The Edge Magazine May 2016

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MAY 2016




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The Edge 235_The Edge 172.qxd 4/21/2016 8:22 PM Page 3





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The Edge 077 646 797 44

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The Edge Editor’s Column TOM CRUISE MOVING TO CHELMSFORD In a huge surprise to everyone in Los Angeles, sofa bouncer and Hollywood actor Tom Cruise has revealed he is moving to the “Chelmsford area of England� because he has “grown tired of the L.A. lifestyle� and is looking for a big change in his life. Whoa, he’s sure as hell going to get that if he comes to live here. “I feel that, at this point in my life, I’d rather just live in a place full of real, genuine people,� says Tom. “I’ve visited Chelmsford a couple of times over the years and the people there are real. They’re genuine. Sure, every community has its problems, but the people there are good, decent folks (heck, how many of us has he met?) who care about their community. Those are the things I find most important when deciding where to live.� He continues to gush, “I’m not retiring, I’m just looking to make a change in my life and I think

I’ve found it in Chelmsford.� Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha. Pick me up, somebody. Locals have already taken to social (spit) media to welcome the diminutive A-lister into our fold. “We live in Chelmsford and we’d be happy to show you around the sights, Tom,� says one lady. “A few beers in our favourite bar and you’ll soon become an honorary Essex Boy.� I’ll bet he can hardly wait. Another says, “What’s really strange is that I heard at the beginning of last month that he was considering moving to East Grinstead because that’s where the headquarters of the UK branch of the Church of Scientology is based.� Meanwhile Jayne says, “You are most welcome to join our lovely community in Chelmsford and pop in for a cup of tea any time you like, day or night. Even during the night or in the early hours of the morning, if you like, Tom. x� Eve says, “Have lived in Essex all my life. Have lived in Chelmsford for the past 30 years. Love the place and the people. You really can’t go wrong moving here.� Patty says, “I was a proper, dyed in the wool Londoner who moved to Chelmsford 10 years ago and hope to see out my last days here.� Cripes. This is a good one from Sarah. “Dear Tom. I’d be happy to do a house-swap with you. I’ve got a three-bed right near town. What have you got to offer me?� “Cool. Let me know where you end up?� says Cheryl. “Do you fancy coming to watch Chelmsford Chieftains play ice-hockey with me?� asks Louise. “They serve a cracking pint in The Ship,� offers Justin. “Good on you, Tom. It will be a pleasure to have you. See you in Asda,� says Chez. Christine reckons, “Wow! What brilliant news.

Wish I still lived in Chelmsford. Still, I’m only thirty minutes away.� “Chelmsford is pretty damn we have got a new bridge now (see page 11 for further details on that front, readers). What more could you ask for?� queries Alice. Although suspicious Stu errs on the side of caution by saying, “This has gotta be some sort of a wind up, surely?� “RRRRRRRROMFORD!� suggests Phil. This one’s a cracker: “Come down the RE Club,� proposes Stevie. “Best Guinness in town, mate!� Fancy calling Tom Cruise ‘mate’. The Edge has been down to the Royal Engineers Sports & Social Club, just a bit further along beside the Empire Palace, many moons ago and Stevie’s right, that could just offer Tom the kind of relaxation and privacy he’s probably craving, as opposed to Escedra. So what do the rest of you think, readers? Is there really any truth in these rumours? If you recall, Brad Pitt chose to stay at Channels Lodge (recently celebrating their tenth anniversary and featured in The Edge last month) when he was filming scenes of his excellent movie World War Z, right? So maybe we truly have got something to offer that I’m just not seeing, although for the life of me I’m struggling to think what it might be. Only can you just imagine Tom getting caught in traffic at the Army & Navy roundabout? Or joining Virgin Active. Or popping into the Nisa store on Sandford Road for a pint of milk late one night. Or jogging around Hylands Park. Or having a latte outside Costa? It surely can’t happen, can it? THE EDGE Chelmsford CM2 6XD 077 646 7 97 44

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Thrifty couples tie the knot on a Thursday

All Botox Saints Caught but a fleeting glimpse of the All Saints girls (nay, women) sat on the BBC Breakfast TV sofa one morning recently - and it was but a fleeting glimpse - yet oh my god, what an advertisement for Botox these ladies are. All apart from Shaznay Lewis, of course, because as we all know, black don’t crack. I couldn’t honestly believe my eyes, although why I was so surprised I haven’t really the foggiest as everyone’s seemingly doing it these days. It’s just that the three of them all looked like porcelain - not dolls, obviously - but you take The Edge’s point? Botulinum toxin. It’s almost as popular as a can of Diet Coke, or so it seems. “Roll up, roll up, get your facial expression paralysed into place.” And that’s what it looks like, doesn’t it? People’s skin looks like plastic after they’ve been on the injections. Their emotions all but seem to disappear and they are prone to the non-expressive stare of a child’s doll of some (strange) description. But what get’s me is that the people who regularly have such injections must think the after effects look way better than the alternative, which is, of course, a face that has aged (and wrinkled) naturally with age. It used to be called growing old gracefully, but not any more.

Thousands of couples are choosing to marry on a Thursday because it is significantly cheaper than getting wed at the weekend. Tying the knot midweek can cut thousands of pounds off the cost of venues, catering and entertainers, whilst friends and family travelling long distances to attend the nuptials can generally get cheaper deals on flights, rail travel and hotel rooms. Saturday has long been the traditional day to stage a wedding, but at a time when many people are struggling with the cost of living, 21,700 couples chose to marry on a Thursday during 2015, a figure that is up 6,000 on 2008. The editor of says, “Thursdays are proving popular as many venues charge the same rates on a Friday as they do on a weekend. With many venues booked up months, sometimes even years in advance, a Thursday wedding can also offer couples a better chance of securing their first choice venue.” Of course, the beauty of a Saturday wedding and this is something that selfish bride and grooms-to-be ought always take into most serious consideration, no matter what the extra costs involved - is that guests can have the comfort of sleeping off their shenanigans the following day without having to take a precious days holiday off work. Because hey, you simply cannot have a dry wedding, can you? So if Thursdays are becoming the new Fridays on which to arrange a wedding, then where does that leave Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays? After all, everyone hates Mondays, don’t they? So surely a Monday wedding would be a brilliant way to kick-start any given week?

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Stephen Alexander Hairdressing


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“A sun terrace with a view” The Edge has introduced you to Torrox in Southern Spain once before, but is doing so again as it flew out there only recently for a long-weekend, via Ryan Air from Stansted, and don’t you think this is simply a view to die for (above)? It’s the view from a two-bedroom town house owned by some friends of ours and obviously there’s Torrox church and the sea in the distance, but I just love all of the rooftops, although I appreciate many of you might prefer an outlook that’s a little less busy. Do any of you recall seeing Torrox featured on the programme The Hotel Inspector with Alex Polizzi? At the time it was aired, sisters Sarah and Karen just had La Casa Hotel, but more recently they’ve branched out and taken on the splendid building you see (below, left) in the main square. We decided to dine there on the Saturday evening of our most recent stay and if you’re ever out in that particular part of Spain (Torrox is near to Nerja) then make sure you book a table. We enjoyed a La Casa Hotel Inspector Alex Polizzi fantastic evening and it was great to meet the sisters who ended up having their supper at the bar together later on in the evening (Sarah is front-of-house while Karen is in the kitchen). We all had piri-piri sizzling prawn starters to share, because we absolutely love that dish, before two of us opted for the mussels in a white wine jus (and they are big, meaty mussels at that) whilst the other two plumped for the leg of lamb. It was all so totally delicious, washed down by a couple of bottles of red wine that Sarah had recommended to us. We were far too stuffed to tackle any desserts, but when presented with your bill (about 120 euros in total) they also offer each diner some sort of Tia Maria with cream on top - something like that at any rate - which we all thought was a very nice touch. Only don’t take The Edge’s word for it as Ms Polizzi vouches for La Casa too!

DOORS - DOORS - DOORS ‘Cheerful Bob’ & Bros. inc. ‘Serious Chris’ & ‘Forgetful Dave’ - all ‘Alive & Fitting’! Family Business Est. 1979 Internal/External, Hardwood/Softwood, Stairs & Spindles a speciality. Visit our door stall on Saturday’s at Chelmsford Market

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“We will help you reach every milestone gracefully.” Another Level Medispa was established over 11 years ago and is one of the most innovative Salons/Clinics in Chelmsford, as well as being an Ambassador Clinic for Obagi Skincare in Essex and boasting an affiliation with Harley Street Skin of London. “I founded Another Level Medispa in 2005 and it has been an amazing journey,” says owner Perminder Birk. “I had a vision of opening a salon/clinic that would bridge the gap between a beauty salon, a dermatologist centre and a non-surgical cosmetic clinic. Thus the use of Medispa combines both the spa experience with the high end procedures that give the drastic visible results from innovative technologies, which our clients rightfully expect today.” The Clinic is situated right next to The Shire Hall and in front of Chelmsford Cathedral at the top end of Chelmsford's Perminder Birk High Street, making Another Level Medispa both more accessible and convenient for their clients and reflects the cosmopolitan aspect that is central to ALM’s image. “Our main focus is on the latest technologies such as Cryopolysis (fat freezing - coolsculpting) and TriActive+ Body Sculpting & Face Tightening using radio frequency, Deka IPL Laser & Nd Yag system for Hair Removal, Skin Rejuvenation, Thread Vein Removal, Nail Fungal treatments, Cryopen (skin tag, age spot and other minor lesion removal), Medical Microdermabrasion, Mesotherapy Serum Infusion (for hair loss, skin rejuvenation and skin lightening), Skin Peels, Skin Needling, Tattoo Removal (coming soon), Botox, Fillers and an extensive range of beauty therapies for the modern consumer.” At Another Level Medispa, all visitors will find treatments to meet both their needs and, most crucially, their beauty and skincare ambitions. “It has always been highly important to me that all our clients have the opportunity to fulfill their aesthetic desires in today’s image conscious society in order to improve both their confidence in the workplace and their social lives,” stresses Perminder. “This is all achievable without spending thousands of pounds or by going under the surgeon’s knife!” Whatever your needs, ALM are sure to have the products and treatments you need to meet your goals, whether it’s... • Standard Waxing or a more permanent solution, Laser IPL & ND YAG Hair Removal. • OPI GelColor, Eyelash Extensions, Tanning, Semi-Permanent Make-up and Facials to both enhance and embrace your style and image • Our extensive range of products includes Obagi, Epionce, Dermalogica, Jane Iredale, Tebiskin, Skin Med & Skinceuticals (coming soon) Come and visit us We have a beautiful relaxing Spa Room for all nail treatments with a majestic view of Chelmsford Cathedral. On the ground floor we also have a Café where fresh food is baked and grilled and prepared on site. We serve Illy coffee, wine, champagne and beer (fully licensed). And if you are looking for a couples pamper Spa Day we offer a double treatment room with afternoon tea. Another Level Medispa - for pure relaxation where you leave all of your stresses behind you “We will help you reach every milestone gracefully.” The Edge 01245 348256

Lesley Reynolds and Dr Aamer Khan Page 7

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CITIZEN Loyalty Cards - up in the air or down on the ground, do+47they stamp of approval? (1.5'4&7) 94 2*247.8* 4+9*3 4'8(:7* 74:9*8 385.7&9.43 9-* get your .9.?*3 is(41:23 (&3 to Citizen old enough (42* .3 2&3> <&>8 remember Green Shield &3) >4: 3**) 94 +.3) .9 Stamps. <-*7*;*7 >4: (&3 "4 “What were they?” a 9-.8 *3) .9.?*3 -&8 94 number of you may well (43+*88 9-&9 9-.8 ask. To be truthful, they 2439-D8 5.*(* 4<*8 .98 were 47.,.3a94phenomenon, & ;.8.9 94 9-* principally of the 50’s :7.3&18 .3 9-* $*89 and 60’s, were"4<3 the !9&3) &9 and 58<.(precursor of the loyalty

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"-*7* -&;* '**3 -:,* .3(1:).3, 9-* /&22.3, Some years897**98 or so after the aforementioned progeny 4+ (.9> 15 (*397* .3 2&3> 2&/47 (.9.*8 .3(1:).3, had grown &7.8 out of disposable nappies, pur43)43 &3) "474394 &8 )7.;*78we 4+ were 9-48*still 97&).9.43 chasing scented bags'1&(0 to contain and &1 1&3)2&70 (&'8nappy '* 9-*> >*114< 47 neutralise <-&9*;*7 the 1.; product of our lovable, and much missed, bearded collie *7> & (.9.*8 +&9-*78 ).(9&9* &99*259 94 89*2 9-* +14< 4+ en-route the poop-scoop bin after&3) business had been #'*7 &3)toC5*78:&)*D (.9> (4:3(.18 49-*7 14(&1 1.(*38 completed during The#'*7 result, apart from being .3, &:9-47.9.*8 94 ‘walkies’. C4:91&<D 9-* &55 "7&385479 +47 responsible owners, was9-.8 to be consistently targeted 43)43 -&8dog 7.,-91> 7*8.89*) 3 9-* # 9-*7* -&;*for'**3 &99*3)&39 with Clubcard offers baby5749*898 products51:8 even9-* though our (.9> (*397* '14(0&,*8 kids were, by that time,.3well&3(-*89*7 on their way 1&8,4< to their &3) GCSE’s. 49-*7current 2&/47crop (.9.*8of #38:757.8.3,1> 5*7-&58 9-* #3.9*to The Loyalty Card offers are multiplying #3.43a .8 &184 .3;41;*) such degree that you couldn’t possibly carry them all 9 9-*your 8&2* 9.2* 9-* 97&).9.43&1 34<1*),*D 9*89 are about person, although help isC at hand as these <-*7*'> 57485*(9.;* (&''.*8 App ,4 9-4:,increasingly coming with43)43 a Smartphone option &3 - and *=-&:89.;* '> together 245*) <.9-&3)1* 24:39*) or most can be97.&1 saved in Apps such'&7 as ‘Stocard’

9-74:,-4:9 4:7 (&5.9&1 .8 9-7*&9*3*) '> 9-* :3.;*78&1 Apple’s ‘Wallet’. &);*39 4+ 9-* 8&93&;after so many qualifying purchases A free cup of coffee !4 >4:D) .2&,.3* .9D8 349 & ,7*&9 9.2* 94 '* & 9&=. )7.;*7 from Costa is well worth having, as are many of the offers <-&9 <.9- >4:7 ':8.3*88 24)*1 9-7*&9*3*) '> 9*(-3414 available. However, one or two of what Citizen regards as ,> 349 431> 43 43* +7439 ':9 43 9<4 +74398 &3) .9.?*3 the best loyalty schemes are sadly no longer with us. -&8 *;*7> 8>25&9-> &8 4:7 (&''.*8 &7* 9-* 8&19 4+ 9-* Surely Rolls-Royce of these now)7.;*78 defunct&3) schemes *&79- the *=(*11*391> 034<1*),*&'1* :8:&11> was Pizza Express ,7*&9the7&(439*:78 944 Club. Like several of the better loyalty schemes, it required an affordable annual ‘joining 4<*;*7 9-* ,7*&9 #'*7 89&3) 4++ 7*2.3)8 .9.?*3 4+ fee’. However,.3in9-* Citizens’ view, you<-*3 couldn’t Pizza 9-* 8.9:&9.43 *&71> *.,-9.*8 9-* invent 57.39 :3.438 Express if you tried. is possibly &3) the most egalitarian 97.*) 94 57*;*39 9-* It.3974):(9.43 :8* 4+ 3*< 9*(-341 restaurant chain9-* in the loved enjoyed by din4,> 94 7*51&(* 41) country, 97&).9.43&1 C-49and 2*9&1D 574):(9.43 ers of all ages and social backgrounds, welcoming fami2*9-4)8 lies42548.9478 and couples &3)alike. 49-*7 97&).9.43&1 <470*78 .3 9-&9 .3):8 In early80.11*) formative someone with The 97>its<*7* ,:>8years, 8*7;.3, :5 94 &came >*&7up.3)*39:7*) Pizza Express Cub for94an7*&) annual payment, &557*39.(*8-.5 <.9-whereby, 9-* &'.1.9> :58.)* )4<3 you &3) '&(0 94 +7439 &3) 24;* 1.3*8for4+a 2*9&1 9>5*a -*3(* received a quarterly voucher pizza and 175ml C1.34 9>5*D of&74:3) 94 574):(* & 5*7+*(91> 1&.)got 4:9a5&,* glass wine, whilst on your birthday you £10 3 +&(9 +47 and )*).(&9.43 9-*.7 (7&+9 .9every <&8 quarter 2:(- 1.0* 9-* voucher another94£10 voucher if you (&''>D8 034<1*),* completed an online 9*89 or paper-based review of a restau7.39visit. :3.438 8:(- &8 9-* 1&.) 8.*,* 94 9-* 3*< rant ".2*8 51&39 &9 $&55.3, ):7.3, <-.(- 9.2* 9-* 3*<85& At a conservative estimate, the quarterly voucher was 5*7 <&8 349 5:'1.8-*) .3 if you worth at least £15 a time+47so,&74:3) all things 2439-8 considered, 9 4((:77*) .9.?*3 number &9 9-* 9.2* 4+ 9-* 5749*89 &3) provided the94requisite of reviews, a membership 43(* &,&.3 <.994)&> 8 )*243897&9.438 &,&.389 #'*7 would get you at least a £110 worth of food and bever9-&9 per .3,member. &3:9* -.28*1+ & 9-743* 43 9-* '&308 4+ ages And with43couple’s membership avail9-* "-&2*8 &9 4(01&3)8 )*2&3).3, 9-&9 9-* 7.;*7 able at around £85 that gave you £220 in pizzas and wine +14<8 .3 9-* 45548.9* ).7*(9.43 <4:1) :19.2&9*1> -&;* &8 or beer - in excess of a 250% return on your investment. 2:(- *++*(9 No wonder they closed it - possibly when the ownership ;*39:&11> &3) .3*;.9&'1> 9-* 3*< 57*88*8 7411*) &3) became a little more corporate in their outlook, or perhaps 3*< 9*(-3414,> <&8 &)459*) 9-74:,-4:9 9-* .3):897> hired accountant? &8 .8 an &1<&>8 9-* (&8* '*(&:8* >4: 8.251> (&3349 :3.3 Yet is not lost 43(* as Pizza ;*39all842*9-.3, .9D8 Express 9-*7* still provide fairly regular47online discount vouchers offering 9-* 57.39 .3):897> 9-74:,-4:9 9-*between 1&9* D830% &3)and 9-* 40% the little '.,,*7 cardboard get in the &3) *&71>off, D8plus .9 85:73*) &3)cards '*99*7you 3*<85&5*78 supermarket they give you with "4)&> the restau*;*3 8&< 9-*boxes, 1&:3(-or 4+that 3*< 3&9.43&1 9.91*8 rant bill34 to make back.3)*5*3)*39 They also partici8&)1> 143,*7sure <.9-you :8 come &3) "-* 9-&9 pate the excellent ‘Tastecard’ scheme. *;*3in247* 8&)1> (148*8 &8 & 57.39 *).9.43 43 9Citizen, itself4+as+:79-*7 fairly well versed in the art &7(- who 5&791>thinks &8 & of 7*8:19 9*(-3414,.(&1 of ‘marketing ;*3 speak’, was9*(-3414,> amused with.3 their explanation &);&3(*8 3*<*7 9-* +472 4+ 9-* to members, they gave a year’s notice the clo- 4+ .39*73*9 -&8when .25&(9*) 43 7*;*3:*8 <.9- & of2.,7&9.43 (1&88.+.*) .3 5&79.(:1&7 &3)“responding 5745*79> sure of the &3) scheme, telling us7*(7:.92*39 that they were &);*79.8.3, 94 <*'8.9*8 43 7*&)*78-.5 to what members had told&3) them.” As if! Surely<.9it’s a431.3* 2*&38 example 4+ 3*<8 of )*1.;*7> superb turkeys voting for Christmas - perhaps 5:'1.8-*78 +47 *=&251* ".2*8 &3) for31.,-9*3*) a role as part of that year’s Yuletide 9-* Pizza topping? &.1> &.1 &3) 9-* 4<3*78 14(&1 enjoyed 9.91*8 .3(1:).3, Another paid scheme which 4+ Citizen that is no'499-* 88*= $**01> *<8 &11 longer with us-743.(1* was the&3) Hard -*128+47) Rock Café’s former ‘All 8&< <-&9 <&8 -&55*3.3, &3) &)&59*) 8:7;.;* 574at Access’ membership than enabled you to94queue jump ):(.3, *=(*11*39 *).9.438restaurants &143,8.)* 9-*.7 57.39 busy times in their431.3* most popular - something 4++*7.3,8 .8 in9-*New 0*>York &)&59 8:7;.;* but that worked 3) very9-.8 well and 94 Barcelona, "-.8 <&8 led <->to complaints .9.?*38 ;.8.9in94London 9-* :7.3&1 &9 58<.(inevitably because of the nar"4<3 <&8 43* 4+ 7*1.*+ .3 247* <&>8 9-&3 43* &8 .9 row entrance and length of ‘the line’ when you joined it. ).8(4;*7*) 9-&9 97&).9.43&1 9&=. )7.;*78 &184 -&) 9-* You also got All Access Rewards offers off food. 455479:3.9> 94 &)&59 &3) 34< -&) 9-*.7 4<3 &558 94 The replacement ‘Rewards’ scheme, which is free, (425*9* <.9- 9-* .3. &' )7.;*3 #'*7 records visits and gets you one of those enameled pin !:'8*6:*39 44,1* 7*8*&7(- -&8 8-4<3 9-&9 9-*7* &7* badges, much(425*9.3, loved by Americans Olympic Officials, &9 1*&89 9<4 &(03*> and &77.&,* C-&.1.3,D &558 forC milestone visits, but 8:(now, perhaps fairly, 1&8,4< favours mem*99D (4;*7.3, (.9.*8 &8 43)43 bers who .72.3,-&2 live in, or visit, **)8 &3)countries *< %470with &3)a Clarge &.14Dconcentra9-&9 tion of restaurants, such&85*(9 as the &3) USA,7*9:73*) Germany94or9-* Spain, ).9(-*) .98 57.;&9* -.7* C5:7. rather England where(94'*7 they originated - but where 9>D than 4+ '1&(0 (&'8- 1&89 they remain only in London and(&'8 Manchester, two .9.?*3 .8 (43+.)*39 9-&9 '1&(0 &3) 9-*.7with (-**7> more over border9-* in Edinburgh and Glasgow. )7.;*78 <.11the <*&9-*7 #'*7 89472 &3) 7*.3;*39 9-*.7 Also you45*7&3). now only&8 get49-*7 to queue jump every three94visits. 24):8 .3):897.*8 -&;* -&) )4 .3 Perhaps the most prominent and upmarket user of loyalty 9-* ,74<.3, +&(* 4+ 9*(-3414,> cards is George Clooney as the corporate and<.11 4<*;*7 .9 .8 349 &8 (43+.)*39 9-&9 C"-* downsize 34<1*),*D 8:7;.;* &8 expert 9-* ".2*8 411.38 <749* termination Ryan(41:23.89 Bingham in-.1.5 the excellent film “Up .9 .3 -.8 9- *'7:&7> In7*+*77.3, The Air” 94(2009). His(41:23 idea of43 post-coital activity isA to9-* sit 80.11his.8 hotel 7*):3)&39 "-*the 34<1*),* on bed, with naked, and9&0*8 very 9-7** lovely >*&78 Vera &3) & 8&93&; <.9- and &3 &334>.3, )4 .9 .3 collec8*( Farmiga, admiring comparing;4.(* their (&3 impressive 43)8of"-* 9&=.hotel )7.;*78 & 1&:,-cards! B tions 5-star and&7* club-&;.3, class airline 3*=9 9.2* -42*turned .9.?*3 <.11 It’s.3&11> hard 9-* to imagine they58<.(would &7* have&9been on to -&;* 94 (-*(0 9-* 3&2* 4+ 9-&9 &55 94 of(43+.72 the same extent4:9 comparing their collections Green 9-&9 .9 944 <&83D9 & 1&:,Shield Stamps-&;.3, booklets, isn’t it?47 *;*3 9&0.3, 9-* 5.88 The Edge 01245 348256

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Final Broadchurch

Giant Snails My wife is forever telling me that if I ever see any snails on ‘her plants’ in ‘our garden’ that I must, without fail, pick them off and chuck them in our brown wheeliebin, stuffed full of our lawn cuttings and what have you. So thank god we don’t live in East Africa (as opposed to East Anglia, although I wouldn’t want to live there either) if these buggers are anything to go by. Just look at the size of ’em, readers? And up to 8 inches some of them grow to. Don’t they look as though they could have your entire arm off? What’s more, they each lay up to 200 eggs 6 times each year with a 90% survival rate per egg. Furthermore, they generally live up to 5-6 years old, with the oldest since Giant Eastern African Snails have been recorded living up to the age of 10. But on the plus side, simply think l’escargot. At least a dish of these bad boys fried in a pan of garlic butter might actually fill one up.

Charlie Higson, formerly of The Fast Show, is among half-a-dozen new faces who have recently started filming the third and final series of Broadchurch, starring the excellent Olivia Coleman and David Tennant. Shot mainly in Bridport, Dorset, the second series received mixed reviews, particularly considering the huge popularity of the original story, as the plot appeared a bit convoluted, so this third and final effort definitely has its work cut out. Either way, The Edge has already booked its place on the sofa with a large bag of Maltesers every week (they’re light, so you can eat a lot more of ’em, you know) as it just loves it, not to mention the scenery.


“Tide’s coming in, Miller.”

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THE HAIRY MONSTER CHELMSFORD VAINEST According to an article in the Metro newspaper, Chelmsford men are the vainest in the country. However, upon analysing the criteria for this character assassination, it appears that the company carrying out the survey included the amount of time Chelmsford geysers spend working-out in the gym. Now I reckon that being 'health-conscious' is not the same as being vain. Further analysis reveals that the survey was actually carried out by Jacamo, which is a clothes retailer for men up to size 5XL. I think we can therefore assume that the survey may be flawed in as much as it was obviously designed to make fat bastards feel better about themselves.

DECRIMINALISE ROUGH SLEEPING I was relieved to see that public pressure has forced Chelmsford City Council to amend its Public Spaces Protection Order to 'decriminalise' rough sleeping. As a fervent supporter and regular volunteer with the Crisis homeless charity, I was appalled that people who have nowhere to live could be demonised by our elected councillors, as was evident in the original draft. Let’s face it, nobody chooses to be homeless in the 21st century. Furthermore it is a gross indictment of our society that we allow vulnerable people to sleep rough at all. Maybe the next full council meeting could try changing tack and consider ways of helping the less fortunate, rather than persecuting them.

TWO NEW TYRES I was well chuffed when I advertised my car for sale and got an immediate response from a potential purchaser who duly arrived an hour later to view. Well, he certainly seemed to know his onions because in the space of about fifteen minutes, he had explained to me why it was the 'wrong' colour, that it would imminently need a major overhaul and at least two new tyres, that it was high mileage and would probably only last him a year before it was only worth scrap value. He then made me an offer which I declined. I told him I couldn't possibly live with my conscience if I sold him such a wreck. He then telephoned me several times over the following few days, but by then I'd decided to keep it. That was two years and 15,000 miles ago and it has since passed both its MoTs. But he was right, you know. It will soon need two new tyres.

BEEFY GENDARMES While driving back from Paris in a camper van a couple of weeks ago, we pulled into a lay-by to stretch our legs and have a cuppa. It was a lovely spring afternoon and we left the side door open as we sat at the table scoffing croissants and coffee. However, every few minutes the tranquillity was broken by cars pulling up alongside us, peeping in, then speeding off. Now camper vans are not exactly uncommon in Europe, so we were bemused by the apparent curiosity of the locals. Our puzzlement was answered a short while later when a police car screeched to a halt and two beefy gendarmes poked their heads inside our door. It appears that it is customary for ladies of a certain profession to park their cars in lay-bys with the doors open to signify that they are available for business (excuse the pun). The police obviously saw Skooby's camper and thought they'd discovered a mobile brothel.

JUSTICE In the last year we have lost Errol Brown of Hot Chocolate, Lemmy of Motorhead, Ben E. King and David Bowie, yet Jedward remain in good health. Where's the justice?

NAME IT? Mani, 6, and sister Indy, 4, were playing a game of 'Name It' yesterday. Mani challenged Indy with 'it has legs but can't walk'. Indy spotted this one straight away. “A table,” she said. Then it was her turn. “It has hands, but no fingers.” Mani got this one with “a clock.” Mani's turn again - “It has ears, but can't hear.” No hesitation. “Grandma,” said Indy. Can't argue that one.

MEMORY LAPSE I'm sure we have all woken up in the night and thought of something terribly important or funny, and then woken in the morning only to have forgotten what the feck it was. I recently woke up, having dreamt the funniest joke ever, and thought it was so hilarious that there was no way I'd ever forget it the following day. Only wrack my brain as I did, I could not recall it. So to prevent this from ever happening again, I purchased a voice-activated dictation device to position by my pillow so that I can in future record my most epic thoughts and theories during the night. And so the following morning I played back my very first recording, which was an hour and a half's worth of snoring, followed by a long beep when the memory ran out.

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Chelmsford’s latest tourist attraction If you were a huge fan, like The Edge, of the Danish/Swedish amalgamation of the cop series (three series, in fact, although me and Mrs Edge preferred the first one) The Bridge, then no doubt you’ll have been just as excited about the opening of Chelmsford’s very own bridge that now connects the Army & Navy roundabout with Chelmer Village, as opposed to the epic Oresund Bridge that connects Copenhagen with Malmo. The Edge has been across our all new bridge (it’s elevated off the ground, isn’t it, therefore it must be a bridge) a fair few times already and loves it’s ‘lofty position’ offering far better views than that which it replaces. “I keep on expecting to see Saga Noren (above) pulling alongside me in her henshit-green Porsche,” comments The Edge Editor, “hanging her skanky leather strides out her window to get some fresh air to the gusset, but it never happens.” Meanwhile, Saga’s co-star Martin Rohde says of Chelmsford’s latest tourist attraction, “Ay, ya. It is good, no?” And if that’s not confirmation enough of a bridge well built, then The Edge doesn’t know what is. Although Chelmsford’s latest Blackwater Navigation crossing isn’t nearly as impressive as the 8 kilometre Oresund Bridge, it is just as important to us locals as it allows Chelmer Village folk to get to Frankie & Benny’s, whilst those travelling in the opposite direction can take advantage of both the Fox & Raven and Miller & Carter. “It’s an ideal cross-fertilisation pact,” said someone at the council.

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Friday Night Pizza a la Woodley’s

Reduced Grub

An airline trolley-dolly has come up with a remarkable new blog called Reduced Grub and reckons she’s saved up to £18,200 over the past 5 years on her supermarket shop without her family even noticing the difference. Mum Kelly Eroglu says the secret is shopping for reduced sale items which is something The Edge household is yet to consider. “I shop like a ninja,” admits Kelly, whose efforts have been praised by Scottish sofa sloth Lorraine Kelly, “although we still eat really well.” How so? “Shops reduce their produce at different times, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it,” she insists. “M&S tend to reduce items throughout each day, whereas Asda seem to leave it as long as they possibly can until they relent. You’ve just got to shop more wisely.”

It’s absolutely brilliant. If you haven’t yet experienced this cosy monthly affair, then you truly surely must. Apart from being two of the nicest people in the world, this husband and wife team have come up with such a cracking formula (pizzas cooked and served from a horsebox, eh?) and serve up such beautifully fresh pizza. It’s amazing just how many people turn up, then wander off to their cars carrying boxes of pizza with the steam pouring out of the ventilation holes up into the night sky. There’s something just so...I dunno...but it’s an experience of how things really ought to be that these days we’ve somehow tragically lost. There’s a warmth to the proceedings that makes you feel all rosy and glowing inside. So it’s not just the pizza you’ll adore, as The Edge is convinced that a monthly visit to Great Waltham Village Hall car-park also psychologically does you good. We took a couple of cold bottles of Desperados round and scoffed our fresh piping hot pizza in the car. ’Andsome.

Woodley’s Pizzas

Breathtaking Locations We don’t have many in Chelmsford, that’s for sure. But we all enjoyed watching The Night Manager, I trust, and there were plenty of breathtaking locations in that. One of which was the restaurant by the sea at which Roper’s (Hugh Laurie) son was kidnapped, remember (see above). I thought it looked familiar as I was watching the plot unfold on TV and it seems I was right, as I’ve actually been to that restaurant, though unfortunately not to eat; simply to walk through it one lunchtime when there wasn’t a customer in sight. It’s called Ca’s Patro March and it’s at a place called Cala Deia which is on the north western coastline of Mallorca. We’d caught a bus from Palma to do a trek - and I recall it was a pretty tough walk in places with a proper hairy moment when we ended up trying to scale the side of a cliff face by mistake - from the lovely little town of Deia to Port Soller. Cala Deia is just down the road through a lovely olive grove at the start of the walk and the restaurant is perched on a cliff, easily viewable from a much less salubrious cafe/shack where we had a cold beer down by the shore. Apparently a typical fish platter at the Ca’s Patro March includes calamari, lobster, swordfish, monkfish, shrimp and grilled head of rock fish. But hey, there’s always Loch Fyne in Chelmsford if you want a bit of seafood. However, you’re unlikely to see Michael Douglas and Catherine ZetaJones at the Chelmo Loch Fyne, although they are apparently regulars at Ca’s Patro March as they own a villa nearby. Mallorca’s a lovely island and I have absolutely no idea why people visit it solely to go to Magalluf. We enjoyed a long-weekend over there a couple of years ago on the east coast, not too far from Cala Millor, and that was gorgeous too. Also cycling from El Arenal to the fantastic capital city of Palma is easy-peasy along the coastal boardwalk and I’m really wondering whilst writing this why we haven’t been back there since. So don’t miss out on Mallorca, readers, as it really is a gem of an isle.


FRIDAY 20TH MAY Village Hall car-park, South Street, Great Waltham.

Palma, the capital city

Peurto de Soller

There are some wonderful beaches down the east coast of Mallorca Page 12

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What we knew all along The Edge always figured that it was complete and utter cobblers when parents state that they love their children equally. No they don’t. They all tend to have their favourites and, as a general rule, it often turns out to be their first born. Shock, horror, a recent study has confirmed that almost 75% of mums and 70% of dads confessed to liking one child ahead of another. While many parents felt decidedly ill at ease in specifying which one that was, when siblings were interviewed, results confirmed that younger brothers and sisters often sensed a bias towards their elder sister or brother. Local Chelmsford boy Lenny (above left) pretty much confirms the fact when he reported to The Edge, “I always felt my ma ’nd pa favoured my elder brother Luke (above right) ahead of me, on account of the fact that to this day they always call me shit-for-brains instead of by my real name.” It is felt that such treatment can often dent a younger child's self-esteem and, as if to confirm the fact, Lenny is a binman while his elder brother Luke holds down a high-powered job in the city. Meanwhile, The Edge Editor himself thinks that all parents who only have one child ought to be tarred and feathered. He states, “Look at me. I’m an only child and just look at the way I’ve turned out. I wouldn’t wish such abject loneliness on anyone.”


01245 251111 3 Can Bridge Way, Chelmsford * Terms & conditions apply, see salon for more details.

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Where we feel happiest

Shear Impulse The Fling - a boutique festival of music, cabaret and comedy, curated especially for adults - will take place on Saturday 2nd July at Hylands Park (see front cover) so secure your tickets now, folks.



Adult Toys

Perfect for your Pleasures! 3 King Georges Place, High Street, Maldon, Essex CM9 5BZ Tel: 01621 841 555 Mob: 07792 769 701 Email: @shearimpulse

Page 14

It’s a true festival like no other where a rich diversity of entertainment is celebrated with surreal theatre, incredible storytelling and ultra-curious sideshows. In all, nearly 5,000 of you have come to expect an eclectic mix of performances arriving in Chelmsford from far and wide, including some much loved underthe-radar new talent that The Fling regularly manages to unearth on an annual basis to entertain its audiences well into the night.

It’s a fact, our gardens are where we feel the happiest at home, a totally biased study conducted by Alan Titchmarsh and Charlie Dimmock has discovered. Perhaps it’s the tweeting of the birds, the rustling of the trees, or that old washing machine parked up against the shed that really does it for us. What’s more, the study shows that the more plants we have and the bigger our garden, the happier we will be. ‘A beautiful garden, designed to one’s own needs and inclinations, might stimulate detachment from work and thereby foster an individual’s ability to cope with the burdens of daily hassles’, the report suggests. Meanwhile, friends of The Edge who run The Bates Motel in Writtle, have a back garden full of fake grass, so have recently taken on an allotment which they plan to sow with (you guessed it) fake grass.

Camping facilities are also available and new for 2016 are luxurious yurts to offer the ‘select few’ a sleeping experience like no other right next to the festival arena. For up to the minute information visit

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Last of the Launderette?


Alfie is apparently the most popular pet name in Britain, which just sucks so far as this mag is concerned. Pet owners must be proper namby pamby’s if they’d choose the likes of Alfie over, say, Rover, Griswald or the somewhat enigmatic Dog Breath if they owned, for example, a pug. Meanwhile Charlie is the most common name for a cat. Charlie? Whatever happened to Mr. Tinks, Pussy Galore and Nine Lives, eh? Apparently 805 animals have been named after foods (no doubt Biscuit and Whispa score higher than Chip Butty and Gingster), 567 after musicians (Bowie probably tops Mouskouri, as in Nana), whilst 704 names have been inspired by popular TV and movies, such as Marvel (what, Marvel the budgie?), Star Wars and Game of Farts. So ?here are some alternative Edgestyle pet names: Bert, Hubcap, Helmet, Brisket, Areola, Uncle Tom Cobley, Reykjavik, Halfway Line, Numbnuts, Poison, Ruth, Pet, Betty, Toolkit, Power Of Attorney and Never Wipes Its Arse Properly.

One of the last bastions of where boy meets girl is unfortunately threatened with extinction. That’s right, folks, the launderette, a mainstay since the post-war years, is today pretty much out on its arse. Britain’s first self-service coin operated launderette opened in Bayswater back in 1949. The number of launderettes peaked at 12,500 in the UK during the 1980s, yet have been on the slippery slope ever since, with latest figures showing the total has dwindled to just 3,000 in more recent times. Tut, it’s a shocking state of affairs, ain’t it just, lady Edge readers, who will no doubt fondly recall Nick Kamen taking off his Levi 501s in a commercial set in a launderette with a brilliant soundtrack back in the, er, enigmatic eighties. So what will happen to all of the My Beautiful Launderettes that remain? Sacrilege, is what it is. They ought to become listed buildings.

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Westminster Outdoor Living Q. Tell us a bit about the company - who started it and when? The company was incorporated in 1990 by Robert Houlton who is still at the helm. We started from humble beginnings, operating through a handful of retailers that became two handfuls the following year. Twenty-six years later we now operate through a countrywide network of stockists and have also developed business through interior design studios. Our clearance items are always very popular on the website and we have also been successfully running a small showroom at our head office in Uckfield, East Sussex, for the past few years. Following the successful opening of our very first retail showroom in Tunbridge Wells last year, we are delighted to be able to continue our growth with a new store in Chelmsford which opened in March. This is a big step forward in bringing the Westminster brand to the high street and to an area which continues to grow and flourish since achieving city status. The new Chelmsford store on Springfield Road (opposite Tesco) displays our complete range of outdoor furniture with the addition of Weber BBQ’s and accessories.

Q. What’s your most popular line in garden furniture? An interesting question, with no one definitive answer. Trends change year on year in relation to materials. Ten years ago our sales would have been predominately teak. Five years ago it was synthetic weave. Where as last year it was aluminum, synthetic weave, moulded resin and stainless steel. It’s an interesting time. Outdoor lounge sets are definitely becoming more and more popular as people replicate their living room outside. Our new range of Sunbrella™ fabric furniture and cushions are ideal for this as they can be left outdoors during all weathers, all year round. Yes, really!

Q. What gives your furniture the edge over other brands? It’s the whole package, from design, quality of raw materials and manufacture, right through to our after sales care. We are at pains to make clients aware that we use only the finest materials available and that we adhere to all the fire standards with our cushions. Another relevant point is that seasonal goods need to be available in the season. We hold very high stocks of furniture in order to make this possible, so that you won’t be disappointed with an item being out of stock.

Q. Any general tips on looking after garden furniture? Good quality outdoor furniture should need the bare minimum of maintenance, such as a sponge down with soapy water. Here at Westminster Outdoor Living we offer a range of cleaning products for maintaining your choice of furniture, plus covers to help keep the furniture clean out of season. We are always on hand to answer any maintenance questions you may have, so all you have to do is give us a call if you’re unsure about anything.

Q. What’s new and what’s going to be big in 2016? We believe that the products we are showcasing will appeal to a large cross-section of potential clients, which is mainly due to the wide variety of materials and prices we offer to suit all tastes and budgets.

We are hosting a Weber BBQ event on Saturday 28th May with cooking demonstrations and advice from a Weber expert.

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The Edge 077 646 797 44


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BUTLINS at BOGNOR REGIS! OK, so you may recall in last month’s editions I mentioned that LengthyBoy had hoodwinked me into going on a stag doo with him to Butlins at Bognor Regis. The stag was a guy who works for The Length (Lengthy is proper important these days and has lacky’s who work for him) and there were a crew of about 20 of us in total, only I didn’t even know it was at Butlins until I’d parted with my £130 in cash across a table in Chelmsford’s Slug & Lettuce one Friday evening just before Christmas. We left Brentwood, where Lengthy’s offices are, at about 1:20pm on a Friday afternoon and the conversation was mainly manly, about work and what was currently hacking us off, on the route down. However, on the girly front, we both took far too much gear as neither of us knew what we’d fancy wearing for two consecutive nights out on the lash, so we just bunged a whole load of stuff into the back of Lengthy’s brand new Mondeo estate (210bhp and goes like stink) which also has a tailgate that opens and closes automatically, which I was dead impressed with and not a little jealous about. Eventually we got down to Bognor and it was as cold as hell, even though the sun was shining. Our immediate port of call was to Sainsburys for booze and snacks and then it was off to Butlins itself. My God, I had never seen anything quite like it. Cars queuing like that scene towards the end of Field of Dreams (“build it and they will come”) and illuminous jacketed security pesonnel checking that everyone was kosher before raising their barriers. We luckily found a parking spot amongst a whole sea of cars and immediately cracked open a couple of beers whilst we just sat there, in the motor (maybe that’s a ‘man thing’?) listening to some music and generally unwinding. To be honest, they went down that easily that we immediately cracked open another couple, before commandeering a trolley and taking all of our gear and booze to the appropriate check-in desk where we were issued with wristbands and a map of how to find our self-catering chalet. OK, so something else that Lengthy-Boy omitted to mention was the fact that we didn’t have our own chalet at all. We were sharing one with two other blokes who’d already checked-in ahead of us, so bagged the room with two single beds in it, leaving me and The Length to share the double. For a few seconds I honestly felt as though I’d been well and truly stitched up. Only then I saw the funny side of The Length’s lies and deceit and just thought, ‘Feck it....let’s crack open another beer.’ Soon after we’d unpacked, Lengthy said, “Oops, I’ve forgotten to bring a towel.” So I chucked him mine and said, “Try and only use half of it.” But


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he said it was OK and that he’d have a Spanish shower instead. “A Spanish shower?” I queried. “Yeah,” he smirked. “No shower at all, heavy on the deodorant.” After a bit it was time to go out for the evening, around 8:30pm, with a pink clipboard (Lengthy had it in his car; he uses clipboards for his work and says he keeps putting them down and losing them, but he’s never lost the pink one). Why with a clipboard? So chicks could remember us and nudge each other and go, “Look, there’s those two goons with the pink clipboard.” (TBH I like to take notes, plus we wrote our address on it, should anything untoward occur: Oyster Bay/Turtle Grove room 101, which Our chalet doesn’t look very Frank Skinner would doubtless have salubrious, does it? approved of.) When we got to where it was happening, it was like walking into another world. Have any of you ever been, readers? Some grey haired bloke was on stage singing ‘Burn Baby Burn...Disco Inferno’ and some woman I got chatting to said, “If you can’t change it, embrace it,” and clearly there’s a lesson in that for someone like me who is just not used to doing that and isn’t at all sure anyone ought to. (After all, he was approaching middleage, was wearing a shiny suit and was singing a right naff old song.) A further peek at my pink clipboard shows me that there was a group on stage shortly afterwards singing ‘These things I do...cos I’m stone in love with you’, originally by the Stylistics. Hell, it might even have been them, I don’t know. But what I do know for a fact is that Alexander O’Neal was on stage after them, still alive and in person, that Friday night. I also got chatting to this married couple from Birmingham who often spend the weekend at Bognor Butlins and were dressed up all seventies style, like, and I honestly couldn’t get my head around that either. Only then I saw her, at 12:30am (in the early hours of Saturday morning), my little Dancing Queen, who was gyrating like no other girl I have ever seen gyrate before. So I think I ended up watching her for the next couple of hours until it was definitely time for bed. Next morning we were up relatively early (ten-ish), showered, half-aSaino’s-cooked-chicken each (that had been festering by the side of my bed for the past 18 hours) and back on the lash fairly pronto (well, I was). The four of us sharing then had a bloody good chat about football before wandering off to a bar filled with lots of opposing fans and TV screens for the Spurs v Arsenal match, which was brilliant. Sadly/Stupidly, I then chose to carry on drinking and also take in the Watford/Leicester game, so that when I eventually got back to our room I thought I’d just have a little snooze...and promptly fell fast asleep. Yep, everyone buggered off out that night without me and when I woke up at 9:00pm, even though that was ‘well early’ by Butlins Bognor standards, I felt groggy and just couldn’t be arsed to get out of bed. The Length got back by midnight, stating that it wasn’t as good as the previous evening, so that was pretty much that. Only despite not touching a drop on the Sunday or Monday, I definitely still didn’t feel fully compos mentis until the Tuesday as that’s kind of what I figure these weekends are all about: getting totally trolleyed. Would I go again? I don’t know. Maybe. But not in a hurry. We were lucky to have a chalet that was right at the very end as I wouldn’t fancy people walking past at all hours of the day and night gawping through the window to see who’s home. Christ knows how many individual chalets there are, but there’s a TV and a refridgerator in every one, so some salesman at Curry’s definitely got his commission when Billy Butlin walked in flashing his gold card one day.

Bognor Regis Butlins The Edge 077 646 797 44

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North/South Divide

How can this be the same person? Just what has Renee Zellweger done to herself? She doesn’t even look as though she’s the same person any more, in a quite alarming way, as opposed to, you know, a good “hey, have you just dropped 10 kilos” kind of way. Christ knows what’s been going on with her behind the scenes, but it all smacks of a bit of the old John Travolta and Nicolas Cage in Face Off, don’t you think, because you’re never going to mistake one of those guys for the other. Her eyes look so totally different. They’re larger, whilst her eyebrows seem as though they sit lower god, it’s so weird. The Edge has never known any celebrity to ever pull a cunning stunt like this before. Imagine if a friend of hers popped round and the all new Renee answered the door. “Sorry, wrong house,” the visitor would naturally be forgiven for saying. Renee herself puts her whole new face down to the fact that she’s eventually found happiness.

It’s happening all over again. They now reckon that the cost of a home in the affluent South is now double that of a similar abode in the poor old North, from whence your editor hails, where we generally eat nowt but dripping on bread and pour gravy all over our pies on the rare occasions we can afford ’em. Aye, the average house price in southern Britain has recently broken through the £300,000 barrier, whilst the national average house price rose above £200,000 for the very first time. The average price for a house in the South is now £313, 670 whilst in the North it’s just £150,917. So why don’t we all go and live oop North and benefit by getting far more for our money? Simples. It’s because you Southerners think it’s an entirely different land. My god, sometimes I even need an interpreter down ’ere to make myself fully understood, by ’eck. So what hope for any of you Southerners up where I came from, eh? You wouldn’t last five minutes as you’d be continually getting into fisticuffs with folks, imagining that Northerners were continually having a pop at you, whereas in reality, all they’re doing is ‘speaking as they find’ and ‘telling it like it is’. Meanwhile, the further North you go, the cheaper it really does become, as the average house price in Scotland is £139,911. Thanks, but no thanks. It’s probably all come about by the recent changes in stamp duty, but the South has historically always been more affluent than the North, hasn’t it, which is why we look down on ’em. Yes, even I look down on Northerners too these days, so it just goes to show that you lot are rubbing off on me. ’Ere, pass the champers, will you? After all, it’s just gone 10:30am.

EDGE French Delivery Truck What do you think about The Edge’s latest acquisition, readers? It’s a hee-haw hee-haw French delivery truck that I’m going to get all liveried up and stashed full of mags so that I can come down your road, parp me French horn (a bit like an ice-cream van will churn out his tune) and then you can all come running out and collect the latest edition from me whilst I’m sporting a beret and a string of onions around my neck (plus all of the latest under-the-counter DVDs, dodgy watches and the odd bit of contraband and what have you). Good idea, or what? It’ll certainly save on wear’n’tear of me main motor and also double as a DTV (donkey transportation vehicle) - don’t ask. The wife’s bought a donkey and she’s determined to show it off at shows the length and breadth of the country. I’ve just loved these French trucks since I used to watch Peter Sellers in the old Pink Panther movies, so it’s really nice to own one at last.






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Such a state to get into A job I truly hate at the start of every Spring is jet-washing our patio(s) as one tends to gets into a right old two-and-eight doing so. Perhaps if I’d contacted Lionel (see his advert below) I wouldn’t get into such a mess, although admittedly wearing a yellow t-shirt wasn’t wise. The patio by our house is fine as it’s flagstones, so it’s only discoloration you have to deal with. But down at the bottom of our garden, in our quiet, secluded, zen-buddhism-zone (oh yeah), exactly whose idea was it to have cobblestones laid (in order to remind me of Coronation Street as I’m so far bloody south? Ah, yes. That would have been my idea, wouldn’t it just. Only moss and gawd knows what else seems to grow in between the cobbles over the dark, dank winter months and it’s a proper nightmare getting it all out and making it all spick’n’span again. I gave it a right good crack though, as you can see, and it does tend to come up pretty much like new, but it sure as hell is a messy old job. So perhaps Lionel’s sealing technique’s are food for thought as I reckon I’m not the only one who hates getting out the jet-washer? I love jet-washing our patios at It is great uncovering the garden furthe start of every Spring.... not. niture again though, isn’t it (what do you mean you never even bother to cover it up from one year to the next?) and getting out all of the odds’n’ends and trinkets that have spent the winter in the shed and hanging them up in the trees always feels a bit like a new beginning to me, if that’s not a little too poetic for some of you. Because let’s face it, a garden is an extension of the home, when all’s said and done, and if you’re doing your job properly, I truly believe it ought to be as nice on the outside as it is on the inside. To my mind, that’s also why living in this country drags us all down so much, due to the fact that we have to spend so very much of our time living indoors, when there’s a whole lot of living outdoors to be done, including cooking, socialising and crackling evening fires. So at the end of the day, an afternoon spent reinvigorating the patio is worth it and time well spent, although I must contact Lionel.

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Sacre Bleu! I started watching the recent Maigret thing with Rowan Atkinson (nice to see him in a serious role for a change), which was actually filmed in Budapest, and I can only imagine how Montmartre - my favourite district of Paris - must have been back then in the 1950s. OK, so I figure some of you are already thinking a visit to Chelmsford’s Cafe Rouge might replicate that certain feeling, only you’re having a laugh, surely? Just what must Paris have been like 65 years ago? And would some of its ladies have worn dresses with the fronts cut so low as in this painting of that era (below)? I often long for a time when things were clearly far classier than they appear to be now. A time when ladies wore dresses at the weekend and gentlemen wore sports jackets and trousers, instead of bloody shell-suits. We need a bit of the old ‘hee-haw’.

French Cafe Scene

Making a Statement Check out this metal horse for making a bit of a statement in your garden, readers, rearing up on its hind quarters. Perrywoods Garden Centre I saw it at, out Tiptree way. Unfortunately it’s a bit on the big side for ‘Edge Towers’ back garden, but some of you readers might have a garden that can take it, not to mention the pockets that can afford it - although I didn’t manage to clock the price. Be lovely to be able to buy stuff on such a grand scale though, then strap it to your roof bars and whisk it back down the A12. But alas, some of us have to make do with somewhat less grandiose ornaments, more egg cup sized.

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An Unfortunate Grand National I was challenged by someone at work to come up with a short work of fiction that included all of the horses in this year's Grand National. Naturally I have never before written anything like this before, so here goes:I decided to have a weekend away with my best friend, Boston Bob. We had originally planned to have OnenightinVienna but the flights were sold out, so we decided to take a trip to France instead. We are both cautious with our money and like to Buywise, so traveled via EasyJet. But upon reflection, I wish I'd spent a bit more, as by the time we got there, my back was definitely Aachen. To be frank, the few extra pounds wouldn't have made any difference, given the extortionate price they charged me for a cup of coffee. After all, It wasn't exactly anything special. Just same old Katenko I buy from Lidl. Predictably our flight was delayed (probably because the baggage handlers were on strike), which meant that we didn't get the chance to see the Rocky Creek. This was a real shame as it had been recommended especially to us by The Druid's Nephew (you know that chap? The bloke who's dad is the First Lieutenant in the army and is friends with Mick O'Faolains Boy?). To be fair, it was a good job that we didn't go to the creek as it was quite a long way from the airport (the other side of a little town called Triolo D'Alene to be precise) and the last part of the journey needed to be completed on foot. Neither me or Bob had our coats with us and there were Many Clouds and Black Thunder in the skies, so there’s a fair chance we would have got soaked through to the skin.. So instead of the trip we decided to go to a pub called the Vieux Lion Rouge (which I

couldn't help but pronounce in a Del Boy accent) which was in a picturesque little village called Le Reve. Nice! The pub was lovely and quaint and I was over the moon when I noticed that they sold bottles of Soll. A few beers later I got talking to an English ex-pat called Ross who turned out to be the manager of the pub. He had taken the decision to move to France to enjoy a more relaxed way of life and to escape the English weather. My conversation with him had started because, oddly enough, I’d noticed a drawing on the wall of Charlie Dimmock (of Ground Force Fame) and I’d asked him what that was all about? He said, "Charlie Dimmock. Are you kidding me? That's Ray Parlour. You know, ‘The Romford Pele’ who used to play for Arsenal." I said, "Oh yes, of course it is." Ross replied, "Well, if you think that's good, you should take a look at Vics Canvas on the wall." So I did, and there in front of me was a most impressive hand painted picture of Didier Deschamps. "That's amazing,” I said, “but who is Vic?” Ross explained that Vic was his dad and that he had painted the picture for him as a gift before returning home to his house on Home Farm in Sussex. He said that Didier was born near to the pub and that the locals idolised him for what he had done with the French national team. So much so, in fact, that they often referred to him as Sir Des Champs, and so his dad thought a giant picture of him on the wall of the pub would be good for business. A few hours passed and I was getting full from all the beer, so Ross asked me if I fancied a Gin & Tonic. I said, "Sure, I'll have a Double Ross, and we continued chatting about football." Sounding exasperated, Ross explained to


me that he was a frustrated Arsenal fan. He said that they could have won the league this year, if only Arsene Wenger wasn’t such a tight fisted Unionista who refused to splash the cash. He said, "If only we had bought a recognised striker instead of wasting our money on unheard of foreign players like Gilgamboa and Silviniaco Conti." Meanwhile Bob was at the bar chatting up a couple of girls. He seemed to being doing OK, so I left him On His Own. Only a short while later Bob seemed to be struggling, so I decided, as his wing man, that I should do my bit to help. The girls seemed genuinely pleased to see me and introduced themselves. "Hi. My name is Holly and this is my friend, Pendra from Estonia," Holly said. "It’s a pleasure to meet you both," said I. "You are both very beautiful." Naturally my Wonderful Charm worked a treat and the girls seemed to love my flirtatious banter. A few drinks later and I felt I could Rule the World. I was certainly loving the thrill of the chase and Holly was so impressed with my one-liners that she excitedly asked me, "What kind of Saint Are you?" I joked, "Trust me, girls, I'm no saint, but I can certainly be a sinner when I want to be! So why don't you take me back to your place and I’ll show you why all the girls in the UK call me The Last Samuri?” I admit it was a naff chat up line, but it seemed to do the trick as, before long, we were Kruzhlinin down the motorway and back to the girls apartment. Well, the drinks continued to flow once we arrived and I put on a bit of Simply Red from my iPod and snuggled up on the sofa ready to make my move. When the time was right (‘Holding Back The Years’ if I recall correctly) I gave Bob the nod and he headed off into the bedroom, leaving me and Holly sitting on the sofa, so I leaned in for a kiss.

Billy Hinken Unfortunately what ensues for the next 6 minutes and 49 seconds cannot be published on these pages...suffice to say I was pretty impressed with my lovemaking skills. As I rolled off I turned to Holly and asked her whether my performance deserved a Gallant Oscar? One look at her face told me that it didn't and that I would be lucky to scrape Just a Par, rather than a birdie. I can honestly say that, as I sat there, naked on the sofa, I hadn’t felt so embarrassed in all my life (well, except for that time when I wet myself during Morning Assembly at primary school). So I started to ruminate about all of the things that I could have done wrong, but all I could think about was, with regret, was trying to stick it up her Hadrian's Approach. I mean, what was wrong with me? What kind of perverted individual tries to do that on a very first date? Sorry, readers. Unfinished, and have run out of space! E.E.


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INTERNATIONAL PAPER COMPANY A redneck from Georgia decides to travel across the south to Virginia. When he gets to Franklin, he likes the place so much he decides to stay, but first must find a job. So he walks into the International Paper Company office and fills out an application form. As luck would have it, they just happened to be looking for someone, but first the log foreman decided to take Bubba out for a ride into the forest in the company pick-up truck to see how much he really knew. The foreman eventually stopped the truck at the side of the road, pointed to a tree, and said, "See that tree over there? I want you to tell me what species it is and how many broad feet of lumbar it contains?" The redneck promptly answered, "That thar is a white pine. ’Bout 383 broad feet of lumbar in 'er." The foreman was impressed. So he put the truck back into drive and stopped about a halfmile further down the dirt track, pointed out the passenger window and once again asked the same question. "That thar’s a lob lolly pine. She's got ’bout 480 to boast." Once again the foreman was impressed. This boy Bubba was quick to answer correctly without the use of a calculator. So, one more test. They drove on a little further in silence until the foreman stopped again, only before he could even ask, the redneck said, "White Oak. 242 broad feet at best." So the foreman spun the truck around and headed off back to the office. A little ticked off, due to the fact that he wonders whether the redneck thinks he’s the smarter one of the the two of ’em, the foreman asks him to step outside the truck. He then hands Bubba a piece of chalk and says, "See that tree over there? I want you to mark X on the front of it."

A KITTEN NAMED LUCKY If you were expecting a heart-wrenching story about a kitty that got run over by a truck, lost a leg, then dragged itself 25 miles after being bitten by a poisonous frog, then you’d be entirely wrong. Meet Lucky, the kitty.

The foreman reckons to himself that only an idiot would hazard a guess as to which is the front of a tree. But when Bubba reaches the tree, he walks round it looking at the ground before confidently placing a X on the trunk. He then walks back to the foreman, tosses him the chalk and says, "That thar's the front of the tree." The foreman laughs at him sarcastically and says, "Now how in the hell do you work that out, boy?” Bubba says, "Because someone took a shit right behind it."

WARNING LABELS I'm not saying let's go kill all the stupid people. All I'm just saying is, let's remove a warning label or two and see if the problem doesn’t work itself out.

NICE TACKLE A woman goes into a tackle shop to buy a rod and reel for her grandson’s birthday. She doesn’t know which one to get, so she just grabs any and goes over to the sales counter. A clerk was standing behind the counter wearing dark glasses. She said to him, “Excuse me, sir. Can you tell me anything about this rod and reel?” He replies, “Ma’am, I’m completely blind, but if you’ll drop it on the counter, I can tell you everything from the sound it makes.” Well, she is sure she doesn’t believe him, but drops it on the counter anyway. The clerk says, “That’s a six-foot Shakespeare graphite rod with a Zebco 404 reel and 10lb test line. It’s a good all-round combination and it’s on sale this week for just £25.00.” Flabbergasted, she says, “It’s amazing that you can tell all that just by the sound of it dropping on the counter. I’ll take it!” As she opens her purse, her credit card drops out onto the floor. “Oh, that sounds like a Master Card to me,” the clerk chortles. As she bends down to pick it up she accidentally farts. At first she is really embarrassed, but quickly realises that there is no way this blind man could tell it was her who tooted, because he simply wouldn’t know that she was the only person in the shop at that time. So the clerk rang up the sale and said, “That’ll be £39.50 please, madam.” The lady is totally confused, so asks, “But didn’t you just tell me the rod and reel were on sale for £25.00? So how did it get to £39.50?” He replied, “The rod and reel is definitely £25.00. But what about the extra Duck Call at £11.00 and the Catfish Bait at £3.50?”

SURPRISE GIFT This is Lexi. She's an 8 week-old German Shepherd pup. I bought her as a surprise for my wife, only it turns out she’s allergic to dogs, so we are now looking to find her a new home. Her name is Beverley. She is 57 years old. She is a beautiful, caring woman with a full clean driving license.

MAD AXE MURDERERS Dear paranoid people who check behind shower curtains for mad axe murderers: If you find one, say, what's your plan?

SERIOUS HEALTH ISSUES Do you have feelings of inadequacy? Do you suffer from shyness? Do you sometimes wish you were more assertive? If you have answered yes to any of these questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist about

Cabernet Sauvignon. Cabernet Sauvignon is the safe, natural way to feel better and more confident about yourself and your actions. It can help ease you out of your shyness and let you tell the world that you're ready and willing to do just about ought. You will notice the benefits of Cabernet Sauvignon almost immediately and, with a regimen of regular doses, you can overcome any obstacles that prevent you from living the life that you really want to live. Shyness and awkwardness around complete and utter strangers will be a thing of the past as you discover many talents you didn’t even know you had. So stop hiding and start living. Cabernet Sauvignon may not be right for everyone. For instance, women who are pregnant should not use it. However, women who wouldn't mind becoming pregnant are most definitely encouraged to try Cabernet Sauvignon. Side effects may include: dizziness, nausea, vomiting, incarceration, loss of motor vehicle control, loss of clothing, loss of money, delusions of grandeur, table dancing, headache, dehydration, dry mouth, and a desire to sing karaoke and play all-night rounds of Strip Poker, Truth or Dare, and Naked Twister. Warnings: The consumption of Cabernet Sauvignon may make you think you are whispering when you are not. The consumption of Cabernet Sauvignon may cause you to tell your friends over and over that you love them. The consumption of Cabernet Sauvignon may cause you to think you can sing. The consumption of Cabernet Sauvignon may create the illusion that you are tougher, smarter, faster and better looking than you really are.

A WOMAN’S MOOD You can tell a lot about a woman's mood just by looking at her hands. If they are holding a loaded gun, she's probably very unhappy.

ENGLAND CAPTAIN Woy Hodgson takes his players to the zoo to unwind pre the Euro Championships in France. Wayne Rooney soon notices a male gorilla sporting a massive simian erection and is somewhat fixated by it. “Go on, Wassa...” the other players encourage him. So the England captain jumps into the cage and the gorilla immediately grabs him and mates with him for two hours non-stop, whilst the zoo attendants stand by helplessly. When it’s all over, the gorilla chucks Rooney out of its cage. An ambulance is immediately called and the England team captain is rushed to the nearest trauma hospital. A few days later, Woy visits him with some gwapes and asks him, "Are you hurt, skipper?” "AM I HURT?" bawls Wassa. "Wouldn't you be? He hasn't called. He hasn't written..."

ASKING PRICE A middle-aged frumpy couple return to a Mercedes dealership where the salesman has just sold the car they were interested in to a beautiful, leggy, busty blonde. "I thought you said you’d hold it for us until we raised the £75,000 asking price?" said the man. "Yet I just heard you close the deal at £65,000 when you told us there could be no discount." "Well, what can I tell you? She had the ready cash and just look at her. How could I resist?" replied the gerning slippery salesman. Just then the young woman approached the middle-aged couple and handed them the keys. "There you go, Dad," she said. "I told you I’d get the tosser to reduce the asking price.”

All jokes published are supplied by Edge readers. Please send your ‘egg yokes’ to

The Edge 235_The Edge 172.qxd 4/22/2016 2:07 PM Page 23

Fireflies by Babybird Whenever I get asked what sort of music I like, I honestly never know what to say I’m not even sure +( 67,/7 25 as 67,&. ),6+(50(1 2) 5, myself. $1.$ ,6 21( 2) 7+( 0267 (92&$7,9( ,0$*(6 2) 7+( &28175< However, give '$<6 you an 528%/( ,6 to7+(6( 7+(example, %8**(56 a track $I listened for )520 the first time :$17 02'(/,1*to)(( 7285,676 recently, despite it hardly being new $1' $/7+28*+ 7+(5(A6 6((0,1*/< 12 (circa 7+$7A6 2009 I6(7 think) I ended ),*85( ,1 6721( ,7 ,6up$// $ replaying over$'A and and over %,7 @ $&. 7+( ,1 over 0< 23,1,21 again, because6,7 that’s what &58&,),; I’m like. +( ),6+(50(1 21 &58'( It’s &$//(' called $Fireflies:+,&+ by a ,6 band (6 7,('called 72 $ Babybird. 9(57,&$/ 32/( $6 23326(' 72 648$7 7,1* $/21* 7+( 5,9(5%$1. $6 <28 6(( Here’s '2,1* the lyrics... %/2.(6 ,1 +(/06)25' $1' 3(5&+ 7+(5( $:$,7,1* 7+(,5 &$7&+ There’s in the jam jar /7+28*+bugs ,7 /22.6 $ 0267 35,0,7,9( They2) choking$57/(<,1* 67,/7 ),6+,1* )250 They forgot$ to put in75$',7,21 holes ,6 $&78$//< 5(&(17 Their legs are,6broken +( 35$&7,&( %(/,(9(' 72 +$9( With their wings sprinkled the %(*81 '85,1* "25/' "$5 on :+(1 floor If I find them, I’m gonna kill them

It wasn’t me it was my friends If I find them, I’m gonna kill them It wasn’t me it was friends )22' 6+257$*(6 $1' my 29(5&52:'(' ),6+,1* 63276 352037(' 620( 7+,1. There’s bugs the room ,1* 2876,'( 7+(in%2; +(6( 6.,//6 And they’re listening :(5( 7+(1 3$66(' 21 72 $7 /($67 7:2 I can’t see the fire in their/,9,1* tails *(1(5$7,216 2) ),6+(50(1 The fireflies hiding2) 6287+(51 $/21* $ .0are 675(7&+ And listening every single 6+25( %(7:((1to7+( 72:16 2) word !1$:$781$ :+(5( <285 (',725 :$6 If I find83them, I’m6(&21' gonna :((. kill them +2/(' )25 7+( 2) +,6 It wasn’t me it was my friends 67$< 72 "(/,*$0$ If 2:(9(5 I find them, kill them 7+(<I’m 6$<gonna ,7A6 025( 25 /(66 It wasn’t me72it),6+ was,1my ,03266,%/( 7+,6friends :$< 81/(66 <28 5($//< .12: :+$7 <28A5( '2,1* Are any of ,7you familiar with it? /8&. 2 0$<%( :$6 -867 %(*,11(56 I guess you were going 72 to /$1' be criti7+$7 <285if (',725 0$1$*(' $ cal, could say0,187(6 it’s a tad2)repeti/% you 3(5&+ :,7+,1 6,77,1* tive, but many songs are. $723 68&+then $ 32/( I just the way it starts off qui1' ,)adore <28 %(/,(9( 7+$7 5($'(56 etly with those28*+7 delicious opening <28A// %(/,(9( guitar strings and builds. “There’s bugs in the jam jar” is also a great opening line.

DRS - The View Ft LSB  & Tyler Daley Something else I heard for the first time just the other day was a tune called The View (I think) featuring some chap called Tyler Daley, although I must confess that I’d assumed it was a woman singing. Thing is, it’s apparently Drum & Bass and I had absolutely no idea whatsoever that that was my kinda ting, man. It was brought to my attention by me main man Brett Bowen of DNA fitness who used it in one of his excellent - and I do mean excellent - half-hour Raw HIIT classes and it is proper good music to skip to while your heart is threatening to burst out of your chest, I’ll tell you that much on a Thursday morning. 2: :(// 83 $5( <28 21 <285 52'(176 %,5'6 &5$%6 $1' 61$.(6 /,=$5'6 5($'(56 (&$86( :$6 (/,&$&,(6 72 7+(,5 ',(76 $/62 ,1&/8'( 6+2&.(' 72 6(( 7+,6 %8**(5 $0%/,1* 7857/(6 <281* &52&2',/(6 $1' &52&2 $&5266 7+( 6$1' 72 620( ',/( (**6 :+,&+ 5(0,1'6 0( :( %586+ &29(5 $7 $ %($&+ &$)( :( 6$: $ %$%< 6+$5. ,1 3$''/,1* '(37+ :(5( ,1 -867 3$67 ,5,66$ :$7(5 -867 2)) ,5,66$ %($&+ 7 :$6 :$< /21*(5 7+$1 0< /(* $1' !1)25781$7(/< 7+(6( 5($//< 48,7( ((5< $ /27 7+,&.(5 7+$1 0< 7+,*+ 62 0$.( 7+28*+7 &5($785(6 $5( $/62 +817 12 0,67$.( :(A5( 127 7$/.,1* $%287 (' )25 7+(,5 6.,16 ,1 25'(5 72 0$.( 620( &87( /,77/( *(&.2 +(5( :(A5( %(/76 $1' +$1'%$*6 $1' $5( 620( 7$/.,1* $%287 85$66,& %/22'< $5. 7,0(6 $&78$//< ($7(1 +21(67/< &28/'1A7 %(/,(9( 7+( 6,=( $/62 7+,1. 7+(<A5( 7+( 6(&21' 2) 7+( %8**(5 :+(1 &/2&.(' ,7 $1' +($9,(67 /,=$5' ,1 7+( :25/' ,) '*( :$6 $/(57(' 72 ,7 %< 7+( %$5.,1* 2) $ 5(6($5&+ ,6 &255(&7 :+,&+ ,6 $/:$<6 675$< '2* 2:(9(5 $6 08&+ $6 ,7 '(%$7$%/( Thing is,,7 it’s got 75,(' to be72extra special my*(7 love of American folk)(// %$5.(' 1(9(5 *1$: 7+( to top1' 7+,6 > ) $ /,9,1* indie +80$1 band Bon Iver, and 7+$7 doesn’t Justin Vernon all Thomas /,=$5' $1' 3(5+$36 :$6 singer/songwriter :,6( $6 ,172 7+( :$7(5 :+(5(look 6(9(5$/ "$7(5 Hardy in $ this particular picture? Stacks:(5( from)((',1* their album For +$9(1A7 &/8( :+$7 0,*+7 2) Their track21,7256 ,7 ,6 9(5< Emma just does it for me big time, particularly when sat around the (168(' 3266,%/( 7+$7 you’re 7+( 5(37,/(A6 +817,1* embers of a dying after a summer BBQ with:28/' only a%( whisky and dry gin8&+ 21,7256 $5( fire &$51,925(6 $1' ,167,1&7 $&7,9$7(' :+,&+ ger .12:1 on the rocks $5( 72 ($7 for ),6+company. )52*6 0$< 35292.( $1 $77$&. ?


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The Edge 235_The Edge 172.qxd 4/22/2016 10:02 AM Page 24

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Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikini Would you allow your editor to have a little bit of a rant? It’s over two things. Firstly, I was in Primark recently, buying my lovely ickle adopted 6-yearold niece Molly a bikini, amongst other things (including a swimsuit, as I thought it might be nice to get her one of each). Only as I was in the so called swimwear dept., I heard this other little girl saying that she’d like a bikini, only her mother was adamant - vehemently so, I might add - that she would be having no such thing. So I chanced a look at said mother and, you’ve guessed it, with a figure like that, she’d clearly never been in a position to wear a bikini in all her born days. Only talk about having her cork in too tight. The way she said the word bikini sounded a bit like a dog’s just shat in my mouth, the way she spat it out so contemptuously. And I thought ‘poor girl’, the fact that she was being brought up by a mother like that. You see, my ickle Molly is one of those rare children whose smile will make you melt. What’s more, though only six, she’s a proper little Olga Korbut and I know for a fact she’ll be going over to Spain and visiting the Splash pool in Competa a time or two this summer, so what an appropriate couple of gifts, I thought. Only the way that bigoted frumpy woman spat out bikini was enough to make my blood boil. Now am I right, readers, or am I right? The second thing that raised my hackles was some sex abuse victims complaining to Aldi in order to get them to rename one of their tins of paint that was, at the time, called Rape Yellow. It’s a quick-drying gloss, by all accounts, and Aldi have apparently said they will change it to Rapeseed Yellow. But honestly, should they have to? You cannot beat seeing the first glorious fields of rape in the Essex countryside. They are always so startling and a worthy middle-finger to the grey and the damp of the long winter’s days which they have preceded. Rape - and I’ve always called it that, as opposed to rapeseed - bursts on the scene in such a positive manner that to have its name questioned in such a way seems totally nonsensical to me. Surely there is simply no issue that such a tin of paint can ever be accused of being offensive. So why do certain people forever seemingly seek to create something out of something that isn’t even there?

The worst exercise that ages you faster According to science there’s a difference between chronological age and biological age, which means you can be 50, yet have the body of a 40 year old, or even younger. Surely we’ve all met those irritating people who look a good 10 years younger than their age and seem to have boundless energy and stamina. Then again, haven’t we all met those who look as though they’re 10 years older than their actual age. So what’s the deal? Is it genetics? Will anti-aging pills do the trick? What about hormone supplements? Believe it or not, we all of us have way more control over the aging process than at first we might imagine. As you age, your metabolism slows down to a snail’s pace, which makes it difficult to burn fat. What’s more, the hormones responsible for a healthy skin tone, strong lean muscle, robust energy and insatiable sex drive start declining more and more as the years go by, and if you’re not proactive, your youth enhancing hormone levels may drop so low that there’s honestly no turning back the clock no matter what you do. Aging also makes your bones weaker and more brittle, which is why so very many elderly folk suffer from hip fractures etc. The brain suffers too, including memory loss and one’s ability to solve problems, whilst our decision making skills also start to go down the chute. And here’s the real kick in the guts; after 40 your biological clock starts to speed up and age you faster than your chronological age. For every year that passes you can actually age up to six months extra. In simple terms, by your 42nd birthday you could actually be turning 43 and if you deteriorate at the same rate, you’ll be 52 by the time your 48th birthday comes around. These are simply the harsh facts of life, and it’s the truth. However, it doesn’t have to be this way as we each have the power to slow the aging process down. Here’s the THREE WORST mistakes you need to avoid if you truly want to slow the aging process and increase your metabolism.

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Cardio - Way too many people think that cardio is pretty much the answer to everything, but doing long, frequent cardio sessions will actually break down your muscles the older you get. Low-Fat Diet - It’s hard to believe that ‘low-fat’ is still a dietary recommendation, because science has proven that fat is not the cause of weight gain or heart disease. In fact, since the introduction of the fat-free diet, the world seems to have gotten more fatter and sicker than ever before. Fat is not the enemy. Fat does not make you fat. In fact, fat is an absolute must if you want your body to both look and feel younger because healthy fats are an essential source of good cholesterol which is key to producing the hormones that enhance our once youthful qualities. So if you’re following a low-fat diet you are actually depriving your body of the precious nutrients it needs to slow the aging process down. Yoga - Yoga has been around for thousands of years and it is still around after all this time because it is very effective for things like improving your inner consciousness and spiritual health. However, yoga should not be considered an effective form of physical exercise. Yes, it can improve your flexibility and calm your mind. No, yoga is not the answer. The only true answer is metabolic training. If you think about it, it’s simple. What we need to do is activate as many of our body’s muscles in the shortest amount of time, which is completely different to doing isolated body building exercises (such as bicep curls) where we’re only using one particular muscle at a time. So what’s the answer? The Edge doesn’t honestly know. However, if any of you do, please share the information so that we can all grow older far more gracefully.

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So, back in the UK for an extended stay. It’s been many weeks this time, which is significantly longer than the usual flying visit to catch family, friends and a Spurs game or two. What is also beyond the norm is that it has involved a lot of driving. Past visits to this now slightly less than sceptered isle have been reliant on public transport and all the joys those two words entail.


As for traffic lights on roundabouts. Well, not only do they make the natural flow impossible, but they must cause an infinite number of mounted-from-the-rear situations as brakes are jammed on.

However, for reasons too complicated to bother recounting, this visit has involved the use of a car. It’s the first attempt to drive on British roads to any degree for over a decade, and man, what an eye opener it’s been. England, and especially the south east, is incredibly crowded, of course, and the roads never seem to keep pace with the population growth. Chelmsford, for example, must have doubled in size in the last 20 years, but the same old narrow streets exist to get ever increasing numbers of cars into and out of the town. It’s no wonder that everyone drives in a constant state of frustration which leads to a kind of ‘screw the rules, I’m going where I want’ attitude. If you have never moved away from the area, this gradual slide towards permanent road rage and bad habits will not be as noticeable as it is to someone coming in from the outside. So here are some observations from such a creature. The thing that is most obvious to this temporarily returning son of Albion is the way people use roundabouts. Now, before we get into what will be a typical angry old man’s rant about the decline of standards, let me tell you about roundabouts in California. They don’t exist.

stay on the inside until you need to exit then move left. It all used to work fine, but you can’t do that unless everyone is playing by the same rules.

Back to California. Where do we have roundabouts? Well, how can I put this nicely? They appear only in towns that are seriously up their own arses.

by Steve Ward

AROUND AND AROUND Well, that’s stretching the truth a bit, but give or take a few special circumstances that we’ll look at in a minute, the whole of California, and indeed most of the US, seems to get by perfectly well without roundabouts. Or speed cameras, but that’s a subject for another day. Given the sheer size of the country there is much more space for roads to be as wide as they need to be - there’s one stretch of freeway near San Diego that has six lanes each way. And when major roads do meet there is usually enough spare real estate to provide flowing cloverleaf intersections rather than bring everyone to a halt at a light or roundabout. And even on ‘surface’ roads - that is, the local streets with houses and businesses, the idea of a roundabout is a complete no-

no. If traffic needs to be controlled then there will be lights. The thing about lights is that they are binary, you can either go or you can’t. But with a roundabout the regulations appear to be simply a start point for negotiation. For those of us who passed our test decades ago it’s very noticeable the rules we were taught relating to roundabouts in the UK no longer seem to apply. Since when was it OK to drive the whole way around a roundabout in the outside lane? That makes it impossible for those driving in the inside lane, as the Highway Code instructs, to ever exit. Because a bunch of muppets is on their left merrily going around and around clogging it up. Roundabouts are meant to flow. So you

The ponciest district in San Diego is called La Jolla - pronounced La Hoya - and guess what? Yup, they have a road upon which there are five completely redundant roundabouts. Just small ones, but roundabouts nonetheless. There’s another place called Ladera Ranch just north of San Diego which is a new town, but don’t think of Basildon or Harlow. Instead consider somewhere like Beaulieu Park, but ten times the size. And yes, unnecessary roundabouts by the dozen. In Arizona there’s another pretentious place called Sedona, although it does sit amongst gorgeous scenery, it has to be said. There, house prices verge on the ridiculous for a town in the middle of nowhere. But they too have a number of pointless roundabouts. I rest my case. Final thought - I would like to witness Joe Doe, your average American, trying to negotiate the Army & Navy. What a mess that would be. Still, you’d be forgiving of his indecision, wouldn’t you? Probably.

You can contact Wardo at

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Europe: In, out or shake it all about? In just a few short weeks we’ll all have the chance to vote on whether the UK stays in Europe or not, the latter choice being what they’re terming ‘Brexit’ for some reason, and I’d like to vote for whoever came up with that ridiculous bloody name being punched in the face a few times until they stopped thinking they were so clever. As much as I malign the political process (and rightly so given the useless, duplicitous rodents that infest Whitehall), it’s nice to see we’re getting a referendum and the chance to make our own decision on this issue. Anyone would think we were living in a democracy or something, what with all this freedom to choose being thrown around with such abandon. Make no mistake, this is a huge decision; politically it could be the biggest decision we make in our entire lifetimes, the effects of which will probably still be felt for years to come, if not decades after the event, and I genuinely hope everyone that can is going to exercise their right to vote in June. I’ve spent a lot of time researching the facts on what an IN or OUT vote would actually mean. At least I’ve been trying to, but solid facts have been harder to find than a clear conscience at number 10. Sure, there are plenty of websites, Twitter feeds and talking-heads that profess to offer all the facts, but almost all of them have got an agenda, depending on what side of the argument they’re leaning towards. I’m sure I’m not the only person who’s found it extremely galling to have this amazing democratic opportunity dangled in front of me, only to have the facts I need to make an informed decision obfuscated by rhetoric and good oldfashioned bullshit. So, in an effort to not only try and help some of you, my devoted readers, but also to help me come to a decision, I’ve been trawling the internet and reading far too many excruciatingly dull articles by lawyers, financial gurus and even, when all else failed, politicians to try and find the plain and simple truth. I’m not going to dwell too much on what happens if we remain in the EU as it’s unlikely that any major changes would be forthcoming and the UK would doubtless carry on as usual, although perhaps with a few reforms that Prime Minister Dave and his mob are trying to squeeze out of the European tit. I think the implications of the ‘Brexit’ are far more important, whether they be good or bad, so I want to try and get to the truth behind some of the EU myths. To begin with, it’s worth realising that a vote to leave doesn’t mean we’re out immediately. If the UK votes to leave then ‘Article 50’ is invoked which signifies that a member country wishes to leave the EU. This sets into motion a

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ME & MY  adamantium skeleton

The Kingmeister reports two-year process where the UK can negotiate with the other member countries for a more favourable deal in Europe if we stay in. That sounds great on the surface, particularly considering that each of the current member nations has already said they want us to stay. So if that’s the case, then shouldn’t we all vote YES so we can put the UK in far a stronger position? That’s certainly a possibility, but by no means a certainty, and it’s worth remembering that Greece tried a similar thing and got precisely bugger-all in terms of a better deal. During these negotiations every single member of the EU would have to agree to the new terms and a unanimous decision is a rare beast in politics indeed. I’m not saying it wouldn’t work in our favour. Maybe the rest of the EU would have a sudden fit of generosity and give us all a tax rebate and a free jet-pack each, but it’s highly unlikely. So an OUT vote might work in our favour, but let’s be honest, that’s not what most of the ‘Leave the EU’ camp are worried about, is it? I think we all know that a large percentage of those who want the UK to leave the EU are doing it because of all those dirty foreigners coming into our country and stealing our jobs and blah, blah bloody blah. So what effect does membership of the EU have on people coming over here and getting one of those highly prized unskilled labour jobs? Some EU sceptics have pounced on a paper detailing how the mass migration to the UK over the past decade has forced wages down for those in the unskilled labour market by up to 5%. This ‘fact’ is what most economists and other people with a working brain call ‘bullshit’ as there is zero evidence that this is happening. Yes, there has been a decrease in wages for unskilled labour, but nothing suggests that migration is the cause of it. On the other hand we do have the

EU to thank for having a hand in the minimum wage laws, paternal leave and adequate holiday entitlement, which are things I think most of us can get behind. OK then, so what about the cost of all these unwashed foreign types invading our shores? What about the detrimental effects on unemployment and the economy? I’ve read a number of reports from various sources and the word that keeps coming up is “negligible”. Once again, after hundreds of terabytes of gathered data have been studied, we haven’t found any appreciable detriment to either the money in our pockets or the chances of us getting a job. Yes, there have been some people negatively impacted by the millions of migrant workers coming into the UK and it would be disingenuous to suggest otherwise. But while being part of an extremely small percentage of the population adversely affected is of small comfort to those at the sharp end, the thing to remember is that, on the whole, migrants aren’t causing the economic sky to fall in the UK. So wouldn’t leaving the EU mean we’d have greater control over who we want to come into our country? Possibly, but it’s worth noting that the UK isn’t part of the Schengen border agreements that many of the other EU countries have, so we already have stricter controls in place. Perhaps the more pertinent question is what would a leave vote and tighter immigration laws mean in terms of trade? While there are some laws and legislations that countries can, and have, opted out of, it’s important to remember the EU isn’t a salad bar that we can just pick and choose from. If we’re out of the EU then we’re out of the European market and stricter immigration laws means less access to the EU labour market. This is a bit of a two-edged sword and it’s unclear whether a less free flow of migrant workers would harm the UK economy in the long term or whether tighter con-

trols would allow us to pick and choose higher skilled workers and benefit the economy. From what I’ve seen on this issue the verdict is that nobody really knows. Fair enough, if we leave the EU we might suffer on trade with the EU as being out of the free market would necessarily mean greater tariffs on goods imported from the UK, but does that really matter? What if we concentrated on the huge emerging markets of China and India? That’s certainly a possibility, but why can’t we enjoy easy trade with the EU as well as China and India? Would China and India worry too much about securing trade deals with a small island or would they concentrate their efforts on the already huge market that is the EU? So, all the above may sound perfectly reasonable, but what about the fact that we all know the UK is marginalised in the EU and they make us eat straight bananas and all that other rubbish the tabloids spout? This is a hard one to answer definitively but the economic and social research council at Kings College have given it a pretty good go by using a metric of measuring the ‘distance’ between EU legislation and UK policy. For example: The UK likes their bananas bent at a 45 degree angle where the EU policy demands a mere 10 degree bend, a clear difference from our own preference. If this legislation is pushed through and the UK is forced to eat straight bananas then the ‘distance’ from our own policy compared to Europe is pretty big. The ESRC have examined hundreds of pieces of legislation going back a decade and compared the ‘distance’ between EU and UK policy. There are certainly some issues where the difference is marked and the UK could be seen as having ‘lost’. On average, the UK is doing OK in regards to having its needs met by the EU. That’s not to say we don’t lose out on some issues, but in the main we do more than OK, so to say that the EU is shoving laws we don’t want down our throats simply isn’t true. Certainly a page in The Edge really isn’t enough to do this subject justice, but I do hope I’ve given some of you food for thought. I think the real bottom line I’ve taken from all of my research is that nobody really knows what a vote to leave the EU will mean for us in the long term. There are simply too many variables to have any degree of certainty. Me? I’m leaning towards staying in, but it isn’t up to me and I’m not going to try and convince you either way. But what I will say is please make the effort to find out the pros and cons for yourself. Don’t rely on people too far to the left or right on this issue. It’s a big decision and you, me - all of us need to be properly informed before we make up our minds and vote.

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DIVORCE tying up loose ends If you are getting divorced, most people believe that you just need to issue a Petition. The common mistake is forgetting to sort your finances. Many people believe that going through the divorce process also deals with all of the financial claims. This couldn’t be further from the truth. If financial claims are not dealt with, you run the risk of your ex-spouse making a claim against you in the future. Often people say they trust their spouse to uphold their end of the agreement, or that there is nothing to divide, but this does not consider that you may inherit, obtain a substantial pay rise, or win the lottery! This is when the problems can arise. A Consent Order can help you to formalise financial agreements, such as who will get the house, what happens to savings, pensions and debts, before the divorce is finalised. It is still important to have an agreement even if you have nothing at the moment. The order will be approved by a Judge, who will consider whether it is a reasonable division of the assets. You do not need to go to Court if the Consent Order is prepared properly, and we can help you with this. There are many people, years after divorcing, who are facing financial claims, legal costs and the stress of potential court proceedings. Don’t let that be you. If you have reached an agreement about your),?1:=/ finances and wish to keep ! ) %& things amicable, we offer competitive fixed fees for preparing Consent =D>?,7 #,7,.0 Orders. %"'& #&"! %@9/0=7,9/ ) %& For more information contact %) !% Alexandra Dancey-Tucker on 01245 349696 ,9 '94?0/ Email: ( $&"! Or visit 307>0,


15ft 57st Alligator shot after sneaking up on farmer’s cattle Oh Lordy, can you imagine this beast swimming after you with it’s motionless eyes of death just poking out over the top of the water? After discovering the remains of cattle in a river next to a farm in Florida, a couple of ‘bounty hunters’ shot this epic specimen down and it was that big that a large farm tractor had to be used to lug it out of the water. The two guys concerned organise guided hunts for folks wanting to shoot alligators, wild boar and turkey, and say their previous record was a 14ft ’gator, whilst they plan to have this one taxidermied for display at their hunting shows. Now The Edge honestly doesn’t like cruelty to animals and it feels genuinely sad when it sees a photograph such as this. But, on the other hand, if it’d been the farmer concerned and the pesky bugger had been eating its own cattle - presumably whole - then yep, I guess it’s gotta go. “It’s hard to believe that something this big existed out in the wild,” said one of the hunters. How many thousands of years have alligators been roaming the earth? Like crocs and sharks, you just don’t want to mess with them, do you, as The Edge very much doubts they’re the type to listen to reason, no matter how patiently you tried to put your point across. Ugh. They give me the proper shivers just looking at ’em. The Edge 077 646 797 44

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SCIENTISTS SAY CHUFFS ARE A HEALTH INDICATOR Fresh out of the lab comes the news that our bottoms can reveal important information about our health - even offering an early warning of serious illness. So scientists are now trying to create a ‘probe’ (ooerrr) which can travel through people’s digestive systems in order to find out more. Yet even the smell of our botty burps can offer a certain amount of insight, particularly those of us who suffer from persistent ‘eggy’ ones. High levels of hydrogen sulphide gas could be a sign of a damaged gut lining, inflammatory bowel disease or even bowel cancer. If a person is producing too much methane (lots of gas), it could be a sign a person is not digesting starches and sugars, leading them to ferment in the gut, the bi-product of which is ‘eggy’ chuffs.

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Getting a drone (a miniature, four-bladed helicopter) to capture your nuptials from the air is the all new big thing. A wedding is no longer a wedding without a drone buzzing about, for the simple reason that they can capture footage that cannot be captured in any other way. What’s more, drones can record all the action whilst they are hovering just 10m above the crowd, or up to 100m up in the air above a specified venue, which is why their flexibility - in the right hands, of course - is so extraordinary. Drones also tend to make a long lasting impression and are proving to be a feature remembered by the vast majority of wedding guests. Drone wedding packages seem to start around the £250 mark, but you could always contact The Edge’s Matt ‘Lengthy Boy’ Sadler (he’s got one). However, bear in mind that drones have propellers and an engine, so they do make a noise. What’s more, they tend to smart a bit if they fall out of the sky and land on your head.

The Edge 01245 348256

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Man on the Clapham Omnibus THE ‘F’ WORD

At 10.30am today, Wednesday 6th April, the May MOTCO was becoming mapped out in my mind, until an incident at work. So it then had to change and what was planned consigned to the ‘possible folder’ for further consideration next month. As you know, Motty works in the darker corners of banking and in the course of going through other people’s digital rubbish, an article in somebody else’s mailbox changed my day. Now we are almost two years into MOTCO and thus far we have avoided both knob gags and the ‘F’ word. Until now. And no, not that one, but the ‘F’ word for fart. Sniggering may commence at the back of the classroom now. It was the headline of the email that grabbed my attention, although not for the same reasons as the ‘victim’ in this so called crime. ‘Man is reported to police in Sweden for doing a 'revenge fart' after woman denied him sex’. Now at this stage most men are already probably thinking that if this is a new crime, then the boys in blue could be arriving in force any minute now, while most women with partners are probably looking for the number of the local constabulary and getting ready to report hundreds of previous offenses in varying degrees of seriousness. The background to this case is that the man and woman were having a night out; they are known to each other, although not in a relationship sense, but have had discussions about having nudey prod type activities together. Back at the flat, the lady, as is her choice, decides that tonight is not the night and would rather discuss her favourite ABBA songs and what they mean in a post modern world. Naturally our man is not particularly up for this change of plan as he sees it, as he is, of course, ‘up’ for something entirely different altogether (and there’s your bonus knob gag) and is somewhat disappointed to say the very least. He is thus requested to leave, but before he does he obviously decides that he isn’t coming back, or possibly imagines that he isn’t going to be invited back, so decides he wants to be remembered for another type of performance altogether. So he farts in the flat; it is bad and unlike the man it will not leave. So the lady concerned (and she is concerned about the stench) calls the police. Now the report does not say if the police asked the fart to leave of its own accord, or if they advised it that force would be used if it did not leave voluntarily.

such matters as this? Perhaps they call it F Patrol, an Air Biscuit hit squad who bash the door down and charge the room, armed with high powered fans and Airwick grenades. What is known from the police is that the fart reportedly had “disturbed the woman’s peace of mind”. So we now need to apply the old classroom statement with a small variation: ‘he dealt it, but she most definitely smelt it.’ It is not clear what happened to the man once he had grilled the gusset of his chuddies. One thing is for certain though, he was not going to be invited to a party in her pants ever again. Just what is it about this particular bodily function that arouses such hilarity? Obviously our Swede was either a professional at this, or an over enthusiastic pickled herring eater. If he ever makes himself known he could take his place along with another pro from the Parisian theatre scene of the late eighteen hundreds, ‘Le Petomane’, Fartist Extraordinaire. They say that practice makes perfect, and by practicing he could play a passable rendition of the Marseillaise through his on board rear trumpet. Yes, he had perfected the ultimate wind instrument and there were also other wind based tricks in his repertoire, but I won’t destabilise you delicate Edge readers any further. Bit given our school play ground fondness for this particular action, it will come as no surprise that his spectacular prowess made him the sensation of the Parisian Music Hall. From 1892, he starred at the Moulin Rouge, where he out-grossed both monetarily and taste wise other legendary performers of the time and became the highest paid performer of his generation. Indeed, the sight and sound of a grown man farting loudly on stage proved so utterly hilarious, people laughed so hard they had to be allegedly helped by trained nurses who were fortunately on hand to pass around the smelling salts. A nice rumour put about by the management was that ordained priests would be on standby to administer Last Rites to any of those who died laughing. Man’s new motto is therefore ‘think before you stink’ or the police will be there in a puff. But why only chaps? Because ladies never do that sort of thing. Yours aye, Motty.

Perhaps the Swedish police have their own particular squad for dealing with

Carbuyer’s Cars of the Year

The Renault Kadjar SUV has recently been voted Carbuyer’s best 4x4/SUV. Based on the Nissan Qashqai (but also a direct rival to it), it apparently has an awful lot going for it, despite the fact that this mag had never even heard of it. Yet it seemingly takes the Qashqai’s formula of a practical interior, comfortable ride and low running costs even one step further. Along with an arguably better design (perhaps from the front end at least), one of the Kadjar’s trump cards compared directly to the Qashqai, apart from having an equally awkward name, is its lower price. The cheapest diesel Kadjar with SatNav costs around £2,000 less than the equivalent Qashqai. Price range: £18,495 - £26,795 According to Carbuyer the Qashqai comes in a close second to the Kadjar, with the Dacia Duster Compact SUV in third spot (you what?) which has a starting price of under £10,000. Fourth is the Volvo XC90. Fifth is the Land Rover Discovery Sport SUV which The Edge likes the look of, but my god, its price-range is £31,095 - £46,510 and is not for the feinthearted. Sixth is the Range Rover Sport (only this mag cannot easily spot the difference between the Land Rover and the latter, other than it’s near double pricebracket). Seventh is the Audi Q7. Eighth the Land Rover Discovery OMC (old man’s car). Nineth Nissan X-Trail. Tenth Kia Sorento.

In the smaller category, Citroen’s ingenious C4 Cactus is Carbuyer’s number one choice and also their overall ‘Car of the Year’. It’s quirky, has airbump panels that work like bubblewrap in order to protect it, and it’s also pretty economical too with some models promising up to 90mpg. Price range: £12,990 - £19,880 In fact, Carbuyer even place the Cactus ahead of the Renault Kadjar, which they place in second position and the Qashqai in third, only how the Kadjar and the Qashqai can be in both categories is beyond The Edge. Fourth is the Mazda CX-5, but just look at the price: £23,195 - £30,995 Fifth is the Skoda Yeti, which The Edge has previously taken out for a spin, but was completely nonplussed about. Sixth: Audi Q3 (I am so OFF Audi’s after what happened to mine) Seventh: Mazda CX-3 Eighth: Honda HR-V Ninth: Hyundai Tucson Tenth: Range Rover Evoque What??? The Range Rover Evoke is, apart from a Porsche and a Merc or two/three, pretty much my favourite car on the road, so to put it in tenth place now makes The Edge view this whole Carbuyer thing as a complete and utter load of bollocks.

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Just when you thought you had heard it all, ladies, something comes along and rocks you to the very core of your existence and makes you shudder, shake and break out in a sweat. No, I am not talking about that! So what the hell am I talking about? Bitterness after a break up, is what, and it does not come much meaner than this. No longer is it acceptable to just fight over the house, money, car, pension fund, dog, cat, kids (usually in that order), now it’s become law that spouses are allowed to fight for a percentage of their other halves wardrobe. Yes folks, they literally can have the clothes off your back. Beth Shak & Daniel Shak are in a bitter war over her shoe collection and he wants the lot sold and divided up - which is truly evil. What did the woman ever see in that man? He is a rat, a toad, the lowest of the low. Everyone knows you don't mess with a woman's shoe collection. Me? I’d rather be done for murder than part with my shoes. I once met a woman who was planning to go to Boreham Boot Sale the following Sunday and sell her beloved collection of shoes as she had met a man but his home was too small to take on both her and the bulging racks of shoes that came with her. Well, I was truly horrified. “Ditch the man!” I hastily told her. “No man is worth any amount of pain and suffering associated with the abandonment of shoes!” After all, shoes are for life, but you can easily replace a man. Some of my shoes are truly vintage one-offs. And besides, you can always put the children in boarding school to free up an extra room or two for one’s shoe collection. I think I could withstand anything, including being cheated on, lied to - but take a step towards my shoes and punches are definitely going to get thrown. Daniel Shak say's its all about principals. I say, Mr Shak, that it’s all about control and going for a woman's weakest point is lower than low can get. There are some lines you simply do not cross - EVER! My advice to all you ladies out there currently single and looking for Mr Right is to forget about all the so-called rules of dating and having to sleep with the guy on the ‘third meet’ or get ditched (yeah, we all know a man thought that one up). Instead look them squarely in the eyes and ask yourself this? If it really came to it, could you batter them senseless with a

Why oh why does everything have to change? What happened to the good old days of using the public loo in Chelmsford with the little old lady in her little room having a fag reading the paper with the Archers blaring out on the radio. (No air extractors in those days.) She would occasionally come out in her pink overalls with her mop and bucket and slosh the floor clean and no one ever dared go in there and leave the taps turned on or leave the sink bunged-up with tissue paper (schoolgirl pranks) without risking her wrath if she caught you. Fast forward to today and we have trendy loos where the light comes on only when you walk in. Yet sit for too long (ladies never properly sit on public loos) and it goes off and you find yourself waving your arms about like Stevie Wonder trying to ward off a swarm of bees. But who decides how much light we need? Who sets the damn timer? And that's not all. If you want to flush the damned thing you actually have options. Yes, options! Do you push the large button or the small button? Or in the really trendy places where its sensor flushing do you find yourself waving your hand over the sensor once, twice, or crazily like some manic who is trying to flush the evidence of some ghastly crime away? Then comes the hand washing ritual. No longer is a tap that simply turns on and off acceptable. Oh no. Actually getting the water to come out requires real skill as it’s been set up to fool you to test your powers of observation, a bit like the Krypton Factor. Do you wave your hands over the tap or under it? Do you touch the sink basin like one such establishment in Chelmsford? Or do you just suspend your hands in mid air under the mirror? It’s crazy. I look along the line and see women all looking puzzled trying to work out how to get the damned water to come out whilst practicing their Tai Chi moves. In the good old days you would get a paper towel and simply sling it in the bin. Then came the hand dryers that would either blow you across the room or be so useless you'd lose patience and wipe your wet hands down your coat. By the way, why did those hand dryers have a nozzle that swivelled to dry your face? Did anyone ever come out of the loo and find the need to dry their face? That has always puzzled me. I know - I’ve got far too much time on my hands. Then dear Mr Dyson, who was not content to sod about with this wife's vacuum cleaner, decided to invent a new hand dryer and we now have to put our hands into some contraption and lift them up and down whilst pulling a stupid face (I don't know why people pull stupid faces whilst drying their hands, but have a look next time and you’ll see what I mean). All in the name of progress? Only next time you’re about to use one, before you put your hands in, just look at the bottom of the machine where your fingers go and see all of the filth and gunk collected there and tell me it’s hygienic. At least with the little old lady and her bar of soap, life was simple and clean and going to the loo was as easy as pie. Have a good month. Tracie. x


The Edge 235_The Edge 172.qxd 4/22/2016 10:03 AM Page 31

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