle of the Cotswolds as seen
from the sky (Scenic pleasure flights will also be available to showgoers, and we can’t recommend the experience enough). You’ll also be able to see the legendary Red Arrows and the iconic, war-winning Spitfire fighters in action, alongside a Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and the RAF Hawk and RAF Tuscano Display Teams – all part of a three-hour schedule of aerobatics that will dazzle observers. So what else can people expect from the very first Best of British Show? The release promises the finest of ‘aviation, automotive, agriculture and music,’ and the programme aims to capture a little something of everything quintessentially British.
“With a keen interest in aerobatics, the Loose Women and Countdown star has been undergoing intensive training to qualify for a pilot’s licence by the end of 2012.”
Lamb, lurcher and ferret racing will serve as a humorous counterpoint to the grand aerial displays, while an array of vintage vehicles, trade and craft stands and funfairs will be well situated in the Cotswolds. Music will be provided by 1940s singing trio The Three Belles and locals The Outcast. We’re especially excited about the Dogs Trust show – which will feature a ‘Most Appealing Eyes’ category. There’s much to entertain all the family, so do go and show your own British colours this August. The Best of British Show will be held at the Cotswold Airport near Cirencester on Sunday 26th and Monday 27th of August. Visit www. bestofbritishshow.com or call 0844 873 7333 for tickets. www.cotswold-homes.com
the big feastival
Cooking up a Storm: Jamie Oliver and Alex James prepare The Big Feastival Blur bassist and devoted foodie Alex James has invited Jamie Oliver (plus a host of other big name chefs) along to his beautiful Kingham farm for this year’s The Big Feastival (1st-2nd September), a two-day celebration of food, music and fun times.
“It’s really the great universal, food, isn’t it? We’ve all got to eat – but I think the Kings of Leon are quite discerning eaters!”
Jamie Oliver and Alex James present The Big Feastival
a B&B in Bournemouth, so I was often cooking breakfasts from an early age. Actually, people used to throw slices of cheese at me when I was touring with Blur [owing to Japan’s enthusiastic fan culture]! And now, I’m on a farm, so it’s just something that’s grown and that I’ve got increasingly involved with over time.
Rocking the farmyard this autumn will be Britain’s beloved indie rockers Razorlight and the sharply attired songstress Paloma Faith, alongside the boisterous Cuban Brothers and Supergrass frontman Gaz Coombes. Meanwhile, rumbly tummies will be well served by a selection of independent food producers, with the Little Dudes Den rustling up some awesome entertainment for younger revellers. The festival will be supporting the Jamie Oliver Foundation, which aims to teach young people vital cooking skills needed for a healthy lifestyle and helps those from disadvantaged backgrounds get started in the catering industry. ‘The Big Feastival was a great success in south London last year and I cannot wait to take this celebration of the greatest chefs, the best local produce and suppliers and some fantastic entertainment to a more rural location at Alex’s,’ said Jamie. ‘Not only is Alex hugely passionate about food and music, he has always been a generous supporter of my Foundation, and I can think of no better backdrop for The Big Feastival this year.’ Alex has lived at Kingham for some time now, where he has been hard at work producing his own range of cheeses following the mania of his popstar lifestyle. But he’s far from slowing down - 2012 is proving a hectic year for Alex, with Blur selected to play in the Olympic Closing Ceremony
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Celebration Concert at Hyde Park. Invited to a Feastival preview at Alex’s farm, Cotswold Homes Magazine caught up with the rural rockstar himself to chat food. CH: Alex, we all know that you love cheese, but that aside, what would you say is your favourite delicacy?
CH: Do you know any of your fellow musicians to be foodies? AJ: It’s really the great universal, food, isn’t it? We’ve all got to eat – but I think the Kings of Leon are quite discerning eaters! CH: Are there any acts that you & the family are particularly looking forward to seeing perform? AJ: Oh, loads. The Producers are going to be knockout, and Gaz Coombes…but essentially, it’s a big bunch of my favourite bands!
AJ: [Indicates scotched quail egg, courtesy of The Kingham Plough] Well, these are pretty knockout, aren’t they? There is a sausage that’s quite interesting – it’s called a Hasmer, and it’s a real, round sausage, not a faggot – and that’s probably at the top of my list right now. But really I like all things – from foie gras through to kebabs! CH: We you always a foodie, or was it something you picked up after the Blur years? AJ: Well, my grandfather was a chef, and he had
Inside the Arena at the Moreton in Marsh Show The Moreton in Marsh Show (1st September) offers something for everyone, and this year is no exception. Bursting with charm and entertainment, the annual show is now in its 53rd year. Featuring flower shows to dog contests, cattle awards and cider-making, the show is visited by people from all over the country! Here are some of our favourite events. Jean-Francois Pignon
Mr. Pignon possesses an uncanny connection with the creatures he rides. His shows revolve around the trust and bond he demonstrates with his beautiful horses; described as ‘the best equestrian display ever to visit this country’.
JCB ‘Dancing Diggers’
These ungainly digging machines stir up a real spectacle as their operators push them to the maximum of their capabilities.
Six Bar Show Jumping
This exciting and rare equestrian spectacle consists of six fences that get higher and higher until there is a winner. This is a
real treat, as tension builds throughout the competition!
It just wouldn’t be the Moreton Show without prize-winning animals. See the wide range of cattle, sheep and goats (plus the adorable pygmy goats) on show, including pedigree and rare breeds.
Games on horseback, including old favourites such as bending, flag and mug and newer, obscurer ones such as tack shop and beanbag - a spectacular competition between ‘ordinary children on ordinary ponies.’
Great Straw Challenge
A race between old and young farmers to decide who can unload and reload straw bales from their transport lorries with teleporters in the fastest time- don’t miss this eccentric contest!
Prescott Autumn Classic
The ever-popular Autumn Classic event at the famous Prescott Speed Hill Climb will once again be all-American Stars and Stripes weekend, celebrating the biggest, brightest, and brashest cars this side of the pond. Saturday and Sunday 6th and 7th October will see special displays by American car clubs alongside USA-themed entertainment, while competitors in a range of national championships tackle the 1127-yard course set deep in the glorious Gloucestershire countryside. Special displays will include American car clubs and motorcycles from Pontiacs, Mustangs, Cadillacs and Chevys to Flatheads, Hotrods, Indians, Harleys and Custom Choppers. There will be a welcome return of the Vintage Hot Rod Association, the National Hot Rod Association and the National Chopper Club. Many more fascinating American vehicles are expected, with the following already confirmed as being displayed: a 1934 Ford Hot Rod, a 1934 Transam, a 1968 Transam, a 1934 Model 40 Phaeton UXB 402, Donald Trump's original stretch Cadillac, a 1969 Cadillac, a 1968 Mustang, a '57 Chevy, a 1939 Hudson, a 1939 Plymouth, a 1923 Ford T Bucket and a 1964 GMC.
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Meanwhile, rockabilly bands The Bravo Boys and Sam & The Sax will play live in the Paddock. They will be joined by the Las Vegas Show Girls, Stars ‘n stripes comedy stiltwalkers, Gloster Lindy hoppers and cheerleaders. The Demon Drome Wall of Death, which was hugely popular last year, returns with riders using their 1920s Indian motorcycles to defy gravity on the vertical racetrack. Adding to the American theme, there will be a dedicated 'lot' for secondhand American cars and plenty of American-style food for sale. Retro American popcorn will be available throughout the event with all monies raised going to Forces charity, Help for Heroes. On Saturday evening there will be an end of season American-themed party in the Clubhouse featuring 1950s jukebox favourites. On both Saturday and Sunday there will be action on the hill as competitors take part in events for the Bugatti Owners' Club and sport car owners' clubs from Austin Healeys to TVRs.
“On Saturday evening there will be an end of season American-themed party in the Clubhouse featuring 1950s jukebox favourites.”
TICKIN see P ETS AGE ! 5
DIARY OF AN EQUESTRIAN LADY
DIARY OF AN EQUESTRIAN LADY Collette Fairweather reviews this season’s equestrian calendar.
THE COTSWOLD TEAM CHASE Douglas Bunn, Master of Hickstead, invented team chasing when lunching with BBC Sports producer Alan Mouncer in 1974. His challenge was to create a new equestrian sport to fulfil the need for a ‘grown-up’ competition. ‘Duggie’ drew up the rules on the back of an obliging menu whilst dining that very day, and they have altered very little since their conception; four horses (three to count) race around a mile and a half course of up to thirty formidable fences, with the fastest team to clear the winner. It’s a sport designed to encompass all aspects that make equestrian sport exhilarating for competitor and spectator, the thrill of the chase, speed of racing, and the skill of crosscountry eventing. The Cotswold Team Chase (Foxcote Manor, Nr Andoversford, Sunday the 28th October), is a fine example of the now highly competitive sport. By kind permission of Lord and Lady Vestey, the grounds will host a selection of wide variety of classes including The National Team Chase Qualifier for the National Finals. Spectators may question whether the competitors are ‘a sandwich short of a picnic’, as horse and rider tear around the unrelenting course. Viewing is an addictive combination of agony and ecstasy thrills and spills are inevitable with horse and rider continually pushed to the edge of their capabilities. For those seeking a closer look, you can tackle the course on foot, placing you firmly in the action often directly in the line of fire. This is one equestrian sport I am not tempted to attempt. As I stand (safely) on the sidelines, I fail to
fathom the fearless disregard for mortality - but it’s impossible not to admire the camaraderie within the team. This team spirit was best summarised by Major Humphrey-Mews when he fell at the second fence - ‘Carry on chaps...it’s only a broken leg!’ Admission is £10 per car, including all occupants; first class 9.00am, dogs on leads welcome. For more information visit www.teamchasing.co.uk or contact Janet Trotter on 01367 870 588
BLENHEIM PALACE INTERNATIONAL HORSE TRIALS From the 6-9th of September Blenheim Palace will play host to the 22nd annual International Horse Trials. By kind permission of the Duke of Malborough, the grounds will welcome over 60,000 spectators over the four-day period. The competition challenges horse and rider in dressage, cross country and show jumping disciplines over the four-day period. Classes include amateur ‘grass roots’ that run alongside the three star international, but one of the most popular events is the ‘High Jump Event’ where riders jump bareback and bare-chested, over an ever-increasing fence, the winner being the
last horse clear. Visitors can expect to enjoy a wide selection of free to view activities as well as extensive opportunities for retail therapy. For further information, please see www.blenheimhorse.co.uk
THE SHOWCASE – CHELTENHAM RACECOURSE On Friday the 19th and Saturday 20th of October, Cheltenham Racecourse opens its gates for two days of highly competitive racing. The first race is just after 2pm but with gates opening at noon, there is plenty of time to explore behind the scenes. With access to normally ‘off-limit’ areas, visitors can investigate the weighing rooms and parade rings. There will also be chances to win amazing racing experiences such as awarding a trophy or viewing a race from the commentary box. This meet offers a rare insight, but most importantly this opening fixture of the season welcomes leading jockeys and horses back to Jump racing’s most famous venue. For further information, please see www.cheltenham.co.uk www.cotswold-homes.com
Author Rebecca Tope has written over 20 mysteries. Her first book, ‘A Dirty Death’, was published in 1999 and she has written around two books every year since. Her Cotswold series follows lovelorn house-sitter Thea Osborne as she attempts to solve a series of murders that occur in real-life Cotswold locations. You’ve had a number of different careers and run your own publishing house. Have you found your true calling in writing, or are you somebody who likes to try everything? Both, really. I’ve always, always wanted to be a writer, but I’ve stumbled from one interesting job to another. They tend to match up with my life events – I fell in love with the National Childbirth Trust after having my own children and so worked with them, and got into marriage counselling when many of my friends were experiencing troubles in their marriages. That was a difficult job – you see everyone at their worst. Then I worked as front of house for a funeral director. I really liked that work. I think the British way of death is very good. You’re in the middle of Trouble in the Cotswolds – the twelfth book in the Cotswold murder mystery series. What’s happening in the life of unfortunate house-sitter Thea Osborne? Thea’s relationship with Drew Slocombe is developing [undertaker and protagonist of Rebecca’s earlier books]. It’s creeping along – he’s still very raw from his wife dying. But there is something special between them. You’re also penning a new series featuring florist Persimmon Brown, who lives in Windermere. How is she different from Thea? She’s more rooted – she’s got her own shop and house, but she will travel out to different towns and naturally get involved in some people’s major life events. The first book will start with a wedding…
welcome distraction - they’re my ‘balance’ and they get me out and about! Out of all your books, which grisly death has been your favourite – and why? Probably the farmer found floating face down in his slurry pit at the start of my very first book, A Dirty Death. That was the scene that made my name, after all. Finally, do you have a favourite Cotswold town or village? Perhaps Naunton - it’s certainly one of the prettiest villages. I’ll be opening a fete there in a couple of weeks. That’ll be a new experience!
“I’ve always, always wanted to be a writer, but I’ve stumbled from one interesting job to another. They tend to match up with my life events...”
Tell us about the ‘anti-research’ that you do when you’re thinking of using a location… Basically I don’t talk to anyone from the villages I write about! Otherwise they might end up certain they’re in the book somewhere. Generally writers are much too paranoid – giving towns made-up names and such, and I don’t quite agree with that. With me it’s a habit and a selling point. Are you able to visit new places without assessing them as potential murder scenes? Oh, yes, I keep it completely separate. I’m a very ordinary holiday-maker! Do you think growing up on a farm influenced your formation as a writer? It probably did. I got very close to birth and death and pain. They say that most writers have a sliver of ice in their hearts. Actually, my boss at the funeral directors always said he had no trouble with farmers – they called a spade a spade and were more accustomed than most to the idea of death. Some people have criticised Thea for appearing too cold-hearted. But, as a friend pointed out the other day, it’s natural that she should be resilient. She’s a widow, and there’s plenty of residual trauma, so it’s no wonder that she has ended up like that. She is very sympathetic to people in real distress and can just be a little insensitive at times – which of course does help her to spot those with secrets and lies, helping her to track down the murderers. She asks impertinent questions, and can sometimes shock the truth out of people by doing so. How many animals do you keep? Are they a welcome distraction from the graft of writing? As we speak: six pigs, sixteen sheep, two dogs and a cat. Absolutely they’re a
With the Potter franchise finished and a new book due, we wonder what influences a Gloucestershire upbringing might have had on this remarkable writer. Let us make a bold claim: the phenomenal success of Harry Potter owes much to Gloucestershire. Why? Well, author J.K Rowling was born in the South Cotswolds in Chipping Sodbury in 1965, and spent her school years around the Forest of Dean. Her fondness for old rural England is evident everywhere in the Harry Potter canon: From the ghoulishly named Little Hangleton to the wizarding village of Godric’s Hollow, the names of the settlements in her fantasy world seem plucked from some ancient shire map. The mean-spirited Dursleys, who reluctantly foster the orphaned Harry, share their name with a Gloucestershire town (though what this has done for Dursley’s tourism – heaven knows). In the ultimate book of the series, Harry and friends spend much time camped out in the Forest of Dean, hiding from Lord Voldemort’s evil acolytes (‘My parents used to take me here,’ says the brainy young Hermione, a character somewhat based on the author as a bookish schoolgirl). The forest’s magical counterpart is the sinister Forbidden Forest, stuffed with all kinds of spooky creatures – visitors to the real Forest of Dean will attest that it has its own ancient mystique. Local landmarks were also used for the film adaptations. The grand, gothic courtyards and corridors of Gloucester Cathedral famously doubled as Hogwarts for location filming. It may be some time before its visitors can shake off the image of magical youngsters traipsing off to detention. Oxford University’s Christ Church, New College and Bodleian Library were also used as backgrounds for the film saga. The visual language of the films has traded heavily on the heritage, architecture and appearance of southern England – bringing to vivid life a secret, magical Britain that readers could only imagine. Strangest of all, her self-confessed favourite author and seminal influence is none other than Jessica Mitford, the tearaway communist aristocrat who grew up in the Cotswolds. JK even reviewed a book of Jessica’s letters. At any rate, the supernaturally successful storybook franchise is complete. And just like her boy hero, J.K has graduated from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and is eyeing the ‘grown-up’s’ book market. We don’t know much about her upcoming work - scheduled for a September release - but what information there is has a distinctly Cotswold flavour. The Casual Vacancy, Rowling’s ‘first novel for adults’ concerns the mysterious death of Barry Fairweather in the apparently idyllic English town of Pagford (Paxford, anyone?). A release from publishers Little, Brown promises a ‘a town at war…Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with parents, wives at war with husbands, teachers at war with pupils…Pagford is not what it first seems.’ An empty seat on the parish council, formerly occupied by the deceased Barry Fairweather, will act as ‘the catalyst for the biggest war the town has ever seen.’ The novel, we are told, will be ‘blackly comic’ in tone. Small-town subterfuge and village politics are hardly virgin territory for novelists. Bookstore shelves are full of pithy critiques of our rural 30
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communities. Yet what made Rowling an interesting author was not necessarily her originality (after all, dragons, broomsticks and magical academies are nothing new) but her ability to weave together elements of myth, culture and history in spellbinding fashion. Her sharp eye for character will surely serve her well when rendering the snarks, gossips and busybodies that frequent such fiction. We await the book with bated breath…
“Local landmarks were also used for the film adaptations. The grand, gothic courtyards and corridors of Gloucester Cathedral famously doubled as Hogwarts for location filming.”
Nazis, Novelists & Revolutionaries Meet the Mitford Sisters
A famous novelist, a communist journalist who inspired JK Rowling and two beautiful members of Hitler’s inner circle: meet the extraordinary aristocrats who shared their childhood in the Cotswolds. To somebody inspecting a faded photograph of gruff Lord Redesdale and his young children - all posed somewhat grumpily in a Cotswold garden in the early 20th century - there is little to reveal the dramatic destinies and political rivalries that would await them. Who could know that the beautiful Diana and the attention-seeking Unity would court the affections of Adolf Hitler, becoming his trusted friends? Or see in Jessica Mitford any glimpse of the communist and rebel that she would become, avowed to destroy the exploitative funeral industry? Is there any sign in the young Nancy of the best-selling novelist who would secretly denounce her own sister to British Intelligence? Little of these strange, disparate futures can be guessed from these childhood images.
An Isolated Upbringing The sisters’ own accounts have described Redesdale, or ‘Farve’ as the children called him, as prone to rages and dismissive of outsiders, creating a somewhat secluded environment for their upbringing. The girls were mostly taught at home (though this was not completely unusual for girls of their social class at that time); their parents were not great believers in schools.
The children of Lord and Lady Redesdale were already very different in character – though the girls seemed to have shared the particular wit and look which would become the Mitford brand.
Jessica and Unity created a made-up language called ‘Boudledidge’ and, using a diamond ring, etched Communist and Nazi symbols into a windowpane, declaring their separate political allegiances. Certainly Jessica begrudged missing school and even established a ‘Running Away’ fund where she would store her early savings, ready for the dramatic escape that she actually enacted at age nineteen when she eloped to America with a nephew of Winston Churchill.
The family lived in the inherited home at Batsford Park before Lord Redesdale sold the expensively maintained pile and moved them all to Asthall Manor at Burford, eventually relocating to a rather uglier house of his own design in the village of Swinbrook, when money ran lower still.
Once the sisters had left home, their lives would take them in wildly different (and quite often controversial) directions. They would each pursue their own destinies, yet would remain in frequent contact over the years that followed – staying friends despite the events that would rock the family. www.cotswold-homes.com
Nancy the Novelist Nancy, the eldest sister, became a satirical writer, lampooning her society friends and family with well-received books. She drew upon her father and upbringing when writing her best-known books In Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate. Nancy infuriated her Nazi supporting sisters Diana and Unity with her novel Wigs on the Green, which made fun of Diana’s husband’s right-wing posturing and mocked Fascism. ‘I warn you you can’t possibly publish it,’ Unity wrote to her from Munich in 1934, ‘…because if you did I couldn’t possibly ever speak to you again.’ Correspondence continued after the book’s release, however, and for Unity’s 21st birthday, Nancy wrote to her: ‘…I enclose a miserable cheque to buy yourself some pretty little Nazi emblem with.’
“After engineering a meeting with Hitler in a café, Unity would enjoy many audiences with her idol. As relations between England and Germany soured, she clung to her hopes England and Germany could broker an alliance.” Sisters in Fascism Perhaps the most remembered Mitford – for all the wrong reasons – is the striking society beauty Diana. After a scandalous affair with the charismatic Oswald Mosley – leader of the British Union of Fascists – she later wed him in Germany at the house of Joseph Goebbels. Hitler was their guest of honour, presenting the couple with a framed portrait of himself as a wedding gift. ‘Farve’ was furious at their union (for Diana had left her first husband, Bryan Guinness, for Mosley) and banned her younger sisters from seeing her. Diana was eventually imprisoned for her Fascist affiliations – and we now know that Nancy supported the sentencing. ‘There is little doubt that she acted as a courier between her husband and the Nazi government,’ reads a recently revealed MI5 file, which also contains several damning comments from Nancy. "[Diana is] far cleverer and more dangerous than her husband… [she] sincerely desires the downfall of England and democracy generally and should not be released…[she] will stick at nothing to achieve her ambitions, is wildly ambitious, a ruthless and shrewd egotist, a devoted Fascist and admirer of Hitler". After her eventual release Diana spent most of her life in France, writing articles and reviews for a variety of publications. She died decades later in 32
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2003, a suspected victim of heatstroke. Though the Mitford sisters were known for their regular correspondence (despite leading such different and turbulent lives), relations between Diana and communist Jessica remained distant and strained (‘They should be kept in jail where they belong’, Jessica wrote to Winston Churchill when Diana and Mosley were released. Diana later retaliated by declaring Jessica: ‘A rather boring person, actually.’). Unity Valkyrie Mitford was completely devoted to Hitler and his regime. A fanatic by many accounts, Unity was besotted with the Fuehrer and a committed Fascist, often seen raising her hand in the Nazi salute. She obsessively wrote of ‘Poor Hitler’ in her letters and mentioned a collection of ‘304 postcards of the Fuehrer’. A photograph from the very first Nuremberg Rally shows Diana and a 19 year old Unity, smiling prettily amongst the dark shirts of the grinning Nazis who had just seized power. After engineering a meeting with Hitler in a café, Unity would enjoy many audiences with her idol. As relations between England and Germany soured, she clung to her hopes England and Germany could broker an alliance. When war was finally declared, she shot herself in the head with an ornate pistol (another gift from the glorious ‘Leader’). Yet the shot failed to kill her. The bullet stuck in her head and she was reduced to an infantile and confused condition. Transported back to England via neutral Switzerland, Unity was cared for by her mother until her death in 1948.
Jessica Mitford, the ‘Red Sheep’
The Other Siblings
At the extreme opposite end of the political spectrum was Jessica ‘Decca’ Mitford. A runaway, firebrand aristocrat who fled to fight with the Reds in the Spanish Civil War at the age of 19, she dedicated herself to communism and, later, civil rights.
The Duchess of Devonshire, Deborah ‘Debo’ Cavendish, is the only surviving sister and was, for many years, the public face of Chatsworth estate. She decries many of the books that have been written about her sisters, and not long ago released her own memoirs, entitled Wait for Me! The Duchess is known for her close friendship with the late JFK and her most surprising eccentricity is her fondness for Elvis.
Deserting the family home at the age of 19 with her suitor Esmond Romilly, an anarchist nephew of Winston Churchill, Jessica had set the tone for a life of witty defiance (Hitler comforted a saddened Unity when she shared the news of Jessica’s elopement). After Romilly was killed in action in 1941, she helped bring about state investigations into police brutality and battled for years against Service Corporation International, who she hounded for exploitation and immorality within the funeral industry, publishing the bestselling expose The American Way of Death. When she died in 1996, she left instructions for her assistant to bill Service Corporation International for her funeral expenses (‘…after all, look at all the fame I've brought them!’).
The sisters’ brother, Thomas, died soldiering in Burma in 1945 – though he had been introduced to Hitler by Unity in 1935, it is uncertain if he ever shared his sisters’ support for the dictator. Farve never really recovered from the loss of his son, while Jessica’s desertion and Diana’s imprisonment still rankled. One gets the impression that he regretted losing touch with his daughters in the years before his death. Pamela Mitford created considerably less column inches than her more bombastic sisters. She was regularly referred to as ‘Woman’ or ‘Womb’ by the rest for her demure and virtuous nature. The Mitford girls were perhaps their own best publicists; Pamela seems to have evaded the limelight, seeking only a quiet life.
The Mitford Legacies One of the Mitfords’ legacies was the impact Jessica had on Harry Potter author J.K Rowling: ‘My most influential writer, without a doubt, is Jessica Mitford. When my great-aunt gave me [Jessica’s autobiography] Hons and Rebels when I was 14, she instantly became my heroine,’ Rowling said in a 2002 interview with The Scotsman. ‘…I think I've read everything she wrote. I even called my daughter after her.’ With the exception of Duchess Debs, the sisters are all now all but gone - yet fascination with these uncanny characters endures. Perhaps we can attribute this to their combination of intelligence, aristocracy, pluck and beauty; or maybe because, in their early adulthood, they became entangled with the most infamous players on the global stage, in those distant and naïve seeming years before WWII. Jessica was inexpensively cremated in America, in keeping with her famous animosity towards the funeral industry. Nancy, Diana, Unity and Pamela lie buried in the humble graveyard at Swinbrook – together again, after everything that went on inbetween. Deborah
“When my great-aunt gave me [Jessica’s autobiography] Hons and Rebels when I was 14, she instantly became my heroine...”
- J.K Rowling
Rally Nuremberg nity at the U d an na Dia
stone on show
on form 2012 (17th June-15th July) was the sixth biennial sculpture exhibition to be held at Asthall Manor, where the Mitford sisters lived between 1919-1926. During each exhibition â€“ the largest display of sculpture in stone held in the UK â€“ the spacious garden and ballroom serve as a spectacular showcase for a variety of thought-provoking forms, hearkening to nature, life, art and the human mind. At Asthall, rigid material assumes surprisingly elegant and improbable shapes that maintain perfect harmony with their situation. on form is organized by Rosie Pearson. Photography by Pooch Purtill. 34
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AN AUTUMN ARBORETUM
Photography by Mike Tayler at Box 3
“During the 1860s, estate owner Algernon Bertram Freeman-Mitford (or ‘Bertie’ for short) travelled in oriental Asia with the foreign legion. In 1890, he had the grounds of Batsford Estate landscaped according to these influences.”
Winner of the Silver prize in the 2012 Tourist Attraction of the Year awards, Batsford Arboretum is a must-visit destination all year round thanks to the changeable beauty of its foliage. Conserving and cultivating both exotic and local varieties of plantlife, the Arboretum also encourages a range of wild animals and birds. In their present form, Batsford’s grounds have an esoteric eastern motif, with ornamental bridges, Buddha and Foo Dog statues and a Japanese rest house. During the 1860s, estate owner Algernon Bertram Freeman-Mitford (or ‘Bertie’ for short) travelled in oriental Asia with the foreign legion. In
1890, he had the grounds of Batsford Estate landscaped according to these influences. The parkland includes a watercourse, rockeries, a cave, waterfalls and a notable collection of bamboo. In 1916 Bertie died and was succeeded by his son, David, who fathered the famous Mitford Sisters. The family lived together at Batsford throughout the duration of WWI. After the war ended, the estate was sold to cover death duties. The estate passed into the hand of the Dulvertons, who managed it until 1984, when it was passed to a charitable foundation founded by the 2nd Lord Dulveron in 1956. www.cotswold-homes.com
Explaining the End of the World
Explaining the End of the World Art historian and Lecturer Dr. Frederica Law-Turner illuminates a rare 14th century depiction of Judgement Day
The church of St Andrewâ€™s at Oddington, outside Stow on the Wold, nestles discretely at the end of a wooded lane leading out of the present village. Isolated among the fields, its quiet setting gives little clue to the astonishing medieval Doom painting found within.
Virgin and the Saints, and with biblical and eschatological scenes. The vast majority of this decoration has been lost in the intervening centuries either to neglect or vandalism, leaving a few often very faded survivors to hint at the glories that were once so widespread.
Occupying much of the north wall of the church, this vast wall painting confronts the visitor with a startling vision of the Last Judgement, when Christ will judge the quick (or living) and the dead, and finally separate the Blessed and the Damned. Discovered in 1913 under layers of whitewash, this huge painting is a very rare survival of what was once an important part of medieval church decoration. Most church interiors would have been extensively painted, with a range of images of the lives of Christ, the
The painting itself shows the monumental and terrifying figure of the risen Christ, crowned with the Crown of Thorns enthroned in the centre of the upper register. He is seated on an arch representing a rainbow and his feet rest on the globe of the earth. He is flanked by angels holding the Instruments of the Passion, the nails with which he was nailed to the Cross and the spear which pierced his side during the Crucifixion. Around him are seated figures of saints, probably the Apostles, who would originally have been identifiable
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by their attributes but who are now faded beyond recognition. At Christâ€™s feet kneels the Blessed Virgin Mary, who as His mother and Queen of Heaven acted as the most important intercessor for humanity at the Last Day. Around the Virgin, angels blow long trumpets to call the dead to judgement. The dead themselves are shown in medieval art as naked childlike figures, and often appear in Judgements rising from their tombs in response to the sound of the Last Trump. It is possible that at Oddington such figures are concealed under the panelling which runs along the whole of the base of the north wall, covering parts of the mural. The division of the Blessed and the Damned is shown in the lower register. To Christâ€™s right, those who are saved are shown entering the walled garden of Paradise. Angels peer out of
Diary of an Equestrian Lady
“Many of the demons are picked out in black and white horizontal stripes, and have bat wings, tails and monstrous faces”
and good works during one’s life helped to reduce the time spent in Purgatory. This could also be shortened by the prayers of the living, hence the founding of chantry chapels where priests were paid to pray for the soul of an individual and his family and ancestors. Death thus remained a crucial moment of transition, but it did not decide an individual’s fate, which was left hanging in the balance until the final and irrevocable division of the Last Judgement.
gates and windows in the wall to welcome the Blessed and one even lends a helping hand by pulling a soul up over the battlements. Opposite this, on Christ’s left or sinister side, the Damned are pushed and pulled by demons into the devouring jaws of Leviathan in the lower corner. Other devils torment souls by boiling them in giant cauldrons or hanging them from gallows. Many of the demons are picked out in black and white horizontal stripes, and have bat wings, tails and monstrous faces, while the souls of both the Blessed and the Damned include figures wearing crowns and papal tiaras. The basic iconography of the Judgement derives from the description of these events in the Book of Matthew: ‘’When the Son of Man comes in His glory and all the angels with him, He will sit on his throne. He will separate men into two groups, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and He will place the sheep on His right hand and
the goats on His left. Then the king will say to those on His right hand, “You have my Father’s blessing; come, enter and possess the kingdom that has been ready for you since the world was made...” Then He will say to those on his left hand, “The curse is upon you; go from my sight to the eternal fire that is ready for the devil and his angels.....”(Matthew 25 v31-34 and 41). In the Middle Ages, however, the vast majority of the population would have been unable to read and so paintings such as that at Oddington served as visual aids to understanding the bible and the liturgy. The medieval understanding of death and the afterlife was a complex one. Only the saints went direct to heaven on dying. The vast majority of souls made their way into a kind of heavenly antechamber known as Purgatory, where they were purged of their sins by various torments, often adapted to suit the sins committed during life. Annual Confession, prayer to the Virgin and saints
Such a grand and expensive painting must have been intended to do more than frighten into good behaviour the congregation of small parish in rural Gloucestershire, however. Its present sleepy serenity belies Oddington’s earlier significance. From the twelfth century the parish was owned by the Archbishop of York, and a large house was supposed to have existed next to the church, which perhaps served as his residence. The village represented an important staging post, and Henry III often stopped there when travelling between Woodstock and Evesham, Tewkesbury, or Gloucester. The small twelfth-century church was extended in the thirteenth century to accommodate the Archbishop and his retinue by the addition of a large nave and chancel on the north side, turning the original nave and chancel into what is now the south aisle. The style of the great Doom painting suggests it was painted in the 1320s or 1330s and so was presumably intended for the edification of the Archbishop and his household as much as for the local parishioners. One can only be grateful for the protective layers of whitewash and the isolation of the church from the village which undoubtedly preserved this masterpiece of medieval art for us to enjoy today. Dr Frederica Law-Turner is a writer and lecturer of History of Art. She is available for private bespoke tours looking at the art and history of the Cotswolds and surrounding areas. She can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cotswold Homes Magazine
Life enhancing gardens
life enhancing gardens Annie Pearce is an award winning garden designer and plantswoman based here in the beautiful North Cotswolds. Here, she shares with us her gardening tips for the autumn months ahead. September heralds the beginning of one of my favourite seasons in the garden. The warm, mellow light and ever-lengthening shadows give the garden a more relaxed feel, and although there are still tasks to be done, enjoy this gentle slowing down and take the time to look back over the year, note what worked and what didnâ€™t, and start planning your garden in readiness for next year. The combination of warm ground and moisture makes this the ideal time to plant perennials and shrubs as their roots will be able to establish themselves before winter sets in, ready for an early start next spring. Perennials can also be divided now, so if your borders are starting to lose vigour, or are getting somewhat congested, now is the time to split those large clumps of perennials. Cut back the top growth by two thirds, dig up the plants and prise apart using two forks, or cut the clump into sections with a sharp knife. Discard the old bits and replant the strongest sections in ground that you have improved with compost and some slow release fertiliser. Water in well and they will quickly settle in.
This is also the perfect time to plant spring and summer flowering bulbs. They add so much to the garden, so be bold and buy as many as you can. I like to plant them randomly through my borders, intermingled with the perennial plants to give a more natural look, but you can plant them how you like. Just remember most bulbs need to be planted two and a half times their depth. There are a few exceptions to this rule, so do check the packet before planting. My favourite suppliers are Jacques Amand, Peter Nyssen and Sarah Raven, who all have such a good range you will be spoilt for choice. You also need a good trowel. The best one you can ever own is the Mira trowel from Implementations. Its long-pointed bronze blade makes easy work of planting bulbs and is also perfect for weeding and planting. For further help or advice please call Annie on 01451 822390 or visit www.anniepearce.co / www.metamorphosisdesign.co.uk www.cotswold-homes.com
ASK THE EXPERTS
Ask the experts
Money Matters Sue Ellis
I have read in the Press that from the end of the year insurers will not be allowed to discriminate premiums on the basis of gender. Apart from sounding absurdly PC, will this have any effect on our mortgage related protection?
Sounds PC? Yes, you’re right, some would say absurdly so. Under the existing edict from Brussels, insurance companies have been allowed to discriminate between the sexes when setting insurance premiums and pensions pay-outs – as long as they can justify doing so. Critics of this new directive say it flies in the
the date that the EU Directive comes in to place. The directive means that life insurance premiums for females and critical illness insurance premiums for men are both likely to rise according to estimates by HM Treasury – in fact, women’s premiums could go up by as much as 15%. Existing policies won’t be affected, however if you are thinking of reviewing or updating your current protection arrangements, now is the time to do so, as protection premiums are at an all time low and people generally overestimate the cost of protection. Time really is of the essence here – sometimes an insurer will need to obtain further
“life insurance premiums for women and critical illness insurance for men are both likely to rise according to estimates by HM Treasury - in fact, women’s premiums could rise by up to 15%” face of a mountain of evidence that warrants treating men and women differently. You may ask so what? For example, this has meant men have paid more for their life insurance – largely because women tend to live to a greater age. The flipside is men receive a bigger pension when they buy an annuity as they have a shorter life expectancy. However, when considering critical illness cover (a plan that pays out in the event of diagnosis of a specified condition such as cancer, heart attack, stroke, Multiple Sclerosis and other serious conditions) comparatively women tend to attract a more expensive premium, as unfortunately they are more likely to claim. As most lenders strongly recommend that at the very minimum a life assurance policy (sometimes referred to as Term Assurance) is taken out, so that in the event of death the mortgage debt is repaid, this will impact on new applications submitted after 21 December 2012,
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information from your doctor (which can take up to three months in some cases). Whether you are your family’s main breadwinner or not, death can leave a family to deal with financial burdens along with their emotional distress; while it can’t bring your loved ones back, financial protection can certainly help to lighten the load. If you would like to find out more, at JEM Financial Planning we offer free no-obligation advice so don’t hesitate to give us a call - we will be happy to discuss your concerns and give you a more thorough overview of how this directive will affect you. Sue Ellis works alongside Johnny Magee as a Mortgage Broker at Jem Financial Planning. The team has 43 years experience in investment, retirement and inheritance planning, mortgages, protection and general insurance. To speak to Sue or Johnny, telephone 01386 840777 or visit www.johnny-magee.co.uk.
Ask the experts
Holiday Cottages Andy Soye
The prospect of renting out a holiday home to paying guests can be daunting. On paper, it all makes financial sense – in this economic climate, you can turn a liability into an asset. The reality of handing over the front door keys of your home to a group of strangers, however, can be a different matter and causes real concern. What can you do to make the process of renting out your holiday home as straightforward as possible?
“With a certain attitude and some thoughtful preparation, you can alleviate these anxieties. The owners who have most success with letting their properties are those who manage, emotionally, to detach themselves from their homes and who look to maximize the value of their let. Owners should take a different view of their homes and consider them as you would any business investment. It is important to look at the capacity of your property. Adding accommodation for a further guest can increase your gross annual income by an average of five thousand pounds. If you are confident you are not going to overcrowd the rest of the house by doing this, question if you can turn a downstairs study or upstairs landing into extra sleeping space, possibly just by adding a sofa bed. In terms of décor and personal items left in the house, it is important to maintain a balance. Feedback from guests shows they prefer a warm, inviting home with unique touches, to a bland, sterile atmosphere, but do be sure to put anything of high monetary or sentimental value into a locked cupboard and remove family photographs. Damage to a property and its furniture is rare, but general wear and tear is, of course, to be expected and depends on the number of guests your property accommodates in a year. As an owner, be aware of the need for a maintenance budget and see this as an investment in your property and its future letting potential. This is really nothing to be concerned about. The more successful a property, the more foot-fall
it gets. It is unusual to have a serious incident in a property that will cause damage sufficient for the owner to have to claim on their insurance. Everyday usage typically just leads to broken wine glasses and luggage banging against door frames, for example. Just like at home. One of the properties Character Cottages manages had approximately one thousand guests through it last year - it is in better condition now than it was when we took it on purely because we continually focus on bringing it back up to standard. Holiday lets are well preserved for the future because of this constant care. Looking after and maintaining a second home to holiday let does require commitment. Most owners employ housekeepers and gardeners to carry out tasks that they cannot do themselves on a regular basis, especially at busy times when turning around a property between sets of guests is too time consuming. If you live far from your second home, you do not have to struggle to find and employ local staff yourself. Character Cottages, for example, offers the option of a full management service. Traditionally, living far from your second home and having other time commitments has been a barrier for many owners when they have been considering holiday letting their property. We designed our business specifically to enable our clients to hand us the keys and we can then do anything they need. The Cotswolds is one of the most popular regions year round in the UK for visitors looking to rent homes. Your holiday property has the potential to bring you income when it would otherwise be lying empty. Embrace the idea and reap the rewards!” Interview by Elizabeth Cherry. Andy Soye and Mat Farraday are co-founders and owners of Character Cottages, an independent company specialising in the management of holiday let properties in the Cotswolds. To find out more about their services contact them on: enquires@ character-cottages.com or telephone 0844 8708532
ASK THE EXPERTS
Ask the experts
Legal Issues Esmond Jenkins
I was left a widow with two children at a young age and have re-married. Now, expecting a third child, we will be moving from the old family home. My husband’s contribution towards the purchase of a new home will be significantly less, in terms of equity, than mine - and a friend has suggested that there are pitfalls to joint property ownership. What is your advice?
How a property is held between joint owners is often an overlooked subject but the legal effects of the two methods of joint ownership are quite different – so how an ownership is agreed needs to be properly considered to avoid potential disputes and, more importantly perhaps, uncertainty on the death of one or more owners. Property can be owned either as joint tenants or tenants in common. With a joint
secondly, when one owner dies. When one Joint Tenant dies, the entire property will pass to the surviving owner – leaving the deceased owner with no specific share to leave to his or her heirs. However, if a tenant in common dies, this is not the case. Their share is defined by deed of trust and passes into his or her estate to be distributed in accordance with the will. We advise clients to consider the issue of joint ownership versus tenants in common where one party has provided substantially more of a deposit towards the purchase and/ or where the future inheritance of children from a previous marriage is intended to be protected. This can be more effectively achieved by a couple buying as tenants in common. At death the deceased’s share in the marital home will not automatically transfer to their surviving
“In the case of Joint ownership, disputes can arise when the owners cannot agree how the money should be divided upon sale and/or when one owner dies...” tenancy, the property is owned in what is known as “undivided shares” so that in legal terms both own all of the property. Unless there is a formal written agreement between the owners, they are deemed to own the property in 50:50 equal shares and either owner can contract for the sale of the property. With a tenancy in common, the owners can own the property 50:50 or - if for example one co-owner contributes more than the other - in different proportions. In such cases, a disproportionate division of shares needs to be backed by a written Deed of Trust, an agreement laying down the terms of the joint ownership and making the proportion or value of the owners’ shares clear. In the case of Joint Ownership, disputes can arise when the owners cannot agree how the money should be divided upon sale and/or,
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partner as it would under a Joint Tenancy, but will be passed in accordance with the will of the deceased. Please feel free to contact me to discuss your particular concerns. We can advise you personally on how to approach your property transaction in accordance with your specific circumstances. Sometimes a Declaration of Trust will be necessary and certainly we will advise on the necessity of making a Will, of course. Esmond Jenkins is a senior partner at Bampton Law, based in Bampton and Bourton-on-theWater, offering a wide range of Private Client and Commercial Law services. To speak to Esmond, telephone 01451 820265 or for more information, visit Bampton Law’s website: www.bamptonlaw.co.uk
Ask the experts
Market Place Karen Harrison
Since we bought our house in November 2006 our family has grown and we desperately need to move. We have spent money and updated our home throughout it’s among the best on the estate but, despite now being offered at the price we bought it, we still haven’t had a single offer. Why?
“I’m afraid that from the true height at the end of 2006, every type of property nose-dived in value as much as 25% over the next two years and only some types of property have fully recovered their values. Contrary to popular belief, the North Cotswolds is not immune to the recession. The local market did significantly recover in 2009 to around 10% below the height, equivalent to prices achieved in 2005 – this was mainly due to a supply of investment buyers escaping the ravages of the stock market, causing a surge in purchasing across the board. The general response to this recession in the North Cotswolds has been to sit tight - most homeowners have decent levels of equity and very few have been unable to meet mortgage payments due to exceptionally low interest rates. This causes a shortage of stock and in turn helps to drive up values - with a buoyant “staycation” market, period properties and second homes are as popular as ever. There is still plenty of money sloshing around the North Cotswolds and the upper quartile market continues to attract London buyers to country properties. Now, prices for larger, non-estate family homes and traditional village properties are equal to the height of the market, at least. We have even presided over a few Best & Final offers on really desirable properties in recent months. But, by comparison, demand has noticeably dipped in the main, local residential market, particularly if prices are not set keenly – surveyors are still instructed to value conservatively, some older estates are suffering the effects of flooding, there is increasingly stiff competition from large new developments and tight lending criteria continues to have a serious
affect on affordability for needs-based buyers. Many vendors are now coming under greater pressure to move, either because of a growing family or changes in job circumstances. There are only around half the number of buyers in this sector of the market place compared with the end of 2006 - they have significantly reduced spending power and more choice. As a consequence, established residential estates are now struggling to maintain prices achieved at the end of 2005. Coupled with ambitious, over-inflated marketing prices, many of these properties are growing very stale, losing value the longer they remain on the market. There is no doubt that this sector really should be on a wise investor’s radar – demand for longterm rental properties is very high amongst young couples and local families, a trend that is certain to continue until the mortgage markets finally pick up. With room for underlying capital growth and in the meantime very easy to rent out, offers should be forthcoming – but such first time buyer and family estate homes must be priced more keenly to sell. My advice is to drop your price down significantly by as much as 10%, but then negotiate equally hard on your onward purchase. Moving in the same market is not a problem if you are prepared to be sensible – after all, everything is relative.“ Karen Harrison is co-founder and owner of HARRISON & HARDIE estate agency, a local independent company that has enjoyed consistent success as market leaders and specialists in Residential Sales and Lettings of North Cotswold properties for well over a decade, and is the appointed agent for Fine & Country in the North Cotswolds. To speak to Karen, telephone 01608 651000 or 01451 822977 or e-mail kharrison@ harrisonandhardie.co.uk. To view properties for sale or to let, visit www. cotswold-homes.com.iew properties for sale or to let, visit www.cotswold-homes.com.
Halford House Cotswold Homes Magazine
“ ...Impressively large at over 6,000 square
feet, Halford House is imposing and handsome, one of the most important period properties in the village...”
Halford House occupies a central yet secluded position, hidden from view behind a high wall and solid wooden gates, protecting it from curious on-lookers. With the gates open, however, the garden is revealed as the perfect spot for cream teas whilst the house itself impressively large at over 6,000 square feet – is imposing and handsome, one of the most important period properties in the village. When Halford House came to the market two years ago via Fine & Country in Bourton on the Water, it immediately caught the attention of Elaine and Martin Booth, owners of the renowned Dial House Hotel in the same village.
“We knew that the property would be ideally suited to those seeking an up-market Bed & Breakfast for a family holiday,” explains Elaine, “and that we could create a wonderful sister to our main hotel, but there was such a lot of work to do. It had been a family home, so it only had a couple of bathrooms, and was in need of very considerable attention to the fabric of the building. In fact, it needed a complete overhaul. We spent two solid months with a vast number of builders, plumbers, electricians and fitters – like an extended episode of DIY SOS! – to get the house into proper shape, including the plumbing system, of course, providing luxury en-suite facilities to each of the bedrooms.”
“We spent two solid months with a vast number of builders, plumbers, electricians and fitters – like an extended episode of DIY SOS!”
Now offering 10 bedrooms arranged over three floors with a large annexe boasting an entirely self-sufficient apartment for the resident housekeeper, the Booths’ creative vision has resulted in a beautifully presented and thoroughly updated property that could still easily be returned to a family home, something perfect for modern multi-generational living. “All we would need to do is to replace the locking bedroom doors and take down a few signs, which we are happy to do,” Elaine confirmed. But why on earth – only two years later - are they selling, having invested the best part of £200,000 into its upgrade and clearly having created a successful enterprise? “We have just bought the Grape Vine Hotel in Stow on the Wold,” explains Martin, “and that’s is a major project for us, right now. We have so much going on already and then something comes up that’s just too good an opportunity to resist!” 48
Cotswold Homes Magazine
Halford House will undoubtedly create considerable interest. Indeed, Andy Soye of Character Cottages believes that it’s the perfect fit for a holiday let business. The most successful properties, we find, are those that can accommodate large groups of people and this is so vast, it could easily provide for at least 20 guests (and some!). This is a fabulous, period, detached home with an abundance of space and character and a wonderfully private garden, perfect for al fresco dining and complete with hot tub for extra fun. The copious parking is essential for such a large home. The garage and cellar are ideal for storing private fixtures and fittings, meaning that the owner can still book out the house for personal use, easily and simply. Bourton on the Water is a premier village with plenty of pubs, restaurants and shops, ensuring appeal to a wide variety of guests, both British and
foreign, who enjoy having everything to hand all year round. Being this size, the property will be extremely successful and we estimate in excess of £120,000 per annum gross revenue.” With an annual turnover of £120,000 in the first year alone, Elaine and Martin have a proven successful business in Halford House - equally as a luxurious Bed & Breakfast or, as Andy Soye suggests, the perfect holiday home investment. Offers are invited in the region of £1.2 million. Viewings are strictly via the appointed agents, HARRISON & HARDIE Fine & Country, Bourton on the Water. To download a brochure, simply visit www.cotswold-homes.com, selecting the Fine & Country option on the Property section. For further information and to book an appointment to view, contact Katy Hill on 01451 822977 or e-mail email@example.com.
Cotswold Homes Magazine
Mount, Castlett Guiting Power
Cotswold Homes Magazine
“Here, only a few hundred yards from the centre of the village, I look out on the most wonderful farmland with huge open skies, views changing with every passing season.”
When Pamela Bath first set eyes on what seemed to be a rather inauspicious chalet bungalow, albeit in her favourite (and everyone else’s favourite) village of Guiting Power, it was the position alone that gave her confidence to buy the property. “The bungalow was originally dark and pokey, lots of little rooms, even though there was planning permission to create something bigger - but the aspect is extraordinarily beautiful,” she explains as we wander out to the sunlit garden overlooking fields belonging to Guiting Grange, the country estate. “Here, only a few hundred yards from the centre of the village, I look out on the most wonderful farmland with huge open skies, views changing with every passing season. It is my rural idyll – I fell in love the moment I stepped outside.” Originally an interior designer, the inside of the property was not going to bother her for long - now, it is as beautiful inside as out. Pamela had her own Eureka moment in the bath some months after purchasing,
when realising the arrangement of plumbing allowed her to knock down several internal walls below to create what is now her gorgeous, light and airy, Swedish-inspired kitchen-breakfast room. From there, it seemed she just kept on knocking down walls - from two separate, gloomy rooms she has created a stunning, open, free-flowing living and dining space. Two fireplaces, each equipped with Clearview stoves provide two focal points and, at one end an impressive doubleheight room, its ceiling painted in gold (it works!) has patio doors on two sides looking out over the garden– the overall effect is comfortable, welcoming, spacious and effortlessly stylish. “This is a wonderful room - I swap about the furniture according to the seasons. In the summer, I put my seating at the garden end and in winter, the massive dining table goes up there because it’s fabulous for Christmas get-togethers.” Indeed, a huge festive glitter ball still hangs from the light fitting - in July. “It looks right so I left it,” she laughs. There
is no doubt she has great taste -Pamela has travelled extensively and the inspiration for her interiors seems more European than English, with a distinctly French edge to many of the furnishings. “Yes,” she agrees, “although my dining room end is actually gentleman’s library, isn’t it?” Upstairs, Pamela has continued to open out the space, creating a light-filled, luxurious master bedroom with pretty dormer windows and an indulgent, richly appointed en-suite bathroom - the guest accommodation is at the other end of the house on the ground floor, affording her complete privacy. “This home would really suit a professional couple, people who like to entertain but also to escape completely at the end of the night to their own nest! This house was just for me, so I have finished it just to please me,” she confesses, although there is no doubt that her ideas would please everybody. Her guests are treated to the same luxurious finish and individual touches in their own rooms – one of the en-suites boasts a double width www.cotswold-homes.com
“This home would really suit a professional couple, people who like to entertain but also to escape completely at the end of the night to their own nest!”
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shower and Philippe Starck porcelain. In fact, Pamela has not stinted anywhere in her home and it is so clearly suited to her, so why is she moving? “I have the idea of a B & B somewhere in Dorset - a small-holding, perhaps.” Given her present creation, one can only imagine how lovely her next home will be.
bright, crisp and spacious interior, the superb finish of the bathrooms gives a sense of real luxury. This property is a gem and would provide a fabulous base for groups of 6 - 8 to enjoy a relaxing weekend in the Cotswolds, bringing in a gross revenue of up to £45,000 per annum.”
Mat Faraday, of Character Cottages, believes the property is likely to perform very well as a holiday-let investment. “Guiting Power is synonymous with the Cotswold Hills, ideal for walking and relaxing alike. With two great local pubs within walking distance, one of which is renowned for excellent food, what more could holiday guests ask for? With a
To find out more about Castlett Mount, offered on the market at £735,000, simply contact the Bourton on the Water branch of HARRISON & HARDIE, Fine and Country. Telephone 01451 822977. To download full details, visit HARRISON & HARDIE’S property section on www.cotswold-homes.com
THE CORNER HOUSE
Cotswold Homes Magazine
“...An abundance of period features and luxurious fittings - huge old beams, deep window seats, roaring woodburners, a glorious bathroom with a roll-top claw-footed bath - will enchant all visitors to the property... It is such a stunning chocolate box thatch cottage, almost a guaranteed winner for holiday lettings.” Mat Faraday
chocolate box thatch cottage, almost a guaranteed winner for holiday lettings, with smart and inviting outside space, perfect for relaxing and entertaining, with lovely little features like the old well - and ample parking, a real bonus. If one were to consider investing in a holiday let business, one would be hard pressed to find a more traditional picturepostcard cottage than The Corner House, situated within the picturesque village of Stourton, located close to the south Warwickshire border on the northern edge of the Cotswolds. The origins of this Grade II Listed cottage date back to the early 1600s, once two thatched hovels, each with only one room, heated by the same large inglenook fireplaces that are the focal points of the cottage today. Over time the cottages were combined and the roof lifted to create a
beautiful, spacious detached cottage that has been carefully extended and meticulously restored over the last five years. An abundance of period features and luxurious fittings - huge old beams, deep window seats, roaring wood-burners, a glorious bathroom with a roll-top claw-footed bath - will enchant all visitors to the property, without a doubt, providing a highly desirable home and a wonderful holiday let opportunity. Mat Faraday of Character Cottages was full of enthusiasm when he was invited to assess its potential. “It is such a stunning,
“It is bound to attract high quality bookings all year round so £35,000 per annum gross revenue is very achievable, I am sure.”
“The interior is particularly well laid out - a superbly finished ground floor with separate dining and living spaces and a fabulous kitchen. It’s just packed with lovely original features and decorated with a light, modern touch so it will appeal to a wide variety of guests. Stourton is a great village with a lovely local pub and walks in abundance, with many places of interest nearby, including Stratford Upon Avon, of course.” And the vital question – how will it perform as a business? “It is bound to attract high quality bookings all year round so £35,000 per annum gross revenue is very achievable, I am sure.” For more information on The Corner House, marketed at £465,000, visit www.cotswoldhomes.com and click on the HARRISON & HARDIE button, where details including floor plans and additional photographs can be downloaded. To arrange an appointment to view, telephone the Moreton office on 01608 651000. www.cotswold-homes.com
Dormers, Ilmington DORMERS
When Mrs Bird first viewed Dormers, she was looking for a house to make into a home after many years of travelling around the globe with her husband, Colonel (Dicky) Bird and their family. Keen to settle but anxious to make the right choice, she immediately knew that she had found it with Dormers. For three decades, this Cotswold stone house perched high on the edge of the village of Ilmington (about 5 miles north east of Chipping Campden) has proved a treasured home, and the couple will be very sad to leave. “The house has a warm, cosy feel - the moment I stepped over the threshold it felt right,” says Mrs Bird. “Of course, over the years we have done quite a bit to modernise it, including building on our super master bedroom with ensuite bathroom. Our bedroom has windows on two sides looking out over the village towards woodlands and hills beyond – the position of the house is lovely. No doubt, there is more one
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could do to update and extend it, but for us it has been just right.” Indeed, the position of the house is very lovely. Situated on an elevated bank, covered in climbing roses, it has a long garden perfect for children, full of secret paths and shady glades with places to make dens and hang swings, running away out of sight of the house, surrounded by trees behind. “The garden is an
absolute joy and we have spent innumerable happy hours tending to it, but it is really somewhere for a young family to live,” Mrs Bird acknowledges. “We have a gardener to help us nowadays, but it is proving too much for us now.” She leads back up the winding path. As soon as we step inside, we understand why the Birds have taken so long to make the decision to move – the house is comfortable, timeless and quaintly traditional, delightfully furnished with antique furniture around open fireplaces – light floods in from the bay windows in both reception rooms and the beamed kitchen breakfast room. Upstairs there are three good bedrooms. “We modernised the bathrooms recently,” Mrs Bird explains, as we walk through a study area that leads on to the main bedroom. “This could be a dressing room, of course, but my husband has appropriated it as his office!” There is a definite chocolate box quality to the pretty street scene below – a family escaping
from the city would be enchanted by life in this traditional Cotswold village. “We have been so lucky to have found a really friendly community, very active, lots of things going on – everyone knows every one, just as you would expect.” Whether as a main home or somewhere to bring friends for a weekend’s rest and relaxation in the country, this property promises to delight its new owners and to capture their hearts as it has clearly done for Mrs Bird and her husband. “It has been the most perfect home for us,” she says. “Whoever lives here will undoubtedly be very happy.”
Andy Soye of Character Cottages, the holiday letting agency, believes that the property will work well as an investment: This delightful, period home has stunning views and a large, private garden where guests can enjoy al-fresco meals. The spacious, well-laid-out interior will comfortably accommodate seven adults. Ilmington is a wonderful village with a great pub and, for walkers, lots of marked trails around the local hills. Such a lovely cottage should bring in excess of £40,000 per annum gross revenue.
Dormers, Ilmington, is offered by Fine and Country at £675,000. Viewings are strictly by booked appointment only. A brochure can be downloaded from www.cotswold-homes.com. Simply visit the Property section and click on the Fine & Country button or alternatively phone the Moreton Branch of HARRISON & HARDIE (Fine and Country) on 01608 651000 for further information. www.cotswold-homes.com
Minotaur Barn, Coberley Set in beautiful Cotswold countryside, this impressive oak framed barn has space, wonderful views and a highly adaptable interior. Entrance hall - dining room - utility room – bathroom - inner hall - living area - store room - bedroom/ workshop/study - galleried landing bedroom 1 - gallery over living room - bedroom 2 - dressing area – wetroom bedroom 3 - ensuite bathroom - annexe with open plan kitchen/diner - loft living room – bedroom - wetroom. Outside – garden - car ports - parking. Available by separate negotiation only – Outbuilding with planning permission (1184 sq. ft) and additional land (approx. 2.5 acres)
Rana House, Ilmington A well proportioned detached village home with a wealth of character features. Reception hall - dining room - sitting room - garden room - kitchen/ breakfast room - utility room - snug - w.c - four bedrooms (master with ensuite) - detached double garage with studio – garden - storage shed - potting shed - mature cottage gardens - gated driveway providing ample parking.
Ganborough House, Ganborough Ganborough House is situated in a very convenient location,close to Stow on the Wold, Longborough and Moretonin-Marsh, bordering stunning open countryside. The house is Grade II listed and offers accommodation over two floors with the additional benefit of a separate one bedroom ground floor annexe. Entrance hall - large kitchen/ dining room - sitting room, three first floor bedrooms (one en-suite) - ground floor bedroom - bathroom - rear garden - annexe with sitting room – kitchen – bedroom - bathroom - small patio.
Elm Bank, Lower Swell A substantial extended five bedroom detached house backing onto fields, situated in a village within close proximity of Stow on the Wold. Entrance hall - sittingroom - dining room - kitchen/ breakfast room - utility room - ground floor shower room - 2nd sitting room - five bedrooms (three en-suite) – bathroom - gardens to front side and rear – driveway - double garage.
Central Surveying Advertorial
PractiSe What You Preach!
“…period houses are ultimately more rewarding and make the most wonderful, characterful homes.” Surveyor Robert Hamilton, of Central Surveying, has recently announced the opening of another office to run in conjunction with his existing offices in Cirencester and Knightsbridge. Expansion is always newsworthy but on this particular occasion, the company is celebrating more of an embrace of the good life than the usual mundane office launch. The beauty of the internet is, of course, in the ability it gives to enjoy a better work-life balance and, conscious of an ever-increasing workload in the North Cotswolds, Robert has finally chosen to embrace the benefits of working from home. I recently visited his office in the garden of his quirky, charming, Grade II listed cottage in Naunton. “Having an office here allows me to make the most of my working day,” he explains, settling me down with a cup of tea on a particularly balmy morning that only serves to illuminate his decision-making process. Escaping from our Moreton office, I fully appreciate the comparative stillness of his surroundings - the intense chatter of birdsong is the only background noise, rather than the incessant roar of passing traffic on the High Street that we usually contend with each day. Does it make good business sense to be in Naunton, though? “Given the nature of the area we get a lot of enquiries from Oxfordshire, North Gloucestershire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire - Naunton is an ideal centre, being within reach of all these counties within a few minutes’ drive,” he explains. “The reason for this increasing demand is our particular expertise in Listed Buildings – we specialise in timber and stone constructions - rarer, period listed properties with stone tiled or thatched 64
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roofs, for example. As a consequence, our help and advice is particularly appreciated in this neck of the woods, where such properties are found in abundance.” Looking out over his pretty, traditional garden, Robert expands on his love of old village properties and his theory that they improve the quality of life. “The thing is, people need to be reassured that choosing a Grade II listed property is not going to be a nightmare. Many building surveyors are more comfortable with more modern properties and tend to be almost frightened of the quirks of more ancient properties, but carefully surveyed - although they may be more challenging for the purchaser – period houses are ultimately more rewarding and make the most wonderful, characterful homes.” Robert’s transparent delight in his own ancient cottage is the best encouragement for a visiting client and another reason why this new office location makes so much good business sense, it seems to me - indeed travelling around lovely countryside to inspect fabulous old houses is a wonderful job, full stop? “Oh for sure. Our Cirencester practice also covers quite a large area of Swindon so we do have a lot of experience in more modern buildings and in London we are running a project to acquire short-lease apartments as rental opportunities rather than
paying whacky sums for extending the leases - all in all, it’s a varied and exciting practice whatever the day brings.” Robert Hamilton offers a variety of services via Central Surveying, to include Building Surveys, Homebuyers Reports and Professional Valuations on a wide variety of commercial and domestic properties, including Equestrian Property, Hotels, Leisure and Licensed Premises, including Insurance Claim Management. He also projectmanages the repair and restoration of Listed Buildings on the behalf of his clients. To contact Robert, telephone 01451 850103 or e-mail him at www.centralsurveying.co.uk.
“Escaping from our Moreton office, I fully appreciate the comparative stillness of his surroundings - the intense chatter of birdsong is the only background noise, rather than the incessant roar of passing traffic on the High Street...” Matt Dicks
THE COTSWOLD SCHOOL
An Academy in Action:
¬The Cotswold School¬ There’s a lot of talk these days about academies. Government data shows that over half of England’s state secondaries are either applying to become an academy or already have status. But what does that mean for schools?
Essentially, academies will able to act with greater financial autonomy, with both the opportunity to bid for sponsorship and the capability to act as their own admissions authority. They’ll be able to help coach weaker schools, and instead of answering to local authorities, they will report to central government. But for a clearer idea of the educational opportunities academies might be able to provide, you need look no further afield than our very own Cotswold School. Made an academy in 2010, it was one of the first schools in the country to be awarded the status - and the time has arrived when we can see the benefits made manifest. Having previously developed the school’s sixth form into one of the most successful in the country, new Principal Will Morgan is overseeing one of the largest expansions in the school’s history. A total of £2.3 million is funding the construction of a ten classroom maths block and a new food technology kitchen, plus an
“Academically, pupils are continuing to achieve increasingly excellent results. Recently 92% of pupils achieved A* - C grades in GCSE English...” expanded dining hall and new mezzanine to accommodate increased pupil numbers. Credited for her expert management of the school’s complicated budget is Val Turner, who was recently nominated for a Times Educational Supplement award. Academically, pupils are continuing to achieve increasingly excellent results. Recently 92% of pupils achieved A* - C grades in GCSE English, whilst 84% achieved within the same range in Maths. There is a new focus on vocational development, and the school is in discussions with local colleges about providing further education facilities within the school complex 70
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after hours. New staff will bring new expertise: joining as new Head of Sixth Form is Philip White, who formerly taught at a girls’ school in Surrey. The school does well to cope with the demand that success brings. With pupil numbers growing considerably over the years, places are now highly sought after – even fielding enquiries from families living abroad and looking to resettle. However, we’re confident that they can continue to match growth with grades. Continuing to take every opportunity to excel, the school is driving its own expansion by delivering great academic results.
A MOVE TO THE COUNTRY
A move to the country is a
great education One of the main reasons often cited by city dwellers for moving to the country is the arrival of their first child and a sudden consciousness that competition for places is the main driver for house prices in the catchment areas of the most sought-after schools. Karen Harrison, of HARRISON & HARDIE estate agents, has seen a rise in the demand for large, non-estate family homes in the North Cotswolds over the last 10 years. “In the early 90s, the North Cotswolds was very much a place to spend the weekend with the family – but once the internet began to facilitate working from home and again after 9/11 when anxieties began to surface about city life generally, we began to see a reversal in how our London buyers were organising their lives. Now, those with sufficient resources for a second home will often choose to settle their families in the country and have a pied-a-terre in the city, commuting to town rather than escaping to the country. Without a doubt, this is driven by the quality of schools in the local area.” There is no question that some of the very best state and private schools in the country can be found in the North Cotswolds. Both The Cotswold School and Chipping Campden’s secondary school have achieved Outstanding status, ensuring that every child in the local area has the best chance of fulfilling academic potential regardless of the size of their parents’ bank balance. The quality of secondary education is aided, of course, by a stream of pupils who have already been lucky enough to attend small yet perfectly formed rural primary schools like the one at Great Rissington, which was recently awarded Outstanding status by Ofted. ‘Great Rissington Primary is an outstanding school’ with ‘an outstanding curriculum’ according to the 2011 Ofsted report. Head Teacher Liz Bannister was singled out for praise in the report, commenting particularly on her ‘very well-defined and well-informed vision of continuous improvement’. The report praised the school’s ‘creative curriculum’, recognising how it helps to give children a structure for learning instead of tackling disparate subjects independently, and how classroom activities are further stimulated by encouraging teachers to use their own interests in their lesson planning, so that their own passions spark a desire to learn in their pupils. This creative strategy has been successfully administered for two years now. Liz Bannister explains about the school’s concept: ‘it involves 72
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across various age groups. Liz elaborates:
“Great Rissington Primary is an outstanding school’ with ‘an outstanding curriculum’ according to the 2011 Ofsted report.” looking at the National Curriculum which you have to teach and identifying links between the areas, using children’s interests to guide the teaching. For instance, when we came to teach the children about outer space, we noticed that a lot of the children seemed to be enthusiastic about Star Wars. We used that topic to address a number of different areas – from developing literacy by looking at character, to approaching ancient Greece through looking at the names of stars. Similarly, in our Going for Gold project, we used the children’s interest in the Olympics to look back at its origins in Greece.’ Next year, classic works of fiction will help inspire pupils in their studies. J.R.R Tolkien’s The Hobbit will be a key text for study, whilst Peter Pan and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory will be taught
‘Something else we’re interested in for next year is looking at the ideas of survival, of foraging. What would you have to do if you were suddenly cut off from society? We’ll be helping children to understand the skills people have needed to survive. ‘The school has had this basic approach for some time. Two years ago, though, we had a MAD year - Making a Difference - and we’ve built on that success since. The idea was a bit of a leap of faith, so it was very rewarding when the Ofsted report ruled our curriculum Outstanding.’ Karen Harrison speculates that house prices in the catchment of the school will be positively affected by the new Ofsted rating. ”There are plans to create a federation school with Upper Rissington as the new village is developed. Demand for places will no doubt inform prices in this neighbouring village, too. Indeed, competition is already very fierce - in 2009, 33 children applied for 13 places and the catchment area was reduced to a quarter of a mile from the school gate. Many parents no doubt perceive both villages as highly desirable, both for the quality of a rural family life and for the promise of academic success that our local schools provide.”
ASK THE EXPERTS
Ask the experts... What are the Benefits of Nursery Education and Out of School Care? Claire Wilson has had over thirty years’ experience in childcare working for local authorities and her own private nursery schools. She has owned Stepping Stones nursery for seven years and says she has ‘enjoyed the challenge of putting all my past experience into creating my ideal nursery and holiday club, offering all the best opportunities and experiences that young children should have.’ Q. What is the best environment for nursery and out of school care? My advice for parents assessing a nursery is to look for how many different kinds of spaces are available to the children. A nursery may be set in a lovely location, but is there actual usable space for the children where different environments encourage contrasting exploration and play? At Stepping Stones, for example, we have large airy rooms in a converted stone barn. We also have three separate outdoor play areas and our own fully enclosed private beech wood beside the nursery. In my experience, children thrive in a base room and a key person group where they feel they belong. Everything should be child-orientated and appropriate for the child’s age and stage of development. Q. How do I know if nursery care or holiday club will benefit my child? High quality care will help your child to become independent and develop relationships outside the home. No home is going to offer the social opportunities provided by a wide variety of supervised same age encounters that a good nursery does - where there should also be a team of professionals who know, love and care for your child as an individual. A holiday club like ours will also offer your child the opportunity for supervised outdoor adventure play, taking advantage of the natural world in a safe environment. Q. How will I know which nursery or holiday club is right for me? Recommendation from a friend with similar priorities is a good place to start, but do listen to the gut feelings you get when you first visit. Feedback from our parents leads us to believe they choose us because they find children who are happy and well cared for in a welcoming, calm, loving environment. We then give two free visits to the nursery when you can stay and observe how your child enjoys this new experience. Look for a nursery that allows you as much access as possible before you make your mind up. Q. How will I know that my child will be well educated? These ages are crucial in encouraging curiosity and engagement in a child so it's vital you choose a nursery that understands this and is passionate about the educational side as much as the basics of child care. An enhanced adult to child ratio of
well qualified professional staff who can identify your child’s next steps of learning with you will ensure that your child is happy and well motivated. Children should feel confident and be involved in the choice of their activities, knowing they are able to influence the experiences they have. If it's one thing we now know about this age range is that children learn at different rates and in contrasting ways, so be on the look out for a nursery which respects this. Q. How will I know my child is being well cared for at nursery and holiday club? Your child will demonstrate and express their enjoyment of high quality care by being eager to come back. Children cooperate with a recognised routine which will ensure they thrive. It should include a well-balanced range of high quality nutritious food served in a sociable atmosphere, and age appropriate rest times - younger children require a dark, cosy, quiet sleep room to ensure they are able to sleep well. For outdoor play, suitable all-weather clothing is essential. One of my top tips is to visit in the morning as children arrive and observe the body language of the children as they arrive - are they eager to run into the play room? Or do they cling to their parents? What do they do when they arrive - do they rush for an unfinished project from yesterday? Or do they wander aimlessly waiting for guidance from an adult? Q. When can my child experience woodland adventures holiday club? Our nursery children benefit from our woodland as part of their nursery attendance throughout the year. We are happy to include children of a wider age range or from outside the area during holiday times; for example, children visiting grandparents or staying locally love to come to us as part of their holiday. The emphasis of the holiday club is outdoors and different from the nursery, although we are very flexible and responsive to the children’s needs and make the nursery available whenever necessary.
Q. What feedback should I receive about my child’s achievements? Good communication is of great importance. This can only be achieved if relationships are strong throughout a whole organisation; everyone feels valued and are able to express themselves fully. I find it essential that parents make time to talk to staff and share their children’s’ achievements both at home and at nursery and holiday club. This flow of information should take place at the beginning and end of every child’s day and should be supported by digital photographs and slideshows. It's sometimes helpful to be pragmatic and concrete about the developments you want to see in your child – look for the same approach in the nurseries you’re thinking of; a great nursery will be able to produce with you targeted plans of development.
“Children should feel confident and be involved in the choice of their activities, knowing they are able to influence the experiences they have.” www.cotswold-homes.com
The concept has been around for years, waiting to make its mark on the fitness industry. Finally, boot camp has arrived - it’s current and it’s extremely effective! The interpretation of boot camp has been diverse, from indoor weekly class camps to the more traditional outdoor mud, grit and military-style fitness camps. Whatever preference and whatever the goals, boot camps can be the answer. The popularity of boot camps in the UK has grown from strength to strength, due to life-changing effects and the ability to inspire, motivate and support participants in their quest, quite simply, for significant weight loss. With the reputation of tearing off the pounds, boot camps offer a get-fit-quick approach, which is what we are all after, in a nutshell.
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So what makes boot camp so effective? A traditional style boot camp consists of a range of training mediums over a number of days, specifically designed to bring about huge changes in the body. Firstly, the intensity of non-stop training will raise metabolism and help to torch fat. Secondly, the cross training element (training across a variety of different disciplines) will stimulate a greater effect on the growth of lean muscle mass
compared against isolation workouts – these all help with fitness, core stability and overall strength. The intensity of exercises is specifically designed to raise the heart rate - getting breathless significantly improves cardio fitness. Lastly, but by no means least, it’s a game of numbers - calculating calories going in and calories going out. A deficit of every 3,500 calories will produce a weight loss of one pound of fat and with this in mind, on an active boot camp it is possible to burn this amount in one day!
Organising the perfect weight loss camp – luxury weekend away or beach camp? For me, the style of training is central to organising a boot camp - creating something really enjoyable is key to its success. There is often fear at the mere concept of boot camp – so it is really important to stress that even if someone is extremely unfit and overweight, trainers will take absolute care to set and structure personal fitness plans to a level that pushes yet is achievable. For some, a local boot camp is easier to attend but leaving the comfort of a familiar environment for a few days enables clients to concentrate on the job in hand without the distraction of work and family. An effective boot camp should offer diversity in workouts including running, hiking, cycling, some weight-related exercise and core stability linked with posture. Another important consideration is team building and exposure to experiences that the group is likely never to have done before, as it’s always more fun and more motivating for each person to work through unaccustomed challenges with a team all focussed upon the same goals. What is most important is the inspirational quality of boot camp, using the experience as a launch pad to boost better health and improve fitness long term. Great boot camps are very therapeutic - participants feeling alive and well (and extremely hungry) on their return – and, as an organiser, I work to harness these benefits and experiences, channelling motivation to keep on training long after the event.
To return from holiday refreshed in body, mind and soul and having lost weight is the ultimate goal for everyone but different people have different ideals. It is important to structure boot camps to suit all tastes. We organise different styles of boot camp, both luxury boot camps in the Cotswolds and beach camps in Spain. Equally, getting clients to vote on their experiences and listening to feedback helps us to understand and improve on the most popular aspects of our training sessions. Last year, scoring highly on our Spanish beach camps were “Sand & Surf” - training in and out of the sea - and “Water Workouts” including sea kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding and bay swimming. A significantly successful element
''Lastly, but by no means least, it's a game of numbers calculating calories going in and calories going out. A deficit of every 3,500 calories will produce a weight loss of one pound of fat and with this in mind, on an active boot camp it is possible to burn this amount in one day!"
for everyone was one-to-one training, utilising the natural environment to get fit. Equally popular were mountain hikes - there is nothing to surpass scrambling up impressive mountains whilst taking in outstanding scenery. For many, going jogging at dawn on the beach, doing “Sunrise Stretch” on the sand to the sound of breaking waves, was the most energising and motivating aspect of the camp. In contrast to overseas training we also organise UK mini breaks, working in tandem with luxury
hotels like the Cotswold House Hotel in Chipping Campden. The idea of a wellness style weekend is increasingly popular - getting fit in beautiful British countryside whilst being pampered with exquisite, healthy dining in the finest hotel spa accommodation. Whatever suits, I would advise everyone, no matter what level of fitness, to give some kind of boot camp a go. Just choose a place you would really like to visit and then find a boot camp there. You can only lose – weight, that is!
Tim Spittle is owner/manager of RapidFX Personal Fitness Studio in Draycott. To find out more about forthcoming boot camps, simply telephone Tim on 01386 701231 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. www.cotswold-homes.com
Milton Dental Practice
Making Great Smiles at the Milton Dental Practice In this year of anniversaries, Milton Dental Practice is celebrating its very own Pearl Anniversary; it has been 30 years since the practice was established in the pretty West Oxfordshire village of Milton under Wychwood. Since 1982 Dentist Trevor Bigg has been caring for the dental needs of up to 4 generations of local families and those living elsewhere in England and abroad. We asked Trevor exactly how much the profession has changed during that time. ‘Dentistry today is almost unrecognisable compared to the profession practised 30 to 40 years ago,’ said Trevor. ‘Boiling water sterilisers, no gloves, bathroom towels and carbolic soap were the means of preventing cross-infection. No fluoride in the tooth-paste, high sugar consumption and fillings, replaced before they really needed it, led to unnecessary and extensive treatment which is taking more and more looking after as our patients get older. ‘The focus with modern dentistry is on conserving as much of the tooth as we can. As patients’ life expectancy increases it’s vital that we do as little damage to precious dentine and enamel as possible, as once it’s gone we can’t get it back again. This is where advances in modern materials and techniques are so important. There’s rarely any need for destructive crowns now when we are trying to improve the appearance of a patient’s front teeth. Using modern composite filling materials, we can build up a restoration that matches a broken tooth perfectly or improves the appearance of a damaged or discoloured surface. ‘Where the shape of the teeth is acceptable, but staining of the enamel has occurred, bleaching is an even less invasive procedure. The simplest and most predictable way to bleach your teeth is by using small soft mouthguards, which are made to fit the teeth. Bleaching gel is placed in the mouthguards and they are worn for up to two hours or, ideally, overnight. Research has shown that after two weeks of bleaching, teeth are whitened and brightened sufficient to make a 45 year-old patient appear 10 years younger. It’s a ‘scalpel-free’ face-lift!’ 76
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“I run post-graduate day courses for dentists here in the UK and abroad on bleaching and the best techniques for placing tooth-coloured restorations in the front and back teeth.” Radical advances indeed. But as increasingly complex techniques are developed is there greater potential for error? ‘That’s exactly why post-graduate training is so important - to ensure that the dentist has a chance to practice new techniques out of the mouth and understand the science behind it.’ ‘I run post-graduate day courses for dentists here in the UK and abroad on bleaching and the best techniques for placing tooth-coloured restorations in the front and back teeth. Teaching other dentists has been very beneficial for my own practice, as I’ve had to keep up-to-date with all the improvements in materials, equipment and new procedures. There’s no way you can teach your dental colleagues unless you can show photos of your own work and demonstrate a high standard.’ Finally, we want to know the secret of Milton’s
success: what, in Trevor’s opinion, makes his the perfect dental practice? ‘Simply put, the practice must be a friendly environment where the patient can be put at ease; a safe space to discuss their needs and be given advice about the many choices available in modern dentistry.’ The Milton Dental Practice is now running a great new Privilege Card Offer (Our Privilege Card Offer section starts over on page 92!) Examples of Trevor Bigg’s dentistry can be seen on the practice website at www.drbigg. com with a Fees List and other information regarding the services offered by the Practice. Email Penny on reception@drbigg. com or phone 01993 831 396
Harvest Salutations from Area Dean Veronica James
We plough the fields and scatter…these are the words that open the great harvest hymn that will be sung throughout the Cotswolds during September and October at many Harvest Festivals. The churches will be decorated with the fabulous colours of the season, with produce in abundance placed on the windowsills and in the porches. It is that time in the year when, living here in these beautiful villages and small market towns surrounded by land that has been worked by farmers and agricultural workers for centuries, we can give thanks for bounty.
The importance of Harvest Festivals in the rural calendar reflects the importance of thanking God and reminds us of our responsibilities as stewards of this land.
Come, ye thankful people come,
This year, though, it has not been easy, with record rainfalls and fluctuating market prices for milk, grain, beef and lamb. When you travel through these Wolds take stock and give thanks for those who will have been toiling to bring the harvest home. As the words of another much-loved harvest hymn remind us:
God, our maker, doth provide
Sunday 9 September, 11am St Peters Church, Upper Slaughter GL54 2JF
Sunday 16 September, 6pm
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All is safely gathered in, Ere the winter storms begin; For our wants to be supplied; Come to God’s own temple, come; Raise the song of harvest – home!
Sunday 7 October, 11am St Andrew’s Church Naunton GL54 3AX
Sunday 7 October, 3pm
St Mary’s Church, Temple Guiting Harvest Choral Evensong GL54 5RW
St Faith’s Church, Farmcote GL54 5AU
Sunday 23 September, 3pm
St Mary’s Church, Lower Slaughter GL54 2HR
Sunday 30 September, 4pm
With Every Blessing, Revd Canon Veronica James. Area Dean North Cotswold Deanery
St James Church, Cutsdean GL4 5RX Come, sing and give thanks at a Harvest Festival:
Raise the song of harvest home!
St Michael and All Angels, Guiting Power GL54 5TY
Sunday 14 October, 11am
What the Gamekeeper Saw Wildlife Photography by Adam Tatlow Gamekeeper Adam Tatlowâ€™s image for Autumn presents a rare sighting of what appears to be a small family of roe deer, hovering cautiously near a hedgerow. Although relatively common across Europe and England today, in the 1700s they were widely extinct and had to be re-introduced. Visit the Lower Slaughter Gallery next to the Washbourne Hotel (19th - 25th September) to see a selection of works by Adam and other local artists.
THE FARMER’S FRIEND
normal crop would fail to survive in that climate.
The Farmer’s Friend An Agronomist’s Perspective
The Cotswolds are world famous for their fields and farmyards, but not many of the people who live here know exactly how much work, research and training goes into their preservation. We talk to Agrii agronomist Oliver Fairweather, who advises at the Cotswold Farm Park, about his role – and the challenges facing our farmers in the future. What does an agronomist do - and what is your relationship with our farmers? Not many people would know the answer to that, or know that the job even exists. There is no set job description as the needs of my customers change every year. Personally, I look after 32 agronomy farmer customers. I advise them on what to grow, where and how. I walk all of their crops at least once a fortnight to see how they are growing and what weeds, pests and diseases are present throughout the growing season. I then give technical advice on how to manage these problems. I have to make sure that I keep the farmers up to date - technically compliant with all legislation, maintaining accurate records so that all of their produce reaches the required standards. As a result of my path into agronomy, I also get involved with yearly budgets, cash flow, various management plans and legislative paperwork. I suppose the overall aim of an agronomist is to make sure that my customers’ farms run as profitably as they can in the most environmentally friendly way possible.
“Integrated Crop Management”. This means employing as many non chemical methods to grow crops as is practically possible, but also using targeted crop protection chemicals if, and when, needed. Farmers are permitted to apply products that have been rigorously tested and shown to be safe to the environment and our health, then approved for use on crops. These are mainly used to manage weeds, pests and diseases that can drastically limit yield and, as a result, food production. GM farming isn’t approved within the UK. However, it is a process using gene technology with the aim of improving crop outputs - for example, the ability to make a crop tolerant to drought by placing a gene into the plant’s breeding. Food crops could then be grown in areas of the world where, currently, a
What’s the difference between GM farming and conventional farming? Conventional farming has been carried out for many decades, working within tight legislative controls and following the principles of 80
Cotswold Homes Magazine
Agrii Conference at the Cotswold Farm Park
So, what exactly is a Research & Development Site? This would be one of our trials sites. We place trials that result from work we have done at our major ‘technology centres’, knowing they will be of significant relevance to farmers in their local area, on a similar soil type to that which they farm. All the trials we conduct are with products that have already been fully approved – we are looking how to help our customers get the best results from their use. How much science goes on behind the scenes? A vast amount of trials go on behind the scenes. Many companies nationwide carry out research yearly. As a company, Agrii plant in excess of 50,000 plot trials per year, in order to trial various factors such as varieties of crop, new establishment techniques and growing systems. This helps us to gain the knowledge and expertise that we pass on to our customers. Research is vital so that our customers are safe in the knowledge that all our decisions are based on a wealth of trials experience carried out over a number of years, confident that we are giving them the most technically correct and up-to-date advice. How vital is the care of our soil to our wellbeing, overall? We obviously need a healthy soil to help maintain a healthy local environment. Not just for us but for insects, animals and general wildlife. Everyone likes looking out at verges and seeing wild flowers. Not only are they nice to look at but as an example they also provide food for insects that have vital roles within other life cycles, such as pollination of plants. Growing food or growing fuel – what’s taking priority? Food is definitely taking a priority as the world population is increasing at such a substantial rate. However, the interest in growing crops for energy is also increasing, as the growing population has to be able to travel, heat their homes, etc. In my opinion, though, food production has to be our number one goal.
Agronomist Oliver Fairweather (left)
What impact has the growth of foreign economies, like those of China and India, had on our local farmers? As these economies grow, the population also grows. As these economies improve, they want the finer things in life - including diet. Our local farmers supply into world as well as local markets. More demand usually determines a higher price - beneficial if these countries want to source from the UK. However, long term, I fear their economies are a concern because our current food production levels are not increasing equally to population. In turn, this could lead to market supply shortfalls and therefore increased food prices. Worse still, it will most likely lead to more malnutrition within the poorer areas of the world. How does England’s erratic weather affect the work of an agronomist? Firstly no two years are the same. Last year we had a very dry spring, resulting in very little disease pressure, so farmers benefited from higher yields as a whole. This year, however, we have had much wetter conditions, resulting in a very high disease pressure. This has meant that farmers have had a more expensive year, in terms of crop inputs, to manage this disease and the weeks of rain prior to harvest will produce significantly reduced yields compared with last year. To sum it up, the
weather doesn’t change what we do personally. We are still walking fields regularly come rain or shine. However, the weather has a major impact on farmer’s expenditure and income that is out of their control but ultimately affects their profitability of their business. Is there an increasing need for the modern farmer to keep up to date with developments? New technologies aiming to improve farm outputs come along on a yearly basis; they have to keep coming in order to meet future food demand. This is one of the reasons Agrii invests so much into research and development. Many farmers leave it up to their agronomist to help them comply with legislation and do what is in the best interests of the farm business. However, when on farm we always try to make farmers aware of what and why we are doing things. How will farmers begin to balance the need to feed more mouths with the need to reduce their impact on the environment – all the while, battling climate change and unfavourable markets? It is going to become a harder and harder task, especially the constant change in legislation that is targeted towards protecting the environment, forcing farmers to farm as sustainably as possible.
A lot of farmers go further and voluntarily participate in environmental schemes to help further increase bio-diversity and wildlife. Conversely, manufacturers and suppliers into the agricultural industry - from machinery manufactures to haulage companies - have to work at reducing their carbon footprint of their businesses and their products. It doesn’t just stop with the farmer. These constraints will become more and more important as, increasingly, we will need to put crops on all the available land we can, in order to produce enough food for the world. The UK is presently looking to encourage more young people into the food industries. What was your route into your profession? I studied a National Diploma in agriculture at Moreton Morrell before doing a Higher National Diploma and degree in agriculture and land management at Hartpury. I worked on farms during school holidays and then on placements from the age of sixteen and, upon leaving university, I secured a job as a farm manager. From there, I left to work for Agrii as an agronomist. www.cotswold-homes.com
Going for Gold
Environment-friendly entrepreneur, Charlie Beldam, has won more awards than you can shake a stick at – and rightly so. The 25-year-old’s Cotswold Gold rapeseed oil has swiftly become favoured by some of the most famous chefs in the world. We caught up with Charlie to find out how a student project turned into a runaway cooking revolution.
Can you tell us about your journey from student to entrepreneur? When did the ‘seed’ of Cotswold Gold first take root? My final year project at Cirencester [Royal Agricultural College] was to add value to something – and living on a farm, I thought I’d start with that! I actually began with looking at biodiesels, but soon saw that the profit and loss margins in my plan just didn’t add up after, say, 5 years. So from the point of biodiesels not working, I began to look at rapeseed oil, and it just went from there. There are several products under the Cotswold Gold brand now. How do you go about imagining and creating new ones? We’re always on the lookout for weird and wonderful new ideas! Obviously new products are all subject to really strict testing, and basically anyone who walks into our house has to try them. We’ve had
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some great results from some of our new ranges, though. Our Drizzle range debuted on the BBC Good Food Show and has actually just sold out. One of the things I wanted to be when I started out was different – I didn’t want to be producing the same stuff that everyone’s already familiar with. (Television viewers might also have spotted Cotswold Gold bottles on shows such as The Apprentice and Saturday Kitchen.) You’ve won more awards than we have room to print – is there a particular award that’s meant the most to you? You know, they all mean a lot to me – it shows that my business is being recognised. The Future 50 award was a good one – making it to the final ten out of all those amazing and innovative companies was a great honour. There were some really amazing companies represented there. Being named the Best
Food Producer in Gloucestershire was also really important – making good food locally is what it’s all about. Cotswold Gold is reaching outside the UK market, and tapping into the global reputation the Cotswolds enjoys. Which countries have responded best to the brand? We’re just starting, really, but we’re doing well in Jersey, Barbados and Japan: an interesting mix, I know! It’s good for us that the Cotswolds has quite a tangible presence abroad. This area is really very well known. The Japanese tours that visit the farm are doing particularly well. The people who come to visit love the distinctive yellow flowers of our rapeseed fields but also appreciate the experience of visiting a traditional British working farm. A lot of tours seem to go around all the villages and just look at buildings – it’s nice for them to have something active and practical to see, something with a process.
You keep several beehives on the farm to help increase your rapeseed yields. Just how important are bees for business? Well, 99.9% of pollination is by bees and insects so without them we quite simply wouldn’t have a crop! They make a good honey off it as well – a little solid – but good. Some very influential chefs are now using Cotswold Gold. What does it feel like when people as famous as Raymond Blanc start singing your praises? To have Raymond Blanc come over and cook at our kitchen at home was one of the most bizarre experiences of my life! To have him say the great things he did about our product was a real eye-opener. Currently there are 17 top Michelinstarred chefs who now cook with our products. Jamie Oliver, Martin Blunos, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall…sharing the
spotlight with all these wonderful chefs has been unbelievable. Raymond’s now using Cotswold Gold in his cooking school at Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons. Now that’s a real honour. Cotswold Gold is about 99% waste free – can you tell us what that means? Being 99% waste free doesn’t just make great environmental sense – it also makes good business sense. When I set up the company, recycling materials and being waste efficient was one of my priorities. Waste seed is used for cattle feed, cardboard boxes are shredded and used for packaging – even waste oil can be used as biofuel to run a delivery car. And of course, our food miles are very low – less than 15 metres for us this year, as we make it on the farm. When you think of olive oil flying across the continent to get here, it sort of puts it in perspective.
What are the key benefits of rapeseed oil? It’s less than half the saturated fat of olive oil, it’s more versatile and it’s British! For cooking, one of the biggest advantages is that you can cook up to 240 degrees with rapeseed oil – olive oil will tend to break down and denature at 110 degrees. Healthwise, it’s low in cholesterol and a good source of Omega 3, 6 and 9. It’s also very low in transfats. Having said all this, I’m not rubbishing olive oil in any way – you might like to use both to achieve different purposes in your cooking.
A Love Affair with PRUE LEITH
A Love Affair with
Collette Fairweather interviews her culinary idol about her hilarious (and rather scandalous) autobiography
Prue Leith, in my humble opinion, co-produced the greatest cookbook ever printed - Leith’s Cookery Bible. It is the one book that never leaves my kitchen, each page lovingly thumbed; it contains every recipe a foodie could ever hope to cook. I placed the author and her culinary prowess on a pedestal on the day I served my very first Coq Au Vin. I thought I knew Prue, the way some fans believe, somehow, that they know their idols. But, having just read her new autobiography, Relish – My Life on a Plate, her candid confessions left me both stunned and enlightened. So it was that, when I had the chance to meet my heroine at her beautiful north Gloucestershire manor, there was a good deal to chew over. Prue’s professional achievements boggle the brain. After devouring her book, I now know how she became a CBE, author of five novels and countless cookery columns and books; how she won a Michelin star, was awarded Veuve Cliquot Business Woman of the Year, and became a judge on the BBC hit TV series, The Great British Menu (oh, and she’s also sat on the boards of companies such as British Rail, Whitbread, Woolworths, and Halifax: I scarcely have room to mention her charity work and involvement in the arts). But such accolades, although plentiful, do not dominate her tale. Intertwined with anecdotes of professional success is the most unlikely love story, that of an affair with an unobtainable, much older man; a man she
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admits she should have viewed as an uncle, not as a lover. Yet his pillow talk provided the foundation for all her success and his ongoing support and guidance structured her life. This partnership developed into marriage, parenthood and - inevitably - widowhood. Now, unbelievably, I’m in Prue’s own kitchen. Sweeping through the room, kicking doors shut with her heel as she makes me tea, she settles at the kitchen table, sliding her Bengal tiger of a cat from her chair. I steal glances through a beautiful bay window that frames the Cotswold hills, with not one other property obstructing the bucolic vista. Taking a sip of her coffee, my idol leans back on her chair, engages eye contact, and says, “Go!” So, without further ado, I begin with the obvious question: Why write an autobiography now? “I have been writing one thing or another for years, and my publishers have been asking after it, as they have heard me talking about all my catering calamities,” she says. “They wanted a James Herriot of the catering world; my life in disasters! The book talks more about the ‘Leiths’ restaurant’s disasters, rather than our great triumphs, as it’s more interesting and funnier. But I didn’t want to write a book that was unfair to the staff, because I wouldn’t have won a Michelin Star, employed 500 people and won business woman of the year if we were all rubbish!” There is a wealth of information in the book; so many names and places. How on earth did Prue start such a project?
“I wrote it straight off, although it takes longer to write a biography than a novel. There were several drafts, as I had to remove 30,000 words and the publishers didn’t want so much about my business views. It was felt that people were more interested in the food, love affair, and my daughter’s adoption. I was a bit sorry about that. On the other hand, it did sound like Prue on her soapbox…” I mention my surprise that Prue’s novels didn’t feature more heavily than they did… “I had a lot about the novels, a whole chapter in fact, about how I got into writing through the cookery books. All writing is a good discipline, but as a journalist you are constantly reducing, whereas with cookery books you need to be so accurate and clear, otherwise the recipes simply don’t work. (CF: I recall a very amusing anecdote of Prue printing the incorrect quantities for marmalade in a national paper, with hilarious effects). However, something had to go and the novels really speak for themselves.” I note that I found the book very honest, in that Prue invited the reader to know the truth about her love affair. I ask if she feels that her success was partly because she was loved and supported by a man who couldn’t encroach on her time and career? “I never thought about that at the time. I never thought ‘Isn’t this lucky!?’ People said, ‘How could you not have wanted him to marry you?’, and I think it’s because for the first ten years I
Prue celebrating being publicly togeth er with lover Rayne Kruger
blished 1972 t cookbook, pu Prue with her firs
Proud Prue poses outside Leith’s Restaurant, 1969
didn’t think about or want children; it was only when my biological clock started clanging that I thought any more on it. In that time, I was able to do so much, because I had secret help and emotional support - without having to cook a single meal for him. So I will somewhat glibly say ‘get your business under your belt before you have children, or marry very young and get the children out the way!’
“You have to have some sense of humour about these things, especially when you are talking about geriatric love,” she laughs, “because most people find it toe curling - the very thought of some old trout having a kiss is embarrassing to the younger generations. So you have to make it funny.”
What would Prue tell her 20-year-old self, as she wandered the streets of Paris pondering her vocation in life?
“We started looking around here when I had my two two-year-olds in London. I had to take them into Hyde Park on leads because I couldn’t control them. It sounds cruel but it was the only way to keep them safe. As soon as I released them into the park, they were contented to run and play as children do. Also, I had a dream of rearing ducklings; it would be wonderful as we were paying so much for duck in our restaurant. It was a very unfeasible idea, but I was hooked on the concept. So, we started looking…We just drove around, sometimes looking at property we could never afford. But we loved to fantasise. Recently, we had to decide - as
“I think what I would say to my younger self is: ‘Be a bit braver’. As you can see in the book, I found myself in a few surprising situations - and because I was so timid, I did nothing but walk around purposefully to avoid people asking me what the hell I was doing!” I confess that there were many points in the book where I laughed aloud; especially at her description of passion in the senior years.
So, why did the Leith family settle on the Cotswolds?
a family - whether we would sell our London houses or the one here. I thought the children would want to keep London, as their lives are so much there. But to my surprise and delight, they wanted to keep the house here.” Listening to this, I can understand why Prue’s children want to keep their childhood home. The beautiful mix of traditional and modern decor certainly reflects the varied character of their mother. She may be sporting a classically relaxed country look, draped in cashmere and studded with pearls, but simmering beneath the surface there is still that famous and fiercely practical business mind. Her appetite for new ventures may have diminished after 72 remarkably eventful years, but that same keen spirit shows no signs of retirement. Don’t let the publication of a retrospective deceive; I highly doubt the irrepressible Prue Leith has served up her last headline. Prue Leith’s Autobiography, Relish: My Life on a Plate, is now available. Published by Quercus (Hardback £16.99)
A Love Affair with PRUE LEITH
Prue Leith’s Seasonal Favourites:
Autumn Preserves Hedgerow Jelly
Plum or Damson Jam
Spiced Fruit Pickle
Pick rosehips, haws (hawthorn berries), blackberries, crab apples, soles, wild bullacs or plums, rowanberries and elderberries in any proportion you like, making sure, however, that there is a good proportion of high-pectin fruit among them (e.g. apples, peaches, plums or citrus).
Makes 675G / 1 ½ LB 900g / 2lb barely ripe plums or damsons 900 g/2 lb preserving sugar
Makes 1.3KG / 3 LB 900g / 2lb mixed fresh fruit, such as plums, apricots, peaches, rhubarb 455g / 1 lb granulated sugar 425 ml / ¾ pint cider vinegar 1 teaspoon ground ginger 4 teaspoons mustard seeds 6 cloves 1 cinnamon stick Grated zest and juice of 1 orange
If the plums are very hard, simmer them in water until soft, then add everything else, roughly cut up if large (e.g crab apples) but not peeled or pitted. Add enough water to cover three-quarters of the fruit. Simmer slowly, stirring occasionally, until mushy. Drip overnight through a jelly bag or several layers of cloth, without stirring. Measure the juice and return to a clean pan, with 450g / 1 lb warmed preserving or granulated sugar for every 570 ml/1 pint of juice. Boil to 105 °C / 220 °F for a set. Cover while hot if using screw-top jars; while cold if using paper or wax covers.
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1. Halve and stone the plums. Crack half the stones and remove the kernels. 2. Put the fruit and sugar together in a bowl and leave to stand overnight. (Do not use a metal container.) 3. Next day, transfer to a preserving pan or a large saucepan and heat slowly until the sugar has dissolved. Then boil rapidly until the jam reaches setting point (about 7-10 minutes). Add the kernels while the jam is still bubbling. Allow to stand for 10 minutes. 4. Pour into warmed, dry and sterilized jars. 5. Cover and label the jars. 6. Leave undisturbed overnight. Store in a cool, dark, airy place. Notes: Macerating the fruit with sugar helps to soften the fruit before cooking and allows the cook to dispense with added water. Cooking is quicker as less liquid must be driven off.
1. Prepare the fruit by removing the stones and cutting the flesh into 1 cm / ½ in pieces. Do not peel. 2. Dissolve the sugar in the vinegar and add the orange zest and juice, ginger, mustard seeds, cloves and cinnamon stick. 3. Add the fruit and bring to the boil. Simmer carefully for about 15 minutes. 4. Strain the fruit and reduce the liquid by boiling until syrupy. Mix it with the fruit. 5. Pour the pickle into sterilized jam jars and seal it with jam seals. Notes: This can be used straight away but is better if left to mature for at least a month. Store in a cool, dry place.
The Cotswold Food Store
Join the Cider & Perry Revolution this Autumn
Recently, I have been reflecting on the great heritage we have in Gloucestershire for growing and utilising apples and pears. Orchards once dominated the landscape throughout the Severn Valley across Gloucestershire, Worcestershire and Herefordshire - the ‘Three Counties’ famous for apples and pears, perry and cider - and despite the fact that over 50% of these orchards have been lost over the last few decades, there has been a wholesome revival in cider and perry making.
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It was a 10cl bottle of Charles Martell’s Pear Owler that provided me with a welcome reminder of this history. Charles Martell is a bit of a legend when it comes to conservation in Gloucestershire. Almost singlehandedly (although he probably wouldn’t admit to it), Charles saved the native breed of Gloucester cattle. He now has one of the largest herds and has sourced many others; it has become
requisite to have Gloucester cattle in your herd when making Single Gloucester cheese (now a protected food type under the European PDO projected designation of origin scheme – again thanks to Mr. Martell!). In addition, Charles is the author of a number of highly authoritative records on varieties of apple, pear, plum and damson native to Gloucestershire. He has now revived a traditional spirit using local perry pears. Perry pears are distinct from eating varieties – take a bite into one and you’ll appreciate why: in their naked form, they could never be considered a delicacy. However, the perry pear comes into its own when in the hands of a skilled perry producer. Charles has recorded over 100 varieties of perry pear native to Gloucestershire – some with highly evocative names such as Bloody Bastard, Merrylegs and Lightening Pear. Clearly, this fruit could create a tipple of ferocious strength! And so,
in keeping with this tradition, Charles has now re-established a 200-year-old practice of distilling perry pears to create a clear pear spirit called ‘Owler’. It’s a clean, smooth and delicious digestif best served chilled or on ice. Of course, perry pears are principally used for making perry, the pear-equivalent of cider. Most varieties of perry pear originate from the red-sandstone soils of West Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire – within sight of May Hill. Unlike ciders, most perries are made from a single variety of pear, as blending perries is much harder than blending ciders. Simon and Hannah Day of Once Upon a Tree produce a wonderful range of cider and perry at their orchards in Herefordshire including the Commanders Perry, a dry still perry with hints of lemon and other citrus and a perfect match to creamy, cheesy dishes; and Priggles Perry, a sweeter drink with more caramelized notes ideally matched to cheeses, chicken and pork. They also make a sparkling perry called Chapel Pleck that has a certain refinement and finesse, making a delightful aperitif or accompaniment to food. What’s more, their Wonder ice-wine made from Conference and Comice dessert pears makes a scintillating pudding wine that will match well to blue cheeses in particular. It is said that the quality of the fruits used in cider and perry making are the principle determinant of a successful drink. Old orchards often produce fruits high in sugars and it is these fruits that Isaac and Jo Nixon gather to make their Prior’s Tipple Cider. The
couple and friends of Prior’s Tipple gather a mix of dessert, culinary and cider fruit and pears from neglected orchards in around the village of Cleve Prior and then hand press the fruit to make a truly traditional, artisan product. They avoid adding any chemicals or sulphates and instead add just sugar to their blend of 100% apple juice. There are tens of apple trees in my own village that often produce a prolific crop – these so easily go to waste. Some friends of mine with fruit trees of their own have discovered a wonderful solution. Each year they gather the fruit and take it to a friendly apple juice producer - Clive’s Fruit Farm at Upton-uponSevern. The fruit farm presses their harvest, pasteurizes and bottles the juice for them to collect. With a shelf life of two years, this is such a great way to preserve and enjoy the goodness of your own apples. Whether or not you have apples and pear trees of your own, let us all celebrate our native harvest of top fruit and join the cider and perry revolution!
Join the Cotswold Food Store in celebrating National Apple Day on Sunday 21st October 2012 with tastings, promotions and recipe competitions. Visit or call 01451 830469 for more information. The products featured are available from The Cotswold Food Store & Café. Charles Martell & Son Ltd: www.charlesmartell.com Once upon a Time: www.onceuponatree.co.uk Prior’s Tipple: www.priorstipple.co.uk Clive’s Fruit Farm: clivesfruitfarm.co.uk
CotOur swol Hom Privil es d
Car ege d is
Where can I get a PRIVILEGE CARD?
Just pick one up from the offices of HARRISON & HARDIE in Stow, Bourton and Moreton - it couldn’t be easier. (Not local? Simply register by clicking on the Cotswold-Homes Club button at www. cotswold-homes.com.) You will receive a monthly e-mail with a list of offers like the ones in this magazine, all from independent North Cotswold businesses.
Shop local and save money!
With a bumper selection of Christmas offers coming soon, make sure you pick up your card as soon as possible - look out for the Cotswold Homes stall at the Moreton Show on 1st September and be one of the first to get a new-look card!
15% off our legal fees
“Small enough to care, large enough to deliver a professional conveyancing service”. Bampton Law Clanfield House, Market Square, Bampton, Oxfordshire OX18 2JJ T: 01993 852222
10% off Roundhouse Furniture, free consultation and design service.
Until the end of October 2012 Tel: 01242 521 900 email@example.com www.roundhousedesign.com Round House, JMK Designs Ltd, 12 Montpellier Arcade, Cheltenham GL50 1SU
buy 5 months ‘total anytime’ membership & get 2 months free!
(Includes fitness suite, swimming pool & all fitness classes) until 21-10-12
Tel: 01386 841595 Chipping Campden Leisure Centre Cidermill Lane, Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire, GL55 6HU
15% off ordered Mark Todd & JHL clothing & horse rugs. Order 2 bags of 12-15kg Royal Canin dog food and get £10 off.
Full Body Exfoliation & Flawless Spray Tan £40 - half price Gentleman’s Facial £40 – Aroma Back, Neck & Shoulder massage and MSpa signature head massage £42 Tel: 01386 841123 www.mspa.so M Spa, Lapstone, Westington Hill Chipping Campden, GL55 6EG
6 months gym or swim membership for the price of 5. Valid until 31-10-12
Valid until 31-10-12
Tel: 01993 832 240 M: 07773 143 202 firstname.lastname@example.org Katie’s Country Store Quarry House Stables Nether Westcote, Oxon OX7 6SD
Tel: 01451 824024 Cotswold Leisure Bourton, Station Road Bourton-on-the-Water, Gloucestershire, GL54 2BD
Privilege Card Offers
FREE footstool with each sofa purchased* *excluding material Tel: 01608 659091 5 Threshers Yard, West Street, Kingham Oxfordshire, OX7 6YF
R&D WALKER T/A P Checketts 10% off Stewing Beef – Chicken Breasts – All Sausages when you purchase 5lbs or more valid until 30-11-12 24 High Street Moreton-in-Marsh Gloucestershire GL56 OAF 01608 651002
Free Filter Coffee with every cake purchased over £2 Monday to Friday
Tel: 01608 652060 Cacao Bean, Carfax House, High Street, Moreton in Marsh, Gloucestershire, GL56 0AT
FREE PROPERTY APPRAISALS, FREE PHOTOGRAPHS AND UP TO £500 CASH BACK FOR NEW JOINERS
15% discount on all conveyancing services until 31-10-12 01993 705 095 Willow House , 2 Heynes Place, Station Lane Witney, OX28 4YN
all Sophie Allport Bone China Mugs, Jugs and Kitchen Wares. Until the end of October Tel: 01451 822800 Box of Delights, High Street, Bourton-on-the-Water, Gloucestershire, GL54 2AQ
20% off shrubs and trees until end of October 2012, when presenting your privilege card Cannot be used in conjunction with other offers Tel: 01608 651757 Stow Road, Moreton In Marsh, Gloucestershire, GL56 0DS
three piece suit for the price of two-piece. (Free waistcoat on all premium price). Usual price £1050 privilege price £750.00
until the end of August 2012
21B Oxford Street, Woodstock, OX20 1TH
Tel: 0844 870 8532 4 Ember Lane, Esher, Surrey, KT10 8ER
Tel: 01993 358 284
10% off 2-night health and fitness boot camp
at Cotswold House Hotel & Spa or Noel Arms Chipping Campden, first weekend 24-09-12. Tel: 01386 701231 Unit 6, Draycott Business Village Draycott, Nr Moreton in Marsh Gloucestershire, GL56 9DY
10% off all legal fees until 01-11-12
Thomas Legal Group is a dedicated provider of conveyancing services in and around the Cotswolds Tel: 01452 657950 Thomas Legal Group, Brunswick House Brockworth, Gloucestershire, GL3 4AA
all surveys valid until until 31/10/12
Tel: 01285 640840 Central Surveying, 17 Black Jack Street, Cirencester, Gloucestershire, GL7 2AA
10% off total lunch bill Monday to Thursday ordering from daily lunch menu valid until 31/10/12 Cannot be used with any other offers or promotions. Tel: 01451 820456 Lower Slaughter Manor, Lower Slaughter, Gloucestershire, GL54 2HP
15% off all Plumbing Materials, from our suppliers
all Howdens Kitchens and appliances, from our suppliers
valid until 01-11-12
valid until 01-11-12
Tel: 01386 840484 Weston Industrial Estate, Honeybourne, Evesham, Worcestershire, WR11 7QB
Tel: 01386 840484 Unit 14a, Weston Industrial Estate, Honeybourne, Nr. Evesham, Worcestershire, WR11 7QB
10% discount on Cotswold Gin and Cotswold Vodka from brewery shop. Please visit, call or email gin@ cotswoldlager.com to order. Tel: 01451 824488 College Farm, Stow Road, Bourton on the Water, Gloucestershire, GL54 2HN
10% off online orders over £10 - on our full range of Rapeseed, Infusions & Drizzle Oil. Email to order – charlie@ cotswoldgold.co.uk Valid until 1/11/12 Cotswold Gold East Lodge Farm, Stanton, Broadway, Worcestershire, WR12 7NH, 07867 938 221
Hotel & SPA
cannot be used in conjunction with other offers valid mon-fri until 30-11-2012
Tel: 01451 831936 Wyck Hill House Hotel, Stow-on-the-Wold, Gloucestershire, GL54 1HY
The Fox at Broadwell Free Bottle of House Wine for tables of 6 or more eating from our evening dinner MENU. Until the end of October The Fox at Broadwell The Green Broadwell Moreton in Marsh Glos GL56 0UF 01451 870 909
(pick up load) until the end of October.
Tel: 01608 644490 The Spinney, Elmsfield Industrial Estate, Worcester Road, Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, OX7 5XL
New Patient Exam - £55 inclusive of routine x-rays & Denplan assessment, normally £86 VALID until the end of October. Trevor Biggs Breakspeare House, Shipton Road, Milton-Under-Wychwood, Oxford, OX7 6JW 01993 831396
The Lamb Inn
Wyck Hill House
25% off all booked spa treatments
5% Discount on Firewood
20% off Cotswold Travel Guides valid until 01-11-12 Tel: 01451 870150 2 Talbot Court, The Square, Stow On The Wold, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL54 1BQ
Professional Business and Personal Coach, offering one free face-to-face coaching session when you book a series of three. Valid until 31-10-12 Maggie Minter – Personal Coaching Tel: 01451 810500 email@example.com www.maggieminter.co.uk
15% ofF all Food excludes set menus and any other promotions valid until 01-11-12 Tel: 01451 820388 The Lamb Inn, Great Rissington, Gloucestershire, GL54 2LP
50% off returns following an outbound journey within a 20 mile radius of Bourton on the Water 01451 820 778 07585 308 838 www.hopeprivatehire.com
Cotswold -Homes.com Cotswold Homes Directory of Independent Businesses HOMES AND GARDENS Where to stay, what to do, where to go? BATHROOMS The Bathroom Studio: 01386 47234 Our business is to design, supply and install bathrooms and with over 29 years of experience we pride ourselves on being able to provide a service that that is second to none. W: www.the-bathroomstudio.co.uk E: firstname.lastname@example.org
BUILDERS AND CONTRACTORS Cotswold Building Contractors: 01386 840484 A local, friendly and trustworthy building and development service with a high degree of expertise and excellent workmanship E: email@example.com Four Shires Construction Ltd: 01451 850905 / 07879 473349 Four Shires Construction Ltd specialise in premium Cotswold Barn Conversions and renovations. Bathrooms, Living, Gym and Sauna, Bedrooms, Dining, External W: www.fourshiresconstruction.co.uk E : firstname.lastname@example.org The Traditional Oak Frame Company, Guiting Power: 01451 850050 Gloucestershire- based traditional green oak timber-framed house construction and restoration W: www.traditionaloakframe.com E: email@example.com Domestic Tank Services - Water Storage, Diesel, Oil, Bespoke Tanks: 01386 853030 We are a young and dynamic company, whose team is built on the knowledge of over 30 years of experience. W: www.domestictankservices.com E: firstname.lastname@example.org
CARPETS AND FLOORING Becknell Services - Flooring specialists: 01386 840484 Wood & Stone Floors Refurbished, Curtain Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning, Reach & Wash Window Cleaning E: email@example.com KC Carpets, Moreton in Marsh: 01608 650331 We are a family run business that has been offering the best in carpets, vinyl flooring and blinds since 1984. W: www.kc-carpets.co.uk E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cotswold Homes Magazine
Parsons Carpet & Flooring Specialists: Cheltenham: 01242 521273 Passionate about flooring and equally passionate about the quality of service that we provide to you! W: www.parsonsflooring.com E: email@example.com
Treetech Arboricultural Services Ltd, Chipping Norton: 01608 644490 Professional, efficient service with consistent quality standards for all aspects of tree care W: www.treetech.co.uk E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Batsford Arboretum: 01386 701 441 For quality plants, gorgeous gifts and garden sundries, locally sourced homebaked food and beautiful shabby chic ideas from the Applestore shop. W: www.batsarb.co.uk E: email@example.com
Greyhound Stoves. Blackwell: 01608 682628 We are a Fireplace Stove Studio - our showroom features over 50 displays which include multi-fuel / wood burning stoves and stone and wood fireplace surrounds. W: www.greyhoundstoves.com E: firstname.lastname@example.org
FURNITURE Sebastian Sellers Northleach: 01451 861864 Mike Sellers Smith & his team at Sebastian Sellers have over 30 experience in the planning & creation of individually designed & handmade furniture. E: email@example.com Baroque Ardor – unique hand painted furniture: 07595 894676 / 07920 112252 A successful partnership of interior designers who are dedicated to creating unique, hand painted furniture. W: www.baroque-ardor.co.uk E: firstname.lastname@example.org Westcote Design, Kingham: 01608 659091 We produce a comprehensive range of sofas, sofa beds, footstools, headboards and bespoke furniture manufactured by a small talented team. W: www.westcotedesign.co.uk E: email@example.com MacNish Chair Risers: 0845 370 7018 The MacNish Chair Riser can fit to the base of any chair. Take advantage of our free trials and transform your own chair into an electric riser chair. W: www.macnish.net E: firstname.lastname@example.org
GARDENS Annie Pearce, Garden Design: 01451 822390 I work with you personally to help you create your own beautiful, unique garden that I hope will truly enhance your life. W: www.anniepearce.co.uk E: email@example.com Fosseway Garden Centre, Moreton in Marsh: 01608 651757 A large garden centre offering gardening, pets, gifts and everything to do with outdoor living, plus a great cafe. W: www.fossewaygardencentre.co.uk E: firstname.lastname@example.org Lonstone: Garden Landscaping, Longborough: 01451 830140 Manufacturers of premium quality garden landscaping products, including paving and exclusive reproduction Lonstone Vintage Planters and feature pieces W: www.lonstone.co.uk E: email@example.com
INTERIORS Angela Hay Curtains & Blinds: 01386 700692 Hand made Curtains & Roman Blinds, based in the Cotswolds. W: www.angelahaycurtainsandblinds.com E: firstname.lastname@example.org Amanda Hanley By Design: 01993 822385 / 07976 353996 An independent and professional service for all of your interior design projects W: www.amandahanley.co.uk E: email@example.com Pippa Paton Design: 01993 220 721 / 07836 793 624 A specialist in contemporary Cotswolds interior design creating beautiful, exceptional homes, which enhance the lives of those who live in them W: www.pippapatondesign.co.uk E: firstname.lastname@example.org Round House: 01242 521 900 / 07809 635 133 At Roundhouse we make beautiful kitchens, wardrobes and other furniture. What we design is a space for living. W: www.roundhousedesign.com E: email@example.com
HOUSE SITTERS Ticketyboo House Sitters, Barnwood, Gloucestershire: 01452 790104 If you are going on holiday, on business or leaving your home for any reason, Ticketyboo Housesitters offer you a personal house and pet sitting service. W: www.ticketyboo-housesitters.co.uk E: firstname.lastname@example.org
PROPERTY MAINTENANCE Leave It to Us -Cotswolds: 01451 830199 Professional Cleaning - Property Maintenance - Home Makeovers Quality Interior Decorating, Residential Property Finder, Specialising in Cotswold properties W: www.leaveittous.biz E: email@example.com
SWIMMING POOLS Five Valleys Natural Pools: Swimming Pools: 01453 884881 / 07714 236211 In partnership with Biotop: Design & Construct eco friendly natural swimming pools W: www.fivevalleysnaturalpools.co.uk E: firstname.lastname@example.org
WINDOWS Mike Honour Windows, Blockley: 01386 701079 When you choose Lattice Period Windows for your windows you can be sure that you are selecting the best combination of craftsmanship, style and durability. W: www.mikehonourwindows.co.uk E: email@example.com
LIVING IN THE COTSWOLDS Leisure, lifestyle and business ARTISTS AND CRAFTSMEN Whichford Pottery 01608 684416 Working as a team of potters, decorators and apprentices, we are committed to excellent craftsmanship and design. W: www.whichfordpottery.com E firstname.lastname@example.org Nigel Brunyee – Equine Artist: 01909 731692 Nigel has been a professional artist specialising in equine portraiture since 1983. W: www.nigelbrunyee.co.uk E: email@example.com Tilly Tayler-Levy – Equine and Canine Artist: 07769 896 966 Tilly specialises in equine and canine portraiture in both oil and pastel as well as and sculpture in bronze. E: firstname.lastname@example.org Adam Tatlow – Wildlife Photography: 07774 285 459 Cotswold Keeper Photography by Adam Tatlow; photography of all animals wild and free, taken in the stunning countryside near to Guiting Power in the heart of the Cotswolds. W: www.cotswoldkeeperphotography.com E: email@example.com
EQUESTRIAN CENTRES Overdale Equestrian Centre, Nether Westcote: 01993 832520 Overdale Equestrian Centre is unique in its focus on teaching riders the HOW of riding, improving balance, skill and confidence. W: www.overdale-equestrian.co.uk E: firstname.lastname@example.org Durhams Farm – Horse/Pony Riding: 01608 674 867 / 07811 339 162 A well-established, successful, fun riding school and livery yard; experienced, qualified and friendly instructors teaching a wide range of activities for all ages, all year round W: www.cotswoldriding.com E: email@example.com
Cotswold -Homes.com Cotswold Homes Directory of Independent Businesses ESTATE AGENTS Harrison & Hardie Estate Agents – North Cotswolds Moreton in Marsh: 01608 651000 firstname.lastname@example.org Bourton on the Water: 01451 822977; email@example.com Stow on the Wold: 01451 833170; firstname.lastname@example.org Residential Lettings: 01451 833177; email@example.com The Leading Estate Agency specialising in Residential Sales and Lettings W: www.cotswold-homes.com Fine & Country Estate Agents: LONDON Represented in the North Cotswolds by HARRISON & HARDIE estate agents James von Speyr, Director 01451 833170; firstname.lastname@example.org Karen Harrison, Director 01608 651000; E: email@example.com Award-winning, international agency for upper quartile residential property in the UK and abroad - Superior town residences, luxury new-build properties and classic country homes W: www.fineandcountry.co.uk
FINANCIAL SERVICES Philip Hanley Financial Services, Fulbrook: 01993 824680 Independent Financial Adviser providing investment, pensions and mortgage advice W: www.pjamesfs.com E: firstname.lastname@example.org JEM Financial Planning: Cotswolds: 01386 840777 John Magee, an Independent Financial Adviser, and Sue Ellis, a Mortgage Broker, offer friendly, professional advice W: www.johnny-magee.co.uk E: email@example.com
FINE FOOD AND DRINK SUPPLIERS The Cotswold Brewing Company, Bourton on the Water: 01451 824488 A family owned and run brewery which supplies kegged and bottled lagers, wheat beer, stout and cider to pubs, restaurants and hotels in the Cotswolds. W: www.cotswoldbrewingcompany.co.uk E: firstname.lastname@example.org Conygree Farm, meat suppliers, Aldsworth: 01451 844342 Conygree Farm is a 75ha (180 acre) mixed farm in the heart of the Cotswolds. W: www.conygreefarm.co.uk Cotswold Gold, Stanton: 07867938221 Cotswold Gold is a Natural Extra Virgin Rapeseed Oil, extracted using traditional cold pressing. W: www.cotswoldgold.co.uk E: email@example.com
The Cotswold Food Store & Café: 01451 830469 The Cotswold Food Store and Café is a must-visit farm shop situated in a traditional Cotswold stone barn. W: www.cotswoldfoodstore.co.uk E: firstname.lastname@example.org R&D Walker T/A P Checketts – Moreton in Marsh: 01608 651002 Butcher’s providing seasonal meats, game (when in season), local venison, local beef, lamb and pork W: www.cotswold-homes.com
HOLIDAY COTTAGE MANAGEMENT Character Cottages, Cotswolds: 0844 870 8532 Character Cottages is a distinctive, full service holiday lettings business, with a focus on letting and managing fabulous country homes. W: www.character-cottages.com E: email@example.com
MARKETING Cotswold-Homes.com: North Cotswolds: 01608 653899 Innovative, multi-media marketing for independent North Cotswold businesses W: www.cotswold-homes.com Marketing: firstname.lastname@example.org Editorial: email@example.com Social media: firstname.lastname@example.org MH & Partners, Design, Web, Events & Marketing: 07773 369 648 mh&partners are a team of friendly, creative, people who work within many sectors including tourism, based in Ebrington and Stratford upon Avon W: www.mhandpartners.com E: email@example.com
NURSERIES AND SCHOOLS The Barn Nursery, Bourton-onthe-Water: 01451 822 224 The Barn Nursery is a family-run nursery school and day nursery offering full-time and sessional day-care for children aged from 3 months to 5 years W: www.cotswold-homes.com E: firstname.lastname@example.org Stepping Stones & Woodland Adventure Holiday Club: 01451 820 345 Professional high quality care and education tailored to Children’s and Parents’ individual needs, implementing the Early Years Foundation Stage and all the requirements of Ofsted. W: steppingstonesnursery-cotswolds.co.uk E: email@example.com Cotswold School – Bourton on the Water: 01451 820 554 / 01451 820 938 A popular, happy, and successful 11-18 Academy status school set in beautiful rural surroundings, with an excellent reputation for academic success. W: www.cotswold.gloucs.sch.uk E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Louise Bowles Photography, Blockley: 01386 701520 Professional photographer whose services include wedding and family photographsWeddings, Family Portraits, Newborn, Events, Studio in Blockley W: www.louisebowlesphotography.com E: email@example.com
Central Surveying, Cirencester: 01285 640840 Chartered Surveyors, Building Surveyors and Property Consultants for London and the South West. W: www.centralsurveying.co.uk E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sarah Farnsworth Photography, Moreton in Marsh: 01608 652 918 / 07921 196 032 Commissions include rural nature, candid portraiture, product photography, landscapes, lifestyle & interiors, and sporting events amongst others. W: www.sarahfarnsworth.co.uk E: email@example.com
PRINTERS MickThePrinter.com. Cotswolds: 07721 022 565 For 22 years we have helping companies save money on their printing costs without compromising on quality. W: www.micktheprinter.com E: mail@MickThePrinter.com
TAXIS Hope Private Hire -Taxi Service: The Cotswolds: 01451 820778 / 07585308838 A reliable, punctual service available 24 hours a day Airport Transfers, Castles, Races, Seaport Transfers, Gardens and Tours of the Cotswolds W: www.hopeprivatehire.com E: firstname.lastname@example.org
THEATRE Chipping Norton Theatre: 01608 642350 We are a theatre, an art-house cinema, a gallery and a concert hall. W: www.chippingnortontheatre.co.uk E: email@example.com
Cotswold Carriers Removals Limited, Chipping Norton: 01608 730500 We are a family-run business, operating 7 vehicles of varying sizes. W: www.cotswoldcarriers.co.uk E: firstname.lastname@example.org
William Gilder Ltd, Cheltenham: 01242 620677 William Gilder Ltd has proudly provided specialist transportation services for over 25 years. Disposal, Painting, Storage, Transport W: www.williamgilder.co.uk E: email@example.com
SOLICITORS Bampton Law, Bampton and Bourtonon-the-Water: 01451 820265 Bampton Law LLP traditional in values, modern in practice. We pride ourselves on working alongside our clients as trusted advisors. W: www.bamptonlaw.co.uk E: firstname.lastname@example.org Bower & Bailey Solicitors - Banbury, Oxford, Swindon,Witney: 01993 705095 At Bower & Bailey we offer a broad range of legal services designed to respond to the needs of both private and commercial clients. W: www.bowerandbailey.co.uk E: email@example.com Kendall & Davies Solicitors, Cotswolds: 01451 830295 From our four offices we offer friendly, client-focussed services related to property, business and family matters. Bourton, Stow, Moreton and Burford W: www.kendallanddavies.co.uk E: firstname.lastname@example.org Thomas Legal Group, Gloucestershire: 01452 657950 Dedicated provider of conveyancing services in and around the Cotswolds, offering top quality service and FIXED PRICE conveyancing W: www.thomaslegalgroup.co.uk E: email@example.com
THE HIGH STREET
Day-to-day essentials, occasional luxuries ANTIQUES Styles of Stow, Stow on the Wold: 01451 830 455 An extensive selection of rare and unusual grandfather clocks standing alongside other fine antique timepieces. Repairs and restoration carried out on site by our highly qualified craftsmen. W: www.stylesofstow.com E: firstname.lastname@example.org
BOOKSHOPS Cotswold Bookstore, Moreton in Marsh: 01608 652666 A large shop with a comprehensive stock of books for adults and children with large History and Military section, friendly atmosphere W: cotswoldbookstore.blogspot.co.uk E: email@example.com
Cotswold -Homes.com Cotswold Homes Directory of Independent Businesses DENTISTS
FITNESS AND BEAUTY
Milton Dental Practice, Milton-underWychwood: 01993 831396 Milton Dental Practice is a private practice dealing with all aspects of dental treatment. W: www.drbigg.com E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cotswold Leisure, Bourton on the Water: 01451 824024 Cotswold Leisure Bourton offers a range of facilities to suit all ages and abilities. W: www.cotswold.gov.uk E: email@example.com
FASHION AND JEWELLERY
Fusion Unisex Hair Salon Bourtonon-the-Water: 01451 810781 Fusion hair salon specialises in cuts, re-styles, colours, and special occasions. Open daily from 9am, conveniently located just off the High Street. W: www.cotswold-homes.com
Brocks Menswear Stow on the Wold and Cirencester: 01451 831200 The theme is ‘smart casual’ and includes shirts, Polos, Knitwear, Trousers & Jeans, Jackets & Coats & Footwear. W: www.brocksmenswear.co.uk E: firstname.lastname@example.org Foundation, Stow on the Wold and Cheltenham: 0845 388 7336 Clothing & Accessories for Modern Living W: www.shopfoundation.com E: email@example.com GH Fine Jewellery, Stow on the Wold: 01451 830155 GH Fine Jewellery specialises in antique jewellery, silver, second hand, valuations and buying E: firstname.lastname@example.org The Cotswold Tailor Woodstock: 01993 358284 The Cotswold Tailor sells unique contemporary men’s and women’s clothing tailored in traditional tailored British Cloths. W: thecotswoldtailor.com E: email@example.com The Cotswold Frock Shop, Stow on the Wold: 01451 832309 A one-stop shop for The Bride and all the Ladies in the Bridal Party - Park Street, Stow W: www.thecotswoldfrockshop.co.uk E: firstname.lastname@example.org
MODE Hair & M Spa at Lapstone, Chipping Campden: 01386 841123 MODE: award winning hair stylists with innovative techniques and products, MSPA: provides balancing transforming treatments enabling purification and relaxation. W: www.mspa.so E: email@example.com Rapid FX Personal Fitness, Draycott: 01386 701231 RapidFX personal training is dedicated to offering professional personal assistance to fitness and wellbeing within the North Cotswolds. W: www.rapid-fx.com E: firstname.lastname@example.org Cotswold Skincare Sanctuary, Bourton on the Water: 01451 822 700 Offering an unrivalled, extensive range of beauty and cosmeceutical treatments with bespoke anti ageing formulas. W: www.cotswold-homes.com
VISITING THE COTSWOLDS
FLORISTS Cotswold Flowers, Bourton on the Water: 01451 821306 Family run florist offering local, national and international delivery six days a week Wedding Florist, Funeral, Local Delivery, Hand Tied Bouquets W: www.cotswoldflowers.co.uk E: email@example.com
GIFT SHOPS Box of Delights – Bourton on the Water: 01451 822800 Box of Delights offers a range of beautiful contemporary gifts, greeting cards, Jewellery, home decorations. W: www.boxofdelights.biz E: firstname.lastname@example.org The Cedars – Bourton on the Water: 01451 822 399 The Cedars offers something for everyone, providing gift inspiration from unique colourful wall art and decorative tea light holders. W: www.cotswold-homes.com E: email@example.com
Cotswold Homes Magazine
Where to stay, what to do, where to go? Go Stow, Stow on the Wold 01451 870 150 An independent Visitor Information Centre, with lots of experience and expertise to help you make the most of your visit to the Cotswolds W: www.go-stow.co.uk E: firstname.lastname@example.org
FAMILY DAYS OUT Birdland Park & Gardens, Bourton on the Water: 01451 820480 Birdland is in a natural setting of woodland, river and gardens, inhabited by over 500 birds, a wonderful place to visit for all the family W: www.birdland.co.uk E: email@example.com
Cotswold Farm Park Guiting Power: 01451 850307 Cotswold Farm Park was the first Rare Breeds farm to open to the public. A total countryside experience in the heart of the Cotswolds W: cotswoldfarmpark.co.uk E: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Plough Inn, Ford: 0800 066 3851 Sitting in the hamlet of Ford, this popular 16th Century Inn is renowned for its excellent menu and fine Donnington ales W: www.theploughinnford.co.uk E: email@example.com
PUBS, TEA HOUSES AND COFFEE SHOPS
The Snowshill Arms, Snowshill: 01386 852653 A 13th Century pub, situated in the pretty, tranquil village of Snowshill - Beer garden, Function room, Donnington Ales, Children’s play area W: www.cotswold-homes.com
Cacao Bean, Moreton in Marsh: 01608 652060 A Konditorei (German Pastry Shop) and Café that also provides celebration cakes made to order. Celebration cakes, Chocolates, Cakes, Truffles, Tarts, Fudge W: www.cacaobean.co.uk The Coach and Horses, Longborough: 01451 830325 A Cotswold village pub offering open fires, good food and award-winning Donnington ales brewed just a couple of miles away. E: firstname.lastname@example.org
HOTELS The Dial House Hotel & Restaurant Bourton on the Water: 01451 822244 The Dial House Hotel demonstrates the best blend of traditional and modern to bring you the ultimate country hotel experience. W: www.dialhousehotel.com E: email@example.com
The Fox Inn, Great Barrington: 01451 844385 The Prettiest pub setting in the Cotswolds on the banks of the river Windrush - Bar Snack Menu, Riverside Dining, Traditional C17th Bar with local Ales, Ciders & Juices W: www.foxinnbarrington.com E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Wyck Hill House Hotel & Spa, Stow on the Wold: 01451 831936 For somewhere to relax, to work, a place to celebrate or to combine all these things, Wyck Hill is the perfect venue. W: www.wyckhillhousehotel.co.uk E: sales.wyckhillhousebespokehotels.com
The Fox Inn, Broadwell: 01451 870909 The Fox is a friendly, family pub offering traditional pub food with beer garden, ideal for couples and families. E: email@example.com
Lower Slaughter Manor, Lower Slaughter: 01451 820456 The epitome of country house chic; romantic getaways, restful breaks, conferences, and weddings, with exquisite dining also available to non residents. W: www.lowerslaughter.co.uk E: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Halfway House, Kineton: 01451 850344 The Half Way House is 17th Century Inn serving good traditional food, using local ingredients, and fine local ale. W: www.thehalfwayhousekineton.co.uk The Lamb Inn, Great Rissington: 01451 820388 The Lamb Inn at Great Rissington is one of the Cotswolds’ most welcoming country inns situated in a beautiful village with lovely views from the garden. W: www.thelambinn.com E: email@example.com The New Inn, Willersey: 01386 853226 The New Inn is a lovely pub with plenty to do and has a games room & skittle alley! Traditional village pub, Function room, Donnington Ales W: www.newinnbroadway.co.uk E: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Washbourne Court Hotel, Lower Slaughter: 01451 822 143 The 17th Century venue provides luxurious short breaks, conferences, and wedding receptions, catering for locals as well as guests. W: www.washbournecourt.co.uk E: email@example.com Buckland Manor, Nr Broadway: 01386 852 626 Whether you are looking for a romantic getaway, somewhere for a special event or celebration, or a quiet escape, Buckland Manor won’t disappoint. W: www.bucklandmanor.co.uk E: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Finest Dining in the Cotswolds At Wyck Hill House Hotel & Spa Wyck Hill House Hotel & Spa is a luxury Country House set within 100 acres of grounds. This absolute haven is the perfect location to dine whilst enjoying our breathtaking views over the Cotswold’s and the majesty that is Windrush Valley. Offering the highest in hospitality and service our Fine Dining Restaurant & Conservatory, boasting a 2 AA Rosette Award is intimate & traditional in style, and our Head Chef Mark David Jane specialises in creating contemporary cuisine using locally sources ingredients - his skills are a welcome culinary treat for residents and locals alike Lunch 12.00 - 2.30pm Daily from £15.95 per person Dinner 7.00 - 9.30pm Daily from £35.95 per person Wyck Hill House is open all day for Coffee, Light Snacks or make your booking and join us Full Afternoon Tea
Wyck Hill House Hotel & Spa
Burford Road, Stow-on-the-Wold, The Cotswolds, Gloucestershire, GL54 1HY T: 01451 831 936 E: email@example.com W: www.wyckhillhousehotel.co.uk
Published on Aug 19, 2012