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Issue 56 - July 2013

and Town




Prize Crossword See Inside

Bringing Local Business to Local People in

Langford, Henlow, Shefford, Stanford, Hinxworth, Ickleford, Caldecote, Radwell, Shillington, Pirton, Upper and Lower Stondon, Gravenhurst, Holwell, Baldock, Stotfold, Arlesey, Hitchin & Letchworth Now including Barton Le Clay, Ampthill, Flitwick and surrounding villages

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is served

Bagels, paninis, ciabattas, roasts, BBQs, small plates, or a good old three-course meal. Market Square Potton Every day offers a different 01767 260221 lunch at The Coach House. Please mention The Villager and Town Life when responding to adverts 2


Issue 56 - July 2013


and Town




Prize Crossword See Inside

Bringing Local Business to Local People in Langford, Henlow, Shefford, Stanford, Hinxworth, Ickleford, Caldecote, Radwell, Shillington, Pirton, Upper and Lower Stondon, Gravenhurst, Holwell, Baldock, Stotfold, Arlesey, Hitchin & Letchworth Now including Barton Le Clay, Ampthill, Flitwick and surrounding villages

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Solange Hando, Julia Faulks, Debbie Singh-Bhatti, Sarah Davey, Helen Taylor, Pippa Greenwood, Katherine Sorrell, Sarah Fryer, Catherine Ryan, Chris Russell, Kate McClelland, James Baggott and Bruce Edwards

Advertising Sales Mary Williams Tel: 07453 990655

Front Cover Image Ivan Cholakov

In this Issue


Learn to Fly Gliders Competition


Prize Crossword £25 could be yours!

Design and Artwork Design 9 - Tel 07762 969460


Villager Publications Ltd 24 Market Square, Potton Beds. SG19 2NP Tel: 01767 261122


and Town Life


You may have noticed a change in the areas that we are now covering in the Henlow edition of the magazine. We are pleased to announce that as from this edition we are now including Barton Le Clay, Ampthill, Flitwick and surrounding villages. That means we will be letting you know about more events that are happening in a larger area and giving more local editorial. Please don’t be shy about getting in touch if you have something regarding your area you’d like to tell us about. Does your local club or group need more members? Are you organizing A Charity Event? Can you write a short piece on the history of your village, can you tell us about local walks, do you have any local photos you would like to see in print? Let us know and we’ll see if we can help, we would love to hear from you. Don’t forget to take advantage of our free “What’s On” section to tell us about any local events you have planned. Email me at Tel 07453 990655

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.

The History of the BBQ.......................................................... 4 Ampthill Festival....................................................................13 Family Gardens..................................................................... 16 Let’s Go Fly a Kite................................................................. 23 Pokhara................................................................................. 25 Eat Yourself Beautiful.......................................................... 26 Restless Legs Syndrome...................................................... 28 Facing the Music.................................................................. 37 High Tech Holidays............................................................... 38 Bedfordshire County Show...................................................41 Animal Know How................................................................ 52 Children’s Page..................................................................... 55 Seasonal Delights.................................................................56 Puzzle Page..........................................................................60 Choosing the Right Builder...................................................71 What’s On............................................................................. 74 Jaguar F-Type........................................................................ 76 The winners of last month’s Proms Competition are: Jen Walker – Stotfold Lorraine Robinson – Upper Caldecote Paul Barker – Bedford, Mrs Cox – Biggleswade Mrs Sharon Simacek – Baldock Valerie Fleckney – Shillington

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THE History of...

the BBQ…

Yes it’s that time of year again when Englishman decide it’s the perfect weather for a traditional British BBQ. Problem being though, very rarely is it the perfect weather and more often than not, families end up huddled under an umbrella laughing in the face of beating stair rods. The British barbecue has always been a rather washed out affair, we set fire to masses of protein, throw in a few marinated chicken legs for good measure and stand proud like warriors as we watch our dinner quite literally go up in smoke. Amidst the taste of soot and ash there is a hint of the premium pork and apple bangers that showed so much promise, and are now undeniably, ruined. Guests feel obliged to take another blackened sausage, and after such verbiage, it seems only polite. The by now limp salad has had a few nibbles, but invariably gets left in its salad bowl, which for the record, only comes out during the months of July and August to look pretty on the newly purchased B&Q patio set! Hungry mouths always opt in favour for the smoky burger over the fresh green salad, but us British folk love to prepare a mammoth amount of such, it’s just something we do. But let’s think about this for a minute, is the BBQ actually a British invention at all? Where did it originate from and why? My hypotheses is, could the good nation be trying to emulate something


that is in fact very foreign and a very different way of cooking altogether? Could this be our downfall or why so many of us get it wrong when we want to get it so right? The most common beliefs are that barbecue derives from the word barabicu found in the language of the Taíno people of the Caribbean and the Timucua of Florida, and entered European languages in the form barbacoa. The word translates as “sacred fire pit” The word describes a grill for cooking meat or fish, consisting of a wooden platform resting on sticks. Traditional barbacoa involves digging a hole in the ground and placing some meat (usually a whole goat) with a pot underneath it, so that the juices can make a hearty broth. It is then covered with maguey leaves and coal and set alight. The cooking process takes a few hours. It has been suggested that both the word and cooking technique migrated out of the Caribbean and into other languages and cultures, with the word (barbacoa) moving from Caribbean dialects into Spanish, then Portuguese, French, and English. The Oxford English Dictionary cites the first recorded use of the word in the English language as a verb was in 1661, in Edmund Hickeringill’s Jamaica Viewed: “Some are slain, and their flesh forthwith Barbacu’d and eat.” It also appears as a verb in the published writings of John Lederer, following his travels in the

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American southeast in 1672. The first known use of the word as a noun was in 1697 by the British buccaneer William Dampier. In his New Voyage Round the World, Dampier writes: And lay there all night, upon our Borbecu’s, or frames of Sticks, raised about 3-foot (0.91 m) from the Ground. Ok so we know that no, it certainly isn’t a British invention, but neither is it American, so how come our Native Friends get the cooking process and invention of food so right? In the United States, to grill is to cook in this manner quickly, while barbecue is typically a much slower method utilising less heat than grilling, attended to over an extended period of several hours. Barbecuing is usually done in an outdoor environment by cooking and smoking the meat over wood or charcoal. Restaurant barbecuing may be cooked in large brick or metal ovens specially designed for that purpose. In the southern United States, barbecues initially revolved around the cooking of pork. During the 19th century, pigs were a low-maintenance food source that could be released to forage for themselves in forests and woodlands. When food or meat supplies were low, these semi-wild pigs could then be caught and eaten. It was the Spanish who first introduced the pig to America and to the American Indians. The Indians, in turn, introduced the Spanish to the concept of true slow cooking with smoke. The Spanish colonists came to South Carolina in the early 16th century and settled at Santa Elena. It was in that early American colony that Europeans first learned to prepare and to eat “real” barbecue. According to estimates, prior to the American Civil War, Southerners ate around five pounds of pork for every one pound of beef they consumed. Because of the poverty of the southern United States at this time, every part of the pig was eaten immediately or saved for later (including the ears, feet, and other organs). Because of the effort to capture and cook these wild hogs, pig slaughtering became a time for celebration, and the neighborhood would be invited to share in the bounty. In Cajun culture, these are supposedly called boucheries or sometimes ‘pig pickin’s.’ The traditional Southern barbecue grew out of these gatherings. Each Southern local has its own particular variety of barbecue, particularly concerning the sauce. North Carolina sauces vary by region; eastern North Carolina uses a vinegar-based sauce, the center of the state enjoys Lexington-style barbecue, which uses a combination of ketchup


and vinegar as their base, and western North Carolina uses a heavier ketchup base. Lexington boasts of being “The Barbecue Capital of the World” and it has been said to have more than one BBQ restaurant per 1,000 residents. South Carolina is the only state that includes all four recognised barbecue sauces, including mustardbased, vinegar-based, and light and heavy tomato-based. Memphis barbecue is best known for tomato- and vinegar-based sauces. In some Memphis establishments and in Kentucky, meat is rubbed with dry seasoning (dry rubs) and smoked over hickory wood without sauce; the finished barbecue is then served with barbecue sauce on the side. The barbecue of Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee is almost always pork served with a sweet tomatobased sauce. However, several regional variations exist as well. Alabama is particularly known for its distinctive white sauce, a mayonnaise- and vinegar-based sauce, originating in northern Alabama, used predominantly on chicken and pork. A popular item in North Carolina and Memphis is the pulled pork sandwich served on a bun and often topped with coleslaw. Pulled pork is prepared by shredding the pork after it has been barbecued. Kansas City-style barbecue is characterised by its use of different types of meat (including pulled pork, pork ribs, burnt ends, smoked sausage, beef brisket, beef ribs, smoked/grilled chicken, smoked turkey, and sometimes fish), a variety attributable to Kansas City’s history as a center for meat packing in the U.S. Hickory is the primary wood used for smoking in KC, while the sauces are typically tomato based with sweet, spicy and tangy flavor profiles. Burnt ends, the flavorful pieces of meat cut from the ends of a smoked beef or pork brisket, are popular in many Kansas City-area barbecue restaurants. Pit-beef prevails in Maryland and is often enjoyed at large outdoor “bull roasts”, which

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are common for club or association fundraising events. Maryland-style pit-beef is not the product of barbecue cookery in the strictest sense, as there is no smoking of the meat involved; rather, it involves grilling the meat over a high heat. The meat is typically served rare, with a strong horseradish sauce as the preferred condiment. The state of Kentucky, particularly Western Kentucky, is unusual in its barbecue cooking, in that the preferred meat is mutton. This kind of mutton barbecue is often used in communal events in Kentucky, such as political rallies, county fairs and church fund-raising events. Barbecuing in the States is a big event and actually taken very seriously, so much so that competitions are held in virtually every state in America during the warmer months, usually beginning in April and going through until September. These events feature keen contests between teams of cooks and are divided into separate competitions for the best pork, beef and poultry barbecue and for the best barbecue sauces. In Europe too, Barbequed food is big business, nestled in the tiny village of Axpe in the crevice of the Basque hills, 45 minutes’ drive from Bilbao, and in a solid rather than attractive stone building is Etxebarri – pronounced Etchebarri. This fine restaurant has no Michelin stars, uses a cooking method so basic even cavemen would recognise it, and yet has become a point of pilgrimage for food nerds from around the world. It has popped up on the list of the 50 best restaurants in the world. Heston Blumenthal had dinner here with his wife recently, and the Australian celebrity chef Neil Perry comes at least once a year. So what is so special about this quaint little foodie retreat? Well of course the act of barbequing the produce. Owner, Bittor Arguinzoniz says “It is not about the flavor of the smoke; it is about the aroma of the wood that made the smoke.” Bittor is true to his beliefs and feels that by cooking meat in a simplistic manner, and experimenting with different spices whilst doing so, is the key to perfect barbequed food. He doesn’t care for Michelin stars or the glitz and glamour associated with it, he just wants to cook decent honest food. He is surprised that people travel across the world just to visit his restaurant and sample his food, but for the ones whom have, it is certainly recommended. Another Country associated with the BBQ is of course Australia, “Throw another shrimp on the barbie” a well-known saying that most people


would of heard. The barbecue is a national icon on the Australian landscape but the humble barbecue has a long history in Australia. Whereas Americans tend to cook more burgers on the barbie, the Australians love to cook up seafood, especially in the areas of Sydney and Melbourne. Australians love to take their grills with them wherever they go. Someone once suggested that the history of eating in Australia has been one continuous picnic. If you head on down to the beach you’ll find dozens of portable BBQ’s smoking away with an endless variety of seafood, and yes, the odd burger!. Australians jokingly pride themselves as living in the land of real men, and real men (and women) barbecue. Granted, it’s difficult to get kangaroo (wallaroo) or emu outside Australia, but if you get the chance try grilling up one of these for a change. Now we know more about where the traditional barbeque originated from and how the cooking style differs around the world, but another cliché attached to the BBQ is why it tends to be the Male that takes charge of the tongs? Is it because it seems the manly thing to do, the hunter gatherer type scenario, handling animal flesh and feeding the starving family? Well actually no, rumor has it that this tradition rises from east Africa (Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe as well as the EAC countries), Women traditionally cooked only indoors within their own homes, while the men were responsible for open-air cooking such as grilling and barbecuing. Our modern day man would probably prefer to coast along with the first thought process, but ladies, we now know the truth!

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for the finest Art party of the year! Gallery 1066 are soon coming up to their 3rd birthday and to celebrate would like to invite everyone to a Summer Party which will be held over the weekend of the 13th and 14th of July. The Gallery has had incredible success since its opening in 2010 and would like to thank everyone for their continued support. It is also a chance for Hayley and her team to personally say a huge thank you to their loyal clients, friends and family. This summer celebration will have a few surprises in store so don’t miss out and take a visit to this stunning gallery in Baldock. It is set in beautiful grounds where you can relax and enjoy a glass of champagne, listen to a summer jazz band and enjoy beautiful works from around the world. To find out more about this FREE event please contact the gallery on 01462 622233, www. Love your home .... love art Come and be inspired this summer at Gallery 1066


Willow Mews, 6a Hitchin Street, Baldock SG7 6AE 01462 622233 or info@gallery1066fineart. com to reserve your place(s) or for any further information. Gallery 1066 chosen charity is the Garden House Hospice

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104 Ampthill Road, Shefford, Beds, SG17 5BB

Ampthill Festival


Ampthill Festival is nearly upon us, a family fun extravaganza spread over three days with thousands expected to flock to our historic market town. Following the 2012 Olympics-inspired weekend, this year the seaside comes to Mid Beds with a ‘Ampthill-by-the-Sea’ theme. It kicks off in Ampthill Park on Friday July 5 with Amprocks, a night that’s attracted major acts in recent years like indie legends The Lightning Seeds and Brit-award nominated The Feeling. The Amprocks team is in advanced negotiations with 2013’s headliners - an announcement’s expected VERY soon. They’ll be joined by a strong support, including Redborne Battle of the Bands winners, Skies On Fire. On Saturday , the focus switches to an evening dripping with pomp and pageantry as the historic park hosts the Ampthill Proms. A night that regularly exceeds expectations, we’re delighted to welcome the acclaimed operatic tenor, Bonaventura Bottone, whose performed in some of the world’s great concert halls with the English National Opera in a career spanning 40 years. It’s a family affair as he’ll perform with daughterin-law Liz, while son Ben conducts the Ampthill Concert Orchestra. Watch out for some seaside classics with an operatic twist, as well as all the old Proms favourites. In addition, the Ampthill Town band returns by popular demand, as does the Redborne Jazz Band. The night closes with a stunning firework display. The weekend culminates in a FREE family fun day on Sunday. It kicks off with a ‘seaside’ parade through town to the Park, where you’ll find a host of stalls and

events for all ages around the cricket ground – including a huge inflatable whale, funfair, storytelling with pirates and mermaid, and a special dance performance from our French twin town plus much more! Watch out for an array of seaside attractions too! The evening winds down with a host of acts, including Kong, We Are Sons, Paul Helgey, Wolf Club, Big Small Talk, Shopie & Charlie, Electric Uke Orchestra, Rue De La Soul and Jack Neville, performing at the music arena – families welcome - before the planning starts for ‘Ampthill 2014’ …

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Cambridge Gliding Centre is located at Gransden Lodge Airfield, just ten miles west of Cambridge. It’s one of the major gliding clubs in the country. Gliding is a form of flight that is both beautiful and exciting. Nothing can quite match the thrill of flying silently, giving a birds-eye view over the surrounding countryside of Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and beyond. Gliders from Gransden Lodge often fly two or three hundred miles on a good day. Gliding is a sport that is genuinely open to all. The club has members who learn to fly from the age of 14, through to those who take up the sport on retirement. It’s an exciting and sociable way to learn to fly, and it’s a sport which provides an opportunity to keep on learning. Having said that, it’s not difficult – if you can drive a car, you can almost certainly learn to fly a glider. Training is available during the day on seven days a week in the summer, and on several evenings. If you are at all interested in learning, we’d love to see you at the club. Come and have a look round. Give the club a call on 01767 677077, and say when you’d like to come. Then we’ll arrange someone to show you around. Then take a flight. If you might be interested in

learning to fly (as opposed to just wanting a oneoff birthday present or similar), then the best thing to do is to book a half or full day’s training. What then? We try to be very flexible: You can book training slots by the half day, any day of the week or week-end in the summer. This gets you a glider and instructor shared with one other student. We run a variety of courses: • Five day courses Monday to Friday about once per month • Evening courses on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the summer • You can even put together your own, flexible, course by booking training as you wish. We’ll work with you to find the best way for you to learn. See for more details. Community Volunteers Wanted We also have opportunities for “community volunteer members”, who are interested in spending a few days a month helping run the airfield in return for membership and the occasional flight. To discuss, please contact the office. By Paul Ruskin, Chairman


We’re running a competition for readers of “The Villager”. Send an email to with your name and phone number with the subject “Villager competition” to be entered into a draw for a free trial lesson launched behind one of our glider tugs.


T: 01767 677077


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BY KATHERINE SORRELL Whether for dining, playing or simply relaxing, make your garden a fun and functional place for all the family. From the smallest to the largest outdoor area, it’s possible to create a beautiful, useable space that children and adults alike will enjoy. First, consider how you can really make the most of your garden. Perhaps you could paint an unattractive fence, trim back some overhanging branches or extend an area of paving? Can you create a tucked-away area for making dens, or would you like an adultsonly seating area away from noisy games? Should that greenhouse really be next to the lawn where the kids play football? And can you install lighting to highlight interesting features and guide you in the dark? Next, consider furniture. For relaxation, try a hammock, sun lounger, outdoor mattress or steamer chair. For eating, outdoor dining tables and chairs vary hugely in price, but solid, more durable types are usually an investment worth making. Styles range from metal to funky coloured plastic to classic wood and remember that you scour boot sales and second-hand shops for cheap and cheerful pieces that can be painted. Remember that garden furniture should be stored away when not in use, so consider the size of the furniture for your shed. Cover your table with anything from a practical oilcloth to a pretty embroidered tablecloth. An informal collection of crockery and glass, in varied but co-ordinating colours, looks fantastic and try plastic, metal or even paper plates, bowls and tumblers for younger children. The finishing touches are colourful bunting, fairy lights or


strings of lanterns, tea lights or decorative candles. You should provide some shaded areas, especially for eating and playing. Permanent shading might take the form of a gazebo, arbour or similar, or simply a fabric awning fixed to hooks in walls or trees. Alternatively, a parasol or garden umbrella is an inexpensive option. Finally, it’s playtime. From paddling pools to trampolines, croquet sets to giant games of snakes and ladders, there are all sorts of enteraining toys. Simple things as a ball, a swing (hung from a strong branch) or a skipping rope will also provide hours of fun. By now your garden planning should have paid off and, with everyone happily fed and the children entertained, it’s time to make a cup of tea, pop on a sunhat and head out for that well-earned snooze in a deckchair. Plants for family gardens Choose tough plants that are easy to look after and safe for children: avoid fragile blooms, thorns, plants that can cause skin irritations or are poisonous. A good backbone of easy-care shrubs will provide structure, then add a few perennials for both colour and fragrance. Lavender and chocolate cosmos are good choices for their lovely scent, as are Mexican orange blossom and the thornless rose ‘Zéphirine Drouhin’. You could also consider mallow, dogwood, buddleia and Kerria japonica. Why not set aside an area for children to grow their own plants such as sweet peas, sunflowers, beans, lettuces and nasturtiums.

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The Unforgettable Close Up and Cabaret Magic of Steve Dean Immerse yourselves and guests in the close up magic of Steve Dean or enjoy a Cabaret Show that includes mentalism and much more. Have you ever witnessed unexplainable events or illusions so convincing that they leave you fascinated and completely spellbound? This is Cabaret, close up mix and mingle and table magic at it’s very best. Not only enter the unbelievable world of close up professional magic that is second to none, you can now see a cabaret show that will leave you gasping, your guests enthralled and audience participation that is not only professional but will cause laughter throughout and will be something to remember for a very long time. This is ideal for any corporate or private event. Steve is a master of his craft and a member of the prestigious Magic Circle. He has had many letters of thanks and testimonials from people from all walks of life. From a small dinner party to performing on a British Cruise Liner this sort of entertainment is second to none and will give your guests unusual and fantastic entertainment that they can get involved in and will talk about for months to come. (Steve is a member of Equity with full public liability insurance). Please phone or email for details

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The Baldock community can now follow the lead of The Duchess of Cambridge, who has reportedly been using HypnoBirthing techniques to prepare her for natural water birth in July. Having already used hypnotherapy to ease her morning sickness, she will join millions of other women worldwide who experience an enjoyable and empowering birth just as it should be with little, or no pain relief. Bassingbourn-based mother of two and founder of Breeze Birthing, Jane Wallington, is extending her HypnoBirthing complete antenatal classes for expectant couples to Amber Health on Baldock High Street. Jane discovered HypnoBirthing classes following the painful birth of her first child, Ruby (4). “When I fell pregnant with my second daughter, Jessica (3), I knew from the outset that I wanted a different labour. I felt I needed the right tools and knowledge to birth and eliminate any fears I had”. Despite starting the classes at 36 weeks, Jane went on to have a very short labour with no pain


relief and in an hour, she’d fed, showered and was ready to carry her daughter from hospital herself. “I proved specialists, who’d said I’d need intervention, wrong. It was pure bliss, I wanted to do it again! Jessica is a typical HypnoBirth babyshe had high APGAR scores”. Hypnobirthing isn’t a new concept, we’ve been birthing this way for centuries, our bodies are designed to do it and it’s completely empowering. For more information about Breeze Birthing visit or call Jane on 07772 102792

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Members of Ampthill & District Lions Club celebrated their 33rd Charter Anniversary on 12th May at Mount Pleasant Golf Club, Lower Stondon. A lovely venue and excellent food enjoyed by Lions members and guests including our District Governor John Savell and his wife Linda. We had great pleasure in presenting Linda with a cheque for ÂŁ200 towards her charity for the year, Centrepoint. Several of our members were presented with awards for their services to the community. Laura Wood, the daughter of one of our

members Alan Wood, took part in a sponsored swim for Marie Curie Cancer Care at Flitwick Leisure Centre. She completed over 100 lengths of the pool and we were delighted to donate ÂŁ250 towards her sponsorship money. Our Fun Day for Adults with Learning Difficulties was held on Friday 7th June at Flitwick Leisure Centre. 80 Adults and Carers attended taking part in sports and activities with the help of Lions and the staff at the Leisure Centre. All went home very happy with a medal each presented by our President Bob Pledger. We would like to thank all the staff of Flitwick Leisure Centre for their support and help with this event. We will soon be advertising our Moonraker Sponsored Night Walk which will be held on Saturday 5th October 2013 around Flitwick Moor. Teams can take part on a 50/50 basis keeping half their teams money raised for their own cause or charity with half going to our Lions charity of the year. Watch this space for further details. Contact details for Ampthill & District Lions Club are on our website: www.ampthilllions. Tony Davies Ampthill & District Lions Club

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Let’s Go Fly a Kite

by Catherine Ryan

If you’re looking for a fun, easy and inexpensive hobby this summer, why not consider kite flying? Not only will it mean that you’ll be spending more time outdoors in the sunshine, it’s a great way to meet new people as there are at least a dozen kite festivals a month in the summer all over the country ( We have two Chinese philosophers to thank for the invention of the kite more than 2000 years ago, who used readily available silk and bamboo, although if legend suggests that a Chinese farmer beat them to it by tying a string to his hat to keep it from blowing away. The first kites were generally rectangular and flat rather than bowed and were often decorated with symbols and pictures as well as whistles and strings. They had a number of uses including communication in military operations as well as testing wind speeds, measuring distances and even lifting men. Kite flying was then spread to Japan by Buddhist monks, onto India where they were used as ‘fighter kites’ in specific festivals and to Polynesia, by this time made from cloth and wood and used in religious ceremonies. It was the famous traveller of the 13th century, Marco Polo, who first brought stories of kites to Europe but it wasn’t for another 300 years that kites were regularly brought back by sailors, returning from Japan and Malaysia. Eventually, scientists and researchers began to realise their potential for experiments – Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Wilson and Thomas-François Dalibard used kites to learn more about wind and the weather whilst Alexander Graham Bell and the Wright Brothers used them to aid in the development of aeroplanes. In World I and II, kites were used for observation and signalling. Nowadays, their use is mainly recreational. Kites are stronger, lighter and more colourfully decorated than ever before. So, how do you become an expert kite flyer? 1) Learn the best wind conditions - most experienced fliers suggest between 5 – 25 miles per hour which means plants and leaves will be moving but not blowing about furiously. A flag or windsock is a useful guide. 2) Find a clear, open area such as a field or park – the bigger the space, the more line you can let out and the more fun you’ll have moving your

kite across the sky. Make sure that you stay away from roads, power lines and airports and never fly in rain or lightning. 3) Lay out the kite and lines on the ground before you start - check all connectors and bridles and make sure there are no knots or tangles. Ensure you have around 20 to 35 metres of line and that they’re the same length on both sides. 4) Launch by stepping backwards and pulling both handles to your side and control the kite by pulling the lines – left will make the stunter turn left and vice versa, whilst holding them even will fly straight. 5) Be careful of other people – if you do tangle lines, walk slowly with the other flier to slide the tangle down the line of the kite where it can be more easily unwrapped. You can spend as little as a few pounds on a kite or if the budget allows, as much as a couple of hundred. Who knows? With a little practice, you might develop a new talent this summer. Did you know that the phrase ‘kite-flying’ means ‘the act of telling people about an idea or plan so that you can find out what they think about it’

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Jewel by the lake Framed by the holy peak of Fishtail and the snowcapped summits of Annapurna, Pokhara sits on the banks of Fewa, the second largest lake in Nepal. Nestling like a gem among rice terraces and forested slopes, its deep waters are forever changing from silver to emerald and blue, now as smooth as glass, now whipped up by a sudden breeze. ‘In all my travels in the Himalayas,’ wrote a Japanese Zen monk, ‘I saw no scenery so enchanting.’ He was the first foreigner to enter the valley and to this day, few would dispute his judgement. On the north side of the lake, the land rises from 3000 feet to over 26,000 in less than 20 miles as the crow flies. Add a pleasant climate, an abundance of sub-tropical fruit and flowers and it’s no wonder that lakeside Pokhara has grown into the loveliest resort around. Just a 20 minute flight or so from Kathmandu, it’s an idyllic escape and you don’t even have to trek to enjoy the scenery. Here, from morning to dusk, gaily-coloured sails and dug-out canoes paddle across the water in search of solitude, scenery and fresh air. Egrets land in the trees along the banks, dragonflies skim the surface, translucent blue. Here and there a lonely fisherman stands motionless, silhouetted against the blue sky while ducks wander in and out of the reeds and laundry dries in waterside meadows bleached by the sun. Nothing disturbs the peace but bird song and the echo of a temple bell. Not so far away, pilgrims laden with offerings head for a sacred island, their colourful saris beautifully mirrored in the lake among the shimmering reflections of glaciers and snowfields. Meanwhile along the shore, traders set up fruit

stalls under the pipal trees and mobile kitchens turn out delicious chapattis in minutes. There are no buildings or roads on the main waterfront as the town spreads inland, its traditional houses with warm orange bricks and carved balconies jostling for space among multi-roofed pagodas and shrines, open-fronted shops and tea stalls where men gather in the shade to put the world to rights. Prayer flags hang across the streets, baskets and copper pots spill out on the verge, together with cotton shirts, bright Nepali sweets, Tibetan carpets, silver necklaces and earrings, bars of soap and trays of votive powder as vivid as a painter’s palette. Holy men offer their blessings for a few rupees, shoe shine and bakery boys do the rounds of the café-terrace. Occasionally a mule train makes it way through the streets in a flurry of tassels and bells, or it could be a flock of Mustang sheep, 100 or more, reluctantly heading for market. Up on the hill top, on the lush southern shore, the World Peace Pagoda keeps watch over Pokhara and its lake. It’s either a bumpy drive or a steep climb to the white stupa and the golden Buddha looking in all directions but up there, the panorama takes your breath away, stretching for 90 miles across the high Himalayan peaks. Yet on the northern side, the dramatic hill of Sarangkot promises an even better view. At over 5000 feet, the mountains are so close you feel you could stretch out your hand and touch their icy peaks. Sunsets are pure magic, lighting up the Annapurna in all shades of pink and gold, glowing long after the valley has been plunged in darkness. They say it’s the abode of the gods and one of the most beautiful places on earth.

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Eat Yourself Beautiful

By Helen Taylor

You might think that the secret to beautiful skin lies inside an expensive pot of ‘miracle cream’, but you’d be wrong. That’s because the key to achieving a young, glowing, healthy complexion is far simpler and much cheaper and it works just as well for your hair and nails too. It’s all about eating the correct food, getting the right vitamins and nutrients and stocking up on the super foods that are guaranteed to boost your beauty the natural way. So, instead of heading to the nearest beauty counter, take a trip to the supermarket instead and start eating your way to flawless skin, shiny hair and long nails. Foods that are rich in vitamin C help the production of collagen which strengthens the capillaries that feed your skin. So, start munching your way through plenty of delicious blueberries, strawberries, oranges, kiwi fruits and blackberries. Omega-3 benefits the skin by boosting hydration, regulating oil production and delaying ageing of


the skin. Find it in oily fish, like mackerel, herring, salmon, anchovies, and tuna. Vitamin E-rich foods are essential for healthy skin. Try snacking on hazel nuts, brazil nuts, walnuts and seeds to get your quota. Avocados are renowned for their beauty benefits; thanks to their high nutritional value, they’re also a good source of vitamin E. Eating eggs, leafy green vegetables, carrots and liver as well as drinking milk are good ways to increase levels of vitamin A, which helps the skin to re-build tissue. It’s a key vitamin in the fight against ageing as it can aid in keeping lines, wrinkles and dull skin at bay. Pumpkin seeds, sardines and oysters keep skin supple and soft because they are rich in zinc, so make sure you include them in your diet too. Sulphur can be found in garlic and onions and helps the skin stay smooth. Iron is useful for improving skin tone, so try to nibble on sesame seeds and dried apricots throughout the day. Keep skin completely clear by staying thoroughly hydrated. Most of us foolishly think that cups of tea and coffee count - they don’t. It’s really important to drink eight glasses of water to make a difference to your complexion. In fact, you should limit your tea and coffee intake, and remember that some fizzy drinks are loaded with caffeine too. Remove all processed and junk foods which are high in fat, salt, sugars and calories from your diet as much as you can. Apart from being no good for your overall health, poor foods make your complexion appear dull and lifeless. They contain little in the way of protein, vitamins or minerals, and so add nothing positive to your diet. Smoking and drinking are one of the biggest factors in losing your youthful look, so quit the cigarettes, and try to keep alcohol consumption to a minimum. It really doesn’t take long to start reaping the rewards of a healthy change in your diet and lifestyle. Your body will be thanking you for making the changes that result in you looking beautiful. The nutrients, vitamins and minerals that you need for healthy skin, glossy hair and strong nails are essential for the health of the rest of your body too. You’ll feel fantastic as well as look great.

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Katie’s Attic 1 Bedford Road, Henlow Camp SG16 6DR 01462 339660

Second hand furniture and interesting items bought and sold. Come in a take a look we may have just what you are looking for. New stock weekly. Also house clearances wanted Ring Eric on 07906641241

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Restless Legs Syndrome

By Sarah Davey

Do you feel the need to move your legs frequently because of uncomfortable or unpleasant sensations? Are the unpleasant sensations worse when sitting still or lying down? Do the unpleasant sensations disappear or reduce when you’re walking or stretching? Does the problem get worse or only occur in the evening or at night? If you answered yes to all four questions you may be suffering from restless legs syndrome (RLS), also known as Ekbom syndrome after the professor who first named it. RLS is a disorder in which the brain incorrectly combines and interprets sensing and movement. The sufferer feels an irresistible urge to move their legs, (and sometimes other limbs) in response to the perceived discomfort. RLS can interfere with sleep, making sufferers drowsy and irritable the next day. It can cause problems at work if the sufferer is required to spend long periods sitting at a desk, and in the worst cases it can result in job loss and relationship problems. RLS is a common condition. Up to 10% of people are believed to suffer with it, yet many health professionals don’t really understand what it


is and how to treat it. It is now believed to be caused by an imbalance of dopamine, a chemical that transmits signals between nerve cells in the brain. It is likely to be genetic because about 60% of people with restless legs also have a family member with the condition. Anyone can suffer with RLS, but it is more common in older adults and women. In fact, about 40% of pregnant women report the symptoms to some degree. Health conditions such as diabetes, iron deficiency, rheumatoid arthritis, and kidney failure can also trigger restless legs syndrome. The severity of RLS varies between individuals. Most cases are mild and can be alleviated by: Walking or stretching Taking a warm or cool bath Relaxation exercises Distraction...having a conversation or playing a game Massage For more severe cases medication may be helpful, particularly iron tablets in the presence of anaemia, or sometimes dopaminergic drugs similar to those used in Parkinson’s disease. Certainly, you don’t have to suffer in silence. If you think you might have RLS talk to your GP and visit the support site

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Eric and Jon’s Budget Removals

Why pay more? Professional service on a budget Uniformed staff Free quotations Single items to detached house moves Family run business with over 10 years experience Storage available We cover local and long distance removals We work 7 days a week Goods in transit and public liability Insurance

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HOME INSURANCE THAT’S ON YOUR DOORSTEP Having a local office means we are accessible, whether you need to make changes to your policy or make a claim. Call 01462 442739 for a quote or pop in NFU Mutual Office, 101 Bancroft, Hitchin, Hertfordshire, SG5 1NB NFU Mutual is The National Farmers Union Mutual Insurance Society Limited (No. 111982). Registered in England. Registered Office: Tiddington Road, Stratford upon Avon, Warwickshire CV37 7BJ. Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. A member of the Association of British Insurers. For security and training purposes, telephone calls may be recorded and monitored.


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‘Where did you school…?’ Chris Russell

I recently completed an online survey that asked me whether I thought it was easier or harder for young people to be upwardly mobile today than it was for our parents’ generation. With barely a moment’s reflection, I ticked the most extreme box - ‘a lot harder’. This just seems obvious to me. Compare the humble backgrounds of prime ministers such as Harold Wilson and John Major, for example, to the top-hat-and-tails, tuck-shop old-boy network of today’s leaders. David Cameron? Eton. Nick Clegg? Westminster. Indeed, all-told, 67% of cabinet ministers attended top private schools, compared to just 7% of the population. Personally, my beginnings are far from humble, but I did attend a comprehensive school and remember being very confused when I first met students from the private sector. As a teenager I didn’t really understand the system, to be honest, but received a baptism of fire when I entered further education. I studied at Bristol University, an institution that at the time had the UK’s lowest state school intake outside Oxbridge and was being heavily criticised for it. During Freshers’ Week, the first thing anyone I met asked me was ‘Where did you school?’. This was pretty baffling to me, firstly because where I came from ‘school’ wasn’t a verb and secondly because I couldn’t for the life of me understand why anyone would care

Hands up if your school looked a little less like this, and a little more like an NCP car park with a football pitch.

where I’d done my GCSEs (let alone have heard of the place). You don’t ask someone which post office they use, or where they buy dog biscuits, so why would the name of their school even matter? Social mobility, that’s why. A friend of mine recently married someone who had attended one of York’s top boarding schools, and now, whenever I meet anyone who was privately schooled in that area, I ask out of natural curiosity and it always turns out that they know each other. Every single time. (None of them have a northern accent either, which I find extremely suspicious, but that’s another issue altogether). Yorkshire has a population of five million people, but the handful of those who were privately educated all know each other, and it’s the same in government. Playground allegiances soon turn into parliamentary handshakes. Everyone knows you fear what you don’t understand, and the problem with many private institutions is that they necessarily shrink people’s friendship groups to include only those one is comparable to in social, cultural and economic terms. So, if you were born in Chalfont St Giles like Nick Clegg, and swung through Cambridge University via Caldicott and Westminster College, you could probably do so without having to suffer the presence of a single peasant along the way. Which means, when it comes to running the country, you might be a wee bit lacking in social objectivity. Of course, inverse elitism is just as bad, and Cleggy has as much right as anyone to go into politics. But the worrying trend in Britain’s social mobility needs reversing, and it’s hard to imagine that happening without some kind of sea-change in our education system. At the very least, next time someone asks you where you went to school, ask them where they buy their socks. That ought to stick a spanner in the works. Chris is a freelance writer and musician with internationally-renowned rock band The Lightyears. The Lightyears, voted the UK’s BEST POP/ROCK ACT at the Indy Awards, have played Wembley Stadium, toured across four continents and released a record with Sting’s producer. Chris has recently completed his first book, “Mockstars”, based on The Lightyears’ tour diaries. Find out more at

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maiden flight of De Havilland Comet

27th July 1949

In these diminished times it’s either heartening or depressing to look back on Britain’s past engineering triumphs. If you’re of the latter tendency, prepare to be depressed, for July 27th is the anniversary of the maiden flight of the world’s first jet airliner, which took to the skies for 31 epoch-making minutes over Hatfield, Hertfordshire, in 1949. Those of us of a certain age moan about the speed of change these days. It’s a snail’s pace compared to what it was. The Government’s Brabazon Committee drew up the specifications for what was to become the de Havilland Comet in 1943. Imagine specs to prototype in just six years – and only 40 years earlier its chairman, John MooreBrabazon, had made the first powered flight in England by an Englishman. The Comet started life as a light transport capable of carrying a ton of mail and six passengers at 400mph. It wasn’t conceived as a jet but Geoffrey de Havilland, a Committee member with a commercial interest in jets, persuaded the others that a jet was just the thing. His earliest designs incorporated a lot of the innovations de Havilland was working on at the time, notably the twin-boom layout that later resurfaced in the highly successful Vampire fighter-bomber series, but the specifications changed so much during the process that what eventually trundled out of the hangar was a 36-seat airliner powered by four turbojets, capable of cruising at 460mph at 42,000ft, a speed and altitude that nothing in the world could match. It was comfy, too, with 45” of legroom per seat, big square windows, a bar and separate ladies’ and gents’. But it was uncharted territory. When Comet entered service with BOAC on May 2nd 1952 there were troubles in store which its designers, headed by Ronald Bishop, father of the Mosquito bomber, could never have foreseen.


Even before the Queen, the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret enjoyed the first jet flight by a monarch in June 1953, the problems had begun. The previous year a Comet had failed to take off from Ciampino Airport in Rome, ploughing into a field and injuring two passengers. In March 1953 the same thing happened at Karachi, killing all 11 on board, and in May another went down after taking off from Calcutta with a death toll of 43. After two more disasters in 1954 – 35 dead when one broke up over the Mediterranean in January, 21 dead when another crashed near Naples in April – the Comet was grounded. It took four years to find and fix the problem. It was metal fatigue, about which little was known. De Havilland had tested for it as well as they could; they didn’t understand how the stresses that caused it worked, though, so it was only by studying the wreckage that they discovered that the corners of the square windows simply ripped under pressure. The Comet 4, with oval windows, appeared in 1958; but by then the Boeing 707 and Douglas D8 were ready for service. They were bigger, faster, and cheaper to run. BOAC put 707s on its transatlantic flights. BEA continued to fly Comets, as did many airlines in Africa, South America, the Middle East and the RAF, which used them for training and reconnaissance. By the 1970s, though, only the charter airline Dan Air was flying Comets; the last in civilian service were retired in 1981 leaving only the Nimrod military variant flying on until 2011. The Comet may not have been a huge commercial success – only 114 were ever built – however it changed all our lives, making long-distance travel commonplace. But it was almost the last big pioneering project in British aviation history and a foretaste of a bitter realisation to come – that we’re just not big enough to do these things on our own any more.

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Feeling the itch?

by Julia Faulks

With the British summer finally here it’s not just us embracing the warmer weather - as we peel our winter layers off and take our arms and legs out of hibernation, summer bugs will also make their untimely appearance. Over the past couple of years wet and warm summers have resulted in an explosion in mosquito and flea populations, which can only mean one thing – bites and more bites. You’d like to think you would take it as a compliment that insects think you’re tasty enough to feast on, but it’s not much fun when you’re left with burning, red, swollen and itchy marks - not to mention the pain from stinging nettles after balmy walks in the countryside and picnics in the park. On-the-spot treatments - There are some simple ways you can help relieve any discomfort if you’ve been bitten or stung: wash the area with soap and water, use a cold compress or an ice pack (a bag of frozen peas will do the trick) and try not to scratch to prevent infection. You can also use a spray or cream that contains local anaesthetic, antihistamine or mild hydrocortisone to prevent itching and swelling, or take an antihistamine tablet (check with your doctor or pharmacist if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or worried about drowsiness or allergies to medication). Alternative remedies • For stinging nettle rashes rub the affected area with dock leaves for some instant relief – they are normally found growing near nettles. • Homeopathy is often used to treat bites and stings. For example, Apis and Ledum can help reducing swelling and relieve aching pains.

• Essential oils such as Tea Tree Oil and Lavender Oil (dabbed on neat) can be a useful addition to your first aid kit and provide on-the-spot relief as well as helping reduce the risk of infection. You can also add any of the following oils to a bite and sting lotion or cream: Burdock, Plaintain, Echinacea, Feverfew, Nettle, Yellow Doc and St John’s Wort. Some oils can be used as a preventative by putting them in a lotion or water spray and applying to the skin. For example, Lavender, Rosemary, Tea Tree or Citronella. Always seek medical advice if you have wheezing, difficulty breathing or swallowing, excess swelling around the bite or sting, or flu-like symptoms that appear to become worse rather than better. If you’ve previously had a severe reaction you will normally be offered an adrenaline pen or be referred to an allergy clinic for further investigations. Preventing stings and bites How can you prevent yourself from being stung in the first place? 1. Use an insect repellent at times when you’re more likely to be stung and try and keep your skin covered. 2. Keep an eye on your drinks to make sure that wasps or bees haven’t sneaked inside for a cheeky sip– they particularly like sweet drinks. 3. Try not to panic when you see an insect that may sting – if you wave your arms around you are far more likely to be stung. Stand up slowly, walk away and it will usually buzz off. 4. Use mosquito nets if you’re camping outdoors or put thin netting or door beads over doors to prevent insects from coming inside.

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Country Life 63x100_Layout 1 18/01/2013 14:19 Page 1

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Facing The Music

Dealing with personal debt The story is a common one. It begins with a few minor expenses paid on a credit card. The habit develops to include a weekend break, then meals, and perhaps a new television to replace the old one before another credit card is retrieved from the mantelpiece - a flyer detailing an ‘unbeatable’ 0% 6-month introductory rate and healthy £5,000 credit limit. As well as cards, there are other offers to temp the lowly consumer: loans, remortgages, overdrafts, all with unique methods of repayment, that seemingly provide access to cash in more immediate and exciting ways than saving. As the personal burden grows, however, there’s a need for increasingly creative ways to juggle the bills, perhaps by shifting the balance between cards, consolidating them into a personal loan, or remortgaging the house to swallow the entire debt. But alas, these measures all lead into the abyss of spiralling debt. What comes next is a wad of paperwork telling an uncomfortable story of outstanding balances, demands of repayment, or threats of court action. For the working man or woman, this extra burden compounds everyday responsibilities of work, children, and bills to a frightening degree, such that every waking hour is consumed by the fear and dread of an ever-worsening predicament. What started as a little extravagance on that solitary plastic friend, turns into an all-consuming monster. What to do? Action is the only answer. Fortunately, help is at hand, and in a way, the current climate of indebtedness has removed some of the associated stigma. In the UK, the Citizens Advice Bureau is an excellent first port of call in a storm. They will first assess your financial situation. If you have any income, they may suggest a debt management plan, and even negotiate monthly repayments you can afford with your creditors. Sale of assets, repossession, or bankruptcy are other possibilities that are not the end of the world, but will require you to adapt and take a new approach to dealing with money. Other organisations can offer assistance, but beware of the sharks and never try to resolve the situation by undertaking more debt. Payplan provide debt help and advice via their

website and freephone number, with options ranging from debt managements plans, trust deeds (residents of Scotland only), and IVAs (Individual Voluntary Arrangements) for selfemployed people. IVAs can avoid bankruptcy through a formal arrangement with creditors to pay a proportion of your unsecured debts. Payplan provide their services free of charge and are funded by donations from the credit industry, thus they claim impartiality. Like the Citizens Advice Bureau, StepChange (formerly CCCS) is a charity offering a number of options all comprehensively explained on their very slick website and freephone service. Insolvency practitioners (IPs) can advise on debt problems and whether bankruptcy is the best way forward. They can also oversee the processes of company liquidation, bankruptcy, or IVAs, depending on individual needs. It’s imperative to use the services of a licenced IP, but your first port of call might be one of the aforementioned organisations prior to taking this route. Talking through your problems is an important stage in moving your life forward - you will realise that many people are in the same predicament and you should not be ashamed. Climbing out of a quagmire of personal debt is a tough, and often lengthy process, but when you come through, you will be able to look positively to the future once more.

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High tech holidays

happy holiday with some high-tech help Some of the most useful travel gadgets are the simplest. The TanSafe is a great example: it looks like a standard bottle of sun cream, but it’s a secret safe that’s big enough for your cash, cards, keys and even your mobile phone (but not a phone case). It’s even watertight, so it can protect your phone from the odd splash. At £7.99 it’s cheap too. Some of our favourite technology solves problems we thought were with us forever - such as creased shirts. For £34.99, the Shirt Shuttle MK2 is a hanger that you wrap your freshly ironed shirt or blouse around, folding it and clipping it shut to protect your shirt from creasing. How attractive it is depends on how much you hate ironing: a travel iron will set you back around £10, while a portable garment steamer such as Rowenta’s DR5050 promises to unwrinkle anything for £30. If you’re travelling with children, there’s no shortage of technology that can keep them amused on even the longest trip. Apple’s iPad Mini is ideal, providing all the fun of an iPad without the weight or price, but it’s still quite expensive at £269; an iPod touch does much the same thing in a smaller case for half the price, or a quarter of the price if you’re buying used. If you prefer Android tablets Google’s Nexus is a good buy at £159. All of these devices can run apps, and you can copy video from your computer or buy or rent videos from wherever you can find an internet connection. We’d advise against 3G devices that connect to the mobile phone network: there are often very high charges for data roaming. The problem with many travel-related gadgets is


that they can be very large and very heavy - and that’s terrible if you’re trying to keep everything in a single suitcase that doesn’t exceed the airline’s weight limit. For example, a wireless speaker such as the Supertooth Disco weighs a massive 1.1kg, and it’s a hefty size too. When it comes to travel speakers, small can be beautiful: the £18 X-Mini II Capsule speaker weighs just 82g but it punches way above its weight. It doesn’t sound as good as a top-end speaker system but it’s a vast improvement on any smartphone’s speakers. If size really does matter, you can even cut the size of your plugs - but beware, because it can be pricey. The Mu Folding Plug is a 3-pin plug with a USB socket on the other side, and it folds down to a titchy 1.4cm - but at around £25 for one, it’s considerably more expensive than standard plugs. Now that we’re travelling with lots of gadgets, powering and/or recharging them can be a problem: it’s not unusual to have a camera, an e-reader, a smartphone and a music player competing for the same plug socket as the TV or hairdryer. Rather than packing multiple chargers or 4-way extension leads, it might be a better idea to invest in a 4-port worldwide travel charger, which comes with 4 USB ports in the top and a collection of interchangeable plugs that work almost anywhere in the world, all for around £10. Such chargers aren’t powerful enough for iPads, which draw massive amounts of power, but they’re fine for smartphones, cameras and other popular bits of kit.

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ARCHITECTURAL DRAWINGS AND BUILDING DESIGN SERVICES Professional and affordable architectural design services provided for all types of private residential building projects with all necessary council approvals obtained.

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CASH Cambridge Coins and Jewellery Coins, Medals, Banknotes, Tokens, Postcards.

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52 High Street // Biggleswade // Beds // SG18 0LJ // (Opposite “The Codfather”) Open Wednesday to Saturday. 11am to 7pm

t: 01767 600 300 e: Our new community



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The Bedfordshire County Show

July 13th & 14th 2013

The Bedfordshire County Show returns to the beautiful grounds of Shuttleworth Park, Old Warden on the weekend of July 13th & 14th. It’s the summer’s biggest event in Bedfordshire, celebrating everything that is exciting and great about the diverse towns and villages across Bedfordshire. The show boasts a wealth of attractions, combining entertainment and fun with the opportunity to try different sports and activities, providing you with everything you could want in a relaxed family atmosphere. There is a huge line up of entertainment, shows, displays, competitions, have a go opportunities, demonstrations and stalls housed in marquees and arenas. There really is something for everyone, and don’t forget dogs are very welcome too. The Main Arena will serve up a fantastic array of acts from the Welsh Axemen, to David Seamark and his sheepdog display, the beautiful Syres Shires, the English School of Falconry, Talent of the horse, Cyril the Squirrel (Saturday only) and many more. We guarantee to entertain the whole family with a glorious medley of fun and activities, giving something for everyone. From Carriage Driving, Canine Partners will be offering you the chance to enter your favourite pooch in the dog show, mouthwatering culinary delights, craft show, trade stands, donkey show, thrilling fun fair rides, traditional crafts, display of livestock including sheep, cattle and more and opportunities to try

new sports or interests. Don’t miss the Field Sports Village, this will be hosting different field sports including, falconry, air rifles, archery and professional coaches will be on hand to give advice tutor and answer any questions you may have. The Bedfordshire County Show is a family run event, which means the organizers know how important it is to make sure there is something for every one of all ages. Entry into this year’s show also includes FREE entry into the world famous Shuttleworth Airplane Collection and the Bird of Prey Centre. ‘This year with the help of people around Bedfordshire we aim to bring town and country together, making it the best show ever’

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By PIPPA GREENWOOD There’s a really reliable, easy, low-cost and loweffort way to add some zing to your meals; homegrown herbs. Many herbs are simple to raise from seed and if you start sowing now you should be able to have a plentiful supply of fresh, tasty herbs to add to salads, sandwiches, stews and stir-fries for months to come. All you need to is a sunny window sill or balcony, or a well-drained, sunny spot in your garden. First, find some good quality multi-purpose compost, your chosen herb seeds and some pots. Good-quality compost is well worth the little bit extra you need to pay. The style of pot is up to you – you may want to choose a classic Mediterranean one, or perhaps a good-looking plastic planter for longevity and light-weight characteristics. Remember that plenty of drainage is essential, and that the smaller herbs do not need a deep root run, so there’s no need for a very tall planter or pot. It’s best to grow each type of herb in its own individual pot, so buy a selection of pots with a minimum diameter of 8cm. Once you have your pot to hand, put a broken flower pot or other drainage material in the base and then fill with good quality compost to within 1cm of the rim of the pot and firm it down, not too aggressively, but enough to ensure that there’s no subsidence later on. With large seeds such as coriander, position the seeds evenly on the compost surface. Sprinkle smaller seed thinly. The seeds need to be covered with compost so use your finger or a dibber to gently press the seed in to the very surface of the compost and then drizzle more compost on top to the depth stated on the packet of seed. Water the compost thoroughly either from above using a watering can with rose attached, or by standing the pot in a saucer of water for a few minutes until the compost surface is just moist. The seeds generally germinate quite quickly and often within just a week or two you’ll have lots of tiny herbs like this coriander. Once the herbs are up and growing strongly you can start to harvest them. Use sharp scissors or a sharp knife to cut off what you need; this way you’ll minimise damage to the growing plants and so help to keep them cropping for longer. As long as you keep the pots adequately watered, ideally by watering from the base, they should last for


several weeks or months but make sure that the compost is not too wet or else your herb pots won’t last long. If you find that you’re not eating them fast enough, store some for later use. Ice cubes give you a really great fresh-herb taste offseason. Just half fill ice-cube tray sections with water. Add chopped fresh herbs to each section and top up with water. Label the tray as they can be difficult to identify. You can then simply pop them whole into stews and casseroles as and when you need them. Top herbs that grow well from seed: There are lots of herbs which do very well in pots when sown from seed. Some of my favourites include Italian or Genovese basil, lemon basil, chervil, Coriander ‘Cilantro’ for leaves, flat-leaved parsley, Ainse, Thai basil, chervil, chives, fennel, garlic chives. Visit for Pippa’s ‘Winter thru’ Spring’ vegetable collection, great plants for September planting and regular advice emails from Pippa, and buy a great range of gardening products including Nemasys caterpillar, slug, ant and other biological controls, Enviromesh and Envirofleece.

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Compost Mentis

BY DEREK THOMPSON Very few of our neighbours know about my writing this column and it’s safe to bet that none of them have ever read it. And it may surpise you to know that I’m perfectly happy with that state of affairs. After all, I have never claimed to be a green sage (see what I did there...). We simply do our bit wherever and however we can, and report back our little misadventures. However, occasionally, someone (usually by email) does ask my opinion about how to live a more environmentally aware existence, growing your own, or doing more with the garden. And when that happens, I say one magical word: compost. Because, to me, nothing epitomises Green Living like the joy of composting. It relies on waste, natural decomposition and, once you’ve sorted out the basics, a minimal amount of attention. And yet, at the end of it, you have nutrient rich plant fodder for free. What could be greener than that? Remember those science lessons at school? Well, this should be a breeze in comparison. Successful composting of waste relies on the addition of warmth, oxygen and water. You could call it the wow factor. You could, but trust me - Anne wouldn’t like it. You also need to be aware of the Carbon to Nitrogen ration. Now, before you run screaming to the hills (green ones, naturally), let’s simplify that. The carbon contribution comes from cardboard and paper (not the glossy kind), straw, dried grass and leaves, and sawdust (we sometimes get extra when we pick up some for the chickens). The nitrogen contributors include fruit and vegetable kitchen waste (because even chickens have their limit), grass cuttings and even plants that have seen better days. I’m reliably informed that a good ration of carbon material to nitrogen material is upwards of 20 to 1. But I have to be honest and say that we simply adjust the mix as and when required (partly determined by whatever’s going on in our gardening and recycling). Our composting tub, which looks like an out-ofcondition Dalek, sits on a flat concrete surface and receives some direct sunlight. I mix the compost regularly to aerate the pile, although my grunting noises are completely optional. Very


occasionally I will also sprinkle some water, if it looks like it’s becoming dry. Nature likes to give composters a hint or two. The presence of worms is a good indication that all’s well. Fruit flies, however, as well as being a minor irritation, are a sure sign that you need more carbon in the mix. The same goes for runny mulch. The presence of an ant nest in there calls for more moisture - and some say increasing the heat will help move them on. Rodents are very bad news. You need to make your compost heap inpregnable. You could try a cat, unlike ours, who works for a living. My final tips are to give the compost time to develop and to avoid accidentally colliding with the tub when it’s top heavy, because you’ve evacuated the lower half where the good stuff lives. Otherwise, like me, you’ll end up wielding a shovel. And you won’t come up smelling of roses.

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By Susan Brookes-Morris The Oxford English Dictionary defines the verb ‘meditate’ as: to focus one’s mind for a period of time, in silence or with the aid of chanting, for religious or spiritual purposes, or as a method of relaxation. For many, some form of meditation is part of their daily routine There are many different meditation techniques, including: transcendental meditation, prayer, Zen meditation, Taoist meditation, mindfulness meditation, and Buddhist meditation. Some methods require the body to be absolutely still, or to be moved with controlled deliberation, while other types allow for free movement of the body. While the methods are different, the end goal of all types of meditation is to lead to a mind that is at peace and free from stress by the use of quiet contemplation and reflection. For many, meditation is part of their daily routine. If practiced regularly, meditation can bring about healing of both the body and the mind. One of the physical benefits of meditation is a decrease in blood pressure. In addition there can be an improvement in breathing due to the increase of air flow that gets to the lungs. Practitioners also find that their resting heart rate is lower which takes some of the stress off their hearts. Meditation is also said to promote a

youthful appearance and help in chronic diseases such as allergies and arthritis. It can also help in post operative healing, enhance the immune system by increasing the activity of ‘natural-killer cells’ and reduce the action of viruses. Ladies may find it reduces pre menstrual tension, and because evidence shows that chemicals in the body that are associated with stress are lower in practitioners, it can lead to less anxiety for all. Some find it helps improve their mood and can decrease depression. This is because it has been found to increase serotonin production which influences mood and behaviour. Those who meditate say they become less bothered by little things which they previously magnified and turned into serious things. Through meditation, they learn to detach and live in the here and now, rather than worrying about the past or future. Practitioners also find that meditation improves their memory and levels of concentration. This makes them more productive. A further benefit is known as ‘Knowledge of Self.’ Meditation allows a deeper understanding of our inner self and some feel that through meditation they gain a better understanding of their life’s purpose and become more self confident.

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Whizz kids

Choose the right scooter for your child Riding a scooter is a great way for children to get around. Whether they are zooming to school or zipping around the park, a scooter is much easier to master than a bicycle and is normally less expensive. For young children, scooters with three or four wheels are best to help them develop balance and co-ordination. Modern models often have two wheels at the front and one at the back. You steer by simply leaning to the side. Younger children’s scooters have soft grips and anti-slip footplates to maximise safety. They are chunkier than scooters for older children and may not fold down. Many are brightly coloured or feature favourite TV characters. When children have mastered the basics, they can move on to a two-wheeled push scooter. The height of the handlebars can normally be adjusted so the scooter can ‘grow’ with your child. Many have a brake, operated by pressing a pedal over the back wheel. Some even give off sparks when you do this! They’re convenient too – most are lightweight and fold in half, which makes them very easy to carry around or pop in the boot of the car. These scooters also come in lots of funky designs and some have flashing lights on the footplate. Two-wheel scooters can get up to a good speed, but they are not all suitable for doing jumps and tricks. For this, you will need a stunt scooter, which is stronger than a normal one. They have a rigid head tube and bars, metal wheels and rubber grips, and they aren’t foldable. If your child likes to travel at speed but isn’t keen to put the effort in, how about an electric scooter? Suitable for children aged eight and older, they are powered by rechargeable batteries that last for around 45 minutes. You accelerate using a twist-grip control and can reach speeds of up to 15mph. The latest innovation in scooting is the ‘tri’ or ‘Y’ scooter. These are three-wheeled scooters, but you stand with your legs apart on two separate plates that come together at the front. To travel, you move your body from side to side in a skiing motion. And if you like to visit country parks with rough tracks, how about an off-road scooter, with larger

wheels and pneumatic tyres for a smoother ride, and a raised footplate which won’t catch on any bumps Whatever type of scooter you choose to buy, always check the size carefully to make sure it is suitable for your child. This is especially important if you are buying online, and manufacturers should give height and weight restrictions for their products. Finally, a word on safety. As with bicycles, children can and will fall off their scooters. Minimise their injuries by getting them kitted out with a helmet, kneepads and elbow pads.

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Keeping pets safe while you are away In the excitement of preparing for a holiday or weekend away, don’t forget to make arrangements for your pets. Sorting out care arrangements for your pet can take time, so you should always do this well in advance. Never leave pets on their own without a responsible person to care for them; you must make sure they get the care they need. When someone else is looking after your pet they too have a legal responsibility to ensure your pet’s welfare and you should make sure that they understand your pet’s needs and any special requirements that he, or she, may have. There are a number of options to ensure your pet is cared for when you are away. You can leave them with friends or family, have a pet-sitter, or take them to a boarding establishment. Many pets can find the absence of their owner and/or a change of routine stressful. It is important that all of your pet’s needs are met, and that you leave clear instructions on how to look after your pet, including: • dietary requirements; • daily health checks (especially for small animals to check that they are eating and toileting properly, and to check they are healthy i.e. flystrike in rabbits); • how and when to exercise them; • if and when they may need any medication and how to give it to them;


• how to socialise with them. Whoever you chose to care for your pets while you are away, make sure that you: • are confident that they will care for your pet properly; • give them clear instructions on how to care for your pet; • leave the name and number of your vet and, if possible, a number where you can be contacted in case of emergencies; • keep your pet’s vaccinations and flea and worming treatments up-to-date. It is a criminal offence to leave any animal without making proper arrangements for their welfare. But, if organised properly, holidays can be a welcome break for both you and your pets. Happy holidays to you all. ANIMAL KNOW-HOW is one of a series of articles brought to you by the RSPCA Bedfordshire North branch

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Doggy Fashion Professional Grooming Service

All breeds catered for Flexible grooming packages Competitively priced Your dog groomed in the comfort of your own home Please call Liz for an appointment

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SAGE AND PANCETTA ROAST CHICKEN Give classic roast chicken a tasty makeover with a handful of fresh sage and some delicious smoky flavoured Italian bacon called pancetta. Look out for thin rashers of pancetta in the deli section of your supermarket or buy freshly sliced from an Italian deli. Serve with roasted baby new potatoes and lightly steamed vegetables for a wonderful summer Sunday lunch. INGREDIENTS 1.3kg oven-ready chicken (preferably free range) 55g butter, softened Few fresh sage leaves Salt and freshly ground black pepper 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped 85g smoked pancetta slices 115g fresh white breadcrumbs 1 medium egg, beaten Fresh sage leaves, to garnish Serves: 4 Ready in: 2 hours 30 minutes

1 Preheat the oven to 190C, 375F, Gas Mark 5. Place the chicken in a foil-lined roasting tin. Smear half the softened butter over the chicken breast, legs and wings and scatter over the sage leaves. Season lightly with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cover the chicken loosely with foil and roast in the preheated oven for 1 hour 10 minutes. Uncover and baste the chicken with any juices twice during cooking. 2 Meanwhile, melt the rest of the butter in a frying pan, add the chopped onion and fry gently for 5 minutes. Chop half the pancetta and add to the pan, frying for a further 5 minutes until the onion is softened and golden. Remove from the heat. Finely chop the rest of the sage and add to the pan with the breadcrumbs and seasoning. Leave to cool then stir in the beaten egg. Press the stuffing mixture into a greased 18cm round shallow cake tin. 3 Uncover the chicken and top with the rest of the pancetta slices. Return to the oven and roast, uncovered, for a further 25-35 minutes until the chicken is golden brown and cooked through – the juices should run clear with no sign of pinkness when the thickest part of the thigh is pierced. Cook the stuffing in the oven at the same time until set and pale golden. 4 Remove the chicken from the oven, cover and leave to rest for 10-15 minutes. Cut the stuffing into wedges and serve on a platter with the roast chicken, garnished with the fresh sage leaves. Tip - To make light gravy to serve with the roast chicken, drain off any excess fat from the roasting tin then heat the pan juices until sizzling. Add a splash of dry white wine or sherry then stir in a little plain flour and 1 tsp wholegrain mustard. Cook for 1 minute then gradually pour in 400ml hot chicken or vegetable stock and slowly bring to the boil, stirring all the time. Simmer for 3-4 minutes until just thickened. Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper.


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How to play It’s simple! 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 puzzle. Watch out! Sudoku is highly addictive.


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

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Friday 12th july MUSIC4MAGIC is a live music event being hosted by Tripwire, one of Cambridgeshires best professional rock, covers and function bands, on Friday 12 July 2013. The event is in memory of and to celebrate the life of Mathew “Magic” Geaves who sadly in May this year, at the age of 28, lost his 3 year battle with a brain tumour. The event is also to raise money for The Brain Tumour Charity and to raise awareness about this terrible disease. The event will be held at the Sandy Conservative Club. Fully licensed bar and comfortable seating. This will be a superb evening of live rock, soul and pop performed by Tripwire, one of Cambridgeshire’s best rock, covers and function bands. Come and join us to remember Mathew, raise money for a very worthy cause and enjoy a first

class live music stage show with lasers and lights. Tickets £7 (including finger buffet) available from Sandy Conservative Club, The Bell in Sandy, The Timbers Club at The Tudor Oaks or by visiting Doors open 7.30pm. Show starts at 8.30pm. All proceeds to The Brain Tumour Charity.

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Packing Tips

By Debbie Singh-Bhatti When it comes to packing for holidays it takes my husband four minutes flat. I look enviously at his little pile of shorts, T-shirts and underwear and wonder where I am going wrong, as I wrestle with zips and straps in a determined effort to squeeze everything in. Many of us do it - pack too much when we go on holiday - then end up wearing the same few items all week. So how can we make the job easier and quicker? The answer is to remember that ‘less is more’ and to take only things we really love to wear in a capsule wardrobe that will cater for every occasion. The first step is to envisage how you see yourself spending your holiday. If it’s mainly sunbathing, all you need for the daytime is swimwear, flip flops and a loose fitting shirt to cover you up on the way to and from the beach or pool. If you plan on sightseeing or shopping, pack some comfortable sandals or pumps and a pair of shorts, cut off trousers or a skirt and a selection of tops. Before deciding on which ones, lay them out and match them up. Choose colours and styles that go

together, so that you can make up multiple outfits simply by switching items around. Some fashion experts suggest you take as many dresses as you can fit in. Teamed up with jewellery, a clutch bag and heels they are great for evenings out, and are still suitable for daywear when worn with flatties and a tote bag. Remember to take at least one warm item for chilly evenings or windy locations. Don’t forget to pack a couple of pairs of sunglasses in different shapes to create a varied look. Finally, take an oversized tote bag onto the plane and afterwards use it for the beach, or when you go shopping. Follow these tips and you shouldn’t go far wrong, but if you do, after your holiday write down all the items you ended up wearing (or that you wish you could have worn!) and use this as a guide next time you pack.

Fun Quiz - Towns and Villages 1. Born in 1945, which American singer found fame after he changed his surname to that of a town in the north of England? 2. The Village Green Preservation Society was used as the theme song for which TV sitcom? 3. In which English county would you find the town of Melton Mowbray? 4. In which fictional Yorkshire village might you come across Police Constable Arthur Selby? 5. Which coastal town in East Sussex shares it’s name with Hercule Poirot’s assistant? 6. The TV show Noel’s House Party was set in which fictional village? 7. Which town in Surrey is home to Ali G? 8. Replaced by youth custody centres in 1982, what was the name given to prisons for young offenders that was named after the village in Kent where the first of these institutions was established? 9. In which TV show did Number Two preside over “the Village”? 10. In which country of the UK would you find a village with a name that means “Mary’s Church in the hollow of the white hazel near the rapid whirlpool and the church of Tysilio with a red cave”? 1. Michael Bolton (his birth name was Michael Bolotin) 2. Jam And Jerusalem 3. Leicestershire 4. Greendale (in the Postman Pat cartoons) 5. Hastings 6. Crinkley Bottom 7. Staines 8. Borstals (named after the village of Borstal) 9. The Prisoner 10. Wales (the village is Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch)



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Blocked Drains

By Debbie Singh-Bhatti A toilet that won’t flush, sinks that won’t empty, grates that overflow, and an unpleasant smell are all tell-tale signs that there is a blockage or damage to the pipes, drains or sewers that service your property. But who is responsible for carrying out the work? Since October 2011, homeowners are responsible only for the maintenance of pipes or drains on their own property. Once they cross the boundary line onto the pavement or road, they become the responsibility of the water company. In addition, the water company is liable for all shared sewers (i.e. drains that meet from more than one building) even if they are on private land. So, how do you find out where the blockage is? A chat with a neighbour or a quick look into the inspection chamber should give you a clue. Most blockages can be easily cleared and you could have a go yourself with drainage rods, but as it’s a dirty, smelly job, or if you are struggling to locate the source, you might want to call in a specialist.


Occasionally, blockages occur due to a collapsed or broken drain, in which case you will need a professional to inspect the damage and quote for remedial work. You can choose whoever you like to repair drains on your own property.

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The Villager Prize Crossword Prize



Complete the crossword, fill in your details below, cut out this section and send to the address below before 19th July 2013 Prize Crossword, Villager Publications Ltd 24 Market Square, Potton, Beds SG19 2NP Tel:


Last Month’s Crossword Winner - Mrs D Carr – Godmanchester For last month’s solution please visit Across 1 French castle (7) 5 Competed (5) 8 Very alike (9) 9 Poem (3) 10 Consumed (5) 12 Reflects (7) 13 Friendships (13) 15 Immediate (7) 17 In front (5) 19 A pronoun (3) 20 Emergency vehicle (9) 22 Concede (5) 23 Captivate (7) Down 1 Illegal act (5) 2 Beer (3) 3 Died out (7) 4 Embarrassed (13) 5 Person in power (5) 6 Large reptile (9) 7 Frocks (7) 11 Magnifies distant objects (9) 13 Form of travel (7) 14 Bright red (7) 16 Prize (5) 18 Reside (5) 21 And not (3)


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Choosing the Perfect Builder

By Kate McLelland

As I write, I am currently four and a half weeks into a “three week” kitchen renovation project. The workmen are grumbling about the job, their working hours and their boss, the kitchen unit supplier and the builder are at loggerheads and the constant roar of power tools has begun to drive me crazy (not to mention an unending diet of microwavable meals). If you have ever had building work carried out you might well shrug and say: “Nothing new there”, but in my case I thought – no, I really believed - I had found the Perfect Builder. So, does the perfect builder exist and if so, how can you find this almost mythical creature? Your search will be easier if you follow some basic guidelines. There’s no substitute for personal recommendation, so the first rule is to ask around locally to see which tradesmen your neighbours would recommend (or not). Looking here in your magazine is a great place to search of course, because the tradespeople are local and the editor is likely to have been forewarned of any true rogues. Look for accreditation on their adverts e.g. TrustMark ( is a not for profit organisation, licensed by the Government and supported by consumer protection groups, that aims to connect members of the public with trustworthy building professionals. Watch out for those too-good-to-be-true reviews and compare quotes carefully when recruiting or checking your builder online. Although the feedback is useful to read, membership of many of these organisations involves the barest minimum of checks and it can be fairly easy for a company to fake their credentials. The next step is to arrange for some builders to call at your house. Start by giving each one a list of the things you want done: that list will probably change as you discuss the work, but it’s still a good place to start. Make sure the builder quotes separately for each item on your list, as that will avoid any disputes at a later date. When I invited estimates for my kitchen, one man refused point blank to give me a price because “You never know what’s lurking behind them old kitchen units and tiles”. I didn’t give him the job, but he had a fair point –

an estimate can only be based on what is visible to the naked eye. You should allow a contingency for hidden expenses, but no building firm should expect to start work without having provided at least some idea of their charges. Ask the same questions of each person who comes to quote: “How long will it take?” “Do you have your own team of tradesmen, or do you subcontract?” “Will you provide a contract for the work?” “Have you done any similar jobs locally and can I contact the householder for a reference?” A reputable company should be happy to provide evidence of their work, so don’t let your builder make you feel such questions are inappropriate. The tips described above may make choosing a builder seem straightforward, but in practice it’s not that easy. I chose someone who arrived on time, made careful notes, gave positive answers to all my questions and provided an itemised estimate, but I’m still tearing my hair out. Although I’ve failed to find the perfect builder this time, at least my project is slowly taking shape. I suspect that the moment I step across the threshold I’ll fall in love with my new kitchen and instantly forget all those weeks of inconvenience.

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1, 8, 15, 22 & 29 July Knitting Circle 10am-12 noon Olde Watermill, Barton Le Clay Tel: Maxine 07802 167800 2, 9, 16, 23 & 30 July Tuesday Morning Walkers 9.30-11.30am RSPB The Lodge, Sandy Adults £3, RSPB Members free. Admission £4 per vehicle to non-RSPB members Weekly walks around the reserve with a leader, looking for birds, wildlife and enjoying the site. Everyone welcome. Tel: 01767 680541 Web: 6 July 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. 6 July The Signals Museum 10am-4pm The Signals Museum at RAF Henlow is open to the public. Entry is free but official photo ID such as a driving licence, passport or over 60s Bus Pass is required to get an entry permit from the Guardroom. See website for full information. Web: 7 July Monthly Charity Quiz 8pm The Five Bells, Henlow £2 per person In aid of St John’s Hospice. Cash prizes and other spot prizes. Teams of up to 8. Raffle. Tel: John 07511 631045 for further information


11 July Mid Beds. Flower Club 7.45pm Flitwick Village Hall Visitors £5 Flower demonstration by the entertaining Neil Gurney entitled “Its Him Again”, as well as beautiful flowers expect an enjoyable evening full of fun. Visitors welcome. Tel: 01234 742396 for further information 13 & 20 July Glow Worm Night Walks 10pm 13th July - Sharpenhoe Car Park 20th July - Chilterns Gateway Centre, Whipsnade Road, Dunstable Tickets £2 per person. Car parking £2 Discover these magical creatures. Come and observe these fascinating little creatures at night. Your children will be so excited about this event. Your own torch for viewing would be essential. So bring a little sparkle into your lives and witness this miracle of nature. Each walk will be led by one of our Ranger team. Booking essential. Tel: 01582 500920 Email: Website: dunstabledowns 16 July Healing & Wholeness Service 7.30pm St Francis Catholic Church, Shefford Tel: Fr Bennie 01462 813436 18 July Nursery Visit and talk on Propagation Members £2, Non-members £3 Mill End Nursery, Mill End, Rushden, Buntingford, SG8 0TA Letchworth District Gardeners Association visit. Web: website 20 July Men’s Breakfast 8.30am Shefford Baptist Church Tel: Bob 01462 701774

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20 July Pamper and Pimms Evening 7pm All Saints School Hall, Clifton In aid of Woodlands Pre-School Mini 15 minute treatment for £5 including facials, back massages, reflexology, hot stone massage, Indian head massage and manicures. Advance booking essential. Also a chance to do some shopping with homewares, jewellery, bags, and toiletries stalls, and of course a lovely cold glass of Pimms waiting for you! Tel: 01462 811486 20 July 40’s Night 7pm The Ivy Leaf Club, Langford Non-Members ‘Ten Bob’ (50p) Come along and join us for a fun evening. Wartime food and music. Everyone welcome. 27 July Aragon Day Festival 11am-4pm Ampthill Town Centre Free admission. See website for further details. Web: 27 July & 28 July Beds & Herts Fuchsia Society Festival Saturday 11am-5pm, Sunday 11am-3.30pm Henlow Parish Hall Free admission See website for further details. Web:

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27 & 28 July Kite Festival 11am-4pm Dunstable Downs, Chilterns Gateway Centre, Whipsnade Road, Dunstable Free admission. Car parking £2 Come fly your kite! Join us over this fantastic fun filled weekend. There will be kids activities, face painting, entertainers, market stalls and plenty more. Be amazed as giant kites in the shape of bears, tigers and stars float across the sky and world famous display teams fly kites in breathtaking patterns. Contact: Chilterns Gateway Centre Telephone and to book: 01582 500920 Email: Website: dunstabledowns 2 August Summer’s Evening at Hitchin Lavender 7pm Hitchin Lavender, nr Ickleford, SG5 3UA £20 per person Welcome drink, Tour of the Lavender Fields, sitdown supper and coffee. Live music and Raffle. Table bookings taken. Tel: Camilla Hamilton 01462 482799 Web: 2-4 August Playing at Leisure Benslow Music, Hitchin Resident: £185 Non-resident: £135 Code: 13/PAL A special weekend where groups large or small or individuals and couples who want a short break with the possibility - but not the obligation - of taking advantage of some of our musical facilities are able to come to Benslow Music for a favourable rate. There’s no timetable apart from meal and tea/coffee times, and no tutoring. Guests simply meet each other informally in the bar or dining rooms and decide there and then what they would like to do, whether it’s reading through a Mozart Piano Quintet or a Schubert song with colleagues or new-found friends, reading quietly in our lovely gardens, browsing the contents of our library or taking a sightseeing trip to Hitchin’s attractive town centre. Tel: Bookings 01462 459446

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Jaguar F-Type

by James Baggott The E-Type replacement has taken 50 years to arrive – can it live up to the legend? What is it? Quite simply, the most important Jaguar for more than 50 years. Not since the iconic E-Type has Jaguar launched a new model into this segment, and boy has the wait been worth it. The stunning F-Type is the British manufacturer’s new halo model – a high performance, two-seater convertible that’s charged with ‘changing the face of the brand’. Buyers are queuing up for them, with a six-month wait already in place, and that’s before any of them have driven it. What’s under the bonnet? There are three different models – the F-Type, F-Type S and F-Type V8S. The first two are V6s and the latter, obviously, a V8. All units are supercharged. The standard F-Type has a 3.0-litre V6 with 335bhp, 450Nm, hits 60mph in 5.1s and tops out at 161mph. The middle of the range F-Type S hits 60mph in 4.8s and cracks 171mph thanks to 375bhp and 460Nm. The range topping 5.0-litre V8S has a frightening 488bhp, 625Nm and tops 186moh with 60mph dispatched in 4.2 seconds. They all feel rapid and sound absolutely incredible thanks to an exhaust system which took 18 months to develop. What’s the spec like? Highlights include the eight-speed automatic gearbox (standard), the multi-adjustable sports seats, and Meridian sound system. There are some brilliant design touches too – like the central heater vents that rise out of the dash when you turn the air con on. And the deployable door handles that pop out of the bodywork. Ian Callum we salute you.


Any rivals? Yes, several. But the biggest – the Voldemort of the Jaguar world (dare not speak his name or he’ll grow stronger) – is without doubt the Porsche 911. Jaguar benchmarked the German rival in all areas of the F-Type’s development. Other notable foes include the Audi R8 and Aston Martin V8 Vantage. All cost considerably more than the equivalent Jaguar. What’s it like to drive? Incredible. This is a drivers’ car through and through. We spent plenty of time in all derivatives and loved the crisp steering, the rapid eightspeed paddle shift box and the sound. Under acceleration all versions sound brilliant, and fizzle, crack and pop on the overrun. It feels a lot lighter than it looks – with extensive use of aluminium in the construction helping here. On the track it’s nimble and involving and huge fun while on the road it’s nothing short of intoxicating. We’d go as far as saying this is the best driver’s Jaguar ever. Lightweight The 50:50 weight distribution is key to the way the car feels. Engineers even moved the windscreen washer bottle to the rear to save 7kg from the front end. Some 50 per cent of the aluminium used is recycled – the bonnet alone is made from 26,000 drinks cans. Sales Of the 74m cars sold worldwide last year, just 0.6 per cent of them were sports cars. The US will account for 45% of sales, UK 25% and Germany 23%. Some 90% of buyers will be new to Jaguar. The verdict It’s the car of the year, without a shadow of a doubt. Our pick of the range would be the V6S – it’s just as much fun to drive as the V8, sounds just as brilliant, and the peaky power delivery is stunning. But the real coup is the pricing – every model is 25 per cent less than the equivalent 911, its bitter rival. Jaguar F-Type S Price: £67,500 Engine: 3.0-litre V6, supercharged Power: 357bhp, 460Nm Top speed: 171mph 0-60mph: 4.8s Economy: 31mpg Emissions: 213g/km

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BY Bruce Edwards The White Queen Phillipa Gregory Simon & Schuster £7.99 paperback ISBN 9781471125812 There’s a considerable interest in historical fiction nowadays; the BBC has (happily) latched onto ‘The White Queen’, one of Phillipa Gregory’s best - and well researched - ventures into the historical genre. This re-issue will be welcome, especially as it prefaces the series based on the Tudor’s predecessors, the Plantagenets. The original was published in 2009 and the television series - inevitably - brings out the reprint; it’s a well known phenomena. Even so, it’s a good solid read, if only to spot the differences betwixt text and telly. When an attractive young girl waylays a handsome King with an eye for the ladies, what will transpire? An easy question to answer, except that Mistress Elizabeth Woodville will brook no easy access to her virtue; she even takes a dagger from her suitor to threaten him with her demise. Her ambition and drive does her credit, though the consequences are way beyond her imagination. What we have in this story is an imaginative and dramatic retelling in narrative diary format of the way we’ve been left with one of the most mysterious parts of royal history - the fate of Elizabeth’s sons. If there is a criticism, it is seeing events solely through Elizabeth’s eyes. Take away the trappings of period, court and language - though less distracting than they could be - and you’re back to a typical tense romance of any period. One advantage Edward had, though, - no hungry media frenzy watching his every conquest - until now

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