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Issue 78 April 2020

In this edition of The Sticks Interview with Mike Batt Q and A with Tim Vine Russell Grant’s April Horoscopes Advice from Consensus HR Curwens Legal Column Adjusting to the Situation Art Column Big Barn Food Column Wine Column



Welcome to the April edition of The Sticks Magazine! The most talked about magazine in Herts, Beds & Bucks With over 16,000 readers a month

In this issue: Interview with Mike Batt Interview with Tim Vine HR Column from Consensus HR Curwens Column Russell Grant’s April Horoscopes Adjusting to the Situation Art Column Janey Lee Grace – Power For Good B - Green Big Barn Food Column Wine Column No listings due to Corona virus - see page

Page 4-6 7-8 9-10 11 14-15 18-19 20 21 22 25-26 27 28

Contributors: Terry Sullivan, Sharon Struckman, Russell Grant, Matthew Pinto–Chilcott, Marilyn Comparetto Helen Froggett-Thomson, Janey Lee Grace See you in May! Editor & Sales: Terry Sullivan Tel: 07756 274444 Email: thesticks9@gmail.com www.the-sticks.co.uk .

Follow us on twitter @thesticks9 Listen to The Sticks Radio Show at 8pm every Monday exclusively on SG1 Radio (Repeated on Wednesday at 6pm) www.sg1radio.com


Interview with Mike Batt Mike Batt, LVO is a best-selling English singer-songwriter, musician, arranger, record producer, director, conductor and author. Having achieved substantial international success as a solo artist he is particularly known in the UK for creating The Wombles pop group, writing many hits including the charttopping Bright Eyes, and discovering, producing and song writing for multi-million selling singer Katie Melua. He has also conducted many of the world’s great orchestras, including the London Symphony, Royal Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, Sydney Symphony and Stuttgart Philharmonic in both classical and pop recordings and performances. He was created Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order by The Queen in the 2010 Birthday Honours List. The Chronicles Of Don’t Be So Ridiculous Valley is his first novel. How are you Mike? I am very well thanks. You have your first book out called “The Chronicles of Don’t Be So Ridiculous Valley”? That’s right. It is a bit of a mouthful for the likes of me. It is a bit of nonsense; it is probably the daftest book you will read this year. It is just a mad adventure really. I would not say it is just for children or just for adults, it is for anyone who is wacky enough to want to read it. It is something I have been working on for quite a few years and it just goes anywhere it likes, it is about a slug, who has no hands but of course that does not stop him wanting to learn to play the piano and it goes on from there. He has a beautiful fairy, Little Else and when he is away, he thinks of Little Else, he goes off and becomes a great general fighting against an army of what they call Pigfrogs, which are the evil creatures that live in the mountains that come down at Christmas to jump on you in order to spoil Christmas. To give you the dynamic of it, that is kind of what it is. It is slightly chroniclesy it is a cross between, even though I am not putting it on the level of though, it is sort of Pythony, slightly Tolkieny and slightly mad, stupid.


The quote I saw about the book and probably sums it up is an “adventure story for childish grown-ups and grown up children” and I am not sure which one I fit in, probably the first one but we will not go into that one. We all are a bit of both. What inspired you to write the book as you have been writing songs for many years? I have been writing for a good 50 years and I am not ashamed in saying that, giving my age away a bit but there you go. I just love it, I love writing songs, it is a way of telling stories, a way of expressing emotions and it is almost a cliché these days to say you’re a storyteller when you’re a songwriter but sometimes you are and sometimes you are not, you can express emotion, love, dislike - whatever you want in a song and that’s what is so good about it. I think there are people who still do it in singles. People who are not artists, writers etc. buy singles to give to say their girlfriend to say what they cannot say to their face, like “I love you” is a hard expression or it used to be maybe 40 years ago but is much easier these days with social media and technology.

How did the musical career start, did you always want to be a musician, pop singer, songwriter or was there another career for Mike Batt? There was another career - it was killing people, I was thinking of going into the army and become an army officer and going to Sandhurst but I always did love music and with music you have to get to the point where you think that is a possibility, whereas when you are 9 or 10, which is when I found out I was musical and also interested in lyrics, I used to write rhymes and things. I only started writing songs properly when I was about 14 and they were pretty rubbish songs, in fact I was with my family the other day and I mentioned a couple of them and they went “what I have never heard them”, I remembered a couple of them and they were wonky. I always wanted to be a musician, but it is a question of getting to the point when it is realistic. At home I used to conduct the chairs and tables, when my mum and dad went out Saturday morning shopping, I used to put Schubert’s 9th symphony on, a bit of a mad thing for a 10 year old to do but it is what I used to do. Who apart from Schubert inspired you to take the next step? The reason I listened to Schubert then, was in the old days you used to have stuff come through the letterbox rather than through your computer. One day it was concert hall record club and I could have 4 free EP’s as long as I promised to buy one album a year. The price was 26 shillings which was about £1.50, that was a stretch for me but I decided to do it and I got my 4 free albums and the first one I brought was Schubert’s 9th I just loved it and still do. I have never had the opportunity to conduct it live with a proper orchestra but maybe one day. Do you have any unfulfilled ambitions? To me that is almost too big a question to ask, I am not saying you should not have asked it, in fact I am glad you did but with me I don’t have one unfulfilled ambition, the conducting Schubert would be one of them but I have about 6 other project that will not get done in my lifetime, 5

I would like to get through as many of them as possible without thinking about many other things that will add to the bucket list. What would you say was your greatest achievement? The proper thing to say is having my children, I am proud of my kids so therefore that is something everyone can relate too, it is a real human thing and we should not let our career blind us to the fact that it is one of the most important things we are ever going to do. How did the connection with you and The Wombles occur? When I left my job, the only job I ever had as an A&R man at 19 with Liberty / United Artist records. I left to do freelance work and in order to keep the wolf from the door I used to do jingles as well as arranging and doing pop records with people. That’s what I did and I had an agent that got me commercials and one day she rang me up and said “it is not a commercial but it is a theme tune for the BBC they are doing this thing called The Wombles” I said it sounds fine, I will go and have a chat with them, so I went and had a chat and said look why do you not have a song instead of a tune because then I can write some lyrics about these great characters you have created. I went away and I was living on a houseboat at the time and I remember writing the lyrics on a train and played it to them and they liked it so I recorded it. Instead of taking a fee for it, I asked them if I could have the rights to exploit the music and write more music and make a pop group out of it, they said yes that’s fine so that is how the pop group came to be. And is that you singing on the records? All of the Wombles singing is me. How does the song writing process work for you, like with Bright Eyes for instance? Bright Eyes is a perfect example even though it was written for a film and somebody did say we want a song about death. I went home and deliberated for a while but once I got the idea it was not difficult; I got the chorus within an hour sitting at the piano after about a day of thinking. It then took me about another day to write the verses, so they exactly fitted what I wanted them to say. The reason I say it is a good example is if I have a deadline, somebody who is waiting to hear it, I will try and complete it. That’s what turns me on.

Following its hardback release in September 2019, Mike Batt’s “adventure story for childish grown-ups and grown up children” now sees its digital release on Kindle for £7.99, or Kindle Unlimited with Amazon Prime, from www.amazon.co.uk.


Tim Vine: Interview By Brian Donaldson

Beloved of a passionate fanbase and garlanded by award judges, Tim Vine is taking a sharp left turn from his career as a one-line gagsmith and punmeister extraordinaire. Ladies and gentlemen, for one tour only (maybe), we introduce to you . . . Plastic Elvis! The idea for this new tour is somehow simultaneously daft as a brush and not as crazy as it sounds. A fan of Elvis Presley since he was a mere lad, Tim is merely paying homage to the man who entertained and inspired him the most. “He’s by far my biggest showbusiness hero: I’ve got a picture of him in every room in the house. In a way, this is actually an act I first practised when I was 11. I used to mime to the Madison Square Garden 1972 album, so really I always wanted to do an Elvis tribute act . . . I’m pretty sure I’m the only one, aren’t I?” As well he knows, the Elvis impersonator industry thrived in the years after the King of Rock and Roll’s death in 1977, but the record books actually mark 1954 as the moment when the first man stuck on some blue suede shoes in tribute. While the type of impersonator is wide and varied, Tim knows where his own act will be pitched. “I am trying to do an impression of him and in between songs I do talk as Elvis, so I can’t help it being funny in a way. Some might see that as being a little bit tacky or something, but I just want to go the whole hog and walk on and try to be him all the way through. In any case, the humour in between songs is the sort of things he used to say.” As well as getting the voice and wit right, Tim knows that he has to get the look and stage manner spot on too. “There are some leg moves in there and the suit I’m wearing is uncomfortable. I might be at my thinnest ever at the end of this tour: if I’m still alive! Because the suit is plastic, it doesn’t breathe so the sweat stays in there. What I’ll do is turn the suit inside out and hang it up. On tour we’ll have to have two suits in rotation and that might be the same story with the wig. I’m thinking of growing some sideburns which will be a heck of a look if I die them black. That will be interesting coming down for breakfast in the hotel: I’ll just be some bald guy with black triangles on his face.”


Initially encouraged by a friend and fellow Elvis impersonator to try out his act firstly in a pub and then in an arts centre, Tim used a backing track on both occasions. But he upped the ante for a one-off show at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe by appearing with a full live band, and they are all now heading out on tour. “The High Noon Band are absolutely brilliant, so the music is great and the back catalogue to choose from is obviously incredible. The show is based largely on my own favourites so it’s not just all the obvious ones. Someone said to me that it was like watching Elvis doing an impression of me. When you see Elvis tribute acts, you don’t usually know them as anyone else whereas people coming along presumably know me, so there is some other layer there. Although it is funny in parts, it’s definitely not a stand-up show: we’re trying hard to underline that: it’s me as Plastic Elvis. Put it this way: if you’re the sort of person who likes my stuff and likes Elvis, then definitely come. If you like Elvis, I’d say you should come. But if you just like me and hate Elvis, it might not be your thing.” For many years, Tim Vine has been doing a particular thing very successfully indeed. His live shows are jampacked with puns, visual gags, songs and wordplay that bamboozle and delight in roughly equal measure, featuring suitably silly yet clever titles such as Punslinger, Current Puns, The Joke-amotive, and Timtiminee Timtiminee Tim Tim To You. Among his triumphs are winning the Perrier Best Newcomer prize at the Edinburgh Fringe of 1995 and breaking the Guinness World Record in 2004 for the most jokes told in one hour: that record stood for a whole decade. Away from the stand-up circuit, he has appeared in panto (Cinderella and Dick Whittington among them) and gained TV success in five series of BBC sitcom Not Going Out. But the time finally came for a slight diversion in Tim Vine’s showbiz trajectory, one which he is (fairly) sure he won’t look back on with regret. “I ummed and ahhhed about doing the tour, but finally thought that there’s no point in being self-conscious about it; I should just do it and if people want to come and see it, that’s great. But there’s no point at my age thinking ‘oh well, I’ll do it in ten years’ time’: I’m already ten years older than Elvis ever was. So now is the time to give it a proper go.” See Tim Vine Is Plastic Elvis - A Unique Tribute to a Legend With support from special guests John Archer as Big Buddy Holly and song writing legend David Martin Thur 7 May Tue 12 May Tue 16 June

Watford, Colosseum www.watfordcolosseum.co.uk High Wycombe, Wycombe Swan www.wycombeswan.co.uk St Albans, Alban Arena www.alban-arena.co.uk Please note that this is not a stand-up comedy show Further information: www.timvine.com Twitter: @RealTimVine


Three Ways to Reduce the Cost of Recruitment Up to 70% of UK businesses plan to reduce hiring over the next year in a bid to cut costs, according to a nationwide survey by Deloitte. What ways can you achieve this, as an employer, while still getting the very best from your people? 1. Start a Recruitment Referral Scheme Engage your existing employees in finding new talent. Employees are more likely to only refer people they believe will be a good fit, as well as a good reflection on themselves. This approach not only reduces the number of unsuccessful hires and related costs, but also speeds up the overall recruitment process. 2. Use Social Media Social media allows organisations to reach out to, and put themselves in the minds of job hunters, as well as those who are not even actively looking. A survey by SimplyHired found that using social media helps reduce recruitment costs by 50%. Invest in creating effective messages and communicating with customers, clients, followers and subscribers. 3. Improve Staff Retention Communicate with, engage with, and support your employees. Provide opportunities for growth and career progression. Offer a competitive pay scale. Inspire a strong company culture, create effective teams, highlight successes, say 'thank you', and ensure employees feel valued for their input and efforts. All of this will go a long way towards reducing staff turnover, and ultimately, the need to recruit. “This is an interesting survey by Deloitte and, to be honest, is what I would expect employers to be doing anyway. It is best practice and we have helped many clients with this. A good, well-structured referral scheme can work wonders for businesses whilst also providing an additional benefit for the team. However, this must be managed correctly with proper standards set, or you could end up giving a benefit to an employee for someone who does not meet the needs of the business. In relation to social media, candidates who are seeking employment now do it on their phones and mobile devices, so employers need to ensure that they keep up with the times.” Comments Matthew from Consensus HR How Do Your Employees Define Success? We are all different, and therefore we all have different definitions of success when it comes to work. In a new study of 2000 UK professionals, the UK's leading independent job board, CV-Library, has revealed some of the key metrics that UK employees believe make someone successful at work. Here we share the top 8... Being trusted to get on with their work - 69.7% Earning over £50k per year - 36.1% 9

Having the choice to work from home at times - 21.3% Managing more than 10 employees - 20.7% Reporting only to themselves - 16.4% Having their own office – 13.4% Having 35+ days of annual leave – 12.9% The opportunity to travel abroad for work – 11.6% If you are looking to recruit in 2020 or to develop your existing talent, maybe these metrics are worth consideration? “This is an excellent study and clearly demonstrates what employees see as making somebody successful at work. This gives some information to be considered when recruiting within your business” comments Matthew from Consensus HR. If you need HR advice contact: Consensus HR www.consensushr.com 01438 310062 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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Will there be new legal reform for Cohabitants? Over the last couple of weeks our family team has seen a number of clients who are in very precarious positions due to the current laws (or lack of them) dealing with separating parties who are not married or in a civil partnership. It has reminded us of the pressing need for reform of the law relating to cohabiting couples. Cohabitation is the fastest growing family type in the UK. There are almost 7 million in the UK living in a cohabiting relationship and almost half of them are unaware of their lack of legal status and rights, and thus their vulnerability on any relationship breakdown. What most members of the public do not appreciate is that there are NO financial claims for yourself against a former cohabitant, regardless of the length or nature of the relationship. The only exception is for those who are the main carer of any dependent children of the relationship (under schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989). Children issues are still dealt with in the same as between married couples. This allows the court to make decisions on how children split their time between their parents, and the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) can still adjudicate on the level of child maintenance. However, 46% of the public still mistakenly believe that the myth of ‘common law marriage’ somehow exists to provide further protection – which it does not. Where do Cohabitants stand? In a society where people are increasingly choosing not to marry and choose not to enter civil partnerships, it seems to me to be essential that their rights are protected. Regrettably, cohabitation law reform continues to take a back seat and the law remains unchanged. Property disputes are dealt with under TOLATA (trust law) and many other nonchild claims are simply not possible. Over the last two decades, we have seen enormous changes in family law. Although family judges are forward thinking, open-minded, and fairness-focussed they can only work within the parameters of the statutory law. Only Parliament can make legislative changes and we hope as the time for change is now, the next government will take an active heed of bringing some changes for cohabitants. If you would like to know more about your rights as a cohabitee please contact our Family law Team. Curwens have offices in Royston, Hoddesdon and Enfield. www.Curwens.co.uk 11



Russell Grant’s Monthly Horoscopes April

Aries (Mar21/Apr20) You’ll get a chance to study a fascinating subject as March makes way for April. Sign up quickly and make sure of your place as spaces will soon be filled. You should be feeling very pleased with yourself if you are given a greater measure of responsibility at work near the 5th, as well as an increase in pay. Budget cuts on the 7thwill seem intolerable; control your temper when discussing them with your boss. It may be best to wait a few days before broaching the subject. The Full Moon on the 8thwill put a strain on a close relationship; your best friend or romantic partner will resent all the time you spend on your career. It will be easier to get your ideas across on the 11th, when you’ll be thinking more clearly about a complicated matter. Don’t challenge a leader’s authority on the 14thor you could lose face or even your position. The New Moon on the 23rdattracts a moneymaking opportunity, but it will involve a personal risk.

subjects like politics, culture and religion; they will only lead to pointless arguments that could rebound and resonate for days or even weeks. Your work-life balance will be thrown off kilter on the 14th; you may have to take time off work for the sake of your loved ones. On the 24th, the New Moon warns against getting romantically involved with a friend. If you’re looking for love, find it with someone outside of your immediate social circle. A former romantic partner will try to reconnect with you towards the end of the month; it’s best to keep them at arm’s length. They’ll only cause headaches and maybe even heartache. Leo (Jul24/Aug23) As March makes way for April you will find many of your interest and involvements have changed or are changing. If you’re linked to a social network, you’ll make a powerful connection with someone unusual. Are you already in a relationship? Your amour will be proud to have you on their arm. A health regimen that’s begun on the 5th will have a transforming and protective effect on your lifestyle and you will be well pleased with the results. Don’t let a loved one talk you out of accepting an exceptional new opportunity on the 7th; this position is tailor made for you. The Full Moon on the 8th warns against getting into silly arguments on social media. It’s better to walk away from the keyboard than engage in a heated dispute with someone who needs to be right. Your knowledge and experience won’t be valued on the 14th, when a stubborn colleague insists on challenging your every idea. It will be much easier to find career satisfaction starting on the 23rd, when the New Moon highlights your skills and talents.

Taurus (Apr21/May21) The start of April presents you with a potential packed opportunity to ask for a pay rise or renegotiate a contract. Use your powers of persuasion to strike a better deal. Your moneymaking ability will result in a nice promotion or highprofile job near the 4th. Reviewing your plans for the future will result in a spiritual breakthrough on the 5th; prepare to undergo a profound personal transformation. The Full Moon on the 8th urges you to get treatment for a nagging ache or pain. You may have to change aspects of your diet and lifestyle. Your star power will reach its full power starting on the 19th; use it to win favours and influence people. Don’t challenge a stuffy leader’s authority on the 21stor you could come to regret it. The New Moon on the 23rd will tempt you to adopt a fashionforward look. You’ll be delighted with it, but friends may tease you. Embrace your individuality; it’s exciting to stand out from the crowd and be different from everyone else. Gemini (May22/Jun21) Your grace, charm and wit attract admirers wherever you go on the 3rd: this is a wonderful time to think about how you can support friends, neighbours and family. If you’re single, you’ll have your choice of suitors. Do you have a partner? They’ll find you irresistible. You’ll make a name for yourself by being conscientious and painstaking in all your dealings. It helps that you understand other people intuitively. You can negotiate better benefits or a more supportive payment arrangement with your employer on the 7th; but you may have to overcome some initial resistance. On the 8th, the Full Moon marks a turning point in a romance; it’s time to break up or make up, once and for all. Linking to a fashionable organisation will be lots of fun on the 11th; your social network will multiply and grow. On the 23rd, you’ll be tempted to take a lower profile, despite the protests from your friends or fellow workers.

Virgo (Aug24/Sep23) Your determination and intelligence will be obvious to everyone on the 3rd when you will be a decision maker for many. A career success you thought had been put on hold could suddenly move forward on the 4th, when you’re offered a dream job thanks to your exceptional skills. A romance has a profoundly transforming effect on you near the 5th. Your partner may convert your beliefs or inspire you to make beautiful art. On the 8th, the Full Moon will result in a rather lower income than you expected. You may have to get professional help to get what’s due to you. Things should be sorted out soon and a settlement could be awarded to you on the 11th, when the other party gets cold feet. Learning opportunities abound starting on the 19th as you find your personal world opens up to new insights and influences. The New Moon on the 23rd is ideal for taking centre stage with some innovative and inventive ideas; prepare to hear some criticism from traditionalists who can’t handle modern ways of thinking.

Cancer (Jun22/Jul23) A romantic encounter on the 4th will make you feel like you’re making a fresh start. If you’re single, you might meet someone special in a cultivated, cultured secluded setting. If you let your best friend or lover introduce you to something exotic on the 5th; you’ll be in for a delightful surprised. The Full Moon on the 8th warns against getting into a power struggle with a relative. Avoid sensitive

Libra (Sep24/Oct23) Why not shut yourself off from the rest of the world at the start of the month? It would be a wonderful time to revisit your hopes and aspirations for the future as well as looking into the past and reconnecting with your roots. If you’re single, you could meet someone special in an online forum; there’s a chance there will be a significant age difference between you. Do you have a partner? Buy them some local artwork that will always remind them of


sentimental and happy times. The Full Moon on the 8th could find you butting heads with a relative who wants you to change your ways. Stand by your principles. Living to please others is an exercise in futility. Don’t let your family criticise your best friend or romantic partner on the 15th, or great resentment will set in. On the 23rd, the New Moon will bring an unexpected opportunity, but you’ll probably have to jump through some official or legal hoops to get your hands on it.

of humour. Scale back your attempts for a personal transformation on the 25th; you must adapt slowly to changes all around you. Aquarius (Jan21/Feb19) Your love life takes on a more comforting and cossetting feel as March makes way for April; if you’re single, you’ll have to accept that maybe present restrictions will limit your options. If you’re in a relationship, splash out on a lavish gift for your lover. Buy them a token of your affection that is both precious and beautiful. Don’t push a relative into a decision on the 7th, or they’ll always resent you for it. A disappointing legal decision could be made on the 8th, due to a stressful Full Moon. Instead of dwelling on this setback, change tack and make some new plans. You’ll get such positive, morale-boosting feedback on your careful and considerate contributions to all decisions near the 19th; that you’ll feel like you’re making a very positive difference. It’s important to indulge in sensual pleasures on the 21st, even if you’re on a tight budget. Depriving yourself of life’s little luxuries will make you tired and tetchy. The New Moon on the 23rd is good for forward planning. There might not be a lot you can do right now, but you are ready for when the future opens up once again. An angry outburst on the 26th will be tiring, but liberating.

Scorpio (Oct24/Nov22) If you need it a kind-hearted, generous relative will give you the money for a down payment on a home and you could find a distinctive property on the 3rd. Alternatively, you may get excellent terms on a bank loan. Learning about a foreign culture will change your outlook on the 5th; you’ll become much more sensitive to other perspectives. A wild rebel will disrupt your home life on the 7th; things won’t be quite the same after this character arrives on the scene. On the 8th, you will clash with a bureaucratic organisation, due to a stressful Full Moon. You’ll be forced to submit official documents to get permission to travel or conduct business. An unusual partnership might begin to take shape on the 23rd, much to the disapproval of your friends and family. The New Moon will make this a stimulating but stressful time. Prepare to issue a sincere apology towards the end of April; it’s important to take back hurtful remarks made under stressful conditions.

Pisces (Feb20/Mar20) Your home life will be challenging in some ways it will also be rich and rewarding at the start of the month. This would be a good time to do some redecorating and refurbishing. You can also find some beautiful furnishings and artwork online to further beautify your abode. Caring for your nearest and dearest on the 4th will take on much more importance. A well-connected acquaintance will praise your kind-hearted thoughtfulness on the 7th; thanks to them, you could land an important opportunity in times to come. On the 8th, the Full Moon will force you to share a sum of money with a large group. Be content with your share. Don’t let self-doubt keep you from launching a creative personal project on the 21st; it’s important for you to save, share and communicate your thoughts. On the 23rd, the New Moon will find you facing off with some stuffy traditionalists. Although the old guard will disagree with you, more visionary types will embrace your ideas. Due to differing views and values you may decide to make some radical and long-lasting changes to the way you live your life on the 25th.

Sagittarius (Nov23/Dec21) Could falling in love be a distinct possibility in early April as you cross paths with a witty charmer? If you’re already in a relationship, arrange a romantic evening at home where you can talk freely. The stimulating conversation will pave the way to passion. Taking a challenging online th course on the 4 will be a labour of love; you’ll enjoy learning new methods and techniques. A moneymaking opportunity on the 5th could have profound consequences for the way you live your life; even better, it will allow you to think clearly about what you hope to achieve in times to come. On the 8th, a conflicted Full Moon will create drama and you will feel restricted and frustrated. You may decide to part ways with a pessimistic personality. Don’t feel pressured to buy someone’s affection on the 15th. You should be loved for who you are, not for what you can buy. The New Moon on the 23rd will bring an unusual job offer, but you’ll have to be a clever and determined negotiator to get the terms you want. Capricorn (Dec22/Jan20) A careful use of resources at the start of the month could help you negotiate your way through the difficult waters of the next few weeks and months. People trust you to be organised and resourceful. If you do a good job, you will win the respect and admiration of all concerned. Getting a position that involves lots of planning and decision making is a strong possibility on the 5th. You’ll enjoy being responsible for your own successes and that of others. On the 8th, the Full Moon will make you feel torn between personal and professional obligations. You may have to cancel a pleasant outing at a moment’s notice. Your nearest and dearest will resent any attempts to impose strict rules on their behaviour around the 14th; defuse any tension by not taking what they have to say too much to heart. The New Moon on the 23rdis wonderful for romance. Instead of trying to buy someone’s affection, win them over with your dry sense

www.russellgrant.com Call Russell Grant's Psychics & Mediums now on 0906 539 1526 (£1.50p per min + phone access charge, 18+) or pay by Credit/Debit card on 0207 111 6162 Calls to 0906 cost £1.50p per minute plus your phone providers access charge;18+ only. All calls are recorded for your protection & safety. This Entertainment service is regulated by PhonePayPlus and is provided by Russell Grant Astrology Ltd. Customer Services 0808 206 4514


Perhaps, Perhaps It’s Doris! Friday 15th May 2020, 7:30pm Lytton Theatre Stevenage An evening of Entertainment with a special afternoon preview offering FREE TICKETS for Residents in local care! Local performer ‘Aimi P’ will be paying to tribute to Doris Day in an evening to celebrate songs from this legendary singer’s career. In her tribute evening Aimi will sing some of the best loved songs by Doris Day including early Jazz standards ‘Fly me to the Moon’ and ‘Dream a little dream’ to musical and film numbers such as ‘Pillow Talk’, ‘Secret Love’ ‘The Black Hills of Dakota’ and the tribute title itself ‘Perhaps’. The show will be a relaxed table show on Friday 15th May at The Lytton Theatre, Vardon Road, Stevenage, SG1 5PZ where there is a licensed bar. The show starts at 7.30pm Tickets £12 full & £10 concession available now via www.ticketsource.co.uk/lovely-old-time-productions For any enquiries please email lovely.old.time.productions@gmail.com Hertfordshire born and based, Aimi is known locally for a variety of entertainments in various venues including The Gordon Craig Theatre, Stevenage Town Centre Gardens, Hampson Park and most recently a performance in the town centre for the Christmas Light switch on. Aimi P has had local and European success with her first one woman show ‘Truly Andrews’ based on her idol Julie Andrews and hopes that a Doris Day inspired evening will be a hit this May, one year on since Doris passed away.


A big part of Aimi’s work includes entertaining residents in care homes all over the country and she will be offering FREE TICKETS to any local care home for a special preview performance at 2.30pm. Tickets for this are LIMITED and only available directly from Aimi in advance via messenger on https://www.facebook.com/perhapsitsdoris/or lovely.old.time.productions@gmail.com Aimi’s talents are not limited to tributes of iconic females as she gigs regularly in Hertfordshire and is soon to be releasing her very own debut pop singles.

Social Media Email – lovely.old.time.productions@gmail.com Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/perhapsitsdoris/ Perhaps Perhaps Facebook Event https://www.facebook.com/events/170355697601571/ Aimi P - https://www.facebook.com/aimipentertainer/ Truly Andrews Show - https://www.facebook.com/TrulyAndrewsShow/


Adjusting to the Situation

As the reality of the situation we’re all in, sinks in, we’re going to need to rapidly adjust to a new normal. If you’re in the fortunate position of being able to continue working from home and you’ve also got children living with you, a new juggling act is in order. While many over worked or socially anxious employees might have initially seen working from home as a slight relief, the reality of this being the norm for an indefinite period requires some careful thought and planning and perhaps slight lowering of standards. It is a terrifying time. But you are not alone, which is relevant. There’s safety in numbers. It’s not just YOU unable to meet your obligations and there are new concessions being announced to prevent evictions and utility services being with held. 1. Create a space to work/be productive, where you can keep your computer and associated paperwork in one place all the time. Try to separate it from your ‘leisure’ time space if possible. 2. Determine lower than expected goals of what you think you want/can achieve per day or agree specific workflow objectives with your manager. If you have children to care for, expect less. Try to have a rota of care if you have another adult there with you. 3. Honestly assess your own levels of self discipline and make the relevant routine to suit. Be strict with yourself. Consider setting alarms on your phone for things like scrolling, daytime TV, chatting with non work friends. 4. Get into a routine where you get dressed (and look presentable enough for a video call from your boss/client!) and start work at a regular time. 5. Turn off push notifications and social media alerts if you’re easily distracted (that’s most of us then!). 6. Plan to have daily online visual streaming contact with a) colleagues, b) appoint a ‘buddy’ to make yourself accountable, and c) your manager.


7. Look after yourself. Take regular breaks, and not just to walk to the kettle! Getting outside is very important and you will return with a clearer head after even ten minutes. Cook for yourself at regular intervals, try to use fresh ingredients and eat bananas, oranges and apples if they are available. 8. Make sure you finish work and don’t carry on until you go to bed otherwise it will make it very difficult for you to switch off and go to sleep. 9. Consider mindfulness and meditation apps and take some time out. 10. Be more tolerant of yourself and others around you. In times of high stress, it’s really easy for something seemingly small to tip you over the edge. Forgive outbursts and be more compassionate. We’re all in this together! Helen Froggett-Thomson is an irrepressible entrepreneur and former Hertfordshire Businesswoman of the Year. Her down to earth approach and thirty years of coaching and creation of sales training and leadership strategies has transformed hundreds of small businesses and their teams. www.thomsontraining.com


During the Corona virus (covid-19) outbreak many theatres, venues, restaurants etc. will be closed and could remain so for a lengthy period. This will mean shows, gigs and events will be cancelled or postponed so please check before booking Please follow the government’s current advice www.gov.uk/coronavirus


Artist Profile - Michael Salt – RBSA

Michael Salt is a very well-established professional Artist, based at The Barn and Jinney Ring Craft Centre. Michael was born and has lived most of his life in Worcestershire, so it will come as no surprise to find that he has a love of the landscape, and this is evident in his paintings. You will find many local scenes from around Worcestershire on display, along with other neighbouring counties. Michael’s choice of materials is oils but is adept in other mediums. He tries to use colour and light to create an atmosphere or mood to ensure that his painting captures the "feel" as well as the view. Michael works by ‘En plein air’, painting outside. Taking with him a small canvas he rapidly pulls the scene together into a work of art by capturing the scene in front of him. Michael then takes the ‘sketch’ into his studio and works it up into a larger piece. Using the essence of ‘the now’ and by using all of his senses Michael seems to have created that magic formula for that touch of realism with magnificent light. Water scenes play a significant part in his work, and he focuses on the reflections and fluidity in this element. You will not only find scenes from around the waterways of Worcestershire, but also many dramatic Seascapes from around the country. More recently Michael has become a Member of the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists and also the Royal Society of Marine Oil Painters. Michael’s work is currently being exhibited at ART @ MG Mardleybury Gallery and can be purchased online.

Marilyn Comparetto FRSA www.mardleyburygallery.co.uk


Power For Good

How clear are you on what you want for your life? Do you believe you can manifest and ‘attract’ what you desire? Many of us have seen the film and read the book The Secret - which brought the concept of the Law of Attraction to millions of people - but these principles are part of a wider philosophy and teaching called 'New Thought' and this is explored in a new book by Herts. based author David J. Serlin – Power for Good, Saying YES to Life’s Invitations. David describes his own spiritual experiences from a psychic stately home in Essex to an esoteric retreat in Northern California and he shares his perspective on what he calls ‘affirmative prayer’. David believes we can all use spiritual principles to deal more effectively with life’s issues and challenges. Ultimately, it’s a book about life, and the invitations and opportunities that may come our way, and the hidden blessings and lessons they might contain. It provides a fascinating insight into spiritual laws and teachings and explains how anyone, and everyone can use spiritual principles to deal more effectively with life’s issues and challenges. Reading this reminded me that what we believe affects everything, most of our beliefs have been accumulated over the years, they don’t have a ‘factual’ basis, but we often ‘create’ facts to support what we believe. We can choose our thoughts and we can look at our limiting beliefs, change them and begin to attract what we want into our lives. David J. Serlin followed his dream to train as a spiritual healer and, later, as a practitioner of Positive Thinking and of New Thought, founding a Spiritual Living group with his wife Linda. They offer workshops and personal training in spiritual development. “Spirituality,” David says, “must be relevant, accessible to all – and fun!” This book might just be a calming antipode to the chaos and fear that prevails with the Corona Virus crisis as we go to press. What are you saying yes to? David and Linda are hosting a major one-day seminar on June 20th in Chipperfield, Hertfordshire entitled ‘The Game of LIFE – And How to Play it’ using spiritual principles for greater health, happiness and abundance.

‘Power For Good’ is available from www.newthoughtnewyou.co.uk







B. Green Set in the picturesque village of Birch Green, Hertford is a fantastic little shop and tearoom, “B. Green” which is the brainchild of Victoria Hellum and Carly Irving. It’s a warm and welcoming space situated in the centre of the village and provides a community hub where residents can purchase everyday items and meet up to enjoy cup of tea, a delicious slice of homemade cake or simple home cooked food. They offer zero waste, unpackaged dry goods and household refillables and it aims to reduce food miles and minimise waste and single use plastic by offering items without packaging where possible. “In a world where our lives are increasingly frantic and more and more people of all age groups suffer from loneliness, the shop has become a place for people to enjoy, say hello and ask someone how they are, with the time to listen and engage over a hot drink in a friendly environment. Alongside fresh seasonal fruit & vegetables and everyday essentials in the `Neighbours Pantry,’ B. Green stocks a selection of unpackaged dry goods, cereal, pasta, nuts, herbs & spices. They also stock household products like hand wash, laundry and washing up liquid in the zero-waste area where you can bring your empties and refill them. They hope their shop will become a hub for organised activities. They have already teamed up with “Active East Herts” to offer health walks, photography walks, walking football and bicycle maintenance. They will also be organising book swaps, craft and book groups, and plant and food swaps aimed at bringing the community together. Victoria and Carly are starting out on a journey to embrace a more sustainable and conscious lifestyle and hope the local community will join in and grow with them. You can find then at 19 Birch Green, Hertford SG14 2LU or follow them on social media. Sharon Struckman www.whatishootieat.co.uk




10 Positive Things to do During Lockdown Here are 10 positive things to do during this very unusual time. We are talking about active, satisfying, family bonding, activities, instead of sitting in front of the TV and watching reruns or trash TV. Perhaps getting the whole family involved where the activity starts with ‘I don’t wanna do that’ but ends with ‘Let’s do it again tomorrow’. No. 1 Cook. Learning to cook, or honing skills for Masterchef! Having time at home is a great opportunity to cook delicious meals, get more confident, and enthused, to share the cooking with the whole family. Technology means we can now watch video recipes instead of trolling through stodgy cookbooks. A video allows you to see the end product and stop and start the video as you progress. Please try BigBarn’s KIS (Keep it Simple) Cookery video channel. You can type in what ingredients you have and get a recipe to match. Or even make, and add, a video recipe to the site and be discovered as the next famous chef. When we get back to work perhaps the whole family will be enthused to cook regularly? No. 2 Become friendly with your local producers/retailers This might be difficult in lockdown although we will all need food. Chickens won’t stop laying eggs, cows produce milk, or veg stop growing, so potentially, plenty of local food. Please use our Local Food Map to find yours here. We are helping many with online shops and local delivery so please register for your local updates here. Unfortunately, EU cheap food policy over the last 40 years has caused most farmers to grow commodities instead of food. A politician recently stated: ‘We don’t need farmers, we can get cheap food from abroad, or factories.’ We hope your demand and this mess will change policy. No. 3 Grow Food and Crops for the Shop We humans have been growing food for thousands of years and it is within our souls to get satisfaction from producing a bountiful crop. We would all feel a lot more secure if we grew and shared food locally. Our Crop for the Shop initiative is designed for this and we have seen some amazing results when schools have joined in to get kids growing and cooking food and selling to local shops. More with a video here This is also very effective with local pubs and restaurants where, after lockdown, you can trade home grown produce for a drink.


No. 4 Fermenting food or drink Fermenting food was very popular, and essential, in the past, both to preserve food for shortages and add flavour to meals. Fermented foods are also very healthy as they contain many essential gut bacteria to help increase immunity. They are also extremely easy to make and could even develop in to a nice home business. To find out more I highly recommend this radio 4 Food Programme podcast with Sandor Katz. Or search online and You Tube videos. No. 5 Bake bread Healthier, satisfying, self sufficient, and saving money, should be enough reasons for this activity. For our blog about real bread v factory produced click here. You could even start a business supplying your community. There are hundreds of videos on bread making and sourdough on You Tube so all you need is great flour, you can buy online here from one of our many artisan suppliers No. 6 Clear out the freezer and food cupboard This could be difficult if you have crammed recent purchases on top of old foods. This is a great time to get organised. Eat the old food first and list everything you have to see how long you could last in a lockdown. I wouldn’t be surprised if some people have enough food to last months! No. 7 Forage If we are allowed to walk our dogs there could be lots of opportunities to pick up free and tasty foods. Elderflowers will soon be available as well as wild garlic and sorrel. You could even download an APP. No. 8 Join your community We have lived in communities for thousands of years to help us share hardship as well as good times. Surely this is a great time to rebuild local communities. Sharing food, seeds and seedlings, odd jobs. You should get out what you put in. In this wonderful age of technology this can now all be done online, and a safe distance from a local cough. No. 9 Exercise We must stay fit and active to fight off bugs. If the gym is closed there is no reason why we can’t exercise at home, or try the ultimate, yoga. Experts say that if we all spent 5 minutes a day doing the Sun Salutation the NHS would save millions in back pain treatment. Again, lots of videos available online. No. 10 Build, repair, or invent something This could be really satisfying. Get the family together for a brainstorm and become the next Dyson. There must be something in the house that needs fixing. Set the challenge and earn a reward! Perhaps your family can invent a new recipe and become famous.


Wine in a Coronavirus world

It’s funny what some countries have as a priority to what is considered an essential service. With the French its business as normal in terms of their wine shops staying open, but that is classic French and we should expect nothing less. But its not all good news with the likes of Bordeaux en Primeur being cancelled. Bernard Farges, president of the Bordeaux Wine Bureau (CIVB), said this week that the French wine industry is ‘watching our Italian friends closely, who are a few weeks further on in this situation, and we see that vineyard work continues; as do deliveries, even if more slowly and with many precautions in place’. He added, ‘We are lucky to make a product that is non-perishable, that we can stock. That won’t save us but it will allow us to be reactive when the situation improves; and we can be certain that when this has passed, we will want to spend time celebrating with our friends and family more than ever.’ Australians are also following suit with keeping their bottle shops open, but their industry relies tremendously on the export market - now this is going to struggle due to the Chinese not importing. This, on top of the fires and floods is going to be a very hard year for the guys down under. While national deliveries and on-trade consumption is dwindling, Italian wineries are still exporting produce despite some delays. How long this will last is difficult to say, as much depends on the domino effect of the closure of restaurants, pubs, shops which is happening from country to country. The wine industry has been cleared to operate as an essential service as New Zealand moves into coronavirus lockdown, allowing Marlborough's grape harvest to continue. With the latest news of the wine merchants closing their doors to the public in the UK we at least have some good news by being able to do nationwide deliveries by visiting our website www.cavavin.co.uk


Listings and the Corona virus

Due to, and during. the Corona virus (covid-19) outbreak theatres, venues, restaurants etc. are closed and could remain closed for a lengthy period meaning shows, gigs and events will be cancelled or postponed so please check before booking. This month there will be no listings I hope you understand.

Please follow the government’s current advice and stay safe and well. https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus 28



Profile for The Sticks

Out now the April Issue of The Sticks digital magazine  

The number one what’s on magazine across Herts, Beds & Bucks with over 16,000 readers every month www.the-sticks.co.uk In this edition of T...

Out now the April Issue of The Sticks digital magazine  

The number one what’s on magazine across Herts, Beds & Bucks with over 16,000 readers every month www.the-sticks.co.uk In this edition of T...