Y H W
The best of NORTH and MID WALES, CHESHIRE, WIRRAL AND SHROPSHIRE
Y U B
ENJOY EVERY MINUTE!
Make your home cosy for winter
THE SHIRE GUIDE TO THE VERY BEST LOCAL EVENTS
lve Live, laugh,
The secrets to a happy long-term relationship
WIN Big cheeses Four top chefs share their dairy delights Short breaks Our top picks for an autumn escape New school rules Getting education back on track
A day at West Midland Safari Park, a home wine tasting event and a trip to GreenWood Family Park! Turn to page 121
LOVE WHERE YOU LIVE
We take a closer look at…
BUSTLING SHREWSBURY BEAUTIFUL NEWPORT
HOMES & INTERIORS | LOCAL FOOD | ART & PHOTOGRAPHY | FASHION | BOOKS Cover SeptOct 2020 FINAL.indd 1
WELCOME, DEAR READER… Managing Director Dan Bromage Editor Kate Speedie Chief Subeditor Jo Williams Subeditor Chris Miller Staff Writers Eluned Watson Helen Gordon Adele Barry Designers Ella Knight Meryl McIntosh Advertising Design Sarah Norman Sales & Marketing Pauline Jones Tess Montero Distribution Manager Paul Howard Finance & Accounts David Kynaston Nicky Kynaston Jane Osman Contributors John Hargreaves, Gloria Mans, Catherine Buckley, P Parker, Clive Williams, John Stubbs, Helen Cooke, Pip Gale, Lizzie Deery, Deborah Law, Jennifer McKinney, Bob Hickman
ere we are, heading into autumn after surely the strangest and most unpredictable few months ever. At Shire, we are delighted that we’ve been able to keep in touch with you and bring you the magazine throughout it all. With children heading back to school and more people returning to work, we’re hoping this is the beginning of whatever our “new normal” looks like and that we can start getting back to the routines and behaviours we enjoy. Many of us have been spending more time than ever recently with our nearest and dearest – for better or for worse! – so now is a great time to assess and strengthen those relationships. In this issue, we take an in-depth look at long-term love, with plenty of tips on how you can help your relationship go the distance. There’s advice from experienced counsellors and those who’ve kept the love alive over the decades. So whether you’ve just met your partner or are about to celebrate a significant anniversary, there’s something for you. We’ve also taken a comprehensive look at your home heating options. If you’re starting from scratch, we can help you decide which system to install; if you want to get the best out of your existing set-up, we have hints and tips to help keep you snug, including a look at log burners, double-glazing solutions and solar panels. The rest of this edition is packed with all your usual favourites, including plenty of local food and drink, fashion, style, homes and gardens – in fact, everything you’ve come to expect from Shire. Enjoy! IN THIS ISSUE Warm thoughts Discover the best solutions to keep your home cosy this winter on page 42
Email Shire magazine email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Shire Magazine PO Box 276 Oswestry Shropshire SY10 1FR Tel: 01691 661270
Love stories Turn to page 36 for expert advice on how to keep your relationship healthy
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Autumn listings Our guide to the season’s top events, including half-term and Halloween treats, from page 6
GET IN TOUCH! We want to hear from you…
Tell us about your upcoming events. Just remember that we work in advance, so 1st October is the deadline for events in our November/ December 2020 issue.
Reader poems Do you like penning the odd line? So do we! Send us your poems – we’d love to include them on our poetry page. See page 117 for more.
Share your reader stories. Have you got an extraordinary or exciting story to tell? We’d like to feature it in the next issue. Send us an email and don’t forget to include a picture or two as well.
We have lots of regulars readers can contribute to:
Reader photos Taken a great shot recently? Email your best effort and you might get picked! See page 94.
Your pets Is your pet the love of your life? Send a snap, along
A free copy of Shire delivered to your home! To help readers during this difficult time, if you’re having trouble getting to the supermarket and would prefer a copy delivered to you at home, please just send us an A4 SAE with £1.80 postage to Shire Magazine, PO Box 276, Oswestry, Shropshire SY10 1FR. We will send you the latest issue by return.
with their name and anything else you want to tell us. See page 82 for further details. Get social Follow, like and friend us on Facebook and Instagram to be the first in line for event updates, competitions and more. Visit our website online at www.shiremagazine.co.uk and send submissions and information by email to email@example.com.
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September/October 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 3
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s ite ate s b pd g. njoy s e r w for u enin an e age u o s p c p ck age re-o you ook e b h p d , e c ook an sed Face s a b 9 lo r Ple ace id-1 in c ou v a n d F Co m o an on e re ities w iv st ct hil ne a W nli o
RUTHIN GAOL The only purpose-built Pentonville style prison open as a heritage attraction in Wales. People can spend time exploring its nooks and crannies and learn about life in the Victorian prison system. See how the prisoners lived their daily lives: what they ate, how they worked, and the punishments they suffered.
Opening times April to September Every day 10am-5pm except Tuesdays
W S for whi O Fr Join re ch o ien the gu ff ds Wrexham Symphony Orchestra lar ers Sc (Orchestra in Residence at William Aston Hall) co be he th nc ne me 50 Birthday Party and Concert er fit tg s oe rs
Wrexham Symphony Orchestra
NANTCLWYD Y DRE Take a trip through the seven ages of Nantclwyd y Dre, Wales’s oldest dated timbered town house. The house was started in 1435 and has been added to, updated and upgraded throughout the centuries, and now has been beautifully restored. Visit the house and gardens.
Established in 1969 ^ University Orchestra in Residence at Wrexham Glyndwr Honorary President: Professor Maria Hinfelaar - Vice Chancellor
Opening times April to September Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays 11am to 5pm
Celebrating 50 years of making and creating live ofmusic inBlomfield Wrexham Former WSO Young Musician the Year, Tom
Principal Oboist - Philharmonia – Classic FM’s Orchestra on Tour
Sunday November 3rd, 2019 at 3.30pm
William Aston Hall, Wrexham Glyndŵr University, We are a community orchestra with Mold Road, Wrexham LL11 2AWour membership drawn from across the generations Conductor: Russell Grayand professions. We perform to exacting and seek to support our Soloists:standards Tom Blomfield - Oboe Sophie Rosa - Violin in charitable work. community through our engagement Tickets availablewho from: are appropriately We welcome newwww.wrexhamorch.co.uk/Tickets members www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/wrexham-symphony-orchestra qualified musicians. If you are interested in joining us, Wrexham Tourist Information Centre (01978 292015) Llangollen Tourist Information Centre 860828) please contact us by(01978 email. Rowanthorn Gift Shop, Oswestry (01691 238227) Our concert is currently suspended until Familyseason Ticket £25 (2 adults and up to 4 children); Balcony £15; Stalls £12 further Students, school pupils and young children £2. notice and(Concessions we Supporting will£10);post news updates on our web site Classic FM’s
and social Charity media pages.
Open for general visits April-September Pre-booked visits available year round
For more information about the Wrexham Symphony Orchestra visit www.wrexhamorch.co.uk Email: firstname.lastname@example.org You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter @wrexham orch The Virtual Hall Concert Facebook page offers a range of musical concerts and events throughout each day.
Contents S E P TE MB E R /O C TO B E R 2 020
PAG E 7 8 Garden delights
6 What’s On As venues across the region begin to reopen, they need our support more than ever. Don’t miss the ultimate guide to what’s going on with our comprehensive listings covering north and mid Wales, Cheshire, Shropshire and Wirral 34 Shrewsbury It’s easy to see why Shropshire’s county town has been attracting residents, businesses and tourists for generations
PAG E 9 9 PAG E 6 3
COVER FEATURE 36 Together Forever Discover how to keep the spark alive and ensure your relationship lasts the course as we discuss the ups and how to avoid the downs of long-term love COVER FEATURE 42 The Heat Is On As winter creeps ever nearer, we look at all the various best ways to keep your home snug and warm, and essential steps to take at this time of year 51 Homes The latest developments across the housing sector, as well as top interior style advice to help freshen up your abode
PAG E 6 6
PAG E 1 0 0
Line up, line up…
63 Purple Reigns! Add a splash of colour to your decor with our selection of home accessories 65 The White Horse, Chester We visit the racecourse venue with plenty of outdoor space to sample its tempting menu 66 Food & Drink A look at local lobsters and the difference the right wine glass makes, plus more fine feasting and perfect produce 73 Gardening Discover the jobs that need doing in the garden before the winter arrives, plus the best local spots to wander and wonder at autumn’s colours
PAG E 3 6 Matters of the heart
PAG E 6 Local laughs aplenty
PAG E 4 2 Keep those toes warm!
77 Green Living A local green energy initiative, plus meet two firms doing their bits for the planet 78 A Nature Haven At Home Attract birds, bees and more to your outside space with these stunning feeders, tables, baths and homes 81 Pets & Wildlife A round-up of news from our friends at the RSPB and the Wildlife Trusts, plus the latest cute pet pictures from our readers 85 Holidays We could all do with a break! And these holiday parks are keen to welcome you back
90 Newport We celebrate a terrific market town that’s always in bloom and well worth a visit 92 Arts & Crafts Meet an artist depicting the region’s animals and countryside, and see if your photograph was selected for our competition 97 Health & Beauty Expert weight-loss tips, plus we bust the myths about freckles 98 Keeping It Cosy Womens fashion tips and stylish knitwear to keep you warm through autumn 100 Seeing Stripes Get in line for the latest in men’s fashion 101 Motoring Bob Hickman reviews the brand new Volkswagen T-Roc Cabriolet 102 Twenty Questions We put our queries to none other than the High Sheriff of Shropshire, Dean Harris 103 Financial Matt Hignett from Beaumont Wealth discusses planning your pension during a pandemic 105 Schools The latest news from colleges and schools across the area as they prepare to welcome pupils back to classrooms 112 Meet The Expert We speak to Chris Hughes, a lecturer in football coaching and performance 114 Retirement Meet the local firm offering an online will-writing service, plus the latest on TV licences for the over-75s 116 Books & Poetry Meet the Shropshire author getting rave reviews, plus our guide to book events, workshops and new releases 118 Subscribe To Shire! Take out a subscription to Shire and get every issue delivered to your door. You can also start a subscription via the Shire website. 119 Letters Check out feedback from the last issue and what our readers have to say about the Shire region 120 What’s In Your Stars? Find our what’s coming your way with our horoscope forecast provided by Gloria Mans 121 Competitions Don’t miss your chance to win some fabulous prizes in our exclusive competitions
September/October 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 5
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NORTH WALES WHAT’S ON
WHAT’S ON IN BRIEF 1ST-24TH SEPTEMBER
1st-6th September, Ospreys at Llyn Brenig Visitor Centre, Cerrigydrudion, Conwy Find out all about this year’s comings and goings at Llyn Brenig. There are large screens displaying live shots from the nest and perch cams. 11am-5pm.
12th September, Rhyl Gin Festival, Rhyl Town Hall You’ll be treated to a welcome gin liquor, gin sampling sessions and complimentary tapas. You’ll even receive a branded glass to take home. Sessions run from 1pm-5pm and 7pm-11pm. £15. www.ginfestivalsinwales.co.uk
•12th & 13th September,
Snowdonia Photography Workshop, Cwm Idwal Spend a day photographing the dramatic views of the Glyderau and Carneddau mountain ranges, the glacial lakes of Llyn Idwal and Llyn Ogwen and the impressive Ogwen Falls. 10am-4pm. www. landscapephotographyuk.com
14th September, North Wales Jaguar Enthusiasts Club, Royal Oak, Higher Kinnerton The club meets on the second Monday of every month and everyone is welcome – you don’t have to own a Jaguar. Meet fellow enthusiasts to talk cars, get advice, listen to guest speakers and more. 8pm. www.jec.org.uk/walesnorth
20th September, Llyn Alwen Trail & Canicross (11.5k) A beautiful trail run on a mixture of gravel, trail path and fire road through pine trees and forest. The race begins from the Alwen car park visitor centre at 9.30am, with the canicross starting at 9.40am. www. bespokefitness.niftyentries.com
•24th September, Paths & Paddles Launch Walk,
Loggerheads Country Park, Mold A guided walk to celebrate the launch of Paths & Paddles, a group for women looking to improve their health and wellbeing through walking and canoeing. A chance to clear your head and spend time with a supportive group of likeminded women. 9.30am-4.30pm.
Food festival on the web This year’s Llangollen Food Festival will take place online on 18th October. The festival was a pioneer of food tourism when it launched in 1997, and since then has gone from strength to strength, annually attracting around 8,000 food lovers from far and wide. Due to safety concerns, this year’s festival, which was scheduled to take place on 17th and 18th October, has been replaced by a virtual “live” Llangollen Food Festival. This pioneering online event allows foodies to support local food and drink producers while staying safe at home. Attendees will be
able to discover great food and drink in the fabulous online Local Producers’ Expo, enjoy live cookery classes, take part in fun workshops, pick up exciting new recipes and learn about traditional dishes all from the comfort of your home. Details are being added daily, so for the latest news visit www.llangollenfoodfestival.com.
A special message from Shire Once more this issue we’ve made every effort to bring you the most up-to-date details of the fabulous, fun activities you can do across the Shire region. At the time of writing, all the events listed over the following pages are still scheduled to take place unless stated otherwise, but please check with the venue by phone or on the web before travelling for the most recent updates. And of course, when attending any of these great events in our wonderful local area, please ensure you follow the latest government guidance to prevent the spread of Covid-19, even as the more severe restrictions are lifted.
A riot of colour Party rainbow-style at the Urdd Rhyl 5k Colour Run on 27th September. The event offers you a great day out filled with music, wicked goodie bags, and a shedload of colour! Hundreds of runners start the day in white T-shirts, only to get covered in colour at each kilometre marker. You don’t need to run either – you can walk, skip, hop or dance. It’s all about the fun! Entry costs £15 for adults, £10 for children and £4 for under-threes. bespokefitness.niftyentries.com
Brynkinalt’s open garden Stroll around the beautiful gardens at Brynkinalt, Wrexham, on 10th September when the grounds are open as part of the National Garden Scheme (NGS). Wander through the West Garden with its layout of formal beds of roses, mixed perennials and herbaceous borders, then walk along the cool paths of the Woodland Shrubbery. The gardens are open from noon to 4pm and entry costs £5 for adults, with children free. Visit www.brynkinalt.co.uk or www.ngs.org.uk.
Test your knowledge for charity Put your thinking caps on for the 2020 NWBC Virtual Online Quiz & Raffle in aid of St David’s Hospice on 24th September and have some fun while raising money for this fantastic cause. The quiz begins at 6pm and the quizmaster is Rupert Moon, the former Welsh rugby international. The quiz costs £10 per person to enter, which includes a raffle ticket. Additional raffle tickets cost £10 each and prizes include a night at Rowton Hall Hotel, Chester, and tea for two at Bodysgallen Hall, Llandudno. www.stdavidshospice.org.uk
All aboard for Halloween fun Are you brave enough to join in the spooky Halloween fun at Bala Lake Railway on 30th and 31st October? The railway is gearing up for an evening of storytelling and ghoulish fun, so climb aboard and join the spooky celebrations. Halloweenthemed trains depart from Llanuwchllyn at 5.15pm and 6.30pm, taking you to Glan Llyn where you will be entertained by the resident ghosts and ghouls. Special fares apply. www.bala-lake-railway.co.uk
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WHAT’S ON NORTH WALES
WHAT’S ON IN BRIEF 26TH SEPTEMBER – 3RD OCTOBER
Laughs galore at Venue Cymru
DID YOU KNOW? Max Boyce was a coal miner before becoming an entertainer
Jon Richardson, 15th September Will the recycling be put out on the right day? Who is going to smooth over the top of the margarine? How many lights are on upstairs when everybody is downstairs? Watch Jon pretend these aren’t his foremost concerns. 8pm. Tickets £26. Ocean Film Festival, 23rd September Dive into a night of mesmerising ocean adventure with a curated selection of short films combining epic human endeavour and astounding marine life. 7.30pm. Tickets £16.
Al Murray, 1st October The world stands on the brink. Turmoil is the norm. Questions have been asked and none answered. What we need is
Follow the ale trail in Conwy Spend a day in authentic Welsh pubs enjoying unique Welsh real ales, without having to worry about who’s driving! The bus-based Conwy Real Ale Trail, which takes place on 26th September, will take you to some of the best pubs and microbreweries, with transport between pubs all arranged. You can start and finish at any of the pubs on the route between 11am and 10pm. www.realaletrail.co.uk
one man to step forward, one man with all the answers. Well, you’re in luck. 7.30pm. Tickets £30.50.
Fascinating Aïda, 17th October Dillie Keane, Adèle Anderson and Liza Pulman are back with old favourites, songs you haven’t heard before and some you wish you’d never heard in the first place. 7.30pm. Tickets £28. Max Boyce, 22nd October Max Boyce has been entertaining people all over the world for more than 40 years with his ability to paint pictures in word and song. A huge new audience has recently discovered this exceptional entertainer, making him a true modern-day folk hero. 7.30pm. Tickets £33. www.venuecymru.co.uk
The heritage spectacular Open Doors Denbighshire is going ahead this autumn – on the internet, allowing participants to see inside the historic buildings without leaving home. The Denbigh event takes place on 19th September and the Ruthin one on 26th September, featuring previously unseen properties. Both events are free to join and will be broadcast on Open Doors Denbighshire’s Facebook page, using a mixture of Facebook Live and pre-recorded videos. Gavin Harris Ruthin Town Mayor says: “At this time when social distancing prevents gathering in real life, live steaming is an excellent way to connect with heritage enthusiasts. People can watch a live stream and ask questions to the narrator or go back and watch another time.”
South Stack Cliffs is wonderful reserve made up of heathland and farmland set on a stretch of dramatic sea cliffs that face the islets of South Stack. It’s a stunning place where guillemots, razorbills and puffins breed on the cliffs in spring and the rare chough can be seen swooping along the cliffs all year round. The experience runs from 9.30am to 2pm every day
27th September, Wild Food, Foraging & Wilderness Cookery, Chirk Castle, nr Wrexham Join Woodland Survival Crafts and explore the world of edible plants, fungi and wild game in the ancient woodland at Chirk Castle. This one-day course will help you confidently identify and prepare a wide variety of wild foods and create sustaining meals using wild ingredients. 9.30am-4.30pm. £60. www.woodlandclassroom.com
OPEN DOORS EVENTS ARE MOVING ONLINE
Be a shepherd for a day on Holy Island South Stack Cliffs RSPB reserve on Holy Island, Anglesey, is giving visitors the rare opportunity to spend a morning with their resident shepherd as he looks after the reserve’s flock of Hebridean sheep. Help him drive the sheep on to the reserve, learn how they’re used to help manage the land, and meet the hardworking sheepdogs who assist him.
26th September, Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour 2020, Venue Cymru A thrilling night of adventure with a brand-new collection of short films from the world’s most prestigious mountain film festival. Witness epic human-powered feats, life-affirming challenges and mind-blowing visuals – all on the big screen! 7.30pm. £15.
1st October, Grown Ups’ Pottery Painting Night, Tan y Ddraig Ceramic Café, Conwy Get creative at this adults-only pottery painting night. Bring a bottle and create a beautiful and unique ceramic keepsake that you can treasure forever. The evening costs £5 to book with a minimum £15 spend on the night. 6.30pm-9.30pm. www.tanyddraig.co.uk
2nd October, Penrhyn Old Hall Ghost Hunt, Penrhyn Bay Are you brave enough to spend a night in this 14th-century haunted manor house on the north Wales coast? Join a spooky ghost tour and experience séance, dowsing and table tipping with psychics and mediums. 8pm2am. £20. www.deadlive.co.uk
until 27th November and costs £20 for adults and £10 for children, including a sandwich, drink and free parking. Booking is essential. For more information and to book your place, call 01407 762100 or email email@example.com.
3rd October, North Wales Vegan Festival, Plas Coch Sports Centre, Wrexham Discover fantastic stalls, world food caterers, exciting cookery demos, inspirational talks, interactive workshops, yoga and children’s activities at this celebration of vegan food. 10.30am4.30pm. £4 or £15 VIP. veganeventsuk @gmail.com
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NORTH WALES WHAT’S ON
Theatr Colwyn highlights
WHAT’S ON IN BRIEF 3RD-11TH OCTOBER
3rd October, Ceramic Pumpkin Course, Glosters, Porthmadog Carve your own pottery pumpkin pot – the perfect alternative to carving a real pumpkin! Glosters will supply the pot, thrown and ready for you to carve, and all pots will be glazed in time for Halloween. 11am-2pm. £45. www.glosters.co.uk
3rd & 4th October, Binocular & Telescope Weekend, RSPB Conwy, Llandudno Junction RSPB Conwy stocks one of the best ranges of binoculars and telescopes in north Wales, so whether you’re looking for your first pair of binoculars or thinking about upgrading your telescope, the friendly and expert team can help you. 10am-4pm. firstname.lastname@example.org
7th October, Evening 5k, Ruthin Chase the evening sun in this popular 5k event. A fantastic route for runners of all abilities, the open road course is well marked and measured, and offers incredible views of the Welsh countryside. 6.45pm. www.letsdothis.com
11th October, Puppy Club at Trevor Hall Farm, Llangollen Let your pup off its lead in a secure environment and give it a chance to socialise with other dogs. Agility equipment is available. Pups six months and under are welcome. 10am-11am. £4. email@example.com
11th October, Moonlight Magic, Solstice Craft & Holistic Wellbeing Fayre, Venue Cymru, Llandudno With crystals, tarot and psychic medium readers, upcycled goods, handmade jewellery, crafts, artists, herbalists, holistic treatments and much more. 10am-4.30pm. £1 entry.
•18th October, Flintshire 10k & 5k, Mold The race
starts and finishes at the Mold Leisure Centre and follows an undulating, quick course. The 5k starts at 9.30am and the 10k at 10.30am. There’s a 1k fun run at 9am. www. runwales.com
A Feast for the senses One of Wales’s largest festivals, Gwledd Conwy Feast, returns from 23rd to 25th October for a celebration of food, music and art. The exciting programme of events includes eclectic live music, delicious street food, demonstration kitchens, wine tasting sessions and much much more. Visit the food halls packed full of produce from Wales and much further afield, drop into one of the festival bars, book a slot in the Family Cooking Academy, and head to the Makers’ Market for textiles, crafts and paintings. www.conwyfeast.co.uk
Beautiful sounds at Theatr Clwyd
Join bilingual singer-songwriter Al Lewis for a night of inspirational music at Theatr Clwyd on 9th October. In this special, intimate show, Al – who has released five albums – will be performing a musical version of Te Yn Y Grug by Kate Roberts, to celebrate the book’s 60th anniversary. The show starts at 8pm and tickets cost £12. www.theatrclwyd.com
Spooks on the run Come ready for Halloween and race along the North Wales Coastal path in the Halloween Porth Eirias 10k on 24th October. The 10k starts at the Colwyn Bay Water Centre and tracks along the cliffs and beaches of north Wales, offering amazing views of Anglesey. The chip-timed race begins at 10am and there is also a 1km fun run at 9.15am. For more details, visit bespokefitness.niftyentries.com.
Exhibitions at Mostyn Gallery Llandudno’s Mostyn Gallery has reopened, with the following exhibitions running until 1st November. Athena Papadopoulos: Cain & Abel Can’t & Able A new series including sound, sculpture and painting, exploring dichotomies and questioning the duality of reason and emotion. Kiki Kogelnik: Riot Of Objects Focusing on the ceramic works of Kogelnik, a key figure of the post-war avant-garde. www.mostyn.org
The Haunting Of Blaine Manor, 19th September Winner of the Salford Star Best Play of the Year Award, this dramatic thriller tells the story of renowned American parapsychologist Dr Roy Earle as he attends a séance in what is said to be the most haunted building in England, Blaine Manor. Written and directed by Joe O’Byrne. 7.30pm. Tickets £16.50. Simon & Garfunkel Through The Years, 24th September Critically acclaimed as one of the greatest tribute shows anywhere in the world, Simon & Garfunkel Through The Years has toured the globe extensively, receiving standing ovations and selling out theatres night after night. Fronted by Dan Haynes and Pete Richards, collectively known as Bookends, the show is a “masterpiece” (BBC Radio) that perfectly recreates the unmistakable sound of Simon & Garfunkel. 7.30pm. Tickets £23.50. The Houghton Weavers, 26th September The Houghton Weavers have been entertaining folk for over 40 years with their unique blend of popular folk music, humour and audience participation. They guarantee a wonderful evening of entertainment suitable for all the family, and, as their motto says, they always “keep folk smiling”. 7.30pm. Tickets £16.50. www.theatrcolwyn.co.uk
Get the family outdoors! Break out of lockdown with epic adventures at Plas Menai, the National Outdoor Centre for Wales on the banks of the Menai Strait. There’s plenty to keep the whole family occupied, from kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding to mountain biking and even windsurfing. Sessions start from as little as £25. www.plasmenai.co.uk
Celebrating lockdown creativity This year’s Ty Pawb Open, which will celebrate creativity during lockdown, launches at Ty Pawb in Wrexham on 3rd October. The exhibition draws works from traditional and contemporary artists who have continued to create within the confines of of the recent coronavirus lockdown. Artists from all over the world have been invited to submit works for the exhibition. The winners will be announced on 2nd October at a special launch evening, and the exhibition is open until 23rd December. www.typawb.wales/ty-pawb-open
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AFONWEN C R A F T & A NT I Q U E C E NT R E
Afonwen North Wales
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DON’T FORGET THAT WE’RE OFFERING A DELIVERY SERVICE TO THE LOCAL NORTH WALES COMMUNITY WITH FREE GIFTS TO THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT. YOU CAN FIND OUT MORE ON OUR WEBSITE WWW.ABERFALLSDISTILLERY.COM #AberFalls #AberFallsDistillery #WelshWhisky #WelshGin #NorthWales #Wales #SupportLocal
WHAT’S ON NORTH WALES
WHAT’S ON IN BRIEF 23RD-31ST OCTOBER
Music festival’s virtual delights North Wales International Music Festival, which is usually held at St Asaph Cathedral in Denbighshire, will be hosted online from 12th to 26th September, with a series of online concerts, workshops and education projects. The virtual festival was launched on 15th July with a concert from Castor Voices, which is available to watch on the festival’s website and social
media pages. The programme will feature a range of evening concerts, morning concerts, education projects, a discussion podcast and a choral workshop. Among those lined up to star as part of the festival are classical sibling duo Sheku and Isata Kanneh-Mason, Australian guitarist Craig Ogden, stunning vocal group Voces8, Wrexham piano virtuoso Luke Jones, the festival’s orchestra
Enjoy live music at Rhyl Pavilion
Quirky cooking at Galeri Caernarfon
One Night In Dublin, 24th October Join the award-winning Irish band The Wild Murphys for a glorious night of music, including a thrilling mix of traditional and contemporary tunes. 7.30pm. Tickets £24.
Direct from the 2019 Edinburgh Fringe comes a comedy-andcooking show from George Egg, who makes gourmet food live on stage. In Movable Feast on 10th October at Galeri Caerarfon, you can enjoy an evening of live cooking and comedy as George demonstrates how to procure items from the train buffet trolley, beat rip-off restaurant prices and turn roadworks into a picnic. Tickets cost £12. www.galericaernarfon.com
Toploader, 29th October Join the band as they celebrate the 20th anniversary of their debut album, Onka’s Big Moka, with a special live performance. 7.30pm. Tickets £20. www.rhylpavilion.co.uk
Go underground! One of north Wales’s best-loved visitor attractions, Llenchwedd in Blaenau Ffestiniog, has reopened after nearly four months of lockdown. The Deep Mine tour is now open alongside the Quarry Explorer and Quarry Walking tours, which opened in July. The Mine will soon be opening its Slate Mountain Adventure tour too, awarded Go North Wales’ 2019 Attraction of the Year. Tours are temporarily limited to eight people and visitors are strongly urged to book online. For details, visit www.llechwedd.co.uk.
Keeping opera alive
The Welsh National Opera’s new podcast series, available in Welsh and English, looking at the work of WNO and how opera connects to our lives today. In The O Word, Gareth Jones explores the world of opera, with guests including renowned musicians and leading figures in arts, culture and beyond, while in Cipolwg, Lorna Prichard interacts with singers, conductors, experts and audience members. Both are available to download from podcast services, including Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Spotify.
in residence NEW Sinfonia and the renowned trio Awen Celtica with folk band VRï. The festival’s original theme “Visions” has been renamed “Visions From Afar” to reflect the change of venue, and it’s hoped the shift online will allow the event to reach a wider audience than ever before. For the full programme and for further details of how to join in, visit www.nwimf.com.
Back in time on Ffestiniog Railway
23rd October, Paul Smith: Changed, William Aston Hall, Wrexham A lot has changed for Paul in recent years. Join him for his third and largest tour of the UK and Ireland as he mixes sharp, hilarious stories from his life with his trademark off-the-cuff wit. 8pm. £24.20. www.thewilliamastonhall.com
23rd October, Great Orme Gin Tasting Evening, St George’s Hotel, Llandudno Enjoy an evening of fine food and gin tasting with Great Orme Gins. £35, including a threecourse dinner with a different gin sample per course and entertainment by Carly and Russ. www.stgeorgeswales.co.uk
Discover what trains were like in Victorian times, the Roaring 20s or the Swinging 60s as Ffestiniog Railway reopens. Super-Power Weekend takes place from 11th to 13th September, while Victorian Vintage Weekend takes place from 9th to 11th October. Visit www.festrail.co.uk.
Fast track to fun on Llangollen Railway Gin Train, 5th September Enjoy two return trips to Carrog while sipping gin and enjoying the beautiful Dee Valley scenery. 6.30pm-9pm. Tickets £19. A Day Out With Thomas, 30th October-1st November Enjoy trips on Thomas the Tank Engine. From 10am. Tickets £20.50 adults, £12.50 children. Halloween Train, 31st October Do you dare to ride the ghost train? 6.30pm. Tickets £21 adults, £13 children. www.llangollen-railway.co.uk
24th October, Murder On The Llangollen Express, Llangollen Railway Expect the unexpected in this thrilling event for amateur detectives. A pasty and sweet is provided, and the on-board bar is open. There are prizes for solving the crime and a special award for best costume. 7pm. £26. www.llangollen-railway.co.uk
28th October, Conwy Farmers’ Market, RSPB Conwy, Llandudno Junction Buy fresh vegetables, local meats, cheeses, jams, pickles, puddings, fruit juice, bread, pastries, confectionery, olives, herbs, plants and more. 9am-1pm. Free entry.
30th October, The Big Spooktacular Children’s Halloween Party, Wrexham Memorial Hall Join the fun at Wrexham’s biggest Halloween party. This fundraising event for the charity Clapa includes fun and games, entertainment, refreshments, raffle and auction. 6pm-9pm. www.ultimate entertainmentwrexham.co.uk
31st October, Halloween Festival – A Nightmare on Castle Street, Llangollen Town Hall Raise a glass to raise the dead at this tribute night to some great stars who are no longer with us. Live band, licensed bar and disco. 7.30pm. £8, including a free shot before 9pm.
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WHAT’S ON MID WALES
WHAT’S ON IN BRIEF 4TH-13TH SEPTEMBER
Stunning outdoor swimming in Aberdyfi Enjoy tidal estuary swimming at the picturesque village of Aberdyfi on 19th and 20th September, with a range of distances from 4km to 13km. On 19th September, the Beat the Tide 4km starts at Aberdyfi beach and pushes past Outward
Bound all the way to “the castle”. Also on the 19th, the 8km Tafol Tumble takes swimmers all the way to the pebbly beach where the River Tafol joins the Dyfi Estuary and back again. The longest estuary swim event in the UK, the Dovey
13km, takes place on 20th September. Participants swim from the beach all the way to the tidal limit of the Dyfi estuary on a journey that transitions from coast to mountain and from salt water to river water. www.aberdoveyswim.co.uk
Music festival goes digital
See you at the drive-in The drive-in cinema is coming to the Royal Welsh Showground in Builth Wells on 22nd and 23rd September, allowing movie fans to enjoy screenings of their favourite films from the safety and comfort of their own cars. Adventure Drive-In Cinema is showing a mix of recent releases and old favourites, with Walk The Line at 2pm on the 22nd followed by The Lion King (1994) at 6pm and Dirty Dancing at 9.30pm. It continues on the 23rd with Knives Out at 2pm and The Blues Brothers at 6pm. Guests can bring their own snacks and drinks, and sound is transmitted via speakers handed out on arrival. Tickets cost £27.50 per car. www.adventuredrivein.co.uk
Marathon tales at Aberystwyth In November 2019, Nick Butter was officially crowned the first person to run a marathon in every country. On 14th October at Aberystwyth Arts Centre you can hear his tales of muggings, war zones, dog attacks, extreme exhaustion, and learn about the scale and diversity of our planet in Nick Butter: A New World First. His talk is accompanied with stunning photography and videography and starts at 8pm. Tickets cost from £14. www. aberystwythartscentre.co.uk
The Brecon Baroque Festival is heading online this year to bring you stunning music filmed at Brecon Cathedral from 23rd to 25th October. The festival was established in 2006 by Rachel Podger, one of the world’s leading interpreters of baroque music, and each year she gathers some of the world’s leading period musicians for a long weekend of performances, talks and workshops. At the heart of this year’s online festival is a film premiering a new arrangement of Bach’s Goldberg Variations for nine instruments, commissioned by Chad Kelly who appeared for the first time at the festival in 2019. There will also be behind-the-scenes looks at the Goldberg project preparation and rehearsal with members of Brecon Baroque, a solo Bach recital from Rachel and an online talk with Rachel and Chad. www.brecon baroquefestival.com
Tame the Beast!
Challenge yourself with a beastly 20-mile trail race in the Brecon Beacons on 19th September with the Beast of the Beacons 20. The race attracts runners from beginners to elite athletes, and the generous cut-off time of eight hours ensures most competitors can tame the beast. All runners receive a medal, a complimentary gift and refreshments. www.limitlesstrails.co.uk
Explore sustainable solutions online Learn all about sustainability at home with the Centre of Alternative Technology in Machynlleth. CAT offers a series of free webinars and short courses, covering everything from practical building tips to in-depth explorations of how we can rise to the climate emergency. Among these is Zero Carbon Britain: Live Online on 23rd and 24th September, covering all aspects of climate solutions. www.cat. org.uk
4th September, Let’s Get Quizzical, The Globe at Hay Kick off the new school year by giving your brain a workout! Questions are tough, so get your thinking caps on. Entry costs just £2 per person and the winner takes the pot. 8pm.
5th September DyfiULTRA, Aberdyfi An 80km ultra marathon with a total height gain of 3,000m along coast, trail, mountain, river and forest in south Snowdonia. This challenging, stunning route takes in 15 peaks, including the whole of the ridge-line and the summit of Cadair Idris. 6am11.30pm. www.weswimrun.org
5th-6th September, Autumn Foraging & Preserving Weekend, Gilestone Farm, Brecon Beacons Learn to identify correctly and forage for a range of wild foods found in our native woodlands and hedgerows. Fill your baskets with a range of berries and fruits, then get busy in the kitchen making chutney, jelly, fruit butters, fruit leather, cordials and syrups. £160. www.pippinandgile.co.uk
12th September, Pen Y Fan Sunset Hike, Brecon JT Expeditions and Made A Mark invite you to walk up Pen y Fan, the highest peak in south Wales, and enjoy the stunning views as the sun sets. The climb from the Pont Ar Daf car park takes around two hours in total. Tickets cost £35 and walkers are asked to raise a minimum of £100 for Made A Mark, a charity supporting bereaved children. 6.30pm-12.30am. www.madeamarkcharity.com
13th September, Felting Fun – Felt A Landscape, Denmark Farm Conservation Centre, Lampeter Have a go at needle-felting to make a 2D landscape using native, natural, hand-dyed wool as “paint”. This workshop is suitable for all abilities, including beginners. The tutor will guide you through all the techniques you need and you’ll be able to take home your completed picture at the end of the workshop. 10am-4pm. £40 per person, plus £10 for materials. www.denmarkfarm.org.uk
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MID WALES WHAT’S ON
WHAT’S ON IN BRIEF 19TH SEPTEMBER – 3RD OCTOBER
19th September, Brecon Craft Fair Held in Brecon’s market hall, the Brecon Craft Fair brings together around 60 traditional and independent craft workers and artists. The result is a unique collection of Welsh arts and crafts. 9am-4.30pm. Free entry.
19th & 20th September, Mawddach Sea Kayaking, Dolgellau Experience the joy of sea kayaking on the spectacular Mawddach Estuary. All kayaks and safety equipment are provided, plus expert tuition from British Canoeing instructor Alistair Othen. 9am-3pm. £79.
27th September, Machrun, Machynlleth See a huge range of incredible motors on display in this petrolhead’s dream. With old-school classics through to mind-blowing supercars, there will be something for everyone. Cars assemble from 9am and leave in convoy from midday. In aid of the Wales Air Ambulance. www.machrun.co.uk
2nd-4th October, Mandala Retreat, Denmark Farm Conservation Centre, Lampeter An immersive weekend in the heart of mid Wales, giving thanks for the gifts of this year and gathering your energy in readiness for the darker months. Create a personal mandala and enjoy sacred song, mindful movement and a ceremonial labyrinth, all in the setting of a beautiful nature reserve. www.denmarkfarm.org.uk
3rd October, Shrink Pot Carving, Centre for Alternative Technology, Machynlleth Learn how to carve a wooden pot on this course that covers choosing materials, using tools safely, carving techniques and drying and finishing. Leave with the skills and knowledge you’ll need, plus your own handmade shrink pot or two! 10am-4.30pm. £65 including tuition, tools, materials and lunch. www.cat.org.uk
A taste of Brecon Don’t miss the 21st Brecon Beacons Food Festival on 5th October. The annual event, held at the Brecon Indoor Market, brings together more than 60 exhibitors offering the finest food and drink in the Brecon Beacons National Park. Festival-goers can look forward to sampling a range of produce from bread to beer, and from cheese to Welsh cakes, with most items travelling fewer miles than the visitors themselves. They can also meet a huge range of local food
Outrun the Devil
Take on a devilish challenge at the inaugural Trailhead Get Jerky Devil’s Staircase Ultra Trail Race on 3rd October. The extreme running challenge covers 50km and 1,741m of ascent and descent, including the hellishly steep ascent of the famous Devil’s staircase. The race starts at 9am from the centre of Llanwrtyd Wells and costs £45 to enter. www.green-events.co.uk
and drink exhibitors and learn more about where and how their products were made. Other foodie highlights include cooking demonstrations from award-winning chefs and the return of the popular Education Corner. There will also be a wide range of entertainment including live music and activities for children. The event, which is free to enter, runs from 9.30am to 4.30pm. For more information, visit www.breconbeaconsfoodfestival.co.uk.
Climb back aboard Fairbourne Railway has reopened – and children can ride for just £1! Kids love travelling through sand dunes on the miniature steam train. No pre-booking is needed, and there is also a takeaway service offering drinks, ice creams and snacks. Adult return tickets cost £10.90. www.fairbournerailway.com
Discover Elan Valley
Get your walking boots on from 5th to 11th September for a series of walks, talks and events that will help you explore the Elan Valley Estate. The seven-day walking festival incorporates a huge range of events catering for all interests and abilities. Most walks are limited to 10 people, and booking is essential. www.elanvalley.org.uk
Tribute nights at MOMA
Garden inspiration with NGS
Hell Of A Show, 12th September Fronted by Lee Brady and accompanied by Melissa Xenofontos, this Meat Loaf tribute will have you up on your feet rocking the night away. This is a live, energetic, knockout show that has to be seen. 7.30pm. Tickets £21.
Marvel at some of the areas stunning gardens with the National Garden Scheme (NGS). Gardens now open include Tranquility Haven, a Japanese stroll garden near Knighton, and the grounds of the Georgian Garthmyl Hall in Montgomery. Booking is essential. To find out which gardens are open in September and October and to book your tickets, visit www.ngs.org.uk.
The Jerseys: Oh What A Nite!, 9th October Celebrate the music of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, including “Walk Like A Man”, “Stay” and “Big Girls Don’t Cry”. 7.30pm. Tickets £21. moma.machynlleth.org.uk
National Trust’s gorgeous autumnal gardens have reopened! There couldn’t be a more beautiful time of year to get out and enjoy the fantastic open spaces owned by the National Trust. The gardens at Powis Castle in Welshpool and at Llanerchaeron, Ceredigion, are now both open again and can be visited as long as you book in advance.
Powis Castle’s celebrated garden is now open along with its Courtyard Café and Garden Coffee Shop. Llanerchaeron, an elegant Georgian villa, includes a farm, walled gardens, lake, pleasure grounds and woodland walks, all of which are now open. www.nationaltrust.org.uk
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WHAT’S ON MID WALES
Musical legends at Pavilion Mid Wales AC/DC UK, 2nd October Over the past decade, AC/ DC UK have established themselves as one of the world’s most electrifying acts. Complete with fully firing cannons and an inflatable Rosie, AC/DC UK churn out all the biggest hits alongside a few fan favourites at every show. 8pm. Tickets from £8.
Underground shocks Visit the Silver Mountain Experience in Ponterwyd, Aberystwyth, this half-term from 17th October to 1st November for some ghoulish fun. With activities fit for monsters big and small, this is one “not too scary” Halloween party that everyone can enjoy! Take the Black Chasm tour, enjoy the trick or treat trail and have some pumpkin carving fun. www.silver mountainexperience.co.uk
Beardyman, 16th October The award-winning musician presents Sheer Volume: The Initial Phase. Beardyman is one of the world’s best beatboxers – a multi-instrumentalist, groundbreaking live looping pioneer and musical comedic talent championed by the likes of Tim Minchin and Jack Black. 8pm. Tickets £18.
Festival for your feet
Enjoy the countryside around Llanwrtyd Wells during the Four-Day Walking Festival from 15th to 18th September. Entry to the 12- and 20-mile waymarked walks is £10 per day or £35 for all four days, and for the five- and eight-mile guided walks it is £5 a day. For more visit www.green-events.co.uk.
The Elvis Years: The Story of the King, 24th October With nostalgic film footage and more than 12 costume changes, this glittering two-hour production features classic hits including “That’s Alright Mama”, “Suspicious Minds”, “Heartbreak Hotel” and many more. Starring Mario Kombou. 7.30pm. www.pavilionmidwales.org.uk
Learn a new skill Join Vicki from Miss Gregory’s Gorgeous Gifts for a crochet course at Wyeside Arts Centre. The course, which takes place at 7pm every Tuesday from 1st September to 20th October, will teach you to hold a hook, read a pattern, make a granny square, change colour, weave in ends and crochet a simple flower. All yarn is provided – all you need to bring is a 4mm hook and a yarn needle. For more information, visit www.miss gregorysgorgeousgifts.co.uk.
Photography festival moves online
The EYE International Photography Festival, which usually takes place at Aberystwyth Arts Centre, will take place online from 29th October to 1st November, allowing enthusiasts to attend presentations by leading photographers and see work in several exhibitions. Tickets cost £25 for a weekend pass and £5 for individual sessions. www.theeyefestival.com
Tal-y-llyn Lake is one of the most scenic spots in Snowdonia National Park, and on 13th September a special event allows you to take the plunge and enjoy a swim in the beautiful lake with other wild swimming enthusiasts. You can choose from a 2km or 10km, and entry costs £35 or £50, including full safety cover, souvenirs and photos. www.weswimrun.org
Welshpool & Llanfair Railway is back on track! Narrow-gauge steam trains are running once more on the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway, a historic railway in the Welsh borders. The trains run seven days a week, and passengers can ride in vintage railway carriages from across Europe for as little as £12. Enjoy an eight-mile, 60-minute round trip from Llanfair Caereinion to Castle Caereinion behind a historic steam
locomotive, which will be at least 118 years old, and enjoy the picturesque scenery surrounding the railway. Tickets cost £12 for adults, £5 for children and £29 for a family of four and must be booked in advance. For more details, visit www.wllr.org.uk.
WHAT’S ON IN BRIEF 3RD-29TH OCTOBER
3rd October, Big Bike Forestry Rides, Sweet Lamb Adventure Bike Academy, Llanidloes Enjoy a day off-road on your big bike in Tarennig and Myherin forests. Setting off from Sweetlamb tracks, you’ll use the forestry trails, hill climbs, descents, switchbacks and single track with full permission from National Resources Wales. 9am-4pm. £98. Booking essential – email sweetlambnavigation@gmail. com for more details.
10th October, Flat-Bottomed Willow Basket Making, Centre for Alternative Technology, Machynlleth Learn to create willow baskets using the stake and strand technique and make your own beautiful willow basket to take home with you. The course also allows you to discover all about the wonderful nature of willow, as you’ll learn about its growth, harvesting and preparation. 10am-5pm. £65 per person including tuition, all materials and lunch. www.cat.org.uk
25th October, Peg Loom Weaving Course, Glyn Canol Old Farm, Welshpool Learn how to use a peg loom to make rugs, seat pads, cushions, scarves and bags in this fun course using native-breed sheep wool. The cost includes a 90cm loom, all materials for the day and refreshments. 10am-3pm. £75. www.glyncanololdfarm.co.uk
26th-29th October, The Pumlumon Fawr Mountain Experience, Staylittle Enjoy a four-day break in the Cambrian mountains, staying in a luxury pod, with a guided walk on each day led by Helen Menhinick of Bryn Walking. Learn about the history of lead mining in Dylife, experience Pumlumon Fawr – the highest peak in the Cambrian range – and then climb to another trig point on day four where you’ll be rewarded by all-round fabulous views. For the full itinerary and to book, visit www.brynwalking. co.uk/pumlumon-experience.
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CHESHIRE WHAT’S ON
WHAT’S ON IN BRIEF 1ST–13TH SEPTEMBER
Until 30th September, Rode Hall Summer Season, Scholar Green The house remains closed, but the courtyard kitchen and gardens are open. A limited menu is available from the kitchen. 11am-4pm. £5 adults, £2 children, under-fives RHS and HHA members free.
Until 18th October, Cholmondeley Castle Gardens, Malpas Discover the romantic temple and folly water gardens, rose garden, wild meadows and ornamental woodland. The tea rooms are open offering lunches, light bites and teas. 10am5pm, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Sundays and bank holidays. From £4. Booking essential.
Until 31st October, Craft & Chat, Weaver Hall Museum, Northwich Meet like-minded crafters, learn a new skill, and enjoy a cuppa in the relaxed setting of the museum café. Suitable for all levels of experience. Times TBC. £3, including tea or coffee.
1st September – 31st December, Catalyst Science Discovery Centre, Widnes A great action-packed family attraction with an excellent educational focus. There are three interactive galleries with more than 80 exhibits to tug, tease and test. 10am-4pm, Tuesday-Friday; 10am-5pm, weekends. £5.95 adults, £4.95 children. www.catalyst.org.uk
•5th September, The Rum Festival, The Carriage Shed, Chester More than 100 new and exclusive rums, cocktails and house brands will be on offer, plus live entertainment, tasty food and, above all, lots of fun. If you’re new to rum, don’t worry – the friendly Rumuns will recommend a few. 1pm-9pm. Early bird tickets from £5.
A great night out at Parr Hall The Bowie Collective, 25th October A trip through the work of David Bowie, recreating his most famous recordings. 7.30pm. Tickets from £25. The Magic Of The Beatles, 29th October – POSTPONED until 14th May 2021 If you’re looking for an authentic, lively dose of Beatlemania then look no further! 7.30pm. Tickets from £23. Dave Spikey: A Funny Thing Happened, 30th October Dave’s special radar instinctively draws
We’re going to the zoo, zoo, zoo Chester Zoo is open again, giving visitors the chance to see the first set of Andean bear twins ever born in the UK. The pair of rare cubs, which were born during lockdown and resemble Paddington Bear, have been venturing out and exploring. Staff have prepared the zoo to ensure that social distancing is in place. There are minimal hard surface contact points and increased hygiene facilities, making it a safe and enjoyable space for everyone. The zoo is open daily from 10am to 5pm (4.30pm from 28th September) and all visitors, including members, must book online. Tickets cost from £20.90 (under-twos free). www.chesterzoo.org
13th September, Sandstone Trail Race, Duckington/Beeston Two point-to-point races run concurrently, following sections of the Sandstone Trail. Both races finish in Delamere Forest. 10am or 11am start. £15 race entry. www.runcheshire.com
DID YOU KNOW? Shaun Ryder was runner-up on the 10th series of I’m A Celebrity…
him to the small out-of-theordinary events and conversations that wash over most of us. This comedy of association elevates the event to laughout-loud funny. 7.30pm. Tickets from £17.50.
An Evening With Shaun Ryder, 31st October Hear about Shaun’s years in the Happy Mondays and Black Grape, his take on the Manchester music scene and his infamous rock’n’roll capers. 8pm. Tickets from £25. parrhall.culturewarrington.org
Tip Top online theatre offerings
Soviet threat at Secret Bunker
Tip Top Productions is providing audiences with safe fun to enjoy at home with its Lockdown Season. Online events include a Grease Dance Workshop, Musical Bingo, Live Monologues, Open Mic and Games Nights. The company is also streaming plays via Zoom, including Waiting, a new play by local playwright Gail Young. Event listings can be found at www.chestertheatre.co.uk. To book an event, email lockdown @tiptopproductions.co.uk.
Hack Green Secret Nuclear Bunker in Nantwich is stepping back in time on 19th and 20th September to investigate what life was like for people living on either side of the Berlin Wall during the Cold War. The bunker is open from 10am to 4pm and tickets cost £13 for adults and £10 for children. For information, visit www.hackgreen.co.uk.
Racing action at Oulton Park
Enjoy Abbeywood’s gardens in bloom
The 2020 Bennetts British Superbikes Championship returns to Oulton Park from 18th to 20th September as part of a triple-header of races. Bennetts BSB sees top talents from the UK and across the globe battle for the UK’s biggest prize in bike racing. Tickets cost from £18 for 13 to 15-year olds and £25 for adults. Booking is essential; visit www.oultonpark.co.uk.
Abbeywood Gardens in Delamere has lots to offer, including six acres of informal and formal gardens, a 2km wildlife walk and 27 acres of mature and newly planted woodland. Plants, fresh garden produce and eggs are available to buy, and the garden café serves food and drink that can be eaten on the premises or taken away. The gardens are open daily from 9am to 5pm and tickets cost £6. www.abbeywoodestate.co.uk
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WHAT’S ON CHESHIRE
WHAT’S ON IN BRIEF
Fun and relaxation at Carden Park You can make your visit to Carden Park Hotel & Spa near Chester as exhilarating or relaxing as you want with one of the many activities available to visitors during September and October. For those looking to boost their adrenaline, the Event Station offers 4x4 off-roading,
quad biking, an assault rope course, archery, Segways and laser clay shooting. If relaxation is what you are after, then a visit to the hotel’s brand new £10 million Spa at Carden is a must. In all weathers
you can enjoy the extensive garden’s state-of-the-art features, from heated pods and fire pits, to a champagne bar and hot tubs. Times and activity prices vary. For information and to book, visit www.cardenpark.co.uk.
Discover the tasty and spooky treats at Arley Hall The formal gardens and children’s play zone at Arley Hall & Gardens in Northwich are open, with no need to book in advance. The following events are also scheduled to take place – keep an eye on the website (see below) for updates. 26th & 27th September, The Great British Food Festival Lots of amazing food producers, tasty street food and thirst-quenching bars, alongside a craft and gift marquee, chef demos, a bake stage, barbecue stage, lots for the children and live music. 10am-5pm. One-day tickets costs from £7.50 for adults, £3.75 for children and £21 for families.
Outdoor fun at Manley Mere There are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy at Manley Mere in Frodsham this autumn. Visit the Adventure Trail for an obstacle course suitable for all the family, or for something a bit wetter head to the Aqua Park course, consisting of over 60 individual pieces. Open-water swimming has been on offer here since 2010, or if you’d rather stay above water there’s stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking or sailing. The Mere is open daily from 10am to 5pm. To book, visit www.manleymere.co.uk.
Beneath Blue Planet’s waves An amazing underwater adventure is waiting for you to discover at Blue Planet Aquarium in Chester during September and October. There is plenty of marine life to marvel at – the aquarium is home to more than 100 living displays, as well as one of Europe’s largest collections of sharks – while following the one-way route that has been in place since it reopened in July. Open 10am to 5pm (6pm on weekends). Online tickets cost £17.10 for adults and £12.15 for children. www.blueplanetaquarium.com
25th October, Mushroom Walk With over 196 varieties of mushrooms at Arley this is an opportunity to see and hear about the diverse array of multi-coloured growths. Booking essential; waterproof clothing and sensible footwear should be worn. 11am-12.30pm. Tickets cost £9 for adults. Garden entry is extra. 26th-31st October, Halloween Spectacular Join in for a week of spooky fun. Ghoulish activities to keep young and old entertained during half-term. 10am-5pm. Event prices vary. www.arleyhallandgardens.com
Culture returns to Warrington Warrington Museum & Art Gallery is open with new measures in place to keep visitors and staff safe. There will be fewer people in the venue at any one time, extra attention paid to hygiene and all visitors will have to book a start time via the website. The museum also has an improved digital platform that allows visitors to access high-quality content from the safety of their own homes. The museum is open from 10am to 4.30pm Wednesday to Friday, until 4pm on Saturday and 3pm on Sunday. Admission is free but booking is advised. wmag.culturewarrington.org
Online performances with Sandbach Concert Series The Sandbach Concert Series has moved online, giving audiences the opportunity to hear worldclass artists perform live via Zoom. Audience microphones are muted and cameras switched off during the concerts except for the spotlight musicians and guest musician. Online doors open at 6.30pm and donations are welcomed. For more details and to register visit www.sandbach-concert-series.co.uk.
17th September, Wedding Showcase, Abode, Chester Guests will be welcomed with a glass of bubbly as they are guided through this showcase, held in the Tattersalls Suite which will be set up for a wedding ceremony and breakfast. The venue dresser will be on hand to answer any questions. Booking advised. 5pm-8pm. Free entry.
20th September, Cheshire Cat Sportive, Queens Park, Crewe The biggest single-day open-road sportive in the UK sees more than 2,000 riders take on this amazing ride. Awesome routes, amazing food stops with fresh pies, cakes and sandwiches make this a brilliant day out for all. 8am-5pm. £20. www.velo29events.com
24th September, Fizz Fashion Show, Crewe Alexandra Football Club, Crewe A chance to look ahead to the Christmas party season with an autumn/ winter fashion show hosted by the Nantwich Christie Support Group, which raises funds for the Christie hospital in Manchester, in particular research into proton beam therapy. 7.30pm-10.30pm. £5. www.facebook.com/ NantwichChristie
26th September, Homage To Fromage, Hoole Community Centre, Chester A festival to celebrate to all things cheeserelated, and how to pair with wine, cider and beers. Food options available will include melted cheese toasties, raclette and ploughmans, and there will also be live music to keep you entertained. A must for all cheese lovers. Noon–9pm. £8.
27th September, Bartletts Farndon 10k, Farndon This scenic, well-marshalled course provided many runners with PBs last year. The race has upto-date integrated chip timing, free parking, free-to-download photographs and bespoke medals. 10am start. Early-bird entry from £11. runcheshire. niftyentries.com
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CHESHIRE WHAT’S ON
WHAT’S ON IN BRIEF 3RD–25TH OCTOBER
Live events at Crewe Lyceum •
3rd-4th October, Grandparents’ Weekend, Gulliver’s World Resort, Warrington Two grandparents get free entry to the resort when accompanied by one full-paying person. Gulliver’s is the perfect place for a day of traditional family fun with rides and attractions for everyone. 10.30am–5pm. Other adults and children £19. www.gulliversworldresort.co.uk
•17th October, The Schmyder Cup 2020, Cheshire County
The Cat & The Canary, 19th-24th October Building on the phenomenal decade-long success of the Agatha Christie Theatre Company, the Classic Thriller Theatre Company presents its fifth production. The descendants of Mr West gather to discover who will inherit his vast wealth. But when the heir is named, a chain of macabre events is set in motion and dark secrets are revealed. 2.30pm and 7.30pm. Tickets from £20.50.
Get creative with Cheshire Wildlife Make Your Own Pallet Furniture, 12th September, Bickley Hall Farm, Malpas Create a unique and sustainable piece of furniture. 10am.
Sports Club, Chester Team USA face Team Europe… not in golf but in American football. The game is in aid of mental health charities as part of Lifting The Lid, a campaign raising awareness of mental health within sport. Everyone is welcome to watch, and there will be plenty of things going on, but experienced players only can play. From noon. Registration required.
Apple Pressing Afternoon, 10th October, New Ferry Butterfly Park Bring your spare apples to make tasty juice. 10am-4pm. Donations welcome. Pumpkin Party, 24th October, Bickley Hall Farm, Malpas Harvest a pumpkin and carve it for Halloween. For prices for all events, plus more information, visit www.cheshirewildlifetrust.org.uk
17th & 18th October, The Cheshire Outdoor Wedding Show, Ashley Hall Showground, Tatton Estate, Altrincham More than 80 suppliers will be in attendance, with numerous themed tents including luxury marquees, stunning tipis, spectacular stretch tents and showstopping geo-domes. The huge selection of top-quality wedding specialists will be showcasing the latest wedding trends and themes. 10am-4pm. Free entry.
•25th October, Chester Comic
Con, Festival Village, Chester Racecourse Meet stars from TV and film, lots of photo opportunities with props and vehicles, plus stage entertainment, cosplay competitions, kids’ area and more. 10am-5pm. Tickets from £8.50, under-10s free. www.chestercomiccon.co.uk.
Throughout September & October, Anderton Boat Lift, Northwich Online booking for boats to travel through the lift is now open via the Canal & River Trust. 10am–1pm, Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday. www.canalriver trust.org.uk
Cathedral update Chester Cathedral is open once again for prayer and reflection. Several services have also resumed, but a pre-booked ticket is required. Follow the cathedral’s Facebook page for service alerts, or stream services via its YouTube channel. Measures to keep people safe are in place, including limiting the number of people allowed in the cathedral at any one time, hand sanitisers at appropriate points, and signage to remind people of the health and safety around social distancing. www.chestercathedral.com
We all scream for ice cream! The Ice Cream Farm in Tattenhall is open with additional safety measures in place. Outdoor activities suitable for the whole family include Strawberry Falls adventure golf, Daisy’s Garden, Rocky Road, Silvercone racing track, Mini Tractors and Gemstone Cove. The new drivethrough ice cream parlour is also up and running. Play sessions are available from 9.30am. A one-hour pass costs £1, a two-hour pass £1.50 and a three-hour pass £2. Time slots must be booked in advance at www.theicecreamfarm.co.uk.
DID YOU KNOW? The “New” Lyceum Theatre opened on 21st November 1887
The Country Wife, 27th31st October William Wycherley’s classic comedy is an outrageous, witty farce that will leave you rolling in the aisles. From the company who recently toured Lady Chatterley’s Lover and Murder, Margaret & Me. 2.30pm and 7.30pm. Tickets from £18. www.crewelyceum.co.uk
Storyhouse’s cinema transformation The café, cinema and library at Chester’s Storyhouse are now open, while the main auditorium has been transformed into a movie theatre. This means Storyhouse is now operating as a two-screen cinema, allowing it to show a bigger range of new releases and independent movies. Young Storyhouse is also fully operational online, along with a series of interactive events. The charity behind the theatre has also launched a new membership programme, the Storyhouse Card, with a host of benefits. For details visit www.storyhouse.com.
Live at Ellesmere Civic Hall
G4 Live, 9th October The classical vocal quartet are back with another exhilarating tour. 7.30pm. Tickets £27.50. René & Edith: The Comedy Dinner Show, 10th October Characters from sitcom ’Allo ’Allo in a fun comedy dining experience. 7.30pm. Tickets £38. Jive Talkin’ perform The Bee Gees, 30th October An amazing two-hour explosion of harmony featuring all the hits. 7.30pm. Tickets from £19. www.brioleisure.org
Gastronomic walking tour Try myriad culinary delights guaranteed to get your taste buds tingling on a three-hour guided Bites of Chester Walking Tour, available from 4th September to 30th October. The tour stops at five independent food and drink stops, giving you the opportunity to try a variety of dishes. Tours are in small groups and led by an experienced guide, and start at 1pm. Tickets cost from £50. For details, visit www.toursaroundchester.co.uk.
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Discover the giant Lovell Telescope!
Plus: Interactive exhibits and displays, 35 acres of gardens and arboretum, Planet Pavilion Cafe and gift shop, playground and picnic areas, year-round events and activities
WHAT’S ON CHESHIRE
WHAT’S ON IN BRIEF
DID YOU KNOW? Pre-booked tickets are needed for Capesthorne gardens and 11th October, Wedding car park Fair The hall will be
Capers at Capesthorne 6th September, Discover Tree Climbing Guided by friendly instructors, visitors can use the safe climbing system to climb into the treetops for an unforgettable experience. Sessions run for 45 minutes with a minimum age of six. 10am-5pm. Tickets £15 per person. 13th September, Cheshire Half Marathon This brand-new closed-road event offers the perfect opportunity for runners of all abilities to receive a chip-timed personal best over 13.1 miles. The race starts at 9am and entry costs £26.
transformed with huge sail cloth tents, chill-out areas, street food vendors, live bands and more than 70 luxury wedding suppliers. 11am-3pm. Free entry. 18th October, Tough Woofer A fun 5km obstacle course to enjoy with your four-legged friends to raise funds for East Cheshire Hospice. The course will include 15 different obstacles. Registration £30 for owner and dog. www.capesthorne.com
National Trust gardens reopen
Set sail for fun on the River Dee
Tatton Park’s seasonal delights
The National Trust has reopened more than 200 coast and countryside car parks plus a small number of gardens and parklands. Cheshire properties now accepting visitors on a pre-booked basis include Dunham Massey in Altrincham, Lyme in Stockport and Quarry Bank in Wilmslow, and the Trust has plans to reopen further venues in the coming weeks. All visitors must book tickets in advance, including members. For entry times and prices for non-members, visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk.
Chester Boat is running halfhour city cruises, departing every 30 minutes (or hourly in poor weather) from its moorings on the Groves in Chester. This tranquil half-hour cruise sails up the River Dee, under the suspension bridge, past Grosvenor Park and the Earl’s Eye, then follows the long sweep of the Meadows to the city limits before returning to the Groves. Social distancing guidelines are in place and boats are operating at reduced capacity. www.chesterboat.co.uk
Head Gardener’s Picnic Enjoy a picnic from the Gardener’s Cottage Tea Room in the park grounds, including the best of local and estate produce. Order at www.tattonpark.org. uk/gardenerscottage and choose a convenient day and time to collect it from the tea room. All you need is your picnic rug!
Street food at its best Support Chester Market’s Foodie Fridays and Saturday Socials during September and October. Here you’ll find fresh produce, food, drink and niche stalls. There are also socially distanced tables inside the food court and in the al fresco area. The market is open 8am to 10pm and entry is free. You can also get £1 off your parking. www.chester.market
Racing at the Roodee Racing at Chester Racecourse is taking place behind closed doors until further notice, but you can still watch events unfold online. Autumn Festival, 11th & 12th September The crowds may not be in attendance but the festival continues! Season Finale, 26th September Raise a toast to the end of the season – online. For more information on fixtures, visit www.chester-races.com.
Wedding Open Day, 3rd September & 11th October View the Tenants’ Hall and book for access to event areas such as the Entrance Hall and Lord Egerton’s Apartment. Open 1pm to 7pm. Free admission. Run Through Tatton 10k, 12th September & 11th October This fast, undulating race is the perfect opportunity to get a PB. A RunBritain-licensed and chip-timed event, it starts at 9am and costs £18.50 per runner. The Pumpkin Patch, 26th31st October The farm opens 11am to 4pm, with pumpkin picking at 11.30am to 1.30pm. Entry costs £10 per person and includes pumpkin, farm and park access. Booking essential. www.tattonpark.org.uk
Alexander’s Live, Chester Open as a bar on weekends, serving homemade wood-fired pizzas. Noon-late. Free entry. www.alexanderslive.com
Beeston Castle & Woodland Park, Beeston There are limits on visitor numbers to keep everyone safe, so everyone, including members, must book a timed ticket in advance. 10am-5pm. Adults £9, children £5.40, members free. www.english-heritage.org.uk
Dunham Massey, Altrincham The gardens, deer park and car park are open, but you’ll need to book before you visit. 10am-4pm. Adults £8, children £4, National Trust members free. Tickets are released every Friday. www.nationaltrust.org.uk
Grosvenor Museum, Chester Discover the rich history of Chester and the surrounding areas. 10.30am-1pm and 2pm-4.30pm TuesdayThursday. Free entry. Booking essential. grosvenormuseum. westcheshiremuseums.co.uk
Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre, Knutsford Explore the wonders of the universe and learn about the giant Lovell Telescope. The online Science Learning at Home programme will also continue. 10am-5pm. Adults £8.50, children £6.50. www.jodrellbank.net
Lion Salt Works, Northwich Visitor numbers and opening times are limited, so tickets must be booked in advance. Online activities continue. Noon–5pm, Tuesday–Thursday. Adults £6.60, children £4.20. lionsaltworks. westcheshiremuseums.co.uk
Norton Priory Museum & Gardens, Runcorn Explore the 12thcentury undercroft and priory ruins, or venture into the surrounding woodland to discover secret summer houses and stream glades. 11am–5pm. Adults £9.50, children £6.75, under-fours free. Booking required. www.nortonpriory.org
Roman Tours, Chester See the remains of the biggest Roman fort and largest amphitheatre in Britain in the company of a Roman soldier. Noon-3pm; tours last 90 minutes. Adults from £8, children form £4, under-fives free. www.romantoursuk.com
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WIRRAL WHAT’S ON
FRIGHTS FOR ALL THE FAMILY
Enjoy some Halloween fun with your whole family at Church Farm’s Family Fright Festival throughout October. The festival is a spooky-themed farm experience, with pumpkin picking, puppet shows and more. Children can enjoy a terrifying tractor tour, beastly barrel-train ride and eerie emu experience, then meet the monstrous meerkats and feed the grizzly guzzling goats! The experience is designed to be spooky without being too frightening, making it ideal for families with young children. The Family Fright Festival takes place every weekend throughout October and then every day during half-term from 24th October to 1st November. Tickets cost £8 for adults and £7.50 for children and include access to the full activity timetable, including tractor rides up to the pumpkin fields. Booking is essential. For more information, visit www.churchfarmevents.co.uk.
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Raise a glass at the Wirral Beer Festival Enjoy a pint or two at the 12th Ship & Mitre Wirral Easter Beer Festival at Hulme Hall in Port Sunlight, which takes place from 29th October to 1st November. There’ll be over 200 beers on offer, including 80 real ales and 80 craft beers, as well as continental lagers, ciders and a gin bar. Beers from the Ship & Mitre Flagship brewery will be available, as well as beers from other great local breweries, and there will also be a full range of wines and spirits as well as cider, perry and mead. Entertainment will be provided across all sessions – except for Friday afternoon, which is kept as a quiet session – and you can enjoy food from a selection of local stallholders as well as hot food from Hulme Hall. The festival starts at 4pm on 29th October and tickets start from as little as £3, plus booking fee. For a full line-up of beers and entertainment visit www.theshipandmitre.com.
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WHAT’S ON WIRRAL
WHAT’S ON IN BRIEF 1ST SEPTEMBER – 31ST OCTOBER
On stage at the Floral Pavilion Hello Again: The Story Of Neil Diamond, 22nd September – POSTPONED until 11th April 2021 A tribute using imagery, video and narration to take you on a journey through Neil Diamond’s career. 7.30pm. Tickets £26.25. Court & Spark: The Joni Mitchell Songbook, 26th September Singer, songwriter, painter, poet, activist and voice of a generation… Joni Mitchell is an essential part of the soundtrack to the 20th century. This show includes tracks across her career, from Ladies Of The Canyon and Court & Spark to The Hissing Of Summer Lawns, Mingus and Turbulent Indigo. 7.30pm. Tickets £17.75.
DID YOU KNOW? Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides, Now” was first a hit for Judy Collins
The Music Of John Denver, 16th October Chris Bannister performs favourites including, “Take Me Home Country Roads”, “Leaving On A Jet Plane” and “Annie’s Song”. 8pm. Tickets £17.50.
Ian Waite & Vincent Simone… Act Two, 24th October The ballroom boys return with beautiful costumes and world-class routines. The Strictly Come Dancing stars promise a wonderful evening of old-fashioned variety. 7.30pm. Tickets from £31.75. www.floralpavilion.com
Calling all budding photographers! If you’ve been snapping stunning pictures during lockdown, why not show off your photography skills by entering the Ness Botanic Gardens Photography Competition? The competition organisers are encouraging everyone to explore the great outdoors and record how inspiring plants and gardens can be. The contest is open to amateurs and professionals alike, and there are adult and young photographer sections. Categories include Plants, Gardens, Wildlife and Abstract, all taken in Ness Botanic Gardens, plus Outdoor Spaces, which can be taken in any location. The overall winner will receive £100, while the winner of the Young Person’s prize will win £40. Entry costs £10 for three entries, and the competition closes on 18th December. Visit www.liverpool.ac.uk/ness-gardens for full details.
Have fun on the Pizza Run! What could make a 5k run more enjoyable? Pizza, of course! Merseyside’s original pizza-themed race returns to Birkenhead Park on 3rd October. Runners must devour a slice of pizza – including the crust! – at the 2.5km and 5km points to earn their medals. Kids are welcome, and the course is buggy and wheelchair friendly. The event, which starts at 12.30pm, is organised by Wirral Ark, a charity combating homelessness in Wirral, and all runners are asked to raise a recommended minimum of £25 sponsorship per person. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
5th September – 17th October, Saturday Candle Club, The Barn, Heswall A practical six-week course teaching you the basic skills and technical know-how you’ll need to make candles. 2pm-4pm. £150. www.thebarnwirral.co.uk
26th September, West Kirby Farmers’ Market, St Andrew’s Church Hall Organised by volunteers, this market offers a huge range of produce, including meat, cheeses, fish, eggs, fruit, vegetables, breads, patisserie, honey, cakes and more. 9am-1pm. Email admin@ westkirbyfarmersmarket.co.uk.
4th October, Absolute Beginners Furniture Painting Workshop, The Vintage Furniture Fairy, New Brighton One of the longest-running upcycling workshops on the Wirral is for anyone looking to upcycle their furniture or learn a new skill. All you need to bring is a small item of furniture. 10am-3.30pm. www.facebook. com/thevintageinteriorfairy
10th October, The Music of the Stereophonics, West Kirby Arts Centre A solo acoustic celebration, featuring classic album tracks and hit singles. 7.45pm. £10. www.westkirbyartscentre.org.uk
Love is in the air The Wirral Wedding Fayre takes place at Holiday Inn Ellesmere Port on 4th October, bringing together up to 40 of the region’s finest wedding specialists to provide you with expert advice. The hotel’s location by the peaceful Shropshire Canal makes it the perfect location for a wedding. So come along and soak up the atmosphere, chat to suppliers, watch the catwalk shows, enjoy live music and even search for your dream dress in the bridal pop-up shop sale. The fayre runs from noon to 4pm and entry is free. All visitors also receive a free goody bag. www.redevent weddingfayres.com
30th October, Halloween Cupcake Class, Carla’s Cake Studio, Birkenhead Make some fun and spooky cakes with Carla’s Cake Toppers. This class will give you all the skills you need to create the perfect Halloween treat for the whole family. Noon3pm. £55. www.facebook. com/carlascaketoppers
30th October, Halloween Paddle, New Brighton Beach, Wallasey Meet on the slipway at 4pm for a warm brew before heading for a paddle. Board hire is available to those who’ve had a stand-up paddleboarding lesson with SUP Wirral and are deemed competent. See www.supwirral.club for further information.
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Did you know that there are over 200 businesses in Newport? Newport Town Council are actively engaged in promoting the High Streetand all the towns businesses and would like you to use Newport High Street for all your purchases.
Here’s our reasons why You can get married, buy a dress to go to the wedding in, buy the rings and book your honeymoon and get a taxi to the airport, then get the wedding dress dry cleaned! You can buy a house, carpets and beds, a kitchen and white goods and electrical items as well as art for your walls and knickknacks for decorations. You can also buy a bathroom and hardware for those odd jobs. Perhaps you need to renew a computer or get one fixed or upgrade your mobile phone. How about having your teams rugby shirts embroidered then buy a prize for the team and have it engraved?
Would you like to play tennis or go to a fitness class or gym? We have a butchers, a bakers and a candle selling shop. On the High Street you can have your poorly animal treated and take up a hobby with crafts or listen music. Brighten things up, get your party accessories and have your hair and nails done. Buy food for your dog (Or horse, or sheep), in bulk. Or buy the building materials for a house extension OR just borrow a book and read the book in the Institute.
If you don’t use it you may lose it and then Newport will not be the welcoming, vibrant town it is and that you have chosen to live in.
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Always here to help. Contact us for your free initial video consultation from the comfort of your own home with one of our Independent Financial Advisers. Call us on 01691 670524 Serving clients throughout the West Midlands, Cheshire and North Wales
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SHROPSHIRE WHAT’S ON
WHAT’S ON IN BRIEF 4TH-20TH SEPTEMBER
Until 19th September, Shropshire Guild of Contemporary Craft, Willow Gallery, Oswestry See the work of a talented group of designer/ makers who combine traditional skills and modern techniques to create works of exceptional quality. Works include stained glass, ceramics, furniture, jewellery, weaving and textiles. 10am-3pm, Tues-Sat.
4th September onwards, Kinokulture, Oswestry The cinema hopes to reopen its doors to the public. Screenings will be published online shortly. www.kinokulture.org.uk
13th September, Plant Hunters’ Fair, Weston Park, Shifnal A line-up of 18 nurseries and artisans offering something new and unusual for every plant lover. A great chance to enjoy the changing season at Weston and enjoy the miles of woodland walks, lakes and the beautiful formal gardens. 10am-4pm. £3.
14th-20th September, Wellington Walking Festival The annual walking festival is planning a reduced programme, featuring walks that cover parts of all the named routes through or near Wellington. For updates, visit www.wellingtonwalkers arewelcome.org.uk. •19th September, North West Kids Duathlon, Alderford Lake, Whitchurch There are six distances to choose from for five- to 16-yearolds, as well as the chance to enter as a relay team. From 1pm. £15. www.uktriathlon.co.uk
19th & 20th September, Craft Fair, Whittington Castle Browse the stalls at the craft fair. The fair is free to enter and it costs just £1 to park. 10-4pm.
Relive vintage classics at a silent disco Relive the 1980s and 1990s at a silent disco at Shrewsbury Town FC on 2nd October. The headphone disco will have music from those decades playing on different channels so you can choose what you want to listen to. Join revellers at the Montgomery Waters Meadow ground to dance and sing along to your favourite party classics. Everyone will receive a set of headphones on entry, and
at a flick of a switch, you’ll be able to change what you’re listening to as the DJ takes you on a musical journey between decades and genres. Fancy dress isn’t compulsory but is strongly encouraged! The disco is open to over-18s and takes place from 8pm to midnight. Tickets cost £9.50. For more information, search “80s vs 90s Silent Disco in Shrewsbury” on Facebook.
Enjoy the great outdoors at Attingham Park The parkland and grounds at Attingham Park near Shrewsbury are open for visitors to enjoy nature and the great outdoors. Visitors need to book in advance and while members can book for free, non-members must pay when booking. Tickets will be released every Friday for the week ahead. The Field of Play is open, although some areas remain closed due to safety regulations. The Stables Shop and Plant Centre are also open, though the second-hand book shop is not. Food is available at the Carriage House Café and a hot drinks and snacks kiosk in the Field
of Play. Alternatively, visitors are welcome to bring their own picnics. Toilet facilities and hand-washing areas are also available. Please bear in mind safety regulations, including social distancing and wearing masks in the shop and when ordering from indoor cafés. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/attingham-park
Spice is right at virtual festival
Classical combination at Festival Drayton
Back to college’s garden centre
The Ginger & Spice Festival, usually held in Market Drayton, is to be held online in 2020. It take place from 23rd to 27th September and will include a range of innovative and exciting experiences. There’ll be an online food theatre, market place, trails, talks and competitions, as well as opportunities to support local producers and donate to the Market Drayton foodbank. The festival has also recently launched a podcast, The Spice Larder, featuring interviews, discussions and live tastings. www. gingerandspicefest.co.uk
South African cellist Abel Selaocoe delivers his Classical Music Series at Festival Drayton Centre in Market Drayton on 20th September. Heavily influenced by South Africa and deeply rooted in classical music, Abel combines virtuosic performance with improvisation and singing. He’ll play JS Bach and contemporary Italian composer Giovanni Solima alongside African pieces telling stories about the trials and joys of motherhood, the effects of apartheid, and a healing nation. Tickets costs £10. www.festival drayton centre.com
Derwen College Garden Centre & Gift Shop in Gobowen near Oswestry has reopened to visitors. Safety measures are in place to make sure visitors to the garden centre and its Garden Café can browse, shop and enjoy homemade refreshments safely. There’s a one-way system, and shoppers are asked to use contactless payment. The café has also introduced table service, and tables have been spaced out to maintain social distancing. The garden centre is open daily from 10am to 4pm. www.visitderwen.co.uk
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WHAT’S ON SHROPSHIRE
WHAT’S ON IN BRIEF 26TH SEPTEMBER – 18TH OCTOBER
What’s on at The Place Telford? Russell Kane: The Fast & The Curious, 13th October Packing more energy than a Duracell factory, Russell’s RS Turbo laugh engine will motor through love, family and life – once again proving that the fast and the curious among us see more stuff and get more done. Winner of Best Show 2010 at the Edinburgh Comedy Awards, Russell went on to make history as the first comedian to win both the Edinburgh award and Melbourne Comedy Festival’s Barry Award
in the same year. This show is recommended for those aged 14 and over. 8pm. Tickets £21.50. Guys & Dolls, 22nd-24th October A popular musical of the bustling lives of gamblers, hustlers and the Save-a-Soul mission in New York. With numbers including “Luck Be A Lady” and “Sit Down! You’re Rockin’ the Boat”, it is definitely a show worth seeing. Times vary. Tickets from £15. www.theplacetelford.com
Taste of Blancmange at the Buttermarket Synth-pop band Blancmange, formed in the 1980s, return to the stage with founder Neil Arthur at Shrewsbury’s Buttermarket on 24th September. The British electronic band first broke through in the early 80s with their mix of synthesizers and surrealism, fused in groundbreaking singles such as “Feel Me”, “Living On The Ceiling”, “Blind Vision” and “Don’t Tell Me”. The epic synthpop of “Waves” and a cover of Abba’s “The Day Before You Came” illustrated a band who were always willing to adapt to new styles. Tickets cost £22. www.thebuttermarket.co.uk
Prepare for a scare at the British Ironworks
Bring your little monsters along to a hair-raising Halloween Children’s Spooktacular at the British Ironwork Centre near Oswestry on 30th October. There’ll be plenty of spooky activities for all the family, as well as free photo opportunities with a professional photographer. Be warned, though – scary actors will remain in character throughout! Fancy dress is encouraged for children and adults, with special prizes for the best costumes. The event is for members only. For more details, visit www.britishironworkcentre.co.uk.
Picturesque place to shop Alderford Lake near Whitchurch is a tranquil and beautiful place to walk, swim and take part in water sports. And every Sunday the lake also hosts a popular outdoor market. The market offers a variety of traders supplying everything from food to crafts, garden equipment, drinks and more from 9.30am to 3pm. Admission costs £1 for adults and 50p for children, including daily admission to the lake walk. Alderford Lake also has a café and toilets. www.alderford.com
26th September – 14th November, Borderland Visual Arts, Willow Gallery, Oswestry The BVA was established in 1999 to provide an informal network offering support and information to artists living in and around Oswestry. Members are exhibiting a range of 2D and 3D work, including a huge variety of different mediums. 10am-3pm, Tues-Sat.
1st October, Whisky Night, Ludlow Kitchen Whisky masterclasses at Ludlow Kitchen offer something for both the novice and the expert – everyone is sure to learn something new! Even if you’ve never really tried whisky, you’ll find this event interesting and will leave with a new appreciation of the amber liquid. 7pm-10pm. From £20. Call 01584 856000.
8th October, Game Night, Clive Arms, Ludlow Celebrate the end of game season with a glorious five-course menu featuring an array of delicious seasonal stars. Game Night features some stunning dishes including venison, partridge, rabbit and duck. 7pm. £40 per person. clivecollection.wearegifted.co.uk
Live at Henry Tudor House Live music returns to Shrewsbury’s Henry Tudor House this October. Back by popular demand, the award-winning Faustus are set to perform on 11th October. Saul Rose (Waterson:Carthy, Whapweasel), Benji Kirkpatrick (Seth Lakeman Band, Bellowhead) and Paul Sartin (Bellowhead) come together to create the best in the current vibrant English folk-rock scene. Tickets £16. Sarah Jane Morris’s Sweet Little Mystery tour delivers the songs of John Martyn on 25th October. Featuring guitarists Tony Remy and Tim Cansfield, this show will be a significant tribute to the late singer-songwriter. Tickets £17. www.henrytudorhouse.com
10th October, Apple Day, Bailey Head, Oswestry This established annual event celebrates the apple and healthy eating, with lots of interesting varieties of apples and advice on growing by the local orchard group CROP. 9am-2pm. For enquiries about this and other Oswestry town council events, call 01691 680222.
17th & 18th October, Shropshire Guild of Contemporary Craft, Castle House, Ludlow Castle The guild was formed in 2001 to promote, display and sell the work of designers and makers working in Shropshire. Go along to find out more about their work and see members using traditional skills and techniques alongside innovative modern methods to produce beautiful work of the highest calibre. 10am-4pm.
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SHROPSHIRE WHAT’S ON
WHAT’S ON IN BRIEF NOW REOPENED!
Hawkstone Park Follies, nr Shrewsbury This range of natural sandstone hills, developed into gullies, caves, towers and bridges, is for adventure – bring sensible shoes and a torch. www.hawkstoneparkfollies.co.uk
Ironbridge Gorge Museums, Telford Blists Hill Victorian Town, Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron, Furnace Kitchen, Museum of the Gorge and the Iron Bridge Tollhouse have new opening times and slots must be booked in advance. www.ironbridge.org.uk
OMH Outside, Old Market Hall Cinema, Shrewsbury While the cinema remains closed, the café has moved outdoors, offering a wide range of fine teas and coffees, locally made food and cakes. 10am-4pm Monday to Saturday. www.oldmarkethall.co.uk
RAF Cosford Museum It’s chocks away at Cosford. Exhibitions, the visitor centre, café, museum shop and toilets are now open, although some experiences, including test flights, remained closed. Bookings are recommended. www.rafmuseum.org.uk
Shrewsbury Market Hall The Market Hall is open, with its eateries and street food venues, fresh produce, artisan food and drink, artists and designer/makers, gift and home boutiques, books, bikes, flowers, vintage and more. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. www.markethallshrewsbury.co.uk
Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery Exhibitions are once again open. Tickets are free, but must be booked online in advance. 10am-4pm TuesdaySaturday, 11am4pm Sunday. To book, visit www.shrewsbury museum.org.uk.
Tributes to the best at Theatre on the Steps Aladdinsane, 10th October This acclaimed tribute act honours David Bowie’s timeless music and many incarnations, from Ziggy Stardust to the Thin White Duke, into the 1980s and beyond. 8pm. Tickets £13.
Are You Experienced?, 24th October The Jimi Hendrix tribute act are in their 24th year, and in have firmly established themselves as the premier Hendrix tribute in Europe. 8pm. Tickets £17.
California Dreamers, 16th October Using archive film footage, Calfornia Dreamers chronicle the events that inspired the songs of artists such as The Byrds, The Mamas & Papas, Joni Mitchell, The Eagles, James Taylor, Crosby Stills and Nash, The Monkees and many more. 8pm. Tickets £20.
The Ghost Walk, 28th-29th October A tour through the avenues and alleyways of ancient Bridgnorth, where lurking in the shadows are 10 ghosts who will tell you how they met their grisly ends, followed by a spooktacular stage show. 7pm. Tickets £12 adults, £6 children. www.theatreonthesteps.co.uk
Perfect time to hunt for a bargain
Two leading antiques fairs are set to bring thousands of bargains to antique and vintage fans this autumn. Oswestry Antique & Collectors Fair takes place at Oswestry Showground on 19th and 20th September, tickets £3.50. Shrewsbury Flea is at Shrewsbury’s Showground on 3rd and 4th October, tickets £3. Both events have free parking and free entry for children, plus a licensed bar and catering. www.josevents.co.uk
TRIBUTE TO THE FAB FOUR Dance and sing along with the Fab Four as The Mersey Beatles take to the stage at Whitchurch Civic Centre on 30th October. The tribute band, formed in 1999 by childhood friends from Liverpool, have been rocking sold-out shows around the globe with their authentic and widely acclaimed celebration of John, Paul, George and Ringo. The show starts at 7.30pm and tickets cost £24.20. For more information, visit www.themerseybeatles.com.
Back to nature at Dudmaston Whether you prefer enchanted wooded parkland or sweeping gardens, there’s lots to do in the great outdoors at Dudmaston Estate, near Bridgnorth. While the house remains shut, the garden, park and tea room are open, although visitors need to book their visit in advance. The car parks in Comer Woods, Hampton Loade and the Sawmill are also open, no booking required. National Trust charges apply. For details of opening hours and how to book, visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk.
All the fun of fine fare in Newport
Newport hosts its sixth Fabulous Food Frenzy across the town on 26th September. Whether you prefer to make food, sell food or simply taste food, this is sure to be an event you’ll want to be a part of! The event features a variety of artisan producers from across the West Midlands, with more than 50 stands bringing a variety of produce from local meats and craft beers to gins and wood-fired pizza. The public can visit them all, starting at St Mary’s Street leading down to Lower Bar and into the High Street. There will also be a food theatre on the front lawn of Newport’s Grammar School, featuring cooking demonstrations and talks from local entrepreneurs, showcasing meat, fish, curry and more, while many local businesses are also hosting their own events. The stalls are open from 10am to 4pm. For details, call 07973 385929.
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Award-winning Markets INDOOR AND OUTDOOR MARKETS ARE NOW OPEN Wednesday, Friday and Saturday Social distancing and safety precautions all in place. Traders look forward to welcome back customers old and new. Charity Market
4th September – 9am until 3pm Working closely with community supporters The Qube, Oswestry Markets host a charity market on the Bailey Head aimed at raising important funds and awareness for a wide number of local charities.
SEPT & OCT 20
Welcome to Whitchurch
Oswestry Produce Market
17th October - 9am until 3pm Handpicked Shropshire based food & craft producers selling the best the County has to offer in the town centre.
10th October – 9am until 2pm This established annual event celebrates the apple and healthy eating with lots of interesting varieties of apples and advice on growing by the local orchard group CROP.
Halloween Market 31st October Scary goings on at the Bailey Head. Family fun, prizes, scary hunts, children’s rides.
For further information call 01691 680222 or visit: www.oswestry-tc.gov.uk
Stay Alert Stay Safe Contact Civic Centre directly on 01948 665761 #ShopWhitchurch
OPEN NOW BOOKING ESSENTIAL! 032_SHIRE_SO2020.indd 1
WHAT’S ON SHROPSHIRE
Theatre Severn is back! VE Day 75, 20th September A rescheduled showing of the 75th anniversary commemorations marking the end of the Second World War in Europe broadcast to cinemas from the Royal Albert Hall. Host Katherine Jenkins is joined on stage by the Military Wives Choir, the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra and special guests. 7pm. Tickets £14.50. Noel Fitzpatrick, 27th September Supervet Noel talks about his life and his dedication to advancing veterinary orthopaedic surgery. If you enjoy the TV series this personal insight cannot fail to impress. 6pm. Tickets £30.
Ghost: The Musical, 29th September – 3rd October A tragic encounter while walking back to their apartment late one night sees Sam murdered and his beloved girlfriend Molly alone, in despair and utterly lost. Sam is trapped between this world and the next, but with the help of a phoney storefront psychic he tries to communicate with Molly in the hope of saving her from grave danger. 2.30pm & 7.30pm. Tickets from £20.50. Karine Polwart, 18th October Karine is an outstanding vocal talent who has made a big impact on the Scottish music scene over the past few years. The award-winning songwriter and musician was also winner of Folk Singer of the Year at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2018. 7.30pm. Tickets £22.50. www.theatresevern.co.uk
SEVERN VALLEY RAILWAY BACK ON TRACK WITH SCARE FAIR The Severn Valley Railway’s Bridgnorth to Kidderminster line has reopened to visitors, offering special scary Ghost Train experiences from 29th to 31st October. Are you brave enough to climb aboard the Ghost Train? Arrive early at Kidderminster Station for a spooky disco featuring awardwinning children’s entertainer Disco Daddy, before making your way along the dark platform to find your compartment. Once onboard, hold on tight as the train roars away, passing through haunted stations on the way to Arley – home of the living dead
WEEK OF TERROR AT WHITTINGTON CASTLE You can expect ghostly goings-on at Whittington Castle this Halloween. The ancient castle near Oswestry hosts evening ghost tours from 24th to 30th October between 6.30pm to 7.30pm. Tickets cost £6 for adults and £4 for children. On 25th October there’s also a daytime event from noon to 3.30pm, for £2.50 per person, when you can follow a trail, play games, win treats and visit a witch. There’s also a fancy dress and pumpkin carving contests. The celebrations come to an end on 31st October with a Halloween evening from 6.30pm to 8pm. For £1, you can follow the procession through the village and back to the castle, where you can watch a fire show and go through the Bridge of Terror – if you dare! www.whittingtoncastle.co.uk
that only come out at night. But beware – things that go bump in the night are not only outside the windows… Departures at 6.20pm, 7.10pm and 8pm. Compartments cost £60 for four, or £90 for six. To book, visit www.svr.co.uk.
New dino trail and bunny burrows at Park Hall Park Hall Countryside Experience, Oswestry, has reopened with a brand new Burrow Land home for the farm’s rabbits and an exciting new dinosaur trail with visits from Dora the Dino. The team have put new measures in place to keep visitors and staff safe. Visitor numbers are limited, and the indoor play areas remain closed for the time being. The farm has extended its annual memberships and gift vouchers by 12 months so visitors can get the most out of their purchases. Park Hall has also recently launched an adoption scheme for its animals, with packages available for alpacas, sheep, pigs, goats, ponies, parrots, rabbits and guinea pigs. www.parkhallfarm.co.uk
DID YOU KNOW? An appeal has been launched to help the railway. See website for details
Inspired by nature Oswestry’s Willow Gallery has reopened with a series of autumn workshops for artists, including Landscapes in Batik on Fabric on 24th October. The workshop with Jenny O’Leary, which runs from 10am to 4pm, includes all materials needed to produce your own piece of art. Using landscape as inspiration, participants will use hot wax as a resist, and will then work with silk paints on cotton fabric to create imaginative interpretations of the theme. The work will be suitable for further enhancement with stitch. All you need to bring is an apron, a hairdryer, disposable gloves and images for inspiration. The workshop costs £50 per person. Visit www. willowgalleryoswestry. org for further details. September/October 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 33
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A lovely locale, however you say it The debate over its pronunciation has raged for generations, but one thing all residents of Shropshire’s county town agree on is that it’s a great place to call home
he undisputed capital of Shropshire, Shrewsbury is a large market town straddling the banks of the River Severn and home to about 75,000 people. The town has ancient origins and its appeal as a dwelling place dates back centuries, as is made clear by the largely unspoilt medieval street plan and more than 660 listed buildings. Among the town’s most striking features are the fine examples of timber-framed buildings from the 15th and 16th centuries, which – alongside the imposing red sandstone fortification of Shrewsbury Castle and the former Benedictine monastery of Shrewsbury Abbey – give the town a feeling
of rich heritage to this day.
DID YOU KNOW? Construction on Shrewsbury Castle began in around 1070
Shrewsbury occupies an ideal location – in the heart of English countryside and yet just nine miles from the Welsh border – and it’s this prime geography that led to the town flourishing in the late Middle Ages. Wool production was a major industry at the time, and trade with the rest of Britain and Europe thrived using the River Severn and Watling Street as direct trading routes. The town suffered over the course of history too, with considerable impact from the Black Death in the mid-14th century, as well as a bloody battle between Henry IV and Henry “Hotspur” Percy at the start of the 15th. Shrewsbury also played an important role in the civil war as a royalist stronghold until it fell to parliamentarian forces. The centuries since have been calmer, allowing the town to flourish and develop as an important centre for both learning, science and the arts.
Science and schooling Shrewsbury is home to more than 660 listed buildings
Shrewsbury is famed as the birthplace of Charles Darwin and the place where
The birthplace of Charles Darwin
he spent 27 years of his life, as well as being the birthplace of several world-renowned educational leaders and establishments. Today many streets and institutions are named after Darwin, and perhaps these pioneering roots have helped the emergence of not one but two thriving business parks. The current town centre boasts four shopping centres, a bustling high street, many local institutions, fine schools and excellent eateries, plus a plethora of entertainment venues including Theatre Severn and Quarry Park. There are also art galleries and sports facilities, as well as impressive housing stock, incredibly well-preserved architecture and some beautiful green and rural areas. So whether you fall in the “Shrooz” or “Shrohz” camp, one thing is for sure – Shrewsbury pretty much has it all. THINGS TO SEE AND DO Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery The Square, Shrewsbury SY1 1LH www.shrewsburymuseum.org.uk Shrewsbury Castle Castle Street, Shrewsbury SY1 2AT 01743 358516 The Quarry Shrewsbury SY1 1JA 01743 281010 Theatre Severn Frankwell Quay, Frankwell, Shrewsbury SY3 8FT www.theatresevern.co.uk
34 SHIRE MAGAZINE | September/October 2020
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Together forever? Recent events have piled the pressure on all our relationships, but especially those with our other halves. Shire takes a long look at love and the steps you can take to ensure your partnership stands the test of time
s children most of us grow up believing that one day we will meet the person of our dreams, fall in love, get married and live happily ever after. As adults, we know it’s not quite as simple as that. Long-term relationships aren’t the easy future our childhood selves presumed, and making sure your partnership works, grows and thrives over the years isn’t easy. A couple of generations ago, it was far more common to stay with one person for life – but that has changed. It’s hard to know whether the increase in divorce is due to a change in us as people, shifts in the legal and societal systems that make separation an option, because we’re simply giving up more easily or that fewer and fewer of us are willing to stay in unhappy relationships. It’s estimated that 42 per cent of marriages in England and Wales end in divorce. The figure crept up steadily from the 1960s and 1970s to reach a peak in 2003, although it has since gradually
DID YOU KNOW? The average age at marriage of opposite-sex couples in 2017 was 38.0 years for men and 35.7 years for women
fallen again. However, that decline in divorce rate has been attributed to a similar decline in the number of people getting married in the first place and the increase in the number of couples that live together before tying the knot. Both these factors show that a change in society and perception of relationships can have an impact on the figures – but they can’t hide the fact that in 2018, according to the Office for National Statistics, there were 90,871 divorces of opposite-sex couples. This was actually a fall from previous years and marks the lowest divorce rate since 1971, but again is broadly consistent with a decline in the number of marriages since 1989. The average age for divorce among opposite-sex couples in 2018 was 46.9 years for men and 44.5 years for women. These figures also reflect the increase in average age at
“Divorce solicitors have reported a 40 per cent increase in enquiries post lockdown” which couples marry and the average time they remain married before divorcing – currently sitting at 12.5 years.
For some, the enforced closeness of this year’s lockdown has improved relationships, and the shared worry and fear of the unknown has encouraged an appreciation of each other and the happiness of life together. For others, the pandemic has added pressure to an already crumbling relationship, and more time spent together has clarified and highlighted a no longer bearable situation. Divorce solicitors have reported a 40 per cent increase in enquiries since lockdown and, more alarmingly, charities have seen a massive surge in reports of domestic violence. At the same time, the government is on the verge of making the “nofault divorce” bill legal any day now, which experts say may prompt more people than ever to end their marriages. There is no question that ending a marriage is a difficult and personal decision to make, and we at Shire can’t pretend to know what is best for any of our readers. But over the following pages we’ve gathered some expert advice and anecdotal guidance should you want to make sure your relationship doesn’t join the divorce statistics.
36 SHIRE MAGAZINE | September/October 2020
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t ba g relat and W to he ad
Talk to the experts
If you feel you need help and support to keep your relationship together, it’s best to speak to the experts. The charity Relate has been helping people solve relationship problems since 1938
Relate is the UK’s largest provider of relationship support. Last year it helped more than two million people of all ages, backgrounds, sexual orientations and gender identities to strengthen their relationships. With offices across England and Wales, offering services and workshops to help you improve your relationships, its advice and expertise can make all the difference. For more advice, visit www.relate.org.uk
eeking marriage guidance counselling is no longer the taboo it once was. More and more couples are seeking therapy, and in particular the marriage guidance experts at Relate have seen a significant uptake in therapy among young, unmarried couples who are keen to establish the dynamic of their relationships before bad habits set in. The charity has seen a 30 per cent increase in the number of people in their 20s and 30s seeking help since 2014, perhaps inspired by statistics that suggest
“Conflict is inevitable in any relationship - it’s how you deal with it that counts” couples who undergo counselling before getting married have a marital success rate 30 per cent higher than those who do not. Proper, bespoke and personal advice needs to be given by someone who knows you, your partner and the challenges you both face. But for some general guidance to keep you on the right track, Shire has sought expert opinions from Relate counsellors.
There is no right or wrong way to deal with disagreements, according to Relate. “Arguments are common in all kinds of relationships. Some degree of conflict can even be healthy, as
DID YOU KNOW? “Unreasonable behaviour” was the most common reason cited for opposite-sex couples divorcing in 2018
it means both people are expressing themselves rather than keeping everything inside and letting emotions fester. “But if you’re arguing all the time, or simple disagreements end up in a hostile silence or a screaming match, it can start to take a toll – or leave you wondering whether you’re all that compatible in the first place. Learning ways to handle disagreements constructively is crucial. Conflict is inevitable – it’s how you deal with it that counts.”
Having a go at each other can be a release, even fun – but left unchecked, gentle teasing can turn into a constant undermining that borders on emotional abuse. “Frequently criticising your partner or being criticised by them can create a lot of tension,”
MAKE THE MOST
Good relationship advice doesn’t come cheap, so if you’re thinking about seeing a couples therapist there are a few things to consider first ave you left it too late? H Many couples decide on counselling as a last resort. But if you’ve spent decades destroying your relationship and opinions of each other, there’s a good chance there’s already too much damage to be undone.
Is this what you want?
It may sound like a daft question, but be sure you really want to save your marriage before you commit to counselling. It’s not a quick solution – it takes time and effort – so if there’s a chance you’re considering counselling just to say that you’ve tried it, you’re wasting everyone’s time.
Should you even try to stay together?
If there is any form of violence or abuse going on then you’re not trying to save your relationship, you’re failing to acknowledge criminal activity. There are organisations that can help you if you need to leave a toxic relationship.
Is it worth it?
Does your current relationship suit your needs? Is there a lifestyle and existence that you’ve built up together that you want to salvage? This is not the same thing as saving a strong and loving emotional bond – but only you can decide if it’s worth it.
September/October 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 37
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TOP 10 REASONS FOR
says Relate. “It can make you feel like you’re constantly under attack or as though nothing you do is good enough. A person being constantly criticised is likely to find it hurtful and demoralising and may grow to resent the person doing the criticising. “Sometimes criticism can be subtle or passive-aggressive, directed through sarcasm or comments ostensibly made as jokes, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt. If you find criticism has become an issue, it’s important to nip it in the bud before the problem becomes any worse.”
Most couples cite “unreasonable behaviour” as their reason for parting ways. Couples then have to write a list of the reasons their marriage isn’t working, Here are the 10 most common
out of love 1. Falling General drifting apart over a period of time,
not necessarily with any drama, is the reason most people no longer want to be married.
Changing values 2. Many find that they no longer agree on the
A common complaint among couples is that one person doesn’t feel equal or there’s an imbalance of power. Sometimes this comes about through no fault of either party – perhaps one person is more passive and the other generally more strong and commanding – but it’s not a healthy approach for long-term love. “Both of you should feel you have an equal say,” says Relate. “Neither should feel your opinion is being sidelined or you never get to make
3. It’s common to hear of couples feeling that Lack of support
they have no emotional support from their partners during challenging times.
No respect 4. Many people claim their other half behaves
“Equal power doesn’t mean things being totally equal all the time but it does mean being able to swap duties”
disrespectfully or demeaningly towards them.
Loss of sexual connection 5. A lack of passion, both physically and
emotionally, leads to a lack of connection.
Unbalanced roles 6. Often one partner cites a lack of balance in the relationship, perhaps when it comes to housework, childcare and work.
Family fallouts 7. Extended families can get in the way of relationships – on purpose or not.
Money matters 8. Financial strain often proves one of the hardest things for marriages to survive.
decisions. It’s important that you can come together and talk things through whenever there are any disagreements or things that need to be discussed. “What you might call ‘power’ can change depending on the situation, or the personality types of the people involved. Most of the time, this mixing and trading of responsibility is an entirely natural and healthy way of doing things. It means you can do what you’re best at and rely on the other to help out with the rest. Equal power doesn’t mean things being totally equal all the time, but it does mean being able to swap between duties in a way that works for both people.”
Having joint responsibility for a new generation adds considerable pressure to any relationship. Many parents, whether they’re new to the role or navigating Working high-pressure roles over long hours the challenging teen years, find their own relationship at breaking point. can put extra stress on a relationship. “Your approach to parenting may have come from how you were raised as a child. Many of us try to give our children the upbringing we had Infidelity – or the upbringing we wished we’d had. Parents often end up digging One partner having an affair is often what in when it comes to parenting styles because neither one is willing to causes the breakdown of a relationship. back down on ideas they began to learn when they were very young. “It can cause real tension between you and your partner, even if your relationship was really harmonious before you had kids. And it can create an uneven dynamic for the children themselves. Children are very good at picking up on when their parents have different ideas. If they know they can’t get permission to do something from one parent, they might just go to the other. DID YOU KNOW? “It’s important you keep talking about things – staying A “no fault” divorce will soon be available connected to each other will help you parent together much – the bill is currently more effectively and will help your relationship stay strong too.”
working its way through the Houses of Parliament
All too often relationships crumble when one partner has an affair, and the fallout from such behaviour can cause irreparable damage. “Affairs rarely have just one cause, and they don’t always happen because of unhappiness or dissatisfaction,” says Relate. “It’s vital that you both understand the real reasons why it happened. If your partner had an affair, to come to terms 38 SHIRE MAGAZINE | September/October 2020
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“Parenting can cause real tension, even if your relationship was harmonious before you had kids” with why it happened you will need to talk about their vulnerability to an affair: what was happening in your lives and in your relationship before they first came into contact with the other person? How might your partner’s lifestyle have contributed (eg, working away from home)? What beliefs did you both hold about fidelity? “Part of the process is being honest with yourself about your own vulnerabilities to an affair and why these might have been different from your partner’s. This can be a very painful process and it can take a lot of time, but unless you know what went wrong you won’t be able to change things in the future. “Be patient. It takes time to rebuild trust that has been broken, but it is possible if that is something that you both want.”
TOP 10 TIPS FOR
long-lasting love each other Ask what you 1. Help can do, show support and be happy to give and receive help.
your own things Having 2. Enjoy hobbies, friends, pastimes and interests of your own is vital.
the workload Split chores, use each 3. Share other’s strengths and work together. forget the little things Say “I love 4. Don’t you”, ask about their day, kiss goodnight. Don’t let things fester. 5. Communicate Talk, write, text – whatever works. time For each other, for 6. Make romance, for nights out or in. time out Understand when 7. Accept they, or you, need a bit of time alone.
Laugh together Humour is key, just make sure never to laugh at each other.
friends Ask yourself how you’d treat a 9. Be best friend and apply it to your partner. the effort Accept that it isn’t 10. Make easy. Work at your relationship and if you’re struggling, seek help.
Advice FROM ALL ANGLES
We talk to several couples across the generations to find out what keeps their relationships strong
elationships require work, and long-term love takes dedication from both sides. We spoke to three couples about their own personal experiences, one at the very beginning of their life together, one in the thick of raising a family and the other celebrating more than 50 years of marriage. Whether you can relate to their situations or not, you may find a nugget of wisdom that serves you and your partner well.
Marcus, 22, and Keira, 21, have been together since high school and recently got engaged, with plans to marry in 2022. The couple, who live with Keira’s parents in Telford, both work in the hospitality trade and are saving hard for a place of their own He says: “I know we’re pretty young to be planning to get married, but we’ve been together five years and known each other even longer and I think we do have what it takes to make it last. We’re not stupid – we know there will be ups and downs, but we’ve grown up together so I think having that history is really important.” She says: “We know each other really well so we know what works and what doesn’t. I know he needs to go and do his own thing with his mates every so often, and he knows that my family and spending time with them is really important to me. There are loads of things we do together as well so I think having that balance is really important. “I think it’s about expectation as well. I think our generation are more aware of what it will be like than previous ones – and we’re more accepting of the fact that it will be a challenge. Our parents are really good examples – they’ve been married a long time and from when they were quite young, and having that support behind you is really important.” He says: “We don’t really argue much. And if we do it tends to be about silly little things and we always end up laughing about it after a while. We’ve never really fallen out and I think that’s because we’re quite similar characters, both quite laid-back. We don’t really go in for all that drama.” She says: “I think it helps that we’ve made this commitment to each other while we are young. It feels like we’ve got loads of time together to make it work – we’re not in any rush to have kids or brilliant careers or anything, so we can enjoy ourselves. I genuinely can’t imagine us ever not being together and I’m not saying that lightly. We think the same things and we just know what each other is feeling – we’re basically part of each other and that’s not something that’s going to change.”
Christina, 42, and Richard, 44, have been married for 15 years and have three children: a 13-year-old son and two daughters, aged 11 and eight. They live in Middlewich, Cheshire, where they also run a dog boarding kennels He says: “I feel confident about my relationship with Chrissie because I’ve been through a marriage that wasn’t right – it makes it more obvious when it is! I got married first time round when I was 21. In hindsight it was a bad idea – I wasn’t very mature and I think I was trying to prove to myself that I was by doing this big, grown-up thing. It only lasted 18 months but luckily we both realised it had been a mistake and went our separate ways without any animosity. The experience did change me though, and when I met Chrissie I felt so differently I knew this time it was for keeps.” She says: “When we met it was a bit like love at first sight for me. And luckily he felt the same! But that’s not to say it hasn’t taken a fair bit of September/October 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 39
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effort to make it work. We’ve had challenges – definitely – but we’ve always been able to resolve things. “I work part time at a primary school and Rich is a full-time surveyor, so we have extremely hectic lives and it’s easy to let that drown out other things and cause stress. With three kids thrown into the mix, we do sometimes go a long time without spending quality time together. We try to make a point of doing that, even if it’s just going out for dinner or a walk, but we’re lucky to have family nearby who can help out with the kids.” He says: “It would be different if we didn’t have that support. You can see how easily couples end up just going on and on with the merry-go-round of getting kids sorted, in school, going to work, shopping, cooking, cleaning and doing it all again. I think it’s really important to remember what it’s all for – we might be a family now rather than a couple, but if anything that just makes us a bigger, stronger unit.” She says: “The family side of it is probably the biggest point of contention too. If we ever argue, it’s generally about the kids – what they should or shouldn’t be doing, what we should and shouldn’t buy for them, but that’s just because he’s a pushover and they know it! But it’s true that you have to spend time as a couple and remember that’s why you got married in the first place, and I think by doing that you keep the relationship solid.”
Harry and Fliss, who both turned 78 this year, celebrated 52 years of marriage in August. The couple have two children and six grandchildren, and say they’re as much in love now as they were when they met in Ellesmere Port in the 1960s He says: “I think the key to staying together is honesty. There’s no point keeping secrets or not telling each other how you feel because these things always come back to bite you. We’ve been ever so happy together and I think we’re lucky in that respect. We’ve had some hard times – Fliss lost her brother when he was just 30 – but if anything that brought us closer together because things like that make you appreciate what you have and what’s important.” She says: “Appreciating what you have is something I think has been easier for us and people our age than it is for youngsters today. We never had the desperate urge to get more, bigger and better things all the time, and you can see how that puts so much pressure on people. I think it was a simpler for us – we both found jobs locally straight out of school, saved up and bought a house, then stayed in it for 20 years. These days people seem to be constantly trying to improve their lives, whereas our generation found it easier to be content with what we had.” He says: “Family set-ups are different too. When we had the children, Fliss stopped work and looked after them and the house while I brought our income in – it was pretty straightforward for us, because that was what we both wanted and had always expected. We weren’t trying to be all things to all people, which is what we see a bit sometimes even with our own children. They want to have it all ways, which is fine, and good for them – but it can add extra pressure to a relationship.” She says: “Throughout our marriage we’ve always had clear roles and I think we both respect the part the other plays in making it work. We rarely fall out and when we do we make sure to make up before things fester. I think that’s something we have got better at over the years – that and accepting things more. We’re happy to agree to disagree rather than trying to score points and win arguments. Maybe that’s just because we’re too old to care but I think it’s because we’ve spent our lives together and know there are more important things to worry about than being right in an argument.”
Let’s talk about sex Cheshire-based sex therapist Eliza Smythe explains why the physical side of our relationships shouldn’t be ignored
exual and physical behaviour is at the very root of all our relationships. It is what attracts us to a mate, so there is no mistaking the importance of that side of our relationships. That said, we’re among the few animals that generally practise monogamy and stay with a mate for the long term, so making sure our physical relationships incorporate more than a primal urge to breed is vital to sustaining a long and happy love life. Successful relationships can thrive on anything from a rigorous and active sexual side to an almost entirely celibate partnership. The key is making sure both parties are happy and getting what they want. Communicating and making sure you both know what you want and what works for you as a unit is vital – don’t listen to anyone else telling you what and how often you should be up to anything! Our hormones control so many aspects of our lives that it should come as no surprise to hear that they are basically running the show. As we age, our urges and sexual needs change – this is perfectly normal and the key to making sure this works with your relationship is recognising this and remembering that the same will happen to your partner and not necessarily at the same time. As with all aspects of marriage, if it becomes an issue talk about it – to each other, to a doctor if it is physical, to a friend if it helps and to a professional when you need to. And remember to be open and honest: us Brits are terrible at discussing intimacy, but believe me – we’ve heard it all before.
DID YOU KNOW? Forget about a lockdown baby boom – surveys suggest there could be as many as 75,000 fewer births following the pandemic
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heat is on... The
It’s getting to the time of year when we probably need a bit of help to keep our homes warm and snug. Shire takes a look at the various methods to help keep you cosy this autumn
DID YOU KNOW? Turning down your room thermostat by just one degree can save you around £60 a year on your fuel bills, according to the Energy Saving Trust
e’ve come a long way since wrapping another fur around ourselves and rubbing a couple of sticks together to start a fire and keep the cave warm. Modern developments mean it’s not unusual to have a smartphone connected to a satellite that will tell your house when you’re on the way home, automatically engaging a state-of-the-art heating system so the lounge is at optimum temperature on your return. Most of us are probably somewhere between the two technological states when it comes to home heating, but there is plenty we can all do to improve, upgrade or even completely replace our existing set-ups as we head into winter.
CUT THE COSTS There are many reasons to reassess your heating situation – it may not be efficient or it might not be keeping you as cosy as you’d like – but for many of us the cost is the biggest factor when making the decision to change. It’s hard to accurately work out our specific heating costs, as most systems rely on energy sources that power other parts of the home too such as electricity and cooking. But utility experts estimate that around half our energy bills are spent on heating, which means on average it costs us between £600 and £700 a year. This may not seem excessive, depending on your situation, but as costs rise in the winter and are reduced in summer, budgeting
“Eighteen per cent of people in Britain say they cannot afford their winter fuel bills” for the colder months isn’t always easy. A recent survey found that 18 per cent of people in Britain said they could not afford their winter fuel bills. There are several government and industry schemes to help people if they are struggling, such as free boiler systems that are available to some people in receipt of benefits, and of course the winter fuel grant offered to older people. But for most of us, it’s a question of keeping costs down by making 42 SHIRE MAGAZINE | September/October 2020
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sure our systems are working as well as they should, and if they’re not, considering whether it would make sense to change them.
ENVIRONMENTAL WORRIES The pace of developments across the energy and fuel sector has a huge impact on the environment. The traditional burning of fossil fuels is the world’s number-one cause of pollution. This includes global warming, increased risk of oil spills, air pollution, and increased amounts of acid rain, all of which are detrimental to the environment. Overall 14 per cent of the UK’s greenhouse gases come from our homes, a similar level to emissions from cars, and in the bigger cities gas boilers are a main source of nitrogen dioxide emissions. This damage to the planet is being tackled by governments, with a pledge to make low-carbon heat systems standard in all new homes built after 2025, but that still leaves millions of homes behind in the aim to go greener. A government spokesperson recently stated: “Heat accounts for more than a third of our current carbon emissions, which is
“Overall, 14 per cent of the UK’s greenhouse gases come from our homes” why we’re spending £2.8bn to encourage low-carbon heating in both homes and businesses as well as investing in innovation.” Luckily there are ways in which we can all do our bit without investing in a complete overhaul. Over the following pages, we aim to help you understand your own systems, make the most of the services available locally and find some of the businesses across the region who can save you money and keep the planet happy while also making sure you have a lovely cosy home to enjoy this winter.
Start scratch from
We take a look at your options if you’re planning a new heating system, whether you’re building a new house or renovating the one you’ve already got
f you want your home heating to be efficient, costeffective, tech savvy and eco-friendly too, chances are you’ll need to start from scratch. That may not be an easy – or affordable – option in many homes, but if you’re about to rip out a lot in the way of structure to add on a substantial extensions, it may be an option worth considering. Done right, a new system should last you many decades, so investing the time and money now in making the right choice is worthwhile. Below we take a look at some of the most common heating system options available, but remember that there are others less obvious and more customisable that
might suit you better, although there are probably some here you aren’t able to consider. Your heating is as individual as you are: what works for a family of five that has a constant demand for hot running water and a vast, draughty period home won’t be the same as for a single professional who travels abroad for weeks at a time and lives in a compact town apartment. But to start you off, we look at the three main heating routes.
GAS CENTRAL HEATING Gas central heating is known as a “wet system” because your boiler heats water for central heating and hot water. It is the most common home heating system in the UK, and chances are if your house is connected to the mains gas supply, a standard gas-fired central heating system will be the cheapest option for your home. Costs are variable depending on the boiler you choose – the more reliable and efficient the better – as well as your heating system controls and thermostats, and how well you use them. PROS Gas heating systems are pretty efficient, especially if you have a modern condensing boiler, so you get a good return on every unit of energy. Replacing a standard boiler is also a simple way to upgrade an inefficient system. This is also a well-established sector with plenty of well-qualified engineers available and governmentbacked schemes to assure safety, such as the Gas Safe scheme. CONS Gas is a fossil fuel that produces carbon dioxide when it’s burned, so it isn’t “clean” and there isn’t an endless supply either. The UK isn’t self-sufficient in gas reserves so we have to pipe it in, which means prices can go up or down depending on demand from around the world. If you don’t already have a gas central heating system in place, installing one from scratch can be expensive and disruptive; if you’re not connected to the mains, this could be even more costly.
ELECTRIC CENTRAL HEATING If your home isn’t connected to the mains gas supply, the next most obvious option is to use electricity to heat your home – nearly every household in the UK has access to the National Grid. While it is true that electrical heating systems can be more expensive to run than gas, technology has moved on since storage heaters were first fitted in the 1960s. More recevent innovations in this field can help keep the bills down and lessen the impact on your wallet. An increase in regulation has helped too: modern storage heaters now incorporate thermostats, WiFi controls, timers and fans to help disseminate the heat. These systems usually come with options that allow you to set what time of day or night they “store” heat. These options, known as Economy 7 systems, work when electricity is cheaper (usually overnight) and store it for later use – and they are quite common and popular in new-build flats. PROS Adding storage heaters to your home doesn’t require pipework or a flue system, so September/October 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 43
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it’s generally cheaper than installing a gas system. They also require less maintenance and, as mentioned already, access to the country’s electricity grid is straightforward for almost everyone. CONS The main drawback is cost – electricity prices are about three to four times higher than gas prices per unit of energy. Electrical systems also aren’t immune to the fluctuations of gas supply prices either because so much electricity in
“Electricity prices are about three to four times higher than gas prices” the UK is generated in gas-fired power stations. Electric heating is also less immediate than gas – if your heating has been off for a while and you switch on a night storage heater, you won’t feel the benefit until the following day.
OIL CENTRAL HEATING Another option for those whose homes aren’t connected to the gas mains supply is to use oil central heating – in fact, more than one million households in the UK do just that. As with gas central heating, this is a wet system, with the oil-fired boiler heating water for taps and radiators. The main difference between this system and gas is that rather than a pipe supplying a constant source of gas, you have to buy oil and store it in a tank. This means that when the price of oil is low, you can stock up and potentially protect against price fluctuations but this isn’t easy with a fuel known for its price volatility. PROS As fuels go, oil is one of the most efficient per unit of energy, so you get a good return and, as mentioned, the possibility of stocking up is appealing so long as you have the storage capacity. Fears of running out have been largely left behind by technological advances that mean systems can keep an eye on levels and automatically let your supplier know when you need a top-up. There is also a certain independence that comes with having your own fuel and heating system – work on local pipework or power cuts might not cause disruption to services as they might with gas and electricity. CONS The price of oil goes up and down more than any other fuel, based on everything from demand and weather conditions to political unrest. Installing oil central heating can also be expensive and disruptive, and depending on your property and land availability, the heating oil tank can also be unsightly if burying it is not an option. Oil is a fossil fuel and produces carbon dioxide when burned, and because of this there is talk of such systems DID YOU KNOW? The UK gas being phased network covers out by the 284,000km, which government is enough piping as part of to go six times the 2018 around the world Clean Growth Strategy.
READY FOR WINTER? Not everyone has the money or inclination to adapt their whole heating system – but there are other ways to make sure your home is winter ready
1. SERVICE THE SYSTEM Even a good-quality modern heating system will only work as well as it should with regular servicing and maintenance. Now is a good time to make sure everything is working well before the weather turns colder. One north Wales company that can help with all types of boiler care is Coppercroft, based in Wrexham. “Annual boiler servicing is a wise precaution,” the company says. “We can ensure that your current system is operating to peak performance, ensure against carbon monoxide leaks and prolong its lifespan. Regular maintenance can also help prevent a system breakdown, which can be expensive and never welcome.” Another local business is Total Boilers. “We cater to all domestic and business customers’ central heating systems, gas services and plumbing requirements,” says managing director Chris Jones. “We are dedicated to bringing you a high-quality and professional service throughout the north-west, West Midlands and north Wales. Our reputation has been developed through hard work and reliability, which is why we are the area’s number-one choice for plumbing, gas and oil related work.” 2. FILL THE GAPS Insulation is key to keeping your home warm. Lofts are the obvious choice, but walls can be worth insulating too – and it is sometimes possible without major rebuilding. There are even grants available to add insulation to some houses, and plenty of experts who can advise on what your options are. If you’ve done all the insulation you can, the next move is to fill any gaps that let in a draught – around windows and doors, external pipe fittings, even cat flaps and air vents. Make sure any that can be safely sealed have been, and add a draught excluder to any others. 3. GLAZE OVER Windows are a source of heat loss in any home, but especially older properties. Double glazing can make a dramatic difference to the interior warmth of a house. Chester-based Sovereign Windows supplies and fits a huge range of double-glazed windows and doors. A family-run business with over 40 years’ experience, it is one of the leading windows and door companies in Cheshire. “Sovereign Windows has encountered everything you can imagine, and with our experience you can be assured of customer satisfaction,” says a company spokesperson. “We have strived to take the company forward by researching and sourcing the best-quality uPVC windows and doors, and continue to improve our range of products by keeping up with improvements made by the industry.” 4. DECORATE RIGHT Before you choose interior decor based on colour and trend alone, take into account the impact it could have on your overall heating bills. The quality of your carpets and, even more so, the underlay can have a huge bearing on the general warmth of your house, so choose carefully for maximum snugness. Curtains and blinds also help keep window areas warmer – a spot that is traditionally cool thanks to the glass – so thicker, insulated linings make a big difference. And don’t worry if you’ve already selected your curtains – many thermal linings can be fitted to existing window dressings too.
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Stay cosy... and classy Making an extra investment to your heating system or adding a device to warm up a room can be a style choice as much as a practical heating one. Here are some local companies that can help you to look cool while keeping you warm Eternal Flame Fires & Fireplaces offers a full range of marble, limestone and travertine fireplaces, stoves and gas stoves that combine the finest quality with great value. The team is passionate about their products and believe that the fireplace is, and should be, the focal point of any room. At the company’s large showroom in Mochdre near Colwyn Bay you can find a great choice of traditional and contemporary fireplaces. From making your choice to the final fitting, Eternal Flame’s friendly, knowledgeable staff are committed to offering you a service that is unrivalled in north Wales. North West Heating Solutions is a family business based in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire providing the latest in modern, efficient electric heating systems combined with good, old-fashioned local customer service. The team are passionate about providing future-thinking electric heating that gives customers greater control over their heating and helps them to manage the heat they do use to achieve lower energy bills. The company carries out a free home survey and only fits the heaters you need. Its range of tech-smart, trendy radiators has a style to suit every home. Ludlow Stoves Renewable Heating Centre specialises in providing carbon-neutral heating solutions for your home. It has a range of wood-burning cookers, boilers, stoves, pellet heaters, air and ground source heat pumps, electric stoves and accessories to suit your needs and budget. “We are a family-run business and totally independent, so we choose the stoves we think are the best in the market and we listen to our customers’ feedback,” the company says. “We don’t have to hit sales targets so can give you the best advice for your needs.” Prince & Pugh in Knighton, Powys, has been part of a thriving community for over 100 years and has built a reputation as a centre for beautiful quality stoves and range cookers. Customers can choose from traditional and modern, multi-fuel and wood burning, plus many more stove options. Prince & Pugh also has a selection of range cookers to transform your kitchen, whether it’s just for cooking or to provide hot water or any number of radiators. There’s also a tempting tea shop to try while you browse!
LUXURY HEATING OPTIONS We spoke to the experts at RN Williams in St Asaph to find out about the latest fireplaces, wood stoves and range cookers Gazco Reflex 75T-2 with Echoflame black glass lining (RRP £4,095) The convenience of gas combined with improved fuel effects has resulted in a surge in demand for gas stoves and fires. The Gazco Reflex is a designer-style, large format fire with an option to suit any setting. With an energy-saving mode and Myfire app option for smartphones and tablets, it offers style, convenience and efficiency. “Large-format gas fires have steadily increased in popularity over the past year and increased even further during the pandemic, when we saw customers investing cancelled holiday funds into improving their homes. The Gazco Reflex is a fantastic focal point that will also add value to your property.” Hwam 4640m SmartControl (RRP £3,255) True wood-burning stoves are still difficult to beat and Danish company Hwam has focused on fuel efficiency, ease of use and effortless control with its SmartControl technology, allowing you to set your desired room temperature, track your stove’s operation and even remind you when to refuel. “With the introduction of eco design regulations creeping ever closer, customers have been keen to understand more and choose one of the many stoves already in our showroom that exceed these standards. We’ve seen a desire for increased efficiencies and therefore fuel savings that will come from these greenest of models.” Rangemaster Nexus Steam Cooker (introductory price £3,599) Steam ovens are becoming increasingly popular as the nation becomes more focused on a healthy lifestyle. The new Nexus Steam Cooker from Rangemaster has a dedicated steam cavity to retain a food’s nutrients and vitamins and lock in moisture to prevent it from drying out. There’s also a deluxe hotplate, dough proving drawer and 11 multifunction oven, making it perfect for everyday cooking and those who love to get creative. “We’ve seen increased interest in cookers offering additional functionality. Early signs are that the Nexus steam cooker will be a popular addition to our range” Aga R3 Series 100-4H (RRP £7,925) Traditional Aga features meet up-todate technology with the new R3 Series. It’s designed to provide a constant cosy, background warmth to your kitchen – and running on a 13-amp electricity supply, it’s easy to install. Each oven and hotplate operates independently; there’s also an option of an induction hob, while this is the first castiron Aga cooker to feature a high-speed infrared grill. It’s available in a choice of 16 enamel colours, and is perfect if you’re looking to create a stunning focal point in your kitchen. “As the home of Aga in north Wales we have been privileged to launch a number of new Aga models in the area, and the R3 is no exception. It’s packed with new features that will ensure the popularity of Aga lives on, and no doubt our regular cookery demonstrations will be quickly booked up with potential Aga owners eager to see the cooker in action.” Visit RN Williams at Chester Street, St Asaph LL17 0RE, call 01745 582254 or go to www.rnwilliams.co.uk
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Save money... the planet and
When you’re reassessing your home heating, one consideration that’s becoming increasing important for many people is its environmental impact. But there are ways to stay warm, save money and save the planet too…
f you can find a way to heat your home by generating your own energy from low- or zero-carbon renewable energy, you can relax in your lovely warm home with another warm glow – the one that comes from knowing you’re doing your bit for the planet. Generating your own energy also means you’re less dependent on external sources – and prices. The following are the country’s favourite options at the moment.
GOING SOLAR If you have the right space, roof angle, south-facing position and inclination, installing solar panels to heat your hot water might be worth a try. However, fitting this type of system isn’t cheap so, before you invest, you need to find out whether solar thermal panels are right for your home and your needs. Even the best system will only provide you with about a third of your hot water needs, but even so you can still save between £55 and £95 per year on your fuel bills. The systems don’t require much in the way of expensive maintenance and often come with extensive warranties. You will still require a boiler or immersion heater for the rest of your hot water though, especially in the winter when the sun isn’t around so much to help out.
PUMP IT UP There is another option that harnesses the energy from nature – in the form of a heat pump powered by either the air around us or the warm earth underneath us. Air source heat pumps are usually placed at the side or back of a property and take heat from the air, boosting it to a higher temperature using a heat pump. The pump needs electricity to run, but it should use less energy than the heat it produces. A ground source heat DID YOU KNOW? pump system, on the Under the domestic other hand, harnesses Renewable Heat Incentive natural heat from (RHI) scheme, you could underground by receive quarterly cash pumping water payments if you install through it in pipes. an eligible renewable The heat pump heating technology performs the same role
as a boiler in a central heating system, but using ambient heat from the ground rather than burning fuel. You need a bit of space for most systems because the technology relies on installing a loop of pipes underground and then pumping a mixture of water and anti-freeze around it. This then goes through a heat exchanger, which extracts the heat and transfers it to the heat pump and then on to your home heating system. Local company Dragon Drilling works to install these systems across the region. “Extracting energy from the ground to heat a property is a sustainable use of natural resources and could reduce your bills and carbon emissions,” the company says. “A few metres below the ground, the temperature is constant throughout the year. This can be harnessed to heat your home and water in a way that is consistent, cost-efficient and eco-friendly. “Dragon Drilling installs ground source boreholes for many leading renewable heating installers. Some of the benefits we’ve seen include the production of, on average, 75 per cent of your energy – for free and with no carbon imprint. Your energy costs are therefore fixed and stable. You can have constant heat 24 hours a day and this is even reversible if you want cooling air in the summer.” Another company with experience of installing both air and ground source heat pumps is iHeat in Oswestry.
HEAT PUMP BOOST “The Heat Pump Federation (HPF) and the Ground Source Heat Pump Association are pleased to see heat pump technologies included in the government’s announcement of eligible measures under the Green Homes Grant scheme,” says Bean Beanland, chairman of the HPF. “Reducing emissions through the electrification of heat contributes to the delivery of Net Zero 2050, to significant improvements in urban air quality, and to energy security and the UK balance of payments, by on-shoring energy resources. “With the electricity industry rapidly increasing the options for heat pump compatible tariffs, there has never been a better time for homeowners to invest.”
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The company has more than 15 years’ experience in the renewable sector, installing ground and air source heating in domestic and commercial properties. The business is Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MSC) certified and TrustMark accredited – a government-endorsed quality scheme covering work a consumer chooses to have carried out in or around their home, enabling the household to gain access to the Green Homes Grant Scheme or domestic Renewable Heat Initiative. “Our team of engineers and technical staff will be more than happy to help through every stage of your installation,” says Mandy Tompkins at iHeat. “We aim to be involved for the very first stage of the design process, so we are able to meet the client’s aspirations, lifestyle and budget for the optimum system to install.” “It is of utmost importance that MCS certification is required as we continue to push up standards, quality and consumer protection,” says MSC’s CEO Ian Rippin. “We’re working closely with both government officials and Trustmark to ensure that our contractors are fully supported.”
LET IT BURN Another heating option that is renewable – and hence environmentally friendly, depending on the sustainability of your chosen fuel – is a biomass heating system. These are also known as wood heating systems and create energy from the burning of organic materials, usually logs, pellets or chips, in a stove that can be used on its own to heat the room it’s in or connected to the system to provide heat and hot water to the rest of the house. Such systems can be efficient and eco-friendly, but you need to know you have a good, inexpensive and preferably sustainable source of material to burn.
Air Source Heat Pumps Ground Source Heat Pumps Underflooring Heating NEW 2020: THE GREEN HOMES GRANT SCHEME
As part of the government’s new Green home Grant Scheme, Vouchers will be give to homeowners and landlords to make their homes more energy efficient. With the scheme starting in september and running for 6 months untill March 2021, demand is going to be high.
At the time of placing this advert, the Government have not released the full details of the scheme contact Iheat ltd to register your interest.
Rewards available for those who use renewable energy We are proud to MCS Certified Giving you confidence in home-grown energy
Telephone: 01691 238180 email@example.com www.iheatltd.co.uk
WOOD BE GOOD If you have a log burner or open fire and need a good, reliable supply of fuel, check out The Log People. Based in Oswestry, the company sells kiln-dried firewood logs direct from its family-run sawmill, cutting out the middleman. It offers free delivery to Chester, Ellesmere Port, Flintshire, Frodsham, Liverpool, Llangollen, Oswestry, Shrewsbury, Welshpool, Wirral and Wrexham – and other areas in between – and its prices are incredibly low, starting at £3.50 a net or £60 a dumpy bag. The Log People’s logs are quality assured by the Woodsure Ready to Burn initiative and have average moisture content below 20 per cent to comply with the UK’s Clean Air Strategy. Not only that, but all firewood is produced from locally grown British timber that is sourced from sustainably managed woodlands.
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Homes&Interiors HOW WORKING FROM HOME IS WORKING FOR FINANCES This year’s pandemic and lockdown have changed the habits of the nation – some temporarily and some for longer. And it has saved some people a substantial amount too, as more employees than ever have been working from home
s restrictions surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic are eased, more and more people are returning to their places of work. Soon, time spent working from home may feel like a distant memory. But with news showing that energy bills have increased as a result of more people working from home, the economic impact might Savings were made on commuting take longer to dissipate. The experts at Saveonenergy (www.saveonenergy.com/uk) decided to investigate how Britons have been financially affected by working from home. It surveyed 3,573 people, calculating the average savings they made by not commuting or buying lunch and coffees when working from home, and the results were generally positive. It found that the average Brit working from home saved around £177 by not commuting, and while 64 per cent of people surveyed said their electricity bills had increased, 52 per cent said they had more money overall. Lockdown has also led to a change in attitude from employees, as the survey revealed that 87 per cent of people said they’d feel better about going back to work if their employers could be flexible with working from home. This may not be such a popular idea with their bosses, however, as 73 per cent of people now also want their employer to pay expenses towards working from home.
Ways to save
As part of the survey Saveonenergy also offered tips on how to make working
from home more affordable. Some of the money-saving ideas apply whether you’re at home all day or not and include: Regularly dust lights off heating in empty rooms ● Choose a laptop over desktop computer ● Take advantage of natural light whenever possible ● Avoid leaving devices on standby ● Wash laundry at lower temperature ● Switch light bulbs to energy-saving ones ● Print cautiously ●
DID YOU KNOW? Nearly 50% of adults worked from home in July 2020
Losses and gains
Respondents were asked to compare the savings they’d Save money and the environment made against the extra costs, and most came out better off when the figures were compared over the three months of lockdown. Looking at how much they typically spent on things such as commuting, lunch and a daily coffee habit, those working from home banked an average of £867 during the lockdown. With some estimates suggesting that as many as 15 million people were working from home during lockdown, that’s a lot of extra cash that will hopefully be pumped back into the economy as things Energy bills were higher for home workers start to get back to normal. September/October 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 51
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HOMES & INTERIORS
A haven of health, not harm Keeping germs, bacteria and viruses out of the home is a priority these days, but make sure your chosen cleaning products aren’t doing more harm than good
e all do our best to keep our homes sanitised so we can avoid illnesses, but many people don’t realise how toxic common household products can be. The cleaning experts at PriceYourJob have provided much-needed information about the dangers of our favourite toxic household products and the eco-friendly, non-toxic replacements we can use to avoid them.
There are a number of non-toxic antifreezes available, including Starbrite anti-freeze. It can be used to protect vehicle engines and even drinking water systems (for example, caravan water systems) to -46°C.
There is a range of non-toxic air fresheners on the market, including Nu-Eco Citris Twist air freshener. It’s environmentally friendly and
hypoallergenic, contains no aerosols and is made from 100 per cent natural ingredients.
DID YOU KNOW? Vinegar was used as a cleansing agent in ancient Babylon
Non-toxic cleaners can be found in most supermarkets. Method multi-purpose cleaners are made from non-toxic, natural ingredients, including coconut and corn. Or you can make your own: lemons and vinegar are both great natural cleaners and can be put in a spray bottle.
Use homemade remedies such as lemons and baking soda (one cup of baking soda to one cup of lemon juice) to keep drains clean.
There’s even a non-toxic version of bleach on the market – oxygen bleach! It’s hypoallergenic, biodegradable and septic-tank Toilet cleaner friendly, and a very effective, Ecover produces a large Choose natural ingredients safer alternative to standard range of cleaning and bleach. Vinegar and baking soda laundry products that are biodegradable and can also be used as an alternative to chlorinebetter for our water systems, including a based cleaners, and make for a fantastic toilet cleaner made from minerals and plants. non-toxic way to get rid of tough stains.
Hit the huts
solution to the current need for working from home. They come fully assembled and wired, The team behind Huts and are fitted with engineered oak Stuff – father and son Dave floors and available painted or unpainted. Where mains and John – have more than power isn’t available, they 12 years’ experience creating can be supplied with a solar customers’ dream huts from powered lighting system. And as little as a sketch on the as nothing has been built in, the huts can be easily repurposed. back of an envelope All Huts and Stuff huts are he shepherd’s huts created by Huts and Stuff have myriad built using FSC timber, sourced from local suppliers as much as possible. The company uses. Some get used for glamping, others are spare rooms or for when the kids want to move out into the garden, is also always open to new ideas, and welcomes input from their customers. while a few very special ones have become saunas. “All the Many become offices. The small huts are ideal for People often ask where the “stuff ” comes huts are creating a quiet space while working from home (a from. Recently this has included a railwaybuilt hut measuring 10ft by 6ft starts from £4,995), while themed wagon, a couple of small wooden using FSC boats and on a ride-on garden railway, not to larger huts can comfortably fit timber” mention trying to convert a 1920s Austin 7 two desks and some shelving to electric power – using a period motor. space (from £7,500). No matter the end use, Huts and Stuff shepherd’s huts are always fully In normal times, Dave and John can be insulated so can be used all year round. found attending shows up and down the Recently, the company’s standard 12ft by region, but at present you’ll find them at their 7ft huts have become very popular. These workshop on the Shropshire-Powys border. The “stuff ” start from £7,500 and provide an affordable For details visit www.hutsandstuff.co.uk
Hut styles vary
Choose your decor 52 SHIRE MAGAZINE | September/October 2020
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“The best logs I’ve ever had.” Fiona, Wirral “Great company. Pleasure to deal with.” Oliver, Shropshire
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Huts & Stuff Our Shepherds Huts are Perfect for Spare Rooms, Model railways, Craft & Hobby rooms, Garden Retreats, Glamping, or just because you love them. We have been building bespoke Shepherds Huts, Wagons and stuff in mid Wales for over 15 years. Prices start from £7,500. Nationwide & European Delivery Visitors welcome by appointment To order or discuss your requirements Contact David and John on 01588 620132 Mob: 07300 013032 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.hutsandstuff.co.uk
Take a look at our Blog to see what we’ve been up to during the Lockdown at www.hutsnstuff.blogspot.com
HOME SAFETY PROTECT YOUR FAMILY FROM CARBON MONOXIDE ANDY SPEAKE, FIRE SAFETY EXPERT AT AICO, EXPLAINS HOW CARBON MONOXIDE ALARMS SAVE LIVES
s much as we may like may not be instantly dangerous, to deny it, it’s time to if this builds up over time it admit that winter is coming. can become more and more As the days draw shorter and harmful. The alarm will go the temperature drops, for into full alarm state within many of us it means turning a few minutes of CO being the heating on to warm your present at a dangerous level. home through those chilly Another way to check evenings and frosty mornings. levels in your home is to buy Whether your heating runs a CO alarm that provides on gas, oil or solid fuel, the you with reports. Aico CO fuel must be burned cleanly alarms, for instance, contain and efficiently, otherwise it can a report functionality called produce carbon monoxide (CO). AudioLINK. This allows you CO is a poisonous gas to see a colour-coded you can’t see, smell report on the CO “A carbon or taste, which makes status of the alarm monoxide it more dangerous and your home alarm will constantly because you won’t through a handy app. monitor know if your appliances Aico, an Ei levels of CO” Company, is the UK are giving off the gas. CO poisoning is market leader in fire often mistaken for flu, because and carbon monoxide protection. the symptoms are very similar Dedicated to delivering with smaller doses of CO. They education, quality, service and include dizziness, headaches, innovation, Aico leads the way breathlessness and nausea, and in home life safety by pioneering as it worsens it can lead to new technologies and offering collapse and unconsciousness. high-quality alarms, developed In worst cases, it can be fatal. and manufactured in Ireland. If you can’t see it, smell it All Aico alarms meet UK or taste it, how do you know standards and offer a variety when CO is there? The only of sensor types to guarantee way is to fit a CO alarm, which protection for every home. will monitor the levels of CO in the room and the length Andy Speake is national of time these levels have been technical manager for Aico. present. The reason it does For more information, this is that, although the level visit www.aico.co.uk at which it starts to alert you 54 SHIRE MAGAZINE | September/October 2020
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HOMES & INTERIORS
Add a little kitchen extra If you need a bit more worktop space in your kitchen but don’t want to add more units, a pretty little island can make all the difference
itchens have become increasingly multifunctional in purpose since the lockdown, and many of us have been craving extra space for food preparation, dining DID YOU or even home schooling. Adding worktop space, KNOW? storage and even seating can be done easily with This familya freestanding island or trolley unit. And you can owned firm has make it a good-looking addition too – a focal been in business point rather than just a practical solution – with for 30 years the new range from the Natural Wood Floor Co. Proving that real wood works looks just as beautiful when applied to worktops as it does as flooring, the islands are topped with walnut or oak and with a black or white frame, ensuring they will be a centre piece of the kitchen The small kitchen trolley visually as well as practically. size kitchen trolley, meanwhile, Range of ideas measures 790mm by 510mm and has two stainless steel shelves. The range includes a small The versatile large kitchen island kitchen trolley, which is the measures 1,260mm by 790mm and ideal storage solution for a compact kitchen. It has two again has two stainless steel shelves, adjustable wooden shelves as well as a recess for added seating, with groves, which are perfect making it ideal for use as an informal dining space or breakfast bar. You’ll for keeping bottles in place, a never be stuck for space again! drawer for storage and wheels The medium kitchen trolley for easy movability. Measuring 450mm by 430mm, the The small trolley costs £65 (plus £15 delivery), the medium worktop’s extension shelf can trolley costs £95 (plus £30 delivery) and the kitchen island be neatly folded down when costs £140 (plus £60 delivery). For more information on the The large kitchen island not in use. The mediumfull range and to order, visit www.naturalwoodfloor.co.uk
TRANSFORM AND PROTECT YOUR GARAGE
s the nation’s largest roller garage door installer, Garolla uses local experts to fit the garage door of your dreams, transforming your home’s exterior with one easy installation. Garolla roller garage doors are remote controlled, quiet and easy to use. Combining the latest safety features with unbeatable quality, every Garolla garage door is built to stand the test of time. Manufactured in-house at the company’s factory in Leeds, every door is built to fit your home’s exact specifications and is available in more than 18 colours, from classic white to moss green and beyond. Thanks to powerful locks and a patented safety system, the doors are also an effective deterrent to thieves and criminals. Made from strong aluminium, Garolla doors are easy to use Quick and easy installation and save valuable space within
your garage. The door tucks neatly away, allowing you to use every inch of your garage. They are also operated using a wireless remote control so you can access your garage from the comfort of your car. A Garolla garage door can be installed in a matter of hours and is ready to use immediately. There’s no messy building work or noisy drills to worry about for hours on end; there are also no Colour-match your exterior hidden costs, as all quotes include measuring, fitting and VAT. Your local installer will even dispose of your old garage door completely free of charge. To receive a no-strings-attached quote from Garolla, visit www.garolla.co.uk or call on 0800 468 1982. September/October 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 55
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New Homes A T O N L A N O I T I D TRA R E K A M E M HO With over 100 medieval castles, cathedrals and even Blackpool’s Tower Ballroom on her CV, this mum of three has carved out a brilliant career in the macho world of construction
ictoria Godberford, 38, runs her health and safety consultancy from bases in Denbigh and Chester, and is as comfortable setting up remote e-learning courses as she is donning a hard hat, hi-vis jacket and safety boots for site inspections. Victoria, who is from Rhuallt in Denbighshire, studied “Starting out marketing at Staffordshire University in health and before getting into construction safety was a with her stonemason father Geoff ’s challenge. The specialist restoration construction attitude was, company, Chester Masonry. ‘We’ve always “I always wanted to have my own business but I hadn’t considered done it like this, construction – I wanted to be the why should person behind the TV advertisements,” we change?’” says Victoria. “Then in my third year at university I came to work for my father and my uncle and became interested in stained glass windows. I learned how to take out the old lead and make new lead to reset the glass. “My claim to fame is that I leaded the whole of the historic stained glass West Window at Shrewsbury Abbey, taking out
Victoria Godberford on site
the old lead and then replacing it so the glass could go back in. Then I was doing photographic surveys for architects and writing reports and my dad said they needed someone to do health and safety for the business – and that was me.” Victoria gained her qualifications at Yale College, Wrexham – now part of Coleg Cambria – and at 22 was managing the health and safety for the whole company, carrying out risk assessments and putting new systems into practice, changing established cultures.
“It was quite a challenge but an exciting time to be starting out in health and safety. The attitude was, ‘We’ve always done it this way, why should we change?’ They’d worked on sites for years, they were middle-aged men and trying to teach them to change their behaviour was a major challenge. “I do think it actually helped to be a woman on a building site. Having two brothers and working in construction I tend to get on well with men because I’ve always been around them Health and safety measures and enjoy their company.” Victoria’s work continues to be a mix of modern construction and heritage sites, and while many construction skills remain traditional the digital world is increasingly important in the building industry – and this is where Victoria has seen and embraced major changes. Victoria’s own career highlight was the contract with CADW, the Welsh historic buildings organisation. “I was up against some massive companies and hadn’t long started on my own, and I had two very young children, but I won it and I worked with them for more than four years,” she says. “It took me to every castle in Wales, seeing behind the scenes and making sure the public were safe without losing the feeling that they were in a medieval castle. I think the message is that you can do anything if you put your mind to it.” September/October 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 57
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THE HEART OF A HAPPY HOME
When it comes to planning your new home, the kitchen is probably the most important room in the house. The kitchen design experts at Magnet share some hints and tips on how to design the perfect space for a happy, healthy family
he wellbeing of our minds and our bodies is of the utmost importance, because a healthy family is a happy family. As the heart of your home, your kitchen can play a vital role in a well-balanced, stress-free life. Magnet’s expert tips and tricks will help both your home and your family look and feel their best.
Clever colour palettes
The colours we surround ourselves with can have a huge impact on our mood. The perfect palette can ensure your home reflects your family’s outlook on life and can be a subtle nudge of encouragement to feel this way more often. Magnet’s bespoke pastel shades, such as Pistachio and Rose Bowl, create a cheery, upbeat atmosphere, while sultry shades, such as Pass the Merlot and Coffee Grounds, can create a relaxing yet sophisticated ambience.
sleek and stylish sound bar, which blends seamlessly into your kitchen’s plinth or wall units, and uses Bluetooth technology to play your family’s favourite songs.
The kitchen isn’t just the heart of the home, it’s also the tummy! The AEG Steam Pro Compact Oven has a built-in sous vide function to help retain more nutrients and flavour in your food. The smart interior food storage drawer, meanwhile, creates hidden extra storage space for fruit and
Forget gadgets and gimmicks; true innovations can reduce stress and keep the peace within your household. Eliminate sibling squabbles with the USB charging tray, a neat storage solution that ensures your family’s favourite tech is always ready to go while keeping messy wires out of site. And you can fill your home with music with a
Selling an unused part of your land can bring financial rewards. The Building Plot can help
Let there be light
An airy space, flooded with natural light, creates a calm feeling. Stylish skylights and chic glass doors are a great way to bring the outdoors in. If your kitchen doesn’t allow for this, transform your ceiling into the night sky with the use of sleek spotlights, such as the Synchro LED Spotlight 12V. The clever use of flexible LED strip lights under base units and worktops will also ensure no corner of your kitchen is left feeling gloomy.
HOW TO MAKE MONEY FROM YOUR GARDEN
Design a kitchen to suit your needs
vegetables that don’t need to be in the fridge, keeping them fresh and tasty.
Family is everything
Time spent together is what makes a house a home. Use your kitchen to create a family hub, a space used for far more than cooking. An open-plan layout encourages the family to spend quality time together. Design tricks can also be used to create a more social space such as the use of a breakfast bar. This gives family members the option to work, study or simply chat while preparing a meal. For more information and inspiration, visit www.magnet.co.uk
lanning and architecture company the Building Plot aims to increase property and land values by obtaining planning permission on a risk-free basis on behalf of clients. Its dedicated team has extensive experience in securing planning permission, and uses this in-depth knowledge to help clients navigate the planning system. If you’re looking to sell part of your land, the Building Plot can identify possible plots that offer the most potential. It will then submit a planning application on your behalf. The company can take care of all matters relating to applications, including detailed architectural drawings, all necessary third-party surveys and specialist reports that are often required to support a planning application. Its fee is also only payable on successful planning applications, making the experience risk-free for clients. For more information and advice, visit www.thebuildingplot.com
58 SHIRE MAGAZINE | September/October 2020
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Leighton Park, Shrewsbury A spectacular period conversion in Shropshire is almost complete, offering picture-perfect lodgings
enowned local housebuilder Shropshire Homes has reached the final phase of its prestigious Leighton Park development in Shrewsbury following an extensive conversion project. “We are The magnificent Central Hall is the tremendously jewel in the crown at Leighton Park proud of and has been enormously popular, with the work only a small number of luxurious twocompleted bedroom apartments now remaining. over the past Leighton Park is located on the site of five years” a former hospital and comprises a variety of properties sympathetically converted from the original Victorian buildings, retaining their striking original period features. Outdoors, the breathtaking grounds are noted for their tranquil green spaces enhanced with mature flora and fauna, providing an oasis of calm while also being conveniently located for easy access to Shrewsbury town centre, by footpath, cycle lane or bus route.
Perfect situation Finished to a luxurious standard
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Shrewsbury is a beautiful historic town situated on the banks of the River Severn, with a population of around 72,000. It’s famous for its abundance of boutique retailers, including the national award-winning Market Hall, and independent traders outnumber big chains in Shrewsbury by nearly 50 per cent. There is a thriving
arts and culture scene, a vast array of cafés and restaurants and a recently established university attracting students from all over the country. With so much on offer, Shrewsbury combines the variety and indulgence of city The converted Victorian Central Hall living with a peaceful and laidback border town lifestyle. Easily accessible by road or rail, the town makes a convenient location for commuters, too. Birmingham and Chester are both around an hour away, Manchester Piccadilly one hour and 30 minutes away, while London Euston takes as little as two hours and 30 minutes.
“We are all tremendously proud of the work completed over the past five years, and are thrilled to be entering the very last phase of development with so much encouraging feedback from the happy residents already in situ,” says Shropshire A variety of styles are available Homes’ chairman Howard Thorne. “Leighton Park has been an exceptional undertaking, and it has been a privilege to develop a site so integral to Shrewsbury’s rich architectural heritage.” A handful of properties at Leighton Park are still available. Interested parties are advised to call 01743 368766 to book an exclusive viewing appointment or complete the enquiries form at www.shropshire-homes.com September/October 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 61
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HOME SHOPPING 2
Purple reigns! Add a sumptuous, regal feel to your home with autumnal splashes of purple, berry and plum
13 15 14
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17.
Ian Mitchell “Conwy Castle” unframed digital print, £75, Mostyn Gallery in Llandudno; www.mostyn.org/shop Lounge retro chrome floor lamp in purple, £319, Stokers Furniture in Chester; www.stokers.co.uk Purple floral canvas, £20, Dunelm; www.dunelm.com Meiying wallpaper in mauve, £50 per roll, Graham & Brown; www.grahambrown.com Mysofa Alfredo extra large sofa, sale price £899 (rrp £1,699), Stokers Furniture in Chester; www.stokers.co.uk Coasters, £7.99, Roobarb in Bridgnorth, Shropshire; www.loveroobarb.co.uk Morris Autumn Flowers rug, £599 (140x200cm), Arighi Bianchi in Macclesfield, Cheshire; www.arighibianchi.co.uk Crackled lustre vase, £20.49 (20cm), Tweedmill Shopping Outlet in St Asaph, Denbighshire; www.tweedmill.store Harrison 21400 double deluxe king size divan set, sale price £1,199 (rrp £3,149), Annetts in Hereford; www.annetts.co.uk Farrow & Ball Estate Emulsion No.254 (Pelt), £47.95 for 2.5 litres, Morgans in Oswestry, Shropshire; www.morgansltd.com Velvet Chesterfield tub chair in aubergine, £299, Victoria James in Telford, Shropshire; www.victoriajameshomeaccessories.co.uk Purple swan mosaic lamp, £68, British Ironwork Centre in Oswestry, Shropshire; www.britishironworkcentre.co.uk Feather duvet cover, £89 (king size), Secret Linen Store; www.secretlinenstore.com Villeroy & Boch Finion vanity unit, £3,177, RN Williams in St Asaph, Denbighshire; www.rnwilliams.co.uk Mirror, £10, and enamel trays, £18, Wilstone in Leebotwood, Shropshire; www.wilstone.com Everhot 100i cooker in aubergine, £8,365, RN Williams in St Asaph, Denbighshire; www.rnwilliams.co.uk Kenwood Mesmerine four-slice toaster in rich plum, £129, Currys PC World; www.currys.co.uk
September/October 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 63
Home Shopping SeptOct 2020 FINAL.indd 1
Located at the heart of Chester Racecourse, visit our family-friendly venue and dine with us 7 days a week. Seasonal pub favourites, a play area for the kids and you can choose to dine in or outside. Our relaxed setting provides a great atmosphere and our team are waiting to greet you with a warm welcome.
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The post-lockdown reopening of restaurants was one of the most eagerly awaited moments of this peculiar year. Everyone loves a great meal out in a lovely location with lots of space and a carefully planned, tempting menu… and where better than The White Horse at Chester Racecourse?
n non-race days, The White Horse has the whole venue to koftas to get an idea of the range. The d egg k pudding an itself – which means there’s no trouble finding a parking burger was juicy, with a hearty texture, Crumpet, blac space and no need to book for an outside table. An easy-to-use while the chicken breast showed every app is provided for table service outside, and all drinks and food sign of a professional kitchen taking are brought to you. Everything is set up for convenience: the care – blackened pieces, torn not sliced. toilets for outside tables are just a few yards away in the racecourse The salad croutons deserve mention complex, while for inside diners an ingenious traffic light system – perfectly large, crusty and crunchy lets you see if the toilet is vacant, all explained when you arrive. all the way through, a real treat. The White Horse menu ranges from gastropub favourites to more However, the best flavours were exotic dishes. Alongside traditional British and Italian food, there are found in the koftas – sweet and slightly a few eastern Mediterranean dishes featuring ingredients minted (before mincing, the like couscous, pomegranate, aubergine, and harissa and lamb is marinated in a mint Lots o f spac e outs chickpeas. At the same time, it’s a menu for the whole sugar mixture), served on “The best ide! table, including a roast on Sundays (a choice of roast pork, wooden skewers, just fantastic flavours beef or nut roast) – while some kids just want a margherita with hummus, yoghurt were found pizza and fries with ice cream for dessert, and why not? and pomegranate beautifully arranged on the plate. in the koftas – sweet Pudding for starters It’s a winner and slightly We wanted to try some of the more novel-sounding With starters £5 to £6 and main courses £12 to £13 (average minted” starters. The crumpet and black pudding, with some simple for Chester in our experience), The White Horse is good additions, could serve as either a main course or a hearty value in a terrific setting. The whole set-up makes everything breakfast! The egg, just under-poached, ran over the black pudding so easy and relaxing, and you know the kids can play safely outside – it and into the crumpet deliciously. Chorizo is always a welcome was no wonder we saw so many families. You’re guaranteed a topextra, and the watercress garnish added a nice peppery touch. quality meal and excellent service whatever takes your fancy. We were also interested to see what The White Horse would make of the sausage roll. True to form, it reclaims the Rob McDiarmid ubiquitous pastry as fine food: juicy Chef, The White Horse pork nicely textured with A chef for 18 years, Rob trained at the local West Cheshire College apple, a winning and has a longstanding connection with Chester Race Company combination of Where do you take inspiration from? sweet and savoury. I like simple British cuisine. I admire Tom Kerridge for the way he The best-looking has uplifted typical pub food. starter, meanwhile, What is your favourite meal to make at home? was the goat’s cheese I do bits and bobs every now and again, but my wife is a great cook – a generously thick and makes most of the meals for our family. slice of just-melting What is your favourite dish on cheese, blackened in the The White Horse’s menu? centre, perched on top The crumpet topped with black pudding, chorizo of the beetroot salad. and a poached egg is definitely a winner! We opted for some of the classic mains – The White Horse, Chester Racecourse CH1 2LY the burger, the caesar 01244 304650, www.thewhitehorsechester.co.uk id cDiarm salad – as well as the lamb Chef Rob M September/October 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 65
Restaurant Review SeptOct 2020 FINAL.indd 1
Food&Drink BIG CHEESES JOIN FORCES Four of the region’s top culinary names have come together to help promote local Welsh produce
farmer-owned creamery has joined forces with a quartet of top cooks for a new drive to promote world-class Welsh produce. Each of the culinary maestros came up with a mouthwatering recipe for the campaign launched by South Caernarfon Creameries (SCC), based in Chwilog near Pwllheli. The fab four include: BBC MasterChef 2017 contestant Imran Nathoo from Cardiff; Great British Bake Off contestant Michelle Evans-Fecci from Tenby; Sam Lomas, the head chef at Halen Môn’s Tide/Llanw café on Anglesey; and Caernarfon-based TV cook Chris Roberts. The creamery devised the social media campaign, Big Cheese, to provide a new showcase using cheese from the creamery’s popular Dragon range in all the recipes featured.
Nelson’s Distillery & School is a multi-award-winning craft distiller of premium Gin, Rum and Vodka that offers the unique experience of crafting your own 70cl spirit at their Gin & Vodka School. Its gins are a perfect balance and blend of 27 botanicals, and are renowned across the globe, winning awards in San Francisco World Spirit Competition, Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Wine & Spirit competitions and closer to home the Great Taste Awards.
Please call 07854 821180 to find out more or email firstname.lastname@example.org www.nelsonsdistillery.co.uk @Nelsonsdistillery
Sam worked with chef, writer and campaigner Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall at his River Cottage restaurant for more than All the recipes feature cheese three years and says there is a close relationship between Anglesey sea salt and South Caernarfon Creameries. “I love the way the cheese is produced and love the cooperative idea, with farmers working together,” he says. “North Wales is an area with so much potential – there are so many hidden gems and the range of locally produced top ingredients is mind-blowing. “My recipe is smoky cheese bacon and sea beet tarts. It uses local Anglesey ingredients and is a wonderful and uncomplicated dish using Dragon handcrafted maplewood-smoked cheddar.”
Larger-than-life chef Chris has seen his popularity grow after posting videos and recipes on Facebook. That led to an S4C series, Bwyd Epic Chris (Epic Food Chris), for which he’s just finished recording a new series and is planning another Christmas special. “I’m right behind the Big Cheese campaign,” says Chris. “I wanted something special for my recipe, so I used Welsh black brisket, which I slow-cooked in a smoker. I cooked it overnight using cherry wood. I then served Dragon is owned by the farmers it with a flatbread
66 SHIRE MAGAZINE | September/October 2020
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FOOD & DRINK
Imran Nathoo Michelle Evans-Fecci
and a salsa with a bit of a kick to it, plus a rich cheese sauce that really complemented the meat. It’s absolutely mouthwatering and delicious.”
DID YOU KNOW? Dragon butter and cheese use 100 per cent Welsh milk
Imran made it into the quarter-finals of BBC1’s MasterChef three years ago, despite working full-time as a dentist and having a busy home life with two young boys, but he has no regrets. “I just love cooking, but I want to connect with the food I’m using and where it comes from,” he says. “It means a lot to me to know people have gone to a lot of effort to produce what I’m eating. “I want to “My recipe is a leek and pea no-stir risotto using Dragon salted butter, vintage connect with cheddar and leek-crumbled cheese, and the food I’m handcrafted Halen Môn cheddar to finish. using” – The flavours and seasoning can be altered Imran really easily so cooks can get creative.”
Mum-of-one Michelle was a contestant on last year’s Great British Bake Off, surviving until week five of the Channel 4 show. The print shop administrator was thrilled to appear on the show but feels she could have gone further had she appreciated just how competitive the show was. “I was brought up on a smallholding and I think that’s where I got my love of good-quality local produce,” she says. “My recipe is mini cheesy muffin frittatas using Dragon cheddar and leek cheese. They are absolutely delicious.” Visit www.dragonwales.co.uk for the recipes or follow #TheBigCheese on Facebook and Instagram
Foodie delights and more at Newport Indoor Market
raders and customers at Newport Indoor Market are enjoying the benefits of a major refurbishment of the site, which took place last summer. The Newport Market Company, which has owned and run the historic market since 1860, has also been working in partnership with stallholders to ensure a broad range of produce is available on a weekly basis. With 100 per cent occupancy at the market, you can now purchase meat, fish, fruit and veg, bread, cheese, antipasti, curry, confectionery, chocolates, allergy-free foods, pet food, plants, homemade cakes, crafts and ladies’ clothes, to name just a few. Treats abound at the market! With the addition of WiFi, card payments have enhanced the way you can pay at the market. There is also free parking available nearby and a regular bus service, which means the market continues to bring shoppers into town, which has a knock-on benefit for Newport’s high street. Many customers appreciate the personal service and the variety of products offered under one roof, and during the recent lockdown traders even delivered boxes of essentials to those sheltering or in isolation. The market is open every Friday and Saturday Fresh veg grown locally from 8am until 3.30pm. For enquiries, email email@example.com.
September/October 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 67
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FOOD & DRINK
A storm brewing Beer producers were hit hard by the lockdown – but the sector is fighting back
hen all pubs, bars and restaurants were forced to shut in March, it is estimated that 70 million pints of spoilt beer were thrown away. Not only was that heartbreaking for the dedicated individuals who had lovingly crafted the beer, it was financially devastating for many suppliers too. The British Beer & Pub Association calculated the figures based on its database of the UK’s 47,000 pubs, estimating each had on average 10 taps dispensing beer, most of which would have been spoiled by the time they began to reopen in July. The government has said the duty paid on the wasted beer can be claimed back by brewers and pubs, but this won’t cover the losses entirely. Luckily brewers are an inventive and resilient lot, and BBPA reports that some of the beer that couldn’t be sold was used for other purposes, including as feed for anaerobic digesters to Not all beer went to waste create organic fertiliser for farming, and as animal feed – which helped to support other sectors through the Covid-19 crisis. DID YOU
KNOW? Progressive beer duty means small breweries pay less tax on their products
The Society for Independent Brewers surveyed small independent breweries across the UK and found that average beer sales were down 82 per cent during the months of the Covid-19 lockdown, with many businesses struggling to survive. The responses showed that eight out of 10 brewers don’t believe the government is doing enough to support them, and more than half (54 per cent) have been unable to access any government support. Nearly one-third of these companies are considering redundancies. There is only one way we can do our bit to help the previously booming craft industry – get out and enjoy the fine products from independent breweries. We are lucky enough to be surrounded by superb beer and cider producers in the Shire patch, so next time you’re deciding what to drink try to avoid the mass-produced international brands and look local for quality and diversity. Cheers!
CHRISTMAS PARTIES WITH A DIFFERENCE T
he festive season is fast approaching but the Christmas parties we all know and love are looking less certain. However, there are options available if you would like to enjoy a unique experience in a safe environment. At Nelson’s Distillery & School, for example, you can enjoy a private Gin & Vodka School with friends, family or employees. The four- to five-hour experience will give you and your guests Make your own gin an in-depth introduction into the art and precision of distilling. You’ll learn the colourful history of one of today’s most popular spirits and get creative making your own, immersing yourself in the 50-plus botanicals available at the school to blend your own unique recipe. Your creation will then be distilled before your eyes, ready for you to take home the same day. Lunch and light refreshments are provided, as is plentiful amounts of gin. Taxis or stopovers are recommended! Nelson’s Socially Safety measures in place Distanced Christmas Parties are available at all the school’s locations with varying capacity size. The Staffordshire school has Perspex dividers between stills, while the hotel schools offer fully portable stills placed two metres apart. Nelson’s also has the capability to move the portable stills further to accommodate customers’ needs. For more information on prices and availability, or to book a Nelson’s Socially Distanced Christmas Party, email enquiries@ nelsonsdistillery.co.uk with the reference “Christmas Parties”.
NEW STOP FOR TOP TRADITIONAL CHEESES
hropshire has an abundance of brilliant food and drink businesses, and one of those is Moyden’s. Its handmade cheeses are made using traditional techniques that have been tried and tested by countless generations of farmhouse and specialist cheesemakers. Earlier this year, it opened its Cheese Emporium at Newport Indoor Market, Shropshire. “The market is a fabulous place for independent businesses and producers, and we love being part of it,” says a company spokesperson. “We have lots of loyal customers who come to purchase their cheese from us week after week. We also work with fellow food producers and showcase their products – What a Pickle, Cradocs biscuits and Shropshire Salumi to name a few. “With lots of events and festivals cancelled this year, the market has been a brilliant base for us to sell our range of cheeses. We
trade here Friday and Saturday every week.” As well as this physical stall, Moyden’s has a strong following on social media and has seen its online sales increase since lockdown as more and more people have taken the opportunity to try artisanal food and drink. You can follow them on Instagram @moydenscheese, or for a full list of stockists in and around Shropshire visit www.moydenscheese.co.uk.
68 SHIRE MAGAZINE | September/October 2020
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Jamie’s Butchers and Deli offer a wide range of delicious local produce! Hot and Cold Sandwich Bar Call & Collect or Home Delivery Service Available Unit 1, St Mary’s Precinct, Church Street, Chirk, Wrexham, LL14 5HX T: 01691 772602 www.jamiewardsbutchers.co.uk
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FOOD & DRINK
A TOUCH OF
The right wine glass can make a good wine great, as Pip Gales of Gale’s Wine Bar in Llangollen explains
t may sound silly, but the thickness, shape and size of a glass all contribute to the way a wine tastes. Good-quality glasses are made from thin glass, allowing more wine to be in contact with your mouth. The amount of air in contact with the wine also makes a difference to the way it smells and tastes, while some wines also need focusing to catch the aromas, and are better with the wine Shape counts focused on to the centre of the tongue. A good set of glasses can make the wine taste better. You may want to invest in the following types so you can see the difference!
Aroma collector glass
Also known as a pinot noir or burgundy glass, this glass is large
and wide with a “collection” into the rim. It takes subtle wines and lifts the aromas and tastes of the wine, and should be used for light reds and full-bodied whites.
Oversized red wine glass
Also known as a bordeaux glass, this is the most versatile glass and is great for heavy reds or, at a push, light whites.
White wine glass
Smaller than the two above, so you’re closer to the wine. They look good on the table against the big ones to show your guests the difference between the two.
A thin glass designed to keep bubbles longer by having only one point at the bottom where bubbles collect. It has fallen out of favour recently and nearly all champagne houses now use tulip-shaped wine glasses that offer the best of both worlds.
Llangollen’s favourite dining destination reopens after reboot
langollen’s popular Guests can enjoy the restaurant The Three restaurant’s famous black Eagles has emerged from sheep burgers, lockdown with a new look, Japanese fried relaunching as a bar and grill. chicken, Welsh The 18th-century former charcuterie, coach inn offers dining over Sunday roasts three floors, with an openand the air courtyard. The team has signature Welsh taken great care to develop a Tomahawk pandemic-safe system, with the steaks. health and safety of its guests “It has been and staff at the forefront. a frustrating Tables are spaced two metres time for us apart, while guests use a onenot being able way system to enter and leave to serve our Adam Gaunt-Evans the restaurant. They can also customers, but download the menu on their we’ve been very busy behind the phones or order scenes,” says Adam. from single-use “I think people will paper menus. love our casual new “We’ve Adam Gauntambience, and our been Evans, chef and delicious menu.” very busy director of operations, The Three Eagles’ has created an Happy Hour offer behind the exciting new menu gives diners a free scenes” to match the venue’s pint of beer with new vibe, using every burger Monday locally sourced Welsh to Friday from 5pm ingredients to create some old to 7pm, while children dine Three Eagles favourites along for free on weekdays when with innovative new dishes. accompanied by an adult diner.
PICK OF THE
In our regular focus on local food producers, we take a look at a seafood speciality from Welsh waters
claw band scheme is helping Welsh lobsters stand out from the crowd. When caught, lobsters have bands placed on their claws to prevent them hurting themselves and those handling them. This scheme sees them fitted with bands that identify them as being caught in Welsh waters by Welsh fishermen. The scheme has been coordinated by the Wales Seafood Cluster, a project led by Cywain – a government-funded project for Welsh
food and drink producers – that facilitates collaborative working among people and businesses in the seafood sector. The branded claw bands are a response to requests from fishermen in north Wales, who felt that being able to easily identify the lobsters as Welsh would add value to their catch. Lobster fisherman Brett Garner has been fishing out of Porth Neigwl on the Llyn Peninsula for over 30 years. “The whole idea is to promote Welsh Brett Garner (left) and Siôn Williams lobster as a quality product and identify them so people know where the lobster comes from,” he says. “People will pay dividends for a quality product, so these bands will clearly mark out the lobsters as being Welsh.” Fishing for shellfish is a family tradition for Siôn Williams, who fishes out of Porth Colmon alongside his brother. “The bands not only provide consumers with the provenance and connection they want, but the hashtags help them to find out more about Welsh seafood on social media platforms,” he says. To coincide with the launch, a series of recipes has also been created by chef Ellis Barrie of Anglesey restaurant The Marram Grass.
70 SHIRE MAGAZINE | September/October 2020
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HARVEST SPECTACLE Autumn sees nature expend one last burst of energy before the cold days and long nights of winter. And there are plenty of great places to enjoy its wonders, as Cheshire Wildlife Trust explains
utumn is one season that’s not to be missed – thrushes, waders and waterfowl flock to our shores, fabulous fungi emerge from woodland floors, leaves turn a variety of dazzling shades, small mammals cram berries and nuts, and deer begin to rut. Not only is the outdoor world bursting with vibrant colours at this time of year, being outdoors during the darker, chillier season also brings health and wellbeing
benefits. Walking is a great way to stay fit, and it’s also brilliant for boosting your feelgood hormones, helping to prevent the winter blues. With crisp, frosty ground, bright leaves against blue skies, and hills clad in pink and purple “Autumn heather, autumn is is a great definitely the season to time to pick pull on your wellies! blackberries”
Woodlands are the ideal setting for an autumnal fungi hunt – and fallen trees are often the best places to look. The important part of a fungus – the mycelium – lives underground and is vital for woodland health as it recycles nutrients needed for plants to thrive. In autumn, the fungi start to grow and their seeds – known as spores
This time of year is perfect for spotting different types of fungi. Here are five you might see in a garden or woodland near you
– are released into the air to start the next generation. Stay safe! Autumn is also a Shaggy parasol Some native UK The cap is egggreat time to pick juicy mushrooms are shaped and blackberries from the poisonous so chestnut brown, hedgerows. You may be never pick funghi without expert opening flat and lucky enough to spot all advice the skin breaks up into brown scales. sorts of wildlife feasting in The gills are creamy-white, bruising red. the hedgerows: blackbirds and thrushes love blackberries, while Oyster mushroom rosehips, sloes, crab apples, elderberries Generally found in a and haws provide autumn food for mice, tiered formation on tree voles, hedgehogs and squirrels as well as stumps, its shell-shaped many kinds of birds – so make sure to cap varies in hue from leave some for the wildlife to enjoy. You cream to grey-blue, beneath which is a may prick your fingers but homemade white underpart and short, stubby stem. crumbles, jams and flavoured gins are all great rewards that make it worthwhile.
Autumn glories The gorgeous colours of autumn
If you’re looking for somewhere to enjoy this season, the Trust’s top local spots include: Cleaver Heath Heathland with views across the Dee Estuary towards north Wales. Great for reptiles and butterflies. ● Swettenham Valley Several species-rich grassland, woodland and mire communities. ● Danes Moss The largest and highest lowland raised bog in Cheshire. ●
This colossal fungi is found in meadows and on sports pitches. Young puffballs have soft clean white skin and firm flesh when cut. Aged puffballs split to release spores.
Common earthball Cleaver Heath
Dirty yellow to ochre brown in colour, these grow to 10cm across with tough skin covered in coarse scales. Inside, the spore mass is greyish, becoming purple-black.
Small but incredibly strong, this mushroom has been known to push its way through asphalt and lift the corners of paving stones. Its strength is down to the vertically aligned hyphae in the stems.
September/October 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 73
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PLANTS & GARDENS
KEEP THE COLOUR COMING Lis Morris, RHS course manager and lecturer in horticulture and sustainable technologies at Reaseheath College and University Centre, Cheshire, gives her top tips on the jobs to do now to keep your garden going through autumn
lthough the arrival of autumn generally brings cooler temperatures and noticeably shorter days, keen gardeners have much to look forward to. Now is the season of fruitfulness, and we’re out there revelling in the bountiful harvest of our vegetable plots and marvelling at the rich colours of our flower beds. There is still much to do and to enjoy in our outside spaces, including the following: ●
Regular deadheading, watering and feeding of perennials can keep colour in the borders until the first frost, particularly from plants such as dahlias, roses and penstemons.
Cut back herbaceous perennials as they fade, then divide and redistribute to other parts of your garden. This will invigorate the original plant and give the new plants
time to produce a good root system before next season. ●
It’s an ideal time to collect seed from perennials and hardy annuals, such as poppies and calendulas, and to sow directly where you want them to flower next year. Many wild flowers also Plant shrubs while the soil is warm benefit from an autumn sowing. Sow sweetpeas in a cold frame or in the greenhouse for early blooms next summer and plant spring flowering bulbs.
October is a good month to move shrubs and trees, or to plant new ones, while the soil is moist and still warm. This way they should be well established by next spring.
Create new lawns or rectify summer damage using turf or seed, and give hedges a final trim now birds have stopped nesting.
Top up your pond and remove blanket and duckweed. Cut back marginal plants, remove dead leaves from waterlilies and net the pond surface before leaves fall.
Clean out cold frames and greenhouses. Bring tender perennials inside before frosts cause damage and reduce the frequency of houseplant watering.
Clean moss and algae from patios and hard surfaces so they aren’t slippery during winter.
DID YOU KNOW? Now is a good time to create winter homes for beetles and frogs
For info on diplomas and RHS courses visit www.reaseheath.ac.uk/horticulture. For info on degrees visit www.ucreaseheath.ac.uk/courses 74 SHIRE MAGAZINE | September/October 2020
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Tel: 01691 652853 Mob: 07951 838494
Relax in our coffee shop or on the patio and enjoy a selection of our scrumptious homemade cakes and scones. Choose from our menu of delicious light lunches, freshly ground coffees and various teas too.
Wasps Coffee shop 01490 413 688 I Garden Centre 01490 413 313 The Centre is on the A5104, half a mile out of Corwen
Tel: 01691 652853 Mob: 07951 838494 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
GreenLiving Go green as a gr up A new initiative in north Wales is aiming to persuade residents to switch to locally produced energy sources
ocals have come out in support of a plan to transform Corwen, Denbighshire, into one of Wales’s greenest towns, with its own renewable energy scheme fed by locally generated hydro and solar power systems. The Corwen Energy Local project aims to sign up 60 households to switch to low-cost, eco-friendly power, much of it produced on their own doorstep. The plans were confirmed at a public meeting called by South Denbighshire Community Partnership, and 48 homeowners have already registered interest. The principal source of local power will be Corwen Hydro – the town’s hydro-electric power plant fed by the Pen y Pigyn reservoir – but the numbers expressing interest include several with their own solar power systems. “Projects like this make it far more viable in future to do more hydro schemes,” says Joel Scott, a director of Corwen Hydro. “As long as the hydro scheme is generating electricity, then those in the scheme will be paying less than even the cheapest basic rate, and any excess income can be spent on community benefits.” When the hydro scheme isn’t generating, members of Corwen Energy Local will
Leading the way in environmentally friendly building
Margaret Sutherland from South Denbighshire Community Partnership and Joel Scott from Corwen Hydro
be supplied with electricity by Octopus Energy, which receives all its supply from renewable sources. Octopus will also install smart meters in the 60 households.
It’s also hoped the project will attract households with their own energy sources, such as solar power, which can feed into the system. One of those at the meeting was Sheila McIntosh, who lives just below the reservoir. “I like the idea of green energy, which is why I installed a solar system and rainwater harvesting,” she says. “I also like to keep things local so I’d be pleased if there was a benefit to the community.” Hayley Trowbridge agrees. “I like the idea of a green energy community project. It’s not just about saving money on our bills that appeals to me but the idea of doing something that benefits people locally. Throughout history we’ve changed the way we get our energy and this is something new, innovative and different.”
ico, a market leader in fire and carbon monoxide detection, has created a stunning environmentally conscious new base for its business. The building occupies three acres of the seven-acre site, leaving the rest as landscaping. A PV solar garden lines the roof to offset the building’s electricity usage, an attenuation pond and rainwater harvesting reduce surface drainage, and more than 2,500 square metres of wildflower meadow have been cultivated to support and encourage native pollinators and their ecosystems. Aico’s environmental efforts extend beyond its new headquarters. The business’s fleet of company cars are predominantly hybrid vehicles, and all of the secondary packaging of its lifesaving products are made from recyclable material and are fully recyclable. Aico is continually reviewing and improving its environmental impact. This is evident in the proposed changes to some of its packaging – new packaging on some products will be plastic free, saving six tonnes of plastic each year, plus there will be a cardboard reduction of 28 per cent, with packaging being fully recyclable.
A decade of doing right by the environment A Denbighshire renewables firm celebrates its 1,000th installation – converting an Anglesey cottage into a stateof-the-art eco-home – as it marks 10 years in business
afod Renewable Energy was launched by managing director David Jones and his father, Richard, in Denbigh in 2010, when the concept of renewables-powered, carbon-neutral domestic homes was in its infancy. A decade on, the company is among the UK’s leaders in the field. Its 1,000th contract was for Martin and Caroline Schwaller, who David Jones, with Martin made the decision to go green for and Caroline Schwaller
a second time on buying a four-bedroom property at Burwen near Amlwch, Anglesey. David presented the couple with a bottle of champagne bearing a “1,000th installation” label to mark the occasion. “This is a genuine milestone moment,” says David. “It’s incredible to think how far we’ve come since 2010. Through commercial business and domestic work like this we’re building on our breadth of knowledge and experience and have secured prestigious contracts across north Wales, Cheshire, the Wirral and the North West.” Hafod Renewable Energy is an accredited installer of Ecodan air source heat pumps,
Hafod Renewables celebrated its 1,000th installation with the Schwallers on Anglesey
which has been specially designed for the UK’s changeable weather. “This kind of technology is definitely the way forward for all homes,” says Martin Schwaller. “It is future-proofing, not just for individuals but for the planet as a whole.” September/October 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 77
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A nature haven at he
Choose the right accessories to attract wildlife into your garden, including birds, insects, hedgehogs and more
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.
Compact squirrel-proof seed feeder, £3.99, Tweedmill Shopping Outlet in St Asaph, Denbighshire; www.tweedmill.store SingingFriend Lisa feeder, £14.99, CJ Wildlife; www.birdfood.co.uk Verdigris crane bird feeder, £175.99, British Ironwork Centre in Oswestry, Shropshire; www.britishironworkcentre.co.uk/shop Glass bird feeder, £19.99, Coopers of Stortford; www.coopersofstortford.co.uk Abbey table, £140, Birdtable.com, based in Dudleston Heath, near Ellesmere, Shropshire; www.birdtable.com Poppy bird bath bath, £14.99, Minshulls in Crewe; www.minshulls.co.uk Wooden bee house house, £13.99, Marie Curie; shop.mariecurie.org.uk Timber dovecote birdhouse birdhouse, £35, National Trust; www.nationaltrust.org.uk/shop Bramble leaf bird bath bath, £45, Ferney Heyes, based in Audlem, Cheshire; www.ferneyheyesgardenproducts.co.uk
10. Heritage bird bath, £59.99, Fron Goch Garden Centre in Caernarfon, Gwynedd; www.frongoch-gardencentre.co.uk 11. Wicker hedgehog house, £24.95, Scotts of Stow; www.scottsofstow.co.uk 12. Wild Things Badger & Fox Food, £4 for 2kg, Ginger & Browns in Blakemere Village, Northwich, Cheshire; www.gingerandbrowns.co.uk 13. Bilberry Lane hanging bird feeder and wall bracket, £25, Black Country Metalworks in Oswestry, Shropshire; www. blackcountrymetalworks.co.uk 14. Peckish everyday nest box, £4.99, Shawbury Garden Centre in Shrewsbury, Shropshire; www.shawburygardencentre.co.uk 15. Bee/insect hotel, £14.95, Pet & Farm in Welshpool, Powys; www.petandfarm.co.uk 16. Majorca insect hotel, £4.99, CJ Wildlife; www.birdfood.co.uk 17. Bempton hanging bird table, £37.99, Fron Goch Garden Centre in Caernarfon, Gwynedd; www.frongoch-gardencentre.co.uk
78 SHIRE MAGAZINE | September/October 2020
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HOLLY FARM is a family run
garden centre and traditional growing nursery in North Shropshire, offering a wide selection of plants, coffee shop and friendly advice.
Petrol and battery machines both in stock Tel: 01948 840630 OPEN
Monday to Saturday: 9am to 5pm Sunday: 10am to 4pm
Whitchurch Road (A49), Prees, Shropshire SY13 2DD www.hollyfarmgardencentre.co.uk • Holly Farm Garden Centre
CARLTON GARDEN CENTRE YOUR CENTRE FOR ALL SEASONS
Many sizes available
AVAILABLE FOR BONFIRE NIGHT FESTIVITIES!
SHEDS & PLAYHOUSES
Come and see our NEW RANGE
Various designs & sizes
ON SALE FROM 15th OCTOBER 1000’s and 1000’s in stock make Bonfire Night go with a bang!
Carlton Garden Centre
Pinfold Lane, Llay, Wrexham, LL12 OTL www.carltonbuildings.co.uk
GARDEN CENTRE & SHOW SITE OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK
SPRING FLOWERING BULBS FOR SALE
9am to 5.30pm MONDAY to SATURDAY 10am to 4pm SUNDAY
Meet the Expert
ON SAFARI Shire visits West Midland Safari Park, Kidderminster, to meet keeper Shelly Tudor
Stud Stud Services Services || Friendly Friendlybreeding breeding stock stock & & pets pets || Mid MidWales Wales
WHAT IS YOUR ROLE AT THE SAFARI PARK? I’m deputy head keeper of Asian ungulates, looking after animals such as Indian rhino, deer and camel. I also assist the head keeper with anything from assisting guests on the safari drive-through to organising staff and general husbandry.
07882 07882 135027 135027 || email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
DO THE ANIMALS NEED A LOT OF LOOKING AFTER? Yes, there is always something to do! All the hoof stock need feeding at least twice a day, which is when we also complete health checks. We provide fresh hay and clean water at all times, ensure their housing is cleaned regularly and patrol the reserves to make sure all the animals and guests are safe. HOW MUCH DO RHINOS EAT EVERY DAY? Our Indian rhinos have a concentrated pelleted feed twice a day. They have 300g to 750g each time, determined by their body condition and weight. This gives them all the nutrients, vitamins and minerals they need. They also love to eat grass, hay, straw.
WHAT IS THEIR FAVOURITE FOOD? Bananas! They only get given fruits and vegetables as a treat for enrichment to keep their diet varied and balanced. DO YOU LOOK AFTER ANY BABY ANIMALS? We have two Père David deer fawns, which were born at the end of March. Unfortunately, guests were unable to see them when they were first born as we were shut, but guests can now spot them on the safari drive-through.
www.fostingsalpacas.co.uk www.fostingsalpacas.co.uk Kinnerton, Kinnerton, Presteigne, Presteigne, LD8 LD8 2PF 2PF
WHO NAMES THE PARK’S ANIMALS? Generally, the staff who look after them. They make suggestions and we pick the best. Animals are named alphabetically, and there’s a new letter each year – 2020 is I.
THE HAND HOTEL CHIRK
The Hand Hotel - Church Street - Chirk - Wrexham - LL14 5EY - Tel: 01691 773472
WEEKEND GETAWAY DEAL
ARE CERTAIN ANIMALS MORE POPULAR WITH VISITORS THAN OTHERS? Yes – the giraffes! The carnivores are popular too and visitors also enjoy feeding the deer as they are very gentle. WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT THE SAFARI PARK? There’s never a bad time as there’s always something going on! We have a range of seasonal events, including our Spooky Spectacular during October half-term.
DID YOU KNOW? safari annual passes are available
Booking is essential to visit West Midland Safari Park. For all details and how to book, visit www.wmsp.co.uk
The Hand Hotel is located in the picturesque edge of the Ceiriog Valley in Wales. Chirk is the perfect choice for visitors wishing to explore the many attractions it offers all year around.
- Friday & Saturday Night in a premium en-suite room - Full Welsh Breakfast every morning - Late Checkout on Sunday • Set in stunning rural Warm, friendly - Bottle of Prosecco on arrival countryside, ideally suited for Snowdonia & welcoming - 3 Course Sunday Lunch for 2
• Open all day £190 inn with home-cooked • Food served 12 noon
• A traditional, family-run food, real ales and
to 3ON pm 01691 & 6 pm 773472 to 9 pm, CALL RESERVATIONS roaring fires and all day Sundays
Please quote Weekend Getaway Deal when booking room OfferFunction Valid for bookings from available 01/08/20 to 30/11/2020 based on 2 guests. Terms & Conditions apply.
The Hand Hotel
LLANDDERFEL, BALA, LL14 5EYLL23 7RA GWYNEDD, Tel: 01678 530 205 www.bryntirioninn.co.uk
- Chirk -
• Dogs welcome too
• Free wi-fi
80 SHIRE MAGAZINE | September/October 2020
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21/08/2020 16:40 21/08/2020 10:29 15:37 20/08/2020
A forest in north Wales has been brought back to life with help from Coleg Cambria students
S HAVEN’S HAPPY HALF CENTURY As the RSPB’s Ynys-hir nature reserve near Machynlleth marks its 50th anniversary, here are the best experiences the site has to offer
ocated in the village of Eglwys-fach and within the Unesco Dyfi Biosphere, with the mountains of southern Snowdonia to the north and the Cambrian hills to the south, RSPB Ynys-hir is truly stunning. It’s the place to experience breathtaking landscape, fascinating history and a wonderful spectrum of wildlife. There are five miles of trails to explore, not to mention the beauty of the Wales Coast Path, which runs through the reserve. All you need is a sturdy pair of shoes, sunglasses or a raincoat and a tasty picnic and you’ll be ready to experience the very best of the great Welsh outdoors.
Ynys-hir estate became RSPB Ynys-hir. Condry was employed as the first warden, with much of his time spent on the creation of various habitats including the freshwater pools that became Marian Mawr.
A site for all seasons
Today the reserve covers an area of 850 hectares with a wide mix of habitats: In the beginning mountain, lowland wet grassland, reedbed, bog, woodland and saltmarsh. It’s an area The story of RSPB Ynys-hir begins with the friendship of three men: Hubert that has become internationally DID YOU Mappin, then owner of Ynys-hir important as the only wintering KNOW? Hall and estate; William Condry, grounds in Wales and England You can hire a naturalist writer resident on for a small population of binoculars at Greenland white-fronted geese. the estate; and RS Thomas, poet Ynys-hir so you and vicar at St Michael’s Church Spring at Ynys-hir is don’t miss a in Egwlys-fach. Their friendship spectacular, with pied flycatchers, thing! and shared love and passion for the redstarts and wood warblers singing their hearts out, while the natural environment led to Mappin selling woodland floor is carpeted by bluebells. the property and splitting the estate from the hall. Following a fundraising appeal launched Summer brings wading birds, such as in 1967 by the RSPB to purchase the land, redshanks and lapwings, while during autumn and winter the reserve becomes a home for the Greenland geese, as well as wintering waders, ducks and geese such as wigeon and barnacle geese. Scan the skies for birds of prey including hen harrier, peregrine and of course red kite. There are also many species of dragonfly and butterflies including small red dragonfly and brimstone butterflies, as well as otters, common lizards, slow worms and grass The estuary is home to lapwings and redshanks snakes. www.rspb.org.uk/ynys-hir
tudents on the Tilhill Forestry Diploma course at Coleg Cambria at Llysfasi have helped landowner Tim Kirk to resurrect 12 hectares of woodland near Ruthin. Clearing fallen trees Tim, who has worked in forestry for over five decades, bought the site at Wern Goed after seeing an ad in a trade magazine. He faced numerous obstacles to bring it back to its former glory. But with the forestry students keen to learn and develop their skills – including chainsaw operation – the project benefited both parties. “When we were put in touch with Tim, we jumped at the chance,” says forestry lecturer Andy White. “The woodland had had little work done on it in the last few years, with fallen trees everywhere blocking the tracks and drains, burying fences, and making access extremely difficult. “As a result of the students’ hard work, the paths and tracks are now passable, allowing access for the next phase of work, and the boundaries have been repaired. Hopefully, this will be an ongoing partnership between owners of small-scale woodlands and the college, providing excellent training opportunities for the students and helping reverse the decline of small, undervalued, and under-worked woodlands.” Chainsaw experience Tim thanked the students for coming to the rescue and believes that without their assistance the woodland would still be in a terrible condition. “It was brilliant work from them over several visits, and hopefully there’s more to come in the future!”
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PETS & WILDLIFE
A ROUND OF APPLAUSE FOR ROUNDABOUTS
Wildflowers sown by the North Wales Wildlife Trust, on behalf of Wrexham County Borough Council, transformed the roundabouts of Wrexham this summer
Dora with her new toy
Giant cockapoo Rayffe
ildflowers on roundabouts bring Bithell, deputy leader of Wrexham Council. colour and natural beauty into “These recent additions have certainly people’s journeys and provide important brightened up the area and will now provide nectar for pollinating insects. For several a haven for insects and wildlife to thrive.” years, the North Wales Wildlife Trust has “By thinking outside the box we can worked with Wrexham County Borough create new spaces for nature,” says Henry Council to create wildflower displays on Cook from North Wales Wildlife Trust. some of the roundabouts around “This work is part of the Wildlife Wrexham Industrial Estate. Trust’s Wrexham Industrial “The flowers This year twice the number of Estate Living Landscape Scheme. will provide roundabouts were included, bringing With Welsh government and EU a haven for even more colour to the town. funding, this project works to insects and increase wildlife on private and wildlife” Reversing the decline public grounds in and around Wildflower meadows have the estate, making the landscape declined by 97 per cent since the Second green and pleasant for businesses, employees, local communities and, of World War. “Changes to agriculture and grassland management in recent years have course, wonderful plants and animals.” seen the sad decline of many wildflowers, The Wildlife Trust would like so we’ve been pleased to work with North more businesses to get involved in the Wales Wildlife Trust to begin to restore scheme. For more information, visit the balance in Wrexham,” says Cllr David www.northwaleswildlifetrust.org.uk.
Binky and her best mate
eeping alpacas is a wonderful and rewarding experience. Their calm and inquisitive nature makes them great companions, and they can help to reduce stress, bringing you happiness and joy. If you’re looking into keeping the animals, Kevin and Alice of Fostings Alpacas are more than happy to provide support and guidance. Fostings Farm near Kinnerton, Powys, is home to their small herd of friendly alpacas, where Kevin and Alice focus on rearing friendly, healthy and easy-to-handle alpacas, producing baby alpacas (cria) of the highest quality,
Kevin of Fostings Alpacas
Alice with a baby alpaca
as well as offering stud services from three handsome BAS-registered sires. Alongside keeping alpacas, Kevin and Alice also run Hush Hush Glamping, providing idyllic farm stays in glamping pods overlooking the fantastic scenery of the Radnor Valley. Hare’s Form is a beautifully crafted glamping pod for two and is perfect for a romantic getaway with your loved one. An additional pod, sleeping four to six adults, is due to be installed this November. For more information about Fostings Alpacas, visit www.fostingsalpacas.co.uk. You can book your glamping holiday at www.hushhushglamping.co.uk
Terry the tortoise
WE WANT YOUR PETS! Send us a photo of your pet for inclusion in Shire! Just email the picture, with the name of your pet, to email@example.com
82 SHIRE MAGAZINE | September/October 2020
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Tues to Fri: 9am-4.30pm Sat: 9am-1pm
COUNTRYSTORE Poultry & Livestock Specialists • Quality P.O.L Hens, Ducks & Geese Point of Lay Hens from £10
• Pygmy Goats, n PygmyAlpacas, Goat Kids Ouessant Sheep n Ouessant Lambs Pigs & Miniature •
Alpaca socks Lovely knitted items Penrose alpaca duvets and pillows Alpaca yarn and fleece Cuddly toys And a herd of freindly Alpacas So, come and visit soon!
Alpacas Housing, Runs of & Housing Enclosures n Manufacturers n
COLLECTIONS BY APPOINTMENTS ONLY PLEASE CALL PRIOR TO YOUR VISIT TO BOOK. DELIVERY SERVICE AVAILABLE FOR FEED, SUPPLIES, LIVE OpenPOULTRY Tuesday - AND Saturday MORE. apply 9.00am T&C’s - 4.30pm Hope-Under-Dinmore, Leominster, HR6 0PX
Mulberry Grange, Red Hall Lane, Higher Penley, Wrexham, LL13 ONA Tel: 07713 639 447 or 01978 710224 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org We’re 4 miles north of Ellesmere
DIOLCH! THANK YOU!
OPEN BY APPOINTMENT ONLY I TELEPHONE ORDERS WELCOME
Unit 2, Upper Buskwood Farm, Hope under Dinmore, Leominster HR6 0PX (Off the A49 through Hope Under Dinmore Village centre then follow the signs.) Tel: 01568 797314 www.wynnes.co.uk wynnesofdinmore WynnesOfDinmore
Mae pawb angen natur - diolch am eich cefnogaeth barhaus We all need nature - thank you for your continued support
832-0102-20-21: Llun/Image: Pâl/Puffin, Ben Andrew (rspb-images.com). Mae’r RSPB yn elusen gofrestredig yng Nghymru a Lloegr, 207076, yn yr Alban, SC037654. The RSPB is a registered charity in England & Wales 207076, in Scotland SC037654
Here at Mulberry Alpacas we have:
rspb.org.uk @RSPBCymru @rspbcymru
Penralley House Historic Luxury Bed and Breakfast in the heart of Wales
A beautiful Georgian town house built about 1774 and extended in 1876, Penralley House has a striking façade of local granite, and a stunning Victorian yellow brick rear overlooking a lush large garden. It has been lovingly restored by Steve and Karen, retaining many of the original features to create a welcoming and relaxing environment. The house has a lovely garden with views to the Elan Valley and surrounding countryside. The Elan Valley reservoirs and estate are within 3 miles and
Gigrin farm, the Red Kite feeding station a few minutes drive along South Street. The rural area has much of interest to offer both those wanting a relaxing quiet break to those who want to experience one of the many outdoor challenges, take a look at our local area page for more information. This beautiful part of mid Wales can cater for all. The West Coast, Cambrian Mountains, Brecon Beacons, and Llanidloes are all within driving distance.
tel: 01597 811868 email: email@example.com www.penralleyhouse.com Penralley House, South Street, Rhayader, LD6 5BH
...GET ON A CANAL BOAT
Hire for a day, a weekend, a week or longer
Visit www.cheshirecatnarrowboats.co.uk Tel 07867 790195 anytime
Spend a day exploring the beautiful Shropshire Union Canal aboard our 10 seater, self-drive Day Boat • Ideal for family celebrations and team-building days • All-weather accommodation • Easy to steer – no experience necessary • From just £110
Tel: 07867 790195 • www.cheshirecatnarrowboats.co.uk
Pendine Park wish to say
Thank you to our wonderful Community for your many kindnesses and support
V G AV OUC IFT AI HE LA RS BL E
THERE IS SIMPLY NOTHING BETTER THAN MESSING ABOUT IN BOATS
Thank you to residents for the joy you bring each day and your loving families
Thank you to our amazing staff and their families who support our team with love and laughter
All the properties enjoy fantastic sea views
Your dream holiday home
Shire takes a tour of a very special development in a prime position on the Llyn Peninsula in north-west Wales
ocated in a spectacular location, just five minutes’ drive from Nefyn and 20 minutes from Abersoch, Nature’s Point by Natural Land presents an unrivalled opportunity to purchase a coastal hideaway. The contemporary design blends well with an existing cottage and breathtaking landscape to take full advantage of the sea views. Whether it’s a cosy cottage, penthouse apartment or spacious five-bedroom property you’re after, Nature’s Point has a luxury option to fulfil your holiday home dreams. There is an onsite manager in place, who oversees all aspects of property management and the holiday rental operation, operated exclusively by Together Travel. Here are some of the properties on offer.
Wood-burning stoves are in place ● Ten-year
Luxurious en-suite bathrooms
Built perpendicular to the coast, this home is the only one of its kind on the development. Sea views can be enjoyed from pretty much every room – and from the large deck flowing off the main living space. There’s a double-height entrance hall, plus large glazing on the gable and side elevations giving wonderful panoramic views of Caernarfon Bay.
There are five three-bedroom detached properties on the development, all with uninterrupted and expansive sea
LABC build warranty Wood-burning stove ● Howdens kitchen and Neff appliances ● Air source heating ● L ocation in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) ● Twenty minutes from Abersoch, 10 minutes from Porthdinllaen, the Ty Coch Inn and Nefyn Golf Club ● Easy access to Snowdonia National Park, Criccieth, Portmeirion, Zip World and Surf Snowdonia ● Access to Howdens kitchens award-winning beaches, including Porthdinllaen and Whistling Sands ● The Welsh Coastal Path passes through the grounds ● Beautiful seafood restaurants on the Llyn Peninsula, plus myriad pubs and cosy cafés ●
Cosy living spaces with stunning views
views. The large open-plan kitchen/ lounge flows out on to a private deck, creating a relaxing space to gather. Access to the property is via a small road that allows for an initial drop-off, with car parking provided adjacent to the entrance, making the environment safe, peaceful and perfect for those with young children.
Located at the top of the development, each apartment has a truly elevated view of the sea. Ground-floor apartments benefit from an external terrace, while the penthouses have large balconies that can be accessed from the lounge and master bedroom. The property enjoys a dual aspect openplan kitchen/diner and lounge, while the full-height vertical windows in the master bedroom mean you can soak up the sea views from the comfort of your bed.
For the opportunity to purchase one of these amazing luxury properties, visit www.naturalland.co.uk Five-bedroom cottage From £750,000 Three-bedroom cottage From £470,000 Two-bedroom apartment From £350,000
Outside space for entertaining September/October 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 85
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2 stunning holiday parks with so much to offer! Luxury holiday home lodges with beautiful views and fantastic facilities
NEW MODELS FOR 2020 COMING SOON!
We always have a wide selection of high quality holiday homes for sale. Call today on 01286 830205 to find your perfect home away from home. Ask about available plots on
of Caravan Parks in North Wales & Cheshire
BERWYN VIEW, our new exclusive 8 pitch holiday home development, is ready to view now.
NOW IS THE TIME FOR A NEW HOLIDAY HOME!
Welcome to Llawrbetws Caravan Park A slice of North/Mid Wales can be yours by owning your own caravan holiday home.
LLOYDS CARAVAN & LODGE SALES
Llawrbetws Caravan Park is set in the grounds of 14 acres of idyllic countryside with panoramic views of the rugged Welsh Berwyn Mountains, close to the A5 and A494 in an excellent location to explore North and Mid Wales.
Your Dream,Your Lifestyle! Find your next holiday home at: www.lloydscaravans.co.uk Lloyds Caravan & Lodge Sales Towyn Rd, Towyn, North Wales, LL22 9NW 01745 350 043 or Pensarn, Abergele, LL22 7PW 01745 832 050
Holiday Homes Llawrbetws features 70 fully serviced pitches set within 14 acres, each with mains electric, water and piped gas.
Holiday Accommodation Llawrbetws Uchaf is a large traditional farmhouse featuring six bedrooms, a large family kitchen, traditional garden, hot tub, and a lounge complete with wood burning stove.
01490 460224 firstname.lastname@example.org Llawrbetws Leisure, Glan-yr-afon, Corwen, Gwynedd, LL21 0HD
Holidays HOT SPOTS
RED KITE CENTRE
berdyfi’s fans never shout too loudly about it, preferring to keep the village to themselves. And it’s not difficult to understand why they’re so protective. All the classic ingredients of a small, unhurried seaside village are here, with family-friendly sands, picturesque stone harbour and jetty, seafront pubs and houses washed in pastel shades. Some of Wales’s greenest hillside spill down on to the town, while around the corner there is the stunning Dyfi estuary, the Dyfi Osprey Project and Cader Idris, one of the most southerly high mountains in the UK with many upland species reaching their southerly limit here. The area supports an extensive range of upland habitats, including blanket bog,
upland heath, broadleaved woodland and a variety of grassland types. Dyfi Cottages and Aberdyfi Holidays is a family-run self-catering letting and holiday home company based in Aberdyfi on the Dyfi estuary, overlooking Cardigan Bay and located in the Dyfi Biosphere. Established to help local cottage owners advertise their holiday properties, the team provides a simple, easy-touse website so those hunting for a holiday are able to book direct with the owners. The experts at Dyfi Cottages have built strong relationships with the owners to ensure you enjoy the holiday of a lifetime, and they have a range of properties available for every group size. www.dyfi-cottages.co.uk
rfon River Premier Caravan Park offers the perfect location for a family holiday, with its combination of stunning scenery in a beautiful and tranquil park. The park is set within seven acres on the banks of the Irfon at the foot of the spectacular Epynt mountain range in the heart of mid Wales. Since 2012 the park has been upgraded throughout, with fibre broadband installed to provide free WiFi to all guests. The static caravan holiday homes are comfortably Idyllic riverside location spaced and surrounded by manicured lawns; the majority are also within 30 metres of the river. The river itself is teeming with fish and otter; the park has a year-round fishing licence and offers customers exclusive fishing permits for this stretch of the river. Because the park is a member of the prestigious Premier Leisure Parks group, you know you’ll be able to relax away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The park’s touring area accommodates touring caravans and motorhomes, and there is also a small tented camping area. Pitches are available on a seasonal or nightly basis. www.irfonriver.co.uk
f you’re looking for a day out in mid Wales, why not take the family to see some spectacular red kites at Gigrin Farm in Rhayader? You can get up close and personal with the magnificent birds at this 170-acre working farm, which is famous for its Red Kite Feeding Centre. Hundreds of red kites feed here every day in a truly breathtaking spectacle that is well worth witnessing. The Red Kite Centre is located in beautiful countryside in the heart of Wales, overlooking both the Wye and Elan Valleys, and just half a mile from the market town of Rhayader. There are general hides for you to watch from, as well as specialist photographic hides, all of which are just a few metres from where the red kites feed. There is also a coffee shop, gift shop, picnic site and farm trail on site. The centre is now also the Red Kite Rehabilitation Centre in conjunction with the Welsh Kite Trust. This unit allows kites that have fallen ill or been injured to recuperate after having any required veterinary care elsewhere. Come and admire the birds and show your support for these fabulous, and endangered, creatures. www.gigrin.co.uk
ALPACA MY BAGS…
ream of getting away from it all? Why not leave all your worries behind at Hush Hush Glamping. Set in unspoilt scenery, this wooden pod for two is nestled beneath the majestic Radnor forest, overlooking the vast Radnor Valley at 1,300ft above “The sea level. Set within 90 acres of family wooden pod farmland, you’ll share the space with overlooks the friendly alpaca, sheep, red kites, the vast Radnor odd hare and the occasional deer. Valley at Sleep under the stars and wake up to 1,300ft above nature in this stunning dark sky area. sea level” Located just five minutes off the beaten track and 15 minutes from the nearest town, you’ll find true peace and quiet at Hush Hush Glamping, also home to Fostings Alpacas. The site’s owners are true
believers in the power of the now and want you to spend quality time with each other away from distractions, so there is no WiFi in the pod (although most mobile Your neighbours during your stay networks can receive a signal). Instead why not bury your head in a book, cwtch (cuddle) by the fire, or get out and explore your surroundings instead? www.hushhushglamping.co.uk
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COWS, CARAVANS AND COMFORT
radley Hall Rural Escapes, which opened in 2018, consists of four luxurious glamping pods, situated on a working farm with unspoilt views of Malpas and the surrounding Cheshire countryside. The aim was to create an adults-only upmarket glamping experience, open all year round, and it seems to have worked! Guests leave feeling refreshed thanks to the rural location with lots of open space. There are plenty of “Guests walks, with the leave feeling Sandstone Trail refreshed on the doorstep, thanks to the and Bickerton and rural location” Peckforton Hills a short drive away. Post-lockdown regulations have been enforced on the site. If you’d prefer zero contact when you arrive, the team can leave your pod open with the key inside
The garden at Penralley House
SAFE HAVEN P enralley House, a luxury bedand-breakfast in the mid Wales town of Rhayader, is now fully open and looking forward to welcoming guests again. Every effort has been made by owner Steve and his team to ensure that all government recommended safety measures are in place. These include a “fogging machine” to disinfect the rooms and a variety of antibacterial and antiviral sprays used throughout the property.
HOT SPOTS C H E S H I R E C R A F T WO R KS H O P
The luxurious glamping pods
and speak to you over the phone. All the pods are equipped with a double bed, with bedding and linen provided along with towels, an en suite bathroom with shower, heated towel rail, sofa bed, kitchenette, TV, heating and a welcome pack, as well as a private patio area with table and chairs and barbecue. www.bradleyhallruralescapes.co.uk “We are continually monitoring any new guidance and amending our processes to ensure we adhere to those too,” says Steve. “On arrival every guest has their temperature checked and there are plentiful supplies of antibacterial hand gels available. “The breakfast room has been reorganised to ensure safe social distancing, and to avoid crosscontamination guests are asked to select a time for breakfast and use the same table during their stay. “The highest Covid measures are taken during the preparation and delivery of food, including the use of disposable gloves and visors. Nothing is more important than the health of our guests, the staff and the wider community.” Rhayader is a small historic town and becuase some of the paths are narrow, a one-way system is in operation to try to ensure that social distancing is possible. The local area is outstanding and every effort has been made by the various leisure providers to ensure that you can enjoy your visit with safety as a priority. www.penralleyhouse.com
et creative in the Cheshire countryside at the Craft Workshop in Higher Burwardsley near Tattenhall, where people of all ages can get their creative juices flowing while letting their imagination run wild. Candle-making is just one of the many specialities on offer here – but there are plenty of other activities on offer too. Whether you’re into pottery painting, sand art, keyring or badge making, you’re guaranteed to find an activity that you and your family will love at one of the exciting craft workshops. The approach is very hands-on, and all the workshops are also educational in nature, so while your children are having fun they are also learning. Come down to one of the exciting workshops and get creative. With a range of fun activities to choose from, your whole family is guaranteed to have an unforgettable time. Booking isn’t required. For full details of workshops and prices, visit www.cheshireworkshops.co.uk.
GRAB A CABIN
you soak in the hot tub. There are picturesque views, including the heritage steam railway chugging oed-Y-Glyn Log Cabins is an independent past in the distance, and plenty of family-run business, dedicated to giving space to relax and unwind outside. you a truly unique accommodation experience. With a maximum capacity of Its lodges are set in serene surroundings on five people, magnificent views the banks of the River Dee in Glyndyfrdwy and a large and secluded outside near Llangollen. Each one differs in size area consisting of a sheltered and amenities but there are hot tubs and decking and a private garden, holistic therapies available in all, as well as a Oak Lodge is ideal for those lazy range of fantastic activities on offer further days when you want to enjoy a afield, including archery and rafting. There are lodges to suit a variety of needs drink on the decking and soak in the hot tub. It’s named for the Nestled against a rock face and surrounded by woodland, Forest Lodge is a secluded getaway that sleeps large oak tree that stands on the bank of the river giving the two. It’s a cross between a Malibu stilt home and Robinson decking a tree house feel. The largest cabin, Meadow Lodge, Crusoe’s tree house, and there’s no better place to escape. has space for up to 12 and all the facilities you would need for a larger group, while still retaining all of the charm. For Groups of four or five can choose Brook Lodge, where you availability and prices, visit www.coedyglyn-logcabins.co.uk. can watching the brook flow into the river in front of you as
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THE HAND HOTEL CHIRK
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COUNTRY BARN & GARDENS
Plas Isaf, Isaf Corwen, Denbighshire, LL21 0EW Tel: 01490 412 486 Mob: 07891 501 833 www.plas-isaf.co.uk
Blooming marvellous! The Shropshire market town of Newport has a rich history and, thanks to recent investments, is looking forward to a bright future too
DID YOU KNOW? The oldest manmade landmark in town is the 14thcentury Puleston Cross
Newport is a Britain in Bloom finalist
he market town of Newport sits on the Shropshire/Staffordshire border, just six miles from Telford. This central location makes it popular with commuters, who are happy to travel in order to enjoy the green spaces and rural feel of the surrounding countryside around the town. This appreciation of natural beauty is reflected within the town itself, which has been a finalist in the annual Britain in Bloom competition. Today the town has a population of around 12,000, but it has been called home by people for centuries: it was a Saxon settlement as well as a Norman stronghold, flourishing during the medieval era and thriving in Tudor times. Newport is now predominantly a commuter town, with easy links to Telford, Shrewsbury, Stafford, Wolverhampton and beyond, but previously its fortunes have been driven by the trade in leather, wool and fish. Throughout the town there is evidence of Regency, Georgian and Edwardian
refurbished, keeping to the original Norman street plans, while the addition of a bypass has helped to keep traffic out of the centre but allowed access to a small business estate with a garden centre and hotel. The fantastic indoor market, which has been in existence in the heart of town since 1860, has also been revamped in the past year, attracting a new generation of shoppers to the area. Signs of the past still abound, though, with ancient crosses, ruined abbeys and numerous chapels sharing the streets with modern shops, cafés, and schools – all in all making Newport a firm family favourite and a great place to call home.
architecture. But while there is mention of a castle in an ancient listing, there are no signs of one today. There is evidence of a former moat, but no one knows who occupied the site and there are no traces of any original building. Other historical details of the town may be hazy owing to a great fire in 1665, which destroyed many old buildings. Newport had better luck during the Second World War, when it avoided considerable damage on Christmas Eve 1944 when a flying bomb narrowly Lilleshall Abbey is owned by English Heritage missed its target and landed just yards outside of the town.
Newport has benefited from several investments over the years, including a major redevelopment of the canal and surrounding area, with plans for housing, bars and restaurants set to line the canal. New sporting facilities have also been added, including a climbing wall in the Springfields area to the south of the town centre, while by the river Victoria Park has enjoyed a significant redevelopment in recent years. The high street and Central Square have also been redesigned and
THINGS TO SEE AND DO Newport Indoor Market Open 8am-3.30pm, Friday & Saturday Entrance on Stafford Street or Market Mews (off St Mary’s Street) www.newportindoormarketshropshire.co.uk Aqualate Mere National Nature Reserve Forton, Newport TF10 9DE Chetwynd Deer Park www.chetwynddeerpark.co.uk Lilleshall Abbey Abbey Road, Lilleshall, Newport TF10 9HW
90 SHIRE MAGAZINE | September/October 2020
Town Visits Newport SeptOct 2020 FINAL.indd 40
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selection of fresh fruit and vegetables and seasonal English produce including eggs, bread, pasta and other culinary ‘must haves’. www.boxofgoodness.co.uk
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supply an extensive range of quality pet food & bird seeds, together with a range of dog and cat beds made out of tough, quality fabric. Pet toys, treats and accessories are always in Fudgeways sell over 25 tantalising stock too. @newportindoormarketshropshire flavours of fudge and truffles to capture your imagination and taste buds. Italian Woman add something You can even try before you buy! new to their collection of one size firstname.lastname@example.org. clothes every week. Lately the floral jeggings have been a top seller I Can Eat sell gluten free, dairy free & vegan friendly foods including teamed with a plain pure linen or cakes, pasta, biscuits, sweets, coffee, cotton top. Also in stock are a range spices, breads, nut roast and sauces. of tie dye dresses trousers & tops. Also loose grains, rice, nuts and and many other stalls... pulses. Bring your own container or Newport Indoor we provide paper bags. 07309 090167 Market Shropshire email@example.com
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Arts&Crafts From classy cars to
British birds Retired technical artist and Cheshire resident George Telford talks to Shire about his current painting interests and natural inspiration
Barney at Home in the Cobwebs
near the Wybunbury Moss nature reserve,” says George. “The area teems with wildlife. Rare moths and butterflies are in residence, as well as some quite rare birds such as buzzards and woodpeckers, which be seen and heard regularly.”
“I try to spend some part of each day at the easel with a paintbrush in hand” Tawny Owl
eorge Telford spent almost 40 years working for RollsRoyce at the motor manufacturer’s main Crewe division, not far from his Cheshire home in Wybunbury. His work for the vehicle giant, where he was a technical artist in the publications department, demanded extreme precision. Spending his days producing accurate representations of cars, parts, technical details and precision engineering meant George developed a serious eye for detail – one that saw him promoted to chief technical artist and then publications manager for the last 20 years before he retired.
George’s location provides ideal inspiration as he loves to draw and paint British animals, birds being a particular favourite. And while his portfolio also includes images of far-flung locations and wild animals from further afield, a quick glance through his online portfolio shows an obvious love of native British animals and birdlife, and a love of the countryside for its way of life as well as its natural beauty. His paintings feature old-fashioned blacksmiths They Have Stolen My Dinner shops, canal locks, farm scenes, churches and cottages, as well as a plethora of foxes, horses, mice and squirrels. But one creature stars above all others in George’s work: the owl, and in particular his favourite, the tawny. “Drawing and painting is now my main priority and I try to spend some part of each day at the easel with a paintbrush in hand. This however can lead to domestic problems as the bungalow is gradually being overtaken with canvases!” Visit www.artpal. com/georgetelford09
Precision in nature
Now George is using his ability to focus on the detail as he paints for pleasure during his retirement. He has created a portfolio of work that is all inspired not by man-made machinery but nature and wildlife. “I’m lucky enough to live in the Cheshire countryside
Clockwise from left: George’s paintings, St Mary’s Church (Nantwich) and The Village Blacksmith; George Telford with one of his favourite birds, a tawny owl
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ARTS & CRAFTS
Derek’s legacy lives on in new book
A substantial collection of modern art inspired by Welsh surveyor Derek Williams is the topic of a new book celebrating his enthusiasm and generosity
“The Derek Williams Trust was founded to advance the public education in and appreciation of the arts”
A book celebrating the work of the Derek Williams Trust is out this September
The End of Care by George Shaw
Three Welsh Miners by Josef Herman
uring his life, Derek Williams – a Cardiff-based surveyor who died in 1984 at the age of 55 – was known for his love of neo-romantic artists, in particular David Jones, John Piper and Ceri Richards. And his passion for such artists lives on, with his substantial bequest of works acting as a catalyst for the display of modern art in Wales. Thanks to the Derek Williams Trust, the genre has flourished with the funding and development of a collection of real significance. Founded in 1992 to advance education in and appreciation of the arts through the public display of fine works of art, the trust now works closely with the Amgueddfa Cymru/ National Museum Wales, collecting post-19th century fine and applied art, and purchasing art for its own collection – curated by the museum – and supporting the museum in its purchases. Over the past 25 years, the trust has acquired significant examples of post-1900 Welsh and international works by artists such as Iwan Bala, Gillian Ayres and Simon Hantaï, which are cared for by the museum. A vital part of the trust’s support also includes generous funding of the development of the museum’s own collection of modern and contemporary art, including works by John Akomfrah, Eija-Liisa Ahtila, David Hockney, Howard Hodgkin and Pablo Picasso.
Art in print
Handsome Devil by Clare Woods
Nant Ffrancon Farm by John Piper
A celebration of this relationship, and the establishment of the trust and the collection, is published on 18th September: Art for Wales: The Legacy of Derek Williams, written and compiled by David Moore. “This beautifully designed book celebrates Derek Williams’s profound gift for Wales,” says David. Chapters provide glimpses of a wide range of art media, including painting, drawing, prints, sculpture, ceramics, photography and video. These are accompanied by a foreword from David Anderson, director general of Amgueddfa Cymru/National Museum Wales, and a wealth of colour illustrations to celebrate an outstanding legacy for Wales. “Derek Williams’s legacy ranks with the greatest benefactions to the arts in Wales,” says trustee William Wilkins. “His generosity and imagination are of incalculable value to all art lovers and students in the country.”
AFONWEN CRAFTS Events taking place at Afonwen Craft & Antique Centre near Mold over the coming months 8th & 9th September, Handmade teddy bears, children’s quilts and day bags with Ana & Sonia The ladies make and dress the most adorable bears and rabbits for you to treasure, as well as creating quilts and bags using a range of gorgeous fabrics. 11th September, Paula “Wood be Special” Fabulous wooden keepsakes, hand finished and personalised. Paula offers a wonderful range featuring inspirational words to brighten any day. Ideal for special gifts and keepsake treasures 12th September, Hand weaving with Trevor Blackburn Trevor practises the traditional and wonderful skill of weaving. He has various looms that he brings and is happy for you to have a go. Come and see his collection of scarves and wood-turned items. 14th-16th September, Helfa Gelf Trail, Painting on canvas with Thelma Evans Thelma has a delicate and distinctive style to her paintings, which feature lots of floral and landscape themes. 18th & 19th September, Cherry Bea Jewellery by Elaine Elaine uses crystals and beads to create pretty jewellery. Helen from Corah Henry Interiors will be joining her, bringing handmade cushions, aprons and shopper bags. Helen also makes curtains and blinds to order and is happy to take commissions. 29th & 30th September, Encaustic art with Linda Morris Come and have a go at hot wax art… it’s fabulous to do, and Linda will give you all the help you need and create your own picture. Linda will also be working while she’s here, so you can pick up a piece of her work to take home. All proceeds go to Brain Tumour Research. For the full calendar of visiting artists to Afonwen throughout September and October, visit www.afonwen.co.uk
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A R T I N YO U R A R E A June Furlong, online, Williamson Museum & Art Gallery, Birkenhead An exhibition celebrating the 90th birthday of June Furlong, a long-time model for the Liverpool Art School. She was first suggested as a life model by Don McKinlay when she was 17 and continued modelling for the art school until she was 65. Nearly every art student who passed through Liverpool between the 1960s and the 1990s will have drawn or painted her at some point. She spent most of the 1950s in London, modelling at both the Slade School and the Royal College of Art, mixing with such artists as Lucien Freud and Frank Auerbach. www.williamsonartgallery.org/ june-furlong Until 1st November, Kiki Kogelnik: Riot of Objects, Mostyn Gallery, Llandudno This is the first institutional presentation in the UK to focus solely on Kiki Kogelnik’s ceramic works. Considered one of the key figures of the post-war avant-garde, Kogelnik’s multidisciplinary oeuvre spans five decades. Her multi-faceted style evolved from painterly abstraction to Pop Art and the representation of the female body. Consumer culture, technology and feminism were recurring themes throughout her work. Her unique aesthetic is marked with playfulness and humour yet imbued with a stark sense of criticality.
PHOTO COMPETITION ALL AT SEA Once again, you have all impressed us with your creativity for this issue’s photo competition! Your entries for the All At Sea topic were truly inspiring and we’ve printed as many as we can here. Thank you for all your efforts. For the next Shire photographic challenge, we would like you to celebrate nature in all its glory with the theme of Wild and Wonderful. Photos can include any wild birds and animals you spot, rather than pets (but please feel free to send those for our “Cute Pets” section!), and not flowers and plants as we’ve covered those previously. Please send your entries to editorial@ shiremagazine.co.uk. Good luck and happy snapping!
by John Kendrick
by Phil Jones
Refuge & Renewal: Migration & British Art, MOMA Machynlleth This exhibition looks at how artist refugees have affected art in Britain. With a focus on émigrés from Nazi Europe and some of the British artists they influenced, it also looks back to the FrancoPrussian War and the First World War as well as including presentday artists from the Middle East. Loans from major public and private collections make this one of MOMA’s most ambitious ever exhibitions. Artists include Claude Monet, Camille and Lucien Pissarro, WR Sickert, Valerius de Saedeleer, Naum Gabo, Kurt Schwitters, Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson, Peter Lanyon, Josef Herman, Heinz Koppel, Josef Koudelka, Samira Kitman and Mona Hatoum. The gallery hopes to reopen for visitors soon, but in the meantime a virtual tour of the exhibition is available at www.culturecolony.com/media/ video/refuge-and-renewal.
by Kathryn Hall
by Norman Marshall
Barmouth high tide by Paul Lewis
by Jillian Jamieson
by Ken Lawrence
West Kirby Marina by Karen Major
The Helping Hand by David Peacock
by Matt Copplestone
Fishing at Deganwy by Sam Hulse
by Claire Mottram
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Health&Beauty VIDEO GLASSES TO CALM PATIENTS AT RJAH
The government has stepped up its campaign to reduce the nation’s expanding waistlines, following evidence that being overweight puts you at greater risk from coronavirus. We take a look at the many ways obesity effects our health
besity has been a growing problem for the UK for some time, but in recent months the need to tackle the nation’s epidemic of overeating has become even more urgent. After the prime minister was told his weight had been partly to blame for his difficult experiences with coronavirus, and with experts telling us that being obese puts people at far greater risk of complications from Covid-19, tackling obesity is on the agenda once more.
Threat to health
Public Health England figures showed that for people with Covid-19 with a BMI of 35-40 (over 30 is classed as obese), risk of death increased by 40 per cent compared with those DID YOU of normal weight, while those KNOW? with a BMI over 40 had a 90 One in five per cent higher risk of death. children aged And evidence indicates that 10 to 11 being obese threatenshealth are obese in many other ways. “Losing weight can bring huge benefits for health – and may also help protect against the health risks of
Covid-19,” says Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at Public Health England. “The case for action on obesity has never been stronger.”
The UK has Europe’s third highest rate of obesity, with almost two-thirds of adults in England being overweight or obese. The government launched a £10m campaign to raise awareness and help tackle obesity this summer – with the hope that many people can slim down before winter, in case a second wave of coronavirus emerges. Launching the campaign, Boris Johnson said: “Losing weight is, frankly, one of the ways that you can reduce your own risks from coronavirus.” The NHS website explains why it’s important to tackle obesity because it leads to a number of serious and potentially lifethreatening conditions: “These include health risks such as type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, some types of cancer, such as breast cancer and bowel cancer, and stroke.” For more tips and advice, visit www.nhs.uk.
Many of us have a few, some a lot, and some none at all! If you wonder why and how freckles appear, here’s what you need to know…
You can’t be born with freckles True – no one is born with freckles. They result from sun exposure; only when you spend time in sunlight, causing the pigment-making cells in the skin to rev up and create more pigment, will you see freckles start to appear. Freckles are inherited Again, true. Freckles are linked to a key genetic player in the regulation of your skin and hair colour. A gene known as MC1R controls
Recovery nurses Cameron Bostock and Paul Baker try out the video glasses
ideo glasses designed to distract patients undergoing surgery, as well as calm their nerves before a procedure, have been purchased by the League of Friends at the Robert Jones & Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital (RJAH) in Oswestry, Shropshire. Oculus video glasses are to be worn by patients during surgery that requires them to stay awake, as well as pre-operatively for anxious patients. The immersive experience allows them to watch a film or be transported to exotic locations. The League of Friends bought four sets of Oculus video glasses, which cost just under £1,000 a pair, for the hospital. “Many patients feel quite anxious about the prospect of being awake during surgery, so it’s fantastic to see the positive impact these Oculus glasses can have on patient experience,” says consultant anaesthetist Dr Ruth Longfellow. “The use of sedatives and general anaesthetic can mean patients take much longer to recover from surgery, so having the option to avoid using these and use an alternative anaesthetic is a real advantage.”
how much of two different kinds of melanin you produce. If, thanks to your parents, your MC1R gene is inactive, you’ll produce more pheomelanin – leading to lighter hair and skin, as well as a propensity for freckles. Redheads always have freckles False. While many people associate freckles with red hair and many redheads do indeed have lots of freckles, this isn’t true in all cases. The genetic gene associated with freckles is dominant while the gene for red hair is recessive, and both are completely independent of each another. In fact, it is estimated that approximately 20 per cent of all redheads have no freckles at all. September/October 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 97
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The Stars and Grey
Sarah Hill explains why she founded The Stars and Grey and what it has been like to start a small online business during lockdown
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Knits to know
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t has been an 1. Privatsachen teddy bear unprecedented summer, coat in Borke, £373 and as a result we’ve found 2. Privatsachen textured that we’re even more snood in Borke, £92 obsessed with the new 3. Privatsachen cropped pullover in Springen, £200 season’s exciting trends in 4. Xenia Design Tuza fine knit womenswear – from leather jumper shirt in Black, £155 and fantasy dresses to 5. Boks & Baum Anais necklace statement collars and luxury in Gold/Green, £424 cashmere – than before. 6. Privatsachen pullover in Hemd, £209 The new season 7. Privatsachen textured from German label pullover in Farb, £232 Privatsachen, available now at Olivia May, offers natural fibres, crushed silks and velvet as standard, but the musthave pieces for autumn have to be the incredible teddy bear knits and snoods. The sumptuous palette of jewel-toned fabrics are ideal for refreshing your wardrobe to transition into the cooler months. A top style tip – layer your garments and stick to a mix of up to three colours only to keep your look classic. If you’re one for getting ahead of the fashion pack, the teddy bear jumpers and coats offer warmth and practicality, and ooze understated style. We love that they’re 100 per cent organic cotton and machine washable, making them super easy to care for too. Opt for a cosy statement knit – layer up a scarf or snood over a tulip-shaped dress or choose a sheer fine knit, like those from Xenia Design, teamed with a camisole and smart jeans for evenings. It’s a modern way to move through the seasons with a quintessential take on colour that will help keep your early-adopter status intact. Find out about these ranges and more at www.oliviamay.org
y journey in fashion started at 17 when I went to college to study clothing technology. Following that, I gained a place at Manchester Metropolitan University – a world away from my rural bubble – coming away with a BA Honours in fashion. Within a month or so of graduating, I was working for Laura Ashley. I then decided fashion buying was for me and got a job at George at Asda. It was also a fabulous experience because I travelled the world, visiting factories, trade shows and exhibitions. In my late twenties, I got married and had a son. I took a career break; jump forward to now and I have three sons and we live back in my home village in mid Wales. In February I decided to start my own online women’s clothing boutique, The Stars and Grey, applying all my experience to source suppliers, design my own website, select the ranges and market my business through Facebook and Instagram (@the_stars_and_grey). It’s been hard work and, at times, quite scary because it’s just me! As well as the website, I planned to have pop-up shops in various locations. But then in mid-March we were all told to stay indoors, and that’s where we remained for months. All my pop-ups were cancelled, and I was left with a lot of stock and only my website to sell it through. With a lot of promotion, I managed to build a good customer base and started getting orders from across the country. As we were all changing the way we worked and socialised, I felt it was important to provide clothing that suited our new lifestyles, so I focused on loungewear. I sourced two new suppliers – Chalk UK and A Postcard From Brighton, which are both manufactured in the UK. I wanted to sell sustainable, not fast, fashion. The feedback I’m getting from customers is they want to shop locally where possible and with small independent businesses. I’m not a faceless retailer – I offer advice and can be relied on to give you an honest and caring shopping experience. To find out more visit www.thestarsandgrey.co.uk
A few of the items for sale at The Stars and Grey from September, all by Selected Femme. Clockwise from above: deep cuff white shirt, sizes 34-42, rrp £45; animal print navy jumper, sizes XS-L, rrp £69; sandshell blouse, sizes 34-42, rrp £49
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Knitwear so stylish we almost can’t wait for autumn 3
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Faber Woman cardigan, Daniella of Nantwich, Cheshire; www.daniellaofnantwich.co.uk Myrtle Cottage jumper, £79.95, Seasalt Cornwall; www.seasaltcornwall.co.uk Crew-neck knit sweater, £30, Monki; www.monki.com Fair Isle jumper, £35, Cotton Traders; www.cottontraders.com Maisie soft pointelle knitted jumper, £49, Monsoon; www.monsoon.co.uk Poncho, £37.95, Roobarb in Bridgnorth, Shropshire; www.loveroobarb.co.uk White Stuff Cat Amongst The Flowers socks, £6, Daisy Chain in Newport, Shropshire; www.daisychainshop.co.uk Striped rib short-sleeve jumper, £98, Jigsaw; www.jigsaw-online.com Eldon cotton crop cardigan, £50, Boden; www.boden.co.uk
10. Stockbridge Fair isle beanie hat, £35, The Croft House; www.thecrofthouse.com 11. Textured knit tights, £9.99, H&M; www2.hm.com 12. M&Co long-sleeve ruffle top, £10.99 (rrp £22.99), Tweedmill Shopping Outlet in St Asaph, Denbighshire; www.tweedmill.co.uk 13. Marble Collection pullover, £59, Out of Town Oswestry, Shropshire; www.out-of-town-oswestry.co.uk 14. Marble Collection jumper, £59, Out of Town Oswestry, Shropshire; www.out-of-town-oswestry.co.uk 15. V-neck button cardigan, £60 (rrp £65), The Stars & Grey; www.thestarsandgrey.co.uk 16. Selected Femme wide roll neck pullover, £49 (rrp £55), The Stars & Grey; www.thestarsandgrey.co.uk
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Whether they’re horizontal or vertical, thick or thin, stripes are always in style
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Crew Clothing long-sleeve chambray collar rugby shirt, £45.50, Tweedmill Shopping Outlet in St Asaph, Denbighshire; www.tweedmill.co.uk Signature stripe wool-cashmere beanie hat, £65, Paul Smith; www.paulsmith.com Tommy Hilfiger cotton linen multi-stripe shirt, £85, Trefor Jones in Ruthin, Denbighshire; shop.treforjones.co.uk SARNI lyocell striped shirt, £89, Ted Baker; www.tedbaker.com Van Buck silk tie, £30, Wood’s of Shropshire; www.woodsofshropshire.co.uk JAYCDMW wool waistcoat, £139, Ted Baker; www.tedbaker.com Ripley rugby shirt, £45, White Stuff; www.whitestuff.com Dexshell beanie, £18.95, Cherry Tree County Clothing in Ruthin, Denbighshire; www.cherrytreecountryclothing.com Untucked slim-fit cotton shirt, £49.50, Banana Republic; www.bananarepublic.co.uk
10. Snazzy stripe suit blazer, £95, Joe Browns; www.joebrowns.co.uk 11. Seven Seas sailor tee, £25, Seasalt; www.seasaltcornwall.co.uk 12. Maine New England striped yoke cotton jumper, £28, Debenhams; www.debenhams.com 13. Pantherella modern range socks, £13.75, Wood’s of Shropshire; www.woodsofshropshire.co.uk 14. Camborne stripe crew-neck jumper, £46, Fat Face; www.fatface.com 15. Bogner Vico striped pique golf polo, £130, Stephen Muldoon Bespoke in Prestbury, Cheshire; www.stephenmuldoon.com 16. Joules Filbert classic fit polo shirt, £34.95, Smart Ass Menswear in Conwy; www.smartassmenswear.co.uk 17. Scotch & Soda stripey crew-neck knitwear, £144, Stephen Muldoon Bespoke in Prestbury, Cheshire; www.stephenmuldoon.com 18. Lyle & Scott yoke stripe T-shirt, £40, Smart Ass Menswear in Conwy; www.smartassmenswear.co.uk 19. Pleated stripe scarf, £25, National Trust; www.nationaltrust.org.uk/shop
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Motoring Volkswagen T-Roc Cabriolet DID YOU KNOW? “Cabriolet” comes from a French word meaning “to caper”
The new soft-top compact SUV from Volkswagen is well designed for a purely pleasurable driving experience, says Bob Hickman hen Volkswagen decided to chop the roof off its wonderful T-Roc and make a soft-top version, the German manufacturer needed expertise. It turned to the specialist designers at Karmann, who soon realised that once you take the roof off a conventional vehicle you remove its inherent strength. Modifications were required: the chassis became longer and wider, the doors, sills and windscreen surround were made sturdier, and the floor was strengthened. Karmann did a good job. With the roof down, the T-Roc Cabriolet is wonderfully stylish. The multi-layered fabric roof stows at a press of a button in under 12 seconds and it can be done at up to 18/19mph, so if a sudden shower develops, you can simply slow down and put the roof up while still in motion. The Cabriolet has the same petrol engines as the standard T-Roc: a 115ps one-litre with a six-speed manual gearbox; and the one I tested, a 150ps 1.5 TSI unit with a manual six-speed box (a seven-speed DSG auto box is an option).
If you’re buying a car for style and open-top motoring, performance may not be top priority. But the T-Roc Cabriolet is no slouch, with 0 to 60 in just over nine seconds and a top speed where legal of 127mph.
Comfort and style
The entry-level Design model has quite an extensive array of standard equipment: 17in alloy wheels, cruise control, airconditioning, electric windows, parking sensors, an 8in dash screen, Bluetooth connectivity and a user-friendly satnav. The interior is the same as the standard T-Roc; the back is less roomy because of the space the folded roof occupies, but there is room for two adults. Boot space FACTS AT A GLANCE
• • • • • • • •
is reduced to 284 litres although you can drop the rear seats if you wish to carry more luggage. The T-Roc Cabriolet is a pleasant companion – you wouldn’t buy this type of vehicle to thrash around. With the roof down there was a surprising lack of buffeting, and it proved comfortable for trundling around and enjoying the wind in your hair. This is a car for those who want something a little different, a little quirky – perhaps a second vehicle, where you’re not too worried about whether it is a sensible purchase. It’s a real winner when the sun comes out – hit the roof button and take pleasure in an enjoyable experience.
MODEL TESTED T-ROC DESIGN PRICE £28,280 ENGINE 1.5-LITRE TURBOCHARGED PETROL POWER 150BHP MAX SPEED 127MPH 0-60MPH 9.6 SECONDS MPG 44 EMISSIONS 146G/KM CO2
is a devoted car and motorcycle fan. After a 30-year career as a police motorcycle patrol officer and latterly as a sergeant, patrolling the motorways of the Midlands, retirement beckoned and he embarked on writing about his love of transport. Bob is a member of the Guild of Motor Writers and the Midland Guild of Motor Writers. In his spare time he rides a Royal Enfield Continental GT motorcycle and drives a 1994 MG RV8.
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QUESTIONS We put our probing queries to the High Sheriff of Shropshire, Dean Harris. During her shrieval year, Dean is hoping to modernise the role, seeing it not merely as a symbolic and historic role but one in which she can make a real difference by working with as many charities and organisations across the county as she can
What is your full name? Amanda Nadine Harris, known as Dean.
What is your current job title? High Sheriff of Shropshire 2020/21, which means I’m the Queen’s representative for law and order in the county. I’m very respectful of the role’s traditional elements, but I also want to make it relevant, for example by using social media to share information about my causes and meetings I attend. I’m also a magistrate in criminal and family courts, although I’m not sitting currently, and a business consultant at the Business Company.
What is home life like? I live – and run the Business Company – with my husband Mark and we have a giant schnauzer, Rupert.
What’s the first thing you would buy if you won the lottery? I’d give a significant amount to family and would set up a foundation to support local good causes, leaving me enough to continue to have choices in life!
What is your dream job – other than your current role? I’d love to be a family barrister. I’ve been a magistrate for more than 20 years, so I’ve had lots of first-hand experience of the court system. That is what inspired me to choose my three causes for my shrieval year, because they have such a big impact on the courts and society as a whole.
What has been the worst moment? Definitely Covid-19 – seeing the stress, uncertainty and heartbreak being caused all over High Sheriff Dean Harris the world was just terrible. I had been planning for my year as High Sheriff for three years and all of those plans suddenly went out of the window. Luckily I’ve been able to adapt and become a “virtual Sheriff ” instead, highlighting my causes of domestic abuse, addiction and childhood poverty and deprivation via online meetings while in-person meetings weren’t possible.
If you could come back as any animal, which would you be and why? Definitely a dog, because they are loyal, playful, loving and they sleep a lot!
What would be your desert island disc and why? “The Rose” by Bette Midler – it’s an all-time favourite song of mine because of the words about love.
If you could have one superpower, what would it be? To be able to grant wishes and sprinkle my shrieval stardust further!
Who is your hero and how do they inspire you? Her Majesty The Queen. Her sense of duty is exceptional and her motto “never complain, never explain” has stood her in good stead.
“I’ve been able to adap t and become a ‘virtual Sher iff’ during the pandemic”
What has been the highlight of your past 12 months? The highlight has definitely been becoming High Sheriff of Shropshire!
What is your worst fear or phobia? Heights first and frogs/lizards second!
If you were representing your country in the Olympics, which sport would you choose? I enjoy cycling and boxing to keep fit but not to that degree. Mind you, I have always wanted to try fencing! What is your favourite drink? It’s a tough call between champagne and a G&T!
If you had to take part in a competitive reality TV show, which do you think you’d have the best chance of winning: Strictly Come Dancing, The Great British Bake Off or I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!? I’d much rather go on Come Dine With Me!
What is your guilty pleasure? Shoes!
When did you last laugh uncontrollably and why? While watching Gogglebox – they react how my husband and I do quite often, which makes me laugh.
You’re hosting a dinner party for four celebrities – who do you invite? Elvis Presley, Peter Kay, HM The Queen and Oprah Winfrey.
Where is your favourite place in the world and why? The Gower Peninsula in south Wales. I’ve fond memories of the area from childhood holidays and it’s a place we continue to visit because the walking, eating and scenery are amazing.
What is your proudest achievement so far? Being chosen to be High Sheriff of Shropshire – it’s an honour and a privilege! I’ve had the chance to meet charities and organisations that work incredibly hard for the community, and I’ll have met many more by the end of next March.
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Finance TAKING THE GUESSWORK OUT OF RETIREMENT PLANNING Matt Hignett, director at Beaumont Wealth, explains how Beaumont navigates tricky financial waters and works to protect its clients during turbulent times How has the pandemic affected pension plans?
The global pandemic has affected everyone’s investments, both low-risk and high-risk. Stock markets have fallen and the majority of our clients’ pension plans did fall in value at the time – but they’ve since recovered and are actually higher than at this time last year.
How has Beaumont managed this?
We manage very diversified portfolios, and areas like healthcare and gold for example have actually increased in value this year. Also stock markets are only part of a pension plan. Beaumont has discretionary powers with a high level of risk and volatility control, so if things happen we can step in to protect “We look our clients’ investments. The good news this at bespoke year is that the portfolios have behaved as cashflow expected during this difficult period. The modelling for key for us is that clients are happy with the each client” level of managed risk their plans have.
Have clients changed their plans in any way?
Some people have altered their plans to manage the changes. This includes reducing the projected income levels during retirement or increasing risk in a managed way, and some have decided to retire later. Payments into pensions have generally been maintained, however, because even though some people are on furlough, most have also seen their outgoings drop. Clients can take a holiday from payment or decrease them – the only “rule” is that payments in one year must not exceed £40,000 of your taxable earnings.
What options do business owners have?
Business owners have a lot of choices – for example, the maximum allowable contributions (£40,000) can be “saved up” and used in later years. There are various benefits too: pension contributions are an allowable deduction for corporation tax, aren’t taxed as a “benefit in kind” and don’t incur national insurance contributions.
How much control do people have over their pensions? When the rules were changed in 2015, everyone was granted much more choice over how they manage their pension. Any lump sum
left in a pension pot is part of a trust to be passed on to heirs, for example, and doesn’t incur inheritance tax so it’s a good way to pass on wealth to children. We’re seeing more and more people decide to take a “flexible drawdown” – leaving part of the investment in the fund – rather than taking on traditional annuities.
Have I saved enough to retire?
This is a key question and one we can only answer on an individual basis. We look at detailed bespoke cashflow modelling for each client. We also look at income, expenditure and any other investments, then look at the client’s overall attitude to risk. Only after this work can you look at income expectations during retirement, which will give you a ballpark figure on the funds needed on retirement.
What happens after I retire?
Our advisers have an important role to play in making sure you draw down from your pension pot in the most tax-efficient way. The rules are complex, but by careful management you can plan to minimise tax.
Why are regular reviews important?
We meet with all our clients at least once a year. As they approach You have plenty of pension choices retirement we tend to see them more often as they have some choices to discuss. Also, if clients have life changes – inheritance, health news or a change within the family – we advise them to get in touch as it may be necessary to make some changes to their plans. Beaumont has an open-door policy and encourages clients to get in touch. We’ve seen some changes in how we do this – we have more client meetings remotely, for example, and will be launching a client app in the near future. Matt Hignett has more than 15 years’ experience selecting stocks and funds and building diversified portfolios, and is a pension transfer and investment specialist with advanced qualifications in these areas as well as business planning. He is working towards becoming a fellow of the Personal Finance Society and has been at Beaumont nearly six years.
Beaumont Wealth Oswestry Office 01691 670524 Chester Office 01244 621762 Shrewsbury Office 01743 297751 Knutsford Office 01565 748144
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PART OF THE MALVERN COLLEGE FAMILY OF SCHOOLS
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Top of the Class Living the dream
drama and music scholar at Ellesmere College is living her dream after being accepted by both the National Youth Theatre (NYT) and the British Youth Musical Theatre (BYMT) companies. Acceptance to the NYT opens the door for Year 12 student Mariella Steele, 17, to the possibility of performing in London’s West End, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and on the company’s overseas tours. The BYMT place will see Mariella appear in an innovative all-female production of Cabaret Macabre in Plymouth later this year – depending on the Covid-19 situation. Both companies are difficult to get into as competition for places is tough and standards are extremely high.
Third time’s the charm
“I have auditioned for the NYT for the last three years, so you might say it’s third time lucky,” says Mariella, who lives in Much Wenlock. “My first reaction when I found out was relief, as it had weighed on my mind and I’d wanted it so much over the last three years. Later that same day I took a Zoom call and that made me feel part of something really big.
Mariella Steele from Much Wenlock
“I’m disappointed the three-week course due to take place in London won’t be happening as planned because of the Covid-19 pandemic, but there will be a week’s Zoom course and hopefully the physical course will go ahead later.” Mariella’s mother, Sue, says: “We are extremely proud of Mariella and so pleased with her achievements in these difficult times. We’d also like to thank the staff at Ellesmere College for all their help with Mariella’s drama and music at the school.” Rachel Schubert, director of drama at Ellesmere College, says: “I’m delighted for Mariella and know there will be exciting times ahead. Mariella has done very well indeed - she should be very proud of herself.”
he Firs Prep School Chester managed to celebrate the end of the summer term with a variety of socially distanced events for Year 6 leavers and the Rainbow celebration whole school. The prep school was able to welcome back all pupils full-time from Fir Cones Nursery to Year 6, with all year groups safely brought back in bubbles so they could enjoy face-to-face teaching.
the end of the school year by wearing bright rainbow colours. “We were delighted to safely welcome back all our year groups this term,” says headteacher Rosemary Blackburn. “By reducing our summer holiday and extending the Easter break, we were successful in ensuring that our pupils had as much face-to-face teaching as possible.”
She continues: “The pupils have adapted brilliantly to our ‘new normal’. We’re fortunate that we’re a small school with excellent facilities and space, and with our small class sizes and a high teacher-to-pupil ratio it meant we could successfully implement the Leaving presents government guidelines and social bubbles. The school celebrated the end of term with “In September we look forward to being an outdoor leavers’ party and prize-giving able to introduce afterceremony for school activities so the Year 6, outdoor children can once again transition sessions enjoy our varied and to introduce year inspiring curriculum. groups to next We’re excited about year’s teachers, our new September and finally with term and are confident a whole-school we’ll be providing all virtual assembly our pupils with an during which inspiring and nurturing the children Outdoor ceremonies ensured social distancing learning environment.” celebrated
SCHOOL NEWS RECORD OFFERS FOR STUDENTS Students from Coleg Cambri have achieved a record number of offers to study medical science degrees, with 15 students starting studies in medicine, veterinary Students are to study dentistry medicine and dentistry this September. Among those set to begin a degree in veterinary medicine are Jen Bamber and Megan Roberts, who will attend Harper & Keele Veterinary School, a partnership between Harper Adams and Keele universities. “Growing up on a sheep and cattle farm and having completed work experience at a vet’s surgery, I’ve fallen in love with veterinary medicine,” says Megan, 18. “Completing the level 3 animal management course at Cambria has allowed me to begin my animal education, giving me the best chance of success.” Jen, 21, adds: “Coleg Cambria Llysfasi has given us such a range of experiences across all sectors of the animal industry. We’ve also been taught formal writing and many other skills, which allowed me to apply to study for the job of my dreams.” Tutor Alex Morgan says the college sends a high number of learners on to animal management courses every year and wishes both Megan and Jen the best of luck for the future. “It is a misconception that learners studying a vocational route at college don’t have the opportunity to go to university,” he says. “In fact, many of them – enthused by subjects that really interest them – do exceptionally well.”
NEW MUSIC DIRECTOR The autumn term will start with the sound of music filling the halls of Oswestry School as new director of music and choirmaster Aled Phillips joins the school. Aled’s first teaching experience was at Alun School in Mold, where he worked for Aled Phillips six years before taking the position of head of music at Dinas Bran in Llangollen and then director of music at St Ambrose College in Hale. Aled has also worked with choirs around the country for over 20 years, winning awards and competitions for his work, and has also performed at the Royal Albert Hall and the Royal Festival Hall. “I enjoy sharing my knowledge of music,” says Aled, “but more importantly, providing pupils with opportunities and experiences they will keep hold of and cherish for the rest of their lives. “I’m looking forward to singing becoming an important aspect of life in both [prep school] Bellan House and Oswestry School. I have a very competitive streak, so competing and winning choral competitions throughout the country is definitely in my plans from September. “Now, more than ever, music is important,” Aled adds. “It’s really good for wellbeing, both physically and mentally. I hope all pupils will get involved in music, in one way or another. They will have the chance to just take part or become part of something even greater.”
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SCHOOL NEWS LEADING THE WAY IN LACROSSE In a coup for the school, Moreton Hall has recruited former Welsh international Carina Walsh to lead its lacrosse development. With a number of Moreton’s lacrosse teams already in the top eight in the country, Carina is set to deliver elite sports training and specialised coaching workshops. In Carina Walsh in action addition, she intends to offer outreach lacrosse to the Shropshire community with training at all levels. Carina has been captain of the Oxton Lacrosse Women’s team for the past 10 years, alongside coaching them. During this time she has led them to 10 consecutive Northern League titles and five European Club Championship titles. Carina has played at all levels, captaining her county, region and country. She captained Wales during the 2007 Under-19 World Championships and has played all over the world, with a season in south Australia where she played alongside world champions for the 2006 South Australia League winners Wilderness. Carina is currently the director of coaching and head coach at Carina is joining Moreton Oxton Lacrosse Club and is also a head coach within the England Lacrosse Academies. “We are thrilled to welcome Carina to the team at Moreton Hall and are excited about the high level of coaching and new opportunities that she will bring to what is already a highly successful lacrosse programme,” says Moreton’s director of sport, Alison McDonald.
THE HEAD’S COLUMN
BACK TO CLASS Headmistress Sue WallaceWoodroffe and head of lower school Iona Carmody from The Queen’s School in Chester are welcoming a full return to school this September
NEW KID ON THE BLOCK R
are goats have helped Coleg Cambria Northop win top prizes at a virtual festival of farming and agriculture. The prestigious Greatest Online Agricultural Show was contested by participants from the across the UK, notably in the Rare Breeds Society Trust’s Native Breed Section. It was there the Bagots – the oldest and rarest species of goat in the UK – achieved success. Mystole Caesar not only placed first in the Male Bagot Classes but was named champion across all the native goat sections. Northop Scarlet came first in the Native Goats Over Two Years Old, and Northop Tamsin was placed first in the Bagot Goat Over 1 Year But Under 2 Years category. And to top it all off, a new billy kid has been born at the college’s Flintshire site, to the delight of Animal Centre A rare Bagot goat manager Wendy Gacem. “The competition was an excellent opportunity to show our Bagot goats and we were made up with the success we had,” says Wendy. “It has been sad to miss out on the country shows this year, but the online show
Northop’s new billy goat, Steve
gave everyone an opportunity to display their livestock and have some fun in the lockdown. “It’s been a challenging time for everyone but here at Northop we have had more positive news with the birth of the little billy kid. We’ve called him Steve and he’s is up to all sorts of mischief, investigating his new surroundings. He’s fantastic.”
Rare but recovering
As recently as 2010, the Rare Breeds Survival Trust listed the Bagot goat as “critically endangered” because there were fewer than 100 breeding nannies in the country. That has recently been changed to “at risk”, which was a forward step, although the Bagot is still one of the rarest animals on these shores. “The latest watchlist showed numbers are increasing, and with the help of the Bagot Goat Society and people breeding the goats, we are well on the way to having more than 300 registered females in the UK, which is fantastic news,” says Wendy. “Since starting to promote Bagots at Coleg Cambria, we’ve had more than 25 kids born at Northop and have helped to start eight new herds at other colleges and organisations, so we have played our part and are very proud of that.”
at how our pupils have demonstrated such fter a year that will no doubt be taught in future history lessons, we are happy qualities. And it is these attributes that will to say that The Queen’s School in Chester help them succeed in the years to come. is well prepared and excited for the full Passion and warmth will always be a feature of the Queen’s experience, whether return of all our pupils in September. through a tangible human connection or We cannot wait to welcome all pupils back and have the heart of with the aid of data travelling in the school beating once again milliseconds through cyberspace. within the grounds rather When unexpected challenges “This year are foisted upon us, it is the than remotely. However, if has shown us strength and support of a the situation does change, the that we are community and the consistent success of our remote learning resilient and provision means we will remain care of Queen’s staff that ensure creative” able to continue to deliver a the foundations of an excellent education remain steadfast. full and varied timetable to all. This year has shown us that See for yourself what makes a Queen’s we are resilient and creative, and that we education so special at one of its open possess an amazing ability to adapt. It has also taught us that human nature and days on 2nd October (lower school), kindness will prevail, and that even during 10th October (senior school) and 21st October (sixth form). To register, the darkest moments, innovation, hope and light glimmer. We’ve been filled with pride visit www.thequeensschool.co.uk The Leiths girls get to meet the Leiths
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18/08/2020 15:49 11:27 21/08/2020
oreton Hall School near Oswestry has been shortlisted as Independent School of the Year in the Performing Arts category for 2020. Launched in 2018, the awards highlight the excellence of the student experience in independent schools. “To say we’re thrilled with this nomination would be an understatement,” says the school’s head of drama Kate Howells. “Drama and performing arts are at the heart of Moreton life and without it, Moreton wouldn’t be what it is today. I am proud of everything we achieve on a daily basis, especially in these unprecedented times. To be recognised for this is just what the students need and deserve after a very difficult term.”
Innovation is a cornerstone of Moreton Hall, as exemplified by last summer’s circus performance. This homemade extravaganza, telling the story of a school runaway, featured all the traditions of the circus ring complete with a striking big top. It allowed pupils of all years to come together under a single creative umbrella, acting, singing, dancing, costume-making and doing backstage work. Jointly all these skills made up a unique and amazing show. “For us, the maverick traditions of circus performance – spirited, joyful misrule – Moreton Hall school, Shropshire fit so well with Moreton’s idiosyncratic heritage,” say Grainne and Matthew Dennison, who conceived, wrote and directed Moreton’s circus. “Girls, teaching staff, groundsmen, family pets and local farm animals came together in a shared quirky vision.”
The school is also a hub of musical excellence in the region, offering instrumental ensembles for all ages and abilities, inviting musicians to join county-level ensembles in string and woodwind, in addition to the school’s orchestra. The school also has a new creative arts programme – North Shropshire’s Big Sing – which has attracted more than 300 external primary-aged pupils to form a mass choir and work with specialist teachers learning vocal and breathing techniques, while enhancing key skills such as literacy, numeracy and language. “This shortlisting recognises the incredible work done by our music and drama departments, alongside other creatively minded staff, to produce and deliver performing arts opportunities of extraordinary range and quality,” says principal George Budd, “not only to Moreton pupils but also those from the local area. We are so proud to have been recognised in this way.”
taff, students and graduates at Wrexham Glyndwr University are celebrating after two national surveys showed strong performances in student satisfaction and employment prospects. The surveys – the National Student Survey (NSS) and the Higher Education Statistics Authority’s Graduate Outcomes Survey – showed the university leading the way in the higher education sector in Wales on a host of key targets. The NSS revealed that 87 per cent of students at Wrexham Glyndwr are satisfied with the teaching on their course, and respondents also rated the university above both the UK and Welsh averages on a wide range of measures. Every final-year undergraduate “We place in the UK is asked to complete the the student survey, which offers them the chance experience at to air their views on a wide range of the heart of questions about their university. what we do” Respondents from 11 courses at Glyndwr gave an overall satisfaction rating of 90 per cent or more, with four courses scored at 100 per cent. The university was joint top in the UK and top in Wales for overall satisfaction in history, and computer and games animation.
“As an institution, we place the student experience at the heart of what we do – and it is good to hear that those who have just completed their studies with us agree,” says vicechancellor Professor Maria Hinfelaar. “Promising figures that show us ahead of the sector in both the UK and Wales demonstrate what students can expect when they study at Glyndwr, and with our continued focus on upgrading facilities, services and resources, the future looks promising.” Chloe Williams, Wrexham Glyndwr University Students’ Union vice-president, also welcomed the results. “Surveys like the NSS, which capture students’ opinions, are vital,” she says. “The university has listened to what students want and acted – and it’s good to see that action reflected in the results.”
ABBERLEY HALL SCHOOL SCHOLARS’ SUCCESS
“I am absolutely thrilled to hear about the success that Abberley pupils have found once again,” says Jonnie upils at Abberley Hall School near Besley, who took over as headmaster at the school this summer. “Our pupils Worcester have a long-established track record of achieving remarkable are so talented and motivated and results in the classroom and beyond. they have a huge appetite for life. Last year saw more incredible success “Take the school’s LAMDA [London at the school, with 48 scholarships and Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts] activity, for example: all pupils from Year 2 exhibitions awarded to the top year. Some students received multiple to 8 achieved high merits and distinctions. awards from different schools, with many The pupils work hard throughout the year to Abberley Hall’s new headmaster, Jonnie Besley achieving scholarships in disciplines prepare for their awards and it is wonderful including all-rounder, academic, music, drama, art, DT and to see them being recognised for their efforts. We look forward to sports. This builds on the success of previous years, giving 141 maintaining the tradition our pupils have of achieving such fantastic results before going on to become leaders at their senior schools.” offers of scholarships and awards over the past three years.
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arents say an independent primary school provided a lifeline as the only one in north Wales to maintain a full day of online classes through lockdown earlier this year. Pupils at Myddelton College Preparatory School in Denbigh were able to log on to roll call and a full series of virtual lessons every day – just like their senior school counterparts. It helped them beat the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic and was appreciated by parents. “We haven’t Ruth Hogan’s son Thomas, 11, is starting had to rely at the senior school in September. “Thomas on parents hasn’t missed out on any of his studies so trying we don’t have the worry of him needing to to teach” catch up when starting senior school and feel he is fully prepared for the transition,” Ruth says. “The teaching has been amazing and they kept the children engaged, which I would think must have been very difficult.”
Helen Roberts, whose daughter Jessica is in Year 5, agrees. “I was delighted with the way online schooling worked out,” she says. “It
PUPILS HELP OUT AT HOME
nternational pupils from Oswestry School have been volunteering in their home countries in response to the Covid-19 pandemic by reaching out to those in need and working with the Red Cross. When the school dispersed in March, pupils returned home to a much-altered way of living and, for some, this became an opportunity to get involved and to give their time. In Thailand, siblings Great
THE HEAD’S COLUMN
LESSONS LEARNED Charlie Minogue, headmaster at Moor Park School, looks at the ways in which the response to lockdown can help in the future
s all schools make their plans to reopen more fully in September, it’s very easy to lose sight of the bigger picture in order to focus on the details of cleaning rotas and bubble integrity. All schools will have responded in their own way to this pandemic and all of us will have learned
Teachers Katie Gresley-Jones and Annie Williams
has been seamless between the children working in the classroom and working from home. Even in the summer holidays Jessica was saying that she can’t wait to get back into the classroom.” “We were able to continue with the full curriculum and I believe we’re the only prep school in north Wales that was able to do that, and we haven’t had to rely on parents trying to teach,” says head of preparatory school, Katie Gresley-Jones. Katie teaches Years 5 and 6, while her colleague Annie Williams takes Years 3 and 4. “It was a bit different when taught remotely but again because the children are familiar with the online systems we use it went very well.” and Grand Boonlert have been busy in their home city of Bangkok, where they’ve been working with the Thai Red Cross community. “My mother is one of the organisers of Pathum Thani province’s Red Cross,” says Great. “During the Covid-19 outbreak, my brother and I helped make hand sanitisers and distribute face masks. I also worked with the Thai Red Cross Youth Volunteers doing community service at public places such as the Royal Kitchen, where we packed food and necessities for those affected by the economic difficulties. Volunteering has given me many opportunities to help others and to realise what joy this can bring.” For Ada Šošic from Belgrade, the coronavirus pandemic was an opportunity to do whatever she could. “I didn’t like the feeling of being locked in the house knowing there are people suffering from a global pandemic and thinking that there is nothing I can do to help,” she says. “So I became part of Unicef ’s campaign Volunteers On The Network, sharing verified information and getting responses from people who are struggling at this difficult time. “During this time of uncertainty, some of us might feel lost, stressed or scared, and that is why we have to stay together, support and help each other, even while we are all apart,” Ada adds. “There are opportunities everywhere around us.”
of the value of an excellent education, and lessons. At Moor Park, we’ve learned that teaching a full timetable online is possible, we’re seeing the results of this in increased that the children still make measurable applications to our school. We want to progress and, in among the understandable make the best possible education available to the greatest variety of children and worries about screen time and separation from friends, that access to the internet in families, and to this end plan to increase the scope of our bursary provision as well all lessons opens up a world of possibilities. As a result, we plan to take as controlling our fees at more the most useful bits of our online affordable levels in the future. “We plan to provision and will attempt to Never have we felt our increase the recreate them over the next few charitable status more than in scope of recent times, and I continue to years. We’re not aiming to burn our bursary our books – and a teacher in be proud of the way in which provision” the room can never be replaced we have supported children in this area recently through by anything artificial – but our aim of encouraging children to various means. Many of our families make remarkable sacrifices to think in very specific ways (Moor Park Mindsets) can only be enhanced through give their children the best start in life more ready access to IT in creative ways. and it is our privilege to support them. Long may this continue, and I hope I’m quite excited about the possibilities. As the dust settles, for now, I’m sure that that our plans for the future enable many more young people to benefit. parents have an even greater appreciation
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MEET THE EXPERT Chris Hughes Which subject do you specialise in?
I’m a lecturer on the football coaching and performance specialist degree at Wrexham Glyndwr University.
How did you get into this career?
Everyone dreams of being a professional footballer when they’re young. Obviously the level is very high so while I was not able to fulfil that, I did want to stay and be part of game – so I turned to coaching. In my own coaching career, I’ve worked my way up the Football Association of Wales’s coach education pathway and I’m now a level 5 Uefa pro licence holder. I manage Newtown FC in the Cymru Premier League and work for the FAW as a tutor on its coaching licence courses, so there’s always been an applied element to my work. And as I’ve always been involved in coaching and tutoring, so I suppose the next port of call was teaching – and then the opportunity arose with the degree here at Glyndwr.
What do students require to get on your course?
We’ve had quite a wide range of students – mature students, as well as students who’ve just completed their A levels and BTECs. I think the biggest thing is a passion for what you do. That can apply to any work really, but I think the passion for football and the passion to learn about the game are vital for this course.
What does the course entail?
We support and challenge our students to engage in all aspects of the coaching process. We look at hands-on coaching, so the degree is heavily tied in with our key partners, the FAW. Students get the opportunity to study for the FAW leaders award level 1, the FAW C certificate, the level 2 course and then their Uefa B licence level 3. A key component of our course is not only that you get a degree in footballing coaching, but that you also get your coaching qualifications. We’re constantly looking at the employment prospects for our students, DID YOU KNOW? and it’s something we encourage our students to all The Footb make sure they’re constantly making links. f o n Associatio We’ve had some fantastic examples over the ird th e th is Wales past few years of students who have gained e th oldest in understanding of a range of disciplines, including world coaching, sports psychology, physiology, performance analysis, personal and academics skills. They’re then able to go out and demonstrate that in the field.
with getting your name out there and working while you study with us. As lecturers, we have contacts that students can access. The coaching awards involve both theory and practical work – as in the degree – and that’s what football is about: the theoretical concepts as well as the practical part.
What career opportunities can the course lead to?
I think this is what’s really exciting about the course: the students are networking and making contacts, and the FAW is really supportive with this and we do a lot of performance analysis work with it. “We help We’ve had students working with the students women’s national team and through to gain the regional and youth levels. That’s employment something we’re really proud of – and in the football that’s only going to improve as time industry” goes on. We’ve also had students who are now working at football academies in the Cymru Premier League and within the English structure. We’ve even had students working in America, Australia and New Zealand.
Why should people choose to study your course at Wrexham Glyndwr University?
I don’t think there are many courses like ours in the UK. It’s unique because we integrate the football coaching awards into the academic course. The reason for that is to help students to gain employment in the football industry because we’re aware of how the industry works; we hope that by giving our students their degree and their football qualification, they will be getting the best possible start in the industry. Also, the facilities at Colliers Park, which our students get access to, are fantastic. The grass pitches, the 3G, the classrooms… it’s an elite-level facility and has been a massive bonus for us.
What practical work can students get involved with? The link with the FAW is massive for us because it includes access to the National Development Centre at Colliers Park in Wrexham. This is an elite-level facility where our students are able to practise and use the performance analysis suite. We’ve got students who are working with FA regional and national squads in the men’s and women’s game. We’ve got analysts across the board who are students with us, so that helps 112 SHIRE MAGAZINE | September/October 2020
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Retirement Living WANT A WILL? THERE IS A WAY! With many people forced to stay at home and unable to access office-based will writing services, one leading law firm has taken its offering online
leading law firm that has seen a surge in demand for wills and familyrelated enquiries during the Covid-19 lockdown has become the first in Wales to pioneer a new remote service, developed by a former computer games inventor. Swayne Johnson, which has offices across north Wales and Cheshire, saw a 60 per cent spike in enquiries about wills after lockdown. Social distancing saw the firm’s lawyers – glovesd and armed with hand sanitiser – obtaining signatures in gardens and through Prepared for signing open windows, while family courts operated remotely by video and telephone conferencing. “[Lockdown] has certainly concentrated minds where wills are concerned, as people
are anxious and have sought advice on “Once the will has been prepared and getting their affairs in order,” says the firm’s is ready to be signed, we’re happy to visit Lynette Viney-Passig. “We’d been looking clients at home to complete the signing, but for some time at online systems if necessary we can even do that that would help us to improve remotely, watching and telling “Settify the accessibility of our services, clients when and where they guides and that’s when we came across and their witnesses need to sign. clients Settify. We’re delighted to be the With the cooperation of helpful through the first firm in Wales to introduce it. neighbours acting as witnesses, will-writing Clients can now visit our website we’ve been able to do all that while process” and start the will-making process observing social distancing.” in the comfort of their own homes.” Edward Kirk, head of Settify UK, says: “The system was invented in Australia by a corporate lawyer who was also a Futureproof finances computer programmer and in his teens “Clients can use the online system to created a computer game that was bought enter as much or as little information by Electronic Arts. For lawyers it’s about as they feel comfortable with,” Lynette explains. “Settify then uses that to guide making their services accessible and meeting them through the will-making process, clients where and when they want to, rather than expecting them to take a couple of hours explaining terminology and highlighting points for consideration along the way. out of their day to come to the office.”
Licence blow for older viewers Age UK has condemned the decision to scrap the free television licence scheme for the over-75s people content and connected. But now the free licence scheme has been scrapped, and older person’s charity Age UK has spoken out about the controversial decision. TV is a vital escape for many older people
his year, more than any other, we’ve probably all indulged in a bit too much telly. Who didn’t binge on a box set or two in the height of lockdown? And who could blame us when there was so little else to do? But that lifestyle is often the permanent reality for many older, isolated members of society. A familiar face on screen, together with the reassuring routine of channel scheduling, offers comfort and company to thousands. Getting a free television licence was a small way to keep some of those vulnerable
Making a terrible year worse
“We’re bitterly disappointed by this decision on behalf of the millions of over-75s who have had a torrid time over the last few months and for whom this must feel like another kick in the teeth, during a terrible year,” says Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK. “Many older people on low incomes have told us that if they have to find £150-plus a year to pay for a licence then they’ll have to forgo some other essential, or try to survive without TV at all. “We genuinely worry about the mental health of older people living on their own in this situation if they have to give up their
cherished TV – for some it really is all they have and their main way of alleviating their chronic loneliness. We regularly hear from older people who are still too afraid to go out much, See if you qualify for help if at all, so the TV really is their window on the world. “Now you’ll only get a free licence if you receive pension credit, but as many as two in five of all pensioners on the lowest incomes don’t receive this benefit, even though they’re entitled to it. The government needs to sit down with the BBC urgently to keep these TV licences for over-75s free.”
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Books&Poetry LETTING HER IMAGINATION RUN WILD Emma Cooper has been making up stories all her life. And now, with the release of her third novel this September, they’re making her a living
Emma Cooper launched her latest book at Telford College
mma Cooper is a former teaching girl whose foray into the world of writing all began at Telford College. assistant who lives in Shropshire with her partner and four children. She spends her spare time drinking wine Childhood dreams and watching box sets with her partner “I’ve always wanted to be a writer – of 24 years – who she says “still makes ever since childhood – and I’ve always her smile every day” – been inventing characters, my and writing novels. favourite being an imaginary “I’ve always This month sees the friend called Boot,” says Emma. release of her latest novel, “I’m thrilled that I now get to wanted to If I Could Say Goodbye, use my imagination to bring be a writer hot on the heels of The to life all of my creations.” – ever since First Time I Saw You, The First Time I Saw You childhood – which went on sale in (£8.99, Headline Review) is a and I’ve always January to rave reviews – it unique story of love and loss been inventing was described by fellow felt in myriad ways by Sophie characters” author and best-selling Williams and Samuel McLaughlin, novelist Katie Fforde as “a who meet by chance. Despite tale that will break your their differences they know they heart, but put it back together again”. are meant to be together, but fate pulls Her first book, The Songs of Us, was them apart. Emma’s beautiful writing shortlisted for the RNA Contemporary and the will-they-won’t-they plot line will Novel Award. Pretty good for a local have you laughing, crying and rooting for
Sophie and Samuel to the very end. Emma celebrated the release of the book by going back to where it all began with an official launch at Telford College, including a Q&A session and book reading. Emma also used the event to announce the winners of a shortstory competition she’d inspired current students to enter, and she hopes the next generation will continue to read and write their entire lives just as she has.
Linghams bookshop in Heswall, Wirral, offers an autumnal harvest of top reads for you to enjoy
The Death of Her by Debbie Howells
In this fast-paced thriller – Howells’ third – a woman called Evie is found badly beaten. She is traumatised not just by the attack but by the fact her daughter has been abducted. However the police can’t find any evidence of three-year-old Angel – no one has ever seen her and her birth was never registered. By chance, Evie is recognised by someone from school – back then she was called Jen and was a babysitter for a family whose young daughter, Leah, went missing and was never found. Is Evie crazy? Or is something more sinister going on?
Love from Lexie by Cathy Cassidy
If someone is missing, where do they go? When her mum disappears, Lexie is taken into care – but she never gives up hope and writes letters to her mum every day. She creates a group for “the lost” at her local library, but someone gets the wrong
end of the stick! Can music, friendship, letters and festivals help to save a place and find a person she loves? You won’t be able to put this brilliant book down!
Sleeping in the Ground by Peter Robinson
A shocking mass-murder occurs at a wedding in a small Yorkshire Dales church and a huge manhunt follows. Eventually, the shooter is run to ground and things take their inevitable course. But police detective Alan Banks is plagued with doubts as to exactly what happened outside the church that day and why. Struggling with the death of his girlfriend and the return of profiler Jenny Fuller, Banks feels the need to dig deeper into the murders – and as he does so, he uncovers forensic and psychological puzzles that lead him to past secrets that might just provide the answers he is looking for. When the surprising truth becomes clear, it’s almost too late.
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BOOKS & POETRY
Autumn Leaves by Edna Cosby
Smoky autumn appears as summer pales; Wraith-like as she moves, ethereally. Enticing, coy, she lifts her ragged veils Revealing rich fruits as she calls to me. Hallowe’en apples bob as we duck in, Suppressing childish laughter as we vie to bite holes in poor old Cox’s Pippin! Autumn fades; winter waits for her to die. Toffee-drowned apples are greeted with cheers; Sticky young mouths shriek with fear and delight As the carved visage of the pumpkin leers. Familiar rites of this unholy night. Fireworks flare for Guy Fawkes’ celebration; Autumn sighs as she beholds the cruel show. We rush to the merry conflagration! Winter’s cold, jealous eyes watch autumn go.
Crossing the Bar by Norman Marshall
That is what it is all about, he said: Performing to your best, surpassing, being ahead; Going over the top, crossing the bar. See the horizon over there, It means to go beyond but still care; Going further, crossing the bar. He said it should be done, To participate and then you have won; That is going over, crossing the bar.
He said one must endure, Finish the race, then be secure; That is going beyond, crossing the bar.
Look to your own instruction and teacher, But beware of stipended preacher; Go to the bar, but first look.
It is friendly here But still I shed a tear My photos, my belongings are all gone Along with all my LPs and songs. I am tenacious and determined – a warrior I will become For I have to believe that my time will come I will have help from my Daughter To turn the damage from the flood water I will develop new tastes And turn my home into a brand new place
My Wake-up Call
There is always bad blood When there is a flood For people that are affected – nothing will work out for the best This is life at the moment – one mighty test.
These months of isolation have opened up my eyes. The garden was just a place to sit when the sun did shine. Now I’ve seen the beauty of the nature there. Had time to relax and study the wondrous life, so fair. The apples, plums and cherries are slowly starting to fruit. Squirrels, bees and frogs abound Seen a fox and several newts The variety of birds is vast I’ve even sent for a bird book. There are robins, woodpeckers, blackbirds and wood pigeons. Can’t believe I never looked. It’s opened up a vast new world I had been oblivious to, with rushing to work and back every day too busy to enjoy the view. If anything good has come of this dreadful year 2020 Let’s hope it’s made us appreciate the good things we have aplenty.
Now beware of soldier and politician, Their tales and lies of attrition; Go no further, cross not that bar.
by Jo Young
by Margaret Siddall
The rain has hour after hour continually beaten down Slowly but surely, submerging the town The sandbags we so carefully placed Was in fact a sheer time and energy waster As they failed to stop the torrents of water Leaving each person like a lamb to slaughter But it is those very young and very old Who are not so bold Through their apprehension – they are so frightened They grasp hands of help and tighten Where are we being taken – where do we go? To safety until the water stops it’s flow. A neighbouring village hall does beckon Sleeping on the floor, with so many people – I don’t reckon But here I am told I have to stay There is simply no other way
We would love your poems! Please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org
We round up the latest events, writing groups and book releases happening around the Shire area
Do the write thing
Creative writing incubator Paper Nations has issued a call for writing groups across the UK to join a new online platform that champions isolated and marginalised writers. The project, The Great Margin, will help writing groups that support isolated members tap into more resources and reach bigger audiences, helping them on their journey to becoming published authors. For more information, follow @TheGreatMargin on Twitter.
A touch of glass
Chester Cathedral has released a two-volume record of the stainedglass windows of its cloister, which was glazed in the 1920s and incorporates 34 windows with a total of 130 lights (or subdivisions). Each window contains one or more memorial, commemorating 147 local people. A team of five – led by the cathedral’s vice dean, Reverend Canon Jane Brooke – photographed each light in detail, and a two-
page commentary has been written describing the story of the saint or holy day, as well as biographical details of the dedicatee. The Gallery of Saints is currently available in digital form only and can be downloaded from www.chestercathedral.com.
Virtual course for new novelists
Ty Newydd Writing Centre in Cricieth, Gwynedd is offering a selection of online courses and taster sessions to keep the creativity flowing during the pandemic. At noon on 11th September, Catherine Johnson hosts a workshop offering advice for new writers. What do experienced writers wish someone had told them at the beginning of their careers? What to do and what not to do? The course is suitable for prose writers and includes time to settle in at the beginning, to ask questions and for discussions with fellow attendees at the end. The course, delivered via Zoom, costs from £9 and numbers are capped at 16 per class. www.tynewydd.wales
September/October 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 117
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Shire Magazine Subscriptions, PO Box 276, Oswestry SY10 1FR Mr/Mrs/Miss First name: Surname: Address:
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September/October 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 118
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR A
huge thank you to all our readers for keeping in touch during these strange times. It’s great to know you’re still reading and supporting Shire! We’ve printed some of our favourites, but please do keep them coming – we love hearing your thoughts and opinions, as well as any news you’d like to share. Please email email@example.com, including a picture if you can. If you missed an edition while you weren’t able to get out and about to the shops, we
have a supply of previous issues we are happy to send out to our readers. Just let us know which issue of Shire you’re looking for and we’ll pop it in the post to you. Just send an SAE for £1.60 to Shire Magazine, PO Box 276, Oswestry, Shropshire, SY10 1FR. An even safer bet is to subscribe to the magazine so you never miss a copy of Shire again! For information on how to do this, please see the page opposite! Keep writing, keep emailing, keep reading and, most of all, keep safe and well.
Help for hospice Shire is happy to publish the following open letter from chief executive of Nightingale House Hospice, Wrexham, Steve Parry Despite the amazing support we have received from the public since the Covid-19 pandemic began, our hospice will not be able to continue delivering first-class patient services unless there is a fundamental change to the way we are funded. The severe financial pressure Nightingale House is currently experiencing provides us with the greatest challenge in our history. When Covid-19 struck, initial negotiations between Hospice UK and Westminster secured £200m for palliative care facilities, with £6.3m of that to be committed to independent charitable hospices in Wales. We were awarded £200,000 for April and are hoping to receive more, but communication has been minimal. Steve Parry of Nightingale House Nobody predicted we’d be hit by a global pandemic; the finger cannot be pointed at the Welsh or UK governments for that. But where there must be accountability is in the fact that this hospice – and the sector in general – has been chronically underfunded for more than a decade in Wales. In terms of percentage received from government, Welsh hospices are far worse off than their counterparts in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, which makes it even more difficult to be resilient to the challenges we are now facing. We need parity with the rest of the UK if we’re to continue to provide the best patient care to our community. Equality is vital, but most importantly in the coming weeks there must be discussions and assurances provided on how this essential sector can be supported through this crisis and preserved for the future. Steve Parry
Top total made from charity tea We’d like to express our huge thanks to the people of Cheshire who helped the NSPCC raise more than £1,000 by baking and delivering 100 cream teas in two hours. The Bowdon & District branch of the NSPCC arranged for seven of the group’s bakers to work in a socially distanced way with packers and deliverers, who hand-delivered each carefully prepared tea. The committee expected around 50 teas to be ordered, but more than 100 people had teas delivered. “The lockdown has starved people of their usual social interactions, so it seems a home delivered tea was just the ticket,” says Emma Smyth, from the Bowdon & District branch. “We’re so glad people loved it as much as they did and helped us raise over £1,000.” The money raised will go towards services such as Childline, which delivered 6,938 counselling sessions to children and young people worried about coronavirus Fundraising boost from cream teas and lockdown at the height of the pandemic. NSPCC
READER F E E D B AC K Thank you for you wonderful magazine – chock full of interesting articles and ideas. Deborah Rowland I just love your magazine. It’s very informative and full of local news and venues – and free! Carole Turrell I do love your magazine and normally pick it up when I go shopping. Julie, Telford
Last-minute snaps I have enclosed a couple of photos for your Little Treasures photographic competition – they are a bit late but I wanted to share. Paul Lewis Thank you, Paul. You did miss the deadline for the competition but we always like seeing great pictures and they seem perfect for this time of year too!
New home needed for fab figures The British Model Soldier Society’s national collection of 8,000 figures is currently on display at the British Ironworks Centre, Oswestry. However, owing to the expansion of its successful restaurant, the Ironworks can no longer accommodate us. We are therefore looking to move the collection to another venue in Shropshire, such as a country house, a castle or another attraction that has lots of visitors. This is a unique collection, donated to us over the last 60 years. As a curator, I know that events Part of the amazing display need to be staged continuously to attract visitors, and I’m very willing to discuss any ideas with any potential new hosts. We’re happy to do demonstrations on painting, restorations and valuation days, so if anyone would like to contact me they can call me on 01952 770719 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Chris Bartlett, curator
Paul’s photographic offerings
September/October 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 119
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What’s in your stars? Aries
20th March – 20th April Your patience has been sorely tested this year and left you feeling out of control. Hopefully, as autumn draws on, you’ll start to feel human again! Your inner ram is always waiting to express itself, thrusting obstacles aside – now there’s a chance to do it, as long as you’re aware that some obstacles exist for a purpose. A saving grace perhaps?
21st June – 23rd July Family matters are uppermost in your mind and separations haven’t been easy. But thought, after love, is the strongest power in the universe and your thoughts will have been shared. The years teach us much that the days never knew, and so far this year has taught you what’s most important. It’s a lesson you’ll remember for the rest of your life.
23rd September – 22nd October Life seems one long balancing act, but you’re pretty good at it because you’ve put in the practice. A few wobbles have occurred, but in managing them you have made new friends. Venus rules Libra, making you attractive to others – the planet is 24 million miles from Earth, but those you’ve attracted into your orbit recently are much nearer home!
21st December – 20th January On the horns of a dilemma? Being a goat person, you deal well with adversary, either withdrawing temporarily behind walls of silence to think on your own or slowly but sure-footedly making your way to higher ground, rising above it all. Two full moons in October shine a light on pathways untrodden before ending some of your current insecurities.
20th April – 21st May Things have cramped your style but you’re making the best of it as long as you can do it your way. The Greek word cosmos refers not only to the principle of order but also to beauty – with Uranus moving alongside Taurus, you have been and are creating something quite unusual and exquisite in limited circumstances. A hitherto undiscovered talent!
23rd July – 23rd August Don’t look how far you have to go, look how far you’ve come – and with great Jupiter side by side with Saturn in Capricorn, you can now carry on either making great strides or taking the more cautious route. It’s where choices enter the equation, but lions and lionesses usually choose the former and chance the outcome. Your call!
23rd October – 22nd November “What if you slept? And what if in your sleep you dreamed? And what if in your dream you went to heaven and there plucked a strange and beautiful flower? And what if, when you awoke, you had the flower in your hand?” asked Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Well, you do – it’s the promise of future success from the wreckage of the past!
20th January – 19th February Much like you cannot blame the jigsaw piece for not fitting, you cannot blame others if you’re not fitting into their plans. It may be that you have to change your ideas instead of stubbornly sticking to what you think is better. Unexpected events have thrown some curved balls, so re-evaluation is required – going it alone isn’t advised right now.
21st May – 21st June There’s a theory that if we fell into a black hole we’d come out in another universe. Life may have felt like that recently. Saturn reversing into Capricorn from Aquarius, or having the appearance of doing so, has epitomised serious burdens. But appearances can be deceiving – use your mental dexterity to work out what’s required to turn things around.
23rd August – 23rd September The word “crystal” in Greek, krystallos, means frozen in suspension and that’s what it has felt like to you recently. But a new moon in Virgo in September embodies all that can renew your energy again. Your gemstone is diamond – it can be flawed, but it also sparkles like nothing else. So shine like a diamond when stepping out this autumn.
22nd November – 21st December Life hasn’t been much of an adventure this year and considering the battle between the energies of Saturn and Pluto embodying old order and the rising of new power systems, it’s no wonder! How does that affect your world? It’s certainly changing how you do things, but the upshot has promise – and being an eternal optimist is your greatest advantage!
19th February – 20th March All situations present new seeds of understanding, and what you’ve learned recently is that you’re stronger than you once thought. A full moon in early September presents ways of exploiting this strength as it shines a light on new possibilities manifesting from old patterns of the past. Shoulders back, deep breath, best foot forward!
Gloria Mans studied astrology and astronomy over an intensive two-year period at the Faculty of Astrological Studies in London 27 years ago. She has since written for many publications, appeared numerous times on television and has an impressive client list. The legendary Fay Weldon calls her “magic” and BBC icon Valerie Singleton calls her “sensitive”. You can reach her at email@example.com or via her website, www.gloriamans.com. 120 SHIRE MAGAZINE | September/October 2020
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SHIRE’S FANTASTIC COMPETITIONS!
Another edition of Shire, another chance to win some fabulous prizes. Good luck!
You have to be in it to win it. Go on, enter today!
ANIMAL ATTRACTION Win a day at a safari park! West Midland Safari Park in
Kidderminster is home to some of the world’s most beautiful and endangered species, including southern white rhinos, giraffes, zebras, Ankole cattle, waterbuck, Congo buffalo, antelopes, tigers, cheetahs, African painted dogs and African lions. Not forgetting, of course, the fantastic and clever African elephants, which you can see exploring their surroundings in Elephant Valley. We have a family ticket to the park up for grabs, valid until 14th February 2021, which covers entry to the park although rides must be paid for separately. With special exhibits, including dinosaurs and Ice Age features, there is plenty to do and see, and the winner doesn’t even need to book in advance. CLOSING DATE: 17th October
FAMILY FUN AND FRESH AIR Win a family trip to GreenWood Park! Escape to the Welsh countryside, where GreenWood Family Park in Y Felinheli is waiting for you. From the thrills of the people-powered rollercoaster and Solar Splash water slide to the enchanting Tree Top Towers and Tunnel Warren, you’ll find activities for the whole family at the park. With plenty to do, it’s the perfect place to enjoy a breath of fresh air and a fun-filled day out for the whole family. We have a family day pass to GreenWood Family Park for one lucky winner, giving entrance to the park for two adults and up to three children, plus a £30 gift voucher to spend at the park too, which can be used to cover food and drink while you’re there. The value of this prize is worth over £100 and is a fantastic fun-filled day out for the whole family to create priceless memories. CLOSING DATE: 17th October
A TASTE OF LUXURY
Win a virtual wine-tasting session in your own home!
We’ve teamed up with Unique Wine Safaris, which runs wine-tasting events and trips to some of the world’s best wine regions, to offer one lucky reader the chance to enjoy some fine wines and expert advice in a virtual drinking experience. Our main winner – plus up to eight of their friends – will be able to share three bottles of fabulous wine, while virtual tasting notes and expertise will be shared over a live Zoom session. The package, worth £45 per person, includes wine delivered to your door, tasting notes, food pairing suggestions and an interactive virtual wine tasting. Discover what makes a great wine and how to distinguish between wines from different regions. Two runners-up will receive a bottle of wine from the collection. CLOSING DATE: 17th October
WINNERS Congratulations to our lucky winners from the July/August issue of Shire!
Ann from Abergele, Great Orme goat tee
Judy from Shropshire, Ludlow gin
Sally from Newtown, Sarah Middleton cup
Susan from Mold, will-writing service
HOW TO ENTER Fill in the form with your answer circled (you’ll need to read the magazine to find it!) and include your name, address, email and daytime contact number. Send it by the closing date to Competitions, Shire magazine, PO Box 276, Oswestry, Shropshire SY10 1FR
Q: In what year was the “New” Lyceum Theatre Crewe built?
a) 1887 b) 1891 c) 1904
SAFARI PARK GREENWOOD WINE TASTING
Postcode Daytime contact number Email (please complete) Please send me further information about Shire September/October 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 121
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COMING NEXT ISSUE
P THE ICK UP NEX T AT T ISSUE H SUP ERM E ARK ET F 29TH ROM OCT OBE R
2020 may have been a truly challenging year for you – it certainly has been for all of us here at Shire. So as we head towards the end of it, we’re looking forward to a great November and December edition to put this strange period behind us once and for all! And as the build-up to Christmas will be in full swing by then, our next edition will be absolutely packed with seasonal features for you to enjoy as well as all our usual sections and a bumper bunch of festive favourites too! IT’S…. CHRISTMAS!!!
Really?! Yep, by the time you get your hands on the next Shire there’ll be carols in the shops, decorations in the streets and a festive feel across the region. And we think everyone deserves a cracking Christmas in 2020 so we’ll have a feast of recipes suggestions, perfect party ideas and a round-up of yuletide treats for you, your home, your family and of course your pets!
The winter months are when most of us stay at home more often, so our experts and style guides will make sure yours is where you want to be with heating hints and style advice to create the perfect cosy venue for those festive gatherings.
A term of changes With many pupils returning to school for the first time in months, we’ll see how they get on and how institutions have changed to keep children and staff safe while still delivering the top-notch teaching they pride themselves on.
GET A GETAWAY
With many summer holiday plans wrecked and some destinations still off-limits or requiring quarantine, next year’s holidays will have to be better than ever! Spend your winter evenings looking ahead and perhaps grab an early booking bargain at one of the Shire patch’s holiday locations that will be open – and very keen – for business in 2021.
WINTER WONDERS Despite the chilly weather, our gardens continue to impress throughout November and December with an ever-changing picture of colours. Add a sprinkle of frost on a bright day and it’s the perfect time to wrap up warm and get outside to enjoy them. U N LO C K YO U R C R E AT I V I T Y
As usual we’ll profile a local artist, include details of all the local exhibitions across the area and give you some ideas for channelling your creative side into a new hobby – and check whether your photo competition entry made it into print!
It wouldn’t be Christmas without a food section that’s bursting at the seams – just like your waistline once you’ve tried our festive recipes! Including wines to toast the new year and superb local produce for an extra special Christmas.
YO U R T O W N
We’ll continue our series of town features, focusing on particular places that we’ve all learned to appreciate more than ever.
HEALTH AND BEAUTY Winter can be hard on the skin and body – so we look at the best ways to make sure you’re protected from the worst of the weather!
PARTY PIECES It might be a bit different this year, but the season wouldn’t be complete without at least a few gatherings, so make sure you’ve got a Christmas outfit at the ready. From office parties to family dinners, we’ll have all the fashion hints you need to look your festive best. D O N ’ T F O R G E T…
Christmas 2020 may not be the usual jam-packed social whirl of parties and pantos, but there’ll be plenty of events and activities to keep the whole family entertained throughout the season. So don’t go anywhere until you’ve checked our What’s On guide for November and December, which will be filled with everything you need to know – restrictions or no restrictions, there’s no reason to miss out on all the fun of the season!
GET IN TOUCH Shire wants to hear from you!
1. Tell us about your upcoming events We work in advance, so 1st October is the deadline to let us know about events for our November/December 2020 issue. 2. Share your reader stories Have you got an extraordinary or exciting story to tell? We would love to share it with our readers. Send us an email and don’t forget to include a picture or two! 3. Contribute to one of our pages Send all your submissions and pictures by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01691 661270. You can also get in touch via social media – just search for ‘Shire Magazine’ on Facebook or Instagram.
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at The Pheasant Inn
Discover the ultimate Cheshire countryside break Enjoy that perfect home away from home experience at The Pheasant Inn’s newly refurbished, 3 bedroom country chic cottage. Pennsylvania Cottage gives you the freedom to enjoy and explore your way, no matter the kind of Cheshire break you seek. The quaint countryside property is tucked along the 34 mile Sandstone Trail, conveniently locating you just steps from one of Cheshire’s finest walks. This dog friendly, self-catering cottage is ideally situated for exploring one of the North West’s most captivating historic cities, the Roman City of Chester. Families will be kept busy with a host of fantastic local attractions, from internationally-renowned Chester Zoo to the popular Ice Cream Farm.
Higher Burwardsley Tattenhall Cheshire CH3 9PF
T: 01829 770434 E: email@example.com W: thepheasantinn.co.uk
North Wales, Mid Wales, Shropshire, Cheshire, Wirral, Whats on, magazine, days out, events, restaurants, reviews, homes, gardens, arts, craf...
Published on Aug 25, 2020
North Wales, Mid Wales, Shropshire, Cheshire, Wirral, Whats on, magazine, days out, events, restaurants, reviews, homes, gardens, arts, craf...