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WIN An Aga woodstove, concert tickets, and afternoon tea… Turn to page 129 WE VISIT


A village of strange stories and local legends


40 years

of the RSPB’S Big Garden Birdwatch

The canalside setting where counties meet WA N N A H AV E F U N ?

We talk to pop legend Cyndi Lauper

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WELCOME DEAR READER… Publisher Dan Bromage Editor Kate Speedie Art Editor Tom Sullivan What’s On Editor Eluned Watson Production Editor Jo Williams Shopping Editor Alice Northrop Advertising Design Sarah Norman Designers Ella Knight Meryl McIntosh Staff Writers Catherine Buckley Sally Williams Sales & Marketing Pauline Jones Shona Newton Trudy Yeardley Distribution Paul Howard Finance & Accounts David Kynaston Nicky Kynaston Jane Osman Email Shire Magazine: editorial@shiremagazine.co.uk advertising@shiremagazine.co.uk


appy New Year to all our readers! Welcome to 2019 and here’s wishing you all the very best for the year ahead. It’s hard to believe we’re into another year, and while we’re not really sure where the last one has gone, we are raring for new challenges and exciting times ahead here at Shire. If you think 2019 is going to be the year you make a new start, we’re here to help with a packed feature on with tips on what to tackle, hobbies to make you happy and perfect pastimes to pursue. Turn to page 54 to see our guide to all the various ways you can spend a bit of time on yourself and find fulfilment at the same time as learning a new skill. January and February are also good times to make sure your health and wellbeing are in order. Start the year as you mean to go on with our Health & Beauty section, from page 108 – Shire’s guide to all things medical, cosmetic and wholesome. Expert advice is Snowdrops in January offered alongside local products and services that will make sure you always feel your best. Elsewhere, on page 101 we’ve got an essential feature for anyone who has a wedding coming up – whether as a bride or groom, or as one of their guests. Don’t book anything until you have read our round-up of the best local outfit suppliers, jewellers, caterers, photographers, venues and vehicles. Alongside all that, our pages packed as usual with gardening, style, art, books, reviews, food, drink and, of course, plenty from you, our dear readers, with your poetry, photography, letters and more. We hope you enjoy this new issue!


John Hargreaves, Gloria Mans, Sam Humphreys, P Parker, Clive Potter, John Stubbs, Helen Cooke, Pip Gale, Lizzie Deery, Ursula Kenny, James Gillespie, Graham Tinsley, Josef Herbert-Byrne

IN THIS ISSUE Count visitors to your garden and help the Big Garden Birdwatch. For full details, see page 91

Shire Magazine PO Box 276 Oswestry Shropshire SY10 1FR Tel: 01691 661270 SUBSCRIPTION RATES ONE YEAR – £19.95 TWO YEARS – £34.95



Try something new in 2019 with our guide to local choirs, craft groups and more on page 54

Print ISSN 2514-3913 Online ISSN 2514-3921

SHIRE MAGAZINE is published bi-monthly by Superstar Publishing Ltd. Every effort is made to ensure that the information and advice contained in these articles is correct and appropriate, but no liability or responsibility for loss or damage to any person acting or refraining from action in reliance on or as a result of anything omitted from such articles can be, or is accepted by, the authors, the publishers, their employees or any other persons connected with Superstar Publishing Ltd. Views expressed by contributors to Shire magazine are not necessarily those of the magazine or of Superstar Publishing Ltd and should be attributed to the authors concerned. Save as expressively permitted by law no part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written authority of the Publisher, acting for Shire magazine. Privacy Policy published online at www. shiremagazine.co.uk © 2019 Superstar Publishing Ltd, all rights reserved. Registered Number: 10604188.

Getting married? We take a detailed look at the area’s best venues and suppliers on page 101

GET IN TOUCH! We want to hear from you…


Tell us about your upcoming events. Just remember that we work in advance, so 1st February is the deadline for events in our next issue, March/April.


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:

with their name and anything else you want to tell us. See page 91 for further details.

Reader photos Taken a great shot recently? Email your best effort and you might get picked! See page 96. 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 125 for more. Your pets Is your pet the love of your life? Send a snap, along

Give a friend the gift of Shire!


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 editorial@shiremagazine.co.uk.

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January/February 2019 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 3

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Tel: 01978 860979 www.llangollen-railway.co.uk Tel: 01978 860979 www.llangollen-railway.co.uk


The wood burning stove perfected

CLEARVIEW SHOWROOMS Ludlow, Stow-on-the-Wold and Whitchurch Plus stockists throughout the UK Manufactured at More Works, Bishops Castle, Shropshire SY9 5GB Brochure Line: 01588 650 123 www.clearviewstoves.com

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Gift Vouchers make excellent presents

The Old Wharf, Trevor, Llangollen Follow our signs from LL14 3SG • W: www.canaltrip.co.uk E: peterjones@canaltrip.co.uk • T: +44 (0) 1978 824 166

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Contents JA N UA RY & F E B R UA RY 2 01 9 6 What’s On Keep up to date with events across the region with our comprehensive listings section that covers north and mid Wales, Cheshire, the Wirral and Shropshire

PAG E 5 4

32 Malpas In the first of our features on local towns and villages, we visit this Cheshire gem

Discover a new talent with our round-up of perfect pastimes

101 Heading For A Wedding? Do you have a special occasions coming up? Don’t do anything before reading our round-up of suppliers, venues and outfits to make it the perfect day

48 Big City Check out what’s going on in Birmingham, Cardiff, Liverpool and Manchester

PAG E 8 0 Stunning Soughton Hall in Flintshire scoops wedding awards

Combine neutrals and animal prints for a new spring look

106 Men’s Fashion Look the part in the great outdoors with the latest jackets, boots and more

51 Celebrity We meet 1980s pop icon Cyndi Lauper to talk about her musical, Kinky Boots 52 Reviews The Shire team report on the shows and events that took place across the region over the past few months 54 Try Something New For You The new year is the perfect time to take up a hobby. Here we round up a few popular pastimes you might like to try, from choirs to crafts

PAG E 6 7 We review Chester Racecourse’s fantastic restaurant, 1539

PAG E 9 1 Details of how to join the Big Garden Birdwatch 2019


PAG E 5 1 Cyndi Lauper reveals how she was inspired to write the songs for Kinky Boots

PAG E 7 0 The new year is a great time to celebrate local cider producers

67 Restaurant Review We try the menu at 1539, the Chester Racecourse restaurant

73 Hotel Review We check in to the luxurious Palé Hall in Gwynedd

PAG E 1 0 1 Discover the region’s top wedding suppliers – from caterers to car hire – in our special feature

61 Holidays If you’re planning your summer break or even considering investing in your own slice of holiday heaven, be sure to check out our round-up of holiday parks and attractions

68 Food & Drink A tasty breakfast recipe from our resident chef, wine guidance from our experts and perfect produce from across the Shire patch

We’ve got SIX great competitions for you to enter this issue. Turn to page 129

94 Arts & Crafts Local artist Monique Clifton reveals her inspirations, plus the art exhibitions and events near you 98 Women’s Fashion The best neutral tones and animal-print accessories

47 Whitchurch Discover what Whitchurch in Shropshire has to offer

PAG E 9 8

91 Pets & Wildlife How to join the RSPB for this January’s Big Garden Birdwatch

74 On The Bounce Put a spring in your step with this round-up of highly active day trips 75 Get Active Upcoming walking festivals, plus a winter ramble 77 Homes & Interiors Interior style news, heating tips and our regular antiques column 83 Home Visit Discover how Oswestry Glass transformed one Selattyn home 87 Plants & Gardens We take a look at local stumperies

108 Health & Beauty Start the new year as you mean to go on with advice from medics, professionals and experts 112 Meet The Expert Orthopaedic surgeon Mr Pat Gregson answers our questions on his work at the Robert Jones & Agnes Hunt hospital in Oswestry 114 Retirement Living The latest news from the region’s care homes 116 Subscribe To Shire Get every edition delivered to your door 117 Legal Eagle Our experts examine the ways to avoid partnership disputes 119 Schools Take a look at what’s going on at schools and colleges across the Shire area 124 Books & Poetry Events, signings, writing workshops and new releases, plus we meet the local man behind a new Doctor Who book 126 Charites & Volunteering The organisations that do so much good for so many around the area 127 Letters To The Editor Check out what other readers have to say about recent editions of Shire 128 What’s In Your Stars? What’s coming your way? Find out with a horoscope forecast from Gloria Mans 129 Competitions Don’t miss your chance to win some fabulous prizes in our exclusive Shire competitions – with theatre tickets, days out and family adventures all up for grabs

January/February 2019 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 5

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Join the adventure at Galeri Caernarfon


1st January, New Year’s Day on the Ffestiniog Railway Take a trip on a steam train from Porthmadog to Blaenau Ffestiniog. Trains leave at 10.05am and 1.35pm, and the round trip takes two hours and 40 minutes. Call 01766 516070.

1st-5th January, Aladdin & The Lamp, Grove Park Theatre, Wrexham Don’t miss your last chance to catch the spectacular pantomime! In China, the evil Abanazar is hunting for the fabled lamp that grants its owner powers… Tickets £9.50.

1st January–28th February, Portmeirion Village, Gwynedd Welsh architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis designed Portmeirion to show how a naturally beautiful site could be developed without spoiling it. He acquired the site in 1925 and worked to complete his grand vision for 50 years, completing the village in 1976. Open every day, 9.30am-5.30pm.

•2nd January–28th February, Zip World Velocity 2, Penrhyn Slate Quarry, near Bethesda Start 2019 in exhilarating style on the fastest zip line in the world and the longest in Europe. Tickets from £75.

6th January, The EXPEDcercise Fitness Challenge, The Old School, Caernarfon Challenge yourself and assess your fitness levels with these timed sessions from 10am11am. £6. Call 01286 479902 for details.

Hans Rey: Riding Life, 23rd January Former mountain bike world champion and adventurer Hans Rey takes audiences on an inspiring journey through his 30-year career, while showcasing some of the best mountain-biking trails and destinations worldwide. The show covers Hans’ early career in Germany, the mountain bike boom in America, his extreme biking feats – which include the first bike descent of Mount Kenya, riding the Himalayas and the Inca Trail, and traversing the Sinai Desert – and how his charity Wheels4Life is changing the world one bike at a time, as well as his vision for the sport’s future. 7.30pm. Tickets £18.

Celebrating exploration of some of the wildest places on earth, each session will feature incredible speakers alongside a selection of award-winning adventure films. Join the tour for an evening packed with amazing films and inspiring talks from some of the world’s most impressive adventurers. 7.30pm. Tickets £18, under-25s £10. For details, visit www.galericaernarfon.com

Kendal Mountain Festival UK Tour 2019, 15th February Calling all adventure lovers. The award-winning Kendal Mountain Festival is back on the road, and this year it’s bringing the festival spirit to 20 venues across the UK.

Branch out at Chirk Castle

Once the leaves have fallen, many people out walking can be stumped when trying to identify what they’re seeing in the woods. Wonder no longer, because Chirk Castle near Wrexham is hosting an Identifying Trees In Winter course on 9th February. On this one-day course starting at 10am, you’ll be shown how to identify trees by looking at their shape, buds, bark and other clues. You’ll also learn about trees’ place in the ecosystem and even some woodland folklore. The Chirk Castle estate is an ideal place to learn about trees because it has a wide range of species and habitats, including broadleaf woodland, scrubby grasslands and hedgerows. The course is suitable for anyone aged 16 or over. Tickets cost £30 per person. For

DID YOU KNOW? The building of Chirk Castle started in the 13th century

more information and to book, visit www.woodland classroom.com or call 07876 794098. If you’re looking to spend time looking for something more easily identifiable, from 3rd February visitors can view the snowdrops in the Pleasure Ground Wood and beyond. Check the estate’s social media and website for the best time to visit. The castle is closed for conservation during February but three rooms in the lower East Wing will be open. Visitors can escape the cold and relax with a roaring fire in the Bow Room, and the shop and café are open as usual, 10am to 4pm. Admission is 50% off owing to the reduced number of rooms available to visit. For more details, visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/chirk-castle.

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Drama, dance and comedy at Pontio Lunch On The Fly, 14th January & 27th February This is a fun session at which over-16s can have a go at vertical dance. After an easy warm-up, you will try to stand on and jump off a vertical floor using waist harnesses. You’ll be guided through some simple positions – and then you will fly! 12pm. £6 per session. Comedy Club, 17th January Comedians Tony Law, Abigoliah Schamaun and Garrett Millerick entertain with their innovative and unique brands of humour. 8pm. Tickets £10.50.

Touching Syria, 19th January A variety of events focused on Syria, including A Brief History of Syrian Culture, Syrian short films, art and music. Tickets from £2.50; £12 for all events. Dancing Through Life, 20th January Take 2 The Stage’s end-of-year spectacular is a perfect mix of song, dance and drama – a journey through Broadway and beyond, with hits from The

Wizard Of Oz, Michael Jackson and the 1980s, as well as X Factor-style fun! 4pm. Tickets £10.50 adults, £5.50 children. The Dark, 23rd-24th January The story of a journey taken by a fouryear-old boy and his mother to escape Uganda, a country consumed by conflict. They buy safe passage and silence with all they have, and their companions

are the missing, lost and displaced. 7.30pm. Tickets £12. Anweledig, 19th-22nd February This Welsh-language production by Aled Jones Williams is a powerful drama that follows the journey of Glenda, played by Ffion Dafis, who lives with severe depression. We witness Glenda’s harrowing confrontations with the illness. Will she find light at the end of the deepest and darkest tunnel? Times vary. Tickets £15. For further information, visit www.pontio.co.uk.

Musical afternoon at Bodnant Bodnant Garden near Conwy hosts a Musical Afternoon Tea with entertainment from harpist Dylan Cernyw on 27th January and 24th February. Brighten up your winter with a Gardener’s Ploughman’s afternoon tea accompanied by the magical sound of Dylan’s harp. Dylan has won many prestigious awards at festivals and events throughout Wales. He has also travelled abroad as a harp soloist and accompanist, appearing on the BBC,

and is the resident harpist for Bodnant Garden as well as the Imperial Hotel in Llandudno and at Plas Tan y Bwlch in Maentwrog. Dylan has released three albums and has accompanied soprano singer Kathryn Jenkins and The X Factor star Rhydian Roberts at concerts around the UK. Originally from Llandudno, he now resides in Colwyn Bay. Tickets are £19.95 and it starts at 2pm. For more information and booking visit www. nationaltrust. org.uk.

Llandudno 10k race still running strong The Nick Beer 10k race in This is the 27th anniversary Llandudno, organised by of the run, which was North Wales Road Runners started in memory of Nick Club, takes place on 10th Beer, a popular and active February. The race member of the North usually attracts Wales Road Runners DID YOU more than 750 Club, who had entries from hydrocephalus KNOW? around the UK. and passed Proceeds raised The start is away in 1991. go to two local on Llandudno The race Promenade, starts at noon. charities, Shine opposite the Advance entry and Ty Gobaith costs Imperial Hotel, £15 and and the route limited entries will follows Marine Drive be available on race around the Great Orme day at registration between before returning to the 9.30am and 11.30am. Visit promenade and finishing www.nwrrc.co.uk for opposite Venue Cymru. details and to sign up.

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Present meets past at Rhyl Pavilion

Quiltfest uncovered Discover a glorious selection of stunning wallhangings at Quiltfest 2019 from 6th to 15th February at the International Pavilion in Llangollen. Organised by The Quilter’s Guild, it features creations from quilters across the UK and includes the exhibition Just One Day from By Design. 10am to 4pm daily (closes 1pm on 15th). £3.30. Buyers should visit on trading day on 10th February. Llangollen Museum & Art Gallery, open 10.30am-4pm, will also feature examples of the Guild’s work and more. For more information visit www.quiltfest.org.uk

Be dazzled at Colwyn Bay’s burlesque festival

The fifth North Wales Burlesque & Cabaret Festival takes place from 25th to 26th January at Theatr Colwyn, bringing the best of burlesque, variety, magic, juggling and circus to Conwy. Featuring top talent, as well as a choreography masterclass with burlesque legend Aurora Galore, this is a weekend you won’t want to miss! Weekend tickets cost £34 and include two evening performances and a community workshop (masterclass session priced separately). Find out more at www. northwalesburlesque.com or visit www.theatrcolwyn.co.uk.

Max Boyce, 26th January Following a series of sell-out performances through the country in 2018, Max Boyce’s tour has been extended into 2019 due to huge public demand. A new young audience has recently discovered this exceptional entertainer, making him a modern folk hero. 7.30pm. Tickets £28.50.

The Opera Boys, 7th February The boys are back with a new show full of opera, classical, West End and crossover – a fabulous night full of music and laughter. Operatic arias and classical favourites from Nessun Dorma to Time To Say Goodbye are mixed with showstoppers from Les Misérables and Phantom Of The Opera and brand new classical arrangements of modern pop hits. 7.30pm. Tickets £17.50.

Dan Snow: An Evening With The History Guy, 29th January Dan Snow presents history Gaelforce Irish Dance, 13th February TV programmes and hosts the DID YOU podcast Dan Snow’s History Hit. This celebration of Irish dance, music KNOW? and song has been winning fans He studied history at Oxford and, Max Boyce played everywhere since 1999. It’s the story of after graduating, began presenting in the 1985 World two lovers whose passion leads them military history programmes Elephant Polo into a maelstrom of forbidden love that alongside his father, television present Peter Snow. He has written Championships tears families apart. This year Gaelforce and contributed to numerous Dance is bigger and brighter than ever, with glittering new new costumes and books including The Battle Of electrifying music and songs. 7.30pm. Tickets £24. Waterloo Experience. 7.30pm. Tickets £26. The Searchers Farewell Tour, 1st February With such classic hits as Sweets For My Sweet, Needles And Pins and Sugar And Spice, Merseybeat band the Searchers played a big role in establishing the UK as a musical powerhouse in the 1960s. They’ve sold more than 50 million records – and this tour is your last chance to see them live. 7.30pm. Tickets £25.

The Fureys, 28th February Legends of Irish music and song, the Fureys are known for hit songs including I Will Love You, The Old Man and Red Rose Café. They have been capturing the public’s imagination for over four decades. 7.30pm. Tickets £21.50. For details, visit www.rhylpavilion.co.uk.

Thrilling contemporary art at Llandudno’s Mostyn gallery An exciting exhibition by contemporary commercial artist Josephine Meckseper continues at Mostyn art gallery, Llandudno, throughout January and February. The first solo exhibition in Wales by the Germanborn and New York-based artist, it includes both existing work and new commissions. Meckseper melds the aesthetic language of modernism with the formal language of commercial

display, combining them with her own images and film footage of historical undercurrents and political protest movements. This exhibition is presented alongside a new exhibition by Louisa Gagliardi, as part of Mostyn’s continuing In Conversation series which brings together two solo exhibitions to examine and explore themes that can occur between artists. For more information, visit www.mostyn.org.

8 SHIRE MAGAZINE | January/February 2019

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Wrexham Symphony Orchestra S

Orchestra in Residence at Wrexham Glyndŵr University Honorary President: Professor Maria Hinfelaar www.wrexhamorch.co.uk Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

President’s Annual Concert in association with

Welsh National Opera

Saturday February 23rd, 2019 at 7.30pm William Aston Hall, Wrexham Glyndŵr University, Mold Road, Wrexham LL11 2AW Conductor: Leon Bosch Soloist: Rebecca Afonwy-Jones (WNO) Leader: Mark Lansom Tickets available from: www.wrexhamorch.co.uk www.thewilliamastonhall.com (0844 249 1000) Wrexham Tourist Information Centre (01978 292015) Llangollen Tourist Information Centre (01978 860828) Rowanthorn Gift Shop, Oswestry (01691 238227) Family Ticket £20 (2 adults and up to 4 children); Balcony £12; Stalls £10 (Concessions £8); Students, school pupils and young children £2.

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7th-26th January, Wrexham Art Group Exhibition, Community Gallery, Theatr Clwyd, Flintshire Oils, acrylics, watercolours and pastels by this local art group, which was formed 69 years ago by a group of local artists.

Virtuoso entertainment at Theatr Clwyd Tasmin Little & John Lenehan, 20th January Award-winning violinist Tasmin Little plays a programme featuring Grieg’s Sonata No.2 and Brahms’ Sonata No.2, accompanied by leading pianist John Lenehan. 7.30pm. Tickets from £10. Sam Avery: The Learner Parent, 23rd January Comedian Sam Avery started his awardwinning parenting blog when his twins were born. He shares all the lows, highs and uproarious in-betweens of his experiences. 8pm. Tickets £15. Max Boyce, 24th January Wales’ foremost folk singer Max Boyce has been entertaining people all over the world

Andre Rieu live from Sydney Experience the magic of Andre Rieu’s festive concert in Sydney from a cinema seat at Neuadd Dwyfor in Pwllheli. Enjoy backstage access, interviews with Andre and his special guests, musical favourites and much, much more. 7pm on 5th January, encore 3pm on 6th. Tickets £15. Visit www.neuadddwyfor.com.

for more than 40 years with his ability to paint pictures in word and song. 7.30pm. Tickets £25. Hal Cruttenden: Chubster, 26th January Comic Hal Cruttenden’s daughters chose the title of his hilarious new show. He’s now on a diet. 7.30pm. Tickets £18. Harry Bolt Quartet, 29th January Pianist Harry Bolt leads a quartet that features violin virtuoso Benet McLean, performing styles from bop to stride and from trad to contemporary. 8pm. Tickets £12, under-18s £5. Hollie McNish, 9th February Award-winning poet

Hollie McNish reads from her new collection, PLUM. Expect strong language as she talks fruit, sex, politics and a lot of friendship. 8pm. Tickets from £10.

12th January, Beyond The Orbit Of Neptune, Techniquest Glyndwr Techniquest’s Astronomy Club events for all ages give you the opportunity to travel into space within the portable StarDome Planetarium, as well as talks, children’s activities and (weather permitting) a chance for stargazing with telescopes. 6.30pm. Visit tqg.org.uk.

Rain Man, 25th February-2nd March When salesman Charlie discovers his autistic brother Raymond has inherited the •19th January, Buff Winter family fortune, he sets out to get Trail Wales, Coed y Brenin Visitor Centre The fifth annual ‘his half ’. This play, based on Buff Winter Trail Wales will the Oscar-winning film, stars follow a half-marathon route Paul Nicholls (Ackley Bridge) across the stunning trails and tracks of the Coed y Brenin and Chris Fountain (Coronation Forest Park in Snowdonia Street). 2.30pm & 7.30pm. National Park. You DID YOU could be looking Tickets from £10.


For more information Hollie McNish won on upcoming the Ted Hughes events and to book Award in 2016 for tickets, visit Nobody Told Me www.theatrclwyd.com.

at snow, frost, crystal-clear blue skies or rain and mud – that’s the beauty of the Buff Winter Trail Wales. 10.30am. £30. Call 01341 423459.

Wing your way to Conwy reserve

Get out into the fresh air, follow the trails and discover the winter wildlife at RSPB Conwy from 1st to 7th January. Visit the Conwy nature reserve on 1st January for the New Year’s Day Bird

Walk from 1.30pm to 3.30pm. Booking is essential and tickets cost £4 for members and £6 for non-members. The reserve’s Christmas Trail continues daily until 7th January, giving visitors the chance to find the missing lyrics to the 12 Birds Of Christmas song while learning about the birds that visit over the winter. £1 per quiz sheet. Visit www.rspb. org.uk for details.

19th January & 16th February, Anglesey Farmers’ Market, Prince’s Pier, Menai Bridge Find everything from local veg and fresh bread to handmade cheese and fresh fish caught on the Anglesey coast. 10am-2pm.

20th January, HighVoltage Jam, Skerries Inn, Bangor Informal, supportive and friendly jam sessions where everyone is encouraged to have a go. 7pm-9pm. Call 01407 721117.

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On stage at Venue Cymru

25th January, An Alphabetic Miscellany In Pictures, Loggerheads Country Park, Mold This slideshow of Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty will show you places you know well – and introduce you to some you don’t. Collected and presented by Nev Howell. 2pm-4.30pm. Call 07850 921295 for details.

30th January & 27th February, Conwy Farmers’ Market, RSPB Conwy Nature Reserve On the last Wednesday of each month you can buy great produce direct from the people who grow, rear or create it. Fresh vegetables, local meats, cheeses, jams, pickles and more.

8th February, Heritage Day, Bangor on Dee Racecourse Take a punt or simply experience the atmosphere at this course near Wrexham. There are two enclosures to choose from and various hospitality packages available. Opens 11.30am, races start 1.40pm. Tickets from £7, accompanied children are free.

14th-23rd February, Entertaining Angels, Grove Park Theatre, Wrexham A comic and deceptively profound play that focuses on Grace, who is enjoying her newfound freedom following the death of her clergyman husband. After a lifetime of being on her best behaviour she can now do and say exactly as she pleases… 7.30pm. Tickets £8.

Furniture with a twist at Oriel Artist Rhodri Owen’s To The Quick exhibition continues at Oriel Ynys Mon, Anglesey, until 24th February. Owen contrasts his hand-crafted furniture with transfigured pieces in unexpected ways. Visit kyffin williams.info.

Enter Shikari, 15th January Having just won Best Album at the Kerrang! Awards for The Spark, rockers Enter Shikari embark on their longest UK tour to date. With support from Black Peaks and Palaye Royale. Aged 14+ (under-16s must be accompanied by an adult). 8pm. Tickets £27. Kaiser Chiefs, 4th February Fronted by charismatic singer Ricky Wilson, Kaiser Chiefs are one of the leading bands of their generation with a string of anthemic hits such as Oh My God, I Predict A Riot and Ruby. 7pm. Tickets £37.

Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom, 8th-9th February From the makers of Peppa Pig comes this BAFTAwinning television animation live on stage. Join Princess Holly, Ben the Elf and their friends on this exciting magical adventure packed with songs and laughter. 4pm. Tickets from £15.50.

DID YOU Blackeyed Theatre: Sherlock Holmes – KNOW? The Sign of Four, 19th-20th February Ranulph Fiennes Arthur Conan Doyle’s epic tale brings was considered you adventure, romance, comedy for the role of and of course one or two brilliant James Bond deductions as Holmes and Dr Watson search for Mary Morstan’s missing father. 2.30pm and 7pm. Tickets from £17.

Sir Ranulph Fiennes: Living Dangerously, 4th February Both light-hearted and poignant, Living Dangerously spans Sir Ranulph’s childhood, army life and expeditions right up to the present day as he attempts to become the first to cross both polar ice caps and climb the highest mountain on each continent. He’s a true pioneer who has inspired generations. 7.30pm. Tickets from £27.

Sun Records: Where Rock ’N’ Roll Was Born!, 22nd February The label that brought you Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison and many more rock pioneers comes to life live on stage, as the official concert show takes you back to the birth of rock ’n’ roll. 7.30pm. Tickets £27.50. For more information and to book tickets, visit www.venuecymru.co.uk.

The music of Vienna in Bangor Following a rapturously received concert in 2018, Welsh National Orchestra (WNO) returns to its Bangor residency in January with another popular New Year concert – A Night in Vienna. On 11th January at Theatr Bryn Terfel, Bangor, WNO presents a programme with the extraordinarily talented orchestra

but also the extra dimension of song to bring the spirit of Vienna to the concert hall. Strauss’s Laughing Song, Csárdás, Lehár’s Vilja, the evergreen Blue Danube and the stirring Radetsky March are sure to make this a very happy New Year from WNO to you. 7.30pm. Tickets £17, under-18s £5. Visit www.pontio.co.uk.

12 SHIRE MAGAZINE | January/February 2019

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Lyricism and laughs at William Aston Hall Beyond The Barricade, 18th January A cast of past principle performers from Les Misérables recreate original West End and Broadway hit songs in this blockbuster show. 7.30pm. Tickets £22. The Searchers Farewell Tour, 30th January The Searchers a emerged as part of the 1960s Merseybeat scene along with The Beatles and Gerry & The Pacemakers. 7.30pm. Tickets £25.85.

David O’Doherty: You Have To Laugh, 6th February Musician and comedian David O’Doherty presents an exciting repertoire of silly little songs performed on an even sillier little instrument, combined with traditional stand-up. 8pm. Tickets £20.90. Russell Kane: The Fast And The Curious, 9th February Packing more energy than a Duracell factory, Russell Kane motors through love, family and life. 8pm. Tickets £22.

covers politics, prejudice and the end of days. 7.30pm. Tickets £24.75. www.thewilliamastonhall.com

Talking acoustics at Bangor Music Festival This year’s Bangor Musical Festival, which takes place at Pontio and Mathias Hall from 8th to 9th February, explores the theme of Acoustics. The Swansea Laptop Orchestra will present a sonic exploration of new works by six young composers within the CoDI ELECTRONICS concert. Familiar and unfamiliar sounds will be featured in the atmospheric concert by the talented Richard Craig and Electroacoustic Wales.

Theatr Bryn Terfel is the location for the final concert, featuring a performance by Uproar, who present 10 commissions by 10 composers from Wales. Experience music for young children with Marie-Claire Howorth, to explore sonic objects with Techniquest Glyndwr and to be captivated by student compositions performed by the Bangor New Music Ensemble. For information with details on the full festival programme, visit www.bangormusicfestival.org.uk.

Foundries, furnaces and fighting: artists at Wrexham Museum A new display at Wrexham County Borough Museum & Archives highlighting the history of Brymbo Steel Works. The People & Places themed display in the main gallery includes an oil painting of John ‘Iron Mad’ Wilkinson, founder of the original Brymbo Ironworks, an original Brymbo Fire Brigade helmet and a rare surviving shell made by the Royal Ordnance

from Brymbo steel. The display also showcases the sculpture and other artworks of former Brymbo Steel Works’ catering manager Ben Boenisch, who fought the Wehrmacht in his homeland of Poland before escaping to Britain and later becoming a stalwart of the Wrexham & District Arts Association in the 1970s and 1980s. See www.wrexham.gov.uk for more details.

16th February, Discover Gop Cairn, Trelawnyd Meet in the car park in the village of Trelawnyd for a walk that Nish Kumar: It’s In Your Nature follows the road, crosses a To Destroy Yourselves, field and take you onto the cairn, the second largest 14th February prehistoric mound DID YOU With a title in the UK. Excavated KNOW? taken from in the late Victorian period, its purpose is Terminator 2, Nish Kumar is a still unclear. The walk the new show double Edinburgh will return through from the star woods and return to Comedy Award the car park in two of BBC2’s The nominee hours. 1.30pm-3.30pm. Mash Report Call 07850 921295.

16th February, North Wales Centre Caravan & Motorhome Club Dinner Dance, Royal Victoria Hotel, Llanberis The club holds its 49th annual event at this splendid venue. Entertainment by Harry J Lewis. £35 per person. Call 01286 870253.

22nd-24th February, North Wales Centre Caravan & Motorhome Club Meet, St Mary’s Caravan Park, Gronant, near Prestatyn Join in the fun at St Mary’s Caravan Park, and delicious food at the Bells of St Mary’s pub. £18. Call 07443 479150

On board for Model Railway Show Join rail enthusiasts for the Model Railway Show at the National Slate Museum from 14th to 16th February. A rail lover’s dream and a great steam-packed fun day out for all the family! Free entry. 10am to 4pm. For more information, visit museum. wales/slate/whatson/.

25th February-1st March, The Pirates Of Penzance, Groundlings Theatre, Wrexham The Bitesize Theatre Company presents Gilbert & Sullivan’s classic comic opera, in which a young gentleman pirate is forced to choose between love and duty. Bitesize has been presenting high-quality, accessible shows to a schools audience since 1992. For tickets and details on this production or other events at the Groundlings Theatre, email sarah@bitesizetheatre. co.uk or call 01978 358320.

January/February 2019 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 15

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Live at Aberystwyth Arts Centre

1st January, New Year’s Day Dip, Barmouth Lifeboat Station The Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) invites you to work off the excesses of Christmas and raise money by joining the RNLI New Year’s Day Dip from the lifeboat station on the Promenade. 11am.

1st January, New Year’s Day Guided Walk, Llanwrtyd Wells Recover from New Year’s Eve and shake off that hangover with an eight-mile guided walk starting at 11am from the town square. For more information, see www.green-events.co.uk.

1st-5th January, Spot The Elf Trail, National Wool Museum, Dre-fach Felindre, near Newcastle Emlyn Find the elves cwtched up in the galleries to win a treat. The fun starts at 10am. Free entry.

DID YOU KNOW? Lost Voice Guy Lee Ridley did his first stand-up gig in 2012 NT Live: The Tragedy Of King Richard The Second, 15th January Simon Russell Beale stars in this adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Richard II, broadcast live from the stage of the Almeida Theatre in London. This visceral new production about the limits of power is directed by Joe Hill-Gibbins, whose previous plays include Little Revolution at the Almeida and Absolute Hell at the National Theatre. Richard II is irresponsible, foolish and vain. His weak leadership sends his kingdom into disarray and his court into uproar. Seeing no other option but to seize power, the ambitious Bolingbroke challenges the throne and the king’s divine right to rule. 7pm. Tickets £17 adults, £15 concessions, £10 children.

Lost Voice Guy, 22nd February Following the unprecedented success of his appearance on the final of 2018’s Britain’s Got Talent, Lost Voice Guy visits Aberystwyth. The BBC New Comedy Award winner, and star and writer of BBC Radio 4’s comedy series Ability, Lee Ridley – aka Lost Voice Guy – may not be able to talk but he definitely has something to say and his comedy will leave you speechless. Lee is the first stand-up comedian to use a communication aid, and has performed at festivals including the Edinburgh Fringe, Glasgow International Comedy Festival and Liverpool Comedy Festival. This performance is suitable for ages 14 plus. 8pm. Tickets £16 adults, £14 concessions and children. For more details and tickets, visit www.aberystwyth artscentre.co.uk or call 01970 623232.

From farm to Aberystwyth

5th-19th January, Aladdin, Aberystwyth Arts Centre Richard Cheshire directs and stars as the outrageous Widow Twankey in this year’s Wardens spectacular panto, Aladdin. With stunning costumes and sets, jokes aplenty and the band led by the inimitable Elinor Powell, this feelgood panto is guaranteed to brighten up the January blues! Times vary. £12.50-£16.

6th January, Welsh National Opera: A Night In Vienna, Hafren, Newtown A delightful selection of ever-popular Viennese waltzes, polkas and songs that are known and loved the world over. 4pm. Tickets £16; concessions £14.50.

Held on the first and third Saturday of every month, Aberystwyth’s award-winning farmers’ market is one of the largest in Wales, hosting up to 30 stalls on North Parade. The market was named Best Food Market in BBC Radio 4’s Food & Farming Awards in 2014, and in the Times Henrietta Green said: ‘Aberystwyth is low-key but you get the sense that it’s hugely important to the community; it’s full of good honest producers.’ For details, see www.aberystwythfarmersmarket.co.uk.

Welsh winter woollies Inspired by traditional Welsh designs, Melin Tregwynt’s chunky, sustainable knits are the height of fashion and grace the shelves of John Lewis. You can visit the mill – in Tregwynt on the Pembrokeshire coast – to see fleeces spun into yarn and then weaved into fabulous cloth. See melintregwynt.co.uk or call 01348 891225.

Steam to Pine Marten Den Learn all about the elusive pine marten on the Vale of Rheidol Railway this spring. The restored weigh bridge building at Devil’s Bridge station is now an exhibition space, where you can discover how the Vincent Wildlife Trust’s Pine Marten Recovery Project brought the native Welsh mammal back from the brink of extinction. www.rheidolrailway.co.uk

16 SHIRE MAGAZINE | January/February 2019

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9th January, TH ParryWilliams, The National Library Of Wales, Aberystwyth Poet and author Parry-Williams, who was Professor of Welsh at the University of Aberystwyth, had a keen interest in medicine and once considered becoming a doctor. This lecture looks at his collection of medical books. 1pm. Free entry.

Are your boots made for walking? If your New Year’s resolution is to be more active, there are few more perfect ways to get started than the Crickhowell Walking Festival, from 9th to 17th March. It offers nine gloriously healthy days of hiking in the Brecon Beacons, with graded walks led by local experienced

guides. There is something for every level of walker, whether you’re happy trekking all day across the tops of the Black Mountains, or would rather keep to the lower slopes. It’s about more than just being on your feet, too. On 9th March, you can hear TV

presenter Kate Humble talk about the joys of walking, and there are also workshops on map reading and navigation, as well as music from the Will Barnes Quartet, throughout the festival. For a full timetable of events, and to book your tickets, visit www.crickhowellfestival.com.

12th January, World Mountain Bike Chariot Racing Championships, Llanwrtyd Wells Chariots pulled by bikes race against each other and the clock for the title of world champion. Come along to watch or take part yourself. £20 per team. For details, visit www.green-events.co.uk.

Join the railway volunteers at Corris •

Make a Royal date

Start the new year by doing something good for your community and becoming a volunteer. Corris Railway near Machynlleth – which dates back to the 1850s – is managed and operated by volunteer members and would welcome more help in 2019.

Membership benefits include free travel on the railway up to four times a year. You’ll also receive the quarterly publication, the Corris-Pondent, and the occasional journal. For more details on how you can help the railway, visit www.corris.co.uk.

Christmas isn’t quite over yet... Your festive dinner may be a distant memory, but there’s still time to experience a Victorian Christmas at Abbey-Cwm-Hir, near Llandrindod Wells. Visitors have until 6th January to see all

52 rooms decorated in a truly festive spirit. There are Christmas trees galore, as well as 12 acres of attractive grounds to explore. To book a tour, call 01597 851727 or email info@abbeycwmhir.com.

Get out your diaries: the pinnacle of the British agricultural calendar, the Royal Welsh Show, takes place from 22nd to 25th July at the showground in Llanelwedd The show promises something to entertain everyone, from four days of livestock competitions to forestry, horticulture, crafts, sports, food and drink. See www.rwas.wales for updates.

12th January, Sir Chris Bonington: Life & Times, Hafren, Newtown Britain’s best known mountaineer and one of the most successful expedition leaders in history shares stories from his 60 years in the mountains – including four ascents of Everest – with an audio-visual account. 7.30pm. £20.

12th January, Brecon Farmers’ Market, Market Hall, Brecon Discover a lively atmosphere, live music and lots of fantastic food at this market, which is held on the second Saturday of every month. 9.30am-2pm.

14th January, Drums For All: Volunteer Training, Theatr Brycheiniog, Brecon Theatr Brycheiniog and Beat It Percussion present dementiafriendly music-making sessions ideal for older adults. This training session is designed to prepare people to volunteer and lead their own sessions. 10am. Free entry. Booking essential. January/February 2019 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 17

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Rooms with a view of Powis Castle

17th January-24th February, Portrait Of A Farming Community, Theatr Brycheiniog, Brecon This exhibition looks at farming life in the local community from behind the lens. Free entry. Call 01874 611622 for information.

19th-26th January, Sleeping Beauty, Theatr Brycheiniog, Brecon Celebrate 70 years of the Westenders at Theatr Brycheiniog with this pantomime full of comedy, romance, musical numbers, spectacular scenery and special effects. Times vary. £13.50 (£48 for families).

DID YOU KNOW? The Bothy has four bedrooms and sleeps seven people

20th January, Patrick Hemmerlé, St Mary’s Church, Hay-On-Wye The Cambridgebased French pianist’s repertoire is largely devoted to Bach and the great composers from the Austro-German tradition. 3pm. £12 (students £6).

•23rd January, Machynlleth Street Market Spread out

around Machynlleth’s Victorian clock tower, the weekly market on Maengwyn Street sells pet food, books, beads, organic fruit, speciality cheeses and plants.

24th January, The Queen Of Spades, Wyeside Arts Centre, Builth Wells Tchaikovsky’s most ambitious opera contains some of his greatest music and is a powerful study of destructive obsession. Recorded live at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, on 22nd January, this opera in three acts is sung in Russian with English subtitles. 6.45pm. £17 (concessions £15).

Now is a time of year when our thoughts often turn to summer days spent in luxury, often in far-flung climes, but you don’t actually have to go far to find what you’re after. The Bothy is a gorgeous cottage in the grounds of Powis Castle, offering Edwardian interiors and unparalleled views of the castle itself. The half-timbered property, built in 1908, has traditional furnishings and carefully preserved fireplaces and wood panelling. Guests can explore the medieval castle and its garden free of charge. Visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/holidays/the-bothy-wales for more.

Run around in Elan Valley

Mince pies at Talyllyn Railway Warm up on a wonderful winter trip on the Talyllyn Railway on 1st January, complete with mince pies and mulled wine. Talyllyn was the world’s first preserved railway, and your comfortable carriage is pulled by a steam engine through a remote and beautiful valley in the Merioneth mountains oozing Celtic mystery. At Tywyn Wharf you can head to King’s Café where complimentary minced pies and mulled wine will be served. For more details, visit www.talyllyn.co.uk.

Work off those Christmas calories on the 5th January with the Reservoir Roundabout 2019 through the picturesque Elan Valley. The running and walking challenge is held across open and wild terrain. The route is waymarked in parts but the organisers stress that map-reading skills are required. Entry is £10 in advance or £12 on the day, with proceeds going to local charities. A certificate is awarded to all finishers. Entrants will need to ensure they are physically prepared and kitted out for a winter hill walk. For more information, email reservoir-roundabout@mail.com.

Birdwatching at Lake Vyrnwy Wrap up warm, grab your telescopes and binoculars and head to Lake Vyrnwy’s RSPB Nature Reserve this January, where you should be able to hear pied flycatchers and redstarts, see dippers nesting by the rocky streams and goosanders bobbing on the water. Look up and perhaps you will spot a peregrine high above you. In spring, the reserve comes alive with the arrival of woodland summer migrants, including wood warblers, black caps, garden warblers, willow tits, treecreepers and great spotted woodpeckers. www.rspb.org.uk

18 SHIRE MAGAZINE | January/February 2019

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Snowdrops and steam in the Dingles Search for signs of spring on a ride on the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway. Visit during February and you’ll be able to travel in style in polished coaches that are the same as those used in the Austrian Alps. You can travel

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right through the beautiful, unspoilt, rolling hills of Mid Wales, with steam plumes billowing overhead and toots echoing through the mountains. Opened in 1903 to link the market town of Welshpool with Llanfair Caereinion, this

2ft 6in narrow-gauge steam railway provides a welcome change from the rush of every day life. The carriages run so smoothly they can gently rock young children to sleep! For timetables and tickets, visit www.wllr.org.uk.

24th January, Abergavenny Farmers’ Market Taking place on the fourth Thursday of every month in Cross Street, this was one of the first farmers’ markets in Monmouthshire and over the years has remained a constant in the community. 9am-2.30pm.

30th January, Movie Matinee: Going In Style, Hafren, Newtown Lifelong friends Willie (Morgan Freeman), Joe (Michael Caine) and Albert (Alan Arkin) buck retirement and step off the straight-and-narrow when their pension funds become a corporate casualty. 1.30pm. £4.

Life, death and divas

DID YOU KNOW? You can Bees have to fly learn around 90,000 how to protect miles to make and 1lb of honey preserve

our vital pollinators with a course at Gregynog Hall, near Newtown. The hall’s forest school woodland site is set within a 750-acre National Nature Reserve, and offers excellent facilities for environmental education. Its beekeeping courses are run by the Mongomeryshire Beekeepers Association, and are aimed at beginners and improvers. Whether you would like to learn about the importance of bees to the environment or how to keep bees yourself or are preparing for proficiency exams, there is a course for you. For details, visit www.gregynog.org.

Following the sell-out success of its autumn tour of Ravel’s A Spanish Hour, Mid Wales Opera is bringing Tosca to the Hafren, Newtown on 23rd February, Aberystwyth Arts Centre on 2nd March and Theatr Brycheiniog, Brecon on 9th March. ‘There’s no denying we love Tosca, and so do our cast!’ says Lydia Bassett, MWO’s executive director. ‘Our Cavaradossi, Charne Rochford (pictured below), summed it up perfectly for us: ‘It’s probably the most perfect opera written. Outrageously catchy tunes, passion bursting from the seams, extremely human characters and murder! What’s not to love?’ Alongside London-born Charne, the cast includes the internationally renowned baritone Nicholas Folwell as Scarpia

and a wonderfully Welsh Tosca in Elin Pritchard, who last performed with MWO in 2014’s Carmen. The first time Elin sang the role of Tosca, she learned it in a weekend. ‘I had a call from my agent to say they needed a soprano and so I worked my finger to the bone to learn the role and then got the call a few days later to say I’d be taking over. I must have been mad! ‘Tosca is wonderful to sing. She has the most glorious music with some huge climactic lines, she’s passionate and has a huge amount of fire in her. Her music with Cavaradossi, especially in act three, is so beautiful and poignant – a complete contrast to the act two torture scene, although that scene for me is the most exciting and thrilling part in the opera.’ See www. midwalesopera. co.uk for details.

Until January 30, RSPB Ynys-hir, Machynlleth Observe crossbills and a small flock of Greenland white-fronted geese visiting the marsh throughout January Also look out for the red-breasted merganser, a fish-eating duck, on the river.

Until 30th January, Creu// Make, Oriel Davies Gallery, Newtown An exhibition of contemporary products from makers across Wales using traditional rural crafts including pottery, weaving, textile art, woodwork and more. 10am5pm, Monday-Friday; 10am4pm, Saturdays. Free admission

2nd February, Max Boyce, Hafren, Newtown Max has been entertaining people for more than 40 years with his ability to paint pictures in word and song. 7.30pm. £27.50.

January/February 2019 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 21

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The Nutcracker on film at Wyeside

15th February, Mike Doyle In Concert, Theatr Mwldan, Cardigan Since making the final of Opportunity Knocks in 1988, Mike Doyle has forged a career on stage and TV. Join Mike and his fabulous live band for a sensational evening of his unique brand of comedy and music that is guaranteed to delight and entertain in equal measure. 7.30pm. £18 (concessions £16.50).

19th February, Don Quixote, Wyeside Arts Centre, Builth Wells Cervantes’ story of the bumbling knight Don Quixote has inspired countless artistic interpretations. Love and friendship triumph in Carlos Acosta’s vibrant production of the dazzling ballet, broadcast live from the Royal Ballet, Covent Garden. 7.15pm. £17 (concessions £15).

21st February, The Piatti Quartet, Welshpool Methodist Church Welshpool Music Club presents a sublime evening of music. 7.30pm. £10. Call 01938 811010 for details and see welshpoolmusicclub. com for further events.

All year, Powysland Museum, Welshpool Discover more about the archaeology and social history of the area, from the earliest prehistoric settlers to the 20th century, and enjoy the nearby Montgomery Canal.

Festive family film The Nutcracker And The Four Realms is showing at Wyeside Arts Centre, Builth Wells from 1st to 9th January. On Christmas Eve, Clara follows a golden thread to a key that will unlock a gift from her late mother. When the key vanishes into a parallel world, Clara follows and meets a soldier, Phillip, a

gang of mice and the regents of the Land of Snowflakes, Land of Flowers and Land of Sweets. Clara must brave the Fourth Realm, home to the tyrant Mother Ginger, to retrieve the key. For times and to book tickets, visit www.wyeside.co.uk.

Winter explorations at the Silver Mountain Experience The beautifully preserved former silver-lead ore lead mine of Llywernog near Aberystwyth reopens after its Christmas break on 19th January. Guided tours don’t operate during the winter period, except for prearranged group visits, but visitors can still explore the Mining Museum, Miners’ Trail and Nature Trails, have a go at the Kindlings’ Quest quiz and more. Stop by the café for a delightful selection of hot drinks, warming soups, snacks and delicious cakes, and browse the gift shop for everything from dragons to mining figures and children’s gifts. For more information on the Silver Mountain Experience, including opening times and admisson prices, visit www. silvermountainexperience.co.uk.

Track down spring

From February into March, early spring blooms, Powis Castle & Garden, Welshpool See snowdrops, primroses, and the famous Welsh daffodil Narcissus pseudonarcissus as you take a tour of the estate’s iconic Italianate terraces – a spring vision that has charmed visitors for more than 300 years. Normal admission applies. Visit www.nationaltrust.org. uk/powis-castle-and-garden for prices and opening hours.

DID YOU KNOW? Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker ballet had its premiere in 1892

One of the best ways to see the coastline and rugged mountains of West Wales is from the Fairbourne Railway. And one of the best times to do this is from mid-February, thanks to the lack of crowds and the launch of the new timetable. The train has been running from Fairbourne village to the mouth of the stunning Mawddach Estuary since 1895. The railway also has a museum and a children’s play area. For more information, visit www.fairbournerailway.com.

Stay fresh in Llanerchaeron If you’re hoping to shop local in 2019, seasonal vegetables, fruit and cut flowers are all grown and nurtured in the protective environment of Llanerchaeron’s walled gardens, tended by a dedicated team of staff and volunteers and sold to visitors to the National Trust property. A variety of perennial plants and herbs are for sale, plus seasonal planters and decorations. The estate’s Welsh Black cattle, rare Welsh pigs and Llanwennog sheep are all managed to the highest welfare standards and are certified by the RSPCA, and the grass-reared animals produce meat that is prepared locally using skilled local butchers. The produce on offer at the shop differs from day to day. For opening times and ticket prices, visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/llanerchaeron.

22 SHIRE MAGAZINE | January/February 2019

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From ghosts to guffaws at Crewe Lyceum


31st December, Family New Year’s Eve Party, Wychwood Park Hotel, Crewe Welcome 2019 in style. There’s plenty to keep younger guests entertained, with a children’s disco featuring party games and prizes, while adults can ease into the party mood with a complimentary glass of bubbles at midnight. 6pm-2am. £28 adults, £12.50 children. Call 01270 829222.

1st January onwards, Chester Cathedral in LEGO Visit the cathedral to see how the stunning LEGO version of the building is progressing. Help the model grow by donating £1 to charity to add a brick.

1st January-7th July, Unexpected Elegance: Female Fashion From The 1970s, Grosvenor Museum, Chester The 1970s are often called ‘the decade that taste forgot’, but the dresses in this small exhibition show that this was far from true. With designs by Ossie Clark, Givenchy and Zandra Rhodes.

1st-5th January, Empowerment Of Women: a Local Perspective, Nantwich Museum Your last chance to this celebration of the centenary of the earliest successes of the women’s suffrage campaign. 10.30am-4.40pm. Free entry.

Quadrophenia: The Album Live, 11th January Eight-piece band The Goldhawks deliver a live performance of The Who’s smash hit concept album, Quadrophenia, Pete Townshend’s homage to a pivotal moment in British youth culture. 7.30pm. Tickets £25.50. Fawlty Towers Dining Experience, 12th January The dining room at Fawlty Towers Hotel is opening its doors to the public for an official dining experience like no other. Enjoy three courses of hilarious immersive theatre and deliciously themed food and drink. 7pm. Tickets £45. Ghost Hunt Night, 15th January Explore one of the most haunted buildings in Cheshire and find out for yourself what roams the Edwardian theatre at night. Whether you’re a budding ghost hunter or are simply looking for a night out with a difference, this experience makes for the perfect outing… if you dare! Over-18s only. 8pm. Tickets £27.50.

Anita Harris In Concert, 10th February A wonderful cocktail of song, glitz, chat, nostalgia and humour, with musical accompaniment from pianist and musical director Peter Gill. 7.30pm. Tickets £20. Robert White: The Tank Top Tour, 21st February Britain’s Got Talent highlighted Robert’s distinctive comedy genius and his chaotic stage presence and improvisational skills won him the Malcolm Hardee Award for Comic Originality. 7.30pm. Tickets £23. www.crewelyceum.co.uk

See the sights of the siege in Nantwich

1st-5th January, Chester Kidsmas, Chester town centre The Christmas spirit continues until Twelfth Night with free festive screenings including Polar Express and Frozen Sing Along. Call 01244 403680.

Some Guys Have All The Luck: The Rod Stewart Story, 17th January A fantastic production celebrating the career of one of rock’s greatest icons, from street busker to international superstar. The show includes all the hits from Rod’s career, including Maggie May, Baby Jane and Da Ya Think I’m Sexy? 7.30pm. Tickets £26.

The annual spectacle of the re-enactment of the Battle of Nantwich takes place in the town on 26th January. For more than 40 years, the faithful troops of the Sealed Knot have gathered in the historic town to recreate the battle that took place in January 1644, marking the end of the siege of the town during the English Civil War. Every year, a small team of volunteers coordinates the re-enactment, one of many events to take place to mark the anniversary. 

DID YOU KNOW? At the time of the battle, Nantwich was little more than a village

Further events take place on the RedShift stage in the town square from 10am to 1.30pm, and at Nantwich Museum from 10am to 12.30pm. The troops arrive at Mill Island for an artillery demo followed by the battle from 1.45pm to 3pm. The Battle of Nantwich promises to bring history to life and is a real treat for all historians. You don’t need to be a historian however to appreciate the spectacle and magnitude of the battle! For more information, visit www.battleof nantwich.org.

24 SHIRE MAGAZINE | January/February 2019

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1st-5th January, Aladdin, Forum Studio Theatre, Chester There are still a few days left to catch this family-friendly pantomime. Times vary. £12.

1st-6th January, Christmas Tree Festival, Chester Cathedral From the end of December, the cathedral’s cloisters will be filled with more than 40 majestic Christmas trees. Visitors are encouraged to vote for their favourite, with the winners announced at the closing of the festival.

Life in art at Nantwich Museum An exhibition of contemporary textile art takes place at the Millennium Gallery in Nantwich Museum from 9th January to 16th March. The Inspired By… exhibition brings together the work of east Cheshire group Intastitch, displaying a wide range of influences, interests and techniques used in textile art. Many pieces are collages of

Calling all superheroes and princesses

Once upon a time, all your favourite superheroes and princesses embarked on an adventure around Blakemere Village. A spell was cast and they were frozen in time, but now this spell has been lifted and they have been left stranded. From 16th February to 3rd March, Blakemere Village needs help from trainee superheroes and princesses to reassemble the team. This fun trail is suitable for children aged three to 11 and costs £3. Visit www. blakemerevillage.com.

mixed media, dyeing, machine and hand stitch, and appliqué. There are diaphanous hangings on transparent backgrounds, interpretations of waterfalls, landscapes including views of the Lake District in needlefelt, and silk paintings of flowers, birds, fruit and large quilts all worked by hand on hand-dyed recycled fabric. The group’s members come from a diverse range of

backgrounds and take inspiration from many sources that mean something to them. Nantwich Museum is open Tuesdays to Saturdays from 10.30am to 4pm. Admission to the museum and exhibition is free, and all the artwork on display is also available to purchase. For further information, visit www. nantwichmuseum.org.uk.

Step out at Dunham Massey Blow away the cobwebs on a Winter Park Walk at the National Trust’s Dunham Massey every day throughout January and February. Join expert park guides on a stroll around the park and find out about what makes Dunham special at this time of year. Don’t forget to wrap up warm, and make sure you bring waterproofs and sensible shoes, Meet at the clock tower at 1.30pm for

an hour’s walk. Children and dogs on leads are welcome. The walks are free, but usual National Trust charges apply. For details, including admission prices, visit www.nationaltrust. org.uk/dunham-massey.

Have fantastic fun with The Twits Follow the dastardly and disgusting deeds of Mr and Mrs Twit as they spend their days playing revolting tricks on each other and plotting to catch the Roly-Poly Bird to put in a pie. Inspired by Roald Dahl’s The Twits and adapted

for stage by David Wood, this hilarious tale takes place at the Forum Studio Theatre, Chester, from 20th to 23rd February. Suitable for children aged six and above. Tickets from £10. Call 01244 341296 or visit www.tiptop productions.co.uk.

1st-6th January, Twelfth Night Riddle Trail, Chester The traditional end of Yuletide was once a time of fun and feasting. Follow the Grosvenor Museum trail, inspired by traditional riddles, caricatures and parlour games. Pick up a copy from the reception desk.

8th January, The Great Texas Birding Trail, United Reformed Church, Macclesfield An illustrated talk by Dennis Atherton at the RSPB Macclesfield indoor meeting, exploring the peak migration times of a designated system of trails, bird sanctuaries and nature reserves that run along the Texas Gulf Coast. 7.15pm for a 7.45pm start. Members £1, visitors £4.50, under-18s free.

9th January, Chester Music Society: Pixels Piano Trio, St Mary’s Creative Space, Chester Sophie Rosa on violin, Jonathan Aasgaard on cello and Ian Buckle on piano perform Bach, Beethoven and Brahms. 7.30pm. £16. Call 0333 666 3366.

10th January, Poynton Home Gardeners Club, Royal British Legion Club, Poynton A talk on Japanese Gardens from Mr Davies, the chair of North West Japanese Garden Society. 7.30pm. £2 visitors, members free.

January/February 2019 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 25

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Making it up as they go along at Parr Hall

11th January, talk about Dunham Massey Estate, All Saints Parish Rooms, Cheadle Hulme Cheadle Hulme Flower Show Society hosts a talk by Keith Spencer about the National Trust property. 7.30pm.

12th-19th January, The Miser by Molière, Chester Little Theatre Take one rich but crabby miser, mix in a son and daughter desperate for cash and stormy waters are ahead in this classic comedy. 7.30pm. £10.

12th January, Katherine Baker flute and Lucy Wakeford harp with Northern Chamber Orchestra, The Heritage Centre, Macclesfield The orchestra’s first concert of the year brings a programme sure to beat the January blues. 7.30pm. £21.

12th January, Jonathan Radford saxophone, Kaoli Ono piano and the Chameleon Wind Ensemble, Holmes Chapel, Crewe 8pm. £16. Call 01477 537769 for more details

13th January, Wedding Showcase, Cottons Hotel & Spa, Knutsford Pop in and meet the hotel’s wedding team and some of their favourite suppliers. 11am-3pm. Free entry.

18th January, Friday Night Comedy, Alexander’s Live, Chester The city’s only weekly comedy night keeps the laughs coming thick and fast week after week. There are also food and drink offers available, so you can have a great night out without breaking the bank. 8.30pm. £10. Call 01244 401402 or visit alexanderslive.com.

FastLove: A Tribute To George Michael, 25th January An unforgettable evening celebrating the late superstar, from Wham classics to the charttopping success of Faith. 8pm. Tickets from £25.

transform them into funny scenes and songs in the blink of an eye. 8pm. Tickets from £14.

An Evening With Jimmy Bullard, 16th February Former footballer Jimmy was an on-field prankster who laughed in the face of Duncan Ferguson Tom Stade : I Swear To…, 8th February to imitated manager Phil Brown. He talks The Canadian comedian attempts to through his career and gives the inside figure out exactly where he fits into DID YOU track on other stars of his generation. MC this emerging world of feelings and KNOW? for the evening is former professional FaceTime. Exactly when did he and George Michael’s rugby player turned comedian John all his stuff become vintage – and first band was Lebbon. 7.30pm. Tickets from £26. why didn’t he see it coming? Armed called The with his usual swagger and playful There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed sense of mischief, Tom explores these Executive A Fly, 23rd February The People’s generational conundrums and a whole Theatre Company brings one of the world’s lot more. 8pm. Tickets from £17.50. best-loved nursery rhymes to life to celebrate the 45th anniversary of Pam Adams’ bestselling book. The Noise Next Door, 15th February The UK’s 2pm. Tickets from £10. premier improv comedy troupe leave audiences everywhere in awe of their lightning-quick wit For more information and to book tickets, visit and original comedic talents. Taking audience parrhall.culturewarrington.org suggestions, the cheeky and charming quartet

See Lyme Park in a new light Night Run at Lyme on 26th January is about having fun at your own pace, meeting new people, exploring the National Trust grounds after dark and raising funds for the conservation work. Choose from the 3km Explorer or the 7km Adventurer route – and don’t forget your head torch! Visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lyme.

Wedding bells at Arley Hall Arley Hall & Gardens hosts a Wedding Open Day on 24th February, ideal for those looking for the perfect venue. You can see Arley Hall’s stunning hall set for a wedding and experience the grandeur of one of Cheshire’s premier country estates. Arley Hall’s expert wedding designers will be on hand to answer any questions. Admission is free. Visit www.arleyhall andgardens.com.

Rhythm and romance with ChesterBoat Party Nights Afloat Cruise: 90s To Now, 2nd February Join ChesterBoat for an onboard musical celebration for the MP3 generation. Relive your not-so-distant youth and release your inner Beyoncé. Your ticket includes a welcome drink and barbecuestyle supper. Departing 7.30pm, returning 10.30pm. Tickets cost from £33.50 when booked online. Valentine’s Half-Hour Cruise, 9th-10th & 16th-17th February Treat you and your loved one to a cruise along the beautiful River Dee. Enjoy a glass of prosecco or a hot drink each and a bag of chocolates to share. The bar will be open too. The boat sets sail every half an hour between 11am and 4pm, weather permitting). Tickets cost from £15 per couple when booked in advance. www.chesterboat.co.uk

26 SHIRE MAGAZINE | January/February 2019

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18th January, Wychcraft Big Band, Frodsham Music & Arts Club, Frodsham Community Centre The renowned ensemble presents a lively evening of big band nostalgia. 7.15pm. £10 on the door. Call 01928 890773.

Once upon a time at Chester’s Storyhouse The Comedy About A Bank Robbery, 29th January-2nd February Ocean’s Eleven meets the Marx Brothers in this new comedy from Mischief Theatre (The Play That Goes Wrong). A priceless diamond has been entrusted to a city bank, an institution so corrupt even the security guards are on the take. Can it be safely stored or will it all go horribly wrong? 2.30pm/ 7.30pm. Tickets from £18.50. An Evening With Brian Blessed, 6th February The larger-than-life actor is DID YOU known for KNOW? his hearty Brian Blessed portrayals was offered the on film and role of Doctor TV. His Who in 1966 eloquence and humour

will have you captivated as he talks about his career, with anecdotes about working on Flash Gordon, Black Adder and Z-Cars, among other, as well as climbing Everest and Kilimanjaro. 7.30pm. Tickets £26.50. Collabro, 11th February In the three years since winning Britain’s Got Talent, Collabro have had a number-one debut album, Stars, performed at the Royal Variety Performance and on Britain’s Got Talent, and are now enormously successful internationally. They have also completed two tours of

the US and signed a major record deal. 7.30pm. Tickets from £34. Jason Manford: Muddle Class, 13th-14th February It’s been a busy few years for Jason, and his latest show promises to feature a wealth of new material about Jason growing up working class then finding, over the years, that part of him has become middle class. 7.30pm. Tickets £29. Nick Sharratt’s Right Royal Drawalong, 16th February The acclaimed children’s writer and illustrator demonstrates how to sketch some of his favourite characters, such as Tracy Beaker and Timothy Pope. Bring pencils, paper and something to lean on. Suitable for children aged four and above. 2pm. Tickets £6. Visit www.storyhouse.com.

24th January, Chester Lecture Society: The Man In The Willows, Grosvenor Museum, Chester Historian and author Matthew Dennison talks about his latest book on Kenneth Graham, the author of the children’s classic The Wind In The Willows. 7.30pm. £5. chesterlecturesociety.org

27th January, Macclesfield Potato Day, Macclesfield Town Hall More than 90 varieties of seed potato available, plus onion sets, garlic bulbs, vegetable seeds, fruit plants and trees, and summer flowering bulbs. 10am-3.30pm. Free admission.

1st February, Motown Tribute Night, Cottons Hotel & Spa, Knutsford Cocktails on arrival followed by a threecourse dinner and dancing until late with a fabulous tribute act. £38. Special prices available for overnight stays.

Hands-on activities at Tatton Park Winter Wildfowl Watch, 13th January Join members of the local Knutsford Ornithological Society and a Tatton ranger at the Allen Bird Hide for a drop-in session looking at winter wildfowl on the meres. Have a go with a telescope or ask the experts. All donations welcome, to help cover the cost of bird feed. 11am-1pm. Free event, but usual park entry applies. Little Red Hen Makes A Pizza, 25th January

An interactive session that teaches children the origin of ingredients for pizza from farm to fork. They’ll go right back to basics to create their own ‘flour’ using a pestle and mortar, before preparing a pizza to take home and cook. 10.30am11.30am. Tickets £18. To book email hale@kiddycook. co.uk or call 07976 619648. Winter Deer Walk, 12th February Join the rangers for a guided walk of the parkland, observing Tatton’s deer in their natural surroundings.

10am-12noon. £12 per person (park entry included). Scarecrow Festival, 16th24th February Visit the annual Scarecrow Festival in the gardens. More than 30 scarecrows will be resident in the grounds, but will you find them all? Usual park admission charges apply.

2nd February, Come & Sing: Handel’s Samson, All Saints Church, Hoole At Chester Bach Singers’ legendary choral workshops you get to act as a real Philistine and watch the pillars come down on poor Samson’s head while singing some of his liveliest choruses, such as ‘Let their celestial concerts all unite’. You also get to hear some of Handel’s most famous arias, including ‘Let The Bright Seraphim’ and ‘Total Eclipse’ sung by some of the north-west’s rising young soloists. 12.30pm-6.30pm. £18. Audience from 5pm, £5.

For more information, visit www.tattonpark.org.uk.

January/February 2019 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 29

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Listen back at The Live Rooms, Chester


7th-10th February, Chester Antiques Fair, Chester Racecourse Forty displays of fine antiques and works of art from dealers and galleries from across the UK. 10.30am-4pm. £5.

13th February, Clare Hammond piano, St Mary’s Creative Space, Chester The 2015 winner of the Royal Philharmonic Society Young Artist Award. 7.30pm. £16. Call 0333 666 3366.

16th February, Chester Bach Singers, St Werburgh’s Church, Chester The singers perform all six of JS Bach’s motets. 1.15pm. £10.

19th-23rd February, Chester Scouts Gangshow, Vanbrugh Theatre, Chester More than 100 young people sing, dance and perform comedy and drama. 7.15pm (plus 2.15pm matinee on Saturday). Call 07544 144445.

Livewire: The AC/DC Show, 19th January Don’t miss this hugely successful and unique six-man tribute to rock music’s greatest band, AC/DC – complete with cannons, a wall of Marshalls and more than two hours of high-voltage rock’n’roll. The band aim to put you slap bang in the middle of the show with hit after hit, and you are expected to join in! 7pm. Tickets £15. Space, 16th February Following the release of their new album, Give Me Your Future, Liverpudlian band Space are once again touring the UK, performing songs old and new. The band have sold more than five million records worldwide since forming in 1993, with UK top 20 hits including Female Of The Species, Avenging Angels and The Ballad Of Tom Jones with Cerys Matthews. The band continue to write gritty edgy pop songs that capture the imagination of the listener. The

concert is suitable for over-14s. Under-16s must be accompanied by an adult. 7pm. Tickets £16. The Total Stone Roses, 23rd February Celebrate the 30th anniversary of The Stone Roses’ seminal self-titled debut album with a performance by top Roses DID YOU tribute band, The Total Stone KNOW? Roses. The band will play The Stone the album in its entirety, Roses only ever plus a second set of B-sides released two and other hits. Songs include studio albums I Am The Resurrection, Made Of Stone, Fools Gold, Waterfall, She Bangs The Drums and many more. 7pm. Tickets £15. For more information and to book tickets, visit www.theliveroomschester.com.

Gather at Gladstone’s •

21st February, Chester Lecture Society, St Mary’s Creative Centre, Chester Rachel Smith from the Cheshire Search & Rescue Team talks about the work of the voluntary organisation whose membership includes people from every walk of life. 7.30pm-9pm.

22nd-24th February, Art Antiques Cheshire, The Mere Golf Resort & Spa, Knutsford Returning for the seventh year, this fair has a reputation for bestowing a warm welcome on all, and offers visitors practical ideas on how to furnish their homes. A must-visit destination for design professionals, and art and antiques aficionados. £5 entry, including catalogue.

Gladstone’s Library mini-festival of author talks and conversation, Hearth, takes place on the 2nd February in the cosy common room. This literary festival offers keen writers the opportunity to pick up hints and tips, and ask questions of published authors. It also encourages anyone interested in the world of books to find out more about writing and publishing. This year’s line-up includes Jacqueline Saphra, Tania Hershman, Ellen Wiles and more. Hearth began in 2013 and takes place in February and November every year. For further details, including a full programme for the day, visit www.gladstoneslibrary.org.

Lectures at Jodrell On 17th January, discover why the immune system holds the key to human health at Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre, Macclesfield. Leading immunologist Professor Daniel Davis, author of The Beautiful Cure, will talk about the scientific quest to understand the immune system and how it’s affected by stress, sleep and age. He will also explains how this knowledge is unlocking a new approach to medicine and wellbeing. Over the past few years, scientists have found ways to harness our natural defences to create treatments for cancer, diabetes, arthritis and many age-related diseases. Daniel will be signing copies of his book after the lecture. You can buy a copy on the night or order it when you book your tickets online. The event starts at 7.30pm and ticket cost £10. Visit www.jodrellbank.net.

30 SHIRE MAGAZINE | January/February 2019

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Louise ‘We moved up here from Berkshire last May. We chose to live in Malpas because we wanted a place near Chester with a good school, and it’s just beautiful – we fell in love with it straightaway and the people are lovely too!’

Heidi ‘We have lived in Malpas for 15 years. One of our favourite things is that you can walk everywhere! It’s great for kids, and they’ve done up the park.’

MALPAS Pretty as a picture

A Cheshire village with chocolate-box cottages, black-and-white timbered buildings and architecture from across the ages, Malpas draws visitors from far and wide

Malpas’s beautiful buildings


Jane ‘We’ve lived here for nearly 20 years now. I like the town, the atmosphere is just nice and the people are really friendly.’

Sarah ‘Our whole family has moved to Malpas from Trawsfynydd – my sister and mum too! It’s a great community and there’s a lot going on. There’s a fair in July with music, dog competitions and stalls, and for Halloween we all help to decorate the pub. There’s always a big Remembrance Day parade through the town and a Remembrance exhibition has also opened at the rec [the town park].’

he parish of Malpas is conveniently placed on the border of Shropshire and Wales, surrounded by rolling countryside and with a thriving village centre. Once a market town, it now enjoys a more sedate existence but is still the ancient seat of the Cholmondeley family, which has owned the castle and gardens that bear its name for centuries. Other ancient links can be found in Malpas, such as the well-preserved Norman motteand-bailey castle, while the village centre is based on the original medieval street pattern.

French fortunes

Malpas has a past full of strange legends – stories of cock fighting in pubs and visiting kings – and indeed the name itself gives the area a sense

THINGS TO SEE AND DO Cholmondeley Castle Gardens www.cholmondeleycastle.com

of mystery as it derives from the French for ‘bad way’. What was so bad about passing through what would have been a prime route for merchants and travellers crossing the counties remains a mystery – but one aspect of the village they would surely have enjoyed is its hospitality. Entertaining passersby is still something Malpas does well. The Crown and The Red Lion face each other in the main centre, and there are other pubs nearby plus several cafes, including one quirkily located in an old fire station.

Fabulous fortress

Cholmondeley Castle, located a few miles outside Malpas, is a popular visitor attraction. It hosts many events throughout the year, from concerts to car shows, in its ample grounds

that were home to the Czechoslovak Army during the Second World War. The surrounding estate also offers holiday cottages to let and the gardens are a horticultural delight for any green-fingered fans, while a farm packed with rare breeds including llamas will keep younger visitors entertained. Back in the centre of Malpas, another site worth visiting is the 14th-century church of St Oswald’s. It boasts a collection of cheeky-faced gargoyles, a superb bossed ceiling, Flemish window panels and a magnificent 13th-

St Oswald’s

century oak chest, as well as a 15th-century octagonal stone font that is still used to this day. As a contrast, the nearby High Street Church – a modern building that was completed in 1995 – is just as distinctive for its completely different architecture.

DID YOU KNOW? Cholmondeley Castle was completed in 1804

St Oswald’s Church 14 Church Street, Malpas SY14 8NU High Street Church High Street, Malpas SY14 8NR

32 SHIRE MAGAZINE | January/February 2019

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8th January, Malcolm Bridge: Ampere In Ireland, Holiday Inn, Ellesmere Port Organised by Chester & Merseyside Inland Waterways Association, Malcolm talks about his year on the Irish waterways in an English narrowboat. 7.45pm. Free admission. Call 01606 40955.

Legends on stage at the Floral Pavilion Dick Whittington & His Cat, 10th-12th January Join Dick and his pet for an exciting adventure of fun, romance, shipwrecks and lots of laughs. 2pm and 7.15pm. Tickets £12 (£7.50 concessions). The Little Mermaid, 18th-19th January See the Little Mermaid, her sisters and friends in this great family pantomime. 2pm and 7.30pm. Tickets £16.50 (£13.50 concessions).

fide jazz legend Chris Barber celebrates his 70th anniversary. 7.30pm. Tickets £23 (£21 concessions). Dear Zoo, 7th-8th February This stage production of Rod Campbell’s best-selling book will delight both young and old. Suitable for children aged two and above. Times vary. Tickets £14.50.

Dirty Dusting, 23rd January A chance wrong number gives three cleaning ladies a great idea: why not run a sex chat line? Starring Crissy Rock (Benidorm). 7.30pm. All tickets £23.50.

Joan Collins: Unscripted, 23rd February Be enthralled as Dame Joan reveals some of the exciting stories and secrets from her long career, and take the chance to ask DID YOU the actor about her life and career. KNOW? 7.30pm. Tickets £40-£46.50.

Chris Barber Big Band, 3rd February One of Europe’s most influential bandleaders and bona

For more information, visit www.floralpavilion.com.

Joan Collins •12th January, Make A Mirror, Williamson was once engaged Mosaic Art Gallery & Museum, to actor Warren Birkenhead Make a round or square mosaic Beatty mirror in this workshop

Live music on offer at West Kirby Arts Centre

Memory cafe at Waterways Museum

John O’Connell plays Simply Dylan, 11th January For one night only, John O’Connell – formerly of Liverpool band Groundpig – plays a simple acoustic set of Bob Dylan songs, covering a wide range of classics from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. 7pm. Tickets £15.

Working with the Alzheimer’s Society, the Waterside Cafe at the National Waterways Museum in Ellesmere Port is opening its doors on 25th January and 22nd February to create the Safe Harbour Cafe – a memory cafe for people affected by dementia. The monthly sessions started in May last year and the warm welcome from the friendly staff, relaxing waterside views and evocative setting are proving popular. The new cafe takes place on the fourth Friday of every month, from 10.30am to noon. For more information, call the Alzheimer’s Society on 0300 369 0570 or visit www.canalrivertrust.org.uk.

Keith James: The Music Of Cat Stevens, 2nd February Keith presents a loving reflection of the timeless and insightful music of Yusuf Islam – more commonly known as Cat Stevens – in aid of Unicef UK Syrian

Children’s appeal. Keith weaves the story of Cat Stevens’ life from his early pop career, lifethreatening illness and spiritual journey around a performance of his songs. 7pm. Tickets £12. Miranda Sykes: Behind The Wall, 16th February Following on from the success of her Borrowed Places tour, the acclaimed singer and bassist Miranda Sykes is back with a new project, Behind The Wall. Powerful and hard-hitting but also poignant and beautiful, this show gives us all a chance to reflect and maybe even empower us. 7pm. Tickets £12.

8th January, Stitched Seascape From Scratch, Shore Cottages Studio, Thurstaston This gentle introduction to creating your own textile art shows you how to take inspiration from a single starting point and develop a design using simple techniques. 10am-3pm. £100. Call 0151 648 6581.

with mosaic artist Aleta Doran. Use glass mosaic tiles to decorate the mirror frame, choosing from a large selection of shapes, sizes, colours and decorative finishes. 11am-4pm. £45. Call 0151 666 3537.

12th January, Wirral Farmers’ Market, New Ferry Wirral Farmers’ Market was established in 2000 and is held on the second Saturday every month in New Ferry. Here you’ll find more than 30 stalls, where you can buy fresh produce, meat, fish and meals for the freezer. You can also visit the cafe for a break from shopping and to meet up with friends. 9am-1pm.

12th-16th January, Christmas tree collection, Wirral Hospice St John’s, Birkenhead For a donation to St John’s, it will take away your Christmas tree. Suggested minimum donation, £5 for a small tree. Please book your collection by 9th January. Call 0151 343 0778 or email fundraising@wirralhospice.org.

For more information, visit www. westkirbyartscentre.org.uk. January/February 2019 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 35

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Grow at Ness •

8th February, Fourth Quarter, West Kirby Arts Centre An eclectic evening of music and comedy headlined by the talented Leonie Jakobi and featuring comedians Mike Carter and Che Burnley. 7pm. £6. For further information, call 07913 848052.

•8th February, Comedy Night Live, The Whitby Club,

Ellesmere Port The Whitby Club and Who Dares Grins Comedy Events present Steve Royle, Clayton Jones and Susan Murray, with the evening hosted by Bobby Murdock. Doors open 7.15pm for 8.15pm start. £8.

17th February, Wirral Wedding Fayre, Holiday Inn, Ellesmere Port Soak up the atmosphere at the Wirral Wedding Fayre, where there promises to be plenty in store to capture your imagination before your big day. Love will certainly be in the air during this afternoon of wedding shopping and planning, with up to 40 amazing wedding suppliers and friendly hotel staff. Noon-4pm. Free admission.

Learn to grow your own fruit and vegetables at Ness Botanic Gardens, every Thursday from 10th January to 28th February. You’ll learn everything you need to know to grow your own in containers or on an allotment, with talks, demonstrations and activities in the classroom and the gardens. The course costs £65 per person. Visit www. liverpool.ac.uk/ness-gardens.

Haven of health Hoping for a new you in the new year? Claremont Farm in Bebington has opened The Calm Yard, a haven of holistic therapies. For more, call 07967 608168 or visit www.claremontfarm.co.uk.

Discover a real soap opera Port Sunlight Museum near Bebington reopens for 2019 on 2nd January. The museum tells the story of William Lever and his vision in creating this beautiful garden village for workers at his Sunlight Soap factory. The displays explore how the village developed, from the working conditions in the factory to the charming architecture and lively social scene. The museum is packed with nostalgia, from vintage soap packaging to the story of Ringo Starr’s first performance with The Beatles, which took place in Port

A magical day at the farm •

23rd February, West Kirby Farmers’ Market, St Andrew’s Church Hall Visitors to this busy farmers’ market will be spoiled for choice, with vendors selling a selection or produce from unique local producers on the fourth Saturday of every month. Stalls include those selling both meat and veggie options, cheeses and yogurts, local vegetables, local fish, breads and patisserie, local fruit and fruit juices, honey, peanut butters and preserves, organics, patés, cakes and bakes, olives, coffee and chocolates, beers, pies and sausages, eggs and smoked foods. 9am-1pm.

Low season prices continue to apply at Church Farm in Thurstaston long after the Christmas rush, to keep familes entertained into the new year. Until 15th February, tickets cost just £3.50 for adults and £3 for children. Although there are no timetabled activities, tractor rides, crazy golf, feeding sessions or barrel rides on low-season days, there is plenty to do for all the family, such as visiting the animals, a pedal go-kart track, indoor sandpit, pedal tractors and more. For those who are tying the knot after Valentine’s Day, Church Farm is also a marriage and civil partnership-approved wedding venue. The beautiful lavender shed is available for outdoor civil ceremonies, offering the perfect backdrop to your perfect day. With stunning views over the River Dee, magical sunsets, friendly animals and tons of outdoor space, it’s a venue like no other. For further information, call 0151 648 7838 or visit www.churchfarmevents.co.uk.

Sunlight in 1962. The Selling Sunlight exhibition explores how William Lever made his soap company into a worldwide brand using innovative advertisements, eye-catching shop displays and novelty gifts to encourage brand loyalty from a young age. The museum is open daily from 10am to 5pm. Tickets cost £4.50 for adults and £3.25 for children. For more information, go DID YOU online to www.port KNOW? sunlight Port Sunlight village is home to .com. more than 900

Grade II listed buildings

Steadman’s animal magic for gallery’s 90th birthday Williamson Art Gallery & Museum, Birkenhead, is celebrating its 90th birthday by hosting an exhibition of Ralph Steadman’s illustrations and paintings from 4th to 27th January. The exhibition will include a massive 44-foot by 8-foot painting by the Wallasey-born artist, alongside works from his latest publication, Critical Critters. Steadman became widely known when he illustrated Hunter S Thompson’s Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas. He went on

to provide artwork for editions of poetry by Ted Hughes, Alice In Wonderland and George Orwell’s Animal Farm. The gallery is open from 10am to 5pm from Wednesday to Sunday. Visit www. williamsonartgallery. org for more.

36 SHIRE MAGAZINE | January/February 2019

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Celebrate stage and screen with Arts Alive


31st December, Children’s Cookery Celebration, Shropshire Hills Discovery Centre, Craven Arms Bring the children to celebrate the New Year with this handson cookery session of New Year’s Eves around the world. 1pm-2.30pm. £5.50 per accompanied four- to 11-year-old. Booking essential.


2nd January, Dawley Angling Society, The Elephant & Castle, Dawley The society meets from 7.30pm, normally on the first Wednesday of each month.

3rd January, Ministry of Kids Holiday Club, Scout Hut, Shifnal Jump into January at this holiday club, which offers amazing artwork, brilliant bushcraft, crazy cooking, dynamic designing, extraordinary exploring, fantastic friendships and groovy grub. From £29 for a full day (9.30am-5pm). Email info@ministryofkids.org.uk or call 07734 927074.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Marton Village Hall, 11th January A darkly comic drama from Academy Award nominee Martin McDonagh. After months have passed without a culprit in her daughter’s murder case, Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand) adorns three signs in town with a controversial message directed at the chief of police. 7.30pm. Tickets £4 adults, £2 children. Call 01938 580116 The Greatest Showman, various venues (see below for details) This musical extravaganza like no other tells the story

KNOW? of orphaned, I’m Not Running, The Greatest penniless yet SpArC Theatre, 31st ambitious January An explosive Showman cost Phineas T $84m to make and new play by David Barnum, who Hare, premiering at has grossed will always be the National Theatre $435m remembered as and broadcast live the man with to cinemas. Pauline the gift to effortlessly blur the Gibson is a doctor and line between reality and fiction. inspiring leader of a local health Kinnerley Parish Hall, 17th campaign. When she’s thrust January, 7.30pm (tickets £3.50 into Parliament, she crosses adults, £2 children; call 01691 paths with her old boyfriend, 682282); Loppington Village a stalwart in Labour Party Hall, 29th January, 7.30pm politics, and faces an agonising (tickets £4 adults; call 01939 decision. Can she really sacrifice 809236); Cardington Village her private life and peace of Hall, 6th February, 7.30pm mind? 7pm. Tickets £11. (tickets £4; call 01694 771295). www.sparctheatre.co.uk

Get lost in art and music at the Willow Gallery •

4th January, Whitchurch Friday Market This market has been operating for more than 60 years and takes place every Friday from 7.30am–12.30pm in the heart of Whitchurch, inside and outside the Civic Centre and Market Hall.

5th January, Miniature Nativity Exhibition, Millennium Community Centre, nr Newport Moreton, Outwoods and Bromstead celebrate Christmas with the theme ‘What Christmas Means To Me’. 10am-4pm. Free.

Affordable Art, until 12th January Featuring an inspiring and diverse selection of artwork by members of the Borderland Visual Arts. New Year Open 2019, 21st January-9th March This always interesting exhibition is open to applications.

Vera van Heeringen Trio, 26th January It’s unusual to find someone who’s as good a songwriter as they are an instrumentalist. Vera van Heeringen is that person. A consummate guitarist, she brings the instrument to life in way that is entirely her own. Vera also writes tunes and songs delivered straight from the heart. Firmly rooted in transatlantic traditions, her original contemporary Americana showcases both these skills: firebrand instrumental virtuosity and poignant, emotionally astute songwriting. Currently Vera

tours with an accomplished acoustic trio featuring harmony king Dave Luke on guitar, vocals and mandolin, and double-bass stalwart Andy Seward. 8pm. Tickets £10. Children £5. For more information, visit willowgalleryoswestry.org.

Learn about Quaker women in Ironbridge Gorge Hear a fascinating talk, Ahead Of Their Time: Inspiring Quaker Women by Averil Douglas Opperman, at Ironbridge Gorge Musuems on 4th January. Averil grew up in a Quaker family in Dublin and started her

writing career at the Irish Times. She now lives in the UK and continues to write on various subjects, including an awardwinning local history book. Before the talk there is the opportunity to explore Rosehill

House with Averil and senior curator Georgina Grant, before returning to the Engine Shop at the Museum of Iron for the lecture and Q and A. You can book your space on the tour when buying your lecture

ticket, which costs £9. See www.ironbridge.org.uk.

38 SHIRE MAGAZINE | January/February 2019

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Family tile decorating workshops at Jackfield

Sit back and enjoy at Festival Drayton Centre André Rieu New Year’s Concert, 12th-13th January Take a front seat for the King of Waltz André Rieu’s festive concert, recorded live in Sydney’s iconic Town Hall. With show tunes, classical music and plenty of festive fun, plus backstage access and interviews with André and his guests. 7pm (12th) and 3pm (13th). Tickets £18.50 (£17 Friends). Life Is Beautiful, 12th January In 1930s Italy, a carefree Jewish bookkeeper called Guido starts a fairytale life by courting and marrying a lovely woman from a nearby city. Guido and his wife have a son and live happily together until the occupation of Italy by German forces. In an attempt to hold his family together and help his son survive the horrors of a concentration camp, Guido imagines that the Holocaust is a game and that the grand prize for winning is a tank. 7pm. Tickets £4.50 adults, £3.50 Friends, £3 children.

1983 during the last two shows of the band’s Love Over Gold tour. The tour included hits from their albums to date, including Tunnel Of Love, Romeo & Juliet and Private Investigations, as well as many other fan favourites that didn’t make it on to the live Alchemy album itself. Here Dire Straits:UK play the concert in its entirety, with the attention to detail that you’ve come to expect from the tribute act. 7.30pm. Tickets £20. For more information on upcoming events and to book tickets, visit www.festivaldraytoncentre.com.

Dire Straits:UK The Alchemy Tour, 9th February Alchemy was Dire Straits’ first big live album, recorded at the Hammersmith Odeon in July

If you drop in to the Jackfield Tile Museum near Ironbridge from 2nd to 4th January you and your family can create your own ceramic tiles at fun and informal family tiledecorating workshops. The Victorian tube lining technique will be used to decorate the tiles, and activities will vary from day to day. The tiles cost from £5 per tile (plus postage and packaging to have your tile sent home after firing), in addition to the normal museum admission fee. The workshops run from 10am to 2.30pm, and you should allow up to 90 minutes to decorate your tile. For more information and to book tickets to this and other Ironbridge Gorge Museums, visit www.ironbridge.org.uk.

Something for everyone at Theatre Severn Ramin Karimloo, 19th January The accomplished West End and Broadway star performs his exciting new show, From Now On, with his acclaimed Broadgrass Band, revisiting celebrated songs from musical theatre in a sublime folk style. 7.30pm. Tickets £28.50. Sherlock Holmes: The Sign Of Four, 23rd-25th January Crammed full of adventure, romance, comedy and some rather brilliant deductions, The Sign Of Four is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s epic second Sherlock Holmes tale, a breathtaking yarn brought to life in this spectacular new stage adaptation. When Mary Morstan arrives at 221b Baker Street to request help with the mystery of her missing father, Holmes and Dr Watson unravel a complex plot involving murder, corruption and stolen jewels. 7.30pm, plus 2.30pm on Thursday. Tickets from £17. Sounds Of Wales, 26th January Returning to Shrewsbury by popular demand, the South Wales Male Choir (Côr Meibion De Cymru),

sing in support of Samaritans of Shrewsbury. This prestigious traditional male choir will perform a rich, varied and entertaining programme, and local poet Michael Carding will also recite some of his popular works. 7.30pm. Tickets from £17.50. Steve Knightley, 1st February As a longserving troubadour of the folk and acoustic music scene, master songwriter and storyteller Steve Knightley has spent much of his life on the road, collecting songs, stories, anecdotes and observations – with the odd disaster along the way. He is once again taking to Britain’s highways and byways to present Roadworks, a one-man show infused with wit, warmth and alchemy, illustrated by his songs of history, love and conscience. 8pm. Tickets £19.50. Stephen Bailey: Our Kid, 14th February Stand-up comedy star Stephen is back with his new show Our Kid, a story full of Northern warmth, some working-class guilt and a bit of blue. Stephen’s friendly brand of gossipy humour has made him one of Britain’s most exciting up-and-coming comedy acts. 7.30pm. Tickets £16. For more information on these and more upcoming events, and to book tickets, visit www.theatresevern.co.uk.

January/February 2019 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 39

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Music and drama at Ludlow Assembly Rooms

5th January, Motown Party Night, Casey’s Cordingley Hall, Telford A night celebrating the music of Motown, with live performances and a DJ. Doors open 7.30pm.

DID YOU KNOW? Thin Lizzy’s hit single Whiskey In The Jar was originally to be a B-side

Monty Python And The Holy Grail , 18th January The Pythons savage the legend of King Arthur, juxtaposing some excellently selected exterior locations with an unending stream of anachronistic one-liners, non sequiturs and slapstick set pieces. 7.30pm. Tickets £8, concessions £7.50.

and age. Streamed live to cinemas from the Globe Theatre, London. 3pm. Tickets £16.50.

The Winter’s Tale, 20th January Shakespeare’s great play of the irrational and inexplicable, illustrating how uncontrollable emotions can range across gender, country, class

Rachel Podger, 23rd February Violinist Rachel, a leading interpreter of the baroque and classical music, performs a recital of music for violin by JS Bach. This event is held at Henderson Hall, Moor Park. 7.30pm. Tickets £18.

Shrewsbury celebrates independent thinking with Darwin Festival Shrewsbury celebrates its links to Charles Darwin from 8th to 24th February with the DarwIN Shrewsbury Festival, designed to encourage the curiosity and independent thinking evident in the great man’s work. More than 30 events are taking place, from free guided tours to brainteasing lectures and the launch of a campaign to transform Darwin’s childhood home into an educational and visitor attraction. The festival cements Shrewsbury’s position as the birthplace of Darwin and also the inspiration behind his drive for discovery and innovative thinking, which changed society. For more information on the events programme, see the festival’s Facebook page.

Limehouse Lizzy, 9th February The Thin Lizzy tribute act enter their 25th year with their most explosive show and critically acclaimed line-up yet. This event is held in Oscars and is standing only. 8pm. Tickets £17.

For more information and to book tickets, visit www.ludlowassemblyrooms.co.uk.

Calling Oswestry’s musical youth This year’s Oswestry Youth Music Festival, which takes place from 27th February to 3rd March, promises to be bigger and better than ever, with more performers taking part and new exhibition classes on offer. Last year’s two exhibition classes – Organ Solo and Baroque Piano Solo – are now embedded in the programme and will this year be joined by French Chanson, Counter Tenor and Folk Artist. The adjudicators will be John Powell, Nadia Hinson and Christine Thompson, with Andrew Padmore adjudicating the finals concert on the Sunday. The closing date for entries is 18th January and all entries should arrive at the Guildhall no later than 1pm on that day. For more details, visit the festival’s Facebook page (search ‘Oswestry Youth Music Festival’).

5th January, Open Studio, Participate Contemporary Artspace, Shrewsbury With over 13 artists’ studios open to the public, this is the public’s opportunity to take a peek behind the scenes and meet the artists in their creative environment. 11am-5pm.

7th, 14th, 21st & 28th January, Frankwell Photography Club, In Good Hands Music Café, Shrewsbury All levels are welcome at this club, which meets every Monday. Come and discuss, learn, have a drink and take some pictures. 7pm.

10th January, ballroom and Latin beginner dance classes, Higher Heath Village Hall Put your dancing shoes on and learn a new skill. 7pm-9pm. £7.50. Call Theresa on 07530 100394.

11th January, Mustang, Birchmeadow Centre, Broseley Shown as part of Birchmeadow’s World Cinema series, this film was created by a trio of Turkish, French and German filmmakers and is set in a remote Turkish village where five orphaned sisters face growing up as girls in a society with some very narrow views. 7.30pm. £5.50.

40 SHIRE MAGAZINE | January/February 2019

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WHAT’S ON in JAN & FEB 19 Saturday 2nd February The Makers’ Market on the high street in the town centre, along with a complimentary craft market in the Civic Centre Main Hall.

Jamie’s Butchers and Deli offer a wide range of delicious local produce!

18th May 2019

Walking Festival 2019


For more information about Whitchurch, Shropshire and our great town, What’s On and more, visit www.whitchurch.info

• Agriculture • Animal Management • Equine • Independent Living

• Land & Wildlife Management • Motor Vehicle

Stagecoach Theatre Arts Schools are operated under franchise and are independently owned by their Principals. Stagecoach is a registered trademark of Stagecoach Theatre Arts Ltd.


For more information visit www.nsc.ac.uk or call 0800 440 2281

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• Hospitality & Catering • Independent Living • IT • Media • Plumbing • Sport ™ • TNS Football Scholarship • Travel & Tourism Courage For Life • Uniformed Public Services

Stagecoach Theatre Arts Schools are operated under franchise and are independently owned by their Principals. Stagecoach is a registered trademark of Stagecoach Theatre Arts Ltd.


Stagecoach Theatre Arts Schools are operated under franchise and are independently owned by their Principals. Stagecoach is a registered trademark of Stagecoach Theatre Arts Ltd.

Stagecoach Theatre Arts Schools are operated under franchise and are independently owned by their Principals. Stagecoach is a registered trademark of Stagecoach Theatre Arts Ltd.

Creative Courage For Life

• A Levels • Access to HE • Applied Science • Art • Business • Childcare • Electrical Installations • Hair & Beauty Creative • Health & Social Care

ch re Arts Theatre Schools Arts are Schools operated are operated under franchise under franchise and are independently and are independently owned by owned their Principals. by their Principals. ch gistered is a registered trademark trademark of Stagecoach of Stagecoach Theatre Arts Theatre Ltd.Arts Ltd.

Creative Courage For Life


COURSE GUIDE 2019/20 Stagecoach Theatre Arts Schools are operated under franchise and are independently owned by their Principals. Stagecoach is a registered trademark of Stagecoach Theatre Arts Ltd.

Wednesday 13th February Open Evening Oswestry Campus 5pm-8pm

Stagecoach Theatre Arts Schools are operated under franchise and are independently owned by their Principals. Stagecoach is a registered trademark of Stagecoach Theatre Arts Ltd.

01743 540123 or 07718892738

Saturday 9th February Open Day Walford Campus 10am-2pm

Stagecoach Theatre Arts Schools are operated under franchise and are independently owned by their Principals. Stagecoach is a registered trademark of Stagecoach Theatre Arts Ltd.

oswestry@stagecoach.co.uk 01743 540123 or 07718892738


Stagecoach Theatre Arts Schools are operated under franchise and are independently owned by their Principals. Stagecoach is a registered trademark of Stagecoach Theatre Arts Ltd.

Now on Saturday Now on Mornings Saturday Mornings

stagecoach.co.uk/oswestry oswestry@stagecoach.co.uk

Whitchurch Party in the Park Saturday 9th June in Jubilee Park, Whitchurch from 1pm to 7pm – music, food, drink and family fun.

A vast array of walks from history walks to railway rambles, booking is a must


Find out more today: stagecoach.co.uk/oswestry

Food & Drink Festival 2019

10th - 12th May 2019


Singing, dancing and acting classes for 4 - 18 year olds, where students learn to embrace life with creativity and courage

Over 18s ONLY - Supporting Midlands Air Ambulance

Dates to watch out for Spring & Summer 2019:

Bellis Brothers Farm Shop & Garden Centre, Holt, Wrexham, LL13 9YU T: 01829272030

Unlock your child’s potential with Stagecoach Performing Arts

Cattle Productions presents …. “Snow White & the 7 Ugly B*****ds

Buy tickets from www.ticketsource.co.uk

Call in and ‘meat’ our friendly butchers and see what delights are on offer

Oswestry and Shrewsbury Schools

16th February 2019

Creative Courage For Life ™


21/12/2018 16:33

The Thomas Adams School Wem, Shropshire

Academic excellence in a caring environment The Thomas Adams School incorporating Adams College (Sixth Form) and Adams House (Boarding for the School and College)

Please contact us to arrange an individual tour of the School or College

Thomas Adams School and Adams College, SY4 5UB For further information contact us on 01939 237000 or email enquiries@thomasadams.net

Adams House Boarding for Thomas Adams School and College

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Step into Adams House and you’ll instantly feel at home. Catering for boys and girls between 11 and 19 and with a capacity of up to 65 boarders, we’ve been welcoming students from the UK and across the world for many years

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For more information or to apply, please visit our website www.thomasadams.net/adams-house, email adamshouse@thomasadams.net or alternatively call us on 01939 233311

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Movie magic at Oswestry’s Kinokulture


12th January, Telford Stamp, Card & Coin Fair, Belmont Hall, Wellington Centre, Telford A wide range of stalls, free valuations, buy and sell, plus homemade refreshments. Free parking and admission. 9.30am3pm. Call 01299 211737.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald, 2nd-3rd January The powerful dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald ( Johnny Depp) is gathering followers. Albus Dumbledore ( Jude Law) enlists the help of Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne). 1.30pm/7.30pm. Tickets £7 adults, £5 children. Wildlife, 9th-10th January In small-town Montana, everything around 14-year-old Joe (Ed Oxenbould) seems to be going up in flames – literally, in some cases. A forest fire dominates the news, while things

between Joe’s mother (Carey Mulligan) and father ( Jake Gyllenhaal) are not OK. 7.30pm. Tickets £7 adults, £5 children.

Juliet, Naked, 16th-17th January Annie (Rose Byrne) is stuck in a long-term relationship with obsessive rock fan Duncan (Chris O’Dowd) – until escape beckons. Based on the novel by

12th January & 9th February, Craft Fair, Southwater Square, Telford A variety of quality, handmade items to purchase, ranging from woodwork to glasswork, jewellery to knitted. 10am-2pm. Free admission.

Nick Hornby. 7.30pm. Tickets £7 adults, £5 children.

NT Live: The Tragedy Of King Richard The Second, 14th February Simon Russell Beale is Shakespeare’s Richard II in this production broadcast live from the Almeida Theatre, London. 7pm. Tickets £12 adults, £10 children. For details and to book tickets, visit www.kinokulture.org.uk.

Remembering World War One

15th January, afternoon film show, Birchmeadow Centre, Broseley Enjoy a film with a break to enjoy tea or coffee and chat. 2.30pm-5pm.

25th January, Artisan Market, Oswestry This monthly market takes place on the last Friday of every month, selling the best in local produce such as pies, pastries, meat, fish, cheeses and cakes plus some crafts.

war. Many of these events continue into 2019, including three at Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery. Open Art Exhibition, until January Shropshire-based artists’ responses to the themes of Wilfred Owen’s poetry using different media.

To mark 100 years since the end of the First World War, communities across Fracture, until 19th Shropshire have been January This exhibition working together celebrates the story to deliver a DID YOU of Sir Robert programme of Jones and Dame commemorative KNOW? Agnes Hunt and and educational Poet Wilfred their pioneering events to Owen was born practices that were honour and used to save the remember the in Oswestry lives and minds of lives of those in 1898 thousands during who served in and the First World War, were affected by the

paving the way for radical changes in wound treatment. Strange Meeting, until 25th January Immerse yourself in intriguing visual interpretations of quotes from 14 Owen poems. For information, visit www. shrewsburymuseum.org.uk.

25th January, The Holocaust & Human Nature, Ludlow Mascall Centre A lecture by Revd Dr Chris Moore as part of Ludlow’s adultlearning programme covering theology, social issues and the arts. 10am–noon. £8.

2nd February, The Makers’ Market, High Street, Whitchurch This market takes place on the first Saturday of every month, except January, and is packed with artisan crafts and homemade producers, showcasing items and tasty food from the area. 10am-4pm.

Book your place at Tattoo Freeze Tattoo Freeze returns to Telford on 2nd and 3rd February, and you can now get two days of tattooing and entertainment at the International Convention Centre for the price of one. More than 200 tattoo artists will be working Tattoo Freeze. Some artists will be working on a walk-up basis, but to avoid

disappointment, make sure you book an appointment with your favourite artist – visit the website below and click on your chosen artist to send an enquiry. Tattoo Freeze is open from 10am to 8pm on Saturday and 10am to 6pm on Sunday. Weekend passes cost £17 in advance. For more information

and to book tickets, visit www.tattoofreeze.com. If you would like to enquire about working at the event, email artists@tattoofreeze.com. January/February 2019 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 43

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Respect and wrestling at The Place Oakengates

Magic and music at Theatre On The Steps Aladdin, 5th-26th January Join Aladdin, the Princess, Widow Twankey, Abanazer and the rest of the Theatre On The Steps cast for a fantastic traditional pantomime full of songs, dancing and hilarity from start to finish. Suitable for all the family. Times vary. Tickets from £9 for groups. The Commander Of Magic, 9th February The international magician combines great knowledge, showmanship and skill in his show, The Dangers Of Deception, which explores the late Victorian period of magical history and plays with some daring and dangerous illusions that will keep you on the edge of your seats. The performance is suitable for all ages but does deal with themes surrounding the deceased. 7.30pm.Tickets £15.

Attingham Park antics Jog Off Your Jumper, 5th January Give your Christmas jumper one last outing at a one-mile family fun run. Registration opens from 10am and the run starts at 11am. Booking is essential. Tickets £5 adults, £4 children. Members free. Introduction To Stargazing, 8th February Ever wanted to know the difference between a stargazer and an astronomer or wondered how big the universe is? This evening of talks and telescopes, from 7pm to 9.30pm, is for you. Tickets cost £8. Call 0344 249 1895. Lantern Lit Procession, 23rd February Bring your lantern and join the procession through the Attingham woodland from 6.30pm.Tickets are £4 for adults and £2 for children. For more details, visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk.

Darkside The Pink Floyd Show, 15th-16th & 22nd-23rd February Back at what the tribute band consider to be their ‘home’ venue, Darkside will provide a veritable Pink Floyd fest over two weekends at this wonderful intimate theatre. The Friday shows will have an emphasis on the 1970s Floyd albums, including The Dark Side Of The Moon in full, and feature the outstanding Cariss Auburn. The Saturday performances will be a selection of favourites from the band’s back catalogue. If you have a particular favourite, drop the band a message via their website and they’ll endeavour to include it! 8pm. Tickets from £18. For more information and to book tickets, visit www.theatreonthesteps.co.uk.

RAF Cosford turns 80 RAF Cosford was formally opened on 15th July 1938 and since that time hundreds of thousands of RAF personnel have been trained at the station. An exhibition, Cosford At 80, is on display in Hangar 1 until 28th February, looking at the history of some of the units currently based at the station, as well as some of the more less well known DID YOU elements of Cosford’s KNOW? history, such Operation Operation Exodus Exodus, the repatriation repatriated an of military personnel from incredible 354,000 prisoner-of-war camps. prisoners For more details, visit of war www.rafmuseum.org.uk.

Regimental talks at the castle Shropshire Regimental Museum’s latest talk at Shrewsbury Castle, German Prisoners Of War In Britain: 1945-1948 by Professor Dieter Steinert, takes place on 5th January at 7.30pm, with drinks from 7pm. Tickets cost £10 (£7 for Friends). To book your place, visit www.shropshireregimental museum.co.uk or email curator @shropshire regimental museum.co.uk.

Robin Hood & The Revolting Peasants, 11th January Join Robin, Little John and Maid Marion as they take on a conniving king, a sinister sheriff and downtrodden peasants. Can the merry band teach the baddies a lesson? The villagers to revolt? The world to sing? 7.30pm. Tickets £15 adults, £13 children.

Aretha: Respect, 25th January A celebration of the life and music of the great female soul vocalist, performed by Janine Johnson, whose outstanding voice has led to collaborations with George Michael, Take That, The Who and more. 7.30pm. Tickets £22.50.

Showaddywaddy, 9th February A dynamic and uplifting live show featuring the band’s biggest hits. 7.30pm. Tickets £26.50. All Star Superslam Wrestling, 15th February Larger-thanlife characters from all corners of the world do battle inside the ring with heavyweight collisions and jaw-dropping high-flying action. 7.30pm. Tickets £15.50. www.theplacetelford.com

44 SHIRE MAGAZINE | January/February 2019

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Delights from Shropshire Music Trust


7th February, Sam Lewis, Henry Tudor House, Shrewsbury Rich soulful vocals, well-crafted songs, roots country and blue-eyed soul. 8pm. Tickets £12.

9th February, Identifying Trees In Winter, Chirk Castle Join James, who has worked with trees for many years, including managing the largest community woodland in Wales to introducing children to the wonder of woods with his forest school. 10am-3pm. £30. Call 07876 794098.

Quintets At Dusk: Innovation Ensemble, 20th January, Lion Hotel, Shrewsbury The fine musicians return to the splendid setting of the Adams Ballroom with two Austrian gems by Bruckner and Mozart. The group was initially put together by the late Peter Cropper, and they now perform in his memory. 6pm. Tickets £17 adults, £8 under-26s, £1 under-19s. Song Recital: James Gilchrist & Chris Symons, 8th February, The Gateway, Shrewsbury James Gilchrist, one of the UK’s most acclaimed tenors, and pianist Christopher Symons present an evening of German and English pastoral music, including three song-cycles:

DID YOU KNOW? The Shropshire Music Trust’s first season was in 1983-84

Robert Schumann’s Dichterliebe, Gerald Finzi’s Till Earth Outwears and George Butterworth’s setting of AE Housman’s A Shropshire Lad. Various songs by Schubert and English composers complete the programme. Performance 7.30pm; join Chris and James for a talk from 6.45pm and for drinks afterwards. Tickets £15 adults, £7.50 under-26s, £1 under-19s. A4 Brass Quartet, 15th February, Wem Town Hall A young chamber ensemble made up of principal players from some of the UK’s top brass bands, with a unique blend of cornet, tenor horn, baritone and euphonium. 7.30pm. Tickets £10 adults, £5 under-26s, £1 under-19s. For more, visit www.shropshiremusictrust.co.uk.

17th February, Beth Rowley, Henry Tudor House, Shrewsbury After the release of her critically acclaimed second album, Gota Fría, British singer Beth Rowley is embarking on an intimate tour of the UK. 8pm. Tickets £12.

Learn about the stars at Blists Hill

Festivities continue on Severn Valley Railway

Learn all about the Victorians’ love of astronomy at Blists Hill Victorian Town near Ironbridge from 16th to 24th February. During the half-term break, you can discover more about how people worked to unravel the mysteries of the solar system in the 19th century. Follow an astronomers’ trail and make a space-themed piece of enamel jewellery at a family drop-in workshop. You can also take part in fun candledipping sessions in the Goods Shed, chat to the townsfolk in their cottages, shops and places of work, take a ride in a horse and cart, tuck into traditional fish and chips at the Fish Fryers, or pop into the New Inn for some tasty refreshments. Blists Hill is open Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 4pm. Tickets are £19.75 adults and £12 children. For further information, call 01952 433424 or visit www.ironbridge.org.uk.

Let the Christmas festivities continue with a leisurely steam train journey through the beautiful Severn Valley, hopefully with a sprinkling of snow. Steam trains operate between Kidderminster and Bridgnorth from 26th December to 6th January. The Engine House, the visitor centre at Highley, is also open throughout this period and makes an ideal point to break your journey. If you’re looking to give a special someone a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious gift in the new year, or are a fan of Mary Poppins yourself, book tickets for the Practically Perfect Afternoon Tea on 3rd to 5th January, with onboard treats including finger sandwiches, savoury treats and sweet fancies. Departures are available from Kidderminster at 2pm and from Bridgnorth at 3.40pm. For more information or to book tickets, visit www. svr.co.uk.

•20th-24th February, Bishop’s Castle Arts Festival

A packed week of events, including music, literature and art, workshops, talks, brewery tours and exhibitions at venues throughout the town. Call 01588 630200. Saturday 2rd March 2019 •Theatre Severn, Frankwell,

Shrewsbury, at 7.30pm This will be the 33rd ‘Last Night of the Proms’ themed concert presented by The West Shrewsbury Hospice Support Group to raise funds for The Severn Hospice, Shrewsbury. The programme will include a selection of light music and will conclude with the favourite Proms pieces of Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance, Fantasia on British Sea Songs by Sir Henry Wood and Hubert Parry’s Jerusalem. Tickets will be available from Theatre Severn Box Office, call 01743 281281 nearer the date.

46 SHIRE MAGAZINE | January/February 2019

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David and Vel ‘We like the old buildings – it’s a quaint town with lots of character. We’re from Wrexham and like to come here quite often and spend the day walking.’

Whitchurch Where past and present meet

Easily accessible from three counties, Whitchurch is one of Shropshire’s most enduringly popular towns with visitors and residents alike


Images: Copyright Shropshire Tourism UK Ltd

hropshire isn’t short of market towns, but one of the most popular – which boasts a thriving local community and a steady trade of passing tourists – is Whitchurch, two miles east of Wales and close to the Cheshire border too. It’s central location is one of its main appeals, as it’s easily reached by road from Shrewsbury, Chester and Wrexham, and has excellent train links and JB Joyce clock its own arm of the in the Bullring Llangollen Canal. Today’s residents enjoy a bustling town centre with a

wealth of local amenities, good schools and a stock of housing that spans many periods.

Proud past

The earliest mentions of Whitchurch are found in the Domesday Book. It is St Alkmund’s Church the oldest continuously Llangollen Canal. Further afield inhabited town in are historic houses, beautiful Shropshire and is gardens and wildlife sites. thought to be Whitchurch town named for a DID YOU KNOW? centre is home to a ‘white church’ Whitchurch is wealth of independent built during twinned with shops, cafes, bars and the Norman Neufchâtel-enrestaurants. It also period. Bray, France hosts a weekly country The area market, a monthly farmer’s has had a long market and offers an array of association with military traditional and modern pubs. history. Whitchurch Cemetery includes 91 Commonwealth War Graves Commission burials – 24 are from the First World War and 67 from the Second World War, 52 of which are Polish or Czechoslovak.

Outdoor appeal

Housing spans many periods

Jane, Headway UK ‘I like Whitchurch because it’s a nice market town and you can go for great walks on the canal, straight out of the town centre. There’s also a lot of history here, including the Roman wall.’

For those who enjoy getting out and about, Whitchurch has a lot to offer. The Land’s End to John O’Groats cycle route passes through the town and walkers can enjoy the Whitchurch Waterways Country Park, the last stage of the Sandstone Trail, and the towpath along the

Chloe ‘I opened my florist shop White Wysteria in Whitchurch 18 months ago and the people here have been very nice. Whitchurch has that old-town traditional feel I like.’

Barry ‘Whitchurch is a nice little town and there’s always things on at the Civic Centre, like shows, the market on Fridays and charity events.’

THINGS TO SEE AND DO Greenfields Nature Reserve shropshirewildlifetrust.org.uk/ nature-reserves/greenfields Whitchurch Heritage Centre www.whitchurch-heritage.co.uk Whitchurch Waterways Country Park www.whitchurchwaterway.uk

Christine, Headway UK ‘I’m from Telford and I just find the people here really friendly. It’s quiet and peaceful, not at all like a big city, and everybody seems to know everybody! Everyone says hello and I feel safe here.’

January/February 2019 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 47

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Abigail’s Party, New Alexandra Theatre, 21st-26th January Mike Leigh’s play is one of Britain’s most celebrated comedies. As tensions rise and tempers flare, the sheen of respectability is torn away by the warring couples with hilarious and potentially disastrous consequences.

Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake, Birmingham Hippodrome, 5th-16th February Swan Lake returns with a fresh look for the 21st century. Retaining iconic elements of the original production that is loved by millions, this is an exciting reimagining of Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece.

Toy Collectors’ Fair, Birmingham NEC, until 10th February Britain’s biggest toy collectors’ fair gives visitors the chance to explore more than 500 stalls packed with all kinds of collectable toys, from trains and models to TV and film-related memorabilia.


Jersey Boys: The Story Of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, Wales Millennium Centre, 16th-26th January Jersey Boys tells the true story of four boys from the wrong side of the tracks who wrote their own songs, invented their own unique sound and sold 175 million records worldwide.

Boyzone, Motorpoint Arena, 20th January-4th February After six UK number-one singles, five number-one albums and 25 years together, Boyzone visit Cardiff as part of their 25th anniversary and farewell tour of their final album, Thank You & Goodnight.

Wales v England, Principality Stadium, 23rd February The third round of what is set to be an exciting 2019 Six Nations Championship sees Wales play their first home game of the campaign against England, who have won the last two encounters between the pair.


Strictly Come Dancing: The Live Tour, Liverpool Echo Arena, 29th January Stacey, Aljaž, Dr Ranj, Janette, Joe and Dianne don their dancing shoes and join tour host Ore Oduba and the judging panel of Craig Revel Horwood, Dame Darcey Bussell, Shirley Ballas and Bruno Tonioli.

Madagascar The Musical, Liverpool Empire Theatre, 5th-9th February Join Alex, Marty, Melman and Gloria as they bound out of the zoo and on to the stage. Watch as the friends escape from their home in New York’s Central Park Zoo and find themselves on an unexpected journey.

The Cat In The Hat, Playhouse Theatre, 12th-16th February When the Cat In The Hat steps on to the mat, Sally and her brother are in for a rollercoaster ride of havoc and mayhem! The Cat rescues them from a dull rainy day, but what mischief do they get up to along the way?



Saturday Night Fever, Palace Theatre Manchester, 22nd-26th January Created to mark the 40 years since the film version’s UK cinema release, this spectacularly reimagined new music and dance extravaganza plays homage to the John Travolta classic.

Annie, Opera House Manchester, 2nd-16th February In 1930s New York, brave young Annie is forced to live a life of misery and torment at Miss Hannigan’s orphanage until her luck changes and she is chosen to spend Christmas at the residence of a famous billionaire.

Professor Brian Cox: Universal World Tour, Manchester Arena, 9th February Having set records with his previous tour, Professor Brian Cox is heading back out on the road with a new show that takes audiences to the edge of our current understanding about the solar system and universe.

48 SHIRE MAGAZINE | January/February 2019

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Villagers Theatr Bryn Terfel 26 Chwefror | February 8pm £20

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Theatr Bryn Terfel 15 Mawrth | March 8pm


Mid Wales Opera:


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National Dance Company Wales:

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Theatr Bryn Terfel 19 Mawrth | March 7.15pm

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Wanna have fun?



Eighties pop icon Cyndi Lauper talks to Shire about her musical career, living with fame and how she came to write the songs for Kinky Boots, which visits north Wales this February


t 65, Cyndi Lauper has launched a new leg of her already dazzling career and branched into musical theatre with Kinky Boots, a show that stormed Broadway and the West End before embarking on its current UK tour. Having been catapulted to stardom with hits such as Girls Just Wanna Have Fun and Time After Time, the punky popstar decided to take a bold leap – the result of which is Kinky Boots, a musical mega-hit with songs written by Cyndi that has won six Tony Awards, three Olivier Awards, the London Evening Standard Radio 2 Audience Award and three WhatsOnStage Awards. Not bad for someone who had never written for theatre before. ‘What I was really taken with was that the community

accepted me,’ Cyndi says, five years after the musical’s launch. ‘To have these people, who are literally in my own backyard on Broadway, take you in was what kinda got me.’ Aptly enough, acceptance is the take-home message of Kinky Boots. ‘Accept yourself and you’ll accept others,’ says Cyndi. ‘It’s a very important show at this time in the world.’

If the shoe fits The show is loosely inspired by the story of a family firm of Northampton shoe manufacturers that was about to go under only to discover a new niche in the market: ladies’ footwear for men. The tour began at Royal & Derngate in Northampton, the quiet town in middle England where it all began, but Cyndi

counsels against thinking of Kinky Boots as a specifically English show. ‘It’s a story about a really great friendship and two very opposite people, and there’s a great redemption in the end,’ she says. ‘I’m a sucker for redemption.’ Perhaps there has been some redemption for Cyndi too. She was a huge star in the 1980s but, as happened with all her contemporaries bar Madonna, gradually slipped from the top of the charts. She was thinking about creating a musical about her upbringing in the New York borough of Queens when she received a call from her friend and actor Harvey Fierstein, asking if she’d like to write the music for Kinky Boots.

Music on the move Cyndi set about composing anywhere and everywhere. ‘I brought my phone along with me and I recorded melodies on it. I belonged to a gym where they had a track on a roof, and I would walk and sing and write. When I woke up in the middle of the night, I picked up my iPhone.’ The product of four years’ development is a string of catchy numbers, from wigout dance anthems to heartstopping ballads. Ideas came from surprising sources and Cyndi didn’t really think about writing for specifically English

characters. ‘When England started doing pop music, it sounded like American music,’ she says. ‘Their translation of Duane Eddy and the Everly Brothers and Chuck Berry was the Mersey Beat. It was different but still based on rhythm and blues. It wasn’t like Harvey asked me to write some foreign stuff. You’re not going to ask me to write an opera. I don’t study opera.’ At the Tony Awards in 2013, Kinky Boots found itself up against Matilda The Musical, with words by Tim Minchin, which was considered the favourite to win. ‘I was constantly asking Harvey if it was a hit and he was saying, “I don’t know yet, Cyn. We have to win Best Musical.” So when it won Best Musical, I said, “Is it a hit now?”’ There’s only one way to find out – catch Kinky Boots at Venue Cymru in Llandudno from 11th to 16th February.

January/February 2019 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 51

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Discover what Shire’s team thought of the concerts, live events and theatre they’ve seen over the past couple of months at local venues MOTHER GOOSE, THEATRE SEVERN, UNTIL 6TH JANUARY (SO GOOD IT HAS TWO REVIEWS!) REVIEW 1 The team behind this year’s pantomime at Theatre Severn in Shrewsbury have outdone themselves – 2018’s Mother Goose is their best yet. Directed by and starring Brad Fitt, who returns as the dame, this year’s offering has some truly egg-cellent special effects. Visually, the panto is a showstopper with a sparkly, colour-changing set, and costumes with no expense


Wishee Washee and Widow Twankey kept the jokes coming – including plenty of risqué comments that went straight over the heads of the youngsters. Aladdin and the beautiful Princess Jasmine were superbly harmonious in their singing, dancing and acting. Abanazer’s evil plans and thieving of the magic lamp were ‘golden’ moments of naughtiness. With colourful costumes and creative staging (especially the lamp genie), Aladdin was a truly enjoyable production. TY For info call 01244 341296

Mark Carline

Tip Top Productions’ traditional family panto Aladdin entertained us with lots of laughter and superbly performed modern songs and dance. A minimal cast of six (plus eight young dancers) took us with them on their journey from Peking to Chester with plenty of mentions of local towns, banter and a showering of the audience with water pistols.

spared – there’s silk, glitz and glamour! There are also all the gags we’ve come to expect from pantomimes. The script lets us see a different, softer side to the Mother Goose we have come to know and love. She reminds us to love ourselves (and others) for who we are on the inside – and there just simply can’t be a better a dame in panto land. Brad is simply priceless, never missing a beat and delivering every line with aplomb in his tour de force performance. As well as lots of audience participation, there’s plenty you won’t expect too! Everyone should make the Shrewsbury panto part of their festive plans. But with tickets already nearly sold out and smashing all previous box office records, you might need to get your tickets now for 2019’s Aladdin! CB

REVIEW 2 who lays golden eggs comes A cracking time was had into her life. Mother Goose by all at Theatre Severn’s becomes rich but craves production of Mother beauty, opening a salon and Goose, starring Shropshire’s eventually agreeing to sell favourite panto dame her beloved goose to Vanity Brad Fitt, who celebrates in return for youth and good his 500th appearance looks (cue plenty of booing). on the Shrewsbury Mother Goose soon realises stage during the run. that beauty is only skin deep Evolution Productions’ and the gang set out to panto is a wonderful blend save their beloved goose. of old favourites – including New for 2018 is a stunning familiar actors and gags – and scary 3D scene – cue shrieks innovative new material that from children and adults alike keeps the show when a grabbing fresh and current. hand and spiders ‘A wonderful Alongside Brad appear right in front blend of old as Mother Goose, of audience’s faces! favourites and the panto stars Never mind ‘he’s innovative Matt Dallen and behind you’ – it was new material Victoria McCabe very much in front of that keeps the as her offspring us! And of course it show fresh’ Billy and Jill Goose, wouldn’t be the same BBC Shropshire without the good old presenter Eric Smith as Squire ‘you don’t get that at a Telford Squashem and Matt Daines panto’ banter. EW as villain Demon Vanity. For tickets and more Mother Goose doesn’t information go to have enough money to pay www.theatresevern.co.uk her rent until a giant goose or call 01743 281281

ALADDIN, THE FLORAL PAVILION, NEW BRIGHTON (UNTIL 6TH JANUARY) Aladdin at the Floral Pavilion was a fun-packed and fastpaced show – a traditional storyline with plenty of current gags and local references to keep it moving at the laugh-a-minute rate we have come to expect from the Floral regulars. This year’s stand-out performances came from Andrew Agnew as Wishee Washee, who also directed the pantomime, and Bill Ward as evil Abanazar – a far cry from his previous soap star existences in both Corrie and Emmerdale. These two, along with Michael Chance in the classic dame’s role of Widow Twankey, shone and were supported by a great cast of singers, dancers and performers as they entertained the audience throughout – even encouraging a singalong

of that most annoying of hits, Baby Shark! There were plenty of giggles for the kids and sniggers for the parents, and all packaged in the comforting familiarity of one of Britain’s best festive traditions. Panto perfection. KS For information call 0151 666 0000

52 SHIRE MAGAZINE | January/February 2019

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REVIEWS BLOOD BROTHERS, THE FLORAL PAVILION, NEW BRIGHTON A few decades have passed but the messages in Willy Russell’s powerful musical drama are as relevant today as they were when it was written 35 years ago. It spells out the divisions between poverty and wealth in enough startling clarity to affect even the most hardhearted of theatre-goers. Strong performances from Linzi Hateley as Mrs Johnstone and Sean Jones as Mickey delivered laughs and emotional moments aplenty. It was hard to believe that the same actor plays Mickey both as an energetic child as the play opens and as a broken adult. Another highlight was Robbie Scotcher as the narrator-


The current touring stage version of Calendar Girls is very much an emotional rollercoaster. Moments of vulnerability and sadness mix well with laugh-out-loud humour, and there’s a standout performance from Ruth Madoc as the retired teacher whose life is turned upside down in unexpected ways.

cum-conscience, leading the audience and characters through the non-stop action to an ultimately tragic end. It was no surprise that this moving and dramatic production closed its curtains to a standing ovation. KS


A slowish but endearing first half gives way to a much higher-tempo second half, as the success of the women’s nude charity calendar exceeds all expectations. All the characters play their parts with gusto, especially when performing the witty and at times heart-breaking songs. The story draws you into the inner lives of the characters. But the undoubted highlight is the hilarious photoshoot, brilliantly staged and reminiscent of a typical English farce, with enough flesh exposed to feel somewhat risqué without becoming exploitative. The story is well told and the message is charming. Many left the theatre beaming after being thoroughly entertained. GF

LAURA SNOWDEN, MARKET DRAYTON FESTIVAL CENTRE Classical guitarist Laura Snowden brought star quality to the inaugural concert of a new music series at the Festival Centre. I have rarely heard such a powerful blend of sensitivity and bravura. She held her audience spellbound. Laura opened with A Fancy by John Dowland, playing with an exquisite light touch, then went straight into five Preludes by the Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos. It was bold programming that swept the audience into the emotionally intense world of the Rio barrios. Laura’s second major piece was Bach’s third Cello Suite,

and she also played two of her own compositions: L’Etoile Et La Rose, inspired by the story of The Little Prince, and Anpao, named after the Sioux God of the Dawn. Both had an ethereal quality: mysterious and hauntingly beautiful. With moments of subtle humming, which blended with the guitar’s harmonics, it truly seemed that the guitar sang. I could say the same for the entire recital. JH

It’s been Christmas every day since 1st November at Abbey Cwm Hir Hall near Llandrindod Wells. The festive tour takes in each of the 52 rooms, all individually decorated. Christmas crackers and presents, wrapped by Victoria Humpherston for her family, are on display in the Snooker Room. With her natural flair for design, Victoria has literally decked the hall with a sumptuous array. The tour includes a Christmas tree featuring 77 Royal Doulton figurines and a detailed collections of historic paintings, enamel signs and impressive iron and black marble fireplaces – as well as an 80-year-old original ventriloquist’s dummy. The hall will be decorated until 6th January. SW To book call 01597 851727 or email info@abbeycwmhir.com


Lizzie Nunnery’s new play is inspired by the story of Irish writer and activist Francis Sheehy-Skeffington, who was killed by the British military during the Easter Rising in Dublin in 1916. Nunnery uses original songs to deepen the emotional heft of the story. Fusing simple percussion and strings creates an Irish folk sound, and the lyrics are rich in historical detail. Themes of national identity and the legacy of military action provide a backdrop, but it’s the individual stories that hit home, particularly those of Frank (Gerard Kearns) and his widow Hanna (Elinor Lawless). The fourperson cast received a welldeserved standing ovation for their efforts. CB

CHRISTMAS LIGHT SWITCH-ON, FRODSHAM Thousands turned out in the beautiful market town of Frodsham for the annual Christmas light switch-on. The main high street was closed to await the arrival of the Christmas parade and Santa Claus himself. The festivities started early with market stalls selling mulled wine, an area to meet the reindeer, and many other Christmas treats. A firework signalled the switch-on of the Christmas tree lights and the fairy lights draped from lamppost to lamppost along the high street. The parade began with Santa Claus riding along the main street on his sleigh with the reindeer trotting alongside! Santa waved and greeted many excited children. Several local primary schools took part in the parade, with pupils looking delighted to be singing carols on wonderfully decorated Christmas floats. Frodsham Manor House School, Weaver Vale School and Kingsley Primary School were just a few that took part in the parade. The evening was magical and it’s worth a visit next year to join in the joyous festivities! JHB

IfIf you you have a show in show Wales happening and the Borders, anywherewe in can Wales send and the a reviewer Borders,–we and can your send show a reviewer can appear – and your under show thecan spotlight appear under on these the pages spotlight too! onEmail thesethe details pages too! to editorial@ Email shiremagazine.co.uk. details to editorial@ We shiremagazine.co.uk look forward to hearing from you!

January/February 2019 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 53

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Try something

new for

you Time to learn a language?


ith Christmas behind us and the new year full of promise, now is the perfect time to re-evaluate your life and create the perfect opportunity to try something new. Whether you want to learn a language or get involved in a local drama group, now’s the time to sign yourself up for a new pursuit! So over the next few pages, the Shire team have a few suggestions for hobbies that might inspire you to try something creative, crafty or choral. Don’t put it off any longer – make your new year’s resolution now and pick up a pastime! 54 SHIRE MAGAZINE | January/February 2019

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There are many types of choir

Singing exercises your heart and lungs

Winning when you’re singing One hobby that has enjoyed a recent boost to numbers, possibly thanks to television series that have promoted the pastime, is singing. With everything from choral societies to rock choirs and traditional male voice groups available, 2019 could be the year you find your voice


t’s a commonly held belief that you simply can or can’t sing. But if recent television hits such as The Choir have shown us anything, it’s that we can all find our voice with the right instruction. Could it be time to try singing as your new hobby?

Vocal enthusiasts In our area, it is hard not to acknowledge the impact and heritage of male voice choirs. While some perform at Eisteddfod and other occasions, many simply sing for the enjoyment of it. One popular group with a 40-year history is the Flint Male Voice Choir, which has over 60 male members, mostly retired or semi-retired. According to committee member Les Lloyd, ‘you’d be hard pushed to find a friendlier bunch of fellas!’

Les adds: ‘We have lost a few members in the past year unfortunately, so we’re looking for new recruits. We meet for rehearsals twice a week and as a charity we raise thousands of pounds every year for good causes. Our rehearsals teach all aspects of singing, so no experience is necessary, and you don’t have to speak Welsh or even be Welsh!’

DID YOU KNOW? Wales’ national anthem was the first to be sung at a sports match

health benefits of signing,’ says Les. ‘It exercises your heart and lungs, and releases endorphins that make you feel good. If this is the kind of thing you think you would enjoy, please do come along.’ For more visit www. flintmalevoicechoir.co.uk

Feelgood factor The choir has a fully booked concert calendar for the next two years; they’ve made appearances in film and on TV and have even travelled internationally to perform. ‘Studies have shown the January/February 2019 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 55

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crafty? DID YOU KNOW? The Afonwen Centre is a former paper mill dating back to 1786

Inspired by craft-based TV shows? The new year is the perfect time to give it a try

These days people are rediscovering the joy and fulfilment of creating something with their own hands. And who better to give us insights into the hot trends and topics on the craft scene than Shire’s own resident craft columnist Janet Dallolio?


raft and artistic pastimes are right on trend at the moment,’ says Janet. ‘Making something from scratch appeals to people because it gives them a different focus amid the busy lives we all lead. There’s also is a good market for buying handmade things – people love something that’s a one-off piece. Not everyone wants high-street goods; it’s good to show your style through individualistic decoration and furnishing choices.’ Janet, who operates a range of workshops at Afonwen Craft & Antique Centre, welcomes a range of visiting artists to the centre daily. ‘We have all sorts of artists from jewellers to people doing stitch work, a lady who paints on silk, a man who hand-weaves and a wonderful illustrator. It’s great to see these skills being used and many of our visitors will come and chat about how to get into the craft or expand their knowledge.’

Followers of fashion

Crafting is fun for all the family

TV shows such as The Great British Sewing Bee and Kirstie Allsopp’s Handmade Britain and Fill Your House For Free have inspired the public to have a go at crafting. YouTube is

also a hugely useful resource for researching anything and everything, especially if you are just starting out. But the best way to learn is an interactive lesson, which boosts both the enjoyment and the social side of crafting. ‘Many crafts and creative pursuits will take you away from your normal daily goingson, and many of us need that escape,’ says Janet. ‘Others enjoy being creative to give them a direction and it allows people to fill many hours of time with enjoyment. It gives you a better balance in life.’

Have-a-go heroes Janet believes everyone can enjoy some kind of creative pursuit. ‘We’re not all the same so it’s best to choose something that suits you. Maybe woodwork is your thing, or maybe it’s stitch work or making jewellery. Whatever it is, do a little research – find someone who is doing that craft and go and see their work, look up classes and search YouTube. You don’t need to start out in a big way but give it a go and I think you’ll enjoy yourself immensely.’ For more visit www.afonwen.co.uk

56 SHIRE MAGAZINE | January/February 2019

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Bring out the

brushes… M

any of us like to draw or just doodle in our spare time. So, in 2019, why not take it further and embrace your creative talents? You may find that you have an inner artist just waiting to be released – could it even become a life-changing activity for you?

Picture perfect

it’s a fab new hobby for me. I’ve already had my first commission as well!’ For more information, visit www. hadleyparkwhitchurch.com/art-holidays.

Fresher furniture Picking up a paintbrush can be practical as well as therapeutic, and many people have seen the appeal in upcycling their furniture with a fresh lick of paint. It’s an affordable and fun way to freshen up your home, but if you’re not sure where to start you could sign up for a course with an expert like Charlotte McAdams of Charlotte’s Country Commissions. ‘We run a Paint Your Own Piece furniture workshop for anyone who has ever fancied painting or upcycling their own furniture,’ Charlotte says. ‘It’s a funfilled furniture painting course suitable for beginners to advanced.’ With many years’ experience of furniture painting and decorative techniques, she can help you transform an old piece of furniture into something new. For more details, visit www.furniturepainting services.co.uk.

‘Mike learned to paint at Hadley Park and it released a creative side he never knew he had’

Are you a complete beginner? At Hadley Park in Whitchurch, tutor Adele Benoit welcomes novices and improvers alike to a range of classes from watercolour to etching, oil painting to screen printing. Some are one-day courses while others span three days and include camping in an on-site pod so the level of commitment is up to you. Mike Jenkinson-Deakin recently started learning to paint at Hadley Park and found it released a creative side he never even knew he had. He always liked the idea of painting, but didn’t know where to start. He signed up for three watercolour classes that he thoroughly enjoyed, and now he’s filled with confidence. ‘I’m doing lots of painting so

Charlotte can help you upcycle furniture and give you a new hobby

Another pastime that is always a popular choice is art, whether that is traditional painting, drawing or other techniques. Whichever you choose to explore your creative side, there’s a method or a medium for everyone

Discover a new skill with an art course January/February 2019 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 57

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A winter

Bring colour and warmth to your life with this fab, fun hobby


Knitting has been embraced by a new generation that has seen the benefits – both therapeutically and practically – of being able to produce clothing, blankets and decorations with their own two needles

with young children facing DID YOU KNOW? tragedy and hardship, Evidence shows improving confidence knitting began and building better in Egypt in the lives for parents and 11th century children alike. Working with the National Trust team at Erdigg, Home-Start helped create a huge amount of comforting blankets for families across north Wales.

Wonder of wool

Knitting is a hobby that can cross generations and bring families closer


nitted clothing has been keeping us warm for hundreds of years. It may have drifted in and out of fashion, but knitting has always remained as an affordable way for families to keep the chill away in winter as well as an enjoyable hobby. Many of us will have spent happy childhood hours with our hands a very precise distance apart to help wind wool, and most of us will have been gifted a home-made scarf or jumper at some point. During the First World War, soldiers’ uniforms were supplemented by knitted hats and mittens from those back home, while the introduction of more colourful yarns in the 1960s saw a new fashion for knitted items. Following a dip in interest that saw many wool shops disappear in the 1980s and 1990s, a resurgence

in the early 21st century has seen the number of knitters rise again.

Back in fashion This resurgence has been influenced by the general ‘handmade revolution’, as well as the accessibility of skills and fabrics via the internet. The yarn industry has also started to make novelty wool, which can produce stunning results without years of knitting experience. The hobby has become an altogether more social pastime with ‘knit and natter’ groups cropping up everywhere. Knitting also gives people the chance to create things for other people – whether that’s extra clothes for the homeless, bonnets for babies or blankets for care home residents. The personal and comforting nature of the items made means they are always well received, and one community project that recently benefited from this is the Home-Start Wrexham project, which supports families

Home-Start and Erdigg’s project ‘A Throw For You’ encouraged people to make knitted or crocheted blankets for Home-Start Wrexham families as a Christmas gift. ‘We put a call out for 15cm knitted or crocheted squares (DK or aran wool), and hundreds of squares flooded in!’ says Erdigg’s Sue Jones. A community event was held at Erdigg to stitch the squares together into blankets to be handed out to families by Home-Start. ‘It was a great idea and helped us to offer a sign of friendship to families and give them something cosy to snuggle under,’ says Pam Hoyle, Home-Start scheme manager. ‘Thank you to everyone for getting involved.’ For more information visit homestart.org.uk/home-start-wrexham

Knitted and crocheted squares at Erdigg to make blankets for Home-Start’s families in need

58 SHIRE MAGAZINE | January/February 2019

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COPS will accommodate up to eight guests and the Court House up to four or both can be combined. Ideal for families, couples and small groups. London Road, Corwen, Denbighshire LL21 0DP Both grade II listed properties stand ordered and dignified in the heart +44 (0) 1490 412 503 of the town of Corwen, within the +44 (0) 7590 442 632 Clwydian Range and Dee Valley caroline@corwenoldpolicestation.co.uk Area of Outstanding Beauty. www.corwenoldpolicestation.co.uk 20582_Shire MagazineNatural Half Page.qxp_Layout 1 14/12/2018 09:02 Page 1




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Holidays A holiday that floats your boat A B E R FA L L S


Life in the slow lane on the Llangollen canal


re you considering how to spend your summer break? Then this is the perfect time to look at the various options available at Blackwater Meadow Marina in Ellesmere. Not only does it operate a fleet of canal boats you can hire for a day or longer, there is also a holiday cottage to let – perfect if you like being by, but not necessarily on, the water. The three-bedroom apartment in the beautiful Shropshire countryside has direct access to the Llangollen canal towpath. It’s also within walking distance of four tranquil meres and a number of other attractions. The property consists of a lounge/ diner, a fully equipped kitchen, three double bedrooms that can have either a double bed or two singles, a bathroom with bath and shower, and a second WC. There is central heating in all rooms, plus a TV/DVD player and a music centre in the lounge. Outside,

you also have access to a private patio with barbecue and seating. Anyone renting an apartment also receives a discount on boat hire. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never been on a boat before – all the holidays are designed for repeat visitors and complete newcomers alike. Boats are available for collection from 2.30pm on your first day and full tuition is given before you head off. There is comprehensive cruising information on the boat, and details are sent out with the holiday documents to introduce you to how locks work and the ‘rules of the road’, as well the number of a 24-hour emergency helpline. There’s no itinerary on a canal Blackwater Meadow holiday – you can set your own agenda and go at your own pace. In a week on the canal you’re likely to cover the distance you could cover in an hour by car – but the journey is far richer! www.blackwatermeadow.com

he tumbling torrents of Aber Falls are a must-see for anyone who is on holiday in Gwynedd. Located two miles south of the village of Abergwyngregyn, the waterfall formed where the Afon Goch plunges 37 metres over a sill of igneous rock in the foothills of the Carneddau range. Two tributaries merge to create the dramatic surge, and the enlarged stream is known as Aber Falls or Rhaeadr Fawr. Visitors using the main footpath towards the falls may be able to spot several small Bronze Age settlements on the way. There’s also recording equipment located there to survey the weather. Parking is available at Bont Newydd, from where the Falls are accessible on foot; toilets and picnic benches are available there too. It is possible to bathe in the plunge pool of the falls, but the water is cold even at the height of summer and the rocks can be slippery, so it’s not for the faint-hearted!

Book now to guarantee a relaxing summer

Expert tuition is given before you set off


pend a relaxed week or two watching the world drift by on board a Cheshire Cat Narrowboat this summer. This small family-run firm, which is based at the award-winning Overwater Marina, Audlem, on the Shropshire Union Canal, deals with a flurry of enquiries

and bookings at the beginning of Your floating holiday home comes equipped with everything to ensure your the year – so act now to snap up the right craft at a price that suits you! comfort. All boats, ranging from two The team at Cheshire Cat Narrowboats to eight berths, have central heating, aim to ensure you have a truly enjoyable flushing toilets and hot and cold running and memorable holiday experience water. Each fully-equipped galley has from the moment you arrive. a hob, grill, oven and fridge, ‘The experts as well as ample crockery, Expert tuition is provided can tell you to set you on your way with cutlery and kitchenware. All all about confidence, including a bedding is provided, and the amazing practical demonstration of everyone from beginners to scenery and expert sailors is welcome. working through locks. The cosy pubs With offers available for experts can also suggest a along the way’ choice of suitable routes if both weekend and day boat you’re looking for inspiration, and tell hire, as well as longer holidays, there you all about the amazing scenery, is always a special offer to be found early in the year at Cheshire Cat cosy pubs and historic architecture Narrowboats. Perhaps it’s time you you’re likely to see along the way. Throughout your holiday, free friendly set sail on the holiday of a lifetime. advice is always just a phone call away. www.cheshirecatnarrowboats.co.uk January/February 2019 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 61

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Flintshire park firm wins 12 top industry awards ELLESMERE SCULPTURE TRAIL

Darwin Escapes has 22 UK locations


oliday park operator Darwin Talacre Beach Holiday Home Park, situated a stone’s throw from the sand Escapes was a big winner at dunes of Talacre on the north Wales the Hoseasons 2018 Best In Britain Awards, which were held at the Celtic coast, won a 2018 award for being a Manor Resort in Newport in November, Diamond Location. For the second year where it scooped a dozen travel running, meanwhile, Keswick Reach Lodge Retreat won Best Large Park in industry awards for its parks around Britain, as well as a Diamond Award. the country. The company’s 12 awards included five Diamond Award ‘This was a hugely successful Winners – for the locations ‘As a company, we night for Darwin Escapes and great news not only for our that topped their category – are dedicated to and another seven locations giving our owners Talacre Beach Holiday Home which won Diamond Awards. and holidaymakers Park, but our other resorts Darwin Escapes, which around the country,’ says the best possible Lindsey Esse, Darwin Escapes’ has its headquarters in customer group managing director. ‘The north Wales, operates 22 experience’ annual Hoseasons Awards holiday parks throughout the UK. These cover a are the most anticipated of the year for British holiday variety of holiday styles including companies and we are absolutely secluded boutique lodge retreats, delighted to have won 12 awards. luxury lodge resorts with state-ofthe-art leisure facilities, and family‘As a company, we’re dedicated to giving our owners and holidaymakers oriented traditional holiday parks. the best possible customer experience. Our dedicated team work so hard to keep the parks looking beautiful and running smoothly so our guests can sit back and enjoy their holiday. ‘We are setting new standards for the UK holiday park industry by creating brand new parks in stunning hand-picked locations that provide holidaymakers and holiday-home owners with accommodation and facilities to rival five-star hotels.’ www.darwinescapes.co.uk

Poolside paradise

Morfa Lodge has a huge range of facilities


nce you’ve made the decision to take that big step and buy a holiday home, it’s time to hunt for your perfect getaway. If this is the situation you find yourself in, you

should definitely take a look at what’s on offer at Morfa Lodge Holiday Park. The family-owned and operated park, nestled in the foothills of the Snowdonia mountain range, is ideal for family holidays. It sits within an area of unspoilt, beautiful parkland and offers excellent facilities while being served by a team of helpful and dedicated staff. Visitors can choose between two heated outdoor swimming pools, with patio areas and separate play areas for children. The shop on the park offers a wide range of groceries, fresh produce, newspapers and gifts. Morfa Lodge has a large number of facilities available for guests of all ages and there is free WiFi across the whole site. The clubhouse has a large family room and adjacent games room,


rt lovers on holiday in north Shropshire should make a point of discovering the Ellesmere Sculpture Trail. The trail, set in the unique and beautiful landscape of Ellesmere, showcases pieces created by contemporary artists – some from England and Wales but also from as far afield as Hungary and Argentina. Commissioned by the Ellesmere Sculpture Initiative (ESi), each one has been made specifically in response to the location. For each phase of the trail, sculptures are made using local materials to reflect the history and heritage of the landscape around Ellesmere. Among the most striking are ‘Puerto Del Aqua’ by Emiliano Sacco and Ben Carpenter’s ‘Net Form’. The trail provides visitors with a free and gentle tour of Ellesmere (mostly accessible by wheelchair and pushchair), taking in the attractive settings of the mere, the historic castle fields and canal. Trail guides and maps of the area are available. For more information about the work and the artists visit www.ellesmeresculpture.co.uk.

which hosts a range of amusement machines and a pool table, while those over the age of 18 can also enjoy the Lounge Bar throughout the day and evenings, with bar meals served daily. Throughout the peak season, entertainment is provided for fun family nights, and there’s also a dance floor ready to be filled! The popular hog roast evenings offer a more relaxed evening at Morfa Lodge. The site is close to many attractions, including Caernarfon Castle, Bangor Cathedral and the stunning Aber Falls, and makes a great base for exploring this beautiful corner of Wales. With a range of lodges available to purchase or hire, and plots available in unrivalled locations, Morfa Lodge offers the perfect holiday idyll. www.morfalodge.co.uk

62 SHIRE MAGAZINE | January/February 2019

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The Willerby Richmond wheelchair-friendly holiday home

A holiday this good should be illegal!

Characterful accommodation in a lovely setting


Whether you’re looking for a week away with the family or a holiday home you can return to time and time again, the Willerby Richmond really does remove barriers, as Jennifer Hughes from Roy Kellet Caravans and Lloyds Caravans explains


lanning a holiday can be stressful enough without the added worry of how wheelchair users will get about your holiday accommodation. But making happy holiday memories for all is easier now that the Willerby Richmond is available to hire at Ty Gwyn Holiday Park and Sunnyvale Caravan Park. Both these parks on the north Wales coast are level grounded and offer a better holiday experience for customers who require a wheelchair. They supply neighbouring car parking and a wheelchair-friendly ramp to complement the Willerby Richmond and its amazing benefits

Meet the Willerby

The two-bedroom Willerby Richmond holiday home is designed to be practical and stylish, and comfortably sleeps up to six people. As well as the usual modern conveniences of double glazing, central heating and a fridge freezer, it also has a spacious living area, wide corridors, sliding doors throughout, a full wet room and portable helper frame in the main bedroom. The kitchen has a low-level sink, cooker and worktop, including wide under-counter space for wheelchair users, making day-to-day tasks easy to carry out for everyone.

North Wales sites

Two of the prestigious holiday parks on the north Wales coast now offer the Willerby Richmond. Ty Gwyn Holiday Park in Towyn is

family-owned and has direct step-free access to the Wales coastal path, from where you can enjoy beautiful sea views, let peace and tranquillity wash over you and then pop along and enjoy a delicious home-cooked meal in the park’s café-bar, which is also step-free. The holiday park is the perfect base from which to explore all that north Wales has to offer, with Anglesey and Caernarfon within easy reach. You can find out more at tygwynpark.co.uk. Sunnyvale Caravan Park in Kinmel Bay is full of fun with lots to do for everyone. The park is wheelchairfriendly throughout, from low kerbs to easy access to the play area, club and amusements. Sunnyvale Caravan Park also has direct beach access and fresh new entertainment each week, giving you lots to do on the park. If you want to go further afield, you can explore the coast of Rhyl and Prestatyn with their miles of golden beach. For further details of the site’s facilities and to book your next holiday, visit sunnyvalecaravanpark.co.uk. Once you’ve experienced the ease of a holiday in the Willerby Richmond, you may decide you’re ready to own your own. Both parks give you the opportunity to purchase your own holiday home – or contact Roy Kellett Caravans or Lloyds Caravans, where we can help you find your next dream home from home. www.roykellettcaravans.com www.lloydscaravans.co.uk

f you’re looking for a holiday property with a difference, Corwen’s former police station and courthouse have been beautifully renovated and transformed into luxury self-catering accommodation. Corwen Old Police Station accommodates up to eight guests, while the Court House sleeps up to four. Alternatively you can combine the two to accommodate larger groups. Standing in the heart of the town of Corwen, within the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, these luxury selfcatering holiday cottages have been renovated with visitors in mind but with consideration for the buildings’ past, character and function. The Grade II listed properties retain many of their distinctive features, combining the best of traditional materials and craftsmanship with modern touches. The result oozes history, quality and comfort.

Corwen Old Police Station has four bedrooms and three bathrooms, plus a large lounge and dining area. The bespoke kitchen, utility room and snug are accommodated in the original downstairs cells, complete with vaulted ceilings, peephole doors and bars on windows – in case any of your fellow guests misbehave! The characterful holiday cottage that was once the County Court has two bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms, making it perfect for two couples. The king-size bed in the first-floor bedroom can be replaced with two single beds to accommodate families, while the lounge area offers ample seating in front of a wood burner and TV – ideal for socialising or simply relaxing after a long day. Corwen Old Police Station and Court House offer a unique getaway, with plenty of space for a relaxing stay. www.corwenoldpolicestation.co.uk

64 SHIRE MAGAZINE | January/February 2019

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The Mansion on the Rock


Plas Maenan Country House is a highly individual property, offfering Luxury Guest Accommodation set in beautiful woodland with panoramic views of the Conwy Valley & Snowdonia.

The new owner, Jane Harris, is currently making improvements and upgrading this glorious venue and has committed to a substantial investment.

A fantastic location for exploring the North Wales coast and Snowdonia National Park with lots of local attractions and activities nearby. The perfect place for every occasion

Winter Special Stay for 4 nights for the price of 3! Offer valid till March 2019, mid-week and weekends

Plas Maenan will be re-opening from 1st February 2019 and Jane looks forward to welcoming old and new customers. They are excited about taking bookings for various functions, from weddings, baby showers, funerals, birthdays, anniversaries, private parties through to other social events.

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We are a family run Country House in a beautiful rural setting with bedrooms that are all individually styled and dedicated to your comfort, offering delightful bed and breakfast in spectacular surroundings.


Plas Maenan Country House is the ideal venue! With a wide range of function rooms we will have the perfect option for your special celebration.


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Shire heads to Chester Racecourse’s 1539 restaurant – named for the year in which racing first began at The Roodee – which offers diners terrific dishes and fantastic views of the famous racecourse, with special events during race days


We all agreed that the seabass was perhaps even tastier than hester Racecourse restaurant 1539 is part of the main stand, the duck. Pan-fried in plenty of butter, served with the crispy and on race days you can reserve a window seat to watch skin side up, it fell apart in soft creamy flakes that were just the action – it’s £220 including food and champagne. The menu crisped at the edges – buttery with a nice fresh seabass flavour at the 160-seater restaurant is created by chef Daniel Speak, and coming through. It barely need accompaniment, but the fresh food is British with European influences, especially French. salsa of raw tomato, onion and capers was very nicely done. Daniel’s creativity and ability to manage a flexible menu come to the fore in this busy restaurant, which caters for a combination of á la carte diners, private functions, special Proof in the pudding ‘We can see race day menus and a lounge bar – all placing different By the time our puddings arrived, we were expecting why 1539 is demands on the kitchen. them to be artfully done – and we weren’t disappointed popular with with a cherry compote and cherry crumble ice diners looking Excellent start for an excellent cream to sweeten a vanilla cheesecake, and lovely We began with three starters: scallops, scotch egg and liquorice and blackcurrant ice cream melting on meal and the cheese bon bons. The scotch egg was a revelation – playing warm sticky toffee pudding. We can see why 1539 opportunty to is popular with diners looking for an excellent meal, on the taste combinations in a kedgeree of flaked fish, egg try something new’ and curry spices – and was beautifully presented with an and the opportunity to try something new. ‘We offer a taste menu on Friday nights, which has proved unctuous, oozing yolk centre and crispy breaded coating. Instead of the traditional pork, the casing was made from so popular we’re going to expand this to Saturdays,’ says creamy smoked haddock, with a curried mayonnaise dressing. restaurant manager André. ‘It a great way to try Daniel’s new dishes – five courses plus an amuse-bouche costs £55, or £90 with wine.’ A terrific starter, and great fun. This is very reasonable pricing, given the high levels of The baked Cheshire cheese bon bons were complemented by a quality Daniel and his team maintain. You must try this sweet tomato chutney, giving just the right sweet tang for the mild, crumbly and melting cheese centre. The scallops were beautiful: large, restaurant; the setting and the food make it hard to beat. plump, warm and cooked just enough – jumping out of the pan. The accompanying cauliflower was a real surprise – served as charred The bill florets, a smooth purée and a couscous. This was a clean, delicate side Starters dish that didn’t interfere with the scallops fresh and pure flavour. Hand-dived scallop with cauliflower purée, couscous and florets, £13.50 Our main courses were chicken, duck and seabass. The juicy Smoked haddock scotch egg with curried emulsion, £7.50 Cheshire cheese bon bon with tomato relish, £6.50 chicken breast, running with clear juices, was smothered in thick Mains gravy. The vegetable accompaniment – a steamed carrot topped Duck breast with beetroot, savoy cabbage and braised duck leg, £18.50 with carrot purée, and dusted with sweet honeyed bread crumbs Roast chicken breast with carrot purée, honey-glazed carrot and creamed and herbs – was exquisite, and not something you’re likely to try potato, £16.50 Pan-fried seabass with sautéed potatoes, buttered kale and sauce vierge, £17 recreating at home. The duck breast slices were like five thick Dessert steaks, soft and rare, arranged on a bed of savoy cabbage mixed Cherry ripple cheesecake with cherry compote and cherry crumble ice cream, £6 with slivers of shredded duck leg – the dark meat giving an intense Dark chocolate delice with macerated strawberries and clotted cream, £7 flavour to the cabbage. Surrounding this was the warm red beetroot Sticky toffee pudding with toffee sauce, blackcurrant and liquorice ice cream, £6.50 sauce with yellow beetroot pieces – a nice sweet complement. 1539 Restaurant, Nuns Road, Chester CH1 2LY Tel 01244 304611; www.restaurant1539.co.uk January/February 2019 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 67

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Graham Tinsley


Graham Tinsley MBE, executive chef at Carden Park in Cheshire, gives us some suggestions to help make every day a healthy day Part of my early training DID YOU was at the five-star KNOW? Atlantis Hotel in Bircher muesli was Zurich, Switzerland. originally soaked The Swiss are famous in water and for their cold buffet lemon juice work, mouthwatering chocolates and the distinctively flavoured stringy cheese that gives Swiss fondue its unique taste and texture. The country’s culinary traditions haven’t changed since I worked there in the 1980s. In fact, when I captained the Welsh Culinary Team to gold at the World Championships in 2005, the same dishes I was trained to cook were still on the menus in the restaurants. Dishes such as raclette (melted cheese served with new potatoes and pickles), Bratwurst mit Rösti (veal sausage and potato cake) and Engadiner Nusstorte (walnut and honey tart) were proudly promoted. One recipe I continue to use is bircher muesli, a vastly different creature from the dried, sawdust muesli often available in the UK. The Swiss eat their muesli at any time of day, and when you try it you’ll understand why. The recipe (below left) contains fresh fruit, berries and nuts, all laced with double cream. You simply mix all the constituent parts together and leave to stand overnight to allow the ingredients to release their flavours. It’s a firm favourite of the guests at Carden Park and I hope you enjoy it too!

Swiss-style muesli Ingredients 100g oats 25g caster sugar 25g sultanas 25g chopped mixed nuts 50g chopped dried apricots 300ml milk 300ml cream or yogurt 2 apples, grated (with skin on) 2 pears, grated (with skin on) 100ml orange juice Method Combine all ingredients and leave to stand overnight in the fridge. Next day, fold in some berries or other soft fruit and serve.

68 SHIRE MAGAZINE | January/February 2019

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TASTE Jock’s Hot Sauce TES T


usician Jock Tyldesley, based in Llansilin, loved the hot sauces his US-based friends would bring when they visited – but always ran out before they could return to replenish his stock. Jock’s simple solution? Make his own. The result is a smoked habanero and garlic sauce simply called Jock’s Hot Sauce, and it’s going down a treat in the area and beyond. Jock preps and smokes locally sourced ingredients to craft a piquant condiment that goes with almost anything. ‘I started making the sauce to add spice and comfort to constant touring,’ says Jock. ‘Many of our best customers are still

musicians but Jock’s Hot Sauce is rapidly gaining popularity – it received nine out of 10 in a Sunday Telegraph taste test.’ Shire’s taste team says: ‘Jock’s Hot Sauce is among the spiciest you’ll find, but the best thing is the intense flavours throughout – a lovely smoky tang, strong garlic and the sweet fruitiness of the chilli peppers. It mixes well with mayonnaise to make a fantastic and original dip, but is also a good addition to home cooking. It’s great as an everyday table sauce on everything from eggs and meat to goat’s cheese and roasted vegetables – plus it’s perfect for soups, stews and dips.’ You can currently buy Jock’s Hot Sauce in Honeysuckle Wholefoods and Fat Rabbit in Oswestry, Appleyards in Shrewsbury, The Old Garage in Knighton, Deli Tinto in Presteigne, The Press Room Cafe in Conwy, Health and Food in Llanrwst and many more. It’s also available nationwide in wholefood shops and similar outlets through wholesaler Suma Wholefoods, and is available to order online at www.jockshotsauce.com.


Seaweed sausage, anyone? We take a look at the range of weird and wonderful Welsh delicacies produced at the Food Technology Centre in Llangefni


oozy biscuits, cheesy Welsh cakes and seaweed sausages are three local food treats that could soon be in production in north-east Wales. The experts at Llangefni’s Food Technology Centre came up with the delicacies Biscuits made from leftover brewing grain with the aim of developing a menu of tasty new regional products as part of the Local Action Groups’ Concept to Consumer project. And now regional regeneration agency Cadwyn Clwyd, which commissioned the project, want to hear from potential producers across Denbighshire, Flintshire and Wrexham to help develop these exciting new food specialities and put them on the shelves of shops in the region.

Early experiments

The first recipes the Llangefni team created were lamb, laverbread and seaweed sausages, cheese and leek Welsh cakes, and biscuits made with leftover grains from the many micro-breweries now operating in the area. Ann-Marie Flinn, technical manager at the Food Technology Centre, says: ‘We looked at innovative products of the area overall market trends. In the case of the sausages, we used lamb in combinations with a range of green proteins including spinach, kale and edamame beans. ‘The Welsh cakes are a savoury twist on Sausages combine lamb with green proteins an old favourite and cheese and leeks is a perfect combination, while the micro-brewing industry has boomed and making biscuits from the grain that would otherwise have gone for pig feed is an idea that’s both tasty and sustainable. These products are just the first phase of a two-year project.’ Anyone who is interested in getting involved in the project as a producer should contact Donna Hughes by emailing donna. hughes@cadwynclwyd.co.uk or calling 01490 340500.

Are you a local producer? Would like to see your foodie treats reviewed on these pages? Get in touch by emailing editorial@shiremagazine.co.uk or calling 01691 661270 The Centre is looking for producers for its Welsh cake with a twist January/February 2019 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 69

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SEE IN THE NEW YEAR WITH CIDER With the autumn harvests in and production processes done, the new year really is a great time to celebrate cider and perry, as Chris Charters from CAMRA explains


by more complicated blending (and roducing cider and perry is very secret recipes). Perry is produced in similar to producing wine. When much the same way from selected the fruit is ripe it is harvested, DID YOU pressed, fermented and pears. Specialised apples KNOW? that produce characteristic matured until it is ready to 56% of all apples ciders include Yarlington Mill, drink. Production is in full grown in the Foxwhelp and Kingston Black. swing in the autumn, which UK are used to The alcohol content depends means the drinks are ready make cider for enjoyment early in the year. on the sugar in the fruit, which depends on the summer (the more Cider is made from apples sunshine, the more sugar). But the classed as ‘bitter sweet’ apples. producer can control the fermentation If you bite into one you will quickly spit it out, as the process to affect the alcohol content, enabling them to maintain continuity bitterness hits from one batch to another. your tastebuds first! There are several varieties Press for success of cider apples, Once the apples or pears are selected, and the cider they go to the scratter to be made producer will blend into pomace (pulp). Traditionally this these to create a is placed on the press in a square of dry, medium or sacking, the corners folded over, and a sweet cider, while wooden trellis placed on top. This builds subtler flavours up until the press is full and then the top can be produced is screwed down to press out the juice.

Some smaller producers still use this method, but the larger ones have a belt press, where the pomace is placed on a belt and goes through a series of rollers to extract the juice. This allows continuous operation, because a hopper can be placed above the belt and a continuous supply of pomace pumped from the scratter. Either way, the juice is dispensed into vats, where it’s left to ferment until it’s ready to enjoy as cider or perry.

Don’t give up, upgrade Many of us take a good look at our alcohol intake as a new year begins. If you’re cutting down, says Shire’s wine expert Pip Gale, it’s time to concentrate on quality not quantity and eating, but to stop dead makes no sense at all. I believe we should drink less and take this time to drink better. Champagne producer Pol Roger understands this and, every year at this time, offers a deal on its half bottles. Buying champagne in this quantity can be an excellent way of trading up to the next level of quality.

It’s the time of year all wine merchants fear: Dry January. After a month of busy times and increased revenue, here comes sales Armageddon. It’s not only that we miss the custom and busy times and increased revenue of Christmas, we also don’t understand it. If ever there was time for enjoying a good drink with friends it’s January and February – what else is there to do? Much better to have a month off in the summer when you can go for long evening walks. We understand the logic in slowing down after the crazy Christmas drinking

Longer lasting

Another challenge when upgrading is how long wine lasts – when you’re spending more, you don’t want to feel forced to drink a bottle in an evening. A Vacu Vin can help. You use this device – a hand pump with a one-way valve stopper – after pouring a glass to create a vacuum in the bottle, stopping the air from spoiling the wine so it lasts around two or three days longer. Another solution to this problem is a device called a coravin. This has a needle that

A Vacu Vin makes wine last longer

punctures the cork or cap and injects an inert gas to replace the air taken out. Because no air gets into the bottle, the remaining wine will theoretically stay in perfect condition for years. So if all you want for the night is a half glass of 1955 Petrus, no worries! Otherwise, to ensure quality over quantity, just share a bottle with like-minded friends and then stop! You have the willpower for that, don’t you?

70 SHIRE MAGAZINE | January/February 2019

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Docket No.64 uses local British Artisan producers to create a selection of cheese and charcuterie boards, served with our homemade biscuits and bread. Our beverage list offers wines from around the world, wine flights and a bespoke cocktail menu, all sitting alongside a handpicked spirits list. 64 Northgate Street, Chester CH1 2HT

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Fine quality tea, scones with jam and cream, plus a stacked platter of cakes and sandwiches, served with vintage china, in the exceptional setting of a grand country house. It makes an ideal gift idea.

Served daily, 3-5pm. Advanced booking is appreciated to help us manage the service.

The Shropshire Distillery Tel: 01691 624417 Email: info@shiregin.co.uk

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01678 530285 www.palehall.co.uk

21/12/2018 16:36

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Shire visits AA Five Red Star Palé Hall for a 10-course culinary journey through north Wales and beyond

One of Palé Hall’s magnificent reception rooms


he service and attention to detail throughout Palé Hall is of the very highest standard. You are welcomed with a glass of champagne and a tour of the drawing rooms. Your car is valet-parked and your luggage taken to your room, where you find a glass of madeira waiting. Joking with operations manager Harry Shepherd, we say the game we’re playing is to try as hard as we can to find fault in anything. We have not managed to do so before we head to one of the hotel’s three dining rooms to begin your culinary journey. Chef Gareth Stevenson trained under Michael Caines for six years, giving him a background in formal French cuisine, but he also brings elements of east Asia into his cooking. Course one of 10 arrives: scallops, caramelised and thinly sliced. A waiter pours a light, clear broth. The scallops are fresh, cleantasting and lightly cooked in the middle, giving warm, subtle flavours, cut though with the lime and nori seaweed seasoning – some of Gareth’s Japanese influence. Next is mallard pastrami, cured here at Palé Hall, sitting on a thin layer of duck terrine, with liver pâté, pickled turnip slices and artichoke. 21st-century style, 19th-century grandeur The pastrami is well Palé Hall: A history Palé Hall was built by Henry Robertson, a 19th-century railway engineer and industrialist who also constructed public works in Brymbo, near Wrexham. The hall was a grand personal project at the end of his career, and stayed in the Robertson family until it was sold in the 1950s to the Duke of Westminster as a shooting estate. New owners Alan and Angela Harper have devoted themselves to this project since 2016, enlisting the help of chef Michael Caines to establish an AA three-rosette restaurant, and making use of the wonderful period features including stained glass, original fireplaces and panelling. A highlight is the wood-panelled Churchill Suite, where Winston Churchill played snooker on his many visits to Palé Hall.

Chef Gareth Stevenson’s menu includes classic French cuisine

seasoned, soft and very tasty with a nice surprise in the form of blackberries and salted peanuts, which complement the duck beautifully. Halibut comes in a sizeable portion for a taster menu, and it’s covered in aromatically seasoned butter. The fish is thick, firm and delicious, and its flavour is enhanced by a ginger and raisin chutney and a butternut purée, with a linseed cracker adding a welcome crunch. At all times the Palé Hall waiters are attentive and charming, and with each course the sommelier arrives to tell us ‘The venison is another miniature ensemble of carefully crafted tastes and textures’

a little about our next stop on the wine flight. Two standout dishes follow next, quail and venison. The quail is served with a mixture of onion and truffle on a disc of very lightly browned pastry, with rich jus. The venison, another miniature ensemble of carefully crafted tastes and textures, is pink slices of saddle, with an understated game flavour. There is creamy greens, with a red wine gravy. This is a hearty, very French dish, with the classic taste combinations of mushroom, game, creamy vegetables, onion and roasted swede.

Then it’s a cauliflower cheese, with the brie-like Baron Bigod from Suffolk, melted with the rind on, and a ‘carrot cake’ which is in fact a remarkable lollipop of carrot and ginger ice cream. Two desserts follow, each beautiful

Mallard pastrami

in their execution and taste combinations – banana with lime and peanuts, and poached pear with chocolate and ginger. There is a turn-down service while you dine, and next morning we wake up to find our shoes polished and tied with a Palé Hall ribbon. We meet Harry again as we depart, and let him know that we scored precious few points in our game to find fault with the hotel. Palé Hall is a special treat we urge you to enjoy.

Roast halibut

The Tasting 10: Menu and Wine Flight Seared scallop, lime, nori and scallop broth (Sauvignon Blanc ‘La Barry’, South Africa) Mallard pastrami, duck terrine, blackberry, Jerusalem artichoke and turnip (Chinon Beaumont, Loire Valley) Roast halibut, Vadouvan butter sauce, butternut squash (Gewurtztraminer, Spain) Salt-baked celeriac, egg yolk, hazelnut and pickled mushroom (Cerasuolo di Vittoria, Sicily) Norfolk quail, bacon, onion and truffle (Vosne-Romanée, Burgundy) Coed y Brenin venison, swede, sage, red wine sauce (Brunello di Montalcino, Tuscany) Caramelised cauliflower with Baron Bigod cheese (Sauvignon Blanc, California) ‘Carrot cake’ Banana parfait, lime foam and peanut ice cream (Monbazillac Jour De Fruit, France) Poached pear, chocolate and ginger cake £90 per person | £55 wine flight (50ml glass) | Coffee and petits fours £7 Menu may vary seasonally

Palé Hall Hotel & Restaurant, Llandderfel, Bala, Gwynedd LL23 7PS Tel: 01678 530285; www.palehall.co.uk January/February 2019 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 73

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On the

As the weather turns chilly, the search is on for indoor activities to keep the family occupied during the winter months. In this issue, we round up the opportunities to jump in the local area… Bounce Below, Zip World Slate Caverns, Blaenau Ffestiniog


his is a trampoline park with a difference – it keeps you out of the winter weather by taking you underground, where a series of elasticated nets have been strung across the inside a disused slate mine. The bouncing nets allow you to the rocky floor way, way below, and everything is atmospherically lit and kept lively with music that is streamed throughout the network of bouncing areas, tunnels and slides. Children must be over seven to take part, and those under 13 must be accompanied by a participating adult. Each

participant is allocated an hour of bouncing – that may not seem very long, but it’s hard to comprehend just how exhausting 60 minutes of constant movement can be! There are experts on hand to make sure everyone is kitted out in the correct safety equipment. All in all, it’s a hilarious, exhausting experience with more to it than your average trampoline experience. www.zipworld.co.uk/adventure/bounce-below

Inflata Nation Inflatable Theme Park, Cheshire

Jump In Trampoline Park, Shrewsbury


one are the days when inflatables were confined to the back garden or the county fair – they now provide the next generation of family days out and leisure activities, in this case brought to you by the experts behind the Jump Nation franchise. All your favourite fun-filled inflatable DID YOU activities are joined together in one huge arena, KNOW? leaving you free to bounce between them. There are four Inflata Nation There’s a dedicated area for the under-fours, parks across while in the main arena there’s a climbing the UK wall, a two-lane assault course and several giant drop slides – one of which ends in the UK’s largest ball pool. What more could a budding bouncer ask for?




acked wall-to-wall with bouncing opportunities, Jump In Shrewsbury attracts families and groups. The interconnected trampolines allow you to jump in your own space, while dodgeball and basketball sessions mean there’s plenty to keep you entertained. There is a tumble track for the more adventurous, or you can try the balance beam, bashing your opponent with a giant foam weapon to see who falls into the foam pit. There is also a giant airbag, a soft-play area for younger visitors and café for those who prefer to watch from a distance.

74 SHIRE MAGAZINE | January/February 2019

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Gorge-ous walks


Want to be more active in 2019? You’ve chosen a great year, with walking festivals across our region, including a brand new event in Newtown


ewtown’s first walking festival takes place from 1st to 2nd June, with lots of activities planned for all ages and abilities. These include several guided walks, which are free and open to all, although some will require booking. Categories include:

1. Challenge walks of around 15 miles. 2. Shorter and family walks, around four to six miles. 3. Foraging walks, featuring Edible Newtown. 4. Heritage and town walks 5. Dog-friendly walks. 6. Buggy walks for those with prams and toddlers, and for mobility scooters. 7. Treasure hunts and discovery walks. This last category will be based on maps that are produced especially for the festival and can be followed any time during the weekend. The festival has been created by Walking Newtown, formed in 2012 by four people who were interested in walking in the Newtown area but found few available routes. At the time, there were

no circular walks in the area – there are now are almost 20 of varying lengths and degrees of difficulty. The group currently has a membership of 34, of whom about 10 work twice a month throughout the spring and summer to replace old gates and stiles with new pedestrian gates, build steps and bridges, and clear paths. To date, they have put in more than 2,400 hours of volunteer work creating footpaths, and many more hours developing and publishing walks. These are available for free on the town council website at www.newtown.org.uk, as well as in leaflet form. The group is always welcoming new members, so please get in touch by emailing newtownwalks@hotmail.com and get walking in 2019!


etails of the long walks programme at the everpopular Ironbridge Gorge Walking Festival have been announced. The event, which takes place from 4th to 12th May, has more than 50 free walks, making it one of the biggest events in the area. This year will see a number of themed walks, covering topics such as the geology of the gorge to the wildlife that inhabits its woodlands. There are also a number of long walks, with five of more than 20 miles and six of more than 15. These include The Gorge By Rail, a linear walk starting and ending at a railway station and passing through the World Heritage Site. All the walks are free but booking is essential. The full festival programme will be published later in the year. To request a copy, call 01952 433424 or email tic@ironbridge.org.uk. For more details, visit www. ironbridgewalking.co.uk.

SAMPLE THE SWISS INFLUENCE Our regular walking expert, Clive Williams, takes readers on a tour of Europe – without leaving the Shire patch, of course!


estled in the Shropshire hills lies the small yet picturesque town of Church Stretton. Nicknamed ‘Little Switzerland’ in the late Victorian and Edwardian era, thanks to its hilly landscape – and still occasionally referred to in the same way – the area and surrounding Shropshire hills are now, quite rightfully, designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Church Stretton makes a great hub for walking in this region, and is popular with mountain bikers too. Among the amazing routes nearby is the popular short, sharp walk up to the former Iron Age hill fort of Caer Caradoc. Situated in the Welsh Marches, the fort offers breathtaking views across the North Shropshire plain from its 459m summit, making it well worth the walk.

Overlooking Church Stretton, you’ll also find the seven-mile heath and moorland plateau of Long Mynd, flanked by steep valleys and hollows with interesting names such as the Devil’s Mouth and Ashes Hollow. The Mynd’s lofty 516m summit at Pole Bank offers walkers exciting views over to the Stiperstones and beyond. Footpaths and bridleways crisscross this amazing landscape, including the 93-mile Jack Mytton Way and the 139-mile Shropshire Way. Be aware that if you’re walking on the high ground in low cloud, navigation can be difficult and basic map and compass skills are very useful (the area is covered by OS Landranger map 137).

The National Trust-owned Carding Mill Valley (for satnavs, use SY6 6JG) is situated on part of the Mynd and is best accessed from Church Stretton. This offers walkers a little more adventure, with walks to suit most abilities and beautiful scenery guaranteed. Head south from Church Stretton on the A49 for few miles, towards the tiny village of Strefford, and there to your left on Callow Hill you will see the 24m tower of Flounders’ Folly. If the flag is flying, for a small fee you can scale the 78 steps to the top for rewarding views. There is a path from the bottom of the hill and parking on the track between Lower

Dinchope to Westhope. Keep an eye out for the information board where the path begins – your adventure starts here. Happy walking! For more information on these walks and more, visit www.visitshropshire hills.co.uk and www. nationaltrust.org.uk

DID YOU KNOW? The Long Mynd takes its name from the Welsh ‘mynydd’, which means mountain

January/February 2019 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 75

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Homes&Interiors Living with antiques Our regular columnist Elizabeth Hart, from Banquet House Antiques, talks about antiques for the home and how to live surrounded by the pieces you love important. Such pieces are rarely used – we don’t sit on the chairs, keep sunlight exposure to a minimum and use special products and methods for cleaning and preserving.

Practically perfect


ost of us who love antiques and times past don’t live in stately homes or castles. Yet we’re collectors of period furniture, ceramics, silver, art, kitchenalia and all things that make a house a home. Some of our pieces are rare and even priceless, which means preserving them is

The right piece can complete a room

and in good condition – they may require a bit of a clean and polish but no major repairs. We look for maker’s marks; if there isn’t one, we look for wood and style details and joinery or polishing techniques to make sure they’re consistent with the period to which a piece has been attributed.

But while I love collectors’ pieces, the pieces I surround myself with at home need to be It’s your choice useful as well as beautiful. I look at a piece of Your home is your castle – the place furniture with an eye to how I’ll use it in my where love, care and comfort recharge daily life. Clothes are kept in Georgian chests your batteries when you come of drawers with a lovely patina home from the wars of daily and handcut joinery; my dining living. It’s beautiful to you and table is an oak gate-leg dating supports the way you live. To from the mid-1700s; and my desk see some examples of antiques is a late-19th/early-20th century that can work for you, and for oak in the Jacobean style with interior design advice, take spaces that make it useful today. a look at our website, www. We tend to buy things that Practical and beautiful banquethouseantiques.com. are both practical and useful,

The best woodstoves picked for you Gareth Mostyn from Saxon Homecare in Chirk looks at some of the best stoves on the market


t Saxon Homecare, there are more than 40 stove manufacturers to choose from. It’s great to have such choice, but it also means we’re regularly asked: ‘What’s the best stove?’ This is a matter of opinion, of course. We prefer the question ‘What is the best stove for you?’ as what suits one person may not right for another. Here, we take look at the best stoves – in no particular order – based on our own usage. We have rated 5kW stoves, as this is the most commonly required output.

Nestor Martin Harmony 23

Cast iron and steel bodied | Multi-fuel as standard | Controllability 10/10 This stove is as good as they get, and is easily the most controllable on the market. For a serious stove user, this would be one of our top choices.

Clock Blithfield

Steel bodied | Multi-fuel as standard | Controllability 9/10 The latest edition to our stove choices, picked by our resident stove expert, Simon Jones. Its twisting air vents are a dream to operate and it has one of the largest viewing windows on the market.

Charnwood C4 & C5

Steel bodied | Wood & multi-fuel options | Controllability 9/10 These are designed with wood burning in mind. Their simplistic design suits all manner of properties and it’s easy to see why they are our best-sellers.

January/February 2019 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 77

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A treat for your feet Keeping cosy is a priority in the winter months, and one sure-fire way to make sure you’re as snug as a bug is to invest in a good-quality carpet. Here the experts from Shropshire Carpets explain how to make the right choice for your home


carpet is a major investment for your home, adding comfort and warmth, and even soundproofing. But how do you make sure you choose the right one for your needs? ‘The location of your new carpet is an important consideration, as different areas of the home experience different levels of traffic and wear. At Shropshire Carpets, all our carpets feature a wear grading: All Areas, Medium Domestic Wear (for bedrooms and secondary rooms) or Heavy Domestic Wear (living rooms, dining rooms and halls). ‘The ply of a carpet will affect its durability and performance. Generally, the higher The choice is yours the ply, the more

How durable is your carpet?

dense the carpet. We offer carpets up to four ply.

Spinning a yarn

DID YOU KNOW? The earliest surviving pile carpet dates from 5th-4th century BC

‘The look, feel and quality of a carpet is dependent on the yarn fibres used. The majority of our carpets are made from wool, a wool mix or synthetic materials. Our sales advisers are happy to discuss the options to ensure you select the correct one to suit your needs and budget. ‘To get the most out of your new carpet, we always recommend fitting new underlay.

This will add to the longevity of your carpet, keep warmth in, reduce energy costs, reduce sound and provide underfoot comfort. ‘Shropshire Carpets offers an outstanding range of products from leading manufacturers to suit every budget. We look forward to welcoming you to our showroom at Arrowpoint Retail Park, Shrewsbury, where you’re free to browse at your leisure and can receive all the assistance you require to select the perfect carpet for your home. Call 01743 469740 for details.’

Another door opens for father-and-son firm


overeign Windows was founded by Philip Stubbs in 1984. He built the business from the ground up, and the company has gone from strength to strength, especially since Philip made it a family business when his son Jonathan joined 20 years ago. With more than 40 years’ trading experience, the father-and-son duo pride themselves on their well established and trusted name and service, supplying Chester and its surrounding areas with high-quality UPVC windows and doors. With an extensive range of products, unmatched experience and fully employed installers, Sovereign Windows is confident it can supply you with the perfect installation for your home, all securely covered by a 10-year guarantee. Visit its Cheshire showroom in Tattenhall to see its wide range of windows and doors, and to get a personal quote on the spot. Or you can visit the company’s website, www. sovereignwindows.co.uk, and use its door designer to create your own bespoke door.

Sovereign’s experience is unmatched

78 SHIRE MAGAZINE | January/February 2019

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21/12/2018 16:37

Welsh wedding venue wins big

Legal firm expansion A

s one of Wales’s oldest legal firms, Swayne Johnson are continuing to expand by opening a new office in Menai Bridge located in the Old Bank Building, Uxbridge Square, in January 2019. Founded in 1853, it has offices employing over 50 staff across North Wales to Cheshire. The opening of Menai Bridge office gives Swayne Johnson a high street presence on Anglesey and will be overseen by one of the directors, head of residential conveyancing Michael Tree. Welsh-speakers Sara Lloyd Evans and Shaun Hughes will be based at Menai Bridge. Sara, who has a strong family connection with Anglesey, is an expert on family law and is

active with family charities while Shaun is a private client expert covering wealth management, business succession planning, wills, trusts and probate. Managing director Sarah Noton says: ‘We’re delighted to be opening our first office on Anglesey. We cover almost every aspect of the law and we have experts in most fields across the group including agriculture, company and commercial, litigation, leisure industry and much more. ‘A big part of what we do at Swayne Johnson is about relationships. Clients want someone who can help and reassure them and that’s what we offer. Visit www. swaynejohnson.com

An historic hall in North Wales has been reinvented as a winning luxury venue


he historic Soughton Hall in Northop, Flintshire, has been named as the top wedding venue in Wales. The hall was built in 1714 and remodelled a century later by Sir Charles Barry, whose works include the Houses of Parliament and Highclere Castle (as seen in Downton Abbey). The Grade II* listed wedding and events venue is owned by Elle R Leisure, a Manchesterbased family firm that is wellknown for its successful Dukes

92 and Albert’s restaurants. The company, owned and run by James Ramsbottom, took over Soughton Hall in February 2016 and has since spent £400,000 on an extensive interior renovation. ‘We were very proud to take over Soughton Hall and have been working hard to transform it into a first-class venue,’ says James. The stunning hall swept the board at the Welsh National Wedding Awards, claiming not only best venue in North Wales but also best venue in the whole of the country.

Turn to page 101 for more information on Soughton Hall and other wedding venues in the Shire area

Soak away the January blues There are few better feelings than slipping into a warm bath to soak your worries away. Here we take a look at the top tub styles for 2019 of fitting a shower overhead if bathroom space is tight.

Fitted alcove bath

1. Fitted alcove By far the most common bathtub in our homes is what is described as an alcove tub. These are enclosed on three sides, with only one exposed side. They are available in various lengths to suit many different bathrooms, and there’s also the option

2. Clawfoot classic Once a common sight, these freestanding baths are now loved for their historical feel. You can often choose the style of feet and paint the outside

Classic clawfoot tub

Modern freestanding bath

of the bath to complement your bathroom’s decor. 3. Modern freestanding If you’d like a freestanding bath but want something more in keeping with your modern home, such baths now come in all shapes and sizes – rectangular, curvy, large or small. They can all make a stunning feature when set in plenty of space.

4. Corner creations These have come in and out of fashion over the years, but in smaller or awkwardly shaped rooms they really do come into their own. 5. Techno tubs Many fitted and corner baths now offer options such as lighting, Jacuzzi jets and bubble systems. The choice is yours!

Corner bath

80 SHIRE MAGAZINE | January/February 2019

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w us

At Mostyn & Shrewsbury stores, see in store for details. Available on Clarke and Clarke range only

At Mostyn & Shrewsbury Mostyn Coast Road, Llanerch-y-Mor, CH8 9DXfor stores, see in store Phone 01745 562100 details. Available on Clarke Shrewsbury Market St,only SY1 1LE and Clarke18range Phone 01743 353412

Mostyn Coast Road, Llanerch-y-Mor, CH8 9DX Phone 01745 562100 Shrewsbury 18 Market St, SY1 1LE Phone 01743 353412

At Mostyn Follow us & Shrewsbury

stores, see in store for details. Available on Clarke and Clarke range only Mostyn Coast Road, Llanerch-y-Mor, CH8 9DX Phone 01745 562100

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Inspiring flooring at outstanding prices

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Specialists in Water Boreholes and Ground Source Heating

Dragon Drilling is the largest environmental drilling company in the UK and specialises in water and ground source heating borehole installations.

Their services are ideal for most applications, including rural homes, new build, retro-fit homes, leisure facilities, care homes, caravan parks and farms. A water borehole enables you to become independent of mains water, whilst ground source heating is a sustainable energy which allows your property to have a constant heat whilst earning money from the Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive scheme. If you have high water or energy bills why not contact Dragon Drilling today for a free site assessment to see how they can start saving you money!

Masters Quality flooring since 1979

9 Green End, Whitchurch, Shropshire SY13 1AD

Tel: 01948 662297



Visit our website to see our online shop and collection of pumps, pipework and fittings. For more information about our services, please contact us on 01824 707 777 or admin@dragondrilling.co.uk or visit our website at www.dragondrilling.co.uk

D G Red Hearse Funeral Undertakers

Fast & Friendly OPEN Mon to Sat 9am to 5pm Sunday 10am to 1pm

A great selection on handsets in stock, grab a bargin. We accept trade ins, Part X and we buy handsets Phone, Tablet and E-Cigarette Accessories available for Various Models.

Mobile Accessories We have cases for a wide variety of phone to fit loads of different models from iPhone, Samsung,

Nokia, Sony, HTC and More. Data cables, chargers also available for most models and handsets.

We are a family run business located in Wrexham, North Wales since 2007, we are willing to travel nationwide. We specialise in a red sports themed hearse and a Welsh dragon themed hearse, we also have a Mercedes-Benz E Class limousine. Our vehicles are for hire from us or your local funeral director at a competitive price. 8 Bredwood Arcade Whitchurch SY13 1AF

38 St Mary Street NEWPORT, Shropshire TF10 7AL


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Find us on Facebook Email us on info@dgcarriagemasters.co.uk By phone on 01978 781473 or 07934 144531

21/12/2018 16:37



SHIRE VISITS THE HOME OF EMMA AND MARK IN SELATTYN TO SEE INSIDE THEIR NEW EXTENSION, DESIGNED AND BUILT BY OSWESTRY GLASS Oswestry Glass did everything on the project, from arranging planning approval with the council to digging out foundations and fitting the stove


aving bought a farmhouse to renovate as we wanted. They also arranged the on the outskirts of Selattyn, Emma and planning approval with the council. Mark decided to extend the building out into ‘The room was built on to what was the the garden to take advantage of the views and back of the house. We always knew we create more living space for their family. ‘We wanted an extension on this side of the moved here four years ago from Oswestry,’ house, and it has made a massive difference says Emma. ‘This house was pretty rundown to our home – we’ve got two teenage boys, after 50 years in the same family, but we so this large room is terrific. On special loved the seclusion and it came with 10 acres occasions, we can easily accommodate – and it’s a great location, only the whole family too. five minutes from Oswestry. ‘The room is 130 cubic ‘Three companies came out metres. I know because we ‘The frame was to give us a quote. We chose had to research wood stoves – made to measure Oswestry Glass because it also installed by Carl and his off site and it went just felt like a more personal team – and had to get a big up in one day – service. They’re a local firm, one, a Charnwood stove that it was amazing to watch’ and Carl the owner just seemed outputs 16kW of heat, so it to get what we were after. He gets nice and warm in here!’ listened really well to what ‘It’s a challenging construction we wanted and made good suggestions. site – the road down to us is steep and ‘This is an old farmhouse with character, narrow, and it’s difficult to access the rear of and we didn’t want a very modern-looking the house – but Carl’s team just got on with. extension. We were happy for it to look ‘Oswestry Glass did absolutely everything separate and new, but also sympathetic to the from start to finish: they dug out and built house, so Carl suggested a few things, such the foundations and they built the low as echoing the angle of the original roof. wall, which was faced with stone from an ‘We also wanted to make the new old wall on the property – a big job, which room as big as possible. I’ve always said: they did no problem. They also sourced “If you’re going to have one, it might as reclaimed Welsh slate for the roof to match well be big!” Carl wasn’t sure about the the regional house. We were really keen size, but came back with designs exactly to use local materials as far as possible.

‘The frame was made to measure off site, and it went up in one day with all hands on deck – it was amazing to watch. We chose oak because we felt a natural wooden structure is more in keeping with the house and the rural location, and it just looks beautiful. It’s green oak, which means it’s partially dried and the drying process is finished after it’s built, which is how you get the cracks appearing in the wood, and there is a little bit of movement, which you have to expect with an organic material. ‘The radiators were installed by our plumber, but only because we have a bit of a complicated system with some of the hot water coming from one of our woodstoves in the house. ‘Sitting here and looking out in the garden is just great – we love it. We like this sun room so much we asked Carl to come back and design an oak-framed extension for the front of the house as an entrance hall, which is nearly finished!’ CONTACT DETAILS

Oswestry Glass (Bespoak) Middleton Road, Oswestry Tel: 01691 680008 Email: info@oswestryglass.com January/February 2019 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 83

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Scandï style


Choose pale greys and whites for walls, wooden touches and geometric prints to emulate the pared back trend for all things Scandinavian







1 2 3 4 5





Geometric prints with hints of yellow and orange complement pale grey walls

8 9

Viborg dining table and four Enka chairs, £1,229, www.stokers.co.uk Waxman Ceramics wood-effect floor tiles, from £30 per square metre, www.rnwilliams.co.uk Pendant light, £60, www.debenhams.com Cruz chair, £375, www.nordicmood.co.uk Bloomingwille amber glass votive set, £39, www.beaumonde.co.uk Waffle honeycomb stripe throw, £40, shop.nationaltrust.org.uk Voyage Maison fine bone china mug, £13.25, www.tweedmill.co.uk Joe Oak chair, £410, www.nordicmood.co.uk Abstract crewel work tassel cushion, £12, www.next.co.uk



Herzen media unit, £349, www.swooneditions.com

Skandi bedside table, £49.99, www.sueryder.org

Lloyd sideboard, £699, www.next.co.uk

These sleek side tables make simple but stylish additions to your Scandi living space 84 SHIRE MAGAZINE | January/February 2019

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Contact us for our latest colour brochure An Oswestry Glass Company Middleton Road, Oswestry SY11 2PN T: 01691 680008 E. info@oswestryglass.com www.bespoak.co

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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.

Huge Range of Mattresses | Faux Leather Beds | Metal Beds Wooden Beds | Rest Assured | Slumberland | & Much More


Many Special Offers! Ask in store

We grow and sell our own houseplants, and sell gifts and vouchers

Open: Monday to Saturday 9am ~ 5pm • Closed Sunday Choose from our selection of comfortable and stylish beds and mattresses, ranging from double mattresses and single mattresses to king size beds and leather beds... CALL US TODAY:

Tel: 01948 840630 OPEN

Monday to Saturday: 9am to 5pm Sunday: 10am xto 4pm

Whitchurch Road (A49), Prees, Shropshire SY13 2DD www.hollyfarmgardencentre.co.uk • Holly Farm Garden Centre

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01743 463157




on ALL items!

Dial-A-Matress (Shropshire UK) Ltd Bed Shop Shrewsbury, 204 Whitchurch Road, Harlescott, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, SY1 4EL • 01743 463 157 www.dialamattress.co.uk • www.dial4furniture.co.uk O s w e s t r y | S h r e w s b u r y | Te l f o r d | N e w p o r t | W h i t c h u r c h Market Drayton | Stoke | Wolverhampton | Birmingham | Ludlow

21/12/2018 16:38 28/04/2016 11:07

Plants&Gardens COMPLETELY STUMPED The winter weather can put you off visiting gardens – there are fewer flowers blooming and a chill is in the air. But one area of horticultural appreciation that particularly thrives in these times is the weird and wonderful world of stumperies. These curious creations, which were introduced by the Victorians, use the twisted and textured parts normally found underground as the structure and focus of some very peculiar gardens. We’ve picked our favourites for you to unearth… Ancoireán Alveley, Shropshire

specimen trees, curious artefacts and many hidden treasures.

This garden on several levels, developed over the course of 30 years, has a large variety of herbaceous plants and shrubs, a wooded area with a bog garden containing numerous ferns and hostas, and colourful alpine scree. The garden’s natural water features bring many species of wildlife, and it also features a clematis collection and acer and azalea beds.

Ruthall Manor Bridgnorth, Shropshire

Offset by a mature collection of specimen trees, this garden is divided into discrete sections, carefully linked by winding paths. The front lawn, flanked by striking borders, extends to a gravel, art garden and ha-ha. The impressive stumpery and woodland gardens reveal rare

Ruthall Manor

Biddulph Grange Biddulph, Staffordshire/ Cheshire border

Biddulph Grange is home to the oldest stumpery in the UK, designed in 1856 by James Bateman and Edward Cooke, and the inspiration for many

Biddulph Grange Stumpery (also top right)

more around the country, including the one in the woods of Highgrove, Prince Charles’ home in Gloucestershire. The stumpery consists of a sunken path bordered by upside-down oak tree roots, among which grow a great variety of ferns, delicate plants and mosses. The stumps are packed close together, interlacing and reaching up to four metres – in some ‘Stumperies places merging became overhead features of to form a 19th-century tunnel over gardens the path that because of the popularity wriggles along of ferns as between them, garden plants’ following the undulations of the land. Biddulph Grange’s stumpery has the appearance of a wooden work of art ornamented by a few small flowers and ferns, emerging from the underworld and is often described as a horticultural oddity. It is, in a sense, a rockery made of wood. It’s thought that stumperies became features of 19th-century gardens because of the popularity of ferns as garden plants at a time when hundreds of new species were introduced to Britain from around the world.

Parc Glynllifon Near Caernarfon, north Wales

A stunning fern collection has been planted around the structure of DID YOU a stumpery at KNOW? Parc Glynllifon James Bateman country park was a naturalist and collaborator of in Gwynedd. Charles Darwin Incorporating an ornamental garden, the fern collection now has over 100 plants, many of them from a private collection on the Llyn Peninsula, and also includes a New Zealand tree fern. As well as ferns, plants such as gunnera manicata – which looks like giant rhubarb – and various non-invasive ornamental rhododendrons have been planted.

Parc Glynllifon

January/February 2019 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 87

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Step 4

The Christmas decorations may have been taken down, but you can still fill your home with cheer and colour! Dave Billington, a floristry technician at Reaseheath College, in Nantwich, Cheshire, has come up with a simple but effective floral design that will brighten up any room through the winter

Place floating candles in a few of the jars. Single beads are also an option – you can thread them on the bear grass and use them to position the grass into an interesting shape such as an arch or circle.

Add a few floristry straws and strands of bear grass to mirror the shape of your flowers and to tie your design together.

Step 5

Step 4

Step 5


t this time of year, when on some days it never seems to get light, I suggest using vibrant blooms to make a colourful and interesting focal point that’s ideal for welcoming friends and family. It doesn’t matter how large or small your space is – the great thing about this design is that you can change its shape and size to fit. For instance, you could make a long linear design with 11 blooms to fit a mantelpiece, or a round design forming a centrepiece for a dinner table or coffee table with just three blooms. The choice is yours. This is an example of classical floristry, which uses flowers and materials for their shape and form. It’s simple but extremely effective. The idea is to show off each individual flower head, so choose the most perfect example of each available in your local florist’s shop or supermarket.

For this design you will need…

• Collection of jars, vases and pots suitable for a single bloom or a floating candle • Bright flowers with interesting shapes. Go for vibrant, eye-popping colours and select just two or three blooms of each. I’ve chosen the jewel colours provided by alstroemeria, dianthus, roses and solidago (golden rods) • Bear grass and floristry straws for added height • Leftover wrapping paper or off-cuts of fabric or gauze – any colourful material which complements your flowers • F loral colouring or food colouring in a hue that complements your flowers and material • F loating candles

Step 1

Scrunch up your paper or material to make a base and arrange it where you want your design to be.

Step 2

Place your vases of differing heights in groups of three and add Step 2 water. Add a few drops of colouring to some of the vases but leave those with white or pale blooms, because they may take the colour into the petals.

Step 3

Step 3

Introduce your flowers with the tallest at the back. I’ve started with alstroemeria, followed by dianthus and solidago. Rearrange and move your vases until you are satisfied with the view from all angles.

Top Tip Work with the shape of each flower so that they form a harmonious group. And don’t forget that a central design can be seen from all directions, so make sure the view from every angle has interest.

Find out more about news and courses from Reaseheath’s floristry department at www.reaseheath.ac.uk/floristry

The final design

Fern favourites Banish the gloom of winter by celebrating the beautiful plants and flowers that flourish even away from the sun 1. Dryopteris erythrosora var. prolifica Also called the Japanese or copper shield fern, this is one of the most striking and hardy evergreen ferns. It has luscious, coppery, glossy new fronds throughout the growing season, which turn pink and eventually rich green. 2. Dryopteris affinis ‘Cristata The King’ This cultivar of the male fern is highly ornamental, with divided ‘crests’ at the end of the individual leaves that make up its fronds. The evergreen fronds are arching and dark green. 3. Hydrangea anomala This low-maintenance, self-clinging climber is perfect for north-facing walls or areas with little to no sun. In midsummer it bears huge, flattened heads of white hydrangea flowers and glossy green leaves. 4. Skimmia x confusa This is a low-maintenance evergreen shrub, which has glossy green leaves throughout the year. In April to May it also produces clusters of creamy white flowers, which open from white buds and smell lovely. 5. Hedera helix This English ivy is slow-growing and self-clinging. It has diamond-shaped greygreen leaves with creamy-white edges. In autumn it produces small, yellow-green flowers and black, poisonous berries.

88 SHIRE MAGAZINE | January/February 2019

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TEL: 01970 611919

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TEL: 01244 537639











TEL: 01686 624584


TEL: 01691 671489

TEL: 01824 707010

21/12/2018 16:38




With truly stunning views, Cedar Court is a Brand New luxury development in the heart of Colwyn Bay. Situated against this astonishing landscape, each apartment is architecturally designed and finished to the highest specification. A small handful of sea view apartments have just recently come to market, starting from just ÂŁ178,000. If you would like more information, please do not hesitate to contact us today!



Why not visit our website or social media pages for further updates and new developments coming soon.




To arrange a viewing call 01492 338 228 or email info@oakingdevelopments.com Come and see the 2034 sq ft Penthouse with 180 degree views and a 75sq ft terrace!

Website: www.oakingdevelopments.com Tel: 01492 338 228 Email: Info@oakingdevelopments.com 090_SHIRE_JF2019.indd 1

21/12/2018 16:38

Pets&Wildlife Play your part in the big birthday birdwatch!


14-week-old shih tzu puppies Flo and Freddie

Beautiful Mabel relaxing

Buddy on his mobile phone


This January, the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch is celebrating 40 years of counting the UK’s garden birds and is urging all Shire readers to mark this special occasion by getting involved in this vital nationwide survey…

Six-yearolds Coco and Gizmo



Green woodpecker

Pied wagtail

being called on to participate. The he RSPB is eagerly anticipating public is asked to spend one hour who will be top of the pecking watching and recording the birds order for a very special anniversary in their garden or local green space, edition of its Big Garden Birdwatch then send their results to the RSPB. this January – an event that is now the As well as counting our garden largest garden wildlife citizen science birds, the RSPB wants us to tell project. Over the 40 years it has been them about the other wildlife that running, hundreds of thousands visits in our homes throughout of people have volunteered the year, such as badgers, foxes, their time to provide the DID YOU squirrels, frogs and toads. But RSPB with more than KNOW? whether you see a wealth eight million hours of Blue tit numbers of wildlife or nothing at monitoring garden birds. have increased 20 per cent in all, it doesn’t matter – the The RSPB 40 years is encouraging RSPB would still like to hear from you, so it can see how participants to share Britain’s wildlife is doing. their birdwatching stories using #BigGardenBirdwatch, and will showcase the best examples To take part in the Big Garden of how people take part, from Birdwatch, watch the birds in your building their own hide and baking garden or local park for one hour birdseed cakes to dressing up as from 26th to 28th January. Count Batman to catch a sight of robin. only those birds that land. Tell the This year’s event takes place on RSPB the highest number of each 26th, 27th and 28th January, and species you see at any one time – more people than ever before are not the total you see in the hour

WATCH THE BIRDIE RSPB Lake Vyrnwy, Powys, 20th January Swot up on your bird-identifying skills at the lake’s busiest hide. They’ll also be making feeders and bird food. 11am-2pm. £4 members, £5 non-members, £2 accompanying adults. www.rspb.org.uk/lakevyrnwy

WE WANT YOUR PETS! Send us a photo of your pet and we’ll include them in Shire. Email the picture, with the name of your pet, to editorial@shiremagazine. co.uk with ‘Cute Pets’ in the subject line.

To get your free 40th anniversary Big Garden Birdwatch pack, including a bird identification chart, RSPB voucher and advice to help you attract wildlife to your garden, just text BIRD to 70030 or visit www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch

There are a number of RSPB events taking place locally to encourage people to join in the Big Garden Birdwatch, from learning how to make bird feeders to identifying the creatures who share your home RSPB Ynys-hir, Machynlleth, 20th January Make bird cake and learn how to identify the birds on the feeders. 11am-3pm. £2. www.rspb.org.uk/ynys-hir

design a mask, and find out what birds like to eat on the Big Garden Birdwatch trail. 1pm-3pm. No need to book. www.rspb.org.uk/conwy

RSPB Conwy, Llandudno Junction, 26th-27th January Make tasty puddings for birds,

RSPB Newport Wetlands, Newport, 26th January Join a birdwatching for beginners

guided walk. 9.30am11.30am. £4.50 members, £5.50 non-members. Booking essential. www.rspb.org. uk/newportwetlands

January/February 2019 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 91

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BEETLE BROUGHT BACK FROM THE BRINK A beetle thought to have been extinct in Britain for several decades has been discovered at Glyndŵr University


he alder leaf beetle, Agelastica alni, was declared extinct in Britain before being rediscovered in 2004. However, its existence was still limited to a handful of sightings in Wales and there are very few recordings of the creature. This makes the recent discovery, by Glyndwr University’s services assistant Carl Payne, all the more important.

Carl Payne

The beetle was identified after a sustainability survey had been carried out at the Northop campus, which had been designed to look at the number of plants and animals on the site.

Alder leaf beetle

few photos and sent some off to Cofnod, the biological recording centre for North Wales. ‘I knew it was a leaf beetle of some kind, By the book and found some pictures online ‘I carried out the survey during that seemed to indicate it was the the recent heatwave and ‘I happened to alder leaf beetle. I spoke to staff at afterwards was sitting in my look up to see Cofnod, who confirmed it was indeed car sipping water,’ says Carl. ‘I a little black Agelastica alni. It was pretty amazing just happened to look up to see spot on the to hear – I got quite a buzz from it! a little black spot on the trees trees at the ‘We carry out survey lists to make edge of the at the edge of the car park. car park’ sure we know what species are on the ‘I went to investigate it and it estate so we can conserve them – and was a beetle of some kind, with we’re clearly doing something right!’ eggs and larvae. I had some of my books from my wildlife and plant biology For more on Glyndwr University’s work course with me, so I had a quick look but on biodiversity, visit www.glyndwr.ac.uk didn’t see anything it looked like. I took a

New habitats for waders

Sowing the seeds

With populations of wading birds declining, Cheshire Wildlife Trust has embarked on a project to encourage them to return to the local area and thrive once again


opulations of lapwing and curlew in the UK, along with many other wading birds, have dropped dramatically over the past 50 years owing to a reduction in suitable breeding and feeding sites. Cheshire Wildlife Trust’s conservation team has been busy creating new habitat at its Bickley Hall Farm headquarters with the aim of making parts of the farm more attractive to wading birds.

In a scrape

An impressive piece of machinery was drafted in to complete the task. The RSPBowned rotary ditching machine made its way up from Oxfordshire to Bickley to create the ‘scrapes’ – shallow, sinuous channels in fields. Over the course of three


days, the specialist machine created nearly 1km of meandering 3m-wide scrapes. ‘The idea is to retain water in the fields through winter and into spring,’ explains Ben Gregory, the trust’s area manager south and member of its expert conservation team. ‘Recent studies have shown that creating wet features such as these scrapes in agricultural fields is highly beneficial for aquatic wildlife such as water beetles and flies. These provide a valuable food source for wading birds, such as lapwing and snipe, as well as farmland birds such as tree sparrows, all of which are regularly seen at Bickley Hall Farm.’

Volunteers from Cheshire Wildlife Trust take part in a national project to protect the UK’s trees


eams of helpers joined Cheshire Wildlife Trust to help collect seeds from alder buckthorn trees at its Hatchmere nature reserve at the end of 2018. The work is part of the UK National Tree Seed Project, set up by the Millennium Seed Bank at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew. Seeds collected for the project will be banked in underground vaults, forming part the UK’s first national collection of tree seeds. The seeds should remain viable for decades and will be available to support research and conservation. It is hoped the collection will help to protect UK trees against pests and diseases such as ash dieback.


Bradeley Green Pet Store outside Whitchurch stocks a wide range of quality products for your pet, including essentials, grooming, healthcare and travel items. It sells many well-known brands and some of the most innovative products on the market at affordable prices. The high-visibility coats, collars and leads will help keep your dog safe and seen during

autumn and winter walks. And alongside Osmonds animal health range of supplements, it now stocks a wide range of smallholder supplies, dog food, specialist wild bird feed and small animal goods. Visit the store at Bradeley Green, Whitchurch, SY13 4HD from Monday to Saturday, 9am to 5pm. Call 01948 668100 or follow @BradeleyGreen on Facebook.

92 SHIRE MAGAZINE | January/February 2019

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Tues to Sat: 9am-4.30pm


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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

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Open : Mon – Thurs 9.00am – 4.30pm, Fri 9.00am – 3.00pm Closed for lunch each day 12.30pm – 1.00pm

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Bradeley Green, Whitchurch, SY13 4HD (just off the A49) Monday to Saturday 9-5pm 01948 668100 @BradeleyGreen

Glyndwr Plants Spring Time! We have an enormous selection of fantastic plants for bedding and baskets, plus wonderful ready-filled baskets and pots too. There’s also a fine selection of unusual perennials. We have plants for every type of gardener! 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. Coffee shop 01490 413 688 | Garden Centre 01490 413 313 The Centre is on the A5104, half a mile out of Corwen www.glyndwrplants.co.uk

21/12/2018 16:39

Arts&Crafts Wave

New York In The Rain

Eastgate Street

Impression Of The London Skyline

PASSION for PAINTING For many years, local artist Monique Clifton only enjoyed her creative skills as a hobby, but now she finds herself not only selling work but also teaching others


hester resident Monique Clifton enjoyed painting since she was a child, but as an adult never had the time to indulge her hobby. But she has now discovered a whole new outlet for her creative expression – and a new source of income. Originally a watercolourist, Monique now mainly paints in acrylic, which she finds the most versatile of all the mediums. She also dabbles in oils and pastels, claiming they’re much easier to use. Monique has enjoyed particular success after a flurry of furry commissions to paint people’s pets. ‘My website gives an insight into my background and the number of

paintings sold and commissions requested,’ says Monique. ‘There is a page devoted to pastel paintings of dogs. First, I painted my daughter’s rescue dog, Tinks, and put it on Facebook. I then had several requests to paint friends’ dogs, mostly from photos.

‘I live in one of the UK’s most beautiful cities, and with the scenery of north Wales over the border there’s a wealth of subject matter’

‘My biggest commission so far, however, was of a London scene. That was the brief I was given, so I decided to do an impression of the London skyline at night. The finished canvas measured five feet by three and a half feet and took several weeks to complete.’

Location inspiration

‘I live in Chester, one of the most beautiful and historic cities in the UK, and with the wonderful scenery of north Wales just over

the border there’s a wealth of subject matter for my work. Of all my paintings, scenes of Chester tend to be the most popular and I’ve had prints and cards made from the originals. ‘I’m a member of a group called Monday Painters,’ Monique continues. ‘There are about 20 of us who meet every Monday in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere to paint, chat and have lunch. It’s a lively group of individual styles with very high standards. ‘Recently, I was invited to enter for the prestigious Chester Arts Fair, which is held at Chester Racecourse in November every year. As the only available space left was too big for my display, I decided to enter next year instead. But I view this invitation as an indication that my work would be acceptable to most genres and it seems they are looking for local artists, despite the number of professional painters who regularly enter this exhibition. ‘My goal is to get my work out to a wider audience and just see what happens!’ Visit www.moniqueart.co.uk

94 SHIRE MAGAZINE | January/February 2019

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Budding artists are being invited to design a new logo for the largest arts, science and literature festival for children and young people in north Wales


o you have an eye for graphic design and would like to get involved in a huge arts event in north Wales? Take pART, held annually at Venue Cymru, Llandudno, celebrates its 10th birthday this January and to mark the occasion the festival’s organisers are inviting young artists to create a new logo. The competition is open to anyone aged 18 and under, and the winner will see their artwork turned into a graffiti logo that will be used on all promotional materials for the festival the following year. Take pART 10 takes place on 12th and 13th January and is aimed at under-18s and their families. There will be hundreds of workshops, drop-in sessions, masterclasses and performances taking place at Venue Cymru. Most are free of charge, as the festival aims to encourage people from all walks of life to participate. Renowned graffiti artist and teacher Andy ‘Dime One’ Birch will be leading workshops and drop-in sessions on the Saturday, focusing

AFONWEN EVENTS 10th-11th January, Huw Vaughan Jones The pen and ink artist will be showing his collection of images of local buildings and scenes heavily influenced by the community around him. 12th-13th January, Thelma Evans, Painting On Canvas Thelma will be working on a canvas while at Afonwen and showing her collection of floral pictures and landscapes, originals and prints.

on designing take pART logos/characters. He will also work with the winner of the competition to develop their idea into a logo for use in 2020. The winner will also get a personalised piece of work to keep.

Put pen to paper

‘This is a great opportunity to get designing a brilliant new logo for Venue Cymru’s Take pART festival,’ says a spokesperson for Venue Cymru. ‘It will give you chance to use your graffiti skills to create some awesome letters and cool characters. The winner will get the chance to create a custom piece of graffiti work in a workshop with Dime One, and also see their logo used for the Take pART logo. So grab your pencils, pens, colours (or tablet!) and get designing!’ To enter the competition, email a highresolution, clear JPEG of your design to youngcreatives@venuecymru.co.uk or post a copy to Venue Cymru, The Promenade, Llandudno, Conwy LL30 1BB, marked ‘Take pART Logo Competition’. Make sure to include your name, age, contact email and phone number with the submission. Those aged 16 and under should supply a contact email for a parent or guardian. Postal entries won’t be returned. Closing date 28th February 2019

17th-18th January, Eco Silver Jewellery by Sandra Roberts Sandra makes beautiful silver jewellery, some hammered, some twisted, some with crystals and some simply polished. Come and see her at work. 1st February, Hand Weaving with Trevor Blackburn Trevor makes tunning colours and patterns all by hand on looms. Pop and see him at work and maybe have a go yourself. 2nd February, Chalk Painting with Charlotte’s Country Commissions Book a spot on the morning or afternoon session, and bring along a small piece of furniture to paint, and learn a new skill. All paint and brushes provided. Email countrycommission@gmail.com 16th-17th February, Marie, Earth Deva Marie’s small statues, wall art and jewellery works have a mystical and mythical theme. Expect to find fairies, goddesses, Egyptian cats and more, all designed and hand painted by Marie herself. 20th-21st February, Elaine, Cherry Bea & Helen Corah, Henry Interiors Elaine works with beaded jewellery, crystals and decorated journal books, while Helen produces handmade cushions, aprons, bags, as well as made to measure curtains.

DID YOU KNOW? Around 10,000 people visited last year’s Take pART event at Venue Cymru

23rd-24th February, Encaustic Art by Linda Morris Come and have a go at hot wax art with Linda – a fabulous craft to try for little ones and adults alike. All proceeds go to Brain Tumour Research.

January/February 2019 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 95

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Now open, Bodnant Art Gallery This new gallery has opened its doors to the public, featuring 135 original paintings by 18 professional artists from across North Wales. The gallery occupies the first floor above Bodnant Craft Centre and represents the latest development for Bodnant Estate. It offers a diverse choice of styles, subjects and mediums, including everything from oils to acrylics, watercolours to pastels and mixed media. Some paintings even incorporate merino wool, silk thread and sand. The Gallery is open seven days a week from 10am to 5pm. There is plenty of free parking at Bodnant Garden car park, which is just a short walk from the Gallery. For more information, visit www.bodnant-artgallery.co.uk.

By Gary Leroy

5th January – 9th February, RCA Open Exhibition 2019 The Royal Cambrian Academy Crown Lane, Conwy. The annual exhibition for members and to promote up and coming artists and exhibitors opens its doors once again with a range of styles, genres, medium, size and standard to view. The gallery is open from 11am to 5pm, Tuesday to Saturday. 27th January – 17th March, Jonah Jones Centennial Exhibition, Plas Glyn y Weddw, Llanbedrog Plas Glyn-y-Weddw’s 2019 programme starts with an exhibition celebrating the life and work of Jonah Jones. Jonah (17th February 1919 to 29th November 2004) was born Leonard Jones near Wardley, Tyne and Wear in the North East of England, but became known as a Welsh sculptor, artist-craftsman and writer. Until 24th February, Memento Mori: Tombs & Memorials In Cheshire, Grosvenor Museum, Chester. As we remember the centenary of the end of the Great War, this exhibition presents watercolours, drawings, prints and photographs showing how Cheshire has commemorated its dead from the Romans to the present day. With tombstones, tomb chests and mural slabs, public sculptures, cenotaphs and a shrine, the imagery of commemoration ranges across the centuries with knights and their ladies, parents and their children, skeletons and skulls, heraldry, saints and angels.

Caernarfon Castle by Christine Webb

By Gary Leroy

Liverpool by Christine Webb Chester Cathedral

Bagillt Scrap Yard

We were delighted to receive so many brilliant photographs from our readers this issue – and delighted to find that you appreciate and have been able to celebrate the architecture all around us. So much of it goes ignored on a daily basis that it’s lovely to see some truly inspiring images that show off some of our finest buildings to their best. Our theme for next issue is Portrait, which you can interpret as literally or abstractly as you wish! We look forward to seeing your entries, as always emailed to us at editorial@shiremagazine. co.uk. Good luck and happy snapping!

96 SHIRE MAGAZINE | January/February 2019

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BANQUET HOUSE ANTIQUES Specialising in quality 18th, 19th, and early 20th century furniture, ceramics, and silver. History, tradition and beauty tempered by practicality and usefulness. Come enjoy a cup of tea and have a look. Being private dealers we hope to give you the best buying experience. By appointment only.

Come & visit us Our visitors love to see the alpacas on the fields while they browse in our shop for: • Alpaca socks • Luxurious Alpaca Duvets and pillows • Exclusive knitted and felted alpaca items traceable to our alpacas • Exclusive Alpaca Yarn produced from our herd. Our Farm Shop is open every Saturday from 10.00 until 4.00 or by appointment at other times - just call us. Groups of up to 16 are welcome - please contact us for details. We also sell good quality alpacas as: Pets, Guard animals and Starter herds Please contact us for details Mulberry Grange, Red Hall Lane, Higher Penley, Wrexham, LL13 ONA Tel: 07713 639 447 Email: mulberryalpacas@btconnect.com We're 4 miles north of Ellesmere

Our Farm Shop is open every Saturday from 10am until 4pm

Banquet House, Princes Road, Rhuddlan, Rhyl, LL18 5RA

or by appointment at other times - just call us.

Tel 01745 591942 | www.banquethouseantiques.com | dfpersich@aol.com




s, Wirral, North Wale e, Shropshir Cheshire, s & Mid Wale

Fireplace By Design is an established family business with 25 years experience in the business. We supply quality products and specialise in bespoken surrounds to suit the needs of the customer whether in wood, marble, stone or lime stone. We supply all main manufacturers’ fires and stoves, and use highly experienced and qualified fitters for our fitting services. We provide a service for fitting surrounds, fires and stoves, and we are happy to do all that is required by the customer. Huge Range We offer a huge range of products from the leading brands including Stovax, Montpellier and Hunter Stoves Competitive Prices With prices from just £299 for fireplaces, come and see for yourselves at our Mold showroom Customer Service With many years experience our expert team can help you choose the right fireplace for your home

Tel: 01352 700 105 Email: f.design@btconnect.com The Old Chapel, 91 Wrexham Street, Mold, Flintshire CH7 1HQ


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After the glitz and glamour of the festive period, it’s time to embrace soft neutrals and animal prints for a fresh, chic look Gassato textured roll-neck sweater £125, www.purecollection.com

Principles trench coat £65, www.debenhams.com

Olivia Burton watch £82, www.mococo.co.uk

Woodley bag £159, www.hobbs.co.uk


Tuck soft knitwear into midi skirts for a smartcasual look

Turtle-neck knitted dress £65, www.longtallsally.com

Joseph Ribkoff tunic £99, www.out-of-town-oswestry.co.uk

Pleat skirt £26, www.dorothyperkins.com

The perfect pieces to lift neutrals and add a hint of glamour

Delsiee tote bag £70, www.dunelondon.com

Ruby belt £65, www.hobbs.co.uk

Apricot boots £90, www.office.co.uk

V for Very Tort earrings £12, www.very.co.uk

98 SHIRE MAGAZINE | January/February 2019

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At So Chic you can shop for timeless, elegant, wearable designer clothing and accessories for all occasions. We make shopping an enjoyable experience in a relaxed environment, with friendly service and professional advice.

(formally Dresses at Julie’s)

Special Occasions Evening Dresses Prom Dresses Cruise Dresses


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Evening appointments also available

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Independent labels… in an Independent store Priding ourselves on a professional and friendly service Upper Brook Street, Oswestry, SY11 2TB Please call us for more information. OUT OF TOWN: 01691 670288 FAB FEET: 01691 655622 WWW.OUT-OF-TOWN-OSWESTRY.CO.UK

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Tel: 07831 179976

allen.events@yahoo.co.uk www.4yourwalls.photography


perfect venue

for a perfect day

Plas Isaf


Plas Isaf, Isaf Corwen, Denbighshire, LL21 0EW Tel: 01490 412 486 Mob: 07891 501 833 www.plas-isaf.co.uk

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Heading for a

wedding? Dress to


Whether you want to be the best-dressed guest or shine as mother of the bride, these three boutiques are well worth visiting in your search for the perfect outing

So Chic

Get Ahead Hats

Collections that are proving popular Out Of Town and Fab Feet based in Upper for 2019 have varied colour palettes, from Brook Street, Oswestry, is celebrating its flamboyant jewel colours to soft muted tones. 28th year as an independent retailer in 2019. The team at Out Of Town None of the labels sold by the boutique, are ready to advise which specialises in occasion on good styling, wear, are available online or in ‘At Out Of colours to suit your department stores. The team Town you can hair and skin tone, offer a unique, personal and put together a complete outfit as well as colours above all friendly service, with under one roof’ that will work well experts on hand who won’t with the overall be satisfied until you are. look of the wedding. The shop is spread over A Saturday appointment is two floors, so you can put together a recommended. www.outcomplete outfit under one roof. The of-town-oswestry.co.uk ground floor comprises a dress department and a shoe, handbag and millinery So Chic is an award-winning’ department. Collections available include boutique selling beautiful Michaela Louisa, Bianca, Peruzzi, Paz clothing and accessories for Torres, Pomodoro, MdM, Marble and the discerning woman, situated Joseph Ribkoff among others, with on the high street in Bangor. outfits available in sizes 8 to 24.

Whether you’re getting married this year or next or are looking forward to attending someone else’s celebrations, we round up the best local suppliers that can help the day go as planned

Stocking beautiful, elegant and timeless designer clothing and accessories, So Chic can help you find the perfect outfit for you. Established in 2006, So Chic has gone from strength to strength and added a whole floor of special occasion wear in 2010. The shop has an excellent reputation and is well known for the stunning collections, impeccable customer service and professional advice it offers. The team’s expertise has been recognised by experts as well as customers, and they have won a whole host of awards including a Welsh National Wedding Award and being named Best Occasion Wear Shop in Wales 2017. www.sochicbangor.co.uk Get Ahead Hats in Wrexham is where Louise Sambrook-Jones runs an extensive showroom in a beautiful country setting in a Georgian property. The business provides a friendly, relaxed atmosphere in which to browse hundreds of designer hats, perchers and fascinators from British milliners, available to hire or to buy. The team at Get Ahead Hats can supply everything, from lavish and extravagant one-off couture pieces to timeless classics – there’s something to suit for every taste and budget. Get Ahead Hats has been featured on national television, radio, in Hello!, Vogue, Women & Home and other national newspapers and magazines. The hats the company supplies have been seen on the heads of celebrities, as well as being worn by members of the Royal family. Bring your outfit with you and arrange a private consultation to add the finishing touch to your perfect wedding look. www.getaheadhats. co.uk/showrooms/eyton-wrexham January/February 2019 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 101

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Fabulous feasting Making sure everyone is well fed on the big day is vital if you want to keep your wedding party and guests happy. These top-notch foodie companies can help Hughes Caterers specialises in private and public event catering, providing a superb service that ensures your event is both successful and memorable. Founded in 1908 and based in Welshpool, Powys, Hughes has been catering to all for over a century and the team’s experience and expertise ensure that your event will be a total success. They can cater for all sizes and types of occasions, from private parties and weddings to large corporate events. Horseradish Catering Whether you’re planning seated dining, a buffet or just drinks and finger food, Horseradish Catering works with a host of Hughes will work with you to plan the wedding venues across north-west England perfect menu and management of your and north Wales. If you have already event, and can provide a complete found your location, they are experts catering service. As well as the food at providing outdoor catering DID YOU itself, it offers a range of services and can collaboratively deliver KNOW? The phrase such as seating plans, flower culinary moments for you and ‘wedding arrangements and the finest your guests on one of the most breakfast’ was tableware and linen – everything important days of your life. first used in you need to make your function The dedicated team will work the 1830s enjoyable and memorable. The with you from concept stage to highly trained uniformed staff also deliver delicious menus to fit your vision. provide a professional and attentive level No idea from a bride or groom is ever ruled of service to ensure the day runs exactly out; Horseradish has worked with some as you wish. www.hughescaterers.co.uk fantastically creative people to deliver a really indulgent catering experience for guests, Once you’ve decided what to eat, it’s time from traditional wedding breakfasts and to concentrate on what to wash it down buffet-style stations to bloody mary bars and with. Aber Falls Distillery’s liqueur seaside-style fish and chips. From exciting range is inspired by its Welsh heritage food combinations to a little live theatre with and spectacular surroundings, and is presentation, it’s all in the detail for your produced and bottled in Abergwyngregyn, big day. www.horseradishcatering.com north Wales, to guarantee authenticity. There’s a flavour to suit everyone, from Violet, made from plants found growing in a distinctive purple blanket along the Menai Strait, to Salted Toffee, made in collaboration with Halen Môn Anglesey Sea Salt to achieve a rich, smooth toffee flavour with clean, intense notes, and Coffee & Dark Chocolate. In fact, the miniature versions make the perfect wedding favours. www.aberfallsdistillery.com Aber Falls Liqueurs

It’s all in the detail

The smaller aspects of any wedding – from transport and photography to jewellery – can make all the difference to the big day Snooty Fox Jewellery in Shrewsbury uses the latest technology and traditional goldsmith and engraving skills to create bespoke pieces, including engagement and wedding rings. Jewellery designer and goldsmith David Thomas creates all his own designs, making and repairing everything on site. www.snootyfoxjewellery.co.uk Step In Style Limousines, a professional limousine hire company based in Rhyl, has served the wedding industry for the past 25 years with a range of cars from beautiful vintage and modern Rolls Royces to stretch limousines. The team will travel from mid Wales to Cheshire, and all cars in their unique fleet are all immaculately presented and valeted inside and out. The chauffeurs are all close friends or family members, chosen for their professionalism and reliability, and are independently vetted, friendly and always well-presented. www.stepinstylelimousines.co.uk 4 Your Walls Photography is based in Liverpool and run by Allen Gregory, who trained in photography at Liverpool Art School and the Open Eye Gallery. Allen’s artistic flair offers something a little different from the norm and he is happy to work with couples to find the style and approach that will suit them on their big day. www.4yourwalls.photography

102 SHIRE MAGAZINE | January/February 2019

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Photo courtesy of Shane Webber

We work with a host of iconic wedding venues across the North West and North Wales and can coordinate the perfect setting to your perfect day. Already found your location? We are experts at providing outdoor catering and will work collaboratively with you, to deliver memorable culinary moments for your wedding party.

01244 304 660 I horseradishcatering.com

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LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION With hundreds of wedding venues across the Shire area, picking the perfect spot to tie the knot isn’t easy! Here are some top local venues you should check out before making your final decision

Plas Isaf Country Barn & Gardens in Corwen, Denbighshire, is a stunning 17th-century listed barn with spectacular views of the Dee Valley. The elegant surroundings and warm ambience set the scene for your special day, while the barn is perfect for an intimate gathering or a celebratory party, with room for up to 300 guests. Call 01490 412486 or visit www.plas-isaf.co.uk.

The Hand Hotel in Chirk, at the edge of the picturesque Ceiriog Valley, is one of the oldest hotels in north-east Wales. The team pride themselves on their attention to detail, from the initial planning through to the day itself, ensuring your wedding is the most memorable occasion possible. Call 01691 773472 or visit www.thehandhotelchirk.co.uk.

Carden Park, 20 minutes from Chester city centre, offers couples the chance to take their vows surrounded by 1,000 acres of stunning Cheshire countryside. The team are on hand to tailor your wedding to your requirements and will work diligently to make sure everything runs like clockwork on the day. Call 01829 731000 or visit www.cardenpark.co.uk.

Gregynog Hall near Newtown, Powys, is a grand setting that’s bound to make an impression on your guests. This romantic locations is laced with symbolism from the earliest times of the Princes of Wales, and is home to a number of Rodin sculptures. There are also four ceremony rooms to choose from. Call 01686 650224 or visit www.gregynog.org.

Rossett Hall Hotel near Wrexham combines the grandeur and charm of a delightful Georgian hall with the amenities of a modern hotel. Situated in its own grounds in the quiet and picturesque village of Rossett, the hotel offers a secluded location with a tranquil atmosphere, making it the perfect wedding venue. Call 01244 571000 or visit www.rossetthallhotel.co.uk.

The Wild Pheasant Hotel, situated in the magnificent Vale of Llangollen, north Wales, combines the traditional charm and comfort of its 19th-century building with the contemporary chic of a new luxury wing and spa. The team’s expertise and personal service will make your wedding a spectacular occasion. Call 01978 860629 or visit www.wildpheasanthotel.co.uk.

Brookhouse Mill is a 17th-century mill in Denbigh, north Wales, with an atmospheric restaurant that features many of the old mill’s cogs and wheels and overlooks the river and gardens. With a fine a la carte menu using Welsh produce, it provides the ideal venue for any occasion, from an intimate dinner for two to a splendid 70-guest wedding. Call 01745 813377.

Tyn Dwr Hall, set in seven acres of woodland near Llangollen, is a unique, luxury venue that promises a tranquil country escape for your special occasion. With five-star accommodation for up to 66 guests, handcrafted fireplaces, stained-glass windows and romantic waterfalls, your private country estate awaits. Call 01978 884664 or visit www.tyndwrhall.co.uk.

Soughton Hall near Mold recently swept the board at the Welsh National Wedding Awards, not only claiming Best Venue in North Wales and also Best Venue in Wales. Built in 1714 by Edward Conway and remodelled more than 100 years later by Sir Charles Barry, this stunning location is definitely worth a visit. Call 01352 840811 or visit www.soughtonhall.co.uk.

Portmeirion is a venue like no other. You can spend your wedding on a private peninsula in north Wales, surrounded by colourful buildings, sandy beaches and acres of winding woodland. The town has three ceremony locations to choose from, including Hercules Hall, a Grade I listed oak-panelled hall dating from 1603. Call 01766 770000 or visit www.portmeirion.wales.

Whittington Castle near Oswestry is a slice of local history with a fascinating past dating back to 1222. The romantic setting is complete with castle, ivy-clad ruined walls, medieval moat with majestic swans and a twin-towered gatehouse, allowing you to walk up the drawbridge to your fairytale wedding. Call 01691 662397 or visit www.whittingtoncastle.co.uk.

104 SHIRE MAGAZINE | January/February 2019

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AAVenue VenueFor For All AllOccasions Occasions SS et et in in beautiful Shropshire we beautiful Shropshire we areare a unique Conference a unique ConferenceCentre Centre offering the best ofof corporate offering the best corporate functionality and bespoke occasion functionality and bespoke occasion events. Small or large we can events. Small or large we canoffer offer packages toto suit your needs. packages suit your needs. Based at at Stallion Based StallionAIAIServices, Services, Chapel Field Stud, wewecreated Chapel Field Stud, createdour our Conference Suites tototailor Conference Suites tailorfor for training days, educational training days, educationalevents, events, team building and courses. team building and courses.IsIs your event not listed your event not listedabove? above?Not Not a problem! We’d bebedelighted a problem! We’d delightedtoto hear from you toto cater hear from you caterforforyour your bespoke event. bespoke event.

high-quality, newlybuilt built AA high-quality, newly facility and events venuejust just facility and events venue outside Whitchurch. Combining outside Whitchurch. Combining comfort with corporate functionality, comfort with corporate functionality, suites offer fantasticviews, views, ourour suites offer fantastic warm cosy rooms and friendly staff. warm cosy rooms and friendly staff. The perfect location for the The perfect location for the horse lover and those who love the horse lover and those who love the outdoors. Come and feel inspired outdoors. Come and feel inspired

and andexperience experienceour ourhospitality hospitality at at our unique location with our unique location with friends, friends, family familyororcolleagues. colleagues. Your Yourday daywill willbe betailored tailored to to suit suityour yourneeds, needs,just justlet letus us know know the theroom roomlayout layoutwhich whichwill will work work best bestfor foryou. you.Take Takeaalook look at at our our individual individualsuites suitesto tochoose choose the the best bestone onefor foryou. you. We Wecater caterfor foraawide widerange range ofofevents eventsininaavariety varietyof ofstyles styles whether whetherititbe beaabusiness businesslunch, lunch, buffetororevening eveningmeal. meal. buffet Wehave haveaalarge largecar carpark park and and We disabledaccess accesstotoaccommodate accommodate disabled yourguests. guests.We Wealso also have have allallofofyour lifttotohelp helpyou youcarry carryitems items up up a alift to the Suites, if you need any to the Suites, if you need any assistancejust justask. ask. assistance We’re easy to find! Chapel Field Conference Suites, Ash Lane, Whitchurch, Shropshire, SY13 4BP. Contact us on 01948 666 295 or email events@stallionai.com for further information or to book.

Welcome to Please telephone or email for an appointment. Tel: 01978 780669 louise@getaheadhats.co.uk Eyton Grange, Eyton, Wrexham LL13 0SW www.getaheadhats.co.uk

Hats with Style and Elegance to HIRE or BUY At Get Ahead Hats Wrexham you will find hundreds of designer hats, perchers and fascinators from British milliners, straight from the catwalks to hire or to buy. Different styles and colours with beautiful accessories to create that perfect look.

Step in Style Limousines Family run business



wedding venue

All occasions catered for...

Special Offer on booking two or more cars Vintage Rolls Royces Classic Rolls Royces Daimler DS Mercedes Chrysler 300 info@stepinstylelimousines.co.uk www.stepinstylelimousines.co.uk

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Please call for a viewing 01745 355824

all-inclusive wedding packages

21/12/2018 16:40

Fall in Love

all over again

Your dream wedding for just £3500!

Let us put the icing on the cake for your 2019 wedding with our special exclusive package! • Civil ceremony room hire • Drinks package and 3 course wedding breakfast for 50 guests • Evening reception with buffet for 50 guests • A superior suite for your wedding night • Finishing touches including chair covers with organza bows, table mirrors and table centrepieces, fairy light wall backdrop plus more!

To enquire or make a provisional booking, call 01244 570560 or email weddings@grosvenorpulfordhotel.co.uk quoting ‘SHIRE19 ’. Terms and conditions apply. Dates subject to availability.

Wrexham Rd, Pulford, Chester, Cheshire, CH4 9DG

Tel: 01244 570560


Owned and operated by Nelson Hotels www.nelsonhotels.co.uk

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Health&Beauty HIIT or miss? Health and wellbeing expert Lizzy Deery, an exercise physiologist at the University of Chester, takes a look at how we should be exercising to achieve the best results possible


t is no secret that we’re all living increasingly fast-paced lives. Our days fly by in a flurry of emails, school runs, multiple WhatsApp groups, deadlines, todo lists, food shops, laundry and our many social commitments. Just like our lives, our workouts have taken a fast-paced turn over the past decade, with more and more people turning now towards high-intensity interval training (HIIT) to get their fitness fix. Type the term into YouTube or Google and you’ll be faced with thousands of videos promising a home-

based workout in around 15 minutes, with many more videos and articles featuring celebrities attesting to the benefits of HIIT. But is it all it’s cracked up to be?

Fast and furious

Research shows that HIIT improves VO2peak – a measure of fitness – to at least the same and in some instances to greater levels than traditional exercise. It can also be useful in reducing risk factors such as blood cholesterol and blood glucose, and in aiding weight loss. Studies now show that

Find something you enjoy and you’re more likely to stick with it


these benefits are true for children, teenagers and adults alike, and are even HIIT sessions true in exercise can take rehabilitation as little as 15 minutes settings. If you’re strapped for time and looking for a home-based For some, HIIT is the exercise alternative that won’t golden ticket they’ve always break the bank, doesn’t require been seeking; for others, it any equipment and can feels more like a highway to be done at any time, hell. But even if you’re DID YOU HIIT may be for among those in the KNOW? you. It’s important HIIT burns 25-30% latter camp, fear not! more calories than Regular exercise within to remember other forms of however, that the current government exercise preference is key, guidelines (30 minutes and researchers say five times a week, that while HIIT may totalling 150 minutes in total) appeal to many people as a way is shown to be just as good for to get their fitness fix without a maintaining general health. huge time investment, the hard And remember, it can be built efforts required during such up in 10-minute chunks. workouts may be unpalatable So if you don’t fancy a HIIT for others. And for those who session but can fit in three brisk don’t (perhaps unsurprisingly) 10-minute walks a day, you’re all stick with it, the benefits do good. The key is to find a type not stand – certainly not in of movement, exercise or activity the long term. This is because that you enjoy and that you can for any exercise regime to be fit into your busy life without effective, it must be something having to sacrifice too much else. that allows consistent adherence. Happy HIITing!

WHAT? The Alexander Technique is an educational process that was created to retrain habitual patterns of movement and posture. It’s based on the belief that poor habits in posture and movement damage spatial self-awareness as well as health, and that movement efficiency can support overall physical wellbeing. WHERE? Australian actor Frederick Matthias Alexander created the technique’s principles in the 1890s in an attempt to address voice loss during public speaking. It was so successful that he credited his method with allowing him to pursue his passion for reciting Shakespeare.

WHO? Some proponents of the Alexander Technique believe it addresses a variety of health conditions related to cumulative physical behaviours, but there’s little evidence to support these claims. There is evidence suggesting the Alexander Technique may be helpful for longterm back and neck pain, and may help people cope with Parkinson’s disease. HOW? The Alexander’s Technique uses a combination of physical and mindful exercises to help you adopt new ways of getting rid of harmful tension. Actions such as sitting, squatting, lunging or walking are often selected by the teacher. January/February 2019 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 107

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Sitting too close to the TV ruins your eyes – right? Well… We take a look at some of the myths around eye health and vision

Stress plays a prominent part in our lives, with Christmas being a particularly pressured time for many. Samanatha Humphreys, a beauty lecturer from North Shropshire College, has some tips to help you recover from the season


here are many products available to help us de-stress when we have time on our side, but that doesn’t mean we can’t treat ourselves to some quick fixes that give us a speedy boost. A spray mist will help hydrate and cool the skin. A stressed skin creates a flushing blood, so a quick hydrating spritz is ideal after being in those shop queues fighting for the best deals in the sales. Don’t have time for a long soak in the bath? Adding products with naturally soothing substances – such as lavender, rose and chamomile – is an easy way to create a sense of wellbeing and relaxation in next to no time, calming the mind in readiness for the following day. Exfoliating your skin also improves blood circulation and releases tension from the soft tissue. Using a salt scrub will increase the desquamation process (removal of skin cells).

the scent, making it helpful for the postChristmas recovery period – and hence a perfect present for anyone who gets stressed over the festive season! It can be added to any moisturiser or gently inhaled for 20 to 30 seconds. This will encourage a better night’s sleep and peace of mind.

Common scents

Some citrus oils have the ability to decrease depression and stress, something that’s beneficial before bedtime because it helps promote good-quality sleep. A quick application of lavender directly on the skin, either behind the ear or on the wrist, can be applied any time wherever you are, allowing you to become instantly relaxed. Setting aside a few minutes every day may not always seem practical, but it may contribute towards achieving an optimal outlook and help you head into 2019 with positive vibes and a little extra energy.

Add soothing rose or chamomile to a bath

Not true. While this is something many of us have found ourselves saying to young children, they often sit close to the TV screens because they have a greater ability to focus on objects closer to their eyes than adults do. For this same reason, children often hold their reading material close too. As they grow older, these habits gradually change.

2. ‘Reading in dim light can hurt our eyes’

False again. While reading in low light can cause eye fatigue, it won’t cause damage. However, it’s never a good idea to strain any muscle too much, and your eyes will appreciate being treated kindly as much as any other part of the body does. They may become tired and achy after reading in insufficient light, so it’s not a particularly good idea, but it won’t cause lasting problems.

3. ‘Staring at the sun will make you go blind’

….and relax

If time allows, a scalp massage can ease the pressure – make light and deeper circular moves through the hair. Many salons also offer a mini massage, which can release tension through gentle stretching of the back of the neck and squeezing the muscles at the tops of your shoulders and arms. When it comes to relaxation and recovery, the essential oil lavender is popular with many people. The brain can promote a relaxed response to

1. ‘Sitting too close to the television can damage your eyes’

Try a scalp massage for instant relaxation

This is one that does have some truth to it. Instant blindness might be an exaggeration but staring at the sun is absolutely, definitely a bad idea! Looking directly at it at any time – including during an eclipse, as President Trump famously did – can lead to solar retinopathy, which is permanent damage to the eye’s retina from solar radiation. The damage can be severe, which is probably why mothers have warned generations of children not to do it.

108 SHIRE MAGAZINE | January/February 2019

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Are you thinking about a new you for 2019?

If so, why not enjoy a mini complimentary advice session on us!

Are you thinking about a new you for 2018? If so, why not enjoy a mini complimentary advice session on us! A new cosmetic consultant has joined the team at Nuffield Health Shrewsbury Hospital. With a special interest in aesthetic breast surgery, body contouring and liposculpture. After a very successful open event in 2018, Mr Ismail is delighted to be able to offer another evening on Thursday 18th February 2019.

A new cosmetic consultant with Mini complimentary a Mini specialcomplimentary interest in aesthetic advice sessions advice sessions breast surgery, body contouring2019 Monday 18th February Thursday 8th February 2018 and liposculpture has joined 4pm 7pm 5.30pm - 8.30pm the team–at Nuffield Health Shrewsbury Hospital. with Mr Ismail Nuffield Health After a very successful open Shrewsbury Hospital event in 2017, Mr Ismail is Longden Road delighted to be able to offer Shrewsbury another evening on Thursday SY3 9DP 8th February 2018.

All appointments must be pre-booked online at nuffieldhealth.com/book

All appointments must pre-booked and can be booked online at Mr Ismail joins Mr Dan Prinsloo in offering plastic surgery at Nuffi eldbe Health nuffieldhealth.com/book Shrewsbury Hospital. For more information on the services available please Mr Ismail joins Mr Dan Prinsloo in offering plastic surgery at Nuffield Health visit nuffieldhealth.com/hospitals/shrewsbury/cosmetic-surgery

Shrewsbury Hospital for more information on the services available please go to: nuffieldhealth.com/hospitals/shrewsbury/cosmetic-surgery

Nuffield Health Shrewsbury Hospital Longden Road, Shrewsbury, SY3 9DP

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21/12/2018 16:40 10/12/2018 09:38


If festive feasting and prolific partying has left you feeling less than your very best, 2019 might be the perfect time to invest in yourself


ore and more people these days are happy to buy in a bit of help when it comes to looking and feeling their best. It used to be seen as cheating but is now considered normal by millions of women. A Glamour magazine survey found that over half of women aged 16 to 29 would consider getting cosmetic enhancements either now, or in the future – and by 2020, it’s thought that almost 1.5 million of us in the UK will have had a non-surgical treatment such as Botox or fillers. Medical aesthetics are

no longer the preserve of the rich and famous – with local clinics and mobile therapists growing in number, we can add a Botox injection to the shopping list as easily as a loaf of bread.

The skin you’re in

In Shrewsbury, one local leading independent medical aesthetic clinic, Cedar House, has seen a recent influx of customers old and new from around the area. Conveniently situated on Shrewsbury Business Park – a discreet, out-of-town location with easy access to and from all major motorway links – the clinic welcomes clients from all over the UK.

Specialising in surgical and non-surgical cosmetic treatments for the face and body, Cedar House’s experts offer treatments ranging from dermal fillers to anti-wrinkle injections and from fat removal to skin tightening. The Cedar House team are also experts in skincare and can help with laser skin treatments as well as the removal of moles, cysts, skin tags, hair and tattoos.

Don’t weight

For those of you hoping to tackle a post-Christmas body, Cedar House is also now offering a new weight management product called Thinjection. It works like a hormone the body

produces naturally that regulates appetite by activating areas of your brain. The Thinjection may make you feel less hungry, which can lead to lower calorie intake and weight loss, and can also help you not only to lose weight but to keep it off as well. So if you’ve promised to do something for yourself in 2019 and want to boost your body confidence or just freshen up your face, Cedar House could be a great place to start. Call 01743 271404 or see the full range of treatments by visiting the website at www.cedarhouseclinic.co.uk

Get back to good health Had an indulgent festive season? January is the perfect time to clean away impurities and refresh your skincare and beauty routine so you look and feel healthier Odylique Creamy Coconut Cleanser, £18, www.odylique.co.uk This award-winning organic cleanser gently but thoroughly lifts away all traces of makeup, skin impurities and dirt. Ideal for sensitive, rosacea-prone skin. Non-comedogenic and detergent-free.

Kneipp Skin Firming Grapeseed Body Massage Oil, £10.95, www.lloydspharmacy.com Relieve tired muscles and firm up your skin with this light formula, which contains a unique blend of grapeseed oil and smells amazing.

Odylique 3-in-1 Maca Mask, £20, www.odylique.co.uk Draw out impurities with this organic mask made with mineral clay, baobab fruit and oats. Gently exfoliates for beautifully polished skin.


Ed i

Lyonsleaf Beauty Balm, £12.95, www.lovelula.com This wonderfully moisturising all-purpose beauty balm contains an essential blend of oils and can be used as a cleanser, moisturiser or a scrub when mixed with sugar.

Alteya Organics Bulgarian Rose Water Spray, £9.85, www.lovelula.com With cleansing, toning and energising properties, this gentle spray is perfect for calming the skin and will give your spirits a lift with its gorgeous scent.

s ick p Supplements to r’s

start the new year LQ Liquid Health Digestive Care, £29.99 for 10 x 50ml bottles, www.boots.com This super-strength supplement contains 11 active ingredients to help with daily digestive health. It’s shown impressive results with irritable bowel syndrome, leaky gut and other gastro/digestive conditions.

Pink Lemonade 3 in 1 Beauty Drink, £29.99 for 30 sachets, www.pinkcloudbeauty.co A beautifying blend of musthave vitamins and supplements including collagen, MSM, biotin, vitamin C, vitamin E and selenium, this drink has been developed in the UK by leading industry experts for healthy skin, hair and nails.

110 SHIRE MAGAZINE | January/February 2019

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Meet the Expert Private discussions We talk to consultant orthopaedic surgeon Mr Pat Gregson about his work at the private Ludlow Unit at the Robert Jones & Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital (RJAH) in Oswestry What’s your specialisation? I operate mostly on hips, but also knees. I redo hip replacements that have failed or the ones other surgeons don’t want to do! Oswestry is the hub for this part of the country, so surrounding hospitals send us the bulk of the revision surgery, which are the more complex cases. We also take on the more complex cases for hips and knees where the anatomy is disordered.

How did you end up working at the RJAH? I retired from the Nuffield Hospital in Shrewsbury after 20 years and had an opportunity to work at the private Ludlow Unit here at the RJAH.

Why do patients want to pay for surgery? Firstly, it’s the waiting times. Hip arthritis is really painful – you can’t sleep well, you can’t tie your shoes – and I think people don’t really understand how desperate patients are for treatment. With surgery, the pain is relieved straight away. Hip patients are the best recommendation we have, as the benefit

to their quality of life is huge. Secondly, by going private, patients get to choose their doctor. And thirdly, you can choose your hospital and know you’ll have a private room.

Why would you recommend the RJAH?

What I love about the whole hospital is that it’s so patient-centred. Mr Gregson: proud to be part of the RJAH The quality of nursing care is really excellent, and it’s If a person wants to be the UK, and the performance all about putting the care of the metrics for the RJAH lead treated at the RJAH, patient first. Here at the Ludlow the field – I believe we come what is the process? Unit, the nurses are excellent, first in patient satisfaction First they need to see their and very good at handling and recorded outcomes, with GP for a referral, which can be patients, which takes a balance the lowest infection rates. To named to a specific consultant, of humour and professionalism! achieve this, we minimise the and then get in touch with They are a hugely integral part damage to muscles as much the Ludlow Unit to make an of the patients’ recovery, and coas we can and are proactive initial appointment. This first ordinate all the physiotherapy, in getting patients moving as appointment takes about half wound care, soon as possible after surgery. an hour to take a mobilisation and We also have very hi-tech clinical history and ‘I think people don’t so on. I’m so proud theatres here, with a laminar discuss options, really understand to be part of the air-flow system that keeps and may involve how desperate tradition of the the environment very clean. an X-ray. Usually, patients with hip arthritis are RJAH, a place For the whole hospital, it’s we can make a for treatment. of pioneering all about the ‘sum of minor recommendation With surgery the orthopaedic surgery increments’ – if you work to immediately, but pain is relieved by Sir Robert improve every aspect, even sometimes an straight away’ Jones and nursing by one per cent, your overall MRI scan may excellence under outcomes will only improve. also be needed. Dame Agnes Hunt – this That’s what I like most about The patient will then receive a place is seen by many as the working here – every member date for surgery, which is usually birthplace of orthopaedics. of the team is important: the within the month. On the day doctors, nurses, healthcare of surgery, morning cases can assistants, porters, cleaners – be out of bed and standing by What is the performance they’re all working to improve the evening – part of the rapid record at the RJAH? everything. I’m genuinely very recovery programme that We perform five per cent of all proud to be part of it. helps patients enormously. joint replacement operations in

Mr Patrick Gregson FRCS, FRCS (Orth)

Clinical and research interests Primary and revision hip, and primary and revision knee replacement, arthroscopy Qualification Charing Cross and Westminster, London, 1987 Appointments RJAH and Shrewsbury, 1998 Private telephone 01691 404307

112 SHIRE MAGAZINE | January/February 2019

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Retirement Living Roll up! Roll up! Circus magic comes to care home Musicians from a world-famous orchestra brought the roar of the crowd and the smell of the grease paint to a Wrexham care home as part of a ‘magical’ circus workshop


wo members of Manchester’s acclaimed Hallé Orchestra brought the joyous sounds of the big top to Pendine Park’s Highfield care home in Wrexham, engaging residents in a magical melée of entertainment. It was particularly appropriate because the owner of Pendine

‘Running a care home organisation in Wales can be very much like spinning plates and juggling at times, but the amazing performance we’ve had here today has been light-hearted and very much about having a laugh and enriching lives across the generations.’

Fun and laughter

Residents were encouraged to join in

Park, Mario Kreft, comes from a circus family. His late father, Franz Kreft, travelled the world as a lion and bear tamer. ‘Both my parents worked in the circus, and it’s funny how the performing arts side of things translates into what we do at Pendine Park,’ says Mario. ‘We’ve been focused on arts enrichment in the 30 years we’ve been going and we have a long partnership with the Hallé Orchestra, who led a thoroughly enjoyable session at Highfield.

The two-hour circus-themed event was the culmination of an arts and music project held over the past year at Highfield and it went down well with residents. Maths whizz ‘It was Joan Hayes, who is 93 and such a fun almost blind, was among morning those who delighted in the – I love a singalong!’ circus themed extravaganza. Despite her deteriorating eyesight, Joan found the circus workshop inspirational. ‘It’s a great

Owner Mario comes from a circus family

The circus teaches new skills

way to lift the spirits and encourage a good vibe,’ she said. ‘I could make out the bright colours and, of course, the vibrant beat of the music was easy to follow.’ Pendine Park’s enrichment and activities co-ordinators Chris Lewis and Elaine Lee donned circus costumes for the day, as did some of the home’s residents, including Christine Jones, 73, who was dressed in a bright hat and giant bow-tie. ‘It’s been such a fun morning,’ she said. ‘What I like best is the music. I love a good singalong!’ The award-winning partnership between Pendine Park and the Hallé Orchestra is designed to offer innovative musical therapy to care home residents and has been running successfully for more than 10 years.

CHARLIE LEADS THE WAY TO MORE ACTIVE LIFESTYLES One Shropshire care home is using a recent grant to encourage active living by bringing in a canine companion


riarfields care home in Shrewsbury has revamped its outdoor environment to include activities such as a bug hotel, hopscotch, basketball hoops, a wildflower garden and a light and sound arch, as well as installing a ‘man cave’, to entice residents into the great outdoors. The work was funded by a £5,000 award from the Shropshire Council Public Health Everybody Active Everyday scheme, run in alliance with Shropshire Partners in Care. The grant will also support the care of golden labrador Charlie, whose role is to motivate residents to get involved in his daily exercise and care. He lives with the home’s manager Denise Morris and comes into Briarfields every day. ‘Research has shown that the least active people

benefit from the smallest increase in activity,’ says Denise. ‘Increased mobility and physical activity also lead to stronger muscles, better health and fewer falls.’

Time for walkies!

Residents were key in developing the plan to get them more active. ‘We worked with residents to develop the plan and they came up with the ideas of what would get them more active,’ Denise continues. ‘The additions to the garden will make it a more attractive and fun place to be, and the man cave will be a great place for residents to potter about in and enjoy a cuppa outside of the home even if the weather’s not great.’ Residents are encouraged to play a part in Charlie’s daily routine by taking

Briarfields resident June Lambley and manager Denise Morris with Charlie

him out for walks, playing with him and grooming him. ‘We will be testing residents’ activity levels to see how they improve as part of the project,’ says Denise. ‘Staff and families are very supportive, and the improvements and the addition of a pet to the home will add an extra dimension to living here for our residents.’

114 SHIRE MAGAZINE | January/February 2019

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A life, well lived, is enriched by our connections, family and friendships, fulfilled by lifelong learning and supported by caring communities. Passionate about enriching lives across the generations, PACT supports community and the arts, in all its glorious forms, champions the care sector and its heroes, and represents our commitment to society. People caring about people.

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Hannah Leese is an associate in the dispute resolution team at SAS Daniels Solicitors and advises on a wide range of legal matters. SAS Daniels offers a full range of legal services for your family and your business, including corporate and commercial, employment law and HR, dispute resolution, property law, family law and wills, trusts and probate. At SAS Daniels you’ll find specialist solicitors who can advise on how to avoid partnership disputes and help with reviewing your partnership agreements. For more information, call Hannah on 01260 282300 or email hannah.leese@sasdaniels.co.uk.

Partnership disputes: how to avoid them By Hannah Leese, SAS Daniels Solicitors


The court concluded Mr Wild had not recent case, Wild v. Wild, has intended the farm should be an asset highlighted the need for families of the partnership and therefore it was working in partnership to be clear about how assets are held. While putting a not. A partnership occupying the land or partnership agreement in place is the last paying for improvements isn’t conclusive thing business owners may want to think evidence it was a partnership asset. about when getting on with the job, The court also considered comments it can have a big impact in the future, made by Mr Wild, including the fact that particularly when the next generation his son was 16 when the partnership takes over or if there is a dispute. was formed and at that time Mr and Mrs The case makes clear that even if Wild made most of the decisions. There partnership accounts are up to date was also evidence relating to their wills, and all partners believe the land which seemed to suggest Mr and Mrs used for the business is owned by Wild thought they owned the land and the partnership, it isn’t conclusive. buildings, and their accountants agreed. The Wild family worked a dairy farm Promises made by individuals can in partnership since 1978. Following also be taken into account. For example, a breakdown of family if they have always maintained relationships, there was someone will ‘inherit the business’ ‘Be careful a discussion about who or ‘have somewhere to live’ when owned the farm. This and they rely on that to their discussing included the farmhouse detriment, this can override a the future of where Mrs Wild lived, and a partnership agreement or will. bungalow where one of the the business’ sons lived with his family. How to avoid a dispute The question for the court • Take advice. Money and time was whether the farm passed to Mrs spent now could save much more Wild when Mr Wild died in 2012 or if it money, time and distress in the future. was an asset of the partnership to be • Make sure partnership accounts are up to date and you understand them, divided between his two sons. The court but don’t rely on them too much. decided the land wasn’t an asset of the • Put a partnership agreement in place. partnership and was owned by Mrs Wild. • Update your will. Court conclusion • Find and review the deeds to the Although the land was used by the land and any tenancy agreements. partnership rent-free and the partnership • Be careful when discussing the future paid for some expenditure on the farm, of the business – seemingly innocent the court said it did ‘not necessarily comments can have huge implications. mean that it is to be regarded as having been partnership property.’ The team at SAS Daniels can help create or review your partnership The court concluded the partnership accounts prepared and signed by the agreement so you can avoid a dispute. partners showed the farm, including the It’s also a good idea to have a farmhouse and bungalow, was an asset ‘health check’ of the partnership of the partnership. However, the evidence at least every five years or if any showed Mr Wild was likely to have major changes take place, to prevent signed the partnership accounts without disagreements and make sure the fully understanding the implications. current position is tax efficient.

‘Promises made by individuals can also be taken into account. For example, if they have always maintained someone will ‘inherit the business’ or ‘have somewhere to live’ and they rely on that to their detriment, this can override a partnership agreement or will’ January/February 2019 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 117

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Please come for a tasteof Packwood... Scholarships & Bursaries Y3-Y8 Saturday 12th January Open Day/Meet the New Head Saturday 9th February Arts in Space Experience Day Sunday 3rd March




Packwood Haugh School Ruyton XI Towns, Shrewsbury SY4 1HX Telephone 01939 260217

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Top of the Class Return to study helps mum build designs on dream career

Classes scale up



mum who returned to university to pursue a career in construction has secured her dream job – and seen her designs become reality as part of prestigious project in her home town. Nichola Hilton from Colwyn Bay returned to study for a BSc (Hons) in Architectural Design Technology at Wrexham Glyndŵr University 14 years after leaving school. ‘As a single mum of four, I was unsure if I would manage the pressure and work commitment,’ she says. ‘Organisation and time management were key, but also the support and understanding I received from my lecturers and peers. It has been one of the best decisions I have made.’ And a study assignment to work on a project for Conwy County Borough Council saw Nichola’s proposals for a

Nichola in Colwyn Bay

new concessions unit chosen. The unit formed part of the Colwyn Bay Waterfront Project, a major redevelopment of the town’s seafront. Nichola is now working for Beech Developments (NW) Ltd, Llandudno Junction, as an assistant architectural technician. ‘Everything I studied at Glyndŵr I have transferred to my job here at Beech,’ she says. ‘Each module gave me new knowledge and skills that I use every day.’ Nichola urges anyone considering returning to university to follow her example – and their dreams.

P.E. TEACHER’S CHANNEL SWIM and in memory of her best friend, Pip, and all those who have been treated for cancer. In preparation, Sophia trained across the globe in oceans, seas, rivers, quarries, lakes and pools, both day and night, sometimes in temperatures below 7°C. ‘I loved every minute of the preparation and the challenge itself,’ says Sophia. ‘My The team: Sophia, Neil and Dawn teammates, Neil Stewart and Dawn Llewellyn, were the best I ophia Storrar, a PE teacher could have asked for, and thanks at Abbey Gate College in to the support of Bransby Chester, successfully MacDonald-Williams swam the English on the boat as well as our Channel recently in ‘Sophia skippers, Peter Senior trained a team relay to raise across and Junior, the crossing money for Cancer the globe’ was a huge success. Research UK, raising ‘Thank you to all who nearly £4,000. sponsored the cause, The team of three one that is sadly touching all swimmers completed the of our lives in some way.’ crossing in 11 hours and 58 minutes, supported by a pilot boat. The Strait of Dover is renowned for having strong tidal flows and the high water spring tide of 7.1m certainly added to the challenge. Sophia took on the Channel challenge to raise funds to help The swim took nearly 12 hours improve cancer treatments


state-of-the-art learning space at Wrexham Glyndŵr University has welcomed its first classes after a £200,000 investment. The facilities are the latest development in the university’s 2025 Campus renewal programme, which is designed to improve the student experience and provide stimulating, cutting-edge facilities. The teaching room, with high-end IT infrastructure and technology, has been designed as a Student Centred Active Learning Environment, or SCALE-UP, classroom, where academics interact with students in small groups. ‘It’s been great to see the first classes in these facilities,’ says Wrexham Glyndŵr University’s director of operations, Lynda Powell. ‘They’ve been designed to create an attractive, and interactive, learning environment. Initial feedback shows they’re already having a positive impact.’

Ex-England player to lead girls’ cricket

Lydia Greenway


ormer England cricketer Lydia Greenway is to join a girls’ cricket development programme at Ellesmere College this summer term. The Cricket For Girls initiative takes place from March. It will be led by Lydia, who played for England in seven Tests and 32 ODIs. Confirmation that the college had been accepted as a hub for the Cricket For Girls initiative came just after they were named in the Top 100 Schools For Cricket by The Cricketer magazine. ‘Being recognised as a hub is a tremendous honour,’ says Gareth Owen, director of the Cricket Academy at Ellesmere College. ‘It recognises the hard work of coaches and pupils, as well as providing a pathway into the professional game.’

Interactive learning is encouraged



rom January, Moor Park School in Ludlow is to offer scholarships to children entering Year 3 and above in September 2019 with a talent in academic areas, sport, music, art, DT and drama, with a fee remission of up to 30 per cent on the day fee. ‘Moor Park is a school that prides itself on finding

Scholarships are now available

something every child is good at, and nurturing the talents of individual children is something that excites the staff here,’ says headmaster Charlie Minogue. Moor Park’s specialist sports coaches and daily games programme, together with superb facilities, ensure that talented young boys and girls are pushed on in all sporting areas. The school also opened a new performing arts centre in September with spaces for music and drama, including a recording studio. The art department and DT facilities, together with their inspirational teachers, have been getting the best out of children for many years.

January/February 2019 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 119

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Triathlon success for Myddelton

Myddelton’s triathletes


port plays a significant role in the life of Myddelton College in Denbigh, north Wales, offering wide-ranging sporting opportunities to all of its students and supporting a large number of elite athletes competing at national and international level. The school is particularly proud of its Elite Triathlon Training Programme, which this year has seen one of its

star athletes qualify for Team GB. Nathaniel Harries, 17, has qualified to compete in the Age Groupers category at the European Championships in Scotland this August. Nathaniel joined Myddelton as a boarding student on a Triathlon Scholarship in September 2017. Fellow triathletes Eve Scott, 14, and Mali Jones, 16, are also in the Wales squad. Myddelton’s triathlon programme is delivered by a top-level coaching team, headed by award-winning Level 3 coach Royden Healey. They provide training four times a week, across all three disciplines of swimming, cycling and running, to 16 athletes from Year 5 to 13.

oreton Hall, Oswestry, hosted the annual Shropshire Festival of Verse & Prose in October, welcoming children and young adults from across the region. Competitive classes included public speaking, verse reading, poetry recitals, duologues, solo drama pieces, readings from The Book Of Common Prayer and sight reading. ‘We had a large and talented field of participants,’ says



A new partnership with the NHS


Merriel Halsall-Williams, Shropshire Festival organiser and head of spoken English at Moreton. ‘The Moreton Hall girls did outstandingly well, but the level was exceptional across the board. It’s fantastic to see so many people taking spoken English so seriously.’ Moreton Hall’s four winning students will now represent the school at the Thomas Cranmer National Finals in London on the 21st February.

Pupils Eat Well at Derwen College

College group joins forces with NHS hrewsbury Colleges Group and The Shrewsbury & Telford Hospital NHS Trust have announced plans to form a unique partnership to benefit young people, the county and the community. The college is the first to offer a dedicated programme of careers support focusing on roles within the NHS. Selected full-time academic and vocational courses and apprenticeships will offer specific NHS-related elements, as well as career planning, placements and mentoring. ‘We are really excited about partnering with the NHS and the fantastic opportunities it will give our young people,’ says Catherine Armstrong, SCG’s group vice principal curriculum support and business development.


The Farrells on the water

Rydal Penrhos celebrates brothers’ boating brilliance


hree brothers at Rydal Penrhos in Conwy have added to their outstanding list of sailing achievements with national squad selections. Eddie, Kevin and Liam Farrell have all been selected to UK Class National Squads in their respective boats after a series of outstanding performances. Eddie and Kevin received an invitation to the 29er UK Class National Squad following their first event together at Weymouth in September, and were included in the Welsh 29er Squad for the 2018/2019 season. Kevin transitioned from the RS Feva to the 29er in August, and the pair have been sailing at Llandudno Sailing Club as much as possible over the summer. Year 7 pupil Liam qualified for selection to the RS Feva UK Class National Squad with his new partner from the London area, after impressing selectors at high-profile events at Draycote Water and Hayling Island.

hildren from Oswestry’s Morda CE Primary School visited Derwen College in Gobowen as part of their Eat Well Week in October. This was part of Morda’s Living Well project, when pupils took part in fun activities as they learned about keeping themselves healthy by eating well. The school’s Rockies class learned about the Eat Well plate at Derwen College, and prepared a healthy snack with the students and staff. ‘It was a pleasure to welcome Morda School to Derwen

College to work alongside our hospitality students and staff,’ says the college’s marketing co-ordinator Amy Snow.

The pupils prepared snacks



udding scientists and engineers at Moreton First, the preparatory school for Moreton Hall in Oswestry, are preparing to enter the First LEGO League, a global robotics-based life skills competition for young people. Pupils will be required to participate in engineering challenges to solve a real-world problem during the project. ‘The pupils will be working in teams to research a real-life problem and then develop a solution by designing, building, testing and programming a robot using LEGO Mindstorms technology. They

will then compete against other schools on a table-top playing field,’ says Lorna Campbell, the project lead. ‘We are all excited about the competition and using LEGO as our building blocks provides a unique perspective on the exciting opportunities that engineering presents.’

Pupils solve problems with LEGO

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orth Shropshire College (NSC) has merged with Herefordshire and Ludlow College (HLC), supported by a government funding package provided by the Transactions Unit of the Education & Skills Funding Agency with the agreement of the Department of Education & Treasury. The transition funding will support the long-term financial sustainability of NSC’s campuses at Oswestry and Walford, Baschurch. The new college, Herefordshire, Ludlow & North Shropshire College, will be governed by HLC’s board, boosted by representatives from North Shropshire. HLC presently

Ian Peake

has a large vocational campus in Hereford, a land-based campus and farm in Holme Lacy, a sixth-form college in Ludlow, and an apprenticeship arm, County Training. The new college will offer a rich, diverse curriculum and training opportunities throughout Shropshire and Herefordshire. The larger £27m institution will also benefit from economies of scale, reducing running costs so the highest possible proportion of its income will be directed to teaching and student support. In a joint statement, the chairs of both NSC and HLC boards said: ‘It has been a pleasure for us to work together in partnership to prepare for this merger – a merger that will strengthen and improve both colleges and confer considerable advantage to our students.’ The principal of the new institution, Ian Peake, is ‘delighted that after many months of careful preparation this merger has happened.’

Alex is full of iDEAs


lex Iskauskas, a Year 10 pupil at Oswestry School, has received a Bronze Duke of York Inspiring Digital Enterprise Award (iDEA). iDEA helps people develop digital, enterprise and employability skills for free. Through a series of online challenges Alex Iskauskas and events participants can win careerearned him his award. enhancing badges, unlock new ‘iDEA is a great initiative opportunities and gain industry for people of all ages and I’m recognised awards that help delighted Alex has achieved them stand out from the crowd. his first award,’ says computing Alex completed teacher Michael his Bronze award Birchwood. ‘The Silver over the summer award was released in ‘We’re pleased and has now September and I have to be part of received his several pupils who are an award that can help our certificate signed keen to get involved. pupils develop by Prince ‘This award aspires to be their skills’ Andrew, Duke of the digital and enterprise York. Alex equivalent of the Duke worked through of Edinburgh Award and challenges to earn we’re pleased to be part badges – citizen, worker, maker, of a scheme that can help our entrepreneur and gamer – which pupils develop their skills.’

Meet fantastic Mr Fox


eading independent and opportunities. boarding and day school ‘Packwood Haugh Packwood Haugh School near has a deserved Shrewsbury has appointed an international inspirational new headteacher reputation for from Harrow to help deliver excellence, combining its exciting future. the best of traditional Robert Fox will take up his values with a forwardpost in April 2019, relocating looking approach to from Hong Kong with his wife modern education.’ Kate and three children, where As Packwood’s he is currently assistant head at new head, Robert will Harrow International School. launch the school’s Robert Fox and his wife, Kate Robert is looking forward to 10-Year Development and its record of scholarship leading the growing and vibrant Plan, which includes and bursary success to many of school of boys and girls aged proposals for a new state-ofthe country’s top independent four to 13 at the 66-acre site. the-art science department. senior schools. School leavers go Parents and prospective parents The school is popular on to top senior schools across are invited to meet him and with families from different the country, including Eton, learn about his vision backgrounds thanks Harrow, Winchester, Radley, for the school at the to its excellent all‘Packwood has Gordonstoun, Fettes, Oundle, Packwood Open Day round education a happy and Uppingham, Repton, Shrewsbury, on 9th February. and extracurricular stimulating Sedbergh, Cheltenham Ladies’ ‘It’s an honour to be provision. It has 196 environment College and Tudor Hall. head of a school where children on roll, all with access With the wide range of children are given in small class sizes, to amazing opportunities offered, nurturing the best start in life and encourages facilities’ pastoral care and a happy family to realise their talents every child to try atmosphere, children develop the and full potential,’ their best to be the self-confidence, resilience and says Robert. ‘It has a happy best that they can be. a positive attitude to life-long and stimulating environment Packwood is very proud of its learning for a bright future. with access to amazing facilities pupils’ academic achievements

Pupils bowled over


ackwood School in RuytonXI-Towns, Shrewsbury has been announced as one of the top 50 schools in the country for cricket. The school strives to help children learn to ‘bounce’, with sport played every afternoon, at sports and extracurricular clubs and activities. Girls and boys play together, and head of sports Paul Philips has developed close ties with local clubs Oswestry, Knockin and Shropshire Cricket. The school will open its playing fields in the summer, working with Shropshire Cricket and the Chance To Shine charity to host the Packwood Festival Of Cricket, inviting primary schools from across the county to develop their skills and enjoyment of the game.

Packwood’s Lady Taverners

122 SHIRE MAGAZINE | January/February 2019

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21/12/2018 16:42

It’s what’s inside that counts With Doctor Who back on our screens and delighting audiences old and new with its latest, female reincarnation, the spin-off industry has also gone into overdrive. One Wirral author is riding high on the success of everyone’s favourite Time Lord


igital artist and writer Gavin Rymill has worked on a multitude of Doctor Who spin-off publications, but his biggest to date has been the new TARDIS Type 40 Instruction Manual (BBC Books, £14.99), for which he supplied over 50 illustrations. ‘I’ve been an avid viewer of Doctor Who since childhood, and it was a natural progression to go from fan artwork to professional commissions,’ says Gavin. ‘After producing illustrations for the official Doctor Who magazine, I was asked to supply the cover artwork for the 50th anniversary edition in 2013.’

inventing a lot of the impossible Gavin’s work is primarily based around technology that might power the ship. 3D modelling, where objects such as ‘I really enjoyed the different disciplines chairs, houses or Daleks are created the book demanded – creativity and ‘virtually’ in computer software and precision,’ says Gavin. ‘I also had to rendered to produce realistic scenes do a great deal of research to check – a process usually referred to as CGI what had been shown on screen (computer-generated imagery). over the past 55 years.’ DID YOU The book’s authors, Richard Manual labour KNOW? Atkinson and Mike Tucker, Gavin’s challenge this year Doctor Who’s have compiled a detailed was to help create an owner’s TARDIS is actually manual for the universe’s broken, which is why it guide to adventures most famous time machine, always resembles a in space which required a new police box from and time. approach to his computer art. the 1960s Throughout, As well as creating photothe book treats realistic images of the TARDIS its subject as if it’s and its weird and wonderful rooms, the 100 per cent real, but, book features technical drawings of as with the lovingly the hi-tech systems that a pilot might crafted illustrations, have to repair. This meant producing it’s all done with a 3D illustrations as line drawings rather sense of fun. than solid-looking objects, and required

Ternhill Farm House Wild Shropshire is taking root! Whilst ‘Pop ups’ were fun and a great opportunity to visit beautiful venues around the country we have decided to get all grown up and open permanently at The Farm House at Ternhill. Whilst we may be dropping the ‘Pop up’ label everything else remains the same, if not better! You’ll still get the very best of Shropshire on several plates, along with matched wine flights all compiled by James and his team.

We will be open every FRIDAY and SATURDAY. We look forward to welcoming you to our next chapter. A RESTAURANT by JAMES SHERWIN


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SHIRE: 100,000 readers in North & Mid Wales, Cheshire, the Wirral and Shropshire

We have a wealth of experience within the advertising field, and working closely with our editorial team, we can work together to give your business unparalleled access to local customers.

Distribution is carried out by specialist companies who service and monitor each stand every week. 44,000 copies of SHIRE MAGAZINE are picked up from: North Wales, including Gwynedd, Anglesey, Wrexham, Flint, Mold, Ruthin, Denbigh, Merseyside Rhyl, Prestatyn, Abergele, Fli Anglesey nt sh Cheshire ire Conwy Colwyn Bay, Llandudno, Wrexham Llandudno Junction, Gwynedd Connah’s Quay Mid Wales, including Newtown, Shropshire Welshpool, Ceredigion and West Midlands Powys Powys Worcestershire Shropshire, including Telford, Shrewsbury, Wellington, Dyfed Get in touch now Oswestry, Ludlow, Ellesmere, to find our more! GloucestershireMarket Drayton and Whitchurch You can reach this Cheshire, including Chester, fantastic local market Saltney, Upton, Ellesmere for as little as Port, Nantwich and Crewe, for two months Northwich, Middlewich, coverage Winsford Wirral, including Rock Ferry, To find out more, call us on Prenton, West Kirby, Heswall, 01691 661270 or email Bromborough, Neston shire Denbigh






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New year, new book? If that’s what you have in mind, check out these top tips from the experts at Linghams bookshop in Heswall The Corset by Laura Purcell The superb second book from the author of The Silent Companions follows the story of Ruth, a young girl who ends up working for her mother’s employer after her seamstress mother loses her sight. It turns out the employer runs a dressmaking firm with a very dark secret; the other girls working there appear too scared to talk or make eye contact with Ruth. But why? Dorothea Truelove meets Ruth when the teenage seamstress is in prison awaiting trial for murder. Dorothea and Ruth become embroiled in each other’s stories of supernatural powers, murder and slavery. The tale twists and turns and leads to an explosive ending. It’s a gripping plot that is beautifully written and captures the lives of restricted Victorian women in a remarkable way. A must-read if you like page-turners and being scared – a lot!. Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver The latest book from award-winning author Barbara Kingsolver – whose previous works include The Poisonwood Bible – is set in the 1880s and modern-day New Jersey. Willa Knox is struggling to keep a crumbling roof over her family’s head. The house is falling down, she needs to find medical care for her terminally ill father-in-law Nick and she’s raising her son’s baby after his partner commits suicide. Then her daughter, Tig, arrives home unexpectedly and attempts to take control of the situation. The journalist in Willa decides to research the history of the house and discovers the renowned botanist Mary Treat may have lived in the same house, but how can this help her family? In the 1880s, Thatcher Greenwood is scientist at a local school. He’s married to Rose, who has high aspirations for her marriage. Mary Treat, a scientist who has had correspondence with Charles, is a friend and neighbour. The house provides shelter for both families who may be living in in different times but are facing similar situations. A beautifully written book that makes you take a step back and think about life.

Sandy by Martin Eddies

The Quiet Village by Kevin Beal

In my heart a voice says forget, forget But my poor heart cries not yet, not yet I know the feelings should not be shown And I’m the one to blame But with a broken heart and empty soul I will never be the same My heart is overflowing with love for her, my Sandy most dear But without her inspiration my life is dull and drear Where did it go, the love I held gently in my hands It just slipped between my fingers like myriad shifting sands But though my heart is aching I never can forget The touch of her hand, like springtime, which lives in my memory yet

The silence was not golden, the silence was just sad No young men were in this village; only old ones, women, young girls and lads The young men had gone to war together, marching proud with heads held high They all had joined the forces, none ever thinking that they might die The village women were left weeping, old men had tears in their eyes As the proud young men went marching to serve King and country, and save you and I Then these remaining people, working together as time went by Ploughing, sowing, reaping like farmers, with one eye on the sky The cows to milk, the sheep to shear, Eggs to collect, the pigs to rear Day in day out, over each long year

The Nest by Hywel Vaughan-Davies A flurry of tail feathers tacitly bonds lovebirds In ubiquitous nests crafted from instinct and nature’s gifts; another egg is laid, hatched and nurtured… The greatest weight of eternal recurrence

B O O K E VE NTS Dr Rangan Chatterjee, 17th January, Linghams bookshop, Heswall The physician, author, television presenter and podcaster – best known for his BBC One show Doctor In The House and as the resident doctor on BBC One’s Breakfast Show, introduces his latest book, The Stress Solution: The Four Steps To Reset. 6.30pm for a 7pm start. Tickets £10, redeemable against the book. Dr Jon Copley, 21st February, Neston Cricket Club, Wirral Journey to another world as Jon shares his 20 years’ experience exploring the deep ocean, including working as a scientific adviser on BBC One’s Blue Planet II. He will also discuss and sign copies of his first book, Ask An Ocean Explorer. Call 0151 342 7290 for further information. Crime Fact & Fiction, 28th February, Linghams bookshop, Heswall Professor Angela Gallop, one of the UK’s most eminent forensic scientists, is joined by Alex Michaelides (screenwriter and author of The Silent Patient) for an evening of crime fact and fiction. Call 0151 342 7290 for further information.

They were always aware, if the postman came near, Waiting for good news of their men that would bring them good cheer If an officer came, their hearts then dropped, It was always the same – a man was missing or had died Family, wife and children, they cried and just cried At the end of the war, it all seemed very exciting, But for this little village, no men returned from the fighting

The Compositor by Norman Marshall My case is pulled out before me With 26 soldiers of lead, Augmented by numerals and punctuation marks That sever any problem at its head. My words and sentences are marshalled – No pun ever intended – Strategies and tactics fully employed, Oblivious to compliments and those offended. Slowly they advance across the page To quash, erase the opposition; To satisfy any inner rage, Indifferent to any recognition. Now all this must be done To define the boundary, Then to dis the type And plates to the foundry.

We want your poems! We’ll print our favourites each edition and share your creative spirit with our readers. Send to Poetry Page, SHIRE, PO Box 276, Oswestry, Shropshire SY10 1FR or email editorial@shiremagazine.co.uk. January/February 2019 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 125

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Charities&Volunteering Tragic tale highlights work of hospices A

mother whose daughter died in a tragic accident is sharing her story to publicise the work of Hope House and Tŷ Gobaith Children’s Hospices and to highlight their need for more donations to ensure that no one locally suffers the death of a child alone. Chloe Farrell was 22 when the tractor she was riding on overturned and crushed her at a holiday park in Abersoch in May last year. Her mum, Karen, received a call telling her at first that her daughter was being airlifted to hospital; during her frantic journey to the hospital, she received a further call to tell her Chloe had died from her injuries. ‘I couldn’t bear to think of my vibrant, healthy daughter in a hospital mortuary or funeral home,’ says Karen. Thankfully, she knew of Tŷ Gobaith and its Snowflake Room, a temperature-controlled ‘We need to room where children who have died can spend make sure we all support this time before their funeral so their families and vital service friends can say goodbye in their own time. so that every More than 50 of Chloe’s friends and family family knows came to Tŷ Gobaith. Some sat in the private where to turn’ garden outside the Snowflake Room with Karen, some sat and chatted to Chloe and said their goodbyes. They cried and they laughed together. The nurses looked after them too. Those precious days at Tŷ Gobaith made Chloe’s family and friends feel they had her back with

Record for Round


he third annual Llangollen Round Challenge scooped £65,000 for Cancer Research UK in June. Around 400 walkers from across Britain completed the challenge, covering a 35-mile course through the hills around the town in one or two days. About 200 did it in one day, with Anton Wouters from Ellesmere recording the best time of seven hours and seven minutes. ‘We were delighted to raise £65,000,’ say organiser Sandra Woodhall and Judy Smith. ‘As well as local people, we had walkers from across the country, including London, Dorset and Glasgow. Helping to make everything go smoothly were more than over 100 volunteers, who took on tasks such as marshalling, manning checkpoints, driving and catering. ‘We also received strong support from a number of local firms, such as Spar and Aldi in Llangollen, Tesco at Cefn Mawr, Nisa Store in Ruabon, Arla Cheese in Oswestry, Warburtons and Severn Trent Water. I’d like to thank everyone who took part and the volunteers for all they did to make the event such a big success.’

them again. They all said that it gave them the strength to carry on. Karen is determined to help Tŷ Gobaith and Hope House raise the extra Chloe and Karen Farrell money they need to be there for every family that needs them – and to ensure that no one has to face the death of a child alone. ‘Currently, three local families a week face the pain of losing their child, and Hope House and Tŷ Gobaith can currently only afford to help one in every three of those families,’ says Karen. ‘We need to make sure we all support this vital service so that every family knows where to turn and can be looked after like we were.’ Tŷ Gobaith and Hope House have made a video called Chloe’s Story, which you can watch online at www.hopehousestories. org.uk along with information about how to donate and help to make sure no one suffers the death of a child alone

New status for Men In Sheds


he Whitchurch branch of Men In Sheds, which has been in operation for more than 12 months, has gained charity status. The organisation aims to provide a place where mature people – both men and women – can enjoy each other’s company and help out with small projects. The group has a workshop at Centre North East on Bridgewater Street, which is open Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10am to 4pm. Activities in the Whitchurch Shed include woodwork, electronics,

The Whitchurch Shed workshop

computers, art and crafts and more. New members are very welcome – if you’d like to learn more, pop along and visit for a cuppa. The cost of membership is kept as low as possible and is currently £40 per year. Training on the machinery is provided.

Fundraising drive for Veterans’ Centre


n appeal to raise £1.5 million to fund the country’s first dedicated Veterans Orthopaedic Centre at the Robert Jones & Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital in Oswestry has been launched with a prestigious event at the House of Commons. At the event, consultant orthopaedic surgeon Lieutenant Colonel Carl Meyer, clinical director of the Veterans’ Service at the RJAH, outlined the trust’s vision for the centre. ‘There aren’t many

professions where workers put themselves at risk of death or being maimed while at work,’ he said. ‘This is why it’s important that this provision is available. ‘This initial £1.5m will build us a veterans’ orthopaedic outpatients department, where they will feel welcome and at ease.’

If you’d like a charity event featured on these pages, please email the details to editorial@shiremagazine.co.uk

126 SHIRE MAGAZINE | January/February 2019

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ere at Shire, we have started 2019 with a bulging postbag and have been delighted once again to receive so many lovely letters from our readers. We printed as many as possible below, but please do keep them coming. We love to hear from our readers, whether it’s just to let us know what you think of the magazine or something we’ve written about – or even to point out a mistake we’ve made! We always appreciate a picture to go with letters too if it’s relevant – you can post them to the address, right, or email them to editorial@shiremagazine.co.uk. If you have missed an issue or would like to get hold of an extra copy, please send us an SAE for £1.60, specifying which issue of

the magazine you need, and we’ll pop one in the post to you. To make sure you never miss a copy again, why not subscribe? Turn to page 116 for details of how to do this. Another great way to keep in touch with us is also through our website, www.shiremagazine.co.uk. You can now message us on Facebook and Instagram too (search ‘Shire Magazine’). Follow us on social media and you’ll also be the first in line for weekly events updates, great images of the local area, fabulous competitions and much, much more. With more ways than ever to keep in touch, you really have no excuse not to! Write to us at: Shire Magazine, PO Box 276, Oswestry, Shropshire SY10 1FR

Picture this?

Forest forum date

Having had an interest in the night sky, I recently bought myself a camera and got into astrophotography, which has naturally led me into landscape photography. I don’t do photography professionally, but would like to start getting exposure in print, as well as social media. I was just inquiring about your stance on publishing images from amateur photographers? Ellis Wood, North Wales

The first Telford Wildlife Forum of 2019 will be held at 7.30pm on Tuesday 22nd January at Horsehay Village Hall, Bridge Road, Horsehay, Telford TF4 2NF. Jonathan Groom, the British Trust For Ornithology’s Shropshire representative, will be attendance to describe the trust’s work and his passion for wildlife and birding, with particular reference to his contribution to their Nest Record Scheme, including the 307 nests he monitored in 2017. There will also be a round-up of local conservation news. Entrance to the event is £2 for Shropshire Wildlife Trust members and £3 for non-members, which includes coffee or tea, and biscuits. This promises to be a very interesting evening and it would be great to see as many people as possible there. Stephen Mitchell, Wrekin Forest Volunteers

Ellis, you’re in luck – we have a photography competition in the magazine every edition, which is open to amateur photographers. Every issue has its own theme and entrants are invited to email their images to us. See page 96 for the details of next issue’s subject and to see this edition’s winners.

Picnic perfection Thank you for publishing my poem in the last edition of Shire. ‘A Walk To Criccieth’ is included in my collection WordSong. Unfortunately, the poem was attributed to another poet! However, I really enjoy Shire – it’s useful to have so much information on local events in one magazine. In the summer edition, I saw details of a poetry picnic, and had a most enjoyable day in Royden Park on the Wirral with a group of friendly, like-minded people. Edna Crosby Our apologies for crediting the poem to the wrong person, Edna. We’re delighted our mistake hasn’t put you off corresponding with us, and please keep sending submissions!

Art event news I would like to tell Shire readers about a new exhibition now on at the Mostyn Gallery, 12 Vaughan Street, Llandudno, LL30 1AB, until 27th January. In-sight 16 is a new collection by artists from north Wales, presented upstairs at Mostyn in partnership with the Helfa Gelf Art Trail. This showcase includes work by Niki Cotton, Nader Kohbodi, Susie Liddle, Hilary Reed, Amanda Shields and Geraldine Swatridge, and offers a glimpse of the diverse work being produced in the region. I do hope many people will be able to come and see it. Lin Cummins, Audience Relations Manager, Mostyn

Tree lupin delight Over the past 17 years or so, I’ve been growing tree lupins and would like to share my findings with gardeners. This evergreen shrub (semi-evergreen in harsh winters) has the fragrance of bluebells and flowers from late May to July, with a second flush of flowers in the autumn if pruned. It requires welldrained soil and full sun for maximum flowering potential. Tree lupins grow fairly rapidly – to two to three feet by the second year, to a total of four to six feet. I find pruning every year in July produces the best results, and prepares the tree lupin for winter and the year ahead Insects such as greenfly can be troublesome, but we’ve had good results using diluted seaweed. Our range of tree lupins includes yellow, blue, shades of pink, burgundy, lemon, and pink and lemon. Their flowering impact is delightful to see. Jean Haywood, Woodseaves Garden Plants, Market Drayton

READER F E E D B AC K I really enjoy reading your magazine. It’s excellent quality and chock-full of interesting features, and I can hardly believe that it’s free. May I wish you continued success. Anon I came across your wonderful magazine while staying at a guesthouse in north Wales at the weekend. What a find! Many thanks, Maurice Having been a reader of Shire magazine almost since its launch, what a joy it is to see another year ending with a packed and joyful festive edition. I hope 2019 brings the team behind the production of this gem of a publication continued success! Keep ’em coming! With thanks, Charis Steadman

Jazz diary date Any readers interested in jazz music should come along to one of the following free events on the Wirral. On 2nd and 16th January and 6th and 20th February, there is traditional live jazz at the Irby Club, 15 Thingwall Road, Irby, Wirral CH61 3UA. This is a chance to hear the best live Dixieland/ Chicago-style jazz from the Original Panama Jazz Band. Admission is free, and the evening enjoys occasional surprise visits from the Chester Swing Cats Jive Lindy Hoppers. Events start at 8.30pm and there is a raffle, a good choice of wines, beers, soft drinks, coffee and tea. Suitable for teens upwards, the jazz nights offer good fun, in a friendly atmosphere. Jonathan Critchley

January/February 2019 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 127

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What’s in your stars? Aries: 20th March – 20th April

You don’t lack motivation but you sometimes fail to reach the finishing line. Things are left undone during the festivities, but in January Mars in Aries will push and shove you. Remember the old advert, ‘A Mars a day helps you rest work and play’? Well, it’s no chocolate bar but sheer physical power is available to help you tackle last year’s loose ends.

Cancer: 21st June – 23rd July

Winter is nearly over and spring is in your step –and Valentine’s Day could provide a trampoline moment too. Young or old, there’s always a time when the heart skips a beat following a look, touch or gesture. Mars in Aries is challenging you, but romance is nailing its colours to your mast and love is the strongest power of all.

Libra: 23rd September – 22nd October

Did you know that the average person’s rate of respiration is around 18 breaths per minute – or 25,920 in a full day? Pause for thought or breathe a sigh of relief that these figures don’t add up to much in your life, but what does is your close relationship. Certain things have to change, have changed or are about to change – all for the best.

Capricorn: 21st December – 20th January

Did you know that before penicillin, a bread poultice applied to a wound and left to go mouldy had much the same effect as the antibiotic? ‘What’s that got to do with me?’ you ask. Nothing really except that an old-fashioned love letter might work better then texting. The technological age exists, but sometimes outdated customs hit the spot!

Taurus: 20th April – 21st May

We live in a time of fake news, fake nails, fake hair and fake just about everything else, but the truth will out. Not long ago, you came to accept the fact that possession isn’t nine-tenths of the law when it comes to relationships. Own that lightbulb moment and allow your significant other to preserve their individuality – and remove a millstone.

Leo: 23rd July – 23rd August

I have worked for many Leo-born individuals and they have one thing in common – hubris, a Greek word meaning pride. There’s nothing wrong with self-respect – unless it topples over into arrogance, which is the dark side of hubris. Be proud Leo, but be noble too – a much more gracious side of your nature. Make a resolution, perhaps?

Scorpio: 23rd October – 22nd November

Another year, another chance to improve anything not coming up to scratch – whether that’s work, family or ourselves. Often the latter mproves the former. You feel things deeply but try to hide feelings, especially if it means appearing weak. A tip: strong people believe in forgiving, weak people in revenge and intelligence wins by ignoring most of what angers us.

Aquarius: 20th January – 19th February

A supernova is a star that emits a sudden brilliance, such as the one observed in the Andromeda galaxy in 1885 that gave more light in six days than our sun will in a million years – now that’s bright! This is the year in which you have opportunity to shine your brightest too. Around your local community is where you’ll dazzle most.

Gemini: 21st May – 21st June

The end of the year leading into the new year is a time when one doorway shows the way to another – so begins a whole new world of opportunities untried before. Sometimes, the shortest and best way to success is to let certain people see clearly that it’s in their interests to promote yours. Teamwork could be the new buzzword!

Virgo: 23rd August – 23rd September

The Maya believed that nature is a living entity continually renewing itself; Buddhists believe similar of the human soul. It’s all about regeneration and this year is a renaissance for you. Don’t believe all that you see or hear – just use your special intuition and pragmatism, and by next winter there’ll be three words to describe you: revitalised, reborn and recovered!

Sagittarius: 22nd November – 21st December

As the new year gets underway, make sure you frame your questions carefully so the answers present something meaningful and tell you what you want to know. Develop a technique that is more tactful than your usual candour, creating a safe space to exchange information. You mean well but a more sensitive approach would benefit a rather tricky subject.

Pisces: 19th February – 20th March

Neptune is halfway through Pisces and won’t leave until the end of March 2025, so there’s plenty of time to use its symbolic powers to fashion a craft. Hopefully New Year’s resolutions will no longer be pipe dreams and will become reality – you have creative expression in spades. Write the book, pen the lyric, paint the picture.

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 the BBC icon Valerie Singleton calls her ‘sensitive’. You can reach her at starglow@pc-q.net or via her website, www.gloriamans.com. 128 SHIRE MAGAZINE | January/February 2019

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SHIRE MAGAZINE’S FANTASTIC COMPETITIONS! Another edition of Shire, another chance to win some of our fabulous prizes – exclusive tickets available to our lovely readers. Get your entries in by the closing date and good luck!


You have to be in it to win it! Go on, enter today!

Congratulations to our lucky winners from the November/December issue!

Ann and Paul, Shropshire Santa's Magical Farm, Greenacres

Elaine, Shrewsbury Bangor-on-Dee Racecourse

Iona, Caernarfon Santa's Magical Farm, Greenacres

Julie, Abergele Santa Experience, Blakemere

OVER £1,000 WORTH OF WINTER WARMING TO BE WON! We have a top-of-the-range Aga wood-burning stove to give away to one lucky Shire reader If you’ve been feeling the chill over the winter, we’ve got the perfect prize for you: a top-of-the-range Aga Ellesmere EC4 stove worth £1,095, courtesy of RN Williams in St Asaph, north Wales. The great-looking stove, which has modern, clean lines and a large, clear glass window, can be used in both traditional or modern settings. All Aga Ellesmere appliances are fully compliant with forthcoming energy efficiency legislation and carry the 2022 Eco Compliant Logo. They are rated A+ energy efficient, are multi-fuel and steel bodied. The winner will have to arrange and pay for fitting themselves, but the team at RN Williams can help with this. RN Williams & Sons was established in St Asaph in 1956. The firm grew rapidly into the home and heating specialist it is today, but has retained the personal touch and keen interest in solving customers’ problems. It stocks a huge range of stoves, range ovens and fireplaces, as well as kitchen and bathrooms, with many available to view on its website as well as in store. Having built a reputation based on service, trust and quality, the team are committed to keeping this ethos strong, and welcome enquiries and visits to the showroom where every customer is guaranteed top-quality, personal service. To be in with a chance of winning this stunning stove, complete the form below and sent it in to us by 16th February 2019.

Winnie, Wem The Nutcracker, Festival Drayton

Win tickets to great shows and attractions! Enter today to win! WIN! A family trip across Pontcysyllte Aqueduct with Jones The Boats

Dare you look down as you float across the Unesco World Heritage Site that carries the Llangollen Canal over the River Dee? The awe-inspiring one- to twohour round trip sets sail from the canal basin in Trevor, Wrexham, and can be taken any time from Easter. CLOSING DATE: 16th February

WIN! A pair of tickets to see The Villagers at Pontio Arts Centre, Bangor

WIN! Afternoon tea for two at Plas Maenan Country House, Llanrwst

WIN! A night for two with dinner, bed and breakfast at the Holiday Inn Chester South

WIN! An annual pass for a family to Park Hall Countryside Experience, Oswestry

CLOSING DATE: 16th February

CLOSING DATE: 16th February

CLOSING DATE: 16th February

CLOSING DATE: 16th February

Catch the band as they tour their fourth studio album, The Art Of Pretending To Swim at Theatr Bryn Terfel on Tuesday 26th February. The evening promises to delight fans and introduce new ones to the band’s inventive songwriting and melodies.

Set in beautiful woodland and with panoramic views across Snowdonia, this delightful country house serves an afternoon tea that’s a treat for anyone who appreciates delicious food in a truly extraordinary setting. Can be taken any time in March.

Located on Wrexham Road, this hotel is the perfect place to end a day at Chester Zoo, and is also within easy reach of the Chester city centre and cathedral. Enjoy all hotel facilities, including swimming pool, sauna, steam room and gym.

There are a range of activities for all ages at Park Hall, from rides and play equipment to museum exhibits and adorable animals. We have two annual family passes up for grabs, covering entry for a family of four as many times as they want in a year.

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 and daytime contact number. Send it by the closing date to Competitions, Shire Magazine, PO Box 276, Oswestry, Shropshire SY10 1FR Winners will be notified by email, so don’t forget to include your email address and daytime telephone number. RULES OF THE COMPETITIONS DATA PROTECTION NOTICE Superstar Publishing Ltd will use your information for administration and analysis purposes and may contact you from time to time with relevant offers, information or for research purposes. Your details will not be passed on to third parties except the sponsors of these competitions. Please tick the relevant box if you do not wish to be contacted. COMPETITION RULES The promoter of these competitions is Shire Magazine, Superstar Publishing, PO Box 276, Oswestry, SY10 1FR. The competitions are open to all readers of our magazine and viewers of our websites except employees of the prize providers. The winner(s) will be the first person or persons drawn after the closing date who has completed the correct answer. No cash alternative is available. The winners names can be obtained by writing to the competition address with a self-addressed envelope after the closing date. The winner agrees to participate in any follow-up publicity and must provide a photograph to be published in the following issue to claim their prize. Superstar Publishing may print the name only of entrants to this competition in subsequent issue(s) of Shire Magazine. This is to enable competition entrants to fairly claim a promotional offer, for competition entrants only. By entering this competition you are giving permission for Shire Magazine to print your name only. No personal information will be printed. No purchase necessary, answers on a postcard are accepted. For full details of our Privacy Policy, please go to www.shiremagazine.co.uk.

Question: Which famous role was Brian Blessed offered in 1966? a) James Bond b) Superman c) Doctor Who AGA STOVE

Name Address




Daytime contact number


Email (please complete) Please send me further information about Shire magazine

January/February 2019 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 129

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COMING NEXT ISSUE Looking ahead to our next edition, we’ll be putting together a positively blooming edition to match the season! Check out our March/April issue for all the information and advice you need to put a spring in your step


Eggs-tra egg-citing Our next issue will be packed with everything you need to know for the Easter weekend. Whether you’re looking for a local egg hunt, a dinner suggestion or seasonal recipe, make sure you don’t miss the bumper Easter edition of Shire.

Inside knowledge If you want to take your spring cleaning a step further and redeign your home, our Homes & Interiors section will be full of style suggestions, property inspirations and renovation ideas to help you make your house a home. H O L I DAY H O P E F U L S

As the clocks go forward in March, our thoughts naturally turn to the summer months ahead. We round up the best local parks and holiday homes, and suggest new locations you and your family will love for years to come.

SHOW REVIEWS The Shire team reports back from as many events and shows as possible in our extensive review section. MEAL PLANNING

If you’re planning a family gathering for Easter, you’ll want to check out the latest seasonal recipe from Shire’s food expert, Graham Tinsley. With Welsh lamb in season and fresh vegetables aplenty, it’s guaranteed to be mouthwatering…

Strutting the stage We put 20 questions to actor Tony Maudsley, star of ITV’s Benidorm and now the theatre adaptation of the same name. In his own words, Tony is currently spending his days ‘flashing the flesh in hot pants that most 50-year-olds would be arrested for wearing’! D O N ’ T F O R G E T…

Looking back We take a look at some of the fascinating history that surrounds us in the Shire region and celebrate our proud past. With so much on offer when it comes to exploring our ancient links, we’ll make sure there’s something for everyone from world-famous sites and excavations to marvellous museums.

Art in action Local artist Deborah Butler – whose oil paintings adorn gallery walls and sell for thousands of pounds – explains how her dramatic landscapes are inspired by the rugged beauty of the north Wales coastline. YO U R T OW N

As always, Shire will focus on a couple of prime locations within our region. In the March/April issue, we take a closer look at Aberdovey, Llangefni and Ellesmere Port.

Go go gardens! As signs of spring start appearing in the magnificent public spaces and open gardens across the region, we pick some of our favourites for you to visit. We’ll be on hand with hints and tips for your own horticultural projects too.

…to check out our What’s On guide for March and April. With the school holidays and the long Easter weekend to look forward to, you’ll want to keep the next edition of Shire close at hand with its 60-page guide to all the events going on in the region.

GET IN TOUCH Shire wants to hear from you! 1. Tell us about your upcoming events We work in advance, so 1st February is the deadline to let us know about events for our March/April 2019 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 editorial@shiremagazine.co.uk or call 01691 661270. You can also get in touch via social media – just search for ‘Shire Magazine’ on Facebook or Instagram.

130 SHIRE MAGAZINE | January/February 2019

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N u m b e r

O n e

f o r

C h a r n w o o d

S t o v e s

Suppliers of:

0800 169 8187



Gledrid, Oswestry, LL14 5DG Opposite Moreton Park Garden Centre 30 mins from Shrewsbury & Chester See our 6000ft Showroom Open 7 Days a Week

21/12/2018 16:42



UNBEATABLE PRICES ON WOOD BURNING, MULTIFUEL, GAS & ELECTRIC STOVES AND FIRES We offer great prices, but if you’re in doubt, we’ll match any quotation or online price you find for our range of wood, multifuel, gas or electric stoves and fires until 19th January. With the lowest prices, expert advice and over 150 quality stoves and fireplaces to browse in our showroom, there’s no need to shop anywhere else for your new stove or fire. For full details visit www.rnwilliams.co.uk.

GAS FIRES Incredibly realistic and exceptionally easy to use, we have gas fires available in modern hole in the wall designs or for existing fireplaces.

01745 582254 132_SHIRE_JF2019.indd 1


COOKERS All the best names in range cooking under one roof, including AGA, Rayburn, Everhot, Esse, Lacanche, Britannia, Rangemaster & Smeg.


KITCHENS Quality, hand painted kitchens in any colour you choose. Made in the UK and computer designed in store to suit your lifestyle.


BATHROOMS If it’s a power shower to wake you up in the morning or a haven for relaxed bathing, we’ve got the perfect new bathroom just for you.

| Chester Street, St Asaph, LL17 0RE | www.rnwilliams.co.uk 21/12/2018 16:42

Profile for Superstar Publishing

Shire Magazine Jan-Feb 2019  

North Wales, Mid Wales, Shropshire, Cheshire, Whats on, magazine, days out, events, restaurants, reviews, homes, gardens, arts, crafts, kitc...

Shire Magazine Jan-Feb 2019  

North Wales, Mid Wales, Shropshire, Cheshire, Whats on, magazine, days out, events, restaurants, reviews, homes, gardens, arts, crafts, kitc...

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