02 | THE VILLAGE BREEZE
The Village Breeze EDITOR Sheila J. Bethell MOBILE 0753 441 3055 SALES 01283 814214 EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org VISIT www.thevillagebreeze.co.uk
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HELLO and Welcome from your Editor LOCALLY Measham & District Community Library GARDENING Striking Sunﬂowers LOCALLY Castle Medical Centre Update TRAVEL Cusco : Inca Capital in Peru PARENTING Going Green as a Family MURRAY CLARKE Sole Survivor QUIRKY BRITAIN Britain’s Merry May Day Revellers
Welcome MAY 2018 / ISSUE 80
ello again and welcome…
I thought I would share some information with you this month regarding the free bus pass. It appears there is some controversy regarding where a bus pass can be used. According to the ‘Age UK’ website, a free older person’s bus pass means you can travel free on local buses anywhere in England. I heard about a lady who travelled to Nottingham using her free bus pass (which was ﬁne) but she had to pay the full travel cost back to Burton-onTrent, as the bus company would not recognise the bus pass. I know of people who have used their bus pass whilst on holiday in the UK, nowhere near the county the pass was issued in. So where can you use a buss pass?
LIFE BEGINS Is time up for Ageism? MOTORING Inﬁniti QX50 reviewed COOK Ricotta Stuﬀed Pork BAKE Chocolate Fondant Puddings TECHNOLOGY Gadgets for your Garden COFFEE BREAK Check out our latest sponsor! WHAT’S ON In and around your area
DISTRIBUTED TO... Appleby Magna, Coton in the Elms, Donisthorpe, Linton, Measham, Moira, Netherseal, Oakthorpe, Overseal and Snarestone. DEADLINE FOR NEXT ISSUE... 5th May, 2018 SOLE DISTRIBUTION... 8,500 copies monthly.
Our cover image... With thanks www.freeimages.com for our beautiful Caper ﬂower.
I decided to call in and speak in person with the staﬀ at the Civic Oﬃces in Swadlincote to ﬁnd out more about the free bus pass. It appears those eligible, may use their free bus pass anywhere in England but NOT with a certain bus company in Nottingham. This particular bus company has refused to come on board and is charging the full fare. So be aware if you are contemplating visiting Nottingham as it may prove to be costly! And the thought I will leave you with this month:“Be kind to everyone on the way up; You’ll meet the same people on the way down” Until next time…
After great deliberation, Kay at Cardz 4 U has decided to remain open and is staying in business! Please call in for a great choice of cards. Kay looks forward to seeing you again soon. MAY 2018 | 03
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MAY 2018 | 07
unflowers are one of the most stunning and impressive flowers you could have in your garden, and are easy to grow too. sow them this month to achieve a fantastic flowery display in just a few months’ time. so which ones should you choose and how do you go about getting the best crop of flowers?
There are fast-growing and potentially very tall varieties such as ‘russian Giant’ and ‘Titan’, with the latter reaching a potential height of up to 360cm or 12ft and having heads of up to 60cm (2ft) in diameter! There are some delightful miniature or dwarf varieties. The f1 variety ‘little Dorrit’ grows to about 60cm (2ft) and has rich yellow flowers with very dark centres. Another favourite is ‘little leo’ at just 45cm (18in), which makes lots of impact with golden yellow heads on multibranching stems.
nowadays there are many colours other than yellow readily available, such as ‘Black Magic’, which has maroon flowers and is multi-branching, reaching a height of about 180cm (6ft).
Grow yourself a few for cutting too, and you’ll have a vase or more full of flowers that would cost a fortune in the shops. Many varieties are suitable, including the orangey-brown ‘Velvet Queen’, ‘Black Velvet’ and the bi-coloured and pollen-free ‘Magic roundabout’.
for containers, ‘Pacino Colada’ is a compact variety growing to just 40cm (16in) and has 10cm (4in) wide golden-yellow flowers, making a wonderful plant for a sunny patio, sheltered balcony or in the flower beds.
Children love a competition to grow the tallest plant and varieties like ‘russian Giant’ and ‘Giant single’ are perfect for smaller gardeners, and as they reach heights of about 180cm (6ft) will soon dwarf them!
sunflowers make a cheap and cheerful addition to a garden boundary, adding splashes of colour to a 08 | THE VILLAGE BREEZE
dreary fence line or helping to mask a garage or shed.
You should get a good crop of blooms if you sow sunflowers between March and May, depending on the weather and where you live. You can sow them straight into the soil or into pots of compost. I like to use rootTrainers to encourage really well-developed and deep roots to develop, and make it easy to plant out the sunflowers with minimum root disturbance; see www.pippagreenwood.com/products/grow-greatcrops for more information. As their name suggests, sunflowers need plenty of sunshine to thrive. However, although many are tall, each plant does not actually take up much space at ground level.
Castle Medical Centre
Saying goodbye... It is with regret that we have to announce that Dr Kathryn Oliver will be leaving the practice at the end of the month.
slugs and snails love sunflowers so I always grow them in small individual pots and plant them out when they’re a few inches tall. This means they’re bigger and tougher and better able to resist attack. As an added precaution, put a ring of slug-deterring material around the base of each one – crushed shells, crushed eggshells, coco-shell or pine needles for instance.
If you’re growing sunflowers on anything other than a protected site, it may be necessary to give the taller varieties some support in the form of a sturdy bamboo cane or slim stake, just in case the wind blows too strongly!
Visit Pippa’s website www.pippagreenwood.com and you’ll ﬁnd some great gardening things: ‘Grow Your Own with Pippa Greenwood’ (where you receive your chosen garden-ready vegetable plants in May accompanied by weekly advice and tips from Pippa) plus RootTrainers, Nemaslug, bio-controls, gardening tools, raised bed kits, Grower Frames, signed books and more!
Retirement... Sue Parker one of our Medical Secretaries who
worked for the surgery for over 24 years retired in March. We hope that she is enjoying her well-deserved retirement and thank her for all the hard work she has done over the years.
New Partner... We are delighted to announce that Dr Pragna Solanki will be joining the practice as a Partner in July. We are very much looking forward to her joining our practice.
Appointments... We do not release any on the day appointments until 08:00 – either by phone or face to face.
Results... Please ring after 11:00 for results. Premises... Can we ask parents to remind their children that they
should not be on the premises unless they are seeking medical attention, have an appointment or visiting the Pharmacy. Any antisocial behaviour or damage to property will be reported to the Police. Please note that the premises are covered by CCTV. We was also remind you that the whole of the health centre including outside in the carpark is a NONE SMOKING site.
Support Castle Medical Group - Making Patients’ Lives Better... Our PPG help us to raise funds to provide the
extra that makes a real difference to our patients and staff. For more information about how donations are used and how to donate, please visit www.castlemedicalgroupppg.co.uk
More details... Visit our website www.castlemedicalgroup.co.uk or like us on Facebook.
www.castlemedicalgroup.co.uk MAY 2018 | 09
‘Inca Capital in Peru’
He Incas got it right. up in the Andes, this was a great location for their capital, a remote plateau ringed by mountains and blessed by fertile valleys. even today Cusco appears almost unreal, a hidden city basking in subtropical highlands at 3,400 metres. eucalyptus rise in the thin mountain air, red-roofed houses clamber up the lower slopes and the sound of Andean flutes echoes along the streets.
little is known about the early Killke settlers but the first Incas arrived in the 1200s, led by Manco Capac whose origins remain shrouded in legend. The city reached its apogee from 1438 onwards when, after defeating the Chacas, Pachacuti came to power. ninth ruler and 'world shaker', he transformed the Inca kingdom into one of the world's greatest empires and rebuilt the capital with highways, irrigation channels, terraced gardens, ceremonial plaza with a gold-covered altar, magnificent Temple of the sun and other major buildings near the saphi stream, the mythical origins of Cusco.
That's where the spanish conquistadors entered the heart of the city in 1533, described by their leader francisco Pizarro as 'very noble and great' with palaces, regular streets and a temple studded with gold, 'fabulous beyond belief'. The Incas attempted to regain control in 1536 but failed after a ten months siege. now the time had come to build churches, convent, cathedral and more, using the old Inca walls as foundations. earthquakes have often damaged the spanish buildings but Inca walls survived and in 1983 Cusco became a unesco site for its combined Inca and colonial heritage.
The santo Domingo Convent and Church is a striking example, built originally on the sacred site of Coricancha and
the most important Temple of the sun. Today one can still sense the haunting presence of the Incas drifting along the pre-Hispanic walls. other popular churches include la Merced and the Jesuits', both famous for their Cusco Baroque style, while in the cathedral the Quechua builders, descendants of the Incas, made sure they left their mark. Guides will point out the suggestive phallic symbols, dear to the Incas, carved on the choir stalls but most surprising of all is the 18th century painting of the last supper. forget bread and wine, here Jesus and the apostles are sharing Andean cheese, local fruit and a guinea pig, the traditional Peruvian dish. The cathedral opens on the Plaza de Armas, the colourful central square, which hosts two stunning festivals in June, the religious feast of Corpus Christi and on the 24th - the winter solstice in the southern hemisphere - the Inca festival of the sun. A gentle stroll from the plaza, the artisans' district of san Blas is a different world, winding through a maze of steps and alleyways where a mysterious twelve-angled stone holds pride of place in one of the best-preserved Inca walls.
But on the hilltop above town, the largest stones of any Inca archaeological site are found in the saksayhuman fortress, built by the Killke then massively extended by Pachacuti. Meanwhile, just along the path, a giant statue of Christ looks down on the old capital still shaped like a puma, the sacred animal of the Incas. with its rich heritage and vibrant colours, Cusco is indeed a lovely place to explore before heading to Machu Picchu on the scenic rail journey or one of the high altitude treks for the truly adventurous.
Solange Hando...”Be a Travel Writer, Live your Dreams, Sell your Features.” 10 | THE VILLAGE BREEZE
MAY 2018 | 11
Green as a Family
f you want to live a greener lifestyle, you’ll want to get the whole family on-board. Children are often more inspired by videos than conversations, so it’s worth searching YouTube for short clips about plastic waste, climate change, recycling tips and so on. when everyone is feeling a bit more motivated, ask each member of the family to make some simple pledges, such as: • saying no to plastic straws. • refilling water bottles rather than buying drinks when out. • using a reusable bag for shopping. • switching lights off when leaving an empty room. • only buying second-hand clothes, toys and so on for six months. • Checking whether rubbish can be reused or recycled before binning it.
detergent that cleans clothes about as well as a non-bio detergent. You’ll cut down on plastic bottles and save a fair amount of money, as the egg works out at just 3 pence a wash – see www.ecoegg.com.
Could you make a pact with other parents to buy secondhand or eco-friendly birthday presents? You could club together to buy vouchers for a day out for example, or just pick up a toy or book from your local charity shop. when you do buy new, choose toys that can be easily reused, and that don’t come with lots of plastic parts or packaging. If you’ve lost pieces from a favourite game or toy, check the manufacturer’s website, as lots now sell spare parts.
CUTTING FOOD WASTE Did you know that the average family wastes £470 worth of food every single year? some waste is difficult to avoid, particularly if your children are fussy eaters, but much of it can be easily avoided with a bit of careful planning. simply making a list of meals for the week, and using that to do the shopping, can help to cut down on waste. Try to plan meals that use up any leftover ingredients. so, if you need half an onion for one recipe, for example, plan another meal to use up the other half.
freeze leftovers straightaway if you’re not going to have chance to eat them, whether it’s half a stick of fresh ginger or a bowl of bolognese sauce. silicone muffin pans are ideal for freezing sauces. once frozen, pop the individual portions into a re-sealable bag or tub to keep in the freezer and use for later. Try not to overfill kids’ plates; food that’s been mixed together is more difficult to serve up again.
CUTTING PLASTIC WASTE There are lots of easy ways to reduce the amount of plastic you use, from swapping sandwich bags for Tupperware containers to choosing unpackaged fruit and vegetables. ecoegg’s laundry egg is a reusable, natural laundry
MORE TIPS • www.facebook.com/recyclenow is worth following for inspiration and recycling tips. • www.cookingonabootstrap.com has recipes for food that can be batch cooked and frozen to cut down on waste. • www.faithinnature.co.uk sells lots of household products in bulk, including shampoo, shower gel and laundry detergent. larger bottles mean less plastic waste. • www.energysavingtrust.org.uk has lots of tips for cutting energy use.
Kate McLelland is a freelance copywriter, creative writer, scriptwriter and fundraiser 12 | THE VILLAGE BREEZE
MAY 2018 | 13
He last part of the journey from Calais had been hell – fraught with danger and uncertainty. we’d travelled from the other side of the world, packed tightly together like sardines, with only basic rations to help us survive. everyone had died – save me. I was the sole survivor. exhausted and hungry, I desperately needed something to eat, and rest. our craft had been destroyed shortly before we landed on the coast – blown off course by strong winds. I was plunged into the icy sea but had managed to swim safely to the shore. Dripping wet and shivering, I staggered up the beach still wearing the long brown hooded jacket I’d worn since the journey began. An early morning mist hung in the air. not a soul in sight to witness my arrival. A sign announced: “welcome to Dover”. It started to rain - pouring down in torrents like a tropical monsoon. In preparation for the long trip, I’d learnt “Conversational english” and read up about “surviving in the united Kingdom”. Communication was the name of the game, and the ability to exchange thoughts with those I met, would help me get by. I felt a rumbling in my stomach. I looked up and saw an illuminated sign: KAren’s KAff. A welcoming aroma of cooking wafted towards me. Head down, I strode across the road, opened the door and stepped inside, glad to get out of the rain. ‘forgotten your brolly, love?’ said a portly woman, looking at the water dripping off my clothes onto the floor. ‘nasty weather we’re ‘aving. Take a seat. I’ll be with you in a moment.’ she waved me to a vacant table in the corner. I sat down and cast my eyes over the long list of food on offer. ‘so, what’ll it be?’ asked the woman, returning to the table. ‘Tea or coffee?’ I looked at the man sitting at the table opposite, clutching a large chipped mug of something hot and steaming. ‘I’ll have what he’s drinking,’ I replied. ‘so, that’ll be a tea. Anything to eat, love?’ Keeping my head bowed, I sneaked a glance up at the photographs on the wall above the counter. I pointed to
a picture that appeared to show the biggest meal they served. The waitress scribbled in her notebook. ‘And a full english. won’t keep you a moment, love.’ And off she went to get my order. so, this was an english café, eh? The people seemed friendly enough. I’d have my food, then try and find somewhere to stay and grab a few hours sleep before deciding what to do next. There was, however, just one problem. I had no money. foolishly, it wasn’t something we’d planned for. And I needed a change of dry clothes. The waitress returned to the table with my tea and a large plate piled high with slightly burnt hot food. ‘Here you are, my love,’ she said, placing the feast before me. ‘Get that down you!’ using my hands, I started cramming the food into my mouth like I hadn’t eaten for days. which, of course, I hadn’t. when I’d finished, I licked the plate clean and sank back in my chair with a satisfied sigh. now I was ready to face my brave new world. I waited until the waitress had disappeared out of sight into the kitchen, then I gently pushed back my chair and made a bolt for the door. ‘Hey, mister – you ain’t paid!’ The woman’s shout rang in my ears as I opened the door, and slipped quickly outside. ‘not so fast, son. what’s the rush?’ I looked up to see a tall man dressed in dark blue, wearing a helmet with a silver badge on the front. An english policeman, I assumed. The café door opened, and the waitress appeared. ‘He ain’t paid,’ she said, wagging a finger at me, accusingly. The policeman looked closely at my face - almost totally hidden under the brown hood. He recoiled in horror. ‘He’s got a spotty green face and sticky-out ears,’ he announced. The woman leaned forward and stared at me. ‘Hey, you’re not one of those alien thingies from Mars, are you, love?’ she laughed. I shook my head. no … not from Mars. But she was close!
Murray Clarke is one of our local contributors. Email: email@example.com 14 | THE VILLAGE BREEZE
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MAY A 2018 | 17 AY
May Day Revellers KATE McLELLAND
or many of us in cities, towns and villages across the country, the month of May is not just about unpacking our summer clothes and dusting off the barbecue: it’s time to get out into the streets (or fields) for some serious partying – preferably with a painted face and flowers in our hair.
Today’s May Day events grew out of pre-Christian fertility celebrations such as the ancient roman floralia and Celtic Beltane festivals, and that’s why the first of May was a day when our pagan ancestors gathered green boughs and flowers to thank their gods for the season of new growth.
Here are just a few of the wild and wacky things you can do to welcome the sun back to our (normally) grey British skies.
THE ‘OBBY ‘OSS FESTIVAL, PADSTOW 30th April to 1st May The ‘obby ‘oss event begins at midnight on April 30th with singing outside the Golden lion Inn, and the revelling continues throughout the town until the early hours of the morning, when other residents raid gardens and fields for green branches to decorate the town’s lamp posts and drainpipes. The ‘oss’ itself is man or woman dressed in a bizarre, highly stylised horse costume. Accompanied by music and dancing, this extraordinary creature is led through the streets by a club-wielding ‘Teaser’. You can watch a video of the event at padstowobbyoss.wordpress.com. JACK IN THE GREEN FESTIVAL, HASTINGS 4th to 7th May for the townsfolk of Hastings, the beginning of May means it’s time to paint your face green and tie some ivy leaves round your hat. In the late 18th century servants and labourers living in this
attractive south coast town celebrated May Day by parading in eye-catching costumes created from green garlands. Although the town’s Jack-in-the-Green processions ceased around 1889, the tradition was reborn in 1983 when a group of Morris dancers decided to revive it. The festival promises “Morris dancing and traditional merriment, centering on the symbolic figure of Jack in the Green and culminating in a wild costumed parade – one of the most bizarre in Britain” (hastingsjitg.co.uk).
CHEESE-ROLLING AT COOPER’S HILL, GLOS. 28th May You would be well advised to avoid the top of Cooper’s Hill if you suffer from vertigo. The view is dizzying, and the incline is concave in shape, with a gradient of 1:1 in places. That doesn’t stop the plucky residents of Brockworth in Gloucestershire – together with hundreds of spectators and contestants – taking part in the annual cheese-rolling race here. People come from all over the world to take part, with contestants from the united states, Australia, new Zealand and nepal. The idea behind this traditional event is to roll a 7-8 pound (3.17-3.63 kilogram) round of Double Gloucester cheese down the hill. once the cheese is released, the competitors set out after it and the first person to reach the finish line wins the cheese. Visit cheese-rolling.co.uk to learn more about the race. each year many similar events take place across the uK, so if you thought that May Day celebrations were limited to small children dancing round a beribboned pole, think again. If the colourful (and sometimes risky) events described above have piqued your imagination, get out there, paint your face green and join Britain’s ever-growing band of merry, Maytime revellers.
Kate McLelland is a freelance copywriter, creative writer, scriptwriter and fundraiser 18 | THE VILLAGE BREEZE
Is time up for “Need some help, young lady?”
The young supermarket assistant leaned over his desk, speaking slowly as if talking to a small child. I had already moved away from the checkout area, but couldn’t help glancing back to see who was being served.
against because they are older. examples can cover anything from an unkind, age-related comment to losing your job – or not getting an interview in the first place – because others think your age makes you unemployable.
WHO HAS THE LAST LAUGH? Compared with the rest of europe, Britain has one of the worst records when it comes to age discrimination, and our sense of humour could be partly to blame. selfdeprecating jokes may be a hallmark of British culture, but we can hardly complain about discrimination when we’re so ready to chuckle at jokes about age-related issues emblazoned on greetings cards and t-shirts. The media is just as guilty when it comes to reinforcing negative stereotypes. when researchers from the universities of exeter and Kent carried out a survey of 1,500 newspaper articles, they struggled to find positive stories about people aged 70 and over.
such is the stigma attached to growing old that some people regard any age-related adjective as a potential insult. In 2016 TV presenter Jeremy Paxman, then aged 66, fired off a furious objection after picking up a copy of the Mature Times in a hotel lobby. He wrote: “Who wants to be called ‘mature’, like an old cheese? We all know that ‘mature’ means on the verge of incontinence, idiocy and peevish valetudinarianism.”
The ‘young lady’ in question was actually a well-dressed woman in her mid-eighties, who had paused to search for something in her handbag. It wasn’t clear whether the assistant genuinely believed he was being helpful, but whatever his intention, the elderly customer chose to ignore his flippant remark. she found the discount voucher she had been looking for, tapped her payment card smartly on the handset, picked up her shopping and left with a polite “Thank you”. As I drove home, I found the scene kept playing over and over in my mind. not because the checkout assistant had been rude or unhelpful, but because he had treated this customer differently due to her age.
Almost 50 years ago the American gerontologist robert n Butler coined the term ‘ageism’ to describe what happens when a person is stereotyped and discriminated
CELEBRITIES AND AGEING However it seems the tide has started to turn. In Hollywood, where ageism is particularly rife, forthright stars such as Helen Mirren and Meryl streep are now encouraging others to speak out.
Actor Cameron Diaz believes that people power will eventually conquer ageism. she told Harper’s Bazaar: “We don’t have to look at ageing as a bad thing. We are the masses. We have the power to say, “I’m actually going to embrace this because I am valuable and I have more to offer than someone who hasn’t had the experience that I have.”
Just as these Hollywood ‘A’ listers are becoming role models for their peers, I must confess that the lady in the supermarket has become something of a role model for me. no one should have to suffer the indignities of casual ageism, but if and when it does happen to me, I hope to meet it with dignity, just as she did.
Kate McLelland is a freelance copywriter, creative writer, scriptwriter and fundraiser 20 | THE VILLAGE BREEZE
MAY 2018 | 21
WHAT IS IT? launched in the uK less than 10 years ago, Japanese luxury brand Infiniti is still attempting to establish itself as an alternative to the German trio and struggling to top 3,500 sales a year. The firm’s latest attempt to change that is a mid-size suV to tempt buyers away from the BMw X3 or Audi Q5. with smart technology, a distinctive design and a clever new engine, Infiniti is hoping the QX50 will rapidly become the brand’s best-selling car. WHAT’S NEW? The QX50 debuts a number of worldfirst gadgets. These include dynamic noise-cancelling technology in the engine, seats designed in conjunction with nAsA, and a petrol engine that promises sports performance with the economy of a diesel.
WHAT’S UNDER THE BONNET? That clever new VC-Turbo engine is a world-first variable compression ratio engine, offering the power of a 2.0-litre turbo petrol with the torque and efficiency of a four-cylinder diesel. Currently there are no plans to offer a diesel engine. The 2.0-litre engine produces 268bhp 22 | THE VILLAGE BREEZE
and 380nm of torque, whereas a petrolpowered BMw X3 20i offers 184bhp and 290nm – thus apparently giving the QX50 the upper hand.
WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DRIVE? The engine generates impressive performance, hitting 60mph in 6.3 seconds – two seconds faster than the equivalent BMw – and gives a top speed of 143mph. Much of the noise it makes is synthetically generated, teetering on the edge of deeply satisfying and incredibly annoying. There’s also a CVT automatic gearbox, which becomes very audible at higher revs. Although Infiniti’s drive-by-wire steering allows the car to do clever things – like independently steer individual wheels, hundreds of time a second – it lacks feel, particularly at slow speeds. whether that’ll bother the average buyer remains to be seen. The QX50’s new chassis and ground-up design has certainly resulted in a quiet and comfortable ride, and a dynamic noise-cancelling engine mount, which stops noise entering the cabin, means it’s calm inside too. Hit the car’s ProPilot button and it’ll
steer for you (but you’ll need to keep a hand on the wheel), speeding up and slowing down with traffic. The forward Collision warning system uses radar to spot traffic slowing down and Infiniti says it can even detect a slowing motorbike hidden in front of an HGV.
WHAT’S THE SPEC LIKE? The QX50 is slated to arrive either late this year or very early in 2019, so as such Infiniti is remaining tight lipped about specification and pricing. executives did tell us that it would undercut BMw and Audi rivals and it’s likely much of the new technology will be included as standard.
VERDICT Infiniti believes the QX50 is the best car it has ever made – and we’d find it hard to argue with them. The clever new VCTurbo engine is impressive, the ride quality and interior finish excellent and we even like the looks. Quite how Brits will react to a petrol-powered suV with no diesel option remains to be seen, though, and its success will hinge on just how much it undercuts established rivals from the German brands.
MAY 2018 | 23
SERVES 4 • READY IN 60 MINS
This is a great way to jazz up pork steaks for a midweek meal. Serve with brown rice or creamy mashed potatoes on the side, if liked.
yoU will need...
• • • • • • • • • • •
4 thin-cut pork loin steaks 175g ricotta cheese 2 tbsp fresh chopped basil 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest salt and freshly ground black pepper 1 tbsp olive oil 15g butter 450ml meat or vegetable stock 4 tbsp dry sherry or apple juice 175g green beans, trimmed 2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted
here’S whaT To do...
1 Place the pork steaks between two sheets of cling film or greaseproof paper and bash with a rolling pin until very thin. 2 In a small bowl, mix the ricotta cheese with the chopped basil and lemon zest and season lightly with salt and freshly ground black pepper. 3 Place a spoonful of the cheese mixture at the base of each piece of pork then carefully roll up to enclose the stuffing and secure each with a wooden cocktail stick. 4 Heat the oil and butter in a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. fry the pork rolls for 45 minutes, turning once until browned all over. Pour in the stock and sherry or apple juice and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes until cooked through. remove the pork rolls and keep warm. Add the green beans to the frying pan and cook for 5 to 6 minutes until just tender. 5 slice each pork roll and serve on the green beans with the pan juices and toasted pine nuts.
Top Tip... If you don’t have fresh basil use 1 tsp
dried mixed herbs and for extra flavour add a crushed garlic clove. 24 | THE VILLAGE BREEZE
MAKES 4 • READY IN 45 MINS
don’t overcook these divine chocolate puds or the centres will set and you’ll lose the gooey molten middle. you can prepare them a couple of hours in advance and bake them just before serving.
yoU will need...
• • • • • • •
175g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing 175g caster sugar 175g good quality plain chocolate, pieces 3 large eggs 50g plain flour Cocoa powder and icing sugar, to dust whipped cream and strawberries, to serve
here’S whaT To do...
1 Preheat the oven to 190oC/fan 170oC/gas mark 5. lightly butter four 300ml capacity ramekin dishes (see Tip) and sprinkle with a little of the caster sugar. 2 Place the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water and leave until melted. remove from the heat and stir until smooth. Cool for 5 minutes. 3 In a large bowl whisk the eggs and remaining caster sugar together for 5 minutes until very thick, pale and creamy, then whisk in the chocolate mixture. sift over the flour and gently fold in using a metal spoon. 4 Divide the mixture between the four dishes. Place on a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes until the puddings have risen and are just set on the outside – the tops should still wobble when pressed lightly. run a knife around the edge of the puddings and turn out onto plates. Dust with cocoa powder and icing sugar and serve immediately with whipped cream and strawberries.
Top Tip... If you don’t have ovenproof ramekin dishes, you can use small metal pudding basins or ovenproof teacups.
Gadgets for your
T’s nearly that time of year again: the short period when we stop complaining about the cold and complain about the heat instead. But while the British summer might not be totally tropical, it does mean we can enjoy our gardens, allotments or anywhere else Mother nature does her stuff. And increasingly, technology can give her a helping hand. one of the most important summer tasks is to keep everything hydrated, which isn’t always possible if you’re spending time away. enter the Hozelock 20 Pot Watering Kit, a watering kit for up to 20 pots courtesy of an electronic timer. It’ll water patio pots or greenhouse plants, baskets or borders, and it’s 90% more efficient than a spray or sprinkler. That’s important when your water costs money. If that isn’t high-tech enough, the same firm offers a Cloud Connection Kit that enables you to control your watering system – whether it’s a single sprinkler or a 20-pot pourer – from your phone, and it works from anywhere you can get a data connection. It’s expensive (around £88) but if you’ve valuable plants it might be a wise investment. Technology can also help with more furry threats. An ultrasonic cat repeller has a motion detector so it only works when needed, and it uses ultrasonic sound that annoys cats but not people. It also works with other visitors: squirrels, foxes and even some insects. expect to pay £25 for two. we’re still waiting for really affordable robot gardeners, but in the meantime we can make do with a robot lawnmower. They’re still pricey, but prices are plummeting: what cost £2,500 or more two years ago is now around £550. for example the £549
(on special offer) worx landroid is smartphone-controlled, suitable for lawns of up to 450 square metres and can cope with gradients of up to 19 degrees. If someone could also invent a robot to pick up after the dog we’d be delighted. Cordless mowers have been getting cheaper and better too. Flymo’s Mighti Mo has a whopping 40V 2Ah li-ion battery and at £189 it’s comparable with good quality corded or petrol-powered models. It should cope with up to 250 square metres before needing a recharge. The same kind of power is now available in chainsaws too, such as the Greenworks 40V cordless chainsaw. for £179 it offers a 12” cutting area and promises ‘ferocious’ performance – and despite the battery pack it weighs a very reasonable 3.4kg. There’s a larger sixteen-inch version on Amazon for £139, but you’ll need to buy the battery and charger separately. 3 Advances in battery tech-nology and power manage-ment means that pretty much anything that used to need a cable doesn’t any more, which is great news for those of us prone to accidentally cutting through live electrical cables. It’s particularly handy for tools such as hedge trimmers and branch loppers (or ‘jawsaws’ as they’re sometimes called), as those jobs 4 tend to be at the very edges of your 2 property – usually as far away from your power point as you can get. Just make sure you remember to charge them in advance: sadly it takes a lot longer to charge the battery for a chainsaw than it does to charge your phone, and the last thing you want is a power tool that runs out of power just when you need it most.
1. Black+Decker cordless hedge trimmer 2. Greenworks cordless chainsaw 3. Worx Landroid robot mower 4. Ultrasonic cat repeller 26 | THE VILLAGE BREEZE
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annUal planT SaleS 5th May Coleorton wood, pitt lane (off The Moor), Coleorton. offering reasonably priced plants, garden planters, ornaments, etc. refreshments too.
Folk on The FarM 5th May, from 12.30pm George and the dragon pub, Thringstone. The merry month of May will be celebrated this year at the appropriately named George and the Dragon pub, Thringstone. roots Community singers will be joined by folk band ‘Calling Time’ and Bare Bones Border Morris side plus various Maypole dancers for an afternoon of traditional merryment. CaSTle doninGTon FarMerS MarkeT 12th May, 9am-12.30pm The Community hub (was the Tudor), Bondgate, Castle donington, de74 2nr. every second saturday of each month.
MeaShaM BowlS ClUB open day 12th May, 12pm-6pm Measham Bowls Club never played before?no problem.wear some flat soled shoes, come along and enjoy yourself. Tel: 07742 777461
naTional ForeST walkinG FeSTival GUided walk - paCkinGTon 19th May, 10am start hill Farm, Spring lane, packington, le65 1wU. Take a leisurely stroll around farm and woodland taking in Canadian Bison, red
deer, alpacas and many more. finish with a visit to our farm shop for refreshments. The starting point is Hill farm, spring lane, Packington, le65 1wu. start time is 10am. 2 miles, 2 hours, 1-5 stiles. for further information www.thenationalforestwalkingfestival.org.uk Moira Canal FeSTival weekend 19th-20th May Moira Furnace, Moira. The Moira Canal festival is a family event held every year on the restored section of the Ashby Canal, at the historic Moira furnace Museum. It aims to raise awareness of, and money for, the restoration, extension and maintenance of the Ashby Canal. There are lots of things for families to see and do. Have a look at the website for more information. www.moiracanalfestival.co.uk aShBy FarMerS MarkeT 20th May, 9am-1.30pm north Street Car park, ashby de la zouch, le65 1hU. every third sunday of every month. naTional ForeST walkinG FeSTival GUided walk - MeaShaM 23rd May, 2pm start Measham library Car park, high Street, de12 7hr. Take a leisurely stroll around the old Ashby Canal route looking at evidence of the canal through Measham. Then walk the route proposed to ultimately reconnect Measham to the canal network. The starting point is Measham library Car Park, High street, De12 7Hr. 2.5 miles, 1.5 hours, 2 stiles.
naTional ForeST walkinG FeSTival GUided walk - SnareSTone 23rd May, 7pm start opposite Globe inn, Main Street, Snarestone, de12 7dB A leisurely walk along footpaths and a chance to have a look at the length of Ashby Canal which has recently been restored. The starting point is opposite the Globe Inn, Main street, snarestone, De12 7DB. 3 miles, 1.5 hours, 3 stiles.
naTional ForeST walkinG FeSTival GUided walk - oakThorpe 27th May, Call to book Saltersford valley picnic area, Measham road, oakthorpe. de12 7rF. explore the nature reserves and woodlands of The national forest via old and new footpaths, disused railways and canal towpaths. Booking essential. Please call 01283 551211.
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