LivingLife - Issue 17 (Arlesey)

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Issue 17 December 2020



Seasons Greetngs

Also inside

Local Christmas Messages Kid’s Got Talent Scene By You


Wishing all our readers a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

Competition Winner

november a big well done to:

paul cuthbert Who was the closest to spotting the hidden drone pilot in last month’s photo & won £25. See below for last month’s location

NOTE FROM THE EDITOrS Ho Ho Ho! A big, warm welcome to our festive edition of LivingLife magazine! It’s really difficult to comprehend how we can be coming to the end of another year, but what a strange year 2020 has been, a very difficult year, some might even say a year This cover that month’s we should be photo glad towas see captured Kate McBurney the back of,byhowever, no matter (John’s wife) during angets, evening how challenging life it is stroll acrosstothe farmers fields important keep positive and look forward to things ahead. near Henlow Village. CompeComing up Winner in this month’s tition magazine we have the latest instalment of our Beautiful Bedfordshire Gardens feature and this time we visit Shirley & David’s garden in Lower Stondon, a truly fascinating garden on a miniature scale! We also get to meet Jorja Crookes, who is this month’s Kid’s Got Talent, she’s a thirteen year old dancer from Campton School of Dance.

| Andrew Martin |


Get in touch with us: We would love your feedback on what you enjoyed about this edition, and of course, any areas where we could improve.

01462 414265


The opinions expressed in LivingLife magazine do not necessarily reflect those of the editors, publisher or their agents. Whilst every reasonable care is taken to ensure the accuracy of information included within this publication, the publishers take no responsibility for any errors or omissions in LivingLife Magazine. The content is not to be reproduced in any form without permission of the publisher.

| John McBurney |

Our cover photo this month was captured last year on the night of the Christmas Lights Switch-On event in Arlesey. It brings back fond memories, but also some sadness, as unfortunately we cannot celebrate in the same way this year, however, we can still go out and enjoy and appreciate the fabulous Christmas lights and decorations on display in and around our high streets and homes. So, as we approach the festive season, we have a message from everyone here at LivingLife Magazine: to all of our readers, advertisers, followers and supporters, we wish each and every one of you a very happy Christmas and we hope you all enjoy a super break.

Kind Regards, Andrew & John

Please pass to a friend, recycle or compost after reading.

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kids’ got talent beautiful bedfordshire gardens arlesey town counciil update artisans in the yard diddy directory DIARY OF A PUB OWNER a year in stondon CHRISTMAS MESSAGES annual church messages SCENE BY YOU DECEMBER CROSSWORD SPOT THE DRONE PILOT



Wishing all our readers a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

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Welcome to our monthly feature: ’Kid’s Got Talent’ The place where we showcase the amazing talents of local children. We hope this will help motivate and inspire other children to discover new sports and hobbies.

Jorja Crookes age: 13 from: campton Name:

Q. Briefly explain your talent I’ve been dancing since I was 4 years old. I started with ballet lessons which then led to the addition of tap. I’ve also enjoy trying new dance styles. Q. When do you practice, with who, and for how long? I go to dance classes on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday- as well as doing dance lessons at school. Mondays consist of Ballet and Modern, Tuesdays consist of Tap, and Wednesdays consist of Ballet and Modern again. Q. What do you love about dance? I love that dance gives you freedom and you can let out all of your emotions and worries through it. Whenever I get upset I can put on some music and dance to it and it makes me feel better. I also love the environment that dance provides as it’s like a second family to me and it’s so easy to make friends. Q. Are you a member of a dance club/class? I am a member of Campton School of Dance, run by Lynda Miah. Q. What is your dance teacher like? My dance teacher is really friendly and encouraging. She gives me lots of opportunities and supports and guides me through my upcoming future. Q. In terms of dancing, what are your goals/dreams/visions? I would love to become a dance teacher when I’m older so I want to do whatever I can to get there. I would also love to have my own studio. Q. Can dancing be dangerous? Do you ever get injured? You should always learn to dance with a qualified teacher who knows what they’re doing and follow their advice when it comes to keeping yourself safe. Some dance moves can be more complicated than others but I wouldn’t say that dance is a dangerous sport. Q. Do you enter exams or perform in shows and have you ever won prizes? The Campton School of Dance puts on a show every couple of years for all the dancers to perform in. I really look forward to these shows as we get to perform in front of a large audiences. I also take exams at the end of every grade which you can score either Distinction, Merit, Pass or Does your child have an amazing talent? if so, please get in touch at Fail. 6

Wishing all our readers a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

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Beautiful Gardens of Bedfordshire

Shirley & David, Mayfield Crescent, Lower Stondon

Check out all the photos on our blo g


Discovering beautiful gardens in the local area. Welcome to our latest instalment of beautiful gardens. This time we were kindly invited to visit the fascinating garden of Shirley & David who live in Lower Stondon. With summer a distant memory we focus our attention onto more unusual gardens, not so much flowers and colour, but gardens that offer a unique twist, and this garden does not fail deliver, a delightful model village that would make any head turn. Shirley & David treated us to a guided tour and whilst we captured photographs Shirley explained the history behind this amazing collection of miniature houses. “The miniature houses were originally located elsewhere in the garden of one of the houses in our road. Sadly, the elderly lady who owned them passed away and her son did not know what to do with the collection; he did not want to see the collection end up a skip, so we decided to help out and take on the main bulk of the collection. The collection was split up, there is also a castle and an additional church which are located elsewhere. The miniature houses were built some time ago by the elderly lady’s deceased


Wishing all our readers a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

husband. They are made from concrete and as such are very heavy, but built to last, although they do require repair and maintenance and we now spend our time repairing the roofs and the windows, and repainting the walls. Do I have a favourite aspect? No, not at all, I love all of them. Our neighbours also love our miniature village, and children on their way home from school, they love to look at them, especially at night when the lights are on.”

A professional, friendly, local gardening service making your garden somewhere for you to enjoy • Seasonal pruning & maintenance • Lawn care and weeding • Planting for seasonal interest • Composting and mulching for garden health • Gardening to encourage wildlife Claudia McCullough 07907 303130 Don’t forget to mention LivingLife when contacting advertisers



LOCAL UPDATE FROM… Arlesey Town Council A

s, unfortunately, we are all too aware, 2020 has been an unforeseen challenging year globally, with unfortunate effects on individuals, families, and businesses worldwide.

In Arlesey we have been extremely fortunate to have a group of volunteers who, in the very early stages of the pandemic and throughout, have offered assistance forming Arlesey Good Neighbours, pulling together to keep the elderly, vulnerable and those self-isolating /shielding connected and looked after through delivery of groceries and lunches in addition to many other areas of support given. To this group and all individuals who have independently assisted others during this difficult time, I thank you on behalf of the Council and the village as a whole. Covid-19 has posed many challenges to the Council this year, and I would like to thank staff for their continued commitment and resilience implementing numerous changes enabling the office to remain functioning and serving the residents throughout both lockdowns and the pandemic, keeping facilities open within ever changing Government Guidelines for as long as possible enabling small businesses and groups to remain meeting in Covid secure facilities assisting with delivery of activities for residents. It is with pride that I can inform that Remembrance Day was once again commemorated in Arlesey, not with the service Arlesey is used to seeing or wanting to see, but a scaled back version. It was great to see many organisations and individuals who unfortunately due to current restrictions could not participate in the main act of commemoration, laying wreaths independently of the service whilst observing social distancing requirements, honouring the fallen. We hope to be able to return to the usual format enabling residents to participate and pay respects next year. Two residents kindly volunteered their time and expertise to produce a recording of the ceremony held for all to share Thank you to Jodie Chillery and Will Graves for volunteering to do this. Thanks are also extended to Arlesey 1st Brownies for again planting a daffodil display on the grassed area in front of Community Centre. Despite these unprecedented circumstances I am pleased to inform that Council have still been able to deliver services, so far this year has seen: • • • • • • • •

Delivery of a 0.5% reduction in the Arlesey Town Council element of Council Tax through dedicated budget control. A clear, positive audit at year end. The MUGA court surfaces have again been cleaned and treated with anti-slip coating to accommodate the increase in use by local sports teams and groups. Safety surface repairs to St Johns Road play area A new website has been created and will soon ‘Go Live’ with improved ease of navigation. An extended Christmas Lights display Work is happening in the office towards delivery of an additional play facility within the village, a consultation will be open to engage with residents as to age range to be accommodated and potential equipment to ensure delivery of a facility that will be used to its full potential and of most benefit to residents. A review of the Resource Centre and services offered is underway, residents’ suggestions for improvements are always welcome please contact 10

Wishing all our readers a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

Over previous years Council have contacted local organisations to participate in the village rota for providing floral displays for the war memorial between the months April to October, should you or anyone that you know wish to volunteer to fill the vases for a 2-week period please contact I would like to take this opportunity to remind residents that seats remain vacant on the Council and co-option applications remain open, should you be interested in becoming a Councillor or would like further information please contact: Council announcements and updates are readily available for residents via Facebook,, noticeboards located at Jubilee Crescent, Bury Mead and outside the office itself. Editorials are also regularly published within LivingLife and Arlesey News magazines. In closing, I would like to wish all a safe and Merry Christmas and hope we can all enjoy a happy and healthy 2021.

Cllr Ian Dalgarno Mayor and Chairman to Arlesey Town Council

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local art

Contribution thanks to

Adrian Goulding


the new Manager of

Artisans in the Yard FB@Artisansintheyard


e have a winner! Delighted that Shefford resident Marion Young, came up lucky with our customer Prize Draw run during the summer. She has been presented with Yvette Jordan’s beautifully shaped rainbow heart picture full of butterflies and sparkle which was kindly donated at our reopening after the initial Covid lockdown. Thank you Yvette, congratulations Marion, plus Artisans in the Yard is also donating £100 to Shefford Good Neighbours to say thanks for those helping our community. Recent feedback and comments from visitors to our gallery are most encouraging, and we shall be delighted to welcome you all back Shefford’s Little Secret after current lock down ends start of full of unique gifts December. Our paintings, sculptures, @ 44 High Street turned wood, ceramics, fabrics, and Call 07909 876400 new jewellery will definitely fit the or browse bill for your Christmas shopping. NEW opening date - THURSDAY 3RD DECEMBER and each Thursday, Friday and Saturday until Christmas. 10 - 4 as usual. STOP PRESS: We need an Artisan Jeweller to exhibit work at our Gallery and possibly become our Resident Jeweller.


Wishing all our readers a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

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Railway Steamer landlady has high hopes of Saving Christmas!

Contribution thanks to

Anne Bowen Railway Steamer 01462 814414


y relationship with the Railway Steamer started back in the winter months of December 2019. We already had history, it was like getting back together with an ex, only slightly more tolerable. I knew from the get-go it would be a tough journey given the pubs history, and many people told me it was a bad idea, but I would not be me if I didn’t love a challenge. Within the week, with a few helping hands, we worked tirelessly cleaning and painting the interior. I knew the locals loved the pub and I hated the thought of them being torn away from this place any longer than needed, so the exterior was put on hold and I spent the coming weeks/months getting to know the people that held this place together. It is crazy to believe I only had one staff member working at the beginning, and at times that was a stretch. I believe the unfortunate past of the pub pushed many residents away which killed the footfall the pub so desperately needed, and at times found myself feeling disheartened that people kept to the opposite side of the road, avoiding a place they should have loved to walk into. I made it my mission to correct previous mistakes and build the Railway Steamer into a place for all to enjoy and feel safe. Unfortunately my mission didn’t sail too smoothly, I ran into one of the biggest hurdles any business has had to face in 2020. The Covid-19 pandemic swept in with no warning and by March the country was in lockdown which meant the closure of the pub. Like most people I had my moments of worry. What would I do? How will I keep this place going? All questions no one really had the answers to. The country was in panic mode, shops were raided for their essentials; loo roll and flour became gold dust and many people were falling short of food supplies. That was when I decided to set up shop, as a business I knew I had supplies to source the essentials people needed. I dragged the garden benches out front and created a street-side market selling everything from razors to halloumi cheese. Oh, and a bucket load of flour which went down like a storm, on one day selling 500 bags! This became my new station, I posted up every day to help those in need. Although the circumstances were an outcome of an unfortunate time, it gave me the opportunity to meet the residents of Shefford and create friendships who went on to become a great support system for me. It also gave me the time and opportunity to tell all about the changes I had made to the pub and encourage people to once again visit their revamped local once doors would finally re-open. For all of the community’s continued support, I cannot thank you enough, and as we continue through this second lockdown please bear in mind I will help any and all that I can. In the midst of the first lockdown I had to prepare the pub for a socially distanced re-opening, and 16

Wishing all our readers a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

our garden made way for our new cosy garden pods. With protective covers, cushions and lighting, they gained us some popularity with people visiting from many places to wine and dine in our magical garden. Now, as the second lockdown continues through the winter months, we are working on saving Christmas! We are currently creating a winter wonderland right here at the Railway Steamer. Out back, with helping hands, a winter marquee is being built. Nestled inside will be the pods and additional seating areas (all socially distanced of course) sitting nicely within what we hope will look like Santa’s back garden. Laced with decorations and a mound of Christmas spirit, we hope to save Christmas 2020.

“Deck the marquee with trees and holly fa la la la la, la la la la.” On top of this, we are on the search for the Railway Steamer’s next best Santa Clause. By any means necessary we are ready to provide the children with a visit from the jolly fellow, we know what the joy of Christmas can mean to people and their children, so we hope to give you a bit of Christmas comfort and give this annual tradition, although not a lot, a little bit of normality. Also, if you are in the mood to give the old PVC Christmas tree a night off this year, we will also be selling real Christmas trees that you can pre order for delivery, please enquire for details. The Railway Steamer is now home to a staff count well above the lonely number it started at, with its new growing reputation I find myself calling more staff in rather than sending them home early. Our brand-new menu and popular Sunday roast dinner, all of which is available for take away, has proved to be gaining in popularity with regular people coming back for more. We absolutely adore seeing new faces and families walking through the doors and it also goes without saying, there is a huge amount of love for our regulars who have

now become like family. I think it’s safe to say we’ve changed the history of the pub, and in such a short time it has now become a place where residents can be proud of, a home our mascot Jack the dog can be a part of, and a pub I’m proud to be the landlady of.


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a year in stondon

Your Parish Councils Viewpoint

Contribution thanks to

James Stirling Clerk to the Council

Stondon Parish Council


n the last 12 months Stondon has had a lot of challenges and some successes. By far the biggest challenge facing us all is the impact on the local community of a virus called COVID-19.

The PC have worked with local support groups specifically Stondon Good Neighbours and advised them to apply for support grants from CBC as well as other groups. The Council is grateful for the support it has received from its Ward Councillors during these challenging times. We understand local organisations have helped many others with these challenging times and we have offered support where we can. We would also like to make a special mention to the Stondon Allotments Group (SALGA) and their initiative to provide excess produce free of charge for anyone to collect. The Parish Council continue to provide grants and donations where possible. We recently helped the East Of England Air Ambulance Service with a donation and a grant to Stondon School PTA. (as of 1st Dec) The Council have installed the Christmas Tree and lights on the roundabout at the junction of Bedford Road and Hitchin Road (Bird in Hand). We had been delighted by the positive response last year and hope this will continue for this year. Combined with the drive to brighten the dull winter months with the early install of Christmas lights around the homes of Stondon and Henlow Camp. This is a wonderful sign of a community pulling together. Keep it up! Developers put forward applications to develop 185 units during 2020 including the Greyhound track of 75 units and the site opposite Barrett Homes for 115 units. While the Parish Council worked hard to object to these with relevant material considerations, they still got approved by Central Bedfordshire planning. We continue to engage with any potential developer and ask the community to support the Parish Council in objecting to unwanted developments. The greater the number of responses citing relevant material considerations, the better. So please note when these applications happen by signing up to the Council newsletter and make sure you respond to these developments. There are proposals for the development of over 1,000 new homes on RAF Henlow. There are a series of engagement events being held about the plans. Details and links on The Council is looking for enthusiastic individuals to join the Parish Council, are you one of them? Email the clerk for more details (link on the website) Are you keeping up to date? Join the Parish Councils mailing list for local events, major planning applications and meeting information.

We need your support! 18

Wishing all our readers a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

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Wishing all our readers a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year


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All Saints Parish Church and Stondon Baptist Church Dear Friends, We will soon be celebrating the wonderful celebration of Christmas. We celebrate the birth of a baby but not just any baby. A baby sent from God to show the light and love of God to a world in darkness. This innocent baby was none other than God’s Son Jesus Christ sent all those years ago to a dark world. Our world today can seem like a very dark place. We have all had our lives changed drastically by the COVID 19 outbreak. Indeed, this Christmas will not be like any other. Today we need even more to celebrate the light and love of God. The churches will be celebrating Christmas as usual this year but obviously with changes due to COVID Restrictions. Normally we would swing wide the doors of our churches for village celebrations but this year due to limited seating we invite you to join us virtually via Facebook. If there are any changes we will let you know. Please see our Facebook pages for the latest information.

MESSAGE FROM ST. PETER’S ARLESEY We are all hoping and praying that we shall be let out again by Christmas! But our planning is very different this year. Knowing how very popular and enjoyable the Christmas Tree Festival is each year we have decided to do it online. There will be more information on our website and Facebook nearer the time but the date for entries is Friday 11th December. Please email photographs or videos of your entries to: Don’t forget to include your name (organisation name) and the title of the Tree! It is free to enter your tree and ‘visitors’ will be asked to pay a small fee. You can do this online in our shop at: As usual the winner is decided by YOUR vote – proper democracy! Assuming we can use the Church for services by then, we are planning: • Christmas Eve 11:30 Midnight Mass • Christmas Day 9.30 Communion service For both of these I am afraid you will have to book seats in advance as we can only accommodate a limited number of people. Please email me, phone or pop a note through the Vicarage door – make sure you include you contact details please. We will also make the services, or parts thereof, available on YouTube. As usual if there is anyone who would like to have someone to talk to or you would like us to include you in our prayers please contact me by any means available! I realise this will be a particularly hard Christmas for many people this year and you are all in my thoughts and prayers.

Revd. Geoffrey Boult


Wishing all our readers a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

Christmas Messages

St. Mary’s Church, Henlow

It’s been a tough year. I don’t need to remind you of that. The pandemic has left a trail of destruction in its wake: physically, emotionally and financially. And it could so easily, even understandably, leave us with a sense of utter hopelessness. I have just watched a short film about the former Rugby League player Rob Burrow. Rob had an amazingly successful career with Leeds Rhinos as a scrumhalf winning no fewer than 8 Super League titles. He finally brought the curtain down by winning the Super League Grand Final in 2017. When he was interviewed at the end of the game, and with a broad grin, he said that ‘ this was the fairy-tale ending’. At 35, and a ‘great’ of his sport, he looked forward to spending more time with his wife and young family. In December 2019 Rob Burrow was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND). Today he is confined to a wheelchair and has lost his physical capacity to speak. It seems hopeless. A lost cause. And yet Burrow says. “I am not giving in, ‘till my last breath’.” There has been much this year to contend with. Things seem hopeless and a bit of a lost cause. So much so that we have heard rumblings that Christmas this year will be cancelled. It will be different for sure, as so much of our daily lives have become different. But Christmas will not be cancelled. Why? Because 2000 years ago God said, ‘I am not giving in’. Instead, he came into our world, into the chaos and confusion, as a new-born child, who would carry with him a message of hope. And then by dying and rising again at Easter he fulfilled the promise that even in the bleakest of times, we might have hope.

Revd. Shaun Speller

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SCENE BY YOU Your chance to share your favourite photos

Submit your photo for the next edition

1 4

2 5 A big thanks to this month’s submissions

3 24


Chris Mills


Debra Christoforou


Linda Parcell


Nisha Clarke


Kate Baker

Winter Arlesey Old Moat Toadstool at RSPB Sandy Grebe reflection It’s Raining, Ducks- Hallelujah! Clifton Pond Fungi in Arlesey

Wishing all our readers a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

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The December edition

CROSSWORD Answers on P11


Wishing all our readers a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

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Stamp Duty

up to

ÂŁ500,000 21

until march


Wishing all our readers a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

Spot the Drone Pilot



It’s competition time! The drone pilot who captured this image has been magically removed from the photo, can you deduce exactly where he is positioned? Place a cross (‘X’) where you think the drone pilot is standing (just like ‘Spot the Ball’ puzzle), then take a photograph of this page with your phone or device and submit your entry here: Close date 15/12/2020. Only 1 entry per person. Judge’s decision is final.

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Wishing all our readers a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

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