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n 2 | South Warwickshire and North Cotswolds Now | Issue 42 | December 2019/January 2020








DECEMBER 2019/JANUARY 2020 HERE & NOW 04 All the latest from around Warwickshire



HOME & GARDEN 08 Create a Winter Wonderland Christmas

HEALTH & BEAUTY 20 Looking after your skin


OUT & ABOUT 27 Discover Oxford

EDUCATION 30 Choosing the right Secondary School

COMPETITION 37 Win an afternoon tea at Shakespaw Cat Cafe



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Bubbles the donkey celebrates 60th birthday! Hatton Adventure World is celebrating the 60th birthday of its pet Donkey “Bubbles” who also happens to be the oldest donkey in the world! Bubbles is believed to have been born in 1959 which is the date shown on her pet passport, making her around 20 years older than most donkeys hope to live to. Bubbles is the equivalent of an incredible 180 years in human years and celebrated her big day by tucking into carrots and a special cake surrounded by staff and visitors at the popular family attraction. Bubbles moved to the farm in the early 1990s and has been at home there ever since. The Farm is home to many other donkeys, but Bubbles was the first. Her latest birthday means she has taken the crown from a donkey called Suzy, who entered the Guinness Book of World Records for being the world’s oldest donkey back in 2002 at the age of 54. Richard Craddock, Adventure World Manager at Hatton Adventure World said “Bubbles loves attention and is still going strong despite her grand old age. She is surprisingly very

placid and not particularly stubborn like donkeys usually are. She loves attention and company from our visitors which is probably what has kept her going for so long. She’s also very popular with the staff and quite often gets preferential treatment from them!” The all-inclusive price at Hatton ensures a carefree day out on the 100-acre site with up to 30 shows and activities daily, a 4-acre laser combat field and one of the largest indoor play areas in the Midlands. There are over 450 creatures great and small, 40 birds of prey and 150 Guinea Pigs, all located in the Warwickshire countryside with food available in 5 outlets, a shopping village, free parking and an easy to find location. Hatton Adventure World is open every day throughout the year (excluding Christmas Day and Boxing Day) from 10am to 5.30pm. For more information please visit the website at www.hattonworld. com/adventure-world or telephone 01926 843411. n

Alzheimer’s Society thanks Warwickshire The Alzheimer?s Society would like to say a huge and heartfelt thank you to you South Warwickshire Now readers for uniting against dementia by supporting the Leamington Spa Memory Walk last month. The society are grateful to all the walkers and volunteers who made the event possible. Dementia devastates lives. Every penny raised

through Memory Walk will help Alzheimer?s Society provide vital information and support, improve care, fund research and create lasting change for people affected by the condition. Leamington Spa Memory Walk has already raised ?58,000 with sponsorship still coming in, helping us in our commitment to invest ?150 million into research over the next

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decade. If you didn?t get a chance to take part in Memory Walk, the society’s annual Elf Day festive fundraiser will be taking place on Friday 6 December, so make sure you get your best Christmas costume ready. Please visit for more information. n

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Spacious showroom opens its doors

On Monday 16th December thriving Cotswolds based soft furnishing retailer Just Fabrics are expanding to open a brand-new interiors showroom, warehouse and offices in the Kingsditch Retail Park, on Runnings Road in Cheltenham. Spread over a spacious 10,000sq foot, the fully refurbished unit has been designed to provide an inspirational space that will house Just Fabrics’ extensive range of beautiful woven and printed interior fabrics from the most creative fabric houses and showcase their bespoke, made to measure services. Established over 30 years ago in the iconic market town of Burford, Just Fabrics has bucked the retail trend of late and seen remarkable growth over the past 5 years. Their broad customer base, ranging from individual homeowners and crafters to professional interior designers, are offered an ‘Aladdin’s Cave’ of competitively priced soft furnishing fabrics and services. Beginning out of one small fabric shop in the Cotswolds, Just Fabrics has evolved into one of the largest independent fabric retailers in the country. With significant growth in online sales, the new location enables Just Fabrics to serve local, national and international customers. n

Join in the Xmas fun at Hatton Shopping Village Hatton Shopping Village, the quintessentially English Victorian shopping village and home to a host of independent retailers, is hosting several festive events in the run up to Christmas. The popular Christmas Markets will take place on 16 & 17, 23 & 24 & 30 November and 1, 7 & 8, 14 & 15, 21 & 22 December from 10am – 5pm. On the 16 & 17 November there will also be a festive fashion show. For those after a unique and special Christmas gift, there will be a diverse range of stalls from local suppliers selling a multitude of gifts. Visitors can also enjoy festive singing, mulled punch and mince pies!

Friday afternoon.

Food fans can tuck into delicious treats at the Festive Food Fayre which also runs from 8 – 10 November. Local producers will A Christmas Craft Fayre be offering a wide range of food will take place from 8 - 10 and drink to taste for free. As November from 10am – 5pm well as sampling dips, nibbles, when visitors can browse from pate, cakes and puddings, it’s a a selection of handcrafted gifts great opportunity to buy food and chat with the craftspeople. to flatter any Christmas table. Unique and bespoke gifts will Lottie Newitt, who runs be available to purchase such The Alfresco Style - Garden as artwork, ceramics, jewellery Boutique will be hosting several and woodcraft. Free mulled festive workshops and tea & punch is available at specific talks over the festive season times, plus there’s the chance from 11am – 1pm which include to meet Father Christmas and complimentary refreshments. enjoy Christmas singing on the

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Create a colourful winter hanging basket on 20 & 30 November (cost is £25pp) or how to make a floral Advent ring for your home on 1 December (£25pp). Learn how to make a beautiful Christmas door wreath on 5 December (from 6pm – 8pm) & 13 & 14 December (£35pp and includes fizz on arrival). For more information please visit https://www. thealfrescost christmas-workshops-talk-dates Hatton Shopping Village has free entry with masses of free parking. For more information please visit www.hattonworld. com/shopping-village.n

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fast if

you’re stuck of ways to decorate, why not adorn the house in a Narnia inspired Winter Wonderland, full of enchanting decorations and timeless elegance. A white Christmas is not always guaranteed, but you can get a feel for a crisp winter evening by bringing the outdoors in. White for the snow, pale blue for the cold sky and evergreen colours, blend together with silvery metallic tones to make the perfect magical space. Warm the space up by adding different textures such as pale wood, faux fur and frosted glass. We take a closer look at the different ways you can bring your home to life and get in the festive spirit. The Tree: Modern




during the Renaissance of early modern Germany. Usually an evergreen conifer, such as a spruce, pine or fir, the Christmas tree was originally decorated with paper decorations and edible treats. If you prefer a traditional look and want a real tree this Christmas, place white ornaments along

with pale green and blue accents to get a more crisp feel. Get the whole family involved and create your own baubles and garlands made from white paper or even old newspaper. Snowflake shapes can add a simple wintery effect. Alternatively, choose a white tree for a dramatic effect and add in metallic decorations to add a frosty look. Darker shades look best on a white tree, but to make the overall look feel more natural, add a hint of red for berries or wooden forest animals like the beautiful silver glittery bristle owl pictured opposite from Dobbies Garden Centre or pinecones placed sporadically on the branches. If you prefer a more traditional look and want a real tree this Christmas, place white ornaments along with pale green and blue accents to get a more crisp feel. If you want a more minimalist look to your home, go for a simple tree and add simple decorations and LED lights that are made to last year after year. Lay the table When it comes to laying the table, silver and white are the standard colours that CONTINUED OVER THE PAGE

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HOME & GARDEN you use every day of the year, so spruce up your Christmas dinner table by bringing the outdoors inside. Paint pine cones a frosty white colour and add some silvery sparkle to the ends. Go on a forest walk and pick up twigs, pine cones and crisp leaves to then brighten up at home. Candles are also reminiscent of a romantic winter walk, but if you’re frightened of recreating Bonfore night in front of family and friends, buy LED candles that give the same effect.

Grey & Silver Christmas Cushion £9.95

If you’re feeling really crafty, use old jars and fill with biodegradeable fake snow and Christmas ornaments, to create small wintery scenes. For a dramatic effect choose the silvery stag Tea Light holder from Marks and Spencer (shown below); the perfect finishing touch. Its antlers are adorned with six candle holders to make a striking feature out of your tea lights. Finishing Touches Welcome the festive spirit into your home by adding special touches to the entrance to your home. Wreaths invite the spirit of Christmas into the home along with the belief that they spread good luck. Traditionally made of evergreens, wreaths

also symbolize eternal life, holly oak, and red berries. The wreath opposite from Dibor, embodies the winter wonderland theme and combines frost flower and pinecones capturing the beauty of a glistening frost. Featuring silver pinecones, pine cone flowers and pearl-coloured Osmanthus fruits, it is finished with added sparkling shimmer for a brilliant look. This hand finished wreath is equally suited to being hung on your front door, or indoors on the back of a door, mantelpiece or shelf using the attached jute string. Line your staircase with an LED candle on each step. This will make sure they last for the duration of the Christmas period Twist evergreen branches around a wire mesh and attach around the banister. Sporadically place silverly glass baubles and white icicle decorations to give it that festive feel.For a cosy feel, add in different textures, such as faux fur white or grey rug in your living space. As well as lasting all year round, they keep your feet warm on a cold winter’s night. n By Daisy Bennett

Frosted Flower and Pinecone Christmas Wreath £25

Fox & Ivy Scroll Serving Plate £10 Available in Tesco stores

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Large Stag Tea Light Holder £69

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A floral Guide to

decorating your home at Christmas As we embark into December it certainly is beginning to look a lot like Christmas. The yearly traditions are taking place: - the family get togethers, delicious party food and the annual trip into the attic for the decorations. Do you go for gold and red traditional décor? A more contemporary look of whites and silver? Or a natural country look? Whichever theme or style you choose for your home, flowers and foliage always add a luxury finishing touch. Here is our expert floristry advice to guide you through the busy festive season. Door Wreaths Door Wreaths have been a symbol of Christmas Tradition for hundreds of years and can be beautifully displayed outside or inside. Traditionally a door wreath is a representation of Christ on the Cross, and symbolises as an invitation into your home.

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There are many different styles of wreaths you can choose from, a favourite of ours which we highly recommend is a traditional Irish Spruce Wreath which adds a touch of shear elegance to your door, the smell of this bushy evergreen is divine and will have your Christmas senses tingling before you enter your home. Wreaths can be sourced in many places – Supermarkets, Garden Centres and local florists will even create your wreath to your specific design, or even make your own by attending a wreath making class during the festive season. Fire Place Arrangements A top tip we have for Floral Christmas Décor is to use what you already have. Have a look in your garden and surroundings. Here are our top tips on how to create your own CONTINUED OVER THE PAGE

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HOME & GARDEN stunning fireplace arrangement: • • • • •

Use the bottom branches of your Christmas Tree to create the length Long cut offs of Ivy to create a trailing effect Add Holly to infill the arrangement, to create even more natural look Create a real look of luxury by adding extras like fairy lights and candles Using this type of greenery, even on an open fire will survive the heat as long as you water the oasis regularly

Amaryllis and Poinsettia Flower The Poinsettia and Amaryllis flower not only make perfect gifts at Christmas time but are also a beautiful way to decorate your home. The Poinsettia flower or also known as The Christmas Star and the Amaryllis- which translated from Greek means Sparke will last all of the season by following these top tips: • • • • •

Keep them away from drafts and cold windows Amaryllis and Poinsettia’s do not like the cold, any temperature below 13 degrees is not good for the plants. Only water once the soil feels dry to avoid over watering Give your poinsettia as much direct sun light Once flowering keep the soil moist but do not over water

By following our simple tips, you can transform your home with floral décor and give it the WOW factor. We will you all a Merry Christmas and Prosperous New Year from all at Graham Giles Florist..n

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Winter lawn repair We take a look at the top tips given by The Royal Horticultural Society for lawn maintenence through the winter months. Winter repair and maintenance Avoid walking on lawns on frosty mornings. It can damage the grass and often leads to brown footprint-shaped marks. Continue to remove fallen leaves from lawns before they block out light and moisture to the grass. Grass will continue to grow in temperatures above 5°C (41°F), so if the weather remains mild it may be necessary to use the mower to keep the lawn in trim. Ensure the cut is 3-5mm higher than during the summer to prevent turf stress. On average, this means a cutting height of around 2-4cm (1-1.5in) for a utility lawn. Repair damaged lawn edges or patches with turves cut from other areas of the garden. Re-cut all lawn edges to crisp up the appearance of the garden, and save work next season.

£500 off! For South Warwickshire Now readers when ordering a fully fitted bathroom or kitchen* with City Bathrooms *when they present this voucher at point of ordering. Not to run in conjunction with any other offers

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Too much water Watch your lawn for signs of waterlogging, as the weather gets wetter. You may be able to remedy this with some maintenance - either now, next spring, or the following autumn. If your lawn suffers dieback from treading during the wet, muddy season, then you may wish to lay stepping-stones through it to allow easy access across it without causing damage. Stones can be laid at a low enough level to avoid interference with mowing. Fusarium patch (snow mould) may be a problem in wet weather, particularly on overfed and lush lawns that have been left a bit too long. Algae can be a problem on lawns where there is poor drainage, excessive shade, or under the drip-line of trees..n Royal Horticultural Society


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Rejuvenate your skin Give life back to your skin in the New Year by trying some of these Winter skin friendly products. ANGELA LANGFORD BLOOM & GLOW £20.50 Chia seed & sea buckthorn are blended together to deliver high levels of essential fatty acids, vitamins & antioxidants - it improves skin’s elasticity, calms inflammation & restores radiance.

No7 PROTECT AND PERFECT ADVANCED DAY CREAM 50ml £25 Smooth the appearance of deep lines and wrinkles and help delay new ones with No7’s advanced protecting & renewing daytime formula. sk:n CALMING BODY LOTION £21.00 sk:n Calming Body Lotion leaves skin feeing soft, comfortable and hydrated all day long. Suitable for all skin types, it provides an instant soothing effect on the skin, leaving skin feeling nourished and comfortable.

CUREL From £12.50 Renowned for its unique propriety Ceramide Care System, the top-selling Japanese skincare range was created to replenish, protect and promote the natural ceramide moisturisers in the skin. The products are exclusively sold in Boots stores.

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E.L.F SUPERMASK £12 This soothing treatment face mask is like a warm, comforting hug for your skin. This Cica mask helps to calm stressed skin for a complexion that’s as cool as a cucumber.

CLARINS PLANT GOLD £48 A unique 2-in-1 oilemulsion moisturizer housed in an innovative dual-chamber bottle blends together the perfect balance of Clarins’ iconic Blue Orchid Face Treatment Oil and a melting lotion providing skin with comfort, vitality, and radiance.

HEALTH & BEAUTY MOOGOO SKIN SOOTHING SET £32 Add Skinful collagen powder to protein balls, muffins and cookies, as well as soups and stews. Collagen offers support to everything from our skin, muscles and bones to our fingernails and hair.

HYDRA BEAUTY NUTRITION CREME £55 The essential moisturising step for the comfort of normal to dry skin. Hydra Beauty Crème deeply hydrates and protects skin against free radicals. Its fresh, rich texture delicately melts away to reveal subtle fruity notes.

TOTAL SKIN CARE BORAGE BALM 100ML £5.95 Helps eczema, psoriasis, rosacea and dermatitis prone skin. Borage oil boasts one incredible benefit, it’s rich in gamma linolenic acid, a type of omega-6 fatty acid, and excellent at improving skin’s essential protective barrier. In fact, borage oil has over double the GLA of evening primrose oil.

DIPROBASE MOISTURING CREAM £11 Diprobase Daily Moisturising Cream is enriched with prebiotics and provides everyday protection and 24 hour long lasting moisturisation to restore and help strengthen the skin barrier.

NOVELL ULTRA VIVD £29.99 More than just a tanning brand, their products are infused with skincare benefits to brighten and tighten skin, with anti-ageing properties, blemish blurring and is hydrating and moisturising to skin.

OVERNIGHT RESET SERUM £49 Immortelle Overnight Reset Oil-in-Serum will leave you with skin that looks rested, fresh, more youthful and radiant. This extraordinary serum suits all skin types, and works in combination with all L’occitaneface care serums and moisturisers.

BIOMIRACLE STARDUST MIRACLE MASKS £4.99 A range of five specially formulated peel off masks containing glitter for that extra sparkle! Each mask has been created to help skin feel healthier, hydrated and replenished. The complete Stardust with Glitter range is vegan and uses biodegradable glitter.

S5 REPLENISH SERUM £52 Replenish Serum is a super nourishing oil based serum which works to lock in moisture and repair you skins barrier layer in the cold winter months. You can add a couple of this formula to your favourite moisturiser or apply it neat as the last layer in your skincare routine.

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Looking after

your skin Your skin works hard to keep you healthy, and you can return the favour by taking care of it. Here are some tips to help you keep your skin looking and feeling good. Sun care Sunlight contains ultraviolet (UV) rays, which are the main cause of skin ageing and can cause skin cancer. Sunburn can significantly increase the risk of skin cancer, so it’s important to protect skin against sun damage at any age, but take special care with babies, children and young people. To help protect yourself: Spend time in the shade between 11am and 3pm cover up with clothes, a hat and sunglasses use sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. You need to spend some time in sunlight so your body can make vitamin D, which is essential for healthy bones. Smoking Smoking is linked to early ageing of the skin. It’s thought smoking reduces the skin’s natural elasticity by causing the breakdown of collagen and reducing collagen production. Collagen is a protein that supports skin strength. Smoking also reduces blood flow to your skin, so your skin gets fewer nutrients and less oxygen. Alcohol When you drink alcohol, your body and skin can become dehydrated, leaving the skin looking older and tired. Drinking water can help your skin stay hydrated, preventing it drying out. When you have alcohol, try to drink within the recommended limits and have a non-alcoholic drink, such as soda water or fruit juice, between alcoholic drinks. Washing your skin Try to use mild soaps or bath oils. Too much washing or using harsh soaps can wash away the natural oils that keep our skin healthy. If you have dry skin, do not use harsh alcohol-based products as these can irritate skin and dry it out. Moisturising can help prevent dry skin. If you have oily skin, avoid oil-based products and choose water-based ones instead. For more details on how to take care of your skin, visit the NHS website; .n

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New Year's resolution

we have your solution!

If the thought of 2020 inspires you to improve your fitness and wellbeing, then maybe you should make a New Year’s Resolution to Nordic Walking now. New year is a fresh chapter in your life. It gives you new motivation to make your life better, give it a turn and move it in the right direction – why wait? Nordic Walking is an exhilarating exercise in disguise that helps you tone up, slim down and get fitter. It is incredibly versatile, effective and almost anyone can do it! There have been plenty of studies in recent years suggesting that walking is a great way of getting or keeping fit. At Arrow and Arden Nordic Walking we thrive on laughter and pole power. If you don’t feel suited to the gym, jogging, swimming, cycling or other kinds of exercise, then Nordic Walking could be just the thing for you, as it is requires little equipment and whilst enables you to socialise and contributes positively to mental health and fitness. Why not make your a resolution now - book your Free Taster Session online (poles provided) at or call your local instructor Kathrin, on 07875 609324. n

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Will You Be

Lonely This Christmas?

The adverts tell us it is the most wonderful time of the year, but for many people the festive season serves to heighten their feelings of loneliness. The traditional christmas images of family and friends together; of eating, drinking and being merry are at odds with the actual experiences of thousands of people across the country. For some, the reality is bereavement, the breakdown of relationships or health issues can amplify feelings of isolation at this time of year. On the BACP website, BACP-accredited psychotherapist Madeleine Bocker said “for people who are not part of that, it can be very painful. “In the first instance, people will not want to be asked to go out and to start making contact as they are most likely ashamed of being lonely. It can be very hard.” Indeed, the holiday season can exacerbate feelings of loneliness for many people, says BACP member Danuta Lipinska. “The commercialism and materialism around the holiday has helped to these feelings of loneliness and isolation for people,” she said. “It’s become an issue around 21st Century living. “For example, parents have encouraged their children to move hundreds of miles away to get an education or to get a job to better themselves. That’s what parents want, for their children to do better than them. “But a consequence of that is that there might be older people or grandparents who are sitting alone because their family is hundreds of miles away at the other end of the country with their own work/life pressures.”

often a spouse, sibling or best friend or social

The Campaign to End Loneliness state there are 1.2 million chronically lonely older people in the UK and 9 million lonely people. They state there are different types of loneliness: emotional loneliness is felt when we miss the companionship of one particular person;

to start.

loneliness is experienced when we lack a wider social network or group of friends. Loneliness can be a transient feeling that comes and goes. It can be situational; for example only occurring at certain times like Sundays, bank holidays or Christmas. Or loneliness can be chronic; this means someone feels lonely all or most of the time. Loneliness is linked to social isolation but it is not the same thing. Isolation is an objective state whereby the number of contacts a person has can be counted. One way of describing this distinction is that you can be lonely in a crowded room, but you will not be socially isolated. So how can we help people to not feel isolated this Christmas? Danuta added: “It’s a difficult one – you can’t assume that if people are by themselves they want someone to pop round. Where some people might want company, there are people who don’t want it. “Be aware of who your neighbours are and if they are on their own. Have a meaningful conversation. Ask them how they spent their holidays in the past. Loneliness can lead to health issues, as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigerettes a day, more visits to your doctor surgery so why not try speaking to a local BACP counsellor or psychotherapist about loneliness this Christmas as a present to yourself is a good place

On their website Madeleine Bocker gives her tips to end loneliness for you to try: • Have compassion with yourself. We know people don’t always want to be

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asked to go out and to make contact. • Don’t judge yourself. Everyone feels lonely sometimes, but it doesn’t mean you are not a really loveable person. • Pets are loving to their owners and can improve mental well-being. Having a dog, for example, takes you out of the house for walks and the benefits of fresh air, meeting people and getting exercise. • At the start of the week plan out your highlights in your diary to look forward to. Maybe going to the cinema, your favourite TV programme, a visit from or to a friend. • If you think you haven’t got someone, the world is full of people who think they haven’t got anyone either. Try to be proactive and invite people to visit or make contact with neighbours. • Physical touch can be very good. Things like applying moisturiser, brushing your hair or massaging your feet. Book a massage or a head massage with your hair cut. • Think how you can add value and meaning to your daily life. Think about what you like to do or how you could use your time. What about volunteering for a charity, starting a business or taking up a hobby? • If your family has moved away or you can’t be with them, keep in touch with them via Skype, FaceTime or similar apps. • If you are feeling really low, talk to your GP and find a good therapist. n

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Dementia increase in


People with dementia in Warwickshire set to increase by 42% in next decade, with families struggling to cope. 12,403 people are estimated to have dementia in Warwickshire by 2030, up from 8,712 in 2019. The number of people with dementia in Warwickshire will increase by nearly half in the next decade, warns a report published today, commissioned by Alzheimer’s Society from the London School of Economics and Political Science. The report predicts that as our population ages, a higher proportion of people with dementia will have higher care needs for longer, driving up the average amount spent on care. In Warwickshire in 2019, dementia care cost £339 million. This will soar to £591 million by 2030. More than 60% a year of social care costs in England will fall on people with dementia and their families. Previous research by Alzheimer’s Society has shown that someone with dementia will typically have to spend £100,000 on their care. Many are forced to sell their homes to pay for it. Alzheimer’s Society released the figures as it launches its election manifesto ahead of the general election, ‘Demanding action on dementia’. Janice Le Tellier, Alzheimer’s Society Area Manager for Midlands Central, said: “Dementia is heart-breaking for families. It’s not right that those going through it

have to battle to get the care they need on top of battling the disease. “From the working mum struggling to find hundreds of pounds every week to ‘top up’ her mum’s council-funded care home place, to the woman who had to sell her home of 50 years to pay for her husband’s care – families affected by dementia are already at breaking point. With costs set to treble in the next two decades, how on earth will they cope? “The cost of dementia care is too much for an individual to bear. It should be spread between us – just like schools, the NHS and other public services. Every party must go into this election with a solid plan to radically reform dementia care. Families in crisis need action, and they need it now.” Alzheimer’s Society is calling for three commitments from the next government: Radically reform dementia care to address the specific needs of people with dementia, ending the daily injustice they, and their families, face in accessing the good quality care to which they are entitled. Ensure that people with dementia can participate in their communities on the same basis as everyone else.

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Close the research funding gap between dementia and other disease areas to ensure new treatments and life changing care interventions are available to everyone living with dementia, as soon as possible. Too many people are facing dementia alone without adequate support. Dementia Connect is Alzheimer’s Society’s new pioneering, expert service that will transform the lives of all people affected by dementia by providing one contact who can guide you through the complex maze of health and social care services. As Dementia Connect is new, parts of the service may not be available in your area just yet. Alzheimer’s Society is here for anyone affected by dementia, whatever you are going through, you can turn to us for support, information and advice by calling Dementia Connect on 0333 150 3456 or emailing dementia.connect@alzheimers. Thanks to the players of the People’s Postcode Lottery, Alzheimer’s Society can continue transforming the lives of people affected by dementia.n Alzheimer’s Society

Discover Oxford Over the festive season and New Year, take a weekend break to the beautiful city of Oxford. Walk around the the medieval streets and explore the many shops and markets the city has to offer. There’s plenty to take in, with notable historical landmarks such as the University and it’s colleges, Old Bodleian Library Quads, Bridge of Sigh and Christ Church Meadows as well as the Harry Potter filming locations, Mordor inspiration of Lord of the Rings, Alice In Wonderland site and you can even take a tour of Inspector Morse’s favourite watering holes! It is worth taking a guided tour of Oxford, to take in as much as you can throughout the weekend. Located on Beaumont Street is the Ashmoleon Museum, University of Oxford’s museum of art and archaeology, founded in 1683. The museum has three floors of ancient and modern art and antiquities covering world civilisations, plus fine and applied arts. Open every day apart from December 24,25, 26 and January 1, 10am–5pm, entry to the museum is free.

Sir John Vanbrugh Suite Vanbrugh House Hotel

If you’re looking for something different to explore in the city, the Gloucester Green market is a traditional and vibrant open air market offering a range of general produce as well as cakes, sweets and an endless range of street food. You’ll be spoilt for choice but won’t be disappointed! Open Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9-4pm and Saturdays from 10-5pm. Nestled in the heart of Oxford City Centre, Vanbrugh House Hotel is a luxurious stay for anyone wanting a perfect city break. Taking it’s name from the architect Sir John Vanbrugh, the hotel retains many historical features, fusing ecletic styles with enchanting period designs. The hotel only has 22 rooms, but each room is unique and newly refurbished with modern and traditional furniture. Located on the ground floor id the Sir John Vanbrugh Suite. The suite has plenty to offer and warmth exudes from the moment you open the door. The main bedroom area follows onto the dressing room where little touches are laid, including Tea Pigs tea, robes and slippers and a Nespresso coffee machine. The spacious bathroom is exquisite, with a deep roll top bath, and powerful rainfall shower, waiting for you after a long day exploring the city. Vanbrugh House Hotel, Oxford has rooms available from £99.50 per person. For further information n t @NowWarwickshire | G South Warwickshire & North Cotswolds Now | w 27 n


Eat In or Eat Out

This Christmas?

What do you picture when someone says Christmas dinner? Are you in the comfort of your own home surrounded by your family or are you in a cosy pub enjoying a stress-free meal? Eating Out? Research shows that the amount of people choosing to dine out for Christmas is on the rise. The amount of people eating out for Christmas dinner has been steadily rising year on year. The amount of people that dine out for their Christmas meal rose by 43% last year with the British public choosing a cosy pub or luxurious restaurant over their own dining rooms. What is it about eating out that’s got us hooked? Perhaps the idea of cooking for your extended family and friends is just too daunting for some. Being treated and waited on is a much more relaxing way to spend the festive season. For others the idea of spending a couple of hundred per head on Christmas dinner at an already expensive time of the year is simply too much and not in the spirit of Christmas.

We all like to think that our decorations are the best, but let’s be honest sometimes there’s nothing better than a cosy pub topped off with a roaring fire and traditional Christmas decorations, what could be more British than that?

has a bit more meat on it and scores well in the

The cost of eating out can turn people off the idea, but not to worry. Whether you’re a fan of Marcus Wareing and fancy his 6-course menu for £375 a head; or fancy a cosy Christmas down at your local pub for an average price of £40 per person. There really is something for everyone, no matter what their budget.

dominated the mass market partly because

Eating In? With the vast array of delicious goodies available from local suppliers for Christmas dinner deciding what to have can be a huge undertaking all by itself.

flavour department. Finally there’s the white turkey, a great, big, bosomy bird that delivers slice after slice of pristine white meat but can be short on flavour if not sourced carefully. These





when plucked their white feathers left white stubs. Unlike the Norfolk Black which when plucked leaves a host of black specks to spoil the look of the breast to some eyes. Allow 500g of bird weight per person. Or







vegetarian or vegan main course. 2019 has truly been a great year to be vegetarian with several stores increasing their selection of meat free options. Which means you won’t just be handed extra vegetables to

With the stress of wrapping those lastminute presents and catering to the needs of your fussy relatives it’s no wonder people are turning to restaurants for their festive fix. Having someone else prepare an extravagant roast for the whole family helps to take the strain away from the designated chef.

Should this be the year you have a goose? The meat is very rich and moist, the fat left in the pan after cooking is fantastic for roasting potatoes and baking. But delicious though it is, a goose is a bony bird and that means small portions for a family of half a dozen keen eaters. Allow 700g of bird weight per person.

fill your plate. From roast stuffer cauliflower

Eating out means each person can choose what they want to eat. Even the fussiest of eaters can pick and choose their favourite bits, letting you relax and enjoy the festive feast.

The last decade has seen a comeback from the Norfolk Black – great flavour, but this is a bird with big bones and a grudging amount of meat. Or there’s the Bronze turkey, this one

This will ensure your food meets all the

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to butternut squash & beetroot wellington, you’re sure to find something to make the meat eaters jealous. Whatever you decide, order from your local butcher or grower, do it in plenty of time so it arrives in your kitchen in perfect condition. families’ expections. n

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Choosing the Right

Secondary School

Choosing the most appropriate secondary school for your child is one of the most important decisions you will have to make for them. Therefore, it is essential that you start considering the options in advance. While academic success rates will play an important role in your ultimate decision, it is equally as important to visit a school in order to ensure that it is the right choice for your child as an individual. Here are a few tips on what to look out for when you begin to make this all important decision. Before the Open Day: Academic Achievement While everything on this list is important, nothing will give you a better idea of how well a school operates than its academic record. If a school delivers particularly good (or bad!) academic results, there is a reason for that. Ensure you attend an open day n 30 | South Warwickshire and North Cotswolds Now | Issue 42 | December 2019/January 2020

and discuss with appropriate members of staff what their curriculum includes and how that will benefit your child. Remember, Ofsted reports are available to view online. Entry Requirements It’s a good idea to find out whether any schools in your area have entry requirements. If they do, these may serve as a sensible guideline as to its suitability for your child. During the Open Day: Travel Consider how far your child will have to travel and how they will get to school. If a school is more than a mile away, how will your child get there? Are there buses from your area? These practical considerations are as CONTINUED OVER THE PAGE

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important as the academic ones. This may also help in narrowing your list of potential schools down. Extra Curricular Activities Excelling in extra curricular activities will become an asset to your child as he or she continues through their education. Be sure to find out exactly what potential schools have on offer.

While you can’t expect high school children to be entirely sedate, if you suspect that bad behaviour would interfere with your child’s education it’s a good idea to look elsewhere. College and Career As your child continues through his or her academic career, they will have to start thinking about what they are going to do after they leave school.

Remember, colleges and universities are continually looking further than academic results when deciding who to accept.

It is crucial for a high school to offer college and career advice, supporting your child through their post-school decisions as well as their GCSE exams.

Behaviour The easiest way of figuring out how behaviour is in a school is by visiting it.

Remember to find out what services are available. n

Observe how the children there behave as they make their way to lessons and how they act in class.

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Tea brand funds Food for Life English Tea Shop the speciality, organic tea brand, is teaming up with the Soil Association to offer 30 schools in Warwickshire the opportunity to be a part of the Food for Life (FFL) initiative, by funding their FFL award. Over 4,000 children will be provided with the resources to engage with local communities and create a positive, real connection with food. Designed to offer pupils a greater understanding of where their food comes from, how it is grown, sourced and cooked, the field to fork initiative offers school children the chance and even get out into a garden as part of the school day. The campaign will also support intergenerational activities between school children and local care homes or community groups, connecting generations through good food & drink. As part of the FFL award scheme, English Tea Shop will provide resources for teachers to host intergenerational tea events Ella Webb, Head of School at Birchwood Primary School says; “Birchwood is especially grateful for the funding provided to complete the FFL awards. Without this, we would not have been able to access the award because of ever increasing budget limitations. The award process has helped transform our school and community into one that is excited and informed about food choices. Our cooking

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classes and farmers markets are incredibly popular with our parents and the pupils love their regular cooking sessions and kitchen garden activities which help to provide them with a rich and skills-based curriculum. The training provided to staff to help organise this whole school approach has been invaluable.” Suranga Health, CEO of English Tea Shop says; “We are thrilled to be teaming up with the Soil Association and to provide school children in Warwickshire with healthy, tasty and sustainable meals. As a company we are built on sustainable values, producing a product that is good for consumers and kind to the planet. From the soil the tea grows in, to the farmers who tend to it, English Tea Shop takes into consideration the whole community and not just part of it.” Schools to be gifted with the FFL award include Birchwood Primary School, Coughton Primary School, Brownsover Community school, Binley Woods Primary School and Bidford on Avon C.of.E Primary School. Schools with a Food for Life Schools Award must demonstrate that they are providing healthy school meals, great lunchtimes and food education that has a positive impact on both pupils and the wider community. For example, pupils in Food for Life schools are twice as likely to eat five portions of fruit and veg a day than those in comparison schools. n

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What's On December Until Sunday, December 22nd Leamington Christmas Market The Leamington Spa Christmas Market is held on every Sunday leading up to Christmas. The fair will be the perfect way to spend your Sunday and get into the Christmas spirit. There will be over 100 stalls selling local food and drinks, street food, arts, crafts, decorations and antiques. Enjoy browsing, sampling and shopping through the market stalls where you can pick up Christmas gifts for friends and family members as well as sampling and buying local food and drink products. From cheese and chutney to shortbread, tea, gin and baked goods, there will be something to tempt everyone. What could feel more festive than tucking into a turkey sandwich with a glass of mulled wine with the beautiful backdrop of the market stalls and Christmas music?

Saturday 23rd November - Sunday 5th January Christmas at the Castle


Warwick Castle is the ultimate place to visit this festive season with magical Stories with Santa, a beautiful Winter Birds of Prey Show and new for 2019, a festive ice rink set under the stunning castle backdrop. Castle opens at 10am. Ice skating sessions start at 15 minutes past the hour, 19:15pm is the final time slot. Castle Only tickets £15pp, Castle + Skate tickets £25pp

the town, but there with a stage in Henley Street hosting an array of performances for all the family to enjoy. A traditional funfair, which will include a carousel, will be situated at the bottom of Wood Street and on the Rother Street market area. Entry is free. Friday 6 December: 11am – 8pm. Saturday 7 December: 10am – 8pm. Sunday 8 December: 10am – 5pm.

Friday 6th - December 8th

Saturday 7th

Stratford-upon-Avon Victorian Christmas Market Stratford-upon-Avon’s Victorian Christmas Market is returning for the third year running and the award-winning annual event will be taking place in the world-famous town centre once again.Each year it has grown in popularity, increasing its visitor figures from around 58,000 in 2017 to more than 102,000 visitors last year. Festive cheer will be spread when the three-day themed spectacular comes back in 2019, with traders decked out in Victorian outfits. There will be around 300 stalls selling a whole host of products perfect for the season or as presents for loved ones. Entertainment will be hosted throughout

Stoke Golding Snowman Festival Come and see our amazing display of Snowmen in St Margaret’s Church, and enjoy turkey rolls, sausage rolls, mince pies, mulled wine etc. in the Baxter Hall, opposite the church. There will also be cakes and jams for sale, plus a raffle and tombola. Parking available at the primary school opposite the church. The church and Baxter Hall will be open from 10-5pm. The event is free and suitable for children.

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Sunday 8th Lott Christmas Fayre Leamington Old Town Ltd’s annual Christmas Fayre. Stalls, competitions, Choir, Naughty


Win a Festive Sparkling Afternoon Tea and goody bags at

Shakespaw Cat Cafe SHAKESPAW Cat Café – the only one of its kind in Warwickshire – is celebrating its first anniversary by offering a prize of sparkling Festive Afternoon Tea for two. Plus they’ll take home goody bags loaded with Shakespaw-branded merchandise from their exclusive range. The concept of the café, in Union Street, originates from Taiwan and provides a valuable service to those people unable to keep their own pets at home as well as working closely with a cat rescue service to rehome them, potentially with customers Mother and daughter owners Jayne RichmanBolt and Rio Roberts boast a loyal – and growing- clientele since opening Shakespaw in Stratford-upon-Avon last November. The ladies’ close partnership with Pepper’s

Pet Rescue Centre in Halesowen has resulted in the successful rehoming of several of their cats through customers over the past year. There is a small entry fee and a few basic rules of engagement when entering the café so as to maintain a controlled environment for the 10 resident cats. But the combination of tasty food and entertaining and friendly feline company makes for a memorable all-round experience and so much more than just a lunch stop. “It’s just about educating the customer so we have some tongue-in-cheek rules on the back of the menu,” said Rio. “Everyone talks about how laid back and friendly our cats are. That wouldn’t be the case if the rules weren’t in place,” said Rio.“If everyone came in and picked up the cats while they were sleeping, they would quickly get fed up with people. It’s all for the cats but also for the customer

experience. She added: “I think we succeed because we’ve got that personal touch. People like it because they can see how much love and care we put into the place.” Visit the cat café at To find out more about Pepper’s Pet Rescue or to make a donation, contact Sophie at: South Warwickshire and North Cotswolds Now Magazine is offering you the chance to win a Festive Prosecco Afternoon Tea for two at Shakespaw Cafe plus goody bags. Terms and Conditions: Booking essential via Over 10’s only. Not valid for Saturdays.




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What's On Elf! plus Santa in Lottland,11-4pm. Festive Food Festival East Staffordshire Borough Council are pleased to have teamed up with Warwickshire events experts CJ events, to bring a Festive Food Festival to Burton on Trent this December. CJ’s Events, the company behind a number of highly successful food festivals which include Barton Marina, Warwick, Southam, Kenilworth and Nuneaton, and are now adding Burton-on-Trent to their calendar for the first time this winter. The festival will include over 35 food and drink stalls, entertainment and festival activities. The event takes place at Burton Market Hall & Place 10-5pm.

Wednesday 11th - Sunday 15th The Festival of the Lost & Found When The Festival of Lost & Found pitches up in the garden of Shakespeare’s last home, nothing is quite as it seems. Friendly showpeople invite you to grab a drink and marvel at the tantalising smells, sights


and sounds of their musical midwinter encampment. But as you wander among the tents you might wonder if they’re telling you the whole story... Bedecked with bunting and dodging the showers, our hapless cast are determined to put on the best show they can: but with the rain delaying their star performer, mulberry tokens going missing, and a stolen poem to deal with - they’ve certainly got their work cut out. They must unravel two and a half centuries of stories and piece together the clues, enlisting your help to bring to life the greatest show that never happened! All performances will be captioned (subtitled) using the Difference Engine. A British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter will accompany the performance at 6pm on Saturday 14 December at Shakespeare’s New Place, 22 Chapel St, Stratford-upon-Avon CV37 6EP. To book go to

Thursday 12th, Saturday 14th, Saturday 21st - Tuesday 24th A Christmas Carol Award winning puppetry and visual theatre

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company Smoking Apples team up with the Bridge House Theatre this Christmas to bring you a reinvention of a classic story. Come face to face with the magical spirits, Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim, as the Bridge House Theatre is transformed into the enchanting setting of the past, present and future of Mr Scrooge. Join him as he travels through time to learn the true meaning of Christmas and ignite your festive spirit. Bah Humbug!This is the perfect opportunity to dive into the heart of a timeless Christmas tale. Smoking Apples’ unique and heartwarming style of storytelling and spellbinding puppetry will immerse you into a magical theatrical experience like you’ve never seen before. Various times, visit for details. Tickets from £14.

Saturday 14th - January 5th Flowers of Winter See Shakespeare’s Birthplace filled with floral displays, inspired by traditional winter blooms. Stunning floral displays by local designers (March Hare Floral Design and Tuckshop Flowers) will fill the house this Christmas season, inspired by the traditional laying of flowers to symbolise the downing of tools, and the beginning of celebrations. Did you know that in the Tudor period houses were not decorated until Christmas Eve and that the 40 days before Christmas were times of fasting and prayer? Come and find out more about these traditions and discover something new this Christmas. For general admission prices go to www.

Sunday 15th Sunday Lunch with Festive Music Enjoy a delicious Sunday roast whilst listening to some great festive live music in No 44 Brasserie on The Waterside. From £16.50 per person. Natural Christmas at Kingsbury Water Park Make a variety of festive decorations from natural materials in time to hang on your Christmas tree or decorate your house. Suitable for anyone who loves Christmas, just bring your imagination and a dash of creativity.Time: 10.30-12pm. Meet: The Education Centre Cost: £5per person (no concessions. Booking essential – max 20 spaces.

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What's On Wednesday 18th

Christmas with The Carice Singers This acclaimed vocal ensemble returns to St Mark’s with favourite carols such as Ding Dong!Merrily on High and Away in a Manger and seasonal works by Byrd, Sibelius, Warlock, Bax, Roderick Williams, Judith Weir and many others. Tickets: £22, £16 and £10 (£1 student standby) includes mulled wine and mince pies. The concert is sponsored by Leigh Christou. To book tickets call 01926 334418 or go to www.

Saturday 24th The Holly and the Ivy The St James’s Singers present their everpopular Christmas Concert on Saturday 21st December, at 7.30pm, in St Mary’s Church, Warwick. This year’s reader is Sunny Ormonde. Sunny plays the outrageous Lilian Bellamy in Radio 4’s The Archers and is one of the listeners’ favourite characters. The readings will include some inspiring poetry and prose to capture the spirit of Christmas and to bring a smile to all. The concert starts


at 7.30pm. Tickets are £15 and £10 and are available from the SJS box office on 07502 939498 or (unreserved) on the door.

Friday 27th 27th Lions Festive Walk K&D Lions invite you to the 26th free Festive Walk at National Trust – Baddesley Clinton. Just turn up, choose your walk between 1 and 9 miles, enjoy a mulled wine and mince pie and finish with the house and gardens. More details & registration form online at

Tuesday 31st New Year’s Eve Party See the New year in at Warwickshire`s Hidden Gem Guys Cliffe . Hot and Cold Buffet served at the start of the evening. See in 2020 at this historical stunning location. This new years eve party will include non stop music from all eras , a Hot and Cold buffet which is fit for a king ! The non stop party is from 7pm till 12.30am. There is a licensed bar plus teas and coffees available to purchase throughout the night. Say Goodbye to 2019 and see in 2020 at this truly mystical location. This is an over 18s

only event. For tickets go to www.eventbrite. New Year’s Eve at Warwick Racecourse Join racegoers for the last raceday of 2019 and celebrate Warwickshire’s big day out in the best way possible. Live music, great racing and a fantastic atmosphere is an absolute certainty. Enjoy the occasion in style with one of their exclusive New Year’s Eve hospitality packages. Last year, there was a competition throughout the raceday whereby racegoers dressed in ‘Classic racing attire’ to enter themselves for a chance to win on the spot prizes. #WarwickNYE. To book tickets go to Big Fish Little Fish Family Rave: Circus After last year’s sell out show, this family rave is back at Coventry Cathedral with world famous DJ Chad Jackson, and this time, it’s circus themed. New Year’s Eve Ball Say hello to 2020 with a unique evening of classical and modern operatic entertainment in between three courses of delectable food

Included in the

CAMRA Good Beer Guide 2020

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What's On

in the Great Hall and State Dining Room at Warwick Castle, complete with an evening cheese table, disco, spectacular fireworks and a glass of champagne at midnight.£150 per person. Arrival at 7.30pm. The first 100 tickets sold will be seated in the Great Hall, with a further 40 seats in the State Dining Room. For details, go to www.warwick-castle. com

January Saturday 11th Classic Chase Raceday If there is one day to head to Warwick Racecourse then this is the one.Not only will you enjoy the most exhilarating race that we stage all year, the Classic Chase, but you can also experience free racing heritage talks with some of the star jockeys and trainers of yesteryear, and a special fashion parade of classic racing attire through the ages. Ticket prices start from £12.50. Don’t forget that under 18’s entry is free of charge, when attending with a full paying adult.To buy, go to



Thursday 23rd Josie Long: Tender Three-time Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee and very-hard-to-pin-down-indieunderdog-nightmare Josie Long is back with a brand new show after a brief hiatus, during which she had a baby and so on.It’s about the mind-bending intensity of new motherhood, but mostly about kindness, gentleness, and joy – all in all, the edgiest thing you will see this year. The aim is for you to come out of it feeling optimistic about the future, although that is a big ask. At the very least there will be some really silly voices in it, and that’s not nothing. The event is in the Theatre at Warwick Arts Centre. For more informtation, go to book, go to www.warwickartscentre. cost £14.

Friday 24th Van Kuijk Sring Quartet The Winners of the London International String Quartet Competition in April 2015, the Van Kuijk Quartet became BBC New Generation Artists and performed for Leamington Music

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the following November with a totally French programme. They will be performing at the Royal Pump Rooms in Leamington Spa, at 7.30pm. Visit for more details.

Saturday 31st Black and Gold Masquerade Ball Supporter Sophie Gordon and her family are holding a Masquerade Ball in aid of The Myton Hospices. There will be a raffle and auction during the evening with wonderful items that have been very kindly donated by local businesses and supporters. Upon booking we will store and use your contact details to process your booking and contact you prior to the event for dietary requirements, you will also receive an email acknowledgement of your booking. All funds raised will be donated to The Myton Hospices in memory of Annie Alexander. Tickets are priced at £49.50 each. The ticket price includes a drink on arrival, three-course meal and goody bag (including 1 x casino chip drink token). The event will be held at Warwick House from 6.45pm till late! To book, go to n

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