Connecting local people to local businesses
April/May 2013 Issue 52
Delivered FREE To 12,000 Homes In Dunstable, Whipsnade, Studham, Kensworth & Houghton Regis
Welcome to Waterford Kitchens
We have designs to suit every budget and direct from the manufacturer prices. As a family business our team of loyal and dedicated carpenters, designers, retailers and staff are our greatest asset. They take great pride in their standards of work and pay particular attention to detail with a friendly and genuinely helpful service.
Waterford takes care of all the practicalities, arrangements and aesthetics required to create the perfect balance between a beautifully designed and functional kitchen Please feel free to call into our showroom where we can help and advise you on planning your kitchen totally without obligation.
We look forward to meeting you Each design is made with great care and attention by our experienced staff, exclusively for you to compliment your own style. Our traditional manufacturing methods bring out the best in the fine materials we use to create a finish you’ll want to show everyone who visits your home.
SHOWROOM OPENING HOURS Monday – Thursday: 9am – 5pm Friday : 9am - 2pm Saturday: By Appointment Only
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St George’s Day
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A Travellers Tale
What’s Best For You: Savings
Auto-biographies 26 In The Garden
Nutrition Coach 32 Successful Studying
Jog On 36 Puzzles 42 Out & About
Copy deadline for our next issue - 15th May 2013
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May Day is celebrated on the first Monday of May. This year it falls on the 6th. To most people it is simply a good excuse for a day off work but it is actually a day steeped in tradition. May Day originates from village celebrations marking the coming of summer (fingers crossed) and these are some of the traditions that often take place amongst a day of festivities. Maypoles are hung with greenery and ribbons and painted brightly. Local children dress in their finest clothes, with bells and flower garlands, and perform traditional ribbon dances such as Gypsy Tent and The Spiders Web. Originally maypoles were made by villagers using a young tall tree. They stripped off the lower branches, but left leaves at the top to symbolise new life, and then decorated it with flowers and ribbons. The Crowning of the May Queen is linked to the honouring of Flora the Roman goddess of fruit and flowers. Traditionally she took no part in games or dancing, but sat like a queen in a flower-decked chair to watch her 'subjects.' Morris dancing is a traditional form of English folk dancing carried out by groups known as sides. Dances are passed down through generations, and involve movements to accentuate the tinkling of bells attached to costumes and coming together to strike wooden sticks. Loud accordion music accompanies the dancing. Sometimes dancers paint their faces black, and this association with the North African Moors may explain the origins of the name ‘Morris’ dancing. 6
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A Travellers Tale By Paul Heley
Over The Top And Round The Corner (Part II)
fter North Cape, we moved into Murmansk around breakfast time. There then followed four hours of thumb twiddling whilst Russian Immigration and Customs officials checked everything in sight and went through every piece of paper. All done without smiling Russian paranoia and the bureaucratic mind is something known only to psychologists. Eventually we were allowed to go ashore but only if we carried our passport at all times and were in possession of special pieces of paper which had to be surrendered when required. I got the impression that if we made a mistake, we would be clapped in irons and thrown in a dungeon. The incredible irony is that Russia is supposedly encouraging tourists to visit their country!! We were eventually taken on a tour around the city and it was then that the previous lecture really hit home. Murmansk had been described as being a Soviet city since it wasn't built until after the end of WW1 and the Russian revolution. Consequently, the housing was built on a Soviet design :- unbelievably tiny, mind numbingly identical, tatty apartments. The architecture is unchangingly boring and, basically, horrible, awful. As an antidote, we were taken to a maritime museum where some wonderful models of different nuclear powered ships - especially ice breakers - were displayed. Murmansk is the centre of the Russian ice breaker fleet and is also an important naval base - so perhaps there was a reason for the paranoia
after all. Another museum showed the local geology (wonderful mineral specimens) and the history and life style of the indigenous Sami people of Lapland and the Kola peninsula. I must confess that our guide was extremely good, spoke excellent English and, unlike the officials in the morning, had a sense of humour. My impression of Murmansk improved greatly during the afternoon! To end our trip ashore, we were taken to a massive, 35.5 metre (110 ft) tall statue depicting a Russian WW2 soldier; then to the cemetery where so many sailors who perished on the terrible "Russian convoys" are buried. Our guide insisted that the Russian people are eternally grateful for the ultimate sacrifice made by so many (mainly) British merchant sailors who perished in these freezing northern waters. Next day at sea was rather chilly but sightings of porpoises, minke and beluga whales caused great excitement. But the highlight of the morning for me was a lecture on the "Kursk" submarine disaster in 2000. The abiding horror is that this total loss of life could have been avoided had the Russians accepted British and American help sooner. That they didn't is down to Russian paranoia - again - and the disgraceful and callous behaviour on the part of President Putin whose comment afterwards was simply that "It sank". Later in the day there was a lecture attempting to explain Russian paranoia and why they fear outsiders. This was helpful and informative
and went a long way towards explaining the noticeable gulf between ordinary Russian people and their governmental officials whose motto is "Paranoia rules OK". I was interested to learn of the extensive gas and oil fields discovered in the Barents Sea and of the scrambling between various nations eager to get their snouts in the trough. Also of the fears of naturalists and ecologists regarding the unthinkable consequences in this fragile area when a blow out, or an oil spill, or --??-- happens; as it most certainly will despite protestations to the contrary from vested interests. The next point on our itinerary was, to many of the passengers, what the cruise was all about: namely the Solovetsky Islands - an archipelago of history, mysticism, religion, pilgrimage, cruelty and contradiction; and in the morning, the onion shaped domes of the monastery greeted us as our zodiac powered its way across a glass like sea. The scene was ethereal, unfamiliar, unreal, "other worldly". During Soviet times the monastery was chosen as a gulag for political prisoners - the Soviet equivalent of Alcatraz! There is scaffolding supporting crumbling towers and signs of restoration everywhere; and it was suggested that if we were to return in twenty years time, it would be absolutely magnificent and back to its former glory. They are trying very hard - with limited resources and, if our guide was anything to go by, they are obsessed in their efforts and in their dedication to what they see as a very noble cause.
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Although there is evidence of habitation as early as the Bronze Age, the religious history of the main island starts in the early 15th century when an original hermitage gradually evolved into a monastery with a number of separate churches within its overall complex. But there has always been a grimmer side and, following rebellion by the monks against the "established" church in the mid 16th century, there followed centuries when it was also used as some form of prison for those convicted of "Crimes against Faith and State". I find it difficult to accept the concept of a prison and a monastery operating simultaneously! However, its worst episode as a prison is undoubtedly the Soviet gulag when the monastery, as such, ceased to exist and many of its priceless treasures were either deliberately destroyed or melted down. Over our two day stay at Solovki, we we shown round different churches with their visually explosive gilded artefacts, paintings, and icons by the hundred; together with other buildings some of which had been for the gulag prisoners (100,000 prisoners and 40,000 deaths). A terrible contradiction 'twixt God and Stalin. The morning we left, the monks conducted their weekly (weather permitting!) parade round the monastery walls chanting and carrying icons. They were followed by scores of pilgrims hoping to be blessed and to receive a scattering of holy water. It was an enjoyable and colourful spectacle but quickly over because the Patriarch at the front set a cracking pace. He clearly wanted to get home to watch the football on TV! Sailing overnight for Arkhangelsk (Archangel) and arriving there around breakfast time, we were taken on yet another coach tour. On an earlier lecture, we had been told that whereas Murmansk was a "Soviet" city, Arkhangelsk was "Russian" and, I must confess, the contrast between the two is considerable. In the morning we were shown an area of town where some interesting, old wooden buildings have been preserved. Then the obligatory church was followed by another obligatory museum where the super enthusiastic curator showed us many "rescued" icons and religious artefacts (NB "rescued" means "hidden from the Soviets"!). Speaking personally, I was very impressed with some exquisite carvings in walrus, narwhal (and even mammoth) ivory. The intricate filigree detail and sheer workmanship was incredible. In the afternoon, it was off to the open air museum of Malye Korely where original wooden buildings representing the different architecture of surrounding regions
have been carefully transported and reconstructed. Greeted first by an amazingly tuneful and complicated virtuoso performance by a solitary chap in his bell tower, we were then greeted in the traditional Russian way by being given bread and salt. I'm afraid my bread was rather stale - must have been yesterday's! After that we were escorted by ladies in the traditional, and very colourful costumes of their particular areas, shown around some of the buildings and told stories of Russian peasant family life in earlier times. That evening panic stations: because very early next morning we had to leave to catch the 'plane to Moscow. We left Archangel in pouring rain but fortunately Moscow was fine and sunny so we could experience the delights of grid locked Moscow traffic during the 56Km journey into the city. It was also interesting to witness the many examples of suicidal driving. Dunstable crossroads - all is forgiven! Stopping at the vast expanse of Red Square, we gawped at the iconic buildings seen so often on TV and in photographs. Then a "typical" Russian lunch (beetroot soup, beef stroganoff and a "mystery" dessert) before another 50+ Km journey to the other airport followed by tedious, endless (and still unsmiling) security checks prior to our 4 hour flight back to Heathrow and home. It had been a very different sort of holiday and many unusual memories remain. In particular, it was interesting to try and get some reaction from our various Russian guides as to how they viewed the transition from Soviet communism to today's capitalism. Although there was a reluctance to get too "political", I felt that, in the main, they preferred the present system on balance. But it is clear that not everyone agrees: some older people definitely prefer the communist system where everyone knew where they stood; everything was ordered; everyone had a job (however futile); and providing you kept your nose clean, you were left alone. And I detected an unstated complaint against the present system whereby, although society is much more free now and people can speak their mind (within reason), the great problem of life today is the endemic corruption where the former communist bureaucracy and its stultifying numbness has been swapped for a gung-ho, Mafia style "Wild West" system. In comparison with Norway - which must be the most civilised country in the world - Russia comes a poor second. However, they could help themselves tremendously if only their officials could learn to relax a bit and realise what a difference a friendly smile can make
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Bizarrely, for the best easy access savings, grab a Santander 123 (www.santander.co.uk/123) bank account. New and existing customers with £3,000£20,000 get 3% on the whole amount. There is a fee of £2 a month, though as it also pays a nice 1%-3% cashback on bills such as council tax, phones and energy, that should easily cover it. This leaves many making £10 a month or more on top.
Get 4% AER if you can put money away each month
Regular savings accounts offer hot rates, but only let you save a limited amount each month. To save a lump sum, drip-feed it from a top easy access account. The top rates are often linked to bank accounts, so check yours. If not, the top deal open to all is Norwich & Peterborough’s 4% AER fixed for 12 months (with a maximum deposit of £250 month). You must pay in every month, and not make more than one withdrawal in the year. 18
Earn 8% interest lending money to others
This can work extremely well, earning some up to 15%. Your money’s lent via special sites uk.zopa. com, fundingcircle.com (which lends to businesses) and ratesetter.com. They credit-check borrowers can afford to repay, and chase repayments if they fall behind. Many have earned decent returns, but unlike savings, they’ve got no Government protection. This can be extremely lucrative. But it isn’t without risks, which you must understand before embarking on it. So please read my full peer-to-peer lending guide at www.moneysavingexpert.com/peer2peer to see if it’s right for you.
Make the most of your tax-free cash ISA savings (get 2.5% AER)
A cash ISA is just a savings account you can put £5,640 a year in, where the interest’s tax-free. The top easy-access deal is Cheshire BS’s 2.5%. It also allows you to transfer in past years’ cash ISAs – so you can boost them too. Check yours now, and transfer across if needed. This rate includes a 2% bonus for 18 months, effectively acting as a rate promise for that time, but you’ll want to transfer out afterwards. If you can wait to access your cash, Coventry Building Society’s 60-Day Notice ISA pays 2.8% on balances from £1, guaranteed until December 2013, but it doesn’t allow transfers.
Your kids can earn 6%
The branch-based Halifax Kids’ Regular Saver pays a huge 6% AER fixed for a year (max £100/month) if you are prepared to lock cash away. It’s head and shoulders above all others for rate. Annoyingly, those in Scotland need to go to a Halifax branch to open it (though not after that) and there aren’t any north of the border. But if you’re tripping south, it’s a not bad stop-off on the way.
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Repaying debts & mortgages
Think about it. £1,000 credit card debt at 18% costs £180 a year, but the same in savings, after tax, earns £15 at best. So pay off the debt with the savings and you’re £165 up. Pay off credit cards even if you haven’t got an emergency fund, as if a real emergency (the roof caving in, not needing this season’s shoes) came, you could simply borrow back on the card and be no worse off than when you started. With mortgages, if their interest rate (eg, 5%) is higher than the after-tax rate on savings (eg, 1.5%), it makes sense to use the savings to overpay them. With rates so low, many are now in this category. Yet... a) Check there are no penalties for overpaying. If there are, it’s very likely not to be worth it. b) Keep enough cash to keep you afloat for three to six months, as unless you’ve an offset mortgage, you can’t borrow back on it once you’ve repaid it. The benefit of this can be huge: overpaying £100 a month on a £100,000 mortgage at 4.5% saves £18,000 interest over a 25-year term. Work out your own scenario at www.moneysavingexpert.com/overpaycalc
Is it worth locking cash away to get 2.25%?
Normally, locking cash away without access gives a high fixed rate. Right now, the rates are horrid – though, of course, rates could keep plummeting – making these look good with hindsight. Even so with rates this low, it’s questionable whether fixes, especially longer ones, are worth it. Top payer over one year is currently Virgin Money with 2.25% AER.
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I can’t believe I’m saying this, but if you’re a high-rate taxpayer, think Premium Bonds. I’ve never been a fan, and the current prize rate’s just 1.5%. But, as it’s taxfree, that’s equivalent to 2.5% AER for higher-rate 40% taxpayers. You’d still need luck to get it, but for high-rate taxpayers who’ve filled their ISA up, the chance of beating top savings isn’t bad. To see your chances of winning, try www.moneysavingexpert.com/premiumbondcalculator
A few final important savings quickies
a) Unless I’ve noted it, all the accounts I’ve listed here have full £85,000 UK savings safety protection. If you’ve more, consider spreading across multiple accounts. b) To cut tax, if you’re a couple, put savings in the lower taxpayer’s name. c) If you’ve kids, as some of their accounts pay higher rates, saving in their name pays. But if they earn more than £100 a year interest from it, it’s taxed at your rate. Join the Cheap Energy Club - My new Cheap Energy Club checks if you’re on the cheapest now and switches you if not. Then it monitors to ensure you’re PERMANENTLY on the cheapest. Join for free at moneysavingexpert.com/cheapenergyclub Web exclusive: 20p Kindle e-books - Amazon is selling a host of Kindle books at 20p each, including Yann Martel’s Life of Pi. Amazon doesn’t list all 20p titles on one page, so check the bestseller list and scan for bargains. 20
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BIOGRAPHIE KIA Rio
1.4 D Eco Dynamics 2
Kia economical, Rio 1.4D and EcoDynamics Sleek, loaded up with equipment found in cars a class By Tim Barnes-Clay, Motoring W or two above, the Rio is a revolution www.carwriteups.co.uk @carwriteu
awful lot for your money and AY BACK in 1992 I had body lean wasn’t overly pronounced wearing and the seats were c WAY BACK in 1992 I had get a anfriend who took people are more likely to comment a friend who took driving and room behind the wheel and in hard plastic driving lessons lessons later than thea nice rest on what motorof you our have ratherfew later than the rest of the passenger footwell areas was good.around than sniggering aboutat milkthe floats. our social circle. How we laughed. Rear legroom switches let wasn’t the astounding, interior down. social circle. How we laughed. Not Take the latestat incarnation Not at the fact he waslearning learning but certainly adequate enough for a Kia Rio 1.4Dto EcoDynamics 2of the Rio. surprisingly spacious – certainly fact that hethatwas drive 21 (most I was lucky enough to Writer be one of a to drive at 21 (mostBy of us had Barnes-Clay, passed car of this size. The cabin materials Tim Motoring pushchairand and some shopp ofourustesthad passed atEuropean 17), journalists but at tothe test drive small at 17), but at the car our his testfew felt hard-wearing the seats were www.carwriteups.co.uk @carwriteups car his turned instructor turned up in: offering a Kia the latest fromPride. Kia in Portugal comfortable. Only a few hard plastic instructor up in: a Kia Pride.
It was the first time any of us had
areas around the electric window
resembled a milk float and I seem to
will want to buy for its looks, as well
The new Rio’s built in sat-nav is
The a newlet Rio’s built in sat-nav wearing Sleek, and the seats were 92 I had economical, andcomfortable. loaded up Onlyswitches heardaoffriend Kia andwho to be took honest the the interior down. The few hard plastic areas around the electric window later than the rest of our into the centre of the car’s das It way was the first time any of us had heard of Kia and with equipment found in cars a class the South Korean car company boot was also surprisingly spacious switches or lettwo theabove, interiorthedown. boot was also w wehad laughed. Not at the help. Rio is aThe revolution, described their car didn’t – certainly big honest, enough to fitits a small use. To be direction to be honest the way the South Korean car company surprisingly spacious – certainly big enough to fit a learning to drive at 21 (most not an evolution from its predecessor than It certainly wasn’t anything to be pushchair and somebut shopping bags anything, that could had described their car didn’t help. It certainly wasn’t small pushchair and some shopping bags in with ease. d our test at 17), but at the proud of. For a start, we all thought it and I reckon it’ll be a car that people in with ease. turned up in:toa be Kia proud Pride. of. For a start, we all thought road layouts around Lisbon. Oth anything
The new Rio’s built in sat-nav is seamlessly fitted it seamlessly difficult fitted to find much wrong it recall resembled milk float to recallcredentials. it also it also hadawhite-wall tyres and – a Iasseem its environmental into the centre of the into the centre of the car’s dashboard and easy to any of us had heard of Kia and The Kia Rio’s CO2 emissions start at definite fashion faux pas. car’s dashboard and easy to use. To had white-wall tyres – ause.definite fashion faux pas. To be honest, its directions got me more lost ay the South Korean car company
just 85 g/km; thatcould puts itbe ahead But fast-forward nearly 20 yearsthan and anything, but that dueoftoallthe be newhonest, its directions got me more car didn’t help. It certainly wasn’t is the otheraround B-segment vehicles turned around. road layouts lost five-door than anything,Rio but that couldfirst be var Lisbon. Othercurrently than that IThe found ud of. Kia For has a start, weitself all thought It isfast-forward no longer uglynearly ontosale Europe. The turned new is Europe due new road aroundthreeit difficult findinmuch with model the Korean car. to thewith float and I seem to an recall itbudget also car thelayouts all-new But 20 years and Kia wrong has longer, wider and lower, and features Lisbon. Other than that I found it far from that.pas. You now s – a brand. definiteIt is fashion faux
line-up during 2012. T itself around. It is no longer an ugly budgetextended car brand. It – Kia’s a wheelbase by 70tomm difficult to find much wrong with the The five-door Rio is the first variant go on sale in manufacturer’s market research is far from that. You now get an awful lot for your money greatly enhancing passenger space Korean car. Europe with the all-new three-door model joining arly 20 years and Kia FACTS has turned FAST and cargo capacity. With anEast overall The is the first variant Kia’s during The Asian car five-door demand forRio B-segment cars like longer an people ugly budget car brand. and are moreItlikely to line-up comment on2012. what a nice speed: 107 mph manufacturer’s market global now getMax an awful lot for your money height of 1,455research mm, the predicts new Rio that has grow to gosignificantly on sale in Europeover with the the allnext tw motor you have rather than sniggering about milk for B-segment cars like thein Rio to three-door model joining Kia’s mph:on what 14.2 e likely 0-62 to comment a nicesecs demand one of the lowest rooflines Kia’sis goingnew increasingly shift to economical, m Take the latest incarnation of the Rio. I was lucky grow significantly over the next two years as consumers therfloats. than sniggering about milk European product range, emphasisline-up during 2012. The East Asian Combined mpg: 68.9 increasingly shift tojournalists economical, more fuel-efficient cars t incarnation of to the be Rio. one I was lucky – downsizing to offset the continu enough of a few European to test ing its purposeful stance. car manufacturer’s market research Engine: 1396 cc 4 cylinder, – downsizing to offset the continuous rise in fuel prices. a few European journalists to test The 1.4 diesel Rio I test drove predicts that global demand for Bdrive latest offering in line diesel ng from Kia the in Portugal last summer. from Kia in Portugal last summer.
performed well. It was hushed for segment cars like the Rio is going to Max. power (bhp): With Kia an upping its game to produce With upping oil-burner and, although far good from looking growKia significantly overits the game next two to pr at 4000 rpm cars like the latest Rio, I can see every reason why and loaded up89with equipment quick off the mark, it had enough pullcars yearslike as consumers increasingly the latest Rio, Ishift can se Sleek, economical, and loaded up with equipment the motor company is confident that it’s going to ass or Max. two above, Rio is a torquethe (lb/ft): up and down and around the bends the to economical, more fuel-efficient motor company is confiden go from strength to strength. I certainly won’t be found in cars a class or two above, the Rio is a volution from its predecessor and 162 at 1750 - 2750 rpm Lisbon’s roads getting to satisfy.into a Kia again. cars – downsizing to offset the conlaughing ofabout anyone ar that people will want toan buyevolution for gotinuous fromrisestrength revolution, from predecessor CO2: 109not g/km The its six-speed gearbox wasand slick, in fuel prices.to strength. And there’ll be no more mention of milk floats. as its environmental credentials. laughing about anyone getting With Kia upping its game to produce I reckon be a car that people will want to buy for Price: it’ll £14,195 (approx)
its looks, well that as its environmental credentials. missions start at justas 85 g/km; PROS & CONS other B-segment vehicles currently Looks √ is longer, wider The new model uresThe a wheelbase 70 Comfort √extended Kia Rio’s CO2byemissions start at just 85 g/km; that ncing passenger space and cargo Economical √ puts it ahead of all other B-segment vehicles currently erall height of 1,455 mm, the new Slow theKia’s markEuropean X onrooflines saleoff in Europe. The new model is longer, wider owest in phasising its purposeful stance. and lower, and features a wheelbase extended by 70 mm – greatly enhancing passenger space and cargo
test drove performed well. It was
goodthere’ll looking carsbe like no the latest And more men Rio, I can see every reason why the motor company is confident that it’s going to go from strength to strength. I certainly won’t be laughing about anyone getting into a Kia again. And there’ll be no more mention of milk floats
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It’s never too early to get children interested in gardening and where their food comes from. I’m sure, even the fussiest child whould be prepared to try a warm, sweet strawberry or raspberry straight from the plant or a handful of peas out of the pod. While we’d all love a string of willing, young, helpers on the veg plot you do have to be realistic. Children can have short attention spans, will only want to do jobs that appeal to them, and usually expect quick results. So how can you encourage your little ones, without boring them out of the garden, or having them dig up your row of prize leeks? If it is at all possible give children a space that is completely their own. Get hold of some good quality child size tools and encourage their attempts even if it isn’t quite what you’d have done. If digging holes and making mud pies is more in their line than neat rows of seedlings perhaps they could create a wildlife area? A shallow dish sunk into the ground can be used by birds, frogs, toads and hedgehogs, and a log pile will be home to all sorts of insects or possibly even a hedgehog. In spring have a “tallest sunflower competition”, not only is it fun but they will learn how to feed and water plants and actually see the fruits of their labour! They can keep some dried out seeds for next year and feed the rest to the birds in winter. Wild flower seeds are also a good idea as they can simply be scattered and tend to be brightly coloured which appeals to children. In time they will also encourage useful insects and birds - natural pest control! Keen young growers can browse seed packets or catalogues to see what takes their fancy. Quick growing crops are a good suggestion. Radishes and salad
leaves pop up in no time at all and should give almost instant satisfaction! Sweet young carrots are likely to tempt even picky eaters, as are those lovely little cherry tomatoes. Popping peas out of their pods is very appealing and how about growing their own hideaway in the form of a lush green wigwam of peas or beans? They might shy away from anything green on their plates, but they might find plenty of chopped, homegrown chives, basil, marjoram/ oregano and thyme only improves their favourite pizza or bolognese sauce. They may not be keen on eating greens, but there is certainly a much better chance that they’ll be tempted to try something they’ve grown themselves. Fruits, such as strawberries and raspberries are usually popular, if you haven’t got any of your own you can always get them enthusiastic by having an afternoon out at the pick your own farm. Ready grown plug plants are good for helping set up an ‘instant’ plot - take a trip to the garden centre to see what is on offer. If you already have seedlings started, then they could have the choice of some for their own pot (and you can see whose grows best!). Finally, don’t forget ‘indoor’ growing activities. At any time of the year, children can start to understand the concept of things growing from seed. Give them a packet of cress seeds and, although they can be grown in a shallow tray, make it even more fun by saving the shells from their breakfast boiled eggs. With their tops cut off, draw a face on the eggshell and fill with peat free compost or even moist kitchen roll or cotton wool and sprinkle with seeds. In just a few days their “egg man” will be growing hair that they can not only cut, they can eat it too!
A beginners guide to…
No garden can have too much compost and rich, fertile soil is the key to great vegetables and plants. In these days of fortnightly bin collections (and the threat of slop buckets for our kitchens) why leave kitchen waste to fester in your wheelie bin when it can be put to good use? Find a corner somewhere in the garden to start a compost heap or, if space is limited, many councils offer bins for the purpose at reasonable prices. If building your own bin, it’s best to put it on a soil base which will attract worms to start work on the heap. You could use old planks of wood or chicken wire supported by posts in each corner. This works well as it is important that air can get in to help the process. You need a good mixture of material to make good compost. If you just put in grass cuttings you’ll end up with a foul, soggy mess so they should be mixed with shredded newspaper, pruning clippings (not the really woody stems) and even cardboard. Annual weeds can go in as long as they haven’t gone to seed but avoid perennial weeds like dandelions as even the smallest piece of root will produce another plant. Almost all vegetable waste from the kitchen can be used, but avoid meat, fish and cooked food as these may attract rats etc. Use crushed eggshells, used teabags, used kitchen towels and fruit and vegetable peelings. Keep the mixture damp. The aim is to end up with something that is dark, crumbly and sweet smelling and alive with worms. If you wanted to hurry up the process, you can buy accelerants from hardware shops and garden centres but a cheaper and just as efficient method involves collecting urine, diluting it with water and wetting the heap with it. Well, what do you imagine our ancestors used?!
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The Nutrition Coach
Brain Foods For
The merry month of May?... Perhaps not for those studying for exams, more a time for planning and preparation. A revision timetable is obviously essential in order to avoid that last-minute cramming and often there is little time on the agenda for planning meals, but a healthy diet is also essential in order to keep the brain alert and focussed and able to absorb all of that information effectively.
Brain Foods • PROTEINS: meat, liver, fish, nuts, beans, eggs, yogurt, cottage cheese • CARBOHYDRATES: wholegrain cereals and breads, soya products, brown ric and pasta • VEGETABLES: broccoli, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, carrots, potatoes, avocado • FRUIT: blackcurrants, blueberries, strawberries, sundried apricots, bananas, apples, pears • OMEGA-3 FATS:linseeds soaked ove night and sprinkled on cereals. Oily fish, sardines, mackerel, salmon, fresh tuna and trout • HERBS: sage & rosemary used in cooking as well as aromatherapy You should drink up to 2 litres of water, diluted fruit juice or herb teas a day. 32
Eating healthy meals little and often and before 7p.m. rather than large meals late at night will keep you mentally alert and ensure restful sleep. For brain cells to communicate effectively they require neurotransmitters, which are made from amino acids found in protein foods. Vitamins and minerals are needed to convert the amino acids into the neurotransmitters, so protein-rich foods, wholegrain cereals and lots of fruit and vegetables will be needed each day. Foods high in sugar will add to stress levels, so it is better to snack on nuts, seeds and fruit rather than sweets. Cut down on caffeine drinks, like cola and coffee. Although well known for keeping us awake for long periods, caffeine can make us too ‘hyper’ and unable to focus. With thoughts racing so much, it’ll be hard to think of the words we’re searchin for! Gentle exercise, such as walking, jogging or cycling, in between study periods will provide you with the extra oxygen you need, as well as improving the circulation to the brain and will even jog your memory! When the exam days arrive, positive thinking will be essential, as stress can cause confusion and poor memory. Focussing on breathing, with slow deep breaths in and out will help. The Australian Bush Flower Remedy, Cognis, described as excellent for study, gives clarity, and helps integrate ideas and information and the homeopathic remedy Gelsemium 30c, taken in the morning, will calm anxieties. With all this preparation, the month of May should be easier for you, with merry celebrations to follow, knowing you’ve done your best after all! By Sue Blain Naturopath, specialising in Homeopathy, Nutrition & Reiki. 01525874357
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Successful Studying and so on. Think about the time of day that you work best – some people are night owls while others get more done in the early morning. Plan a ten-minute break in every hour and don’t work for more than three hours at a time. Now divide the topics you need to learn into manageable chunks. To help memorise information, make notes and put as much as you can Preparation is the key to revising effectively. Make sure you know what into your own words. Summarise key points and write them on index type of exams you will have – short questions, multiple-choice or essays cards or sticky notes that you can put around the house. You may find that – and what topics they will cover. making a spider diagram or mind Organise your course notes and textbooks so that everything is easy to map is helpful. Try inventing your own mnemonics, find. Work out how much time you have for each subject and don’t avoid such as Never Eat Shredded Wheat for the points of the compass. You the ones that you find particularly can also visualise a scene that indifficult – or easy. cludes details you need to remember Make a timetable, but don’t spend – a battlefield or mountain habitat, for so long making it look beautiful that example. you’re behind before you start! ReMake the most of revision classes ofmember to include your other comfered by your school or college. You mitments and try to maintain your normal routine of mealtimes, exercise could also revise with a friend – prac-
tice explaining difficult concepts and ask each other challenging questions. Get hold of as many old exam papers and example questions as you can. Familiarise yourself with the way questions are worded and make sure you understand exactly what they are asking you to do. Prepare draft answers to questions that come up frequently. When the exam gets close, complete a paper within the time limit to get an idea of how quickly you need to work. To keep motivated, reward yourself with a weekly treat such as a trip to the cinema or a favourite meal. But if it’s not going so well, don’t give up! Adjust your timetable and focus on the areas you find most difficult, or common questions. Keep thinking about what a good grade will bring – a university place or that dream job. The night before the exam, have a quick look through your notes, but don’t cram. Get an early night so you wake up refreshed and ready to go. Good luck!
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Jog on T
his year’s London Marathon will be held on April 21st. This iconic event first took place over 30 years ago, in 1981. It was the brainchild of John Disley and Chris Brasher who after taking part in the New York Marathon, wondered if London could stage such a festival. 7,747 runners took part in the first London Marathon, whilst in 2012 there were over 37,000 participants. The Marathon is now a calendar highlight for competitors, spectators and charities alike. Olympic champion Stephen Kiprotich will take part this year and is expected to complete the 26.2 mile course in just over 2 hours For most of us a marathon would prove too gruelling, but there are half marathons, 10k and 5k runs or sub 5k events which anyone can enter. There are running events nearly every weekend somewhere in Britain. Running has many benefits, firstly it’s
free. Once you have your basic kit, it costs nothing to simply ‘go out for a run.’ As you are not tied to a specific class or opening times, you can go running whenever you please. Studies extol the health benefits. Runners tend to be stronger and live longer. Regular exercise, along with a healthy balanced diet, can also reduce your risk of cancer. So how does a fledgling runner get started? Most beginners’ guides suggest doing a combination of run/ walk/run on your first outings and building up your distance gradually. You should always stretch, warm up and cool down and ensure you are hydrated. You should not run too fast. You should always be able to maintain a conversation and not breathe too heavily. Training programmes suggest that subject to satisfactory health, beginners could train to complete a 5k run within six weeks, training three
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• Clubs • Groups • CLUB Events THE DUNSTABLE ORBIT • Community
“The more you put in, the more you get out” is certainly true for the members of Dunstable and District Orbit Club. Since its inception over 20 years ago, the club has raised thousands of pounds for local and national charities as quizzes, race nights, stalls ST GEORGES DAY CELEBRATIONS vilion which was completed forfrom the events fightsuch for the over 50’s at please Carnivals 2009 season. Interested ringetc. Interested in finding out more? Saturday 20th April 10 am to 3pm. However, there is Come more to than the comradeship We are an independent social club for ex-Rotarians and 01582-518645 me Mary Comb Priory Gardens & The Square to Orbit a meeting and teamwork involved in organising fundraising events. similarly mindedday people and been in existence for Free St. 3Georges funnamed with have craft Wemuch meet on thehaving last Thursday each The emphasis is very fun in alloftheir nearly years. We are ‘The Watling Street Club’ NCT NEARLY NEW SALEincluding month activities, town trail andaentertain2pmof social pursuits such as activities a wide at range as our members form link along the Watling Street. 18th May, 11.45 - 1pm ment! Comeevery and have fun celebratIn the Social club of Theguided Catholic archery, 10-pin bowling, cinema/theatres, walks, We meet Thursday evening at theSaturday ‘Old Hunter’s Admission 11.30 for NCT membersmeals Church ing this traditional Day! West Street Dunstable progressive etc. Theinclub plan events to suit all Lodge’ Whipsnade for a meal and speaker. (with membership card). budgets and manyOr of call themfor are freeinformation or at a low cost. more on New members are welcome. For more information (in aid of is only £10 annually. contact John Stevens 01582 668033 Admission £1 per adultMembership BEER FESTIVAL 01582 534357 NCT charity) are on the first and third Tuesdays of each Friday 10th May - Sunday 12th May Buggies and pushchairsMeetings will not be Dunstable Rugby Club, Bedford Road , SOCIAL CLUB month at the Grove House D.A.W.G. Gardens – NEW DUNSTABLE GARDEN CLUB allowed in the sales room. Houghton Regis 8pm. You’ll be guaranteed warm We are a small and friendly Dunstable based social VENUE At our October meeting aarepresentaBullpond Lane Dunstable, LU6 3BJ welcome. group once ato month with a wide variety of After themeeting huge success our first tive of 539379, Blom’s Bulbs, Melchbourne, Free parking on Bullpond Lane. Contact Mark on 01582 speakers during the winter and outdoor events and beer festival, bringing it back Bedfordshire gave a very interesting Julie books, on 01582 535761 www.orbitclub.org.uk/dunstable Itemsarrange for saletwo include toys, visits duringwe theare summer. Each year we also and it’s going even and Maternity and baby/childrens clothes, talk on the cultivation of tulips and evenings withtoabe meal andbigger professional entertainment. better! 38 Ales and Ciders in a mas- (couples growing them for theCLUB Chelsea Flower pushchairs, highchairs plus otherDUNSTABLE BRIDGE We would welcome new members and singles). sive with live music Show -(except this year theyholidays) gained their babynot equipment. Foroutdoor further marquee information and a free visit why contact We meet every Monday bank in Chews for more information contact 62nd GoldDunstable, medal! On November Brian on 01525 754189. House Nicola: in High Street South, from 1pm to A HAUNTING EXPERIENCE email@example.com 12th the Chairman of the Midland 5pm. We would welcome new members of all standards DUNSTABLE GARDEN 07904315117 CLUB or 0844and 2436112 Are there Ghosts in Priory House? Branch of the National Vegetable you do not need a partner. www.nct.org.uk/nns Is Dunstable Priory House really haunted? If anyone is interested please Garden Club meet on the second Monday Society willcall: tell 01582 us how664485 to have of each month at 7.30pm Is evening there really a lady on the stairs? at the Salvation Army homegrown vegetables on our plate Community Hall, Bull Pond Lane, Dunstable. The Club THE BOGTROTTERS BLOWS DOWNS GROUP Can a baby really be heard crying in every CONSERVATION day of the year. The Christmas hasnight? been in existence for many years and maintaining The Bogtrotters (Dunstable and friendly Dis- guided the meeting onatDecember 10thdunstable will be on Join our walk blows downs a steady membership. The subscription is only £10 per trict Walking and Hostelling These are just two examples of the a sociable We2start sundayGroup) July 3rd. the walk willevening. be a short miles2013 but unduyear which entitles members to attend eight are awinter group of about 90lating, walkers, haunting thatand have been of at a leisurlyinpace. on with the way weby talk about the January a talk English meetingsexperiences with speakers a selection summer hikers andand hostellers. We florarun anda fauna of Heritage this wildlife trustthe owned nature reserve reported theMay past onwards at Priory to House. about recently restored outings in from various interesting which will include gardens the area at ofWrest the chalk pits where the wild surprisingly diverse range of activiThe Anglia Paranormal Investigation Park, Silsoe. well-known garden venues. in abundance. full dayshould walks,be Meetings Society are holding number are held on the 2nd Visitors(APIS) are very welcomea at £2 each soties, whyincluding not comehalf andorchids Meetevening at the far endMonday of Half of moon lane , dunstable at 3pm. hostelling andinvestigations meet some of to thefind members who would trips, love meals and ofalong evening out each winter month at Tel. for further details, tony bliss 01582 704664. activities. to see fresh faces. what is really going on. the Salvation Army Hall, Bull Pond New members are always welcome. Damien O’Dell CHILTERN author of, amongst Lane, Dunstable and commence at CEILIDHS Prospective members are invited to others, ‘Ghostly Bedfordshire-Re7.30pm. Visitors welcome at £2 and Chiltern Ceilidhs - a regular ceilidh/barnget dance on the in touch via the website, give us Investigated’ is leading the All evening new members subscription is £10 a 2nd Friday of the month. ages welcome, no experiStor Fremund’s Church a ring band or just turn up to an event with other members of APIS. year. ence required and live musicWould from our house walk. open at you likemonth! to join The them? Do you fancy Mary ChapmanDunstable Tel: 01582 603710 every dances start at 8pm (doors Westfield Road, Enquiries@dunstablebogtrotters.co.uk taking part and in atickets real ghost hunt? 7.30pm) are £7 (£5 conc) with under 10s gettingfor in the free. Venue:are Thepriced Polish Club, www.dunstablebogtrotters.co.uk Albion street, Tickets evening KINGSBURY BOWLS CLUB LU6 3AZ runs from 01582 865966 Sue or Julian is a small friendly club situated in atDunstable, £35 and the evening Contact: 01582 475655, east Dunstable under the shadow of 8:00pm to 1:00am in the morning. email: firstname.lastname@example.org our SOCIAL CLUB Blows Downs. The price includes a cup of Tea/Cof- or visitBREAKOUT website: www.chilternceilidhs.info We are a club for the over forty fives, The Green is open to the public from fee and light refreshments. not a singles club but a social club Wednesday to Friday until SeptemThe next investigations will take THE BOGTROTTERS for people who enjoy going outContact: but ber,Mrs 2-00pm to 4-00pm and 6-00pm place on Saturday(Dunstable 27 April. and District Walking Nicola Talbot The Bogtrotters and Hosare on their own, also where they to Dusk – at a reasonable fee. Come Are youGroup) brave enough to find out 90 walkers, telling are a group of about hikers and can meet like minded people, make 01582604847 and try a new sport – the only dress what REALLY goes in the diverse range hostellers. We runbump a surprisingly of activities, new friends and enjoy email@example.com varied social requirement is flat-soled footwear. night??? including half and full day walks, hostellinglife trips, meals and in a safe and friendly environBowls and all other equipment is evening activities. ment. We meet once a week, we available at the Green. HOUGHTON BOWLS CLUBProspective New members REGIS are always welcome. members now have a room in the Conservative www.kingsburybowls.weebly.com Houghton Club arewebsite, Club, are invitedRegis to getBowls in touch via the give usHigh a ringStreet or North . Dunstable holding DAY or on walk. Sunday just turnanupOPEN to an event Annual fee -£26 DUNSTABLE BRIDGE CLUB 5th May at our green from 11am firstname.lastname@example.org For more information please contact We meet every Monday (except bank tillwww.dunstablebogtrotters.co.uk around 4pm the only criteria we Sandy on 07813 262556 holidays) in Chews House in High need is for people wear flat-soled 01582 865966 Suetoor Julian Street South, Dunstable, from 1pm shoes, all equipment and refreshto 5pm. We would welcome new DUNSTABLE SENIOR CITIZENS ments will be provided for our guest members of all standards and you do What age would you like to live to? that want “to have a go”. There will not need a partner. be experienced bowlers there to help Would you like to live it with If anyone is interested please call: Dignity, Financial peace of mind, where necessary. All ages from 12 01582 664485 With a voice and abilities catered for at our paWe are a local group fighting the
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WILDLIFE TRUST There is a whole world to discover on your doorstep with your local Wildlife Trust in 2013 Here are some of your up and coming events for APRIL and MAY Blows Downs Nature Reserve Open Event 4th April (Easter Holidays) 10am-3pm The Paddocks, Blows Downs Nature Reserve Come and celebrate with us at the re-opening of the paddocks at Blows Downs… Everyone Welcome. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Youth Wildlife Rangers 31st May (Half Term) 1pm-3pm If you are aged between 13 and 19 and you would like to help your local wildlife then come along and join in with various activities, including, butterfly surveys… Outdoor Activities / Booking Essential. All events free / Donations gratefully accepted No Wheelchair Access / Uneven steep slopes in areas Tel; Ruth Sneath 01525 874317 email@example.com DUNSTABLE DOWNSIDE WI We meet two evenings a month on the 2nd & 4th Thursday at Watling Lower Sch. Bullpond Ln, at 7.30pm. For more info contact Chris Brewin 01582 520361 11th April “Jewelry by Design Andy Schneider - Comp. TBC 25th April “The Cake House” - Hayley -Pfeifer demonstration Comp. Bring a decorated cake to be judged 9th May Annual Meeting 23rd May “Reflexology” (volunteer will be required on night) Mary Ellingham - Comp. Why not turn up in a pair of silly socks. THE HEALING TRUST Ardley Hill School, Lowther Road, Dunstable, each Thursday evening, 7.30 - 9pm. No charge, donations accepted. NFSH contact Pam Hill on 01582 606182. Come for interest or healing. THE DUNSTABLE ORBIT CLUB “The more you put in, the more you get out” is certainly true for the members of Dunstable and District Orbit Club. Since its inception over 20 years ago, the club has raised thousands of pounds for local and national charities from events such as quizzes, race nights, stalls at Carnivals etc.
However, there is more to Orbit than the comradeship and teamwork involved in organising fundraising events. The emphasis is very much on having fun in all their activities including a wide range of social pursuits such as archery, 10-pin bowling, cinema/theatres, guided walks, progressive meals etc. The club plan events to suit all budgets and many of them are free or at a low cost. Membership is only £10 annually. Meetings are on the first and third Tuesdays of each month at the Dunstable Rugby Club, Bedford Road , Houghton Regis 8pm. You’ll be guaranteed a warm welcome. Contact Mark on 01582 539379, or Julie on 01582 535761 www.orbitclub.org.uk/dunstable 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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 business men. The Club’s main 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 PRIORY LADIES GROUP We meet on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month 8.00pm to 10.00pm at Chews House, High Street South, Dunstable. We are a lively group of 50+, if you like interesting talks, meeting people and occasional trips out then why not join us! 10th April - Fairtrade Fods 24th April - -David Lean - The Man and His Films 8th May - Henry VIII and his wives 22nd May - Dorothy Sayers - creator of Lord Peter Wimsey Tel: Monica 01582 667030 or Barbara 01582 606300 TEA TIME TALES Priory House Heritage Centre Tel: 01582 890270 Local History Talks with Tea/Coffee Thursday 2.30pm, - 4.00pm £4.50 per person April 11th National Gardens Scheme, in Bedfordshire April 25th History of Bletchley Park May 9th The War of The Roses, and all that May 23rd A butchers at the Village Shop - Social changes in a village community LANGDALE CHURCH ‘HATTERS TEA’- informal neighbourhood group meets monthly on a Wednesday pm. Free tea/coffee & home-made cakes, quiz and raffle. Friends and Neighbours- monthly on a Thursday pm. Speakers and free tea/coffee. At Langdale Church. Other groups- table tennis, walking group and drawing for beginners Make the most of our community activities and meet new people in our community. Tel Colin, Community Worker 01582602980 45
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A community magazine local to the Dunstable area of Bedfordshire. Offering the reader an engaging variety of articles and local news and in...