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Issue 23 October 2020

Inside Win

£25 Bedfordshire Gardens

Discovering fascinating gardens in the local area

Also inside

Delivery Boys’ Review Kid’s Got Talent Scene By You


NOTE FROM THE EDITOrS A big warm welcome to the October edition of the magazine! This month we have a bumper packed edition for you, full of interesting articles from a mix of contributors from across the local area. Although the summer months have come and gone, we do have lots to look forward to over the coming months including Halloween, Guy Fawkes Night and of course Christmas. At present it is not clear how these events and celebrations will be affected by the Covid-19 crisis, but we do hope that you can participate and enjoy them in some shape or form. As always, we will be out and about with our camera, capturing images to go in the magazine and on our website and Facebook page. If you like the magazine then why not follow us on Facebook? We keep the page up to date with lots of additional content including local news, photographs, and events and information. This month’s cover photo was captured Kate McBurney In September we visited Tina & Ralph’s amazing garden by in Henlow Village. It (John’s wife) during an evening was so much fun! An ornamental novelty garden is probably the best way to stroll the farmers fields describe it and we are sure it will bring a smile to across your face. Once again we

| Andrew Martin |

captured some lovely photos which you can see inHenlow our special feature, the full near Village. Compeset of photos can be viewed on our website in our blog.

tition Winner


Elsewhere in the magazine we visit Woody’s Wildlife Rescue, a fantastic place that gives animals a new lease of life. We also find out how to create a winter garden from Claudia McCullough, and Josh Squires, this month’s ‘Kid’s Got Talent’, describes his passion for cooking. We are also very pleased to tell you that our Delivery Boys’ Review feature is back, this time we re-visit the Stratton House Hotel in We would love your feedback on what Biggleswade. you enjoyed about this edition, and

Get in touch with us:

of course, any areas where we could improve.

01462 414265


| John McBurney |

There’s plenty more to see in the magazine, so please do have a good flick through and support our local advertisers wherever you can. We hope you enjoy this edition as much as we enjoyed putting it together. Until next time

Kind Regards, Andrew & John


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

Competition Winner


a big well done to:

tim jackson

Who was the closest to spotting the hidden drone pilot in last month’s photo & won £25

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6 8 10 12 16 18 20 22 24 26 29 30

Beautiful bedfordshire gardens kid’s got talent artisans in the yard diddy directory delivery boys’ review woody’s wildlife rescue creating your winter garden vocal works - goes digital scene by you october crossword is back! spot the drone pilot..... win £25 stondon village needs you!



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Beautiful Gardens of Bedfordshire

Tina Blake & Ralph Conder, Chiltern Place, Henlow

Check out all the photos on our blo g



Discovering beautiful gardens in the local area. For our third instalment we were kindly invited to visit the intriguing and hilarious garden of Tina & Ralph who live on Chiltern Place in Henlow Village. We were treated to a guided tour of their amazing garden whilst Tina explained all… “I’ve lived in this house for just over 21 years and I would describe our garden as an ornamental novelty garden. We have lots of visitors to the garden especially friends and family who have young children or grandchildren. There are lots of ladybird ornaments and the children love to play a game counting up how many ladybirds they can find. We have collected the garden ornaments during our many travels whether sightseeing for the day or away on holiday. We love to visit little tourist shops and craft shops. The larger statues, we tend to get these from Savins Nursery in Stondon and for bedding plants we shop at Mr. Watts in Caldecote. Our favourite aspect of the garden is when the solar powered lights come on at night. The garden really comes to life


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and looks amazing. Visiting children seem to love Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs the most, especially when the house is lit up. In the past we have entered our garden into competitions and we were ‘Best Individual Garden Finalists’ in the 2015 housing association competition. Maintaining the garden is time consuming but we simply try to do as much as we can, although this does get more difficult as we get older.”

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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.

josh squires age: 16 from: chicksands Name:

Q. Briefly explain your talents. My talents include baking and cooking and time management. Q. How would you describe what you do? I love baking and cooking foods like: fudge, desserts, cakes. Q. What do you love about baking? I like baking as I like experimenting on different recipes and improving them. I like the freedom of baking whatever I want. Q. What is the most challenging aspect? The most challenging aspect is not messing anything up. Q. Do you attend training courses? No, but I did do an online course of food hygiene level 2. Q. What are your favourite things to bake? Do you prefer sweet or savoury? I prefer making sweet things. Q. You run your own bakery business called ‘Homemade by Josh’, how did this come about and who are your main customers? I wanted to start a business as when I’m older I want to be a chef and so these are small stepping stones. I have many main customers including people on my estate and my parents, friends and family. Q. Which aspect of running your own business do you enjoy the most / least? I enjoy making the food and looking at feedback to improve the food. Q. Do you want to continue being a baker/confectioner when you leave school? Yes, I want to be a chef. Q. Any advice or tips for anyone wanting to become a baker or starting their own business? Anyone can be a baker and make their own business if they have the right mind set, patience and determination.

Does your child have an amazing talent?

if so, please get in touch at admin@livinglifemagazine.co.uk 8

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local art

Special gifts for special people!

Contribution thanks to

Erika Price

and collective Artisans

Artisans in the Yard

FB@Artisansintheyard Finding the perfect gift is tricky at the best of times, and especially challenging in these uncertain, social-distancing times. Artisans In The Yard has gift-giving covered with our fantastic range of unique art and gifts!

Every item in our little gallery is individually hand-painted by a local artist, or handmade by a local artisan. We have original watercolours, acrylic canvases, mixed media paintings, prints and embroidered art pictures to enhance every wall. From designer furniture to plump hand-sewn cushions, we have something for every home. From hand-turned wood bowls to hand-thrown ceramic vases, and bronzefinish sculptures to hand-made mohair teddies, we have distinctive gifts for everyone. Our hand-bound notebooks, hand-poured candles, and one-of-a-kind sterling silver earrings make perfect treats. Last but not least, we have unique gift wrap & greetings cards to complement every gift. So visit Artisans In The Yard and see for yourself the amazing gifts on offer

– you’ll always find something different interesting, and original!


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food & drink

DELIVERY BOYS’ REVIEW We check out the local restaurants & eateries



by John McBurney & Andrew Martin vironment. On that note, it was very reassuring to see that the Stratton is fully compliant with the Covid-secure guidelines for restaurants. Their measures include wellness checks for staff, enhanced cleaning and layout changes to maintain social distancing to name just a few. We both felt very safe but also very comfortable and relaxed, which is what eating out is all about.

It is so good to be back! Due to the Covid crisis it has been difficult for our delivery team to dine out and review local restaurants, but now, this has all changed. We were very excited to be invited back to the Stratton House Hotel, a place we have fond memories of after our visit to the restaurant in November 2019 and we really looked forward to coming back. On this occasion our restaurant reviewers were John and his wife Kate. Although it was mid-September, we were in the midst of an Indian summer, the sun had been shining all day, as such we were quite looking forward to trying out the Stratton’s Summer Menu.

For mains, Kate opted for the Chickpea, cumin & spinach burger. This came with fried Halloumi and tomato chutney. John decided to go for the Orange and chilli glazed pork belly ribs, with apple and kohlrabi slaw. Kohlrabi? Yes, we had never heard of this before, and discovered that it is a German turnip. It has to be said, the coleslaw was something special. The meals came with a choice of skinny fries, triple cooked chips or sweet potato chips. Our main courses soon arrived and

For starters we decided to share, choosing the Chipotle chicken wings with blue cheese mayo, hot sauce and coriander. Absolutely finger-licking delicious. A tasty starter to get the juices flowing. We both agreed that the fresh coriander and chilli gave the dish a fantastic punch. Chatting with our waitress, Sinéad, it was interesting to discover that although the government’s ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme had ended, the Stratton had decided to continue the discount until 16th September. A very kind and generous gesture and a fantastic way for people to bring back some normality into their lives by eating out in a pleasant and safe en16

This Month’s Review Stratton House Hotel London Road, Biggleswade, SG18 8ED

01767 312442

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we were more than impressed. Our meals were exceptionally well presented both arriving on wooden boards. The pork belly ribs were huge, there was so much succulent tender meat, and such a tasty glaze, full of citrusy notes and fresh chilli giving it a mouth-watering kick, perfectly complimented with a glass of El Monstruo Malbec. The vegetarian burger in a brioche bun was delicious, the grilled halloumi was the game winner, giving the burger a real tasty bite and accompanied very well with the chutney. A perfect vegetarian meal.

tive staff, in warm, welcoming surroundings. We now have the perfect excuse, and are looking forward to returning and trying out their Autumn Menu, which will be launched on 23rd September.

With full tummies, we decided to pass on dessert, however, a quick look at the menu, it was far too easy persuading ourselves to share a pudding. We went for the warm chocolate brownie with salted caramel and honeycomb ice cream. Simply amazing, especially the honeycomb. We finished with coffees, said our farewells and headed home. We simply can’t wait to go back to the Stratton House Hotel. The food really is top notch and the service is delightful, with friendly tenta-

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Giving Animals a New Lease of Life T

by Dan Connors

hree years ago, Sue Wood took an injured hedgehog to Hetty’s Hedgehog Rescue in Letchworth. Unfortunately, Hetty’s Rescue was completely full that day and Sue ended up receiving some good advice and taking a hedgehog home. Over three hundred hedgehogs later and Woody’s Wildlife Rescue now takes up a substantial portion of both Sue’s garden and her spare time. Woody’s has grown from a single room in Sue’s house to two large converted hospital sheds and now cares for far more than hedgehogs. In the past three years cuckoos, pigeons, buzzards, small songbirds, an owl, and a fox have all passed through. Sue Wood with volunteer Grace Connors

On top of a full-time job Sue spends 2-3 hours a day caring for the animals; hand feeding some and cleaning and weighing all of them. These days Sue is not alone and is supported by 8 wonderful helpers who also care for the animals. It is a good job that people like Sue and Hetty successfully rescue, care for and release hedgehogs. Their numbers have plummeted, and it is estimated that a third of their population have disappeared in the last 20 years. Their numbers are dropping at the same rate as tiger. These losses are mainly due to loss of their habitat along with greatly reduced food sources for them. Sue estimates that she has a survival rate of about 98% and when the hedgehogs are ready to be released, they usually go back to the area that they were found in. Some of the hedgehogs that end up at Woody’s are there because of overenthusiastic humans. Young hedgehogs are sometimes left alone for short periods while the mother goes to feed. If you find a nest of baby hedgehogs Sue says that under no circumstances should you touch them, quickly put anything back that you’ve moved to reveal them. Hedgehogs are very good at smell and if the mother comes back and smells a human has disturbed her nest, she will usually kill her babies. Hedgehogs also have their own type of fleas which are completely harmless to both dogs and humans. Some well-meaning people try to treat hedgehogs with dog flea powder which is poisonous to them. Sue is currently fundraising to buy two new incubators which are vital when very young animals arrive. If you would like to contribute then suitable items to support the rescue can found at this Amazon Wishlist: bit.ly/woodyswishlist If you find a hedgehog or other wild animal that needs help then Sue can be contacted on: 07720 932097 or via her Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/woodyswildrescue 18

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Arlesey MUGA Pitches

As we move into the autumn we are pleased to welcome back local netball teams to our MUGA pitches. We have two netball/tennis courts available to hire. The MUGA can also be used for workout classes or personal training sessions and the floodlights enable classes to continue throughout the winter months. For further details or to book please contact Arlesey Town Council on

01462 733722

or email adminassistant@arleseytc.co.uk

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Contribution thanks to

Claudia McCullough

Creating a Winter Garden

Mulberry Gardening mulberrygardening.co.uk


here is no reason our gardens should have to ‘close’ for the winter! With a bit of thought your garden can be full of life on even the dullest winters day. Colour, texture and form can be used to create interest. Here are four ideas to get you started.

07907 303130

Winter flowering shrubs provide flashes of colour that brighten up your garden. Jasminum ‘nudiflorum’ is a deciduous shrub that carries almost luminous yellow flowers on arching green stems. It really does provide a splash of sunshine on a grey day. Another shrub well worth investing in is the fantastic Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Dawn’. It will thrive in a spot where it gets either full sun or partial shade and in late winter it produces clusters of delicate pink buds that open into white sweetly scented flowers. The fragrance is beautiful and gives a hint of the Spring to come. Grasses are great for creating softer lines in a border in summer and many species last through the winter months, moving with the wind, catching the low winter sun and providing a habitat for insects. Stipa Gigantea also known as ‘Golden Oats’ is a particular favourite of mine. An evergreen grass reaching up to 2 metres tall, its golden oat like flowers last through the winter before being cut back in the spring. Its height and rich colour add drama.

Claudia from Mulberry Gardening

Stem colour can offer contrast in a winter garden so take this into consideration when choosing deciduous shrubs. One of the most well-known is Cornus alba ‘Sibirica’ also known as ‘Dogwood’. Easy to grow it commands attention with its vibrant red stems. There are many other varieties which when planted en mass create a fire like blaze of colour with stems ranging through greens, yellows, reds and oranges. For a touch of silver to mirror the winter chill Perovskia ‘Blue Spire’ is another must have. Its delicate purple to blue flowers in summer fade to leave slender silver stems that last until spring. Don’t be too hasty when it comes to cutting back seed heads. As faded and brown as they look some flowering perennials such as Rudbeckia, Sedums and Helenium’s have seed heads that will hold for most of the winter. Covered with a sparkling frost they add a touch of wonder on a chilly morning, also providing much needed habitats and food for wildlife.

Pink flowers of Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Dawn’

October is still a great time for planting shrubs and some perennials before the soil cools so why not get planning and planting to create a garden for the winters to come!

For more information on any of the plants referenced above go to www.rhs.org.uk Cornus create a blaze of colour


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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 mulberrygardening.co.uk 07907 303130 Don’t forget to mention LivingLife when contacting advertisers


Singing & music

Reinventing our classes ONLINE! 2020

Contribution thanks to

Nicola Gawthrop

Vocal Works 07894 047559 nicola@vocalworks.org.uk

has been a crazy year for everyone. For some activity and education providers, like myself, the lockdown has meant scrambling to move classes online via Zoom where possible or potentially shutting up shop for good. A heart-breaking prospect when you’ve spent many years building your own business.

Setting up and delivering classes virtually is not an easy task if you have never worked in this way and do not already possess those technological skills. You also need a decent computer and camera set up, good audio, a suitable space and most importantly a reliable internet connection to make it all happen. My husband produces his own podcast and has been using Zoom for years so I luckily had good studio set up already at home and a tech wiz to help me. I just had to learn how everything worked, which buttons to press and figure out how to teach remotely. How hard could it be? Turns out singing together remotely is actually impossible. The lag on the video call means that you cannot sing at the same time. When teaching groups, I have to mute everyone whilst I lead the warm-up exercises and teach the song. The students all sing along but cannot hear each other. We unmute individual students to hear them separately. I’ve had to learn how to teach singing in a completely different way but thankfully it works! The students have also adapted quickly to working in this way. For some, having a lesson via video call suits them better. Throughout lockdown our students continued their vocal training and learnt songs that they then recorded at home. These videos were sent to me and I put them together to create ‘Virtual Choir Videos’. I have never edited video before. It is hard. It took days! My video and audio editing skills have improved gradually and the students have become really good at making decent recordings. Filming in landscape, using tripods, and even using greenscreens! I have created nine videos so far. You can see them on our Facebook page: @vocalworksclass. I will be running a ‘Virtual Choir’ 3 day holiday workshop during half term for 7-16 year olds £20. We will be making a Halloween themed Virtual Choir videos! Visit our website for details: www.vocalworks.org.uk Being forced to teach online has shown me just how much potential there is for online learning. I have learnt that I am not too old to learn new things and I CAN work with technology! 22

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SCENE BY YOU Your chance to share your favourite photos

Submit your photo for the next edition www.livinglifemagazine.co.uk/myphotos

1 4

2 5 A big thanks to this month’s submissions

3 24


Chris Mills


Laura Dimelow


Linda Parcell


Merrick Baltruschat


Nisha Clarke

Sunset on the Weston Hills Sunset over the lakes Swallows, dinnertime feed Beautiful Scary Clouds Buzz off!

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The October edition

CROSSWORD Answers on P21


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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: www.livinglifemagazine.co.uk/drone Close date 15/10/2020. Only 1 entry per person. Judge’s decision is final. DAVID YULE

07714 418448

nothinglikewood@gmail.com Facebook/Instagram: Nothinglikewood ETSY SHOP: NothinglikewoodCRAFT

If you would like to give a beautiful and functional wooden spoon as a gift, then visit my ETSY shop or contact me directly. I make wooden spoons and bowls using traditional craft knives and axes. The wood that I carve is all sourced locally and ethically. I also take commissions for spoons, bowls, serving boards, house signs and stand alone items of furniture. Don’t forget to mention LivingLife when contacting advertisers



Contribution thanks to

James Stirling

Stondon Parish Council



YOUR VILLAGE NEEDS YOU! Stondon Parish Council should have 10 councillors, but at the time or writing this article, only 8 people have volunteered. You could make a difference in the community by joining the Council.

Stondon Council need to recruit more councillors. Could this be you? What is the role of a councillor?

You will represent the views of all residents within the parish and deliver the overall vision. As part of the council, you will have responsibility for running local services which could include: open spaces, play areas, allotments, grass cutting and potentially much more. Councillors decide on how much to raise through the council tax, called Precept, in order to deliver these services. Councillors are involved in influencing and shaping the long term development policy for the Parish, and as part of the planning process, comment on planning applications in the parish. The ultimate aim is to improve the quality of life and the environment in your Parish by working to identify issues which are important to the lives of the residents you represent, bringing about improvements through local projects, lobbying other service providers and working in partnership with other parishes and agencies. All parish councillors are volunteers and receive no payment.

How much time does it take?

The council usually meet once a month, to which members of the public are also invited. In addition to regular meetings Councillors are required to give time for ‘ad hoc’ meetings e.g. to discuss planning applications that the council must give its opinions on. Correspondence is also circulated via email to councillors for review.

Are you eligible?

To be a councillor you must be a UK, Commonwealth or EU citizen, be at least 18 years old and be an elector of the parish or; in the past 12 months have occupied (as owner or tenant) land or other premises in the parish or worked in the parish. If you’re not eligible you can still volunteer to help in one of our working groups so please contact us.

Still interested? Contact James Stirling (Clerk) on 01462 887521 for an informal chat, email: clerk@stondon-pc.gov.uk or www.stondon-pc.gov.uk 30

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Profile for livinglifemag

LivingLife Issue 23 (October)