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Worbey & Farrell chat to us exclusively about their unique blend of music and why they are so happy to be back performing in Brighton.

INTERIOR TRENDS Meet two mover and shakers from the world of interiors and how to create that beautiful new home for 2020, with our look at interior trends.


TOO GOOD TO WASTE BY VICTORIA GLASS This month on page 28, we tell you how to make food waste a thing of the past, with a few tasty recipes to show you how to get started in the most delicious way possible. This book isn’t just about saving money, it’s about rethinking what we throw away. Enjoy.


THE EMPORIUM What’s not to love about Lewes. Michele Doyle, gives us an insight to work, antiques, Bargain Hunt and her love for art and what makes the Emporium a collectors’ dream.

We’d love to hear from you! If you are a local business within the Lewes District or resident with a story to tell and you’d like to be featured, please email: To advertise email: or call 01273 033 500


We can’t believe we’re already on the March issue of Town & County and we’re determined the decade that lies ahead is going to be the Roaring Twenties for us - and hopefully for all our readers. What a treat we have in store for you this month. Our main feature is about a real high-flier who is making a great success of aerial photography taken from a drone. Then we’re hitting the high notes with three musicians - an extraordinary comedy piano duo who travel the world and an enormously talented blues guitarist. That’s not all, by any means. Our feature on the lady who runs the wonderful Emporium antiques shop in Lewes is bound to be a must read for anyone who loves collecting. Add to that our historical article, Seaford’s bid to become plastic-free, and a look back at Keith Hayes’ career and why his new venture Mirador TV is streaming to new heights here in the UK and the USA. Finall,y looking to spring clean your home, well then Town & County feature two heavyweights with this year’s interior trends, last but no means least we show you how to not waste food with our delicious recipes from Victoria Glass, and you will see this is issue is packed with top-class writing you’ll love to read. We’re always looking for more people with an exciting story to tell, so if you know of anyone who deserves to have the spotlight turned on them, please email us at



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E YE I N TH E S KY Phil Bodger talks to Jo Rothery about his fascinating career in the music industry, his highreach commercial window cleaning business and his latest venture into the world of drones



echnology has taken Phil on a diverse and exciting journey and has now given him a new perspective, focusing on the enormous commercial potential of the small unmanned aircraft most of us know as drones. He continues to use his impressive expertise as a freelance sound engineer but his ‘day job’ sees him flying a drone to carry out essential surveys which can be achieved much more efficiently from the air. His Lewes-based Coast SUA aerial photography company is already proving a boon to local businesses such as Richard Soan Roofing, which take advantage of the cost-effective service Phil

the big interview One of many views taken by Phil’s drone

provides that would be difficult and enormously expensive to do from the ground. It’s a career path Phil could never have imagined following when as a teenager in London, he first fell in love with the music industry. “When I was 19, I happened to visit a friend who was working at the Decca recording studio,” he recalls. “I’d been doing a temporary job at the Royal Free Hospital and had thought about doing an economics degree at university, but I was at a loss over what I wanted. “That day at the studio, I met Status Quo and talked to Francis Rossi. I decided to hang out there for a bit and found myself thinking ‘this is what I want to do’.

“It was towards the end of the 1970s, and I managed to get a job as a tea boy in a recording studio. It was like an apprenticeship, you helped the sound engineers, learning by example and working your way up. “After about three years, I became a freelance recording engineer and did quite well, working on a lot of hit records. That took me out to Europe and the United States, and throughout the 1980s, I was working with many famous rock stars. In the 1990s I also started working with a very old friend on film scores, and in fact, I still do that.” By the mid-90s the music industry was going through challenging times, and after a while, Phil was no longer finding the work available to him TOWNANDCOUNTYMAG.CO.UK | 9


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the big interview

as personally satisfying or financially rewarding. “Digital technology was coming in, so we were starting to use digital recording techniques that transformed the way we made records. It was fantastic in many ways, but then the internet was coming in, and people had PCs at home and were able to copy music for free instead of buying CDs. That had a terrible impact on the music business because it was the revenue from CD sales that funded production. “It meant there was less workaround and it was not so well-paid. By that time, I had two kids, a big house in Brighton and a big mortgage. Because the kids were in their early teens and I was still travelling to London for work, I realised I wasn’t spending enough time with them, so I decided to work from home and set up a small studio in the house, becoming mainly a mixing engineer. “I then had a little studio in the Metway,The Levellers’ base in Brighton, but as I was now based in Brighton rather than in London, I was no longer being asked to work for the bigger record labels.The money wasn’t so good for someone with a big mortgage, so I took a part-time teaching job at City College on the foundation degree for music production.” That situation continued until well into the 21st century, but then fate took a hand and Phil made his first switch to a new career. “It was quite by chance. I’d just been to the gym

at Falmer to play racquetball and met up with a friend, Andrew, who had started a business at the beginning of the Noughties, removing graffiti from trains. It had proved very successful and ended up with significant contracts with the rail companies. “I had been feeling frustrated for years, struggling with the mortgage and doing work which wasn’t the kind of quality I’d been used to, and I told Andrew I was starting to look for something else to do. “At the time high-reach technology for window cleaning was coming in so Andrew suggested we should form a company. To start with, it was just a mate and me in a van with a pole and water container, cleaning windows and gutters, mainly on commercial premises. “I enjoyed being out and about doing that - it was a complete change after years of sitting in front of a console, and it was refreshing to use completely different skills. But my job was to build the company, survey buildings, plan marketing and bring in more work. “That was when I got the idea of using drones. I got an email about drone training, and that showed me how they could be used to survey more prominent buildings. “I decided to set up my own business and bought a drone, but it took quite a while before I could get started.You have to write a 50-page operations manual before you can get your drone

the big interview

pilot’s licence and it was only two years ago that I launched my Coast SUA business. In the meantime, I was still keeping on with some sound recording work, doing podcasts and occasional work on big film sets such as Aladdin.” Since the launch of his drone business, Phil has seen it go from strength to strength as more people become aware of the benefits in using drone technology. Coast SUA provides a wide range of photographic services including terrain mapping and orthomosaics, 3D modelling, aerial surveying, 4K video and architectural photography. “It’s still very much a growth area, its potential hasn’t been realised yet,” Phil says. “The aerial perspective it offers is unique. It’s interesting in itself - as a human being, with a drone, you can see things that otherwise only a bird sees, that you can never see from the ground. “One of the primary jobs I use it for is surveying roofs.You can see every nook and cranny and identify where a problem lies. I’ve just used it to find a leak in the roof of a house in Haywards Heath and have done several jobs like that. With health and safety regulations nowadays, it’s a big job to put someone up to check a roof and to use a drone is a much simpler and cheaper alternative. “A friend of mine has a big house in Hove, three storeys with a very complicated roof system. To get someone to go up, there would have been a big deal because access would have been challenging. I flew a drone up and could immediately see where the problem was. “We have just completed survey works for Lewes-based Richard Soan Roofing. They had 12 | TOWNANDCOUNTYMAG.CO.UK

installed a barrel vault roof to a school in Crawley and needed aerial views of the installation and surrounding areas. “This was a sensitive area, being close to Gatwick Airport, and we had to obtain special permission from Air Traffic Control at Gatwick. When the school was closed, we visited the site and using both my M210 and Mavic 2 Pro drones; we took stills and some surround video. “We also recently completed a survey of Crawley Town Hall for Kier Construction, delivering hi-res video and stills. Before demolition and rebuild, the building had to be documented. This was again a sensitive project, being within the Gatwick Airport No Fly Zone, so we needed special permission from Air Traffic Control. “Drones are also beneficial for above land surveys as from the air you can pick out things like ancient earthworks. My drones have fantastic quality cameras, and with the new laser photography technology you can even see through vegetation to what lies underneath - it’s even discovered ancient villages that from the ground you’d never have known were there.” Phil has high hopes that his business will take off even further in the years ahead and he is also finding Lewes is the ideal base for his work. “After living in Brighton for many years, I felt it would be good to have a fresh perspective, so I moved to Glynde for a couple of years. It’s a beautiful place, but I felt slightly cut off so a year ago I saw a house I loved in Lewes and bought it. “Lewes has everything you need - the railway station, a good cinema, good shops, a friendly community. I’m delighted I moved here.”

Images: Phil Bodgers, Southcoasting photography

Phil at work with his drone

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Meet the mummy, February 19

There’ll be a mummy on the loose, creeping around the bends in Mungo’s Maze at Drusillas Park, Alfriston on Wednesday, February 19. Unearthed from his tomb and waiting to meet unsuspecting visitors, he will be roaming the twisted pathways of the maze throughout the day. The following day, Thursday, February 20, visitors can meet another popular visitor making a welcome return to Drusillas when Hello Kitty arrives. Visit her in her beautiful themed house and have a souvenir photo taken. More details

Scallops at Rye Bay, February 22 - March 1 Rye’s mouthwatering locally-caught scallops are said to be some of the best in the country and are at their plumpest and most succulent in the winter months.You can enjoy these local delicacies throughout Rye’s Scallop Week from Saturday, February 22 to Sunday, March 1. A mainly restaurant-based event, the festival features cookery schools, scallop-themed menus and scallop-shucking demos. This is all accompanied by an exciting programme of live events in hostelries around the town.

Feb 14

Feb 23

Foods from around the world come to the Meridian Centre in Peacehaven for the African Night on Saturday, February 22, with a feast of African food complemented by entertainment. On Friday, February 27, the same venue will host an evening of Bingo in aid of the mayor’s charity.

Feb 22

Run for charity, February 23 RISE, a local charity in Brighton and Hove, has 50 places available for the Grand Brighton Half Marathon on Sunday, February 23, at £39 per place. If you run for the charity, they ask for a minimum £150 sponsorship and with this you get a RISE running vest, a goodie bag and refreshments in tent at the end of the run. More details

Images:Runners: Hans Christiansson /

Tasty event, February 22

D I A RY Talented writer, March 12 The talk at West Sussex Writers’ monthly meeting in Goring on Thursday, March 12 will be Flash Fiction with award-winning author David Swann. He was born four doors up the street from the novelist Jeanette Winterson, who scared him stiff with spooky stories. Later, he was given the even more frightening task of reporting on Accrington Stanley’s football matches for the local newspaper. After a three-year stint as a journalist in the Netherlands, David returned to England to take an MA in Creative Writing at Lancaster University, which he passed with distinction. From 1996 to 1997, he was Writer in Residence at HMP Nottingham Prison and a book based on his experiences in the jail, ‘The Privilege of Rain’, was shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry. David teaches modules in fiction, poetry, and

Repairs galore, March 14 Don’t forget that the monthly Chailey Repair Cafe can carry out repairs or give some TLC to all kinds of items which you might otherwise throw away. The January session saw them carry out a record number of repairs including toasters and kettles as well as knife-sharpening and the talented fabrics team tackled burn holes in clothing, torn cushions and a broken bag handle. The IT team dealt with some ‘tired’ computers. It’s all in a day’s work for this successful local initiative which has gone from strength to strength since it opened its doors for the

Feb 22 Mar 12 screenwriting at the University of Chichester. His short stories and poems have been widely published and won many awards, including five successes at the Bridport Prize and two in The National Poetry Competition. His debut short story collection, ‘The Last Days of Johnny North’ was published in 2006. In 2013, Dave served as judge for the Bridport Prize’s international flash fiction competition. He is now hard at work on a trilogy of novels and other writing projects. West Sussex Writers draws members from East and West Sussex and holds monthly meetings at the Church Hall, Goring Methodist Church on Bury Drive, Goring. More details

first time 18 months ago and which Town and County has been glad to support. Bryan McAlley said: “Our 2020 dates are easy to remember – we are normally open every second Saturday of each month between 10am-1pm. Free fridge magnets with all our 2020 dates are now available at the café, so you won’t forget.” Chailey Repair Café is part of a world-wide movement where volunteer experts repair things free of charge, although a donation towards running costs is invited. Anyone can bring along broken items or clothing needing repair from home.Visit Chailey Parish Hall.


Mar 14




The Romans’ have a lot to answer for don’t they – roads, sanitation, heating, great wine oh and Valentine’s Day!


he Romans’ have a lot to answer for don’t they – roads, sanitation, heating, great wine oh and Valentine’s Day! Notice I made no mention of bottom pinching. That’s just a modern day Italian phenomenon. There are varying accounts of how it came to be (Valentines Day, not the bottom pinching), but the key element emanates from the Roman festival of Lupercalia celebrating the onset of spring from February 13-15 and encompassing the celebration of fertility. Further investigation leads us to discover that this became a matchmaking festival - perhaps more aptly referred to as a ‘frenzy’. The men would sacrifice a goat and dog and whip the women with the hides of said animals. According to a report by the University of Colorado, the women believed this would increase their fertility! Sadly fertility vitamin benefits did not come to light until 1912!! Some 1600 years after the original celebration however and we still celebrate the day, but thankfully no longer follow the rituals . We famously mark this romantic occasion on February 14 by sending anonymous cards to the potential loves of our lives in an attempt into enticing them to be our Valentines. On a less than romantic note, another story tells us that Emperor Claudius executed two men on February 14 – on separate years but ironically both named Valentine. The story continues that the


Catholic Church honoured their martyrdom with the celebration of St Valentine’s Day. Whichever story you choose to believe, there is no denying that Valentines Day still remains a key date in our 2020 calendars and naturally that of Hallmark, Clintons and the multi million pound industry of greetings card companies worldwide, a far cry from handmade cards of 100 years ago. However, as individuals, the stories of handmade gifts and personalised ways of grabbing the attention of our romantic interest still abound, which is both refreshing and heart lifting. It brings a reassuring smile to all our faces in the knowledge that romance is still alive and kicking doesn’t it. Mock as we may, when a romantic idea comes together, it reinforces our belief in love and isn’t that what makes the world go round? So when did chocolate jump on the bandwagon? Well, for those of you who have abstained from the calorie filled delicacy for your ‘new year new body’regime, it may be of interest to know that chocolate is considered an aphrodisiac. No really, it’s not just a cunning marketing rouse, it’s a fact that goes way back to the Aztecs. The rest, as they say, is history!! Mr Cadbury it is said, was the first to contain those sweet delicacies in a heart shaped box - what’s not to love? So let’s ditch the cynic in us and embrace the romantic to make this a Valentines to remember for all the right reasons.

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’ve mentioned before that as a journalist and perhaps as a storyteller, I’m privileged to be able to talk one-on-one with judges, barristers, politicians, businessmen, bankers and even leading names in my own profession. I belong to a lunch club which in a quintessentially English way is called the First Tuesday club, but meets on a Wednesday. First Tuesday’s members are present or former ambassadors, with one or two special members who are not. I’m one of the specials. No-one has yet told me why I got an invitation. I assume it’s because I’m well travelled, have wide experience of our country’s overseas governance and that I’m as mad as the proverbial hatter. But the diners at that table are both knowledgeable and educated. Their opinions are worth taking note of. One of the discussions just prior to Christmas was a serious one about the loss of democracy and the rise of bureaucracy. At every level, governance in this country is in the hands of civil servants. Maybe many of those civil servants are capable professionals. But that’s not the point. Checks and balances, which have served us so well in the past are being eroded. The executive is in charge. I’m no misty-eyed idealist when it comes to democracy. The much-vaunted Athenian democracy in fact didn’t work and was swiftly abandoned. But I subscribe to Churchill’s view. Democracy as we know it is far from perfect, but it’s the best that we’ve got. But we are in mortal danger of losing even that. Clearly the executive of Lewes District Council


The bureaucratic dominance is spreading fast. I expressed my concern to my doctor, a very, very capable lady, that the idea of a massive medical centre for all Lewes surgeries was a poor initiative when it came to patient care and those of us who valued the intimacy of medical staff we knew. She assured me that it was merely a medical centre and use of our own clinic would remain intact. Surprise, surprise. A patient at one surgery was both astonished and upset after asking for an appointment at what she thought of as her doctor’s clinic, to receive a call from a different one. In communication with the senior medical man at the first surgery, it appeared that surgery systems are almost completely controlled by the practice manager. A seasoned politician confirmed that swaps between surgeries was now common in Lewes, in readiness for the promised joint medical centre. Plainly what the doctors believe is contrary to what is now common practice. Bureaucracy strikes again. Managers are making decisions that impact on our health. Bureaucracy is in charge. There are many more instances of the executive running national, regional and local institutions where elected representatives should be in charge. Why, in a town where in 1264 there was a bloody battle fought in the name of democracy, is the executive taking over faster than almost anywhere else? “Strap your broadsword on, old boy,” they suggested, “the Battle of Lewes might have to be refought.” Yes, it bloody well will be if some bureaucrat tries to change my doctor. •

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Steam rising from Harvey’s Brewery

A W I LL O F I RO N & A B E LLY F U L O F B E E R The stench was so bad, the middle class residents couldn’t venture out Words Keith Hayes



ntil 1992, every morning as I climbed on the train, a herd of cows would sing a serenade to me from their pens adjacent to Lewes railway station. With big cow eyes, they would lift a hoof and wave farewell as I slammed the door. Ah, those were the days when we had slam door carriages. Frankly I didn’t give a damn about the slam doors themselves, but those carriages had a buffet on them, which meant they provided for two of my weaknesses, a bacon sarnie in the morning and a gin and tonic on the way home. Those cows always reminded me of my days in Moscow struggling with the Russian Cyrillic lettering. I sat on the Metro trying to figure out the four letter word C followed by a T followed by a Greek Omega and another Greek letter which looks like a door scrawled by a child. In mathematics it’s called Pi. It took several journeys before I realised that Cyrillic sounds are often dissimilar to the way we sound letters in English. Of course, the word was STOP. As I sat having lunch in a restaurant just off Moscow’s Arbat Street, I had the same experience in trying to figure out why a life size statue of a cow had the letters My My inscribed on it. After several breath stopping vodkas, I translated yet again. The letter Y in Russian is the sound of OO. It was a sign for a milk shake café. Moo Moo. I haven’t been to Moscow recently, so I don’t know if that cow is still there. What I do know is the cows that saw me off each morning definitely are not. Instead, there is a small estate of new houses on a road called Tanners Brook. I had been witness to the last cows to be sold in Lewes and therefore the death of the cattle markets that had flourished for centuries in the settlement. But people still use the words ‘Market Town’ when describing Lewes. Don’t argue. The description is used time and time again. Horse Fairs, Sheep Fairs, Cattle Markets. Lewes has had them all. It was said that in the middle of the nineteenth century that after market days, which took place on the High Street, the stench was so bad, the middle class residents couldn’t venture out to do the shopping. Several other appellations have been used to describe the town. It’s often called an ‘Arts’ town because of its history of housing works of great renown such as Rodin’s The Kiss, the superb collection of art housed in the Town Hall or even the home town talents of artists such as

‘ I t ’s o f t e n c a l l e d a n A r t s t ow n b e c a u s e o f i t ’s h i s t o r y o f h o u s i n g wo r k s o f g re a t re n ow n s u c h a s R o d i n ’s T h e K iss .’ Peter Messer, an extraordinary artist, but also an interesting character. Some say, because of the presence of the Assizes and Crown Court based in Lewes almost from the time of The Conqueror, it is a law town, while later descriptions have included university town, commuter town and dormitory town, depending on which members of its community contributed most to its economy. But get into conversation with Paul Myles, born and bred in Lewes, and he holds a deep conviction that Lewes has been for many years an industrial town. His argument is persuasive. First there are some street names that reflect this industrial past. Foundry lane, Fisher Street, Mill Road, Phoenix Place, Potter’s Lane, Timber Yard Cottages, Baxter’s Field. Not overwhelmingly conclusive but certainly an indicator to a past not reflected by the antique stores, charity shops and chain stores now populating the town. No one likes a little pub argument more than me. So, engaging with the knowledgeable, likeable, but in your face Myles to see if he is right, sent me racing to the history books. Hang on, many people will say. You always claim you’re a storyteller, not an historian. Quite right too. But my on-line debates TOWNANDCOUNTYMAG.CO.UK | 21



‘ Lewe s re a lly d oe s st e m f ro m a st ro ng , powe r f ul a n d vib r a nt in d ust r i a l se c t o r, m ost ly f o rgot t e n .’ Iron works opened in Cliffe, providing material for the military and brickyards followed as factory building expanded. A foundry came along in 1808 and although the industry ended in mid-1800, tanneries, which came into being in the 16th century were still busy. A cement and lime works, existed, and a light engineering operation. A paper mill was associated with Baxter’s, long standing printers established in 1802 and closed only in 1994. But apart from Harvey’s and Hugh Rae, the most enduring was the Phoenix Ironworks. A number of small ironworks populated the banks of the Ouse, but the Phoenix, established in 1832 in a small building on the banks of the river, was developed by John Every as one of the country’s leading iron workers, even developing a ship building arm at one point. And even other ship builders prospered in mid-1800 Lewes. Phoenix lasted in one form or another until 1986. So reluctantly, I give this round to Paul Myles. In all the titles given to Lewes, including the extensive and job producing horse racing sector of the 20th century, Lewes really does stem from a strong, powerful and vibrant industrial sector, mostly forgotten except for Harvey’s. So, I suppose I owe Paul a drink. Harvey’s of course. •

Images: Top: Dave Smith 1965 /

on Brexit with this friend and adversary garnered a sideline crowd, variously cheering on him or me, according to our one upmanship qualities. So, I never let his assertions go unchecked. I regret to say he has a point. What I don’t regret is that the mini industrial revolution in Lewes, started at the same time as its most successful brewer. John Harvey set up shop in 1790, right on the cusp of the advent of a string of businesses that developed in Lewes, giving it an extended period of industrial prosperity. Making beer is probably the only lasting sign of this period, Harvey’s now being the final vestige of successful industries that drove the economy of Lewes for many years. Yet John Harvey held off making beer for several years after he set up business. Seagoing ships came to Lewes in its early years, but the trade dropped off in the 13th Century as ports closer to the Channel flourished. But this industry left a legacy and Lewes was an important port until the advent of the railway in 1854. The town was already a transportation centre with a flourishing coaching industry serving Brighton, smaller than Lewes until 1790, and London. Several existing pubs and hotels thrived from this trade and the presence of sailors and river workers added to their profitability. The Ouse was altered to accommodate river traffic in 1791, maintained as a canal until 1812 by the Upper Ouse Navigation Company. Ouse shipping exported iron as well as coal and vegetables to the Continent. Minor industries had also sprouted in the 18th century with clothiers inhabiting the North side of the High Street. They still do, but of the original enterprises, only one lasted until the 21st century. Alas, even Hugh Rae couldn’t fight modern disdain for small business and closed its doors in 2016. Even more importantly, brewers sprung up in the 17th century in Southover. The much quoted ‘63 pubs and 17 breweries’ of the mid 1800s, showed how this trade flourished as Lewes grew. Although John Harvey was really a wine, port and sherry distributor and exporter until 1838. But brewing had remained robust with Verrall’s and Beard’s the main breweries until John Harvey added to the beer flow. The Napoleonic Wars contributed to expansion, with barracks being built for 1000 soldiers.

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A LL TH E RIG HT N OTE S Internationally-acclaimed concert pianists Steven Worbey and Kevin Farrell talk to Jo Rothery about their unique blend of superb musicianship and lively sense of humour

Breaking free Steven and Kevin



resh from performing in front of passengers on a luxury liner cruising from Dubai to Sri Lanka, Steven and Kevin will be delighting an audience in Brighton at the beginning of March. The pair are no strangers to exotic places as their enormously popular and distinctive act takes them around the globe, but Brighton is close to their hearts. They played there for the first time in 2018 and made a huge impression with their astonishing arrangements of some of the world’s greatest music, tunes we all know and love but presented with tremendous showmanship in a way we’ve never heard them before. “We’re so excited to be coming back to Brighton as we love the place,” says Kevin. “The last time we played there was one of the highlights of our career - the reaction from the audience was fantastic and it’s an honour to be playing at the Dome on March 1. “I’ve always wanted to live in Brighton and probably will one day.” For almost two decades, Steven and Kevin have captured the attention of the music world with their barnstorming blend of sparky comedy and absolutely sensational piano playing - superb artistry combined with a wicked sense of humour that is irresistible. They have played with the world’s leading symphony orchestras, achieved over a million hits on YouTube, and entertained in more than 150 countries. The way in which they push the boundaries of a piano, using it in unconventional ways to mimic the sound of a full symphony orchestra, is in perfect harmony with their sense of fun and mastery of the instrument. They met at the Royal College of Music where Kevin was studying piano/composition with Peter Wallfisch and Joseph Horowitz and Steven studied piano performance with Phyllis Sellick and Peter Katin. Although pursuing separate careers, they met regularly and eventually the act came together, fusing their personalities and skills. “While we were studying at the Royal College of Music, we became friends very quickly and after four years, both of our careers were doing pretty well,” says Steven. “Then one night in 2002, we got locked in my

flat and after a couple of glasses of white wine, we started to play my piano together. We were just improvising and having fun, because we share the same sense of humour, then we realised the potential of playing together like that was an opportunity we had been missing out on for years. “We thought we might be able to do something with it and everything just clicked into place, the humour, the synchronisation, the improvised sense of fun. It was quite mind-blowing - we discovered that we played the piano together in a way that had never been played before.” Once they launched their new act, it had a kind of domino effect and ever since they have been in demand all over the world, dazzling audiences who are amazed and thrilled to listen to some of the greatest music ever written, presented in a new and exciting way. Their first gig was at The Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, which led to a flood of offers across the world, including a performance on the maiden voyage of Cunard’s Queen Mary 2. “We adore that ship,” says Steven. “We were on it again at the beginning of this year, on the first leg of a world cruise.

‘ We ’re so exc it e d t o be c o m ing ba c k t o B r ig h t o n , we love t h is pl a c e .’ TOWNANDCOUNTYMAG.CO.UK | 25


“We’re very lucky, as well as performing on cruises, we do shows all over the UK and around the world, and we had a month’s residency in South Africa. It’s a really fantastic mix.” That diverse mix has included a two-month sell-out run in Vienna of the Canadian smash-hit play, Two Pianos Four Hands, and performing in shows with the late Mickey Rooney in the United States. They have composed and arranged a popular dance track, and their work takes them to Australia, South Korea, Portugal, Austria, Canada and Japan. They are regulars on BBC Radio 3 and on television, including ITV’s This Morning, and have just completed a 24date concert tour of South Africa. The key to this exuberant duo’s success is their amazing virtuosity and artistry, combined with a charming rapport with their audiences. “We spend months on each arrangement, sometimes contorting ourselves into odd positions to push the boundaries and create orchestral sounds from the piano,” Steven says. “A huge change in our lives came about in 2011 at the Edinburgh Festival when we met Geoff Durham, the comedy magician and actor. He took us to one side and told us we needed to concentrate on the relationship between us and with the audience when we were on stage. He became our mentor and director and that really took us to the next level. “At the beginning we had tended to do a lot of sketches because musical comedy was in fashion at the time, but now we concentrate on the music and the arrangements, chatting all the time. Often when we walk on stage, we spend five or ten minutes just chatting and building up a rapport with the audience before we even touch the piano. We want them to get to know us and feel we’re taking them on a journey into music.” That important rapport and interaction with the audience will definitely come to the fore when Kevin and Steven take to the stage at the Brighton Dome on March 1. Their concert will include their astonishing arrangements of iconic pieces of music such as Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, Addinsell’s iconic Warsaw Concerto, Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf and a spectacular version of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. But there will also be some surprises. Steven and Kevin will ask if any members of the audience are 26 | TOWNANDCOUNTYMAG.CO.UK

celebrating a special occasion, perhaps a birthday. When someone responds, the duo will ask them to shout out the letters of their name and they will then play impromptu pieces of music starting with the same letter of the alphabet as each letter of the name. “Audiences love it - we do it live on the evening and make it clear that it’s totally unplanned, so it can be a bit ‘dangerous’ for us to come up with all the right music. It’s one of the best things we’ve brought in to really capture people’s imaginations,” Steven says. “Another totally different new thing we’ll be doing at Brighton is having a massive screen on which everyone in the audience can see the keyboard and watch our hands. Because we play in such an unusual way, we want them to get the magic of the keys.” Just before making their way to Brighton, Kevin and Steven will be presenting their show on one leg of a cruise on the Queen Mary 2, sailing from Dubai to Sri Lanka, then flying to Sussex for a week of rehearsal before their appearance for the Brighton and Hove Philharmonic Society at the Dome, which they say was the venue for one of the best shows they have done over the years.

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Ingredients For the cauliflower purée • 50g/1.25oz/3.5 tbsp unsalted butter • 1 onion, roughly chopped • 1 small head of cauliflower (total weight 600g/1lb 5oz), cut into florets • 4 garlic cloves, peeled • 1 tsp fine sea salt • a good grinding of black pepper • 250ml/9fl oz single/light cream • 100ml/3.5fl oz milk For the pork and peaches • 12–14 fine slices of pancetta • 1 pork fillet (about 450g/1lb) • a little olive oil • 2 sprigs of rosemary, leaves finely chopped • 3 peaches, halved and pitted • fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method Heat the oven to 200°C/400°F/ Gas 6. Melt the butter in a saucepan and stir in the onion and cauliflower until coated in the butter. Cook gently for about 10 minutes until the onion is translucent. Do not allow the vegetables to brown. Add the whole garlic cloves, salt and pepper, then the cream and milk. Increase the heat and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for 30–40 minutes, or until the cauliflower is soft. Blend to a smooth, thick purée and season with salt and pepper to taste. Meanwhile, overlap the slices of pancetta in a large roasting pan to make a rectangle wide enough to wrap the pork fillet. Rub the pork with a little olive oil, season all sides and sprinkle with the chopped rosemary. Place the pork in the middle of the pancetta and wrap it over to form a fairly tight sausage.

Drizzle a little more oil over the top. Heat a large frying pan over a high heat, add the pork and sear on all sides until the bacon starts to crisp. Place the pork fillet, with the seams underneath, back in the roasting pan and arrange the peaches, cut-side up, around it. Season the peaches and drizzle them with a little olive oil. Roast for 10–12 minutes for pink meat, or 15–20 if you prefer it well done. Remove the pork from the oven, transfer to a board and loosely tent in foil, then leave to rest for 5–10 minutes. Baste the peaches in the roasting pan juices and return them to the oven while the meat rests. Slice the pork into 9 pieces. On warm plates, serve 3 slices of pork on the cauliflower purée with 2 peach halves per person. Roast potatoes and steamed broccoli or asparagus make delicious accompaniments.


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OVEN - ROASTED TOMATO, SPINACH AND MOZ Z ARELL A TART SERVES: 8 SUITABLE FOR VEGETARIANS Ingredients • 12 British Medium Vine Tomatoes, halved • 1tbsp olive oil • 200g young spinach, washed • 270g pack filo pastry sheets, thawed if frozen • 100g butter, melted • 2 x 125g balls mozzarella, sliced • 2 eggs • 150ml single cream • Salt and freshly ground black pepper • Basil leaves, to garnish

Method 1 Preheat the oven to 180°C, fan oven 160°C, Gas Mark 4. Put the tomatoes into a roasting tin, drizzle with olive oil and season with a little salt and pepper. Roast for 10-15 minutes, then cool. 2 Put the spinach into a colander and slowly pour a kettleful of boiling water over it to wilt the leaves. Leave to cool. 3 Unroll the sheets of filo pastry. Brush each one with melted butter and stack them one on top of the other on a large greased baking sheet, crisscrossing them as you layer them.

Gather and scrunch the edges, bringing them together to form a border. 4 Squeeze the excess moisture from the spinach, then arrange on the tart with the tomatoes and mozzarella. Beat the eggs and single cream together and season with salt and pepper. Pour into the tart case. Bake for 20-25 minutes until set and golden. Serve, garnished with basil leaves. Cook’s tip: It’s easy to make this tart for 4 people – simply halve the quantities and reduce the size of the tart.



SALTED CAR AMEL , CHOCOL ATE & BEETROOT FUDGE CAKE SERVES: 8-10 Ingredients for the cake • 3 beetroots, 300g/10.5oz total, scrubbed and peeled • 100g/3.5oz unsalted butter, softened • 175g/6oz light muscovado sugar • 2 large eggs, beaten • 1 tsp vanilla extract • 125g/4.5oz dark/semisweet chocolate, at least 70% cocoa solids, melted and cooled • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder • 125g/4.5oz plain flour • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda/baking soda • 1 pinch of fine sea salt For the salted caramel • 200g/7oz caster/superfine sugar • 100ml/3.5fl oz double/heavy cream • Half–1 tsp fine sea salt For the chocolate buttercream •100g/3.5oz unsalted butter, softened 175g/6oz icing sugar, sifted 100g/3½oz • Dark/semisweet chocolate, at least 70% cocoa solids, melted and cooled • A splash of milk (optional)

Method Heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/ Gas 4 and grease and line two 20cm/8in loose-based cake pans.To make the cake, cook the beetroots in boiling water for 40–60 minutes until soft. Remove from the pan and reserve 100ml/3½fl oz of the cooking water. Purée the beetroot. Cream the butter and sugar until creamy. Mix in the eggs, vanilla, beetroot/beet purée and chocolate. Sift over the dry ingredients and fold in. Divide between the prepared pans and bake for 20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.

To make the Salted Caramel

Dissolve the sugar in the reserved beetroot/beet water in a wide-based saucepan over a low heat, stirring, and using a pastry brush dipped in water to remove any sugar crystals stuck to the inside of the pan. Stop stirring and increase the heat. Shake the pan occasionally and watch carefully until the caramel turns a deep amber. Remove from the heat and immediately whisk in the cream and salt. Prick the top of the warm


cakes with a skewer and drizzle each one with 2 tablespoons of the salted caramel, avoiding the edges. Leave the cakes to cool in their pans on a wire rack.

To make the Buttercream

Whisk the butter until creamy, then whisk in half the icing/ confectioners’ sugar. Whisk in the chocolate, then the remaining sugar for a few minutes. Slacken with a splash of milk, if necessary. Push the cake bases out, but leave the cakes on the insert of the pans. Spread the top of one cake with half of the buttercream and upturn the other on top to sandwich them together. Remove the pan insert and parchment on the top cake and upturn it on to a cake stand. Remove the other pan insert and peel off the parchment, before spreading the remaining buttercream over the top of the cake. Drizzle the remaining salted caramel generously over the top of the buttercream.You may need to return the caramel saucepan to the heat briefly before doing this so that it is runny enough to drizzle.

likE drinking your firsT day of Holiday Tequila evangelist Cleo Rocos created AquaRiva® Premium Tequila and Organic Agave Syrup in 2011 after working with a Master Blender in Mexico for 10 months. Being featured in the Virgin Atlantic inaugural flight to Mexico in 2012 with Richard Branson, we are proud that AquaRiva® is now available in Virgin Clubhouses. AquaRiva® Tequila is a double gold medal winner in the UK and voted ‘Best of the Best’ in the USA. Available in Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, on-line; DrinkUpNY,, Amazon and in clubs and bars nationwide.

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Shake with plenty of ice and serve in a rocks glass with more ice. Garnish with an orange zest.



A LI FE I N HAR M ON Y Emotional wellbeing coach Mira Patel tells Jo Rothery how she encourages others to ignite their inner life force


ira Patel took a leap of faith when she stepped back from a high-powered career to follow her dream. Now, through her Prana Coaching business, she helps clients to set out on a journey of discovery that leads to a more fulfilling future. A human resources professional with an impressive history of working in that field, several years ago she began to think it was time for a change to achieve a more balanced and harmonious life for herself. “I graduated in human resources and enjoyed working in that industry for many years, but about four or five years ago I began to consider my own personal development programme,” she says. “I’ve been married for 15 years and have two children, a 12-year-old girl and a boy who

is now three-and-a-half years old. We live in an extended family which has taught me a lot about relationships between several generations living under one roof - it’s amazing. “After my second child was born, I went back to work but it was quite difficult to combine a demanding job with being a mother. My husband said to me that my life was out of synch - out to work all day then coming home and working on my laptop. “He suggested I should give myself a break. Take some time out and devote it to thinking about how I could achieve my dream - I should take a step back, do that for a year and a half or however long it took to decide what I really wanted to do. “At the time I was working for Virgin Holidays, which I enjoyed, but the part of human resources I

promotion loved was the ‘people’ side. Any job involves admin but for me it had always been the people part I enjoyed most. I loved helping people within every organisation I had worked with. “One day when I was already considering what I was doing with my life, I got talking to a trainer friend who asked if I had thought about doing life coaching and suggested I go to a seminar in London. That was a few years ago but after that seminar I decided there and then to take a step back and focus on deciding where I really wanted to be. “Although I wanted a change, I didn’t want it to be something completely different and life coaching tied into my human resources experience.” Mira spent the next 18 months exploring the possibility of having a business of her own and then acquiring the knowledge and training she would need to become an effective life coach. “I love being a mum but I also love being me and that’s why I set up Prana Coaching last September,” she explains. “The name is very important to me - in Sanskrit, Prana means ‘life force’ and through my coaching I want to encourage people to ignite their own life force, I aim to help them feel empowered and energised.” Through her work in human resources, Mira felt she had encountered a number of people who although reasonably contented, realised that like herself their lives were out of synch yet they procrastinated over making any major changes. “Life coaching isn’t about telling people what to do, it’s about empowering them, guiding them to where they want to be,” she explains. “It can be enormously beneficial on a personal level, leading them to the kind of ‘wow’ moment I experienced that’s amazing. “Being in tune with yourself is very important for your wellbeing. Too often we forget self care so I like to take people back to the inner child within themselves, giving them a new self purpose, more aligned with nature. Essentially it’s connecting heart and mind and that enables you to make better decisions.” As well as working one-to-one with several private clients, through Prana Coaching Mira offers a wide range of workshops devoted to energising and empowering. These include half-day and full-day sessions and while these are often spread over a course of several weeks, in April Mira is holding a three-day retreat over a weekend in the beautiful surroundings of Tilton House.

There are places for up to eight people at what promises to be a wonderfully inspirational event, immersed in nature and with a wide range of activities designed to assist in achieving the desired heart, mind and soul connection. At the start of the weekend, on the Friday afternoon, time will be spent identifying what each individual participant hopes to achieve and the techniques and tools appropriate to help reach their objectives. The intensity of the coaching sessions will be interspersed with optional activities such as yoga and crystal healing. Weather permitting, some activities will be held outdoors, communing with nature. There will also be time to relax and superb vegan and vegetarian meals will add to the enjoyment of the weekend. Mira’s coaching is suitable for all ages - she holds special classes for young girls and this year she will be travelling to Mumbai to help empower girls there.

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SOM E TH I NG FOR E VE RYON E Michele Doyle tells Jo Rothery how she overcame the shadow of a childhood tragedy to forge a career in the antiques trade and become the owner of The Emporium, one of the top antique shops in Lewes

Michele relaxing with her dog; Opposite: in her beautiful home



n many ways, Michele enjoyed a privileged though unconventional childhood in beautiful Wykehurst Place, the Gothic Revival mansion in Bolney which was lying derelict when her father, James Doyle, bought it in the 1970s. The magnificent building, which resembles a French chateau, had been home during the Second World War to Canadian soldiers preparing to join the D-Day landings but had since been unoccupied for 30 years and fallen into disrepair. Having saved it from demolition, James Doyle set about restoring its former splendour, and it was there Michele grew up. The mansion’s eerie, imposing architecture caught the attention of moviemakers, and it played host to many famous stars of the silver screen, including Michael Caine and Donald Pleasance who filmed Oh! What a lovely war there in 1976. One of Michele’s fond memories is playing Swingball with Michael Caine, who inadvertently whacked her in the eye with the ball! She also met Ringo Starr when he came to Wykehurst. But while her childhood in such beautiful surroundings was idyllic in many ways, it was touched with tragedy when she was just nine years old as her mother took her own life. Michele also faced a challenging period in her life as a teenager when her slightly eccentric father, an antiques dealer, was determined she should follow in his footsteps. “My father insisted that I went into antiques after I left school, so I was not allowed to go to art school,” she recalls. “That is kind of how my career in antiques started, working at my aunt’s antiques shop in Kemp Town. The rest, as they say, is history!” Antiques have been an integral part of Michele’s life ever since. Still, it’s the people aspect as well as the incredible array of intriguing objects in her shop that she finds so exciting and enjoyable. The Emporium lies in the heart of the Cliffe area of Lewes, a magnet for collectors who come from far and wide to seek out items they are determined to add to their hoard or find something intriguing that catches their eye. Sentiment plays a large part in antique collecting and Michele loves to hear people chatting to each other or to the stallholders about items that hold special memories or are dear to their heart for one reason or another.

“It’s enjoyable to hear them talking about the past and reminiscing about things they may remember from their childhood,” she says. “And it’s very satisfying to hear someone say they’ve found that something special they wanted, or see them beaming with happiness because they’ve managed to find a genuine bargain,” she says. Antiques are in Michele’s blood. As well as her father being a well-known dealer, her grandmother had a shop in Brighton’s famous Lanes, and her aunt’s antique shop was where she learnt her trade. “I just slipped into the antiques business,” she says. Tragedy struck again in 1995 when Michele’s father took his own life just months before she and her business partner Steve Madigan established The Emporium on Cliffe High Street in Lewes. “I think we are the second longest-established antiques shop in the town,” she adds. Sadly Steve passed away five years ago at the age of 57 after a long battle with cancer, and Michelle found herself in sole charge of the business, coping with another devastating blow.

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“It was a very sad time, and Steve was a huge miss as we balanced each other nicely as business partners,” she says.“It was tough without him at first, but we had both put so much into the shop that I decided I had to keep it going. I think we are the second longestestablished antiques shop in the town.” Michele’s determination paid off, and The Emporium continues to be the go-to marketplace for collectors who flock to Lewes from all over the south of England and further afield. Word of what a great shop it is has also made it a magnet for BBC TV shows featuring antiques. Both Bargain Hunt and Celebrity Antiques Road trip are often filmed there, with the next one on March 2nd. “It’s fascinating when the presenters and TV crews arrive, at least once a year,” says Michele. “And the shows are screened monthly for the next ten years or so, giving audiences a real glimpse of the beautiful and interesting objects we have on display. “I often hear people who haven’t been in the shop before saying they wish they had come here first.”. There are now about 50 stallholders in The Emporium, offering a staggering array of vintage and collectables of all kinds, everything from china and glass, small furniture, costume jewellery, postcards and militaria to teddy bears and dolls. It’s a treasure trove for anyone who likes the old, the unusual, and wants to be sure they are paying a reasonable price. “Our stallholders are very knowledgeable, and many of them make a real effort to create lovely displays,” Michele says. “Most of them have a real passion for what they’re selling, and others are hobbyists who know a great deal about what they have on their stalls. “A lot of people in this business enjoy restoring and selling antique pieces. For them, it’s all about love, not money. “None of our stallholders charge the ridiculous prices you often see elsewhere and customers who come here know anything they buy is going to be affordable. “After Brighton, Lewes has become the place to go to for people who want to feed their collecting addiction, and we’re lucky to be on Cliffe High Street, which has a lovely mix.” Does Michele have any tips about which objects will be next to capture the public’s imagination and become highly sought-after?

Views over Lewes in Michele’s garden

‘ I o f t e n h e a r pe o ple w h o h ave n’t be e n in t h e s h o p be f o re s ay ing t h ey wis h t h ey h a d c o m e h e re f irst .’ “Things are always changing in the antiques business, and that’s what makes it so exciting and difficult to predict the next trend,” she says. “Some things are selling for less now than they were 30 years ago, like decanters or bedwarmers, which were in fashion. “Brown furniture has also been out of favour for quite a long time. We don’t have room for that here, but other people tell me it is now making a comeback and is in fashion again. “I think the excitement for anyone who likes old, interesting objects is that you never know what you are going to come across and we certainly have plenty of choices here.” However, Michele does point out a firm trend that has recently become apparent at The Emporium. “Vintage clothes are really in fashion, and our TOWNANDCOUNTYMAG.CO.UK | 39


Michele taking a walk with the dogs; Above: strike a pose Michele


‘ I h ave so m ew h at e c le c t ic t a st e s a n d so so m e t im e s se e t h ing s I d o n’t wa n t t o pa r t wit h .’ Dogs also have a place in another string to her bow. She has a talent for printmaking, and several years has been making mainly linocuts and woodcuts. These sold particularly well at the last two Artwave events, and several prints featuring dogs were bought for Bill’s restaurant. Michele enjoys both working and living in Lewes. “I’m fortunate to live near the golf course, and from this part of town there are beautiful views, and I love the big sky here. It’s a fantastic situation, and my home is my little sanctuary. “Cliffe is a marvellous place to work in - it’s extraordinary, like a little village, a lovely community. I think that if you have been to school and lived in the same area for a long time, you never really want to leave. I have three children I’m very proud of, and they all live locally. It’s really exciting that one of them is getting married this summer.” •

Images: © Town & County magazine

basement is now totally devoted to an amazing range of pre-loved clothes, with nine stallholders selling all kinds of fashions from across the decades. We see a lot of people coming in and heading straight downstairs.” Does Michele have a personal favourite about any particular kind of antique or vintage item? “I have somewhat eclectic tastes and so sometimes see things I don’t want to part with. “One of our stallholders, Sarah, has a beautiful Chiltern teddy bear for sale at the moment. He is just like the one I had as a child, so I can understand why nostalgia and sentimentality play such a large part in why people like to collect things that take them back to the past.” Chatting to others about their collecting passions has always been part of the scene at The Emporium. Still, there’s also another prominent attraction - resident dogs always happy to greet customers and enjoy being fussed over. Unfortunately, the beautiful deerhound - Kymmy, who was a massive favourite with everyone recently passed away. Still, there’s a new puppy who is fast becoming just as popular - Toto, a lovable Portuguese podenga and let’s not forget the beautiful Nelly a firm favourite of our customers. Several of the stallholders also bring their dogs to work, so The Emporium is rarely short of canine cuteness. “Some people often come in just to say hello to the dogs,” Michele says.

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Susie’s beautiful interior

I NTE R I O R D E S I G N TR E N DS Susie Pfeiffer, Pfeiffer Design Sustainability Climate Change is on everyone’s mind and there’s no doubt this acute awareness has filtered down into every aspect of our lives. As consumers, we are prioritising natural fibres and fabrics when it comes to interiors - the big fabric houses are taking notice and all frantically competing to release the most sustainable fabrics possible, utilising recycled plastics wherever possible. We’re also noticing a huge shift towards vintage furniture, upcycling, re-upholstering and curating a truly unique interior in the home by utilising found items already in existence. This in turn will lead to our homes becoming more individual as we search for creative ways to express ourselves, rather than simply buying off the peg.

New Monochrome Rather than the stark black and white of Modernist monochrome schemes past, this new take on a minimal Scandinavian-inspired interior involves varying shades of greige and neutral rust tones; the focus being on creating interest and nuance through various textures with a strong focus on matt, rather than glossy, surfaces. In order to create this pared back feel in your home, look to incorporating varying tones of warm beige and rich terracotta tones with dried grasses and just a touch of understated luxe in the form of vases and unglazed ceramics. Curvaceous/Cocooning Styles Gone are the days of structured, upright and utilitarian mid-century style seating, 2020 has given rise to a more glamorous and enveloping shape, swinging 60s style, when it comes to chairs and sofas. Expect to see a rise in oversized, glamorously curved sofas creating a snug cocoon in which to relax, and high-backed armchairs that add a glamorous touch to even the simplest of spaces. Globe/Opal Lighting 2019 saw an explosion of Art-Deco influence when it comes to interior design and it looks like the trend isn’t going anywhere. Designers are moving away from faux-industrial inspired naked TOWNANDCOUNTYMAG.CO.UK | 43


Victoria Caldwell, Victoria Caldwell Design, We are looking to durable, man-made sisals and flatweaves to create natural charm and texture of a natural floor, while being able to stand up to more rural and coastal interiors, and more robust in a busy domestic setting.

Freshness and contrast for the 2020 colour palette. Bold colours are still very current. A striking paint colour works very well with natural material palettes such as timber and stone helping to blend a traditional space with a fresh modern feel. Bright upholstery choices can also anchor the room well with a simple, lighter wall tone. Pattern and print remains at the forefront, particularly on cushioning and lampshades. We like to play, often with a secondary bright colour on trimmings which can help to punctuate a scheme. Parquet flooring can create a little grandeur, even in a small space instead of more generic, straight laid floor. There are many choices available which are much simpler to lay than traditional parquet. A move towards freestanding furniture instead of built in joinery, particularly in the Kitchen. Many traditional kitchen companies create wonderful cabinetry for the traditional country house, all as freestanding elements that allow the room to feel more spacious and breathe. With kitchens as always, alluding comfort and creating room to live in rather than workspace is key.


To find a BIID Registered Interior Designer in your local area, visit the ‘Find a designer’ page on the BIID website: To find out more visit:

Elegant interior by Victoria

Images: Pfieffer Designs, MAAG photography

Edisonstyle pendant lighting towards something with a touch more opulence and femininity. Delicate frosted glass and opal shades not only lend a sense of glamour and sophistication to a scheme, but also project a more subtle, diffused light than their utilitarian predecessors. Fluting Another Art-Deco inspired trend, fluting is set to make a huge impact in our homes in 2020. Highstreet stores have already hopped on this trend with vigour, meaning fluted textures can be found on anything from glassware and vases, to doors, lighting, sideboards and even mouldings. Fluted panels situated within joinery can add an interesting dimension, bouncing light around the room whilst offering privacy, depth and a sense of intrigue.

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42 Cliffe High Street • Lewes • BN7 2AN 01273 486866



Steve Burgess talks about how his business aims to achieve the perfect result for every client


ne of our beautiful bespoke kitchens is the equivalent of fine dining compared with a McDonalds,” says Steve of Seafordbased Burgess Kitchens. With an invaluable 25 years’ experience at the top end of the kitchen trade, this is a man who knows how important it is to create the perfect blend of superb functionality and stunning appearance in a room that really is at the heart of the home. “Long gone are the days when the kitchen was just somewhere to prepare the evening meal,” he explains. “Nowadays it is the engine room of the house for all the family. Somewhere to relax, read the newspaper, sit and chat and enjoy a meal. “That means it has to be individually planned to take into account absolutely every detail of how any client wants to use it, what features and equipment need to be included as well as how it will look. “The kitchen is a room which has to be practical but also incorporate everything required to make it a welcome and relaxing space at the heart of everyday life.” As a perfectionist, Steve believes only the best service he can provide will do for any project, large or small, undertaken by Burgess Kitchens. “The clients we have wouldn’t dream of going to B&Q,” he says. “They want the best and that’s what we aim to give them every time.” That philosophy is reflected in the fact his business has won the prestigious Best of Houzz Service award for the past three years, a recognition based on the number of favourable reviews and impressive feedback received from clients. Over the years Burgess Kitchens has built up

an enviable reputation for excellent service, top quality and value for money. It is looking forward to the new decade ahead with an extremely positive outlook, confident that its level of personal service, attention to detail, knowledge of the latest trends and developments and reputation for excellent craftsmanship and superb quality will appeal to more and more discerning clients throughout Sussex. Key to this is Steve’s own expertise in leading and overseeing every aspect of a job, from start to finish, from detailed initial consultation to innovative design and right through to completion. “I started in the kitchen business on the design side but in the early days I realised that some of the hands-on people involved were not very good,” he says. “That drew me into being more hands-on myself, combining that with my design skills and doing a bit of both.” That formula has proved extremely successful and is at the core of how Burgess Kitchens operates.

46 | TOWNANDCOUNTYMAG.CO.UK Burgess Kitchens design, supply and install quality kitchens,


guiding them through the wide range of options and working with them to achieve the perfect end result. “As a smaller company, we are able to fully focus on our customers, giving personal service and attention to detail that guarantees consistent quality every time,” he says. “We are competitive on price and can work within any budget. “Our extensive range of contemporary, modern, shaker and traditional kitchens are highly functional, as well as beautiful. We work with carefully selected partners to deliver a range of quality products that offer a perfect combination of form and function. “We supply an extensive range of kitchens, bedrooms, bathrooms and home offices, carefully selected from quality manufacturers for their durability and style. In addition we supply everything you need to finish the room, including all the appliances, underfloor heating, flooring and lighting. “We manage home improvements of every scale and will make the best use of whatever space you have without sacrificing on style. Our meticulous “We don’t have a showroom because we workmanship ensures a stunning, functional kitchen Burgess Kitchens design, install quality pride ourselves on being able tosupply sourceand anything that kitchens, will stand the test of time. a client wants. would belifestyle impossible to your include tailored toItsuit your and budget. “The fitting process is carried out by everything in a physical showroom so instead we professionals. We use only skilled craftsmen with have an excellent, inspirational online From design to installation we showroom project managespecialist every tools to ensure that every cabinet fits thataspect displays enormous for clients to perfectly and every joint is beautiful and we project ofanyour perfectselection kitchen. choose from, everything that is on the market. manage the entire installation, including electrics, “At the design stage we can produce really good gas, flooring and building works.” almost photographic quality, which enables Kitchens operates across both East kitchensvisuals, ● bedrooms ● bathrooms ● home Burgess offices us to walk clients through their proposed kitchen, and West Sussex, carrying out kitchen designs and to arrange a free, no obligation design visit. seeingCall what the layout will look like in their room. builds of all sizes, always concentrating on one job This is followed by a full survey. at a time to ensure all goes smoothly from start to 01323 “As an 899493 business, we are not here to finish and with minimum disruption to the client. sell boxes, we’re happy to have as many meetings as the “We’re just starting a £45,000 project, installing client likes to make sure they get what they want. Our a new kitchen in a lovely old pub,” Steve says. kitchens are bespoke, everything is made to measure “We do a lot of work in Brighton, Horsham, and we are experts at using every inch of space. Eastbourne and Worthing and being based here in “I do a lot of research into new products to Seaford is the ideal place from which we can cover make sure we keep right up to date all the time the coastal area and the inland area of the county. with current trends - I sleep and eat kitchens! “I love Seaford and we bought a property here “Every room we create is designed specifically 25 years ago. Even if I won the Lottery tomorrow, I for our clients, designed to express their own wouldn’t want to move away from the town!” personal style, tailored to reflect their personality ‘ We a re c o m pe t it ive o n and add character to their home.” Steve offers a free, no-obligation design p r ic e a n d c a n wo r k wit h in consultation where he will visit potential clients and a ny b u dge t .’ offer them practical and professional design advice,



Toad’s experience wasn’t too long after the first cars hit the road in Britain


Words: Keith Hayes oad sat straight down in the middle of the dusty road, his legs stretched out before him, and stared fixedly in the direction of the disappearing motor car. He breathed short, his face wore a placid, satisfied expression, and at intervals he faintly murmured “Poop-poop!” Kenneth Graham’s Toad of Toad Hall in the fascinating book Wind in the Willows was written in


1905. His description of life when gentlemen said ‘Pip, Pip’ and addressed one another as ‘Old Chap’ through a host of animal characters living on the banks of a river, was masterful. One character especially who exemplified the idle rich of that age was Toad. He was a playboy but mixed happily with his down to earth neighbours Ratty, Mole and Mr. Badger. That is until he discovered the motor car. Then he became an uncontrollable demon, driving wildly and carelessly behind the wheel of a brand-new auto until his contempt for the law landed him in gaol. So that much hasn’t changed then in 115 years. But what has altered is the number of motor cars on the road. In 1905, they were the plaything of the rich. The roads still had more horse and carts on them than automobiles and a trip out on a Sunday

Images: left: Ron Ellis, Right; A.Sontaya / Shutterstock.

history afternoon a matter of considerable excitement. Although the motor car dominates our lives today, even in the early fifties, it was till possible to drive relatively unhindered on Britain’s highways. My grandfather gave me my first car. It was a black Austin 10, creaking at the seams and rattling over the potholes, but it worked. Like Toad, I roared along the lanes and byways, carefree and unhindered. The speedometer didn’t work properly and vacillated wildly. I never knew how fast I was going, and most policemen just waved cheerily as my chums and I pumped at the brakes to force the vehicle to stop. Again, it was a matter of judgement. We guessed at the amount of road required to pull up before the white line and the word Halt, painted on the surface of the road. Yet that little vehicle took a good part of the cricket team, heads poked through the open sunroof, pads, gloves and bats stuffed between bodies to Saturday’s match. Prayers issued skyward that we wouldn’t run out of petrol before we reached the cricket green, or that between us we could stump up sixpences to buy a gallon of fuel at half a crown. That car also taught me the art of management. I didn’t know much about the workings of cars. I just drove. My friend John, on the other hand was a genius. So it was that when the little black Austin sputtered and drifted to a halt, he was the master mechanic who fixed it. The problem was always the same. Grit in the fuel pipe. John would unscrew the copper nut, suck loudly, red in the face until the petrol started to flow again. I stood by with a bag of sweets, offering him one to take the taste of the liquid away. Those were days when motoring was easy and the roads accommodating to free and irresponsible characters like Toad and me. Toad’s experience wasn’t too long after the first cars hit the road in Britain. Perversely it was Tom Paine who had a finger in the development of the internal combustion engine. Known more for his revolutionary ideas, Paine was a prolific inventor and among his ideas was a form of steam engine that used gunpowder to power it. Sadly, that was for boats and even our Tom was not known to have dreamed of a horseless carriage. But it was in his lifetime, that the first experiments with a car were made. The first steam powered auto was realised in 1769. Tom might have well been part of that, but he was obviously too busy

helping foment the American Revolution. It was not until 1885 that the first real car as we know it powered down the road. It was created by Karl Benz and is considered the first production model after he built several of his masterpieces and put them on the road. Even so, it was only 20 years before Toad saw fit to venture out, clad in goggles, cap and large leather gloves. So what was the first car to venture into Lewes like? Probably scary. Early vehicles frequently broke down, the roads were not designed for these new contraptions and spotting a petrol station was like a game of Eye Spy as roadsters rolled merrily along, often at less that 20 miles per hour. Even that was racing. Until 1896 when the Locomotives on Highways Act was introduced, the law demanded that a man on foot carried a red flag in front of the vehicle to warn pedestrians that a car was coming. But Lewes was geographically very close to the acceptance of this new-fangled contraption, because down the road in Brighton on November 14th, 1896, the Motor Car Club organised the London to Brighton run. The same event that takes place to this very day. Until then, cars had been limited variously to two miles per hour, four miles per hour and at the time of the Brighton run, 12 miles per hour. Probably the intervention of the Prince of Wales,

‘Even so, it was only 20 years before Toad saw fit to venture out, clad in googles, cap and large leather gloves’

A Benz vintage classic car



Firle Hill climb

who like Toad, fell in love with the motor car, saw the limit jump to 20 mph in 1903. Even then, development was slow. In 1938, less than two million cars were registered with the authorities, rising from 100000 in 1918. There was some realisation that the car was here to stay. The County Council paid £1300 towards the elimination of three dangerous bends between Willingdon and Eastbourne, while it had issued 172 car licences, and 385 driving licences by 1904. The Lewes police sounded out the new technology with a brand-new Wolsey, for which they paid £350 in 1904. The car wasn’t that operational, however. It was just a transportation car for the Chief Constable. Bicycles held sway until 1931, when a fleet of motorbikes was bought to be rapidly overtaken by MG cars. There was an earlier motor bike patrol on the Eastbourne Road in 1921, but the two-man force used their own machines. Lewes may have been a slow starter in the motor industry, but it made up for it with the speed of the cars themselves. Speed trials were held in 1924 on what was described as a private road near Lewes. These trials

‘ Lewe s m ay h ave be e n a slow st a r t e r in t h e m ot o r in d u st r y, b ut it m a d e u p wit h t h e s pe e d o f t h e c a rs’ 50 | TOWNANDCOUNTYMAG.CO.UK

took place three or four times a year on a slightly rising hill leading to the London Newhaven Road It was here in 1937 that a new car with independent suspension was unveiled, the Atalanta. But most famous of them all is the Firle Hill Climb. Founded by the Bentley Drivers’ Club, it began in 1949. It runs up a sharp hill, around a bend called Bo Peep Corner and up a 600-yard course to the finishing point. The event closed down in 1967, partly for economic reasons and partly due to a fatal accident involving a spectator. But in September 2015, this colourful parade of older cars roared back to life through the efforts of the Bo Peep Drivers Club and has become a key event in the Lewes sporting calendar. So the development of the automobile has touched Lewes almost from the very start. But I still hanker after that day in 1905 that Toad took to the road, scattering all in his path. Yes, he was caught and imprisoned. But the gaolers’ daughter took pity on him and brought to him on Monday morning, cold beef and Bubble and Squeak. The real sort, with Sunday’s left-over cabbage, fried into mashed potatoes, and cooked in lard. Now you don’t get that dish much anymore, at least not cooked the proper way. I wonder if they still make it that way though in the police holding cells in Lewes. Nah. They couldn’t, could they? Could they? Oh, I need to find out. Where’s my car? •




Evocative music has been the keynote of Phil Mills’ life and career


here’s a massive following for the uplifting and irresistible sounds of blues music. Devotees of all ages love the full range of emotions and style its songs and distinctive instrumentation encompass. For Phil Mills, the blues has been a way of life, and he’s one of the very best exponents of this compelling genre, right here in East Sussex. This multi-talented guitarist, harmonica player and vocalist who lives in Malling has performed the blues for over 25 years in venues and festivals across the UK and in Europe and has plenty of fans who enjoy hearing him play close to home. His devotion to the unmistakable style of music that originated in the Deep South of America, but has won hearts all over the world, began when he was in his teens and remains just as strong today. “I’ve been playing the guitar since I was a kid and studied classical guitar at school in the 1970s,” he recalls. “When I was about 18, I heard a Chess Records album, and that inspired me to find out a lot more about that kind of music. As an avid collector with loads of vinyl, I had lots of blues. I learnt from the records, playing and listening to them over and over again, slowly working out how to play the blues.” Phil found plenty of inspiration from recordings by the blues greats such as Muddy Waters and Little Walter. “At first, I was listening to the ‘meat and veg’ blues players that everyone knows, but as I progressed, I got into more obscure artists. One of my favourites was Robert Nighthawk, a street musician. I remember hearing an album by him, Live on Maxwell Street in Chicago, and that inspired me to play the slide guitar.


“About 28 years ago, I started busking in Brighton, with people coming along and dropping small change into my bowl, and from that, I got two residencies in Brighton. “One was at the blues pub, The Ranelagh, which isn’t there any more, and the other was to play in a Brighton restaurant every Sunday. That gave me the springboard to more gigs, and I knew then that’s where I wanted my career to go. “I started getting more and more gigs and then began working with my colleague Roger. We called our band Smokestack and got a BBC session on Radio 2, on the Paul Jones Blues Show - that was impressive for us. Twenty-five years later Roger and

I are still playing together in Smokestack. “To this day I still like to busk with my band. We go to Windsor, Kingston, Guildford and Winchester. It’s an excellent PR exercise for us, and we get a lot of functions through it.” Phil also performs with Red Jackson and the Brothers Crow, and he has recorded nine albums and featured as a guitarist on recordings by Pepe Deluxe and the Blue States. His stunning slide guitar work can be heard on the soundtrack for the Disney Film Holes and the film documentary Muhammed Ali: Through the Eyes of the World. Lewes has always been an extraordinary place for this dedicated and multi-talented musician, and he is still sure to draw an enthusiastic audience when he plays there every week at the Lime Tree Kitchen. “I’ve lived in and around Lewes since my son was born and he’s 21 now,” Phil says. “The town is known for its independent spirit, and it’s great for creative people of all kinds. What appeals to me above all now is the surrounding countryside. My dog Moxie is a border collie cross, full of character and energy I think her name means a female fighting spirit. “My focus is giving her plenty of walks through the countryside, but from time to time, she does come to gigs with me. She likes gigs in pubs as she loves the attention she gets - and the treats. But she hasn’t started singing with me yet. “I have three children that I’m very proud of, and Lewes has been a great place for them to grow up. Although his work takes Phil all over the south of England, he especially enjoys performing at the Lime Tree Kitchen where local fans old and new can enjoy his unmistakable style of music. “It’s a lovely restaurant, and I’m there on the last Friday of every month, with my duo the Brothers Crow and Lou Glandfield who plays fantastic boogie-woogie piano that is well worth listening to,” he says. “As the saying goes, ‘be careful what you wish for’. I wished for a blues career, and that came true - I love what I do and can’t imagine doing anything else.”

Cooper & Son Funeral Directors 42 High Street, Lewes 01273 475 557 19 Clinton Place, Seaford 01323 492 666 Also at Uckfield & Heathfield

Because every life is unique

In a second article on the environmental education work of the Railway Land Wildlife Trust, John Parry tells the tale of the Linklater RATS.


n 2014, on the final day of an international programme called Coastal Communities 2150 on sea level rise, I walked on stage with a baton made of english sycamore, beautifully turned by Caroline Dorling of Lewes. (cs of baton annotated with the following information or text left as it is) 4 central rings represented the Netherlands, UK, Belgium and France - the 4 countries that took part in Coastal Communities 2150. Three other rings represented Lewes, Newhaven and Seaford and nine other thinner rings represented the villages along the Ouse plus a lonely feint ring for the lost village of Tidemills. The baton contained a message for 13 young people from Priory School, Lewes and Ringmer Community College. They formed up on stage and after handing over the baton, one of them opened it and read the following message to the 200 delegates: ‘The partners of the Coastal Communities 2150 Conference held in Brighton on the 12th February 2014, during a period of intense storms in the United Kingdom, wish the first group of pupils to volunteer for a sea level rise youth project, destined to last for 150 years, the best of luck,


wisdom, integrity and determination to learn from the project as sea levels rise.’ (possibly in bold?) Since then, a further 31 young people have voluntarily given their time attending master classes by the Environment Agency and the East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service. Each two-year stint ends with a challenge inside the baton being passed on to the next group of RATS. (Insert photos of baton being passed between all groups) In addition to learning of the role of the East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, how to protect properties and why flooding is increasing, the RATS have run several projects which have featured in the local press. These have included putting together a presentation of some of the flood defences in Lewes including the Tesco car park wall that has foundations strong enough to support the raising of the wall in due course. They also learned about flooding on the Railway Land and designed a scheme, with the help of FNR Plant hire, to help reduce the erosion of a path from floodwater. They also devised their own distinctive logo, (add RATS logo) and this year, have created flood information bookmarks for schools and libraries as well as a video, now on the official Environment Agency website, of a personal possession they would save in a flood. Said former RAT Daisy Willats, ‘I had a brilliant time socialising with different people and learning new skills, working with professional people and feeling that I was making a difference.’ Chris Janes, Flood Resilience Engagement Advisor at the Environment Agency added, ‘I have been so impressed at the dedication, hard work

Image: Lewes Railwayland Wildlife Trust


and enthusiasm of these young people. They will likely witness extraordinary events in their lifetimes with the issue of increased flood risk with climate change and I am sure these sessions will help them and others come up with ways to prepare, act and survive’ The latest challenge from the third group of RATS to the newly formed 4th group stated, ‘We want you to collaborate with Graham Festenstein to help organise and design a flooding display for the Lewes Light Festival in February 2020.’ And that is now underway! Helped by artist, Michelle Dufaur, the RATS are working on a display to be projected on a river wall in Lewes. (photo of RATS working with Michelle on 5th December). They will also contribute to a commentary of a digital fly-through of the lower Ouse valley showing how it would look with higher sea levels in their lifetime.This will be shown at the Linklater Pavilion which will also feature a major installation by Maggie Lambert in the Undercroft. Young people’s voices need to be heard but also backed with actions supported by adults and we are proud of the voluntary contribution made by the RATS over the last 5 years. This has been supported, again voluntarily, by teachers Lawrence Quinn from Priory and Cath Cardin from Ringmer Academy. The notion of a 150 year education project on sea level rise with a baton being passed from one group of young people to the next every two years seemed a somewhat ambitious idea in 2014 but so far young people have embraced the idea with enthusiasm and hope while at the same time gaining an understanding of the reality with which they will be faced. Each year brings a new perspective and opportunity for a contribution to their community and this year’s LewesLight Festival has caught their imagination and impressed Graham Festenstein its Director, ‘I’m really pleased to have an opportunity to be working with the RATS and to help them to promote these important issues. This year’s LewesLight explores environmental themes including sea level rise due to global warming and climate change and the RATS have contributed significantly to some of our work. It’s great that young people are tackling these issues and we are delighted to be able to give them a platform.’ •


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TH E S H O U T TH AT ’ S A BO U T TO EC H O RO U N D TH E WO R LD “I met this madman named Keith Hayes”. Words: Mel Winton



t’s strange how communities relish failure from among their own and resent a resurrection if the flops make a comeback. A prophet is without honour, as the saying goes. Journalist, broadcaster and entrepreneur Keith Hayes is a classic case. Three years ago Hayes led Chalk TV to disaster in Lewes when the fledgling company crashed, owing thousands of pounds. “I was the worst man in Lewes,” Hayes recalls. “Backs turned in the local pub, eyes found interest in the ground when I came into sight. The local papers splashed headlines, trumpeting with glee that the first attempt to bring local television to the town had ended in failure. “It was the worst bit of business reporting I’ve ever seen. But because I was the central cog of the stories, I couldn’t really say so.” Hayes should know. He has written two books on business reporting, widely used in colleges and universities around the world. He was London anchor for the prestigious American TV network shows Morning and Nightly Business Reports, and produced Reuter’s Television Business programmes. That was after working at BBC, CNBC and CBC. Hayes has a knack for recognising raw talent and developing it. Dozens of young journalists send admiring emails still from all corners of the globe as their careers, kickstarted by Hayes’ training skills, took off big time. Gloria Hunniford was one such beneficiary and Sofie, granddaughter of Georgia’s president and Russian reformer Eduard Zhevardnadze was another. But my favourite, says Hayes with a grin, was Midlands legend Tony Butler. I walked into the Lewes Arms one Saturday, he says, to be greeted by pals waving the Times in the air, telling me I was in it. Tony Butler had been interviewed by a Times reporter who had asked how he’d got his start. ‘I met this madman Keith Hayes’, the story quoted Butler as saying. ‘I had no broadcast experience but he turned me into a star.’ Hayes says he could hear Butler’s thick Black Country accent as he spoke those words. But he also says that he has to share the praise with comedian Jasper Carrot who used Tony in skits, stories and interviews during his career.

There are hundreds more whom Hayes has trained, at Reuters, Russia Today Television and numerous other broadcasters around the globe. He has travelled the world in pursuit of his great love, broadcast news. Among the 40 countries he’s worked in are Northern Ireland, during ‘The Troubles’, Kosovo, Bosnia, Serbia and Ukraine. He has lived in Lewes since 1990 and set up the first local radio station with Rupert and Andy Thomas in 1997. Radio Caburn exists to this day in the form of Rocket Radio. Retire? “Not bloody likely,” Hayes says. “The broadcast industry is such rubbish,” he opines. ‘ “I’m 80,” so he really does not care that people rip him apart for his opinions. He derides the BBC as a broadcaster. They do some things right, he admits, but their news is a disgrace and its pitiful broadcast policies shameful. A laugh again. “As you can imagine, I’m not going to ask Tony Hall (BBC’s director general) for a job.” Hayes doesn’t need a job, ‘but I do need the money’ he admits. He trains communications in London, writes tongue-in-cheek articles for Town and County and runs Mirador Television for Lewes on the web. He can be a crusty old soul, describing himself as the chief curmudgeon. He’s disdainful of UK broadcasting. “The so-called managers are so busy looking up their own,” he pauses and it’s plain he’s considering whether his direct way of talking will offend. “Bottoms” he completes the sentence. “We’re so self congratulatory about the high standard of broadcasting in this country we arrogantly dismiss advances elsewhere. The most effective small TV station I ever saw was in Prizren in Kosovo. The most effective studio was in the grandstand at Partizan Belgrade football ground and the finest video editor at the small TV station in Gjilan. “Ever heard of Gjilan?” he croaks. “Neither has the BBC.” The frog’s voice is a result of his Parkinson’s, which he simply laughs at. Hayes made a habit of going to troubled countries while his wife was alive. But after her death in 2013, he cut back on the miles and now stays closer to home.

‘ He c a n be a c r u st y old so ul , d e sc r ibing h im se l f a s t h e c h ie f c u r m u dge o n .’ TOWNANDCOUNTYMAG.CO.UK | 57


But not as a passenger. We return to his Lewes disaster. “We were ahead of our time,” he says. Even four years ago, equipment and Human Resources were a major expense. Now, a couple of phones and a steady hand equals a TV channel. Hayes is used to picking himself up, dusting himself down and getting back into the saddle. “Broadcasting is not for the faint-hearted,” he says. “It’s a tough game and leaves a lot of blood on the floor.” Struggling back from the Chalk TV disaster, which cost him a lot of his own money, he made a documentary, The Bloody Past of a Tiny Town, stories of the historic bloodletting on Lewes High Street. The documentary was shown again on Together TV on January 2. Hayes admits he knows when it’s on telly because strangers stop him in the street. “They don’t recognise me,” he chortles. “They see my trilby and Dr Who-type scarf.” The documentary has been good for Lewes. A slow starter, it picked up tens of thousands of viewers as it was shown in different places around the country and indeed in the western town of Perth, Australia. Hayes is chuffed. He runs Mirador Television in Lewes, taking aim at Lewes District Council and other establishment organisations. He jokes that when he makes a broadcast from Lewes High Street, the council sends very noisy dust carts to drown him out. 58 | TOWNANDCOUNTYMAG.CO.UK

They might try, but the noise won’t carry far enough after next month, when Mirador will be seen on ROKU, a major streaming channel. It has just started in the UK, but it’s in 30 million homes in the States and for Mirador, that’s big business. Not bad for an enterprise that was on the rocks three years ago, unloved and unmourned. And what about his nose for new talent? As keen as ever. Deputy mayor Stephen Catlin has garnered a following. Americans love Keith Norman and a young law student, Eni Verrall, Hayes has tipped for future stardom. Let’s not forget the formidable Seán Kane, publisher of Town and County, who has a few surprises up his sleeve for 2020. How can Hayes tell who will make it and who won’t. Sixth sense, he says, tapping the side of his nose. Sixth sense. He turns to shuffle off, waving his silver-topped walking stick. Toodle pip. That’s the Hayes’ sign-off after his Mirador broadcasts, a sign-off soon to be heard by millions around the world. Toodle pip

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The size of ruffs, length of stocking, and even the length of a sword were all regulated Words: Keith Hayes

f you were walking down Lewes High Street today and saw soldiers wrestling a woman to the pavement, you’d call the police. Well, perhaps not, but you’d most certainly summon help of some sort. In the time of the English Commonwealth, (1649-60), the soldiers would have been the authorities and would have been going about their civic duties. Lewes immediately post Civil War England, you see, was a town as Puritan as you could find the length and breadth of Britain. There were many complex reasons, but the two that were at the top of the heap were that of Queen Mary I burning seventeen protestant martyrs at the stake in the middle of the town and that the leading figure in Lewes during the civil war had been a strict Puritan. He was none other than William Newton, whose stance on a proper way of living, didn’t stop him from stealing the stones from the ruins of Lewes Priory for his house. And grand house it is, still situate in the middle of Lewes with a park attached; Southover Grange. But this little tale isn’t about Newton as such, or even the Civil War. But rather it is how fashion deeply divided a nation between being sent to the tower because of the colour of clothing, or wrestled to the floor by soldiers, because of the colour of the face. That’s what the soldiers would have been doing, struggling with the poor lady they were pinning to the floor. They were scrubbing off her makeup. 60 | TOWNANDCOUNTYMAG.CO.UK

The whole issue of clothing, its colour, its meaning, its status started with Henry VIII and adopted with alacrity by his daughter Elizabeth the First, Queen of England. The notion of class and status was a dearly held passion in Tudor times. Where you stood in the pecking order was even more dearly held to then, than it is today. No more so than among the royals. Fearing there were pretenders to the throne, or at least to the pecking order of Tudor society, Henry was determined to stifle any thoughts of Marks and Spencer’s getting a foothold on his watch, and passed a law about how people could dress. Known as the Sumptuary Laws, they dictated who could wear which colour and fur and who could not. Like many English laws, the Sumptuary Laws were said to be used to curb the expenditure that people could splash out on clothes. In reality they defined social classes and who stood where in the social hierarchy. For instance, only royalty could wear Ermine, while the ‘Also Rans’ were restricted to Fox fur. But the laws went much further than that. They restricted what furniture could be bought and limited the cost of jewellery. The phone directories of the time don’t show how many charity shops were on the High Street, but with these restrictions in place, it seemed a ripe market for used goods and discount stores.


Elisabeth the First, in regal dress; Left: Henry VIII

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‘ O live r C ro mwe ll is o f t e n bl a m e d f o r t h e a b r u p t c h a nge o f li f e st y le .’

The pretenders that Henry wanted to keep under his thumb were a new class of merchants. Trade was booming and their pockets bulging. Status was ultra important in Tudor society, so the merchants began to emulate the ruling class with fine clothes, furs, baubles and even rich food. The royals were having none of that so the Sumptuary Laws were swiftly passed. At least Henry was satisfied that legislation was enough to keep the common herd in its place, while counting the loot in his treasury and using an abacus to keep track of the number of wives and mistresses he’d had. But his daughters Mary and Elizabeth, especially the latter, showed their iron will by updating the law and making a royal proclamation spelling out chapter and verse, which class of citizen could do what. The size of ruffs, length of stocking, and even the length of a sword were all regulated, as well as the colour of clothes each class could wear. The upper classes could wear gold, purple, silver with silk or satin. Lords were given some leeway in their choices with velvet, but other were limited to brown, beige, yellow, orange, green, grey and blue in wool, linen and sheepskin. Breaking these laws carried severe penalties. Loss of title, lands and properties and in some extreme cases imprisonment and execution all took place. I would have had no problem in keeping my head, I buy all my clothes off EBay and the charity shops, but even so, I would likely not have been out of fashion. The average commoner simply had a woollen tunic thrown over a pair of wool trousers. Ladies had a woollen dress with an apron and a cloth hat. Everyone knew if you were poor alright. Sumptuous clothing drifted over into the next century, but under Charles I, religious fervour entered the equation and Protestants became more conscious of their religious devotion and saw

Queen Mary I

humility as a virtue. They also followed the fashion of class related clothing and suggested that dress showed the humble nature of the ordinary soul. But after his head had rolled, and Cromwell assumed power as Lord Protector, people must have felt the way I did when I realised that fashion dictated I no longer had to wear a tie in church. I was gobsmacked! Oliver Cromwell is often blamed for the abrupt change of lifestyle. But in fact it was a parliament dominated by Puritans that forced many of the excessive changes. Cromwell’s participation was that he didn’t in fact participate. He neither acquiesced nor challenged such edicts as cancelling Sundays, stopping bonfire, or banning mince pies. He merely stood by and let the Puritan government have its extreme way. He may well have had a hand in fashion, however. He approved of his forces shaving their heads, wearing austere clothing and being used as policemen to take the blush out of a lady’s cheeks. The leading Puritan citizen mostly wore black, not only as a religious statement but also because TOWNANDCOUNTYMAG.CO.UK | 63


‘ Orna ments were frowned on a nd it was not until t he late 160 0s t hat a buc kle a ppea red on Purit a n s h oe s .’

Images: chrisdorney / Sergey Goryachev /

Charles II

dye was expensive and colour hit the pocket book. Clothes were cut in an austere style. Males wore cheap leather and furs, but almost universally, hair disappeared under a bonnet or hat, no longer a sign of being a cavalier. Women wore an outer gown with an apron; men knee length trousers with a sleeveless vest. Ornaments were frowned on and it was not until the late 1600s that a buckle appeared on Puritan shoes. The Puritan dominated courts were especially picky. Thomas Binnes of West Hoathly was fined for working on the last day of the celebration of St Luke, in Maresfield Thomas Ashbee for doing the same with his oxen on St Michael’s Day, while poor John Heaves got a sentence for having his dog sit in his lap in church. Other men and women in and around Lewes suffered similar fates for moving hay on Midsomers Day, taking part in foot races, wives scolding husbands and one lady for sticking a pin into a neighbour’s bum while in church. 64 | TOWNANDCOUNTYMAG.CO.UK

Times were pretty grim alright. No one suffered more than the clergy. Many were ousted from their living and in Rye, the rector was condemned for keeping arms in the chancel, using it for punishments and even on the odd occasion for executions. In Lewes, a vicar was admonished for calling one of his parishioners an ‘arch knave’. This story could not have been written if I had been at the computer in the 1650’s. It is well known that much of my research is done in the pub. But the Puritans shut many of them, thus nipping in the bud native writing talent. Theatres were closed and most sports banned. The Dripping Pan would have been a wasteland as boys caught playing football on a Sunday could be whipped, and if they cursed the soldier who hauled them off to gaol, they could be sent to prison. No doubt they would have been joined there by spectators who to this day are less than moderate when it comes to language at football matches. Women caught working on the Holy Day could be put in the stocks and a Sunday walk could lead to a hefty fine. But the population were getting weary of a government supported by an army, and when Oliver Cromwell died, his body, having been interred in Westminster Abbey, was dug up, put on trial, hanged and is believed to have ended up on a rubbish tip. The change in the country at his death was as dramatic as it had been at the advent of the Cromwellian era. When Charles II returned to England, he was met by 20000 people on both horse and foot shouting support and relief that the strict Puritan regime was over. They strewed flowers along the street, rang church bells and flocked into the street drinking wine, playing music and having a damn good party. No doubt, the pubs opened again. Blessed relief. Yes. After due consideration, I wouldn’t have minded being there after all. •

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We get a fair few sixth form students in from the college just around the corner from the shop. They are usually in the early stages of building a record collection, excitedly thumbing through the Eagles section, embracing any old Carpenters vinyl they can find, even scanning the jazz racks without fear or trepidation. The fearlessness of youth, eh? One record they will always want - and pretty much always buy given the turnover of copies we have sold - is Joni Mitchell’s ‘Blue’. Given it was pretty much a mainstay on many a record deck when I was at college, it seems to have lost none of its charm and appeal and can truly be regarded as a ‘Timeless Classic’. Recorded in 1971 after a short hiatus on which Mitchell travelled around Europe, lived on a greek isle and was meandering through difficult relationships with Graham Nash and James Taylor, ‘Blue’ was released on Reprise the same year. Essentially an introspective look at all the elements of being in love and falling out of love, with her distinctive voice, like a softly entwining lament against the stark backdrop of mainly just guitar and piano, - with added instrumentation from likes of Sneaky Pete, Stephen Stills, and Taylor himself, Mitchell had delivered her masterpiece, scars and all. Taylor eventually broke up the relationship, Mitchell was left to rummage through the remnants like a woman trying to come to terms with a love affair falling apart in font of her eyes. Its pure, undeniably simple yet utterly infectious. As Mitchell said herself, “There’s hardly a dishonest note in the vocals. At that period of my life, I had no personal defenses. I felt like a cellophane wrapper on a pack of cigarettes. 66 | TOWNANDCOUNTYMAG.CO.UK

I felt like I had absolutely no secrets from the world and I couldn’t pretend in my life to be strong. Or to be happy. But the advantage of it in the music was that there were no defenses there either.” Listen to tracks like ‘River’, ‘This Flight Tonight’ and the title track and you hear an artist, vulnerable yet totally in control of her art. It never dates. It’s the real deal. Mitchell may have gone onto produce a number of great albums, and certainly records that were much broader and fuller in scope but it’s on ‘Blue’ where you capture what the Canadian songwriter is all about. Not only does she have the unique ability to produce songs that resonate across generations but in ‘Blue’ she made a record that soothes both heart and mind. The amount of breakups, teenage heartbreaks, introspective musing that inevitably call on ‘Blue’ as a soundtrack - a record of hope in that essence I suppose - is incalculable. It’s a record that resonates as heavily now as it did when it was released and one that sits at the summit of many ‘best ever’ lists. There are many reasons why certain albums become timeless classics.The reason ‘Blue’ makes the grade is that in all its simplicity and primitive charms lies a beating heart of a record that broods with anger, despair, love, ache, intuitive understanding of the human spirit and all the good things and bad things that entails. Mitchell not only tapped into her own inner workings she tapped into ours too and delivered them back to us on a gilt-edged sword that pierces right through the heart. It’s a record that anyone with a soul would love and that’s all of us, right? Del Day and Danny Wilson run Union Music Store in Lansdown Place



BROYLE HOUSE Ringmer BN8 5NN Tel: 01273 812707

BODY HAPPY WELLBEING CENTRE FREE 7 DAY TRIAL Reduce your biological age and achieve results with 30 minute sessions, twice a week.

Personalised programmes tailored to your goal and ability.

Fully equipped gym fitness classes, 1:1 training, sport massage, chiropractor.

Body Happy incorporates an 8-week fitness journey using a simple to use circuit, that is suitable for everyone and guarantees results with just two 30 minute strength sessions per week. 01273 916 900

Body Happy, Lower Ground Floor, 40-42 Friars Walk, Lewes, BN7 2LG

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Town and County - Lewes Edition - March 2020  

Town and County - Lewes Edition - March 2020