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Issue 86 - November 2020

Your favourite PRICELESS community magazine

What’s Inside Feat ured Ar t i cles Reviewed:

28 PlayStation 5 Places to go: 38 Haydon Bridge

40

Teen delivers ‘boxes of positivity’ throughout the UK and Ireland

Film review: Hocus Pocus

Darlington Monthly is proudly sponsored by

YORKSHIRE LOFT LADDERS

COMMUNITY NEWS WHAT’S ON

We’re doing our part, are you?

FSC approved

Darlington’s oldest and widest-distributed community magazine


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These days most homeowners suffer from a lack of storage space. So many precious items that need to be kept – but where to store it all? That’s where Yorkshire Loft Ladders come in. The company, based locally, offers homeowners the opportunity to maximise their storage space with a loft ladder, 50 sq ft of boarding and a light all fully fitted in less than a day from just £277 + VAT. But it’s not just the affordability of the package the company offers that makes Yorkshire Loft Ladders stand out as manager Warren Ingleson explains: ‘Our watchwords are Quality,

Integrity and Value. Quality in the materials that we use for all our installations and the fact that all our loft packages are fitted by time served tradesmen so our customers are assured of the best job. Integrity in that we will turn up at the time we say and make sure the house is spotless when we leave, and Value in that we offer our services at a price people can afford. Our business relies on referrals and we got a huge amount of our calls from people who have been referred to us by our existing customers - that simply wouldn’t happen if we didn’t adhere to our overriding principles.

lead to more happy customers is true and we work hard to make that happen for every installation we carry out!’ So, if you want to make use of your loft space, however big or

small, call Warren on 0800 612 8359 and he’ll be happy to pop round and give you a no obligation quote so you too can make use of your loft!

At the end of the day the old adage that happy customers

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Welcome to the November edition of Darlington Monthly! Finally, after one of the most gruelling years many of us will remember, 2020 is entering its home stretch – and as our latest features and articles show, there are things to think about other than the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.

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Those include the events listed in our ‘What’s on’ section on page Treacle 42, Tart although we’d urge you to check with venues in advance to ascertain Add a little grapefruit zest to bring out the vibrant hop bitterness treacle tart made with pale ale. Scatter over honeycomb shards to which ones are going ahead amid the fast-moving coronavirus situation. Prep: 45 mins

Bye for now – stay safe, and we’ll see you again in December!

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• 125g unsalted butter, chilled fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs. Mix in the icing and chopped sugar followed by the yolks. If • 75g icing sugar the pastry feels too dry, add 2 tbsp water. Shape into a ball, • 2 egg yolks flatten it out into a disc, wrap For the filling it in cling film, then chill for 30 mins. • 700g golden syrup • 50g honey STEP 2 Roll out the pastry on a lightly • 250g breadcrumbs floured surface until big • ½ grapefruit , zest only enough to line a 23cm fluted tart tin, about 3cm deep. Line • 100ml red IPA (we used the tin with the pastry, Siren Liquid Mistress) allowing the edges to • 3 medium eggs overhang. Chill for another 30 mins. • honeycomb , broken into shards (optional)

Darlington Montlhy is proudly Sponsored by: Yorkshire Loft Ladders is a proud sponsor of this month’s Darlington Monthly. You can place your faith in this highly regarded local business when you are interested in the installation of loft hatches, ladders, boarding, lighting and insulation that helps you to make the most of this underused part of the home. Call the team now, on 0800 612 8359, or visit www.yorkshireloftladders.co.uk to arrange a property visit and no-obligation quote.

Se

Easy

Elsewhere in this month’s Darlington Monthly, we’ve got verdicts on Cook: 1 hr & 35mins the eagerly anticipated PlayStation 5 (page 28) and the rerelease Ingredients Method of Disney’s cult comedy Hocus Pocus (page 40), as well as regular For the pastry STEP 1 To make the pastry, put the plain flour , plus extra flour and butter in a bowl and contributor Alex Nelson’s latest ‘Places to go…’ column (page 38). • 250g for dusting rub together with your

Goosepool Hotel is a proud sponsor of this month’s Darlington Monthly. As the only hotel located in the grounds of Teesside International Airport, Goosepool Hotel is excellently located for onward travel to Amsterdam Schiphol and around the world. However, as well as its competitively priced rooms, the hotel provides a range of other renowned services, such as airport parking and function room hire.

STEP 3

Heat oven to 20 fan/gas 6. Line baking parchm beans. Bake bli Remove the be parchment and mins more unt golden and cris

STEP 4

While the pastr mix the golden breadcrumbs, g beer and eggs large jug or bow

STEP 5

Lower oven to 1 fan/gas 3. Use knife to trim th then fill with th mixture. Bake f until golden. Sc honeycomb sh serving, if you l

Don’t hesitate to call 01325 333353 for further information.

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Available to read online

Disclaimer... Whilst we take every care to ensure accuracy in this magazine, we regret that we cannot accept responsibility for any incorrect information. All advertisements are accepted in good faith as to their veracity and we @DarlingtonMonthly /DarlingtonMonthly are not responsible for views expressed by contributors or other sources. The copying of any material within this publication is strictly forbidden Competitions without the publishers or Studio Managers consent. By providing your Congratulations to last month’s competition winners, all winners have been email address and entering our competitions you agree to receive email notified. Winners are selected at random. The provider will only receive the communications from the competition sponsor/prize provider. winning entries inContact order to fulfil completion of the prize. Email: sales@darlingtonmonthly.co.uk Tel: 01325 776225 Advertise Darlington Monthly 4 details ofTo

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An exceptional range of high quality stoves available in the heart of the town centre. Owner Stephen Airey and his engineers have many years experience in the heating and fireplace industry. The showroom boasts an array of traditional and contemporary woodburning and multi fuel stoves from leading manufacturers. From bespoke inglenook designs to modern freestanding versions, JTA Fires Stoves and Heating will endeavour to make your dream a reality. We have a fully qualified installation team that cover HETAS approval for solid fuel applications, Gas Safe for gas fires and central heating systems, and also OFTEC for oil boiler installations. JTA Fires Stoves and Heating also supply and install inset hole in the wall gas and solid fuel appliances for a minimalist look. Alternatively, we can cater for those wanting a traditional focal point fireplace in either solid wood, marble or stone. Many of these fireplace designs can be tailor-made to your own specifications. We offer a free site survey with absolutely no obligation to purchase. We pride ourselves on our vast knowledge and experience, and welcome you to call in to see what we have on offer - you won’t be disappointed. Our showroom at 9 Duke Street, Darlington is open Monday to Saturday 9.30am-5.00pm. Sunday opening is by appointment only. If you would like to arrange a free site survey either call into the showroom, or get in touch on 01325 389238 or email jtafiresandstoves@ icloud.com. A warm welcome awaits at JTA Fires Stoves and Heating.

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Teen delivers over 500 ‘boxes of positivity’ to people struggling with mental health In these particularly difficult times, a local teen, Jack Cole, has helped by handing out more than 500 ‘boxes of positivity’ aimed at alleviating mental health difficulties in people across the country. It was when home for the weekend during his third stay at a mental health hospital that Jack first put together ‘Jack’s Treasures’ boxes to conscientiously bring to friends back at the hospital. Each box contained sensory items, a worry stone and ‘engouragmints’ – Polos inscribed with inspirational quotes. Jack paid for all of these items with his saved birthday and Christmas money. The boxes were well-received by their recipients, inspiring the 16-year-old Jack to prepare and fill even more of these thoughtful containers. Jack’s mother Julie Cole recalled: “He wanted people to know they aren’t alone. He struggled alone and bottled everything up before it all came out, so wants to make sure others know there is support.” In total, Jack has – with help from siblings Abigail, 17, and Benjamin, six – delivered 517 boxes to various addresses around the UK and Republic of Ireland. Cities to have received boxes so far include Brighton and Dublin, with yet more boxes now ready to be sent, too. 12

Mrs Cole enthused: “Jack always puts other people before himself. We really want to carry it on because not only is it showing children they are not alone, but parents too. The problem now is money. We’re hoping a local business might sponsor it.” A number of organisations and schools in Darlington have also received boxes from Jack. One of the local educational institutions to have benefitted is Longfield Academy, the coeducational secondary school which Jack attended before starting at the town’s Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College. Longfield Academy head teacher Nicholas Lindsay commented: “We are very proud of Jack as a shining example of a wonderful Longfield pupil. We are delighted to support him by engaging in his positive boxes scheme; I am confident that the contents will be put to good use.” He added: “As a school, we continue to support and promote positive mental health and wellbeing on a dayto-day basis with all of our staff and students, and we are also extremely active in this vital area on a town-wide level, working collaboratively with our colleagues in the public service.” Anyone can request a ‘Jack’s Treasures’ box of their own or support the project by contacting Jacks Treasure Box on Facebook.

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Independent financial advice on the high street Acumen Investment & Pension Solutions is a local firm offering independent financial advice. The business is run by local independent financial adviser Adrian Peacock, who has been providing financial advice for over 30 years. Previously located in smaller temporary offices, 12 months ago Adrian took the decision to invest in permanent premises on Grange Road, Darlington. The premises, previously Dobinsons the bridal shop, has undergone extensive refurbishment and now provides office accommodation over 3 floors.

The relocation to new premises has coincided with the expansion of our team which now numbers six, two of whom are Independent Financial Advisers. As well as Adrian, Gary Neale also works from the premises as a financial adviser having joined the firm last year. He has over 10 years of experience in the industry and specialises in retirement planning for both private and corporate clients. What we do: We offer the full range of financial services, providing whole of market independent financial advice in the following areas: • • • •

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How the Company can help transform your home Home is where the heart is – and, often, the home’s heart is considered to be its kitchen. Therefore, it makes sense that this particular domestic space ought to be tailored to your household’s precise requirements – and the Elite Kitchen Company can do that tailoring for you here in the North East.

If you are brimming with exciting ideas for how you could revamp and revitalise your North East abode, don’t be afraid to share those ideas with the Elite Kitchen Company. The business is staffed with experienced and qualified craftsmen and fitters ready to work to your brief.

If you want your kitchen to feel as though it is truly yours, it could need a lot more than just a few new cabinet doors or worktops. The Elite Kitchen Company can plan, design, manufacture and install your kitchen afresh, building it by hand to a contemporary or traditional design.

The Company’s workforce has been engaged in traditional cabinetmaking for over 30 years, leaving it with an impressive breadth of knowledge about materials. This workforce also keeps itself abreast of the latest technology and trends, which it can draw upon to make your dreams a reality.

The Elite Kitchen Company takes a bespoke approach to its kitchen solutions as well as the handmade furniture it creates for the bathroom, bedroom and other spaces in the home. All of the company’s bespoke products are lovingly hand-crafted in its own workshop to a high standard.

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How would you like your home? Craftsmen are ready to listen

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OLLY MURS to perform at

The Darlington Arena Saturday 28 August 2021

Tickets on Sale – Friday 9 October from 9am Olly Murs today announces a huge 25 date UK tour for next summer including a date at The Darlington Arena on Saturday 28 August 2021. This will be the second outdoor concert to take place in Darlington in 2021, following confirmation that the Tom Jones concert due to take place in 2020 has been rescheduled for Sunday 13th June 2021. With much of 2020 coming to a standstill due to the Covid-19 pandemic, next year’s shows aim to put a smile back on the face of the country where he will perform his biggest hits, including tracks from his recently certified triple platinum album ‘Never Been Better’. It’s still been a busy year for Olly, who recently captained England in this year’s Soccer Aid, and is looking to retain his crown as winning judge on his third series of The Voice, which has currently been postponed at the semi final stages. In lockdown, he also managed an impressive body transformation, working closely with personal trainer Rob Solly, and sharing his fitness routine exclusively with Men’s Health. He is also working on new music to be shared next year. On the announcing the tour, Olly said: ‘I can’t tell you how excited I am to announce this tour. It’s been such a tough year for everyone and I can’t wait to get back out on the road and entertain my fans. We’re definitely going to be celebrating in Darlington next summer.’ Liz Doogan-Hobbs MBE, CEO of Grandslam Live and LHG Events, promoter of the two concerts said, “We are delighted to be bringing another huge concert to Darlington next summer. It’s been such a tough year for everyone with no live events being able to take place. I am thrilled to confirm that Olly Murs will be joining Tom Jones by performing in Darlington next summer, we know it will be

two epic party weekends at The Darlington Arena. Arena Manager Danny Brown commented: “Following a really tough year for everyone we are delighted to be able to announce another world-renowned artist performing at the Arena. We’ve worked closely with LHG and the local authorities to bring the Darlington Arena back to life over the last few years and to have Olly Murs and Tom Jones at the Arena in 2021 is something for everyone to get excited about!” Full dates & tickets on sale and are available from 9th October at www.ollymurs.com Ticket Info • Tickets for Olly Murs, Live at The Darlington Arena on Saturday 28 August are on general sale from 9am on Friday 9 October priced from £39.50 + booking fee • Gold Circle Tickets are priced at £55 • Seated tickets are priced at £50 • VIP packages are also available • Tickets for Tom Jones are on Sale NOW! Accessible Tickets are available directly from Ticketmaster www.lhgtickets.com www.ticketmaster.co.uk Artist Links Olly Murs - www.ollymurs.com Twitter – @ollymurs Facebook - @ollymurs Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/ollymurs/ Website – www.ollymurs.com Tom Jones - www.tomjones.com Twitter – @RealSirTomJones Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/SirTomJones/ Website – www.tomjones.com

Win a pair of tickets to see OLLY MURS Just answer this simple question: television game show did Olly appear on Q: Which before finding success on the Xfactor? A:

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Send all entries to: Competition Department, Unit 4, Station Road, Chester-le-Street, DH3 3DY

For a chance to win a pair of Tom Jones tickets, head over to our Facebook page: @Darlingtonmontly to find out more! 22

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THE DARLINGTON ARENA CONCERTS 2021

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NEW RESCHEDULED DATE

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Sandringham Financial Partners With the jobs marked being heavily impacted by current restrictions throughout the country, much has been written in the press about redundancies and the potential impact of unemployment for people in the UK. In many cases we will know someone whose livelihood has been impacted by the pandemic. Redundancy can be an extremely challenging time for individuals however for some it can also create unforeseen opportunities where lump sum redundancy payments are received. In both cases, proper financial planning is essential to ensuring you make the most of any settlement and your existing assets. If you are facing redundancy, it is firstly important to understand your entitlement and the tax treatment of payments offered to you. You are typically entitled to Statutory Redundancy Pay after two years of service with an employer however in some instances your employer may offer you a more generous package, including contributions to your pension. Generally speaking, funds paid as Payment In Lieu of Notice or payment in lieu of other benefits are subject to Income Tax and National Insurance in the same way as your salary is. Redundancy pay, possibly referred to as an ex-gratia payment, is tax free up to the first ÂŁ30,000 and subject to income tax only on any surplus above this amount. Having understood the tax treatment of your benefits it is then possible to calculate how long your redundancy settlement plus any cash savings and other sources of income might last, based on your current spending needs. This is where building a cash flow plan can have significant benefits. A cash flow plan allows you to visualise all your expected income, expenditure, pensions, savings and investments taking account of your tax position over time so you can make informed decisions. 24

Once you have accounted for your short-term needs, it is then possible to turn to mediumand longer-term planning. For some people the addition of a large, taxable lump sum to their earnings can cause them to be pushed into a higher tax bracket. This can also be particularly significant for those claiming child benefit where their taxable income would then exceed ÂŁ50,000 and thus begin incurring the High Income Child Benefit Tax Charge. A further consideration is that where the addition of a lump sum takes taxable earnings above ÂŁ100,000 this can result in an effective 60% marginal tax rate as your tax-free Personal Allowance begins to be withdrawn. In both instances it may be worthwhile considering pension contributions to help offset some of these taxes provided short term needs have been met. Finally, most people will have accrued pension benefits with their old employer and having moved on it can be useful to review these to ensure that they are invested in the most suitable way given your changed circumstances. Workplace pension schemes are often low cost but can sometimes provide more limited investment choice or options for accessing your pension when the time comes. If you have accrued a number of previous pensions with past employers it may be worth while looking to consolidate these into a plan which benefits from ongoing management and oversight. At Sandringham Financial Partners Darlington we have significant experience advising clients on the financial considerations of redundancy. If you would like to find out more or feel we may be able to help you, please get in touch on 01325 808075 or email darlington@sandringham.co.uk to arrange a no cost initial chat.

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FINANCIAL PEACE OF MIND FOR A FAIR, FLAT FEE • Retirement and Pension Advice • Cash flow planning • Investment Advice Contact Rachel or Tristan at the Darlington office for a free, no obligation chat about your requirements T: 01325 808075 E: darlington@sandringham.co.uk Suite 8, Yarn, Lingfield House, Lingfield Point, Darlington, DL1 1 RW Sandringham Financial Partners Ltd ('Sandringham') is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. FCA Number: 581304. Registered Office: 5th Floor, 30 Market Street, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, HD1 2HG. Registered in England and Wales No: 08022795. VAT Registered: 337 981 265.

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Why there’s more to

Highways Surfacing LTD than what’s “on the surface” If you need a surfacing solution, whether it is a tarmac, tar and chip, concrete or asphalt treatment and intended for a private or commercial space, you can trust Highways Surfacing with applying that surfacing for you – wherever you need it in the UK. The surfacing services available With more than 30 years’ experience in its line of work, Highways Surfacing can undertake a wide range of services – including surface dressing, laying driveways, block paving, repairing car park tarmac, carrying out groundwork and highpowered jet washing. Which of these services you should opt for will naturally depend on your specific needs. However, even if you would like a new driveway to be installed afresh, you have many different options when you task Highways Surfacing with installing that driveway for you. These options include bonded resin, tar and chip, tarmacadam, asphalt and block paved driveways. Furthermore, when laying a driveway for you, the Highways 26

team will always be careful to do so quickly but effectively in order to minimise disruption to your usual routine. Meanwhile, if you have a roof, drive or patio which has attracted dirt over time, Highways Surfacing can carry out power washing using specialist cleaning products and the latest high-powered cleaners to restore the dirty surface to its original, “asnew” condition. A vast range of surfacing treatments is within close reach Due to the pandemic, Highways Surfacing is currently offering a 40% discount on all work it carries out. You can further familiarise yourself with the company’s work by visiting its website at www.highwayssurfacingltd.com or by phoning the company for free on 0800 696 5040. Highways Surfacing offers consultations, estimates and advice all for free, with no obligation. The company provides all of its work fully guaranteed without requiring a deposit, and pledges to beat any competitor’s quotation.

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User interface Now, here’s one thing you definitely won’t recognise from the PS4 days. The PS5’s user interface is dramatically different to its predecessor’s, having been streamlined to provide informative, real-time updates that spare players having to look for that information in a cumbersome fashion. All in all, the UI has been carefully designed to be more responsible, accessible and simple than the PS4’s, while “games” and “media” tabs let users switch easily between games and apps.

REVIEW: PlayStation 5 To say that the PlayStation 5 has generated a lot of hype ahead of its retail release this month would be a major understatement. Currys recently reported that it had accepted almost 90,000 more preorders for the PS5 than for its competitor the Xbox Series X. However, with the PS5 not set to arrive on UK store shelves until 19 November, it begs the question: can this undoubtedly sleek-looking console live up to the hype? Hardware While the PS5’s design has somewhat split opinion, we are certainly fans of its clean, sumptuous curves, which give the unit’s enclosure an undoubtedly futuristic feel. Gamers thoroughly experienced with the PlayStation 4 will also be delighted to know that its predecessor is more energy-efficient as well as much quieter when in operation.

Games As the PS5 will be backward compatible with most PS4 games, you don’t have to worry about your library of those games becoming redundant overnight. However, there remain plenty of upcoming releases that will capitalise on the PS5’s particularly powerful capabilities. Those releases include Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart as well as the PlayStation 5 versions of Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Sackboy: A Big Adventure and Horizon Forbidden West. Price The PS5 will be available in two versions: the standard version, with which you will be able to stream content as well as load it from physical formats like CD, DVD and Blu-ray, and the PS5 Digital Edition, a cheaper variant only capable of streaming that content. The UK prices will be £449 for the full-fat PS5 and £349 for the Digital Edition.

Accessories Earlier this year, Sony took the veil off the PS5’s new DualSense wireless controller. While taking cues from DualShock controllers of PlayStation generations past, the DualSense improves on that winning formula with such neat touches as iPhone-style haptic feedback. The DualSense will also be getting its own charging station, while the new Pulse 3D wireless headset will make use of the PS5’s in-built 3D audio technology.

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Treacle Tart Add a little grapefruit zest to bring out the vibrant hop bitterness in this fabulous treacle tart made with pale ale. Scatter over honeycomb shards to serve Prep: 45 mins Cook: 1 hr & 35mins

Ingredients

Method

For the pastry

STEP 1

To make the pastry, put the • 250g plain flour , plus extra flour and butter in a bowl and for dusting rub together with your • 125g unsalted butter, chilled fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs. Mix in the icing and chopped sugar followed by the yolks. If • 75g icing sugar the pastry feels too dry, add 2 tbsp water. Shape into a ball, • 2 egg yolks flatten it out into a disc, wrap For the filling it in cling film, then chill for 30 mins. • 700g golden syrup • 50g honey STEP 2 Roll out the pastry on a lightly • 250g breadcrumbs floured surface until big • ½ grapefruit , zest only enough to line a 23cm fluted tart tin, about 3cm deep. Line • 100ml red IPA (we used the tin with the pastry, Siren Liquid Mistress) allowing the edges to • 3 medium eggs overhang. Chill for another 30 mins. • honeycomb , broken into shards (optional)

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Serves 8-10

Easy

STEP 3

Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Line the tart with baking parchment and baking beans. Bake blind for 20 mins. Remove the beans and parchment and bake for 10-15 mins more until the pastry is golden and crisp.

STEP 4

While the pastry is cooking, mix the golden syrup, honey, breadcrumbs, grapefruit zest, beer and eggs together in a large jug or bowl.

STEP 5

Lower oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Use a small serrated knife to trim the pastry edges, then fill with the treacle mixture. Bake for 55 mins-1 hr until golden. Scatter over the honeycomb shards before serving, if you like.

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CiMEX UK LTD are an accredited Pest Control and Grounds Maintenance agency. We have been serving County Durham, Darlington, Newcastle, Teeside and Sunderland for the past decade. We have over 15 years experience working with our clients in both the public and private sector in the North of England and Scotland, for both Pest Control and Grounds Maintenance services.

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Beauty Box Training Academy allows students to learn one treatment at a time, as opposed to attending a college and studying a full beauty NVQ. We offer short courses in a variety of subjects to cater for everyone, allowing students to choose what treatments they would like to be able to offer. Students study the theory and practical work with us in our face-to-face courses, and help is always available via telephone or email. We also have an online option to study from the comfort of your own home and around the other commitments that students may have.

for a further training session if you don’t feel confident in what you learnt when having first attended. At Beauty Box Training Academy, we vow to be with you before, during and after, giving you the best possible start. If you fancy a career change, or you want to expand your existing skill set and enjoy a new hobby, get in touch with us today.

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Wordsearch

PUZZLE PAGE Simply complete one of the competitions below, fill in the entry form and send to the postal address provided.

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Places to go...

we met Diana and her son James in the shop packed full with all types of clocks and watches, and CDs, books and children’s toys

Haydon Bridge I

took a visit with my step-daughter Melissa to Haydon Bridge in August 2020 when traffic was slowly building on the railway and the government’s “Eat Out to Help Out” promotion suggested I was doing my civic duty by having lunch at Langley Castle under two miles out of town. In so doing, we walked part of the John Martin trail, devised in 2004, past his birthplace at East Land Ends on the south side of the river. John Martin (1789-1854) was the most famous artist of his day, noted for his apocalyptic pictures of biblical scenes, but he was also a polymath who proposed and made drawings of new railways for London and plans for new sewerage systems. Some of his canvases are on display at the Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle, in the free entry area, and at the time they were first displayed were regarded as sensational. A large piece “The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah” is one of the treasures of the Laing. John was one of 13 children, only five of which survived into adulthood. His brother Jonathan (surely some room for confusion there!) was most renowned for attempting to burn down York Minster in 1829 and committed to an institution for the rest of his life. John was born in a one-roomed cottage, and, as he later said “By birth, my station could scarcely have been humbler”, but he moved to London in 1806 where he found fame and fortune. Haydon Bridge only has about 2,000 inhabitants but has a roughly hourly rail service on the Newcastle to Carlisle line opened in 1838. There is a level crossing at the top of Church Street, which runs south to the River Tyne, and here the traffic on the A69 used to roar through the village until it was finally bypassed to the south in 2009.

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On the corner of Ratcliffe Road and Church Street is a watch and clock repair business run by Diana Bell, which also trades as Mr. George’s Museum of Time. Previously located in Haltwhistle, this business has moved to Haydon Bridge, and we met Diana and her son James in the shop packed full with all types of clocks and watches, and CDs, books and children’s toys featuring Diana’s late father George. If you have a clock needing repair, you could take it to Diana and pick it up on another occasion. Unfortunately, owing to the pandemic, the children’s activities have had to be suspended, but the displays are most interesting, and although we were not there at twelve o’clock when all the chiming is at its maximum. I imagine the cacophony would be splendid. There are two hotels and four pubs in the village, but we struck out for Langley Castle, which is of great antiquity, and which was rebuilt between 1882 and 1914, a square building with four turrets. The restorer was Cadwallader John Bates, a local historian, who died before the work was finished, and the work was completed by his wife Josephine. After a spell as St. Cuthbert’s School for Girls, the building was converted to an impressive hotel and wedding venue in 1985. Haydon Bridge is special for me, as a result of a family holiday from Kent at Plunder Heath above the town in 1979. Melissa was interested to learn it was from there I went by train to see the progress on the Tyne and Wear Metro, and a trip to Durham where I had a tour of the Castle and decided to apply to University College. Thank you, Haydon Bridge. alexnelson@dunelm.org.uk

www.nationalrail.com www.haydon-bridge.co.uk

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FILM REVIEW:

hocus pocus Hocus Pocus centres around two new kids in town, Max (Ormi Katz) and Dani (Thora Birch), upended from their laidback LA lifestyle to settle in Salem, Massachusetts. Max, stumbling through the pangs of adolescence and smitten with the town’s leading teen queen Allison (Vinessa Shaw), discovers that all of Salem’s spooky tales are actually, undeniably true. After unwittingly conjuring up a trio of diabolical witches executed in the 17th century but whose appetite for young children now threatens the whole town, Max must fend off resident bullies and witches alike to save both his sister and all the other kids in Salem. It’s sure to be a Halloween he’ll never forget! This movie has never failed to put a spell on me. From the excellent casting of Bette Midler to the brilliant comedic timing, Hocus Pocus never misses the mark of family-friendly, eerie entertainment. Each character, scene, costume and joke serves to make a film worth watching – over and over again! Bette Midler’s performance as Winifred has gone down in history just as much as the Sanderson sisters! In fact, all of the witches hold their own

against her majesty, being hilariously overdramatic and hair-raising in equal measure. People give this film too much flack for not being seriously scary; however, these witches aren’t meant to be unequivocally terrifying, but instead a parody of things that go bump in the night. Ultimately, this film demonstrates how to weave, amongst a bundle of fun, a beautiful allegory: take care of your loved ones and appreciate what’s right in front of you. It’s an undoubtedly family-friendly message (despite the occasional zombie!). There’s a reason this film has become a cult classic – there’s a lasting spooky appeal that results from a helluva good score and committed, consistent acting. Hocus Pocus is not perfect; sometimes, the dialogue is drawn out, while the movie stumbles through its pacing. Still, I found my attention never faltered, with the spectacle of magic and mystery keeping me on the edge of my seat. This movie’s not just a bunch of hocus pocus!

Katie Hind

Digital Copywriter

We are offering a family ticket for any film at Vue Darlington at Feethams

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What’s on

in November Hayley McKay & Guests 6 November – 19:00 – The Forum Music Centre Darlington’s own Hayley McKay had many gigs pencilled into her diary earlier this year, including at Sage Gateshead and Glastonbury, before the pandemic took hold. However, she’s still been busy writing new material – and it won’t be long before a local, responsibly socially-distanced audience will be able to take in her beautiful voice and fusion of pop and country sensibilities live. Hilarity Bites Comedy Club featuring Steve Day and Dave Twentyman 7 November – 19:00 – The Forum Music Centre

Alan Becks Rat Pack & ‘50s Jukebox 14 November – 20:30 – Middleton St George Cricket & Social Club Like Marty McFly in Back to the Future, you can turn back the clock to the 1950s and let a feast of music from the era pour through your ears, thanks to the Alan Becks Rat Pack and their jukebox. Tony Stockwell: Psychic Medium 17 November – 19:30 – The Majestic Theatre

Steve Day has been hailed as “warm and witty” by the Scotsman and attracted five-star acclaim from Chortle. Meanwhile, Dave Twentyman has been a regular presence at many of the country’s best weekend clubs and performed at music festivals including Leeds, V Festival and Download.

The psychic medium and TV personality Tony Stockwell has been practising mediumship since the age of 16 and presented TV series including The Psychic Detective, Street Psychic and Psychic School. In Darlington, he will endeavour to demonstrate an array of eclectic and spiritual modalities to enthral his audience.

National Theatre Live: War Horse 11 November – 19:00 – Vue Darlington

“Contact” with Jeanette Greenough, Spiritual Medium 21 November – 19:30 – The Majestic Theatre

Originally broadcast live in 2014, this showing of National Theatre’s Tony Award-winning stage adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s novel will be commemorating this year’s Remembrance Day. War Horse tells the heartwarming story of young boy Albert – who, after World War I breaks out, embarks on a mission to trace his beloved horse, Joey, who has been sold to the Cavalry. RnB: George Shovlin & The Radars 13 November – 19:00 – The Forum Music Centre A member of the American Heritage Blues Hall of Fame, George Shovlin was the frontman of the George Shovlin Blues Band from 1995 to 2005, before the band re-established themselves as George Shovlin & The

What’s on is sponsored by: YORKSHIRE LOFT LADDERS

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Radars in 2014. At the Forum, Shovlin will be showing why he has become iconic among blues fans in the North East.

The respected spiritual medium Jeanette Greenough will be demonstrating her ability to see, hear and sense spirits when she drops by Darlington this month. Though Jeanette has forged a truly international profile, this event will arrive as part of her first full headlining tour of UK theatres. Country Night with Darren Knight 21 November – 19:30 – Middleton St George Cricket & Social Club The Barnsley-based singer Darren Knight has garnered strong popularity on the UK country music scene – and, this month, will be showing a Darlington audience his stunning repertoire, powerful voice and immense talent as an instrumentalist.

Got an event coming up? Let us know and we’ll help spread the news. Email details of your event to:

sales@darlingtonmonthly.co.uk

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Darlington Monthly Nov 20  

Welcome to the November edition of Darlington Monthly! Finally, after one of the most gruelling years many of us will remember, 2020 is en...

Darlington Monthly Nov 20  

Welcome to the November edition of Darlington Monthly! Finally, after one of the most gruelling years many of us will remember, 2020 is en...

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