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Issue 6 December & January 2012/13

In this double edition of the Sticks Exclusive interviews with BBC 3 Counties new Breakfast host Iain Lee Strictly’s Brendan Cole, Singer songwriter Paul Carrack, International Cricketer David Murphy and Celebrity Jeweller Alyssa Smith Plus part 3 of our panto feature and BBC radio 2’s Janey Lee Grace tells us “Don’t worry be happy” We road test the Mitsubishi L200 Plus pages of festive events listings across Herts, Beds & Bucks

Things to do list: • Buy presents * • Stock up on drink * • Rescue decorations from loft * • Tax return by the end of January! *Ok, we can’t really help on these… But we can help sort out your tax and accountancy requirements. So why not contact us on Or visit our website at And then you can get back to enjoying the Festive Break with the family ....

Morgan Keen Accountants A friendly family-run business in Beaconsfield and Royston


Welcome to the December/January edition of the digital Sticks magazine! The most talked about magazine in Herts, Beds & Bucks With over 15,000 readers a month

In this double issue: Iain Lee Interview Brendan Cole Interview Meet Celebrity Jeweller Alyssa Smith Introducing David Murphy Interview with Paul Carrack Panto part 3 Janey says ”Don’t Worry Be Happy” Legal Column Mitsubishi L200 Road test Pearce’s Food Column

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Contributors: Janey Lee Grace, Martin Wilson, Terry Sullivan Guest writer: Lucy Gray

See you in February Editor & Sales:

Terry Sullivan

Layout and design:

Martin Wilson

Tel: 07756 274444 Email: Follow us on twitter @thesticks9


Exclusive Interview with Iain Lee BBC 3 Counties Breakfast Host Iain Lee is the new boy at BBC 3 Counties presenting the breakfast show on weekdays from 6 am ‘til 9 am; but his career began when he performed stand-up comedy gigs across venues in London. He subsequently became copresenter of the comedy current affairs show The 11 O'Clock Show on Channel 4 and RI:SE. Iain recently invited The Sticks to his studio following one of his shows for a chat How long have you been on 3 Counties? I started here in early September officially but did a little bit in August filling in for someone and it seemed to go quite well, so they asked me to come back and do it permanently so I am now officially the Breakfast host. Why did you come to BBC3 Counties rather than anywhere else? I have done loads of places like 6-Music, Absolute and LBC. I have a connection with 3 Counties as I grew up in Bucks. and my Mum still lives in Gerard’s Cross which is kind of right on the edge and the main reason I came here is they offered me the opportunity to try something a bit different. I was getting offered jobs that were me doing the same kind of show I had been doing for the last 8 years which was a very loosely structured kind of nonsense with me talking silliness. When I came to 3 Counties they said we like you but we want you to do something a little bit more grown up, I thought that was great because no one else was giving me the opportunity to do that so it started off as a challenge to do it but Iam enjoying it. What have you done before? I started off doing stand up comedy but was never very good at it, I got lucky and got spotted and my first big break was doing a TV show years and years ago called “The 11 O’clock Show”. I was 25 when I got that so it was 14 years ago and that launched the careers of Ricky Gervais, Sacha Baron Cohen and Dom Jolly and people like that and then I flipped between doing a bit of TV then bit of radio and my radio for the last few years has been mainly LBC in London and then Virgin that became Absolute. How did you get in to radio as you were doing Rise on TV? In those days if you were doing TV you could go to a radio station and say can I come and do a show please and they would say come and give it a go and that’s how I got into it. I went to XFM and said could I do a show. Anything you would like to do i.e. a dream job? Do you know, not really, I am happy to let things happen as they do. I used to have plans but then the plans never work out so I am just happy to drift along but if pushed would like to do Stephen Nolan’s job on 5 Live - a late night phone-in, a serious debate show Christmas and New Year is coming, what are your plans for then? Christmas is in my new house as we have just moved. I would imagine we will invite the family. I get to see my sister and her kids and Mum normally comes and stays over. Iam not really a fan of New Year so will be quiet. What was your best Christmas ever? I sound like a fool but it was the first Christmas with my first boy. He was born in January so was coming up to being a year old. It is kind of when it brings all the magic back in to Christmas when there are kids involved.


The best present you gave? Was to my wife before she was my wife and I brought her a diary, she said a diary, great thanks very much but then she looked inside and it said on this date we will be flying out to Japan. Basically I had booked us a two week holiday in Japan then we got engaged on that holiday as well so that was the best one. And the worst present you gave? I think I brought my wife a Hoover once. She wanted a Hoover, the house was dirty a nice practical present. Do you have a temptation you can’t resist? The Monkees. I am obsessed with the pop group The Monkees. I am constantly buying rubbish on EBay. I have just seen them in November in New York. What song that means the most to you? Daydream Believer. It is magic, my 2½ year old boy can sing it he knows all the words. It’s the best pop song and just reminds me of wonderful moments in my life. Do you have a regret you wish you could amend? I was asked to host “Have I Got News for You” and I turned it down, biggest mistake ever, what an idiot I was, I was scared of looking stupid. What info or wisdom would you like to pass on to your children? Just try and be nice to people and to be more confident as I have always been quiet nervous, I know I don’t come across like that when on TV or radio and just have more faith in yourself. Which DVD or TV series are you watching? Breaking Bad, an American TV series which I love, and is wonderful. My favourite film of all time is The Royal Tenenbaums which I can watch again and again and again, it just makes me cry. What are you hobbies and interests? I like to play guitar and a little bit of ukulele and I have just brought myself a banjo - the banjo is really hard to play. What are you currently reading and what sorts of books do you like? I am reading “Journal of the Dead” which is an account of two lads that camped in American and they got lost and dehydrated and one then kills the other. It is a true story. Who are your favourite singers or bands? The Monkees and The Beach Boys. I love that type of 60’s stuff also the Beatles, XTC and Japanese pop especially Japanese bands like Pizzicato Five and Box who have a new CD out and mention me in it I could not believe it was over the moon. Are you a gig goer, theatre goer or comedy show goer? I don’t really enjoy going out my favourite night in would be play a bit of Xbox or having a nice takeaway with my wife. But, bizarrely, I am off soon to see Jalo with my wife. I like sit down gigs. Do you cook? No, my wife is half Greek and an incredible cook so there is no need for me to do it - she does it so well. I am expert at loading the dishwasher but can make a mean feta and spinach pie if I have to, I cooked that on “Come Dine With Me”, one of the worst experiences of my life, but that dish came out pretty well. Who would be your 3 favourite dinner guests dead or alive? Ringo Starr (I met him once and was so impressed when he walked in and knew who I was) also my Mum because she is mental and always says something completely inappropriate and finally Karolos Papoulias the Greek president as my wife is half Greek and I have a real interest in Greece and the situation there, they are so corrupt with everyone paying cash How would you describe yourself? A lanky has been. No some one who is trying to grow up whether I am doing that successfully I don’t know. I am someone who is struggling with growing up and having a best a go at it as I can. I am flawed and I am trying to correct my flaws. That’s a bit deep and meaningful!


Exclusive Interview with Strictly’s Brendan Cole

Many of you will know Brendan from his 10 years on the hit BBC TV show Strictly Come Dancing where he has danced with celebrity partners including Fiona Phillips, Claire King, Lisa Snowden, Olympic gold medallist Victoria Pendleton and of course was the first winner of the show with newsreader Natasha Kaplinsky. Next year, Brendan is going out on the road with his new stage show ‘Licence To Thrill’ starting on Sunday 20th January in Aylesbury, close to where Brendan now lives. What can people expect when they come and see “Licence to Thrill”? I like to describe it as an evening with. It is a pretty full on evening of dance and chat and kind of everything. It’s an intimate evening including myself and the audience and of course I have a phenomenal cast of six dancers and a 14 piece band on stage all night so I like to think there is something for everybody, it is not just a dance show, not just a chat show plus some great music too. How did you get into dancing? As a young lad I played everything - all sports and I come from a musical family. My mother wanted my sister and myself to try dancing so we did, here we are lots of years later. I am very active and play all sports but dancing was the thing I was constantly at because football had a season so did cricket but I could dance all year round, and you come later on in life and it was a career option I suppose. What brought you to the UK from New Zealand? I came over here age 17 to take part in a world championship and never looked back since. I did used to go home to New Zealand for 2 months of the year to be a judge on their version of Strictly. How did you get the job on Strictly and did you think it would be the success it has been? I got a call from the show it was going to be called “Pro-Celebrity Come Dancing” at that point. I had no idea it would have taken off as it has, here we are in the 10th series and still going strong, it is a great thing to be involved in it is extremely hard work - it is relentless day in day out. It is a big job, August through to December.


What is your favourite dance to perform? It is the waltz - if you do it right to the right piece of music it can be the most phenomenal thing. It is a strange one because you expect it to be something else. Where is the best place you have ever danced? There are a few places - the Royal Albert Hall is quite a special one, the Lowry in Salford and the Grand Canal Theatre in Dublin. Who has been your favourite partner on strictly? Take your pick really I have a few. Jo Wood was just lovely, rubbish dancer but great person, really enjoyed my time with Kelly Brook and also this year I have had a great time with Victoria. What sort of music do you enjoy? Allsorts! I like the old sort of classics like Frank Sinatra and Michael Buble, some of the new stuff like Newton Faulkner for example is a personal favourite. What do you do in your spare time? I play a bit of sport when time allows it, I love going skiing, playing cricket on Sundays for my local team and also my wife and I go for a walk in the country. But at the moment with casting, directing and choreographing the new show it is hard to find time even for the wife! Do you have any hidden talents? Yes back in the day I used to make the dance costumes as they were too expensive to buy. After you have finished Strictly and dancing what are your plans? Iam hoping the body has a few years left but I like the idea of creating a show that I am not actually in. But who really knows, the next few years are going to be interesting, we have a baby on the way so will have to see.

You can see Brendan in “Licence to Thrill� on Sunday January 20th at Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury Friday February 8th at Milton Keynes Theatre Saturday February 9th at Watford Colosseum




Meet Celebrity Jeweller Alyssa Smith By Lucy Gray ‘Quirky, keepsake and meaningful’. That is how Hitchin based Alyssa Smith would describe her unique jewellery. The multi-award winning designer talked with The Sticks about her pieces, and the importance of social and online media in running her business… Where do you find inspiration for your pieces? Most designers would say that they gain inspiration from nature or organic materials, but I aim to do something different. My business is based around what customers want, so I research through online social media and ask people what they would like to see. This means that when lots of people ask for similar things, I know the designs are going to be popular. So my inspiration really comes from the people- I listen to what they want before drawing up my designs. Having looked at lots of your pieces on the website, my personal favourite pieces were the teeny weeny swallow and the Swarovski crystal earrings, what is your alltime favourite piece you have designed? The tweetie bird necklace will probably always be my favourite because it has developed the brand into what it is. It was a design inspired by the twitter logo, and has become the most famous piece in my collection - with celebrities wearing it too. It is a good example of a piece that the people want and has become very popular. Without it, my business would not be what it is today. My favourite new piece is the gingerbread man bracelet which is not as famous but is a really cute design. Tell me about your involvement with the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy in Hertfordshire. The academy is just down the road, and I used to study there about 10 years ago before setting up my business. I now go back to mentor young students and entrepreneurs; where I am able to share my experience of starting a business in the local area. How important has your local Hertfordshire been in your growing business? I went to university in Hatfield where I learnt vital skills to fulfill my passion of designing jewellery. Obviously there is my involvement with the Enterprise Academy too. Local newspapers have also been very important. My jewellery is also stocked in ‘Gatwards of Hitchin’, where my pieces are shown next to ‘Links of London’ in the window. It is incredible to be sold amongst such huge brands but also to have a local stockist near my design studio. Do you ever plan to open your own shop? No, because it distracts away from what my business is really about. I love being able to create pieces that people want. So one day I might open a design house where it is easier for people to be involved with the creation of their bespoke pieces, and where I would be able to get the students that I mentor involved with the business. What would be your advice for anyone wishing to get into design or starting up their own business? They have to be really thick skinned. Starting up your own business is - 10 -

very lonely as you have to give up absolutely everything. You also have to strive to persevere. I made my first collection when I was straight out of university with a huge debt. It was horrible when the pieces did not sell. However, my first collection was made up of my own designs, and I realised that to get the pieces to sell I had to find out what people wanted to buy. So I used all of the social and online networking that I could - Facebook, twitter, linked in, pinterest- so I could get a flavour of what people wanted me to make, and it is this perseverance that has made my business successful. I would also recommend that people make the most of as much free advertising as they canthrough magazines or whatever it may be, because when you are starting a business people do not come to you, so the most important thing is putting yourself out there. Congratulations on being nominated for about 15 awards now. How have winning these affected your business? Thank you! Well it is mainly the trust you gain. When you can say you have won these awards, people know it is a business they can trust and that makes a lot of difference. It also makes me believe that my stuff is actually good enough to sell. When I was at school I was a bit of a dolly daydream, I would always want to be designing jewellery instead of doing anything else, and my teachers told me that I would not get very far. It is absolutely what I love and what I have wanted to do since I was four. This is why getting the awards feels makes me feel like I can actually do what I love. Many people ask me what I would do if I was not a jewellery designer. I say I would probably have ended up being a children’s TV presenter because I am lively and bubbly, but I have never actually considered doing anything else but designing jewellery. Do you most enjoy designing your own pieces, corporate collaborations or bespoke jewellery? My favourite thing to do is just finding new ideas for collections. Bespoke jewellery is the most challenging because I have to interpret people’s very vague ideas, but that makes it the biggest achievement at the end. What is the most unusual request you have had for a bespoke piece? Someone once asked for jewellery that included a lock of hair from their relative that recently passed away. I also had a couple that were getting married and had a peacock on their wedding invitations, so wanted an unusual peacock necklace, with a letter on each tail feather spelling out the bride’s name. The hardest bespoke piece was a ‘creature of the night’ necklace where somebody asked for writing in ‘coraline’ font- a thin, spidery font which was very challenging to cut out and file. Who has been your inspiration? I have never been my inspiration. I admire a lot of jewellery look up to someone you never feel you can be from the individuality of my brand if I tried inspiration comes from my customers.

really had a particular person who has designers, but I feel that as soon as you as good as them. It would also distract to be like someone else. Most of my

What has been your proudest moment? I have had so many really proud moments, with setting up a business, starting the website, winning awards, and having celebrity customers. However, my one truly proudest moment was the very first time I saw Suzi Perry wearing a necklace that had been in my very hands, which I made on my parent’s bedroom floor, around her neck on the Gadget Show in 2011. I found myself feeling sick from screaming at the TV- I just could not believe she was wearing something I had made! And although there have been other moments like when Suzi wore one of my necklaces on the red carpet of the Pride of Britain awards, and when other celebrities

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have worn my jewellery, that original Gadget Show episode was the very first time, and is definitely my proudest moment! What can Alyssa Smith jewellery lovers look forward to in 2013? Well at the moment I am not entirely sure, I am considering some quirky pieces based around words and slogans, but I am usually really late with my designs. With a business like mine, the customer needs change so quickly that I my designs are quite often last minute. I often make jewellery around passing trends and crazes. Do you ever struggle with trends and customer needs being so fast moving? Larger companies may struggle because it takes a long time to go through all of the different people in the design process, so they cannot have a quick design turn around. With a small company like mine, there is a lot more control so I can make designs much more quickly to keep up with what is popular. An example of this was in the Olympics this summer. During the hype over Jessica Ennis, I saw how amazing a role model she is and was inspired to make some jewellery relating to her. I came up with the idea of a necklace with seven rings on it to represent her seven races- with six of them being silver and one gold one to represent her gold medal. I thought of this design on a Saturday night at about 11pm, and went straight into work to make them, and within one hour they were on the website and I sold 50 that night- whilst everybody was still celebrating her win. This shows that being a small, fast moving company works to my advantage as it means I can produce designs straight away- in line with crazes and what is most popular at that time. A selection of the items created by Alyssa

Alyssa’s website is: And join her on twitter at: @AlyssaJewellery

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Introducing David Murphy 2012 has been an amazing year for Welwyn Garden City’s 23 year old wicketkeeper-batsman David Murphy. This year he cemented his place in the Northamptonshire first team and is now pushing for international honours with Scotland. The Sticks met David at Wantage Road (home of Northamptonshire Cricket) at the end of the season How did you first get into cricket? It is in my blood as Dad has associated with St Margaretsbury cricket club for years. I was playing youth cricket aged 7 when he was chairman of the colts then I got picked for Hertfordshire at 9 and then played for Northants 2nds at age 16 and whilst playing for them I managed to score a double hundred before I was 18. What is the best bit about playing cricket? Just happy to be playing as it is what I have always wanted to do and I always look at myself and am glad to be playing as a lot of other people would like to be in my shoes. And the worst? Being away from home a lot and the pressure to perform. What are your ambitions? To continue as I have, and to push myself and to win as many trophies as I can. What do you like to do away from the game? I like to play golf, very badly though, just relax and meet friends. How far would you like your career to take you? To play international and test cricket. You have a degree in politics. Why and what do you want to do with it? I have always been interested in politics and thought it would be a useful fall back. What would you change about the game? The scheduling – the time between the games. Your favourite format to play? T20 – the buzz in the ground and on the pitch is amazing.

Who is your cricketing hero? I have two, Australian Steve Waugh, who’s book I have just read and ex-England wicketkeeper Jack Russell, who was an amazing player. And non cricketing hero? Nelson Mandela - that comes from when I played cricket in South Africa during the winter when I was 18. Away from the game & if your not playing what would you do on a Friday night? Would go out and have a few beers with my girlfriend and mates What sort of TV and films do you enjoy? I have been watching the US TV show “Entourage” recently also love “Family Guy” and saw the film “Ted” the other week which was very funny.

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What do you like to eat? My Favourite food is Lasagne which I have at Terranova restaurant in Welwyn Garden City, I like a good Indian take away too but if Iam cooking it is beans on toast. What do you like to do to relax? I read crime thrillers, my favourite author is Tom Rob Smith, I listen to music - classic rock like the Beatles and the Who and enjoy the theatre, have just seen the Jersey Boys and Blood Bothers Since this interview took place David has been picked to play for Scotland and played on a tour to South Africa, he was captain in one game.

To advertise your event, show, restaurant or business In our February digital magazine Call 07756 274444 Or email Prices from ÂŁ50 per month Follow us on Twitter @thesticks9

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Attention: Herts Holistic professionals, practitioners, teachers, coaches, authors, therapists and experts in all things alternative Bill Gates famously once said, ‘If I had only one dollar I’d spend it on marketing’ Sadly good marketing for your business will cost you a lot more than a dollar but there’s a huge amount you can do to help yourself, especially if You are intrinsic to your business, if you are a teacher, author, therapist, practitioner, life coach you may have a wonderful message to share with the world but are just not quite sure how to do it, I’ve set up some training to help with exactly this. You can consider me your PR Fairy Godmother, because I’m delighted to announce that from December 2012 I now offer my hard-won and highly-effective PR coaching and training exclusively to those who are here to make a difference in this world. It’s tough out there in business at the moment and especially for people in the caring and healing professions who are not necessarily the best at shouting the loudest about what they have to offer! I’ve attended many events where people have been asked to speak and it’s a struggle for them to really get their message across, sometimes it’s down to lack of preparation or confidence but even in my work as a radio presenter and interviewer I’m sometimes shocked at how bad some interviewees are in a studio setting, not because they aren’t authentic or don’t have a good product of service but because they just haven’t got the skills and secrets of getting their brand message out there. I’d like to encourage small business owners and sole traders to really recognise their own brand message and attract the perfect clients to them, so many holistic professionals take the approach that ‘if you build it they will come’ and to a certain extent that’s true, referrals from other clients will always be your best bet in business too, but at some point you need to get your message out there to a wider audience and of course it’s not just in order to attract more clients. I know some highly talented practitioners who have a full client list but they are the only one offering the service and so the number of people they can inspire and help is limited. Imagine how much more fulfilling that would be if they could also get their powerful knowledge out there in other ways too, in order to connect with a wider, even international audience, there are so many possibilities for growing your business and offering great content that doesn’t involved physically being there, it’s a great feeling to earn money while you sleep! • Here’s a few suggestions to get you thinking… •

Know that you are the brand. Recognise the importance of you as the brand, people will do business with those they like know and trust.

Get Writing

- If you haven’t already written a book, I’d urge you to think about it,

perhaps you think you aren’t a great writer but it’s not about being a literary genius, it’s about sharing your knowledge and passion. Write articles and blogs for your own and other

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websites, magazines and periodicals always need your content, make sure you ask for your website to be credited. •

Get Speaking Offer yourself as a speaker at networking and industry events, make sure you get any help you need with confidence and how to structure a talk.

Be a great interviewee. Ensure that you are a good interviewee, being interviewed by others on local radio, websites and podcasts and in print can greatly increase awareness of you and your brand.

Get my free taster audio 7 Secret Steps to Getting the Attention your Holistic business deserves If you’re ready to step into the spotlight my PR and Media Skills for Holistic Professionals Masterclass Series commences early 2013 and there are a limited number of slots available and an early bird price in place. •

There’s also the chance for a very limited number of exclusive 1:1 VIP Days for anyone wanting to get clear on how to progress with their heart centred business right out of the gate in 2013

If you get in really quick there’s a very limited number of slots available for PR Magic & Power Visioning Session – 30 minutes phone calls with me to really get clear on your unique selling point so that you know exactly what makes YOU different (This is critical when it comes to knowing exactly what to say and build your marketing on, rather than sounding like everyone else in your field)

In the 30 minute calls I’ll help you to decide exactly which of my favourite tried-andtrusted PR and media vehicles are the best for YOU and your particular business (This is different for everyone, so I’ll help you choose the right ones for you)

Help you get clear on what you should focus on first and exactly where to start to get your visibility increasing and your income rising right away (There’s so many possibilities, but we all need to start somewhere, so let’s get you off to the best possible start and as soon as possible)

I look forward to working with you and wish you a happy healthy and prosperous 2013 Janey Lee Grace Email Janey –

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Interview with local Singer/ Songwriter Paul Carrack He’s so self-effacing that he’d probably just laugh at the description, but Paul Carrack is a bit of a renaissance man on the quiet. He’s a label owner, hugely popular recording and touring artist, one of the most in-demand voices and songwriters of his generation and the creator of a catalogue of household hits. But beyond all that, Carrack just loves making music, and now he’s delivering a real career landmark and the best blue-eyed soul album of the year. ‘Good Feeling,’ was released in September on his own Carrack UK label, is the latest lovingly-crafted piece of work by a British talent whose mark on music stretches all the way back into the 1970s. The follow-up to 2010’s ‘A Different Hat’ (his gorgeous collection of vocal performances accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra), it was produced by Paul himself and he plays most of the instruments on it, although his son Jack, now a member of his band, joins him on drums. Simply put, ‘Good Feeling’ takes everything that’s good about Paul Carrack and adds to it, and several tracks from it will soon be highlights of his prolific live performances. The near-title track ‘Good Feelin’,’ a song that lives up to its title if ever one did, has already become Paul’s latest airplay favourite, and the album includes an irresistible collection of originals and covers. He co-writes with his old Squeeze pal Chris Difford and another British songwriting treasure, Charlie Dore, and shows his great versatility by interpreting both Nick Lowe and Bruce Springsteen. Across four decades, countless Carrack performances have quietly made their mark on the collective consciousness, including Ace’s ‘How Long,’ Mike & the Mechanics’ ‘The Living Years,’ ‘Over My Shoulder’ and ‘Silent Running,’ Squeeze’s ‘Tempted’ and solo landmarks like ‘Satisfy My Soul,’ ‘I Live On A Battlefield’ and ‘Eyes Of Blue.’ Not to mention the gems he presented to the Eagles, who made anthems of ‘Love Will Keep Us Alive’ and ‘I Don’t Want to Hear Any More.’ Or recording and performing collaborations with an incredibly eclectic list of legends like Roger Waters, Ringo Starr and B.B. King. “After we did the tour last year, I more or less just ploughed straight into getting this album done,” says Paul of ‘Good Feeling’. “I’d made a start on it before that, but it feels good having it all done and dusted and under my belt. Doing something completely different like the orchestral album helped. That was very mellow and downbeat, so coming back to my normal way of doing things, I wanted it to be upbeat, and it felt that, and very fresh.” The feelgood factor of ‘Good Feelin’,’ second single ‘Time To Move On,’ Lowe’s ‘From Now On’ and the Difford co-write ‘Marmalade Moon’ is perfectly complemented by the - 18 -

poignancy of ‘Long Ago,’ ‘Make It Right,’ Springsteen’s ‘If I Should Fall Behind,’ performed by Paul on a BBC Radio 2 anniversary special about the Titanic, and the closing number by jazz great Thad Jones, ‘A Child Is Born.’ Meanwhile the infectious ‘I Can Hear Ray,’ written with Dore, celebrates Paul’s love of the “Genius” himself, Ray Charles. And if the whole thing sounds more soulful than ever, it’s no coincidence. “A lot of it’s in the mix,” says Carrack. “Things hang together somehow in a certain balance, it’s not very scientific, it’s all done on feel. The lad who’s been helping me with this, Rupert Cobb, seems to have a handle on what I’m trying to do, he keeps it earthy. I’m glad that comes over.” But the final word in the studio is Paul’s, as producer. “I swear I’ll never do it again each time,” he says. “But gradually, because I play a bit of everything, I start building up the tracks and the next thing I know, I’m doing the bloody lot!” Paul’s inspirations come from many quarters, but eventually all roads lead back to the soul music he fell in love with, growing up in Sheffield. Stax, Atlantic, Motown, you name it. “It was all of them. Whatever was getting played in the clubs or dancehalls, ‘In the Midnight Hour’...but Motown I did like, especially the singers. David Ruffin is probably my all-time favourite. “I would say probably Stevie Wonder as well. I love his early stuff, but ‘Talking Book’ was a mind-blower for me.” The Moog motif on ‘A Child Is Born’ is a deliberate and delightful nod to that era. Paul first did the Nick Lowe tune, ‘From Now On,’ on an early solo album, but wanted to give it a fresh lick of paint as an older and, he smiles, calmer man. “We did it on ‘Suburban Voodoo’ in 1982, but that’s just a mad record, totally fuelled,” he laughs. “I much prefer this version. It does contain my favourite line by Nick, ‘Gonna do my level best to keep my nose clean.’” Great surprises and listening treats are all over ‘Good Feeling’, but we must also give a special mention to ‘Make It Right’. “That was written by the Tinlin brothers, Alex and Rolf, who supported us on the last tour and they’ll be doing this next one as well.” says Paul. “My son did a bit of percussion with them on a showcase, and I popped round and thought they had something, they’ve got some really great songs.” After a spell with the jazz-rock band Warm Dust, Carrack put his real musical passion to good use and got into the spotlight for the first time in his next group. As the writer and vocalist of Ace’s ‘How Long,’ his blue-eyed soul credentials were instantly sealed. A top 20 UK chart placing barely did credit to the song’s staying power, but it went top three on the American pop chart. When Ace disbanded, Paul had a spell as a studio member of Roxy Music, before his solo career took its bow in 1980. Then came that short but sweet time with Squeeze where he sang on his favourite song Tempted, more solo albums and a stint in Nick Lowe’s brilliantly-named Cowboy Outfit. The work came thick and fast, both in Paul’s own name and as a go-to session man with the Smiths, the Pretenders, Roger Waters and many others. When Mike Rutherford of Genesis formed his side project Mike and the Mechanics, Paul and the late Paul Young shared vocals, and Carrack wrote and sang on - 19 -

many of their biggest tracks, none more so than ‘The Living Years,’ which gave them a US No. 1 in 1989 and remains in Paul’s live set to this day. But Carrack’s solo career really put down firm roots when he set up his own label for the release of ‘Satisfy My Soul’ in 2000. “It was a good move. We didn’t overreach ourselves or go for big, mad promotional budgets, but it’s gradually built into a substantial business. It’s a lot of work, but it’s empowering and liberating. “On my early solo albums, I would definitely not trust my own judgement, I tended to let producers and people have free reign. I just thought they knew better than me. It wasn’t until I started the label that I began to say ‘You know what? I’ll do it how I want to do it and hope that people like it.’” That’s the way to build a career of substance, which is exactly what Paul Carrack has. But then, you need staying power when you’re a lifelong Sheffield Wednesday fan. “It’s all been good,” he muses. “Certainly a lot better than the alternative, which I dread to think what it would have been, if I’d stayed in Sheffield and got a proper job. If there’s any regrets, it’s probably not having the balls to stick to my own gut feelings and instincts a bit sooner. But there again, the fact that I’ve done some of those side things is a bit of a story. It’s all part of the tapestry. “All a musician wants is an outlet, really. You want to be able to put your stuff out, do your gigs and have a good old sing. That keeps me happy.” Paul’s idea of a perfect weekend is” 3 points for his beloved Sheffield Wednesday followed by fish & chips and a walk with his dog then on Sunday Roast beef for lunch with some red wine and then to fall asleep in the chair”

You can see Paul during his UK tour at Milton Keynes Theatre 11th January Alban Arena

22nd February

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Panto Time part 3! In our 3rd and final part we look at what is on offer at the Milton Keynes Theatre, the Hawthorne Theatre, Welwyn Garden City and finally at the Radlett centre Expect a “Five Star” Panto at Milton Keynes Theatre this year with Local Girl Anna Williamson in the lead role Audiences at Milton Keynes Theatre this winter can look forward to a glittering star-filled show as 80’s pop icon Deniece Pearson of Five Star fame joins everyone’s favourite TV personality Louie Spence in this years family Panto Cinderella Deniece is a Grammy nominee and lead singer with the pop super-group Five Star who had an unprecedented chart run of over 20 top thirty UK singles and were the youngest group ever to win a Brit Award, youngest Black British group to have a Number 1 Album and the first group to achieve 7 consecutive hit singles from one Album in the UK. This success was mirrored not only in Europe but also in the US Pop, R&B and Dance charts Deniece also writes and produces for other artists. Deniece could recently be seen in a show-stopping run in the hit West End in new musical Thriller Live and the stage show Respect La Diva and has just released her stunning debut solo single, the self-penned ballad Here I Am. In March 2012 she appeared on BBC talent show, The Voice UK, as a contestant joining Tom Jones’ team. Playing Cinderella to Deniece’s Fairy Godmother is the beautiful Stevenage girl Anna Williamson (Daybreak& Nickelodeon) while lovable sidekick Buttons will be played by comedy star Kev Orkian. John Barr will return to MK after a triumphant turn last year as Widow Twankey alongside Paul Burnham to provide a belly full of boos as the Ugly Sisters.

Cinderella features a glittering combination of everything a traditional pantomime could wish for. With a sprinkling of magic from the Fairy Godmother, will Cinderella beat the clock and find the happy ending she deserves? You’ll have to wait until the clock strikes midnight to find out!

Book your tickets now at Milton Keynes Theatre Box Office, Call 0844 871 7652

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Hawthorne Theatre, 12 December 2012 to 1 January 2013 Conjure up the magic of Christmas with this year’s fabulous family pantomime at Hawthorne Theatre, Welwyn Garden City, Jack and the Beanstalk, one of the world’s favourite fairytales! Starring Phoebe Thomas, best known for her role as Nurse Maria Kendal from BBC’s Holby City as Princess Jill. Phoebe Thomas’s film credits include the title role in British distributed film Lady Godiva (Jewson Film Productions), Sally Bury in the American Award Winning Permanent Vacation (Riverchild Films), St Dorothy in Danny Boyle’s Millions (Mission Pictures) and Becky in Tube Tales: Circle Line (Horsepower films for BskyB). Other TV credits include: Cheryl in ‘Teachers’ (Tiger Aspect for Channel 4), Holly Curran in Night and Day (ITV series regular), As If (Carnival Productions for Channel 4), 33 Carnage Crescent (Hat-Trick Productions – pilot developed alongside Jack Dee), Sally in Booze cruise II (ITV), Jane in Family Affairs (Channel 5- Semi- Reg), Doctors (BBC), The Bill (Thames Talkback), Sea of Souls (BBC), Inspector Lynley (BBC), Jackie in Little Devil (Talkback Thames Television). Also starring Alex Sheldon as Jack best known for playing Ed Booth in BBC’s Grange Hill, a role he played for four years. His other television and film credits include: Matty in Coronation Street (ITV Granada), Nick in Little Crackers: Satan’s Hoof (SKY 1’s Silver River Productions) and Harry in the feature film Behind Closed Doors (Underground Productions). Other cast members include Keith Myers returning as the delightful Dame Trott, Helen Crosse as the ever so funny Fairy Beansprout, Michael Totton as the Evil Fleshcreep, John Robert Patridge as the cheeky Simple Simon and Daniel Hanna as the Chancellor.

Jack and his mum, Dame Trott, have to sell their cow but she is none too pleased when Jack comes home with just a bag of beans. But the beans are magic and sprout a huge beanstalk – that’s when the adventures really begin! All will be revealed in this classic tale of good versus evil. This spellbinding pantomime full of music, magic and mayhem, breathtaking sets and lavish costumes promises to be the perfect Christmas treat for all the family. It’ll be the STALK of the town and one of the most sensational and magical pantomimes there’s ever BEAN at the Hawthorne Theatre!

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Dressed in vibrant costumes, the cast of Beauty & The Beast will be on hand at The Radlett Centre for their spectacular Christmas pantomime for 2012! This host of colourful characters be performing from Saturday 8th December – Monday 31st December and the traditional style pantomime will be Upstage Productions 14th production for The Radlett Centre. Fun for all the family is guaranteed with plenty of songs, adventure and laughter. Michael WoolstonThomas stars as the Prince who gets turned into a Beast by the wicked Fairy Frostbite played by Colleen Daley. She returns to The Radlett Centre after her popular turn as Carabosse in last year’s production of Sleeping Beauty. Our lovely heroine Beauty is played by Sarah Accomando with Jocasta Almgill starring as her spoilt step-sister Milly. Their long-suffering father is played by Kit Benjamin. Bradley Fricker adds a splash of humour as Lazy Louis while the Beast’s dependable valet Hugo is performed by Mark Collier. And what panto would be complete without a fabulous Dame, played with gusto by Omar Okai! The cast are supported by a chorus of local youngsters who successfully auditioned to take part in the show in September. Tickets are on sale now, with prices ranging between £15 and £18. There are two performances a day most days including Christmas Eve and Boxing Day. Tickets are selling fast so book now to see this Beauty of a pantomime! SATURDAY 8TH - MONDAY 31st DECEMBER BOX OFFICE: 01923 859291

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Don’t Worry be Happy We love visiting St Albans Cathedral and while my little ones lit a candle and posted a message

on the prayer board ‘For Grandad in heaven’ I read some of the prayer requests, with tear filled eyes I couldn’t help but notice one that said simply, ‘Help Me to laugh again’ We’re on our way out of our economic recession, hurrah, but sadly, according to research we are in the midst of a Laughter recession. The current decade has been for most people the least fun in over sixty years. So what’s going wrong, have we forgotten the benefits of a good old belly laugh? I can remember when in return for popping a coin into a slot at an amusement arcade you would be treated to the sight of a jolly fat policeman laughing for a good three minutes to some daft music. Experts say laughter is a fundamental part of human behaviour and can have many health benefits. Conventional doctors recognise that a sense of wellbeing improves immunity and laughter has both physical and emotional benefits as it gives the vascular system a workout and gets the oxygen flowing but also triggers the release of ‘feel good’ hormones. Babies and children laugh all the time; as much as 400 times a day but as adults this drops off to around 15. Florists and gardeners are the UK's happiest workers, while bankers are the least content. Professor Cary Cooper said the evidence is that it’s not money that makes us happy, what’s important is controlling your own time, seeing the end result, and that your work is valuable. This information isn’t new; in 1996 as part of a QED series the BBC broadcast a documentary How to be happy. Three volunteers embarked on an 8 week happiness course designed by Dr Robert Holden with their progress monitored by independent psychologists and scientists. The results were remarkable and it was heralded as ‘a genuine fast track to happiness’. Incredibly the results found that the happiness training actually changed the hard wiring of the brain! It’s fascinating that happiness can be ‘learnt’. It’s not simply a state brought about wholly by circumstances, we can actively choose happiness, and in addition to enjoying the festive season if you’re already planning your 2013 resolutions it’s a good one to include! The great thing about happiness is that it’s contagious, and a smile goes a long way to brighten someone’s day. You may not have to go as far as attending a happiness workshop or laughter yoga session - yes it’s very popular – apparently with laughter you can fake it till you make it with the same benefits! It might be as simple as enjoying the company of children, your own or a friends, play a game of Twister, bounce on a rebounder (mini trampoline) – you’ll get a fantastic workout and its impossible not to laugh when you are bouncing – think of Tigger. Watch some old comedies or go and hear some live comedy. For a few days count how often you laugh, aim for at least 100 … I’ll do it with you… watch this space.

Janey Lee Grace runs

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Alternative to Court Unfortunately, we probably all know someone who has been involved in a family dispute with their ex. The arguments could be about money, how much time each spends with the kids, or even who gets to keep the pet dog! All too often the argument ends up in a long, expensive court battle. This may be necessary if there is an emergency or someone needs protection. However, there are alternatives: MEDIATION The parties meet face-to-face, but with an independent mediator in attendance. They assist by arranging where and when you meet, how you deal constructively with the issues, and provide a concluding report to confirm what has been agreed, and how things will move forward. The parties usually share the fees of the one mediator so that reduces costs – although each party may need to get independent legal advice behind the scenes. COLLABORATIVE APPROACH Each party instructs their own collaborative lawyer – usually a solicitor who has undergone specialist training. The parties and their lawyers meet up at “four-way meetings”. At the first, all four sign a Participation agreement – to confirm that whilst the process continues they will be open and honest and will not issue any court proceedings other than by agreement. If either party breaches this agreement, both parties have to find new lawyers and all offers on the table are cancelled…so there is pressure to continue with the process. Each party is responsible for their own lawyer’s fees, so this is not the cheapest option, but it can move things along very quickly. ARBITRATION An arbitrator is a lawyer who has undergone specialist training to become in effect a private judge. The parties jointly choose an arbitrator and agreeing with them how best to proceed to resolve the dispute – deciding what evidence needs to be provided, and how long any hearing should last. Usually, each party uses a legal adviser to present their case to the arbitrator. The decision of the arbitrator is binding on the parties. This gives much more flexibility as to how, when and where the dispute is adjudicated. However, instead of paying set court fees (often £200 – 300), they will have to jointly cover the costs of the arbitrator which could run to several thousands of pounds. -------------------------------------------------All our family solicitors are members of Resolution – the national body of family advisers. If you have any family dispute and want to know more about alternatives to court, please contact our Clare Pilsworth on 01763 255121 or email her at Curwens LLP is your local firm of solicitors offering most areas of legal advice – based in Royston, Hoddesdon, Cheshunt and Enfield.

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Christmas Gift Ideas -Luxury Hampers

Oaks Hampers, a new Hertford-based artisan food sourcing business has launched a range of beautifully packaged, luxurious hampers filled with delicious, award-winning food and drink. Oaks Hampers currently offers an exciting choice of 16 hampers with the products carefully selected to a different theme such as ‘The English One’, ‘Anyone for Tea’, ‘The Bubbly One’, ‘One for the Kids’ and a timely, ‘The Christmas One’. Each product is locally sourced if possible and chosen for quality, originality and taste with many made by small artisan producers who have won Great Taste Awards from the Guild of Fine Food. Products for the hampers include such treats as Doherty’s Vodka & Raspberry Jam, Jules & Sharpie Hot Marmalade, Serious Pig Classic Chorizo, English Fruits for Cheese Quince and Ridgeview Sparkling Wine. Laura Lightfoot and Charlotte Dadd, two mothers from Hertford set up the business to share their passion for great tasting food and felt there was a niche for such a venture. As Charlotte describes how Oaks Hampers are different from other more traditional hampers: “We’ve tried to move away from the more traditional notion of a hamper and create something that’s contemporary and stylish and a bit edgy. We are offering a range of delectable and memorable items and by also introducing a theme want to make a really fantastic gift. Whether it’s for Christmas Day, as a birthday present, for an anniversary or a corporate occasion, it has that real wow factor!” Laura and Charlotte both have a background in retail including Planet Organic and Tesco but their gastronomic passions really started when they ran a delicatessen together and their food experiences made them realise that working with food was absolutely what they had to do. As true foodie lovers, this passion is reflected in their choice of hamper products, “each and every item in Oaks Hampers we have tried and tested and tasted and they are all sensational!” Oaks Hampers, which start from £20 and products sold separately as part of the online shop can be ordered at and delivered nationwide. To coincide with the launch there is a 10% discount running on all purchases made online over £35 (code HAMP1 at checkout). They will also be available locally at farmers’ markets and pop up events in time for Christmas.

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Road Test Mitsubishi L200 Barbarian Black Double-Cab The L200 pick-up truck is a crucial car for Mitsubishi, accounting for one-third of all its sales in the UK despite being one of the longest-serving pick-up trucks in the country. Inside, it is surprisingly car-like with expensive-looking leather seats, cruise control and satellite navigation, illuminated kick plates and electric windows and mirrors. You also get a reversing camera - handy, given the vast expanses of metal behind you. The dashboard is laid out well with all the controls within easy reach. The dashboard plastics are durable and look long-lasting and are likely to stand up to taking a fair amount of abuse during its life time. As a full-size double-cab pick-up truck, you’d expect the L200 to have plenty of room. And there is for 5 passengers and their paraphernalia including storage for cups set into the rear doors – something that is astonishingly rare in most other vehicles of this type. The L200 is fitted with a 2.5-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder diesel engine which, with 175bhp and 258 lb ft of pulling power at a very low 1,800rpm should be more than enough power to tow a fully loaded trailer. Without the trailer, it will reach 62mph from a standing start in 13.0 seconds. Getting it up to speed results in an agricultural sound but it is much quieter at tick over. The L200 will carry 1,000kg and tow up to 2.7 tonnes with a braked trailer.

However, when the bed is empty the suspension feels very bouncy and the vehicle leans heavily into bends. Despite its size, the L200 has one of the smallest turning circles in its class which makes tight manoeuvres a lot more manageable. The steering requires a great deal of arm twirling during low-speed negotiations though and it lacks feel for the keen driver. But this lightness of touch and feel means it is a doddle to thread around town.

Generous ground clearance and a set of low-ratio gears operated from a small lever next to the main gear selector indicate that the L200 is a serious off-roader – and you are unlikely to be disappointed. It is a capable off-roader. As seen, our Barbarian Black cost £29,508. Add in a relatively low group 11 for insurance and a flat Euro 5 Light Goods Vehicle tax rate of £135 per year and it all should make it significantly cheaper to run than an equivalent SUV or crossover.

The L200 is definitely worth considering if a working truck is needed during the week with a tough, go-anywhere pick-up at the weekends. It’s car-like enough to make a good family vehicle and the functional interior coupled to all those commercial vehicle running costs and tax breaks can’t be underplayed. This is an abridged version of a road test featured on The full road test can be read by following - 29 -

Food Ideas from Pearce’s Farmshop & Café – There’s more to Chestnuts than a Fireside Attraction There are few things more seasonal and tasty than chestnuts. The iconic image of this irresistible nut roasting in front of an open fire speaks all things Christmas. However don’t limit yourself to only using them once a year as they are the most wonderful, versatile ingredient that can be used in many different savoury and sweet recipes. Chestnuts have been cultivated for at least 3,000 years – and probably one of the first foods eaten by man. The chestnut tree, Castanea sativa was introduced to Europe by the Greeks from Asia Minor with the Romans then extending its cultivation - the name ‘chestnut is thought to be an English corruption of the original Latin castanea. The trees can grow 70 feet or more and live up to 500 years. They begin to produce fruit at 40 years old that are two to four nuts inside a prickly casing or burr. Once ripe in the autumn the burr splits open and the chestnuts fall to the ground. If foraging for wild chestnuts, don’t confuse the edible sweet chestnuts with the horse chestnuts, conkers, which are unrelated and inedible but look almost the same – the difference is that edible chestnuts have a point at the end of the nut. Chestnuts have a high starch content but low in protein, fat and sodium, free of gluten, oil and cholesterol and contain vitamin C and potassium. They have never been that popular in Britain, yet in Europe, Asia and Africa are often used as an everyday potato substitute and in southern Europe are ground to make bread earning the nickname of ‘bread tree’. In France they are known as marron. The chestnut season is from late September to December and fresh they are simply delicious roasted in their shells, peeled and eaten warm They are now available throughout the year as you can buy them dried, pureed, both sweetened and unsweetened and vacuum-packed. They have a distinctive sweet and earthy flavour and to make the most of them try simmering in soups, stews, casseroles, risottos, crumble them into cakes or stuffing’s; stir chestnut puree into cake batters, icing, spread it onto biscuits, crepes or stir into ice-cream or with whipped cream and meringue for the decadent Mont Blanc dessert. It also has a great affinity with chocolate - truffles, tortes and roulades. Chestnut flour has a sweet strong flavour and is good for baking, though when making bread it needs to be mixed with other flours as the lack of gluten means it doesn’t rise.

To peel fresh chestnuts, slit around the shell, boil in water for 20 minutes then leave the nuts in the water so they stay warm and soft as you peel the shell and thin skin before eating or using in recipes. Today I have used them to jazz up brussel tops - makes a great accompaniment at Christmas.

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Chestnut, Chorizo and Bacon SautĂŠ with Potato Gnocchi

Ingredients 1 red onion, sliced 1 clove garlic, crushed 100g streaky bacon, diced 100g chorizo sausage cut into 1cm thick slices 2 heads of brussel tops 250g gnocchi

To serve: Sage leaves Runny honey Method: Put the bacon and chorizo in a pan and cook until the meats start to sweat. Add onion and garlic and cook for a few minutes to soften. Wash the brussel tops and remove the thicker stalks and shred finely. In another pan heat 1 tbsp of olive oil. Add the gnocchi and sautĂŠ until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the brussel tops to the meat mix until it begins to wilt. Add salt and pepper to taste. Fry the sage leaves quickly in a little oil. Stir the gnocchi into the brussel tops mix. Serve with the sage leaves and a drizzle of honey.

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previously exhibited in this area. Special late opening 6.00pm till 8.00pm on Saturday December 1, the night of Letchworth’s Christmas lights switch-on, with tasty seasonal refreshments. Even if you are not planning to buy, the range of talents on display makes it an exhibition well worth viewing. The atmosphere is relaxed, there is no pressure to purchase, and you can enjoy a relaxing cup of tea, snack or lunch at our fully licensed café at the same time. Open Monday to Friday 10.00 am to 5.00 pm. Saturday 10.00 am to 3.00 pm. Admission is free to all Galleries. Letchworth Arts Centre. 2 The Arcade, Letchworth Garden City, SG6 3EW

December Listings Herts Ashridge Christmas Trail -Till Sunday 16 Dec Join us at the Ashridge Visitor Centre for our Christmas Trail around Meadley’s Meadow. Learn more about how the wildlife at Ashridge spends Christmas, answer the questions along the way and earn your Christmassy reward! 10am-4pm, £2, 01442 851227 Ashridge Estate Visitor Centre HP4 1LT Harry Potter Studio Tour- Sun 2 Dec, Fri 7 Dec, Sat 8 Dec, Sat 15 Dec, Sun 16 Dec Arts and Theatre : Harry Potter Studio Tour : Tickets avaiable. Start time:10:00. Warner Bros. Studio Tour, Studio Tour Drive Leavesden Studios, Leavesden, WD25 7LR

Watford Rural Parish Council Christmas FunDay Saturday 1st December - 11-3pm Parish Council Fun-Day to be opened by "The South Oxhey Choir" singing Christmas Carols. Attractions included fairground kiddies rides, candy floss, Clowns, Human Gyroscope, Kiddie Karts, Bungee, bucking Reindeer. A visit from Father Christmas in his Grotto - Free presents for Children under 10, Face Painting, all to the music of Rob Danks Entertainment. Christmas Hamper Raffle. All proceeds to go to Chairperson’s chosen charity. Free Entry - Most rides £1. St. Andrews Precinct, St. Andrews Parade, Bridlington Road, South Oxhey, WD19 7SB

Santa’s Spectacular Grotto & Festive Farm Funtill Monday 24 Dec Meet Santa and receive a golden key to enter his toy shop to choose any gift. Visit the reindeer, write a letter to Santa in the Elves House and skate on our magical ice rink (synthetic ice). With farmyard animals to meet and plenty of under cover play in Woolly Jumpers indoor play barn and Captain Chicken’s Egg Dodge. Daily 10am to 5.30pm (closes 4pm Christmas Eve). Call 0870 129 9718 or visit website for details and pricing at . Willows Farm Village. Coursers Road, London Colney, St. Albans, AL4 0PF

Handel’s Messiah- Saturday 1 Dec The Harpenden Choral Society begins its Christmas season with one of Handel’s best-loved oratorios. This magnificent narration of the life of Christ comes alive under the expert direction of John Andrews with the talents of four stunning soloists and the strength of 90 choir members behind them. Soloists include soprano Natasha Jouhl, alto Gillian McIlwraith, tenor Thomas Raskin, and baritone Grant Doyle. Organ and harpsichord accompaniment will be provided by Joseph McHardy, with orchestral accompaniment by The King’s Sinfonietta. Ticket holders are cordially invited to attend a pre-concert talk at 6.45pm entitled “So you think you know Handel’s Messiah” by conductor Dr John Andrews. Tickets are £13(adults) £3 (children and students). Available from Creature Comforts, Vaughan Road, Harpenden, at the door on the night, or from the Box Office Manager on 01582 419 379. Harpenden High Street Methodist Church AL5 2RU

Southbank Touring Exhibition - Matisse: Drawing With Scissors- Till Monday 31 Dec The French painter, sculptor and designer, Henri Matisse (1869-1954) was one of the 20th century’s most influential artists. Matisse: Drawing with Scissors, features 35 lithographic prints of the famous cut-outs produced in the last four years of his life, when the artist was confined to his bed. The exhibition includes many of his iconic images, such as The Snail and the Blue Nudes. Matisse continued creating highly original works well into his eighties. For his cut-outs he used paper that had been handpainted with gouache, laid down in abstract or figurative patterns. The colours he used were so strong that he was advised by his doctor to wear dark glasses. Free exhibition. The Old Town Hall, High Street, Hemel Hempstead, HP1 3AE

Craft Fair- Saturday 1 Dec Various stalls from beautiful handcrafted jewellery to handcrafted cards and boxes Raffle £1 per strip Refreshments FREE entry Community Centre,Melbourn Village College, The Moor, Melbourn SG8 6EF

Christmas Craft Fair- til Thursday 20 Dec The biggest and brightest craft fair in this area is back, with work by local and national artists specialising in quality arts and crafts to make Christmas shopping a pleasure. Many have not - 32 -

Callis Crafts, Craft and Gift Fair- Saturday 1 Dec Callis Crafts runs regular craft / gift fairs and has run since 1999. The fair is open from 10am to 4pm. (Stallholders have access to the hall for setting up from 9am). open 10am to 4 pm. Barnet Library, Stapleton Rd, Barnet. Hertfordshire EN5 4QT

lasting memory and a perfect start for Christmas and a great photo opportunity! Monday to Friday throughout December 4.30-5.30pm Gift Tickets £9.95 each child, advance sales preferred to avoid disappointment 01438 217729 An adult must be present during the performance. Gladleys Deli Cafe, Middle Row, Stevenage Old Town, SG1 3AN

Skate on down to Riverside’s Ice Rink this winter - Sat 8 Dec, Sun 9 Dec, Sat 15 Dec, Sun 16 Dec, Thu 20 Dec to Mon 24 Dec, Wed 26 Dec to Mon 31 Dec From Saturday 1st December, shoppers are invited to get their skates on and visit the fantastic winter ice rink at Riverside Shopping Centre in Hemel Hempstead. Opening its doors from 11am to 4pm every weekend in December in the run up to Christmas; the skating rink will offer visitors the perfect break in a busy day of Christmas shopping and really getting the family into the festive spirit. To celebrate the Christmas holidays the rink will open every day from Thursday 20th December up until New Year’s Eve (exc. Christmas day). The rink is free of charge to shoppers who spend a minimum of £10 in Riverside stores. Tickets valid for two people (inc skate hire) will be issued from stores when purchasing goods. Date: 1st & 2nd Dec, 8th & 9th Dec, 15th-24th & Dec, 26th-31st Dec The rink will be open from 11am-4pm and is free of charge to shoppers who spend a minimum of £10 in Riverside stores. Tickets valid for two people (inc skate hire) will be issued from stores when purchasing goods. Riverside Shopping Centre, Hemel Hempstead, HP1 1BT

Disney’s Beauty & the Beast Jr- Tuesday 4 Dec Harpenden Young Hearts Youth Theatre present the Disney favourite for one night only! 7.30pm, £8/£6 concessions, Box Office 01582 767525 Harpenden Public Halls, Southdown Road AL5 1PD The Willow Foundation Carol Concert Tuesday 4 Dec Celebrate Christmas the Willow Way. Join Willow Foundation life Presidents Bob and Megs Wilson, for a festive evening at the charity’s annual Carol Concert at St Albans Cathedral. The evening will include musical performances from Hertfordshire Chorus and readings by celebrity patrons, beneficiaries and staff followed by mulled wine and mince pies. . Concert begins 7.30. Tickets: adults £10, under 16s £5 (includes prize draw entry and mulled wine and mince pies after the Tel: 01707 259777concert). Contact: Tel: 01707 259777 St. Albans Cathedral, Sumpter Yard, St Albans AL1 1BY The Election-Wednesday December 5th, 6-8pm Trestle’s Creative Community Project. All ages welcome. FREE. Just drop in or contact Trestle on 01727 850950.

Canal boat trips- Saturday 1 Dec to Monday 31 Dec A chance to take part in a canal boat trip from our boat base at Nash Mills Hemel Hempstead. Skippered trips will be run every day in December except Christmas day, from 10am to 2.30pm. Have a go at steering the boat along the canal and working the locks, or sit back and relax and watch the countryside go by. There is plenty of parking on site, and the wide-beam canal boats are all fully accessible. Suitable for all ages. Buoyancy aids available if required. 10.00am to 2.30pm. £10 adults £8 children under 16 Tel 0845 216 0080 or e-mail to book ReachOut Plus Boat Base, Nash Mills Recreation Centre, Red Lion Lane, Hemel Hempstead HP3 9TE

Tango Pasión- Thursday 6 Dec Tango Pasión, the exhilarating Argentinian dance musical, is celebrating 20 years of thrilling audiences around the world. The company of twenty artists, dancers and musicians comprises ‘the best tango orchestra in the world, and many of the world’s greatest tango dancers’ according to Paris newspaper Le Figaro. With dazzling choreography by Hector Zaraspe, alluring costumes and light design, two hours of virtuosity and refined sensuality where Argentina’s native dance becomes a metaphor for all emotions. Thu 6 Dec, 8pm. £26.50, £23.50, £20.50; Conc. and group discounts available. Contact: 0845 075 3993 .Watford Colosseum, Rickmansworth Road, Watford WD17 3JN

Enchanted Christmas Fairy Grotto at Gladleys Deli Cafe Stevenage Old Town -Monday 3 Dec Dress up to impress our special guest, Holly the Christmas Fairy when she visits the cosy snug room at Gladleys Deli Cafe. Visit our Enchanted Christmas Grotto to listen to the Christmas Fairy Story, join in with the Sing-song, Festive Fun and tuck into some festive titbits. Sure to be a

Paul Tonkinson: Fancy Man -Friday 7 Dec After storming the UK and International comedy circuit for years and much badgering from fellow professionals, Yorkshire man, and former (double award winning) Time Out Comedian of the Year,

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Tonkinson takes to the road with his eagerly anticipated debut tour. Encounter the full Tonkinson phenomenon; a master of physicality and impressions with a plethora of first class material brought to life with tremendous charm and infectious energy. Expect explosive, exuberant, tender comic reflections on love, food, family and the day-to-day idiosyncrasies of early 21st century living from one of the finest comedians in the UK. Time: 8pm Tickets £12 / £10 conc To book call 01442 228091 or visit The Old Town Hall, High Street, Hemel Hempstead HP1 3AE

welcome drink, three-course Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, half a bottle of fine wine per person, plus live music throughout the night concluding with the fantastic live band Masters of the Tuneiverse and dancing. For further information and to book tickets for a shared table or a table of eight, contact Chiltern Music Therapy at or call: 07920 796969 or 07968 395794. Berkhamsted Town Hall HP4 3AP Ware Dickensian Evening Friday 7 Dec For one night only Ware goes back in time from 6.30pm10.00pm crowds will throng the town, with road closures in the High St, Amwell End, Baldock St.Ware hosts a traditional Christmas Street Market with community stalls in Tudor Square and the High Street. Many of the town shops and businesses open offering Christmas fare or discounts. Local Craft Markets in Ware Drill Hall and Place House. Entertainment from Bill Freeman’s Happy Jazz Band, Toque Tambor Samba Band, Playsomething Academy, Street buskers, storyteller in Now Salon & much more… Fairground rides Amwell End and Baldock Street. Leaside Church Christmas Tree Festival will be open and St Mary’s Church will be offering stalls and refreshments plus the choir will be singing. WI Country Market in the Priory; The Great Bed of Ware on loan from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London will be on show in the Museum and there will be all types of foods and drinks around the town – A Night not to be missed! For details contact or visit

Santa Dash in aid of St Elizabeth’s Centre Friday 7th December 11am start. Get on your running shoes and beard and take part in this fun event! Help raise money for St Elizabeth’s – go on, it will be fun! Children welcome. Contact St Elizabeth’s for a Registration Form. 11am start, £10 to enter. Mince pies, tea and coffee included. St Elizabeth’s Centre, Perry Green, Much Hadham SG10 6EW Christmas Tree Festival Preview and ConcertFriday 7 Dec A concert of seasonal music performed among the 50 decorated trees of the Hitchin Christmas Tree Festival by Holy Saviour Church Choir and The Radcliffe Singers, directed by Trevor Hughes. Preceded by a chance to enjoy the magical display of trees - with a glass of mulled wine. Preview from 6.30pm Concert 7.45 - 9pm Admission £8.50 by advance ticket from 01462 712212. Holy Saviour Church, Radcliffe Rd, Hitchin SG5 1QG A White Christmas, with Mr Speaker- Friday 7 Dec A great night of great music from Mr Speaker and special guests, in aid of the MS Trust, with acoustic Christmas songs from traditional carols to chart hits. All proceeds go to this very good cause. The evening will include the band’s new single It’s Christmastime. Tickets £5 from the Arts Centre, 01462 670788, or Tom Doors open 7.00pm. Starts 8.00pm. Licensed bar. Letchworth Arts Centre. 2 The Arcade, Letchworth Garden City SG6 3EW

Chipperfield Choral Society ’A Christmas Garland’ Concert Saturday 8 Dec ’A Christmas Garland’ is the title for our Christmas Concert which will take place on at 3pm and 8pm. If you have attended our previous Christmas concerts you will know that our Musical Director Delia Meehan finds a wonderful selection of carols and other songs for the choir to sing and there is something quite magical about hearing this music soar up into the atmosphere of St Paul’s Church. The concert will include some well known carols for the audience to enjoy singing with the choir. Concerts at 3pm and 8pm. Tickets £12 (£5 if under age 17). Tickets now on sale via choir members or call the the box office 01923 400520/263939. These concerts are extremely popular and tickets often sell out before the concert so advance booking is strongly recommended. St Paul’s Church, The Common, Chipperfield, WD4 9BS

Christmas Fair- Friday 7 Dec Infant school Christmas fair, start 3.30pm. Hobletts Manor School, Adeyfield rd, Hemel Hempstead HP2 5JS Christmas Party with Chiltern Music Therapy7th December The not-for-profit Music Therapy organisation presents The Christmas Party at Berkhamsted Town Hall on Friday 7th December for a night of dinner, live music and dancing in aid of the group’s work in the Chilterns and surrounding areas. Tickets for The Christmas Party are £49 per person. The evening includes a

Green Lanes School (Hatfield) Christmas FairSaturday 8 Dec Fun and Games for all the Family! Loads of games for children and grownups, including a scalextric room, craft room and - 34 -

- of course - Santa’s Grotto; great prizes are to be won in our Grand Prize Raffle; visit the market place where you can browse and buy gorgeous gifts and treats for Christmas; refreshments will be available including mulled wine and mince pies to ward off chilly December weather! 12 noon to 3pm. £1 entrance fee for adults. Green Lanes Primary School, Hatfield Garden Village, Hatfield, AL10 9JY

members £8) Letchworth Arts Centre. 2 The Arcade, Letchworth Garden City, SG6 3EW Christmas Carol- Saturday 8 Dec and Sunday 9 Dec Final Season of the reading of Charles Dickens’ Christmas Carol 6.30 on both dates £21.50 per person Tel 01438 812661.Knebworth House, Park and Gardens SG1 2AX St Francis of Assisi Church, Welwyn Garden City, Christmas Tree Festival- Saturday 8 Dec and Sunday 9 Dec An extravaganza of over 60 decorated Xmas Trees from the whole communty. Other attractions include Santa’s Grotto, Children’s Games, Tombola and Grand Raffle. There is hot food and refreshments including mulled wine. Other stalls include bargain books and homemade cakes. There are opportunities to vote for the best decorated trees and also the opportunity to bid for a decorated tree in our tree auction. This is a huge community event and everyone is welcome. Saturday 8th December from 12 noon until 6pm) Sunday 9th December from 1pm until 6pm) Adults £3.00 accompanied children under 12 FREE For more information: Contact: The Parish Office. 01707 694191 or email: St Francis of Assisi Church, Church Road, Welwyn Garden City. AL8 6HH

The Mikado by Gilbert & Sullivan- Saturday 8 Dec Opera Anywhere’s production of The Mikado reaches St Albans during their 2012 tour, they have recently performed it in a cow shed in Marcham, The Botanical Gardens in Birmingham, on a pond in Sunningwell, on a rooftop amphitheatre in Oxford and now it’s destined for St Albans, in the intimate atmosphere of The Maltings Arts Theatre. Opera Anywhere is in its 12th year of touring productions and is known for its innovative opera entertainment, The Mikado includes a cast of young professional singers and is accompanied on piano and flute. Audience reaction so far includes comments such as: “We would like to add our voice to what will no doubt be a joyful and high volume chorus already extoling the wonders of Opera Anywhere’s performance last Saturday". Time: 7.30pm Ticket prices: £15 / £5 for under 18’s Box Office: 0844 8700 887 / 01865 735910 The Maltings Arts Theatre, Level 2, The Maltings AL1 3HL

Hitchin Christmas Tree Festival -Saturday 8 Dec and Sunday 9 Dec A magical display of 50 Christmas trees decorated by local families, groups, and businesses. Vote for your favourite tree, and enjoy the live music. Hot & cold lunches, teas, coffee and mulled wine available throughout the weekend. . Contact Brian Caswell, 01462 422762 email: 12.00 - 18.00 Entry £3.00: accompanied children free. Holy Saviour Church, Radcliffe Road, Hitchin, SG5 1QG

Carnival of Light- Saturday 8 Dec The Broxbourne and Hoddesdon Carnival of Light .the procession starting at 4pm on the outskirts of Hoddesdon town centre and finishing in the High Street around 5pm with a display of fireworks at 5.30pm alongside fair ground rides for the family. Entertainment from local dance/theatre groups and local choirs will take place in the High Street alongside craft/charity stalls promoting and selling gifts for Christmas between 1pm-6pm. This is a family event. 1pm6pm Free to visitors. High Street, Hoddesdon

Radlett Choral Society Christmas Concert Saturday 8 Dec Carols for choir and audience. Programme includes works by Rathbone, Edwards, Whitbourne and Handel. Conductor Roger Sayer. Concert starts at 7.45pm. Mulled wine and mince pies from 7.00pm. Tickets £10; under 16’s free. Box Office: 01923 226836/243545 or at the door. Christ Church, Watling Street, Radlett WD7 7JJ

Christmas Fair- Saturday 8 Dec Come along to Stevenage Girl Guidings fair for christmas gifts or to treat yourself for a night out. We will have beauty treatments, handbags and jewellery, cards and gifts and much more. Santa may even pop by to see the children. 1.30 - 3.30 £1 entry per person, Girlguiding members get in free if they wear their promise badge. Community Centre, Roaring Meg, Stevenage SG1 0NX

Christmas Party -Saturday 8 Dec Come and join our party! Bring your colleagues, family and friends along for a magical night of seasonal fun. Enjoy a cocktail reception on arrival and a superb three-course festive meal with a glass of wine in our main hall, which will be decorated especially for the festive season - a winter wonderland surprise. Then dance the night away

Comedy Club - Saturday 8 Dec Our monthly comedy night returns, with Christian Schulte-Loh and Ro Campbell, and your host, the inimitable Paul B Edwards. Licensed bar. Doors open 7.30. Show starts 8.30. Tickets £10 (Comedy Club

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with a live band and our resident DJ until 1am. Doors open at 7.30pm for dinner at 8pm. Sat 8 Dec, 7.30pm for dinner at 8pm. £42; Group discounts available. Contact: 0845 075 3993. Watford Colosseum, Rickmansworth Road, Watford, WD17 3JN

Reindeer Run 11am start, Jingle Bell Jog 11.30am start Register at Further details 01442 820717 Waterend Barn, St Peters Street, St Albans, AL1 3LE Much Hadham Christmas Market- Sunday 9 Dec Now in it’s fourth year, between12-6pm at three venues. Much Hadham Village Hall, Forge Museum and Hopleys. Hopleys, Forge Museum and Village Hall - Much Hadham, SG10 6BU

Choirs R Us Christmas Concert - Sat 8 Dec Come and celebrate Christmas with our Early and Late Choir performing a selection of uplifting pop, gospel and Christmas songs. Bring your family and friends for a fun and festive concert. Choirs R Us run choirs for singers in Barnet and the surrounding area, open to all ages and abilities. There’s no audition and no need to be able to read music. The choir is directed by Jenny Bennett, an experienced and inspirational choir director. The performance begins at 8.00pm. Tickets on the door: £5 adults, free for under 16’s. Ewen Hall, United Reformed Church, Wood Street, Barnet, EN5 4BW

Dancing Queen - The Concert -Sunday 9 Dec Dancing Queen “The Concert” is an action packed party show featuring all the greatest hits from Abba, The Bee Gees, and the biggest hits from the 70s. With a fantastic cast of singers and musicians, Dancing Queen is the ultimate party show that will have the whole family dancing in the aisles. Featuring songs such as Dancing Queen, Waterloo, Mamma Mia, Knowing Me, Knowing You, Thank You For The Music, along with Summer Nights, Grease Lightening, You’re The One That I Want, Car Wash, YMCA, Boogie Nights and Love is in the Air. Sun 9 Dec, 7.30pm. £19.50, £18; Group discounts available. Contact: 0845 075 3993. Watford Colosseum, Rickmansworth Road, Watford WD17 3JN

Hospice of St Francis Santa Dash - 9 December However you choose to dash the 2.5 mile route through the streets of Hemel Hempstead, we promise lots of Christmassy fun for all your friends and family. Every age is welcome - find your friends, grab your grandparents and festive up the family dog! You could get your whole school involved! The school with the most Santas recruited will win our exclusive Dashers Cup! The Snow Centre are donating generous prizes for our top fundraising santas including 3 family annual memberships (worth £340 each) and 2 family private lessons (worth £99). All we ask is that you have a great time and, of course, raise as much sponsorship as you can! It’s just £15 to register for adults, £5 for children, or you can enter the whole family for just £35. You’ll then receive your Santa suit or reindeer antlers, a Santa medal and a tasty treat at the finish. Register online at or call Emma Day on 01442 869555 Riverside, Hemel Hemsptead HP1 1BT

Christmas Choruses at Benslow Music- Monday 10 Dec 2012 to Wed 12 Dec One of the most highly regarded choir trainers in the land, former King’s Singer Jeremy Jackman leads a course in which we’ll be working on some of the vast and rich choral repertoire designed specifically for the Christmas festival. Our task is to form ourselves into as accomplished a choral unit as we can manage in the short time allowed to us. It helps if you have reasonable previous choral experience and can either sight read well or learn your notes relatively quickly, although the challenges presented will take into account the ability of the group as a whole. This course is ideal both for those already in choirs who wish to experience Jeremy’s expert coaching and for those who currently cannot make a regular commitment to a choir but who would nevertheless welcome a rewarding choral experience. Resident: £ 235 Non-resident: £190 Code: 12/299 Benslow Music, Benslow Lane, Hitchin SG4 9RB

Jingle Bell Jog & Reindeer Run- Sunday 9 Dec Join us for this fun and festive event and walkrun either a 1.5km or 5km through St Albans dressed up as Santa Claus or Rudolph to raise muchneeded funds for Iain Rennie Hospice at Home. With Heart FM hosting again, there will be entertainment, refreshments available at The Waterend Barn and the chance to stock up on Christmas cards so come and start the Christmas season off in a fantastic way by joining the Jingle Bell Jog! Choose from 2 run options: 5km Santa Dash - £15 (for age 10yrs and over includes Santa Suit and medal) 1.5km Reindeer Run - £7.50 (suitable for all ages includes Reindeer ears, flashing ears and medal) 1yrs and under are free

Jack and the Beanstalk- Wednesday 12 Dec to Tuesday 1 Jan 2013 School bookings - £6 per ticket, book online or make a reservation Tickets from £13.50. Hawthorne Theatre, The Campus, Welwyn Garden City, AL8 6BX Ware Ghost Walks- Thursday 13 Dec Spooky Ware – Ghostly Tales and Happy Hauntings are the order of the Night for Ware Ghost Walks.

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Three different routes around the town introducing characters and events in Ware’s past. Public walk dates: Thursday 13 December (Ghost Walk 3); Thursday 17 January 2013 (Ghost Walk 1) and Thursday 21 March 2013 (Ghost Walk 3). Group bookings always welcomed, dates by arrangement to 01920 421466 (Minimum 12 persons) Cost £5.00 per person. Early booking essential to or via website

attention to the greatest panto story of them all. Join the beautiful Cinderella as she thwarts her Ugly Sisters and wicked Step-Mum and, with the help of Buttons and her Fairy Godmother, gets to go to the ball and meet her Prince Charming. Fun and laughter for the whole family is guaranteed, alongside the stunning sets and beautiful costumes that have come to define the Rhodes Pantomime. If you’ve been before then you’ll know exactly why we’re so loved – if you’re new to Rhodes Pantomime then you’re in for a treat you’ll never forget! Prices: £14.95 / £11.95 / £50 Family (Family ticket for two adults and two children or one adult and three children.) Box office: 01279 651746 .Rhodes, 1-3 South Road, Bishop’s Stortford. CM23 3JG

Christmas Charity Concert with the Lea Singers -Thursday 13 Dec The Lea Singers’ ever popular concert of Christmas music for all the family with audience carols, mulled wine and mince pies. The Choir will be joined this year by brass ensemble Bold As Brass. Our charity raffle will be in aid of Mencap. The Concert starts at 7:30 pm. Tickets at £13 (£12 concessions, £5 under 18s) will be available from Frances Brown on 01582 793845; Rollings Wine at 26, Station Road, Harpenden, and online through our web site at Eric Morecombe Public Hall, Southdown Road, Harpenden, AL5 1PD

The Russian State Ballet of Siberia - Swan LakeSaturday 15 Dec The greatest romantic ballet of all time is brought to life by Tchaikovsky’s haunting and unforgettable score. From the impressive splendour of the Palace ballroom to the moon-lit lake where swans glide in perfect formation, this compelling tale of tragic romance has it all. From Odile, the temptress in black tulle as she seduces the Prince by spinning with captivating precision to the spellbound purity of the swan queen, Odette as she flutters with emotional intensity, the dual role of Odette/Odile is one of ballet’s most unmissable technical challenges. Sat 15 Dec, 2.30pm. £32, £30, £27; Conc. and group discounts available. Contact: 0845 075 3993.Watford Colosseum, Rickmansworth Road, Watford, WD17 3JN

The Nucracker (Live from the Royal Opera House)- Thursday 13 Dec A young girl’s enchanted present takes her on a wonderful adventure in this ballet favourite, accompanied by Tchaikovsky’s glittering score. Peter Wright’s classic production is an essential part of the Christmas festivities for audiences of all ages. Thu 13 Dec at 7.15pm - £15 (no concessions) 01923 225671. Watford Palace Theatre, 20 Clarendon Road, Watford, WD17 1JZ

Christmas Carol- Saturday 15 Dec and Sunday 16 Dec Final performances of reading of Dickens’ Christmas Carol 6.30 on 15 and 16 December matinee on 15 December - £21.50 per person Tel 01438 812661. Knebworth House, Park and Gardens SG1 2AX

The Russian State Ballet of Siberia - La Fille Mal Gardée- Thursday 13 Dec and Friday 14 Dec A gentle tale of love thwarted, unrequited and found, it is a masterpiece of comedy. With plenty of ribbons, romance and rivalry, La Fille Mal Gardée conjures up a world of pastoral simplicity where a farm boy woos a flirty farmer’s daughter and they find inventive ways to avoid her mother. Complete with virtuoso pas de deux, maypole and clog dances, this classic ballet will send you home happy, delighting those enjoying it for the very first time as well as those who want to see it again and again. 7.30pm. £36, £34, £30; Conc. and group discounts available. Contact: 0845 075 3993 Watford Colosseum, Rickmansworth Road, Watford, WD17 3JN

Santa’s Grotto Saturday 15 Dec to Monday 24 Dec Santa’s Grotto open throughout the Christmas period, inviting children to meet the man himself and receive a special present. 12PM - 4PM. Normal Admission fee applies: £10.50 Adults and £8.50 - Children / Concessions Shepreth Wildlife Park, Station Road, Shepreth, SG8 6PZ Dick Whittington -Saturday 15 Dec to Saturday 22 Dec Starring Cerrie Burnell (as seen on CBeebies) and Dr Who companion and Blue Peter legend Peter Purves, this is a laughter-packed fun-filled family panto - with a live band, sumptious scenery and gorgeous costumes, plenty of audience participation - the perfect way to kick start your festive season! Box office 01582767525. Sat 15th Dec 1pm Sat 15th Dec

The Rhodes Pantomime Cinderella- Friday 14 Dec to Saturday 5 Jan 2013 The best pantomime in the region is back – and this time there’ll be more magic than ever before! The same team that brought you the last two record breaking pantomimes at Rhodes turn their

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6pm Sun 16th Dec 1pm Sun 16th Dec 5pm Tue 18th Dec 1.30pm Tue 18th Dec 6pm Wed 19th Dec 6pm Thu 20th Dec 6pm Fri 21st Dec 3pm Fri 21st Dec 7pm Sat 22nd Dec 11am Sat 22nd Dec 3pm Tickets start from £10 Group discounts available. Eric Morecambe Theatre, Harpenden Public Halls, Southdown Road, Harpenden, AL5 1PD

at the door on the night, from Tricia Beavis Box Office Manager 0n 01582 419 379. Harpenden High Street Methodist Church, AL5 2RU A Christmas Carol- Wednesday 19 Dec A spellbinding reading by Keith Baldwin of the timeless classic by Charles Dickens. Guaranteed to warm your heart for the start of the festive season. This follows the great sucess of Keith’s appearance at the Arts Centre last Christmas, with the evening set to become an annual event. Mulled wine and mince pies included in ticket price. Doors open 7.00. Reading begins 7.30. £8 (concessions £7). Letchworth Arts Centre. 2 The Arcade, Letchworth Garden City SG6 3EW

Concert at Christmas - Saturday 15 Dec Welwyn Garden City Male Voice Choir present their end of year concert, in aid of choir funds. Solo spots. Ticket price includes buffet. 19.00 till 22.30 approx. Tickets: £8. Friends of the Choir £7. Tel: Arthur Harris 01438 832661. Welwyn Civic Centre, Prospect Place, Welwyn AL6 9ER

Watford Philharmonic Society - Christmas Concert- Wednesday 19 Dec The choir and orchestra of Watford Philharmonic Society return with their traditional Christmas concert, joined by the choir of Field Junior School, Watford. This popular family event brings together well known carols and festive songs for choir and audience with beautiful music from around the world – this year with a hint of Spain. A great start to your Christmas celebrations – book early and look forward to a festive night out!, 7pm. £17, £16, £14; Under 18s and child tickets available. Contact: 0845 075 3993. Watford Colosseum, Rickmansworth Road, Watford WD17 3JN

Hertfordshire Chorus Christmas ConcertSunday 16 Dec As the festive season comes round again, Hertfordshire Chorus will be celebrating with its annual evening of traditional Christmas music. It is our privilege to sing glorious works in wonderful venues throughout the year, but we all have a special love of Christmas at Haileybury. It is always a magical concert, and this year promises to be no exception. As usual this will be a family concert with audience carols, and the Chorus will sing a range of Christmas music old and new. Our chosen charity this year is Keech Hospice Care. David Temple will conduct, and the Chorus will be accompanied by Charles Andrews. Concert Starts: 6pm Tickets: £10 adults, £7.50 concessions, £5 children/students. Haileybury College Chapel, Hertford Heath, SG13 7NU

Jazz Quartet at Christmas- Friday 21 Dec Andre Pytaleu, piano, and Roy Viveash, saxophone, with special guests Tomas Pedersen, double bass, and Mike Goff, drums, and a wonderful evening of jazz. Jazz and Latin standards with a Christmas twist. Licensed bar. Doors open 7.30. Tickets £10 from 01462 670788, or from David’s Music, Letchworth Arts Centre. 2 The Arcade, Letchworth Garden City SG6 3EW

Big Band Christmas with Opus 17- Tuesday 18 Dec A free concert by The Opus 17 Swing Band .Enjoy an eclectic mix of big band and seasonal music with a touch of Elvis added for good measure. Relax with a drink and enjoy the music. Arrive early as seating is limited. No tickets. Just turn up. Free parking in the Market Square. Cocert starts at 8.00pm. Doors open 7.30pm Free admission. No tickets. First come, first served! The Old Bull Hotel, High Street, Royston, SG8 9AW

The Wind in the Willows Friday 21 Dec to Mon 24 Dec, Wed 26 Dec to Mon 31 Dec A dramatisation of Grahame’s classic tale of riverbank animals. Toad finds himself in prison and manages to escape, but not before Toad Hall, his pride and joy, has been overrun by the wicked weasels. A real family favourite. By Kenneth Grahame. Adapted by Alan Bennett. Directed by Keith Thompson. Performances at 2.30pm and 8pm, Tickets £10. Box Office 01707 324300 Barn Theatre, Handside Lane, Welwyn Garden City AL8 6ST

Carols for Choir and Audience Tuesday 18 Dec The Harpenden Choral Society, under the direction of conductor John Andrews, returns to the High Street Methodist Church on Tuesday December 18th at 7:30 for their annual Carol Concert, featuring Benjamin Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols, a selection of Christmas music written for The Kings Singers, and, as always, carols for choir and audience. This is a very popular event, so book early and join us to sing in the Christmas season! Tickets: £10 adults, £3 children and students; available from Creature Comforts, Vaughan Road, Harpenden,

The Nightingale- Friday 21 December, 2pm and 4.30pm,Saturday 22 December, 11am, 2pm and 4.30pm,Sunday 23 December, 11am, 2pm This Christmas at Trestle Arts Base, award winning Horse + Bamboo Theatre presents the classic tale The Nightingale, based on the book by Hans Christian Andersen. A sweet, funny and - 38 -

beautiful show for families. For ages 4+. Tickets: £11 / £9 conc / £36 family. Box office 01727 8509550

Children- £5.99. Adult £8.49 Child £5.99. Frosts at Willington, Sandy Road, Willington, Bedford, MK44 3QP


Tea Dance -Wednesday 5 Dec Put on your dancing shoes and join us for a pleasant afternoon in the elegant surroundings of the Bedford Corn Exchange complex. Music for Ballroom, Latin American, Sequence Dances, Party Dances & Old Time. A warm welcome guaranteed! Price includes refreshments. 14:00 £3.50 advance £4 on the day 01234 269519. Bedford Harpur Suite, MK40 1LA

Real Ice Skating Arrives at Frosts- Today to Tuesday 8 Jan Frosts Garden Centre at Willington will be transformed into one of the coolest locations for winter fun with the return of their real outdoor ice-rink .The outdoor icerink will be one of the biggest on the region; set within a Christmas wonderland it will be partially undercover which makes it perfect for all weathers. The real ice rink is complete with a viewing area, festive food, treat stalls and free parking making ice-skating at Frosts a family day out to remember. Adults £8.49 Child £5.99 01908 583511.Frosts at Willington, Sandy Road, Willington, Bedford, MK44 3QP

Bedfordshire Toy and Train Collectors Fair Evening Wednesday 5 Dec The latest popular evening toyfair from Joe Lock. The opportunity to buy, sell or swap or obtain valuations on your old traditional toys with emphasis on Buses and Trains in variety of outlines and, scales , eras and worldwide styles, also books on related subjects and limited military, agricultural and fairground subjects, Meccano , Action Man , Model Cars , Small Scale Aircraft, Subbeuteo and Airfix Stallholders include some exclusive traders that only attend this event. An ideal opportunity to purchase the latest models from Corgi, Hornby and Dublo, Classix, Bachmann, Dapol etc. Admission for buyers £1 per person. Starts at 19.00 and finishes 20.45 A Joe Lock promoted event 01992 467967. Cold sandwiches ,rolls , tea coffee etc Free and extensive parking , near to M1 for easy access to north or south for Milton Keynes, Dunstable or Luton. Toddington Village Hall, Leighton Road, Toddington, LU5 6AN

Xhibit@Priory House till Tuesday 25 Dec An exciting exhibition of pastel, painting, photography, prints and ceramics by Artists' Network Bedfordshire artists Michael Brace, Janis Coles, Ian Grinham, Carol Mountford, Anja Penger-Onyett, Ruth Rickwood and Jamie Stevenson.Monday to Friday during office hours; free entry Priory House, Monks Walk, Chicksands, Shefford, SG17 5TQ SantaLand at Mead Open Farm- till Sunday 23 Dec With a sprinkling of fairy dust, SantaLand opens at Mead Open Farm, joined by Santa, his cheeky elves and numerous Christmas activities. Running daily until 23 December; visit Santa in his grotto, choose your own gift from his wellstocked Toy Shop; jump aboard the animated reindeer ride to Lapland; walk through the Winter Wonderland and even meet REAL Reindeer (New for 2012). Plus, this year, you can reserve a date and timeslot online at SantaLand at Mead Open Farm is just south of Leighton Buzzard. Visitors should follow the brown signs from A505 or A4146. Open 10am-6.30pm daily. For further information and prices, call 01525 852954 or visit Mead Open Farm, Billington, Nr Leighton Buzzard, LU7 9JH

Cinderella- Wednesday 5 Dec, Fri 28 Dec to Sun 30 Dec, Tue 1 Jan, Wed 2 Jan Fun - filled, affordable, traditional panto for all the family this Christmas at Bedford Corn Exchange. Following last year’s sell-out smash hit, this year we are going to give Cinderella the Bedford Pantomime Company treatment with a live band, fantastic lighting, fabulous costumes and great comedy - and don’t forget every child is invited on stage to sing along with the cast. It’s a treat for the whole family that won’t break the bank. Cinderella is everyone’s favourite Panto, with good reason. It’s a lovely, classic story filled with great characters that have become part of British tradition like Cinders herself, Prince Charming, Buttons, the Ugly Sisters and the Fairy Godmother. £14 adults, £10 child, £39 family Bedford Corn Exchange Main Auditorium, MK40 1SL

Skate & Cake Special- Wed 5 Dec, Wed 12 Dec, Wed 19 Dec Every Wednesday you can enjoy a 45 minute skate, followed by a delicious cake and a choice of tea, coffee or a yummy hot chocolate – all included in your ticket price. Adults will receive a slice of Frosts Homemade Christmas cake whilst children can tuck into a festive Gingerbread man. Once you have finished your skate you will be given a refreshment voucher to enable you to redeem your cake and drink – it’s that simple! Adults- £8.49 and

Rapunzel -Friday 7 Dec to Sun 9 Dec, Fri 14 Dec, Sat 15 Dec Deep in an Enchanted forest, hidden from the world since she was a small child, Rapunzel longs to explore the world she sees from the tiny window in her door less tower

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gift ideas aswell as the usual tombola and raffle. Refreshment and cakes. This is a charity event and is being held and the lower school hall. Start 12 noon, free entry, Grotto tickets sold on day. Westoning Lower School, High Street, Westoning. MK45 5JH

but her captor – the Evil Enchantress, Grizelda has other plans. However, a chance meeting with a Eddie – a prince in disguise – sets the HAIR-ball rolling for a magical adventure which threatens the life of Rapunzel and leaves her friends COMBING through forests to do battle in the deep dark caverns of the Underworld. Chock full of HIGHLIGHTS: colourful characters, toe-tapping tunes and dazzling dances. Come and let your hair down at this year’s pantomime which promises to be quite a HAIR-raising event and will leave you with a PERManent smile on your face. Box office: 07952633234 Email: Online: Tickets: Adults £8, Concessions (seniors, students and U18) £6. Tads Theatre Conger Lane, Toddington, LU5 6BT

The Comedy Cow- Fri 14 Dec An evening of live comedy with some of the best acts on the UK comedy circuit. The night consists of five comedians and then you are welcome to stay the rest of the night to dance the night away to the DJ’s. Purchase your tickets direct from Cookies and Cream in advance to save some money or just turn up on the night. The show starts at 8:30pm but feel free to turn up early to enjoy happy hour between 5-9pm. Tickets include entry to the comedy show and after-party: £10 in advance (includes a complimentary cocktail on arrival) £12 on the night Tickets £12 (£10 in advance) available from Cookies and Cream direct. Tel: (01582) 699991. Cookies and Cream, Grove Park, Dunstable, LU5 4GP

Festive Family Fun Trail at Wrest ParkSaturday 8 Dec and Sunday 9 Dec We need your help to solve our festive mystery! Bring along the whole family to crack the clues and earn your prize. To complete your visit, don’t forget our Christmas gifts in the shop. 11am4pm. Booking Not Necessary. Wrest Park, MK45 4HR

Christmas at Wardown -Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 Dec 1.00pm – 4.00pm Join us for some Christmas activities for all the family, in the festive atmosphere of Wardown Park Museum. Make traditional Christmas decorations and cards, and visit Santa in his grotto to receive a Christmas gift. Grown-ups, why not also try our Christmas quiz? Craft activities: £2 per child.Drop in. Visit Santa: £3.99 per child Craft activities: £2 per child. Drop in. Visit Santa: £3.99 per child. Wardown Park Museum, Old Bedford Road, Luton, LU2 7HA

Arts & Craft Sale - 8 Dec Arts & Craft sale being held in Bedford Square Community Centre Houghton Regis. This is being held in conjunction with Houghton Regis Town Council. Father Christmas will be handing out free presents to the children in the library from 10 - 12 noon the Arts & Craft Sale will be held in the Community Centre between - 9.30 am - 3.30pm. Library and Bedford Square Shopping Centre, Houghton Regis Charity Dinner & Variety Evening -Saturday 8 Dec A night to enjoy, A night to help !! We are holding an evening to raise money for Cancer Research UK and Help for Heroes. The evening will consist of a 3 course meal prepared by two London and Michelin Star trained Chefs. During, and after the meal you will be entertained by a Magician, a Comedian, two solo vocalists and finishing off with a Disco. Ticket prices are £2000 per head, for more information please contact 01525 861111 / 07779010704 or email : Flitton and Greenfield Village Hall, MK45 5DR

Festive Family Fun Trail at Wrest ParkSaturday 15 Dec and Sunday 16 Dec We need your help to solve our festive mystery! Bring along the whole family to crack the clues and earn your prize. To complete your visit, don’t forget our Christmas gifts in the shop. 11am-4pm. Booking Not Necessary. Wrest Park MK45 4HR Biggleswade Antiques Fair- Sunday 16 Dec 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. 9.30am-4.30pm Admission £1.50. Entry free for children under 16 The Weatherley Centre, Eagle Farm Road, Biggleswade, SG18 8JH

Robert Bloomfield Academy Christmas FayreSaturday 8 Dec Various stalls full of christmas charm and delicious goods. Refreshments Large Raffle Fun for the whole family 10 am - 1pm 50p Entrance.Robert Bloomfield Academy, Bloomfield Drive, Shefford, SG17 5BU

Syd Lawrence Orchestra - Glenn Miller Anniversary Concert- Sunday 16 Dec Directed by Chris Dean, The Syd Lawrence Orchestra recreates the sound that brightened those dark

Westoning Christmas Bazaar- Saturday 8 Dec Come along and join the fun. See Santa in his grotto, and take a look around the stalls selling

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comedian Kevin Tomlinson (as seen on Paramount Comedy Channel) will be visiting the club for a spectacular comedy night as a tribute to the voluntary work of Totternhoe FC. His current show Seven Stages is, a comic look at the seven stages of life will make you laugh until you cry! After appearing to packed houses with standing ovations at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and fresh from a sell-out world tour (Canada, America, Norway, New Zealand and Hong Kong), Tomlinson is now recognized as one of the UK’s leading comic improvisers. You name it, his comedy show explores it! Improvisation, sketches, stand-up all feature in his show. Tickets £10 for Members £14 for Non Members 07970 947146.Totternhoe Football & Social Club LU6 1RG Bucks

days of the 1940’s. This is the music of Major Glenn Miller bringing memories of the war years back to life with precision and a youthful exuberance. A dynamite blend of great soloists and vocalists, faultless section work and a hard swinging rhythm section will transport you back in time to a musical era that boasted such hits as Moonlight Serenade, In The Mood, String of Pearls, and his million selling Chattanooga Choo Choo, Pensilvania 65000, Sunrise Serenade and many more. Join us and celebrate the Legend of Glenn Miller with this highly acclaimed, swinging orchestra. 19:30 £20 01234 269519. Bedford Corn Exchange Main Auditorium, MK40 1SL Christmas Workshop - Table Decoration Thursday 20 Dec This workshop is aimed at creating your very own stunning and individual table decoration in time for Christmas. The workshop will be held at Shillington Village Hall and all the materials you need to make your arrangement are provided however, if you would like to bring along some speical decoration or plate you want to use then we will do our best to help you incorporate it. Tuition by qualified florist. The workshop is from 7pm - 9.30pm and Tickets cost £35.00 (which includes refreshments and all materials). Please call 07770 650402 to book your place or for further information. Shillington Village Hall, SG5 3LL

Snow White - MK at the Milton Keynes TheatreFriday 7 Dec to Sunday 6 Jan 2013 Milton Keynes Theatre, 500 Marlborough Gate, Milton Keynes, MK9 3NZ Peter Pan - AWT at the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre -Saturday 8 Dec to Sunday 30 Dec Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, Exchange Street Aylesbury, HP20 1UG Discover Dahl’s Archives at The Roald Dahl Museum -Saturday 8 Dec, Sat 5 Jan For 10+ years: a behind-the-scene look at our archive store which houses Roald Dahl’s manuscripts and letters, with Collections manager and archivist, Rachel White. Free for Museum visitors. Call 01494 892192 to book. Tours begin at 12.30 pm, 1.30 pm and 2.30 pm. 81 - 83 High Street, Great Missenden, HP16 0AL

Post Festive Fun at Mead Open Farm -Thursday 27 Dec to Monday 31 Dec Looking for some family fun where everyone can work off those extra mince pies? Look no further! Mead Open Farm is open between Christmas and New Year and is only closed 24, 25 & 26 December and 1 January. With bags of animal fun, as well as Shaggy’s huge PlayWorld and more, you’ll find so much to do! Mead Open Farm is just south of Leighton Buzzard. Visitors should follow the brown signs from A505 or A4146. For further information call 01525 852954 or visit Mead Open Farm, Billington, Nr Leighton Buzzard, LU7 9JH

Dickens of a Christmas -Sunday 9 Dec Bring the fun back into Christmas by joining the local residents of Historic Olney as they celebrate this annual event which sees 2 Markets, loads of stalls, themed entertainment and plenty of retailers who try to bring the Victorian atmosphere back into town. With a bird of prey exhibition, plenty of food outlets, story time for the youngsters and Father Christmas in his grotto, you mustn’t miss this fantastic day out. To help you get that truly unique Christmas present for the person who seems to have everything, why not visit the 3 Lions Club Craft Fayres where your £1 admission will open your eyes to a fantastic range of gifts and let you buy from the people who make them. Most attractions are free including a free park and ride (follow the signs on the outskirts of town). Some events attract a small admission fee. Olney, MK46 4EA approx 11 miles from M1 Junction 14

Bedford Comedy Club Christmas Special-Friday 28 Dec This is the best comedy club of the season. Enjoy not just three hilarious comedy acts but four as we bring the 2012 comedy club season to a suitable conclusion. Don’t miss the season finale of Bedford’s premier comedy showdown! Please note: Hot food will no longer be sold prior to the start of the show. A variety of bar snacks will be available throughout the evening. 21:00 £12 advance £13 on the door 01234 269519. Bedford Harpur Suite, MK40 1LA Kevin Tomlinson Christmas Comedy NightSaturday 29 Dec 7.30 till Late. BIG NEWS: We are delighted to announce that world famous

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Merlin’s Cavern - A Christmas EmporiumSunday 9 Dec A Christmas Emporium featuring Vintage, Retro, Antiques, Memorabilia, Jewellery, Patchwork & Hand-made Crafts, Original Artwork, Books rare & new, Pottery, Glassware, Toys, Boutique, Accessories, Holistic & Energy Healing resources, & Merlin’s White Elephant table Come along and join us in this delightful 1500c venue and purchase that something special, either for yourself or as a Christmas gift, from our truly eclectic and desirable range of items on sale. We have unique gifts, collectibles and goodies for all ages, ranging from 50p to £50+. Raising funds to support essential medical care and food this winter for Merlin and his feline orphaned friends 10.30am - 4.30pm Admission 50p Refreshments, including Wine and Mince Pies Enquires: 07737 640390, email Rectory Cottages, 49 Church Green Road, Bletchley, Milton Keynes, MK3 6BJ

Delumptious 12 Days of Christmas at The Roald Dahl Museum- Thursday 27 Dec to Sunday 30 Dec For all ages: Follow the clues around the Museum to create a crackling Christmas song and discover the Norwegian Santa. Free for Museum visitors. Drop-in throughout the day.81 - 83 High Street, Great Missenden, HP16 0AL Soul Power: Live Soul/Funk at The Slug & Lettuce MK with Soul Selecta- Saturday 29 Dec Soul Power Xmas/NY’s event at the new venue! SOUL SELECTA; a fantastic 6-piece soul/funk covers band fronted by Nicky Prince, playing the best in classic to modern Soul, Funk, Disco and Motown guaranteed to keep you dancing all night. DJ Mr Magic will be spinning all the classics. Doors 8.00pm - Ends 02.00am Tickets £4 (£12 group of 4) in advance OR £6 (£20 for 4) on the door. Slug & Lettuce, Theatre District, 1 Savoy Crescent, Central Milton Keynes, MK9 3PU New Year Banners at The Roald Dahl MuseumSunday 30 Dec For 8 + years: make a buzzwangling bunting banner for your New Year’s Eve party or just to hang in your doorway to welcome in 2013. £2 per participant in addition to Museum entry. Call 01494 892192 to book tickets. Workshops at 12.30 pm to 1.30 pm and 2 pm to 3 pm. 81 - 83 High Street, Great Missenden, HP16 0AL

Crackling Christmas Crafts at The Roald Dahl Museum- Saturday 15 Dec and Sunday 16 Dec For 7+ years: get ready for Christmas by making your own Scandinavian inspired Christmas decorations including poppyrotting pop-up cards, tantalizing treat cones and crackling Christmas gnomes. £2 per participant in addition to Museum entry. Call 01494 892192 to book tickets. Workshops at 12.30 pm to 1.30 pm, 2 pm to 3 pm and 3.30 pm to 4.30 pm. 81 - 83 High Street, Great Missenden, HP13 0AL

January Listings Herts

Squiffing Scandinavian Hearts at The Roald Dahl Museum- Saturday 22 Dec and Sunday 23 Dec For all ages: weave a wondercrump traditional Scandinavian paper heart to take home and hang on your Christmas tree. Free for Museum visitors. Drop-in throughout the day. 81 - 83 High Street, Great Missenden, HP16 0AL

Winter festivals: family activities- Thursday 3 Jan Crafty activities inspired by winter festivals; old and new. 10.30 am - 3.30 pm (last entry 3pm), £1.50 per child, just drop in. Hertford Museum, 18 Bull Plain, Hertford SG14 1DT Children’s Holiday Cupcake Workshop Thursday 3 Jan A great morning for your budding Great British Bake-Off star -- a class for 6- to 11-year olds to learn all about cupcake decoration and have fun creating their own. Just the thing for that holiday period after Christmas. Children will be provided with six cupcakes to decorate and take home in a presentation box. They will ice their own cupcakes and create fondant models, all under the expert guidance of Caketopia members of staff (all have been CRB checked). 10.00am to 1.00pm £35. Discount for siblings. Fee payable at time of booking. 01462 670788. Letchworth Arts Centre. 2 The Arcade, Letchworth Garden City, SG6 3EW

Puss In Boots and the Beanstalk- Saturday 22 Dec to Saturday 5 Jan 2013 Idle Jack looks like he’s in big trouble when he sells the family cow for a handful of beans. But Fairy Poppins grants his wish and sends a little furry friend to help him out; the magical Puss in Boots! Together they’ll need to climb a Beanstalk and overcome a mighty Giant if Jack is to win the hand of his true love, Princess Apricot. Not to mention rescue Daisy the Cow along the way! Tickets are expected to sell out early so don’t miss out; get your boots on and buy your tickets now for this GIANT of a panto with a feline twist. It’s Fee - Fi - FUR - Fun! Tickets are just £13 (£10 concessions) with evening and matinees shows. Call the box office 07765 084193 or visit for more information Stantonbury Campus Theatre, Stantonbury, Milton Keynes, MK14 6BN

T-Shirts to Change the World -Thursday 3 Jan to Thursday 31 Jan North Herts College students reflect on the protest t-shirts of Katharine Hamnett. Continuing the 1970s and 80s theme of

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Letchworth Sinfonia New Year Concert Sunday 13th January Letchworth’s own Orchestra presents this traditional concert to include festive waltzes & polkas to celebrate the start of the New Year. We are also pleased to have Alison Eales as our Soloist performing Malcolm Arnolds Clarinet Concerto with us. The Letchworth Sinfonia New Year concerts have been running for over 25 years and are still as popular as ever however for this concert we have a change of venue therefore we recommend purchasing your tickets in advance through the Letchworth Tourist Office to ensure a seat – tel 01462 487868. The programme includes: • Mozart – Overture to Don Giovanni • Mozart – 40th Symphony in G Minor • Malcolm Arnold Clarinet Concerto No 2 with Alison Eales • Strauss- Blue Danube Waltz Tickets £10 and £8 concessions / £5 Students 18s and under available from Letchworth Tourist Office on 01462 487868 or on the Door (Doors open 7pm) For Further information about the orchestra and soloist see Doors open 7pm, Concert starts 7.30pm - Tickets can be purchased beforehand in person from the Letchworth Tourist Office, Station Road, Letchworth 01462 487868 or reserved at Tickets £10 and £8 concessions / £5 Students 18s and under. Letchworth Free Church, Norton Way South, Letchworth, SG6 3HS

our Festival. Foyer Gallery. Open Monday to Friday 10.00 am to 5.00 pm. Saturday 10.00 am to 3.00 pm. Admission is free to all Galleries. Letchworth Arts Centre. 2 The Arcade, Letchworth Garden City, SG6 3EW The Essence of the 1970s in photography Thursday 3 Jan to Thursday 31 Jan A creative attempt to distil the essence of the 1970s in local photographs. Continuing the theme of our 70s and 80s festival. Café Gallery. Open Monday to Friday 10.00 am to 5.00 pm. Saturday 10.00 am to 3.00 pm. Admission is free to all Galleries. Letchworth Arts Centre. 2 The Arcade, Letchworth Garden City Hertfordshire SG6 3EW Comedy Club - Saturday 5 Jan Our monthly Comedy Club returns with Brian Higgins, Phil Butler, and your host, the inimitable Paul B Edwards. Licensed bar. Doors open 7.30. Show starts 8.30. Tickets £10 (Comedy Club members £8) from 01462 670788. Letchworth Arts Centre. 2 The Arcade, Letchworth Garden City SG6 3EW Stay and Play Saturdays at Hertford MuseumSaturday 5 Jan On the first Saturday of each month, The Andrews Room at Hertford Museum will be open for families to enjoy a free play session. Come along and play with traditional wooden toys, make something crafty and read a book. Whilst you are here why not use the 10.30 am - 3.30 pm, Free but donations are welcomed. Hertford Museum, 18 Bull Plain, Hertford, SG14 1DT

Hanbury Manor Wedding Show -Sunday 13 Jan Come along to this unique venue & see what great packages are available, a large selection of fantastic exhibitors will be on hand to help plan your special day. All brides receive Free Goody bag FREE ENTRY, 11am - 3.30pm, Fashion show 12pm & 2pm, 01245 362883 Ware SG12 0SD

Life & Times & Friends- Sunday 6 Jan Hitchin Folk Club presents the annual appearance of Life & Times with guest performers. The Sun Hotel, Hitchin SG5 1AF Peter Pan the Pantomime- Friday 11 Jan 2013 to Sun 13 Jan, Thu 17 Jan to Sat 19 Jan Have a Flying Start to the new year with J M Barrie's classic children's tale of Peter Pan, adapted for pantomime by John Morley. It features the best of the story and the best of traditional pantomime, with lots of extra comedy. You'll be meeting Peter Pan, Wendy and her brothers John and Michael. They really will fly! See Tinker Bell, the most famous fairy of all. Visit exotic places with Captain Hook, Snap the Crocodile, Smee and the Pirates. Drop in on Tiger Lily, Laughing Water and the Red Indians. All this, plus plenty of music, dance, spectacle ... and a pantomime dame too! To gain the princess’s affections, Jack must defeat Giant Blunderbore, terror of the village. Meet also Simple Simon, Buttercup the Cow, Dame Cheryl and a host of other traditional fairy tale characters. Tickets £9.50 to £15.Broxbourne Civic Theatre, Hoddesdon EN11 8BE

Puss in Boots -Thursday 17 –Sun 20 Jan Wonderful traditional family pantomime featuring an amazing ’talking cat’. Children and adults will love this terrific show. And what’s more all our proceeds are donated to local charities. January 2013 - Thurs 17th, Fri 18th and Sat 19th at 7.30 pm, Sat 19th at 2.30 pm and Sun 20th at 1.00 pm Visit for more details and to order your tickets or call our Box Office on 07982 462 668 Tickets £8 and £10 £8 and £10 The Bull Theatre, 68 High Street, Barnet, EN5 5SJ Table Manners by Alan Ayckbourn -Friday 18 Jan 2013, Sat 19 Jan, Mon 21 Jan to Sat 26 Jan Thought by many to be the best of the Norman Conquests trilogy, this comedy stands on its own without the audience needing knowledge of the other two plays. The philandering and drunken librarian, Norman, creates havoc over a family weekend. Directed by Coral Walton.

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"When it comes to statistics, scientists, sceptics and statisticians often think of the media and journalists as a hotbed of confusion, distortion and, well, damned lies. These beliefs are not baseless - there is some appalling nonsense out there - but there is good statistical journalism too. The talk, which draws on experience as a statistician of working with print and broadcast journalists, will discuss and give examples of what can go wrong, what can go right. Good journalists are better communicators than are most scientists or statisticians; if we want to get our ideas and research findings into the public consciousness, we need to learn from journalism and we need to learn how to work with journalists and the ’old’ media. Arrive at 19.00 for a 19.30 start. The White Horse, Newham Ave, Bedford MK41 9PX

Performances at 8pm. Matinee on Saturday 26th January at 2.30pm. Tickets £10. Box Office 01707 324300 or online. Barn Theatre, Handside Lane, Welwyn Garden City, AL8 6ST Letchworth Hall Wedding Show- Sunday 20 Jan A fantastic mix of suppliers available to help plan your wedding FREE ENTRY, 11am - 3.30pm, 01245 362883. Letchworth Lane, Letchworth Garden City, SG6 3NP Milton Jones- Wednesday 23 Jan Start time:20:00. Alban Arena, Civic Centre, St Albans. AL1 3LD Fagin’s Last Hour- Friday 25 Jan Oliver Twist, Charles Dickens’ classic tale of crime and punishment, is stunningly re-imagined in this critically acclaimed stage adaptation. Told from the point of view of Fagin the Miser, one hour before his execution, this unique and powerful one-man show offers a fresh insight into literature’s most controversial villain. With multi award-winning actor/writer and London Theatre Award Nominee, James Hyland (recent recipient of Best Performer in Theatre 2012 – Fringe Report Awards). Hailed upon its premiere as "very impressive, Fagin’s Last Hour not only conveys the horror of Charles Dickens’s original novel but likewise "succeeds in presenting Fagin as a complex human being" (The Dickensian). Members £10, non members £12. Early bird discount: Buy 3 tickets and get 1 free when purchasing before 11.1.2013. Tickets from 01462 670788. Doors open 7.00pm. Curtain up 7.30pm. Letchworth Arts Centre. 2 The Arcade, Letchworth Garden City, SG6 3EW

Bedford Sinfonia - A Festival of BrittenSaturday 26 Jan We celebrate the centenary of the birth of one of the greatest British composers and pack our concert with some of his outstanding works - Four Sea Interludes; Sinfonia da Requiem; Violin Concerto; Gloriana Dances. Soloist: Jaroslaw Nadrzycki; Conductor: Michael Rose. 7:30pm; Tickets £10 - £13; telephone Bedford Box office 01234 269519. Bedford Corn Exchange, St Pauls Square, MK40 1LE Bucks Violet Beauregarde Bulging Biscuits at The Roald Dahl Museum- Wednesday 2 Jan For 6+ years: make a buckwashling iced biscuit that looks just like Violet Beauregarde after she’s tried Willy Wonka’s chewing-gum meal. £3.50 per participant in addition to Museum entry. Call 01494 892192 to book. Workshops at 12 noon to 1 pm and 2 pm to 3 pm. 81 - 83 High Street, Great Missenden, HP16 0AL

Beds Join the Snakes and Ladders Toy Amnesty! Tuesday 1 Jan to Thursday 31 Jan A great way to start the New Year by supporting a worthy cause! Make room for your children’s new presents by bringing unwanted good quality toys to the Keech Hospice Care donation station at Snakes and Ladders. All toys donated will be sold by Keech Hospice Care in their shops to raise funds and everyone that donates will receive 15% off child entry to Snakes and Ladders if they then go in to play. Toys must be good quality (ie worth a minimum of 50p to the charity shop) and cannot include electrical items. In the event of a dispute the management’s decision is final. There is no charge to come in and donate toys. To enter the playcentre for a play session normal prices apply. Snakes and Ladders, Blackburn Road, Houghton Regis, Dunstable, LU5 5BQ

Mrs. Twit’s Dinner Plate Tricks at The Roald Dahl Museum -Thursday 3 Jan For 7+ years: decorate a dinner plate with Mrs Twit’s latest revolting recipe. Will it be worms for spaghetti, or slugs on toast? £3.50 per participant in addition to Museum entry. Call 01494 892192 to book. Workshops at 12 noon to 1pm and 2pm to 3 pm. 81 - 83 High Street, Great Missenden, HP16 0AL Esio Trot Treasure Pots at The Roald Dahl Museum- Friday 4 Jan For 7+ years: sculpt a clay pot in the shape of a tortoise, with the tortoise shell as the lid. Perfect for keeping all your thingalingalings in! £3.50 per participant in addition to Museum entry. Call 01494 892192 to book. Workshops at 12 noon to 1pm and 2pm to 3 pm. 81 - 83 High Street, Great Missenden, HP16 0AL

Skeptics in the Pub- Thursday 17 Jan Kevin McConway presents "Statistics in the Media".

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Paul Carrack-Good Feelin Tour at the Milton Keynes Theatre- Friday 11 Jan Milton Keynes Theatre, 500 Marlborough Gate, Milton Keynes MK9 3NZ

To be included in future listings Email:

Aylesbury Waterside Theatre Wedding ShowSunday 13 Jan 100’s of ideas from local exhibitors; 3 Catwalk Shows; Live Entertainment; Live Music; ’How To’ Demonstrations; VIP Area; & much more! Plus BRAND NEW for this season a stunning Vintage Wedding Inspiration Zone. This is one show that you cannot afford to miss! As well as providing unforgettable nights of theatre and entertainment, Aylesbury Waterside Theatre is licensed for civil weddings and civil partnerships. With 5 bars, 3 licensed ceremony rooms, and a variety of spaces where your reception can be held, we can personally design your day to meet your specific requirements. Spaces for both intimate and large scale ceremonies and receptions, from 10 to 1,100. Pre-register for queue jump tickets on FREE Entry 11am - 4pm For more information & to pre-register for tickets visit Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, Exchange Street, Aylesbury HP20 1UG

Putting ‘Listings’ in the subject line, giving details of your event and contact details. Deadline for February Issue 15th January ----------------------------------------------------

Jersey Nights at the Milton Keynes TheatreWednesday 16 Jan to Saturday 19 Jan Milton Keynes Theatre, 500 Marlborough Gate, Milton Keynes, MK9 3NZ To advertise your event, show, restaurant or business on our website or in our digital magazine

Mozart Konzert at the Milton Keynes TheatreSunday 20 Jan Milton Keynes Theatre, 500 Marlborough Gate, Milton Keynes, MK9 3NZ

Call 07756 274444

The Ladykillers at the Milton Keynes TheatreWednesday 23 Jan to Saturday 26 Jan The celebrated Ealing comedy The Ladykillers comes to life on stage this Autumn in a hilarious and thrilling new adaption by Graham Linehan (Father Ted) and directed by Sean Foley (The Play What I Wrote). Featuring a stellar cast of some of the finest stage and screen comedy actors including BAFTA winner Peter Capaldi (The Thick of It) as Professor Marcus along with James Fleet (The Vicar of Dibley), Ben Miller (The Armstrong and Miller Show), Stephen Wight (Evening Standard Outstanding Newcomer) and Olivier Award winner Clive Rowe with Marcia Warren as the sweetly innocent Mrs Wilberforce. Milton Keynes Theatre, 500 Marlborough Gate, Milton Keynes MK9 3NZ

Or email Prices from £10 per month

---------------------------A Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all our readers

Sleeping Beauty at the Milton Keynes Theatre Tuesday 29 Jan to Saturday 2 Feb Milton Keynes Theatre, 500 Marlborough Gate, Milton Keynes, MK9 3NZ

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The Sticks December/January issue  

whats on in Herts,Beds and Bucks

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