Issue 9 April 2013
In this edition of the Sticks Exclusive interviews with Michaela Strachan, Pasha Kovalev from BBCâ€™s Strictly Come Dancing and Suggs from Madness BBC Radio 2â€™s Janey Lee Grace writes on easy gardening; win tickets to The Comedy Cow and a look at Gallery 1066 and Jordans Mill plus we review The Swan at Salford and road test the Honda CR-Z 1.5 l sport And much more Plus pages of events listings across Herts, Beds & Bucks
Welcome to the April edition of the Sticks magazine! The most talked about magazine in Herts, Beds & Bucks With over 15,000 readers a month
In this issue: Michaela Strachan interview Strictly’s Pasha Kovalev Madness in Herts, Beds & Bucks A look at Gallery 1066 Win tickets to The Comedy Cow Kipping’s food column Review of The Swan at Salford Road test – Honda CR-Z 1.5l sport Parental leave – a change in the Law Janey Lee Grace on Easy Gardening
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Contributors: Janey Lee Grace, Martin Wilson, Terry Sullivan Donna Obstfeld
See you in May Editor & Sales:
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Tel: 07756 274444 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.the-sticks.co.uk Follow us on twitter @thesticks9
Listen to The Sticks radio show at 10am on Mondays on Secklow Sounds www.secklowsounds.org
TV wildlife presenter Michaela Strachan will take you on a really wild adventure this month Michaela Strachan's Really Wild Adventures will take families on a delightful journey through an alphabet jungle of animal rhymes. From Antelopes to Zebras, from Orphaned Orang-utans to Polar bear dentistry, this is a whistle stop interactive show full of poetry, puppetry, music and lots of fascinating wildlife facts. The poems feature some of Michaela’s real-life encounters with animals, from spitting cobras to wild cats; readers meet such fascinating characters as Lomon the orphaned orang-utan and rhinos Omni and Digby. Michaela’s enthusiasm, knowledge and sense of humour shine through in her writing. Michaela has been an almost constant presence on TV for 25 years, since her early appearances in The Wide Awake Club, the long running The Really Wild Show and more recently on Springwatch and Autumnwatch. Although mostly known for her effervescent personality on wildlife programmes she has many other interests: Michaela has recently filmed two series of Great British Ghost, she is an energetic supporter of a number of wildlife and children's charities. She now lives in Cape Town, South Africa. The Sticks caught up with Michaela on a recent trip to the UK You have just had your first book published “Michaela Strachan’s Really Wild Adventures”, tell us a little about it. It is a book of fun and factual animal rhymes targeted at children but it is the sort of thing everyone can enjoy, I used to read this book to my son who is now 7 like the “Gruffalo” and “Giraffes Can’t Dance”. Every mum likes reading to their children, so this book is about adventures I have had with wildlife, all based on things I have really done and I have put them in rhyme and also have photographs and pictures to go with them. I really enjoyed doing this book, all the stories are varied; there is one called “Elephant Orphans in Blankets”, which is based on a true story about 2 elephants that get orphaned whilst crossing a river. What I wanted to do was write a book that was fun but also factual and in the back there are lots of extra facts. How long did it take you to write/create this book? I started off just doing one poem which was the elephant one and my original thought was to do one poem per book but it developed in to a book of 12 poems and from that we created the theatre show, in total it has taken about 2 years You’re doing a stage show to accompany the book? Yes the show is aimed at 3-10 years of age but if you bring an older brother then they will enjoy it. It is in verse form set to music and is full of energy for instance “Never Try -4-
to Out-Spit a Spitting Cobra”. We get kids up with water pistols and they try to be spitting cobras in to the audience, that’s always good fun, and with the polar bear we have a thing called “Polar Bear Dentistry” - for that one we get a Dad up on stage and dress him up and pretend to take his teeth out. It is very interactive. What do you enjoy about working on TV? I have done it for 26 years and it is the variety I am doing at the moment - all watch shows Springwatch, Autumnwatch and Winterwatch which is one side of TV I do. Also I am doing Great British Ghosts on Yesterday Channel. With the wildlife programmes I get paid to go to amazing places, see amazing creatures and meet interesting people - there are so many things I enjoy about TV. Is there anything you don’t enjoy about it? Sometimes it can be very intense and stressful. Also you are away from home a lot, when you’re younger that’s brilliant but it is hard when you have a family.
Is there a show you would like to do that you have never done? I would love to do Strictly Come Dancing, I did some dancing when I was younger but have never done ballroom and would love to learn - but I am hopeless in high healed shoes so it could be comical.
Have you had any frightening or embarrassing moments whilst on TV? I have had loads especially the live ones, I recently said “you have all been watching live beaver action and some of you have been enjoying it on the internet” also interviewed a guy recently and he said “when you’ve got an old tom seeing a bit of domestic pussy he is going to say thank you very much” - both got major tweeting!
You can see Michaela on Thursday 11 April 1.30pm at The Stables, Milton Keynes Box Office 01908 280800 www.stables.org
Strictly’s Pasha Tells Us Exclusively About His New Stage Show
Pasha Kovalev started dancing when he was just eight years old after his mum took him to one of the biggest ballroom dancing competitions in his area. Dancing wasn’t a career choice for Pasha in the beginning, but that changed when he realised that it was something he “can’t live without”. Most of his achievements have come in America, where he has been a US National Latin Finalist, and an Ohio Star Ball Finalist. Pasha has taught all styles of Ballroom including International Standard, American Smooth and Rhythm, but his specialty is International Latin. In 2011 Pasha teamed up with Chelsee Healey and in 2012 was partnered by Kimberley Walsh - both times he has been the runner up. He’s been a fan of the programme for a while, saying “Strictly is an amazing show to be part of and I’ve wanted to be on it for quite some time.” Dancing on Strictly has enabled Pasha to move to London. Pasha’s professional partner is former Strictly dancer, Katya Virshilas, with whom he is touring in a show called Ballroom to Hollywood. The Sticks caught up with Pasha during the Strictly tour. The show “Ballroom to Hollywood” - what can people expect when they come along? Well, everyone loves Hollywood and we try and incorporate a little of the glitz and glamour with beautiful stories and music. It will be mostly dancing but within every dance there is a mini story going on, you can open up the character and create a little play between the man and the woman. How does it feel to be part of the biggest show on TV? Strictly is an amazing show and being a dancer I really appreciate the programme, because it actually brings dancing to everyone in their living room, and it makes people realise that they love dancing and I love dancing so everyone’s happy. What’s your favourite Dance? I love the Latin best with fast rhythms and sexy moves but I can’t pick one because it is the variety that, to me, makes it a complete experience. Cha-cha is a cheeky, flirty dance whilst Samba is going to a party, Rumba you’re falling in love, Paso is drama and blood in the sand, all have something special. -6-
What is your favourite type of music? I always enjoy classical music, I love Mozart but it is always changing. Also when I have done a show and I have been bombarded with music I like a bit of peace and quiet. What’s your favourite place in the world? Well, home (Serbia) is always special but I liked Australia when I visited, I also loved the nature of Canada and enjoy going to Hawaii. What’s your favourite food? I switched sometime ago to a diet of seafood and greens, very healthy but not just from a health prospective - if you have a show and you eat something too heavy it is not good, makes you sleepy and ready for a nap. I am nearly always on the road but when I am not I love Mum’s cooking. What do you do to relax when not working? I like to go skiing when I get the time also what everyone else does, go to see a movie, hang out with friends and try and find a good new place to eat or read a book. Do you have any hidden talents? A few, years ago I used to build my own computers. What are your plans after the tour? This tour finishes mid June, then we do a couple of Strictly Cruises and around that time I am hoping to get the call that they want me on Strictly again- but I may get a couple of weeks rest before we start again, so I hope to go see my Mum and Brother in Serbia.
See Pasha and Katya in “Ballroom to Hollywood” on the following dates:Friday 5th April
Rhodes Arts Centre, Bishops Stortford
Tuesday 23rd April
Gordon Craig Theatre, Stevenage
Friday 3rd May
The Grove Theatre, Dunstable
Friday 10th May
Saturday 18th May
Wyllyotts Theatre, Potters Bar
Madness in Herts, Beds and Bucks Suggs – still best known as the legendary frontman of feelgood band Madness – was 50 last January. He was lying in the bath on his birthday, nursing an epic hangover from the celebrations the night before when there was the most almighty crash. ‘I jumped out of the water,’ he says, ‘and there, lying amid shards of broken glass, was our fouryear-old cat, a British blue called Mamba. I’d put up the glass shelf myself and it must have given way. I knew he was dead from the strange angle of his body. I couldn’t believe it. I loved that cat. ‘I was 50. My kids had recently left home and now the cat was dead. I was really upset. It triggered a deluge of emotion, an event that somehow tipped me over the edge. I began to consider my own mortality and, out of that, the idea for exploring my own past somehow crystallised.’ The result, soon to be seen at a venue not far from you, is a new stage show. ‘It’s a memoir,’ says Suggs. ‘It’s not stand-up. It’s not An Evening With… I toyed with calling it Mad-Life Crisis. In the end, though, having gone all round the houses, I’ve called it My Life Story which won’t win any prizes for originality but does at least tell you what you can expect, the good bits and the darker moments.’ It turns out there have been plenty of both. Born Graham McPherson in Hastings, he’s the only child of a jazz singer called Edith and a father, William – but everyone called him Mac – who worked for a photographic developers but whose life was increasingly overtaken by drugs. ‘Dad left home when I was about three. I have no recollection of him and he never featured in my life. My mum later told me she’d come home and found him with needles sticking out of his hands. Heroin was his drug of choice and it’s a one-way street that takes you further and further away from real life. In the end, it did for the marriage.’ Mother and son then moved to Liverpool where Edith sang in the clubs, winning the accolade of Melody Maker’s Jazz Newcomer of the Year in the mid-60s. She performed regularly at the Blue Angel to where The Beatles and Cilla Black would repair after sessions at The Cavern. Moving south to London, Suggs’ life was unstructured, to say the least. Soho was his mother’s stomping ground where she both sang and worked in bars for extra money. They lived in a succession of rented rooms, the young lad trailing around after her when she went drinking in famous watering holes like the Colony.
‘I’ll never forget it,’ says Suggs. ‘You’d walk up this rickety green staircase and enter a room full of artists and actors and various hangers-on, all drinking and smoking. But, amid all the booze, it was a creative hotbed. Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, George Melly, Jeffrey Bernard – they were all regulars. ‘Was it an unsuitable place for a young child? Absolutely. I clearly remember staring up through the thick fug of tobacco smoke, the occasional hand ruffling my hair or giving me a florin, sometimes even a ten bob note. I couldn’t really understand what was going on at an adult level which was probably all for the best. But there was a feeling of community and I was never in any danger.’ Even so, in time Edith decided that her son would do better living out of London in Pembrokeshire with her sister, Diana, and her three children. ‘It was nice to have other kids around but I missed Mum. She was doing what she thought was the right thing. She was finding it difficult to find the two of us somewhere stable to live so she thought I’d be better off in Haverfordwest.’ Three years later, Suggs was back in London, living with Edith, and about to go to secondary in Swiss Cottage. It’s where he acquired his nickname. ‘The other kids used to call me Gray or Mac and I wanted something a bit more distinctive. I was looking through a book of my mum’s about jazz musicians. ‘I took a pin and, eyes closed, stuck it into the middle of a page. It went through the name Peter which didn’t seem especially memorable and then I noticed his second name was Suggs which somehow resonated with me. He was the drummer in an obscure jazz band in Kentucky. Graffiti was becoming popular and people had these amazing names – or tags, as they were called. Now I had mine.’ Had he known it, this was the moment when his estranged father was on the point of bowing it. ‘I didn’t find this out until many years later when I was researching the new show. It’s a tragic story. My father started injecting himself with paraffin and was then sectioned under the Mental Health Act. ‘When he was eventually released, he moved to Birmingham where he married again. He died aged 40 from a whole variety of drug-related conditions, his wife following him, probably from a drug overdose, a year later. So just as I was getting together with the band that became Madness, my father’s time was up. I’ve always found that rather poignant.’ These revelations prompted him recently to ask his mother about his father. ‘She told me he was a very nice man. “Just like you,” she said. That was the most shocking thing she could have said in many ways. I’d had him down in my mind as some sort of wayward old wastrel who’d just pushed off. The fact that he was really nice upset me. But then heroin is an unforgiving mistress.’ Given his colourful upbringing, it is perhaps not too surprising -9-
that Suggs married young. By 21, he had a wife, a baby daughter and a mews house in Camden bought with the money he’d made from Madness’s regular appearances in the Top 10. ‘To some extent, I think it’s true to say that I deliberately created Fortress Suggs to give my life a bit of structure. Having said that, I’d fallen in love with Anne. I wanted to be married to her.’ A professional singer who works under the name Bette Bright, the two are still together three decades later. They have two daughters – Scarlett, 29 and Viva, 25 – who now sing as a duo under their own names. ‘My mother, my wife, my daughters – I’m surrounded by women who sing,’ says Suggs. Nor has he hung up his own microphone. ‘2012 was an extraordinary year for us. You wouldn’t have anticipated the Queen was going to invite us on her roof to play or that we were going to play at the Olympic closing ceremony. Like any human being we were insecure but we realise now we’re pretty good.’ The band have just release their tenth album Oui Oui, Si Si, Ja Ja, Da Da and are planning a series of gigs in the UK this summer. ‘Madness have always been about accentuating the positive,’ says Suggs. ‘It’s no accident our songs are still played, still enjoyed 30 years down the line. They’re upbeat, timeless, a clear-eyed celebration of life as it’s lived. And we’re still together, still making music. For me, the band has always been a bit like a surrogate family. We’re all a bit dysfunctional, all a bit stronger for being together.’ The only problem now for Suggs is shoehorning his less-than-conventional first halfcentury into his new show. ‘When we were rehearsing,’ he says, ‘my keyboard player would stop every so often and say: “Was that bit really true?” And it was all of it. Amazing, really.’ After beguiling and moving capacity audiences across the country - and following huge critical acclaim - Suggs returns in this month for a 48 date run of his show Suggs: My Life Story. Accompanied by a lone pianist, Suggs, with his trademark swagger and superbly executed patter, takes centre stage mixing narrative, anecdote and song to reveal his life story in an uproarious – and at times deeply affecting - stand up memoir.
See Suggs on
April 4th Alban Arena, St Albans April 17th Grove Theatre, Dunstable
For more details about Suggs and Madness go to www.suggslive.com
dream wedding made real! The harp, the romantic instrument of the angels, has featured in the most exquisite weddings. Taking up just a small area with such a wonderful relaxing sound listening to the harp is an elegant, emotional experience. Its gentle sounds carry across a room without intruding into conversation, and a harp can go where a piano cannot. Armande is available with her elegant concert harp to bring that extra touch of magic to your special day. Where possible, Armande will be delighted to wear a dress to co-ordinate with your colour scheme. Armande has performed at Civil Ceremonies, Church Weddings, Civil Partnerships, Asian Weddings, Greek Weddings and Indian Weddings including Bollywood Music.
Armande also provides exquisite music for: Dinners Birthday Parties Champagne Receptions Corporate Entertainment Funerals
Call 08452 020 180 Prices from ÂŁ150 www.theweddingharpist.net
Gallery 1066 is certainly putting Baldock on the map by becoming one of the UK’s fastest growing art galleries. With an ever growing portfolio of award winning and world acclaimed artists Gallery 1066 are focused on showcasing their eclectic range of talent to a wide audience. Whether you are a first time buyer or avid collector there is a superb range of originals, limited editions and sculptures, just let their friendly team help guide and introduce you to some amazing talent. Gallery owner, Hayley Norman comments ‘we are thrilled to be showcasing work by some of the most sought after artists such as Rolf Harris, Todd White, Fabian Perez and Gabe Leonard to name but a few, it is a very exciting time in the art world and we also encourage new emerging talent such as Sally Hynard, an amazing wildlife artist who has just reached the semi finals in the 2013 David Shepherd Wildlife Show. With our ever growing database of clients and exciting calendar of events we are able to showcase our eclectic range of artists which offers something for everyone’. The Gallery has already kick started the year with leading impressionist International artist Danielle O’Connor Akiyama gracing their doors to a champagne reception which saw just over 100 people walk the red carpet to enjoy an afternoon of vibrancy as Danielle introduced her new collection Paintbox Stories. Their next exciting event will be bringing ROCK TO BALDOCK with a solo artist show by the legendary guitarist Ronnie Wood from the Rolling Stones and his remarkable collection Iconic Figures of Rock on the 20th and 21st of April, with a VIP preview on the 19 April. To reserve your place on the VIP guest list for the preview evening please contact the gallery soon as numbers will be limited. Following in the steps of Ronnie will be a night of glamour with a themed evening ‘A Night with the Stars’ on the 17th May, the show will continue over the weekend and Gallery 1066 will be exhibiting an exciting collection of paintings by a range of artists who specialize in iconic portraits such as Marilyn Monroe, Elvis and Audrey Hepburn – a night not to be missed, we are sure the gallery will also have a few surprises in store. With their ever impressive 2013 social calendar and art focuses throughout the year this is certainly a destination worth visiting – with over 4000 sq ft over 2 levels this contemporary gallery is the hidden jewel in Hertfordshire – a warm welcome always awaits along with a complimentary coffee or glass of wine whilst you soak up the atmosphere, and don’t worry if you know nothing about art this is one of the most relaxed galleries you will ever visit, family and friends are welcome to enjoy a truly fine art experience. To find out more information on their up and coming events please contact the gallery on 01462 622233, email@example.com or visit www.gallery1066fineart.com
www.the-sticks.co.uk To advertise your event, show, restaurant or business in our May digital magazine Call 07756 274444 Or email firstname.lastname@example.org Prices from ÂŁ50 per month -13-
Competition Win 2 tickets for The Comedy Cow launch event at Wonderworld in Milton Keynes on Friday 3rd May, starring Adam Kay, Alfie Moore, Chris Mayo, Fern Brady and Tom Glover
Answer the following question:
Which mode of transport did Adam Kay achieve over 7 million hits on Youtube for his song about it? A. London Taxi B. Double Decker Bus C. London Underground
Email your answer together with your name and contact details to email@example.com Closing Date: Noon Wednesday 24th April. www.thecomedycow.co.uk @TheComedyCow Facebook.com/TheComedyCow -14-
THE BANK OF MUM AND DAD
With the property market in turmoil, many buyers, particularly first time buyers, are turning to their family for financial assistance. Whilst property prices have fallen, or remained fairly static, over the last few years so have salaries and banks are increasingly concerned about lending large sums of money. This leaves many people finding it hard to raise sufficient funds to get on the property ladder. One particular problem is raising the cash deposit needed to purchase a property as the banks no longer offer 95% loan to value mortgages.* First time buyers are often left with no option, but to ask their parents to lend them this cash deposit and often parents readily agree. Unfortunately, this is sometimes done in a very casual fashion with no proper consideration of if, and when, those monies should be repaid. More importantly, if the child purchases the property jointly with a partner, who repays the loan if they split up and how much do the parents get back if the property has to be sold ? If there is no formal documentation about the loan, the property will usually be registered with the Land Registry as being held legally in the joint names of the child and their partner. There will be no mention of the parents, or their monies. This means those parents would not necessarily be aware if the child and their partner decided to sell the house, or even remortgage it for a higher sum. This puts the parents in a precarious position. Further, if the child and their partner separate, there may well be a presumption that the net proceeds should be divided equally between them. The child is then left with the sole burden of repaying the “loan” to his or her parents if their ex-partner maintains it was a gift. Matters become much clearer if the intention of everyone at the time the property is purchased is set out for everyone to see. The easiest and safest way to do this is for all the relevant parties to enter into a declaration of trust. This does not need to be a long document, or cost a lot of money. It should simply clarify the main points: • Whose name(s) will be on the land registry records as the legal owner(s)? • Should there be a restriction entered on the Land Registry records to protect any other party who has an interest in the property? • Set out who contributed what sums to the purchase price of the property and specifically state whether it is a loan or gift, and whether any interest is payable • Clarify how the net sale proceeds are to be divided between everyone concerned if the property is sold. This simple document can save months of distress and thousands of pounds in legal costs as if there is a dispute, sometimes the only way to resolve the situation is an application to the court. If you have invested money into your child’s property, or are about to do so , please contact our PANAY VASSILIOU on 01992 463727 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org Curwens LLP is your local firm of solicitors offering most areas of legal advice – based in Hoddesdon, Enfield and Cheshunt. www.curwens.co.uk * The Government has just launched “Newbuy” – a scheme to help more people buy their own house or flat. You can now access up to 95% loan to value mortgages if you are purchasing a new build property in England, constructed by a builder who is in the scheme, for less than £500,000 to be used as your main home.
Reworking the Classics – Episode 1
Pan fried fillet of hake, pea and mint purée, triple cooked chips and tartare sauce One of the things that we like to do with dishes at Kippings is to re-work "classic" dishes that are considered to be almost perfect. The key part of that sentence however is "almost". Fish and chips as a classic English dish has been reworked many times, but for us, its’ simplicity is its appeal. For instance, in this particular dish we have only substituted the mushy peas with a pea and mint purée and replaced the endangered battered cod / haddock with pan fried hake, garnished with rice paper which we have deep fried to form almost a cracker and seasoned with salt, pepper and lemon. We then apply the traditional garnishes of homemade tartare sauce, triple cooked chips, malt vinegar and pea shoots to finish the dish. In choosing the fish for our dish we wanted to use something that not only tastes and looks good, but more importantly, is sustainable. Traditionally, fish and chips is made using cod or haddock but due to such high demands, the stock levels of these fish have become unstable and prices have increased as a result. With that challenge, we decided to look at similar fish whose pricing and sustainability was more attuned to today's ecological demands. Before settling for hake we tried a number of other fish including coley and pollack, however, Hake was the outright winner on flavour.
Whilst being members of the cod family, hake are found in deep waters on the continental shelf and are considered more mild in flavour to their cousins, having a more subtle flavour than cod. Hake is considered one of the best fish in the whiting family because of its firm, sweet, white meat. Although the fish is the main element of the dish, it isn't the only one. We have held countless tastings and cooking tests to find which potato would give us the best chip, not only visually but also in texture. We finally settled for Glenthorn potatoes which not only give you an amazing golden colour and crunch, but once "triple cooked", give you an almost mash like middle. Add a drizzle of malt vinegar over the chips and the meal is complete.
Kippings is a bistro & wine bar with an amazing new menu created by former Gordon Ramsay & Brocket Hall chef Jack Blackwell and each month we will get food ideas from their kitchens
www.kippings.co.uk Telephone - 01582 833122 Email - email@example.com 1 Church Street, Wheathampstead, Herts AL4 8AR
The Swan in Salford has been recently renovated and is creating a reputation for itself in the good food world. The Sticks went along to try the experience for themselves. The first thing that you notice as you enter the restaurant is the mixture of rustic furniture with a modern angle on it and the way the room is arranged with small tables and booth type arrangements with sofa like seats for all sizes of parties.
We choose from the wide range of dishes both on the menu and on the daily specials board. I selected for starters, the Smoked Mackerel and Heritage Potato Terrine, Horseradish Crème Fraiche – well seasoned, good fish flavour and not overpowered by horseradish cream.
My wife chose the Whipped Goats Curd, Beetroot & Pumpkin Seed Salad, Pear & Vanilla Compote - soft, creamy goats cheese, very thin, moist strips of beetroot together with toasted pumpkin seeds and chutney proved to be a perfect blend of flavours.
I followed my starter with Braised Ox Cheek & Ale Pie served with Spring Onion Mash, Glazed Carrots & King Oyster Mushroom - this was served piping hot and the tender meat filled the pie to bursting, reminding me of Desperate Dan’s ‘cow pie’ ! -18-
My wife’s main course came from the specials board - a Roast Pork Fillet, Wholegrain Mustard Mash, Spiced Red Cabbage and Apple Jus - very tender pork with amazing, tasty cabbage.
For dessert we had two wonderful dishes in the shape of Warm Carrot Cake, Orange Reduction & Cream Cheese Sorbet – a very original twist on a classic dish and I would recommend this to anyone.
Fruits of the Forest Baked Cheesecake with Kir Royale Sorbet was smooth, very rich and very fruity. This was one of the best meals I have had - in fact so good we went back again and ate from chef Mark’s ‘Best of British’ menu in support of Comic Relief.
The Swan offers an extensive wine list as well as fine food and is well worth a visit.
For more about the Swan www.swansalford.co.uk
Road Test Honda CR-Z 1.5i Sport VTEC Hybrid Who said sports cars can’t be green? Honda claims it can provide driving thrills without ruining the environment. And it has built the CR-Z coupe as proof. Andrew MerrittMorling tries it out. With sharp, futuristic lines which are recognisably Japanese, the wedge-like design is purposeful and reminiscent of the old CRX of the 1980s. Inside, the CR-Z has one of the most distinctive cabins of any car.Driving a CR-Z is guaranteed to put a smile on your face. The combination of a 1.5-litre petrol engine and an electric motor might not sound like much, but in a car as small and light as the CR-Z, it gives a smooth flow of power and spirited acceleration. The engine is constantly running to provide extra performance or improve efficiency. With a combined power output of 122bhp, the CRZ isn’t going to break any speed records but still manages the 0-62mph sprint in under 10-seconds. Its light weight, at just under 1,200kgs, makes it feel nimble in the bends. Mated to a 6-speed gearbox, there are three different driving modes to choose from – sport, normal and economy. Honda claims this car will do 57mpg. But to get anywhere near that figure, you have to run it in Eco-mode because that improves efficiency by 10%. However, press the sport button – and it improves fun by 100% as both the steering and throttle responses are sharpened up and the engine gets extra assistance from the battery which makes it pull more urgently lower down the rev range. The CR-Z boasts a playful chassis. It grips well too and the only real irritation is an occasionally bouncy ride, some road noise at speed and the awful visibility through the rear screen. The drivers’ seat is supportive and comfy and the technologyladen dashboard is easy to get to grips with. The combination of low driving position, multi-function steering wheel and the aluminium gearlever makes you feel that you are part of the action. The quality of interior plastics used is below par. The back seats are a joke – and Honda plays the same trick with the boot – it’s just so shallow because of the battery packs lurking beneath. But at least the rear seats fold down – making the CR-Z perfectly adequate if you view it as a practical two-seater. Running costs will be low too, thanks to strong resale values, average fuel economy of more than 45mpg and CO2 emissions of just 117g/km that mean low company car tax bills. Overall though, this Honda is pretty good value for money, especially when you consider the technology on board. Yes, it undoubtedly has its flaws but these can be forgiven because, in short, the CR-Z is one fun hybrid.
Parental Leave â€“ a Change in the Law Parents and employers, take note.... The law has changed (yet again) and parents with children up to the age of five years old are now entitled to 18 weeks unpaid leave. Depending on your perspective, employer or employee, you may now be jumping up and down in delight, or holding your head in your hands in despair.
So let's dig a little further and understand what this means in reality. Firstly, to clarify who this applies to: it is for both parents, natural or adoptive and the entitlement is per child, even for multiple births. There are slightly more flexible rules if your child is disabled and if you have an adopted child, the entitlement is until the child is 18 or has been with you for five years whichever is sooner. The employee has the right to unpaid time off and it should be taken in one week blocks with no more than four weeks leave per year per child. This is in addition to annual leave (full pay), maternity, paternity and adoption leave (usually paid at statutory). The result of this is that many parents cannot afford to take parental leave, but in an emergency it is there if parents need it. As an employer, you can postpone the leave request, but do not have the right to turn it down, unlike flexible working where you can reject the request due to business needs. Obviously, if a child were due to have an operation or leave is being taken to cover a child-carer's holiday, then due consideration should be given to the timing of the request. Communication between employer and employee is essential. This starts with the policy which should be clearly documented and communicated, supported by a procedure and any forms the employer may wish to put in place. The employee should be required to give as much notice as possible, to enable the business to manage the absence with minimal disruption. Between them an effective plan should be put into place to ensure adequate cover for work and to minimise the impact on the business. Employers need to remember this entitlement is for all parents across your business and you need to be working on the assumption that just as people will take holiday, they may also take parental leave; and, just as they have a right to return to their job following holiday, they have a right to return to their job following parental leave and their job prospects must not be affected in any way. Another element for both employers and parents to bear in mind; the entitlement is a full working career entitlement - it follows the parent from job to job. Therefore if a parent is employed by company A until the child is 4 and uses all their entitlement, they have no further entitlement to parental leave at their new employer company B. As a result of this, it is important that accurate records are maintained and when a reference request is issued or received, it should ask for parental leave entitlement taken to date.
April 15th sees the opening of a brand new visitor attraction in the Sticks counties - Jordans Mill. Step into history with the Jordans, a milling family with a fascinating and surprising history! Take a journey back through time in an exciting and engaging way at our visitor attraction where Grand Designs truly meet the Doomsday Book! Tucked away on the banks of the River Ivel near Biggleswade, Jordans Mill is in the heart of rural Bedfordshire, minutes from the A1. Come and discover the Flour Mill, Riverside Café and The Mill Store, followed by the beautiful wild flower gardens (which will in open the summer), designed by Chelsea Flower Show winners, Toll & Kitson. Not just a ‘run of the mill’ day out, at Jordans Mill you will: • Experience the working Flour Mill with a guide • See the Flour Mill exhibits and watch the mill at work through a glass partition • Enjoy light refreshments and meals in the Riverside Cafe or on decking overlooking the River Ivel • Stroll around wild flower gardens that meander along the riverbanks • Shop at the Mill Store With so much to see and do, visitors to the Flour Mill can pick up a passport ticket and come back to visit the gardens again for free! Situated in our stunning oak-framed Mill Store, the Riverside Café has seating for around 200 people with seats outside on the decking area over the River Ivel; the perfect spot to watch the world go by. The Riverside Café menu is a fresh one, with the majority being ‘Holme’ made within our kitchen. Produce is sourced as close to Jordans Mill as possible to support local growers and small businesses within Bedfordshire.
Passers by and visitors to the Flour Mill and Gardens are all welcome to sample the delicious food in this fabulous location!
For more information www.jordansmill.com
I’ll fess up right now, I love my garden to look nice and it’s important to practice what I preach when it comes to telling you to grow your own, but the truth is my fingers are not remotely green. To me ‘companion planting’ simply meant providing one plant with others nearby and after hours of digging and months of watering I’d usually find that either weeds would strangle my beloved plants or slugs would devour the flowers. Fortunately help is at hand from the innovative award winning local company behind ‘Garden on a Roll’. Antony Henn has been designing and creating amazing gardens since 1993. He and his family developed The Dutch Nursery in Hertfordshire selling plants and garden sundries through the eighties and nineties to this day. Antony’s vast plant knowledge and experience has enabled him to present many gardening shows and he’s known for hosting his own gardening phone-in with his brother Alex on the BBC. Antony heard so many people bemoaning that they know little about plants and really wanted to help them understand how garden design works, and how important it is that plants complement each other. He came up with the idea of ‘GARDEN ON A ROLL’ because he realised how easy it would be if non-gardeners could use a template so they could guarantee success every time. Anthony said ‘The idea progressed from there to where we are now and it’s really exciting!” Garden on a Roll makes DIY gardening so much easier. They provide everything you need to create your very own professionally designed garden border. You can choose from Evergreen, Mixed Border, Mediterranean Border, Bee and Butterfly and many more. They’ve been featured on The Alan Titchmarsh show, BBC Radio 2 and Gardenonaroll™ was one of the runners up at this year’s Ideal Home Inventor of the Year Award. So does the ‘planting by numbers’ approach work? Well it’s all delivered to your door. They offer a revolutionary, bio-degradable, paper template which is all marked up to help you position the plants perfectly and suppresses weeds for up to 3 months. All you have to do is mark out the border width on the ground and remove the top layer of turf. You need to prepare the ground by digging to a depth of at least 20cm (8"). (I intend to get the kids to do that bit!) The next step is to roll out the paper plan and peg into ground (pegs are supplied). Place the pre-numbered plants on their indicated positions which ensures correct spacing and then remove the pots and slip the plant into the ground through the holes cut into paper.
The paper plan stays in place and can be covered with a layer of top soil or bark chippings and of course it’s biodegradable.
Water your plants and …Voila, a beautiful border in no time – well here’s hoping. I have ordered my edible border – watch this space!
Hertfordshire’s answer to the Mind Body Spirit festival is in Kings Langley on Sat May 11th - Calling all ‘healthy’ businesses. I’m thrilled to be invited to speak again at this year’s Kings Langley Wellbeing Festival, being held in the beautiful surroundings of the Rudolf Steiner School. Last year’s event (fundraising for the school) was a huge success and visitors declared it ‘The friendliest festival ever’. There will be a huge exhibition area offering everything from soy wax candles, sustainable holidays, organic skincare, natural cleaning products through raw chocolate treats to baby clothes and fashion made from sustainable fabrics. There are still some stalls available so if you are a holistic or wellbeing business get in touch ASAP. Among the classes and workshops there’s a Gong Bath (lie and be bathed in sound – a very relaxing experience), Laughter Yoga, a talk on Biodynamic farming, Meditations, Nia Dance (suitable for all) a workshop on EFT, (emotional freedom technique) Crystal healing and much more. In the calming environment of the Kindergarten Therapists will be offering taster treatments including massage, reflexology, energy healing, EFT and homeopathy. The food on offer will be scrumptious and organic (Last year it was the talk of the town) plus there’s a BBQ. The ticket price is £5 and includes entrance to the exhibition area, live music and the theatre talks with John Whiteman (who grew up in Bovingdon), Becky Walsh and Janet Thomson who brought her workshop Think More Eat Less to Watford recently. Put the date in your diary and get in touch if you’d like to exhibit. www.klwf.co.uk or call 07767774258
City. The girls began by researching landscapes that were favourable or memorable to them. Letchworth Arts Centre. 2 The Arcade, Letchworth Garden City SG6 3EW
Herts Listings Art Exhibition - Til Saturday 6 Apr Paintings and handmade jewellery to view and to buy. Campus West, The Campus, Welwyn Garden City AL8 6BX
Highfield Park Easter Bunny Hunt - Wednesday 3 Apr A fun event for young children. Explore some of Highfield Park to hunt for the hidden bunnies. When you’ve found them all come and claim your Easter egg and we’ll enter you for a prize draw. Enter the colouring competition and win a prize.West Lodge, Hill End Lane, St Albans AL4 0RA
Bengeo Stories: An Exhibition - til Wednesday 22 May This exhibition will highlight the unique stories of Bengeo; find out how this once rural village became part of the bustling County Town and discover the artists, pioneers and inventors that lived there. Hertford Museum, 18 Bull Plain, Hertford SG14 1DT
The Wiz -Thursday 4 to Saturday 6 Apr If you want to meet ’The Wiz’ this Easter, then why not ’Ease on Down the Road’, with Dorothy, Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion. Join the four friends as they journey towards the Emerald City, in a search for their heart’s desires. The Abbey Theatre, Westminster Lodge, St Albans AL1 2DL
Easter Eggstravaganza - il Sunday 14 Apr A choc-o-bloc programme of Easter events with FREE chocolate in our Easter Egg and Bunny Hunts. With real bunnies and chicks to enjoy and farmyard animals, adventure play, fun fair rides, JCB Young Drivers Zone, bouncy castles and inflatable slide. You can pan for gold and take a ride on Tristan. Willows Farm Village. Coursers Road, London Colney, St. Albans AL4 0PF
Christina Pattison exhibition - Thursday 4 Apr Paintings expressing joy, colour and movement derived from the ordinary and the spiritual that she finds in her homes and surroundings in Sweden, Britain and France. An exhibition that is a vibrant recollection of life shown through bold, colourful images Letchworth Arts Centre. 2 The Arcade, Letchworth Garden City SG6 3EW
Spring has Sprung! - Tuesday 2 to Thursday 4 Apr Celebrate springtime and all the traditions the season brings with two weeks of crafty family activities at Hertford Museum. Different activities will run each week. Hertford Museum, 18 Bull Plain, Hertford SG14 1DT Children’s Activity: Making Easter Buns Tuesday 2 Apr Come along and make some Easter buns! Just drop in, no booking required. Mill Green Mill and Museum AL9 5PD
Magic of Motown - Friday 5 Apr Ain’t no mountain high, ain’t no valley low, ain’t no river wide enough to keep The Magic of Motown from getting to you … It’ll be there on the double: direct from The States, the UK’s biggest Motown concert tour celebrates 50 years of number one songs with its brand-new arena show. Watford Colosseum, Rickmansworth Road, Watford WD17 3JN Muscle Warriors Charity Quiz Night- Friday 5 Apr Quiz Night in aid of The Muscle Help Foundation Teams of 6 people Prizes and charity raffle Licensed Bar Stevenage Borough Football Club, Lamex Stadium SG2 8RH
Children’s Activity: Make a Japanese Hanging Fish- Tuesday 2 Apr Begin our Japanese Craft Week by making a stunning hanging Japanese Fish! Mill Green Mill and Museum, Mill Green, Hatfield AL9 5PD Magnify. Lisa Harrold and Natalie WalkerTuesday 2 to Tuesday 30 Apr Lisa Harrold creates miniature 3D models. The content of these highly detailed pieces is often dark and sinister to contrast with their cute appearance. She hopes the viewer will create their own narrative using the clues she has given them in the scene. Letchworth Arts Centre. 2 The Arcade, Letchworth Garden City SG6 3EW
Watford Filmhouse - Friday 5 Apr Volver. Cert 15. Set in Spain, this gentle, observational comedy drama takes an unusual and mystical twist when two sisters learn that the bonds of family don’t always end after death. In Spanish with subtitles. The Pump House Theatre, Local Board Road, Watford. WD17 2JP
Children’s Activity: Create a Japanese Miniature Garden Wednesday 3 Apr Come and create your very own miniature garden. Bring a shoe box. Mill Green Mill and Museum AL9 5PD
World War Two Revue at Market Theatre Hitchin- Friday 5th, Saturday 6th, Thursday 11th, Friday 12th & Saturday 13th April 7.30pm A mixture of songs, sketches and recordings make this a great trip down memory
Landscape Paintings Inspired by David Hockney- Wednesday 3 Apr Work by year 6 girls from St Francis’ College, Letchworth Garden -26-
Cafe & Shop open. British Schools Museum, 41/42 Queen Street, Hitchin SG4 9TS
lane for older audiences, or just a great night of nostalgia as we relive the iconic war years. Ticket Prices: £10 / £8.50 conc. (Thursday only)
Roy Chubby Brown - Friday 12 Apr He’s rude, he’s crude and he’s turning headlines into punch lines as his rip-roaring brand of banter continues to burst bellies across the country. As politically incorrect as ever ‘The World’s Most Outrageous Comedian’ is far too rude for TV so this live performance is the only place to catch him. Watford Colosseum, Rickmansworth Road, Watford WD17 3JN
Comedy Club - Saturday 6 Apr Yes, it’s that time again. Ten great comedians waiting to take the stage, all vying for this year’s award. Who’ll emerge as 2013’s New Act of the Year? Letchworth Arts Centre. 2 The Arcade, Letchworth Garden City SG6 3EW Kayo MMA -Saturday 6 Apr Feel the rush as you witness the non-stop action and excitement of Mixed Martial Arts. Expect an action-packed night full of fresh talent looking to electrify fans with full contact kickboxing, amateur, semi-pro and full professional MMA bouts, with both male and female fighters. Watford Colosseum, Rickmansworth Road, Watford WD17 3JN
Jazz at the Arts- Friday 12 Apr A great night of jazz standards, funk and latin, with Andrei Pytaleu, piano, Roy Viveash, saxophone, Rob Statham, bass, and Chris Johnson, drums. Licensed bar. Come and chill out at the Arts Centre with some terrific music. Letchworth Arts Centre. 2 The Arcade, Letchworth Garden City SG6 3EW
Vienna Festival Ballet presents Sleeping Beauty at Hertford theatre - Saturday 6th April at 7:45pm The classic fairy tale set to Tchaikovsky’s magnificent score, stunning choreography and beautiful costumes combined to portray the struggle between good and evil. Tickets: £18, £16 concessions www.hertfordtheatre.com
Forever Michael at Hertford Theatre - Friday 12th April at 7:45pm Fronted by one of the USA’s leading Michael Jackson tribute artists, along with an incredible live band and dance troupe, this acclaimed production will leave you in no doubt as to why Michael will always be remembered as the King of Pop. Tickets: £18 www.hertfordtheatre.com
Rags & Riches with St Albans Tour Guides Saturday 6 Apr & Sat 20 Apr Journey from St Michaels, the village within the Roman Walls, taking in medieval pubs and houses and a 16th century Watermill to Fishpool Street. How did this street, once a major 18th century coaching route, degenerate to a slum and backwater, then become a prime residential area? Meet outside the Verulanium Museum AL3 4SW
Into the Woods by Stephen Sondheim - Friday 12 Apr, Sat 13 Apr, Mon 15 Apr to Sat 20 Apr When a baker and his wife learn they’ve been cursed with childlessness by the witch next door, they embark on a quest for the special objects required to break the spell, swindling, lying to and stealing from Cinderella, Little Red, Rapunzel and Jack (the one who climbed the beanstalk). Barn Theatre, Handside Lane, Welwyn Garden City AL8 6ST
Blown Away Sunday 7 Apr Family show for ages 3+ from Birdsnest Theatre. The wind can whisk you up into the sky, the wind can take you on an adventure! What if, one windy night a little girl arrives in your bedroom and tells you she’s the wind? Trestle Arts Base, Russet Drive, St Albans. AL4 0JQ
WOW at Hertford Theatre- Saturday 13th April at 6:30pm Doctor Bondini and JezO have been wowing the crowds with their incredible magic, grand illusions, comedy and audience participation for many years, now they combine their talents into one amazing production. See the two generations of professional magicians at work in probably the only full-scale illusion show touring the UK today. This is your chance to see some live magic and illusion in a show you will never forget. Tickets: £13, £11 concessions. www.hertfordtheatre.com
Hormonal Housewives- Tuesday 9 Apr Is your man more James May than Christian Grey? Then this is the show for you! Following on from their hugely successful 2012 tour, The Hormonal Housewives are back with hilarious all-new sketches, as well as all the very best bits from last time round, covering everything that makes today’s woman. Watford Colosseum, Rickmansworth Road, Watford WD17 3JN
Exhibition: ‘Crucible of Fire’ Sir Henry Bessemer- Sat 13 Apr 19 Feb –2 June 2013 Celebrating the bicentenary of the birth of the local hero who had a global impact. Learn about his remarkable life. Marvel at the scope of his work. See how his ingenuity changed the world.
Crafty Capers - Wednesday 10 Apr Drop into the British Schools Museum between 10.30 a.m. and 2.30 p.m. (last entry 1.30 p.m.) Learn a new skill or just come and have some fun being creative.
(Contact 01462 420144) British Schools Museum, 41/42 Queen Street, Hitchin SG4 9TS www.hitchinbritishschools.co.uk
Hoddesdon Players - Thursday 18 to Saturday 20 Apr Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime by Constance Cox, from a short story by Oscar Wilde: Lord Arthur Savile’s wonderful, comfortable life is turned on its head after a meeting with the clairvoyant, Mr Podgers. Podgers looks into Savile’s future and tells him that he is going to commit a murder. Broxbourne Civic Hall, High Street, Hoddesdon EN11 8BE
Fowlmere Farmers Market- Sat 13 Apr A monthly Farmers Market. We have gained a reputation for our friendly and welcoming atmosphere. We offer a full range of local foods including meats, poultry and game, fruit & veg, eggs, award-winning savoury pies, cakes, bread, handmade biscuits, artisan cheeses, preserves. Fowlmere Village Hall, Chrishall Road, Fowlmere, Royston SG8 7RY
The Ragged Trousered Philanhropists - Friday 19 and Saturday 20 Apr This critically acclaimed, hilarious, fast-paced adaptation of Robert Tressell’s classic book shares with its audience a year in the life of a group of painters and decorators as they renovate ‘The Cave’, a three-storey town house, for Mayor Sweater. Letchworth Arts Centre. 2 The Arcade, Letchworth Garden City SG6 3EW
East of England Food Festival - Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 Apr A celebration of East of England Food. Knebworth House SG1 2AX Pennyfarthing Antiques & Collectors Fair Sunday 14 Apr Pennyfarthing Fayres presents a quality range of 70 stalls, including Porcelain, Jewellery, Glass, Small Furniture and much more. Ideal for finding that individual gift. All enquires: 01438 813060 Adults £ 2.00 Seniors £1.50 Children under 16 years free Wyllyotts Theatre Darkes Lane, Potters Bar, Herts EN6 2HN
Hot Pepper Entertainments Present Beatlemania, The UK’s ULTIMATE Beatles Tribute Show Friday 19 Apr Beatlemania is the UK’s ULTIMATE Beatles tribute show. Starring "Imagine... The Beatles", the show takes you through the very best hits of the Beatles. With sound reproduction and a look that resembles the Beatles so closely you’ll think you were back in 1963. Cuffley Hall, Maynard Place, Cuffley EN6 4JA
Young Hearts-Showcase Wednesday 17 Apr Harpenden Young Hearts Youth Theatre present the 2013 Showcase A variety show with songs, sketches and loads of young performers from Harpenden and surrounding area. Harpenden Public Halls, Southdown Road AL5 1PD
Art Exhibition - Friday 19 Apr to Saturday 8 June Paintings by the international Royal Academy artist Graham Stewart and sculpture by the popular local artist Katie Pruden. Campus West, The Campus, Welwyn Garden City AL8 6BX
The Trench at Hertford Theatre -Wednesday 17th April at 7:45pm After a sell-out five star run at the Edinburgh Festival Les Enfants Terribles tour the UK with their new awardwinning show, The Trench. This was inspired by the true story of a miner who became entombed in a tunnel during World War One. As the horror threatens to engulf him, he finds that not everything in the darkness is what it seems as he starts to discover a new, strange world beneath the mud and death. Tickets: £13, concessions £11, £8 for schools/groups www.hertfordtheatre.com
The Party at Market Theatre, Hitchin - Friday 19th, Saturday 20th, Thursday 25th, Friday 26th & Saturday 27th April, Thursday 2nd, Friday 3rd & Saturday 4th May 7.30pm Jennifer Cramer travels to her Aunt Daisy’s surprise birthday party. There seems to be no obvious reason or motive for anyone to mean either of the sisters any harm, let alone want to take their lives, and it is even less clear how anyone had the opportunity to inflict the fatal cause Ticket Prices: £10 / £8.50 conc. (Thursday only)
Robin Ince - The Importance of Being Interested at Hertford Theatre- Thursday 18th April at 7:45pm Award winning comedian and science enthusiast Robin Ince takes a look at his favourite scientists – Charles Darwin and Richard Feynman. Find out why we have eyebrows, why bald dogs have bad teeth and why spaghetti snaps into four pieces. It is a loving look into the minds of two giants of human imagination who changed our worldview. He’ll also stop off on the way to look at some of the more bizarre views of early science–is the ostrich really the offspring of the union of a gnat and a giraffe? Tickets: £15.
Dragons & St. George - Sunday 21 Apr St. George’s Day: Sunday with the Family. Dragonrelated fun and games to celebrate St. George’s Day. British Schools Museum, 41/42 Queen Street, Hitchin SG4 9TS A Number by Caryl Churchill-18–27 April From one of the UK’s most successful modern playwrights, A Number raises many issues: the meaning of identity, the conflict between nature -28-
Hanbury Manor Wedding Show - Sunday 28 Apr Come along to this unique venue and see what great packages are available, on the day a large selection of exhibitors will be on hand to help plan your special day. Free goody bag for all Brides. Ware SG12 0SD
and nurture, and the ethics of cloning. Book online at www.abbeytheatre.org.uk or phone the box office 01727 857861 Matinee: Sunday 21 April at 2.30pm Chas and Dave - Thursday 25 Apr Chas ‘n’ Dave are great musicians and know how to give an audience a good time, and now Dave has decided to come out of retirement due to demand by their fans! This show will be the whole history of Chas ‘n’ Dave, from their pub set ending with Gertcha in 1979 right through all their hits Watford Colosseum, Rickmansworth Road, Watford WD17 3JN
Vienna Festival Ballet: Coppelia - Sunday 28 Apr A production in traditional style of this well loved ballet, danced to the music of Delibes. Perhaps one of the most magical and comical of the classics, a ballet full of humour, triumph and love, culminating with the wedding Pas de Deux. A bright and light hearted story which appeals to all. Hawthorne Theatre, The Campus, Welwyn Garden City AL8 6BX
Afternoon tea, with live piano - Friday 26 Apr A delicious afternoon tea. Live music from our gorgeous baby grand. What could be more delightful? Join us for sandwiches and cakes with tea or coffee, while enjoying a programme of light classics played by the talented Michael Gifkins on our lovely piano. Schubert, Brahms, Fauré. Letchworth Arts Centre. 2 The Arcade, Letchworth Garden City SG6 3EW
Rickmansworth Players Presents Arther Miller’s - The Crucible - Tuesday 30 Apr to Saturday 4 May Arthur Miller’s gripping historical play and a timely parable of contemporary society. The Crucible tells the story of how small lies children’s lies - build and build until the whole town of Salem, Massachusetts Arthur Miller’s classic parable of mass hysteria. The Pump House Theatre and Arts Centre Local Board Road Watford Herts WD17 2JP
Hide and Speak (Part Two): Howard ReadSaturday 27 Apr You saw him in February in his new smash-hit of a show. Now comes part two, as Howard Read returns for another terrific night of stand-up comedy. If you saw the first show, you can’t miss this. And if you didn’t ... well you can’t miss this either. Letchworth Arts Centre. 2 The Arcade, Letchworth Garden City SG6 3EW
Beds Listings Lamb Nursery and Lamb Bottle Feeding- Til Saturday 20 Apr At Easter, the cute lambs are back at Mead Open Farm! Meet all the newborns in the lamb nursery and help the farmers bottle feed the older lambs. Plus, watch all the action back at home on Mead Open Farm’s 24/7 Lamb Cam. With many new babies expected, there will be plenty of cute lambs on view. Mead Open Farm Stanbridge Road, Billington, LU7 9JH
George Orwell’s 1984 -Saturday 27 Apr "War is peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength". Winston Smith rewrites history for the Ministry of Truth, but when he is handed a note that says simply, ’I love you’ by a woman he hardly knows, he decides to risk everything in a search for the real truth. Hawthorne Theatre, The Campus, Welwyn Garden City AL8 6BX
One For The Record - til Tuesday 21 May The first of two major exhibitions by Bedfordshire & Luton Archives Service to celebrate their centenary. Showcasing its varied collections, and along the way telling the Record Office’s own story and how it protects our documentary heritage, be it on 12th century parchment or the latest computer.Wardown Park Museum, Old Bedford Road, Luton ,LU2 7HA
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra- Saturday 27 Apr We are delighted to welcome the worldrenowned Royal Philharmonic Orchestra for its first visit to Watford Colosseum. This impressive programme celebrates the genius of Tchaikovsky with his ever-popular Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture and powerful Marche Slave.Watford Colosseum, Rickmansworth Road, Watford WD17 3JN
Easter Bunny Bonanza At Mead Open Farm -til Sunday 14 Apr Every day, you can earn a chocolate treat by hunting for eggs in “Hoppy’s Hamlet” and even meet REAL Easter Chicks! Plus, also NEW, hop on board the Easter Express Tractor Ride! Mead Open Farm, Stanbridge Road, Billington, LU7 9JH
GB Canoe Slalom Team Selection EventSaturday 27 and Sunday 28 Apr Come and see the country’s best paddlers battle the rapids in this national competition. Why not take to the flat water in our taster canoe sessions? To book visit www.gbcanoeing.org.uk. Lee Valley White Water Centre, Station road, Waltham Cross EN9 1AB
Summerfields’ Miniature Railways- Mon 1 & Sun 28 Apr Summerfields’ Miniature Railways is a three track railway system run by the Bedford -29-
music and arrangements written for them. Tea, coffee, wine or soft drink available in the interval. Whipsnade Village Hall, off B4540, LU6 2LG
Model Engineering Society. The Society opens the railways on several days each year to the general public, so that people can watch and ride on the miniature steam locomotives. Summerfields’ Miniature Railways, Hammer Hill, Haynes, MK45 3BH
Free Archives for Local History: the Bedfordshire Sources talk with Nigel Lutt Thursday 18 Apr Free lunchtime talk, Learn something new about the area you live in. Stop by in our Lakeside cafe afterwards for a cup of tea or lunch! Marston Vale Forest Centre, Station Road, Marston Moretaine, MK43 0PS
Hop to it - Find out about Frogs - crafts and learning session- Thursday 4 Apr Get busy finding out about frogs with some frog themed fun and games! Marston Vale Forest Centre, Station Road, Marston Moretaine, MK43 0PS
Patience, Jigsaws and Other Games Archivists Play- Thursday 18 Apr Ever thought how lovely it would be to work with old documents? In this talk Bedfordshire & Luton Archives Service explain what archivists and conservators do all day, why they do it and why a love of history is definitely not the only criteria for the job! Wardown Park Museum, Old Bedford Road, Luton, LU2 7HA
The British Indoor Horse Driving Trials Championships -Friday 5 to Sunday 7 Apr The British Indoor Horse Driving Trials Championships The College Equestrian Centre. MK44 2JP Biggleswade & District Gardening Club Spring Show -Sunday 7 Apr Beautiful displays of Spring bulbs, Stunning arrangements by Biggleswade & District Flower Arrangement Society and the Alpine Garden Society. Tea & home made cakes, re-cycled book stall etc. Weatherley Centre, Eagle Farm Road, Biggleswade, SG18 8JH
Skeptics in the Pub- Thursday 18 Apr "Prostitution: Should we adopt the Swedish Law or the NZ One?" a presentation by speakers from the English Collection of Prostitutes. The White Horse, Newham Ave, Bedford, MK41 9PX
Discover Adders on Rammamere Heath -Sunday 7 Apr Take a walk with local Adder expert Matt Andrews and discover more about the amazing creatures that make their homes in a heath land habitat. Booking is essential please email firstname.lastname@example.org .Please note the £2 car parking charge still applies. Share a car journey with friends. Rushmere Country Park, Stockgrove entrance, Brickhill Road, Heath & Reach, LU7 0BA
Sean Lock Friday 19 Apr Grove Theatre, Court Drive, Dunstable. LU5 4GP St George’s day Celebrations -Saturday 20 April Priory Gardens & The Square, Dunstable 10 am to 3pm.Free St. George’s day fun with craft activities, town trail and entertainment! Come and have fun celebrating this traditional Day!
Bluebell wood - crafts and learning sessionThursday 11 Apr Design your own spring woodland and make a bluebell. Find out where you can enjoy bluebell woods in the Marston Vale. Marston Vale Forest Centre, Station Road, Marston Moretaine, MK43 0PS
Mind Body & Soul Fair (10th Anniversary) 20th/21st April 2 day event, free talks, free parking, therapies, retailers, clairvoyance, aura photography, colour, sound, angels, crystals, salt lamps & air purifiers, past life, healing, kundalini yoga, grief management, aloe vera, spine & wellness centre, dream analysis & soul impression readings, power animal. The Rufus Centre, Steppingley Road, Flitwick, MK45 1AH
Biggleswade Art Exhibition- Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 Apr Original paintings for view and sale. Refreshments are available. Northill Village Hall, SG18 9AH
Real Arts and Crafts -Saturday 20 Apr Craft fair featuring a wide range of high quality crafts including cards, jewellery of various kinds, ceramics, knitted and sewn goods, cakes, jams, pictures, silverwork. Goods on sale have been made by the stallholder or a member of their partnership. Woburn Sands Memorial Hall, MK17 8RH
Flitwick 10K Road Race plus FREE juniors fun run- Sunday 14 Apr Millenium Green, Flitwick Milton Jones - Tuesday 16 Apr Corn Exchange Bedford, The Central Box Office, Bedford. MK40 1LE LIVE MUSIC Caduceus Brass Quintet “From Medieval to Modern”- Wednesday 17 Apr An entertaining evening about brass music through the ages. This group of professional musicians will tell you about their instruments and the
Biggleswade Antiques Fair- Sunday 21 Apr Over 45 stalls offering a range of antiques from jewellery, glass, china, pictures, postcards, kitchenalia and militaria. Popular cafe serving
lunches, hot and cold drinks as well as a range of cakes, jams and chutneys to buy. Plenty of free parking and something for all antiques collectors. The Weatherley Centre, Eagle Farm Road, Biggleswade, SG18 8JH
Bucks County Museum and Roald Dahl Children’s Gallery, Church Street, Aylesbury HP20 2QP School Holiday Steaming Day at Buckinghamshire Railway Centre- Wednesday 3 Apr & 10 Apr Buckinghamshire Railway Centre occupies an extensive site in rolling Buckinghamshire countryside. Exhibits range from large express passenger locomotives to the humble shunting engine together with a host of smaller items recreating the golden age of steam. Buckinghamshire Railway Centre, Quainton Road Station, Quainton, Aylesbury HP22 4BY
Introduction to BeeKeeping- Sunday 21 Apr Interested in becoming a Bee Keeper? A one day course designed to answer your questions and concerns before you go spending lots of money. . Not sure if you’d like it? Want to know exactly what’s involved? Is it expensive? Where can I keep bees? Randalls Farm, MK43 9NE Barton Le Clay Craft Fayre -Saturday 27 Apr A craft fayre and shopping extravaganza to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the hall - with face painting, glitter tattoos, balloon making & hair braiding to entertain the kids while mums shop to their hearts content. A variety of stalls and crafts to choose from - knitted, crochet, cross stitch goods: bags, purses & key charms: Edible treats; jewellery; homewares; baby gifts; cards for all occasions; books; skincare; dog treats; photography offers & much more There will also be a raffle on the day 11 am - 3 pm Children under 5 yrs FREE entrance, £1.00 entrance which includes a free tea, coffee or soft drink. Barton Le Clay Village Hall, Hexton Road, Barton Le Clay, MK45 4JY
Family Easy Riders-Thursday 4 Apr Join The Parks Trust rangers for a school holiday family cycle ride. Meet by the Peace Pagoda, Willen Lake North. £1/person or £3/family. Willen Lake North, Milton Keynes, MK15 0BA Like Our Beat! Like Our Style! Thursday 4 to Saturday 6 Apr It is once again time for the talented pupils of this renowned local performing arts school to return to Stantonbury for their annual show. Most people will say where has the year gone but for the pupils and teachers at MTPAS it is, how did we fit so much into the year? Stantonbury Campus Theatre, Milton Keynes MK14 6BN Behind the Scenes Tours- Friday 5 Apr 10.30 12.00 Once a month, you can join the Waddesdon guides to learn about life at the Manor; how it was used in the 19th century and how it was run. Explore rooms where the servants lived and worked. Waddesdon Manor, Waddesdon, off the A41 between Aylesbury and Bicester HP18 0JH
Bucks Listings Bottle Feed Lambs At Odds Farm Park -til Saturday 20 Apr Cute, cute and cuter still! This Easter children can Bottle Feed Lambs daily at Odds Farm Park – voted “Farm Park of the Year 2013”. The Lambs are specially trained to drink from bottles, and children will love to get extra close to them with this great hands-on experience. Odds Farm Park, Wooburn Common, High Wycombe, HP10 0LX
Big Easter Eggs-travaganza - Saturday 6 Apr Join The Parks Trust rangers for Easter family fun with lots of Easter activities from a giant Easter egg hunt to meeting The Parks Trust bunny. Recommended parking at Central Milton Keynes Shopping Centre. Campbell Park, Milton Keynes, MK9 4AT
Hairspray The Musical at the Milton Keynes Theatre- Monday 1 to Saturday 6 Apr Milton Keynes Theatre, 500 Marlborough Gate, Milton Keynes, MK9 3NZ
Hormonal Housewives at the Milton Keynes Theatre - Sunday 7 Apr Starring Toyah. Following its sell-out tour of Scotland Hormonal Housewives is heading down south! Join the Hormonal Housewives as they battle against weight gain, weight loss, mood swings, wine, PMS, men, going to the gym, waxing, stretch marks, men, chocolate, upper-lip hair. Milton Keynes Theatre, 500 Marlborough Gate, Milton Keynes, MK9 3NZ
Terrific Tuesdays Tuesdays 2 Apr & 9 Apr Have an eggstra special Easter with our fun family activities and crafts, all included in the standard admission price! Chiltern Open Air Museum, HP8 4AB Family Activities at Bucks County Museum & Roald Dahl Children’s Gallery - 2 -4 Apr Discover the Ancient Egyptian wonders of the Museum’s collections. Tues 2 Apr – Amulets. Discover how to make your own replica Ancient Egyptian lucky charms. Wed 3 Apr – Jewellery. Explore Egyptian jewellery from the Museum’s collections and make your own to take home. -31-
The Woman In Black at the Milton Keynes Theatre -Monday 8 to Saturday 13 Apr Milton Keynes Theatre, 500 Marlborough Gate, Milton Keynes, MK9 3NZ
birth of aviation to science fiction, cars of all types, tanks and much more. Stantonbury Leisure Centre, Milton Keynes, MK14 6BN Stuck- Sunday 21 Apr It all begins when Floyd gets his kite stuck in a tree. He throws up his shoe to shift it, but that gets stuck, so he throws up his other shoe and that gets stuck too. Along with the cat, a ladder, a pot of paint, the kitchen sink, an organ-utan and a whale, amongst other things. Stantonbury Campus Theatre, Milton Keynes, MK14 6BN
The Sagas Of Noggin The Nog -Wednesday 10 Apr How young Noggin became King of the Nogs and sailed to the Land of The Midnight Sun to find his bride. And how, in the Tale of the Ice Dragon, a small and fierce looking man wielding a sword tells of his home in the Hotwater Valley and his people who are hiding from a huge terrifying Dragon. Stantonbury Campus Theatre, Milton Keynes MK14 6BN
MKCO Powerful Piano at the Milton Keynes Theatre - Sunday 21 Apr Milton Keynes Theatre, 500 Marlborough Gate, Milton Keynes, MK9 3NZ
Cheese Maker’s Market-Saturday 13 Apr The UK’s top event for Cheese Lovers will take place on Saturday 13th April at The Market Place, Old Beaconsfield. An opportunity to taste, learn about, and buy cheese, The Cheese Makers Market will offer cheeses from over 70 different producers, showcasing both British and Continental. The Market Place, Old Beaconsfield, HP9 2JN
Starlight Express at the Milton Keynes Theatre -Wednesday 24 Apr to Saturday 4 May Bill Kenwright presents one of the best loved and longest running musicals in theatrical history, as the sensational Starlight Express explodes back onto the stage with a new production for 2013, destined to take the UK by electrifying storm. Light years ahead of the rest, Milton Keynes Theatre, 500 Marlborough Gate, Milton Keynes, MK9 3NZ
Mustang Car Day - Sunday 14 Apr Mustangs from the 1960’s to the present day gather for an informal judging. A great day out for car enthusiasts! Waddesdon Manor, Waddesdon, off the A41 between Aylesbury and Bicester, HP18 0JH
International Cat Show with Craft StallsSaturday 27 & Sunday 28 Apr See many different breeds of cats either with their owners or being judged by our International Judges from America and Europe. Judging continues throughout the day so there is always something to see. Take the opportunity to visit our stalls selling everything you need for your own pampered cat. Stantonbury Campus Leisure Centre, Stantonbury, Milton Keynes, MK14 6BN
The Great Gatsby at the Milton Keynes Theatre - Tuesday 16 to Saturday 20 Apr Milton Keynes Theatre, 500 Marlborough Gate, Milton Keynes, MK9 3NZ The Ugly Duckling at the Milton Keynes Theatre- Friday 19 Apr Milton Keynes Theatre, 500 Marlborough Gate, Milton Keynes, MK9 3NZ
The Selfish Giant -Sunday 28 Apr Since building a wall to keep the children out of his garden, the only visitors The Selfish Giant gets are Lady Snow and her friends. One morning he hears the most beautiful music coming through his bedroom window and is delighted as he looks out with the sight that greets him. Stantonbury Campus Theatre, Milton Keynes, MK14 6BN
Spring Quiz - Friday 19 Apr The Friends of the Museum will be hosting a Spring Quiz with buffet style food at the Olney Centre at 7.30 the evening. Tickets are available at the museum for £8.00. Please bring your own drink and glasses. The Olney Centre, High Street, Olney, MK46 4EF French Market on the North Front Saturday 20 & Sunday 21 Apr A variety of goods including breads and patisserie, pancakes and cheeses, provencal soaps, leather handbags, olives, saucisson and pates from Normandy, confectionary and wooden toys and basket work. Waddesdon Manor, Waddesdon, off the A41 between Aylesbury and Bicester. HP18 0JH
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ModelKraft 2013 - Sunday 21 Apr Hundreds, if not thousands, of aircraft of all periods from the
What’s on in April
Hey Diddle Diddle - Friday 12th April at 11am/2pm There’s an air of excitement in Rhyme Town – the secret place where nursery rhyme characters live when they’re not busy with bedtime stories.Hey Diddle Diddle is a magical show of songs, laughter and audience participation – ideal for children of all ages, especially the under fives. Tickets: £10 /£8 concs
Think Floyd – Live in Concert - Saturday 13th April at 7:30pm This extraordinary show is renowned for its stunning celebration of one of the world’s greatest musical phenomena. The incredible talented musicians who make up THINK FLOYD recreate the atmosphere, visual magnitude and musical excellence of PINK FLOYD live on stage and are regarded as the UK’s finest tribute to Floyd. Tickets £18.50
THE SEARCHERS Thursday 18th April at 7.30pm With such classic hits as Sweets For My Sweet; Needles and Pins; Don’t Throw Your Love Away; Sugar and Spice and When You Walk In The Room. The Searchers, with total record sales well in excess of 40 million, still have great appeal to audiences of all ages. They tour the globe as much today as they have done throughout a fantastic career spanning 5 decades. Don’t miss The Searchers live in concert! Tickets: £19
Tickets from the Rhodes Box Office on 01279 651746 or www.rhodesbishopsstortford.org.uk