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Issue 81 - April 2020

What’s Inside

Your favourite PRICELESS community magazine

Feat ured Ar t i cles 22

Funding for Darlington railway station

Film review: Onward 31

Stanley and Bishop Auckland now offering free Wi-Fi COMMUNITY NEWS WHAT’S ON

24

Places to go: Goostrey for Jodrell Bank

LOCAL BUSINESSES

LOCAL EVENTS COMPETITIONS Darlington Monthly is proudly sponsored by

YORKSHIRE LOFT LADDERS We’re doing our part, are you?

FSC approved

Darlington’s oldest and widest-distributed community magazine

BOMBAY GATE

will deliver to your door food hygiene

In the wake of COVID-19 we want to assure you that our takeaway service is clean and safe using contactless deliveries!

ORDER ONLINE AT BOMBAYGATEDARLINGTON.CO.UK

DELIVERY SERVICE AVAILABLE ON ORDERS OVER £20

Call us : 01325 468709

Address : 10 skinnergate, Darlington, DL3 7NJ


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20%

IVE ASS NTS

N TO N U O S DISC UTTER SH

M COU & DIS OOD OD W ON UX WOANS FA NETI VE

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Visit us at 65 YARM LANE, STOCKTON, TS18 3DU 37 years of experience in the blinds industry Manufacturing & supply of made to measure blinds Huge range of blinds including vertical, roller, roman venetian, shutters and we offer soft furnishing!

DARLINGTON 01325 240 605

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STOCKTON

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SPENNYMOOR 01388 741 252

MOBILE: 07830 341 665

To Advertise Contact Darlington Monthly Email: sales@darlingtonmonthly.co.uk Tel: 01325 776225


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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 April edition of Darlington Monthly! Darlington and the wider world are unquestionably going through strange times right now. However, we’re here as always with a fresh issue of the town’s oldest and most widely distributed community magazine, packed with interesting features. Nonetheless, you’ll see one or two changes reflecting the current coronavirus-related uncertainty – including our advice, on page 30, on how to minimise the risks Covid-19 presents to your own health and wellbeing and that of those closest to you. Meanwhile, for film fanatics, our copywriter Craig Lenaghan has reviewed Pixar’s latest, Onward, on page 24. Keep washing those hands and look after yourselves, and we’ll see you again in May! Yorkshire Loft Ladders is the proud sponsor of this month’s Darlington Monthly. As a renowned local company, Yorkshire Loft Ladders would be delighted to provide you with the services – including loft hatches, ladders, flooring, boarding and lighting – that would enable you to get greater worth out of this sometimes neglected par t of the house. Call the team now for free, on 0800 612 8359, or visit www. yorkshireloftladders.co.uk for further information and a no-obligation quote.

YORKSHIRE LOFT LADDERS

Available to read online Visit darlingtonmonthly.co.uk /DarlingtonMonthly

Competitions

@DarlingtonMonthly

16 22 24 26

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 are not responsible for views expressed by contributors or other sources. The copying of any material within this publication is strictly forbidden without the publishers or Studio Managers consent. By providing your email address and entering our competitions you agree to receive email communications from the competition sponsor/prize provider.

Congratulations to last month’s competition winners, all winners have been notified. Winners are selected at random. The provider will only receive the 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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Denmark Street Advert 64x96mm_Layout 1 29/01/2016 1

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A pharmacy that’s open early until late and 7 days a week! NHS prescriptions, over the counter medicines and healthcare products, and a wide range of other services available. Denmark Street Pharmacy Denmark Street Surgery, Denmark Street, Darlington, County Durham DL3 0PD

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“We aim to offer something completely different,” said Mr. Osbourne. “We are the only station actually based in Darlington and we will be making sure the local community has a voice.”

Since moving into Business Central in 2019, Darlington’s independent community radio station, Darlo Radio, has gone from strength to strength. Programme Director, Phil Osborne, created the community-run station in 2017, and in just a few years has seen it move from a home studio, into a prominent location in the town centre. The station, which allows charities and fellow community groups to advertise on its shows for free, reinvests all profits – generated by commercial advertisements – back into the station.

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“As the station develops, we want to make it part of the area’s fabric. The way we can do that is to ensure we offer programming of interest to the area and all those who live in it.” To listen to Darlo Radio tune in on Alexa devices, just say “Launch Darlo Radio!”, or to get your own voice of the community heard, visit https://darloradio.com. Mobile users can download the TuneIn app for either Android or Apple devices. To find out more about Darlo Radio, contact the studio on 01325 734856, email Mr Osborne: studio@darloradio.com, or follow the station on Facebook @darloradio and Twitter @darlo_radio.

To Advertise Contact Darlington Monthly Email: sales@darlingtonmonthly.co.uk Tel: 01325 776225


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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 and Stoves 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 and Stoves 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 and Stoves.

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To Advertise Contact Darlington Monthly Email: sales@darlingtonmonthly.co.uk Tel: 01325 776225


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Post and Packing - A New Era for Postal Services In March, Post and Packing Darlington opened its doors on 309 Woodland Road, marking the beginning of a new era for postal services to its local community and businesses. Since the privatisation of the Royal Mail, there have been many changes in the postal system and a decline in Post Offices across Britain; and those still with a Post Office, unhappy with their service. However, despite this, there is still a high demand for postal services; even more so with the vast growth of the online retail market meaning there is an increase in the volume of parcels and packages that need shipping, dropping and collecting.  Post and Packing offer a solution to this. We are your very own independent post shop for retail and business customers alike that offers a wide range of postal and shipping services for the local community and businesses including: letter and parcel posting, national and international shipping, PO box rentals, e-drop shop and we also offer pick, pack and post fulfilment services with storage. In addition to the shop front services Post and Packing also offer a local pickup from businesses making it an extremely convenient service to use. 

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It is the popularity of these services that has formed the rapid expansion of new shop locations such as Darlington. On the upcoming shop launch, shop owner and manager Iain Christie spoke of how he’s “genuinely excited to see the positive impact he can have on the local community; whether that be for customers simply needing to post a letter, or for local businesses needing somewhere to store their goods and a reputable company to fulfil their orders.” Iain expressed the importance for Post and Packing’s service to be “a stress free and friendly experience that will help the local community.” To celebrate the opening of Post and Packing Darlington, the shop is offering some great introductory deals to help you save not just time, but money as well, including 2nd  class letters 62p until the 30th June – that’s 3p cheaper than the Post Office! As well as this, Post & Packing Darlington are also offering 10% off of all mailbox rental with standard mailboxes currently only £22.50 per month! If you would like to find out more about Post and Packing Darlington and how we can help you, please contact us at 01325 380578 or email  darlington@postandpackinguk.com www.postandpackinguk.com/darlington

To Advertise Contact Darlington Monthly Email: sales@darlingtonmonthly.co.uk Tel: 01325 776225


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Post and Packing Darlington 309 Woodland Road Cockerton, Darlington, Co.Durham, DL3 9AA Tel: 01325 380578 Email: darlington@postandpackinguk.com

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Burtree Puddings are passionate about puddings! ‘Truly Scrumptious’ From our product development process to the end product, everything we do is designed to ensure our products are among the best in the country. And with the current situation in the UK, our puddings are the perfect sweet treat in the comfort and safety of your own home. All of our puddings have a minimum 4 week fridge shelf life, and can also be frozen for up to six months. In our aim to help the local community, we are offering FREE delivery throughout Darlington and the neighbouring villages during the COVID-19 outbreak. We also operate a ‘click and collect’ option via our website, which will be contactless. As winners of no fewer than 37 Great Taste Awards we believe this demonstrates just how strong a product range we have. Our Sticky Toffee Pudding received great acclaim from Judge Jean Christophe Novelli when it was awarded the top Supreme Champion accolade; in fact he went as far as saying.... ‘this is the last thing I wish to eat prior to going to heaven so I can tell my Mother how good it is’. In fact, every single pudding in the Sticky & Christmas Pudding range holds at least one award. We were also chuffed to win the inaugural Deliciouslyorkshire ‘Free From’ Category. Using only the finest and most local ingredients, double cream and milk from our organic neighbours, Acorn Dairy, to British butter, British sugar, and local free range eggs, we ensure our products are some of the tastiest and finest around. With a range of nine sticky puddings, three Christmas puddings, and ‘sticky’ sauces,

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along with some of the most admired Rich Flapjack we not only offer a great variety of products, but also something for different dietary requirements. Gluten Free is available in both Sticky Toffee and Christmas Puddings. Last year we launched a Pudding ‘chilled’ Pots range, using fantastic double cream and milk from our neighbours Acorn Dairy, the range includes a lovely Panna Cotta and a beautiful Lemon Posset. Our Lemon Posset was shortlisted at the Deliciouslyorkshire Awards at first time of entering. We are currently looking at how we can be more environmentally friendly, including investigating different packaging options. If you have any questions or wish to place an order during this time then please do not hesitate to contact us on info@burtreepuddings.co.uk or via Facebook Messenger.

To Advertise Contact Darlington Monthly Email: sales@darlingtonmonthly.co.uk Tel: 01325 776225


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Wide range of sticky puddings available for FREE delivery throughout Darlington and surrounding villages*

Visit www.burtreepuddings.co.uk to see our full range of puddings. With a minimum 4 week fridge life, all our puddings can also be frozen. The perfect restaurant quality dessert in the comfort of your own home. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us on info@burtreepuddings.co.uk or via Facebook Messenger

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*free delivery within 5 mile radius of Darlington, please contact for delivery charges outside this area

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Stanley and Bishop Auckland now offering free Wi-Fi Residents and visitors to Bishop Auckland and Stanley are now able to go online at zero expense, by taking advantage of the free Wi-Fi in the County Durham towns. Durham County Council has funded the new system, joining forces with Bishop Auckland Town Council, Bishop Auckland Town Team and Stanley Area Action Partnership. Those wishing to use the free Wi-Fi simply need to connect to the Connected Bishop Auckland or Connected Stanley system and log on via social media or a simple form. The Bishop Auckland Wi-Fi zone runs along Fore Bondgate, to the Market Place and down Newgate Street to Morrison’s roundabout. “An important part of a town’s infrastructure” Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economic regeneration, Cllr Carl Marshall, commented: “Having free Wi-Fi will be hugely beneficial for the town centres in both Bishop Auckland and Stanley.

Cllr Joy Allen, Cabinet member for transformation, culture and tourism, added: “This will make the town centres a more vibrant and attractive place for residents, visitors, businesses and shoppers. “We hope that the offer of free Wi-Fi will increase the time people spend in the town centres, as well as encourage additional footfall, which will help local businesses grow.” If the pilot scheme succeeds in boosting footfall to businesses in the area, it is expected to be rolled out to other towns around County Durham.

“It is an important part of a town’s infrastructure and something that forward-looking and thriving towns need to invest in.” 16

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How do you protect your income during these trying times? It's a bit scary out there at the moment. You may be asking yourself what would happen if your monthly income were to disappear and you still had to pay your bills. Thats why we're here. At Postcard Planning, we help the hard-working people of Darlington find the perfect life insurance or income protection policy, which can help to keep the lights on if the worst happens. We're based in Business Central, Darlington. You can get a FREE consultation meeting by calling the team on 01325 965 300 or at www.postcardplanning.co.uk.

Postcard Financial Planning Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. (774450)

Find us on Facebook: DarlingtonMonthly Visit us online: www.darlingtonmonthly.co.uk

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Business Spotlight:

eso group

Who are ESO Group, how long have you been in business, and what are your primary goals?

In an extremely competitive industry the personal touch has been lost. As the company director I still involve myself with all clients within ESO Group and ESO Group is still in its first year of trading, although manage their circumstances accordingly. Every it is made up of staff who have been working in client has my direct contact details, which I am the industry for a substantial amount of time. Our available on 24/7, providing maximum support for main goal is to bring what experience we have when they need it most. across different sectors to one place, so a client has the best chance of receiving every saving option in How do you decide which renewable energy relation to energy costs. solutions will work for different clients? What sort of process do you go through when auditing a client’s energy or water usage circumstances? With regards to energy, we confirm the meter type and how much energy is being consumed and at what rate. This gives us a basic understanding of the current set up and is enough to indicate what products will reduce usage. If we have enough reason, we work with current and previous suppliers to collect past data usage. We calculate what has been consumed/spent against what savings could be produced via a new contract and/or renewable system implementation. Reports are then produced to present our findings. We are always keen to go on site visits to collect further data and discuss any options in more depth. However, how we complete the audit is always tailor-made to suit the client this is our biggest priority. Are there any particular business sectors you specialise in, or could any business contact ESO Group for energy saving solutions? We have a totally open door policy with any company. Businesses of all sizes are welcome to get in touch for assistance. We do manage a lot of Half Hourly meter and multi-site accounts due to the complexity of account management these clients require. Why do businesses choose to work with you, over your competitors? What does your service involve in terms of client account management?

A clients’ current and historic energy data usage is the leading factor in this. When we establish this level and for what fuel, we can conduct an investigation from there. A lot of work goes into recommending an energy solution as we leave no stone unturned. We accurately calculate a clients’ current energy spend against any solution that we recommend, so you can see first-hand the real potential savings. What are the most common things you come across that businesses in particular don’t understand about how to reduce energy costs? I would say the benefits of choosing the best time to extend contracts. Just because you are in a contract does not mean you should leave it to your renewal to get extension quotes. Tendering and extending early can be massively beneficial to protecting costs. A close second would be capacity charges. Half Hourly meter clients can be bamboozled by a lot of charges these meters carry, but tend not to be advised or educated on how these can affect expenditure. Managing and setting your capacity to suit the usage of the company can save businesses a lot of money over the term of the contract. Some clients are even being financially penalised on every bill for going above their KVA level, and are totally unaware that this can be avoided. Evie O’Neil | Director

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Original furniture for homes,

businesses and more use is oak, but you can also order pieces in pine, ash and beech. It wasn’t until 2019 that the business was established - and, since then, it has gone from strength to strength, receiving a wide range of orders and delivering everything from dog kennels to coffee tables, fireplace mantels to farmhousestyle lamps.

Behind every item created is a lifetime of passion in carpentry and woodwork. With this verve for original furniture comes the desire to provide an affordable service that people can turn to again and again. The result, with Bespoak Ltd, is a wide selection of custom furniture, either available to buy or made to order. Naturally, the main material the company

You can also contact the company for the creation of unique storage solutions, perhaps for a loft or basement conversion, or simply to make better use of the space in your property.

For more information, you can find Bespoak Ltd on Facebook, @BespOAKLTD2020, or call 07542 678664.

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High quality bespoke furniture whatever your budget

All hand made to suit your requirements: • Floating shelves

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We also reclaim wood burning stoves

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• Clever storage

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Chancellor confirms funding for £105m redevelopment of Darlington railway station Chancellor Rishi Sunak used his Spring Budget to announce that the Darlington railway station redevelopment will be approved and fully funded.

“I’ve been making the case for Darlington station from the day I was elected, and we now have the money to deliver, but I will not rest until I see spades in the ground.

The government’s confirmation that it would commit £80 million to the station followed months of discussions between the Department for Transport (DfT), the Treasury and Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen, who emphasised the importance of the upgrade for improving rail travel in the North East.

“We’re making sure our roads and public transport works for all our towns and villages and we are making good progress.” High hopes for long-awaited revamp

It is hoped that the station’s redevelopment will help to The funding is additional to a £25 million investment significantly improve local and national rail services, in to help to deliver the vision for the station, amid hopes addition to futureproofing the station for HS2 services that this will unlock local capacity around the region. in the years ahead. Included in the plan are a new local station and train platforms at Darlington station. This will bring about a more than 300% increase in rail capacity from the current two trains an hour across the region, to as many as eight possible trains an hour. “A key building block to improving rail travel” Mayor Houchen commented: “I am thrilled the Chancellor has backed this £105m scheme at Darlington station, which is essential to Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool getting better rail services. Something that is badly needed across our area. “The plan to improve Darlington station is a key building block to improving rail travel not just in Darlington, but across the whole of Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool. “This long overdue project will put more trains on the local lines, cut journey times, improve regional transport links and give visitors an incredible welcome to the area.

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The fabric of the station will also see improvements as part of the scheme, encompassing improved entrances and the regeneration of the wider area surrounding the station. The completion of the station upgrade will allow for better freight connections from Teesport, while preparing the station for high-speed services and Northern Powerhouse Rail. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps stated: “I’ve seen for myself the investment needed at Darlington station. “Thanks to the championing of Ben Houchen and Peter Gibson, I’m pleased that the Chancellor announced today this project is moving ahead. “This project will help open up connectivity across the North.”

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FILM REVIEW:

ONWARD Barley is the roleplaying geek who – with some of the good-natured doziness of Emmet Brickowski, the Lego Movie protagonist previously brought to audible life by Pratt – teaches Ian more and more of the spells he needs to succeed in his adventure.

Although the prolific animation studio Pixar’s latest portrays what, at first glance, is a stereotypical fantasy world, it’s much more relatable than you might expect, as the actual magic has largely lapsed among the populace. So, a centaur cop drives a car, a dragon is kept as an overexcitable if ultimately tame pet, and unicorns rummage like squirrels through rubbish bins. It all makes for a lot of delightful silliness while setting the stage for the film’s more poignant moments. In amongst this world are our two leads, elf brothers Ian and Barley Lightfoot – voiced respectively by Tom Holland and Chris Pratt, with the Avengers stars’ chemistry consistently sparkling. The ever-reliable Julia Louis-Dreyfus voices the kind-hearted mother Laurel, who breaks the news that, now that Ian has reached his 16th birthday, the boys can inherit a very special item from their late father: a magical staff capable of

restoring him to life for just 24 hours. Alas, the brothers mess up the spell – leaving them, creepy though it sounds, with just their father’s sentient legs. The only hope for bringing back the rest of him before the 24 hours elapse is a rare gem waiting at the end of a Lord of the Rings-style quest. The brothers eagerly embark on it while towing along their literal half-dad, who becomes a riveting character of his own even sans torso. The first stop? A tavern where the boys hope to meet a mighty manticore – who, it turns out, is now rushed off her feet as an embattled restauranteur, Corey (Octavia Spencer). That’s just one example of how Onward has fun updating a number of fantasy cliches. As the awkward self-doubter who initially knows next to nothing about magic, Ian represents probably most of the parents in the audience. Meanwhile,

Director Dan Scanlon lost his own father early, and has spoken of how Onward is written from a place of “personal truth”. Even despite Onward’s lack of a clearcut antagonist, the emotional stakes are certainly high for Ian and Barley as they race against time before their patriarch has to disappear again, this time for good. No spoilers here about how the situation eventually resolves itself, but it will certainly resonate with viewers who have also lost a loved one in gut-punching circumstances. Pixar has a long and established history of moving audiences close to tears; the love story told in the opening scenes of 2009’s superb Up particularly springs to mind. Onward doesn’t quite scale the heights – either creatively or emotionally – of that film, but that probably says more about how high the Disney-owned studio has set the bar than Onward’s own (few) shortcomings. Like Ian and Barley, Pixar has hearteningly succeeded in rekindling a little magic from a bygone era.

Craig Lenaghan Copywriter

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Don’t sweat the April showers this month April comes with a reputation – and for good reason. Although it’s not traditionally the wettest month in the UK, it is certainly one of the most unpredictable! And we should know, as we’ve spent the last few decades’ worth of them repairing and installing roofs across the North East of England. The danger with showers though, when it comes to your roof, is that any damage tends to worsen in dribs and drabs, as the skies open, clear, and open up again. So what starts out as a minor problem becomes bigger before summer, and often remains unchecked until later in the year.

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Easy Spaghetti Bolognese Everyone needs a basic Spaghetti Bolognese recipe that still tastes great, no matter how simple. Get that depth of flavour by cooking the sauce very gently until it’s super rich. This is designed to be a low cost recipe. PREP: 30 MINS COOK: 30 MINS

Ingredients • 2 tbsp olive oil • 400g/14oz beef mince • 1 onion, diced • 2 garlic cloves, chopped • 100g/3½oz carrot, grated • 2 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes

Method

1.

Heat a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add a tablespoon of olive oil and once hot add the beef mince and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook the mince until well browned over a medium-high heat (be careful not to burn the mince. It just needs to be a dark brown colour). Once browned, transfer the mince to a bowl and set aside.

2.

Serves 4

3.

Add the tomatoes to the pan and stir well to mix. Pour in the stock, bring to a simmer and then reduce the temperature to simmer gently for 45 minutes, or until the sauce is thick and rich. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary.

4.

When ready to cook the spaghetti, heat a large saucepan of water and add a pinch of salt. Cook according to the packet instructions. Once the spaghetti is cooked through, drain and add to the pan with the bolognese sauce. Mix well and serve.

Add another tablespoon of oil to the saucepan you browned the mince in and turn the heat to medium. Add the onions and a pinch of salt and fry gently for 5-6 • 400g/14oz dried spaghetti minutes, or until softened and translucent. Add the garlic and • salt and pepper cook for another 2 minutes. Add the grated carrot then pour the mince and any juices in the bowl back into the saucepan. To Advertise Contact Darlington Monthly Email: sales@darlingtonmonthly.co.uk Tel: 01325 776225

• 400ml/14fl oz stock (made from stock cube. Ideally beef, but any will do)

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What’s on

in your home? As you can probably imagine, we have to bring you a What are the symptoms of coronavirus? somewhat different ‘What’s on’ piece to our usual this month. The NHS currently urges people to stay at home if they have a high temperature or a new, continuous cough. If At the time in late March that Darlington Monthly you experience these symptoms, you must avoid going was headed for press, the UK government had advised to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital, and you don’t everyone in the country to avoid “non-essential” travel need to contact the NHS’s 111 line simply to tell them and contact with others, as the country sought to you are staying at home. minimise the impact of the coronavirus, which causes the illness COVID-19. You should only call 111 if you are unable to get help online at https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19/. As a result, large numbers of Britons have chosen to self-isolate or work from home. Many events have also How can I find out what’s happening locally? been cancelled, and venues forced to temporarily close their doors. The Darlington Borough Council website’s section on the coronavirus is at www.darlington.gov. So, with any local events that do remain on the schedule u k / h e a lt h - a n d - s o c i a l - c a re / p u bl i c - h e a l t h / being subject to change, we thought that this month, coronavirus. Local news websites, such as www. we’d focus not on ‘what’s on’, but instead on what to thenorthernecho.co.uk and www.gazettelive.co.uk, do during these unprecedented times in recent history. will also provide the latest details on how coronavirus is being handled in the area. First of all... what do I need to do? Otherwise, you can find the most up-to-date guidance Hopefully, you’ll now know the basics of how to keep and information on the UK-wide coronavirus outbreak yourself as safe as possible during the coronavirus at www.gov.uk and www.nhs.uk. outbreak – and you can find the latest guidance on the NHS website at www.nhs.uk. How can I spend my days, weeks or months in isolation? Nonetheless, as a refresher, the latest advice for avoiding catching and spreading the virus, as Darlington Monthly Well, provided that you follow all of the necessary went to press, included frequently washing your hands advice and guidance from the above bodies, that’s very with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, covering much up to you. your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough or sneeze, and avoiding social activities such May we suggest breaking out that Rubik’s cube, learning as visits to pubs, restaurants, theatres and cinemas. to paint, working or, perhaps, catching up on your reading of previous issues of Darlington Monthly? Hey, Things that the NHS says you should avoid, meanwhile, it’s only a suggestion... include touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unclean hands, and having visitors to your home – even friends and family.

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Places to go...

GOOSTREY FOR JODRELL BANK

I

finally managed to visit Jodrell Bank (JB) between Christmas and New Year. This was the trip postponed last July by the big party to celebrate the granting of UNESCO World Heritage Status. The best fare was using the southern TransPennine route between Sheffield and Stockport – much more rural than the northern TP route taken by trains from the north east.

The observatory was established by the University of Manchester in 1945 by Bernard Lovell, a radio astronomer, to investigate cosmic rays after his work on radar during the WW2. Subsequently, it has been involved in the research of meteors, quasars, and was heavily involved with the tracking of Space Age probes in the 1960s,

Daniel and I travelled from the north east via York and Doncaster, riding the TP to Stockport and the local train to Goostrey, arriving on time at 12.41. The little station has some interesting displays on the radio telescope and is a short walk from the village of the same name. The JB explainer’s talk at Jodrell Bank takes place at 14.30 daily, and we debated whether to have lunch in the Red Lion pub before walking to the radio telescope or use the café there. I made a wrong judgement and chose the pub: not particularly good, fairly expensive, and took an age to arrive. So we might miss the talk.

The work began in Manchester itself, but electrical interference from the trams on Oxford Road prevented effective research, and required a move out into the country. Electrical interference remains a problem on the rural site though, and visitors and staff are prohibited from using mobile phones. Jodrell Bank is primarily used for investigating radio waves from the planets and stars, effectively looking out for life on other planets, although none has yet been found, and perhaps never will be. A good reason for looking after our planet by travelling by train wherever possible. JB is also HQ for the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), a collaboration of 20 countries to create the most powerful radio telescope ever built.

Jodrell Bank is two and a half miles from the station, and after we had eaten I had to summon a local taxi to get us there in time using the only number I had. The driver had only returned from the Canaries the previous night, so I am rather glad we were not visiting the day before. Instructions for walking along the narrow country lanes on JB’s website advise not to walk this route during hours of darkness as there are no street lights. It adds that at one point it will appear that you are walking away from the telescope, but to “hold your nerve as you are on the correct road”. The Lovell telescope, 76.2 metres in diameter, and now the third largest in the world, dominates the site. The guide who took us round had worked there for several years but admitted to me afterwards that he had never been up inside the contraption.

We saw the indoor orrery, a model of the solar system, but it was unfortunately too dark to explore the 35 acres arboretum, which houses the UK’s national collections of crab apple and mountain ash, as well as a small scale model of the solar system at a scale of approximately 1:5,000,000,000. From closing time at 17.00 to our train at 18.03 we had ample time to walk back along the unlit lanes facing oncoming traffic and retracing the route of the taxi on foot at zero cost, to board our homeward train.

alexnelson@dunelm.org.uk

www.nationalrail.com

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