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VILLAGER The

and Town

Issue 57 - January 2014

FRYour co E py E

Life

LOCAL NEWS • LOCAL PEOPLE • LOCAL SERVICES • LOCAL CHARITIES • LOCAL PRODUCTS

Inside this issue

Big Garden Bird Watch 25-26th January 2014

The Best Way to buy a car

Win

£25 in our Prize Crossword Bringing Local Business to Local People

Buckden, Brampton, Cambourne, Godmanchester, The Hemingfords and all surrounding villages every month


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Contents Marross

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When Winters Were Winters.....................................4 Wildlife Wanderings.................................................6 The Best Way to Buy a Car........................................8 RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch..................................10 What’s Your Goal?...................................................13 Resolve Yourself.....................................................14 Wordsearch............................................................17 Detoxing and Fasting.............................................18 Has Christmas Left You Feeling Spent?...................24 10 Rerasons to be Positive this Christmas...............26 Family Matters.......................................................28 There’s a Wee Problem...........................................31 Marross Ltd - Local Plumbing and Heating.............32 Bartlet Trees - Winter Injuries.................................34

VILLAGER

F You coRE r py E

The

and Town

Issue 57 - January 2014

Life

LOCAL NEWS • LOCAL PEOPLE • LOCAL SERVICES • LOCAL CHARITIES • LOCAL PRODUCTS

Inside this issue

Big Garden Bird Watch 25-26th January 2014

The Best Way to buy a car

Win

£25 in our Prize Crossword Bringing Local Business to Local People

Buckden, Brampton, Cambourne, Godmanchester, The Hemingfords and all surrounding villages every month

In the Garden.........................................................37 Children’s Page.......................................................39 The Joy of Sledding................................................41 Seasonal Delights...................................................43 Kimbolton School Swimming Pool Timetable........44 How to Wake Up Refreshed....................................46 Puzzle Page............................................................48 A Pain in the Neck..................................................51 Super Duper Science Facts......................................53 Prize Crossword......................................................54 What’s On...............................................................58 Book Review..........................................................62 Classifieds..............................................................63

Big Garden Bird Watch

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16,000 copies delivered free of charge in the following areas: Hinchingbrooke, Hinchingbrooke Park, Brampton, Buckden, Offord Cluny, Offord D’arcy, Godmanchester, Hemingford Abbots and Hemingford Grey, Cambourne, Chawston, Croxton, Duloe, Graveley, Great Paxton, Hail Weston, Honeydon, Little Barford, Little Paxton, Roxton, Southoe, Staploe, Tempsford, Toseland, Upper Staploe, Wintringham, Wyboston, Yelling. (Further bulk drops are made to local shops and busineses in Huntingdon, St Neots, Eaton Ford, Eaton Socon and Eynesbury)

Editorial - Peter Ibbett, Christine Donnelly, Jonathan Vernon-Smith, Susan Brookes-Morris, Guy Bolton, Fiona McLeman, Leeds Day Solicitors, Tony Larkins, Bartlett Trees, Gareth Arscott, Sarah Davey, Louise Addison and Bruce Edwards Advertising Sales - Christa Hallam - 07868 369257 christa@villagermag.com Photography - Derek Tenhue Design and Artwork - Design 9 Tel 07762 969460

Publishers Villager Publications Ltd 24 Market Square, Potton, Bedfordshire SG19 2NP Tel: 01767 261122 nigel@villagermag.com www.villagermag.com Disclaimer - All adverts and editorial are printed in good faith, however, Villager Publications Ltd can not take any responsibility for the content of the adverts, the services provided by the advertisers or any statements given in the editorial. No part of this publication may be reproduced or stored without the express permission of the publisher.


History

When Winters were Winters!

By Peter Ibbett

Once upon a time, long, long ago, even before large power companies charged an arm and two legs for keeping you warm, the good folk of St. Neots survived winter cold with only the aid of thick clothes and a few logs of wood and lumps of coal to keep the tentacles of Jack Frost at bay. One late Victorian winter froze the Great Ouse by the Priory Brewery allowing locals to walk under the arches of the old stone bridge and criss-cross from one bank to another, sliding across the Bedfordshire - Huntingdonshire border that ran down the middle of the river. The captain of the sailing barge found himself trapped by the ice, preventing him from transporting goods up and down the river. The harsh winters of the late Victorian Era stimulated the formation of the St Neots Skating Association in December 1890 with the McNish Cup as the prize for the top skater. In 1891 Mr Toogood had a sheep of 80 lbs roasted on the frozen ice near Little Paxton Paper Mill to provide a

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free meal of roast lamb and beer! Although our Victorian ancestors had to deal with more ice and snow than us only a few winters were exceptional in their cold with that of February 1895 said at the time to have been the most severe since 1860. Bandy, the original form of ice-hockey, became popular encouraged locally by Charles G Tebbutt, who had come to St Neots from Bluntisham in 1889, buying the Navigation Yard Timber business from Jewson & Son. In the 1890/91 winter he took a team to play Bandy to Holland, introducing the game to Europe. He set river skating records such as 7 hours 10 minutes skating time to travel from Peterborough to Cambridge, a distance of 87 miles, in February 1895. Now, in an era of centrally heated winters, iceskating on the Great Ouse has become a memory with only the display in St Neots Museum to remind digitally constrained 21st century locals of the times when nature provided you with its own free ice-rink!

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Travel

WILDLIFE WANDERINGS

By Christine Donnelly

The return of the wild swans to the wetlands at Slimbridge in Gloucestershire each winter is wellknown but less famous is a similar wildlife spectacle that takes places each year in Cambridgeshire. Thousands of swans and other wildfowl arrive on the ‘washes’ of the River Ouse from September onwards. Amongst them are flocks of two of the world’s seven species of swan, Bewick’s and Whooper, which breed in the far north of Europe and fly south to several areas in Britain for the winter where food supplies are better. It is possible to see (and hear!) them by visiting the bird hides at Welney and Welches Dam. Joining them on the marshes and flooded grasslands of the Ouse are several species of ducks including Tufted ducks with their characteristic tuft of feathers on the top of their heads. These small ducks breed in small numbers on local lakes and can be seen throughout the year as they suddenly appear at the surface after diving to feed underwater, but seeing them with thousands of other ducks on the washes in winter is wonderful.

Tufted ducks With few leaves left on the trees, winter is a good time to try and spot our woodland birds. Amongst the more familiar such as chaffinches and blue tits, you may see less common ones including treecreepers and nuthatches. Both can climb up a tree trunk using their strong claws but only the nuthatch, a beautiful grey, white and orange bird with a black eye stripe, can climb down the trunk head first, making it easily identifiable if seen doing so.

Nuthatch at its nest hole in tree trunk If you are able to put food out for birds, winter is a key time of year to do this and you may be rewarded with many different species visiting. If you live near a wood or even just a tree belt or scattered trees, you may be lucky enough to attract a Great-spotted woodpecker to the feeder. For supplies of bird

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food and feeders visit the Cambourne office of The Wildlife Trust. Check www.wildlifebcn.org or phone 01954 713500 for more information and for details of local talks and walks over the winter, local nature reserves and how to become a member of the Trust.

Great-spotted woodpecker on bird feeder Seasonal weather changes affect ocean currents and at the start of January there is a change in currents to the west of northern South America. The Galapagos Islands lay on the equator to the west of Ecuador and for much of the year they are bathed by the cold Humboldt Current that travels north from Antarctica, past Chile and Peru. By January this current has weakened allowing warm equatorial waters to reach most of the islands, resulting in the annual ‘El Niño’. This brings Pacific green turtles to Galapagos beaches where they dig their nests and many tropical fish arrive in the islands’ waters. The wet season starts and rains produce a flowering of the iconic plants of Galapagos including cacti and the beautiful Darwin’s cotton. Many land birds, such as Darwin’s finches and the Galapagos flycatcher, breed at this time due to the availability of seeds and fruits.

Darwin’s cotton, Galapagos Wildlife Travel runs trips to the Galapagos Islands covering all aspects of natural history, including the birds, mammals, reptiles, fish, plants and geology. For details of these and other holidays worldwide contact 01954 713575 or check www.wildlife-travel.co.uk. Any profits from Wildlife Travel are donated to nature conservation through The Wildlife Trusts.

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Abbotsley Golf range and par 3 now open and manned and under new direction and is open 7 days a week Faculties at range centre Par 3 9 holes Foot golf Golf academy, lessons for all golfers with golf pro Steve phone or Call in to book 01474 408900 or 07456-036572 email pro@steveoldhamgolf.co.uk

Driving range open Monday to Friday 8.30am to 8pm Saturday and Sunday 7.30am to 6pm during winter months Cromwell centre, Potton Road, Abbotsley, Cambridgeshire PE19 6XN

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Three Counties Radio

The Best Way to Buy a Car

By Jonathan Vernon-Smith

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. 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. 8

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RSPB

Big Garden Bird Watch

25 and 26 January 2014

As the New Year gets underway, we inevitably start thinking about changing our habits and embarking upon new endeavours for the coming 12 months. For many of us, that includes contemplating which new fangled diet we will embrace to lose those sneaky extra pounds that crept upon us over the festive period! But why not give yourself a break this year and rather than considering your own food intake, take a look out into your gardens and think about the calorific needs of your garden visitors? As the temperature continues to drop, and the countryside cupboards grow bare, our gardens and parks become a crucial source of food, water and shelter for our favourite garden wildlife. Unlike us, this is the perfect time of year for wildlife to be foraging for fat and stocking up on stodge. There are some really simple things you can do to look out for your garden wildlife at this time of year, and the more you attract to you garden, the more you’ll be able to see during the RSPB’s national Big Garden Birdwatch taking place in January! Special feeding tips for winter At this time of year, put out food and water on a regular basis. In severe weather, feed twice daily if you can: in the morning and in the early afternoon. Birds require high energy (high fat) foods during the cold winter weather to maintain their fat reserves to survive the frosty nights. Use only good quality food and scraps. Always adjust the quantity given to the demand, and never allow uneaten foods to accumulate around the feeders. Once you establish a feeding routine, try not to change it as the birds will

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become used to it and time their visits to your garden accordingly. Gardeners have a vital role to play in supporting garden birds and wildlife. For advice on how to make a few simple changes to your garden, in order to attract a greater number of birds and wildlife, see the RSPB’s Give Nature a Home www.rspb. co.uk/homes. Counting the birds that are counting on you RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 25 - 26 January 2014 On Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th January 2014, the nation takes part in the RSPB’s annual Big Garden Birdwatch. The activity is the biggest garden wildlife survey in the world and last year almost 600,000 people counted the birds in their garden. Big Garden Birdwatch provides the RSPB with masses of information about changes in numbers of garden birds in winter, and helps to alert conservationists to significant declines in UK garden species like house sparrows and starlings. And this year, for the first time, participants are being asked to log some of the other wildlife they see in their gardens too. The RSPB wants to know whether people ever see deer, squirrels, badgers, hedgehogs frogs and toads in their gardens, to help build an overall picture of how important our gardens are for giving all types of wildlife a home. The charity will gather useful information about these other species and share them with its conservation partners after the survey. For more information and to take part visit www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch.

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Time of Year

What’s your Goal?

By Susan Brookes-Morris Many of us use the New Year as a time to plan ahead and set goals or resolutions. What would you like to achieve in 2014, and how would you like your life to be different? It’s possible to set goals for most areas of life: - health, career, social life, relationships and finance for instance. Or you might look at the different roles you play, such as wife, friend, mother, employer, and use your thoughts about how you could improve your success in those roles to help determine your goals. Only you can decide what would really make a positive difference to your life, and you are most likely to succeed if you select goals that really matter to you. There is less chance of success if you are trying to achieve something because another person wants you to. Indeed some New Year’s resolutions only last a few days. To make a lasting change it’s important to make sure your goals are realistic, and to seek motivation, inspiration and support to help you stay on track. Do not set yourself too many goals or set targets way beyond your reach, as you will soon become disheartened and less likely to succeed. It’s better to set smaller goals that you can add to, or increase if things go well, and build on your positive results Some people like to write their goals down or

share them with others, and this can add to the accountability that individuals feel around goal setting, thus improving their chances of success. It can also be useful to ask for support from friends, who can give you gentle reminders if you are in danger of going off track. Where relevant, you may also want to get inspiration, advice and training from others such as weight loss experts, sports trainers or personal and career coaches. Other useful tools include imagery – this might be visualising yourself having achieved your goals, or sticking photographs which represent success to your fridge door or mirror. You might also find the use of quotes, role models and affirmations useful. An affirmation is a statement which says what you are aiming for in a positive way, and in the present tense. It helps to imprint positive beliefs on your subconscious. Finally, don’t forget to congratulate yourself when you do achieve success. Break your goals down into manageable steps, and celebrate by rewarding yourself at each milestone. Here are some useful Goal related quotes: ‘A goal is a dream with a deadline’ – Napoleon Hill ‘If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else’ – Yogi Berra

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Health and Beauty

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. 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’. 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.

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Fasting 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. 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 • 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). Lose weight safely Most of us eat too much and there is evidence linking overconsumption of calories with reduced life-span and premature ageing. Eat healthy ‘real’ foods, eat only when you are genuinely hungry and don’t eat too much.

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Health & Beauty

Has Christmas Left You Feeling Spent? Centre for Complementary Health

• Has it been expensive for you this Christmas both financially AND emotionally? • Has your family drained you of any feelings of strength you had? • Have you joined a gym to try and “look after yourself” knowing full well that the membership fee is going to be wasted? Dr Rajshree Weston, Clinical Psychologist and CAT Practitioner from the Centre shares her views on coping with the Christmas aftermath. “When you find yourself using the word “should” when talking to yourself – yes, we all self-talk – then just stop yourself and ask yourself why? This might help you to decipher where the “guilty” feeling is coming from, and therefore give you some idea of what you can do about it. Perhaps you have a particularly critical family and you are obliged to have them come to you for Christmas, and even though you have worked very hard, they have found something to criticize.

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This has maybe hurt you and no matter how much your partner might be reassuring you, the pain just seems to linger and you cannot seem to shake it off. Do you console yourself that you suffer with SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder – and that when the sun shines again you will be fine, or at least that is what you tell everyone around you. If this year you want to try and get to the bottom of your post-Christmas blues and feel more in control of your life, then why not try a “talking therapy”. It does not mean that you have a mental health problem, it just means that you would like some help to understand yourself better, and I am sure we could all do with that”. If you would like further information or for a FREE initial consultation with Rajshree contact the Centre on 01480 455221.

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Family Law

10 Reasons to be Positive this Christmas By Fiona McLeman

Facing separation? Christmas can be a tough time for families, particularly those who may find their relationship is breaking down. There can be financial constraints and other relationship conflicts that magnify tenfold under the Christmas microscope. If you’ve found Christmas difficult and you are thinking about your options, here are some positive words about possible next steps. 1. It doesn’t mean it’s over Try relationship counselling to offer you professional help to break out of the same old conflicts. Relate can help, as can private couples counsellors to help repair the difficulties in the relationship, and move you to a new start with your partner. 2. Speak to friends and family and share your feelings and thoughts with them. Don’t bottle it up – often the most sage advice is from those closest to you, and what’s more- it’s free! 3. Don’t involve the children No matter how hurt or sad you may feel, don’t involve your children. Try and keep them out of the conflict. 4. Try Mediation Mediation helps to keep your discussions constructive and to move things along if you get stuck. It is cost effective and

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with the right legal support will result in the same binding outcome as if the court had made a determination. It is means tested which means that for some it is also available with Legal Aid. 5. A fresh start for 2014? If the relationship is at an end we can support you with practical and legal help in a kind, considerate and sensitive manner. 6. Don’t be afraid to get advice Fiona McLeman Family Law offers a free 30 minute appointment to go over your situation and to discuss some options with you. After that, we encourage our clients to resolve matters amicably with their partner and if they don’t feel up to that, we’re on hand to help as little or as much as they like. Fiona McLeman Family Law takes this opportunity to wish all readers of the Villager a Happy New Year.

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Divorce Living together agreements Adoption Children issues Collaborative family law

Fiona McLeman Family Law is accredited by Resolution and the Solicitors Regulation Authority as a Specialist in Family Law. For a free initial consultation contact Fiona:

fiona@fmfamilylaw.co.uk, 07894095775, www.fmfamilylaw.co.uk Regus House, 1010 Cambourne Business Park, Cambourne CB23 6DP To advertise in The Villager and Townlife please call 01767 261122

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Leeds Day Solicitors

Family Matters at Leeds Day Solicitors With the pressures on families ever increasing, Leeds Day has decided to meet the growing need for advice, support and representation by expanding its family team with the appointment of specialist solicitor Grace Brass. Grace has spent the majority of her career practising in Cambridgeshire and is pleased to be returning to the area. Grace joined Leeds Day in August 2013 and brings with her a wealth of knowledge and experience in family law with a particular emphasis on divorce and financial issues. Grace frequently represents high net worth individuals where cases involve trusts, inherited wealth, pensions and business related assets. Grace provides advice regarding cohabitation agreements, pre and post nuptial agreements to couples who wish to protect their assets before embarking upon a marriage, civil partnership or cohabitation, ensuring that they have all of the information required to make appropriate decisions. Grace also advises parents, grandparents and other relatives in relation to the arrangements for children (contact and residence) and removal from the jurisdiction. Grace is joining a team dedicated to finding and offering clients alternative ways of dispute resolution, focusing on achieving positive outcomes that are agreeable to everyone, particularly when there are children involved. Lisa Leader, a member of Resolution is based in the St Ives office whilst Simon Thomas, based in the St Neots office is further qualified to offer the fast growing collaborative law approach to family breakdown. Simon is also personally mentioned in the prestigious Legal 500

Our offices: Huntingdon Godwin House, George Street, Huntingdon, PE29 3BD T: 01480 454301

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as providing ‘excellent support and advice’, and is noted for his ‘sensitive approach’. (2013 Legal 500). Leeds Day is the only firm locally that is able to offer family advice to clients in Huntingdon, St Neots and St Ives. Leeds Day is committed to working flexibly around the client and therefore does not expect its clients to take time off work to come into the office. In order to accommodate the needs of clients the family department will now offer late night appointments on a Wednesday evening at our Huntingdon office, the only firm locally to offer this service. Commenting on Grace’s appointment, Simon Thomas, head of the family law team, said: “the addition of Grace to our well established team will add further depth to a practice which is well respected in the area. Grace’s arrival signals continuing growth of the firm and our ambition to provide an excellent service to our clients. Grace’s background and experience in family law will significantly increase our client offering and we are delighted to have her on board.” If you need advice on a family matter, then contact Leeds Day on 01480 454301 or email family@ leedsday.co.uk. Quote this article before the end of January 2014 and your first 30 minute consultation will be free.

www.leedsday.co.uk St. Ives 11 Station Road, St. Ives, Cambridgeshire PE27 5BH T: 01480 464600

St. Neots 1A South Street, St. Neots, Cambridgeshire, PE19 2BW T: 01480 474661

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Visit our great St.Neots branch We promise you open, honest and impartial advice to find the holiday that’s right for you. In fact we can take care of all your holiday needs including insurance and commission free foreign currency.

Beales Department Store High Street, St Neots, Huntingdon PE19 1BT Tel: (01480) 406600 Email: travel.stneots@angliacooperativetravel.co.uk The Co-operative Travel at Anglia Co-operative Society is a trading name of The Freedom Travel Group Limited, Registered Office: The Thomas Cook Business Park, Coningsby Road, Peterborough, PE3 8SB, Company Registration Number: 03816981 England. The Freedom Travel Group Limited is part of the Thomas Cook group. All offers are subject to availability and certain terms and conditions, please ask for full details.

Anstee Gorst

Chartered Certified Accountants

- Accounts preparation for Sole traders, Partnerships and Limited Companies - Self assessment tax returns - Cash Flow Forecasting - Vat, Payroll & Bookkeeping - Business Start Up Free Initial Consultation Phone: Antoinette Gorst ACCA or Sally Anstee FCCA 01767 650700 Ground Floor Offices, Unit 30, Green End, Gamlingay, Sandy, Beds, SG19 3LF Email: office@ansteegorst.co.uk Website: www.ansteegorst.co.uk

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Beacon Wealth

There’s A Wee Problem

By Tony Larkins

How often has someone said to you, why did you not do something about it? And you answer that you did not realise there was a problem. The answer is probably not often, but I bet it has happened. In my role as a Financial Planner these questions would relate to either; why someone did not have life cover (or not enough) after they have died, or why their pension pot was not sufficient enough to support a better retirement. It is so easy to either ignore financial planning or to put it off, but we never know when our lives will change. Age creeps up on us and pay days slip past. How many more do you expect or hope to have? The Government has changed the law to enable individuals to obtain tax relief on certain life cover, knowing most employer death in service schemes are insufficient. They have also brought in a new pension at work scheme, albeit a delusional one. I say delusional because it starts at a 1% salary matched contribution rising over several years to a total of 8%.

Tony Larkins CFP APFS Managing Director IFA Chartered and Certified Financial Planner

The reality is that 8% will not provide a decent pension, so why do they not mention this? Is it because they cannot see the problem or they think people will not believe the real solution? It is the New Year, so out with the old way and in with the new. If you have not sat down with a financial planner, why not make this the year you do. They may just have a solution to the problem you did not realise you had. Who knows, they may just tell you all is well, and keep doing what you are doing. However, I urge you to seek the assistance of a planner rather than just an adviser; they usually approach things differently. If you are unsure of how to spot a financial planner rather than an adviser, look for CFP after their name. Seeking qualified advice from a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) is preferable or a Chartered Financial PlannerCM (APFS). If you have a financial question, e-mail: tlarkins@beaconwealth.co.uk

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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. 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. 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. It’s been a busy year for Marross Ltd, firstly, they’ve changed the type of boiler they install to use award

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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! 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, co-owner Mark and his wife Kellie took part in the gruelling London to Brighton Night Ride raising a fantastic £1100 for

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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! 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. 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!

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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.

STEM SPLITTING DE-ICING/SALT ACCUMULATIONS Generally occurs on young thin (Road Rock Salt) Commonly used to de-ice barked trees such as Maple, Lime, highways and pavements. The Sycamore and Elm. The injury occurs from sudden drops high levels of salt in the soil from in temperature from a sunny pavement run off can kill plant roots. Sodium can be highly daytime high to very low nighttime temperatures. toxic to plants with salt spray significantly damages plant foliage.

Wood decay can 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.

These may cause stem tissue Symptoms: Progressive decline in plant vigour, leaves become freezing of the plant cells dwarfed and brown with die-back resulting in frost cracks. and eventual death. 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 on 01234 354 673 Visit us on Facebook at Bartlett Tree Experts – Bedford UK

Bartlett Tree Experts A Complete and Comprehensive Tree Careand Service since 1907 A Complete Comprehensive Tree Care Service Since 1907 For over 100 years, Bartlett Tree Experts has led both the science and services that make your landscape thrive. No matter the size or scope of your needs, our arborists bring a rare mix of groundbreaking research, global resources and a local service approach to every task at hand. Trees add so much value to our lives; Bartlett adds even more value to your trees.

Tree & Shrub Pruning | Planting | Tree Removal Hedge Cutting | Stump Grinding Woodland Management | Disease & Inseact Control For a free quote please contact your local arborist Tim Brown

01234 354 673 bedford@bartlettuk.com www.bartlett.com 34

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GARDEN MACHINERY AND TRAILER CENTRE

 Personal customer service, collection and delivery available.  Assessment of individual requirements.  Full after sales backup and parts service.  NEW Oregon, the world's only unique battery operated, self-sharpening s In stock. chain saw.  Ride-on and pedestrian mowers, chainsaws, strimmers, hedge trimmers, cultivators, estate and equestrian equipment. Trailers - sales, hire, service.  Accessories, oils, Aspen fuel, batteries, spares, security locks for garden/ horticultural machinery and trailers. horticultu

Appointed dealers for:

 Main dealer for Briggs & Stratton, Honda, Kohler, Kawasaki & Mountfield engines.

Honeydon Road, Colmworth, Bedfordshire MK44 2LY

01234 376513 www.bri-ag.co.uk

Open Monday to Friday 8am to 5pm and Saturday 9am to 12pm

SURECLEAN Gutter Cleaning Gutters cleaned safely from the ground using our ladderless gutter cleaning system. Powerful vacuum will remove leaves, moss and all debris and make no mess. We can clean up to the height of 40ft.

Call us for a free quote

01480 630612/07870 338074 www.surecleancarpetcleaning.co.uk

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SAW GARDEN SERVICES

‘At The Cutting Edge’

Providing Fencing, Decking Lawn & Hedge Services • All types of Fencing & Gates supplied & erected • Decking installed/repaired • Turfing & Lawn Seeding • Hedge Cutting • Fully Licensed Waste Carrier • Full Liability Insurance

Call for a FREE estimate:

01767 651 962 / 07762 096 089

E: simon@sawgardenservice.co.uk

www.sawgardenservice.co.uk

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Gardening

In The Garden

By Gareth Arscott

www.buckdenperennialplants.webs.com We hope that you all had a great festive period and are fully recovered because although the weather is not great, there is plenty to do in the garden. Our new garden design is mapped out and the summer house is due to arrive in 2 weeks, so I have new beds to cut out from the lawn, a shed to dismantle and a new base to put down. But less about my woes and more about the regular jobs we do this time of year. We like to aerate the lawn and then brush in sharp sand to help the drainage in these wet months. Doing this with a fork will help me work off the extra weight I put on over the holidays! Because we have no plants over-wintering in the greenhouse, it has cleaned thoroughly and will now be left open to the elements. We find this leaves us with a disease and pest free start to the new season coming.

We don’t have a lot of tubers like Dahlias and Begonias. Although I quite like the “Bishop of Llandaff” and we never have to lift him in the winter. Leaving him in free draining soil is as much as we have to do. If your tuberous plants are not really hardy or planted in wetter soil you should have lifted them some time ago and stored them somewhere dark and dry. Don’t worry. Spring will soon be here.

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Applepips Pre-School and Out of School Club Applepips – Pre-School

Sessions run as follows for children aged 2 years 9 months to 5 years (term time only):8.55am – 11.55am (Monday – Thursday) 11.55am – 12.30pm Lunch Club 11.55am – 14.55pm (Monday - Thursday) If there is an increased interest for further sessions we would be happy to re-open these sessions (subject to numbers). Please contact us to express any interest.

Applepips – Out of School Club

Monday to Friday 3.10pm – 6pm (term time only) We offer a range of activities for children aged 4 to 12 years, from creative play to outdoor sports.

Applepips – Breakfast Club

Monday to Friday from 07.45am We offer breakfast and early morning activities for children aged 4 to 12 years.

We have highly competitive fees and are Ofsted inspected. We would be happy to welcome any new children for a free trial session. To arrange this or to get a copy of our prospectus please call Applepips on 01480 810488 or email applepips@hotmail.co.uk. A registration form must be completed before attendance. Applepips currently has vacancies within its staff team, if you would like more information then contact us at applepips@hotmail.co.uk

Can I go to the Paddocks for my Holiday please?

Paddocks Boarding Cattery Peaceful location. No dogs boarded. Spacious, individual, heated chalets with large covered runs. Inspection welcome. Boarding from £6.60/day. Rabbits/guinea pigs also boarded. 64 Meadow Road, Great Gransden

Telephone 01767 677 759 www.catterybedfordshire.co.uk Open all year.

The cattery for caring owners. Comfort and security for your pet. 38

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15% DISCOUNT ON ALL WORK CARRIED OUT OVER £50 WITH THIS ADVERT

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Time of Year

The Joy of Sledding

By Sarah Davey

What child, or adult for that matter, doesn’t love the sensation of sledding? Speeding down a snowy hill is the best fun ever. It can also be dangerous, which of course is half the fun. Every time it snows, sledding injuries flood the country’s A&E departments and more than half of them are head injuries, most not serious, but some deadly. To sled in safety, follow these rules: Choose the right hill The best are not too steep and have a long flat area at the bottom to allow for a gentle stop. Avoid those which end at a road or a car park, but also those which end at a line of trees, a pond or a wall! Choose the right sled Old fashioned sleds with wooden seats and tall blades look wonderful, but on the soft sort of snow we tend to get in the UK, their sheer weight can cause them to sink or run too slowly. Conversely, on compacted snow or ice, the thin blades travel so quickly it’s easy to lose control. Plastic sleds with a braking system work well on softer snow, but can crack on compacted snow or ice, especially if they hit a stone. Metal tray-style sleds work well on all surfaces and are very robust, but can get up considerable speed, so may not be suitable for very young children. Wear sensible winter clothing Hats, gloves, snow pants, winter jacket, snow boots, anything that is waterproof and warm. Cycle helmets can be useful head protectors in case of a tumble. Have fun, stay warm, stay safe. To advertise in The Villager and Townlife please call 01767 261122

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Oven Cleaning! - It’s a dirty job! Why do it yourself? We clean ovens using non-caustic, non-toxic products in your home. Ovens • Ranges • Hobs • Extractors Agas • Microwaves • Barbecues (May - Sept) Single Oven (all racks/pans inc) .......................£40 Single Oven & Grill Oven (all racks/pans inc) ....£50 Single Separate Grill Oven (racks/pans inc) .....£15 Microwaves & Combination Ovens ...................£20 Extractor Fan (free filter for next clean)............£15 Hob .................................................................£15 Bulbs ............................................................£2.50 Agas and Ranges priced accordingly V.A.T free

Contact James on: 01767 260188 or Mobile: 07812 666081 email: ovenmen@live.co.uk You can also book at www.ovenmen.com

parent company est. 1998

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Recipe

SEASONAL DELIGHTS

Red Onion Soup with Melting Gruyere Croutons

Serves 4 Ready in 1½ hours

After all the indulgence and expense of Christmas and the New Year, this hearty soup is the perfect antidote. Ideal for a warming winter lunch or supper it’s simple to make, tastes delicious and doesn’t cost a fortune. INGREDIENTS 2 tbsp olive oil 15g butter 650g small red onions, peeled and thinly sliced 2 tsp brown sugar 1 tbsp flour 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard 1.2litres beef or vegetable stock Few sprigs fresh thyme, plus extra to garnish Salt and freshly ground black pepper 8 thin slices day old French bread 75g Gruyere cheese, grated 1 Heat the oil and butter in a large, deep heavybased saucepan until the butter is sizzling. Add all the sliced onions and cook very gently over a low heat for 15 minutes, stirring frequently.

2 Sprinkle over the sugar and cover and cook for a further 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are very soft and golden. 3 Stir in the flour and half the mustard and cook for 1 minute, then gradually stir in the stock. Add the thyme sprigs, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper (see Tip) and bring to the boil. 4 Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 35-40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Adjust the seasoning to taste. 5 Lightly toast the slices of French bread on one side. Spread the untoasted sides with the rest of the mustard and top with the grated Gruyere cheese. Pop under a hot grill for 1-2 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbling. 6 Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and top each with two hot Gruyere croutons. Serve immediately garnished with thyme sprigs. Tip - If you use stock made up from stock cubes taste the soup before adding any seasoning as some can be quite highly seasoned.

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Health and Beauty

How to Wake-up Refreshed By Louise Addison

Do you spring out of bed each morning with the bright eyes and energy of a five-year-old on Christmas morning? No, me neither. But there are a few tips which might help: Get enough sleep It’s so obvious it actually does need stating: most of us do not get anywhere near enough sleep. Sleep needs vary from person to person, but most of us need at least eight hours uninterrupted shut-eye. I haven’t slept like that since my children were born, and the oldest is now eight! Make your room dark and quiet Too much extraneous light and noise is not conducive to good sleep. Invest in thick curtains or a sleep mask if light is an issue and soft earplugs if your neighbour has noisy dogs or a twitchy car alarm. Renew your mattress Mattresses do not last forever. They become saggy and less supportive with age, which makes us fidget and interferes with the quality of our sleep.

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A good mattress should support your spine and allow your body to relax totally. Have a bath Yes really. A soak before bed will relax your muscles and calm your mind. Lavender bath products are especially good at inducing sleep. Clear your head It’s difficult to sleep if your head is still whirring from the events of the day. Concentrate on your breathing and allow thoughts to float away. Anything you are dealing with will still be there tomorrow and you’ll cope better if you’ve had a good night’s sleep.

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Codeword 1

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ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ

Easy Suduko

Hard Suduko

Fill in the grid so that each row, column and 3x3 box, contains the digits 1 through to 9 with no repetition. Use your logic to solve the puzzles. 48


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GDC HEATING

Plumbing, Gas and Oil Heating Engineers

36 Rookery Road, Wyboston, Bedfordshire MK44 3AX

Tel: 01480 215821 01582 867152 www.gdcheating.com Email: enquiries@gdcheating.com Boiler Repairs/Servicing/Installation Full Heating Installations Efficiency Upgrades Bathroom Design and Installation Specialist Powercleaning Service 30 Years in Business

Reg No. 112425

CD

Garage Door Problems?

Garage Doors All leading Makes of Doors Supplied, Fitted & Repaired Manual & Automatic Over 20 Years Experience

Phone Chris Day On:

07899 903973 50

01480 459 721

High Street, Brampton

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Health & Beauty

A Pain in the Neck By Louise Addison

Most of us have suffered neck pain at some point, generally after sleeping in an awkward position, or perhaps after a fall or a jolt. A cricked neck is often a temporary state of affairs. Rest and over-the-counter anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen, are usually sufficient to alleviate it. If the problem is muscular, a heat pad can help, though if you suffer with an inflammatory condition such as rheumatoid arthritis, heat may exacerbate any inflammation, so a cold-pack would be preferable. If the cricked neck is a recurring issue, it’s useful to consult your GP in order to rule out underlying conditions such as arthritis or scoliosis. An osteopath can be very helpful, as they are knowledgeable about musculo-skeletal problems and may be able to manipulate your bones and joints to realign them and alleviate the pain. They can also teach you some exercises to strengthen and stretch that area. Manipulating joints, especially in the neck region is not without risk, so

be sure that your osteopath is registered with the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC). Long-term, improve your posture, make sure you use a low, firm pillow when you sleep and take the time to stretch your neck gently during the day, especially if you sit at a computer for extended periods.

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NICEIC Approved Domestic Installer Safety inspections Fuse board upgrades Replacements lights Additional power points Extensions For your free quote contact Rob Ambrose on 07553 922005 Or e-mail info@paxtonelectricaltesting.co.uk

FLOORED By Ian

Your local supplier of fitted floors in carpet, vinyl, laminate or Karndean Free visits to estimate or advise. Best prices and quality with a friendly service. Enquiries to 01480 475486 or (Mobile) 07876 238308

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New Decorations Interior and Exterior Painting Wallpapering

Mark Newman

Painting & Decorating m.a.newman@virgin.net

01954212342 07969650344 164 Limes Road, Hardwick Cambridge CB23 7XX To advertise in The Villager and Townlife please call 01767 261122

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Prize

The Villager Prize Crossword

£25

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)

17th January 2014 Prize Crossword, Villager Publications Ltd 24 Market Square, Potton, Beds SG19 2NP Name:

Tel:

Address:

Last Month’s Crossword Winner - Mrs P Moore from Bedford For last month’s solution please visit www.villagermag.com 54

Complete the crossword, fill in your details below, cut out this page and send to the address below before

Down 1 Disguises (5) 2 Glass container (3) 3 Genuine, honest (7) 4 Colourful small birds (13) 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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LESTER O’DRISCOLL CARPENTRY Door Hanging, Skirting, Flooring, Fitted Kitchens, Fencing, Decking, General Carpentry, Extensions

07842 195152 01480 811629

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Multi Fuel

Stoves See our LIVE demo 11kw stove

• Agents for Aarrow stoves - Made in the UK with a lifetime guarantee on stove body • Fireplaces updated and reshaped • HETAS certified installation • Good verifiable references SOLAR PV & THERMAL

phe

proactive heating & environmental services

Sales & Service: 07772 346 678 Showroom: 01223 207 993 UNITS 1&2, ROAD FARM, WENDY, ROYSTON SG8 0AA OPEN 10AM TO 3PM - MONDAY TO SATURDAY

Sureclean DOMESTIC & COMMERCIAL CARPET & UPHOLSTERY CLEANING

• Spot stain and odour removal • Anti-stain protection • Leather suites cleaned and reconditioned • Tile and grout cleaning • The very latest equipment used • All work guaranteed • Fully insured • Established for 22 years

01480 630612 or 07870 338074 To advertise in The Villager and Townlife please call 01767 261122

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n O s ��� t Wha 4 January Craft Fair 9.30am-4pm St Ives Free Church Local people selling hand-made crafts at very reasonable prices. Held on the first Saturday of each month. Charity tombola and free entry. For more details visit http://www.saintscrafters.blogspot.com 4 January Hardy Plant Society Talk 2pm The Wetherley Centre, Biggleswade Small charge for visitors Cambs and Beds Hardy Plant Society present a talk by Simon White on ‘The A-Z of Roses’. Simon is the Manager of Peter Beales Roses. Plants for sale. All welcome. Web: www.hpscambsandbeds.co.uk 5, 12, 19 & 26 January Kingfisher Church 10.30am Little Paxton Primary School Every Sunday – all welcome. Services include children’s groups and a crèche. Refreshments served. Tel: 01480 394321 for further details Web: www.kingfisherchurch.co.uk

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8 January The Great Fen - Where We Are Today 7.30pm Brampton Memorial Hall, Thrapston Road, Brampton Suggested donation Members £2.00, Non-members £2.50 The Huntingdonshire Local Group of the Wildlife Trust is pleased to present an illustrated talk by Louise Rackham. Louise has worked at The Great Fen since 2009 and is currently The Great Fen Education and Community Manager. Louise has been involved in environmental education since 1997, taking her from Thetford Forest to the Botanic Gardens in Perth, Western Australia. Tel: Phil 01487 822835 Web: www.wildlifetrust-huntsareagroup. org.uk 14 January The World of the Documentary Film 10.30am 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 biggleswade.wea@virginmedia.com


15 January Huntingdonshire Family History Society 7.30-9pm Women’s Institute Centre, Waldon Road, Huntingdon Non-members welcome - £1 donation appreciated at the door Web: www.huntsfhs.org.uk 16 January Evolution: The story of the last four billion years 10am 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

21 January Kimbolton Flower Club 7.30pm Mandeville Hall, Kimbolton Admission £6, including light refreshments Demonstration entitled “Floral Moments” by Barbara Collins. Arrangements will be raffled. Visitors most welcome. 24 January Third of the Hinchingbrooke Bösendorfer Piano Concerts 2013-14 7.30pm Hinchingbrooke Performing Arts Centre, Huntingdon Adults £10, Pupils & students under 21 (concessions) £5 Caroline Dale, cello; Paul Turner, piano. Caroline won the string section of the BBC ‘Young Musician of the Year’ competition at the age of thirteen making her Queen Elizabeth Hall debut only two years later; recordings, recitals and concerto performances with leading international orchestras have followed. Paul is highly valued as ensemble partner by eminent musicians both here and abroad for his fine pianism and ‘sensitive and alert’ accompaniments. The programme will include works by Beethoven and Brahms. Tel: Box Office 01480 375678 25 January Great Paxton Village Show Preparation 11am-1pm The Bell, Great Paxton Prepare for this year’s Village Show - a browse through Thompson & Morgan’s seed and bulb catalogue. Refreshments available. Entries into our What’s On sections are free. If you have an event you would like us to publicise please email the details to whatson@villagermag.com

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Books

BOOK REVIEW

By Bruce Edwards Calling Mrs Christmas Carole Matthews Sphere p/b £7.99

At this time of the year the book world has to deal with publishers’ traditional offerings; the ‘misery memoirs’, cookbook ad nauseum, the Guinness Book of Records. There’s a sameness, as routine as holly, the tree and the endless carols, not that we mind them, do we? Well, perhaps sometimes. Can Christmas be a chore, having to go through the motions? What if someone could do it all for you? Write the cards (or send the e-mails!), put up the decorations, work their way through the present list and not bother you with any of the trivia save paying the bill? You wouldn’t dream of it? No? What, not call in Mrs Christmas? Cassie draws on her innate sense of design and love of Christmas to fulfil all these demands, Helping those who can’t or won’t, and making a business out of it as well as gathering a lovely sense of satisfaction. Husband Jim also gathers his own personal achievement when able to nudge his prison charges into a better way of life. But this isn’t a straight line story. It has twists and a turn to worry us all. Does it fall apart, as close proximity to loved ones at this time of year can produce concerns? A trip to Lapland - does it cause grief rather than joy? Out of a dozen ‘Christmas sparkle’ books seen on a table in Waterstones, this is as good a tale as any. Unfortunately, Cassie doesn’t leave us with her telephone number . . . ISBN: 9780751545586

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