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ISSUE 396 / 19 JULY - 2 AUGUST 2019 / £3









ABOVE: ‘Misty Evening, Pulteney Bridge’, as The Pogues never sang (page 28) RIGHT: Not the cheapest fishing rod in the world, but one of the best (page 64)


ack when I first started in magazines – 1859, if I remember correctly – things were pretty much the way they are now. Nic Bottomley’s great, great, great grandfather reviewed A Tale of Two Cities in Bath Life’s book column. War almost broke out between the Americans Americans and the British (not over leaked private messages, but the shooting of a large black pig caught eating American spuds). And everyone was arguing over a waterway. Back then it was the Suez Canal, which they’d just begun digging thanks to French money and Egyptian muscle, while the British scowled from the sidelines. Today it’s Bath’s stretch of the River Avon. Everyone agrees that we have a gloriously handsome city, and that we have a wide, deep, largely navigable river running right the way through the middle of it. We also know that the two have rarely been on speaking terms. But though Bath and the Avon have largely ignored each other over the years, things have been changing of late – and quite rapidly too. Now the trouble is finding agreement on exactly what Bath and the river should be doing together – all the whens, wheres and whys. This issue, we look at our city and its river (page 28) as part of a wider focus on local environmental issues, be they ecologically sound fashion choices* (page 66) or money-draining business decisions that were nonetheless, on balance, the right thing to do (page 87). Some things are getting better, then. (You can sometimes see otters from Churchill Bridge.) But in other ways they’re exactly the same. Back in 1859, the French claimed to have discovered a planet, Vulcan, closer to the sun than Mercury. They hadn’t, though; it was just an early example of fake news. These guys are the exception rather than the rule, of course; fashion is a notoriously unsustainable industry in the main. *

MATT BIELBY Follow us on Twitter @BathLifeMag Instagram @bathlifemag I BATH LIFE I 3

Issue 396 / 19 July – 2 August 2019 Cover Chris Wakefield of Crescent Photography; Instagram @crescent_photography_UK

cover feature

28 on the waterfront Could we all be making just

that little bit more of the riverside?

the arts

41 ARTS INTRO Creating for creation’s sake 42 WHAT’S ON Theatre, music, genuinely cool family stuff

– and quite a lot of comedy too

49 BOOKS Go outside. (Go on, you might even like it!) 51 Film We’re all animals, in one form or another


53 FOOD & DRINK NEWS Meet Bob, the friendly SCOBY 54 TRY 5 Eco-friendly food and drink 56 RESTAURANT All about the cow


63 intro Weaving mad 64 editor’s choice Life on the water 66 ECO-FRIENDLY FASHION All the fun of shopping,



with none of the negative impact on the planet


27 inside story Philippa’s trip to Italy reveals a new (or,

rather, incredibly old) trend

72 barbers Life at the cutting edge 76 health & fitness Harriet Noble takes on The F45 Challenge – and lives! (Just about) 106 lives Journalist and debut novelist Diana Cambridge


83 business insights Forward-thinking local

businesses making the effort to be eco-friendly

87  bath life business club Sam Roberts,

CEO of Boston Tea Party, on the plastic cup ban that everybody’s been talking about


93 showcase A most un-fusty hillside home 100 residence The kitchen is the most important room in

the house, and here’s one to prove it


11 spotlight 15 Society 25 a man’s world

Editor Matt Bielby Deputy Editor Lydia Tewkesbury Managing Editor Deri Robins deri.robins@mediaclash. Senior Art Editor Andrew Richmond Graphic Design Megan Allison Cover Design Trevor Gilham Editor’s Photo Damon Charles Contributors Nic Bottomley, David Flatman, Louisa Hunt, Paul Marland, Philippa May, Sophie-Claire McLeod, Harriet Noble and Matilda Walton Group Advertising Manager Pat White Deputy Advertising Manager Justine Walker Deputy Advertising Manager Polly Jackson Account Manager Annabel North Sales Executive Louis Grey Production/Distribution Manager Sarah Kingston sarah.kingston@mediaclash. Deputy Production Manager Kirstie Howe Production Designer Matt Gynn Chief Executives Jane Ingham jane.; Greg Ingham Bath Life MediaClash, Circus Mews House, Circus Mews, Bath BA1 2PW 01225 475800 @The MediaClash © All rights reserved. May not be reproduced without written permission of MediaClash. We’re a Bath-based publisher, creative agency and event organiser Magazines Our portfolio of regional magazines celebrates the best of local living: Bath, Bristol, Cardiff, Exeter and Salisbury. We also publish foodie mag Crumbs (, @CrumbsMag). Agency From the design and build of websites to digital marketing and creating company magazines, we can help. Events We create, market, promote and operate a wide variety of events both for MediaClash and our clients Contact:


SPOTLIGHT Writing for All



Known for brightening a dull day, dragging a smile out of commuters, and their infinitely Instragrammable qualities, Notes To Strangers have made their way to Bath. Created by artist Andy Leek, the project began in London with brightly coloured notes proclaiming everything from “it’s harder to stay optimistic, but it’s better than being a dick” to “time spent in your dressing gown can be some of the best”. Born out of his own struggles with mental health, Andy hopes the neon messages of positivity will help us all feel just a little bit brighter. For more:


Street art

FROM TOP: Kit de Waal, Nathan Flier, and the mighty Fay Weldon


How many have you spotted?

Do you know any writer types feeling stuck? Writing for All, a three-year programme just launched by Bath Spa University at their MIX Conference, might be just the ticket. Backed by wordsmiths including Bristol-based Costa Prize winner Nathan Flier, and other famous authors like Fay Weldon, Kit de Waal and David Almond, the scheme aims to get people in the South West writing, and to make meaningful change in the industry, with diversity and inclusion central goals. Run by Paper Nations, the programme will begin with a call to action, offering opportunities including funding commissions, new writing hubs, access to mentorship, publication opportunities and more. For more:

Bath Children’s Literature Festival


Dame Jacqueline Wilson: Tracy Beaker must now be about 38, we reckon

It’s time to add to that never-ending pile of books on the nightstand, as Bath Children’s Literature Festival is on its way. Running 27 September – 6 October, this is one of our favourite autumnal city staples, every year seeing the top names in kid’s lit descend on the city to inspire young minds – and doubtless stretch parental purse strings. But hey, that’s okay – it’s educational. Big names this year include the amazing illustrator Chris Riddell, Dougie Poynter from McFly (yes, he’s written a book), Malorie Blackman, Cressida Cowell and Dame Jacqueline Wilson, who’ll be treating visitors to a chance to buy her brand new Tracy Beaker novel ahead of publication on 17 October. “It’s always an exciting time when the festival’s on, bringing thousands of young people into the city and seeing writers reach out and share their ideas with curious minds,” says Ian Stockley, CEO of Bath Festivals. “The Children’s Literature Festival is an inclusive event, and we’re very pleased and proud once again to involve children from more than 20 schools in the region to give them a life-enriching experience they’ll never forget.” For more: I BATH LIFE I 11

spotlight The Forever Friends Appeal


As you may have spotted, a unique floral display has sprung up in Bath’s Parade Gardens. The beautiful blooms are there to mark the 20th anniversary of The Forever Friends Appeal – the fundraising charity at the Royal United Hospital (RUH). “This floral display is a fantastic tribute to our charity,” says RUH chief exec James Scott. “We’re incredibly proud of the work by The Forever Friends Appeal and what has been achieved during the past 20 years, and I hope, through major campaigns and special appeals, we can continue to make a real difference to our patients, their families and staff.” For more:

The gang’s all here: Bath Spa students Eleanor Bowns and Charlotte Burton (in fetching name tags), plus kids from St Michaels C of E Junior School and Joanna Nadin Here’s to another 20 years!

Running challenge


You can now sign up for the Hilly Helmet Challenge 2019, a four(ish) mile run – including, as you might have guessed, a hill – designed to raise funds for Brain Tumour Support. Robin-Mark Shols launched the event three years ago, inspired by his own experiences while having to wear a helmet everywhere after brain tumour surgery. “It’s an Helmets are a must, and fancy opportunity for dress is heavily encouraged other people to find out just how hard it was for me when I ran in my helmet, while also helping raise money,” he explains. So yeah, that’s an essential part of the fun here: you have to wear a helmet too. For more:


Reading success


Bath is clearly for the bookish – if all our cool book shops, literary festivals, this issue’s Spotlight, and the neverending Jane Austen of it all are anything to go by – and now primary school children in the city are getting in on the act too. They were recently visited by BAFTA awardwinning author Dr Joanna Nadin, who congratulated the kids on taking part in Bath Spa University’s student union organised pilot Primary Readers Scheme. This aims to nurture a lifelong love of books, from early years reading with adults to becoming fully-fledged book worms themselves. The uni chose the three primary schools involved – St Michael’s C of E Junior School, Twerton Infants and Roundhill Primary School – as part of their widening outreach programme, in which current students work to reach young people from groups currently underrepresented in higher education. For more:

SCENE T H E L AT E S T A DV E N T U R E S I N PA R T Y- GO I N G AC ROSS BAT H Alexis Prior and Stephanie Hill

Betty Bhandari and Lucie Dunrod-Simpson Alex Timms and Ona-Kendrick Lount

John Law, Sophie Williams, Jessica Lloyd-Smith and Adam Lloyd-Smith


Sun shone, birds sang, and we drank Champagne. This year’s Bath Life Summer Party was a resounding success all around – not that we’re biased, or anything. Team Bath Life and a good few friends of the magazine gathered at the Royal Crescent Hotel and Spa for a fun evening of networking, chat and celebration of the diversity of all the creative, innovative and couldn’t-live-without-’em local businesses that make Bath so great.; continued over the page… Photos by Focus First Media

Amanda Brown and Derryn Vranch

Maria Heal and Michelle Long

Annabel North, Sophie Overment and June Overment

Kalvin Simmons, Steve Hawkins, Declan Gray, Pat White, Kevin Murphy, Penny Murphy and Bradley Bailey I BATH LIFE I 15


Martha Baines, Steph Dodd and Zara Perry

Alexandra Mckenzie, David Mckenzie and Pat White

Nickie and James Portman with Ben and Elle Chappell

Sharon, Zak, Kye and Hannah Paradise Andrew Paradise, Lucy McIlroy and Matt Leonard

Pippa Russel and Richard Batey


Greg Ingham

These canapĂŠs lasted seconds when they were brought around


Denise Rogers, Yasmin Hall and Catherine May

Heidi Tucker and Simona Hernandez

Lucy Wildman and Diana Lanham


250 guests glammed up for the Hope Ball 2019, in aid of the Royal United Hospital’s Cancer Care Campaign. “The room was buzzing with a community wanting to support such a good cause,” said Ball co-chair Tabitha Claydon. “There was a lot of love in the room.” The highlight of the evening was the live art auction, featuring work from Bath art legends Nick Cudworth and Pete ‘the Street’ Brown, as well as BP Portrait Prize Winners Miriam Escofet and Richard Twose. The Ball, held in the picturesque grounds of the Old Rectory in Doynton, also paid emotional tribute to the memory of Justine Elliot, a dear friend of the Hope Community, taken too soon by cancer. Photos by Ash Mills

Jonathan and Polina Willis

Katie Burfitt and Katrina Logut Sway

Melanie Moore, Alex Chai, Ada Chai and (apparently!) Georges Boutin

Olivia Scull, Polina Willis and Alex Chai Marcus and Lydia Arundell


Tabitha and Netta Claydon

John Cullum

SOCIETY Julie and Michael Miley

Rupert Bendell and Ronny Helvey

Richard Carp and Julia Mackay


Bath’s exciting new CBD (that’s cannabidiol, a legal active ingredient of hemp) store, Goodbody Wellness, is now officially open. The MP for Reigate, Crispin Blunt, is also co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group of Drug Policy Reform, and was on hand to cut the ribbon – with some difficulty and giggles all around – and declare it officially open. Being a place that’s about feeling good, they came through with tasty, healthy canapés for their guests. Made by The Inside Out Catering Company, the little munchies, ranging from home-smoked mackerel with pickled cucumber to quail eggs with aioli, amongst others, didn’t hang around for long. Meanwhile, lucky guests had the chance to ask Goodbody’s experts the As to all their CBD Qs.

Steve Ricalton and Jonathan Everitt

Photos by Philip Field

Crispin Blunt MP and Chris Jones

Iain Chedburn, Tallis Buchi and Jenine Connelly


Sarah St. Claire and Skye Pictor

Geoff Winter and Tracey Spanswick Simon Grinnell and Caroline Jones

Anne Tew and Sue Austin


Bethan Hill-Howells, Zhenja May and Chris Cole

Katie Comer and Michael Donaldson

Sara Cosford and James Horsfall


Bath’s best and brightest (and youngest) gathered for a summer evening of networking at the Roman Baths. Sponsored by Novia, the event gave young people from professional services (so, property finance, law, insurance, and so on) and young business owners an invaluable opportunity to connect, share experience and, hopefully, grow professionally. The event was in aid of Julian House, and saw their Cathy Adcock speak about the charity, followed by Eddie Illic from BA1 Hair sharing his experiences with a programme, Eddie’s Street Cuts, wherein he provides free hair cuts for homeless people. Stephanie Forbes, Harriet Dahan-Bouchard and Charlotte King

Photos by Celie Nigoumi

Daniel Flores, Henry Ainsworth and Alistair Thomas

Georgia Bertuello, Chester Bertuello and Maura Eyles Ryan Collins-Thomas and Emma Frampton

Christian Feroze, Isobel Cairns, Tabitha Barnes-Harris, Lizzy Painter, Rupert Bendell and Sam Conybeare

Adam Mallon and Arabella Leonard

Alex Peters and Carie Martin 22 I BATH LIFE I

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The river mild

The Avon slides rather sleepily through the middle of Bath, but – at last – we’re starting to wake up to the fact that it’s there



“This is England and that is a river, and we ought to be drinking and snoozing next to it”

remember a grown-up commenting to me once that Bath, as a city, just didn’t maximise the potential of its river and her banks. (Do we always have to make rivers female, like cars and motorbikes? My car is definitely male, by the way. I do hope everyone’s okay with that.) We were sitting just outside what was the Riverside Café on a warm day, having our respective outer elbows thwacked by passers-by roughly every seven seconds (these aeroplane aisle-like bumps were tolerable when it was a lump of sausage or a parliament of baked beans that were sent tumbling to who knows where, but coffee – and the resultant stains and medium-term social wetness – was the real danger). I loved that place, especially when Jo was the chef (she works at The Lansdown Club now, so get there for a full English), but said adult had a point; this was really about the best brekkie we could find in the city with river views, which is nuts when you think about it. I was 25 years old at the time, yet I stole this agonisingly obvious observation and began to use it as my own. Now, the River Avon isn’t all good. In parts, like all rivers this side of paradise (south Devon), it can be mucky and clogging and smelly-looking; you wouldn’t want to wash your muscle vests and bandanas in it, put it that way. But this is England and that is a river, and we ought darn well to be eating and drinking and smoking and snoozing next to it in relative luxury. I used to frequent The George and The Bathampton Mill, but – and things may have changed since my last visits – the respective experiences were bang

average, and the food wasn’t any better. Harsh, maybe, but this is my iPad and I’ll write what I think. And anyway, they’re not in town, are they? With this nauseatingly yuppie complaint in mind, I find myself pleased that much appears to be happening down near the water. The Riverside development is large and, to my eye, isn’t terribly ‘Bath’ – but I don’t mind that. Of course, it would be nice if every flat or house that was built from scratch could immediately assume the Royal Crescent aesthetic, but I’d choose overtly contemporary construction over those pseudoperiod copies that dot Bath and its environs. And those flats down there do seem a little pricey to me, but hey, there’s a river view! As a committed local pantophagist, I’d love to see such a swanky new build site develop its own community, replete with eateries and cafés and maybe even a nice public gym and heck, why not, a posh little playground for those inner city kiddies. Hopefully Bath Rugby soon get an email and are told to plough on with demolishing much of that (beloved) rugby ground from yesteryear and creating something cool and aspirational. Goodness knows, that little section of the river needs it. And it would be cool, as Bruce Craig – the chairman of the club – has taste, not just means. (Just check out Farleigh House.) This isn’t a plug on behalf of the rugby club; that’s not my business now. It’s a plug for our mutual friend, the River Avon. David Flatman is an ex-Bath and England rugby star turned TV pundit and rent-o-mic. Follow him on Twitter @davidflatman I BATH LIFE I 25

inside story philippa may

Terra nova No longer naff, terrazzo – that textured flooring style so popular in Art Deco, and perhaps most famous from Hollywood’s Walk of Fame – has been rehabilitated and, reckons Philippa, not before time


e made our way to the Amalfi coast for the first time this year on our summer holidays. It’s somewhere I’ve been wanting to visit for a long time and so, when a friend booked a delicious house just above Positano, how could we say no? I was, of course, excited for the food – Italians know how to cook, and I couldn’t wait to gorge on homemade pasta for a week – but I was also beyond excited to gaze upon the world-famous scenery. I envisioned myself walking along the streets and climbing the hills like a character from The Talented Mr Ripley (except without all the murder), and I’d heard fantastic things about the pottery along the coast and up in Ravello. And, after a trip to Herculaneum, walking atop the incredible marble, mosaic and terrazzo floors as the Romans once did, I realised how many terrazzoinspired interiors I’d unwittingly noticed in the last year. This summer we’ve seen a huge resurgence in a trend once forgotten, terrazzo, and it’s something that caught my

“Terrazzo certainly lends itself to creating an artisanal, Mediterranean feel in your home”

eye constantly in Italy. This sustainable flooring style has been around since the 16th-century, originally as a way to reuse stone offcuts that were going to go to waste, and now terrazzo is back in a big way. The word itself comes from the latin origin for ‘ground’, and it’s easy to see why in the way that the material mimics turned up earth, with lots of different speckles of rock. Although once thought of as quite naff, the revival of this composite material in interiors has given it fresh glamour, and it certainly lends itself to creating an artisanal, Mediterranean feel in your home. Offering almost unlimited colour and texture combinations, terrazzo can find a place in almost any interior, and – as it’s extremely hard-wearing – is perfect for floors or large surfaces. But the terrazzo theme isn’t just for the traditional; I’ve also spotted it printed on wallpaper in the Resident store, on storage tins in Ferm Living, and on placemats in Graham and Green. The pattern lends itself to any form, a contemporary update of the been-and-gone concrete phase. Mandarin Stone has jumped on the revitalisation of terrazzo with their Nouveau Range, a collection of porcelain tiles that perfectly replicate marble chippings set into cement, and come with a choice of matt or polished finish. Containing fragments of grey, bone and warm taupe

colours, this terrazzo tile range is ultra-cool and ultra-versatile; my personal favourite is probably the Terrazzo Nouveau Grey Matt Porcelain [pictured above], which would look stunning in a shower with black pipework. Terrazzo is durable, decorative, inexpensive, hard-wearing and long-lasting, and – now that I’ve mentioned it – I guarantee you’ll start to spot it everywhere you go. But none of that’s the reason why it’s so popular; the revival has come about more because it’s a work of art. It’s beautiful to look at, a pleasure to touch, and no two pieces are the same. And it’s so, so versatile. Ever since it bounced back onto the interiors scene, it’s been everywhere from planters to candleholders, and – because of its endless styles – there’s a terrazzo for everyone. Keep it pared back with white on white just for the texture, or go bold with large marble chunks for a graphic masterpiece. I’ve incorporated a little bit of terrazzo into our new home with French Connection’s set of terrazzo coasters in a monochrome palette, perfect for adding a unique finish to any table setting, and always something remarked on by guests. Philippa May is an interiors enthusiast and the head of marketing for the Bath-based accessory label Abbott Lyon. Follow her on Instagram @_ philippamay_ I BATH LIFE I 27

on the waterfront

River phoenix Rising from some rather grubby, overgrown and waterlogged ashes, Bath and its river are born again. And this time, if still not quite holding hands, they’re at least acknowledging each other… By Matt Bielby Main pictures by Chris Wakefield, Crescent Photography


s David Flatman points out in his column this issue, we’re hardly the first to notice that while Bath and the River Avon might be on speaking terms, but they don’t exactly share a bed. Or they didn’t. These days, though, things are definitely changing. Plans for the Rec and the stretch alongside it seem exciting, there’s the possibility of a new bridge, the Bath Quays project is underway, and we already have swathes of huge new residential buildings on the Bath Riverside, sandwiched between the Upper and Lower Bristol Roads and stretching out the length of Victoria Park and beyond. It’s a slightly strange area, this one – in Bath, but doesn’t perhaps feel quite part of it yet – but there’s no denying it’s made large chunks of the once criminally ignored and unloved riverside more accessible, approachable, and a more pleasant place to be. There are wildflower meadows, undulating lawns and handsome giant-sized deckchairs to be sat on as you watch Muscle Beach-types use the new urban outdoor gym and breath in the river air. But it’s not all changed. You can still see this issue’s cover stars – the ubiquitous seagulls – everywhere, and smell the sun-baked urine in places. Thank goodness for continuity, eh? “It wasn’t always so great,” agrees Marcus Evans at Crest Nicholson Regeneration, where they’ve shepherded through to completion this biggest change in Bath’s landscape in years. “But the riverside zone between Twerton and the city centre is definitely changing for the better, and it’s creating a new Western Gateway into the centre. And

while we’re certainly proud of the residential element at Bath Riverside – especially the flagship Sovereign Point and Royal View buildings – the new commercial activities coming on stream are equally important in returning this whole post-industrial zone back to the public realm. The new Class gym, Coffee#1 coffee shop and the paddleboarding facility are the icing on the cake, benefiting both residents and the increasing number of commuters who take the scenic route in and out of the city.” And it’s true; without the endless crocodiles of tourists and backlog of traffic that make the city centre so vibrant and lively but also a struggle to cross at times, perhaps the new riverside could become something of a calm oasis for more day-to-day Bath types? “There are definitely nice spots along there to rest and relax after a day’s working or shopping,” says Tristan Bawn at Adventure SUP, one of at least two companies offering stand-up paddleboarding in the city. “But opportunities still seem to get missed. In our eyes, Bath could spend more time and effort keeping the river clean, securing the banks, and making it an attraction of Bath, rather than just something that happens to run through it. There’s plenty of potential for natural wildlife habitats to be added and encouraged, and we’ve hardly touched on eco-tourism. Bath could lead the way in showing how a river and its city can co-exist to mutual benefit, and by looking after the Avon better – perhaps by working with local conservation groups – there’s so much good that could be done.” Indeed so, and over the next few pages we take a little look at all the things we can currently enjoy on and by the riverside, and at what the future might hold for it too…

“The new riverside could become something of a calm oasis for day-to-day Bath types”


It’s almost too perfect, isn’t it? Pulteney Bridge and Weir conspire to create a view comparable with any in Europe, perhaps the world


Could the Avon be turned into a space as tranquil and tourist-friendly as the canal?


How should we manage the Avon? We could all do worse than learn from the experience of the canal, writes Alex Bell of leading Bath architects DKA Bath is blessed with two waterways, the Avon and the Kennet & Avon Canal, which converge in Widcombe. You only need to look at the canal to realise that the river is lagging far behind. We’re based in an old Malt House on the canal [pictured], and – having had a view of it from my desk for 15 years – I can testify that it holds huge amenity value for holiday makers, dog walkers, cyclists and canal cruises. (I’ve even visited a floating record shop, and commuted home to Bathampton via electric ferry under the bridges and through the canal tunnels that snake through Sydney Gardens.) Future planning of the river banks can learn a great deal from the access and connections currently offered by the canal. There are obvious engineering reasons why the river and canal are different, though; one must respond to the weather and fluctuating water levels, while the other is a managed waterway. Until Pulteney Weir was constructed, flooding in the city was a regular and dangerous concern, so the hard edges created by the large walls here do not lend themselves to allowing easy access to the water, or softening the appearance of the banks. When full and angry with strong currents and debris, the river is something to keep well clear of. Also, during Bath’s

industrial past, the river was rather a functional and dirty thing, so it’s no wonder the development of the city deliberately turned its back. Bristol’s centre, by contrast, has a mixture of hard and soft edges – but this is only possible around the Floating Harbour, which is separated from the fluctuations of the tide. Like a canal, the constant water level here allows the construction of jetties and decked walkways, so the harbour can be used more easily by ferry services, floating restaurants, rowers, SUP boarders and dragon boat racers. Architecturally, balustraded harbour walls feel more open to walk along, and give great views when seated in harbourside cafés. Those shaping Bath’s future developments are well aware of the historic problems with the river, but positive steps are being taken. The new frontage to what will become the North Quays development shows how high-quality landscaping can afford easy access to the river’s edge, and perhaps some unique opportunities for floating commercial enterprises. Similarly, the latest designs for the Rec have a terraced waterfront with retail units and commerce to animate the eastern bank. Perhaps future rugby visitors will leave Bath Spa aboard an electric water taxi shuttle to the Rec, or residents in Bath Riverside will begin their commute on regular river services? With imagination and engineering, there’s no reason why Bath’s river cannot become more active and useful for both business and leisure. For more:

“Future planning of the river banks can learn a great deal from the canal”


The Paddle Club

“There is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats,” said Ratty in The Wind in the Willows. And he was probably right back then – but paddleboarding hadn’t hit the UK in 1908, had it…? “You know what I love?” asks Sarah Bremner of No.10 Tea Garden, a café that enjoys a glorious spot near the Avoncliff aqueduct, where the Kennet and Avon Canal crosses the River Avon just outside Bradford on Avon. “Taking my paddleboard out on the river – with my dog as my passenger!” Apparently the dog loves it too. And it turns out Sarah’s not the only one to adore paddleboarding – particularly of the contemporary stand-up, or SUP, variety. Kneel-down paddleboarding started on the Pacific (Captain Cook witnessed Sandwich Islanders doing it in 1778), was rediscovered by Hawaiian surfers in the 1920s, but really enjoyed a renaissance from the 1980s on; SUP developed in parallel and is possibly just as old, but remained much more specialist


until quite recently. Once enjoyed by surfers only, a new flat-water stand-up paddleboarding variation has exploded in popularity over the last decade or so, and there are now at least two outfits offering it in Bath: Original Wild and Adventure SUP. “We provide lessons, trips and skills sessions, mixing fun with safety techniques,” says Tristan of Adventure SUP, based at Avon Valley Adventure and Wildlife Park. “You should walk away full of confidence, and with a new love for SUP. We use the river to run our sessions, and the flow and depth of the water where we’re based creates a great place to learn. People want to paddle somewhere safe with views and wildlife to enjoy, and the Avon offers this in spades.” Located even nearer the middle of town – right on the Western Riverside, in fact – is Original Wild. Founder Kyle Worgan learned to love outdoor sports while training in the Royal Marines, and says, “Our most popular adventures include guided kayak and SUP tours; they’ve been featured everywhere from The Telegraph to ITV, and in National Geographic Traveller magazine.” For more:;

on the waterfront I’m walking on sunshine (wow!), and don’t it feel go… (Glub!) Ah, maybe not

© Adventure SUP

“Stand-up paddleboarding has exploded in popularity over the last decade or so” I BATH LIFE I 33

on the waterfront

The otters might be hiding (probably under that big white box below), but there’s some wildlife in this shot of the little-seen back of Pulteney Bridge, even if it’s only of the pesky seagull variety

River song

Hear that noise? Yes, it’s a riverside creature – but of what stripe? Luckily, our local experts have been keeping their eyes peeled, and can tell you where to look


“Our boat is actually great vantage point for many birds,” say Paul and Teresa of the Avon Parade, “including the peregrine falcons nesting at St John’s Church. But there are also swans, herons, cormorants, geese


and many more. The swans often come to the window of our lower deck, expecting to be fed by visitors.”


“It’s fantastic to see the wildlife flourishing,” says Anna Fairman of Savills. “Sitting on the riverbank, it’s common to spot kingfishers, wagtails and dippers, and towards dusk you may see the local bats taking to the skies.”


“The wildlife you get on the river, even right in the centre of Bath, is always a surprise to the people we take out,” says Tristan at Adventure SUP. “Otters are back in the river, and have been recorded right in the centre of Bath. We’ve certainly seen them while out paddling with customers, normally around late evening, and it’s always a special treat. The river is also more than likely full of Roman treasures, buried under all the silt. After all, it was common for offerings to be made to rivers by the Romans.”

© Locksbrook inn

on the waterfront

A bike ride to the Locksbrook, followed by a pint: the perfect Sunday, we’re saying

Knife in the water

And we rather suggest you bring along a fork, too. There are still fewer places along the River Avon to enjoy a pie and a pint than we might hope for, but here are five you can try

The Avon Parade

A licensed café on a boat permanently moored just downstream of North Parade Bridge that, says owner Paul Brimble, “has been part of Bath’s culture since the early ’80s.” These guys are open 9am11pm serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, and their upper deck provides a perfect sun trap from which to enjoy a framed view of Pulteney Bridge, giving, they say, “the tranquillity of the countryside only a stone’s throw from the centre of town.”

The Bathwick Boatman

“I love this place for a lazy summer’s day lunch,” says Anna Fairman, of Savills residential development sales. “It’s a 16th century country pub just across the field from Freshford Mill” – where they’re selling


the Locksbrook Inn

Sometimes the River Avon isn’t actually the River Avon, and so it is at The Locksbrook Inn in Lower Weston, rescued from tired anonymity a few years ago to be reborn as a sharp yet relaxed modern gastropub – with an especially large and comfortable waterside beer garden. This is one of the best places to eat waterside in the city – even if the water here his actually the Weston Cut canal, which provides a tiny shortcut past a bend on the Avon.

“This is one of the best places to eat waterside in the city”

Located surprisingly near the centre of the city – it really is just a few minutes walk from the Holburne Museum – is an oasis of calm by the waterside, home to ace restaurant The Bathwick Boatman and the Bath Boating Station, where you can rent punts and classic wooden rowing boats, and explore the river as far as Bathampton, two miles upstream.;

The Inn at Freshford

a collection of ten new riverside homes, some converted from the original Victorian mill buildings – “and the whole area is incredibly pretty.” Anna’s cheating a little here, though, for while the River Avon does indeed flow past Freshford, the bit that The Inn is near is actually a tributary, the River Frome.

No 10 Tea Gardens

This one’s a little outside Bath, opposite the Avoncliff Aqueduct, where the Kennet and Avon Canal crosses the River Avon just before Bradford on Avon. “The river is key to our business,” says boss Sarah Bremner, “as we get a huge number of visitors who’ve just climbed off their canal boats, canoes, kayaks or paddleboards and are using us as a pit stop. We’ve even had people who’ve floated downriver to us on inflatable lilos.”

The Avon Parade, where bands play, the views are cool, and swans pester you for food like pigeons might elsewhere in the city



Everyone has their favourite waterside spot, but which is yours? Here are a few we’ve picked to get you thinking…


“From my very first day in Bath, I’ve loved looking over the edge from the high pavement near Pulteney Bridge and watching the weir,” says Sarah Bremner of No.10 Tearooms. “It’s a sight on its own, but nowadays – as there’s so much activity on the river – it’s even more interesting to watch. Even better was joining Original Wild on a SUP session, and we paddleboarded right up to the weir. To see it from a completely different angle was brilliant and special.” Indeed, Original Wild makes a point of taking its guests right up to this spot – and why wouldn’t you? “Looking up at Pulteney Bridge, with the sound of running water all around and knowing that you have the best view in the whole of Bath, is amazing,” says their Kyle. “And the fact that you’re able to paddle there yourself is such a great, active feeling.”


“The restored Victoria Bridge is everything we hoped it would be,” says Marcus Evans of Crest Nicholson. “We’ve completely refurbished it, giving easy access to Victoria Park and the city – and this has created a lasting monument we can be proud of. Finishing touches are still being added to our own new park between Sovereign Point and Royal View, too. When complete with flourishing trees, shrubs and lawns, it will create a real destination hub, perfect for people using the riverside path to get to the city centre and new Bath Quays development.”


“Widcombe Social Club is the vibrant heart of Widcombe’s recent regeneration,” says Nick Steel, who – as well as being the leading light of Bath Comedy Festival – is licensee and the longest standing committee member here, “and though the old club might have been a bit worn out, one thing it always had was huge picture windows overlooking the hidden gem that is Widcombe Basin. This was the original holding bay for boats waiting to use Widcombe Lock, gateway to the Avon and one of the deepest locks on the canal system, and the Social Club is built on the site of Mrs Merry’s Coal Wharf, where this redoubtable woman presided over the coming and going of the coal barges in the mid-19th century. The Basin is now a leafy haven for wildlife – and perhaps a future potential landing place for club patrons arriving by water? After all, Widcombe is where the river and canal meet, and there’s enormous potential for water taxis here.”


“There are so many beautiful spots along the river in and around Bath,” says Tristan at Adventure SUP. “They’re all fantastic in their own ways. Some are open with big backdrops and skies, others are more secluded and quiet. And the wildlife is there if you look for it – though this, of course, changes with the seasons.” Indeed, and perhaps Sarah Bremner sums up the whole thing best. “I don’t think anywhere along the river is a bad spot, as such,” she says. “It’s all just a beautiful place to be.” SUPing by the weir: actually going over it, Last of the Mohicans style, is not recommended


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the arts s n a p s h o t s o f b at h ’ s c u lt u r a l l i f e

LAUGHTER LINES Some people are just annoyingly good at everything. And so it is with Billy Connolly – comedian, actor, musician and, since his first exhibition in 2012, artist. Perhaps the most annoying part is that he didn’t even plan for it. Born on a Rainy Day – the fourth instalment of which is now on display at Castle Gallery – began, as the name suggests, during a dull, drizzly day in Montreal. Billy got himself a sketchbook and pens to pass the time, and found himself hooked on the intimate and personal nature of the medium. His intricately realised works are free, he says, to be whatever they are “destined to become”. And they certainly weren’t made, as comedy or music are somewhat by definition, with an audience already in mind. No, Billy’s art subscribes to a sort of ‘Surrealist automatism’ movement, which is a fancy way of saying he doodles where the mood takes him, and if it turns into something, great. But if not, that’s fine too. It’s creation for creation’s sake. “Art is different,” he says. “It liberates you.” And it entertains us. Win win. Castle Fine Art, 13 Old Bond Street;

Disabled American II, by Billy Connolly I BATH LIFE I 41

WHAT’S ON 19 July -18 August

So that’s what the bandstand is for: Bath Spa Band performs in Vicky P as part of Love Parks Week


SUMMER SPRAY Emma Rose’s July exhibition is built around the highlight painting ‘Summer Spray’. Embracing the hot weather, her latest works feature the ocean and earth in abstract, impressionistic form, mixing Indian inks and acrylics, and occasionally using metal leaf too. This will be her last show at the Walcot Street studio; check her website for news on where she’ll pop up next. Mon-Sat, 10am-5pm; Emma Rose, Upstairs 78 Walcot Street;

Until 30 August

MICK LINDBERG: SEW THE SEEDS Female figures and flowers tell a story in these remarkable textile-based works. Mick says: “The seed of this


show was planted a long time ago, and has slowly germinated. I like to think that I have opened the gate to a garden of endless imagination, where time and place is of no importance, and flowers grow wild in strange places. There are no borders to this realm where the very essence of nature lives.” Mon-Sat (closed Wednesday and Sunday), 10am-6pm; free; David Simon Contemporary, Castle Cary;

Until 15 September

WAR AND RUMOURS OF WAR Drawn largely from The Hepworth Wakefield’s collection of 1940s British works, get ready to feel a sense of déjà vu at the austerity and idealism that permeated the age. Mon-Sun, 10.30am-5pm; normal admission applies; The Victoria Gallery Bath;

Until 1 October

BONKERS BUT BRILLIANT! We all know looking silly in the name of art is hardly a recent phenomenon, but there’s still something delightful about this exhibition showing a community of artists doing just that. The decades’ worth of archived footage, photos and documents on show here provide real creative inspiration. Mon-Sun, 10.30am-5pm; free with entry to the museum; The Museum of Bath at Work;

Until 3 November

ALL SHOOK UP: THOMAS KELLNER’S AMERICA German snapper Kellner has an oddball, semi-Cubist relationship with American architecture: he takes lots of tiny pictures of details and combines them to create a wibblywobbly version of the whole. Kind of amazing, and well worth seeing.

Tues-Sun,11am-5pm; American Museum & Gardens;

Until 3 November

KAFFE FASSETT’S QUILTS IN AMERICA The American Museum is always stuffed with pioneer-era quilts, of course, but this is something different: 20 brand-new ones designed by this San Franciscan artist, never seen together in the UK, and inspired by the museum’s permanent collection. Tues-Sun, 11am-5pm; various prices; American Museum & Gardens, Claverton;

Until 10 November

EAST ASIAN LIFE This fascinating exhibition remembers the originally utilitarian functions of many of the objects in the museum. Though now viewed as beautiful pieces of art, many were

what’s on once simple, everyday tools. Tues-Sat, 10am-7pm; Sunday, 12pm5pm; various prices; Museum of East Asian Art, next to The Circus;

Until 5 January 2020

Image control Sub-titled ‘Understanding the Georgian Selfie’, this is a look at how rich Georgians used flattering oil paintings and busts as we use social media to exaggerate their popularity, wealth, beauty and status. Mon-Sun, 10am-5pm; No.1 Royal Crescent;

Until 1 March 2020

above: Anuvab Pal, trying out new comedy material at The Ring O’ Bells left: Lucy Porter brings her winning cheekiness to Komedia below: Robert Anton’s puppets look like they stepped straight out of a Dave McKean painting

GLOVE STORIES Gloves? Really? Turns out there’s way more to them than just keeping your pinkies warm. Thrill to 400 years of rare glove history, from embroidered 1600s gauntlets to the Duke of Edinburgh’s carriage-driving gloves. Mon-Sun, 10.30am-4pm; entry included in Fashion Museum ticket; Fashion Museum Bath;

Chapel Room at the Gainsborough Hotel. Local and national artists are represented, with names including Sir Peter Blake and digital artist Chuck Elliot. 10am-5.30pm; free; The Gainsborough Bath Spa;

31 July – 4 August

casting shadows into light Spooky, disconcerting and hard to look away from, the work of artists Charlotte Rodgers and Victoria Mussun use natural materials – sometimes even the remnants of dead animals – as its building blocks, which are then manipulated into new forms. The results are unique, imaginative and engaging. Proper creepy too, mind you. 11am-6pm; Walcot Street Mortuary Chapel;

Plays/Shows Until 25 July

20 July – 1 September

LISTEN Experience art through your ears with a full season of sonic events in and around Black Swan Arts in Frome. Feast your ears on musical exhibitions, installations, workshops and performances, as well as ‘sound walks’ – quite different, we are assured, from regular walks – and a ‘listening hub’. Check the website for further information;

EDINBURGH FRINGE PREVIEWS at komedia A talented range of 20 different stand-ups bring their brand new material to Bath. The hilarious troupe, including the likes of Phil Nichol, Jayde Adams, Lucy Porter and Sophie Duker, will play their Edinburgh Fringe shows to 70 lucky people in the Komedia Arts Café. 7pm doors open, shows 7.30pm; various prices; Komedia, Bath;

24 July – 14 September

Until 3 August

THE THEATRE OF ROBERT ANTON Robert Anton (1949-84) made creepy figurines that he then had star in plays he’d written for them. Inspired by the people he watched in the park near his New York apartment, Anton told fantastical stories about the anti-heroes, bohemian monsters, fantastical creatures and witches that populated his meticulously sculpted miniature NY. Sounds like our type of guy. Tues-Sat, 10am-4pm; free; The Edge;

26-28 July

EXHIBIT AT THE GAINSBOROUGH Two artistic forces in the city are coming together for a powerful exhibition. Modern Art Buyer and Rostra Gallery have joined up for a jam-packed art show of prints, paintings and sculptures in the

VIENNA 1934 – MUNICH 1938 Written, devised and performed by Olivier, Tony and Academy Award winner and notorious triple threat, Vanessa Redgrave, this unique play delves into her family’s history to create an absorbing story about the hopes and fears of a generation confronted with the rise of fascism in Europe. (She’s talking about the 1930s, in case you weren’t sure.) Various prices and times; Ustinov Studio, Theatre Royal;

Until 3 August

UNCLE VANYA This new version of the Chekhov favourite was specially commissioned by Theatre Royal Bath. Penned by David Hare and both directed by and starring Rupert Everett, it tells the iconic story of Vanya and his niece Sonya, thanklessly kicked out of the estate they have looked after for years I BATH LIFE I 43

What’s on by its owner – Vanya’s ungrateful brother-in-law – and his beautiful new wife. It has a great cast – including The IT Crowd’s Katherine Parkinson, Clemence Poesey (In Bruges, Birdsong, the pretty French one in Harry Potter) and Olivier-nominated Ann Mitchell – and features typical Chekhovian themes: unrequited love, loss, and good old misplaced dreams. Various times and prices; Main House, Theatre Royal;

22 – 26 July

EDINBURGH PREVIEWS AT THE RING O’ BELLS All of the fun of the Fringe, but with none of the running all over that inevitably raining, utterly packed city. (We love previews!) You also get the fun of being ahead of the comedy game, should you be the type who likes to lord that sort of thing over people (we are). Times vary; free on the door, or £5 to pre-book your seat; upstairs at The Ring O’ Bells;

26 July

MISTER MAGNOLIA Mister Magnolia has many things: a old trumpet that goes rooty-toot, some fat old owls learning to hoot, and a big purple dinosaur who’s a magnificent brute – but despite all that, he only has one boot. Sigh. This charming play, based on the book by Quentin Blake, is told through a mix of live music, puppetry and – gasp – audience interaction. It’s outdoors, too. 6pm; various prices; ECOS Amphitheatre, Frome;

2 August

ALI BABA AND THE FORTY THIEVES The famed open-air theatre company Illyria are a creative bunch, and performing Ali Baba – a play known for a scene where one character defeats no fewer than 37 adversaries – with only five people is the kind of feat that perhaps only they could pull off. This fab company have been performing plays for kids for an amazing 28 seasons now, and their imagining of Ali Baba is a crowd favourite, though rarely performed; in fact, they haven’t toured it since 2003. 7pm; prices vary; Lacock Abbey, Lacock;

7-24 August

THE ARGUMENT There’s nothing worse for a fragile marriage than getting into a fight over a film. This darkly funny play by best-


selling novelist William Boyd looks at how a small argument can push a relationship over the edge. (We can sympathise: we’ve had some very heated discussions over the merits of Teen Wolf before now.) Mon-Sat, 7.30pm; matinees Thurs and Sat, 2.30pm; various prices; Theatre Royal, Bath;

Music 21 July

LOVE PARKS WEEK CONCERT Get ready to oom-pa-pa to your heart’s content – brass specialists the Bath Spa Band will be performing classic tunes for all to enjoy. There’s nothing like a free concert to celebrate Love Parks Week in style. 3pm; free; Victoria Park

28 July

THE ASTONISHING YURI GOLOUBEV The official ‘Honoured Artist of Russia’ – he has a medal and everything – Yuri reportedly has to be heard to be believed. A doublebassist of extraordinary talents, Jazz Times said, “Goloubev’s playing is a sound of beauty with impeccable technique and heartfelt feel.” He’ll appear here with pianist Keith Harrison-Broninski as more-thanable accompaniment. Doors 7pm; free; Cornerhouse, Frome; search ‘Frome Jazz Club’ on Facebook

31 July

HAYSEED DIXIE A band most people either love, hate, or have never heard of, Hayseed Dixie began in a drunken stupor a few years back when founding members John Wheeler and Mike Daly went on a whiskeyfuelled recording studio bender (sort of). Fourteen albums later they are the undisputed originators of the genre ‘Rockgrass’, which answers the question: why does everything sound better with a banjo in the mix? Doors 8pm; £19.50; Cheese and Grain, Frome;

11 August

KATE LUXMOORE GROUP Bass clarinet player (yep, that’s a thing) Kate Luxmoore offers up an enchanting fusion of English folk music, Yoruba polyrhythms and toe-tapping jazz grooves. We’re not entirely sure what all of that means, but it’s quite something, apparently. 7pm; free; Cornerhouse, Frome; search ‘From Jazz Club’ on Facebook

above: Are they going to kiss? (We really think they’re going to kiss!) It’s a new take on the birds and the bees at Mick Lindberg's SEW the Seeds right: A rather famous Rupert in Uncle Vanya below: Grant Buse is another comic well worth catching at The Ring O’Bells

What’s on Family

Until 8 September

LAUREN CHILD: THE ART OF ILLUSTRATION The Waterstones Children’s Laureate, known for Charlie and Lola and Clarice Bean, is displaying her artwork at The Holburne. Child’s deceptively simple work has become nothing short of iconic at this point, and kids and grown ups alike will enjoy this collection of artwork from her latest books, in addition to some pieces based on reworked fairy tales and classic bedtime stories. Mon-Sun, 10am-5pm; general admission £12.50; The Holburne Museum;

Various dates, July-August

SUMMER HOLIDAY ACTIVITIES The Victoria Art Gallery has a range of fun activities to keep the kids occupied throughout their time off school. From creating street scenes using reflections to exploring the various bugs in the museum’s ceramics collection, there’s plenty to get those young creative juices flowing. Various dates and times; price included with admission; Victoria Art Gallery, Bath;

Weekends until 21 July

STORYTELLING AT DYRHAM PARK Storytellers dressed as 17th century servants – hopefully plague-free – will welcome visitors to the beautiful National Trust property throughout July. The time travellers will entertain visitors with tales from the period, with special emphasis on how herbs were used for medicine (often to surprisingly potent effect). Weekends and every Thursday and Friday through the school holidays; normal admission applies; Dyrham Park;


Until 14 August

BATH ON THE BEACH White sand, beachside bars, lazing in rustic cabanas… here in Bath? Yep! If you can’t get to the beach, the beach should come to you. With Caribbeaninspired cocktails, Mexican food and games like volleyball (and the now temporarily-beachside fixture of adventure golf) to keep your jumpy friends occupied, it’s time to sit back and enjoy life away from the coast. Mon-Sun; 11am-10pm; free to enter; Royal Victoria Park;


Until 31 August

TORCHLIT SUMMER EVENINGS This summer, the Roman Baths are once again throwing open their doors long into the evenings. Take a stroll around the torch-lit baths for a romantic evening, Roman style. Mon-Sun, 9am-10pm (last entrance 9pm); prices vary; Roman Baths;

24 July – 30 August

LANDING ON THE MOON Can you believe it’s been 50 years since man first landed on the moon? Of course you can. It was ages ago. Regardless, we might as well celebrate this epic human achievement with some lunarthemed fun at the Herschel Museum of Astronomy. Weekdays 1pm-5pm, weekends 10am-5pm; free with admission to the Herschel Museum of Astronomy;

Weekends from 24 July – 31 August

SUMMER SPIRALS The 154 step spiralling staircase at Beckford’s Tower is opening for the summer – it makes us breathless just thinking about it! The view, we’re promised, is worth the epic climb. 10.30am-5pm (last entry 4.30pm), weekends and bank holidays; free with regular admission; Beckford’s Tower;

24 July – 31 August

BONNETS AND BICORNS Fancy yourself a bit of a dandy? Get yourself a makeover, Georgian style, with a piece of elegant headwear. Make yourself a bonnet or bicorn (one of those Napoleon/pirate hat type things) to take home with you. Bonus points for wearing it around the city for a day. Mon-Sun, 10am-5pm; free with admission to No. 1 Royal Crescent; drop-in activity in the Servants’ Hall at No. 1 Royal Crescent;

6-11 August

GLADIATORS RETURN The Gladiators return to Bath to battle for continental crowns and Tokyo Olympic places at the 2019 Modern Pentathlon European Championships. More than 100 leading athletes from across Europe will be competing for team and individual medals, plus the16 Tokyo Olympic qualifying places in the individual events. Various times; £3; University of Bath Sports Training Village; n

above: Gladiators Return (but if you were expecting Wolf and a giant cotton bud, you’ll be sadly disappointed) left: Lauren Child does great faces, we have to say, even if they’re all pretty much the same below: Does Felicity Kendal ever age?


9 8 Wa l c o t S t r e e t , B a t h B A 1 5 B G Te l 0 1 2 2 5 4 6 9 2 4 0 E m a i l c o n t a c t @ h a l i d e n . c o m w w w. h a l i d e n . c o m


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The Outsiders Three great books to take outdoors, read under a tree, and get you dreaming of wilder adventures…

“It’s easy to get outside and explore the world around us”


he holidays are coming. The sun (we hope) is poised to shine. And so the battle lines are redrawn – the winter struggle between screen and page becomes a wider fight. Inside vs. outside. Yes, it’s that time of year when some youngsters become magnetically and nonsensically attracted to staying in, just as the light, the warmth and the long evenings are conspiring to turn the territory beyond their doorsteps into the greatest of playgrounds. Sometimes, though, the more reluctant outdoor adventurers need a boost in confidence that the countryside is for them. Outside: Exploring Nature by – wait for it – Maria Ana Peixe Dias, Ines Teixeira do Rosario and Bernardo P. Carvalho (Frances Lincoln, £10.99) is a superb visual guide to inspire a spirit of curiosity for the natural world. As those lengthy author credits indicate, the book is a collaboration between three writers and was originally published in Portuguese back in 2014, before being translated into English last year. In deep blue, orange and black and white tones, the book demystifies our gardens and countryside with its snippets of informative text, precise drawings and activity suggestions. The section entitled ‘What are Flowers For’ builds up to a scientific look at a flower’s pollen-producing, insect-attracting make up, by first exploring common flower types and where you might find them. The chapter culminates with a seed gathering guide. This format is then repeated for every outdoor activity you can imagine, from rock-pooling to stargazing and from tree identification to weather prediction. The overall message is consistent – it’s easy and rewarding to get outside and explore the world around us. And in the last pages the authors hammer home how adverse weather can make it even more fun – there’s nothing like puddle-splashing or facing into the wind. The same publisher has this year produced an even more visually stunning book, The Lost Book of Adventure (Frances Lincoln, £20), ostensibly put together from the found notebooks of an ‘Unknown Adventurer’ recovered in a remote hut in the Amazon. Whatever conclusions the reader might draw as to the truth behind that backstory, the book that’s been put together from the supposed notebooks, jottings and storytelling of this most

experienced of adventurers is remarkable. The landscape covered is vast in scope – there are anecdotes of expeditions in the jungle and across mountain tops, as well as those much closer to home. That’s where this book really succeeds. Whilst being full of exotic daring-do in far off lands, it also acts as a guide to much more achievable day to day outdoorsiness. We learn in depth how to build a pallet raft – beginning with an illustrated ingredients list, and then being shown how to paddle it and encouraged to try gliding it along our nearby canals (if the Amazon isn’t handy). Other sections cover survival camping, tree houses, camouflage, kit, ropes and first aid skills, but however practical the text might become, the narrative never breaks away from the conceit that these are the left learnings of a lost expert. So what could be a dry manual is transformed into an entertaining and valuable guide, which also happens to have vivid full-colour illustrations throughout as well as page after page of blue and white diagrams and demonstrations. I can’t think of any other book more likely to create a burning desire to get out there and in amongst nature. Of course, though, this is Britain. And notwithstanding the fact that the adventuring can’t and shouldn’t be limited to sunny days, the elements sometimes suck the lifeblood out of any great plans to attack the wilderness. If that’s the case, then perhaps consider some wild adventures in the kitchen thanks to The Kitchen Science Cookbook by Dr Michelle Dickinson (Particular Books, £20). Experiments lasting from five minutes to two hours will have kids exploring liquid density, solar-powered baking and, in many cases, creating vivid concoctions that they and you can then choose to eat. (Or not, if you have any sense, in the case of unicorn noodles, scrumptious slime and several others.) The book is bright, photographic and pleasingly detailed in its instructions and, importantly, just seems to go so much further than many of those kitchen science kits, which are often all promise and no results. And if you don’t manage to eat quite all the edible earthworms, you can always keep them for your next campfire experience! Nic Bottomley is the general manager of Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights, 14/15 John Street, Bath; 01225 331155; I BATH LIFE I 49

LANSDOWN GOLF CLUB LO O K I N G TO B O O K YO U R W E D D I N G O R S P E C I A L E V E N T I N B AT H ? Look no further than Lansdown Golf Club. W e h a v e t h e ex p e r i e n c e a n d v e r s a t i l i t y t o e n s u r e y o u r d a y i s a p e r f e c t o n e . O u r g r e e n a n d b e a u t i f u l s u r r o u n d i n g s m a ke u s t h e p e r f e c t l o c a t i o n f o r a w e d d i n g o r e v e n t . S o c o m e a n d s e e w h a t m a ke s L a n s d o w n s p e c i a l . . . 01225 425007



Creature features One film’s full of animals, and another is called Animals; other than that, this issue’s three movie picks have little in common, except that they’re all worth a trip out


e’ve had some gloriously hot weather over the last few weeks, but why not take a break from the heat in a lovely, dark, air-conditioned screening room with a fantastic film to keep you entertained? From a Disney classic reborn to a hilarious documentary about golf caddies and a quirky comedy drama about female friendship, there’s plenty for everyone here. THE LION KING Disney is back with another incredible photorealistic computer-animated retelling of one of its hand-drawn hits of yesteryear. Unlike with similar recent remakes of The Jungle Book and Cinderella, though, this isn’t a new take on a much-loved ’50s or ’60s classic, but rather takes its inspiration from a work of much more recent vintage, 1994’s The Lion King, one of the pillars of the so-called Disney renaissance of the ’90s. This year’s return to the African savannah features a stellar contemporary cast – including Beyoncé, Donald Glover and Seth Rogen – plus the great James Earl Jones, reprising his role from the original as King Mufasa. The results are more lifelike than life itself, as Glover’s young lion cub, Simba, has his destiny as Mufasa’s heir stolen from him by his uncle, the plotting Scar (Chiwetel Ejiofor). Expect tragedy and betrayal on a Shakespearean scale, as an exiled Simba is forced to grow up, take responsibility and fight for what’s his – though to do so, he’ll need more than a little help from some unlikely new friends. But you know all this, of course: you’ve seen the original. At times this new version comes across as a shot-for-shot remake – no bad thing, of course, as the original was so epic in scale,


The Lion King gets real, Loopers cracks a smile, Animals sweat out a hangover

glorious to look at, and heaved with great music, laugh out loud moments and raw emotion – but it’s longer, with some roles (Beyoncé’s Nala, for instance) changed or expanded; director Jon Favreau also made the well-received Jungle Book remake three years ago, so we’re in safe hands, and this very much deserves to be towards the top of your ‘must watch’ list. LOOPERS: THE CADDIE’S LONG WALK Golf may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but an intriguing new documentary, Loopers: The Caddie’s Long Walk, sheds new light on to the sport. It focuses on the dynamic between the players and the folk who cart their bags of clubs around, and the relationships that grow between two people who walk together for hours at a time, and inevitably start talking about more than just club choices and golf tactics. Tom Watson, one of the leading American golfers of the ’70s and ’80s, and his caddie Bruce Edwards were often described as being ‘closer than brothers’, and a range of wonderful, very different kinds of friendships seem to form on the golf course. This documentary expertly highlights these partnerships, but also looks at the makings of a caddie’s career – Greg Puga, for instance, began as a caddie in Los Angeles, but eventually climbed his way through the ranks to play in the Masters at Augusta. Narrated by the wonderful Bill Murray – who had a famous early role in Caddyshack (1980), of course – Loopers will, at the very least, make you rethink the way you look at golf. ANIMALS Based on an Emma Jane Unsworth novel, Animals follows long-time friends and party-

goers Laura (Holliday Grainger) and Tyler (Alia Shawkat) as they navigate their way through love and life in Dublin. Refusing to settle down as they begin their thirties – and with personalities that seem to fit together perfectly – the boozy baristas enjoy wild night after wild night, which suddenly adds up to ten years together. Naturally, the drink, drugs and casual sex can’t last forever, and when Laura’s sister announces that she is pregnant – and deliberately so – Laura begins to wonder what she’s been doing with her life, and where it’s all going. She starts a new journey into novel writing, but not so the anarchic Tyler, who’s determined to persevere with her messy lifestyle. Cracks, inevitably, begin to appear in the girls’ friendship, not least when concert pianist Jim (Fra Fee) catches Laura’s eye; when she eventually gets engaged, it forces both girls to re-evaluate their lives and friendship. Both Grainger and Shawkat give live-wire performances of great range in this witty, thought provoking drama – and though it’s the conflicted Grainger who grabs more of the spotlight, there’s a wonderfully untamed quality to both which makes this highly entertaining. Although they may not be likeable the entire length of the film, it’s these women’s believable flaws that makes Animals so real and surprising.

Sophie-Claire McLeod is duty and marketing manager at The Little Theatre, 1–2 St Michael’s Place; 01225 466822; I BATH LIFE I 51

Enjoy Modern British Cuisine in a relaxed friendly atmosphere alongside a range of craft ales, cocktails and selection of wines. Join us for lunch Tuesday to Friday 12–2.30pm and enjoy 2 courses for £19.50, 3 courses for £22.50 from our set lunch menu. Now offering our 7 course tasting menu £55.00 per person.

14 Silver Street, Bradford On Avon, BA15 1JY Telephone: 01225 938088 Email:

food & drink sna p shots o f b ath ’ s f ood scene


We popped down to Demuth’s Cookery School this issue, for a class with Lucie of Bath Culture House. Her enthusiasm is infectious, and from the moment you meet her ‘pet’ SCOBY (that’s ‘symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast’), Bob, it’s clear you’re in the presence of a woman who has found her calling. And that is fermenting things. It’s worth noting, mind you, that you’ll leave this particular course with a lot of fermented goods. From your own kombucha and water kefir to beet kvass – a salty, beetroot-ey thing that Lucie says she has a shot of in the morning to wake her up; we can attest that it would do the job – and more gutloving goodies. Surprisingly, it’s all a lot easier than you might think – or Lucie makes it seem that way – with step-by-step instructions, plenty of opportunity to ask questions and raise concerns, and a booklet of recipes to take home with you at the end. Plus, the workshop is followed by a delicious vegan lunch. Ours was lovingly cooked by Lydia of Demuths, and featured delicious quinoa with roasted vegetables, a roasted aubergine thing with tahini that was too gorgeous for words, and some mouth-watering vegan slaw. All that, and Lucie even let us try some of her creamy vegan ‘chease’, made with cashews – the only recipe of the day to remain a secret. For more: 100% vegan, 100% ace

TOTALLY VEGAN It’s time to not only try vegan, but to fine dine vegan too. Acorn Restaurant, located on North Parade Passage around the corner from the Abbey, has been revealed to be the only 100% vegan restaurant in the UK to be awarded a top ten position in the 50 Best Vegan Restaurants in Europe by the global travel site, Big 7 Travel. Chef proprietor Richard Buckley at Acorn was thrilled to see his plant-based goodies receive such acclaim; after all, and as he says, “We are passionate about fine dining and showing how delicious plants can be.” Richard also published a cookbook, Plants Taste Better, not that long ago, showcasing the creativity and flair that vegan dishes can have, and enabling you to fine dine vegan at home. Whether you’re a vegetables-only type or not, this place is a must visit, we’d say. For more:

Here’s one I made earlier

MR LONELY Cosy Club Bath is on a mission – to make us all a bit less lonely. Free Teas For Those In Need is exactly what is says on the tin: a community event where people can come together for a cuppa and a chat without worrying about pulling on the purse strings. Surveys have shown that almost a fifth of the population often feel lonely, especially elderly people, so initiatives like this feel absolutely vital. Free Teas For Those In Need will take place every Wednesday from 10-11am. For more:

A cuppa really does cure all ills I BATH LIFE I 53

try five 2



© Dan Flinter



A handful of the organic, low waste, local food options on offer hereabouts


The Community Farm From their home delivery box scheme to their Organic Farm Shop down at Green Park Station, The Community Farm simply wants to get good veg into Bath homes. They grow and sell organic, locally produced fruit and veg – basically, all the good stuff – in partnership with a network of local farmers who share their ethics. You can either buy it straight from them, or via a home-delivery service, available in and around Bath, Bristol, Frome, Weston-super-Mare and the Chew Valley. Boxes come with a variety of goodies, ranging from vegetables to fruit, meat, dairy products and groceries.


LarkHall Butchers Meat doesn’t have to be unethical. Good quality, free range, locally sourced chunks of beast purchased at a decent price can easily be a staple of an ethical diet. Yes, this probably means eating less of it. And yes, it means waving goodbye to the cheap but dubiously sourced chicken down the local supermarket – but do you really want that anyway? We all know we should probably be eating less meat but better, so why not make the stuff you do scoff the tastiest it can possibly be?



Wolf Wine Wolf Wine specialises in organic, biodynamic and natural wines. That means wines that are produced without all the nasties. While, yes, this is probably better for you, it’s also much better for the environment, keeping entire vineyards free from pesticides. In addition to the eco-friendly product, Wolf Wine also offers customers the chance to refill bottles with wine, cutting back on waste.



Thoughtful Bakery It doesn’t take long to figure out which way these folks’ bread is buttered. (It’s with sustainable spread.) Jumping from a career in sustainability management to bread making, baker Duncan sources ingredients with an eye for provenance and seasonality – which, yes, does include some foraging – and incentivises his wholesale customers to come and collect their bread, therefore saving Thoughtful from the emissions of a delivery van. And yes, most of their customers, they’re proud to say, do their collecting on foot.


Harvest This might just be an ‘us’ thing, but really, a good health food shop is like a cave of

wonders. Not only do you discover new foods you didn’t even know existed, but you can eat them without guilt. What’s particularly great about Harvest, a Bath institution on Walcot Street, is its refilling stations for everything from pasta to grains to herbs and more. Bring along a container, fill ’er up, and you’ll be amazed at how quickly you’ll have eradicated the vast majority of single use plastics from your cupboards. n

The herd

What matters most in a steakhouse? The beef, of course! And, we’re happy to report, this is what The Herd has got spot on… By Matt Bielby Pictures by Adam Waring


here’s a lot to be said for a restaurant that does one thing, and does it well: here in Bath, The Mint Room is like that, and The Scallop Shell, places so reliable that you can recommend them to any visitor wholeheartedly, knowing that if they like curry or fish, they’ll have a good night out. Also worthy of a place on that list is The Herd, a restaurant that’s been around for a while but hasn’t appeared in Bath Life much of late, perhaps because its single-minded commitment to plate-sized chunks of moo-cow have held understandably little appeal to our vegetarian editor. With Lisa away, though, I felt it time to get the meat sweats on. Steak seemed to have a particular moment six or seven years ago: certainly, a number of new specialist gaffs opened up in Bath back then, to join the established Hudson Steakhouse up on London Street – including the nowdeceased Cau in Milsom Place. One that has endured from that period, though, is The Herd, which has two entrances,


neither of them obvious. One is hidden away amongst the shops on Argyll Street, just across Great Pulteney Bridge from the city centre; it’s basically just a doorway, from which you need to wiggle down a couple of flights of stairs into the belly of the beast. The other, slightly more handsome but even more obscure, is in that big tunnel under the bridge next to the The Boater’s beer garden. This is riverside eating of a sort, then – which fits this issue’s theme – even if you’d never know it from inside. Steak houses don’t demand anything particularly clever, and The Herd has hardly changed since we first visited it in 2013: there are virtually the same menus, the same whitewashed stone walls, the same rustic tables made of thick planks and the same big pictures of friesans on the walls. But that’s fine. Steak houses don’t need much, but they do need a realness and honesty to them. They also need a good selection of familiar side dishes, most of them rich and comforting. They need a wine list heavy on the reds. And they need to get their core offering absolutely, reliably spot-on


every time. We’re talking here, of course, about the steaks. The ones at The Herd, the menu tells us in a giant font, come from a local gang of Aberdeen Angus-Hereford crosses, each hung for 21-28 days. There are entry level 10oz sirloins and rib eyes (both £19.95 – steak is never cheap); a giant Herd sharing platter (£48.95), which sounds like it would feed an army; and the three we suspect most people go for, 16oz T-bones and porterhouses (both £25.95), and an 8oz prime fillet for a quid more. We got a T-bone and a porterhouse – pretty similar looking slabs, both from the short loin of the cow, and both containing two types of beef much prized by steak connoisseurs: NY strip on one side of the central slice of bone, and tenderloin fillet on the other. The difference is in the thickness of the meat, but they’re both equally challenging to get right, as the different cuts cook at different rates. Needless to say, our pair were cracking – the perfect medium rare, as ordered – as were the crisp, fluffy, twicecooked chips that came with, and our assorted add-ons, including a couple of different steak sauces (£1.95 each, and arguably unnecessary with meat this good). We also had a few side dishes: top-notch thick cut onion rings, crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle, and a rocket and Parmesan salad (both £3.95), plus some delicious, buttery garlic and parsley sautéed mushrooms (£2.95). At least one of these was totally surplus to requirements, but we were on an eating binge: we’d started with char-grilled king prawns and a beef fillet carpaccio (both £8.95), and would go on to finish with chef ’s chocolate mousse and Madagascan vanilla rice pudding with a crème brûlée topping, served with dates and its own side of home-made ginger ice cream (both £5.95). All were good, though the carpaccio and rice pud were probably our winners, and we certainly needed the vast bowls of inky red wine we glugged to wash it all down. Steaks like these are huge things anyway, of course, but ordering all this we were asking for trouble, and more waddled than wiggled our way back out again. If there are criticisms to be had, it’s that – beyond perhaps the mousse – there aren’t many light options on the dessert menu, and that the small range of non-cow alternatives (chicken, sea bass, lamb, a gnocchi thing) seem like the tea cup rides at a theme park. We’re sure someone must have a go on them occasionally, but it can’t be very often. Is The Herd better than Hudson? Dunno, for sure – I’ve not eaten there for a while (something to be fixed), but it certainly holds its end up, that’s for sure. Steak’s not an every day option; not for me, anyway. I have maybe one a year. I’m glad 2019’s was from The Herd. n

“Steak houses need a realness and honesty to them”

Dining details The Herd, 12 Argyll Street, Bath, BA2 4BQ; 01225 316583; We ate Cow, cow and more cow: two different steaks and a beef fillet carpaccio, to be precise, plus assorted sides and puds Vegetarian options Pretty token, to be honest: there’s a starter (halloumi cheese skewer, £6.95) and a main (homemade gnocchi with walnut pesto, £12.95), plus a few sides and fish options Prices Starters £6.95 – £8.95; mains £12.95 – £17.95; puds mostly £5.95; steaks £19.95 – £26.95 Drinks Lots of reds by glass or bottle, mostly Italian or New World, plus some whites and rosés, and a small but useful selection of spirits et al Service / atmosphere Bustling but not overly loud, with top-notch service What else? Whitewashed basement space, smaller and warmer than you might think, and popular; it might be hidden away, but the crowds sniffed out The Herd long ago I BATH LIFE I 57





01225 425045 7 Queen St, Bath, BA1 1HE

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KEY: 1. Abbey Ales The Trinity Inn, The Assembly Inn, Coeur de Lion and Star Inn 2. The Raven Queen Street 3. The Salamander John St 4. The Neston Neston 5. The Pear Tree Inn Whitley 6. Cross Keys Corsley Corsley 7. The Castle Inn Bradford-on-Avon 8. The Prince of Wales Peasedown St. John 9. The Northey Arms Box 10. The Old Ham Tree Holt 11. Fox & Badger Wellow 12. Fox & Hounds Colerne 13. White Hart Widcombe 14. The Inn at Freshford Freshford 15. Brewed Boy London St 16. Rose & Crown Larkhall 17. The Rising Sun Grove St 18. The Claremont Claremont Terrace MAPS FOR ILLUSTRATION PURPOSES ONLY




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Wise words for dogs this summer! Summer is a great time for dogs, but it’s important to be aware of a few potential dangers that it can present HEAT The dangers of leaving dogs in hot cars are well publicised, but sadly we still see cases of heatstroke where dogs have been left in cars, where the internal temperature can skyrocket, even in a short space of time with the windows left open. It can take as little as 15 minutes for a dog to die in a hot car. Pavements and tarmacked surfaces can also get extremely hot in the summer. As a general rule, if you place the back of your hand on the pavement for seven seconds, and it is too hot for you, then it is too hot for your dog to walk on. Avoid walking during the hottest times of the day.

BARBECUES AND PICNICS Al fresco dining can present lots of hazards for dogs. Be particularly aware of: • Grapes, raisins/sultanas, chocolate, onions, garlic and macadamia nuts which are all potentially toxic to dogs • Fatty or rich foods, which can cause gastrointestinal upsets and pancreatitis • Ingestion of objects such as kebab skewers and bones.

GRASS SEEDS Grass seeds can get stuck in many places in the body, including the eyes, ears, nose, throat and paws. The symptoms will vary depending on where the grass seed is stuck, but symptoms are usually sudden in onset and often severe. Grass seeds can sometimes be tricky to find, but successful discovery and removal usually rapidly resolves the symptoms.

INSECT BITES AND STINGS The inquisitive nature of dogs means that wasp and bee stings, especially around the face, are not uncommon in the summer months. The resulting reaction can be pronounced, often causing facial swelling and in severe cases, difficulties breathing. Contact your vet as soon as possible if they are stung.

TICKS The typical ‘tick season’ lasts from April to September, but with milder winters and in areas such as Bath, they are becoming more of a perennial threat. The best way to remove a tick is to use a special tick remover that ensures the mouthparts are not left behind, or if you’re not confident removing it yourself, ask your vet or nurse. There are a variety of excellent tick prevention products, available as tablets,

spot-ons or collars. Talk to your vet to find the best choice for your pet.

GARDEN DANGERS The garden can present several hazards for dogs: • Slug pellets containing metaldehyde – due to be banned from sale next year, but can cause muscle spasms, convulsions and breathing difficulties. • Plants such as Allium species (e.g. wild garlic, leeks), ivy, Laburnum, Rhododendron and foxgloves are all potentially toxic. Contact your vet if you are unsure if the plant your dog has eaten is toxic. • Rodent bait containing anticoagulants can cause bleeding due to delays in blood clotting. As long as you’re aware of these potential hazards, you and your dog can enjoy the outdoors, and hopefully sunny, weather! ■

Rosemary Lodge, Wellsway, Bath, BA2 5RL; 01225 832521; f Bath.Vet.Group


• Rosemary Lodge Hospital, Wellsway, Bath, BA2 5RL; 01225 832521 • Bath Cat Clinic, 4 Beaufort East, London Road, BA1 6QD; 01225 312061 • Chapel Veterinary Surgery, Forest Road, Melksham, SN12 7AA; 01225 702427 • Marshfield Veterinary Surgery, 57 High Street, Marshfield, SN14 8LR; 01225 891171 • Oldfield Park Veterinary Surgery, 4 Third Avenue, Oldfield Park, BA2 3NY; 01225 423652 • Peasedown Veterinary Surgery, 46 Bath Road, Peasedown St John, BA2 8DL; 01761 435673 • Saltford Veterinary Surgery, 478B Bath Road, Saltford, BS31 3DJ; 01225 872002 • Station Road Veterinary Surgery, Lower Weston, BA1 3DY; 01225 428921 • Park Road Vets, 11 Park Road, Keynsham, Bristol, BS31 1BX; 0117 9339 933 I BATH LIFE I 61

shopping live well, buy better

Weaveworld Are you rethinking your relationship with fast fashion and throwaway culture? Us too, which is why we get so excited about ethically made textiles, such as the lamb’s wool, silk, alpaca and cashmere throws, scarves and cushions found at Katharine Fraser. Everything here is made by hand, using ancient weaving looms – and couldn’t get more local, as you can actually see Katharine working away through the window of her shop on Walcot Street. Right now expect plenty of serene greys, cool blues and summery oranges that speak of rustic summerhouses on tree-covered islands somewhere near Stockholm. Even better, you can embark on a weaving project yourself by signing up to one of her workshops. “With more people becoming aware of the downsides of fast fashion, they want to learn about how textiles are made,” Katharine says. “Plus, it’s a fun day out!” It’s win-win, then – okay, so the garment of your dreams might take you weeks to complete, and there’s always the fairy tale danger of pricking your finger and falling into a deep, magical slumber to contend with. But think of the upsides: a piece to be proud of, and which you’ll probably keep forever. Aspen and ash double cloth wool cushions; from £48 per cushion at Katharine Fraser, 74 Walcot Street, Bath; I BATH LIFE I 63

BIBICO ALLANA TOP, £49 (DOWN FROM £59) A top ethical pick from Bibico’s summer sale. This light and elegant top is perfect for hot days paddling through the shallows; it’s made of a breezy blend that’s 30% linen/70% cotton From Bibico, 9A Bartlett St, Bath;

BAMBOO FLY FISHING RODS, FROM £2,999 Modern design meets classic material in Orvis’s range of attractive, high-quality, full flex bamboo fly fishing rods, ideal for catching dinner during long summer days by the river From Orvis, 1 Pulteney Bridge, Bath;


From riverbank picnicking to messing about in boats, this issue we celebrate – as Florence might say – what the water gave me…

‘DISTANT SAILS’ BY BARBARA PEIRSON, £850 Bring the big blue into your home with Barbara Peirson’s dreamy acrylic-on-board paintings; this is one of a selection at Gallery Nine From Gallery Nine, 9B Margaret’s Buildings, Bath;


MOON-SHAPED EARRINGS, £15.99 New in at Mistral, these cool earrings add a pop of river green to any outfit; perfect for anything from midday picnics to twilight waterside strolls From Mistral, 20 New Bond Street, Bath;

EMILY & FIN STRIPED DRESS, £60 (REDUCED FROM £89) This stripy, strappy and bright raspberry summer frock from Emily & Fin channels the Cornish seaside; it’s also the perfect piece for effortless riverside picnic chic From Spirit Fashion, High Street, Devizes;

ED’S CHOICE GRACE AND MABEL RAINCOAT, £72.50 (DOWN FROM £145) Regrettably, a luxurious blue-grey raincoat can be something of an essential for the English summertime. Embrace the rain with style! From Grace & Mabel, 3 George Street, Bath;

EKELUND EVE TABLE RUNNER, £29.00 With its traditional Swedish swirling green leaf motif, this elegant cotton runner is made for outdoor summer dining From The Salcombe Trading Company, 9 Broad Street, Bath;

ARCHE SPOTTY SHOES, £174.50 (DOWN FROM £249) Elvis sang about his blue suede shoes, but we prefer ours blue and spotty. Will add a fun, bouncy twist to your summer wardrobe From Blue, The Loft, 1-2 Bartlett Street, Bath;

NEPTUNE SOMERTON PICNIC BASKET, £88 Stroll down to the waterfront looking just like Jane Birkin with this timeless picnic hamper; it’s got just enough room for a bottle of bubbley and dips From Neptune, One Tram Yard, Walcot Street, Bath;

WENONAH PROSPECTOR 16 CANOE, £1,795 Take on the river solo or with a friend in this properly solid and stylish canoe, capable of coping with any kind of water; we especially like it in this bold, summery red From Canoe and Kayak Store, Damery Works, Gloucestershire; I BATH LIFE I 65



Meet the Bath businesses re-inventing the fashion industry for a more sustainable future

© Thea Løvstad

By Lydia Tewkesbury


ECO FASHION this page: Bibico has got your cool

summer wardrobe right here

© Celie Nigoumi

opposite: Nightwear at Sleepy Doe


ere at Bath Life, we love clothes. But it is an inconvenient truth that the fashion industry is doing a lot of damage to the environment, and to the garment workers behind those chain-bought bargains. With the government’s recent decision to reject the Environmental Audit Committee’s recommendations for tackling the problem, it feels even more important for us consumers to start making better choices while we wait for change at a policy level. Fortunately, as far as better choices are concerned, we’re positively spoiled in Bath.

The problem with fast fashion

minimum wage. It’s a lot to take in. When a problem is so big – and 300,000 tonnes is a scary-huge figure – it’s easy to get overwhelmed and hit our internal ‘unfollow’. But the problem isn’t going away.

The solutions people

“I source manufacturers that are a member of the Bath-based Fair Wear Foundation (FWF), which supports workers by ensuring they are paid a fair wage, there is no forced labour for pregnant women and children, and they are provided good working and living conditions,” explains Katie Smith, founder of Surviving Society, a local clothing and accessories label on a mission to empower women by sparking conversations about motherhood, bodies and mental health. Easily identifiable, as their logo is printed into the labels of clothes made under their initiative, FWF partners with brands and workers to increase transparency in the production line. Through a mix of brand performance checks, audits on the ground, proper complaints processes and factory training, they aim to create a fairer environment. FWF brands aren’t certified 100% ethical, but they continuously strive for higher standards. Sophie Woodrow, founder of Sleepy Doe – another local business, this one creating organic sleepwear for mother and child – agrees that attentiveness to ethics and sustinability is non-negotiable, and a consideration in every aspect of her business. “From hand delivering local orders to ensuring our packaging is recycled and recyclable, there is lots you can do on top of manufacturing ethical fashion,” she says. “We look at the bigger picture across all aspects of the business.”

“Being trend driven, fast fashion fuels the ‘I gotta have it now’ obsession”

“From an environmental and sustainability point of view, we have a major problem with the high street chain shops fuelling fast fashion culture,” explains Imren Lowin of Vintage to Vogue, that paradise for lovers of great old clothing on Milsom Street. “Fast fashion, by definition, is cheaply produced, poorly constructed clothing which copies the latest looks pumped quickly through stores to maximise on current trends. Being trend driven, fast fashion fuels the ‘I gotta have it now’ obsession that they’ve created. It’s a toxic industry where the people who are making the clothing and the environment pay a high price.” And the figures are pretty shocking. 300,000 tonnes of clothing is burned or sent to landfill every year in the UK, many factories worldwide are unsafe, and as many as 50% of garment workers in India and the Philippines earn less than the local I BATH LIFE I 67

Would you like to work in Media Sales? We are always looking to hear from talented individuals who would like to work for MediaClash, presenting advertising opportunities and marketing solutions across our portfolio of fantastic local titles. We are a growing business and anticipate there being various opportunities over the next few months. If you would like to join our continuing success story please email your CV to or give us a call anytime on 01225 475800 for a chat about the company, our magazines and available positions.


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ECO FASHION stories and about their families. It is heartening to see the positive impact that has been made on individual lives and on the communities in which the cooperatives are located. Women have a safe place to work in their locality, where they are supported and fairly paid for their time.”

The cotton question

Keeping it casual at Smart Squid (top), Sleepy Doe (right) and Bibico

© Thea Løvstad

© Celie Nigoumi

Materials are also of vital consideration when building a sustainable wardrobe. Synthetic fabrics like polyester are crammed full of plastic microfibres, which are released from your clothing and into the water system (and eventually the sea) every time you wash them. But even natural materials like cotton come with their own minefield. Figures from the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) show production of a single cotton T-shirt uses 713 gallons of water (for perspective, this would keep the average person going for 900 days). The use of agrochemicals (pesticides, basically) on such a large scale for growing the cotton causes problems like soil erosion and water contamination, as well as making the cotton farmers sick. Obviously we’re not saying never buy cotton again – we’re T-shirts and jeans people – but there is definitely a cotton hierarchy. Like most things, it’s usually best to buy organic – GOTS certified, ideally. Sarina Saddiq, the Bath-based mind behind Smart Squid, a delightful collection of organic cotton T-shirts giving love to some of the lesser Instagrammed bugs and underwater creatures of the world, has the lowdown. “The Global Organic Textiles Standard (GOTS) is the worldwide leading textile processing standard for organic fibres, including ecological and social criteria, backed up by independent certification of the entire textile supply chain,” she says. “They ensure that all parts of a textile manufacturing process, from farm to factory, meet their organic standards. They don’t just check chemical use, they ensure that water, dyes and sewage are managed correctly too.” Katie also uses GOTS certified cotton at Surviving Society. As she points out, “A benefit of this is that the soil remains rich in CO2 and less irrigation is needed, as the soil can conserve more water and sustain plant growth.” So in addition to being healthier for land and farmers, organic cotton uses less water.

There’s stuff for guys too, at Surviving Society

The people behind the clothes

Bibico on Bartlett Street create their collections with women’s cooperatives around the world, certified by the World Fair Trade Organisation, or WFTO. “The women in the cooperative come from poor and disadvantaged backgrounds and are often the victims of domestic violence,” their Tim Douglas explains. “Once in the cooperative they are not only given training to do their job, but also given counselling and free childcare. It is an amazing story and we think it’s nice that our customers know that, by buying from Bibico, not only are you getting a lovely, quality piece of clothing, but also helping people escape the circle of poverty.” A great label to look for to indicate sustainable, ethical practises, WFTO guaranteed businesses put people and planet first. It’s a global community of social responsibility, democratically run by its members to make real, tangible change in the world. Tim has seen it for himself. “I travel to India and Nepal at least once a year to meet with our producers and work on our collections,” he says. “I enjoy seeing familiar faces and working with the women, as well as hearing their I BATH LIFE I 69

ECO FASHION Tim of Bibico shares his tips for building a more sustainable wardrobe Timeless Focus on more classic styles that will last for years, not months. Spend a bit more You get what you pay for, and if a dress costs £10, it probably won’t last long. Budget If your budget is an issue, you can pick up some great pieces in charity or vintage shops. (It’s a good idea to check out the sale section of some of the ethical clothing brands too.) Do your research If you want to buy new clothes, try to shop from ethical brands or ask the brand or retailer that you shop with normally where their clothes are made.


above and right: Rare and gorgeous classics at Vintage to Vogue

© Celie Nigoumi

The pre-loved option

this image and above: The amazing selection available at the Yellow Shop


© Celie Nigoumi

Go natural Try to buy clothing made from natural fabrics (ideally organic), not synthetic ones. They pollute less and biodegrade faster.

“Globally we now consume about 80 billion new pieces of clothing every year – 400% more than we were just two decades ago,” explains Imren at Vintage to Vogue. “When you buy an item of vintage clothing, you are extending the life of that item, some of which are already over 20 years old and are still in near perfect condition. In doing so you are avoiding the damage that is caused to the environment from the constant manufacture of new items, and the potential exploitation of foreign workers.” The message that second hand is best seems to be trickling down to the masses, many of whom would have refused to consider pre-loved as an option a few years ago. Although, concedes Chris Barclay at The Yellow Shop – a 25-year-old vintage clothes shop and Bath institution – it may not be entirely motivated by eco-friendliness. “I think more people are aware of the need to shop ethically, and of the issues around climate change,” he says, “but I also think that the younger demographic are simply more switched on towards retro clothing partly because of the availability of brand names at a fraction of the price they’d be new.” He does worry, though, that the planned obsolescence of fast fashion will negatively impact pre-loved sales in the long run. With the throwaway nature of clothes reflected in their quality, it does beg the question of how much of the clothing made in 2019 will be around for long enough to ever be considered vintage. Ultimately though, shopping pre-loved is a great alternative to fast fashion. It’s all about the ‘thrill of the chase’ for the perfect piece, according to Cathy Wilkin at Sumptuous Designerwear Dress Agency Boutique on Walcot Street. She says: “‘What a glorious treasure trove!’ is something that I hear several times a day from happy customers leaving our boutique with a surprise purchase, having had lots of fun in the process of finding that piece of treasure… Isn’t that how clothes shopping should be?” n

Full clip Getting a decent haircut is key to looking stylish and feeling good, even for the most unreconstructed of men. But how should you go about making the most of the experience? We caught up with two top Bath barbers who are, yes, head and shoulders above the rest‌

Words by Paul Marland Pictures by Focus First Media 72 I BATH LIFE I

Paul Taylor-Clinch at Black Sails, one of Bath’s newest, coolest barbers


“A good hairdresser will be 100% honest with you,and you should be honest with them”

Zac Fennell of BA1 Hair, once known as Artizan and one of the city’s best established salons I BATH LIFE I 73

Paul at Black Sails, with its cool pirate theme and wide range of classic men’s cuts


ack in the day I was more loyal to my barber than I am now. Men are creatures of habit, and me more than most – plus, I’d think about getting my hair cut elsewhere, then feel guilty about abandoning him or her. These days, not so much. I figure, if I’m sticking to a shorter style, how bad can it get? I’ll just pop along to a cheap local place, get shorn like a sheep, and if it looks bad, well, what’s the harm? I’ll live with it for a few weeks – or go along to another one and see if they can fix it. Anyway, one of the joys of getting your hair cut is meeting someone new, soaking up the ambience of different shop, being encouraged to try a style I’d never thought of. But what if I’m wrong? What if it actually makes better sense to find someone who knows you and your hair, and stick by them? Time, we thought, to catch up with a couple of our favourite local barbers and men’s hairdressers to find out…

how to get the best haircut of your life

Step 1. Decide what matters to you “The biggest thing in men’s hair is achieving a good shape that will grow out well,” says Zac Fennell, a director at BA1 Hair on Bartlett Street and one of Bath’s most prominent hairdressers. “That’s why it’s worth going to a decent place where they do it with care. It’s certainly better than sitting in a queue system, where they’re trying to get through as many as they can. Of course, for a more professional service you’ll have to book, so you’ll have to decide what’s important to you. Do you want it done quickly and cheaply? Or do you want it done well? If it’s the first two, fine – but you’ll get a worse cut.” Step 2. A good haircut is unique “If you want to be good at this job, you need to be able to read each client’s head shape and growth patterns,” says Paul Taylor-Clinch, aka


Pirate Paulus of Black Sails Barbershop out at Lark Place, near the skate park. “Only that way will you be able to determine which looks will suit each person. You just have to accept some styles will never work with your head shape or hair texture.” Step 3. Insist they do the dirty stuff “With guys, hair sprouts from nowhere,” Zac says. “We spend time trimming ears, noses, necks, eyebrows. But that’s part of the job, and any barber who doesn’t, doesn’t really care. A good barber is looking at the total image. Okay, okay, I do stop at the neck – I’m not going to start shaving your back – but curling hair pouring out of your shirt looks terrible, doesn’t it?” Step 4. Feel part of a community “Everything we do, we do it for our patrons,” says Paul. “It’s certainly not for our egos. I often think that the haircut itself is maybe only 40 percent of the service, and just as much of it is about being a community hub. To be good at this job you definitely need to be a people person.” Step 5. Be honest “It’s not about hiding stuff,” says Zac. “If you’re receding, you’re receding – but there are ways to make it look stylish and natural. A good hairdresser will be 100% honest with you, and you should be honest with them – then give them the freedom to do what will work for you. If you’ve got a bald patch and try for a comb over, you’re asking for trouble; when the wind whips it up, you’re going to look like an idiot.”

“I often think that the haircut itself is maybe only 40% of the service”

Step 6. Take along a photo “That’s one of the best ways to show your barber what you have in mind,” says Paul. “At the very least, it can get a discussion going. I don’t like it when people think I can make

barbers them look just like a celebrity – you’re never going to – but, because celebs tend to have expressive hair styles, it’s a great jumping off point.” Step 7. Clippers are your friend “By all means, quote the clipper numbers,” says Zac. “Say you’d like a two on the side and a four on the top – or say you don’t like clippers at all, and would rather we used scissors, because the effect is softer. Your hairdresser might not agree with you – but even so, telling us is helpful. It’ll give us a better idea of what you’re trying to achieve, and we might be able to show you some modern clipper techniques that give beautifully soft results, the hair gradually fading from a zero out to very long on top.” Step 8. Don’t be shy “It’s useful for us to know a little bit about your lifestyle,” Zac says. “You don’t want a style you have to blow dry if you’re a swimmer, say, and are in and out of the pool all day.” Step 9. Beards need love “A beard needs to be shaped, just like the top of your head,” says Zac. “If you have a fat face you can elongate it with a beard, but if you have a long face you need to keep your beard short – you don’t want to make your face any longer than it already is. You have to cut a beard by eye, like going at a hedge with a hedge trimmer, as beards are just as symmetrical as faces – which is to say, not at all. The other big question is, how long do you want your beard shape to last for? If someone comes in every other week, I’ll just trim it; but if I know I won’t see them for months, I’ll go for quite a tight beard cut. Facial hair is more like pubic hair than head hair, so it needs some love – you have to feed it with oils, and sometimes blow drying makes it a million times better too.”

Here’s a haircut by Paul, a go-to guy for pomps, flattops and quiffs

Step 10. Men should have square heads: fact “A haircut will often look its best if I go for a number one around the hairline, then fade it out to something softer,” says Zac. “You don’t want to lose the shape of the head: a guy’s haircut should always be square, strong and masculine – as soon as you make it round, you risk going girlie. It’s not to do with how long the hair is – there are great guys’ haircuts where it’s longer – but if you lose the square shape with strong corners, it’s unlikely to work. That square effect is what keeps a guy looking like a guy.” Step 11. Rethink that undercut “There’s one thing I won’t do,” says Paul, “and that’s undercuts on men’s hair. I think it just looks bad, and will never grow out nicely.” Step 12. And maybe rethink that man bun, too “Man buns?” says Zac. “Feck off.” Step 13. Go light on the products “There’s a saying I really like, though it isn’t true: you need a hairdryer for good hair cut,” says Paul. “Well, you don’t – and it’s the same with products. I love the brand I’m with” – Reuzel, which has a sort of biker, psychobilly thing going on – “and their products are amazing, working brilliantly with both modern and classic looks. But the bottom line is that if you need product to make a haircut look good, the haircut sucks.” Step 14. Enjoy the banter “I love doing men’s hair, because I love the chat,” says Zac. “Be warned – it can get disgusting. That said, I chat with my female guests just the same. If you don’t like it, you can–” But ah, let’s leave it there.

And here’s an equally impressive cut by Zac

Step 15. Take a bit of pride “You give a guy a good haircut,” says Zac, “and wow, it makes a difference. It can make them feel a million times better, gives them that confidence and that boost. Maybe they’ve gone through a tough time, had a break up, look terrible. And I’ll say, get in here, get a haircut, maybe get down the gym, but certainly sort yourself out. It’s pretty simple, but when you look good, you feel good.” n For more,; I BATH LIFE I 75

harry’s game Harriet Noble is up for anything as she goes from couch potato to full-on fitness fiend through The F45 Challenge Photos by Betty Bhandari 76 I bath LIFE I

fitness energy levels are low and the classes remain near impossible for me; I just try to get through them. I do three classes a week; I physically can’t do any more, as I am so achy following the classes and I need the recovery period (every time I sneeze, or reach up to get a mug from a cupboard, my abdomen aches). I am weighing myself every day and not really losing any weight, so I feel like all my hard work is not really paying off. Also irksome to me is the cheerleady mentality of the F45 challenge; the high fives at the end of each workout and the supportive “you can do it” shout-outs rub me up all the wrong way. I spend a lot of time rolling eyes and I’m a grumpy, grumpy, grumpy bear.

Week 3-7

I want to be your sledgehammer: Harriet in action girl mode

Baptism of fire

How can the 45 minutes not be up yet? Seriously. How can this class still not be over? I’m doing what are innocently called ‘bunny hops’, where I have to jump over a bench from side to side, feet and legs together, hands holding onto either side. I am raining sweat onto the bench, my legs are in screaming agony, my heart is pounding and I can’t believe I forgot to wear a sports bra. I’ve been lifting, squatting, jumping, rowing, biking, yanking on ropes, climbing like a geriatric spider forwards and backwards, all while a trainer shouts out things like “you’re a legend” and “remember what you came here for” and “you’re all winners.” I’ve never felt less like a winner. Finally a noise goes off, signalling the end. I feel like I could not have gone on a second longer but, as I look around, everyone is smiling, giving each other high fives and there are lots of phrases like “you smashed it” and “great workout” to be heard. Great workout? Sorry, was anyone else in the same class as me? This was the most painful, hurty, never-want-to do-it-again torture I think I have ever experienced. Except, the thing is, I do have to do it again. And again. And again. Because I’ve just signed up to do an eight-week challenge, chock-ablock full of these classes, with a matching diet regime. Oh, heaven help me. The gym in question is Australian-born F45; it’s something of a workout phenomenon, having gone well and truly international, with a huge following of people who love this tough,

back to basics kind of exercise. The one in Bath opened earlier this year and is owned by rugby star James Haskell. They run these eightweek challenges, which – if you put the work in – promise to transform you and your bod. The exercise is high intensity circuit training, and the classes are split into either cardio sessions or muscle resistance training, with the Saturday classes mixing up the two. This couldn’t come at a better time for me. I’m feeling overweight, unfit, unhealthy; my weight has crept up over the last few years and I now can’t fit into 80 per cent of my wardrobe. But I am also scared stiff – it strikes me that people that attend F45 are all gym nuts to start off with; I know I am going to struggle to keep up. Just before the challenge starts you get weighed and measured. I am, just like I expected, overweight and categorized charmingly as ‘pre-obesity’.

Week three is the game changer moment for me. Firstly, I try on and can fit into my size 10 skinny jeans (after less than three weeks! I can’t believe it!); secondly, the gym, which once felt like a rather intimidating place, now feels familiar and friendly. I start to recognise the same faces and we chat about how we are finding the diet and everyone is, universally, really, really friendly. On advice from the trainers, I have stopped weighing myself completely and, despite a few wilder weekends of weddings and birthday parties, where the diet went out the window, I stick to the rules and the exercise regime. I can feel myself getting fitter, am now going four to five times a week, and can tell my body is getting stronger with every session. The biggest change, though, is in my head. I don’t exactly look forward to the classes, but I don’t dread them anymore. While I find the classes so damn tough, they are also a great stress-buster. When I’m in class, running madly around, I am not thinking about work or deadlines or anything that normally plays on my mind – I am 100 percent in the moment. There are also some revelations about exercise for me. Weights, which I always found boring, I discover I really like. You get so much help and support from the trainers – I learn how to lift them properly and safely, and every week I feel I can do better than the last week. Also, one of the other great things is that the gym sessions are never the same – literally never – so you are never bored. The cardio sessions remain the toughest for me, but I learn to control my breathing, to help me through the tough patches. I even stop rolling my eyes every time one of the trainers shouts out something like “let’s get this party started” before a class and when I give someone a high five, I really mean it, because, quite frankly, it is hard and everyone does deserve a big well done.

“I am raining sweat, my legs screaming with agony”

Week 1-2

I’ve been told that the first two weeks of this challenge are the hardest, and they weren’t joking. The preliminary diet is very restrictive, which means no gluten, dairy, and – the worst thing for me – no caffeine. Sitting down at my desk without hugging my habitual mug of Earl Grey tea makes me almost weepy. The lack of caffeine gives me really bad headaches, my I bath LIFE I 77

5 Bartlett St, Bath BA1 2QZ 01225 420 611 |

fitness Week 8 and the final weigh in

In the last few weeks I am training nearly every day. I have long ago forgotten about what I weigh, but I can see and feel that my body has changed. I’ve had some lovely comments from family, friends and work colleagues; lots saying that I look smaller or toned, but most saying I look like I’ve got a spring in my step. My size 12 clothes are now in a suitcase under my bed, and I’ve dusted off all my size 10 (and a few size 8) items. So, what were the results? Well, at the final weigh-in I’m relieved to see that I am now no longer categorised as pre-obesity. My body fat has dropped by 3.8 per cent, I’ve lost just over a stone, and across all the categories of weight, BMI and fat mass, I am now happily in the ‘normal’ box. So, would I recommend this challenge to people? Abso-blooming-lutely. There are lots of gyms in Bath but there are a few things that distinguish F45 gym for the others. The support from the trainers and the cameradie from the others doing the gym challenge is phenomenal – this is what makes this challenge. The trainers teach every session with boundless amounts of energy and commitment, and there’s a level of care and attention that I’ve never experienced from any other gyms. For example, in my last week I finally managed to do an exercise that I’d previously never been able to (jumping onto a big box; doesn’t sound a big deal, I admit, but it seemed like a skyscraper to me). Chris, one of the trainers, notices and says, “That’s the first time you’ve done that, isn’t it, Harry? Well done, that’s amazing” – and gives me a high five. I know it’s the first time I’ve managed to do it, but there’s loads of us doing the challenge and I would never expect anyone else to clock that. As much as my cynical, grumpy old self doesn’t want to admit it, I’m feeling, just a smidgeon, like a bit of a winner. n For more: The compulsory high five, and the gang working hard at it

5 minutes with James Haskell So, James, do you like a morning or an afternoon workout? I prefer an afternoon workout. Best post-workout snack? Protein shake – peanut butter, banana, chocolate protein powder and oats. Favourite exercise? Burpies. Nooo! You’re just saying that. Nobody likes burpies. No, I do. I hate them but I love them, they’re just so good. Least favourite exercise? For me, because of my toes, lunges.

James came down to DJ at one of the classes

Part of your body that you always want to work hard on, and are keen to improve? My chest. And the part of your bod that you’re chuffed with? My arms. What’s your guilty work-out music? Will Young. Lastly, what do you love about Bath? The great selection of restaurants you’ve got here. I really enjoyed going to The Olive Tree with my wife – that was wicked. I bath LIFE I 79

businessinsights b at h g e t s s e r i o u s

A pretty massive reminder to water the plants

PLASTICFREE FUTURE The gang at Bath-based renewable energy supplier Pure Planet have enhanced their eco-friendly credentials this month by taking part in Plastic Free July. The app-based firm, which supplies clean energy at rates often hundreds of pounds cheaper than the Big Six, have set their staff a challenge: to reduce the amount of plastics they use at home and in the office. With this in mind, members of the team have been making their own soap to save on packaging, growing their own veg for lunch to cut out supermarket wrapping, and even switching to handmade deodorant, which comes in tins instead of plastic. Pure Planet co-founder Steven Day reckons Plastic Free July is a really good way to really get everyone into the planet-saving mindset which he feels is at the core of the business. “As a provider of fresh, clean renewable energy, we’re passionate about preserving the planet for future generations,” he explains. “I’m very proud of the effort made by Pure Planet members and staff, who have shown once again how making small changes to our daily habits can have a big effect on our environment.” For more:


Team Pure Planet: no plastic visible, but they do seem to possess a ridiculously small bike


ath-based architect Interaction has helped Alliance Homes realise its green dreams. The company wanted to change up its Portishead office for a more modern and exciting appearance, a space more reflective of its values surrounding positive cultural change. The guys here now have a clean, slick look, offset by an impressive living wall. Interaction, as the name implies, made the design a collaborative experience, completing a full work place study in order to understand, in detail, what Alliance Homes’ employees understood the values of their workplace to be, and how those values might be represented in the space. Basically, they wanted an office that would grow along with them, and now, in a very literal sense, they do. For more: I BATH LIFE I 115 83

Do you garden much yourself? I would describe myself as a keen amateur. Sadly, though, I have little time to spend in the garden now, so I leave the majority of those decisions to my wife, Hannah, who also designs our garden each time for Chelsea Flower Show.


Meet Andrew Downey, managing director at Agriframes, where growth is literally the name of the game... So, Andrew, tell us what do you guys do… Agriframes is part of the Tildenet Group, which was established by my family in 1971. Like many of our brands, Agriframes also originated as a family business, and has a fantastic reputation as the leading manufacturer of British designed garden structures. We exhibit at the RHS Chelsea Flower show every year and work hard to make sure we continue to offer our customers the excellent quality and stylish design they have grown to expect. And what’s the inspiration behind Agriframes’ designs? We always find the feedback from customers really valuable. Much of our Kitchen Garden range is based on their huge enthusiasm for creating attractive areas in the garden to ‘grow your own’. Agriframes products are designed by a hard-working team in Bath and so, naturally, the beautifully built environment around us informs the designs we create. In fact, the Georgian architectural style lends itself well to both traditional and contemporary garden design. 84 I BATH LIFE I


Are there any hot garden trends we should be on the look out for right now? Vertical gardening and making the most of smaller spaces is a key trend. Even if you only have a balcony or courtyard garden, you can still create a spectacular space to enjoy – arches, pergolas and trellis all allow you to grow plants such as roses and wisteria, things that might normally be associated with much more grand planting schemes. Has business changed much lately, as gardeners strive to be more eco-friendly? Traditional kitchen gardens are very popular as part of the trend for growing edibles in an ornamental setting. Making gardens productive and reducing food miles are all really positive steps. Planting with our changing climate in mind, and reducing the need for too much watering, is another key theme, along with the drive to reduce single use plastic in gardening – our range of bamboo pots has been a best seller this year. The company has seen some rapid expansion in the last few years. Has it always been the dream to go global? Everyone loves the quintessential English garden, and the demand for our products overseas has grown considerably. We now have a huge distribution hub in Germany and in the USA, and I’m excited to be developing these growing markets. How do you maintain the close relationship with customers as the company gains size? Meeting visitors at shows such as RHS Chelsea, Hampton Court and Chatsworth is a really important part of understanding how we can offer great quality service to our customers. Away from the shows, our sales teams are in daily contact with our customers, calling for help and advice.

What do you find satisfying about the job? It is always a pleasure to see designs on paper being made into a reality in our customers’ beautiful gardens. Tell us a little about the guys on the Agriframes team… I work with an exceptionally skilled group who are dedicated to what they do. My wife, Hannah, is always coming up with great ideas, then the in-house design team translates these into products; we have an exceptional sales and marketing team too, who introduce everything to the customers. What are you most proud of professionally? I think seeing our products in some of the most prestigious venues around the world. We have done commissions for the RHS, installations for royalty, and worked with many influential partners over the years. When I bought Agriframes, it was a struggling business that needed some real TLC. To turn the company around into what it is today has been a real challenge, but a personal highlight. And personally? As the father of three fantastic daughters, it’s hard for anything to beat the pride I feel in seeing them develop into very different and talented individuals. Finally, you sponsored the Bath Festival Finale Weekend this year. How did you get involved with that? I think supporting something that brings the local community together is so important. I was introduced to [festival organiser] Ian Stockley some months ago, and was struck by his real energy, and enthusiasm to put the festival on the map. I have lived in Bath most of my life, and to be involved with something as exciting as this was a real honour. We have a lot of customers in Bath and the surrounding areas, and so to meet them at the event was a great way to say thank you for their support.



MOVERS AND SHAKERS ETC Wayne: happy, and why not?

From networking breakfasts to all-day affairs, we’ve got the courses and classes to help make your business flourish 6 AUGUST BUSINESS LIVE LAUNCH BREAKFAST Reach Solutions presents Business Live, the latest addition to the regional publisher’s network of ‘Live’-branded sites. Speakers Emma Slee (editor of The Bath Chronicle) and Reach Solution’s Craig Sheppard will explain how it all works. 7.45am; free; Bath Racecourse;

Daisy: she really loves her yurt!

THE HIGH LIFE Glamping is, of course, the best way to get back to nature – without too much nature. Model (and occasional Frome resident) Daisy Lowe was just one of the stars staying in the luxury Yurtel Boutique glamping site for a distinctly cleaner Glastonbury experience this year; even better, she asked her designer pal, Sonya Rothwell – founder of luxury design house Gallery Beautiful and winner of this year’s Best Luxury Interior Accessories Award from Build magazine – to decorate her Glasto pad. Utilising 40 metres of

waterproof fabric, 20 metres of coloured linen, 75 hand-made tassels and hand-printed holographic stars, ultra-chic soft furnishings, a handful of butterflies and a scattering of tropical plants, Sonya did just that. “I wanted the yurt to feel calm and simple, but stylish and playful – to be a tranquil haven to come back to after the crowds,” Sonya says. “Lying on the bed, looking up at the wooden skylight festooned with a celestial canopy, butterflies and vines, was really special.” For more:

7 AUGUST #BUILDINGINBATH COFFEE MORNING This is the summer hols edition – so kids are most welcome! Gather with some like-minded construction professionals to network and collaborate. (Recruiters are requested to contact the organiser before booking a place.) 7.30am; free; Boston Tea Party, Alfred Street; @buildinginbath on Twitter 19 AUGUST REBEL MEETUPS BY YENA A networking event for young entrepreneurs and professionals in Bath – usually under the age of 35 – to meet and share their budding wisdom. This month’s fireside speaker will be Ellie Webb, creator of Caleño, a nonalcoholic spirit. 6.30pm-9pm; The Bath Brew House;


Wayne de Leeuw is the new chief executive of Dorothy House Hospice Care. Only promoted to deputy chief executive in July last year, Wayne is stepping up to the plate as former CEO John Davies heads off to pastures new. The Board of Trustees at Dorothy House appointed Wayne following his successful 16-year clinical career with the Hospice, and in a variety of roles within the NHS before that.


Georgina Catlin and Luchia Hirst have joined West Country firm Goughs Solicitors. Georgina will be starting as a solicitor in Calne, specialising in family law, while Luchia will be diving into the preparation of wills, probate and estate administration, amongst other responsibilities. “We continue to attract high calibre professionals to join our established teams and are continuing to expand in response to our growing client base,” says HR director Victoria Nash.

business insiGHTS


Sam Roberts, CEO and co-founder of Boston Tea Party Boston Tea Party occupies a unique position in the business landscape. Not a chain exactly, but – as Sam puts it – a ‘delicate necklace’ of 23 cafés, it has an over-arching aim: to make things better While far from the only missiondriven business out there, Boston Tea Party is one of the more radical. When they banned single use takeaway cups across all of their cafés last year, it was a landmark moment – a business making a shortterm financial sacrifice for long-term goals of sustainability. It’s not exactly unheard of, but it’s close. Making things better

“We realised that we were chucking 400,000 cups away – or our customers were – and they were ultimately going into landfill and into our oceans,” says Sam. “We felt like we had this purpose, making things better, but we were actually making things worse by continuing to do nothing about this problem that faces the industry and the sector at large.” And so they drew up their plans to elimate single-use items. There was a lot of loss projection – which, Sam reveals, they miraculously predicted exactly right at 25%, which added up to the widely reported £250,000 of revenue lost – but going in they didn’t really know what they were going to be up against. “We realised that if were were going to lose much

more than 50% or 60%, then we might have to slam the car into reverse, which we didn’t want to do. So we had to just wait and see what happened – and, luckily, the reaction has been amazing.” There was a period just after those headline reports about BTP’s revenue loss where it became easy to feel gloomy about their prospects. But actually, Sam says, there were a lot of great things happening around that time too. Staff turnover dropped by 25%, for one thing. “Our employer brand is stronger than ever now,” he says, “and we get people coming to us because we’re ‘the Cup Guys’, and they want to join us.” Media coverage of the move brought in a whole new customer base to replace those that stopped coming too. “We’ve taken a short term hit, but we’ve taken it for the right reasons. We’ve determined as a business to not put profit relentlessly ahead of planet, because I think businesses that do so are living on borrowed time.” Hindsight is 20/20

Banning takeaway cups was the right choice, then, but Sam admits that, given his time again, there are

“We’ve determined as a business to not put profit relentlessly ahead of planet”

some things he might do differently. Investing in further training, for one – while the managerial team did spend time working with their staff on how to deal with the change, they only did it the once. Now, Sam realises, the teams on the ground would have benefitted from regular training ‘top ups’ to really drive the message home. He’d also change the slogans. “We made some mistakes in the way we framed the ban,” Sam says. “‘There’s no excuse for single use’ was actually quite schoolmarmy, so we’ve now flipped that into ‘Choose to reuse’, which just feels easier and a little less accusatory.” Bringing people along with you

Ultimately, customers who want to take away still have options – single use cups just aren’t one of them. They can either purchase a reusable one from BTP, which they sell at cost so they’ll only put you back around £4, or you can rent one for the same price, and then have your money returned when you bring it back in good condition. “We’ve made a decision that we’re proud of, but we’re not telling people how to live their lives. We’re showing them what they can do. It’s not ‘you must do this’ – it’s that we’ve done it, we’d love for you to join us, but if it’s not for you then c’est la vie.” As far as sustainability is concerned, it’s onwards and upwards for BTP. Since getting rid of the cups, they’ve announced the next

FACT! Since the ban came into effect in June 2018, Boston Tea Party has prevented over 150,000 cups going to landfill

thing to go is plastic milk bottles, with a view to becoming completely free of single use plastic by 2020. “Doing good is good for business,” Sam says in conclusion. “Businesses hold an enormous amount of resources and power, and they need to wield it to have some positive influence, to help society, the world, our kids, and solve some of the problems that we’re all facing.”

Fresh thinking over a fine lunch The Bath Life Business Club, sponsored by Bishop Fleming, brings together a select group of senior business people for a twocourse lunch at The Royal Crescent Hotel, and to listen to a leading speaker. The next is held on 9 September with Andrew and Emma Summers, the founders of Juice Recruitment. If you’d like to join, contact Stephanie Dodd (stephanie.dodd@ And remember, these things sell out quickly, so look out for the emails... I BATH LIFE I 87



What was it like to win a Bath Life award?

Completely thrilling, and it filled us with overwhelming pride to be a part of such an amazing school community. Naturally, we had no idea we would win!


And where do you keep it?

The award has pride of place in the school library – and the bottle of Champagne is in a safe place, waiting for our solar panel planning application to be given approval!

Why do you think you won?

Freshford School is an incredibly special place. It’s not all about results and league tables (although we do very well in them), it’s about providing the children with a much broader education. We have a great ethos that encompasses environmental awareness and the desire to make change, which I think shone through in our application. Freshford demonstrated that schools can successfully integrate important environmental issues with the core curriculum. Children not only learn about the environmental crises that our world is facing, but are empowered to take action and actively make positive changes in and around the school and beyond.

What sets you apart from other schools, do you think?

We’re lucky enough to have a superb, dedicated team of teachers and support staff, a close-knit community, and lots of willing parents who are keen to get involved with their children’s education. 88 I BATH LIFE I

And at the heart of all this is a head teacher who’s devoted to the school, its children and its community. We are incredibly fortunate to have Andrew Wishart at the helm. His passion and dedication to see each child thrive and grow to be a grounded, individual thinker is the main reason why the school is open to so many innovative ideas and initiatives. Parents are always welcome to share their skills, ideas and interests with the children too, enabling varied and enriching learning experiences.


George Tomlinson, co-chair of Freshford School PTA, and associate governer Emma Heatley-Adam explain the social responsibility at the heart of the award-winning ethos at Freshford School What do you really love about your job?

Whether it’s fundraising to improve resources, helping to implement projects like the plastic-free schools initiative, or reading with the children, it’s incredibly satisfying to know that everything the Freshford School Parent Teacher Association does helps to enrich the education and learning experiences of all the children we have at the school.

Where do the frustrations lie?

The ongoing school fundraising crisis is a major concern and, as we look to the future, more and more of the money we raise will need to go towards helping to fill the budget deficit, rather than the exciting ‘extras’ the PTA has historically funded. Whilst we continue to support the campaign for fair funding, we’ll also be doing all that we can to help our school maintain the very high standards the pupils and parents have come to expect.

What’s the best part about working in Bath?


Being close to one of England’s most beautiful and historic cities is like being in an art gallery surrounded by stunning Gainsborough landscapes and Peter Brown street scenes. Bath’s also a hidden hive of excitement and fresh thinking, almost like a petri dish, and its bubbling with creative mavericks. You can feel the buzz.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

‘There’s no harm in asking.’ Finding enough sponsorship for bigger

events, such as our annual fireworks display, isn’t easy, and sponsorship can sometimes come from unexpected sources if you’re not afraid to ask. It’s also always worth putting a call out to parents, asking for help with certain projects and events – you can unearth all sorts of hidden talents.

Any exciting plans for us to watch out for?

Our solar panels. We’re in the process of resubmitting our planning application, and are hopeful that we’ll get approval this time around – especially in light of B&NES recently declaring a climate emergency, and the school climate strikes. Following on from this, we are looking to install charging points for electric cars in our school car park. This will support the local community energy savers who wish to charge their cars overnight. At the end of this term we’ll also be supporting the Wiltshire-based charity Afrikaya, with the children leaving the school barefoot at the end of term. Their shoes will be sent to children at the Afrikaya School in The Gambia.

Tell us something surprising about you or the school?

Freshford inspires children to be at the centre of their own learning by questioning, experimenting, thinking hard, being challenged and heard, and given the time to try things in new and different ways. We teach thought, not just content, and aim to encourage students to know themselves, the world and their place within it.

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for the home Our local businesses are poised and ready to help with all your home needs for summer

CLAIR STRONG interior design

Clair Strong Interior Design is a small, creative company based in Bath, providing a wide range of services for both residential and commercial clients. Her portfolio of projects includes the design, project coordination and sourcing for some of Bath’s most beautiful residences, as well as sports clubs, offices and other commercial venues. Contact Clair on 01225 426906 or 07855 79731

Westside Design

Westside Design is a family-run Bath based company offering a tailored design, manufacturing and installation service for all aspects of cabinet making and joinery. Specialising in contemporary bespoke kitchens and interiors. Contact Michael on 01225 330843 or 07976 268458 or email


Cheverell is set in the heart of Wiltshire with a stunning showroom and workshop, offering a full bespoke design, manufacturing and installation service in kitchens, bedrooms, and interiors. Established in 1989 it has over 30 years of experience to guide you through the whole process. Cheverell, Waller Road, Hopton Park, Devizes, Wiltshire SN10 2GH; Tel: 01380 722722;

Allsop Carpets

Based in Frome, Allsop Carpets display an extensive range of floorings to match your style and budget. With carpets and flooring available in a variety of designs, Brian Allsop and his team pride themselves on delivering excellent service from the beginning to end with over 35 years of professional experience. Corner Garage, Christchurch Street West, Frome BA11 1EB; Tel: 01373 463866;


Etons of Bath

Founded in 2006, Etons of Bath is the UK’s only specialist interior design practice focussed on refurbishing, renovating and reinvigorating Georgian and Regency homes and hotels. Their team of 12 interior designers, planners and project managers can help you design and deliver classically inspired interiors that add value, turn heads and improve the use of space. Tel: 01225 639002;


Bath’s leading fireplace, wood burner, gas fire, chimney and flue specialist. From classic to contemporary, concept to completion, their team of experts can work with you to achieve your perfect interior. Brands include Chesney’s, Barbas Belfires, Hwam, Stuv and Jetmaster. Get in touch or visit the showroom. Mendip Fireplaces, Monkton Combe, Bath BA2 7HD., Tel: 01225 722706;

Based in the heart of Bath and specialising in bespoke, handmade kitchens, Bath Kitchen Company become personally invested in every kitchen they design and build. It’s about attention to detail at every stage – creating a beautiful space that enhances the way you live. 7-9 North Parade Buildings, Bath BA1 1NS; Tel: 01225 312003


Lucy Collins

Boniti is based on the outskirts of Bath and offers a wide range of quality interior and exterior products: natural stone and timber flooring, Everhot range cookers, garden furniture and Kadai firebowls. As well as the vast selection of products on offer, a friendly and personal service is at the heart of all that they do. Dunsdon Barn, West Littleton,Wiltshire SN14 8JA; Tel: 01225 892 200;

Inspired design and styling can excite & enhance our lives and enable us to feel nurtured and uplifted. Whether it be redesigning the interior and exterior of a property, altering the colour palette, introducing a new style, changing soft furnishings, refreshing, replacing or decluttering – leave it to Lucy… The Coach House, Linden Gardens, Weston Road, Bath BA1 8DB; Tel: 07710 223285; I bath life I 91


STATEMENT LIVING A contemporary-feel 19th century home, cleverly adapted for the fresh demands of modern life By Matilda Walton I BATH LIFE I 93

A property place to call home


t’s a concern, sometimes, with grade II listed houses high up on hillsides: on the inside, will they be stuffy? Think doilies, old net curtains and bathrooms that haven’t been redone since the ’70s. Well, not so Lorraine House. Perfectly situated on Cleveland Walk – up Bathwick Hill and off to the side, not far from the Sham Castle – this semi-detached villa has benefitted from a series of clever additions over the years, making for a uniquely desirable property. You see, regardless of its listed status, inside is a spotlessly modern home, filled with bold design choices and stylish tweaks to enhance space and light to their fullest potential. A rather regal drawing room sits at the front of the property. Perfect for entertaining, it’s a space as casual as you want to make it: think movies with friends (or a wine and cheese night, if you’re feeling fancy). When skies are clear, sunlight absolutely flows through the gorgeous bow window that dominates the front of the house, providing not only light but breath-taking views across the city. On a quiet day it’s perfectly possible to simply sit here and watch the world creep around far beneath you. The kitchen is contemporary, with crisp white units, a variety of integrated appliances and a coveted AGA, which owners always assure the uninitiated we’ll soon not be able to live without. (It does everything, after all.) One of the best additions the owners’ have made is the bright orangery. It’s a versatile space, perfect as a further


sitting room or a breakfast room – and, on a summer’s evening, it would make a wonderful dining area. It’s always good to have options, and in a space like Lorraine Place, you have plenty of them. In addition to the sitting rooms, orangery and spacious bedrooms upstairs, the property also has a lower ground floor with its own independent access. Again, this space really is a pick-your-own-adventure kind of deal. Comprising a spacious double bedroom with its own bathroom, it could be anything from a home office to a guest room, or even a home gym, if you’re that way inclined. (Think you might be, if only you had the space and treadmill? Buy this place and the excuses would start running out fast.) One downside of city living is that it can be hard to find a home with enough garden to get your teeth into – not so Lorraine House. This one wraps around the property on three sides, offering plenty of space for children and enthusiastic gardeners alike to play. The house’s current owners have left it in an impressive state, too. Assorted terraces define the space, giving it a rustic look, and creative use of the land means there are a variety of hangout spots available. You can just as easily dine alfresco on the patio as you can curl up on a bench under a tree with a book. Like the inside, the outside utilises what it has to maximum potential. Location-wise, if you’re looking for a nice, quiet spot in Bath, you’re not going to find much better. A mile or so outside the centre of the city, you’ve got those glorious views across Georgian Bath already mentioned, without

House numbers Square footage 4,041 Bedrooms 6 Bathrooms/ WCs 4 Outside A generous garden, along with a garage with access from Cleveland Walk Price


Where Lorraine House, Cleveland Walk, Bath Savills, Edgar House, 17 George Street, Bath, BA1 2EN; 01225 686082;


the noise that comes with living bang in the middle of town. There are plenty of well regarded schools nearby – King Edward’s, The Paragon and Prior Park College, to name but three – along with both universities in easy walking distance, making this an ideal spot for families. Lorraine House has been lovingly cared for by its owners of 16 years and it shows. Mid-1800s grandeur gives way to lovingly curated, contemporary interiors reflective of modern living. A home really is what you make of it, and these guys have made quite a lot. Now, so can you. n I BATH LIFE I 95

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Peter Greatorex from the Apartment Company offers a few pointers

e live in an old city yet its heritage and vibrancy attracts people from all over the world, some of whom decide to make it their home. The need for rental property never decreases, giving you fantastic opportunities. Should you be a landlord of a portfolio of one property or many, we know that you want to be achieving good capital growth. Working with our landlords, we can help to support this as well as minimise void periods, but how? When you know and stick to your niche, you get to understand every minute element of it. Working solely with apartments, our understanding of the market enables us to give our landlords advice that we know will give them direct financial benefits, today and for the years to come. Where we differ is that we only take on those apartments that we know meet our tenants’ needs

in terms of quality and condition. We have a reputation throughout the area for providing rental apartments of a certain standard, which is why we continue to attract tenants of merit. Today’s tenants are particular, and rightly so. They are looking for a long-term home, and as such want to find a place they will feel proud of. They do not want a property that looks as though the landlord has lost interest and no longer cares. Tired decoration, signs of neglect, and lots of those odd jobs needing attention can make our tenants question if an apartment is for them. Over time it can be easy to neglect the small things, yet these can lead to long-term issues if ignored for too long. To enable you to retain the capital value of your property, you must also invest in its upkeep to provide the beautifully presented apartment your tenants expect. Void periods can be a financial drain on even the most accomplished landlords, and having strategies

in place to keep these to a minimum is essential. We also find that those apartments where care has been taken to maintain a high standard of decoration and finish are let quickly, minimising those dreaded void periods. Are you taking advantage of the advice your letting agent is giving you? Are you missing out on the financial rewards that retaining good capital growth can bring? If you have an apartment in Bath and would like to know more, our lettings team are here to advise and support your portfolio. Are you ready to listen? n

For more advice visit our blog at Sales: 01225 471144 Lettings: 01225 303870

On the pulse Words by Matt Bielby Photography by Chris Wakefield, Crescent Photography

You can’t really go wrong with a house like this, but we especially think they’ve got the door/gate colour spot on


“Working with food and plantbased nutrition, the kitchen, dining room and garden were the natural focal points of the house”

We always like to see a few books in a house, but admire the restraint shown here (if this was ours, those shelves would be overflowing with them)

Vegan nutritionist TJ Waterfall and his wife, Francesca, tap into the cultural zeitgeist by mixing old and new in winning ways at their recently reborn Bathford cottage… I BATH LIFE I 101



J Waterfall doesn’t just have an amazing name, but a pretty interesting career too; alongside his day job in workplace wellbeing, he’s got a Masters in Nutrition from University College London and runs a service called Meat Free Fitness, offering personally-tailored recipes and nutritional advice for vegetarians and vegans. He also teaches occasionally, not least at Demuths Cookery School in Bath. TJ gave up eating meat years ago, and later went vegan; pulses, nuts and seeds, he tells us, have everything you need. He and his wife, Francesca, who now helps run Roger Lewis, her family’s furniture business in Wiltshire, both grew up in Georgian Bath houses, and returned here from London last year. Once they’d got the keys to their current place, a pretty Georgian cottage on Bathford, they started doing it up, a process they only completed this spring. “We fell in love with the foundations of our house the moment we saw it,” TJ says, “but the interior was pretty soulless, so we knew we had our work cut out. That said, giving the house the love and attention it deserves has been an incredible journey, and we’ve loved every minute.”

Speaking of loving things, we adore the Belfast sink and all that copper in the kitchen…

Working with food and in plant-based nutrition, the kitchen, dining room, and garden were the natural focal points of the house – we wanted to get those parts right, then we planned the rest of the house around them. The kitchen was a little challenging, though. With my work I’m always recipe developing, so needed it to be very functional, but at the same time we hoped to keep it in style with the rest of the house. It also needed lots of storage, and good light for photographing dishes. It’s not a huge space and has low, cottagey ceilings, but I think we managed to get the balance spot on.   And next to it’s that whopper of a dining room…

Yes, we really love it – not least as it has these enormous flagstone floors, which we believe to be original to the house. We wanted to make it as homely and inviting as possible, as it gets a lot of use;­as a nutritionist, I regularly cook vegan feasts for family and friends. Eating is one of the very best ways to bring loved ones together and have laughter-filled evenings, so we wanted the right environment to make people feel relaxed and comfortable. Together, the kitchen and dining room take up a large proportion of our living space.

“We fell in love with our house the moment we saw it, but we knew we had our work cut out”


clockwise: As he’s constantly creating new recipes, TJ could maybe do with a bigger kitchen, but the one he has is optimised for his needs, and the light’s good for taking pictures, too I BATH LIFE I 103

So that’s what we should all do with our houses, right? Start with the kitchen and dining area…?

Maybe not, actually. In most instances I think it makes more sense to start with the living room; once that’s done, at least you’ve got somewhere to entertain friends, relax, work, and even eat. They’ll keep you going until you get the rest of the house sorted. We’re enjoying the mix of the old and the new throughout your house, too…

My parents are antiques dealers, and my wife’s family are furniture designers, so we appreciate the history and character of old pieces, as well as the design and comfort of contemporary furniture. In fact, we think the juxtaposition of both styles works beautifully together. The other thing, though, is that we’re fortunate enough to have a close friend called Stephen Nash, who’s the founder of interior design company called All & Nxthing – yes, that’s how you spell it – based in Hackney. We love his style, and he was able to give us his valuable opinion on a lot of areas; in fact, talking to him gave us the confidence we needed to make some important decisions.

He helped you dodge some potential pitfalls, then?

Like following decorating fads that can end up costing loads, as some trends fall quickly out of fashion. It’s also much more sustainable to buy things that you know will stand the test of time. Did you use many of the local shops when decorating this house at all?

We got some lovely accessories and kitchenware from Hay in Bath, but The Fig Store also has some unique homeware pieces and lighting, and Avenida is good for really stunning kitchen- and diningware designs. We’re also lucky to have been able to get our sofas and bed from my wife’s family business, Roger Lewis, out near Trowbridge. They’re a Wiltshire furniture design and manufacturing company who make stunning pieces for the likes of Heals and Conran; they make furniture for Anthropologie, too. We’ve also picked up lots of items from Frome Independent Market, and love spending the day there meandering through the stalls and trying all the vegan street food.

“It’s much more sustainable to buy things that will stand the test of time”

Plants throughout bring the outdoors in, and soften the house’s clean Georgian lines

residence We’re just imagining the bath-time feast we could balance precariously on that little bath shelf bridge caddy tray thing

Did you learn any lessons while doing this place up?

That it’s best to take your time. It’s very tempting to rush into things, but it’s much better to live in the space for a while to work out what’ll work best for you; that way you hopefully won’t have to go back and change it again. I hope people come here and feel like it’s a home away from home for them, somewhere they can relax, unwind, feel they can put their feet up and help themselves to food. (And they can: we always have leftovers from recipe testing lying around!) Anyone else’s house you’d like too snoop round?

Probably Raymond Blanc’s. I’ve always been a big fan, and though he’s not vegan he really appreciates the flavours and versatility of vegetables, and often puts them centre-stage in his dishes. I know he loves to grow his own produce too, so I’d probably just snoop around his gardens for inspiration. We’re in the process of installing a vegetable garden now, so I’m always looking out for ideas. I love being out in nature anyway, and having the house filled with plants definitely reflects that.

Does your job as a nutritionist impact on how you’ve decorated at all?

The snug where my desk is needed to be very simple, as I work best in a distraction-free environment. And it was important for us to have a cosy dining room, as eating good food with loved ones is such an important part of our lives. Finally, what’s the nicest thing anyone’s ever said about your house?

That it’s like a mini Babington House! ­That’s not exactly the look we were trying to go for, but nonetheless it’s a lovely compliment. For more on TJ, go to; for a sofa like his, try

Got an amazing local home? Want it to feature in Residence? Contact I BATH LIFE I 105


“In Bath, there’s always another chance” of a work family. And you can quickly enjoy the finished results; it gives you that glow of achievement. It’s just the same when your novel comes out – but it’s a long time coming, and you have to go through 16 rounds of editing first! I’m a founder member of the Society of Authors for Bath.

It’s open to authors living in and around the city, and I arrange our events. We only launched last year, and our drinks party in June attracted a full house – fantastic! Nic Bottomley will be our speaker at a lunch on September 13, at the Bath & County Club.

Diana Cambridge The journalist and debut novelist on the beauty of (some!) waiting staff, and the enduring magic of the river beneath Pulteney Bridge Diana was born in a Bedminster council house, joined The Clevedon Mercury as an apprentice reporter, and has mostly worked in journalism in Bath. Now she’s written her first novel, Don’t Think a Single Thought, set in ’60s New York. In my first job I was too young to sign the contract… My dad

had to do it for me, then the editor and staff drank sherry while I had lemonade. I had wonderful training, for which I’ll always be grateful – though I was a bit wild, and went out with nearly every reporter on the Bristol Evening Post, often three at the same time. After that I edited glossy magazines here in Bath, had a column on office life in The Guardian, and wrote about royalty for The Sunday Mirror.

I was runner-up in the Retreat West First Chapter award last year. My lovely publisher, Louise


Walters, scouts that competition, and she asked to see the rest of it. She runs a successful independent company which picks out writers with a working-class background, and she’s stood by me every step of the way, with endless patience. The book’s inspired by the life and death of Manhattan writer Sue Kaufman. Her stand-out

work is Diary of a Mad Housewife – also adapted for film. She died in 1977, aged 50, taking her own life. I’ve done masses of research on her, and collected all her work. Though the novel’s a work of fiction, Kaufman readers will recognise the territory. My novel is a kind of literary psychological thriller, with twists and turns. Being a writer is quite lonely.

There’s something about a magazine or newspaper office – despite the unending stress! – that can be comforting, like being part

I also do part-time freelance work with Fluency In English.

It’s a remarkable Bath language school for foreign professionals who are fluent already, but looking to improve conversation and accent. I can help them negotiate a cream tea at the terrace café overlooking Pulteney Weir, introducing phrases like ‘I’m afraid it might rain…’ and ‘Who will be mother?’ – at least, I did until I was told that was somewhat old-fashioned! My absolute favourite place to eat in Bath is Tapas Revolution.

It does gorgeous tapas and wine, and every member of staff, blokes and women, would win a beauty contest. Great flamenco music once a month too. Same Same But Different is our local – I’ve loved it for decades – but I also favour delicious food at Salathai, The Peking and Bonghi Bo. The Bath & County Club, where we hold our Society of Authors lunch events, couldn’t be bettered; it’s run by three beautiful blonde sisters. I wanted to live in Bath since I came here on a school trip…

That really annoyed my mother, who thought it was too posh for me. (I didn’t deserve it, she said.) Since arriving here – when my husband, David Kernek, was appointed editor of the then Bath Evening Chronicle – I’ve never wanted to

leave. We’ve been in our Victorian house in Camden for 25 years. It needs unaffordable maintenance, but I still cherish it – and the views are stunning. I love it when the light changes and day turns to dusk then night. In winter, it’s like living in the middle of a Christmas card. You can have a good time in Bath just wandering around the covered market, then staring into the weir. Every time I see it,

it’s like the first time. But first I will have bought a book from Skoobs second-hand book stall, or fabulous earrings for a few pounds at Not Cartier, a vintage jewellery stall there. I also like the Little Theatre cinema; Burdall’s Yard Story Fridays, run by Clare Reddaway (who has kindly picked out a few stories of mine for performance); Chapel Arts Centre tribute concerts; The Mission Theatre; and The Museum of Bath at Work, which has a remarkable archive of old films. The main thing I’ve learned about life is: pay the price.

I’m no stranger to redundancy – I’ve faced it more than once. But in Bath, there’s always another chance, and you re-group with new people – then find you’re meeting up again with old colleagues who’ve also been ‘let go’. There can’t be a friendlier community than in this city, and I’ve rarely been in Waitrose or on the Number 6/7 bus without seeing someone I know. Few people know I was an air hostess in the ’70s. It was for

Britannia Airlines, and I lasted three months. n

Diana’s debut novel, Don’t Think a Single Thought, is published by Louise Walters Books on September 26; there’s a launch event that day at Waterstone’s;

Profile for MediaClash

Bath Life – Issue 396  

Bath Life – Issue 396