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Copy deadline for our next issue - 15th January 2014

This Month...

Winter Solstice 6 A Travellers Tale 12 INCRedible Dunstable 16 What’s Best For You 18 Consumer Clinic 20 Bedfordshire’s Night Sky 22 Auto-biographies 26 In The Garden 32 Allergies 34 Technology 36 Puzzles 42 Out & About 44

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The Winter Solstice


n the Northern Hemisphere, the Winter Solstice occurs when the ‘top half’ of the Earth tilts away from the Sun at its most extreme angle. This gives us the longest night and shortest day of the year. It normally falls on 21 December, and from this point on, the days will begin to lengthen until the Summer Solstice on 21 June. The word ‘solstice’ comes from the Latin phrase for ‘sun stands still’. This is because the sun appears to rise and set in the same two places for several days in a row. Cultures through the ages have marked the Solstice and celebrated the triumph of light over dark. Massive prehistoric monuments such as Stonehenge were built to align with the Winter Solstice sunrise. The ancient Romans had a seven-day festival called Saturnalia, when everything would be reversed – men would dress as women and masters dressed as servants. People decorated their houses with greenery, lit candles and gave presents. Celtic druids gave pieces of mistletoe as a blessing. They also began the tradition of the Yule log, which was burned to conquer the darkness and bring luck for the year ahead. Many people celebrate the Solstice today, and it’s interesting to see how many of the customs have become part of our Christmas festivities. By Alex Albrighton

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re first ctly when fir trees we It’s not confirmed exa of es nch es, although bra used as Christmas tre used to n bee ally ion dit tra e the evergreen fir hav rs. ls for thousands of yea celebrate winter festiva bol of life sym t ien anc an s wa The evergreen tree ented use ter. The first docum in the middle of win ns is in atio ebr in Christmas cel of a tree being used dition tra the ere wh m fro via the year 1510 in Lat d. appears to have derive es century, Christmas tre During the early 18th n the s thi and ns tow rman were common in Ge ity who had bil no ean op Eur the spread through the early of decorated trees by adopted the custom ge to rria ma ’ ia's tor Queen Vic 19th century. After ristmas trees Ch , ert Alb nce Pri n, her German Cousi now in nplace in Britain and became more commo ora dec of rt are the stalwa the modern day they ready ms roo ng livi r ou in ly tions, erected proud his Christmas to lay out for the arrival of Father s Eve. ma rist Ch on th nea sack of gifts under

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A Travellers Tale

Bolting Round The Baltic : Part II


By Paul Heley

e'd been out for a week and were now tied up at St Petersburg. However, because of the hassle experienced on a previous trip to Russia, we hadn't taken out personal visas; we felt it wasn't worthwhile for such a brief visit. Furthermore, we'd not booked any excursion during that morning or afternoon so had to spend a whole day on board twiddling our thumbs. It was pointless asking the officials if we could sneak ashore; they are completely unsmiling and totally inflexible regarding rules and regulations. But for the evening, we'd bought tickets for the ballet held in the Hermitage theatre. Around 6pm, a coach party - on a "group visa" - left and wound its way through very congested traffic, stopping at odd places here and there (but never being let too far out of sight!) before arriving at the Hermitage. As we were being driven round, so the guide told us about how Peter the Great wanted an outlet into the Baltic and how he'd transformed what was originally a swamp into the architectural splendour which is now St Petersburg: a considerable feat of engineering. He was very ambitious and wanted his new city to rival Venice regarding its canals and to eclipse Versailles architecturally. There is no doubt that he succeeded; St Petersburg is very splendid indeed and full of wonderful buildings. The ballet performance of "Swan Lake" was enjoyable but by no means perfect and we later learnt that many of the usual performers go on holiday during the summer leaving only a

skeleton crew of more senior dancers supplemented by students. Val (who used to be a ballet dancer) could detect imperfections - but I'm afraid these were largely lost on me and, I guess, on 99% of the audience. Next day, we went on a coach trip around the city and were shown a number of interesting sights. Our guide repeated much of what had been said the night before, but also threw in other snippets of information. For example:- Beef Stroganoff was specially created for Alexander Stroganoff who'd lost a hand in battle so couldn't use a knife and fork. Consequently, his meat was cooked in smaller pieces so he could eat it one handed. A fascinating piece of useless information I'm sure you'll agree! We went to the Church of the Spilled Blood which can only be described as a riot of colour and icons. Not one square inch of wall is left uncovered. I now conclude that "cathedral ornateness" runs from Russian Orthodox through Roman Catholic to Anglican and Lutheran. What might other religions bring? It's worth mentioning that the weather remained brilliant and that St Petersburg was enjoying unusually high temperatures - as was the whole of northern Europe. And many Americans on board (whose homes were much further south) had never experienced 20 hour daylight before. A novelty! The next destination was Helsinki in the extreme south of Finland. Strangely enough, Val and I had been to the Arctic north of Finland only three months previously where temperatures could

fall to minus 30C. But now we heard that Arctic Finland was experiencing temperatures in excess of plus 30C !! We arrived at Helsinki about 7am and went on another coach trip. The first stop was at the memorial to Finland's best known son: the composer, Sibelius. This is a rather unusual structure looking vaguely like a set of enormous organ pipes and a head with clouds emerging out of its ears. The history of Finland shows the usual swapping backwards and forwards its having been part of Sweden for some time and part of Russia later on. But Helsinki has no really ancient buildings which is perhaps because Finland was largely rebuilt following independence in 1917 and the Finns had a desire to be seen to be different. Especially since they are a very distinct people who have no common ancestry with the rest of Scandinavia: their origins (as shown by their language) connect them with Estonia and even Hungary, Turkey and the asiatic region around the Urals. In other words, they are not Nordic. Before returning to the ship, we wandered around on our own, bought some mouth-watering cherries and strawberries (such fruit grow much bigger than in UK due to the long hours of sunlight) and took in the Lutheran cathedral and yet another Russian church - both splendid in their separate ways. Sailing out of Helsinki at 5pm headed for Stockholm, we experienced a wonderful sunset around 11pm, and hit Stockholm in the early morning ready to go ashore via a shuttle 窶話us after breakfast.


A Travellers Tale


Our goal was Gamla Stan (the Old Town), a labyrinth of narrow cobble stoned streets bursting with all manner of touristy shops. We went into the cathedral - very impressive - but spent most of the time just wandering about before returning on the shuttle 'bus in time for lunch. In the afternoon, we went on a guided cruise around the waterways of Stockholm - another city claiming to be the "Venice of the North" since it spans 14 separate islands. This was a very pleasant trip indeed with an excellent commentary. There is a large inland lake behind Stockholm whose water level is higher than that of the Baltic and we entered and left this lake through a lock system. In answer to one of my questions, it would not be a good idea to let this great mass of fresh water escape into the Baltic since the change in water density would enable the sea around Stockholm to freeze even earlier than it does already. Not convinced! After Stockholm, we passed through the Kiel Canal and chugged our way through an eastern England landscape - it's easy to see why the Saxons looked upon East Anglia as a home from home.

Having exited the canal, we headed out into the North Sea for the final leg to Amsterdam. Arriving slightly later than planned, we decided to skip lunch and walk into town and do our own thing. But we were surprised to discover that a particular church I'd wanted to see had been turned into a museum about the Dutch royal family so, instead, joined a guided tour of the Royal Palace and saw opulent rooms, paintings, incredible chandeliers and internal statuatory. It's all very grand not a bit like my house! We also got lost on a few occasions due to a poor map - that's my story and I'm sticking to it! - so finally gave up on Amsterdam, walked back to the ship and collapsed on our beds absolutely shattered. In the early evening we sailed out of Amsterdam headed for Dover arriving in the early morning. After breakfast, disembarkation was swift, easy and efficient and we were back home around noon. It's difficult to summarise this trip: it had been very different from previous cruises and from what I'd expected. A 600+ passenger ship is fine for this type of cruise (but not for little coves

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and fjords) and there's no sense of overcrowding. Our cabin was spatially generous; the food was great; the crew were charming, polite and helpful. We'd been extremely lucky with the weather and the sea had been calm. Regarding the places visited, they tended to come thick and fast - hence my title - and we'd only had a quick "taster" anywhere. A notably common feature of the Baltic States in particular is that they all have streets and pavements made of very large cobble stones which are not at all easy to walk on and cleverly designed to turn your ankle very easily! Highlights (for me) were most likely Tallinn and Stockholm, but Helsinki was very pleasant and appealed to Val. But St Petersburg offered so many splendid architectural examples that one really needs more than a few hours there. But this, sadly, is made difficult since Russian bureaucracy is so unhelpful and visas are not easy to obtain and rather expensive. They say they want visitors but don't make it easy. Personally, I don't think I'd want to go on another Baltic cruise as such - but I wouldn't mind revisiting one or two of the places seen: say, for a weekend.

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INCRedible Discover magic, pure and simple magic. Grow food, cook food and share food and do it in public places. These are the words of Mary Clear co founder of Incredible Edible Todmorden set up in 2007 with her friend Pam Warhurst. Together with the help of their community they have grown being Incredible into a worldwide revolution with 300 IE’s all over the world. I run my own gardening business and most of my work is for the elderly. I have seen how lonely some folk can be when everyone is out at work, everyone has stuff to do and no one has time for their each other. I wanted my neighbourhood restored so I thought what better way to do this than to make a beautiful garden that grows food for us all to share, so I began! February 2013 on a snowy winter’s day I started by writing to Dunstable Council and asking can you help, they said ‘Yes’. Central Bedfordshire is our landowner and has provided huge support. So together with some willing volunteers we built this garden. We now have 5 raised beds filled with 40 bags of horse manure topped off with 8 tonne of top soil all donated and collected for free. The beds produced strawberries, tomatoes, fennel, coriander, mint, thyme, kale, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, mixed salad leaves, lettuce, spring onion, radish, swede all donated for free. We were involved with Anglia in Bloom this year and helped to bring home GOLD. We have been visited by Mr J Chatterley Dunstable Town Mayor and he is in full support of our community garden. We had a massive raspberry plant over the half term holiday and planted over 30 fruit canes all donated for free. Next year the garden will be used for the students from Barnfield Vale Academy as the garden for their Enrichment Option. This will involve teaching them all about community, nature and sustainable food production, in a way that will inspire them to look outside the box and see the potential for expanding this project. We will be hoping to have a seating area in the garden for people to take the time to sit and have their lunch after doing some work in our garden. Meet and take the time to talk to each other after harvesting the free vegetables and fruit. We are not funded by anyone; we rely on volunteer’s donations of their time and donations of plants and materials from the local businesses and the local community. If you feel you are able to support our project by working in the garden or a donation of a plant or a few roles of weed suppressant membrane and a few bags of mulch every tiny bit of help is received with open arms.

Maybe a tree surgeon could deposit some free chippings directly to our garden or a landscape gardener has extra supplies or a grab lorry driver could remember us if he has some topsoil to dispose of. We could use all of these things for our herb spiral we want to make next year. We would be truly grateful. Big love, smiles and nice tea to share Sahira (pronounced Syra) Like and share our Facebook page Incredible Edible Dunstable For more information contact me on 01582 519132 or 07905 116623

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It’s Christmas! Christmas is Coming!


Christmas is coming. Stop, wait! I dislike Jingle Bells can boost your Christmas cash by if you cut out a blasting out of shop speakers in early November as cappuccino or weekly mag. We're not saying do it, much as the next man. Yet this isn’t about celebrating just work out which use of cash gives you more joy. early, it's about pre-planning to slash festive costs, so you have a better Christmas at a lower price. Ban unnecessary Christmas presents? Christmas isn't a retail festival. While presents for This year, I’ve been given an ITV special to run kids or spouses under the tree is a lovely tradition, through all this. I couldn’t persuade them to let me we seem to be under constant pressure to buy for an th do it on the 25 (of January) as I’d have liked. But The ever widening circle of friends. This can be just tickMartin Lewis Money Show, 8pm on 12 to November Try some DemoHoHotivation This year, I was given an at ITV special run box giving, tat we know they don't really want, and My tool shows how (or catchall it on ITVIplayer), may well be the earliest through this. couldn’t persuade them to will become landfill fodder. small just sacrifices can save you large, eg, how much Christmas special in TV history. So as we’re now in let me do it on the 25th (of January) as I’d you can boost your Christmas cash by if you cut out the Thriftsmas spirit, here are some top tips for have liked, so The Martin Lewis Money Show, a While there’sora weekly joy of giving, it can be cappuccino mag. remember We're not saying do it, starters: selfish it obliges to buy something which aired on 12th November (catch it on just workif out whichsomeone use of cash givesyou you more joy. ITV player), may well be the earliest Christmas back – perhaps the real gift's to release someone It also incorporates “opportunity cost” - whether fromunnecessary the obligationChristmas of buying you a present. Read the Ban presents? special in TV history. they'd be better off spending the same cash on full theory behind this at Christmas isn't a retail festival. While presents for As we’re now the Thriftsmas spirit, here are something For a young child this is perhaps “do kids or spouses under the tree is a lovely tradition, some of my topsweeties tips... with your money every you want to buy we seem to be under constant but pressure buy for it's Don't borrow for Christmas, if youtodo, ensure week, or save up to get the toy that you want?" an0% ever widening circle of friends. This can be just Bag 5% off ALL Xmas shopping tick-box giving, tat we know really to want, Christmas borrowing's a badthey idea.don't Far better go, er, Cashback credit cards pay£17 you- each Xmas Travelodge rooms £25 time you spend. and will just become landfill fodder. cold turkey, and have a more austere time (Christmas So do normal spending and set and up acan’t directquite debitstand to Visiting relatives for Christmas is just one day, after all). Yet if you'll borrow anyway, repay IN FULL each month avoid interest the idea of spending all daytoand night there?and Budget While there’s a joy of giving, remember it can be at least do it right. The cheapest way is on a 0% you’re quids in. Some will be £100s better off by hotel chain Travelodge has launched a room sale at selfish if it obliges someone to buy you something SPENDING card. the time the cashback’s paid, usually after a year. back – perhaps the real gift's to release someone £17-£25 for December to February. Crucially, this One of the best is Amex Plat Everyday* which pays from the obligation of buying you a present. Read includes Christmas (though not New Year's Eve). They a HUGE 5% (max £100) on ALL spending in the first the The longest 18 months 0%, full theoryisbehind this at thisthen in tranches, so when the rooms are gone, 3mths up to 1.25%. So apply now and the big christmas yet even though it lasts more than a year (provided they're gone. cashback covers Xmas & New Year sale spending you make the min repayments), plan to clear it (19.9% rep APR if you fail to fully repay). before next Xmas or you'll compound yourdo, problems. Don't borrow for Christmas, but if you Don’t set up a Christmas lust list If you don't clear before the 0% ends, beware. It'll ensure it's 0% Xmas Travelodge £17 - £25 Too many people listrooms every lusted-for item – huge jump to 16.9% representative APR. Christmas borrowing's a bad idea. Far better to Visiting relativesfestivities. for Christmas and quite stand trees, massive Sadly, thiscan’t tends to lead to go, er, cold turkey, and have a more austere time the idea of spending all day and night there? Budget debt or disappointment. FREE tea/coffee every day at Waitrose (Christmas is just one day, after all). Yet if you'll borhotel chain Travelodge has launched a room sale at row at leastcard do itatright. The cheapest way is Signanyway, up for special £17-£25 for December to February. Crucially, this ontoaget 0%aSPENDING Instead, Christmas the right thing – boring, sensible, free regular card. tea or coffee every day. Simply includes (though not New Year'sbut Eve). The longest is 18 months 0%, ultimately – issotowhen do a budget to work They do thisproductive in tranches, the rooms are how walk in and show your card. You can choose from yet even though it lasts more than a year much you can afford to spend this Christmas. Then, from Americano, cappuccino, latte, tea, (provided mocha or gone, they're gone. you make the min repayments), plan to clear it bework out the best Christmas you can have on that espresso. fore next Xmas or you'll compound your problems. cash. set up a Christmas lust list Don’t If you don't clear before the 0% ends, beware. It'll Too many people list every lusted-for item – huge jump to 16.9% representative APR. Try some DemoHoHotivation trees, massive festivities. Sadly, this tends to lead to debt or disappointment. My tool shows how FREE tea/coffee every day at Waitrose Instead, the rightcan thing – boring, sensible, butmuch ulti- you small sacrifices save you large, eg, how @MoneySavingExpert Sign up for special card at mately productive – is to do a budget to work how to get a free regular tea or coffee every day. Simply much you can afford to spend this Christmas. Then, walk in and show your card. You can choose from work out the best Christmas you can have on that from Americano, cappuccino, latte, tea, mocha or cash. espresso.

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transfer. I would go so far as to say you should NEVER buy goods from a company that asks you to transfer money directly Therefore, always make sure you into their account. research the internet company you are planning to buy from. If you decide you’re going to The fact the entire world is Find out where they’re based, buy Christmas presents from an accessible in our homes is a look for a UK telephone number, online auction site like ebay, it wonderful thing, but it is worth check reviews and complaints is worth familiarising yourself noting that there are lots of about them so you know exactly with their safety advice. You internet companies out there, who you’re dealing with. Ensure generally have fewer rights when particularly those in other that their delivery timeframe will buying goods in this way, parcountries that can provide a less ensure your gifts will arrive in ticularly if they are second hand. than desirable service. So how plenty of time for Christmas. Paying by paypal and ensuring can you protect yourself against that you NEVER collect items these companies, particularly Make sure you’re paying a in person will go some way to when making purchases for sensible price. If a company is protecting yourself. Only buy Christmas? selling an item at a ridiculously from highly rated sellers, based low price compared to all other in the UK. The most important thing you companies, there’s usually a can do, is to of course avoid reason why. Often the items are It is worth remembering that buying items from dodgy interfake. Over the years I’ve dealt when you buy brand new net companies in the first place. with my fair share of customers items over the internet, you are It sounds simple, but you’d be who thought they were getting protected by the distance sellamazed how many people still a great deal with ‘Ugg boots’ or ing regulations. Because you find some weird com- ‘GHD hair straighteners’, only to haven’t had the chance to see pany online that no- find they’ve bought fakes from a the item in the flesh, you have body’s ever heard company abroad. 7 days from delivery to change of and hand your mind and send it back for a over hundreds of You should always pay for goods full refund. Unless the company pounds. They are by credit card but particularly specifies their returns postage then amazed when when buying over the internet. policy, then they are liable for It is worth noting that you are the postage too. Make sure you not protected by the consumer order things online in plenty of credit act unless you’re paying time to allow for this, after all, over £100, but you’re still more you don’t want unhappy friends likely to get your money back and relatives whose presents are using a credit card rather than NOT under the tree. debit card, cheque or bank By Jonathan Vernon-Smith


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Jupiter’s Winter Spectacular:

Christmas Comet Selection:

Outshining all of the stars in the night sky during December and January is the king of the planets - Jupiter. Look towards the east during early evenings to see its bright white light in the constellation of Gemini. You can’t miss it! Jupiter is so large that 10x50 binoculars mounted on a camera tripod is all that is needed to reveal the planet’s disc along with its four brightest moons. With a small telescope you can see dark bands in Jupiter’s atmosphere, while bigger telescopes gain you spectacular views of the 300-year old storm system affectionately known as the Great Red Spot.

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Mid to Late December sees potentially two bright comets almost side by side in the evening sky. Both Comet ISON and Comet Lovejoy should be bright enough to see with the naked eye from the darkness of the Chilterns. Binoculars or a small telescope will almost certainly bring them into view. Look to the northwestern horizon after sunset to find them. Both comets are moving through the constellation of Hercules in different directions.

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moderate pulling power, but, working your way through the five speed gearbox, it eventually spins up to a decent speed. It also provides a smooth and grippy ride.

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t’s theinto Griffin-badged if you’re two-wheeled outdoor underbody, family fun. functioning like a drawer and accommodating company’s answer to the up to three bikes at a time. or the Skoda TheNissan SUV isJuke available in front-wheel and all-wheelBrilliant, if you’re into twoYeti, and power to the small drive. The 4x4 system wasn’t fitted to my demo, but family fun. outdoor Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) is wheeled if Iprovided was in the market for a Mokka I’d definitely want by three efficient enit. gines, As you’d expect, the extra a The SUVensures is available in frontall equipped with fuel technology wheel and all-wheel-drive. saving technology. high levelStart/Stop of stability and traction, extending the The 4x4 systemIt’s wasn’t fitted Thecapabilities petrol version comprises car’s to more rugged environments. to my demo, but a 1.6-litre engine or a 1.4-litre always worth having for extra safety reasons alone. if I was in the market for a Mokka I’d Turbo and there is a 1.7-litre definitely want it. As you’d CDTI diesel. Standard features that enhanced thethedriving expect, extra technology experience for me included Electronic high level of stabilI drove the 113bhp 1.6 petrol ensures a Stability Control (ESC), Control as Hillextending the ity as andwell traction, Mokka; it hasTraction moderate pull- (TC) car’s capabilities ing power, working Start Assist but, (HAS). Otheryour progressive upmarketto more ruggedtable environments. way through the fivebrings speed to the gadgetry the Mokka includes It’s always worth having for extra safety gearbox, it eventually spins Advanced Adaptive Forward Lighting. This increases reasons alone. up to a decent speed. It also driving safety and includes High Beam Assist. The provides a smooth and grippy lights a laser - they that enStandard features ride.cut a way through the dark like really are that good. hanced the driving experience for me included Electronic Looks-wise the Mokka is Stability Control beefy and incorporates The Vauxhall Mokka rangeVauxis available priced, as my(ESC), Traction Control (TC)-as well hall’s signature ‘blade’ test model was, from a on verythereasonable £15,995 as Hill Start Assist body side, sweeping towards and it’s far more handsome than its unsightly rival, (HAS). rear. Its muscular disposi- Other progressive upmarket thethe Nissan Juke. tion is reinforced by its higher gadgetry the Mokka brings to the table includes Advanced ground clearance and 18” Adaptive Forward Lighting. alloy wheels. This increases driving safety and includes High Beam But what I really liked about Assist. The lights cut a way the Mokka is its cleverness. through dark like a laser Inside, the vehicle displays arFAST FACTS PROS ‘N’ the CONS chetypal Vauxhall values such they really are that good. speed: 114 mph Smart √  as Max versatility and user-friendly Distinct √ The Vauxhall Mokka range functionality, providing up  0-62 mph: 11.9 secs is available priced, as my to 1,372-litres of load space Smooth drive √ mpg:locations. 43.5  andCombined test model was,√ from a very 19 storage The Reasonably priced reasonable £15,995 - and Mokka also offers the latest Engine: 1598cc, 4  Slow off the mark √ it’s far more handsome than generation Flex-Fix bicycle cylinder, 16 valve, petrol carrier. The user-friendly case its unsightly rival, the Nissan Max. power (bhp):  is fully Juke. integrated in the rear 113 at 6,000 rpm 26

Max. torque (lb/ft):

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THE MOKKA mixes functionality with a comfortable elevated seating position. FAST FACTS Max speed: 114 mph 0-62 mph: 11.9 secs Combined mpg: 43.5 Engine: 1598cc, 4 cylinder 16 valve, petrol Max. power (bhp): 113 at 6000 rpm Max. torque (lb/ft): 114 at 4000 rpm CO2: 153 g/km Price: £15,995 on the road PROS & CONS Smart √ Distinct √ Smooth drive √ Reasonably priced √ Slow off the mark x


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trate ByIllus Barry Horne and Brian57Dix. s s with illustration cation of 50 A4 page olour publiHornby full-c the early history IllustratedThisby David Vanessa Hornby. interest in with an and tial reading for those gical and is essen and development



Archaeolo ined to produce a

been comb ary evidence hasof 50 the that was 57 This full-colour publication A4plann pages document ed town with early years of fascinating story of the AD. after 1100 illustrations found is essential reading for those with an intered by Henry I soon part in the st to those who took ial intere est in the early history and development be of espec under the 80s Dunstable. It will and of town in the 60s, 70s nation for expla excavations of the An . hews Archaeological and documentary has charismatic Les Mattevidence the at been of the Field direction were found on Friary h whic es cross s mysteriou rt, using his n expe a garde Dix, combined tothe produce a fascinating story of the early Brian by time is provided ns. Medieval garde knowledge of town years of the planned that was founded by Henry I the earliest evidence the site of map and documentary UsingAD. the Beecroft Estate, soon after 1100 has been identified as windmill in England Dunstable

ted to the

will be dona cationwho It will be of especial interest to publi those took part the sale of this All profits from rds Service. n Archives and Reco Bedfordshire and Luto in the excavations of the town incheq theue60s, 70s and to80s for ÂŁ13.40, payable by sending a Edlesborough, Obtain your End, Matthews. under the direction ofcopy the Beau charismatic mont, Church Les Barry Horne, to , Beds. LU6 2EP. tablethe Duns An explanation for mysterious crosses which were Horne; Barry from information er Furth found on Friary Field at the time by Brian 5 221219 0152provided Tel No is Dix, a garden expert, using his knowledge of Medieval gardens.

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In The Garden

AA Shady Shady space space Light levels during January are low and the days are short, but once the winter solstice has passed, days are slowly lengthening. There are however, areas of the garden which never receive much sunlight, and these shady spaces are often the conversation starter when I speak to gardeners.

A south facing garden is on the priority list of most house hunters. If you’re lucky enough to have a front and back garden, then you should have somewhere to grow the sun lovers, but it’s often a rear shady garden which causes most frustration. So what’s my answer? Embrace the shade! Shady spaces can be much more atmospheric than those open to full sun, they have a great earthy smell and can support a diverse range of plants and mosses. My suggestion is to layer the planting, so that it looks like the creation of shade is intentional. Your layering process begins with the boundaries. The first stage is to paint them black, and before you scream ‘BLACK?!’ out loud, hear me out. Painting the boundaries black will help them to fade into the background once plants mature. The second stage is to clothe the fences and walls with climbers. Although hated by some, Ivy is perfect for 32

this, but other things to try are shade-tolerant Honeysuckles or wall shrubs such as Hydrangea petiolaris and Garrya elliptica. For additional flower colour, why not cram in a couple of Clematis? Introduce height with a small tree such as Amelanchier ‘Robin Hill’ or the evergreen Trachycarpus fortunei. Clump forming bamboo makes a great vertical accent, as does the banana Musa basjoo. Next in our ‘shade lasagne’ are the shrubs such as the purple leaved Acers, Viburnum tinus, Box (which can be clipped into shapes to add formality) and Sarcococca. Smaller perennials such as Astilbe, Aconitum and Hellebores provide colour and finally ferns such as the evergreen Asplenium scholopendrium supply wonderful glossy ground cover. So there you have it, a shady oasis, and as with most things in life, if you fully embrace it, a north facing shady garden can be magical.

Christmas Survival Guide For Houseplants Surviving a modern day Christmas can be challenge enough for humans, but just imagine how difficult it is if you’re a plant. Houseplants hate houses! Dry central heating, low light levels and draughts are all things houseplants really don’t like, as most of these plants come from very humid, tropical parts of the world. The best way to ensure your flowers bloom for longer and your leaves don’t go brown at the tips, is to ensure the right conditions for survival.

• Avoid placing plants in a draughty location

such as windowsills, or near to a frequently opened door, (they won’t appreciate the large fluctuations in temperature)

• Avoid hotspots, such as in front of or above a radiator or fire

• Water plants by plunging them into a bowl of

tepid (not cold) water, and then allowing the water to fully drain out from the pot before returning to its location

• Azaleas like humid conditions, so stand these on a tray of gravel filled with water, (but ensure plants are not sat in water)

• Create a ‘plant area’ where groups of plants can be stood together, this will create more humidity

• Avoid direct sunshine • Ensure the compost never dries out or is too saturated, water little and often

• Remove faded flowers to prevent disease and to promote flowering

House plants give such a wonderful display, and are sure to last longer than a bunch of flowers. Choose from large flowering Cyclamen, brightly coloured Azaleas, sweetly scented Jasmine and of course the traditional Poinsettia. Oh, and don’t forget about bulbs, ‘Paperwhite’ Narcissus are synonymous with Christmas, and forced Hyacinths too, but I can appreciate that their strong scent is best savoured in spring. And finally, don’t get emotionally attached, think of flowering houseplants as a medium term bunch of flowers or a Christmas decoration, and after flowering if they look a little jaded, return them to the compost heap in the sky - I don’t think there’s any worse house plant tragedy than a straggly Poinsettia in July with three stunted yellow leaves. (Poinsettias are popular but be careful not to get the sap on your skin as they can cause irritation, and always keep them out of reach of pets and children.)


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Actually, no21 as million that isn’t possible! coldsuffer is an estimated adults in theAUK infection which your immune system will deal with in at leastshort one allergy andhay an fever, estimated 10 a from a relatively time and or ‘seasonal millionto suffer more than triggered by rhinitis’, give from it its proper name, pollens, flowers and grasses, during the growing These are the latest startling figures givenfrom by ‘allergic season. However, you may be suffering Allergy which UK, but you those may be surprised tosymptoms learn rhinitis’, gives debilitating the eyes, figuresneezing, of people runny affected adversely by ofthat runny nose, headache food, chemicals and airborne mayfor be and much more. There can besubstances many causes much higher, as thesemakes figureslife only cover those this condition, which a misery for many suffering from a true when many aremake you people, but there areallergy, things you can do to actually suffering from a different type of allergic feel a lot more comfortable. known asare ‘intolerance ‘or ‘sensitivity’. Ifreaction your symptoms at their worst in the morning This can wideit variety of dust symptoms, when you give wakea up, could be or dustin-mite cluding fatigue, joint pain, dark circles under the which is the problem. Hoover the bed/mattress/ eyes, night sweats, migraine, digestive symptoms pillows, surrounding areas and headboard (if such asregularly bloating or diarrhoea, skintime problems fabric!) – at least every you change such as eczema and many more. the bedding. Remember that the carpet near to the bed and any soft furnishings/curtains are also great As these symptoms can take in! up to 72 hours to areas for the mites to thrive showbedding themselves, can sometimes Wash at aittemperature of be 60difficult at least and to work out of what causing your low or rinse, add 6 drops TeaisTree essential oil tomood the final fuzzy butkill you could try Wash keeping food and this willbrain, help to the mites. thea covers diary. Ifas you findas a food you suspect, try leaving valance often possible, too. it (and everything containing it) out of your diet cloth Dust surfaces – daily, if possible, using a damp at least 2 Ifattract you feel orfor duster designed thebetter, dust.then This will help avoid it for atfrom leastgetting anotherinto 10 weeks tocontinue preventto the allergens the air. to give body time to forget the the reaction it Open theyour windows regularly to get air circulating had previously, before reintroducing it slowly. Don’t have the bedroom too hot– mites love warm, You may find that several foods seem to be a damp atmospheres. problem vinyl and the quantity you eat may alsohospitable be Wooden, or laminate flooring is less so you to are be quite vigilant with torelevant, the mites. Alsohave blinds better than curtains, so this.this in mind if you are redecorating. bear The rest of the carpets and soft furnishings in the Supplements asplaces Vitamin Quercetin andmites” house are alsosuch great forC,the “dear little act the as aabove very effective natural antiother toBromelain thrive, socan adapt guidelines for the histamine for house some people rooms in your too!! who suffer with this type of reaction very helpful, as can takAirborne moulds and andbe chemical air fresheners are ing known a good to digestive enzymefor product yourso also be a problem manyfrom people, localthe health shop, low natural these keep house wellasaired, unpluglevels thoseofnasty chemicals can you be amay factor in your digestive issues. ‘smellies ‘, and find runny nose is a Jacquey O’Brien thing of the past!! Libra Health Jacquey O’Brien, Libra Health 01525 378894 378894/07990 976207 01525 / 07990 976207




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Food Processors

OK, so not very hi-tech, but having recently started using one I don’t know how I managed without it. Christmas is typically a time of year when we have family and friends around which means, for some, lots of time spent preparing and cooking food. If you can think of better ways to spend Christmas morning than chopping veg why not let a food processor do the hard work in your kitchen - so you can enjoy the festivities.


here’s no doubt that a food processor can be a valuable addition to any kitchen. Modern models can perform a whole host of different tasks to make your culinary life easier. But with such a wide range on offer, at prices from about £30 to £350 and above, how do you choose the right one for you? The first question to answer is whether or not a food processor is the product you need. They are best for people who do a lot of savoury cooking and need to chop, blend and grate food. If you’re more of a baker and want to whip cream, whisk eggs or knead dough, then a stand mixer (with an open bowl and overhanging ‘arm’) may be more suitable. For chopping nuts, breadcrumbs or onion, or for puréeing small quantities of baby food, a less powerful – and less expensive – mini chopper may be sufficient. When you are happy that a food processor is the tool for you, it’s time to look at the attachments that come with different models and decide which you need: To help you make your final choice, take a good look online at product reviews. This is the best way to assess what the product descriptions don’t tell you – such as how noisy the processor is, how difficult it is to assemble and clean, and how efficiently and evenly it cuts food. And then you’re all set – ready to make super soups, crunchy salads and tasty dishes galore!


• All processors will have a knife blade that can be used for mixing, puréeing, mincing and mashing. • Most will also come with a dough blade for kneading bread dough. • There will then be a selection of circular metal discs that cut, slice and grate. Look at the size of the blades to check you are happy with the different thicknesses they produce. Some models also include a special blade for cutting chips. • A jug blender attachment is really useful if you like to make soups, smoothies and mayonnaise. Some can even crush ice. • A citrus press makes it easy to extract the maximum possible juice from oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruit. You can also get a centrifugal juicer attachment for juicing hard fruits and vegetables. • Look for a mill attachment if you like grinding your own coffee beans and spices, or chopping small quantities of nuts. • There are several different types of whisk attachments, but metal twin beaters give the best results. • A mini bowl with its own blade that fits inside the main one can be more effective for chopping small quantities. By Alex Albrighton

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Puzzles Puzzles Puzzles Puzzles Puzzles Puzzles Puzzles Puzzles Puzzles Puzzles Puzzles Puzzles

    

                                  3   2    4 3 

              Answers on   page 46             2        9 7 6    8    2 9   3

Sudoku 数独 1 6


9 2 6

8 4 3

                   BIKES   

5 6 7

Each row, column and 3x3 box must contain the numbers 1 to 9 just once. This can be done by applying logic -you don’t have to guess!



                                           


SPOT THE ADVERT What advert Is This? >>>> Across


1. Fragrant flower or girl’s name (7) 5. Sound reflection (4) 8. Structure (5) 9. Yanking (7) 11. Large book (4) 12. Two-yearly (8) 15. Political organisation (5) 16. Tiny biting insect (5) 19. Unit of computer memory (8) 21. Covetousness (4) 23. Once daily (7) 25. String of closely spaced islands (5) 26. Exude (4) 27. Whereabouts (7)

2. Relating to the stomach, intestines etc. (9) 3. Female horse (4) 4. Serviette (6) 5. Snake-like fish (3) 6. Reddish Indian dye (5) 7. Main artery (5) 10. Nutritious edible pulse (6) 13. Clever and original. (9) 14. Spindle (6) 17. Calm, dependable (6) 18. Circular series of events (5) 20. Phrase or saying (5) 22. Couple (4) 24. Furrow (3)


second pair... DUNSTABLE EYE CENTRE 5 Ashton Square, Dunstable LU6 3SN

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The Kodak trademark and trade dress are used under license from Kodak.

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We see patients with: Back and neck pain Sporting injuries Arm and leg complaints Stress and Tension Arthritis And much more…. 28A High Street, LEIGHTON BUZZARD Tel: 01525 372447

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HARLINGTON PERFORMS Presents The Panto Of Puss In Boots Friday Dec 6th at 7.30p.m. Saturday Dec 7th at 2p.m. and 7.30p.m Harlington Village Hall. Tickets £7 adults, £6 children and senior citizens Tickets on sale from November from 01525 758874

HOMESTART Have you got just 2 to 3 hours to spare each week to support a local young family who are struggling to cope? The charity Home-Start is looking for caring parents and grandparents. All training and support is given and expenses paid. It’s a great way to gain new skills, make friends and really make a difference to your community. HOUGHTON REGIS BOWLS CLUB Houghton Regis Bowls Club are holding an OPEN DAY on Sunday 5th May at our green from 11am till around 4pm the only criteria we need is for people to wear flat-soled shoes, all equipment and refreshments will be provided for our guest that want “to have a go”. There will be experienced bowlers there to help where necessary. All ages from 12 and abilities catered for at our pavilion which was completed for the 2009 season. Interested please ring me Mary Comb 01582-518645 BREAKOUT SOCIAL CLUB We are a club for the over forty fives, not a singles club but a social club for people who enjoy going out but are on their own, where they can meet like-minded people, with a varied monthly programme covering Disco’s, Pub lunch’s, walks, parties and much, much more, we meet once a week in the front bar at the Conservative Club, High street North Dunstable For more information please contact Sandy on 07813 262556 DUNSTABLE SENIOR CITIZENS What age would you like to live to? Would you like to live it with Dignity, Financial peace of mind, With a voice We are a local group fighting the fight for the over 50’s 44

• Clubs • Groups • CLUB Events THE DUNSTABLE ORBIT • Community

Interested in finding out more? Come to a meeting We meet the last Thursday of each month at 2pm In the Social club of The Catholic Church in West Street Dunstable Or call for more information on 01582 534357 WATLING STREET CLUB We are an independent social club for ex-Rotarians and similarly minded people and have been in existence for nearly 3 years. We are named ‘The Watling Street Club’ as our members form a link along the Watling Street. We meet every Thursday evening at the ‘Old Hunter’s Lodge’ Whipsnade for a meal and speaker. New members are welcome. For more information contact John Stevens 01582 668033 DUNSTABLE BRIDGE CLUB We meet every Monday (except bank holidays) in Chews House in High Street South, Dunstable, from 1pm to 5pm. We would welcome new members of all standards and you do not need a partner. If anyone is interested please call: 01582 664485 THE BOGTROTTERS The Bogtrotters (Dunstable and District Walking and Hostelling Group) are a group of about 90 walkers, hikers and hostellers. We run a surprisingly diverse range of activities, including half and full day walks, hostelling trips, meals and evening activities. New members are always welcome. Prospective members are invited to get in touch via the website, give us a ring or just turn up to an event or walk. 01582 865966 Sue or Julian DUNSTABLE WI Dunstable WI meet two evenings a month on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays at Watling Lower School Bullpond Lane at 7.0pm. We are friendly group and like to enjoy ourselves. We have a wide range of speakers with different talents and crafts, and also Quiz nights to test our brains. We welcome new members so join us and make new friends.

For more info tel; Chris Brewin 01582 520361 Chairperson


Sunday 8th & 15th December 2013 11am - 4pm Christmas is coming! Get in the christmas mood, bring the children to our Bazaar with bags of festive happenings, free seasonal tasting, together with mince pies and mulled wine on offer and many seasonal craft and local produce stalls. There will be carol singers, live music and don’t miss a visit to Santa’s magical grotto.

Walk Off Christmas

Thursday 26 December 11am - 1pm, £2 Over indulged this Christmas? Walk off all those extra calories over Christmas, with our countryside team over Dunstable Downs. Enjoy the spectacular views and fresh air as you enjoy a healthy walk.

New Year’s Resolution Walk

Wednesday1st January 11am - 12:30 pm, £2 Start the New Year with your best foot forwards Was your New Year’s resolution to get outdoors more? Exercise more? Get fitter? Take the time to enjoy nature? Then join us for a breath of fresh air on this one and a half hour walk lead by one of our rangers.

For Information: Chilterns Gateway Centre Shop, 01582 500925, TEA TIME TALES Priory House Heritage Centre Tel: 01582 890270 Talks of local and national interest with tea or coffee and a pastry. Alternate Thursday afternoons 2.30 - 4.00pm £4.75 per person December 5th Glenn Miller - the Bedford connection and that fateful flight across the channel December 19th ‘I remember Christmas...’

BREATHEASY Do you suffer from a lung condition? Then why not come and join our local Support group - breatheasy Part of the British lung foundation. We meet on the 2nd Thursday of the month at peter newton pavilion (Behind tesco) 2 - 4pm carers also welcome As well as supporting each other we have a variety of speakers and also arrange day trips out. New members most welcome More info phone michael on 01582 602348 FRIENDS OF STUDHAM COMMON We are a friendly,voluntary group whose aim is to conserve,maintain and promote Studham Common as a haven for wildlife and a place for everyone to enjoy.For this purpose we meet as a work party on the third Saturday of each month (except Dec.) The work is not onerous and we enjoy the exercise and the good company –and a picnic lunch is provided! Details from Pam on 01582 872608 DUNSTABLE PROBUS CLUB Dunstable PROBUS Club meets on the second Monday of the month and membership is open to retired

 or semi-retired professional and Club’s  main                business men. The   object is the promotion of good fellowship. Members enjoy a variety of social activities and organized visits  throughout the year and at their  regular monthly meetings they are  entertained by after-lunch speakers.  If you are interested in joining the                 Club, please contact the Secretary   on 01582 653732

 

 THE HEALING TRUST    Ardley Hill School, Lowther Rd,   Each Thursday evening 7.30 - 9pm.    No charge, donations accepted.    NFSH contact Pam Hill on    01582 606182 Vienna comes to Eaton Bray!    Come for interest or healing.  

 

 LANGDALE  CHURCH One of the country’s top bands –  ‘HATTERS TEA’- informal neigh2013 National Silver Award   bourhood group  meets monthly on winners  - Aylesbury Concert a Wednesday pm. Free tea/coffee &  Band  perform waltzes, polkas,  home-made cakes, quiz and raffle.  mazurkas, and marches includ Friends and Neighboursmonthly on ing New Year favourites: Trish  a Thursday pm. Speakers and free  Trash Polka, The Blue Danube tea/coffee. At Langdale Church. and the Radetzky March. Other groups- table tennis, walking Expect this to be a sell-out event. group and drawing for beginners Tickets priced £7.50 (children Make the most of our community activities and meet new people in free) from the Box Office on our community. 01525 222283. Tel Colin, Community Worker 01582602980



oca Driving Instructor Fully Qualified with 18 years experience

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Walks & Talks

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Block Paving, Patios, Re-pointing Fencing, Decking & General Repairs 46


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The Vine, Dunstable - December 2013 / January 2014 - Issue 56  
The Vine, Dunstable - December 2013 / January 2014 - Issue 56  

A free community magazine local to the Dunstable area of Bedfordshire. Packed with an engaging variety of articles, news, puzzles, and local...