Page 1





JUST THE BEST WAY TO SPEND £20 (Page 58) Give or take






ABOVE: Kerensa, our coverstar and Bath’s ‘early Kate Bush’, some say; BELOW: a bargain Stratocaster, available now on not-so-Quiet Street


he first proper band I ever paid to see was Richie Blackmore’s Rainbow at Queens Hall, Leeds – their big song at the time was ‘I Surrender’, which pretty much dates me – so technically the first band I ever saw was their support, Rose Tattoo, an Australian heavy blues act fronted by one Angry Anderson, a small, hyped-up bald man who’d head-butt the scenery and would later go on to star as a post-apocalyptic thug in Max Max: Beyond Thunderdome, and here collapsed half way through his set, only to be revived by roadies rushing on with an oxygen mask – a routine he doubtless repeated every night. There’d not been much pop music in our household as a kid – beyond a bit of annoyingly gentle stuff like Simon and Garfunkel and Steeleye Span – so it took me a while to work out what I liked; by the next summer I’d realised it wasn’t heavy rock after all, and a lifetime’s devotion to The Clash beckoned. (Also, I’d decided that Paul Simon really wasn’t so bad after all.) Discovering what music speaks to you remains – I believe – an important rite of passage and so the more exciting new bands an area has, alongside the necessary venues, the better. That’s why this issue goes slightly off-piste for Bath Life, to look at some of the most interesting city-based musicians we have at the moment, and at an exciting new venue concept that supports them. I hope you get something out of it, and pop along to watch somebody somewhere soon; it all starts on page 24. Also this time around, we meet the businesses that make up the cool, quirky Margaret’s Buildings (page 70), enjoy afternoon tea in the sun (page 58), wander around some very pretty gardens (page 78), and stuff our faces with curry (page 56). I don’t know about you, but the mosh pit sounds like far too much effort after all that.

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

Issue 397 / 2 – 16 August 2019 Cover Coverstars Kerensa and Bear, looking like something out of Wes Anderson; picture by Tom Dodd

cover feature

24 the music lovers The people knocking

Bath’s vibrant music scene into shape

the arts

41 ARTS INTRO Blowin’ in the wind 42 WHAT’S ON Art, art and yet more art 49 BOOKS The time around, recommendations from

Nic’s 10-year-old daughter

51 theatre Where art imitates life... literally


53 Food & DrINK news We welcome a new

chef to the city

54 try 5 Walcot Street is these days absolutely

packed with tasty treats 56 RESTAURANT Is this the best curry in town? 58 afternoon tea Perhaps the most ‘Bath’ pastime of them all




67 intro House plant style 68 editor’s choice Here’s to rock and roll 70 Margaret’s buildings A shopping haven


77 health & beauty Ané demystifies those

baffling ingredients lists

78 gardens Plants for all seasons 98 lives The somewhat famous Dougie Poynter on his

new children’s book, Plastic Sucks!


81 business insights Accessible wine, Broad

Street Townhouse, and the best local businessess making the headlines


90 showcase #1 Location, location, location 93 showcase #2 A cool old chapel is converted into

an apartment that’s even cooler

departments 7 spotlight 11 Society 23 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 Ané Auret, Nic Bottomley, David Flatman, Anna O’Callaghan, Matilda Walton and Nick Woodhouse Group Advertising Manager Pat White Deputy Advertising Manager Justine Walker Deputy Advertising Manager Polly Jackson Account Manager Annabel North annabel.north@mediaclash. Sales Executive Louis Grey Production/Distribution Manager Sarah Kingston Deputy Production Manager Kirstie Howe Production Designer Matt Gynn Chief Executive Jane Ingham Chief Executive Greg Ingham Bath Life MediaClash, Circus Mews House, Circus Mews, Bath BA1 2PW 01225 475800 www. @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 Be honest, have you visited all Bath’s parks?

Crowdfunding appeal

The Final Countdown The Victoria Art Gallery (VAG) in Bath needs support for a crowdfunding campaign. The gallery is attempting to raise £12,000 for its next blockbuster exhibition – all before 22 August. Better get your purse out! And why? Well, they’re only hoping to bring the sounds and sights of bohemian Paris to Bath. With the support of this crowdfunder, the team at the VAG will bring to life the worlds of Toulouse-Lautrec, Alphonse Mucha, Pierre Bonnard and more.

A mix of 83 iconic posters, music and dance will transport visitors back to late-19th century Paris. Donations can be of any amount (hint hint), and the folks at the VAG certainly aren’t expecting something for nothing – in exchange for your help, donors will be able to choose from a range of unique awards, including special experiences, limited edition postcards, prints and tote bags exclusive to the campaign. Make sure to donate: www.artfund. org/get-involved/art-happens

Summertime in Bath

Park Life

It’s officially summertime in the city – you may have felt the heat on occasion – and the guys at Visit Bath have one idea about how we should all be spending it: outside. If you’re the lounging/canoodling type we’ll leave you to it, but if you’re on the hunt for other forms of entertainment, there’s plenty on too. The Luna Cinema will be at the Royal Crescent Lower Lawn (showing A Star Is Born, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again and Bohemian Rhapsody); outdoor theatre is being performed in Parade Gardens (Much Ado About Nothing from Three Inch Fools theatre company), and there are free guided tours of Prior Park. Hey, we’ve got to fill these long summer nights somehow… For more:

Donate now to make the VAG’s Parisian dreams a reality The robo-dinos are coming

Bath Racecourse

walk the dinosaur

Europe’s largest and most realistic animatronic dinosaurs are coming to Bath. On 15 September, Bath Racecourse will turn Jurassic Park for a family fun day packed with lifelike – read: scary – T-Rexes, raptors and baby dinosaurs (cute, but they still kind of look like they could eat your face). There will be ‘ranger workshops’ running throughout the day, where kids will learn how to save the world Chris Pratt-style in the event of a JP-esque escapee event – and if you’ve seen even one of those movies, you know it’s pretty much guaranteed. For more: I BATH LIFE I 7

spotlight Charity

running up that hill

The Circuit of Bath sponsored walk is returning for its 18th year. The popular walk in aid of Julian House takes place on 22 September, and involves visiting five checkpoints, adding up to about 20 miles altogether. Participants can decide how much of the walk they’re up for, though – there’s no pressure to do the whole thing, even if those that manage it do each get a medal. The money raised by the walk will help Julian House continue their work providing housing as well as support, training and employment services for socially excluded people. For more:

Good deeds and spectacular views – what more could you want?

Film festival

under the sea

Komedia is hosting the world-touring Ocean Film Festival this September. Short films provide a glimpse of life at the bottom of the sea – and sometimes, riding the waves – with wild adventures, stunning cinematography and mind-blowing marine life. “From surfers to fisherman, and marine scientists to artists, these films feature fascinating characters who have dedicated their lives to the sea’s salt spray,” says tour director Nell Teasdale. “This is your chance to dip your toes into the wonders of the big blue – from the comfort of a cinema seat!” For more:

Money raised by these shirts goes to the EJF

Save the sea

Iconic British designer Dame Zandra Rhodes has donated a T-shirt design to the Environmental Justice Foundation. The bold shirt announces that ‘No pollution is the only solution’ and is available to buy on the Bath-based charity’s website. Celebrating 50 years in the fashion industry this year, Rhodes writes: “I’m thrilled to be donating another design to EJF, a charity fighting for the heart of our oceans. No pollution is the only solution when it comes to taking care of our seas, the people who live on and sail oceans, and the incredible wildlife inside. The fact that over eight million tonnes of plastic is dumped in the oceans every year is appalling, and I hope my design helps people think harder about their use of plastic, and their love of the sea.” For more:



Life in plastic ain’t fantastic

While we devotin’ full time to floatin’ under the sea…


Jamma de Samba


Mi Viejo San Simon


Such was the theme of this year’s Bath Carnival, and be assured that the people of the city more than rose to the occasion. Bright and bombastic dancers, thrumming drum beats and an open top bus dominated the huge and energetic procession through the packed city centre, while – later on – artists took to the stage in Sydney Park for a night of top music, featuring influences from around the world. Sounds in all styles – from Afro to Latin, Dub to Reggae, Flamenco to Balkan – erupted into the night, thanks to bands including Broken Bones Matilda, Wonderbrass and Backbeat Soundsystem. Bath Carnival is a non-profit organisation offering a whole host of fun goodies, entirely for free. It stays alive through donations and sponsorships from people who enjoy it, which basically means everyone who sees it; if you fancy donating, go to their website below. (Continued on pages 12 and 14)

The Flaming Feathers

Olà Samba I BATH LIFE I 11


Beats Dance






Service users from Action on Hearing Loss, Genesis Trust and Wheels For All Lu Axé



Richard Twose and Lucy Pearman

Justine Reid and Ian Reid

Judy Downey and Carol Symon


On one of the hottest evenings of the year, guests of artist Emma Rose descended on her Wellow studio. A riot of colour awaited them, thanks to an exhibition of her latest contemporary artwork – and some rather jolly shirts. In the balmy heat, rosé was drunk like it was going out of fashion and the vibrant guests spilled out of the studio into the wild garden, with its stunning valley views. Meanwhile, some sat in the cool inside Emma’s beautiful holiday let, The Art Cottage, next to the studio and gardens. After five years on Walcot Street, Emma will now be based full time at the Wellow studio, only five miles from Bath; all are very welcome to visit. Johnathan Wyd, Claire Rendall and Pete Stewart;

Lainey Sweeney, Lydia Halewood, David Halewood and Judy Graham

Ian Marris, Amanda Marris, Louise Purvis and Dominic Purvis Quentin and Isabell Browell


Emma Rose and John Rose

Photos by Gareth Hoskins Photography

Kim Roffey and Randa Bott

Keith Banks and Ang Close


Marion Harney and Michael Forsyth

Duncan Ball and Nick Fairham

Tina Holland


Synergy Property Consultants LLP recently held their summer networking evening in the elegant surrounds of the Elder Rooms at The Huntsman. This was the ninth summer networking event Synergy has held for construction professionals, making it a well-established opportunity to catch up over drinks as well as maybe meet a potential future collaborator as you battle over the nibbles. Synergy is all about helping local businesses forge stronger connections in the local area, and these networking events provide the perfect opportunity for local pros to do just that. Photos by Nick Cole Photography

Charles Curnock, Charles Brindley and Paul Grinham

Jules Davies, Liz Price and Yagna Patel

Jason Walker, David Evans and James Cottle Philip Mitchell and Steve McCombe


Grahame Johnstone, Gareth Williams, Fiona Gwilliam and Jenny Howard

Jeremy Douch, Ken Gill and Louise Garcia

Alex Bell and Margaret Cooke


Angela Payne and Ian Locke

Richard Candy and Jonathan Jones

Simon Cropper


Beautiful surroundings. Wine. Hotdogs. Such was the set up at Handelsbanken’s traditional Swedish midsummer party. Midsummer is only second to Christmas in terms of celebration in Sweden, so Simon Cropper and the team at Handelsbanken did their best to bring a little bit of Swedish fun to Bath. Held at Homewood, the country house hotel just outside Bath, associates and friends of the bank had some quality catch-up time, with the glorious views of Homewood’s 10 acres of gardens and grounds to gaze at as the sun went down. Photos by Focus First Media

Sian Swift, Dave Hopes and Sue Pay

Kevin Beese and Peter Knee

Valerie Wright, Vera Constant and Stephen Constant John Whelan, Bob Winkworth and Kate Whelan

Guests enjoying the terrace

Simon Cropper and Magda Furman 20 I BATH LIFE I

Bob Winkworth, Vivienne Worrall and John Curtis

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Footlight Parade


Who’s good at whiling away a morning? And where offers ample opportunity? Seems like Flats and Margaret’s Buildings are a match made in heaven

“Well, just over thirty notes and an hour later, I feel like Darcey Bussell”


s much as we all like to be spontaneous and varied in our social habits, it’s nice to have the odd culinary safety net. In order to avoid being a dinner party’s most boring bore, it’s a good idea to try new things and experience the untried, but it can also be really nice not to bother – because you’ve got somewhere you like to eat and anyway this is just breakfast with a bestie and you’ll only be there an hour and you know exactly what to order so you won’t even have to break conversation. The dream – and it is a dream – is a café that knows your order without even asking (I had that arrangement for a few years at a place in town and I gained approximately a stone in weight but I was happy), but that’s another whole level of habitual, almost religious visitation. I have a friend and we like to meet in The Green Bird café on Margaret’s Buildings and have their mushrooms on toast with bacon (sometimes adding avocado, just to be proper lairy). We often talk, ahead of time, of ordering something different to try to convince the staff and ourselves that we’re not 83 years old with an encyclopaedic knowledge of the town’s bus timetable. Never happens, though. Those mushrooms are just so, so, so good. I’ve been wondering if they put drugs in them, because I want them all the time and sometimes feel sad and a little shaky that I don’t have them when I’m on the M4. My last visit, though, was marred somewhat by my feet. Now, I don’t know if my feet were ruined by decades of stampings as a rugby player, or if I just don’t have very good feet. I mean, they work as I need them to work, but they remain poor examples of the body part. My last mushroom trip saw me slipping gingerly off my electric bike and limping into the Bird, fellow patrons assuming I’d been considered a worry upon

arrival at Bristol Airport. I made it to our table and, a brace of flat whites later, decided against a quick loo trip as wetting myself in public seemed preferable to moving anywhere à pied. My friend, at this point, sensed a grimace and, once in possession of the symptoms, was quick to suggest a solution. Now, I am not a man above a pedicure, but said procedure only ever consists of my two gorgeous daughters painting my nails – as well as much of the surrounding toes and carpet – for the summer. I was told that Monika, across the footpath at MK Beauty, would sort me out, and a vision of a powerfully-built veterinarian with an angle grinder came to mind. I was desperate, so I wrote off a hundred quid in my mind and booked a slot. Well, just over thirty notes and an hour later, I feel like Darcey Bussell. I’m not certain what happened down there, but Monika had equipment, potions, techniques, and a softness of touch which belied what must have been an industrial-level operation. And all the while, my girls were entertained and their nails prepped and painted (for no extra charge – amazing!). So these two businesses are great, but that’s not my point. So long as supermarkets sent vans with milk and bin bags in them to my doorstep, I think I could live on Margaret’s Buildings and never leave my street. It’s not a hidden gem or a forgotten treasure, as everyone seems to know about it, but – for the mushrooms and angle grinders alone – it gets my vote as Bath’s best location when a morning needs wasting.

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 23

clockwise from top: Kerensa, Luna Lake,

and Morganway rocking Livewired



Matt Owens, ex-of Noah and the Whale [far right], and Ben Davis: brothers in arms


THE MUSIC Lovers Bath’s a great music city, but local bands still need a leg up at times. Now new resident Matt Owens of Noah and the Whale, and the guys at 8e Chelsea Road, have a project designed to do just that… Words by Matt Bielby I BATH LIFE I 25



ath has a rich rock and pop music tradition. When I first came here, it was not uncommon to see Van Morrison stalking around Queen Square with a scowl; others speak of spotting Tears for Fears, or Alison Goldfrapp, or Gabrielle Aplin. I was once in a queue for ice cream behind Midge Ure, and another time opened the door to the MediaClash offices to let someone in, and who was there? Peter Gabriel. Then there are the visitors: The Smiths, Radiohead, Oasis, The Cure, Eurythmics, The Killers, and all those other bands – really, it’s just about everybody – who’ve played Moles. And poor Eddie Cochran, who died of head injuries at St Martin’s Hospital on Midford Road, after a car crash near Chippenham. Moles is still there, post-fire, but earlier this year we lost The Nest on Bladud Buildings – a nightclub for over 50 years, and a solid live music venue – and assorted other long-standing places you could catch up-and-coming bands have shut up shop too. So how strong is the local scene, really? Though its in some ways struggling, in others it’s in rude health, not least thanks to new Bath resident Matt Owens of indie folk-rock legends Noah and the Whale – once Wilderness headliners and Royal Albert Hall fillers – who’s made it his mission to support new bands. He’s doing so through Livewired Music, a series of monthly live music nights – with a twist – he’s running with pal Ben Davis and the other guys at 8e Chelsea Road, the café in Lower Weston. “Noah and the Whale started after my band from Bristol University broke up,” Matt says. “But my best friend Doug, who I’d known from age four, was already playing in a duo with his younger brother, Charlie. They were called Noah and the Whale, and asked me to join on violin, as their usual guy, Tom, was away. When Tom came back I hung around, and moved to harmonium, glockenspiel and bass. We went on to make four albums and had an absolute ball, touring the world, including 10 coast-to-coast tours of the United States. After a solid innings of nine years, it drew to a close – but I’ve nothing but great memories. Also, the beauty of a band stopping is that you can always start up again…” Since then, Matt’s debut solo album, Whiskey and Orchids, came out. It is, he says, “a more acoustic, Americana affair, and it was great to take the album to Glastonbury Festival – in fact, I’ve another 24 festivals to play this summer.” Matt has always been drawn to Bath – “it stuck out on the touring circuit as being so much more scenic than anywhere else” – and recently moved here. “We’ve got two gorgeous daughters now, and this terrific mother-in-law here, so it seemed an ideal place to bring up kids.” What it could do with, though, is a few more live music venues. Hence Livewired. I caught up with Matt and Ben to find out more.

Ben: Matt came up with the idea of doing a podcast after each night

to interview the artists too, which we also film. Josef Shaw, a designer and photographer – who also works at 8e and with me in our design partnership, Spring Collective – got involved, and then there’s ‘The Glue Man’, Leigh Ingham, who’s pretty much the best DJ on planet Earth, and an ever-present fixture at our nights. Extra assistance and promotion has come from Bath Sofar Sounds rep, Jonny Morgan – who’s also an artist and has played multiple times for Livewired.

It sounds like a massive thing, right out the gate. Ben: Yeah, it’s a time-consuming project, but incredibly rewarding.

Our hope is to continue growing and putting on intimate and exciting nights all over the country, while always being able to return to our flagship venue, 8e Chelsea Road.

“It’s a music night with a difference”

How do you find enough top-notch artists to take part? Ben: The main goal is to keep the quality

of the music at the highest level. We never want an audience to think, ‘Oh, that wasn’t very good’, but instead always come away feeling they’ve been a part of something really special. With this in mind, we are incredibly lucky to have connections with so many talented musicians. Matt, obviously, knows everyone! For our first Livewired night, Matt pulled in Jonny Morgan and Alex Lipinski. Both have incredible records out and have toured extensively, so my job was mainly making sure we got enough people in to fill the room. These are acts that would normally be too big to play out of a quirky coffee shop, and almost immediately people started getting in touch, wanting to get involved – and some of them were more artists asking to play. Matt: After putting on acts such as Robert Vincent, The Magic Numbers and Kerri Watt, our credibility is assured, and now finding acts is the real fun part of the job. Stumbling across new artists – or considering lifetime favourites and genuinely being able to think, ‘Hey, I reckon they’d play a Livewired’ – is just the best part of the job.  Tell us about the guys you’ve had on so far. Matt: Alex Lipinski had his recent album, Alex, recorded by Anton

Newcombe from The Brian Jonestown Massacre, and plays in a band with Bonehead from Oasis, so is very much the real deal. Louis

Guys, how did Livewired come about? Ben Davis: It was born of a shared desire to host a music

night with a difference. I manage 8e, and was working one shift when Matt came in, and started chatting about how the space would be a good one for live music. In fact, two months earlier we’d put on a music night called Broken Crockery, which had gone down really well. It soon became clear that the main thing for both Matt and I was creating a night that properly benefitted and promoted the artists – as well as provided an intimate, high-quality gig for those watching, of course. Matt Owens: Over the next few days we started building our plans. Andrew Wildey came on board as our videographer, so we could film each night and provide the artists with pro videos they can use however they want.

Matt and the guys just having a mess around I BATH LIFE I 27

music top: Kerensa plays Livewired; middle: As do The Magic Numbers; bottom: And, indeed, does Kerri Watt

Brennan is a jaded Dubliner I knew from the scene in London, and his record, Dead Capital, was my favourite album of 2018. Robert Vincent headlined our third Livewired, and was voted the Best Americana artist of 2018 by The AMA-UK; he’s just recorded his next record with Ethan Johns. It was about putting all these guys in a far more intimate setting than they’d normally play, and having them share a platform with local Bath acts. Our first local headliners were Luna Lake, the 16th act of our Livewired Music Festival – or, as we sometimes call it, our ‘12 Hour Show’ – back in June. They rammed the place, and blew the roof off the dump. But all of them were a treat to watch. What’s the biggest thing you’ve done so far? Ben: Probably the 12 Hour Show. Matt is so enthusiastic and driven,

and I’m always up for a challenge, and we have a mantra here at Livewired: we’re only as good as our last performance. Matt: Our first three nights were incredible, and we grew more professional with each one – in terms of sound quality and set up, lighting, video equipment, even the beer served at the bar. So, after the third night, we knew we had to go big! We wanted to really impress and entertain. In the end, the day couldn’t have gone better. Ben: The cafe was absolutely pumping, beer and coffee were flowing, and from the first act of the day – the insanely brilliant Morganway – through to the likes of Louis Brennan, Follow the Sun and Ned Roberts, it was all amazing. Then we finished with dreamy psychedelic indie pop from Luna Lake. You could have walked up and down the street all day and heard top quality music. It was one of the best things I’ve ever been part of. Matt: But, very much in keeping with the mantra of Livewired, we had to now do better! So you took the whole show on the road to Glastonbury… Matt: We were invited to provide three hours of music a night at The

Lovefields Bar, overlooking the whole festival. The Americana Music Association got involved too, and sent us four incredible acts who were keen on playing: Anton and the Colts, Rosenblume, Emily Barker and The Orange Circus Band. The hardest thing was keeping different lineups on schedule, as they ranged from solo artists to a seven-piece band. Booking The Magic Numbers for it was a real treat. Imagine: we’ve now started getting bands of that stature. There’s a night at Electric Bear too, isn’t there? Matt: We want to maintain the quality, and keep on putting on killer

nights. This month we had a Bob Dylan charity night to raise money and awareness for the terrible plight of the children of Yemen, but Electric Bear offers a bigger space, so we can set up for rock bands and they don’t have to be compromised by the space – or the neighbours. I’m also a huge fan of their beer and it’s my local brewery, so everyone wins. The first of those is on September 20. Finally, how would you sum up the local scene? Ben: I’ve lived in Bath since I was 13, on and off, and I’ve seen the city

ebb and flow through some amazing times for music. We’ve had some genuinely incredible spaces, like the old Porter, Moles – before it burnt down and reopened – and Ye Old Farmhouse, and I always think Bath does well for live music. The Bell is a fantastic venue – sometimes live music, sometimes vinyl, but always great. There are other good places too – like The Wine Vaults and Komedia – but we do feel Livewired Music is a great addition, and adds something different to the city. Giving an option for people who don’t necessarily want to go into the centre, and giving a platform for local acts – and allowing them to appear alongside fantastic artists from all over the country – is great. Bath holds a warm place in my heart, and to be able to put on a music night like this, full of people really taking it all in and being part of what’s going on in the city, feels very special. For more, @LivewiredMusic on Twitter, or search Livewired Music on Facebook


Now check out five of Bath’s best acts, who’ve all played Livewired, starting just over the page…

“As people change, so does their art”

Kerensa: she’s a million different people from one day to the next, as evidenced by her hair colour


MUSIC Now hear this!

Kerensa Cool, quirky, scared of pigeons Pictures by Tom Dodd


usic has been Kerensa Mason’s main passion since as long as she can remember; she started playing piano when she was three, and picked up several other instruments growing up, training classically in most of them. She also lived in Beijing until she went to boarding school in Surrey at 14, which had exposed her to Chinese music and introduced her to the Gu Zheng, a traditional Chinese instrument which she’s incorporated into her pieces a lot more lately. “I switched to the acoustic singer/songwriter genre during my teenage years,” Kerensa says, “but broke out of that in early 2018, when I realised it was no longer an authentic representation of who I was and am. As people change, so does their art. I’m not entirely sure what genre I fall into these days – I just create what feels right, whatever that may be.” 

What do Matt and Ben think? Ben: Kerensa was recommended to us by Harry Miller, and proved to be incredible. A wonderfully unique artist who provokes such strong emotions through her music, and on the night she played she had a stellar line up alongside her, with Big Massive Orchestra and Rob Vincent. We really had the sense we were onto something.

Kerensa mostly writes and records at home, and is sometimes compared to early Kate Bush, Lana Del Rey, and Melanie Martinez – “all wonderful artists, so I’m not complaining at all.” She moved to Bath at 16, eventually doing an integrated Masters in Music at Bath Spa University, graduating in 2018. “So I’ve been here around seven years,” she says. “Er, if my maths is correct; I’m terrible at maths! I’ve certainly lived here long enough to have found my favourite little peaceful nature spots, and formed lifelong relationships. I only wish Bath had a bigger music scene, and more venues. The current scene is brilliant, and so full of love, energy and support; I just wish it were bigger is all.” This year she’s been playing fewer gigs and focusing more on both writing/recording/releasing and looking after herself. “I released an EP, No Evil, earlier this year, with two music videos to go with it,” she says, “and I’m still recovering from my video ‘Talk’. It was on the subject of sexual abuse, and featured 159 abuser quotes written on my skin. I planned, directed, and edited the video myself, which was difficult but completely worth it. And it made me realise just how important self care is, so I’ve been doing more of that and will continue to do so.” Right now she’s working on another record, to be released next year, and playing the odd acoustic show, while developing a live set-up for her more electronic-based material. “My next record is shaping up to be quite ‘poppy’, but still somewhat experimental,” she says. “I’ve been exploring all sides of my personality, so I can grow both as an artist and as a person.” Perhaps more pressing, though, is the issue of the pigeon that’s nested on her balcony. “It’s the most middle class problem I’ve ever had,” she says. “Everything’s covered in bird poop, and I’m too scared to go out there, because when I peek out to see how they’re doing, one second the mother will be sleeping, and the next her eyes are open and she’s staring into my soul and threatening to eat it. Pigeons are scary. And they may never leave – they look very at home. I believe it’s the pigeon’s way of getting back at me for calling my debut album Pigeons Think They’re People. I’ve had no choice now but to accept them as part of my life.” She pauses. “The chicks are cute, though.” For more, I BATH LIFE I 31


JONNY MORGAN Like a suave Elvis Costello, he says


ath-based singer-songwriter Jonny Morgan is establishing a grassroots reputation following Sofar Sounds performances throughout the UK, Europe and even in the States; he just made his debut at Glastonbury too. “I guess I’m pop-rock,” he says, “and often get compared to George Ezra, The Killers and James Bay, with deeper influences from such greats as Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty.” And the way he looks? “A suave Elvis Costello?” Jonny grew up in rural Dorset (AC/DC was a first love, and as a child he’d bounce around the house like a tiny Angus Young) and studied music in Bristol before moving over to Bath, these days living “right in the centre, and loving everything that comes with it.” His day job is running Sofar Sounds Bath – an online community curating intimate little gigs in over 400 cities across the world – which makes it easy to network with other local artists and keep pushing the evergrowing music scene here. “I don’t think people realise quite how much talent there is,” he says, “and Sofar is our way of showcasing local artists.” Right now Jonny has a new single out – ‘Your Touch’ – and he recently got back from a European tour, which ran May through June; he’s now looking to releasing more new music. “The new single echoes the widescreen, open road narrative of Springsteen and the anthemic style of The Killers,” he says, but it pairs those with his characteristically lovelorn lyrics; it’s the first song to preview from his debut EP, out later in the year. “I write songs because I need to write songs,” he says. “It’s an addiction!” For more,; Instagram: @jonnymorganmusic; Facebook: @jonnymorganmusic

What do Matt and Ben think? Matt: I first met Jonny when I found him in my house, trying to sell my wife Roman blinds. He’d seen a Noah and the Whale platinum disk on the wall, and seemed to be one of the few people who had ever heard our final record. He said he was a musician himself and started playing me some amazing songs that he claimed to have written, so was a shoe-in from the start. He’s a very talented guy.


“The new record echoes the widescreen, open road narrative of Springsteen”

Jonny: we’re not sure he ‘does’ casual I BATH LIFE I 33

Now hear this!

The Harry Miller Band Big of hair, bigger of voice

We’ve seen Harry play Moles amongst other places, and he’s been good every time




arry Miller met the other core members of his band – bassist Flynn Tovey Ashforth and drummer Toby Goldsmith – at Bath College; they’re also in Luna Lake, who we chat to elsewhere in these pages. “Depending on the project, we expand or strip down the lineup,” Harry says, “so for my first Livewired show it was just me and Stephen Mathers on saxophone. My songwriting is influenced a lot by songwriters like John Martyn, but also contemporary jazz artists like Avishai Cohen Trio.” Harry was born in Bath, and lived here all his life until going to the Academy of Contemporary Music in Guildford. “It’s just the perfect place to grow up as kid,” he says, “but there could be more of buzz around grass roots music venues in the city. It was tragic when The Nest closed, because that’s where we started out and have played some cracking gigs, including supporting Syd Arthur, a career highlight. That’s why what Ben and Matt are doing at Livewired is so important. If this interview reaches anyone, please show your support by turning up to watch music at your local venues – otherwise they’ll just disappear.” It’s not going to be easy to catch Harry anywhere local in the immediate future, though, as he’s put everything on pause to play in the

band at the National Theatre’s production of Peter Pan at White City Theatre. “It’s a super-exciting opportunity for me,” he says, “and I’m learning so much already, so I’m excited to see if these new musical influences affect my writing in any way. I’m setting up a studio at home with my housemate, Jools, too, so I’ll still be busy recording and writing new material.” When Harry got this job with The National Theatre, he’d no idea who the rest of his band would be – so imagine his surprise when he was getting his gear together to be picked up and taken to London, and one turned out to be keyboard player Jools Scott, who lives only 300 metres from Harry’s front door in Newbridge. “It’s clearly,” he says, “a very small world.” For more, Facebook: theharrymillerband What do Matt and Ben think? Ben: Harry was another guy that I had seen play quite a bit around Bath. He’s one of those names that, if you’re chatting around Bath, people know. He has such a genuine warm tone in his voice.


“There could be more of a buzz around venues”

The Harry Miller Band sitting on another planet, it looks like I BATH LIFE I 35


Luna Lake: the flowers suggest a psychedelic quality, we’re saying

Now hear this!

Luna Lake


Cool, experimental, going to be big

una Lake have been playing Bath venues pretty regularly for the past three years, refining their live sound. They’ve had one album out already, and are currently writing for a second; indeed, in September they’re all heading to Wales for a week to have a quiet place to finalise the new tracks and develop ideas. “A venue we’ve enjoyed a lot is The Pig and Fiddle,” says singer/guitarist Bren Dowling, “which brings together a good crowd, but a lot of venues seem to be struggling with this lately – perhaps shown by the closure of The Nest and others – which is why it’s been so good building a relationship with Matt and the guys at Livewired Music. Our good friend Ben Davis also works on the project, and together the guys booked us to play the Lovefields stage at Glastonbury this year. We bumped into Keith Allen there, after someone said, ‘Oi, I swear that’s the Sheriff of Nottingham.’ He watched our set at 2am on Friday night, then said he was keen to have us play at Latitude, where he’s involved in running a stage – not such a tyrant after all.” Alongside Bren are Toby Goldsmith on drums, Cassidy Jones (keys/ synth) and Flynn Tovey Ashforth (bass). They all joined piecemeal: first it was just Toby and Bren – who was down here from Newcastle to study, drawn here by “Bath’s comparatively relaxed atmosphere” – who met on a course and started playing together, but soon they invited Flynn, Toby’s childhood friend, to get involved. Toby and Flynn had been neighbours in Wiltshire 10 years ago, playing music together ever since – “the secret to a tight rhythm section,” Bren says. Last summer local lad Cass joined too, after he’d recorded their debut album in his home studio. “He meant we could take the sound further,” Bren says, “and introduce a modern psychedelic element, enabling some of our more abstract and experimental ideas, and

incorporating more foreign textures, rhythms and effects. Think the likes of Khruangbin, Tame Impala, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Yellow Days…” Now a four-piece and ever more collaborative – not least as they’re all recently started living together, along with pal James Budd, who does all the band photography, posters and record covers – they’ve changed the way they write music, too: before it was Bren kicking things off with some chords and lyrics, then everyone adding their own parts, but now they’re each bringing along new progressions or riffs, then the band jams around the idea until they’re happy with the sound. “This new process will give the next album greater variety,” says Bren, “despite us all feeling like we are getting closer to achieving a signature sound.” Next up? There are a couple of music videos in the works, and more singles are planned before the release of the second album, plus – with the help of Ben from Livewired – they’re planning a UK tour.

“We’re closer to achieving a signature sound”

For more:; Twitter @lunalakeband

What do Matt and Ben think? Ben: Luna Lake were very much a pick from me. I’ve been watching these guys play for almost a year, and had them play for a night I organised last year. They are one of my favourite bands right now, and their music is engaging, thoughtful and clever, but also incredibly catchy with some brilliant melodies. I genuinely think they are going to be huge, and would love to be a part of making that happen. I BATH LIFE I 37

MUSIC Now hear this!

James Warren


Bath’s elder statesman of pop

’m very old,” says James. “68 this year. So I’ve been around since the Swinging Sixties – and before! – and knew by the age of 17 that I wanted to be in pop music. My dad had bought me a guitar three years earlier, and after an ‘apprenticeship’ with a few local bands I helped to get a rather eccentric, sort of prog-rock band called Stackridge off the ground.” These guys made several albums in the 1970s, including one – The Man in the Bowler Hat – with legendary Beatles producer George Martin. “But we were always a bit too wacky and out there to break into the mainstream,” James says, “and by 1976 we’d called it a day. I still think we came up with some interesting stuff, though, and it’s well worth checking out the band’s back catalogue.” Duly noted. By about 1978 James had started making demos again with an erstwhile Stackridge bandmate, Andy Davis; the

plan now was to really try to come up with some radio-friendly pop tunes. It worked, too – by 1981 they’d had two international hits as The Korgis, with ‘If I Had You’ and ‘Everybody’s Got to Learn Sometime’. This last one, especially, has had a life of its own ever since, with well over 30 cover versions kicking around; ‘If I Had You’ has inspired fewer, but Rod Stewart did a version on his 1980s album, Human. And James is still recording music: last year, in fact, he released an album of new songs, Innocent Bystander, on Angel Air Records. “I’ve always loved melodic pop above all else,” he says, “and especially if it has carefully-crafted lyrics, but my taste is pretty wide-ranging: Beatles, ABBA, Coldplay, Rihanna, Calvin Harris, Pat Metheny, Weather Report, Tom Misch, Chic, Mozart, Debussy, Ravel and Stravinsky would be just a few.” Back in the Stackridge days, James and a few of the guys lived between Clifton in Bristol and London, because they gigged so much there and up north. After that, and keen to write and recuperate somewhere a little smaller and less frenetic, he made a beeline for Bath. “I’ve loved it ever since,” he says, “and any success I’ve enjoyed was created here. The city has everything that I really like: beautiful architecture, a lively music scene, excellent cinemas and 43 coffee shops.” Speaking of a lively music scene, James was delighted to have met Matt of Livewired recently. “I saw his advert offering guitar lessons in The Guildhall Market with a phone number attached, and I thought, ‘Ah, I used to like Noah and The Whale. Perhaps he’d be up for some songwriting collaborations?’ The next day we hooked up at 8e Chelsea Road, then had a bit of a session with just a couple of acoustic guitars, and Matt suggested recording ‘Everybody’s…’ again for 2019, really stripped-down, with just my voice, acoustic guitars and not much else. It was intriguing, because the original 1980 recording was totally synthesiser-based. Before I knew it we were down in Caerphilly and up in Manchester together, recording our 2019 version. It’ll be released in September.”

“I’ve always loved melodic pop above all”

For more,

James: has thankfully abandoned the Buggles-esque look of the ’80s years


What do Matt and Ben think? Matt: James and I met in Chelsea Road Café and started talking music. I couldn’t believe the man I was talking to so casually was a legendary songwriter, whose stuff has been covered by Beck and sold millions of records. He played me ‘Everybody’s Got to Learn Sometime’ on an acoustic guitar at his house, and my jaw hit the floor on hearing how beautiful it was stripped down. When I asked how I could hear the acoustic recorded version, imagine my disbelief at hearing that one didn’t exist, so James asked me to produce him. When he played his set at The 12 Hour Show it was a real moment, and to have an elder statesmen rubbing up on a bill with teenage musicians says such a lot about Livewired’s inclusiveness.

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


Life is all about contradictions, right? This lady knows. Cast in solid bronze yet swept away by the wind, Anna Gillespie’s River is iconic of the body of water that is her namesake – a constant presence, but one that’s always in motion, always changing. As eagle-eyed readers may have noticed, this smaller piece echoes the themes in Anna’s sculpture at the Riverside development in Bath. Commissioned by Crest Nicholson, that one, Maid of the Bridge, stands guard over the new park there and the river. Anna’s work makes reference to the musician John Martyn and the title of his album Solid Air, a concept that has preoccupied her throughout her sculpting career and can be seen, we think, in both Maid of the Bridge and River. Solid air seems to describe this bronze figure perfectly – she’s rigid but within a flowing current, somehow inhabiting fragility and strength all at once. “Standing in nature, being blown by the wind perfectly, illustrates a state where the ego is most perfectly dissolved,” she says. And she’s right. River is just plain ethereal. Price on enquiry; Beaux Arts Bath, York Street; 01225 464850; I BATH LIFE I 41

What’s on

© Piers Foley

2 – 30 August

The Life I Lead stars Miles Jupp: he should have been in Mary Poppins Returns, we're saying

exhibitions Until 4 August

casting shadows into light Spooky, disconcerting and hard to look away from, the work of artists Charlotte Rodgers and Victoria Mussun uses natural materials – sometimes even the remnants of dead animals – as 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;

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 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’. Black Swan Arts, Frome;

Until 14 September

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;

Until 15 September

A TALE OF TWO CITIES Bernard Ollis’ paintings are known for their depictions of major cities, among them Bath (his birthplace) and Paris. This exhibition brings those two cities together in unconventional yet enjoyable ways. 10:30am-5pm; included in admission fee; Victoria Art Gallery, Bath;

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; Victoria Art Gallery;

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 wibbly-

what’s on wobbly version of the whole. Kind of amazing, and well worth seeing. Tues-Sun,11am-5pm; American Museum & Gardens;

Until 3 November

above: A very modern Arabian Nights rocks up at the egg left: Where’s the lady gone? Krowd Keepers perform magic in front of your eyes below: Bright colours everywhere at Bernard Ollis’ exhibition, A Tale of Two Cities

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 once simple, everyday tools. Tues-Sat 10am-7pm, Sunday 12pm-5pm; various prices; Museum of East Asian Art, next to The Circus;

© Paolo Ferl a

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

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;

20 August – 1 September

TATTERSETT COLLECTIVE ART EXHIBITION Enjoy a range of work from the Tattersett Collective, a diverse group of nine artists who mostly work in oil paint and formed at The Norfolk Painting School. They’re all about producing great work (landscapes, street scenes, portraits and more) and supporting each other – both ideals we can get behind. Mon-Sun, 10am-5pm; 44AD Artspace;

Plays/Shows Weekends until 28 December

KROWD KEEPERS: MAGIC THEATRE Promising ‘no rabbits, cheese or top hats’, Krowd Keepers bring some of the world’s greatest performing magicians to Bath Ale House. You’ll also be able to witness the magic close-up at Sleight, downstairs from the pub, afterwards. Doors 7.30pm, show 8:00pm; £12.50; Bath Ale House;

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;

14 August

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING The Three Inch Fools, Cumbria’s unique travelling Shakespeare company, bring the Bard’s classic to the Parade Gardens. The Fools are known for their fast-paced, musicallydriven performances involving numerous instruments and quick costume changes, so expect a slightly different take on Shakespeare than you may be used to! 7:30pm-10pm; £16 per adult; Parade Gardens;

22-25 August

ARABIAN NIGHTS The Theatre Royal’s Summer Company presents an engaging look not only at the Aladdins and Sinbads of the world, but at the hope and triumph that their stories represent. Various times and prices; the egg;

27-31 August

THE LIFE I LEAD Late actor David Tomlinson, best known as Mr Banks in Mary Poppins, was a man defined by both adventure and heartbreak – some of it public, and quite a lot of it not. This one-man show from comedian Miles Jupp sheds new light on Tomlinson, sharing both comedic and deeply sad moments from his life and career. It’s written by James Kettle, and directed by Selina Cadell. I BATH LIFE I 43

What’s on

Music 4 August

FAITH I BRANKO With a new album just around the corner, this critically acclaimed band – headed up by accordionist Faith Ristic and her violinist husband Branko – bring their Balkan-style sound to the Chapel Arts Centre. Doors 7.30pm, show 8pm-10:30pm; £12; Chapel Arts Centre;

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

11 August

MARK LAWRENCE The latest of the Queen’s Head’s ‘Jazz in a Box’ (see what they did there?) events features jazz guitarist Mark Lawrence. Lawrence is known for his technical skills and versatility, and regularly performs both by himself and with such projects as Diamond Dust and Monkey Chuckle. 2:30pm; £7/£6 concessions; The Queens Head, Box;

22 August

MA BESSIE AND HER PIGFOOT BAND Since 2015, Julia Titus has been bringing the songs of Bessie Smith and her contemporaries to audiences who were born too late to catch ‘the Empress of the Blues’ the first time around. Backed by her Pig Foot band – guitarist Matt Foster, saxophonist Chuck Lloyd and percussionist Andy Wilkin – Ma Bessie takes us back 90 years, in the best possible way. 8pm; £13; Chapel Arts Centre;

24 August

A THOUSAND YEARS OF BAROQUE The Oxford Bach Soloists bring us a night of music from Handel, Bach and Scarlatti – three of the biggest names from the Baroque era – directed by Tom Hammond-Davies. 7:30pm; £20/£5 concessions; St Michael’s Without;



Until 1 September

TOGAS AND TUNICS Ever wondered how you’d look in ancient Roman attire? (You are now we’ve said it, aren’t you?) Come down to the Roman Baths on any given August weekend to discover how the Romans dressed, and perhaps try on a toga or three. 10am-12:30pm and 1:30pm-4pm; included in admission fees; Roman Baths;

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 throughout 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 here to get those young creative juices flowing. Various dates and times; price included with admission; Victoria Art Gallery, Bath;

3-18 August

CARTERS STEAM FAIR The popular travelling funfair will be spending not one but two weeks in Royal Victoria Park. With a range of vintage rides dating from the 1890s to the 1960s, there’s something for all the family to enjoy here. Entry is free, but rides and games take tokens costing 50p each. 11am-7pm; free entry/£2-3 per ride; Royal Victoria Park;

10 August

YOUNG WRITERS LAB Wordsmiths aged 12-18 have the chance to work with local writer Alice Maddicott to develop their skills and ideas, and even have their

© Dawn Fletcher-Park

Tue-Sat 7:30pm, matinees Wed and Sat 2.30pm; prices vary; Theatre Royal Bath;

above: The mighty Julia Titus of Ma Bessie and Her Pigfoot Band left: Wellow Flower Show: which one would you vote for? below: Super Cider Saturday at Bath Racecourse (we think these guys might have had a few)

What’s on work featured at Bath Festivals events. Not bad, eh? 12pm; £10; Bath Central Library;

21 August

ROCK THE TOTS SUMMER PARTY An hour of music, puppets, percussion and stories – just ideal stuff for any would-be rock stars under the age of five, we reckon. 11am-12pm; £7 per child/£3 adults; Wiltshire Music Centre, Bradford on Avon;


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 Caribbean-inspired cocktails, Mexican food and games like volleyball (and the now temporarilybeachside 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 30 August

(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;

Weekends until 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;

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;

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 10am5pm; free with admission to the Herschel Museum of Astronomy;

9-10 August

Until 31 August

westonbirt school food festival Set at stunning Westonbirt House, and with over 100 food producers attending – including several Bake Off favourites – this year’s Food Festival looks unlikely to disappoint. Many much-loved items from previous years will be returning as well as some new additions for 2019, like the BBQ stage. 10am-5pm; various prices; Westonbirt School;

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;

Until 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


GIN AND RUM FESTIVAL Get your drink on with the UK’s only dedicated gin and rum festival. Over 60 different gins and 60 different rums to try, talks and masterclasses from some of their best brewers, and, of course, the chance to buy bottles of some of the drinks you’ve tried. Various times; £12 per session; Bath Pavilion, University of Bath;

10-11 August

17 August

SUPER CIDER SATURDAY A proper day out at the races followed by a glass of cider and

above: Carters Steam Fair will be in Victoria Park for two weeks; when it’s there, we like the Wall of Death best left: Do I dare to eat a peach? Join the Fork to Fork garden tour at Bath Priory

a performance from legendary Somerset band The Wurzels. Could it possibly get any more West Country than this? 2pm-10pm; various prices; Bath Racecourse;

18 August

CLASSIC CAR & MOTORCYCLE SHOW One for the petrolheads – a variety of vintage, classic and modern classic vehicles take over the lawns at Bowood House. Featuring private exhibitors and club stands from Rollin’ Classic Cars and Wessex MG Club, amongst others. 10am-4pm; prices vary; Bowood House and Gardens;

25 August

GIANT FLEA MARKET Come and browse a wide range of vintage items, some of them very hard to find, at over 250 stalls. 9:30am-4pm; £4.50 per adult; Bath and West Showground;

29 August

FORK TO FORK GARDEN TOUR Jane Moore, head gardener at the Bath Priory, offers a tour of the hotel’s summer gardens and kitchen. Get a glimpse into how the hotel’s acclaimed food is prepared, and learn some expert gardening tips before enjoying a three-course seasonal lunch and a glass of house wine.10:30am-2:30pm; £55; The Bath Priory;

31 August

THE WELLOW FLOWER SHOW A Magic Circle certified magician, a Shetland pony display, and – of course – all those flowers, make up only a few of the entertainments on offer at the Wellow Flower Show. Donkey rides, archery, beer tent and BBQ – with locally made organic ice creams to top it all off – will send off the show’s 70th anniversary in style. 1pm-5pm; adult entry £3, children under 16 free; Wellow playing fields, BA2 8QA; n

10% off commissions this summer with code ‘SUMMER 19’ Ends August 31st

Engagement and wedding rings Handmade bespoke jewellery | Repairs and remodelling


Leah’s choice Nic’s daughter is now out-reading him, so here are her picks for great summer page-turners

“I am now living in a world in which my ten-year-old daughter is reading at a faster rate than me”


am now living in a world in which my ten-year-old daughter is reading at a faster rate than me. That might be demoralising on a personal level, but, of course, it’s thrilling to see her so in love with reading, and it promises a couple of major advantages for the future. Medium term there’s the possibility of an enthusiastic, low-price bookshop assistant! Before that becomes legal, though, a twenty minute chat with her about recent reads can give me enough material for an article about the latest middle-grade novels for the forthcoming summer break. So, what has Leah been enjoying over the last few weeks? Well, first she told me all about The Good Thieves by Katherine Rundell (Bloomsbury, £12.99), an author who’s a genuine superstar in the world of quality children’s fiction. Each of Rundell’s books is thought-provoking, gripping and spins us away to a new and exciting setting, be it Explorer (which takes place in the Amazon jungle) or Rooftoppers, set high above Paris. Now she’s whisked her readers off to New York to meet Vita Marlowe, a girl whose grandfather’s out-of-town castle has been swindled away from him by a notorious crook. Desperate to avenge this injustice (and to retrieve the emeralds hidden in the castle), Vita hatches a plan and enlists the assistance of an oddball cluster of acquaintances – an acrobat and an animal handler from a visiting circus, and a pickpocket with some nifty lockpicking skills. Together this unlikely but multi-talented crew head to the castle to pit their wits against its guards. Cue an action-packed adventure involving imprisonment, escapes under the cover of darkness, wall-clambering and underground hiding places. Vita refuses to give up in her quest for justice – right the way up to a cracking finale. Leah arrived at The Good Thieves immediately after finishing another atmospheric page-turner, Malamander by Thomas Taylor (Walker, £7.99). The setting here is Eerie-on-Sea, a town that’s awash with tales and legends that its inhabitants don’t fully understand. The lead characters meet when the mysterious Violet Parma hammers on the door of Herbie Lemon’s room inside The

Grand Nautilus Hotel. It turns out that she’s seeking sanctuary from the strange, longcoated man who’s been pursuing her. Herbie is the ‘Lost-and-Founder’ at the hotel, and he sleeps surrounded by the objects that others have unwittingly abandoned. Once the coast is clear, Herbie and Violet explore the town and head to a bookshop, where books are chosen to fit your personality by a mechanical monkey statue. When the monkey selects a book named ‘Malamander’ for Violet, the bookseller there seems particularly intrigued. Soon the legend of the Malamander emerges – a sea monster thought to live in the waters surrounding Eerie-on-Sea, which supposedly lays a much sought-after and magical red translucent egg. For Violet, whose greatest wish is to discover what became of her parents 12 years earlier, the Malamander egg suddenly promises answers. But she’s not the only one who’s keen to track one down, and soon the intrigue intensifies and shifts around the town’s windswept streets and pier – and even out to a nearby shipwreck. Before this pair of mysteries, Leah devoured an unseasonal crime novel in our garden on the hottest day of the summer so far. She’d picked up Murder in Midwinter (Nosy Crow, £6.99) at a school event; it’s by one of our tribe of brilliant local novelists, Fleur Hitchcock. The action here is immediate as Maya, riding a bus just before Christmas, sees a man point a gun at a woman, which he then swivels to aim at Maya as she sails past. Days later, when Maya encounters the body of the armed man floating in the river, the police become worried for her safety as a potential murder witness, and she is dispatched to live her aunt in the Welsh countryside. Maya is determined to get to the bottom of this mystery, but now she’s hemmed in by snow in the middle of nowhere, with just her fears keeping her company… Murder in Midwinter might not be the most obvious title for a summer read – but, judging by Leah’s inability to put it aside, it’s a perfect holiday thriller, regardless of the climate. 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

Discover one of Bath’s best kept secrets, Alfresco Afternoon Tea at the Villa… A delightfully delicious afternoon tea brimming with homemade treats. Warm scones, sandwiches made from home-baked bread and moreish indulgent cakes. Everything is made by our own fabulous baker, with a new selection of cakes every day of the week.

Cream tea £10.50 per person Full afternoon tea £25.00 per person Prosecco afternoon tea £31.00 per person Served every day from 1pm – 6pm in our sunny dining room or garden terrace. Pre-booking is required.

01225 466329 • •


Miles Jupp stars in The Life I Lead

Imitation of life

In Trying It On, David Edgar takes centre stage

One famous actor plays another, while a second plays himself. Confused? You won’t be…


he greatest skill in the actor’s box of tricks is to bring to life another being. And when this is a real person, and possibly someone who has been long gone in the corporeal sense, it can be exhilarating to witness them standing in front of you in the flesh and to learn about a life once lived. Many biographical shows at the Theatre Royal Bath have been amongst my personal theatre-going highlights. I feel as if I have watched live performances by three of the most charismatic singers of the twentieth century when, in reality, I saw Clarke Peters playing Nat King Cole in Unforgettable; Siân Phillips, mesmerising as Dietrich in Marlene; and Tracie Bennett, who sent a shiver down the spine as Judy Garland in End of the Rainbow. In 1989, Keith Waterhouse’s Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell – based on the writings of the dissolute Spectator journalist, and starring Peter O’Toole – visited Bath before becoming a huge West End hit. One minute I was listening to Waterhouse, director Ned Sherrin and Jeff himself talking about the production, while nursing an 11am vodka and fag in the Garrick’s Head – that was JB, not me! – and hours later I was watching O’Toole, hunched over a bar stool in a cross-eyed replica of the Coach and Horses, the Soho pub in which Bernard finds himself locked overnight. When asked what it was like to watch oneself on stage, Mr Bernard answered, “I don’t think

that’s me on stage. I look at him and say, that’s Peter O’Toole, acting, but it is amazing to hear those words coming out of his mouth.” I’ve been in the presence of writers Rudyard Kipling (David Haig in My Boy Jack), Oscar Wilde (Donald Sinden in Wilde and Rupert Everett in The Judas Kiss) and, of course, Shakespeare and Dickens (Simon Callow both times); comedians including Sid Field (David Suchet in What a Performance) and Tommy Cooper (Jerome Flynn in Jus’ Like That); and members of the royal family ranging from George III (Nigel Hawthorne and David Haig in The Madness of George III) to King Charles III (Robert Powell) and Edward and Mrs Simpson (Corin Redgrave and Amanda Donohoe in HRH). Henry Goodman has played both the artist Lucian Freud (in Looking at Lucian) and his grandfather Sigmund Freud (in Hysteria), and I’ve seen behind the scenes in the lives of such actors as Sir Edmund Kean (Derek Jacobi in Kean) and hard-drinking Hollywood legend John Barrymore (Tom Conti in One Helluva Life). At the end of August, the brilliant Miles Jupp, one of the UK’s most popular stand-up comedians, an accomplished actor (Rev, The Thick of It, The Durrells) and, until recently, chair of Radio 4’s The News Quiz, will bring to life actor David Tomlinson in The Life I Lead, a one-man show which was written especially for him by James Kettle. Best remembered for his roles as Mr Banks in Mary Poppins and fraudulent magician Professor

“He has been described as an inspired piece of casting”

27 – 31 August The Life I Lead 3 – 7 September Trying It On Emelius Browne in Bedknobs and Broomsticks, Tomlinson (1917 – 2000) was renowned for playing proper English gents in more than 50 films. From his early life as a World War II fighter pilot to his meeting with Walt Disney and relationship with his own eccentric father, his story is a remarkable blend of adventure and heartbreak. He was posthumously inducted as a Disney Legend in 2002. Miles’s performance has been hugely acclaimed. Not only does he bear a physical resemblance to Tomlinson, but he has been described as an inspired piece of casting, and watching the show is “like shaking hands with a childhood memory” (Daily Mail). The Life I Lead will be returning to the Wyndham’s Theatre in the West End, following its run in Bath. In September, the Ustinov Studio will be presenting a fascinating autobiographical monologue, written by one of the UK’s leading dramatists, David Edgar, in which he takes centre stage as an actor for the first time. Trying It On is a conversation between the 70 year old playwright and his 20 year old self. Have his dreams, aspirations and beliefs changed? Although this is Edgar’s story, it will undoubtedly inspire us as audience members to consider the dramatic rollercoaster of our own lives and aspirations.

Anna O’Callaghan is Marketing Manager at Theatre Royal Bath, Sawclose; 01225 448844; I BATH LIFE I 51

food & drink s n a p s h o t s o f b at h ’ s f o o d s c e n e

New kid in town

The Chequers on River Street has a new head chef, Ross Harper, who’s arrived at the tucked away (but much loved) gastropub fresh off a turn as executive chef for the OHH Pub Company. A Bristol boy originally, Ross’s cooking career began with him working as a kitchen porter and part-time waiter while he was studying, but he soon fell in love with life in the kitchen, and he hasn’t looked back. With restaurants including 2AA rosette St Pancras Brasserie and Champagne Bar and The Woodman in Highgate on his CV, he certainly makes for an exciting addition to the Bath food scene. And, indeed, Ross is already making his mark here. “The food at The Chequers has always been special,” he says, “and I’ve retained that but simplified the menu slightly, and put a greater emphasis on flavour. My style of food is honest, British, seasonally-inspired and flavourful.” For more:

Award-winning drinking, and comfy chairs to do it in

the oscars of wine Le Vignoble has won Regional Merchant South West for 2019 at the IWCMA, or International Wine Challenge Merchant Awards. At a flashy gong-giving ceremony at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London, Le Vignoble – which has a shop in Milsom Place – was awarded the prize in recognition of its efforts to become ‘the ultimate wine haven’ and a one-stop-shop for drinking, shopping, and education – or, as you might say, ‘wine-ucation’. For more on this turn to page 84, where we sit down with Yannick Loué, a director at Le Vignoble, to talk awards success, making wine accessible and his top moments in Bath so far.

For more:

clockwise from top left: Adam Henson, Raymond Blanc,

nature’s way

Ross Harper, new at The Chequers

Jekka McVicar and Anton Mosimann

Fancy a day trip? The Royal Gardens at Highgrove is hosting a brand new food festival in October. HRH The Prince of Wales has always been a passionate advocate of the return to traditional agriculture – so, seasonable, sustainable food. Talking Food reflects that ethos, with five days worth of talks and workshops from some of the UK’s most progressive chefs and food producers. Supported by Waitrose & Partners, speakers include top farmer Adam Henson; chef Anton Mosimann OBE; the chef patron of Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Raymond Blanc OBE; and organic gardening expert, author and broadcaster Jekka McVicar. For more: I BATH LIFE I 53







Always a destination for housey shopping, it turns out Walcot Street is actually a foodie haven too. We investigate some of the best snack spots hereabouts…


LANDRACE BAKERY The epitome of warehouse chic, there’s not much that feels more relaxing, Saturday-style than lounging in Landrace Bakery with the doors thrown open to let the sun in. From the winding metal staircase accenting the space to the large sacks of flour on the floor, everything about this pared back, simple space screams chic, artfully messed-up modernity. The team are utterly obsessed with loaves and it shows – you won’t get much better in town. The provenance of the flour as well as kneading, proofing and baking of the bread are all an exact science, resulting in sandwiches that are practically a religious experience.


THE PROVENIST As the name implies, this place is all about the origins of your food. That means a lot of seasonal, locally produced dishes on the menu from sources that share the café’s values. In an unusual act of transparency, they even have a ‘provenance storybook’ on the kitchen counter, which customers can thumb through to follow the journey from produce to plate for every dish on the menu.



F.EAST A relatively new kid on the scene, F.east specialises in Hong Kong-style roasted meat – their duck and pork are particularly strong features of the menu. F.east serves a range of Asian street food, with many popular favourites from Hong Kong, China, Japan and Thailand represented. While you can easily order a takeaway via the app (available on their website), you can also sit in downstairs in their cosy, 40-cover restaurant.


WALCOT HOUSE A jack of all trades – if Jack were quite posh and good at everything – Walcot House has it all, whether you’re after a relaxed brunch with friends, lunch with the family or somewhere to eat before heading out for a night on the town. From the utterly mouth-watering brunch-fare on offer seven days a week, to the music-fuelled pizza nights on Fridays and the beautiful array of cocktails that come with them, to Saturday nights (for which the menu changes every week to a fresh array of what chef Charlie Hopkins calls ‘Snaps’ – delicious and beautifully presented small plates), there’s truly something for all tastes.



CORKAGE A night out at this restaurant, wine bar and bottle shop is like buying yourself a present. It’s luxurious, tasty and, quite simply, an absolute treat. Fresh and seasonally produced small plates are put together with care, resulting in a selection of dishes as pretty as they are delicious. The main event, though, is the wine. Hand-selected wines are available at retail prices to either drink in – which you really should – or takeaway if you’re in a night-onthe-sofa sort of mood. ■

the mint room

This is one of Bath’s established favourites and it’s not at all hard to see why; now a new menu has got us revisiting a restaurant that already had us reevaluating Indian food By Matt Bielby


e weren’t sure where to park for the Mint Room, opting for the Upper Bristol Road, a short wander across Victoria Bridge and past the Riverside housing – hello, parked-up 1970s Maserati Khamsin, don’t see many of you these days – to Sainsbury’s petrol station, at the back of which you’ll find Bath’s most ambitious curry house. Okay, so the building itself is not the most spectacular thing – a rectangular breeze block, once a gospel hall, with busy roads on two sides and a Holiday Inn across the way – but that doesn’t matter once you’re inside. Even the roof terrace – a sun trap with its outdoor bar and fake grass floor – gets away with being inches from passing Homebase lorries thanks to a simple but effective bamboo screen. The Mint Room has been on Bath’s Lower Bristol Road since 2011, if I remember rightly, and was big news from the off, Muhibur Rahman and his family, who run it, getting their Indian fine dining formula down pat from the start. And it’s barely changed since. There are still big windows,


champagne-coloured leather banquets, brown padded walls, low lighting and plenty of twinkly bits, giving a certain vaguely ’70s glamour. (You can imagine Roger Moore walking in for an evening with Michael and Shakira Caine, maybe. In fact, that was probably their Maserati outside.) And there’s still amazing food. This is glamorous but relaxed Indian dining, with friendly and efficient service and a bit of a buzz to the atmosphere – that’s enough reason to go already, perhaps – but what makes it is what’s on the plate. This isn’t bizarre or intimidating Indian food – you’ll recognise most of the dishes from your average high street curry house – but the difference comes in the quality, the attention to detail, and the twists. What you get here is meat that’s more tender and succulent than you’d expect, flavours that are deeper and more varied, and a European cooking sensibility – with every dish made separately and to order – that allows a level of delicacy that’s, frankly, a revelation. So instead of a stack of standard-sized poppadoms and four dips – including that punchy lime pickle thing – you get mini poppadoms in two colours, one a lot hotter than the


other, and more subtle and tasty mango and tomato sauces to go with: it’s the same basic experience, just more refined. Or take the chicken biriyani I had, on recommendation. Normally this is a dish I’d avoid, reliable enough but often dryer and duller than competing alternatives, but this was amazing, a Hyperbad Dum Biriyani (£14) from that landlocked central-southern area of India, that was fragrant and aromatic and moist as anything, the dish presented in a rustic saucepan with a pie-like pastry lid, which you crack open and peel back to reveal the meat and rice within. Try this and you’ll never consider biriyani boring again. There’s a new menu here, which was part of our excuse for visiting, but it’s by no means revolutionary, more of a refresh: best sellers like Seafood Moilee (£21) and Chicken Lababdar (£16) are still here, while others see new spins on familiar dishes. Moe recommends the Kashmiri Rogan Josh (£15), for instance, and it’s ace: deep red, aromatic, and seeming – to me at least – to show off the Persian origins of this dish more than the standard fare; like the biriyani, it’s a curry house staple well worth rediscovering in its more deeper flavoured Mint Room incarnation. We also had the Moilee, the most expensive dish on the a la carte menu, and little wonder as it’s stuffed with posh ingredients: salmon, scallops, sea bass, tiger prawns, all in a subtle coconut sauce made lively by mustard seeds and chillies. We had this with thin, great-smelling garlic naan (£3.50, one of a half-dozen bread options) and a rather fine Saag Paneer (£6.95), the spinach, garlic and paneer cheese – they call it ‘Indian cottage cheese’ on the menu, but it’s nothing like the gloopy curds and whey that suggests – all playing together to winning effect. Two of the best dishes, though, were our starters: the new Burrah Kebab (£9.95), a local spider steak (a cheaper cut from the inner hip bone, named for its web-like filaments of fat) had been marinated with hung yoghurt and burrah masala then cooked in the tandoor for just-so texture and a depth of flavour, while the Kasundi Murgh Tikka (£8.95), chicken marinated with mustard seeds, hung yoghurt and spices and served with carrot salsa, was similarly divine. And then, for pud, we managed a pineapple-and-icecream thing from a selection at around £6, tasty and easy to share, washing all this down with glasses of red and white from a conventional but well thought through wine list, plus a couple of cocktails: a particularly spicy margarita for me, and something blue and non-alcoholic for her driving. This was a top-notch meal throughout, with unexpected stand-out dishes – that biriyani, the spider steak – and vibrant, well-balanced flavours throughout the entire thing. Offering a modern, high end but very accessible Indian meal that will surprise occasionally, and have you reevaluating old favourites more often, there are few more surefire evenings out in Bath. n

“This is glamorous but relaxed Indian dining”

with a side of Saag Paneer (£6.95), and a pineapple pud to share Vegetarian options There are plenty: four or five starters, a similar number of side dishes, and a good handful of curry mains Prices Starters £6.95 – £10.95; curries £13 – £15; other mains £16 – £21; breads around £3, sides around £6, desserts £4.50 – £8.95; Tour of India Tasting Menu £39pp (wine flight an extra £21pp)

Dining details

Drinks As well as a strong wine list, there are dessert wines and cocktails (try an espresso martini, £7.50), plus assorted beers, coffees, teas, cognacs and liqueurs

The Mint Room, Longmead Gospel Hall, Lower Bristol Road, Bath, BA2 3EB; 01225 446656;

Service / atmosphere Friendly, informed and efficient, and it has to be – there’s always someone in, and this place gets properly packed at times, with a real buzz to it

We ate very well, is the short way to say it. More specifically: Burrah Kebab (£9.95) and Kasundi Murgh Tikka (£8.95) to start; Seafood Moilee (£21) and a revelatory Hyderabadi Dum Biriyani (£14) as mains,

What else? The Mint Room walks a well-judged line between a classic curry experience and Indian fine dining. The location may seem insalubrious, but the experience is anything but I BATH LIFE I 57

Tea for two and two for tea

Fluffy scones, tiny cakes and finger sandwiches galore‌ We asked the top local gaffs to reveal their cream tea secrets (and liked what we heard) By Lydia Tewkesbury

afternoon tea

“The true secret is not leaving the cakes until last”


quintessentially British pastime whatever the season, there are many reasons why afternoon tea has become such a long-held national obsession. It’s a little bit of a performance, a little bit delicious, and certainly the most relaxing and genteel way to waste a nice little chunk of the day. C’mon, is there any way to be more ‘Bath’ – at least as the world sees us – than by sitting down for a scone, a cuppa and some tiny sandwiches? No wonder we’re so spoilt for choice when it comes to these multitiered treats, then – and should really embrace the opportunity, whether local or visitor, whenever we can. But where should we go? We needed to find out, so went straight to the source for the insider know-how on the best teas in town. Now the only question is, where to start?

Classic elegance at Bath Spa Hotel, and (opposite) a deliciously tottering tower at Lucknam Park

Bath Spa Hotel £27 per person What’s the set up? “Bath Spa Hotel is just a stone’s throw away from the city centre,” says Stephen Browning, “but it feels like you’re miles away. In this peaceful setting, you can choose to take afternoon tea in our traditional drawing room – with plenty of natural light – or our elegant Vellore Restaurant, which has double doors that open onto an airy courtyard with views.” What’s special about your afternoon tea?

“We cater for all tastes. If tea isn’t for you, we have rich, frothy hot chocolate or a speciality coffee of your choice. And if hot

drinks don’t appeal, why not a chilled glass of Laurent-Perrier Champagne instead?” What’s an absolute must-try? “Don’t miss out on our specialist cocktail offering. The perfect cocktail to go with afternoon tea is the Storm in a Tea Cup, made with a carefully shaken, ice-cold mix of vodka, Cointreau, strawberry liqueur and pink Champagne.” What’s the secret to the perfect afternoon tea? “The four key pillars

are: generosity, seasonality of ingredients, high-quality, and a cosy and elegant environment. The true secret, though, is not leaving the cakes until last! They may look petite, but it’s surprising how filling everything can be!” I bath LIFE I 59

afternoon tea Watch out for the robin at The Royal Crescent Hotel and Spa

Lucknam Park

£30 per person

What’s special about your afternoon tea?

“The drawing room looks over the grounds and down the mile-long driveway that stretches down from the main house,” says head pastry chef Matthew Peters. “We create a traditional experience, and place just as much emphasis on both the sweet and the savoury elements.” What’s an absolute must-try? “We have a passionfruit meringue choux bun that looks very special and elegant but also wows the senses when you eat it. We use a turntable that used to play records to pipe the meringue.”   What’s the secret to the perfect afternoon tea? “It always starts with the

guest being comfortable. We offer sofas and armchairs in a light and airy room with big bay windows at the front of the house which lead out onto the terrace.” What’s your personal favourite part of the afternoon tea? “For me it’s all about the

scone. When we make the dough it’s handled with absolute care so as not to overwork it, and to cleanly cut out that perfect round shape. They’re freshly baked every day, no exception, at just before 1pm, with afternoon tea service starting at 1.30pm. Fresh, light and warm, they’re topped off with locally sourced clotted cream and homemade strawberry preserve. It can’t get better than that.”

No 10. Tea Gardens

Cream tea for two, £11 Savoury tea for two, £11.60 What’s the set up? “No.10 Tea Gardens is a British-themed tea garden,” says Sarah Bremner. “We wanted to go down the British route – it’s important to us to reduce our food miles and support local suppliers as much as possible. A lot of research was completed for our replica of the No.10 Downing Street door. I thought it was a nice detail that the zero of the number 10 is slightly slanted and has remained so to this day, even though their old wooden door has long been replaced by an armoured one.”

Quirky details at No. 10 Tea Gardens

“In this modern world many traditions are being lost, but the cream tea and afternoon tea have survived” I bath LIFE I 61

afternoon tea

Tracy Park, with amazing views and on-hand golf to help build up an appetite

A rebelliously horizontal tea at The Pump Room

What’s special about your cream teas?

“I not only own and work in the tearoom, but I make all the cakes and scones myself, and can be seen on many occasions baking in the openplan kitchen. As a sweet cream tea alternative, we have our savoury tea, which consists of a freshly-baked fluffy cheese and chive scone, rich flavoured butter, a caramelised red onion chutney, our lovely strong mature Cheddar cheese and a tea of your choice supplied by the UK-grown Tregothnan. It’s a great success!” What’s a must try? “I would say our newly invented Hazelnut Dream Cake. It’s very popular this season and, once you have tried it, you will want another piece!” Your personal favourite part of the afternoon tea? “That it’s a tradition. In this

modern world many are being lost, but the cream tea and afternoon tea have survived and remain a firm favourite. We have so many visitors from all over the world who come to the UK to experience it. (And let’s not forget the continued debate over the correct way to enjoy a cream tea. Cream or jam first? Of course, No.10 Tea Gardens is neutral on the subject – though I am Devon born and bred and know, of course, the right way to do it.”

The Pump Room

£27 per person What’s the set up? “As you enter the Pump Room, fresh flowers and crisp white linen immediately catch your eye, accompanied by the delightful notes of the longest-established musical trio in the world,” says Bethany Perry.

62 I bath LIFE I

What’s a must-try? “The understated hero

of our menu has to be the Somerset High Tea. Designed to celebrate the very best Somerset has to offer, it includes our freerange Scotch egg with piccalilli, chicken and fennel sausage roll with onion chutney, and our homemade cider and apple cake with apple jam. The sausage roll is a unique flavour combination, whilst the cider and apple cake has a light, summery taste that balances the tea, the perfect pairing of sweet and savoury.”

“My favourite part is the ceremony of afternoon tea itself” What’s your personal favourite part of the afternoon tea? “Each member

of The Pump Room team has their own favourite part – the manager loves the chicken and fennel sausage roll; our restaurant administrator can’t say no to a slice of apple cake. My favourite part is the ceremony of afternoon tea itself – enjoying a special moment with a friend or loved one, taking some time out from often-hectic schedules, sitting back and relaxing, knowing that for the next hour or so you’re going to enjoy something truly scrumptious.”

Roseate Villa

£25 per person

What’s special about your cream teas?

“We pride ourselves on everything being homemade at the Villa,” says Caroline Browning, “and our homemade strawberry jam caps a delightful cream tea.” What’s an absolute must-try? “The lemon tartlet with homemade pastry is just divine.”

What’s the secret to the perfect afternoon tea? “We have a unique role at the

Villa: a night baker, Jeremy, who makes all our cakes, scones and bread. For me, the secret of the perfect afternoon tea is our freshly baked bread. It makes all the difference!”

The Royal Crescent Hotel and Spa £37.50 per person

What’s special about your afternoon teas?

“Unlike most city hotels, we are very fortunate to have an acre of beautiful secluded gardens in which to serve afternoon tea,” says Mary Stringer. “It comes accompanied by birdsong, the natural perfume of the beautiful flowers, and the gentle buzzing of bees in the lavender.” What’s a must-try? “A glass of Taittinger Champagne adds a touch of glamour.”   What’s the secret to the perfect afternoon tea? ‘“Afternoon tea at the RCH is

a performance. We set the stage with beautiful surroundings, then create a sense of theatre with the service from our professional staff, who, after delivering your afternoon tea, stand with a flourish, then proceed to explain every delicacy on offer. Top tip – request a table near

afternoon tea

“We like to include an elegant twist on traditional classics” our stunning rose bushes and your experience will be enhanced by the sight and scent of all those lovely blooms (they also make a rather fine photo backdrop!)”

What’s your personal favourite part of the afternoon tea? “The warm, fluffy scones –

the best in Bath in my opinion. (And Darcy, our resident robin, agrees!)”

Thermae bath Spa

£92 per person (comes with a soak at the spa) What’s the set up? “Guests can enjoy afternoon tea in our Springs Restaurant,” says Isabelle Lennon.“Located in the original 18th century building, it combines old and new beautifully together. We offer a classic and delicious selection of sandwiches, cakes (including homemade brownie and sticky toffee pudding) and, of course, scones with jam and clotted cream.”

Sarnies on top at Thermae Bath Spa

What’s special about your afternoon teas?

“It comes as part of our Tea for Two package, giving guests the chance to combine a relaxing soak in our natural thermal waters, including the open-air rooftop pool, with this indulgent treat. What better way to work up an appetite than unwinding in the rooftop pool, Wellness Suite and Minerva Bath before heading to The Springs Restaurant?”  

Tracy Park

£15.95 per person What’s the set up? “Rural elegance that leaves a lasting memory,” says Michael Ogden. What’s special about your afternoon teas? “Our location, with panoramic views

set amongst two championship-standard 18-hole golf courses. That, and £1 from every afternoon tea we sell we donate in support of Children’s Hospice South West.” What’s your personal favourite part of the afternoon tea? “We like to include an elegant

twist on traditional classics – our head chef loves to use colour in his presentation, which is very apparent in our afternoon teas. As I love my food, though, I’d have to say the scone filled with cream and jam.” n

64 I bath LIFE I

Villa Roseate, where a night baker preps tomorrow’s treats as you sleep

shopping live well, buy better

Hang ’em high

We’re always trying to bring more plants into our lives, but – uh oh – brown thumb. Everything just seems so very keen to die. That’s why we love the selection of indoor hanging planters they have at Homefront on Margaret’s Buildings, because even if the contents are withering, wrinkling, browning and sagging, the containers will still look cool. Go for timeless ceramic, or colourful macramé hangers and baskets for a sort of Hideous Kinky goes to Casablanca feel. “They’re all part of a trend for bringing houseplants back into our interior spaces,” says owner Vanessa Clark, “as they add warmth and colour to an interior. Cheese plants and spider plants are especially back in fashion.” Various prices; I BATH LIFE I 67

PORTABLE BLUETOOTH SPEAKER, £45 Vinegar Hill carries these in darker walnut or paler bamboo, seen here; they’re handily bag-sized and run off a rechargeable battery From Vinegar Hill, Milsom Street;

MARRAKECH MARNI LEOPARD MOTO JACKET, £120 Edgy yet feminine, and – because it’s made of a suedelike polyester/ spandex material – not too heavy or expensive either: you could wear it in the current hot weather, or even in the Moroccan city it’s named for From Anthropologie, New Bond Street; www.

WE WILL ROCK YOU You got mud on your face, you big disgrace 2019 FENDER PERFORMER STRATOCASTER, £999 They’ve been making Stratocasters since the mid’50s – everyone plays one, from Eric Clapton to the Edge – and this pretty Honey Burst model is just £999, making it the best priced USA Fender for an age; it’s currently in stock at GuitarBitz From GuitarBitz, Quiet Street;

‘SMILEY’ BY JAMES BATES, £150 This limited edition metallic gold print runs 52 x 52cm – that’s a tad smaller than a dustbin lid – and brings all the spiky, head-spinning joy of the late ’80s Haçienda into your living room From Modern Art Buyer, Limpley Stoke;

FAKE SNAKE ANKLE BOOTS, £351 From whimsical, vintage-inspired label Chie Mihara come these chic ankle boots in one of the lesser seen animal prints, for the more delicate, feminine rocker From Grace & Mabel, Broad Street;


ED’S CHOICE MUSICA WALL ART, £378 A 57 x 47cm wooden-framed print by Spanish artist Blanca Gomez; we’re getting a vague Karen Carpenter vibe From Anthropologie, New Bond Street;

BELLA FREUD CANDLE, £45 Perfect to burn long after dark while listening to something plaintive and melodic, we reckon, as the rich musks in the base notes meld into the delicate iris and elemi top notes From Maze, Green Street;

ELECTRIC GUITAR CUFFLINKS, £19 We’re not always ones for novelty cufflinks, but reckon these would look the part paired with a black shirt, perhaps while channelling Mugatu in Zoolander: “I invented the piano key necktie!” From Quadri, Milsom Place;

LOFINA HOOK EYELET BOOTS, £299 Alternatively, go for more of a Romper Stomper look with these rugged boots designed by a family run outfit in Denmark, and made at a small factory in La Marche, Italy; they come in wine or black From Blue, The Loft, Bartlett Street;

KENZO DRAGON T-SHIRT, £85 Based in Paris but founded by a Japanese designer, Kenzo Takada, Kenzo loves a strong animal print, with tigers and dragons prominent this year; wear it, and look like a Japanese rock star with vague yakuza links From John Anthony, High Street; I BATH LIFE I 69

street life

When Margaret Comes to Town Or perhaps, we should say – with apologies to John Mellencamp – when the town comes to Margaret? Tucked away between two of Bath’s best-known landmarks is a pedestrianised street full of indie businesses, and with a flavour all its own By Matt Bielby Pictures by Gareth Hoskins


t’s sometimes easy to forget about Margaret’s Buildings, cool and pretty though it is. It’s just far enough away from Milsom Street and the main drag to not feel an essential part of most shopping trips, so visitors to the city only occasionally stumble across it accidentally, a little hidden secret to tell friends about back in Cannes, Chiba or Chicago. “We like to think we’re an antidote to the high street,” says Tanya Haughton-Allen of Uber Clothing, the long-standing boutique right in the middle of this short, buzzing pedestrianised strip that sits pretty much equidistant between the Royal Crescent and The Circus. Here they sell high-end casual clothing with a distinctive mid-century Alpine bent. Think tweed, leather bags and boots, a vibe that speaks of Jean-Claude Killy, Where Eagles Dare, Grace Kelly making snowmen near Gstaad and Sherlock Holmes wrestling James Moriarty on the Reichenbach Falls. “We dress men and women with style, not trend. We started the shop through our frustration at high street grading, fabrics and the fact that every garment was starting to look very similar.” The guys have been in Margaret’s Buildings for 13 years now and, says Tanya, “We absolutely love it. The vibe is happy and fun; everyone’s like one big family, and when an incident happens to one of us at work, we all stand up and support them. This is a beautiful pedestrianised street with an eclectic mix of independent businesses, so it creates a buzz whether you’re shopping for art or interiors, doing your laundry, having a massage and lunch, or searching for clothes. This feel and mix is rare these days on a small street. I think of it as an oasis, one of the hidden gems of Bath, little more than a stone’s throw from the madness of the high street yet giving a very different feel. And it’s very special both in the summertime, when it has something of the feel of a Mediterranean city street, and in the winter, with all the twinkling lights creating an intimate, cosy shopping experience.”


A business that’s been here even longer than Uber is Bath Old Books, where they sell high quality secondhand and antiquarian tomes. No one-man band this, it’s actually a co-operative of five dealers; between them, there’s little they don’t know or love about books. “Margaret’s Buildings was once Bath’s street of books,” says Richard Selby, one of the five, “and when we set up there were already three bookshops on the street. Over the years, booksellers have been and gone here, but the current five have all been using the shop for ten years or more. We all have our favourite subjects: architecture, modern art, modern and classic fiction… My personal favourite is poetry, ranging from Shakespeare to the greats of the last 60 years – TS Eliot, Seamus Heaney, Ted Hughes, Sylvia Plath. We’re always on the lookout for the unusual.” Richard loves watching Margaret’s Buildings throughout the day, enjoying the ebb and flow. “One of us will arrive early to unload books, create a window display and get organised, and at this point people are hurrying through on their way to work,” he says, “but later it slows down, and you get more window shopping, and people arriving for a coffee at the café. There very busy parts of each day, with regulars and visitors calling in, and tourists posing in front of the shop, but in quieter moments the traders will stand out on the pavement chatting. This is still slightly unknown corner of Bath for many, but it’s a friendly place, and everyone adds to the ambience.”

“This is a slightly unknown corner of Bath for many, but everyone adds to the ambience”

clockwise opposite: Margaret’s Buildings; 8 Holland Street; The Green Bird; Figo Salon I BATH LIFE I 71

Fabulous selection of limited high end designer costume jewellery and scarves. Personal service to find exactly what you are looking for.


Secondhand and Antiquarian Books Bought and Sold A co-operative of five friendly dealers which offers an excellent general stock over two floors and specific titles can be searched for. Specialist areas of knowledge include: Books on Bath & Jane Austen • Children’s & Illustrated books Literature & Modern First Editions • Art & Architecture

Opening Times: Mon–Sat 10am–5pm



Breakfast • Lunch • Coffee • Cake • Wine

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street life

Frida Kahlo cushions at Homefront Interiors

Another long-standing resident is Sarah Denholm’s Gallery Nine, where she sells studio ceramics, hand-crafted jewellery and art. “I’ve worked in this gallery for 30 years,” she says, “first for 14 years when it was called St James Gallery, and since 2005 for myself at the renamed Gallery Nine. Margaret’s Buildings is a very special street, where time has stood still in some ways; it’s still full of small independent shops, much as it would have been in Georgian times.” Also well established is Figo Hair Salon, which husband and wife team, Giuseppe Calascione and Rachel Tolchard, started here in 2003. “Margaret’s Buildings was the perfect place for us,” Rachel says. “Giuseppe always loved Bath for its heritage, architectural beauty and intimate city atmosphere, and this street especially: he’s interested in art and antiques, both he and I are keen foodies, and Margaret’s Buildings offers all the aforementioned, so it was a no brainer.” The guys do worry that the street’s perhaps a little too hidden away – “it can sometimes feel forgotten and missed out” – but those that do come across it tend to fall a little in love. “We need to keep Bath’s independent retailer tradition going,” Rachel says, “and Margaret’s Buildings is a great discovery for those who enjoy great service from businesses who genuinely care.”

from the address – and it allowed me to source my own pieces and experiment with displays.” The Bath spin-off on Margaret’s Buildings only opened in June, and runs in parallel with the gallery in London. “For a long time, ceramics was seen as sculpture and painting’s poor relation, but it’s now inspiring to work with several wonderful ceramic artists – including Georgia Loizou, Claudia Rankin and Tove Barnes – whose work is beautifully sculpted yet playful, colourful and witty.” Tobias rents the building from interior designer Patrick Williams of Berdoulat Design, who lives adjoining. “It’s a privilege to be the temporary guardians of such a unique retail space,” he says, “and the bustle of The Green Bird café opposite is fantastic, together with the vibrancy of our neighbouring shops. There’s a wonderful dynamic all the way down the street. This is a museum-piece part of Bath and truly inspiring, and whilst the style of our collection is very different to this architectural heritage, it creates a wonderful backdrop for our ever-changing displays and variety of different artworks. It’s wonderfully dreamy.” Homefront, meanwhile, was inspired by the desire to create a homewares shop with an ethos of sustainability. “We source interesting, unusual, eclectic, often handmade products that are created locally, are Fair Trade, or are reclaimed, recycled or vintage,” says founder Vanessa Clark. “I love the industrial look, and mixing up antique pieces with the contemporary. Margaret’s Buildings is genuinely my favourite part of Bath, and I find myself admiring the street when I arrive each morning – it’s a perfect view – then again when I visit the Green Bird for my coffee fix. (Being next door, it’s very hard to resist).”

Sarah Denholm’s Gallery Nine

Margaret’s Buildings has a strong mix of businesses – there are jewellery and art galleries, a bridal shop and an Italian bistro – but one sector really on the up here is interiors, with both Homefront Interiors and 8 Holland Street fairly recent arrivals. “I studied History of Art at Cambridge and have always been fascinated by the juxtaposition of different periods, styles or materials,” says Tobias Vernon at 8 Holland Street, a large, eclectic and generally rather spectacular space that’s brought new excitement to the street – and to Bath’s interiors scene in general. “At Cambridge I discovered Kettles Yard, the home and display space of collector Jim Ede, and after working for several years in interior design and art buying, I decided to open my own shop and gallery in London. It’s between High Street Kensington and Notting Hill – the shop name, 8 Holland Street, comes I BATH LIFE I 73

street life Ah yes, Green Bird. Perhaps the most consistently busy business on the street is Claire and Henry Hunton’s highly rated café; the guys have been here four years now, after looking for a new challenge in their lives. “The demand for brunch just keeps building,” Henry says, “and, with everyone keen to know just where their food comes from, we make sure our eggs, bacon, bread and butter all come from just a stone’s throw away – even the handwash in the loos is made in Bath. Being in such a secluded corner of the city feels like a privilege, as it puts us right in the middle of a lovely community, with people constantly coming in to catch up over a flat white and croissant. And it’s great that there are no cars; it makes it quieter and cleaner and generally more relaxed. There’s definitely a slower pace here, and many people come up to Margaret’s Buildings to escape the buzz of the city.” n

You have been reading…

Bath Old Books, Twitter @batholdbooks1 8 Holland Street, Figo Hair, Gallery Nine, Green Bird café, Homefront Interiors, Uber Clothing,

Also worth a look

Alexander May Jewellery, Ellie Rose Bridal, MK Beauty, Red Rag Gallery, Rustico Bistro Italiano, Bath Old Books: a treasure trove of rare titles

Margaret’s Buildings is perfect stop-off on a weekend’s wandering



Interiors & Homewares Work from local artists and makers Prints, Cards & Gifts 10 Margaret's Buildings, Bath BA1 2LP T: 01225 571711 E: Handmade, Reclaimed, Sustainable & Vintage


M ar gar et’s B uildings, Bat h 01 2 2 5 46 4 7 3 7 www. uber view. co.u k

beauty Ané Auret

Read it, don’t weep Decoding cosmetics labels, baffling though they may seem, is key to building a successful skincare routine


hat do you first notice when you pick up a new skin care product? Is it the beautifully designed logo, the divine packaging, the catchy promises? I used to be like that – cooing over pretty jars of creams. But these days I go straight for the ingredients list, and I’m proudly geeky about it. Knowing how to read skin care labels, and understanding the kind of ingredients that you want to include – and, just as importantly, exclude – from your skin care regime is key to building a successful routine. It can sometimes be a bit of a steep learning curve, but going back to beauty school basics can reap rewards for your skin. I say ‘steep’ because a list of ingredients can seem impossible to decipher, just an array of semiunpronounceable words. This being the case, here’s my overview of the information you need in order to decode a skin care label with ease. A little practice, and it will become as straightforward as checking what’s in your Waitrose lasagna.

1. It’s all about the INCI Okay, so I said it was going to be simple – then I went straight in with an acronym. But knowing your way

around the INCI is key. INCI stands for International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients, and is the globally recognised way to display ingredients on product packaging. Standardised INCI lists are especially helpful when buying products from other countries, as ingredients must be named using their scientific names and, for plants, their Latin ones. This is where things can seem tricky, but you just need to do a little translating. Plant ingredients are easy to spot, because they’re listed with their Latin names and a common name in brackets, e.g. Adansonia digitata (baobab) seed oil, or Argania spinosa (argan) kernel oil. For a few more common ingredients, and what they’re for, see the box at the bottom of the page. Everything a product contains must be listed in the INCI, though some ingredients are given catchall names, such as ‘fragrance’ or ‘parfum’. A host of ingredients might be used to create a smell, and won’t be mentioned individually. 2. Order matters The order the ingredients are listed in on the label is important. Those present in the greatest amounts appear first, with the

What on earth is that?

Common beauty product ingredients, and what they’re there for Sodium benzoate Potassium sorbate Both preservatives, to keep products safer for longer

Xanthan gum A naturally derived gum that thickens the product

from sorbitol (an alcohol sugar also found in chewing gum) and olive oil

Sorbitan olivate An emulsifier made

Citric acid Regulates pH levels

rest following in descending order (except ingredients present at a concentration of less than 1%; those can be listed in any order). It’s also wise to remember that just because an ingredient isn’t at the top of the list, that doesn’t mean it’s not important or effective. 3. Don’t be put off by complex sounding ingredients It’s easy to look at an ingredients list and be overwhelmed by what seems like an endless stream of baffling scientific words. With a little research and experience, though, you’ll start to see through the jargon. And don’t be afraid to be an ingredient detective – when in doubt, look it up! (You certainly don’t have to be too worried about any ‘if you can’t pronounce it, you shouldn’t put it on your face’ issues.) It’s also worth educating yourself on certain ingredients that may sound harmful in some way, but are actually completely safe to use on your skin. Examples of this would be cetyl alcohol and cetearyl alcohol. The word alcohol may sound like something you’d prefer to avoid, but these are actually types of fatty alcohol that stabilise emulsions and are widely used in skincare. 4. Mind your allergens If you have sensitive skin or allergies, it’s very important that you look at the allergens contained within a product. These are listed at the end of the ingredient list, and are often marked by an asterisk or italics. Allergens aren’t necessarily a bad thing in and of themselves, and most people tolerate these without any issues. For example, essential

oils contain naturally occurring allergens called geraniol, limonene, citral and linalool, and these will be listed last, if present. 5. Know what works for you Sorry, no quick fixes here. In general, experience teaches us which ingredients work for us, and this comes down to trial and error. For me, for example, I know that two staples in my skincare routine are vitamin C and retinol. But both of these have multiple different versions/derivatives, and can be included in different strengths in different product formulations. When you find a product you love, note down the particular type. For instance, examples of vitamin C are ascorbic acid, sodium ascorbyl phosphate and ascorbyl palmitate. My skin doesn’t tolerate ascorbic acid at all well, but it loves sodium ascorbyl phosphate, so this is my preferred vitamin C product. What works well on one person’s skin might not work for you. 6. Finally, you need to educate yourself as a consumer When all’s said and done, it’s our responsibility as consumers to educate ourselves about what we put on our faces. Taking time to research ingredients goes a long way towards helping you be confident in the long term investment you’re making in your skin. Ané Auret is a self-confessed beauty obsessive and founder of Bath-based skincare brand Ané. Learn more at and follow her on Instagram @beauty_by_ane I BATH LIFE I 77

The Heads Up:

Mark Dumbleton

In a new three-part mini-series, Nick meets some of our most talented local head gardeners. First up: Mark Dumbleton of Hauser & Wirth Words by Nick Woodhouse Portrait by Richard Bloom; landscape by Heather Edwards


he garden is arguably one of our country’s greatest contributions to world culture. It’s an art form that we have crafted, adapted and nurtured into an everchanging creature that reflects both our idiosyncrasies and aspirations in equal measures. Not only have we been exporting this take on gardens beyond our shores for centuries, but – here at home – gardens pack an undeniable economic punch, too. Take the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, which welcome more visitors per year than the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey and Stonehenge combined.

and talk, Mark will share his insights into the near 30,000 perennials that thrive in the gallery’s 1.5 acre meadow, designed by Piet Oudolf, one of the leading figures in the New Perennial Movement.

becomes summer. Aesthetically, the end of summer is my favourite; it combines beautiful autumn tones, and you see a mix of late flowers and seed heads against a backdrop of prominent grasses.

Let’s start, Mark, with a little about your working life before Hauser & Wirth.

Have you any big projects planned for the gardens this year?

Prior to coming here, I worked in local nurseries. It might sound obvious, but the best way to become a better gardener is to grow lots of plants. Nurseries provide you with the opportunity to work with a large variety of them; more so than in most gardens, certainly. And what brought you here?

“I enjoy the times between seasons as, say, spring becomes summer” Yet, unlike other art forms, the garden is ever changing and evolving. Burdened and blessed with a particular fragility, it requires a knowledgeable and instinctive passion for each garden to keep looking so very special. And this responsibility falls firmly on the shoulders of the head gardener. Rarely celebrated and often overlooked, their role is as crucial as it is diverse; to be good at it, you need to be plantsman, educator, conservationist, project manager, events planner and PR specialist. To redress the balance a little, then, we’re running a short series of articles that cast a spotlight on some of these very special professionals, starting with an interview with Mark Dumbleton. Glastonbury born and bred, he’s been head gardener at Hauser & Wirth, the art centre at Bruton in Somerset, for the last five and a half years. In September, he will be leading a tour of the gardens as part of the gallery’s Open Source Salon series. During this guided walk


The opportunity to work with Piet. I admire the process he has gone through to get where he is now. His knowledge of plants is second to none, and his gardens are built on a foundation of 40 years of observing, selecting and trialling plants. Who works with you on the Hauser & Wirth gardens?

I have just one other working with me, a chap called Jasper. He’s extremely conscientious, and takes pride in what he does; I can’t ask for any more than that. I personally don’t agree with using volunteers; I find the idea a little insulting to my profession. What’s your favourite feature of the meadow here?

The pallet of plants Piet uses, and their ability to remain attractive when not in flower. The cyclical nature of Piet’s gardens, far from being boringly repetitive, brings a welcome seasonality. Constantly changing blocks of flower erupt into colour as their neighbours fade into seed, and so on until the whole garden enters the calm of winter dormancy. And what’s your favourite time of year in the garden?

I enjoy the times in between seasons, with, say, the verdant green and early flowers as spring

There are certainly a few minor plant changes and additions Piet and I would like to make. Primarily, my long-term aim is to improve the soil here, and all the infrastructure supporting the garden. What plants at H&W would you recommend to the rest of us, perhaps ones that add particular value to the garden at this time of year?

I’m not one to dodge a question, but I don’t have favourites. Nor would I pick a plant based on how it looks for one month of the year. Weather and pruning can greatly affect flowering times, not to mention the subjective nature of colour. So, to be contrary, here are some plants which are really easy to grow and somewhat overlooked, but fairly important with regards to structure in the garden: Datisca cannabina, Eupatorium maculatum (Atropurpureum Group), and the various grasses, including Molinia caerulea ‘Transparent’, Panicum virgatum ‘Shenandoah’ and P. virgatum ‘Cloud Nine’. Open Source Salon: Meet the Gardener with Mark Dumbleton takes place on 19 September For more,

Nick Woodhouse is the co-director of interior and garden design company Woodhouse & Law on 4 George’s Place, Bathwick Hill, Bath; 01225 428072;


Mark (below) and the endless perennials in the meadow at Hauser and Wirth I BATH LIFE I 79

Successful, well-established year-round language school in the centre of Bath requires

HOMESTAY HOSTS IN BATH to host both short-term and long-term students. We teach adults and teenagers, and need both single and twin-room accommodation. For further details, including rates of payment, please contact our Accommodation Manager: Sarah Wringer, KIE Bath, 5 Trim Street, Bath, BA1 1HB Direct Line (01225) 473502, Email:

businessinsights b at h g e t s s e r i o u s Doodle founders Tom Minor and Nicola Chilman





oodle celebrated success at this year’s SPARKies, the West of England’s digital and tech awards held at Bath’s Assembly Rooms. The London Road-based digital education outfit left with the Good gong – one that, you guessed it, celebrates the techy types doing the most, well, ‘good’. These guys make DoodleMaths and DoodleEnglish, which use algorithms based on each user’s level to create a learning experience tailored to their strengths and weaknesses. Even more impressive, it continually adjusts itself along with the user, so it’s always set

Royal United Hospital (RUH) has issued a challenge to businesses in Bath, Somerset and Wiltshire. The Make It Grow challenge will see the RUH give every participating company a £20 starter fund, which they will then have to grow into a much greater pot of money. Whichever business grows their money the most, wins. Get it? (It’s sort of like The Parable of the Talents in Matthew.) “Businesses who take part will be able to choose where to donate their funds, whether it goes to a specific area of the hospital which they have a special connection with, or to one of our fundraising campaigns such as the RUH Cancer Care campaign or the Breast Unit Special Appeal,” explains Patsy Gould, corporate officer for RUH-based Forever Friends Appeal. Businesses that’d like to take part need to sign up by 1 October. For more: Fundraising causes smiles

at the right level for their abilities. Doodle does a lot for kids’ confidence – especially those dealing with maths and English anxiety. “We’ve worked hard over the last 18 months to continue to build a product that boosts the confidence of thousands of youngsters,” says CEO Tom Minor. “I think the judges’ recognition of this, along with the increasing amount of work we’ve been doing in the community, helped us push ourselves out there in the face of some stiff competition.” For more: 115


THE CLIMB A group of accountants have reached the highest of heights… by climbing three mountains, of course. No fewer than 30 of them from Bishop Fleming completed the epic Three Peaks Challenge by hiking up Ben Nevis in Scotland, Scafell Pike in the Lake District and Snowdon in Wales – all within 24 hours. The dedicated – and, we have to assume, now quite achey – employees raised over £22,500, which will be shared amongst various charities. “It has been a fantastic event and a terrific way for us to celebrate our centenary year,” says Rachel HattonSmooker, corporate and business services executive at Bishop Fleming. “It’s been a great opportunity to organise, from the initial idea to watching everyone come in after completing the challenge. All who took part, walkers and drivers, have put so much effort in and there has been an

amazing sense of team sprit throughout the training and event itself. Taking part, as part of Bishop Fleming, will be a treasured memory.” For more:


Norland students dress to impress

Broad Street Town House has beautiful bedrooms…


A brand new luxury boutique bolt-hole has opened up in Bath: the Broad Street Townhouse. Café by day and speakeasy by night, we can easily see this becoming one of the most popular spots in town. Butcombe Pub & Inns has tastefully redecorated the building next door to their Pig & Fiddle pub, in partnership with build specialists Concorde BGW, and the end result is exquisite. With 11 impeccably designed bedrooms, and a laid-back but luxurious homefrom-home vibe, it’s modern while still offering a respectful nod to the heritage of the city. “Broad Street Townhouse is a passion project of ours, and one we’ve had in mind since taking over The Pig & Fiddle back in 2015,” explains Jayson Perfect, MD of pubs and inns at Liberation Group. “It was a shame to see such a beautiful building, filled with original features, sat empty in disrepair – but so rewarding to get stuck into the renovation and bring it all back to life.” For more:

Running up that hill

Specialist early years education institution Norland College has reached the top 10% for student satisfaction in the 2019 National Student Survey (NSS). One of the only institutions of its kind in the UK anyway, Norland is also one of the smallest colleges in the UK to top the NSS list. Dr Janet Rose, principal at Norland College, said: “We are extremely proud of our team achieving such strong results in the National Student Survey. This rating, alongside our recent awards of TEF Gold for teaching standards, and first place for Independent Higher Education Provider at the Whatuni Student Choice Awards, is testament to the hard work of our academic and student support team, who consistently strive to make sure the experience our early years students receive is the highest possible quality.” For more:

…and becomes a speakeasy by night

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Where the city gets a sweat on



Cameron and Alistair Chalmers with proud parents Lesley and Chris, himself a former 400m runner, and coach James Hillier (centre), after their gold-medal success


Brothers Cameron and Alistair Chalmers have leapt and sprinted their way to victory at the England Athletics age-group trials. The brothers, who are both University of Bath sporting scholars past and present, nabbed gold medals within hours of each other as well as selection for next month’s European U23 and U20 Championships. Clearly they grew up in a competitive household.

Ben Jones and partner Vladyslav Orlov, following their ITF World Tour men’s doubles success

COMING OUT SWINGING A University of Bath sporting scholar is celebrating the first title of his professional tennis career. Ben Jones won in the men’s doubles at the $15K ITF World Tour Event in Netanya, Israel. Along with his Ukranian partner, Vladyslav Orlov, he sailed through the first three rounds before triumphing in the final.

From networking breakfasts to invaluable evening events, make a note of the courses and classes that will help your business flourish 6 AUGUST WE MEAN BIZ One of the most tightly organized networking events around, We Mean Biz consists of a boardroom-style lunch and some dedicated networking time. This month’s keynote speaker, Philippa Constable, will take the helm to talk all things networking. 12pm; £30; No.15 Great Pulteney; 9 AUGUST WESSEX PROPERTY NETWORKING COFFEE CLUB Gathering professional investors for a good old chin-wag about all things property over a latte and a bun. Tempting, right? 3pm; free; Frome Flyer, Frome; Search The Wessex Property Networking Coffee Club on Facebook 22 AUGUST ONE-TO-ONE BUSINESS SUPPORT This is an amazing free opportunity to help you build an action plan for your company. The first session includes a diagnostic review of your business, or even just business idea, including a detailed action plan, further support, workshops or referrals. Book a time online; The Bath & Country Club;

Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell


Professor Dame (yep, both) Jocelyn Bell Burnell has been awarded an honorary degree by the University of Bath. Best known for her groundbreaking discovery of pulsars – stars that flash pulses of electromagnetic radiation as they rotate – which in turn led to the confirmation of Einstein’s theory of general relativity, Jocelyn’s had an extraordinary career. An advocate for under-represented minorities in science, she recently donated her Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics – worth $3 million! – to establish a scholarship that will help woman, ethnic minority and refugee students become physics researchers. Basically, she’s amazing. Dame Jocelyn said: “I have great memories of working at the University of Bath and am very touched by the award of an honorary degree. I still live in the area and hear from or meet up with former colleagues from time to time, and so I still feel a connection. I visit a few times a year.”


Olivia Evans has joined Creatrix PR as an account executive. A recent graduate of the University of The West of England with a first class honours degree in Journalism and Public Relations, Olivia says: “Having spent the past three years studying and gaining experience at various PR agencies, I’m so pleased to have landed in Creatrix’s office. I adore Bath, and to work in the city and get involved with so many local and regional projects is really exciting.” I BATH LIFE I 83

Yannick Loué: making wine accessible to all


business insiGHTS

So, Yannick, how did it feel to win Regional Merchant of the Year at the International Wine Challenge Awards? I don’t want to scream too loudly about it – but I think we should, really. We got inspected secretly, and we had to do a big analysis of the business and give stats for the last seven years – after all that, the judges deciding we’re the best in the South West is incredible. And that it’s the opinion of the high heads of the wine trade is especially cool – it’s like an Oscar for wine. There are a lot of different awards, but the IWC is the one. There were a good thousand wine business people there from all around the world. Why did you start Le Vignoble in the first place? I wanted a place where you can enjoy wine, but easily. I felt sometimes that old wine merchants back in the day were very snooty – I didn’t want that. I think there are a lot of people in the younger generation who want to appreciate wine – not just drink wine, but appreciate wine – but there was no real place for them to do so because it would be intimidating. That’s why I wanted to do something with more of an easy approach in some ways, and something that specialised just in wine. Hence the wine machine, and the young team – so people won’t think, ‘Ooh, I’m not sure if I should be going in there or not.’

one to watch Introducing Yannick LouÉ, director of award-winning wine merchant, Le Vignoble

And where does all your wine come from? I buy my wine directly from the vineyard 90% of the time, which means that a lot of our wines can’t be seen anywhere else. It’s pretty cool – you know exactly what’s going on in the vineyard. But it’s a bit of a strain on your cash flow in some ways. To give you an example, when I place an order to Australia or New Zealand, I’m ordering now, in July, for Christmas. And it’s the same for wine from the US and South Africa. Then, from Christmas, I’ll be ordering in the wine for summer 2020. What have been the highlights of working in Bath? During Bath Festival there was live music in the courtyard of Milsom Place, and we did a pop up bar that was excellent. Another time, we had a cheese farmers’ market here in Milsom Place, so we teamed up with the cheese mongers and took some of their cheeses and matched them


“I think there are a lot of people in the younger generation who want to appreciate wine – not just drink wine, but appreciate wine” with some of our wines. And I liked the Christmas market – in terms of business, it was our first year and we had no idea what to expect, but it was great. It’s still a big fight, though, because we’re new, and we have to shout out loud that we exist – and, due to the location, we still have to work pretty hard to make sure the world knows we’re here. What’s been good in the last six months is a lot more locals are coming back. At first, we survived because of tourists, but now we’re really starting to get the locals coming in regularly. Got an tips for wine newbies? Ask questions and go easy – don’t try to splash the cash just because you can. There’s no point, you won’t understand what you’re drinking. I would always say don’t be scared to ask questions. We all started someway, somehow – if you don’t ask, you will never know. Express what you’re feeling, because if you don’t express then you can’t trigger your memory. Wine is all about memory. And if you’re really a beginner, it’s like beer. If you’re trying your first beer, you might think, ‘Ew, this is very bitter’, and so will start drinking shandies and work your way up to a proper beer. And with wine it’s exactly the same, because there’s lots of acidity, so it’s good to start with the fruitier, sweeter wines and work your way in. Like with a red, if you go for the driest one right away you probably won’t like it. You have to go for the fresher and fruitier ones first.



Communication, compassion and a gentle push in the right direction: these are only a few of the techniques behind the success of the Southside Family Project, as their PENNY MCKISSOCK explains So, what was it like to win a Bath Life Award? Oh, it was absolutely thrilling, gratifying and wonderful!

And where do you now keep the award?

In very plain sight for everyone to see – in fact, it’s right in the middle of our main reception desk, which everyone must come to before they can enter the main building.

Why do you think you won?

Ken Loach says that Bath is a tale of two cities, and the Twerton area is definitely ‘the other city’. Most of Southside’s work is in the most disadvantaged areas of BANES, supporting the most vulnerable people – and so it was fantastic to see this recognised and celebrated. Also, our close partnership with our joint winners – Bath City Farm – really helped. After all, both organisations are shouting out for Twerton.


How and why did Southside Family Project get started?

I joined what was then the Whiteway Health Project, way back in 1993. It had been parachuted into the area by the council and the health trust at the time, with no reference or consultation with the community. By 1997, with a small group of local people, we became an independent charity. There was one full time worker and one part time worker. We are now 60 staff plus, and counting. I am passionate about a community development approach that genuinely involves the people that will receive our services – an approach that begins with them first telling us what is needed. I am very, very proud to say that 80% of our paid staff were previously our service users.

So tell us about the people you work with…

The communities we work with are strong and resilient. Local people often just need support and an approach that is kind but challenging. This vignette describes one young woman we supported: Kirsten is the eldest in her family and has five siblings, all of whom have been taken into care. Her childhood was harsh, cruel and neglectful, and she witnessed horrific domestic abuse. Kirsten was supported by Southside following a referral from her social worker when she was 16. She gained excellent GSCEs, but the reality of her childhood and the insecurity she felt overwhelmed her, and she couldn’t continue with her A levels. Southside and key workers became her ‘family’, encouraging and challenging her. Fast-forward to a brilliant Access Course at Bath College – and working two jobs to survive. Following all this, though, this remarkable young woman has now won a place at one of the most prestigious universities in the country.

As we encouraged her to take on big personal challenges, like talking to an audience of 200 people, she reminded me of something I’d told her early on: what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger! Kirsten is great evidence of that – and though she’s but one example, there are hundreds more out there.

What sets your work apart from that of other organisations, do you think?

We are a vibrant mix of highly qualified people and people with huge life experience, both equally valued. People work here long-term, and it gives our organisation stability. We are professional, business-like, highly trained, understand the impact of trauma, and we care for our workers. Both staff and volunteers have support from management, clinical supervision and one-to-one life coaching. The high percentage of the team who were once service users brings something unique and special, too. They are passionate about giving something back and they will go the extra mile to support a family. We see people, not problems.

Where do the frustrations lie?

Money, funding and not being able to support all the people who need our services. For the thousands we have helped, there are thousands we can’t because we don’t have the capacity.

What’s the best part about working in Bath?

Working and living in such a beautiful city, plus the wonderful people that truly understand what we do and support us, and our funders and commissioners who work collaboratively with us. Then there’s Curo, who house us right in the heart of Twerton, and St John’s Foundation, who fund us, support and mentor us, and basically keep us going when it feels very hard.

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

Ralph Waldo Emerson’s quote. When we feel there is so much we could do if we were resourced adequately, we remember, “To know one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”


Any plans to watch out for?

An event in November, to be hosted by St John’s to celebrate our successes. I think we may perhaps call it ‘Against All Odds!’

For more: I BATH LIFE I 85



Mike Daw Landscapes



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KITCHEN DESIGNER The minds behind the most important room in the house I BATH LIFE I 87

advertising feature Claire Birkbeck

Neptune bath 01225 465301; How would you describe your signature style? I would say that a great deal of my design focus goes into creating elegance and form within a space. Form, for me, is about balance, so I’ll mix linear cabinetry runs for structure with character pieces such as open cabinets and dressers for openness and figure out where the natural point of focus should be, so there’s a feature element too. I suppose the other part to my style is about being clutter-free – I like to create spaces that feel calm and orderly.   What is it you do that makes you different to your competitors? There’s a lot, but customers particularly appreciate

our ‘whole home concept’. Within the realms of every Neptune store (there are over 30 across the UK and Europe), you can cover many aspects of your refurbishment, from items as small as candles and cushions to furniture, lighting, paint, flooring and of course, kitchens. All these elements come with expert advice from our specialists and designers so that you have almost all of the tools you need to fully decorate any room in your home. What’s the biggest mistake that can be made with a kitchen?  I would say the two biggest things that can cause regret are rushing your wishlist and not fully considering how/when you and others will be using the space. Never underestimate the importance of thinking through every last detail and really picturing what your decisions will mean on a day to day basis.


Saltford Kitchens 01225 874676; What’s on trend for 2019? Every year brings something new, interesting and unexpected. One of the biggest breakthroughs in kitchen interior style is dark colour. Black, navy blue and green are replacing white in the styling of kitchen furniture, from classical to minimalist. Dark colours add elegance and drama to any interior, and simplify day-to-day maintenance.

Kelly Marie Hawker Hicks Kelly Marie Kitchen Interiors 01225 481881; kellymariekitcheninteriors

What is it you do that makes you different to your competitors ? Having experienced working with many different contemporary and traditional kitchen products, and all areas of the market from trade to high end, I have valuable experience that I hope is unrivalled in the area. I tailor each and every kitchen to the client’s needs, whilst adding my own design flair. I always try to make the experience fun and interesting. How do you balance style with functionality? Firstly it’s understanding how you want to use the kitchen – whether it’s for entertaining, family meals or just convenience – then the creative part comes into it. The kitchen can be made pretty once the layout is functional for the client. What’s your favourite kitchen gadget ? I love the new champagne trough. It sits into your granite worktop and can be filled with ice or alternatively can be used as a tray for lots of fun accessories like knife blocks, herb pots and cutting boards. 88 I Bath LIFE I

What is it that you love about working in kitchens? It is like trying to solve a puzzle or game for me. Every time from many different details, I have to stick with ‘the drawing’ consisting of different materials, shapes, function, colours, details etc. Every kitchen is individually designed, so there is no routine in my job. How would you describe your signature style? Bright minimalism, clear lines, great attention to colour and proportions. A modern kitchen must be functional and blend perfectly with new shapes, new technologies and stylistics. The motto of this style is beauty and comfort, harmony of colour and form including top quality. What’s the best bit of advice you could give to home owners? The main thing is to start your kitchen designing process as soon as possible before building work starts, as this will help you avoid mistakes and additional costs.

Andrew Sperring

JAS Building Services 07720840677; What sets you apart from other companies in your field (builders/designers)? JAS are an honest family run business who offer a turn key service for our client’s. We offer APMP project management techniques to carefully deliver a project through its full life cycle whilst monitoring cost, quality and time to ensure successful completion. Our core team and centre of excellence is derived from our multiple trade experts and quality controlled by our senior management team. With this and our close working relationships, we like to think of ourselves as a one stop shop for all your property needs. We have a five star rating on Houzz due to receiving great reviews which has enabled us to be awarded the Best of Houzz for service 2017 and 2018. Houzz is a great platform for inspiration and collaboration with clients when planning a renovation project, we highly recommend! What do you find most rewarding about your role? We take great pride in all the work we do. Personally for me it is seeing our client really happy with their new finished home (or even a kitchen or bathroom). We are often told we have made their dreams come to life! It’s so rewarding to see a happy customer.

advertising feature Phil Harflett

Head of Design & Sales, Bath Hobsons Choice 01225 433511

james horsfall

bath kitchen company 01225 312003 How does your design process work? Our process revolves around our client and our commitment to creating their dream kitchen using our design knowledge. We begin with meeting and getting a feel for their space, and then we design a concept that encapsulates this. After deciding on a design, we begin work and stay present in the process until it is complete. Maintaining smooth communication is so important to us, and we make sure no detail is overlooked as the production progresses. The results we get is a stunning kitchen and happy clients. Tell us a bit about one incredibly original or creative project you’ve been involved with… We have been lucky enough to work on some unique projects in and around Bath. This year we finished a kitchen that had dramatic mirrored brass panelling! This was a cool way to branch out into the more modern designs that have been trending over Europe, but we still kept it completely bespoke. What is it you do that makes you different to your competitors? As a second generation family run business, we feel we offer something different than corporate kitchen companies. With a 30 year history in Bath, it’s given us strong relationships with contractors, making anything possible when it comes to designing and sourcing materials for your dream kitchen.

Where do you get your inspiration from? Architecture is a big inspiration – whether one of Bath’s beautiful heritage buildings or a sleek glass extension, every home provides inspiration in some way. We also visit Milan Design Week, which is incredible, not only for introducing us to new products but also reaffirming that what we have is the best available. What is it you do that makes you different to your competitors? Our expertise gives us more design freedom. We listen to clients and respond in a unique way because of the breadth and depth of our team. With backgrounds in architecture and interior design we can offer truly creative solutions. If needed, we even help gain listed building consent or bring in builders. Clients love the creativity and ease of working with one team that can manage their project end to end. What’s on trend for 2019/2020? We are seeing a lot of natural materials, soft, earthy palettes, and lots of botanicals – all things we’ve embraced in our newly refurbished Bath showroom. But trends need to be interpreted for longevity to avoid appearing dated. Clean lines and clever details are style staples.

What is it that you love about working in kitchens? It’s my personal favourite room in the house! People gravitate towards kitchens and being able to create designs that make people say “wow” is the best job in the world.

Vicky Elmore

Elmore Kitchens 01225 335 600;

What is it you do that makes you different to your competitors? As a small independent family run business, we are passionate about what we do. We work hard at ensuring every client receives the same high level of service no matter what their budget is. We wanted to create an environment where everyone is welcome and feels listened to throughout the design and installation process. That’s why we put our name above the door as it’s our reputation on the line!


What experience do you have in the kitchen industry? We met each other whilst working at Smallbone of Devizes in the mid-eighties. Mark was the national installation manager and I was initially a sales administrator and became the installation co-ordinator for the company. Mark has also held the positions of head of installations and building services at Mark Wilkinson Furniture. This experience has allowed the setting up and running of a successful kitchen company, Welbourn Furniture Ltd. Why have clients chosen you over and above your competitors and how does your process differ? We offer a very personal service by helping our clients through every step of the way, from initial design ideas through to completion of the project. We start by inviting each prospective client to our home showroom to meet us and to see our own fully working kitchen. At this meeting, designs, budgets and timescales can be discussed with an option of proceeding to a survey visit. Once the project is underway, the design and costs are agreed and the installation is fully co-ordinated and managed through to completion. We offer a room preparation and kitchen strip out service.

How does your design process work? Where possible, we feel a home visit enables us to get a greater understanding of a client’s requirements before starting a design. It’s at this stage we take all the relevant measurements, however we also frequently work with an architect’s plan if significant changes are being made to the space. Having spent time discussing requirements, we will then put together a fully priced and detailed kitchen remodel plan, presented to clients in our showroom. This presentation includes full 3D rendered images of your new kitchen design. As a result, clients get to see exactly how their new kitchen will look from all angles. Following the initial concept presentation, we can then work on further refinements to ensure that the finished kitchen is just how our client wants it. I BATH LIFE I 89



THE GREEN, GREEN GRASS OF HOME A rare property where space and location are in perfect harmony By Matilda Walton 90 I BATH LIFE I


House numbers


Square footage 3,995

Bedrooms 5 Bathrooms and WCs 4 Outside Generous driveway and garages offer ample parking. A stone terrace stretches the length of the house, with a pretty flowered border leading to a separate grassed terrace and a summerhouse Price


Where 2 Lyncombe Hill, Bath Hamptons International Estate Agents, 32 Gay Street, Bath BA1 2NT; 01225 220182;

roperty is a world in which cliché and hyperbole crop up occasionally – think ‘unspoilt countryside’ and ‘21st century living’ (as if we could do anything else?) – but one trope that stands true without spin is location. It really is all about it. In those terms, for Bath, it doesn’t come much better than 2 Lyncombe Hill. A large and spacious home with a well proportioned garden and it’s own parking, only a short walk from the city centre? Damn right. Unique for a house in its situation, 2 Lyncombe Hill is approached via a private driveway and has not one, but two garages – one of which is a double. Let that sink in for a moment. While living in Bath has countless advantages, it’s no secret that parking is not one of them. And for a period home to be so well equipped for cars is even

more unusual – especially in such close proximity to the city centre, where space is at a premium. This five-bedroom family home is originally thought to have been a two storey pre-Georgian farmhouse, extended in the Victorian period to create the spacious villa it is today. A tessellated Victorian tile floor stretches from the entrance hall to the central reception room – a striking and unique feature, it gives the house a characterful air that carries throughout. In any family home, the kitchen is bound to be the place where everyone gathers, and 2 Lyncombe Hill has been crafted with this in mind. A vast space complete with dining area, sitting area and bespoke kitchen, with a door leading out into the garden (alfresco, anybody?), there’s more than enough space for the family to come together – with none of the getting-under-your-feet business that can be so maddening in the kitchen. Upstairs, the bedrooms all have extraordinary views across the city – from a couple you can even see as far as Solsbury Hill on a clear day. In the separate wing on the upper floors you’ve also got a great little kitchenette and bathroom in addition to the bedrooms – perfect for any guests, extended family or adult children yet to fly the nest. Yes, location is everything, but 2 Lyncombe Hill is location plus. It’s spacious – gorgeous garden and parking, remember? – packed with unique features and character. We’re sure it won’t stick around for long. I BATH LIFE I 91


Take me to the church An old chapel in Frome gets new life as a stylish and characterful apartment By Matilda Walton


ith oodles of character, this Grade II listed Baptist Chapel, The Old School Room in Frome, offers a oneof-a-kind two bedroom apartment, perfect for living out all your hipster dreams. This remarkable home retains many of the chapel’s original features. The windows are especially lovely, with a trio of exceptionally well-preserved stainedglass panels on the front wall hammering home this property’s history. Ceilings, too, are a call-back to The Old School Room’s former life, dotted with brightly coloured, intricately realised rosettes characteristic of a chapel or school without feeling at all out of place. Despite its history, which is thought to predate 1850, the space is spotlessly modern. Loose, open plan living sees areas adaptable to a variety of needs, and it’s easy to imagine this as home to a chic couple or small I BATH LIFE I 93


family, or perhaps a home office entrepreneur or a recent retiree, looking for a change of pace. The main chapel hall forms the primary living quarters, shaped around a casual reading-come-TVcome-entertaining nook. As living spaces go, it’s just plain cool, with high vaulted ceilings increasing the sense of spaciousness, meaning that, despite the multiple uses typical of open plan living, it never feels crowded. And, we might add, it’s utterly perfect for parties. Fortunately, the outside is just as pretty. The quiet streets surrounding it are in the protected conservation area of Frome’s town centre, which is famed for its beautiful and historically significant buildings – and, these days, for its own brand of cool, of course. You’ll be living in your own little slice of history.


House numbers Square footage 1577 Bedrooms 2 Bathrooms and WCs 2 Outside The Old School House is accessed from the street level at

the front of the building through a double-height entrance hall Price £595,000 Share of Freehold Where The Old School Room, Frome The Modern House; 020 3795 5920;;

advertising feature

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

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;


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;


Etons of Bath


Westside Design

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;

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;

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

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


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 97



“I was pretty much changed forever and felt like I had to help spread the word”

DOUGIE POYNTER The McFly alumnus on his first solo children’s book, saving the planet, and the lessons we can all learn from the industrious honeybee I’ve co-written children’s novels with my bandmate, Tom Fletcher, before. But

Plastic Sucks!, my fi rst solo book, is non-fiction for children aged seven and up. It’s an introduction to environmentalism and plastic pollution, and I’ll be coming to Bath’s Children’s Literature festival in September to talk about it. I’ve tried to keep things as positive and optimistic as possible, and also fun. I want kids to fall in love with the natural world as much as I have, and not just be told that they have to save it. I want kids to know that you don’t have to be ‘into’ the environment to help. Perhaps they might be interested in engineering or science or being a billionaire one day – all of these can be tied into saving the planet! Being in McFly has allowed me to do things with charities and meet all kinds of people.

When World Wildlife Fund got


in touch, I was so stoked that they wanted to work with me. I felt pretty helpless before, like there was always someone brainier to do the job better. But it turned out I knew more than I thought from travelling. WWF are the guys who got me to Uganda and Rwanda with the gorillas and we made a documentary which raised awareness. Then a good friend of mine introduced me to the plastic pollution fighters, 5 Gyers, and they really educated me on the problem. After that I was pretty much changed forever, and felt like I had to help spread the word. Right now, my activism revolves around spreading the word to the next generation.

If everyone does their part it will have an impact. It may not feel like it, but it will. Every small action helps – a single honeybee makes something like a sixth of a teaspoon of honey in its lifetime. But when you add up the work of

a whole colony of bees, they make jars and jars of honey.

coffee cup, and I always carry a spoon around with me!

Writing my first book solo was lonely at times. I love writing

I wanted to include lots of different people coming at things from all different angles in the book. We have

with my best mate, Tom, on the picture books, so this was very different. It’s the furthest down any rabbit hole I’ve ever been. I would defi nitely do more in the future, as I really enjoyed having an excuse to investigate a topic and write about it. I dropped out of school at 15 to join McFly, so maybe I’m making up for that! I try and keep it as fun as possible to engage the kids with environmental activism.

I don’t use scare tactics, I just try to make them raving fans of the planet we live on. Luckily,all my mates have kids, so I can test methods out on them! Kids get it and they love being creative with it. If you make something fun, they engage with it very quickly. The book was hard to write sometimes, as the stats could be so terrifying. At the end of

the day I have to remind myself that humans have done some amazing things, and we can make a difference if we all try.

There are lots of ways to use less plastic. Beeswax cling

fi lm is great, you can use bars of shampoo instead of bottles, and bamboo toothbrushes are just as good as plastic ones. I have reusable bottles and a reusable

politicians, inventors and activists, hopefully to give a wide perspective on things. I want to grab kids’ attention, no matter what they are into, and I didn’t want to just hammer one side. Hopefully that should spark some inspiration. David Attenborough is my guru. That man is the voice

of the natural world. 90% of everything I know about our planet is through either his TV programmes or his books. When he speaks, people listen.

I believe that, although things are bad right now, that ultimately there are great people on the planet doing awesome things. I mean, the

kids these days are epic! ■

Dougie Poynter will be at the Bath Children’s Literature Festival on Friday 27 September, from 5pm, in The Forum. Tickets: £9.50 from uk or tel: 01225 463362

Profile for MediaClash

Bath Life – Issue 397  

Bath Life – Issue 397