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Gazette & Diary Magazine

2 December 2013/January 2014 - The Christmas Issue

FESTIVE greetings dear readers. The party season is upon us and another December bursting to the seams with parties, dinner dates, tinsel, crackers, bubbly, fairies, chocolates, sherry, turkey, mince pies, carols, stockings, trees, presents, and of course Xmas engagements under the mistletoe awaits. Yet we should always remember in the midst of all this merry madness, the real reason for Christmas and the true meaning of the occasion. A meaning which sadly all too often gets lost amongst the craven materialistic greed, wanton excess, and the selfish individualism of a

consumerist society drowning in a swamp of unregulated and rampant capitalism. But hey, enough of all the philosophical doom and gloom! As you impatiently wait for the fat man in the red suit to squeeze down your chimney, just remember that the greatest gift of all is in the giving, not the receiving, and you can’t go wrong. So, if you’re not too busy rocking

around the Christmas tree like Beyonce on steroids and trying to be the cracker everyone wants to pull, why not take a seasonal dip into this month’s Gazette and Diary, which has got more Christmas themed features in it than you can shake a stick at. As always we hope you enjoy the read

and if you pull the other one it’s got bells on it. We’ll see you in 2014. And all you golfers please remember, if you drink don’t drive - don’t even putt, Chin, chin and have a Merry Xmas one and all.

Inside ▲

Welcome ...

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

What’s on the box pages 21

Decorating tips pages 5, 6 and 7


FULLY INDEPENDENT LOCAL COMPANY whose dedicated Sales Staff answer calls directly without the hassle of call options!

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CLASSIC KITSCH COCKTAIL: Norway spruce tree £25 and 100 LED red berry lights £12, from Tesco

4 December 2013/January 2014 - The Christmas Issue


ECORATING the tree is an enjoyable ritual, but that doesn't mean this seasonal focal point has to look the same every year. It could be time to shake up your style and choose from one of the fresh new decor trends for trees so that yours is star of the show this December. "Dressing the tree is one of my Christmas highlights, and a great chance to get the whole family involved," says interior designer Joanna Wood. By all means rely on that cherished collection of Christmas decorations, she says - there's no need to rush out and buy a complete new set - but add a few pieces to bring a new look to life.

● Classic kitsch cocktail

FOR a witty take, mix traditional decorations with retro-style or kitsch additions, suggests Wood. "Accentuate the traditional red, green and white decorations that are so popular at this time of year with colourful character pieces for a retro, playful look. "Start at the base of your tree and spread out your traditional decorations evenly. Finish by adding your character pieces on the ends of branches in the central section of the tree, to ensure they catch the eye. "This is a fun, tongue-in-cheek approach and a retro-style Santa works perfectly as a character piece to complete the look."

Deck the halls

GLASS Santa on Scooter, £21.99, Joanna Wood.

Tree & Bauble-tastic: Impress with a 6ft Norway Spruce artificial tree, £25, and 100 LED red Berry Lights, £12, Tesco. Go retro with Joanna Wood's painted glass Santa On Scooter Decoration, £21.99, or kitsch witha Frosty Glass Dolly Dachshund Bauble, £5.60, House of Fraser. Bauble bargain: A Red Starry Heart Decoration, £2.95, Dotcomgiftshop.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year ● Winter palace

THIS look plays on the romance and glamour of winter, with ice tones and plenty of glitter. "Picture a luxurious ice palace for inspiration, with crisp, clean snowflakes on the windows," says Wood. "Place any larger decorations (and those with glitter) aside, as your star items, and position your base decorations first, selecting those in silver, white and neutral tones. "Once happy with the spread of your base items, add the finishing touches with glitter and larger snowflakes." Tree & Bauble-tastic: Dress up a Flocked Lapland artificial tree (1.8 metres), £115, Dobbies, with their selection of silver decorations, including a Glass Ornament Cone in Antique Silver, £2.99. Poundland has an appropriate Christmas Snowflake collection including a garland and Fairy Tree Topper would be a lovely finishing touch. All bargains at £1 each. Retreat Home's silver Noel Snowflake Decoration, £6.50. Bauble bargain: Tesco Silver Gem Baubles, set of four, £5.


WINTER WONDERLAND: Tinsel, ribbon, snowflake decorations and fairy, left, all from Poundland

December 2013/January 2014 - The Christmas Issue 5

Gazette & Diary Magazine ● Country chic

Tree & Bauble-tastic: A 6ft Highland Fir Christmas Tree is a snip at £15, from Tesco, who also have a selection of Gold Decorations, from £1.50 each. Linea's selection includes a pretty Prism Swirl Onion Bauble, £4.20 (below); a Prism Copper Starburst Tree Topper, £10.50, and a Looking Glass Glitter Crown Decoration, £2.80, all House of Fraser. Bauble bargain: A Gold Glitter Pear Christmas Tree Decoration, £2, Marks & Spencer.

“WOODLAND charm is a strong trend in interiors, and this look picks upon that theme by evoking fond memories of white Christmases and walks in the countryside," says Wood. "Stick to a natural colour scheme for your base, using green and wood hues - pine cones suit this perfectly. I like to use animal decorations, such as frosted bristle animals, to conjure a truly rural effect. Fill in any gaps with fresh holly and ivy for a traditional and natural touch." Finish the tree with fruit-shaped gilded ornaments, vintage pearls and splashes of red, to create a feeling of a timeless vintage Yuletide. Tree & Bauble-tastic: Sainsbury's Premium Green 6ft artificial Christmas Tree, £50. Get the 'hunting, shooting, fishing' look with a Gisela Graham Natural Feather Clip On Partridge, £4, and set of three Tartan Reindeer Heads, £5, The Contemporary Home. Dunelm has a Felt Owl, £1.99, in its Woodland Retreat Collection, while Joanna Wood's frosted Bristle Animal Decorations include a Rabbit, £5.99. Cute!

GISELA Graham Natural Feather Clip On Partridge, £4, The Contemporary Home.

Bauble bargain: Gather pine cones on a “The metallic shimmer of the gold baubles country walk and tie with ribbon, or will complement the lights perfectly and cheat with Crimbleberry Wood Real Pine create a magical sparkle effect. To fill in gaps, and make the tree look beautifully Cone Decoration, £3, Marks & Spencer. festive, use groups of three gold baubles, rather than just one on the end of each ● Golden grandeur branch. Tie these baubles together with silMUTED metallics lend an aura of faded ver or white cotton ribbon to keep them grandeur, and old gold mixes well with perfectly in place." copper and bronze touches too. Frame a treetop angel or star with a clus"The first and most important rule when ter of gold-sprayed leaves or gold ribbons dressing your Christmas tree with gold is to accentuate it, and encircle with lights, don't skimp on lights, and always put them she suggests. on first so you hang the baubles around them," says Wood. ● Tree & Bauble sources The Contemporary Home: 0845 130 8229/

Madgett’s Farm

Debenhams: 08445 616 161/ Dobbies: 0131 561 6406/ Dotcomgiftshop: 020 8746 2473/ www.dotcomgiftshop. Dunelm: 08451 656 565/ Getting Personal: 0845 217 6382/ House of Fraser: 0870 160 7270/ Joanna Wood: 020 7730 5064/

Chickens, Ducks, Turkeys & Geese ORDRER NOW FOR CHRISTMAS

We produce exceptionally highquality farm reared poultryfrom a stunning location overlooking the Wye Valley. Madgett’s Farm Free Range Poultry Tidwnham Close Chepstow. NP16 7LZ Telephone - 01291 680174

6 December 2013/January 2014 - The Christmas Issue

Marks & Spencer: 0845 302 1234/

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 1 THE first Christmas was celebrated on December 25, AD 336 in Rome. 2 THE word Noel derives from the French expression "les bonnes nouvelles" or "the good news".

❄ Forty

❄ ❄

3 JESUS was probably born in a cave and not a wooden stable, say biblical scholars.

4 MANY theologians estimate that Jesus wasn't born on December 25 but sometime in September between 6BC and 30AD.

5 CHRISTMAS crackers were invented around 1846 by Tom Smith, a sweetmaker, who developed them from the French habit of wrapping sugared almonds in twists of paper as gifts. 6 THE largest Christmas cracker 45.72m long and 3.04m in diameter was pulled in Australia in 1991. 7 TURKEY did not appear consistently on royal Christmas Day menus until 1851 when it replaced roast swan. The medieval dish of boar’s head remained popular with royals for much longer. 8 BOXING Day is really St Stephen’s Day. The Boxing Day name possibly came from servants who were allowed to “box up” all the left-overs from their employers and bring them home or from church alms-boxes collecting money for the poor.

9 ALL the gifts in the Twelve Days of Christmas would equal 364 gifts.

10 IT would currently cost £15,468 to purchase all the gifts mentioned in the Twelve Days of Christmas.

festive facts!

11 CHRISTMAS trees usually grow for about 15 years before they are cut.

12 THE Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square each year is a gift to Britain from Oslo for help in World War 2. 13 PRESIDENT Franklin Pierce brought the first Christmas tree into the American White House in 1856. In 1912 President Teddy Roosevelt, who was an environmentalist, refused to have any Christmas trees on the premises.

14 IN 1834, Queen Victoria's husband, Prince Albert brought the first Christmas tree to Windsor Castle for the Royal family. 15 MANY parts of the Christmas tree can actually be eaten, with the needles being a good source of Vitamin C. 16 THE bestselling Christmas single ever is Bing Crosby's White Christmas, shifting over 50million copies worldwide since 1942.

17 IN Britain, the best-selling festive single is Band Aid's 1984 Do They Know It's Christmas? at 3.5million copies. 18 JAMES Pierpont's 1857 song Jingle Bells was first called One Horse Open Sleigh and was written for Thanksgiving. 19 JINGLE Bells was the first song broadcast from space when Gemini 6 astronauts Tom Stafford and Wally Schirra sang it on December 16, 1965.

30 And we drink 57 Olympic sized swimming pools worth of beer.

20 ASTRONOMERS believe the Star Of Bethlehem, which guided the wisemen to Jesus, may have been a comet or the planet Uranus.

21 POINSETTIA, the popular Christmas plant, reached the United States from Mexico in 1880s. The plant was named after Joel Poinsett who imported them. 22 IN Victorian times mince pies were made with beef and spices.

23 IN 1843, the first Christmas card was printed in England for Sir Henry Cole. 24 ROBINS on Christmas card were originally a joke - postmen who delivered them were called Robin Redbreasts because of their scarlet tunics. 25 SANTA Claus is based on a real person, St. Nikolas of Myra (also known as Nikolaos the Wonderworker, Bishop Saint Nicholas of Smyrna, and Nikolaos of Bari), who lived during the fourth century.

26 SANTA would have to visit 822 homes every second and travel at 2,340,000 miles per hour to deliver all his gifts on Christmas Eve.

27 CHRISTMAS pudding was originally a soup made with raisins and wine. 28 IN the UK each year we eat 25 million Christmas puddings 29 WE cook 10 million turkeys.

31 In the 19th century the Christmas cake was eaten on Christmas Eve. It was considered unlucky to cut the cake before dawn on that day. 32 ALL the Christmas gift-wrap used in the UK in a year would cover an area equal to Guernsey. 33 FORTY per cent of children’s Christmas presents are broken by March. 34 THE first text message was sent in 1992 and it read “Merry Christmas”. 35 CHRISTMAS Island in the Indian Ocean was discovered and named on Christmas Day 1643 by William Mynors of the East India Company. 36 FIVE months into the first World War, troops along the Western front took a Christmas Eve break from fighting to sing carols to one another across the battlefield. 37 THE tradition of putting tangerines in stockings comes from 12th-century French nuns who left socks full of fruit, nuts and tangerines at the houses of the poor. 38 GOLD-wrapped chocolate coins commemorate St Nicholas who gave bags of gold coins to the poor. 39 DESPITE the tale of three wise men paying homage to baby Jesus, the Bible never gives a number. Matthew's Gospel refers to merely "wise men". 40 KISSING under the mistletoe is thought to spring from Frigga, the Norse goddess of love.

December 2013/January 2014 - The Christmas Issue 7

Gazette & Diary Magazine

Gifts of Beauty What's a Christmas tree without the faint aroma of wrapped beautygoodies teasing under the twinkling lights? Declare the festive holidays a time for manicured fingers, signaturefragrances and bubble baths, with a pampering present for a loved one. Stocking-thrillers

Multi miracles

● Breathe in the smell of Christmas with Aromatherapy Associates' Little Bell. The cute blue box includes a mini Revive Morning Bath and Shower Oil, £10 (

● When one luxury lipstick just isn't enough Elizabeth Arden's Ceramide Lipstick Collection set includes four shades, housed in a sparkling evening purse, £35 (John Lewis). Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Lipstick Collection

Small but perfectly formed, these beauty miniatures make perfect little extras for stuffing in stockings.

● Fingernails get the festive touch with Mavala's Cracking Duo set. The talon double acts are available in six complementary colour ways, £9 each ( ● Get box clever with a fragrant surprise. Jo Malone's Christmas Ornament opens up to reveal a mini Pomegranate Noir MAVALA Cologne and EngCracking Duo lish Pear & Freesia Body Creme, £20 (08700 342 411). ● Deck the tree with a beauty bauble. Origins' decorative ball is packed with five skincare best-sellers in miniature size, £12, from December 1 (

8 December 2013/January 2014 - The Christmas Issue

Ideal for the indecisive, festive beauty packages come in glorious multiples for every day of the week.

● Leave a scent aficionado spoilt for choice on Christmas morning. Estee Lauder's Fragrance Treasures includes four purse-friendly eau de parfum fragrances in a pretty gift box, £32 (nationwide). ● Designate a nail polish for every month of 2014. Worth £138, Nails Inc's Nail Polish Diary includes 12 full-size new and bestseller nail polishes, £42 ( ● Treat the Christmas Day chef to some post-dinner hand pampering. L'Occitane's best-selling Shea Butter Hand Cream comes ith two exclusive editions for fragranced fingers in the Hand Cream Collection box, £24 (

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Scent saviours

Bubbly boxes

Make this Christmas a fragrant one by sniffing out a luxurious new signature scent for 2014.

Give bathing beauties a licence to put up the 'Do Not Disturb' sign with these pampering sets.

● Add some decadence to a dressing table. Michael Kors' Glam Jasmine Set includes 50ml eau de parfum and 100ml Body Creme; perfect for revelling in some intensified fragrance layering, £55 (Debenhams).

● Guarantee a seasonal glow for skin. Soap & Glory's bumper Bubble Barrelled bag is a 7-in-1 gift set featuring the best of the brand's pink bodycare, £18 (Boots).

● No wrapping required for Viktor & Rolf's Flowerbomb. The Christmas limited edition fragrance has been wrapped up in sparkling white crystals and topped off with a couture bow, £75 for 50ml EDP (

● After too many champagne bubbles, lather up in soapy bubbles. Baylis & Harding's Sweet Mandarin & Grapefruit 750ml Body Wash comes in gold sequin bottle bag, £3 (Asda/Sainsbury's).

● Summer nautical has been given a surprise seasonal twist. Jean Paul Gaultier's Classique starry sailor-themed coffret includes 50ml eau de toilette and matching Body Lotion and Shower Gel, £49 (nationwide).

● Sweeten someone up with a delicious gift set. Philosophy's The Cookie Exchange tin includes mouth-watering Christmas Cookie Shampoo, Shower Gel & Bubble Bath, Sweet Creamy Frosting Body Lotion and Sugar Sprinkles lip gloss, £22 (

● Pile on the perfume glitz. Fashion designer Roberto Cavalli has decked out his Just Cavalli Eau de Toilette Gift Set with a gold sequin box that looks like a catwalk frock, £47.50 (nationwide).

● Gift your Christmas star with a magical selection of bath treats. Lush's Stardust box set is packed with girly sparkly and sweet scented products, £25.95 (

JO Malone’s Christmas Ornament £20

Tried & tested MEET the latest French beauty invasion; micellar water is a gentle, water-based cleanser that doesn't require a toner. Our testers polish up their skin in time for party season: ● L'Oreal Paris Skin Perfection 3 in 1 Purifying Micellar Solution, £4.99 (Boots) This felt gentle and soothing on the skin and effectively removed traces of mascara; I didn't feel like I needed to use eye make-up remover afterwards to remove stubborn panda eyes. 4\5 ● Bioderma Hydrabio H20 Micelle Solution, £9.99 ( My skin immediately felt calmer on application. It removed my make-up (including stubborn eye make-up) speedily and left my face feeling toned and hydrated. A new regular for my bathroom cabinet. 5/5 ● Melvita Cleansing Micellar Water, £16 ( This beautifully floral fragranced product is gentle on skin and leaves it feeling soft and clean. It's a great time-saver when you've overslept - a few wipes with cotton wool removes any traces of last night's mascara in a jiffy. 4/5

December 2013/January 2014 - The Christmas Issue 9

Gazette & Diary Magazine


Sphero V2 - £99.95 from This robotic ball hooks up to your handset over Bluetooth and you control it on-screen to move it about, as it phases through its multi colours. That'll keep most occupied enough, but there's also a load of app based games to play with it too. If you have any free time left after all that, you can take it out on the water too.

Power station

Take note

iFoolish - £14.99 from This has all the usual yawn-inducing practicalities that protective cases need, but with an extra, rather marvellous, trick up its sleeve. Jot down your thoughts on world domination, or just some daft doodlings if you prefer, on the back and then slide and erase as many times as you see fit - retro-tastic.

Mighty Purse - £84.99 from We've seen our fair share of portable power units that add emergency juice to sapped handsets, but there have been none where geekiness collides with glam in quite such spectacular fashion. Available in three colours, there's enough space inside this for keys, cards and other bits of shrapnel, as well - obviously as the all important battery that can be loaded with enough juice to fill up your phone twice over.

Stay alert

Smartphone security sensor - £44.99 from To keep pilfering mitts away from your devices you need your wits about you, and possible a tiny security guard in your pocket - like this one. Featuring LED lights, motion sensors and vibration or audible alerts, you synch it with your handset and, if your smartphone should move out of a set distance, you'll be well aware of it, instantly.

Selfie snaps

Smartphone camera remote - £14.99 from Selfies might be all the rage, but taking a decent photo of yourself with a smartphone isn't actually all that easy. Your gaze is diverted, or there'll be a digit in the frame, or you just can't stretch your arm far enough. This mini remote solves everything. Download the app, use the removable ministand to set up your handset, then just stand back (up to three metres back) and click your remote. All you have to thinkabout is your smile.

Slam Dunk

AR basketball mug - £9.95 from Make some time to shoot hoops and dunk some digestives with this code-driven augmented reality mug. Download the dedicated app, hold it over your drinking vessel and watch out for minutes turning into hours. Of course you can justify your spend simply on a mug that can hold 500ml of tea.

The Lion Inn Pizzas Merthyr Road, Govilon, Abergavenny NP7 9PT

Eat In - Takeaway

Classic Margarhita

& 9” Thin Crusty

& 12”Thin Crusty

9” Deep Pan

12”Deep Pan

Traditional Italian tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, fresh disced tomato & shredded fresh basil













Hawaiian Traditional Italian tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, shredded juicy ham, diced refreshing pineapple & fresh basil

Mediterranean Traditional Italian tomato sauce & cheese, diced fresh tomato, garlic, black olives, sliced red onions and fresh basil

Jewels of the Sea £7.50 £12.50 £8.25 £12.95

Traditional pizza sauce and cheese, tuna chunks, anchovy fillets, prawns, diced fresh tomato and fresh basil

Hot Poker £7.50 £10.50 £8.25 £11.25

Traditional pizza sauce and mozzarella, diced spicy beef, jalepenos, onions, diced fresh tomato and fresh basil

Wild West

£6.50 £10.00 £7.25 £10.99

All the usual plus - BBQ chicken, sliced pepperoni and fresh mushrooms

Garlic Bread (House Speciality) A pizza base of your choice, covered with a garlic sauce, topped with thinly sliced red onion and fresh basil

Add cheese for









Or Alternatively Create your own by choosing your toppings from the selection listed below All Vegetable toppings 9”: 50p 12”: £1

All Meat & Fish toppings 9”: £1 12”: £1.50

Diced Tomato, Sliced Mushrooms, Sliced Peppers, Sliced Red Onion, Pineapple Pieces, Garlic Butter, Fresh Basil, Black Olives, Jalepenos, Peppers, Black Olives

Shredded Ham, Spicy BBQ Chicken, Sliced Pepperoni, Diced Spicy Beef, Prawns, Tuna Chunks, Pizza Meatballs, Anchovies

Have you thought of taking a pizza home? Just ask at the bar and we will freshly prepare your pizza. Or, if you want to - just phone the number below and we’ll prepare it ready for you to collect

Just ring - 01873 831511 10 December 2013/January 2014 - The Christmas Issue

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Christmas dinner with all the trimmings . . . and not a saucepan in sight! C

hristmas is a time for relaxing, so leave mealtimes to us. We’ve created a range of classic Christmas meals and desserts to celebrate the festive season that will really excite your taste-buds, all delivered by your regular local driver. Our Hearty Roast Turkey with all the trimmings, followed by a Luxury Christmas Pudding is the perfect choice for a winter meal. If you fancy something different this Christmas, we offer a delicious Roast Pork with Cranberry Stuffing - succulent pork loin with a port sauce, and seasonal vegetables, a great alternative to turkey. For dessert our Sherry Trifle is sure to hit the spot, layers of silky custard, fruity raspberry jelly and sherry soaked sponge, topped with cream. A delicious way to celebrate the season! To start you off, you might like to order our Christmas Selection Pack, with 6 festive meals and 4 desserts plus a FREE Christmas tea towel (available while stocks last) all for just £29.95! It’s a great way to try a variety of our favourite meals.

The Wiltshire Farm Foods Service Established for more than 20 years, Wiltshire Farm Foods creates and delivers a delicious range of frozen meals that can be cooked in minutes. From the field, to the freezer, every detail is considered in order to offer nutrition, value, flavor, all this and Award-Winning personal service. Ingredients are selected from carefully-approved suppliers and are then prepared by a team of nutritionists and award-winning chefs in our Wiltshire kitchens. Once cooked, the meals are placed into handy trays that fit easily into the freezer, then frozen almost immediately to lock in the freshness. Wiltshire Farm Foods regularly delivers meals to many satisfied customers living throughout Abergavenny and the surrounding area. Delivery is free and there is no minimum order. For your copy of our Wiltshire Farm Foods Christmas Menu 2013 or to order the Christmas Selection Pack for £29.95, call 01600 892855 or visit to shop online. We look forward to hearing from you.

HEARTY Roast Turkey

ROAST Pork with Cranberry Stuffing

The winner of the competition to win a WILTSHIRE FARM FOODS MENU SELECTION PACK featured in the October issue of the Gazette and Diary is Miss O. Stone of Abergavenny LUXURY Christmas Pudding

A full festive dinner and not a saucepan in sight. What more could you want for Christmas? CHRISTMAS SELECTION PACK

for only £29.95 + FREE Tea Towel

Christmas is a time ffor Christmas or putting y your our ffeet ee et up, so leave mealtimes tto o Wiltshire Wiltshire F Farm arm F Foods. oods. They They h offer offer over 260 delicious, delicious, individually individually portioned dishes, including Christmas C hristmas op options. t tions. Come C ome rrain ain or shine s their local drivers will deliver direct dir ect to to y your our freezer. freezer. Then, Then, when y you’re ou’rre rready, eady, just pop y your our mea meal al in the micr microwave owave or oven en - and enjoy. enjoy.

FREE C hristmas mas T ea Christmas Tea T owel with every eve ery pack. Towel W hile stocks stock ks last While

Roast Turkey Breast 6 Meals with vegetables: ŐŐHoney  Ő Roast Pork with Cranberry Stuffing ŐBeef with Roast Ő Potatoes & Yorkshire Pudding ŐŐPork & Leek Sausages in  Bacon & Ő Tomato, Bean & Bacon Casserole ŐChicken, Thyme Hotpot ŐŐChicken Kiev  Christmas Pudding ŐSherry Trifle Ő Ő 4 Desserts: ŐLuxury Ő Mincemeat & Apple Crumble ŐBrandy in Clotted Cream Ő Ice Cream

Available to order from 14/10/13 to 31/12/13

Ask ffor or y your our F FREE REE br brochure ochure ttoday, oday, and d or order der over the phone or online. o Y Yule ule be glad y you ou c chose hose Wiltshir Wiltshire eF Farm arm mF Foods oods this C Christmas! hristmas!

Tasty Meals from T asty M ealss fr om £2.95

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01600 892 01600 8 92 855 855 wiltshirefa December 2013/January 2014 - The Christmas Issue 11

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UNE Brown has brought lots of laughter to TV audiences over the years, as chain-smoking, hypochondriac busybody Dot Cotton in EastEnders. But even she will admit that there aren't many laughs in the hit soap these days. "I think there was a lot more humour in the beginning, because there were more humorous characters, like Gretchen Franklin who played Ethel Skinner. Together, we had lovely comedy. It was a great partnership. "Of course, Leslie [Grantham] playing Den [Watts] was very witty and so was Anita [Dobson, who played Den's wife Angie]. They were less dramatic stories but they were stories about life." She says it's not only up to the writers, but to the actors, to introduce more humour into the roles if they want to. "I could have played Dot as a very dreary woman with a list of illnesses, but I played her with an edge, so it was funny." She continues: "When you have to write four episodes a week, you run out of stories and you have to keep regurgitating in a slightly different way." Soaps, in general, have become more serious, because they're all competing with each other, she reflects. "Emmerdale was a tale of country folk once upon a time. It was Emmerdale Farm. That changed because it became far more popular when it went into the mainstream, but there were lots of people who really enjoyed the fact that it had been about a farming community." The 86-year-old actress, who has five children (a sixth, daughter Chloe, born prematurely, died at 16 days) and six grandchildren, took time off to finish Before The Year Dot, an autobiography tracing her early years, but will be re-appearing in the hit soap in December - although she can't

Absolutely Dotty There will be another new landdord at the Queen Vic in Eastenders this Christmas, but one of the soaps favourite characters has been there for almost three decades reveal any festive plotlines. Brown recently said that she thinks EastEnders is unsuitable for children, but now reflects that the nature of soaps has changed since she first joined the cast in 1985. "It's bound to, everything has. None of us [actors] wanted to be in a soap, because we thought it would ruin our career. It was very hard to do anything else when you came out. "Look at Pat Phoenix [who played Elsie Tanner in Coronation Street] when she left, all she did was tour." Because of health issues, Brown no longer goes on night shoots outdoors in winter, because she says she runs the risk of pleurisy and bronchitis. These days, work is limited to three or four days a week. "Although I may

12 December 2013/January 2014 - The Christmas Issue

say I'm tired, as soon as I get on that set I'm filled with energy." She says that Dot has endured because everybody knows somebody like her. "People say to me, 'You're so like my auntie'." Yet appearing in the East London-based soap, set in the fictional region of Walford, went some way to dashing her hopes of a glittering career in the theatre among other acclaimed thespians, she recalls in her book: "By the time I joined EastEnders I'd done some films, I'd done Sunday Bloody Sunday, I'd worked for Sam Peckinpah and John Schlesinger and I'd done some television. "Suddenly my salary dropped from £14,000 a year down to £3,300 with the dole included. I thought I was going to be in EastEnders for three months, which would enable me to pay back my sister, who'd lent me money to survive."

Her autobiography, she says, explains the situation. "I wanted to write about the changes in my life, going from being an actress to a mother who acted, and from an actress to a mother who became everybody's property." Fame has had its downsides, she admits. "It affects your family. It affected us quite a lot. Even shopping takes twice as long if I go with them. People talk to me and want to have their picture taken, or want me to sign something. "So I don't do it very much. I've become much more reclusive. “ However, she never regrets becoming a soap star. "I couldn't be so ungrateful, because I really felt that my career was vanishing in the year before I went into it. EastEnders was a marvellous lifesaver." Her memoir traces her colourful childhood in Ipswich, her days as a stage actress trained by the likes of Laurence Olivier and her tours of the Young and Old Vic Schools, playing some of her most memorable parts. The book also charts her first marriage to actor John Garley, who suffered from depression and committed suicide in 1957. In 1958, she married another actor, Bob Arnold, who died 10 years ago. She clinched the role in EastEnders after Leslie Grantham saw her in Minder and suggested her for Dot Cotton. She admits in her memoir: "After 10 years of being a widow I would still like to share thoughts, laughter, meals, visits to the theatre, problems, house repairs! Not a husband nor a lover do I want. Just a compatible companion." Before The Year Dot by June Brown is published by Simon & Schuster, priced £20.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Quick Yuletide questions for the chef Scott Hughes - Chef at N68 Bistro in Abergavenny shares his thoughts ● WHAT is your earliest Christmas Day memory? Waking up in the morning finding only a few small presents and feeling disappointed with Santa. Only to find when I got downstairs an Apollo bike next to the Christmas tree! Then thinking - Santa, you're bloomin' fantastic! ● HOW would you spend your perfect Christmas Day? Spending the morning in the kitchen wearing my "Christmas cook" chef hat and "Mr Messy" apron, preparing anything but turkey! ● WHAT will you be enjoying for your meal on ‘the big day’? A nice fat goose, chestnuts and apricot stuffing with "proper" roast potatoes, buttery roast parsnips and sage and orange gravy. All washed down with a glass of Staropramen. Lovely. ● WHICH kitchen gadget would you not be able to live without? My mother, the sous chef. (I was forced to say that!) ● WHY do you think Monmouthshire is such a great place for food? Quite simply because Monmouthshire has good taste!

Find a warm welcome at Emmeline’s IF you haven’t had chance to check of the delightful and authentic Norwegian cakes from Emmelins yet, you surely are missing out. The family business moved to the area only a few short months ago, situated at the Old Police Station in Abergavenny, but since then they have already attracted quite a fanbase for their unique style of baking. The business, started by Emmeline and Justin Vieregge, took inspiration from Emmelines mother and her Norwegian heritage, with fresh and vibrant cakes, full of fruit and creamy goodness. They are good for the waistline,as they are light, many are gluten free, and perfect for an afternoon bite.You can grab yourself a slice, or even a whole cake for that special occasion, which they do for order within 24 hours. Not only this, but their passion for the local economy is enviable, and they take pride in ensuring that their locally sourced produce is the fresh, fantastic, and a financial gain for Abergavenny. With their classic decor choices, the Old Police Station is decked out with dark woods and well stocked book-

cases, making it the perfect place to get lost in a story, meet old friends, or simply seek comfort and refuge from the brisk winter weather. With caffetiere coffee, fruit teas, and a selection of scrumptious soups, there is no better place to wait out the cold in a peaceful and friendly environment, with the added bonus of free Wifi. You can even book gatherings, or hire out the space for a range of events. To find out more, to book a space or to order a cake, call emmelines on 01873 854676, email them on or visit their store on Baker Street, Abergavenny.

December 2013/January 2014 - The Christmas Issue 13

Gazette & Diary Magazine

We wish you a Merry Christmas.....

! Magnificent Views ! Well Drained Course ! Friendly Club House ! Membership


! Visitors Welcome

Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year from everyone at Wernddu Golf Club Old Ross Rd, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire. NP7 8NG Tel: 01873 856223 Fax: 01873 852177 Email: Web:

WILLIAM GRAHAM Conservative Assembly Member South Wales East Electoral Region

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year


Harries Plumbing

No job too small 01873 812 686 or 07880 877 090

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to all our customers

H. Waters & Sons

Lawnmowers • Chainsaws • Garden Machinery

For advice and information on issues affecting your neighbourhood.

Qualified Local Reliable





45 years experience serving our community We accept part exchange / new & reconditioned Wishing all our customers a Merry Christmas and a happy new year Demonstrations available

01495 226657 Mill Garage, Gelli Groes, Blackwood, Gwent NP12 2HY


National Assembly Member - South Wales East Regional Office Unit 1, Fairoak House, 15-17 Church Road Newport NP19 7EJ Tel: 01633 220022 Email: Web: I would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year

Wishing a Merry Christmas to everyone

14 December 2013/January 2014 - The Christmas Issue


I hold regular advice surgeries and am always eager to hear from constituents. Please fo not hesitate to get in touch if you would like to discuss any local or Assembly related issue Oscar

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

We wish you a Merry Christmas.....

IUI Debt Collectors We are old school



Autolaque Wishing all our customers a Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year ! Specialists in Motor Body Repairs !Recognised repairers for all insurance companies !Blackhawk body jig and burntwood oven !Vehicle recovery ! Courtesy Cars Available

Hatherleigh Place, Union Rd

Tel: Abergavenny 858383

gartsides SOLICITORS

CHIMNEY SWEEP • Stacks Repaired • Stoves Fitted • Cowls Fitted

ROB LEACOCK Telephone: 01291 690040 Mobile: 07740 429081

‘Your local Chimney Sweep for over 20 years’ Merry Christmas to all my customers!

wishing all our customers a merry Christmas and a happy New Year

Gartsides is a long-established local practice with expertise across a whole range of areas including property, wills, probate, commercial, crime and family work. Whether you have a legal problem, are moving house or needing advice about a will, our experienced team is on hand to help. In the Family Department, solicitors with specialist accreditations are available to advise across all aspects of family work to include relationship breakdown, divorce, financial disputes and issues involving children. NO MORE LEGAL AID? Competitive Fixed Fee Packages are now available for all family work at Gartsides.


Call us on 01873 857555 for details. Also with offices in Newport (01633 213411) and Ebbw Vale (01495 302109)


Wishing all our customers a Merry Christmas

Servicing all makes MOT Prep

(01873 853774) Monmouth MP

MONMOUTH MP DAVID DAVIES regular advice surgeries holds regular advice surgeries throughout the the constituency. throughout constituency. To make an appointment telephone 01291 672817 To make an appointment or email telephone 01291 672817 or email David Davies holds

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year

December 2013/January 2014 - The Christmas Issue 15

Gazette & Diary Magazine

Enjoy a seasonal

BATH Christmas Market

Luxury and romance in Bath

WITH its golden-stoned Georgian architecture, Roman Baths and Royal Crescent, Bath is one of the UK's prettiest cities and the ideal setting for a weekend of relaxation and romance. In the run-up to Christmas, it becomes especially charming, lit up with twinkling lights, carol singers and brass bands adding to the festive magic. For 18 days, Bath Abbey provides a stunning backdrop to the Christmas Market, which sees more than 150 traditional wooden chalets fill the square and surrounding streets. Whether you want to shop or simply soak up the at-

mosphere, it's sure to warm the cockles. There's also an ice rink (November 22January 5) in Royal Victoria Park - impress your partner with some fancy spins, or just hold hands and have some fun. A short drive from the city, set among gorgeous tree-lined grounds, Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa is the perfect choice for a luxurious romantic break. The five-star 17th century country house has a Downton Abbey feel, with its antique furniture, grand fireplaces and silverware. Book a cookery course, go horse riding and explore the surrounding countryside, or order champagne and put that 'Do not Disturb' sign to use! Foodies are in for a treat with the Michelin Starred Fine Dining At The Park and the contemporary Brasserie, while afternoon tea's served daily in The Drawing Room. Soothe post-shopping muscles and banish seasonal stress with a treatment at the impressive and newly-extended spa. A Dry Floatation experience will have you transported to a realm of pure relaxation in no time, while a Haslauer Reflective Sun Light Therapy session could help counter seasonal affective disorder. Facilities also include a pilates suite, pool, sauna and steam rooms and outdoor heated Jacuzzi. ● Bath Christmas Market runs from November 28 to December 15 ( ● Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa ( offers standard rooms from £345 per night for two adults sharing on a room only basis, including use of spa facilities.

LUCKNAM Park Hotel & Spa, Bath

16 December 2013/January 2014 - The Christmas Issue

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

city break Style and culture in London DESIGNER stores and high street heroes may line London's West End streets, but it's still possible to enjoy an old-fashioned Christmas shopping experience in the capital. Set beneath trees decorated with twinkling fairy lights, the Southbank Centre's Christmas Market has borrowed some of the best ideas from its German counterparts and concentrated them into one easy-to-navigate riverside strip of traditional huts. But while the smell of sizzling Bratwurst and spicy Gluhwein conjures up a distinctly German flavour, there's a global feel to the colourful stalls, selling goods ranging from knitted finger puppets made in Peru, to sugar-coated churros from Spain. The new five-star Rosewood London hotel is ideally placed between the Southbank and West End. Built in 1914, the Grade IIlisted building is accessed via a wrought iron gate which opens into an almost perfectly quadrangle courtyard. Inside, the sound of traffic disappears, and porters in flat caps and leather driving gloves set the quintessentially English theme that runs throughout the inviting property. A roaring fire crackles in the hotel's gentlemanly bar, stocked with a selection of vintage books found in Portobello Market and fine whiskies, while the Mirror Room restaurant serves a menu of elegant takes on casual dining staples - perfect if you've overindulged on Bratwurst. Warm, friendly and charming - the whole experience will leave you dreaming of a white Christmas. But featuring a seven-storey Pavonazzo marble staircase, that would cost an eye-watering fortune to build today, Rosewood London is a far, far cry from Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire's humble Holiday Inn.

LONDON’S Southbank Market ● Southbank Centre Christmas Market runs from November 16 to December 24 (www.southbankcentre. c o. u k / w i n t e r festival/markets) ● Rosewood London (www.rosewoodhotels. com) offers rooms from £370, including use of mini-bar, in-room films, laundry and breakfast.

ROSEWOOD London Hotel


We accept most major debit and credit cards

Extensive Off Licence Section ■ Newsagents ■ Convenience Stores

Vyv and Chris would like to wish all their customers a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year.

Christmas Opening Times Christmas Eve 06.00 - 18.00 Christmas Day closed Boxing Day 08.00 - 13.00 Friday 27th 08.00 - 18.00 Sat/Sun/Mon 06.00 - 20.00 New Years Eve 06.00 - 20.00 New Years Day 08.00 - 13.00

Open 6am ‘til 8pm - 7 days a week PayPoint and ATM (cash point) coming shortly

01873 832255

The Dell Stores, Main Road, Gilwern December 2013/January 2014 - The Christmas Issue 17

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Award Winning food and accommodation in the heart of Monmouth Festive menu is available from Friday 29th November to Monday 23rd December Large Parties welcome • Christmas Menu available Mon-Sun Lunch 12.00-2.30 Dinner 18.30-21.30 Special Christmas Party Accommodation Rates, Why not make a night of it? Take advantage of our special deals, enjoy your meal and spend the night with us. Single room £35, Double room £55.

Bistro Prego Christmas Menu 2 courses £19.50, 3 courses £24.50 £10 per head non refundable deposit required


Butternut squash soup with sage fritters v Smoked haddock fishcake with crab bisque Ham hock terrine with homemade chutney & toasted sour dough Baked mushroom stuffed with goats cheese, sun dried tomatoes & garlic v


Roast Turkey, thyme & apple stuffing with creamed sprouts, chantenay carrots & roast potatoes Local Pheasant braised with orange & chestnuts & served with parsnip mashed potatoes & braised leeks Braised beef in red wine with root vegetable mash & curly kale Seabass with celeriac puree, wilted spinach & salsa rustica Vincisgrassi (19th Century baked pasta with truffles & porchini mushrooms) v


Homemade Christmas pudding with brandy sauce Chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream Panettone bread & butter pudding with orange & Cointreau ice cream Torrone semi freddo with tuile biscuit Please note that some of our dishes may contain traces of nuts; please speak to a member of staff if you have any concerns or specific dietary requirements

7 Church Street, Monmouth NP25 3BX 01600 712600 |

18 December 2013/January 2014 - The Christmas Issue

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

A Christmas treat that’s easy to make Chocolate and Drambuie truffles


TART the truffles by combining the cream and butter in a pan. Place the chocolate in a large bowl. Bring the cream and butter to the boil, then pour over the chocolate. Add the coffee and whisk well.

When set, roll the truffles onto a plate and cover with the cocoa powder. Shake them, four at a

time, in your hand to loosen any excess cocoa. Store in a container in the fridge, until ready to serve.

Place the bowl on top of another one filled with ice cubes and a bit of cold water. Whisk the chocolate mixture energetically until it starts to thicken (about 5 minutes) then add the Drambuie. When the mixture is thick enough to hold its shape, spoon into a piping bag. Cover a tray with cling film, pipe 30 truffles onto it then leave in the fridge to set. See more at: recipes/chocolate-truffles-recipe-drambuie#sthash.lN5qAOTB.dpuf

Matt Ryan - Bonza Eventing

Triple Olympic 3 Day Event Gold Medalist New Flexiride All Weather Gallop For Hire - never freezes!

■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■

Racehorse Pre-training Racehorse Rehabilitation and Re-Schooling Eventers taken for competition All horses taken for schooling and selling Breaking ■ Livery Horses for sale ■ Private lessons and Clinics Lecture Demonstrations Matt is looking to take on new working pupils for immediate start asap Matt Ryan teaches The Bonza Way Safer - More Secure - More Effective More Competitive

Tel: 01873 853676

Email: Website: December 2013/January 2014 - The Christmas Issue 19

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Christmas family activities at Llangorse! A RE you looking to get out and try something exciting this Christmas? Llangorse Multi Activity Centre is home to the largest indoor Climbing, Riding & Multi-Activity Centre in Wales - just 20 minutes from Abergavenny. They cater for individuals and families, whether experienced or novice, young or old. And best of all, they’re open all year round!

Multi-Activities, with a difference... From 6 years old you can take part in their popular multi-award-winning half day Indoor Activity Session which gives a taste of Climbing, Rope Bridges, a Zip Line, Caving and Abseiling! Horse Riding in the Brecon Beacons...

There are lots of things to do at their Riding Centre, too. From 4 years you can have your first instructor-led pony ride. For older children and adults, there are one hour & half day treks for beginners, rides with some cantering for intermediate riders and faster hacks for the more experienced. Relax at Base Camp Cafe! After an energetic activity session - relax in ‘Base Camp’ Cafe offering a variety of meals and a delicious range of local homemade Cakes! Llangorse Multi Activity Centre is open all year except Christmas Day, Boxing Day & New Years day. To start your adventure, visit or call 0333 600 20 20.


ADVENTURE! Welshwellies

“ WEAR THEM WITH PRIDE ” The ideal Christmas present! Telephone:

Llangorse Multi Activity Centre

Family Activities for ages 4 years and over!

Christmas Gift Vouchers Indoor Multi Activities - Climbing - Sky Trek Zip Line Tours - Horse Riding - Multi Level Challenge Course - Junior Challenge Course - and much more!

01291 690599

Call us:

activityuk act .com/gifts /giffts

20 December 2013/January 2014 - The Christmas Issue

0333 033 33 600 20 20 Or b buy online:

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

What’s on the box? BBC One will be relying on some familiar faces to boost their festive ratings this Christmas. Folllowing a celebration of Dr Who’s 50th anniversary a festive episode will be broadcast on Christmas Day. The Time of the Doctor wlll see Matt Smith make his final appearance as the Time Lord alongside Jenna Louise Coleman. Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman will be appearing in the popular return of Sherlock, while the not so popular fantasy drama Atlantis draws to a close. Matthew Horne will star alongside Jack Whitehall in a Christmas special of the high

school based comedy Bad Education and there will be one-off festive specials of Call the Midwife and Mrs Brown’s Boys. Radio 1 DJ Sara Cox and The Saturdays’ singer Rochelle Humes are among the celebrity guests on Strictly Come Dancing’s Christmas Special. Viewers will also find out who wins the coveted glitterball trophy as this year’s series comes to an end. Danny Dyer will make his first appearance as the new landlord of the Queen Vic in Eastenders while Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood will appear in a special episode of the Great Briish Bake Off. Over on ITV the Americans turn up at Downton Abbey for a two-hour special. Did Bates kill Green? Will Edith find her man before leaving her baby in Switzerland, will Mary choose between her suitors and will we find out at Christmas? Even the film premieres look a little familiar with Toy Story 3, Cars 2, Kung Fu Panda 2 and Pirates of the Carribean 4. But despite the relative lack of fresh ideas in the planned programming, commentators have predicted that viewers will be happy with the corporation’s Christmas offerings. Mediawatch-UK, which campaigns for socially responsible media, suggested audiences were happy to watch familiar formats over the festive season. A spokesman said: “Fundamentally what the licence fee

payer wants is something decent to watch. “It’s about quality. Christmas isn’t the time for the most challenging programmes.”

RETURNING favourites including Strictly Come Dancing, Sherlock, The Great British Bake Off, Dr Who and Downton Abbey

Choose your xmas bike early

December 2013/January 2014 - The Christmas Issue 21

Gazette & Diary Magazine

What will be in their stockings this Christmas?


CANNING the top 50 list of toys expected to be best-sellers this Christmas, there's a few familiar names, like Lego and Monopoly. 'They've stood the test of time, but while the brands and concepts might be the same, these toys are not replicas of the ones we played as kids. Things have changed, rather a lot, and toys are a little more hi-tech nowadays. "Everything has evolved," says Gary Grant, chair of the Dream Toys committee which compiles the list.

"Nothing on this list is exactly the same as it was years ago, when you or I were young. "Yes, Lego's on there, but it's not the same Lego we played with. Back then, the developments we saw were things like window panes and roofing panels - now things are far more advanced." As for Monopoly, with this year's Monopoly Empire, gone are the dog, old boot and top hat. Kids can now play with a Coke bottle, Xbox controller and carton of fries, as they battle it out to buy and sell modern multinational brands like Apple, McDonalds and Samsung, rather than hotels in Mayfair. "These are all common words in kids’ vocabulary," notes Grant. The new Monopoly Empire (RRP £19.99) made it onto the Top Ten. But, how exactly is the list compiled? It's a very thorough process. It starts with the Toy Retailers Association calling in lists drawn up by various toy retailers, indicating which items they think will do well this year. Once all that is merged, the Dream Toys committee, an independent panel representing 80 per cent of toy retailers, including Hamleys, Argos and Toys R Us, assess each suggestion, and compose the final lists. "It takes a whole day with a room full of people, thrashing out the pros and cons

of each item against another," explains Grant. "The only criteria of the Top 50 is that it's representative across all sections of the industry. So it wouldn't be a whole list of crafts, a whole list of games or a whole list of dolls." So first, the committee decides on the top selections in six different categories - the 'Let's Get Busy' toys which promote creativity, the 'Playground Banter' bunch (the ones that'll be the talk of the school), the tech based toys, the 'The Name's the Game' - toys linked to movie and gaming characters, or pop stars (One Direction dolls made the cut), the 'Granny Knows Best' which covers new takes on old favourites, and the £25 and under category. Finally, from these six groups, the Top Ten list is then compiled. (Though there are actually 11 things on the list this year, because the panel couldn't decide between Leapfrog's LeapPad Ultra (RRP £119.99) and VTech's InnoTab 3S (RRP £99.99), so they put them both on.) Tech clearly rules this year, and it's incredible to see how much things have developed in only a short space of time. Furby's set to be popular again, for exam-

ple - only now, the Furby Boom! (RRP £59.99) comes with an App that kids can use to feed and shower it, or even help it have a baby - a Furbling! There's also a Robo Fishbowl (RRP £14.99), Teksta Robotic Puppy (RRP£59.99) and the Flying Fairy by Flutterbye (RRP £34.99), which hovers in the air above your hand. "Kids expect more from their toys these days - their brains have evolved and things are far more complex now," says Grant. "Technology is kids' daily diet now.

Newport Sewing Centre All machines at Internet Prices Plus “Christmas Part Exchange Offers”

Janome DKS30 Normally £499.00, Save £50.00, now £449.00 Part Exchange Offer £50.00 You pay £399.00 With Free Quilting Pack worth £79.00 Sewing Machines start at just £99.00

Full Demonstrations on all our products Free two hour lesson with every sewing machine sold

01633 284646

J & B Sewing Machine Co Ltd Curlew Close, Queensway Meadows, Newport, South Wales. NP19 4SY

22 December 2013/January 2014 - The Christmas Issue

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year It doesn't freak them out like it might an older person - it's just what they're used to." Talking of 'freaking out' - the '£25 and under' category is good news to families on a budget. Four items on the overall Top Ten list cost under £25 and, on average, the must-have toys are £10 cheaper than last year. "And bear in mind that these are the beacon items on a child's wish-list," adds Grant. "We're not looking at stocking fillers - these are the top 'main' presents." Once again, the list created a buzz in the media, flashed across newspapers within hours of being revealed in early November. This comes as no surprise to the industry experts. "Toys aren't frivolous things," says Grant. "They're not just something to keep kids amused. Yes, they're playing [with toys], but they're learning so much at the same time - they can go off into a dream world where they're using their creativity and imagination and figuring things out as they go." So should parents be rushing out to buy all items from the list? Not necessarily. "The list is only a prediction," Grant explains. "We don't know yet which toys will actually end up selling out, but we are pretty accurate; over the last 15 years we've been doing this, we usually get about eight out of 10 predictions right. "So if your child has written their wish-list early, and it has one of the Top Ten and is already selling fast, then don't wait until the last minute to buy it." That said, Grant advises taking time and thinking carefully about what to pick off the shelves, and for this reason he recommends going to a toy shop, rather than buying online. "I'm not bashing internet shopping, but if you go into a toy department, you'll be greeted by somebody who knows their stuff, knows the market, and can advise on age-group suitability and what might be suitable for your child. "So you can go home knowing you've bought the right toy."

TOP TEN DREAM TOYS ● City Coast Guard (Lego RRP £59.99) ● Doc McStuffins Doctor's Bag Playset (Flair RRP £19.99) ● Flying Fairy by Flutterbye (Spin Master Toys UK RRP £34.99) ● Furby Boom! (Hasbro RRP £59.99) ● InnoTab 3S (VTech RRP £99.99) ● LeapPad Ultra (Leapfrog RRP £119.99) ● Monopoly Empire (Hasbro RRP £19.99) ● Monster High 13 Wishes Doll (Mattel RRP £22.99) ● Nerf N-Strike Elite RapidStrike CS-18 (Hasbro RRP £39.99) ● Robo Fishbowl (Zuru-Geemac RRP £14.99) ● Teksta Robotic Puppy (Character Options RRP £59.99)

December 2013/January 2014 - The Christmas Issue 23

Gazette & Diary Magazine Pink persuasion

A ROSE champagne with personality and character, Madame Lily Bollinger would be delighted by the first new Bollinger cuvee in 30 years and the robust richness of Bollinger Rose Brut NV (£46.49, Waitrose). With a high proportion of pinot noir to give depth and structure, this seductive salmon pink rose has sweet strawberry fruits on the nose with an exuberant, fresh and minerally finish.

Enjoy a merry measure

If you want to give your loved one - or your drinks cabinet a festive treat, here's a round-up of this season's top tipples. Double the pleasure

THE seventh generation family winemakers and highly respected house of BillecartSalmon have created a special gift box to impress your nearest and dearest. Nestled inside a black engraved case, the Billecart-Salmon Coffret gift set (£105, contains a bottle of Brut Reserve perfect to enjoy with a rich pate, and Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru (made from 100% chardonnay) to marry with grilled langoustine or pan-fried scallops.

Tools of the trade

Charming, quirly and retro, The Bramble Case (£185, is the creation of Tipplesworth and London micro distillery Sipsmith. A portable cocktail case with all the bar essentials, mixologists can create gin-based cocktails using Sipsmith London Dry Gin (35cl), Merlet Creme de Mure, Tipplesworth Pure Cane Sugar Syrup and Organic Lemon Juice. Just pour the ingredients into a Boston shaker, strain into two tumblers and celebrate happy hour.

PARAGLIDING and PARAMOTORING Over 15 years experience Fully skilled and qualified instructors.

Look at Abergavenny from a new perspective




01873 850111 07970 421373 35 Mount Street, Abergavenny NP7 7DT 24 December 2013/January 2014 - The Christmas Issue

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Family fortunes

A toast to ol' blue eyes

ROYAL warrant holders Berry Bros & Rudd reside over a stellar cellar, and their gift parcels are not only despatched to Royal households, but to drinks enthusiasts looking for some special Yuletide inspiration. The Berry Bros & Rudd Family Christmas (£65.50, 6 bottles or £131, 12 bottles, contains one or two bottles of Old World classics such as Berrys' Chablis 2011, Berrys' Good Ordinary Claret 2010 and New World favourites Berrys' Chilean Sauvignon Blanc 2012 and Berrys' Chilean Merlot.

From time to time, distilleries release one-off, limited editions to catch our imagination, and Jack Daniel's Sinatra Select (£150,www.whiskyshop. com) is one such thing. America's most famous andbest-selling whiskey brand, Jack Daniel's, released this last year inanticipation of legendary crooner Frank Sinatra's 100th birthday in 2015, and is now available to buy in the UK.

Golden nugget

A GLITTERING edition to the holiday drinks cabinet, Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve (£57.50, 70cl, has been dipped in gold lacquer for the party season. With signature Johnnie Walker smoke lingering in the background, Gold Label is smooth and fruity with honey and toffee notes and a pleasing, creamy mouthfeel.

Best buy

Ice and pink... Soft drinks supremo Bottle Green have launched a limited edition Bottle Green Sparkling Morello Cherry (£2.39, 75cl, Waitrose) as an alternative to alchohol ahead of the party season. A dazzling cerise pink, the infusion of tart morello cherry and sour grapefruit flavours are full of zing while the blend of sparkling water makes it a refreshing change to fruit juice.

The Christmas spirit

Crystal Head Vodka and two Skull Shot Glasses (£65, 70cl, may not look especially festive, but the silky smooth, premium spirit will bring tidings of joy to vodka lovers. Perfectly pure, Crystal Head is quadruple distilled in glacial water from a deep aquifier in Newfoundland, Canada, then triple filtered through polished crystals. The creation of Dan Ackroyd, Crystal Head will appeal to ghostbusters and white spirit lovers alike.

December 2013/January 2014 - The Christmas Issue 25

Gazette & Diary Magazine

26 December 2013/January 2014 - The Christmas Issue

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

!Tis the season for wellbeing M

Hibernating and over-indulging have their place in the winter timetable, but, if you want to boost your wellbeing, so does doing something.

INDFULNESS has become a bit of a 'buzz' word in the world of wellbeing lately. It might sound a little too New Age to some but, fancy words aside, mindfulness is really very simple. It's all about really embracing the opportunities around you. Despite the added stress Christmas can bring, the festive season is actually a great time to practice this mindfulness, and boost your wellbeing in the process. "Being more mindful is almost too easy," says Steven Tromans, a hypnotherapy and NLP expert and founder of Justbewell ( "All you need to do is become aware of what is going on through your senses. So when you're really engaged in the activity, allow your mind to go a little quieter and then really use your eyes to see what's going on around you. "Notice the colours, the shapes, the 3D-ness of the environment. Do this for a while and then switch awareness to another sense. Really take in the smell of your environment, whether it's the lavender in an oil-burner, the warm smell of baking, the freshness of the air when you're ice-skating. "Do this for a while, then listen to what's going on - the sound of wrapping paper being folded between your fingers, children laughing on the skating rink... "Treat it as a game; it may well be a lot more fun than you imagine..."

● Ice-skating

There's something magically movie-like about winter ice-rinks. Just picture yourself gracefully gliding around the rink, hand in hand with your friend or beloved, laughing merrily at the sheer joy of it, warming up with a steaming mulled wine afterwards... Now go and do it! Ok, so in reality it's probably going to be a far clumsier scene, but it's a great chance to reconnect with your inner child and have some festive fun.

● Sledging

"If the snow comes down, don't just send the kids off to play - get out there and do some sledging as well," suggests Coote. "You'd be amazed at how much energy you use up running up a snowy hillside and sliding down on an old dinner tray. No one said that exercise can't be fun."

● Walking

When the temperatures plummet, it's easy to moan and groan about the weather, with that spot on the sofa becoming ever more tempting. Granted, we had a great summer and Britain in bloom looked glorious. But the great outdoors is a thing of beauty during winter too - you just have to get out there and appreciate it. When the nights draw in early, trudging to the gym might be very unappealing, but an afternoon walk is a great way of factoring in some daily exercise and getting some oxygen into your lungs. Whether you live in the town or countryside, there's always a route nearby (check out and, and the great thing about walking is that it can be as strenuous or moderate as your fitness levels allow. Even a gentle 15-minute stroll could significantly reduce stress levels in the runup to Christmas.

● Baking

The Great British Bake Off effect is still in full swing, with baking officially enjoying an ongoing revival. It's no surprise really - fans of baking have long sung its praises as a rewarding and stress-relieving pastime, and in today's 'hectic' world, retreating to the peaceful haven of the kitchen, pummelling your frustrations into a ball of dough or batter has never been so appealing. If you're a baking beginner, the festive season is the perfect opportunity to get involved; mince pies and Christmas cake taste much better made with love.

● Gift wrapping

Wrapping that mound of presents is often a dreaded chore. But, approached in the right

way, there's no reason it can't be turned into an enjoyable event and a chance to unwind. It's all about making an occasion of it. First of all - STOP worrying about whether you've spent enough/too much. Nobody 'needs' to spend a fortune at Christmas, and nobody 'needs' the 'best' gifts. A gift is just that - a gift! And the giving and receiving, if you cut the other stress we're coerced into creating around it, should be a positive thing. Once that's done, why not set aside an afternoon or evening for your wrapping? Light a scented candle, put some music on (festive or otherwise), pour yourself a glass of wine or a mug of hot chocolate, and give the job in hand your full attention. Even an hour or two of your undivided attention could turn this annoying task into something far more rewarding.

Spiced Parsnip Soup curry oil and parsnip crisps Baked Welsh Goats Cheese Toasted crouton with sauté leeks, Primrose Farm mixed leaves and mulled wine dressing Rustic Rabbit, Venison and Pigeon Terrine wrapped in Bacon Homemade piccalilli and toasted onion bread oooOOOooo Charcoal Grilled Turkey Escalope Saltimboca sweet chestnut and winter greens, bubble and squeak, roasted roots, caper, parsley & lemon butter Seared Escalope of Salmon roasted winter squash, balsamic and thyme beetroot caramelised shallots and mild horseradish cream Wild Mixed Mushroom and Fresh Hand Rolled Pasta Layer with truffle oil and fresh parmesan Charcoal Grilled Rump Steak – (£3 supp) Oven roasted tomato, flat mushroom, onion rings, Chips cooked in dripping oooOOOooo Frangipane and Mincemeat Filled Bakewell Tart Christmas pudding ice cream Rich Dark Chocolate Mousse Grand Marnier clementines and chantilly cream Christmas Eton Mess Cassis liqueur, greek yoghurt, jersey cream, lemon curd and mixed berries oooOOOooo Lunch £19.95 including coffee and mince pies Dinner £25.00 including coffee and mince pies

December 2013/January 2014 - The Christmas Issue 27

Gazette & Diary Magazine

Don’t break the bank T

HIS Christmas, UK shoppers expect to splash out a staggering total of £24 billion on festive food, treats and gifts. If this leave you - understandably - uneasy, here are some tips to help your rein in your Christmas budget. ● Fix your limits: List what you expect to spend over the festive season, from presents and decorations to food, socialising and transport. Keep some cash back to pay the mid-January bills. ● Compare online prices with those off-line Shopping online can be cheaper than the high street, especially if you can find a discount voucher code. This is not always the case though, and it's worth seeing what's on offer in your high street. Check delivery charges to get a clear cost comparison and look out for deals which could help you build 'loyalty points' on cards. ● Think twice about tempting treats: 'Buy one get one free' offers in the supermarket can save you large sums of cash. But if 'special offer' items will just sit going mouldy in the fridge, then you are not getting as much value as you first thought. Shopping online can cut the chances of last-minute panic buys. ●Freeze essential items: Eat what you need now from your freezer to clear space for freezable Christmas essentials. Buying food earlier and freezing it, rather than raiding the supermarket in the final days before Christmas Day as items fly off the shelves will help you budget and let you build up your stock gradually. Keep a list of what you have frozen and remember to defrost it all in time.




● Get crafty: Making cakes, cards and decorations adds the personal touch as well as often working out cheaper than shopbought items. tags. ● Think about all your options before taking out credit: Stores may offer you cards with tempting offers and instant discounts attached, but bear in mind the interest rate they will charge. Information: More advice to help people have a savvy Christmas is available by using the Money Advice Service's Christmas Money Planner at

Glangrwyney Court Country House

Glangrwyney Court is an exclusive venue to host your Corporate Meeting or Event. Daily delegate rates start from just £16 per head to include lunch & refreshments. Hourly room hire also available from £35 to accommodate shorter meetings.

Whatever the occasion we look forward to welcoming you.... • Weddings • Meetings • Corporate Events • Private Parties & Events • Funeral Gatherings • Charity & Fundraising events plus Country House Accommodation & Holiday Cottages GLANGRWYNEY COURT CRICKHOWELL POWYS NP8 1ES. tel: 01873 811288. Email:

28 December 2013/January 2014 - The Christmas Issue

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Christmas at CRiC C

RICKHOWELL is set for a season of festivity and the Oriel CRiC Gallery is setting the trend with a Christmas exhibition brimful of items to tantalise and tempt. From tiny Christmas decorations to ceramics, jewellery, paintings and prints – there is something for everyone. Finding something beautiful for your home, a unique handmade gift or simply enjoying the variety on offer will be equally enjoyable from 30 November until the end of January 2014. This has become one of the gallery’s most popular exhibitions annually showing quality, exciting contemporary art and craft carefully selected in celebration of the breadth of work so much valued by visitors to the gallery. Always offering a warm and welcoming atmosphere, the Crickhowell Resource and Information Centre (CRiC) is conveniently situated in the centre of the town. Whether visitors are in search for something unusual, locally produced gifts, maps and guides, or simply a good cup of coffee they are certain to be surprised at just how much is on offer.

The Centre is open daily from 10 till 5, Sundays 10 till 1.30. Please check the website for opening times over the Christmas period. Crickhowell’s late night festive shopping celebration will take place on 5 December. Tel 01873 811970

December 2013/January 2014 - The Christmas Issue 29

Gazette & Diary Magazine Tel: 01495 220011 Fax: 01495 228217 Email:

Maes Manor is the perfect venue for holding a wedding reception. With our experience, quality of service, high food standards and overall value for money we guarantee that you and your guests will have a day to remember. From the moment you arrive our friendly professional team will be on hand to ensure that everything runs smoothly. Our extensive packages offer a wide range of choices for your special day, but these are only guidelines. At Maes Manor we recognise that each wedding is individual, therefore, our packages and menus can be tailored or adapted if required. To discuss your ideas or to arrange a tour please call our wedding co-ordinator on 01495 220011 or download our wedding brochure at

As well as our Classic and Elegance packages we have four special offer packages available for 2014 Package 1

Package 2

Package 3

Package 4

Funky Fridays

Late Summer Deal £49 per person

2014 packages for £2,014

Winter wedding £52 per guest

Available from the 1st November - 30th November 2014 £4,500 all in for up to 80 day guests and up to 120 evening guests or £50 per person if above set numbers Bucks fizz & Orange Juice on arrival 3 course Wedding Breakfast Wine for your Toast Hog Roast Evening Buffet No Room Hire Charges For Breakfast or Evening Celebrations Complimentary Bridal Suite for Bride & Groom including breakfast

Bookings after 1st November 2013 .Valid from 1st March - 30th September 2014

Summer Punch or Bucks Fizz and Orange Juice on arrival 2 course Wedding Breakfast Evening Buffet For all Day Guests No Room Hire Charges For Breakfast or Evening Celebrations Complimentary Bridal Suite For Bride & Groom including breakfast Additional Evening Guests will be priced at £15 per person thereafter

Bookings after 1st November 2013 Only Available Monday to Wednesday from 1st January to 30th November 2014 £2,014 for 50 day guests & 100 evening guests Bucks fizz and Orange Juice on arrival 2 course Wedding Breakfast Evening Buffet of Bacon & Sausage Butties with home made chips No Room Hire Charges For Breakfast or Evening Celebrations Complimentary Bridal Suite For Bride & Groom including breakfast

January, February and March 2014 subject to availability Winter Punch or Bucks Fizz on arrival 3 course Wedding Breakfast No Room Hire Charges For Breakfast or Evening Celebrations Evening Finger Buffet for all of your Day Guests Complimentary Bridal Suite For Bride & Groom including breakfast

Maes Manor Hotel, Maesrudded Lane, Blackwood, Gwent. NP12 0AG 30 December 2013/January 2014 - The Christmas Issue


Winter Weddings

Planning a romantic winter wedding? I

F you think there's no setting more romantic than a blanket of snow, then consider planning a winter wedding! Rich seasonal colors make this a great time for weddings -- but there are potential winter wedding problems you need to keep in mind. The first potential pitfall for weddings in most parts of the country is, obviously, the chilly temperatures. Your first line of defence is dressing your wedding party weather-appropriately. Keeping warm doesn't have to mean throwing your regular winter coat over your gown. Try an elegant fur stole instead, which will perfectly complement your gorgeous gown. You can still choose strapless dresses or bridesmaids dresses with shorter hems, but consider incorporating wraps in an accenting colour or even opaque tights if they will be spending a significant amount of time outdoors. (They can always take them off later if things heat up at the reception.) Indulge in the deeper hues for your bridesmaids dresses — black and charcoal have become extremely popular for winter. And while you probably won't want to plan an outdoor winter wedding reception (especially if you live in an area that gets plenty of snow and ice), there are still lots of ways to bring the beauty of the season indoors.

Hang garlands of greenery or icicle-like crystals to highlight your dance floor or cake table, and incorporate plenty of candles, pinecones, and glittery details into your centerpieces. Another way to create a cozy reception is by using plenty of lush, soft textures -- like velvet, chenille, or tweed -- into your decor. You can even bring the best of the season with winter wedding catering ideas -- serve tasty soup shooters during the cocktail hour, hearty comfort food during the dinner, and pass out shortbread cookies and spiced cider for your midnight snack. Your guests will love the toasty treat - especially before they have to head back into the cold. Another great option? A decked out coffee bar with extras like whipped cream and chocolate shavings will warm everyone up. One of the most popular wedding favours to give in New York at present is a snow globe. Since we are not in New York try a snow globe with a classic wintry scene or a simple crystal snowflake.

Welsh Chair Cover Company

Specialists in chair covers and decorative linens

Add style, elegance and that wow factor. We provide affordable quality, full planning and consultation including fabric samplers. Delivery, fitting and collection from your venue. A personal service with real attention to details. For large or small functions Visit our website at: Email: Tel: 01495 352288 Mob: 07896 697458

December 2013/January 2014 - The Christmas Issue 31

Gazette & Diary Magazine Romantic Winter Whites

WHITE weddings have always ruled in winter, but an allwhite colour palette doesn't have to mean modern, stark white floral arrangements. Stylish brides and grooms are going for a soft, "antique" white effect, made up of flowers in c r e a m s , ivories, and even very pale blush hues. As for the blooms themselves, consider a mix of classics like white amaryllis, calla lilies, orchids, tulips, and anemones. This combo can create an effect of gently modulated color and texture that will look both elegantly monotone and lavishly romantic.

Rich, Festive Reds

DECADENT reds have become especially popular flower arrangements for weddings from December through to February. The best red winter blossoms are roses, anemones, amaryllis, gloriosa lilies, calla lilies, and cymbidium orchids, just to name a few. Floral designers are using "monofloral" arrangements in which one flower type is bunched tightly into high-impact, sculptural displays and spread throughout the

Flowers for your winter wedding room. Another idea is to go for more variegated centerpieces; a broad palette of shades including ruby, deep orange, wine, and plum are combined for a visually rich, intriguing effect.

Tactile Accents

FLORISTS can add dimension to your centerpieces by mixing in touches of sage green lamb's ear and silvery Dusty Miller leaves. You'll get a frosty effect that reflects the season while breaking up an all-white or red palette. You can do the same with your bouquet. Carry a single-flower cluster down the aisle (think a mass of anemones, tulips, or roses), and keep it interesting by incorporating these small bursts of colour and texture.

32 December 2013/January 2014 - The Christmas Issue

Beyond Floral Bouquets

THINK outside the flowerbed and bring in a few nonfloral elements, such as white snowberries or viburnum, hypericum, or pepper berries, which add dimension and serious seasonal appeal. Some brides are even adding dramatic feathers to their flowers, and most are asking for the buttonholes to echo their multitextured bouquets - use a single white feather and cluster of snowberries, or a eucalyptus berry against a silver-green Dusty Miller leaf.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Forgotten Abergavenny LAST month’s photograph of long queues at the Coliseum cinema brough back memories for local woman Sheila E M Parry, who wrote: It was so interesting to see the photograph of the long queue for the Coliseum Cinema in Abergavenny taken in 1958. As I was looking at the picture I suddenly saw that my late husband and I are in the picture. We nearly always went to the 'pictures' on a Saturday, either to the Coliseum or the Pavilion cinema. We got engaged in March 1959 and were married in June 1960 so this picture must have been taken in our 'courting' days. In those days we either went to the pictures, or a local dance on a Saturday....sometimes we managed to go to both! The cost of the seats in the cinema in those days was 1.9d in what we called 'the flea pit', 2.6d (half a crown) at the back of the ground floor in the Coliseum and 3.9d up on the balcony. The balcony was where we used to like best of all, especially if you were lucky enough to get a 'back seat'. Here it seemed permissible to hold hands and have a cuddle.....sometimes even a kiss was stolen! I particularly remember one Saturday evening Lewis and I were waiting in the queue in the pouring rain...we had no rain hats on and the rain was running down our faces and dropping off the end of our noses. Rain didn't bother either of us too much as we both lived on farms and were used to the elements, but this down-pour soon shortened the queue! Thank you for this memorable picture.

THIS month’s picture is a rare colourised shot of a Carnival Queen competition from 1932 discovered among the effects of the late Elsie Hall ( who was then Elsie Morris) by her son Gordon. Elsie, a well known Abergavenny resident is pictured on the far left along with Mary Morris, Irene Mussel,

Ruth Poston and Mary Pinkstone. If you’ve have any memories of being a Carnival Queen, or indeed the Abergavenny Carnival itself, please get in touch by emailing or writing to Forgotten Abergavenny, Tindle House, 13 Nevill Street, Abergavenny, NP7 5AA.


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Have your carpets and wood floor fitted by our top class Team. Satisfaction guaranteed with over 25 years experience. As the new owners of doleq carpets we would love to see old and new customers. Come and see us for the A1 service and low prices, all prices per Sq Yd. 83m2

Phone for free estimate on 01495 312830 Unit 2 & 3 Noble Square Ind Est, Brynmawr Opening Hours: Monday - Friday 9am to 5pm Saturday 9.30am to 2pm December 2013/January 2014 - The Christmas Issue 33

Gazette & Diary Magazine

Gifts for the gardener in your life By Hannah Stephenson


HAT do you give the gardener who has everything? Perhaps a luxurious back and neck massage to ease those endless hours of digging? Or perhaps a good manicure to file away all that grime from under the nails? Let's face it though, not many gardeners actually do have everything, a garden always needs something new - which makes finding a gift this Christmas that little bit easier. You don't have to go big - a few pretty plant labels in, say, slate or terracotta, a selection of seeds to keep them busy in the New Year, some stationery with fruit or veg patterns or simply a new pair of secateurs to help them through spring pruning may go down well. There's a plethora of personalised gifts for the gardener - check out www.getting-

BURGON & Ball trowel and fork

FALLEN Fruits watering can and plant pots for a selection of calendars, diaries, crates and even shed signs that can be personalised to feature the recipient's name. If you're looking to replace bog standard basics with more stylish ones, consider a new watering can and matching plant pots from Fallen Fruits, which offers a pretty patterned set of a can and three plant pots for £20 ( or phone 0800 50 40 30). Burgon & Ball also has stylish new ranges of forks, trowels, kneelers and other accessories, endorsed by the Royal Horticultural Society. I particularly like the chrysanthemum pattern, taken from the striking illus-

34 December 2013/January 2014 - The Christmas Issue

tration of Chrysanthemum 'Karashishi' by the Japanese artist K Hasegawa, dating from 1891 and taken from the RHS's Lindley Library. The trowel and fork come in a beautiful printed box, featuring painted handles printed with the RHS logo and an engravFLORAL ankle wellies by Cath Kidston

ing of the Gertrude Jekyll quote, 'The love of gardening is a seed once sown, that never dies' on the body of the trowel. Priced ¬£19.95, they're available from all good garden centres, RHS plant centres and Gardeners who want to match their stylish new tools may want to chuck out their old wellies in favour of some natty new Kew Sprig ankle wellies from Cath Kidston. They don't just look good, they are snug too, whether on the allotment, trudging through the snow or on their way to a summer festival. Made of rubber with a cotton inner, priced £35 in sizes 4-8, for stockist details visit For new vegetable gardeners Mr Fothergill's Get Growing range of seeds (£1.60 - £3.15) and kits, including herb pots (£1.49), starter collection boxes (£8.49) and mini windowsill propagator kits (£3.29) will make ideal stocking-fillers. For details go to For those who might want to attract wildlife to their garden, tell them to put the new BeeMat on their Christmas list. It's a biodegradable, pre-seeded growing mat containing mixed flower seeds which aim to attract bees, including verbena, Californian poppy and borage among other varieties, and is available to plant from spring. As well as providing colour, the mat will also suppress weeds. For stockists visit or call 01476 530374.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year cotta in under an hour, adding your If you know a gardener who gets own freshly grown herbs and spices to peckish while working in the garthe cheeses. The kit has enough to den, a selection of luxury biscuits make 10 batches and each batch in quirky tubes of 'Keep Calm' garweighs around 2lbs - that's a lot of dening themes may make the cheese for a kit costing £19.99. ideal gift. The tubes can be Ornamental owls may have used to store plant labels, made their mark in the garstring and other gardening den in the past couple of sundries long after the bisyears, but now other anicuits have been eaten mals are also gaining mo(triple pack £13.99, mentum. A new collection of solar powered metal silhouette 0844 573 1818). animals including an elephant, horse, Gardeners who prefer to make hare, peacock, duck, swan, pheasant, their own produce may opt for an unusual new cheese-making NEW Christmas heron and cockerel cast both light and interesting shadows at kit from Suttons (www.suttree shaped night. Each contains an integral, featurazaelea from solar panel that powers a ing everything you need to Thompson and rechargeable battery that lights make fresh mozzarella and riMorgan either a white LED or a colour changing LED at night. Ranging in price from £24.99 to £39.99, they are available from most leading garden centres. For details go to Those who want to attract real wildlife into their garden can do so with a striking new Echoes bird bath from Suttons, a sturdy glazed ceramic piece in shades of dusky pink, brown and green, with matching feet. the first verse of William Blake's Auguries of Innocence is inscribed around the edge. (£24.99, christmas or 0844 922 0606) If your loved one is more interesting in entertaining guests around the Christmas table than entertaining bird life, look no further than a dazzling miniature azalea tree from Thompson & Morgan. The present features a double-flowered evergreen SNACKS for pecking gardeners from azalea (height 50-60cm/20-24in) shaped Thompson and Morgan

BIRDS that light up at night go

like a mini Christmas tree, branches laden with buds, delivered in a pot. The plant comes in either red or white (£39.99, 0844 573 1818). A sure-fire win for any gardener is an annual pass with the National Trust ( to allow visitors to wallow in inspirational gardens, or an RHS membership

( which includes free garden visits, discounted show tickets and a monthly magazine. If they want to just increase their knowledge, opt for membership of Garden Organic ( for access to specialist advice, reduced costs to join its Heritage Seed Library and free entry to RHS gardens. NATIONAL Trust membership from

December 2013/January 2014 - The Christmas Issue 35

36 December 2013/January 2014 - The Christmas Issue

Gazette Motoring

Keith Price Garages Ltd get Sudsy with Pudsey KEITH PRICE GARAGES LTD have been working hard raising money for BBC Children in Need with merchandise, bike rides, and getting ‘Sudsy with Pudsey’. The family run Volvo, Subaru and Peugeot dealership, situated on the outskirts of Abergavenny, has been in the trade for over 30 years, and this year all of their staff have been combining their efforts towards fundraising. Selling Children in Need merchandise such as hairbands and keyrings, the store have also taken part in some quite mammoth tasks to raise money. The company made a huge effort last month by cycling from Brecon to Llanfoist, where they raised over £1,000, and hope this is just the beginning. Vicky Shephard, from the garage said: “All of the staff have got so involved this year, as Peugeot is backing us to get as much money raised as we can. We’re grateful to those who sponsored us, and hope that people can continue to do so.” The company is working towards a goal of raising £2,000, and want to encourage people to join the ‘Get Sudsy with Pudsey’ campaign, by buying

a car wash kit and holding an event. The kit includes a Pudsey sponge and Wash and Wax shampoo, and all proceeds to towards Children in Need. Vicky added: “We want people to remember that even though the BBC only host the event for a day, the fundraising continues all year round, so come along and buy your kit to give money to the great cause.” To help them raise money for the BBC Children in Need Appeal, visit one of their garages to purchase your kit, or call them on 01873 811555.

Winter checks will boost festive cheer for Seat owners

SEAT drivers can rest assured that their cars are ready for winter with a newly-announced deal. Owners can take advantage of a 28-point Winter Safety Check at their local Seat dealer, with technicians checking tyres, brakes, all fluid levels and more, with topups if needed. The fixed-price £29 offer includes inspections of the cooling system, handbrake linkages, steering and electrics. After the inspection owners will be advised of any areas that need attention beyond the fluid and tyre pressure top-ups. What's more,

owners will be given a one-litre bottle of Castrol Edge professional-grade engine oil to take away, worth £18 on its own. Appointments for the Winter Safety Check can be booked online, in person or over the phone.

Gift that keeps on giving ALMOST two in five Brits (39 per cent) have been given a car as a present, according to research from Direct Line. This includes six per cent of people who have even been lucky enough to have received two or more cars in the past. The most popular reason for being given the keys to a new set of wheels, as cited by over a third (37 per cent) of recipients, was to celebrate a special occasion, including birthdays (22 per cent), passing a driving test (11 per cent) securing a new job (six per cent) and even as a wedding or anniversary present (four per cent). Younger drivers appear to be particularly fortunate, as a tenth (10 per cent) of all giftwrapped run-arounds were for 17th or 18th birthday presents.

Aside from celebrating special occasions, the second most common reason for being given a car was because a family member was buying a new one (22 per cent). And for 12 per cent, the reason was parents’ desire to ensure their children could travel around safely. Over half (51 per cent) of all those who have been given a vehicle as a present received it from their parents. A fifth (21 per cent) were from motorists’ ‘significant others’, with women three times (32 per cent) more likely than men (nine per cent) to receive a car as a present from their other half. The average value of vehicles given as gifts is £5,000, although one in twenty-five (four per cent) lucky recipients of a new car have been given a motor worth over £20,000.

December 2013/January 2014 - The Christmas Issue 37

Penpentre, Llanfaes, Brecon, Powys. LD3 8DL

Tel: 01874 623311 Tel: 01874 611421 Fax: 01874 610325

Brecon Car Sales is a family run business in the small town of Brecon. Established for 30 years we will endeavour to provide you with the best customer service within the market place. Although we specialise in Renaults we will service, MOT and carry out work on all makes and models. Our technicians are fully trained to Renault standards. We are a friendly garage and welcome all of our customers. Coffee is complimentary and provided to you while you wait. Transportation issues will gladly be addressed within the local area. Why not have a day out in Brecon while you’re up here?

New Renault Clio - from NIL Advance Rental

Opening Hours (Mon-Fri) 8:30am to 5:00pm (Sat) 9am to 12.30pm (Sun) Closed

Renault Megane Hatchback from ÂŁ350.00

Dacia Sandero - from NIL Advance Rental

38 December 2013/January 2014 - The Christmas Issue

Gazette Motoring


T’S party time at Aston Martin. Their centenary year has been a glorious celebration of machinery new and old, and it’s been a very satisfying experience to see just how far the marque has come, especially over the last decade. The CC100 concept is quite something, but you can’t buy the concept in your local dealer. The Vantage V12 S, however, is a different story. The Vantage is Aston Martin’s entry model if you can call it that - and in its V8 guise, it’s a gusty yet comfortable sports car. However, in 2009 the company’s CEO Dr Ulrich Bez decreed that Aston’s smallest car should be the recipient of its biggest engine; the 6.0-litre V12. This automotive alchemy required a great deal of work. Squeezing a 6.0-litre V12 engine into a space that was never designed to hold it creates a few issues, but in achieving it they created a 21st century muscle car. And it was brilliant. The V12 S is that little bit extra too. Right out of the box, it is second only to the outrageous £1 million One-77 hypercar in terms of acceleration; the Vantage V12 S can crack 60mph from rest in 3.7 seconds.

V12 for victory celebrates Aston’s glorious centenary It's helped by the engine; a new V12 that first appeared in the Vanquish but has now been inserted into the smaller and lighter Vantage. While the old car did rather well with 510bhp the new one offers 565bhp which, by any stretch of the imagination, is a lot. This looks like no other Aston Martin either. The previous V12 Vantage looked pretty tough thanks to an extended bodykit and many much-needed vents in the bonnet, but the V12 S is a different animal. It looks barely capable of containing the muscle within, like a bodybuilder crammed into a shirt three sizes too small. As you walk up to it and climb inside, it looks a lot like its GT4 racing siblings. Climb inside through the clever upswinging 'swan wing' doors and you sit low and snug. The standard sports seats are good but the


Brecon Tel: 611421 Llanfaes, 01874 or 623311

WITH the dark nights upon us and temperatures beginning to fall, now is the time to get your car ready for winter. How often do we realise we have been driving around with bulbs out or put up with dodgy wipers just because we don’t have the time or the money to get it sorted. Well at Lee Jowitt Auto Repairs make an appointment for a free, yes, free winter check over. This will include checking lights, wipers, tyres and anti-freeze. If any work is needed a no obligation quote will be provided. Lee opened the business in April 2012 and the last 18 months has seen the business grow from strength to strength. Demand for his services has seen the business expand with the appointment of a new vehicle technician to ensure that customers get the service that they want, when they want it. The business has also invested in new machinery over the last 18 months such as air conditioning (which was needed quite a bit this summer), new ramps and tyre machines. Lee would like to say a very big thank you to all customers for their support over the last 18 months and looks forward to seeing them for their free winter check over.

Speedshift III automated manual transmission is ready to go. Newly developed for this installation, Aston says it offers its fastest shifts and is lighter than the previous manual gearbox. The gear changes are undoubtedly rapid if not quite as smooth as a dual clutch transmission, but there’s rarely a moment when you think about anything other than what a spectacularly fun car it is to drive.

Cold & Cars – Free checkover for your car this winter with Lee Jowitt Auto Repairs

optional bucket items offer top-drawer support and save a few pounds in weight too. Slot the sapphire glass key into the slot and the V12 S whirrs and snarls into life. In standard mode the exhaust runs through a hefty silencer, which keeps the noise civilised. Punch the Sport button and this is bypassed, giving full noise. You will want to do this as often as possible. Hit the D button on the dashboard and the

December 2013/January 2014 - The Christmas Issue 39

Gazette & Diary Magazine

I spay, I spay, I spay! CLIMATE change matters. Rugby matters. The 'X-factor' does not matter. When you de-sex your pet is important but does it really matter? The decision of whether you should neuter pets is generally made on the basis of improved behaviour and health. At Abbey Vets we provide an opportunity to discuss the matter at the adolescent stage and very much treat it as an individual decision by an owner on behalf, of course, their pet.

Bigwell Fly Fishery


HIS trout fishery is set in the heart of the Wye Valley at the edge of the small village of Redbrook. Bigwell has been under new management since May 2013. Gary Gray is the new proprietor and is a former client. The fishery has been significantly improved since Gary took the reins and returning anglers have been very complimentary. The venue itself comprises three main pools and a nursery pool. Main pool number one is a crystal clear pool where stalking your prey is the order of the day. Pools two and three are slightly coloured though vision through the water is still very good - wear those polaroids! The fishery is stocked weekly with 2½-3lb high quality trout maintaining a very healthy head of fish. Also stocked is a quantity of large trout 6-12lbs, as sporting fish to be released, for our clients’ added pleasure. Competitions are regularly held for great prizes, visit our facebook page for details. New or old clients - we look forward to welcoming you to a great days fishing!

Male cats should have the very quick and simple procedure because if you wait more than six months they start weeing backwards over the kitchen furniture. With a pet dog, the medical reasons for castration revolve around the reduction in risk of testosterone related diseases i.e. prostate problems and hormone associated tumours. Behaviourally male dogs are easier to manage if their motivation is focused on fetching a (tennis) ball instead of using theirs. In addition, if present, male associated aggression is reduced. Overall the decision is based on the individual dog's character rather than the general principle of castrating everything. Females present more of a problem (whispered, no surprise there). Cats, actually the correct term is queens, are straightforward because although they stop short of dirty protests, unspayed they behave like a character from MTVs "The Valleys" every three weeks through mating season. This tarting, yowling, fighting and overuse of alcohol is too much for most owners (OK, they don't drink alcohol). Female dogs, (or being grown up here) bitches, pose the greatest dilemma. To cut an article short we need to discuss the issue. Basically if breeding is out the question then our advice is to spay after the first full season but if in doubt come along and discuss it with our staff. Abbey Veterinary Centres

● Facilities: Disabled anglers are welcome Toilets with disabled facilites All day full English breakfast; lunch time specials; sandwiches; cold drinks and complimentary beverages for clients. Bigwell Flyfishery, Tinmans Green, Redbrook, Monmouth, NP25 4NB 01600 772904 email: web:

This trout fishery is set in the heart of the Wye Valley at the edge of the small village of Redbrook.

“A caring, friendly, professional vets”

This trout fishery is set in the heart of the Wye Valley at the edge of the small village of Redbrook The venue itself comprises 3 main pools and a nursery pool. The top pool has crystal clear water where stalking prey is the order of the day. The middle and lower Pools are slightly coloured though vision through the water is still good - wear those polaroids! The fishery is stocked weekly with 21/2 to 31/2Lb new bloodline high quality trout maintaining a very healthy head of fish. Also stocked is a quantity of large trout 6-12lbs,as sporting fish to be released.

Winter Opening: Every day (Except xmas) 0730 - Dusk. Part day tickets also available. Facilities: Disabled anglers are welcome, Toilets with Disabled facilites All day full English breakfast; Lunch time special; Sandwiches; Cold drinks. Complimentary beverages for clients.

Bigwell Flyfishery, Tinmans Green, Redbrook, Monmouth, NP25 4NB 01600 772904 email: web:

40 December 2013/January 2014 - The Christmas Issue

Puppy & Kitten Starter Packs..............................................£49.99 PetPlan nominated Practice & Vet of the Year 2013 British Dog Groomers’ Association Salon

24hr Onsite Nursing Care Appointments 0900 - 1830hrs (Mon - Fri) 0900 - 1230 (Sat) • Tel: 01873 852391

Gazette Farming

Farmers urged to embrace technology


ELSH farmers were urged to take advantage of advances in technology and research to maximise output whilst controlling production costs during the Farmers' Union of Wales autumn conference at Aberystwyth Arts Centre. Opening the conference FUW president Emyr Jones said: "Significant inroads have been made in 'producing more from less' but margins remain tight and we farmers must continue to work towards maximising outputs whilst controlling production costs.

"Technological advances in agriculture are not the result of adopting a one-tool technique but, instead, represent numerous different types of techniques to provide a package of technologies to suit different farm types and different kinds of stock. "Over the past 20 years, agricultural productivity has advanced at a greater rate than ever before. However, the ever-increasing pressure to reduce production costs and the rising global demand for food means that enhancing agricultural productivity remains a key challenge for

the farming sector. "Whilst adverse weather conditions and other factors, such as disease outbreaks, will have a short-term impact on productivity, it will be the longer-term advances and developments in agri-technologies that will have an impact on the growth, productivity and success of the sector as a whole. "We are pleased to have such excellent examples of how the industry is moving forward through technology and research here today," added Mr Jones.

The future of fishing around the Welsh coast THE Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales has recently embarked on a new project relating to the fishing industry in Wales. The trust is keen to learn more about the fishing industry in Wales in order that they can pass this important information on to their members. Their new project, known as Future Fisheries, aims to champion a low impact, profitable fishing industry in Wales whilst securing Living Seas where marine wildlife thrives. Building on information readily available and by working with local fishing communities the aim is to provide sound consumer advice on the ‘right’ fish to eat whilst helping to promote local sources and outlets; encouraging the local industry and consumers to be committed to local and low impact. The seas around Wales are important to many coastal com-

munities as well as the wildlife that resides there. Truly sustainable fishing will not only support Living Seas but protect the culturally important industry that is valuable to local communities for future generations. Do you spend time at sea or on the coast? Do you regularly catch fish species that are considered to not have a commercial value but are in abundance? Whether you are an angler, commercial fisherman or a hobby fisherman The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wale is interested to hear from you about your experiences of sea fishing in Wales. Please contact Sarah Perry, WTSWW Living Seas Science Officer ( or 01545 560224) if you have any information you would like to share with or if you have any questions about the project or the trust’s marine work in South and West Wales.

December 2013/January 2014 - The Christmas Issue 41

Meat from a Real Farm Beef - Lamb - Pork - Chicken

Sausages, Burgers & Dry Cured Bacon - Made on the Farm Opening hours Mon & Wed & Fri 10am - 4pm Sat 10am - 5pm

Stockists of the Award Winning Local Crickhowell Apple Juice and Llyswen Honey

Tel: 01874 730 696 Why not visit our Farm Shop on the B4560 road (just off A40) between Llangynidr & Bwlch Proprietor - John Powell Pantybeili ● Bwich ● Brecon ● Powys ● LD3 7NX

42 December 2013/January 2014 - The Christmas Issue

NEUADD Fach Baconry

A banquet of bangers MID Wales farmers enjoyed a banquet of bangers in a special celebration of British Sausage Week laid on by Farmers' Union of Wales members Ithel and Linda Brown of Neuadd Fach Baconry at Llandinam, Montgomeryshire. They provided samples of their quality sausage range to members of the FUW's Montgomeryshire county executive committee at their recent meeting. Mr and Mrs Brown established the baconry over 14 years ago after giving up milk production on their small farm. Ithel had always kept pigs when they were milking, selling them direct to a nearby abattoir. To make the most of the pig enterprise they decided to create the baconry and market their own bacon, gammon, fresh pork joints and sausage range. They now sell directly to local pubs, village shops, post offices and the public. They also supply two branches of a local

supermarket. FUW Montgomeryshire county chairman Alwyn Vaughan said: "They have grown the business over the years and provide employment for a number of local people. "Quite rightly they are very proud that their products have full traceability and that the pigs are reared on a feed ration mixed on the farm to meet their own specification. "It's good to see a successful business being established on a small farm and I congratulate Mr and Mrs Brown on producing a quality product that fully endorses the FUW's long-standing campaign to 'Buy The Welsh One' and the union's efforts to encourage consumers to buy local and support our rural communities." British Sausage Week is an annual celebration of the taste, quality and diversity of the traditional pork sausage when the winners of a national competition for the greatest sausages are revealed.

Gazette Farming


trusted local fuel supplier FAST Fuel Ltd is an independent fuel distribution company offering fuel solutions, wherever you are, whenever you want. Since being under new management for the last three years, Fast Fuel has fast become the most trusted local independent supplier in the market, servicing domestic, agricultural and commercial customers throughout South Wales and the Forest of Dean. We specialise in supplying heating fuel and agricultural diesel. We also stock road diesel for our regular customers and premier paraffin. We stock 200 litre barrels and 25 litre containers, so we can match all our customers’ needs no matter how small. We also supply tanks and can

source all other accessories related to the sale of fuel. We know that our customers need fuel at all times and in all delivery amounts, which is why we have an emergency outof-office service so you can get hold of one of us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We are happy to discuss pricing with our customers and to give advice on where we think market pricing is going. In this way, we can offer you the best advice on when to fill your tanks so that you can achieve the best savings possible. For further information, give us a call on 0800 093 8445. We look forward to helping you.

December 2013/January 2014 - The Christmas Issue 43

Wales Coast Path leads to local economic boost


HE Wales Coast Path attracted nearly three million visitors bringing £32m to the local economy according to surveys published at the end of November by Beaufort Research and Cardiff Business School. Confirming its continued success the “Visitor Survey” and “Business Benefits Survey” show that people and families visiting the Coast Path provided a £32.3m economic boost to coastal towns and villages across Wales between October 2012 and September 2013. The average spend per party in the local area (excluding accommodation) was £21.05 with the most common overnight stay being taken in local campsites or caravan parks (41 per cent). The average cost of paid accommodation during this period was £57.20. Minister for Culture & Sport, John Griffiths said: “The path is not only helping to raise the international profile of Wales but it is also growing the Welsh economy and bringing tourist spend and attracting new visitors to our coastal towns and villages. “We are continuing to invest in improvements to the path so that the visitor experience is good and people, communities and local business benefit from an association with it."

Formally opened in May 2012 the Wales Coast Path is the first continuous path in the world that runs along a country’s entire coastline - stretching 870 miles from the River Dee in Flintshire to Chepstow in the south. The project was established in 2007 and the path opened in 2012. Over this time Welsh Government has provided £ 10.5 million supplemented by EU funding totalling £3.9 million. A further £1.15 million Welsh Government funding has been allocated for both 2013/2014 and 2014/15 to deliver new path route alignment and provision of information. Emyr Roberts, Chief Executive of Natural Resources Wales said: "It's great news for Wales that the coast path is benefiting our local economies. As well as the financial benefits, the path offers excellent recreational benefits for people of all abilities.” “Whether you are looking to attempt the whole 870 miles or just a short stretch, you can really enjoy the magnificent Welsh coastline and improve your health in doing so." The Wales Coast Path encourages local people as well as visitors to get out and enjoy the Welsh coast and reap the health benefits of being active in the great outdoors.

44 December 2013/January 2014 - The Christmas Issue

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Great gadgets ● LeapReader

for kids

A combined electronic learn-to-read-and-write solution for children, the LeapReader provides interactive guidance by reading aloud words and sentences. It features 'interactive paper' and the ability to trace letters, words and numbers through stroke-by-stroke audio guidance. It can store 40 books or more than 175 songs. Suitable for ages four to eight, £39.99, available from ● Kindle Fire HDX

A new Kindle Fire HD tablet that gives children access to thousands of books and games, and will soon feature the new Kindle FreeTime service, through which parents can create a profile for each child and choose the content they can access. The 7" version is available at

December 2013/January 2014 - The Christmas Issue 45

Gazette & Diary Magazine




December Wednesday


















GLANGRWYNEY Baptist Chapel Carol Service, Sunday, at 6.30pm. Chairman Mr Malcolm Watts. All Welcome.

GERMAN Carol Service, 3pm, at The Methodist Church, Castle Street, Abergavenny, Refreshments to follow.

ABERGAVENNY Alzheimers Xmas Memory Café, Trinity Hall, 11.30 – 1pm. All Welcome. (No carer’s meeting in Dec)

UNICORN Singers: Christmas Choral Pageant, Catholic Church, Abergavenny, 7.30pm. Tickets from Abergavenny Music

CHRISTMAS Floral Arrangements by Silver Medallist Charlotte Cook. Llangynidr Garden Society, Llangynidr Village Hall, 7.30pm. £4 to include refreshments

AN evening with Elvis and his Memphis Mafia, Tickets £12 from The Borough Theatre 01873 850805, 7.30pm. PANDY & Monnowside Ploughing Society Xmas Fun Bingo, 7.30pm for 8pm, Pandy Hall. Refreshments & children’s games. 01873 890591

COMMUNITY Hall Mardy, Abertillery Orpheus Male Choir and Carols. 7-9pm. £5 inc Tea & Mince Pie. Ring 01873 852176. BINGO in aid of Llanvetherine Church, 7.30pm eyes down at The Hogs Head. 01873 821388.







21 First day of Winter




25 Merry Christmas 26





31 New Year’s Eve

LLANGYNIDR Village Hall Annual Whist Drive, usual array of prizes: meat, bottles, gifts. 7.30pm. Tel: 01874 730228

LLANGYNIDR Village Hall Annual Ceilidh with Morris Ponk and the Ticker Fixers. Tel: 01874 730287. Music from 7pm

46 December 2013/January 2014 - The Christmas Issue

ABERGAVENNY Farmers Market, Market Hall, Abergavenny. Fresh local produce




! ! !

! !

! ! !

RAGLAN FORD Your Local Ford Dealer For All Your New And Used Cars

SERVICING MOT TESTING STATION AIR CONDITIONING SPECIALIST High Street, Raglan, Monmouthshire Tel: (01291) 690423


Cash Paid for MOT Failures / Scrap Cars and Commercial Vehicles Containers Supplied

01981 580412 or 07795 565702


Carpenters Arms

Lawnmowers • Chainsaws • Garden Machinery

Walterstone, Nr. Pandy

H. Waters & Sons



45 years experience serving our community We accept part exchange / new & reconditioned

Demonstrations available

01495 226657 Mill Garage, Gelli Groes, Blackwood, Gwent. NP12 2HY

Vera Watkins, family and staff would like to wish customers old and new a very Merry Christmas

01873 890353

For information on how to advertise in the next issue, contact: or telephone Jenna Hopkins on 01873 852187, ext 35

December 2013/January 2014 - The Christmas Issue 47



ROBERTS & CO  ! !!! !!!! !!

December Gazette 2013  

an Abergavenny Chronilce publication