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The Weekender

Issue Three

Spring/Summer 2012

Darling Buds

TheWeekender PLUS Hot Property in Margate We’re Going on a Food Hunt Brunch in Broadstairs Definitely Miss Maybe! p1 iss3.indd 1


The Dark Side of Fame 10/04/2012 20:48

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TheWeekender CONTRIBUTORS This issue’s contributors tell us how they enjoy a perfect weekend in spring

Tom Moggach is a food journalist and urban gardener. His recipe for sponge pudding on page 35 is from his new book The Urban Kitchen Gardener: Growing and Cooking in the City. What’s your perfect weekend? Pootling about on my vegetable plot, trying to catch fish on my sea kayak followed by a few pints of beer. What’s normally in your weekender bag? My camera, a swimming costume and a canvas bag full of kitchen knives. What’s the best thing about the arrival of spring? Instant, ever-changing salads from the garden.


Selina Hastings is being “worked hard” on the litfest circuit but manages to state a convincing case for writer Somerset Maugham as our Local Hero (page 18). Other than that of the Whitstable-raised literary colossus, her biographies include Nancy Mitford and Evelyn Waugh. What’s your perfect weekend? My perfect weekend is staying at home and doing as little as possible. What’s normally in your weekender bag? I’m at home, so there is nothing in the bag. What’s the best thing about the arrival of spring? The appearance of apple blossom in the parks. Paolo Sedazzari discovers that the underground language of Polari lives on in Margate (page 15). After several “punishing years as a rave promoter and freelance journalist” he now makes films. His documentary Viva Fitzrovia charts the rise and fall of London’s old bohemian quarter. What’s your perfect weekend? A theatre matinee show followed by a Fitzrovian pub crawl. What’s normally in your weekender bag? Lynx antiperspirant and a copy of Selected Stories by the author Julian Maclaren-Ross. What’s the best thing about the arrival of spring? All-day drinking sessions.


On the cover: Catherine Zeta-Jones as Elizabeth Short aka ‘The Black Dahlia’ by John Stoddart

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horse – of the wooden variety – stole the show at The Weekender’s first literary event at The Astor Theatre, Deal back in February. As you can see from these pictures, a merry night was had by all and photographer Sara Hannant’s excellent talk/slide show on folk rituals was in no way upstaged by people with beards and strange costumes! You may have noticed already that this issue has a somewhat more glamorous feel about it; there isn’t a spotted hankie or cow bell in sight. This is thanks largely to the now almost iconic photography of John Stoddart who, in the last three decades, has taken some of the greatest celebrity portraits of our time. He famously gave both Liz Hurley and Catherine Zeta-Jones their sexy new look in the 1990s but has recently traded the high life of Mayfair and Chelsea for the quieter waters of Whitstable. Admittedly, the celebs may be thinner on the ground here in East Kent but at least the suave and sophisticated lensman isn’t without fresh oysters and good quality sparkling wine. Our interview, along with just a selection of his fabulous photos, is on page 20. The stardust also manages to settle on page 17 where brave Broadstairs-based columnist Jane Wenham-Jones discovers what it’s like to be a glamorous Hitchcock-ian blonde for a few days. Highly recommended, as it turns out. Meanwhile Ramsgate’s own queen of burlesque, Miss Maybe, recalls her hilarious adventures on the fast-growing cabaret circuit (page 48). Apparently she does an interesting routine dressed as a WI lady – the mind boggles! On a seasonal note and with culinary needs at the forefront, we send poor shivering reporter George Ramsay to forage for his supper. Read his story on page 30. You’ll be glad to know that he didn’t go hungry. We also recount the fascinating tale of another hunter – the Kent explorer Percy Powell-Cotton (page 26) – then there is running with Matt Roberts (also the Prime Minister’s personal trainer!), a guide to the lost ‘language’ Polari, an interview with the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, Margate’s property revival, local hero Somerset Maugham and Steve McPherson, a Thanet-based artist who draws inspiration from the things he finds washed up on his local beach. What with all this excitement on offer, my only advice is to sit yourself down in a comfy chair, open a bottle of something special and prepare for yet another satisfying and thought-provoking journey into East Kent at its very, very best. Your weekend starts right here.


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contents Issue Three, Spring/Summer 2012

VIEWPOINT 6 Your comments on issue two Competition winners announced OUT & ABOUT 7-15 Photo Story: Turning plastic into art with Steve McPherson Darling Buds of May tour Ramsgate’s Pinball Parlour Talking Books in Deal Lounge on the Farm The Polari Bar, Margate It’s a Numbers Game: Cosmetics If you are going to do 5 things this springsummer…


OPINION 17 Columnist Jane Wenham-Jones goes blonde with spectacular results LOCAL HERO 18 The Whitstable-raised novelist and legendary bon viveur Somerset Maugham by his biographer Selina Hastings PEOPLE 20-25 Kent coast convert and photographer-to-the-stars John Stoddart recalls the glamorous excess of the 1990s and reveals the darker side of fame


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46 TALE 26-29 Explorer Percy Powell-Cotton shot hundreds of wild animals in his lifetime but is hailed as a pioneer of animal conservation. A tour around the many wonders of Quex Park FOOD & DRINK 30-36 Supermarkets are for wimps, right? George Ramsay goes foraging for his dinner in the wild White Cliffs country The Perfect Weekend…Brunch in Broadstairs Let’s Make: Sticky Sponge Pudding SPACE 37-41 A marvel in Margate: three local agents on the town’s property renaissance

ACTIVITY 42-47 Celebrity fitness trainer Matt Roberts on how to be a better, more effective runner The List: The essential guide to Running in East Kent Let’s Go: Running Look good and run further with our choice kit. JUST THE JOB 48 Lisa Payne aka Miss Maybe on the ups and downs of performing on East Kent’s burlesque circuit MY EAST KENT LIFE 50 Michael Boyce, Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports and Walmer Castle resident, talks about his important and historic role

Publisher and editor Dan Synge

Art Editor Malvin Van Gelderen 020 89895208 07957322671


Featured Property: Coastguard’s Cottage, Ramsgate


Contributors Matt Roberts, John Stoddart, Ben Dickson, Jane Wenham-Jones, George Ramsay, Paolo Sedazzari, Tom Moggach, Selina Hastings, Bill Dunn, Sean Preston, Tim Synge, Lily Guy-Vogel, Dave Betts, Liz Mott, Laura Hynd, Jack Walsh For advertising or editorial enquires please contact:


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Emails and letters

Your comments on issue two

CIDER HOUSE RULES OKAY I picked up a copy of The Weekender today in the Horsebridge Arts Centre, Whitstable. I hadn’t seen issue one but greatly enjoyed the current one. If you are running the Made in East Kent food page in the summer issue, I suggest you add Broomfield Orchard, Herne to your list of cider and apple juice makers. They have excellent, very keenly priced products which have won many awards. I’m sure that the owners could give you more details; I’m just a satisfied consumer. I hope your magazine continues to do well. Alan, Whitstable

NO MORE BORING COFFEE MORNING Whilst out in Faversham on Saturday I picked up a copy of your magazine and read it while I was having a cup of coffee. I must say that it was a great read; it’s always good to read local articles and to learn more about an area where I have lived for more years than I care to remember! Caroline, Ashford


That you can subscribe to The Weekender magazine for just £16 a year*? Simply write to us and we’ll make sure that the latest print issue reaches your chosen postal address quarterly. Why miss out? *includes postage (UK only)


In the last issue we posed the question: ‘In which town is The Flamingo amusement arcade?’ The answer is, of course, ‘Margate’. Thanks to all those readers who had a go but were unlucky in the final draw. If it’s any consolation, the poster is still available at the Turner Contemporary and the Margate Gallery, or direct from the artist Andy Tuohy The three lucky winners who each get a gorgeous Seaside A-Z Poster are:

If you have anything you want to say about this issue of The Weekender, please write to You can also become a fan of the magazine on Facebook – go to

Pandora Martin, Dover Rachael Munro, Faversham Pat Medus, Ramsgate 

July 2012

Friday 13th

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sC Art



Guest Support: Chimney Boys Selkie - Spade & Archer The Allen Family Band

Saturday 14th Tickets £12 ~ 8pm

St Mary’s Arts Centre

Guest Support: Funke & The Two Tone Baby Cocos Lovers - Syd Arthur - River Gypsies - Tophill Sisters - The Remains of Johnny Cash - Captain Patch Driftwood - Childrens Entertainment - Pierre Vincent Spyplane - Jones Boys - Happy Trails

Sunday 15th

    

 


       

Guest Support: Los Salvadores Delta Echos - Kingsize Slim Old Country Crows - Camine

St Mary’s Arts Centre, StrandSt, Sandwich - All Tickets from Smoke on the Water Market St, Sandwich - 01304 611 600 OR

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News, views and must-do events

Plastic Fantastic!


rtist Steve McPherson calls himself “a treasure hunter, a beachcomber”. And if you saw this tall bespectacled gentleman

stooping to scour the sands of Epple Bay two miles west of Margate, you’d think that was all he is. But while others might go in search of the big prize – perhaps a dropped silver chain

Pic: System Accumulation; marine plastic objects 1994 to 2011

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Pics (clockwise from left): Steve on the beach; 18 Heads; Combination Piece (Blue No1); marine plastic images

His medium is the human detritus that most beach visitors try to ignore. “I’m constantly making aesthetic judgements,” he says, his hands and eyes working speedily as he discards one piece, chooses another. Just half an hour of trailing this entertaining lively cove can unearth four decades’ worth of contemporary anthropology – finds like Dracula lolly sticks and Spirograph wheels from the 1970s, Sealink cocktail swizzlers from the 1980s, BB gun pellets from the 1990s and pre2005 Smartie tube stoppers. Once his bucket is full, he will return to his studio in Margate, sift and sort the pieces and transform them into beautifully balanced and thought-provoking assemblages that are much more than the sum of their parts. Steve grew up in Birchington-on-Sea, its churchyard the burial place of preRaphaelite artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti (who died here during a singularly unsuccessful visit to recuperate from a bout of ill-health). As a child, one of his earliest memories was visiting nearby Quex Park and the quintessentially Victorian PowellCotton Museum, set up by Major PowellCotton who used it to display the animals he’d shot in Africa and Asia. There’s also something of the Victorian in Steve McPherson; he loves collecting, sorting and presenting artifacts in an effort to make sense of the world. But this is where the parallel ends. Steve hates dogma, and objects in a McPherson-curated museum would probably have some pretty farfetched captions. “My work works on many levels,” he says. “I love creating stories for the pieces. And then it’s about the beauty of ugly objects. And it’s also contemporary

archaeology.” Then there’s the environmental angle: “My work is not primarily about ecology but you can’t ignore it. I mean, I’d really rather there wasn’t any plastic on the beach. It’s never going to go away – it doesn’t rot, fade or disappear – it just degrades into smaller and smaller pieces until eventually a large proportion of this beach will be plastic. In some areas of the Pacific there are six times more particles of plastic in the water than zooplankton.” Steve’s works have been bought by the marine research foundation ALGALITA and he has also designed a series of t-shirts for Surfers Against Sewage. “In my small way I’m cleaning up parts of the beach,” he says, “but I can’t pick all of it up!” Bill Dunn

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Just Larkin About

Ticket to Ride


luckley, near Ashford, is said to be ‘the most haunted village in England’ and boasts up to 12 spooks in residence. Kent writer HE Bates also set his 1958 novel The Darling Buds of May there, and the 1990s television adaptation of the book starring David Jason and Catherine Zeta-Jones (our cover star this issue) quickly became a household favourite all over the world. Now, 20 years later, those clever people at the Kent Film Office have designed an inter-active trail which allows visitors the chance to experience idyllic, rural Kent as it was in Bates’ day. If you follow the trail, it leads key filming locations such as The Black Horse (Pop Larkin’s pub) and Pluckley Church, where Mariette and Charley got married. Now isn’t that a ‘perfick’ way to kick off the summer? To download the trail visit

Nudge, Nudge

Arguably the games consoles of their day, pinball machines remain an obsession for a few

Everyone knows that it’s better to shop local, but this heavyweight Fairtrade canvas bag, inspired by an original 1960s bus blind, takes the ethos to the extreme. Not only are some of our favourite places in East Kent listed on the side, but it doubles up as a stylish beach bag – when we’re not out shopping!

die-hard collectors and lovers of vintage arcade games. One such devotee, Peter Heath, even has his own museum to the pastime, The Pinball Parlour in Ramsgate. Visitors can play on up to 40 working machines or simply admire the gaudy artwork and flashing light bulbs. His most treasured items include a horse racing game called Nags and a machine based on a certain Liverpool beat group (see picture). “I’ve been collecting pinball machines since 1983 and have bought them here from all over the world,” he says. The Pinball Parlour, 2 Addington Street, Ramsgate. Open Saturday and Sunday 1-6pm

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In a Field of Their Own

Formed only six months ago but already veterans of the new Canterbury scene, Coco and the Butterfields blend their soulful acoustic melodies with folky banjos and fiddles plus there’s Jamie, the live human beat box to ensure toes are tapping. Their influences include Damien Rice, Johnny Cash and The Beach Boys so we can expect big things from this cathedral city combo. Coco and the Butterfields appear at A Field in Worth Festival, 23-24 June

Full Throttle in Thanet

Have you got what it takes to go 10 laps with the world’s fastest drivers? A perennial childhood favourite gets serious this summer with the Scalextric World Championships. ‘Drivers’ of any age and ability (that includes you, Dad) are welcome and race entry is free with the use of a top-ofthe-range Scalextric car. The heats begin on 28 April so don’t get left behind! Scalextric World Championships, Hornby Visitor Centre, Margate

It’s a Numbers Game: Cosmetics

54 average number of items in a woman’s make up bag £512 average value of these items

77.7% percentage of women in the UK who regularly use lipstick £1.98 billion amount spent on cosmetics in the UK

35,640 number of people employed in the combined toiletries and cosmetics industry Research by Lily Guy-Vogel

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Put Down That Pen and Start Talking


n exciting style of literary event has been taking shape at the revitalised Astor Theatre in Deal. Talking Books provides a regular Friday night slot for authors and their readers to get together in an atmosphere that can be both provocative and inspiring. Lynn Barber, Deborah Moggach and Howard Marks are just some of the authors to have appeared so far.

and work.” Coming up soon: an impressive line-up of crime writers including Mark Billingham and Val McDermid (18 May), while on 15 June Forgotten Footprints author John Harrison invites us on a unique journey to Antarctica. The polar adventurer tells stories of explorers and scientists plus first-hand accounts of his own experiences, along with some stunning images and atmospheric soundscapes. Chilling!

Says the Astor’s artistic director James Tillitt: “The evenings are special because authors and readers actually meet faceto-face. You can chat to your favourite author and ask questions about their life

Talking Books at the Astor Theatre, Deal, 01304 370220

If you are only going to do 5 things this spring/summer…


See Shakespeare’s As You Like It The world-famous Globe Theatre opens its national tour in Margate for the second year running. Do not miss this hilarious tale of love and cross-dressing on an authentic Elizabethan-style stage. Theatre Royal Margate, 5-7 July, tickets £10-£20


Book a boutique Broadstairs break after the Dickens House Museum, the beach and a dollop of Italian ice cream, Belvidere Place makes for a delightfully chic bolt hole. Landlady Jilly Sharpe’s organic breakfast wowed even veteran food critic Fay Maschler! Belvidere Place, 43 Belvedere Road, Broadstairs. Rooms £125 per night


Check out the Childish exhibition Cult artist and musician Billy Childish spent six months as an apprentice stonemason in the Royal Dockyard, Chatham, before art school beckoned. Now, 35 years later, he returns to the space which has since been revived as a leading local arts/visitor centre. The Historic Dockyard, Chatham, 1 June to 30 September


Know the drill in Dover This year’s Dover Tattoo military spectacular features massed bands, exciting displays, a family fun day plus a grand finale with fireworks and music. Fort Burgoyne parade ground, Dover, 1/2 June, tickets £3-£20


Bag a bargain at the Brocante The annual spring Brocante brings dozens of antiques stalls to Walmer Green, near Deal. Perfect for finding a cool collectible or bargain vintage buy. Bank Holiday Monday, 7 May (8am6pm)

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Barn This Way

Pics (from top): the main stage; performers at The Playhouse stage; The Streets in 2011

A unique local music festival has gone from strength to strength since it started back in 2006 Jack Walsh explains


ike many a romantic tale, the story of the Lounge on the Farm festival begins with a telephone number scribbled on the back of a cigarette packet. A chance meeting between a local music devotee and the son of a dairy farmer as they watched a band perform on a lorry in the middle of Canterbury is where it all began. Ideas were exchanged, numbers were jotted down and the rest, as they say, is history. Sean Baker and Vic Hazell launched Lounge on the Farm in 2006 with the desire to bring something unique to the summer festival market. They wanted an event that promoted not only performers and musicians but local traders and various other creative talents. Six successful years later, the festival returns in July to Merton Farm, near Canterbury. With a winning combination of a real, working farm location, delicious locally-

sourced food and a fun, family-friendly atmosphere, this year’s festival features chart-topping acts, hot new bands, DJs and emerging local talent. Emeli Sandé, The Wombats, The Charlatans and the legendary Chic (featuring Nile Rodgers) top a bill that harbours a typically Lounge-esque blend of genres. Headlining at the Meadows Stage are Roots Manuva, Kitty Daisy & Lewis and Mystery Jets. Elsewhere, the Hoe Down dance stage caters for electronic music nuts; Roni Size, Caspa, David Rodigan, The Heatwave and many more promise to set the farm alight with a raucous mish mash of house, drum ‘n’ bass, electro, reggae and ska. Other than great music, promoting Kent and giving a platform for local businesses, performers and musicians is the ethos at the heart of this festival. Most of the food and drink on site is provided by traders from within a 20-mile radius, and a colourful and eclectic range of cuisine

from Kent is available on site. And as if to prove its excellent green credentials, Lounge on the Farm has won sustainability awards in both the UK Festival Awards the Greener Festival Awards. Canterbury theatre troupe The Playhouse bring along their marquee and host raucous poetry readings, live performances and workshops, whilst the You Say They Play competition scans the entire county to find great new talent; local bands perform at live showcases while the fans vote online – the lucky winners get to open up the Main Stage each day! Of course the farm has something for everyone, and the weekend is a fantastic opportunity to introduce youngsters to the magic of a festival experience. The Little Lounge offers child-friendly games, facilities and children’s entertainers, workshops and even a talk from farmer/ landowner Tim Hulme. The gorgeous rolling fields that surround the site provide the very best elements for the perfect summer outing, and you won’t need to travel far to see the best of what a festival can offer. So where better to kick back on a straw bale, grab a local brew, feel the sunshine and enjoy Kent’s many and diverse talents? Lounge on the Farm takes place on the weekend of 6 /8 July. See for ticket prices, boutique camping options and everything else. If you are a musician and interested in entering your band for You Say They Play go to (applicants must have a Kent post code)

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Lingua Camper


stroll along Margate’s Marine Drive will bring you to a sign welcoming you to Charlie-P-Pride’s Polari Bar. Or to put another way: Trolling round Margate you will vada the bonaroo bungery Charlie-P-Pride’s Polari Bar. That last sentence was in Polari, the slang lingo that was the sound of the gay underground of the post-war era. So why the Polari theme? Is there a unique connection to this seaside hub, perhaps something to do with sailors on shore leave? Paul Rollins, bar manager of Sundowners, who put up the sign, says not: “We are a predominantly gay bar and we used the name to attract the kind of clientele who know about it.” Still, there is every chance you will hear this curious lingo spoken here, as it claims a number of bona fide speakers among its regulars. Johnny ‘Jinx’ Norris is one of them. “There’s a few of us left who still speak it,” he says. “I used to be in a group of queens who spoke it all the time. But many of them passed away in the 1980s. Some of the older drag queens on the circuit still speak Polari and make it part of their act.” So what is exactly is Polari? Dr Paul Baker from Lancaster University, who has written two books on the subject, explains: “It was a secret spoken ‘variety of language’ that was used by the gay community from the 1940s to the 1960s and used mainly for gossip.”

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A bar behind Margate’s seafront reveals a long lost secret language. Paolo Sedazzari investigates

Polari could also be described as a coded language. Says Norris: “It was mainly spoken from one gay man to another, when homosexuality was illegal, so that no-one would understand what they were talking about; much like how the London gangsters used rhyming slang.” Interestingly, many of the words come from a corruption of Italian. Polari itself is from the Italian parlare (to speak). Bona (good) comes from buono, and buvare from the Italian bevere (to drink). But Polari grabbed its lexicon from all over. Says Dr Baker: “The words came

Polari for Beginners How good to see your pretty face = How bona to vada your dolly old eek If you see a policeman run = If you vada a sharpy scarper Don’t drink in that bar it’s horrible = Don’t buva in that bungery it’s cod I only asked the working lad for a cigarette and he went mental = I only asked the dilly boy for a vogue and he went meshinger

ris. “Kenneth Williams comes from any people who were on with ‘How bona to vada stigmatised and on the edges your dolly old eek’. Ordinary of society. So you’ve got people thought it was like The Yiddish, cockney, merchant Goons, just people speaking navy and even American GI funny. They had no idea!” slang. You’d also have a lot Hearing their sketches words used by the drug sub on the airwaves was nothing culture as well as tramps and short of revolutionary, as Dr prostitutes.” Baker comments: “For the Polari’s origins are hard to homosexual community it establish conclusively, but it was a step in the seems likely right direction, that it devel“Ordinary because before oped from the people thought Julian and Sandy, 17th Century Parlyaree – a it was just people their representain the media similar slang speaking funny. tion was as oppressed used by travelcriminal types. ling performers They had no They were at circuses and idea!” either committing fairgrounds. suicide, murderThis cult ing or blackmailing people. language might have been But through this very popular forgotten altogether had it not programme, these two gay been for the 1960s BBC compeople were introduced to edy sketch show Round The Horne. Through the characters a mainstream audience, and they weren’t horrible, they of Julian and Sandy (played by Hugh Paddick and Kenneth were affable and witty.” Although the real use of Williams) the nation got to Polari has effectively died hear Polari spoken in all its out, some words such naff outrageous camp glory. Most (bad) or barney (argument) did not have a clue what they have passed into common were talking about but they usage. If you are willing to were enthralled. have a go yourself, try these “Can you imagine all these choice phrases (left) to get you people sitting in their semistarted. detached houses?” says Nor-

“Bona to vada your dolly old eek”: Julian and Sandy camp it up

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Visit us at:

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Jane WenhamJones


Blonde Ambition


have recently been in a play. My appearance in Terence Rattigan’s Separate Tables, where I – somewhat optimistically – played a 40-year-old ex-model, Anne Shankland, involved some personal on-stage firsts. I had to smoke, sob, and engage in what the script described as “a violent embrace”. By the second night I’d got over my nerves sufficiently to be able to actually light the cigarette, the wailing comes naturally and the love interest and I had a small contest over who could more greatly surprise the other with our displays of passion. I won when I managed to kiss him so long and so hard that he had lipstick across his face, almost causing an undignified collapse into giggles just as we should have been at our most intense. But what I will remember most about the whole experience is what it was like to be a blonde. The clothes were easy enough, but my locks caused some early consternation in the wardrobe department; models in the 1950s simply did not sport blue and pink streaks, over a black fringe, set off against green hair extensions.

“You could wear a wig,” suggested one cast member doubtfully, but this did not seem the best possible plan given the intended snogging and the fact that the male lead had to hurl me onto a sofa in a fit of pique. Gravitas might be lost, I explained, should I arise, shocked and shaken, with my coiffure covering my left eye. Never one to shirk from suffering for my art, I therefore volunteered to hit the peroxide, secretly excited by the thought of a hitherto untried shade and the innate glamour it would bring. Initially, it brought hours of appointments as my long-suffering hairdresser, Amanda at Scizzors in Ramsgate, battled with 15 years of ingrained multi-colour. Before the dress rehearsal I felt moved to email ahead to warn the rest of the company that I might be canary yellow with orange bits now, but it would be all right on the night. And, several dousings of bleach later, it was. I was transformed. There is no doubt that being a blonde feels different. One immediately becomes high-maintenance, since one cannot wander around with a platinum chignon without also touting the scarlet lips and nails. A lack of make-up makes you look washed-out so suddenly it’s smouldering eyes and don’t spare the kohl. Shortly afterwards, some friends inthe-know introduced me to ‘the Doreen’, the world’s best-selling bra (who’d have thought it?) that gives one a pointy chest reminiscent of the classiest Hollywood starlets, and I suddenly found I’d eschewed my pyjama bottoms in favour of pencil skirts and heels. Was it the latter or the fair tresses

Photo: Sean Preston

that had such a remarkable effect on my male friends? Those who would usually give me a matey clap on the back were suddenly looking me up and down and whistling. And also, I was amused to note, addressing me as if I were very slightly dim. “Oh yes,” said a highly intelligent brunette friend darkly, “I went blonde once and I couldn’t believe how I was treated!” Neither could I. The ticket collector on the train called me “madam” and smiled. I was offered help with my trolley in the supermarket. My son said I looked bonkers but a young man not much older than he is, flirted with me openly at the garage. Reader, I liked it! Tragically, a fortnight later, I was to present the Romantic Novel of the Year awards and it was time to go back to pink to match the table settings. “You look like you again now,” said my offspring. And nobody gave me a second glance on the train.

“Several dousings of bleach later, I was transformed”

Jane’s new novel Prime Time, which is set in Thanet, is available on Kindle and out in paperback in July. The Weekender 17

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#3 Somerset Maugham


ime has diminished the once lofty reputation of Somerset Maugham, but in his day he was without doubt the most prolific and highly paid writer of his generation. Imagine if you will a combination of Stephen Fry, Ian Fleming, William Burroughs and Salman Rushdie, for just a hint of how this literary colossus might have appeared to a 20th century reader. During a life which began in the stuffy late Victorian era and ended in the somewhat more permissive 1960s, the author of Of Human Bondage, The Lotus Eater and The Razor’s Edge experienced perhaps more of the world and its many possibilities than any of his contemporaries. He was at various times a medical student, spy, Hollywood screenwriter, traveller, socialite, sexual libertine and grand old man of letters. Indeed, such was his lust for life that when already in his eighties, he underwent a bizarre rejuvenation cure at a Swiss clinic whereby he was injected with the cells taken from a freshly killed sheep. “I feel strange,” he remarked after the experience. “Not ill or especially well, simply…strange.” William Somerset Maugham was born in Paris, the son of an embassy official, and lived later in a number of exotic, far-flung places including Russia, India, South East Asia and the French Riviera where his home Villa Mauresque became the literary and social salon de rigueur in the 1930s. However it was Whitstable was where he spent his formative years in the care of a cold, aloof uncle, who as the town’s vicar lived in the Gothic-style vicarage on the Canterbury Road. An unusually shy and short child with a French accent and stammer to boot, his boyhood was a miserable one and the town made a later appearance as ‘Blackstable’ in his seminal 1915 novel Of Human Bondage. Here, his biographer Selina Hastings recalls Maugham’s earliest experiences of his adopted town: Maugham left the house only to escort his aunt on her occasional trips into town. There was little for him to do on these expeditions except trail after her while she did her shopping, or wait fidgeting while she conducted her business at the bank, but there was often something interesting to look at. In the 1880s, Whitstable was a town of just under 5,000 souls and still 18 The Weekender

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primarily a fishing community famous for its oyster beds. The harbour was always full of activity, with the coming and going of fishing boats and oyster dredgers, of shabby little colliers bringing coal from Newcastle, and luggers carrying cargoes of hay and wheat up the Thames to Tower Bridge. On the beach there was usually a gathering of oyster porters and their carts, of grimy colliers unloading coal, and of bluejerseyed fishermen with ruddy faces and gold rings in their ears. Leading up from the harbour was a web of narrow streets of wooden fishermen’s houses, outside which on fine days the men sat smoking and mending their nets. Sometimes Maugham was allowed inside one of these low-roofed dwellings, tangled with sails and fishing tackle, and invited to admire some treasure brought back from the other side of the world, a lacquer box from Japan, a decorated dagger from the bazaars of Istanbul, whose owner would readily tell him the story of the distant voyages of his youth. The lengthy high street was lined with shops displaying the centuries-old Kentish names, Gann, Kemp, Cobb, Driffield; there was also a bank, two or three small yellow-brick houses belonging to the coal-ship owners, a tiny museum and a circulating library, and three taverns, the Bear and Key, the Duke of Cumberland and the Railway Arms. Apart from the rank of horse-drawn cabs drawn up outside thestation there was little wheeled traffic, and if Aunt

Sophie stopped in the street to gossip with an acquaintance she rarely had to step aside for anything other than the doctor’s dogcart or the baker’s trap. In winter, Whitstable could be bitterly cold and the icy east wind drove people indoors. But in summer when the weather was fine the little town took on a holiday aspect, with visitors from London strolling down to the beach where they could hire a bathing machine, take a turn on the swingboats and buy a shrimp tea for sixpence. The wind came straight off the North Sea and sometimes it rained for days on end, but even then Maugham found something that moved him in the harshness of that barren coastline. ‘In winter it was as if a spirit of loneliness, like a mystic shroud, had descended on the shore . . . when the sea-mist and the mist of heaven are one, when the sea is silent and heavy, and the solitary gull flies screeching over the grey waters.’ The boy gazing out over the cold waters of the North Sea could imagine what might lie in the grey distance, even if for the present he was firmly anchored to England, with no possibility of venturing beyond. The Secret Lives of Somerset Maugham by Selina Hastings is published by John Murray,

Illustration by Ben Dickson. A selection of his ‘Local Hero’ prints including Peter Cushing and Hattie Jacques are for sale at

07/04/2012 08:33

Join us for a journey through the history of Britain’s best loved toys! Featuring rare products from the Hornby, Scalextric, Airfix and Corgi archives. Track the history of Hornby’s iconic model trains from Frank Hornby’s early home-made toys in sheet metal, through the development of Hornby ‘O’ gauge and Hornby-Dublo. Don’t miss the spectacular model railway layouts. The Hornby Retail Shop offers an extensive range of Hornby, Scalextric, Airfix, Humbrol and Corgi products.

Open 7 Days week • 10am - 5pm

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Glamour in the Air Is fame all it’s cracked up to be? If anyone knows the answer, it’s leading portrait photographer now Whitstable resident John Stoddart


n over 25 years working in the world of celebrity and glamour, John Stoddart has been commissioned by practically every high profile magazine in the world including Vanity Fair, Vogue, GQ and The New York Times. Among the many rich and famous personalities that he has framed behind the lens are Lauren Bacall, Mick Jagger, Pierce Brosnan, Carla Bruni and Dame Helen Mirren. Meanwhile his books It’s Nothing Personal and Peep World explore

the darker side of sex and fame, and his most recent exhibition The Black Dahlia Avenger: Homage to a Murder is inspired by a killing that shook Hollywood in1947. The Weekender headed for the louche but friendly atmosphere of the Society Club in Soho, London; an appropriate setting, it would seem, for catching up with the photographer who had Ulrika Jonsson in handcuffs and told Arnold Schwarzenegger to get changed into a decent suit.

How did you get started? I picked up a photography book while I was serving in the army (he joined aged 15 and left at 21). I was already a keen amateur and was really into my music; my home town Liverpool had a good scene going on in the late 1970s and early 1980s with bands like Echo and the Bunnymen, The Teardrop Explodes and the legendary Eric’s club. When I left the army, I opened a studio in Liverpool but it was a complete

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Pics left to right: Actress Victoria Smurfit jets in; John Stoddart at The Society Club (portrait by George Ramsay)

didn’t want to be a fashion photographer. I’ve always put a high production value on my shoots and I began to move out of the studio. I developed good rela-

“I was on a private helicopter in Nice and the only other passenger was Ayrton Senna. How cool is that?” tionships with upmarket hotels in London; instead of going to the studio with a musician or actor we’d go to the Dorchester.

disaster because of the recession. Margaret Thatcher was in power, and the town was in dire straits financially. I also got married, and at the same time I realised that I should move to London. I was already working for the NME and Smash Hits so it made sense to go.

Who influenced you?

I liked American photographers including William Klein, Weegee (aka Arthur Fellig) and Richard Avedon. That’s what I thought photography was and I certainly

What was moving to London like? My first office was in Mayfair then I moved to Chelsea where all the rock and rollers lived and I stayed there for 20 years. I knew everyone. Eric Clapton lived in the next street and I am still a member of the Chelsea Arts Club where Paul McCartney goes. Back then I was taking photos of people such as the actor Sir John Mills. John Barry (the late film composer) came to my studio and I said: “Are you John Barry?” “No, Henry f****** Mancini,” he replied.

Actually he was very cool and very well mannered.

The 1990’s was a glamorous decade for some. What were your highlights? In those days, I would go to Paris for Arena magazine to shoot Arnold Schwarzenegger then go to dinner with him afterwards; just me and my assistant hanging out with him. Can you imagine that now? The travel was fantastic and both the magazine and advertising industries were stinking rich. Once I was sent to photograph Lauren Bacall and Anthony Quinn in Monte Carlo. I was on a private helicopter in Nice and the only other passenger was Ayrton Senna. Now how cool is that?

You seem to have had plenty of creative freedom in your shoots. How do you manage this? The higher up the celebrity food chain you get, the more interested the star is in the creative process. I got Arnie to take his old tracksuit off and change into a suit and he was okay with that. People like  The Weekender 21

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Above: Sienna Miller in classic rock chic pose. Right: Arnie smartens up for an assignment with Stoddart

Mick Jagger and Martin Scorcese always make an effort to make sure it’s a good shoot. The other thing is that all my photos are a collaboration. I don’t manipulate anyone. When I shot Scorcese, he knew instinctively what I was doing and turned to the camera like Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver as if to say: “Are you looking at me?”

Sienna Miller absolutely loved the portraits I did of her but she has tried to stop me on several occasions from publishing them. Females can be very manipulative in their physicality. I’m not knocking them, but when they complain later it’s a bit, “Oh, c’mon!”

You helped launch the careers of several A-list Has anyone tried to stop celebrities. Tell us your more risqué photos about your shoots from being used? with starlets Liz Hurley and Catherine Yes, and it’s usually when a young actress Zeta-Jones. tries to become more serious. At the time

Catherine was desperate to change her image and it was just after The Darling Buds of May, which had made her a tabloid sensation. She wanted to be exactly where she is now and you could tell it straight away. Maybe it’s because she was from Swansea and she wanted to get out of there, who knows? Liz also wanted to move on in her career and it was clear that she was ambitious. I did a few sessions with her and then Loaded magazine bought this one famous image from me (published in their launch issue of 1994). At the time, no one outside of fashion was taking photos of young actresses in a sexy and glamorous way. When I took them, they didn’t get paid a penny but they were aware of the need to promote themselves as artists.

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Some of your images How has the nature of could be viewed as sex- celebrity changed since ist, degrading and boryou started out? derline pornographic. with several other photographers, How do you answer that Along I have literally documented the changing cult of celebrity. I realised that things accusation? Very few people have accused me of sexism, and in fact my biggest fan base is women. The blokes, on the other hand, just don’t get it. They just want the girls with big breasts, whereas women normally get the layers and subtleties of the work.

were getting bad when I photographed Rebecca Loos (famous for her alleged affair with David Beckham). I picked up my normal £500 fee whereas she got paid £14,000 for just a few hours’ work! Two of my photos which I think show the darker side of the fame game are the ones of her and James Hewitt. If you look closely at the photographs, you can see the price in their eyes. They look

frightened, and all the trappings of fame are there.

What made you decide to move to Whitstable? Moving to Kent was both emotionally and spiritually significant to me. I couldn’t stand living in London anymore; I always wanted it to be New York but it never will be. Whitstable is a cool place to live and home is a modern bungalow just five minutes from the harbour and five minutes to the railway station, which is good because I don’t drive. I’m not good with boats either but I joined the local yacht club The Weekender 23

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Left: Catherine Zeta-Jones succeeds in losing her former ‘girl next door’ image. Above: Moody chef Marco Pierre White gets to grip with an octopus

thinking it was going to be quite glamorous. The reality is that there are just really keen yachters there. Basically, I’ve joined a pub!

Do you bump into any celebrities in Kent? Oh yeah! Vic Reeves is always around and Janet Street-Porter has a lovely house in Seasalter. Daniel Craig was sitting a quiet table in the Whitstable Oyster Company with his wife Rachel Weisz, and one of the women there walked into the loo and said to the woman next to her: “You won’t believe who’s sitting in there, it’s Daniel Craig!” And this girl next to her replies: “Yeah, and I’m married to him!”

How would you like to be remembered? As the best portrait photographer of my generation.

What are you working on right now?

John Stoddart’s glam Whitstable weekend

As well as preparing for the Black Dahlia Avenger exhibition, I have been working on a book of my Polaroids and an exhibition called Girls, Girls, Girls about a strip club I used to work for. I’m also doing a black and white documentary project set in Whitstable, which will be a bit like David Lynch at the English seaside.

Friday: Go to the Whitstable Oyster Company and order a bottle of cold white wine with a dozen oysters. Then back home for a movie, ideally Airport 77 or some other 1970s disaster movie.

What keeps inspiring you?

The sheer love of photography itself.

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I’ve got a 25-year-old body of work behind me now and in my office in Whitstable I’ve got half a million negatives to go through. [He points to his image of actor Gregory Peck hanging on the wall]. I mean, I’m one of the last photographers to take his picture and he goes right back to the Hollywood of the 1930s!

Saturday: Chill out and have dinner BOX OUT: at home or go and see a band. Whitstable a really lively scene. Johnhas Stoddart’s glammusic Whitstable

weekend Sunday: Lunch at JoJo’s in Tankerton just eating Go andtodrinking with myOyster Friday: the Whitstable girlfriendand Alex. Company order a bottle of cold white

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Hunting T

This pic: A youthful Percy Powell-Cotton at Quex Park. Opposite: Out of Africa – one of the stunning diorama displays at the museum

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g Tigers in Birchington A

s you drive through the long flat country roads of Thanet, out past RAF Manston airfield and towards Birchington-on-Sea and Margate, you are sure to spot a brown heritage road sign directing you to Quex Park. Here, in a fine Regency Mansion surrounded by 250 acres of land, there once lived an extraordinary and sometimes eccentric Kentish family, the PowellCottons. This wealthy dynasty, who also owned land and property in London, seemed to have had an inbuilt capacity for collecting treasures of every possible description including priceless Chinese ceramics, elaborate Queen Anne clocks and rare geographical volumes dating back to the 17th century. ď ľ

Percy Powell-Cotton appears to have been the archetypal big game hunter, yet his collection is helping the endangered species of today

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TALE London did a roaring trade in wall-mounted trophies and studied tableaus depicting life in the jungle. Besides, far from wanting to turn his ancestral home into a public museum to boost the family coffers, Major Percy’s actual motive for these displays was to educate and inform visitors especially those who, in those far off days before film, television and other forms of mass media, craved a better understanding of the natural world. He was not simply a hunter and collector of trophies but an enthusiastic naturalist who devoted 50 years of his life to the study of zoological and ethnological material. He claimed to have identified many new species and some still bear his name today, notably the Northern White Rhinoceros (ceratotherium simum cottoni). Right from the start, his collections at Quex Park were available for students and continue to be accessed today by researchers from all over the world. The specimens stored here are, in effect, a vast genetic record and teams of researchers regularly visit the museum to take important DNA samples from the skulls and hides in the collection. Recently Quex Park has helped provide vital genetic information for a new breeding programme designed to boost herds of Giant Sable in South Africa. “Data collected by Powell-Cotton is helping to protect and preserve animals in the wild today,” says Keith Dunmall the museum’s Audience Development Manager. Unlike many other collectors of his day, Major Percy’s ambition was to build up a systematic collection of the larger African mammals. For each species he aimed to obtain individual specimens of each sex and of varying ages. It is for this reason that his collection is now of particular value to researchers, who are able to handle highly representative samples at one single institution. Wherever possible, Major Percy preserved the entire skeleton, skull and skin of each animal, all of which are preserved in their original wooden crates in a temperature-controlled cellar below the public displays. Each animal was weighed and measured on the spot and the details meticulously recorded by hand. The location was always recorded with longitude and latitude, a detail that is proving invaluable today to modern researchers.

regularly risked starvation and natural disaster, not to mention attacks from the very prey he sought to transport back to his fashionable London taxidermist’s. In 1906, he was almost killed by a male lion which he was stalking in the Congo. Luckily for him, he was saved from a severe mauling by his copy of Punch magazine and a plucky servant who struck the lion with a whip before another member of the team shot it dead at close range. As Major Percy later recalled: From what I was told afterwards the lion was following me so closely that I actually kicked him in the face with my heels. At any rate, the next thing I remember is being brought to the ground very violently and feeling the lion’s paws about my body. The animal soon discovered flesh. I shouted at my men to fire while the lion was tearing at my side. The whole thing lasted only a few seconds. I have had some unpleasant experiences in my life but I have never had anything so unpleasant as being mauled by a lion. At the time I only had one pressing desire and that was that it would be over soon. The lion was on top of me, it was claw-

“I have never had anything so unpleasant as being mauled by a lion”

None of the family, however, surpassed the enthusiasm for bringing the rare and exotic to the wilds of East Kent than the infamous Major Percy PowellCotton, who between 1887 and 1939 travelled to the remotest corners of Africa and Asia, the legacy of which remain the 500 or so stuffed formerly wild beasts which are the centrepiece of the current Powell-Cotton Museum.

Trigger Happy Travels

On entering the museum, the effect of seeing all these lifeless but perfectly-preserved monkeys, gazelles, zebras, gorillas, giraffes and water buffalo staring back at you is both impressive and shocking. Carefully positioned by Major Percy in their stunning Edwardian glass-fronted diorama displays, it becomes immediately clear that this was a trigger happy adventurer and not one to worry too much about the ethics and practicalities of his chosen hobby. But those of a more sensitive disposition should think twice before heading to the exit and the more politically correct world outside. We must remind ourselves that Major Percy lived in an entirely different age to ours – a time when big game hunting and the British Empire was at its peak. In India for instance, the British Raj almost decimated the 40,000 Bengal tiger population in just a few years and taxidermists such as Rowland Ward in Piccadilly,

A Lucky Escape

Of course being a globe-trotting, guntoting naturalist at the beginning of the 20th century was not without its dangers, and the often unaccompanied Major Percy

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Pics left to right (clockwise): PowellCotton’s hunting jacket tells the story of a savage lion attack; samples are stored in the basement for academic research; Taxidermist Rowland Ward was kept busy by the big game hunters; a stuffed elephant arrives in Thanet on its own trailer

ing my side but then I shifted his right paw from the region of my hip. In my pocket I had a copy of Punch, which was doubled up, and I also had on a very thick pair of trousers. I believe that if it had not been for the copy of Punch the lion would have shifted some of my inside to the outside. On this occasion, Major Percy got away with 17 wounds ‘most of them just scratches and marks’ and he was soon back on his feet hunting lions. Visitors to the museum can today view his badly torn field jacket in a glass case near the entrance. The lion’s skin meanwhile was brought home and used by world-renowned taxidermist Rowland Ward to re-create a scene in which a lion attacks a Cape Buffalo. This spectacular but somewhat morbid montage, can be found in Gallery Three of the museum.

An Extraordinary Sight to Behold

Major Percy’s three-dimensional diorama displays, which were originally exhibited in his garden pavilion, are worth a visit to the museum in themselves. His first scene, which depicts the high altitude Baltoro Glacier in Kashmir, was filled by specimens collected from a trip in the 1890s and it is thought to be the oldest surviving mammal diorama anywhere in the world. Along with the rare examples here in

East Kent, dioramas can be only be seen in the American Museum of Natural History in New York, which were built much later in the 1930s. Over the years, many similar displays have been dismantled, including even those at the Natural History Museum, London. The concept behind the dioramas was to present an accurate three-dimensional representation of the animals in their indigenous habitat. The main components are mounted animal specimens, foreground features, such as rocks and foliage, and a hand-painted background. A wounded Belgian soldier painted one of these while recuperating in the area in 1915, and while it is unlikely he ever experienced a safari himself, his handiwork shows a perfectly acceptable likeness to the African savannah. Various tricks were used to give viewers the illusion of distance; techniques which were also used in 19th century theatrical scene painting. To people of all ages, they look impressive enough today, but at a time when only black and white still photographs were available to show people such scenes, the results must have been awesome. So while the adventurer and protonaturalist Percy Powell-Cotton can most certainly be accused of playing his part in the sporting slaughter of thousands of wild animals throughout the world, his lifetime’s work was far from pointless and self-serving. Indeed, with his vast

collection now of serious interest to scientists involved with protecting our ever endangered wildlife, he has – whisper it – become an unlikely hero of the modern conservation movement.

Girls Allowed: An Angolan Adventure

Powell-Cotton’s love of anthropology was taken up his intrepid daughters Diana and Antoinette, who equipped with just one rifle, some camping gear and an old Ford truck, made two journeys to Angola in the 1930s. They were the only English women to have ventured into the territory and lived amongst local people in order to study and record their way of life. “Do not think that this has been a dangerous trip,” said Diana, aged just 28, to reporters on arriving home in 1936. “I am much more scared of crossing Piccadilly Circus…the traffic is awful.” Thanks to these pioneering women, the museum holds over 3,000 objects, 3,000 photographs and three hours of archive film of 1930s Angola. Tala! Visions of Angola, is a new exhibition that celebrates the work of Diana and Antoinette Powell-Cotton with the help of UK’s Angolan community. For more information visit

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Good ingredients are all around us but how and where do you find them? George Ramsay visited the White Cliffs and went foraging

Where the Wild Things Are


ebruary isn’t the best of months to go looking for food on a cliff; the coastal winds bring tears to eyes and fruitless hedgerows line the fields. But this barren-ness is just an illusion. This is Kent, after all, and even the winter months here provide great produce. You just need to know what you are after.

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FOOD & DRINK Pics from left: Gavin Oakley scans the landscape for edibles; wild fennel works a treat with some mussels; sea beet from St Margaret’s Bay is a forager’s alternative to greens

“Let’s get going,” smiled Gavin after welcoming me with fresh coffee and toast, and we were off, clambering through the sticky mud and ferocious ‘breeze’. All around me, I noticed little shards of red and white, their edges jutting slightly from the ground. “Some Roman pottery, and this, part of a medieval smoking pipe,” said my guide. We had made our first catch, albeit of the non-edible sort, but it was a great reminder of the rich history to be found in this area. Having crossed the first field, we followed a hedgerow cutting across a verge. The stripped branches didn’t inspire much confidence but after only a few seconds Gavin had his head in the hedge, his eyes trained on something. “Look! Can you see this?” his fingers pointed at a patch of green shrubbery. “This is something the Romans brought to England – Alexanders.” It turns out that this plant shares the same family as carrots and horse parsley and is a hugely versatile foraged food with one potential problem – it looks remarkably similar to hemlock, a deadly and not so lovely plant. “If you’re not sure, don’t pick it”, added Gavin quickly. This particular plant was too young, so we let it be for now and cracked on up the hill. “This is Winnie, and that one further over there is Pooh,” said Gavin, his arm pointing to my left. The visible remains of two enormous world war two gun emplacements sat upon the grassy verge looking out towards the Channel. The sun was now beginning to cut through the cloud, and according to Gavin, the verges immediately surrounding the guns, are a great place to find wild horseradish. As an ardent fan of this Sunday roast staple, I was disappointed to discover,

after a good ten minutes of spying, scraping and shoveling, that there was only one young root of the powerful plant. And with foraging etiquette in mind, we replanted the lucky root and moved on towards the sea. Following a much wider path, we came across some wild fennel growing in a hedge. A great find. “You can have this with some mussels for lunch,” suggested Gavin cutting the flower away, much to my delight. But there was more to find, and as soon as we had bagged part of our lunch, we had our grubby hands on some more Alexanders, which were so vividly green they were impossible to miss. “Mackerel and Alexanders for dinner,” announced Gavin. My day was beginning to pan out rather well. As we neared the coastline, we passed the South Foreland Lighthouse; the first electrically powered lighthouse of its kind. Passing down a narrow trail to the side of it we also managed to find some wild cabbage or sea beet, which is a perfectly acceptable alternative to greens. After stomping down a road we came to St Margaret’s Bay and East Kent’s own ‘millionaire’s row’. Kneeling behind the sea wall and beneath the entrance to a Napoleonic-era tunnel system, Gavin helped himself to some more luscious-looking sea beet, carefully cutting the leaves from the plant. “Pressed pork belly, black pudding, cider potatoes and sea beet for dinner, I think,” he nodded. I nodded back and we headed off with haste for lunch at Gavin’s second restaurant, The White Cliffs Hotel. After our exertions on the cliff, lunch tasted pretty good. The wild fennel added a certain depth that just cannot be matched by a supermarket. We hadn’t picked much, yet it certainly packed a punch, complementing the mussels in white wine sauce brilliantly. So why go out foraging when you can get perfectly good ingredients in the high street? Firstly, there’s a lot to be said about finding rather than buying food to eat. You’re outside surrounded by spectacular countryside and a number of edible treats, yet most of us walk by noticing nothing more than our hay fever and ‘plants’. And you’d be amazed what can be found; fruits for crumble and vegetables 

“It certainly packed a punch, complementing the mussels brilliantly”

Fortunately, I have been booked in for a day’s foraging with a man who has foraged these parts for years, possibly even decades. Gavin Oakley is the owner of Wallett’s Court, a modern spa hotel housed in a 300-year-old building perched upon the famous White Cliffs. It really is the most relaxed of settings with cherry trees, plum trees and elderflowers adorning the grounds.

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Pic left: The 300-year-old Wallett’s Court hotel offers a superb base for exploring the White Cliffs country. Bottom right: The cooked sea beet makes a tasty and nutritional side dish

Dos and Don’ts Do Take a decent guidebook, or better, an expert forager Avoid pesticides and pollutants Ask the landowner’s permission before straying off the beaten tracks Don’t Take anything unless you’re certain of its identity – especially mushrooms Be greedy. Take only what you need Forage from environmentally-protected land or SSSIs for a roast, to name just a few foraging staples. Later that evening, pan-fried mackerel and deep-fried Alexanders were to be my starter. The latter are a subtle combination of celery and parsley, and really quite tasty. And for the main course, I ate a lovely pressed and smoked pork belly and the sea beet side dish more than passed for ordinary greens. Admittedly, foraging for food won’t provide you with everything – especially during the winter months – but with an enlightened eye twinned to the welcome arrival of spring, high quality and highly-edible produce is yours on a plate. Wallett’s Court Hotel offers ‘Forager Wild and Free Food Breaks’ from £85 per person. Price includes a morning of guided foraging, a light lunch, afternoon tea and a three course forager’s dinner. For more details visit:

An A-Z of Wild Food Try finding these forager’s staples next time you are out walking: Alexanders: From the same family as the carrot and parsley, it is often found in coastal areas. Bilberry: Found on a small shrub that prefers the poor soil of heaths and hilly ground. Great fruit for pies, tarts and jams Burdock: Plant with kidney-shaped leaves found in hedgerows or between fields. The root is best Dandelion: Found in practically every garden, the flower can be used to make marmalade Fat Hen: Sturdy-looking plant that is a good alternative to spinach Fennel: There are several types but it most commonly grows in gardens and areas by the sea. Great with mussels Sea Beet: Cabbage-like plant that grows in coastal areas. Its young leaves make vegetable greens 32 The Weekender

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Carvery only £6.95 per person


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The Perfect Weekend…Brunch


tanding out against the clear glass front like a gleaming chrome car bumper, the doorway of Peens Gastro Bar is made for a classic entrance. Scanning the menu, I was tempted by the croque monsieur, the rarely seen eggs en cocotte (a French play on our boiled egg and soldiers), or the blueberry pancakes for a mid-morning sugar fix and a taste down memory lane, but decide to stop dithering and try the recommended eggs Benedict. This dish is often presented as if it were dropped from a scrap-yard’s claw, but here the ingredients are sought out rather than found out. The yolks of my poached eggs were teasingly soft, the accompanying Hollandaise made a worthy case for the abolition of ready-made sauces and the ham was a gourmet revelation that had me questioning life, the universe and everything – or at least how it could all amount to under £7. Brunch has been a favourite with American diners since it was served up as a late-morning fillip to New York’s finest newspaper hacks in an era when the tallest tower in the skyline was still in Paris. But its true origins lie in England where

the meal’s relaxed midday eating time proved a hit with Victorian hunting parties recovering from the excesses of the night before. Throwing myself into the weekend spirit, I order a Bloody Mary with a slug of sherry. It’s mixed by Ray Marino, who trained in some of New York’s finest cocktail bars and has come via London to Broadstairs, making for my money and yours the best Bloody Mary in Kent. “It’s a cocktail which is hard to get wrong,” he tells me, “and if you’re nurs-

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ing a heavy night’s work it’s the perfect cure.” Owner Matt Peen has stuck with his principles and passion for providing quality local produce since opening in 2005. Curing their own ham and bacon on the premises, they even make their own mayonnaise and ketchup, which makes it well worth going the extra mile for. Tim Synge Peens Gastro Bar, 8 Victoria Parade, Broadstairs, 01843 861289

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pepper 1/3 teaspoon of freshly grated horseradish

Peen’s Bloody Mary 35ml vodka 12.5ml dry sherry 150ml tomato juice 12.5ml fresh lemon juice 6 dashes of Tabasco 8 dashes of Worcestershire sauce Good pinch of celery salt Pinch of fine black

Method: Add the ingredients into an ice-filled shaker, gently shake and strain into an ice-filled Collins glass. Garnish with sea salt and cracked black pepper rim, celery stalk and lime zest. Enjoy!

Delicious mmm ...

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Imagine the very best Channel Island milk and full fat cream, sourced from our neighbouring cows. Every succulent drop, farm assured. Take real coffee, British sugar and some real artisan skill and blend the mixture slowly and with great care. When the texture, colour and flavour is deep and consistent, place in one of our heavenly tubs and freeze, here on the farm. Solley’s Real Dairy Ice Cream - Coffee

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The Solley’s flavourReal is deep and smooth, Dairy Ice Cream - Coffeethe texture rich and creamy. This is the highest quality real dairy ice cream, truly award-winning and very, very moreish.

Imagine the very Channel Islandsourced milk and full fatSolley’s cream, sourced Imagine the very best Channel Island milk best and full fat cream, Farms Real Kentish Dairy Ice Cream from our neighbouring cows. succulent drop, farm assured. from Every our neighbouring cows. Every succulent drop, farm assured. Take real coffee, British sugar artisan skilland andsome blend Takeand real some coffee,real British sugar real artisan skill and blend the mixture slowly and with great care. When the texture, colour and the mixture slowly and with great care. When the texture, colour and flavour is deep and consistent, place in one of our heavenly tubs and flavour is deep and consistent, place in one of our heavenly tubs and freeze, here on the farm. Solley’s Real Dairy Ice Cream - Coffee freeze, here on the farm.

The flavour is deep and smooth, the texture rich and creamy. This is Delicious [dih-lish-uhs] The flavour is deep smooth, theand texture the highest quality real dairy ice cream, trulyand award-winning very,rich and creamy. This is

very moreish. the highest quality real dairy ice cream, truly award-winning and very, Imagine the very bestvery Channel moreish.Island milk and full fat cream, sourced Solley’s Farms Real Kentish Dairy Icesucculent Cream from our neighbouring cows. Every drop, farm assured. Take real coffee, British sugarFarms and some real artisan skill blend Solley’s Real Kentish Dairy Iceand Cream the mixture slowly and with great care. When the texture, colour and flavour is deep and consistent, place in one of our heavenly tubs and P34-35 iss 33.indd 2 freeze, here on the farm.

... yummy

... yummy 10/04/2012 20:54



Let’s Make: Sticky Sponge Pudding Serves 4 For the base: Large handful of gooseberries, topped and tailed 4 tablespoons golden syrup For the sponge: 110g unsalted butter, chopped into cubes and at room temperature 110g caster sugar Zest of 1 lime 2 eggs 110g self-raising flour 1 teaspoon baking powder Pinch of ground ginger 50ml full-fat milk (approx) ♦ Grease a pudding basin, about 1.2-1.9 litres in volume, with a little butter. Add the gooseberries and pour over the syrup to cover the base. ♦ In a mixing bowl, beat together the 110g of butter and sugar until light, fluffy and almost white. This will take about 10 minutes with a spatula or fork, or 5 minutes with an

electric mixer. Mix in the lime zest. Using a whisk, beat in the eggs one at a time. ♦ Sift in the flour, baking powder and ground ginger, then fold them into the mixture using a spatula. Stir in the milk bit by bit, adding just enough to loosen the mixture’s consistency until it drops happily from a spoon. ♦ Pour the mixture over the syrupy gooseberries and level with the back of the spoon. ♦ Make a cover for the pudding to exclude steam and water. Cut a square of greaseproof paper that will generously cover the top of the pudding basin. Then cut an equalsized square of kitchen foil and place this on top. Fold a central pleat, around 3cm in width, to allow for expansion if the pudding rises above the basin. Lay this over the top of the basin with the foil facing upwards. Push down the edges, then fasten the string below the rim of the pudding basin, using a knot to

secure. Trim the edges of the cover to neaten. ♦ Steam for 2-2½ hours, covered, in a large pan of simmering water. The water should reach no more than halfway up the basin. Top up the water during the cooking process if necessary. ♦ To serve, run a knife around the edge of the pudding, cover the bowl with a plate and flip. Pour over more golden syrup if you fancy. Recipe from the The Urban Kitchen Gardener: Growing and Cooking in the City by Tom Moggach (Kyle Books, £16.99) Photo by Laura Hynd The Weekender 35

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07/04/2012 09:01


Wish You Were Here?

A room with a view: investors are seeing the potential of Margate holiday lets


uy to let is not the quick and easy route to untold riches than it once was. Far from it. But in an era when the global financial markets struggle, house prices remain low, and most young professionals struggle to get loans and opt for renting instead, there appears to be life in the old dog yet. Only a few years ago, Margate and its surrounding area would have been unlikely choice of location for a savvy property investor, ticking hardly any of the boxes normally suggested by the experts. It didn’t have a shiny new university, rail terminal or shopping centre. The schools weren’t especially great. Jobs were hard to come by, and let’s face it, it still had the careworn look of the proverbial ‘town that is helping the police with their enquiries’. But fast forward to April 2012 and things are looking rather rosier. For starters, the long-awaited Tate Turner Contemporary art gallery has been open for a year now, filling the harbour and nearby Old Town with a total of 400,000 visitors, all of whom are seeking of bit of harmless seaside fun in Tracy Emin’s old stomping ground. Then there are new high speed rail links making it an amazingly short 80-minute journey from St Pancras International, London and just 20 minutes to Ashford and the Eurotunnel. Over the next few years, the so-called ‘Turner effect’ is expected to bring over £3 million of business

One year ago, the opening of the new Turner Contemporary offered a much needed boost to Margate’s property market. So is it the right time and place to invest?

to this once neglected seaside town. Compared to other towns in the south east, such as Brighton or Hastings, property prices remain relatively low (you can still buy a two-bed flat here for under £50,000) and both flats and town houses are in plentiful supply, some of which can be found in the most wonderfully preserved Georgian squares and alleyways. Visit the town today and you’ll notice that it has a definite spring in its step and the much-revived Old Town quarter boasts attractive independent shops, bars, eateries and galleries to match the sandy Blue Flag beaches, mild south

eastern climate and epic Turner-esque sunsets. No wonder Margate is being talked about as the ‘new St Ives’ or the ‘new Bilbao’ – both towns having blossomed quickly following the building of a major international arts centre. But are the nation’s property investors ready to take such bold claims seriously? Yes, according to Esme Humpston of Seaview Holiday Apartments (www.seaviewholidayapartments., who in 2007 bought two separate flats, both of which were part of former hotels in Grade II-listed buildings. Having refurbished the seaside properties which overlooked the harbour, she now lets them year round to holiday makers who are taking advantage of the town’s improved travel connections and growing reputation as a must-see destination. “I immediately fell in love with the Georgian architecture,” she says. “You can find amazing flats here with massive windows looking out to sea for relatively very little money. Coming from London, where I used to live, I got very excited when I came to look at what was on offer. In my opinion, the whole of Kent is undervalued.” Her optimism is echoed by Phil Goodlace of developers Pinnacle, who have a property portfolio worth £13 million which includes 40 houses in the Margate area. He says: “I started looking at Margate two years ago and there’s more confidence and more activity than there The Weekender 37

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SPACE was. There are a lot of properties that are ripe for development and areas such as Cliftonville remain cheap and produce good yields for landlords. I think the place is going to go through the roof.” As with any major investment, there are the usual worries about growth, and many investors are clinging on to the belief that the town’s stock will continue to rise. But the signs are encouraging, and with planned regeneration of the old Dreamland amusement park as a heritage site alongside the conversion into flats of the old Royal Sea Bathing Hospital, it has become easier to ignore both the underlying social problems and the eyesores associated with the town’s less illustrious past. Here, three local estate agents give their advice on taking the plunge into Margate’s property renaissance:

Damien Cooke, Cooke & Co Why should anyone invest in Margate now? Because of the regeneration going on. Prices are very competitive and the area has a large number of flats which lend themselves well to good rentals. How has the town changed since the Turner Contemporary opened? We’ve seen a lot of sustained interest from London art lovers as well as larger companies and it has acted as the catalyst for change that we wanted.

What kind of properties are available? Flats start at £45,000 and we have family houses from £65,000 to £1m. What are the best upand-coming areas? In Edgar Road, Cliftonville, developers have changed guest houses into houses rather than flats. This has encouraged families into the area. The Old Town has also improved with lots of new shops. What should buyers avoid? Do not buy next to empty or badly maintained properties. How easy is it to find good tenants? Very easy. Most of our properties fill quickly to fully referenced tenants.

Cooke & Co, 147 Northdown Road, Cliftonville, 01843 231833

Josh Gregg, The Property Tree Why should anyone invest in Margate now? Margate is improving every day. It is better to get involved now while prices are still cheap and you can get yourself a bargain. How has the town changed since the Turner Contemporary opened? We have seen an increase in visitor numbers and investment to the local area.

38 The Weekender

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Pics from far left (clockwise): independent businesses bring life to the Old Town; the refurbished Paragon Court boasts spectacular sea views; contemporary penthouse living in Cliftonville; luxury flats in the historic Royal Sea Bathing Hospital

What kind of properties are available? We have a wide range of properties from small shops located in the Old Town to larger units on the seafront. What are the best upand-coming areas? The Old Town has made a massive improvement in the last three years; there were hardly any shops taken and now it is practically full. What should buyers avoid? No area in particular. Prices are cheap compared to other places like London and a little bit of money can buy you a lot. How easy is it to find good tenants? A lot of tenants are on benefits so finding working tenants will always take a little longer. However, we have a many good housing benefit tenants and as long as the right checks are made and the right precautions taken, you really shouldn’t have a problem. The Property Tree, 5 Market Street, Margate, 01843 230786

Graham Kinnear, Milton Ashbury Why should anyone invest in Margate now? The town is delightful with wonderful architecture and 26 miles of sandy beaches. It is also only 70 miles from London. How has the town changed since the Turner Contemporary opened? The Old Town centred around the harbour has seen considerable investment and is now thriving. Also the Dreamland cinema and amusement park are on the cusp of redevelopment, a scheme which is expected to attract 750,000 visitors a year. What kind of properties are available? We deal with one bedroom apartments in Victorian conversion blocks right up to substantial properties with sea views. Most of the coastal property boasts the grandeur and character of the Victorian period, whilst re-development of vacant and cleared sites offer contemporary apartments for both owner occupiers and second homers.

What are the best upand-coming areas? The Old Town area offers sea views and is centred around a newly rejuvenated selection of restaurants, bars, shops and cafes. Many have compared this area to The Lanes at Brighton and you can see why. Fort Crescent, Eastern Esplanade and Royal Esplanade are popular due to the direct sea views the uninterrupted sky-line. What should buyers avoid? There is nothing really for buyers to avoid. The area is delightful and the population swells in the summer months with the addition of day trippers and weekenders. How easy is it to find good tenants? Properties rent quickly if they are presented well and in central locations. There is a brisk demand for accommodation with a broad spectrum of would be tenants – from first timers through to pensioners and those in receipt of state benefits. Milton Ashbury, 122 Northdown Road, Margate, 01843 225533

Buying to Let: The Essentials Do

Understand why you want to invest. A property that makes a great rental investment is not always one that makes a great weekend retreat Look at an area and ask yourself: ‘What kind of properties are in high demand?’ Understand the projected rental. Don’t buy a property with a projected rent of £750 per month only to find it will let at a maximum of £500


Fall in love with a property which isn’t ideal for renting Buy ‘off plan’ unless you know the area well Let a property to a tenant without first undergoing some tenant referencing. It costs as little as £10 and could save you an enormous headache in the long run

The Weekender 39

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07/04/2012 09:01

Ramsgate £259,950

Broadstairs £495,000

• Period Coach House • Two Double Bedrooms • Beautifully Refurbished • Courtyard Garden • Grade II Listed

Broadstairs £164,995

First Floor Maisonette ● Two Double Bedrooms ● Balcony ● Sea Views ● Garage ●

Stunning Seafront Penthouse ● Two Bedrooms & Bathrooms ● Four Balconies/Terraces ● Beautifully Presented ● Bespoke High Quality Finish ●

Ramsgate £98,000

Two Bedrooms ● Top Floor Flat ● Panoramic Sea Views ● Well Presented ● NO FORWARD CHAIN ●

Broadstairs from £237,500

New Development of Luxury ● Apartments ● Town Centre Location ● Two Bedrooms ● Allocated Parking Space ● Available Off Plan Now ●

Broadstairs £99,995

First Floor Flat ● One /Two Bedrooms ● No Forward Chain ● Kitchen/Breakfast Room ● Close to the Beach and High Street ●

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Margate from £175,000

Recently Refurbished Apartments ● One, Two & Three Bedrooms ● Sea Views ● Old Town Location ● High Specification ●

Broadstairs £165,000

Duplex Apartment ● Second Floor ● Two Double Bedrooms ● Allocated Parking ● Some Sea Views ●

Broadstairs £195,000

Perfect Holiday Retreat ● 37ft Sunny Balcony ● 18ft Bedroom ● Kitchen/Living Room ● Close to Beach & Town ●

Broadstairs £154,995

Two Bedroom Flat ● Ground Floor ● New Long Lease ● NO FORWARD CHAIN! ● Close to Beach & High Street ●

Broadstairs £169,995

Two Bedrooms ● Duplex Apartment ● Sea Views ● Metres from the Beach & Town ● Central Location ● High Specification Finish ●

Broadstairs £185,000

Ground Floor Apartment ● Two Bedrooms ● Remainder of NHBC Guarantee ● Private Courtyard Garden ● Allocated Parking Space ●

Ramsgate £90,000

Two Bedroom Flat ● Allocated Parking ● Lift ● Close to Seafront & Royal Harbour ● NO FORWARD CHAIN ●

Broadstairs £279,995

STUNNING SEA VIEWS! ● Ground Floor Apartment ● Two Double Bedrooms ● Sea facing Lounge with Balcony ● Secure Private Parking ●

08/04/2012 09:05


The Coast is Clear


erched high on the cliffs above Ramsgate’s bustling Marina, Victoria Parade has a stately and timeless feel where age-defying hotels mingle with breathless dog walkers and well-tended hedges. One of its most interesting sights is the Victorian coastguard cottages, which are often mistaken for alms houses, but were built to accommodate the area’s coast guards and their families in 1865. Smuggling is no longer the threat it was once and the redoubtable coastal policemen are long gone, but stand outside flat 1b facing the sea, and there will be very little activity out towards the horizon that will miss your gaze. “The views are stunning and on a clear day you can see seals out on the Goodwin Sands,” says the owner who

other direction to Ramsgate harbour and its burgeoning coffee bar culture. “On a good day, it can feel like St Tropez,” laughs the owner. But he’s not far off. With Premiership footballers and A-list stars queuing up for penthouses in the nearby Royal Sands development, Ramsgate will hardly be short of a bit of va-vavoom. Who knows what the coastguards would have made of it all?

runs a local business just a short walk away via the seafront promenade. While the statuesque pillared entrance and solid oak door suggest a familiar Victorian solidity, the interior belies its origins as the coast guards’ meeting room; there’s a breath-taking open-plan living area, sparkling contemporary kitchen, and a super sleek glass and hardwood staircase that leads to an open plan mezzanine floor with master bedroom and study. The conversion makes full use of the original window frames and natural light simply floods in making it an ideal weekend bolt hole for both sun-starved urbanites and contemplative coast watchers. And, should you ever get fed up with all those epic sea views, you can always leave the front door and head one way to the coastal path and Broadstairs or in the

Coastguard Cottages is on the market for £295,000 through Terence Painter Properties, 01843 866866,

Home to inspirational brands such as Vitra, Alessi, Fatboy and many more. As the Olympic Torch comes to Kent we would like to offer you the chance of winning a Tip Ton chair, created by Jay Osgerby and Edward Barber, designers of the Torch. Visit us at our beautiful new shop opposite the Turner Contemporary in Margate or at our website to register your entry.

40 Fort Hill, Margate Old Town Tel. 01843 220088

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Feet First Into Fitness With this eventful Olympic year about to peak, there can be no better time to get up off that sofa, grab some trainers and take up running. Fitness guru to the stars Matt Roberts takes you through those vital first few paces 42 The Weekender

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ACTIVITY How to Get Started


unning is the single most rewarding and beneficial form of exercise that there is. It is the most accessible form of exercise and can be done in pretty much any environment, at any time and by anybody. We are born, developed and destined to run. You only have to watch a child for a few moments to understand our natural instinct to run – put a group of children into any sort of space and it won’t be long before there is some running involved. We run for fun, we run for the bus and we run to compete and win. Running impacts on many, many parts of our lives and we go back for more all of the time. It is often said that what makes runners run is that quest for the ‘runner’s high’ – that fabled rush of adrenaline that reaching a level of running ability, confidence and contentment brings and which makes all of the hard work worthwhile. The truth is that running has many highs (and many lows too, at times) but it never ceases to allow you to explore, push and discover new levels of ability, satisfaction and utter self-satisfaction. Of course if you are not a regular runner, or you are coming at it having not really run for some considerable time, all talk of reaching highs, being empowered and finding out how good you can feel will sound really alien to you. In fact, just running up and down your garden might seem like a journey into the unknown. Don’t worry, you are very far from alone!

If you are new to running, you are about to enter a whole new experience of physical accomplishment. You must start slowly. One of the biggest mistakes that any overly enthusiastic newcomer can make is to run too far or too fast too soon, and then suffer the aches, strains and pains that demotivate and disrupt the whole process of getting started. In many ways, starting off is one of the best parts of running – it’s a time where you can take it easy while experiencing some really rapid development. Like weightloss, the hardest part is often that last bit when you are getting close to your goal. As you progressively increase your distances over a period of weeks (not days), your body very quickly adapts and enables you to run further and faster than you might have imagined was possible. And as you make progress, you will begin to feel the changes in mentality and physicality that are behind the so-called ‘runner’s high’ – that elusive combination of achieving a new target or level, the chemical release of endorphins (nature’s feel-good drug) into your body, the sensation of running itself and a vast array of other personal experiences all of which join together to leave you in a state of satisfied well-being.

Where to Go Running

If you ask any regular runner what their favourite running route is, I can guarantee that each and every one of them will not only be able to tell you exactly where it is, but also to explain to you in some detail why they love it so much and what it does to them physically in terms of a challenge. One of the things that I like to do whenever I travel is to go for a run as soon as possible when I reach my destination. I use it as my way of getting to know my territory. When I reach a new city, I like to explore it first by running to get my bearings before going back later to take more time. When I go to somewhere more rural, I like to go and find out what the terrain and countryside is really like by finding the best and most testing trails I can, and ideally finding the best views of the area as I do so. I am not a walker! I am happier to explore an area at speed by running than to cover a fraction of the distance while walking. Indeed a number of decisions I have taken on matters like

where to live, holiday and travel have in no small part been influenced by the possibilities of where I will run. Obsessive? Actually, no. Satisfied and fulfilled by good running? Absolutely.

How Running Affects Your Body 1 A stronger heart

Regular running will result in the enlargement and strengthening of the heart muscle, which improves the ability to pump blood around the body, as well as an improved coronary blood supply (blood supply to the heart). In older individuals with concerns about their heart health, regular training can reduce the risk of heart attack, lower their resting heart rate and protect them from elevated blood pressure complications.

2 Increased cardiovascular fitness

A distance runner needs oxygenated blood to be delivered at a constant pace over an extended period of time, without any undue strain. Regular training causes an increase of blood plasma volume and an increase in the total number of red blood cells – improving oxygen transport and resulting in a more effective exchange process at the lungs. This is vital not only for getting oxygen into the body, but also for transporting waste products from exercise to the lungs and kidneys for removal from the body.

3 Structural improvements at cell level and beyond

At a cellular level, changes can be seen in the way that longer-distance running can improve and enhance energy use. This can also be seen in cell structure, where running leads to an increase in the size and density of mitochondria – the cell’s energy powerhouses which are more prevalent in slow-twitch muscle fibres. In relation to endurance-based events, increasing the volume of mitochondria improves exercise efficiency as it means there are more sites to process energy quickly. Mitochondria numbers improve over time with regular aerobic exercise. Regular aerobic exercise can also cause thickening of articular cartilage and bones, improving the body’s ability to tolerate load and enabling it to move more effectively with minimal injury. In an untrained individual, regular running will also develop lean muscle tissue, which will enhance metabolic rate and improve the body’s structural strength.

4 Harder-working muscles

Your muscles’ main sources of fuel are glycogen (carbohydrate) and fat, which they break down into the energy they need in order to work. With regular

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Above and previous page: get motivated with a running buddy or personal trainer. Left: Rehydrating after a session

5 Increased stamina

training your body becomes more efficient at using less of this glycogen for a given workload. This is termed glycogen sparing and is often responsible for the ‘plateau’ effect – when someone who is undertaking an exercise regime feels that the progress they are making has come to a halt as the body has adapted to use less energy to perform the same movement. Thankfully, we can get around this by switching up our training – by varying its intensity, volume or amount. We also become more efficient fat burners with more exercise. If you carry too much body fat, you may not be an efficient fat burner, but with training this can improve, enhancing your metabolism and improving not only your performance but also your health.

Fatigue occurs when there is a build-up of lactic acid – a by-product of converting glucose into energy – within the muscles. This happens when the body crosses what is termed the ‘lactate threshold’, the point at which, because so much energy has been used in a short space of time, more lactic acid has been produced than can be pumped away, therefore affecting your performance. Thankfully, a lifting of the ability to process lactic acid – and therefore a raising of the body’s lactate threshold – is one of the benefits of regular training. Working at or around your lactate threshold pace can help develop the efficiency of the body to clear this acidic state and will help maintain your exercise intensity.

The aim of training, as opposed to exercise, is to get better at something over time in response to regular challenges. With running, this improvement comes as a result of the body’s ability to adapt quickly both in the way that it uses energy and by improving its neural (nerve) and muscular efficiency.

8 Running off the blues

In addition to the physiological benefits above, running has a number of proven psychological benefits including the improvement of mental alertness; reduction of depression and anxiety; an improvement in the ability to relax (which should lead to better quality of sleep) as well as improvements in stress tolerance.

6 More efficient muscles

Over a period of training, as with any exercise, the efficiency of the movement itself – the way in which the muscles are working together – will improve. Training with correct running style is important as it improves muscle functioning and protects the body against over-use injury. If you have any injuries, aches or pains in the knees, lower back or neck, get checked out by a qualified professional before you begin running.

Get Running: How to get started, stay motivated and run your best by Matt Roberts is published by Quadrille, £12.99

7 Training vs Exercise

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THE LIST Running in East Kent The Race Year Ahead Whether it’s a 5k fun run or more demanding half marathon or triathlon event, entering a race can both boost your motivation levels and assist with your training regime. Many of these events become quickly oversubscribed, so be sure to contact the race organisers soon for entry details. May Whitstable 10k Road Race When: 7 May Where: The Waterfront Club, Whitstable Montreuil Ramparts 10k When: 12/13 May Where: Montreuil-sur-Mer, near Le Touquet, France Folkestone Coastal 10k When: 27 May Where: The Old Rotunda Site, Folkestone June The Les Golding Memorial 10k When: 4 June Where: The Leas, Herne Bay The Weald of Kent 10 mile When: tbc Where: Links Farm, Biddenden July Ashford Summer 5k Series When: 6 July (also 3 August and 7 September) Where: Victoria Park, Jemmet Road, Ashford August Canterbury Half Marathon When: 27 August Where: tbc September Charing 10k When: 1 September Where: Charing School, Charing Kent Coastal Marathon and Half Marathon When: 2 September Where: Palm Bay School, Cliftonville White Cliffs Challenge When: 22/23 September, 10am (walkers) and 12pm (runners) Where: Deal and Betteshanger Rugby Club, Deal October Maidstone Half-Marathon When: tbc Where: Grove Green (race HQ based

at the nearby Vinters Valley Community School) Givauden Ashford 10k When: 14 October Where: The Julie Rose Stadium, Ashford December Turkey Run When: tbc Where: Horticultural Research Station, East Malling Kent Christmas Cracker When: 16 December Where: Fowlmead Country Park, Sholden, near Deal

Great Cross Country Routes Why restrict your running horizons to the same old stretch of park or pavement? There are plenty of safe paths in East Kent primarily designed for walkers and cyclists that make perfect routes for running and offer the best views and freshest air as you go. For more details visit: countryside_and_coast/walking.aspx

Around the block Reculver Start and finish in Reculver, heading through Reculver Country Park, along the famous Saxon Shore Way and then back alongside the strand. Distance: 3.5 miles

More than a jog Turner and Dickens Walk Run along the newly opened route between Turner’s Margate and Dickens’ Broadstairs, that mostly follows an ancient footpath between St John’s and St Peter’s churches. Distance: 4 miles Pluckley Another circular run that starts and finishes at Pluckley Church taking you through fields, orchards and tracks. Mostly flat with gentle slopes. Distance: 4.2 miles Chartham and around A good circular run that starts in the centre of Chartham and follows along the Stour Valley then back along part of the North Downs Way. Distance: 5 miles

If you are seriously into your running Blean Woods via Herne, Tyler Hill and Broad Oak Blean Woods (between Canterbury and Whitstable) boasts over 11 square miles of woodland, making it an ideal area for cross country runs.

This long but rewarding route passes through both ancient woodland and open fields. Distance: 14km Elham Valley Way A spectacular linear cross country track that leads from Canterbury Cathedral down to the coastal town of Hythe. You don’t have to do it all in one go, and as you run, you’ll discover quiet villages and lovely woodland areas. Distance: 22.5miles

Clubs Joining a local club is a great way to keep your interest in running going. Most offer regular training nights, coaching and support, not to mention a ready-made calendar of sporting and social events. Invicta East Kent Athletic Club Canterbury Harriers Ashford and District Road Running Club South Kent Harriers Folkestone Running Club Jelly Legs Running Club Deal Triathlon and Running Club

Training and expert advice A personal trainer is not an absolute necessity for running, but if you are looking to improve your technique or speed, have a sports injury concern or just want some help, you should be able to find a good, qualified coach at any of the clubs listed above. Try also the following local specialists: Backfit Clinic and Pilates, Blean, Canterbury The Therapy Group, Wincheap, Canterbury Pose Tech, Kent (Simon Paine) html Useful Websites for Runners Compiled by Lily Guy-Vogel

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ACTIVITY Nike Sublimated Running Shirt £21.99 This lightweight, shortsleeved shirt offers supreme comfort and durability when the going gets tough; it has mesh ventilation panels on the sides and is made from a fabric called Dri-FIT, which is designed to absorb sweat and keep you dry.

Let’s Go: R Whether you are training for a marathon or just planning a regular jog around the park, you’ll find that there is plenty of exciting running gear around to inspire the champion within Words by Lily Guy-Vogel

Adidas Response DS Wind Jacket £40 A running-specific jacket comes in handy at all times of the year. This women’s version has a superb, ergonomic fit that moves with the natural motions of the body to ensure comfort, and has in-built rain protection to guard against seriously wet weather conditions.


hoosing the correct shoes for running is vitally important, especially for the more serious runner. Dominic O’Mahoney of The Running Outlet in Palace Street, Canterbury advises investing in a shoe that fits properly and supports the foot. “Badly-fitting shoes can cause both short and long term injuries,” he warns. Before any purchase, therefore, it is a good idea to let an expert give you a gait analysis (the service is on offer at his shop) to analyse the movement and position of your feet. Once you have carefully chosen your shoes, why not consider also the huge variety of clothing and accessories on offer, all of which can help boost your running regime? Here in East Kent, there are a fast-growing number of running gear stockists to meet the demand for hats, gloves, socks, sports timers, base layers and sports bras. Here is our pick of the current crop:

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o: Running

Adidas Adizero Adios 2 £85 Worn by Kenyan runner Patrick Makau whilst setting the new world record at the 2011 Berlin Marathon, these are the ultimate lightweight men’s shoes. Once laced up, they are simultaneously durable, flexible and comfortable and they feature an anatomical sock lining and an extended support system for those hardworking feet.

Asics Gel-Hyper 33 £94.99 A lightweight yet durable running shoe which offers superb support, comfort and flexibility. This women’s shoe is designed to enhance the natural motion of running by supporting every one of the 33 moving parts of the foot. A revolutionary new sole helps to propel you forward and its soft gel cushioning minimises heel shock.

Stockists The Running Outlet, Canterbury 01227 379998


Garmin Forerunner 610 from £329.99 Not so much a watch, more a portable training system, its many fancy-yet-functional features include accurate distance, pace, GPS, heart rate and calorie burning stats – all of which are accessed on a an easy-to-use touch screen. And, if you ever get lost, it will guide you back to where you began.

Ronhill Waistpack £25 This lightweight and water-repellent reflective waistpack will take care of all your running essentials, night and day. It features not only a main pocket with internal security pocket, but also a key fob attachment and headphone cable outlet. No more worrying about where to put your credit cards or house keys!

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Miss Maybe


s she approached her 27th birthday, Ramsgate-based actress Lisa Payne was determined to find a new theatrical and artistic challenge. “You’ve got the right face for burlesque,” said an understanding friend and almost overnight a glitzy new alter-ego, Miss Maybe, was born. Now she appears regularly on the fastgrowing local variety circuit and offers burlesque workshops to aspiring performers. Here’s the lowdown on shimmying those sequins by a true mistress of the art. I’ve always liked vintage fashion and vaudeville theatre and was doing British burlesque routines without actually realising it. It’s great to perform and make people laugh. What I really like about it is that I’m not perfect myself but at least I’m out there. My bits wobble around but I feel I have every right to be on stage. I also love the creative side to it and developing my own characters. My latest is a woman who is going on holiday to Benidorm but is worried about baring all on the beach. Anyone can be a burlesque artiste. It’s not just for slim 18-year-olds, and in fact it helps bringing some life experience to the performance.

Confidence is important and to realise that the body is not perfect. It’s also important to know that the audience has come to laugh and join in. The women who do my workshops end up feeling incredibly empowered and people often come up to me after a show saying: “That was great because I feel that I could do that too.” Burlesque is not hard to learn and I can normally find a level for each student;

Burlesque artiste Photos by Dave Betts

gown but turn around to reveal a waxing strip that has become stuck to my leg! My outfits come from charity shops or otherwise my mum makes them. The corsets are the most expensive to buy. The 1950s style lingerie comes from a company called Stockings and Romance. They do bullet bras and six strap suspenders, which I wear all the time. If you are going to do a show, you don’t want to be seen in Primark underwear. My favourite outfit is the one worn by my WI lady who starts off in a Barbour jacket, wellies and tweed hat. Underneath, however, lurks the most amazing underwear including a tassled bra and sequinned panties. There are some great local venues that put on burlesque and variety shows. The Ballroom in Orange Street, Canterbury is good and I especially like the Tom Thumb Theatre in Cliftonville, Margate; it’s got a really intimate

“I once got changed in a kitchen, much to the delight of the chef ” I have ladies in my class who have heart conditions and others who are super-fit and run marathons. People think wrongly that burlesque is sleazy. American burlesque is glamorous and sexy whereas British burlesque is comedic and tells a story. I do a Mrs Thatcher burlesque act and you couldn’t describe that as being sexy! There are some great burlesque performers out there to admire, but I’m more inspired by the sauciness of Carry On films. I love Joan Sims and I observe real people all the time. My act where I wait to seduce the pizza delivery boy is based on a real life incident. I’m in my dressing

atmosphere with plush velvet seats – perfect for an evening of burlesque. On the other hand, you have to get changed in some not very glamorous surroundings – sometimes there aren’t even toilets! I once got changed in the vegetable preparation area of a kitchen, much to the delight of the chef. Taking the stage make up off is hard and I can’t bear false eyelashes – it takes me half an hour to get them off! It can also be hard work travelling by train or bus with my two suitcases full of costumes. Things don’t always go to plan. Sometimes the music doesn’t come on at the right time or you can get so nervous that you end up taking your clothes off too quickly, leaving you standing there with very little on. I once had to rip off a bridesmaid’s dress but the zip got stuck. The tassles that cover the nipples can also fall off. I was once getting really good cheer after a show when I looked down to see that one of the tassles was missing!


Pros & Cons PROS It’s a fun, social job You get to be creative You get to wear fabulous costumes

CONS Travelling by train or bus with my two big suitcases Technical hitches on stage Costume malfunctions

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MY EAST KENT LIFE Michael Boyce, Admiral Michael Boyce had a distinguished career in the Royal Navy and as Chief of the Defence Staff before succeeding The Queen Mother as Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports in 2004. Originally responsible for five port towns in Kent and East Sussex, the role, which dates back to the 11th century, now encompasses 14 towns in the Confederation of the Cinque Ports. Other previous incumbents include the William Pitt the Younger, the Duke of Wellington and Sir Winston Churchill, all of whom lived at Walmer Castle at one time or another during their period of office. He is married to Fleur and has four children and six grandchildren.

Call of duty

I didn’t know anything about the title before I got a letter from Tony Blair asking me to be the Lord Warden! Traditionally, the job was to be the intermediary between the King and the Cinque Ports barons. In its heyday, it was one of the most powerful positions in the country and the people from these towns were called out for the Spanish Armada and were ready to help beat off Napoleon’s invasion. The ceremony was conducted in Dover. First there was a church service in St Mary-in-Castro, then we went down to Dover College for the installation ceremony and then to The Maison Dieu for a

Pics: Relaxing with wife Fleur (above); in full military regalia (below); Walmer Castle and its gardens (bottom left)

charities. There are some very poor parts of East Kent, so it’s important to do my ceremonial duty, either by cutting a ribbon or supporting charitable occasions. I don’t have any staff and there are no tangible perks other than the privilege of being able to use Walmer Castle and getting to know all these fantastic people from the various towns. ceremonial lunch. It’s where the installation has been conducted for hundreds of years and the day was steeped in history. Previous Lord Wardens have worn special hats and fancy epaulettes but because the full title is also ‘Admiral of the Cinque Ports’ I was very happy to wear my Admiral’s uniform, which to my mind is perfectly grand enough without being completely Ruritanian.

Making it modern

If it was 500 years ago, I’d be a very powerful person and would be as rich as Croesus with a lot of clout. The early Lord Wardens had an important role to play through their towns’ position on the invasion shore. They became very influential and some were quite badly behaved – there was plenty of smuggling and deviousness. My job today is to do all I can to revitalise the heritage related to the Cinque Ports, to bind the towns together and to help local

An Englishman’s home

The Lord Warden was granted Walmer Castle as his residential castle and it was properly converted for this purpose. I go there every other weekend in the summer time but I’m normally there only for work; it’s a place to change and stay the night before an event. One wonders whether you can hear Wellington’s boots clomping around at night, but actually it’s very un-ghostly and friendly with a very comfortable family feel. It’s a delight and a privilege to be able to stroll around the garden and look out to sea from the battlements.

Cinque or swim

Every Cinque Ports town has its own characteristics, which makes them all a delight to visit. I’m fond of Deal because that’s where I’ll potter down to if I’ve got a quiet lunchtime to go and get fish and chips. Just outside the main gates is the Cinque Ports cycle path, which my wife and I opened a few years ago. I enjoy going out on a bicycle and it’s

photo by Liz Mott

Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports

particularly good if you’ve got small children or grandchildren who are learning to ride. I like swimming and windsurfing, but the tides off Walmer beach are challenging, so I have rarely been in the sea. I’m chairman of the RNLI and I will often pop into the lifeboat station on Walmer Green to say hello. I am also the patron of the Royal Cinq Ports Yacht Club in Dover. We enjoy sailing and rent a boat occasionally, sailing out from Ramsgate.

An eventful season

The Queen Mother (Lord Warden from 1978 until 2002) had her Walmer Castle picnic weekend in July and it’s a tradition which I’ve maintained. There’s a reception for the representatives from all the Cinque Ports towns – ‘the chain gang’ as I call them – plus some of my charities. On the Sunday we have a big lunch at Dover Castle. I’m looking forward to the Hythe Venetian Fete and canal concerts and The Dover Regatta is a very colourful event. As far as the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee is concerned, the Cinque Ports are presenting me with a special scroll to convey loyal greetings to Her Majesty. Most of the towns have some kind of fête going on and I’m told that the Olympic torch is going to Deal. And with the Battle of Waterloo Bicentennial coming up in 2015, I want to ensure that Walmer Castle is recognised as part of the celebrations.

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New England Dream The Bay Restaurant

at The White Cliffs Hotel

Arrive at The Bay Restaurant in the heart of the delightful seaside village of St. Margaret’s-at-Cliffe and discover somewhere quite special. The handsome weather-boarded buildings of The White Cliffs Hotel in which The Bay Restaurant nestles may remind you of those found in coastal New England and on stepping through into the beautiful interior with it’s refreshing and quite unique décor you'll find this is indeed a place with a soul. The Bay Restaurant sits in the hub of the buzzing hotel, the fresh coastal feel extending throughout the fantastically quirky bar into the cool restaurant and out back into the gorgeous sun-trap “beach garden” complete with pebble beach, wooden groynes and stripy deck chairs. Experience the enjoyable dilemma of being challenged in terms of choice - what to order when you want it all? A starter of home-made salt cod fish fingers in saffron batter with sorrel mayonnaise, sublime goat’s cheese fritters with a fig jampote to die for , pigeon breast with broad beans and black pig pancetta, or mussels steamed in Weston’s cider, thyme and cream. Mains of sea-bass with fennel, garlic and herb chips or Romney Marsh lamb with aubergine and red onion, minted yoghurt and grilled flatbread or free-range chicken breast with clams and chorizo in a tarragon sauce with new potatoes, Alkham Valley beef with summer truffle butter, woodland mushrooms and ‘real proper chips’. Then for dessert how about blackcurrant mousse with (heavenly) liquorice ice cream or double chocolate brownie with Kentish cherry ripple ice cream or a lemon crème brulée with a fabulous raspberry sorbet, dressed with mint ? In this simply yet elegantly styled space, with its wooden floors, stone walls, cheery staff and happy vibes. It’s easy to see why the place is buzzing, The Bay Restaurant is on to a winning formula!

The Bay Restaurant

at The White Cliffs Hotel Find on the High Street in St Margaret’s-At-Cliffe near Dover, Kent, CT15 6AT Featured in The Which Good Food Guide and AA Best Restaurants 2012 Open every day from 7am until 11pm for Breakfast, Lunch, Afternoon Tea and Dinner

Call reservations on 01304 852229

o r e m a i l m a i l @ t h e w h i t e c l i f f s . c o m

at The White Cliffs Hotel

on the High Street in St. Margaret’s-at-Cliffe





Nom inat Whic ed f or h Go od F ood Sou Rest Guid t h aura East e nt o f Th e Ye ar 2 012 The

The Bay Restaurant

Lucky 7

7 Days 7 Specials 7 Pounds


The Bay Restaurant

Monday is...

Cream Tea for Two for £7

Enjoy Tea for Two & four scones with jam and cream for just £7 - All Day ‘til 6pm £7th Heaven!

Tuesday is...



Sausage Fest @ Lunchtime


£7 - Hot Diggedy Dog!




Kentish Wild Boar Bangers, Black Pig Chorizo or Monkshill Farm Fatboys with Mash for £7

Wednesday is...

- Unbelievably only £7!

at The White Cliffs Hotel

Lucky 7 Special

Come along to enjoy a in the heart of a beautiful village inn with one of our fabulous special offers every day of the week... Our Full Menu is Also Available Every Lunch & Dinner

Book on 01304 852229 at The White Cliffs Hotel

High Street, St. Margaret’s-at-Cliffe, Dover, Kent CT15 6AT

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Super-fresh, locally landed cod in beer batter with chips - Eat in for £7 or Take Away for £5.95!

Saturday is...

Twin Pimm’s ‘til Sundown


Two glasses (50ml Pimm’s) of the fabulous Summer Cocktail for just £7 until 6pm - Happy Days!

Sunday is...

Double-up Dessert @ Dinner

Double-size desserts for £7 available Evenings only - Life really is Sweet!


Lucky this Summer with a £7 special in The Bay Restaurant


The Bay Restaurant

Friday is...

Fish & Chips @ Lunchtime

All for just £7! Book on 01304 852229


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Thursday is...

Steak & Chips @ Lunchtime

7oz of pure-bred Hereford Steer minute steak with béarnaise sauce & big fat chips





A pint of North Atlantic beauties with pink sauce & braaan bread - £7 All Day Long!




Pint-Sized Prawns @ Lunch & Dinner

Please quote ‘Lucky Seven’ on booking.

Terms & Conditions Lucky 7 promotion runs from 1st April until 30th September 2012 . Lunch 12-2pm (3pm Sundays) & Dinner 6.30pm-9pm Booking in advance is advisable to avoid disappointment - Please Mention Lucky 7 on booking. All specials are subject to availability. Please see our website for full Terms and Conditions.

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