Sticks Dec /Jan 2014/15

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Issue 26 December & January 2014/15

In this edition of The Sticks Exclusive interview with Steve McFadden Win 2 tickets to see That’ll be the Day Our new Hero Cheese of the Month Our new HR column from Consensus HR BBC Radio 2’s Janey Lee Grace on “Which Diet This Week” Panto Time part three We road test the Maserati Ghibli And much more Plus pages of events listings across Herts, Beds & Bucks -1-


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

In this issue: Exclusive interview with Steve McFadden New HR Column from Consensus HR Curwens Column Agony Aunt Art Column Win 2 tickets to That’ll be the Day Panto Time - Part three Car Test – Maserati Ghibli Janey Lee Grace – Which Diet This Week Big Barn Food Column Hero Cheese of the Month Listings – Herts, Beds & Bucks

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Contributors: Janey Lee Grace, Terry Sullivan, Andrew Merritt-Morling, Jo Coker, Sharon Struckman

See you in February! Editor & Sales: Terry Sullivan Tel: 07756 274444 Email: Follow us on twitter @thesticks9

Listen to The Sticks Radio Show at 10am on Mondays on Secklow Sounds


Exclusive interview with Steve McFadden

Steve McFadden was born in London and trained at RADA. Steve is famous for his role as Phil Mitchell in Britain’s top soap, EastEnders, which he has played for 20 years. He has led numerous high profile storylines to great acclaim, this Christmas he can be seen playing Fleshcreep in Jack and the Beanstalk at The Alban Arena, from Friday 5 December until Sunday 4 January 2015, along side Children’s TV star Rebecca Keatley (CBeebies’ Let’s Play). Joining them as Dame Trott, is St Albans’ favourite funny man, star of the Olivier award winning play ‘Morecambe’, Bob Golding. The Sticks recently met up with Steve at the Alban Arena to talk about the panto and his time in Eastenders.

It is your first time playing Fleshcreep, what will you be able to bring to this years panto Jack and the Beanstalk? I have played both Hook and Abanazar before so I am not new to panto. As to what I will bring to this one fun, drive, vigour, directness and just attack really, I like to come on the stage and push things along, I don’t sit back. Will there be little bits of Phil Mitchell in the role? I think there will be yes, and a bit of Oliver Reed’s Bill Sykes from Oliver mixed in plus a bit of me. As this is not your first panto you know panto has a gruelling schedule, how do you cope? I find a good pub and Indian restaurant that’s me sorted and I understand St Albans has 300 plus restaurants so I will be fine. Does Eastenders make any allowances for you being in Panto? The studio shuts down for 2 weeks over Christmas anyway and the panto runs 5 weeks so it is effectively 3 weeks off and that’s the only allowance but we record 8 weeks in advance so I will have recorded in to 2015 before the Panto starts, also over the year we bank 8 extra episodes to allow us Christmas off.


Is there something that keeps you coming back to panto? Because I am in Eastenders all year it is very intense and there is no contact with the audience and is very wordy and gritty and miserable at times so it is great to come out and have some fun and do something that’s physically demanding and uplifting and get involved with the public. We never get a round of applause and feel of the audience. In Eastenders you just do it, finish a massive storyline then the following day you start again, you do feel a bit like a hamster on a treadmill. It is the excitement of doing something live and the reaction straight away, also I love doing live theatre and because of Eastenders don’t get time so this is the only chance I get. Have you met or worked any of the rest of the Panto cast before? No we have met for the first time today and they look a good bunch of guys and getting some fashion tips especially from Bob who’s playing the dame, I saw Bob this year perform in his Morecambe show at Richmond theatre and he was fantastic, absolutely brilliant so I am a bit in awe really, so I am looking forward to working with him and getting something going on between us as I obviously work with the comedian and bounce off him. It is going to be interesting. Do you have any plans to leave Eastenders? No, I had some time out a while ago which was nice for a break; it is a very hard gig to beat because where do you go from doing four episodes a week and I get to play everything, I am hardly the romantic lead type but I still get to play love scenes, I might not be the youngest, fittest guy on the block but I still get to chase people around and beat them up so it allows you a range that I probably would not be afforded anywhere else, because if I was going to go into films or other TV the scope of the parts I would get would be drastically reduced because what I feel; as Phil I have played 100’s of different characters all under the umbrella of Phil. If I was to walk into a casting session and they were looking for an Arnold Schwarzenegger type they would pick him ahead of me and if they were looking for a Robert Redford type they would not pick me but I get to play Arnie Schwarzenegger and Robert Redford in Eastenders. I am not going to get another character like Phil. How did you get the part originally? They were looking for someone who looked like Ross (Kemp) because Ross had almost got the part of Grant Mitchell, so they were looking for a brother for Ross and I fitted the bill, there was six of us in all up for the part and at the audition someone paired up with Ross and I paired with some other guy and then me and Ross went together, then they called in three secretaries to look at all the screen test, and they chose me and Ross. So I got the part because the secretaries wanted us. Funny thing is Lorraine Newman was one of the secretaries and now she is the executive producer of the show. How do you see Phil going, growing old and mellowing out? Doubt Phil will melow out but I am not old enough yet for it to worry me I am looking forward to my later years, being there and wondering what’s it like being a 70 year old geezer that would be something to play and I have observed it in myself that if you’re a jack russell you don’t stop being a jack russell, when you become old you don’t turn in to a poodle. Just like a dog chases a ball, Phil has done lots of bad things but that does not make him a bad person. Can you tell us who killed Lucy (Beale)? I honestly don’t know. The cast are really as intrigued as the viewers are about it and we are having debates about it but all will be revealed in February as part of the live 30th anniversary show. 5

Keep Up! It’s a hectic time in the world of HR!

Personal Use of Workplace Items = Theft. One in three employees takes work items home for their own personal use. Such goodies include stationery, toilet rolls and even soap. But are they putting their jobs on the line by doing so? Yes. Putting it bluntly, helping yourself to items from work is theft. The reasons behind it are irrelevant. Ultimately, it is an act of Gross Misconduct and can result in dismissal. Consensus HR has taken numerous telephone calls about situations where somebody has been caught with objects belonging to a company. These range from paper and pens to toilet rolls (surprisingly common!). “It’s important that employees understand that all of these objects are company property. They are for use when working in the premises and not for use at home,” explains Matthew from Consensus HR. “Taking them away from the company’s premises is theft; exactly the same if you were to remove an item from a shop without paying for it.” Items can be seemingly inexpensive yet the cost involved increases quickly if several employees are involved. Of those surveyed, 28% admitted that they took the items because they didn’t have time to go shopping. But: theft is theft. It is seen as an act of Gross Misconduct, which can result in a ‘summary dismissal’. Matthew adds “Theft is viewed on the same level as fraud, violence or incapacity from drugs or alcohol. It is a reasonable means for Gross Misconduct as long as the employer has acted reasonably and followed the ACAS Code of Practice & the Statutory Disciplinary & Grievance Procedures.” Do you have an issue of theft within your workplace? “Clear communication and understanding must be present within the company culture,” suggests Matthew. “Businesses do not have to tolerate theft. Appropriate and reasonable measures should be introduced to protect the company as well as its employees.” Are you concerned about a theft issue within your company? Are you keen to prevent such circumstances? Contact Consensus HR for an informal discussion. Let’s work together to avoid the awkward and potentially expensive situation of theft in your workplace.


Shared Parental Leave (SPL) – The clock is ticking… Shared Parental Leave is a new right that will come into force on 1st December 2014. It will enable eligible mothers, fathers, partners and adopters to choose how to share time off work after their child is born or placed. This could mean that the mother or adopter shares some of the leave with her partner, perhaps returning to work for part of the time and then resuming leave at a later date. The options to use the new Shared Parental Leave rights will apply for parents who meet the following eligibility criteria: • Going to have a baby which is due to be born on or after 5 April 2015 • Adopting a child who is placed for adoption on or after that date. Employers should note that they could start to receive requests from employees giving notice of their eligibility and the intention to take Shared Parental Leave from January 2015. What are the key points of SPL? •

Employed mothers will continue to be entitled to 52 weeks of Maternity Leave and 39 weeks of statutory maternity pay or maternity allowance

If they choose to do so, an eligible mother can end her Maternity Leave early and with her partner or the child’s father, will be able to opt for SPL instead of Maternity Leave. If they both meet the qualifying requirements, they will need to decide how they divide their total SPL and pay entitlement between them.

Paid Paternity Leave of two weeks will continue to be available to fathers and mothers or adopter's partners. This must be used in a single block of leave and taken within 56 days of the birth.

Adopters will have the same rights as other parents to Shared Parental Leave and pay

Intended parents in surrogacy who meet certain criteria will be eligible for statutory adoption leave and pay and Shared Parental Leave and Pay

Shared Parental Leave is designed to give parents more flexibility in sharing the care of their child in the first year following birth or adoption. Parents will also be able to share a pot of leave. They can decide to be off work at the same time and/or taking it in turns to have periods of leave to look after the child. “Managing and administering SPL may be hard for businesses with a small headcount, particularly where a husband and wife are working together,” says Matthew of Consensus HR. “You will need to ensure that the correct procedures are put in place so as to minimise any disruption to the business”.


Who is eligible for SPL? To qualify for Shared Parental Leave and pay, a mother must share the main responsibility for caring for the child with the child's father or her partner. In addition, she must be entitled to: • • •

Maternity or adoption leave, or Statutory maternity or adoption pay, or Maternity allowance

In addition, they will be required to follow a two-step process to establish eligibility. Shared Parental Leave may be taken at any time within set dates. This period of time begins on the date the child is born (or date of the placement). It ends 52 weeks after that date. Leave must be taken in complete weeks. An employer cannot refuse leave requested as a continuous period; however leave in a discontinuous period can be refused. The mother must take a minimum of two weeks’ leave after the birth of the child or four weeks if they work in a factory. It will be for the mother or adopter to continue on Maternity Leave or opt to take Shared Parental Leave. Consensus HR Comment: “When a pregnancy or parental leave request is announced, a business should celebrate with the employee, generating good morale,” says Matthew. “The employee feels supported as the business fully understands his/her wish to share time with their child.” “From the business’ perspective, solutions to cover the absent parent’s leave periods should be sought immediately. (Rearrangement of duties or recruiting a temporary employee, for example.)” “It will be interesting to see how this affects sexual equality of workers in the workplace” adds Matthew. “It will be up to the parents to decide who takes the time off. The pure capability of the person - regardless of sex – will be the main factor of employment. We wait to see what the outcome is of this new Government family friendly scheme is to businesses.” Consensus HR advises businesses to seek professional HR support in these circumstances. This ensures that the employer does not take action that contravenes of the law in general and the Equality Act 2010. If you would like more information of have any specific queries, contact Matthew at Consensus HR call 0774 7789279 or 01462 621 423 Twitter @MattPCHR


YOUR LOCAL SOLICITORS Do you have a right to see your Grandchildren? For some people, the fast approaching festive period will be an unwelcome reminder that they do not get to spend quality time with their grandchildren. Losing contact with a grandchild causes great heartbreak for a grandparent and unfortunately an increasing number now find themselves in this position – often through no fault of their own It may be that the parents have divorced or separated and the parent left with the main care of the child is not prepared to allow contact between the child and their exspouse’s parents. Sometimes it may be that the grandparents’ own child is unable to arrange contact because they are physically or mentally incapable, or in the worst case scenario have died. Whilst many of us recognise the important role played by grandparents in childcare the English law is more equivocal and does not confer an automatic right on a grandparent to have contact with their grandchild. The grandparent therefore relies heavily on the goodwill of the parent with care of the child to be allowed to see them. Otherwise they can be shut out of a child’s life. In such circumstances their only remedy may lie in going to Court which can be expensive both in terms of money, time and heartache. However, there are alternatives – through discussing the issues with a specialist mediator or collaboratively trained lawyer. The first step ideally is for the grandparent to contact the parent with the main care of the child directly – perhaps speaking to them, or writing a brief and polite letter. Sometimes it may help if a trusted relative, family friend, or perhaps a minister of religion, acts as an intermediary. It is important for some form of contact to be retained – even if it is only indirect contact – such as sending the grandchild brief letters, greetings cards, modest presents and the occasional photograph. The Grandparents’ Association has lots of practical support and is celebrating its 25th anniversary: If you have difficulties seeing your grandchild, or want more advice on any aspect of children and family issues please contact our Amanda Thurston on 01992 463727 or email her at Curwens LLP is your local firm of solicitors offering most areas of legal advice – based in Royston, Hoddesdon, and Enfield. 9

Agony Aunt Column Dear Jo, I am in the second year of my University course having had time off last year with depression after the break up of a relationship with my long-term boyfriend, Sam, after which I felt so hopeless, confused and low. I resumed my studies after some short-term NHS CBT and antidepressants from my GP, which were very helpful. However, I have not really dealt with any of the underlying issues. I struggle with anxiety, depression and guilt. I have been told I will have to wait for more NHS sessions and that these will also only be short term as the service is overwhelmed. I have lots of friends, a supportive family and, to others, I come across as confident and smart, which makes it even harder for me to admit to how difficult I find everyday situations. I can't stand talking about my feelings with anyone I know, but I also can't stand every time I have to explain everything a new to a different counsellor. Please help. Marina Dear Marina, I am sorry to hear of the struggle you have had during your time at University and the lack of ongoing support that has been available to you from the NHS services, which as you say, can at times be overwhelmed by the demand. The ending of a relationship is always a painful process especially when as in your case it has been a long-term commitment. It is normal to feel loss and confusion. In your longer letter you say you and Sam were together since you were 15, so you have grown up together and understandably life without him is hard. At the same time you are in a new environment and trying to make your way. Many of us find this period of life difficult to negotiate as so much is changing and so quickly. We can feel very confused by the turmoil and the two sides of our self that we experience. On one hand we are confident and have friends, and you have done so well to make these new friends under difficult circumstances. On the other hand we are at times paralysed by our doubt and anxiety about our self and life. I think you should be very proud that you have overcome your relationship break up and got yourself back on track and made it into year 2. I am sure that this was not easy and took real determination. To keep up this momentum it would be helpful to find some continuous counselling to support you. Most universities have a counselling service, which is available to students Alternatively, you could approach a local counselling service that offers a free or low cost service on an open-ended basis. Though you will need to tell the counsellor your story again, which I agree is painful, if the service offers long-term work this will support you through your degree thus enabling you to gain the qualification that you have already invested so much in. If you can find a counsellor who also offers an integrated coaching approach to counselling this might prove even more helpful. The benefit of counselling is that it is a confidential relationship with someone who is not involved in your day-to-day life, but who is there to help you understand your difficulties. They can help you to work through these and develop more strength, resilience and strategies. This will make life easier and improve your psychological and physical health. Good luck! Jo Coker Clinical Director LCC To Ask Jo Coker your problem email : All case will be treated with the strictest confidence


Artist Profile: Laura Dunmow From Welwyn Digital doesn't always mean different! 3 years ago Laura, aged 52 embarked on a personal journey. After 30 years of being a professional graphic designer it was time to explore new horizons and create something new and exciting. She combines her expertise from the digital world and her love of traditional methods, acrylics, pastels or pens to create an eclectic portfolio of work. Her canvas is her computer. Using a stylus instead of a paintbrush, she captures fresh, vibrant images to express the essence of her subjects. Paint splatters; textures, photos and hand rendered drawings are digitally enhanced and treated using colour splashes, digital displacement effects to create the final picture. From portraits, landscapes to still life and abstracts the idea of 'fusion' is at the heart of every piece of Laura’s unique technique that marries the ‘old with the new’. Three years ago, Hockney's exhibition at the royal academy, was an inspiration to her. Here was a man, who in the later stages of his professional career had once again begun to experiment with a new medium, his iPad. Observing his own personal journey, over the course of a year, through his iPad sketches just highlighted his perseverance to embrace a new medium and techniques. What's next for Laura, “For me it's about inspiration, innovation and investigation. I believe that digital art is still in its infancy and is beginning to contribute to the start of a new artistic revolution.”

See Laura’s work at PS Arts at Mardleybury Gallery Contact details for Laura Dunmow Tel: 07711719452 Email: Web:


Win a pair of tickets to That’ll be the Day – Christmas Show at Watford Colosseum on Sat 27 December @ 7.30pm

The Festive, Feel Great Show for the Whole Family returns to Watford Colosseum. Jump straight into the festive fun this Christmas at Watford Colosseum and visit this year’s most anticipated Rock ’n Roll sensation, That’ll be the Day Christmas Show on Saturday 27th December. Trevor and the gang return to celebrate the festive season by bringing back the good times with all your favourite Christmas classics in addition to some more hilarious comedy routines that will make your seats jump you’ll be laughing so much. Take a blast from the past and listen to all time classics originating from the 50s, 60s and 70s - you are guaranteed a night of nostalgia. Witness the stunning and sensational show jam packed with loveable characters and magnificent music. Come on down to the Colosseum and experience a fun, festive and immensely funny piece of entertainment that should be enjoyed by the whole family. To win 2 tickets for That’ll be the Day just answer this simple question: Music from which 3 decades is featured in the show? First correct entry drawn will win the 2 tickets. Send your answer by email with your name, address, email address and daytime phone number to: Closing date: Noon on Tuesday 23rd December. There is no cash alternative, usual your publication rules apply and the Editor's decision is final. for more information and to book online 24 hours a day. Tickets can also be purchased by calling 0845 075 3993, or visit the Watford Colosseum Ticket Office. 12


Panto Time – Part Three


BRADLEY’S BACK! 05 Dec 14 – 11 Jan 15

You’ll never, never believe it! After 7 years Milton Keynes’ most popular panto star ever, Bradley Walsh, is back! Taking a break from our TV screens in hit series’ such as Law & Order UK and The Chase, your favourite funny man Bradley is set for a spectacular return to MKT after smashing Box Office records in Cinderella (2006) and Aladdin (2007)! Leading an all-star cast as Smee, Captain Hook’s hapless first mate, in the tale of Peter Pan, this year’s pantomime will be a magical delight for families of all ages– and there will definitely be some fun to be had for those big kids who never grew up! Bradley says of his return to Panto in MK “I can’t wait to be back at Milton Keynes Theatre, my happiest memories of panto were during my time spent there and I have been dying to get back but my schedule over the last seven years hasn’t allowed me. However this year I’m back with a show that will be fun for everyone .... Especially Me !!! Bring it on !!” Joining Bradley on the decks of the Jolly Roger after soaring to fame in Britain’s Got Talent will be Street Dance sensations Flawless as a group of pop-locking, hip-hopping pirates as you have never seen them before! Expect to see some ‘moon-walking’ the plank with this motley crew! 14

Get ready with your loudest boo and hiss, as no panto is complete without its dastardly villain, and there is no bigger baddie in all of Neverland than this year’s Captain Hook, David Bedella.

Leading man Bradley played the loveable rogue Danny Baldwin in the award-winning soap Coronation Street winning Best Actor at The Royal Television Society Awards, and The TV Times Awards in 2006. Bradley’s many TV roles since have included ITV drama Torn and The Old Curiosity Shop alongside Sir Derek Jacobi. Over the last 5 years Bradley has taken the lead role as Detective Sergeant Ronnie Brookes, in ITV’s hugely successful Law and Order UK. Bradley can also be seen as host of ITV1’s thrilling game show The Chase. Global award winning dance act Flawless who rocketed to fame in Britain’s Got Talent in 2009, have gone on to appear in hit films Street Dance 3D and Street Dance 3D 2; collaborated with Kylie Minogue at the Diamond Jubilee Concert; headlined at the opening of the 2012 London Paralympic Ceremony and completed 3 successful national tours. Olivier award winner David Bedella’s created the role of Satan/Warm Up Man in the controversially popular Jerry Springer – The Opera, and his many West End and Broadway stage credits include The Rocky Horror Show, Chicago, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Jesus Christ Superstar, La Cage Aux Folles, H.M.S. Pinafore, West Side Story, A Chorus Line, 42nd Street, Dreamgirls, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Guys and Dolls! and Evita, to name but a few! On the big screen David has also appeared in Oliver Stone’s Alexander opposite Anthony Hopkins; and Batman Begins; Red Light Runners opposite Harvey Keitel. Don’t miss out - Hook your tickets now! Tickets are available at Milton Keynes Theatre Box Office, Call 0844 871 7652 or visit #Bradleysback #mkpeterpan @MKTheatre


Jack and the Beanstalk

Evolution Productions, and The Alban Arena, are proud to present this year’s exciting family pantomime, Jack and the Beanstalk, running at The Alban Arena, from Friday 5 December until Sunday 4 January 2015. There really is no better way to celebrate the festive season than with a good old fashioned Pantomime; and this year, The Alban Arena and Evolution Productions are proud to present Jack and the Beanstalk, St Albans’ funniest and most spectacular Pantomime ever! Starring everyone’s favourite TV baddie, Steve McFadden as the evil Fleshcreep, and Children’s TV star Rebecca Keatley (CBeebies’ Let’s Play). Joining them as Dame Trott, is St Albans’ favourite funny man, star of the Olivier award winning play ‘Morecambe’, Bob Golding, featuring a supporting cast of top class performers, lavish sets and costumes and a break dancing pantomime cow, this really is a festive treat the whole family will enjoy. Written and produced by Paul Hendy, you can expect hilarious comedy, madcap antics, and fantastic singing and dancing. This Pantomime really does have something in it for everyone, from the youngest to the oldest person in the audience! Bring along your kids, your parents, your grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends and next door neighbours, and celebrate Christmas at The Alban Arena. Don’t miss out on the Fe-fi-fo-fun …Book today! Alban Arena Box Office 01727 844488 Book Online 16

Cinderella Saturday 6th – Wednesday 31st December

Upstage Productions present a sparkling traditional pantomime based on the classic rags - to - riches fairytale, with fabulous live music, hilarious comedy, dazzling costumes and loads of audience participation. Join in the fun, songs and laughter and follow Cinderella's magical story with her lovable friend Buttons, her nasty ugly sisters, a handsome prince, a pumpkin, a glass slipper, mice...and, of course, a friendly Fairy Godmother! A perfect Christmas treat for all the family! Box Office: 01923 859291


Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs Friday 12 December – Monday 22 December Tickets from £12.00

Harpenden Public Halls and Act One Pantomimes presents 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs' this December starring Go!Go!Go!'s Steve Leeds (as seen every day on Nick Jr), Tony Howes (Midsomer Murders, Emmerdale & Doctors), BBC 3 Counties Radio's Ernie Almond, and local singing sensation Sophie Massie, with full supporting cast. Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all? The Wicked Queen is not happy when she hears her magic mirror answer, and from that moment Snow White is in danger! See Snow White meet her handsome Prince, with the help of 7 little friends. Laugh along with the hilarious Nursie and Muddles! Join in with the audience participation! Packed with great singing and dancing, fabulous scenery and beautiful costumes, a fantastic live band, and the corniest of jokes, this is the perfect way to start your Christmas! Hi ho hi ho, it’s off to the panto we go…..! Box Office: 01582 767525


Gardening Guru Plants Giant Seeds of Festive Fun!

A ground force of festive fever is to sweep through the Civic Hall, Broxbourne, when the nation’s favourite gardener swaps her spade for a magical wand and sprinkles fairy dust over this year’s action-packed pantomime Jack and the Beanstalk. Charlie Dimmock joined forces along side Alan Titchmarsh and builder Tommy Walsh in the BBC flagship make-over programme Groundforce, attracting over 12 million viewers every week. As well as transforming the gardens of viewers, Charlie worked on a memorial garden for TV presenter Jill Dando, a garden for the New York Restoration Project near Ground Zero, a children’s garden in New Delhi and a garden for the former South African President, Nelson Mandela. Since then, Charlie has presented The Joy of Gardening, Charlie’s Garden Army, The Chelsea Flower Show and appeared on Celebrity Master Chef, The Games, and an icy artic circle adventure saw her tackle a series of sub-zero challenges for the gruelling ITV programme 71 Degrees North. No stranger to the toils of pantomime, Charlie has charmed as Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother in Windsor, and grown a legion of new fans in Bridlington, Chesterfield and, last year in Worthing, creating a new box office record with her entertaining appearances in pantoland. Bringing her home-grown style of Organic Fairy to this traditional pantomime battle of good over evil, Charlie will deliver a gigantic measure of magic to give Jack the courage he needs to climb great heights and battle with the giant Blunderbore! Pantomime producer Paul Holman, for Paul Holman Associates, said: “Charlie’s great enthusiasm for pantomime is endearing. She gives 100 percent all the time and can often be found meeting and greeting audiences after the show. She’s instantly recognised wherever she goes and always engages with audiences, both on and off stage.” Jack and the Beanstalk opens at the Civic Hall, Broxbourne on 12 December until 3 January 2015. Tickets are now on sale at the Box Office 01992 441946 and online 19

Dick Whittington and his Magical Cat 13th December - 3rd January

The Rhodes panto will be bringing to life the enchanted story of Dick Whittington and his Magical Cat. From the same team that produced the amazing Aladdin last year, you will be sure of fun and laughter. Produced by Phil Dale, the cast also includes international hip hop artist Sunanda Biswass. Ticket prices range from £14 to £17.50. Box Office 01279 710 200

Sleeping Beauty! Following last year’s successful Christmas show “Beauty and the Beast”, The Hawthorne Theatre is proud to present the return of pantomime with “Sleeping Beauty”! Once Upon A Time, in faraway land, a beautiful Princess is born and the entire Kingdom comes to celebrate her christening. Except for the nasty fair, Carabosse, who is bitter about being left off the invite list! Crashing the party and bent on revenge, she places a curse on Beauty – on her 18th Birthday she will prick her finger and fall asleep for a hundred years. Unless, that is, she is kissed by a handsome prince ... Written and directed by our Olivier Award-Winner, Guy Masterson, this perfect family show features local favourites Helen Crosse and Mike Totton as Carabosse and Welwyn Willy – and joining us this year is sensational Nick Collett as Dame Kitty La Quiche.



Maserati launch a new special edition Ghibli Just in time for Christmas! Christmas is approaching, so this time we thought we would bring you something a bit more special. Would you like to find the keys to this stuffed into the stocking at the end of your bed? Andrew Merritt-Morling, managing editor of our motoring media partner, first4auto, celebrates 100-years of Maserati with a very special Ghibli saloon.

Maserati has unveiled the latest special edition model which has been developed to mark the company’s Centennial year. But instead of focusing its attention on its higherend models, this time it has decided to concentrate on its entry-level Ghibli model. Dubbed the Maserati Ghibli Ermenegildo Zegna Edition, it has been developed in conjunction with the Italian luxury fashion house from which it inherits its name. The focus of this new model is, to quote Maserati themselves, for “precious detail lovers.” The paint has a special tri-coat finish which, dependent on the angle and the light in which the car sits, has ash grey and blue tones which have been designed to enhance the BMW 5-Series-rivalling Ghibli’s lines. Called Azzuro Astro, the special paintwork features aluminium and a transparent top-coat which provides a lustrous finish and additional depth. The arch-filling 20-inch alloy wheels also carry their own ‘liquid metal’ paint finish. As befits Zegna’s expertise, the majority of the changes have been reserved for the cabin of the car. Open the doors and will you will be struck by the duo-tone interior which is split between leather tones and anthracite silk, a material which Zegna specialises. This is used across the seat squabs and is carried through to the door panels. The harder-wearing areas of the seats are covered in natural-coloured leather, as is the dashboard, centre console and arm rests. Elsewhere – for example, in the headlining, top pillars and sun shades – a Zegna silk jersey is used, embellished with ton-sur-ton (matching colours) ornamental stitching.


Carbon-fibre inserts feature prominently along the centre tunnel. This is also where an ‘Ermenegildo Zegna Edition’ commemorative plate takes centre-stage, providing the strongest hint possible as to where the inspiration for the interior lay. Showcasing the car at the Paris motor show, the brand claim that the Ghibli Ermenegildo Zegna Edition is a concept but could be “absolutely feasible in terms of content and has the possibility of further colour combinations.” Mechanically, the Ermenegildo Zegna Edition is unchanged from a standard Ghibli. Just one engine is available – a 404bhp twin-turbocharged V6 petrol. It can accomplish the 0-62mph sprint in 4.8 seconds before going on to reach a maximum speed of 176mph. Just 100 units of this special model will be built. As a whole, Maserati has its sights set on achieving an exceptionally ambitious 50,000 sales per year worldwide – “exceptionally ambitious” because historically the company has only been able to reach the 6,000 level. Harald Wester, Maserati’s CEO, told first4auto that the Ghibli Ermenegildo Zegna Edition “is a demonstration of the commitment with which Maserati and Ermenegildo Zegna continue to think of an automotive product outside the classical schemes, in addition to confirming the foresight and bond that unites us.” The special Ghibli also sat alongside the Maserati Alfieri sports coupe on the company’s stand. The Alfieri provides the clearest signal yet of the future design direction of the brand.

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Which Diet This Week?

You could be forgiven for thinking that if something is written in the tabloid press it must be true, ‘How Chardonnay could help keep your heart in shape’ was one headline recently, sadly anyone hoping to quaff back the booze in order to ward off heart disease needed to read on to find that the study referred to Chardonnay grapes which can boost heart health but only if eaten, and even then the study referred to flour made from ground seeds of the Chardonnay grape. In The Daily Mail a headline announced “Tea and Orange Juice can slash ovarian cancer risk” so if you can’t drink the Chardonnay at least you can drink cups of black tea and drink orange juice and apparently ward off ovarian cancer at least – of course this study doesn’t look into the effects of sugar – I can’t imagine several glasses of pasteurised orange juice being advantageous for anyone at risk of diabetes – not to mention the tooth decay. Daft diets and flawed health advice is never in short supply, we still read about the ‘nine eggs a day’ diet (wasn’t that Charles Saatchi?) The Dukan diet, The Atkins diet, The 5-2 diet, The Cabbage Soup diet, The Lemon Detox Diet (currently favoured by many a svelte celeb) and so many more and now we can add to the list the ‘Lord Falconer’ diet, apparently he lost 5 stone eating mostly apples and drinking diet drinks. I can’t help but wonder if that kind of diet isn’t intrinsically flawed – what would be the point of losing weight if you compromise your health with caffeine and artificial sweeteners in copious doses? Much has been said recently about food intolerances too, and many people have opted for wheat and gluten free products, only to find that many of these are chock full of extra fat and sugar. If food intolerances or diabetes are an issue by the way do check out the excellent nutritionist and hypnotherapist Dr Eva Detko whose book ‘Easy to follow wheat gluten and dairy free recipes’ really does offer yummy recipes despite them being weight loss and diabetes friendly. It’s a shame that as a nation we don’t have some basic common sense around health, wellbeing and nutrition. UK doctors receive only minimal training in nutrition despite Hippocrates saying “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. Advice differs massively on what we should and shouldn’t eat, how we should diet/ exercise and there seems to be no definitive answers from anyone we can trust. Surely it’s time to use some common sense, if we eat real food (i.e. as close to its natural /unprocessed state as possible), achieve some balance in our lives around activity and rest – we will be on the right path. The multi million pound diet industry might crumble of course but who is losing sleep over that?


Great British Food Revival – Turkey

Great to see the Great British Food Revival raising awareness to real tasty free range Turkeys. And, this time, not making the mistake of telling viewers to visit their supermarket. It was especially interesting for me to see that bronze turkeys have faded from popularity because supermarkets do not like the dark feather stubs left on the bird. As usua,l nothing to do with flavour or quality! A typical consequence of the modern food industry disconnecting producers from consumers.

In most parts of the country you can order now for Christmas delivery. Or you could pay now and collect your turkey and meet the farmer, so you can get the full story of how your turkey has been reared. Once you have organised your Christmas meal centrepiece you can use BigBarn to get all the best trimmings and some brilliant presents.



What makes cheddar? It is raw or pasteurised cow milk where the curds are medium scalded (the process of passing steam through the curds, which removes moisture) pressed and then matured. Cheddars only exist in style; with the exception of a handful of trademarked cheeses, cheddar can be made from any milk source, so you could be eating a cheese made from imported milk and it can still be called an English cheddar or farmhouse cheddar which may not have been anywhere near a farm. The one saving grace is that if a cheese is called traditional, it must have been made in a round (truckle) Hence you cannot get a traditional block cheddar. Artisan cheddars are interesting as they will taste different from season to season. A good 12 month cheddar eaten today, reflects the weather this time last year. If we had a bad autumn the cows would have been kept inside and fed on a more silage diet; this will make the cheese taste more 'cow sheddy'. If the autumn was warmer the cows would have been grazing outdoors, the taste is more pastoral and fresh. When considering age profiles and descriptions be wary, another part of cheese manufacture is the addition of 'starters'. This is a bacterial complex akin to the pro-biotic drinks. This kick starts the bacteria which over time, working with the amino acids in the milk, are converted to calcium lactate. This is the crunch encountered on the palate. Some mature cheddars use stronger starters to encourage lactate production faster, a crunchy mature cheddar may only be 12 weeks old or even less. Cheddar cheese is one of Britain’s greatest inventions. In whatever form, they make fantastic additions to any balanced diet be it in cooking, heated or on a cheese board. Great cheddars to look out for are Barbers 1833, a 24 month old block cheddar which is delicious. Another good protected artisan cheddars include Montgomery, a slightly musty taste; Keens and Westcombe Farmhouse (actually made on a farm). 26 High Street, Buntingford, Herts, SG9 9AQ Tele: 01763 271533 Email:




Town Hall, High Street, Hemel Hempstead, HP1 3AE

December Herts Listings

Watford Primary School’s Carol Concert - Weds 3 Dec 7.15pm. Each December, for over 50 years, more than 400 children from primary schools in SW Hertfordshire have come together to sing carols at the Colosseum. Parents, teachers and friends have all shared in this happy occasion and welcome anyone who would like to join the celebration. Tickets £7.50, Children £3. Watford Colosseum, Rickmansworth Road, Watford, WD17 3JN 0845 075 3993

Art exhibition - till Weds 24 Dec A variety of work will be on show including paintings in oil, watercolour, mixed media. Artists taking part are Linda Cavill, Clare Cammack, Bridget Tompkins & Sarah Evans. The Courtyard Cafe 11 Hatfield Road St. Albans AL1 3RR Santa Claus and The Christmas Adventure - till Weds 24 Dec Do you believe in Santa Claus? If so, join us for a fun filled show at Watford Colosseum this Christmas. The adventure takes place at Santa’s HQ in the North Pole. The Reindeer Sat Nav is programmed, the toys are piled high on the sleigh and Santa is ready to go when suddenly… chaos strikes! Rudolph is missing and the Elves are up to no good. Will Santa ever deliver the presents to all the boys and girls?! Santa needs some help from all the good boys and girls in the audience to help him find his way. This new magical adventure filled with songs, nursery rhymes and stories promises to be the Christmas treat you won’t want to miss. A truly unforgettable experience which includes the magical moment when snowflakes fall over the audience – a guaranteed white Christmas at every show! As an added Christmas treat, all of the good boys and girls in the audience will meet Santa after the show and receive a special present of their own. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the magical moment when your little ones meet Santa Claus for the very first time! Come and join the fun and help Santa at Watford Colosseum! Watford Colosseum is the perfect venue to take your little ones for their first theatre trip; with buggy friendly foyers and an intimate performance space it’s completely family friendly! Suitable for ages 2 - 8.Please note, this event is general admission and takes place in the Forum. Prices Vary depending on show date: Adults £10, Children £10.Adults £13.50, Children £12.50, Family Ticket (4 Tickets) £48.00.Adults £15.50, Children £14.50, Family Ticket (4 Tickets) £50.00 Watford Colosseum, Rickmansworth Road, Watford, WD17 3JN 0845 075 3993

Paul Carrack - Thurs 4 Dec 8pm Paul Carrack, legendary Sheffield-born singer, songwriter and former front man of Ace, Squeeze and Mike & The Mechanics returns to the road following his widely acclaimed recent album release ‘Rain or Shine’, a mix of new original songs and classic tracks. With a back catalogue of hits to his name including “How Long”, “Tempted” and “The Living Years”, Paul’s marvellously soulful voice is known to millions around the world. His songs have been performed by some of the biggest names in music including The Eagles, Diana Ross and Tom Jones and he is constantly in demand as a session keyboardist, having recorded and toured with Elton John, Eric Clapton and BB King. Recently dubbed by the BBC as ‘The Man with the Golden Voice’, Paul is undoubtedly a key figure in British pop history, an all-rounded musical talent. And as his devoted fans know all too well, a Paul Carrack show is always something very special. Paul said ‘After our most successful album and tour ever last year, we’re really looking forward to getting back out on the road again’ Gold Circle Tickets £39.50 Tickets £29.50, £23.50 Watford Colosseum, Rickmansworth Road, Watford, WD17 3JN 0845 075 3993 Bingham Quartet & Nigel Clayton - Fri 5 Dec Concert - playing Haydn, Dutilleux, Brahms - full list available at venue. Steve Bingham and Marina Gillam – violins, Brenda Stewart – viola, James Halsey – cello Benslow Music Trust, Ibberson Way, Hitchin SG4 9RB Christmas Bazaar - Fri 5 Dec 6pm – 9pm during Ware’s Dickensian Evening. Free entry. Come and browse the stalls for ideas for Christmas gifts in the beautiful Grade I Place House Hall in the heart of Ware. Place House Hall Bluecoat Yard, East Street, Ware SG12 9HL

London Klezmer Quartet - Tues 2 Dec Experience a scintillating evening of this infectious Jewish folk-art form in the hands of some of its most illustrious performers. Pre concert dining available at £30 per person. Benslow Music Trust, Ibberson Way, Hitchin SG4 9RB

The Flintstones Save Christmas pantomime Fri 5 to Sun 7 Dec Come and see all your favourite characters from the famous series and movies in this specially adapted version of the

Where the White Stops - Tues 2 Dec No-one’s been into the White before, except Crab. Old

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entertain shoppers. Two 7ft giant penguins and their baby will be waddling around the centre. The Maltings, St Albans AL1 3HL

Flintstones. Meldreth village hall, Meldreth SG8 6LX Charity Christmas Fayre - Sat 6 Dec in aid of TNA UK. Other local charities are also involved in this event. There will be various arts and crafts, Tombola, raffle, face painting, bric-a-brac, puzzles, and toys. Welham Green Memorial Hall, Station Road AL9 7PG

Christmas Concert - Sat 6 Dec Welwyn Garden City Male Voice Choir present a Christmas Concert. Free admission with interval refreshments and a retiring collection. Monks Rise, Digswell, Welwyn Garden City AL8 7NF

Advent Concert with the Lea Singers of Harpenden - Sat 6 Dec The Lea Singers under conductor Benjamin Goodson Britten ‘Ceremony of Carols’ and other music for Advent. St Lawrence Church, Church Street, Bovingdon, Hemel Hempstead HP3 0LU

Christmas Fair - Sun 7 Dec Fill yourself with festive cheer and your bags with festive goodies at our annual Christmas fair. Ashridge Visitor Centre HP4 1LX Pennyfarthing Antiques & Collectors Fair - Sun 7 Dec Pennyfarthing Fayres presents a quality range of 70 stalls, including Porcelain, Jewellery, Glass, Small Furniture and much more. Ideal for finding that individual Christmas gift. Wyllyotts Theatre, Darkes Lane, Potters Bar EN6 2HN

Lights of Love - Sat 6 Dec Carol Service by Isabel Hospice to remember loved ones lost. Hertford Castle SG14 1HR Think Christmas Think Hertford- Sat 6 Dec This Festive Shopping Day will be one to remember. Retailers will be handing out samples, offering promotions and in store entertainment. Hertford Town Centre SG14 1DF

Live Professional Wrestling In Stevenage - Sun 7 Dec Crunch Promotions Wrestling comes to Stevenage for the first time ever. On Sunday 7th December the heavyweight superstars of Crunch Promotions Wrestling will explode into Stevenage. The Oval Community Centre, Vardon Road, Stevenage SG1 5RD

Choirs R Us Christmas Concert- Sat 6 Dec Join Choirs R Us in celebrating Christmas with a mixture of Christmas, pop and gospel songs in harmony. Nearly 100 men and women from Barnet will be singing their hearts out. Ewen Hall, United Reformed Church, Wood Street, Barnet EN5 4BW

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra - Tues 9 Dec 7.30pm. Christmas isn’t the same without attending the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s Christmas Cracker. This yuletide concert favourite is perfect for families and audience members of all ages, with Mary Carewe and Michael Dore singing such merriments as Have Yourself a Merry Christmas, Mary’s Boy Child, Sleigh Ride, The Little Road to Bethlehem – not forgetting the sing-along carols. With Watford Colosseum lit up like a Christmas tree and the delights of mulled wine being served, this is the ideal event to start your annual festivities. Tickets £29.50, £24.50, £17.00; under 16s £15.00 Watford Colosseum, Rickmansworth Road, Watford, WD17 3JN 0845 075 3993

Christmas Craft Fair and Santa’s Grotto - Sat 6 to Weds 24 Dec Normal Admission into the Wildlife Park applies. Additional £10 to see Santa and receive a Christmas gift. Shepreth Wildlife Park, Station Rd, Shepreth SG8 6PZ A Magical Family Pantomime: Cinderella Sat 6 to Weds 31 Dec A Sparkling traditional pantomime based on the classic rags - to - riches fairytale, with fabulous live music, hilarious comedy, dazzling costumes and loads of audience participation. The Radlett Centre, 1 Aldenham Avenue, Radlett WD7 8HL

Claire Martin and Ray Gelato - Weds 10 Dec 8pm Friends for 30-years, multi award-winning vocalist Claire Martin OBE and legendary saxophonist and vocalist Ray Gelato have combined their love of all things ‘swing’ and joined forces for their first show together, ‘A Swinging Affair’. These much celebrated and respected musicians share the stage with a world-class trio led by renowned-pianist Dave Newton to explore the Great American Songbook - including classics such as; ‘Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off’, ‘They all Laughed’, ‘Undecided’ and ‘They Can’t Take That Away

Jack Frost is coming to Christopher Place Shopping Mall - Sat 6 Dec Come to Christopher Place and meet Jack Frost, a crystal ball manipulating, contact juggling living statue. He is frozen into place but could thaw out at any moment - usually when people least expect. Christopher Place, Upper Dagnall Street, St Albans AL3 5DQ Giant Penguins and Festive Jazz - Sat 6 Dec Visitors to the Maltings are in for a Christmas treat as live music and Antarctic guests come to 30

Morgan (violin) Benslow Music Trust, Ibberson Way, Hitchin SG4 9RB

from Me’. If you like your music sassy, sharp and swinging - this is the show for you. A swinging affair indeed! Tickets £19.50, £16.50.Watford Colosseum, Rickmansworth Road, Watford, WD17 3JN 0845 075 3993

Christmas Carol Service At Paradise Wildlife Park - Sat 13 Dec Join us at 2pm for our Annual Christmas Carol Concert in the Marquee, at Paradise Wildlife Park, Hertfordshire’s no. 1 attraction! White Stubbs Lane, Broxbourne EN10 7QA

Tedesca Quartet - Weds 10 Dec Concert playing Haydn, Schumann, Mozart - full list available at venue. Nic Fallowfield - violin, Clare Bhabra Violin, Richard Muncey - Viola, Jenny Curtis - Cello. Pre-concert dining available. Benslow Music Trust, Ibberson Way, Hitchin SG4 9RB

Christmas Parties - Sat 13, Fri 19, Sat 20 Dec 7.30pm Join us for a night to remember this Christmas at the Colosseum! We’ll provide all the glitz, glamour and fun needed to make this a spectacular party you won’t forget. Gather a group of family, friends or work colleagues and get ready to dance the night away! Your ticket price includes: Glass of fizz on arrival, Threecourse festive meal, DJ and a fantastic live band - A Girl A Girl Called Sue, a versatile and exciting live band, playing hits from the 60's to the present day - in fact, everything from Jessie J to Kings of Leon! The musicians in the band tour and work with big artists and West end musicals as independent session musicians including backing the odd Grammy award winner! In fact you may well have heard or seen members of A Girl Called Sue backing some of today's top music acts! Carriages at 1am. Dress code: Festive party wear. Age restriction: 16+ Tickets: £45 per person. Watford Colosseum, Rickmansworth Road, Watford, WD17 3JN 0845 075 3993

Ladies Night - Thurs 11 Dec Join us in the auditorium for an evening full of gorgeous male entertainment, a cheeky drag queen, a devilish cocktail on arrival and a scrumptious threecourse meal - the night is set to tantalise all your senses! Tickets: £35.00 includes 3-course meal and the evening’s entertainment Watford Colosseum, Rickmansworth Road, Watford, WD17 3JN 0845 075 3993 A Night with The Overtures - Fri 12 Dec The Ultimate 60’s Tribute Band return to Ware to celebrate the songs and stars of pop music’s greatest decade! Presdales School, Hoe Lane, Ware SG12 9NX Richard Navarro - Fri 12 Dec Using live looping, Richard seamlessly layers together vocals, violin, trumpet, percussion and piano to create powerful arrangements alongside Nicholas Thurston on double bass. Old Town Hall, High Street, Hemel Hempstead HP1 3AE

Whole Lotta Led/Led Zeppelin Concert - Sat 13 Dec Two hours plus of classic Led Zeppelin covering their whole career! Whole Lotta Led 18 years gone... and still going strong The Court Theatre at Pendley, Station Road, Tring HP23 5QY

Carols at the Castle - Fri 12 Dec Join the Mayor for Carols at the Castle. Mince pies and mulled wine will be served after the performance. Hertford Castle SG14 1HR

Christmas Model Railway Day - Sat 13 Dec 10.30 am – 3.30 pm Yet again Santa’s little trains will be heading through the snow at Hertford Museum, drop in to see an assortment of festive layouts. Hertford Museum, 18 Bull Plain, SG14 1DT

Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs - Fri 12 to Mon 22 Dec Harpenden’s fun-filled laughter-packed family pantomime Starring Steve Leeds from Go!Go!Go! (Nick JR). Eric Morecambe Theatre, Harpenden Public Halls, Southdown Road, Harpenden AL5 1PD

Muppets Christmas Carol (U) - Sat 13 Dec It is Christmas Eve in 19th century London but the festive cheer is not shared by miser extraordinaire, Ebenezer Scrooge (Michael Caine) who is more interested in profit than celebration. Old Town Hall, High Street, Hemel Hempstead HP1 3AE

Christmas Tree Festival Preview and Concert Fri 12 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. Holy Saviour Church, Radcliffe Road, Hitchin SG5 1QG

French Market & Friends - Sat 13 Dec will be visiting Hoddesdon town centre again this year where visitors will be able to purchase gifts and food items from around Europe. High Street, Hoddesdon EN8 8TL

Fidelio Trio - Fri 12 Dec Concert - playing Beethoven, Johannes Maria Staud, Camille SaintSaens - full list available at venue. With Mary Dullea (piano), Robin Michael (cello), Darragh 31

The Winter Wonderland Fairy is coming to Christopher Place - Sat 13 Dec Come to Christopher Place and fall under the spell of the Winter Wonderland Fairy wearing a stunning glowing gown adding a real touch of magic to Christmas shopping. Christopher Place, Upper Dagnall Street, St Albans AL3 5DQ

festive night out! Tickets £18.00, £17.00, £15.00. Watford Colosseum, Rickmansworth Road, Watford, WD17 3JN 0845 075 3993 Winter Wonderland Disco - Thurs 18 Dec 8pm Start your Christmas in style! Join us for a festive disco evening and dance the night away to hit after hit. So if you’re already Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree and dreaming of a White Christmas, Step Into Christmas with us and we’ll make sure you have a Wonderful Christmas Time at our Winter Wonderland Disco. Baby, It’s Cold Outside so warm up with Watford Colosseum! Over 21s only Prices: Christmas meal and Disco Christmas meal and disco ticket £30.00 (must be purchased by Mon 8 December).Disco only. Early bird disco tickets £8.00 (if purchased before Mon 15 December) Disco tickets £10.00 Watford Colosseum, Rickmansworth Road, Watford, WD17 3JN 0845 075 3993

Stevenage Choral Society - Christmas Concert Sat 13 Dec Carols old, carols new. Foreign and English Carols. Carols to join in with and carols to listen too. All Saints Church, The Oval, Vardon Road, Stevenage SG1 5RD Hitchin Christmas Tree Festival - Sat 13 and Sun 14 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 from local choirs and musicians. Holy Saviour Church, Radcliffe Road, Hitchin SG5 1QG Hertford Choral Society - Sat 13 Dec Christmas Spectacular featuring carols old and new, Broxbourne Hand Bell Ringers and the choir of Duncombe School Bengeo. All Saints Church Hertford SG13 8AE

Jean Toussaint Quartet - Thurs 18 Dec Jean Toussaint - Tenor, Jonathan Gee - Piano, Larry Bartley - Bass, Troy Miller – Drums. Old Town Hall, High Street, Hemel Hempstead HP1 3AE Carols in the Chapel - Thurs 18 Dec Come and join Isabel Hospice for a Christmas Sing-along with the choir Braughing Singers at their annual Carols in the Chapel event at the beautiful Haileybury Chapel, Haileybury College, Hertford Heath SG13 7NU

Oaklands Primary School Christmas Family Fair - Sat 13 Dec Join us for a fun packed festive celebration of all things Christmas! Children will be entertained with our Christmas themed games and challenges including Knock Down Santa, Rudolph’s Lunchbox. Oaklands Primary School, Great North Road, Welwyn AL6 0PX

Santa in Love: a show for 2- to 5-year olds - Fri 19 Dec A magical fun-filled Christmas show with sing along songs and lots of interaction followed by a meet and greet with Santa that includes free presents for the children and photo opportunities. Letchworth Arts Centre, 2 The Arcade, Letchworth Garden City SG6 3EW

Christmas at Knebworth House featuring Kim Wilde - Sun 14 Dec We are delighted to announce that popular singer Kim Wilde will be joining us this Christmas for a special festive entertainment. Kim will be performing in the splendid Banqueting Hall at Knebworth. Knebworth House SG1 2AX

Bah, Humbug! – and Other Christmas Greetings - Fri 19 Dec An evening of festive anecdotes, tales and readings with Keith Baldwin. Great fun and guaranteed to warm even the sternest heart! Letchworth Arts Centre, 2 The Arcade, Letchworth Garden City SG6 3EW

A Big Band Christmas with The Opus 17 Swing Band - Mon 15 Dec Join us at The Old Bull for a concert of festive music and big band standards. Get your drinks from the bar and support Royston’s own big band playing seasonal music and music from the golden age. The Old Bull Hotel, High Street, Royston SG8 9AW

Have a Very Merry 70’s Christmas - Fri 19 Dec Come and celebrate the festive Season in the most fun and funky 70’s style possible! Hot Pepper Entertainments have pulled all the stops out to offer you a truly amazing 70’s experience. Cuffley Hall, Maynard Place, Cuffley EN6 4JA

Watford Philharmonic Society Christmas Concert - Weds 17 Dec 7pm. The choir and orchestra of Watford Philharmonic Society take you on a musical journey through the 12 days of Christmas. This popular family event brings together well known carols and festive songs for choir and audience with beautiful music from around the world. A great start to your Christmas celebrations – book early and look forward to a

Sara Pascoe Vs History - Sat 20 Dec Sara Pascoe, star of Stand Up For the Week and Campus, Live at the Apollo, QI, Never Mind The


carols, mulled wine and mince pies, just in time for Christmas. Eric Morecombe Public Hall, Southdown Road, Harpenden AL5 1PD

Buzzcocks, Mock The Week. Old Town Hall, High Street, Hemel Hempstead HP1 3AE The Floyd Effect - Sat 20 Dec Having toured since 2007, The Floyd Effect has become rightly renowned for the remarkable accuracy with which it performs the iconic music of Pink Floyd. Club 85, Hitchin SG5 1PZ

Christmas Walk - Sat 27 Dec Enjoy a scenic post-Christmas walk through the Estate at this magical time of year. Ashridge Visitor Centre HP4 1LX

The Snow Queen - Sun 21 to Weds 24 Dec Filled with the strange beauty of ice-cold winter and the warmth of true love. Old Town Hall, High Street, Hemel Hempstead HP1 3AE

Jack & the Beanstalk - Sat 27 to Tues 30 Dec This year’s SPADS traditional family pantomime is Jack & the Beanstalk. Expect all the usual elements of pantomime including bright, colourful costumes and characters, lively music and dance. St Francis’ College Theatre, Broadway, Letchworth Garden City SG6 3PJ

Swan Lake - Sun 21 Dec 3pm and 7.30pm. Moscow City Ballet is currently at its outstanding artistic best – winning new invitations to perform internationally. Their productions of Tchaikovsky’s ‘big story ballets’ are the essence of Russian culture - composed, choreographed and premiered in Russia. Swan Lake is a signature piece of their entire repertoire. The orchestra, choreography, interpretation, beauty and outstanding virtuoso performance win repeatedly rave reviews and sell out attendance. Moscow City Ballet's interpretation of the world's most romantic ballet is magnificently brought to life by Tchaikovsky's most well-loved, haunting score. Seeing performances by Moscow dancers never fails to add that magical ingredient of Russian soul. Tickets: Mats £33.00, £31.00, £28.00 Eves £37.50, £35.00, £30.00. Watford Colosseum, Rickmansworth Road, Watford, WD17 3JN 0845 075 3993

That’ll Be the Day - Sat 27 Dec 7.30pm Get ready for a party as the UK’s most successful Rock ‘N’ Roll variety show, the legendary That’ll Be The Day, returns with its Brand New 2014 Christmas Show! Trevor and the gang celebrate the festive season by bringing back the good times with all your favourite Christmas classics plus more hilarious comedy routines! Join in the festive fun this Christmas!! Tickets £24.50, £22.50. Watford Colosseum, Rickmansworth Road, Watford, WD17 3JN 0845 075 3993 The Rat Pack Swinging Show with special guests - Sun 28 Dec 7.30pm Swing into the Christmas season with The Rat Pack and their famous Christmas Concert. David Alacey (Lovejoy), Des Coleman (Eastenders & The One Show) and Paul Drakeley (Inside Out) star as Frank, Sammy and Dean in the original Rat Pack show, now celebrating its 15th record breaking year. In 2013 they had the honour of being voted the Number One Tribute Show in the UK by The Agents Association of Great Britain and with appearances at London’s Leicester Square Theatre, The Royal Command Performance and the 02 Arena; they now bring their sensational Christmas show to Watford Colosseum. Together they amaze audiences with their recreation of a magical Christmas at The Sands with Sinatra, Martin and Davis.– Memories really are made of this! Including all the great hits - My Way, Mr Bojangles, New York New York, Amore, Fly Me To The Moon and seasonal classics such as Winter Wonderland, Let It Snow and of course White Christmas. The Rat Pack are joined by special guests including a star studded Band and the stunning Siverbell Showgirls, to add even more glamour to this yuletide treat for all the family. Tickets £19.50, £17.50 Watford Colosseum, Rickmansworth Road, Watford, WD17 3JN 0845 075 3993

The Nutcracker - Mon 22 and Tues 23 Dec 7.30pm Weds 24 Dec 3pm Moscow City Ballet is currently at its outstanding artistic best – winning new invitations to perform internationally. Their productions of Tchaikovsky’s ‘big story ballets’ are the essence of Russian culture - composed, choreographed and premiered in Russia. The Nutcracker is an original interpretation of the eternal seasonal favourite. Artistic Director Smirnov-Govolanov’s version has an innovative freshness to the choreography, and the beauty of the interpretation wins rapturous audience responses, making this an unmissable festive treat for all the family. Seeing performances by Moscow dancers never fails to add that magical ingredient of Russian soul. Tickets: Mats £33.00, £31.00, £28.00 Eves £37.50, £35.00, £30.00 Watford Colosseum, Rickmansworth Road, Watford, WD17 3JN 0845 075 3993 FestiveLea - Lea Singers Christmas Charity Concert - Tues 23 Dec Join the Lea Singers under their conductor Benjamin Goodson in a festive evening of uplifting singing, popular 33

Hansel & Gretel - Sun 28 Dec With succulent music and film, puppets and masks, this Christmas Horse + Bamboo have baked up a delicious treat of a show - dark, chewy and delicious at heart. Trestle Arts Base, Russet Drive, St Albans AL4 0JQ

An Evening with Pete Webb as Elvis - Sat 6 Dec If you like Elvis, you are going to love this show. Enjoy a relaxed evening with a 2 course Christmas meal accompanied with tea or coffee. The Stables, The White Horse Pub, Southill SG18 9LD

Tea Dance - Tues 30 Dec 1pm Mr Wonderful return to the Colosseum with a series of glittering dance events suited to beginners and seasoned dancers alike. Come with a partner or on your own, come for a dance or just a chat we'd love to see you. Get your dancing shoes on and take to the floor for a graceful, elegant and nostalgic afternoon of dancing. The Colosseum’s Tea Dance will evoke memories of a forgotten era and create memories of a new one. Tea, coffee and a selection of cakes will be available. Tickets: £5.00 Watford Colosseum, Rickmansworth Road, Watford, WD17 3JN 0845 075 3993

Riseley Lower School Christmas Fair & Market Sat 6 Dec Riseley Lower School PTA presents a Narnia Themed Christmas Fair & Market. Free entry for all. Come along and meet the Christmas Owls. Opened by Santa and his special guests. Riseley Lower School, Church Lane, Riseley MK44 1EL Luminaries Woburnensis - Experience the stunning Abbey Gardens in a totally new light! - Sat 6 Dec Be a Perennial VIP at Luminaries Woburnensis ’With the historic gardens taking on a whole new look after dark, the soft glow of the luminaria lights along pathways, trees and the lake. Woburn Abbey - Luminaries Woburnensis MK17 9WA

New Years Eve - Weds 31 Dec 7.30pm Join us for a night to remember! We’ll provide all the glitz, glamour and fun needed to make this a spectacular party you won’t forget. Gather your family and friends and get ready to dance the night away! Tickets include, Glass of fizz on arrival, Three-course celebratory meal, A fully choreographed, high-kicking stage show by the Vegas Showgirls, DJ and live band. Carriages at 2am Dress code: Dress to impress! Age restriction: 16+ Tickets: £58.00 Watford Colosseum, Rickmansworth Road, Watford, WD17 3JN 0845 075 3993

Christmas Tree Festival - Sat 6 and Sun 7 Dec Enjoy our 2 day winter wonderland, with the Forest Centre filled with decorated Christmas Trees, gift and craft stalls, festive crafts for children, Santa’s grotto, outdoor rides and games. Marston Vale Forest Centre, Station Road, Marston Moretaine MK43 0PS Crib Festival - Sat 6 and Sun 7 Dec An inspiring start to the Christmas season with the Nativity depicted in many different mediums, some made locally and others collected from around the world. St Mary’s Church, Church Road, Maulden MK45 2AU

Beds Listings Christmas Kingdom at Mead Open Farm - til Weds 24 Dec Using your Magical Boarding Pass, take a wonderful journey to Mead Open Farm’s Christmas Kingdom! All under cover and heated, there are plenty of festive attractions to discover. Mead Open Farm, Stanbridge Road, Billington, Nr Leighton Buzzard LU7 9JH

Tree Dressing - Sat 6 and Sun 7 Dec Help to bring Christmas to life as you create decorations for the trees. National Trust Chiltern Gateway Centre Dunstable Road Whipsnade Dunstable LU6 2GY Christmas Fayre - Sat 6 Dec Ravensden Christmas Fayre. Santa Claus is coming to town! Well, Ravensden actually! Bring your little ones along to meet Father Christmas in his very own grotto. Only £4.00 per child. Ravensden Village Hall, Church End Ravensden MK44 2RL

Philharmonia at the Movies: Sci-Fi - Tues 2 Dec We are delighted to present, Philharmonia At The Movies: Sci-Fi, hosted by the legendary Barry Norman. From Luke Skywalker entering the Death Star’s trench to E.T. riding through the night sky. Bedford Corn Exchange, St Paul’s Square, Bedford, MK40 1SL

Christmas Cracker Making - Sat 6 Dec Join the Swiss Garden team as we look at Christmas crafts through the ages. Have a go at making a Tudor pomander, a Victorian style Christmas cracker or a cornucopia Christmas tree decoration. The Swiss Garden, Old Warden SG18 9EP

British Red Cross Flower arranging Demonstration - Weds 3 Dec Watch a highly skilled professional flower arranger put together some amazing festive flower arrangements, using a variety of interesting materials. Savin’s Wholesalers near Upper Caldecote SG19 1PR

Christmas Fair - Sun 7 Dec Visit Rushmere Country Park during this event and purchase your 34

Christmas Tree from the Greensand Trust and Christmas gifts from local suppliers and crafts people. Rushmere Country Park, Linslade Road, Heath & Reach LU7 0EB

Christmas Tea Party - Sat 13 Dec Tea Party, Entertainment, raffle prize for best Christmas hat. St Anne Church, Crawley Green Rd, Luton Beds, Bedfordshire LU2 0RB

Father Christmas - Sun 7, Sun 14, Sun 21 Dec Help Father Christmas’ elves to make magic reindeer food and then meet Father Christmas. National Trust Chiltern Gateway Centre Dunstable Road Whipsnade Dunstable LU6 2GY

A Christmas Carol - Sat 13 to Wed 24 Dec It’s Christmas Eve and the mean spirited Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future. Scrooge is taken on an incredible journey through the wintry night to learn. Luton Library Theatre LU1 2NG

Toddler’s Christmas - Weds 10, Wed 17 Dec A very special visit to see Father Christmas for under 5’s. Help Father Christmas’ elves to make magic reindeer food and then meet Father Christmas. National Trust Chiltern Gateway Centre, Dunstable Road, Whipsnade, Dunstable LU6 2GY

Christmas Wreaths - Sat 13 Dec Create your very own Christmas masterpiece at this seasonal workshop, led by our experienced florist. Refreshments and all materials provided. The Swiss Garden, Old Warden SG18 9EP "Sing Out Against Cancer 2014" - Sun 14 Dec Join members of Leighton Buzzard Children’s Theatre for a fun filled festive performance in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. Sing along with the community carols and Christmas songs. Vandyke Theatre LU7 3DY

Puss in Boots - Thurs 11 to Sun 14 Dec Wootton Country Players Annual Pantomime. Puss in Boots by Steven Gordon Wilson. Colin comes to Wootton with his cat Hemingway to seek his fortune. Wootton Village Hall Bedfordshire MK43 9EU Christmas Party with Almost ABBA - Fri 12 Dec Haven’t booked anywhere for your Christmas Party yet? Look no further... Almost Abba are coming to the Rufus Centre on Friday 12th December from 7.30pm till late! The Rufus Centre, Steppingley Road, Flitwick MK45 1AH

Wildlife and Landscapes Illustrated Photography lecture - Chris Ward -Tues 16 Dec Chris Ward, an accomplished wildlife photographer, will share with us, his tips and techniques for successful Landscape and Natural History photography. Priory Methodist Church Hall, Newnham Avenue, Bedford MK41 9QJ

Christmas Carols - Fri 12 Dec Come along and join in with Biggleswade Choir carol singing in the garden. As part of the evening guests will also have the chance to see some of the garden in-lights including the ‘Bring a Bauble’. The Swiss Garden, Old Warden SG18 9EP

"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" - Tues 16 Dec 7pm Tickets: Adults £7, Concessions £5 Have Yourself a Very Merry Christmas Fantastic festive offering from The Advance Theatre Company and friends. Leighton Buzzard Library Theatre LU7 1RX

Calamity Jon - Fri 12 to Sun 14, Fri 19 Dec, Sat 20 Dec Howdy folks! When the world famous gunslinger Hank ’Mow-’em-down’ Hoedown is kidnapped by injuns. Tads Theatre Conger Lane, Toddington LU5 6BT

Father Christmas Fly In - Sat 20 Dec Shuttleworth are delighted to once again welcome Father Christmas this December as he sets to make a stop at the wonderful Collection before his long journey around the globe. The Shuttleworth Collection, Old Warden Aerodrome SG18 9EP

Kid’s Christmas Disco - Sat 13 Dec Meet Santa, get a personally chosen present, play party games and have a dance at our kid’s xmas disco. Food box and drink included. Booking essential. Suitable for up to age 10 (approx). Marston Vale Forest Centre, Station Road, Marston Moretaine MK43 0PS

Crafts, Cake and a Cuppa - Sun 21 Dec Stuck for a last minute gift? Come along as there’ll be a wide variety of high quality local handmade art and craft items, with many different crafters attending. Woburn Village Hall, Crawley Road Woburn MK17 9QD

Scrapbooking / papercraft workshop - Sat 13 Dec What to do with all those photos? Have a go at making a memory album scrapbook. Friendly workshop - come along with your scrapbooking project or card making, or start a new hobby. Leighton Buzzard LU7 8TD

New Year’s Eve party - Weds 31 Dec Country music and line dance party on New Year’s Eve Barton hall, Hexton Rd, Barton MK45 4JY New Years Eve party - Weds 31 Dec Swingsters Speakeasy Special, 8pm till 1am - Dress your 35

The Choir - Fri 5 and Sat 6 Dec A New Yaw Asiyama Comedy. Beneath those robes hide a passion you wouldn’t believe. Nathan Wishbone cannot sing. But that’s alright. He is just the choir director. Stantonbury Theatre MK14 6BN

Vintage Best or to Impress - Live music from The Last Chance Rag Time Band - plenty of room to dance Shortstown Village Hall, Southcote, Bedford MK42 0QL

Bucks Listings

Christmas Cracker - Sat 6 Dec 2.00 - 4.30pm. A great range of stalls with something for everyone: Gifts & games for Christmas, Vintage jewellery & handbags, handmade crafts. All Saints’ Church, Pitcher Lane, Loughton, Milton Keynes MK5 8AT

Italian Masquerade Christmas party - til Sat 20 Dec Best Parties Ever will stage its ‘Italian Masquerade’ Christmas party at Willen Lake this year. Prices start at £45.00 per head and include: Theming and Scenery; Living Statues & Street Theatre; Aerialist Acts; West End Cast of Singers & Dancers; Four Course Dinner; Grand Casino; Cocktail Bar; State of the Art Disco with Intelligent Lighting; Dodgems (a small charge applies); Professional Photographer (a small charge applies); Professional Set Lighting; Christmas Crackers; Full Event Management; OnSite Security; Free Cloakroom; Free Car Parking; Survivors Breakfast! Tel 0844 499 4040 www.bestpartieseve

Victorian Children at Christmas - Sat 6 Dec Have a special photograph taken of your children in Victorian costume. Meet the cook and laundry maid. Make your own Victorian style Christmas card and festive decoration. Wycombe Museum, Priory Avenue, High Wycombe HP13 6PX Big Christmas Party - Sat 6 Dec Shaun E B’s Tribute to UB40 and the Legends of Reggae Big Christmas Party Music and Friends The UB40 tribute show has been running since 2005 and has made hundreds of appearances across the country. Stantonbury Leisure Centre MK14 6BN

Beaconsfield Charity Christmas Card Shop - til Weds 17 Dec Buy Once, Give Twice This Christmas. Come along to the temporary Cards For Good Causes shop in Beaconsfield for an excellent choice of hundreds of cards from over 40 different national and local. St Teresa’s Church Car Park (behind Waitrose) HP9 2PW

Call Up Christmas - Sat 6 Dec Choral Concert given by Great Missenden Choral Society J C Bach’s ’Magnificat’ Andrew Gant’s ’Psalmworld’ - this is a UK premiere! Great Missenden Parish Church, Church Lane, Great Missenden HP16 0BA

Not ’all over by christmas’ - Festivities in World War 1 - Weds 3 Dec 6 to 7pm - Evening opening of Wycombe in World War 1, with refreshments served in the 1920s kitchen Special evening opening of Wycombe in World War 1 exhibition. Wycombe Museum, Priory Avenue. High Wycombe HP13 6PX

Meet Father Christmas at Buckingham Old Gaol - Sat 6, Sun 7, Sat 13, Sat 20, Mon 22 Dec It’s that time of year again and Father Christmas has decided that he would like to visit Buckingham Old Gaol once more. There will also be Christmas Crafts to do, great fun! Buckingham Old Gaol, Market Hill, Buckingham MK18 1JX

It’s a Wonderful Life - Thurs 4 Dec 8pm Welcome to Bedford Falls. Welcome to small town America. Frank Capra’s classic 1946 movie needs no introduction. Suitable for 8+. £12 per person. East & Botolph Claydon Village Hall MK18 2LR

Day Out With Thomas at Buckinghamshire Railway Centre - Sat 6 and Sun 7 Dec Make Their Day- A Festive Day Out With Thomas at Buckinghamshire Railway Centre. Santa’s steam train will be pulled by Thomas the Tank Engine™, under the watchful eye of Sir Topham Hatt the Fat controller. Buckinghamshire Railway Centre, Quainton Road Station, Quainton, Aylesbury HP22 4BY

Cinderella by Norman Robbins - Thurs 4 to Sat 6 Dec Stoke Poges Players are looking forward to their 2014 pantomime which has two very ugly sisters, who will do anything to get the Prince to propose to them. The Village Centre, Rogers Lane, Stoke Poges SL2 4LP

Ibstone School Christmas Fair - Sat 6 Dec Fun for all the family, come and join us at our Christmas Fair: Santa’s Grotto Children’s Crafts Face Painting Festive Refreshments and Food Brass Band Carol Singing Christmas carols. Ibstone School HP14 3XZ

Beacon Breast Cancer Care Ladies Night - Fri 5 Dec Beacon Ladies Night– 18:30-21:30 Join us at the Beacon Sports Centre for a night of smoothies, mocktails, nibbles, pampering and a bit of fitness. The Beacon Sports Centre, Holtspur Way, Holtspur HP9 1RJ

Traditional Christmas Bazaar - Sat 6 Dec Father Christmas, Children’s Christmas Fancy Dress Competition, Roast Chestnuts, Mulled 36

Wine, Mince Pies, Refreshments, Fun and Games for all. Festive Stalls: Tombola, Preserves, Cakes and Raffle. St Mark’s Church and Hall, Station Road, Bourne End SL8 5QE

cruel destiny highlights the universal theme of love. Stantonbury Theatre MK14 6BN Comedy Christmas Party Night - Thurs 11 to Sat 13, Thurs 18, Fri 19 Dec Join The Comedy Cow for an evening of festive comedy in the intimate setting of The Crown, Stony Stratford. Sat at candlelit tables you will enjoy a line-up of comedy that will leave you laughing. The Crown, 9 Market Square, Stony Stratford, Milton Keynes MK11 1BE

Crodscolloping chocolate decorating at The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre - Sun 7 Dec For 4+ years: join our whipplescrumptious Café Twit caterers to decorate your own chocolate bar with glumptious goodies. We recommend pre-booking for workshops as spaces are limited. 81-83 High Street, Great Missenden HP16 0AL Dickens of a Christmas - Sun 7 Dec Bring the fun back into Christmas with an event to visit for all of the family. Come and join the local residents of Historic Olney as they celebrate this annual event. Olney High Street MK46 4EA

Wind In The Willows - Fri 12 and Sat 13 Dec Join us to watch our heroes Ratty, Mole, Badger and, of course, Mr. Toad battle to save Toad Hall from the evil Weasels and Stoats. Poop poop!! Tread the Boards are getting set to go messing. The Chrysalis Theatre, Japonica Lane, Willen Park South, Milton Keynes MK15 9JY

Santa’s Fun Run - Sun 7 Dec The 10th Annual Santa’s Fun Run will take place through the streets of Marlow this coming December The event is organised by the Rotary Clubs of Marlow. Higginson Park, Marlow SL7 2AE

Manor House String Quartet - Fri 12 Dec An evening of seasonal music, beautifully arranged for string quartet by Vaughan Jones’ Manor House Quartet. St Giles’ Church, Cheddington LU7 0SG

Discover Dahl’s archives - Sun 7 Dec A behindthe-scenes look at our archive store which houses Roald Dahl’s unique collection of manuscripts and letters, with Collections Manager and Archivist, Rachel White. 81-83 High Street, Great Missenden HP16 0AL

Crackle and crunch with Victoria Glass at The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre - Sat 13 Dec For 5+ years: a wondercrump session with our phizzwhizzing Food Writer in Residence, Victoria Glass. She’ll show you how to make your own edible Christmas cracker – yes, it’s possible. 81-83 High Street, Great Missenden HP16 0AL

Hazeldene Farm, Christmas Gift Fayre Sponsored by Haresfoot Brewery - Sun 7 Dec Why not Buy local & buy your loved ones some quirky hand-made gifts & cards from our local traders. You can order goose, duck, chicken, gammon, rib of beef, chipolatas, sausage meat, bacon etc. Hazeldene Farm, Ashridge Road, Chesham HP5 2XD

Santa’s Magical Adventure at Buckinghamshire Railway Centre - Sat 13 and Sun 14 Dec The fun starts the moment you arrive! You will be shown to your reserved seats on the steam train where you will be joined by Santa. Buckinghamshire Railway Centre, Quainton Road Station, Quainton, Aylesbury HP22 4BY

Ladies & Gentlemen, Buonasera! Cabaret at Missenden Abbey - Sun 7 Dec Take two Italian performers of Cabaret (Monica Salvi and Simone Douani), put them in a room with a marvellous musician (Tom Wakeley) Missenden Abbey, London Road, Great Missenden HP16 0BD

A Celebration of Christmas Concert - Sat 13 Dec Marlow Town Band in partnership with All Saints Parish Church present an afternoon of musical entertainment for all the family, showcasing traditional festive music and carols. All Saints Parish Church, The Causeway, Marlow SL7 2AA

Christmas Craft & Collectable Fair - Sun 7 Dec The perfect place to get into the Christmas mood and stock up on special gifts for family and friends! Tea, coffee and cakes available. 10am2pm, Free Entry! Frieth Village Hall Buckinghamshire RG9 6PR

Red Kite Christmas Craft Market - Sat 13 Dec Christmas Craft Market, in association with Thames Valley Farmers’ Market. 9.00am to 1.00pm. Free Entry. Little Chalfont Village Hall, Cokes Lane, Little Chalfont HP8 4UD

Romeo & Juliet - Weds 10 to Sat 13 Dec Pepper’s Ghost and The Play’s The Thing Theatre Companies Shakespeare’s much loved tale of two young lovers who fall victim to family hatred and

Festive Foliage Workshop - Sat 13 Dec Create your own festive wreath for your front door using a willow base, natural foliage and trimmings. Learn a skill that you can repeat year on year!


Wycombe Museum, Wycombe HP13 6PX



RAPUNZEL - A Very Tangled Pantomime! - Sat 20 Dec to Sat 3 Jan The award winning Dreams ‘n’ Wishes team are here again, transforming this hairy fairy tale into the best little panto in Milton Keynes. It’s perfect place for the family to let their hair down. Stantonbury Campus Theatre, Stantonbury, Milton Keynes MK14 6BN


Amersham Band Christmas Concert - Sun 14 Dec featuring Amersham Band, Amersham Community Brass and Amersham Beginner Brass Groups. Amersham Free Church, Woodside Rd, Amersham HP6 6AJ

Wonderous Christmas trees at The Roald Dahl Museum - Sat 20 Dec For 6+ years: make a wondercrump Christmas Tree from tissue paper and willow. We recommend pre-booking for workshops as spaces are limited. You can do this by calling 01494 892192 to book. 81-83 High Street, Great Missenden HP16 0AL

Christmas Fair & Carolfest - Sun 14 Dec Add free sparkle, fun and entertainment to a dreary Christmas shopping trip, as Aylesbury Town Council are excited to bring you a Christmas Fair in the Market Square from 11am until 4pm Market Square, Aylesbury HP20 1XD Gloriumptious Christmas crafts at The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre - Sun 14 Dec For 5+ 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.8183 High Street, Great Missenden HP16 0AL

Terrific tortoises at The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre - Sun 21 Dec For all ages: join Emma from the RSPB to find out about wondercrump wildlife, especially the tortoises from Esio Trot. 81-83 High Street, Great Missenden HP16 0AL Aladdin - Tues 23, Wed 24, Sat 27 Dec Join Aladdin and his brother, Wishee-Washee (not forgetting their mum, Widow Twankee) as they battle the evil Abanazar to save Princess Jasmine from a fate worse than death. The Curzon Centre HP9 1RG

Christmas Fair with Angels at the Abbey - Sun 14 Dec Over 50 Craft and Gift Stalls booked Childrens activities Local schools Carolling throughout the Day Medieval Chapel also open for viewing Santa’s Grotto with Santa. City Discovery Centre, Alston Drive, Bradwell Abbey Milton Keynes MK13 9AP

Christmas tree trail at The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre - Tues 23 Dec For all ages: hunt for the Christmas trees throughout the Museum, and find out about Roald Dahl’s marvellous motherland, Norway. 81-83 High Street, Great Missenden HP16 0AL

Christmas Concert - Tues 16 Dec An evening of carols for choir and audience conducted by Jeff Stewart. St Mary’s Parish Church, Princes Risborough HP27 9AW Charity Concert - Weds 17 Dec A really fun musical evening of seasonal songs and anecdotes by this well known and very popular ladies choir. St Edward the Confessor Church, Burchards Crescent, Shenley Church End, Milton Keynes MK5 6DX

Dust and Play Boxing Day Party at Clayton’s Marlow - Fri 26 Dec Resident DJs dust off their old funk, soul, disco and Motown tracks and give them a spin. From James Brown to Stevie Wonder, Lionel to Luther and Aretha to Chaka Khan. Clayton’s Marlow, 16 Oxford Road, Marlow SL7 2NL

Ludgershall’s Comedy Club - Thurs 18 Dec Xmas Xtravaganza with ’Mr. One and Only’ Otiz Cannelloni, Earl Okin, (sex symbol and musical genius); the eccentricity of Candy Gigi Markham and top comic John Moloney. The Village Hall, High Street, Ludgershall HP18 9PF

Esio Trot treasure pots at The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre - Sat 27 Dec For 5+ years: make your own troggling tortoise pot from clay, with his shell for a lid. We recommend prebooking for workshops as spaces are limited. You can do this by calling 01494 892192 to book. 8183 High Street, Great Missenden HP16 0AL

Santa’s Magical Adventure at Buckinghamshire Railway Centre - Sat 20 to Mon 22 Dec "Santa’s Magical Adventure at Buckinghamshire Railway Centre The fun starts the moment you arrive! You will be shown to your reserved seats on the steam train where you will be joined by Santa. Buckinghamshire Railway Centre, Quainton Road Station, Quainton, Aylesbury HP22 4BY

Mince Pie Special at Buckinghamshire Railway Centre - Sat 27 and Sun 28 Dec What Can We Do Between Christmas And New Year? Here’s The Ideal Answer: A Magical Day Out For All The Family! Buckinghamshire Railway Centre, Quainton Road Station, Quainton, Aylesbury HP22 4BY


Get Hypnotised! The Matthew Hale Comedy Hypnosis Show - Fri 9 Jan It’s a welcome return for this hilarious show, coming to Letchworth all the way from Australia. Winner of three national comedy awards, Matthew Hale is a professional comedy stage hypnotist. Letchworth Arts Centre, 2 The Arcade, Letchworth Garden City SG6 3EW

Lickswishy lettuce at The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre - Sun 28 Dec Make 5+ years: a tasty treat for Esio Trot, using sugar craft to make a sweet lettuce leaf decorated with glistening sweeties. 81-83 High Street, Great Missenden HP16 0AL Mrs Silver’s coaster at The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre - Tues 30 Dec For 5+ years: Decorate a coaster with your own unique design, ready for a cup of hot chocolate to see the new year in. 81-83 High Street, Great Missenden HP16 0AL

Bride: The Wedding Show at Knebworth House - Sat 10 and Sun 11 Jan Plan your perfect day at Hertfordshire’s premier bridal exhibition which will bring together over 80 of the region’s finest wedding suppliers under one roof from venues to bridal designers. Knebworth House, Knebworth SG1 2AX


"Swifts"–Edward Meyer - Weds 14 Jan Illustrated talk organised by Watford Local RSPB Group .Edward is always striving to get swifts accommodated in new buildings and protected in old ones. Swifts are with us just three months each year. Stanborough Centre, 609, St Albans Rd, Watford WD25 9JL

Herts Listings Paintings by the Gowan Bank Group - til Saturday 10 Jan Six artists who come together once a week in a class led by Barbara Heaton and who collectively form the Gowan Bank Group. The artists are: Barbara Heaton, Annette Forbes, Marianne Osmond. Letchworth Arts Centre, 2 The Arcade, Letchworth Garden City SG6 3EW

The Drifters - Sat 17 Jan 7.30pm Following on from the success of their recent tours, the current line up brings you the Rebranded Tour 2015 defining the evolution of the phenomenal story of the Drifters through its music from the past to the present. This high energy show brings many of the greatest hits‘Under The Boardwalk’, ‘Saturday Night At The Movies’, ‘Up On The Roof’, ‘Kissin In The Back Row’, ‘Down on the Beach’, ‘More Than A Number In My Little Red Book’ along with newer songs that have evolved through the first new recordings in over 30 years. With over 65 members in over 60 years the brand continues today with the only official line up in the world. Promising to bring the best performance standards with the groups four part harmonies through some of their vast back catalogue of songs along with the continued musical evolution of the band through their new recordings. This concert is guaranteed to bring a musical extravaganza along with a world-class band, production and some very smooth moves. Tickets £26.00 Watford Colosseum, Rickmansworth Road, Watford, WD17 3JN 0845 075 3993

Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves - Thurs 1, Sat 3, Sun 4, Thu 8 to Sat 10 Jan Digswell Players Traditional Annual Family Pantomime. Digswell Village Hall, 30 Harmer Green Lane, Digswell AL6 0AT Rye Winter Walk - Fri 2 Jan Meet at the reserve and come with us on a 7/8 mile walk of the local area to shake off the Christmas excess and kick off our January bird lists! Dogs welcome. Rye Meads Nature Reserve, Rye Road, Stanstead Abbotts SG12 8JS Herts Early Dance 12th Night Celebration - Sun 4 Jan Song, dance and entertainment in celebration of 12th Night. Music by The Presence. Dances from the 15th - 17th century. St Stephen’s Church Hall, 14 Watling Street, St Albans AL1 2PX National Trust Watford & District Association Thurs 8 Jan Marlene McAndrew will talk about a brief history of pantomime from its origins in the Italian ’commedia dell’atre to our traditional Christmas entertainment. Stanborough Centre, St Albans Road, Garston, Watford WD25 9JL

Swinging to Victory – The Astor Big Band presents Songs That Won The War - Sun 18 Jan 7.30pm Sunday celebration of the morale boosting hits performed by the star singers and big bands of the 1939 to 45 period – many of which have become the classics of today. Performed by a full 17 piece Big Band and 4 Singers the performance features over 30 memorable songs including :- The timeless We’ll Meet Again and I’ll Be Seeing You, which

Pounds for Pounds weight loss challenge Thurs 8 Jan Sign up to our Pounds for Pounds weight loss challenge next January lose those that excess weight and get healthier all while raising money to help Peace Hospice Care. Lose those excess lbs. Peace Hospice WD17 3PH 39

shot Dame Vera Lynn to Fame, Glenn Millers Theme Tune - Moonlight Serenade, and his haunting Serenade in Blue, The Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra duet from High Society, Well did you Evah!, The Billy Cotton and Burt Ambrose classics – Ma I miss your apple pie, This is the Army Mr Jones and I’ve Got Sixpence plus Big Band Classics from Count Basie, Tommy Dorsey, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman etc including April In Paris, Marie, Goody Goody, I’ve heard that Song Before, Strike up the Band and not least hit songs of the period as sung By Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Ann Shelton and many more... Tickets £19.50 Please note: 50% of the Astor Big Band’s profit plus a collection at this performance will be donated to the Royal British Legion. Watford Colosseum, Rickmansworth Road, Watford, WD17 3JN 0845 075 3993

Artiste of the Year. Television specials in the UK and USA followed. Joe’s repertoire of voices is endless and includes hundreds of the world’s top singers, however, he is perhaps best known for his impersonation of Shirley Bassey who has commented, “Joe can do me better than I can do myself”. During his career, Joe has received gold and platinum discs for his albums, enjoyed sellout concerts at the Royal Albert Hall, as well as touring Australia several times. Now, Joe is looking forward to new challenges, new songs to sing and new audiences to thrill. Tickets: £22.50, £19.50. Watford Colosseum, Rickmansworth Road, Watford, WD17 3JN 0845 075 3993 The Virtuosi GUS Band Brass in Concert - Sat 24 Jan A celebration of brass from one of the world’s most famous names in brass bands. The Radlett Centre, Aldenham Avenue, Radlett WD7 8HL

Abbots Langley Gilbert & Sullivan Society present-The Pirates of Penzance - Weds 21 to Sat 24 Jan On the sandy shores of a Cornish cove a gang of Pirates play and party. Apprentice Pirate, Frederic, is due to leave them when he stumbles across a young maiden, Mabel , and they fall head over heals in love. Watford Palace Theatre WD17 1JZ

T.Rextasy - Sun 25 Jan 7.30pm In 1973 a record was released which would bridge the generation gap and become a rock anthem to both young and old - ‘20th Century Boy’ was written and composed by Marc Bolan, who with his band T.Rex, was one of the most flamboyant and charismatic of the original glam rock era. With Bolan’s special ingredient of Rock-a-Boogie songs throughout the 1970s including ‘Telegram Sam’ and ‘Jeepster’ he was able to obtain what would be yet another Top 20 record later in 1976 that has since become one of the most memorable and everlasting signature tunes, ‘I Love to Boogie’. T.Rextasy have now been performing around the world for over 20 years, a career that ironically out lives Marc’s very own T.Rex. The band is now accepted as the world’s only official live tribute band dedicated to Marc Bolan & T.Rex, and the only band endorsed and approved by Marc Bolan’s family, estate, original ex-members of T.Rex, and Bolan’s catalogue management. The band has been described by many as ‘beyond the boundaries of tribute’. Truly a rock’n’roll concert for all ages - If you would like to know exactly what a Marc Bolan concert was like in the 1970s, this show is for you! Tickets £19.50, £17.50 Watford Colosseum, Rickmansworth Road, Watford, WD17 3JN 0845 075 3993

Abba Mania - Thurs 22 Jan 8pm It is 40 years since ABBA won Eurovision and now it’s your chance to thank ABBA for the music! Abba Mania is now accepted as the world’s number one touring ABBA tribute production. Featuring a special concert presentation, which celebrates the music of ABBA in a respectful and enjoyable way, reviving special memories of when ABBA ruled the airwaves. Abba Mania brings ABBA fans old and new a night not to be missed. If you’re looking for an excuse to party, reminisce or simply be entertained by the best music ever, then Abba Mania is for you! So dig out those platforms, dust down those flares, join in and enjoy all of your favourites including: ‘Mamma Mia’, ‘Voulez Vous’, ‘Dancing Queen’, ‘Winner Takes It All’, ‘Super Trouper’ and many more. Tickets £19.50, £17.50. Under 16s £14.50 Watford Colosseum, Rickmansworth Road, Watford, WD17 3JN 0845 075 3993 Joe Longthorne - Fri 23 Jan 8pm This talented artist began his career over three decades ago with appearances on Junior Showtime, followed by grounding on the tough Northern club circuit. His big break came in 1981 when he was a finalist on London Weekend Television’s Search for a Star - this lead to appearances at the London Palladium with Bob Hope and The Talk of the Town. A short time later, Joe received the Variety Club of Britain award as Most Promising

Sam Bailey - Tues 27 Jan 7.30pm She stole the hearts of a nation in X Factor and her debut album The Power of Love is the triumphant soundtrack of a woman who dares to keep on dreaming. Now you can see X Factor winner Sam Bailey live at Watford Colosseum. Sam blew away millions of TV viewers on the X Factor and won fans across the board, counting Gary Barlow, and Sharon Osbourne amongst her 40

Wyboston Lakes Wedding Fayre - Sun 18 Jan This event is set in the lovely Willows Centre which is a beautiful, venue for a stunning wedding with lots of space, on site accommodation for all as well as a beautiful courtyard garden! The Willows Centre, Wyboston Lakes, Wyboston MK44 3AL

biggest. Since winning the former prison officer has experienced dreams becoming reality; including an incredible No. 1 with her single ‘Skyscraper’, supporting Beyonce on her current tour, performing with her idol Michael Bolton at the National Television Awards and now her own headline tour. “I’ve been performing since I was 15 but I never got to where I wanted to be. Then real life, needing to pay bills, marriage and children happened and you just put everything on hold. X-Factor gave a woman like me a chance. It gave me my confidence back, it gave me music back, and this is for all those people out there who believed in me!” Tickets: £29.50, £27.50 Watford Colosseum, Rickmansworth Road, Watford, WD17 3JN 0845 075 3993

Learning Lunchtime Talk - The Brickworks Mon 19 Jan The Brickworks David Syzmanski talks about the incredible history of what was previously the biggest Brickworks in the world, in neighbouring Stewartby. Free talk, no booking required. Marston Vale Forest Centre, Station Road, Marston Moretaine MK43 0PS Philharmonia Orchestra: All-Russian Fireworks - Tues 20 Jan An evening of all-Russian fire and fantasy, from Mussorgsky’s Night on the Bare Mountain (as featured in Disney’s Fantasia) to Rimsky-Korsakov’s tale of one thousand and one nights. Bedford Corn Exchange, St Paul’s Square, Bedford MK40 1SL

Only Fools and Three Courses - Weds 28 Jan 8pm Join us for the dinner event of the year, Only Fools and 3 Courses, which combines fine food and comedy action served up Only Fools and Horses style. Marlene & Boycie are hosting a Gala Dinner, but will things go to plan with Del, Rodney and Uncle Albert ("when I was in the war...") on the guest list? Will Raquel put in an appearance and sing? Surely not after the last time?! This is a big fun night out in a friendly party atmosphere with some of the finest comedy actors in the land, professionally produced to the highest standards with your enjoyment at the top of the menu. Expect an evening of chaos and mayhem with extra large portions of comedy. Tickets: £40.00 including a three-course meal. Watford Colosseum, Rickmansworth Road, Watford, WD17 3JN 0845 075 3993

Night on the Town - Rod Stewart Tribute - Sat 24 Jan Dave Springfield is the man himself - Mr Rod Stewart - as we celebrate Hogmanay with all the hits, in his special performance ’A Night on the Town’ Tickets £12 booking essential Marston Vale Forest Centre, Station Road, Marston Moretaine MK43 0PS Bedford Sinfonia - Journey through the years Sat 24 Jan Beethoven - Leonore Overture No. 2; Brahms - Concerto for Violin and Cello in A minor; Vaughan Williams - Symphony No. 5 in D Major. Soloists: Jaroslaw Nadrzycki and Karol Marianowski. Bedford Corn Exchange, St Paul’s Square, Bedford MK40 1SL

Beds Listings

Learning Lunchtime Talk - Celebrating 15 years of Keech - Mon 26 Jan Celebrating 15 years of Keech As the local Hospice celebrates 15 years, Rebecca Eastwick takes a look at how their support has helped the community. Free talk, no booking required. Marston Vale Forest Centre, Station Road, Marston Moretaine, Bedfordshire MK43 0PS

New Year in Vienna 2015 - Sun 4 Jan Make your New Year extra special with this annual event. This sensational show whisks you away to the fairy tale world of New Year’s Day in Vienna. Corn Exchange St. Paul’s Square, Bedford, MK40 1SL Music at St Mary’s - New Year’s Concert - Sat 10 Jan St Mary’s answer to the New Year’s Day concert from Vienna. Performed by Aylesbury Concert Band, St Mary’s Church, Eaton Bray LU6 2DP Bedford Boogie Woogie Blowout - Sat 17 Jan Live Music & Dance Spectacular! - Boogie Woogie Workshop With Top Uk & International Teachers: - Ben & Jane ....Workshop A – 1pm - 2:30pm £15 - No prior knowledge of dancing Boogie Woogie. Shortstown Village Hall, Southcote, Bedford MK42 0QL

Bucks Listings RAPUNZEL - A Very Tangled Pantomime! - til Sat 3 Jan The award winning Dreams ‘n’ Wishes team are here again, transforming this hairy fairy tale into the best little panto in Milton Keynes. It’s perfect place for the family to let their hair down. Stantonbury Campus Theatre, Stantonbury, Milton Keynes MK14 6BN


Kipper’s Toy Box - Fri 9 Jan The morning sessions are repeated in the afternoon Please book as there are limited places. A special time at Wycombe Museum for the under fives. Enjoy stories, trails and craft activities. Wycombe Museum, Priory Avenue. High Wycombe HP13 6PX

Chilterns Dog Rescue Society Quiz Night - Sat 31 Jan Chase away those January blues at our Ashley Green quiz! Held at the Memorial Hall, Two Dells Lane, Ashley Green. As always a hot supper will be provided. Please bring your own drinks and glasses. Memorial Hall, Two Dells Lane, Ashley Green HP5 3PN

The Compleat Angler Wedding Fair - Sun 11 Jan Come along and join us for our first fair of 2015 in Buckinghamshire. Macdonald Compleat Angler is a beautiful riverside location in the centre of Marlow. Admission to the fair is free. Marlow Bridge, Marlow SL7 1RG

’The Byrd Who Flew Alone’ - Music documentary screening at Aylesbury GrammarSat 31 Jan This acclaimed documentary about the life and music of Gene Clark, a founder member of The Byrds and a pioneer in American music, was made by Paul Kendall, a former pupil at the Grammar School. Aylesbury Grammar School, Walton Road, Aylesbury HP21 7RP

Caddy Cooper - Fri 16 Jan Caddy Cooper is an exceptional country/folk/blues singer songwriter from Western Australia, currently based in the UK who entices her audience with tales of life, love, loss Elephant & Castle 97 High Street Amersham HP7 0DT Holiday Inn Wedding Fair - Sun 18 Jan Located at junction 4 of the M40 and with easy links to the M25 and M4, the Holiday Inn High Wycombe hotel is an ideal location for a Dream Wedding Fair. Holiday Inn, Handy Cross, High Wycombe HP11 1TL

To be included in future listings Email: Putting ‘Listings’ in the subject line, giving details of your event and contact details.

Ayres & Graces: an Evening with Samuel Pepys - Sat 24 Jan Pepys diaries provide a unique insight into London life in the seventeenth century. Pepys served as a naval administrator and MP, and was aboard the ship which returned Charles II from Holland.York House Centre, London Road, Stony Stratford MK11 1JQ

Deadline for February Issue 15th January


The Complete History of Comedy (abridged) Sun 25 Jan The Reduced Shakespeare Company They’ve skewered history, the Bible and the world’s most celebrated playwright, now the Reduced Shakespeare Company tackles the subject it was born to reduce. Stantonbury Theatre MK14 6BN The No1 what’s on and lifestyle magazine in Herts, Beds and Bucks Over 16,000 readers every month read about what’s on, where to go and what to do Promote your event, show, restaurant or business in our digital magazine or on our website

WEDDING FAIR at Bisham Abbey - Sun 25 Jan All the needs of your special day under one roof, enhanced by a beautiful venue with staff and exhibitors at your disposal. Bisham Abbey SL7 1RR

Call 07756 274444 Or email Prices from £10 per month

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Troubadour Reunion - Fri 30 Jan Troubadour Reunion is an acoustic concert of popular classic 70’s songs by Carly Simon, Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Janis Ian, Cat Stevens, James Taylor and Neil Young. York House Centre, London Road, Stony Stratford MK11 1JQ Listen to the Sticks Radio show every Monday at 10am at


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