Shire Magazine July-August 2020

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Dine in style Have fine food and drink delivered safely to your home


WIN A bottle of craft gin, gift sets, T-shirts and more! Turn to page 113 Considering clocking off? Plan the retirement you deserve Working from home How to make the office of your dreams Legend in lockdown Paul Weller on his Welsh roots and new tunes


Stay local and discover these wonderful towns SHIFNAL  WHITCHURCH  CAERNARFON


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Visit our award winning showrooms for inspirational ideas and advice for the most important rooms in your home. Displaying quality items from exclusive brands you can trust, all at competitive prices and with help from our experienced team.

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WELCOME, DEAR READER… Managing Director Dan Bromage Editor Kate Speedie Chief Subeditor Jo Williams Advertising Design Sarah Norman Editorial Designers Ella Knight Meryl McIntosh Subeditor Chris Miller Staff Writers Eluned Watson Helen Gordon Adele Barry Sales & Marketing Maria Eales Pauline Jones Tess Montero Distribution Manager Paul Howard Finance & Accounts David Kynaston Nicky Kynaston Jane Osman Contributors John Hargreaves, Gloria Mans, Catherine Buckley, P Parker, Clive Williams, John Stubbs, Helen Cooke, Pip Gale, Lizzie Deery, Graham Tinsley, Deborah Law, Jennifer McKinney


hat a strange and uncertain few months we’ve all been having. Even as we managed to get our last edition out to you, we didn’t know what situation we’d face as this issue went to print. But we believe it’s so important to keep you informed and entertained, and to let you know – especially if you’re still not getting out much or seeing many other people – that we’re all very much in this together. And with that in mind, welcome to the summer edition of Shire! This issue, we’re taking an in-depth look at what you need to consider when it comes to retirement – a great, informative read, whether it’s something you’re counting down the days to or haven’t even considered yet. As the financial experts we spoke to will confirm, it’s never too early to start planning! We’re also celebrating all our local producers, brewers, suppliers and farms who have stepped up during the coronavirus crisis. Whether they’ve started delivery services, introduced click-and-collect options or even designed drive-through ice cream parlours, they’ve been there to make sure you can still get the very best of local produce no matter what the shopping restrictions – and we want to thank them for that! Elsewhere this issue we’re also turning our attention on our local towns, as so many of us have been appreciating our region more than ever recently, and have all the latest news and views on homes, fashion, arts, crafts and books that you’ve come to expect from us. Stay safe, and enjoy your summer! IN THIS ISSUE Food heroes Meet the companies bringing supplies to your door on page 56

Email Shire magazine

Shire Magazine PO Box 276 Oswestry Shropshire SY10 1FR Tel: 01691 661270

Time to say goodbye to work? Read our guide to retiring in style, from page 34


Lovely listings Take a look at the events hoping to take place across the region this summer, from page 6 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 © 2020 Superstar Publishing Ltd, all rights reserved. Registered Number: 10604188.

GET IN TOUCH! We want to hear from you…


Tell us about your upcoming events. Just remember that we work in advance, so 1st August is the deadline for events in our September/October 2020 issue.


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 88. 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 109 for more. Your pets Is your pet the love of your life? Send a snap, along

A free copy of Shire delivered to your home! To help readers during this difficult time, if you’re having trouble getting to the supermarket and would prefer a copy delivered to you at home, please just send us an A4 SAE with £1.80 postage to Shire Magazine, PO Box 276, Oswestry, Shropshire SY10 1FR. We will send you the latest issue by return.

with their name and anything else you want to tell us. See page 78 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 and send submissions and information by email to

TURN TO PAGE 107 for our fantastic subscription offer! July/August 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 3

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Lle i Ddarganfod … o adref! Ewch i’n gwefan a chwilio neu bori ein casgliadau ar-lein helaeth ac amrywiol:

• Llyfrau • Papurau Newydd • Llawysgrifau • Archifau

• Mapiau • Darluniau • Ffotograffau • Ffilm

Beth bynnag eich diddordebau – hanes teulu, gwaith academaidd neu bori trwy weithiau celf hardd, mae digonedd i ddysgu a difyrru.

A Place to Discover … from home! Visit our website and search or browse our numerous and varied online collections:

• Books • Newspapers • Manuscripts • Archives • Maps • Pictures • Photographs • Film

Whatever your interests - family history, academic work or simply just browsing through beautiful artworks, there’s plenty to inform and entertain. | | |

@NLWales | @LLGCymru

Looking ahead, we are preparing to re-open as soon as the Covid-19 coronavirus situation has sufficiently improved.



W S for whi O Fr Join re ch o ien the gu ff ds Wrexham Symphony Orchestra lar ers Sc (Orchestra in Residence at William Aston Hall) co be he th nc ne me 50 Birthday Party and Concert er fit tg s oe rs

Wrexham Symphony Orchestra

Established in 1969 ^ University Orchestra in Residence at Wrexham Glyndwr Honorary President: Professor Maria Hinfelaar - Vice Chancellor

Celebrating 50 years of making and creating live ofmusic inBlomfield Wrexham Former WSO Young Musician the Year, Tom

Principal Oboist - Philharmonia – Classic FM’s Orchestra on Tour

Sunday November 3rd, 2019 at 3.30pm

Appeal for support at this time of national crisis We appreciate that these are difficult times for everybody, but any donation you can spare will help bridge the gap. Just as an example, have you considered something in place of the cost of any visits you have not been able to make? Please see our APPEAL FOR SUPPORT BOX on the home page of the website You can donate by post via cheque, credit card or standing order. Thank you in anticipation. All donations are gratefully received.

William Aston Hall, Wrexham Glyndŵr University, We are a community orchestra with Mold Road, Wrexham LL11 2AWour membership drawn from across the generations Conductor: Russell Grayand professions. We perform to exacting and seek to support our Soloists:standards Tom Blomfield - Oboe Sophie Rosa - Violin in charitable work. community through our engagement Tickets availablewho from: are appropriately We welcome members qualified musicians. If you are interested in joining us, Wrexham Tourist Information Centre (01978 292015) Llangollen Tourist Information Centre 860828) please contact us by(01978 email. Rowanthorn Gift Shop, Oswestry (01691 238227) Our concert is currently suspended until Familyseason Ticket £25 (2 adults and up to 4 children); Balcony £15; Stalls £12 further Students, school pupils and young children £2. notice and(Concessions we Supporting will£10);post news updates on our web site Classic FM’s

and social Charity media pages.

For more information about the Wrexham Symphony Orchestra visit Email: You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter @wrexham orch The Virtual Hall Concert Facebook page offers a range of musical concerts and events throughout each day.

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Contents J U LY/AU G U ST 2 02 0

PAG E 3 3 Radiohead’s Ed O’Brien

81 Holidays Ready for a break? Let us help you choose the perfect destination

6 What’s On Our comprehensive guide to what’s going on across the region, with events in north and mid Wales, Cheshire, Wirral and Shropshire, including online exhibitions and virtual learning courses

85 Active A new virtual programme to keep kids moving, plus our resident rambler has a new route for you to explore

11 Paul Weller We catch up with the Modfather as he launches his 15th solo album – and discover his family links with Wales 32 Days in As Covid-19 disruption continues, we take a look at how three national institutions are bringing their events into our homes

PAG E 9 4 Brighten up your wardrobe

PAG E 5 5 Add some ‘Oooh!’ to your office

33 Ed O’Brien The Radiohead guitarist talks cancelled tours, recovering from coronavirus and spending lockdown in Powys 34 Time to put your feet up? Whether you’re counting down the days or it’s a distant dream, it’s never too soon to start planning your retirement. We help you get organised 43 Homes & Interiors After months in which we’ve spent more time at home than ever before, we have all the expert advice you’ll need to spruce up your surroundings

PAG E 3 4 Enjoy your golden years

PAG E 74 Al fresco accessories

55 Making it work The best accessories for your perfect home office 56 Lockdown food heroes Our guide to the local growers and producers who have been ensuring your favourite food and drink remains available during the pandemic 64 Food & Drink Meet the family behind Claremont Farm in Wirral, tasty and healthy summer treats for all the family, plus the pandemic that almost wiped out wine

PAG E 5 6 Food delivered to your door

PAG E 6 Local events

68 Middlewich Take a walk through the history of the Cheshire town 69 Gardening Whether you’re growing your own veg or replanting your borders, our green-fingered experts will help you get it right in the garden this summer 73 Green living Are we recycling right? Plus one local company’s planting push 74 Outdoor dining We’ve got all the furniture and extras you need if your patio need a revamp

PAG E 1 1 Paul Weller

77 Pets & Wildlife The latest news from the RSPB and the Wildlife Trusts, and your cute pet pictures

86 Shifnal Uncover the colourful past of this Shropshire town that is said to have inspired Dickens 87 Arts & Crafts Meet the artist marking a milestone of creativity in care, plus our online exhibition round-up and photography competition 92 Health & Beauty The experts providing socially distant beauty advice, plus how to make sure you’re getting enough sleep 94 Mellow yellow Add some sunshine to your summer wardrobe 96 Feeling hot, hot, hot! Shorts, shirts and accessories for days at the beach 97 Caernarfon We sing the praises of the home to one of the world’s most famous castles 98 Retirement An initiative helping older people use technology to keep in touch, plus your driving rights after 70 101 Schools As the strangest term comes to an end, we look at the challenges facing our local schools and colleges – and the champions keeping education going 107 Subscribe to Shire! Take out an subscription to your favourite lifestyle magazine and get every issue delivered straight to your door! 108 Books & Poetry Our guide to book events, workshops and new releases, plus meet a young local author 110 Letters We hand over to our readers 111 Charities & Volunteering A look at the voluntary and charity organisations that do so much good for so many good causes across the area 112 What’s In Your Stars? Check out what’s coming your way with our horoscope forecast by Gloria Mans. 113 Competitions Your chance to win some exclusive prizes

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8th July, The St David’s Shoot, St David’s College, Llandudno If you’re a keen shotsman or want to try your hand at a clay pigeon shoot, this experience could be for you! The event consists of individual and team competitions across 10 stands, and entry includes breakfast, canapés and a three -course lunch with wine in a luxury marquee. All money raised goes to St David’s Hospice. 8.30am.

11th July, Family Bushcraft: Shelter Building, Chirk Castle, Wrexham The perfect course for those wanting to introduce their children to the secrets of building dens, wild camping and the joys of bushcraft. Whether you’re planning a family camping trip or simply want to gain confidence in shelter-building, this course is for you. 10am. £55 for an adult and child. Extra children £10 each.

Music and laughter at Venue Cymru Paul Carrack, 14th August Nicknamed “The Man with the Golden Voice” in a BBC documentary about his phenomenal 50-year career, Paul is one of the hardest-working independent musicians on the scene. His vocals have graced million-selling songs such as “How Long” by ACE, “Tempted” by Squeeze and the Grammy Award-nominated “Living Years” by Mike and the Mechanics. Joined by his awesome six-piece band, Paul’s set highlights his hits and collaborations, as well as songs from his 17 solo albums. 7.30pm. Tickets from £31. Paul Smith: Changed, 26th & 27th August A lot has changed for comedian Paul Smith in recent years. Join him for his third and largest-ever tour

Sensational science at home While the country has been quiet, the team at Xplore! Science & Discovery Centre in Wrexham have been putting the final touches to the new home of science in north Wales, which opens later this year. They’ve also been posting activities online so you can bring out your inner scientist. See for more.

•12th July & 2nd August,

Mountain Scrambling, The Crib Lem Spur, Bethseda, Bangor Join a guided climb to the summit of Carnedd Dafydd via the Crib Lem spur. This grade one scramble is one of the bestkept secrets in Snowdonia. 10am-4pm. £40 per person.

24th-26th July, MTB Meetup, Llandegla Forest, Denbighshire The UK’s premier social mountain biking event, held at Oneplanet Adventure. Fun, friendly and free. 5pm.

25th July, Mostly Autumn, Tivoli Venue, Buckley Powerful rock with a Celtic edge, Mostly Autumn’s sound incorporates flute, low and penny whistles, violins and vocal harmonies over keyboards, two guitarists, bass and drums. 7pm. £18. www.tivoli

of the UK and Ireland as he once again mixes sharp, hilarious stories from his life with his trademark off-the-cuff wit. 7.30pm. Tickets £25. Barry Steele & Friends: The Roy Orbison Story, 28th August Barry Steele has been stunning audiences with his uncanny ability to recreate the vocal talents of Roy Orbison, winning rave reviews across the globe. Now he is set to “put the rock back into Roy” in The Roy Orbison Story, which puts a contemporary slant on Orbison’s legacy. Get ready for a musical journey in time as this magnificent cast deliver a perfect combination of classic, solidgold hits and contemporary genius. 7.30pm. Tickets £24.50.

Laugh out loud at William Aston Hall Rescheduled from 5th May, Jimmy Carr returns to Wrexham on 22nd August to do what he does best – make you laugh, with his latest show, Terribly Funny. Jimmy Carr is one of the most successful and prominent stand-up comedians in the UK. Since he began his career in the early 2000s, he has performed 10 sell-out tours, played over 2,000 shows to over 2.5 million people and become a well-known television personality. The show starts at 7pm and tickets cost £32.45.

Arts for all at Ty Pawb

Pinked Floyd in concert

Ty Pawb in Wrexham is delivering an exciting new programme, Ty Pawb Arts at Home, while the galleries are temporarily closed. With a range of online activities and events, the project makes aspects of the exhibition programme available online and brings artists together to create projects for you to take part in at home. You can watch live streamed Friday Night Gigs, join in with an adapted version of Family Art Club each Saturday and take on creative assignments that will challenge and inspire you.

Enjoy a spectacular night of music at Wrexham’s Stiwt when the seven-piece tribute band Pinked Floyd make their Wales debut on 22nd August. They’ll perform a selection of tracks from Pink Floyd’s discography – the ever-popular Dark Side Of The Moon, Wish You Were Here, Animals and The Wall are well represented, and a stunning laser and video show complements the faithful performance. Tickets cost £15.

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A special message from Shire


31st July, The Chippy Train, Bala Lake Railway Join an evening excursion from Llanuwchllyn for a return journey along the line to Bala. Stop for a portion of fish and chips at Llangower and enjoy it on the train or down by the lake shore. 6.15pm. £10 adults, £3 children, excluding food (fish and chips £7).

In this issue we have made every effort to bring you the most up-to-date detail of the fabulous, fun activities you can do in the Shire region. Where possible we’ve included details of events you may have been looking forward to that have been postponed, as well as the new dates – if we have them! At the time of writing, these listed events are still scheduled to go ahead unless stated otherwise, but please check with the venue by phone or on the web before travelling for the most recent updates. And of course, when attending any of these great events in our wonderful local area, please ensure you are following government guidance to prevent the spread of Covid-19, even after the most severe restrictions are lifted.

Back in time for RetroFest You can step into the past on 15th and 16th August at the friendly two-day RetroFest at Bodrhyddan Hall in Rhuddlan, Rhyl. The fantastic, family-friendly event incorporates chainsaw carving, live music and entertainment, vintage and retro shopping, a vintage funfair, classic vehicles and a touch of magic, plus plenty of fabulous food including a vintage tea room. Oh, and vintage dancing – so don’t forget to bring your dancing shoes and join the party! Day tickets cost £12 on the gate and £10 if booked online in advance, and the price includes entrance to Bodrhyddan Hall gardens. Parking is free and entry for under-15s is free when they’re accompanied by an adult. For more information visit

Connect with Mostyn


Mostyn Gallery was built for local arts benefactor Lady Augusta Mostyn, in 1901

Montez Press Radio, in collaboration with Mostyn Gallery in Llandudno, is running a series of interviews, conversations, readings and recordings by artists, writers, publishers, musicians and activists this summer. The broadcasts, which are being aired on the last Sunday of the month, seek to forge a sense of continued dialogue and community despite the current challenges faced across the globe and within the art sector. Participants include Christiane Blattmann, Jacqueline de Jong, Jack Burton, Caribic Residency, Juliette Desorgues, Olivia Erlanger, Endangered Languages Project, Attilia Fattori Franchini, Dorota Gaweda and Egle Kulbokaite, Cinzia Mutigli, New Latin Wave and Athena Papadopoulos. The broadcasts run from 3pm to 7pm on 26th July and 30th August.

Beautiful cycling on Anglesey Join the Tour de Mon Cycle Sportive on 23rd August and cycle to the most stunning locations on the island of Anglesey. This popular event is a calendar highlight for cyclists and locals, who support the riders as they pass by. Entrants can choose from one of three courses: Bach (46 miles), Canol (77 miles) and Mawr (106 miles), all of which are marked and marshalled with water and feed stations en route. For more informatin, visit

31st July, Snowdon Moonlight Guided Walk Climb Snowdon at dusk and enjoy a breathtaking sunset from the summit (if the conditions are good) before heading down via moonlight and head-torches. 5.15-11.45pm.

1st & 2nd August, Teddy Bears’ Picnic, Rhyl Miniature Railway If you go down to the railway today, watch out for the teddy bears! Don’t worry, they are friendly and have even been known to dance. Children, bring your teddies to claim a free train ride, when accompanied by a fare-paying adult. 10.30am-4pm.

4th August, Clwb Comedi, Theatr Clwyd, Mold Get ready for a laugh with another great night of comedy at Theatr Clwyd. Featuring Vikki Stone (The John Bishop Show), Danny Pensive and Harry Stachini, along with MC Freddy Quinne. 8pm. £10.

6th, 13th & 20th August, Barbeque Specials, Bala Lake Railway Enjoy a pleasant evening journey by steam, departing from Llanuwchllyn at 6.15pm and stopping for a barbecue at Llangower to watch the sun going down across the lake. £10 adults, £3 children, excluding food. www.

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8th August, Moel Famau & Loggerheads Guided Trail Run, Loggerheads Country Park, Mold A 10-mile guided trail run winding through Loggerheads Country Park and out on to the trails of the Clwydian Range. This route covers a small section of the Offa’s Dyke LDW path before reaching the summit of Moel Famau and returning to Loggerheads via forest paths. 9.30am-12.30pm. £22.

15th-16th August, Bushcraft Skills Weekend, Chirk Castle Let the experienced Woodland Classroom instructors guide you through the core skill branches of bushcraft: shelter, fire, food and using edged tools. This two-day course is an immersion into the world of bushcraft, perfect for beginners and those who already enjoy the outdoor lifestyle but want to take their basic knowledge further. £150.

22nd August, Rushed, Tivoli Venue, Buckley A threepiece tribute act performing the music of Canada’s finest progressive rock trio, Rush. Join them for an epic evening. 7pm. £12.

22nd-23rd August, Wild West Weekend, Rhyl Miniature Railway Join this wild weekend in the west of Rhyl! Will the train be ambushed? Lots of cowboythemed activities for all the family. 10.30am-4pm. www.

Racing on the river in Conwy

DID YOU KNOW? The first Conwy River Festival took place in 1993

The popular annual Conwy River Festival looks set to go ahead this year, with racing on the weekend of 22nd and 23rd August and the LA-LA Rally scheduled for 29th, 30th and 31st August. The racing – larger cruising classes out in Conwy Bay; nobbys, gaffers and classics in the bay; day boats and smaller cruisers in the river – attracts boats from across north Wales, the north-west and further afield. The emphasis is on racing for fun and to improve your skills, and there’s bound to be lots to see with thrilling racing in front of the quay and castle. The LA-LA Rally is an accompanied cruise from the Liverpool Arms, Conwy to the Liverpool Arms, Menai Bridge, and is a great way of enjoying some of the most spectacular scenery in north Wales. To keep in line with government guidance, this year’s rally may include an “anchoring off and beach barbecue” style event; check the website for the latest news.

Minis in the mountains Join a 15-mile long mini convoy through the beautiful Conwy Valley on 30th August to raise money for Hope House & Ty Gobaith. Minis In The Mountains is an enthusiastled, not-for-profit, one-day classic Mini event set in the majestic Conwy Valley. The event unites classic Mini enthusiasts from around the UK while giving them the chance to raise money for a valuable cause. The meet starts at Rhos-on-Sea before setting off in a mini convoy with the help of the local mini club Mad Welsh Minis. The convoy will travel on a 15-mile scenic route to Llandudno, then on to the historic medieval town of Conwy, before heading deep into the Conwy Valley to Adventure Parc Snowdonia. The event is free for visitors to attend and no tickets are required, but there will be donation boxes for those wishing to contribute to the fundraising. Mini owners are required to register.

23rd August, Llangollen Fell Race, Llangollen Leisure Centre A 17-mile fell and trail race taking in the views across Trevor Rocks, Eglwyseg Mountain, Ruabon Mountain and towards Cyrn-y-Brain and Sir Watkin’s Tower. 9am. www.llangollen

Break from reality in Portmeirion Portmeirion is hoping to reopen on 4th July, allowing visitors to step away from the pressures of life in the beautiful Italianate retreat. The village boasts exotic gardens and sandy beaches, two hotels, historic cottages, a spa, stylish shops, restaurants and an Italian ice cream parlour. Visit www. for the latest information.

Enjoy a fast and flat 10k The 30th Helena Tipping Wrexham 10k takes place on 26th July, offering a friendly, welcoming atmosphere for anyone looking for a challenge. The fast and flat 10k starts and finishes close to The Clubhouse on Wrexham Industrial Estate, with cash prizes for the first, second and third place finishers. Entry costs from £17 Visit www.runcheshire.

Keep rocking in Wrexham Wales’s biggest music festival, Rock the Park, returns to Wrexham for its fourth year from 7th to 9th August, featuring original artists and world-class tributes across the weekend! The family-friendly festival kicks off on Friday night with Dance Classics, featuring world-class DJs and live PAs from around the world, while Saturday and Sunday includes tributes to some of the world’s biggest bands. The festival also has a huge fairground, a festival village where you can eat, drink and shop, camping and glamping facilities, and music from noon until dark, when the event closes with a firework spectacular. Tickets start from £30 for adults – children under 12 go free. For more information, visit

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#AngenNatur #WeNeedNature

Mae pawb angen natur - diolch am eich cefnogaeth barhaus We all need nature - thank you for your continued support

832-0102-20-21: Llun/Image: Pâl/Puffin, Ben Andrew ( Mae’r RSPB yn elusen gofrestredig yng Nghymru a Lloegr, 207076, yn yr Alban, SC037654. The RSPB is a registered charity in England & Wales 207076, in Scotland SC037654

DIOLCH! THANK YOU!  @RSPBCymru  @rspbcymru

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Culture for kids at Theatr Clwyd, Mold The Adventures Of Bo Peep, 24th July The perfect introduction to theatre, with an interactive story and sensory learning. Look out for a flock of woollen puppets, original music and sheep themed silliness. 10.15am, 12.14pm & 2.45pm. Tickets £2. Strange Creatures, 24th July Told through magical, theatrical chamber music, Strange Creatures explores differences, friendships and new understandings in our colourful world. 10.45am, 12.30pm & 2.30pm. Tickets £2. iPet, 25th-26th July Two children’s entertainers do magic tricks by pulling bananas out of iPads. But the magic trick starts to

Explore ancient ruins in Hawarden Visit Hawarden Old Castle on 9th August, and explore the ruins of a medieval castle. The grade I listed castle, part of the Gladstone estate in Flintshire, is only open to the public four times a year, and this will be the last opportunity to explore it in 2020. Scramble through the ruins and take in the beautiful view of the Cheshire Plain from the top. Hawarden Old Castle can be accessed from the Hawarden Estate Farm Shop or through the gates in Hawarden Village, and is open from 11am to 3pm. A donation taken at the gate will go towards a local charity.

Learn to paint during lockdown Perfect your watercolour technique from the comfort of your own home with artist, author and illustrator Andrew Jenkin. The awardwinning artist is running an online tuition course allowing anyone to learn the skills they need to become an artist. Students receive regular weekly video tutorials. You can then send your paintings to Andrew, who will make suggestions for improvement, keeping in contact via email, WhatsApp and Zoom. Andrew has 20 years’ experience in watercolour painting and has won many awards, including three Highly Commended watercolours at Royal Cambrian Academy open exhibitions. The course is open to everyone from beginners to experienced painters and costs £20 per month – students are free to start and stop tuition as they please. Visit

rebel and the iPad turns out to be a cheeky prankster. 11.30am & 2.45pm. Tickets £2.

DID YOU KNOW? All these performances are part of the Family Arts Festival

Meet Me A Tree – A Very First Opera, 26th July An interactive first opera for the under-threes, with music by Schumann, Delibes and Handel as well as words and music created by the company. 10.15am, 12.15pm & 2.30pm. Tickets £2. I Wish I Was A Mountain, 26th July The town of Faldum receives an unexpected visit. A wanderer offers to grant a wish to anyone who wants one – and one man wishes to be turned into a mountain. 11.15am & 2pm. Tickets £2.

A day with Alice the Little Welsh Engine Meet Alice the Little Welsh Engine from Pauline Hazelwood’s beautiful children’s books at Bala Lake Railway on 1st August. Pauline will be at Llanuwchllyn station reading some of the stories, demonstrating how she draws the characters and involving the children in activities as well as signing books. Alice will also be giving rides at Llanuwchllyn station in the special Dinorwic Quarry carriage that was once used by royal visitors, and shunting slate wagons like she did in the quarry. She will even be double-heading the last train of the day. Activities start at 10.30am and finish at 3.45pm. Normal train fares apply. To find out more visit

Calling all superheroes!

Kids, come dressed as your favourite superhero or Disney character and you can travel free of charge on Llanberis Lake Railway during Super Hero Week from 10th to 14th August. Whether you’re Spider-Man, Cinderella, Batman or Belle, you can enjoy a great day out for free on the narrow-gauge steam trains that run alongside Lake Padarn, in the heart of Snowdonia. There are prizes on offer and superheroes to spot at the stations.

Cinema under the stars Enjoy a sing-a-long cinema experience at Chirk Castle near Wrexham on 21st and 22nd August with a showing of The Greatest Showman. The hit musical celebrates the birth of showbusiness and tells of a visionary who rose from nothing to create a spectacle that became a worldwide sensation. Bring a blanket or camping chair and get ready to sing along under the stars! The gates open at 7pm, with the film starting shortly after sunset. Visit for tickets.

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Welsh Weller?

Well I never!

Paul Weller, one of the legends of the British music scene, talks to Shire about his latest album, his postponed tour and a little-known background fact too…


aul Weller should have been passing through the Shire patch this summer, with a date at Venue Cymru in Llandudno as part of an extensive tour. Not only has the cancellation of that tour meant we didn’t get to see him locally, it has also meant the Modfather missed out on getting back to his roots. Yes, you read that right – it turns out the Surrey-born Paul Weller is, in fact, part Welsh! He explains that his nan was from “I’m Aberdare and he spent holidays with her in fortunate that neck of the woods, while in later years she and couldn’t joked that the only reason he was a successful wish for singer was because of his Welsh ancestry! anything” Whatever gave Paul his talent, there is no questioning the star quality, as his phenomenal success goes to show. And the singer-songwriter has no intention of slowing down either, despite marking his 62nd birthday while in lockdown.

“I wanted to do an album that was soulful and also had an electronic edge. Most of the songs on On Sunset are quite uplifting – to me it’s a sunshine record. There’s a lot of me in there, so am I contented? Yes, I am – I’m fortunate and couldn’t wish for anything.”

Changing times

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Stanley Road, the autobiographical album that contains classic tracks like “The Changingman” and “You Do Something To Me”. “I can’t believe it’s 25 years old, but Creative energy I still think it’s a great record Paul’s new album is out in July “I don’t really celebrate birthdays, but my daughter shares that stands up now,” he says. “It mine, so it’s very much about her,” says Paul. “I’ve actually been showed the progress made since my first solo album. It was a really very focused being at home these past few weeks, doing a lot creative time for me and I’ve some fond memories of that period.” of writing, as well as some more recording in the studio. However, Paul recognises the huge changes to the industry in the “To be honest, these days when I’m not working, I am quarter century since. “Where do I start?” he says. “Streaming for one actually home quite a lot with my wife and kids because we’ve – that has changed everything. Someone told me the other day that been home schooling them. I haven’t really a band had a number one with 7,000 sales. But streaming is been bothered by the lockdown, other than where it’s at – it’s not something that you can ignore. having to queue for food or medicine.” “I could have a mini moan about things like that, Paul has started work on new material while he but I don’t want to sound like a grumpy old git. I think the main reason I haven’t liked it is that awaits the rescheduled tour to mark the launch of his 15th solo album, On Sunset, which is released on people aren’t getting paid out of it, particularly 3rd July. “I wouldn’t say making music has got any up-and-coming bands, meaning it’s getting hard harder,” he says about the creative process. “I think for them to make a living now. I’ve never believed that music should just be free as some people I’m actually enjoying the process and the writing a lot more now than I ever did before, in terms of do. So it’s good to see that vinyl is still out there, recording. I have a great respect and appreciation even if it’s not in great numbers, and I’m going The Jam were formed in 1976 for it and seeing how the finished songs are. to be releasing my album on cassette as well.” July/August 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 11

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RUTHIN GAOL The only purpose-built Pentonville style prison open as a heritage attraction in Wales. People can spend time exploring its nooks and crannies and learn about life in the Victorian prison system. See how the prisoners lived their daily lives: what they ate, how they worked, and the punishments they suffered.

Opening times April to September Every day 10am-5pm except Tuesdays

To Donate To Our Covid-19 Appeal Please Visit: Advertise your

NANTCLWYD Y DRE Take a trip through the seven ages of Nantclwyd y Dre, Wales’s oldest dated timbered town house. The house was started in 1435 and has been added to, updated and upgraded throughout the centuries, and now has been beautifully restored. Visit the house and gardens.



Has your event been postponed? Do you need to tell our readers? Get in touch we can help. Opening times April to September Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays 11am to 5pm

Shire Magazine, The best of North and Mid Wales, Cheshire, Wirral & Shropshire or 01691 661270

Double decker bus and coach hire based in Shrewsbury 57 to 100 seaters available to hire for any occasion Wedding, prom, day trip, sightseeing tour or shuttle service.

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Theatre wonders at Wyeside A Box Of Light & Dreams, 11th July Suitable for adults and children aged seven and up, this show follows the river sisters Wye, Severn and Yswyth as they leave their father, the mid-Wales giant Plynlimon, and travel on their own unique paths. Told through music, storytelling and shadow theatre, these stories deal with issues such as coming


of age, growth, change, jealousy, grief, joy and compassion. 7pm. Tickets £10 adults, £6 children. Andre Rieu: Happy Together, 27th & 30th August Following his very successful 70th birthday concert in cinemas, André Rieu invites you and your loved ones to a spectacular evening of music broadcast from his

Ride and dine with the Vale of Rheidol Railway Make the most of the long summer evenings with steam-hauled evening excursions through the Rheidol Valley. The special Summer Evening Excursions, which run on Saturdays and Wednesdays from 1st to 26th August, depart from Aberystwyth at 6pm, taking you on a 12-mile trip through some of the most spectacular scenery in the UK and arriving back at approximately 9pm. There’s no need to worry about cooking either, as passengers can enjoy a delicious fish supper at Devil’s Bridge, with a choice of fish and chips, sausage and chips or vegetable curry with chips or rice. Standard ticket fares apply and meals cost £6.15 per adult and £4 per child. For more information, visit

Learn how to live a zero carbon life The Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) in Machynlleth is giving you the opportunity to skill up for the climate challenge while staying safe at home with a new online Zero Carbon Britain course on 21st and 22nd July. The two-day course offers an in-depth look at CAT’s flagship project, Zero Carbon Britain, and allows you to connect with a network of others working and studying in the field while exploring the changes needed to rise to the climate challenge. Live lectures will cover a range of topics from renewable energy and energy efficiency to diet and land use, looking at how these can work together to help build a zero carbon future. The course runs from 9.30am to 5pm and costs £50.

hometown, Maastricht. Revel in the enchanting sound of André’s violin, along with his incomparable Johann Strauss Orchestra, and enjoy worldclass sopranos and the Platin Tenors in a concert that features popular classics, show tunes and, of course, waltzes that carry you away. 7pm & 2pm. Tickets £16.

Run through the heart of Wales

Experience the beauty of mid Wales in the Howum, a 30-mile challenge in the heart of Wales. The trail-running challenge, which takes place on 15th August, is an ultra marathon designed to help you discover everything mid Wales has to offer. Starting in Llanidloes, the route takes in the Sarn, Glyndwr’s Way, Severn Way and Wye Valley Walk, as well as the breathtaking Clywedog Reservoir and the source of the River Severn, before heading back to Llanidloes. There will be five checkpoints, all fully manned and stocked with snacks, fresh fruit, drinks and hot and cold food. All entrants receive a T-shirt, cap and medal.

Learn to sketch via Zoom Do something creative during lockdown and learn to sketch with artist Ruth Koffer. The series of online classes, run by Aberystwyth Arts Centre, are suitable for all abilities from beginners through to pros, and are sure to fire up your imagination and inspire your creativity. The relaxed, friendly sessions run on Mondays from 2pm to 3.30pm and can be attended as standalone workshops or as a course. Simply join the online group for 40 minutes, take a break for a cuppa and then re-enter for another 40 minutes of sketching. You can even leave your microphone on so you can hear one another scribbling! Classes cost £5 per session. To book your place visit

18th July, Renewables For Households: Solar Hot Water, Centre for Alternative Technology, Machynlleth Learn how to use solar water heating systems to directly heat water. This course covers the different solar water systems available, how they work and how to assess which is best for your needs. 10am-4.30pm. £70.

18th July, All is Aflutter and Aglow, Elan Valley, Rhayader Celebrate the wonder of the Elan Valley International Dark Sky Park and join Sorcha Lewis, who will show you how wonderful and exciting bats and moths really are. You can also look to see the amazing illuminated world of the glow-worm. Meet at 8.30pm at Caban Coch car park. Please bring a torch.

24th July2nd August, Shambhala – Annual Bleddfa Retreat, Knighton Bleddfa retreats offer teachings on Buddhist meditation and Samatha tradition, and have proved a wonderful vehicle for both beginners and experienced practitioners to discover groundedness and self-confidence.

26th July, Downton Abbeyinspired Afternoon Tea, Hadley Park House Dorrells Restaurant, Brecon Enjoy a traditional afternoon tea in the conservatory with lace table cloths, doilies, music and period costumes. With a selection of sandwiches, homemade scones and sweet and savoury treats. Noon-2pm. £19.95 adults, £13.95 children.

31st July, A Different Threat, The Globe at Hay The duo weave together elements of blues and folk, country and bluegrass to deliver an intoxicating mix of Beatleesque folk-rock meets Gillian Welch. £5 in advance, £8 on the door.

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Saturday Shenanigans at the Globe at Hay •

1st August, DIY Furniture: Upcycling with Pallets, Centre for Alternative Technology, Machynlleth A hands-on workshop for anyone who wants to get started with upcycled furniture. Tutor Carwyn Lloyd Jones will take you through every step, from sourcing your pallets and planning your project to creating gorgeous bespoke furniture for your home and garden. 10am4.30pm. £55 per person, including tuition, materials and lunch.

•7th August (TBC),

Sunset Cader Idris to Pen Y Gadair Walk With amazing views, Pen Y Gadair is one of the most picturesque summits to be found in the Snowdonia National Park. Head to the summit as dusk falls on this guided walk, and watch the sun set over the beautiful Snowdonia mountain range. 4pm-10.30pm. £35 per person.

8th August, The Beacons 50, Crickhowell – POSTPONED until August 2021 The Beacons 50 is a selfnavigational trail running tour of the Brecon Beacons National Park and Black Mountains. It begins on the bank of the Usk River in the market town of Crickhowell. Entry £80.

•22nd August,

Elan Valley Sheepdog Trials, Frondorddu Farm, Elan Valley Watch local shepherds compete to find the champion sheepdog and marvel at the way the dogs and their handlers manoeuvre sheep through a number of obstacles. 10am. Enquiries to Eira Edwards on 01597 810721.

30th August, Karate on the Beach, Barmouth Join GKR Karate for some fun on Barmouth Beach. This class promises to offer karate challenges as well as fun for all ages and grade levels. 2pm-4pm. £8.

The Hawkmen, 25th July – POSTPONED until 24th July 2021 The Hawkmen blend rhythm’n’blues, soul and rock’n’roll to cook up a classic rootsy musical storm. 8pm. Tickets £8 in advance, or £10 on the door. FiddleBop, 22nd August Sparkling songs and tasty tunes are on the menu as FiddleBop bring you rich,

The art of storytelling

Rediscover the joys of pen and paper, watercolour and acrylic, and channel your inner artist with local artist Zoe Mach. Every Wednesday from 4pm, Zoe brings you a relaxed paintalong tutorial, delivering tips and advice on painting. Suitable for all abilities and ages, the classes give you the chance to learn techniques from a local artist, ask questions and above all learn a new skill. To join, simply request the Zoom link in advance by messaging “Zoe Mach Community Artist” on Facebook or emailing

Mischa & His Merry Men, 29th August Expect an energetic and compelling performance with uplifting, socially charged original songs taking you on an exciting voyage laced with messages of peace, love and unity. 8pm. Tickets £8 in advance or £10 on the door.

Take on an adventure at Elan Valley

Discover your own voice and immerse yourself in the ancient art of storytelling this summer at the Bleddfa Centre, which has two great courses on offer. The Performance Intensive Weekend, from 13th to 16th August, is ideal if you’ve been telling stories for a while and want to make a leap into deeper and more satisfying storytelling practice. It’s also ideal if you have a specific project you’re working on and want a supportive atmosphere. The Bleddfa Week of Storytelling, from 18th to 24th August, is a more intensive course that welcomes storytellers of all levels. It’s based around practical exercises and activities, with ample time to work individually and in groups. Both courses offer expert tuition and a supportive environment. For more information, visit or call the Bleddfa Centre on 01547 550377.

Home is where the art is

instrumental pizzazz and tangy vocal harmonies, lightly seasoned with wit, repartee and banter. Their music, which has its roots in Gypsy jazz, encompasses 1920s jazz, swing, bop and classic pop. 8pm. Entry free, with donations to charity.

Try something new at Elan Valley this summer. Take to the water on Caban Coch Reservoir in a two-person kayak and get a fantastic view of the valley from the lake. You’ll be amazed how easy it is to paddle these boats, and you’ll soon head off around the reservoir in the company of your instructor, learning about the history of the dams on the way. Or, for a real adrenaline kick, traverse a series of interlinking bridges and obstacles high in the trees, finishing with a zip line back to the ground. The High Ropes Challenge runs on Wednesdays from 10am to 1pm from 29th July to 26th August, and kayaking takes place at various times on Wednesdays and Thursdays during that period. Half-day sessions cost £30 for adults and £25 for children.

Dining experience with a difference

Family fun at Pavilion Mid Wales

Enjoy a meal on the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway this summer. The trains, which takes you on a 16-mile return journey from Llanfair Caereinion to Welshpool, depart at 6.30pm, pause on the return journey at Castle Caereinion, and return at 8.45pm. Passengers can choose from fish and chips, vegetarian burger and chips or sausage and chips on the special Fish & Chip Trains on 1st and 29th August. There’s also a Hog Roast Special running on 15th August. For tickets visit

Go wild with children’s act The McDougalls in Safari Adventure at Pavilion Mid Wales in Llandrindod Wells on 27th August. Meet Max, Auntie Aggie and Morag the Rabbit as they head on safari to help all the animals. From silly snakes to laughing giraffes, they need your help! Join the gang for musical mayhem in an interactive show packed with your favourite songs and characters. The show starts at 2pm and is a free courtesy of the Unity Project.

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5th, 12th & 19th July, Outdoor Isolation Yoga, Chester Turn up, practise your guided yoga outdoors with amazing teachers and return home safely – with no human contact involved. Receive all the health benefits of a yoga session in a socially-distanced way. 11am. Register at the Life in Chester Facebook page.

5th & 26th July, Cheshire Children’s Market Virtual Event The successful market, which hosts regular events in Chester and elsewhere, has moved online while social distancing regulations are in place. Search “Cheshire Children’s Market” on Facebook for a preview of the bargains on offer during this virtual event. All items are available for pick-up or delivery. Free entry.

25th-26th July, Open Air Tribute Festival, Chester The UK’s finest tribute bands join for a festival to celebrate an era of music and culture, including tributes to The Beatles. Oasis, Queen, Fleetwood Mac, Abba and Bowie. Street food stalls will be open for hungry revellers. 2pm.

Virtual entertainment with Storyhouse, Chester Storyhouse has teamed up with alternative The charity behind the theatre has also launched platforms to provide a cinema experience at a new membership programme, the Storyhouse home throughout the summer. Viewers Card, packed full of benefits. Streaming DID YOU can watch the latest releases as well as membership is just £4 per month, with no ongoing commitment – you can independent and world cinema through KNOW? Mubi and Curzon Home Cinema. cancel any time and joining is instant. You can also Young Storyhouse is also fully Membership benefits include donate money to 10 per cent off theatre tickets (up operational online, along with the keep Storyhouse extended community of artists to two per show), 10 per cent off alive – see the cinema tickets (up to two per show), providing a series of interactive events. website 10 per cent off food and drink at You can find daily stories, karaoke, Italian lessons and lectures, join community The Kitchen, priority booking for selected shows, no booking fees (normally £1.50) and groups, take out a library book or chat to a free exchanges. human, all from the comfort of your own home.

Listen in to Sandbach online Sandbach Concert Series has moved online to provide concerts from young musicians and professional artists throughout the summer. Concerts follow the same format as usual but in a slightly shortened and condensed way, using Zoom. Audience microphones are muted and cameras switched off during the concerts except for the spotlight musicians and guest musician. Online doors open 6.30pm.

1st August, Chester Food & Film Festival, Chester Expect beds, bean bags and fluffy blankets, with cult classic movies under the stars. There will also be street food stalls including ice cream, popcorn, sweets, chocolates and pizza, along with fairground rides to make your movie as exciting as possible. Noon-8pm.

July and August, online daily worship, Chester Cathedral While worship is suspended by the Church of England, Chester Cathedral is streaming or hosting services online. Daily evening prayer is streamed live via Zoom and a Sunday service is streamed live on its official YouTube channel. Email deansoffice@ for details.

Take a stroll at Tatton Park The parkland and gardens at Tatton Park are open again to walkers, cyclists and vehicles. There is no need to book, but staff will be monitoring and managing the numbers of visitors to ensure everybody stays safe. Visitors can bring a picnic but barbecues are not permitted. The team have been sharing the beauty and nature of Tatton Park via social channels during lockdown. The park website also has free activities, which will continue throughout the summer until the house reopens.

National Trust gardens reopen

Online in the museum

The National Trust has reopened more than 200 coast and countryside car parks as well as a small number of gardens and parklands in England. Some properties in Cheshire are now accepting visitors on a prebooked basis, with gardens open during July and August. Dunham Massey, Lyme House and Quarry Bank are now open, and the trust has plans to reopen further venues soon. Visitors must book tickets in advance, including members. Check website for entry times. Visit for the latest details.

Cheshire West Museums has been creating innovative ways to host its events online while museums remain closed. During July and August, online visitors can access a range of activities and exhibitions from the comfort of their own home. There are craft activities for adults and children to print at home, access to the Cheshire Image Bank – a collection of digital images of photographs, postcards, prints, slides and negatives – nationalcurriculum based films and online exhibitions.

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Chester’s celebration of food and drink A stellar line-up of celebrity chefs will feature at the 2020 Taste Cheshire Food & Drink Festival at Chester Racecourse from 29th to 31st August. MasterChef host John Torode, Chris Bavin from Eat Well For Less, and Ready Steady Cook star Paul Rankin will provide free cooking demonstrations over the three days. There will also be free cooking classes, where chefs will be

teaching adults how to prepare meals, special knife skills, and tricks of the trade, plus the opportunity to eat what you have prepared. In addition to the classes, celebrity chef Brian Mellor, the owner of Harthill Cookery School will be teaching how to improve your BBQ skills. Tickets cost from £7, with under-12s free. VIP tickets from £20.

10th August, Exciting Science, Ellesmere Port Civic Hall A brand new, exciting, educational show that will amaze and astound all ages, from four years and upwards, as the show puts the excitement back into science. 2pm. From £11.

Water fun at Manley Mere Manley Mere in Frodsham is now open at weekends in July and August for open-water swimming, fishing, launching, watersport hire, takeaway drinks and cakes. Numbers are limited for open-water swimming and booking is advised. Swimmers must bring their own wetsuit, cap and goggles, as no wetsuit hire is available. For those wanting to stay above water, there’s the chance to kayak, paddleboard, windsurf or sail. Kayak and paddleboard hire is available for those without equipment, but only inflatable

9th August, Chase the Sun 10k, Tatton Park A fast, undulating, closed-road 10k race set in the beautiful Tatton Park in Cheshire – the perfect opportunity to receive an official chip-timed 10k race, whether this is your first race or your 100th. 9am. Entry £20.

22nd23rd August, Fallout 4 paintball weekend, Lower Kinnerton, Chester Join fellow paintballers for outdoor fun at the fourth post-apocalypse game – Fallout 4 at Outpost Airsoft. Paintball lends itself to social distancing and equipment is disinfected before use for every customer. 10am–4pm.

kayaks and paddleboards are permitted – no other inflatables allowed. Anyone wanting to fish the Mere can pre-book a place. Swimming takes place from 10am to midday; watersport from midday to 5pm; and fishing from 9am to 5.30pm.

Live entertainment at Crewe Lyceum

New car club venue

Upbeat Beatles, 26th July – POSTPONED until 28th May 2021 Powerhouse vocals, precision harmonies and tight musicianship take you through the Fab Four’s long and winding road, from the early Cavern days through Beatlemania, America, Sergeant Pepper and Abbey Road, with narrative and full multimedia presentation. 7.30pm. Tickets £26.50.

The Jaguar Enthusiasts Club has a new venue at the Royal Oak in Higher Kinnerton, with meetings planned on the second Monday of July and August. Everyone is welcome; you don’t have to own a Jaguar car – just come along and meet up with a group of fellow enthusiasts. Meetings start at 8pm, and membership costs £49 plus £6 joining fee. See the website for confirmation of meeting dates and planned events and outings.

The Drifters, 29th August – POSTPONED until 27th May 2021 The Drifters are back, performing all their classic hits from the past six decades. The group have an incredible list of hits, including “Saturday Night At The Movies”, “Come On Over To My Place”, “Stand By Me”, “Under The Boardwalk” and more. 7.30pm. Tickets from £29.

Craft beer on tap Beer Heroes hosts Chester’s third Craft Beer Festival at the Carriage Shed on 29th August. More than 15 breweries will serve more than 100 beers, and there will also be gin, prosecco and cocktail bars during the two sessions alongside awesome craft beer. The afternoon session runs from 11.30am until 4pm, and the late session from 5pm to 9.30pm. Tickets cost £10.

July and August, Golf, Carden Park, nr Chester The two championship courses at Carden Park, as well as the driving range, are now open to members and the public. Additional measures include an accessory fitted to all holes to ensure ball retrieval is contactless, golf buggies are sanitised daily and the putting green is limited to four players. Open daily, 7.30am6.60pm. From £30 per player.

July and August, Trails at Delamere Forest Let off steam in the forest as three walking and two cycle trails at Delamere Forest are open during July and August. And don’t forget to bring a picnic with you to enjoy along the way, as the picnic areas are open too. Car parking from £1; members park for free.

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29th-31st August, The Oulton Park Gold Cup, Oulton Park Oulton Park’s signature Gold Cup returns for a bank holiday weekend of retro thrills, with three days of classic on-track pageantry. From classically modelled singleseaters of the pre-slicks-andwings era to muscular GT cars of the 1970s, there will be a wide range of machinery in action. Gates open 8.30am on Saturday, 7.30am on Sunday and 7am on Monday. From £20.

30th August, Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, Davenport Tea Rooms, Northwich Join Alice, the Mad Hatter, the Queen of Hearts and other characters for one of the best Alice In Wonderlandthemed afternoon teas in the UK. Noon–3pm. Unlimited teas, £37 per person.

Join the festival that’s Just So Audiences of all ages are invited to join the fun at the Just So Festival at Rode Hall, Scholar Green, from 21st to 23rd August. Learn the tricks of the Wild West, try paddleboarding, watch a unique woodland opera, take part in the great Just So colour fight and meet some largerthan-life animal puppets coming to the festival. There’s an eccentric Village Green – the epicentre of the festival for games, outdoor arts performances and challenges; Footlights, home to a wild line-up of live bands and dance workshops to strut your stuff to; gloriously exuberant circus area Roll Up, Roll Up; and Peekaboo, which is all about

Plant Hunters’ Fair, 16th August Pick up some late-flowering plants to give your garden an autumnal boost. The nurseries will have the right plants to set your garden ablaze or to add a sparkle to a shady spot, plus lots of expert knowledge on hand to help you choose

Northwich Abbeywood Gardens has lots to offer including six acres of informal and formal gardens, all different and distinctive in their own right. Plant sales, fresh garden produce and eggs are available alongside takeaway drinks, food and ice cream. 10.30am– 4pm, Thursday to Sunday. £6.

English Heritage

Beeston Castle, Tarporley On a clear day you can see from the Pennines to the Welsh mountains from the walls of this medieval castle. With a 4,000-year history to explore, a replica Bronze Age roundhouse and a 40-acre woodland park to wander around, there is something for everyone to enjoy. 10am-6pm. £8 adults, £4.80 children. Free for English Heritage members.

huge adventures for the under-fours. Adventurers can also step into the extraordinary Spellbound Forest for nature and bushcrafts, tree climbing, campfire songs and storytelling. If you’re more of a glamper than a camper and love the idea of arriving to a beautiful yurt, bell tent, vintage tent or gypsy bowtop caravans are available with lakeside views. Day tickets cost from £20 for children and £45 adults. Weekend camping is from £50 for children and £140 for adults.

Outdoor fun at Capesthorne Hall Landscape Painting Summer School, 10th14th August A week of painting in the grounds of Capesthorne Hall with Charles Hickson. Aimed at all levels, subjects include buildings and structures, trees and plants. £180 per person.

•July and August, Abbeywood Gardens,

•July and August,

DID YOU KNOW? Rode Estate was sold to Roger Wilbraham for £2,400 in 1669

the best plants. 10am4pm. Tickets cost £3.50 adults, £1.50 children. The Cheshire Classic Car & Motorcycle Show, 30th August This popular event features special vehicle themes on each day. Expect to see more than 400 vehicles on display in front of the hall and on the front lawns beside the lake. 10am-4pm. Tickets cost £8.50 for adults and £3.50 for children (seven to 14 years). Visitor parking is free.

Chester Zoo is back!

Fresh market produce

Chester Zoo has reopened with social distancing measures in place. It will celebrate World Chimpanzee Day on 14th July and World Elephant Day on 12th August with events that throw a spotlight on these amazing but highly threatened species and the work that Chester Zoo does to protect them. The zoo is also continuing to offer online activities and events such as Things To ZOO At Home and virtual tours.

July and August, Walton Hall & Gardens, Warrington The grounds, including the formal gardens, orchard, pond and toilet facilities, are open. Other facilities and attractions, such as the children’s zoo and café, remain closed at time of press. 10.30am5pm. Car parking £3 weekdays, £4 weekends, via Ringo app.

Campers’ heaven at Camperfest

Chester’s Roodee Racecourse plays host to Camperfest from 27th to 31st August. Join more than 1,000 fellow campers who come back year after year to enjoy a weekend of camping, eating, drinking and exploring the delights of the fabulous city of Chester. Availability is strictly limited, so booking is required to ensure your place. There are toilet blocks on the field, as well as a shower block just a short walk from your pitch. Arrivals from 2pm. Pitches from £30.

Join market traders on 18th July and 15th August outside the historic Chester Town Hall for the Taste Cheshire Farmers’ Market, which brings together up to 25 great Cheshire-based companies to offer some of the best local produce. Tasty treats will be available to purchase, including sausages, pies, cheese, preserves, crafts and more. From 10am to 4pm. Free entry.

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Photo courtesy of Mark Carline

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The North Wales Region of the Jaguar Enthusiasts’ Club was founded in 1994. It has grown steadily ever since with members enjoying the fellowship of like minded enthusiasts and their families.

The membership covers all members of the holders family. At the beginning of each season we all decide what we want to do, whether it is attending organised classic car shows, runs out to places of interest for all the family, or organised group ventures to non car events.

The Club caters for modern cars to classics, with enthusiasm for the marque and it’s British heritage. The monthly meetings are for people of all ages, male and female, to get together each month and have a chat and discuss their interests, the marque and it’s British heritage.

Chairman: David Randles, Mobile: 07187 012476, Email: Regional Representative: Roger Hill, Tel: 011691 600125, Email:

Discover Arley in 2020 Arley is a short drive from Northwich and Knutsford; a magical place just waiting to be discovered... Historic stately home Award-winning gardens Café serving meals and snacks Dogs welcome on a lead Film location including Peaky Blinders Children’s Adventure PlayZone Grade II* listed chapel Woodland Walk Plant nursery Wedding and corporate venue Open all year round Arley Hall & Gardens, Northwich, Cheshire, CW9 6NA 01565 777353

Andrew Jenkin

ONLINE WATERCOLOUR TUITION Students on the course receive my own regular weekly video tutorials, demonstrating various brush techniques, materials, colour mixes and step-by-step paintings. Students can send their results to me, and I review their work and make suggestions for improvement. I keep in regular contact with students via email, and run weekly live painting sessions via WhatsApp and Zoom. My tutorials are aimed at the full spectrum of watercolour artists, from absolute beginners to experienced painters. The cost is £20 per month. Students pay per month, and are free to stop and start tuition as they please. 07788 542695


Photography by Craig Strong

Discover the giant Lovell Telescope!

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Plus: Interactive exhibits and displays, 35 acres of gardens and arboretum, Planet Pavilion Cafe and gift shop, playground and picnic areas, year-round events and activities

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Live fun for kids at Northwich Memorial Hall Twirlywoos Live, 12th July Expect mischief, music and plenty of surprises as the Twirlywoos share the delight of discovery. With inventive puppetry, the show promises a cast full of all your favourite characters from the hit CBeebies show. 2pm. Tickets from £11. Exciting Science, 9th August A brand new, exciting and educational show that is sure to amaze and astound all ages, from four years and

Takeaway treats at Blakemere

A new outdoor food area is providing tasty treats, meals and drinks at Blakemere Village, Northwich. The Village Restaurant & Coffee Bar is offering takeaway carvery, the Ice Cream Hut is providing takeaway ice creams and there will also be fish and chips, wood-fired pizza and barista coffee on offer. Some non-essential shops are now also open Friday to Monday, including Polly & Tots, Cheshire Craft Workshop and Vintage & Collectables Emporium. Social distancing measures are in place, with contactless payment where possible.

upward. This show is full of wiz, bang, pop… and splurt! 11am and 2pm. Tickets from £11. A Tribute to Ariana Grande and JoJo Siwa, 15th August You’ve heard the names, you know the music… now experience the UK’s numberone tributes to Ariana Grande and JoJo Siwa together in one fantastic show. 6pm. Tickets from £12.

Under the sea at Blue Planet

A captivating underwater world is waiting for you at Blue Planet Aquarium, Chester, which now has social distancing guidelines and a one-way route in place. Home to more than 100 displays and one of Europe’s largest collections of sharks, the aquarium offers plenty of marine life to marvel at. The aquarium is open from 10am to 5pm. Visit to book your tickets.

Eat your way around Chester

Arley Hall in bloom

Join a small group on a walking tour with a difference around Chester on 22nd August. Try culinary delights while meandering around the city, stopping at five independent food and drink retailers chosen by your experienced guide. Groups are limited to six people, and at the end you’ll receive a mystery gift. Meet at 1pm outside Chester Visitor Information Centre. Tickets from £50.

Since lockdown began, the gardens at Arley Hall & Gardens in Northwich have been maintained by just two members of the gardening team, who worked hard to keep it looking beautiful. And you can now see the results of their labours because the gardens are open to the public during July and August. The Gardener’s Kitchen café is offering a takeaway menu of drinks, sandwiches and cakes to enjoy within the outdoor seating area, and there’s also a picnic area if you’d prefer to bring your own food. The gardens are open daily from 10am to 5pm, and entry costs £9 for adults and £4 for children.

Free parking continues at Chester car parks until August Linenhall Street car park will remain free of charge until the end of July, as non-essential shops reopen across the city. Chester Racecourse is also offering free parking. Combined, the car parks offer almost 800 parking spaces. “As city centre businesses reopen, it’s important for us to make the travel process for visitors as safe as possible,” says Carl Critchlow

from CH1ChesterBID. “Until public transport and the park-and-ride system resume normal services, travelling by car will be a popular option. Both Linenhall and the racecourse offer a seamless service using contactless payment systems.”

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Always here to help. Contact us for your free initial video consultation from the comfort of your own home with one of our Independent Financial Advisers. Call us on 01691 670524 Serving clients throughout the West Midlands, Cheshire and North Wales

Beaumont Wealth is a trading style of Beaumont Financial Planners Limited who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Company registered in England number 8707394. Registered address - Emstrey House North, Shrewsbury Business Park, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, SY2 6LG

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On stage at the Floral Pavilion The ELO Tribute Show, 17th July – POSTPONED until 17th April 2021 A fantastic night of nostalgia and classic tunes as Brian Cummins brings you his brand-new show celebrating the music of Jeff Lynne and ELO. Expect songs such as “Evil Woman”, “Don’t Bring Me Down”, “Sweet Talkin’ Woman” and legendary “Mr Blue Sky”. 7.30pm. Tickets £25.75 The Billy Fury Years, 24th July – POSTPONED until 15th July 2021 Hailed as “the best Fury since Fury”, Michael King and his of musicians take you on a journey through the musical career of one of Britain’s best-loved rock’n’roll legends.

An exciting two-hour show filled with Billy Fury’s greatest hits 7.30pm. Tickets £26.25.

DID YOU KNOW? Billy Fury’s real name was Ronald Wycherley

Lucinda Williams, 18th August After more than 40 years of making music, the pioneering, Louisiana-born artist has returned to the gritty blues foundation that first inspired her as a young singer-songwriter in the late 1970s. Hear tracks from her powerful new album Good Souls, Better Angels in this raw and masterful performance. 7.30pm. Tickets £29.25.

4th & 5th July, Summer Strum Ukulele Festival, online The festival, usually held at Hoylake Rugby Club, has moved online. Watch parties featuring your favourite acts, jam sessions via Zoom, workshops, yoga session, poetry, storytelling and more.

2nd August, If You Know Your History 5k, Merseyside Take a historic journey from the birthplace of football on Merseyside to a glorious finish alongside Goodison Park. The run/walk starts at the 1787 Lock-Up Tower, which is featured on Everton FC’s badge, and guides you through 141 years of Merseyside football history.

INFLATABLE FUN IN WALLASEY The Amazing Inflatable Adventure World, the UK’s biggest inflatable theme park, is coming to Central Park, Wallasey, on 13th to 16th August. Packed full of fun for kids between three and 14 years old, the Amazing Inflatable Adventure World is a great day out for the whole family, guaranteeing excitement, self-discovery, challenges and, of course, fun! Kids can tackle their way through the Gigantic Ninja Warrior assault course, racing through blockades and rollers, scaling ladders and finishing with a slide finale. Or they can challenge their stamina, agility and reactions by jumping and ducking the podiums in the Toxic Meltdown attraction. Sessions run from 10.30am to 1pm, 1pm to 3.30pm and 3.30pm to 6pm, and cost £9.99 plus booking fee. To find out more, search “Inflatable Adventure World Wallasey” on Facebook.

Best in show at Ness Gardens The Ness Flower Show takes place on 15th August at Ness Botanic Gardens, so get creative and bring your homemade produce along for the chance to win some great prizes. The six categories are Fruit & Vegetables, Flowers, Handicrafts, Domestic, Photography and Children’s, so whether you’ve grown some whopping courgettes, can bake a delicious carrot cake or arrange flowers like a pro, there’s bound to be one you can enter. Judging commences at 10am, with presentations taking place at 3.30pm.

Showing art online

Unable to hold the its Open Art & Photography Exhibition in the usual way, Williamson Art Gallery has taken the innovative decision to display this year’s exhibition online. There are over 380 pieces of artwork available to view, from paintings and photographs to sketches and sculpture, many of which are available to purchase. “We’ve done our best to show the work to its advantage, even if it’s not on the walls,” says principal museums officer Colin Simpson. “We’re grateful to everyone who has submitted work.” To view the exhibition in full, visit www.williamson

15th-16th August, Hoylake Buggy Camp, Wirral Sand Yacht Club A camp designed to raise your skill level no matter what buggy you sit in or what kite you fly. Get guidance with your first spin in a buggy, test yourself with a skill challenge, learn specific manoeuvres from experienced pilots and of course have some fun!

16th August, Holding A Candle To The World, Gladstone Theatre – POSTPONED until 21st March 2021 Price’s Candles was once the largest candle manufacturer in the world. This illuminating history talk tells the story of the entrepreneurs who set up the company and how they pioneered a new manufacturing process from palm and coconut oils. 2.30pm. £8.

22nd August, West Kirby Farmers’ Market, St Andrew’s Church Hall A huge range of produce, including meat, cheeses, fresh fish, fruit and vegetables, patisserie, preserves, cakes, beer and sausages. 9am-1pm. admin@ westkirbyfarmers

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Music to inspire you at West Kirby Arts Centre The Solid Air Band, 17th July A night celebrating the music of John Martyn. Enjoy a vibe-alike tribute that captures the emotion and sensitivity of John’s live performances, creating an atmospheric and spontaneous show. There will be a full band line-up including singer-songwriter Mark Byrne on guitar and vocals, Phil McGinity on keys, Pete Hughes on bass, Mark Hook on drums, Micky Dunn on guitar and Andy Myers on saxophone. From jazz to funk to mellow folk, the band bring their own

individual influences and sounds that together combine to create the essence of the big man, John Martyn. 7.30pm. Tickets £8. Songs For All Reasons, 24th July Hear songs from Waxing Lyrical, the group based at the arts centre. You’ll hear piano, guitar, fiddle and mandolin players match their talents with lyrics and vocals. 7.30pm. Tickets £5 in aid of Tyddn Mon, a centre for adults with learning difficulties supported by Mencap.


Pulsating entertainment at Gladstone Theatre Forbidden Nights, 14th August – POSTPONED until 20th August 2021 Abandon your inhibitions at the door as the talented cast of acrobats, live male vocalists, fire acts, aerial artists and worldrenowned circus performers flip and spin across the stage in this high-octane show. This fun, sexy and entertaining evening with Forbidden Nights is guaranteed to be a night to remember. 7.30pm. Tickets from £22. Mercury: The World’s Leading Queen Tribute Band, 21st August – POSTPONED until 16th July 2021 Mercury are now celebrating their

20th anniversary and have established themselves as one of the world’s most authentic tribute bands to Freddie Mercury and Queen. With spectacular and authentic costumes, high-class production and striking lighting effects, Mercury take the audience through a legacy of songs which are sure to live on forever. Featuring energetic performances from Joseph Lee Jackson as Freddie, Glenn Scrimshaw as Brian May, Pat Coleman as Roger Taylor, Mike Scrimshaw as John Deacon and Lee Harvey as Spike Edney. 7.30pm. Tickets £21. www.

DID YOU KNOW? You can read more about Claremont Farm on page 65

Pick-your-own has been an annual event at Claremont Farm in Bebington for over 40 years, and despite the Covid-19 pandemic, fruit lovers can still pick fresh fruit with their families this summer. With several varieties of strawberries in the fields, you’re guaranteed to find the juiciest, tastiest fruit around. And there aren’t just strawberries on offer – Claremont Farm also grow raspberries, tayberries, redcurrants, blackcurrants and green, red and golden gooseberries. Entry costs £4.50 including a 1kg punnet, or £9 including a 2kg punnet. The farm is open from 10am to 6pm and strawberries are usually available until late July. To check on the latest guidelines and availability please visit

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Did you know that there are over 200 businesses in Newport? Newport Town Council are actively engaged in promoting the High Streetand all the towns businesses and would like you to use Newport High Street for all your purchases.

Here’s our reasons why You can get married, buy a dress to go to the wedding in, buy the rings and book your honeymoon and get a taxi to the airport, then get the wedding dress dry cleaned! You can buy a house, carpets and beds, a kitchen and white goods and electrical items as well as art for your walls and knickknacks for decorations. You can also buy a bathroom and hardware for those odd jobs. Perhaps you need to renew a computer or get one fixed or upgrade your mobile phone. How about having your teams rugby shirts embroidered then buy a prize for the team and have it engraved?

Would you like to play tennis or go to a fitness class or gym? We have a butchers, a bakers and a candle selling shop. On the High Street you can have your poorly animal treated and take up a hobby with crafts or listen music. Brighten things up, get your party accessories and have your hair and nails done. Buy food for your dog (Or horse, or sheep), in bulk. Or buy the building materials for a house extension OR just borrow a book and read the book in the Institute.

If you don’t use it you may lose it and then Newport will not be the welcoming, vibrant town it is and that you have chosen to live in.

SUPPORT YOUR TOWN... CHOOSE NEWPORT HOME DELIVERIES FROM: Matthews Butchers Lilys Tea rooms Kings Head Newport Kebabs Spice Island

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Turner & Pooch Waitrose Peking House Rajas Star Pizza & Kebab

Subway Taste of Paradise The Shakespere Wok’n’Roll Shimla

Ocean Fish Bar Shimla Tandori Tea on the Cobbles

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DID YOU KNOW? Stewards will be on hand to make sure everyone sticks to the rules!

Need to get out of your house? Shropshire Festivals is inviting revellers to a groundbreaking socially distanced drive-in mini music festival on 4th July at Shrewsbury’s West Mid Showground. Shropshire Drive-In is the perfect antidote for those who have been cooped up for a long time – an epic night out, delivered to the safety of your car. The festival offers a live music stage, euphoria-inducing local bands including The Dirty Rockin Scoundrels and The Vertigo Band, and heavenly food and drink provided like a luxury drivethrough – all with scrupulous attention to keeping you safe. From the festival team behind Shrewsbury Food Festival, Shropshire Kids Festival and Shropshire Oktoberfest, the Shropshire Drive-in is the safe way to party in 2020. For more information go to

Follies adventure is a walk in the park Hawkstone Park Follies has once again opened its gates to walkers and families. Set in 100 acres of parkland, the Follies is a range of dramatic and rugged natural sandstone hills that were developed to include gullies, caves, towers and bridges, becoming one of the most visited landscapes in Britain during the 19th century. Tickets must be purchased in advance, and visitors need to adhere to the social distancing rules in place. Tickets will be

scanned on arrival at the main gates. Toilets will also be open on Grotto Hill, with social distancing measures. There will also be hand-sanitising stations around the park for your use. All other buildings, including the café and monument, remain closed at the time of writing. Visitors are welcome to bring a picnic, but the children’s playground in the grand valley won’t be available just yet. Sensible footwear and outdoor clothing is essential, and remember to bring torches to explore the caves.

Sounds of the future at Market Drayton Festival Centre Park Market Drayton Festival Centre is as eager to welcome back live performers as the artists are to come and play. Four dates have been fixed for its classical music series in the expectation they’ll have a green light by early autumn. First up, on 20th September,, is South African cellist Abel Selaocoe. Deeply rooted in classical music, Abel combines virtuosic performance with improvisation and singing, giving concerts that highlight the links between Western and non-Western musical traditions. On 15th November John Gough and Tom Kimmance will give a piano recital, playing some of the bestknown pieces for four hands, including Schubert’s sublime F minor Fantasie.. Early in the new year, Latvian concert pianist Antonina Suhanova will bring her trio with a programme of romantic classics including works by Brahms, Schumann and Frank Bridge. The series will conclude with a concert of song from Australian mezzo-soprano Lotte Betts-Dean, accompanied by Joseph Havlat with whom she won the 2019 Oxford Lieder Young Artists platform. All concerts start at 3pm on Sundays. Tickets cost £10 or £3 for under-21s.

24th-25th July, Frankwell Beer Festival, The Wheatsheaf, Shrewsbury The 15th annual real ale and music festival serves up local and national ales and a large selection of cider and perry. There will be a vintage caravan bar, music all weekend and a barbecue provided by Moor Farm.

8th-9th August, Shrewsbury Flea Market, West Midlands Showground, Shrewsbury Visit Shrewsbury Flea for thousands of antiques, collectables, vintage and retro goods. Child and dog friendly. Free parking, with catering facilities on site. £3. Call 07584 357808.

July and August, Holly Farm Garden Centre & Nursery, near Whitchurch Holly Farm Garden Centre is once again open to the public, offering flowers galore to brighten your garden. Monday to Saturday, 10am-4.30pm; Sunday, 10.30am3.30pm. The café is closed until further notice. www.

July and August, Ludlow Farmshop, Bromfield Ludlow Farmshop is open, offering the best local produce to customers. Local delivery and a phone-and-collect food service is available for customers who need to selfisolate and need contact-free shopping. Ludlow Kitchen offers a takeaway service of hot and cold drinks, snacks and ice creams seven days a week. Monday to Saturday, 10am–4pm; Sundays 10am–3pm.

July and August, Park Hall Countryside Experience, nr Oswestry The team are hoping to reopen their farm, play areas and activities to the public in mid-July, depending on government advice. Check the Facebook page for most recent information and to view regular videos on how all the alpacas, rabbits, guinea pigs and other animals are getting on. www.facebook. com/parkhallfarmoswestry

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8th August, Shuts & Passages Guided Walk, Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery Join a 90-minute guided tour of the shuts and passages that criss-cross Shrewsbury. Learn the history of these hidden alleyways and shortcuts with a town guide. 11am-12.30pm. £7.50 adults, £2.50 children.

Picture this – an online exhibition Oswestry’s Willow Gallery may be closed, but the gallery is still supporting the area’s creative talent with its online Lockdown Gallery. The gallery’s website features a series of videos and images talking to and showcasing the work created by Shropshire and Welsh

borders artists, many of whom have been particularly productive during the lockdown. Artists have been inspired by family, nature and the current crisis, creating a fascinating gallery that reflects the spring and summer of 2020. The gallery is also inviting artists to send their own videos and photography, and is encouraging customers to continue to email their orders and buy local art. Visit or email for details.

Foodie walk is a recipe for success •

28th-31st August Gin Festival, The Boathouse, Shrewsbury Shrewsbury’s riverview pub, The Boathouse, hosts its annual weekend gin festival. The event, which grows bigger every year, serves up a great selection of gins both locally sourced and from around the world. There will also be live music acts in the beer garden. This is a nonticket event, so just turn up to enjoy the gins and music. www. events/gin-festival/

July and August, Shrewsbury Market Hall Shrewsbury Market Hall is open for essential supplies on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. The award-winning market is open for fresh fruit and veg, deli delights and seafood, and has butchers as well as wine, gin, and spices. 8am-4pm. www.

Enjoy a ramble and a feast in the Marches countryside at the 18th Ludlow Magnalonga on 9th August. The event combines a walk of six to eight miles around Ludlow with some of the best food and drink from Ludlow and across the Marches. The walk takes through unspoilt countryside, making several stops for refreshment along the way. At each stop you’ll enjoy a dish made with local produce. The food is washed down with local ale, perry, cider, or other drink, and you’ll also be given local bottled water. The Ludlow Magnalonga is based on a similar event in Ludlow’s twin town, San Pietro near Verona, Italy – the home of Valpolicella. It is organised and ran by the Ludlow Marches Food & Drink Festival Team. Tickets must be bought online in advance from

•July and August, shopping and sightseeing, British

Ironwork Centre, nr Oswestry An award-winning family day out with over 60 acres of land to explore filled with animal sculptures. The showroom and shop offers a click-and-collect service for home and garden products.

Celebrating the great outdoors

The Shropshire Outdoor Show will bring all things outdoorsy to Whittington Castle near Oswestry on 22nd and 23rd August. The show is dedicated to outdoor pursuits, be it bushcraft, camping, hiking, crafts, birds of prey, archery, climbing or foraging. There’ll be activities for children, as well as exhibitions and have-a-go sessions. For details search “@ShropshireOutdoor Show” on Facebook.

Summer cinema set to be greatest You can enjoy The Greatest Showman in the great outdoors at an al fresco cinema experience near Shrewsbury on 29th August. The outdoor cinema experience at Bomere Heath Cricket Club allows you to watch the film under the stars, promising to be a great evening of family entertainment. The film is scheduled to start at 8.30pm and tickets cost £15 for adults and £10 for children.

Don’t miss the return of the King

Cooking up a culinary delight

Elvis: That’s the Way It Is is set to be screened at Shrewsbury’s Old Market Hall on 13th August. The rescheduled showing celebrates 85 years of Elvis Presley and 50 years since the film’s original 1970 release. This time around, the King returns to the big screen – remastered for a new generation. The featurelength documentary and concert film features performances including “Love Me Tender”, “Blue Suede Shoes”, “Heartbreak Hotel” and “Suspicious Minds”. www.old market

Brompton Cookery School near Shrewsbury is reopening for full and halfday cookery courses from July. The school has taken steps to adhere to social distancing measures, and is running a huge variety of courses for beginners up to aspiring chefs. Courses taking place over the summer include full-day courses Best of British Meat, Fish & Shellfish, Foraging, Just Desserts, Stylish Vegetarian and Taste of India. Each course costs £165 per person. For more details and bookings, visit www.

28 SHIRE MAGAZINE | July/August 2020

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Friday Mar ket WHAT’S ON in Re-Opens JUL &

on Friday 5th JuneAUG 2020 20 from 8am until 12 noon Friday Market Re-Opens Civic Centre rear car par k

Award-winning Markets

St Mar y’s Street, W hitchurch SY13 1QY

Friday Market now operating from the rear Civic Centre car park and Market Hall with both food and non-essential stalls

Friday Mar ket Re-Opens

Many of your favourite regular traders are back and look forward Left to right - Dave, Chris & Tony - supporting your local market serving you fromessential food Your regulartoand favourite 8am - 12 noon every producers only -Friday fresh(SY13 fish, eggs, poultry, fresh 1QY)

on Friday 5th June 2020 from 8am until 12 noon Civfruit ic&C entre rear car par k veg and locally produced cheese St Mar y’s Street, W hi2M tch urchDISTANCING SY13 1QY SOCIAL 2m social distancing rules RULES APPLE AND A apply and a SYSTEM queuingWILL system QUEUING will beOPERATION in operation BE IN

Contact Civic Centre directly on 01948 665761 or visit:

INDOOR AND OUTDOOR MARKETS ARE NOW OPEN Wednesday, Friday and Saturday Social distancing and safety precautions all in place. Traders look forward to welcome back customers old and new The Indoor Market is open every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday and the outdoor market every Wednesday and Saturday. Plus we hold the Artisan Market on the last Friday of every month. The new weekly street market has gone from strength to strength attracting some fantastic bespoke stalls. For further information call 01691 680222 or visit:

Left to right - Dave, Chris & Tony - supporting your local market

Your regular and favourite essential food producers only - fresh fish, eggs, poultry, fresh fruit & veg and locally produced cheese 2m social distancing rules apply and a queuing system will be in operation

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Welcome return of a walk in the park The gardens and parkland at Attingham Park, near Shrewsbury, have reopened and are welcoming limited numbers of National Trust members and non-members. Visitors need to book a car parking space in advance of arrival. Members will be able to book a space for free, while non-members will need to pay in advance for their space.

Keeping arts alive

The beautiful 15-acre Alderford Lake, near Whitchurch, is open throughout the summer for swimming, walking, kayaking, canoeing and paddleboarding. Visitors are required to abide by rules including limiting numbers and social distancing measures. Food and drink are available to take away. The lake is open every day from 9am to 4.30pm, and entry costs £5 for adults and £3 for children. Booking may be required.

July and August, Creativity in Isolation, The Qube, Oswestry In May, Qube invited everyone to get involved in a Creativity in Isolation online exhibition by sharing paintings, drawings, poems, short stories movies, photos, knitted socks or even cake! You can view the host of art and craft produced by talented contributors or submit your own creation at www.qube-oca.

Bring the past to the present

Shropshire’s Arts Alive continues to bring top-class arts shows to the county with a programme of online performances through the summer. ArtsAlive@Home will feature a mixture of pre-recorded shows and livestreamed events, mostly exclusive to ArtsAlive. The rural touring scheme has had to cancel its scheduled events, which includes Flicks in the Sticks, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The organisers, who are committed to bringing arts events to rural communities, are asking audiences to tune in on a specific date and time for a postshow chat with a performer via videoconferencing. The ArtsAlive@Home programme includes Made at Curve’s What The Butler Saw starring Rufus Hound and Northern Ballet’s Little Red Riding Hood. Details of all events are listed at and on the ArtsAlive and Flicks in the Sticks Facebook pages.

Make a splash at Alderford Lake

29th-30th August, Oswestry Balloon Carnival and Street Produce Market This huge event will sees over 25 hot-air balloons launching from Cae Glas Park, in Oswestry. Food and craft stalls, live music, street entertainers. Free family event.

The house and play area remain closed but toilets are open, and there’s plenty of wildlife to see while enjoying a walk through the woods and deer park. The deer have always had a special place at the heart of Attingham. Thomas Henry Noel-Hill, 8th Lord Berwick, was particularly fond of the deer and fed them daily, with special favourites eating out of his hand. Thomas lived at Attingham from the early 1920s until his death in 1947. You can book in advance online at

Telford’s Ironbridge Gorge Museums are bringing history into homes via a Museum from Home programme. Museum from Home offers virtual online collections, including People of Blists Hill, Blood Sweat & Immigration, Letters from the Trenches and A View of the Iron Bridge. The website also has plenty of activities for budding historians and story writers to explore, as well as fun science experiments to try in the kitchen and ideas for art and design projects. All the museums are currently closed to the public and all events, workshops and tours are cancelled. To find out more, visit Museum from Home, or support the museums in their fundraising, go to

Welcome to walkers

Dudmaston Estate, near Bridgnorth, has opened its car parks in Comer Woods, Hampton Loade and the Sawmill for weekend walkers. The 3,000-acre estate is open to visitors, who are asked to respect social distancing and avoid overcrowding. Spaces are limited, and Dudmaston Hall and visitor facilities remain closed until further notice. For the latest details, visit www.national

July and August, Booka, Oswestry The award-winning Booka has teamed up with three other independent bookshops to offer a host of online author events with some of the world’s most prestigious authors. The shop is also delivering books, including signed copies, within a 10-mile radius.

Ludlow10 race goes virtual Ludlow10, an annual 10km race through Ludlow’s medieval streets, will not go ahead this year owing to the restrictions in place around the Covid-19 outbreak – but organisers have turned it into a virtual experience instead. They will be awarding medals for 10km runs carried out at any time and place over the weekend of 11th to 12th July when the race was due to take place. It costs £10 per person to register and all profits will go to a local NHS charity. For more information and to sign up, visit

July and August, Creative Kits, ArtShack, nr Shrewsbury ArtShack activities and workshops have been put on hold, but the art goes on. ArtShack membership gives access to video tutorials, creative challenges, and a supportive group, and materials kits to use in your own home. Membership is £10 per month.

July and August, Oswestry Indoor and Outdoor Markets, Bailey Head, Oswestry Oswestry’s vibrant indoor market at Powis Hall will be held every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, offering fresh produce. The outdoor market has also reopened on Wednesdays and Saturdays. www.

July/August 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 31

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DaysOut IN! While many venues in the Shire area are still closed, and lots of you are staying at home as much as possible, the entertainment industry has risen to the challenge to bring many excellent events into our homes…

ROYAL OPERA HOUSE The #OurHouseToYourHouse series brings full-length performances from Covent Garden to the masses in their own homes – for free (although donations are welcome). Highlights so far include world famous productions of Cinderella (Cendrillon) and Il trittico from the Royal Opera and the Royal Ballet’s Anastasia and The Cellist, based on the life DID YOU of Jacqueline du Pré (pictured, left). Find your KNOW? The first Covent next cultural night in at Garden opera royaloperahouse. As part of the series, the Royal house was built Opera House is also offering free fun activities to in 1732 keep children entertained, including a Challenge of the Week. For more details, visit

NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM If you’re missing your fix of giant skeletons and flora and fauna from around the world, the tech boffins at London’s worldrenowned Natural History Museum have enabled you to take a virtual tour of the amazing exhibits from your own living room. Not only that – David Attenborough will talk you through some of the best bits! If you’re bursting with questions, there’s also a chance to join the Nature Live Online team on Tuesdays at noon and Fridays at 10.30am for interactive talks featuring topical discussions with scientists and an inside guide to cutting-edge research. For details, visit

GLASTONBURY The world-famous music festival was all set to celebrate its 50th anniversary this June with an amazing line-up and record-breaking crowds. But while Worthy Farm may remain deserted, Glastonbury won’t be letting the occasion go unmarked. Instead, a host of past performances and documentaries will be shown on the BBC and iPlayer. The Glastonbury Experience will see 60 sets made available to watch on iPlayer, including those by Adele, Beyoncé and David Bowie – the latter’s 2000 set being broadcast in full for the first time. Three programmes will also be shown across the weekend of 25th to 29th June on BBC2, which will then be available throughout July on iPlayer. These will celebrate some of the festival’s best performances since the BBC’s coverage began, including Amy Winehouse, Blur, PJ Harvey and The Rolling Stones. Ciders at the ready! And let’s think positive – at least you get to use your own toilet… See for details. 32 SHIRE MAGAZINE | July/August 2020

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Going it alone Having conquered the music world, the individual members of Radiohead are now taking some time out to do their own thing. Guitarist Ed O’Brien talks to Shire about his first solo album from his family’s Welsh farmhouse through his music, and once that switch was flicked the songs came pouring out. That creative surge resulted in Earth, an album of rediscovery and adventure recorded under the moniker EOB.

Road to recovery


d O’Brien should be in the US right now, his tour to launch his new album in full swing. Instead, he’s at home in Powys, recovering from coronavirus and taking time to enjoy the natural beauty of the countryside – something that has provided an endless inspiration to him. As a guitarist with Radiohead – who over almost three decades and nine albums have established themselves as one of the most innovative and influential musical forces of our time – Ed always liked to spend any downtime away from the band with his family. But a lifetime of experiences and adventures left him with tales to tell

Facing up to life in lockdown has proven eventful in more ways than one for Ed. Now just about over coronavirus and recovering at the family home in mid Wales, he’s notably calm about his brush with the condition that has brought the world to a near standstill. “People have had different experiences with coronavirus, but for me it was like flu. And although I felt I was getting better, it’s something that lingers,” says Ed. “But we’re very lucky that we’re out in the countryside. I’m very aware there are a lot of families out there that don’t have a lot of access to nature, which especially resonates with me.” It’s been many years since Ed upped sticks from his native Oxfordshire, and

“I wanted to make a record from the heart… to talk about love, where we are on the planet… life and death” he seems more than content with his present surroundings alongside his wife, two children and pet dog. The area has been a sanctuary for Ed, who even chose to record his album at nearby Plas Dinam Country House, where he set up a studio and grappled with lyrics and melodies until he was happy with the outcome. “Making a record isn’t easy,” says Ed. “It takes a lot of work and a lot of soulsearching. But doing this was something I felt compelled to do. If I didn’t do it then a creative part of me might have died. It was one of those ‘what if ’ moments – you just have to follow your instincts.”

Time out

While Ed says he’s had conversations with the rest of Radiohead about their next move, and his own tour is on hold, it seems 2020 offers a welcome pause for reflecting on the global situation and how to respond to it. “I feel really happy about where I am, now that my album is done – after all that has been put into it,” he says. “I wanted to make a record from the heart. I wanted to make something direct. I wanted to talk about love, your family in the immediate and the wider sense, where we are on the planet, the bigger picture, life and death. I wanted to make a big-hearted, warm and colourful album… something hopeful and full of love.”

July/August 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 33

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Time to put y r f t up? If recent events have forced you to spend more time at home, perhaps it has left you wondering whether this might be the right time to think about retiring once and for all…


hether the coronavirus crisis has made you re-evaluate the important things in life, or simply allowed you to spend more time at home appreciating a slower pace of living, you won’t be alone in thinking that now may now be the right time to retire. Or perhaps you’ve been thinking about your final work days for some time already, counting down the last few years; or you may just be starting a career but still be savvy enough to know it’s never too early to prepare for your retirement. Either way, and whatever your reason, Shire is here to help you plan the best ways to spend your golden years, whether they’re coming up any time soon or not!


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WHEN THE TIME IS RIGHT In general, there are no fixed rules and regulations on when you can retire – if you’ve made enough money to fund the rest of your days, you can jack in the job any time you like. More specifically, the state pension is only available after a certain age, which is on the rise; currently it is 65 for men and women, increasing to 66 by October 2020 and 67 by 2028. These guidelines don’t apply to private pensions, and are only the age at which you’ll receive your state pension payment – and may be quite different to the age most of us would consider feeling ready to retire. A recent Telegraph survey revealed that most people are ready to call it a day at 56, but with the average lifespan now around 80, relatively few of us have acquired the funds by that time to live out a comfortable existence for another 25 years!

MAKE IT WORK FOR YOU Many people work long past their state pension age – there are plenty of fit and active people in their 70s who are still a key part of the workforce. The benefits of continuing to work past traditional retirement age are well documented. Many claim it’s a good way of keeping healthy – both physically and mentally – with the routine of work and having a structured day alongside the regular cerebral exercise beneficial to many.

…time s p

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Not only that, the more years you spend saving up and paying into your pension, the more money you’ll have to play with when the time comes. One thing is for certain – there is no perfect time to retire. Just make sure you have planned for it. And for that, there really is no time like the present, whether you have a diary date circled in red or are just dreaming of your luxurious later years.

…or lon g

, lazy d

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Finance y r fr d It may seem obvious, but planning your retirement is basically down to financing it. Alan Mellor, managing director of Cheshire-based Phillip Bates & Co Financial Services, gives his expert advice on how to make sure your money is working alongside your plans


f all the questions I’m asked about pensions, the two most popular are: “When can I retire?” and “How much is enough?” Traditionally, the advice has always been that you should try to save the equivalent of half your age. So, if you’re 50 you should be aiming to put away 25 per cent of your salary. The key is to have a very personalised and long-term financial plan. I have clients ranging in age from their 30s to their 80s, and no two plans are the same. Good plans are about anticipating that there will almost certainly be bumps in For more on the road, whether that’s a pandemic or the making the most of retirement inevitable recessions the world experiences investments, turn from time to time. In the case of this current to page 99 crisis, I’ve been advising a client who was made redundant a few years ahead of when he was planning to retire – far from ideal, but his plan is able to absorb this setback. The starting point for any plan is to understand the stage of life someone is at. Are they approaching retirement or do they still have children at school? Do they own a business or are they an employee? Has the mortgage been paid off? Do they have savings? We like to know what makes people tick away from work too. Do they have hobbies or enjoy dining out? Or do they have more of a cautious mindset when it comes to spending? It’s our job to ask the right questions so we can advise the client in the most appropriate and personalised way and start to build an effective plan.

ASSESSING THE FACTORS There are lots of different factors to consider when putting together a long-term financial plan. Some clients choose to leave full-time employment and take on a part-time job to cover the gap between 60 and 66. Others take advantage of today’s more flexible pensions, which give scope to take more for a few years and less later. Some people will spend extremely carefully during their working years to speed up the point at which they can take early retirement. The one thing that is certain is that the financial services industry has changed a lot – for the better – since I started out. Putting in place a long-term financial plan, which is carefully considered but maintains an element of flexibility, is the essential starting point. The fun bit isn’t so much watching our clients save money, but helping them to achieve and enjoy the retirement they envisage. To arrange a free initial consultation, visit or call 0151 353 0003

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Fund y r fr time Looking for new ways to fund your new-found freedom? Releasing equity from the value of your house is one popular option, but should only be done with good advice, as the Money Advice Service charity explains


quity release refers to a range of products that allow you to access the equity – or cash – tied up in your home if you’re over the age of 55. You can take the money as a lump sum, in several smaller amounts or as a combination of both. There are two equity release options. The first is a lifetime mortgage, when you take out a mortgage secured on your property – provided it is your main residence – while retaining ownership. You can choose to ring-fence some of the value of your property as an inheritance, and can make repayments or let the interest roll up. The loan amount and any accrued interest is paid back when you die or when you move into long-term care. The second is home reversion, when you sell part or all of your home to a home reversion provider in return for a lump sum or regular payments. You have the right to continue living in the property until you die, rent-free, but you have to agree to maintain and insure “Always it. You can ring-fence a percentage of your get proper, property for later use, and this percentage qualified will remain the same regardless of the change independent in property values, unless you decide to take further cash releases. At the end of the plan advice” your property is sold and the sale proceeds are shared according to the remaining proportions of ownership. Whether either is right for you depends on circumstances such as your age, income, how much you want to release and your future plans. When releasing equity, it’s tempting to focus on the boost you’ll get from the money you unlock, but you need to look at how it will affect your financial situation in later life. Always make sure you get proper, qualified, independent advice before entering into any agreement. July/August 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 35

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Treat y rself Luxury buys for y r new lifestyle You’ve stepped off the work treadmill, regained all that commuting time and have some money in the bank… so what better way to mark your retirement than treating yourself to a gift! It’s a great opportunity to invest in a new hobby, give your creative urges an outlet, explore the world around you – near and far – or find new social avenues. Here are a few suggestions on how to splash that cash… SPORTS CAR

ough Fancy a drive thr


Now you no longer need a practical workhorse for your commute, when fuel mileage was the priority and the office car park its only outing, it’s time to reconsider your wheels. If you’ve always dreamed of owning a sporty number, now’s the time to invest – after all, now you have the time to enjoy that leisurely drive in the country or even across Europe.

HOT TUB Hot tubs have enjoyed a surge in popularity recently, especially since we’ve been stuck at home, and they can be a great retirement investment if you want a new way in which to enjoy your garden. There are many options, from inflatable options that cost a few hundred pounds to more permanent fixtures that can run into the thousands, and they’re a great way to relax and while away those free hours you now have.


If you’re thinking of taking the plunge, KNOW? one local company worth checking out By 2041 the UK is expected to have is Better Living Outdoors, which has a more than three showroom on Battlefields Industrial Estate million people aged in Shrewsbury and offers a wide range 85 or over – twice the number today of premium hot tubs and accessories. Its experts are quick to highlight the health benefits of a hot tub, which may appeal in particular as we get older: “The benefits fall into three main categories of hydrotherapy: buoyancy, heat and massage. Hot tubs reduce the body’s weight by approximately 85 to 90 per cent when buoyant, which relieves pressure on the muscles and joints. Hot tubs also raise the body’s temperature, causing the blood vessels to dilate resulting in an increase in circulation. And massage is given from a combination of water and air pumped out of the hot tub jets, which helps to relax tight muscles and stimulate the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers.” For more information, visit www.betterliving

DOG nd t’s best frie

Many people spend years longing for a dog, but put off getting one while they’re out at work all day. Well, wait no longer! Retirement is a great time to get a pet – and one that makes you go out every day will keep you fit as well as being pretty good company too. For sociable people who miss the chat and companionship of the office, having a dog is also a great way of meeting people – from dog walks to puppy training classes. Retiremen


A great way to


Still reckon you could be the next Jimi Hendrix? It’s never too late to learn! Invest in the instrument you’ve always wanted and splash out on some lessons – before you know it you’ll be jamming in the garage with a likeminded band of fellow retirees and discovering a musical side you never knew you had.

Perhaps st

ardom a waits…

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Celebrate in style


Toilets with a touch of class

ns come


lanning a party to celebrate your retirement? If so, make sure you do it in style. There are many options open to you, from fully catered formal affairs to relaxed events in your own home, but one thing is for sure – you need to make sure you have the right kind of loo for your do! You can make sure the facilities are up to scratch with the luxury loo service offered by Nomadic Washrooms based in Bridgend. Operated by Kate and Stu Richards, the company was dreamt up after the pair were searching for a quirky eyecatching toilet facility to go with their own rustic wedding theme. They now pride themselves on providing one of the most unique toilet trailer hire concepts on the market right now. Nomadic Washroom’s shepherd’s hut trailers are available for hire throughout Shropshire, Cheshire, mid Wales, Herefordshire, the West Midlands and beyond, and are a must at any retirement bash, wedding, event or festival. If you really want to get your guests talking, these are the toilets for you! The shepherd’s hut


in all shap

…and sizes

CAMPERVAN Now you have no ties to the nine-to-five, why not hit the open road? Modern campervans come with all mod cons, including flushing toilets, hot showers and comfortable beds. Take each day as it comes and either plan an elaborate road trip or make it up as you go along – when you’ve got everything you need on board, you can go wherever you like!

DEN If you’re going to be spending more time at home, you might need some extra space – especially if your partner and/or children are at home too. Make sure you won’t be treading on anyone’s toes by creating a bolthole to call your own. Consider splashing out on “Spending more converting the loft, taking it underground with a basement bunker or even hiding time at home? out at the bottom of the garden with You might your own private garden room. need some One company with many years’ experience extra space” providing designer garden getaways is Cedar & Oak, which is based in Twemlow, Cheshire, and builds bespoke shepherd’s huts to order for pretty much any use you can think of. “We produce high-end luxury shepherd’s huts, not huts that are basically garden sheds on wheels,” says the company’s head of huts, Peter Clyde. “We don’t have a production line – we design and build each hut for that specific customer and only work on one hut at

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a time, focusing all our skills and experience on that hut. All our huts feature double glazing, insulation to all walls, floor and ceiling, and electrical connections so you can make use of them all year round. “Each hut is unique. We like to work with each customer A garden getaway with a view to get the design right just for them, as we say each hut is ‘one of one’. If a customer wants to use a hut for a home office, for example, they may need a certain amount of plug sockets, and the location of these may be critical for their technology to allow them to work from home. We can tailor the design to suit, building in storage, desks, beds, log burners or anything else they may need. We design and build huts that are big and small, can be used for home offices, spare bedrooms, guest suites, studios or a garden den. We’ve built huts with king-size beds, shower rooms, kitchens and log burners. “We like to work with people on the design of their hut. They don’t need any design experience – we do all that – but we like to sit down with a cup of tea and have a chat about how they will use their hut. We ask questions and make suggestions while sketching away, and then we’ll produce a design based on that talk. So even though each hut is bespoke, there’s no need for people to feel daunted – we have a few initial designs that we work from to create a hut for especially you.” You can make a start by browsing the options at


herd’s hu A bespoke shep

Design your own bol


19/06/2020 18:01

Fresh pursuits Inspiring ways to fil y r retirement days… Retiring generally means having more time to yourself – but it’s important to find a purpose for those extra hours as well. Luckily there are many ways to fill your days in the Shire area…

Help with childcare

w passion Discover a ne

at the back of your mind for decades, why not give it a go? If you have a financial cushion to fall back on in the form of a pension, that takes away the pressure of making any venture a huge success. Learn to drive that steam train, launch that coffee shop or say yes to the urge DID YOU to work in a cattery – you’re KNOW? free to choose now, after all. Nearly 4.9 million


FAMILY Many of us plan to spend more time with our partners once we retire, and with our wider family too. But even in the best of circumstances, retirement can bring challenges to a marriage – being at home more together is a big change than can take some adapting to. Spend time But as long as you remember to with grandc hildren communicate, there’s no reason why the extra time together can’t revitalise your relationship. Involvement with the wider family is also common. Many retired people play a key role in childcare for their grandchildren – a relationship that is mutually adored by young and old, as well as much appreciated by the generation in between.

TRAVEL More and more people are deferring the traditional teenage gap year adventures – roaming across continents staying in shared hostels on a shoestring budget – opting instead to make a slower and more refined exploration of the world in later life. With more money behind you than the average student, and a w places ne re lo Exp lifetime of deciding where you want to go and what you want to see, travelling to far-flung destinations can be a fulfilling retirement adventure.

WORK The nine-to-five may be behind you – but if there’s a job you’ve always fancied trying or even a business idea that’s been lurking

people over 65 in England take part in volunteering or civic engagement

Retirement gives you the time to dedicate to your hobbies. Golf can be a daily pleasure rather than a weekly outing, walking can take you further than you ever imagined and those jigsaws may finally get finished. It’s a great chance to try something new too. It’s never too late to get creative and many retirees enjoy arts and craft lessons, such as those run by artist Andrew Jenkin at venues across north Wales. Andrew works mainly in watercolour, Learn a new skill painting figurative and semiabstract subjects, in particular landscapes, historical and folklore illustrations. He was head tutor at North Light Gallery Art School in Huddersfield until moving to Wales, and now teaches and demonstrates watercolours to art societies throughout the area. Find out more at

GIVE SOMETHING BACK If you’ve had a successful career, secured a nice lifestyle for yourself and your loved ones, and still have some energy and passion for a good cause, retirement is a good time to think about volunteering. Whether that means giving some of your time to a local charity shop or taking on a more active role for a cause you’ve always believed in, now is your chance. Not only will it help a charity or organisation that needs it, the act of giving back has been shown to make e tim r Volunteer you us feel good about ourselves too.

38 SHIRE MAGAZINE | July/August 2020

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Cedar & Oak Handcrafted Shepherd Huts & Garden Buildings of Distinction

If you need extra space for a quiet office, snug playroom or creative studio a shepherd hut or garden building could be perfect. All our builds are made to order meaning we can change materials, add features or create a new tailored design to suit you. Call or email us for more information, prices from £7500.00

Handcrafted in Twemlow, Cheshire | |





n n n

Small care home, situated in the heart of Newport, renowned for providing high standards and individual care Our dedicated and committed staff pride themselves on promoting dignity, respect and choice Offering short stay, respite or permament long term security in a very friendly, comfortable and homely environment Excellent home cooking Delightful gardens Visitors welcome

Here at Nomadic Washrooms we specialise in the hire of luxury Shepherds Hut toilet trailers for that extra memorable touch at your dream wedding. We believe that what we provide is one of the most unique toilet trailer hire concepts on the market right now! Our Shepherds Hut toilets really are a must at any wedding and are available for hire throughout Shropshire, the West Midlands, Wales, Cheshire, Herefordshire and beyond. If you reallywant to get your guests talking, these are the toilets for you!!

Contact Collin Davies on 01952 814371 or 814350

Special Care for Special People Bank House, Chetwynd End, Newport, Shropshire TF10 7JE

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So why not get in touch to provisionally book your toilets to be proud of now!

01938 580057 | 07973 796068

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Afonwen North Wales


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Pastures new…

One important factor to consider as you head for retirement is where you’ll live. We take a look at some of the options open to you


t is an unavoidable fact that as we age, our care needs will change. It may be hard to come to terms with, but is lot easier to deal with if you plan for this in advance. A vital part of your retirement planning includes considering what the next steps might be in terms of your living arrangements. Here we look at three broad categories and speak to local experts about the options available near you.

STAYING IN YOUR OWN HOME This is the option most of us would like to think will always be available. In reality it might not be – but there are ways of making it work as your care needs evolve. One of the advantages of having personal assistance at home is that it can change as your needs do. You might start off needing someone to pop in once a week to clean, increase that to a few times a week and add some cooking duties and even enhance the provision to include medical and personal care, or the ultimate package of employing a live-in carer. With these options it will be no surprise that the costs are hugely varied, but there are plenty of services out there – private or “Planning in agency-based – and you can put together a personal and bespoke package to suit you.

advance is a worthwhile investment”


A popular middle ground, moving to accommodation designed for people in similar positions and stages of life as you can feel like moving home without losing your independence. You get your own space, freedom and lifestyle, but the comfort of having a supportive environment and help on hand if you need it. James Cobb is from Inspired Villages, which owns a thriving retirement complex of 104 apartments eight miles from Chester. “At a time where many over-65s may be reassessing their living situations and looking to make the most of later life, Inspired Villages may offer the perfect lifestyle choice,” he says. “Our James Cobb Gifford Lea site sits on the edge of the idyllic village of Tattenhall, and forms an important part of the local community, while the state-of-the-art village centre facilities include a wellness spa with swimming pool, a brasserie, garden room, library and beauty salon. “For those looking for additional support, assisted living services at Gifford Lea offer a flexible solution with hospitality and personal care in the privacy of their own self-contained

home, but still with access to fantastic village centre facilities and an active social life – all on their doorstep. “Residents can spend time with friends, discover new passions and rediscover old interests. From Zumba to woodland walks and gastro evenings, Inspired helps residents to feel safe and fulfilled as they enjoy their favourite pastimes and make new memories.” For more, visit www.

A bedroom at Gifford


RESIDENTIAL CARE Many of today’s care homes include state-of-the-art facilities and a supportive and forward-thinking ethos. village Gifford Lea retirement There are hundreds of homes catering for retired people across the Shire patch – and each one is different, with features and personalities of its own. It may be hard to imagine the time will come, but poor health may mean you need to accept full-time help and cannot care for yourself at home any longer. It is a good idea to familiarise yourself with a few local care homes in areas you’d like to live and get a feel for the ones you’d prefer long before the need arises. The best ones have long waiting lists and it’s preferable to feel you’ve made your own decision rather than “ending up” in DID YOU residential care that you haven’t chosen. KNOW? Paying for care is another contentious There are over issue, and varies depending on where you 15.5 million people live and how much financial security you aged 60 or over in the UK – 23% of have. That’s another reason why planning the population in advance is a worthwhile investment, both financially and emotionally. Pendine Park manages several care homes in north Wales, as well as a centre of excellence for dementia. It has won numerous awards since it began in 1985, and applies an ethos that makes it a popular choice with residents and families. The group is run by Mario Kreft, who is also the chair of Care Forum Wales. “We want to help people live their lives the way they want to,” he says. “Independence is encouraged, but we are always there to give support when needed. “We started as a small family care home and this ethos is still at our heart. Since then we’ve increased the choice of care we offer so people can choose the right care, at right time, in the right place. There are spacious en suite rooms, deluxe suites and apartments, as well as many lounges and large, landscaped grounds – and we offer a wide range of therapies and activities that enrich lives.” For more, visit


Care homes offer help with mea

…and time with others

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Huts & Stuff Our Shepherds Huts are Perfect for Spare Rooms, Model railways, Craft & Hobby rooms, Garden Retreats, Glamping, or just because you love them. We have been building bespoke Shepherds Huts, Wagons and stuff in mid Wales for over 15 years. Prices start from £6,995. Nationwide & European Delivery Visitors welcome by appointment



he creator of Thomas the Tank Engine, the Reverend W Awdry, once said that the church was like a railway: both were trying to get people from one place to another. Estate agents fall into the same category. We move people from one home to the next. And never has moving people seemed more important than now, because never have homes seemed more important to us as we battle to defeat the most deadly threat to our lives since World War II. But something big is going on with homes. Our activity has gone through the roof in the past few weeks. The property portals are reporting the highest traffic to their sites – ever. In lockdown, decisions to change – to move on – have been made and are now being acted upon. It’s at times like these that estate agents become very useful. Their local expertise and market knowledge are invaluable to sellers and buyers. Who’d have thought that houses and

To order or discuss your requirements Contact David and John on 01588 620132 Mob: 07300 013032 Email:

Take a look at our Blog to see what we’ve been up to during the Lockdown at

flats on dedicated cycle lanes would go up in value in only a few months? The answer is an experienced estate agent. So if you plan to move home, why not call us? Better still, arrange a Zoom meeting, FaceTime session or WhatsApp chat over a cup of coffee. We live in your area, enjoy the same facilities and support the same local enterprises. More than that, we care in a way that goes beyond selling your property. We take care in moving our clients from one place to another. Estate agents are engines of change. As James and Percy said to Thomas the Tank Engine: “We’re really useful engines, after all.” Russell Griffin is director of Samuel Wood, which has branches in Shrewsbury, Ludlow, Craven Arms and Church Stretton. Call Russell on 01743 272710, email shrewsbury@samuelwood. or visit www.samuelwood. for more information

Discover the new look at Wilstone after a stunning refurbishment

With six large rooms now beautifully displayed with gifts, fabric, furniture and so much more, there is something for everyone. Also see our RHS Chelsea award-winning range instore or online.

01694 751747

Heather Brae, Leebotwood, Church Stretton, SY6 6LU

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Virtual viewing Send an image of an empty room (above) and it will be digitally “dressed”

With fewer people keen to welcome strangers into their homes or to traipse around looking at properties, there has been a surge in technological trends to boost the property market


ome staging company Lemon & Lime Interiors has seen great success with the first trials of its new virtual service after partnering with an East Midlands property developer on two new homes. The Lemon & Lime Interiors team are experts at presenting houses to make a memorable first impression for potential buyers. Owner Elaine Penhaul quickly adapted the business so it could continue to operate throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, introducing two new services: virtual home staging and remote staging. Elaine, who began staging homes in 2012 and set up the company in 2015, says: “While the lockdown has been in place, buyers have never had more time on their hands to browse on apps like Rightmove. Viewing on property portals has gone up by 500 per cent and, despite the difficult circumstances, buyers are still expecting to see beautifully staged properties.”

See your imagination

The first two properties put on the market using Lemon & Lime Interiors’ new virtual staging service were both built by developer

Hereward Homes. The four-bedroom barn conversion in Stamford, Lincolnshire, and the five-bedroom detached house in Oakham, Rutland, have both been virtually staged to help appeal to buyers during this challenging time (see

“During these unprecedented times estate agents need to ensure their properties are catching the eye of buyers” – Elaine, Lemon & Lime Interiors

“This new service is vital to the property market – during these unprecedented times estate agents need to ensure their properties are catching the eye of buyers,” says Elaine. “Beautiful home staging has never been so important.” The virtual home-staging service requires vendors or the agent to take a

high-resolution picture of an empty room, which is then sent to Lemon & Lime Interiors. The team use this photo and virtually fill the room with an interior design scheme and luxury furnishings to make the property looked lived in, which in turn helps people to visualise themselves living in the property.

Top-quality service

Even better, all the furniture used is available to purchase, so the whole scheme can be bought with the house upon request. Elaine is even working with a videographer to create video including the virtually staged photos to attract more buyers. “We are offering this service because it means that developers and estate agents can still get advice and top-quality service without having to leave their homes,” says Elaine. “We can also give guidance on how to dress their homes, which will help them to get a quick sale for more money when they do come to put it on the market.” For more information, visit July/August 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 43

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COLOUR CONSCIOUS Bored with staring at the same four walls? It’s time to bring some colour into our lives, says Suzanne Mercer from Kettle Design in Heswall, Wirral


t’s well documented how colours influence our mood, and now more than ever it is important to carefully consider our choices. Our feelings about colour are often deeply personal and rooted in our own experience or culture. For example, while white is used in many Western countries to represent purity and innocence, it is as a symbol of mourning in many Eastern countries. But while perceptions of colour are somewhat subjective, there are some colours that have universal meaning…

DID YOU KNOW? In the 1800s, green wallpaper often contained arsenic


This colour also has strong associations with nature and immediately brings to mind the lush green of grass, trees and forests. Perhaps because green is so heavily associated with nature, it is often described as a refreshing colour, and is often thought to represent tranquillity, good luck and health – as well as jealousy. When it comes to come decor, shades of green are often used for their calming effects. For example, guests waiting to appear on television programmes often wait in a “green room” to relax. Green is also thought to relieve stress and help heal, and some studies have found that those who have a green work environment experience fewer stomach aches.


“How wonderful yellow is. It stands for the sun,” Vincent van Gogh once said. Used well in an interior design, it can bring that sunshine right inside. Yellow can be bright and intense, which is perhaps why it can often invoke such strong feelings. It’s a colour that can quickly grab the attention – but be careful

DID YOU KNOW? In Japan, yellow is the colour of courage

how and where you use it because it can also be abrasive when overused, owing to the high amount of light that is reflected which makes it among the most fatiguing colours to the eye.


Blue is a colour we see all around us in nature – the blue sky or the rich dark blue of a deep pool of water can evoke feelings of calmness or serenity. Yet as a cool colour, blue can sometimes seem distant or icy. Over the past year or so, however, we’ve seen darker hues of blue appearing with greater frequency in interior designs. One popular trend has seen allwhite kitchen units being replaced by deep blues.

Kettle Design can supply colour to your door. Email info@ for details

44 SHIRE MAGAZINE | July/August 2020

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Specialists in Hire, Sales and Training of Power Tools, Small Plant and Access Equipment



Re ... Sa

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Delivers bulk materials from roadside to jobside - just where you ONLY 1 Metre wide to match pallets and bulk bags - providing unbeatable delivery access. Huge savings on time and labour costs - no more barrowing of materials or bad backs! Revolutionary Load-Lock™ technology ensures total machine stability by transforming dangerous ‘suspended payloads’ into ‘safety ballast’ for the machine. Ideal for transporting and installing Bulk building materials - PLUS: I-Beams, Block paving, Garden sculptures, Root ball trees, Hot tubs, Pizza ovens, Street furniture, Factory machinery and Plant. Weighs only 1.8 Tonnes – easily delivered by HIAB truck or plant trailer – yet lifts and shifts 1.5 tonnes.

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The UK’s market leader in Fire and Carbon Monoxide Protection

At Aico we pioneer new alarm technologies, working closely with Installers, Specifiers, Landlords, Local Authorities and Housing Associations to protect Homeowners and Tenants. Each Aico alarm is designed, developed and thoroughly tested at our factory in Ireland and backed by exceptional levels of nationwide technical support. We also work in communities to educate and raise awareness about the dangers of Fire and Carbon Monoxide and how to stay safe. Our aim is to create safer communities with our quality product and exceptional service.


T 01691 664100


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New Homes Introducing the post-pandemic kitchen



DID YOU KNOW? Most people’s budget for kitchen renovations is £10k-£25k


s we transition to a new normal, it may be time to make some alterations to our kitchens. With restaurants not as accessible, home cooking is becoming ever more popular and the kitchen is likely to change. Whether you’re planning a new installation or designing your dream layout, it’s worth thinking of the future and making considerations in the following ways… 1. Appliances Larger American-style fridge-freezers or even second freezers in a utility room are becoming more common. When frequent shopping trips are being discouraged, the extra space these afford is essential. And with home baking on the increase, ovens with technical features such as

5 6

4 The kitchen is at the centre of family life, and the way we use this space is adapting – and not just for the short term


moisture injection and precise temperature help to produce professional results 2. Wine fridges and wine racks The popularity of the home bar is on the rise. Glazed gin display cupboards, wine racks and wine coolers will be a musthave feature when space will allow. 3. Open shelving A great way to show off your cookbooks as well as a place to grow fresh herbs. 4. Storage The modern kitchen offers more ways to organise than ever before, from deep, wide drawers and pull-out shelving to pantries for tinned goods and open shelving for jars, bottles and spices. 5. Ingenious solutions With small appliances such as mixing aids and coffee machines more commonplace, clever design features such as bi-folding breakfast cupboards enable them to be hidden away yet easily accessible.

6. Layout As whole families spend more time at home, dining spaces will become the norm again. The living room will become an extension of the kitchen even more as designers look to create fluid living spaces where the whole family can interact in harmony. “The kitchen has always been a big investment, but now more than ever customers are recognising the benefits of opting for bespoke, achieving a space that is tailor-made and enables them and their families to live together comfortably,” says George Forsyth from Drew Forsyth Kitchens. “As a result of the pandemic, the design process is changing considerably too, with a shift to virtual design consultations that enable homeowners to achieve the space of their dream while always keeping customers and staff safe.” For more information, call 01422 842206 or visit July/August 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 47

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HOME SAFETY Renewable specialist

Air Source Heat Pumps Ground Source Heat Pumps Underflooring Heating The RHI is due to end on 31 March 2021 The government has not announced how it will encourage low carbon heating after 31st March 2021


Contact details: 01691 238180


website. Just go to www.aico. uring lockdown, we’ve had the opportunity to alarm-selector/ and enter tackle some much-needed details about your property. jobs around the home, but we Once your fire alarms are mustn’t forget fire safety. Having fitted, you must test them the correct fire protection in regularly to ensure they are our homes can save lives. working as they should. At Aico, we recommend Usually, this can be following British Standards, which “Test alarms done by pressing the test button, but check recommend smoke regularly the manufacturer’s alarms are installed in to ensure all circulation spaces instructions. Alarms they are working” also need regular that form part of an maintenance. Gently escape route and in remove dirt and dust from rooms that present a high risk the cover, then use the nozzle to occupants. This means: attachment on your vacuum to remove dust from the vents. ● smoke alarms fitted in the Aico is the UK market leader hallway and landing in fire and carbon monoxide ● smoke alarms in the living protection, pioneering new room or other high-risk room technologies and offering ● a heat alarm in the kitchen high-quality alarms, developed and manufactured in Ireland. Alarms should be ceiling All Aico alarms meet UK mounted in a central location standards and offer a variety at least 300mm away from any of sensor types to guarantee obstructions such as walls, lights protection for every home, and vents. Mains-powered delivering education, quality, alarms should have a back-up service and innovation. battery so that in the event of a power cut your home and family is still protected. Andy Speake is national If you’re unsure which technical manager for Aico. alarms you need to have fitted For more information, and where, we have a handy visit online alarm selector on our 48 SHIRE MAGAZINE | July/August 2020

Fire rs kle sprin lives save

A Sprinkler system is an active fire protection method, consisting of a water supply system, providing adequate pressure and flow rate to a water distribution piping system, onto which fire sprinklers are connected. Running alongside our sister company Pivotal Plumbing and Heating, Pivotal Sprinklers Specialize in Domestic new build projects and renovations. Pivotal are able to design, install and commission the right sprinkler system for you by qualified engineers to meet BS9251.

In January 2016 the Welsh government implemented new legislation for the mandatory installation of fire sprinkler systems for all new domestic properties. Pivotal fully support the introduction of Domestic sprinklers in Wales, reducing the loss of life due to fires and are working with developers to ensure that we implement the requirements of the regulations in all of our installations in the most cost effective and efficient manner.

For further information or for any help or advice

please call: 01691 831529 office 07870 785664 mobile

or email:

Oswestry life Oswestry life

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Take it outside

When working from home, maximising space is vital – so why not take your workplace away from the heart of the house?


orking from home successfully is all about achieving the right balance – having a comfortable set-up, with space and peace to get the job done. More and more of us are part of the work-from-home revolution whether we like it or not, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. And it has brought home the importance of getting the balance right, especially when you’ve got children who need home schooling and other adults who also need to get a full day’s work done. One solution, if you have the space, is to move out the office out of the family home and into the garden. There has been a huge surge in the number of people looking into the possibility of building a garden room.

Key garden room facts

If you’re thinking about building a garden office, here are some factors to consider. 1. Value Not only could adding a garden room be well worth the investment for your own sanity – it can be a worthwhile spend for the sake of your property as a whole. It is estimated that a garden office may increase the total value by five per cent. 2. Regulations It is vital to make sure any building work you carry out meets the legislation, but most garden rooms or buildings don’t require planning permission if they fall within permitted development guidelines. To classify as an “outbuilding” under permitted development rules, it must not contain sleeping accommodation

and must be single storey with a maximum eaves height of 2.5m. 3. Costs Obviously this depends what you want in your structure and how far you go – with everything from plumbing, heating, technology, toilet facilities and so on to stretch the budget as much or as little as you like – but in general you can expect to pay anything from £5,000 to £20,000 for a small garden office. Prices for a medium to large office can be anything from £12,000, depending on the quality of the build and bespoke features. 4. Liabilities The cost of building a garden office – or buying a ready-made alternative – isn’t tax-deductible from your business profits. However, tax deductions (capital allowances) can be claimed for thermal insulation, furniture and fixtures, and deductions are also allowed for repairs, lighting and heating costs.


he installation of fire sprinklers is compulsory for all new homes in Wales, so it’s vital to have the right installation team for any current project. Wales was the first country in the world to bring in the safety regulation back in 2011, and it applies to all newly built houses and flats, as well as care homes and university halls of residence. One local company which will make sure all regulations are adhered to is Pivotal Sprinkler Systems, based in mid Wales. It is developing a reputation as one of the most reliable, cost-effective and efficient installers of fire sprinkler systems for new-build homes in the area. Pivotal Sprinkler Systems is a sister company of Pivotal Plumbing & Heating, with vast experience working on all aspects of new-build housing projects, and boasts a team of experienced engineers with all the skills and expertise necessary. The company is registered with the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) and all engineers hold a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card, so you can be safe in the knowledge that they comply with all aspects of health and safety legislation. As a well established family-run business with over 10 years’ experience offering a friendly and reliable service throughout Oswestry, Welshpool, Shrewsbury and the surrounding areas, Pivotal prides itself on great customer service and strives for 100 per cent customer satisfaction. For more information, visit www.

July/August 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 49

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Come and see us in our workshop! Unit A1, Cefndy Industrial Park, Cefndy Road, Rhyl, Denbighshire, LL18 2HJ

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


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Enjoy a day out at Hafren Furnishers


Hafren Furnishers in Llanidloes, Powys, has an enviable reputation, with satisfied customers returning time and again from across Wales and England

Shire talks to Andrea Ellison from Dragon Drilling to discover how you can take advantage of your property’s natural heat and water sources


rothers Tim and Paul part of a day out in the scenic Morgan run Hafren market town of Llanidloes. The Furnishers in Llanidloes with in-store café is very popular, their sister, Charlotte, working and the wider town boasts some in the showroom. Their mother, excellent independent stores. Anna, is the proprietor and There’s also spectacular walking has been integral to the family available nearby in the Hafren business since its inception. Forest and Clywedog Reservoir. Their father Recycling Mike, known as is taken very “Mike the Milk” seriously “Tim and Paul adopt – who passed at Hafren. a hands-on approach, away in 2017 – Most items of and engage with started Hafren furniture arrive customers on a Furnishers over well packaged daily basis” 55 years ago and in cardboard, polythene and polystyrene to minimise damage in transit – and more than 90% of this can now be recycled. Hafren has even purchased a polystyrene machine to make small polystyrene briquettes. Old mattresses, meanwhile, are sent his legacy is at the forefront of to a specialist facility where they the business today, in the hands are taken apart and recycled. of his wife and children. Old furniture can be found for Mike genuinely cared about sale in the second-hand store in his customers, always putting Westgate Street, Llanidloes. them first. Tim and Paul also Hafren Furnishers is home adopt a hands-on approach, and to Wales’s largest modern bed aim to engage with customers studio, where you can browse in the showroom on a daily and try a wide range of beds basis. They deliver anywhere and mattresses. All leading in England and Wales free bed brands are available, of charge, and can also take including Vispring, Silentnight, away old furniture, including Sealy, Hypnos, Tempur and mattresses, and all the packaging. Harrison Spinks. It also stocks Hafren believes in giving honest, headboards, pillows and bedding impartial advice – none of its to accessorise your new bed. staff work on commission – Take advantage of the summer providing the right product at savings available across leading the best value. furniture brands in store and at Many of the company’s customers come to the store as


ragon Drilling, based in Corwen, Denbighshire, is the largest environmental drilling company in the UK. It drills boreholes for private water supplies, as well as for ground source heating and cooling systems; as the UK aims for zero-carbon solutions by 2050, ground source heat pumps are being increasingly acknowledged as replacement heating systems for gas, oil and electric systems. “Independent water supplies and non-grid heating supplies are common in north Wales,” says director Andrea Ellison. “But as the zero carbon deadline approaches, we are increasingly being contacted by customers who want to leave traditional fossil fuels behind and replace them with renewable technology in their homes and commercial properties.” We asked Andrea, who is also treasurer of the National Ground Source Heat Pump Association and chair of its marketing committee, to answer some of the common question asked about installing a water borehole or a ground source heating system. Do I have enough land to install a ground source heating system? In most cases, yes. Each vertical borehole has a manhole cover of around 15cm. There’s no need to dig up large expanses of land, as each borehole goes down to a depth of around 100m. Are grants available to fund water borehole or ground source heating installation? There are periodic grants available for farmers looking to install water boreholes; contact the Welsh government or your local authority. The government has also encouraged the uptake of ground source heating by making the renewable heating incentive tariff very attractive for domestic and commercial customers. Visit for details. Do I need to have hot water under my property to install a ground source heating system? No. In the UK we have ground source heating and cooling, where a heat pump works to create the heat it has taken from the ground. People often confuse ground source with geothermal heat, but ground source doesn’t require hot water from underground. Can ground source heating be installed in any type of domestic and commercial property? Yes, including domestic houses, blocks of flats, holiday parks and homes, farmhouses and farm buildings and new homes in housing estates. How can I find out more information and whether my property is suitable? Visit or email admin@ We will then contact you to discuss your requirements and arrange a free desktop site assessment.

July/August 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 51

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Making a boy’s wish come true Shire reader Julie Pugh shares a true story that illustrates the kindness of Shropshire people

Fun in the park

Harri's shepherd's hut

eet Santa

Tom and H

arri hiring




y grandson, Harrison, was just two years old when his dad, my son Tom, was given three months to live. Tom, who lived in Wrockwardine near Telford, had an aggressive form of cancer, but he was determined to stay alive long enough to see his “Little Prince” Harri grow up. Through sheer stubborness, Tom lived another nine years before slipping away last August, when Harrison was 11. Tom fought on until he could see the man that Harri would become, giving Harri many warm memories. Five years ago, Harri told Tom he would like a shepherd’s hut. Tom looked into it but couldn’t see how to get one into the garden. Finally, he found Shropshire Shepherd’s Huts in Church Stretton, which built the hut in Tom’s back garden while Harri was on holiday. When Harri saw it, he was ecstatic. From then on, he and his dad spent every possible weekend “camping” in the hut – they had so much “lad and dad” quality time in there. When Tom had to start using a wheelchair and could no longer get into the hut, he sat in the garden watching Harri and his friends play there. The hut was filled with love and happiness. Last August, Harri came to stay with his dad and although Tom was very poorly, they had a lovely week together. On 12th August, when Harri went to bed, I parked Tom in his doorway so they could chat. Tom’s final words to his son were, “Goodnight, son. Love you” and Harri replied, “Love you too, Dad”. I then helped Tom into bed and a few hours later he slipped peacefully away, aged just 33. When Harri was told the next morning, his world fell apart. But he was very brave at his dad’s funeral and even comforted a young cousin who was crying too.

Preserving precious memories

ri m Tom and Har

Tom and

Harri’s mum made a cushion out of one of Tom’s shirts to be a comfort to him, but he really missed the shepherd’s hut. I called Shropshire Shepherd’s Huts to see if it could be taken apart and moved to Harri’s mum’s house near Nantwich, but the huts are so substantially made it couldn’t be done. However, Chrissy from the company said to leave it with her. Chrissy talked to some local businesses, and on 5th September some amazing men with huge hearts got together to make a wish come true for Tom’s “Little Prince”. Paul Stealey of TC & P Stealey in Shrewsbury craned the hut out of the garden. He made no charge for this, and gave up his time and his huge crane to get it done. Chrissy’s husband, Tony – who built the hut – and their eldest son gave up their time and expertise to prepare the hut for its trip over the house and on to the trailer. Stuart Corfield then drove the hut to its new location. When it arrived at Harri’s house, Stuart and his colleague, Ozzie Fox, unloaded it and put it in place, then Tony and his son made sure everything was OK. Harri was so overwhelmed at the sheer kindness of these men that he cried as he thanked them and told them just how much the hut meant to him. It was an amazing day when a fabulous team made a little boy very happy after such a sad time. Now whenever Harri is feeling lost and misses his dad, he has a special place to go – where the memories of his time with his dad live on.

A local hire company has a new piece of equipment that will make short work of jobs with limited access


riffiths Hire Shops has become the first hire company to offer the Hooka – a unique pick, lift and carry mini-tracked crawler crane for all bulk materials, plant and equipment. Designed and built in the UK, the Hooka is the perfect machine for restricted access sites because it measures just one metre wide, the same as the loads it carries. The machine can deliver bulk materials, plant and equipment from the roadside into the heart of any site and hugely reduces labour costs – no more barrowing of aggregates, bricks and blocks, or winching and dollying of heavy plant. The integrated load-lock system allows the 1.7 tonne machine to lift and carry a payload of up to 1.5 tonnes, while the tracked base ensures excellent stability and minimum ground damage. It can also be used to carry tree rootballs into the heart of any landscaping project and remove bulky waste from difficult-to-access sites. Established 40 years ago, Griffiths Hire Shops is the largest independent tool hire company in Shropshire and north Wales, with branches in Oswestry, Whitchurch and Wrexham. Along with tool, plant and powered-access hire, it also sells tools, consumables and fixings, as well as repairs, servicing and training. It is the main dealer in the area for Stihl, Makita, Festool, Trend, Norton, Fein, Belle, Snickers, Hobbyweld and Calor, to name but a few. Above all, the company prides itself on its customer service, and was awarded the Passionate About Hire award at the 2015 Hire Executive Show. It employs more than 30 members of staff, each of whom has a vast range of knowledge about tools and equipment and can offer friendly professional advice to customers whether it is a construction, trade or DIY-related enquiry. It also offers a delivery and collection service. For more information, visit

52 SHIRE MAGAZINE | July/August 2020

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Shepherds Huts of the highest quality built in the UK

Affordable Luxury Living Space An office, granny flat, therapy room or children’s playroom? Or how about a studio or quiet room for a bit of me time? The list is limited only by your imagination. Here at Shropshire shepherds huts and pods we can help turn your dream of owning your very own shepherds hut into reality. Our huts use a solid wooden frame and have the traditional cast iron wheels of old. The corrugated roofs are also true to the original design. We can help by working with you on the planning and design of your hut. We can help with everything from the layout to the interior design.

Call Tony or Chrissie Tel. 01694 720162 Email Visit our website

Suppliers of Granite, Stone, and Quartz work surfaces, Granite and Marble Worktops, Fireplaces and Flooring Offering a professional, friendly and bespoke service, D & G Stone Services Ltd are committed to producing work of the highest quality, from the very finest materials. Trading since 2005 our staff together accumulate over 35 years of experience. Kitchen Work surfaces • Fireplaces • Hearths & Fire surrounds • Interior and Exterior Masonry • Bathroom Vanity tops & Bath surrounds • House names • Table tops

Monday-Thursday 9-5pm Friday 9-4pm Saturday 9-12pm

‘Bringing the Beauty of Natural Stone into the Home and Garden’

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If you’d like more information, have an enquiry, or would like to arrange a meeting, please get in touch.

Tel: 01588 673688 email: Unit 1a, Shrewsbury Road, Craven Arms, Shropshire, SY7 9QG

19/06/2020 17:36

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With many of us now working from home, there’s never been a better time to freshen up your workspace and create a home office that works for you

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1. 2.


4. 5. 6.




Norden Home Ballinger secretary desk desk, £369.99, Wayfair; SirFace Graphics tropical dry-wipe weekly wall planner, £55, Not On The Highstreet; Jual San Francisco storage/printer desk PC710, £259, Hafren Furnishers in Llanidloes; Bamboo desk organiser, £22, John Lewis & Partners; Cloudnola Factory silent wall clock, £82.99, Wayfair; Iridescent dry erase weekly planner, £7.50, Oliver Bonas; Leuchtturm 1917 softcover notebook, £14.50, Write Here in Shrewsbury; Cardamom & Mimosa reed diffuser, £30, Dexter & Mason in Holywell, Flintshire; So Many Books… bookends, £17, Hurn & Hurn;

desk 10. 19th-century mahogany clerk’s desk, £459, Afonwen Craft & Antique Centre; 11. Mindset Is Everything art board print, £8.87, Redbubble; 12. Cool table lamp, sale £149, Annetts Fine Furniture, Hereford; 13. Suck UK pencil sharpener pencil pot, £11.99, Urban Gifts; 14. Books wall mural, £40 per metre2, HappyWall; 15. Hairpin desk, from £130, AJR Rustics in Ellesmere, Shropshire; 16. Rustic shelves and brackets, from £22, AJR Rustics in Ellesmere, Shropshire; 17. Additions Hallam chair, sale £419, Stokers Furniture in Chester; 18. Montpellier bookcase, sale £659, Annetts Fine Furniture in Hereford; 19. Bergan filing cabinet, sale £399, Stokers Furniture in Chester;

17 16



July/August 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 55

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The food

revolution The impact of coronavirus has been devastating, personally and professionally, but it has also made many of us re-evaluate the way we live, work and shop for basic necessities…


ere at Shire, we’ve always championed local food and the area’s brilliant producers who work so hard to keep us fed in delicious style. But since lockdown began in March, we’ve all had to rethink our shopping strategy. And while DID YOU KNOW? some people have always been staunch supporters of the Shop The UK produces Local initiatives, when we were all forced to buy from closer around 3.5 million to home it open many people’s eyes to the amazing variety tonnes of fruit and incredible quality of produce available on our doorsteps. and vegetables Not everyone has embraced this local food revolution, each year though. A recent survey revealed, quite depressingly, that the urished have flo s e m e h Box sc foods we missed most under lockdown as a nation were Nando’s, Greggs, Wagamama and McDonald’s, in that order. But here in the Shire region, we are lucky to be surrounded by rolling hills spoke to readers and residents about their food shopping, we where award-winning livestock can graze and lush green pastures discovered many were doing much more that just shifting stock. for dairy herds to devour. So when making sure we were well fed We’ve said it before on these pages and no became a choice between sitting at a computer doubt we’ll say it again, but our local butchers, for hours on end pressing refresh and praying for bakers, farmers, grocers, brewers and growers a delivery slot or queueing round the block to get “Our local butchers, are the very lifeblood of our communities. And into a supermarket and fight for the last bag of bakers, farmers, when we’ve needed them, they’ve been there. pasta, we discovered there was another way… grocers, brewers They’ve created drive-through options, designed and growers are the click-and-collect services, delivered boxes to very lifeblood of our ANSWERING THE CALL people’s doorsteps and kept us fed – very well communities” fed, in fact! – throughout the pandemic. When we were asked to stay in our homes as Things are changing all the time, and we hope for the producers’ sakes – and ours – that normal much as possible, local producers and suppliers stepped up to the challenge. Almost all of them found a way, service will resume soon. But until that day comes, Shire wants adapted a method or launched a new service to make sure to celebrate just some of the local legends who have gone above they got us the food we love when we needed it most. and beyond – in the hope that once we return to the mundane And it’s not just about the business side of things. Obviously routine of the standard supermarket shop, we don’t forget the local producers have had to try their best to keep making sales people who battled to be there no matter what and made sure in what has been an incredibly difficult time, but when Shire our lockdown living was enhanced by gourmet ingredients. 56 SHIRE MAGAZINE | July/August 2020

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down on

the farm There’s no doubt that farm shops have suffered more than many businesses in recent months, as for many people visiting was more of a day out than a search for provisions. But across the area they have also stepped up to make sure we can still get our favourite flavours


oing to a farm shop is a feast for the senses. The minute you enter, you’re welcomed with smells of fresh breads and pastries while your eyes are drawn to shelves packed with multicoloured jars of chutney and your taste buds water at the mind blowing variety of cheeses on display. So when the doors of these foodie favourites were closed in March, it was a blow to many customers and devastating for the producers and managers who run them. Now that normal life is steadily returning and there’s no longer a fight for loo roll in any supermarket, getting hold of food is not such a challenge. But that doesn’t mean we should forget the local suppliers who have really stepped up their game. Over the next few pages, we celebrate a few of our favourite farm shops and explain how they have adapted to the new normal and added extra services you might not know about.

LEWIS’S FARM SHOP When it was established by Mark and Jayne Lewis in 2006 this farm shop sold only fresh lamb directly from the family’s farm, but it soon expanded

Gourmet Gifts The foodies in your life shouldn’t have to miss out on tasty treats just because access to delis is trickier. One local company has just the thing for gourmet gifting…


Lewis’s sells meat fresh from the farm

when demand increased for a greater selection of high-quality local produce. “As a family-run farm shop, being able to offer outstanding produce and excellent value is important to us,” the couple say. “It is this philosophy that has seen us attract customers from far and wide, and we have expanded our product range in the process. We are now very proud to offer our customers an extensive range of fresh, quality produce with which to create hearty, healthy and delicious meals.” The arrival of coronavirus means keeping in good health is more important than ever, and the team at Lewis’s Farm Shop reacted quickly to ensure we’d be kept well fed with the food of the best quality. A huge part of the appeal of Lewis’s is its location – an idyllically situated shop in Eyton near Wrexham, with far-reaching views of the stunning borderlands of north Wales – but visits changed quickly to take on a more practical feel. Customers can discuss their requirements and the team has set up a click-and-collect service operating on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with orders taken on the website or by phone any time up to 2pm the previous day. 01978 780852

il & More is a food business based at Uchaf Farm in Chirk near Wrexham, which started – as the name suggests – based on a passion for good-quality olive oil. The team now offer dozens of different oils for sale, as well as drizzlers, pourers, stirrers and other accessories, but have added to their range to include everything you’d want for a proper gourmet gift. “Good food is all about using the very best ingredients – just ask any chef,” the company says. “The current trend towards fresh, high-quality foods, simply cooked, means that using the right oils and condiments both in cooking and finishing dishes is more important than ever before. “There’s a bewildering choice available. Olive oils can be as variable in taste and character as red wine, so it’s important to choose the right one to complement each dish. As a small family business, passionate about food, we have the time to consider our choices carefully and have selected a comprehensive range of ingredients to suit all tastes – and pockets!” Now stocking, and delivering everything from a cheese board set to a packed gourmet food hamper, as well as the full range of specialist oils and vinegars, its gift offering is every gourmet’s dream.

July/August 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 57

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A mainstay of the Ludlow community for more than a decade, Ludlow Farmshop’s ethos is based around providing locally produced food and drink. Ultra-short supply chains helped Ludlow Farmshop offers deliveries keep key items such as milk and meat on the shelves during lockdown, with Farmshop’s buyers also striving to find essentials they don’t normally stock, such as toilet paper, pasta and household cleaning products to help those who were struggling just to get the basics. The crisis also saw the introduction of home delivery and a call-and-collect service to help support the vulnerable in the community, and the team have confirmed this will continue as long as individuals need to shield. The Farmshop’s new website – due to launch in July – will feature around four times as many products as the old one, including new meat boxes, store cupboard essentials and drinks. Other business on the Oakly Park Estate are also gearing up to reopen to the public. The Farmshop’s sister café, Ludlow Kitchen, will reopen on 6th July, with an extensive safety policy in place. Food and drinks will be available inside and outside at socially distanced tables, and a new menu with regular specials will be introduced. The nearby Clive Arms, meanwhile, will reopen on 8th July for dinner from Wednesdays to Saturdays and Sunday lunch. Again, an extensive safety policy has been introduced to keep customers safe.

Originally a dairy and pig farmer, Jamie Ward set up his successful family-run butchery business 15 years ago when he started attending Oswestry Farmers’ Market with pork and sausages. The Chirk butcher Jamie Ward business expanded to supply shops and garden centres, and in 2013 he was invited to join Bellis Brothers Farm Shop & Garden Centre in Holt, Wrexham. Last year, Jamie took over a long-established butcher’s shop in Chirk and his business is now a feature of the local high street. As well as serving customers in the shop, Jamie and his family have continued to supply meats and treats to other outlets and, after the initial shock of lockdown, this side of the business is booming. “Orders have massively increased over the last few weeks to the farm shops and delis we supply,” says Jamie. “It’s good to see people supporting local food.” Jamie Ward offers a wide range of delicious local produce – Welsh beef, Welsh lamb and free range Gloucester Old Spot pork, as well as a variety of free range chicken. He also provides a delicious range of popular and local cheeses and a deli consisting of cooked meats, pâtés, pies and pastries… enough to keep him busy: “At one point I popped to the shop with supplies and the queue was right down the road!” DID YOU 01584 856000 jamiewards.butchers 01691 772602



The team at this Cheshire institution, set in an idyllic spot on the outskirts of Nantwich, were devasated to close their doors in March. But their passion for food and serving their loyal customers Cheerbrook opened in 2000 saw them adapt quickly to make sure they could continue to do so in a safe way. “The team at Cheerbrook are working hard to provide delicious freshly made and local produce to our customers in the safest shopping environment possible in these unprecedented times. We absolutely love food. We eat, sleep and breathe it every day. We’re just as passionate about sharing our knowledge; you’ll find it in the home-made products that carry our name, and in the ways we help you discover new and exciting tastes. Working with local farmers and producers, we bring you the very best the region has to offer.” Several adaptations have ensured customer and staff safety during the outbreak. Cheerbrook currently only accepts card payments, is restricting the number of customers in the farm shop at any one time, and is urging visitors to respect this policy and take note of government advice on social distancing. Once more restrictions are lifted, it is keen to reopen the café, and it will be extending the life of gift vouchers to use at the venue. For those who can’t yet leave their homes, the team can also arrange delivery boxes.

To say the team at Bellis Brothers know what they’re doing is an understatement – the independently run family business on the the outskirts of Holt near Wrexham was established in 1860. Bellis has been going for 160 years The company began by growing fresh fruit and vegetables for markets in the Midlands and north-west and has since diversified into an extensive farm shop, garden centre, gift department, restaurant and pick-your-own. All these parts of the business have been dramatically affected by the pandemic, but the passionate and dedicated team have introduced a food collection service to bring food to their customers. At its peak, collection slots were running out fast as customers were advised to call between 9am and 11am Monday to Thursday to order and once all the slots for the following day had been taken, the line closed. Now the garden centre has reopened, Bellis Brothers is continuing this service in a limited capacity to support those who are self-isolating, vulnerable and relying solely on this service for help. It is also urging customers who are able to shop in store to please leave collection slots for the most vulnerable. While the pick-your-own can’t operate currently owing to Welsh government guidelines, there is a “strawberry drive-through” which allows you to buy home-grown fruit from the comfort of your car. 01270 666431 01829 270302

KNOW? In a normal year more than 40% of the food we eat comes from overseas

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Another business that has shown a great ability to adapt and survive during crisis is Ricebox – an outdoor event caterer that suddenly had no outdoor events to cater for…

It’s not just our food heroes who have helped us through these crazy days – the people behind our favourite tipples have also kept us topped up

10 people brewing and selling specialist beers and offering brewery tours too. While this side of the business is unable to operate at the moment, the team have adapted and created a new takeaway service, which is booming. The company has also teamed up with a local butcher so you can select a meal deal that will supply he hospitality industry has been the food and drink for the whole family. hardest hit by the effects of lockdown, “There’ll be plenty of deals down the track and sadly some pubs and bars may never and the menu will evolve as we’re always open their doors again. It’s still unknown working on something new, but for now how our much-loved pub collection slots are limited, scene will emerge from the so get in quick. The cut-off pandemic and what our for Friday collection is “Retail sales have future drinking dens may 5pm on Wednesdays and slumped to almost look like. But Brits love for Saturday collections unheard-of levels, but at their booze, so it won’t is 5pm on Thursday. one point during April come as much of a surprise “We only allow two alcohol sales were up by to discover that as a nation customers at a time in the 31 per cent” we managed to keep on brewery, so when you arrive drinking throughout. come on in and check out our range of beers, ciders The economy has hit an all-time low, with retail sales slumping and spirits while you wait. Or if you are just to almost unheard-of levels, but among popping in to grab some drinks, no worries. all this at one point during April alcohol We’re open for takeaway from 10am to 5.15pm Monday to Thursday, 10am to 8pm sales were up by 31 per cent. And while we can’t gather in a beer garden or sink on Fridays and 3pm to 8pm on Saturdays.” gins in a cocktail bar, our local brewers and distillers have helped to make sure we can keep enjoying some top-quality tipples from the comfort of our own homes. 01691 676457


Wood-fired pizza success


linstshire-based catering company Ricebox Events usually has a packed summer schedule of weddings and outdoor parties to look forward to. But all that changed with the arrival of Covid-19. “We lost 90 per cent of this year’s business in the first few weeks of lockdown,” says the company’s owner, Jason Stevens. “However, the good news is that we – very quickly – set up a takeaway business from our smallholding in Northop with Dough Bellissimo, our wood-fired pizza horsebox. “The change in direction has actually been a huge success, doubling turnover and seeing a 400 per cent increase in Facebook likes. We’re now selling out for weekend orders a week beforehand. “It has gone so well we’re developing a whole new concept for eating, drinking and socialising by setting up a festival-style bar/restaurant on our smallholding. We think it’s going to be a great success, so keep an eye on our website for details!” 07508 002288

Stonehouse launched in 2007

Aber Falls aims to keep your spirits up



This small business was set up by Shane and Alison Parr in 2007, with help from Alison’s parents and brother. It has grown and developed over the years, and now employs

Located within a stone’s throw of the Rhaeadr Fawr waterfall, Aber Falls Distillery sells a premium range of smallbatch handcrafted gins and liqueurs. In

normal circumstances the visitor centre is open for tours of the distillery and your chance to experience the skill and passion that goes into Aber Falls spirits – but in response to the coronavirus outbreak and in the interest of the health and safety of visitors, employees and community partners, the team were forced to temporarily close that side of the business. However, July/August 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 59

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they quickly found a way to keep their spirits up – pun very much intended. “With our distillery shop temporarily closed, we know that our local customers haven’t been able to pay us a visit to keep their Aber Falls topped up at home, or have struggled to get to the supermarkets. To take the pressure off our local stockists, and to be able to give our local community access to their favourite gins and liqueurs from the safety of their own homes, we now offer a free delivery service.” This is currently limited to customers within north Wales, but get in touch with the team if you have any queries. 01248 209224

Steve Hughes

ROSIE’S CIDER Another local tipple we’ve been lucky enough to be able to enjoy despite restrictions is Rosie’s Triple D Cider. The award-winner is the result of hard graft by Steve Hughes, who turned a hobby into a business back in 2005. “After my initial five gallons of cider made in 2005, I started planting cider orchards. We now have over 1,000 standard apple trees made up of 69 different varieties, all trying their best to cling on at 1,000 feet above sea level. I’ve got a feel for those apple varieties that work well up here – and the ones that rather wish they lived further south!” In normal circumstances, Steve runs a thriving shop at the Horseshoe Pass, Llandegla, where the A5104 is intercepted by the A542. During lockdown, however, Steve has been focusing instead on getting deliveries out and is therefore asking visitors to call and check when he’s open.

“To assist with restricted movements during lockdown, we have started making local deliveries free of charge, subject to cuomsters’ drops being part of a round and with the minimum order value of £25. “We also ship bottles in cases of 12, or 10-litre or 20-litre bag-in-a-box ciders, all delivered with the shipping by courier included in the price. If you’d like to place an order, just give me a call with your order, address, postcode and card details to make payment over the phone.” 07812 500513

SPECIAL MENTION We wanted to give a shoutout to Shire’s resident craft expert, Janet Monshin Dallolio from the Afonwen Craft & Antique Centre near Mold, who has been going that extra mile during lockdown

SHROPSHIRE HILLS DISTILLERY This distillery is home to one of our personal favourites here at Shire, Wardington’s Original Ludlow Gin. Not only has this premium spirit won several awards, the range of flavours, botanicals, special editions and liqueurs available is mind boggling. From Hibiscus, Orange & Pink Peppercorn to Triple Citrus & Pomegranate, there’s a fruity flavour for every occasion, as well as a top selection of traditional gins. Shropshire Hills has been operating a special deal during lockdown, offering free delivery across the whole of mainland UK (it’s normally £5.95 for a single bottle, £9.95 for a case) using a next working day courier service. Before you rush off and place your order, it’s worth getting some expert guidance to help what you’re going to do with your gin once you get it. Clock on the Gin Blogs tab on the website (see address below) to meet Teddy Harris, a talented young cocktail bartender who is sharing some of his mixology secrets with Shropshire Hills. You can watch his masterclasses and find recipes for all your favourite cocktails – you may not be able to visit your favourite bar for a while, but you can become a expert at home instead. 07885 367569

Fresh frozen food


fonwen Craft & Antique Centre may be best known for its thriving arts and crafts courses and demonstrations, but visitors will know it too for the fabulous food on offer at the Edenshine restaurant within. When the centre had to close due to Covid-19, director Janet Monshin-Dallolio and her family began concentrating more on the foodie side of things. “We’ve been offering an Edenshine @ Home service, which is keeping me, my husband Adrian and our daughter Phoebe busy a few days a week,” says Janet. “We’re making delicious savoury pies and meals using the usual recipes we use in-house – and the same excellent local suppliers for ingredients when we can. “The food is made fresh and then frozen ready for someone to defrost and heat at home. This is something we have done for years, but we’ve always been too busy to push it. It’s particularly helpful for couples or someone living on their own who perhaps doesn’t want to cook from scratch. “Payments are made over the phone and collection is arranged so there’s no need to get out of the car – we simply load the items into the boot. It’s lovely to have quick chats with people and they feel completely relaxed and safe as we have no contact. “We’ve also been making local deliveries for people who are isolating – the feedback is wonderful and makes it worthwhile. “It’s quite amazing how some businesses have thrived, while others had no choice but to close. All I can hope is that we come out of this in a positive position and that in time things will return to a new normal.”

60 SHIRE MAGAZINE | July/August 2020

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Jamie’s Butchers and Deli offer a wide range of delicious local produce! Hot and Cold Sandwich Bar Call & Collect or Home Delivery Service Available Unit 1, St Mary’s Precinct, Church Street, Chirk, Wrexham, LL14 5HX T: 01691 772602

We are excited to announce the re-opening of our sister businesses

Open from 6th July New policies to keep you safe Lots of outdoor seating New menu

8am until 4.30pm

Open from 8th July Dinner 5.30pm - 9pm Wednesday to Saturday

Bromfield, Shropshire, SY8 2JR 01584 856 000 Shire Magazine - Ludlow FS ad July.indd 1 061_SHIRE_JA2020.indd 1

Book Now

Sunday lunch

01584 856565

Rooms available to book from 6th July New policies to keep you safe @ludlowfarmshop 12/06/2020 10:20:56 19/06/2020 16:52

Milk I Eggs Cheese I Yoghurt I Cream Bread I Potatoes I Veg boxes Go to or find us on Facebook to place your order!

Areas we cover Abergele, Aberwheeler, Bodelwyddan, Bodfari, Colwyn bay, Colwyn Heights, Deganwy, Denbigh, Denbigh Green, Gelifor, Groes, Hendrerwydd, Henllan, Kinmel Bay, Llanbeder DC, Llanddulas, Llandudno , Llandudno Junction, Llandyrog, Llanfair DC, Llanfair TH, Llansannan, Meliden, Mochdre, Old Colwyn, Pentre Llanrhaeadr, Prestatyn, Rhos on sea, Rhuddlan, Rhyl, Ruthin, St Asaph, St Asaph Business Park, Towyn, Trefnant

Stonehouse Beer & BBQ is open! We are now serving great food along with our beers, cider and Henstone spirits. Come and enjoy a summer of relaxed dining in our large beer garden. T: 01691 676457 Stonehouse Brewery , Weston, Oswestry, SY10 9ES

F A I R O A K ‘Having an excellent reputation for designing and fitting high-quality products is something that we are incredibly proud of here at Fairoak. Come and visit our showroom to see our work first hand and find out more.’ Mark, founder of Fairoak

B E S P O K E H A N D M A D E K I T C H E N S & J O I N E RY

Committed to providing customers with the highest quality of kitchen available. From conception to completion your project will be managed by our designer using the latest design technology. Our experienced craftsmen will deliver and fit your customdesigned and meticulously built bespoke furniture. Every one of the cupboards and drawers that make up our bespoke kitchen designs is an entirely hand-built piece of furniture, made by the experienced and highly skille craftsmen in our workshop. We also manufacture other projects such as utility rooms, vanity rooms, boot rooms, dressing rooms and office rooms. ‘At Fairoak we love getting creative, and we have an excellent reputation for designing and fitting special projects, such as bespoke cafe and eateries, roadshow trailers and many other unique spaces.’

T: 01978 758963 M: 07811 359353 E: Unit 12 A and B, Clwyd Court 2, Rhosddu Industrial Estate, Wrexham, LL11 4YL

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the DAIRY It doesn’t matter what’s happening in the rest of the world – cows still need milking! So it’s no surprise that milk has still been flowing freely through the coronavirus chaos

some may be delayed and we are trying to keep our stock list as fully up to date as possible.”


nother dairy that has been keeping the milk flowing in Cheshire has been busy putting it to a different use – ice cream! The Ice Cream Farm, a family-friendly leisure attraction near Chester, has found an innovative way for people to enjoy its awardwinning real dairy ice cream while keeping to social distancing guidelines. The Ice Cream Farm Drive-Thru, which is open every day between noon and 4pm, offers 30 flavours of ice cream, including old favourites, Mint Choc Chip, Honeycomb and Raspberry Ripple as well as new additions such as Brownie, Jammy Dodger and Creme Egg. The system works on a “one in one out” Jay’s Fresh Milk basis, with cars queuing “We wanted to to reach an order point ome workers have explore how we could where a number is given been busier than ever offer something a for customers to call and during the Covid-19 crisis, little bit different place their order. Their including milkmen. One while still adhering ice cream is then made local man who’s seen his to the guidelines” ready at the collection business boom in recent point, where contactless months is Jason Breakey payment is taken. There of Jay’s Fresh Milk. are hopes that the concept, created as a A former delivery driver and keen solution to a problem, will now become triathlete, Jason set up Jay’s Fresh Milk in a permanent fixture at the farm. June 2018. “I’d noticed there was a major call “We have seen other attractions and for milk going back to being in glass bottles,” says Jason. “Business was slow to begin with, restaurants offering a click-and-collect type offer but we wanted to explore how we could but once word got round I was inundated. offer something a little bit different while Now I’ve got nearly 800 hundred customers still adhering to the guidelines,” says the and cover most of Conwy and Denbighshire.” Jason has been busier than ever during Ice Cream Farm’s director Jonathan Fell. lockdown and continues to serve his “A drive-through is something I’ve always local community. “We’ve asked that thought would be a welcome addition to customers please bear with us during the attraction. Our business model will these difficult times,” he says. “We are have to adapt to survive after Covid-19, doing our best to keep up with the current and this only is the first step of a wider high demand for home deliveries, but strategy.”


BOX IT up Local veg box deliveries were once an unusual way of getting your fresh fruit and veg – but they have now become the new norm for many, which is great news for one north Wales business


hris Jones was born and raised in the world of horticulture and agriculture. His father established the Tatws Bryn vegetable business in Gwynedd in 1952 and Chris took over in 1981, expanding it to grow a large variety of new vegetables, which are part of his vegetable box service. “I trained at Coleg Meirion Dwyfor, Glynllifon, near Caernarfon, which specialises in horticulture and agriculture, as well as learning to cultivate vegetables the old-fashioned way – by listening to my father and following his tried and tested ways,” says Chris. “I now specialise in home-grown vegetables for delivery, which are grown in Gwynedd, some 1,000ft above sea level on north-facing slopes. “I farm six acres of land for vegetable production and the vegetables are picked and delivered fresh the same day to customers’ door – allowing for full traceability. I grow a very wide variety of vegetables, and each year we strive to introduce new varieties to broaden customers’ vegetable knowledge, as well as their skills! “I’m proud to say that I try to grow my produce without the aid of pesticides – and if I do use them, it’s only when it is absolutely necessary. I work hard to offer good value for money to all my loyal customers and ensure that they receive the best quality and genuinely home grown vegetables in their boxes.” For the freshest of veg delivered direct to your door, check out Chris’s website or place an order over the phone. 07860 268410 July/August 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 63

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Food&Drink HEALTHY AT HEART Summer snacking doesn’t have to mean endless ice creams – there are plenty of refreshing alternatives that won’t pile on the pounds. Here award-winning nutritionist Christine Bailey shares some extra healthy summer recipes from her repertoire

VEGAN LEMON BARS Tangy and light, these vegan lemon bars make a delicious dessert, particularly when served with vegan coconut ice cream. Using xylitol helps to keep the overall sugar content down. These can be frozen for up to three months.

Why it’s good for you

Using almonds and gluten-free oats in the base keeps these bars free of wheat and provides slow-releasing carbs, healthy fats and protein to help balance blood sugar levels, which will also keep you energised.

What you’ll need

For the base 125g gluten-free oats 125g ground almonds Pinch of sea salt 3tbsp xylitol 100g coconut oil, melted 1tsp vanilla extract For the filling 125g cashew nuts, soaked in warm water for four hours and then drained 225g coconut cream (the top of a can of full-fat coconut milk) 2tbsp cornflour 125ml lemon juice (approx 2 lemons) Zest of 2 lemons Pinch of sea salt 60g xylitol sugar alternative 1tbsp maple syrup

How to make it

MANGO SALAD WITH THAI DRESSING This incredibly simple salad is jazzed up with a delicious Thai-style dressing. Lime and mango work so well together – the combination of fruity and sour tastes makes this salad really refreshing. You could toss in noodles and scatter with toasted cashew nuts for additional texture.

Why it’s good for you

Mango is a great source of vitamin C – 165g, which is roughly one mango, provides nearly 70% of your recommended daily intake. Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that aids your immune system, helps your body absorb iron and promotes tissue growth and repair. It’s also essential for collagen production, making it valuable for skin and joint health.

1. Line a 20cm square baking tin with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 190°C/gas mark 5. 2. Blitz the oats, almonds, sea salt and xylitol in a food processor until fine. Add the remaining base ingredients and blend briefly to form a soft dough. If it's too crumbly, add a dash of water. 3. Spoon the mixture into the baking tin and press down. 4. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 180°C/ gas mark 4 and bake for 10 to 15 minutes until lightly golden brown. Remove from the oven. 5. To make the filling, blend all the ingredients together in a high-speed blender until smooth and creamy. 6. Pour the filling over the base and spread to form an even layer. 7. Bake for 20 minutes or until just firm. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. 8. Place in the fridge for three to four hours until firm. 9. Cut into even squares to serve To discover more of Christine’s healthy recipes, visit

What you’ll need

Bag of mixed salad greens 1/4 cucumber, thinly sliced 1 ripe mango, peeled and cubed 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced Small handful of mint leaves, chopped For the dressing Juice of 2 limes 1tbsp tamari soy sauce 1tsp toasted sesame oil 1tbsp xylitol or other sugar alternative 1tsp finely grated ginger

How to make it

1. Whisk all the ingredients for the dressing together in a small jug. 2. Scatter the salad leaves on a platter. Top with the remaining ingredients. 3. Drizzle with the dressing just before serving.

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With such a difficult spring for food producers, here’s hoping for an abundant summer of fruitpicking to make up for it! And at Claremont Farm on the Wirral they have high hopes of strawberries and raspberries right through July…


laremont Farm in Bebington, Wirral, is a family affair, owned by the Pimbleys who have been growing and selling fruit and vegetables on the Wirral since 1906. The farm has come a long way in that time, and is now considered a foodie destination in its own right. Although many aspects of the business have taken a hit during the first half of this year, the Claremont team have made sure their pick-your-own fields are up and running – in a socially distanced way, of course – to harvest this year’s bumper crop of strawberries and more. It has taken the Pimbley family 10 years to create the shopping and eating destination you can visit today – a melting pot for local produce, seasonal foods and family activities. e In days gone by, our v a h s bley The Pim ing for sense of culture and rm fa been ons community would centre generati around the enjoyment of food and the marketplace, and that is what the team at Claremont is striving to recreate. Claremont Farm has been ahead of the game for generations. Grandfather Pimbley was the first to diversify, introducing “Claremont the farm shop over 40 years ago and, Farm has after a trip to America, launching a then been ahead of unheard-of enterprise called pick-yourthe game for own. Ian Pimbley carried on the tradition generations” by developing the range of vegetables grown on the farm; in 1994, Claremont harvested its first crop of asparagus. Brothers Andrew and Guy followed in their footsteps, taking the farm into an environmental stewardship scheme that sees more than 3,000 children visit every year. They have also created a fishing pond and a cookery school, launched an annual food and drink festival, and now sell wholesale to more than 30 restaurants and retail outlets across the north-west. For more information, visit

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County celebrates gin wins Local producers scoop international awards for their innovative spirits


he hotly anticipated announcement of the winners of the Gin Guide Awards 2020 has taken place, with gins from around the world showing their quality and diversity. And claiming several of the prestigious accolades were distilleries from Shropshire. Gins from more than 30 countries competed for awards, in categories related to production methods, styles of gin and countries of production. The winners were selected through a rigorous blindtasting process, conducted by a panel of distinguished gin experts, distillers, retailers and mixologists. Each gin’s appearance, aroma, flavour, mouthfeel, finish, overall quality and market appeal were assessed to determine the highest-scoring gins, based on the spirit itself and with no influence from branding or marketing.

Best in Britain and Aged Gin categories. They were joined in their celebrations by Wardington’s Original Ludlow Dry Gin, which claimed a Navy Strength Gin Award. Now in its fourth year, the Gin Guide Awards is an independent, global DID YOU celebration KNOW? of the One in five bottles historic, of spirits sold in diverse and the UK is gin growing gin industry. Recognised and respected by the trade and consumers alike for its rigorous and quality-focused approach, the Gin Guide Awards serves to highlight the exceptional products, distilleries and people within the gin industry across the world. Keep an eye out for past winners displaying their awards on their bottles.

Top tipples

Henstone Distillery in Shropshire took centre stage with the Distillery of the Year Award, as well winning in the London Dry Gin, Traditional Gin,

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Harper Adams feeds the nation! T

they all have the same here has never been a more exciting time to be playing a significant role in feeding the nation - and you could goal: contributing to a global industry which is be part of it by studying at Harper Adams University. providing ever-increasing The UK agri-food sector accounts for 13% of the UK’s numbers of opportunities. employment. It’s an ever-expanding industry that is constantly You may be seeking a looking for fresh, new talent to meet the challenge; for more than change of career, working a century, students at the university in Newport, Shropshire, have towards a been playing a leading role in filling that demand. first degree or University courses cover the entire food supply chain enhancing and all the way from Harper Adams gradua “University developing your farm to fork, and tes are in high demand courses cover skill set on a chosen also include the the entire food career path. Whatever the reason, Harper Adams University important associated supply chain” provides the perfect solution – and is local to you! fields of engineering, A Harper Adams degree is something that really animal health, land matters. The university’s graduates are in high demand management and conservation. by employers keen to benefit from skills that are built Students on Harper Adams over a four-year course at an institution that continues to be regarded as one of the leading centres of learning in the country. University food-related So if you think you’re one of the next generation of food courses come from a variety ry producers the industry needs, Harper Adams could be the place of backgrounds, not just from eve into d fee s Harper Adams degree chain ply for you. Visit and register. the farming community – and sup d foo the of stage

WHEN WINE WAS NEARLY WIPED OUT Pandemics don’t just affect humans – 150 years ago up to nine-tenths of Europe’s vines were destroyed by a bug, as Pip Gale of Gale’s Wine Bar in Llangollen explains


n the mid-19th century, the devastating insect phylloxera was brought over to Europe from America, and began to attack French vines by eating away at their roots. It left the French wine industry in such tatters that a prize of 320,000 francs was offered to anyone who could find a cure for the bug – the equivalent of £1m today. The prize was


never claimed, however, because vines. Some KNOW? vineyards the cure has never been found. The blight is Instead, vineyards estimated to have are also too cost the French found ways around it. The high for the economy 10bn ultimate workaround was bug to reach, francs including to splice European vines on to American root stock, Chateau resulting in the vast majority of vines Musar in Lebanon. we have today – and saving the wine. One of the most Some places survived famous French Galls on the leaf champagnes, the blight. Chile, surrounded by the Bollinger Vieilles Vignes Françaises, is made from pinot noir vines that date from Andes, was cut off from the bug, some Greek before the disease hit Europe. The yield vines are naturally from these vines is very low – only 2,420 resistant, and thanks bottles of the 2009 vintage were made. to a good quarantine The wine world adapted to great adversity and so can we. And we can do it with a system, western Australia Damaged vines has pure unspliced glass in our hand. Stay safe everybody.

66 SHIRE MAGAZINE | July/August 2020

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18/06/2020 12:46

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18/06/2020 17:30

Happy to be stuck in the Middle-wich you! One of the positive outcomes of the recent lockdown has been to make us appreciate our home towns more than ever. Here Jody Woodbridge explains how she has fallen in love with the Cheshire town of Middlewich


ur move to Middlewich was one of convenience – my husband works in Manchester and, with Middlewich being adjacent to junction 18 of the M6, the location made sense. I knew the town had churches, pubs, a closed railway, canals, schools and parks, a high street with a butcher and a baker but no candlestick maker, and plenty of beauty shops – but other than that, I’d never explored or researched my new home. It was fair to say I didn’t hold much affection for it. On the face of it, it was just another market town. But lockdown has given us the opportunity to slow down and appreciate our local area, and that’s when my feelings for Middlewich began to change. We decided to explore with a daily 3km walk that took us along part of the Roman road that runs from Middlewich to Northwich and across Harbutts Field, where a Roman fort once stood and where my discovery of Middlewich began.

An early start

The Romans founded Middlewich in AD 70, using the town as a military base until they discovered the salt deposits, after which the town became a major site of salt production – as it still is today. Completing the loop of the old fort, we headed on to the canal, along the tow paths, reading the names of the boats and dodging the ducks. Going under the bridge as the tow path narrows, we cast our minds back to the horses navigating the same route pulling the boats laden with salt in the 18th century. Passing Wardle lock and cottage, built in 1869, we admired the houses whose gardens back on to the canal. We then reached

airfield where Wellington bombers were assembled and took their first test flight, and Middlewich took in evacuees from the surrounding cities. After the end of the war, in 1946 George VI and his wife Elizabeth visited Middlewich, following a route which took them down the high street.

Packed events calendar

Middlewich hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including the Folk & Boat Festival, when the town comes alive for five days of live music, an DID YOU KNOW? eclectic range of food, visitors, The Wardle canal barges, holidaymakers and folk is the shortest dancing. The Mexon Market in the UK at descends on the third Saturday 47 metres of every month, with an extensive mix of food and trinkets to buy. Having completed our walk almost daily for the past few months, walking in the footsteps of Romans and royalty, taking in the beauty of the canal, reading the information boards around our town, completing my own research into Middlewich’s history and realising just how many events we have on throughout the Wardle lock and cottage year (24 at the last count), I have developed the Middlewich branch of the Shropshire a deep affection for the town – I could go Union Canal, constructed in 1827, and so far to say I have fallen in love with it. ended our walk to head back into the town. History connects us to our past and gives meaning to our present, and I feel more We found ourselves opposite St Michael’s connected to Middlewich than ever – I am church, which dates back to the 12th century and was damaged in the first Battle proud to call it my home. of Middlewich, being restored in 1801. THINGS TO SEE AND DO Our walk complete, and considering the Battle of Middlewich, I began to wonder Middlewich Folk & Boat Festival about the impact of war on Middlewich. 25th-27th September 2020 Taking to my research I discovered two hospitals were opened in Middlewich Middlewich Heritage Trust during the Great War: one for the wounded and one where soldiers could convalesce. A total of 632 men were nursed back to Middlewich Virtual Museum health across both hospitals. In 1939, the neighbouring village of Byley built an

68 SHIRE MAGAZINE | July/August 2020

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Plants&Gardens TIME TO GET YOUR GARDEN IN GREAT SHAPE Lis Morris, RHS course manager and lecturer in horticulture and sustainable technologies at Reaseheath College and University Centre, Cheshire, gives her top tips on the environmentally friendly jobs you should be doing in your garden this summer • Water regularly, paying particular attention to containers, vegetables and newly planted trees and shrubs. Early-flowering shrubs such as camellia and rhododendron will also benefit from a good soak during dry periods as they’ll be forming buds for next spring. If your water butts are running low, use grey water if possible. Waterretaining gels can help keep hanging baskets happy and healthy.

• Water and liquid feed houseplants freely when in growth and

mist regularly to maintain humidity unless they are succulents. Move conservatory plants outside and gently hose them down to help with pest management. Deadhead, water and feed hanging baskets regularly with liquid tomato feed.

• Ventilate greenhouses and

conservatories on warm days and use shading if available. Dampen the floor to increase humidity. Check plants regularly for signs of glasshouse whitefly, leafhopper, red spider mite, mealybugs and scale insects and treat with specific modern pesticides or environmentally friendly alternatives.

warm weather by leaving pumps or fountains running overnight. Add floating plants and oxygenating plants to reduce green water or blanket weed. Clear fallen leaves and debris to avoid rotting organic. Continue to remove blanket weed and duckweed with a net.

• Deadhead border plants to promote the formation of new flower heads (this works particularly well with roses, dahlias and penstemons). Prune woody shrubs such as lavender immediately after flowering but leave the flowerheads of ornamental grasses to provide winter interest.

• Tidy up alpines that have developed bare patches of die-back by in-filling with gritty compost.

• Collect and store seed of hardy annuals and

Deadhead dahlias

perennials. If you’re a novice, try calendula, nigella, papaver, aquilegia and hardy geranium.

• Don’t panic if your lawn is brown. There’s no need to water unless absolutely necessary. It will green up when the rains arrive.

Water frequently during dry periods

MAKE A SPLASH Enforced time at home during glorious weather has led to a boost in popularity for garden hot tubs


he hot tub industry has seen record sales over the past few months as prolonged warm weather and the coronavirus lockdown led to a huge surge in interest. Gareth Jones, managing director of UK Leisure Living in north Wales, is encouraging people planning to add the treat to their garden to support local firms. April sales at the St Asaph and Mochdre-based business were up 70 per cent up compared with the previous year, and May has been the busiest ever for the company. Having opened a new swim spa centre just weeks before the pandemic struck, Gareth says they’re fortunate the hot tub sector has received a positive response but is concerned for other local organisations. The team can provide online support

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• Keep ponds and water features topped up and aerate the water in

For more on Reaseheath’s horticulture courses visit (diplomas and RHS courses) and (for degrees) “The weather has certainly helped, and the fact we work with different brands and suppliers means we have a steady flow of hot tubs,” he says. “Some will say it’s not an essential service, but the counter-argument is that having a hot tub is a distraction and an UK Leisure Living supplies a range of brands escape for people at this challenging time. For physical and mental health, it can be beneficial.” It looks like the trend will continue throughout the summer. “Most of us are going to be in the UK this summer, so if having a hot tub makes them happy then that can only be a good thing,” says Gareth. “For any customers who are concerned about self-isolation and distancing, we have online tutorials and consultations or can even host a video conference to explain how to use and maintain the hot tub. ” For more information visit July/August 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 69

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Gardeners at Bodnant Garden in Conwy have recorded the earliest bloom in at least a decade for the estate’s golden laburnum arch


ollowing a record amount of sunshine during April and May, the laburnum arch at the National Trust’s Bodnant Garden in Tal-y-Cafn near Colwyn Bay has produced its earliest blooms for 10 years. The arch reached full flower on 15th May, almost a week earlier than last year and two weeks earlier than in 2010. The 55m-long archway – believed to be the longest and oldest of its kind in Britain – is the most anticipated highlight in the garden’s calendar. “I’ve had the pleasure of seeing the laburnum burst into flower every year for 23 years,” says assistant head gardener Adam Salvin. “We usually anticipate the bloom towards the end of May, but thanks to the glorious April sunshine the flowers have developed much earlier than in an average year. When the arch fully bloomed on 15th May, it was very unusual. Although formal records don’t stretch back that far, it could even be the earliest I’ve seen it flower in 20 years.”

Online admirers

In a typical year, the arch draws around 50,000 visitors during the fortnight when it’s at its finest and has provided a golden backdrop to dinners, proposals, weddings and anniversaries April blooms in its 140-year history. But this year for the first time the National Trust was unable to welcome visitors to see the floral spectacle in person, as the garden was closed in line with

DID YOU KNOW? Bodnant means “dwelling by the stream” in Welsh

government guidelines. “It’s a real shame people weren’t able to experience it this year, but we did our best to bring the arch to people at home,” says general manager William Greenwood. While the flowers were out in full force, Bodnant Garden streamed “slow TV” video from the arch on Facebook and Instagram, as well as hosting a Twitter Q&A session with Adam. “By sharing the experience virtually, people have had the opportunity to tune in to the sights and sounds of the arch – busy with bees – whether it’s after a long shift at work, during a homeschooling lesson or just for a few moments of escape,” says William. While the arch needs little or no tending while in bloom, the gardeners have continued with essential tasks such as weeding and caring for plants in the glasshouse so the garden will look its best when it reopens. “When it’s safe to do so, we’re really looking forward to welcoming visitors back to the garden,” says William. “It’s such a special place.” For more information, visit www.

The arch is 55 metres long

PLANTING FOR DRY WEATHER With a future of warmer, drier summers predicted for the UK, we round up our favourite drought-loving plants to keep your garden looking amazing


The evergreen shrubs or small trees, also known as box, have simple, leathery leaves and are excellent choices for creating shape and structure.

with several stout branches ending in tufts of swordshaped leaves, tinged pink when young and boldly edged with creamy-yellow.



These plants are happy in full sun and thrive in hot weather. Blue Sapphire is an arching, evergreen variety with glossy, very dark green foliage and tight clusters of small, rich blue flowers produced in mid to late spring. Use buxus in borders


Members of the cordyline family love the warmth, in particular cabbage palms. Albertii is a pretty single-stemmed evergreen tree 70 SHIRE MAGAZINE | July/August 2020

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Add scent with lavender

There are many floral and scented varieties such as Imperial Gem, a compact evergreen shrub with narrow grey-green leaves and fragrant spikes of deep purple flowers in summer.


Another scented plant is common jasmine, a large deciduous climbing shrub with scented white flowers in clusters of three to five. Jasmine

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GreenLiving Mixed messages f r millions New study shows that consumers are still confused about what packaging can and can’t be recycled


ight out of 10 adults are confused by what can and can’t be recycled and feel frustrated by information given, according to a new study. The research, carried out by OnePoll, found that 87 per cent blame this confusion on local councils, arguing that they should be clearer about what they will or won’t collect; 72 per cent also think the recycling instructions on food packaging are not clear enough. The research was commissioned by coffee brand Lavazza, which has teamed up with TerraCycle to launch a composting scheme for its used coffee capsules. “The research shows just how confusing we find recycling and composting to be,” says a spokesperson. “It can be tricky getting your head around why one type of material is recyclable and another isn’t. And this frustration is completely understandable – there does appear to be a lack of clarity when it comes to recycling and different recycling processes.” The research identified many of the specific items that are a source of confusion among adults – with many wrongly thinking items are widely recycled when

they are not. Such items include takeaway pizza boxes (58 per cent), non-paper gift wrap (65 per cent) and coffee capsules (30 per cent). Similarly those polled incorrectly believed black plastic (35 per cent) and empty deodorant aerosols with plastic caps (59 per cent) are widely collected. And 53 per cent mistakenly thought unrinsed shampoo bottles and food containers (53 per cent) are commonly recycled. An overwhelming majority, 84 per cent, believe local councils should make a greater effort to recycle a wider range of household items.

Composting confusion

It’s not only what can or can’t be recycled that is an area of confusion. Many of those polled weren’t clear on recycling processes such as composting – in fact, a fifth said they didn’t know what “compostable” means. More than half also didn’t know the difference between industrial composting and home composting. The study did find, however, that 86 per cent of people care about recycling and six out of 10 made a concerted effort to buy items that come in recyclable packaging, while a third said they would be willing to pay more for goods packaged in this way. But while so many were environmentally conscious and trying their best, more than half said they would like to be recycling more than they do currently.

What a tree-t

Just before lockdown, one group of green-fingered youngsters helped a local business plant more than 500 trees to reduce the company’s carbon footprint


arlech Foodservice, which has its headquarters in Llanystumdwy near Criccieth in north-west Wales, enlisted the skills of 10 youngsters, aged between seven and 11 from nearby Ysgol Llanystumdwy to help with the green project to transform a narrow piece of waste ground on the edge of its main site. Pupil Daisy Good The growing firm, which employs around 200 people and has a satellite base in Chester, ordered in more than 500 trees and shrubs, which included a variety of species such as hazel, hawthorn, apple, rowan, dogwood, dog rose, blackthorn and common crab apple. Gill Blease, Harlech Foodservice’s marketing manager, was one of those leading the project and joined in the morning’s planting

activities. “We are one of the region’s biggest employers and take our green responsibilities very seriously, and so we have been working hard for some time now to look at ways of reducing our carbon footprint,” she says. “The tree planting is part of our ongoing commitment and is great for the team here, for both mental and physical wellbeing. It is also transforming what is currently a piece of waste land into something which is much more visually appealing, attracting wildlife and creating spaces for our staff to go and enjoy during their breaks from work.” HR manager Crofton Davey says the tree planting project was also great for the opportunity to strengthen the company’s links with the local community. “We all live in this beautiful region and so it makes sense for us to look at ways of engaging with the local community and joining forces together to look after it,” he says. “It’s been lovely to team up with the children Pupil Tomos Rowlands and work on this project together.” July/August 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 73

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Outdoor Dining







Whether you’re planning a picnic, sizzling sausages on the barbecue or 000_SHIRE_JA2020.pdf enjoying afternoon tea on the lawn, summer is all about eating al fresco



15 13




1. 2. 3.

4. 5. 6.

Multicolour fishbone rug, £40, National Trust; Rive Droite large steel bistro set, £270, Garden Trading; Traditional roasting oven with lid, £64.99, British Ironwork Centre; Riverlands bamboo plate, £4, National Trust; Two-person herringbone picnic hamper, £54.99, VonShef; Check picnic mat, £17.99, Mountain Warehouse;



Rainbow picnic wine glasses, £15 for four, Marks & Spencer; 8. Verdi garden tea trolley, £119, Cuckooland; 9. Classic ring BBQ fire pit, £1,615, British Ironwork Centre; 10. Seagrass picnic basket, £22.99, Cherish Home; 11. Leaf print jug and lid, £14, John Lewis & Partners; 12. Cambridge Kayan bamboo eight-piece tableware set, £19.99, Robert Dyas;

13. Hand-beaten copper champagne cooler with stand, £189, Kadai in Leebotwood, Shropshire; 14. Texas Stardom four-burner gas BBQ, £340, Homebase; 15. Tramontina 17-piece BBQ set, £175, Farrar & Tanner; 16. Morsø Forno cabin, from £12,500 including delivery and construction, RN Williams in St Asaph, Denbighshire; 17. Chilson acacia table and bench set, from £1,600, Garden Trading;

74 SHIRE MAGAZINE | July/August 2020

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The RSPB wants your help to monitor those comical, clownish favourites… the puffin


MCSI patients with Lola, centre, staff from MCSI and the League of Friends, and Lola’s owner, Jo Costa (far right)


DID YOU KNOW? Discover more about therapy dogs at

A new breed of hospital visitor is brightening the lives of patients at the Robert Jones & Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital (RJAH)


atients with spinal injuries at the Robert Jones & Agnes Orthopaedic Hospital (RJAH) in Oswestry are receiving special visits once a fortnight from a therapy dog provided by the charity Therapy Dogs Nationwide. Lola the chihuahua, a temperament-assessed therapy dog, will come into RJAH every fortnight, providing a muchneeded boost for patients, particularly those who are in hospital for a prolonged period of time – some of whom spend between six to nine months on the spinal cord injury rehabilitation ward, Gladstone. Kate Betts, a rehabilitation technician at the Midland Centre for Spinal Injuries (MCSI), was the driving force behind the introduction of the four-legged friend as therapy for the patients. “Everybody loves it when Lola comes in – both patients and staff,” she says. “It really lifts the atmosphere and takes people’s minds off their problems for a while because everyone’s focus is on making sure they get a cuddle with her. “Being a therapy dog, Lola is just the right temperament. She’s incredibly friendly and enjoys people stroking her. She stays on her lead at all times so people who are not so keen can avoid her if they want to.” “Lola lifts everyone’s spirits no end”

Canine care

Violet Jenkins, who has been a patient on Gladstone ward for more than three months, enjoys Lola’s visits. “It’s absolutely marvellous having Lola come in to see us,” she says. “She lifts everyone’s spirits no end. It isn’t easy being away from home for a long stretch of time, so for most of us Lola feels like a bit of home is being brought into hospital for us. That’s really special.” Lola’s owner, Jo Costa, works with Therapy Dogs Nationwide and is more than happy to offer Lola’s services as a therapy dog. “Lola’s a really wonderful therapy dog because she loves being around people,” she says. “She laps up all the attention she gets. Both patients and staff adore her, which is lovely to see. “Being a Therapy Dogs Nationwide dog, Lola had to pass her temperament test before becoming a therapy dog. I love seeing the comfort she brings to patients, and always find it satisfying to see the difference a visit from a dog can make to people in hospital.”

ew birds give people more joy than the puffin. With its colourful appearance and humorous hopping, it’s a favourite among birders and the public alike. Puffins have been returning to the cliffs of Wales since March and April, where they’ll stay until mid-August when they venture out to the open ocean for winter. They are welcome residents at the RSPB South Stack reserve on Anglesey, as well as the Llyn Peninsula, Pembrokeshire and Gower.

Dangerous decline

Many factors contribute to the worrying worldwide decline in puffins, which has seen numbers falling drastically in the last few decades and could see the population halving within a generation. In Wales and the rest of the UK, puffins breed in a few concentrated colonies, making them vulnerable to any changes in their natural environment. Predation is also a big threat – puffins nest in burrows above clifftops, leaving them open to attacks from hunters such as rats or mink. This problem is worsened by the fact that puffins lay only one egg a year. Food supply is also a significant issue. Sand eels are the puffin’s favourite delicacy but because of factors including climate change, over-fishing and pollution, the abundance and distribution of these and other small fish is changing.

How you can help

The RSPB needs your help to better understand what is causing this decline. To get a full picture of what’s going on, the society is encouraging the public to take part in an exciting citizen-science project. The idea behind Project Puffarazzi is simple. The RSPB is asking people to submit any photos they have of puffins with food in their beaks from visits to puffin colonies in previous years in the UK. The photos help scientists learn more about what puffins are feeding their chicks, or “pufflings”, and how this might have changed over time; it also provides clues as to whether fish such as sand eels are less abundant. This year, Project Puffarazzi is adapting to take coronavirus guidance into account, asking people to focus on digging through their photo albums in case there are any photos from previous visits to puffin colonies that could be of use – so until you can safely visit the reserves again, you can still play a part in protecting the wonderful birdlife there. For more information, visit July/August 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 77

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Do you have any memories about marine wildlife? Or stories of regular or uncommon sightings while out fishing, diving, beachcombing, sea-watching or yachting? If so, North Wales Wildlife Trust would love to hear from you

Giant cockapoo Rayffe

Senna enjoying his first walk in the snow


Jones, Living Seas manager for NWWT. he Sea & Me is part of The Living Seas “Historical information and the relationship Wales Project, a collaboration launched in 2018 between North Wales Wildlife between communities and the sea are Trust (NWWT) and the Wildlife Trust of documented in reports, descriptions, books, legal documents, landing data, South & West Wales (WTSWW), funded log books, pictures and newspapers. through the National Heritage Lottery This information is also captured in oral Fund and the People’s Postcode Lottery. history – the living memories of today The Living Seas Wales team are looking to understand how our seas have changed are the historic accounts of the future.” Dawn Thomas is NWWT’s projects over the years, and to do this they’re hoping manager for Living Seas. “We’ve to record people’s memories of heard about the regular herring the marine environment. The “The living run, the whaling industry, heard importance of sharing stories memories of this kind, especially those reports of shells and other small of today are sea creatures being washed up passed down the generations, the historic and fishermen being asked to cannot be understated because accounts of collect marine wildlife by the – unlike data already in the future” War Commission,” she says. “Our archives – people’s stories are constantly at risk of being forgotten. project will hopefully show people how important their memories and those of their families, friends and community are Cast your mind back for marine conservation and for posterity.” This can only be done with help from the Perhaps you have a family member with public. So if you have a marine memory, sea stories, pictures or artefacts. Please spread a photo or artefact and are happy to share the word if you know of anyone whose your or your family members’ stories, story you think could be part of this. then the Trust is ready to listen. “We are increasingly turning to the past in an attempt to gain an understanding To share your stories or for more of our environment,” says Nia Hâf information, visit


Ted and Benny

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

78 SHIRE MAGAZINE | July/August 2020

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Your Dream,Your Lifestyle! Find your next holiday home at: Lloyds Caravan & Lodge Sales Towyn Rd, Towyn, North Wales, LL22 9NW 01745 350 043 or Pensarn, Abergele, LL22 7PW 01745 832 050

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lan Gwna is an exquisite and private holiday home park for caravans and lodges nestled in a wooded valley, just two miles from of Caernarfon and right on the edge of the Snowdonia National Park. The park itself is set within 120 acres of landscaped grounds, with woodland, streams and rivers, a private fishing lake and abundant wildlife. The park has been family owned and run since 1976, and here you’ll find a level of attention from the staff and a pride in the park that is second to none. Glan Gwna is open for 10 months of the year, and welcomes everyone from young families to retired couples – pets are welcome too. Sandwiched between Snowdonia and the Llyn Peninsula, it’s the perfect base from which to explore all the riches that north Wales has to offer – Landscaped grounds


mountains, golden beaches, castles, and a growing list of attractions. All this and the site is easy The heated outside pool to reach, being just an hour from Chester. A highlight of the park is the heated outdoor pool, open from Whitsun to September. The family-friendly pool is always staffed by a pool attendant, making it the perfect place to enjoy time with the kids or relax and bask in the summer weather. There’s also a poolside bar and restaurant with a choice of home-cooked snacks, lunches and evening meals, with a weekly menu and takeaway option. The site also has a children’s play area, on-site shop, fishing lake and golf society too.


A hidden gem


f you’re planning to rest and recuperate after a very strange few months, a break at the Bryn Bowlio Caravan Park is worth considering. The three-star, quiet country caravan park is set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty at the foot of Moel Famau in the Clywdian Hills, next to Loggerheads Country Park with the famous Offa’s Dyke, hill forts and Arthur’s Stone within easy reach. As well as offering the perfect spot to pitch up, Bryn Bowlio also has accommodation available to rent in the form of two holiday cottages. There are

also 10 spaces for touring caravans, as well as toilets, showers and a laundry room. Free WiFi is available. The site offers easy access to Mold, Wrexham, Llangollen, Denbigh and Ruthin, as well as Snowdonia. Local activities include walking, birdwatching, cycling, mountain biking, hang gliding and canoeing, as well as the area’s many country pubs. Bryn Bowlio is a hidden gem within a short walk of a garage, shop and two pubs. Come and relax – it’s exactly the kind of escape you’ll be needing once we’re allowed to go away once more.


f you’re visiting Aberystwyth this summer, why not add an extra twist – and keep the kids keen – by making it a mystery tour too? Become a detective for the day and solve the whodunit on the Aberystwyth Mystery Treasure Trail. It’s a chance to stretch your code-busting skills while also seeing the sights. First download your trail PDF, which will be an essential tool in your arsenal, with all sorts of tips and hints to guide you. Keep your eyes peeled, though, as the clues you’re seeking will be hidden on statues, signposts and landmarks all over town. Sherlock himself might struggle, so be sure to work as a team! As you go about cracking codes, don’t forget to enjoy the sights. Aberystwyth is a lovely historic town with plenty to explore, so while the trail should take around two hours to complete, you can take as long as you need. Stroll along the Royal Pier and peer over to spot the local fish, or draw swords at the castle ruins. The trail map costs £9.99. Visit

A variety of pitches are available

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lawrbetws Caravan Park is set in 14 acres of idyllic countryside with panoramic views of the rugged Berwyn mountains. It makes the perfect spot for some splendid isolation – this time, of your own choosing! It is a quiet, peaceful family-run park nestled in the heart of rural Wales. If it’s an authentic country caravan holiday you’re looking for – with stunning scenery, exciting wildlife and a rural lifestyle – then this is the ideal spot for you. The park is positioned between some of the world’s most notable national parks, looking out on the Snowdonia National Park, the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Llawrbetws is an excellent base for exploring the local area, as you can get to most notable destinations within 30 minutes. The area has recently received the accolade as the fourth most popular world destination by Lonely Planet, and the area certainly is deserving of this title. The park Caravans are for sale entrance is



Snowdonia National Park is on your doorstep

on a country lane, right in the middle of spectacular scenery, just off the A5 and A494. Snowdonia National Park is only a short drive away and features many walks for all levels of experience; whether you’re a determined mountaineer or a Sunday stroller, there’s a walk waiting for you, packed full “The park is of wildlife, awepositioned inspiring scenery and everything between some else nature of the world’s has to offer. most notable Llawrbetws national parks” Caravan Park has upgraded facilities, including piped gas and WiFi. There is also a range of caravans and pitches available for sale throughout the year. In addition, eight newly built pitches are ready for holidaymakers to call their own as the exclusive Berwyn View site is now on the market, making it a perfect time to invest in your own slice of paradise.


Beautiful views of Cardigan Bay


orthfield Holiday Park is a small, peaceful caravan and chalet park on the edge of the seaside village of Borth, boasting 13 comfortable, fully equipped caravans and two spacious timber chalets, both of which have beautiful views of Cardigan Bay. The park is located just six miles from Aberystwyth and a half hour’s drive from the Dyfi Valley – declared a “biosphere” by UNESCO and home to some of the finest examples of special landscapes and wildlife areas in Europe. Celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, Northfield Holiday Park has been managed by the same

family since 2012, and the park is set in stunning gardens that have been thoughtfully landscaped with both indigenous and tropical plants. A five-minute walk from Northfield takes you to a quiet cove where you can snorkel or fish, and to a main safe beach of sand, rock pools and dunes. There are several public footpaths nearby, including the coastal path to Aberystwyth and through pastureland to neighbouring villages of Talybont, Dolybont, Llandre and Taliesin. The Northfield team will ensure that everything possible is done to make your stay enjoyable – and the park has received Visit Wales inspection marks of 100 per cent for cleanliness, service and welcome. The beautiful grounds give the site the feel of a lush, botanical garden, making Northfield the prettiest and most colourful park in the area. www. northfield Flowers in abundance


iscover another side to the historic market town of Llangollen at the same time as exploring all its important sights on the Huntfun Llangollen trail. It’s a great way to get the family outside and working together. There are a few ways to get started: download your trail at home, preorder it in booklet form or get the interactive version for your phone. The trail is packed with clues, directions and a map, so you can see the sights with ease. The treasure hunt begins at Llangollen’s Tourist Information Centre. From here you can explore each local landmark, every nook and cranny and all over the town. Stroll along the River Dee and pay a visit to the Llangollen Steam Railway, before hitching a ride on one of the horsedrawn boats on the canal. Just be sure to come prepared with a carrot! To download your treasure map, search for “Llangollen” at There are also maps available for Caernarfon, Wrexham, Betws-y-Coed and Conwy.

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Here at Beddgelert Bikes we have been hiring mountain bikes for over 15 years, with a great deal of knowledge and experience of cycling in the local area.


Hire for a day, a weekend, a week or longer

Visit Tel 07867 790195 anytime



Spend a day exploring the beautiful Shropshire Union Canal aboard our 10 seater, self-drive Day Boat • Ideal for family celebrations and team-building days • All-weather accommodation • Easy to steer – no experience necessary • From just £110

Off road trails for all abilities start from our centre. Come and explore the beautiful Snowdonia National Park. We hire a wide range of adult and children cycles, along with eBikes, tandems and tagalongs.

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7 nights self-catering from £150

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

A Great Location to explore North Wales.


Set beside Hawk Lake in the grounds of Hawkstone Park, this Caravan Park is great for a peaceful getaway. Close to the historic town of Shrewsbury, and in the heart of Shropshire, we are ideally located for exploring Shropshire and Mid Wales. We offer both Day and Season Fishing on Hawk Lake. The lake has a selection of fish, from big Carp up to 30lb, to Roach, Perch, Bream, Tench, Rudd and Pike.

Trwyn yr Wylfa Caravan & Camping Site

Penmaenmawr, Conwy ,North Wales LL346YF 01492650672 email:

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If it’s the Shropshire wildlife that you like, the lake is home to Kingfishers, Herons, Water Voles and Woodpeckers. Much of the lakeside is perfectly walkable, and there are places to sit and enjoy your surroundings in peace. Hawk Lake Caravan Park, North Lodge, Hawkstone Park, Marchamley, Nr Shrewsbury, Shropshire SY4 5GE

19/06/2020 11:26


GRAB A GREAT LATE GETAWAY Tyn y Cornel Located on the banks of the beautiful Tal-y-llyn Lake, Tyn Y Cornel Hotel sits in the heart of the stunning mountain scenery of mid Wales. A well-loved local landmark since the early 1800s, the hotel is under new management that prides itself on having dedicated and attentive members of staff who’ll ensure your stay is a memorable one. The hotel is the perfect base for anyone who wants to explore the many local attractions, whether that’s exploring, walking, climbing Cader Idris or simply relaxing by the glorious lake.

Penralley House A beautiful Georgian townhouse built in about 1774, Penralley House in Rhayader, Powys, has a striking façade of local granite and a stunning Victorian yellow brick rear overlooking a large garden. It has been lovingly restored, and retains many of its original features to create a welcoming and relaxing environment. The rural area has much of interest to offer both those wanting a relaxing break and those looking to experience an outdoor challenge – and what better way to enjoy the experience than by staying at this luxury bed and breakfast?

The Quay Hotel & Spa Meticulously designed throughout, the Quay Hotel & Spa in Deganwy, Conwy, epitomises cool sophistication on the north Wales coast. Set on the idyllic Conwy Estuary, the four-star hotel commands awe-inspiring views of the magical scenery and is within easy reach of Snowdonia National Park, the medieval town of Conwy and Victorian Llandudno. For the ultimate treat, the Marina Spa offers a range of truly amazing experiences so you can destress and relax, indulge your senses and allow the demands of your busy lifestyle to float away.

Cheshire Cat Narrowboats If you want to drift away and leave all your troubles behind, spending time on a narrowboat may be the perfect solution. Cheshire Cat Narrowboats, based at Overwater Marina in Audlem on the Shropshire Union Canal, offers everything from a fortnight’s holiday to one-day boat hire. The company’s vessels range from two- to eight-berth boats, each with central heating, flush toilets, and hot and cold running water. The fully-equipped galleys have a hob, grill, oven and fridge, together with ample crockery, cutlery and kitchenware. All bedding is provided, as is expert tuition to set you on your way with confidence – including a practical demonstration of working through locks.

Once restrictions are lifted, we’re sure you’ll need a break! So check out the last-minute deals and summer special offers at some of the favourite holiday destinations across the Shire patch Tre-Ysgawen Hall The award-winning four-star country house hotel and spa on Anglesey is ideal whether you want to celebrate a special occasion or give yourself a well-deserved treat. The luxury rooms offer the perfect retreat, and you can also take advantage of dining at the Grill Restaurant or the fine dining experience at Noëlle’s. If you’re in need of a real pick-me-up, the hotel has recently been named in the top 10 spa hotels in Wales. All residents are entitled to use the spa facilities, which include a new thermal suite.

Grosvenor Pulford Featuring stunning, contemporary decor and surrounded by beautifully landscaped grounds, the Grosvenor Pulford Hotel & Spa is renowned as one of the best hotels in Cheshire. Situated minutes from Chester’s historic city centre, the privately owned four-star hotel has 75 bedrooms with en suite facilities and two restaurants. With ample free parking, complimentary internet access and fantastic transport links, the Grosvenor Pulford Hotel & Spa is the perfect place to stay, dine or celebrate any occasion.

Abbey Green Farm This small, family-friendly campsite with bed and breakfast accommodation in Whitchurch, Shropshire, has five caravan/ motorhome pitches and up to 10 tent pitches, as well as luxurious accommodation in the farmhouse. The boutique farmhouse room features a king-size bed and bathtub; alternatively, there’s a separate detached lodge with views of old meadows and a natural pond. With luxurious decor, comfortable furnishings and some quirky little touches, it has everything you need for the perfect romantic getaway.

Trwyn yr Wylfa Set within Snowdonia National Park and only 10 minutes’ drive into Conwy, Trwyn yr Wylfa – which translates into English as “watching point” – is a campsite surrounded by the sea and mountains and has just the kind of stunning views you’d expect. The site was featured in The Guardian’s top 20 coastal sites 2018 and iWeekend’s in 2019, and was nominated for campsite of the year in The Great Outdoors magazine. Relax and watch the sailing boats, or turn around to face the fabulous Welsh mountains, where sheep and carneddau ponies roam. You can enjoy fantastic walks direct from the site, and Trwyn yr Wylfa accepts caravans, motorhomes, tents, campervans and trailer tents.

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KEEP YOUR KIDS MOVING A new fitness programme from Bangor University aims to fight obesity during the pandemic

Mandy Jones Photography


pioneering exercise programme for four to 11-year-olds has been launched in north Wales amid fears that the Covid-19 lockdown could lead to a huge increase in childhood obesity. Bangor University’s new bilingual series, Dynamic Dudes, is now available free online. According to health experts, a third of children are already overweight when they start primary school and there’s mounting concern the coronavirus restrictions could make matters worse.

Lauren Toal, left, and Professor Pauline Horne

DID YOU KNOW? Children should aim for at least 60 minutes’ activity a day

This innovative programme, created by the university team and local experts, teaches children how to perform a wide range of key moves in martial arts, dance, football and gymnastics.

Get up and go nowhere

Professor Pauline Horne from Bangor University’s School of Psychology created the Dynamic Dudes concept and has led the team’s development of the new series, which is now available at “Although the restrictions imposed due to the Covid-19 crisis are vital, prolonged lockdown could lead to children taking even less exercise and eating even more unhealthy foods,” she says. “Dynamic

BEAUTY AND TRANQUILLITY Our resident rambler Clive Williams takes us on one of his favourite walks in the Berwyn mountains in north Wales

Dudes really works and has been proven to meet daily in-school activity targets recommended by chief medical officers.” Lauren Toal is a research project support officer at the university’s Centre for Activity and Eating Research and a key member of Professor Horne’s team. “There are 36 fast-paced and fun videos which have been developed with the help of experts in a range of sports and recreational activities,” she says. “The idea is to teach children key movement skills in dance, martial arts, gymnastics and football which are challenging but also safe for primary school children to perform. The videos can be accessed online at any time and on any device including mobile phones so you can watch them when it suits you. For more about Bangor University, visit

the mountains, including USAF B-17s, Spitfires and more even modern jets on training sorties. Now the mountains are free from Celtic tribes, English armies, planes crashes and alleged UFO incidents, this remote and unusual landscape is perfect for walkers looking for an experience with a true difference and a real challenge.

Heights of nature

There are 14 nuttalls – meaning peaks over 609m (2,000ft), n his famous 1862 book Wild Wales, author and traveller the requirement to be classed as a mountain – throughout George Borrow described the Berwyn range as the range. The main summits are the parent “The Mighty Berwyn”, which truly sums up this peak of Cadair Berwyn (832m), its sister Cadair remote and rugged mountain landscape. These Bronwen (758m) and Moel Sych (827m). “On a clear mountains offer the walker incredible peace, There are various routes to Cadair Berwyn. The day the views tranquillity and inspiration – as well as the need to most popular, safest and rewarding route measures from Cadair take extra care owing to the remoteness, of course. 8km and starts at Pistyll Rhaeadr (postcode SY10 Berwyn are This walk will be appreciated by anyone who OBZ), Wales’s tallest single drop waterfall. Heading mesmerising” loves mysteries – the Berwyn range is shrouded up the old miners’ path and through a cwm, the in them, from the Moel Ty Uchaf stone circle (OS path winds its way gently to Llyn Lluncaws, while SJ055371) and burial cairns, to the spooky UFO Moel Sych looms in front, a much steeper gradient incident in the Berwyn Nature Reserve (which I covered to challenge you up ahead leading to a mighty ridge. in the January/February 2020 issue of Shire) to the fact On a clear day, the views from the ridge to Cadair that the region’s desolate landscape, heavy rain and Berwyn’s summit are mesmerising – allowing you to see superstition caused Henry II of England and his army to as far as the Peak District in Derbyshire, Jodrell Bank in turn back during the English invasion of Wales in 1165. Cheshire and towards Prestatyn and the Irish Sea. It’s In more recent times, numerous planes have crashed in an amazing treat on a truly magnificent walk.


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Small town, big history Behind the pretty facade of the Shropshire market town lies a rich and colourful past

The pretty streets of Shifnal


ockdown has given many of us the chance to explore hidden corners of the towns we live in and research local history. One town that is well worth reading about – and that has many strange tales attached to its heritage – is Shifnal, located three miles east of Telford. People have lived in the area for more than a millennium, since the settlement of Idsall at the end of the seventh century. The name of the town has alternated throughout the centuries between Idsall and Shifnal, and sometimes the two names were given to separate settlements on the east and west sides of Wesley Brook, which runs through the town, and the older form lives on in the name of two historic houses.

Historic centre

The oldest part of the town is believed to be the area around St Andrew’s Church, Church Street and Innage Road, where excavations have discovered evidence of ancient buildings. The area has changed – sometimes for better, sometimes less so – over the centuries and Shifnal experienced

a fascinating glimpse into the recent past. The museum also stages events such as food fairs, car rallies and vintage festivals. You can also visit Carole Baker’s gallery at Plough House and chat to the artist herself about the inspiration she finds in the surrounding area. For fans of antiques and vintage items, TwoJays Corner is well worth a visit. Nearby are DID YOU KNOW? historic houses such as Benthall Some claim Shifnal’s Hall and Wightwick Manor, shops inspired the as well as Boscobel House and settings in Charles St Andrew’s church White Ladies Priory, place of Dickens’ The Old refuge for Charles II after his Curiosity Shop what has been described as an defeat at the Battle of Worcester early industrial revolution during and location of the “Royal Oak”, the late 16th century, when a charcoalafter which so many pubs are named. fired blast furnace was built near to the Shifnal has a number of friendly pubs, Manor House, bringing jobs and prosperity. such as the White Hart on the High Street, The town was partially destroyed by fire which offers a tempting menu, a golf course, in July 1591, with most of the buildings and there are also popular Indian restaurants east of Wesley Brook damaged, and even as well as Cottams Fish & Chips. the church roof set ablaze. Queen Elizabeth I sent money to help rebuild the town. Another period of prosperity followed the arrival of the railway in 1849, and many new houses were built. In the 19th century it also became the setting for a notorious bank fraud, when employees of the Shropshire Banking Company – which had its head office in Shifnal – stole almost £244,000, worth the equivalent of £16m today.

Taking flight

Shifnal has seen further expansion in the 20th and 21st centuries and is now a thriving town, easily accessible for a visit by train from Wolverhampton or Shrewsbury and by road from the M54, and within easy reach of the attractions of Telford. The biggest and best-known local attraction is the RAF Museum at Cosford, where you can discover the thrilling stories of those who have served in the Royal Air Force. Its hangars house an amazing display of aircraft, including the last surviving example of a Boulton Paul Defiant Mk 1, while the National Cold War Exhibition is

Shifnal Golf Club THINGS TO SEE AND DO RAF Museum Cosford Shifnal TF11 8UP Boscobel House Brewood, Bishop’s Wood ST19 9AR boscobel-house-and-the-royal-oak/ Carole Baker RBSA Contemporary Art

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Arts&Crafts Pioneering artist marks quarter of a century in role

Sarah encourages Pendine Park’s residents to discover talents they never knew they had

Wales’s first care home artist-in-residence is celebrating 25 years in the groundbreaking role


arah Edwards was born and raised in Wrexham, and “I get as much graduated from Cardiff University inspiration from with a first in illustration after the residents and studying art at Yale College, staff as I hope they which is now part of Coleg get from me” Cambria. “My initial plan as I graduated was to illustrate children’s books, but I had a problem in that I’d be working on my own and I felt I’d be isolated,” she says. “Having completed a project at a hospital in Gwent to brighten up the hospital environment and make it an inspiring place for patients and visitors, I thought about how I could take that idea forward into a care home setting. I believed the arts – not just painting and drawing but music, drama and writing – could have a positive impact on residents and staff.” Sarah contacted the arts-loving owners of Wrexham’s Pendine Park care organisation, Mario and Gill Kreft, in 1995 and the rest

is history. Mario and Gill were keen to bring the benefits of art and music to residents and staff. “We knew that art and music could be a huge benefit and were thinking of how it could be included in day-to-day care,” says Mario. “That’s when, out of the blue, an approach to provide innovative services arrived from Sarah.” “I brought my portfolio in and explained my vision of how I saw the arts and the whole concept of enrichment developing,” says Sarah. “I agreed to volunteer at first and really enjoyed the interaction with residents. Suddenly residents weren’t ringing their bells and demanding attention – they had a focus and something to concentrate on. I’m proud of what we have achieved together in terms of the arts and enrichment.”

Hidden talents

“I run regular art classes, which are always popular,” Sarah continues. “I work one-to-one with some residents, run craft groups, calligraphy sessions and lots of other projects. Together we’ve run some big enrichment projects that I’m very proud of and that have had a very positive effect on the lives of residents. “People come into a care home and sometimes believe it’s the end, or near end, of their lives. But it isn’t – in fact, it’s just the start of a new chapter. People are often amazed to discover they have talents they didn’t know they had. That’s what inspires me. “Enrichment and the arts are a cornerstone of life at Pendine Park, and I want to see how we can develop that even further. Some residents have shown me how that is possible. I get a huge thrill out of being with and talking to residents and seeing them find something in themselves that they never knew was there. People who rarely left their rooms now come to art sessions and are inspired and enthusiastic. I get as much inspiration from residents and staff of Pendine Park as I hope they get from me.” July/August 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 87

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EDGE for Schools digital programme, Mostyn Gallery, Llandudno This programme, funded by the Arts Council of Wales, has been offering 40 digital skills workshops to 200 pupils at four schools across Conwy for the past year. However, while the gallery has been closed, the remainder of the programme’s learning resources has been made available online so that these fab workshops can be viewed by everyone, wherever they are. The workshops are aimed at young people aged seven to 16, but anyone can have a go. The subjects on offer include 3D drawing and modelling, augmented reality, animation and image manipulation, with opportunities to contribute to collaborative artworks which will be displayed on Mostyn’s digital channels.

Arts at Home, Tŷ Pawb, Wrexham While the Wrexham gallery has been closed and all external events postponed, the Tŷ Pawb team has been busy delivering an alternative programme – Arts at Home. Aspects of the gallery’s exhibition programme have been made available online, and the gallery has also worked with artists to create projects for the public to take part in at home. Every Saturday morning there is an adapted version of Family Art Club, offering downloadable activities made available via the gallery website and its Facebook page.

By Paul Lewis

PHOTO COMPETITION TINY TREASURES Once again, thank you for all the amazing photographic entries we received – Tiny Treasures seemed to be something you all wanted to focus on in these strange times! The variety of little things you captured and shared with us has been astounding and it’s lovely to see so many people taking part. We hope that continues throughout the summer with our next topic, All At Sea. We want you to share your favourite coastal images: crashing waves, bobbing boats, calm harbours – whatever seaside scene you fancy. Send your images to and we’ll print our favourites here. Good luck!

by Mick Lockett

by Paul Lewis

by Sam Hulse

Cheshire Image Bank, The Grosvenor Museum, Chester The Image Bank is a collection of digital images of photographs, postcards, prints, slides and negatives, all related to Cheshire. Coverage is not confined to the current administrative county but includes anywhere that lies (or once lay) within the county boundary. Currently, more than 21,000 images can be viewed online and new material is regularly added to the database. It is easy to search the site and you can also browse the Popular Collections sets, which includes images of the county during the Second World War.

by Jill Parry by Kathryn Hall

by Kathryn Hall

88 SHIRE MAGAZINE | July/August 2020

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An eclectic collection Artist Charlotte Durie tells Shire about her major influences and how lockdown saw a shift in focus


by Carol Giles

by Paul Lewis

by Paul Lewis

grew up wanting to be a horse and when I wasn’t pretending to be one, I was drawing them. When I was 12, I moved to London to live with my father – a writer – and my grandmother. Both had interesting friends, one of whom I told I wanted to be an artist. Jan Pienkowski, the creator of the Meg & Mog series, invited me to his life class and not long after I began life-modelling. Eschewing art school for direct experience in studios gave me a living and an education like no other. It also gave me a yearning. Once I’d truly owned my desire to be an artist, I started copying many of the Impressionists, as well as sketching from life. I have sketchbooks full of jazz musicians, troubadour artists, Mum’s garden, jumbles of buildings, endless horses and, later, a visual diary of my sons’ early years.

Early influences

I fell into the work of American artist Edward Hopper in my teens – probably around the same time my father Shades of Lime v1

by Carole Gowers

by Dan Miles

introduced me to noir cinema and jazz. I made a direct homage to The Third Man film in my Shades of Lime v1 & 2 paintings, while A Riccarton Dairy is a nod to Hopper. A Riccarton Dairy A few years ago I became engrossed in the Shin-hanga period of Japanese woodblock printing. I diligently copied my favourite images into a sketchbook and these have had more than a passing influence on my linocut series. Each one is painted using different materials and

Glory (above) and Drifter’s Escape (right)

Arts JulyAug 2020 jw CMDB FINAL.indd 3

colours to give a unique art piece, often on handmade Japanese paper. After a foray into amateur filmmaking, I returned with a new vision and approach. This time my focus was on city thoroughfares, many of which I’d walked daily delivering newspapers or on the way to and from school. Some paintings depict incidental street life, others Many Small Places focus on a couple. The majority of scenes are of London streets, but Many Small Places was my acknowledgement of increasing wallbuilding in the human world and how many people can make a difference, no matter how small their contribution is. Raven Landing

New focus on nature

I was working towards a solo exhibition in June, but by the end of March it became clear that it wouldn’t be happening. Suddenly all the pieces I was working on lost urgency. I couldn’t focus and the majority of my new work ended up in the bin. It was only after reading a friend’s book and discussing the characters that I felt compelled to draw start drawing the raven, including Raven Landing. While we were in lockdown, the natural world was flourishing around us. I had no timetable so I could draw what I fancied – whether that was a large bumblebee or the intricacy of a dandelion seedhead. Slowing down, smelling the roses and being a part of a larger canvas is what life is about. Ever since I painted North Fall [below], I’d wanted to put it on to fabrics. I discovered a company that prints on cushions, mugs and other homewares. It’s really affordable art – and you can have a matching tea towel, placemat, coaster, mug, cushion, print or clock. My online shop also has limited edition reproductions for sale, as well as original art North Fall pieces. For more details of Charlotte’s work, visit July/August 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 89

18/06/2020 12:33


Drawing a crowd An artist from north Wales has attracted a huge online following after using her creative talents to keep her grandchildren entertained during lockdown


Facebook offering simple sketching e’ve all had to come up with new and interesting ways instructions, starting with cats, dogs and mice. She demonstrated to fill our days over the past few months, and many of us have added how to build a picture from basic shapes and her grandchildren would creative pursuits to our daily routine. send back their own pictures. Children and adults alike have taken the opportunity to experiment with artistic endeavours and one local Going viral artist has inspired people across Ronnie’s posts were shared with her the globe, young and old, to pick grandchildren’s classmates, who then up a pencil and start drawing. shared them far and wide. Ronnie now Ronnie Drillsma, who lives in has more than 1,000 daily followers, Rhydymwyn, Flintshire, began and the number keeps rising. giving online drawing lessons to her It isn’t only children who are two grandchildren drawing. Parents, carers in the first week of and grandparents have lockdown. Every joined in too, with one “Ronnie now morning she posted a elderly woman writing to has more than three-minute video on say that she couldn’t even 1,000 daily followers, draw a stick man but is and the number is now drawing fishermen. rising every day” The posts have been viewed in France, the USA and Canada, and are beginning to spread further afield. Ronnie wedges her phone on an easel to record the videos and has to walk into a field to find reception good enough to post them online. Her efforts are appreciated around the world, in particular by her grandchildren who were the inspiration behind a growing online art community. Search “Ronnie Drillsma Art – Daily Draw” on Facebook for more details

AFONWEN CRAFTS Afonwen Craft & Antique Centre near Mold hopes to welcome the following craftspeople over the coming months, but please check before you travel 7th & 8th July, Eco Silver Jewellery with Sandra Roberts Sandra has developed a beautiful style to her work, creating individual pieces from earrings, bracelets to necklaces. 9th & 10th July, Jewel Crafts Jackie has an amazing collection of jewellery, with timeless pieces from delicate and pretty to bold and chunky. 11th & 12th July, Painting on Canvas with Thelma Evans Thelma has been visiting Afonwen for many years with her delightful collection of paintings, focusing on local scenes, flowers and many holiday memories. 14th & 15th July, Handmade Bags & Accessories with Liz at Femme Fatale Liz brings along her summer collection, the ideal way to brighten any outfit. As well as stunning bags, Liz also makes scarves and accessories that are perfect for the summer season. 16th July, Jewellery & Crafts with Crafty Sisters Cymru Linda and Sue’s incredible collection of crafts and jewellery includes braided, fused glass and beaded jewellery with the most fabulous colour arrays. Come and see what they have on offer and to have a chat! 12th & 13th August, Handmade Jewellery with Elaine at Cherry Bea Elaine makes jewellery in her own unique style, creating beautiful pieces using crystals and beads. 15th August, Furniture Painting Workshop with Charlotte at Country Commissions Bring your own small piece of furniture and discover how to transform it into something beautiful that fits with today’s lifestyle. 16th & 18th August, Gill Benjamin Gill will be painting with us both days and will have her wonderful collection of coastal scenes and rural images with her. 20th & 21st August, Pen & Ink Art with Huw Vaughan Jones Huw takes inspiration from the rural scenes and town landmarks around us and is looking to add local buildings to his collection, such as castles, churches and cathedrals.

90 SHIRE MAGAZINE | July/August 2020

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18/06/2020 12:33

Little things make life special For Sumptuous Affordable Art & Great Gifts www.

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BRINGING THE SALON TO YOU While we’ve been stuck at home, unable to access the beauty services and treatments we might like, one local clinic has been bringing its expertise to those customers who can’t come to them

and information on social media. The popular business is also giving free 30-minute consultations on all aspects of skincare and answering questions from anyone concerned about the negative impact a lack of fresh air, sunlight and treatments is having at this unprecedented time.


n award-winning clinic in north Wales has been offering free support and guidance to people suffering with skin damage during the coronavirus lockdown. Endless hand washing has had a detrimental effect on skin and has become an issue for people at home in quarantine. Selfisolating also means many are unable to keep to health and beauty regimes, including grooming, regular facials and clinic visits. Sara Cheeney, owner of Pure Perfection Clinic in Rossett, which covers Wrexham and Chester, is helping to combat the problem by posting regular video tutorials

Safety is paramount

Sara grew Pure Perfection while battling breast cancer and raising two children with her husband, Chris, in Llangollen. The 38-year-old prioritises health above any other aspect of her business, now more than ever. Lockdown beauty issues “The safety of our clients and staff “Being cooped up at home and unable to take is absolutely paramount, which is why care of your skin is a worry for many people we closed the doors of the clinic who have been in touch over past until it is safe to open again,” says weeks,” says Sara, who was named “Endless Sara. “We may be in lockdown Aesthetic Nurse of the Year at hand but we’re going to be sticking the Safety in Beauty Diamond washing is together through the power of social Awards last summer. “The team leading to media and video conferencing. and I are doing free consultations sore skin” “It’s important we all continue online to support those whose skin is becoming drier and more tiredto do that for our mental and physical health, and even if people want looking because it is not being cared for as to just pick up the phone for a chat or ask before – they are not getting as much access for advice, we’ll be here for you.” to light or undergoing any health treatments. “Endless hand washing is also leading to sore and dry skin, and while it is vital we Pure Perfection also provides free postage continue to do so to stave off the coronavirus and packaging of items, regular Q&As, and limit the outbreak, there are creams competitions, and information and and techniques you can use to keep them advice on the best nutrients and health from further damage. We can still cleanse supplements for your skin. For details, and use aesthetic products and do exercises visit

Whether we have lots of it and can’t control it or a lack of it is causing worry, our hair has a lot to answer for. We look at some of the myths surrounding our mops…


and routines to keep our skin healthy, so we are promoting that as much as possible.”

Cutting your hair makes it grow more Hair growth occurs at the roots, not at the ends, so cutting your hair doesn’t affect the follicles that are in charge of your hair’s growth. That said, regular trimming keeps the ends tidy, which can make hair look fuller and thicker. Stress turns your hair grey The jury is still out on this. Greying of hair is determined mostly by genetics and ageing – as you age,

you naturally produce less melanin (the molecules responsible for your hair’s colour), which causes new hair to grow grey. While stress doesn’t have much impact on this process, it can speed up the ageing process overall so may have an impact over time. You should brush your hair with 100 strokes every day This one is definitely not a good idea! One hundred strokes a day is an excessive amount of brushing that can actually damage the hair and exacerbate hair loss for those with fine or thinning hair. While brushing is essential – it helps to distribute oils from the scalp throughout the hair to keep it hydrated – it should be done gently and only as needed to detangle hair.

92 SHIRE MAGAZINE | July/August 2020

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Sleep comes to us naturally and provides a necessary function – and yet for some it causes no end of problems


etting a rejuvenating night’s sleep is one of the things that keeps us going. But for many of us it’s just not that simple. Lack of sleep, or insomnia, can be a debilitating condition – one that causes physical, mental and emotional turmoil. Our mental state is intrinsically linked to our ability to sleep. For many of us the end of the day – when all our physical tasks are completed – is the first chance our mental function gets to be heard. And many find that once their head hits the pillow it bursts into life, processing the day’s events, planning the next, mulling over feelings and emotions. In recent months in particular, many people who previously enjoyed a good night’s sleep have found themselves fretting and worrying more just when their bodies are crying out for sleep. But getting enough sleep is vital – we can’t cope for long without enough of it – so no matter what is going on in the world, we must make sure to switch off at night.

Vital function

According to a recent report for the NHS, insomnia is a massive public health problem and the most commonly reported mental health complaint in the UK, experienced by one third of the population. Typically, it involves a “vicious cycle” of

racing thoughts, poor sleep, anxiety about poor sleep and “unhelpful” patterns of thoughts and behaviour. Catching up on sleep during the day may then make it difficult to get to sleep at bedtime. While we sleep our blood supply to muscles increases, tissue growth and repair occurs, our energy is restored and hormones are released, such as growth hormones. Sleep helps us thrive by contributing to a healthy immune system, and can also balance our appetites by helping to regulate levels of the hormones that play a role in our feelings of hunger and fullness. “Sleep affects how we look, feel and perform on a daily basis, and can have a major impact on our overall quality of life,” say experts from the Sleep Foundation. “To get the most out of our sleep, both quantity and quality are important.”

Time for all

There is no set amount of sleep that is right for everyone – optimum sleep periods can range between five and 11 hours. How much sleep is needed also tends to depend on age. “Teens, for example, need at least eight hours of uninterrupted sleep a night,” says the Sleep Foundation. But one thing is for sure – we need to get enough to keep us going. And in times of stress and anxiety, we probably need it more than ever. DID YOU KNOW? The best temperature for bedrooms is 18°C

Top tips for sound sleep Follow Shire’s advice for a good night’s sleep 1. Time it right

Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day – even at the weekends.

2. Avoid caffeine

Coffee, cola, some teas and chocolate contain this stimulant, and its effects can take eight hours to wear off fully.

3. Say no to naps

They can help make up for lost sleep, but late afternoon naps are best avoided.


4. Ditch the distractions

Remove anything from your bedroom that could distract you, such as noises, bright lights, an uncomfortable bed, or warm temperatures.

5. Get ready

Try to chill out for a bit before trying to get some sleep. For example, have a warm bath, read a book, listen to relaxing music or even practise mindfulness.

WHAT Yoga is a group of physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines that has now extended to include a broad variety of yoga schools, practices and goals in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. It has developed into a posture-based physical fitness, stressrelief and relaxation technique. In the classical ashtanga yoga system, the ultimate goal of is to achieve the state of samadhi – a state of pure awareness. WHERE Yoga is one of the six schools of Hindu philosophical traditions and it is thought that it has been practised for millennia – possibly dating as far back as the Indus valley civilisation around 3,000BC. WHO There are so many varieties of yoga that it can be practised as gently or intensely as needed, making it suitable for most people of all ages. The impact of postural yoga on physical and mental health has been the subject of systematic studies, with evidence that regular yoga practice yields benefits for low back pain and stress. HOW The practice of yoga as exercise is a physical activity consisting largely of asanas, often connected by flowing sequences called vinyasas, sometimes accompanied by the breathing exercises of pranayama, and usually ending with a period of relaxation or meditation.

July/August 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 93

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w o ll e y w o ll Me


Add a splash of sunshine to your wardrobe – and bring a smile to your face – with touches of yellow


2 3





10 9



16 13


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

Verity playsuit, £85, Boden; Superga 2750 Cotu trainers, £55, White Stuff; Sun Yellow ceramic disc set, £37.50, White Stuff; Saniyah Cabana blouse, £119, Ted Baker London; Lily & Me Molly Tunic Tulips, £45, Meirion Mill in Machynlleth, Powys; High-rise wide-leg crop khakis, £44.95, Gap; Dinidarrow small cross-body bag, £63, Dune London;


8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16.

Maxi dress, £250, Forever Unique, Cheshire; Summer Cool lemon A-line midi skirt, £55, Chicwish; Animal Dash print wrap frill dress, £55, Yumi; Floral embroidery knit top, £19.99, Zara; Floral headband, £19.50, Oliver Bonas; Satin dress, £29.99, Zara; Cardigan, £35, Joe Browns; Wayfarer sunglasses, £24, Oliver Bonas; Principles Rabi sandals, £25, Debenhams;

94 SHIRE MAGAZINE | July/August 2020

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Little things make life special Here at Mulberry Alpacas we have:

Alpaca socks Lovely knitted items Penrose alpaca duvets and pillows Alpaca yarn and fleece Cuddly toys And a herd of freindly Alpacas So, come and visit soon! Resident and Staff Birthday Celebrations

Mulberry Grange, Red Hall Lane, Higher Penley, Wrexham, LL13 ONA Tel: 07713 639 447 or 01978 710224 Email: We’re 4 miles north of Ellesmere



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Warm, friendly & welcoming

• Set in stunning rural countryside, ideally suited for Snowdonia

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Yellow ribbons to symbolise the hope of being reunited with loved ones and community spirit Resident and Staff Birthday Celebrations

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19/06/2020 11:27

, t o h g n i Feel ot! h , t o h

Keep cool in styles that are set to make you sizzle









10 9


12 16 14 13


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

Paisley print classic swimming trunks, £19.99, Zara; Double-strap sandals, £39.99, Zara; Quiksilver Jettyside hat, £27, Surfdome; Paintbrush graphic organic T-shirt, £25, White Stuff; Jaws print T-shirt, £18, Cotton Traders; Threadbare Wimbledon cotton shorts, £24, Debenhams; Goodyear Texas sandal, £16.50, Cherry Tree County Clothing in Ruthin, Denbighshire; Barbour linen mix 2 short-sleeved shirt, £64.95, Vaughan Davies in Mold, Flintshire; Mantaray Linear Sunrise graphic print cotton T-shirt, £20, Debenhams;

10. Elite straw trilby hat, £39, Ted Baker London; 11. Tilley LT5B nylon stretch hat, £70, Pro Adventure in Llangollen, Denbighshire; 12. Craghoppers Kiwi short-sleeved shirt, £24.50, Cherry Tree County Clothing in Ruthin, Denbighshire; 13. Burton tortoise shell retro sunglasses, £10, Debenhams; 14. Supima tie-dye T-shirt, £25, Banana Republic; 15. Superdry Solent sunglasses, £34.99, Smart Ass Menswear in Conwy; 16. Superdry Core split-logo T-shirt, £25, Smart Ass Menswear in Conwy;

96 SHIRE MAGAZINE | July/August 2020

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King of the castles Anyone lucky enough to live in Caernarfon, home to one of the area’s most well preserved and picturesque castles, will have been appreciating it more than ever in recent times, but there’s DID YOU more to the town than its fancy fortress…


o visit to the Gwynedd coast would be complete without a trip to Caernarfon and most people passing through this corner of Wales will have stopped to admire this ancient town. The recent reduction in day trippers means the lucky few who call this part of the world home have been able to rediscover the streets of the ancient town away from the crowds. Situated on the eastern shore of the Menai Strait opposite the isle of Anglesey, Caernarfon is a royal port town famous for its fortifications. The mighty Caernarfon Castle is possibly the most famous in Wales and its sheer scale and commanding presence easily set it apart from the rest – but it’s certainly not the only reason to visit.

Top spot

People have been living in the Caernarfon area since prehistoric times, thanks to the


Caernarfon has the abundant natural highest proportion resources around the of Welsh speakers Menai Strait: the in Wales Ordovices, a Celtic tribe, were present in the region during the Roman domination of Britain, with the fort town of Segontium established around AD 80. The Romans occupied the region until the late fourth century, after which Caernarfon became part of the Kingdom of Gwynedd. The castle’s construction began in 1283, ordered by Edward I as the definitive chapter in his conquest of Wales. Caernarfon was built not only as a military stronghold but also as a royal palace and seat of government. In 1969, the castle gained worldwide fame as the setting for the investiture of Prince Charles as the Prince of Wales, and it has been awarded World Heritage site status. Visitors can marvel at the impressive Eagle Tower and enjoy the Royal Welsh Fusiliers Museum, as well as finding out all about the fascinating 700-year history.

Beyond the walls

An exhibit at the Airworld Aviation Museum

Elsewhere in Caernarfon there is a wonderful aviation museum, a slateworks you can tour and a forest park for the more adventurous, while there are plenty of shops, pubs and cafés scattered around the walls and old cobbled streets for day trippers to explore.

The restored railway is a highlight

Heading south out of the town is the Lôn Eifion cycle path, which leads to Penygroes and Bryncir – the route provides views into the Snowdonia mountains, along the Llyn Peninsula and across to Anglesey. Rail enthusiasts will appreciate the restoration of the Welsh Highland Railway, which was completed in 2011 and now runs from Caernarfon to Porthmadog where it connects with the Ffestiniog Railway. Caernarfon’s historical prominence and landmarks have made it a major tourist centre so it is home to numerous facilities, including the Celtic Royal Hotel and numerous bars and restaurants. Many are found in the retail and residential section of Doc Fictoria (Victoria Dock), which was opened in 2008 directly beside a Blue Flag beach marina. Popular restaurants include Galeri (which also contains an awardwinning arts centre) and Table Table, and there’s also a maritime museum. THINGS TO SEE AND DO Caernarfon Castle Castle Ditch, Caernarfon LL55 2AY Doc Fictoria Caernarfon LL55 1SR 01286 672346 Caernarfon Airworld Aviation Museum Caernarfon Airport, Dinas Dinlle, Caernarfon LL54 5TP 01286 832154

July/August 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 97

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Retirement Living TIME TO RENEW YOUR LICENCE? Driving licences expire when you reach 70, but that doesn’t mean your driving days are over – far from it! Here the experts from Age UK explain all you need to know


t the age of 70 your driving licence expires, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop driving for good. You just need to renew it – all that involves is filling in an application form and perhaps having an assessment with your GP. Renewal is free of charge and you don’t even need to remember to do it, as the DVLA will send you a D46P application form 90 days before your 70th birthday. To renew, fill in the form and return it to the DVLA with your current driving licence photocard. You may also need to include a new passport-type photo – the form will tell you if you need to do this. If you apply by post, renewing your licence can take up to three weeks. You can also renew it on the website, where you’ll be be given step-by-step instructions. And you can continue to drive while your licence is being renewed as long as you’re not currently disqualified from driving, you had a valid licence before renewal and your licence

wasn’t revoked for medical reasons and your doctor says you are still OK to drive.

Health hazards

If you’ve developed a medical condition or disability that could affect your driving, you must tell the DVLA, even if you’re not due to renew your licence. This also applies if your condition has worsened since your licence was issued. Many people worry they’ll be forced to stop driving, “You can but this isn’t necessarily the case. And if you continue to have an accident and drive while you haven’t declared your licence a health condition, is being your insurance might reviewed” not cover you. Conditions that must be declared include dementia, insulin-treated diabetes, Parkinson’s, epilepsy and multiple sclerosis, as well as any condition that affects both eyes or total loss of sight in one eye.

Other conditions may need to be declared depending on the kind of licence you have and how the condition affects you. The DVLA may contact your GP, arrange for a doctor to examine you or ask you to take a driving assessment or eyesight test. You should be able to continue driving if your condition doesn’t affect your ability to drive safely, or you may need to make adaptations to your car. Sometimes the DVLA will issue you with a driving licence for one, two or three years and then review things again. The DVLA can also tell you to stop driving if you’re not fit to drive. It can be difficult to accept when we’re no longer able to do something that has been a routine part of life. But giving up driving doesn’t mean the end of your independence or mobility. If you’ve decided to stop driving or been advised to do so by the DVLA, there are many ways you can get around and there may be help with transport costs. You can find out more at

Bridging the technology gap

Millions of older people feel cut off because they lack vital technical knowledge but a new initiative is helping to change that


poll of 1,000 adults with relatives over the age of 70 found more than half believe their loved ones would wait for a GP appointment in person rather than trying an online alternative if they needed to seek medical advice. The study, commissioned by BT Skills for Tomorrow, also found six in 10 said their elderly relatives have felt more isolated than ever before as a result of the global pandemic due to a lack of connectivity and technical know-how. Half of those polled think it would be life-changing for their relatives if they were able to order their own food shop online, but more than half worry they’re not capable of picking up new skills when it comes to using technology effectively.

“Technology is an essential lifeline for millions of people,” says Professor Kerensa Jennings, BT’s group director of digital impact. “To combat loneliness, we must ensure that older people can take advantage of the benefits that technology provides. “We know that even picking up some relatively simple digital skills can make a huge difference to the lives of older people and those that care for them – whether it’s doing their own online shopping, accessing health services or enjoying face-to-face calls with loved ones. That’s why we are working closely with leading social change charity Good Find medical help online

Things Foundation to ensure people can get the skills they need.”

Learning new skills

Email and WhatsApp are the digital platforms older people would be most capable of using according to the poll, with one in five over-70s able to stream Amazon Prime or Netflix. But half also worry their relatives are reluctant to learn new digital skills - with three quarters suspecting they’d see it as “too complicated”. “The research supports our findings on the issue of digital isolation,” says Helen Milner from Good Things Foundation. “The people left behind are disproportionately older, often with existing health issues that are being compounded by a lack of confidence in digital technology.” For more information on improving tech skills, visit

98 SHIRE MAGAZINE | July/August 2020

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Finance RETIREMENT PLANNING FOR PENSION INVESTMENTS Ross Willan, a financial adviser at Beaumont Wealth specialising in later-life planning, explains your choices during retirement What’s happening in the markets at the moment?

While the market has had dramatic movements – the FTSE 100 has lost 15.8 per cent in the past six month – our portfolios have held up well, losing between 0.5 and one per cent in the same time and growing by one to 2.5 per cent in the last year.

What do you think will happen next?

To find out more abou t retirement planning, turn to our feature on page 34

comes down to who holds the risk. With an annuity, the risk is held by the provider; if any of the fund is still invested, the risk is held by you. We always look at individual circumstances and try to secure a minimum level of income. Some annuities also allow you to pass on what is left invested in the pension pot, and this is a good inheritance tax planning strategy.

The markets haven’t gone up as fast as they went down, and there are When do clients need to make plans? more challenges to overcome. But as the situation eases around the These days, it’s difficult to say when retirement starts as often world and businesses reopen, confidence will return to the market. people go part-time or become more flexible with their time Stock markets can be fickle – one misplaced tweet by towards the end of their working life, by becoming a Donald Trump, for instance, can wipe off billions in the consultant for example. And you can work part-time “It’s never too short term. There’s also a herd mentality, where investors and still have a pension income – for most people, late – or too tend to follow each other, which exaggerates short-term the first 25 per cent of pension income is tax free. early – to start changes, so the underlying confidence is more important. Most people come to us 10 years or so before looking at your We tell investors it’s wise not to check the stock markets they intend to retire. We also do annual reviews, situation” too often – you can sometimes find daily movements which include plans for retirement and timescales. of three or four per cent, even in normal times. In terms of how much you should aim to have in your pension pot, we’d normally advise 20 times How does Beaumont Wealth your planned annual income as a good starting point – if you want an annual income of £10,000, that’s £200,000. manage this for clients? The principal way we manage risk is to diversify our portfolios, and we’re seeing the What changes do people make close to retirement? results of that at the moment. It’s better to As people get close to retirement, Beaumont will look closely hold your nerve in downturns because you’ll at the risk of investments and may start to move away from cement your loss by selling at a lower price. the more volatile markets. This works well if you know when At Beaumont Wealth, we take the longyou want to retire. We have access to “preservation portfolios” term view when it comes to our clients’ for this purpose – they still provide a level of growth, but are investments and stock markets are only one part of the overall picture. managed in an attempt to offer protection from big drops. It’s never too late – or too early – to start looking at your situation. What choices do I have for retirement? The first step is to understand your financial situation now. If you Once you reach the age when you can start taking money from your want to increase your income in retirement, there are usually only pension, you control when you leave the pension market and you don’t these steps you can take: save have to take out all your investment in one go. Pension freedoms give more, start saving earlier, retire Beaumont Wealth a lot more choice but also make it more important to seek advice. You later, take more risk – but as we’ve Oswestry Office don’t have to take a lump sum and buy an annuity; you can leave part seen in the current situation, 01691 670524 of the fund invested so you benefit from gains in the market – this is this is not for everyone. often called “flexi-access drawdown”. You can, for instance, work out Chester Office what your minimum requirements are for the day-to-day basics, and Ross Willan is an independent 01244 621762 financial adviser specialising buy an annuity for that amount, leaving the rest of the fund invested. Shrewsbury Office in later life advice. He joined 01743 297751 Why is attitude to risk important? Beaumont Wealth in 2018, Knutsford Office Flexible access might not be for everyone – for example, if you’re after spending 12 years in 01565 748144 highly risk averse or can’t afford to take drops in the market. It all the Royal Air Force July/August 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 99

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Shire Magazine, supporting local universities, schools and colleges.

SHIRE: 45,000 copies picked up in North & Mid Wales, Cheshire, the Wirral and Shropshire



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SHIRE Magazine: The best of North and Mid Wales, Cheshire, Wirral & Shropshire

19/06/2020 17:37

Top of the Class Poetry in motion


social care worker’s poem about the response to coronavirus – composed during breaks in her current work in the community – has struck a chord with hundreds. Sioned Haf Coleman from Conwy is a second year social work student at Wrexham Glyndwr University. Sioned is currently studying to achieve full social worker status at Glyndwr, and is combining her studies with a role at a care agency in north Wales. Her current role means she had to move out of her family home, as a family member is shielding themselves from the virus. “I have been helping vulnerable people with the daily tasks of living they find challenging,” she says. “I get great satisfaction with this job and it will always hold a special place in my heart. It’s a great way to get insight into how the older generation live. It really makes you respect your elders.” Sioned – who has been a keen writer since she was young – has written many poems to help her deal with various situations, and found herself wanting to compose a poem in response to the current crisis. “The poem I’ve written about Covid-19 is close to my heart – and it was almost bursting to come out. One night I couldn’t

Sioned Haf Coleman in her PPE

sleep and I just started to write. By the time the sun came up it was done and I felt more relaxed. I posted it onto social media and I think it got 71 shares in the first hour. I was blown away.” Sioned was contacted by Social Care Wales, the organisation that works with people receiving care and support across Wales, which has now featured it on their #WeCareWales campaign. To hear Sioned reading the poem, visit



sixth-form student at Moreton Hall, Molly Creaser Ogden, is raising funds for St John Ambulance by running a marathon. Molly became a member of the charity seven years ago and is now lead cadet at her unit, as well as her district’s representative for the Regional Youth Forum.

Molly is a proud member of St John Ambulance

Last summer, Molly was commended for her “commitment, support and service” to the organisation with an award from the Lord Lieutenant of Shropshire. “I’m doing this to raise money for St John Ambulance, a charity that I hold very dear,” says Molly, explaining her motivation for fundraising. “We are currently on the front line, working alongside NHS staff during the pandemic. Those of “St John us who are unable to be Ambulance in a clinical role because is a charity we’re under 18 have come that I hold up with other ways we can very dear” support the charity we’re so proud to be a part of. “I have been running virtual meetings, taking over from adults to provide training and pastoral support to cadets, and raising as much money as I can! All the money goes towards buying medical supplies, paying for PPE, providing training and running our ambulances. I’m also doing this in memory of my grandpop, who died last month and who, due to the restrictions around hospitals and funerals, many of my family, including myself, have found it very difficult to say goodbye to. So, I’m doing this to remember and honour Tom Ogden as well.” To donate, visit fundraising/moll-sja-marathon.


SCHOOL NEWS DONATION STATION Staff at Coleg Cambria have donated hundreds of toiletry and health products to Mold and Deeside Community Hospital patients who were running low on essentials because their families were unable to visit during lockdown. The college’s work-based learning team bought shampoo, shower gel, deodorant, hand wash and other items for the patients. To mark the generous effort – which saw more than 300 items presented to nurses – 20 work-based assessors and managers from Cambria took part in a short film that is proving popular on social media. Work-based learning manager Kate Muddiman says: “A member of the department, Mark Shaw, mentioned during one of our team chats that his wife and her colleagues were buying toiletries for patients because their families couldn’t visit. We decided to contribute and, with the support of Iceland, were able to collect £250 and buy more than 300 products.” Mark’s wife Julie, a healthcare assistant at Mold Community Hospital, had previously bought items herself and had some donated by her local Tesco. “Everyone at the hospital would like to say a big thank you to both supermarkets and especially the work-based learning department at Coleg Cambria for their generosity and support,” she says.

LET THE MUSIC PLAY The music department at Holy Trinity School & Sixth Form Centre in Kidderminster has continued to nurture its students by delivering online, interactive weekly music lessons, while also supporting weekly recorder players with lessons to ensure they continued to thrive during lockdown. With the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music cancelling all exams for the foreseeable future, the school’s head of prep music, Sarah Paterson, decided to take matters into her own hands and set up Zoom examinations for 20 of her students. Sarah says this year’s exam results were probably the best her students had ever achieved, putting their success down to lockdown and the fact that her students had been encouraged to use their time wisely by the school, which helped them find a new focus. “I am so happy for my students,” says Sarah. “They have worked so hard throughout the year and I really wanted them to have an opportunity to shine and receive objective feedback on their progress. They absolutely rose to the challenge and focused like never before, hanging on my every word during our online lessons and working so hard to put my advice and tips into effect.” The students’ results were a 100% pass rate from grades 1 to 3, with 70% achieving the top grade of Distinction and the remaining 30% of students achieving a Merit grade.

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The headmaster of Oswestry School has announced the appointment of a new deputy head from September 2020. Lyndsay Lang is a graduate of the University of Nottingham, where she did an MSci in chemistry. Originally a chemical marketing manager on ExxonMobil’s graduate development programme, Lyndsay soon discovered a passion for helping others and realised her future lay in education. Lyndsay has been head of chemistry at three schools: two in south-west England and one in Italy. She was also deputy head (academic and co-curricular) of Exeter School for four years. An active person, Lyndsay has always been heavily involved in extra-curricular activities and has run the Duke of Edinburgh programme, been an Army officer within the Combined Cadet Force, trained pupils for the Ten Tors challenge and taken pupils climbing. “I was originally attracted to the position at Oswestry School because of the location – Shropshire is such a beautiful area,” says Lyndsay. “The school’s motto – ‘We learn not for school, but for life’ – aligns with my philosophy of education, and developing pupils into happy, rounded individuals is very much in line with my view on how a school should be. “As deputy head I want Oswestry School to be the school of choice for young people and their parents. I want it to be the place where pupils make the best possible progress, in terms of academic achievement, skills and wellbeing, ensuring they develop into confident young adults who will thrive on leaving school.”

Harper Adams graduates are in demand


to gain this vital experience and many f you’re pondering your academic future, there is still time to apply for courses placements result in permanent graduate job offers when students finish their degree. starting in September, including at Harper Adams University in Newport, Shropshire. Harper Adams offers courses to help students towards careers that many people The university has a longstanding may never have even considered, with track-record of high graduate employment and a large part of that success a campus located in an idyllic rural setting and featuring is down to the way courses are “The an exceptionally strong and structured. Each degree course university supportive learning community. includes a one-year placement prides Excellent facilities and teaching – an essential ingredient in the itself on provide the ideal environment for rounded education expected of its friendly, learning and preparing students for a university that ranks in The supportive the exciting challenges of future Times & Sunday Times Good atmosphere” employment, while the university University Guide Top 20. also prides itself on its friendly, It means employers know supportive atmosphere offering a thriving Harper Adams graduates not only come social life of sports, clubs and societies. with an in-depth knowledge of their chosen For more about applying for a place field but also have the practical working at the university from September, email experience that only the “real world” provides. The university works in partnership with, or visit hundreds of employers to enable students



student from Gresford, near Wrexham, is pursuing her dream of a career in medicine thanks to the network of support offered by Coleg Cambria. Eleanor Holdsworth has already completed a work experience placement at Wrexham Maelor Hospital and is lined up to spend time at Gobowen Hospital in Oswestry later this year. Currently studying A-levels in biology, maths, English literature and chemistry, the 16-year-old says the links provided by Yale Sixth have given her an advantage and vital opportunities that would have been unavailable to her had she stayed in school. Eleanor plans to read medicine at university and says the dedication and diligence of all NHS and care staff during the global coronavirus pandemic has been a huge source of inspiration. “I spent time at the Maelor in the A&E department and on other wards before the pandemic, and it was an incredible experience,” she says. “I watched and observed the doctors and nurses and support staff, and was amazed by what they do day to day. It’s definitely where I see my future. “I’m in Year 12 and, with the backing of the college, will secure more placements to give me experience ahead of higher education and entering the world of work. From a very young age I wanted to be a doctor, and with the help of Cambria – and

also fellow learners on the college’s Medic Society – I have the advice and guidance needed to get there.” Eleanor had also received a place at Harvard University this summer on a prestigious two-week Aspiring medic Eleanor Holdsworth academic summer school, as part of the Seren Network. That has been cancelled due to the Covid-19 outbreak, but she says it was a “privilege” to be chosen. Gareth Jones, deputy director of general education at Yale Sixth, says the college’s close relationship with different sectors – including health and social care – means they can enrich students with vital industry experience. “Eleanor is an example of someone who knows exactly what she wants to do, and with the help of Cambria she is on the path to success,” he says. “We wish her all the best for the rest of her time with us and will be there to help secure further placements in the coming year.” The Leiths girls get to meet the Leiths

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The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020







There’s still time to apply for a September start.

Register your interest in our open days now and we’ll tell you first about our next virtual or on-campus events.


No. 1




No. 1

IN THE UK FOR STUDENT SUPPORT AND JOB PROSPECTS Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2019 Newport, Shropshire, TF10 8NB

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‘We believe Shire to be one of the best in the country. Full of interesting information, articles and features, Shire has plenty to offer its readers and it really helps us connect to our target market. The Shire team are one of our favourite to work with.’ Phil Sanders, Stokers Fine Furniture

Life in lockdown


Will Lockett, headmaster at Abberley Hall near Worcester, reflects on what he’s learned while pupils have been learning from home





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‘We have found the team always to be helpful, professional and supportive. They are brilliant at including us in features. The magazine is well read and it is effective advertising. We see how well the public react to the magazine here in the centre as they pick up their free copies. Its a great read.’ Janet Dallolio, Afonwen Craft & Antique Centre



‘Shire magazine hits the perfect mark for us. Through a regular programme of promotions and editorial content, Shire is increasing our exposure and extending our audience reach. Our collaboration with Shire magazine is increasing awareness about us, our music and our considerable charitable work.’ Derek Jones, Wrexham Symphony Orchestra


We always know when a Shire magazine hits the shops, as it gets our phone ringing. The circulation area is really well suited to our target market, and the magazine has a quality feel. We certainly get results from our advertising. The team at Shire are always helpful and friendly, making the whole process hasslefree.’ Linda Andrews, Cheshire Cat Narrowboat Holidays

he last 10 weeks have been an extraordinary time for the whole country, and although schools haven’t been on the front line, it has been starkly evident that children going to school is a vital cog in the mechanics of the country’s economy. If ever it needed proving, Abberley’s quality and character has been demonstrated time and again during lockdown. This is true of staff, but also of our pupils and parents. What has come as a wonderful surprise has been the recognition from parents of what the school has done from a standing start, and the professional and caring way in which our teachers have delivered an adjusted timetable from afar. I’ve received many emails and had many conversations with a unanimous theme – our families appreciate what huge strides “Our families have been taken on the technical front, appreciate and the dedication and patience of staff what huge has come through. Perhaps we should have strides have parents in our lessons more often – seeing been taken” what we do as a matter of course has, dare I WW WW W. S.IS M O C.O W I MN OB NO BY OD Y.D CM OM say it, been a bit of an eye-opener for them.

‘We were delighted with Shire’s Chester Chester CH3 5UG Knutsford WA16 6DD CH3 5UG Knutsford WA16 6DD 01244 311160 01244 311160 01565 633855 01565 633855 help in producing a new look to our advertisements – they gave Hard decisions made our ads a new lease of life and One should also acknowledge everyone who has been superbly promoted our products. The professional and personal furloughed at the school too. Without exception, staff took approach of the sales team made them a joy to work with – these difficult consequences of the pandemic with good grace nothing was too much trouble.’ Carla Huxley, Simon Boyd Ltd

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and an understanding of the school’s predicament. It’s not easy

to be on the edge watching when one’s inclination is to be ‘Once we knew the team behind Shire magazine and understood the utterly involved and working in a team. This should be noted vision for the publication we were and is certainly appreciated. eager to be part of it. The quality of Several colleagues worked without a break through the Easter the magazine is equal to those that attract a £5 price tag, filled holidays and did a fabulous job of planning and launching the new with useful and informative articles, rather than simply packed distance learning programme, training colleagues and converting us with adverts. The adverts are well thought out and the editorial opportunities often prove equally as valuable as the advertising space, promoting key products to be online, looking after the children of key workers, running an W W W. S I M O N and positioning us as experts in our field. Communication is fantastic upbeat social media campaign, working to keep the whole school and pro-active, with a real understanding of how a business might Chester CH3 5UG Knutsford WA16 6DD community thinking positively and moving forward. If nothing benefit from being in each issue. Shire Magazine is definitely one 01244 311160 01565 633855 else, lockdown has made it unarguably clear to me what a central of the first mediums penned into our advertising schedule ‘Shire Magazine is a very important asset for Premier Windows and Conservatories. Their team takes the time to understand our business which leads to carefully constructed adverts. We have greatly benefited from Shire’s features on our installations. We look forward to continued success with Shire Magazine.’ Caroline Chenery, Premier Windows



‘Shire magazine helps us to reach out to our audiences across the region with quality editorial, uptodate features and advertorial support. Dan and the team at Shire are great to work with and it’s the type of magazine you want to pick up and delve into to find out what’s on.’ Ben Walker, The Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust ‘When I came across the Shire magazine I knew immediately that this was THE place to be seen. We were looking for a magazine that not only covered a wide area but moreover was informative and full of interesting articles on subjects that would appeal to people of all ages and lifestyle.’ Ann Wynne, Wynnes Countrystore

Call 01691 661270, email or go to to find out more

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role schools play in their communities, and what an important part we can play in ensuring the positive outcomes for our families.

24/04/2020 15:56

hropshire’s Ellesmere College is busy planning for its next intake of students in September by hosting virtual tours and meetings. Demand for places at the college remains high and going virtual is proving the ideal option for “visitors” and staff to get together safely. “The virtual tours and meetings will help to answer questions, showcase our school and what Ellesmere College has to offer – from buildings to classrooms, sporting facilities and where they will be living if boarding,” says Stephen Mullock, deputy head – external relations. Meetings can also be arranged with key staff, including the headmaster, deputy heads, heads of lower and middle school and sixth formand the director of sport. Book a virtual meeting or tour at Ellesmere is gearing up for autumn

19/06/2020 18:13


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stage school near Oswestry continues to provide exciting opportunities for its young performers, despite the lockdown restrictions. The Face2Face performance academy, based at the Holroyd Community Theatre in Weston Rhyn, Shropshire, has kept its curtains open with a series of online masterclasses from stars of the West End. The first session in May was delivered by Christina Modestou, star of Six: The Stage star Christina Modestou Musical. Before her session, Christina shared her thoughts on the classes. “I’m really looking forward to teaching the Face2Face students,” Christina said. “I

think it’s brilliant that technology can allow us to do this. I hope the students enjoy my session, and gain an insight into the industry.” As well as these masterclasses, the performing arts students have been developing their skills with online video lessons and tutorials from their regular coaches. Face2Face manager and head coach Michael Jenkins says: “We’re thrilled to be offering a range of activities for our “It is students. It is important to keep things as brilliant that normal as possible while lockdown continues. technology Our students take so much more than just can allow us performance tuition from their usual sessions. to do this” They enjoy the social aspect of the academy and the opportunity to express their feelings through the various different disciplines. I am keen to provide a similar experience whilst the current measures are in place. We’re extremely thankful that technology is so readily available to us.” Face2Face takes place on Friday evenings in term-time and is based at Holroyd Community Theatre, a creative arts venue for community and educational projects and professional productions and concerts.


Applications for the scholarship are invited from young people who can demonstrate their commitment to the community they live in and new educational opportunity is being offered by Ellesmere the people they support – through volunteering their time, working on College to commemorate the centenary of the Save the community projects or raising money for local charities, for example. The Jebb Scholarship will support one sixth-form student through Children charity and the inspirational achievements of its locally born founder, Eglantyne Jebb. Young people who have shown “selfless their education at Ellesmere College. A further means-tested bursary can also be applied to the scholarship, if required. support” for their community will be eligible to “I’m delighted to hear that Ellesmere College has apply for the Jebb Scholarship, which will support set up a scholarship in Eglantyne’s name,” says her a sixth-form place at the college from September. great-great-nephew Richard Jebb. “Her life’s work “Eglantyne Jebb and the town of Ellesmere will be forever linked and we thought it would be a was all about permitting children – regardless of their background, religion or nationality – to reach fitting tribute to mark the centenary by launching their full potential, and this scholarship embodies a scholarship in her name,” says Ellesmere College headmaster Brendon Wignall. “It is something the her ideals in a very tangible fashion. It is also very welcome that a school located less than a mile from college and the town can be proud of and we hope it her birthplace and with which she would have been will prove to be a tremendous educational support. personally familiar has been able to set this up in the “Save the Children was built around the principles centenary year of Save the Children’s foundation.” of helping others, including within our own To apply, applicants should complete the form community, and the college wants to recognise and on – search for “Jebb” – and reward those young people who selflessly support Charity founder Eglantyne Jebb attach evidence to support the application. the community in whatever way that may be.”



To open or not to open… Charlie Minogue, headmaster at Moor Park School, weighs up the considerations when it comes to welcoming back pupils


lthough overshadowed at times by the debate over Dominic Cummings’ travel plans, schools from all sectors across the country have recently been wrestling with the question of whether it is safe to open their doors. This has not been simple and – at the risk of widening this debate into murky waters – local

considerations have often been at odds with edicts from central government. Schools have needed to respond to huge volumes of guidance – one head I know counted 41 updates in two weeks – before creating a comprehensive assessment of the risks, as well as considering the needs and wishes of their staff and the parents. The science behind the decision wasn’t published until some time after the government announcement and many heads had to do their own research before putting a balanced viewpoint to their staff and parents. All of this was happening against a backdrop of serious opposition from many teaching unions. We must never underestimate the harm missing school is doing to children. There is huge variation in what all schools have managed to do for their pupils during lockdown and I’m sure there are very good reasons for this, but the fact remains that many children are at greater risk of

Moor Park prep school, Ludlow

harm now, not from the virus but from deteriorating mental health, safeguarding concerns, lack of academic progress and a paused development of social skills. I’m sure any school choosing not to open has done so for very good reasons specific to them. In the reopening debate, we all need to consider and compare the relative risks of every action. This is what risk assessments are all about, and never have headteachers’ wisdom and skills been tested as they have been recently.

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NEWS FROM GLYNDWR UNIVERSITY Film student captures life under lockdown in documentaries


Dominika has a photography


ess film-maker and photographer from Wrexham has made a series of films looking at how people’s lives “I usually like to be very hands-on, setting up my camera to get have been affected by the coronavirus lockdown. the perfect angle with the lighting, so I was out of my comfort Dominika Edwards from Hightown is a third-year student on zone not knowing what kind of footage was going to come Wrexham Glyndwr University’s BA (Hons) photography and film through. But the parents did a very good job! degree and also runs Little Munchkin Photography. She decided “Joanna recorded footage herself and forwarded it on to to start making the films after her initial plans for her final-year me. We spent a lot of time communicating regarding what kind project were put on hold. Instead she worked with mum-to-be of footage we could capture. I know how disappointed she was Joanna and her family to put together a short film examining knowing that the birth photography was not going ahead, so I what it has been like giving birth in lockdown, and with other can’t thank her enough for her commitment to the project.” children and parents to record their reactions to the pandemic. Dominika’s films have been uploaded to YouTube, and have “I was originally going to photograph a series of births received a warm reception from viewers. “The reception for the project, but it slowly became clear that this was for the children’s film was very heartwarming – I “I realised no longer going to be a viable option,” says Dominika. know that it brought tears to the eyes of the parents I could use “Lockdown is something that will live in our memories and that the kids loved seeing themselves! documentary for the rest of our lives. There was so much change “Joanna’s film had a great reception, too. I wasn’t quite to capture in an instant that it was unfathomable to understand sure how it would be received by expecting mothers, yet the situation how it affected everyone – the elderly, people with Joanna found it had quite a positive impact – a lot of the women had disabilities, children and heavily pregnant women. questions answered or some of their worries eased.” herself in” “All these questions helped me realise I could use Dr Karen Heald, a lecturer on Glyndwr’s photography documentary as a medium to capture the situation Joanna and film degree, says: “Making a final-year project work is found herself in, while still being always a challenge for students. Pulling one together in a pandemic, related to my original project idea, with socially-distanced crew, is even tougher, but Dominika’s and how children were coming to films are fabulous and she deserves the praise they’re getting.” terms with the ‘new normal’.” Dominika credits the teaching she’s received at Glyndwr. Dominika had to adjust her “Studying at Glyndwr has opened up new doors for me and my working practices. “It wasn’t an business. Three years ago, I would have never considered filmeasy task by any means,” she says. making as a profession, but I have grown into it. I feel I’ve taken a lot “For the film about the children, and applied that knowledge to my business and personal work.” for example, it took a lot of time to prepare the parents for their For more about Wrexham Glyndwr University’s BA Life goes on in lockdown temporary new role as film-makers! (Hons) photography and film, visit

Online university preparation course is free for new starters


free online course aimed at students whose preparations for university have been disrupted by the pandemic has been launched by Wrexham Glyndwr University. The Confident Learner course is available throughout summer in a series of eight-week blocks. Usually delivered face to face, the course has been specially adapted for its new delivery method as the university works to prepare potential learners during the crisis. “We understand how difficult the coming months will be for students, staff and their families,” says Dr Sue Horder, associate dean for academic affairs in Glyndwr’s faculty of social and life sciences. “The challenge being faced is vast, particularly by those students hoping to go to university this autumn, and we’ve been thinking about how we can help them face that challenge, and have adapted our Confident Learner course so it can be delivered fully online instead.

“Focusing on the academic skills needed to study in higher education, participants will be given the guidance they need on writing essays, study planning, wellbeing and much, much more. Once students have completed the course, they’ll not only have a far better grip on the skills they’ll need for university life, they’ll also receive a certificate for 20 higher education credits at level 4.” Any student wishing to register their interest should visit shortcourses/confidentlearner.

DID YOU KNOW? Wrexham Glyndwr Universit y started offering degrees in 1924

Get ready for Glyndwr

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Post this form with your cheque to: Shire Magazine Subscriptions, PO Box 276, Oswestry SY10 1FR If you have any queries, just call 01691 661270 and our friendly staff will help!

July/August 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 107

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Books&Poetry LATEST INSTALMENT FROM TEEN AUTHOR Oliver Lewis’s latest sci-fi horror book is being read by students around the world after it was picked up by a global reading programme


liver Lewis, 15, a Year 10 pupil at leading independent school Myddelton College in Denbigh, has just had his third book published and is already on the first draft of his fourth, which he expects to bring out later this year. TrapDoor is the second in a trilogy of sci-fi horror novels by Oliver, who is from Connah’s Quay, and follows BloodCross, which came out last year. His first book, Balance, was a non-fiction guide to getting organised for teenagers and followed two short stories, his first forays into published work. As well as being available on Amazon, the novels have been picked up by Accelerated Reader, a worldwide programme used by Myddelton College to encourage reading by young people. “English has always been my favourite subject and I’ve really got into reading over the last couple of years – I read 54 books last year,” says Oliver. “I read a

Oliver Lewis with Myddelton College’s head of English, Alan Biles-Liddell

lot of young adult fantasy and started before publication,” he says. “It’s a great watching Booktube, part of YouTube, inspiration to his fellow pupils and they and got into writing sci-fi horror. listen to him more than to me because “My first book was non-fiction, he’s a published author!” but then I wrote BloodCross Like many teenagers, Oliver and have followed it up with is never far from his phone but “I like horror TrapDoor. I’ve already got a films, but you he believe it’s a very useful first draft of the third in the tool. “There’s always this time rarely find series but that still needs a lot at three in the morning when good horror of editing and rewriting before books for my I wake up and often get great it’s ready for publication.” ideas then,” he says. “I have my age group” phone by my bed and I tap the Words of wisdom idea into Notes – otherwise I’d It’s an impressive start to a go back to sleep and forget it. Oliver’s choice of sci-fi horror is simple: writing career, says Myddelton College’s head of English, Alan Biles-Liddell. “I like horror films,” he says, “but you “Oliver has real ability and takes great rarely find good horror books for my age care, rewriting his work several times group. Getting published was a lot of trial and error and I went for self-publishing with Blurb, so it doesn’t cost me anything – people can order the book and have it printed and sent to them and I get paid a percentage each time that happens.” Oliver plans to do his A-levels at Myddelton College, including English and art – he has designed all the covers for his books – and would like to go on to take a degree in English and creative writing. “I’d like to carry on writing and keep up my art as well, but my real goal now is to be a book editor,” he says.


We round up some of the classic books that tackle the topic of pandemics and outbreaks throughout history Nemesis by Philip Roth Polio is on the prowl in Newark, New Jersey, in the summer of 1944, and teacher Bucky Cantor’s girlfriend begs him to leave the city for the polio-free summer camp where she is working. Duty obliges him to stay with the children in his charge, however, and when he finally does reach the camp, the disease follows him. Pale Horse, Pale Rider by Katherine Anne Porter This collection of short stories, first published in 1939, is based on the author’s experience of falling ill during the 1918 flu pandemic. That outbreak resulted in the deaths of around 50 million people worldwide,

but Porter’s account gives readers a glimpse of the suffering behind the stark numbers. In particular, she manages to convey the grief and, in some cases, the guilt experienced by survivors who woke into “the dead cold light of tomorrow”. Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder This story, dedicated to the doctors and scientists who are at the centre of the fight against pandemics, tells the story of Paul Farmer, a Harvard professor of health who finds his vocation fighting HIV and tuberculosis in impoverished communities in Haiti. Farmer sleeps no more than a couple of hours a night because, as he tells Kidder, while he’s sleeping, people are dying.

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Freedom in Isolation

When badgers stopped and stared Into the ebony of night, Wondering who had dared To cross visage, spoil the sight.

Freedom to look, listen and smell. Freedom to hear the competing cacophony of the dawn chorus. Freedom to hear the woodpecker knocking but not seeing. Freedom to see my still, brown, reflective Shropshire Union. A solitary swan is gliding by. Freedom to hear the sound and friendship of nature. Appreciating the green grassy bank along the towpath. Seeing colour peeping through the blades of grass. Clumps of lesser celandine swaying in the cool spring breeze. Yellow flashes flying past. Rainbow windowpanes, silent buildings, little sound of children’s voices The bark of a dog, so welcome in the quietness And oh the joy of the sight of a fellow human being. Acknowledging with a nod, grunt or cheery greeting. Keeping our distance Home in view, the jog is ending. Now back inside my comfortable prison

by Norman Marshall

Was this man with lamp, And pick-axe in hand? The other quieting his Scamp, Paws ready to test peat and sand. Half-light produces many a drama But here on garden lawn These sows know no harm As from tray morsels were drawn.


by Patricia Parker Come take a little stroll with me Through Bodnant gardens, the beauty see Of waterfall and meandering stream, It is a most idyllic scene. Where tall conifers look to the sky And, squirrels please the passer-by. There’s a place to sit, look and listen, Watch the running water glisten. Hydrangeas in profusion grown. Some up high, some down below. Winding paths and whispering trees When there is the slightest breeze. What they whisper, who can tell? From heady heights down to the dell. Every season brings surprises As temperature, duly rises. In May, spring blossoms bring sheer delight. A truly magical sight. Tourists stand with admiration At the wonders of God’s creation.

by Helen Sweet

Our challenge

by Susanna Callaghan We all face coronavirus We are all affected We have no choice Life will change We won’t all make it We have no choice How we meet this challenge – We have choices We’ll create new choices Choose kindness, compassion, Generosity of spirit Choose to be inspired To find creative solutions

Embrace this opportunity To reassess our life and values Shed the unnecessary Find joy in simplicity Forced to keep physical distance We’ll connect online We’ll wave and smile And sing to each other We’ll get through this Supporting each other Choose this and we’ve got this Make peace in your families Tell them you love them And if your boat is called in Or theirs sails away without you Choose to believe and hope In a new life of spirit And know, wherever you are You will always love each other


by Jo Young I glide so effortlessly But what is in it for me? I am out in all weathers With no protection for my feathers. I find safety and protection for my babies in a nest But this can often be a test. Up and down the river I float Looking at tourists and normal folk They point, laugh and chat But all I ask is that they don’t give me their tat. Because it is good food that I need That to me – is a good deed It is my babies that I want to provide and help them become full That seriously is not bull I want to help them grow and be strong And be part of a family that they truly belong.

We want your poems! Please email


Want to increase your local knowledge? Here we suggest a few books about the area and the people who live in it Tides of Chester by John Holt An explanation of the tides and the way in which they affect the Chester area. It starts when a dome of water is raised in the Irish Sea, which sweeps into the Dee Estuary creating the bore and high water at The Groves. This full colour booklet describes the factors that influence the timing of the bore and includes a riverside promenade trail. Fleeting Images from a Bloodied Past by Bernard Fredericks A collection of articles about the exploits of Birkenheadbuilt warships from the famous Cammell Laird shipyard. The book is dedicated to all the hardworking shipwrights, toolmakers, metal workers, welders and so on, most of whom were born and bred on the banks of the River Mersey and who toiled at Cammell Laird shipyards to build, assemble and

produce fine warships to serve the White Ensign. With equal dedication to the brave seamen who manned and sailed those ships of war into harm’s way. Fat Bernard: Antisocial Adventures in a Humdrum World by Tristan King Wellington-based Tristan has more than 30 years’ experience in the design and publishing industries, but this comedy novella is his first foray as a writer. “We all need a bit of humour in these dark times,” says Tristan, who describes his main character as “a bit of an anti-hero who experiments, socially, pushing the boundaries as far as he can”. Tristan hopes than everyone will be amused by Bernard’s odd outlook and reactions to life’s everyday scenarios. “With a bold, carefree nature, part of you will wish you were him, while the other part will be very glad you’re not!” Email hello@ to reserve your copy.

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hank you so much to all those who have written to us during what has obviously been a challenging time for everyone. It’s great to hear that the presence of Shire is still very much appreciated and that so many of you are reading our pages. Perhaps you’ve had more time on your hands than usual, as our postbag certainly seemed to be bulging! Reading your stories and feedback really does brighten our day, so please do keep them coming, with pictures when you have them, and

send whatever you want to share with us to If you haven’t been able to get out to grab your copy of Shire as easily of late, don’t worry – we always have a supply of previous issues we’re happy to send out. If you’ve missed an edition, let us know which one you’d like and we can pop it in the post – just send an SAE for £1.60 to Shire Magazine, PO Box 276, Oswestry, Shropshire SY10 1FR. Or make sure you always get a copy by subscribing to Shire – see page 107 for details. Stay safe and stay in touch!


Good work in hard times I just wanted to thank you for the updates and information you have shared with us all. Despite the awful circumstances that must have been surrounding your May/June publication I thought it was a very good issue – a healthy mixture of cancellations and updates, but also plenty of uplifting articles. Thanks for all the hard work that you and your team are doing. Zoë Dean, town centre manager/assistant town clerk, Whitchurch Town Council

Well done on producing a fabulous magazine in almost impossible circumstances. Many would have just given up. I think readers, contributors and advertisers will really appreciate your efforts. Eluned Watson

Thank you for your feedback, Zoë. It was a bit of a challenge getting the last edition to print – the situation is changing day by day and trying to predict which events might happen and which would be cancelled was difficult to say the least! But we wanted to be there for our readers, our advertisers and our contributors – all the people we’ve come to think of as part of the Shire family.

I just wanted to let you know how pleasantly surprised I was to be able to pick up a copy of Shire last month. The rest of the world seems to have ground to a halt entirely, so what a delight to be able to collect it as usual when I finally braved the supermarket! Keep up the good work. Polly Richardson

Moment of fame I’m the owner of a business featured in the May/June issue of Shire. Firstly, I would just like to thank you very much for the mention of our business, the Llangollen Oggie Shop in your Food & Drink section! And I wanted to ask if I could somehow obtain a copy of the publication to display at the shop? We remain under lockdown here in Wales, so I am unlikely to be able to find a copy locally within travel limits before the next issue is one the shelves. Ross Anderson Thanks for getting in touch, Ross, and it was our pleasure to feature your shop in the magazine – we love to promote local businesses and producers as much as we can. If you need any back issues of Shire, we are happy to send an edition out to you in the post – the details are in the box at the top of this page. Better still, you could subscribe and never miss another copy! For details on how to do this, please turn to page 107.

Well done on getting a May/June edition done. It must have been really hard but brilliant for readers to know that Shire still thrives. Anon It is great to hear that Shire is still printing and distributing – that is testament to the quality of the content. Claire Pocock

Delicious dish

Difficult decisions

I just wanted to write to say thank you for your help – after some assistance from your very helpful “man on the phone” I managed to retrieve a recipe from the January/ February edition on the Shire website. This was necessary because once I’d made the fabulous bara Bara brith rediscovered! brith featured – which was superb – I then passed my copy of the magazine on to a friend, who then also passed it on! Retrieval seemed impossible! So many thanks for your help. Desiree Garth-Jones, Penrhyn Bay

It is with great sadness that we, the directors of Nantwich Food Festival, have been forced to accept the cancellation of this year’s event. We know that many people will be disappointed, but the health and safety of all those involved has to be our top priority, and we feel that this is the responsible decision to make in the current circumstances. During this difficult time, our thoughts are with our exhibitors, sponsors, visitors, volunteers, local community and the many people who help us to put on a fabulous event each year. We will be back with you all, better than ever, from 3rd to 5th September 2021. Stay safe and look after each other. Jean Kay, Nantwich Food Festival will return Nantwich Food Festival

We’re glad we could help, Desiree. If you or any other readers need to find information from previous issues, they’re always available online. Go to and click the Current Issue button on the top tool bar – then just scroll down the page to find all previous editions. Enjoy! 110 SHIRE MAGAZINE | July/August 2020

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Charities&Volunteering MIRACLE RECOVERY SPURS FUNDRAISING A Wrexham mum who developed a brain infection during pregnancy has launched a new fundraising drive


ecky Rule, who lives in Wrexham, was given an emergency C-section in January last year after attending the Wrexham Maelor Hospital with a severe migraine and confused speech the day before her baby was due. Becky and her unborn baby were found to have an extremely high heart rate, leaving doctors with little option but to operate for the safety of both mum and child. After his birth, Jackson was moved to the hospital’s special care baby unit for observation. Becky, meanwhile, was left fighting for her life after suffering multiple seizures the day after giving birth. Becky Rule with partner Dan Harries and son Jackson She was transferred to the Walton Centre in Liverpool, and operating. The treatment worked and Becky was brought out of her spent the next two weeks in a medically induced coma. A lumber puncture revealed the 27-year-old had coma two weeks after giving birth. The illness has left her with shortterm memory loss, loss of taste and the inability to feel full or meningoencephalitis, an inflammation of the brain and its surrounding hungry. She has also been forced to learn to read and write again. “I was protective membranes. “I was given a Becky is now hoping to help other survivors in their given a 20 journey back to full health by raising money for the 20 per cent chance of survival,” says per cent Encephalitis Society. She has set a target of raising £2,000, Becky, who was brought up in Chester. chance of and has already secured £600 worth of sponsorship. “My family were told that even if survival” Among those supporting Becky are her colleagues at Eagles I did make it, it was likely I would Meadow shopping centre, who rallied around to raise money when have no memory or be able to walk or talk.” Jackson was born. They have also organised ongoing fundraisers Doctors gave Becky steroid injections to reduce Becky in recovery for Maelor’s SCBU unit that helped look after Jackson. the swelling on her brain as a last resort before

HOSPICE FIGHTS FOR SURVIVAL St David’s Hospice in Llandudno launches £1m recovery fund


Trystan Pritchard and Jini Millington

but nothing as extensive as the t David’s Hospice is facing losses we face due to Covid-19.” a financial loss of over £1m, St David’s is a grassroots charity built on the generosity having been forced to cancel all its summer events and of the communities it “The close 26 charity shops serves. Each year it needs hospice and two cafés during to raise over £4m to keep needs £4m its doors open and look the Covid-19 crisis. a year” after people living with “Our much-loved hospice is in a fight for life-limiting illnesses in north-west Wales. For details, its survival,” says CEO Trystan Pritchard. “We’ve faced difficult visit www.stdavidshospice. financial challenges in the past,


after losing her husband to a brain tumour. “We had plans to extend our services and then the pandemic hit,” she says. “We are Leading charity needs working with over 1,500 patients to raise vital funds and carers requiring critical and intensive rain Tumour Support, which supports patients support. across the area, has launched We know an urgent appeal to ensure these are its survival. The charity has challenging times, but had to furlough the majority of its staff and now faces the we’re asking prospect of leaving hundreds people to of vulnerable people without consider Tina Mitchell Skinner (left) making a support if funds aren’t donation, however much they raised in the next two months. Tina Mitchell Skinner can afford.” www.brain founded the charity 17 years ago



Hat-trick of generous donations to help Welsh National Premier League team’s ground-improvement plans


lay Miners Welfare FC have been given £3,000 by a group comprising Anwyl Homes, Hollingsworth Group and Bellway – “a game-changer” for the Welsh National Premier League side. The cash has paid for a 132m fence, which will enable the club to create a secure perimeter for the first time in its 89-year history. The club has been working for 12 years to transform its facilities. “We managed to raise the money to build the stand, create a

Representatives from the donating firms with one of the new fence panels

walkway around the pitch and install a kitchen area,” says club president Vaughan Parry. “But the one thing we weren’t able to achieve was to create an actual stadium with secure fencing all the way round. This fencing is a game-changer for us. It has given us the massive new boost we’ve been looking for.”

If you would like a charity event to feature on these pages, just email the details to July/August 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 111

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What’s in your stars? Aries

20th March – 20th April It’s high summer and you’re firing on all cylinders as Mars joins your sun in Aries, giving your mojo extra vitality. Think about how you use this extra boost. Don’t be over-confident and step on a sensitive soul’s toes – your pace is quicker, so take note of who’s in front when you put your foot on the gas!


21st June – 23rd July Your emotions resemble a whirlpool rather than a smooth-flowing stream, so be more selective about who and what you draw to you in the mainstream of life that can create crisis. The eclipse in Capricorn in July generates a conflict of feelings, but Venus in Cancer in August emphasises your care and concern which can redress the balance.


23rd September – 22nd October With Mars in Aries throughout summer you may be dealing with difficult temperaments; if so, sunlight’s needed where you can find it. A vase of sunflowers or marigolds will attract the noon tide, bringing full solar potential into your life. In the US, sun catchers are used like dream catchers and are thought to hold negative energy. Worth trying perhaps?


21st December – 20th January Your lack of confidence makes you critical – don’t argue, it’s a fact. You wear steely armour, but underneath you’re a mass of contradictions that make you your own worst enemy. Currently some reversals will trigger inadequacies; think about achievements and stop dwelling on failures in yourself and others. A happier self-image equals happier relationships all around.


20th April – 21st May The outer planets are currently supporting you, meaning you can take off your armour, shed the defences and start relaxing those shoulders. We live in a world of trolls and criticism and you’ve had your share, but your perseverance is second to none and a spectacular angle between Saturn and your sun reveals your personal world is much stronger than you think.


23rd July – 23rd August We’re all born with the spark of divinity within us and the opportunity to turn that spark into a flame – being a fire sign, you can rise to great heights. Your birthday starts a new year enabling you to focus on far-reaching goals, and 2020-2021 breaks down to number nine, which is associated with commitment to leadership – would you wish for anything less?


23rd October – 22nd November Are you a good listener? The question is being asked because you need to be and because there are those who, instead of listening to what’s being said, are already listening to what they’re going to say themselves. Not suggesting this applies to you, but a mere inkling could affect a highly valued friendship. Ears – attention please!


20th January – 19th February The play of sunlight through the atmosphere, which is full of ice crystals, creates beautiful optical marvels such as rainbows – at the end of which is said to be a pot of gold. But can you ever find the end of a rainbow? Focus instead on completing a work schedule in July enabling a kaleidoscopic August without an ice crystal in sight.


21st May – 21st June There’s an old Zen saying: “What the caterpillar calls the end of the world the master calls a butterfly.” Being the butterfly of the zodiac, this could be your motto – the social world of summer beckons and flitting from one event to the next affords a variety of surroundings. The cosmos is messaging you to take advantage of the merriment on offer.


23rd August – 23rd September Duty and service are the orb and sceptre of your life – you need to feel useful, but where’s the crown? Love is the quality disguised as the former, so getting in touch with your feelings will reveal it; under that mask of cool perfection beats a very warm heart indeed – it completes the trio!


22nd November – 21st December You’re called the gypsy of the zodiac because of your love of travel; the word “gypsy” is a corruption of Egyptian, from where gypsies once came, an add-on to your knowledge! Travel is the focus for everyone in summer, but beware hold-ups in your own itinerary – better be prepared. If no plans have been made, mid-September looks more promising.


19th February – 20th March When the moon is full, it resides on the opposite side of the world to the sun, and as the moon rises in the east at that very moment the sun disappears in the west – an interesting phenomenon of opposites culminating in day and night. As the world turns, you’d better turn with it to make the best of a challenging situation.

Gloria Mans studied astrology and astronomy over an intensive two-year period at the Faculty of Astrological Studies in London 27 years ago. She has since written for many publications, appeared numerous times on television and has an impressive client list. The legendary Fay Weldon calls her “magic” and BBC icon Valerie Singleton calls her “sensitive”. You can reach her at or via her website, 112 SHIRE MAGAZINE | July/August 2020

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Another edition of Shire, another chance to win some of our fabulous prizes. Good luck!

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



tea in style with a delightful mug in a gift box, part of the stunning range from artist Sarah Middleton. All the pieces in her The Way To Blue series are beautifully decorated with natural scenes inspired by the British countryside, from Sarah’s Shropshire roots to her current surroundings – the beautiful Conwy valley in north Wales. The original designs for the mugs were created using the old photographic process cyanotype, in which the solution used reacts with sunlight to produce distinctive blue tones. Taking inspiration from the strong British tradition of blue and white ceramics, Sarah’s delicate blue and white designs naturally lend themselves to being applied to pottery and she hopes to bring a little of our fascination with the intricacies of nature into our homes. One lucky reader will win the mug, which is dishwasher and microwave safe and was hand-decorated by a family-run company in Staffordshire.

respite and end-of-life care to adults living with life-limiting illnesses in Conwy, Gwynedd and Anglesey. During the Covid-19 crisis, nearly 90 per cent of the hospice’s income has been lost due to the closure of charity shops and the cancellation of fundraising events, leaving it facing huge financial challenges. A recovery fund appeal has been launched to raise £1m by the end of 2020. In a bid to raise funds quickly, the hospice has designed a bespoke Great Orme Goat Tee. More than 4,600 have been sold so far, with all profits going directly to end-of-life care of patients and their families in north-west Wales. We have one adult-size Great Orme Goat Tee and one child-size Great Orme Goat Tee to give away to a lucky reader – although if you’d rather just buy one to support the St David’s Hospice recovery fund, please feel free to do so at!

CLOSING DATE: 15th August

CLOSING DATE: 15th August



summer drink with a great prize from the Shropshire Hills Distillery, home to Ludlow Gin. The awardwinning range of gins are lovingly distilled in handmade copper stills, with fragrant natural botanicals. We have a special prize to give away to one lucky reader, who will receive a bottle of Wardington’s Limited Edition Ludlow Gin with Elderflower, Chamomile & Lemon Verbena, plus a pair of Ludlow Gin glasses. You must be 18 or over to enter this competition.

Jolliffes solicitors in Chester. Your Will tells everyone what should happen to your money, possessions and property after you die; if you don’t leave one, the law decides how your estate is passed on. Jolliffes provides a tailored, boutique approach to your unique circumstances – helping you or your business through potentially stressful or even painful times in your life with care and sensitivity. This practical prize can be won by anyone living in Cheshire, Shropshire, north Wales or Wirral, and Joliffes will allocate a maximum of two hours to producing the Will.

CLOSING DATE: 15th August

CLOSING DATE: 15th August

Win a fine bone china mug! Sit back and enjoy a cup of

Win a bottle of limitededition craft gin and two glasses! Discover the perfect

Win a Great Orme Goat Tee! St David’s Hospice provides

Get your Will drawn up for free! Get your affairs in order with

Winners Congratulations to our lucky winners from the May/June issue of Shire!

Carol from Telford

Amanda from Abergele

Joanna from Colwyn Bay

Sonia from Nantwich

HOW TO ENTER Fill in the form with your answer circled (you’ll need to read the magazine to find it!) and include your name, address, email and daytime contact number. Send it by the closing date to Competitions, Shire magazine, PO Box 276, Oswestry, Shropshire SY10 1FR

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 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: Whose real name was Ronald Wycherley?

Name Address

a) Tom Jones b) David Bowie c) Billy Fury BONE CHINA CUP GOAT TEE



Daytime contact number


Email (please complete) Please send me further information about Shire July/August 2020 | SHIRE MAGAZINE 113

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COMING NEXT ISSUE It may seem like summer has only just begun, but here at Shire we’re already thinking ahead to autumn! It’s hard to predict how much things will change between now and then, but one thing’s for sure – we’ll have another packed edition for you to enjoy, full of all your favourites and some seasonal treats too. So keep your eyes peeled for the September/October edition! LO N G -T E R M LOV E

We talk to relationship experts and marriage advisers to discover the secrets behind the most successful relationships. Whether you are looking for love, just moving in with someone or already married, this will be a must-read if you want to know how to make sure your relationship has the best chance of going the distance.


As the weather gets a little cooler, we take a look at your home heating options. If you need to reconsider your energy usage, want to switch sources, or just fancy feeling cosy as the nights draw in, we have everything you need to know.

SCHOOL NEWS September is traditionally a time of new starts, and while it’s still unclear what the return to school will look like for many pupils, we’ll bring you all the latest from education providers across the Shire patch.


Many of us have had our summer holiday plans changed by the current crisis, but we’re hoping for an autumnal return to normality. Discover the hotels and holiday parks across the region that will be keen to welcome back tourists as soon as it’s allowed. Or perhaps it’s a good time to think about investing in a bolthole of your own, so you’ve always got a place to get away from it all.

HARVEST FESTIVAL Gardens have enjoyed more of our attention than ever before and a record number of us have been planting our own fruit and vegetables. Our gardening section will be packed with advice for first-time harvesters, plus what to grow from spring. A R T AT TAC K

Many of you have had plenty of time to be creative in recent months, and our Arts & Crafts section will be packed with interviews and exhibitions, craft courses, inspiration and the results of our ever-popular photography competition.


Our guest chef shares a special recipe for you to try at home in our Food & Drink section, plus we bring you all the latest news from the world of booze and focus on the many, many brilliant producers you can find across the area. It’s enough to make your tummy rumble!


Our series of town guides continues, looking at the places we’ve come to appreciate more than ever in recent times.

HEALTH & BEAUTY Recover from the summer sun and get your skin ready for the colder weather ahead with expert advice from those in the know.

FASHION FIRST Now that high street shops are open again, it’s time to refresh your wardrobe! Our style guides for men and women will make sure you’re always on trend and wearing the right looks for the season, as you finally ditch those pyjamas and step outside of the house once more. D O N ’ T F O R G E T…

Our next edition will once again include a packed What’s On guide to all the events and activities across the region, including ways to keep the family entertained during the half-term holidays. With regulations still changing by the day, it’s important to make sure you don’t go anywhere until you’ve checked our guide. We’ll update dates, times and venues as soon as we know what’s on and what’s not.

GET IN TOUCH Shire wants to hear from you!

1. Tell us about your upcoming events We work in advance, so 1st August is the deadline to let us know about events for our September/October 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 or call 01691 661270. You can also get in touch via social media – just search for “Shire Magazine” on Facebook or Instagram.

114 SHIRE MAGAZINE | July/August 2020

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rydan ni yma gyda chi.

Ffurfio eich llwybr eich hun ym Mhrifysgol Glyndwr Wrecsam.

we’re with you.

Forge your own path at Wrexham Glyndwr University.

Darganfod mwy • Discover more


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