Dartford Living September 2021

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5. Fun Friends Groups 6. Straight Out Of Dartford 8. Dartford Giving 11.Senior Snippets 16. Debbie’s Delicious recipe 20. Benefits of the performing arts on children and young peoples mental health 22. Walking Meditation 24. Travel Spotlight with Harden Holidays 28. Fitness - September 32. Making memories 50 years on 36. Save on back to school supplies 37. Summer fun for families in Dartford 38. Life under the Stairs 40. Dartford Karate Kids 41. Foley the Freckled Fox 42. Upcoming shows at Orchard Theatre 44. Dementia 47. Car News 48. The first day at school 49 Dartford Painted Rocks & Sports roundup 50. Q & A with Joe Swash 54 Useful numbers 55. Where to go locally 56 Business directory

Until next time, stay safe.


Dear Readers, Welcome to the September magazine. We live in strange times, but as usual the magazine is jam packed with lots of local information and local businesses. Please support as many as you can - use them or lose them! Like no time before, your community needs you. In case you weren’t aware, we run Dartford Living alongside volunteer members of the local community FOR the local community. It’s the only independently run magazine serving the local area with information, fun, good news and positive local stories! Please get in touch if you would like to write an article for the magazine. If writing is not for you then perhaps you could volunteer to deliver 100 or so magazines to your local roads you will guarantee your copy of the magazine and get a little exercise as well!

Vijay - Editor, Dartford Living (and the rest of the fantastic Dartford Living volunteer team) ONLINE

www.dartfordliving.com www.dartfordlivinglive.co.uk www.dartfordbusinessdirectory.co.uk


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SUPPORTING FUN FRIENDS GROUPS Donna, Olivia’s Mum - Olivia had a wonderful day and enjoyed every moment. Thank you everyone involved in making this a special day for her xx

Orchard Garage Limited recently raised money at a Shop and Pamper Evening for Fun Friends Groups, which enabled them to take their Young Adults on a trip to Thorpe Park and Thomas Brown Estates kindly paid for the minibus. Together we made it possible for those young people with additional needs to have the BEST day out with their friends, with the support of Fun Friends staff/helpers too. Fun Friends supports children and young adults with additional needs and disabilities. They run groups, workshops, parties and days out for those aged 7-21 during the week, weekends and school holidays! Groups are located at Swanley, Wilmington and Sidcup. Fun Friends enables the young people to make friends, feel accepted, try different things, learn new skills and most importantly have fun with the support of staff and volunteer helpers. It also allows for parents, carers and siblings to have some well deserved, important respite time too.

event. Esther Dawson (Founder/ Director) and her team would love to hear from you! These are some of the testimonials from some of the parents following our trip: Charlotte; Nicholas’s Mum - Most 18 year olds would go to a theme park or just hang out with their friends all the time. My son cannot do that without support. Esther and her team are amazing allowing him to have fun with friends without his parents being there. Thank you ever so much for your help to fund a trip to Thorpe Park - an outing to remember for them! I’m so pleased for Nick! He’s always been too scared to do fast rides. He’s over the moon talking about the rides he did on Saturday! Thank you!

Jessica, Ronnie & Charlie’s step mum - Boys had a great time at thorpe Park! Thank you so much Esther for running the groups and making the connections with local businesses providing different opportunities and experiences for the boys! Julie, Sam & Max’s Mum - Thank you so much for a lovely trip to Thorpe park, both my boys had a great day:) Sarah, Ellen’s Mum - Thank you to everyone involved it was such a treat for Ellen she had a really great time! Jackie, Adam & Amy’s Nan - They had a great day thank you so much 😊 Families were all so appreciative and loved that they could have a full day’s break too!

Tina, Peter’s Mum - Thank you for giving my son the chance to go to Thorpe Park with his friends.He doesn’t get out much without parents so was nice to hear how much he enjoyed it. He said he had a great Please contact funfriendsgroups@ day and giving him the chance to be gmail.com or 07745036868 if with good friends. Thank you Esther you are interested in booking on for organising it. / volunteering / sponsoring an




This month’s ‘Straight Outta Dartford’ is heading in a different direction with our subject being the lovely June McMenemy. This piece will be split in two due to the sheer amount of content in my and June’s conversation together! Included in this article is a photograph of June -pictured on the far right of the photo below - with three of her friends in the 60’s. This photograph was taken as part of a new shopopening right on Dartford high street and is now being used as part of a campaign by Boom Radio! If similarly to me when I first heard of this story, you are filled with questions then read ahead to find out more and to get some snippets of mine and June’s conversation.

more specifically the stations along the Thames. “You could go down to Sheppey (Isle of Sheppey) and see the forts down there. There were a lot of DJ’s starting- Tony Blackburn, Kenny Everrett, Dave Cash. Being young , you just get swept along with it!” For those who may not know, pirate radios are stations that run without a license in order to have free expression. According to June, at the time pirate radio began to pick up, there was no real radio channel aimed at youngsters, so of course this led to alternatives rising from the midst. “It brings back lots of memories, but apart from that I think it is just such happy music,” was what June said when asked what Boom Radio meant to her!

Boom radio is a radio station specifically broadcasting songs for and by the boomer generation; some artists played include Stevie Wonder, Donna Summer and Chuck Berry. Discussing the station with June, she brought up the pirate radio stations around at the time mentioning Radio Luxembourg from abroad, Radio Caroline from the north sea, but

After hearing an advertisement asking for pictures from the 60’s that ‘told a story’, June’s interest peaked and her mind arrived at the picture we see on this page right now. “It’s quite an iconic picture really. I was in the car driving when I heard the advert on the radio asking for a picture that told a story. That was the thing...it told a story.” The story being that June and her friends were at work


one day when someone from down the high street came in asking for people to pose in a photograph for their shop opening. June and her friends eagerly volunteered as they were free and voila! The picture came to be. For those curious, the photograph took place a couple of stores down from Boots, but the specific shop it was outside has long since gone. One of the purposes of this article is to reach out to the other three women in the picture. Named Chris, Jennifer and Barbara, June is eager to reach out to her old friends. “I got in contact with Chris. It’s quite funny because when I sent the photograph in I thought, ‘Oh well I’ll put it on facebook just to see if the other three are still around’. Obviously I haven’t had contact with any of them since 1969, so I put it on a Dartford page and Chris’ niece actually saw it and said oh that’s my aunt there! I’ve obviously not spoken to Chris, but looking at Chris through her photograph on facebook, she hasn’t changed at all!” If anyone thinks they may know Jennifer or Barbara or is able to get in touch with them, then please don’t hesitate to shoot me over an email (see below for email address)! shannonrandall44@gmail.com whatis.techtarget .com/ definition/pirate-radio www.boomradiouk.com



By Kate Hargreaves The Dartford Living team is always growing and evolving, and you’re not limited to any one thing – you’re welcome to try out other roles too. “Would I enjoy it?” Given the broad range of ways that you can get involved, there’s bound to be something that you’d enjoy. The people who volunteer are from a variety of backgrounds and volunteer for lots of different reasons. For example, my mum and her neighbour, who are both retired, deliver magazines together each month, as they both enjoy walking and can have a chat at the same time (shout out to Vanessa and Barbara!). I started writing this article as I had attended an information evening about becoming a charity trustee and it became clear that some people didn’t know what the role entailed, and thought there should be something that gives people more information about the different ways they can volunteer their time. If you have an idea for something you’d like to see, why not make it happen!

Most of the roles that I write about each month, I do (or have done in the past) myself, and for the few that I haven’t experienced first-hand, someone close to me has done and has given me information for the article. There are multiple reasons for this: I wouldn’t want to recommend something that I don’t know much about, I wouldn’t want to give you wrong information, and finally you’ve got to practice what you preach – I wouldn’t ask others to give up their time if I wasn’t willing to do the same. Anyway, what I’m writing about this month is something you already know I do – contributing to Dartford Living…


“How much time do I need for it?” It very much depends on exactly Dartford Living volunteer how you want to get involved, and “What is it?” Volunteering with all roles are quite flexible. Dartford Living can take many forms, so you’re almost guaranteed to have “Are there any requirements?” a skill that the Dartford Living team Nope! Just a willingness to give it a wants. If you have a cause close to go – whether that is using existing your heart or a story to tell, you skills or trying out something new might like to write a regular article for you. such as this one. If you like getting out and about, you might consider “This sounds great, how do I get delivering magazines in the Dartford involved?” A good starting place area. If you enjoy exploring local is to email editor@dartfordliving. areas with your camera, you could com, or as always, if you have any be a photographer. If you have good questions, feel free to email me at attention to detail and often spot kate@dartfordliving.com. Hope to mistakes when reading books, you hear from you soon! could be a proof reader.

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SENIOR SNIPPETS - MYTH BUSTING THE ROLE OF A CARE GIVER By Christina Uppenkamp - Home Instead Welcome to the latest edition of Senior Snippets: the monthly advisory column with the older members of our community in mind, brought to you by Christina Uppenkamp of Home Instead Dartford.

most skilled healthcare workers in the sector. Carers will always have opportunities to increase their skills or specialise in certain areas, and the sector is constantly changing and growing to meet the needs of the ageing population. There are over 50 qualifications at different levels in In this edition, we are going to social care, so it is important to speak look at some of the common to your employer about learning and myths surrounding the role of the developing new skills. CAREGiver. We want to help people understand what CAREGiving entails Myth 3: Being cared for in your and to encourage people to think home is only for the very ill. about a career in care. According Many elderly people want to live at to Skills for Care, the strategic home for as long as possible, but body for workforce development might require a little bit of extra help in adult social care in England, around the house. In these instances, there are approximately 90,000 non-medical home care, including vacancies in the social care sector personal care and companionship at any given time. services can be provided by professional CAREGivers. Here are the top 5 myths surrounding CAREGiving: Non-medical home care often revolves around daily living activities, Myth 1: CAREGiving consists only such as eating, dressing and bathing of routine tasks. and CAREGivers might also help M a n y p e o p l e b e l i e v e t h a t with driving, shopping and doing CAREGivers only have about 15 housework. Companionship care minutes for each care visit and they is also vital to those living on their mostly provide tasked based care own as it helps prevent loneliness such as help around the house, and isolation. Having a chat over a medication reminders and perhaps cup of tea and helping people get out drive their client to the grocery store and about is the type of quality time or pharmacy if they have time. that elderly people most often need.

all care companies are the same. There are many options in today’s market for seniors and their families, and it is recommended for anyone looking for care to do plenty of research and ask a lot of questions.

But CAREGivers do so much more than that! They provide a large amount of social and emotional support which can be as impactful on their client’s wellbeing as those performing physical activities.

I’d love to hear from you! To make a suggestion for a future Senior Snippets topic, please write to me at c.uppenkamp@dartford. homeinstead.co.uk or by post to Home Instead Dartford, St Fidelis House, St Fidelis Road, Erith, DA8 1AT.

Myth 4: All CAREGiving services are the same. The saying “buyer beware” is very true when looking for the right home care company. Whether you are a family member, looking for care for a loved one, or you are Myth 2: Care workers are unskilled. looking for a job in the care sector, CAREGivers are among some of the it is important to remember that not

Myth 5: Most CAREGivers are middle-aged women. Traditionally, this myth might be true, but in today’s society CAREGivers are a more diverse group than many people realise. Many CAREGivers are men, and additionally, many CAREGivers are of the millennial generation, between the ages of 18 and 30. Even children are providing care for loved ones. And not all CAREGivers are family members; these days, friends are increasingly likely to step in. There are many more myths about the role of a CAREGiver, but we hope that this article has helped shine a light on CAREGiving as a rewarding career where you can make a real difference to someone’s life. At Home Instead we’re running the You Can Care campaign, to provide advice and support. Simply search #youcancare on social media, for a range of hints and tips on ways to live well in later life.





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BENEFITS OF THE PERFORMING ARTS ON CHILDREN’S AND YOUNG PEOPLE’S MENTAL HEALTH One in five children will have experienced mental health problems at least once in their lives by the time they leave primary school. For young people, taking part in performing arts activities can help with major life challenges such as exam stress or bereavement. In addition to this, it can also have a positive effect in reducing anxiety, stress and combatting depression. It can help to boost confidence and make them feel more engaged and resilient. Attending a performing arts group provides students with space for a social connection, creating a sense of belonging. In each of the three disciplines taught at Stagecoach Performing Arts – singing, drama and dance students are exposed to techniques and a social environment which can have a positive impact on their mental health and well-being. Research by the Scottish Government has shown that those who participated in a creative or cultural activity were 38% more likely to report good health compared to those who did not. For participants in dance, the figure reporting good health leapt to 62%. Performing as a group provides young people with a shared positive experience, something they are able to bond over, creating friends and a support network. For many having a group outside of school or family is vital. To find out more about Stagecoach Dartford contact Liz on 01732750783.

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Volunteering at Peppercorns is immensely rewarding, so if you’re looking for a voluntary role which is enjoyable and will leave you with a big smile on your face, Invoicing/Billing please get in touch!

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WALKING MEDITATION You can walk inside or outside, anywhere you can access enough distance to take a few uninterrupted steps, knowing you can always walk around things. Stand still for a moment and close your eyes. Feel the body’s posture, the feet on the ground, and any movement you experience through your body. Open your eyes. Choose which leg will be stepping first. As you lift the foot, feel the bottom of the foot lose contact with the ground. Moving it forward, observe the sensation of the foot coming back into contact with the ground. Repeat with the other foot.

Walking meditation is thought to have its origins in Buddhism. It’s recorded that the Buddha himself talked about the benefits of walking meditation and how it can assist us in the practice of awareness. Although I teach walking meditation, it’s never been a practice that I turned to myself, always favouring breath focused meditation practices. Recently though I had an epiphany. I’d had some simple abdominal surgery involving a laparoscopy where I’d been pumped with air which had moved into my ribcage and made breathing difficult and painful. The evening of the surgery, I was tired, had abdominal pain from the surgery itself, was finding it hard to breathe due to the gas, and couldn’t find a way to sit or lie down that wasn’t painful. Frustrated I began to cry and the crying movement in my ribcage made the pain feel even more intense. For a moment I felt lost, I couldn’t fall back on any of my usual calming techniques and tools because they all involved focusing on the breath, lying or sitting, all things that were now painful and stimulating my stress response. As I felt my distress rising, I knew I


needed to calm myself down but in that moment I didn’t know how to begin to sooth myself. Thankfully, instinct took over and I began to pace the room. After a couple of turns up and down I could feel myself calming down, beginning to focus on the sensation of my feet on the ground, the repetitive movement, my heart rate began to slow, I stopped crying and started to feel the self-soothing effects of the practice. Walking meditation can take many forms, from the simple rhythmic pacing, tuning into the feeling of the feet making contact with the ground that helped me after the operation, to the more detailed sense of whole body experience while walking. You could choose to repeat a mantra while walking or focus purely on sensations. Below is a simple example practice you can try at home.

Walk slowly. When you need to mindfully turn around and continue. You could try incorporating a simple mantra to help you focus on your experience. As you lift the foot, think (or say), “Lift.” As you move the foot forward, think, “Move.” As you place the foot down, think, “Place.” This is both a mindfulness practice and a practice in cultivating concentration. When the mind wanders, come back to the feeling in your feet. When you are done with the period of practice, stand still for a few moments and notice how you feel. Let me know how you get on. Keep taking good care of yourself, Clair. clair.crestyoga@gmail.com



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With a winning combination of great weather, good beaches, sophisticated nightlife, interesting history and marvellous scenery, the island of Gran Canaria is a great year-round destination. Nicknamed a minicontinent, the island has coastline scenes of dramatic cliffs giving way to golden sandy dunes, with rugged mountains, tropical forests and tranquil valleys. Gran Canaria’s mountainous interior, fantastic for sightseers, ramblers and serious hikers alike, includes spectacular crags, caves, and charming old villages such as Artenara, and Tejeda. The most famous is the well-preserved village of Teror, which acts as the island’s spiritual centre and features some of the best examples of colonial style architecture, plus a beautiful 18th century church. Gran Canaria hosts an extensive calendar with a fantastic array of religious festivities, a programme of musical events from classical recitals and opera to rock, jazz and Celtic celebrations. There’s a film festival, international football tournament attracting top European teams and, in November, there’s the renowned ARC (Atlantic Rally for Cruisers), a transatlantic yacht race from Las Palmas to St Lucia. The Las Palmas and Maspalomas February Carnivals are celebrated with much gusto and comprise parades, concerts and live music. The Festival of Almond Blossom features folk dancing, concerts and wine tasting and July’s Fiesta de Nuestra Senora del Carmen is one of the most impressive annual events. - The North Coast Agaete on the northwest coast surrounds a striking rocky bay and boasts delightful botanical gardens that are well worth a visit. For gardening enthusiasts and nature lovers, there’s also Jardin Canario, located to the southwest of Las Palmas in Tafira, and Caldera de la Bandama, a substantial volcanic crater 1,000m wide.

- Las Palmas Las Palmas de Gran Canaria or Las Palmas as it is more commonly known, is Gran Canaria’s most populous city and is home to almost half the islands population. For a look back into the islands history, Las Palmas has a host of museums including the Canarian Museum which is dedicated to the history and archaeology of the Canary Islands. Equally the Casa de Colon which shows the voyages and artifacts of Columbus and his journeys, the museum also boasts two other floors which house, art, models and 13 other exhibition rooms. The beach of Playa de Las Canteras is one of Gran Canaria’s most famous beaches and is located in Las Palmas. At around 3km long and set off the La Barra barrier reef, the waters are calm, and the shore-front has an abundance of restaurant, bars and shops. - Palmitos Parque One of the island’s principal attractions, Palmitos Parque features stunning subtropical gardens which provide homes for exotic birds, and include a butterfly house and an aquarium dramatically set in rocky surrounds. For those with an interest in nature or for those looking for things to do in Gran Canaria away from the beach, Palmitos Parque is a great option.

- Central Highlights Gran Canaria’s mountainous interior, fantastic for sightseers, ramblers and serious hikers alike, includes spectacular crags, caves, and charming old villages such as Artenara, and Tejeda. The most famous is the wellpreserved village of Teror, which acts as the island’s spiritual centre and features some of the best examples of colonial style architecture, plus a beautiful 18th century church. - Catamaran Cruises A favourite amongst things to do in Gran Canaria, is to set sail on a specially designed glass bottomed catamaran in search of some of the 29 different varieties of dolphins and whales that can be found off the south west coast. - Dunas de Maspalomas The protected natural park of Dunas de Maspalomas encompasses a region of spectacular sand formations and the area boasts more than 6km of golden sandy beaches where the dunes meet the ocean, plus there’s a freshwater lagoon and delightful palm grove.

Theme parks are great when looking for family things to do in Gran Canaria, or for day-trips away from the beach. The days in the Canary Islands are long and sunny with mild temperatures and few variations. August is the hottest month with an average temperature of 24°C (75°F) and the coldest is January at 18°C (64°F) with the most daily sunshine hours on the 10th August. The wettest month is December with an average of 31mm of rain. The best moth to swim in the sea is in September when the average sea temperature is 23°C (73°F). There is a lot more to be said about the island and all that it has to offer. To find out more and book your next holidays to Gran Canaria contact the Harden Holidays team on 0800 023 8974 or email info@hardenholidays. co.uk

- Theme Parks Set in a tropical oasis in the south of the island, the vast water park Aqualand Maspalomas, boasts an abundance of waterslides and attractions to suit all the family.

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Full-time, experienced, qualified yoga teacher, teaching practical yoga and meditation classes in the local community and now online. When Government advice allows, the regular schedule of in person group classes in Hextable, Swanley, Sidcup and Bexleyheath will resume. For now, all regular group classes are being held online. Yoga Alliance Professionals Senior Yoga Teacher and British Wheel of Yoga Foundation Course Tutor, I am qualified and experienced in making yoga accessible. I teach an embodied and practical approach to yoga, breath work and meditation, appropriate for all ages and abilities. You don’t need to be flexible to start! My classes are friendly, everybody is welcome, so come and see how it feels to tune in and connect yourself and feel better. Please visit my website for more information or email me at clair.crestyoga@gmail.com. I look forward to hearing from you.


FITNESS - SEPTEMBER Why you should prioritize strength training

doing strength training along with the appropriate dietary protocol. Whilst “cardio” (such as running) has always been the go-to for weight loss, and it is great for burning calories, it just doesn’t challenge the muscles enough to preserve them if you’re in a calorie deficit, so the weight you lose from running will likely be both muscle and fat.

Whether your goal is to build muscle, lose fat (or both), maintain or build strength, stay healthy into old age or improve athletic performance, strength training is a requisite. You see, whilst you can adapt your training to suit specific goals, for the most part, the training required for fat loss is the very same training required for muscle gain, the difference is what you eat.

This is the reason I would always prioritise strength training over “cardio”. If you only have 2-3 hours a week to train, don’t run, lift weights.

It’s also worth remembering that muscle tissue is more metabolically active than fat tissue (meaning it burns more calories), so losing muscle tissue will actually result in you burning fewer calories, not just when you’re training, but all day every day too! So, it’s definitely worth putting the effort in to at least maintain whatever muscle you have. And for anyone worried about “getting To burn fat, you will need to do muscly” – don’t. strength training and be in an overall calorie deficit. For a start, if you’re in a calorie deficit, you simply won’t have the building To build muscle, you will need to blocks needed to pack on masses of do strength training and be in a muscle tissue, and even if you’re in calorie surplus. a calorie surplus, it’s HARD to build lots of muscle tissue! Even for men If you try to lose weight, or more who have more testosterone to help specifically body fat, without (ask any guy in the gym – it’s not easy strength training (through just to get big!). diet or endless cardio) you fail to challenge your muscles enough to If your goal is to maintain or build signal to your body that it needs that strength, this will also be through muscle tissue, and whilst in a calorie regular strength training, and there’s deficit, your body will burn some no downside to being stronger! of your energy-consuming muscle This, to me, should be a goal for tissue in an attempt to save itself everyone, regardless of age, but it from starvation. You may burn fat becomes even more important as as well, but the amount of muscle you get older when people tend to tissue you lose will be higher than lose strength and mobility. If you can if you do strength training, and the start or maintain a strength training amount of fat you burn will be lower. routine, you’ll be less likely to suffer If however, you do regular strength the usual problems that many elderly training and challenge your muscles, people face due to a lack of strength your body recognises that it needs and mobility. that muscle tissue (because it’s being used) and will hold onto For athletic performance, you’ll it, tipping the scales in favour of generally want stronger, more burning more fat and less muscle. powerful muscles, and that again will So, whether your goal is muscle come from strength training - this is gain or fat loss, you should be where it becomes more important


to ensure you’re doing the right kind of training to suit your specific goals and sport, but suffice to say, if you’re not doing strength training, it’s unlikely that you’ll progress as much as you potentially could. Finally, health-wise, stronger muscles will support your body more effectively as well as help you maintain your weight and keep insulin levels under better control as the muscles will be burning fuel and creating space for the fuel you eat to be stored in the muscle rather than just going straight into fat cells. Stronger muscles will support your joints more effectively and may help reduce aches and pains too. The benefits of strength training are many, more than I can list here, and if you’re doing it safely, there’s really no downside. So, prioritise strength training over other types of exercise and reap the rewards, whatever your age. If you need help with getting an appropriate routine in place and getting your nutrition aligned with your goals, get in touch and let’s have a chat :) Mark www.MBonlinePT.com @MarkBroadbentPT





Dartford Resident?

Grant awards of up to £15,000 now available! New eligibility criteria, more grants approved.

Call us today.

Can’t leave hospital? Cold home?

Struggling to stay at home? Need adaptations?

Even if you are a homeowner, in work or have savings, we may be able to help with financial assistance for:



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Contact us even if you’re unsure or your need isn’t listed

01322 343152 housinggrants@dartford.gov.uk

*Discretionary assistance is subject to budget availability and may be frozen by the Local Authority when necessary


MAKING MEMORIES 50 YEARS ON Dartford FC’s Co-Chairman Steve Irving had the chance to make a splash in his primary school swimming pool, exactly 50 years after leaving the school in July 1971. As a young Brent Primary School pupil, Steve’s family spent four years fundraising for the Primary School swimming pool that Steve never had the opportunity to learn to swim in. Paying sixpence (2.5p in decimal currency) each week, the swimming pool fundraising took a number of years, and the swimming pool build was completed in 1973. Headteacher, Sarah Rye, provided Steve with the opportunity for an early morning swim in the heated pool, before some pupils attended for additional swimming lessons at the start of the school summer holiday. The Brent Primary School uses the pool each summer term to teach pupils in Years 1 to 6 to swim, in the hope that pupils are able to swim 25m by the time they move onto secondary school. National Sporting Heritage Day is held each year to celebrate sporting heritage and use the stories it holds to educate and inspire. The Dartford FC Community programme is providing the opportunity for our local community to discover, share and record sporting memories, stories and experiences from primary and/or secondary school. Steve’s dip in the pool and memories of Sports Day (see the image of Steve’s certificate) is just the start of Dartford FC’s Sporting Heritage Day 2021 project, and we need your support too. Think back to your days at primary or secondary school, and playing school sport. Do you have memories of school sport experiences such as representing your school in a competition or festival taking your first swimming lesson or finding that one sport you absolutely love? The memories can be positive or negative, but we are hoping to receive lots of positive ones!


NATIONAL SPORTING HERITAGE DAY 2021 Held on 30 September each year, National Sporting Heritage Day is an annual event to celebrate sporting heritage and use the stories it holds to educate and inspire. The day is for everyone involved in sport and heritage from grassroots teams, community sports organisations, museums and archives, universities, schools and national governing bodies across all sports. This year’s theme is ‘Inspire, Share and Celebrate’ and will focus on inter-generational activities and learning; using sporting heritage collections and stories to encourage conversations across generations and support young people to learn about and be inspired by the sporting pioneers that came before them. The Dartford FC Community Programme is providing the opportunity for our local community to discover, share and record sporting memories, stories and experiences from primary and/or secondary school. We need your help! Memories of school sport will be included in an assembly presentation for all local schools to share with children and young people on National Sporting Heritage Day on 30 September 2021.

HOW TO GET INVOLVED Think back to your days at primary or secondary school, and playing school sport. Do you have memories of school sport experiences such as representing your school in a competition or festival; taking your first swimming lesson; or finding that one sport you absolutely love? The memories can be positive or negative, but we are hoping to receive lots of positive ones! Please email projects@bubbleandscruff.com with as much of the following as possible: • written memory about sport in primary school, plus any accompanying digital images • Primary School name and location, and the years that you attended • written memory about sport in secondary school, plus any accompanying digital images • Secondary School name and location, and the years that you attended • any available digital images of you participating in school sport • written memory about watching your first Dartford FC match • your name and contact details for any follow-up Sporting memories should be received by Friday 3 September 2021 at the latest. Share your involvement on social media @DFCCommunity #DartsSportingMemories #NSHD2021 If you have any technical limitations or would like to discuss the project further, please contact Jon Rye, DFC Education Manager on 07792 985006. #DartsSportingMemories #NSHD2021


FULLY OPEN FOR DINING IN Our convenient location in the town centre means you’re never too far from savouring one of our chef’s specials or platters, made with the freshest ingredients and cooked to absolute perfection. We’ve been cooking up a storm since 1974


COME ALONG AND TRY 2 FREE SESSIONS All abilities welcome.

Juniors 6+ Monday & Thursday 5.15-5.45pm Saturday 9.00-9.45am Cadets 10+ Monday & Thursday 5.55-6.25pm Saturday 10.00-11.00am Adults 16+ Wednesday 6-7pm Saturday 11.15-12.15pm Classes at Bexley Park Sports and Social Club Contact Gary Parker 07931 815582


SAVE ON BACK TO SCHOOL SUPPLIES It seems as if the children are only just out of school when adverts start popping up for back-to-school supplies. Whether it’s uniform, stationery or new lunch bags and water bottles, these tips will help you shop savvy to save pounds while getting everything you need for the kids. Look at what you’ve got already The kids were in and out of school so much over the last year, so what you’ve already got might still be in good nick. If uniforms fit and there’s stationery in the kids’ pencil cases, then don’t feel under pressure to spend on new stuff just because it’s that time of year. Get the kids involved too – teach them savvy shopping and saving skills to set them up for success in the future.

pens and pencil cases when you could spend pennies? Often high street stationery stores can be costly and you end up paying for brands or fancy designs, so don’t be drawn in. Budget stores often offer a wide range of back-to-school equipment Outgrown uniform? at lower prices. Also, shopping online If your kids have outgrown their is a great way to avoid the ‘I want this uniform and it’s still in good and can I have this?’ conversations condition, consider organising with the kids. a uniform swap-shop. You can bet that lots of other parents will thank you for it. Maybe there’s Label everything already something set up in your Don’t forget to add a laundry marker area – do a quick online search pen to your list of back-to-school to see what uniform swap-shops supplies. Label everything so that may be available for your kids’ lost items will find their way back schools. This is also a great way to to your child and you won’t have to get cheaper uniform if your child is shell out to replace them. moving schools this year. Budgeting for school dinners Remember to check what support you may be eligible for from the council if you’re on certain benefits via gov.uk/help-school-clothingcosts.

If you’re worrying about how to pay for school dinners for your children, consider packed lunches. There are some great healthy recipes that you could use and if you plan ahead it could be a cheaper alternative. Check out nhs.uk/change4life/recipes/ Ways to save on stationery healthier-lunchboxes. You may be Why spend pounds on notebooks, eligible for free school meals if you’re


on certain benefits – you can find out and apply through your local council. Need some budgeting tips? Having kids is expensive! The next local budgeting course, where you can learn tips to increase your income, reduce your expenses and manage your money, is on October 5th, 12th and 19th at 11am over zoom. To register for this free course visit capmoney.org or email capmoneydartford@gmail.com to find out more information. Christians Against Poverty (CAP) is a UK charity with over 580 services across the country delivering debt counselling, money management education, job clubs, life skills groups and more. Visit capuk.org to find out more.


YMCA Thames Gateway’s recent family fun day in Dartford’s Central Park proved to be a hit with local families. The event, which was funded by Kent County Council as part of their pledge to reconnect children and young people with fun, healthy activities, the environment and their community, was free to the general public.

activity over the school holidays. Kirsty Doubleday, Senior Regional Fundraiser for YMCA Thames Gateway, said: “The day was a huge success and it was great to see so many families enjoying the range of activities we had on offer. A big thank you to everyone who supported this event.” YMCA Dartford provides a range of community services including three local nurseries and an after school club. It also offers supported housing, spaces for hire and has a community café at its main hub in Overy Street. For more information visit www.ymcatg.org.

The event was also supported by Dartford Borough Council, Bericote Properties, Adrian Scripps, McDonald’s Dartford, Asda Greenhithe and Compagnie Fruitiere who donated food and resources for the event. Over 300 children took part in activities such as dance and Activ8 fitness sessions, built bug hotels, took part in scavenger hunts, painted pebbles and enjoyed creating and eating healthy snacks throughout the day. Children also received YMCA goodie bags filled with resources such as books and sports equipment to encourage



By Local Resident, Jane Stevenson

whereas nowadays I’m never sure what to wear until I’ve opened the curtains in the morning. You can’t turn back time, and the good old days weren’t all they’re made out to be, but unless we really do stop and take stock of how our way of life affects the climate, future generations will only know extreme heat or cold, at any time of the year and such a scenario doesn’t bode well for any of us. LIFE AFTER LOCKDOWN

NOSTALGIA COMES TO US ALL Did I miss summer? I don’t recall any lengthy period of warm days, blue skies and balmy evenings. There were some lovely hot days a few weeks ago, but they were so very fleeting. I feel cheated. Today, for example it is overcast but warm. It’s been like this for ages. Bearing in mind the amount of damage we’ve done to the planet in such a short space of time, I shouldn’t really be surprised.

week or so to the coast. A few lucky folk went to Spain or Italy. Lazy days out on bikes, playing football and getting together with your mates. Outdoors from morn till dusk with nary a worry.

Autumn was the time things began to slow down again. We could see a visible change in nature, with the trees providing a rainbow of colour as the foliage turned from green to gold to brown. Conkers arrived, and with them many bruised fingers and hands. Schools promoted Harvest I think it’s a shame our children and Festivals, it became chilly in the grandchildren won’t experience evenings. a definite change in the seasons. As I am so very old, according to The winter and the excitement of Youngest Offspring, I do remember Christmas. Cards and wrapping the drift from a warm spring to a papers with robins, snowmen, holly, hot summer to a mellow autumn and enough glitter to coat a double and then to a cold crisp winter. decker bus! It often snowed, which Mind you, I can also remember we all loved until it went brown thick smog, a real ‘pea souper’ as and slushy. Then the whole cycle my granddad used to say. started again. We still hang onto the whimsical idea that certain events herald phases of the year. Easter and spring are inevitably promoted by shops and card manufacturers with bunnies and chicks, daffodils etc, signifying a new start to the year. We look forward to warmer days, as we slide towards summer. Summer was the time for seaside holidays, ice cream and the school holidays. We might go away for a


I admit to being rather wary of July 19th – ‘Freedom’ Day. I envisioned a mad dash to pack out shops and cinemas, pubs and restaurants. A bonfire of epic proportions as everyone burned the hated face masks, social distancing being a thing of the past. What did happen, is that some people enjoyed the freedom of going naked about the face, while others chose to parade a bright and colourful wardrobe of funky facemasks. Sanitiser is still available for those who choose to use it, and social distancing is quietly observed. So, boo to the naysayers who predicted a breakdown in the social order as we became a pro or anti restriction society. No one has commented, criticised or suggested that we should all act the same. Personal choice in how we live with Covid is politely observed by all. Brownie points all round for the great British public.

On a more informal note. Life Under The Stairs is no more. I’m now based in the attic, which is light and airy and faces the road where I can see that there is life outside my front door. The cats still loll about my desk, but now have the option of climbing out Of course, this is very stylised; but my the Velux if they so desire. The only kids have never really known such drawback I can find is that the tea a definition in terms of season and making requirements are now at the I think it’s such a shame. opposite end of the house from me. Hey ho, can’t have it all. In recent years, I’ve had my central heating on in June, and sat on a sunny beach in November. It has Take care people. rained continuously all summer only to result in a glorious Indian Summer, sometimes lasting well into late October. I used to have a winter wardrobe and a summer wardrobe

Steve Cook postcard final:Layout 1



Page 1



Mob: 07747 015223 Tel: 01322 412791 45 Knole Road, Dartford, Kent. DA1 3JN. E-mail: steve.cook3@ntlworld.com

OVER 30 YEARS’ EXPERIENCE Most common problems that arise with double glazing can be solved quickly and cost effectively:

• Misted, cracked or broken glass • Drafts, leaks & condensation • Sticking, loose or broken handles • Window/doors not opening, closing • Patio doors not running smoothly • Cat flap & letterbox fitting/replacement • Lock and key replacement 39

DARTFORD’S KARATE KIDS… GRADINGS RETURN AT YAMATO DAMASHII KARATE CLUB by chief instructor Tony and assisted by Paul and Carmelo, as well as welfare officer Christine. Carmelo said, “It’s impressive to watch the senior grades and observe how the skill level improves as the children progress through the grades.” Yamato Damashii is a family-run Dartford-based karate club who teach traditional wado-ryu karate, they run engaging classes and are very good at helping new members to integrate into the club and feel welcome. Some children are very shy in the beginning, but the instructors work with them and help them to grow in confidence and become part of the group. It is more than just a karate club, it’s more like a big, friendly family. Karate can benefit everyone, young, old, men and women and it’s a fun way to get fit and learn a valuable new skill. You or your children will learn respect, become more disciplined, focused, selfconfident, improve concentration and make new friends, all these things can help throughout life. Nearly 40 local children have recently taken part in their grading exams at Yamato Damashii Karate Club. Over 30 attended the original grading session and another dozen, who couldn’t attend because they were isolating, have since graded and all passed. Sadly, adult gradings had to be delayed due to covid rules, but they are hoping for this to change at the next grading session for children and adults in December.

All the children were fantastic and all reached the standard required for them to achieve the next grade. The most advanced student on the day was Luke, who began his martial arts journey in 2018 and passed his 2nd kyu brown belt. There were a large number of beginners at this grading. Paul, one of the instructors, said, “It was great to see so many children taking part in something which can enrich their lives in so many ways, by learning about discipline and respect whilst also helping to improve their confidence and concentration.” The club is very much a friendly family club, run


Both kids and adults can learn in a fun environment and each individual can develop their body and mind, gradually and naturally and they may not even realise their own progress until they look back and see just how far they have come. Yamato Damashii is affiliated with NAKMAS, an independent martial arts governing body and have been awarded Covid Safe status. The instructors are licensed, insured and DBS checked. All the instructors were once white belts and have progressed through many years of training and now happily pass their experience and knowledge onto others. Classes are held every Wednesday evening at the Leigh Academy and at the Becket Sport Centre every Saturday morning. Your first lesson is free so you really have nothing to lose giving it a go. For further information, see their website, Facebook, Twitter or drop them an email.


Foley the Freckled Fox is a journey of acceptance and exploration. Foley tries to make sense of a complicated world. During his journey he encounters animals that teach him lessons in understanding and acceptance. He uses his knowledge as confidence to explore the forest and interact with its different inhabitants, sharing the lesson he has learnt. During his adventure, Foley meets different animals that challenge his newfound knowledge. Foley teaches kids that you cannot change some people’s mindsets, but you can always leave a positive impression.

and understand what makes each person special. It allows children to imagine the possibility of a world where differences are accepted, and people can look past the physical characteristics of a person and get to know them for who they are. About the author

A s a child, stories shaped my understanding of the world. They created a space of imagination that allowed me to see the world in an ever changing light. The characters gave me an insight into personalities, characteristics and life lessons. I want the Foley series to explore our This book teaches children that we modern day society. Touching on are all different in some shape or topics that shape the world. form, it is not our differences that define us but our ability to learn

Amazon Link https://www.amazon.co.uk/ dp/1839341513/ref=cm_sw_r_ wa_apa_glt_fabc_7MMK9NYAP3JZ96WKC1EX Local links I have lived in Dartford for 2 years. Charity has always been one of my passions. I have done multiple 10k runs for charity organisations and I regularly give out food to the homeless in central London. I also donate canned food to the WhiteChapel mission (homeless shelter) and St Edmunds church living well in Dartford.


UPCOMING SHOWS AT THE ORCHARD THEATRE Orchard Theatre hook or by crook, we’ll be here parading up and down the stage, enjoying ourselves and making the audience enjoy themselves as well.” Jack and the Beanstalk tickets are on sale now, available from the Orchard Theatre website. Jason Donovan is thrilled to be embarking on a mammoth 52 date tour, which marks the 30th anniversary of his hugely successful debut album ‘Ten Good Reasons’. His ‘Even More Good Reasons’ tour will see Jason singing his greatest pop hits along with his favourite songs from his career in musicals, all accompanied by a full live band. Songs will include the chart-toppers ‘Too Many Broken Hearts’, ‘Especially For You’ and ‘Any Dream Will Do’ and for the first time ever, Jason will be performing a selection of songs from the musicals he has starred in. These will include songs from ‘Joseph And The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat’, ‘The Rocky Horror Show’ and ‘Priscilla Queen of the Desert’. Performing his favourite pop and musical hits in concert at the Orchard Theatre on Sat 2 October 2021. Peppa Pig is excited to be going on a special day out with George, Mummy Pig and Daddy Pig - it’s going to be her best day ever! Get ready for a road-trip full of fun adventures. From castles to caves, dragons to dinosaurs and ice-creams to muddy puddles – there is something for all of the family and their friends to enjoy, including Miss Rabbit, Mr Bull, Suzy Sheep, Gerald Giraffe and more! Prepare for the brand new Peppa Pig live show packed full of songs, games and laughter, it really is the best day ever for Peppa Pig fans! Peppa will be at the theatre from Fri 15 - Sun 17 October 2021. After 18 months of closure, the Orchard Theatre is finally open for audiences again. We’re excited to reopen with events at full capacity and have a fantastic live-entertainment programme through summer, autumn and beyond. Your safety, comfort and enjoyment remains our number one priority. When you come back, you may notice a few changes to the venue. These are to ensure the ongoing safety of our audiences, staff and visiting casts. Recently, Christopher Biggins visited the Orchard Theatre to talk about the upcoming reopening and this years pantomime, Jack and the Beanstalk. Panto Dame legend, Christopher Biggins said “I’m really excited because it will be wonderful to bring back pantomime again to the people of Dartford. And also we’re bringing back pantomime to the whole country and that is what is so exciting. By

Dartford Amateur Operatic Dramatics Society Presents Shrek the Musical. Based on the Oscarwinning DreamWorks Animation film, Shrek the Musical is a Tony Award-winning fairy tale adventure. Shrek brings all the beloved characters you know from the film to life on stage and proves there’s more to the story than meets the ears. DAODS bring the swamp to Dartford from Wed 20 - Sat 23 October 2021. Rock of Ages is the hilarious musical comedy lavished with over 25 classic rock anthems, including Don’t Stop Believin’, ‘We Built This City’, ‘The Final Countdown’, ‘Wanted Dead or Alive’, ‘Here I Go Again’, ‘Can’t Fight this Feeling’ and ‘I Want To Know What Love Is’, played loud and proud by an awesome live band. Leave it all behind and lose yourself in a city and a time where the dreams are as big as the hair, and yes, they can come true! Starring Kevin Clifton as Stacee Jaxx. Rockin’ into the Orchard Theatre from Monday 25 – Sunday 31 October 2021.

October Highlights



COMPETITION The Illegal Eagles Sun 10 October 2021 I 7:30pm The Illegal Eagles return to Dartford in 2021 for another outstanding show promising more of their trademark musical prowess, acute attention to detail and incredible showmanship. This critically acclaimed show features the very best from the Eagles’ catalogue of classics including ’Hotel California’, ‘Desperado’, ‘Take It Easy’, ‘New Kid In Town’, ‘Life In The Fast Lane’ and many more… The Illegal Eagles perform some of the very best songs from the Eagles catalogue. The American rock band, Eagles, had a hit song in 1977 but what was the name of the track? A. B. C.

Hotel Canterbury Hotel California Hotel Cleethorpes

Email your answer to competition@dartfordliving.com by the 15th September with a chance of winning a pair of tickets RUES: 1. The winner(s) will be the first correct entry/entries drawn. 2. The judge’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. 3. Prizes are as stated and no cash in lieu or an alternative prize will be offered.. 4. Winners will be notified by telephone by the Orchard, within 5 working days of the competition being drawn. 5. Employees and the immediate families of participating companies are ineligible to enter. 6. Closing date for the competition is stated above.

Gareth Johnson, Member of Parliament for Dartford, will be available to meet with constituents on the following dates: Bluewater, DA9 9ST (4.00 pm – 7.00 pm - Appointment required) Friday 10 th September Friday 26 th November If you would like to meet Gareth at one of his regular appointment-based surgeries in the future, please contact him at gareth.johnson.mp@parliament.uk or telephone 020 7219 7047.



normal daily function and routines. Dementia is diagnosed when your memory problems are so severe that they affect your daily life and ability to stick to your normal routine. You find it difficult to complete tasks that you are familiar with and others will notice that you are struggling. Why else might I have memory problems? There are other reasons why you may struggle with your memory. Emotional problems such as stress, anxiety or depression can make a person more forgetful. In older people, this is often mistaken for dementia. Thyroid problems, shortage of vitamin B12, drinking too much alcohol, head injuries and medication side effects are other causes of memory problems.

Dementia is an umbrella term given to around 200 different conditions that cause progressive problems with brain function. The most common types are Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, Lewy Body dementia, frontotemporal dementia and mixed dementia. Dementia can affect people at any age, but most commonly it affects people over 65 years. Everyone experiences dementia differently, but the most common symptoms are memory problems, difficulties processing information (cognitive impairment), problems with communicating and effects on mood and behaviour. Do I have dementia? Becoming forgetful can be a normal part of aging. As people get older, gradually changes occur in all parts of the body including the brain. You may find that you it takes


Can I prevent this from happening? Your brain is like any other part of you longer to learn new things, you the body – use it, stay physically might misplace things or you might and socially active and eat healthily not remember information as well to keep it healthy. as you used to. Every one of us ages differently. The extent to which we Use it or lose it. Exercising your experience these changes and the brain helps to keep it healthy. This point at which they become more could be something as simple as noticeable varies from person to using your non-dominant hand to person. About 40% of people over dial a phone number, playing games 65 years will have mild memory that challenge your brain, take up a problems. About 5-8% will develop new hobby or learn a new language. dementia. Even breaking your usual routine or Age-associated memory loss does not noticeably disrupt day to day living. You might have the occasional word finding problem but you can still hold a conversation. You might forget where you have put your keys on occasion. Mild cognitive impairment is a condition between normal aging and dementia. This means that you are experiencing problems with your memory, speaking and disorientation but not so severe to disrupt your

trying something you are not good at is a small challenge. Being physically active can reduce the risk of developing dementia, depression, diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. It doesn’t matter what you do to stay active; a walk in the park, dancing, swimming or something gentle like Tai Chi are all good choices. Go with someone to help keep yourself

motivated. Having a good social life helps to prevent depression and social isolation. If you feel lonely, look for opportunities to engage with others, even if just a quick conversation with a shop worker or whilst waiting at the bus stop. There are lots of groups out there – you could base your socialisation around a physical activity or hobby, or you could consider volunteering. Get back in touch with old friends through the phone, text, email or social media. A healthy diet is good for your whole body. Reducing processed food and sweets, instead eating lots of fruit and vegetables, whole grains, fish and healthy oils such as olive oil will be beneficial for your overall health. Excess alcohol can harm your brain and smoking causes changes to the blood vessels in your brain, heart and around your body. Finally, manage your stress and mood. Stress can affect your emotions, your ability to concentrate and remember, can

lead to eating in excess or drinking too much alcohol and cause physical health problems such as headaches, insomnia and fatigue. What help is there for people with dementia? There are no treatments to cure dementia. If you are diagnosed with Alzheimers dementia, medication may help to lessen symptoms or may slow down progression. If your dementia is due to changes in blood supply to the brain (vascular dementia), it is important to control your blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes and to stop smoking. The advice above about stimulating your brain, physical and social activity, a healthy lifestyle and managing stress is also important. Practical tips such as using calendars, post it notes, white boards and other prompts can help someone with memory problems. Carers may find it difficult if their loved one becomes agitated due to their dementia. Gently reassure them. Make sure there is nothing

that has caused this – are they hungry or thirsty? Are shadows caused by lighting upsetting them? Is it too noisy or are they bored? Distraction such as going for a walk or folding laundry can help. Give them something to occupy their hands such as a soft toy or worry beads. Music and aromatherapy can also help. You will get to learn what the triggers are and works for them. You don’t need to reorientate them to the current time by telling them someone died years ago. Instead, get them to talk about that era. If there is a sudden change in behaviour, this could be due to pain, constipation or an infection. Contact your GP for an assessment. Alzheimers and Dementia Support Services can provide advice to carers, day centre services through to support at home and a 24 hour helpline (www.alz-dem.org).



Please call Mike or John on: Tel 01322 406439 / 01322 525708 Mobile: 07742 085333 Email: mikeperry5001@aol.com Partners: Mike Perry and John Petherick


CAR NEWS SEPTEMBER 2021 By Dhiren Ganesh In this month’s article we look at a range of new mid-sized models available this year and next – from brand new to upgraded classics.

2021 Volkswagen Taigo SUV – this is the new Volkswagen Taigo coupé-SUV will be offered exclusively with petrol engines. In the UK this is an all-new model in the form of a stylish coupé-styled SUV. It has more aggressive styling and features standard LED headlights and a thin light bar that runs across its front grille. All small petrol engines will be available from launch, all 1.0 petrol engines with outputs on 94bhp, 109bhp and 148bhp. On this inside it comes with a 6.5in infotainment touchscreen and 8.0in digital instrument cluster as standard with options available. Available driver assistance kit includes Volkswagen’s IQ.Drive system, which bundles together adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assistance. On sale later this year prices are not annouced, but expected to be start from around £22,000.

2021 Audi RS3 hot hatch – the RS3 is the smallest model in Audi’s sport-focused RS line-up but is packed with power. This will be the last new petrol RS3 model from Audi before the 2030 ban on new petrol and diesel cars comes in. It will boast 395bhp from a 2.5-litre turbo engine and will have a raft of new technology upgrades. To cope with the power it will have larger brakes with the option of ceramic brakes too. On the outside, it has larger air intakes at the front, bespoke alloy wheels and a unique rear diffuser and spoiler. And on the inside, all RS3s are fitted with a three-spoke, flat-bottomed RS Sport steering wheel with gearshift paddles, and will have RS sport seats. On sale in the Autumn of 2021 prcies will start from £50,900.

Best family cars 2021 – the family cars are still very popular, with a competitive market, despite the introduction of a greater number of SUVs and MPVs. What seems to sell well is something that is practical, cheap to run, enjoyable to drive and well equipped; in other words, it needs to be good at pretty much everything. Here is the top 2 family cars for 2021. Skoda Octavia – with generous space, a massive boot, good looking interior and frugal engine it comes in at number 2. Seat Leon – great to drive, offers load of space for passengers and luggage, well priced and cheap to run gives it the top spot!


THE FIRST DAY AT SCHOOL By Sam Ryan, MyBluewaterTutor kept all stock upstairs. My daughter would have the poor sales assistant running up and down the stairs only to finally choose the first pair brought out. Also, specialist school uniform shops will have a lead time on uniform ordered. There is nothing that screams ‘Mummy forgot to order PE shorts’ more than your daughter doing PE in last year’s shorts – shorts that now look like hot pants! Logistics and uniforms aside, starting school is such a precious time and one that many parents wish to mark. I recently read an article about just this! You could measure your child with a piece of string and repeat this when they finish year 6. It would be lovely to compare how much they have grown. The same could be done with painted hand prints to compare the increase in size.

We have now reached the end of the summer holidays. The six weeks have flown by! To all those parents that have a child starting school for the first time, here are some tips and advice. Believe me when I say, I have learnt from experience! Be organised. Check what your child will need for school including what the uniform requirements are. I sent my own daughter to school on her first day in a bright red cardigan when the school colour was burgundy. My husband dropped her off and did not realise. She stuck out like a sore thumb when I collected her that afternoon. Thank goodness for ASDA! On the subject of school uniform, don’t leave buying it until the last minute. Shoes too, the queues for Clarks and Startrite are always long. There is nothing worse than queuing with a hungry child to buy shoes they do not want. Children picking school shoes is a lengthy experience without adding hunger into the mix! Again, I speak from experience. When my elder daughter was younger, we used a shoe shop that


Another idea was to interview your child at the start of each academic year. Ask the same questions each year and see how the answers differ. Good questions to ask could include: • Who is your best friend? • What do you want to be when you grow up? • What is your favourite book? Alternatively, how about burying a time capsule in the garden? The whole family could choose something to put in. You could include a newspaper with the date they started school, a pair of their socks to show how small their feet were, a receipt for the weekly shop, a magazine to show what was on trend. The list is endless. Whatever you decide to do to mark the occasion of your child starting school, enjoy it and savour the memory. Children seem to grow up ever so quickly!

Rock Painting in Dartford.


Local people from Dartford Painted Rocks on Facebook have been busy this month painting and hiding them around town. The rocks can also be exchanged at Stephen Oliver: Studio and in the Orchard Shopping Centre. ByGallery Marialocated Kingsford Here are some great photos of their painted rocks.

Local people from ‘Dartford painted rocks’ on Facebook have been busy this month painting and hiding them around the town. The rocks can be exchanged at Stephen Oliver: Studio and Gallery located at the Orchards Shopping Centre . Here are some of the photos of their latest painted rocks.

SPORTS ROUNDUP Team GB ended the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in fourth place on gold medal finishes and with an impressive 65 medals in total. Great Britain’s total collection was just two medals short of its record-breaking medal performance in the last Olympics at Rio. Although overall impressive, the number of golds won was a little disappointing after a promising start that saw five first place podium finishes in the first five days, but ultimately ended with bringing home 22 gold medals, compared with 29 at London 2012. Desperately not meaning to point any fingers, as there will be a myriad of good reasons… this year’s Olympics saw our traditional big-hitters like rowing have disappointing results, with no golds for the first time since 1980 and the weakest overall medal performance since 1972. Road and track cycling delivered five fewer medals than in both previous Games and three golds, compared with the impressive eight at London 2012.

UPCOMING EVENTS IN SEPTEMBER INCLUDE: 30 Aug-12 Sept: Tennis - US Open in New York 4-6 September: Golf - Solheim Cup in Toledo, Ohio 24-26 Sept: Golf - Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits, Wisconsin 27 Sept-1 Oct: Cricket - Bob Willis Trophy final at Lord’s

However, the overall tally is still some feat considering 25 years ago in Atlanta the team came home with just a single gold… so overall not too shabby!



Joe Swash has been challenged by Peperami to take on the nation’s food fails and trial Britain’s saddest snacks. Calling for Brits to #BanTheBland, Joe offers a solution with his very own edible ‘British Tapas’ to be tucked into during summer soirée and picnics in the park. To watch the full episode, visit @PeperamiTV on Instagram.

dreading! I wanted to see if some of the strange combinations could be wonderful, but on the day, they were just plain awful. Disastrous dishes included peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwiches and cold kippers – anything fishy turns my stomach!

Is there a food or snack you could live on forever? What are the family always munching on? Are there any quirky food combinations that you, Stacey or your kids have?

People think that because I have been in the jungle and have eaten Tell us about the ‘Ban the Bland’ a kangaroo testicle, these types of campaign with Peperami! What challenges are a breeze for me – but made you want to get involved? Is that isn’t the case at all! there anything you were dreading or looking forward to as part of the My favourite part of the day was experiment? creating my snack solution – ‘British Tapas – a local take on the famous As a nation, we’ve got a bit of a finger food favoured by those in Spain. reputation for our food being bland As a family, we love nothing more and boring. So, when Peperami than exploring the great outdoors. asked me to get involved in the With the summer holidays in full campaign, my competitive nature swing, Peperami gave me the power came out and I jumped at the to create something really cool that chance to take part, eager to show could be enjoyed either at home in the people how we can do it better. garden or during a picnic in the park. As part of the experiment, the crew had me try some of the What food to you is boring Joe, what nation’s food fails – which I was are your food or snack nightmares?

I am a man of simple pleasures. If I want a snack, it will be something that fills me up. I’m old fashioned – meat, veg, potatoes.


Anything with coriander or parsley – it’s like eating perfume!

Stacey loves all that fancy stuff; she’ll whip up strawberries and cream on pastry – that is my worst nightmare! And her snack habits have just got stranger now that she is pregnant! She likes to eat raw cauliflower coated in mango chutney, mayonnaise, then mixed with curry power. She loves it, but it makes my stomach churn making it for her. For me, I put jam on my cornflakes with a dash of milk in the morning. My grandad used to do it and now I do. I used to think it was gross, but

now I love it!

are still eating!

We always see on Instagram you, Stacey and the kids out on adventures – you love the outdoors! What does the perfect family day out look like for you? What would you tend to bring on a picnic? What are the picnic hits and picnic misses? Any plans for the summer holidays with you and the kids?

How was lockdown for you and the family? Did you struggle? How did you, Stacey and the kids entertain yourselves to stop boredom kicking in? Any memorable moments to note? Did you try or find a new hobby?

Perfect day for us would be to get up nice and early, enjoy a hearty breakfast and go for a nice walk in the park. If it’s the weekend or school holidays, we always take a picnic – usually our basket contains the boring basics, ham sandwiches, crisps etc. This summer, we’re mixing it up and going from boring to brilliant – swapping soggy sandwiches and sad scotch eggs, to mini Peperami pizzas and cheese and chorizo snack boxes! Now that school is out, we’re planning on doing as much of that as we can. Getting outside and spending time together as a family. The key for us is to keep the kids entertained so boredom doesn’t set it, making sure the days are busy, so the boys don’t feel like they are missing out! Our pool will hopefully be done in a few weeks – the boys can’t wait to spend sunny days splashing around! It’s taken a while, which has been frustrating, but these things take time What is your biggest culinary pet peeve? Does Stacey or your kids have any bad dinner table habits? What bad habit would they say you have? Loud chewing! I also don’t like phones at the table. We have a rule in our house that phones are banned from the dinner table – the kids are on them enough! Stacey and the kids would say I eat really fast – like someone is about to take my food away from me. I also tidy around people when they

The first lockdown was easy – the spring was only a stones throw away and we had nice weather. We were lucky living near nice parks and forests. The second was a lot harder, the winter weather wasn’t good, we struggled with the homeschooling. But we loved being at home with the kids – we’ll never get that again. We also bought and moved into our house! Being in lockdown benefited the process, our focus was on the move. We love the new house – we’re so lucky to be here, the kids love it, the dogs love it, we’re over the moon! We honestly can’t believe our luck. It seems you and Stacey lead hectic lives – we see you nailing parenting, mastering DIY and of course appearing in some of the biggest shows on TV! How do you do it all? Do you believe you are a modern family? Do you have certain roles and responsibilities split between you? It’s been a journey! We’re lucky, we have an amazing support system around us – nanny, grandad, they all help with the kids. We know that if we ever need help, we can ask someone in the family. Stacey and I coordinate our diaries to try and make sure one of us is always there. Of course, on the odd occasion our diaries cross, so we’re lucky we have family that can step in. We’re a fluid family – we don’t really have set roles and responsibilities. Both Stacey and I pick up the reins when we need to. There is not one person that does everything. We

both muck in and that’s why it works, it’s how we want it to work. We both want to be with the kids, we want to be around the kids as much as possible, we’re hands-on parents. However, I would say that I do the majority of the cooking at home - I enjoy the process! Stacey is a brilliant cook as well, but I just love being in the kitchen. Have you and Stacey been able to squeeze in any date nights since welcoming Rex? What is the perfect date night for you both? Do you like to go out or stay in? What kind of movies do you watch on Netflix? Who rules the remote in your household? What kind of food do you tend to snack on? We’re busy, but when we do make time to go out, it’s a matter of getting nanny round and having an early dinner. We try to make sure we have time together as a couple, but also time for ourselves. Stacey will arrange for me to go fishing with my pals, I’ll arrange for her to go to the spa – we like to treat each other. It’s good for us to take a moment to recharge our batteries. If we’re staying in, it’s a night on the sofa with some snacks watching a film. However, the kids rule the remote in our household! Stacey is good though at bringing the family together to watch a film. The other day I came in and Stacey and the boys were watching Legally Blonde – I joined them! You have just announced you are expecting a girl with Stacey! Congratulations! How are you feeling? Does your family now feel complete? Do you think you will have any more children? How many do you want? How many does Stacey want? How do you think parenting a girl will be different? How are the boys feeling about welcoming a sister?


We’re chuffed to bits! I don’t know what the future holds in terms of having more kids – but we’re over the moon to have a girl, as we only have boys. This is brand new for both of us! I watch Stacey getting the nursery together, painting it pink and adding the final touches – it brings a smile to my face. I can see how excited she is – we both are. But equally, if we had a little boy, I would have my five aside team sorted – there was always going to be a winner! We’re still going through names - we’re struggling. I like certain names, some names she likes, then other people don’t like certain names, so that’s still a work in progress.

a spectacle, want it to be intimate and something to remember. There are no dos and don’ts for the stag from Stacey, I’m going to go away for a couple of days with my pals, try to do something in England with the kids as well as I don’t want them to miss out. I get involved in the wedding planning where I need to get involved, but I don’t get involved to the point where I’m being annoying. Stacey has the vision, and I’m here to back her up and try and get her what she wants. Stacey is the organiser. I’m have some surprises in store for Stacey on the day, but I’m keeping them secret, so it is a surprise for her!

The boys can’t wait to have a little sister, especially baby Rex! He keeps going up to Stacey’s tummy and kissing it, stroking it and saying the baby’s in there so he knows what’s happening and starting to get very excited.

What is next for your career? Will your kids be following in your TV footsteps? Do you have any other exciting projects you’re working on? What else do you enjoy doing in your spare time? Have you set any goals for the rest of 2021?

I feel like I know how to parent boys. My eldest is now 15 [years old], he towers over me! He’s turning into a beautiful young man.

My eldest Harry is really keen on acting and performing, he is also interested in the other side of TV – behind the camera.

My brother-in-law has two little girls and has said it’s different, but I’m sure I’ll get the hang of it. I grew up in a household with lots of women, so hopefully I’ll know the ins and outs.

The others are too young, so I’m not sure what they’ll be doing. As parents, we can only support them, we can’t steer their direction, we’ll let them find their feet and support them in whatever they want to do. I’d also love to do some more acting this year as well.

And of course, this meant that your wedding has been postponed. Did you feel disappointed? What are the stag plans? Has Stacey given you a list of dos and don’ts? When is the new wedding date? How has the planning process been for you? What elements of the wedding will you be planning? We were disappointed that we had to postpone the wedding, but we both knew we wouldn’t have got the wedding we wanted because of Covid restrictions. We didn’t want to rush it and, in the end, there was no point in stressing. We both thought let’s just put it back a year and plan it the way we want it. There are so many people that are important to us, we didn’t want to leave anyone out. The silver lining is that our little girl can now be there, which is lovely. The wedding is going to be in the garden as well so everyone can be there including the animals / pets. We’re just having close friends and family attend, it’s our wedding, we don’t want it to be too much of


I would go back to EastEnders as it was unfinished business. During my last stint, I caught meningitis, so I had to take a year off work. It meant I couldn’t get my character involved as much as I wanted to. If I did go back, I’d want to do it properly. My goals this year is to get fit, I’ve just installed a gym in my garage. I used to go to the gym quite a lot and was into keeping up my fitness, but since the baby, I struggle to make the time.

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KEY NUMBERS Police 01622 690690 NON EMERGENCY ONLY Fire Safety Advice & FREE Home Fire Safety Check 0800 169 1125 Dartford Borough Council 01322 343434 Gas Leaks (24 hour) 0800 111 999 EDF Energy Networks Emergencies/ Powercuts Helpline 105 Flooding 03459881180 Highways Kent 03000 41 41 41 Social Services 03000 41 41 41 Water Burst 0800 820 999 (Southern) 0800 714614 (Thames) HEALTH Darent Valley Hospital 01322 428100 Dartford East Health Centre 01322 421480 Boots Chemist Bluewater 01322 624780 (Late Night) ASDA Greenhithe Chemist 01322 374100 (Late Night) The National Pandemic Flu Service 0800 1513 100 West Kent NHS helpline 0800 0 850850 TRAVEL Heathrow Airport Enquires 08700 000123 Gatwick Airport Enquires 08700 002468 National Rail Enquires 08456 484950 Highways England Info Line 0300 123 5000 HELPLINES 24 Hour Kent Dementia Helpline: 0800 500 3014


Alcoholics Anonymous: 08457 697 555 Citizens Advice Bureau: 01322 472 979 Debt Councilling (CAP) 0800 328 0006 Information About Drugs - FRANK: 0800 776600 Kent Homophobic Incident Reporting Line: 0800 328 9162 Kent Racial Incident Reporting Line: 0800 138 1624 Local Breastfeeding Counsellors Judianne/Paula 01322 224072 National Domestic Violence Helpline (24 hour) 0808 2000 247 NSPCC Child Protection Helpline: 0808 800 5000 RSPCA Kent, North West Branch Helpline 01322 286720 Samaritans: 116 123 LOCAL MP Gareth Johnson 020 7219 7047 LOCAL SPORTS CLUBS Bexley Rugby Club 01322 550142 or www.pitchero.com/clubs/bexleyrfc/ Dartford Ladies Hockey Club Dawn Hall (Secretary) 07793 777250 Dartford Ju Jitsu Club Mondays, Dartford Girls Grammar School, Shepherds Lane. 6.30-8.00 Juniors, 8.00-10.00 Seniors www.

Call 999 in an Emergency Fire, Police, Ambulance and Coastguard 101 Non Emergency Number for Kent Police Crimestoppers 0800 555 111 111 NHS Non Emergency Number

dartfordjujitsu.co.uk Dartford Sharks Basketball Club Tim Dickson - 07855 692527. Dartford Volleyball Club Graham - 01322 275290 or 07984 106134. Stone Lodge Indoor Bowling Club 01322 274111. VCD Table Tennis Club Eric Jenkins - 0208 3038312. ‘Play & pay’, 9 hole, par 3 golf course on Dartford Football Club’s Princes ParkContact: 01322 299990 www.dartfordfc.com Dartford Valley RFC www.pitchero.com/clubs/ darenthvalleyrfc/ USEFUL FACEBOOK GROUPS Dartford Living Dartford Together Dartford Living Community Group

WHERE TO GO LOCALLY PARENT AND TODDLER GROUPS - TERM TIME ONLY MONDAYS 9:15am - 11:00am - A&J Toddlers - St Anselms Church Community Centre, Dartford. £2.00 per one adult and child and 50p for any extra children or adults each. Tea/coffee biscuits, small snack for children with juice. Toast 20p per slice Craft table and singing and dancing at end of session Contact Julie on 01322 291092. TUESDAYS Session 1: 9.15-10.45am, and Session 2: 11-12.30pm. Christchurch, Crossroad, Dartford. Contact Catherine on 01322 220036. 9.30am -11.30am. The Salvation Army, 66 Hythe Street, Dartford. Please call us on (01322) 288434 for further information. 9.30am-11.30am Sticky Fingers - £1.50 per adult includes tea ,biscuits and healthy snack time for the children For pre school children up to 4 years St Mary Greenhithe Church Hall London Road Greenhithe Contact 01322 382031 or see www.stmarygreenhithe.com 9:30-10:30am at Fleetdown Utd FC (near Dunelm). £5 per session if you sign up for the term, siblings go free.Contact 07770860450 or Facebook.com/musicandrhymetime WEDNESDAYS 10am -12pm - Little Angels Net Church, (Formerly Gala Bingo Hall) Dartford, £2.50 per family including all snacks and drinks. Catherine 07878658685 11.15am - SLADE GREEN AND HOWBURY COMMUNITY LIBRARY BABY AND TODDLER ACTION RHYME TIME GROUP 12:45pm -2.45pm - Fleetdown Open House - Fleetdown Community Centre, Swaledale Road, Dartford, DA2 6JZ £2.50 per Adult THURSDAYS 9:30am - 11:30am. St Paulinus Church Hall, Manor Road, Crayford. 9.30am-11am Toerags Toddler Group - Adult education centre, Dartford £3 per Child - £1 Non Walkers - facebook.com/ToeRags 1pm-2.30pm Toerags Toddler Group - Adult education centre, Dartford £3 per Child - £1 Non Walkers - facebook.com/ToeRags 10:30-11:30am, at Fleetdown Utd FC (near Dunelm). £5 per session if you sign up for the term, siblings go free.Contact 07770860450 or Facebook.com/musicandrhymetime FRIDAYS 9.30am-11am Baby and me for expectant mothers and mothers / carers of chidren up to 2. £1 per adult St Mary Greenhithe Church Hall, London Road Greenhithe. Contact 01322 382031 or see www.stmarygreenhithe.com 9.30am-11am Toerags Toddler Group - Adult education centre, Dartford £3 per Child - £1 Non Walkers facebook.com/ToeRags 9.30am-11.30am Carer & Toddler Group, St Mary’s Church Hall, Stone Place Rd, Greenhithe. Jeanne 01322 380322 jeannehoadley@ yahoo.co.uk 1-3pm Gigglekidz, Tree Estate Community Centre on Cedar Road - £2 Per Child SATURDAYS 9.30am-11.30am Daddy and Me - A group for dads and male carers of children up to 5years. £1.50 includes healthy snack time for the children. St Mary Greenhithe Church Hall, London Road Greenhithe. Contact 01322 382031 or see www.stmarygreenhithe.com 2-3pm - Lego Club- ages 5 and over - Chrome Road Slade Green DA8 2EL Tel: 01322 333602

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DOWNTON & ALI ASSOCIATES…………………..2 SUMMIT WEALTH...……………………...……....7

HOME INSTEAD SENIOR CARE………………...10 CHURCHILL ……. ………………………………15




SARAH KEMBER PILATES……………………...17 GH HEALTH SOLUTIONS ………………..…....26 CREST YOGA……………………………….…..27 FEET MATTERS…………………………….…..19 PEPPERCORN DAY SERVICE ……………...….21 AGE UK………………………………………...29 YDMA KARATE……………………………...….26 STAR KICKBOXING………………,…….…….35





FOX ESTATES…………………………….……..9 WISDOM ESTATES……………………………..14



CRAFT FRAMES…………………………….….53

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DARTFORD MUSIC SCHOOL …………….…..18 RED ROOSTER……………………………..…18 STAGECOACH……………………………..…..20 MY BLUEWATER TUTOR………………………28



LEISURE BOOM RADIO…………………………………....6 DARTFORD FOOTBALL CLUB …………………..33 ORCHARD THEATRE…………………………….42

TRAVEL GOLDEN LEAS HOLIDAY PARK………..............17 HARDEN HOLIDAYS ………………………...…..24

RETAIL THE BED POST …………………………......….23



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