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May 2012

Issue 17

www.oddfellows.co.uk

Food & drink

Active Travel That’s Amoré

We take a trip to Diano Marina, in Italy for the recent Active Travel Club holiday

Culture club Royal reads

Heard it on the grapevine The idea of a nation of beer-lovers producing wines fit to compete with France and Spain has long been met with ridicule. But a few determined English wine lovers set out to defy the derision of vine growers the world over. And it seems they’re making a pretty good job of it so far.

With The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations upon us, royal authors are releasing a plethora of books. As he explains, Alan Titchmarsh’s book, Elizabeth: Her Life, Our Times explores the evolving roles of the Royal Family.

Win! Denbies, the UK’s largest vineyard, is at the forefront of this revolution. General Manager Chris White explains how the goal was always to be England’s first wine-making success story. WIN: A case of Denbies sparkling wine worth £65! Find out more inside.

£50 of Jessops photography vouchers in our through the lens photo competition! Send us your best photo inspired by this month’s theme: In bloom.

SPECIAL MEMBERS’ OFFER: Bicentenary wine for just £4 per bottle. Guest Recipe Chef’s Classic Chocolate Marquis, by Andrew Fraser, Executive Head Chef at Denbies Wine Estate

Also featured this month Around Britain: We visit Skipton and the rolling splendour of the Yorkshire Dales. Home & garden: George Hill, our resident gardener, is on hand to answer your green-fingered gripes. Health & wellbeing: Bill Tarmey, better known as former Coronation Street mainstay Jack Duckworth, reveals the family tragedy that made him call time on the soap. Money: How we’re helping students afford the rising costs of university

Win! WIN: a gardening set! Send George a question for your chance to win


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Culture club “I love going to the theatre once in a while, so when I heard my local Oddfellows Branch was arranging a trip I couldn’t pass it up.” Sharon - Manchester

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A Jubilee feast of royal reads

Heading the line-up of authors charting The Queen’s 60-year reign is TV presenter and author Alan Titchmarsh, a selfconfessed monarchist who has met The Queen on numerous occasions and interviewed many of the royals, including The Prince of Wales, Prince William, Prince Philip and The Princess Royal. His commemorative book Elizabeth: Her Life, Our Times, looks back with fondness at The Queen’s 60 years on the throne, offering a charming portrait of the Royal Family and exploring their evolving roles against a backdrop of social change. “The changing nature of society is among the biggest challenges facing the monarchy,” he reflects. “Monarchy is basically about mystery and magic and being special. When you go somewhere, it’s the very fact that you are a member of the Royal Family that makes that occasion.

“You are bringing a bit of sparkle and a bit of special, you are a spreader of happiness. You have to cut a middle path, showing you’re not a stick-in-the-mud but, at the same time, maintain a consistency and a dignity which avoids the fickle. Any of us would find that hard to manage.” But is the monarchy as important as it was 60 years ago? “Probably not to the chattering classes but to the man and woman on the street it is,” he insists. “You only have to turn out to a Jubilee celebration or a royal wedding to see how the vast majority of the population revere the Royal Family and see through a lot of the negativity they read in the press.”

I’d rather have a family who are there out of a sense of duty and devotion to the country, rather than out of a sense of personal aggrandisement.”

With The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations upon us, royal authors hope to whet our appetites with a plethora of books on the monarchy, from biographies to pictorial tributes, personal recollections and trivia.

The Queen’s grandchildren have made a huge difference in bringing the monarchy into the 21st century, he agrees. “I know that they consider that The Queen is a very hard act to follow and have told me so in as many words. (Continued on the next page...)


Culture club Best of the rest Other new royal books to look out for include: • Elizabeth: A Diamond Jubilee Portrait: A Celebration In Photographs Of The Queen’s Life And Reign by Jennie Bond (Carlton Books, £20): Written by the former BBC royal correspondent, this coffee table tome features more than 240 photographs plus details of The Queen’s life and role as Head of State.

‘She's set the bar high’ is the phrase that Prince William uses. “She's had a lot of difficult times politically. She’s lived through Suez, through the Cuban missile crisis and all kinds of constitutional difficulties as well as family difficulties. Her ‘annus horribilis’ in 1992 was grim, and then in 2002 she lost her mother and her sister.” The Queen has never been interviewed, but if Titchmarsh ever had the opportunity, what would he ask her? “I would ask her about misconceptions, what most annoys her about people’s perception of her role and where we got it wrong.” While there will always be opponents of the Royal Family, he believes the monarchy has never been as strong as it is now. “Even for the most ardent cynic, the bottom line is it’s better than the alternative. I’d rather have a family through whom we can trace our own ancestry, who are there out of a sense of duty and devotion to the country, rather than out of a sense of personal aggrandisement.” Elizabeth: Her Life, Our Times by Alan Titchmarsh is out now, priced £18.99.

• Sixty Glorious Years by Victoria Murphy (Haynes, £18.99): This stunning pictorial tribute offers a look at the life and work of The Queen, featuring more than 300 formal portraits and behind the scenes ‘off duty’ pictures. It charts The Queen’s reign in the context of the times she has lived through, looking in depth at the wars, tabloid headlines and prime ministers she has known.

• Queen Elizabeth II: Her Life In Our Times by Sarah Bradford (Viking, £20): The title is strikingly similar to Alan Titchmarsh’s royal read, but the content is not. Here the biographer of George VI and Princesses Grace and Diana turns her attention to The Queen.

• I Never Knew That About Royal Britain by Christopher Winn (Ebury, £9.99): Discover whose heart is buried near the Tower of London, which palace was built on top of a mulberry garden, the world’s oldest and largest occupied castle and the first building in Britain to have latrines, among other fascinating snippets.

• England My England: A Treasury of All Things English by Gerry Hanson (Portico, £9.99): Exclusively produced for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, this eclectic anthology of poetry, prose and song celebrates all that is wonderful about England and its heritage. Featuring speeches, articles and satire from writers and personalities including Alan Coren, John Mortimer, Bill Bryson and Melvyn Bragg.

Alan in conversation with The Queen


Culture club

The Reader’s Review Book: The Dreyfus Affair, by Piers Paul Read The Dreyfus Affair has gone down in history as a notorious miscarriage of justice that highlighted the rifts in French society at the end of the 19th century. Captain Alfred Dreyfus – a rich, ambitious career soldier who was also Jewish – was wrongly accused by his anti-Semitic and aristocratic superior officers of selling military secrets to Germany. After a farcical show trial, he was found guilty of treason and sentenced to life imprisonment on the much feared Devil’s Island; later made famous in the 1973 film Papillon, staring Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman. Piers Paul Read expertly examines the background to the affair – the failure of the investigators, the prejudices of the trial and the 12 year long battle by Dreyfus and his supporters to secure his freedom. The parts played by all the main protagonists are finely recalled by the author and build up a picture of how the state and establishment colluded to convict an innocent man. So much has already been written on this subject that I doubt the author has revealed any new evidence, but the book does make a good read for anyone approaching the subject for the first time. Tony Harrison, Assistant Property Manager for the Oddfellows, Manchester

Film: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel The film gives you a glimpse of the colours, noises and general hustle bustle of India, as well as an insight into the lives of each of the characters that turn up at the hotel. Judi Dench was great, as usual, and along with Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy and the rest of the cast she proved that older actors are certainly the best. It definitely has that feel good factor, making you want to go off and have adventures of your own. This was a brilliant film with a fantastic cast and a well written script; some of the oneliners were hilarious! But best of all, as a fifty-something myself it was great to find a new release that really appealed to my age group. I highly recommend it. Diana Randall, Branch Secretary, Colchester Oddfellows

Congratulations! Well done to Wendy Bland for winning a fantastic food hamper worth £50, courtesy of Farrington’s farm shops. Thanks to everyone else who entered; keep reading Friendscene every month for more chances to win other prizes.


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Food & drink “My favourite thing about the Oddfellows is that all the events are aimed at foodies like me. We even went on a tour of an English vineyard recently – I’ll drink to that!” George - Brighton

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Grab a glass, the British are coming

The idea that a nation of beer lovers could produce wines fit to compete with France and Spain has long been met with ridicule. The weather’s too wet, say the critics, or the frost’s too severe. But a few determined wine lovers set out to prove the doubters wrong and defy the derision of vine growers the world over. And it seems they’re making a pretty good job of it so far. With the size and yield of its vineyards now bigger than ever, up 75% since 2004, England’s wine industry has never looked stronger. The industry produced a record 4 million bottles in 2010 – up from 3.5 million the year before. Denbies, the UK’s largest vineyard, is at the forefront of this revolution. Set in 265 acres of Surrey countryside, it’s grown in 25 years from a small one-barn business to a model of wine making excellence. General Manager Chris White has been there since the beginning. As he explains, the goal was always to be England’s first wine making success story. “We knew we wanted to expand from the start,” explains Chris. “Denbies was originally farmland, but the business plan in 1986 was to eventually turn the entire land over to vines and invest in the visitor centre. We achieved the first aim by 1992, and the second is always ongoing.

“Maximising ‘farm-gate sales’ (people actually coming to visit) is where we make our greatest returns, so we’ve invested heavily in that side of things.”

Something strange has been happening in Southern England.

We’ve had to work out what we do well in Britain and then do it really well.

Today Denbies has two restaurants, a garden centre and a gift shop, as well as a B&B and an on-site micro-brewery. The award winning Surrey Hills Brewery was invited on site as a partnership to extend the vineyard’s appeal beyond wine lovers. The newly created “grape and grain” tour now promotes the produce of both businesses. “You usually please the men and the women this way,” jokes Chris, tongue firmly in cheek. Just like the tourists who flock to the vineyards of Tuscany and Bordeaux, visitors to Denbies can experience every element of the wine making process. Whether it’s the “classic” and “sparkling” tours, which offer a range of wine tasting tips, or the popular “food pairing” tour, which reveals how to pick the right wines to complement different dishes, expert multi-lingual guides explain the grape’s journey from vine to glass throughout the seasons. (Continued on the next page...)


Food & drink This understanding of strengths and limitations helped Denbies beat rivals from 30 countries last year to win the award for the world’s best rose at the International Wine Challenge in London. Amid the resulting national press coverage, the entire winning range – worth more than £130,000 – was sold in just two days. “That was a pretty exciting time for us. We realised then that we’ve become world beaters in certain areas,” says Chris.

The fermenting barrels at Denbies The 360-degree cinema and the moving walkway that transports visitors through the cellar demonstrate how important this side of the business is to Denbies. With more than 300,000 visitors each year, the focus on getting people through the gates appears to be paying off. It’s a far cry from the early years. “We had to do a lot of education back then just to expose English wine,” says Chris. “Few people believed you could actually grow wine in this country – it was such a niche market. “But, like all wines, the only way to know if you like it is to try it. So that’s what we encouraged people to do.” Today it’s a lucrative business, with more vineyards being planted all the time. According to English Wine Producers, the industry’s marketing association, by 2010 more than 1,000 hectares of land had been turned over to vines. In contrast to much of the British economy, the wine making industry is booming. And, unlike other agricultural sectors, it won’t be affected by this year’s drought threat, with vines flourishing in unusually dry conditions. Chris has his own theories to explain Denbies’ recent success. “One obvious reason is the climate,” he says. “Conditions have improved, and so has our ability to make consistently better and greater quantities of wine. “We’ve also seen huge amounts of investment in the industry, which has helped us reduce the price per bottle. That used to be very high indeed.” But what of the wine itself? Can English wine really compete globally on taste and quality? Chris takes an admirably pragmatic view. “We’ve had to work out what we do well in Britain and then do it really well. We can’t be all things to all people,” he says. “In my lifetime we’re never going to produce the sweetest wines in the world or those full-bodied reds you get from Spain or the South of France. We produce high-quality, sparkling wines and aromatic fruity ones that suit the soil and the climate.”

That success has been echoed by commercial sales. Waitrose, Tesco and Sainsbury’s have all started stocking Denbies, and the vineyard even supplies a wine to the House of Commons. The sales figures suggest English wine has a bright future. But could it all just be a passing fad spurred by patriotic pride? Haven’t we seen this all before with the rise of upmarket ciders in 2005? Chris’s defence is honest but robust. “In the early days I think people did buy our wines just because they were English, and that’s no bad thing,” he says. “But any business based around one-off sales isn’t going to last very long. “Today we rely on repeat business. Supermarkets see the growth of English wine and realise that customers want to buy it. “More and more people are discovering they enjoy the taste of our wine – and not just because it’s English.” England’s wine success may be no flash in the plan, then. Wine snobs had better watch this space.


Food & drink

Win a case of English wine worth £65 The award-winning Denbies Wine Estate, the UK’s largest wine producer, is offering this fantastic prize from its internationally acclaimed vineyard. One lucky winner will receive six bottles of wine from Denbies’ range, as well as two free tickets to a guided tour of the vineyard worth almost £20. This fantastic prize is sure to draw the envy of friends and family alike. To enter, simply sign someone up to receive Friendscene. Email subscribe@oddfellows.co.uk with the email address of your friend or family member by Friday 1 June and you’ll both be entered into the prize draw. Good luck! Competition terms and conditions 1) Please ensure you get the permission of the person you are nominating to subscribe to Friendscene before you submit their details. Only once we have received confirmation of their willingness to subscribe will you both be entered into the prize draw. 2) Only one entry allowed per applicant (aged 18 or over). 3) The deadline for entries is before Friday 1 June – any entries received after this time will not be counted. 4) The winning entries will be chosen at random from all entries and notified within three weeks. 5) This prize cannot be exchanged for another option. 6) The Oddfellows reserves the right to change the details of this competition without prior notice. The prizes submitted by Denbies may be subject to change, up to the value indicated above. Final decision for this rests with Denbies Wine Estates Ltd. For further details please contact ezine@oddfellows.co.uk.

Oddfellows wine – exclusive members’ offer We’re offering members the chance to purchase their own case of six bottles of Oddfellows wine – made by Denbies Vineyard – at the special price of just £24*. Ideal with seafood, white meats and salads, this crisp dry wine is made with the Reichensteiner, Seyval Blanc and Chardonnay varieties of grape. Considering recent Government increases on the cost of alcohol, this is a bargain not to be missed. The wine is only available while stocks last, so hurry! *Price based on a case of six bottles being collected from this year’s AMC in Southport. Delivery is available but will be charged as extra. Email ezine@oddfellows.co.uk for more details on both options.


Food & drink

Chef’s classic chocolate marquis Andrew Fraser, Executive Head Chef at Denbies At home I make chocolate mousse about once a month, always the day before I want to eat it. It can be dressed up with fruit compote and chocolate swirls for a dinner party but, more often than not, my family and friends tuck in after they’ve been for a Sunday stroll. It’s simple to do. You can serve it plain on a clean, white plate with a dusting of cocoa powder or give it a lovely crispy, chocolate coating – see my tips below. Andrew

Serves six Ingredients 60g melted dark chocolate – at least 75% cocoa 5 egg yolks 120g caster sugar 40g clear honey – or two tablespoons 110g best quality unsalted butter 65g cocoa powder – sifted 180ml double cream 2 egg whites You also need six stainless steel moulds.

Method Break the chocolate into small pieces and place in a heat-proof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Once melted, remove from the heat and stir in the egg yolks, 100g of the sugar and honey. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and stir in the sifted cocoa powder. Add in the chocolate honey mixture. In another bowl, whisk the egg whites to soft peaks, add the remaining sugar and whisk to a firm peak. Fold this carefully into the chocolate mixture. Place the steel moulds onto a tray, lined with greaseproof paper. Line each of the moulds with cling film. Pour in the chocolate mousse and leave to set in the fridge for 24 hours. To serve, leave out of the fridge for 30 minutes. Remove the moulds and slide on to individual plates using a palette knife. Remove the cling film and run a palette knife evenly over the top and sides to smooth the mousse out. Serve with a dusting of cocoa powder, or a crisp, chocolate coating. My tips for a chocolate coating: Cut out a rectangular piece of greaseproof paper that’s the height

and circumference of the mould. Pour on some melted chocolate then quickly attach the paper to the side of the mousse. Place in the freezer for 10 minutes then peel away the greaseproof paper and the melted chocolate will be stuck to the sides of the mousse. Serve with a glass of Denbies Sparkling Rose Cuvee for a truly special occasion (Available online at www.denbies.co.uk RRP £18.99).


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Around Britain “These days we take ‘staycations’ in the UK to keep costs down. But wherever we go there are always Oddfellows events to entertain us.” Lesley - South Yorkshire

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The Yorkshire Dales A quick guide to one of England’s most picturesque National Parks

What’s worth seeing? Visit Wensleydale to buy some cheese, or see the Ribblehead Viaduct from Settle and Carlisle Railway. Or even have your photo taken besides Aysgarth falls. But a trip to the Dales wouldn’t be complete without visiting Gaping Gill, a 105-meter deep pothole through which the Fell Beck stream falls into one of England’s largest underground chambers.

“The flowers of Yorkshire are like the women of Yorkshire. Every stage of their growth has its own beauty, but the last phase is always the most glorious.”

To sum it up in one sentence…

(Chris, played by Helen Mirren, in Calendar Girls, 2003)

Life at a glacial pace Characterised by their ‘U’ and ‘V’ shaped valleys; the Dales were formed over 10,000 years ago by glaciers during the last ice age. Today, they’re more famous for dry stone walls, sheep farming and caves. Some of the UK’s most demanding and exciting cave systems can be found here, as well as some of England’s most impressive scenery.

Famous children • Lewis Carroll (above) - author of Alice in Wonderland • Thomas Spencer - co-founder of Marks & Spencer • Joanne Jackson - swimmer and current women’s 400m freestyle world record holder in a 25m pool • Robert Barclay Allardice - famous for walking 1,000 miles in 1,000 consecutive hours (one mile each hour) for a wager of 1,000 guineas Gaping Gill


Around Britain On the ground: our members from Skipton

Les Viles, 63, District Secretary for Skipton since 2002, reveals just some of the reasons why so many members enjoy the Oddfellows in The Dales.

Vital statistics

Our meeting place, Oddfellows Hall, was once the home of Skipton’s first free school for boys. And since we moved in 40 years ago, our members have continued to take pride in its up keep.

• Oddfellows members first came to Skipton in 1829, and they formed the District three years later

They’ve even won the flower show Skipton in Bloom in two out of the past three years; a feat they’re aiming to replicate this summer.

• The District now has over 450 members

We host regular events which our members love to attend, such as dinners, dances and quiz nights. We’ve got a summer full of events lined up as well to celebrate the Jubilee in style.

• Skipton’s members are spread over The Dales from Richmond to Settle, as well as surrounding villages.

And, we’ve got our own fully stocked bar where we come to meet with a drink that’s cheaper than the local pubs. So if you want to have a nice quiet drink in pleasant surroundings, in a place where there’s never any trouble, then you can join us here. It’s warm, it’s friendly and the door’s always open. For further details contact Les on 01756 798022.

Members enjoying the festivities for the Royal Wedding (left) Oddfellows Hall, Skipton (above)


Around Britain

Events being organised by the District Sunday 27 May – 10am – 4pm Three Links Club Open Day Never been to an Oddfellows event before? Well now’s your chance to come and have a look around, meet other members and see what it’s all about. Be the first to hear about our new social events and exciting plans for the Skipton area. Refreshments will be provided, so why not bring a friend for a drink too. We look forward to seeing you there. Cost: Free Address: Oddfellows Hall, 26 Rectory Lane, Skipton, BD23 1ER

Sunday 3 June – 12pm onwards The Diamond Jubilee Big Lunch Join us to celebrate The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in style! Skipton’s Oddfellows invite you to a three-course meal, in honour of this once-in-a-lifetime event. After dinner, you’ll get the chance to watch the enormous Thames Boat Flotilla on a large screen TV, and there might even be some singing as well. It’s set to be a truly memorable afternoon. Cost: £10pp Address: Oddfellows Hall, 26 Rectory Lane, Skipton, BD23 1ER

Saturday 23 June – 7.30pm One Big Blow – Dinner and Theatre trip Set in a coal mining village during the 1980s, One Big Blow portrays the two sides of coal miners’ lives – the tough conditions under which they work, and their escape from this by playing in the colliery brass band. With great music, humour, pathos and drama, this event comes highly recommended. Make sure you book early to avoid disappointment. Cost: £10pp (including dinner) Address: Mart Theatre, Ling Fields, Gargrave Road, Skipton, BD23 1UD

If you would like to attend any of these events, please contact Stefan Petrie on 0161 832 9361 ext: 2352, or email stefan.petrie@oddfellows.co.uk.


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Active Travel “I went to Austria with the Oddfellows last summer. Everything was taken care of – the only thing I had to worry about was making sure to enjoy myself.” Paula - Manchester

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That’s Amoré! Paula Grainger tells us about the Active Travel Club’s recent holiday to Diano Marina, in Italy

Day one of the five day trip began at Liverpool airport with a short flight to Nice in the South of France. Our tour guide was waiting for us when we landed to take us on the scenic coach drive to our destination – Diano Marina on the Italian Riviera of Flowers. The three-star hotel was family run and a mere ten minutes’ walk to the beach. We certainly made the most of the all-inclusive traditional Italian food, drinks and warm hospitality during our stay. On the first few days some of us chose to relax by the pool, while others wandered off to explore the town and seafront. We then enjoyed the evening’s entertainment of ice-breaker games, quizzes, music and dancing.

Members on an excursion

The weather was kind for most of the trip. On the hottest day we went to Monaco – known around the world for casinos, glamour and luxurious yachts. The spectacular views of the principality were rounded off by a visit to the Cathedral where Princess Grace Kelly lies and the famous Palais du Prince, home to Albert II, the Sovereign Prince of Monaco. Before we knew it the last day had arrived. We spent it browsing a nearby weekly market for those last minute gifts before enjoying a three-course lunch and then saying goodbye to our friendly hosts. We then headed back to Nice to board our flight home. Highlights of the trip included taking a road train through the Monaco Grand Prix track, visiting Monte Carlo’s infamous casino and wandering around the beautiful relaxing town of Diano Marina.

Formula One is coming to town

Not to mention the great company, new friends, fantastic value for money and happy memories.

2013 spring holiday Next year we’ll be heading back to Italy for an all-inclusive break on the banks of Lake Como. To receive more information on this trip, and others, email paula.grainger@oddfellows.co.uk or visit www.oddfellows.co.uk Members enjoy the festivities


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Home & garden “Sorting out the garden is how I like to relax. An expert gave a talk at my local Oddfellows branch – it helped me no end.” Christine - Derbyshire

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Ask George

Is your garden giving you grief? Well, fear not, help is at hand. George Hill is here to answer your gardening problems. And if we publish your question in next month’s edition we’ll send you a fantastic gardening kit absolutely free! This includes one brand new pair of dazzling gardening gloves and ten packs of assorted seeds to get you started. All thanks to Joe’s Garden and Suttons Seeds. Email ezine@oddfellows.co.uk today. Q: “How can I look after my garden during a hosepipe ban?” Sarah, Lincolnshire A: If you’ve got a shed or a water tub to collect rainwater then that’s a great asset. Rainwater is actually more beneficial to your garden than tap water because there are no cleansing agents in it. Despite the recent rain, if we do have another dry summer like the last two, start thinking about growing Mediterranean plants like lavender, artichokes and spring onions that thrive in dry conditions. Beetroot has a root system that will search out the moisture, as do leeks which has roots up to 15 inches long. If you can incorporate plenty of compost into your soil during the winter, this will help it hold in moisture in the roots where it’s needed during dry spells.

Q: “Will a mixture of sulphate of iron and sulphate of ammonia do the same job as branded products in killing the moss in my lawn? If so, what quantities should I use?” Derek, Boston A: It’ll certainly help. Sulphate of iron is very beneficial to your lawn. Apply roughly one ounce per square meter to create deterrent for moss. Don’t be too heavy with it. If you can, apply it to your lawn in the evening, just after rain and when there’s no more rain forecast. If you do it in bright sunshine then it can burn your lawn, turning it yellow. Once the moss goes brown, rake it out. It will do your arms the world of good.

(Continued on the next page...)


Home & Garden

George in the garden: May

The garden is in full season; edges are being clipped and vegetables are growing well. Everything’s alive in the garden. Even though it’s only spring, we should be thinking about next year already. There’s no beginning or end with gardening, only a constant cycle of plant life. The flower garden • Train your sweet peas to get them growing up their supports

The vegetable patch • Plant out your brussell sprouts, French beans and runner beans

Sow your sweetcorn and start hardening off your bedding plants

Plant tomatoes, cucumbers and courgettes in a reasonably warm greenhouse.

Put stakes next to things as they grow, or the stems will quickly break if we get any nasty winds Sow your hardy annuals outside. These will literary look after themselves.

The fruit garden • Thin your strawberries if they need it as they come into flower •

Spray your blackcurrants with a liquid copper fungicide

Thin your apricots – they’re really well worth growing.

George’s focus: broad beans If your broad beans are getting going, when they get to about one meter high in full flower, pinch the growing top out. This helps the plant to put more of its energy into the crop, and also helps to prevent the pest called black fly.

Members with green fingers This fantastic 10% discount offer for Oddfellows members at www.suttons.co.uk will brighten up your garden. Suttons is an internationally renowned supplier of flower and vegetable seeds, young plants, bulbs, fruit bushes and other horticultural products to amateur gardeners. They have a reputation for quality and service that is second to none and a remarkable history that goes back over two hundred years. Members are eligible to receive a 10% discount on anything on the Suttons website, from seeds and bulbs to gardening equipment and greenhouses. To take advantage of your exclusive Oddfellows 10% discount click here*. *You will need to be signed in as a member to access the Members' Benefits page.


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Sport & leisure “I’ve never really been ‘sporty’, but I try to keep fit. My local Oddfellows branch now hosts a walking club. It’s great to get some fresh air, and we always have a good time.” Diana - Essex

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The walk of life According to recent advice issued by the Department of Health, adults should spend at least 30 minutes a day doing moderate exercise like walking, five days a week, to stay healthy. The related health benefits of walking range from lower cholesterol and weight loss to improved flexibility and mental health. Even just 15 minutes exercise a day is suggested to increase life expectancy by three years. Yet our increasingly sedentary lifestyles mean that the average Briton now spends more than 14 hours a day sitting down. Oddfellows members organise hundreds of free walking events every month, helping people across the Country to keep fit, and enjoy the great outdoors while they’re at it. Here are six of the best going on in May and June: May 15 – Nottinghamshire – Sutton in Ashfield Erewash Valley District will meet in the car park of the Carnarvon Arms at 10.30am to walk the Teversal Silverhill Trail. Email melanie.archer@oddfellows.co.uk for details. May 16 – Lancashire – Ashton-under-Lyne Join the Combermere Branch at 10.30am as they visit Portland Basin to explore its role in the region’s industrial past. Email nigel.stock@oddfellows.co.uk for details. May 21 – North Yorkshire – Goathland This 7 mile circular walk around Goathland and Grosmount will be run by our members from Cleveland, Durham and the Humber. Walkers are invited to meet in the Goathland coach park at 10.45am. Email david.smith@oddfellows.co.uk for more details. May 25 – Bolton – White Coppice Starting at 12.30pm, this tour of the White Coppice by Leigh and Bolton District’s members is not to be missed. Email felydoloroso@sky.com for details. May 30 – Derbyshire – Calke Abbey Reservoir The Derby District’s walking club will meet in the reservoir car park for a 5 mile walk, followed by lunch. June 13 – Essex - Hylands Park, Chelmsford Stepney and South Essex members will be meeting in the car park of Hylands park, Chelmsford for a walk around the pathways. This will be followed by tea and cake in the Stables Cafe. Email Nicola.O'Riordan@oddfellows.co.uk for details. For more information on any of these events, or to find another event in your area, visit www.oddfellows.co.uk/events or email events@oddfellows.co.uk.


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Discoveries “I’ve promised myself I’ll try new things, and I can do that thanks to the Oddfellows. My friends never thought I’d try paragliding, but it was of the best things I’ve ever done!” Karen - Nottingham

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The latest news from the world around us The secret to a long life for men; behaving yourself Average life expectancy among men in the UK is rising faster than women, according to new figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS), meaning both sexes could be living to an average of 87 by 2030. Male life expectancy has jumped by six years in the past two decades, as the number of men smoking or working in hazardous occupations continues to decline. Experts believe two other key factors in the rise are advances in health care and the fact that men, generally, are now living healthier lifestyles.

The mega-Buck Rogers who’ve set their sights on the stars As NASA consigns the last of its space shuttle fleet to the history books, new plans have emerged for man’s next foray into space – this time funded by billionaire businessmen. The multi-million-dollar project involves sending robotic spacecraft to mine valuable minerals and chemicals from asteroids as they pass near to earth. Potential investors include James Cameron, Director of Titanic, and Google co-founders Larry Page and Eric Schmidt. However critics say that the plans would be too dangerous and expensive to be viable.

Did you know? The BBC’s WebWise is a website dedicated to helping people just starting out online. It covers all the basics of computers; including how to send emails, staying safe online and how to make the most of the internet. Visit www.bbc.co.uk/webwise


Discoveries Through the lens

Photography competition This month we’re launching a brand new photography competition giving you the chance to get your best photo in next month’s edition. We’ll be setting a different theme each month and then showcasing the best entries in an online gallery. And if we choose your photo to appear in the next edition, you’ll win £50 of Jessops vouchers to spend in-store. So go and get snapping! This month’s theme is ‘In Bloom’; perfect for this time of year when gardens and the countryside really start to wake up after the cold weather. You can enter by emailing your photo to ezine@oddfellows.co.uk, posting it on our Facebook wall, or sending it in a tweet that mentions @oddfellowsUK. Click on the links below to visit our social media sites. Good luck! Terms and conditions 1) Entries can be submitted at any time and still be included in this competition. However the cut off date for each edition will be the first day of the month. For example, the June competition closes on 1 June. 2) If successful, you will be contacted by the Oddfellows to arrange delivery of your prize. 3) If your photograph contains an image of a person, building or private location please ensure you get permission from the person/building owner before submitting your entry. 4) By submitting a photograph to this competition you are confirming that you have given permission to use and reproduce this image and that the Oddfellows can use this photo in future publication and marketing material, both online and printed. 5) The Oddfellows will assume your consent has been given once your entry is submitted unless you directly state otherwise.


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Health & wellbeing “The Oddfellows give so much. I wish more people knew about the great services they have to offer.” Paul - London

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Why I quit the street

Former Coronation Street star Bill Tarmey talks to Anna Reynolds about life after Corrie, and how he’s coped with his son’s battle against a life-threatening brain tumour. Bill Tarmey’s house is a hive of activity. There’s a steady stream of grandchildren running in and out, a friend repairing his garden shed, his wife Alma making endless cups of tea, and the actor delightedly presiding over the domestic hurly-burly. Although his life has a more leisurely routine since he left Coronation Street in November 2010 – after 31 years of playing Jack Duckworth – old habits obviously die hard. Tarmey says with a chuckle: “I miss Jack of course. I used to always wake up at 5.30am and read my script and I’m still waking up at the same time but panicking because I can’t find the script. “Then I realise I’m retired. I don’t regret my decision to quit – it’s just probably going to take me another 30 years to get used to the fact that I’m not on the Street!”

It was widely assumed that Tarmey, 70, had retired because he’d been urged by doctors to take it easy after extensive heart problems over the years. But the real reason behind his departure is something that he finds difficult to talk about without becoming emotional. His son Carl, 45, was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2009 which required two operations. Although the procedures have been successful, Carl remains on medication and is unable to work. He will have to wait three to five years before he can be finally given the all-clear. “When I first heard the news about the tumour, I aged 10 years in one day. I still get upset now talking about it,” Tarmey confesses as he chats candidly at his home in Ashton-underLyne, near Manchester. “I always thought they’d have to drag me kicking and screaming off the Street because I loved it so much, but his diagnosis was such a shock.

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Health & wellbeing In reality, his skilful portrayal of Jack ensured his place as a permanent fixture in the series. More than 11 million viewers tuned in to watch his final scene and last year he won ‘Best Soap Exit’ and a Lifetime Achievement Award at the British Soap Awards. “One of the best things about the job was it like being in a family. Of course, Liz Dawn (Vera Duckworth) and I are great mates; she’s one of the funniest women I know.

Bill reunited with his on-screen wife Liz Dawn “Even though I carried on working, I’d break down in tears sometimes on set. As a professional I felt that wasn’t fair on my colleagues and I knew it was finally time to go. “I had the most amazing 31 years playing Jack. Because of him I’ve made fantastic friends and travelled all over the world. I was persuaded to stay for the 50th anniversary and said goodbye after that as I needed to be with my family and Carl. “I don’t mind admitting that on occasions in those early days I shouted at God and said, ‘Why Carl, why my boy?’” says Tarmey. “Now I just thank God he’s still here and that we can enjoy some laughs and good times.” There’s certainly no shortage of laughter while Tarmey is around. He’s self-deprecating and humorous about a career that saw him rise from an extra on Coronation Street to become one of its best loved characters. He grew up in Manchester, and worked as an asphalter while pursuing a passion for music, performing in pubs and clubs before Corrie beckoned. “I didn't go to RADA, didn’t even go to acting school. There were many occasions when I’d secretly think, ‘They'll find me out one day’, and realise I’m just an ordinary bloke who turns up and says words some other clever bloke has written.”

I always thought they’d have to drag me kicking and screaming off the Street because I loved it so much, but his diagnosis was such a shock.

“The studio would be falling about laughing when we’d do a scene – she has a brilliant knack of turning the ordinary into the hilarious on and off screen. “When Vera died in her armchair in 2008, they didn’t need to tell me to shed tears. It was very emotional for both of us when our on-screen partnership ended. “But just like in real life, soap stories have to move on and that was the right way for us to part.” He and Alma, who met as teenagers at a local youth club, have a daughter, Sara, 42, seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild. The whole family live locally. The devoted couple recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Instead of giving gifts, guests were asked to donate to Brain Tumour Research, an umbrella body for the UK’s charities in the field. Brain tumours kill more men aged under 45 and women under 35 than any other cancer, but related charities attract less than 1% of funds donated to fight cancer. “If my socalled celebrity is good for anything, it’s to help publicise this vital research,” says Tarmey. “It would be wonderful if there could be earlier diagnosis which could make treatment more effective before a tumour had time to advance. “I’m happy to do everything I can to raise awareness so that we can prevent the damage and loss of life caused by this illness. “It’s been horrible for the family to watch Carl going through this, but he’s such a wonderful brave soul. That's why I love him so much. “We’re in God’s hands. We don’t sit around waiting for the years to pass; we just get on with life and keep smiling no matter what we feel inside.”

Brain Tumour Research is the united campaign voice of the Brain Tumour Research group, which includes 16 UK charities. Its aim is to raise at least £7 million a year. For more information, visit www.braintumourresearch.org. The Corrie cast celebrating 25 years of the soap in 1985


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Money “When I had money worries the Oddfellows put me in touch with the right people who could help. They were with me every step of the way.” Pam - Cambridgeshire

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A real education With youth unemployment never far from the news nowadays, more young people than ever are choosing university as a means to equip themselves with the skills to succeed in the job market. An investment in their future, certainly, but such investments don’t come cheap. A student in the UK can now expect to spend up to £15,000 a year studying for a three-year degree; if they want to have a life at the same time that is. Student loans help, but they only go so far. That’s why each year the Oddfellows gives an Education Award grant to three of its members, to help them make the most of student life. Francesca Norris, 21 and a member from Stafford, is currently revising for her finals at Durham University. She received the award – a grant of £750 per year for three years – and put it to good use from the start. As a keen volunteer, she’s given her time to help prisoners and young offenders in the North East turn away from crime. Thanks to the grant, she was able to afford transport to and from interviews for these roles, leading to her being offered a permanent role at HMP Durham visitors’ centre. She’s now working with the Probation Service one day a week and has even represented them in court.

“We had to fund social and campaign events ourselves in order to establish the society,” says Francesca. “But it’s now up and running with a full executive team and a range of fundraising and awareness-raising events planned for coming year.” This work led to her receiving the Durham Award, a university prize which recognises outstanding voluntary contributions. And she was even able to fund a two-week BPP Law School summer school with the grant; sparking her interest in the legal profession. Once the revision and exams are finished, Francesca’s been accepted to attend Manchester’s College of Law this September where she intends to carry on learning; carving out a career as a solicitor. But as any of life’s most interesting people will tell you, the real university education is the one that happens outside the lecture hall. And Francesca will look back on her time in

It’s allowed me to pursue all sorts of things that have enhanced my time here. It’s helped me during my degree, and helped me prepare for life after it too.

The money’s also helped her become instrumental in setting up a new university society for AEGIS; a charity working to prevent and raise awareness of crimes against humanity.

Durham knowing that, with the help of this award, she really made the most of it. “It’s allowed me to pursue all sorts of things that have enhanced my time here. It’s helped me during my degree, and helped me prepare for life after it too.” Any member planning to study for their first degree can apply for the award. Three applicants per year are then selected to receive it. So if you are thinking of applying to university, or you know someone who is, speak to your local Oddfellows Branch to find out more, or call 0161 832 9361 and speak to Jenny Peters.


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