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n o t l A this is

ISSN 2044-7884


Issue #5, November 2010

Let there be Lights

The Round Table Firework Display

Chawton House Library Find out about the home of the Austen family

Alton and District Youth Council

A proactive group of young people striving to make a difference


The Alton Art Society Exhibition winner, Alton Greening, Save the Alton Museums News, Allen Gallery news, Art, Seen, Reviews of Word Fest and the MoonFest and much more. . .

Healthy Living | VAST November & December Event Guide | Gardening | Onlooker

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This is Alton, November 2010

Features Page 4

From the Editor

Page 6

Introducing Chawton Library

Page 8

Art Society 79th Exhibition

Page 10

Alton and District Youth Council

Page 12

Museum latest

Page 14

Athena Ladies Business Network

Page 16

Alton Town Twinning Association

Page 17

Jackie Bicknell (Schou)

Page 18

New Land for ALFI

Event Previews Page 22

Round Table Firework Display

Page 24

Celebrating Alton

Page 25

Christmas Lights Switch On

Event Guide Page 26

November and December event listing.

Event Reviews Page 34

GHA Energy Day

Page 36

Looking Up at Alton’s MoonFest

Page 38

The Forgotten Emperor

Page 39

Charwell House Business Event

Lifestyle Page 40

Green Fingers

Page 33

Photo of the Month

Page 42

Healthy Living

Page 45

Maps of Reality

Page 46


Page 47

Advertising Rates

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Welcome Hello!

Each month, more and more people find us and that is partly down to our existing readers, so thank you for passing it along. Are we really up to issue #5 already of This . .and please keep doing it too! The more is Alton? I guess so as that is what it says on people that read the magazine, in and out of the cover. the area, the better it will become. There’s been a lot going on this month, and Do check out our new columnist, Melanie we have covered it as much as we can! Cowpland fron Kariba Consulting. Her first article, ‘Maps of Reality’ is very interesting! Firstly, there was the Greening Campaign See page 45 to read it now. Energy Day which was a huge success and we went along to find out more. Then there was There’s lots of interesting articles in this the MoonFest and the review is on page 36. month’s edition and the event guide is as full as ever. Don’t forget to come back to e-zine And then there’s the museums. It’s been a if you don’t read it all on the first go! There rough ride for the staff being thrown into is plenty to come back to! the limelight as they have been and the developments recently are worth a read! Please let us know what you think of the changes we’ve made or if you have an idea You will have noticed that some rather large for a new section to the magazine. We’ve changes have occurred since the last edition already had suggestions for a letters page of the magazine! Here’s a brief run down of and perhaps even a short story section. what’s been going on: What do you think? 1 - We’ve changed the layout and design of We hope you enjoy this November issue of the e-zine to something a little more slick the magazine. than before. Kind regards, 2 - Structurally, the magazine is (we hope) laid out in a more logical fashion. 3 - Brand new website. Have a look round! We think it’s better than before!

This month’s cover shot: Fireworks by Martin Saban-Smith.


6 - Recently, we paid a fee to to offset the carbon emissions produced by the hosting of our website with the planting of trees, rendering the publication of This is Alton as ‘carbon neutral’ or as close as we can get it!

Martin Saban-Smith Editor

this is

4 - With more than 2000 page hits per month, we’ve added some advertising space on every page, giving our advertisers even more exposure.

Edited & Published by: Martin Saban-Smith Web: email: Phone: 01420 542020 Address: 17 Normandy Street, Alton, Hampshire. GU34 1DD

‘This is Alton’ Electronic Magazine is published on the third Friday of the month. ISSN 2044-7884. This e-zine is published by Martin Saban-Smith. Any opinions and views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the Editor, Publisher, Sponsors or Advertisers. Where Links take you to other sites, the Editor, Publisher and/or Webmaster cannot be held responsible for the content of those sites. Whilst every care has been taken to ensure the information contained in this publication is accurate, neither Martin Saban-Smith nor any contributing writer cannot accept any liability to any party for loss or damage caused by any errors or omissions in relation to this publication. The publisher also does not endorse or recommend any of the products or services advertised. Images within this publication are used with the authorisation of the copyright holder and are credited as such. All Rights Reserved. No reproduction of any material is permitted without express permission of the respective owners.

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Chawton House Library Cradle of Women’s Writing Page 6

Chawton House Library From Mediaeval Manor to Modern Library, Chawton House Library is one of the world’s leading centres for the study of the lives and works of women writing in English before 1830.

Edward Austen’s transition into Edward Knight materially altered Jane’s life course by providing a permanent roof over her head at Chawton, of which the Manor House was another of Edward’s inherited houses.

Based on a unique collection of works it provides the perfect environment for research and study in a manner that brings to life the social, domestic, economic, cultural and historical contexts in which early English women worked. The history of Chawton House itself is interwoven with the family story of perhaps the most famous of all women writers – Jane Austen (1775-1817).

The Chawton House Estate currently extends to 275 acres. St Nicholas Church alongside was rebuilt following a fire in 1871 but retains many memorials to the Knight and Austen families. Jane’s mother and sister, are buried in the churchyard.

The Knight family had been tenant farmers in Chawton since at least the 13th century. In 1583 John Knight began replacing an earlier mediaeval building with the house that can be seen today. The freehold has since remained in the Knight family, the title having passed laterally and by female descent causing several heirs to change their surnames to “Knight”. This last occurred in 1797 when the estate passed to Edward Austen, Jane’s third brother, who was adopted by wealthy cousins John and Catherine Knight, upon whose death he inherited substantial estates. It was as his regular house guest at one, Godmersham, that Jane learned how the rich lived and was able to write from personal experience about the nobility and leisured classes.

The house not only hosts one of the finest women’s literary libraries, but also hosts a wide variety of events from book launches to lectures. Notably in November, the anniversary of novelist and critic Sarah Fielding’s birth in 1710 will be held at the house. This two day event on 5th and 6th November will feature a public lecture about her together with a wine reception and eighteenth-century music in Chawton Church. Speakers on the two days include Linda Bree, Elizabeth Eger, April London, Karen O’Brien and Peter Sabor. Chawton House Library is open by appointment. Contact: 01420 541010 and also watch out for the special Open Days listed on their brand new website at

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Alton Art Society 79th Exhibition Jane Pascoe Absolom won second and third places with ‘Wolf Warrior’ and ‘Scrubland Grazing’.

Alton Assembly Rooms was alive with paintings, 3D works, silk painted scarves and handmade jewellery at their 79th Annual Exhibition, held from 30th September to 3rd October. There were approximately 200 visitors to the Private Preview on the evening on 29th September. Many visitors commented that this was the best exhibition held by the Art Society, and in the South, this year. Some suggested the artists had priced their works far too low for the quality displayed. The committee and members, who had put in many hours of work, to get the resulting exhibition in place, appreciated these comments. A special thank you and a bouquet of flowers were presented to Naomi White who organized the event.

On the stage there was the wonderful exhibition of paintings created by children from the local schools. What a credit it is to these young people, their families and their teachers, for displaying such a wealth of talent. There were several age categories and many children won vouchers for books or art materials. The Society, and Alton are already looking forward to the 2011 exhibition, works of art are already on easels in preparation for another ‘best ever’ exhibition. To see more of Jackie Bicknell’s (Schou) work as well as her winning picture, ‘Mackerel Swarm, turn to page 17. Top left: President John Hearn with local school children. Picture supplied.

There were many more visitors over the four days the exhibition was open, to view the 273 exhibits on display, at times it resembled the concourse at Waterloo Station. In the current financial climate the sales of work were encouragingly satisfactory. The greeting cards, produced from paintings by members, also sold well at a very competitive price of £1.50 each. Many hundreds of visitors also voted for ‘the best exhibit in the show’. This was won by the amazing artwork entitled ‘Mackerel Swarm’ by Jackie Bicknell (Schou) who received the Jack Riviere trophy, and some French White Wine. Jackie had created the shoal from dozens tiny fish, cut out and painted individually and then pinned to a board, with the pin head as the eye of each fish. The resulting shoal was then mounted and framed. Page 8

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Alton and District Youth Council

The youth council is a relatively new organisation in the town, and is now approaching its 7th year in operation. It started off as a group of 5 or 6 young college students who felt that Alton needed something to make the young people’s voices heard. After approaching the town council, the youth council was soon formed. The council is formed of 5 leading officers who lead the Group and act as ‘Youth Councillors’. They include; The Chairman, Vice Chairman, Secretary, Public Relations Officer, and Treasurer. The group is then completed with a host of other members which attend meetings, and make up the bulk of the youth council by supporting the officers. Just like any other organisation, they run on an annual basis, and have an AGM every October officers are elected, and welcome any new faces. Since the Youth Council began, is has grown into something they feel every town needs.

Aiming High! In today’s society the Youth Council believes that young people are often heavily stereotyped their reputation is slowly falling. However, as a group, they set out to show the public that not all young people are ‘yobs’ and that it is only a handful of youngsters which spoil it for others by their behaviour. But that is not their only aim. The Youth Council strives to ensure that young people’s voices are heard and they do this by giving them a platform from which they can raise their voices relating to any issues that maybe affecting them in our town. Monthly meetings provide the perfect opportunities for their peers to voice their opinions to the Youth Council, which then report to the main Town Council. In many cases they also report to the District and sometimes County councils, which ensures their voices are heard on all levels.

Each year they have new ideas and set goals to achieve. It’s the team spirit and determination within the council that keeps them going. The support they receive from outside the council from other groups, organisations and indeed bigger councils just fuels their enthusiasm and determination. Page 10

Who Are They?

Alton’s Spring Clean, which is held annually is organised by ADYC where young The council is a group of enthusiastic people people are encouraged to get involved and between the ages of 11 and 25, who work help the local environment by taking part in a together to ‘have their say’ on what they litter pick across the town. would like for their town. Many people may have heard of the East Hampshire Youth Council (EHYC), which is a larger youth council based in Petersfeild, covering a much wider area and The Alton District Youth Council is a smaller sub-group.

What Have ADYC Done? ADYC has been running for over 6 years now, and is still going strong. They have accomplished many things over the years include 2007’s ‘Alton 8’ which was the Biggest Youth Orientated event to be organised in Alton. It took place in the Public Gardens and consisted of entertainment advice stands on many youth issues.

Back this September, they held the towns Pavement Artist Competition. Many young artists took to the streets and had a go at ‘pavement art’. One of the most popular events the Youth Council have been involved with was this year’s Sport Relief mile which was well supported in March of this year at Anstey Park.

Getting Involved ADYC is a great opportunity for young people to get involved with, and it is a unique and exciting organisation in Alton town where new members are always welcome.

For more information:

They have also had input concerning many of Web: or the bigger issues concerning the town, and as a result have gained a very high regard within Email: the community.

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Save the Alton Museums Latest News

It appears that Hampshire County Council have issued a stay of execution for our town by agreeing to one of the demands of the community for a partnership to be formed and a business plan to be drawn up to save as much of our town’s museum and gallery as possible. Hampshire County Council officers have invited community representatives from the SAM team, the Alton Society, the Alton Community Association and the Town Council to meet with them and officers from East Hampshire District Council. The object it to explore possible partnership arrangements. The council has extended the deadline from 22nd October to 31st March 2011 for a viable partnership to be created and a sustainable business plan to be drawn up and approved. It must also be noted that many public figures, including East Hants MP Damian Hinds and several highly respected curators of other museums have also made their voices heard in the corridors of HCC on this matter and a 4000 signature strong petition and countless objection letters have been sent already.

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SAM’s website, www, has seen plenty of activity, racking up over 2000 visits since it went live. The online forms sending objections to those in authority has had at least 200 emails being sent from the site, and since the introduction of volunteer and ideas forms, even more people are contacting the group with offers of help.

The Staff After being cruelly thrown into the local lime light by HCC’s announcement last month, one must spare a thought for the staff of the Allen Gallery and Curtis Museum. They have become a major talking point around Alton which is hardly surprising given the scale of what is happening to them. It is, after all partly their jobs SAM is trying to save and one can’t help but feel for them as their futures are so openly debated in the press (us included) and the public at large. It is bad enough facing redundancy at the best of times, but so publicly, and within earshot of the people involved must, at times be unbearable for them to read and hear about.


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Ladies Business Network WOMEN in business have a better chance of success in difficult times if they collaborate rather than compete, according to the organisers of a new group just opened in Alton.

The Athena Network, an international business women’s organisation, launched its Alton branch with a lunch on 20 October at the Alton Grange. The group will run dynamic, motivating yet enjoyable monthly networking meetings for women who run their own business (some working from home) or work for a company with a brief to attract new clients. There are very few networking groups set up especially for women and Athena has a co-operative approach to make networking a pleasure, organisers say. The aim is to help members make connections to find new customers, build relationships with likeminded people and learn new skills­– enabling women in the Alton area to make the very most of their business. The idea is that women are natural networkers and pass new business contacts easily once good relationships are established among members. Meetings follow a structure with a focus on promoting business among the group and offering training to improve business skills and confidence – as well as good food and a chance for lively conversation. “We inspire and support women towards success, and to help find business opportunities for each other,” said Rachel Maunder, Athena regional director. “There is generally a positive energy that comes from a group of women who share the same aspirations to be successful and who are keen to connect with like-minded women in order to be mutually supportive.” Page 14

Among the wide range of Alton women at the launch meeting were a financial advisor, Bed & Breakfast owner, photographer, complementary therapist and fashion distributor. “We have a bright, varied group who all want to raise their business profile, make great contacts – and have fun while they do,” Mrs Maunder said. Three months after the launch of a Petersfield/ Haslemere branch, artist Maria Yadegar, of Starlight Murals, said: “I’m already negotiating with a prestigious new client and I’ve made strategic contacts with other women for joint projects. I really recommend it.” Lunch meetings will be held on the third Wednesday of every month at the Alton Grange boutique hotel, from 12 noon to 2pm. To find our more about the Athena Network, Phone: 07905 101169 Website: Email:

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Alton Town Twinning Association When you think about the south of France what springs to mind? Is it images brought to you from tv programmes that involve orange presenters? Books like a year in Provence? Wine? Lavender? Sunday Newspaper sections and travelogues that show all the best bits?

Italian lunch in Montecchio

We are the Alton Town Twinning Association. ATTA facilitates contacts with both towns alongside regular biannual trips to each town. In return both towns visit Alton and other groups from these areas have made visits here too. So, do you like to go off the beaten track? Do you like to try out your language skills? Would you like to see places that only the locals know about?

An evening with friends, Montecchio

Don’t just visit a place, visit the people! Are you interested in what the people who live in these areas are like? How do they really live? What do they do for a living? How are they different from us? How are they the same? What does go on behind those shuttered windows? There is a way to find out about these things. We know people in Montecchio Maggiore (Italy) and Pertuis (France) are very keen to invite you into their homes and their lives to help exchange experiences with you. We also arrange return visits to Alton, and although it is not always possible to return the favour, we would not like this to discouraged you from getting involved.

Membership of Alton Town Twinning costs only £8 per single person or £12 for a family group and you can help to grow the contacts between the peoples of the twin towns. We are also building a programme of social events and looking for new opportunities to engage with France and Italy. Your ideas will be welcome. You can found out more about us on our website and keep your eyes peeled on the This Is Alton pages for more news and events. Next time - a more in depth look at what you can expect from hosting or visiting one of our twins and ways to become involved!!

Our school children are already involved along with a growing range of groups such as the Alton Community Choir, Alton Morris, Treloars basketball team and the Alton Junior Rugby Team. Page 16

Montecchio arrives in Alton for the Christmas market.

Jackie Bicknell (Schou) Winner of the 2010 ‘Best in Exhibition’ artist, Jackie Bicknell discusses her work with This is Alton.

As Jackie chats away about her work on the other end of the phone, it is evident she loves creating her artwork.

Jackie’s winning picture ‘Mackerel Swarm’

On winning the coveted first prize at the Art Society Exhibition, she said ‘I am really happy to have won this prize. It means so much to have my work voted as ‘best in show’ by the visitors. There was such a variety of mediums exhibited in the show, it was very hard for people to decide what they liked most as the standard was so high.’ Discussing the winning picture ‘Mackerel Swarm’, Jackie laughs ‘We were on holiday in Cornwall in the summer and I spent a cold stormy night in our tent cutting out each of the fish for that picture! There was nothing else to do!’ Her work has been described as ‘quirky’ and ‘eclectic’. It certainly is that as the pictures here show. She uses such a variety of mediums that it is difficult to pin-point a style, so quirky and eclectic will have to do for the time being!

As many people at the moment are, Jackie too is concerned over the threat to the Allen Gallery by Hampshire County Council. ‘The Allen Gallery deserves all the support it can get from the local and artistic community. It must continue exhibiting artist’s work to a both local and tourist audiences.’ Jackie’s exhibtion ‘Multiplicity’ is on at the Allen Gallery on Church Street until 30th October. Admission is FREE. The gallery is open Tuesday to Saturday 10am - 5pm. Pop along, have a cup of coffee and take a look at Jackie’s quirky and eclectic work!

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Alton Local Food Initiative The Alton Local Food Initiative is set to start an exciting new phase. Penney Hames, volunteer with the project, explains what it’s all about and how you can get involved. Great news. Ever since the Alton Local Food Initiative (part of the Greening Alton and Holybourne Campaign) began, the ALFI team have been looking for land on which we can stretch out and grow serious quantities of vegetables. We love our plots at the station and at Westbrooke Road, but we know that if local food is to take off we need something a little bit broader in the bean! Well, now we have it. Local resident, Simon Clifford has offered ALFI the chance to grow vegetables on a section of his 13 acre site, just outside Alton. It’s quite an offer. The land is a fertile strip running away from the Selborne Road, open to the sun and surrounded by farm-land, and Simon is happy for us to use an acre or more of it to grow vegetables. Simon loves the idea of local food, he is excited by the notion that a community of volunteers will grow the food together and he’s happy to plough it too. Standing on the field this morning – the first cold, overcast day of Autumn, making an inventory of the weeds on site, zipped up against the wind, and wishing I’d brought gloves, it was still a beautiful prospect. The leaves on the Ash trees striding the eastern ridge surrounding the plot were starting to turn and the Hawthorn berries were looking chirpy against their now variegated foliage. A dozen bucolic sheep grazed in the adjacent field and occasional walkers strode past behind the fence.

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David, a local environmental biologist, had agreed to join me to point out the difference between creeping thistle and spear thistle, and yarrow and sorrel to my untutored eyes and his assessment that the land is fertile and has no weeds which might require spraying added to the sense of everything being right with the world.

We Need People! Over the last few months we’ve asked people if they want local food and if they would like to help to grow it. And the resounding answer to both questions has been ‘yes’. So, of course we need gardeners and vegetable lovers: people who have been growing their own for years and people who have yet to plant even a foot in their garden; a professional grower, perhaps, to oversee the crop-rotation and direct the operation.

The Beginning of Something Good? But we also need people who know how to rig up a deer-proof fence or dig a trench for water pipes, people who are good with figures and can keep an eye on the pennies we spend, people who love nothing better than to snuggle up with a grant application on a cold winter’s night so that we can raise enough cash to buy those fences and lay those water pipes, people who love the cut and thrust of a planning application so that we can keep it legal, people who revel in the orderliness of a spreadsheet so that we can keep up with the ever growing (we hope) membership list, creative people who can design a web-site that grabs attention and holds it, young people who want to earn a badge for scouts or brownies, or even a Duke of Edinburgh award, and still more people who know how to organise a social event so that people talk of it weeks afterwards.

If you are excited and interested by the idea of local food, then please get in touch. If you want to hear more come to our launch meeting on Monday 22nd November in St Mary’s Church Hall at 7.30pm. You can contact ALFI’s chair, Lesley at or 01420 83416.

We look forward to growing with you.

All these people – and probably numerous others - are needed to make the idea of a local community growing scheme a reality. We’ve never done this before in Alton. We’ve never had truly local vegetables on this scale before. But this could be the beginning of something that could change the way we eat in Alton and reduce our town’s carbon footprint significantly.

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Round Table Fireworks Alton Round Table is a modern movement with its members and local community at its heart. The Round Table Movement today remains true to its founder’s vision, is proud of its successes, and more than ready to welcome the next generation. Founded to give young men aged 18 - 45 a place to meet, make friends, and exchange ideas, the Round Table is non-religious, nonpolitical and non-sectarian, and has as much to offer men today as it did when it started in 1927. As important as what the Round Table is, it is vital to understand what it isn’t; Many think Round Table is a closed, secret society that belongs to the past, they couldn’t be further from the truth. In Alton we help many great causes, both individuals and groups, also helping our fellow charitable clubs. Every year Alton Round Table provides two very notable events, namely the ALTON TOWN FIREWORKS DISPLAY and the CHRISTMAS SANTA FLOAT bringing the magic of Christmas joy to Alton's children every year. This year’s Fireworks Display is going to be bigger and better than ever before, mainly due to the thanks of those who attended last year and bought tickets. This year we hope to provide music from two Local Bands: The Hanging Tree Band & On Edge, both excellent! The Hanging Tree Band is a duo; a rocking and reeling folk duo with bags of talent and a penchant for firebrand delivery. The ‘band’ word might imply a reduction from a once larger group that endured a falling out or an aspiration to be, one day, a band of say four, five or more; like normal bands up and down the land. But this band is not normal nor short on fire power. For five years The Hanging Tree Band have been entertaining crowds with their incendiary brand of “mental folk”, performed largely on violin and guitar. For more info check out Page 22

On Edge are one of the newest bands to explode onto the Hampshire live music scene. Formed from the ashes of several local bands, On Edge's mission is simply to rock. Fired by their passion for guitar driven rock, On Edge play covers from the seventies through to the noughties and hope to get you rockin' the night away! For more info check out their website We have a number of stalls providing drinks and food refreshments. Our Beer is sourced from local brewery fff and our Hog Roast from Reeds Butchers Four Marks. Our firework display is bigger, an extravaganza lasting 20 minutes rarely seen outside large metropolitan cities. All together a great family fun evening. We thank all our sponsors, details in our programme on the night. We hope to see everyone there and together Alton can celebrate together!








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Celebrating Alton Experience a special exhibition in the Assembly Rooms all day on Saturday 13th November to Celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Alton Society Don’t miss this opportunity to find out what is going on in Alton at this event which will be formally opened by the Town Mayor at 9:30am. Currently, there are over 50 displays by a wide variety of non-commercial groups & organisations in the town.

Ongoing live performances by: - Alton Concert Band - Alton Operatic & Dramatic Society - Mini Morris (Alton Infant School) - Kings Pond Shantymen ? Alton Morris - Jess, Ed & Ellan (jazz group) - Alton Community Choir - Suspirium - Ancora (female voices) - Alton Choral Society There are written and pictorial contributions from individuals and groups of all ages showing what they love about Alton together with a specially prepared celebratory video. Refreshments will be available and the event is FREE admission. For more details, visit the Alton Society website: Just some of the images and words you can see at the Celebrating Alton Exhibition Top: ‘My Favorite Place’ by Florence. Middle: ‘Cut Pound’ by Catherine Curtis Bottom: ‘Celebratin Alton’ by Arthur Harvey aged 85 Page 24

Christmas Lights Switch-On The switching on of the Town’s Christmas lights will take place on Friday 26th November in the Market Square. From 6:00pm, the Market Square will start to fill with people getting into the festive spirit at the start of one of the town’s best loved events. On the stage, there will be performances by the Salvation Army Band, Children from Andrews’ Endowed School in Holybourne and a choir. There will also be the colourful pantomime characters from Holybourne Theatre together with our Town Crier, Town Mayor Cllr David Willoughby and his chaplain. This event really is not to be missed. The songs and carols may even encourage Father Christmas to make an appearance! The lights will be switched on at around 6:30pm For more details visit the Town Council website at or you can call the Town Hall on 01420 83986

Photographs by Martin Saban-Smith

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n o t l A this is


November & December 2010

Event Guide

Christmas looms ever closer and Alton’s festive events are plentiful again in 2010. First though, there is a collection of interesting and creepy Hallowe’en events for both children and adults. Take your pick from this bumper guide. Saturday 23rd October

Tuesday 26h

Food and Produce Market

Mary Bacon Book Launch and Talk

Between 8am and 4pm the High Street will be home to a Food and Produce Market on this busy September Saturday!

Saturday 23rd

‘Murder at Watercress Manor’

Join the Mid Hants Railway for a murder-mystery evening from 6pm. Booking essential. See www. or call 01962 733810 for booking information.

Saturday 23rd - Sunday 31st

Mid Hants Railway ‘Wizard Week’

Another highly popular day out on the Watercress Line, this magic themed week of half term is transformed into all things Witches and Wizard! Fancy dress is welcomed and a competition for children’s and adult’s fancy dress will be held at Ropley Station. See the website www.watercressline. for booking and event details.

Saturday 23rd

Alternative Health Fayre

This months ‘Introducing’ figure Carole Samuda and her colleague Sarah Barrett present an Alternative Health Fair at Amery Hill School between 10am and 3pm for those wishing to find out more about Alternative and complementary therapies. There will be tasters and information available to all. For more details visit

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Mary Bacon was an 18th Century farmer’s wife and a book about her, writen by Ruth Facer will be launched today at Chawton House Library from 6:30pm. For more details call 01420 541010

Wednesday 27h

Half Term Arty Activities

Free drop-in art activities at the Allen Gallery on Church Street.

Friday 29th

Kids Magic Hallowe’en Disco

Hosted by popular local magician, Stevo, this kids disco is full of magic, games and treats! There will be a prize for the best fancy dress! Call 01420 82203 for more details.

Friday 29th

Historic Chawton House Children’s Hallowe’en Event

There will be spooky stories, I-Spy round the Elizabthan house and biscuits to decorate in the kitchen. Advance bookings only on 01420 541010.

Friday 29th

Kids Hallowe’en Disco

Between 5 and 7pm today, Alton Community Centre are hosting a kids disco on a Halloween theme. Call 01420 85057 or visit their website at www. for more details.

Saturday 6th

Saturday 30th

Ghost Tour at Chawton House

Following supper in the Great Hall, visitors will be treated to a tour of the house including spooky personal experiences of the staff and family. Shadow Seekers paranormal investigators will give you a chance to use their equipment in an investigation. Adults only. Tickets available from 01420 541010

St. Lawrence Furniture Sale

Between 9am and 12:30pm. at the Parish Centre on Vicarage Hill, come and peruse the furniture, bric-abrac and other items for sale. More information from the Parish Administrator on 01420 83234.

Saturday 6th

‘Walk the Line’ Saturday 30th

Psychic Fayre

Tarot readers, Holistic therapists, healers and mediums will be at the Community Centre between 10am and 4pm today. £3.00 per adult entry. Call 01420 85057 for more details.

Tuesday 2nd - 27th November

Armando Guartieri

A selection of artwork from this interesting artist will be displayed at the Allen Gallery. FREEE ADMISSION For details call 0845 6035635 or visit the website:

Thursday 4 - Saturday 6 th


‘This Must Be The Place’

Put on your walking boots for this special sponsored walk along the Watercress Line between Alton and Alresford raising money for the railway. NO TRAINS WILL BE RUNNING!! See for details.

Saturday 6th

Round Table Firework Display

This popular family evening out and very grand firework display will be held at Anstey Park this evening. See local press for details.

Tuesday 9th

Alton Organ Society Concert

International Concert Organist, Jane Watts will be performing a selection of music at St. Lawrence Church at 8pm. For entry fees and details, visit

Come and see this hilarious American comedy by Monk Ferris as performed by the Alton Operatic and Dramatic Society at the Assembly Rooms. See www. or ring the Assembly Rooms on 01420 82203

Saturday 13th

Friday 5th

The High Street and Cross & Pillory Lane will be closed for the Hampshire Farmers and Craft workers between 10am and 2pm. www. and www.

Sarah Fielding and 18th C Women’s Writing Chawton House Library hosts a series of lectures celebrating pioneering novelist and critic Sarah Fielding (1710-1768) followed by a concert in Chawton Church. Other events are on 6th November. To book tickets and for more information call 01420 541010 or email

Saturday 6th

St. Lawrence Furniture Sale

Between 9am and 12:30pm. at the Parish Centre on Vicarage Hill, come and peruse the furniture, bric-abrac and other items for sale. More information from the Parish Administrator on 01420 83234.

Farmers’ and Craft Markets

Saturday 13th

Celebrating Alton!

The Alton Society’s exhibition on Alton and the diverse community in which we live. Come and join in at the Assembly Rooms between 9:30am and 4:30pm. Visit for more details or see issue 3 of This is Alton.

Sunday 14th

Remembrance Day

Join the Alton’s Remembrance Day Parade on Crown Hill and the High Street from 10:45am onwards.

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Event Guide. . . Sunday 14th

‘Help for Heroes’ Concert

The Alder Valley Brass Band play a concert at the Alton Assembly Rooms tonight from 7pm. For information, phone 01420 563778 or 01420 82203

Friday 26th

Town Christmas Lights ‘Switch On’

From 6:00pm, come to the Market Square and get into the Christmas spirit with live music, Carols, fun fair, the grand switching on of Alton’s Christmas lights! And of course, a visit from Father Christmas! Great evening out for all the family! Call the Town Hall on 01420 83986 or visit for more details

Friday 19th

Children In Need Coffee Morning

From 10am till midday, the Assembly Rooms will be hosting a Coffee Morning in aid of Children in Need. Call 01420 82203 for details.

Friday 19th

Ballroom Dancing

Come along to the Alton Assembly Rooms for an evening of ballroom, latin, and sequence dancing between 8 and 11pm. For more information, contact the Assembly Rooms on 01420 82203.

Sunday 21st

Saturday 27th

Food and Produce Market

Between 8am and 4pm the High Street will be home to a Food and Produce Market on this busy November Saturday!

Saturday 27th

Christmas Bazaar

From 10am until 3pm, come along and see the Town Women’s Guild Traditional Christmas Bazaar at the Alton Assembly Rooms. Featuring stalls, raffles, tombolas, crafts and gifts. For more information contact Lesley on 01420 84464.

Antique Bottle & Collectors Fayre

Organised by the Alton Bottle Collectors Club, this twice yearly fayre at the Community Centre will have around 60 stalls selling a variety of bottles, advertiques, tins, postcards and other collectibles. Refreshments will be available. For entry fees and further information, please visit www. or call the community centre on 01420 85057.

Saturday 27th

Christmas Art Activities

Free drop-in art activities at the Allen Gallery. 10am - 4pm

Saturday 27th

Festive Wine Tasting Sunday 21


Stevie Smith: the Literary Orphan

A lecture at Chawton House Library by University of Southampton’s Dr. William May who will discuss the poet and novelist Stevie Smith. There will be a wine & canape reception from 6:30pm with the lecture at 7pm. Tickets available on 01420 541010.

Friday 26th

Town Christmas Lights ‘Switch On’

From 6:00pm, come to the Market Square and get into the Christmas spirit with live music, Carols, fun fair, the grand switching on of Alton’s Christmas lights! And of course, a visit from Father Christmas! Great evening out for all the family! Call the Town Hall on 01420 83986 or visit for more details. Page 28

Andrews’ Endowed School Development trust invite you to their festive wine tasting hosted by The Naked Grape at the Great Hall at Chawton House Library. Tickets are available from the trust website www. or from Martin Saban-Smith on 01420 542020

Tuesday 23rd November - 30th December

Winter Looks Back to Summer

Photography exhibition presented by photographer Chris Hutchinson at the Allen Gallery on Church Street.

Saturday 4th December

St. Lawrence Furniture Sale

Between 9am and 12:30pm. at the Parish Centre on Vicarage Hill, come and peruse the furniture, brica-brac and and other items for sale. 01420 83234

Wednesday 1st - Saturday 4th December

Alton Fringe Theatre, ‘Medea’

First performed in 431 BC, and now by the Alton Fringe Theatre Group, ‘Medea’ is about a beautiful Princess who outwits her father, murders her brother and promises her love to hero Jason. Classic play filled with betrayal and tragedy. Tickets from The Little Green Dragon on Normandy Street, or by post. More information can be found at www.altonfringe. com

Sunday 5th

Mulled Wine Day

Gilbert White’s House in Selborne hosts the annual celebration of Christmas with free mulled wine. The house will be presented with traditional Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian decorations and staff will be in authentic period costume. Visit their website at for more details.

Tuesday 7th Saturday 4th

Alton Organ Society Concert

Free drop-in seasonal art activities at the Allen Gallery between 10am - 4pm.

A concert to be given by Guildford Catherdral organist Paul Provost at St. Lawrence Church at 8pm. For entry fees and details, visit the society website at

Saturday 4th

Saturday 11th

Christmas Art Activities

Christmas Book Fair

Hundreds of collectable and contemporary books of all genres will be on sale at Chawton House Library between 10.30am and 4pm. Free entry and refreshments will be available. For more information call 01420 541010 or email

Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th

Mid Hants Railway Santa Special

Join the beloved Watercress Line Christmas Santa Specials on this and other weekends in December. Father Christmas will visit every child at their seat and present them with a gift whilst the adults enjoy wine and mine pies. Advance booking only from the website at or by calling Alreasford station on 01962 733810.

Christmas Art Activities

Free drop-in art activities at the Allen Gallery. 10am - 4pm

Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th

Mid Hants Railway Santa Special

Join the beloved Watercress Line Christmas Santa Specials on this and other weekends in December. Father Christmas will visit every child at their seat and present them with a gift whilst the adults enjoy wine and mine pies. Advance booking only from the website at or by calling Alreasford station on 01962 733810.

Saturday 11th

Farmers’ and Craft Markets Sunday 5th

Alton’s Yuletide Festival

This spectacular Town Centre event attracts stall holders and visitors from across the region. The High Street and Assembly Rooms will be packed with people between 10am and 4pm. There will be fun and games for all the family including street performers and children’s attractions. For more information, visit or call the Town Hall on 01420 83986.

Sunday 5th

Christmas Cracker

Alton Community Centre will host stalls galore, Santa’s Post Box together with free mulled wine and mince pies. Admission is free.

The High Street and Cross & Pillory Lane will be closed for the finest produce from Hampshire Farmers and Craft workers between 10am and 2pm. and www.

Saturday 11th

“Pleasure in a Good Novel”

Chawton House Library hosts a lecture by Prof. Barbara Benedict from Trinity College, Connecticut and asks whether a reader’s gender shapes the reception of novels. Lecture starts at 7pm following wine & canape reception. Tickets on 01420 541010. Not all of these events are free of charge. Please contact the organisers directly for information of costs. Whilst every care has been taken to ensure accurate information, we cannot be held liable for any changes to events, cancellations or disappointment caused by incorrect information. Page 29

Saturday 11th

Ultimate Ladies Night

Proteus Theatre Presents

See the return of the ‘Ultimate Ladies Night’ from 7pm at Alton Assembly Rooms. Strictly over 18’s only. For details contact the Assembly Rooms on 01420 82203.

Saturday 11th

The Wonder of Christmas Concert

Alton Concert Orchestra, Alton Choral Society and Ancora perform seasonal music at the Maltings Centre from 7:30pm this evening. Traditional and modern Christmas music together with carols await those arriving for this free event. Please arrive early to avoid disappointment. Retiring collection. Contact 01420 81950 or see for details.

Thursday 23rd

Carols Around the Tree

Join the community at an open air carol concert around Alton’s Christmas Tree this evening and look forward to the coming day’s festivities. See local press for more details. Page 30

Outdoor Scene

Kids All In One Suits

Hats, gloves, coats, wellies, thermals, waterproofs.







16 High Street, Alton, Hampshire. GU34 1BN 01420 82990 |

Page 32

Photograph of the Month

High Water in St. Mark’s Square by Natalie Orchard Laying in the centre of Venice, the Piazza San Marco is one of the city’s most recognisable tourist attractions. It’s regular flooding at high tide is a novelty for the visitor but also an indicator of the threats facing this fragile place. From the book ‘The Colours of Venice’ available from

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Alton Greening Energy Day - Review Alton’s first Home Energy Day was a resounding success last Saturday. Organised by a small team from the Greening Alton and Holybourne Campaign, the event showcased a range of energy saving ideas, insulation, biomass boilers, wood burners, as well as the latest advances in energy generation – such as ground and air source heat pumps, photovoltaic panels and solar thermal panels.

Experts were on hand throughout the day to talk to residents keen to save money and energy – with a full programme of talks throughout the morning from local MP, Damian Hinds, Melissa Maynard from the Department of Energy and Climate Change and a line up of local energy experts. Visitors to the day were serious about their desire to save energy and money – whether through better insulation or investing in energy generation. With many queuing to talk about installing photovoltaic units on their roofs. Mike Barnsley, director of local company Ecolyf, which sells and installs carbon neutral biomass boilers said ‘I’ve talked to about five or six people who will probably go ahead and install a bio-mass boiler in their homes.’

Local builder, James Trower said ‘I called in today because I’m planning to attend a retrofitting course, run by Paul Ciniglio, who’s speaking today. This town is full of older homes which are leaking heat from walls, lofts and floors. I want to be ahead of the game and know the best techniques.’ Other local residents were signing up for a free GAHC Home Energy Survey, which will help them plan what to do first. If you missed the event, don’t worry. You can view the day’s presentations at Thanks go to Hampshire & Isle of Wight Community Foundation who, last April approved a small grant to cover the expenses under the Grassroots Grants scheme. The organisers are now planning to make the event an annual feature. Words: Penney Hames Photography: Martin Saban-Smith and James Willis

Page 34

Lantern Food and Health

Don’t get caught out this winter. Ensure your home and contents are covered.

Bringing ethical food to Alton

Call or drop in to Cobra Insurance Brokers to discuss your

Household Insurance

COBRA Insurance Brokers Ltd 9 - 11 High Street Alton Hampshire GU34 1AW

23 Normandy Street, Alton, Hampshire. GU34 1DD

Telephone: 01420 81494 Facsimile: 01420 541 336

01420 544522 COBRA Insurance Brokers insure all types of properties, including non-standard construction. We also offer many other insurances including motor, travel and all types of commercial insurance requirements.


3 Normandy  Street,  Alton  GU34  1DD   01420  87801   Stocking  a  range  of  art  supplies  and  materials  including  acrylics,  oil  and   watercolour  paint,  boards  &  paper,  pastels  and  pencils   NEW  IN  CARDMAKING  SUPPLIES  &  ART  SETS  FOR  CHRISTMAS   A selection of craft materials including kits and childrenÕs crafts .

Open Mon  to  Sat  9.00am  to  5.30pm    

1 5% Discount for art society members & students

Page 35

Moonfest Review Around 300 people braved the chilly October evening on Sunday 17th to witness some of the finest sights the universe has to offer as HantsAstro hosted the third Alton MoonFest on the Butts. More than 20 telescopes were set-up by the members of HantsAstro with support from the Guildford Astronomical Society. The evening started before the sun went down with people arriving to see some spectacular early views of the moon as it rose above the tree line. Children and adults alike then waited for darkness to arrive and the scattered cloud to clear into what was one of the most amazing evenings in the MoonFest’s memory. The temperature dropped further and Jupiter came blazing into view, not far from the moon in the south. Almost simultaneously, the telescopes slewed round to catch sight of the largest planet in our solar system together with four of it’s moons. The ‘wow’ factor was audibly evident from everywhere as visitors gazed upon this leviathan of a planet. Curiosity overtook many people and the astronomers were being asked what else they could look at, and sure enough the scopes started pointing in different directions. Some were looking at galaxies, others to star clusters and some to nebulae.

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Astronomy overall is a waning science, so for HantsAstro, sharing their knowledge with so many young people was fantastic. Group founder, Dave Woods said afterwards, ‘Kids are our future and to see so many here tonight was great. If we can ignite an interest in astronomy in young people then who knows, one of them may become one of the great astronomers of the 21st century.’ By 8 o’clock, every telescope had a queue of astro-hungry people waiting by it asking all sorts of questions. ‘How far away is Jupiter?’, ‘How big is the moon?’, ‘Why isn’t Pluto a planet anymore?’ and other more technical questions. A raffle, sponsored by Astronomia of Dorking was held to win a pair of 10x50 binoculars. The proud winner of the binoculars is local business woman Cathy Hogg. On hearing the news, she said ‘What a brilliant evening! I look at the stars with new eyes and the moon through a telescope was one of the most fantastic this have ever seen. Such a well organised and enlightening evening. And to win the binoculars in the raffle is pure icing. Thank you!’ Both HantsAstro and Astronomia hope she enjoys her first steps into astronomy with them. There is another MoonFest planned for November in Petersfield and you can find more information about this dynamic and free to join group and future MoonFests by visiting their website at

These dual telescopes on a hefty mount were very popular.

on through Photographing the mo one of the ‘scopes.

steps to Children needed e! see through som Astronomia of Dorking sponsored the event and raffle A 16” Dobsonian Telescope, dubbed a ‘Light Bucket’!

Background: around 300 people, young and not so young came to the event.

All photographs by Graham Green of HantsAstro.

Page 37

The Forgotten Emperor It is not every day that one digs up a piece of Roman history in his garden, but my grandfather did just this in 1957 in South East London, when he found a Roman coin (pictured right). The coin was tucked safely away in a box for over 50 years, and rediscovered recently when moving house.

Emperor Carausius on the front of the coin.

Goddess of health, Salus on the obverse.

They informed me that the coin in Roman times was worth about one pound, and that the emperor on the front was Carausius, which dated it from 286-293 AD. On the obverse is depicted the Roman goddess of health, Salus, holding a sceptre and feeding a snake on an altar. The archaeologists informed me there was a planned exhibition about Carausius at the Allen Gallery, Alton from 9th October, so I came along to explore. The exhibition is well worth visiting if you have a free couple of hours to spare. It mixes digital technology which gives a potted history of the late third century and is enhanced with impressive animations. There are original and replica Roman artefacts to view as well as entertaining and interactive displays for younger visitors. The story of Carausius is interesting: he was born in Belgium and eventually became a skilled mariner in the Roman navy, defending British coastal areas from marauding pirates. He kept some of their booty for himself, which led to him being condemned to death as a traitor in Rome. Carausius then made the surprise move of declaring himself the Emperor of an independent Britain, which met with approval among the British legions. Page 38

He successfully fought military campaigns against Rome, but was eventually betrayed and murdered by his treasurer, Allectus, who seized power for himself. Allectus’ rule was short-lived. The Romans invaded Britain and brought it back to heel under the Roman Empire. The first half of the fourth century then became a more peaceful and stable period in early British history. The Forgotten Emperor can be visited at the Allen Gallery on Church Street until 18th December. The gallery is open Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 5pm. Admission is FREE. For more information about the gallery visit allen-gallery Words: Martin Jacques Photographs: Martin Saban-Smith

Charwell House Business Event

More than 100 local area businesses attended one of Alton’s first business Expos on the evening of 13th October.

Top Left: Town Mayor, Cllr David Willoughby opened the event. Top Right: Jeremy (right) from ‘Presenting Your Business’ sponsored the wine for the evening.

Opened by the Town Mayor, he echoed comments by MP Damian Hinds on the variety and skills of Alton businesses. He also encouraged businesses to use each other for services they may be sourcing from elsewhere, and this point was also made by Charwell House MD Cathy Hogg in her speech to the assembled group.

Reports back from exhibitors suggest that all of them came away from the evening having gained more business or developed some promising leads. Cathy Hogg said ‘We’ll definitely be hosting another event like this, it has been an extremely successful first event.’

Above: David Woodruffe of Create Design Studio explains his work Right: The Universal Marking Systems stand. Bottom Left: Food was provided by the Balti Indian Take Away on Market Street. Below: Bee Varga from DS Hoops in Basingstoke entertained before the start.

All photographs by Brenda Taylor Photography

Many business owners exhibited their skills and products in a the show which featured trades from across many different industry sectors.

Page 39

Green Fingers As Chris from Garthowen wrote her piece this month, she began realising how the nights draw in throughout November and how it is so nice to leave the garden by twilight, walk into a warm house ready for supper and enjoy an evening by the fire. It wont be too long though until the light evenings are back and we can work until 10pm in the garden!!! Autumn is now well upon us with all those leaves blowing around and it seems we are always sweeping them up. November can be a great month in the garden for tidying up and its the natural planting time for bare rooted plants as well as potted ones. The ground should not be too wet yet and still warm from summer. Watch out for early frosts and do not plant when there is frost in the ground.

Take care not to disturbs hibernating wildlife, such as toads and hedgehogs

Feed the Birds!

Bedding Plants and Containers

Feed the birds and drain down water fountains and water computers, and store pumps and computers in frost free conditions. Also bring in hose guns after use.


Lay well composted leaf mould on the veggie plot or ready for digging in. This will make room for the new leaves gathered this Autumn. Leaves can also be stored in compostable hessian sacks. Keep turning over the compost heap.


Mild days are great for planting hardy plants and bare root hedging. Protect newly planted evergreens with a fleece wind break, and water regularly if it is a dry month. Stake and tie newly planted trees and taller shrubs and add a rabbit guard if rabbits are a problem. Protect tender plants that cannot be moved under cover with fleece straw or bracken fronds. Page 40

Apply a slow release fertilizer such as bonemeal and mulch with bark or leaf mould. Cut back tired perennials to the ground but leave any seed heads that might give wildlife a feed and also leave any stems that give winter interest.

Deadhead pansies, and keep clean of fallen leaves. Watch out for containers drying out, but also raise them off the ground onto pot feet to help stop them becoming sodden in winter.


Leave do a lot of damage if left on the lawn so rake them up regularly. Sweep up worm casts and scarify to remove dead grass, badly drained lawns should be spiked. Complete any turf laying and if you need to mow then choose a dry day when the grass is not wet.


Prune out old raspberry blackberry and loganberry cans and tie in any new ones Start pruning apples and pears and once the leaves are off apply a winter wash.

Veggie Garden

Not much to do really this month. Dig over empty ground and dig in manure. Leeks and parsnips can be left in the ground until needed. Some Brussels might be ready now.

You can plant Garlic now which benefits from a cold snap.


Clean up and make sure the heating system is working. Sow some winter lettuce early in the month in the ground but ventilate on sunny days. Water only in the mornings. Wash down benches pots and tools.

What you might need this month

Hessian sacks. Leaf rakes. Leaf grabs. Big hands. Rootgrow. Pot feet. Bark chip. Winter wash. Secateurs. Loppers. Jayes fluid. Broom. Bubble plastic. Tip Bags. Edging iron. Farm yard manure.


Clean up but take care not to disturb hibernating wildlife. Continue to feed a wheat germ winter food. Take out pumps, service them and store away. If not already done then net the pond against leaves.

Christmas Trees Nordmann, Norway Spruce, All sizes available from 27th/28th November. Wreaths, mantle toppers, Stands, Glass baubles, Interior and Exterior lights and more!

Alton Lane, Four Marks, GU34 5AJ

01962 773225

Page 41

Healthy Living An embarrassing itch! Mary-Anne Barber of Lantern Food and Health explains how we all know that we need to eat to keep healthy, but how often do we stop to think about the effect of the food we ingest on our health? Over the years, I have known and met many people who have suffered from an annoying, often recurrent infection – thrush. We know that a yeast-like fungus, Candida, causes thrush. What many are not aware of is that low levels occur naturally, usually in the gut because warm humid, airless conditions are its preferred habitat. In a healthy individual, beneficial gut bacteria and the correct level of acidity enable us to harbour Candida without any ill-effects. Occasionally, however, these natural control mechanisms may be disrupted by illness, stress or natural hormonal changes. Diabetes or a diet rich in sweet, refined foods may also contribute to imbalance. When this happens, a pathogenic overgrowth of Candida may occur causing thrush and its associated, embarrassing symptoms including irritation, discharge, soreness and pain while urinating. In some people, Candida may also be responsible for weight changes, cystitis or a host of other symptoms that result from the underlying disruption of the body’s natural population of micro organisms. Because the broad spectrum of symptoms may equally relate to other disorders, it is important to get a positive diagnosis from a qualified professional before considering the options for treatment. f you are unfortunate enough to get thrush, the advice is to avoid sugar and food containing it, dairy produce, except yogurt and cottage cheese, yeast and yeast products, cured and smoked meat products, refined grain, fermented products such as alcohol and Page 42

vinegar, tea, coffee and cola. Fruit and fruit juices should also be omitted from the diet. Remember also that artificial sweeteners can encourage growth of Candida, and processed foods frequently contain sugar and yeast. Hot spicy foods also upset the natural balance of friendly gut bacteria’. Initially this is quite daunting! Shopping becomes a nightmare for, as soon as one looks at the ingredients, all those hidden ‘no-no’s’ appear. “What is there left to eat?” I hear you cry. Well, I believe the key is to think food in a different way. Begin to look at foods that are not processed and work towards a rich, varied and balanced diet that can help prevent our exposure to these Candida organisms ‘gone mad’.

Foods that may be eaten without restraint include: * Vegetables, especially broccoli, cabbage and sprouts * avocadoes * limes, lemons, blackcurrants and cranberries or cranberry juice (unsweetened) * beans and pulses * whole grains such as quinoa, millet, basmati rice, oats * olive oil and cold-pressed oils of sunflower, safflower or linseed * unhydrogenated margarine * pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds * soya or rice milk, unsweetened * yeast-free soda bread, rice and corn cakes * freshly cracked nuts (cracked as needed) * sprouted pulses and seeds

Seasonings and flavourings permitted include garlic and onion, all herbs and mild spices, including cinnamon, coriander, cumin and turmeric.

It would also be wise to avoid the common skin irritants found in many mainstream body products including parabens and SLS. More natural alternatives are available!

To cut down on the need to scrutinise labels, remember that many organic and traditional foods are less heavily processed and contain fewer sugars, colourings, preservatives, etc. Whatever you may or may not believe about the ‘organic movement’, one thing is certain, the foods are less polluted, do not contain hidden extras. It is a bit like using the print preview on modern PCs – wysiwyg – what you see is what you get! And, once you develop the habit of preparing fresh wholesome food, your general health will also improve. As this is only a general guide, please do consult your doctor or nutritionist who should be able to provide more detailed guidance. So much for the problem and dietary control, but what else can we do to prevent exposing ourselves to an excess of Candida organisms? Other accepted antagonistic factors promoting conditions for thrush infections include: * steroids, including progesterone creams * immuno-suppressive drugs * antibiotics * natural hormonal changes * stress * nutritional deficiency * excessive use of drugs or alcohol * tight clothing The contraceptive pill and HRT have also been implicated in recurrent thrush but evidence for this is not yet conclusive. It therefore makes sense to consider whether any of these factors apply and, if so, can we do anything about it? Natural remedies that may help are: * aloe vera gel or calendula cream applied to the skin * herbal teas, particularly ginger * antioxidant supplements, probiotics, garlic and caprylic acid (coconut oil) * grapefruit seed or olive leaf extracts * barley grass powder

Whatever you do, be sure of the diagnosis. Do not self-diagnose and as stated earlier, the symptoms can also be those of other conditions so it is important to have an accurate assessment of your condition. It is also important not to cease medication for other conditions without the advice and approval of your doctor or other health professional. One final thing to remember is that we are all different and just as different factors may have triggered a thrush infection, so different things may alleviate the symptoms of it and effect recovery. Page 43

ALTON ASSEMBLY ROOMS Saturday November 13th 9.30 am - 4.30 pm

● displays ● live performance ● fun FREE ADMISSION

KIDS HALLOWEEN DISCO FRIDAY 29th OCTOBER – 5pm TILL 7pm Fancy-dress competitions for both the kids and parents. Plus magic, games, prizes and treats!

HOSTED BY STEVO THE MAGICIAN Tickets: CHILD £2.50 & ADULT £1.00 – Tel: 01420 82203

Maps of Reality Our brain is a fascinating organ, explains new columnist Melanie Cowpland of Kariba Consulting. This organ that we take so much for granted actually works along very specific programming paths much like software in a computer, and most of the time we are completely unaware of what it is doing. In fact, the total brain processing capacity can be defined as the total number of pixels in this picture:

Of all the pixels in the picture, we are conscious of the number of pixels in the tiny white spot in the centre of the image (arrowed). Those few pixels include everything you are aware of and sensing right now. However, you may have become aware of patterns in your behaviour (normally the ones that don’t serve you well and appear to sabotage your ability to achieve certain goals in life) that when your ‘brain programme’ is running, it is hard to be self aware enough to interrupt it and change the behaviour. These programmes represent our maps of reality. In other words, we are filtering information out of our conscious awareness and what we maintain in our conscious awareness is our map (our perception) of reality.

Everyone has their own unique map based on their individual experiences, beliefs, culture, values, and assumptions. So as we explore reality, our perception is coming from the inside, via the filters we have created ourselves and what we think is reality, is in fact our own construction of it and will vary from that of other people. An example would be 50 people who went to the same party. They all will have perceived the event differently and when asked about it, they will all have something different to say. If we all perceive life in the same way as each other, there would be very little to talk about and it is this simple diversity between people which can make it so interesting and fun when we interact with others. What is good to know is that you can change your map by changing the filters. What is also good to know is that if you do this effectively, your life experience will improve dramatically in the way you want it to. If you see life as limited, you will experience limitation; if you see it as unlimited the world becomes your oyster. In effect, you can choose to have total control over what happens to you. The most effective methods found are EFT and NLP, although others methods used, but not limited to are Hypnotherapy, CBT, PsychK, and at the most simplistic level, affirmations. You can find out more about Melanie and Maps of Reality by visiting her at

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In a world where choice seems to be offered at every turn, should we not be asking ourselves if choice really is a good thing? As a child I was always told ‘you will get what your given and be grateful’, and accepted this as normal seeing as I was not the paying for it, but just the other day I witnessed a parent giving their child a choice of almost the entire sweet shop and then becoming angry when the child could not make their mind up! But is that the fault of the child for being indecisive or the parents for offering such a choice to someone so young? As adults, we are confronted with choice every day, some of which are obvious and we spend considerable time contemplating them, but there are some that we have become so immune too that we may not even realise that we are making them - should I go to work today? Choice! What should I wear to work? Choice! Should I have a regular or large coffee? Choice! There are of course other choices we make like ‘do I want children?’ and ‘what house should I buy?’ but these have a far greater emotional attachment to them and therefore we take far longer to make them. But what about all the choices that we have to make every day of our lives - what affects them? I feel that the answer to this is more obvious than most of us would think, and basically boils down to good old fashioned money! After all, would you shop at Primark if you could afford to shop at NEXT? Some people however make bad choices and do exactly this and choose to live beyond their means, continuing to shop where they can’t really afford to and living a life they want, rather than the one they been dealt with the funds made available to them. Page 46

Instead they choose to stack up debt on credit cards and overdrafts and not worry about the outcome of their current choices. If you are lucky enough to have made all the right choices in your life and so enabled you to avoid debt, you cannot have failed to notice that choices relating to money are very much in the news at the moment. Many people feel that making child benefit means-tested was unfair, but others feel that it was that person’s choice to have a child, so why should others pay for it? After all, if any of us bought a Rolls Royce, would we expect others to pay the running costs? Of course not! The ‘bubble’ of choice has well and truly burst and each and every one of us needs to realise that our choices have a real cost, and although we may not see it coming out of our own bank accounts, we are still paying it through our taxes. So next time you read in the paper or see on the news that the new government is having to choose what cuts should be made to local and national services, in a effort to save money and reduce the amount of money being paid in interest on the money that has been borrowed to provide such services in the first place, ask yourself this – how would I feel if it was my own money and I was forced to tighten my belt? What would you cut back on? Your car? Your home? Your holiday? I am sure that you will agree that not all choices are either good or easy ones, and sometimes are made under great duress and pressure. However, one choice that we can all make is, is to spend a little time thinking of and helping others, so I very much hope that you will all attend one of the many events being staged for Children In Need on November 19th and make the choice to help those less fortunate than ourselves.

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This is Alton issue #5 November 2010  

Another packed edition of This is Alton. Increasingly large event guide for the festive season as well as articles about the Youth Council,...