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Your town, your business, your stories

Prize Crossword ÂŁ25 up for grabs Marathon! Get fit this year Healthier treats Greek yoghurt brownies

FREE COPY

Issue 10 January 2014 20,000 copies delivered tocall Bedford and or the surrounding villages To advertise please 01767 261122 email christa@villagermag.com

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In this issue 4 7 8 10 14 18 21 22 24 27

Jonathan Vernon-Smith – Buying a car Prize crossword What a jubilant atmosphere Thurleigh How to complain and make money Alistair Burt – The Secret airfield Tamara Glanvill – Financial settlement on Divorce Resolve yourself Bartlett Tree Experts – Winter injuries Sowing time

28 32 36 39 40 44 48 52 54 56 57 62

What’s on MK Marathon Molynuex Jones anniversary Book review and sudoku Make money from your home Fit for purpose Bentley – Flying Spur Marross Ltd Directory Classifieds Greek yoghurt brownies Detoxing and fasting

Read us online at www.beds-local.co.uk Editorial

Jonathan Vernon-Smith, Bedford Borough Council, Jasmine Birtles, Alistair Burt, Tamara Glanvill, Guy Bolton, Tim Brown, Pippa Greenwood, Molynuex Jones, Rachel Hore, Katherine Sorrell, Marross Ltd.

Front Cover Image thinkstock.com

Disclaimer

Editor

Sue Metcalf 01234 708941

Advertising Director

Christa Hallam Tel: 07868 369257 christa@villagermag.com

Design and Artwork

Doug Dawson www.dougdawson.co.uk

Publishing and Marketing Nigel Frost Local Media Publishing Ltd 24 Market Square Potton SG19 2NP Tel: 01767 261122 nigel@villagermag.com

All adverts and editorial are printed in good faith, however, Villager Publications Ltd can not take and responsibility for the content of the adverts, the services provided by the advertisers or any statements given in the editorial. No part of the publication may be Totheadvertise please ofcall 261122 or email christa@villagermag.com 3 reproduced or stored without express permission the01767 publisher.


CONSUMER

The

Best Way

Mobile phones, internet connections and cars are the three products I receive the most calls about on my consumer radio show. Today I’d like to help you avoid problems with the latter – cars! Buying a good, reliable car rather than a nightmare vehicle that will eat into your wallet is a good way to start. The first important thing you must understand is that unless you buy a car from a proper retailer, you have no comeback if the car develops a fault. The minute you drive a new car away from a private seller, you’re on your own if it breaks down. I therefore always suggest buying cars from good, reputable garages, and if you can stretch to it, main dealers. They, generally (and I use that word with caution – some are awful!), offer the best after sales service. Secondly, you must do your research. Use the internet to find the most suitable car for you. Look at reliability scores, running costs and insurance. Don’t rush into purchasing a car you know nothing about on the forecourt, just because you think you’ll look good in it. Find something that’s the right size, has a good reputation for reliability and isn’t going to cost the earth to run. The third thing you must do is to buy LOCALLY. Please don’t make the mistake that so many people make these days. They go to a search website, enter the car of their dreams, find that the only independent garage that has one available in the colour they like is 300 miles away and travel up by train to buy it. If you have a problem with that vehicle it will be YOUR responsibility to get it back to them to repair. That’s going to be a very expensive journey on a recovery vehicle all the way to Manchester! Use the internet to research garages and the people that run them. 4

ar

to Buy a C

Fourthly, if you don’t know anything about cars, then for goodness sake, take someone with you who does! A friendly mechanic is best. If you don’t know anyone who is an expert, then I would strongly advise having an independent check on the vehicle by an organisation such as the RAC. It may cost a couple of hundred quid, but it’s worth every penny if it prevents you from buying a complete lemon. A car is normally the second most expensive thing you purchase after a house, I lose track of the number of people who spend £15,000+ on something they know and understand absolutely nothing about and then wonder why they have problems. Please remember that when you find a car that you like, DO NOT PUT A DEPOSIT DOWN UNLESS YOU REALLY INTEND TO BUY IT. When you agree to pay a deposit, you normally enter into a legally binding contract to purchase the product. If you change your mind, you not only risk losing the deposit, you could be forced by the garage to take the car and pay the full amount owing on it. Salesmen and women often suggest the deposit in a relaxed manner. Don’t be fooled, when you change your mind, the relaxed manner will probably fly right out of the window. Never pay the full amount requested for a vehicle. The garage will price a vehicle up with some room for negotiation. If you pay the price on the windscreen, you’re probably paying over the odds. Remember car salesmen and women are employed partly because of their ability to get as much money out of you as possible and make the company as much profit. Bear this in mind at all times when agreeing a price to pay. If you’re hopeless at doing a deal, then take someone with you who is good at it! Finally, if you follow all of my advice and you STILL have a problem with it or the garage, then you can contact me at BBC Three Counties Radio and I’ll do my best to try and help you. Jonathan Vernon-Smith not only offers you his consumer advice here but you can listen to The JVS Show tackling your consumer problems every weekday morning from 9am.


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l a c o L d s r d o e w s B s o r c Prize FOOD & DRINK

ÂŁ25

Complete the crossword, fill in your details below, cut out this section and send to the address below before 16th January 2014. Prize Crossword, Beds Local, 24 Market Square, Potton, Beds SG19 2NP Name: Tel: Address:

Last months winner was Mrs P Moore from Bedford Across 1 King’s title (7) 5 Herb (5) 8 Sprays water (9) 9 Curved line (3) 10 Sword (5) 12 Remote military camp (7) 13 Incendiary guns (13) 15 Highest noble rank (7) 17 Tests (5) 19 Concerned with the environment (3) 20 Raised area (9) 22 Give up (5) 23 Wandered (7) Down 1 Disguises (5) 2 Glass container (3) 3 genuine, honest (7) 4 Colourful small birds 5 Hat (5) 6 E.g.EastEnders (4,5) 7 Finds (7) 11 Region in space (5,4) 13 Nervous (7) 14 Outside (4-3) 16 fear (5) 18 Church council (5) 21 Climbing plant (3)

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COMMUNITY

WHAT A jubilant

ATMOSPHERE! His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales, came to Bedford this week to visit The Higgins Bedford, the newly opened museum and art gallery. Crowds gathered to get a glimpse of the Prince, when following his visit to The Higgins Bedford he then walked through the town to attend a Christmas Tree Festival at St. Paul’s Church. Mayor Dave Hodgson, said: “It was great to see people of all ages out to enjoy the royal visit in Bedford. His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales, took time to speak to as many people as possible amongst those who had come out to give him an extremely warm Bedford welcome.” Cllr Doug McMurdo, Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture at Bedford Borough Council, said: “The Higgins Bedford is 8

attracting visitors from far and wide. His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales, seemed to enjoy his visit to Bedford’s Castle Quay area and we were delighted to greet him.” During his visit to The Higgins Bedford, His Royal Highness met with staff, local watercolour artists, school children, lace-makers and representatives of the High Street Regeneration Project. Since The Higgins Bedford opened in June this year, it has attracted culture vultures from across the country, and beyond. Bedford Borough Council’s £5.8m project holds world-class collections including works by Turner, Picasso and Warhol. For more details on The Higgins Bedford, including information on its latest exhibitions, contact Gemma, at Bedford Borough Council, via gemma.hutton@bedford.gov.uk or visit The Higgins Bedford’s website at www.thehigginsbedford.org.uk


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m r a F h g Thurlei KIDS

and salad is a best seller! Feeling the pinch after Christmas then the Farm is hosting an amazing 50% off sale. Throughout January 2014 the Farm has reduced all of its admission prices by 50% making it far easier for families to come and play and enjoy a family fun-filled day out. So readers what are you waiting for? Burn off those mince pie calories on the three lane wavy slide – big kids versus little kids – we hope we can offer a fun time for everyone!

Festive madness waning? Children still looking to be amused? Then kick start the New Year by getting out & about and letting those youngster burn off some beans. Let their imagination run riot in the indoor play barn at Thurleigh Farm Centre, alternatively wrap up warmly and come and explore the outdoors! Have an adventure on the NEW 23ft wooden pirate ship hand built by Farmer Mark or come & say hello to the Farm’s most recent arrivals two miniature donkeys – Beyonce & Shakira. Should you visit over the school holidays or at a weekend then the Farm will be running a full schedule of activities including tractor trailer, pony and fire engine rides, bunny cuddling & animal feeding, trampolines, bungee trampolines and quad bikes. Weekdays term time there is the indoor play barn as well as a chance to enjoy outdoors but without the scheduled activities. That said there is nearly always a tractor trailer ride on offer. The Café is fully functioning from light lunches to delicious hot chocolate and freshly ground coffees. The Farm’s homemade lasagne chips 10

The Farm is open throughout the Christmas holidays with the exception of January 1st and will remain open until the children return to school on Wednesday January 8th. For the remainder of the month the winter opening times are Thursday through to Sunday from 9.30 am. For further details check out the website www.thurleighfarmcentre.co.uk or like their Facebook page or follow on twitter. Finally for anyone with a January birthday, Thurleigh Farm Centre is THE place for birthday parties with over 20 different themes on offer. Book online to take advantage of a 5% discount! Alternatively telephone 01234 771597.


KIDS

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FINANCE

How to complain

and make

money Jasmine Birtles, Moneymagpie.com

When you purchase something, whether it’s a holiday or a hat, you’re entering into a contract of exchange. This means that the seller has agreed to meet your ‘statutory rights’. If these are not met or you’re not happy with the service, you can make a complaint and ask for compensation, either in the form of money or goods. Complain about goods and services

Under the Sale of Goods Act 1979, shops must provide goods which are of satisfactory quality, as described, fit for purpose and last a reasonable length of time. They must provide services which are carried out with reasonable care and skill within a reasonable time and at a decent cost. The way to complain about sub-standard goods or services is: Step 1: Make a complaint in person or over the phone as soon as possible. Inform them that you know your statutory rights as a consumer. Step 2: If you don’t receive a satisfactory response, complain in writing to the head office. Ask for compensation for your time and effort (suggest an amount of money) as well as having your item mended or replaced. Send letters by recorded delivery. Step 3: If you still aren’t satisfied, write again and be persistent. Those who write a third time usually receive at least some of what they want.

Complain about train tickets

You can be compensated between half and your entire ticket price if a train is delayed for more than half an hour (depending on the 14

cause of the delay). How to do it: Step 1: Write to the train operator. Forms are available from the ticket office, their website or from www.traindelays.co.uk. Step 2: Take your complaint further. If you’re unhappy with the response from National Rail, you can seek independent passenger representation from www.passengerfocus.org. uk for journeys outside of London or www. londontravelwatch.org.uk for journeys in and around London. Claims will need to be made within 28 days and the original ticket must be sent with your complaint. Compensation is usually paid in rail vouchers.

Complain about insurance companies and financial services

If you’re unhappy about the service you have received from a financial company, it’s easier to complain than it used to be: Step 1: Complain directly to the company in writing, explaining why you’re not happy and what you want the business to do in return. Send copies of paperwork and keep a record of your correspondence. Make sure you complain as soon as things go wrong. They will look at your complaint and see if it’s appropriate to compensate you. However in most cases they will try and avoid this so be persistent. You might have to be patient though as a business is allowed to take up to eight weeks to reach a resolution. Step 2: If you disagree, you can ask the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) www.financialombudsman. org.uk to look at your complaint for free.


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MP COLUMN

TEMPSFORD

T h e se cret a irfi el d fro m w hich h eroi n e s flew

Born in 1955, the Second World War has always held a great fascination for me. From an early age I seemed to appreciate from my parents that my own carefree and largely joyous boyhood and youth had been bought at a heavy price. I enjoyed stories about the war. Comics with war hero stories were avidly devoured – not much thought of political correctness as enemies were despatched thrillingly every week. I graduated to real life stories and films -Douglas Bader’s incredible story in “Reach for the Sky”, and the prison camp breakout immortalised in “The Wooden Horse” were on my grammar school reading list. I watched “25 years ago” with Brian Inglis most weeks. Growing older, the pain of war replaced the childhood naivety. Living close to Jewish north Manchester, the evil of concentration camps was the subject of experience and conversation, not simply history books, and exerted a powerful influence. Contact with young Europeans, and an understanding of how the horrors of occupation and destruction had destroyed the continent and its people, gave me a perspective of a new Europe that has never left me. The determination that an iron, coal and steel community would grow into an entity that for all its faults helped to ensure that German and French enmity would never again threaten world peace and drag the young of Great Britain to war, has always had strong resonance for me. 18

So it was with particular interest that I was in Tempsford to see the Prince of Wales unveil a memorial to the extraordinary young women who had flown from there to be dropped behind enemy lines to aid resistance to Nazi Germany. It is hard to imagine the spirit needed to conquer the terror of a whole range of consequences should their missions go wrong, which some did. Films such as “Carve her Name with Pride” do some justice, and reduce one to tears, and to have this piece of history so close to us is remarkable. We owe thanks to those who keep memories alive on the Airfield itself at Gibraltar Farm, and to those behind the memorial, a group of villagers in Tempsford who just decided it was the right thing to do. To hear the daughter of Violette Szabo read the famous poem “The love that I have is the life that I have” at the memorial was one of my highlights of my year. Remembrance is not just for Nov 11th. Those who gave so much for our freedom, including those selfless women who flew into danger, deserve our thoughts every day.


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BUSINESS

Tamara Glanvill, Solicitor at Woolley & Co, Bedford www.family-lawfirm.co.uk

Financial settlement on Divorce or Separation If you are going through a divorce or separation you will need to come to an agreement about your finances. You can do this with, or without the help of solicitors, although you may wish to take advice on your options and make sure any agreement you reach without the help of a family solicitor is confirmed in writing and, if advised, made into a court order. Agreeing a divorce settlement without solicitors

If you are divorcing or separating you do not have to appoint solicitors to come to an agreement on the division of the family assets. This is something you may be able to agree between yourselves. It is however very important to consider the following: • Is the proposed settlement fair? • Does it take into account the needs of any children? • Does the settlement take into account all assets held by both parties, including property, pensions, shares, business interests, savings and investments? • Have you, or should you, obtain proper valuations for significant assets before agreeing the division between you. Pensions should not be overlooked. • Do you need a second opinion?

up to reflect your decision. This is done in the form of a Consent Order which, once approved and sealed by the Court, is a legally binding document. If it is a clean break order, this means that no further financial claims can be made by either party. You do not have to go to Court to do this but you will need a Solicitor to draw it up.

Why you need a Consent Order

Without a consent order dealing with financial claims, it would be possible for your spouse or ex-spouse to make a claim in the future. So, for example, if you won the lottery or received an inheritance your ex might be able to claim a share. Tamara Glanvill and Lisa Smith are highly experienced family lawyers who can assist with guidance and drawing up Consent Orders. They both offer a free 30 minute consultation. Please call 0845 6802136 or email tamara.glanvill@ family-lawfirm.co.uk to discuss your options or arrange an appointment.

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FEATURE

e v l o s Re e s r u o Y Happy New Year Folks! It’s that time of year again when we start to feel ashamed of our rapidly deteriorating commitment to the New Year’s Resolutions that we promised ourselves we would stick to, religiously, for the whole of the year. It doesn’t take long for them to become forgotten for another twelve months, and for another year, nothing changes… Why?

Now we have a new problem. As we have a head full of good and healthy intentions, we are now faced with reading the old list, and thereby recognising the failings of the previous attempt; immediately our new and fresh ideas are clouded and begin to change in our minds to account for the old ones. Now you know you have met the exact conditions of the previous year, and will inevitably write it all out (jaded now by last season’s results), fold it up neatly, and immediately tuck it away in the same ‘safe’ place as before. Lost again – and possibly for two years if you are going away for next Christmas. It’s a minefield!

201 The famous author Douglas Adams (He of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy fame) once put forward a theory that we simply forget what the New Year’s Resolutions were, or more accurately, where we put the list that they were written on in the first place. This is because a precise set of conditions need to apply for the list to be drafted in the first place. After so much indulgence through Christmas and having spent time lounging around watching TV and maybe having a drink or two, we come to the decision that we need to improve ourselves over the coming months and become consumed with an overwhelming need to write them all down – so that we won’t forget. At this point we will fish around for something to write on, inevitably recreating the conditions of the previous late-December, before finally pulling out the list from the previous year that we had assumed to be lost forever. 22

The best way to prepare New Year’s Resolutions is to write them in March. Whilst you are completely sober. Some of the ones written during the festive period are pertinent to the time of year anyway. The overindulgence and feasting makes us want to exercise and diet; and the overspending on presents and food makes us want to economise and save. That is another reason for failure. As you lost the list last year, you didn’t plan and economise for this Christmas, did you? By implication you then used your saved resources and credit card to get through the festivities, so your resolution to scrimp and save is destined to collapse and you will inevitably spend January and February paying back what you have spent! By the time you get to March, saving up is again possible so you have a much better chance at success.


FEATURE

elf! It must be no coincidence that the Church’s season for giving things up and improving your lifestyle is at lent, in the run-up to Easter. They must have known that nobody will ever manage to give anything up just after Christmas. People are skint. The New Year hangover sufferers are in need of a hair-ofthe-dog drink to aid their recovery, and the smokers need a cigarette whilst they ponder the shopping list to see what they can do without for a few weeks. The average gym will make a fortune in new memberships, paid for out of well-intentioned Christmas gift money, and these people suffer the worst collapse of all. First they overwork in their first session – miss the second one because they are still aching – miss the third one as they are embarrassed about missing the second – and never go back. If this happens to you, go back in March! Tell them you want to be fit and healthy for the summer and this is the time. Nobody

wants to trudge to the gymnasium in the snow and cold winds of February, so don’t even try. March is a far better month! So, if you are already wavering and struggling with the new regime, do not be dismayed. Put this article away in an envelope, write “open in March” on the front, tuck it in your letter rack, drawer, kitchen shelf, or wherever you keep your letters and just enjoy the winter season as best as you can. Springtime is a far better part of the year to forego some of the pleasures of life, as there is so much more to do. Now go and enjoy 2014 properly!

Guy Bolton

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GARDENING

Winter Injuries BREAKAGE FROM ICE/SNOW ACCUMULATIONS Trees and Shrubs with poor structure and heavy/long limbs are prone to breakage due to the added weight of ice and snow.

Wood decay can also pre-dispose branches and lead to failure from ice and snow loads. Evergreens that have a large surface area to hold snow are especially prone to breakage.

DE-ICING/SALT ACCUMULATIONS (Road Rock Salt)

Commonly used to de-ice highways and pavements. The high levels of salt in the soil from pavement run off can kill plant roots. Sodium can be highly toxic to plants with salt spray significantly damaging plant foliage.

Symptoms: Progressive decline in plant vigour, leaves become dwarfed and brown with dieback and eventual death.

STEM SPLITTING Generally occur on young thin barked trees such as Maple, Lime, Sycamore and Elm. The injury occurs from sudden drops in temperature from a sunny daytime high to very low night-time temperatures.

These may cause stem tissue freezing of the plant cells resulting in frost cracks.

Recommendations

Plants should be inspected by a professional arborist in late winter or early spring for symptoms of winter injuries. Plants stressed by winter injuries are more susceptible to pest and disease issues.

For more advice visit: www.bartlett.com or contact Bartlett Tree Experts (Bedford) on 01234 354 673 Visit us on Facebook at Bartlett Tree Experts – Bedford UK 24


GARDENING

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GARDENING

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GARDENING

Sowing time Now that January is here it’s a perfect time to start sowing seeds in trays and pots. But how do you make sure that yours germinate and produce seedlings and then plants which thrive and grow well? A shopping list for first time sowers should be: • Good quality seed and cuttings compost. • Some seed half-trays, which are about 5” x 8”. • A heated propagator, a clear propagator lid to go over the trays or a small unheated propagator. • A dibber to make it easy to transplant the seedlings into a new home. • Some small pots into which you can transplant the seedlings. If you buy seed and cuttings compost it’s rarely necessary to sieve it as it has a very fine and even texture. However, if you’re using multipurpose compost, you’ll need to either break up any lumps carefully with your hands or sieve it. Depending on the types of seeds you have chosen, you will need to sow them at different depths. Some seeds are tiny and are best scattered over the surface. Other seeds are best sown in drills. Once they are in place, in most cases you need to cover them with compost to the required depth. However others germinate best if allowed access to daylight and should be sown on the surface. With these it’s advisable to cover the surface of the tray with cling film to stop it drying out too rapidly. I like to put the seeds in place and then moisten the compost. Place the seed trays in a sink or tray containing about 1cm of water and allow the compost to soak up the water. Once the compost is just moist you should stand the trays in a position where any excess water can drain off. Then, if necessary, put the trays in a heated propagator.

seedlings have appeared, it’s usually not long before you need to prick them out. Generally this is carried out when the first true leaves appear. When the seedling first comes above ground you will see the ‘seed leaves’ which are relatively sturdy looking and rounded in shape. Then above this come the first true leaves which are typical of that particular plant. When pricking out, handle the seedlings very carefully, never by their stems or true leaves, but always by the seed leaves. Before you start to ease them out, make sure that the compost is adequately moist, so that the roots move readily without damage and that you have already prepared pots for transfer. To avoid rotting, always transplant seedlings so that they are at the same depth as they were in the seed tray. If you find that your seedlings have become rather leggy and drawn, this is usually because they’re not receiving enough natural light; move the trays onto a south or west facing windowsill. Visit Pippa’s website www.pippagreenwood.com for a great range of gardening items including ‘Grow Your Own with Pippa Greenwood’. Choose the veg you’d like to grow and they’re sent to you ready to plant, accompanied by weekly advice emails from Pippa.

When it comes to watering the seeds, use mains water as water butts may harbour some of the disease-causing organisms which cause damping off, the fatal condition where the seedlings appear to suddenly flop and keel over. Always watch the seed trays carefully and check them regularly to ensure that the compost is adequately moist. Once the majority of the

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EVENTS

2014 January

8 August-16 January 2014 8-9pm Natural Energy Healing Therapy Blunham Village Hall, High Street, Blunham Thursday evenings. Either 10 minute or 20 minute sessions available. We ask for a donation to help pay for hire of hall and to give to HPAI Charity. For further information and to book please ring Rita on 01767 641 674 or 07963 418 887 4 January 9am-2pm Bedford Crafts, Produce & A Cuppa! Church Lane Community Centre, Church Lane, Bedford First Saturday of the month. 5 January 10.30am Sunday Stroll The Forest Centre & Millennium Country Park, Forest of Marston Vale £1 payable on the day Come and join us in the Country Park for a gentle walk to hear how the Park was set up and a little about the surrounding area. The walk will keep to hard surfaced tracks in the Park which are mostly level but have short sections of gradient up to 1:9. Booking not required. Meet at Reception. Walks last approximately 2 hours. Why not finish the morning off with lunch in the Forest Centre Restaurant? Tel: 01234 767037 for more details 28

5, 12, 19 & 26 January 10.30am Petanque Great Barford Bowls Club, School Lane/Woodpecker Close, Great Barford Cost £2 per session Tel: 01767 448526 Web: www. greatbarfordbowlsclub.org.uk 8, 15, 22 & 29 January 7.30pm Whist Club Great Barford Bowls Club, School Lane/Woodpecker Close, Great Barford Cost £1.50 Every Wednesday. Beginners welcome. Tel: 01767 448526 Web: www. greatbarfordbowlsclub.org.uk 8 January 7.30pm Bedford Architectural Archaeological & Local History Society Putnoe Heights Church & Community Centre, MK41 8EB Members free. Visitors £2 Illustrated talk “The Bedford Bee – an irreverent weekly paper of 1879” by Nick Wilde. Visitors welcome. Tel: 01234 365095 Web: www.baalhs.org.uk

8 January 7.30pm Caring for Bedfordshire Wildlife Priory Park Visitors Centre, Barkers Lane, Bedford £2 suggested voluntary contribution Bedford Local Group of the Wildlife Trust. An illustrated talk by Nancy Reed on ‘Caring for Bedfordshire Wildlife. All welcome. Tel: 01234 266057 Web: www.wildlifebcn.org. 11 January 10am-12 noon Annual Seed Sale Keysoe Village Hall There will be the usual seed catalogues for you to browse and order your seeds from while you enjoy a cup of coffee in the company of like-minded gardeners. We place a large order and deliver to you thereby saving you postage costs. The commission paid by the seed firms helps to finance The Village Show. 14 January 10.30am The World of the Documentary Film The Labour Hall, Crab Lane, Biggleswade Course fee £55, concessions available The Workers Education Association course – 10 sessions of 1½ hours. Tutor Laurence Staig presents ‘An introduction to the world of the documentary film maker’. Tel: Clive Bandy 01462 730147 Email: biggleswade.wea@ virginmedia.com


EVENTS

16 January 10am Evolution: The story of the last four billion years St Andrews Church Hall, Church Street, Langford Course fee £55, concessions available The Workers Education Association course – 10 sessions of 1½ hours. Tutor Keith Triton presents ‘Evolution: The story of the last four billion years’. The story of the Earth and the life that inhabits it, and how the two have evolved together through nearly four billion years. Tel: Jean Chapman 01462 700306 19 January 10am-4.15pm Path Clearance Conservation Task The Forest Centre & Millennium Country Park, Forest of Marston Vale Join our Volunteers to do something for the environment, get some exercise and have fun. We carry out a variety of practical projects throughout the Vale. Wear old clothes and bring lunch if you want to stay all day. Tea and biscuits provided. Meet at the Forest Centre. Places are limited so please let us know if you wish to attend. Tel: 01234 762614 Email: stephen.gascoyne@ marstonvale.org

21 January 2pm for 2.30pm Bedford National Trust Association The Addison Centre, Kempston The speaker will be Richard Miller on “Sir John Soane and Moggerhanger Park”. Please come along where you will find a very warm welcome. 26 January 2.30pm Irish Ceili Dance Workshop Reading Room, Barker’s Lane, Bedford Free workshop Get a taste of Irish Ceili Dancing at a free workshop. No partner required. Tel: Pat 01234 308224 for further details 31 January Quiz Night Bar open 7pm, quiz starts 7.30pm Great Barford Village Hall £7 per person including chilli supper Great Barford Community Events Quiz Night. Teams of 4. Tel: Louise 01234 870443 for info and to book 1 February 8.00pm The King’s Men in Concert St Andrew’s Church, Kimbolton Road, Bedford, MK40 2PF Tickets in advance: Adults £8, Concessions £7, Students 16-21 £4, children free accompanied by an adult Tickets on the door: Adults £9, Concessions £8 Tel 01234 216881 www.standrewsbedford.org

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FEATURE SPORT

MILTON KEYNES M MKM HALF MARATHON RACE ANNOUNCED Following an extremely successful event in 2013 the Milton Keynes Marathon 2014 will take place on Monday 05 May Bank Holiday Monday. Next year’s event will include the MKM Half Marathon option as well as the Corporate Relay for teams of four and the Superhero Fun Run of 2.6km for runners and walkers of all ages.

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Andrew Hully, Race Director of Milton Keynes Marathon says the MK Marathon event will be bigger and better next year. We are hoping to attract a large field including both high achieving athletes and recreational runners. “With the launch of the MKM Half Marathon option we are offering something for everyone and hope that more people than ever will decide to train for and enter one of the races, even if they are complete novices to exercise.” Everyone who finishes a race, whichever event they decide to enter, will benefit from fantastic crowd support around the course, for which Milton Keynes is now becoming famous, and will experience the thrill of the big stadium


SPORT

MARATHON 2014 finish in the state of the art Stadium MK, home of MK Dons FC. This is a city marathon with a difference, Pete Winkelman, Chairman of MK Dons FC, said he was “delighted to have the event start and finish at the stadium. We have a unique selling point in that it is a green marathon and exposes all the great things this city has to offer,” said Pete, “It will be great to have everyone’s family and friends in the stadium at the end of the marathon to cheer them over the line.”

New retail outlets are now open at the north end of the Stadium so there will even be a chance for a spot of shopping after the race. With the addition of the MKM Half Marathon, Milton Keynes now has all the ingredients for a great day out. Milton Keynes Marathon 2014 promises to be a fantastic event, to enter visit www.miltonkeynesmarathon.co.uk

The Milton Keynes Marathon is sponsored by Skechers Performance Division, who make high-performance running footwear. To advertise please call 01767 261122 or email christa@villagermag.com 33


Codeword

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To advertise please call 01767 261122 or email christa@villagermag.com 35


2

Year Anniversary

November marks two years since Molyneux Jones Family Funeral Directors opened its’ office on St Cuthberts Street in Bedford. Owner, Malcolm Jones has been in Funeral Management for over 15 years in other areas of the country, but decided to return to Bedford to open his own independent family business. He is very encouraged by the response he has received from the families he has helped and feedback has been positive with many commenting on how reassuring they have found having a single point of contact. Malcolm confirmed “Having moved back to Bedford to be closer to my family, I have been very pleased to assist so many people so far. By arranging and conducting

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the funerals myself, it enables me to gather a better understanding of the families wishes and offer a range of options. I have been surprised how many people are unaware of the vast variations in price and service, even in a comparatively small town like Bedford and the surrounding villages” he continues “Being fully qualified and as an independent business I am able to provide a very personal service which is fundamental at such a difficult time, I am available 24 hours a day on the phone if they have any questions.” As well as being delighted by the feedback from the families he has helped, Malcolm at Molyneux Jones has also received recognition of his work from two independent funeral charities: The Good Funeral Guide and the Natural Death Centre, both of whom have awarded ‘Recommended’ status to the business. “I was delighted to have approval from both of these organisations who work tirelessly to inform families of their rights and choices. For me it is a privilege to help at a sensitive time.”


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The Brickhill Book Bug reviews… The Silent Tide by Rachel Hore

Emily Gordon has her dream job, as an editor in a small London publishing house. When she is given the biography of a great English novelist to oversee she becomes intrigued by the life of his first wife, Isabel. In 1948 Isabel Barber is also at the beginning of her publishing career when she is given the chance to work with young up and coming novelist Hugh Morton. As she helps him to improve the main female character in his first book she falls in love with him. But independent Isabel hasn’t reckoned with the changes that will come with marriage and motherhood in the early 1950s. As Emily discovers more about Isabel she becomes determined to make sure her side of the story is included in the biography, something his widow Jacqueline is not keen to encourage.

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Rachel Hore skilfully draws parallels between Isabel and Emily’s lives, showing the differences between how women were expected to behave after the Second World War and the freedom they have now. However, some things never change, and as the novel draws to a close we find ourselves hoping that somehow both women will find the love and happiness they crave. For more information about books and reading, visit the Virtual Library at www.bedford.gov.uk/libraries. The Book Bug has worked for the library service in Bedfordshire for over 20 years. She lives in Brickhill with far too many books!

HARD

To advertise please call 01767 261122 or email christa@villagermag.com 39


HOME

Five ways to make money from your home by Katherine Sorrell

Forget cash in the attic – there’s money in every brick, stone or tile of your house, and even in the garden and garage. 1 RENT A ROOM

One in ten homeowners now earns extra cash by letting a spare room to a lodger, according to Santander. You can also rent to commuters, Mondays to Fridays. How much can I make? Average weekly rent is around £90, says spareroom.co.uk. Pros: You can make up to £4,250 a year tax-free under the Government’s Rent a Room scheme. A good lodger can be a friend, share the housework and keep an eye on the place when you’re away. Cons: A bad lodger can be a nightmare – in your space, may not pay the rent and hard to remove. Home insurance may go up. Need to know Obtain references, and have a written agreement about rent, bills and how the house is shared. www.landlordzone.co.uk is a good source of information. You may need 40

permission from your mortgage lender and, if you have one, your leaseholder. Tenants should obtain permission from the landlord.

2 BE A HOST FOR LANGUAGE STUDENTS

Many English language schools, and some universities, need ‘host’ families for their students, to provide a bedroom and meals, and make them feel at home. It’s often just for a week or so, but sometimes longer. How much can I make? From around £100 per student per week, before expenses. Pros: A great way to learn about other cultures, and they’re not with you for long. Cons: Not a reliable, year-round income. Need to know Tell your home contents insurer. Obtain a written contract with the language school.

3 RUN A B&B

Worth considering if you have a spare room or two and live in a desirable area. How much can I make? Depends on location, number of rooms, quality


HOME of accommodation and food. About £35 per room per night is a minimum. Pros: Meet interesting people. Open for guests when it suits you. Cons: Early starts, lots of cooking and cleaning. Upfront costs to convert your home, plus marketing, insurance and book-keeping. Need to know You may need planning permission, or alterations to meet building regulations. Tell your mortgage lender. Don’t be overly optimistic: start by aiming for a 35-40% occupancy rate.

4 RENT YOUR PARKING SPACE

Rent your drive or garage to a commuter people attending the theatre or a sports event. Advertise in the local paper or online. How much can I make? You could earn £200 a month, depending on your proximity to offices, train/tube stations, stadiums and so on, and the local parking and restrictions. Pros: Extra money for very little effort. Cons: Getting rid of someone who stops paying

but continues to park could be tricky. Need to know You can’t rent out a resident permit holder space, and tenants with a parking space can’t rent it out. Draw up a simple contract, tell your home insurer, and check that the parker has insurance in case he damages your property.

5 BE A MOVIE LOCATION

Your home could be a star. All sorts of properties are used, from council flats to country estates. How much can I make? From about £500 per day for stills photography to £2,500 for a big-budget movie. Pros: Interesting and excellent money. Cons: Not a reliable source of income. Could be lots of disruption, and neighbours may object. Need to know Most demand is for large houses with good parking within the M25. Signing up with an agency is free, but you’ll pay a commission.

To advertise please call 01767 261122 or email christa@villagermag.com 41


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TECHNOLOGY

Fit

for purpose

The gadgets that give you a handle on your health A gadget a day keeps the doctor away: according to a recent survey, one-third of people believe that using health and fitness gadgets have made them healthier and reduced the number of times they’ve needed to visit the doctor.

Health and fitness gadgets are big business, whether it’s trendy fitness trackers such as the Nike FuelBand (£129) and the Fitbit Force (pricing tbc, but likely to be similar) or more serious devices such as blood glucose meters and body composition analysers. As tech becomes Bayer Contour NEXT smarter, smaller and cheaper, USB glucose monitor DIY health monitoring has never been easier or more affordable. Diabetics need to monitor their glucose levels regularly, and there are lots of gadgets designed to help, such as the Lifescan One Touch UltraMini (around £33) and the Bayer Contour NEXT USB (£29.99). Both devices enable you to analyse your blood glucose levels and can store the results – 50 in the case of the UltraMini and 2,000 with the Contour NEXT. The latter device can also plug into your computer to create easy-to-understand charts and tables to help you spot patterns. That’s not all you can monitor. A trip to Maplin or Amazon uncovers all kinds of health monitoring gadgets, including blood pressure monitors that can upload data to your PC (around £39), finger pulse oximeters (£27) and fully digital heart rate monitors (around £29), and you can also buy bathroom scales that analyse your body composition: for around £30 you can pick up scales that can tell you not just how heavy or light you are, but what your BMI (Body Mass Index) is and what percentage of your body is made of fat. Scales such as the Omron BF508 also have a guest mode, so visitors won’t see your vital statistics. 44

Nike FuelBand

Using health monitors has become something of a craze, and it even has a name: Quantified Self, or QS for short. Devotees use gadgets to monitor pretty much everything, so they’ll invest in Wi-Fi scales such as the Withings Smart Body Analyzer (£129), which monitors weight, fat, heart rate and even air quality, and which automatically uploads that data to your personal health website. They’ll also wear devices such as the Jawbone Up (£99), a bracelet that’s designed to be worn 24/7 and which records the steps you take, the activity you undertake and even your sleeping patterns. The accompanying software enables you to add additional information such as your food and drink intake, and it translates all of that data into graphs and charts so you can see how well you’re doing and track your progress towards goals, such as losing weight, running faster or just being out and about more. Many such gadgets also enable you to share your progress on LifeScan One Touch social networks such as UltraMini glucose monitor Facebook and Twitter. Devices such as the Jawbone Up, Nike FuelBand and Fitbit Force are designed to work with smartphones, using low-power radio signals to share data with compatible apps. That’s a growing market, and stacks of firms are jumping on the bandwagon: 60beat offers the £29 BLUE heart rate monitor for iPhone and iPad users, AliveCore has a £170 heart monitor for iPhone 5 users and there are various connected blood glucose monitors, pulse monitors and fitness trackers for both iOS and Android. While the various devices differ, they all have the same idea in common: by recording the data, they enable you (or your doctor) to have a much better picture of your health. LifeMax Talking Wrist Heart Monitor


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Bentley MOTORING

Flying Spur

Individuals of high net worth are currently spoilt for choice when it comes to picking a luxurious four-door saloon to transport them to important business meetings and the occasional cruise to Monaco. But two British marques remain the go-to guys when it comes to exquisite craftsmanship and superlative drives... One is a certain Rolls-Royce and the other is Bentley, which just so happens to have a brand new Flying Spur in showrooms.

What is it?

An updated version of the luxurious Flying Spur that was first unveiled to the world in 2005. Many hours have been spent working on a new identity for the model that doesn’t shy too far away from the iconic yet understated lines of a Bentley but adds a modern edge to keep it abreast with rivals from the UK and Germany. The levels of sumptuous, handcrafted detail remain amongst some of the best in the world but an injection of new technology aims to appease the slightly younger, more gadgetsavvy buyer.

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What’s under the bonnet?

The same almighty 6-litre twin-turbocharged W12 unit that can be found in the outgoing model but with a few technological tweaks that reduce fuel consumption by 13.5 per cent and boost performance figures. Top speed is now 200mph, with Bentley marketing the monster as ‘the world’s fastest saloon’. That claim becomes quite apparent when the right pedal is pinned to the carpet as, despite weighing nearly three tonnes, it can despatch the 0-60mph sprint in just 4.3 seconds. After listening to feedback from customers, Bentley has slaved tirelessly to decrease the encroaching grumble of the mighty W12, so noise in the cabin has decreased by an impressive 40 per cent.

What’s the spec like?

A basic Flying Spur will set you back £140,900 so naturally specification is going to be on the generous side but, if one goes wild with the options list, prices can easily tickle the £170,000 mark. Basic W12 models come with opulent, 14way adjustable seats, multi-zone climate control, rear-seat entertainment units and swathes of hand-stitched leather and natural wood


MOTORING veneers. A W12 Mulliner version, that includes bespoke interior hide colours, diamond quilting on the seats, embroidered Bentley logos on the seats and sporty drilled alloy pedals and knurled gear lever, is available at a premium. To give an indication of the extent of possible luxurious specifications, the options list includes a lamb’s wool boot carpet at the cost of £600.

Any rivals?

The Flying Spur will always face fierce competition from the Rolls-Royce Ghost, a car whose badge arguably carries more gravitas amongst discerning customers, but also an equally eyewatering price tag. Bentley also cites the likes of BMW and Mercedes as key rivals as well as the sportier luxury saloons such as the Maserati Gran Turismo and the Aston Martin Rapide. Land Rover is also making waves in the luxury market with the Range Rover – a vehicle that is just as comfortable as the Spur but can also tackle a mountainside if the mood takes.

What’s it like to drive?

Effortless power is the name of the game here, the big Bentley whisking its occupants to high speeds without those inside the leathery cocoon knowing any different. The suspension does a great job of wafting over cracks and bumps through town and manages to steam roller any imperfections in motorway surfaces – it’s an absolute joy to be driven in. But the real surprise comes when you actually slide behind the wheel and take control of the Spur. It feels big and heavy but not in a negative way, the car encourages a sensible driving style around town but the well-judged steering lightens up at slow speeds, making tight roads and tricky roundabouts a

breeze to navigate. Firm up the suspension, slip the gear lever into sport mode and the twisting A-road becomes a fairground ride. It’s in no way a Lamborghini but the three-tonne cruiser handles with little body roll through corners and blistering pace on the straights. According to those who sell these machines, 90 per cent of Bentley owners drive themselves and we can see why.

The verdict

It is very difficult to find fault with such an expensive vehicle that is lavished with Bentley levels of attention to detail and there is no denying this is one very beautiful, very accomplished machine. Slight niggles would surround the additional tech elements with many of the menu screens proving fiddly and unintuitive. The Bluetooth phone connection requires too many stages to operate fully and we struggled with the on-board Wi-Fi. Eagle-eyed customers may also notice that a large amount of technology is carried over from other models in the Volkswagen group and those parting with £160,000 probably don’t want the Sat Nav from a Skoda. Tech aside, it is classic Bentley, boasting understated yet elegant looks, impressive power and interior comfort that is hard to find anywhere else.

The knowledge Model: Bentley Flying Spur W12 Price: £140,900 Engine: 6-litre, twin-turbocharged W12 Power: 616bhp, 800Nm Max speed: 200mph 0-62mph: 4.3 seconds MPG: 19.2mpg combined Emissions: 343 g/km To advertise please call 01767 261122 or email christa@villagermag.com 49


Bromham Windows & Home Improvements UPVC Windows & Doors, Conservatories, Fascia, Soffit & Guttering All double glazing repairs including:Broken & misty sealed units, hinges, faulty doors and locks, handles and much more.

For a free no obligation quotation call:-

01234 306662 or 07960 109429

Email: nightingale12@ntlworld.com 50


To advertise please call 01767 261122 or email christa@villagermag.com 51


MARROSS LTD

Your local plumbing and heating company Marross was set up in 1999 by directors Mark Bicknell and Ross Sporle. Between them they have over 40 years’ experience in the trade, both starting off with a four year apprenticeship with British Gas.

They’ve been providing expert service for over 14 years and their services include domestic boiler servicing, installations, maintenance, plumbing and more! As well as domestic work, Marross Ltd are also widely known in the commercial market, working with many local letting agents.

Spotting the need for an independent, reliable and customer-focused service, they set up Marross and have never looked back. Now they employ a team of engineers across East Anglia, covering NN, MK, SG, CB, LU and AL postcodes, as well as PE postcodes up to and including Peterborough. They are preferred suppliers for Home Serve, and take on new apprentices themselves to train towards their qualifications. Their commitment to the future of the industry is testament to their passion and dedication.

It’s been a busy year for Marross Ltd, firstly, they’ve changed the type of boiler they install to use award winning Vaillant boilers. Why? Mark says “we’re here to give the best service we possibly can to our customers and we’ve switched to Vaillant boilers as we firmly believe they are the best and most reliable out there”. Despite this switch, they do maintain and service any type of domestic boiler!

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This month, they’ve been backing HSENI’s carbon monoxide campaign. A colourless and odourless gas, carbon monoxide can rise to deadly levels if appliances fuelled with gas are not installed, maintained or used in the correct way. Their message is to make sure you’re entrusting a quality and reliable company to take care of your gas appliances for you! Marross Ltd provide, and can fit, carbon monoxide alarms to customers which come highly recommended as a precaution. When they’re not offering a professional and comprehensive service to customers, Marross Ltd take their corporate responsibility seriously by doing their bit for charity and getting involved with the local community. Earlier this year, coowner Mark and his wife Kellie took part in the grueling London to Brighton Night Ride raising a fantastic £1100 for the British Heart Foundation! Next year, Mark and Kellie are taking part in the London to Brighton Day Bike Ride which is in June – keep an eye on their social media pages where they will be sure to let you know how to donate and share details of how they get on!

And keeping things economical for customers is one of Marross’ key aims. They highly recommend the use of thermostats in your house. They specialize in providing the remote programmable variety of thermostat that allows you to control the climate of your house at all times. Mark tells us “It is much more efficient to maintain a steady temperature, which is above 16 degrees, than to be constantly reheating a cold house. You are very likely to save on your heating bills by installing a thermostat in your home”. They also now install remote programmable thermostats that can be controlled from your smart phone – this enables you to check the temperature of your home from anywhere in the world and allows you to turn the heating and hot water on or off. These can be added to pretty much any type of heating system so they urge you to make this small investment now to save you expense later on! Also be sure to keep an eye on Marross’ website where they publish monthly deals, proving their testament to saving customers money. Marross are also aware of their ecological footprint. If you get a boiler replaced by them, you can be reassured that everything that can be, will be recycled. They extend this to the company cars they drive so look out for their branded smart cars in your local area! A professional, experienced and dedicated team, let Marross keep you warm this winter!

They have also recently begun sponsoring a local U11’s boys’ football team, Staploe and Duloe FC, allowing them to get a brand new Nike kit! This epitomizes Marross’ ethos of keeping things local, friendly and helpful. You can find more information on both the bike ride and the sponsorship in their blogs on their website! Getting a new boiler installed can be a big, and expensive, decision but you can rely on Marross’ engineers to consult with you to provide the best solution. Their expertise will ensure they know if they can work on maintaining the boiler or whether it is more economical for you to replace. 53


DIRECTORY

DIRECTORY Aquatic & Reptile Centre

Destinations Aquatics……………………….... 38

Architect

Architectural Drawings & Building Design Services…………………….. 47

Builder

Chris Dunne…………………………………..... 16

Electrician

Chris Birks...................................................... 43 Craddock Electrical………………………....... 59 Down to Earth................................................. 56 SBG Electrical................................................ 61

Funeral Services

Arnolds............................................ Inside Back Molyneux Jones……………………………...... 36

Carpentry

DC Carpentry................................................. 46

Carpets/Flooring

Mounter & Turners Carpets………………...... 17

Cleaning Services

AromaClean.................................................... 13 Black Horse Chimney Sweep………………... 61 Oven Maestro................................................. 35 Oven Men....................................................... 43 Super Dry……………………………………..... 42 Sureclean Carpets...…………………………... 50 Sureclean Gutter............................................ 26

Coin Collecting

Cambridge Coins........................................... 12

Computer Repair/Maintenance

PC Fixers……………………………………...... 20 PC Problem Solver…………………………...... 20

Cosmetic Dentistry

Chrysalis......................................................... 30

Education

The Bedford Sixth Form……………………..... 45

Electrical Goods/Repairs

Burns Domestic.............................................. 59

54

Furniture Restoration/Repair

M&S Upholstery……………………………...... 56

Garage Doors

Almond Garage Doors................................... 51

Garden Services

Bartlett Tree Experts....................................... 25 Beaver Sheds................................................. 25 Bryan Johnson.......................................…….56 Driveway Doctor............................................. 26 Gardens By Carter......................................... 56 Gilks Fencing.................................................. 27 Home Works................................................... 42 LWS................................................................ 26 MJ Nicholson.................................................. 56 MPS Gardening.............................................. 25 Whites............................................................. 26

Health/Hair & Beauty

Feet to Go……………………………………..... 31 Mo’s Toes................................... ……...………31 Shenlong Chinese Medical Centre…………..31

Kids Entertainment/Entertainers

Jungle Jims Playland...................................... 11 Thurleigh Farm Centre……………………....... 11


DIRECTORY

Kitchens/Bathrooms

Acoline Softeners Ltd………………………..... 15 F & D Kitchens................................................ 37 Home Works………………………………........ 42 Optimum Glass................................................. 5 P & R Bathrooms…………………………...40-41 Peter Crisp……………………………………... 12 QP Interiors…………………………………........ 9

Painter & Decorator

Craig Johnson................................................ 46

Pet Care

Grooming Fabulous………………………….... 19 Oakley Dog Walking………….……………..... 56

Roofing

Bucks Roofing………………………………..... 59 The Workx…………………………………........ 17

Seamstress

Anne’s Alterations…………………………....... 56

Security

Alarm Doctor.................................................. 51 A Rocket Locksmith………………………....... 42 J Dean Security……………………………....... 42

Solicitors

Woolley & Co, Solicitors.............................20-21

Sports Equipment

Plasterer

CP Ceilings..................................................... 46 Craig Johnson................................................ 46

AS Pub Sports………………………………..... 35

Taxi

Pat’s Cars……………………………………..... 35

Plumbers

Aquasure Plumbing........................................ 43 C M Plumbing……………………………..…...... 6 Drain Doctor................................................... 50 The Bedford Plumbers................................... 58 Unique………………………………………...... 51

Tiling/Supplies

Dave Moore Tiling...................................…….60 Elstow Ceramics…………………………......... 60

TV/Satellite Services

J Dean Security............................................. 42

Property Maintenance

Chris Dunne…………………………………..... 16 CP Ceilings..................................................... 46 Cromwell Stoves............................................. 59 Drain Doctor................................................... 50 Homeworks Property Maintenance................ 42 Just So Property Maintenance....................... 58 Mr Fix Property Maintenance......................... 61 The Workx…………………………………........ 17

Public House/Restaurant

Windows/Conservatories/Doors

A Rocket Locksmith………………………....... 42 Bedford Doors………………………………..... 58 Bromham Windows........................................ 50 Cloudy 2 Clear...................................Back Page Emperor Blinds............................................... 41 Kempston Windows........................................ 37 Optimum Glass................................................. 5 P.C.D Services................................................ 46 The Workx………………………………..…...... 17 Window Geeks............................................... 47

The Coach House………………...... Inside Front The Crown………………................................. 34 The Sharnbrook Hotel……………………........ 19 To advertise please call 01767 261122 or email christa@villagermag.com 55


ELECTRICIAN

PET SERVICES

GARDENING SERVICES

UPHOLSTERY

SEAMSTRESS

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FOOD

Protein packed Greek yoghurt brownie bites

Deciding to embrace healthy eating is a pretty big step – so if you’ve got that far, well done. The tricky part is figuring out what to eat. Sure, you can stock up on diet shakes and steamed veggies, but you can only go so far before the binge cravings break through! So we have a deliciously tempting recipe, packed with protein to keep you feeling fuller for longer – and bursting with chewy, chocolatey, nutty goodness. Made with Greek yoghurt, you can leave out the fat but still get a rich and beautifully textured brownie.

Makes: 12-16 brownies

Ingredients:

130g self-raising flour ½ teaspoon baking powder ¼ teaspoon salt 100g dark chocolate, broken into small chunks 100g dates, pre-soaked, pitted and chopped 70g cocoa powder 200g Greek yoghurt (either full fat or low fat) 75g chopped nuts (optional)

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 175°C. Line a medium sized shallow baking tray with baking paper. 2. In a large bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients until evenly blended. 3. Melt dark chocolate by placing in a glass bowl, over hot water. Stir regularly until evenly melted. It should be smooth and glossy. 4. Allow chocolate to cool slightly, and then blend in Greek yoghurt. Whip through until a light, fluffy texture is achieved. 5. Combine chocolate mixture with flour, and add dates. Mix everything together gently until even. 6. Pour into baking tray, and decorate with chopped nuts if using them. As a nut-free alternative, you can add dried fruit or chocolate chips. 7. Bake for 25-30 minutes, and check with a knife. The brownie cake should be soft and slightly sticky, but firm to the touch. 8. Allow to cool, before cutting into portions.

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FITNESS

Detoxing & Fasting – The Facts behind the Fads January. Dark days plus lots of ‘fancy food’ and alcohol have made us feel fat and sludgy. So, bombarded with more dietary information than ever we rush out to spend our gift vouchers on books about ultimate diets and detox plans. But will they really make us healthier or slimmer? Detoxing

There are numerous ‘detox diets’ that either tell you to restrict or eliminate certain foods, or advocate eating just one type of super food to flush you clean. But many experts say that your body already has the tools it needs to detoxify itself. The kidneys, liver, colon and skin all work together to remove unwanted substances from our body.

Does it work? You may lose a lot of weight at first, but it can be hard to maintain as you are not fundamentally changing the way you eat. There does seem to be a connection between calorie consumption and lifespan but whether fasting gives the same results as daily moderation has yet to be proved. However if having a couple of semi-fasting days a week doesn’t make you feel ill and you don’t compensate by eating unhealthily on the other days, there’s no harm doing it. So what should I do?

Eat a healthy and varied diet

The headaches, fatigue and other symptoms you may experience after a few days on a detox diet are not caused by toxins now released into your bloodstream. In reality, these symptoms are usually caused by your body reacting to sudden deprivation of a substance your body is a little too used to – such as caffeine, sugar or alcohol.

• Choose natural foods not manufactured ones. Eat plenty of vegetables of different colours, moderate amounts of fruit and lean protein. • Avoid sugar as it disrupts your natural appetite control and is known to be highly addictive. Artificial sweeteners may have no calories, but it doesn’t help you to break the habit. • Watch your carbohydrates. Potatoes, bread and cereal are pretty tasteless without added fat or sugar and that alone can cause you to take in more calories than you intended. • Cut out or reduce alcohol. Most experts agree that a little does no harm, but stick to the unit limits of 2 per day for women and 3 per day for men. Remember these are limits, not targets! • Drink water. Hopefully we all now know this doesn’t mean drinking 8 glasses per day, but ensure your intake is not all caffeinated (if you usually drink lots of caffeine, reduce slowly).

Fasting

Lose weight safely

Much of the detox hype sounds seductively plausible. When we’re told that our bodies are full of undesirable substances that reduce our immunity, slow our metabolism and make us retain water and weight. But the British Dietetic Association has pronounced the concept ‘irrational and unscientific’.

Intentionally going without food is not new. People have been fasting for religious purposes for thousands of years and there are long held beliefs that it can improve various medical conditions and general health. Many of the recent trendy fasting schemes don’t really ask you to fast at all, just to restrict your food intake on certain days or for a short period of time.

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Most of us eat too much and there is evidence linking overconsumption of calories with reduced life-span and premature ageing, although the mechanism isn’t clear yet. Eat healthy ‘real’ foods, eat only when you are genuinely hungry and don’t eat too much.


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Beds local january 2014 (web)  
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