The Bath Magazine April 2020

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Illustration by Rosanna Tasker

ISSUE 211 | APRIL 2020 | | £3.95 where sold

Love your local larder ISOLATE AND IMPROVE

Imagine you have two weeks at home with limited outside contact: what to do?


It’s all about the recycling technology, says Bronwen Jameson


Make nature your interior heartbeat with help from our local producers


Lie in the bluebells and dream of Pernod and brasseries with Valentine Warner


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Contents April. ( lockdown) .qxp_Layout 1 20/03/2020 18:54 Page 1

Keep calm during...




Contents April 2020 5 THINGS



Essential events to look forward to this month

FOOD CONSOLATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .48 Chef and food writer Valentine Warner talks to Melissa Blease about why it’s good not to pretend

THE PROBLEM ISN’T PLASTIC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 WHERE WILLIAM ONCE WANDERED

Bronwen Jameson explains why not using plastic may be more harmful to the environment

FORGOTTEN STORIES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22


On the 250th anniversary of his birth, Catherine Pitt traces Wordworth’s association with Bath

BATH AT WORK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .56

Kate Macdonald on the joy of discovering long-lost tales

ISOLATE AND INNOVATE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Two weeks at home – what can be done? We’ve come up with a few ideas, ranging from sorting out dark cupboards to learning semaphore





Neill Menneer’s portrait of chef Christophe Lacroix




Animal stories from Bristol Zoo’s longest serving zookeeper who was once thrown across the paddock by Wendy the elephant

Andrew Swift follows the towpath and discovers a country village

BLUE IS THE COLOUR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62

KEEPING THINGS MERRY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30

It’s April and the world’s gone mad, but you can rely on the bluebells

Simon Butteriss and Oliver Gooch talk about the longlasting popularity of The Merry Widow operetta

BIOPHILIA RULES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .76 Interior products that embrace the bounty of nature

CITY ARTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .32 Yes there are some art exhibitions still open in the city...




Is it time to build a work refuge in your garden?




Escape to Rosanna Tasker’s delicate, ethereal illustrative worlds, says Millie Bruce-Watt



Bath’s finest homes to buy or rent


Melissa Blease canvases opinion about Brexit, its potential impact on the food industry and why buying local is the way forward

More content and updates online:

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Follow us on Twitter @thebathmagazine


The cover image with a UK sourced produce theme by illustrator Rosanna Tasker was specially commissioned for The Bath Magazine;

Follow us on Instagram @thebathmagazine


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Editors Letter april.qxp_Layout 1 20/03/2020 14:02 Page 1


Illustrator Rosanna Tasker’s work is closely connected with the rhythms of nature, as this piece shows. Discover the refreshing charm of her restorative, imaginative worlds in our interview with her on page 40.

from the


We’re loving this stoneware shell pot from Woodhouse and Law, £79. See also our other natural vibe products for the interior on page 76

Editor photograph by Matthew Sterling


e are used to adjusting around ever-changing circumstances. The regular washing of hands and the idea of a life that’s a bit more isolated are now a given in order to contain and protect ourselves. Zooming far away from the eye of the storm, there are observations here. What have the politics of recent months given us? Climate change and Greta Thunberg tell us that we have to dramatically change the way we live to give ourselves a viable future; Brexit tells us that we want to operate in a smaller circle than we once did; and Covid-19 is forcing us to do the same, at least in the short term. We like to be the upbeat voice of the city and choose to celebrate and wonder rather than criticise and complain, but these things cannot be ignored. We’re addressing them in our April issue – normally the month of fresh shoots and new growth – in several ways. Our environment page on page 14 sees green campaigner Jay Risbridger ruminating on the production of high-volume non-essential plastics. Then on page 20 Bronwen Jameson of Recycling Technologies explains why she believes that useful plastics should not be cut out because the alternatives can be more harmful, but rather recycled to give them a working life. Our colourful cover image by illustrator Rosanna Tasker (see page 40 for Millie Bruce-Watt’s interview with her) shows a selection of fresh farm foods, a representation of homegrown, local, seasonal produce and its infinite and beautiful variety. While we may still be importing tomatoes from Morocco and bananas from Costa Rica, it makes sense to use our plentiful local supplies of fresh produce as a staple, and a post-Brexit Britain (and a postCovid-19 one) needs to embrace that wholeheartedly. In response, Melissa Blease talks to some knowledgeable food figures on page 46 about their perspectives on the local food market in a Brexit world. There’s more food talk from chef and broadcaster Valentine Warner, whose latest book is all about not pretending, and where lying in a field of bluebells is his idea of happiness, as Melissa Blease reports on page 48. On a lighter note, we’ve asked around for ideas of what people are planning to do if in isolation at home – learning semaphore and growing prize-winning dahlias are two of the proposed ideas on page 24. Close community is special; let’s value it, at this time more than ever, even if it’s at a distance. In the meantime, the bluebells will be flowering in mid-April. Emma Clegg Editor

All paper used to make this magazine is taken from good sustainable sources and we encourage our suppliers to join an accredited green scheme. Magazines are now fully recyclable. By recycling magazines, you can help to reduce waste and contribute to the six million tonnes of paper already recycled by the UK paper industry each year. Please recycle this magazine, but if you are not able to participate in a recycling scheme, then why not pass your magazine on to a friend or colleague.

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Due to the escalation of the COVID-19 virus, events across the 2020 Beethoven weekend in March and The Bath Festival and The Bath Festival finale weekend in May will not be taking place; individual events will either be rescheduled or cancelled. The positive news is that the festival team are now rescheduling a number of the festival events that will be focused around three weekends in the autumn, creating The Bath Festival Season. The weekends will be 11–13 September, 23–25 October and 5–8 November. The Bath Children’s Literature Festival will go ahead, as planned, on 25 September – 4 October. The festival team will be working with artists, venues and partners in the city to plan the rescheduled events and will share more by the end of April. They will then also provide full information for current ticket holders of postponed and cancelled March and May events. VINO-CULTURE One of my self-isolation resolutions is to drink more thoughtfully. So I will be dipping into some recent recommendatons from our wine columnist Tristan Darby. My first choice will be Côte de Nuits, Domaine Harmand-Geoffroy, Gevrey Chambertin En Jouise 2014. It has the longest name ever, which is always a good thing, and it’s a full and deep red from the heart of Burgundy, so it will remind me of the wooded mountains of the Morvan, one of my most favourite parts of the world.

Bluebell is the sweetest flower ❝ TheThat waves in summer air:

Its blossoms have the mightiest power To soothe my spirit’s care. EMILY BRONTË (1818–1848)

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things to do in

April at home

Photograph: Rob O’Connor/Decca

Garden Affairs’ new Proline range

Gareth Malone

Plan and design For those looking to redecorate their homes or rearrange their gardens while they are spending more time at home, Garden Affairs have launched a new range of offices, pods, studios and workshops so you can create your own homeworking space and enjoy the great outdoors from your garden room. In gardening parlance, it’s a good time to start sowing seeds. Whether you want to see a garden landscape from your studio window or just need some extra space, shedworking can provide the answers. See also page 78.

Read Here’s something for those with extra time on their hands. The Little History of Somerset by Mike Dean is the perfect read for Bathonians, or anyone from Somerset. More than 400-million years ago the oldest rocks in Somerset were formed. A county was built over thousands of years, from prehistoric man and Roman invasion, through a pitchfork rebellion and two world wars to where we stand today. Revolution, wassailing, templars and alchemists can all be found in this friendly guide to Somerset’s colourful history. Published by The History Press, £12.

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In light of the current self-isolation measures, choirmaster, composer and television presenter Gareth Malone has announced a new initiative to bring together both amateur and professional performers around the country in an attempt to boost morale through the power of music. The Great British Home Chorus aims to give everyone the opportunity to contribute their voices and instruments to a digital music project. Gareth will help those singers who don’t know how to stream music or interact with communities online. The project aims to tackle loneliness and keep people connected while abiding by the government’s guidelines of social distancing.

Receive food During this challenging time, some of the city’s small businesses are offering home delivery services in an attempt to help those who are self isolating. Larkhall Butchers have joined together with shops in the local area and are offering their services to those in need, delivering shopping to their doors. Working in the BA1 and BA2 areas, customers are able to self-isolate safe in the knowledge that help is not far away. Other businesses in Bath are also either offering home deliveries or free deliveries including The Colombian Co, Abbey Ales Brewery, Goulash, Le Vignoble Bath and Novel Wines.;;;;;

Listen local Here’s another thing to do at home. Listen to some local music! Isobel Holly’s latest album, Inflorescence, is one to sample. Currently studying at the Royal College of Music in Manchester, the singer-songwriter from Bath describes her sound as “a love child of Fleetwood Mac and Tori Amos”. Another idea is the music of founding member of Noah and the Whale, singer-songwriter Matt Owens. Now based in Bath, he has just released a new single, Too Far Gone, featuring the voices of Thea Gilmore and Robert Vincent, from his most recent album Whiskey and Orchids. The album has a rich, lyrical storytelling style, betraying hints of his favourite artists Neil Young and Warren Zevon.;

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The city


THE BUZZ THE BUZZ £10m restoration underway

Visitors can get their first glimpse of Dyrham Park’s restored Old Staircase this month as the first phase of work on a £10 million site-wide project is finished. Work on the staircase signals the first major milestone to restore, revitalise and reimagine The National Trust site near Bristol and Bath. The project, called Dyrham Park Rework’d, aims to give people more space to eat, shop and play. Tours are running each weekday, volunteer numbers permitting, to find out about some of the work we do behind the scenes.

Funds save historic bridge

Bath and North East Somerset Council has successfully secured £3.5 million of funding to carry out essential repairs on the city’s historic Cleveland Bridge. The funding was announced as part of a £93m government boost to ensure England’s roads are fit for travel. Currently, the 194-year-old bridge has a temporary 18-tonne weight restriction on it affecting heavy goods vehicles and larger coaches. The bridge, which was originally constructed in 1826 for horse drawn vehicles and pedestrians, now carries 17,000 vehicles a day including more than 600 HGVs. The council is among 32 local authorities which will receive investment for essential repair works to level up infrastructure.

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Andy Chambers runs Bluebell Care’s Dads in Mind service, an organisation challenging the stigmas that surround fatherhood. He dedicates his time to helping fathers experiencing perinatal mental health issues Bath is my wife’s hometown and became home for me seven years ago when we decided to settle down. I’d spent a long time living in London and with the prospect of starting a family I wanted my children to grow up somewhere with green spaces and a community around them, so I feel very lucky to live in our wonderful city. My path to Dads in Mind certainly wasn’t conventional. I spent more than a decade in the City working in foreign exchange trading before I realised I had a creative and compassionate brain that corporate life just didn’t suit. When I moved to Bath I had a chance conversation with a local cabinet-maker and he gave me the opportunity to retrain with him making fine furniture, which I absolutely adored. Fast forward a few years and I proudly run a new business called Kidd and Bear. I now juggle that alongside Dads in Mind. I joined Dads in Mind after my wife experienced post-natal depression with our little boy and it became obvious over that time that whilse there was some support for mums, there was little support to help dads with their mental health. I just wanted to change what I had experienced to benefit other fathers. Dads in Mind is a peer support service designed to give new fathers an outlet to share their struggles and help them navigate through difficult periods. All of us have had lived experience of our own perinatal mental health difficulties and being able to empathise with each other, makes a huge difference. I think the world is definitely moving in the right direction in recognising the role that fathers play as parents these days, but there is still a long way to go. Attitudes to men's mental health are still working through some historical barriers, but I feel really positive about how different the landscape will look when our children become parents. As clichéd as this may sound, my wedding day is the happiest memory I have. I spent years searching for a wife who understood me, respected me and celebrated the person I am, and so getting the chance to celebrate that with all our friends and family was incredible.

My one regret was never learning music growing up. I would have loved to have been a musician. I’m still trying to learn in my old age but it’s a much more difficult thing to find the time these days. Bath has so many beautiful places to walk and explore with children and I love the adventures we have as a family getting wet and muddy watching their creative brains go wild with ideas. I hope my children will see me as a dad who is compassionate, respectful and someone who helped them explore their individuality. Someone who encouraged them to make the world a better place. Not everyone will be a sports fan but catching a game at the Rec on a Friday night is magical. There are few places left where sport is so community spirited as you watch the town turn blue, black and white and the floodlights are the icing on the cake. One of the books that influenced me most was Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly. It opened my eyes to a whole new way of seeing myself and my relationships. If I wrote a letter to my 16-year old self, I’d say listen to your gut, find what you truly love doing and fill your life with those things. None of us are blessed with a second chance. If I could go anywhere in the world, it would be Japan. I was lucky enough to travel there in my twenties and have never since found a place with such incredible people. That said, I could live the rest of my days out in The Maldives without too much trouble. I have high hopes for what we can do with Dads in Mind. I’m also excited to see how my Kidd and Bear business grows over time. I would love to get more involved with mental health initiatives to be able to leave a legacy for our children that I will be proud to have been a part of and, of course, to spend as much time as humanly possible watching and helping my kids grow up. n

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The city


Green news from the city Climate emergency declared

Bath Spa University and the Students’ Union have pledged their support to tackle climate change

Bath Spa University and its Students’ Union have joined forces to declare a climate emergency as they call on students, staff, and the local community to pledge their support for urgent action. Sustainability is an important part of Bath Spa University’s culture. Last year, the university made improvements to reduce its reliance on single-use plastics, and all of its electricity has come from certified renewable resources since 2016. Bath Spa University vice-chancellor Professor Sue Rigby said: “Declaring an emergency means that we can set big goals, but we can also set smaller ones so that everyone is a part of it. Sometimes people feel powerless in the face of something so big, but actually this is something where everyone makes a difference all the time.”

Expedition to save penguins Rising temperatures, industrial fishing and disappearing sea ice has led to a huge decrease in the number of Chinstrap penguins living in the Antarctic. Numbers have dropped by two thirds since the 1970s, with some colonies losing as many as seven out of ten penguins. Greenpeace is funding expeditions to the Antarctic to monitor exactly how climate change and industrial fisheries are devastating these fragile penguin colonies. The research won’t just help protect Chinstrap penguins but will also help scientists see how climate change and commercial fishing is affecting wildlife across the Antarctic. As well as research, the expeditions collect crucial evidence to help ensure that the new United Nations Global Ocean Treaty will be strong enough to protect oceans and wildlife. To donate and support Greenpeace’s work visit:

An endangered Chinstrap penguin parent and chick

Tree planting measures A group of volunteers from Bathscape’s Community Action for Nature group has teamed up with Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Parks team to plant hundreds of new trees in Rush Hill Open Space. Some 900 native trees including beech, oak and lime trees have been planted in Bathscape’s final tree planting session of the winter. Councillor Paul Crossley, cabinet member for Community Services, said: “We’re extremely grateful to everyone who has turned out in all weathers to help at the tree planting sessions held over

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the winter months. The trees will enhance the area for both wildlife and the local community and help us to tackle the Climate Emergency by absorbing carbon. We aim to plant 100,000 across Bath and North East Somerset over the coming years and everyone involved in these planting sessions is helping us to reach that goal.” The planting session was led by Avon Wildlife Trust, with trees provided by Bath & North East Somerset Council.

Green thoughts Jay Risbridger, managing director of the Green Stationary Company, explains how we need to buy better quality items and less of them to help save the planet

Of course everyone likes a bargain, but are cheap things destroying the world? It is low price products that tend to be produced in poor environmental conditions, and which have little regard for their environmental impacts. Unfortunately, cheap products often have short life spans and so generate more waste than their expensive counterparts that last longer and are more economically viable to repair. To make profits from selling cheap products businesses must aim for larger volumes and try to encourage overconsumption. This is particularly true of food products, where the more you buy of a product the cheaper it becomes. How many times have you been tempted with buy two and get one free offers? It would be much better for the environment if things became more expensive when you used more of them; this is recognised in some energy pricing, where fuel rates go up when you use more than the average amount of electricity or gas. This anti-market type pricing is rare and should be extended to many more products. But not everyone has the luxury of being able to afford more expensive products. Those with lower incomes often cannot afford organic food and quality consumer goods. Poverty is one of the main drivers of environmental degradation throughout the world, where wild animals are killed and trees are cut down simply because people are desperate to survive. This is why there is an environmental imperative to end the widening of unequal income distribution. A doubling of the minimum wage would allow more people to move away from cheap food and products and this would be good for general health as well as the environment. The next time you are tempted by an offer of buy one get one free, consider a better quality item and only get what you really need.

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Richard Wyatt:

Notes on a small city

Columnist Richard Wyatt remembers his time in the air with a man called Uncle. It was, however, fake air. Illustration by Brian Duggan


won’t bother you with the reasons why boxes and boxes of photographs have been retrieved from my attic. How lucky we are today that such images are now stored in accessible electronic devices like the one I am working on. The point of all of this was that – in one of those cardboard containers – I came across an old promotional card for our regional news programme at HTV West. There’s (Uncle) Bruce Hockin and ‘Yours Truly’ waving from the basket of a hot air balloon as it ‘hovers’ above the glorious Georgian architecture of the Royal Crescent. I had to smile to myself as this was a very early example of ‘fake’ news. If you think about it, two things are wrong with this image. The first is that balloons don’t hover. They either move up or down or sideways with the wind. The second anomaly is how was the shot taken? Was there another balloon nearby? I think that would have been far too close and highly dangerous. Plus, we are talking about the 1980s when drones referred to people who talked boringly at length. No, it was a clever cheat. The basket was suspended from the jib of a crane and the picture framed in such a way that it really looked like a whole hot air balloon was frozen in time and in exactly the right place. I actually think that I would have been able to hide my fear – behind the expected smile – more easily if it had been a real balloon and not a swaying basket. I do have memories of a real balloon trip across the city. We needed opening titles for a six-part series called Set in Stone: The Architectural History of Bath. Those of you who have ridden in a balloon will know that you experience this weird effect of not feeling the wind because you are blown

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along by it and within it. That means our filming trip needed a clear day with gentle winds blowing in the right direction. We took off from Sydney Gardens and floated across the city, passing over the circular gas holders that have long since disappeared. I had to face the camera and explain where we were and what the programme was all about. Not easy when the pilot had to carry out frequent and noisy flame bursts to maintain altitude. I was a bit of a seasoned balloon pro by this point, although my first trip in an aerial gondola was the bumpiest to date. I don’t mean the basket bucks in turbulence – it was more a case of our landing. The balloon captain usually carries a bottle of something to give to the unsuspecting owner of whatever patch of land he finally decides to touch down on. Position and timing are all down to him. On this occasion, we came down on a large expanse of grassland that turned out to be a school playing field. Having achieved what I thought in my innocence to be a perfect touch down, a gust of wind filled the deflating balloon which then dragged us

basket-born passengers across what turned out to be the well-groomed cricket pitch. If my memory serves me, copious supplies of grass seed were added to the welcome bottle to try and make amends for the furrow we had ploughed. My most exotic flight was a trip at sunrise across the River Nile and over the Valley of the Kings in Egypt. Having spotted the name of Bristol-based Don Cameron on the inflated fabric above us, I happened to mention to the pilot that we hailed from that city and knew the man whose company had made his balloon. That went down well enough to earn a slight discount on our fare after we’d enjoyed a magical trip across the last resting place of those ancient monarchs. What memories that little publicity postcard had evoked. In case you are wondering why Bruce picked up the ‘Uncle’ handle, he kept handing over to me during the news as ‘back to young Richard’, so I retaliated one day with the abovementioned informality. It stuck. n Richard Wyatt runs the Bath Newseum:

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The plastic dilemma

Bronwen Jameson, external affairs manager at Recycling Technologies in Swindon, works to raise awareness of the technology that’s on offer to accelerate the evolution of plastic into a more sustainable material. She works with governments, NGOs, supply chain partners and trade bodies with the aim of changing the landscape of recycling so that decisions and policy may be based on emerging solutions as well as ‘business as usual’. Here she explains how not using plastic may in fact be more harmful to the environment


lastic was first created by US amateur inventor John Wesley Hyatt in the 1860s. He took up a challenge with a $10,000 reward, to find an alternative material to ivory for making billiard balls. Ivory was becoming scarce and killing elephants in their thousands for their tusks was creating public outcry – something needed to be done to protect wildlife. Now over 150 years later, the tables have turned on this wonder material plastic, and plastic waste in particular. The BBC’s Blue Planet highlighted significant negative effects on the natural world of our current ‘make, use, dispose’ economy, where we use materials, sometimes for very short periods of time, then throw them away. Clearly we need to use our world’s resources more efficiently and protect our environment.

Is the answer to ban or stop using plastics? In many situations and in the spirit of the 3Rs, which prioritises ‘reduce and re-use’ over ‘recycle’ this may be exactly right. We are rightly starting to refuse takeaway cups in favour of reusables and questioning whether we need a straw in every drink or a toy in every children’s meal. If we don’t need to use a resource at all, it is always best to go without. But what happens when the packaging’s utility value – lightweight, safe, durable, sealable – justifies its use? Studies in the UK show that many of us are prone to what can be considered a plastic dilemma. We recognise the importance of plastic packaging to protect goods in transit and prolong shelf-life, which helps to prevent food waste, but we are increasingly unwilling to accept that it comes at the

expense of the environment. Yet eschewing packaging which helps prevent food waste will and does bring high environmental costs, such as added greenhouse gas emissions. If food waste was a country it would be the third biggest greenhouse gas emitter in the world. When considering replacing plastics with other materials the choices become complicated. A paper bag has 3.3 times more carbon dioxide embedded in it than a conventional plastic bag. Glass bottles and metal cans in particular have significantly higher emissions associated with their manufacture than their plastic equivalent. In many situations rejecting plastic does not help the environment at all, but has a negative impact. I work for Recycling Technologies, a recycling company that has developed a

“Ultimately, it is you and me, the citizens and consumers, who have kept Sir David Attenborough’s rally cry alive in the media and in the hearts and minds of business, with our passion to see action on plastic waste; and we all stand to gain in terms of easier recycling at home, reduced carbon emissions and cleaner seas and streets” BRONWEN JAMESON

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machine for recycling a wide range of plastic back into the oil it originally came from. The process recycles waste plastics normally considered unrecyclable, such as bags, crisp packets and sweet wrappers, which today go to landfill or incineration. Recently we ran a trial with Tesco to collect and recycle these soft plastics. The trial was conducted in just 10 stores in south west England, with overwhelming engagement from consumers who brought back plastic at rates far exceeding expectation. This trial shows that consumers want the system to do better and engage more with recycling, as in many countries where recycling is the number one community action for the environment. So how do we make the system better? Scotland’s code of practice aims to standardise waste collections into three bins so that systems don’t change from district to district. Residents in Belgium receive a single collection sack specifically for plastics, cans and cartons, which accepts virtually all plastic regardless of colour or type. The hope is that this will greatly increase rates of recycling by reducing confusion over what can be accepted and instigating a much simpler decision for residents: If you think it’s plastic, put it in. One system, one message, consistently coded bins at home, in the office, shopping centres and public areas, would empower

the nine out of ten people who want to do more, to do just that. It is technically possible to recycle virtually all plastics, by coupling innovative recycling approaches with existing mechanical recycling processes, which currently recycle predominantly bottles and trays. However to transition to what can be recycled in theory to what is recycled in practice requires investment in building recycling capacity. The increasing drive from our favourite brands to use recycled materials in packaging will encourage investment in recycling capacity. The government is also stimulating demand for recycled raw materials for use in manufacturing, reducing the need for virgin raw materials. In the

recent budget, the Chancellor confirmed the introduction of a plastics tax in 2022. Under this, producers and importers of plastics packaging will need to have a minimum of 30% recycled content in their products or face a £200 per tonne tax. A financial incentive triggered the development of plastics in the 1860s; today fiscal measures will hopefully encourage the creation of a plastics recycling infrastructure that is fit for purpose. There is no reason why the UK cannot create a world-leading plastics recycling industry, keeping the value of this great material in-country, creating jobs in this growth economy and protecting our natural environment. n



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Forgotten stories

The Bath Festival – now postponed until the autumn – will be celebrating books in all their diverse forms. One of the forthcoming events will be discussing hidden stories and how, with some detective work, they can continue to provide engrossing reads. Kate Macdonald, who will be moderating the discussion, talks to us about the lure of forgotten tales


ate Macdonald has been looking for lost stories all her life. She first realised the thrill in her teens, when The Book of Merlyn, the fourth volume in T. H. White’s Sword in the Stone tetralogy, was published in 1977 after the manuscript had been found in White’s papers after his death. “I suddenly became aware that stories I loved had authors who might lose them, and that stories could be found again if you knew where to look,” says Kate. Kate will be moderating a panel which will be discussing forgotten stories at the Bath Festival (date to be announced). Author Sarah LeFanu, poet and historian Louisa Adjoa Parker, and literary journalist Lucy Scholes will be talking about why stories disappear in history. Sarah LeFanu was an editor at The Women’s Press, which had a key role in republishing feminist science fiction. Her new book, Something of Themselves: Kipling, Kingsley, Conan Doyle and the Anglo-Boer War, is about Mary Kingsley, a forgotten woman explorer and ethnographer in 19thcentury Africa. Kate explains: “Kingsley’s influence on how African culture was regarded by British imperialism is important, but her writing has been largely ignored. That’s a political disappearance as well as a gendered one, and Sarah shows us what we can learn from biography.” Louisa Adjoa Parker will be talking about how we can recover historical individuals from the past. She is a pioneer in digging up the lost histories of the west country’s black inhabitants, and on how Dorset history has also been black history for over 400 years.The final panellist Lucy Scholes is a literary journalist who writes on forgotten fiction for The Times and The Paris Review.

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Kate remembers a long-lost story by John Buchan that she discovered at the British Museum. “It was his last short story, and it was listed in the bibliographies, but no-one, not even his family, had a copy. It took two days of working through the old printed British Library catalogue. But then I opened the only existing copy of the 1930s charity magazine that he’d donated that story to, and there it was: classic Buchan, a brilliant ghost story. I was the first person to read it again after 50 years.” As publisher of Bath-based Handheld Press, Kate specialises in bringing back into print forgotten fiction and lost authors. A recent publication by Handheld is a new edition of Business as Usual by Jane Oliver and Ann Stafford, a delightful 1933 novel about working on the book floor of a London department store. “I’d been giving a talk in London to the Angela Thirkell Society, and one of the members had brought some old books she wanted to sell. I had never heard of Business as Usual or the authors, but I bought it for £3, and read it on the way home to Bath. I nearly missed my stop, it was so good!” Several weeks of research to find the authors’ estates took Kate to a local history society in Hampshire, and then to Orkney to meet Jane Oliver’s nephew, who gave her the family history to write the introduction. “It’s not just whether the story is a good one; it’s the hidden history and the forgotten social networks illustrated by these lost stories that make them important. Gloucestershire author Alice Jolly’s Mary Ann Sate, Imbecile, published by Unbound, is an outstanding example of how fiction can illuminate lost lives and a historical period through her invention of one woman’s voice,” says Kate. “Forgotten fiction is definitely fashionable now among publishers. The Women’s Press and Virago began the recovery of lost women authors as a feminist project, followed by Persephone Books. But now we have lots of reprint publishers in niche markets: novels about women in domestic interiors, or Golden Age crime classics. There’s a new readership out there now; the millennial reader is keen to discover the stories from ages gone by. But what can the old stories tell us now, in the age of pandemics and climate emergency? Are they just for comfort, or can they inspire us?” n

Forgotten Stories will run during The Bath Festival, over three weekends in September, October and November;

OTHER STORY-BASED EVENTS DUE TO FEATURE AT THE BATH FESTIVAL: Feel-Good Fiction sees Joe Haddow talking to Libby Page and Clare Pooley about their novels The 24-hour Café and The Authenticity Project Novel Nights is an evening of readings by emerging writers and a discussion about the craft of writing Around the World in 10 Books sees Scott Pack and Judith Robinson travelling the globe in search of great works of world literature First on the Scene sees the bestselling Mark Billingham talking to authors Abbie Greaves and Elizabeth Kay about their debut novels The Silent Treatment and Seven Lies Tayari Jones, the winner of the 2019 Women’s Prize for Fiction, shares her new novel, Silver Sparrow Order these books and read them in preparation for the festival events later in the year!

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What’s on in isolation

What’s on clearly isn’t on this month. But there’s plenty to do, reports Emma Clegg, who has asked around for ideas on productive, rewarding or long-put-off activities that can be done in our new isolated circumstances. Whether it’s reading War and Peace in Russian or learning semaphore, we’re not short of ideas...


ho would have thought, just two months ago, that our world landscape would have changed so much? That everything – our work patterns, our commerce, our social and cultural lives, our health management, our hygiene routines, our travel systems, our schools – would either grind to a halt or change in character so suddenly and so dramatically? Scientists are testing for an effective immunisation; stock markets are plunging; economists are predicting outcomes, none of them encouraging; political leaders are making announcements and trying to sound authoritative; health and medical services are preparing for worst case scenarios; and key stage exams are cancelled. Covid-19 2020 will without doubt become a chapter in the history books. But what about us? What about the people who are in the middle of this chapter of history? How will we feature? As those who panic bought toilet rolls? As those who emptied supermarkets of hand sanitiser,

BELOW: Lose yourself in a jigsaw as you watch the news unfold and transcribe family letters, immersing yourself in the news of another era

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pasta and baked beans? Is this how we want to be remembered? The thing is that if we are confined to our homes for extended periods, how will we fill the time? Is it possible to turn an enforced period at home into something memorable, something that has value, something that we can remember with pride? Can we demonstrate resourcefulness and creativity and vision in the management of our daily lives just like our ancestors did in the war? I’ve canvased opinion from colleagues, friends and family, and here is a summary of what’s in the pipeline. My French correspondent, also known as my godmother, tells me that France is in day three of nationwide confinement. Everyone needs authorisation to leave their house and can be checked by police with on-the-spot fines if their motives are invalid. She is full of ideas for confinement activities: to sort out her garage, organise the cupboard under the stairs, start a new sculpture and weed the garden. She has already made some fabric masks for her daughter and her husband who are still working as vets. What’s more she is proposing making Japanese sponges out of socks. Basically, you cut all the good bits of the sock (so the bit above the ankle) into loops of about 2cm, weave them together on a frame made with nails, and then crochet the ends together to form a softish sponge that you can use for washing (yourself) or cleaning. And that’s not the least of it – another French citizen, a performance artist, is choosing to dance intensely in an empty graveyard en plein air. With the camera on record, bien sûr. OK, the French are a bit zany, but Naomi Campbell’s no better, taking salt and vinegar baths, drinking celery juice and dancing to pass the time. But what about closer to home? I have received fervent resolutions from those I have asked to (in isolation) take up the trumpet again, play the piano, write a long-planned novel, patch up old jeans, darn socks, cook and bake their way from Bertinet to Ottolenghi and back, and find new ways of wiping their bottom. A colleague sat at the piano for the first time in years this month, and learned Ruby Tuesday. She’s also planning to revive the old Duo Lingo app to brush up on her Spanish – just five minutes a day of this will leave plenty of time for other educational and instructional activities. There are plenty of creative enterprises planned, too, including tambour embroidery, previously attempted but fruitlessly, as said

Eclectic reading and viewing choices include the Russian edition of War and Peace, Bosh! cookbook and Netflix drama Lilyhammer

passer of time had previously worked herself up into a tantrum after failing to thread the needle due to too much wine and a stressful day at work. She says if she settles down with a cup of tea, a podcast, and some patience, she might stand a chance. Another friend plans to finish knitting the jumper that she started in the nineties, which will probably be back in fashion when it’s finished and then it will be winter again… (but will the tension be correct…?) There’s quite a bit of admin planned: to finally clear out the filing cabinet and throw away bank statements from 1986 onwards, to delete the 1,000 plus emails from the inbox, and to sort out old photos into albums or chuck them if you are in them and don’t like your haircut, extra flab or gormless expression. Cupboards will also be emptied of ancient spices, tangled balls of wool, dead spiders and things that would come in handy if only the owner knew they were there. Filing systems will be systematically overhauled so that the finding of a mortgage statement or a doctor’s letter will take place in a matter of seconds. My cousin is planning to help recreate the ancient art of letter writing – and he’s in an excellent position for this as he remembers birthdays, is super thoughtful and has a great taste in cards. His plan is to discover the possibilities of the written word, conveying measured, thoughtful, considered, affectionate emotions and responses, and to aim in the process to take the sting out of immediate, ill thought out and ill tempered responses on social media. He’s the one who’s also planning to immerse himself in jigsaws of Van Gogh countryside, baked beans and Red Square,

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LEFT: Brush up your semaphore, starting with the four most important letters: B A T H

Moscow. He was actually seriously debating whether he should start with the edges, or with the most obvious features as he launches into this resolution. Which made me remember rather vividly how many edges I’d sorted on his behalf in family jigsaw related get-togethers as he maximised on the easier dense coloured bits. Fresh air features, too, in enforced isolation, because as long as you’re at a suitable distance, outdoors is OK. So there are plans to cultivate prize-winning dahlias, take dogs out for long country walks, look out for all the bees and butterflies that will start to appear now that our carbon footprint is improving, and to watch the birds in the garden who know nothing about our current predicament, which is reassuring somehow… There are urges to ‘do’ the garden, although the one metre away from the fence gardening limit does cause problems in a garden that’s just two metres wide. Another friend has just bought a pair of running shoes for the first time in more than a decade, so her days at home are going to begin with a run: “The time is definitely now,” she says. For indoor exercise, there is a resolution to hitch the bike to the turbo and cycle miles without leaving the kitchen. This passer of time admits she’s not entirely sure how likely that will be, but is reassured by having the option. There are also yoga, pilates and body jam classes at home on the horizon, normally attended at the health club, now out of bounds, and the practising of mindfulness every day to minimise panic. DIY is definitely in the air, although my French correspondent warns that this needs advance action as lock down doesn’t allow browsing down the aisles of Homebase, or in her case Mr Bricolage, to stock up on paint or wallpaper. We have the painting of walls and skirting boards, the immaculate organisation of wardrobes, the throwing away of items that no longer fit and the wallpapering of accent walls going on. You can also sort out that plughole that has been smelly and semi blocked for a year. Just get the raw materials now, everyone! Communication features large. Reading preferences include Billy Connolly’s Tall Tales and Wee Stories and Bosh!, the cookery book by Henry Firth and Ian Theasby, creators of the world's biggest and fastest-growing plant-based platform. There are also plans to read Stephen Fry’s Mythos because it would be good to know more about the Greek myths, and to read War and Peace in the original Russian (this friend has


january 2010

Cupboards will be emptied of ancient spices, tangled balls of wool, dead spiders and things that would come in handy if the owner know they were there


been learning Russian for years, so this is more viable than it sounds #cleverclogs). Another idea if you’re near an expanse of water is to go down to the sea and shout poetry at the waves, but you’ll probably need to take a poetry book as it’s unlikely you’ll remember all the lines. Remember that there’s time to memorise some lines of poetry too! Revisiting collections of magazines are a good call, especially Monocle, 1843, and most importantly, the online archives of The Bath Magazine… Is 14 days long enough?

I have an enchanting collection of letters from my great grandfather to my great grandmother circa 1880s to 1900s, which are written in an elaborate Victorian script that’s hard to decipher. These provide insights into farm life and the culture of the time as well as the deep affection between my great grandparents, and I plan to transcribe them and create a blog to celebrate the times, the letters and the people. Another innovative communications resolution is to learn semaphore, a bit of a wild card but one that would certainly help


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us all communicate with people from afar. Being community spirited is another clear theme, including identifying which elderly and frailer neighbours need help and delivering help accordingly, and becoming actively involved in neighbourhood watches, which take on a new meaning in these challenging times. Another friend is planning to participate in a telephone helpline organised by the local community café so that they can keep in touch with elderly and lonely customers. Screens will of course feature. There is a commitment to get to the bottom of Netflix in order to discover some of the old greats buried in its vaults. And to rewatch Lilyhammer – a series about a New York gangster sent to Norway as part of witness protection – which is apparently well worth a second visit. And to read and then watch the films of the entire series of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, by which time the epidemic will surely be over (and post-event analyses done). We also have playing The Witcher on Playstation and in my case the Wordscapes anagram app, which is a wonderful way of passing the time while you decide what to do next. My 95-year old mother has been in selfimposed isolation in our spare bedroom for over a year, so she is the most experienced at all this. Her perspective is to keep warm and keep us all on our toes, complaining about her toast, ringing her bell loudly when attention is needed, telling me how I should be running my household, and instructing me to wrap up warm every day, even though I’m older than half a century. But she also takes great pleasure in observing the plant and tree growth and every wildlife movement in our back garden, and takes immaculate care of her pots of hyacinths, cyclamen, iris, Opuntia and the constant supply of cut tulips, daffodils and roses that thrive by her window. She also leaves crumbs for the birds on her windowsill. Surely it’s these things, ultimately, that are what it’s all about? n

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BROCANTE WITH SPECIALIST SELLERS Sat 9th & Sun 10th May 10-3.30 Entry £5.00

a place to visit this summer... we'll be open at weekends...

Join us on Sat 6th & Sun 7th June 10-3.30 for


Please look at our website for Retreats, Workshops and our New Cut Flower Farm!



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The Orangery from Wicks Pool

An avenue of trees

Frampton Churchyard

On foot in Frampton

Andrew Swift follows the towpath in Frampton to explore a country village: he discovers a village green named after the tragic mistress of an English monarch, a chocolate factory, a malthouse and a woolbarn


rampton on Severn has the rare distinction of featuring two rivers in its name. Curiously, though, neither the Severn nor the Frome – which gave it its original name of Frometon – flows through the village. There is another waterway, however – the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal – which passes much closer to Frampton, and it is along this towpath that we set off to explore what is widely hailed as one of England’s most beautiful villages. Such plaudits are due not to Frampton’s setting, but to the way it seems to have grown slowly and organically over the centuries. It has its architectural showpieces, to be sure, but for the most part it is more modest buildings – some dating from the middle ages – that catch the eye. The overall impression is one of spaciousness. Nothing seems crowded, and, with so much room to expand, old buildings were, as long as they remained fit for purpose, generally left alone. And with such continuity, echoes of the past seem to linger. The village green, one of the largest in England, is known as Rosamund’s Green, after Rosamund Clifford, Henry II’s tragic mistress, whose family have been lords of the manor since the 11th century. It is, however, only fair to warn you that, as well as being spread out, Frampton also has lots of muddy paths, so stout footwear is essential. By the same token, if you are thinking that

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a walk round a village sounds a little tame, think of it as a country walk with more than the usual quota of interesting buildings. As for getting there, public transport is sadly not an option. The start point, however, is a mere 2.5 miles from Junction 13 of the M5 – although a more pleasant option is to head north from Bath along the A46 for 20 miles before cutting across country through Frocester. As you enter Frampton, turn right, following a sign for Saul Junction. After 900m, turn left, cross a swing bridge and turn right into a car park. Saul, incidentally, got its name from the sallows or willows that are so abundant hereabouts. The canal opened in 1827 and at the time was the widest in the world. Head south along the towpath past the swing bridge. The factory you pass on the opposite bank as you approach the next swing bridge was built by Cadbury’s in 1916 to blend cocoa beans and sugar with milk from local farms before they were shipped to Bournville for further processing. As you pass the swing bridge, look out for the bridge-keeper’s cottage – one of several along the canal – a miniature Greek Revival gem. A little further along the towpath is Saul Lodge, built for the canal company’s chief engineer. Beyond it, views open up westward across the Severn. After another 1500m, cross the canal at Splatt Swing Bridge, follow the lane ahead and turn left at a T-junction.

After passing a converted 18th-century malthouse, turn left. Timber-framed Church Court Cottage, set back behind gardens on the right, dates from the 17th century. Beyond it is St Mary’s church, with elaborately carved gravestones in the churchyard and a giant processional figure of St Blaise inside. Just past the church, go through a squeeze stile, turn right alongside the churchyard wall and follow the path as it leads through an avenue of trees. On your right, as you emerge through the lych gate at the end, are Buckholt Cottages and Buckholt House, both of local brick. Notice, as you turn right along the lane, how Buckholt House has been extended south not once but twice. Although many of the houses along the lane are modern, some are much older – cruck-framed Wild Goose Cottage on the left, for instance, or the Old Thatch, with a boarded gable end, on the right. Both probably date from the 15th century. As the lane curves right, carry straight on past 17th-century Oegrove Farm – looking to the right as you do so to see a 400-year-old wattle-panelled barn. Just past Denfurlong Farm, turn left along a footpath. After 250m, when you come to a pair of metal gates, cross a stile and carry straight on. The lakes bordering the path here are flooded gravel pits. There was quarrying here as early as the 17th century, but large-scale extraction only began around 1900, when much of the

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gravel went to build Avonmouth docks. Go through a kissing gate and carry on in the same direction. After another kissing gate leads into a field of boats, head to the left of the converted barn ahead. Cross two stiles and follow a permissive footpath sign pointing diagonally left across the field ahead. Carry on across another stile. After the next stile, you need to turn left along a rough lane past a cottage. Before you do, though, you may want to carry on into the next field for an uninterrupted view across parkland to Frampton Court, built in the 1730s. At the end of the lane you emerge onto Rosamund’s Green. Turn right and carry on alongside a wall. As you pass the court’s main gates, you can glimpse an octagonal dovecote. The court can be glimpsed behind the high wall a little further on. The pièce de résistance, though, lies behind the next gates. The Orangery is an exuberant mid-18th century Gothick folly, described by Country Life as “the prettiest garden building in England”, which is now a four-bedroom holiday let. Beyond it is Frampton Lodge, built in two stages, as you can tell from the brick – the four bays to the right first, the three bays to the left later. From here, cross to the Bell Inn, in front of which is the ground of the village cricket team. It is hard to imagine a finer setting or anything more

quintessentially English. As you walk along the west side of the green, you pass a couple of 18th-century buildings before coming to the 17th-century Red House, with walls of local brick, tiles of local stone and a wooden dovecote. From here, look across Wick’s Pool, choked with bulrushes and marsh marigolds, for a splendid – if distant – view of the orangery. Just past the Red House is the gloriously evocative Manor Farm, dating from the 15th century, with a 16th-century wool barn alongside. The barn can be visited on request, and the gardens are open between 2.30pm and 4.30pm on Mondays and Fridays from 20 April to 24 July. Carry on along the green and you come to Frampton’s other pub, The Three Horseshoes, and The Ley Bistro, after which the green ends. More timber-framed cottages await discovery here, until you turn right by Church Farmhouse along Whittles Lane, passing the last of them – 16th-century Tulip Cottage – and crossing a stile at the end. Carry on into a soggy field, head for a metal gate in the far right-hand corner and cross a stile beside it. Head up to the canal bank, turn right and carry on in the same direction as the track drops down into a field. A stile at the end leads back up onto the bank at Fretherne Swing Bridge, which you cross to head back along the towpath to Saul Junction. n

Andrew Swift’s Country Walks from Bath is available from bookshops or direct from Andrew is also co-author, with Kirsten Elliot, of Ghost Signs of Bath

FACT FILE n Starting point: Saul Junction pay and display car park, GL2 7LA (facilities include café and toilets) n Distance: 5 miles n Map: Ordnance Survey Explorer OL14 n Terrain: Several stiles and muddy field paths n Refreshments: The Bell Inn (, The Three Horseshoes; (; Ley Bistro (; and Stables Café (thestablescafe) n

For information on the Orangery and Frampton Manor Garden, visit



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TOP LEFT: Ethel Jackson in the original Broadway production of The Merry Widow, 1907 TOP RIGHT: The artwork promoting the original The Merry Widow, 1907 BOTTOM: Iford Arts performing Die Fledermaus, 2019 LEFT: Conductor Oliver Gooch CENTRE: Musical director Simon Butteriss

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Mr Lehar’s music hath charms

So said the title of Stage magazine’s review of a 1937 production of The Merry Widow, going on to describe it as “gay, and one might almost say sparkling”. Musical director Simon Butteriss and conductor Oliver Gooch answer some questions about the longlasting popularity of this operetta, and the challenges of the latest production by Iford Arts


ince its 1905 debut, The Merry Widow has been adapted many times. What is it about the story that resonates with people? Simon Butteriss: It has all the elements of a good romance but wittily subverts them with an astonishingly modern energy; the would-be lovers are both strongwilled and though the woman has the upper hand, neither will give in until they can do so on absolutely equal terms. It’s also an exhilaratingly beautiful score.

Why does the story stand out for you? SB: The romance is never sentimental – it crackles with wit and naughtiness until suddenly you find you’re weeping wellearned romantic tears. Without doubt it is my favourite operetta; the perfect operetta. What drew you to working with Simon? Oliver Gooch: I first saw Simon getting out of a shower in Music Theatre London’s production of Così fan tutte! The next time was when we worked together on his narrated version of Die Fledermaus in St John’s, Smith Square. It was a joy. As a seasoned performer, he understands what fellow singers need and is brilliant at enabling them to perform at their very best. Oliver, as the conductor how do you convey the vision of the composer? OG: The most important aspect is to help enable the performers to realise the vision of the composer. Over 15 years as music director at Iford I have learnt that while you may have your own strong ideas, it means nothing unless you can harness the energy, skill and talent of your fellow artists. Taking over as Iford’s artistic director last year has given me a hugely exciting challenge to address broader issues that will influence the composer’s vision – production concepts, design ideas and the choice of the very best young talent in the UK. What has been your favourite opera to direct and perform? OG: An impossible question! If I take on a project, it has to be my world from the very start to the very end. Nothing else really enters my consciousness. There are certain composers that I feel a particular affinity for, especially the Italian bel canto and verismo. I was lucky enough to conduct Puccini in Lucca (his hometown) and my apartment looked on to Puccini’s veranda. The pressure was palpable! I was brought up in Suffolk so have had the music of Benjamin Britten in

my bones from the very start. I was also very influenced by Colin Davis and Charles Mackerras as their assistant on the da Ponte/Mozart operas – two wonderfully different approaches. SP: It’s always a pleasure to direct a wellknown piece – if it’s good, one can always find a way of reinventing it so that the audience will feel it’s been written especially for them and, with any luck, even those who know it might feel they’re seeing it for the very first time. I’ve had as much fun reimagining The Merry Widow as anything else I’ve ever tackled. Oliver what are you looking forward to the most about conducting The Merry Widow? OG: It has to be the best operetta score ever written. What more could I want? You could sing many of the tunes to people on the street and they would recognise them. We have free tickets for under 18s and I am convinced that young people will love this performance as much as the seasoned opera goer. The can-canning grisettes have to be the most enduring image of the Belle Époque, and we have six of them. In keeping with Iford’s ambition to present extraordinary music in extraordinary places, this version of The Merry Widow will be no different. The Guildhall is a stunning Grade I listed building and the banqueting hall will be the perfect venue for our salon-style presentation. I will be leading a salon orchestra from the piano, visible to everyone. What can the audience expect from this performance? SP: Beautiful as the banqueting hall is, it’s not designed for conventional stage production but I didn’t want to do a concert performance with a narrator at a lectern, so it’s fully costumed, fully staged and choreographed and one character, an embassy servant ‘in the know’ – and in the action – keeps us informed of the innermost thoughts of all the characters, so that the narrative moves at a breathless pace. The chorus may start the evening sitting in serried ranks, but before long they are on the stage, dancing, among other things, an energetic can-can. Who knows, perhaps the orchestra will too. Some years ago, I was asked by the Philharmonia Orchestra to write a narration for a concert performance of an operetta at the Royal Festival Hall. I persuaded them to move the orchestra back on the platform to make a stage, find a costume budget and let

me perform a dramatised narration. They agreed – if I would direct the production. I’d never directed before but, all things considered, I thought I’d better. So I did. Simon, what drew you to this operetta? SP: I’ve loved this operetta since I first discovered, aged three, my parents’ scratched LP of the old Sadler’s Wells production. I love it as much now as I did then – I think operetta speaks as honestly and engagingly to a child as it does to the most sophisticated of opera lovers. As narrator you replace the traditional dialogue and use current topics to add wit – how do you know that this will work? SP: One can never know what will tickle an audience, but if the original has a genuine connection with current events and you can point it out succinctly and wittily, it can really help focus the plot and it is that which hits the funny bone. The Merry Widow is a semi-staged production – does this make it challenging? SP: Any production is a challenge – one has to use the raw materials at your disposal as imaginatively as you can – but if the audience is expecting a concert performance they will, I hope, be pleasantly surprised by the amount of colour, energy and action. What is the most challenging part of conducting this operetta? OG: Everything! It is such a wonderful score but it requires both enormous delicacy as well as feisty bravura. Everything needs to feel as if it grows out of the nuance of the text. The personality of the singer is key and we have some wonderful artists performing, including tenor Robin Bailey as the amorous Camille alongside Maíre Flavin, a supremely talented young Irish soprano. What would you say has been the most influential adaptation of The Merry Widow? SP: It’s been fabulously (and sometimes horribly) revived countless times but it’s worth seeking out the marvellously eccentric Ernst Lubitsch 1934 film, or Lana Turner and Gwen Verdon in an odd 1952 incarnation. Although Elisabeth Schwarzkopf recorded it exquisitely more than once, my favourite recording remains the Sadler’s Wells highlights in English, starring June Bronhill and Thomas Round. n The Merry Widow is at The Guildhall, 23–24 May, from £59, free for under 18s;

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STATE OF THE ART With celebrated artists, award-winning sculptors, and striking works on show at Bath’s independent galleries, here’s our line up for the month


THE HOLBURNE MUSEUM Great Pulteney Street, Bath Open: Daily, 10am–5pm (11am Sundays) Tel: 01225 388569 Web:

80 Walcot Street, Bath Tel: 01225 482748 Web:

GRAYSON PERRY: THE PRE-THERAPY YEARS Until 25 May One of the Holburne’s most eagerly anticipated shows of the year, this follows a successful public appeal to source Perry’s early ceramic pieces, made between 1982 and the mid-1990s. Here are a broad range of Perry’s early works, including pieces from the artist’s own collection and works not seen publicly before. For Perry’s legions of fans, The Pre-Therapy Years will bring a new perspective to the 2003 Turner Prize-winner’s influential and inspiring outlook. Essex Plate by Grayson Perry

In light of ongoing developments resulting from Coronavirus, some exhibitions may be cancelled or postponed and some venues closed. Please check the organisers’ websites for further updates. Thank you for your understanding and continued support

Throughout April

Hannah Clare works in mixed media to produce drawings and paintings which explore layers of story, memory and experience, with work focusing on the female form and drawing on art historical imagery and themes. This exhibition runs alongside the permanent display of creatively framed objects and images collected and created to inspire visitors.

DAVID SIMON CONTEMPORARY 37 High Street, Castle Cary Open: Monday – Saturday 10am–5.30pm (closed Wednesday and Sunday) Tel: 01963 359102 Web: GEORGE DANNATT: A RETROSPECTIVE Until 28 April This exhibition will give a broad Landscape Study with Grenadine Red No.4 overview of the work of George Dannatt, 1984 by George Dannatt a decade after his death. Carefully selected by David Simon, the collection charts Dannatt’s exploration of geometry, form and space from the 1960s through the five decades of his career. Having established himself as a painter later in life, Dannatt was successful in exhibiting with important Mayfair galleries. David Simon has provided a rare opportunity to explore the artist’s work once again.

MODERN ARTBUYER: SPRING POP-UP GALLERY Milsom Place, Milsom Street and Broad Street, Bath Open: Daily, 10am–4pm Tel: 01225 789040 Web: Until 5 April Join gallery director Jessica Lloyd-Smith at Modern ArtBuyer’s spring pop-up gallery in the heart of

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Ancestors by Mark Jessett

Bath and browse a carefully curated collection of contemporary limited edition prints, original paintings and works on paper. The pop-up aims to bring local artists together with creators from across the UK, with the likes of Mark Jessett, Maria Rivans and Jonathon Barber. The gallery will be showing a broad range of affordable to investment pieces.

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nick cudworth gallery

A SUMMERS DAY IN BATH 1849. Oil on canvas and prints


5 London Street (top end of Walcot Street), Bath BA1 5BU | tel 01225 445221 / 07968 047639



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GALLERY NINE 9B Margaret's Buildings, Bath Open: 10am–5pm Monday – Saturday Tel: 01225 319197 Web: SPRING EXHIBITION Until 30 May Gallery Nine’s spring exhibition is set to feature ceramics by Ania Perkowska and James and Tilla Waters. Jewellery by Becky Crow and Holly Belsher and works by James Dodds, Anita Klein and Claire Curtis. Becky Crow’s jewellery is designed to be both worn and displayed. Her jewellery uses drawing as

a starting point and the great outdoors as a source of wonder and constant inspiration. Elements of narrative are captured in silver and transformed into miniature scenes applied to the surface of a brooch or hanging as a pendant. You can also browse Gallery Nine’s online gallery where jewellery and smaller items can be purchased.

Collecting Ferns by Becky Crow


5 Margaret's Buildings, Bath Tel: 01225 422117 Web:

Colerne, Thickwood, Chippenham Tel: 01225 742777 Web:

FASHION ABSTRACTION Until 30 April The fashion and textile gallery is hosting ‘Fashion Abstraction’ throughout April, presenting exciting new work from BritishCanadian fashion illustrator Lara Mackenzie Lee. Having studied fashion communication and promotion at Central Saint Martins in London, her artwork focuses on the abstraction of colours and shapes to interpret a subject. She has previously worked for Stella McCartney, Issey Miyake and Erdem and is an artistic contributor to SHOWstudio. Gray M C A will be exhibiting the very best of international fashion illustration.

LIFE IN BRONZE Until 30 April Lucknam Park Hotel and Spa will be hosting an exclusive preview of Life in Bronze, which will feature spectacular bronze wildlife sculptures created by award-winning British sculptor, Hamish Mackie. Patrons of the hotel and spa will be able to visit the sculptures until the end of April.

Givenchy Fall 2019, mixed media

Pulteney Bridge, Summer Dawn by Nick Cudworth

NICK CUDWORTH 5 London Street, Bath Tel: 01225 445221 Web: Throughout April The Nick Cudworth Gallery features original paintings and prints of Bath, with a focus on the waterways and bridges within the city. Nick works in his studio connected to the gallery and is available to discuss finished works and works in progress.

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Life in Bronze, sculpture by Hamish Mackie

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BEAUX ARTS 12-13 York Street, Bath Tel: 01225 464850 Web: Until 2 May Anna Gillespie, Harriet Porter and Sara Moorhouse will be showcasing their new collections of work at Beaux Arts Bath in April. Sculptor Anna Gillespie’s innovative creations, often incorporating found or natural materials are a regular feature at Glastonbury Festival, and she has recently had major public commissions opened in Morecombe Bay and on the Riverside development in Bath. Harriet Porter exhibits her beautifully balanced contemplative still life paintings, and the colourful and striking ceramics are by Sara Moorhouse. All three are always shows worth seeing.

Light Field by Waller and Wood

WALLER AND WOOD 4 Abbey Green, Bath Tel: 07803 033629 Web: LIGHT FIELD Until 31 May The latest exhibition at Waller and Wood presents wonderful paintings by Christina Romero Cross, which capture her passion for lightscapes – compelling, contemplative works in oil on wood. Visitors can also see a new spring collection of clothing and scarves by Carole Waller inspired by a recent visit to Florence, alongside striking painted stoneware pots and wall pieces by Gary Wood.

Commission a fantasy portrait Robert Highton 07939 224598;;

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Lawrences: first choice for collectors Last year, Lawrences in Crewkerne proved to be a popular choice for collectors looking to sell their prized lots and their upcoming spring auction features some fantastic items. Included in the Automobilia, Motoring Literature and Historic Cycling sale is The John Maitland Collection to be sold on 19 May. The collection consists of about 1,000 photographs of mainly 1920s and 1930s motor racing. Included in the collection is a photograph of George Eyston, seated in an MG K-Type at Brooklands estimated at £100–200. Won by another famous name – Archie Frazer Nash in 1923 – also at Brooklands was a silver cup with an estimated value of £250–300. Nash partnered Mr Godfrey to manufacture GN cyclecars throughout the 1910s and 1920s, then launching Frazer Nash sports cars in 1927. Included in the collection is a child’s tricycle, dated circa 1900 and manufactured in France. With original woven wickerwork and mechanics this is estimated at £200–400. Also included are self-contained acetylene gas-powered lamps, manufactured by Joseph Lucas as long ago as 1907. These would have been fitted to a small saloon or voiturette. It was called a ‘self-contained lamp’ because the acetylene gas was created within the lamp itself rather than having a separate generator fitted elsewhere.

Gearoid Simms

commissions undertaken

There is also an excellent library of mainly motor racing books and literature, with many unusual and rare examples being offered as part of the collection. The three day sale includes coins, militaria, arms, uniforms, historic photographs and medals, stamps and ephemera, toys, trains, textiles and clothing, tribal items, taxidermy, sporting pictures and collectables, autographs… the list goes on. Production is well underway for the upcoming sales. Contact one of Lawrences specialists who will guide you through the valuation process.


Lawrences AUCTIONEERS The Linen Yard, South Street, Crewkerne, Somerset TA18 8AB; Tel 01460 73041



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There’s no way around it – you need to burn the cutlery boxes


David Ringsell

Art Prints

A contemporary take on classic Bath architecture A2 - £120, A3 - £90, A4 - £75

bout 120 years ago, for straightforward marketing reasons, the manufacturers of silver canteens started to sell them in fitted, felt-lined wooden boxes. At first these cases were simply made with basic metal fittings, intended to be stored away once empty, yet over the decades they have become permanent dining room squatters, slowly swelling in size and developing elaborate carving. The unintended consequences of this decision turned out to be far reaching and rather damaging to the spoon industry. At the point of sale, these boxes no doubt look very smart, finished in brass with engraved shields and suchlike. Once at home, however, canteen boxes become a complete nuisance. I can still recall my annoyance as a child at being tasked with putting away spoons and forks. A very fiddly waste of time, I thought then, and I haven’t changed my view. No surprise that the silverware was reserved for ‘best’, and the prospect of faffing around before and after every meal is far too off-putting. Not only are fitted boxes maddeningly time-consuming, but they have the irritating disadvantage of offering any burglars a very convenient takeaway package for your precious silverware. My advice concerning fitted canteen cases is, burn them as soon as you get home and put the contents onto a convenient drawer close to the dishwasher. This way you will actually be able use these precious and elegant utensils as they should be, daily. I was once told by a customer that her silver plate in the kitchen drawer was used every day while the solid silver, in a fitted box in the dining room,was only for use on high days and holidays. I suggested that, because silver-plate wears out and solid silver doesn’t, she might try the solid stuff in the kitchen. After a lifetime of conditioning, she had come to view the box as an important piece of furniture and an integral part of her silver canteen. When I commented that the box was just fancy packaging, she looked at me, clearly thinking I was a complete philistine. n; 01225 334234

Affordable custom Giclée prints of original paintings Email: • Call 01225 469127 Prints, originals & exhibitions 38 TheBATHMagazine


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3 Times Daily

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How often is best?

Once a year

3 times daily

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BELOW: Rosanna often uses women as her central characters with nature and wildlife playing supporting roles, shown in this piece, Under the Orange Tree BELOW, bottom: Autumn Hike illustrates how Rosanna uses subtle colour palettes with pencil lines inspired by a previous era of illustration

ABOVE, top: The Allotment, a piece that appeared in The Washington Post ABOVE: An artwork depicting the calmness of nature, a trait that runs throughout Rosanna’s work OPPOSITE: Rosanna in her studio at Hamilton House in Stokes Croft

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Eat, think, grow

The delicate work of illustrator Rosanna Tasker, who created the illustration for this month’s magazine cover, has a serenity and peace that makes you wish you were actually in her illustration world. Millie Bruce-Watt chats to the artist about her work, what inspires her and how in turn she’d like to inspire others


osanna Tasker’s illustrations seem to be the very essence of peaceful beauty. A palpable sense of serenity hangs close to her delicate drawings and the idyllic landscapes of her invented worlds create a form of escapism. With natural beauty appearing to be the common thread that binds Rosanna’s work, we are reminded of the calmness of nature, the richness of organic foods, the unrivalled quality of a local market and thereby the benefits that they offer us. With this issue focusing on the importance of supporting our city’s local producers, Rosanna wanted her cover illustration to illustrate the joy and mindfulness of buying British. “I wanted the cover to celebrate the rich colours, tactile textures, varied patterns and details of fresh fruit and veg. There are so many wonderful benefits to going smaller scale with food production and the way we choose to shop, but I ended up focusing the illustration on the simple aspects of buying British on a more personal level; to express the joy and mindfulness of shopping for local, fresh ingredients at a farmer’s market and admiring your bounty on the kitchen table when you get home.” Rosanna – who grew up in Shropshire and has lived in Bristol for eight years – achieved a first class honours degree in illustration at the University of the West of England in 2014. After she graduated, she was lucky enough to get regular work with local company Moon Architect and Builder. “At least for two years they were my regular clients, giving me different types of projects. It was so unusual to have a client to start off my illustration career. I really owe a lot to them for getting me used to landing on my feet straightaway.” Rosanna went on to set up her own studio in Hamilton House in Stokes Croft before moving to her current space in St Pauls where she has produced work on a commission basis for the likes of The New York Times, The Guardian and The Washington Post to name just a few, developing her style and refining her techniques. By drawing and painting onto separate layers of rich paper before finishing the illustrations digitally in Photoshop, Rosanna is able to create unique handcrafted pieces. She says, “A lot of people do things entirely digitally, but I want that hand-drawn, hand-painted look. In order to do that for clients where they need changes, I hand paint all the colour and draw any

elements on separate bits of paper, then scan it and put it together in Photoshop. That means if there was suddenly some extra text that needed adding, I can just move the tree slightly rather than re-paint the entire thing… Illustration is really unique because of the fact that you can be really playful with it. There are not really any rules to being a good illustrator.” With the use of fine pencil lines and gouache paints, Rosanna endows her characters with poise and elegance. Her admiration for Golden Age fairy tale illustrators like Edmund Dulac, Kay Nielson and Arthur Rackham, from whom she takes much of her inspiration, also shines through. It almost makes you wish that you too lived in the worlds that she creates. “The motivation for me is the creativity of it. I get thoughts and ideas all the time… Sometimes I’ll have an idea and I haven’t done it yet and it’s burning in me… I think it’s integral in me and it forces me. It’s like I don’t have a choice, I just need to get it out sometimes.” Bristol itself has also had a profound effect on Rosanna’s work. Its pockets of creativity and the levels of artistic opportunity for up-and-coming illustrators helped Rosanna build her career. The artistic community has also warmly guided her through the process of artistic self-discovery. “The community is such a beating heart in Bristol. I feel like that’s made it possible, really, not so much the impact on my work itself but it’s made being a freelance illustrator possible and enjoyable.”

Having grown up surrounded by the great outdoors near the small historic town of Ludlow, Rosanna often reflects the happiest memories of her childhood in her work. She says, “We lived right in the countryside and it was down a dirt track. There were about four houses and there were several children there all around the same age and we spent 24/7 outdoors and running around. “I feel like that had a really big impact on the type of subject matter I was interested in. I also never thought that I'd want to live in a city. I came to Bristol and I thought, “This is what a city’s like; this is amazing.” It’s got everything going on – it’s special in terms of creativity.” With the dream of creating a children’s book at the forefront of Rosanna’s mind, her ambitions are ultimately very simple. She would like to one day inspire a child to embark on a similar path of creativity. “I think the main goal is to inspire people’s imaginations, not only for me to express what I’m wanting to say or what I’m wanting to draw but, also, for that story or those images to really spark something in a child, that would just be amazing. I think back to the books that I had when I was a child and how that really built my imagination. Those wonderful ideas and imagery formed my own imagination, or at least helped it, and fuelled the fire, so to be able to do that for someone else would be very special.” n

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Painting the town

Let us introduce you to two Bath artists who love painting the town, but not red. You see it’s all about Bath’s architecture and the local landscape for David Ringsell and Gearoid Simms. Here is a selection of their urban artworks


he harmonious architecture of Bath has inspired many of David Ringsell’s recent paintings, which provide a contemporary take on classic architecture. As well as local scenes, his work includes dramatic landscapes from cities such as Tokyo, San Francisco and New Zealand. Ringsell describes his detailed compositions as realistic, with a painterly quality. Sometimes areas of his paintings are left blank to emphasise the contrast between reality and its representation. The works are created in mixed media using acrylic, pen and pencil. The underlying pencil marks sometimes remain visible, adding a dynamic quality and referencing the creation process. “I aim to present a contemporary perspective on some familiar

places,” says Ringsell. “I often focus on the darker side of Bath architecture; peeling paint and stained stonework.” Gearoid Simms, originally from The Liberties in Dublin, came to Bath in the 1990s to study at Bath City College. Specialising in oils, his plein air painting aims to capture atmospheric moods. He likes to paint a variety of art genres, street and landscape, life figures, still life, abstract and conceptual art. You will regularly see him on the streets of Bath or Bristol painting on canvas or board. He specialises in the capturing of colours, light, people and architecture, describing his painting style as ‘expressionist realism’. David Ringsell:; Gearoid Simms:

TOP LEFT: Heaven and Earth by David Ringsell TOP RIGHT: View from Lansdown Road by Gearoid Simms BOTTOM LEFT: Roman Blues, The Roman Baths by David Ringsell BOTTOM RIGHT: View of Bath by Gearoid Simms

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The Framing Workshop has been trading as an independent family run business on Walcot Street for over 28 years. We treasure you, our client, and spend time helping you to ďŹ nd the best way to display and protect your cherished objects, artworks and memorabilia. Creativity and respect for each artwork are core to what we do. Every picture tells a story. Come and share yours.

80 Walcot Street, Bath, BA1 5BD Tel: 01225 482748



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Portals by Benjamin Senior

Garfoni by Lubaina Himid

AKGraph (All Is On) by Allison Katz

Painting it slow

Modern life runs at a fast pace, helped by the ever-present temptations of technology and social media. Even artists are increasingly relying on technology for speedy results. But there is an anti-movement. We spoke to writer and critic Martin Herbert who has curated an exhibition of paintings that take their time, soon to arrive at The Andrew Brownsword Gallery at The Edge Slow painting is not so much a method or technique, more a phrase that connects a number of different ways of working. In the exhibition, some of the artists have spent a long time – sometimes years – on their work, while other paintings were made quickly but are ambiguous and ask for quite a bit of looking at. Other artists we’ve included make work that uses ‘slowness’ as a theme, exploring cultural histories and deep time. The exhibition took a couple of years to put together from start to finish. I was invited by Hayward Touring to curate a painting show, I suggested this theme and they accepted it. Then I started choosing artists in collaboration with exhibition organiser Gilly Fox. We did studio visits, then selected the works. Along the way, we also made a book. I’ve mostly avoided curating up until now – I’m primarily a writer and editor – but the skill set is similar, because I spend a lot of time in artists’ studios deciding whether I think a work is good or not. I’ve also written a couple of essay collections that bring different artists together, and there’s a parallel of sorts with curating there. In this case, there were certain artists I thought of immediately, like Merlin James; others that came to mind in the course of research; and one or two who were mentioned by other artists. I wanted the show to present a range of angles on ‘slowness’ and not have too many similar approaches. We also pretty much limited the show to British or UK-based artists, partly 44 TheBATHMagazine


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due to concerns about bringing art from abroad in the wake of Brexit but also in order to create a snapshot of British painting, seen through a particular lens. I trained as a painter – in Leeds, where the show was first presented – and then shifted to writing, which I’ve done for the last 25 years. It was an honour to be invited to curate a show by Hayward Gallery Touring, and there were certain approaches to paintings that I wanted to highlight. In the last decade there’s been a lot of ‘fast’ painting, and certain aspects of it really dissatisfy me. I wanted the show to feel generous and not monotonous. I found it interesting that a concept such as slowness could cut across stylistic divisions which, to me, feel a bit oldfashioned these days. And there is a wide range of painting being made and I wanted the show to reflect that. It's always a bit risky to anticipate what art will ‘do’. I would hope the fundamental experience of slowing down a bit and reflecting in general is a positive and productive one; maybe art can be a training ground for that. I think that for a variety of reasons we’re losing the capacity for sustained attention and focus. Good art is something you can spend a lot of time with, engaging with its layers. When I spend time with art, as opposed to scrolling through Twitter, I feel

more centred and present and attentive, as well as receiving visual pleasure and an experience of complexity. Art isn’t necessarily supposed to be therapeutic, but giving time to something that rewards that time spent can have physiological benefits, in my experience. The exhibition is split across two sites, the Andrew Brownsword Gallery at The Edge, a great, substantial and modular space at The University of Bath and The Michael Pennie Gallery at the new Locksbrook Campus of Bath Spa School of Art and Design. We hope that students at both universities will see and enjoy the show. I like the collaborative process of installing the show in different venues, because different locations require different presentational solutions, so that the juxtapositions of artworks keep changing. It is also extremely rewarding to spend time in artists’ studios, discussing their work. Thinking ahead, after Bath, the Slow Painting exhibition will travel to Inverness and Thurso in the summer, so we’ll be re-presenting it there. A book of mine, Unfold This Moment, which explores the work of American sculptor Carol Bove, has just been published by Sternberg Press; and I’ll be continuing to work as an editor for ArtReview, as well as thinking about the content of my next book. n



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The Corona Virus is Giving You the Gift of Time The Corona Virus gives you the gift of thinking time. Events cancelled? Forced to work from home? Why not use this time to sharpen your business strategies? Twenty years ago, I experienced the SARS epidemic, political riots, and natural disasters while working in Asia. It taught me to focus on what I can influence, instead of worrying about things beyond my control. It taught me to work more efficiently. Having less hours to work made me more technologically savvy and productive. Staff reductions forced me to learn other tasks and become a generalist. As a result, I became a more resilient & creative business leader. We can see the virus as a villain to our business or as the light bulb that shows us what we can innovate about the way we do business. This is a good time to diagnose our business and improve it. The impact of the virus is not light, but what can we learn from it?

RECEIVE THE BATH MAGAZINE BY POST NEVER MISS OUT We deliver to over 20,000 addresses every month. But if you live outside our distribution area or would like us to send a copy to friends or family, we offer a magazine mailing service.

Everyone is affected, but there are only a few who will come out of this better than before. There are only a few who will use this time wisely. The rest will just be complaining. Here are some examples people I am working with, who are using this time wisely: A coach improving her marketing plan, a designer reshaping her service offering, a retailer increasing his online sales and negotiating better pricing from suppliers, an entrepreneur planning her post-retirement life, leaders using online platforms for meetings and learning. When business is good, you have no time to think. When business is bad, you’ve suddenly got lots of time. The Corona Virus is giving you the gift of time. What will you do with it? With over 22 years of proven business achievements, Cynthia Wihardja guides selfemployed professionals to create more clarity and results doing what they love.


Find out more about The Brave Zone at Join her Free Monthly Webinars or book an Initial Discovery Session to get fresh perspectives for your business.

SUBSCRIBE ONLINE AT or Tel: 01225 424 499

Email her at



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Love your local larder

The idea of Brexit has been pushed aside in these times of Covid-19, but the importance of living more self-sufficiently and relying less on foreign imports has never been more relevant. Here, Melissa Blease talks to food specialists about the impact of Brexit on the food industry, and their ideas on why local, seasonable produce is not merely a health choice


or decades, the shopping in our baskets and larders has represented the food world equivalent of the Eurovision Song Contest, the Six Nations and the Academy Awards all sitting down together for supper – and our menus reflect the international theme. We blithely scoff strawberries in December, for example, largely imported from Spain, Egypt, Morocco and Israel. Nearly all the decent pasta that we eat is imported from Italy (if you’ve ever tried growing durum wheat in the UK, you'll understand why). We dive into Icelandic cod on a regular basis, Norwegian salmon makes a splash on menus across the land, and tonnes of tuna makes its way across the oceans from Mauritius and the Seychelles. Even British salad leaves take a

VICKI MOWAT, Riverford Home Delivery Bath The UK currently only supplies 61% of its own food, while 70% of imported food comes from EU countries; the decisions made around tariffs, quality standards and other issues after Brexit will have a big impact on us all. At Riverford, we employ lots of brilliant workers from the EU, and the availability of future labour is a huge area of concern for the entire fruit and vegetable industry. We were very disappointed to see the government’s recent points-based immigration system announcement that seems to have ignored how vital migrant workers are to the agricultural sector. We’re providing full support to all of our European workers in order for them to be able to return next year to pick for us, and we’re better able to attract British nationals as we pay above-average wages. We’re

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bruising in the colder months; the British Leafy Salads Association says that 90 per cent of the salad leaves we eat in winter come from a single region of Spain. But with Brexit now underway, we can no longer take our food supply for granted. According to Chris Elliott – founder of the Institute for Global Food Security at Queen’s University, Belfast – the UK imports about 40% of all the food we eat, with around a third of it coming from EU member states. “The UK imported more than £370 million worth of potatoes from the Netherlands and Belgium in the first six months of 2018 and, in the first nine months of last year, 94 per cent of beef imports into the UK came from EU member states, threequarters of it from Ireland alone,” he says. Meanwhile, according to a report

confident in being able to weather any storms and keep the Riverford veg boxes fully supplied, but we’re worried about the impact on growers who are smaller than us and less able to navigate this tricky issue. Given the uncertainty, now is the time to align our diets to incorporate more and more British seasonal food, looking forward to new produce becoming available as the seasons evolve rather than worrying about what we can’t get. Riverford already does this, so we’re a handy shortcut! Customers can select UK produce, and we even have a 100% UK veg box. When we do import (always by land/sea freight), we do so from grower-partners with whom we have long-term, solid relationships so we’re well protected against supply disruption, and confident that we’ll be able to work around any obstacles to keep our organic boxes filled.

commissioned by dairy giant Arla and published by the London School of Economics towards the end of last year, “the UK imports nearly all the yogurt it eats, largely from mainland Europe”, while the Republic of Ireland produces nearly 10 billion litres of milk a year, the majority of which goes into the British market. Meanwhile, the Institute for Fiscal Studies says that the future of food prices will remain ‘highly uncertain’ until solid trade negotiations are made, and the British Retail Consortium has stated that the absence of a trade deal between the UK and the European Union could see the price of imported food rise by 22% over the coming year. Help, we need expert advice! And food for thought...

NEIL MORTIMER, Lovejoys Wholesale As specialists in local and UK produce, we’re working with our chefs to compose menus that place more emphasis on seasonal produce, keeping costs down and promoting all of the local produce available. The UK food business is important to countries in the EU, and vice versa: Holland and Belgium supply the majority of frozen chips; France and Spain send huge supplies of tomatoes and other salad crops, especially in the winter. If a trade deal agreement is settled quickly, then food supplies will go on as normal; if not, the worst scenario is cost increases and lengthy customs delays. It’s hoped that worst-case scenarios will be temporary. We will work hard to keep supplies as normal as possible to our customers throughout the negotiation period, and we’re hopeful that our experience and long-standing supplier relationships will sustain us.

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PETER MILTON, Larkhall Butchers

PED ASGARIAN, managing director of the Community Farm, Chew Magna If managed properly, Brexit could be a big positive for UK farming. If mismanaged, it could destroy what little soul is left of our long-standing agricultural heritage. Post-Brexit, the landscape of UK farming will undergo significant changes. Different variables will have a big impact on what we farm, how we farm, and the survival of farms, from small scale to large. Many of these factors will be interwoven in ways that are not perhaps obvious to those without experience and knowledge of the history of how trade with Europe, and how the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) have influenced the crops we grow and how we grow them. We face a mixture of threats and opportunities, and we won’t know the full picture until the ink has dried on trade deals and we’ve decided how the CAP and Countryside Stewardship Schemes will be replaced. Environmental Land Management Schemes, for example – designed around the concept of public money for public goods – have been proposed as replacements; they would encourage a significant move toward looking after soil, creating wildlife corridors and a raft of other positive changes that would benefit those aiming to grow agro-ecologically. However, such changes will only happen gradually due to farmers being locked in to current schemes for up to the next 8–10 years, so this will slow down positive environmental impact. If we choose to impose higher environmental and health standards on our farming, we will see prices rise. Making trade deals that allow cheaper food to enter the country and/or food that is produced to lower standards could therefore undermine any proposed changes and put farms at risk of struggling to make ends meet. It’s important that trade is matched to our standards; this will allow us to create a fertile environment in which our farming industry can grow. Small-scale, agro-ecological farming needs to be at the heart of our farming system, for the protection and betterment of the environment and for the improvement of rural and local economies. Research has shown that infrastructure, employment prospects and education are often increased in rural communities with a prevalence of small-scale farming. Such communities’ food supplies are less likely to be affected by adverse weather conditions or disease due to their shorter supply chains, thus boosting their resilience.

VALENTINE WARNER, food writer/chef The overall problem is that we all eat too much: if we all ate a fraction of what we eat, all that we need, things would be very different. But we live in an age where people think they have the right to have what they want, and that’s where all kinds of problems started well before Brexit. I like companies such as Riverford because, to some degree, they're deciding how much you eat over a week, and the people who have decided that they want that kind of rationale are using a form of rationing. If everybody behaved like that instead of randomly buying lots of food, we’d be in a better place. A lot of the mess we’re in can be sorted out locally, but there are all sorts of things to think about, not only over the coming year but the next 20, 40 years – we all have to start looking at what we’ve got and how much we can have.

ROB CLAYTON, chef/proprietor of Clayton’s Kitchen Brexit is everywhere. It’s difficult to pin down exactly what would happen in a deal/no-deal. Depending on who you listen to, it’s either a nightmare, or the best thing to happen. One thing we can agree on is that whatever the Brexit deal, some food prices will rise. But which foods will cost more? According to the British Retail Consortium, the price of beef could rise between 5% and 29%, poultry could rise by as much as 25%, and fruit and vegetables will be affected too; the UK Trade Policy Observatory suggests that tomato prices could rise by up to 18%. Whichever restaurant, catering or hospitality news source you trust, the picture doesn’t look rosy. Perhaps there’s another side to the story. What if we stopped importing so much

There’s likely to be an initial period of confusion post-Brexit trade deals, with a fall in imported food putting stress on our local supply chain. This concern will play heavily with prices, but shouldn’t limit the availability of food. At Larkhall Butchers we’re in a relatively stable position; our strong ties to local farmers mean that we actually have nearly 12 months of stock in the fields at any given time – as farmers have to work so far ahead, planning is essential, but this clearly benefits all of us. A more pressing concern is that many of the workers involved in processing our food are European, and new restrictions may limit their availability, particularly around Christmas – this may increase costs at the process and production stages of any food sold. I would hope that, after a brief period of uncertainty, the demand for local produce across all industries would force us to increase the supply chain to match, with more local jobs being created and hopefully a resurgence in both interest and investment into domestic farms. One thing highlighted by the current Covid-19 crisis is that increased globalisation carries its own risks, with a dependency on foreign imports impairing our abilities as a nation to isolate ourselves when necessary. It also reduces our ability to be self-sufficient. We certainly live in interesting times! I’ll be fascinated to see how it all pans out, whether our primary and secondary industries will actually increase, or whether we'll just shift imports to new trade deals. Either way, the show must go on!

food and focused on buying local, seasonal produce? Could the food we cook be fresher, healthier and support local producers? We don’t know the answers, but there’s an increasing trend for chefs and catering professionals to put more local produce on their menus. A couple of decades ago, menus used to be based around local produce. Today, access to even the most unlikely foodstuffs is easy: pineapples in December, avocados in February. Perhaps my industry needs think about whether we need these ingredients on our menus at these times? Building menus around seasonal availability supports local farmers, and it’s better for the planet too. And with restrictions comes creativity; shipping avocados in the middle of winter sounds ridiculous when you think about it for more than a few seconds. Fresh, seasonal, local produce is the way forward. n

THEBATHMAG.CO.UK THEBATHMAG.CO.UK 2010 | january | april 2020


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Not pretending: a story with food

Chef, author and food presenter Valentine Warner has published a new book called The Consolation of Food. It’s not really a recipe book, more of a poignantly authentic self-portait, says Melissa Blease, who grills Valentine about painting, food, gin, the Arctic, creating space in his brain and, most of all, not pretending


Photograph by Dan Sneddon

’ve always been a somewhat frivolous, happy-go-lucky, inquisitive kind of soul,” says Valentine Warner. “Then suddenly life can absolutely wallop you; odd feelings come up, you feel divided, you feel a kind of anger, and moments of sadness that are quite surprising.” The result of such a walloping, for Valentine, is his new book The Consolation of Food: Stories about Life and Death, Seasoned with Recipes... described by Valentine himself as “a bonkers book of stories about the less than perfect human

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condition... but with food”. The leitmotif of The Consolation... may come as a surprise to those of us who are familiar with VW’s back catalogue. While none of his six previous books, several of them self-illustrated, could be described as mere recipe books, none of them have offered such a candid insight into Warner’s true temperament either. But how much about him did/do we already know? Valentine’s mainstream TV show appearances (What to Eat Now, Coast to Coast, Great British Chefs, etc) attest to the

ruminative, exacting side of his personality, qualities further endorsed by his reputation for being one of the most rigorous judges on the panel for the illustrious BBC Radio 4 Food and Farming Awards. But Valentine Warner Eats Scandinavia or Wild Table: Canada reveal a more untamed side to his nature and a skittish sense of enthusiasm that, perhaps, a less prime-time-specific format encourages. Gin is usually somewhere at the forefront of Valentine’s mind, too; he co-founded the Moorland Spirit Company distillery, producers of Hepple Gin, in the Northumberland moorlands in 2013. And here’s the really wild (in the true sense of the word) Val-angle: his Holmen Lofoten Kitchen On The Edge Of The World, which he co-founded with visionary entrepreneur Ingunn Rasmussen, is one of the most magical, almost ethereal food-related travel destination communities imaginable, set on the last inhabited island in Norway’s rugged Lofoten archipelago inside the Arctic Circle. So, with all that already going on, why this book – and why now? “I started to write another cookbook while I was going through turbulent times in my personal life, but as I moved along, it became almost a kind of brain dump that I wouldn’t quite call a memoir,” he says. “I tend to carry everything around in my head, and walk around having some kind of argument with myself about whatever situation I’m in on any given day. Writing the book created a space in my brain, because I logged all those thoughts. “Also, right now, with social media and everything, everybody, to a certain degree, seems to be pretending. I wanted to write a book that wasn’t pretending anything. So, here are my disasters, here are my sadnesses, here I am as I actually am: a divorced dad, with children living in a foreign country; a son who lost his father and maybe still hasn’t grieved for him yet. I’ve included all sorts of things, from my worries for nature to the kind of personal cock-ups, frankly, which are hopefully funny enough to share.” Was the writing process cathartic, or even therapeutic? “It was a difficult process in some ways, but only in the sense that I’m somebody who likes being on my feet, with a series of things to do during the day that keep me going, physically,” he says. “I find sitting still very hard, so my writing time was interrupted by lots of trips to the fridge. And because I do quite a lot of different things at any given time, what was meant to

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take me a year to write took me two, and the first draft was much bigger then the published version is. I had to think: how much do I really want people to know about me? But anyway, it’s out there now. Physically, it’s a small book but it’s got a lot of stuff in it.” Indeed it has – and to describe it as a vivid, poignantly authentic self-portrait painted with words isn’t as much of a stretch as it might seem to be; Valentine originally trained as painter before taking himself off down the route that led to where he is today, but never left his innate creative instincts behind.

I love being in France in a market with a smell of Pernod and cigarettes on the air, eating a plate of wonderful ratatouille

“My family were all very interested in food, it was very much at the centre of everything that went on,” he recalls. “I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my life, but I got to this point when I was at art college where I thought, I need to do something that will actually sustain me. And as much as I thought I wanted to be a painter, it felt too unstructured. I needed discipline, to be honest, and food [Valentine worked in London restaurants for eight years before setting up a private catering company, Green Pea] gave me that structure, that discipline. And I’ve always liked working with words too, but real words that really mean something. So much good food

writing has so little to do with the sum total of ingredients in a recipe; it’s actually the story that’s written before the recipe that’s important to me.” Is writing more important to Valentine’s career than, say, TV? “Well yes and no, really,” he says. “I like travelling, I like remote places with a strong sense of community, and tradition, and food culture; in many ways, that’s all easier to share on TV. But the decent food shows are all on the digital channels now, rather than mainstream TV. I’m not interested in baking, I don’t need to be told how to eat healthily, I’m not interested in cookery competitions – are any of us, really? “What I love about Rick Stein, whose TV shows I do watch, is that he suddenly starts talking about Keith Floyd, or the books he read in the sixties, and I think we need a lot more of that – people who can actually join the dots and show you things that you think are apparently unrelated to food, but are actually integral. I struggle with the age of the influencers who appear not to have the strength of knowledge and experience to back their influence up. But for all the cookery books, TV shows, online recipes, all of it, I actually think that, in this country, we know less about food than we ever have; people don’t know about food, or where it comes from, and they’d rather buy something cheap than understand any of that. Apparently we’re all foodies, but we’d rather spend time on our telephones than actually cooking and eating together. None of us have any time to look after ourselves, but the one way that we can really love and cherish ourselves and others with is food. It’s all really weird. All I know is that as you go along through life, you kind of collect people and select your team, so to speak; I like to be with people who really know what they’re talking about – that’s what I love.”

Ah, love; on this subject, Valentine lives up to his name as he readily shares his Happy Place list. “My children make me extremely happy; they exhaust me but recharge me at the same time,” he says. “When I’m in nature, lying in the bluebells in springtime, I’m super-happy. Cooking makes me happy, and fishing is a lifetime love; there’s this wonderful world of water – a mysterious world that you can’t see, full of very beautiful creatures shuttling around over the gravel or in and out of rocks – I find it captivating. Anything to do with nature, for me, issues in a sense of peace, without restlessness.” And to eat...? “If I could eat one cuisine for the rest of my life, it’d be Japanese,” he says. “It’s a wonderful reflection of the natural world, very carefully prepared. I love places which have been around for a long time and aren’t necessarily in vogue as much they used to be, too, or being in France in a market with a smell of Pernod and cigarettes on the air, eating a plate of wonderful ratatouille. I’m more likely to be found in a trattoria or a little brasserie than in a Michelin-starred restaurant; I like understandable links between the place I’m in and the food that I'm getting. If I’m required to walk into a place where I’m immediately expected to start talking like I’m in church and the waiter is dressed like somebody from Star Trek, it’s not my thing.” Live long and prosper, Valentine. n

Valentine Warner’s latest book, The Consolation of Food, published by Pavilion Books, £20, offers a collection of tales covering everything from growing up in Dorset to adventures abroad, catering disasters, reflections on nature and the oddities of divorce



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TRISTAN DARBY Columnist Tristan Darby takes stock of affordable and quality wine options to see us through this period of uncertainty – and let’s raise a glass to the good times ahead...


s much as I feel that this is not the place to provide a social or political commentary, these are unprecedented times. Supermarkets literally can’t keep up with demand from the public and are keeping buoyant, so I’d like to use this column’s small voice to urge you to support local businesses for as long as you can in as many ways as you can – be they a deli, a farm shop, a cheesemonger, a butcher, baker or bottle shop (many of whom are delivering). Your money will make a huge difference to those within our community who are facing uncertain times ahead. I’m ultimately here to talk wines, and this month’s theme is quality versus cost, with some ideas for good wines to stock up on and see you through. The quality of Cava in the UK, even at the low end, is increasingly good, and the best offer almost unbeatable value for the price point. Pere Ventura’s ‘Tresor’ Brut Reserva Cava 2016 (£13.95, Great Western Wine) is an excellent example. Produced in the Penedes region south of Barcelona, the wine, made from a blend of traditional cava grape varieties, has had an extended time aging on the lees after second fermentation in the bottle, creating a cava that’s crisp and apple-fresh, but with toasty complexity and depth and a wonderfully rich and soft mouthfeel. Top-quality fizz at half the price of cheap champers? For me, it’s a total no-brainer. For fans of white, Chateau Sainte Marie, Entre-Deux-Mers (£11.95, GWW) from Bordeaux will please a wide variety of palates. It’s an appetising unoaked

blend of Sauvignon blanc, semillon and muscadelle grapes harvested from a plot of low-yielding mature vines at around 30 years of age. I reckon that all sauvignon fans will get on very well with this and there’s loads of character here to enjoy. It’s crisp and refreshing with classic pink grapefruit and citrusy notes backed up with a lovely weight and texture in the mouth and a nice long fresh finish. This will work with a plethora of fish and chicken dishes, tomato-based sauces, salads, and creamy pasta or risotto – especially those featuring green vegetables or goat’s cheese. Red wine drinkers should get hold of Biferno Rosso Riserva (£9.50, GWW). Hailing from southern Italy’s second smallest wine region, Molise, this is a hidden gem. Made with montepulciano and aglianico grapes, it’s soft, fruity and almost too easy to drink with lovely cherry notes partnered by just the right amount of oak and followed up with a satisfying chocolatey richness. It’s so smooth, with lovely mature tannins and savoury notes from 32 months aging in barrel and tank before release. It’ll work well with anything from pizza and rich cream or tomato-based pasta dishes to hearty stews, shepherd’s pie, roasted red meats, burgers and barbecue food. I keep coming back to this in columns because, quite simply, it’s one of the best reds out there for under a tenner. That’s me for now, folks, and please remember to support local, stay safe and, whenever you can, smile. n

Join Tristan for a range of wine classes throughout the year at Great Western Wine. Visit for information and booking.

GWW update


he Great Western Wine team sends their very best wishes to all their customers at this difficult time. The team are doing everything they can to fulfil the high demand that they are currently experiencing, while adhering to all current guidelines relating to Covid-19. Great Western Wine has made the following amendments to the services offered: • The GWW Bath shop is open. To offer the very best service, the revised opening hours are 10am until 5.30pm, Monday to Saturday. • If you’d rather not enter the shop, you can use Bell or Yell! Just press the hygienically wiped bell at the front of the shop and someone will come to take and fetch your order.

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• The GWW website is always open – the team willl deliver to your door, so let them bring your order to you. • GWW offer click and collect from their Bath shop. • Free deliveries – to allow you to stock up, the free delivery threshold has been reduced to just £50. Very best wishes and stay safe, from The Great Western Wine Team 01225 322810

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Romance in the city

Bath has welcomed the fashionable and the famous, including literary giants such as Jane Austen, Sir John Betjeman and Charles Dickens. The poet William Wordsworth visited Bath on numerous occasions and on the 250th anniversary of his birth, historian Catherine Pitt looks at his time in the city


he first time William Wordsworth (1770–1850) visited Bath was in 1793. He was 23 years old and had just returned from a walking tour through Europe where he’d been gathering inspiration for his poems. There is very little evidence about Wordsworth’s time spent in Bath during the four years he spent in the city at that time. He was not yet established as the renowned Romantic poet, but he was prolific in his writings. It is likely that he would have worked on the collection of poems known as An Evening Walk and Descriptive Sketches during his stay in Bath, for they were published the same year. In 1797 Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy, also a poet, moved to Somerset a few miles from their friend and fellow poet, Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Dorothy was a huge influence on Wordsworth, and he relied on her as a muse and inspiration. After two years he moved to the Lake District where he began a family with his wife Mary. But Bath was not forgotten. During the 1830s the Wordsworths, now including sons John, William (known as Willy), and daughter Dorothy (known as Dora), would make the long journey south to visit distant relatives and friends in Bath.

Dora Wordsworth in a watercolour by Margaret Gillies, 1839

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In the spring of 1839 Wordsworth took his sickly son Willy to partake of the spa waters in the city. From family letters we know the poet’s movements in Bath were really no different to any other spa visitor. Wordsworth would take the waters in the Pump Room and enjoy long walks in the surrounding countryside. In the evenings the family would enjoy “dining at Mr Popham’s”. An account in a letter from Mary Wordsworth, written in Bath between 10 and 14 April 1839 says, “Father is wonderfully free from inconvenience in his eyes and walks everlastingly.” The Wordsworths had five children together, but two died in childhood. The only surviving daughter, Dora (born 1804), was named after Wordsworth’s sister, and she showed the same intellectual prowess as her aunt. Indeed Wordsworth was as obsessed with her as he was with his sister. He heavily relied on Dora, especially when his eyesight began to fail in the 1820s, and she often assisted him with proofreading and other tasks relating to his works. Wordsworth was extremely jealous of anyone who threatened this perfect familial and working relationship. Dora grew into a beautiful and intelligent woman. She developed a fondness for family friend and budding writer Edward Quillinan. After Edward’s wife’s death in 1822 the pair became even closer. Edward was, however, considerably older than Dora, and not financially secure. Wordsworth was adamant that there was to be no question of a relationship, so for years their courtship was hidden in letters and clandestine meetings. “I feel as if I could never be a blessing to your home unless I took with me my parent’s blessing sealed with a kiss”, said Dora in a letter to Edward on 26 February 1841. The couple wished to marry but Dora feared her father. A mutual friend to all parties, Isabella Fenwick, acted as mediator between the distraught poet and his upset daughter, and with much reluctance on Wordsworth’s part, Edward and Dora became engaged at the end of 1838. Wordsworth refused to attend the wedding if it was to be in the Lake District. Fenwick suggested a more neutral ground may be better. Bath was chosen for the forthcoming nuptials as the journey there could incorporate a family trip down memory lane, retracing Wordsworth’s steps

William Wordsworth in 1798 by William Shuter

on his tour of 1793. With the help of Miss Fenwick, Dora and Edward arranged their wedding for 11 May 1841 at St. James’s Church near Southgate – now the site of Marks and Spencer. Dora’s elder brother, Reverend John Wordsworth (1803–1875), was permitted to conduct the ceremony. Dora was 38 and Edward was 49, and had two children by his late wife. After visiting the Wye Valley and Tintern Abbey the Wordsworth and Fenwick families were announced by the local paper as having arrived in Bath on 29 April 1841. Their lodgings were to be at 12 North Parade (not number 9 where a plaque has been placed erroneously). “I do sincerely trust that nothing will interfere with (the marriage) taking place on that day. Mr Wordsworth behaves beautifully,” said Isabella Fenwick in a letter to Henry Taylor on 6 May 1841. A wedding had taken place just before Dora and Edward’s and the clergy of St James’ saw the potential in making some money on the back of a famous poet’s daughter, and possibly getting a sight of the man himself, so guests from the previous wedding were invited to remain in the upper gallery at a charge of a guinea a head. Dora chose to wear a white dress, as had Queen Victoria on her marriage the previous year, which had begun a new trend. The bridesmaids were in lilac and pink with white bonnets, and Edward was dressed in white trousers, black boots, and a new blue frock coat. It has been incorrectly recounted that

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Wordsworth attended Dora’s wedding, however we know from letters written by Edward Quillinan and Isabella Fenwick that although Wordsworth was present in Bath on 11 May, he couldn’t bear to witness his daughter’s marriage, and so remained at the lodging house. Dora held out hope that her father would change his mind and arrive at the porch of St James’ but he didn’t, which unsettled the already nervous bride. Eyewitnesses describe how she walked unsteadily down the aisle on the arm of her brother Willy, accompanied by friends and cousins. At the altar she looked ashen faced and swayed during the service as though she was about to faint. Once Dora and Edward had exchanged vows and the ceremony was over, the couple and guests returned to No.12 for the wedding breakfast. It is assumed that Wordsworth more than likely re-joined the group at that point. The family remained in Bath until June while the couple honeymooned in Somerset. Perhaps the most ironic part of Wordsworth’s behaviour towards his daughter’s marriage is that it is almost comparable to Wordsworth’s own wedding day to Mary forty years earlier, when his sister Dorothy was so distraught at the situation that she refused to attend the church.

In 1847 Wordsworth and Mary returned to Bath for around three weeks. At this point Wordsworth was nationally famous, having become Poet Laureate in 1843 on the death of his friend and fellow poet Robert Southey. The Wordsworths joined Miss Fenwick at her home at 8 Queen Square from 3 March to 18 April. It was another trip of pleasure and inspiration. Wordsworth entertained various visitors in Queen Square as well as calling in on others lodging in the city, including Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s daughter Sara (a close friend of Dora’s), geologist Professor Adam Sedgwick and diarist Henry Crabb Robinson. When the weather was pleasant Wordsworth would go walking with Robinson “over the heights to Witcombe [Widcombe]”. While in Bath Wordsworth was contacted by the University of Cambridge to create an ode for the installation of his Royal Highness Prince Albert as chancellor of the university. He began to work on it, but was unable to complete it, because he received bad news that meant the Wordsworths had to rush back to Cumbria. The bad news they received was from Edward – Dora was gravely ill with tuberculosis. Returning to the family home the Wordsworths spent the final few weeks of Dora’s life by her side. On 9 July 1847

The Bath Chronicle of 29 April 1841 announced that “The distinguished poet Wordsworth is at present residing in Bath, where we understand he will remain until the middle of June”. During that time he refused to attend the wedding of his only daughter, Dora, at St. James’ Church. In a letter he wrote during his stay, he gave his address as no. 12, North Parade. However the plaque is located at no. 9

Dora Quillinan, née Wordsworth, writer and muse, died at the age of 42. Dora was buried at St Oswald’s Church, Grasmere. In a field near to the family home at Rydal Mount – now owned by The National Trust – her parents planted a host of hundreds of golden daffodils in her memory. Wordsworth never returned to Bath, dying three years later in 1850 at the age of 79 at his home in Rydal Mount. He is buried next to his daughter. n



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KEEPER OF A TRADITION The historic hands-on profession of upholstery is being passed on to a new generation. Emma Clegg met master craftswoman Joanna Heptinstall who is teaching her skills to others

SHE’S GOT IT COVERED: main picture, Joanna Heptinstall of the Traditional Upholstery School based in rolling countryside near Holt, Bradford-on-Avon Opposite, top, Joanna with some of her traditional lampshades and some of the students’ work in progress Pictures by Liz House

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n the midst of this challenging time it’s uplifting to read about a local success story in the world of traditional crafts. The Traditional Upholstery School in the leafy Wiltshire countryside near Bradford on Avon is currently running on a very reduced socially distanced schedule after taking expert medical advice. These cautiously limited classes come as the school settles into an impressive new home, surrounded by rolling farmland near Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire. And it coincides with the Traditional Upholstery School being recognised as one of Britain’s top craft training centres. As soon as the virus crisis is over the school hopes to be offering upholstery and lampshade courses for everyone, from oneday hobby classes to the latest professional training for prestigious Association of Master Upholsterers diplomas. These prestigious new AMUSF courses start in September 2020 and are only available at a few locations in the UK, one of which is the Traditional Upholstery School, which is less than ten miles from Bath. If you are stuck at home at the moment, dreaming of future plans, now is a good time to find out more. Despite the virus emergency, bookings are already being taken for the autumn. Visit traditional to find out about these inspiring professional standard courses. Of course if the national situation means that a course doesn’t run, students would get a full refund. What is the school actually like? Visitors will find old chairs lined up on benches in a spacious, light-filled, airy workshop. Around the room, students might be being shown a specific technique of how to restore furniture amid a row of industrial sewing machines, big rolls of fabric and sacks of stuffing. You’ll spot trays of wooden handtools, and catch the scent of natural hessian and maybe coffee brewing in the corner. The school was set up in 2016 by Joanna Heptinstall, who has been a professional upholsterer for almost 20 years. Previously she worked as a magazine editor in Bath and

a freelance writer for Homes & Gardens. She also a member of the Association of Master Upholsterers and Soft Furnishers. She runs the small friendly school with a team of expert tutors. Joanna has also written a successful book about lampshade making and been a regular upholstery teacher at the prestigious Denman College in Oxfordshire, the WI’s national school of learning. “We are very proud that the Traditional Upholstery School is now one of only a handful of centres approved by the Association of Master Upholsterers and Soft Furnishers,” she says. “The AMUSF has been responsible for promoting and maintaining the skills and heritage of the British upholstery industry for more than 70 years.”

The national body has approved Joanna and the Traditional Upholstery School as a training centre for the AMUSF Diploma, recognised as the most comprehensive upholstery qualification in the UK. This is an expert course covering both traditional and modern techniques to a very high standard. It starts with the basics of upholstery, like drop-in seats and footstools, and eventually leads to learning complex skills like restoring an iron-framed armchair or a hand-tied sprung seat edge. The school offers training one day a week

across the academic year to allow students to fit the three stages of AMUSF training round other commitments. Note that this nationally recognised professional training is so soughtafter that the School is already taking bookings for courses starting in September. “Other than the fact that we’re friendly, well equipped, with plenty of free parking and a lovely countryside location, our class sizes are small and our tutors are excellent: they are highly experienced, professional, friendly and supportive,” she says. “There is a limitless supply of chairs in the world needing repair or complete makeovers. Once you are trained as an upholsterer you’ll never be short of work.” Each class has a maximum of eight students – an excellent tutor-student ratio – ensuring that no-one should have to wait for attention. “As a team, we aim to give every student the perfect level of individual attention,” says Joanna, “allowing each to thrive and get the best of the training. As well as covering core skills of upholstery, we actively encourage individual creativity, helping students develop their own style.” In addition to formal training, students can join upholstery-related tours including outings to trade shows, exhibitions and professional workroom tours. Students are also encouraged to take on work for friends and family at early stages in the courses to build their confidence. The Bath Magazine readers are being offered a chance to join fun, friendly and industrious one-day upholstery workshops in May, June and July. Students who go on to book a place on a diploma course after trying a Saturday workshop day will have the cost of the workshop day deducted from the cost of the diploma. And if the virus situation means that the course cannot run, TUS will re-imburse students the full amount paid. n

To find out more about forthcoming taster days and courses in upholstery and lampshade making visit:



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PORTRAIT: Neill Menneer at Spirit Photographic. Visit:, tel: 01225 483151

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Bath @ work

Our series of photographic portraits by Neill Menneer shows Bath people at work. View a gallery of Bath@work subjects at:

Christophe Lacroix



was born in La Rochelle in western France, but didn’t have the best start in life. I was taken away from my parents as my mum wasn’t managing. She basically starved us, which must account for my love of food from an early age. My foster dad was not a lot better and a lot of smacking was part of the daily diet. Consequently I was what might be called ‘a troubled individual’ and was always getting into scrapes with someone or other. I was sent to a boarding school at seven and left at 14, as soon as I could, to become an apprentice. The chef I worked for was a tough taskmaster, which also didn’t bring the best out in me, so I was given a choice between prison or the army. The army changed me and gave me the discipline and stability I needed and I have many fond memories from that time. I was liked because I used to take the rationed (and obligatory) wine from my friends and, together with a little honey, transform it into warming mulled wine for the evenings. After leaving the army, I applied my culinary skills all over the world: Germany, Switzerland, St Lucia and even Madagascar for a while. This included a time as chef for Mohamed Al-Fayed in Surrey and Nicholas Cage in Midford. I met Jean Pierre Auge when visiting a friend in Bath, and I began working for him at Le Beaujolais. From there on my life has been in Bath. You might remember the various restaurants I have run. The Pinch of Salt in Margaret’s Buildings, Le Petit Cochon in Widcombe and No.1 Beaufort in Larkhall. They have all been successful in their way, especially Le Petit Cochon, which did really well. I rather regret selling it after only three years. Still, all these adventures have led me to where I am today at Ma Cuisine in Larkhall. I love it here. The sense of community in this small village is so rare nowadays and I have made many friends. The business keeps evolving. The idea at first was to sell ready meals. These are pre-cooked takeaways and consist of many French classics, like our wild boar pie and a few English dishes like faggots which go down well. My best customer, though, is still Sydney Jacob who runs the Jeeves retail chain and who has become a real friend. We run two special evenings from here: The Supper Club which offers eight courses and our quiz night, which is enormous fun. I put on 14 courses with three glasses of wine for a very reasonable fee per head, including six blind courses and prizes. I love these evenings as I get to cook and socialise all at the same time. I certainly didn’t come to Bath for the weather. It was, and is, the people I love. Compared to France this is a very tolerant country. You might not realise this, but in France there are police everywhere. I’ve not been stopped for any reason while I’ve been here, which would not be true in France. I’ve enjoyed sharing my passion with others and believe hard work makes better people. One parent was so grateful after I worked with their son and helped transform his perspective on life that they even gave me a part in their feature film! We’re about to open our garden which will have special paella nights, so new things are always happening. n PORTRAIT: Neill Menneer at Spirit Photographic. Visit:,, tel: 01225 483151

ocl A C C O U N TA N C Y

141 Englishcombe Lane, Bath BA2 2EL Tel: 01225 445507

MAJOR CHANGE: Capital Gains Tax payable within 30 days of completion of sale

Under current regulations, if you owe Capital Gains Tax (CGT) from a property sale, you have until the next self-assessment tax deadline to report the liability and pay the tax.This will be the 31st January following the end of the tax year of the sale / disposal. For example, where a property is sold on 15th May 2019, the sale falls into the 2019-20 tax year, and you would declare the CGT owed and pay your bill as part of submitting your self-assessment tax return by 31 January 2021. NEW: 30-day payment window from April 2020 From 6th April 2020 however, whenever you make a taxable capital gain from UK residential property, you will have to pay the tax owed within 30 days of the completion of the sale / disposal. This is done by submitting a 'residential property return' and making a payment on account.This new requirement significantly reduces the time you have to calculate and report your CGT. This 30-day rule only applies to UK residential property sold on or after 6th April 2020, and only where CGT is chargeable. Your solicitor should advise on this but arrangements for reporting and payment may be unclear; if so, please contact us urgently. For tax saving tips contact us – call Marie Sheldrake, Tom Hulett or Hannah Pettifer on 01225 445507

Call Marie Sheldrake, Tom Hulett or Hannah Pettifer on 01225 445507 to arrange a no-obligation meeting



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Bath & North East Somerset Council have added a new page to their website to keep citizens updated on council services as the authority responds to the Coronavirus (Covid-19). The site will follow Public Health England advice and guidance as it is issued. Council leader Councillor Dine Romero said: “The situation regarding Coronavirus is changing rapidly and we must work together as a community to protect ourselves and those around us. It is important that everyone remains calm

and follows the latest national advice on the steps needed to reduce the spread of infection. It is essential that we support each other and understand Councillor Dine Romero that we will all need to adapt to different day-to-day behaviours during this period.”



The Botanical ABC are offering a blossoming collection of charming products showcasing the watercolour paintings of Lavinia Thomas. Each letter of the alphabet is represented by a flower whose name begins with that letter, their petals and leaves teased into shape, providing harmonious rhythm in our everyday chaos. Botanical ABC have a beautiful range of cards, gifts and indulgences, all of which are available online.

After 12 years in Belvedere, locally based Danish goldsmith Tina Engell is thrilled to announce a move into Bartlett Street this month. Tina’s new shop sits in the heart of Bath among exciting shops, cafés and wine bars. All of Tina’s jewellery is contemporary in style and made by hand. She will also use the space to showcase bespoke work by fellow goldsmiths such as Mikala Djorup and Sophie Harley. Tina said, “Being full of creative and likeminded businesses, this area represents the best of Bath. I know the new location will really inspire me and I can’t wait to get started.”

“Entrepreneurship is no longer a choice in these uncertain times. Companies are making employees redundant. We live longer than what our pensions can support. Stay-home spouses must create a business to support the rising Cynthia Wihardja cost of living.” Meet Cynthia Wihardja, a practical advisor and founder of The Brave Zone. She combines her psychology and business skills to give self-employed professionals the mental strength and business strategy they need to reach their dreams. She may be a new resident of Bath, but she’s not new to business. A graduate from UCLA and a Master NLP Practitioner, she has been a business achiever since 1996 in Fortune 500 companies as well as in her own businesses. She has been recognised for sales and profit achievements, building a top-ranking firm, and most importantly, working with good business ethics. She owns two coaching companies in Indonesia, which are now running indepdently. “When I moved here, I wanted to help the self-employed. They have the least resources and the biggest challenges. They need customised strategies just like big businesses,” Cynthia explains. A purpose-driven entrepreneur with a heart for the community, join Cynthia’s free webinars or get fresh insights for your business growth every month.


provided by

High Street Footfall

n Looking at the difference in footfall for February over January we can see that Bath fared well compared to the region and the nation. We also note that the first week of March was up 3% on the February average. n Bath & North East Somerset Council leader Councillor Dine Romero has chaired a teleconference of local agencies who are working together to protect our community from the COVID-19 threat. As well as the council, the meeting involved the Police, Curo, RUH and CCG, all of whom are working closely together to protect our local communities. The partners agreed to continue to co-ordinate their efforts and offer mutual aid and support, with their top priority being protecting the public, particularly the most vulnerable. Dine Romero said: “We must work together as partners and as communities to protect ourselves and those around us. It is vital that everyone follows the latest advice and we ask the public to follow national guidance on COVID-19, to keep up to date with any service changes through our websites and social media, and to offer support and help wherever possible to neighbours and the local community. We will continue to work closely together to protect the public during this challenging period.”

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(Month on month % change)

Bath 6.7%

South West UK



Springboard Research Ltd.

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Sending staff home We all want and need to do our bit to limit the spread of the coronavirus and keep vulnerable people safe. But as the situation changes daily and we have no idea how long this will continue, businesses are not only dealing with the need to reduce staff numbers on site, in order to restrict the spread, many are also trying to cope with a sudden loss of business as social distancing and self-isolation becomes the new norm. So, how should employers prepare? First of all, establishing who can work from home is essential. There are some roles that can’t be done anywhere else other than the place of work, for example retail or manufacturing. If working from home is not possible, an employer will need to determine if they can afford to send staff home on full pay – after all, if an employee is ready, willing and able to work, then they expect to work and more importantly be paid. For those employers who can implement home working, there are certain factors to be considered including the following: • Do employment contracts include a mobility clause allowing home working (i.e. can the employer require the employee to work at a different location than the normal place of work) or does that need to be achieved by consent? • Do staff have access to all equipment needed to do their job? • What additional expenses will staff incur from home – for example, broadband usage, heat, lighting and telecoms? Will those extra expenses be offset by the removal of commuting expenses or will the employer need to put plans in place to cover them?

• Putting in place robust processes to monitor productivity of home workers to ensure the business continues to function effectively. • Considerations around additional support to help staff transition from office to home working. How will business communicate with their staff to ensure their wellbeing? With the expectation that sustained efforts will be needed to deal with the pandemic, companies should prepare for a situation that allows for remote working on an ongoing basis for the foreseeable months ahead. It has never been more important to communicate with your teams and all employers will be relying upon the loyalty and commitment of their people like never before. There is however, no denying that the level of uncertainty about the duration of disruption to daily lives creates its own set of problems for businesses, particularly those who cannot easily adapt to a homeworking model. While some businesses may have the luxury of keeping payroll unchanged in the short term, as the situation continues many will have to make difficult decisions to ensure survival of the business. The government has already announced a range of measures which are available to businesses to assist with the crisis but there is not yet sufficient clarity around how those measures are to be delivered. Ultimately, businesses that plan ahead will undoubtedly be in the best position to deal with the uncertainty to come and protect and retain its staff. In these very difficult and uncertain times, we are here to help and are committed to assisting our local communities where possible. If you would like to talk about any of the issues highlighted in this article, either formally or informally, please do contact Mogers Drewett on 01225 750000 or me directly on 07809 772301. Sean McDonough, Partner, Employment & HR, Mogers Drewett



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John arrived at Bristol Zoo in 1975 and rose through the ranks to the role of senior curator of animals

Walking with beasts

Bristol Zoo’s longest-serving keeper is about to retire, marking the end of an era at the stalwart city attraction. He reminisces on a remarkable career encompassing everything from everyday elephant encounters to hand-rearing hippos


t’s almost 45 years since John Partridge first set foot in Bristol Zoo Gardens to begin work as a keeper. Since then he has formed some quite remarkable friendships with animals in his care. He is the calm voice of experience, the person to whom everyone turns. No other current keeper has worked at the zoo as long as he has. “It was a job I always wanted to do. I’ve loved every minute of it,” he says in his gentle Welsh lilt, although his careers teachers were not that impressed when he told them he wanted to work in a zoo. “They said it wasn’t well paid and there was no future in it,” he recalls with a smile. But from the moment he arrived at Bristol Zoo in 1975 he has never regretted it and over the years he has risen through the ranks to his present role, senior curator of animals, which he took on 12 years ago. He has formed close bonds with many animals including Wendy the elephant, who was very popular with visitors to the zoo. But one day she literally sent him flying across her paddock when John was helping a vet inspect her feet. “She calmly lowered her head and pushed me,” he remembers. Typically he blamed himself. “She hadn’t been well and I shouldn’t have let the veterinary inspection go on for quite as long as it did,” he said. “I went back to her about 10 minutes later. We had a few words and we were friends again.” He had a gentler encounter with another elephant called Christina. She was delighted to see him when he returned from the Middle East after three months away. “She had a habit of putting her trunk on top

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of my head by way of recognition. And that’s what she did. It was as if another elephant had returned and she wondered where I had been.” John’s career began as a volunteer at Barry Zoo in his native South Wales. He was in his late teens, working in the education department of Glamorgan County Council and spending all his weekends at the zoo. “It was brilliant but tiring. I would come home on a Saturday night and fall asleep in a chair,” he says. He kept pestering the twin brothers who owned Barry Zoo until they gave him the opportunity to volunteer there. “I learnt how to look after lions, elephants, bears and a chimpanzee. It was very exciting.” The chimpanzee, called Melody, would sometimes bring a piece of straw to John so he could tickle one of her feet. She later went to live at Twycross Zoo and nine years later John paid a visit. “She came to the mesh, looked at me and then walked away. I thought she hadn’t recognised me,” he says. “The she picked up a piece of straw, came back, gave it to me and pushed her foot up against the mesh demanding a tickle. That was absolutely amazing.” Melody and Wendy were two of his favourite animals as well as an orangutan called Henry. “Henry was such an intelligent, powerful animal,” says John. “I also have an affection for pygmy hippos. I hand-reared one in 1981.” John helped design and set up several of Bristol Zoo’s animal buildings, including ground-breaking Twilight World, and also worked in the reptile house and aquarium. It’s a place that has truly defined his life – it was there that he met his wife, Kate, when she worked in the

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The elephant had just arrived and I wanted to make sure she was alright. I was supposed to be off but I ended up at the zoo for most of the weekend

accounts department. That was 42 years ago and they went on to have two daughters, Nicola and Joanne, who are both married with children of their own – Jordan, Owen, Florence and Betty. Retirement will give John a chance to help with meeting his grand-daughters from school, and make up for family occasions he has missed – such as that time an anxious elephant caused him to miss his mother-in-law’s birthday. “The elephant had just arrived and I wanted to make sure she was alright. I was supposed to be off but I ended up at the zoo for most of the weekend,” he says. “It’s not a nine to five job or a Monday to Friday job. It’s a vocation. But it helps to have an understanding wife. My wife has been so amazing.” John has a Christmas afternoon tradition of coming into the zoo to check all is well – a tradition he’s just partaken in for the final time and one he will greatly miss once he leaves the zoo this month. It will be the end of a career that he has loved. “Good zoos, and this is one of the best ones, should always exist. We have pioneered many changes that are taken for granted now, such as using glass around the enclosures of big cats and bringing in heated dens to encourage polar bears to breed,” he says, pausing to look out of the window across the grounds. “It’s been a real privilege to work with so many amazing people and animals at Bristol Zoo.” ■

John has found great pals in Bristol Zoo elephants over the years



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Beautiful blues

Bluebells are surely one of the most glorious signs of spring, while sunny daffs herald in the season, there’s something magical about happening across a vivid blue carpet of bluebells – a true ‘Wow’ to lift the spirits. Words by Pete Dommett


lowers? That’s a bit boring, isn’t it?” This was a friend’s response after I told him what I was writing about for The Bath Magazine this month. And while I agreed that wildflowers might not have the obvious wow factor of some of the other wildlife (like kingfishers, otters and peregrine falcons) that I enjoy, I challenged him to visit a bluebell wood in full flower at the end of April and not be immediately moved by its beauty. Walking through a woodland carpeted with countless numbers of these famous blue blooms is one of the simplest joys of spring. And it’s a very British thing – thanks to our moist and mild climate, the UK is home to around half the world’s bluebells and the most spectacular displays. The best time to view them is on an overcast day, especially after an April shower. Close your eyes halfway and the flowers fuse together in a sea of the purest blue. On sunny days, the haze of colour takes on a purplish hue. Get down on your hands and knees and have a close-up look at an individual flower. You’ll count somewhere between five and 15 ‘bells’ at the top of each stalk, the weight of which causes the bluebell’s distinctive droop. These open in a strict sequence, with the lower flowers first to unfurl and the bells at the very tip of the stem being the last to flourish. Then there’s their scent: a delicate, sweet

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perfume that pervades the air around you. Bluebells grow across the country but, as spring spreads slowly northwards, we in the West Country get to enjoy them before most people. Mass blooming usually begins by the middle of the month, but this depends on our increasingly unpredictable weather. In 2018, the Beast from the East smothered new shoots with a blanket of snow and delayed displays. Conversely, an exceptionally warm end to the winter this year could mean an early show. Bath is surrounded by some brilliant places for bluebells. These include Brown’s Folly in Bathford, Westonbirt Aboretum, the gounds of The Pig in Hunstrete, Prior’s Wood and Weston Big Wood (near Portishead), Dowlings Wood at Folly Farm (near Pensford) and Lower Woods (near Wickwar), which are all managed by Avon Wildlife Trust. The National Trust’s Leigh Woods and Tyntesfield estate are also good spots to see them. If you visit any of these areas, then stick to the paths to avoid trampling on the plants. Damaged leaves can affect the ability of the bulbs, hidden underground, to reproduce and generate flowers for next year. Bluebells can be found in good numbers nearer the city – in Arnos Vale cemetery and at Ashton Court, for example. But in urban areas, they face a more insidious threat. The Spanish bluebell is a cultivated and vigorous variety – bigger, straighter, more variable in colour, but

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...Thanks to our moist and mild climate, the UK is home to around half the world’s bluebells and the most spectacular displays...

with little scent – that has escaped over the garden wall and now crossbreeds with our native plant, producing hybrid flowers with ‘watered down’ features. The charity Plantlife claims that one in six British woods have been invaded by the Spanish species. Avon Wildlife Trust’s Willsbridge Valley reserve, near Longwell Green, is just one local example of where the plant is now present. If this hybridisation continues, our beloved British bluebell could, one day, be lost completely. So get out there this month and find some ‘proper’ bluebells while you still can. Squint at them, sniff them and say “wow!” to these wonderful wildflowers. ■ • Keep up-to-date with all the bloomings at and for further infomation about Avon Wildlife Trust’s reserves and woodlands, visit the website:

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EDUCATION NEWS THE PARAGON’S NEW HEAD The governors of The Paragon School have announced the appointment of the school’s new headteacher, Rosie Allen. Selected from an impressive field of candidates, Mrs Allen succeeds Andrew Harvey and will take up her post at the beginning of the next academic year. Mrs Allen was previously head at Radnor House School in Twickenham and is currently one of the nonexecutive directors of the Radnor House Schools Group. In addition, she holds several governorships including at the City of London School and Beechen Cliff School in Bath. Mrs Allen was educated at South Hampstead High, a GDST school, before reading history at the University of Nottingham, graduating with first class honours. She began her teaching career at Mill Hill County High, before moving into preparatory specialism with roles at The Hall, Hampstead, and then Sherborne Preparatory School, where she was academic deputy head. Joining Radnor House as a co-founder in 2011, Mrs Allen was responsible for the launch of the school and its successful development over the first few years. She oversaw the academic, pastoral and co-curricular arms of the school, first as head of prep, then as senior deputy and as head from 2016. Mrs Allen said, “I am very much looking forward to getting to know the wider Paragon community better, including parents and alumni, and of course the fabulous children who have all been so welcoming during my visits. I look forward to joining their adventures.”

CYBER CHAMPIONS A team of cyber-savvy schoolgirls from King Edward’s School sent off tough competition to win the National Cyber Security Centre’s CyberFirst Girls Competition. The competition final in Cardiff saw eight teams from highly qualified schools take on the fictional scenario of protecting the Olympic Games from cyber attacks, with King Edward’s School emerging triumphant. Nearly 12,000 girls from 754 schools took part in the competition this year, allowing for even more cyber talent to be discovered. The team were presented with laptops and a £1,000 cheque for their school to spend on IT equipment. All the girls who reached the final have been invited to a tour of 10 Downing Street later this year. The CyberFirst Girls Competition aims to boost interest in cyber security among females, who are currently under-represented in the industry. This is the fourth year the National Cyber Security Centre – a part of GCHQ – has run the competition and this year’s grand final was hosted for the first time in Wales. Laura James, head of computing and ICT at King Edward’s School said: “Becoming national champions was something that the girls had only dreamed of... This is just the beginning of an exciting journey as the poster girls of cyber security!” n 64 TheBATHMagazine


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Foreign Languages Centre UNIVERSITY OF

Daytime, lunchtime and evening foreign language classes for members of the public. Enrolling now!






Mandarin Chinese


We offer a wide range of foreign languages at beginner through to advanced level. To find out more about the courses available, or to enrol, visit our website and apply online or call 01225 383991.

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HOST FAMILIES REQUIRED Would you like to host French students? Ages 11-17 Saturday 11th July – Friday 31st July One student – £560 Two students in room share – £1060 Two students in 2 rooms – £1120

Sarah Wringer Kaplan International Languages Bath, 5 Trim Street, Bath, BA1 1HB Direct Line (01225) 473502 Email:

For further information please contact Mrs Susie Houston on 0777 379 2866 or email:



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Tea for two with tiers

Emma Clegg takes afternoon tea in über-glamorous style, one of which she feels sure the seventh Duchess of Bedford would have approved


he delicate salted caramel and chocolate tarts had a daub of edible gold on the glossy dark chocolate. Edible gold was once used by the Egyptian pharaohs to honour their gods, boost their vitality and display their wealth. The residents of Bath Abbey’s priory – which once owned this land – may not have approved of such decadence, but nowadays it’s de rigueur at teatime at The Bath Priory. The tarts were just a fraction of the teatime offering. First up was a glass of Champagne. Totally untraditional with tea, but I think the seventh Duchess of Bedford, who invented the teatime ceremony after experiencing a ‘sinking feeling’ midafternoon, would have approved. There is no chance of sinking with bubbles, you see. Then we were treated to a hinged tray with 10 choices of tea – like a threedimensional menu, it had sealed pots of green sencha, lemon verbena and chamomile, along with Lapsang Souchong,

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jasmine blossom et al, but we reverted to type and went for Earl Grey and English breakfast. Call me old-fashioned, but green sencha tea and scones just didn’t seem right. The scones and the tarts arrived on a three-tier cake stand. It was clear that we needed a strategy. The lower tray had finger sandwiches: roasted chicken with tarragon mayonnaise, local ham and mustard, egg mayonnaise and watercress, and smoked salmon and cucumber. I could have eaten all of the fingers, but that would have been shortsighted because I could not then have finished the tiers, so I stopped at two. The next tier was the most colourful and exotic: the aforementioned salted caramel and chocolate tarts, spiced orange and vanilla macaroons, Amaretto cheesecake, and coffee and mandarin choux buns. This was harder because I really wanted one of each, but this seemed awfully greedy and we still had the scones on the top. I had three; good going I thought. The mandarin choux bun was my favourite, its creamy interior

exploding on mouth impact, but the other choices passed good muster, if you like eating gold, which I discovered I did. Or maybe it was the chocolate. On to the scones, and a refill of tea, and the debate was initially fruit or plain, and then the order of cream or jam. We decided that jam followed by cream was the way to go, which is what the Queen does, even though there are crowds of naysayers, mostly from Devon. It was not a normal weekday afternoon. Sitting in plush chairs in the drawing room of The Bath Priory holding china teacups, surrounded by majestic artworks from the art collection of the owners, Andrew and Christina Brownsword, and with a view of the garden, the seventh Duchess of Bedford would have felt very much at home. n

Full afternoon tea at The Bath Priory is served from 3pm to 5pm, £34/£46 with Champagne;

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HEALTH & BEAUTY NEWS The city’s salons are keeping health and wellness at the forefront of their minds this April

REFRESH AND REJUVENATE This month, Harmony Beauty Lounge are offering £10 off Nimue Skin Technology products to help you feel refreshed and rejuvenated in time for spring. Nimue is a globally recognised professional skin care brand, renowned for its expert understanding of the skin. Nimue’s advanced and powerful formulation effectively assists in treating the majority of skin concerns including fine lines and wrinkles, sagging, pigmentations, uneven skin tone, dryness, oiliness and acne. Enhance your natural beauty at Harmony. •

TREAT YOUR EYES Specsavers Bath is prioritising investment in both the store and the team to ensure they are providing the very best eye care service to the local community. The installation of an optical coherence tomography scan has been a hugely important addition to the store, helping to detect treatable eye conditions with its incredibly accurate pictures. Specsavers are offering the service as part of an enhanced eye test for an additional £10. Alongside continued investment in technology, the store offers the only onsite lab service in Bath, an advantage for customers who are looking for a quick turnaround on their spectacles. •

FOREST THERAPY Reconnect with Aromatherapy Associates’ fresh, clean and invigorating Forest Therapy Bath & Shower Oil blend, created using a collection of nature’s most caring ingredients. Combining pink pepper fruit native to the Peruvian Andes, juniper berry from the mountainous regions of Macedonia, the Mediterranean cypress tree and Sicilian lemon, the ingredients come together to form a fragrance that’s powerfully effective yet serenely healing. £49, available from Thermae Bath Spa, Bath •; 70 TheBATHMagazine


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Georgian: a warm classic style

Etons of Bath specialises in the design and renovation of Georgian period properties. There are four broad style approaches that can be taken with a Georgian property, explains the company’s creative director Sarah Latham. This month she focuses on the warm classic style, a more traditional design approach to Georgian interior design The warm classic style encompasses a darker and richer colour palette compared to the other four Georgian stylings. When creating a warm classic style home and interior scheme, Etons of Bath suggests focusing on more traditional materials, such as marble floors, dark wood joinery and antique furniture, interspersed with subtle modernising touches. n

FOUR GEORGIAN STYLINGS There are four broad approaches that can be applied to the refurbishment of Georgian houses and hotels: • warm classic • calm classic • classic contemporary • on-trend contemporary

Etons of Bath, 108 Walcot Street, Bath;

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BELOW: left, a warm classic guest bedroom in a Georgian country house; right, a warm classic library featuring bespoke backlit bookcases with a secret door through to a drawing room

ABOVE: A warm classic bathroom design in an early Georgian house, featuring de Gournay wallpaper as a backdrop to classic sanitaryware. The floor is white honed octagon marble with darker cabochon inserts

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Pets and vets Age is just a number when it comes to our animal companions, says Ailsa Pringle, doctor of veterinary medicine and our new columnist on caring for your pets


he popular ‘age multiplied by 7’ formula for calculating your dog’s age is now regarded as inaccurate and out-dated. It is well known that a smaller breed dog such as a Jack Russell will generally live longer than a large breed dog such as a Labrador, but a Labrador isn’t ‘dying young’ by having that shorter lifespan. By using a more accurate dog age calculator that takes into account weight and maturation rates, the average lifespan of these two breeds (14.5 and 12 years old respectively) both roughly equate to a 77-year-old human; this is definitely a better representation of dog ages based on breed variations. Saying that, age is just a number. Some older people are running marathons, whereas others can’t even walk to the local shop – our pets are no different, and we shouldn’t fall into the trap of judging them based on a numerical value alone. Owning a dog shouldn’t be a competition – and your current dog cannot be compared to your previous dog, your neighbour’s dog, or your uncle’s brother’s daughter’s dog (who happens to be your sister’s). Every dog will age at its own rate, but by monitoring their health closely and being attuned to any changes in their personality and mannerisms, dog owners will hopefully be one step ahead of managing the inevitable ageing process. The terms ‘senior’, ‘geriatric’ or ‘old’ should not be avoided or shunned. They should be celebrated – if you’re classed as old, you’ve had a long life, and that’s something every dog owner should be proud of achieving for their pet. And secondly, by using the correct terminology (or facing the truth in some cases), owners are in a better position to make certain lifestyle changes or seek further assistance from professionals in order to make the ageing process a graceful one. If we’ve been able to modernise our ability to more accurately humanise the age of our pets, we should be able to modernise our approach to caring for them too. Gone are the days of ‘he’s just old now’ being a good enough excuse to ignore the realities of owning an elderly pet. We can do so much more. 

Visit our popular

Ailsa Pringle DVM MRCVS Veterinary Pain Management;


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Biophilia rules Biophilia – also known as the innate affinity of humans with the natural world – does rule in the interior. But it’s not just a trend; it’s a conviction. Over the years we’ve flirted with minimalism, dallied with geometrics, and introduced the ethnic into our homes, but really it’s the rhythms of nature that should be our backdrop. And that’s the only rule. Here are some up-to-date examples

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Tectona Root 150cm Leaf Coffee Table, special price £1199, TR Hayes;

Earthenware vase, £145, Woodhouse & Law;

Darwin Flora Blue Decor porcelain, from £40.80 per m2, Mandarin Stone;

TR Hayes Little Yellow Birds canvas by Ben Lowe, £395, Loaf;

Wisteria Stiffkey Blue wallpaper, £150 per 10m roll, Farrow & Ball;

Matrix Palm Green Rug, £215, TR Hayes;

PREVIOUS PAGE: Fuji No Yukei wallpaper, available at

Petworth sofa, £2,360, Sofas and Stuff;



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The great outdoors

Shedworking and outdoor living spaces have become increasingly popular as people look to reduce their commute to work or simply long to be closer to nature. Garden Affairs, specialists in designing studio gardens, have recently introduced a new range with an innovative new material that’s set to revolutionise the genre Do you have a garden room dream? Imagine if the only commute to work was a few strides across the lawn. Would an outdoor studio where you could easily pop back to your desk in the evening to complete a project suit you? Would a view of trees and plants from your window make your everyday routine that little bit more golden? Or rather green? Shedworking is nothing new, of course. Tourists still flock to the wooden boathouse in Laugharne used by Welsh writer Dylan Thomas, and to sculptor Barbara Hepworth’s summerhouse and studio in St Ives, Cornwall. Roald Dahl famously retreated to his writing shed to dream up the vivid characters of his much-loved children’s books. Playwright George Bernard Shaw had a garden room that could be rotated as the sun moved around. Contemporary garden room enthusiasts include property guru Kirstie Allsopp, who has said that her wooden garden room reminds her fondly of the tree houses her father built for her as a child. Canny Kirstie also points out that having an extra room at your property will enhance its value. 78 TheBATHMagazine


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Perhaps this is the real creative appeal of the outdoor studio. We know a well-built garden room is economical, secure, quick to install and easy to heat, and that we can incorporate all our customised storage, tables, lighting, modern kilns and so on. But even these practical reasons don’t account for so many artists and writers loving them so much. It’s clear that a timber garden studio offers serious benefits, but it’s not a serious place to be. It’s a space to play, to experiment, to remember childhood and invent new worlds. Artists and sheds go together like paint and canvas. A creative cabin is where magic happens. West Country-based family-run business Garden Affairs helps people achieve their garden room dreams by consulting with them to design bespoke living spaces. Each cabin is as unique as its owner and people are free to create their own world inside. The Garden Affairs team, based just outside Bath in Trowbridge, has been able to help all kinds of creative people set up their own space in their gardens. The design team can advise on everything from the position and size

ABOVE: the Proline range offers a crisp finish to the interior of the garden room, making it an ideal place to watch the garden bloom this spring OPPOSITE: top two images, the ecofriendly cabins are well insulated and designed to retain warmth and stay cool at the desired times and unique styles, shapes and designs are used for every customer OPPOSITE: bottom two images, the cabins can be used as both offices and workshops

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of the garden room to supplying electricity and lighting, as well as whether your home project will need planning permission. The latest generation of wooden cabins is eco-friendly, well insulated and designed to retain warmth in winter and stay cool on hot summer days. There is even an option to plant a sedum roof to encourage wildlife, and to add a water butt to collect rainwater from the guttering. Constantly reassessing the design of their garden rooms to offer the very latest offerings, Garden Affairs have recently introduced a range of garden rooms called Proline that uses a brand new, sustainable construction material called Tricoya. This is an exceptionally stable, modern wood composite with a 25-year life that copes effortlessly with all outdoor weather conditions. The material is also guaranteed to not rot or warp, and unlike other garden rooms, it is resistant to fungal attack. The range offers design flexibility and low-maintenance costs, but also a stability and durability that is new to the outdoor room market. Whether customers are looking to install a home gym or a relaxing outdoor living space to both physically and mentally escape the working week, the Proline range does not compromise the style of the building and focuses on the appearance and performance of the room. Its vertical tongue-and-groove effect also gives it a crisp, clean exterior. Created using computer-controlled manufacturing, the Proline is quick and easy to assemble for both professional and DIY installers. This latest range marks a huge step forward in the world of garden rooms: exceptional stability, a totally rot-proof structure and stylish good looks. There’s your garden dream.

Imagine if the only commute to work were a few strides down the lawn...

CASE STUDIES An artist’s studio Max Ryan wanted a studio where she could run art classes and operate her picture framing and photography business. She didn’t want the expense and hassle of having to rent a studio where she would have to commute, so enquired about installing a large log cabin in her garden in Frome. Max chose a substantial cabin, nine metres wide and four metres deep, with windows and three additional skylights. Inside, along with the main studio space, two smaller rooms were created for a cloakroom and a private office. Max’s business, Studio 61, is now well established and she says she relishes the short commute and the fact that she can take her dog Howard to work with her. The studio is so warm and comfortable that she has even been able to run life-drawing classes for her students.

The ceramicist Lizzie wanted a studio she could devote to her passion for pottery. After discussing how she needed to use the space, she had a 3.5 x 2.5 metre workshop designed, into which Lizzie introduced her home kiln, which is run by electricity. She also arranged for a plumber to supply water to the workshop, for a handy sink, and opted for a bee-friendly living sedum roof. n Contact Garden Affairs on tel: 01225 774566; Or visit the display centre at Trowbridge Garden Centre, 288 Frome Road, Trowbridge, Wiltshire, BA14 0DT THEBATHMAG.CO.UK


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the directory

to advertise in this section call 01225 424 499


House & Home

Health, Beauty & Wellbeing


Independent family run business with family values • • • • • •

Create your home for life

New and Reconditioned Warranty Contracts Straight and Curved Stairlifts Services and Repairs Rental Stairlifts Removals

Call 01666 822 060




Corporate - Events, Weddings & Parties Home - Childrens rooms Curtains & Blinds

Textile AnnaDesign Bespoke Commissions

Bath based 07779951691 01761471663

Holistic Treatments for Wellbeing

Aromatherapy • Reflexology/Facial reflexology Japanese Cosmo Facelift • Deep Tissue Massage For more information, please visit: 07739 827186

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“We used Mardan following a recommendation from a friend. They moved us in and out of storage and then into our renovated house. I would highly recommend them. The service was super efficient and the guys were quick, polite and courteous. Nothing was too much trouble and all of our possessions arrived safe and sound”



Thinking of advertising your business

Emma Webster, Moon Client

Our 2020 media pa ck can be viewed online










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ailbrook Lane is a stunning development of two individual contemporary luxury homes set in a beautifully mature setting with magnificent views. The development is approached through a private gated driveway and each home has been meticulously designed and crafted for modern day living with large, light filled rooms housed under a sedum green roof. Situated in Batheaston, the site is within the Green Belt and the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The village benefits from a doctor’s surgery, pharmacy, dentist, convenience store and renowned fish & chip shop. Several highly rated pubs, such as the George Inn and The Bathampton Mill, are within walking distance. Little Solsbury Hill is located a mile north of the development, rising 626 feet above the River Avon offering spectacular views. There is a regular and reliable bus service into the UNESCO World Heritage city of Bath. The city is famed for its Roman heritage and Georgian architecture and offers a wonderful array of chain and independent shopping, many fine restaurants, cafes, wine bars and sporting facilities. Bath has a mainline rail link to London Paddington and Bristol Temple Meads. Junction 18 of the M4 is approximately 14 miles north of the development. The distinguished Kingswood School and Royal High School both headline the calibre of education in the area, conveniently located two miles west of Bailbrook Lane. The development is in the catchment area for good local pre and primary schools in Batheaston and Bathford.

Cobb Farr, 35 Brock Street, The Circus, Bath. Tel: 01225 333332

BAILBROOK LANE, BATH • 5 generous double bedrooms, 3 en-suites • Aluminium powder coated windows • Luxury handleless kitchen from Masterclass Kitchens • Double garage • Walk in wardrobe to Master Suite




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Stonewalls, Dark Lane, Freshford Guide Price £950,000

• • • • • •

4 bedroom 3 reception rooms Fine views annexe/studio potential Mature gardens Ample parking Open garage

01225 333332 | 01225 866111

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Norton St Philip, Bath OIEO £700,000 • • • • •

4 double bedrooms 2 en suites and dressing rooms Garage and gated parking Separate studio/office No onward chain

01225 333332 | 01225 866111

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Peter Greatorex managing director of The apartment Company

Ways to keep yourself entertained if you’re self-isolating


t The Apartment Company we are hoping you’re all fit and healthy, but if you find yourself in a position where you need to self-isolate, it’s important to keep yourself occupied. Unlike having an unexpected day off school or work, which can seem exciting, being at home for days on end can breed anxiety, boredom and also a sense of loneliness. It’s good to try and get yourself in a routine to keep your days moving, rather than standing still. With this in mind, our team have come up with a number of ways to keep yourself entertained if you’re self-isolating.

Discover stories Most of us have books on our shelves that we’ve wanted to read but never got around to. You may even have a Kindle, with a list of books yet to be opened, or an Audible account with all the best intentions but just haven’t quite got there. What better time than now to indulge yourself by discovering the stories that encouraged to you to purchase them in the first place?

Get organised As you will be spending many an hour in your home, why not get it organised? Declutter each room, give it a deep clean and a good old fashioned sort out. Not only will this be good for your home, it will also make you feel better, and help make spending so much time indoors a lot more bearable.

Play a tune Music has such healing properties. You may already play an instrument, or have one in a corner that you haven’t touched in a long time – why not set yourself the challenge of learning a new piece of music and spend an hour or so every day stretching yourself – you’ll quickly see the results.

Get moving We all need to keep moving, whether you’re just social distancing or self-isolating. Maybe it’s time to get out those fitness DVDs that have been gathering dust in your cupboard. If you’re allowed, go for a walk every day – see if you can find new routes and adventures. Keeping active will help you both physically and mentally, and during this time it’s essential to take care of your mind, body and soul.

Brain power Puzzles and crosswords are a great way of keeping your brain working. You may not have taken the time to doodle on such things normally, but now find that you can spend time pondering over the answer for 5 down. It’s important to keep your brain as active as your body – maybe you could even order a puzzle book online to get you started.

you be struggling with loneliness, there are many organisations who want to help. We have even seen a number of local Facebook groups offering support to those within our local community, and if you can give some time, you know it will be greatly appreciated.

Expand your knowledge Is there a new skill or a course you have been wishing to take for a while? Now might be the right time to start. Without the distraction of daily life you may be able to give it the time and attention it needs. Learning something new is a fantastic way to pass the time, but could also connect you with new people.

Ready, steady, cook What food do you have in the cupboard, and what can you create with it? No longer are you rushing in to fix something quick before you rush out again; now you have the time to experiment and get the kids involved too. Who needs a recipe when you can use your leftovers and things you find at the back of your cupboards to conjure up your own special meal.

Go retro What board games do you have in your cupboards, and when is the last time you got them out and played together as a family? Have some fun with traditional games, complete a jigsaw puzzle – crafty kids may even be able to create their own game for you all to play. The best thing is that you’re doing something together rather than being in separate rooms glued to Netflix or something similar.

New kind of normal

Stay connected

In these unprecedented times we have to establish a new kind of normal, so let’s not dwell on what we can’t do but rediscover things that we have been wanting to do for some time. Our whole team are here to help in any way we can, whether that’s running an errand or two or even simply having a chat to pass the time of day. From all of us, stay healthy.

Being self-isolated means it’s essential that you make a huge effort to stay connected; this can be calling friends and family, Facetime or even a text message. You need to have conversations and, should

The Apartment Company or call 01225 471144

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Head of Savills residential in Bath, discusses the benefits of taking part in an Open House event.


ugely popular in the United States and Australia, Open Houses are still a relatively new concept in this country. But, while only a few years ago you may not have even heard, let alone been involved in an Open House, if you are selling or buying in today’s market, you may well have been invited to take part.

Savills Open House event takes place next month and will see hundreds of properties across the country open their doors to prospective buyers. As part of this national event, our Bath office will oversee open houses throughout the city and into the surrounding countryside. What is an Open House? Open Houses provide the opportunity to view property in the company of other buyers, with the owner also present. Sellers are encouraged to open the doors to their home as they know that taking part helps to create a buzz and maximises interest, ultimately increasing the likelihood of a sale. Multiple homes are opened on the same day, to the great benefit of prospective buyers who can plan to visit as many properties as they like throughout the course of the day. Why take part? Open House events are an excellent way to explore what’s on offer in an informal setting and on buyers’ own terms. Normally held at the weekend, the event allows buyers to view property in a relaxed setting, and in daylight, with no need to take time out of their working day. Plus, they can spend as much, or little, time as they like exploring, not just the property itself, but also its locality. Once registered, prospective buyers have the opportunity to view as many homes as they wish on the same day, which is incredibly helpful when it comes to comparing like-for-like properties, as everything is still fresh in mind.

Open House events offer prospective buyers a great opportunity to explore, widen and progress their property search. Here are some top tips to help you get the most out of your day. 1. Do your homework Study the property details before the day, so that you can prepare your questions about the property and area. 2. Plan your route Decide how many properties you would like to visit, and the best way around to see them. Don’t forget to build in time to stop for coffee breaks and lunch in between viewings; not only does this give you time to think, but is an excellent opportunity to check out allimportant local amenities. 3. Don’t rush If you decide to make an offer, wait until you get home then give the agent a call. This will give you the chance to properly reflect upon whether this really is the property for you, at a price you can afford. Prospective buyers will be asked to register with Savills. Once registered, you will be given property details and local area guides ahead of the event to help you to plan your day. You will also receive a unique code, which will provide access to view properties at your leisure on the day. Savills Open Houses event will be held on Saturday 16th May with Bath opening the doors to a selection of homes from its property portfolio. Please contact Savills Bath on 01225 474500 if you are interested in taking part. n

Luke Brady, Savills Bath. Edgar House, 17 George St, Bath BA1 2EN Web:

From left to right: new instructions from Savills Bath including a family home on Toll Bridge Road (guide £1,600,000), a former farm house in Standerwick (guide £1,100,000), and a Grade II listed townhouse in the heart of Frome (guide £975,000)

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Meadow Park BA1 £420,000

01225 809 571

This spacious, semi-detached, family home is situated on the fringes of both Bathford and Batheaston just 3 miles from the centre of Bath. The home is arranged to give a wide entrance hall with study and cloakroom. The lounge is a spacious 16’6 x 13’4 which is open to a separate dining room. The kitchen is to the rear offering the garden access. Upstairs is a huge landing from which you find four good double bedrooms, a large single and main bathroom. Externally the is both lawned front and rear gardens, single garage and parking for three plus vehicles. Energy Efficiency Rating: C

To view more properties and other services available visit


Marshfield Way BA1 £550,000

Located in the popular area of Fairfield Park, close to well-regarded schools and Bath city centre, this would make an ideal family home. A well-presented, four bedroom, detached house, with a modern fitted kitchen, separate utility room, garden, parking and garage. This home offers a spacious, duel aspect living/dining room which leads out to a glazed conservatory. Outside the rear garden includes a patio area and a lawn and has beautiful views over to Solsbury Hill. Energy Efficiency Rating: D

01225 809 868

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Haviland Grove, BA1 ÂŁ625,000

A beautiful example of a detached three bedroom family home with flexible living space. This house also offers a large corner plot garden with double and single garages. Energy Efficiency Rating: TBC

01225 809 685

To view more properties and other services available visit

Bear Flat

Bloomfield Road, BA2 ÂŁ1,250,000

A six bedroom semi-detached period property with large west facing rear garden and garage on Bloomfield Road within half a mile of Bear Flat. Energy Efficiency Rating: F

01225 805 680

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Edward Street

£400,000 to £440,000

Georgian · Grade II Listed · First floor apartment · Bursting with Georgian ambience Close to Great Pulteney Street, Sydney Gardens and Henrietta Park · Level walk into city centre · Approx. 592 Sq Ft We are delighted to present this fabulous one bedroom Georgian apartment – displaying stunning architecture for which Bath is renowned. Immaculately presented and close to Great Pulteney Street, Sydney Gardens and Henrietta Park. Comprising: sitting room with space for dining, kitchen/breakfast room, master bedroom, bathroom and utility area. Being a short level walk into the centre of the City, this property offers the historical venues, theatres, award winning restaurants and independent shops on its doorstep. The property is sure to impress, and we recommend an early viewing.


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Great Pulteney Street

£1895 pcm

Unfurnished · Three double bedrooms · Central location · Private garden · Immaculately presented · Residence parking permit Not available for serviced accommodation · Available 1st April 2020 · Council tax band E A fabulous opportunity to acquire a property in one of Bath’s most prestigious locations. This beautifully appointed three bedroom garden apartment is bursting with charm and offers great living space with a private secluded garden. The property comprises: an inviting reception hallway with open access to the sitting room, modern spacious kitchen, master bedroom with en suite, two further bedrooms, dining room or potentially a fourth bedroom and family bathroom. With a short level walk to all the amenities, historical venues, bespoke shopping and award winning restaurants, this property is one not too miss.

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