R E A D E R ’ S D I G E S T
| S M A L L A N D
Summer Is Here!
P E R F E C T LY
Best of British: Campsites PAGE 66 Crazy Festivals PAGE 102
Photo Competition PAGE 63
I N F O R M E D
Gatherings for the Godless PAGE 78
Fern Britton Looks Back PAGE 30
J U LY
2 0 1 6
Contents JULY 2016
It’s a mann’s world Olly Mann discovers the trials and tribulations of holidaying with a baby
24 MADS MIKKELSEN interview The Danish actor on why he never shies away from a good story
“I remember”: FERN BRITTON The broadcaster and novelist discusses the highs and lows 66 BEST OF BRITISH: of her long career
Get back to nature in these magnificent locations
38 OUR GUT REACTIONS Why trillions of bacteria are essential to our health Cover illustrati on: Coli n Elgie
Why a former comedian is on a mission to bring church to the godless
SHINGLES: NASTY & DANGEROUS One in three adults over 50 will develop this condition— here’s what to do
78 SUNDAY ASSEMBLY
Travel & Adventure
The secrets of the best traditional cuisine in Lyon
summer happiness PHOTO COMPETITION Send your snaps for a chance to win a high-end camera!
photo by Chris Macrow
FOOD FOR THE SOUL
CRAZY FESTIVALS Discover the most unusual events around the globe 07•2016
IN EVERY ISSUE 7 10
Over to You See the World Differently
July’s cultural highlights
Advice: Susannah Hickling Column: Dr Max Pemberton
If I Ruled the World: Michael Foley
Travel & Adventure
Column: Cathy Adams Column: Andy Webb
Food & Drink 114 Tasty recipes and ideas from Rachel Walker 118
Column: Lynda Clark
Olly Mann’s gadgets
Home & Garden
Fashion & Beauty
Georgina Yates on how to look your best
July Fiction: James Walton’s recommended reads Books That Changed My Life: Tom Holland
129 130 133 136 140 143 144
Fun & Games
You Couldn’t Make It Up Word Power Brain Teasers Laugh! Beat the Cartoonist 60-Second Stand-Up: Sara Pascoe
with summer well and truly underway,
we’ve given this month’s issue a sun-kissed feel. As well as investigating the best places to set up camp for all you outdoorsy types (p66), we’ve also identified some of the most unusual festivals taking place all around the world on p102. Of course, summer means different things to different people, so we want you to share your happy memories with us for our photo competition— it could win you a brand new camera! Turn to p63 for details. Getting back to nature, it turns out, is even more healthy for us than we knew. Our modern-day obsession with cleanliness, as outlined on p38, could be destroying the very bacteria we rely on for our well-being. But if you’d still rather relax indoors with a nice cup of tea, you could do worse than attend a Sunday Assembly, which aims to bring the community spirit of church to a wider audience— learn about it on p78. Happy holidays!
Tom Browne email@example.com facebook.com/readersdigestuk twitter.com/readersdigestuk pinterest.com/rdigestuk google.com/+ReadersDigestUK1
Reader’s Digest is published in 31 editions in 15 languages
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Tom Browne ASSISTANT EDITOR Fiona Hicks DIGITAL EDITOR Mandi Goodier ASSISTANT DIGITAL EDITOR Anna Walker ART DIRECTOR Yvey Bailey GRAPHIC DESIGNERS Richard Cooke Katie Johnson ADVERTISING DIRECTOR Simon Fulton firstname.lastname@example.org 0203 701 5936 ADVERTISING ACCOUNT DIRECTOR Mike Allen email@example.com 0203 701 5935
CEO Gary Hopkins CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER Julie Leach PARTNERSHIPS MANAGER Maggie Champion TRUSTED MEDIA BRANDS INC (USA) President and Chief Executive Officer Bonnie Kintzer Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, International Brian Kennedy Editor-in-Chief, International Magazines Raimo Moysa
For all subscriber enquiries, please use the customer services number below
WRITE TO US! SEND US YOUR STORIES, JOKES AND LETTERS OR VISIT OUR WEBSITE WE PAY...
£50 for the star letter and £30 for regular letters. Email readersletters@readers digest.co.uk or go to readers digest.co.uk/contact-us
WE ALSO PAY...
£50 for the true stories, anecdotes, jokes in Laugh! and You Couldn’t Make It Up…, and contributions to end-ofarticle fillers and My Great Escape. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or go to readersdigest.co.uk/contact-us
We cannot acknowledge or return unpublished items or unsolicited article-length manuscripts. Do not send SAEs. Article-length stories, poetry and cartoons are not requested.
Contact Customer Services for renewals, gifts, address changes, payments, account information and all other enquiries. Call 0330 333 2220* or email email@example.com
Reader’s Digest is also available in audio and accessible etext editions from RNIB Newsagent, for blind and partially sighted readers. Call the RNIB Helpline on 0303 123 9999 or visit rnib.org.uk/newsagent
Visit readersdigest.co.uk or write to: Reader’s Digest, PO Box 7853, Ringwood BH24 9FH. UK: £45.48 a year. Republic of Ireland: €61.20 a year. Prices include delivery. For gift subscriptions, contact Customer Services.
SMALL PRINT: Ensure submissions are not previously published. Include your name, email, address and daytime phone number with all correspondence. We may edit letters and use them in all print and electronic media. Contributions used become world copyright of Vivat Direct Ltd (t/a Reader’s Digest). PAPER FROM SUSTAINABLE FORESTS. PLEASE RECYCLE © 2016 Vivat Direct Ltd (t/a Reader’s Digest). British Reader’s Digest is published by Vivat Direct Ltd, 57 Margaret Street, London W1W 8SJ. All rights reserved throughout the world. Reproduction in any manner, in whole or part, in English or other languages, is prohibited. Reader’s Digest is a trademark owned and under license from Trusted Media Brands, Inc, and is registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. All rights reserved. Printed by Pindar Scarborough Limited. Newstrade distribution by Seymour Distribution Limited.
*Calls to 03 numbers cost no more than a national rate call to an 01 or 02 number and will be free if you have inclusive minutes from any type of line including mobile, BT or other fixed line
GENIUS ACTS OF VANDALISM We couldn’t walk past these cheeky bits of street art without a smile on our faces.
© JO M ILLINGTON/SHUTTERSTOCK / 20TH CEN TURY FOX
The Perfect Summer Barbecue Whip out the tongs and wipe down the grill—it’s barbecue season again! There’s no better way to spend a sunny summer’s day than grilling up a storm with family, friends and slightly-charred-butstill-delicious food. Whether you’re looking to cook the perfect sausages, mix up tasty cocktails or create delectable veggie burgers, we’ve got your summer barbecue covered at readersdigest.co.uk/BBQ
Having Fun with Ed and Patsy Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie graces silver screens from July 1 as Patsy and Edina create a media frenzy when they accidentally kill supermodel Kate Moss. We’re getting our glam on at readersdigest.co.uk/ celebrities with Joanna Lumley’s life in pictures and Jennifer Saunders’ finest comedy moments. twitter.com/readersdigestuk
FOR MORE, GO TO READERSDIGEST.CO.UK
See the full gallery at readersdigest.co.uk/ laugh
Over to You LETTERS ON THE MAY ISSUE
We pay £50 for Letter of the Month and £30 for all others
✯ LETTER OF THE MONTH... Lynne Wallis could have been writing about my husband, who’s been a firefighter since he was 18, in “I Wouldn’t Want To Do Anything Else”. He recently retired, but after six months he joined a local retained fire station. Retained crews are called up to attend the full range of incidents, including fires, floods, road-traffic collisions, chemical spills and more. My husband loves his job. It’s all about being able to handle something when everyone else’s lives are in chaos, and helping those in need regardless of the risk to himself. It’s knowing someone is still alive today or their house is still standing because he was able to be their “angel” during their day of need. That’s the greatest part of his job—no thanks needed. I’d like to thank Reader’s Digest, however, for a superb article. RIA HARDING, C a m b r i d g e s h i r e
PIER-LESS FUN I enjoyed “Best of British: Piers” as it reminded me of my childhood summer holidays. Every year we’d “cross the border” into Lancashire and enjoy a week of fun in Blackpool, which boasts not one but three marvellous piers. I have so many fond memories of walking along the South, Central and North piers. I’d always grip my
parents’ hands tightly, as I was convinced it was possible for me to slip through the wooden slats and end up in the murky sea below. I still enjoy a walk along the Blackpool piers with my own growing family—but these days I’m more concerned with getting my heel caught in the slats and taking an embarrassing tumble! MELANIE LODGE, Yo r k s h i r e
GRATEFUL FOR GRATITUDE Many thanks for printing Lisa Field’s “The Power of Gratitude”—it was a real tonic. After major heart surgery, I spent a week in the ward recalling all the great people I’d met during 40 years of working life and planning a thanksgiving for them. I’m sure it speeded up my recovery. It’s also worth thanking people who are providing a public service that’s not done for you personally —such as stopping to thank people sweeping the street or tending a park. Besides expressing gratitude, I also find donating to charitable causes makes me happier. JOHN GOODCHILD, L i v e r p o o l
STEPS AHEAD I found the article “One Step at a Time” really interesting. I loved the idea of installing the Pavegen tiles at marathon races, which have a huge footfall. The figures quoted for the Paris marathon were impressive and I found myself wondering what would happen if tiles were installed at the finish line of every marathon in the UK. Many people run marathons in aid of a charity, sometimes raising large sums of money in the process. Could this be extended to raising
money for a healthier planet? This would be a win-win situation. SUE WATT, Fi f e
AN EYE-OPENER Lucy Worsley’s idea in “If I Ruled the World” to encourage young children to see museum visits as part of their daily lives is a wonderful one. At the moment, children spend far too much time inside on laptops and social media. Seeing the real thing brings history alive far better than a cartoon—and kids gain so much from it. We’ve just spent a brilliant day in London visiting the British Museum. It’s free and our 12-year-old foster child couldn’t stop taking pictures to show her teacher. She was enthralled by everything she saw. JOANNE AITCH, W i r ra l
SPIFFY DRESSER Thank you for the excellent “I Remember” feature with Nicholas Parsons. Some years ago, I was a guest at a Headway charity luncheon where he was also a guest. My lasting impression is that of an immaculate gentleman with a perfectly tailored suit. He’s certainly the best-dressed man I’ve even seen! MICHAEL PHILLIPS, L e i c e s t e r s h i r e
Send letters to firstname.lastname@example.org Please include your full name, address, email and daytime phone number. We may edit letters and use them in all print and electronic media.
WE WANT TO HEAR
High performance cordless pet vacuum
Introducing the new Gtech AirRam K9 – our best ever vacuum We all dearly love our four legged friends, but cleaning up after them makes vacuuming even more of a chore. Stubborn hair embedded in the carpet, the brush bar choked up… not to mention the smell. The cordless AirRam K9 is the 4x4 upgrade of the original AirRam, complete with extra tough features. Designed not only for great cleaning performance, but to withstand the extra strain pet hair can place on a vacuum cleaner – clogging the mechanism and making it wear out faster.
Tougher AirRam K9 is specially designed to lift embedded hair from carpet fibres, but minimise the amount of hair that gets wrapped around the brush-bar, so less cleaning for you.
Stronger The K9 is strengthened by zinc alloy components, to resist the wear and tear caused by the toughest cleaning environments.
Sweeter And, it features refillable floral scented filters to leave your room smelling clean and fresh.
All the great features of the original AirRam Added to that are all the great features that have made the Gtech AirRam so popular: Mains powered upright vacuum performance†; Lightweight (3.8kg); 40 minutes run-time*; 4-hour charge-time; ‘one button’ simplicity and easy one-click assembly.
Power, performance, simplicity Without the weight or cord holding you back, you can glide from carpet to hard-floor without stopping, unplugging or changing any settings. Suitable for all domestic pets, or just the busiest homes, the K9 compresses the hair and dirt into bales. A removable tray lifts out, allowing you to drop the debris into the bin, without the dust cloud you can get when you empty a cylinder.
ORDER DIRECT – £249 0800 083 53 18 24 hour orderline www.lovevacuuming.com/k9 We are able to offer the AirRam K9 at £249, with free next day delivery∆, when ordering direct. While stocks last. Limited 2-year manufacturer’s warranty. *Runtimes quoted may vary depending on floor surfaces cleaned. †Performance comparisons based on independent tests to IEC 60312-1 ed 1.1 sec 5.1. and 5.3 when compared to mains powered upright vacuums (Source: GFK, UK Top 20, 2014). ∆Free UK delivery. Full details on our website. Grey Technology Ltd. t/a Gtech, Cupola Court, Spetchley, Worcestershire, WR5 1RL.
TL 15797 184x134.indd 1
Photos: Â© AFP/Getty Images
see the world Turn the page
...differently The air is filled with little pieces of paper and the smell of burnt wood. During the Wei Sang Festival in Sichuan (China), bonfires of pine and cypress limbs smoulder as Tibetans write their wishes for a successful year, good harvest and peace on their longda, or prayer papers. To shorten the journey of these divine wishes on their way to the heavens, theyâ€™re ceremoniously tossed into the sky.
IT’S A MANN’S WORLD
Going on a trip with a baby? It’s like taking your gran to watch Megadeth, says Olly Mann
Travels Into The Unknown
Olly Mann is a writer, radio presenter and serial podcaster, with shows including Answer Me This!, The Media Podcast and The Modern Mann
IT’S HOLIDAY TIME. I’m on a baking hot roof terrace, beer in one hand. A gentle breeze is seductively sweeping my hair, as the Mediterranean Sea twinkles on the horizon. The feeling is familiar from previous sojourns: my sunburned lower shoulders; my bloated stomach digesting multiple portions of octopus; my secret wish that the airport workers resume their strike and I get trapped here forever. Yet this break is different, in two fundamental ways: instead of travelling as a couple, we have a newborn baby with us; and instead of residing in a resort, we are staying in a stranger’s flat. These adjustments are completely transformative—to the extent that, for me, the very word “holiday” now conjures up an event so exhausting I need a week off to recover. FIRSTLY, THE LITTLE GUY. Taking a four-month-old baby abroad is like taking your grandma to watch Megadeth: the combination of participant and event is poorly matched, and you have to keep asking security staff the way to the lift. My central concern for our son Harvey was removing him from his usual routine: morning feed downstairs, afternoon feed in the garden, evening feed upstairs, and so on. Any change to that pattern—me standing to answer the door, for instance— can cause hysteria. We thought we were being clever by renting an apartment. Here, we reasoned, Harvey might be fooled into thinking that
ILLUSTRATION BY DANI EL HASKETT
the cold marble floor is somehow our beige carpet, the floor-to-ceiling IKEA furnishings are replicas of our country cottage knick-knacks, and that the top half of his pram, precariously balanced on a chest of drawers, is in fact his cot.
It’s with some paternal pride I report that he’s far too astute for this ploy to even slightly work. The moment we arrived, the waterworks opened and he made it most clear he was Not Keen On Spain. 07•2016
IT’S A MANN’S WORLD
But at least that was on private Of course, babies quickly forget property, and only we had to endure what once upset them and frequently it. On the flight, he’d given a vivid adapt to new circumstances, and rendition of Not Keen On Flying, as I type this now, five days into the which was rather more public. I’d holiday, Harvey is happily at my feet, told myself before we boarded the under a blanket, coated in factor 50, plane that if he kicked off, well, it wearing a swimming nappy, a sunhat was divine retribution for all those that’s slightly too small and sunglasses countless wailing brats that ruined that are slightly too big. my previous flights, it happens to all parents BUT I CAN’T FULLY at some point, and RELAX. In the back of there’s nothing to be my head, I’m wondering I hadn’t embarrassed about. about Mick. Mick anticipated But I hadn’t anticipated owns the flat. I’ve never him screaming his him screaming met him—he arranged lungs out from takekey collection from his lungs out an office—but I feel off to landing, spewing all over the seats, or from take-off I know him, because whacking the passenger there are photos of to landing and him everywhere. In the trapped in the window seat next to us in the kitchen, there’s one of spewing all face, numerous times. him on the beach. Next over the seats to the TV, one of him All of which might have been more sharing pizza with his manageable if we granddaughters. In hadn’t spent a sleepless night before the bedroom, there he is at Madame panicking about whether we’d packed Tussauds, with a waxwork of David appropriately. Will he require longBowie. Which stares at us as we sleep. sleeve vests? What if the flat has no In his sheets. microwave to sterilise his bottles? I know I’m supposedly part of the Will they sell Pampers in Marbella? “disruptive” generation entirely at Does the car-seat count as separate home in, erm, someone else’s home, luggage? Can you put insect repellent but the truth is I find it unsettling to on a baby? If we take apart his Rocker, shadow someone else’s entire life just will we be able to put it together because you’ve exchanged credit-card again? OH GOD, IMAGINE IF HIS details online. Don’t get me wrong: ROCKER WAS BROKEN. It’s the only it’s certainly useful, when travelling thing in the world he truly loves. with young children, to have the use 16
of a washing machine, and a fridge, and two bathrooms. But I just can’t become accustomed to it. As I cook dinner, I find myself wondering what Mick does for a living, and why he appears to be estranged from his daughter. I ask myself: why does he buy such cheap toilet paper, real tracing paper stuff, when he lives here himself half the
year? Does he keep the good stuff in the attic? And what about that biological stain on the sofa? If it’s Harvey’s milk-puke, I should clean it up. If it’s Mick’s doing, it’s probably best left alone. Still, right now, on Mick’s sun terrace, drinking Mick’s beer, I really don’t want to go home. And, oddly, I suspect Harvey doesn’t either.
FROZEN YOGURT RULES Frozen yogurt shop Yogato in Washington, US, has taken ordering etiquette to the extreme. Here are their eccentric directives: 1. Sing along to “Mr Roboto” when it comes on: 10% off. 2. Try your luck with the trivia question: Correct -5%. Wrong +5%. 3. Get a Yogato forehead stamp: 10% off. 4. If you can recite the Stirling battlefield speech from Braveheart in a great Scottish accent: 20% off. 5. Order a yogurt for 30 consecutive days: we’ll name a flavour after you. 6. Suggest a flavour or topping that’s then adopted: 5% discount for life. 7. Stump Steve on Seinfeld or “The Rock” trivia: 10% off. 8. Anyone wearing a kickball uniform and has played hard (evidenced by dirt on their knees): 10% off. 9. Re-enact the entire 47-second Michael Jackson “Thriller” dance: 20% off. Perform a shorter choreographed dance (such as the Hitch Q-Tip dance): 10% off. 10. Dress up like 1980s tennis legend Bjorn Borg: 25% off. Sing “I’m Too Sexy” by Right Said Fred in his Swedish accent to bump up to: 50% off. SOURCE: DISTRACTIFY.COM
Is Your Internet Provider Keeping You Safe? Broadband providers are offering free security tools that most of us don’t use IT’S EASIER than ever to stay safe online today, as many broadband providers include internet security as part of your package. When switching to a new supplier, it’s worth trying to find a deal with an internet security package that protects both you and your family while browsing online.
HOW DO I FIND THE BEST BROADBAND DEAL? With so many to choose from, how do you know which one is the right choice for your household? That’s where the Reader’s Digest Switching Service can help.
WHICH SUPPLIERS OFFER INTERNET SECURITY? Plusnet, TalkTalk, Sky, Virgin Media and BT all offer their own security solutions, either free or for a small monthly fee. This provides virus protection on your home network, as well as a great firewall system to keep any unwanted intruders out. Often also included is Child Safe browsing, allowing you to set what is and what isn’t appropriate for your children to view online.
Call the Reader’s Digest Switching Service to speak with one of our friendly broadband experts, trained to find you the right deal to match your online lifestyle. We’ll really listen to what you need from your new broadband provider, whether that’s faster download speed, an unlimited data cap or better internet security, to find the perfect package from the 11,000 we have available.
So give us a call on 0800 380 0061 and find out how much you could save today. Calls are free from landlines and mobiles. Dedicated team available 7 days a week, 8am–9pm.
Simplifty Digital_July_FP.indd 2
Movie of the Month
Modern love: Ethan Hawke & Greta Gerwig
by tom br ow n e
■■Rom-com: Maggie’s Plan This lowkey project from writer-director Rebecca Miller stars Greta Gerwig as the title character, an independent woman who wants to become a single mother by selfinsemination. This “plan” is derailed when she meets John (Ethan Hawke), a writer whose marriage to overbearing academic Georgette (Julianne Moore) is apparently falling apart. The street-level focus on characters recalls the work of Noah Baumbach—with whom Gerwig has frequently collaborated—and there’s more than a hint of Woody Allen too, particularly the New York milieu of bookish intellectuals struggling with life. This is obviously not to everyone’s taste, but there’s more than enough wit and charm to sustain it, and the interplay between Gerwig, Hawke and Moore never gets boring.
© sony class ics / Entertain men t one / ifc f ilm s
■■family: the bfg Roald Dahl’s books
for children have attracted a number of big-name directors over the years— and now the biggest name of all, Steven Spielberg, has got involved. This is by far the most visually impressive movie released this month, combining live action with up-to-date motion-capture technology, expanding Mark Rylance’s “friendly giant” so he fills up the screen and towers over Sophie, played by newcomer Ruby Barnhill.
■■biopic: born to be blue There’s
been a glut of music biopics recently, but this take on the life of jazz trumpeter Chet Baker (Ethan Hawke again) is more original than most. The focus is mainly on 1966, in particular covering Chet’s early experiences with heroin, the drug that dominated his life. It abounds with elliptical flashbacks, black-and-white scenes and composite characters (not least an effective turn from Carmen Ejogo as Chet’s girlfriend), but the film as a whole casts a hazy spell. 07•2016
e n t e r ta i n m e n t
DVD of the month ■■bone tomahawk*
Forget Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight— this was the must-see Western of last year.
On Your Radar Tracy Davidson, mature student Watching: The Musketeers (box set) I’m currently
working my way through the first two swashbuckling series.
Online: caption.me New photos go up daily for people to write captions for. It’s addictive fun (and quite rude!).
Reading: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley I didn’t expect to like
Listening: Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret by Soft Cell I played
this, as horror isn’t my thing. But I love it. The creature is both moving and scary at the same time.
the cassette to destruction in the Eighties. I recently got the CD and I’m enjoying reliving my youth.
Fancy appearing in this section? Send your current cultural favourites, along with short descriptions, to email@example.com 20
* TO BUY DVDS FEATURED HERE, GO TO SHOP.READERSDIGEST.CO.UK
© Lorton Distribution / S ony P ictures Releasi ng
■■drama: Adult Life Skills The transition from childhood to adulthood and the all-consuming power of grief are the twin pillars of this charming movie, which stars Jodie Whittaker as 29-year-old Anna, a woman struggling to cope with her own self-confidence and the recent death of her twin brother. Although the themes are heavy, the film has a real lightness of touch, and Whittaker has never been better.
■■comedy: ghostbusters A second sequel to the Eighties supernatural comedy has long been anticipated, but this reboot is more radical than anyone expected. Reuniting director Paul Feig with Bridesmaids star Melissa McCarthy, this reimagines the plot of the first film with a largely female cast and far broader humour. Going by reactions to the trailer, fans will be divided to say the least.
by ma n d i g o o d i e r
The Bride by Bat for Lashes
Album of the Month
Less an album and more a multifaceted concept, Natasha Khan’s latest longplayer also extends to a short story, film and series of concerts, all performed in churches. And there’s no escaping the theme: the union of two people through holy matrimony and all that follows. Only in this case, there’s just the bride—her optimism and excitement the evening before, then the strange, pitiful looks as she walks down the aisle to discover her groom has been killed in a road accident on route to the wedding. Dark stuff. What happens next is her journey, from honeymoon to meditation on love and loss. The songs are gorgeous, delicate and suitably haunting. Key tracks: “I Do”, “In God’s House”, “Sunday Love” Like this? You may also like: Cocteau Twins, Kate Bush, Sharon Van Etten Overlooked Record from the Past Tender Buttons by Broadcast
Occasionally reminiscent of a screeching modem connecting to the internet, Broadcast transformed odd noises into something tuneful. When combined with more traditional instruments and Trish Keenan’s vocals, it’s like an electronic reimagining of The Velvet Underground and Nico. This 2005 album marked a change in direction for Broadcast, which not all their fans appreciated. Perhaps this is why it still remains undervalued, but since Keenan’s untimely death in 2011 after contracting swine flu, the phantasmic feel of Tender Buttons feels like her spectre. listen to these albums at READERSDIGEST.CO.UK/LISTEN
On Our Radar Shetland Nature Festival, July 2–9.
Explore all aspects of these lovely islands. Somerset House Summer Series, London, July 7–17.
Eclectic live music. Rose Week, Belfast, July 18–24. Admire
the 45,000 blooms at Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park.
Stephen’s first smartphone opens up a world of possibilities OBSERVED FROM the sidelines, the fast moving world of smartphone technology can appear daunting to anyone who hasn’t yet taken the plunge. Doro, the world leader in easy to use mobile phones, understands this and is developing smartphones specifically designed for beginners – of all ages. Until two months ago, retired grandfather Stephen Phillips (right) from Middlesex had never used a smartphone, but now he is revelling in the new freedoms he has gained from owning his first Doro. Stephen, 67, is living life to the full in his retirement, and as well as enjoying time with his family, he volunteers at a local hospital and is chairman of his local tennis club. He says: “My family use smartphones as a matter of course, and I saw the enjoyment they were getting and the useful things they were able to do.”
Learning made easy with Doro “Buying a Doro, for me, was the perfect way in. Frankly, it is the best phone I have ever had. Being able to show my friends pictures I have taken of my grandchildren on the phone, sending or receiving them by email when I’m out – even checking the weather for tennis – I haven’t stopped playing with it.” Recently, Stephen’s youngest grandson, nine-yearold Sami, helped him to take his first ever selfie! And now he has helped him set up WhatsApp. He said: “WhatsApp is great. I can message him or share pictures for free when I am on WiFi.” He adds: “I thought it would be difficult to learn how to use a smartphone, but it is all so easy with Doro. And I have even taught myself how to use voice commands to send emails and text messages. I wish I’d got one years ago.”
SPECIAL READER’S DIGEST OFFER! Buy the new Doro Liberto® 820 Mini today, for the special price of £150, which includes an Anywhere SIM card connection and £40 of credit, allowing you to roam the UK with signal from O2, EE and Vodafone. Simply go to www.readersdigest. co.uk/mobilephones or call
03454 133 953 and quote “Reader’s Digest offer”.
A Journey to The
Side Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen reveals how he traverses low-budget and blockbuster projectsâ€”and why a serious actor never shies away from a good story BY TOM BROWN E
PHOTO: KURT KRIEGER/CORBIS VIA GETTY IMAGES
A J O U R N E Y TO T H E DA R K S I D E
THE ELEGANT SURROUNDINGS
of London’s Hotel Cafe Royal seems like an appropriately stylish venue to be interviewing Mads Mikkelsen. In fact, as I’m ushered into a conference room and shake hands with this neatly tailored individual, I start to feel a little scruffy. The feeling is magnified by the ad playing on a big screen at the other end of the room. This announces Mads as the new brand ambassador for XTB, a top European brokerage company. How do I confess to him that I know nothing about the world of derivatives or trading? Thankfully, Mads reassures me. “If you asked me about this a couple of months ago, I would have been blank,” he says, flashing a smile. “A bit like Homer Simpson, with a monkey running around inside my head. But I’m a poker player, and I love the idea that if you’re skilful enough there’s something to be gained from this. If you’re not, you’ll lose something. The good thing is, you’re not playing for other people’s money—you’re playing for your own money. It’s not one of those ‘the world will come down’ things. It’s just you and your intelligence.” 26
He waves his hand at the advert, which depicts Mads as a retail investor moving smoothly between glamorous locations while punching out deals on his laptop. “I liked the product and I liked the iconic, stylish way of shooting
© DPA PICTURE ALLIANCE ARCHIVE/ALAMY STOCK PHOTO
Mads with Alicia Vikander in 2012’s A Royal Affair; (below) with Casino Royale costars Caterina Murino and Daniel Craig
a commercial. This is a man who’s in charge of his emotions, a man who’s in control. He can lose it, but he’ll be back in the saddle. That’s quite similar to Le Chiffre, of course.” THIS IS A REFERENCE to the role that, after a decade of acting, pushed Mads into the mainstream: the villainous, poker-playing Le Chiffre in Casino Royale, the 2006 film that rebooted the James Bond franchise. © AF ARCHIVE/ALAMY STOCK PHOTO
Indeed, even those who don’t know the name will recognise the face, which has become an increasingly familiar presence on our screens. And much like fellow Scandinavian Alicia Vikander—who Mads starred alongside in A Royal Affair—he’s someone equally at home in lowbudget art-house projects and big Hollywood blockbusters. “Yes, pretty much so,” says Mads, with a thoughtful pause. “It’s always 07•2016
A KEY FACTOR in Mads’ success is undoubtedly his great screen presence. I mention a previous interview I did with Danish director Kristian Levring, in which he praised Mikkelsen’s ability to “communicate a lot without saying much”. “Well, I’m very happy he says that,” says Mads, grinning. “I think there’s been a trend in the world of motion pictures for characters to talk and talk and talk. You end up forgetting what it’s all about, which is the image. A small character in a big background can say a lot, a close-up can say a lot. Instead, we tend to have everyone explaining what they think and feel. 28
Mads as Le Chiffre in Casino Royale. His performance was praised for its wordless communication
This can be really interesting and funny if you’re Woody Allen, but some people can tell stories without doing much. The camera can do the work instead.” Indeed, one thinks of Le Chiffre’s long, malevolent stares, or Mads’ chilling portrayal of Dr Hannibal Lecter in NBC’s recent series. This silent and inscrutable quality also informed one of his most acclaimed performances, as the suspected paedophile Lucas in The Hunt, which netted Mads the Best Actor award at the Cannes Film Festival.
© Z UM A PRESS , IN C/ALA MY STOC K PH OTO
a balance. Certain things that pay you a lot don’t interest you, but certain things that pay you a lot do interest you. And, of course, certain things that don’t pay much also interest you, and vice versa. So I do what I like, which is lucky because not everybody can do that. But so far I haven’t done anything that I didn’t like doing.” I slightly raise my eyebrow, momentarily thinking of the big-budget clunker Clash of the Titans, but Mads adds a small proviso: “Of course, some things haven’t turned out exactly how I wanted them, but the start of everything has to be, ‘I like this.’ ”
Does he ever worry about playing such controversial characters? “Not really,” he replies. “What’s to be afraid of? Everyone loves the dark side of the coin. It’s true that certain Americans said [of his character in The Hunt], ‘Oh, you should stay away from that one. You’re accused of being a paedophile—it might ruin your career.’ I was like, ‘Seriously?’ I’d play a paedophile tomorrow if it was a good story. Frankly, a serious actor In awardwinning would never hesitate form in if it was a good story.”
Well, there goes my chance of a scoop. In response, I cheekily ask Mads about his status as Denmark’s sexiest man, as proclaimed in more than one poll. How does he feel about that? “I feel very happy that you guys get it so wrong,” he replies, with a slight roll of the eyes. “It was actually over 15 years ago—they must have been drinking that day. When I was
NONETHELESS, his lighter side will soon be on display in two high-profile roles: as a sorcerer in the upcoming superhero film Doctor Strange; and father figure Galen Erso in Rogue One, the first of Disney’s many Star Wars spin-offs. This last project, especially, will throw Mads back into the Hollywood hype machine. “Oh yeah, a huge number of people want to know what it’s all about, who I’m playing, what’s going to happen,” chuckles Mads. “Obviously I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you and bury you with all the other fans—they might never find you.”
younger I got a little annoyed by it, but I can take it with a smile today. I mean, the guy that does the weather reports is on the list as well, so I don’t pay too much attention.” Mads Mikkelsen is the brand ambassador for XTB. Doctor Strange and Rogue One are released later this year.
© MOVIESTORE COLLECTION LTD/ALAMY STOCK PHOTO
Fern Britton, 58, is one of the nation’s best-loved broadcasters and novelists, fronting Ready Steady Cook and ITV’s This Morning. She currently hosts BBC1 antiques quiz show For What It’s Worth.
…MY FIRST MEMORY. I used to sit outside in a big old-fashioned pram while my mother tended her beloved garden; she was always digging, planting or mowing. I was very cosy in that pram and there’s a lovely photo of me with Mr Holly, my teddy from that time. More than 40 years later I had a similar pram for my daughter Winnie, and I took a photo of her holding a rather older, tattier-looking Mr Holly. …MY MOTHER’S SCARLET LIPSTICK. No matter whether she was building a bonfire or at school sports day, my mother 30
always wore lipstick. And very glamorous she looked too, with her jet-black hair and tall, slender figure. She smelt wonderful, Chanel Nº5 or Dior, and attracted a lot of attention, but never had serious boyfriends until she married my stepfather George. (My father, the actor Tony Britton, had left the family before I was born.) She made life fun for my older sister Cherry and me, although it can’t always have been easy—she was a single mother with two young girls to bring up. She’s 92 now, has just had a hip operation and is still going strong.
© Ken McKay/ITV/RE X/Shutt erstock
Fern Britton “I Remember”
I r e m e mb e r
in a different car every time and was tall and handsome. I wasn’t scared of him, just in awe. When I was 18 we started to have a closer relationship. Fern begins her love of cycling aged four; (right) a trip to Portugal in 1975
…BEING DRESSED UP AS A DOLLY IN A BOX. My grandmother used to take Cherry and me on cruises and there’d always be a fancy-dress competition. The passengers were supposed to make do with what they had packed or could find on board, but my grandmother would have us prepared weeks in advance so we had the best chance of winning. My favourite costume was when I went as a doll with long blonde hair, rosebud lips and a frilly dress, and then was put inside a cardboard box. …HARDLY ANYTHING OF MY FATHER. On the rare occasions he came to visit us, my mother would get dressed up and Cherry would be all ready to show him the latest piece she had learned on the piano, but I’d just stand and look. He’d arrive 32
…WARM SAND ON MY FEET. Every year we went on holiday to Cornwall and it always seemed to be sunny. I felt secure and happy there, running up and down the beach. There was a Punch and Judy man who walked around on stilts, calling all the kids to the puppet show. I’d queue up for a 99 ice cream and lick it off my fingers as it ran down the cone before I could get back to the spot where my mother, aunt and uncle sat. My mother used secretly to put sixpences in the rock pools and encourage us to search for treasure. Magical times. …NEVER FEELING AMBITIOUS. I only applied to do stage management at the Central School of Speech and Drama because our school careeradvice officer didn’t know what else to suggest for me. But I got a place and remember coming out of the tube station at Swiss Cottage and walking down Eton Avenue thinking, I can’t
believe I’m at drama school! Many of my contemporaries there are still close friends and have gone on to do amazing things. BUYING A COTTAGE WHEN I WAS 23. After a couple of years working in theatre I’d got a job as a continuity announcer for Westward Television and had moved to Cornwall. After renting for a while I was able to buy my first little home—it only cost £15,000! I had two cats and my career went from strength to strength. …SUFFERING FROM DEPRESSIVE EPISODES. I didn’t really understand what was happening in the early days and thought I just wasn’t feeling well. I’d spend a lot of time crying and avoiding people, I wouldn’t answer the door or the phone. I could put my smiley Fern Britton face on to go to work, but when I got home I’d have nothing else to give. I’m able to laugh at some of my behaviour now, like the time I felt so desperate for someone to look after me that I felt I had to do something drastic. I had one enormous armchair in my cottage and I picked it up, got it out of the lounge into the © R EX/Shu tt e rstoc k
hall, wriggled it down the steps to the front garden and dragged it through the garden gate to the lane, where I plonked myself down on it. I sat there weeping, thinking someone will definitely come past and find me and care for me. But of course nobody came by. In the end I had to get the chair all the way back into the lounge and, by then exhausted, I put the kettle on and had a cup of tea instead. …MY WORST TIME IN TELEVISION. When I did Breakfast Time in the early 80s for 18 months, I learned more about TV and myself than any time before or since. I just wasn’t used to the sophisticated level of bullying that operated there, but it made me Fern at the start of her broadcasting career in the 1980s
I r e m e mb e r
strong. I had a really hard time, but knew I would never allow people to make me feel that bad again and so I’m grateful to have done it. …SEEING TWO DOTS ON MY ULTRASOUND SCAN. My husband at the time Clive Jones and I were on our fourth attempt at IVF when I went for my first scan. The nurse said, “Congratulations, you’re pregnant with twins.” I had to tell Clive to sit down before I gave him the news— he already had three children from his first marriage. That day in 1993 when Jack and Harry were born was blissful. I remember exactly how they looked and smelt, and they’ve been nothing but a joy ever since. And how blessed I was to experience that twice more when my daughter Grace was born in 1997 and Winnie (with second husband Phil Vickery) in 2001. With newborn Winnie and four-year-old Grace in 2001
…THINKING I’D NEVER MAKE A GOOD ACTRESS, although the times I’ve been in pantomime I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it. The first time was in Cinderella at the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton—I played Dandini to Jan Hunt’s leggy Prince Charming. I thought I was the bee’s knees in my suede jerkin, tights, hat and boots. But having trained to be a stage manager, I understood and got on with the behind-the-scenes crew rather better than I grasped the principles of acting! …KNOWING I HAD TO LEAVE MY MARRIAGE. Soon after Grace was born, I knew I couldn’t be in a relationship that wasn’t working very well any more. My friends and family all thought I was having another depressive episode, but in fact I had done my mourning for at least two years before I had the courage to start anew. I remember the sheer liberty of being free, but it was a difficult time; you throw a pebble in a pond and the ripples go on a very long time. …THE CHEFS ON READY STEADY COOK BEHAVED LIKE NAUGHTY LITTLE BOYS. They were all so competitive! One time Antony Worrall Thompson crept in before filming and turned the other chef’s gas and water off to prevent him cooking. But that show has a special place in my heart. It was my salvation, kept
me on the straight and mind: Maybe one day I Fern catching husband Phil Vickery’s eye narrow, and allowed might hold those hands. me to be independent, We married in 2000 and both financially and personally. Winnie was born the following year. …NOT NOTICING PHIL VICKERY. There were so many chefs on the show that I hadn’t paid him any attention. I was single and enjoying myself again; I wasn’t interested in having someone new in my life. But one of the girls who worked on the show came up and said, “Phil Vickery fancies you.” I said, “Which one is he?” and she said, “The one who rolls his sleeves up.” I knew who he was then as I always thought he looked like an osteopath! The next time he came in I took a look at him and noticed he had lovely hands. A thought crossed my © R EX/Shu tt e rstoc k
…TEN YEARS ON THIS MORNING. It’s a unique programme to British TV and I remember my very first day with Richard Madeley, when I filled in for Judy, to my last day ten years later, which fell on my 52nd birthday. That morning in July, before I left for work, I remember Phil being very jumpy and taking all these phone calls—all before 6am. I said, “Are you all right, darling?” and he eventually admitted that there was supposed to be a helicopter landing in the football field opposite our house to whisk me to the studio, but thick fog had prevented it from landing. It was such 07•2016
I r e m e mb e r
a compliment that the last show was all about me, and was the only time in my career that I didn’t have a script or talkback in my ears. …I’M AS NERVOUS AS A KITTEN WHEN MY BOOKS ARE PUBLISHED. The new novel is my sixth and writing them is harder work than anything I’ve ever done. It can be lonely and frustrating, but I know I’m not Jane Austen; I say to myself, Just do the best you can. I’m so grateful that my readers enjoy them. Having four children to get through university does sharpen my wits though!
…WATCHING MY DAUGHTER RUNNING ON THE BEACH. We were in Cornwall recently and Winnie was in the water, with her long hair flowing. I was brought full circle back to my own childhood memories. I do try to take time to notice the special moments in life. We’ve all got bad and good memories, but acknowledging the difficult and sad ones makes the real blessings all around us that much more precious. As told to Caroline Hutton Fern’s new novel The Postcard is out now, published by Harper Collins.
(VERY) ABRIDGED VOLUMES Do you feel you ought to read some classic novels? No need. Cartoonist John Atkinson has helpfully summarised all the key tomes in as few words as possible (warning: spoilers): War and Peace Everyone is sad. It snows. The Grapes of Wrath Farming sucks. Road trip! Road trip sucks. Don Quixote Guy attacks windmills. Also, he’s mad. The Sun Also Rises Lost generation gets drunk. They’re still lost. Moby Dick Man vs whale. Whale wins. Ulysses Dublin, something, something, something, run-on sentence. Dante’s Inferno All hell breaks loose. Wuthering Heights A sort-of brother and sister fall in love. It’s foggy. Crime and Punishment Murderer feels bad. Confesses. Goes to jail. Feels better. SOURCE: MENTALFLOSS.COM
FOR MORE, GO TO READERSDIGEST.CO.UK/ENTERTAINMENT
Dirt has nowhere to hide Does not apply to all models
The NEW SEBO AIRBELT E Range The strong, silent type Take your cleaning to a new level with the SEBO AIRBELT E vacuum cleaner. The super-quiet, yet extremely powerful motor, variable suction, free-rolling castors, long cleaning range and easy to hold handle, make cleaning much easierâ€Ś and quieter. It looks good too! SEBO. Tough on dirt.
For a chance to win a SEBO vacuum cleaner, enter our monthly draw at:
Reactions New research is beginning to uncover how the trillions of bacteria in and on our body are vital to our health
ILLUSTRATION Â© SAM FALCONER
BY JO C ARLOWE
OUR GUT REACTIONS
EARLY THIS YEAR, scientists made
an extraordinary discovery. They unearthed bacteria from the stomach of a 5,300-year-old mummy preserved in permafrost. The iceman, dubbed Ötzi, was dug up 16 years earlier, but the bacteria had migrated into his ribcage, where it remained hidden until January this year. The finding, although minuscule in size, is gargantuan in significance. Over millennia, Western lifestyles —characterised by sterile living and a proclivity for the indoors—have
By gathering data from fossilised faeces and the guts of mummies (including Ötzi), and studying modern hunter-gatherer populations, scientists are recognising that our insides aren’t what they used to be. “There appears to have been major and very recent changes in our gut microbiome,” points out Dr Christina Warinner, assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Oklahoma. “Both traditional peoples and archaeological populations have
WESTERN LIFESTYLES HAVE CHANGED OUR GUT FLORA, CONTRIBUTING TO ASTHMA AND OBESITY changed our gut flora, contributing to modern scourges such as asthma and obesity. Only now are experts realising the extent to which the trillions of bacteria that live in and on us exert an influence on our lives. These diminutive critters—so tiny that a million laid together would cover a single pinhead—help us digest food, break down toxins, make vitamins and metabolise medicines. They influence our hormones, our immune systems and even our brains. Learning to understand better this relationship may become as critical to modern science and medicine as cracking the genetic code. 40
more diverse gut microbiomes than people living urban, industrialised lifestyles today.” Indeed, dwellers of farming communities in Burkina Faso, Malawi and South Africa have a fuller complement of bacteria in their guts than Europeans and North Americans. One example is treponema, a class of bacteria that’s great at digesting fibre and is believed to reduce inflammation in the gut. It’s still found in Tanzanian and Peruvian huntergatherer populations, but it’s virtually absent in urbanised Western society. And there are some gut bacteria that have upped and left completely.
The mummy known as to help humans defend This isn’t good news. Ötzi. Scientists have against pathogens. Says Professor Warinner, She says that our gut “Reduced gut microbi- reconstructed his last meal using samples from his microbiota continually ome diversity is usually stomach and intestines “engages in cross-talk associated with conditions such as metabolic disease, along with the host” to help us develop a robust immune system and healthy with gastrointestinal disorders.” Dr Stephanie Schnorr, a researcher metabolism. If these channels of comin molecular anthropology from the munication are disrupted, the whole University of Oklahoma, suspects the system is weakened—rather like trylost bacteria were also used for “early ing to govern a country when half the immune-system training”—that is, Cabinet has resigned. © ROPI/ALAMY STOCK PHOTO
OUR GUT REACTIONS
The options for redressing the balance are limited to probiotics and, at the extreme end, faecal transplant. Probiotics 42
Our use of antibiotics has killed off much of our gut’s “good” bacteria, which then needs to be replaced
involve ingesting live bacteria and yeast (usually in drink, yogurt or supplement form) to populate the gut with “friendly” microorganisms. Research on mice has shown probiotics make rodents’ fur shinier, cause improvements in behaviour and even reduce obesity. In one study, probiotic-fed mice were less anxious and depressed than their peers—evidence of a “gutbrain axis”. Other studies suggest probiotics help prevent inflammation caused by
© BSIP SA/ALAM Y STOCK P HOTO
We’re “losing touch with our microbial old friends”, the experts warn; a parting hastened by our obsession with hyper-sanitation. We keep babies away from germs, we grow up eating pasteurised, canned or refrigerated food (anything to avoid fermentation). Experts describe this as “starving our microbial selves”. We douse our hands in antibacterial soaps and, if unwell, we take antibiotics, which rids us of infections but also kills off “good” gut bacteria at the same time. With asthma, eczema, food allergies, hay fever, autoimmune disease and obesity all on the rise, scientists are looking to redress the balance. “Sanitisation, antibiotics, soaps and pasteurisation are modern marvels that allow us to live long, healthy adult lives without worrying that a paper cut will kill you,” says Dr Schnorr. “But as with anything, we’ve been blinded to the long-term consequences of the unregulated use of these powerful tools. Now, hindsight is catching up with us. “The gut ecosystem is like any other —it needs its predators, prey, opportunists and symbionts in all varieties in order to achieve a kind of balance. It’s possible to find some good middle ground so we can have our health and play in the dirt too.”
gastroenteritis and reduce antibioticrelated diarrhoea in patients with Clostridium difficile (C.diff ). But for treating severe antibioticresistant bacterial infections, such as C.diff, a “stool transplant” is more effective. The concept dates back to fourth-century China, when a man called Ge Hong recorded administrating a suspension of human faeces by mouth to treat food poisoning or severe diarrhoea. Nowadays, Faecal Microbiota Transplant (FMT) involves passing healthy donor stools into the colon via a colonscope, enema or nasogastric pipe. The UK-based Taymount Clinic, (the only dedicated FMT clinic in Europe) has performed over 6,000 procedures. The clinic uses stools from several different donors to maximise diversity, and all are screened to ensure they’re healthy and infection-free. “We have 25 donors and that makes us the largest stool bank in the UK, and probably the biggest donor bank in the world,” says microbiologist Glenn Taylor, director of science at the clinic. Relatives aren’t used as donors as their bacterial profiles may be too similar to the patient. Indeed, last year in the US, a woman became obese following a stool transplant from her overweight daughter. At Taymount, the sample is strained in a sieve-stack oscillator down to 20 microns (20 millionths of a millimetre), and the “bacterial pellet” is centrifuged
THE BENEFITS OF FMT Sam Howard, 31, from Essex, opted to have a stool transplant over a colectomy. “I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis five years ago. It affected everything I did. I constantly felt like I had flu and I was going to the toilet 40 times a day. I couldn’t do the things I wanted like taking my kids to the park, or playing rugby. I’d tried steroids and other medications, and the next step was the removal of the colon, which would mean wearing a colostomy bag. It was this that made me seek an alternative. I heard about FMT on the news and I was a bit squeamish about it, but I felt it had to be better than a colectomy. The procedure took half an hour and the Taymount Clinic team helped me through it. There was no need for anaesthetic. I was implanted using a syringe attached to a long tube. It felt slightly cold, but nothing more. I had ten days of treatments. My recovery is still ongoing, but whereas pre-treatment I couldn’t leave the house and would be in agony, posttreatment I go to the toilet three times a day. I’ve taken the kids to the park for the first time by myself and I play rugby again.”
OUR GUT REACTIONS
Parents may soon choose to inoculate their babies with “designer probiotics”
Superorganism: Learning to Love Your Inner Ecosystem, likens it to “trying to improve a disease-ravaged, depleted shrubbery by transplanting an entire rainforest, all in one go”. 44
Research is still at an early stage, but both probiotics and FMT look set to become more targeted and sophisticated. Farmers already treat chicks with PREEMPT—a preparation of 29 bacterial strains—to help ward off salmonella. Jon Turney adds that he imagines parents might similarly inoculate their babies with “a cocktail of designer probiotics”. Made-to-measure probiotics are also just around the corner. Two companies in the US, Personalized Probiotics and Sweet Peach (which focuses on vaginal health), are launching services in which customers send in samples for genetic sequencing and microbial content analysis, then receive a tailormade product. Probiotic gum, which prevents tooth decay by creating “a balanced oral environment”, already exists, as does probiotic ointment for acne. The world of FMT is also changing. At the University of Guelph, Canada, scientists developed RePOOPulate, a probiotic made from a synthetic stool mix (developed by culturing strains from healthy donor stools) for transplant. Such a blend was used to cure two trial patients with C. diff.
© TIN YDEVIL/SHUTTERSTOCK
and washed. A rectal catheter infusion is used to implant the FMT directly into the large intestine (colon). In March 2014, NICE guidelines approved FMT as a treatment of “last resort” in recurrent, antibiotic-resistant C. diff, with studies showing it to be effective. As shown in the case study on p43, FMT can also used to treat inflammatory bowel disease. But it’s hard to get beyond the yuck factor. Jon Turney, British author of I,
The treatment, Microbial Ecosystem Therapy, is awaiting authorisation, but its founders visualise doctors being able to select from a choice of laboratory-brewed ecosystems to best suit patients. In another cutting-edge study, C.diff patients received capsules containing spores of 50 species of beneficial bacteria, paving the way for a “bacterial pill”. Other notable developments include localised microbial transplants, such as the transplant of armpit to armpit. One example is drarmpit.com, which aims to solve body odour by replacing “malodorous armpit microbiomes”
with ones from more fragrant donors. Even more innovative is the prospect of genetically engineered bugs, designed to maximise heath or fend off illness. In 2014, scientists reported reprogramming E. coli in mice, and described a “new class of engineered probiotic bacteria” tasked with diagnosing and curing disease. Only time will tell if these advancements succeed, but finding new ways to relate to our microscopic “housemates” has got to be worth a go. The Taymount Clinic is based in Hertfordshire. Visit taymount.com for more information.
HARD TO SAY Have you ever thought something that’s difficult to explain? It turns out there’s probably a word for it: Sonder: the realisation that each passer-by has a life as vivid and complex as your own. Adronitis: frustration with how long it takes to get to know someone. Vellichor: the strange wistfulness of used bookshops. Monachopsis: the subtle but persistent feeling of being out of place. Kenopsia: the eerie, forlorn atmosphere of a place that’s usually bustling with people but is now abandoned and quiet. Chrysalism: the amniotic tranquility of being indoors during a thunderstorm. Jouska: a hypothetical conversation that you compulsively play out in your head. SOURCE: DICTIONARYOFOBSCURESORROWS.COM
The Zero-Effort Holiday Workout BY S USA N N A H H I C K L I NG
BUILD FUN ACTIVITIES into your time away and you may even counter the extra calories you consume. Try to be active for at least two hours a day. GO FOR AN EVENING STROLL Take a leaf out of the book Susannah is twice winner of the Guild of Health Writers Best Consumer Magazine Health Feature
of people in southern Mediterranean countries and go for a walk when it’s a bit cooler. Try to make it a daily ritual while you’re away. It’s a pleasant way to experience local life and you’ll feel mentally and physically refreshed. GET IN THE WATER Don’t just veg out at the water’s edge but go for a swim from time to time, play games or just walk in the water. Merely standing in waist-high water is a good workout, thanks to the action of the water. Or if that all sounds a bit too cold and wet, hire a paddle boat or rowing boat, or go sailing. Messing about on the water burns calories and engages your muscles more than being on dry land. PLAY MINI GOLF You’ve probably never thought of miniature
golf as an exercise, but it’ll burn more calories than sitting around. Plus you’ll have a great time. FLY A STUNT KITE An excellent activity for a windy day, it will give your upper body a great workout as you grapple with that 46
BITE BACK AGAINST MOZZIES Bite-protection expert Howard Carter warns there could be a 25 per cent increase in mosquitoes in the UK this year. Flooding earlier this year is partly to blame because standing water is the perfect biter breeding ground. The best way to make them buzz off is to remember the acronym CLOAK: C Cover up.
© JUI CE I MAGES/ALA MY STOC K PH OTO
kite and run to keep it in the air or chase it down when it plummets to earth. FLING A FRISBEE You’ll get your heart rate up every time you have to run or leap for that errant plastic disc. And if you play Frisbee on a sandy beach, you’ll be working those leg muscles that much harder. HOLD A FAMILY OLYMPICS Have a daily
competition in the swimming pool, such as swimming between people’s legs or making the biggest splash, or a week-long badminton tournament. And make sure you make it as silly as possible.
L Light-coloured clothing is less likely to attract mozzies. O Odours such as BO and perfumes attract mosquitoes like, well, flies. So wash thoroughly. A Apply an insect repellent on any exposed skin. K Keep away from stagnant water.
The science of good bone structure Britain’s favourite bone health formula, Osteocare® provides natural source calcium carefully balanced with magnesium, zinc and vitamin D which all contribute to the maintenance of normal bones. Osteocare’s expert formula provides vitamin D, in the preferred D3 form as produced naturally by our skin when exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D, the ‘sunshine vitamin’, contributes to the normal absorption and utilisation of calcium. Osteocare® is especially recommended for: 3 Pregnancy & breast-feeding 3 During & after the menopause 3 Older men & women “The Art of Good Bone Structure” Body painting by Sarah Bee, for Osteocare®
The Department of Health recommends that adults aged 65 years and over should take a daily supplement of 10µg of vitamin D.
TABLETS / LIQUID
BONES & CARTILAGE
DUAL PACK WITH OMEGA-3
from Britain’s No.1 Vitamin Company
*Nielsen GB ScanTrack Total Coverage Value Sales 52 w/e25 April 2015. From , Holland & Barrett, Superdrug, supermarkets, GNC, pharmacies, health stores and www.osteocare.com † UK’s No.1 bone health supplement brand. Stockists may vary.
© WAVEBREA KM EDIA LTD PH 27L/A LAM Y STOCK PHOTO
H2…Ow! My son learned to dive in the sea last summer—and picked up an ear infection. Even prime ministers aren’t immune: David Cameron was also a victim of swimmer’s ear, reportedly caught while surfing in the Algarve. But what is it? Swimmer’s ear—or to give it its technical name, otitis externa—is inflammation of the outer ear canal, which runs from the eardrum to the outside world. Spending a lot of time in water makes you more vulnerable to the condition, as that constantly moist environment in your ear is a perfect breeding ground for bugs. Digging around in your ear canal with cotton buds doesn’t help either. The infection is usually bacterial and is responsible for the mother of all earaches, itchiness, pus and even temporary hearing loss. You’ll need to see a GP, who will often prescribe ear drops to be taken several times a day for a week or so. The easiest way to prevent the affliction is to wear ear plugs while swimming.
WHY MEN HAVE BACKACHE Four out of five men suffer from back pain, but there are different causes: Pushing your body too far Overdoing the sport or heavy lifting are common triggers, but slouching in your chair or sitting in a hunched position for too long can give you backache too. A slipped disc This is when one of the discs between the vertebrae is damaged. It presses on the nerve, leading to pain in the back and neck, and sometimes numbness and tingling. It’s more likely to happen as you get older, though smoking is a factor too. Arthritis We think of arthritis affecting hips, knees and hands, but your spine is also vulnerable. Osteoporosis After about 65 or 70, men lose bone mass at the same rate as women. This can result in fractures of the spine, wrist or hip. Kidney stones These affect more men than women. Drink plenty of water to help prevent them. Abdominal aortic aneurysm Persistent back pain can be a symptom of a swelling in the main artery leading from the heart. It’s crucial to seek help without delay.
Home & Garden Reader Offer
The Perfect Gift For Gardeners And NatureLovers Alike! This award-winning Bee & Bug Biome is an attractive bee and bug habitat that acts as a home for solitary bees, ladybirds and other beneficial insects such as lacewings. This provides the vital role of pollination in your garden and is great at predator control. Visit our website for many more styles of bee, insect and animal houses, available at shop.readersdigest.co.uk P12194 Bee & Bug Biome RRP £34.99 Shop Price £32.99*
Colourful gift carton includes: ■ FREE pack of British wildflower seeds especially selected to attract gentle pollinating bees ■ FREE bee-species guide.
HOW TO ORDER (Please quote RDP041 when ordering) Online: shop.readersdigest.co.uk Phone: 0844 332 8080 (8am-8pm Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm Sat-Sun) By Post: Reader’s Digest, FREEPOST, RTHR-LLRY-ZHYS, Ringwood, BH24 1HD (Cheques should be payable to Reader’s Digest. Please remember to quote RDP041 and include your full name and address, along with the details of the item(s) required). * plus £1.99 postage and packing per order
9 Nifty Ways To Eat Fruit 1 Make sure every breakfast contains a piece of fruit. Not only
will you start your five a day early, fruit is also the ideal morning food. It’s crammed with natural, complex sugars for slow-release energy, fibre and nutrients. Try cantaloupe melon, berries or orange—delicious! 2 Start your week with a slushy.
Every Monday morning put 160g of fresh fruit, 125ml of fruit juice and a handful of ice cubes into a blender and liquidise. That gives you two servings of fruit before 8am. 3 Eat fruit for pudding three days a week. A peach, a bowl of blueberries
or a slice of watermelon are all a delicious ending to a meal. You could even try poached pears in red wine. 4 Carry around some
dried fruit. A packet
© RTIM AGES/SHUTTERSTOCK
of dried fruit is perfect for taking to work, on a shopping
trip, even on holiday. Raisins are a classic choice, but also try dried apricots or figs. 5 Keep a fruit bowl at hand.
Make sure you have a selection of fresh fruit, such as bananas, apples and grapes, wherever you spend most time, perhaps near your PC or even the telly. 6 Eat a rainbow. Well, not literally, of course. What you do is make Monday red day, when you eat only red apples, plums or strawberries, for example, then on Tuesday consume only orange fruits such as melons and apricots—and so on. 7 Mix fruits in your salads. Raisins, a diced apple, strawberries or mango chunks all make a tasty addition to a savoury salad. 8 Get your fruit from bread or cake. Once a week, tuck into apple
cake, banana bread, pineapple upside-down cake, apple tart—yum! 9 Choose sorbet not
ice-cream. An easy
pudding substitution could help you squeeze in an extra fruit serving.
WHICH FRUITS ARE BEST FOR YOU? Out of the hundreds available, these are the fruits that pack the biggest antioxidant punch, helping protect against cell damage: PRUNES RAISINS BLUEBERRIES BLACKBERRIES STRAWBERRIES RASPBERRIES PLUMS ORANGES RED GRAPES CHERRIES
Ties And Tribulations By max pe m b e r to n
Max is a hospital doctor, author and newspaper columnist
a man has just spat at me. It takes a while for what’s happened to sink in. I’m not sure what to do. No one has ever spat at me before. No one’s coming to my rescue because I’m not on a ward, and the person who’s just spat at me isn’t a patient. He’s a random passer-by. I hadn’t even looked at him, let alone actually done something to provoke such an attack. I turn to the man sitting next to me. “Don’t worry,” he says, “they’re always doing that sort of thing.” I stare at him and he takes a slurp of soup from the polystyrene cup, undeterred. I’ll be honest with you: when I took a job working with homeless people, I was a little scared. I have to try and engage with some pretty mean and nasty people. I knew it was going to be tough at times, but I never thought I’d be on the receiving end of this. The man sitting next to me isn’t outraged because he’s used to it. as i sit there, it dawns on me that the man who’d spat at me thought I was someone else. He didn’t realise that I was a doctor, sitting down on the pavement trying to persuade a patient with a gangrenous leg that he should come to the hospital. He spat at me because he thought I was homeless too. For a brief moment, I learned what it was like to be on the lowest rung. I was on the receiving end of what the homeless people I work with experience on a daily basis.
illustration by DAN M Itchell
If, as Gandhi said, a society can be judged by how it treats its weakest members, then boy, are we in trouble. “I got a kicking at the weekend,” said the homeless man sitting next to me. “They’re always doing it. I’m an easy target, what with my leg.” I look at his leg, which technically is dead from the knee down and beginning to rot. It smells appalling. “Sometimes they spit, sometimes they just shout at you,” he says, while continuing to drink his soup. “Other times it gets nasty and they try and duff you up.” It would be easy to blame this on louts and thugs; the disaffected youth. But the man who spat at me was wearing a tie. Perhaps it shows that one really can’t judge a book by its
cover: while he’d mistaken me for a homeless person because I was sitting on the pavement, I assumed he was a decent bloke because he looked presentable. the man next to me agrees to come into hospital and so I try and help him stand. I struggle. A boy standing over the road is watching, and after a few minutes he saunters over. He’s wearing a baseball cap and trainers, and for a moment my heart sinks. I’m really not in the mood for any more trouble. But as he gets nearer he calls out: “You wanna hand?” Together, we help the homeless man to stand—and we support him until the ambulance arrives. 07•2016
Your Urine Should Be Almost Clear What’s the truth?
It surprises many people to hear that normal urine varies in colour from person to person and that healthy urine can be yellow and not be any cause for concern. The colour of urine depends on how many chemicals are dissolved in it— it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re dehydrated. In fact, in one study, it was found that perfectly healthy and well-hydrated people’s urine had a urine concentration that was better described as “dark” yellow. Where did the myth come from?
So there’s nothing to worry about?
If your urine is very dark and your stool is very light, then you should speak to a doctor as this can mean you have a liver problem known as “obstructive jaundice”. People with certain medical conditions, such as recurrent kidney stones, are often advised to drink a lot of fluids and to aim to have their urine almost colourless. For the rest of us, there’s not too much to worry about.
Illustration By DAVID HUMP HRIES
Like all good myths, this one sounds believable because it’s based on a half-truth. It’s assumed that if your urine is yellow in colour, then you must be dehydrated. It’s true that when people are severely dehydrated their kidneys— the organs that filter the blood and make urine—conserve fluid and therefore produce more concentrated urine. However, dark urine on its own isn’t a good indication of whether or not someone’s dehydrated.
Have you seen our invisible hearing aid yet? No? Not at all? Exactly.
Our fantastic invisible hearing aid is small. Really small. And, because it fits slightly deeper in the ear canal than your average hearing aid, it’s virtually invisible when worn. That means you get all the benefits of hearing better without anyone understanding how you do it.
Whilst it can’t be seen the difference can be heard. Just because this hearing aid is small doesn’t mean it’s less effective. We’ve made sure this tiny device has the high speed processors and clarity enhancing features of the very latest hearing aids. These are the things that make sure you get to enjoy all the great things life has to offer like conversations with friends and family, an evening out in your favourite restaurant or a cosy night in front of the TV. And you can enjoy all this with the confidence that whilst people might notice the difference in your hearing they definitely won’t notice your hearing aid. If you like what you (don’t) see, call 0345 203 7662 and book a free appointment in store to find out more about this amazing little hearing aid. “I hear normally, it’s as if I don’t have a loss and, because you can’t see them, no one else knows I do!”
Free hearing check
To book your hearing check simply call
0345 203 7662
Terms: Only one hearing check per year. Free hearing check for over 18s only. Subject to availability and eligibility. By appointment only. Call 0345 203 7662 (local call rates apply, calls may be recorded for training purposes) between 8.30am and 8.00pm (Mon-Thurs), 8.30am and 6.00pm (Fri) and 8.30am and 5.30pm (Sat) and 10.00am and 4.30pm (Sun).
For more information please visit Bootshearingcare.com
13955 Boots May Press Readers Digest v1.indd 1
One in three adults over 50 will develop this painful condition
Shingles: Nasty& Dangerous or Françoise Fontaine, acne was but a long-ago memory of adolescence. Yet there it was, unmistakable, little red bumps in a straight line across the Paris resident’s forehead that a friend noticed after a day of shopping. It must be an allergic reaction to the clothes I just bought, she thought. But just in case, Françoise called her long-time doctor the moment she got back home and described her symptoms. “I think I know what you have,” the doctor told her. “There’s no need to panic. My assistant will bring you antiviral medication, which you should take right away,
p hoto: © Nicholas Evele igh/g e tty i m ages
By Lisa Fitterm an
s h i n g l e s : N ASTY & D A N G E R O U S
and go see an eye specialist as soon as possible.” The next morning, Fontaine was sitting in the specialist’s office, shocked as he informed her she had a virus called shingles, also called herpes zoster, or zona in French. “It occurs when a virus called varicella zoster, which causes chicken pox, reactivates,” he explained. Unbeknown to Fontaine, the virus had been lurking in the nerve endings of her spinal cord ever since, dormant, waiting to catch her immune system off guard before pouncing again. She also didn’t realise that, while the rashes and blisters fade, the tingling and burning from what’s called postherpetic neuralgia—or nerve damage —can carry on with little respite for some patients. Six years later, Fontaine, now 86, says, “I was lucky. The outbreak didn’t affect my eyes. But no matter what I try, the pain persists to this day. In that way I guess I’m not so lucky.” Most shingles outbreaks last
no more than a week or two, but some patients are at greater risk of developing life-threatening complications, including those who are undergoing treatment for cancer. Research released in December last year found that a severe case of shingles can raise the risk for stroke and heart attack—and kill. Caroline Minassian, PhD, along with colleagues from the London School of Hygiene and 58
Tropical Medicine, looked at the records of over 67,000 patients who had shingles and suffered either a stroke or a heart attack within a year. “We observed a 2.4-fold increase in the ischemic-stroke rate and a 1.7fold increase in the heart-attack rate,” said researchers. “The most marked increase was observed during the first week following zoster diagnosis.” Researchers suggested two possible causes: the virus causes fatty buildups in the arteries to break off and cause a stroke or a heart attack, or the stress caused by the pain sends blood pressure up, again resulting in a stroke or a heart attack. Further research into shingles at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota also reported in December last year, showed that adults with asthma appeared to have a 70 per cent higher risk of developing shingles, compared with those without asthma. There’s no cure for shingles.
It’s a name that comes from the Latin and French words for “belt” because it often appears at waist level, partly circling the body. Dr Allison McGeer, a microbiologist at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto enumerates the symptoms, which tend to occur on one side of the body because usually only a single nerve root is involved. These may include numbness or tingling, itching, fatigue, headaches, high fever, a sensitivity to light and excruciating nerve pain that can upend your life, leaving
you sleepless, unable to work or carry well into shingles territory, doctors are out daily activities. girding themselves to see more cases “As you get older, your immune than ever before. Says Vesikari, “Think system stops paying attention to the of it this way—if we all lived for 200 virus for a period of time so that it years, then everyone would develop grows down the nerve root, unim- shingles at some point.” peded,” McGeer says. “The resulting Given that one in three adults over skin rashes have distinctive shapes 50 will develop the disease, it’s best because they follow the to prevent an outbreak pattern of the nerves in the first place. “For as they give feeling to this, you have to get a our skin.” vaccine,” Vesikari says. It’s best to If you’ve not been prevent an vaccinated, then you Shingles isn’t contaoutbreak in the need to act quickly at gious. If you’re exposed first place, the first sign of sympto someone with shinsince shinglestoms, as the antiviral gles, you won’t get the related pain medication is best used virus as long as you’ve can be within 72 hours of an had chicken pox, says unrelenting outbreak. This is espeMcGeer. But if you’ve cially important if you never had chicken pox are hoping to mitigate and are exposed to a person with shingles, you may come the very painful post-infection pain that can often occur. down with the childhood disease. Right now there’s one vaccine on Timo Vesikari, a professor of virology at the University of Tampere in the market. Called Zostavax, it has Finland, and director of the institu- been approved for use in Europe and tion’s vaccine research centre, says North America for the past ten years, most people will have only one shin- and has been proven to reduce the gles outbreak in their lifetime be- chance of an outbreak overall by 64 cause it serves as a reminder for the per cent. But with ingredients such as immune system to become vigilant live chicken-pox virus, it’s difficult to again. Still, depending on how old you produce in large quantities The result are when the first outbreak occurs, it’s is that a single shot costs about £140. possible to have a second one and Although pricey, it been part of NHS recommendations for people between maybe even a third. With life expectancies in Europe and the ages of 70 to 78 for the past three North America longer than ever before, years. But these ages are rather arbiand with the baby-boomer generation trary as even younger people—even, 07•2016
s h i n g l e s : N ASTY & D A N G E R O U S
in the rare instance, children—can an adjuvant, or chemical substance, develop shingles, and government that helps the body’s immune system health plans don’t cover the cost of the wake up. Adjuvants are already used in vaccine for them. vaccines to prevent a host of condiBut once vaccinated, experts still tions, including hepatitis A and B, don’t know for how long it���s effective, diphtheria and tetanus, but this is the though five years is thought to be the first time one has been used in the limit. So if you do get vaccinated in battle against shingles. your 50s or early 60s, GlaxoSmithKline, the it’s important to talk to vaccine’s manufacturer, your doctor about if and is expected to submit when to get a second its findings to the US A new, more vaccination. If you’ve Food and Drug Admineffective and had shingles, there’s no istration later this year affordable need to get vaccinated for approval, and aftervaccine is as your immune system wards to the authorities coming in the has already been jumpin Canada and Europe. near future— started by the disease. perhaps early When to be vacciIf you’VE not been next year nated or revaccinated vaccinated, learn to may soon no longer be recognise the early signs of concern. In the near of shingles and call your future—maybe early next year—a doctor as soon as you suspect somenew vaccine should make it to market. thing is wrong. Tentatively called Shingrix, experts in Vancouver resident Marilee Sigal Europe and North America are excited wishes she’d done just that when she because throughout every research had a shingles outbreak three years phase, it has proved at least 90 per cent ago. Just turned 55 at the time, she was effective in adults 50 and older. sitting with guests in her back garden The research trials, which took place on an evening in August 2013 when in a number of countries, involved she felt a sharp pain high on the left more than 16,000 patients aged 50 and side of her back. At first, she attributed older, with some well into their 80s. it to fallout from a fierce childhood The results are promising, with no battle with scoliosis, a sideways curvaevidence so far of the vaccine’s efficacy ture of the spine. diminishing over time. But the pain didn’t subside. A day Shingrix doesn’t contain a live virus. later Sigal noticed a mark like an insect Instead, it combines an easily repli- bite. Finally, she went to a walk-in cated protein found in the virus with clinic. The doctor looked at it and said, 60
“I can wait for test results, but I’ll tell you right now that it’s shingles.” Sigal, now 58, was surprised. As a psychotherapist, she kept up on medical literature and thought she’d be at risk only when she reached 60. The doctor prescribed antiviral medication but it was too late because Sigal had experienced the first symptoms more than three days earlier. F o r F r a n ç o i s e F o n ta i n e ,
the journey has been difficult. She’s tried all kinds of therapies—from acupuncture to hypnosis—to stop the
burning pain. But nothing has worked. “I have to protect my skin from the sun and the wind because it hurts,” she says. “Some nights, it’s just awful. I can’t sleep and I scratch myself until I bleed.” Still, she goes on one day at a time, spirited and determined to live each one to the fullest. For others, with a new vaccine possibly just around the corner, shingles may not pose a problem at all. Says Dr Allison McGeer, “Assuming the vaccine passes all the safety hurdles, this is a very good news story.”
BAD DAY AT WORK? Disgruntled employees reveal the most outrageous things their bosses have asked them to do: “File a police report about his missing trousers.” “Travel across London to get her dog ‘specialist’ food. When I got back she made me redundant.” “Asked to lose weight if I wanted a promotion. I’m an accountant!” “Called me from an overseas hotel at 11pm my time to ask me to call them and ask for a late checkout. Dial 1, moron.” “Change a bandage on his disgusting fungal nail. I gagged.” “Apologise for not asking her to the pub.” “Photoshop his credit-card statement to hide the jewellery he’d bought his mistress.” “Sent me out to buy toilet roll, then made me exchange it when she decided it was the ‘wrong’ type of pattern.” “Check his nose for ‘residue’.” SOURCE: TIMEOUT.COM
A classic collection of BBC adaptations of
SHAKESPEARE’S HISTORY PLAYS
The Hollow Crown
DVD OFFER !
RRP £29.99 RD Price £12.99* Save £17 4 DVDs Cert 12 8hrs 40 Product Code 137794 Comprising Richard II; Henry IV: Part One; Henry IV Part Two and Henry V. Cast includes Jeremy Irons, Ben Whishaw, Rory Kinnear, Simon Russell Beale, Julie Walters and Lindsay Duncan.
The Hollow Crown Season 2 RRP £26.99 RD Price £19.99* Save £7 3 DVDs Cert 15 6hrs 01 Product Code 167458 Tom Sturridge, Hugh Bonneville, Keeley Hawes and Judi Dench and Benedict Cumberbatch star in: Henry VI: Part One, Henry VI: Part Two, Henry VI: Part Three and Richard III.
HOW TO ORDER (Please quote RDP041 when ordering) Online: shop.readersdigest.co.uk Phone: 0844 332 8080 (8am-8pm Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm Sat-Sun) By Post: Reader’s Digest, FREEPOST, RTHR-LLRY-ZHYS, Ringwood, BH24 1HD (Cheques should be payable to Reader’s Digest. Please remember to quote RDP041 and include your full name and address, along with the details of the item(s) required). * plus £2.99 postage and packing
Send us your summer snaps— it could win you a fabulous camera!
Competition what encapsulates summer happiness for you? Is it maybe a day on the beach, a picnic with friends or a holiday with your family? Or something else entirely? Well, here’s your chance to capture it in a photo! All you have to do is take a compelling picture that sums up happy times and send it to us. We’re looking for unusual approaches,
so let your imagination run riot! The competition will be judged by the Reader’s Digest editorial team with the help of professional photographer James Eckersley, and the winning entries will be published in our October issue. Turn the page for entry details and some tips from a professional on how to take the perfect photo! 63
S U M M E r h a ppi n ess P H O T O C O M P E ti T I O N
Raffy on a Swing
Summer is a wonderful opportunity for eyecatching pictures, and it’s terribly tempting. But it’s also technically tricky due to the harsh light—that perfect moment often ends up sabotaged by overexposed or underexposed photos. Always shoot your camera in its manual setting and in RAW. This allows greater control on the final picture. Also, shoot during early morning or dusk when the light is 64
softer, or use fill-in flash. But be warned—it’s trial and error! The subject loses detail in harsh sunlight, giving a silhouette effect. Is this always a bad thing? You decide. RAFFY ON A SWING
Here, I wanted to capture the freedom and joy of a child at play. The green canopy of the forest magically filtered the light, making everything appear sub-aquatic. The sole technical issue was that the green was too dominant. In this case, you have to decide if you are willing to “swim in the green”. pre vious imag e : © smspsy/shutterstock
PHOTOS COURTESY OF WI LDE FRY
Wilde Fry (right) shares his tips for taking great photos and his own favourite summer snaps.
R ea d er ’ s Diges t
I shot the people in the fountain on a hot summer’s day. Although the light was overpowering, I used it to my advantage and photographed into the sun, creating a silhouette effect within a group. As the participants couldn’t judge when the jets of water would appear, this made for a spontaneous, natural and happy composition! But even a seasoned photographer must experiment with the exposure settings. In this case, a silhouette was best as the faces would have been too distorted otherwise.
how to enter J Take a high-resolution photo with either a phone or digital camera. After saving it as a jpeg no larger than 2MB, go to readersdigest.co.uk/photo-comp and use the form to upload. Entries must be submitted by 5pm, August 25.
J There are two categories—one for adults and one for under-18s. The adults prize is a Nikon DSLR Camera worth £750; the under-18s prize is a Panasonic Lumix Bridge Camera worth £230.
J Please mark your entry either “Adult” or “Under 18”.
RULES: Please ensure that pictures are original, not previously published and taken specifically for this competition. If you’re under 16, you must ask your parent or guardian’s permission to enter this competition. We may use entries in all print and electronic media. Contributions become world copyright of Vivat Direct Ltd (t/a Reader’s Digest). Entry is open only to residents of the UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man and Republic of Ireland. It is not open to employees of Vivat Direct Ltd (t/a Reader’s Digest), its subsidiary companies and all other persons associated with this competition, their immediate families, and relatives living in an employee’s household. The judges’ decision is final. n 07•2016
Campsites From lush landscapes to luxury amenities, get back to nature in these scenic spots
BY FIONA HICKS
Hooks House Farm YORKSHIRE
There are two great draws of this North Yorkshire locale. Firstly, the view. The pitches are positioned on a gently sloping hill, which creates a wonderful vantage point over the entire sweep of Robin Hood’s Bay. Look the other way and you’re treated to the sight of moors, woods and 68
many contented-looking cows grazing on green slopes. The second part of the appeal is the site’s welcoming vibe. “We’re a small, friendly, family-run campsite on a working farm,” says business partner Joanne Harrison, “and there’s been camping of some kind at Hooks House for over 80 years.” There’s no entertainment on offer, PREVIOUS IMAGE: © BOKAN/SHUTTERSTOCK
© GORDON BELL/SHUTTERSTOCK
BEST OF BRITISH
Happy campers have been visiting Hooks House Farm for more than 80 years; (left) Robin Hood’s Bay
The Secret Campsite EAST SUSSEX
This beautiful area of woodland meadow oozes tranquillity. The site is resolutely tents-only, wildlife is deliberately cultivated and owners Tim and Lisa Bullen are keen to welcome families (rather than huge party-inclined groups). “Most of our campers are looking to escape their everyday lives for a couple of nights,” explains Tim. “While here, they want to encounter lots of wildlife, cook over a campfire, enjoy the dawn chorus and see the stars at night. Most of them are keen to put down their phones and connect with the family and friends they’ve come with.” Pitches are secluded (and large), and each comes with a genuine campfire pit. Campers can even opt to spend a night or two in The Tree Tent—a giant, spherical structure suspended between three oak trees. ■ Visit thesecretcampsite.co.uk for details
but neither is there a long list of rules, which combine to create a relaxed atmosphere. Facilities are simple but, in keeping with the site’s civilised air, there’s a communal kettle to make that crucial cup of tea. If you fancy a day trip, the fishing village of Robin Hood’s Bay is within walking distance. ■ Visit hookshousefarm.co.uk for details © ALAN CURTIS/ALAMY STOCK PHOTO / MAYNARD FRITH
BEST OF BRITISH
Shell Island GWYNEDD
■ Visit shellisland.co.uk for details
Cleadale INNER HEBRIDES
J R R Tolkien holidayed on the Isle of Eigg, and it’s reasonable to suspect that his jaunts here provided inspiration for the epic Lord of the Rings trilogy. Jagged cliff faces, majestic hills and rolling terrain all come together to create the sort of landscape that can only be carved by time. It’s breathtaking, beautiful and just a little bit intimidating—the 70
© BRINKSTOCK/ALAMY STOCK PHOTO
© N ATA LIA MELNYCHUK/SHUTTERSTOCK
Covering 300 acres, this is supposedly Europe’s largest campsite—and with a supermarket, shop and restaurant, it certainly has enough facilities to keep the masses happy. Such is its popularity that there’s never a lack of new friends to meet, and you can even arrange to meet them in the Tavern Bar on site. But don’t let this commercial element deter you as it also provides a good old dose of the countryside. Many of the pitches overlook Cardigan Bay and Snowdonia National Park, and there are three easily accessible beaches: one with large sand dunes for running up and down, another that’s perfect for dinghies, and a quieter one that often plays host to sunbathers. What’s more, the rocky foreshore stops shells from being washed away—so you can’t help but find a sea-made souvenir to take home.
The Isle of Eigg was a favourite holiday destination of Lord of the Rings author J R R Tolkien
Pleasant Streams Farm CORNWALL
sort of nature that really puts you in your place. The camping on offer here is, unsurprisingly, wild. The pitches lie at the bottom of a cliff and aren’t exactly flat, and the main toilet on offer is a compost one, but they come with staggering views. Look west and you’ll see the Isle of Rum, the Outer Hebrides and the Atlantic Ocean stretching out into the distance—not to mention extraordinary sunsets. You may even catch sight of Gollum…
“Our pretty, sheltered site offers a very relaxed and back-to-nature style of camping—or, as some people would call it, ‘proper camping’,” says marketing manager Josephine Heath. “Children love the freedom to explore and their parents love seeing them play outside, instead of glued to a screen.” There’s a stream running through the campsite (perfect for splashing), a small lake complete with a rowing boat, plus a host of wildlife to keep the little ones entertained. It’s not unusual to spy owls, badgers and field mice, as well as miniature pigs Rodney and Del Boy—who are always eager to greet newcomers. There aren’t designated pitches, so campers can erect tents where they choose. The quaint village of Sticker is a ten-minute walk away, offering a playpark for kids and an authentic country pub for Mum and Dad.
■ Visit eiggorganics.co.uk for details
■ Visit cornwallfarmcamping.co.uk for details
© EMMA GREENWOOD / COOLCAMPING.CO.UK
BEST OF BRITISH
Troytown ISLES OF SCILLY
If you haven’t visited the Isles of Scilly, you must. Lying at the tip of Cornwall, these Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty feel like a blend of the Mediterranean and storybook England, with regular sunny days and a wonderful sense of community. Troytown is the only campsite on St Agnes (one of the islands) and it really makes the most of its environs. The pitches overlook the whitesanded beach, there’s a farm shop selling produce to eat al fresco and— since the island measures only one mile across—the view is a panorama of the Atlantic Ocean. The clear waters are perfect for snorkelling, swimming and fishing, while the rock pools provide endless entertainment for adults and children alike. If you prefer to travel light, you can rent one of the four-person bell tents already on site. ■ Visit troytown.co.uk for details
Deepdale Farm offers camping that caters to all tastes—including the option to stay in stylish tipis
Deepdale Farm NORFOLK
Burnhan Deepdale is a pretty village poised on the North Norfolk coast. The farm—encompassing five wellmaintained paddocks—lies at its heart and is one of the most popular campsites in the county. This may well be because there’s something to cater to every degree of camping enthusiasm: pitches for regular tents, spaces for small camper vans and even ready-made tipis and yurts. The latter are a particular treat, complemented by their own private garden and barbecue. As the owners say, “You may feel like you’re cheating © ANDY DAVISON
a little bit, but you’re there for a holiday, to get away from it all. Why suffer?” Quite so. Augmenting the getting-backto-nature theme, all the camp’s amenities are eco-friendly—and there’s something deeply satisfying about having a shower heated entirely by solar power. The early bird gets the hot water, mind! ■ Visit deepdalebackpackers.co.uk for details What’s your favourite campsite getaway? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know! 07•2016
Michael Foley, 68, is the author of the best-selling philosophical book The Age of Absurdity: Why Modern Life Makes it Hard to be Happy. He was a teacher for over 20 years and now writes full-time.
If I Ruled the World Michael Foley I’d implement a three-day week and alleviate some of the burdens of work. Everyone thinks a five-day week is a God-given absolute, but that’s only half true; God was responsible for the six-day week, Sunday being the day of rest. It was actually Henry Ford who, in 1926, set the five-day, 40-hour working week for employees at his Detroit automobile company. If a mortal can do that, I reckon another mortal can reduce it to three days—most jobs can be done quite satisfactorily in that time. We’d all play more. Playing has been discredited in the modern world, but the Hindu religion believes the world was created as a form of play. Contemporary physics endorses this by suggesting that matter is 74
ILLUSTRATED BY JAM ES S MITH
I guess I’d have to do some serious stuff. So I’d reduce poverty, inequality, disease and pollution. With that out the way, we can have some fun.
completely random and jumping about in all sorts of weird ways, so our universe is fundamentally playful. I’d like to see play areas for adults in corporate environments—bouncy castles, sandpits, slides, the works. I’d bring back the Roman Festival of Saturnalia. This took place at the end of December each year and, along with feasting and gambling, masters and slaves changed roles. Masters would wait on their slaves and the slaves could do what they liked. I’d like a modern-day version where senior managers swapped roles with the cleaning and catering staff, who’d be free to lecture their bosses on mission statements, targets and empowering the brand. World Naked Bike Rides would take place in every city. They’re already hugely popular; there’s one in London in June and in over 70 other cities. They began as a protest against our dependency on oil and the car, but they’re also a wonderful celebration of fun. While writing my recent book, I came to realise that having fun is far more complex than we might imagine and involves all kinds of different elements including sexuality, comedy, play and transgression; you’ve got all of these in a naked bike ride. I’d encourage more synchronised activities. There was a fascinating experiment by the evolutionary
psychologist Robin Dunbar in which he asked a team of rowers first to row on their own and then as a team, exerting themselves the same amount both times. But when they rowed as a team each participant’s endorphin release was doubled. It goes to show that doing things at the same time as other people makes us happier. One of the best synchronised activities is dancing with a partner, learning the steps and moving together. For a man and woman, this is surely the ideal synchrony of all. We’d ruminate for half an hour a day. Among all these good times we’re having, it’s worth remembering we can’t live on fun alone. So a little time to exercise the right side of our brain—that part responsible for imagination and creativity and all the good things—is important. You don’t need to try and empty your mind but just sit quietly in silence and let your thoughts roam around in free association, making unexpected connections and encouraging the very best kind of thinking. No one would groan getting up from a chair. One of my biggest concerns is not to turn into a cranky old man. As told to Caroline Hutton Michael Foley’s new book Isn’t This Fun? Investigating the Experience Everyone Wants is out on June 30, published by Simon & Schuster. 07•2016
Lasting Power of Attorney THE MYTH AND THE REALITY You may have heard of a Lasting Power of Attorney (previously an Enduring Power of Attorney), but did you know it’s not just something you arrange later in life when you “start feeling iffy”? Here we investigate some of the myths and realities surrounding mental incapacity and Lasting Power of Attorney Myth Mental incapacity is something that only affects people in later life, through illnesses such as Alzheimer’s, so I don’t need to do anything just yet. Reality Accident or illness can strike at any time, often without warning. The consequences of failing to plan can be significant, as outlined in this article—so why leave something so important to chance?
Creating Lasting Power of Attorney is as vital as writing your Will—don’t leave it too late
Myth If I suffer an accident or illness, my spouse or children will automatically be able to take over the running of my affairs as my next of kin.
Collective Legal Solutions DPS.indd 2
Reality Your spouse or children have no automatic right to act on your behalf. They will be required to apply to the Court of Protection to be appointed as your Deputy—a long, complex, costly and intrusive process. Myth I can simply add my spouse or children to my bank accounts, as a joint-account holder would just carry on as normal in the event of my mental incapacity.
Reality Banks are required to protect the interests of the account holder and will often freeze an account (even a joint account) where they
learn of an account holder’s mental incapacity—unless legal authority has been granted through a Lasting (or Enduring) Power of Attorney or an order from the Court of Protection. Myth An Enduring Power of Attorney provides my Attorneys with the authority to make decisions about my health and medical treatments if I can’t.
foresight if you do. It’s the only way to have your say about who you trust to manage your affairs and make things as simple as possible for your loved ones.
Reality An Enduring Power of Attorney only provides the nominated Attorney(s) with the power to make financial decisions. You may want to consider a Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney to grant your loved ones the power to make vital decisions, including those about lifesustaining treatment if you wish. A Lasting Power of Attorney is often likened to an insurance policy—you hope you’ll never need it, but your family will be very grateful for your
Call Reader’s Digest Legal today for your free information pack on 0800 031 9516 and quote ref RDL13. • Free home visits • Specialist legal expertise
• Value for money • All work fully insured
Reader’s Digest Legal is a service provided by the Collective Legal Solutions Group.
Collective Legal Solutions DPS.indd 3
Live Better, Help Often
More Former stand-up comedian Sanderson Jones is on a mission to take church to the godlessâ€” but will it catch on?
words and ph otogr aphy By n i ck cunar d
Sunday Assembly co-founder Sanderson Jones speaking at the “secular church” in London’s Conway Hall
LIVE BETTER, HELP OFTEN, WONDER MORE
Proceedings commence much like a regular church service: a familiar hymn with an uplifting chorus to stir the congregation from their Sunday-morning slumber. But these aren’t the lyrics of John Wesley being projected karaoke-style onto the stage screen. Instead, the assembled band are strumming along to the Beatles classic “We Can Work It Out”.
The priest then appears, bounding you can be a part of something bigger onto the stage—long-limbed, bearded than yourself. Our motto is ‘Live and slightly manic, he cuts a hipster better, help often and wonder more’. Jesus-meets-John-Cleese figure. Ours is the creed of ‘lifefulness’. ” “I hope you’re ready for an hour True to their mission statement, and a bit of just celebrating that we’re the service is stirring of head, heart alive!” he booms out to the 300 or so and soul. As well as the singing and cheery souls assembled in London’s sermon, Sunday Assembly (SA) Conway Hall on this member and teacher crisp morning. Kat Gibbard reflects The austere art-deco on Aristotle’s take on building in central joy as a pleasure that It’s like the London has hosted should be indulged best bits of many alternative church, but in “guiltlessly and organisations over the . It’s a statement without the often” past 90 years or so, but that sounds vaguely God part. you sacrilegious in this none so unashamedly can be a part context. fun-loving and lifeof something affirming as the Sunday A couple of minutes bigger Assembly. of silent contemplation Before he hands over is followed by a to cognitive holistic collection to cover costs therapist Gianna de Salvo for a such as venue hire. Contributions are sermon on the theme of “How to recommended on a sliding scale of Rewire Your Brain for Joy”, Sanderson £10, £5 or nothing depending on how Jones—the preacher man and former well-paid you are, or whatever you comedian—elaborates on his and cocan afford if you fall into the student founder Pippa Evans’ vision. or unemployed camp. “It’s like the best bits of church, The session wraps up an hour or but without the God part,” he says. so later with the very appropriate “Sunday Assembly is a place where Pharrell Williams hit “Happy”. The 80
Re a d e r ’ s D i g e s t
echoed in 70 chapters godless congregation Sanderson endorses the in over ten countries, are on their feet, happily creed of “lifefulness” in the bi-monthly groups registering total monthly worked up, while a congregations of around breakaway group of six or 4,000. This is no mean achievement, so parishioners form a conga around especially when you consider that the edges. Sanderson and Pippa only came up Finally, its time for a well-earned with the idea three years ago while cuppa and a slice of cake. According en route to a gig in Edinburgh. to Ian Joliet, who co-ordinates the Facebook group “Sunday Assembly Social”, this is the moment the real For all its quirky originality, work of the SA commences. Members the SA is not without historical mingle and hatch plans to make good precedent. Nick Spencer, research on SA’s imperatives to build durable director at religion and society think and moral communities. tank Theos, takes the long view. Scenes similar to this are being He cites the example of the Ethical 07•2016
movement of the 1800s that broke away from the Anglican church, encouraging people to exchange a belief in God for one in the good life based around helping others. More recently, The School of Life in London founded by TV philosopher Alain de Botton has devised the Sunday Sermons, where the educative, selfimprovement element is key. But this might be the first time anyone has attempted such a venture on a global scale—and in such a rollicking spirit. So how to explain SA’s rapid ascent to, dare one say it, cult status? The internet is crucial, of course. Understandably, the concept of a godless church run by a couple of comedians got picked up by the press and quickly went viral. Sanderson drew on his experience working at a tech start-up to capitalise on the coverage, building an online following. But the magic ingredient that Sanderson believes explains the avalanche of inquiries is “this latent desire for community and a massive desire to help”. It’s a desire that fits with the zeitgeist. “If you look at open-source software and Wikipedia, people are giving so much of their time for free,” he continues. “There’s all these people participating in [group] things, giving them meaning in their lives.” The 34-year-old is certainly leading by example. Although, in his words, a “slightly misbranded” crowd-funding 82
The concept of a godless church run by a couple of comedians got picked up by the press and quickly went viral
Clockwise from left: the SA congregation bond over coffee; 53-year-old Sharon Little heads up the Greeting Card Association and gave a talk on the subject; co-founder Sanderson Jones
Re a d e r ’ s D i g e s t
campaign at the start of last year failed to raise anywhere near the £500,000 target, it did provide enough funds for him to ditch the day job— a burgeoning career as a stand-up— and “go at the SA full throttle”. Ironically, the SA has proved
the perfect vehicle for his comedic sensibility. Formative experiences, such as the death of his mother when he was ten, have clearly informed his concept of the SA. “Initially it was a matter of processing deeply painful emotions and coming to terms with this vast loss,” he says. “This was replaced by a sense of feeling privileged to have known her for ten whole years— coming to this realisation made me appreciate how you have to celebrate and appreciate what’s miraculous about life.” The bi-monthly assemblies are one of the primary mechanisms through which the SA communities are created and this credo expressed. Their activities run the whole gamut. Some are leisure-oriented (a theatre group has been a big hit) while others such as the weekly “Resolve” groups aim to offer practical help— utilising SA members’ expertise in particular areas. Sanderson availed himself of an accountant who was attached to one in order to complete his tax return. Further afield in Portland, US, there’s a team dedicated to helping 07•2016
people move home. The LA chapter puts care packages together for the homeless. Closer to home, there have been link-ups with prominent charities such the Trussell Trust and its food-bank schemes. Although they encompass a range of activities, Sanderson regards them as “godless congregations”, or moral communities that share a core set of values and goals. Nick Spencer comments, “With the SA there’s no baggage. To many people, the church still appears stuck in the 1880s. People still have these negative associations that are incredibly hard to shake off.” For example, there are many who find the belief element off-putting and stifling. One of the attendees to Sunday Assembly is 23-year-old Dominic Smithson, a translator from Guildford. “I liked a lot of things about church,” he says. “The way it was multi-generational—all these people who you’d never normally meet coming together and thinking seriously about the world’s problems. But I also felt a sense of responsibility to believe. I don’t have that with the SA, which gives me more opportunity to grow as a person.” 84
SA congregations aim to build communities; (left) a mass karaoke is often a feature of the assemblies
Nevertheless, Nick Spencer isn’t convinced that the SA will be more than a passing fad. Godless congregations may ape the church in their ecclesiastical processes and practices, but Spencer doubts that “sharing a non-belief in something as your central belief” will be enough to sustain them. But Sanderson doesn’t regard the lack of belief in God as a weakness— quite the opposite, in fact. “We don’t talk about religion or atheism. We don’t ask anyone what
they believe in. That’s not interesting to us. It’s more about what we can achieve regardless of what we believe. Our commitment to celebrating life is as transcendental as anyone’s god.” Though many members may not have elevated it to quite this level, the “lifefulness” creed seems to establish a positive context that yields concrete results. Sharon Little, 53, another former churchgoer, says, “When you have regular positivity in your life, it gives you a real boost. Being with upbeat people helps with the process of building community.” Equally, for 23-year-old Seema, a teacher who had a fairly strict Hindu upbringing, the SA’s laissez-faire attitude to religion was something she found appealing. “I may have grown apart from my parents’ religion, but I don’t want it trashed either,” she states. “If the SA were too secular then it would build walls—the whole point is to break those walls down.” She’s convinced that coming to the
SA “on a whim” has actually turned out to be an life-changing experience. She met her current boyfriend here, for a start. But she also talks about how it has created a less angry person who’s more conciliatory in her dealings with her numerous “antagonists”, as she calls them. the SA brand and Sanderson’s uniqueness undoubtedly resonate with members. The concept of the godless congregation is certainly central to its appeal—as is its message that self-sacrifice and having a thoroughly good time need not be mutually exclusive. Whether he’s the man reconciling spirituality and secularism or the world’s most benign cult leader, you can’t help but admire Sanderson’s conviction. Sunday Assemblies typically meet on the first and third Sundays of the month. Visit sundayassembly.com for details.
TERRIBLY SORRY This newspaper correction, from an August 2003 edition of The Guardian, might just be the most British mistake ever: In our interview with Sir Jack Hayward, the chairman of Wolverhampton Wanderers, we mistakenly attributed to him the following comment: “Our team was the worst in the First Division and I’m sure it’ll be the worst in the Premier League.” Sir Jack had just declined the offer of a hot drink. What he actually said was, “Our tea was the worst in the First Division and I’m sure it’ll be the worst in the Premier League.” Profuse apologies. SOURCE: REUTERS.COM
6 Tips To
Protect Your Property This Summer WITH WINTER WELL BEHIND US, thoughts start to turn to the longer, sunnier days that hopefully lie ahead. But with the lighter mornings and evenings, summer is unfortunately a peak period for burglars to strike, with many homeowners away on their holiday or spending time in their garden. We’ve put together some top tips for keeping your property and possessions as safe as possible this summer.
Ask a friend or neighbour to keep an eye on your home. They could park on your drive, clear your post from your letterbox, water your plants or even use your bins, making it less obvious your property is vacant. Tip 1
To discuss your home-insurance requirements—and to obtain a competitive quotation—call us today on 020 8069 3102. One of our expert advisers will help provide the home-insurance policy that matches your requirements.
Higos Insurance Services_DPS.indd 2
Ask your family to keep quiet about holiday plans on social media. Think twice about posting a picture or status that makes it obvious you’re away on holiday. You never know who can see what’s posted on sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Tip 3
Ensure you have appropriate travel insurance in place if you are going on holiday. Reader’s Digest Insurance Services offers a wide range of travel-insurance solutions, with no upper age limit and cover for those who have pre-existing medical conditions. Tip 4
Make your property look lived-in by setting timer switches so lights, music and the television come on throughout the day and evening. Put all bicycles, tools, toys and furniture away overnight. Tip 5
Know who you need to contact in case of an emergency. Keep all those useful numbers in one place so you can get in touch whenever you need to. Tip 6
When sunbathing in your garden, do check all your windows and doors are locked. It’s important not to leave any valuable items such as jewellery, wallets or mobile phones near any open windows. Make sure your alarms and locks are working and effective. Tip 2
These are simple but effective steps to help avoid any nasty surprises this summer. Enjoy the sunshine!
Vivat Finance Limited trading as Reader’s Digest are an Introducer Appointed Representative of Higos Insurance Services Ltd trading as Reader’s Digest Insurance Services, who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority FRN no 302690
Higos Insurance Services_DPS.indd 3
TRAVEL & ADVENTURE
The French city of Lyon has long embraced the simple pleasures of traditional cuisine
Soul for the
BY M ARC EL TH ERO UX
View of Rue Saint-Jean near Place Neuve Saint-Jean in the medieval old city
FIRST CAME TO LYON in 2011 to watch the Bocuse d’Or, the world’s most prestigious cooking competition. Held every two years, the Bocuse takes place in a cavernous auditorium amid a frenzy of flag-waving, drum-beating spectators. In front of them, 24 chefs, competing for their nations, strive to produce two courses of impeccable food. Everything about the event is over the top. Each course—one of meat, one of fish—is presented to the judges on huge salvers. The finished food is unnaturally elaborate, bearing the same relation to something you might actually eat as the physique of the Incredible Hulk does to a normal body shape. The year I went, first, second, and third places were all taken by teams from Scandinavia; a result that prompted inevitable jeremiads about the decline of France as the ultimate culinary superpower. That evening, on the recommendation of a friend, I went into the city centre to eat at Café Comptoir Abel, a tiny, typically Lyon restaurant known as a bouchon. It turned out to be four homely, wood-panelled dining rooms, hung with posters and a dessert menu written in chalk on a blackboard. I had been advised to try the pike quenelle. It arrived on a sizzling plate in creamy mushroom sauce. By an extraordinary act of alchemy, the chef had turned a bony and basically inedible pike into
a soft bolster of delicately fishy consolation. It was sublime. I asked the chef, Alain Vigneron, what it had to do with all those grandiose offerings at the Bocuse d’Or. “What I do,” he replied modestly, “is grandmother’s cooking.” Walking home from Abel, I had the feeling of rediscovering something that foreign visitors have been learning in France for at least a century: that excellent food is not a contest, or a luxury, or a fashion, but something more simple and intimate—a daily act of conviviality. I felt I understood why Curnonsky, the renowned French early-20th-century food writer, had declared Lyon the capital of gastronomy. And I made a promise to return one day and bring my family. Earlier this year, judging that my eight-year-old daughter and six-yearold son might finally be old enough for the adventure, I rented a flat in a 19thcentury building on the Quai SaintAntoine, in the heart of the city. From the moment we arrived, it was clear that the life of the city centres on food. Six mornings a week, there was a huge outdoor food market on the embankment directly beneath us, with more than a hundred bewitching stalls of fresh vegetables, fish, meat, cheese, bread and charcuterie. On our first visit, we came away with a roast chicken, a sausage baked inside a brioche, a baguette and some cheese, which we took for a picnic in the Roman amphitheatre on Fourvière hill.
PHOTO, P REVIOUS S PREA D: © SI ME/ESTOC K OPP OSI TE PAGE, C LOCKWISE FROM TOP L E FT: COU RTE SY AU BE RG E DU PON T DE COLLONGES ; © C ELI NE C LANET X2; © MAURI CE ROUGEMONT/CORBIS; © CE L INE CL ANE T
FOOD FOR THE SOUL
Clockwise from top left: Paul Bocuse’s restaurant L’Auberge du Pont de Collonges; Chef Mathieu Viannay; Café Comptoir Abel; truffle soup created by Bocuse for the Élysée Palace; veal sweetbreads fricassee and lobster with peas from La Mère Brazier
FOOD FOR THE SOUL
THE FOOD OF LYON has been praised for at least 2,000 years. In the city’s Gallo-Roman Museum, we saw ancient testimonies to the quality of its pork, wine and chicken. Its culinary excellence is in part an accident of geography; the city sits at the intersection of several of France’s greatest wine regions and its cooks are able to draw on nearby delicacies: great fruit and vegetables, Charolais beef, bluelegged Bresse chickens, pork, snails, game and freshwater fish. But the city’s modern reputation was made in the 19th century, when a cohort of young women founded restaurants and spent their lives perfecting and serving a handful of dishes, all based around the local produce. They became known as Les Mères, the mothers. The most celebrated of all was Eugénie Brazier, born in 1895, whose life was a culinary Cinderella story. Aged 19 and unmarried, she gave birth to a son and had to leave her village in disgrace. She found work under Mère Fillioux, the most famous chef in Lyon, and finally opened a restaurant of her own. Relentless hard work, a commitment to the best ingredients and rare talent saw her become in 1933 the first chef to command six Michelin stars— three for each of her two restaurants. She died in 1977. Plump and smiling in her surviving photographs, she still exudes an unmistakable steeliness. Mère Brazier’s true heir is the man responsible for Lyon’s gastronomic 92
ascendancy in the 20th century: Paul Bocuse, the superstar chef who founded the Bocuse d’Or. Not only is the competition named after him, but its trophies are gold, silver and bronze statuettes of the man himself. The fact that Monsieur Bocuse can pull off this kind of self-advertisement is a tribute to his suavity and the genuine esteem in which he’s held. Paul Bocuse began his apprenticeship under Mère Brazier in 1946. He’s always acknowledged a debt to her. Now 88, Bocuse is virtually a gastronomic deity. Lyon’s covered market was renamed in his honour in 2006. His flagship restaurant, the Auberge du Pont de Collonges, stands on the Saône, a 15-minute drive from the centre of Lyon. The evening I went, the slopes of Croix-Rousse hill were gilded in the late-afternoon light. As we drove, I told my wife I’d had job interviews that I felt less nervous about. I was intimidated by the expense—enormous —and the feeling of entering the rarefied air of a culinary Valhalla. Bocuse’s other restaurants follow recent innovations, offering foams and the like. But here, in a strangely garish former mill that’s festooned with pictures of the master, Bocuse’s team serves his Greatest Hits. Bresse chicken, poached with slivers of black truffle under its skin, is a dish Bocuse would have seen prepared by Mère Brazier herself. It arrived at our table in the pig’s bladder in which it had been poached, ballooning like a
Looking across the Saône River towards Fourvière hill
PHOTO: © OLI VER STREWE/GETTY IM AGES
brontosaurus egg. The waiter punctured the bag, removed the bird and carved it expertly. First we ate the legs in a sweet and woody morel mushroom sauce. Then the breasts were served on a separate plate with dressed endive. It was one of a handful of truly extraordinary meals I’ve eaten. WE QUICKLY FELL IN LOVE with Lyon’s big squares, its leafiness, its rational public transport system, its relaxed pace of life, its lack of crowds. Beneath and behind the visible city lay hidden medieval courtyards, wells and steep Renaissance staircases. At the cafe by our apartment, we dipped our morning croissants in hot chocolate and watched workers grabbing espresso and men slapping twoeuro coins on the zinc counter for an 8am glass of rosé.
Lyon is an odd, binary place: it has two hills (Fourvière and Croix-Rousse, one historically a place of worship, the other a place of work) and two different rivers, the slow-moving Saône and the more turbulent Rhône. It also has its two cuisines—the celebrated inheritors of the traditions of Les Mères and the demotic food served in the city’s bouchons. The bouchon is the platonic ideal of a certain kind of restaurant. Inside, it’s always the year 1927. There’s dark wood, red-and-white-checked tablecloths, framed prints, perhaps a big vase of roses. No one is in a hurry, but everything is done with brisk expertise. Its glories are simple ones: salade lyonnaise with bacon and a poached egg on top; pickled herring with potatoes; sausage. There are often no more than half a dozen main courses, with 07•2016
FOOD FOR THE SOUL
pork and tripe dishes well represented. The gutsy, affordable, unfussy food —grandmother’s cooking—is a democratic cuisine. These are the dishes of a proud and assertive urban working class. The leisurely bouchon meal is a pointed riposte to the commercial logic that drives harried workers to gobble sandwiches at their desks. After all, what does it profit a man if he gains the entire world and lose his lunch hour? An appellation contrôlée system awards a label of authenticity to certain bouchons. There are currently 24
that meet the criteria: a combination of ambience, a commitment to traditional Lyon dishes and high culinary standards. We had to give up any hope of eating at all of them. There’s only so much tablier de sapeur—a thin square of tripe prepared like a schnitzel—that you can eat in a single day. Then there are Lyon’s newer maestros, playing variations on its traditions of excellence: Patrick Henriroux at Bocuse’s other alma mater, La Pyramide; the changing roster of chefs at Arsenic; the Japanese-inflected dishes of Arai Tsuyoshi at Au 14 Février; Mathieu
LEISURE TIME IN LYON GETTING THERE: Connecting flights to Lyon are available from a number of European cities, or take the two-hour TGV train from Paris’s Gare de Lyon, which departs every 30 to 90 minutes. LODGING: Château de Bagnols is a classic 13th-century château-hotel in Bagnols, outside Lyon (chateaudebagnols.com). Mama Shelter offers Lyon modern high design in the city centre (mamashelter.com). DINING: Café Comptoir Abel, 25 Rue Guynemer (£££). L’Auberge du Pont de Collonges, 40 Quai de la Plage, Collonges, au Mont d’Or (££££). La Mère Brazier, 12 Rue Royale (££££). La Meunière, 11 Rue Neuve (£££). Arsenic, 132 Rue Pierre Corneille (££). SHOPPING: Marché Saint-Antoine is a local outdoor market for fresh produce, Quai St-Antoine. MORE INFORMATION: lyon-france.com Pricing key: ££: £20–£50. £££: £50–£100. ££££: more than £100.
An Exclusive Offer For Reader’s Digest Readers
Sizzle the Ultimate Steak!
£29! Full price £58
Fire up the barbecue for the finest quality, grass-fed, fully matured UK steak, with this outstanding offer from Royal Warrant holding butcher, Donald Russell. This mouth-watering selection includes succulent, juicy Sirloin Steaks, generously marbled Ribeye Steaks, and incredibly beefy Pavé Rump Steak and Medallions. Plus free-range Pork Sausages, 100% Mini Steak Burgers and a handy cooking guide absolutely free. Donald Russell’s premium quality Traditional Steak Selection comes professionally frozen and delivered direct to your door on a day to suit you. At only £29, with free delivery*, it’s what barbecues were made for!
How to order: Order today by either calling 01467 629666, quoting RDG1602 or visit donaldrussell.com/rdg1602
THE TRADITIONAL STEAK SELECTION INCLUDES ■ 2 Sirloin Steaks, 190g each ■ 2 Ribeye Steaks, 190g each ■ 1 Pavé Rump Steak, 150g ■ 4 Pavé Rump Medallions, in pack of 4, pack weight 240g FREE GIFTS: ■ 6 Mini Steak Burgers, in packs of 6, pack weight 270g ■ 4 Pork Sausages, in pack of 4, pack weight 280g ■ 1 “How To Meat Perfection” Cooking Guide
The Small Print: Donald Russell Ltd, Harlaw Road, Inverurie, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, AB51 4FR. Strictly limited to 1 per household. *Free delivery is available for UK mainland only. Additional surcharges may apply; if in doubt please call first to check. Cannot be used in conjunction with any other Donald Russell offer. Offer expires 31st July 2016.
Home & Garden Reader Offer
LOVE BIRDS? Introducing our new range of attractive and practical bird feeders: an ideal gift or treat for the wild bird lover. Printed Fruit Feeder RRP £19.99 Shop Price £17.99* P13016 - Butterfly Plum P13017 - Nest Red Raspberry Size: 28.5cm H x 15.3cm W x 14.9cm D
P13027 Trellis Cottage Style Birdhouse RRP £24.99 Shop Price £22.99*
Visit our website for many more styles available at shop.readersdigest.co.uk
HOW TO ORDER (Please quote RDP041 when ordering) Online: shop.readersdigest.co.uk Phone: 0844 332 8080 (8am-8pm Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm Sat-Sun) By Post: Reader’s Digest, FREEPOST, RTHR-LLRY-ZHYS, Ringwood, BH24 1HD (Cheques should be payable to Reader’s Digest. Please remember to quote RDP041 and include your full name and address, along with the details of the item(s) required). * plus £4.95 postage and packing per order
Viannay at Mère Brazier’s old establishment, La Mère Brazier. We did manage to take the children to La Meunière, a lovely bouchon on Rue Neuve, one lunchtime. I was nervous about the culture clash between French gastronomic hauteur and wriggly, 21st-century children, but the whole thing went without a hitch. It was a success in part because of the kindness of the maître d’, in part because of the patience of the two young Frenchwomen who, in bouchon style, shared our table, but mainly because I let my son play on my smartphone for the entire meal. The kids tried the grattons (deep-fried pork rinds), loved the bread, sampled our plates of saucisson and the confit of lamb shoulder. At the end, we exchanged friendly au revoirs with our accidental companions. ON ONE OF OUR LAST EVENINGS,
I returned with my wife to Café Comptoir Abel. There was a warm breeze as we dawdled along the river, admiring
the view of the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière on the other side, and passed the old synagogue on Quai Tilsitt. I had a salad of crayfish and slippery green beans, and the quenelles, and we shared chestnut sorbet with chocolate sauce. It was even better than I remembered. In a world where food has become mixed up with aspiration, snobbery and utopianism, Lyon felt like it represented an achievable ideal: a place still connected to a culinary tradition that combines thrift and pride and excellence and sustainability. The lesson of the city is that food is a daily pleasure to be shared. It isn’t only the chicken in the pig’s bladder that I’ll remember: just as memorable were the Nutella crêpes my children devoured most afternoons; the snail pâté we sampled in the market; the hot chocolate that my son drank at breakfast and wore on his T-shirt all day. Between now and our next visit, these will be the meals that linger in the memory; this was the food that fed our souls.
TRAVEL & LEISURE (NOVEMBER 2014) © BY MARCEL THEROUX. TRAVELANDLEISURE.COM
GENTLEMANLY INSULTS There’s no reason to lose your cool—or courtesy—in a fracas. Try these: “You have diarrhoea of the mouth and constipation of the ideas.” “If I throw a stick, will you leave?” “You, Sir, are the reason God created the middle finger.” SOURCE: THEGENTLEMANSJOURNAL.COM
TRAVEL & ADVENTURE Anne campe d in a yurt, a tradition Asian tent ; al Central (below) the bright city of Samarkand BY C ATH Y A DA M S
My Great Escape: Sand And Starlight
Cathy has danced in Rio, been microlighting in South Africa and hiked the mountains of Oman
WE STOOD IN A LINE on the hilltop, cameras poised, waiting for the sun to set. This was the best time of the day, not only for photography, but for relief from the heat. A large dragonfly flew by. It was an unexpected sight in the dry Uzbekistan desert. Since reading The Golden Road to Samarkand as a child, I’ve always wanted to go to Uzbekistan. I was finally here. After the sun had set, we slithered down the sandy slope to the yurts below. Entering through the wooden doors, the four of us on the expedition flopped onto our mattresses and gazed in the dim light. We ate a meal and went outside to find a large campfire surrounded by chairs. A local musician began to sing. Happy yet weary, I went to the yurt, crawled into my sleeping bag and listened from there. During the night, I came outside and looked up: what a glorious sight! My patch of earth was completely enveloped by the soft black night and myriad brilliant constellations. No light, no sound; just nature in all her pristine glory. The next morning, after an Uzbek breakfast of bread, meat, cheese, boiled eggs, fruit and green tea, we set off with camels
© HEMIS /ALAMY STOCK P HOTO
Anne Rothwell from West Yorkshire fulfills a childhood dream in Uzbekistan
to walk to the Aydar Lake a few miles away. We loped along in the heat, my Bactrian camel stopping at every thorny bush to snatch a mouthful, which he crunched noisily. Then the lake came into view: a beautiful deep blue, mirroring the cloudless sky. The water was clear and clean and refreshingly cool. After a picnic on the shore, we travelled to see turquoise mosaic buildings and the fabled Silk Road of Samarkand— the city that inspired my trip! ■ CENTRAL ASIAN EXCURSION Exodus offers a 12-day Uzbekistan Uncovered trip from £1,699pp (020 3811 3008, exodus.co.uk).
Postcard From ... Rwanda JULY IS THE DRIEST MONTH IN RWANDA, so it’s the most enjoyable
time to catch a glimpse of its most famous residents: silverback gorillas. The central African country’s Volcanoes National Park, so-called thanks to the many volcanoes within its borders, is home to around 400 mountain gorillas, along with buffalo, monkeys and hyenas. Once you’ve tracked some of the world’s most legendary animals, you can relax in Volcanoes Safaris’ Virunga lodge—slated to have the best view in the world. ■ SILVERBACKS AND SAFARIS Volcanoes Safaris offers a four-day tour from £3,200 per person (+44 3333 239 740, volcanoessafaris.com).
WE WANT TO HEAR
Tell us about your favourite holiday (send a photo too) and if we include it on this page we’ll pay you £50. Go to readersdigest.co.uk/contact-us
© PRISMA BILDAGENTUR AG/ALAMY STOCK PHOTO
T R AV E L & A D V E N T U R E
Things To Do This Month LONG/SHORT: FOOD FESTIVALS
■ WATCH: FOOTBALL Euro 2016 kicks into France’s “pink city” at the start of July. If you don’t manage to get tickets to the Stade Toulousain, soak up the atmosphere in the youthful city (uefa.com/uefaeuro). ■ SEE: MUSÉE AEROSCOPIA Toulouse has a long history of aviation (it’s the home of planemaker Airbus), so it’s the perfect location for the new Musée Aeroscopia. Visitors can even tour the inside of a plane cockpit (musee-aeroscopia.fr). ■ CYCLE: VELOTOULOUSE Thanks to hundreds of bike-rental stations dotted around the compact city centre, it’s easiest to discover its charms on two wheels. If that’s too urban, escape to the nearby countryside to cycle along the Canal de Garonne (velo.toulouse.fr). 100
SHORT: Whitstable Oyster Festival The Kent seaside town is famous for its oysters—local restaurant Wheelers is packed most nights. This year’s Oyster Festival includes eating competitions, live music and food and drink stalls. From July 21–31 (whitstableoysterfestival.co.uk).
TRAVEL APP OF THE MONTH Airbnb, Free, iOs, Android. The property-rental start-up’s newly redesigned app has more listings, including bars and restaurants, to help you live like a local.
© HEMIS /ALAMY STOCK P HOTO
TOULOUSE IN TWO MINUTES
LONG: Singapore Food Festival Singapore is one of Asia’s most exciting foodie destinations, and during July a gastro frenzy comes to town. Expect hawker stalls, celebrity chefs and plenty of delicious Singaporean dishes (yoursingapore.com).
Everything you need to know about
Selling your Timeshare “
It’s good to know that there’s a company out there that helps people with no-obligation timeshare advice. Julie Peasgood 2016 - Writer, presenter, & travel expert
hether you’re worried about passing maintenance bills to family, finding travel more difficult or perhaps you actually want to travel more - this FREE guide’s an excellent place to start. With 40 pages of independent expert advice it’s easy to make your timeshare work for you. To find out more and to claim your FREE guide call TODAY!
We’ve helped 1000s of consumers...
new FREgeE 40 pa GUIDE
Last year we helped 1000s of people ensure that they were still getting the most out of their investment. For whilst the sun may still shine, and the location’s still great, your needs and that of your loved ones will inevitably change over time. Our Timeshare Health check helps you assess if your property is still right for you – and if it isn’t, we offer straight talking and totally independent advice on what to do next. To find out more and to claim your FREE guide call TODAY! Readers Digest readers can receive a £30 VOUCHER redeemable at over 120 high street stores inc. M&S, Boots and Waterstones*
Just some of our current free listings...
Why should you choose SellMyTimeshare.tv?
£ Studio, Plas Talgarth, North Wales £ Bed, Hollywood Mirage Club, Tenerife £ 1 Bed, Paradise Kings Club, Paphos £ 2 Bed, Lakeland Village, Cumbria £ 2 Bed, Royal Savoy Resort, Maderia £ 2 Bed, Clube Praia Da Oura, Portugal £ 3 Bed, Anfi Emerald Club, Gran Canaria £ 3 Bed, Cameron House, Scotland
Timeshare specialists for resorts worldwide Floating weeks, fixed weeks, points & club memberships Advertise your Timeshare with us for FREE
SellMyTimeshare.tv offer services including timeshare resales, client purchases, trade-ins, disposals, alternative leisure & lifestyle products as well as offering advice on getting the most from their existing timeshare ownership *Terms & Conditions apply.
For more information & FREE 40 page BROCHURE CALL
0800 012 4686
SellMyTimeshare.tv cancelled & sold over 2,250 timeshares in 2015!
or visit www.SellMyTimeshare.tv
“Our children do not want to inherit our Timeshare”
“We want freedom of choice”
“Our maintenance bills are too high”
TRAVEL & ADVENTURE
Festivals …are out there waiting to be celebrated. Join us on a trip to the most unusual events taking place around the globe BY CO RNE LIA KUM FERT
PHOTO: © ALAMY STOCK PHOTO
PHOTOS: ( TOP) © G E TT Y IMAG E S; ( B E LOW ) © AL AMY STOCK PHOTO; ( R IG H T ) © R E U T E R S
Every year in Nevada (US) there is artwork and curiosities galore to marvel at when the Black Rock Desert changes into a mammoth art exhibition (previous page). In August and September some 70,000 people come here to celebrate the Burning Man Festival. Superheroes don’t queue? Well, at San Diego’s Comic Convention they do. Each July they open their doors to fans of Superman and other comic figures. More than 100,000 annual visitors have paid homage to their mythical heroes.
Nappy time! At the Crying Baby Festival in Tokyo (Japan), sumo wrestlers do what they can to bring babies to tears. Sadism run riot? Certainly not! It’s a 400-year-old tradition based on a Japanese proverb, which says that crying babies grow fastest and parents believe the event brings good health to their children. Fame and honour await the winner of the Palio contest in Siena (Italy). In July and August, ten inhabitants of different districts of the city jockey for first place in a spectacular horse race. The trophy goes to the contestant whose horse crosses the finishing line first— whether he’s still in the saddle or not. 07•2016
C R A Z Y F E S T I VA L S
Monkey business in London. The Great Gorilla Run will be taking place for the 14th time in September this year to raise money for endangered mountain gorillas. Each year hundreds of people participate—all wearing gorilla costumes, of course! Skulls, grotesquely colourful sweets and paper skeletons? Welcome to the Day of the Dead. In early November, Mexicans commemorate their deceased with this opulent festival. The streets turn into a garish fun-mile full of people dancing, laughing and eating—preferably skulls made of icing sugar. 106
PHOTOS: (LEF T) © GETTY IMAGES; (TOP AND RI GHT) © A LAM Y STOCK PHOTO
A very special sporting event takes place annually in September, when socalled “highliners” meet up for concerted action in the Italian Alps. At the Highline Meeting in Monte Piana (Dolomites) they join forces to balance their way from peak to peak. From time to time they take a breather—not in some cosy hotel, but 7,545 feet up on the mountainside.
Peer-To-Peer Lending A whole new way of investing FROM ITS INCEPTION IN 2005, Peerto-Peer has grown from strength to strength to become the “poster child” of the alternative finance industry. By the end of March this year, the sector had attracted over £5bn of investments, with over £700m being invested in the first quarter alone. If the Peer-toPeer phenomenon has escaped your attention, now might be just the right time to take note. A WIN-WIN PARTNERSHIP
“Peer-to-Peer lending” is the now wellestablished practice of lending money to individuals or businesses through online services that match lenders (investors) directly with borrowers, enabling both parties to circumvent traditional providers such as banks. Investors typically achieve better rates of return than would be available from traditional providers. By the same token, borrowers gain access to flexible and competitively priced loans. In short, it’s a win-win scenario for both parties. Peer-to-Peer is confidently anticipated to become an ever-increasing
force within the financial marketplace, even when interest rates begin to climb, due to its significantly leaner cost base relative to traditional lending providers. Peer-to-Peer lending companies operate almost entirely online, and so can provide services much more cheaply than traditional financial institutions—hence their ability to offer more attractive terms to investors and borrowers alike. Another key attraction of Peer-toPeer investments is their flexibility. Typically, you can choose to invest for growth, ie, to roll up your returns and take them all on maturity at the expiry of your investment term, or take those returns regularly in the form of, say, a monthly “income”. It’s often possible to have those monthly payments paid regularly into a nominated bank account for added convenience. INTELLIGENT INVESTMENTS
Wellesley & Co is a Peer-to-Peer lending platform with a core principle to lend the money of its customers to carefully chosen borrowers whose loans are
secured upon tangible assets, such as residential and commercial property. Wellesley uses the interest paid by those borrowers to pay competitive rates to you. It invests its own money into every loan it makes—and is the only Peer-to-Peer to do so. Every week your money, along with its own, is
automatically spread across all the loans made, thereby spreading your investment as widely as possible. If you’re suffering from all-time low interest rates, it really could be time to consider trying out Peer-to-Peer lending. Do something interesting with your money—Try The Wellesley Way.
Benefit from our exclusive offer for Reader's Digest readers and receive £100 cashback when you invest £2,500*. Claim £100 cashback only at wellesley.co.uk/rd Your capital is at risk and interest payments are not guaranteed if the borrower defaults. Your funds are not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. Wellesley & Co is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (registration number 655503) and has its registered office at St Albans House, 57/59 Haymarket, London SW1Y 4QX. *Terms and conditions apply.
The Hidden Value Of Your Spare Room Whether it’s a space for sporadic visitors or a forgotten-gift dumping ground, an extra room can create some extra cash BY A N DY W E BB
IT’S GREAT TO HAVE SPACE for friends and family to stay when they come to visit, but chances are your spare room is really just a storage space most days of the year. Why not put it to more profitable use?
Charge people to stay there
Andy Webb is a money expert at the Money Advice Service. Visit money adviceservice. org.uk for details
The Rent a Room scheme is open to anyone who lets out a furnished room to a lodger in the home you live in, and in return you can earn up to £7,500 tax-free each year. You can also include food and services such as laundry in the rent you charge. However, any money earned above the £7,500 allowance will be taxed and you’ll need to fill in a self-assessment form each year. If you don’t like the idea of someone in your home all the time, a Monday-to-Friday rental agreement might suit you. You can also charge people for short-term stays through sites such as Airbnb. Next April, a £1,000 tax-free allowance will be introduced for people renting out parts of their property like this—garages, driveways and attics are also in demand, and you could even rent your whole home out while you’re away. With both schemes you don’t need to own your property, but mortgage and rental agreements might restrict who can stay in your home for money, and insurance policies often limit these activities, so check your documents first.
© MOPI C/ALAM Y STOCK P HOTO
Clear it out
Get rid of it
If there’s anything in your spare room you haven’t used for a year, it’s unlikely you’re ever going to use it. But rather than throw it away, see if you can make some money first. We all know about online selling sites such as eBay, but you can also offer items through local groups on Facebook. If you don’t fancy going online, car-boot sales can bring in some cash, but don’t expect to get as much money as you’d like. You might also be able to save some money by regifting—essentially, giving an unwanted item as a present on birthdays, Christmas and other celebrations. This of course requires a bit of tact, and make sure you don’t give someone a gift they gave you!
Of course, the biggest value your spare room has is related to the overall value of your property. Though it can be a wrench to leave the family home once the kids have moved out, you might find downsizing to a smaller property with fewer rooms frees up some cash to help you do more with your life. It also has the added advantage of making it easier to maintain your home with less cleaning and less clutter to deal with. But any move does come with additional costs—from Stamp Duty and legal fees on the new property to solicitor fees on the home you’re selling. Make sure you consider these before you move on. 07•2016
Dodging Charges On No-Frills Flights The luxury of being able to fly all over Europe and the UK for less than a return train ticket from London to Manchester is amazing. But if you don’t keep an eye on the extras, you could end up paying far more than you originally planned. Unfortunately, the way most of the airline websites work means you have to go through the process of booking a flight before you can see the real cost—a travel frustration we could all do without. To help you avoid getting caught out, watch out for the following when booking with a budget airline.
THOSE HIDDEN EXTRAS YOUR BAGS ■ Is there a charge to check luggage in the hold? ■ How big is the bag you’re allowed to take in the cabin? YOUR SEATS ■ Will you be charged more for extra leg room, or even a window seat? ■ If you don’t reserve a seat, is there a risk you won’t be sat together? BOOKING AND PAYMENT FEES ■ Is there a charge to use your credit card? ■ Will it cost you more to call up and book rather than do it online? ■ Does checking in at the airport cost more than doing it at home? FOOD AND DRINK ■ Are food, drink and snacks included? ■ Can you bring your own food on board? THE REST ■ Is there a pre-selected box for insurance? ■ Have you accidentally clicked to add car hire? ■ Does it cost you for a textmessage confirmation?
© GREGG VIGNA L/A LAM Y STOCK PHOTO / © GTS /SH UTTERSTOCK
ARE YOU OWED MONEY?
Microchipping Your Mutt Has your pet pooch been chipped? If not, it could cost you £500. The main purpose of microchipping pets is to make it easier for you to be reunited if little Fido is lost or stolen, but it also helps reduce the strain on animal charities dealing with strays and means fewer animals are put to sleep if their owner can’t be found. Since April, all dogs over six months need to be chipped, and it’s retrospective too—meaning even your loyal 15-year-old mutt will need a chip fitted. If your dog is found to not have a chip, you’ll be fined £500. Most vets will do this, but it’s also possible to find places that will do it for free. FOR MORE, GO TO READERSDIGEST.CO.UK/MONEY
The mild winter and spring mean it’s likely you spent less on your heating than you had done previously. Since our energy bills are estimated on previous usage of gas and electricity, and often paid by direct debit, anyone who did not give regular meter readings will probably have overpaid. To find out if you have, take meter readings and ask your supplier for a new bill based on them. If you find you now have a large amount of credit, you can ask for the energy company to pay it back to you. The company might suggest reducing your direct debits to cover the difference—which you can opt for—but it’s often better to have the money in your account earning interest than sitting where you can’t use it. 07•2016
FOOD & DRINK
Easy-to-prepare meals and accompanying drinks
Lamb Burgers In Pitta Pockets BY RAC H E L WAL K E R
Rachel Walker is a food writer for numerous national publications. Visit rachel-walker.co.uk for more details
THIS RECIPE IS THE ANTITHESIS to towering restaurant burgers, which need to be deconstructed before they fit in your mouth. Mini burgers enclosed in pockets of pitta bread are easy to eat at a barbecue and can be stuffed with lots of garnish. Buy the best quality mince you can afford and try not to flip the burgers too wildly during cooking. Hold your nerve and only flip the patties once so they stay in tact!
Serves 4 • 500g lamb mince • 50g breadcrumbs • 1 red chilli, deseeded and sliced • 1tbsp cumin seeds, ground • 1–2 courgettes, cut on the diagonal
• 1tbsp olive oil • 150g halloumi, sliced • 6tbsps plain yogurt • 8–12 fresh mint leaves, finely sliced • 4 handheld pitta breads, halved
1. Put the lamb mince in a mixing bowl and add the breadcrumbs, chilli and cumin. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper, and use your hands to mix everything together until it’s well combined—but don’t overwork or mash it. 2. Split the mince mixture into eight pieces and shape 114
PHOTOGRAP HY BY TI M & ZOË HI LL
into small patties. If needed, all this can be done in advance and refrigerated for up to 24 hours. 3. To cook the burgers on a barbecue, lightly brush them with oil. Put them on a grill over a bed of white-hot coals, and cook them for 6–8 minutes in total, flipping halfway through cooking. 4. To cook the burgers in the kitchen, preheat the oven to 200C. Put the burgers in a hot griddle pan, or under the grill, for two minutes on either side, until the top and bottom turn brown and crisp. Then place them in the oven for a further 6–8 minutes, until the patties are cooked through. 5. Meanwhile, place the sliced courgette and halloumi on a hot griddle pan or under the grill, and cook for 2–3 minutes on each side, until they are lined with strips of char. Set aside on a plate. 6. Mix together the yogurt and mint in a dish, then season. Finally, toast the pitta bread and slice in half. 7. Slot a mini patty into each half of the pitta, then splash on some of the mint-yogurt dressing. Squeeze in the halloumi and courgette round the side—plus any other garnishes you fancy!
TIP… If you ever have ends of stale, leftover bread then blitz it into breadcrumbs and freeze in a sandwich bag. They have such a big surface area, they defrost quickly.
Don’t miss our ten delicious vegetarian burger recipes at readersdigest. co.uk/veggieburgers
FOOD AND DRINK
Think Pink! IT’S LONG BEEN THE CASE that sartorial fashions change from season to season: soft pastels then dark denim, coral then neons. What’s more recent is the way that the cycle has trickled into the drinks industry. Last summer bright-orange glasses were charged with aperol spritz, negroni and campari on the rocks. This season, orange is on its way out and drinks are turning blush pink instead. “Pink Gin” was first drunk by the Royal Navy back in the 19th century. The savage cocktail, believed to help seasickness, mixed Plymouth gin with a dash of angostura bitters, which gave it a pink hue. Fever Tree’s latest launch of Aromatic Tonic (Waitrose, £1.69) —tonic water infused with South American angostura bark—means that the mixer carries the colours and flavour of the bitters, giving the drink a more palatable, 21stcentury twist. It’s not the only way to give a G&T a twist of pink, thanks to the proliferation of pink gins hitting the market. The Bitter Truth (Harvey Nichols, £48) is mixed with similar aromatic bitters, while Pinkster (Ocado, £35) is infused with raspberries, and Edgerton Original Pink Gin (Fortnum & Mason, £32.90) takes its colour 116
from pomegranate extract. San Franciscan cocktail “The Greyhound” is also cropping up on bar menus, using pink grapefruit as a mixer for traditional, clear gin. For those who prefer a session drink, Cranes is a young company behind hot-pink cranberry cider (Ocado, £1.99), and for soft alternatives, cold-press teas is an enduring trend. I always find that hibiscus iced tea is the perfect thirst quencher for a hot summer’s day (Hibiscus Tea, The Kent & Sussex Tea & Coffee Co, £1.95).
Hibiscus Iced Tea • 1 litre water • 15g dried hibiscus flowers • 50ml sugar syrup • 1 lime, cut into six wedges Pour the water into a large jug. Add the dried hibiscus flowers and steep overnight in the fridge. Strain to remove the dried flowers and sweeten with the sugar syrup. Fill tall glasses with ice cubes, top up with cold-brew hibiscus tea and garnish with lime wedges.
© WOLLERTZ / RAMON L. FARI NOS / MAXSOL/SH UTTERSTOCK
Ultimate Pink G&T • 50ml Plymouth gin • Fever Tree Aromatic Tonic • Strip of lemon zest Fill a tall glass with ice cubes, pour in the gin and top up with Fever Tree Aromatic Tonic. Run the pith side of the lemon-zest strip around the rim of the glass, then pop it into the drink.
Superfood Family Classics by Jamie Oliver, £22. Enhance your repertoire of healthy— and very tasty—dishes. BARGAIN
Small glass bowls, Tiger stores, £1. Cheap and cheerful, these are great for salads and sides at summer barbecues. BLOW OUT
Greyhound • 50ml gin or vodka • Pink grapefruit juice • Sprig of rosemary Fill a tumbler with ice cubes, pour in the gin or vodka and top up with grapefruit juice. Garnish with a sprig of fresh rosemary and serve. FOR MORE, GO TO READERSDIGEST.CO.UK/FOOD-DRINK
Yellow glass pitcher and set of six tumblers, Sophie Conran, £30. A jug is always handy when dining al fresco. 07•2016
home & Garden
By Ly n da C la rk
Lynda Clark is a homes, property and interiors expert, and is editor of First Time Buyer magazine
The Road To Rio As we gear up to the Summer Olympics in Rio, why not invite friends and family over to enjoy the sunshine? Add a statement to your garden using vibrant colours and accessories—a scattering of striking cushions, Moroccanstyle lanterns, pretty outdoor lights and playful bunting will all help set the scene. If your patio is small, it’s easy to maximise space by choosing a round table— preferably folding—along with a set of stackable chairs.
White wooden four-seater folding table and chairs, £259; fern print cushion, £14.99; turquoise planters, £19.99; multicoloured ball solar lights, £12.99; coloured jar tealight holders, £2.49. ■ All available from Dobbies (dobbies.com)
Get The Look Enjoy the sunny days and create your own tropical paradise! ■ Pineapple garland, £7.99, Lakeland (lakeland.co.uk). ■ Peru plate, £3, M&S (marksandspencer.com). ■ Woven garden chair, £60, George Home at Asda (george.com). ■ Pineapple vase, £10, George Home at Asda (george.com). ■ Light-up flamingo, £34.99, Lakeland (lakeland.co.uk). 118
Memories are made of this
Looking forward to your holiday? These fun accessories will get you in the mood
Travel the world with the Goldfish orange globe light, £79.95 (redcandy.co.uk).
The Great Outdoors During the warmer months there’s nothing quite like being outside—and a garden room where you can read, sit and watch the birds is ideal. Waltons’ modern summerhouse (below) also features a very useful side shed to keep your garden tidy. It’s unpainted but comes with a free tub of treatment and a ten-year anti-rot guarantee. The fully-glazed concertina doors open wide, making it easy to move furniture in or out, and allow plenty of fresh air to circulate during the summer months! Visit waltons. co.uk for details.
FOR MORE, GO TO READERSDIGEST.CO.UK/home-garden
Umbra hanging photo display is perfect to show off your favourite snaps, £19 (redcandy.co.uk).
Write your packing list on a fictional hotel notepad, £18 for eight (herblester.com). 07•2016
From speedy coffee machines to sophisticated e-readers, tech can help you to switch off
Easy Does It BY OLLY MANN
Olly is a technology expert, radio presenter and podcaster
NESPRESSO PRODIGIO, £159
Current coffee technology isn’t about improving taste so much as refining the speed with which you get a cup into your caffeine-hungry hands. First we saw supermarkets offer up a torrent of ready-to-drink coffees, then we got apps to tell us which nearby coffee chain has the shortest queue. Now a gadget from Magimix that is, essentially, the 21st-century teasmade: a Bluetooth-enabled Nespresso machine. So, order your coffee from your bed, or on the bus home, and have it ready when you get to the kitchen. Quick enough for you?!
APPLE APP OF THE MONTH: ULYSSES, £34.99
Attempt to write a novel on most word-processing apps and your phone display becomes so dominated by the touch-screen keyboard and formatting buttons,
there’s precious little room for your text. Ulysses provides clean, white space, yet with professional annotation tools a mere swipe away. Documents sync to iCloud and can be converted to doc, PDF or ebook format.
KINDLE OASIS, £269
Considering Amazon flog their Fire tablets for under 50 quid, it’s in some ways surprising they’ve launched this premium product: a Kindle with a plush leather charging cover, which will set you back over £300 if you want 3G. A bit steep for a device running old-fashioned, laggy, black-and-white E ink? Well, yes and no: if you read a lot of books, you’re buying yourself hours of pleasure—the ergonomic redesign has satisfying physical buttons to turn the page and feels more like holding a real paperback, as the weight is distributed towards your hand as you read. Kindle Paperwhite remains better value, but this is the Rolls-Royce of e-readers.
ONJA STOVE, £100
When hipsters and camping collide, fashion takes a back seat. How can you come across all counter-cultural cool while shlepping a tent, 20 beer cans and an inflatable mattress across a muddy field? You can’t (or at least I can’t). But at least your portable stove can look awesome. This two-burner folds down into a “briefcase”, replete with a cream finish and oak trim. It’s a bit of a mad idea, the kind of thing that will fox the future presenters of The Antiques Roadshow when your grandchildren turn up with one in 2095. But it really is very Now.
ANDROID APP OF THE MONTH: THE MORON TEST, FREE
Countless games have me frustrated; very few make me laugh out loud. But this app arouses both reactions simultaneously. Apparently, under pressure, I can’t rank cartoon eyeballs by size. I cannot refrain from tapping big red buttons, even when there’s a clear command at the top of the screen that says, “Do Not Press The Button”. Am I a moron? Best keep playing to find out...
Fashion & beauty
By G e org i n a yate s
Georgina is a fashion and beauty editor for numerous travel titles and a blogger at withgeorgia.com
Watertight Tip applying eyeliner perfectly is one battle, but keeping it smudge-free throughout the day is another hurdle that’s often more difficult to overcome. If you have sensitive eyes, any number of environmental factors— such as wind, heat and pollen count—can encourage them to water, thus ruining heavier kohl looks. Unfortunately, after a number of trials, I’ve found waterproof liners and mascaras ineffectual against a flood of warm tears. However, Urban Decay’s Eye Primer Potion (£18, urbandecay.co.uk) is so far the most successful defence against leaky eyes. After moisturising, smooth a layer of primer over your lids and then apply your eye shadow and liner on top. The primer serves as a barrier against excess moisture from the eyes or skin.
Hold steady ■ If hot flushes and sweating cause havoc with your make-up, keep it in place with Urban Decay’s “Chill” setting spray (£22, urbandecay.co.uk). Used over freshly applied make-up, it cools the skin and prevents liquid-based products from smudging. 122
Summertime scents ■ Green-fingered folk will love the limited-edition Herb Garden Collection from Jo Malone (£44, jomalone.com). Fragrant foliage and fruit are cleverly combined in five creative and lively perfumes.
Taste of the Riviera For Her
■ Channel the glamour
of Audrey Hepburn with a pair of Sixtiesinspired sunglasses. You’ll catch eyes and see better too—as these can even come in your prescription (£98, baileynelson.co.uk).
■ Cruise along the harbour in these nautical wide-leg trousers from Boden (£79, boden.co.uk).
■ Pair vibrant separates with something neutral and comfortable, such as this crew-neck linen shirt (£69, east.co.uk).
■ Stay on course with
a personalised location bracelet from designer Sally Clay. You can wear just one or stack them to show all the places you’ve been (£83, sallyclay.co.uk).
■ Look after your skin ■ Choose sophisticated
details over garish patterns with this offwhite, finely striped tee (£25, whitestuff.com).
—and keep the sun from your eyes—with a classic and stylish wide-brimmed hat (£30, debenhams.com). 07•2016
Sophisticated women’s fiction and middle-aged male outrage are this month’s captivating reads
July Fiction BY JAMES WALTON
James writes and presents the BBC Radio 4 literary quiz The Write Stuff
I Found You
by Lisa Jewell (Century, £12.99) Lisa Jewell is one of Britain’s best-selling writers—and reading her new novel, it’s not hard to see why. I Found You is a high-class combination of popular women’s fiction (the genre formerly known as “chick-lit”) and gripping psychological thriller. In the classic manner, the central character Alice is slightly chaotic but fundamentally good-hearted—and in this case living on the Yorkshire coast with her three children. By the third page, the plot is already under way, when she spots a handsome fortysomething man sitting on the beach. His name is…well, he doesn’t know, because he’s suffering from severe amnesia that also means he doesn’t know why he’s there or where he’s come from. Meanwhile in Surrey, a wife is reporting the disappearance of her handsome fortysomething husband to the police. At this stage, people who haven’t read Jewell before may think they realise what’s going on. In fact, the truth —revealed with enormous teasing skill—is packed with
NAME THE AUTHOR (Answer on p128) Can you guess the writer from these clues (and, of course, the fewer you need the better)?
1. For a year in the late 1970s, he was the Doctor Who script editor. 2. H is most famous novel series began as a radio programme. 3. 42.
more twists, and genuine sadness, than anybody could possibly expect. Admittedly, the book does have moments of contrivance—but they’re exceptionally well-contrived.
© WENN LTD/ALA MY STOC K PH OTO
by Mark Lawson (Picador, £16.99) If I were Mark Lawson, I might invest in a tin hat this month—because The Allegations seems bound to provoke the sort of fight it’s clearly spoiling for. In 2014, Lawson left BBC Radio 4’s arts programme Front Row amid accusations of bullying. Now, Tom Pimm, one of the main characters here, is a history professor accused of the same thing—even though all he’s done is stand up for intellectual rigour and common sense. Worse, his friend and colleague Ned Marriott is arrested for “historic” sexual abuse—despite not being guilty either. But what both men come to understand is that at a time when offence-taking has become a national pastime and all accusers are described as “victims”, innocence is largely irrelevant. The result is a book that, although highly readable, is essentially a howl of middle-aged male outrage at what Ned calls “the bonfire of the sanities” in the age of censorious social media. And for my money, Lawson hits most of his targets bang-on.
PAPERBACKS ■■ Dark Corners by Lynda La Plante (Simon & Schuster, £7.99). Her 66th and final
novel serves up Rendell’s usual satisfying mix of murder and sharp reflections on modern life. ■■ Concorde by Jonathan Glancey (Atlantic, £9.99).
The rise and fall of the supersonic airliner makes for an absorbing if slightly melancholy read. ■■ The Forgotten Summer by Carol Drinkwater (Penguin, £7.99). The first adult novel by
the former actress, this is a rich and warm tale of secrets and feuds in Provence. ■■Creative, Successful, Dyslexic by Margaret Rooke (Jessica Kingsley, £9.99). From Darcey
Bussell to Richard Branson, 23 high-achievers discuss how dyslexia affected them as children and how they’ve coped with its challenges. Also contains practical advice for parents. ■■Reckless by Chrissie Hynde (Ebury, £8.99).
Memoir from the lead singer of The Pretenders, with plenty of terrific, sometimes hairraising, rock-androll anecdotes.
RD’S RECOMMENDED READ
The unusual tactics of a select band of men attracted scorn, yet they were crucial to victory in the Second World War
Uncivil Chivalry THE CHARACTERS in Giles Milton’s (right) rollicking new book are a suitably eccentric bunch. There is, for example, Cecil Clarke, a caravan maker from Bedford who designed the first limpet mine using a Woolworths tin bowl, a condom and an aniseed ball—which, placed between the striker and the detonator, dissolved at just the right speed. (These mines were soon in such demand that Clarke had to order the aniseed balls direct from Bassett’s rather than buying them at local sweet shops.) There’s also the group’s leader, Colin Gubbins, a dapper figure with a silver-topped cane who’d learned about guerrilla war fighting Michael Collins in Ireland. The Special Operations Executive, as they were officially known, had
The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare—Churchill’s Mavericks: Plotting Hitler’s Defeat by Giles Milton is published by John Murray at £20. 126
a vital impact on the war. Many officers in the regular army regarded their methods of sabotage and ambush as underhand and therefore un-British. But it was with Churchill’s full support that the SOE carried out the spectacular raids across Occupied Europe and North Africa that Milton describes so vividly. Here we join them (including Peter Fleming, older brother of James Bond creator Ian) in 1940, when the focus was on preparing for the apparently inevitable German invasion of Britain.
© GERAIN T LEWIS/A LAM Y STOCK PHOTO
Within hours of Hitler’s issuing of Directive No.16, Gubbins summoned a meeting of his 12 newly appointed guerrilla commanders, with Peter Fleming the first among equals. Others included the veteran Greenland explorer Andrew Croft, and Donald Hamilton-Hill, whose forebears had fought against Napoleon in Egypt. His briefing reflected the depressing reality. ‘In clear, concise terms,’ said Hamilton-Hill, ‘he described the situation in Britain as it then stood.’ Gubbins reminded the 12 that they were guerrillas, not regular soldiers, and had been selected because they had ‘a nonmilitary and independent approach to life’. Peter Fleming was to display a professionalism sorely absent in the regular army. He studied every nook and hollow of the Thanet countryside before deciding to establish his guerrilla headquarters in a half-timbered farmhouse called the Garth in Bilting, a village 15 miles inland from the east coast. It was likely to fall just outside the initial German beachhead, making it the ideal place to mastermind his operations. It also became his principal weapons’ dump, with the big barn next to the house stashed ‘from end to end and from floor to roof with explosives, ammunition and weapons, including half a dozen longbows’.
RD EXCLUSIVE: GILES MILTON’S CHOICE OF GREAT HISTORY BOOKS
Morocco That Was by Walter Harris (1921). An eye-popping, often wryly funny account of finde-siècle opulence at the court of the last Moroccan sultan. Packed with tales of greed and murder. The Longest Day by Cornelius Ryan (1959). The classic narrative of D-Day, including the memories of survivors and interviews with key voices in German high command. Bayonets to Lhasa by Peter Fleming (1961). A brilliant account from Ian’s older brother of Britain’s little-known 1904 invasion of Tibet, complete with first-hand testimonies. The Life and Death of St Kilda by Tom Steel (1965). The extraordinary story of life on one of Britain’s most remote islands—a tale of hunger and gruelling hardship. The Great Game by Peter Hopkirk (1992). Still the best single-volume account of Britain and Russia’s violent rivalry for the mastery of Central Asia.
Fleming had good reason for acquiring the longbows. He intended to teach his men to use them ‘to hurl incendiary charges into German petrol dumps’. Without fuel, Hitler’s tanks and jeeps would be trapped inside their beachhead. Fleming was shrewd enough to
It was essential that they should remain undiscovered. To this end, the men concealed the entrances and exits with gnarled, ivy-clad roots, while the ventilation funnels and water-supply pipes were interwoven with branches, leaves and man-made camouflage. One of the key cells in
realise that his men would need underground cells if they were to fight a sustained dirty war against the Nazis. ‘A guerrilla without a base,’ he told them, ‘is no better than a desperate straggler.’ He also knew that cells would need to be well stocked if the guerrillas were to continue their operations over many weeks. Each was to be self-sufficient and stocked with food rations, chemical Elsan toilets, wireless sets and large quantities of explosives. AND THE NAME OF THE AUTHOR IS… Douglas Adams. (In The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, his most famous novel series, the answer to “life, the universe and everything” turns out to be 42.)
the Kent area set the gold standard: anyone wishing to enter had to drop a marble down a mouse-hole. The marble rolled down a 12-footlong pipe and into a tin can, a signal to the men below ground to open the trapdoor concealed in the roots of a tree. The planning of the cells was combined with an upper-class savoir faire about the finer things in life. One group of army officers was invited to a meal in one of these cells and expected to be served powdered rations in an earthen hole. But when they slipped down through the trapdoor, ‘they were faced with a long dining table covered with a crisp damask cloth. The candles were in candelabras and the cutlery on the table gleamed.’ Even when training for ungentlemanly warfare, Gubbins’s guerrillas remembered to dine as gentlemen.
© LEBRECHT M USIC AN D ARTS P HOTO LI BRARY/A LAM Y STOCK PHOTO
His men would need underground cells if they were to fight a sustained dirty war against the Nazis
that changed my life
Historian Tom Holland is the award-winning author of Rubicon, Persian Fire and Millennium. He appears regularly on radio, TV and in print. His latest book Dynasty is published in paperback by Abacus.
Moominsummer Madness By Tove Jansoon
What I love about this book, as a child and still today, is its mix of the fantastical and normal. On the one hand, it’s about a family and their friends all enjoying themselves, quite happy not doing much. On the other hand, it’s about characters that can change into odd shapes, magicians coming down from the moon and peculiar creatures emerging from the loft. That mix of the familiar and the extraordinary informs all my writing.
The Histories By Herodotus
By the time I was 12, I was obsessed by Ancient Greece and Rome. At first, I found the early section of The Histories a real grind because it’s like a long shaggy dog story that never gets to the point. In the second half FOR MORE, GO TO READERSDIGEST.CO.UK/BOOKS
I was rewarded with the stories I’d been waiting for, like the battles of Marathon, Salamis and Thermopylae. Over the years, I came to value the infectious curiosity of the first half and the portrait of the world in the fifth century BC seen through the eyes of this extraordinary Greek historian.
A Distant Mirror By Barbara W Tuchman
Tuchman’s book The Guns of August won the Pulitzer Prize, but it’s this slightly less well-known work that provided me with a role model for my own writing. Both scholarly and gripping, it’s a portrait of the 14th century in Western Europe and vividly evokes medieval civilisation buffeted by cataclysms: the Black Death, the Peasants’ Revolt and the Great Papal Schism. I felt I knew what it was to die of the plague or to have a sword put through me— real stories told remarkably. As told to Caroline Hutton 07•2016
FUn & Games
You Couldn’t Make It Up Win £50 for your true, funny stories! Go to readersdigest. co.uk/contact-us or facebook.com/readersdigestuk I OVERHEARD A WOMAN
MY PARTNER rob was speeding on the motorway because he was late for a football match. He was pulled over by the police. Trying to pretend he didn’t realise he was speeding, he said to the policeman, “Sorry, was I driving too fast?” “No,” replied the officer, “just flying too low.” KIRA AITKINS, Me r s e y s i d e
The following week, the school rang to confirm and his wife answered. “I don’t know why he agreed to talk about that,” she remarked. “He’s only done it twice. The first time he got lost and the second time he fell in.” ROSS GUBBY, E d i n b u r g h
THE MINISTER OF MY BROTHER’S CHURCH was asked by a local school
MY son danny, who’s three years
to give a sex-education talk. Rather than write this in the parish diary, he substituted “sex education” with the word “sailing”.
old, was thrilled when I put biscuits in the shopping trolley. “They’re not for now, though,” I warned. “Why,” he asked.
Cartoon: © Guto Dias
purchasing tickets for a winetasting event. She was attempting to confirm, as advertised, that there would be “over 100 wines to sample”. The sales assistant confirmed that this was correct, before helpfully adding, “But just think of it as a number, not a personal challenge.” LEIGH RENNIE, G l a s g o w
“It’s all right to eat food like that sometimes, but not all the time, and you had a cookie this morning.” On the way home, a little voice in the back of the car piped up, “Is it sometimes yet?” ALISON LOCONTE, L i n c o l n s h i r e I WAS AT A FANCY-DRESS PARTY
when a pregnant woman arrived dressed as a ballerina. It seemed an odd choice, until she turned around to reveal a sign that read, “I should have danced all night!” CHRISSIE LUNT, B o u r n e m o u t h I WAS AT AN AUCTION on a rundown smallholding that had gone bankrupt in rural Lincolnshire. Most of the lots were piles of junk that went for £1, but during the sale of a particularly unappealing bucket of rusty old nails, someone’s iPad started bleeping. The auctioneer quipped, “Looks like we’ve got some international interest...come in, America!” The owner of the iPad looked up and said, “I’m sorry to disappoint you, but it’s just my wife asking me if I’d like fish and chips for tea.” ANDREW BERRY, L i n c o l n s h i r e LAST SUMMER my family stayed in
a villa in France. After a perfect day by the pool, my daughter and I went to shower while my wife got ready for dinner. “Papa,” my daughter called, “can
you help me wash my hair?” My wife usually helped my ten-yearold with this task, but she was busy. Being the type of person who spends little time worrying about my hair, I searched the bathroom for something that looked like the popular brand of shampoo “Wash and Go”. Soon all those hours learning French at school seemed not to have been wasted after all; I was rewarded with a green bottle and a name that seemed like the French for “quick” (vite). I grabbed the Veet, not seeing my mistake. Only later did I discover what an immensely effective depilatory product it really was. JEREMY MEESON, b y e m a i l A WORK COLLEAGUE had just had
quadruplets, so I went to see them with my partner. Proudly showing off her three sons and a daughter, she asked us what we thought. Before I could say anything, my partner piped up, “Well, if it were up to me—I’d keep that one.” My friend’s face was a picture! ELERI WEBBER, C h e s h i r e MY SEVEN-YEAR-OLD SON was
attending an exhibition of abstract paintings with his grandmother. “This picture,” she told him, “is supposed to be a tractor in a field.” “Well,” replied my puzzled son, “Why isn’t it?” JASON TRUBY, He r t f o rd s h i r e 07•2016
It’s never been easier to enjoy the World’s favourite magazine! R E A D E R ’ S D I G E S T | S M A L L A N D P E R F E C T LY I N F O R M E D |
Plus as a subscribe r get 10% off a t Reader’s Digest Shop!
“I’m Having Such Fun” Patrick Stewart talks acting, age and diversity PAGE 22
Crossing the Greenland Ice Cap PAGE 78
More Than A Minute
Nicholas Parsons on a lifetime of broadcasting PAGE 30
M A Y 2 0 1 6
How Gratitude Boosts Health PAGE 40
3 ISSUES FOR JUST £3.00! MAY 2016
Each must-read monthly issue covers life, culture, health, books, films, food, humour and travel alongside in-depth news features, memoirs and celebrity profiles. YES I want to subscribe to Reader’s Digest Magazine for just £3 for 3 issues (a saving of £8.37 on the shop price of £11.37 based on the cover price of £3.79 per issue). I’ll also receive a voucher code for my 10% discount off orders placed via the Reader’s Digest shop. I understand that if I do not wish to continue receiving Reader’s Digest after my first 3 issues I can simply cancel my subscription by contacting customer services. If I do want to continue to subscribe after my first 3 issues I need do nothing and my subscription will automatically be renewed at the low rate of £4.99 for every 3 issues until I decide otherwise.
Please complete direct debit mandate below Name of Bank ...................................................................... Account Holder ............................................................ Branch: Sort Code
Postcode: Telephone: Email: Return your completed form to: FREEPOST RTHR-LLRY-ZHYS, Reader’s Digest, Pullman Way, Ringwood, BH24 1HD Or call us today on 0844 332 4994 Quoting code RDN024
INSTRUCTIONS TO YOUR BANK OR BUILDING SOCIETY TO PAY BY DIRECT DEBIT. Originators reference: 400162
Instructions to your bank or Building Society: Pay Reader’s Digest Direct Debits from the account detailed on this instruction subject to the safeguards assured by the Direct Debit Guarantee. I understand that this instruction may remain with Reader’s Digest and if so will be passed electronically to my Bank or Building Society.
Signature ..................................................................... Date .............................................................................. Data Protection: From time to time Reader’s Digest may contact you with details of its products and services. Please tick here if you object to receiving such information.
IT PAYS TO INCREASE YOUR
Word Power Endings such as -ism (“belief”), -mania (“obsession”) and -phobia (“fear”) can tell you a lot about a word’s meaning. As you navigate this month’s quiz, pay close attention to the suffix of each term for helpful clues. At your wit’s end? Turn the page for answers. BY E M ILY COX & H E NRY RATH VON
1. cryptology n—A: raiding of tombs. B: series of puzzles. C: study of codes.
8. pachyderm n—A: elephant. B: jellyfish. C: butterfly. 9. Kafkaesque adj—A: nightmarishly
2. empathetic adj—A: showing
complex. B: gigantic. C: left-wing.
understanding or sensitivity. B: sad. C: numb.
10. atrophy v—A: waste away.
B: win a prize. C: speak out against. 3. ovoid adj—A: egg-shaped. B: empty. C: passionate.
11. knavish adj— A: sticky. B: sharply
honed. C: deceitful or dishonest. 4. deify v—A: treat as a god.
B: bring back to life. C: disregard.
12. legalese n—A: passage of laws.
B: strict rules. C: legal language. 5. perspicacious adj—A: finicky.
B: of acute mental vision. C: lucky or fortunate.
13. patriarch n—A: Roman vault. B: father figure. C: homeland.
6. indigenous adj—A: poor. B: native. C: mixed.
14. obsolescent adj—A: teenage. B: quite fat. C: going out of use.
7. herbicide n—A: greenhouse. B: skin lotion. C: agent used to inhibit or kill plant growth.
15. solarium n—A: sun room. B: private nook. C: answer to a difficult problem. 07•2016
Answers 1. cryptology—[C] study of codes (-ology = “study”). “The Enigma code was cracked by aces in cryptology.”
8. pachyderm—[A] elephant (-derm = “skin”). “Many pachyderms are endangered mammals.”
2. empathetic—[A] showing understanding or sensitivity (-pathy = “feeling”). “Do you think women are more empathetic than men?”
9. Kafkaesque—[A] nightmarishly complex (-esque = “resembling”). “Getting my passport back involved a Kafkaesque maze of bureaucracies.”
3. ovoid—[A] egg-shaped (-oid = “resembling”). “Jay’s ovoid physique made him a shoo-in for the role of Falstaff.” 4. deify—[A] treat as a god (-fy = “make into”). “First we deify pop stars, then we tear them down.” 5. perspicacious—[B] of acute
10. atrophy—[A] waste away (-trophy = “nourishment”). “Without rehab, Alison’s knee will atrophy.” 11. knavish—[C] deceitful or dishonest (-ish = “like”). “Who’s the knavish sneak who stole my drink?” 12. legalese—[C] legal language (-ese = “language style”). “Please, cut the legalese and speak plain English.”
13. patriarch—[B] father figure (-arch = “chief”). “That loudmouth is the patriarch of all spin doctors.” WORD OF THE DAY* 14. obsolescent— OVOLO: [C] going out of use a rounded convex (-escent = “becoming”). moulding. “Our landline is now obsolescent.” Alternative suggestions:
mental vision (-acious = “with a quality of”). “She’s too perspicacious to fall for their hoax.” 6. indigenous— [B] native (-genous = “producing”). “The protesters argued that chemical testing would disrupt the island’s rare indigenous species.” 7. herbicide—
[C] agent used to inhibit or kill plant growth (-cide = “killing”). “Mother Nature isn’t fond of lawn herbicides.” 134
A confused Swedish car. When a glutton tried to answer the question, “What is the capital of Norway?” with his mouth full. A famous Italian cricket ground.
15. solarium—[A] sun room (-arium = “place”). “Let us retire to my solarium for a little more inspiration.” VOCABULARY RATINGS
9 & below: linguist 10–12: wordaholic 13–15: brainiac
*POST YOUR DEFINITIONS EVERY DAY AT FACEBOOK.COM/READERSDIGESTUK
GREAT Chat, GUARANTEED Enjoy good-value bingo fun with E ticket offers. jackpots and even BUY-2-GET-1-FRE d be a winner! coul you and 1p Play bingo from just
couple of Having only been a member for a the full win to rised weeks, I was very surp bingo g layin 0—p £1,00 was hich house—w to take on Sapphire Bingo. I’m planning ed two my family on holiday! We’ve book famous the nd arou ing boat olk Norf in weeks ing! winn Broads! It was fantastic Bingo Michael G Won £1,000 on Sapphire
I had a lovely night out with my family, and when I got home I thought I’d have a little play on Wonderland. All of a sudden it flashed up on screen, You have won the progressive jackpot! I couldn’t believe my eyes: £23,301. Thank you, Reader’s Digest Bingo! d Diane H won £23,301 on Wonderlan
Join Reader’s Digest Bingo today! Deposit £10 and get £35 to play * 1. Sign up at readersdigestbingo.com 2. Register with promo code RD716 and get £25 free-play* 3. Join the fun with £35
readersdigestbingo.com *New customers only. Registration required. Minimum £10 deposit. You must be 18 or older. UK only. Offer ends 31 August 2016. You must enter the promo code RD716 on registration and accept the Welcome Bonus when you deposit £10 to receive the £25 bonus. 250% Welcome Bonus—max £100. Bonus must be wagered four times before withdrawals. Wager and cash-out requirement apply. See full T&Cs at readersdigestbingo.com. Play responsibly. For more information, visit gambleaware.co.uk
Mice & Dice FP_July.indd 1
Challenge yourself by solving these puzzles and mind stretchers, then check your answers on page 139.
How could you stack these five shapes so that the resulting tower has the lowest height possible?
BUBBLE MATHS REDUX
How many dots are required to complete the fourth equation below?
Assign a whole number between 1 and 5 to each of the 10 bubbles. Each number occurs twice, but no two bubbles with the same number are touching. The sums of some of the numbers are revealed in the areas where their bubbles overlap. Can you figure out which number goes in each bubble?
(THE TOWER) DARREN RI GBY; ( FI GURE EQUATI ONS) MARCEL DA NESI; (BU BBL E MATH RE D UX) ROD E RICK KIMBAL L OF PAT H PU ZZL E S.COM
FUN & GAMES
SUM OF ALL PARTS
(SUM OF ALL PARTS ) MA RCEL DANESI ; ( A BRIDGE TOO FEW ) DARREN RIG BY
Insert each of the tiles below into the larger grid so that the numbers in each of the grid’s rows and columns add up to the same sum. Two tiles have already been inserted for you.
A BRIDGE TOO FEW
In the map below, it isn’t possible to start on a riverbank or an island and cross each of the bridges exactly one time, even if you’re allowed to finish somewhere other than where you started. Where can you place one more identically sized bridge (in a straight line, over water) so that you can cross each of the bridges once and only once?
Another chance to test your general knowledge
7 8 10
11 13 15
08 11 13 15 16 18 19 22
ubby, plump (6) T Endure pain (6) Sightseeing holidaymaker (7) Shallow inland sea (6) Take up (a space) (6) Round machinery parts (6) Areas inside a house (5) Friendly name for any cat (4)
Across: 7 Otherworldly 9 Algebra 10 Rhino 11 Says 12 Phase out 14 Follow on 17 Sway 20 Eager 21 Close up 23 Goose pimples
DOWN 01 Meat-substitute bean (4) 02 Scooby Doo’s friend (6) 03 Look into, explore (5) 04 Powerful alkali used as a garden fertiliser (6) 05 Bouquet seller (7) 06 White rabbit with pink eyes (6)
Down: 1 Soya 2 Shaggy 3 Probe 4 Potash 5 Florist 6 Albino 8 Portly 11 Suffer 13 Tourist 15 Lagoon 16 Occupy 18 Wheels 19 Rooms 22 Puss
ACROSS 07 Alien, celestial or 20 daydreaming (5-7) 09 Mathematical system (7) 10 Large African animal (5) 11 Speaks (4) 12 Gradually do away with (5,3) 14 Subsequent (6-2) 17 Move to and fro (4) 20 Enthusiastic, keen (5) 21 Photo taken with a zoom lens (5-2) 23 Skin bumps caused by cold (5,7)
BrainTeasers: Answers THE TOWER
Place them sideways and then stack them in any order.
* Entry is open only to residents of the UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man and Republic of Ireland aged 18 or over. It is not open to employees of Vivat Direct Limited (t/a Reader’s Digest), its subsidiary companies and all other persons associated with the competition.
6. Add the number of sides in the first two figures in each equation, then subtract the number of sides in the last figure to find the number of dots. BUBBLE MATHS REDUX 1
SUM OF ALL PARTS 1
The constant sum is 27. A BRIDGE TOO FEW
There are now many routes that work, beginning or ending at the flagged islands.
£50 PRIZE QUESTION Answer published in the August issue Which is the odd word out?
dangle pamper donate kennel timely The first correct answer we pick on July 8 wins £50!* Email email@example.com
ANSWER TO JUNE’S PRIZE QUESTION C. Each line contains a group of 4 black dots, a group of 4 white dots and a single white dot. Each line contains a light green symbol, a dark green symbol and a black symbol. The missing picture must be a black symbol with 4 black (and therefore invisible) dots, thus figure C.
AND THE £50 GOES TO… Gay Jacklin, Worthing
FUN & GAMES
Laugh! Win £50 for every reader’s joke we publish! Go to readersdigest. co.uk/contact-us or facebook.com/readersdigestuk ADAM, A CITY TRADER, lost his job. He was tired of urban life and decided he was going to move to the country and become a chicken farmer. He found a nice working farm, which he bought. It turned out that his next-door neighbour was also a chicken farmer. The neighbour came for a visit one day and said, “Chicken farming isn’t easy. Tell you what—to help you get started, I’ll give you 100 chickens.” Adam was pleased to be accepted and jumped at the offer. Two weeks later, the neighbour stopped by to see how things were going. “Not too good,” said Adam. “All 100 chickens died.” The neighbour said, “Oh, I can’t believe that. I’ve never had any trouble with my chickens. I’ll give you 100 more.” Another two weeks went by and the neighbour stops in again. Adam says, “You’re not going to believe this, but the second 100 chickens died too.” Astounded, the neighbour asked, 140
“What went wrong? What did you do to them?” “Well,” said Adam, “I’m not sure whether I’m planting them too deep or not far apart enough.”
GRAHAME JONES, L o n d o n
TV COMMERCIALS now show you how detergents take out bloodstains—a pretty violent image there. I think if you’ve got a T-shirt with a bloodstain all over it, maybe laundry isn’t your biggest problem. COMEDIAN JERRY SEINFELD A MAN CALLS 999. “Hello? I need your help!” Operator: “Yes, what is it?” Man: “Two women are fighting over me!” Operator: “Erm, right...so what’s your emergency?” Man: “The ugly one is winning.” HARRI BRYAN, L i v e r p o o l TWO CHEMISTS WALK INTO A BAR.
The first one says to the barman, “I’ll have some H2O.”
The second one says, “I’ll have some H2O too.” The second chemist dies. SEEN ONLINE A JEWISH MAN goes into a confession box. “Father O’Malley,” he says, “my name is Emil Cohen. I’m 78 years old. Believe it or not, I’m currently involved with a 28year-old girl and also, on the side, her 19-year-old sister. We engage in all manner of pleasure, and in my entire life I’ve never felt better.” “My good man,” says the priest, “I think you’ve come to the wrong place. Why are you telling me?” “I’m telling everyone!” the man replies. SEEN AT BLUEDONUT.COM
BEARD-Y-FULL The trend for facial hair is still going strong—but how far is too far? (from sadanduseless.com)
CHINA HAS A POPULATION of
one billion people. One billion. That means even if you’re a one-in-amillion kind of guy, there are still a thousand others exactly like you. COMEDIAN WHITNEY BROWN A MILKMAN threw a carton of milk
at me. How dairy.
A HUSBAND AND WIFE are watching Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? The husband winks and says, “Darling, let’s go upstairs.” The wife says no, so the husband asks again. Again she says no. The husband says, “Is that your final answer?” The wife says yes. “Well”, the husband says, “can I phone a friend?��� SEEN AT JOKES.NET 07•2016
AN ELDERLY COUPLE are in church
one Sunday morning. During the service, the wife leans over and whispers in her husband’s ear, “I’ve just let out a silent fart. What do you think I should do?” The husband replies, “Put a new battery in your hearing aid.” TRACY DAVIDSON, Wa r w i c k s h i r e TWO SISTERS, one blonde and one
brunette, are trying to start a farm. The brunette sister finds a prize bull listed in some classified adverts and goes to check it out. She tells the blonde that she’ll contact her to come and haul the bull back to the farm if she opts to buy it. The brunette goes to the farm, likes the bull and decides to buy it. The farmer tells her that the bull will cost
exactly £599, no less. So she buys the bull and heads to town to contact her sister. The only person she can find to help her is a telegraph operator. The operator tells her, “It costs 99p per word—what would you like to send?” The brunette replies, “Well, I only have £1 left.” She thinks for a while and tells the operator she wants to send the word “comfortable”. The operator asks, “How will your sister know you bought the bull and want her to come and haul it back, all from the word ‘comfortable’?” The brunette replies, “She’s a slow reader.” SEEN AT GOODRIDDLESNOW.COM DID YOU HEAR about the hungry
clock? It went back four seconds. SEEN ONLINE
IT’S A DAD’S LIFE The wry @Daniel_bearman paints a brilliant picture of modern-day fatherhood, one sentence at a time (as seen on Twitter): “Watching Star Wars with the kids and we get to the trash compactor scene. Benjamin (six) is very concerned the Death Star doesn’t recycle.” “Things I had to remove from our bed before sleeping last night: five books, three open markers, an apple core and a cat (we do not own a cat).” “A woman is singing songs in elvish for my son’s Tolkien-themed birthday party. This is amazing.” “Seven-year-old is out of bed to explain his theory about which prehistoric reptile is the Loch Ness monster.”
Beat the Cartoonist! IN THE AUGUST ISSUE
May’s Winner This month was a three-way dogfight, and for a moment it looked as if the professionals were going to regain a little bit of honour. But sadly (for him), cartoonist Steve Jones’ caption, “To be honest, yes—it has spoiled the mood a bit”, was pipped at the post by reader David Taylor’s suggestion, “I don’t think your father quite trusts me”. Congratulations to David!
Hello, Sunshine! As we light up the BBQs and slap on the suncream, we look back at our changing attitudes to the sun, sunbathing and skin colour.
© PEPP ERSM INT/SHUTTERSTOCK
Think of a witty caption for this cartoon—the three best suggestions, along with the cartoonist’s original, will be posted on our website in midJuly. If your entry gets the most votes, you’ll win £100 and a framed copy of the cartoon, with your caption. Submit to firstname.lastname@example.org or online at readersdigest.co.uk/caption by July 15. We’ll announce the winner in our September issue.
• How to Talk to Your Doctor • Best of British: Vineyards • Why We Should Care About Bees • Sweden’s Most Perfect Season
60 Second Stand-Up We caught up with lovely laugh-inducing lady Sara Pascoe WHAT’S THE BEST PART OF YOUR CURRENT TOUR OR SET?
I tell a story that I pretend is from the apocryphal Bible about when Moses goes to Paris. HAVE YOU FOUND ANY PARTS OF THE COUNTRY TO BE FUNNIER THAN OTHERS?
There’s a wonderful sense of humour in Essex. People tend to use comedy to deflate other people, so you’re not allowed to get up yourself. DO YOU HAVE ANY FUNNY TALES ABOUT A TIME YOU’VE BOMBED ON STAGE?
I’ve been in pubs that don’t have microphones, so I’ve had to stand right next to people’s tables when they’re having a drink in their local. They don’t know it’s meant to be happening, so they just talk louder.
I went the conference I said, ‘I’ve mapped the human genome, D-NA!’ ” IF YOU WERE A FLY ON A WALL, WHOSE WALL WOULD YOU BE ON?
Oooh. It would have to be the Houses of Parliament canteen, to see who’s actually friends with whom.
WHAT’S YOUR MOST MEMORABLE HECKLE EXPERIENCE?
IF YOU COULD HAVE A SUPER POWER, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
I once got called the c-word by a man dressed as a bottle of ketchup.
Tiny time hops, just so I could not have said something, or not have got as drunk the night before.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE ONE-LINER?
Milton Jones: “I discovered DNA. I wasn’t going to call it that, but when 144
For Sara’s tour dates and tickets, visit sarapascoe.com. You can hear an interview with Sara at readersdigest.co.uk/podcast
FOR MORE, GO TO READERSDIGEST.CO.UK/FUN-GAMES
R E A D E R ’ S D I G E S T
| S M A L L A N D
Summer Is Here!
P E R F E C T LY
Best of British: Campsites PAGE 66 Crazy Festivals PAGE 102
Photo Competition PAGE 63
I N F O R M E D
Gatherings for the Godless PAGE 78
Fern Britton Looks Back PAGE 30
J U LY
2 0 1 6