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Covering MALMESBURY, ROYAL WOOTTON BASSETT and villages

Your Local

www.towncriermagazine.com

TownCr er Magazine FREE

DECEMBER 2016

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Town Crier Magazine | DECEMBER 2016 1 FOOD l HEALTH & BEAUTY l MOTORING The l HOME & GARDEN l PETS


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The Town Crier Magazine | DECEMBER 2016


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CHRISTMAS 2016

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Editor’s Letter

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the Welcome to the Christmas issue of Town Crier!

pped Half the presents are bought and wra as!! stm Chri to way I’m well on the in, As 2016 comes to an end, once aga take to like ld wou r Crie n Tow we at the , our this opportunity to thank all of you for your tors tribu advertisers, readers and con . We year the out ugh continued support thro of s item iving rece in ed are always interest se also plea and ers, read our from local interest send in your What’s On events. ry Finally, can we wish you all a Very Mer New us pero Christmas and A Happy and Pros Year - see you in 2017. Until next time ...

Annie

Your Local

TownCr er Magazine

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5b Wood Street, Calne, Wiltshire SN11 0BZ Tel: 01249 811068 www. towncriermagazine.com Deadline for submissions for the January 2017 issue: 6th December 2016 Editor: contact@towncriermagazine.com Advertising: contact@towncriermagazine.com Advertising: carlene.sales@towncriermagazine.com Artwork: production@towncriermagazine.com CONDITIONS OF ADVERTISING: The Editor reserves the right to refuse any copy which she feels may not be appropriate material for print. No responsibility will be taken for any damage or loss of material caused by inaccuracy or omission of any advertisement. Artwork prepared by us remains the property of The Town Crier Magazine and reproduction in any form is expressly forbidden without prior permission from the Editor. We provide artwork free of charge and where possible we will adhere to your request on layouts and type, but we cannot guarantee an exact copy. If you wish to produce your own artwork to a specific layout, or have any changes to an existing advert, please ensure your copy is with us by the 1st of month prior to publication at the latest. Opinions expressed by contributors are not necessarily those of the The Town Crier Magazine.

For general enquiries please call Annie Harling on 01249 811068 or email: contact@towncriermagazine.com

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The Town Crier Magazine | DECEMBER 2016

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IN THE DECEMBER ISSUE 6

Local Focus Local News and Events

20 Christmas Presents Wrapping tips and the joy of socks! 24 Recipe Avocado Baked Eggs 26 Gardening Christmas Cactus and buying a Christmas Tree

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Email: andyrids@aol.com www.compasssecuritysystems.co.uk The Town Crier Magazine | DECEMBER 2016

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ON W NE HAT A R ’S YO U

d L cal Focus DECEMBER 2016

What’s happening locally • News • Events • Charities • Clubs ROYAL WOOTTON BASSETT CHORAL SOCIETY

Christmas Concert Monday 12th December

Wiltshire Air Ambulance’s mascot, Wilber with WAA pilot George Lawrence (left) and paramedic Mark Kinsella (right) launching the charity’s Grand Christmas Draw.

Wiltshire Air Ambulance Christmas Draw

A

TOP prize of £3,000 is on offer in Wiltshire Air Ambulance’s Grand Christmas Draw. The annual raffle raises much needed funds for the charity’s lifesaving helicopter emergency medical service (HEMS). Last year it raised just under £40,000. Rebecca de la Bedoyere, Senior Fundraising Manager at Wiltshire Air Ambulance, said: “Our Grand Christmas Draw is a vital source of funds in helping us to raise the £3.25 million a year we need to keep flying and saving lives. It’s thanks to people supporting and raising funds for us that we can be there for patients when they need us most. One of the innovations we introduced last year was to carry blood on board the aircraft and Rapid Response Vehicle, enabling our Critical Care Paramedics and Doctors to give pre-hospital blood transfusions to seriously ill and injured patients. In the first year of carrying blood our crews gave blood transfusions, on average, to three patients per month.” The Grand Christmas Draw tickets cost £1 each and there are ten tickets per book. As well as the £3,000 top prize, the second prize is £500, the third prize is £100 and there are five consolation prizes of £50. To obtain Grand Christmas Draw tickets please call Wiltshire Air Ambulance’s charity team on 01380 739453. Players must be aged 16 or over. All entries for the draw must be received by Monday 2 January 2017 with the draw taking place on 9 January 2017. For more information visit: www.wiltshireairambulance.co.uk

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The Town Crier Magazine | DECEMBER 2016

at The Methodist Church, Royal Wootton Bassett Music By Vaughan Williams, Bach, John Rutter, John Tavener, and Traditional Carols. Starts 7.30pm Retiring Collection. Refreshments.

Christmas Carol Service Sunday 4th December at 5.30pm

Join Bath Cats and Dogs Home for beautifully sung carols and readings from the Royal High School Choir followed by traditional mince pies and mulled wine. The perfect way to start the festive season. Bath Cats and Dogs Home is a rescue and rehoming centre for unwanted local pets. Each year they care for over 1,300 animals. Registered charity number 205594. For more info visit www.bcdh.org.uk.


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What’s On

Diary Dates DECEMBER 2016

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TOURIST INFORMATION CENTRE Town Hall, Cross Hayes, Malmesbury, SN16 9BZ Tel: 01666 823748 Email: tic@malmesbury.gov.uk ROYAL WOOTTON BASSETT CHRISTMAS LIGHTS AND SHOPPING EVENT Friday 2nd December 2016 6pm-9pm www.royalwoottonbassett.gov.uk/ events/ LATE NIGHT SHOPPING IN MALMESBURY Friday 2nd December 6pm ‘til late Stalls and entertainment will line the streets, come along and get into the festive spirit! Many shops will remain open along with the Town Hall, Museum and lots of other places & exhibits to be seen! MALMESBURY COMMUNITY CHOIR & FRIENDS Christmas Concert inc Westonbirt Girls School Chamber Choir Saturday 3rd December 6.45pm doors open 7.30pm performance starts. Adults £10 Students & Over 65’s £8 Under 16’s £5. Bar (cash only). Tickets available from the Abbey and A4 Stationers, High St. Malmesbury WESSEX CONCERT ORCHESTRA WINTER CONCERT Corn Exchange, Devizes Sunday 4th December at 4pm.

The orchestra will be conducted by a guest conductor Tim Harrison, and Leader Nicola Ashton said 'The orchestra are looking forward to this family friendly and relaxing concert which includes ballet music, popular classics and Christmas favourites too. Devizes is a town we enjoy coming too and the concert will be a wonderful start to the season!' Tickets are on sale from Devizes Books, at www.wco.org.uk, and on the door. Prices £12, £10 and £1 for accompanied children. MOVIES@MALMESBURY Tickets available from Malmesbury Tourist Information Centre or www.oxboffice.com or use this link www.malmesbury.gov.uk/cinema. html Inferno (15) – Monday 5th 8pm & Friday 23rd December 2pm Royal Opera House The Nutcracker – Thursday 8th December 7.15pm The Girl on the Train (15) – Friday 9th December 2pm Trolls (U) – Friday 9th December 5.30pm & Friday 23rd December 5.30pm Free State of Jones (15) – Friday 9th December 8pm The Accountant (15) – Monday 19th December 8pm Jack Reacher: Never Go Back – Friday 23rd December 8pm GRITTLETON CHAPEL Saturday 10th December at 2.30pm Victorian Carol Service with Malmesbury Music Academy, Free entry, donations to the Chapel Fund. (SN14 6AP) MALMESBURY SINGERS CHRISTMAS CONCERT Saturday 10th December at 7-30pm in Malmesbury Abbey. Entitled “Gloria”, the programme features three joyous and upbeat Glorias by Pergolesi, Puccini and Chilcott, together with a feast of carols old and new. The choir (director Iain Duffin) will be joined by tenor soloist Rupert Drury and the Celebration Jazz Quartet. Tickets available from Malmesbury Abbey Bookshop or by email: tickets@malmesburysingers.co.uk Adult £12; Student/Child £5

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The Town Crier Magazine | DECEMBER 2016

ROYAL WOOTTON BASSETT CHORAL SOCIETY Christmas Concert Monday 12th December at The Methodist Church Royal Wootton Bassett Music By Vaughan Williams, Bach, John Rutter, John Tavener, and Traditional Carols. Starts 7.30pm Retiring Collection. Refreshments.

ST ALDHELM LODGE AT ST ALDHELM’S CHURCH ANOTHER repeat of a Christmas institution is planned at Malmesbury. St Aldhelm Masonic Lodge is to return to St Aldhelm’s Church, Cross Hayes on Friday, December 16th 2016 at 7.00m for its traditional Christmastide carol service, which will be followed by seasonal hospitality at the nearby Masonic Lodge in Silver Street. Money raised by the service will be donated to Prostate Cancer UK.

A FESTIVE ‘WHAT’S ON’ FROM THE CRICKLADE BAND We have our Christmas Present at the The Club at Cricklade on Sunday 18 December at 7.30pm. Everyone seems to like the Christmas party atmosphere! There will of course be all the carols and Christmas music you'd expect to do your part in, and again our BandAcademy will also be taking an important part. We’ll have seasonal refreshments, and a raffle kindly supported by Cricklade traders and businesses. You’ll also have the bar available throughout the show. Entry is by ticket (although you might be able to get in on the night) at the gift of a price of £6 – tickets will be available at the Council Office in Cricklade High Street or from the band at Monday and Thursday rehearsals at the Club, just call in! In its 129th year the band is ready as usual for a busy festive season. Our diary has details of about 17 occasions between 25th November and Christmas morning when we’ll be out and about playing all the familiar Christmas music. We’ll be touring the streets of Cricklade, Purton, Ashton Keynes and Latton. As ever, we do it in music but, from everyone in The Cricklade Band – ‘We Wish You A Merry Christmas’.


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Wishing all our clients and their pets a Very Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year

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www.thameswoodvets.co.uk The Town Crier Magazine | DECEMBER 2016

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Residents of Hill House say that it is their ... ‘Home from Home’ Hill House is a Country House set in open countryside once owned by the Chamberlain family. We offer nursing, residential, respite, day care and end of life care. Please give us a call if you would like more information on our lovely Home.

‘Person centred care sees residents as equal partners in planning, developing and assessing care to make sure it is the most appropriate for their needs. It involves putting residents and their families at the heart of all decisions.’ Norma & Chad Doveton (Owners of Hill House) December 2016 will see the opening of the new wing that has large living and dining areas overlooking the Dauntsey Vale. We will have many new features to include community coffee hub, bar, hairdressing salon, nail bar, ensuite shower in each room, large assisted bathrooms, WiFi throughout. The gardens are a magnificent feature of Hill House where you can

enjoy peace and tranquillity sat on the terraces. We have introduced a new person centred software system to ensure a high standard of record keeping and enabling staff to spend more time with residents.

care home

We continue to drive our Homes forward to achieve ever higher standards. We recognise training our staff is the key to providing the best care possible. Training also helps staff to achieve their personal goals and to be happy and fulfilled in their work.We are looking for highly motivated caring individuals to work in our new Home and have several vacancies including Registered Nurses and Care Assistants. If you would like to be part of our team please email Donna at: hillhousemanager@gmail.com

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What’s On

A Festive Feast of Christmas Music

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THE Malmesbury Singers Christmas Concert will take place on Saturday 10th December at 7-30pm in Malmesbury Abbey. Entitled “Gloria”, the programme highlights three magnificent Glorias by Pergolesi, Puccini and contemporary composer Bob Chilcott, together with a varied mix of carols traditional and new, with some interesting twists on old favourites.

The choir is delighted to be joined by Rupert Drury, who will sing the tenor solo in a performance of the Gloria from the “Messa di Gloria” by Puccini. Following a prestigious musical education, Rupert has given regular solo recitals, in addition to taking leading roles in opera and oratorio, most recently with the Bath Opera.

“Gloria is a word that features more than most in all forms of music celebrating Christmas, from traditional carols such as ‘Ding dong merrily on high’ or ‘Angels from the realms of glory’ through to modern works by recent or living composers. The famous words from St Luke’s Gospel, ‘Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace and goodwill towards men’, convey the uplifting and optimistic message of the Christmas story. Our three Glorias are all youthful, irrepressibly joyous and upbeat,” says musical director Iain Duffin.

Also making a guest appearance is the Celebration Jazz Quartet, a group of local musicians drawn from the Celebration Jazz Band, which has given successful performances both at home and abroad. As well as accompanying the choir in a performance of the Gloria from Chilcott’s “A Little Jazz Mass”, the quartet will play jazz settings of “O Holy Night” and “O for a closer walk with thee.” So this is definitely a programme with something to appeal to everyone!

Logan wins the annual AMS Accountancy card competition Logan Dawkins of year 6 at the Lawn Primary School has won the AMS annual competition to design their Christmas card. Logan said his friends thought he would win but he didn’t believe it! Logan has won an Amazon voucher for £25 and AMS donated £250 to the school. The competition is popular and the whole of year 6 take part. Barbara French, Partner at AMS Accountancy said ‘We get so many emails from clients who love to receive them. Many thanks to Emma Jelley, deputy head for making this possible’. 12

The Town Crier Magazine | DECEMBER 2016


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Local Focus

Don’t let your oil storage cost you and the environment ... M ANY people who rely on oil fired heating will be filling up their tanks at this time of year and it is especially important that in doing so they do not get more than they bargained for. Unfortunately oil storage tanks and pipe work of all types does not last forever and will on rare occasions fail leading to a significant loss of oil. Quite often this occurs at the time fresh oil is added due to a combination of a fragile aged tank structure and the weight of additional oil. To reduce the likelihood of this, tanks and pipe work should be visually inspected regularly. If you are unsure of their condition they can be tested by an oil heating specialist in order to avoid failure and an oil spill. Whilst oil spills should be covered by buildings/home insurance they are time consuming and can lead to a loss of the use of a person’s home while works are undertaken to treat affected areas which can include the ground, watercourses and indoor air. The drawing below illustrates how lost oil can spread and affect the environment and potentially people through oil vapour into a building.

Where an oil leak is suspected the short term health effects of oil vapour entering a building such as sore eyes and throat can be avoided through immediate, thorough ventilation of the building in question. Acting swiftly to contact insurers should enable an oil spill to be dealt with quickly as any delay in time inevitably allows the extent of oil lost to spread. Your drinking water supplier must also be notified where a leak is suspected as drinking water may be affected and associated pipe work require replacement with a protected supply pipe. Public Protection can visit premises to assess whether any indoor oil vapour impact is apparent as part of the initial stages of dealing with an oil spill; after which 14

The Town Crier Magazine | DECEMBER 2016

insurers and their consultants should lead on clean up and reinstatement. If you have any queries please contact the Environmental Protection team, Wiltshire Council at: publicprotectionwest@wiltshire.gov.uk or by telephone on 01225 770411.

Ellen Blacker Health and Wellbeing Champion Please contact Ellen if you think she can help or support you with transport, home or personal safety, feeling lonely or finance. Hello! This month I am appealing for help. One of my tasks as Health and Wellbeing Champion is to report anything which is just not working quite right or anything which could be improved within our community. Now, I am not a miracle worker and I am not guaranteeing that I can get things changed, but if I know about problems, I can try. My problem is that I cant be everywhere - I do so miss visiting the coffee mornings and lunch clubs! What I need is some eyes and ears in your area who can let me know if there are issues and problems which affect your, or your friends and families lives. For example, are there enough carers to visit the more remote villages (trick question, I know there aren’t!)? Is the bus service available when you need it? Is there enough going on in your village? Would a new social group make your life better? This is the sort of stuff you will know but may not know where to report it. SO….. Could you be the person to help me? I wont be looking for you to attend lots of formal meetings, but rather to expand my current network of lovely people who can be my “eyes and ears” out there and contact me with what’s good and what’s not. Give me a call for a chat about it – I promise that you wont be press ganged into more than you want to do! Meanwhile, as ever, I am around for general help and support on a wide variety of issues including transport, mobility and safety around the home and reducing the feeling of loneliness. Give me a call on 07557 922020 and leave a message. I will get back to you as soon as possible. As we fast approach the festive season, I would like to take this chance to wish you all a very happy and peaceful Christmas and every good wish for the new year – 2017 already!


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Wiltshire Air Ambulance

Wiltshire Air Ambulance’s proposed new home

W

ILTSHIRE Air Ambulance (WAA) has submitted detailed plans for its proposed new home on land at Outmarsh Farm, Semington, near Melksham. The charity was granted Outline Planning Permission for the site in February 2016 by Wiltshire Council and it carried out public consultation on the proposed design of the operations centre in June 2016. The new home will bring together WAA’s helicopter, aircrew and charity team onto one site for the first time. The site at Outmarsh Farm is ideally situated in the centre of Wiltshire as it would allow the helicopter to reach all parts of the county within 11 minutes, as currently happens from its base in Devizes. Kevin Reed, Head of Operations at WAA, said: “The response we had to our proposed plans for our new home during our latest public consultation was overwhelmingly supportive. We currently lease a hangar at police headquarters in Devizes for our helicopter and aircrew and we rent offices in Calne for our charity team. Having a purpose-built facility

will enable us to have full control over our future and bringing together the aircrew and the charity team onto one site will improve our service. “As Melksham does not have an ambulance station, we believe that Wiltshire Air Ambulance would provide enhanced medical cover for the area. Our paramedics are trained in critical care skills and as well as responding in our helicopter, they can also respond to emergencies such as road traffic collisions, heart attacks and strokes in a Rapid Response Vehicle (car).” The design of WAA’s proposed new home is a twostorey building of just under 1,500 square metres. Set helicopter departure and approach routes have been identified to avoid populated areas. In addition, no fly zones will be applied over Bowerhill, Berryfield and Semington, unless the helicopter is attending those areas. The new planning application can be viewed online at www.wiltshire.gov.uk and the reference number is 16/09699/FUL.

A 3D Image of Wiltshire Air Ambulance’s proposed new home on land at Outmarsh Farm, Semington.

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The Town Crier Magazine | DECEMBER 2016


Wilber meets inspiring young swimmer

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OUNG fundraiser Ciaran Hanks, of Melksham, had two reasons to celebrate visiting Wiltshire Air Ambulance (WAA).

As well as raising £705 for the charity by completing a swimming challenge, ten-year-old Ciaran won the competition to name WAA’s paramedic bear mascot. Ciaran’s winning suggestion of Wilber is an abbreviation of the words ‘Wiltshire’ and ‘bear’ and he met Wilber for the first time when he visited WAA’s Operations Centre in Devizes on Monday (24 October 2016). Ciaran said: “I was excited when I heard I had won the competition to name Wiltshire Air Ambulance’s mascot. I enjoyed meeting Wilber – he’s funny!”

“Me and my husband, Jason, are so proud of Ciaran. He came up with the idea of swimming the equivalent of the English Channel to raise money. Six months ago he was struggling to complete a length without stopping because of his asthma, but through his perseverance and dedication he is now a different swimmer. We’d like to thank everyone who supported and donated to Ciaran’s challenge.”

Above: Ciaran Hanks with Stephanie Millward after finishing his swimming challenge at Trowbridge Swimming Pool. Below: Ciaran Hanks presenting the money he raised to Wilber, the Wiltshire Air Ambulance mascot he named.

The Aloeric Primary School pupil has been busy raising money for WAA. In the summer holidays he set himself the challenge of swimming the equivalent of the English Channel (35.18km or 1,400 lengths) during sessions at Trowbridge Swimming Pool and Melksham Blue Pool. He completed the swim earlier this month and Wiltshire’s Paralympic swimmer Stephanie Millward joined him for the final few lengths. Ciaran’s mum, Caroline Hanks, said: “Ciaran chose Wiltshire Air Ambulance because it is a local charity and he knows that anyone might need its services. We have seen the helicopter taking off and landing at incidents so it brings it home to us just how important it is in helping to save lives.

Rebecca de la Bedoyere, Senior Fundraising Manager at WAA, said: “Ciaran’s swimming achievement is inspiring and we’d like to thank him for choosing to raise funds for Wiltshire Air Ambulance. The money he raised will help keep our helicopter and crew flying and saving lives. “Ciaran’s other achievement was naming our mascot. We had a huge response to our social media competition to find a name for our mascot, with some great suggestions. We were spoilt for choice, but we thought combining Wiltshire and bear to form Wilber was especially creative. “Since Wilber joined us in September he has been busy attending fundraising events all over the county and helping us spread the word about the lifesaving work we do. He is proving very popular with young and old alike, with lots of people wanting to have their photo taken with him. “

Wilber is sponsored by Soft Options Water Softeners Ltd, a family run business based in Burbage near Marlborough. Soft Options supply and install water softening and drinking water filtration/purification products for both domestic and commercial use.

www.wiltshireairambulance.co.uk

Wiltshire Air Ambulance is Town Crier Magazine’s charity of the year for 2017 The Town Crier Magazine | DECEMBER 2016

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ADVERTISING FEATURE

The Pear Tree at Purton As Christmas approaches the team at The Pear Tree would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

I

T’S been an amazing year here at the hotel and we hope you visit us during 2017 to enjoy fine dining or to stay and enjoy this corner of Wiltshire and the Cotswolds.

John and Johnnie Harper began visiting the hotel’s restaurant shortly after it opened in 1987 and held many special events here. After Mrs Harper passed away a few years ago Mr Harper continues to visit the restaurant for lunch, making it his mission to introduce more and more guests to the venue each year. We’re proud of our relationship with the Harpers and wanted to show him how much we value his, and his wife’s, support and custom over the years.

Some of our highlights of the year include winning the title of the most dog friendly country hotel in the UK by a prestigious independent national guide. We were named one of the Editor’s Choices in the Good Hotel Guide 2017 and hotel managing director Anne Young and hotel manager Alix were presented with the award at an event in London last month. We’ve always welcomed dogs and their owners to the hotel and its seven-acre grounds. The pets are provided with towels in case they find the pond or watering hole in the vineyard. Dogs are welcome in any room but the hotel also has two specifically pet friendly rooms with access straight out into the garden.

The Pear Tree caters for small and intimate weddings, with a maximum of 50 people and no discos or evening dos. We also specialise in short notice weddings and can guide you through the Above: Anne Young and hotel manager process from start to finish. This Alix receiving the Editor’s Choice award year was one of our busiest for this for the most dog friendly country hotel year and we’ve already had many in the UK from the Good Hotel Guide bookings for next year too. 2017. Below: Adam Conduit, head chef at The Pear Tree.

All dogs get their own welcome card with details of walks nearby, access in and out and the location of the poo bin. There are very few dog rules – the main one being that dogs are not allowed into the restaurant.

These are just a few of our 2016 highlights and we look forward to sharing news with you over the next 12 months. Please get in touch if we can help you take a break, or celebrate a family event with fine dining and fantastic service.

Our chefs also did the hotel proud by winning another AA two rosette award for their fantastic food and the creative menus they produce for our guests every day. Earlier in the year we opened our Harper Summer House allowing weddings to take place outdoors. The summer house is named after regular guests Mr and Mrs Harper, and hosted its first wedding in the summer. 18

The Town Crier Magazine | DECEMBER 2016

For more details visit www.peartreepurton.co.uk or call us on 01793 772100.


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23/10/2015 2016 10:55:05 19 The Town Crier Magazine | DECEMBER


Christmas Wrapping tips and techniques for beautiful gifts

A

d

RE you one of those people who leave all their wrapping until Christmas Eve and end up using a bit of birthday paper because you run out of Christmas wrapping? Why not plan ahead and take a little more time this year. It can be really satisfying to see all your gifts looking beautiful under the tree and receive lots of compliments when you hand them out.

There are lots of different types of wrapping available including paper, bags, huge sacks, tubs and boxes. You can also get lots of accessories from craft shops to add a unique twist. Here are some tips and suggestions to help:-. • If using wrapping paper, measure it first and trim off the excess. Decide how much you need by wrapping a ribbon around the gift and then laying the ribbon on the paper and cutting it to that size. Alternatively, use a tape or ruler. • If your gift consists of a number of boxes try making a tower and wrapping ribbon round the whole. Even if your gifts don’t come in boxes, you could put them in some to make wrapping easier. This is also the art of disguise and can create an element of fun. Even those who think they know what you are buying them will start to wonder. • If you have trouble cutting gift wrap in a straight line, look for brands that have grid lines on the 20

The Town Crier Magazine | DECEMBER 2016

reverse. If you can’t get these, mark the paper where you need to cut it and then fold it and cut along the crease.

• Keep any off cuts as these may fit smaller gifts. This will also help avoid waste. • When wrapping something soft like a scarf or a jumper, lay the item on a piece of cardboard, This will give you a firm base and mean that you can create clean corners and crisp edges. • For oddly shaped presents, you can create a better effect by padding out unusual angles with tissue paper or using a gift bag. • Try creating a cracker shape for tubular gifts. • If your present has a circular bottom, pleat the paper to get a neat finish. • To avoid getting in a tangle, buy tape which is on a dispenser and use double sided tape where it will help. • Create a wow factor by colour coordinating your wrapping or using the same design for all of a persons presents. You could also use plain wrapping and be creative with patterned tape, add homemade gift tags or create a pocket effect in which you insert a card or other decoration.

by Susan Brookes-Morris


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21

27/04/2012 19:57


dit’Ohs socks! no … I

have never understood why socks get such a bad press as Christmas gifts. I am a sock-lover. ‘So many sock designs, so little time,’ could be my motto. I love to receive them and I love to give them. The trick with socks is finding the perfect pair for the recipient. Think luxurious – Most people buy their own socks as a utility item. So surprise them with a pair of fineknitted Scottish lisle cotton socks, or a silk mix, or a pair of super-soft cashmere bed socks. Think bright – Find the funkiest designs you can which reflect the interests of the recipient. Are they a dog or cat-lover? Do they love gardening, or cooking, or a particular TV series? There are sock designs out there for everyone! Someone gave me a set of fine-art socks last year which included Van Gogh’s Sunflowers and Munch’s The Scream! I loved them.

Think high-tech – Know someone with permanently cold feet? Heattech is an innovative Japanese fabric which allows socks to be comfortably thin while trapping body heat in air pockets situated deep in the fibres. Think slipper-socks! – Lots of people don’t like slippers so a pair of snugly slipper-socks with grippy soles might be the perfect gift. So think socks this Christmas. They are most definitely not boring!

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The Town Crier Magazine | DECEMBER 2016


Foot Health Care www.foot-health-care.co.uk

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The Town Crier Magazine | DECEMBER 2016

23


Food & Drink

Avocado Baked Eggs

A Special Brunch Preparation time: 10mins Cooking Time: 15mins INGREDIENTS

2 small eggs 1 avocado, halved and pitted 2 teaspoons chopped fresh chives, or to taste Fresh or dried parsley to taste Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste 2 slices bacon, cooked and chopped

24

The Town Crier Magazine | DECEMBER 2016

METHOD Preheat oven to 22

0 degrees C / Ga s Mark. Crack the eggs ca refully into a bowl so the yolks stay intact. Place the avocad o halves in a bakin g dish. (Note - if yo rest them along u the edge it preven ts them from tippi over). Gently spoo ng n 1 egg yolk into the avocado hole. Continue spooni ng egg white int o the hole until fu the same with th ll. Do e remaining avoc ado half. Season filled avocado wi each th chives, parsley , sea salt and pepp er. Gently place bakin g dish in the preh eated oven and bake until eggs ar e cooked, which takes about 15 minutes. They are deliciou s topped with ch opped bacon wh has been fried un ich til crisp.


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The Town Crier Magazine | DECEMBER 2016

25


Gardening

The Christmas Cactus

C

d

HRISTMAS cacti are splendid plants. They pump out masses of delicate jungle flowers in rosy red, white, orange, pink, and pale yellow, depending on the variety, just in time for the festive season. And although they’re a true cactus, their spines are so tiny and soft that you’ll barely notice them - and never get pricked. Also as each outer leaf produces its own flower the display gets better year on year.

They are available in shops and garden centres right now and are just perfect for those hard-to-buy-for souls. Also, according to my neighbour, who grows prize-winning cacti, they can live for 25 years or more so they’re the gift that just keeps on giving. CHRISTMAS CACTUS CARE

Light Christmas cacti are tropical epiphytes, which grow naturally in rain-forest trees. Choose a cool, bright spot, out of direct sun is best. Try an east-facing windowsill, and it won’t know it ever left the jungle. Humidity They love a humid atmosphere so are best grown on a gravel tray. Fill a waterproof bowl with gravel then add water to half way up the gravel. Place the potted plant on top of the gravel.

Water As it’s tropical it’s less drought-tolerant than other cacti species. Water thoroughly then allow the top half-inch or inch of soil to dry out before watering again. 26

The Town Crier Magazine | DECEMBER 2016

Fertilizer As new leaves appear or when flower buds start to swell, apply a liquid fertilizer formulated for houseplants every 7 to 10 days until the growth or flowering cycle ends. Repotting Christmas cacti flower best when they’re pot-bound. Every year or so, gently pull the plant out of its container and check the roots. When roots start to mat where they touch the inside of the pot, move the plant into a container that’s an inch larger in diameter. Gently rough up the matted roots with a knife or fork before you repot. After Christmas When flowering is over, keep the plant indoors until the weather warms in late spring. New growth tends to start in March. If you particularly want the plant to flower at Christmas then next November put the cactus in a place where nights are cool (about 10-12C) and there’s no artificial light. After flower buds form, you can stop the cool/dark treatment and start fertilizing for a strong three-week bloom cycle. My neighbour tells me that Christmas cacti are pretty forgiving souls and that even if you’re unsuccessful at inducing Christmas blooms you should be treated to regular flowering displays throughout the year. What could be nicer?

by Rachel Leverton


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The Town Crier Magazine | DECEMBER 2016

27


Christmas

PUZZLE CORNER

d

Which Christmas Tree?

N

ORDMANN fir trees come in lots of sizes. They are bushy and symmetrical and are a lovely colour. They last well too, even in homes where people like the central heating set to toasty levels. The Fraser Fir has an intense festive aroma that lasts well. It’s a pretty shape and slimmer than the Nordmann so is good if you don’t have a lot of floor space. It retains its needles well. The Serbian Spruce has a slender trunk with short, gracefully drooping branches and bright green needles. They are often sold as smaller pot-grown specimens here so they can be good for a table-top tree, and can be planted out once Christmas is over. The Rocky Mountain Fir is quite a narrow tree with a striking blue colouring to the foliage. It’s also good for needle retention. Finally the Norway Spruce, is what we think of (somewhat ironically) as a traditional British Christmas tree. It has a lovely shape but is notorious for dropping its needles. Try buying a potted tree rather than a cut one, as these hold their needles better. But actually, it’s only for a couple of weeks so a few dropped needles aren’t such a terrible price to pay for a truly lovely tree.

by Sarah Davey. 28

The Town Crier Magazine | DECEMBER 2016

ACROSS 1 Individual, human (6) 4 Fortuitous, blessed (5) 8 Alert, attentive (5) 9 Trap, tangle (7) 10 Young tree (7) 11 Scram, vamoose (4) 12 Devour, ingest (3) 14 Song of praise (4) 15 Bow, curve (4) 18 Leaf-based beverage (3) 21 3D shape (4) 23 Domestic help (7) 25 Story, justification (7) 26 Spine, prickle (5) 27 Molten, liquefied (5) 28 Admired, cherished (6)

DOWN 1 Applaud, appreciate (6) 2 recoat, reattach (7) 3 Compliant, law-abiding (8) 4 Mislay, misplace (4) 5 Teach, explain (5) 6 Cowardly (6) 7 Fend-off, equivocate (5) 13 Accomplished, brilliant (8) 16 Directness, honesty (7) 17 Sweet pastry (6) 19 Keen, sharp (5) 20 Cut-back, sheared (6) 22 Rasher, pancetta (5) 24 Active, engaged (4) Solutions to the crossword and sudoku on page 30


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www.danbaileybuilding.co.uk • danielbaileybuilding@icloud.com The Town Crier Magazine | DECEMBER 2016

29


d

Books

A Good Christmas Read Naughty Amelia Jane!

Wicked

..........................................................................................

..............................................................................................

by Enid Blyton

Some books never fail to entertain generation after generation and the Amelia Jane books by Enid Blyton are no exception. At some point in childhood we all wonder what would happen if our toys were alive. Well in this nursery they are. Amelia Jane is a big ragdoll and she is not just big, she is bad. And the other toys are generally scared of her. Hardly surprising when she does things like throwing pints of milk over other toys on a regular basis! These short chapters almost work as individual short stories which makes it a nice transition for readers to proper ‘chapter books’. Each chapter sees Amelia Jane getting into trouble and being naughty but ultimately learning a lesson: one that she seems destined to forget despite her protestations that she ‘will be good from now’. Lessons that demonstrate to the reader why it is important to be kind and considerate towards others. In the words of Enid Blyton: “I do somehow feel perfectly certain that she can’t be good for long.”

Crossword & Sudoku solution page 28

by Gregory Maguire

We all know what happened when Dorothy arrived in the Land of Oz courtesy of a cyclone. She killed the Wicked Witch of the East and magically acquired her ruby slippers. Helped by Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, she travelled to the Emerald City with three friends and asked the Wizard to send her back to Kansas. And of course, we know about her green enemy: The Wicked Witch of the West. But do we really know the rest of the story? What DID happen in Oz before this little girl from Kansas carelessly ‘dropped’ in? Wicked, is the story of the witches of Oz as imagined by Gregory Maguire. Familiar to many people these days through the hit West End musical of the same name, this novel is very different in tone to the musical with much more adult themes. It addresses politics, animal rights, outcasts, fate, friendships, and the philosophical question of what makes us bad: are people born wicked or do they become wicked purely by living up to people’s expectations of them? Elphaba Thropp was born with an unfortunate colour skin tone and right from the start felt rejected like an outcast. She feels as if she has no place in the world but all that is set to change when she arrives at Shiz University. Here she meets her total opposite, Glinda, and despite an initial hatred of each other they do become best friends. But where will that friendship take them? They are destined to follow separate paths: one of good and one of evil. The Good Witch and The Wicked Witch. It is how that happens and how they discover their true purpose and destiny that forms the heart of this immersive fantasy novel. Clearly Oz is not just for children.

Reviews by Willow Coby

30

The Town Crier Magazine | DECEMBER 2016


FOR ALL YOUR ELECTRICAL, PLUMBING & RENEWABLE REQUIREMENTS Electrical: Rewires, Alterations, LED Lighting, Test & Inspecting, Domestic, Commercial, Industrial & Agricultural Plumbing: Refurbishment, Central Heating, Hot Water & General Repairs, Wood Burners & Flue Installations Renewable: Solar PV & Battery Storage, Solar Hot Water, Air/Ground/Water Source Heat Pumps & Biomass Boilers Wilts Electrical Contracting Ltd, 10 Harris Road, Porte Marsh Ind Est, Calne, Wiltshire, SN11 9PT

Tel: 01249 812850

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The Town Crier Magazine | DECEMBER 2016

31


MORE PROPERTIES

URGENTLY REQUIRED We have a waiting list of applicants looking for properties in Royal Wootton Bassett and the surrounding areas....

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01793 855 117 | richardjames.info 111 High Street | Royal Wootton Bassett | Wiltshire | SN4 7AU Find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @RJEstateAgent

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