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J A N U A R Y/F E B R U A R Y 2020



Mindfulness, mental health and why every mind matters Pride of Wales The pioneering heroes who helped shape a country

Love is in the air

The 10 best restaurants for Valentine’s dinners

Wedded bliss

Everything you need to plan the perfect nuptials

Having a laugh?

With stand-up comic and actor Jason Manford

WIN Concert tickets, family passes and exclusive entry to shows! Turn to page 129


The perfect spot between mountains, river and woodland


One of the prettiest places to visit in the Cheshire countryside


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WELCOME, DEAR READER… Publisher Dan Bromage Editor Kate Speedie Art Editor Tom Sullivan What’s On Editor Eluned Watson Chief Subeditor Jo Williams Advertising Design Sarah Norman Designers Ella Knight Meryl McIntosh Subeditor Chris Miller Staff Writers Sally Williams Helen Gordon Adele Barry Sales & Marketing Pauline Jones Shona Newton Maria Eales Distribution Manager 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 – and here’s to a peaceful and prosperous 2020! It’s hard to believe another year has passed, but here we are delivering our first packed edition of 2020. Thank you for all your support over the past year – your photographs, poetry and correspondence have kept us busy throughout 2019, and our fabulous team of contributors, both regular writers and occasional collaborators, have allowed us to create our biggest and best editions yet in 2019. Let’s hope that trend continues into 2020! Starting off the new year as we mean to carry on, this issue we take a special look at mental health. In recent years it has become more of a talking point than ever before, so let’s talk about it in Shire too! Whether you need to take some time to reflect on your own mental wellbeing or want to know how to identify and support those who might need help, we’ve got all the advice you need, as well as some simple tips on The Lone Tree at Llanberis mindfulness to keep us all in tip-top mental health. As well as looking forward to 2020, we’ve also taken time to look back in this edition of Shire. We wanted to look at the legendary historical figures who have shaped Wales, but it ended up being such a huge list we’ve had to keep it down to a few famous faces. Don’t worry, we’ll do more history features as the year goes on, so do get in touch if you think there’s a topic worth exploring. We’ve also included all your favourite sections on arts, homes, style, books and, of course, food and drink, as well as the region’s top events in our What’s On guide as always. Enjoy!



John Hargreaves, Gloria Mans, Catherine Buckley, P Parker, Clive Williams, John Stubbs, Helen Cooke, Pip Gale, Lizzie Deery, Graham Tinsley, Deborah Law, Jennifer McKinney

Local legends We take a look at three people who made Wales what it is today on page 68

Shire Magazine PO Box 276 Oswestry Shropshire SY10 1FR Tel: 01691 661270 CLEAR THINKING The most effective ways to maintain your mental health 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 shiremagazine.co.uk © 2020 Superstar Publishing Ltd, all rights reserved. Registered Number: 10604188.

Events near you Keep yourself entertained throughout January and February with our listings section from page 6

GET IN TOUCH! We want to hear from you…


Tell us about your upcoming events. Just remember that we work in advance, so 1st February is the deadline for events in our next issue, March/April 2020.


Share your reader stories. Have you got an extraordinary or exciting story to tell? We’d like to feature it in the next issue. Send us an email and don’t forget to include a picture or two as well.


We have lots of regulars readers can contribute to:

Reader photos Taken a great shot recently? Email your best effort and you might get picked! See page 100. 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!

Do you love Shire so much you can’t wait to share it with friends and family? Well, now’s your chance! Buy them a subscription and they’ll get every issue delivered to their door so they never miss the fascinating features and packed What’s On guide ever again. Better still, treat yourself to one too!

with their name and anything else you want to tell us. See page 96 for further details. Get social Follow, like and friend us on Facebook and Instagram to be the first in line for event updates, competitions and more. Visit our website online at shiremagazine.co.uk and send submissions and information by email to editorial@shiremagazine.co.uk.

TURN TO PAGE 114 for our fantastic subscription offer! January/February 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 3

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Discover new adventures, a World Heritage Site, two National Trust properties, a thriving town centre and make memories by visiting Wrexham County in 2020. To plan your visit and see our new itineraries, visit www.thisiswrexham.co.uk


Wrexham Symphony Orchestra (Orchestra in Residence at William Aston Hall) Presents a whole family concert

‘A Musical Picture Book’

Sunday January 19th, 2020 at 3.30pm William Aston Hall, Wrexham Glyndŵr University, Mold Road, Wrexham LL11 2AW

Conductor: Mark Lansom Harry Potter themed Sound, Light and Music Activities by Techniquest Glyndwr from 2pm Tickets available from:

www.wrexhamorch.co.uk/tickets.html www.eventbrite.co.uk (search for wrexham symphony orchestra) Wrexham Tourist Information Centre (01978 292015) Llangollen Tourist Information Centre (01978 860828) www.wrexhamorch.co.uk/tickets.html www.eventbrite.co.uk Rowanthorn Gift Shop,I Oswestry (01691 238227)(search for wrexham symphony orchestra)

Tickets available from: Wrexham Tourist Information Centre (01978 292015) Llangollen Tourist Information Centre (01978 860828) Family Ticket £25 (2 adults and up to 4 children); Balcony £15; Stalls £12 Rowanthorn Gift Shop, Oswestry (01691 238227)

£10); Students, school pupils and young children £2. Family Ticket £25 (2 adults and up to(Concessions 4 children); Balcony £15; Stalls £12 (Concessions £10); Students, school pupils and young children £2.


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Contents JA N UA RY/ F E B R UA RY 2 02 0 6 What’s On Our packed events diary with all the New Year and half-term events in north and mid Wales, Cheshire, Wirral and Shropshire PAG E 8 7 Perfect home accessories

17 Celebrity We speak to comedian and actor Jason Manford, who stars as a singing detective in comedy musical whodunit Curtains at Venue Cymru in Llandudno 27 Llanidloes Explore the Cambrian mountains from this historic town in the heart of Montgomeryshire

PAG E 6 Find out who’s visiting the Shire area in January and February

PAG E 9 2 How to reduce your carbon footprint

36 Tattenhall There are plenty of reasons to visit this pretty Cheshire village – but the main one is ice cream! 51 Big City Check out what’s on further afield in Liverpool, Cardiff, Birmingham and Manchester 52 Reviews Find out what the Shire team have seen, heard and experienced recently with the latest show reviews

PAG E 5 4

PAG E 1 0 7

The help and resources available to boost your mental health

Be inspired to create a new look for the new year

54 Mind How You Go Everyone is becoming aware of the importance of good mental heath. Discover how to improve your wellbeing, the routes to finding inner peace and how to help others who may be struggling 60 Men’s Fashion Stay cosy with this season’s most stylish winter gear 61 Active Our resident rambler unveils another great winter walk, plus a new cycling initiative 63 Holidays In midwinter our thoughts turn to sunnier days ahead, so be inspired by these wonderful summer holiday ideas

PAG E 1 7 Jason Manford takes to the stage

PAG E 6 8 Welsh heroes

92 Green Living How your buying choices can affect the environment 93 Light Up The Dark Easy ways to make your garden stand out 95 Wildlife & Pets The latest news from the Shire area, including how you can take part in the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch 98 Arts & Crafts Meet the local designer who is taking inspiration from samurai styles and a sprinkle of local salt, plus an exhibition in Wrexham 103 Weddings We round up the suppliers, venues and outfitters who can help to make your special day even more memorable 107 Women’s Fashion What’s new for 2020? Make sure you stay in style with our pick of the latest ranges 109 Health & Beauty Start the new year as you mean to go on 110 Retirement Living How older people can convert the newfound space in their homes into cash, plus a wonderful new music scheme 114 Subscribe to Shire! Never miss an edition of your favourite local listings magazine! 117 Schools From computer programming whizz-kids to a teen tennis champion, here’s all the news from schools across the region 122 Meet The Expert Wrexham Glyndwr University’s Marcus Hansen explains what it takes to study hospitality and tourism

68 The Welsh Heroes Three pioneering figures who shaped Wales and the wider world in their own unique ways

124 Books & Poetry Our guide to book events, writing workshops and new releases, as well as a feature on an author enjoying success at 84

74 Food & Drink Our resident chef shares his bara brith recipe – plus some Valentine’s inspiration for food lovers

126 Charities & Volunteering A look at the voluntary and charity organisations that work hard and raise funds for many good causes in the area

79 Homes & Interiors Why it’s a great time to visit the renovated stately home Combermere Abbey, and some unusual decor ideas

127 Letters We hand over to our readers to discover what they have to say about Shire and local events

87 Warm & Wonderful Use terracotta and russet accessories to make your home a cosy and welcoming space 89 Gardening Expert tips on how to plan ahead for your garden so it looks its best come spring

128 What’s In Your Stars? Find out what’s coming your way with a horoscope forecast by Gloria Mans 129 Competitions Your chance to win some fabulous prizes, including tickets to the opera and family passes to events across the region

January/February 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 5

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1st January, New Year’s Day Dip, RNLI Porthdinllaen, Morfa Nefyn Join the fun and meet the crew to raise money for Porthdinllaen Lifeboat. The dip takes place on Morfa Nefyn main beach at noon – all dippers should meet at 11.30am – and there will be a prize for the best costume! Entry £3, including a medal and light refreshments.

Half-term fun at GreenWood GreenWood Family Park is opening as usual during February half-term from 15th to 23rd February, so why not come and discover some of the awesome attractions at north Wales’s leading family adventure park? The Green Dragon Roller Coaster and the SolarSplash are still hibernating for winter, but there’s endless forest fun and indoor play to really make it a half-term break to remember. Children will love

Until 5th January, Treemendous Christmas, Erddig Slow down and enjoy the end of the Christmas period by exploring the festive forest that has spread across Erddig. Find trees of all different shapes and sizes inside and outdoors, from miniature forests made of gingerbread and paper to ornately carved Christmas trees. 11am-4pm.

11th January, Game Prep Masterclass, Dylan’s Restaurant, Llangefni With expert tuition from former Gleneagles chef Andrew Profit and Dylan’s own chefs, this is the perfect opportunity to learn how to bring this culinary heritage into your own home and prepare your game. 10am-noon. £30. www.dylansrestaurant.co.uk

11th January, An Introduction To Mindfulness, Wrexham Quaker Meeting House A chance to learn what mindfulness is all about and how it might help you to change your life. The session includes an introduction to some key concepts, some meditation practices and some mindful movement. 10am-noon. £3.

love. While the children play, parents can take a seat next to the cosy log burner and enjoy a coffee from the café. www. greenwoodfamilypark.co.uk

Beautiful ballet at Neuadd Dwyfor Enjoy ballet on the big screen at Pwllheli’s Neuadd Dwyfor. The cinema is screening two ballet favourites performed by the Bolshoi Ballet: Giselle on 26th January and Swan Lake on 23rd February. In Giselle, choreographer Alexei Ratmansky brings a fresh perspective to one of the oldest and greatest works

9th January, Hessian Bag Workshop, Craft Cabin Cymru, Wrexham Create a perfect fashion accessory for your shopping moments. Using templates and felt, you can create a hessian bag in any design you want. £15 per person. Booking required. 7pm.

discovering the Giant Jumper, exploring the turrets of TreeTop Towers, taking their shoes and socks off for the BareFoot Trail or aiming for gold at archery. On rainy days, head inside the WoodBarn for indoor play the young explorers will

New year, new you! Reconnect with yourself at Chirk Castle and experience a ‘January of Wellness and Wellbeing’ with guided walks, bushcraft, mindfulness, Nordic walking, crafts and more to get you outside and active after Christmas. In February, enjoy a carpet of snowdrops in the gardens and wood, plus mindfulness and wellbeing walks and activities. Chirk is open 10am to 4pm; admission is half-price while the interior rooms are closed. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/chirk-castle

The race is on at Bangor-on-Dee Enjoy the thrill of the race at Bangor-on-Dee Racecourse, as the 2020 racing season begins. The action gets underway on 7th February with Heritage Day and continues with the February meeting on February 18th. Bangor-on-Dee stages 14 exciting jump races each year. Prices start at £7 per adult, with hospitality packages also available, and there are also a range of offers available for selected meetings. www.bangorondeeraces.co.uk

of classical dance, giving the audience an opportunity to discover this iconic ballet anew. Swan Lake, meanwhile, features the stunning and world-famous corps de ballet performing in unison for the most beloved ballet in the classical canon. Doors open for both ballets at 2.30pm and tickets cost £13. www.neuadddwyfor.com

Test your endurance in Anglesey Put your body to the test while enjoying the stunning coastal scenery of Anglesey during the Enurancelife Coastal Trail Run on 11th January. The event has a variety of distances on offer, from 10k and half marathon to marathon and ultra marathon. The 32.7-mile ultra and marathon set off at 8am, with the half marathon starting at 10am and the 10k at 11am. Runners can return to the Paddlers Return, Holyhead, after the race for some welldeserved food and drink. www.endurancelife.com

Get on your bike! If your New Year’s resolution is to get out on your bike more, Coed Llandegla forest has the perfect opportunity, with social rides taking place on the first Wednesday of every month from 8th January. Hosted by Oneplanet Adventure, the rides start at the visitor centre’s decking at 6pm and follow various routes, finishing back at the café where you can grab some food. www.oneplanet adventure.com

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On stage at Venue Cymru

DID YOU KNOW? Jason Manford talks to Shire about Curtains on page 17

Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour 2020, 1st February See how the world’s best adventure film-makers and explorers push themselves to the limit. Witness epic human-powered feats, life-affirming challenges and mind-blowing cinematography on the big screen. 7.30pm. Tickets £15.

now Rob – the star of BBC One’s All Together Now, Live At The Apollo and Would I Lie To You?, as well as Channel 4’s 8 Out Of 10 Cats – is back on tour to fill you in. 8pm. Tickets £24.50.

Curtains, 4th-8th February The star of a Broadway-bound musical has been murdered on stage! The hilarious whodunnit, starring Jason Manford and Carley Stenson, is packed with catchy songs, unforgettable characters and plot twists. 7.30pm. Tickets from £28.

The Circus Of Horrors, 25th February The almighty cast that stormed into the finals of Britain’s Got Talent are ready to take you on a rock ’n’ roller coaster ride of amazing and bizarre acts. Don’t miss this amalgamation of acts in a show that will have you on the edge of your seat when you’re not falling off it with laughter. 7.30pm. Tickets from £23. www.venuecymru.co.uk

Rob Beckett: Wallop, 14th February It’s been a busy few years for the Mouth of the South and

Four-legged friends at Penrhyn Castle

Rugby legend in Llandudno

Dreaming big in Portmeirion

Bring your dog for a Sunday stroll around the grounds at Penrhyn Castle on 12th and 26th January, and 9th and 23rd February. The mile-long walk takes about 30 minutes and sessions are free, although normal admission charges apply. Arrive at the visitor centre for 11am and keep your four-legged friend on a short lead at all times.

Enjoy an evening with Sam Warburton at St George’s Hotel, Llandudno on 15th January, and take the opportunity to hear from the most capped captain of the Wales rugby team. The evening includes a three-course meal and a charity auction. Standard tickets cost £65; limited premium tickets cost £90. To book call 01492 877544.

The Portmeirion Wedding Open Day takes place on 29th February, allowing couples the chance to view the village’s facilities, talk to the wedding planners and meet with several local suppliers. The open day is free and all guests receive a goody bag and a glass of bubbly. Visit www. portmeirion.wales to register.

Outdoor adventures at RSPB Conwy bird-watching with a reserve guide. 1.30pm-3.30pm. £4 members, £6 non-members.

New Year’s Day Bird Walk, 1st January Get your year off to a great start by going

Build Your Own Nest Box, 15th February Mark National Nest Box Week by building a nest box to take home and see who moves in! All materials provided. 11am-12.30pm and

11th January, A Winter Walk, Valley, Anglesey Ian Wright leads this popular event to spot the variety of waders and wildfowl on the Alaw Estuary, with an optional extension into the afternoon to visit other nearby sites. Hosted by the North Wales Wildlife Trust. 10am-3.30pm. www. northwaleswildlifetrust.org.uk

11th & 12th January, Printing & Writing Workshops, Ruthin Craft Centre Enjoy two workshops with printmaker and calligrapher Douglas Bevans exploring the two basic lettering styles. You will learn to write letters with a pen – upright Roman letters on the first day and slanted italic letters on the second. 10am-4.30pm. £65 per day, including a light lunch. www.ruthincraftcentre.org.uk

12th, 19th & 26th January, Guided Estate Walks, Chirk Castle See more of what Chirk Castle estate has to offer on a guided walk and enjoy the freedom to explore the estate, which covers 480 acres and has a fascinating history. Walks start at 11am and usually take one to two hours, depending on the ability and needs of the group. Meet at the ranger hub, just past the ticket office at Home Farm.

2pm-3.30pm. £10 members, £12 non-members. Wildfowl Walk, 16th February Join the warden for a guided walk focusing on winter visitors. 10am-12.30pm. £4 members, £6 non-members. Booking is essential for all events. For more information, call 01492 581025.

12th January, Wirral To Llandudno Mini Run 2020 Wirral Mini Club’s annual run begins in Bromborough at 8am and finishes in Llandudno at 4pm. The event is open to both classic and modern Minis and raises money for Claire House Children’s Hospice on the Wirral.

12th January, BMC FUNdamentals of Climbing 2, Plas y Brenin, Snowdonia Learn to climb with some of the UK’s most experienced and knowledgeable instructors at the National Outdoor Centre. The intensive but fun course includes equipment hire, use of facilities– and tea and cakes when you get in each day. From £131. www.pyb.co.uk

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Music and laughter at Rhyl Pavilion


20th January, Learn To Crochet Workshop, Craft Cabin Cymru, Wrexham Learn basic crochet stitches and start creating your own masterpieces! 6.30pm-8.30pm. £20, including refreshments. Call Sera on 07807 079214 or visit www.craftcabincymru.co.uk.

21st January, Sinderella, William Aston Hall, Wrexham Join Joseph Purdy in this hilarious and naughty adult pantomime. 5pm & 8pm. www.thewilliamastonhall.com

25th January, Burns Night, St George’s Hotel, Llandudno An authentic evening of traditional fun, including a four-course menu, whisky tasting, ceilidh band, bagpipes and haggis. There will also be a charity auction supporting the Blind Veterans. 7pm-11pm. £36. Call 01492 877544 or email events@stgeorgeswales.co.uk.

26th January, Llandudno 10-Mile & Half Marathon Two very fast routes with just a couple of inclines make this a prime PB event. What’s more, the last three miles of the half marathon and last 1.5 miles of the 10-mile are downhill and flat to the finish! The race starts at 9am, with the fun run at 9.15am. www.runwales.com

26th January, A Taste Of Wales, Y Review Restaurant, Venue Cymru, Llandudno Venue Cymru’s restaurant is proud to host an evening of Welsh food and culture to celebrate St Dwynwen’s Day. Enjoy a sumptous five-course Welsh taster menu, a Welsh cocktail on arrival as well as some excellent Welsh entertainment. 6.30pm. £37.50.

29th January, Maelor Music Society Piano Recital, The Maelor School, Penley Lithuanian pianist Ugnius Pauliukonis will play a varied programme including works by Chopin in the composer’s 200th anniversary year. 7.30pm. £10 adults, £2 students, under-16s free. Tickets on the door.

Rediscover yourself in Snowdonia Switch off from the stresses and strains of normal life on a weekend that blends easy guided walking in the peaceful foothills of Snowdonia with beginner yoga sessions. The Snowdonia Body & Soul Weekends, which take place on 24th to 26th January and 21st to 23rd February, let you unwind in a cosy guesthouse in the heart of the Snowdonia National Park, de-stress with guided walks through the stunning Welsh hills, and feel energised after daily yoga sessions. Walking routes can be as easy or as challenging as the group wants, but usually remain at a low level exploring the valleys, woodland, coast and hills. The weekends cost from £235, including two nights’ accommodation, two days of guided walks, four yoga sessions and meals including breakfasts and packed lunches. www.largeoutdoors.com

Popular half-marathon returns Widely renowned as one of the friendliest, flattest and fastest half marathons in the region, the Village Bakery Half Marathon is a favourite for those chasing a PB or taking on the distance for the first time. The race, which takes place on 16th February, costs from £15 to enter. www.runcheshire.com

Waltz your way into 2020 Celebrate the new year in style with New Sinfonia as they waltz (march and polka!) you around Vienna. New Year Gala Concert, which takes place in St Giles’ Church, Wrexham on 4th January, will be conducted by Robert Guy, and feature mezzo-soprano Erin Rossington as a guest soloist. The programme will include a selection of music by the Strauss dynasty mixed with lively dance numbers. Tickets cost £15. www.newsinfonia.org.uk

Rapunzel, 20th February Immersion Theatre presents a witty retelling of the family favourite, complete with a laugh-out-loud script, catchy songs, audience interaction and an exciting array of magical characters. 2.30pm. Tickets £14 adults, £10 children. Dance To The Music, 21st February A sumptuously beautiful, glamorous dance show created, directed and choreographed by ex Strictly Come Dancing professional Kristina Rihanoff. With more than 15 styles of dancing, including lindy hop, jitterbug, funk, disco, contemporary ballet and salsa. 7.30pm. Tickets £29. Henning Wehn: Get On With It, 27th February The German comedy ambassador brings you a show that is a much-needed call to arms. Listen, everyone: stop pondering and hand-wringing. Instead get on your bike and put your face to the grindstone! 8pm. Tickets £24.50. www.rhylpavilion.co.uk

Outdoor fun at Erddig Relax and energise in equal measure in the beautiful surroundings of Erddig this January, where there are lots of wellbeing activities and taster sessions, including Nordic walking, parkruns, ranger rambles and photography groups, designed to boost your mood and wellbeing. And during half-term, let the kids blow off steam in the fantastic natural playscape of Wolf ’s Den. The play area reopens on 15th February from 11am to 4pm, and the kids will love balancing on beams, building dens and flying on the rope swing. Don’t miss nature’s greatest show in Erddig’s 13.5-acre walled garden, as waves of spring wash over it. First to arrive are the snowdrops in late January, followed by wild garlic, then daffodils in March. The gardens are open from 11am to 4pm, so you can make the most of the daylight. www. nationaltrust.org.uk/erddig

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On the hunt for fairies Fairies will be alighting at Bodnant Garden this February, so come along to see if you can spot any magical happenings in the beautiful, historic garden near Colwyn Bay. Follow the magical trail of fairy houses through Furnace Wood between 15th and 23rd February. Then get creative in the Old Mill with Flower


Fairy Workshops on 15th, 19th and 23rd February, where you can make your own flower fairy to take home. The gardens are open from 10am to 4pm and the Flower Fairy Workshops take place from 12.30pm to 2.30pm. All events are free

(normal admission charges apply) and no booking is necessary. www.nationaltrust. org.uk/bodnant-garden

Tears of laughter at Theatr Clwyd and the stark realities facing revolutionary women, then and now. 2.30pm and 7.30pm. Tickets from £10.

Frankenstein, 27th January – 1st February Rona Munro’s brilliant adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Gothic masterpiece places the writer herself among the action as she wrestles with her creation

Fun on the run It’s time to put on your trainers for the Nick Beer Memorial 10k, a scenic road race in Llandudno on 9th February. The annual event attracts around 700 runners from across the area, in what is considered to be one of the UK’s most picturesque and enjoyable races. It starts on Llandudno Promenade and follows Marine Drive, taking in the Great Orme before finishing back in Llandudno. There is also a 1k fun run that is suitable for all the family. The 10k race starts at noon and entry costs from £15. Download an entry form at www.nwrrc.co.uk.

Lloyd Griffith: Not Just A Pretty Face, 15th February Recently seen supporting Jack Whitehall, Lloyd is back with more jokes (hopefully), more singing (potentially) and 100 per cent more charm (for sure). 8pm. Tickets £12.

1st February, Children’s Pizza Workshop, Dylan’s Restaurant, Menai Bridge Bring willing hands and a big appetite! The best designed pizza will be featured on the restaurant’s specials board for the rest of the evening. 10am-noon. £17. www.dylansrestaurant.co.uk

debut with a hilarious new adaptation of this classic comedy – a delicious blend of French farce and Fawlty Towers. Starring Tessa Peake-Jones. 2.30pm and 7.30pm. Tickets from £10

Bang Bang! 18th-22nd February John Cleese makes his stage-writing

Benjamin Grosvenor (piano), 23rd February The Gramophone Young Artist of the Year and Classical Brit winner is recognised for his electrifying performances and distinctive sound. 7.30pm. Tickets from £10. www.theatrclwyd.com

Rugby at Wrexham’s Stiwt

Time to turn up and take part in art

If you’re missing rugby after the excitement of the 2019 World Cup, get set for the Six Nations internationals in February. Following Wales’s fantastic performance in reaching the World Cup semi-finals, fans are expecting great things from their team, and you can watch every game in the comfortable surroundings of Wrexham’s Stiwt with an army of like-minded fans. Entry is free and the games will be shown on the cinema screen, beginning with Wales vs Italy at 2.15pm on 1st February and continuing with all the Welsh fixtures through February and March. www.stiwt.com

From 11th to 12th January Venue Cymru hosts an explosion of arts and literature workshops and events designed to engage people in the arts. Take Part is aimed at under-18s, but previous weekends have seen parents, grandparents and even greatgrandparents getting involved. This year’s highlights include Gore & Glam Make-Up with Zoe Ellen and Aardman Animations model-making workshops, during which you can make your very own Shaun the Sheep. Workshops cost from as little as £2. www.venuecymru.co.uk

2nd February, Canine First Aid, Boulder Adventures, Llanberis A six-hour course looking at the challenges of doing first aid on dogs, concentrating on common injuries and illnesses. 10am. www.activefirstaid.co.uk

8th February, Beer Festival, Theatr Clwyd Featuring more than 10 exciting breweries, plus Theatr Clwyd’s eight-tap bar, live music and plenty of food. £10, including a complimentary drink token and branded pint glass. 1pm & 7pm. www.theatrclwyd.com

9th February, Shoresearch Survey, Marine Drive, Llandudno Help to survey of the rocky shore, learn about its inhabitants and how to ID, document and understand the issues facing our inter-tidal areas. 3pm. Booking essential. www. northwaleswildlifetrust.org.uk

13th-15th February, The Wizard Of Oz, Llangollen Town Hall Llangollen Operatic Society’s Young ’Uns production featuring 47 of the talented young people of Llangollen and surrounding areas. 7.30pm & 2pm. £12.

15th February, Identifying Trees In Winter, Chirk Castle Join bushcraft instructor and forest school leader James Kendall as he teaches you how to identify trees in winter by looking at their buds, bark, shape and other clues. The course will also look at the different uses that trees have, their place in the ecosystem and dive into a bit of woodland folklore. 10am-4.30pm. £35. Booking essential. Call James on 07876 794098. www.woodland classroom.com

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17th-20th February, Snowdrop Planting, Bodnant Garden, nr Colwyn Bay Get your hands dirty and help the gardeners create a beautiful snowdrop walk. Suitable for all ages. 11am-1pm. Normal admission charges apply.

21st February, Snowndonia Slate Trail Ultra A 90-mile (145km) ultra marathon around Snowdonia, starting and finishing in Bangor. The route loops through many well known places, including Llanberis, Betws-y-Coed and Beddgelert, and there are three checkpoints en route offering food, hot drinks and water for competitors. From £145. The event starts at 7pm and has a 48-hour time limit. www.uphilldowndale.com

21st February, Ghost Hunt With Most Haunted, Pen y Lan Hall, Wrexham Pen y Lan Hall is said to be one of north Wales’s most haunted buildings. See for yourself in this intimate ghost hunt that takes place from 9pm and 2am. £49. www. mosthauntedexperience.com

22nd February, Rhyl 10-Mile Run This flat, fast course is sure to be a hit with runners chasing their 10-mile PB, so if you’re a club runner or a fun runner you can be sure of a good time. Entry £24, including a quality bespoke medal and T-shirt. There is also a fun run costing £3, including a quality medal. The fun run starts at 9.15am and the 10k at 10am. www.runwales.com

22nd February, Climb Snowdon Enjoy a winter ascent of Wales’s highest mountain with the professional and friendly support of a qualified winter mountain leader. Meet at Plas Coch Guest House, Llanberis for a group briefing and kit check at 8.30am. £42. Call 01286 870870.

Come to the cabaret! Shake a tailfeather at the North Wales Burlesque & Cabaret Festival at Theatr Colwyn from 24th to 25th January. This year’s festival promises to be bigger than ever before, with something for everyone to enjoy, from shows to community workshops to a steampunk market and a masterclass with Raven Noir. The weekend kicks off with the final of the Seren Yn Codi (Rising Star)

competition on 24th January, featuring six of the hottest stars from the world of cabaret and burlesque, competing to achieve bronze, silver, gold and platinum awards. On 25th January, the whole family can enjoy Erwyd & Gatling’s Magical Matinee, a family-friendly performance full of comedy, audience participation, juggling and mild hysteria. The weekend closes with a

World-class music at Pontio

Journey To Vienna, 10th January Celebrate some of Europe’s finest music with the Welsh National Opera. Under the direction of leader and concertmaster David Adams, the WNO’s orchestra and soprano Mary Elizabeth Williams will transport you across Europe with works by Offenbach, Mozart, Brahms, Dvorak and Strauss. 7.30pm. Tickets £17 for adults, £5 for students and under-18s. The Fureys, 19th February The legends of Irish music and song have been entertaining audiences for 42 years and are responsible for some of the most stirring music ever to capture the public imagination. 7.30pm. Tickets £20. www.pontio.co.uk

Steampunk Extravaganza on 25th January, which will delight and shock with its diverse range of acts. www. northwalesburlesque.com or www.theatrcolwyn.co.uk

Celebrating 40 years of stitching at Quiltfest Witness fine stitching and beautifully made quilts at Quiltfest in Llangollen from 5th to 14th February. The annual exhibition, which showcases patchwork and quilting talent, displays a wide selection of stunning quilts at the Royal International Pavilion as well as the museum on Parade Street. The Quilters’ Guild of the British Isles was 40 in 2019, and Quilters Guild members have been challenged to celebrate using ‘40 years and still stitching’ as the theme for their inspiration. A £2 entry donation is suggested for admission into the pavilion; museum entry is free. Visit www.quiltfest. org.uk for more details.

New discoveries at Plas Newydd

Orchestral delights

Mud, Glorious Mud!, 17th-21st February Half-term is a mucky time at Plas Newydd, Anglesey. Bring your wellies and get stuck into some messy fun with the team from Wild Elements. Create marvellous mud pies, jump in puddles and tackle the giant slide. Noon-3pm.

Join Wrexham Symphony KNOW? Orchestra for two concerts at WSO tickets Wrexham’s William Aston Hall are available at and enjoy some of the finest Wrexham Tourist music in the classical cannon. Information On 19th January, A Centre Musical Picture Book, designed with families in mind, includes Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture, Tchaikovsky’s Capriccio Italien and Britten’s Young Person’s Guide To The Orchestra, along with music by John Williams, Leroy Anderson and others. The second concert, on 29th February, includes the remarkable and talented pianist Luke Jones, who is originally from Wrexham. The programme includes Berlioz’s Overture ‘King Lear’, Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.3 and Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique. www. wrexhamorch.co.uk

Wellness Weekend, 29th February & 1st March Take a leaf out of nature’s book and start the new season afresh with some wellness activities. Learn the ancient practice of qigong or try an uplifting forest bathing session. Behind The Stage, from 29th February Discover stories that have helped to shape this charismatic house along the banks of the Menai Strait, with previously unseen archive materials, film and soundscape. 11am-4.30pm. www.nationaltrust. org.uk/plas-newydd-house-and-garden


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Music and mountains at Galeri Caernarfon Catrin Finch & Cimarrón, 24th January Back in 2007, Welsh harpist Catrin Finch met with Colombian joropo band Cimarrón and in 2009 and 2010 embarked on an exhilarating tour of Wales. Ten years later, they are touring once again. Witness the thrilling global collaboration between Catrin, one of the world’s leading harp players, and the six-piece Grammy-nominated Cimarrón, whose music is rooted in a deep tradition defined by the mixed heritage of African, Spanish and indigenous cultures. 7.30pm. Tickets £18.

Legendary tributes at Tivoli, Buckley

Kendal Mountain Festival, 13th February A new collection of short films on the big screen – stories of human endurance, breathtaking environments and soul-stirring journeys. Festival director Steve Scott presents the evening, sharing behind-thescenes knowledge and explaining why these films have been chosen. 7.30pm. Tickets £18 Jamie Smith’s Mabon with Gwen Màiri, 20th February After 20 years of good times

in one night – We Are Champion (Queen), Van Hailen (Van Halen), Maiden England (Iron Maiden) and Riff Raff (AC/DC). 7pm. Tickets from £15 Absolute Bowie, 22nd February Take a musical journey through the singer’s ever changing personas, featuring all of Bowie’s greatest hits of the last 50 years in a brand new setlist. 7pm. Tickets £16

Titans of Rock, 8th February Your chance to see four top-quality tributes to the biggest names in the world of rock music

The Bohemians, 28th February The world’s most exciting Queen tribute band produce a show that combines the musicianship, costumes and energy of the world’s greatest band. Rob Comber’s outrageous stage antics make him the perfect Freddie, while Chrisopher Gregory’s Red Special enables him to get as close as possible to Brian May’s inimitable style. 7pm. Tickets £18. www.tivolivenue.com


together, folk band Mabon are hanging up their boots next autumn, as the members are ready to embark on new chapters. Join them on their Last Huzzah tour, with support from harpist Gwen Màiri who will be joined by Gwilym Bowen Rhys and Jordan Price Williams. 7.30pm. Tickets £16. www.galericaernarfon.com

Reach for the stars at Techniquest Glyndwr

Witness the wonders of the universe at Techniquest’s Astronomy Club this winter. The club, which meets on 4th January and 1st February, gives you the chance to delve into the darkest corners of the universe using the portable StarDome Planetarium and glance into the sky for some live stargazing. Locations vary; visit www.tqg.org.uk for more. Encourage your children to ‘reach for the stars’ from a young age at ones of Techniquest’s Toddler Days on 13th January and 10th February. The sessions provide interactive fun, play and learning for preschool children for just £5. You can drop in at any time from 10am to 3pm. identity that forced him to appear on Mock The Week. 7.30pm. Tickets £30.25

Heroics at William Aston Hall The Story Of Guitar Heroes, 8th February A live concertstyle ‘rockumentry’ by Phil Walker and his band. If you like music and guitars, you’ll love this! 7.30pm. Tickets £26.40


Milton Jones in Milton: Impossible, 20th February Milton reveals the truth about being an international spy before being given a disappointing

Herman’s Hermits, 23rd February The beat rock band mark their 55th anniversary with a live tour. 7pm. Tickets £26.40. www.thewilliamastonhall.com

23rd February, Wrexham Wedding Fayre, Glyndwr University Sports Hall If you’re planning your big day in the Wrexham area then this is the place you need to be! Chat to local suppliers and venues, and enjoy catwalk shows, hair and make-up demos and talks throughout the day. There’s even a glass of fizz and a goody bag on arrival for the bride! 11am3pm. Free entry and parking.

23rd February, Ruthin 5k & 10k, Ruthin Leisure Centre Waymarked and measured 5km and 10km routes with superb event centre facilities and, of course, some truly inspiring running. Both events start at the leisure centre and are chip timed. 9.30am.

25th February, Birds Of Bodnant Guided Walk, Bodnant Garden, nr Colwyn Bay Join an expert bird watcher for a guided tour. 11am-12.30pm. Normal admission charges apply. Call 0344 249 1895 to book.

28th February – 1st March, 90s and 00s Weekender, Pontins Prestatyn Sands Visit Prestatyn Sands for this unmissable weekend featuring some of the biggest and best party acts from the 1990s and 2000s. Confirmed acts include Gabrielle, Liberty X (pictured), N-Trance and S Club Party, as well as fantastic tributes to Take That, Pink and many more. Come in fancy dress and enjoy the party! From £39. To book, call 0844 576 5944 or visit www.48hourparty.com.

29th February, Wine Festival, Theatr Clwyd Celebrate St David’s Day weekend – and a bonus leap year day – by tasting some of Wales’ finest produce! Meet the producers and speak to them about what goes into the wine, and have the opportunity to listen to them in speaker events throughout the day. From £10. www.theatr clwyd.com

January/February 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 15

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musical whodunit, has been a huge Broadway success already. ‘What I love about Frank is that he’s such a sweet guy, even considering he’s there to solve a murder,’ Jason says. ‘He loves theatre but hasn’t had the chance to be on stage, and that’s not dissimilar from how I started. ‘He’s fun to play. One of the challenges is the accent, but I get to work with an accent coach and I’ve been watching lots of films set in Boston to get an ear for it. We’ve also got a few dance numbers, so I’ve been hitting the gym to prepare for that!’

Family fortune

Stepping in to musical theatre has given Jason an escape from lthough he’s best known the sometimes lonely world of as a stand-up comic, stand-up. ‘I didn’t realise at first Jason Manford is quite at how much I enjoy working with home singing and dancing other people. You spend so much his way around the stage. In time alone when you’re touring fact, his performing roots as a stand-up. I mean, don’t feel were more in that area. sorry for me, I did very well out ‘I remember being of it, but it’s a lonely job! about nine or 10 at So, in theatre it’s lovely to ‘In theatre school,’ Jason says, be part of a cast, a family it’s lovely ‘and I don’t know how feel, which I really love.’ to be part Jason isn’t swapping they got away with it, of a cast, a roles entirely – he will but they took us to see family feel’ still pursue his comedy Sweeney Todd! It was career, as well as whatever quite an experience, and else comes along. ‘My dad I remember thinking it was just always used to say to me, “Your brilliant. I was in every musical I horizon should become your could be at high school, whether middle distance” so that you it was my year group or not I aim for things and when you would badger the teacher until get there you head on to the they let me be a part of it.’ next thing. That’s great advice. Jason’s love goes further than I don’t have a preference at just performing. ‘I actually the moment – there are times when stand-up is number one wrote a couple of musicals and times when it’s theatre.’ myself when I was at uni too When he’s not performing, and I’ve got a couple of writing Jason is always busy working – projects for theatre that I’m but his family brings him back working on, but it’s a big world to normality. ‘I don’t really have to dive into and a flop is a down time!’ he says. ‘Even when real flop, so it’s a big risk.’ I’m off I like writing down ideas or music, but that’s a privilege Mystery theatre really. I suppose my real down For now Jason is getting into time is hanging out with my character as Frank Cioffi, a kids. They’re a good laugh and Boston detective obsessed I love it!’ with musicals. When a murder Curtains is at Venue Cymru happens in a theatre, his dogged from 4th to 8th February. pursuit of the killer begins. The See www.venuecymru.co.uk show, described as a comedy


Comedian and TV star Jason Manford comes to Llandudno’s Venue Cymru this January with the Tony award-winning musical Curtains. Shire caught up with him to chat about the show and how he finds life in musical theatre compared with his roots in stand-up comedy

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1st January, New Year’s Day Walk, Llanwrtyd Wells Shake off that hangover with an eightmile guided walk starting at from the town square. 11am. Free entry. www.green-events.co.uk

1st January, RNLI New Year’s Dip, Barmouth Lifeboat Station, Barmouth Work off the excesses of the Christmas period and raise money for the RNLI with a bracing sea swim. Sponsorship forms are available from the lifeboat station, or email barmouth@rnli.org.uk.

3rd-5th January, New Year Reset Retreat, Kerry, Powys Hosted by astrologist and psychic Ruth Cato, this two-day retreat allows you to ‘reset’ before you go back to life after Christmas. Expect meditation, visualisation, warming healthy food and roaring log fires, all in a beautiful house set in 12 acres of ancient land. £310 all-inclusive.

Something for everyone at Aberystwyth Arts Centre Peter Pan, 10th-25th January This year’s swashbuckling pantomime promises to be the most spectacular yet, with flying effects, barrels of laughter, mermaids, magic and mystery. Show times vary. Tickets £16 adults, £14.50 children. An Evening With Shane Williams, 24th January Get up close and personal with the legendary rugby player, most famous for his tenure as a wing for the Ospreys and the Wales national team. There will also be a Q&A session. 8pm. Tickets £20 adults, £16 children. Catrin Finch & Cimarron, 29th January A rare chance to witness a thrilling global collaboration

as Welsh harpist Catrin Finch – one of the world’s leading harp players – teams up with the six-piece Grammy-nominated Cimarrón from Colombia, who perform joropo dance music from the cattle-rearing plains of the Orinoco. 8pm. Tickets £22 adults, £18 children. Swan Lake, 23rd February A live recording of the Bolshoi Ballet’s spectacular performance of Tchaikovsky’s essential masterpiece. Filled with vibrant emotion, technically challenging pieces and with a stunning and world-famous corps de ballet dancing in perfect unison, this legendary love story is a must-see. 3pm. Tickets £17 adults, £10 children. www.aberystwythartscentre.co.uk

Music and panto at Theatr Brycheiniog Jack & The Beanstalk, 18th-25th January Join the Westenders for their pantomime full of comedy and magic: it’s giant fun for the whole family! Show times vary. Tickets £13.50. Fairport Convention, 30th January A mix of Fairport favourites and some surprises from albums old and new, including Full House, released 50 years ago. 7.30pm. Tickets £23 23rd Annual Rorke’s Drift Concert, 22nd February Join over 100 young Army Cadet

Force musicians from across the UK as they come together with musicians from the regular Army. With music to suit all tastes, spectacular fireworks and comedy from the compère, this is an event not to be missed! 7.30pm. Tickets £10. www.brycheiniog.co.uk

4th-5th January, André Rieu: 70 Years Young, Aberystwyth Arts Centre The King of Waltz invites cinema audiences around the world to join in his birthday celebrations! This unique anniversary event will take you on a journey around the world to André’s most amazing concerts, including Schönbrunn in Vienna, Radio City Music Hall in New York and the Royal Coronation Concert in Amsterdam. 7pm on Saturday and 3pm on Sunday. £17.

Hit the trail!

All around the reservoir

Head off the beaten track and discover the delights of trail running at the sixth annual Buff Winter Trail Wales on 18th January. The race follows a half-marathon route across the trails and tracks of stunning Coed y Brenin Forest Park. It begins at 10.30am from the visitor centre and entry costs £32. www.runcoedybrenin.com

Mid Wales Opera on tour

Have you got what it takes to tackle the Reservoir Roundabout Challenge in Elan Valley on 4th January? The annual walking (or running) event, now in its 52nd year, is held across open and challenging terrain. Both 13- and 20-mile courses are available, and the route is waymarked in parts. All entrants must be kitted out for winter and carry essential equipment, including a compass, first-aid kit, torch, food and drink. Walkers on the 20-mile route will set off at 8.30am, while walkers on the 13-mile route and all runners depart at 9am. Entrance costs £12 in advance and £15 on the day, with all proceeds going to local charities. Email reservoir-roundabout@mail.com.

10th January, Gaming In The Gallery, Wyeside Arts Centre, Builth Wells A welcoming space for gamers old and new. There is a small library of games that you can borrow, and visitors are welcome to bring their own games along to play too. Come and get lost in the joy of board games! 6pm9pm. Free entry.

Join Mid Wales Opera for its spring production of The Marriage Of Figaro and enjoy an operatic romp filled with revenge, disguise, love and trickery – with a wedding thrown in for good measure! The tour begins on 29th February at the Hafren, Newtown and continues throughout March across north and mid Wales. www.midwalesopera.co.uk

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Fresh live music at Hay’s Globe Saturday Shenanigans: The Barebacks, 25th January This three-piece rock ’n’ roll band, comprised of cajon, bass and guitars, produces a sound like no other. Charismatic and contagious, The Barebacks are regarded as one of the top live bands on the circuit, so expect big tunes with plenty of crowd control! With support from Herefordshire’s Bekki Cameron. 8pm. Tickets £5. Friday Live: Luke De-Sciscio, 7th February Poetically intense and sonically intimate, Luke’s


DID YOU KNOW? Every Tuesday is Open Mic Night at the Globe at Hay

releases are recorded almost exclusively live, and his album Good Bye Folk Boy has received critical acclaim. 8pm. Tickets £5. Saturday Shenanigans: Flats & Sharps, 15th February The four-piece outfit from Penzance deliver energetic and spirited bluegrass to audiences all around

15th January, Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust Bird Group AGM, Methodist Hall, Welshpool Join the Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust for its AGM, followed by a talk entitled Llyn Coed y Dinas by Chris Townsend. 7.30pm. £2.50 including tea/ coffee. Call 01938 552023 or email lenlewis17@gmail.com.

the world. Their music blends strong harmonies and stonking solos, and their incredible stage presence creates an evening that’ll have you dancing and singing along in no time. 8pm. Tickets £8. www.globeathay.org

Classical vibes in Hay-on-Wye Laura Snowden, 18th January, Richard Booth’s Bookshop British-French guitarist and composer Laura has been acclaimed for her ‘poise and intensity’ (Guardian) and playing of ‘extraordinary depth’ (Strings, Classical Music). Laura currently teaches at the Yehudi Menuhin School and has given performances at venues including the Royal College of Music, the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama and Brussels Conservatoire. 7.30pm. Tickets £12.50

adults, £6 students, under18s free. A pre-concert light supper at 6pm costs £15. Ensemblebash, 14th February, Hay Primary School Since their formation in 1992, Ensemblebash have forged a reputation as one of the world’s most ground-breaking chamber ensembles, using the music of West Africa as both core repertoire and a guiding spiritual influence, mixing contemporary classical, jazz and music theatre. 7pm. Tickets £10

adults, £5 students, under18s free. Tickets for both events are available from Richard Booth’s Bookshop in Hay-on-Wye or on the door. www.haymusic.org

18th January, Tarot & Yoga Afternoon, Llandrindod Wells Perfect for beginners and more experienced yoga and tarot practitioners alike, this session includes gentle yoga, guided meditation and a 20-minute tarot reading along with tea and nibbles. 2pm-5pm. £20. www.thehappyhunt.com

Join a chariot race in Llanwrtyd Wells Become a world champion on 11th January – all you have to do is pedal your bike the fastest in the World Mountain Bike Chariot Racing Championship! Special chariots – designed to be pulled by two bikes – have been built for the event, and the winning team will have to demonstrate exceptional skill and courage, and work as a single unit, to be crowned this year’s world champions. The event is part of Llanwrtyd Wells’ Saturnalia Winter Warmer Real Ale Festival and is open to teams of three people (two riders and one charioteer) over the age of 16. The entry fee is £25 per team.

17th-19th January, Brecon Beacons Paranormal Psychic Retreat, YHA Brecon Beacons, Talybont-on-Usk, Brecon Escape the world and tap into some paranormal activity with nightly ghost hunts from 8pm to 2am, a psychic afternoon tea with mediums Jackie Tanner and Les Brettell and lots of time to relax and unwind. £109 all inclusive. www. spooktacular-ghost-events.co.uk

Say it in silver

Charioteers should assemble at 11.30am in the grounds of Abernant Lake Hotel. The course comprises a half-mile circuit around the grounds, across Tarmac (with speed bumps!) and rough track. A world cup and medals will be given to the winning team, with prizes also awarded for the best Roman costumes. All teams receive a certificate recording their achievement. www.green-events.co.uk

Create a personal keepsake you’ll treasure at a Silver Pendant workshop at Powis Castle on 14th January. You’ll make the pendant using precious metal clay which, once fired, will leave you with beautiful jewellery that is 99.9% silver. The workshop costs £33.50, including materials, plus a cup of tea/coffee and scone. You’ll also get a voucher for free entry to the castle and garden. www. nationaltrust.org. uk/powiscastle-andgarden

18th January, Willow Weaving: Zarzo Basket, Denmark Farm Conservation Centre, Lampeter During this workshop you’ll make a zarzo basket that has been adapted from a traditional Spanish design originally used in cheese making. You can choose from a round or square form, and a selection of willow colours will be available. 10am-4pm. £40, plus £7.50 for materials. www.denmarkfarm.org.uk

22nd January, MBKA Honey, Mead & Wax Show, Plas Dolerw, Newtown It’s the bees time to shine and share the fruits of their labour! Hosted by the Montgomeryshire Beekeepers’ Association, this is the place to come for all your honey, mead and wax needs. 7pm-10pm.

January/February 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 19

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23rd January, Exploring Creative Writing Techniques, Wyeside Arts Centre, Builth Wells A nine-week course suitable for new writers and those with some experience, designed to get you writing and keep you writing. Sessions 10.30am-12.45pm every Thursday. £110. To book, call 01970 621580 or email learning@aber.ac.uk.

26th January, Wedding Fair, Ceredigion Museum, Aberystwyth If you’re planning your big day come along to this wedding fair organised by Calon Events. Free entry. 11am-3pm.

•28th January, Beavers In Wales, The Muse, Brecon Welsh beaver project officer Alicia Leow-Dyke explores the history of beavers in Wales and why they want to reintroduce them. 7.30pm. £2 suggested donation. Call 07957 292235.

1st February, Lord Crawshaw Memorial Walk, Llanwrtyd Wells Annual walk organised in recognition of Lord Crawshaw of Aintree’s contribution to walking. There are waymarked routes of 12 or 20 miles, plus shorter guided walks, all starting from Llanwrtyd Square. www.green-events.co.uk

3rd Feb Connecting The Dragons, Theatre C22, Aberystwyth University A talk by Mark Barber on amphibian and reptile conservation in Wales, hosted by the Wildlife Trust of South & West Wales. 7pm, Call 01970 890577 or email iscott77@hotmail.com.

6th-7th February, Outdoor First Aid, Rhayader A 16-hour course suitable for outdoor professionals and enthusiasts and those who want more confidence in dealing with incidents in a rural or remote environment. £125. Booking essential.

Sustainable food production in Machynlleth Learn how food can be produced sustainably, in Food Production & Consumption, a five-day course at the Centre for Alternative Technology in Machynlleth. The course, which takes place from 13th to 17th January, explores trends in global and local food production, diets and health, and helps you understand the impact the global food system has on the environment. You’ll learn through a series of lectures, supported by interactive seminars, and be taught

Make it in Wales If you fancy getting crafty in 2020, head to Cardigan’s Stiwdio 3, where you can take part in a huge variety of craft workshops and learn some new creative skills From learning the art of stained glass to trying your hand at machine knitting or willow basket making, there’s bound to be something to get your creative juices flowing. Workshops to choose from in January and February include: Beginner Stained Glass on 18th and 31st January, where you can learn to design, cut glass, lead up, solder and cement as you create your own panel to take home; Textile Story Flags with Nia Lewis on 7th February; and Upholster A Milking Stool with Mick Sheridan on 22nd February, where you can create a beautiful stool to take home. There are also other classes to choose from, so make sure you check www.makeitinwales. co.uk for full details.

by a range of expert lecturers from CAT’s Graduate School of the Environment. The five-day course costs £750, which includes tuition, all materials and full-board accommodation. For more information, visit www.cat.org.uk.

Celebrate winter Roman style Celebrate the ancient festival of Saturnalia in the quirky town of Llanwrtyd Wells on 11th January and enjoy some fun, Roman style! The Saturnalia Beer Festival has a plethora of winter warmer ales on offer, plus an abundance of special foods including recipes such as lumbuli assi ita fiunt (roast stuffed testicles). The Saturnalia Real Ale Ramble, which uses part of the Roman road that passes close to Llanwrtyd Wells, has free ale at the check points. You can then celebrate and compare battle scars at the Neuadd Arms Hotel, which is hosting a Toga Party on the Saturday night, with prizes for the best (not necessarily the most revealing!) togas. www.green-events.co.uk

Machynlleth Music Club at MOMA Discover musical talent at the monthly music club sessions at MOMA, Machynlleth. Elizabeth Karani (soprano) & Edmund Whitehead (piano), 18th January Elizabeth is a graduate of the National Opera Studio and has an MMus with distinction from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. She has also won several awards, including the Elizabeth Harwood and Kathleen Ferrier Young Singer’s award. Hear her, with Edmund Whitehead, in

DID YOU KNOW? CAT is home to some of the oldest established organic gardens in the UK

a programme that includes Strauss-Morgen’s Allerseelen and Bernstein’s I Hate Music. 1pm. Tickets £12 for nonmembers, free for under-18s. Mary Hofman (violin) & Richard Ormrod (piano), 28th February The second in the concert series featuring all 10 of Beethoven’s violin and piano sonatas, with performances given in 10 music clubs across Wales together with a commissioned work. The

featured composer is the young Welsh composer Sarah Lianne Lewis, who was inspired by the Sonata Op.30. No 2. 7.30pm. Tickets £12 for nonmembers, free for under-18s. moma.machynlleth.org.uk

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Legends at the Hafren A Journey To Vienna, 11th January Celebrate some of Europe’s finest music with the Welsh National Opera. The orchestra will visit all corners of Europe, performing works by Offenbach, Mozart, Brahms, Dvorak and Strauss, and will be joined by soprano Mary Elizabeth Williams. 4pm. Tickets DID YOU £16.50.

KNOW? Shane Williams Cinderella, is Wales’s leading 18th try scorer with 58. January Don’t miss Not bad

this year’s fun-filled, family

Eyes on the skies Look to the stars on 4th January and find out about the links between astronomy and Celtic mythology in a special stargazing event. The evening, run by Dark Sky Wales Training Services, gives you a unique opportunity to be part of a group of 40 like-minded individuals all enjoying the dark skies of Wales. On the evening you’ll be accompanied by two astronomers who will guide you from constellations to nebula, learning mythology and science of astronomy. No experience is needed – just an enthusiasm to learn. All astronomical equipment is provided but make sure you wrap up warm as the mountain can become very cold. The session runs from 9.30pm to 11.30pm and costs £22.15. www.darkskywales trainingservices.co.uk

pantomime, starring NYP’s talented young musical theatre students. The show is written and directed by Freya Rowlands and promises to be NYP’s most spectacular pantomime ever. 2.30pm & 7.30pm. Tickets £13. An Evening With Shane Williams, 25th January The legendary Welsh rugby player shares the secrets of his illustrious career when he takes


to the stage for this intimate and revealing evening. Shane was a Welsh rugby union player most famous for his long and successful tenure as a wing for the Ospreys and the Wales national team. This is great evening for fans of Welsh rugby and a chance to get up close and personal with Shane. 7.30pm. Tickets £22. www.thehafren.co.uk

Give nature a helping hand Learn how you can connect with the natural world and give nature a helping hand at RSPB Ynys-hir this winter. On 19th January you can learn all about our feathered friends in readiness for RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch. Practise your bird ID skills, have fun spotting the birds on the feeders and make your own bird cake to take home and feed to the birds

in your garden. The event runs from 10.30am to 3pm and costs just £2 per bird cake. On 19th February, discover how to provide a habitat for wildlife in your garden. Find out all about the creatures that live in your garden and build your own nest box or bug hotel to take home too. The Homes For Wildlife event runs from 11am to 3pm and nest boxes and bug hotels cost £5 each. To book call 01654 700222 or email ynys-hir@rspb.org.uk.

7th-9th February, Creative Retreat, Gliffaes Hotel, Crickhowell Long weekend for those who love books, art and food, in the middle of the Brecon Beacons. Treat yourself! From £533. www.beacons retreats.com

8th & 9th February, Book & Picture Sale, School House Gallery, Bleddfa Centre, Knighton Browse a wide selection of quality secondhand books, paintings and prints, and grab yourself a bargain. The gallery and café will also be open. 11am-5pm. www.bleddfacentre.org

9th February, Brecon To Cardiff Ultra A 70km, oneway, fully marked race that winds its way from Brecon to Cardiff following the River Taff. Race entry gets you coach transport, an event T-shirt, a finisher’s medal, medical cover, well-stocked checkpoints, halfway drop bag, an epic finish and quite possibly some snow! 8am-8pm. www.runwalkcrawl.co.uk

12th February, NeedleFelt: Lamb Or Landscape, The Felin Fach Griffin, Brecon Join FfolkyFfelt to learn or develop your needle felting skills, creating a spring lamb or making a woolly landscape. The day includes all materials, refreshments and a two-course lunch. 10am-4pm. £65. To book, email emma@ffolkyffelt.com.

Celtic music in Cardigan’s Cellar Celtic-crossover folk band The Meadows perform live at The Cellar, Cardigan on 12th January, playing songs from their album Force Of The Tide. The multi-instrumentalist folk band bring cutting-edge techniques and an exciting, contemporary vibe to every show, performing original works that weave between foot-stomping reels and rich vocal harmonies. Inspired by the songs, stories and history of the British and Irish coastline, Force Of The Tide is a collection of songs and

tunes that delves into our rich seafaring heritage, with music ranging from the beautiful Welsh language maritime lullaby ‘Si Hei Lwli Mabi’ to uptempo tunes such as ‘Bedd Y Morwr’ and ‘Hen Ferchetan’. Doors open at 7.30pm and tickets cost £10 each. www.cellarsounds.wales

16th February, Planetarium Show, Elan Valley Visitor Centre Join Martin Nelmes and his team from the University of Aberystwyth and be taken on an exciting planetarium journey of our universe. There are four free shows at 11am, noon, 2pm and 3pm. Places are limited, so please book in advance by calling 01597 810880. www. elanvalley. org.uk

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19th February, Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust Talk, Methodist Hall, Welshpool Listen to Jim Almond Price talk about Memorable Birding Moments in an informative talk suitable for both experts and beginners. No prior knowledge of birds is required. 7.30pm. £2.50, including tea/coffee. For more details call 01938 552023 or email lenlewis17@gmail.com.

Wyeside’s wonders Pericles, 19th January A magical, musical adventure story full of singing, storms and shipwrecks. 3pm. Tickets £12 adults, £6 children. Martyn Joseph, 26th January With a 30-year career, 32 albums and thousands of live performances, Martyn is an unmissable solo performer whose music stays with you long after the show has ended. 7.30pm. Tickets £17.

Kinky Boots: The Musical, 4th & 9th February This huge-hearted hit, filmed live at the Adelphi

•22nd-24th February, Introduction To Permaculture,

Centre For Alternative Technology, Machynlleth Learn how to design resilient, abundant habitats by working with nature and each other. Run by Aberystwyth University. £120 including all materials. To book call 01970 621580.

22nd-23rd February, Hill Skills Course, Felin Fach, Brecon Two-day course aimed at equipping you with the required knowledge, expertise and skills to enjoy the UK hills safely. Nationally accredited and developed by Mountain Training; hosted by TrigPoint Adventures. www.trigpointadventures.co.uk

22nd February Canyoning Open Adventure, Brecon Beacons Instructors from Savage Adventures will guide you through waterfalls, rapids and rockpools. £45. 10am-2pm. www. savage-adventures.com

29th February & 1st March, Sound Healing With Tibetan Singing Bowls, Centre for Alternative Technology, Machynlleth Practical workshop led by Maggie Langton. Ideal for those who’ve never used a singing bowl and those with experience. www. academyofsoundhealing.com

29th February, Leap Day Frog Racing, Community Hall, Dolau Celebrate Leap Day with a frog racing event. 6pm.

Theatre in London, features songs from

DID YOU Grammy and Tony award-winning KNOW? pop icon Cyndi Lauper, and Kinky Boots is choreography by Jerry Mitchell. 2pm & 7pm. Tickets £13.50. based on a 2005 film and inspired Breabach, 26th February Unique by real-life musicianship, combining twin events bagpipes, fiddle, bass and guitar with Gaelic vocals and step dance, has won Breabach fans across the globe. 7.30pm. Tickets £15. www.wyeside.co.uk

The Jam tribute band heads to Llandrindod Wells A Band Called Malice, the definitive tribute to The Jam, are at the Pavilion, Llandrindod Wells on 22nd February, with a show that is guaranteed to take you back to the late 1970s and early 1980s with authentic performances of all The Jam’s biggest hits, including ‘All Around the World’, ‘Going Underground’, ‘When You’re Young’ and, of course, ‘A Town Called Malice’. The band’s founder, Andy Coultas, was keen to create a group he felt had all the essential elements of a Jam tribute, including high-octane energy, angst,

aggression, passion, vocals, musicianship and the look of The Jam. A Band Called Malice was formed and in 2019 were named National Tribute Award Finalists in the Newcomer category. The show starts at 7.30pm and tickets cost £11. www.pavilion midwales.org.uk

Ride the rails this half-term with Welshpool & Llanfair The Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway has announced it’s half-term Winter Special train timetable. Ride the heated carriages from Llanfair Caereinion to Castle Caereinion return, and finish up with a drink in the cosy tearoom at Llanfair Caereinion. Trains run on 15th, 16th, 18th, 19th, 20th, 22nd and 23rd February. All trains

start and finish at Llanfair Caereinion only, where there is plenty of free parking. This is an early start to the year for the railway, which welcomes customers old and new who’d like to travel on this charming and scenic railway, close to the Shropshire border. The Llanfair station postcode is SY21 0SF. You can find more details and book online at www. wllr.org.uk or simply turn up on the day.

Have you got what it takes to escape? Pit your wits against Aberystwyth’s first escape rooms and work your way through an exciting array of cryptic clues to solve your escape! At Ultimate Xscape Aberystwyth, you’ll have to use a variety of skills to work

your way through the clues, crack the code and save yourself before the time runs out. The rooms are designed for up to six players in each room, and the more players you have the cheaper it becomes. There are two rooms to choose from – Spellbound and Room 13 – and you can select your level of difficulty before you play. It’s great fun for friends, family, colleagues and more, so grab your thinking caps and try to defeat the Xscape rooms… For more information and to book, visit www.ultimatexscape.co.uk. January/February 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 25

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River deep, mountain high The ancient town of Llanidloes is the perfect base for lovers of the outdoors, located on the Severn and with a backdrop of the Cambrian mountains


lanidloes is a small community in an Shrewsbury. Towards the end idyllic location, sitting on the Severn of the 18th century, Llanidloes was the largest producer in within the historic county boundaries of Montgomeryshire and at the heart of Montgomeryshire, but this Arwystli, a region of the ancient kingdom declined after about 1810 with the introduction of factories. of Powys. Named for the early 7thLead mining emerged century Celtic saint Idloes, to whom as a profitable industry its parish church is dedicated, the DID YOU when rich deposits were discovered town received a market charter KNOW? Llanidloes was in 1865, and within a decade from Edward I in 1280. voted the third the Van mines north of the Today Llanidloes is home to a most desirable town were among the most population of around 3,000, and postcode in productive in the world. This the modern street plan still reflects Wales proud heritage can still be seen the 13th-century grid layout from a time when it was a thriving settlement today in the town’s ironmongery and based around a castle positioned near what is the many fine 19th-century shopfronts. now Mount Street. Its location makes it the perfect gateway to the Cambrian mountains. Walk on the wild side Perhaps the most striking appeal of Weaving home Llanidloes is its stunning scenery. The Llanidloes found success in the 17th and town is close to the Clywedog reservoir and offers access to a splendidly scenic 18th centuries as a centre of weaving mountain road connecting Llanidloes and flannel production, with a lucrative market for local products 50 miles away in with Machynlleth. Hikers visit for the popular footpaths surrounding the town, including Glyndwr’s Way, which – in conjunction with the Offa’s Dyke path – forms a 160-mile circuit around mid Wales and local passage over the spine of the Cambrian mountains. The annual Sarn Sabrina Walk, a 25-mile circular walk from Llanidloes to the source of the Severn and back, has been held every May The well-preserved Llanidloes High Street

Some of the walkways in nearby Hafren forest

since 2006. For those who prefer to explore on wheels, the nearby Hafren Forest is used for car and motorcycle rallies throughout the year. The building of the bypass in 1991 has protected the town from the ravages of traffic and allowed it to preserve its attractive main streets, lined with trees originally planted in 1901. The church and old market hall (which claims to be the centre of Wales) are delightful, while you can also visit the town’s impressive Minerva Arts Centre – home to the Quilt Association and its collection of heritage quilts, among other things – and see the Bryntail lead mine buildings nearby. THINGS TO SEE AND DO The Quilt Association Minerva Arts Centre, High Street, Llanidloes SY18 6BY; 01686 413467, www.quilt.org.uk Cambrian Mountain Events Llani Leisure, 16-17 Long Bridge Street, Llanidloes SY18 6EE; 0168 641 4893, event-admin@llanileisure.co.uk Yamaha Off-Road Glynhafren, Old Hall, Llanidloes SY18 6PS; 01686 413324, www.yamaha-offroad-experience.co.uk Bryntail Lead Mine Llyn Clywedog Dam, Llanidloes SY18 6NU; cadw.gov.wales

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DID YOU KNOW? Ann Widdecombe appeared on series eight of Strictly

Until 19th January, Young Artists In Tuscany, Weaver Hall Museum & Workhouse, Northwich A local project gives young art students from the area the opportunity to undertake a programme of study in Tuscany – and on their return they produced work in a variety of media for this exhibition at the museum. 10am-5pm (Tuesday to Friday), 2pm-5pm (weekend). £3.50 adults, £1.80 children.

1st January, Parkrun, Whitby Park, Ellesmere Port Blow away the cobwebs with a 5km New Year’s Day Parkrun, at the later than usual time of 10.30am. Some other Parkruns in the local area are still starting at 9am – giving you the chance to double up if fancy it! Free entry. www.parkrun.org.uk

Until 5th January, Christmas Ice Rink, Warrington Is there anything more wintery than getting the family together and hitting the ice? This year in Golden Square, Icescape has teamed up with Warrington Bid to bring a real ice rink in the Old Market Place. Times vary throughout the day and tickets start from £6.

4th January, Pizza & Prosecco, Revolution, Chester Enjoy two hours of bottomless prosecco at this event, when you can also have large pizza of your choice, bubblegum daiquiri, bloody mary, virgin mary, blank canvas, a pint of Amstel or soft drinks. Various pizzas are available, including vegan options. Noon–2pm or 2pm–4pm. £25 per person. •4th January, Viva La Coldplay, Alexander’s Live, Chester Viva La Coldplay recreate the complete anthology of Martin, Buckland, Berryman and Champion. The band perform over two hours’ worth of career-spanning material, taking in key tracks such as ‘Yellow’, ‘Clocks’, ‘The Scientist’, ‘Viva La Vida’, ‘Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall’, ‘Charlie Brown’ and ‘Paradise’. 8pm. General admission £7; preshow dinner and concert £32.

Live entertainment at Crewe Lyceum Boys In Their Prime, 12th January DMPC (Dope Male Performance Company) and Crewe Lyceum present the only all-male, open touring performance opportunity for boys of all ages and dance styles. From ‘bboy’ to ballet, tap to commercial and crews to soloists, this is a great chance to see emerging and established professionals performing together. 7.30pm. Tickets from £5. Superstars Of Wrestling, 26th January Come and experience first-hand the excitement and atmosphere as top names in British wrestling battle it out in an evening of high-impact wrestling action, suitable for all the family.

4.30pm. Tickets £15.50 adults and £12.50 children, or £50 for a family of four. An Evening With Sir Geoff Hurst, 29th January Geoff Hurst talks amusingly about his illustrious West Ham and England career. It promises to be a great event for all football fans. 7.30pm. Tickets from £29; £54 for a meet and greet with photo. Ann Widdecombe: Strictly Ann, 5th February The former MP shares behind-the-scenes gossip from some of the nation’s best-loved programmes, including Strictly Come Dancing, Have I Got News For You and Celebrity Big Brother. 7.30pm. Tickets £27. www.crewelyceum.co.uk

Rock and soul at the Live Rooms Chester The Craig Charles Funk & Soul Club, 17th January The actor, host and broadcaster is one of UK’s most beloved funk and soul DJs. Following success in shows from Robot Wars and Red Dwarf, Craig has now grounded himself as a funk and soul icon after 10 years of broadcasting on BBC 6 Music with his Saturday night show. 9pm. Tickets £20. Livewire: The AC/DC Show, 18th January The hugely successful and unique six-man tribute to rock’s greatest band, complete with cannons, a wall of Marshall amps and over

two hours of highvoltage rock ’n’ roll in a show critically acclaimed for its closeness in look and sound to the real thing. 7pm. Tickets £16. Fleetingwood Mac, 29th February Five young musicians who want to share the music of one of the world’s greatest bands with a wider audience – with just one guitar, a keyboard, a drum kit, a bass and, of course, vocals. 7pm. Tickets £10. www. theliverooms.com

Dive in deep with Blue Planet

Plan your big day at Tatton Park

Visit another world at Blue Planet aquarium, which has 14 feeds and daily shows throughout January and February. The fish feeds and Aquatheatre presentations featuring divers take place daily in the viewing window. The awesome displays will tell you more about the animals in the ocean display and what it takes to be a diver. The aquarium is home to more than 100 living displays and Europe’s largest collections of sharks. Tickets cost £17.10 for adults and £12.15 for children when booked online. www.blueplanetaquarium.com

Plan your perfect day at Tatton Park’s Bride: The Wedding Show on 1st and 2nd February. Held in a marquee packed with more than 150 of the region’s finest wedding suppliers, the show promises choreographed catwalk shows, live music, a dressed marquee showcase, a champagne bar and much more. Every bride-to-be will receive a free copy of the latest issue of Cheshire Bride magazine. The fair is open from 10am to 5pm and tickets cost £15 for adults – children are free. www.tattonpark.org.uk

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Learn about the hoards at Chester Grosvenor Museum


12th January, The Chester History 5k Run, Chester This is a social running experience, taking you through Chester’s fascinating history, with quick stops along the way. The tour will provide you with a full history of Chester’s walls and many surrounding landmarks. Head torches are advised. 2pm–3.30pm. From £15.

Café Crafts, 9th January Join Tracey Todhunter, freelance knitwear designer and author of Woman’s Weekly Guide To Crochet, for an afternoon of craft and chat in the 1940s café. Bring along your own project or join in with one of the museum’s. Everyone is welcome – whether you’re a master of the craft or just a beginner. The session runs from 2pm to 4pm and tickets cost £3, including tea or coffee.

Hoards, 15th January There are several important hoards among the Grosvenor Museum collections, deposited in Cheshire from prehistoric times to the Civil War in the 17th century. This talk will explore them in more detail and look at the various times of crisis that caused them to be deposited. The talk takes place from 2.30pm to 3.30pm, with a suggested donation of £3 per person. www. grosvenormuseum.westcheshiremuseums.co.uk

Photos: Paul Compton PD photography

Nantwich is ready for battle!

The faithful troops of the Sealed Knot will gather in the historic town of Nantwich on 25th January to re-enact the bloody battle that took place in 1644, marking the end of the siege of the town during the English Civil War.

For the past 40 years, a small team of volunteers has coordinated the re-enactment, the first of many annual events that take place in the awardwinning floral market town. The event takes place from 10am to 3pm and entry is free. www.battleofnantwich.org

Take a winter walk in Arley Hall & Gardens Open Gardens, 2nd January - 28th February Arley Hall’s gardens are open every day during January and February, allowing you to see the renowned herbaceous border in its winter slumber. The skeleton of the garden is also on display. Open from 10am to 4pm. Tickets cost £5 for adults and £2 for children; family tickets (two adults and three children) are £10. Hall Open Sundays, 6th January - 17th February A fantastic opportunity to view the elaborate ceilings and oak panelling, impressive fireplaces, intricate stained glass and beautiful contents that make Arley Hall so special. Open 10am to 3pm. Tickets cost £9 for adults and £3 for children; family tickets are £20. Wedding Open Day, 26th January See the stunning hall set for a wedding in the beautiful clear marquee and experience the grandeur of one of Cheshire’s premier country estates. Expert wedding designers will be on hand to answer your nuptual-related questions. There will also be fizz on offer and the Gardener’s Kitchen café will be open for lunch and afternoon tea. Open 11am to 4pm. Free entry. www.arleyhallandgardens.com

Stunning snowdrops brighten winter Snowdrops are sure sign spring is on its way, and what better place to view more than 70 varieties than the Old Wood at Rode Hall, Cheshire. Snowdrop walks are open between 11am and 4pm on Tuesdays to Sundays from 1st February to 1st March. For those feeling peckish after a walk, the Courtyard Kitchen serves homemade lunches, cakes and refreshments. Admission costs £5 for adults and £2 for children; under-fives are free. www.rodehall.co.uk

Puzzling pathways at Dunham Massey Join Percy the Park Keeper and his animal friends as you navigate the family friendly interactive trail through the gardens at Dunham Massey from 11th January to 22nd March. Will you find the clues and stay on the right track? Children can stamp a trail map at each point and collect a sticker from the garden kiosk. Normal admission applies – £10 for adults and £5 for children. www.nationaltrust. org.uk/dunham-massey

18th January, Nantwich Vegan Fair, Nantwich Civic Hall Come along to the town’s first vegan fair and sample the delights that veganism has to offer. Everyone is welcome, and it’s a great opportunity for anyone contemplating a vegan lifestyle to find out just how easy and delicious it can be. 10am-4pm. Free entry.

18th January, Butter Making, Lion Salt Works, Marston Have a go at making butter and see how it was made in the past, along with the tools that were used. 11am-3.30pm. £2.

18th January, Frosty 5k, Marbury Country Park, Northwich Get fit for the new year in the Frosty 5k, in aid of the Joshua Tree. Experience the elements with a snowy starting line for a 5k run around Marbury Park’s winter-themed zones, featuring fire, ice, fog and snow. There will be an event village with a life-size snow globe and medals for all participants, plus more surprises to be announced. 11am-3pm. From £10. www.thejoshuatree.org.uk

19th-21st January, 48-hour Yogathon, Festival Hall, Alderley Edge A yoga lover’s dream – 48 hours of yoga featuring more than 80 classes, over 40 teachers and 13 genres. There will be workshops, wellbeing practitioners, lifestyle vendors and a Guinness World Record attempt. Starts at 7pm. From £25, discounts apply for early booking and children go free. www.yogathon-uk.org

January/February 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 29

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Get active outdoors at Lyme •

26th January, Cheshire Children’s Market, The Grange School, Northwich Grab yourself a bargain with tables full of gently used baby and children goodies, while also visiting local baby and children businesses. From 2.30pm. £2.

31st January, Disco Bingo, Eagle Sports & Social Club, Warrington If you’re looking for an excuse for a work, club or friends’ night out, disco bingo could be the answer. Throughout the night certain bingo numbers trigger disco classics, which the DJ will blast out to get the whole room up and dancing. Once the bingo is over, the night continues with a full-on funky disco. 6.30pm–midnight. £10 entry; bingo games free.

1st February, Doric String Quartet Concert, Holmes Chapel Leisure Centre One of the leading quartets of its generation, the Doric String Quartet, performs at Holmes Chapel Music Society, performing works by Haydn, Sibelius, Britten and Beethoven. 8pm. £11 members, £17 nonmembers; concessions from £1.

2nd February, Knutsford Makers Market, Princess Street, Knutsford One of the largest artisan markets of its type in the UK, offering the very finest food, drink, art and craft creating an amazing buzz in the fabulous town centre. 11am–2pm. Free entry.

3rd February, Circus Of Horrors, Stockport Plaza The new Circus Of Horrors show will be an immersive celebration of its astounding 25 years. The cast that stormed into the finals of Britain’s Got Talent is now a West End and worldwide hit will take you on a rock ’n’ roller coaster ride of unbelievable, bizarre and beautiful acts. This event is suitable for over-16s only. 7.30pm. £18.

Night Run, 25th January Whether you’re new to running, a seasoned trail runner or a family looking for an adventure, you can experience Lyme in a new light on this fun and exciting night run. Choose from the 3km Explorer or the 7km Adventurer routes and have fun at your own pace on traffic-free trails – just don’t forget your head torch. Free hot drink or soup included. 4.30pm-8.30pm. Tickets £14 adults, £7 children. Bugs & Beasties, 15th-18th & 21st-23rd February Go in search of the bugs and beasties that make themselves at home in Lyme house. Pick up your trail sheet to discover the lurking

critters indoors at Lyme and see what it takes to protect the treasures and furniture around the house. 11am-5pm. Suggested donation of 50p for children; normal house admission applies.

DID YOU KNOW? Lyme stood in for Pemberley in 1995’s Pride & Prejudice

Get Active Outdoors, 17th-21st February Feeling active this half-term? Head to the garden for sporty fun on the top lawn and test out your skills. 11am-3pm. Free event; normal house admission applies. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lyme

Showcase concerts at St Mary’s in Chester

Chester Music Society Showcase, 15th January A recital by the winners and runners-up of the Young Musician Competition held at the end of last year. Come and hear some of the finest young performers in Chester and district, and support them when they receive their awards from the chair of the society. 7.30pm. Tickets £5.

Chester Music Society Showcase, 5th February Chester Music Society welcomes the Jan Modelski Community Orchestra for an evening of music by talented local musicians. The orchestra actually comprises three separate orchestras: the original was set up in 2001 and has since grown to include around 50 players. 7.30pm. Tickets £5. www. stmaryscreativespace.co.uk

Bottoms up at Chester’s Brewhouse

Great food offers at Chester Racecourse

Put on your walking boots

Discover the history of gin and get an insight into the distilling process on Saturdays in January and February at the Brewhouse & Kitchen, Chester. Taste five gins, complemented by tasty nibbles and a range of Fever Tree tonics. Finish by choosing your favourite and enjoying a perfectly served G&T. Sessions are at 2pm and 5pm, and tickets cost £35. If gin’s not your thing, every Thursday at 7pm you can meet the brewer amd take part in a mini beer masterclass. www. brewhouseandkitchen.com

Continue the festive indulgence into the new year with great offers at Chester Racecourse. Restaurant 1539 is offering two for one on the chef ’s menu or afternoon tea until 12th February, and you can get 50 per cent off food at the White Horse between 1st January and 13th February, when you pre-book a table. If you’re following Veganuary, the Plant-Based Supper Club at Restaurant 1539 on 30th January will also inspire you! For full details, visit www. restaurant1539.co.uk and www. thewhitehorsechester.co.uk.

Find the lost mosses of Delamere Forest and see how these rare habitats are being restored with a walk with Cheshire Wildlife Trust on 10th February. The easy walk will take you off the beaten track to find some of the forest’s wildlife hotspots. Learn about the animals that rely on these habitats and what Cheshire Wildlife Trust is doing to protect and them. Tickets cost £6. There is also a Wildlife-Friendly Gardening talk at Nantwich Methodist Church on 19th February. www. cheshirewildlifetrust.org.uk

Chester Music Society presents Elizabeth Karani, 8th January Brighten up winter with one of St Mary’s Creative Space’s musical concerts as Chester Music Society presents soprano Elizabeth Karani. Keen recitalist Elizabeth is a Park Lane Group Young Artist and has recently been awarded a place on the Countess of Munster Recital Scheme alongside

her duo partner, Edmund Whitehead. She has also won several awards. 7.30pm. Tickets £16.

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6th February, Welshot Photographic Academy, Crowne Plaza Hotel, Chester Find out all the great things you can do to bring your love of photography to life. Bring your camera if you like, and be ready to take a few photos and have some fun. 6.30pm–10pm. Free entry.

Entertainment galore at Parr Hall The Bohemians, 31st January The internationally renowned Queen tribute band take you on a high-energy roller coaster ride, performing the back catalogue of one of the world’s most popular rock groups. 8pm. Tickets from £22.

An Evening With Carl Fogarty, 20th February The seven-times world champion and superbike racing legend talks about his racing career, bikes and his book, The World According To Foggy. 8.15pm. Tickets from £25.

An Evening With Sir Michael Parkinson, 14th February A unique opportunity to get an intimate, entertaining and informative look at Michael’s journey from a pit village in Yorkshire to the top of those famous stairs, while also reliving the best moments from his show. 7.30pm. Tickets £27.50.

The Sooty Show, 23rd February Direct from their hit ITV series, Sooty, Sweep and Soo amaze with impossible tricks and side-splitting jokes. Be astounded at Sooty’s flying car, Soo’s singing unicorn and Sweep’s levitating sausage! 2.30pm. Tickets from £12.50. parrhall.culturewarrington.org

Step back in time at Ellesmere Port Civic Hall

high for soldiers. 2pm. Tickets £12 for adults, £10 concessions. Add afternoon tea for £5.

The Bombshell Belles, 11th February A trio of wartime pin-ups presents a selection of popular hits from the 1940s and 1950s, including ‘Don’t Sit Under The Apple Tree’ and ‘Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy’, as well as current hits such as ‘Bad Romance’ with vintage-style arrangements. Inspired by the American GIs, the Bombshell Belles go back to a time to when flirty harmonies and glamorous pin-ups kept morale

EPW Wrestling, 28th February Wrestling returns to Ellesmere Port with explosive extravaganza. This action-packed show will keep all the family entertained. VIP ringside tickets are available, which include a backstage pass so you can catch a glimpse of all the action. 7.30pm. Tickets cost from £12 for adults and £10 for children. www.brioleisure.org

Explore the Lovell telescope Join one of Jodrell Bank’s friendly explainers on a stroll around the base of the Lovell telescope. On the tour, which runs throughout January and February, you’ll see how the telescope works, explore its history and discover some of its ground-breaking research. Tours are free with general admission. www.jodrellbank.net

Take a walk on the wild side with your little ones Under-fives can get handson at the RSPCA’s Stapeley Grange Wildlife & Cattery at its Wildlife Tots Club on 25th January and 29th February. The club runs from 10.30am to noon and costs £6 per child (under-ones are free). Booking is essential; email emilie.janman1@ rspca.org.uk. www.rspca.org.uk

Hands-on history at Beeston Castle

Discover what it was like to live, work and fight in a real-life castle at Beeston from 15th to 23rd February. Whether it’s learning to sword fight, shooting a bow and arrow, or transforming into a lord or lady, there’s plenty of fun to keep the kids entertained. Tickets cost £8 for adults and £4.80 for children. www. english-heritage.org.uk

Craft and coffee at Nantwich Museum There’s plenty of arts and crafts on offer at Nantwich Museum this half-term. Workshops on 19th and 20th February will be based on a current exhibition or a national event. They run from 11am to 3pm and cost £2. If you’re looking for something quieter, there is a coffee morning on the last Friday of each month from 10.30am to 12.30pm, and the gallery also has a programme of temporary exhibitions. www.nantwichmuseum.org.uk

4th & 18th February, The Paint Republic Paint & Sip Party, Telford’s Warehouse, Chester Not held a paintbrush since school? Why not try it again in a fun, judgementfree environment? Enjoy an evening of relaxed painting, hosted by a professional artist. The jokes are bad, the music’s loud and the banter’s high. Enjoy an alcoholic beverage to help you along your way – two hours later you’ll have a canvassed painting you can hang on your wall. 7pm. £25.

7th February, Manford’s Comedy Club, Northwich Memorial Court, Northwich Get ready for an evening full of laughter as Jason Manford has personally selected some of his favourite comedians from a circuit of brilliant comics across the country. 8pm. £10.

9th February, Cheshire Phoenix vs London City Royals, Ellesmere Port Sports Village If fast-paced British basketball action is what you’re looking for, don’t miss out as Cheshire Phoenix host London City Royals at the Cheshire Oaks Arena. 5.30pm–8.30pm. From £10.30.

15th February, Choir Open Day, The King’s School, Chester Join Chester Music Society for Behold The Sea. Inspired by the sea, singers in all voice parts and of every level of ability are invited to join for a full day of relaxation, learning and performing excerpts from Vaughan Williams’s Sea Symphony, together with shanties and other nautical singalongs. 10am. £20, including refreshments and music hire.

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15th February, Abba Sensation, The Groves Sports & Social Club, Ellesmere Port The UK-based Abba tribute band is bursting with high energy and fabulous vocals, with audience participation thrown in for good measure. There’s plenty of opportunity for dancing as the event runs from 7.30pm to midnight. £8 for 10- to 17-year-olds, £16.75 for adults.

16th February, Cheshire Wedding Fayre, Macdonald Craxton Wood Hotel & Spa, Chester Plan your big day at this fair, featuring 40 of the region’s finest wedding specialists. The event is set in Craxton’s function room, which has high ceilings and is bathed in natural light. You can also view the 24-acre garden and all guests will received a free bridal magazine. Noon-4pm. Free entry.

26th February, Sandbach Concert Series: Trio Martinu, St Mary’s Church Hall, Sandbach The trio from the Czech Republic present a programme including works by Martinu and Beethoven. The early start and finish time, and reasonable ticket prices, are designed to encourage more families to attend classical music concerts. 7pm–9pm. £10 adults, £3 children, £21 families.

29th February, Duo Antipodes, Holmes Chapel Leisure Centre Irish guitarist Manus Noble graduated from the Royal College of Music in 2010 with first-class honours and from the Royal Academy of Music in 2012, where he was awarded a distinction for his master’s in performance. He performs with Australian cellist Jehanne Bastonihas who has performed solo, chamber and orchestral concerts across the world. 8pm. £17 members, £11 adults, £1 under-16s.

29th February – 8th March, Live Lambing & Zoo Weekends, Reaseheath, Nantwich A unique springtime experience with fun activities including farm competitions and colouring. The ticket price includes entrance to the lambing and the zoo. 10am-4pm. £8 adults, £5 children, £25 families.

Theatrical delights at Storyhouse Peter Pan Goes Wrong, 21st-26th January Following the award-winning success of The Play That Goes Wrong and The Comedy About A Bank Robbery, Mischief Theatre returns with a riotous spin on a classic. 2.30pm and 7.30pm. Tickets from £19.50. 2020 Chester Chinese New Year Gala, 27th January Annual celebration event including dancing, singing, drama, opera and martial arts, as well as fun entertainment and prize draws. Great fun for all the family. 7pm. Tickets £5. Swan Lake, 30th January – 1st February St Petersburg Classic Ballet returns with a

Love a party on the river! ChesterBoat, which operates cruises along the beautiful river Dee, begins its daily schedule from 15th February, with boats sailing every hour between 11am and 4pm on half-hour cruises. The same weekend, 15th to 16th February, the company’s popular Valentine’s Special returns. For just £15 per couple, you can enjoy a half-hour cruise, a glass of prosecco each and heart-shaped chocolates to share. The offer is only available when booked in advance from www.chesterboat.co.uk. The first ChesterBoat Mamma Mia Party Night Afloat of the year also sets sail on 15th February. Tickets cost £33.50 online, which includes a three-hour cruise, a DJ, a glass of wine on arrival and a hot barbecue-style buffet supper. Themed cruises – including Motown, 1980s and 1990s – sail every Saturday from February to November.

DID YOU KNOW? 2020 is the year of the Rat according to the Chinese zodiac

spectacular production of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece, combining classical training and technique with outstanding soloists to entertain in breathtaking style. A full orchestra complements the dancing. 7.30pm. Tickets from £22.50.

Blue Stockings, 14th February – 15th March Four defiant young women battle the cruelty of class divides, the distractions of love and the men ready to do anything to stop them, as they fight to change the future of education. 2.30pm and 7.30pm. Tickets from £18. www.storyhouse.com

Shows for everyone at the Forum Theatre

Houghton Weavers, 25th January Enjoy a unique blend of folk music, humour and audience participation. 7.30pm. Tickets from £14. Wuthering Heights, 29th January – 1st February Heathcliff and Cathy’s doomed relationship is brilliantly brought to life. 2.30pm and 7.30pm. Tickets from £7. Three Little Pigs, 17th-22nd February Recommended for ages five up. Show times vary. Tickets from £11. www.chestertheatre.co.uk

Great expectations for Chester Little Theatre

Junior helpers needed at the zoo

The Chester Little Theatre presents an adaptation of the Charles Dickens’ classic Great Expectations from 18th to 21st January. This beautifully simple and accessible adaptation, created by Jo Clifford for the bicentenary of Dickens’ birth, brings the book thrillingly to life on stage. With 30 characters acted by a cast of 10 actors, the play moves from village forge to gloomy mud flats to sparkling London society to Jaggers’ austere lawyers’ offices – even to a barge floating down the Thames. The performance starts at 7.30pm and tickets cost £10 (concessions £8). www.chesterlittletheatre.co.uk

Do you love wildlife and are aged between eight and 11? Are you a member of Chester Zoo? If so, Junior Rangers could be perfect for you. The training camp, which takes place every Sunday from 12th January to 9th February, allows you to explore different parts of the zoo and learn about the zoo’s animals and conservation work. Sessions take place at 10.30am or 2pm and cost £55. The Woodland Adventure Club, meanwhile, takes place every Sunday from 23rd February to 29th March, and will take you out and about to enjoy nature and make a wildlife haven. You’ll use tools, survey native species, and partake in den building, wild artwork and games. Sessions are at 10am or 2pm, and cost £55. www.chesterzoo.org

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Healthy glows made at Dunham Massey Brighten up your mornings with a refreshing walk through the Winter Garden’s winding paths. Discover seasonal highlights in the Gardener’s Notebook before warming up in the café with a delicious hot chocolate.

These are the places that make us. nationaltrust.org.uk/Dunham-Massey

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Small but perfectly formed A delightful village set in beautiful Cheshire countryside, Tattenhall has enough heritage and charm (and ice cream!) to attract plenty of visitors all year round Wales, on the watershed separating the Dee and the Mersey. Records show that it was selfsustaining for a long time, and throughout the 15th and 16th centuries residents grew their own food and wove their own cloth, with social life centred on the church. The building of the Chester Canal (now the The Grade II* listed St Alban’s church Shropshire Union Canal) began in the late 18th eople have been enjoying the rustic century and boosted the local economy, charms of Tattenhall, a village eight first by creating work in miles south-east of Chester, for well over a canal construction and then millennium. The settlement of Tatenale by enabling the export of was recorded in the Domesday dairy products to other DID YOU Book of 1086, although evidence parts of the country. KNOW? shows the original dwelling Tattenhall was no The Ice Cream place goes back further: the Farm has Europe’s longer isolated and as a name is thought to be derived largest water and result small industries from the Old English personal started to locate in the sand play area name Tata, and has changed over area. The population the centuries to include Tatenhala, grew, and expansion Tatnall, Tottenhall and Tettenhall was further enhanced by before settling on the modern spelling. the arrival of the railway The village’s proud past is still seen in its in 1840 linking Tattenhall architecture, with St Alban’s church – parts to Chester and Crewe. of which date from the early 16th century This led to the establishment of – designated a Grade II* listed building by industries including the manufacture English Heritage. Nowadays Tattenhall and of glue, gelatine, fertiliser and bricks. District includes the smaller settlements of Newton-by-Tattenhall and Golborne Bellow, Fun on the farm with a total population of around 2,000. The number of substantial Victorian buildings, both in the village and on the Waterways surrounding farms, shows how popular Tattenhall lies in the valley between the Tattenhall became as a place to live and Sandstone Ridge and the hills of north work. This remains true today, and tourism


is an important part of the local economy – especially since the transformation of a small dairy farm into the famous Ice Cream Farm. Originally developed in the 1980s as a necessary diversification during hard times for the milk industry, the attraction now draws more than 500,000 visitors a year thanks to its excellent family facilities – and, of course, 50 delicious flavours of ice cream! Visiting canalboats are welcomed by the 300-berth Tattenhall Marina on the Shropshire Union Canal, which opened in 2009. The Sportsman’s Arms is a traditional pub serving award-winning food, while the Letters Inn incorporates a Chinese restaurant. The Bear and Ragged Staff is expected to re-open soon under new management, and the village also has a café, a country market, a traditional butcher selling locally sourced produce, and the Ditzy Rose craft centre. Nearby attractions include the Cheshire Candle Workshop, the Pheasant Inn (a smart gastropub) and Beeston Castle.

Ice cream and much more at the Ice Cream Farm THINGS TO SEE AND DO The Ice Cream Farm Drumlan Hall, Newton Lane, Cheshire CH3 9NE www.theicecreamfarm.co.uk Tattenhall Marina 3 Newton Lane, Cheshire CH3 9NE 01824 708281 www.tattenhall-marina.co.uk

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Laughs aplenty at Floral Pavilion Faulty Towers Dining Experience, 22nd-26th January When you’re served by Basil, Sybil and Manuel, anything can happen. The fun starts as you wait to be seated, then hurtles along in a tour de force of gags, shambolic service and a 1970s-style three-course meal. 1pm & 7pm. Tickets £46.75. Desperate Scousewives 2: Pulling A Christmas Cracker!, 31st January & 1st February The Desperate Scousewives are back with a festive comedy full of abrasive Liverpool wit. Adults only. 7.30pm & 2.30pm matinee. Tickets £16.75. There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly, 9th February A blend of live action, puppetry

and animation brings one of the world’s bestloved nursery rhymes to life. 2.30pm. Tickets £13.75.

DID YOU KNOW? The Band Of Gold TV series ran from 1995 to 1997

Jimmy Carr: Terribly Funny, 12th February Jimmy’s new show contains jokes about all kinds of terrible things. But they’re just jokes – they’re not the terrible things. Over-16s. 8pm. Tickets £31. Kay Mellor’s Band Of Gold, 24th-29th February A star-studded cast in the world premiere stage production of Kay Mellor’s multi-award winning TV series. 2.30pm & 7.30pm. Tickets from £25.75. www.floralpavilion.com

Music and mystery at West Kirby Arts Centre Simply Dylan, 10th & 11th January No frills, no gimmicks, no pretence, Simply Dylan is John O’Connell’s personal interpretation of the songs of one of the world’s most prodigious song writers, Bob Dylan. Joined by some of his band members, John will be covering a wide range of songs from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. 7pm. Tickets £15.

Birthday celebrations at Ness Botanic Gardens Celebrate the 159th anniversary of the birth of Ness Botanic Garden’s founder, Arthur Bulley, with a free day out on 10th January. The gardens will be open from 10am to 4.30pm, with free entry all day in honour of the great visionary and intrepid botanical explorer. There are always new things to see at Ness, including year-round colour and outstanding collections of rhododendrons, camellias and snowdrops. www.liverpool.ac.uk/ness-gardens

2525 A Space Oddity, 21st February This themed murder mystery is set on board the cargo space ship Arkangel in the year 2525. Your mission is to get the Arkangel back on its way and work together in teams to work out who killed the captain. Fancy dress recommended! Light refreshments will be served. 6.30pm. Tickets £8.50. www. westkirbyartscentre.org.uk

Cake and classical music

Sail away with Adrift, a new refugee fairytale that is touring schools and theatres in the region from 10th February to 14th March. The show, created by Action Transport Theatre in partnership with St Bernard’s RC Primary School, tells the story of two children in a boat, playing, laughing, arguing and dreaming of a safe land with thick green grass and endless blue skies. For tickets, visit www.actiontransporttheatre.org.

4th January, Wirral Way Winter Trail 10K, Wirral Country Park An out-andback 10km trail route. All runners receive a medal, goody bag and free digital photo downloads. www.time2runevents.co.uk

9th January, Books & Banter, Williamson Art Gallery & Museum, Birkenhead An opportunity to talk about books with like-minded folk. Free. 7pm.

10th January, Learn To Crochet, Hillcroft Farm, Caldy A four-week beginner’s course teaching the basic skills needed to read a pattern and to crochet ‘in-theround’ amigurumi style – and leave with your own Ellie the Jelly! £65, including all materials. 1pm-4pm. Search ‘Mama Bear Makes’ on Facebook or email mamabeamakesuk@gmail.com.

Join Orchestra dell’Arte in Southport on the first Monday of the month to hear uplifting classical music. The orchestra and guests will perform short lunchtime concerts at the Atkinson on 6th January and 3rd February, with cake and coffee served from 12.30pm and music commencing at 1pm. Tickets cost £13. www.dellarte.co.uk

A refugee fairytale for our time

4th January, N&C Jetski Xmas Fun Day, Wallasey Have fun on the water with other jetski enthusiasts at this informal social and enjoy breakfast in Wetherspoons. 8am-3pm.

12th January, Hedgehogs: Why Should We Worry & What Can We Do?!, Ness Botanic Gardens Join hedgehog expert Hugh Warwick to learn all about the decline in the hedgehog population and what you can do about it. 2.30pm. Free. www. liverpool.ac.uk/ness-gardens

23rd January, From Kruger To The Highveld, Wirral Bird Club, Kingsmead School Hall, Hoylake Presentation by Keith Offord exploring habitats in southern Africa. 7.30pm. £4. Booking not necessary. www.wirralbirdclub.com

25th January, Saturday Ceramics Club, The Barn, Heswall A six-week course, teaching the basic skills you’ll need to start your journey into the world of pottery. 10am-noon. £155, including all materials. www.thebarnwirral.co.uk

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Music at Port Sunlight’s Gladstone Theatre

•25th January, Wedding Open Day, Ness Botanic Gardens Meet the wedding planners and learn what Ness has to offer as a venue for your special day. 11am-2pm. www. liverpool.ac.uk/ness-gardens

29th January, Music In Mind: Hidden Voice, Gladstone Theatre, Port Sunlight Village Hidden Voice takes you into the real world of those affected by dementia to give a voice to their stories, joined by musicians from the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Wirral secondary schools. Includes a short film featuring Paul Whitehouse. 7.30pm. £12.50. www.musicinmind.org.uk

31st January, Mama, Heswall Hall The popular Genesis tribute band bring you a fantastic night of the band’s late-era hits, including an exclusive Shorts set featuring some of the best known songs from Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel and Mike Rutherford. 8pm. £20. www.heswallhall.co.uk

2nd February, Sinead O’Brien & Egyptian Blue, Birkenhead Library A special matinee to celebrate Independent Venue Week 2020. Art-rock meets post-punk in this double headline gig. 2.30pm. £9.

23rd February, Orchestra dell’Arte Concert, St George’s Hall, Liverpool The orchestra continues its 10th anniversary season with a concert starring soloist Jack Liebeck on violin, featuring Johann Strauss II, Puccini, Elgar and Brahms. 3pm. www.dellarte.co.uk

27th February, Birding In The Isle Of Avalon, Wirral Bird Club, Kingsmead School Hall, Hoylake Illustrated presentation by Mike Roberts based on his visits to the Somerset Levels. 7.30pm. £4. www.wirralbirdclub.com

Black Dyke Band: Best of Brass, 26th January With more than 350 recordings, the Black Dyke Band are the most recorded band in the world – and also one of the successful contesting bands, having won the European Championships 13 times, the British Open 30 times and the National Championships of Great Britain 23 times. 2.30pm. Tickets £14. The Wizard Of Oz, 1st February Join Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Man, Lion and Toto as they seek the Wizard and discover there’s no place

Go green or go home! Are you prepared to go green to help beat cancer? Then sign up for the 3-2-1 Run Green in Clatterbridge on 9th February – a fun-packed day for the whole family to raise

like home. This full-length ballet adaptation by Ballet Theatre UK is perfect for children of all ages. 7.30pm. Tickets from £15. Made In Motor-City, 21st February A band dedicated to recreating the authentic sounds of the golden era of Motown Records. If you’re a fan of Martha Reeves, The Marvelettes, The Temptations, The Supremes, Mary Wells, Marvin Gaye and more Motown legends, this show isn’t to be missed. 7.30pm. Tickets £16. www.gladstonetheatre.org.uk

money for the Clatterbridge Cancer Charity. Make your way over, under and through the obstacles and get covered in your favourite colour – green! Participants can walk or run any distance from 2km to 10km, and there will be green powder paint stations around the route. If you really want to go green, come in your best green clothes or fancy

Get scientific outdoors

Weave it out!

Enjoy a magical evening of scientific and environmental experiences on 23rd January at Science Under The Stars, a free event for children, families, teachers and education professionals held at Heswall Primary School. Learn about science in a fun, relaxed environment and watch collaborative environmental film A Planet Full Of Plastic, inspired by author Neil Layton and made by local Heswall primary schools in support of the C2C Ocean Blue Plastic Pledge Campaign. The event runs from 4pm to 6pm. For more, search ‘Heswall Primary School’ on Facebook.

Learn the basics of willow weaving and make a willow stag head in a workshop on 11th January at Make Hamilton Square, Birkenhead. The workshop, led by Sarah from Twigtwisters, will give you the skills you need to create an ethical trophy head suitable for indoors or outdoors. There will also be regular breaks for you to stretch your hands and grab a cup of tea too. The course runs from 11am to 4.30pm and costs £75, including materials. Call 0151 601 8665 or email hello@makeliverpool.com.

dress. There will be a prize for the best costume, so whether you come as the Hulk or Tinkerbell, just make it green! The event village opens at 9am, with the run starting at 10am. Entry costs £6 for children and £11 for adults, with a minimum of £25 sponsorship. www.clatterbridgecc.nhs.uk

Take to the trail Hit the new year running with the Wirral Way Winter Trail Half Marathon on 5th January. The beautiful point-to-point 13.1-mile trail takes you along the Wirral Way old railway line, finishing at Wirral Country Park with stunning views across the Dee Estuary. Runners can expect good paths, a bit of mud and some undulations, as well as a bespoke medal, goody bag and cake at the finish. www. time2run events.co.uk

Forgotten photographs at Williamson Art Gallery

29th February, 80s Rewind, The Magazine Hotel, Wallasey Cover duo Bad Science play all your favourite 1980s tunes, including Duran Duran, Tears For Fears and more. 9pm.

When Alan Ward bought a set of glass negatives from eBay, he had no idea it would be the start of a five-year photographic investigation into a forgotten family archive. The result is Photographs From Another Place, an exhibition at Williamson Art Gallery showcasing the

photographs taken by Sydney Gearing between 1914 and the 1950s. It’s a poetic reflection on the essence of what it is to be human, exploring family, loss, transience and memory. The exhibition, which opened in December, runs until 2nd February. www.williamsonartgallery.org

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Tickets £25.75 to £37.75


Magnificent hall Award-winning gardens Plant nursery Peaky Blinders location Gardener’s Kitchen Café Gift Shop Wedding venue




www.arleyhallandgardens.com Arley Hall & Gardens, Cheshire, CW9 6NA

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Country Legends Tour taking place on Saturday 15th February 2020 from 7.30pm. All seats £21.50 For tickets please visit: www.ticketsource.co.uk/whitchurch-civic-centre or phone the venue directly to avoid booking fees: 01948 665761.

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6th January, Find Your Voice Poetry Group, Oswestry Library A fun and friendly group for anyone wanting to explore the potential of personal writing, be that finding your writing voice or voicing your thoughts through writing. Each session follows a different theme. 10am-noon. £2. Email oswestry.library@shropshire. gov.uk for more information.

Theatre Severn’s winter highlights •

10th January, Steve Knightley, The Lion Hotel, Shrewsbury See the English singersongwriter, one half of acoustic roots/folk duo Show Of Hands, whose solo work includes Track Of Words and Western Approaches. 7pm. £20.

12th January, DirtRun Winter Warrior Series Round 4, Dudmaston, Bridgnorth The 10km and 5km off-road senior and youth routes (plus 2.5k junior route) will take runners around the tracks and trails of the stunning Comer Woods, part of Dudmaston estate. Parents may run with their children in the junior run at no extra cost. Junior race starts at 9am, and entry is £6. Senior races at 9.30am; the 5k costs £13 and the 10k costs £18. Call 07931 110298.

Exciting Science, 25th January A brand new, exciting and educational show that will amaze and astound all ages from four upwards. Stand clear and prepare for action – this show is full of whizz, bang, pop and splurt. 3pm. Tickets £10.50. Conversations With Stacey Dooley, 13th February After 12 years in the business, Stacey Dooley has established herself as one of BBC’s most celebrated presenters through her hugely popular investigative series, which have covered a diverse range of topics and engaged a new generation of younger viewers. Here she talks about her remarkable career so far, where she’s heading next and how news and investigative journalism are evolving in such a highly polarised global political climate and a shifting media landscape. 7.30pm. Tickets £24.

18th January – 7th March, New Year Open 2020, Willow Gallery, Oswestry The Willow Gallery is a contemporary art space dedicated to displaying works from local and international artists. The New Year Open features work from emerging and established artists. Call 01691 657575.

18th January, Voices In Harmony, The Community Hall, Bridgnorth The Bridgnorthbased community choir has been delighting crowds with their beautiful harmonies since 2000. Hear a fascinating variety of traditional and contemporary songs from around the world, along with the occasional classic pop song. 7.30pm. £7. Call 01584 891656.

Darwin Memorial Lecture, 16th February The decades following Darwin’s death were characterised by arguments about the nature of humans and their political and social organisation in a modern world. In this talk, Dr Carolyn Burdett investigates the role Darwin’s ideas played in these diverse debates. 2.30pm. Tickets £12. Kojo Anim, 25th February Join 2019 Britain’s Got Talent Golden Buzzer comedy star Kojo Anim on his debut UK tour. After wowing the judges on BGT, Kojo is ready to hit the road with his exciting show. 7.30pm. Tickets £21. Herman’s Hermits, 28th February One of the biggest-selling bands of the 1960s come to Shrewsbury with their 55th anniversary tour. Join them for an evening of nostalgia, song and laughter, as they bring all the hits to life, with songs including ‘There’s A Kind Of Hush’, ‘Silhouettes’, ‘Can’t You Hear My Heart Beat’, ‘Wonderful World’, ‘A Must To Avoid’ and many more. 7.30pm. Tickets £25.50. www.theatresevern.co.uk

Jog off your jumper at Attingham Park After the excesses of the festive period, Attingham Park near Shrewsbury is inviting runners, joggers and plodders to a fun run to burn off the Christmas calories. Jog Off Your Jumper on 4th January is also a last chance to wear your Christmas jumper before the festive season draws to a close. The run will be approximately one mile through the National Trust property’s woodland and deer park. It won’t be timed but every participant will receive a medal. Registration takes place from 9.30am, with the run starting at 10.30am. Active Pass admission charges apply on the day for non-National Trust members, with a reduced entry of £5 for adults and £2.50 for children (entry for National Trust members and under-fives is free.) No dogs allowed. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/attingham-park

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A recipe for hilarity

DID YOU KNOW? The Scotsman newspaper called Egg ‘a culinary Bill Bailey’

George Egg, Anarchist Cook, bring his culinary comedy to Chapel Lawn Village Hall, Bucknell on 25th January. Experience the perfect mix of cooking and quips, creating a recipe for a laugh-out-loud show that’s cheeky, anarchic, creative and downright funny. No wonder Egg sold out at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this year, receiving rave reviews. The show is suitable for ages 14-plus and starts at 7.30pm. Tickets cost £10. For more information, call 07964 710983 or visit www.artsalive.co.uk.

Quintets At Dusk in Shrewsbury Experience the sound of strings as the Quintets At Dusk Innovation Ensemble perform at the Lion Hotel, Shrewsbury, on 19th January. Following several seasons of popular concerts in the hotel’s ballroom, the quintet return to play two masterpieces from Vienna. Mozart’s D major Quintet K.593 represents the mature composer at the pinnacle of his creative powers and is famed for the zigzag chromatic descending theme of the last movement. Beethoven’s Op.29 Quintet is thought to have inspired Schubert to write his own string quintet in the same key. Ben Nabarro, Martin Cropper, Robin Ireland, Sarah-Jane Bradley and Richard Jenkinson are a group of chamber music colleagues and friends initially put together by the late Peter Cropper. They perform in his memory and with his unique style of music making. The show starts at 6pm and tickets cost £18. Call 0333 666 4466 to book.

Something for all ages at SpArc

The Little Prince, 31st January Welcome to the incredible story of The Little Prince, retold in this dance and theatre show by Luca Silvestrini’s Protein. Find out how the Little Prince leaves behind his own tiny asteroid and beloved Rose and journeys through the universe, coming face to face with the baffling world of grown-ups. Suitable for ages five plus. 6pm. Tickets £7.50. Nick Cassenbaum: Bubble Schmeisis, 20th February Nick Cassenbaum invites you into the warmth of the Canning Town Schvitz, east London’s last authentic bath house. Among the steam, ritual and live klezmer, Nick will take you on a journey to find the place he belongs. Schlaping through summer camps, barber shops and Spurs games… will he find what he was looking for? 7.30pm. Tickets from £6.

Join the Jam at Wem Town Hall Jazz giants Paper Jam will thrill audiences with a mix of bebop classics, Latin American melodies, choice standards and some originals at Wem Town Hall on 7th February. Featuring Chris Garrick on violin and David Gordon on piano, these two accomplished musicians cover an impressive musical and emotional range. The show starts at 7.30pm and tickets cost £12 each. For more information, visit www.shropshiremusictrust.co.uk.

Henry Moon & The Greasy Spoon, 22nd February Flo’s café is a little bit shabby, but Flo is always ready with a smile. Only problem is, where are the customers? Could Henry Moon be the answer to Flo’s problems? This show by Rhubarb Theatre is suitable for ages fiveplus. 2pm. Tickets £7.50. www.sparctheatre.co.uk

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18th January, Newport Music Club presents Mark Viner (piano), Cosy Hall, Newport Mark performs Robert Schumann’s Fantasie Op 17 and works by CharlesValentin Alkan and Franz Lizst. 7.30pm. £13. Tickets on the door or call 01952 810584.

23rd January, Talk, Soup & A Roll: 24 Hours In The Life Of A Ranger, Carding Mill Valley and the Long Mynd Ever wondered what it’s like to be a National Trust ranger? Over a bowl of soup, join area ranger Patrick for a lighthearted but informative look at 24 hours in the life of a ranger looking after the Long Mynd. 10.30am. Call 0344 249 1895.

23rd-26th January, Yoga Retreat, Eaton Manor, Church Stretton Join this restorative long weekend of yoga and wellbeing to get your year off to a healthy and balanced start. The retreat will be all about honouring the quiet, reflective qualities of winter so expect lots of yin and restorative yoga, yoga nidra, meditation, mindful art and craft sessions and walks out into the stunning Church Stretton countryside. £380. To book, email hello@thesoulshala.co.uk.

25th January, Discovery Club: Big Garden Bird Watch, Shropshire Hills Discovery Centre, Craven Arms Make a bird feeder to feed the birds in your garden at Discovery Club, a club for children three years old and over packed full of fun things to do encouraging children to get back to nature, enjoy the outdoors and get creative. 11am-noon. £2.50 per child, adults go free. No need to book – just turn up. Please bring wellies and appropriate outdoor clothing. 11am-noon.

Live at Festival Drayton Centre Classical Music Series: Kaleidoscope Saxophone Quartet, 26th January An innovative collaboration between four artists who are also skilled multi-instrumentalists. Kaleidoscope will play arrangements of pieces by Rameau and JS Bach, Clara Schumann, Debussy and Dvorak. Contemporary pieces for sax quartet by Jonathan Dove and David Lancaster will follow Michael Torke’s July, one of the most popular modern compositions for sax ensemble. 3pm. Tickets £10. Abba Sensation, 7th February Enjoy a plethora of Abba classics with this sensational tribute band. Expect authentic replica costumes and crowd pleasers, including

A night at the museum

Get set for an evening of fun activities at Pillows & Pilots, a special sleepover at Royal Airforce Museum Cosford on 29th February to 1st March. There will also be a film showing, before you settle down for the night surrounded by aircraft. The sleepover, which starts at 6.30pm, is suitable for organised groups of children aged seven to 15, and costs £35 per child and £5 per adult. For more information, visit www.rafmuseum.org. uk/cosford/group-visits/sleepovers.aspx. One plane you’ll want to check out at the museum before it is moved to the London site is a restored World War II Westland Lysander III (SD), the only surviving Special Duties variant of its type. The aircraft has undergone extensive conservation work, including a new fabric outer skin and complete repaint in the museum’s Michael Beetham Conservation Centre.

‘Mamma Mia’, ‘Waterloo’ and ‘Dancing Queen’. 7.30pm. Tickets £16.50. An Evening With Ann Widdecombe, 14th February One of the most outspoken politicians of our time embarks on her first tour. Margaret Thatcher and Craig Revel Horwood collide as Ann lifts the lid on life in Westminster and shares behind-the-scenes gossip from some of the nation’s best-loved programmes including Strictly Come Dancing, Have I Got News For You and Celebrity Big Brother. 7.30pm. Tickets £23. Gary Delaney: Gagster’s Paradise, 28th February Britain’s leading one-liner comic extends his tour with even more dates for 2020, returning to the road with another onslaught of lean, expertly crafted gaggery. 8pm. Tickets £14. www. festivaldraytoncentre.com

The natural selection for comedy audiences

The Origin Of Species: A Musical Comedy About Charles Darwin by Tangram Theatre Company visits various venues across Shropshire this February as part of Arts Alive. The inventive show comes to Harley Village Hall near Much Wenlock at 8pm on 15th February and Wem Town Hall at 3pm on 16th February. The international hit, which is recommended for everyone over the age of seven, tells the remarkable story of how Charles Darwin discovered the secrets of evolution. It’s packed with big ideas, terrible puns, brilliant physical comedy and six cracking original songs. Tickets for the Harley Village Hall performance cost £10 per person; tickets for Wem Town Hall cost £12 for adults and £5 for children. www.artsalive.co.uk

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Scenes on screen at Kinokulture 42nd

DID YOU Street, 2nd KNOW? January The Catherine Zeta legendary Jones’ big break musical came in 42nd theatre classic tells Street in 1987 the story of Peggy Sawyer, a talented young performer with stars in her eyes who gets her big break on Broadway. Filmed live at Theatre Royal in London’s West End and starring Bonnie Langford as Dorothy Brock, it features iconic songs such as ‘42nd Street’, ‘We’re In The Money’ and ‘Lullaby Of Broadway’. 7.15pm. Tickets £12.50.

The Third Man 70th Anniversary Event, 3rd January Kinokulture celebrates the 70th

10k trail at Dudmaston Join fellow joggers in Comer Woods on the fourth Sunday of every month for a free, 10k trail run around the Dudmaston estate near Bridgnorth. The Trust10, which takes place on 26th January and 23rd February, is made up of two loops – so you can choose to complete 4km or the full 10km. Registration starts at 8.30am, with the run beginning at 9am. Runners must be 14 or over, and dogs on leads are welcome. www.national trust.org.uk/ dudmaston

anniversary of the release of The Third Man – considered by many to be the best Britsh movie ever made – with brand new exclusive content and a screening of the film. 7.30pm. Tickets £8. Andre Rieu: 70 Years Young, 4th & 5th January André Rieu is celebrating a landmark birthday and is inviting cinema audiences all over the world to his party. 70 Years Young is André Rieu’s ultimate concert featuring musical highlights chosen by the maestro himself from his illustrious career so far. 2pm and 7pm. Tickets £12.

As their dispute grows, the magical royal couple meddle with mortal lives, leading to love triangles, mistaken identities and transformations... with hilarious, but dark consequences. Directed by Nicholas Hytner and starring Gwendoline Christie (Game Of Thrones). 7pm. Tickets £12.

NT Live: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 7th January A feuding Fairy King and Queen of the Forest cross paths with four runaway lovers and a troupe of actors trying to rehearse a play.

Exhibition On Screen: Lucian Freud – A Self Portrait, 14th January For the first time in history, the Royal Academy of Arts in London – in collaboration with the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston – is bringing together Lucian Freud’s self-portraits. The exhibition will display more than 50 paintings, prints and drawings in which the modern master of British art turned his unflinching eye firmly on himself. 7pm. Tickets £12. www.kinokulture.org.uk

Vera stands tall at Willow Gallery

Fairytale musical at Holroyd Theatre

The Vera van Heeringen Trio bring soulful songs and heartfelt lyrics to the Willow Gallery, Oswestry, on 1st February. A highly skilled instrumentalist, Vera has long been recognised for her graceful yet gutsy guitar playing. It’s unusual to find someone who’s as good a songwriter as an instrumentalist, who brings the guitar to life in a way that’s entirely her own. Tickets cost £12 for adults and £6 for children. www. willowgalleryoswestry.org

The story of Disney Beauty & The Beast JR, performed by Face2Face, takes to the stage at Holroyd Community Theatre near Oswestry on 24th and 25th January. The classic story tells of Belle, a young woman in a provincial town, and the Beast, who is really a young prince trapped under the spell of an enchantress. If the Beast can learn to love and be loved, the curse will end and he’ll be transformed into his former self. But time is running out – if the Beast does not learn his lesson soon, he and his household will be doomed for eternity. Tickets cost £13.85. www.theholroydtheatre.co.uk

26th January, The Shropshire Wedding Fayre, The Great Barn, Walford Heath, nr Baschurch The Great Barn is a new wedding and events venue near Manor Farm, a working beef farm in Baschurch. At this fayre you can discover one of Shropshire’s newest wedding venues and meet more than 50 unique and luxury exhibitors. 11am-3pm. Email bouquetandbells@icloud.com.

31st January, Oswestry Artisan Market, Bailey Head, Oswestry This monthly market takes place on the last Friday of every month, selling the best in local produce such as pies and pastries, meat and fish, cheeses and cakes, as well as occasional crafts and bespoke gifts.

1st February, Charcoal Portraits with Bakhtiar Umalatiev, Artshack, nr Shrewsbury On this introductory workshop you will learn techniques, methods and process that are critical to achieve life-like portraits. Materials include compressed charcoal, vine charcoal, charcoal pencil, blenders and putty erasers. Live demonstrations and tuition will be given throughout by Bakhtiar Umataliev. 10am4pm. £60. Call 07751 362171.

1st February, Masquerade: Exquisite House, The Buttermarket, Shrewsbury A night of house music, with two rooms covering everything from classics, funky, modern, old school and soulful house. Headlined by Jim ‘Shaft’ Ryan and Marc Spence. From £10. Call 01743 281751.

1st February, The Makers’ Market, High Street, Whitchurch Takes place on the first Saturday of every month except January. Expect artisan crafts and homemade producers, showcasing beautiful items and tasty food from the local area. 10am-4pm.

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3rd February, Rhyme Time, Shifnal Library Half an hour of songs, rhymes, rhythm and fun for children under five years old. Free event for babies and toddlers and their parents and carers. 10.30am-11am.

Telford’s The Place is still the place to be •7th February, The Charles Darwin Day 10k, Half Marathon

& Marathon, Shrewsbury Sports Village, Shrewsbury Celebrate International Charles Darwin Day in the town of his birth with a 10km, half marathon or full marathon at Shrewsbury Sports Village’s purpose-built cycle track. Races start at 10am, with a special Darwin medal for all finishers. The event will have chip timing. Entry from £25. www.codrc. co.uk/the-charles-darwin-day

•14th February, Park Hall Countryside Experience,

Oswestry The fabulous family venue reopens after its welldeserved winter break on 14th February – perfect timing for those looking for ways to entertain the children over the half-term break. Children can enjoy indoor and outdoor play, lamb feeding, meeting the rabbits and guinea pigs, grooming a Shetland pony, taking a tractor ride and cheering on the racing pigs. Tickets from £9.50 online; under-twos free. Visit www. parkhallfarm.co.uk for opening times and tickets.

•14th February, For The Love Of Darwin, Shrewsbury

School An evening of song and music performed by students in tribute to the school’s most notable former pupil. Free, with a retiring collection. 7pm for a 7.30pm start. Call 01743 280812.

15th February, Show The Love Day, Attingham Park, nr Shrewsbury Ever wondered how you and your family can #ShowTheLove you feel for our environment and climate? Come and find out as different local climate and nature focused organisations show you what they are passionate about and how you can make a difference. 11am-3pm. Free event. Normal admission charges apply.

Dance To The Music, 26th January The first and only dance show in the UK to portray the evolution of dance through musical eras and genres from the Roaring Twenties to modernday ballroom and Latin. Hosted by X Factor star Jake Quickenden and performed by Strictly Come Dancing’s Kristina Rihanoff. 3pm. Tickets £29. Pinocchio, 1st February Oddsocks presents a new adaptation of the classic story. A wonderfully adventurous story with heartwarming lessons to learn along the way as Pinocchio journeys through the world discovering just what it takes to be a real boy. From villains and vagabonds to fairies and giant fish, Pinocchio meets adversity and adventure with a good dose of humour. 7.30pm. Tickets £15.50 adults, children £14.50.

Dom Joly’s Holiday Snaps, 18th February The writer and broadcaster’s first UK tour since 2011. Dom talks about his exploits as a serial globetrotter and seeker of dangerous travel spots, from North Korea to Chernobyl. 7.30pm. Tickets £19.50. Milkshake! Live, 22nd February Starring Milkshake Monkey , Fireman Sam, Noddy, Shimmer & Shine, Digby Dragon, Wissper, Nella the Princess Knight and the Floogals. Noon and 3.30pm. Tickets £16 adults, £14.50 children. Tanyalee Davis, 26th February The 3ft 6in comedian inspires, enlightens and entertains her audiences with her unique perspective and racy brand of comedy. 7.30pm. Tickets £19.50. www.theplacetelford.com

Big screen sensations at Old Market Hall Lucian Freud – A Self Portrait, 14th January The Royal Academy of Arts in London, in collaboration with the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, brings together Lucian Freud’s self-portraits. Noon. £13. ROH Live: The Sleeping Beauty, 16th January This production has been delighting Covent Garden audiences since 1946 and established the Royal Ballet both in its

new home after World War II and as a world-class company. 7.15pm. Tickets £17.50. In Search Of Mozart, 27th January In Search of Mozart was produced with the world’s leading orchestras and musicians, and is told through a 25,000-mile journey along every route Mozart followed. This is a detective story that takes us to the heart of genius. Noon. Tickets £13. www.oldmarkethall.co.uk

Take a bite of a panto

Think ink at Tattoo Freeze

Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs is this year’s pantomime at Theatre on the Steps, Bridgnorth, taking place from 4th to 25th January. Featuring Snow White, the Wicked Queen Avarice, Edna Bucket, Chuckles and the handsome Prince Ferdinand, it’s a show not be be missed. Show times vary. Tickets cost from £10. Visit www. theatreonthesteps.co.uk.

The Tattoo Freeze 2020 takes place from 1st to 2nd February at Telford International Centre. Over 200 incredible tattoo artists with some serious talent and skill will on show. The event also features competitions, awards and thrilling entertainment. Tickets, valid for both days, cost £17. www.tattoofreeze.com

The fun of the circus Advance warning that Circus Funtasia returns to Shropshire this spring with a new production packed with worldclass talent, going beyond all your expectations and proving the circus isn’t just for kids. Hear the roar of motorbike engines, feel the heat of the fire-breathers’ flames, see stunning aerialists and laugh out loud at our award-winning comedian. Go to www.circus funtasia.co.uk.

48 SHIRE MAGAZINE | January/February 2020

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15th, 16th, 22nd & 23rd February, Snowdrop Walks, Dudmaston, nr Bridgnorth Enjoy a walk through the Dingle and spot the earliest signs of spring. Warm up in the tearoom afterwards with a light snack or tea and cake. Booking not needed. Dogs on leads welcome. 11am-4pm. Free event, but normal National Trust admission charges apply.

15th-23rd February Hands-On With History, Stokesay Castle, Craven Arms This halfterm uncover myths and legends, and take part in hero sword school, junior jousting and more. 10.30am-3.30pm. £8.60 adults, £5.20 children.

22nd February, The Champion Of Darts Challenge Exhibition, The Buttermarket, Shrewsbury Eight former darts world champions battle it out to become the ‘Champion of Champions’. With more than 30 world titles between the competitors, this is expected to be the biggest darts event of the year. 5.30pm. £39.50.

22nd & 23rd February, Snowdrop Weekend, Sunnycroft, Wellington Over the past six years, Sunnycroft has expanded its collection of snowdrop varieties and now has approximately 37, many with local links. Local snowdrop collector Eddie Roberts will be giving a series of informative tours of the garden to explain the origins and stories behind this surprisingly diverse species. Booking not needed. 10.45am-3pm. www. nationaltrust.org.uk/sunnycroft

22nd February, Family Stargazing & Moonwatch, Attingham Park, nr Shrewsbury Join Shropshire Astronomical Society for an evening of stargazing and moonwatching suitable for all the family. 6.30pm-7.30pm and 8pm9pm. £4. Booking essential. Call 0344 249 1895.

Comedy and music at Henry Tudor House Jess Fostekew: Hench, 19th February Jess, who can be seen in BBC sitcoms Motherland and Cuckoo, as well as forthcoming films Official Secrets and Greed, performs her latest show, which was nominated for Best Show at the Leicester Comedy Festival. 8pm. Tickets £12. Jonny Awsum: Friday Night Live, 21st February Jonny shot to fame on Britain’s Got Talent with his performances of ‘This

Call for musical youths The annual Oswestry Youth Music Festival, sponsored by Oswestry Town Council, takes place from 26th February to 1st March. Featuring vocal, musical theatre ensembles, string, woodwind, brass, piano, percussion and instrumental classes, the closing date for entries is 1pm on 17th January. The weekend finishes on 1st March with afternoon performances by invited winners, followed by presentations of trophies by the Mayor of Oswestry, Councillor John Price. The festival is also holding a competition to design a handdrawn colour logo for Oswestry Youth Music Festival 2020. Closing date for entries is 17th January. For more information about the competitions visit www.oswestry-tc.gov.uk/ council-services/oswestryyouth-music-festival.html.

Is A Musical’ with Ant and Dec, and ‘The Triangle Song’ with David Walliams, and has since supported Lost Voice Guy and Tape Face on their hit UK tours. 8pm. Tickets £10. Sam Lewis, 23rd February With rich soulful vocals, well-crafted songs, roots country and blue-eyed soul, Sam Lewis is connecting the dots. His debut album, Waiting On You, received a top review

Humour and satire at Coalbrookdale Gallery A new, free exhibition at Coalbrookdale Gallery, near Ironbridge, will showcase a mix of satirical prints and objects from the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust’s Elton Collection, which dates from the mid-18th century onwards. A large number of satirical prints were produced from the 1850s onwards, covering topics ranging from royalty and industry to transport and inventions. The exhibition explores the prints and objects that made fun of new technology such as steam power and the possibilities it held. Changing Times: Humour & Satire can be viewed from Monday to Friday, 10am to 5pm until 28th February. There will also be activities for children, and the chance to take your own satirical photograph. www.ironbridge.org.uk

from Mojo and featured in the Telegraph’s list of top country albums. 8pm. Tickets £14. Jamali Maddix: Strip Club Einstein, 25th February The critically acclaimed comedian and host of Vice’s Hate Thy Neighbour heads out on tour once more to reflect on tales from the frontline of social change and uncomfortable home truths. 8pm. Tickets £13. www.henrytudorhouse.com

Sounds of Scotland in Shrewsbury Ensemble Hesperi bring the music of Scotland to Shrewsbury School with The Pheasant’s Eye: Dancing The Scottish Baroque on 21st Febuary. Mary-Jannet Leith (recorders), Magdalena Loth-Hill (baroque violin), Florence Petit (baroque cello) and Thomas Allery (harpsichord), alongside Highland dancer Kathleen Gilbert, will perform in the school’s Maidment Hall. The programme includes excerpts from James Oswald’s Airs For The Seasons, arrangements of Scots tunes by Barsanti, Geminiani and McGibbon, and sonatas by the many Italians who were popular in 18th-century Scotland. Tickets cost £17, which includes a Highland dance workshop at 5.45pm. The performance starts at 7.30pm. www. shropshiremusictrust.co.uk

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The Johann Strauss Gala, Symphony Hall, 1st January The Johann Strauss Orchestra and Dancers, with conductor John Rigby and soprano Lizzie Holmes, perform a selection of waltzes and polkas including The Blue Danube, Radetzky March and Tales From The Vienna Woods.

Pinocchio, Artrix Arts Centre, 12th January Oddsocks presents a new adaptation of the classic story about a handmade boy’s journey to discover what it takes to be a real human. From villains and vagabonds to fairies and giant fish, Pinocchio meets adversity and adventure in equal measure.

I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue, Alexandra Theatre, 13th January BBC Radio 4’s award-winning antidote to panel games returns to the stage. Join Tim Brooke-Taylor, Tony Hawks, Miles Jupp and Rory Bremner alongside host Jack Dee and Colin Sell on piano for an evening of inspired fun and nonsense.


The King & I, Wales Millennium Centre, 8th-18th January Adored by the public and critics alike, The King & I has one of the finest scores ever written. The critically acclaimed production is embarking on a world tour direct from a sold-out season at the London Palladium.

Sandi Toksvig Live! National Trevor, St David’s Hall, 9th January Some people harbour an ambition to be a national treasure, but following a misunderstanding with a friend, Sandi has decided to become a National Trevor. Expect tall stories, funny facts and silly jokes.

Anton & Erin: Dance Those Magical Movies, St David’s Hall, 26th January The nation’s favourite ballroom stars – Anton Du Beke and Erin Boag – are back with sensational choreography set to music from the silver screen. Expect a performance worthy of the red carpet!


Grandpa’s Great Escape, M&S Bank Arena, 4th January David Walliams’ bestselling book gets its first stage adaptation. When Grandpa, a World War II flying ace, is sent to an old folk’s home, he and his grandson Jack plot a daring escape. But the wicked matron is on to them…

Sing-A-Long-A The Greatest Showman, Empire Theatre, 18th January Rewrite the stars as you sing along to the smash hit musical film. All the lyrics will be on screen, so you can join in as loud as you want. Fancy dress is strongly encouraged and full audience participation is essential.

Burns Night & Ceilidh, St George’s Hall, 25th January Dust off the tartan for a night of haggis addressing, whisky drinking and traditional dancing in one of the city’s most loved landmarks. This charming night is guaranteed to be a fun, heart-warming affair that will live long in the memory.



The Hallé: Rachmaninov’s Romantic Lyricism, Bridgewater Hall, 16th January Jess Gillam – finalist of the 2016 BBC Young Musician of the Year – will be playing John Adams’ beautifully melancholic Saxophone Concerto and Rachmaninov’s Symphony No.2, conducted by Kazuki Yamada.

Stargazing Night, Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre, 17th January Like to get started in astronomy? This evening will teach you how to navigate the skies and, weather permitting, locate the stars in a inflatable planetarium. Demonstrations will take place throughout the evening too.

Manchester Open Exhibition 2020, HOME, 18th January – 29th March An exhibition celebrating the creative talent of Greater Manchester residents. The gallery walls will be filled with work from 500-plus artists, including paintings, prints, photography, sculpture, spoken word and more.

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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 ALADDIN, THEATRE SEVERN Christmas isn’t Christmas in Shrewsbury until you’ve been to the spectacular Theatre Severn pantomime. This year, it’s a magical production of Aladdin, with a stellar line-up of top-quality performers. As always, the stage is stolen by the fabulous dame played by Brad Fitt – this year he’s Widow Twankey. Forget Brad Pitt, Brad Fitt is the only superstar my family wants to meet! Just his presence on stage can produce peals of laughter from children, mums, dads and grandparents alike. The supporting cast includes a handsome young Aladdin (Harry Winchester) and his leading lady Victoria McCabe, who makes a winning Princess Jasmine. Brad Fitt has some comedy competition from Dave Bibby as Wishy Washy, Dec Moran

as PC Pongo and a deliciously sinister Abanazar (Phil Stewart), while the two genies provide songs, funky dance moves and yet more laughs. With many must-have panto favourites – including fantastically colourful costumes, bandage-wrapped mummies who are ‘BEHIND YOU!’ and references to other local pantos – Aladdin is simply not to be missed. EW Until 12th January. www.theatresevern.co.uk


Moonlit Meadow, Tropical Dreams and our favourite, Underwater World. The neon colours brought it to life and the huge The magic begins as you arrive at Chester Zoo’s mechanical octopus was a hit with the children. festive Lantern Parade, entering through a giant It took around 90 minutes to walk it, although it could archway adorned with be quicker at quiet twinkling lights. I was concerned times. That included a ‘Giant pit stop at the festive my children (11, illuminated 10 and eight) food market with lanterns may be a little quaint wooden huts shaped like offering tasty treats old – but it proved zoo animals’ to be a fantastic and warming drinks. With full tummies opportunity for we continued through children of all ages (and adults!) to experience the another magical light magic of Christmas with tunnel to meet four giant giant illuminated lanterns talking penguins, which the eight-year-old loved! shaped like zoo animals. A lovely festive evening There are several worlds with themes such as for all ages. AB


Oak Apple Catering in Shrewsbury, awardwinning ales from Monty’s Brewery, Montgomery, The annual Christmas Food and fine teas and mead & Craft Fair held at Coedfrom Morgan’s Brew Tea y-Dinas, near Welshpool, was a huge success. Adding Company in Welshpool. Jewellers sold bespoke a third day, and bringing silver and gold designs, the event forward a week which made ideal in the calendar, Christmas presents, and certainly paid off. there were colourful, With more than ‘Santa’s handmade birdboxes 70 decorated stalls, Grotto was and insect hotels. all jam-packed with bigger and Santa’s Grotto was the best-quality better than food and drink from bigger and better than ever before’ ever before – and he mid Wales and the was due to fly in by borders, there was helicopter the following plenty to tempt week, giving staff extra time everyone’s tastebuds and a to prepare for his arrival. real buzz around the stalls. Along with Shrewsbury’s Everyone I talked to said Chocolate Festival, this how proud they felt to have is definitely the mustso much local food talent and visit event in the region delicious produce, and that it for festive foodies. Visit was great to see it showcased www.coedydinas.co.uk for so well on their doorstep. information about next year’s There were stilton festival. SW and apple sables from

PETER PAN, CREWE LYCEUM The Crewe Lyceum Theatre was founded in 1911, the same year that JM Barrie’s classic high-flying adventure Peter Pan was published. An apt choice then for this year’s Christmas production, and it doesn’t disappoint, bursting with energy, fun and laughter. The swashbuckling show sees the return of Cannon and Ball for their fourth consecutive Crewe Lyceum panto, alongside X Factor star Chico as Big Chief Chico, leader of the Neverlanders. It also features Malcolm Lord as Dame Mrs Smee, Stefan Pejic as Captain Hook, Joshua Wyatt as Peter Pan and Danielle Lockwood as Tinker Bell. Cannon and Ball bring the house down with cheeky antics and ad-libbed humour, while Joshua Wyatt is an energetic Peter. Chico takes to his role as Big Chief like a duck to water, singing his smash ‘It’s Chico Time’ which is a hit with the parents. The action scenes are well choreographed and peppered with smart moves, and the younger cast members – provided by the

YSD Theatre School – are particularly impressive. There are the usual references to local landmarks, and Andy Eastwood as Starkey gets everyone in the festive spirit with a trio of Christmas songs. Everyone left with a smile on their face and a spring in their step thanks to a great show with a perfect balance of storytelling and music. AB Until 5th January. www.crewelyceum.co.uk

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Captain Hook (a formidable Imogen Slaughter) brings a wonderful sense of fun to the The Storyhouse’s production villainous role, and Tiger-Lily is a feisty ninja who can easily of Peter Pan brings JM outsmart the hapless pirates. Barrie’s classic story bang up to date while Neverland is a retaining all the wonderfully imagined magic, excitement playground of rope ‘All the ladders and mushrooms and fun of the magic and where the line between original tale. fun of the James Phoon real and imaginary is original plays an exuberantly deliciously blurred. The tale’ cocky Peter, who flying is spectacular, taking the action to still manages to convey a lovable vulnerability, new heights and leaving us with Charlie Enoch as a sassy feeling we had witnessed a slice of true Christmas Welsh Tinker Bell who can magic. HG deliver a killer comeback. All the traditional elements are there, although not quite Until 12th January. as you remember them: www.storyhouse.co.uk

ROD STEWART, LIVERPOOL ARENA; MATT GOSS: A VEGAS CHRISTMAS, HILTON, LIVERPOOL When Rod entered the stage, the place erupted. What a mover, dancer, performer, entertainer, showman! ‘Forever Young’, ‘First Cut Is The Deepest’, ‘I Don’t Want To Talk About It’, ‘Have I Told You Lately’, ‘Having A Party’ – the hits kept coming. How can a man of 74 have so much energy? The audience, mainly in their 50s and 60s, felt as young as Rod seemed, and the two hours went by too fast.

Bros singer Matt Goss has brought his Vegas show to the UK and it’s a full evening’s entertainment, with a champagne reception and four-course meal! Matt talked to fans throughout, making everyone feel special, and even invited one on stage for a dance. The music from the ninepiece band was wonderful, and I left with happiness in my heart. DL

ALED JONES AND RUSSELL WATSON, TWEEDMILL, ST ASAPH Hundreds of fans enjoyed a show from singers Aled Jones and Russell Watson at Tweedmill in St Asaph, celebrating the shopping centre’s 25th anniversary. These giants of the classical world performed two 20-minute slots featuring material from their new joint album, Back In Harmony. Afterwards there was a meet-and-greet with fans, while competition winners met the pair for a private

afternoon tea in Tweedmill’s new tea room, Booth’s. Aled and Russell are longtime friends and you could see this in their onstage presence as they joked with each other and engaged the appreciative crowds. Back In Harmony, their second record together following 2018’s In Harmony, is out now.

I hadn’t seen Judge Jules since the early 1990s but although I’m a little older (and hopefully wiser) now, I still love the Ibiza classics. My fears of being the oldest there were unfounded – most of the sell-out crowd were there to relive their youth. The warm-up DJ got the crowds going with some classics before Jules and his 10-piece band took to the stage. Even though he was DJ-ing, the band were the focus. These phenomenally talented musicians (including guitarists, a trombonist and a trumpeter) added a whole new dimension – this was clubbing on another level. The Live Rooms in Chester proved the perfect venue – large enough for a fantastic atmosphere but small enough to feel intimate. And as a

bonus, the evening finished at 11.30pm so I was home just after midnight. I don’t think I could manage an all-nighter these days… AB

classics including ‘Sultans Of Swing’, ‘Money For Nothing’ and ‘Brothers In Arms’, all performed with a new spin. The evening included a Q&A, during which John revealed the story of Dire Straits from their humble beginnings in London to playing all over the JOHN ILLSLEY, world to millions of fans, THEATRE SEVERN including their legendary Live Aid performance. John Illsley, one of the The band left the founding members stage after an encore of legendary British ‘It featured to a standing ovation band Dire Straits, his own is back on the from those left mistyeyed from a trip back road with a new music and band and came to the music of one Dire Straits of the greatest rock to Shrewsbury’s classic’ Theatre Severn bands of all time. It to showcase an was a pleasure and a privilege to be in John’s incredible back catalogue. The night featured his own company for the evening. CB music as well as Dire Straits

PIETRO FRESA, MARKET DRAYTON FESTIVAL CENTRE This recital by the talented 19-year-old Italian beautifully illustrated the development of the romantic piano. It began with Mozart’s ‘Piano Sonata in F Major’ and Robert Schumann’s ‘Sonata No 2’, with their gorgeously lyrical second movements. After the interval came Chopin’s ‘Ballade No 4’, a piece that condenses a lifetime into a

dozen minutes. Pietro’s playing combined the sensitive and sonorous with the dashing and heroic – a captivating performance. JH

GET INhave TOUCH! If you a Ifshow you have a show in happening the Shire patch, we anywhere in Wales can a reviewer andsend the Borders, we –can andsend youra show can reviewer appear under thecan – and your show spotlight on these appear under the pages too!on Email the spotlight these details to editorial@ pages too! Email shiremagazine.co.uk. details to editorial@ We look forward to shiremagazine.co.uk hearing from you!

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Mind you go… how

These days more people everywhere are aware of the importance of our mental wellbeing, and the impact poor mental health can have on us and the people around us. But we can always do more to improve. Here’s everything you need to know


t is only a hundred years or so since we stopped putting anyone who thought or acted in ways that deviated from social norms in an institution. Fortunately, society has come a long way since those days: we’ve started to accept that mental health issues such as depression and anxiety are common, treatable conditions, and that no one should be ashamed to admit to having these problems or undergoing therapy. This is as it should be. The human brain is an incredibly complex beast, prone to chemical, hormonal and other outside influences, but people have found it difficult to discuss their dark thoughts in the past, in part because of a fear of negative reactions from others. It has taken us a long time to get to this stage, and we should do all we can to ensure mental health is no longer a taboo topic that comes with shame and stigma. Here is the Shire guide to good mental health and what you can do to maintain it.

DID YOU KNOW? One in four people experiences mental health issues each year. At any given time, one in six working-age adults has symptoms associated with mental ill health

‘The human brain is an incredibly complex beast’ PUBLIC PROMOTION Charities and organisations have played a massive part in making the subject more accessible, and PR campaigns such as those fronted by Princes William and Harry have been welcomed by millions. It is now widely considered the norm to talk openly with friends, both when we’re suffering or when we think they may be. We’re starting to understand better the situations others face and the limitations their situations impose. It might even, finally, be considered OK for boys to cry. It’s clear that men in particular have had a long journey out of the dark ages of mental health to reach the point at which they are able to express their emotions and process them in a positive way. This is a vital step – suicide remains the single biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK, and the fact that male mental health has long been a hidden issue means that’s no surprise. It’s getting better but there is still work to be done.

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HELP IS AT HAND Although we have made great strides in realising the importance of good mental health, we still have a way to go before it is no longer an issue that affects – and claims – so many lives. Increasing numbers of us suffer from mental health issues as the pressures of our daily lives grow and the ways in which we function encourage damaging habits. Those who need help can find it thanks to new initiatives, such as one that has just been launched by Public Health England. The scheme, Every Mind Matters, is aimed at helping people create their own action plans and develop their own strategies for dealing with and tackling psychological issues.

‘Every Mind Matters aims to make it easier to look after your wellbeing’ EXPERT OPINION

The campaign aims to make it easier for everyone to look after their own wellbeing and improve their mental health by providing a digital hub full of advice, tips and resources, and a new online tool to help everyone create their own action plan. Once you are armed with this knowledge, the scheme also provides practical tips and resources to help you maintain good mental health, including videos, online tools and links to help services. The website is a packed resource centre, full of free materials you can order or download, and you can use them yourself or promote them in your workplace or organisation to encourage others to do the same. DID YOU KNOW? The Every Mind Matters campaign was launched in October with help from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex

Gerard Barnes, who has worked in the field of mental health for more than 20 years, welcomes the launch of Every Mind Matters. ‘The state of the UK’s mental health is something we must address,’ says Gerard, who alongside consultant psychiatrist Dr Leigh Neal founded Smart TMS, a pioneering organisation using magnetic stimulation to treat psychological problems. ‘The rates of people reporting mental health problems are rising rapidly, and Smart TMS’s research has found that millions of people are suffering with mental health problems without any help, because they are aware of the potential side effects and addiction concerns surrounding prescription drugs. Added to the recent news that one in 10 psychiatrist’s positions in the UK remain vacant, millions of people across the UK are desperate for options.’ He adds: ‘This initiative is extremely encouraging, and is certainly a step in the right direction for improving this country’s mental health services. However, there remains a great deal to be done to build on this and develop a range of options for people struggling psychologically to receive care and treatment.’

MIND YOUR MIND Follow these expert tips from Mind Cymru (www.mind.org.uk) to put yourself on the path to better mental health… • • • • • •

If you are struggling, talk to someone you trust, a close friend or family member, maybe even your doctor. Consider why you find it uncomfortable asking for help and whether those reasons are actually stopping you from getting the support you need. Read more about mental health and the varied guidance and advice that is easily accessible. Find a support group – there are many around the country that are free and open to anyone. Consider what are your best weapons to combat poor mental health – it could be anything from regular exercise to spending time with friends. Find stories and case studies that will help you understand what others have been through. You are not alone.

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Men, women and children

We’re all together… in it

Everyone is in a different situation facing different pressures from society, expectations and daily life, and we all deal with our mental health problems differently too. So what should you do to combat these specific problems? MEN Men have always had a hard time talking about their emotions and mental issues, which causes a series of problems including self-harm and suicide. The situation is improving but there is plenty more we can do to finally get rid of the stigma. In Wales, suicide rates for men are even higher than the rest of the UK – a shocking fact that needs to be addressed, says mental health campaigner and writer Lee Cambule, who works at the City & County of Swansea. ‘Part of the stigma is that men have greater difficulty talking about their own struggles than women do,’ says Lee. ‘I am still faced with some outdated stereotypes: men as a source of strength, the idea that strong and silent is alluring/attractive, the “show no weakness” bravado of heroes in our media. In many of these macho images, there is little room for showing poor mental health. Wealthy, successful and powerful men do not always admit their struggles in public and that can leave the average bloke feeling uncertain about speaking out.’

Only the brave DID YOU KNOW? Exercise helps maintain good mental health. Research shows lowintensity aerobic exercise – brisk walking for 30 minutes, three to five days a week – is best for boosting mood

Recently, Lee says, high-profile men have helped turn this tide. ‘When Prince William and Prince Harry began talking openly about their own mental health challenges, it gave the nation an incredible lift. One by one, more of these revered men are openly addressing mental health: footballers, politicians, actors – anyone can talk about it. I do not consider that these men are weak or failing by speaking out – in fact, they are the brave ones.’ As a man, there has never been a better time to seek help with – and be accepted for – your mental wellbeing. ‘I recently reminded a friend that while you can get better, the first step has to be yours,’ Lee says. ‘If you are suffering from poor mental health it might feel like the hardest step to take, but it can lead to easier and better steps too.’

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WOMEN While the suicide statistics for men are concerning, the suffering of women is potentially even more widespread, even if the results are less extreme. Women are more likely than men to have a common mental health problem and are almost twice as likely to be diagnosed with anxiety disorders, according to a recent NHS survey. The Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey, the biggest survey of mental health disorder and treatment in England, found that one in five women suffered with disorders such as anxiety, depression, phobias, obsessive compulsive disorder and panic disorder. While any of us is susceptible to any of these conditions, it is thought that many women’s situations are worse for various reasons – one prime factor being the ‘unremitting responsibility for the care of others’. Not surprisingly, motherhood causes many of these issues to come to light. It’s a hard slog that rarely leaves us time to take care of our own mental health. Lack of sleep, lack of routine, imbalance of hormones – it’s no surprise new mothers’ mental faculties are under strain when we’re mothering.

Juggle struggle

If there’s anything likely to increase stress levels even further, it’s attempting to juggle parenthood alongside work. Statistics show that almost half of working mums experience severe anxiety when comparing their ability to work and take care of their kids with others, and a third experience unmanageable levels of anxiety and stress when combining a job with childcare. In a survey, more than one in five admitted that they have faced mental health problems for over five years but have not found the time to seek help. Gerard Barnes of Smart TMS says: ‘Many suffer from expectations and pressures at work, but this is compounded for mothers. The working mother is a figure of extreme power and courage and should be celebrated, but I would encourage all mothers or mothers-to-be who intend to simultaneously achieve new career heights to take the time to be aware of the potential health consequences, and to recognise and respond to symptoms of mental health conditions. It is also vital for working mothers to understand that they are just as prone to depression as anyone else, if not more so, and should ensure they have a strong support network and treatment options available if needed.’

‘A third of working mums suffer unmanageable levels of anxiety and stress’ DID YOU KNOW? Children whose parents experience poor mental health are almost three times more likely to suffer problems of their own, according to NHS analysis

CHILDREN We’d love to think that our children live blissful lives while mental health issues are left to the grown-ups – but sadly this is not the case. More and more young people are suffering with mental health problems, and in many cases these are compounded by modern technology. Social media in particular is so potentially damaging that it is vital to understand its pitfalls so we can avoid disaster. A recent survey revealed that 82 per cent of people under 24 regularly compare themselves with friends, celebrities and even strangers on social media. Almost half of those asked have detagged themselves from a photo on social media, while a third have asked for one to be deleted; the most common reason given for editing or removing photos is the desire for a ‘perfect’ appearance. Feeling ugly or overweight is often cited as a problem.

Esteem spirit

Dr Hayley Higson, a clinical psychologist for the NHS, says social media provides ‘unlimited opportunities’ for people to compare themselves with others. ‘While this can be a source of motivation and inspiration, it is more often associated with the development of negative self-perceptions, feelings of inadequacy, inferiority and low mood,’ Hayley says. As well as low self-esteem, internet addiction and cyberbullying also pose dangers to young people’s mental health. It’s a good idea to limit your child’s access to social media, and talk to them about unrealistic expectations and other issues social media can raise. If they do experience problems, organisations such as Ditch The Label (www.ditchthelabel.org) and Young Minds (www.youngminds.org.uk), as well as the NHS, offer resources to combat them. January/February 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 57

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Headspace in the

workplace… Work is a huge source of stress for people in all walks of life. Employers are now recognising this and making the effort to give people the tools they need to improve mental health


ver feel like there’s just too much work to do and that you just can’t manage it? To combat this many experts recommend mindfulness, a technique that helps people improve their physical and mental health and pay attention to the present moment using methods such as meditation, breathing and yoga. A popular app, Headspace, has been developed to aid in learning and practising mindfulness techniques and lots of organisations have signed up to use it, including many in the Shire area. One such institution that now offers the service to staff members for free is the Robert Jones & Agnes Hunt (RJAH) Orthopaedic Hospital. ‘We understand that caring for the mental wellbeing of our staff is just as important as caring for their physical health, so we’re delighted to be able to support this through

the Headspace app,’ says Sarah Sheppard, the hospital’s Director of People. ‘Life can be busy and stressful for us all and Headspace gives staff the opportunity to change their relationship with anxiety and stress at work and at home.’ Jack Titley, senior physiotherapist on the dedicated children’s ward at the Oswestry-based hospital, is one member of staff who has signed up to use the app. ‘I’ve actually used Headspace personally for a little while now and have found it really useful, especially to help me unwind and get to sleep,’ he says. ‘Headspace has a section for children too, which I sometimes recommend to the parents of my patients.’ Since the initial launch, over 80 members of staff have signed up to use the app. See www.headspace.com for more details.

DID YOU KNOW? The Mental Health Foundation has a 10-point plan for taking care of your mental health at work, including talking about feelings and accepting help. See more at www. mentalhealth.org.uk

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m r a w p u p a Wr


You don’t have to sacrifice your style to keep warm. Choose from a range of stylish winter coats and accessories to keep toasty and on trend 3




6 7

9 8

11 10






1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.

Adventure padded jacket, £70, Joe Browns; www.joebrowns.co.uk Stevie stripe hat, £25, White Stuff; www.whitestuff.com Oakwood herringbone gloves, £35, Dune; www.dunelondon.com Haincliffe tweed lambswool scarf, £29.95, Halon Menswear, Shrewsbury; www.halonmenswear.co.uk Failsworth Hats tweed 100% wool flat cap, £35, Wood’s of Shropshire; www.woodsofshropshire.co.uk Tootal Red Mini Geo silk scarf, £45, Wood’s of Shropshire; www.woodsofshropshire.co.uk Hoggs of Fife Kincraig field coat, £162.95, Cherry Tree Country Clothing, Ruthin; www.cherrytreecountryclothing.com Beechfield Blizzard bobble beanie, £12.50, Cherry Tree Country Clothing, Ruthin; www.cherrytreecountryclothing.com Navy tipped scarf, £18, Burton Menswear; www.burton.co.uk


10. Brook Taverner Linden reversible quilted casual jacket, £79 (rrp £200), Tweedmill Shopping Outlet; www.tweedmill.co.uk 11. Joules Go To lightweight padded jacket, £89.95, Smart Ass Menswear, Conwy; www.smartassmenswear.co.uk 12. Shower resistant utility parka, £78, Next; www.next.co.uk 13. Textured bobble hat, £14, Burton Menswear; www.burton.co.uk 14. National Trust Fairisle knit hat, £25, and scarf, £45, National Trust; www.nationaltrust.org.uk/shop 15. Leather gloves, £20, National Trust; www.nationaltrust.org.uk/shop 16. Barbour fleece-lined trapper hat, £34.95, Smart Ass Menswear, Conwy; www.smartassmenswear.co.uk 17. Rockjock Grey Dog neck gaiter, £6.50, Cherry Tree Country Clothing, Ruthin; www.cherrytreecountryclothing.com

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If you want to get ‘on yer bike’ in 2020 and keep the whole family fit as well as have some fun together, there’s good news – a new government initiative makes it easier than ever



Get out and discover the joys of cycling thanks to Places to Ride


f you’ve been inspired by the Tour Of England to develop a national network of Britain cycle race or the World Road cycling facilities, with funding available for organisations to use for anything Championships being held in Britain, or just decided you want to get from equipment for activating your cycling, 2020 is the year to local space to creating a brand DID YOU saddle up. The government has new cycling facility. For more KNOW? committed £15 million to the information on the funding Most of the Great Britain cycling team options, visit www.owntheride. Places To Ride programme to started out in provide a lasting legacy from org.uk/places-to-ride. Go-Ride Clubs the cycling spectaculars of 2019. Projects include large, multi-use Start young facilities for all sorts of cyclists, as Riding a bike gives you a great well as improvements to existing facilities. sense of freedom and the experts at British Cycling believe every child in Ride for life Britain should have the chance to learn Dedicated cycling to ride. They have put together a guide facilities provide safe to some simple games that help your environments for any child learn, called HSBC UK Ready Set cyclist of any ability Ride – it’s fun and it’s free! Kids can start to participate, train, at any age and there is no pressure to compete and – most start pedalling on your first go. In fact, importantly – have you don’t need a bike or any cycling fun. British Cycling is knowledge to get started! If you want to have a go, visit www.readysetride.co.uk. Lots of fun to be had working with Sport

Club together

Getting together with like-minded cyclists makes your hobby more sociable. There is a national network of cycling clubs for children across the country as part of the Go-Ride scheme, which offers a traffic-free space to train, holiday camps and grassroots racing. They’re fantastic places to cycle, get expert coaching, meet friends and access top-class facilities. Find your nearest Go-Ride Club at www.britishcycling.org.uk/go-ride.

Children can learn to ride in safety

the Richter scale, while strange, slow-moving red and pink lights were witnessed from the western slopes of Cadair Berwyn. Residents of Llandrillo came out of their houses to get a glimpse, and queued up at the village phone box to report the phenomena. The police received reports of the lights and noises from Bala, Corwen and even as far away as Liverpool. One witness reported seeing Berwyn saw many reports of bizarre occurrences in January 1974 a bright light hanging in he Berwyn Nature Reserve one place then changing The is a favourite haunt for its brightness, and another Berwyn walking. As well as being a described one with a fiery tail. Nature beautiful landscape, For years there it’s home to birds has been speculation Reserve ‘Strange, such as red and about the mysterious covers slowblack grouse, merlins event, including wild a vast and red kites. But theories of aliens moving red there’s also a bizarre being removed. and pink area of mystery connected The RAF disclosed lights were protected open to the area that adds it was conducting witnessed’ moorland, mountain a spooky frisson an exercise in the to any walk… Irish Sea using and varied searchlights that night – but landscape… but as conspiracies were fuelled UFO incident well as being a great On the evening of 23rd when the area was sealed January 1974, the peace off by the Army and the place for a walk, it in Llandrillo was suddenly supposed crash site was is also home to a shattered. A bright light ploughed over. Something shot across the sky… and to keep in mind if you’re strange story. Clive then BOOM!! There was a enjoying a walk amid the Williams explains tremor measuring 3.5 on natural beauty of Berwyn…



SUPERB GUIDES TO WALKING IN SHROPSHIRE Walking The Shropshire Way The Shropshire Way visits some of England’s most serene and beautiful scenery, as well as historical sites including Ironbridge, the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. It consists of a northern and southern loop that both start in Shrewsbury, and each loop can be completed in a week or combined to form a two-week 182-mile (290km) circuit that visits Stiperstones, Ludlow, Wenlock Edge and the Wrekin. Each day’s stage covers 10 to 15 miles. This official guide also includes the Stretton Skyline Walk, a 20-mile (32km) two-day walk over Shropshire’s peaks and ridges. Price £13.46 Hillwalking In Shropshire This book is your guide to 32 walks in the hills of Shropshire, which range from three miles (5km) to 12 miles (19km) and can be walked in all seasons. With Neolithic standing stones, Bronze Age stone circles, and hilltop forts dating back to the Iron Age, Shropshire offers picturesque landscapes and rewarding walking. Price £11.66 For more information, visit www.cicerone.co.uk

January/February 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 61

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a glass to each other, and take in the orse Hill Caravan & Lodge Park view from one of the sun terraces. is one of north Wales’s bestThe grounds of the caravan park are kept secrets. Established in 1954, the exclusive, privately owned caravan well tended, and each of the generous plots has private parking for two cars, an park is surrounded by some of the adjacent patio and its own garden. The most magnificent landscapes in Britain, luxury caravans and lodges are expertly with stunning views in every direction. designed inside and out; each Tucked away on the outskirts one is carefully positioned of the famous medieval ‘Each of the to take full advantage of walled town of Conwy, the generous the wonderful views and its park is within easy reach of plots has location within the park. the countless attractions parking for The park is a perfect base and activities on offer in this two cars, a for exploring the coast and wonderful part of the world. patio and its countryside of north Wales. If With its elevated position, you can bring yourself to leave the park has a spacious feel. It own garden’ the site, you’ll find activities was originally founded around and attractions of every kind to choose the impressive Victorian manor house, from. Stretch your legs on a sandy beach. which has been lovingly refurbished to Challenge yourself on a championship include a fine-dining restaurant and bar. golf course. Explore the mountains, lakes Inside, you can enjoy warm hospitality, delicious food, real fires and many and waterfalls of Snowdonia. Admire the gardens at Bodnant. Discover Conwy’s unique features, including a collection medieval castle. Join the fun at a local of hand-carved oak fireplaces which are original to the house. Outside, festival. Or visit Llandudno to enjoy the great British seaside at its best. The meanwhile, there is crown green choice is yours! www.gorsehill.co.uk bowls, or you can simply relax, raise


Meadow Lodge sleeps up to 12 people


et away from it all, escape to the woods and head back to nature at Coed-y-Glyn Log Cabins. The wooden structures are set in serene surroundings on the banks of the river Dee in Glyndyfrdwy near Llangollen. With hot tubs and a fantastic array of activities on offer on site, including archery and rafting – as well as the chance to enjoy holistic therapies in the comfort of your own lodge – it’s the perfect retreat for every member of the family. The site is an independent family-run business, dedicated to giving you a unique accommodation experience.


he recently reopened Rhyl Sun Centre has been reborn as SC2 – an adrenaline-packed watersports venue that is well worth a day out when you’re on holiday in north Wales. The amazing water park offers both indoor and outdoor water play for all ages and abilities. With breathtaking flume rides, beach-style paddling, slides for all ages and themed cafés, there really is something for everybody. The Anaconda is the fastest flume in the park – a high-speed wave ride that zooms through complete darkness and out of a snake’s gaping jaws. Just watch out for those fangs! It’s ideal for daredevils and thrill-seekers, and you’ll want to go again and again There is also the Speedster, a threelane slide that takes you straight back into the water – and you’re ready to start again or grab a rubber ring and speed down the Boomerang on your own or in pairs. You can really make a memorable splash while you’re on holiday! For more information about facilities on offer, visit www.sc2rhyl.co.uk.

Keeping busy while on holiday is all part of the fun and if you fancy being adventurous, there’s something here to push everyone to their limits (whether a novice or a pro), from archery to navigating a raft down the Dee. Accommodation options include a range of unique and magical retreats. Nestled in the side of a rock face and surrounded by woodland, Forest Lodge is the epitome of a secluded getaway, with a hot tub high up in the canopy. It’s a cross between a Malibu stilt home and Robinson Crusoe’s tree house, and there’s no better place to escape with that special someone in this holiday hideaway for two. For a family stay, consider watching the brook flow into the river as you soak in the hot tub outside Brook Lodge, and make the most of your time enjoying picturesque views, including the heritage steam railway chugging past in the distance. With magnificent views and a large and secluded area consisting of a sheltered decking and a private garden, Oak Lodge is ideal for those lazy days when all you want to do is enjoy a drink on the deck and soak in the hot tub. It’s named for the large oak tree that stands on the bank of the river, which gives the decking a tree-house feel. If you need more space, Meadow Lodge makes a perfect option for extended families or group breaks: it accommodates up to 12 people, with three bathrooms and a seven-seater hot tub. www.coedyglyn-logcabins.co.uk January/February 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 63

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Get set to explore! T

he Paddocks Holiday Lodge Park near Abergele, Conwy, is an ideal touring base from which to visit the many attractions and places of scenic beauty within north Wales. Stroll around the wide variety of shops in Llandudno’s indoor shopping centres or retails parks, where big-name stores are found alongside locally owned businesses. Admire the profusion of colour at the award-winning Bodnant Gardens in Tal-y-Cafn. Colour is everywhere as carnivals take to the

Live the country lifestyle just an hour from the big cities

The Paddocks Lodge Park is nestled in the countryside on the border between Conwy and Denbighshire. This central coastal location gives owners access to the very best of north Wales: the spectacular mountains of Snowdonia National Park are to the west, the rolling green hills of the Clwydian Range to the east and miles upon miles of glorious sandy beach to the north. North Wales has been recognised as a world-class destination, and it’s not hard to see why! Located just an hour away from Manchester and Liverpool, and only 50 minutes’ drive from the M6, the Paddocks is incredibly accessible. You’ll have the freedom to enjoy the idyllic coast and country lifestyle whenever you choose. Plus, with such easy access to the main train and bus routes, you can invite your friends and family to stay with you, without the hassle of transporting them back and forth! www.paddockslodgepark.co.uk

‘You can enjoy the idyllic coast whenever you choose’

Luxurious accommodation at the Paddocks

streets in all parts of the coastal area – floats, jazz bands, morris dancing and marching bands all add to that holiday experience. If you wish to see how the resorts have changed over the years, a visit to the Rhyl Museum & Arts Centre is very informative and interesting, and entry is free!

Top spot for coastal camping T

rwyn yr Wylfa is an award-winning caravan and camping site in north Wales just 10 minutes’ drive from Conwy. Since it was taken under new management in 2017, it has not only been featured in the Guardian’s top 20 coastal sites and iWeekend and nominated for campsite of the year in The Great Outdoors magazine, but in 2018 it was also named winner of Campsites’ Popular Choice in Wales. Trwyn yr Wylfa translates as ‘watching point’ and it’s easy to see why. The site itself is within Snowdonia National Park and it offers glorious views of both sea and mountains. Relax and watch the sailing boats just off the coast or turn to face the fabulous Welsh mountains, with their sheep and ‘Trwyn the Carneddau mountain ponies. The site yr Wylfa offers direct access to fantastic walks along translates as the coastline and accepts caravans, motor “watching homes, tents, camper vans and trailer tents. point” and The site is a great location for exploring it’s easy to Snowdonia and north Wales, and sits see why’ only two miles from the famous walls of Conwy. It is set between the beautiful village of Dwygyfylchi and the quarry village of Penmaenmawr, both of which have pubs, shops, restaurants and takeaways all within walking distance of the site. Visitors can also enjoy

Facilities include accessible shower rooms and a large playing field

walks to the beach and access to cycle routes. In fact, the spot is a paradise for walkers because you can walk directly from the campsite along the North Wales Coast Path. The toilet blocks have hot water and showers, and separate toilets for men and women, as well as family and accessible shower rooms. There is also a dishwashing area, chemical disposal point, recycling collection area and a large playing field for ball games. Trwyn yr Wylfa caravan and camping site is open from midMarch. To book your pitch, visit www.tywcampingsite.co.uk.

64 SHIRE MAGAZINE | January/February 2020

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Set in the Snowdonia National Park and only two miles from Conwy. Stunning sea and mountain views.

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out e with escap d x e d to rela a seclu t place Enjoy c e d rf n e stle a the p the hu mise... m ro o . p fr fe m li y co awa yday wind, of eve e – tl s s u and un b Wale it North is v r, to te t time charac perfec full of e d y th n a a d ’s It g a holi tivatin wning s, cap O t s . n le e e e p tim esca vestm better is an in o s n k re c e ’s o h ew there Padd a plac at The s. le and home ty s emorie fe li m y’s appy h r famil d u il o u y ill b in you w


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From castles to coastlines in Conwy

N Beautiful green spaces

too, as the park welcomes dogs and is surrounded by green spaces that are perfect for long, leisurely walks. Craiglwyd Hall caravan park has a hen it comes to holiday parks with close community feel and a welcoming spectacular views, Craiglwyd Hall atmosphere, making it a great place to caravan park in Penmaenmawr, Conwy, relax and get away from the is very close to the top of the hustle and bustle. The site pile. The beautiful holiday park, ‘The caravan boasts a play area, gym and hidden away on a gorgeous park has games room, meaning there’s stretch of the north Wales a close plenty of fun to be had right coastline between Conwy and on your doorstep, and there Bangor, offers an amazing community is also free WiFi throughout vista from Llandudno to the feel and a and an on-site launderette. right across the Menai Strait to welcoming Whether you’re looking Anglesey, giving you a taste of atmosphere’ for somewhere to spend a the many places you can visit rejuvenating weekend trip from the tranquil site. or searching for the ideal location The jewel in Thornley Leisure Parks’ for your dream holiday home, crown is ideally situated in one of north Craiglwyd Hall offers everything Wales’s most-visited regions. From here you can venture to beaches, castles, you could possibly need. And you’ll probably agree as, at the end of a mountains and Victorian resorts. It’s the day filled with new memories, you perfect place to own your own luxury holiday home, and Penmaenmawr itself unwind while enjoying panoramic views across Puffin Island from your is a beautiful town to enjoy with the caravan. www.thornleyleisure.co.uk entire family. You can bring your pet


o visit to the Conwy area would be complete without a trip to see its world-famous castle, a magnificent medieval fortress that still towers over the town after 700 years. Thanks to restored spiral staircases in its great towers, you can now walk a complete circuit around the battlements. In the distance rise the craggy mountains of Snowdonia and spread out below you are the harbour and narrow streets of Conwy – still protected by an unbroken 1.3km ring of town walls. It’s enough to take the breath away. Especially when you consider that Edward I and his architect, Master James of St George, built both the castle and the walls in a barely believable four years between 1283 and 1287. Conwy takes its place alongside Edward’s other great castles at Beaumaris, Harlech and Caernarfon as a World Heritage Site. The famous fortress is exceptionally well preserved and contains the most intact set of medieval royal apartments in Wales. The high curtain wall and eight lofty towers rise almost as impressively as when they were built.

NESTLED BETWEEN MOUNTAINS AND SEA Barcdy’s views of Snowdonia National Park


arcdy is a small, quiet touring caravan and camping site, offering pitches for caravans, tents and motorhomes. It lies in a secluded and sheltered vale, with wooded hills to the rear and wide open views across the Dwyryd estuary to the front. Situated in the Snowdonia National Park between the sea and the mountains, Barcdy is the ideal base for visiting a wide variety of attractions. The lovely seaside town of Harlech, with its castle and miles of golden sand, is just a short distance away and the famous village of Portmeirion lies just across the estuary. The ever-popular Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways

are a short car ride away at Porthmadog, and from there you can explore even further afield by steam train. Barcdy welcomed its first visitors 60 years ago, and many return year after year to enjoy the very best standards of comfort and cleanliness. The site is ideal for families and it is a pleasure to see children playing happily for hours in these natural surroundings. Bring them to Barcdy and the team on site guarantee that they will forget about using their electronic devices – and if they do happen to remember, there is WiFi accessible in every tent and caravan on site. www.barcdy.co.uk January/February 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 67

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Welsh Heroes The

There are many, many people who have made a significant impact on Wales throughout history. The country has a proud and remarkable heritage in art, politics, sport, religion and plenty more aspects of life. In this special feature, Shire delves into the lives of three great Welsh heroes to examine their achievements, their influence and their importance to Wales and the wider world. We’d love to hear your thoughts on these iconic figures – or others who you think helped make Wales great – at editorial@shiremagazine.co.uk. Now let us introduce… the PRINCE, the POLITICIAN and the POET

The PRINCE OWAIN GLYNDWR, c.1359-1415 Whether held in high heroic regard or considered a rabble rouser, Prince Owain Glyndwr is legendary – and his legacy lives on in street names, universities and many more monikers across Wales. Glyndwr was the last native Welsh person to hold the title Prince of Wales. He was born around 1359 into a powerful family of the Anglo-Welsh nobility, during a time of relative peace between the tribes of Wales and the English aristocracy. He claimed descent from Llewelyn the Great, King of Wales in the early 13th century, and was heir to two of the four great princely houses of Wales. He served the English Crown as a soldier, retiring from the military to live in peace on his estate – until the late 1390s when the seeds of rebellion were sown, following a series of disputes with parliament in London concerning the loss of lands and honour.

DID YOU KNOW? You can see a statue of Owain Glyndwr in Corwen, Denbighshire, near a hotel that also bears his name

In September 1400, Glyndwr organised a rebellion against the English king, Henry IV, and claimed the title Prince of Wales. His determination to stand up against English oppression sparked a nationwide rebellion against the social, economic and religious hardships at the time. Across the country supporters seized the opportunity to revolt, with Welsh labourers across England downing their tools and Welsh scholars at Oxford and Cambridge universities dropping their books and heading for home to join the uprising. While English armies responded with force, burning and looting mercilessly, men of higher rank joined Glyndwr’s cause as he adopted the role of liberator. By the end of 1403, the Prince controlled most of Wales, prompting a years-long war during which the English continually attempted to regain their ground and castles and were repeatedly sent packing by Glyndwr’s revolutionary resistance. Eventually, however, that resistance was worn down. In 1408, the castles of Aberystwyth and Harlech fell to the forces of the king, and Glyndwr and his band of merry men fled – supposedly to the woods and wilds of Wales, further adding to the mystique that surrounds this historical figure. His cause may have ultimately been frustrated, but even now he is considered a figurehead for Welsh nationalism. His uprising started as a peasant’s revolt but grew into a national movement with a level of tenacity never seen before or since. The passion, loyalty and vision that Owain Glyndwr inspired enabled him to unite a divided people and lead a nation onetwelfth the size of England against two kings and a dozen armies. As a leader, he simply has no parallel in the history of Wales.

68 SHIRE MAGAZINE | January/February 2020

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The POLITICIAN ANEURIN BEVAN, 1897-1960 Aneurin Bevan was only part of the British government for a period of less than six years – but during that short time, his groundbreaking work laid the foundations of the modern state, and in the UK we are all still reaping the benefits of his revolutionary thinking today. Bevan, commonly known as ‘Nye’, was born into a workingclass family in Tredegar, the son of a coal miner, and left school at 13 to follow his father to the colliery. He joined the Labour Party and became a trade union activist, eventually moving to London to study economics, history and politics. During the 1926 General Strike, Bevan emerged as one of the leaders of the south Wales miners, and he become MP for Ebbw Vale in 1929. During the Second World War, Bevan was one of the leading voices of the left in the House of Commons and after the landslide Labour victory in the 1945 general election, he was appointed Minister of Health – becoming the youngest member

‘Fascism is not in itself a new order of society. It is the future refusing to be born’

‘We know what happens to people who stay in the middle of the road. They get run down’

‘Freedom is the by-product of economic surplus’ of the cabinet at 47. His ambitious plan was to bring hospitals into public ownership, rather than being led by local authorities, funded by taxes from the country’s wealthiest business owners and providing a service that was free to everyone at the point of entry. In doing so he alienated members of his own cabinet, and faced opposition from both his own and opposition parties as well as the British Medical Association. However, Bevan was determined that where medical need existed, medical care should follow and that budgets should be of secondary importance. The National Health Service was established in 1946 to provide medical care to all Britons regardless of wealth, nationalising more than 2,500 hospitals across the UK. Despite the many changes and challenges faced by the NHS in the 70-plus years since, it’s still recognisably Bevan’s brainchild and is still considered one of the best medical systems in the world.

DID YOU KNOW? Aneurin Bevan’s memorial sits on a path in Sirhowy Valley Country Park, near Caerphilly. There is a Bevan Trail you can walk taking in important sites from his life

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The POET DYLAN THOMAS, 1914-1953 Since time immemorial Wales has been a land of poets, and the greatest of them all is Dylan Marlais Thomas. Born on 27th October 1914 in Swansea, Thomas grew up surrounded by the great works of literature (his father taught English literature at the local grammar school) and developed a passion for both prose and poetry from a young age. He dropped out of school at 16 to become a junior reporter for the South Wales Daily Post, but within a few years he left his job to focus on poetry. His career was not to be a long one, so the world is fortunate that he started early – in fact, Thomas wrote more than half of his collected poems in his late teens. In the 1930s he moved

‘Life always offers you a second chance. It is called tomorrow’

to London and published his first collection, 18 Poems, as well as winning the Poet’s Corner prize. He met and married dancer Caitlin Macnamara while living in London and, after serving as an anti-aircraft gunner in the Second World War, moved to Laugherne in Camarthenshire in 1944. Thomas began to record radio shows and write scripts for the BBC, and between 1945 and 1949 contributed to more than 100 radio broadcasts. His best-known radio work was the play Under Milk Wood and his most popular works, including ‘Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night’, were written during this period, many while travelling the world on a writer’s scholarship. In January 1950, Thomas visited America and embarked on successful reading tours, where he debated loudly and passionately and delivered readings of his work with tremendous emotion, becoming a genuine celebrity. However, he had long been known as a heavy drinker and in November 1953, in New York, he collapsed and died at the age of just 39. Thomas’s life may have been short but his work was hugely influential, finding fans across the world – and his wild lifestyle proved just as fascinating for many. His poetry is still celebrated and taught across Wales and beyond, and he deserves his position as one of the country’s most celebrated heroes. Do you agree with our choices? Let us know! Find us on Facebook and Instagram or email editorial@shiremagazine.co.uk

‘I hold a beast, an angel and a madman in me’

DID YOU KNOW? The Dylan Thomas Centre in Swansea holds the Dylan Thomas Festival every October (marking the poet’s birth), where his famous works are performed

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2 FOR 1 AFTERNOON TEA Between 11am & 3pm £25.00


Enjoy our elegant Afternoon Tea in one of our historical lounges, overlooking the heart of the Conwy Valley. Afternoon Tea includes a selection of hand crafted sandwiches, warm savoury treats, freshly baked scones and delicate pastries.

STEAK NIGHT Between 6:30pm & 9pm £29.00 for Two Join us every Thursday evening to share our local 16oz 60 day aged Welsh Cote de Boeuf, accompanied with roasted garlic, triple cooked duck fat chips, Snowdonia mushrooms and wild pepper jus.

FRIDAY ‘FRI-YAY!’ BREAKFASTS Between 8am & 11am £7.95

LIGHT LUNCHES Served between 12pm & 4:30pm Drop in for a light lunch ranging from hand crafted sandwiches to delicious small plates before carrying on with your busy day of errands.

‘KIDS EAT FREE’ Between 12am & 4.30pm    A LA CARTE BIRTHDAYS! Between 6:30pm & 9pm Come along to Plas Maenan Country House to celebrate your January birthday, and enjoy your meal for free! No age limit. Minimum of 4 guests. You must have your birthday in January.

Every Friday, start your morning with our traditional full cooked Welsh breakfast with a pot of tea or freshly brewed filter coffee.

LIGHT LUNCHES Served between 12pm & 4:30pm FISH AND CHIP FRIDAY Between 6:30pm & 9pm £13.00 per person Friday night is fish night! Come along after a busy week in the office and start your weekend with our delicious salt & vinegar batter fresh Cod, triple cooked chips and minted mushy peas.



TAKING BOOKINGS NOW See website for menus and offers 25th JANUARY Santes Dwynwen / Burns Night 14th FEBRUARY Valentines Staycation Look out for Specially designed Vegan Tasting Menu 22nd MARCH Mother’s Day Lunch

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SUNDAY 16TH FEBRUARY 2020 12PM – 4PM We are thrilled to announce our first of many wedding fayres here at Plas Maenan Country House, where you can meet our new wedding co-ordinator, sample some of our head chef ’s favourite canapes and sip on some fizz whilst having a look around our stunning venue. A handful of highly recommended suppliers will also be in attendance to assist with the finer details of your special day, ensuring all of your boxes are ticked for the day you say “I Do”! FOR YOUR FREE ENTRY TICKET GO TO www.eventbrite.com/e/plas-maenan-countryhouse-wedding-fayre-tickets-86319348495 Alternatively, entry will be £5 on the day

TEL: 01492 660 977 EMAIL: info@plas-maenan-hotel.co.uk Plas Maenan Country House Conwy Valley  Nr. Llanrwst, Conwy, Conwy LL26 0YR UK.

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Fod&Drink THE BEAUTY OF BARA BRITH Graham Tinsley MBE, executive chef from Cheshire’s Carden Park estate, explains how he discovered one of his Welsh favourites – and how he has adapted and improved it over the years


hen I first came to work in Wales 30 years ago, one recipe I just had to get my hands on was bara brith, which translates as ‘speckled bread’. As I started my research, reading through different cookery books and quizzing local people for their ideas and personal recipes, I was amazed at just how many variations there are all over Wales. The history of bara brith tells of adding a handful of currants and some mixed spice to the last of the bread dough just as the baker was finishing his working day and the ovens began to

cool. This sweet loaf was usually taken home as a special treat for the baker’s family. There are so many variations of bara brith recipes. Some include honey, others contain marmalade; there are recipes that don’t require eggs and others with no fat. In south Wales they prefer to use baking powder in bara brith, but in the north we like to use yeast as the raising agent. The one I use includes strong cold tea, which infuses the dried fruit and is then mixed with eggs and self-raising flour. After trying many recipes I decided on a rich fruit cake-style loaf which is ideal for afternoon teas and, as it contains no fat, lasts until the children eat the last crumb. When serving the bara brith you can simply slice it and eat it plain or smother it wickedly in butter. In fact, bara brith is so versatile that even if it isn’t eaten all at once it can be used in other recipes – like bara brith ice cream and bara brith pudding.


450 dried mixed fruit (sultanas, currants, raisins, glacé cherries 170g soft brown sugar 240ml strong cold tea 1 egg 230g self-raising flour 1tsp mixed spice



DID YOU KNOW? Prince Charles is known to be a fan of bara brith

1. Put the fruit, sugar, tea, mixed spice and egg in a bowl and leave to soak overnight. 2. The next day, fold in the flour and place in a greased loaf tin. Heat the oven to 130°C/gas mark 2, then bake for around 90 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre can be pulled out clean.

New blue cheese for Powys

‘Luxurious and beautifully balanced’


We lved Trefaldwyn Blue! It is luxurious and very creamy, quite soft but firm enough to cut with a knife, and without the sharpness you sometimes get with blue cheese. It’s beautifully balanced with the sweet creaminess alongside the tang of the blue mould… you want to savour each piece and just let it melt in your mouth! All it needs is a cracker, but it also goes well with sweeter condiments like pickles, chutneys and chilli jam. It would be excellent in recipes showcasing its flavour – like a soufflé – but we think otherwise a bit of a waste to cook!

refaldwyn Blue is a new blue cheese, made by the only cheesemaker in Montgomery, that is now available at specialist food stores, delis and other retailers around Powys. Clare Jones created the initial recipe for Trefaldwyn Blue at her home in Montgomery. Clare says: ‘I’ve spent the past year perfecting the recipe. The result is a lovely, full-flavoured, soft and creamy blue cheese made from pasteurised Welsh cow’s milk.’ ‘We have many lovely dairy farms with rich pastures that produce high-quality milk, yet it all gets taken away to large dairies. It has been impossible to buy locally produced cheese in Montgomeryshire – my mission is to change that!’ Trefaldwyn Blue is available from shops including the High Street Deli in Newtown and Rikki Lloyd Butchers in Welshpool, as well as the Dragon Hotel and the Checkers in Montgomery. For more contact Clare on clare@trefaldwyn.com.

If you have a product you’d like the Shire team to Taste Test, just call us on 01691 661270 or drop us a line at editorial@shiremagazine.co.uk.

74 SHIRE MAGAZINE | January/February 2020

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BEST RESTAURANTS for RMANCING Planning a Valentine’s meal to treat your loved one? The area has plenty of wonderful restaurants where you can enjoy delicious meals, often made using local produce. Here are our 10 favourites

Hiraeth at Plas Maenan

What could be more romantic than dining in this elegant Edwardian house near Dolgarrog, which sits 300 feet above the river Conwy on a shelf of rock. At the end of last year the owners added a new development and a fine-dining restaurant, Hiraeth by Jason Hughes, as well as Tir a Môr, which specialises in Valentine favourites such as seafood, oysters and champagne.

Wild Shropshire

This is a venue with no menu – the food served on any particular night will be informed directly by what is outside in that moment. Terroir-led, micro-seasonal British food is served as a tasting menu of 10 to 12 courses, with each dish distilled down to its essence. The restaurant is based within Ternhill Farm House bed and breakfast near Market Drayton, so if you prefer not to drive home there are also rooms available on the premises.

a romantic meal, the venue has striven to preserve all its historical charm, nod nostalgically to the past and focus on what proper pubs are about.


Based at Chester Racecourse, 1539 offers a unique setting in which to enjoy a drink and a delicious meal in comfortable surroundings while taking in impressive views of the oldest racecourse in the UK. The menu offers twists on British classics alongside dishes inspired by flavours from across the globe, as well as a range of top-class ports.

The West Arms

The story of the West Arms goes back to 1570, when it was a farmhouse belonging to local gentry. Those centuries of providing warmth and hospitality to travellers are part of the fabric of the modern West Arms. Low ceilings, natural slate floors and roaring inglenook fires create the perfect ambience in which to enjoy the delicious food prepared by award-winning chef Grant Williams.

Docket No33

Docket No33 is a modern British restaurant offering cuisine with local and international influence, located in the market town of Whitchurch in Shropshire. Its chefs use fantastic local produce to create a fabulous tasting menu.

Tyddyn Llan

Tyddyn Llan in Llandrillo is considered one of Wales’s finest restaurants with a high rating in both the Good Food Guide and Good Hotel Guide. Chef Bryan Webb and his wife Susan, who runs the dining room impeccably, are committed to fine seasonal produce, arriving daily, including local meat and game and fish straight from the coast.



This Oswestry favourite can offer traditional authentic Italian cuisine prepared by a team who believe delicious food should be at the heart of life – and settle for nothing less. Using the freshest ingredients and combining passion with expertise, they prepare the most tantalising choice to delight your taste buds.

With a reputation for culinary excellence, innovation and seasonally-driven dishes, the Chequers restaurant at the Northop Hall Country House Hotel near Ewloe is nestled in nine acres of private woodland and secluded gardens. It’s your chance to dine in a beautifully restored Victorian mansion in the heart of north Wales.

The Boat at Erbistock

Dating back to at least the mid-17th century, this beautiful riverside inn has been welcoming and refreshing locals and passers-by for centuries. Perfect for

The White House

This family-run restaurant with rooms – based in Rhuallt, north Wales – prides itself on offering homemade dishes created using the freshest local ingredients and prepared by talented chefs. Enjoy superb food and wine, with something to tempt every taste, at an excellent location in an area of outstanding natural beauty. January/February 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 75

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GREAT VALUE WINTER WARMER SPECIALS Jamie’s Butchers and Deli offer a wide range of delicious local produce! Call in and ‘meat’ our friendly butchers and see what delights are on offer Unit 1, St Mary’s Precinct, Church Street, Chirk, Wrexham, LL14 5HX T: 01691 772602 Bellis Brothers Farm Shop & Garden Centre, Holt, Wrexham, LL13 9YU T: 01829 272030

A small country pub in a small village in a picturesque part of North Wales. Built over 200 years ago it still keeps its old world charm. “A good welcome is always received and there is a very good selection of drinks including at least three cask ales. With excellent pub food served every night except Wednesdays with special deals on certain nights and best of all the prices are very competitive. Winter Warmer Special, Monday and Tuesday nights 2 courses £10.95 Sunday Lunches 2 courses £12.00, 3 courses £14.75 Food served Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri, Sat 6pm - 9pm Sunday 1pm - 4.30pm

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Opening times: (Monday to Saturday 11am to 10pm Closed Sunday) 18A Oswald Road, Oswestry, Shropshire SY11 1RE T: 01691 659965 E: info@leponesitalian.co.uk www.leponesitalian.co.uk

A family restaurant All of our food is homemade, including fresh egg pasta and pizza dough. Join us and enjoy the culture of real Italian cooking.

If you are looking for traditional authentic Italian cuisine look no further. We know that delicious food should be at the heart of life – and we settle for nothing less. Made from the freshest ingredients we will prepare the most tantalising choice from our menu to delight your taste buds. Our chefs prepare each dish using only authentic recipes and skills, fresh for you each day.


Set in the splendour of a renovated Presbyterian church in the heart of the picturesque market town of Oswestry, Lepone’s is the perfect location to celebrate your wedding. Our bespoke wedding package options cater for every type of wedding from small intimate occasions or grand and extravagant – we have it covered.

Cocktails • Afternoon teas • Live music events Fresh produce available from the restaurant. Available for private functions and outside catering

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WHAT’S in the WINE? More and more people are changing over to a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle – especially at this time of year with the Veganuary campaign. Pip Gale of Gale’s Wine Bar in Llangollen explains how this affects wine drinkers – and picks some favourites


o most people it is a shock to learn that most wine isn’t vegan – and some isn’t even vegetarian. A fruit-based product just doesn’t seem as if it should affect the ethics of any animal product abstainer! The truth is that eggs and animal proteins have been used in the winemaking process for centuries. These are used in the clarification process called ‘fining’. The protein particles from

blood, milk protein, crustacean shells, egg whites, gelatine or fish protein act like a magnet to the floating wine particles that make the wine hazy. As in a French coffee press, the particles sink to the bottom, taking DID YOU the cloudiness with KNOW? them. The clear wine The fish protein is then taken from the used in fining is top. Wine will clear in called isinglass its own time but time is something many winemakers do not have – plus it can lead to inconsistencies down the line. Nowadays many producers use nonanimal alternatives, including carbon, clay and limestone. The trouble is that this information is not always on the label, so it can be hard to make a purchasing decision based on your diet requirements. You can usually find out online if a wine is vegan, but some companies are leading the way by labelling their wines appropriately…


Australia’s oldest family-owned wine company now labels all its wines vegetarian or vegan and there are some fantastic examples in its range. My favourite at the moment is Eden Valley Roussillon. Yalumba was instrumental in bringing viognier to the forefront of the wine world – most of the New World plantings went through


its nursery – and now it is trying to do the same with another of the Rhone Valley’s famous whites. Being distinctly fresher than its old-world counterpart makes it unlike drinking a white Rhone but it maintains the fuller, low-acidity style the grape is known for.

Bodegas Hidalgo

La Gitana Manzanilla is one of the driest wines I know – a classic, salty, refreshing aperitif. It could be considered a summer drink but I like nothing better than snacking on almonds and dried fruits with this fino sherry alternative all year round. It’s particularly appealing if you are searching for flavours that a vegan diet may sometimes struggle to include. Available in a pursefriendly 50cl size, it is also great to have on hand as a cooking ingredient.

SCARE THE SPIRITS AWAY The traditional wassail is an important tradition in cider production. Here’s the Campaign for Real Ale’s guide to a classic New Year ceremony


DID YOU KNOW? Wassail comes from Old English was hál, ‘be healthy’

anuary is the time of year when orchard owners and others involved in the production of cider and perry start to consider what lies make a sweet brew that ahead for their popular beverages. The biggest tastes amazing and properly warms you up. concern is always the Traditional wassail juice is similar to the above, but usually made using a slow cooker. Mix in some juniper berries and amount of fruit that an orchard will bear over the coming year, and a few hibiscus tea bags, and the result after three or fours the traditional way to ensure a bumper crop is to host a wassail. hours is a smooth drink that tastes fantastic. The wassail stems from an old tradition of waking up Not only is a wassail a great opportunity to drink the cider apple trees and scaring any bad spirits away. ‘Try mixing This might seem a little hokey, but there’s no doubt something different, you can try mixing the cider the cider with with some seasonal favourites. Shepherd’s pie, that gathering a load of people together to sing, dance, some seasonal Yorkshire puddings, leftover Christmas pudding drink and be merry is a great way to spend an evening favourites like and pasties are all good options. If you want to push after Twelfth Night. And as the nights are cold and shepherd’s pie’ the boat out and give your taste buds a surprise, dark, it’s certainly a great time to grab some cider and the combination of cider and paella is sublime. pair it with some good hearty food to warm the soul while chasing away the spirits and ensuring the trees are fully awake. There’s not much else going on in January and February (indeed, we’re told some people actual abstain from alcohol at this time Mulled cider is a popular and easy-to-make drink at this time of year!) so why not take the opportunity to light some torches, of year. Simply mix two bottles of cider in a pan with an orange sing to the trees, banish those mischievous spirits and enjoy stuck with cloves, two sliced lemons and oranges, a drop or two some great cider as part of this great tradition. Wassail! of honey, some cinnamon and some ground ginger, and you can January/February 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 77

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Looking to buy, sell or let in 2020? Shropshire estate agent Russell Griffin looks at the property market for the year ahead


Shropshire is a destination ollowing the events of county that blends a bucolic late 2019, in 2020 the idyll with, in Shrewsbury, a prospect of a stronger pound, beating cosmopolitan heart. lower unemployment and more The county draws buyers from economic optimism should help across the UK, particularly galvanise the lacklustre 2019 from the Midlands, the northproperty market so we can look west, Cheshire and forward to more significant activity as of course London the market awakens. and the south-east. The attraction Property is not an lies in the rural exact science and beauty, commercial predictions are opportunities, historic notoriously tricky – but Shropshire tends towns like Ludlow and the gentle way to defy predictions of life on offer. and continues Is 2020 your year? Samuel Wood with slight yearspecialises in properties on-year house price inflation. all across the county from I believe this reflects the lifestyle demands in the area. our offices in Shrewsbury, Church Stretton, Craven There are some things Arms and Ludlow. With our that a general election result dedicated teams promoting or Brexit can never alter. our clients’ properties and Geography is one of them. taking buyers’ every need into consideration, we can ensure you’ll find the best options in Shropshire in 2020.

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Russell Griffin is director of Samuel Wood. If you are considering buying, selling or letting property, contact Russell on 01743 272710 for a noobligation consultation

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78 SHIRE MAGAZINE | January/February 2020

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Beautifully restored wing of historic building opens DID YOU KNOW? The rebellious Abbot of Combermere was excommunicated in 1281

The ancient estate of Combermere, on the Cheshire and Shropshire border, has unveiled a beautifully restored wing that makes a stunning addition to this impressive home that’s also a successful business


ombermere Abbey has been standing for almost 900 years and has been owned by Sarah Callander Beckett and her family for the last hundred of them. Maintaining the property and running the historic estate as a successful and award-winning holiday destination and wedding venue has been a labour of love for the family, and one that has seen regular schemes of work and improvement across the many aspects of the building. One recent project, welcomed by owners and visitors alike, was the extensive restoration of the North Wing, with interior decoration overseen by world-renowned designer

The restoration project began in summer 2018

During restoration, the Grade I listed building was stripped back to reveal its original medieval and Tudor frame. The 19th century cladding and existing roof structure were repaired and the Gothic exterior reinstated. All the original interiors were painstakingly restored using local craftsmen from the region. ‘My job was to take the space inside and make it fresh and contemporary looking,’ says designer Nina. ‘The architecture is so strong it made my job much simpler, putting fresh colour and introducing our fabrics, which are classic with a contemporary twist – the perfect match.’ The North Wing perfectly combines historic architecture and modern comforts, encapsulating much of the building’s 900-year history and preserving the Abbey’s heritage. It certainly leaves one wondering: if the walls of the North Wing could speak, what would they say?

The design creates an inviting ambience

Nina Campbell (pictured above). The 18-month project, which cost around £2 million and was achieved with an enabling project after a 13-year planning battle, has truly returned the wing to its former glory.

Highly accommodating

A popular accommodation choice for bed and breakfast visitors, the North Wing’s two spacious en-suite rooms also double as a wedding honeymoon suite. The tasteful new interior has a contemporary colour palette, including strong reds and deep blues, creating an inviting atmosphere. The whole wing benefits from large windows that welcome in an abundance of natural light and provide beautiful lake views.

You can find out more about the restoration at www.combermererestoration.co.uk The restoration incorporates the wing’s Gothic features January/February 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 79

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Onwards and upwards

The design was improvised around a shepherd’s hut template

A loft extension can be a good option if you need more space and want to add value to a property. Here are the benefits (and pitfalls) of taking on such a project


f you’re struggling for space in your home, a loft conversion is a great way to make better use of underused existing space – particularly if you need an extra bedroom, when it can make much more economic sense than adding a large twostorey extension. Recent surveys indicate that converting your loft into living space adds around £20,000 to the property’s value, although such a project can cost anything from £15,000 to £60,000 depending on the design and the building. If you decide to go ahead, there are many things to think about first.

It includes a kitchenette and a small bathroom

Permission Most loft conversions don’t need planning permission as it falls under ‘permitted development’, but you need to adhere to building regulations regarding the new staircase and fire doors. Always check with your local planning office before you go ahead.


Styles Depending on space and what you are trying to achieve you

may want a simple ‘room in the roof ’, which is the cheapest and most straightforward option, or you may prefer a dormer loft conversion which will increase the usable floorspace and add head height.

Suitability Not all loft spaces can be converted. You’ll have to

consider various factors such as available head height, roof pitch, roof structure and obstacles such as water tanks or chimney stacks.

Access Think about where to add the stairs. The ideal location is in line with the roof ridge, which will make use of the available height. Structure Make sure you get a structural engineer to check if you’ll need any extra support, such as new ceiling joists.

Light The two main options for allowing light in are rooflights

that follow the pitch line of the roof or dormer windows, which not only give natural light but can add space to a loft conversion.

Heating Extensions of any kind increase the heat load requirement, so you may need to upgrade your boiler. But if a loft conversion is well insulated it can help improve the overall energy efficiency of the house. Fire safety New windows must be large enough and low enough

to escape from. If the conversion transforms a two-storey house into a three-storey one there are other considerations for emergency escape such as height, ladders and alarms – check you are complying with regulations or your project won’t get a completion certificate.

How we made a railway carriage

DID YOU KNOW? You can stay in a Huts and Stuff hut at Hafod Las, near Wrexham

uts and Stuff is a family business, based on the Powys/ Shropshire border, that has been building unusual structures for over 20 years – from shepherd’s huts to narrowboats, to be used for every function from glamping to alternative garden sheds. Recently the company took on the challenge of building a hut in the style of an old-fashioned railway carriage. ‘As a lifelong fan of steam trains it seemed like a good idea,’ says Dave Gregory, senior partner in the father-and-son team behind Huts and Stuff. ‘The idea had been bubbling away for a couple of years but were always too busy on the huts, until I decided we should just get on with it. With no particular customer in mind we drew up the idea, with some idea of what it should look like and the size, 16ft x 8ft – but apart from that, we just sort of made it up as we went along! ‘The chassis is based on our tried-and-tested shepherd’s hut formula, but lower and with wheels all the same size. The carriage is a traditional timber-frame style, slightly curved. We decided to clad the outside in aluminium, which was a whole new experience but turned out quite well in the end. The carriage is wider than our standard shepherd’s hut, which gave us more scope on the interior design, and we wanted lots of natural light and for it to feel spacious without wasting space. ‘The carriage also has a small bathroom, containing shower, wash basin and composting loo, and corner seating that converts into a double bed, as well as a kitchenette and wood-burning stove. Hot water is provided via a hot water cylinder and the carriage is wired for 240v mains power. ‘While we were building it, a previous customer called in and fell in love with it. A few weeks later we delivered it to her – a challenge in itself!. We will be starting a new carriage build in spring 2020.’ For more information visit www.hutsandstuff.co.uk.

80 SHIRE MAGAZINE | January/February 2020

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New Homes

Shrewsbury home up for architecture prize A remodelling project by a firm of Shropshire architects on a Grade II listed house near Shrewsbury has been shortlisted for a national award


hen Base Architecture & Design took on a project to breathe new life into an ancient house, as well as give the owners more living space and a more appropriate ‘feel’ to the building, its architects knew they’d have to pull off something special. And they obviously did, since the resulting open-plan kitchen/diner at the Shrubbery in Withington is one of just 16 residential developments to be shortlisted in the national Homebuilding & Renovating Readers’ Choice Awards, sponsored by the Daily Telegraph. The renovation made it through to the finals in the Best Extension category – a fitting accolade for the team who certainly met the client’s brief, and then some.

Brightening the kitchen with light from the garden

DID YOU KNOW? There are nearly five million homes in the UK built before 1900

Base was commissioned for a full concept-tocompletion service, from the initial design through to gaining planning and listed building consent, tendering the scheme, and administration of the onsite construction phase of work, which was carried out by Shrewsbury-based OPH Joinery.

Bringing old and new together

Base provided a concept-to-completion service for the kitchen/diner

Base managing director Carl Huntley says he’s delighted that the quality of the design and build has been recognised in the awards. ‘The brief was to create an open-plan kitchen/diner that linked the house and garden,’ he says. ‘But given the historic nature of the property, it was important that we created a sympathetic design that gave the contemporary look the owners wanted while maintaining the integrity and style of the listed building. ‘Our proposal removed the existing poor conservatory and opened up the back of the building, capitalising on the stunning original features of the house. We installed folding glass doors with a glazed panel that extends up to the roof, drawing the outside views into the space and linking the kitchen to the garden. It was a great project to work on for exceptional clients, so we are very pleased to have been shortlisted for this prestigious award.’ January/February 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 83

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Glory of glass Interior designer and Shire columnist Suzanne Mercer of Kettle Design in Heswall on the Wirral looks at (and through) an ancient material that plays an important role in every home

Splish splash! Tiles create a water effect

Mosaic bath

Glass mosaic tiles (above) have been used here to create a wonderful water splash effect around the bath. We have pioneered a process to create the complex computer-aided design drawings required for the aqua cutting of the lattice into the flooring tiles, into which the mosaic tiles are set.


We used glass-encapsulated bronze-coloured sheer fabric (left) in this one-off bespoke design for a client. The overall effect is a translucent ripple of privacy shrouding a bathroom oasis that stands within a bedroom.

Marble bowl An unusual twist on the en-suite bathroom


lthough glass buildings are often thought futuristic, glass in interior design goes all the way back to the first century AD, when wealthy Romans used luxury glass fittings to show off their affluence. Fast-forward a couple of millennia and glass fittings come in many designs for a multitude of purposes. Kettle Design has successfully used glass for beautiful structures and exquisite finishing touches, from illuminated staircases and transparent internal walls to expertly crafted hand-blown light fittings and quirky accessories, such as a handmade bowl made entirely from kiln-fired marbles. Here are some of our recent projects that have used glass to get the high-class look and feel we wanted…

Dozens of specially designed pure glass marbles were gently rolled into a mould then kiln-fired to create this quirky yet

The marble bowl designed by Deborah Moss

elegant piece (above) that was designed by Deborah Moses – an artist whose commissions are available through Kettle Design.

Etched screen

A unique glass screen which disappears into the wall when not needed separates the kitchen from the snug in this project (left). The delicate etched design emulates those on the kitchen units, while the addition of glass droplets which glisten in the light adds beauty and texture to the screen, making it a stunning focal point. Kettle’s unique etched-glass screen disappears when not in use

For more home styling inspiration visit www.kettledesign.co.uk

84 SHIRE MAGAZINE | January/February 2020

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1. Lounge retro chrome floor lamp, £339, Annetts Furniture, Hereford; www.annetts.co.uk 2. Scatter box cushions, from £18.39, Tweedmill Shopping Outlet, St Asaph; www.tweedmill.co.uk 3. The Owlery fox print lampshade, £45, Mostyn, Llandudno; www.mostyn.org/shop 4. Jara terracotta plant stand, from £26.95 (available in two sizes), Rose & Grey; www.roseandgrey.co.uk 5. Colour Luxe Sylvan Leaf Orange Arthouse wallpaper, £19.99 per roll, World of Wallpaper; www.worldofwallpaper.com 6. Glosters Pottery festive mug, £25, Mostyn, Llandudno; www.mostyn.org/shop 7. Janet Edwards jug, from £20, Mostyn, Llandudno; www.mostyn.org/shop


8. Spiced Orange scented natural soy wax candle, £24, Dexter & Mason, Holywell, Flintshire; www.dexterandmason.com 9. Tartan Doggie doorstop, £19, Hafren Furnishers, Llanidloes; www.hafrenfurnishers.co.uk 10. Cotton throw, £18, Freemans; www.freemans.com 11. Garden Trading enamel stove kettle, £40, Hurn & Hurn; www.hurnandhurn.com 12. Grattage Wallpaper, £129, Curious Egg; www.curiousegg.com 13. Curved earthenware planters, from £32, Graham & Green; www.grahamandgreen.co.uk 14. Blankets and throws, from £37.50-£62.50 Afonwen Craft and

Antique Centre, Mold www.afonwen.co.uk

15. Parker Knoll York wing chair, £1,440, Stokers Furniture, Chester; www.stokers.co.uk January/February 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 87

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Glyndwr Plants We have plants for every type of gardener!

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.

Huts & Stuff

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.

Our Shepherds Huts are Perfect for Spare Rooms, Model railways, Craft & Hobby rooms, Garden Retreats, Glamping, or just because you love them. We have been building bespoke Shepherds Huts, Wagons and stuff in mid Wales for over 15 years. Prices start from £6,995. Nationwide & European Delivery Visitors welcome by appointment To order or discuss your requirements Contact David and John on 01588 620132 Mob: 07300 013032 Email: davestilthouse@gmail.com www.hutsandstuff.co.uk

Coffee shop 01490 413 688 I Garden Centre 01490 413 313

Orders now being taken for Spring 2020 Delivery

The Centre is on the A5104, half a mile out of Corwen




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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Plants&Gardens CELEBRATE THE NEW YEAR WITH A NEW GARDEN! It can be hard to feel inspired about your garden at this time of year, but put the winter to good use by spending time planning a garden redesign project and it will pay dividends come spring. Shire asks Xa Tollemache, who transformed Shropshire’s Iscoyd Park, for tips


here are few people in the UK with whose reputation in garden planning and design is as impressive as that of Xa Tollemache. Not only has she recently transformed the exterior of Iscoyd Park in Shropshire to match the manor house’s stunning interior, she has also worked tirelessly on her own Xa Tollemache, right spectacular gardens at Helmingham Hall in Suffolk, which won the Historic Houses Garden of the Year award in 2017. Xa would be the first to admit that when she first arrived at Helmingham Hall over 40 years ago, she knew very little about gardens, let alone how to design one, but through a combination of thirst for knowledge, huge dedication and hard work she gained an enormous amount of experience and expertise. By 1996, she felt ready to take up garden design professionally. She took drawing classes from a professional designer, mastered the art of scaled plans and axonometric drawings, and built on those years of hands-on experience – and the rest is history.

The beautiful Iscoyd Park in Shropshire

is no point in the two things not working together – the garden must complement the house it belongs to. ‘When I visit a garden or property for the first time, I try to identify its bad points. These are the elements I try to tackle first, because if you don’t sort out those, all the time and effort you put in to the rest of the garden can be wasted.’

Expert advice

Whether you’re planning a new planting scheme, First impressions count restocking tired borders Ask for advice on plants ‘Start by or designing a complete Despite her experience and making world-leading reputation, Xa is both hands-on and landscaping of your estate, sure you’ve practical when it comes to the gardens she designs. When make sure you spend got the the required time on she visits a site for the first time, she spends a long time scale right’ understanding the house, looking at the landscape, and planning before you start. Speak with someone studying the light, where it appears and at what time. ‘I suppose if I who knows their plants – even had to describe if that means just asking at your myself as having local garden centre – and take Xa’s top tips into account too. a particular Xa says: ‘If I were to offer my garden design style, it would top three tips for garden design be classic they would be, firstly, start by Xa designs gardens to reflect the house contemporary,’ making sure you’ve got the scale and proportion right. Secondly, remember that hard landscaping Xa says. ‘But more than anything I mistakes are expensive to put right, whereas planting is less so, so make sure you get the lansdcaping right first. And finally, start any style the gardens I design to reflect design with a good base of evergreen and structure plants. After the house. There that, you can let your imagination run wild!’ Iscoyd’s croquet lawn January/February 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 89

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GARDEN GLORIES FOR CHESHIRE ESTATE Last summer’s wet and warm weather was a treat for many gardeners across the Shire region, and one grower in particular is celebrating a bumper harvest thanks to the favourable conditions


hen it comes to weather, there is one local grower whose annual yield is entirely reliant on having just the right natural conditions. And while last summer’s weather didn’t suit every gardener, it was just what the harvest ordered for wine growers at Cheshire’s Carden Park Estate. One of England’s most northerly vineyards – and the only such producer in Cheshire – harvested five tonnes of grapes in October to begin the 18-month process to produce Carden Park Estate’s award-winning sparkling white and rosé wines. Two types of grape are grown at the estate: a seyval blanc, which produces a light, nutty and crisp wine, and a pinot noir, used to produce the sparkling rosé.

Warmer, wetter summers mean a later harvest

cold spells in comparison with 50 years ago, and DID YOU this can also affect our typical grape yields.’ KNOW? Harvesting the grapes at from more than There are over 4,000 vines on Carden Park Estate’s south100 vineyards in the UK producing west-facing slopes takes around two days. sparkling After harvest, the fruit is transported to wines Every cloud… Halfpenny Green Vineyards in Staffordshire, ‘The change in climate – with extra-warm where it is pressed before beginning fermentation, summers followed by downpours – has changed using champagne yeast in a classic process called when we pick the crop,’ explains head of estate méthode Champagnoise. The sparkling wine has the taste and Peter Pattenden. ‘The growing season of bubbles of champagne, while still using the estate’s grapes grape vines in north-west England, which was – something the hotel and vineyard are very proud of. …and high grape yields between May and September, has lengthened So next time you are lamenting the downpours that are by about one month. And while heatwaves have become more the curse of many home growers, think of the results for the frequent during the summer, there are also fewer frosts and winter wine growers reaping extra juicy and delicious grapes.


If you’re redesigning your garden or starting one from scratch, it’s a good idea to start with the basic building blocks. We round up the best plants to add structure to your garden


Clipped shrubs or trees are great for structure because they can be made into any shape you like. Good plants options include box, yew, bay, ilex and conifers; you can also plant topiary balls, cones, spirals or lollipops for striking evergreen focal points. If you’re feeling brave, you can create your own shapes, either cutting them freehand or using a topiary frame – a wire mesh that you place over the plant as a 3D template. Use topiary in flowerbeds as an anchor, or add two plants as markers by a gate or along a path. Topiary of different shapes and sizes can also be used to great effect when planted together and can be trained to create archways, walling and whatever Let your creativity flourish your imagination comes up with!


Another favourite that deserves a bit of respect all year round and not just at Christmas is holly. It takes pruning remarkably well and, although not as malleable as topiary, can provide wonderful structure – a dense volume of glossy green that is slightly shabbier than box thanks to its larger leaves. Holly’s dense green shades provide a great background to brighter planting schemes, although some people prefer variegated tones. If you choose a fruit-bearing variety – and give it plenty of space – you’ll also be guaranteed a sprig of red berries for your festive decorations.


Positioned in large clumps, bamboo makes an ideal focal point, or it can be used in smaller amounts to add structure to borders. It can look unsightly if left to grow unhindered, and may become invasive, so keeping plants under control is key. Bamboo thrives in moist, well-drained soil in a sheltered, sunny spot but will tolerate most soil types. There are many varieties available, so it is possible to find a Assess your soil bamboo for pretty much any garden.

90 SHIRE MAGAZINE | January/February 2020

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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!

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

The family firm that looks after you Rix Oakleys is the local firm with local knowledge on our side to make sure that your heating oil arrives quickly from a team you can rely on all year round. Why not upgrade to premium heating oil this winter to keep your oil-fired boiler running as efficiently as possible. Call our friendly team today to find out more and get a quote.

Call 01952 684600 or visit www.rix.co.uk

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GreenLiving Top ideas for a greener life There are many ways we can all do our bit to be more environmentally friendly – some of which are more unusual than others. To mark the launch of Shire’s new Greener Living section, we’ve picked a few suggestions you may not have considered…

DID YOU KNOW? The average home loses 10 per cent of its heat through uninsulated floors

Choose the right underlay

Turn a blind eye

Recycle your kitchen

Fit a filter

Carpet underlays are now available that are made from recycled materials but offer all the insulation of more traditional materials. At the end of last year, British manufacturer Texfelt launched an environmentally-friendly luxury underlay that could see the average homeowner doing their bit for the environment with 900 recycled bottles sitting pretty under their carpets. The company is trying combat the eight million tonnes that fill our oceans every year while at the same time improving household air pollution, with 85 per cent of its Springbond underlay made from recycled PET plastic bottles and other single use-plastics. As well as being green, clean and durable, with a depth of 11mm it offers superb comfort and great insulation both in terms of heat and noise. If you’re getting a new kitchen, why not consider reusing someone else’s or selling your old one rather than sending it to landfill? The Used Kitchen Company was the brainchild of Looeeze Grossman, who created the business over 13 years ago to encourage homeowners and showrooms to recycle their kitchens instead of abandoning them. The concept has been a great success, selling thousands of used and ex-display kitchens. The Used Kitchen Company prides itself on having the most experience in the business and has an excellent reputation for efficiency and customer service. Whether you’re looking to buy or sell a kitchen, or would like a free valuation, the Used Kitchen Company’s team of professional kitchen specialists are ready to assist you throughout the process and will always go that extra mile in making your kitchen journey a complete success.

If you’re looking to reduce your household’s energy usage, quality window coverings are a must; fit some that are made from recycled scrap and you’ll get a double dose of green credentials. Apollo Blinds has introduced a number of products with impressive eco credentials to its extensive range. One such product is the Greenscreen Sea-Tex blind, which is made from recovered ocean plastic. The plastic, retrieved from beaches, remote coastlines and inland waterways, has been transformed into a long-lasting high-performance roller blind fabric. Greenscreen Sea-Tex fabric is energy-efficient, filters sunlight and is fully recyclable. It’s also PVC free and available in five neutral, semi-transparent shades. Laid end to end, the amount of plastic bottles the average family of four throws away each year would stretch from Manchester to Liverpool – making drinking water good for our health, but not so good for the environment. Understandably, drinking great-tasting, fresh filtered water is appealing – so why not look into how to achieve the same result at home without the plastic bottle build-up? The Abode Swich is a clever little device that can be fitted to any tap to filter tap water. It’s recommended that we all drink two litres of water a day, which would result in a lot of discarded plastic bottles, but with the Swich it’s easily on tap.

Save the planet – and money too! M

oving from traditional fossil fuels to a renewable energy source, such as a heat pump or solar thermal system, isn’t only better for the environment but can also allow you to claim money back under an incentive scheme. In order to claim the Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), your renewable energy system must be approved by the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) and installed under strict MCS guidelines. Oswestry-based iHeat is fully qualified and regulated to help with any installation under the RHI scheme and can advise you on the system that would be best for your home and the environment. For more information or for a quote, call 01691 238180 or visit www.iheatltd.co.uk.

92 SHIRE MAGAZINE | January/February 2020

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Light up the



Don’t hide indoors just because it’s dark and cold outside. Add light and warmth with flames, fires, lanterns and heaters 6


4 3

5 8




11 12

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14.

Festoon squirrel lights, £45 for 10 bulbs, Garden Trading; www.gardentrading.co.uk Highwayman lanterns, from £29.99, Waitrose & Partners; www.waitrosegarden.com Silver Series hanging mushroom electric heater, £99.99, Fron Goch Garden Centre, Caernarfon; www.frongoch-gardencentre.co.uk Stainless steel BBQ forks, £18 for two, Garden Trading; www.gardentrading.co.uk La Fiesta Santa Lucia large cast iron chimenea, £109.99, Primrose; www.primrose.co.uk Quest log candle, £5.99, Go Outdoors, Shrewsbury; www.gooutdoors.co.uk Aglow Bluetooth outdoor speaker and light, £129, Cuckooland; www.cuckooland.com Fallen Fruits ironised firebowl, £189, Ludlow Stoves; www.ludlowstoves.co.uk Gardeco Isla large cast iron firebowl with log store, £119.99, Saxon Homecare, Chirk; www.saxonhomecare.co.uk Morsø Forno Hut, from £5,945 (including delivery and construction), RN Williams, St. Asaph; www.rnwilliams.co.uk Forest design firebowl, £1,400, British Ironwork Centre, Oswestry, Shropshire; www.britishironworkcentre.co.uk Kadai Original firebowl, from £280, Kadai, Leebotswood, Shropshire; www.kadai.co.uk Kadai Red Mogul iron lantern, £45, Kadai, Leebotswood, Shropshire; www.kadai.co.uk Heatsail dome patio heater pendant light, £2,400, Cuckooland; www.cuckooland.com


January/February 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 93

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To help prepare for the Big Garden Birdwatch, the RSPB has plenty of events taking place across its nature reserves in Wales … RSPB Ynys-hir On 19th January from 10.30am to 3pm, practise your bird ID skills by the feeders and make a bird cake to take home. On 25th January join staff and volunteers at Machynlleth Library from 10am to 1pm and help count the birds in the library grounds. For information call Machynlleth Library on 01654 702322 or RSPB Ynys-hir on 01654 70022 or visit www. rspb.org.uk/ynys-hir.

It’s an important time of year for all of us to play our part in helping to protect birds by joining the RSPB’s annual Big Garden Birdwatch. Here’s how Shire readers can get involved…


nce again, wildlife protection charity the RSPB is running it Big Garden Birdwatch this January. Which bird will emerge top of the pecking order? Over the past four decades, Blue tit, 3rd 2019 the Big Garden Birdwatch has become one of the world’s largest garden wildlife citizen science projects. Hundreds of thousands of people have volunteered their time, spending a total of almost nine million hours monitoring garden birds, with 137 million birds counted, giving the RSPB an astonishing amount of insight into how our wildlife is faring. The public is asked to spend an hour watching and recording the birds in their garden or local green space, then send their results to the RSPB. In 2020 the dates are 25th to 27th January. It was this survey that helped alert the RSPB to the decline in the number of song thrushes: it was in the top 10 in 1979 but had dropped to number 20 by 2019, with sightings Starling, 2nd in 2019 falling by 76 per cent. The

house sparrow remains the most DID YOU commonly seen garden bird, KNOW? with more than 1.2 million House sparrow recorded sightings in the sightings 2019 Big Garden Birdwatch. increased by 10

Eagle eyes

per cent from 2009-2019

This year the RSPB is encouraging participants to share their Big Garden Birdwatch stories, from building a birdwatching den to baking wildlife-themed cakes. The link between the public and the wildlife on their doorsteps has never been more important – everyone has a role to play in saving nature and protecting wildlife, so get counting! It’s an enjoyable activity that anyone can do and a great opportunity Watch for an hour to connect with nature. For your Big Garden Birdwatch pack, which includes a bird identification chart, RSPB shop voucher and advice to help you attract wildlife to your garden, text BIRD to 70030 or visit www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch

Get your school involved in Birdwatch The RSPB wants to encourage local schools to play their part in the Big Garden Birdwatch, filling up bird feeders, turning classrooms into bird hides and creating wildlife-friendly bakes in preparation for watching and counting the birds in their school grounds. The Big Schools Birdwatch, which runs between 6th January and 21st February, is a chance for children and teachers to

RSPB Conwy On 25th and 26th January from 11am to 3pm you can hit the Big Garden Birdwatch trail! You can make tasty treats for birds and identify your garden birds and what they like to eat, with helpful advice and information from our staff and volunteers. The event is free. For information call 01492 581025 or visit www.rspb.org.uk/conwy. RSPB Lake Vyrwny On 18th and 19th January from 11am to 2pm, brush up or get started on your garden bird ID with expert help in the hide and learn how to make a bird feeder! You can also try out binoculars and telescopes with expert advice available in the shop. Booking not essential. For information call 01691 870278 or visit www. rspb.org.uk/lakevyrnwy.

discover the nature within their local community. With over a million children taking part since its launch in 2002, it’s the perfect opportunity to incorporate outdoor learning into the curriculum. Last year, 60,000 children and teachers took part, counting more than 100,000 birds. For more information visit www.rspb.org.uk/schoolswatch.

January/February 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 95

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THE PLACE FOR V.I.PETS A local pet business, which is booming thanks to its latest innovations and industry recognition, has unveiled plans to reward loyal customers with more creature comforts


Pet owners will be pampered too!

etPlace has enjoyed a busy year, taking director Sion Pritchard says the firm – which on new staff and achieving a five-star has stores in Ruthin, Chirk, Mold, Llangefni hygiene rating at its revolutionary coffee and Abergele, with a head office in Mochdre bar, play park and cinema in Abergele. – wants to reward shoppers and their pets. ‘We have loyal customers across The company, which also has a prestigious Investors in People north Wales and beyond who have ‘We truly Silver Award, is now planning been with us for many years,’ says value our to give back to regular visitors Sion. ‘Most importantly we want customers’ via the PetPlace Plus scheme. to thank the customers who come support’ Members will receive offers back again and again – especially tailored to their buying habits, in Abergele, where we had a store as well as free dog washes, complimentary revamp two years ago – because we truly appreciate and value their support.’ coffee and early information on upcoming events and advice sessions. Managing Visit www.farmandpetplace.co.uk.

PICTURE-PERFECT WILDLIFE HAVEN A popular spot for admiring local wildlife has celebrated its tea room’s centenary with a refurbishment and exhibition


he Long Mynd, a plateau in the Shropshire Hills, has long been renowned for its abundant wildlife, much of which can be seen and enjoyed on walks and explorations of the area. These often include a visit to the National Trust Chalet Pavilion tea room – which has seen a gradual transformation over the past 18 months, in a fitting celebration of an institution that will celebrate its 100th birthday this year. Now there are even more reasons to visit, including the log-burner and the warming treats awaiting you in the tea rooms, and the National Trust Carding Mill Valley team hope even more people will enjoy the area. The Long Mynd is fame for its golden ringed dragonfly and red grouse, and the local wildlife has also been incorporated into

the newly refurbished space in the form of an exhibition of wildlife and landscape photos from awardwinning Shropshire photographer Andrew Fusek Peters. The images have been DID YOU chosen to give new visitors KNOW? a taste of the wildlife and Long Mynd is views that can be enjoyed known as Mynydd in the Shropshire Hills. Hir in Welsh. Both mean ‘long Regular visitors will enjoy mountain’ seeing up-close shots of the Mynd’s iconic species. Fusek Peters’ nationally acclaimed photographs are part of a long-term ongoing commission for the National Trust at Carding Mill Valley. Visitors can also see large-scale projections

‘Tree And Dawn’ by Andrew Fusek Peters

of a series of short films shot by Paul Westall from Worker Drones UK, showing the majestic landscapes of the Mynd. It’s a great time to visit the Long Mynd for those with an interest in photography as well as nature, with seasonal colour changes in the landscape and bird species arriving and departing to provide just a few of the highlights. Visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk.


Loki the CockerJack I am not a mop, I am Billie

Suki Pip and Chico having a cwtch


Best buddies Milo and Barney

Two rescue girls, Ana and Tiggy Mae, sharing a snuggle on the sofa

WE WANT YOUR PETS! Send us a photo of your pet for inclusion in Shire! Just email the picture, with the name of your pet, to editorial@ shiremagazine.co.uk Rico

96 SHIRE MAGAZINE | January/February 2020

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#GwylioAdar ? 25-27 Ionawr 2020

How will you

#BigGarden BirdWatch ? 25-27 January 2020

Cofiwch rannu eich straeon a’ch lluniau gyda ni Ar gyfer eich pecyn Gwylio Adar yr Ardd AM DDIM ewch i rspb.org.uk/birdwatch

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Don’t forget to share your stories & photos with us For your FREE Big Garden Birdwatch pack visit rspb.org.uk/birdwatch

830-0902-19-20: Image: Bark (Fotolia). Mae’r RSPB yn elusen gofrestredig yn Lloegr a Chymru 207076, yn Yr Alban SC037654. The RSPB is a registered charity in England & Wales 207076, in Scotland SC037654

Sut fyddwch chi’n

19/12/2019 18:26

Arts&Crafts Crafts Local salt inspires samurai scarves

An ancient fabric dye favoured by Japanese samurai warriors for its natural antibacterial qualities helped a Welsh textile designer create these innovative high-fashion scarves


studied at Ysgol Glan Clwyd talented Welsh designer has launched an intriguing new in St Asaph. ‘I was in touch range of scarves made using a highly prized local ingredient. with a merchant in Japan, Gethin Hughes, 27, from Denbigh, created his Japanese denim and I researched the history scarves using indigo dye and techniques mastered by traditional of indigo weavers – plus Halen Môn (Anglesey sea salt) mixed dye. I believe with white distilled vinegar as a finishing agent. the denim After extensive research and experimentation, ‘Rather than using mass-produced household scarves are Gethin discovered that Anglesey sea salt from salt, I wanted to use a unique because Halen Môn was the perfect agent for locking the locally sourced artisan nobody else colour into the cloth. ‘It has been a real labour product. It gives a is doing what of love,’ said Gethin. ‘Anglesey sea salt is used nice feel and a lovely I do, traditionally woven on shuttle looms.’ by countless Michelin chefs – even former US finish to the cloth’ Gethin says he spent a lot of time researching President Barack Obama apparently enjoys it – the best way to finish the cloth to get the best and it’s available on my doorstep. Now it’s being out of the material before discovered the salt’s potential. used to finish denim in north Wales, and it works really well.’ ‘I knew of Anglesey sea salt already, and rather than using Out of the blue mass-produced household salt I wanted to use a locally sourced artisan product. It gives a nice feel and a lovely finish The practice of using indigo for textile dyeing and printing dates to the cloth, and I was very happy with the results.’ back at least 6,000 years to Peru, while the characteristic blue of the dye comes from the leaves of the Japanese indigo plant, Persicaria tinctoria, which has natural Artistic endeavours antibacterial, anti-odour and Gethin has produced a range of silk scarves that are available in flame-retardant properties. a growing number of high-end boutiques across Wales and the Samurai warriors wore north-west of England. He studied product design at the Cardiff indigo-dyed garments School Of Art & Design and went on to complete an MA in art under their armour as a and design. After graduating he won a prestigious placement as way to protect their bodies part of the Proof Scholarship scheme at the Regional Print Centre, from infection and to part of Coleg Cambria in Wrexham. Gethin has a studio at Ruthin help cleanse wounds. Craft Centre, which has supported his artistic journey. ‘It all happened quite naturally,’ says Gethin, who For more about Gethin’s work, visit www.wilding.store 98 SHIRE MAGAZINE | January/February 2020

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Wrexham welcomes international exhibition

AFONWEN CRAFTS Events at Afonwen Craft & Antique Centre in Flintshire over the coming months 16th & 17th January, Eco Silver Jewellery by Sandra Roberts Unique and beautiful jewellery made in Sandra’s studio, using lovely stones and reclaimed silver. 18th & 19th January, local artist Thelma Evans Thelma paints on canvas with a delicate style, consisting mainly of flowers and landscapes. 25th January, Charlotte at Country Commissions Learn how to paint your own furniture, using chalk paint under Charlotte’s tuition. 29th & 30th January, Elaine at Cherry Bea Elaine makes wonderful jewellery, created with beads, charms and pendants and cold resin – plus new for 2020, Swarovski crystal assorted jewellery. 31st January, Weaving with Trevor Blackburn Trevor makes scarves and cushion covers from various yarns, and he is also able to demonstrate weaving sticks and lucet cord making.

This year’s edition of the Print International exhibition, featuring over 85 artists from eight countries, is being held in a town with a fittingly rich printing heritage Print International, Ty Pawb, Wrexham, until 1st February

‘We are delighted to host Print International for its eighth edition,’ says exhibition More than 85 coordinator Karen Whittingham. ‘Together, artists from Print International and Make Print demonstrate how Ty Pawb can simultaneously garner eight countries, both local and international appeal.’ including the As part of Make Print, Pam Newall has US, Canada also curated an archive of prints and flyers and Japan, are displaying their which represent a specific era in the 1970s. The archive is on loan from the work at Ty Pawb in Wrexham as part Bradford Print Studio thanks to of the biennial Print International ‘Wrexham has Dr Robert Galeta and Pam Brooks, exhibition. The event launched in significant lecturers at Bradford School of Art. November and although prizes have printmaking heritage, been awarded in the six categories, Wrexham councillor Hugh Jones says: which will be a seventh prize – the £500 People’s ‘Wrexham has significant printmaking celebrated’ heritage, Choice – will be awarded at the end of which will the exhibition following a public vote. be celebrated with As well as Print International, artist Pam this internationally Newall has collaborated with Ty Pawb and Oswestry’s Designs In Mind to develop a live reaching, locally embedded pair of print studio, Make Print. In the gallery, this exhibitions.’ studio will create print designs that will feature on products to be sold through Designs In www.typawb.wales Mind’s JOLT and Siop//Shop at Ty Pawb.

8th & 9th February, Marie at Earth Deva Marie creates items based on myths including statues, bowls, wall plaques and more, plus some limited-edition prints, animal and pet portraits. 11th February, Crafty Sisters Cymru The ladies will be at Afonwen with their resin, fused glass, gemstone and braided jewellery, along with handmade cards, box-frame pictures and printed tote bags, cushion covers and key rings. 20th & 21st February, artist Huw Vaughan Jones A demonstration of Huw’s penand-ink pictures, of animals, pet portraits, transport and places of interest. 22nd & 23rd February, local artist Gill Benjamin Gill will be adding to her wonderful collection of acrylic paintings over two days.

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A R T I N YO U R A R E A Until 21st January, Lost Shrewsbury, Shrewsbury Museum This exhibition features 40 slides of Shrewsbury scenes from local photographer and archivist David Trumper, alongside 15 paintings from the Shropshire Museum collection. Lost Shrewsbury takes you on a fascinating trip through the town’s rich history and heritage, with more than 160 illustrations, some of which have never been seen before. David’s book of the same name is being launched at the event. Until 26th January, As It Is: Man’s Footprint On The Welsh Landscape, Mostyn Gallery, Llandudno This incredible exhibition features photographs by David Hurn. In 1956, Hurn established his reputation with his images of the Hungarian Revolution, and his work for Magnum Photos made him one of Britain’s most influential reportage photographers. Born in Surrey of Welsh descent, Hurn has spent much of his career documenting life in Wales, and his recent work explores humans’ sometimes absurd impact on the Welsh landscape. The exhibition is accompanied by a film about Hurn from fellow photographer Zed Nelson. 4th-20th February, Leafy Chester by Steve Moon, Chester Art Centre Originally from the Wirral, Steve Moon has been living in Chester for eight years. He has been painting in oils since he was 11 and over the past 10 years has worked in acrylics, but he enjoys experimenting with different mediums and styles. ‘The paintings in this series are strongly influenced by the landscapes of Gustav Klimt,’ says Steve. ‘The techniques he used gave his landscapes a pattern-like quality, and my hope was that by using binoculars, a sketch pad, a camera, several viewpoints and careful composition planning, I could create townscapes that were pattern-like – true and yet also not what the eye would immediately see.’ Until 1st March, 30 Ways To Go To The Moon, Mostyn Gallery, Llandudno Part of the UK-Japan Season Of Culture, this new body of work by Japanese artist Nobuko Tsuchiya is showing for the first time in Wales. Working primarily with sculpture, Nobuko uses a wide range of materials – often including household objects – collected over time, which she assembles and casts to create amorphous, hybrid minimalist mechanical objects that engage with the viewer’s relationship to space.

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by C h

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by Kathryn Hall


by Paul Lewis

by K e

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by Stan Smith

Cat and m ou

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Rabbits by Tudor Williams


Spaghetti by Samuel Hulse

What a lot of weird and wonderful images we received after the challenge we set you in our previous issue! You certainly took on the task of taking pictures with the theme of ‘Not what it seems’ for us to puzzle over. As always we don’t have space to publish them all, so here are just a few of our favourites to inspire you to keep snapping for the next competition! We’d like to celebrate the seasons with our next topic by inviting images on the subject of Weather. As always, you can interpret this however you see fit. Email your entries in to us at editorial@shiremagazine.co.uk – and good luck!

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Afonwen North Wales


Myddelton College

“Learning to thrive in the 21st Century”

Limited Scholarships and Bursaries available For more information please contact: admissions@myddeltoncollege.com

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Wedding wear The bride isn’t the only one who wants to look her best on the big day! Whether you’re a proud parent or just want to turn heads at the reception, there are some superb local options


etting the bride and groom all ready for their big day is the top priority for any wedding – but it’s also important to remember the special guests in their wedding party, who need to be looking their very best too. Once you’ve settled on the dress and Another popular venue is Out Of Town & Fab Feet in Upper all the bridal accoutrements, the next move is to find their outfits. Brook Street, Oswestry, which is entering its 29th year as an So Chic is an award-winning boutique selling beautiful independent retailer. Here, customers will find a unique, personal clothing and accessories for the discerning woman, situated and friendly service offered across the two floors of the business. on the high street in the historic town of Bangor. If you The ground floor includes a dress department where a dress can haven’t chosen your outfit for an upcoming wedding yet, be found for any occasion, and an array of separates for a mixit is the place to go – especially if you have an important and-match look. There is also an extensive standalone shoe and role to play such as that of the bride or groom’s mother. handbag department to help you complete the perfect outfit. With beautiful, elegant, timeless designer clothing and Collections include styles by Michaela Louisa, Bianca, accessories, So Chic will help you choose the perfect outfit. Peruzzi, Paz Torres, Pomodoro, MdM, Marble and Joseph Established in 2006, So Chic has gone from strength to DID YOU Ribkoff, and footwear from Caprice and Capollini. The strength and added a whole floor of special occasionwear KNOW? team only supply collections for independent shops, so back in 2010. The shop has secured an excellent reputation Brits spend none of the labels are sold online or in high-street stores. with customers and is well known for its stunning an average of Upstairs is a complete floor dedicated to occasionwear, and collections, impeccable service and professional advice. £391 to attend a wedding whatever look you’re going for – contemporary or classic – it The team’s expertise has been recognised by experts can be found here. These lines include Gill Harvey, Condici, as well as customers: So Chic has a whole host of awards, including from the Welsh National Wedding Awards, Ispiratio, Veni Infantino, Ribkoff, Lizabella, Ella Boo and Kate Cooper to name but a few, and are available in sizes 8 to 24. and was named Best Occasion Wear Shop in Wales in 2017. For more information visit www.sochicbangor.co.uk.

Expert advice

At Out Of Town, the expert team are always on hand with as much help and guidance as you need and won’t be satisfied until you are. With every option to ensure your outfit is complete, they’ll make sure you have the perfect look for that very special day. For this year the latest styles are all in stock with some varied colour palettes, and everything from flamboyant jewel colours to soft muted tones… there really is something for everyone. Jeni from Out Of Town has some advice for any Shire readers planning a ‘mother of the bride’ outfit for 2020. ‘When deciding on your outfit, our team will advise on good styling and the colours that will suit your hair and skin tone and work well with the overall look of the wedding. It’s always good to have a word with the other mum to avoid awkward style clashes. Make sure your shoes are comfortable as well as stylish – it’s be a long day! – and if you keep a second pair for the evening, your feet will thank you. Also, don’t forget that underwear is vital – choose smooth-line underwear for a sleek look, and definitely a nude colour if you are wearing pale colours.’ For more advice or a consultation, visit the shop from Monday to Saturday, 9.30am to 5pm – appointments are advisable. Call 01691 670288 or visit www.out-of-town-oswestry.co.uk.

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Getting the invite right

Picture perfect spot to tie the knot


KNOW? las Isaf Country Barn & 28% of couples Gardens in Corwen, Denbighshire, choose a offers a stunning wedding venue in barn for their its 17th-century listed barn, which reception boasts spectacular views of the Dee Valley. Elegant surroundings and a warm ambience set the scene for your special day, while the barn offers a wealth of versatility, with impressive oak trusses and slate floors. A marquee is positioned next to the barn, which overlooks the open countryside, creating the opportunity for an intimate gathering or a celebratory party, from 30 to 300 guests. With the help and dedication of the team, every effort is made to ensure that your wedding will be the most memorable day of your life. For more information, visit www.plas-isaf.co.uk.


DID YOU KNOW? The average UK wedding includes 82 day guests

Catering that’s a pizza cake!



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Once you’ve set your date, chosen your venue and planned who you want to share your special day with, you just need to send out the invitations. And one local business is on hand to make sure you get it just right…


hether you are newly engaged and want to let people know they should save a date, or are seeking to commission exquisite hand-crafted wedding invitations, White Flamingo can help create just what you are looking for. Owner Kimberley Whitehead has a passion for making wedding stationery, décor items and gifts by hand, and specialises in hand-drawn and watercolour combined with finishing touches such as modern calligraphy, silk ribbons and wax seals – ensuring a luxurious finish is achieved to complement your special day. Based in Llanidloes, Powys, White Flamingo was established in 2017 out of a love for crafting, and Kimberley now specialises in three key areas: textiles, paper and wood. From machine-embroidered artwork and reclaimed wooden models to beautifully crafted pen sketches, watercolour artwork and wedding stationery, all of Kimberley’s work centres around a consistent and professional finish with an excellent balance of colour and detail. For more information, call Kimberley on 07921 124018 or visit www.lovewhiteflamingo.com.

DID YOU KNOW? The margherita pizza was named for Italy’s Queen Margherita in 1889


re you looking for a catering option with a difference for your special day? Then Pizza Peddlers is definitely worth considering – especially if getting the right food to your perfect venue presents a challenge. The small Shropshire business has been operating for over five years, attending music and food festivals, but specialising in catering weddings, events and private parties. The company’s homemade, stone-baked pizzas are sure to be a hit, especially later in the evening when flagging guests need a tasty little something to keep them going into the early hours. www.pizzapeddlers.co.uk

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Call 07925 680818

Bella Bay Wellbeing, Y Shed, Meliden, Prestatyn, LL19 8PY


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.

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email: info@sochicbangor.co.uk

154 High Street, Bangor, Gwynedd, LL57 1NU


2020 COLLECTIONS NOW SHOWING Independent labels… in an Independent store Priding ourselves on a professional & friendly service

Upper Brook Street, Oswestry, SY11 2TB Monday - Saturday 9.30-5pm

Please call us for more information. OUT OF TOWN: 01691 670288 / 01691 655622

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With so many wedding venues in the area, picking the perfect place in which to tie the knot can be tricky. Here we’ve put together 24 of the best to help you make the right choice

Plas Maenan Country House is a privately-owned house in Llanrwst that can be exclusively yours on your wedding day. www.plas-maenan-hotel.co.uk

Glyngynwydd Wedding Barn in Llanidloes, Powys, offers every style from charming rustic to flamboyant and breathtaking. www.glyngynwyddweddings.co.uk

Lake Vyrnwy Hotel in Llanwddyn, Powys, offers romance, elegance and relaxation in the mountains. Perfect for creating your magical day. www.lakevyrnwy.com

Chester Racecourse offers a range of rooms, from historic stands to contemporary suites. www.chester-races.com/ourvenue/weddings

Gregynog Hall near Newtown, Powys, is a grand location laced with symbolism from the earliest times of the Princes of Wales. www.gregynog.org

Bodysgallen Hall near Llandudno is set in more than 200 acres of parkland, with spectacular views of Snowdonia and Conwy Castle. www.bodysgallen.com

Lepone’s is a popular restaurant set in the splendour of an old renovated Methodist church in the heart of Oswestry. www. leponesitalian.co.uk/weddings

Tre-Ysgawen Hall is a four-star country house hotel and spa, with the first and only outdoor wedding venue on Anglesey. www.treysgawen-hall.co.uk

The Old Rectory in the market town of Wem, Shropshire, is a handsome Georgian hotel that is licensed for civil ceremonies. www.oldrectorywem.co.uk

Holiday Inn Chester South is top for convenience for those couples whose friends and family will be travelling to their big day. www.hichestersouthhotel.co.uk

The Grosvenor Pulford in Chester boasts impressive facilities and can offer intimate candle-lit ceremonies and outdoor nuptials. www.grosvenorpulfordhotel.co.uk

Plas Isaf Country Barn & Gardens in Corwen, Denbighshire, is a 17thcentury barn offering a wealth of versatility for parties of 30 to 300 guests. www.plas-isaf.co.uk

Rossett Hall Hotel in the village of Rossett, near Wrexham, combines the grandeur of a Georgian hall with the amenities of a modern hotel. www.rossetthallhotel.co.uk

Holt Lodge Hotel near Wrexham enjoys far-reaching views of the countryside and has a team that’s attentive to your every need. www.holtlodge.co.uk

The Hand Hotel in Chirk is one of the oldest hotels in north-east Wales. The staff pride themselves on their attention to detail. www.thehandhotelchirk.co.uk

Carden Park near Chester allows you to make your vows surrounded by 1,000 acres of picturesque countryside. www.cardenpark.co.uk

The Wild Pheasant Hotel & Spa in the Vale of Llangollen combines traditional charm and comfort with contemporary chic. www.wildpheasanthotel.co.uk

Brookhouse Mill in Denbigh has a restaurant overlooking the river and gardens, and a top-quality menu that uses Welsh produce. Call 01745 813377 for details.

Tyn Dwr Hall is a tranquil country escape near Llangollen, with fivestar accommodation for up to 66 guests, stained-glass windows and waterfalls. www.tyndwrhall.co.uk

Soughton Hall near Mold swept the board at the Welsh National Wedding Awards, including winning Best Venue in Wales. www.soughtonhall.co.uk

Portmeirion is a wedding venue like no other. Spend your day surrounded by colourful buildings, sandy beaches and winding woodland. www.portmeirion.wales

Whittington Castle near Oswestry is an impressive slice of history dating back to 1222 with ivy-clad walls, a moat and a gatehouse. www.whittingtoncastle.co.uk

Thornton Manor in Cheshire can host 20 to 1,000 guests in its Walled Garden, Waterside Pavilion, Lakeside Marquee or Manor House. www.thorntonmanor.co.uk

Château Rhianfa in Anglesey has a range of wedding packages for couples looking to take advantage of the hotel’s fairytale setting. www.chateaurhianfa.com

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e r a u q s t u b g n i th Any


From classic tweed to bold geometric prints, checks are everywhere this winter. Here are some key pieces worth checking out




2 5





11 12 9

Boucle skirt, £29, M&Co, Tweedmill Shopping Outlet, St Asaph, Denbighshire; www.tweedmill.co.uk 2. Babette Prince of Wales court shoe, £120, Dune; www.dunelondon.com 3. Misty Morning jacket, £99.95, White Stuff; www.whitestuff.com 4. John Hanley fringed lambswool cape, £118, Templeton Jones, Shrewsbury; www.shropshirecountryclothing.co.uk 5. Longline jacket, £100, Joe Browns; www.joebrowns.co.uk 6. Clarendon Check small tote bag, £95, Cath Kidston; www.cathkidston.com 7. Crea Concept midi skirt, £247, Olivia May, Ashton Hayes; www.oliviamay.org 8. Check slouchy trousers, £29.99, Zara; www.zara.com 9. Lilianna stiletto ankle boot, £52, Just Fab; www.justfab.co.uk 10. Check blazer, £735, Abi Fisher, Willington, Cheshire; www.abifisher.co.uk 11. Umbrella, £20, Hobbs; www.hobbs.com 12. Bronte By Moon Heddon Valley scarf, £25, National Trust; www.nationaltrust.org.uk/shop

p o h s p ne-sto


A. B. C. D. All

Joseph Ribkoff trousers, £169 Tifun jumper, £80 Gerry Weber blouse, £80 Sandwich shirt, £109 from So Chic, Bangor; www.sochicbangor.co.uk






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Your Health

As one of the UK’s leading not-for-profit healthcare organisations, Nuffield Health, has been looking after people for more than 60 years. Today, it continues to put people before profit, working in partnership with the NHS to benefit the community as a whole. We spoke to Olivia Barker of Nuffield Health Shrewsbury Hospital to find out more


Patients with health insurance ‘We have agreements with all major insurers,’ says Olivia. ‘In most cases a GP referral is required when patients are using health insurance. Patients will need to have their health insurance policy details available when booking or attending an appointment.’ Patients who are paying for themselves ‘For patients who want to fund their own treatment, we can provide a range of services. All our patients are covered by the Nuffield Health Promise and there is also the option of an interestfree loan, payable over six or 10 months. Interest-bearing loans are also available.’ Patients via NHS e-Referral Service ‘Patients can also be referred via the NHS e-Referral Service – formerly Choose and Book – for certain treatments, allowing them to select the most convenient time, date and place. For more information on this you will need to speak with your GP at the time your e-referral is created.’

NHS patients can be referred for some treatments

The hospital opened in 1965 and is a well established part of the local community. It’s well equipped with 30 en-suite bedrooms, three operating theatres, an endoscopy suite and a very busy outpatients department which includes physiotherapy and diagnostic imaging. Shrewsbury Hospital offers the most up-to-date medical treatments and services combined with a warm welcome and a professional and caring service. All its staff are highly trained in providing individual care, with an overall aim of creating a caring environment to encourage a speedy recovery and wellbeing.

Hospital facilities include… • On-site physiotherapy team including sports injury and women’s health specialists • Weekly MRI and CT unit • On-site pharmacy • X-rays with same-day reporting • Ultrasound services, including a range of examinations to include musculosketetal with same-day reporting • Wide range of additional diagnostics • Histology reporting available within one week of surgery


uffield Health aims to create a complete network of health services built around the individual by bringing together hospitals, clinics and fitness and wellbeing clubs. ‘Our goal is to get patients fit and healthy, and then help them stay that way,’ says Olivia (pictured above), who ‘Our focus is sales and service is on the manager at Nuffield patients Health Shrewsbury we treat – Hospital. ‘Because we’re putting their a trading charity, we wellbeing have no shareholder first’ demands to meet, so we invest all our profits back into improving the health and wellbeing services we offer. Instead, our focus is on the patients we treat – putting their wellbeing first in everything we do.’ If you’re not sure how it works, here are the people who can be treated at the Shrewsbury Hospital.

Nuffield Health Shrewsbury Hospital

Visit nuffieldhealth.com/shrewsbury

CQC results Nuffield Health Shrewsbury Hospital has been awarded a ‘Good’ rating by the Care Quality Commission The site on Longden Road (CQC) following inspections in September and October 2016. This rating, by the independent regulator of health and social care in England for the NHS and independently run facilities, means it is the only acute hospital in Shropshire to be currently awarded a ‘Good’ overall rating.

Meet the new matron

Leighann Sharp joined the team at the Nuffield Health Shrewsbury Hospital in November as matron after 14 years at RJAH Orthopaedic Hospital Leighann Sharp in Oswestry. Leighann says, ‘I am delighted to join the team at NHSH and I very much look forward to a successful 2020 in my new role.’ Olivia and Leighann are part of the experienced senior management team that also includes hospital director Mike Haffenden and finance manager Suzanne Beddoes, all looking out for patients and staff. There is also a a resident medical officer (RMO) – a qualified doctor – who stays on site 24 hours a day and is available to assist the consultant and nurses in providing treatment.

What’s covered?

Nuffield Health Shrewsbury Hospital has more than 70 consultants with a range of specialities including: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Cardiology Clinical oncology Dermatology Endocrinology and diabetes Ear, nose and throat Gastroenterology Gynaecology Neurology Ophthalmology Oral and maxillofacial surgery Orthopaedics Pain management Pathology Plastic and cosmetic surgery Psychology Respiratory medicine Rheumatology Urology

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Health&Beauty What would we do without our lips? We’d find it very difficult to eat, speak or smile! And with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, we need them in tip-top kissing condition too…


It’s vital to look after your lips


lip balm use keeps the skin from getting sore ost of us probably don’t think much about our lips – but they’re important. and in the colder months a more medicated variety offers maximum protection. That’s Not only do they help us to consume food and articulate words, they also play a big part important in the summer too, because in our relationship building. Whether we the sun’s rays can want to smile and pout to attract a partner or put their multiple nerve endings to good use also be extremely harmful to this as a tactile sensory organ (ie, smooching!), delicate skin. it’s worth keeping your lips in good nick. The lips’ skin is thinner than typical face skin, and it also has no hair or sweat glands Fill ’em in? so it lacks the usual protective layer of sweat These days people with a thinner, less and body plump pucker often turn oils which to aesthetic enhancements ‘The sun’s keep the skin to give their lips a boost. rays can smooth, inhibit Early pioneers suffered be harmful pathogens thanks to the original wave to delicate and regulate of unpleasant permanent lips’ warmth. That’s silicone fillers, but today a why the lips range of gentle dermal lip dry out faster and fillers are available. They are not permanent become chapped and last between six and 18 months. Most more easily. Daily dermal fillers used in the UK contain a

chronic and acute conditions including back pain, fatigue, digestive complaints, skin conditions and stress. Owner Ffion Davies has been involved in the complementary therapy industry for more than 10 years. She holds a BSc Ffion Davies (Hons) in acupuncture and ella Bay Wellbeing a professional graduate provides a space to relax certificate in education (PGCE) that enables her to and escape the stresses of teach therapeutic subjects. everyday life. Treatments include signature massages, Bella Bay Wellbeing which work with the senses is located at the newly to relax the developed Y Shed community hub mind and body; at Meliden, near Secret Escape treatments, such Prestatyn. For more as Cowrie Shell information or to and Hawaiian book a treatment contact Ffion on Massage; and Chinese 07925 680818 medicine such or search ‘Bella Bay Wellbeing’ as acupuncture, which treats Bella Bay therapy room on Facebook.


natural substance called hyaluronic acid – a product created by your body. An anaesthetic cream is used to numb your skin, and then injections are given around the area, followed by massage. It may feel uncomfortable but should not be painful. The procedure is relatively risk-free, as long as a reputable clinician is involved, but even if something were to go wrong there’s an antidote.

Colour up

Many of us like to add a splash of colour to our lips at the very least, but despite brand claims most lipsticks fail to last a full day of talking, eating and drinking. For some people the chore of topping up is too much and a more permanent solution is sought in the form of lip tattooing. This is painful and, despite the name, it’s not permanent either (most treatments last no more than three years), so be sure it’s what you want before taking the plunge.

MYTH BUSTER New person plans for the new year? We fact-check some conception myths Your weight can affect your fertility This is true: women with very low or high body mass index (BMI) may find it harder to conceive and are at more risk of pregnancy complications. If you’re trying to get pregnant, it is helpful to keep your BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 (divide your weight in kilos by your height in metres squared).

It’s very difficult to conceive after 35 It’s more difficult, but by no means impossible. A large study found the chance of conceiving on your most fertile day aged 27 to -34 was just under 40 per cent, falling to 30 per cent from 35 to 39. Another study found 44 per cent of women aged 40 conceived within a year of trying. Maintain healthy habits (diet, exercise, mental health) and follow medical advice to improve your chances. Eating honey can help you conceive This has an element of truth! Honey contains amino acids that are helpful for ovarian function and can be beneficial to the reproductive system.

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Retirement Living Make the most of your unused space! Homeowners over 50 are sitting on more than £40,000 worth of unused space on average, according to a new study – so whether you want to save or spend, find out how to release that money and put it to good use

Stability in retirement is a concern for many


ould you have tens of thousands of pounds available to you and not know about it? A study of 2,000 adults over 50 found that after their offspring have flown the nest, they are left with an average of 34 square metres of space in their homes that may not be used. A typical house is 165.6 square metres and the average house price was £215,734 at the end of 2019, so each square metre has a value of around £1,303 – which adds up to £44,293 worth of unused space. Mark Gregory, founder and CEO of Equity Release Supermarket, which

options including dipping into their pension pot early, selling belongings and downsizing – and they expected to do one of these things within five years to support their lifestyle. Just 12 per cent were considering taking out equity in their property to stabilise their financial future. Mark added: ‘Many don’t understand the features and benefits of equity release, and they end up opting for alternatives that may not best suit their circumstances. It’s not the only option to raise capital for an enhanced retirement, but equity release could be beneficial and should always be considered with the right financial advice.’ For more about equity release, call Equity Release Supermarket Is equity release right for you? free on 0800 802 1051.

commissioned the research, said: ‘Our survey found there is plenty of space in the family homes of empty-nesters which is going to waste, and it’s not just space but possible financial wastage. One option for empty-nesters to raise equity is to simply sell the family home and downsize. However, there can be a reluctance to say goodbye to all those memories – but downsizing is not the only way to release the financial security tied up in a property. Equity release can be an alternative solution.’

Bright future

Half of those surveyed said they were worried about their financial future in the study, conducted via OnePoll, with possible

Caernarfon care home hosts a virtuoso harp performance One of the UK’s most talented young harpists visited Bryn Seiont Newydd for a wonderful concert as part of a cultural programme enriching the lives of older people


Northern College Of Music in arpist Elfair Grug may be more used to London’s Royal Albert Hall but Manchester. She was a member she delivered a wonderful performance for of the National Youth Orchestra the residents of Bryn Seiont Newydd, a Of Great Britain for three years, which included playing in Pendine Park care home in Caernarfon. Elfair’s harp concert was one of a series across the area the Proms at the Royal Albert The concert was part of a series of 15 music room at Bryn Seiont Newydd is a taking place at Pendine Park’s Hall, and in 2008 she was one of care homes in Wrexham and 60 harpists who played at the Royal fantastic resource and it’s obvious to me that ‘Residents Caernarfon and at other venues in Opera House when the Prince of residents benefit a great deal from having benefit Wales celebrated his 60th birthday. the opportunity to listen to live music.’ the community. This is the result of a great After performing a mix of a partnership between the Pendine deal from classical, traditional folk and popular Park Arts & Community Trust and Audience participation listening to Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias songs, including music by Elton Peggy Morris, a Bryn Seiont Newydd live music’ (the William Mathias Music John and The Beatles, Elfair said, resident and former Shotton Steelworks ‘I’ve thoroughly enjoyed today’s switchboard operator, said: ‘It’s nice to Centre) in Caernarfon, funded by Arts & Business Cymru via concert. It was lovely to see some have concerts like this. It’s something to residents joining in and really look forward to.’ its Culture Step singing along. The music programme. Sandra Evans, the manager Elfair, 30, who clearly has a big effect of Bryn Seiont Newydd, said: is from Mynytho on residents – one lady ‘This lovely project chimes clearly enjoyed conducting in Gwynedd, perfectly with our ethos at was taught by me as I played!’ Pendine Park because the Elfair said she would be renowned harpist arts in general and music in Elinor Bennett returning to Bryn Seiont particular provide the golden The residents enjoyed the concert thread running through at the William Newydd as part of the Mathias Music project. ‘I will be working everything we do to enrich with residents as part of a workshop. I’ll Centre, and the lives of our residents and staff alike.’ then introduce some percussion instruments went on to study To find out more about Arts & Business Llŷn-born harpist Elfair at the Royal and we will work closely together. The Cymru, visit www.aandbcymru.org.uk. 110 SHIRE MAGAZINE | January/February 2020

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Local financial advice

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TRUSTED FINANCIAL ADVICE THE NFU MUTUAL WAY For a real conversation call the Oswestry office on 01691 652120 or pop in and see us at Oswestry Show NFU Stand, or, 12 Salop Road, Oswestry, SY11 2NU. NFU Mutual Financial Advisers advise on NFU Mutual products and selected products from specialist providers. We’ll explain the advice services and the charges. Financial advice is provided by NFU Mutual Select Investments Ltd.

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If your New Year’s resolution is to find financial stability, conquer your debts and begin saving for the future, let Ann Francis – general manager of Cambrian Credit Union – explain how

S Martin Leefe, NFU Mutual financial adviser

As our high streets change and banks and building societies move more and more of their services online, it can be difficult to get the financial advice you need. NFU Mutual aims to buck that trend


ver-increasing bank and critical illness policies through building society closures, its partnership with AIG. particularly in market towns, Martin Leefe (pictured mean it can be tricky to get above) operates from the good-quality financial advice. Oswestry office and is available One area in which many find it to meet customers to give the particularly difficult to obtain crucial advice that is necessary the right advice is protection in this essential, but often for family or business. A neglected, area of financial staggering 42% of people with planning. The company also mortgages don’t have has an excellent team life insurance, for of financial advisers example, leaving little available to contact by ‘Many loans aren’t phone, and Martin can reassurance should the adequately primary breadwinner of also give advice on many protected’ a family die prematurely. other areas of financial Similarly, many business planning such as pension loans or overdrafts and ISA planning, as aren’t adequately protected, well as more complex areas such leaving businesses vulnerable as pension transfers, SIPPS to the loss of a key person. and investment trusts. NFU Mutual provides a full financial planning service NFU Mutual Financial and is able to provide excellent Advisers advise on NFU Mutual customer service through its products and selected products local agency offices, which from specialist providers, and give our financial advisers will explain the services and the ability to meet with the charges. Financial advice customers face to face. It is provided by NFU Mutual offers a variety of life and Select Investments Ltd NFU Mutual, 12 Salop Road, Oswestry, Shropshire SY11 2NU Call 01691 652120 or email oswestry_agency@nfumutual.co.uk

ome of us break our New Year’s resolutions with the first sight of a cream cake or glass of red wine. But financial stability isn’t something to be taken so frivolously, particularly at a time when UK households owe an average of £15,385 (excluding home loans), according to the TUC. Credit isn’t a bad thing: it helps us with large expenses like buying homes or cars, or getting married. However, unmanageable debt is a problem and if you feel you’re in that situation, it’s important to seek advice and face your financial concerns head-on. Organisations such as Step Change or Citizens Advice can help if you are in this situation. You work hard for your money, so here are a few ideas to help keep it in your pocket: through your utility • Go bills and shop around for

a cheaper provider. This is a quicker process than ever thanks to comparison websites. It can also be worth contacting your energy suppliers to ask them if they can give you a better deal. January is also a good time to go through your subscriptions, like gym membership, and decide if you really need them. Avoid overspending on the weekly shop by working out meal plans. Set a budget and stick to it: taking cash with you and sticking to a list can really help. Don’t be afraid to tell loved ones if

• •

money is tight. A thoughtful present can mean more than a blow-out gift. January is a great time to de-clutter, and by putting unwanted items on online auction sites or social media, you can turn them into cash. If you intend to use credit, compare providers to get the best deal. Check the interest rate and the full amount repaid as well as repayments. Because Cambrian is a credit union, our advertised loan interest rate is what you will get if you are accepted, but this isn’t true of many loan providers. Look out for the term ‘representative APR’ – this may only apply to slightly more than half the people who take out the loan, while for the rest the interest charged could be higher. If you have children, teach them about money by giving them responsibility for a small part of the weekly shop. Comparing prices and finding the best deal can help them better understand the value of money (and manage their expectations). Start saving for Christmas now – just £10 a week could mean £500 next December, which is the average spend over the festive period. The savings from making a packed lunch or skipping a daily coffee soon add up and will take the pressure off next Christmas!

For more information, visit www.cambriancu.com

January/February 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 113

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A brighter future Many of us could benefit from professional advice about our finances. We spoke to the experts at Beaumont Wealth about it – and the growing popularity of ethical investing

About the company Mark Evans started Beaumont Wealth in 2000, when he set up on his own as a financial adviser. ‘Since then we’ve grown into an Oswestry office and a Chester office, with Shrewsbury and Knutsford offices being added in early 2020,’ says Mark (pictured), now the company’s managing director. ‘Beaumont is all about providing sensible financial products that work! All of our advisers are salaried rather than working on a self-employed basis (which is unusual in our industry) so they give unbiased advice based on the customer’s needs and are not influenced by their fees, which is how we think it should be done. We look out for our customers, and take the long-term view – 10 or 15 years later we find that clients are still with us; it’s very much a long-term relationship.’ Mark has worked in financial services since 1993, and his dedication to the profession has earned him the gold standard title of chartered financial planner.


n these uncertain times, it’s vital to ensure your finances are stable – and one effective way to do that is to talk to a professional financial adviser. Beaumont Wealth, which has offices across the Shire region, offers services including income protection, tax planning, inheritance tax and estate planning advice, and wills and trust management. ‘But the largest part of what we do is pension planning, which makes up about 60 per cent of our work,’ says regional director Matt Hignett (pictured). ‘Everyone in Beaumont is fully salaried and works without commission, unlike individual financial advisers, so what you get here is 100 per cent impartial advice to suit your needs.’ If you want to engage Beaumont’s services, the first thing that will happen is a hour-long meeting with an adviser, who will look at your financial assets and assess your ideas about investment and risk. ‘It’s interesting – £100,000 in a bank account is actually a risk,’ says Matt. ‘The interest rates paid in high street banks are likely to be lower than inflation, so over 10 years those savings will depreciate in value to something like £90-£95,000 – which is not how most people regard savings in a bank. We establish what the client’s needs, goals and aspirations are, then go away and research their existing plans and work out what their situation will be when they retire.’ Beaumont’s experts do this using cashflow modelling as well as something called ‘disaster modelling’, which isn’t as scary as it sounds – it simply refers to coping with a sudden change in circumstances. ‘This work takes approximately four weeks, and we then present our recommended route to reaching the objectives,’ says Matt. ‘This can be an investment plan, or how to make best use of the current plans.’ A change in circumstances such as a family death, a divorce or an inheritance is an important time to seek financial advice. ‘People ‘These life triggers tend to be the incentive for people to want to come and see us to revise and improve their financial plans,’ control says Matt. But there’s no bad time to re-assess your financial what their situation. ‘In fact, after we’ve done the work a client will money is often say to us, “I wish I’d done this years ago!” It’s never invested in’ too late to improve your situation with expert planning.’

The ethical way forward

Matt says the firm has recently seen an increase in requests for ethical investments. ‘People want to control what their money is invested in so they don’t support businesses they strongly disagree with – such as gambling, adult entertainment, armament sales or fossil fuels,’ he explains. ‘There used to be a restricted number of funds that qualified as ethical money, but this is changing rapidly, and now there are thousands for us to choose from.’ And choosing ethical investments doesn’t mean lesser returns. ‘Recent work we have done shows that ethical investments perform over time just as well as any other investment,’ Matt says. ‘In fact, three out of 10 of the bestperforming multi-asset funds in the UK over the past five years are ethical funds, and Beaumont Wealth is well placed to offer ethical investing.’ Contact Beaumont Wealth’s Oswestry office on 01691 670524, the Chester office on 01244 621762 or the Shrewsbury office on 01743 297751. Or visit www.beaumont-financial.co.uk for more information January/February 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 115

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Open Events

March 2020

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Top of the Class





ollowing discussions at the end of the last academic year at Abbey Gate College Infant & Junior School, it was decided to increase ‘pupil voice’ and give the pupils a chance to share their thoughts and opinions on different aspects of school life. The school wanted to give the pupils a say in which peers were representing them and so a pupil parliament was born. Each class held an election; anybody who was interested in standing for class representative was able to introduce themselves and each class held a Members were voted into the pupil parliament secret ballot to elect their representative. The first pupil parliament was held is also introducing food waste bins on following class consultations and voted for the playground and will be using this half-termly house prizes and shared their waste to develop a compost heap. ideas on ‘treats’ for the winning house. The second pupil parliament meeting Talbot house was the first winner, followed suggestions by parent choosing a Christmas cinema representatives that they would afternoon during which they enjoyed like to see different menu options. ‘The pupil watching Nativity while relaxing The class representatives again held parliament voted for on cushions and eating snacks! class meetings, met as a parliament house prizes’ and then spoke with the school’s Parliament also discussed the environment and the impact of director of finance and operations. the school’s Eco Club. Following They shared great ideas, such as a consultation with the classes, children seasonal or themed meals each half-term have been encouraged to bring fruit exploring food around the world or linked to or vegetables for snacks. The children different festivals. Representatives were asked hope this will cut down on single-use to inform the classes that all the meals will plastic as they’ll be bringing snacks in be nutritionally balanced, with appropriate reusable pots and containers. The school sugar and salt content for their age.



college undergoing a £20 million revamp has unveiled a new leadership team. Gareth Jones and Simon Woodward have joined Coleg Cambria Yale in Wrexham; Gareth will be responsible for science, psychology, PE and maths, while Simon oversees the humanities, languages, business and law. The new deputy directors of general education have an exciting time ahead of them, as they help to grow one of the leading sixth-form colleges in Wales. With a revolutionary three-storey complex due to open at Yale next September, equipped with the latest digital technology, study spaces, a 200-seat conference hall, restaurant and more, it’s a great time to be part of the team at Cambria. ‘It’s fantastic to be here, and both Gareth and I have already been made to feel very welcome,’ says Simon, previously assistant headteacher and director of sixth form at Bishop Heber High School in Malpas. ‘Coming from large high schools means we both have a similar approach and lots of ideas on how to move forward.’ Gareth, who has led two sixth forms, most recently at Oswestry School, grew up near

Welshpool and now lives in the Wrexham area. He believes starting their jobs at the same time gives the pair an advantage. ‘We have similar backgrounds, and had Simon (left) and Gareth ambitions to work in Wales. We are Welsh speakers, which means we can be here personally for all of the staff and students,’ he says. ‘The scale of Coleg Cambria is immense, so working together and bouncing ideas off one another is a positive. ‘This is a more strategic role – we are looking at the bigger picture and already planning one or two years down the line, working alongside the lecturers and senior staff to ensure that Cambria maintains its position among the very best colleges in the UK, especially when it comes to its amazing A-level results.’

Wrexham Glyndwr’s rehomed hens

A brood of ex-commercial egg-laying hens that were destined for slaughter have found themselves in a caring new home at Wrexham Glyndwr University’s Northop campus. The five birds, which spent their first 16 months in a cage, have moved into a specially-built coop in the grounds of the campus in Flintshire. They are being looked after by students on the university’s land-based courses under the guidance of lecturers on Glyndwr’s animal behaviour, welfare and conservation science course, including programme leader Angela Winstanley. ‘It has been lovely to welcome the chickens on to campus, feeling grass under their feet for the first time,’ she says. ‘We’re already starting to notice a change in their behaviour and they’re proving very popular with our students.’ The university adopted the birds with the help of Shropshire charity Red Hen Rehoming. Angela met with volunteers to collect the hens before taking them to their new home.

OPEN DAY DATE Abberley Hall, a co-educational prep school for children aged two to 13 years set in the heart of Worcestershire, is holding an open morning on 29th February. From 10.15am families can meet staff and current pupils, be shown around the extensive facilities, and sample some of the activities. Primarily a boarding school, Abberley Hall also welcomes day students. Pupils at Abberley Hall are given opportunities in all areas, such as performing arts, design technology, fishing, beekeeping, swimming, daily sport and much more. This goes hand in hand with academic achievement, with 28 academic scholarships or exhibitions awarded over the last three years and a further 62 across all disciplines, including sport, art, DT, drama and music. The extensive curriculum allows pupils to explore and develop as individuals, while the idyllic setting allows them the freedom of childhood.

STUDENTS PREPARE FOR THE WORLD OF WORK To help students at Moreton Hall Sixth Form near Oswestry gain insights and skills that will prepare and support them in their lives after their A levels, Old Moretonian and Moreton Enterprises mentor Clare Downes has developed a monthly Directors’ Table. ‘These aren’t careers talks,’ says Clare, ‘but informal discussions led by fantastic guests from business. They share their expertise and invite open discussion and debate, utilising tools they’d use in the workplace.’ At the first Director’s Table of the new academic year, students were joined by HR consultant Kay Heald, who led the enthusiastic group of young entrepreneurs through a lively, interactive session on the importance of listening.

Directors’ Table sessions help pupils

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SCHOOL NEWS MOOR PARK RADIO FAME Ludlow’s Moor Park School recently hosted BBC Radio 4’s culinary panel programme The Kitchen Cabinet. Hosted by food critic Jay Rayner, the show is witty, irreverent and packed with information that may change the way you think about cooking. Ludlow, of course, is famous for its love of locally produced food and drink. The school sources most of its food from the area and Moor Park children were in the audience with questions at the ready. An ISI inspection in June 2019 noted that Moor Park School has been building innovative ways of linking with the community by creating and hosting various events. The Ludlow episode of The Kitchen Cabinet was broadcast on 28th December and is available The Kitchen Cabinet’s Jay Rayner on BBC Sounds.

OPEN EVENTS AT HABERDASHERS’ ADAMS Haberdashers’ Adams Grammar School in Newport, Shropshire, is holding a series of open events in January and February for families considering entry in Year 7 or the co-educational sixth form. Families considering entry into Year 7 are invited to attend a presentation and tour on 3rd or 4th February. Visitors will hear an introductory presentation from the headmaster, followed by a tour of the school conducted by the pupils themselves. Year 11 pupils thinking about sixth-form entry have four opportunities to visit the school on 9th, 23rd and 30th January and 6th February. They and their families will also hear from the headteacher before taking a tour of the school. For boys interested in boarding, there will also be an opportunity to visit the school’s two boarding houses. For more details, visit www.adamsgs.uk.


Firs’ pupils celebrate their success

The Firs Prep School is celebrating winning the ISA Green School Award. The Independent Schools Association Awards is an annual event that celebrates success in independent schools across the UK, and recognises the breadth of quality and provision in independent education across the country. This award encouraged applications from schools engaging with environmental education within the curriculum, or demonstrating their green credentials through work in the community or further afield to improve habitats and encourage biodiversity. ‘We are delighted to have won this award,’ says Rosemary Blackburn, headteacher at The Firs Prep School. ‘I would like to thank all our pupils, as it is their passion, enthusiasm and involvement that helped to make this happen. The children have all been brilliant in the whole process.’

Ellesmere College student helps Wales win title


n Ellesmere College student has helped Team Wales retain the Junior Home Nations Tennis Championship title - the first time Wales has successfully defended the title in the competition’s history. Aditi Chezhian moved from the 14U age category last year to compete in the 18U group at this year’s event, even though she is still only 14 years old. She played and won her match against a player who was much older and ranked in the top 20. The Year 10 pupil was congratulated by the Wales national coach, who said she was the most improved player this year –– having reached the semi-finals of the 16s and 18s at the Scottish Junior Aditi Chezhian led Wales to Home Nations victory Open Nationals this summer – and was chosen for her steady performance. senior performance coach and director of Aditi’s win, combined with the tennis at the college’s Tennis Academy, performance by the rest of Team says: ‘Aditi’s selection to play for ‘To step up Wales, meant they ended up the 18U team was a tribute to all and play winning the 18U and 12U age her dedication and hard work. at 18U is a groups and came third at 14U, ‘She played for the 14U team last tremendous which meant an overall win. year when she was 13 and to step up leap’ Aditi moved to Ellesmere College to play at 18U is a tremendous leap. in Shropshire from St Gerrard’s It shouldn’t be underestimated. It’s School, Bangor, more than a year ago to a different deal going from playing against concentrate on tennis. The 14-year-old is players of your own age or younger to being the first Ellesmere College student to gain the youngest, and possibly having to compete a Tennis Europe ranking. Stephen Welti, against players three years your senior.’



aspberry Pi founder Pete Lomas is a pioneer, whose ambition to empower young people to unleash their digital creativity has had astonishing success, with over 25 million Raspberry Pi computers being programmed by young people around the globe. Pete was Moreton Hall’s Bronwen Society’s guest recently, talking to students, parents and staff about his own story. He went from getting creative with a cardboard box to the invention of the Raspberry Pi computer, intended to offer affordable programming opportunities for young people and encourage them to become creators rather than consumers of the digital revolution. The project is so far-reaching that Tim Peake delivered Raspberry Pi computers to the International Space Station, inspiring youngsters to reach for the stars. As Moreton Hall student Taryn explains: ‘Raspberry Pi is a small, low-cost computer that can easily be plugged into a monitor or laptop that allows children to learn to code in different programming

Pete Lomas inspired young programmers

languages like Python and Scratch. Pete Lomas told us how, through Raspberry Pi, he wished to ignite creativity by supplying young people with their own technology. He made it cheap to allow children to open it, change it and be unafraid to unleash their inner engineer. Listening to him was truly inspiring and made all of us want to get creative.’ Sean Lang, head of STEM at Moreton Hall, adds: ‘The ethos behind the Raspberry Pi is to take students back to the basics of computing. Too many children are merely consumers of other people’s software. What Raspberry Pi offers is the opportunity for them to create their own software, design their own machines and learn the skills that will make them tomorrow’s suppliers not consumers.’ ‘The part of the talk which resonated with me was the line “the imagination of children knows no bounds”,’ says principal George Budd. ‘This is something we see on a daily basis at Moreton Hall.’

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open days. 29 February 6 June

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t was a night of a thousand stars as, surrounded by fairy lights and cradling candles, five choirs – including three from local schools – gathered on stage with an orchestra of musicians from across the region and a brace of TV celebrities at the Holroyd Community Theatre for its inaugural performance. With the external building work now complete, thanks to Oswestry-based Jones Brothers, the Holroyd Community Theatre Choirs, musicians and celebrities came together at the Holroyd is nearing completion. The full technical and lighting rig has still to be installed but with the impressive foyer and Christmas extracts. Mulled wine and mince pies added ‘Christmas wonderful auditorium complete, Christmas At The Holroyd to the occasion and the announcement of the winners of At The was a chance to unwrap this magnificent community gift. the Holroyd Poetry Competition – nine-year-old Isabelle Holroyd was The acclaimed Dyffryn Ceiriog Male Voice Choir from St Martin’s School and 10-year-old Hugo from a magical Selattyn Primary School – topped the celebrations. were joined by choirs from Selattyn Primary School, St evening’ Martin’s Primary School, Moreton First, The Stables Produced by acclaimed theatre director and artistic Choir and the Face2Face Performance Academy. The director of the Holroyd, Loveday Ingram, Christmas At The Holroyd was a magical evening and a wonderful first evening was hosted by Coronation Street stars Ian Bartholomew and Ian Puleston Davies, who both performed laughter-inducing opportunity to enjoy this amazing new performance space.


far further, so we have invested the proceeds from the last year’s charges directly back into purchasing 2,000 Wrexham Glyndwr njoying a cuppa at Wrexham Glyndwr University is helping University-branded Husk Up cups.’ The microwave- and dishwasher-safe reusable Husk staff and students do their bit for the environment. As part of Up cups are made from rice husk, are biodegradable a drive to cut down on the amount of waste being sent to landfill, the university has worked alongside catering partner Aramark and contain no melamine or bisphenol A. ‘The cups are being provided to staff and students to encourage staff and students to stop using on a first come, first served basis and have proved disposable cups and switch to reusable alternatives. very popular – the first batch on offer were all One way they have done this is by adding an extra taken up within an hour,’ says Lynda. ‘We will be charge for each hot drink served in a non-reusable cup – with the proceeds being ploughed back into making more cups available soon and will carry on encouraging people to switch to a sustainable environmentally friendly Husk Up cups. The scheme option, both for their drinks and with reusable food has raised £8,250 over the past academic year – and seen 332kg of cups being saved from landfill. containers that we’ll be unveiling imminently. ‘Our cups campaign is just a small part of a wider ‘We’ve already saved an impressive amount of programme of work we are doing at Glyndwr waste from going to landfill through making one to manage our impact on the environment. Our small change to the way our drinks are served,’ says commitment to sustainability is embedded in our Wrexham Glyndwr University’s director of operations, Lynda Powell (pictured right). ‘A fifth culture – and saw us rise more than 30 places in this of the hot drinks we sell are now served in reusable year’s People & Planet University League, to be rated Lynda Powell and a Husk Up cup at 47 in their list of the UK’s greenest universities.’ cups. However, our aim is to cut that level of waste




ew things today can be said to be beyond our reach – be it access to knowledge, opportunities to travel the world or the ability to understand someone speaking another language. But this highlights the importance of giving our children a competitive advantage by equipping them with the skills and confidence to embrace all that’s on offer in this global day and age. A recent Ipsos MORI poll highlighted a significant trend in the outlook and ambitions of young people in the UK. More than

Pupils from The Queen’s School broadening their horizons

two-thirds of the 2,000 young adults surveyed were described as having an ‘international outlook’ and are seriously considering careers and lives abroad. Coupled with further advances in technology, such as apps on mobile devices that can instantly translate any language, it is no wonder that the world is rapidly ‘getting smaller’. The Queen’s School, Chester, strives to bring the world into the classroom with a multi-layered approach that gives girls exposure that transcends geographic and cultural boundaries. The school immerses pupils in experiences that develop a deep understanding and appreciation of other cultures. Not only do they integrate global topics and perspectives across content areas, they provide opportunities for authentic engagement with global issues and connect the experiences of students and teachers to the classroom. At Queen’s, girls are encouraged to think independently, embrace change, look for opportunities and be innovative – all attitudes that the school encourages in the girls through a varied curriculum and extra-curricular programme and a culture that embraces diversity. Diversity of culture and cultural experiences are embraced by the girls in trips abroad, video conference meetings, visits from exchange students and, of course, through the mix of nationalities in our school.

120 SHIRE MAGAZINE | January/February 2020

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19/12/2019 11:22


OPEN DAY SATURDAY 7th MARCH 2020 10.30am - 1pm

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Are you looking to get into hospitality and tourism, or do you know someone who is? Marcus Hansen explains all about studying the subject at Wrexham Glyndwr University What subject do you specialise in?

I’m programme leader for the BA(Hons) Hospitality, Tourism and Events degree at Wrexham Glyndwr University, but my specific field of research is tourism.

How did you get into this career?

I think if you’d asked me when I was a kid I would never have said I was going to get into tourism, but I ended up opening a tourist attraction in America and that’s how I got into it. It was an aerial adventure park in New Hampshire and Maine, and then I moved into academia afterwards.

What is required to get on the course?

and events in a sustainable manner – so that’s relevant to an international audience.

Bring tourists to

What practical work can students get involved with?

Second-year students go on placements for 12 weeks, gaining practical experience and developing commercial competence is a key component of this degree. We work with industry to source a relevant placement for each student, allowing them to gain invaluable practical experience and preparing them for life after university.

beautiful Tenby

‘Starting next year we’ve got a module on sustainable planning’

Ideally students should have A-levels What career opportunities can or college experience of business or tourism completing your course lead to? and hospitalityOne of the things that surprises me when I talk to students related is that many say they’re studying tourism to work as a esey Angl , ouse lighth d Llanddwyn Islan DID YOU modules. We travel agent. Actually, because the tourism industry is KNOW? are looking for people who are willing to learn and work Glyndwr is only an so big and encompasses hospitality and events, you hard. It’s not easy to get a degree, but you’ll reap the benefits can do pretty much anything: work in destination hour away from afterwards. What is key is your attitude, whether you have management organisations, manage attractions, Adventure Parc Snowdonia recently finished college or are looking for a second career. and then there’s all the hotels and restaurants – the world really is your oyster with this degree.

What does the course entail? The first year is very much an introduction to business studies overall, so it’s a gentle start. In that year you’ve got a module focusing on events as well as more generic business modules, and then in the second year you start specialising, with our module on visitor attraction management for example. Starting next year we’ve also got a new module on sustainable planning and development, which looks at how we develop hospitality, tourism

Why should people choose Wrexham Glyndwr University?

Caernarfon Castle

Because of the course we offer and where we are. We work very closely with industry to develop our modules, and we’re also in one of the fastest-growing tourism destinations of Europe – and north Wales has established itself as the adventure tourism capital of Europe. There are so many opportunities just here in the region – and not just in north Wales, as we tie into the Manchester and Liverpool areas as well.

122 SHIRE MAGAZINE | January/February 2020

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Books&Poetry ACCOUNTANT FINDS A THRILLING NEW CAREER An 84-year-old Llandudno man who suffered devastating bereavement has now found success as a writer – and is gaining new fans in America with the release of his latest and most personal book, proving age is no barrier


riginally from Wrexham, where he had an accountancy practice, Richard Rees published his first novel The Illuminati Conspiracy – a historical thriller about a secret society reaching into the higher echelons of power – in the late 1980s, followed by a second, The Reikel Conspiracy, which featured an albino priest killer. But at the age of 84, he is gaining new fans around the world with his new book, Dear Abigail. The book, written from the heart, is a tribute to his daughter Elisabeth, whom Richard cared for before she died at just 32 from ovarian cancer. Richard wrote Dear Abigail for his

granddaughter, who has no memory of her mother, and is donating all proceeds to the charity Target Ovarian Cancer. Dear Abigail has had five-star reviews from as far afield as the US, where subject, which maybe helped my novels to be well-received,’ he says. ‘I’m selling it is selling well online. And having lots of my books online for Kindle as well also recently released a new thriller, as Amazon paperbacks in the States. It’s Somebody Wants To Kill Me, Richard says he is determined to show age wonderful to reach that far abroad – but is no barrier to success. I don’t know why more people buy them there than in the UK!’ Richard would have written Richard, who now lives in more, but looking after loved ‘I wrote Dear Llandudno, adds: ‘Somebody ones – his wife Richenda also Abigail as a died from ovarian cancer Wants To Kill Me is now catharsis for relatively young – prevented capturing the imagination, my grief when especially with younger him from doing so. ‘I’ve been Elisabeth died readers, which is fantastic. an author many years, but six years after The best is hopefully yet much of that time has been Richenda’ to come. I’m working on spent caring for others,’ he says. ‘For me, the story nearest a new thriller titled The Third Awakening, with my heart is Dear Abigail, which Deadly Redemption to follow.’ I wrote as a catharsis for my grief when Richard concludes: ‘Writing makes Elisabeth died six years after Richenda.’ Because his books cover a wide range me feel good. This is my way of staying young and, all things being of themes, from historical battles to well, long may it continue.’ crime, Richard – who also has a son, Huw – is meticulous about the in-depth research he carries out. ‘I love spending For more information visit hours in libraries, probing deep into the www.richardhrees.com

B O O K E VE NTS Dr Rangan Chatterjee, 14th January, Neston Cricket Club, Parkgate, Cheshire Drawing on his 20 years of experience as a GP, Dr Rangan Chatterjee’s book, Feel Better In 5: Your Daily Plan To Feel Great For Life is described as a plan for a happier, healthier you. The resident BBC Breakfast doctor wants to inspire people to transform their health through making small, sustainable changes to their lifestyles. 6.30pm. Tickets £16.99, including a copy of the book. www.linghams.co.uk Adam Hamdy, 16th January, Booka Bookshop, Oswestry Like your thrillers action-packed? Join author and screenwriter Adam Hamdy as he talks about his scorching new novel, Black 13. In this fast-paced thriller, ex-MI6 officer Scott

Pearce is about to show us that in a world with no loyalty to nations, it’s time to burn the espionage rulebook… 7pm. Tickets £6 (redeemable against a signed copy of the book), which includes a glass of wine or soft drink on arrival. Available from the bookshop or at www.bookabookshop. co.uk with booking fee. Crime & Wine Evening with Sophie Hannah, 30th January, Linghams Bookshop, Heswall, Wirral Sophie Hannah is an international crime-writing superstar, having sold millions of books and been translated into 49 languages and published in 51 countries. Her new novel, Haven’t They Grown, takes the reader on a twisty journey appealing to their inner puzzle-solver, which ends with a dark, credible and satisfying resolution. 6.30pm for a 7pm start. Tickets £10, including a glass of wine. For more information, visit www.linghams.co.uk.

Writers In Residence 2020 Gladstone’s Library in Hawarden has announced the winners of its Writers In Residence award for 2020. The scheme, which has been running for nine years, aims to support contemporary novelists, poets and publishers across the UK and beyond. The five winners of this year’s Writers In Residence prize are Charlotte Higgins (Red Thread: On Mazes And Labyrinths), Jonathan Edwards (Gen), Katie Hale (My Name Is Monster), Isabel Galleymore (Significant Other) and Rachel Heng (Suicide Club). Each author will spend up to a month resident at Gladstone’s during 2020 with masterclasses, evening events and more. For more, visit www.gladstoneslibrary.org.

124 SHIRE MAGAZINE | January/February 2020

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Our friends at Linghams Bookshop in Heswall have recommended a couple of good reads to curl up with on these cold, dark nights…

As Nature Creeps On by Jenny O’Dea

And others turn a page. Fields with boulders strewn Where pipit and lark croon, The ebony raven will cronk Above where the hare will plonk Down to hide. The moulding wind bites all that will reside: Only the hardy up here – This is the message and all is clear!

I love the seasons of the year The springtime flowers bring me cheer And brightens up a lifeless morn As fresh new colours of nature’s born Those petals soft in morning dew Look delicate and tender too And as the seasons creep along The birds break out in cheery song The young create new life upon The land as nature moves along

I Spy by Anne Harding I listen to your song, As I’m walking along, Chirruping all the day, In suit of brown and grey, Gathering in a hedge, Or on a window ledge, Pecking a scrap or two, A little crust will do. Tuneless cheeps from above, A song I’ve grown to love Now your numbers are few, I intend to help you. Put out sunflower seeds, Worms, peanuts, rind of cheese, Watch you feeding your brood, Fledglings begging for food. You will soon take your leave, Fly to the autumn fields, I am sad you must go My aderyn y to. (As many readers will know, ‘aderyn y to’ is Welsh for house sparrow.)

To summer, hail, the sun doth shine And with it comes the summertime A butterfly skips low and high Its iridescent wings in flight

The Other People by CJ Tudor Dark cold nights, eerie noises, and things that go bump in the night... Welcome to CJ Tudor’s The Other People, another twisty and terrifying thriller by this fabulous author. The plot keeps you guessing from start to finish – you think you know where it’s going, and then you find you’ve been led down a blind alley. It will have you sleeping with the light on, particularly with the spooky supernatural element – but it’s a story that covers all bases, from love and heartbreak to revenge.

A dragonfly skims o’er the lake In the valley, grass gently shakes As the summer’s breeze gently unfurls Like the legs of a newborn foal Then autumn, my favourite time of year The leaves doth change, air crisp and clear Reddened cheeks glow from the chill As freshened air rise from the hill See spider’s webs caught in the frost The delicate patterns once more lost As animals brush by to hurry in To their warm and cosy dens Such a beautiful time of year and yet The year it nearly ends Join the And so winter creeps forward, the land lies still No more flowers upon the hill The trees seem bare, no colour at all No sound of life, no sign at all

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Up There by Norman Marshall Up there a falcon flew, Below is the curlew, But alarmed a skittish redshank And sandpiper on gravelled bank. Gone is silencing snow, Spring is making a show: The purple saxifrage

Would you like to work at home?


The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave This is the first adult novel from the award-winning author of The Girl Of Ink & Stars, and is based on real events. On a remote Norwegian island on Christmas Eve 1617, 40 fisherman are drowned during a violent storm, leaving their loved ones to fend for themselves. The women band together and survive – until Absalom Cornet enters the village. With his God-fearing ways and distrust of women with power, he strives to make his mark on the community – with disastrous results… Definitely one to look out for.

Evenings draw in, the sun is faint And frost it gathers on the gate So nature closes its doors to life To rest its weary head But spring time soon will come around And life will rise again!





Wet & W



Dive into on fant our feature astic loca watersp l orts





Bottom s up! Top tipples to try with guide to local drinks our Summe r Fashion style feel yourto help you look best this and season Home sweet home Interior style and from the advice experts Wedde d Our guidebliss to the local venues very best

WIN Shopping vouche £200, festiva rs worth a luxury l tickets, and afterno Turn to on tea! page 161 WE V ISIT

LUDLOW The thrivin town with g Shropshire an arty heart

Celebrity chat

Shire meets chart-t opping star Jess Glynne HEALT




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An island Y rich in and beautif history ul beache s COLW YN Britain in Bloom BAY with activiti winner es galore | BOOKS





If you’re a good communicator and will enjoy building relationships with clients for the best regional magazine covering Wales and the Borders, we want to talk to you. Due to rapid growth, there is now an opportunity for a new member to join our team. You can work from home, with hours to suit you, liaising with advertisers to help them choose their campaign and their coverage in the magazine. You are a charismatic and proactive selfstarter who enjoys working on your own initiative, and are outgoing and personable. You are highly organised, and have good computer skills. Above all else, you are a trustworthy and hardworking individual, someone who gets a real buzz from achieving results for clients. Please email with a covering letter and your CV to advertising@shiremagazine.co.uk, marked ‘Work from home’ as the subject to find out more.


We want your poems! Please email editorial@shiremagazine.co.uk

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Charities&Volunteering Travel agent raises money to support teen’s memory

Jordan, who was from Flint, lost his battle with Ewing’s sarcoma – a childhood bone cancer – in April 2017 despite undergoing chemotherapy, surgery, radiotherapy and a bone marrow transplant from his older sister Beth. The suggestion that Hays should support Giddo’s Gift came from Lucy Drury, whose brother – also called Jordan – was friends with Jordan.


Lasting legacy ‘We’re


travel agency in Flint hoping to is raising funds for a reach the charity set up in memory of £1,000 a much-loved teenager who mark’ died of cancer. The five-strong team at Hays Travel, in Church Street, aim to raise £1,000 for Giddo’s Gift, which was launched by the family of Jordan Giddins to remember the popular 18-year-old.

‘We nominate a charity to support every year and I was keen for us to help Giddo’s Gift,’ said Lucy, 28. ‘When Jordan was ill we came together to support him and get him out to the US for treatment. We did a sponsored 12km walk in the summer, which raised £430, and we’re hoping to reach the £1,000 mark.’ Pop in to Hays Travel in Flint to make a donation or donate to Giddo’s Gift direct at www.giddosgift.com.



£50,000 appeal fund has been launched to remember F1 race ace Tom Pryce in his hometown of Denbigh with the creation of a statue in his honour. Organisers say they want to inspire future generations as well as creating a memorial. Tom was raised in the small village of Nantglyn just outside Denbigh and became an apprentice tractor mechanic in St Asaph, but followed his dream to become a racing driver and win the Formula One Race of Champions at Brands Hatch in 1975. He went on to start the British Grand Prix at Silverstone that year in pole position and

led the field for two laps.

A legend lost

Friends and fans say he was on his way to becoming a Formula One great and would have become world champion, but sadly he died in a freak accident, leaving his widow Fenella and the racing world in shock. ‘The appeal to create a special piece of public art to remember Tom is absolutely wonderful,’ said Cllr Gaynor Wood-Tickle, the mayor of Denbigh. ‘No matter what young people want to do, they need things to inspire them and this can only be a good thing for Denbigh.’ To donate, visit www.gofundme.com/tom-pryce-appeal.

Spencer and his glittery pink beard


forklift truck driver turned his beard pink to raise money for a cancer charity in memory of his mother-in-law. Spencer Cameron-Waller, who works at McCarthy Distribution on Wrexham Industrial Estate, also donned a pink hi-vis jacket and T-shirt for Breast Cancer Now as part of the charity’s recent Wear It Pink day. The 47-year-old, who is a former infantry soldier with the Territorial Army, was keen to support the charity following the death of his mother-inlaw Joan Evans, who died aged 62 after a two-year battle with the disease. Spencer, who lives in Froncysyllte, near Llangollen, said: ‘Everyone was shocked because they weren’t expecting to see me turn up with a dusty pink glittery beard! No one knew I was going to do that.’ Mike McCarthy, managing director of McCarthy Distribution, said: ‘It came as bit of a shock to us all but Spencer brightened up everyone’s day! His pink attire may not be our usual uniform colour of choice but it’s a great way of raising awareness of breast cancer and we’re really proud of his fundraising efforts.’



n IT engineer who usually prefers to avoid confrontation has won his first cage fight, all in aid of charity. Dominic Buckley (left), a senior systems engineer at Wrexham-based Rawson IT Services, Dominic Buckley shocked colleagues when he announced he was embarking on a gruelling eight-week training programme to prepare for the bout. The 26-year-old competed in the Charity Cage Wars event at Brymbo Sports & Social Complex in Wrexham.

Dominic, who lives in Coedpoeth, Wrexham, defeated his opponent when the referee awarded the fight in his favour following three energysapping, two-minute rounds. He chose to support SpecialEffect, a UK-based charity that uses video games and technology in order to enhance the quality of life of people with disabilities, and has so far raised more than £400. ‘The whole experience lived up to my expectations, it was brilliant,’ Dominic said. ‘There is no feeling like it. It ticked all the boxes because it was doing something for charity and also testing myself.’ If you’d like to sponsor Dominic, you can do so at www.justgiving. com/fundraising/dbccw.


Cambrian sets up food bank collection

ambrian Credit Union has set up a collection to address food poverty in a north Wales coastal town. The collection point – for the King’s Storehouse food bank, which supports families and individuals in and around Rhyl – is in the credit union’s Rhyl office. ‘Having spent time with the team at King’s Storehouse, we know how in demand its services are,’ said a company spokesperson. ‘We’ve been amazed by the generosity of our members and staff.’ There are currently four food banks in Rhyl, which say demand for food parcels is greater than ever in the town.

If you would like to see your charity event featured on these pages, please email the details to the Shire team at editorial@shiremagazine.co.uk 126 SHIRE MAGAZINE | January/February 2020

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appy New Year, and thank you once again for keeping our postbag bulging! We love hearing from you and reading your stories – whether they are inspirational or educational, or just make us smile! We never have enough room to print them all, but please keep them coming in – and please include a picture whenever possible. Whatever you want to send or share with us, get in touch on editorial@shiremagazine.co.uk. If you think you’ve missed a copy of Shire and would like to catch up, we keep

a supply of back issues and are happy to send one out – just send us an SAE for £1.60 to Shire Magazine, PO Box 276, Oswestry, Shropshire SY10 1FR, letting us know which copy you’re after, and we’ll pop it in the post. If you want to make sure you never miss another edition, subscribe to the magazine and get your copy delivered directly to your door every time! See page 114 for details. You can also find us on social media. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram and be first to hear about local events, competitions and events across the patch.

The sky’s the limit thanks to Shropshire builders I wanted to let your readers know about the generosity of a Shropshire building firm, which funded four lifesaving missions by the Midlands Air Ambulance Charity with a £10,000 donation. Staff at Pave Aways staged a series of fundraising activities including a gruelling 84-mile Shropshire Safari dressed in animal costumes along the Shropshire Way and a 70-mile bike ride around north Shropshire. They also generously donated a percentage of their wage during the company’s annual away day to the charity. Business development director Paul Moran also visited one of the charity’s three airbases, RAF Cosford, to see how the donation would be of benefit. The construction company, which works on projects Shropshire, supports a different charity each year. The Midlands Air Ambulance Charity needs to raise more than £9 million a year to fund its fleet of air ambulances and emergency vehicles. Donations from corporate partners like Pave Aways help boost that figure. Doctor Matt Rowley, pilot Chris Levey, Pave Aways Name and address supplied director Paul Moran and paramedic Karen Baker

New lease of life

Mr Sudheer Karlakki

It was a delight to read your article on RJAH’s orthopaedic surgeon Mr Sudheer Karlakki in the November/December 2019 issue. In 2004, Mr Karlakki performed a hip replacement on me. At 49 I was relatively young to have such a procedure but walking had been painful for some time. When I went in for the operation I was looking forward to being free from pain, but didn’t know at that stage

just how much I would benefit. I was able to return to playing racket sports, cycling, walking long distances with my wife and dog, and generally enjoying sport as I had in my younger years. Even now, 15 years later, I am still playing tennis and table tennis, cycling and walking. It was a new lease of life and I thank Mr Karlakki for his and his team’s work. Mark Pearce

READER F E E D B AC K Thank you for a GREAT magazine – keep up the good work. I always get an extra copy to give to pals in the Midlands who enjoy visiting Wales and it’s much appreciated. Josie Low I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed the ‘green’ feature in your last edition – it was very informative without being either too complex or too patronising, thank you. And some great tips on ways we can all do our bit for the planet – good work Shire! Kathleen Briggs, Tarporley Hello Shire – I love your magazine. I make my mum get it so she knows all the things that are going on in the holidays and on the weekends so she can take me and my brother. It’s really good. Lola Griffith, Anglesey

Finding the strength to survive

Wildlife award for local group

My name is Pixie Belle, I’m 44 and a year ago I had an epiphany. I had experienced a lifetime of abuse, bullying and trauma. Now I can say that living through those experiences ultimately makes you a survivor – and it’s amazing when you realise you have the strength required to move on. For years I agonised over whether I could report the abuse I’d suffered to the police, but I always feared that it would be too much for me to cope with. I’m proud to say that I did find that strength and my only regret is that I didn’t do it long ago. In May 2019 I set up a charity to empower people who have been through something similar. The tagline is #IAmProudTOSPEAKOutLoud. I’m also making beautiful gift bags for women’s refuges as well as creating a wellbeing group and a range of natural vegan beauty products. If I can help anyone break free from their trauma, my mission will be successful. I’m living proof that you can fight back, and I hope my story can inspire your readers to do the same. Pixie Belle Bradbury-Jackson

There was good news recently for local group Joy of Wildlife, of which I am a member, when it won a national award. This group of amateur entomologists started in 2012 and, with the support of the Field Studies Council (FSC) at Preston Montford, concentrated on invertebrate recording in Shropshire. The purpose of the group has changed over the years from finding a target species or group for an FSC Atlas project to a wider remit of helping the Shropshire Wildlife Trust and other landowners and managers understand the plants and creatures on their land. All the members possess a love of nature as well as a breadth and depth of knowledge worthy of professional ecologists. Keith Fowler, the group coordinator, arranges field trips throughout spring, summer and autumn to record the flora and fauna of sites in Shropshire, then passes them to landowners and County Recorders, who forward them to the relevant national databases. It is for this that Joy of Wildlife received the National Keith Fowler and Jim Cresswell Biodiversity Network 2019 Group Award. receiving the award on behalf Stephen Mitchell, Telford Wildlife Forum of Joy of Wildlife January/February 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 127

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What’s in your stars? Aries

20th March – 20th April Oscar Wilde once said: ‘Nothing that is worth knowing can be taught’ – referring probably to experience through encounters, events and life itself – and you’re coming across much that is providing learning curves. You act on impulse and, being artless, confront challenges head on. More’s to come and you are at the starting gate: get ready, get set, go!


21st June – 23rd July There’s a film called The Shape Of Water and it’s a good title because water slides fluidly from one shape to another and it’s an ambiguous element – just like you. You inhabit a world where nothing is as it was five minutes ago, which can be exciting for someone close or rather confusing. May I suggest a little shoring up in the emotions department?


23rd September – 22nd October Sometimes life gives lemons but forgets the sugar – you’ve been through those times, but the sweetener for 2020 is no longer seeking approval because your confidence has grown. Call it experience, maturity, what you will… the fact is you’re through the apprenticeship and this year sees you well and truly at the helm of your life.


21st December – 20th January This is the year to dance in fields of infinite possibilities – Jupiter, the most expansive and beneficial planet of all, symbolises just how much you can expand your world, while Saturn – which is also in Capricorn – won’t allow you more than you can cope with. The world is your oyster and exploring what it can offer you is the pearl. Ta da!


20th April – 21st May ‘Love is blind but marriage can restore the sight’ applies to relationships other than matrimonial ones. Instability is rocking your world because a restless energy is changing the patterns of your life. It’s about personal freedom – but whose? Answer this and solve it by understanding its importance in any relationship. Define what’s bothering you, determine what to do, take action!


23rd July – 23rd August Your greatest creation is yourself, so what a wonderful opportunity you’ve had since birth to establish who you are. We’re all prey to conditioning, but vast opportunities exist to create the very best of human nature. An unpredictable energy around now demands your great quality of dignity being called on to withstand difficulties. Show how it’s done!


23rd October – 22nd November It’s snowdrop time; they represent hope and hope springs eternal, so stop fighting yourself! You battle with your demons but don’t know who or what they are, but let me tell you – jealousy, secretiveness and a little vindictiveness. Own them and seek your better nature. Be like the snowdrop and strive to be the astonishing specimen you truly are.


20th January – 19th February If zodiac signs had songs, yours would be ‘The Windmills Of Your Mind’ because the wheels never stop turning, so don’t let frost nip the bud of ideas. If you’re young, you’re probably in a state of rebellion, which isn’t surprising; if you’re older, find a way to action ideas. Either way, do what’s appropriate for you – not anyone else.


21st May – 21st June Your astrological colour is yellow, which symbolises versatility and the way you can easily sell ideas. You’re also adaptable in your expressive way, which is just as well because there’s plenty of adjusting and reworking required now. Just remember that the best ideas are common property and allow them to morph into teamwork.


23rd August – 23rd September A new year is a time to wipe the slate clean so rifts or old quarrels can be settled; the Cancerian eclipse in January offers another closure point. As the year moves on, Jupiter spins through Capricorn making a wonderful arc to Virgo, such a favourable position of two celestial bodies. Hold out an olive branch – your sign, after all, represents the healer.


22nd November – 21st December The galactic centre is at 27° of Sagittarius in the Milky Way, the rotational centre of our galaxy. You’re the centre of your universe and going around in circles too. Stop! Take a close look at your solar house of finance – it could be better and could be worse, but it needs you to stand still and think seriously about where to budget.


19th February – 20th March Some dreams are too heavy to carry, so let one or two go. Your ruling planet, Neptune, in your own sign reveals the idealist side of you but be a realist too even though that’s problematical for you. Three outer planets in Capricorn support that a more grounded manner is required, so try a practical approach to a creative dilemma.

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 2020

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You have to be in it to win it. Go on, enter today!

Another edition of Shire, another chance to win some of our fabulous prizes, including tickets to an amazing circus and a thrilling night at the opera! Good luck…

WIN TICKETS TO SEE CIRCUS FUNTASIA We have a family ticket to give away to the amazing Circus Funtasia, which returns to Shropshire from 20th to 24th March with a show that promises to be bigger and better than ever. The winner can expect to see spectacular aerialists flying through the Big Top, acrobats on the Wheel of Death leaping dizzying heights, fearless fire-eaters, gymnasts, jugglers and so much more! For your chance to win this amazing prize, fill in the entry form below and send it to Shire at the address shown by 15th February. WIN! An hour-long session for two at Climbing The Walls in Shrewsbury Choose your

WIN! Two tickets to a night of opera at Venue Cymru, Llandudno See the show of your

choice presented by the Welsh National Opera, whose forthcoming season includes The Marriage Of Figaro on 4th and 6th March at 7pm, Carmen on 5th March at 7.15pm or Les Vêpres Siciliennes (pictured right) on 7th March at 6.30pm. CLOSING DATE: 15th February

challenge, get kitted up and see how high you can climb with this great prize suitable for anyone aged five and over. Climbing The Walls is a state-of-the-art venue with more than 8,000ft2 of indoor climbing space across three distinct areas. CLOSING DATE: 15th February

WIN! Two tickets to see Mid Wales Opera’s Marriage Of Figaro at the Hafren, Newtown See Mid Wales Opera’s

WIN! One of two family tickets to see the Wrexham Symphony Orchestra at William Aston Hall, Wrexham Experience

production of Mozart’s enduring masterpiece on its opening night at the Hafren in Newtown, Powys, on 29th February and then enjoy a drink after the show at the Chairman’s Reception. CLOSING DATE: 15th February

a night of incredible music on 29th February as conductor Mark Lansom presents Hector Berlioz’s Overture ‘King Lear’ and Symphonie Fantastique, and Ludwig van Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.3. CLOSING DATE: 15th February


Congratulations to our lucky winners from the November/December issue of Shire!

Doreen, Llangollen, tickets to a WSO concert

Lynne, Llay, a short break at Northfield Holiday Park

Marie, Grinshill, a meal for two at the Three Eagles

Margaret, Ellesmere Port, tickets to the Blue Planet

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

RULES OF THE COMPETITIONS The promoter of these competitions is Shire magazine, Superstar Publishing, PO Box 276, Oswestry, Shropshire 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 shiremagazine.co.uk. 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 wish to be contacted.

Q: How many tries did Shane Williams score for Wales?

Name Address

a) 43 b) 51 c) 58 CIRCUS FUNTASIA



Daytime contact number


Email (please complete) Please send me further information about Shire January/February 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 129

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COMING NEXT ISSUE As the days start to get longer and lighter and our outdoor spaces begin to burst back into life, here at Shire we’ll be putting together a positively blooming edition to match the season! Our March/April issue will be packed with all the information and advice you need to put a spring in your step YO U A R E W H AT YO U E AT !

We take a look at food fads and fashions, as well as how to adopt the best diet for you. Whether you need to reduce your cholesterol, avoid dairy or are thinking about going vegan, Shire will help you find out the facts about foods and how your diet can keep you happy as well as healthy.

GROWING SEASON As the first signs of life start appearing in our back gardens and the magnificent public and open gardens across the region, we pick some of our favourite spaces for you to visit. We’ll also be on hand with handy hints and expert tips to help you with your own horticultural projects.

Keeping it green

We continue our new regular environmental section, focusing on ways in which we can all do our bit to look after our planet. Whether that’s rethinking our transport options, looking at how we heat our homes or just remembering to recycle, we’ll help you make sure you’re exploring greener ways of living.

Natural talent We talk to an incredible artist who takes his inspiration from the wildlife and animals he sees around him. Ben Waddams, who produces beautiful pieces that are almost photographic in quality, tells Shire about his life, his art and how nature keeps him reaching for his sketchbook when he’s out and about.


Following on from this issue’s feature on mental health and mindfulness, we speak to a local author who has published a number of books and embarked on a series of stage dates to help set us all on the path to inner peace. Make sure you check out what he has to say about keeping our heads in check, including top tips for better mental wellbeing.


MEAL PLANNING Planning a family gathering for Easter? Then check out what our food expert Graham Tinsley MBE is offering in his regular recipe slot. With Welsh lamb back in season, we know our mouths will be watering…

Egg-stra events Whether you’re hoping for an egg hunt, searching for a dinner suggestion or checking out the best recipes – don’t miss the bumper Easter edition of Shire.


As the clocks go forward, we start thinking about the summer months ahead. To help you plan your holiday, we round up local parks and holiday homes, and suggest some of the top attractions nearby too.

Inside knowledge

If you have desires for new designs, check out Shire’s homes section for style tips, property inspirations and renovations to help you make your house a home.

SHOW REVIEWS As always, the dedicated and hard-working team at Shire have been out and about at the region’s many excellent and varied venues, in order to keep you in the loop by reporting back from as many events and shows as possible in our extensive review section.


D O N ’ T F O R G E T…

Don’t go anywhere until you’ve checked our What’s On guide for March and April 2020. With the school holidays and a double dose of bank holidays you’ll need to keep the next edition of Shire – with its 60-page guide to all the events and activities going on across the region – close to hand.

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 2020 issue. 2. Share your reader stories Have you got an extraordinary or exciting story to tell? We would love to share it with our readers. Send us an email and don’t forget to include a picture or two! 3. Contribute to one of our pages Send all your submissions and pictures by email to 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 2020

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