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VILLAGER The

Issue 65 - April 2014

and Town

Life

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

Inside this issue

Traditional May Celebrations

Ashwell

At Home 2014

Win £25

in our Prize Crossword

Bringing Local Business to Local People in

Langford, Henlow, Shefford, Stanford, Hinxworth, Ickleford, Caldecote, Radwell, Shillington, Pirton, Upper and Lower Stondon, Gravenhurst, Holwell, Meppershall, Baldock, Stotfold, Arlesey, Hitchin & Letchworth

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Contents Traditional May Celebrations

6

VILLAGER The

Issue 65 - April 2014

and Town

Life

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

Inside this issue

Traditional

May Celebrations

Ashwell

At Home 2014

Win £25

in our Prize Crossword

Bringing Local Business to Local People in

Langford, Henlow, Shefford, Stanford, Hinxworth, Ickleford, Caldecote, Radwell, Shillington, Pirton, Upper and Lower Stondon, Gravenhurst, Holwell, Meppershall, Baldock, Stotfold, Arlesey, Hitchin & Letchworth

ur Yo EE FRcopy

Hitchin TV...............................................................20 The New MG6 Range..............................................24 Beer of the Month..................................................26 Bank Holidays........................................................32 Puzzle Page............................................................36 What’s On...............................................................39 Prize Crossword......................................................42 Classifieds..............................................................47

Would You Like Cashback Today?..............................4 Traditional May Celebrations....................................6

The New MG6 Range

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Ashwell At Home 2014.............................................8 We Need You - Sue Ryder.......................................10 Wired for Sound.....................................................13 Competition Time...................................................17 Patient Choice Dispensed With...............................18 9,500 copies delivered free of charge in the following areas: Henlow, Langford, Astwick, Edworth, Hinxworth, Caldecote, Newnham, Radwell, Bygrave, Shillington, Holwell, Pirton, Upper and Lower Stondon, Shefford, Ashwell End and Stanford (Further bulk drops are made to local shops and busineses in Arlesey, Upper and Lower Stondon, Shefford, Baldock, Letchworth, Hitchin and Stotfold)

Editorial - Jonathan Vernon-Smith, Lorraine Wood, Debbie Singh-Bhatti, Sarah Fryer and Ted Bruning Advertising Sales - Nigel Frost - - 01767 261122 nigel@villagermag.com Photography - Kostiantyn Schastnyi 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.


Three Counties Radio

Would you like any cashback today? By Jonathan Vernon-Smith

The internet has of course brought some unwanted problems, but it has also brought some incredible benefits to us consumers. One of those benefits is the creation of ‘Cashback’ websites. Gosh I love them! In fact, I frequently bore people senseless telling them about the importance of logging on and saving ££££ on your purchases. If you haven’t come across the likes of ‘Quidco’ or ‘TopCashback’ before, let me explain how they work: Cashback websites pay you a cash fee when purchasing goods or services via their website. The amount of cashback is generally a percentage of the total you spend with the retailer. They tend to make their fee from the companies that they suggest on their site. Many of these are well known high street branches, some are lesser known retailers. They normally transfer the cashback you’ve earned directly into your bank account as soon as they receive it. So it’s a win win for the consumer. They also provide voucher codes for thousands of retailers so you can gain discounts at the online checkout. All you have to do is: 1. Register with one or more cashback site. 2. When you decide you want to make an online purchase of a product or service, log into the cashback site, search the cashback rates available and follow the link to the company’s website. 3. Make the purchase, and wait for the cashback to arrive in your bank account (it normally takes at least a few weeks and should be tracked automatically). Let me give you a couple of examples (chosen at random at the time of writing): It’s time to renew your car insurance. You get some online quotes and find that Tesco Insurance is offering you the best deal. You could of course just take out a policy with them directly on their website. That would be fairly silly though, because by going to Tesco Insurance via a cashback website, you would receive a cashback lump sum payment of £75 after completing the purchase. By going to them directly, you would have missed out on a £75 saving. You need a new washing machine. You find one you like at Currys. Again, you could just purchase it directly on the Currys website, but by going via a cashback website like Quidco or TopCashBack, you would stand to make 2% cashback on the total purchase price. That would be £8 back on a £400 washing machine. Better than a slap round the face with a wet fish eh?! You can make additional money by referring your friends and relatives to the sites as well. I always say that you don’t get anything in this world for free. So how do the companies that offer the cashback benefit from this? Well, they gain because you’re more likely to buy from the retailers that are listed with those cashback sites. The important thing is to remember to use the site. Whichever online purchase you need to make: flights, insurance, electrical goods, perfume, clothes, wine or groceries, always go via a cashback website and start saving. I always remember and since I started using cashback websites 2 years ago and have already made £237.38. So go get yourself some free cashback!

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. 4

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Local News

Traditional May Celebrations at Ickwell. By Lorraine Wood

Come along to Ickwell May Day this year to see a truly traditional village celebration, which dates back more than 450 years. Katie Bryant, aged 13, will be crowned the Ickwell May Queen on Ickwell Green on the May bank holiday, 5th May this year. May Day celebrations are held in this small village near Biggleswade, every year. It is a whole parish occasion which sees a procession of dancers gather in the grounds of the Crown Public House in Northill at 1 pm and travel from Northill to Ickwell led by the Bedford Morris Men, before the crowning of the May Queen and dancing round the maypole takes place. The May Queen and her attendants are voted for by the local school children who have danced in the previous year’s May Day. The May Queen is presented with a garland, sceptre and crown – all decorated with flowers – and is given a locket by a former May Queen as a remembrance of the day. It is sometimes difficult to track down former May Queens when they move away, so if you were one, or know of a May Queen who has not presented a locket to a recent May Queen, please do get in touch with the May Day Committee. Old documents show that celebrating May Day was an established custom at Ickwell as far back as 1563. The current form of celebrations, with

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the plaiting of ribbons and a May Queen, began in 1894 and has been held nearly every year since. If you visit the gallery on our website www. ickwellmayday.co.uk you can see photos of our May Queens dating back to 1911. Maybe you can spot one of your ancestors? On the day you can watch local children from the village schools in Northill and Upper Caldecote dance country dances around the Maypole, while older children from the villages demonstrate their skills at Morris dancing and plaiting ribbons round the Maypole in intricate patterns. It is then the turn of the adults, known as the Old Scholars, many of whom are parents or grandparents of the children taking part, to show their skill at plaiting the ribbons round the maypole. Once you’ve seen the spectacular display of dancing, cross over the road and peruse the stalls selling local produce, enjoy the sideshows and partake of some excellent refreshments including home-made cakes in the village hall. We hope the sun will shine and that you can join us for a celebration of rural England at its best. If you stay to the end of the dancing in the arena, you can have a dance around the maypole too! For more information about the Ickwell May Day Festival, visit www.ickwellmayday.co.uk

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Local News

Ashwell at Home 2014 Sunday 11th May – 12noon to 6pm The picturesque village of Ashwell welcomes visitors to its popular annual event ‘Ashwell at Home’, where visitors can enjoy a wide range of things to see and do, with entertainment for all the family. 16 stunning gardens both large and small will be open for you to view, including a medieval farmhouse enclosed by a moat and no less than two nucleur bunkers! You can also visit the village lock-up (no longer in use!) and participate in an archaeological talk and dig. Children can enjoy free workshops in the village school (book on the day) including singing, making and racing junk boats, learning how to do a tennis serve and making a village mosaic. Mum and Dad can watch, or enjoy a cup of tea and a slice of homemade cake in the school tea-room. There will be lots of things happening around the village including a Mummers play, Morris dancing, veteran cycles and a variety of live music – whatever your tastes, you’ll find something to entertain you. Not to mention cow milking at the local dairy, basket making, a cricket match! And everywhere you will find “Ashwell Alive” plaques

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telling the history of the village and many of its houses. Don’t forget to visit ‘Made in Ashwell’ craft display and market, where you can buy local wares. And find out about ‘Trade in Ashwell’ by visiting some of the local businesses who will be opening their premises on the day. Then there’s a visit to Ashwell Museum, a look around the school and the beautiful village church containing graffiti from the time of the ‘Black Death’! Refreshments will be available throughout the day with homemade lunches at the school and light refreshments and teas in the Parish Rooms, church and school. Entry to Ashwell at Home is by programme, available on the day. £6 per person, accompanied children under 14 free. Free parking. All proceeds to Ashwell museum, church and school. Ashwell is in north Hertfordshire, easily accessible from the A1(M) Junction 10 and the A505. For more information visit www.ashwellathome. org.uk

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Je Te Veux is a new, European influenced lingerie boutique that provides high quality lingerie in a wide array of sizes and styles with exceptional customer service. The intimate store is located in the thriving market town of Hitchin, Hertfordshire. You’ll find a range of stylish designer bridal and honeymoon lingerie at competitive prices including corsets, strapless bras, suspender belts and garters. Purchase our special wedding package and receive lingerie for your big day, a set for the honeymoon and receive a free swimwear outfit as our gift to you. Je Te Veux stock a select number of luxury Lingerie brands with a European focus. These are at the top end of quality and luxury – such leading names as Lise Charmel, Empreinte, Sonata, Fleur of England, Huit, Kiss Me Deadly, Gossard, Wolford and Gerbe. Our mission is to give the discriminating lingerie shopper what she is looking for, whether it be fit, comfort or style, in an atmosphere that is comfortable, intimate, exciting and satisfying.

t: 01462 433211 e: enquiries@jeteveux.co.uk | w: jeteveux.co.uk 27a Sun Street, Hitchin, Hertfordshire. SG5 1AH jeteveuxboutique | @JeTeVeuxUK

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Local News

We Need You! Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice

Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice is planning a host of events for the much anticipated summer of 2014 and we need your help. Kicking off with the Sandy Carnival on 14th June, we would like walkers to take part in the procession representing St John’s and to collect money for the hospice. We will also be having our own stand at the carnival this year so even if you can’t take part in the procession, do pop along and see us. Our annual country fete will be held on Sunday 10th August in the lovely hospice gardens and the field behind them at Moggerhanger. Open to the public from 11am - 4.30pm, it promises to be a great day out for all the family. Last year we had over 3000 visitors. This year Star Wars fans will be in for a treat as there will be a number of characters from the films in attendance including Darth Vader. Make sure you put the date in your diary and contact us if you would like to help out. Finally, our Starlight Hike takes place on 13th

September. Last year, we had around 800 walkers and raised over £100,000. If you are considering being a part of this magical night in September by making up a team, we would love to hear from you. The 10k night time walk is certainly not too arduous with plenty of memorable entertainment laid on along the way! If you would like more information or to volunteer for any of these events; or if you would like to take part in the Starlight Hike, please contact Fay Boissieux in the Fundraising Office on 01767 642424. Alternatively you can email fay.boissieux@ sueryder.org Thanks to the generosity of the local community we have received fantastic support in the past, all of which enables us to care for people in the community suffering from end of life and lifelimiting conditions here at St John’s Hospice. But we couldn’t do it without you! Please join us and be a part of our fundraising this summer.

A GREAT DAY FOR ALL THE FAMILY!

Woburn, Bedfordshire, MK17 9WA

Bank Holiday Sunday & Monday

April

Old Warden Aerodrome Bedfordshire SG18 9DX

Classic Cars Club displays Autojumble & Trade Stalls Live arena with commentary Concours competition Children’s play area

Adult: £8 Children: £4

•100s of classics on display G BRIN OUR •Shopping village & autojumble area Y G ALON SSIC! •Club displays •Live commentary CLA •Children’s amusements

Includes free parking & discounted entry to the Shuttleworth Collection See website for more details

OPENING TIMES 10am - 4pm Enquiries: 01527 831726

Enquiries: 01527 831726

OPENING TIMES 10am - 4pm DAILY

Adults £8.00 | Children 3-15 years £4.00 info@geminievents.co.uk www.classicmotorshows.co.uk info@geminievents.co.uk www.classicmotorshows.co.uk

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Could you foster a child?

The most important ingredient in fostering is YOU You can apply to be a foster carer regardless of your marital or residential status. What you will need is a spare room and the time and energy to invest in a child or young person. NFA is recruiting foster carers in the Bedfordshire area.

Contact us:

Visit:

www.nfa.co.uk Call:

0845 200 4040 Visit our new community www.beds-local.co.uk

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Technology

Wired for Sound By Debbie Singh-Bhatti

Earphones are small and cheap and fit conveniently into a bag or pocket - great if you are on the move - but they can be uncomfortable, are prone to fall out, and may not provide the best sound reproduction. If it is comfort and sound quality you’re after, headphones are the answer! The most common headphones have a connecting band that goes over the head, but if you like to jog or wear a hat or glasses, a behind-the-neck pair might be better – plus they won’t mess up your hair or irritate ear piercings! Full sized headphones offer better sound quality – particularly bass reproduction – along with options such as wireless or Bluetooth. They also exert less pressure on the ear drum which means you can safely listen for longer. Headphones come open-backed or closed. Closed headphones cover the entire ear and are great

for sound isolation, but they can get really hot. Open-backed headphones rest over the ear and allow noise in and out - useful if worn in an office or during outdoor activities where you need to keep aware of your environment. Select models with a larger frequency range and match their impedance (measured in ohms) with that of the audio equipment for best sound quality. But above all, use your ears! If the headphones sound OK to you, buy them – even if they are cheaper!

WOOD GREEN Easter Treasure Trail The trail will run from 18th April (Good Friday) to 21st April (Easter Monday). 10.00am – 4.00pm Easter Sunday (20th) – Free kids roast with every adult roast purchased for £6.95 Captain Jack Rabbit has been shipwrecked at Wood Green. Follow the clues around the centre to help find Captain Jack Rabbit’s treasure.

Field Good Friday! 18th April 2014, 11.00am – 3.00pm. Free entry Come along to our very first Field Good Friday event and learn all about our field animals at Wood Green. Try your hand at chicken agility Make feeding toys for our field animals Meet the Pygmy goats from ‘CBBCs Pet School 2’ Learn all about our horses and ask the experts Find out more about the goat and chickens and feed them some tasty treats Hobby horse racing Children’s activities Easter egg painting competition Wool spinning lessons A fun family day celebrating our fabulous field animals.

Animal rehoming Charity Shop Restaurant Pet & Gift Shop Children’s play area Please note that facilities vary at each of our centres

For our full calendar of events and opening times for all our centres please visit our website

Godmanchester Centre Heydon Centre King’s Bush Farm, London Road, Highway Cottage, Chishill Road, Heydon Godmanchester, Cambridgeshire, PE29 2NH Hertfordshire, SG8 8PN Call: 0844 248 8181 Visit: www.woodgreen.org.uk Or Email: info@woodgreen.org.uk

The Animals Charity Registered Charity No. 298348.

To advertise in The131w Villager and Townlife please WGAS Villager x 93h Herts 3.14.indd 1 call 01767 261122

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Quality PVC-U Windows & Doors MANUFACTURERS & INSTALLERS Windows, Doors, Conservatories, Bi-Folding Doors & Composite Doors

COMMERCIAL & DOMESTIC • Vertical Sliding Sash Windows • Casement Windows • Residential & French Doors • Patio Doors • Discount for Pensioners • FENSA Certification • 10 Year Insurance Backed Guarantee Potton Windows is the only local company to be awarded the Secure By Design accreditation, to all products manufactured at its Potton Factory, this is a Police Preferred specification for greater security.

Unit 2-6 Shannon Place, Potton, Sandy, Beds SG19 2SP

T. 01767 260 626 E. sales@pottonwindows.co.uk www.pottonwindows.co.uk

Potton Windows Limited was established in 1987 14

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T

astes

Spring of

Our chefs have created a 9 course tasting menu celebrating the best of spring produce. Join us on 26th April for one night only. Grilled English Asparagus crispy quail egg, air dried ham

Marinated Scallop

Ceviche, yuzu dressing, apple, soy, cucumber, radish, lime, sesame

Little Paxton pigeon Jerusalem artichoke, morels, red kale, balsamic, game jus

Halibut Leek, potato and pancetta, palourde clams, cider, samphire & chive

Slow-cooked Woodview lamb

Rump & confit belly, braised potato terrine, carrot, swede & kale, lamb jus

Truffled Cornish Brie Quince, Bedfordshire honey

Rhubarb; Dunton yoghurt panna cotta, poached, purée, ice cream, cinder toffee, mint

Blood orange Sponge, chocolate textures, marmalade, sorbet

Cinnamon Doughnut Tea & Coffee

£65 per person – Booking & £15 deposit required Seated at 7.30 Market Square, Potton, Beds, SG19 2QZ 01767 260221 | www.coachhousepotton.co.uk Visit our new community www.beds-local.co.uk

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Specialists at hog roasting Hot Hog roast only the finest British

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• WEDDINGS • PARTIES • • CORPORATE & SPECIAL EVENTS •

seasonal

free-range pigs and also lamb or wild boar*. Our mobile unit comes complete with a chef and servers and we can cook from a half to two whole hogs at a time depending on your needs. Whatever the occasion, Hot Hog should be perfect for you.

Call Paul at Hot Hog now on

T: 01462 743552 M: 07885 638122

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Competition

Competition Time Solve this easy quiz and win a copy of ‘Wildlife through the Year’ signed by the author. Find the answer to each of these 7 questions, then take the initial letter(s) from each answer and put them in the stated order to make a 9-letter word. 1 & 6. This bird sings in late winter and early spring, often from the topmost twigs of a tall tree and has the nickname ‘Storm Cock’ because it often sings even on very windy days. 2. This native plant is a climber, often seen on trees and walls, and has greenand-yellow flowers in late autumn and black-coloured berries in winter. 3 & 7. Despite its name, this low-growing native plant with purple or pinkish flowers is unrelated to 2, but is related to Catmint and Selfheal. 4. Voted Britain’s National Bird, it is here throughout the year and is featured on many Christmas cards. 5. Britain’s only venomous snake, sometimes called the Viper. 6. See 1. 7. See 3. 8. In George Ellis’s rhyme, this month is said to be ‘Breezy‘, following ‘Droppy’ and preceding ‘Sneezy.’ 9. The song of this scarce bird is said to resemble a distant two-stroke engine, it is camouflaged to look like a piece of wood and has lots of strange nicknames, such as ‘Goatsucker’ and ‘Flying Toad.’ The 9-letter word is a natural phenomenon. What is it? Send your answer by post to Wildlife Competition, The Villager Magazine, 24 Market Square, Potton, Beds SG19 2NP or by e-mail to nigel@villagermag.com The closing date is 18th April 2014. The winner will be the sender of the first correct answer selected at random by the Editor on the closing date. (If you don’t win, you can buy a copy for £9.95 from your local bookshop (quote ISBN 978-1-291-66252-8) or for £9.95 + £1.80 p&p from Wildlife book, Fountains, Park Lane, Blunham, Bedford MK44 3NJ.)

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Local News

Patient Choice Dispensed With

Are you aware that a discriminatory and undemocratic 100 year old law exists which affects between 5-7 million NHS patients living in our rural communities? This law states that patients living in rural areas in England or Wales, whose GP’s surgery has a dispensary attached, cannot collect their prescribed medicines from it if they live within 1.6km of a dispensing pharmacy. This is selective against a section of the rural patient population depriving them their right to “patient choice” and goes directly against the policy of “No Decision About Me Without Me” as enshrined in the Health and Social Care Act 2012. Millions of patients have been disadvantaged and discriminated against because of this rule where some patients within a surgery can use the GP’s dispensary and others cannot. It allows a dispensing pharmacy to be opened

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in your area and take away your right and the convenience of using the dispensary in your GP surgery. Don’t think you are immune in your area. Be aware that it is being done for profit and not for your benefit. I have opened an e-petition on the government website in order to have this rule debated in the House of Commons with the aim of having it abolished. We need 100,000 signatures to achieve this. We need to act now to work towards repealing this nonsensical rule. Please sign the petition by visiting http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/60645 For more information please email Pam Fisher at PPG@LowerStondon.co.uk

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Hot stone and Swedish massage Manicures & pedicures (Shellac gels available) Waxing Eye treatments Facials Indian Head Massage Affordably priced‌ all with the convenience and comfort of being in your own home Gift vouchers available For more information and to make an appointment please contact: Elizabeth Warfield (member of BABTAC) Tel: 07816 789071 Email: lizziewarfield@hotmail.co.uk

Visit our new community www.beds-local.co.uk

April Special Offer Pretty tootsies for the warmer weather... Gel pedicure just ÂŁ25 in April! Go on... Treat yourself!! Luxury Pedicures Dermalogica Facials Massage & Body treatments Waxing, Hollywood & Brazilian Eye Treatments

8 Cherry Trees, Lower Stondon, Beds, SG16 6DT e. faye@fayesbeautyhut.com www.fayesbeautyhut.com t. 07912 645310

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Local News

Hitchin TV

Your Local Online TV Station Have you watched your local on line TV station? No? HitchinTV is the brain child of Mark Holt and his team,It started as a website to show case videos of local businesses, but has developed into a hub for community based content, most of which we have produced free to support local visitor attractions and charities. Including Purwell Ninespring Nature Reserve, the British Schools Museum and local charities, notably The Garden House Hospice”. A popular series we make is Haunted Hitchin, a ‘paranormal drama documentary’ exploring some of the area’s spookiest buildings and stories. This has tripled our visitor numbers to the site. Video is not just for big business Increasing visitor numbers to Hitchintv.co.uk presents an exciting opportunity for local businesses to raise their profile using video. “Our aim from day 1 has been to produce videos that won’t break the bank. “In the package (videos

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start from £99) they get a video for their website, three months free membership to HitchinTV, links to their own website and now thanks to our association with The Villager, a cost effective advert at a special rate”. With faster broadband speeds it means that video at last presents itself as a viable way of delivering a message, be it from a business point of view or showcasing a visitor attraction or charity event. Whatever category you fit HitchinTV would love to talk to you. Visit the site: www.hitchintv.co.uk Get in touch on 0844 357 9812 or e-mail them at info@hitchintv.co.uk

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TEMPLARS CROSS LODGE www.templarscrosslodge.co.uk Close to Baldock town centre in spacious surroundings this motel style Bed & Breakfast offers off road parking. • continental breakfast • large luxury en-suite rooms • free wifi internet access • sky tv/dvd player • fridge in room • private location • close to train station • major credit cards taken

Tel: 07970 162753

THE ACERS

BED AND BREAKFAST

Email: ami@amcofm.co.uk or sally@amcofm.co.uk North Road, Baldock, Hertfordshire SG7 5DN

See our reviews, all excellent, on Trip Advisor

The Acers is a high quality, highly recommended Bed & Breakfast in a quiet cul de sac in Henlow, not far from Champneys. Rooms are either en suite or with private bathroom. A full English breakfast is included.

32 Oak Drive, Henlow, SG16 6BX T: 01462813692 • M: 07769266964 • E: info@henlowbandb.co.uk To advertise in The Villager and Townlife please call 01767 261122

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SKENTELBERY FINANCIAL PLANNING WEALTH MANAGEMENT CONSULTANTS

A wealth of expertise on your doorstep We provide an experienced wealth management service and offer specialist advice in a wide range of areas including: • Personal & Business protection • Retirement planning

• Investment planning • Inheritance Tax planning

For further details contact Will Skentelbery on:

Tel: 0208 207 4000 Mob: 07955 310249 Email: will.skentelbery@sjpp.co.uk Website: www.skentelberyfinancial.co.uk

Visit our new community www.beds-local.co.uk

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The New MG6 Range…

The Best of British

They’re here, the stunning new MG-6 range of vehicles designed with superiority, comfort and sassiness in mind. Let’s start with the new MG-6GT; this fasthatch has proved it handles the roads effortlessly, whilst still maintaining economical fuel consumption and low emissions. Great for the environment and consumer alike. Described as “a sporty little hatchback” the GT demonstrates first class handling with every bend you throw at it, yet gives you a feel of being sat in a family car more than a foxy little sports number. It’s surprising how much interior space there is, plus the largest boot in a car of its class, perfect for busy Mums or golf mad Dads. The GT is perfect for everyday drivers who require the lowest insurance bands and also ideal for business users with low P11D values and SMR costs. Another bonus with the GT is the many gadgets that come fitted as standard, such as air conditioning, CD player, ambient lighting 24

and on some models, In-car navigation systems. Other nice touches are little extras such as cup holders both front and back and arm rests, which you would generally pay extra for with most other car manufacturers. Designed and engineered at the famous, Longbridge site in Birmingham, the MG-6GT effortlessly embodies the iconic MG badge with superior British design and engineering. It truly is the car you’ve been waiting for.

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MG6 Magnette Who says that the British can’t build cars? There’s never been a better time to stand up and shout you are proud to be British! The new MG-6 Magnette is a Britishengineered sports saloon which really does have it all. Classically graceful and refined, the MG6 Magnette also has a fantastically feisty side which never ceases to thrill. In fact it possesses all the qualities of a classic MG which never fails to disappoint. Inspired by almost 90 years of sporting heritage and clever innovations by engineers at the Longbridge headquarters, the MG6 Magnette is both designed and engineered in Britain, a true English Rose! This new sports saloon guarantees outstanding performance, comfort, more luxuries as standard, timeless good looks and a sensational drive, all for surprisingly less than counterparts in its class. The MG6 Magnette gives opulence without compromise and offers its passengers a home from home driving experience. MG-6 Diesel Rumoured to be the best car on the market today for business use, the new 1.9 Diesel has been designed and engineered to meet all your business needs; whether it be driving through towns and cities on the daily

commute, travelling long hours up and down the motorways, or making that B-Road dash it is guaranteed the new MG6 Diesel will make for a comfortable and economical journey. The designers at MG know how sitting in one position for long periods of driving time can prove hazardous for your posture, this is why the British designed MG-6 Diesel creates an environment fit for a king sitting on his thrown. The 1.9 Diesel MG6 is also practical, efficient and indulging, everything you need from a business vehicle. With the combined MPG of 57.6 and 350 lb. of torque you get a great compromise of performance and economy. Also with cabin noise levels lower than most of the competition you can pilot your way home in quiet comfort at the end of a long business day.

With all of the above MG-6 ranges, they come in a variety of colours and have a multitude of extras that can be added with additional cost. Brown & Gammons in Baldock is a local MG dealership and the only major MG specialist who can satisfy all your MG needs for ALL MG models - from pre-war to MGF, TF and now the brand new MG6 and MG3 range. They provide parts sales, and full workshop facilities; bodywork through to mechanical, service & MOT’s. To discuss the new MG-6 range, contact Browns & Gammon on 01462 490049 To advertise in The Villager and Townlife please call 01767 261122

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Food & Drink

Beer of the Month by Ted Bruning

Spring is here, spring is here, Life is skittles and life is beer. So sang the great Tom Lehrer. Let’s prove him right. First, a little mise-en-scène. Doing the weekly shop, I often see bewildered gogglers in the beer aisle, clearly wondering what on earth all this stuff is. Thanks to a misspent middle age, I know. Allow me to share. I promise not to patronise. Anyway, it’s April. A chancy month – could be hot, could be cold. So to be safe I’ve chosen two beers, one for each eventuality. Both, by pure coincidence, from Marston’s; but I promise, they’re not paying me. The nice-weather beer is one of the best-known and possibly best-selling best bitters in Britain (“best bitter” being one notch up from session bitter, ie 4-5% alcohol by volume). Pedigree

(4.5%) is a fairly easy-drinking beer, which is what makes it the ideal choice to welcome the return of better weather. The nose is faintly biscuit; the body is creamy; the palate is – shall we say, not aggressive? The finish is quite short with hints of caramel. Norralorra hop; but the right beer for the first day out in the garden. The bad-weather beer is Wychwood Hobgoblin: darker, fruitier, richer, and a wee bit stronger at 5.2%. This is the one you pour when you’ve been caught in an April shower. It’s quite rich and even sweetish, which is what you want when April is being the cruellest month. It’s a bit chocolatey too – an Easter egg for Dad? – but there’s a compensating undercurrent of green fruit right the way through. My final recommendation? Try both.

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History

Bank Holidays By Ted Bruning

I don’t know – you wait for weeks and weeks for a day off work and then four come along all at once. And I blame the Pope. He is, after all, the man who decides the date of Easter. This year it’s on 20 April – which is almost as late as it can be and means that we have four Bank Holidays (Good Friday, Easter Monday, the Spring Bank Holiday – except in Scotland – and the May Bank Holiday) within the space of six weeks. So if you like your precious days off well spread out, you might ask the Pope: why is Easter so late this year? And he’ll tell you the following: “The date is calculated thuswise. The ancient Jewish feast of Pesach or Passover, for reasons best known to ancient Jewish people, falls on the full moon on or immediately after the vernal equinox. The Last Supper was held on Passover, or so it says in the New Testament; the Crucifixion took place on the following Friday; so ipso facto the Resurrection – which is why we have Easter – was on the first Sunday after the full moon that followed the vernal equinox. Which this year happens to be on 20 April. Geddit?” Got it. But the dates of public holidays have always been contentious, with various people having various reasons for wanting them shifted. Some don’t want them at all: patriots to the bone they may be, but many industrialists really didn’t like the Government awarding us extra hols for the Royal Wedding in 2011 and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012. “Two days’ lost production!” they wailed. “That’ll cost us a bomb!” On the other hand the retailers of beer and bunting were over the moon.

Bank Holidays, you’d think, would be fairly firmly fixed. Not a bit of it. Until 1834 the Bank of England used to observe all 33 Roman Catholic Holy Days of Obligation. “This is daft!” said the directors eventually, and cut it to four – Good Friday, May Day, All Saints (1 November), and Christmas Day. But come on, that wasn’t enough. So in 1871 the Bank Holidays Act added Easter Monday, Whit Monday (the seventh Monday after Easter), the first Monday in August (instead of All Saints), and Boxing Day. And for nearly a century that seemed to suit. We all went on charabanc excursions to the seaside or (if posh) had long weekends in the country or just stayed home and sorted the garden, and until 1965 we were very happy. That year, the August Bank Holiday was moved to the end of the month. In 1971 Whit Monday, the last moveable feast apart from Easter, was fixed as the last Monday in May. In 1975 Harold Wilson made New Year’s Day a Bank Holiday in England and Wales (it already was one in Scotland); and in 1978 Jim Callaghan, dyed in the wool leftie that he was (!) made May Day – which had been left out of the 1871 Act – official. Now the tinkerers are out in force again. Some want national Saints’ days – St David’s Day and St Piran’s Day (is Cornwall a nation? You decide) in March, St George’s Day in April, St Andrew’s Day in November – to be made official holidays. There’s also a move to scrap one or other of the May Bank Holidays and move it to October to mark Trafalgar Day. Someone even proposed a Margaret Thatcher Day…I’ll say no more!

Pope Francis seems happy about the forthcoming bank holidays.

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Codeword 1

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Easy Suduko

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n O s ’ t a h W 1-5 April The RSC Comes to Pirton Village 7.45pm Pirton Village Hall Tickets £8 & £10 The Pirton Players will stage an exciting and innovative production of Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare. Tickets available from Pirton Village Stores or online. Web: www.pirtonplayers.org

2 April Ready or Not 7pm for 7:30pm The Comrades Club, Godmanchester The Cambridgeshire branch of the Western Front Association is pleased to present a talk entitled “Ready or Not - How prepared for war in 1914 was an Infantry Captain with 15 years’ service?” by Steve Warburton based on the experience of Capt. CH Lucas, Royal Berkshire Regiment. Non-members most welcome. Web: www.westernfrontassociation.com 2 April North Herts Association of the National Trust 7.30pm Christchurch, Bedford Road, Hitchin, SG5 1HF (free parking)‘Through the year in a Nature Photographer’s Prizewinning Wildlife Garden’. Tel: 01462 815585 Web: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/nhertfordassoc 2 April North Herts Association of the National Trust 7.30pm Christchurch, Bedford Road, Hitchin Visitors welcome, £2 donation Jeff Harrison, prize-winner photographer will show a selection of his work all taken in his wildlife garden. 3, 10, 17 & 24 April Sapphire Social & Singles Club 8.30pm Meet in Hitchin Run purely by the members, this social group caters for unattached people over 45 and organizes a variety of events throughout the year. No joining fee for the first two weeks. Tel: Joyce 07960 440417 Web: www.sapphiresocialsinglesclub.co.uk 4 April In the Spring-Time 7.45pm Holy Saviour Church, Radcliffe Rd, Hitchin Adults £9, Concessions £6, Students free A programme of seasonal music by The Radcliffe Singers with Gillian Hughes, clarinet and directed by Trevor Hughes, organ. 5 April Garden Square Craft Market 8.30am-4.30pm Garden Square Shopping Centre, Letchworth Garden City The market specialises in the sale of genuine, high quality, hand made goods and offers local artisans and craft workers the opportunity to show case their work.

5 April Spring Fair 9am-3pm Market Place, Hitchin Come along and enjoy the music, great bric-a-brac bargains, crafts, toys and games, homemade cakes, pickles and preserves plus tombola. In aid of Leonard Cheshire Disability. 5 April Comedy Club Doors open 7.30pm, shows start 8.30pm Letchworth Arts Centre, 2 The Arcade, Letchworth Garden City Tickets £10, Comedy Club members £8 Monthly comedy night. Licensed bar. Web: www.letchwortharts.org 9-12 April The Mikado The Queen Mother Theatre, Walsworth Road, Hitchin Tickets: Weds & Sat matinee £13, Thurs, Fri & Sat evening £13 Performed by the Putteridge Bury Gilbert and Sullivan Society. Tickets online or by telephone. Tel: Tickets PBGS 07946 264886 Web: visit www.queenmothertheatre.org.uk 12 April Bric-a-Brac Stall 9am Market Place, Hitchin In aid of Rotary Charity funds. 12 April Food Fair 10am-4pm Shillington Village Hall Free admission Many Exhibitors selling local produce 12 April Screen Printing for Beginners 2-5pm Art Nest, West Alley, Hitchin £35 per person Learn this fun printing process with table top techniques. There will be a second session on 22 July 10am-1pm. Limited spaces. Tel: 01462 454019 Email: info@theartnest.com 12 April Evening of Song with The Thespians 7.30pm Woodside Hall, Walsworth Road, Hitchin Tickets £10 Organized by Churches in Partnership in aid of Lideta Addis Ababa. Light table supper provided plus fundraising raffle. Tickets from Hitchin Initiative, 27 Churchyard. Tel: Tickets 01462 453335 16 April Life Drawing The Victoria Barn With The Art Nest. Please book at The Art Nest, West Alley. Tel: 01462 454019 Email: info@theartnest.com

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18-21 April Just For Kids - Easter Adventure Quest 10am-6pm Wrest Park, Silsoe, MK45 4HR Adults £9, Concessions £8.10, Child £5.40, Family £23.40, English Heritage members free (including entry to house and grounds) Join our quest, meet characters from the past and crack the clues as you explore English history. Rise to the challenge and you’ll reap a chocolate reward. Web: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/wrest 19 April Friends of Walsworth Common 9.30am Activity to help keep the river and common clean and tidy. Meet in the car park by the recycling centre in Woolgrove Road. Tel: 07813 597891 for more details 19 & 20 April Easter Weekend Sat 10am-1pm, Sun 2-5pm British Schools Museum, 41/42 Queen Street, Hitchin Normal admission prices apply Be an “Egg Head” and “Eggsplore” the British Schools Museum by following the Easter Egg trail and take part in the Design your Own “Egg Head” Competition. Tel: 01462 420144 www.britishschoolsmuseum.co.uk 24 April Hitchin Historical Society 8pm Church House, Churchyard, Hitchin Jean Handley will give an illustrated talk on Our Brave Hitchin Boys in the Great War. Visitors welcome. Web: www.hitchinhistoricals.org.uk 24-27 April 10th Anniversary Beer Festival Thurs 12pm-12am; Fri and Sat 12pm-1am; Sun 12pm-11pm The Half Moon, Queen Street, Hitchin Featuring 60 plus real ales, ciders and perries with three special guest beers from The Netherlands. Curry Night Thursday 6-10pm. 25 April Time to Scrap Trident? Doors open 7pm, talk starts 7.30pm Our Lady Immaculate & St Andrew Church, Nightingale Road, Hitchin Free admission The ethics of nuclear weapons are discussed by wellknown peace activist Bruce Kent talking about the campaign to Scrap Trident. Plus showing of two DVDs with possible discussion and debate time. Limited seating. Parking behind the Church off Grove Road. Tel: oneworldgroup@hotmail.co.uk to reserve your place & assist with catering 26 April The Easy Introduction to Gardening with Alpines 9am-4.15pm Stratton School, Biggleswade £15 A study day with three lectures, a choice of workshops (photography, starting out or practical session) and lunch included. There will be nurseries from whom to buy plants, expert help and advice. Tel: Robert Amos 01767 627487 Web: www.bedfordshirealpines.com

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