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Your free magazine for Aylesbury, Thame and the surrounding area

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Vale Life

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Mar/Apr 2013

Free local listings for events and businesses

See our website at:


Rewarding Risborough

Town with a right royal history

It’s a fine line

Eyebrows raise at cosmetic tattoo

A touch of grass

Could our expert save your lawn?

Ten out of ten!

Where to tuck in to some Aylesbury Duck

Cover picture: William & Kate at The Clare Charity Centre, Saunderton Photographed by Piers Photography See page 7

Penny, Ruby, Hero, Matt, Naomi, Amanda and much, much more...

w dinner for Two at the Mole & Chicken w Tickets to Grand Designs Live w w Original Linocut Print w Lush Kapow Box w Like a shag on a Rock Book w



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Showroom now Open See the new Scavolini Kitchen range at Gallery Stoneworld, Thame Best sellers in Italy for 30 years

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For all your stone needs... Internal stone at our Gallery in Thame The Gallery Stoneworld, 43A Upper High Street, Thame, Oxon, OX9 2DW. Tel: 01844 279307 Email:

External stone at Great Milton

Views Farm, Great Milton, Oxon, OX44 7NW. Tel: 01844 279274 Email:

Stoneworld is a family-run, independent company offering help and advice on all aspects of stone purchase and use

Our extensive range includes: l Over 30 different natural stone paving options l Variety of finishes including hand cut, tumbled, sawn and honed l Natural stone block paving l Cobbles and pebbles l Rockery stone l Over 50 different ornamental gravels l Swimming pool edging l Natural stone walling l Range of interior stone for floors, walls & worktops l Feature stones and water features l Bespoke fireplaces and hearths l Bespoke digital masonry service

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Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013


COLOUR EXPERTISE Aveda hair colour is used exclusively by experts. Your professional hair colourist will give you advice and inspiration based on their experience and expert knowledge. Their skilful colour artistry - combined with a hair colour system that can create any shade you can imagine - to offer you a truly personalised colour

Complimentary Scalp Massage, Hand Massage and Make-up Refresh

Incredible Shine Brothers- Thame Brothers - Oxford 16 Buttermarket, Thame,16OX9 3EP 57 The OX9 High3EP Street, OX1 4AS Brothers - Thame Buttermarket, Thame, Tel:Oxford, 01844 217365 Brothers- Thame Brothers - Oxford Tel: 01844 217365 Tel: 01865 250696 Brothers - Oxford 57 The High Street, Oxford, Tel:Oxford, 01865 250696 16 Buttermarket, Thame, OX9 3EP 57 The OX1 High4AS Street, OX1 4AS Brothers - Marlow SL7 2BP Tel:250696 01628 484717 Tel: 01844 21736558 West Street, Marlow, Tel: 01865 book online @

Luxury Coach Holidays

DayTrips,Theatres & Shows Join one of our great value tours! .mottstrav w w w : e n nli Book o

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Mon 1st Bournemouth: £19 Mon 1st New Forest Scenic Drive: £19 Tue 2nd London Eye & Covent Garden: £37 Thur 4th Cadbury World: £31 Fri 5th Evesham Spring Blossom Trail: £23 Sat 6th Chessington World of Adventure: £45 Sun 7th Westonbirt Arboretum & Tetbury: £23 Mon 8th Highgrove Garden Tour: £48 Tue 9th Windsor Leisure Day: £18 Tue 9th Windsor Castle: £31 Wed 10th Cotswold Wildlife Park: £29 Thur 11th London Leisure Day: £15 Thur 11th London Theatre Matinées from £54 Sun 14th Cambridge Sightseeing: £19

Enjoy Champagne on your journey to London to join the train to Folkestone - brunch on board. A look at the sea at Hythe before our journey home. June 13th & August 15th: £229

French Chateau Lunch

Sat June 22nd & Sep 14th: £70

Special Offer - Sidmouth

Royal York & Faulkner in excellent position on flat seafront. Breakfast & Dinner plus Excursions included. Mon July 15th - 5 Days: £359

Coastal days on: Wed 17th, Brighton; Sun 21st Eastbourne; Sun 28th Bournemouth; all at £19

See our 2013 brochure for many more holidays... British Seaside Resorts - Special Event Breaks - Garden Weekends - Scotland, Ireland & Isle of Man - Bulbfields - Spain - Battlefield Tours - Italy - Switzerland & Portugal

Motts Holidays 4 Buckingham Street, Aylesbury, HP20 2LD BOOKING HOTLINE: 01296 336666 6

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013

Great rates Amazing results To advertise in Vale Life Magazine Call Charlie on 07702 006218

Spread the word across The Vale: see: for details


Rewarding Risborough


From inspiration to installation


Upstairs, downstairs

Feels like Spring


A touch of grass

Style file


Planting ideas

Sharp dressed man


Switched on



Loving living local

Buy, sell, exchange


V for versatile

It’s a fine line


On yer bikes

It’s good to get out


Dig deep for BOB

Dancing feat


The foodies

The road to well


Great Scott

Girl with the seahorse tattoo


Ten out of ten

Our house


Make a date

From Black Prince to Bodgers

10 Spot the difference 13 14 15 17 19 21 22 23 24 25 26

No sitting on the fence for garden firm Fresh fashion for the new season The power of accessories Boutique offers service with style The lived in look with a vintage vibe Trade in or trade up at CEX Cosmetic tattoos for a lasting impression Train in the rain and run in the sun Keeping fit with KaSo Is gym the tonic Charlie needs?

Is Penny just fishing for compliments? Melanie’s guide to gorgeous walls

Handcrafted kitchens from Long Crendon Carpet firm can match your price Lawn expert has the answers Make the most of the growing season The smart money’s on solar Any excuse for tea and a bun Veronica’s perfect portraits Saddle up for the Tour de Vale Help keep our helicopter in the air Tomayto Tomaaahto and One Hungry Gent No TV dinners at chef’s new restaurant Quacking effort at best pub in town Artists and makers return to Waddesdon

Royal visit

have lost or are facing the loss of a child and provides support to children struggling to cope with he Duke and Duchess of the death of a relative, since 2009. Cambridge are very much William and his brother, in the news at the moment Prince Harry, both underwent and there was understandable bereavement counselling excitement in Sauderton recently themselves following the loss of when the glamorous couple visited their mother in 1997. the offices of Child Bereavement During the visit the royal UK at The Clare Charity Centre. couple met with a group of eight Child Bereavement UK has a parents who have lost children very personal link for William as it and William sympathised saying is run by one of his late mother’s he wanted to support Child closest friends, Julia Samuel. The Bereavement UK because he knew Prince has been a patron of the how it felt to lose his mother, charity, which helps families who Princess Diana, at a young age.



ongratulations to the following Feb/Mar edition competition winners! Hopefully your prizes will have arrived by now, let us know if not. Commiserations to those who weren’t so lucky - read on though for more

Kate chats to Mary Berry Inside the couple met celebrity cook Mary Berry, a longtime patron of the charity, who lost her own son, William, in a car crash in 1989 at the age of just 19 and has said that there was little support available for her at the time.

competitions inside this edition, including the chance to win: Tickets for The Grand Designs Live Show, an original linoprint of Thame Town Hall, a Lush KAPOW box, a signed copy of ‘Like A Shag On A Rock’ and a meal for two at The Mole & Chicken. Last issue’s prizewinners were:

Kate, 31, who is around five and half months pregnant, looked the picture of health and happiness. She was wearing a black £60 Topshop dress underneath a stylish, Peter Pan collar, cashmere coat by Goat, priced at £560 and is now sporting a noticeable bump. Enjoy the magazine, good luck in the competitions and happy reading!

Tickets to the Ideal Home Show: Harriet Bartley, Aylesbury; Linda Gill, Weston Turville; SallyCastling, Wendover; Eleanor Holding, Bierton; Nicky Stocker, Longwick Pendley Manor Wedding Experience: Emma Legon, Aylesbury

Charlie Charlie Trott, Editor: Castell Coch Hamper: Debbie Mellor, Towersey Dinner for two at The Village Gate, Wendover: Cathy Cavender, Henton £50 wedding dress voucher for Anna McDonald Bridal Gallery, Thame: Jennifer Behenna of Chinnor

Front cover picture: Prince William and Kate Middleton visiting Child Bereavement UK at The Clare Charity Centre. Picture by Piers Photography Vale Life Magazine is designed and published by House of Mouse, 23 Glenham Road, Thame, Oxfordshire, OX9 3WD Telephone: 01844 261579 Mobile: 07702 006218 Website: Email: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of Vale Life. We cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies, omissions or late changes. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the publishers. Printed in the UK by The Magazine Printing Company

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013


Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013

Princes Risborough has a rich and royal heritage, and today, plenty to do for us common folk too!

Bespoke soft and hardwood gates, garage doors created and handmade by a family run business since 1969. • Quality products at competitive prices • Quality gates using Oak, Iroko & Redwood timbers • Traditional & bespoke designs of gates available. OPENING HOURS Monday-Friday 8am–5pm Sat 10am–2pm Crocketts Gates Limited, Crocketts Yard, Aylesbury Road, Askett, Bucks HP27 9LY Telephone: 01844 342 036

To find out more visit us at:


Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013


idway between Aylesbury, High Wycombe and Thame the historic market town of Princes Risborough nestles among the western slopes of the Chiltern Hills, within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It grew up at a gap linking the River Thames and the Icknield Way, both important routes from early times and gets its name from the Saxon word for the brush-covered hills overlooking the town. Hrisebeorgan, or hill of brushwood’. This became riseberg, rysburgh and finally Risborough in the 1600s. In 1343 Edward III appointed his eldest son Edward the Black Prince a custodian of the Manor of Rysburg. At that time the town was called Great Rysburg but became Princes Rysburg in honour of the Black Prince. The beech woods that covered the hills continued to play a part in the growth of the town by providing home and work to the bodgers of the 19th century. These men supplied chair legs, turned on pole lathes in the woods, to the local furniture industry which was huge at one time, especially around Wycombe. Despite the general demise of the UK industry, Princes Risborough can still boast two internationally renowned companies in Ercol and Hypnos who are still successfully manufacturing on the edge of the town today. The central part of the town still retains its olde worlde charm and is a designated Conservation Area. The oldest part lies around the parish church of St. Mary, a handsome building of flint and stone, originally built in the 13th century, but with Tudor additions and alterations. The steeple is a modern addition and carries two bells. Next to the church, the 17th century manor house is a mellow

brick building which was given to The National Trust in 1925 by the widow and family of the Hon. Charles Rothschild. It is open to the public for viewing on specific dates - contact The National Trust for more details. The 17th/18th Century Market House, originally timber-framed but altered and its upper storey rebuilt by John Grubb (grandnephew of John Grubb of Horsenden who owned the manor house from 1766) in 1824, is the focal point of the town. The upper floor was used by the Town Council as the Council Chamber until mid 2001, when due to accessibility problems it was forced to move to alternative premises. It is surrounded by a delightful selection of independent shops, salons, cafés and pubs from beautiful florists, to gift and homeware shops, boutiques and useful high street brands such as Lloyds Chemist, M&S, banks and building societies. A living link with the Middle Ages is the Charter granted in 1523 by Henry VIII for a weekly market and two annual fairs, ‘for the improvement of the status... of the inhabitants... by the making common of saleable things’. The fairs are still held, in May and October and there is a small weekly market on the High Street on Thursdays. There is also a market every third Sunday in the month and a Farmers Market offering local produce on the third Thursday of every month. The countryside around Princes Risborough is beautiful and surprisingly rugged once you get up into the hills. The dramatic ‘Whiteleaf Cross’ is cut into chalky hillside above Princes Risborough and can clearly be seen from miles away as you approach the town. This was first recorded in the 1700s but it is unsure why it mysteriously appeared. It may not be an ancient feature but it is

The most captivating flowers from

The historic centre of Princes Risborough with clocktower and church spire in background peeping over rooftops surrounded by historical sites that date back to the Stone age and is now a popular place to walk family and dogs. You can visit a Neolithic burial mound and the earthworks of the remains of a hill fort at Pulpit Hill and the Icknield Way, an ancient highway between East Anglia and Wessex in use long before the Romans arrived. This is now a clearly signposted recreational

route for walkers - ask at Princes Risborough Tourist Office for more details, maps and leaflets. Kop Hill to the east of town is the venue for the famous Kop Hill Climb. A serious race in the 1900s it is now a fabulous parade of classic cars and vintage and veteran vehicles which takes place every September. Donald Campbell and Count Zborowski Continued on page 11

British grown blooms From memorable days to wonderful weddings and spiffing events, we are here for you

01844 345426

Are you sleeping comfortably? Choose a Royally approved handmade bed, designed to provide a deep and memorable night’s sleep and a positive, energetic start to the day. Visit our Showroom: Monday to Thursday 9.00am to 5.00pm Friday and Saturday 9.00am to 4.00pm

Longwick Road | Princes Risborough | Bucks HP27 9RS T: 01844 348200 | Alternatively, visit your local Hypnos Retailer: Aylesbury Lucas Furniture 01296 486255 Gerrards Cross Crystal Carpets & Furnishings 01753 889230 High Wycombe Hull Loosley & Pearce 01494 445353 Thame Greens Furnishings 01844 212560

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9 Vale Life : Mar/Apr 201313:25:49 15/2/13

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013

When a business has grown naturally for nearly 50 years there’s often a few cupboards, drawers and dark corners that could do with a good sort out. Briants have taken things a step further and are moving the company into the 21st century with a complete and impressive makeover...


riants of Risborough has been trading from Green Close Works, in Longwick, near Princes Risborough since 1964 and will be celebrating its 50th anniversary next year! The third generation family business supplies garden machinery, forestry equipment and fencing and was founded by Dave Briant and his father. It is today run by Dave’s son Steve and daughters, Jane and Rebecca. The three are all directors of the company and are completely involved in the day to day running of the business. They are very handson and often to be found serving customers or helping in the showroom and yard. “Briants offers a friendly, knowledgeable service,” says Rebecca. “We sell good quality products at competitive prices with a full backup and aftersales service. We have trained mechanics here who will assemble your machinery and test it is ready for use and can service and maintain it for you too, when the time comes. If there’s a problem we are here to help, we don’t just hand you a box and say, ‘get on with it!’” With a big birthday looming, the family decided it was time for a revamp and the Longwick showroom has just relaunched, having undergone a complete refurbishment. The once crowded, cluttered and confusing layout now seems twice as big and proudly displays neat lines of stylish new units, packed with all the latest gardening and forestry equipment, plus a whole lot more, including a new key cutting booth. Originally a timber haulage company, Briants also supplied a range of forestry equipment to their customers and then, in the 70s, opened a service and repair facility to maintain the chainsaws and other machinery sold. Over the years they have continued to


Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013

Smart, new showroom

Jane, Steve and Rebecca

Making panels by hand in the fencing workshop expand their offering, usually in response to demand, to include the sale of garden machinery and fencing supplies. Briants manufacture their own brand of top quality handmade fencing panels, trellis and gates, often to bespoke design requirements and in 1984 the company bought the farm opposite their base, which now houses their timber yard and fence manufacturing operations. Their fencing products are very popular with trade and retail customers, being of excellent quality and offering the option of a made to measure service. The company is an approved dealer for STIHL and VIKING, and stocks a

comprehensive range of equipment from chainsaws and strimmers to brushcutters, lawnmowers (Hayter and Atco), chippers, shredders, lawnmowers, cement mixers and garden accessories. They even have a range of specialist arborist equipment, outdoor work clothes and safety clothing. l Briants of Risborough, Green Close Works, Thame Road, Longwick, Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire, HP27 9SG. Open Mon-Fri: 8am-1pm & 1.45-5pm, Sat: 8am-1pm Tel: 01844 343663 / 01844 345975 Email: Website: Twitter: @BriantsLtd

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013

of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang fame are known to have pitted their skills against each other in past years! Princes Risborough has a lot to offer and is very much worth a visit. There is plenty of parking and it is well served by rail and bus. The mainline station is just over half a mile from the town centre and is served by Chiltern Railways London Marylebone to Birmingham line (www. Buses run on average every 20 minutes between Aylesbury and High Wycombe and stop in the town centre. Some of the locals are quite proactive and organise events and promotions to bring people into the town. Risborough Rewards is a local discount programme that rewards shoppers who support local businesses. There is a huge list of retailers all offering discounts all year round to Risborough Rewards Cardholders and joining the scheme gives you access to discounts from hundreds of National Brands too. Each new Risborough Rewards

Card comes with over £100 worth of vouchers for use with local retailers. A card costs £20 (£5 for OAPs) of which £10 goes back into a community fund. Application forms are available from Risborough Information Centre, participating retailers and online at www.risborough Things to do include: guided walks in June, Princes Risborough Town Festival and Rizfest in July, a Cherry Pie Festival in August and a Christmas Market in December. A Street Fair kicks off this year’s annual town festival which culminates in a musical weekend with the Rollin’ Stoned set to headline Rizfest 2013. The Street Fair will be held in the High Street on Saturday 6th July - expect a variety of stalls and musical performances from local schools in Market Square. The annual 10K run and Children’s Chocolate Hunt is on July 7th, followed by a week of events organised by local businesses, clubs and societies ranging from tours, to

The 2013 Kop Hill Climb is on Sept 21 & 22 talks and walks. Rizfest starts on the evening of Friday 12th and features Risborough’s own Skasouls playing live in the Community Centre at Wades Park. Skasouls will be supported by the fabulous Dung Beatles, a Beatles tribute act. On Saturday 13th it’s over to Princes Risborough School playing field, where a day of music culminates with the Rollin’ Stoned - top tribute to Mick, Keef and the world’s greatest rock’n’roll band. The line-up also includes

The Mighty Redox; Annirythmics; Black Rose; Splash the Cash; 2 Non Blondes and Popular Jake. The music continues on Sunday 14th with Icecoldplay, The Secret Police and Noasis tribute acts and festival favourites, steel band Sunblaze. Further acts are to be announced, for more details checkout For more information about the town and its attractions, call into the Princes Risborough Information Centre which is on Bell Street or see:

Tel: 01844 274652

Email: Chinnor Road, Bledlow, Princes Risborough, Bucks HP27 9PH





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Risborough Train Station


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Aston Martin • Jaguar • Subaru • Landrover Mercedes • BMW • V W • Audi

2.5 miles from station

A41 29 LO NG W IC


Independent Specialists covering

Petrol Station


• Servicing & repairs all makes and models • MOT testing • • Brakes, batteries & exhausts • Specialists in 4 x 4 vehicles • • Full electronic diagnostics • Engine rebuilds & remapping • • Air conditioning (re-gas & servicing) • Tyre centre •

11 Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013 09:32 03/11/2012

ü Family Business  est  1987.     ü Premier  Dealers  for  seven   manufacturers  including   Clearview  &  Charnwood   Stoves.     ü Extensive  work  with   prestige,  listed  &  thatched   properties.     ü In-­‐house  HETAS   installation  teams,   fireplace  remodelling   team,  sweeping  and  stove   servicing.  

01844 342400            

Radhuni Restaurants Princes Risborough Branch Presents An Exclusive Evening with a top quality live vocal

the ultimate tribute to

Wednesday 24th April 7pm for 7.30pm


Princes Risborough l

Takeaway and free home delivery l Outside catering available l Live entertainment SET MENU Price £24.95 Per Person Including 4 Course Dinner (£10 Deposit Required)

BOOK NOW to avoid disappointment

Tel: 01844 273412

The Old Library, Church Street, Princes Risborough, Bucks, HP27 9AA Book Online:


Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013

Spring has arrived at Chocolate Boutique, bringing fresh colours and lively new styles to chase away those Winter blues...


he new season is always a time of excitement for the fashion conscious - new styles, new labels and this Spring, fabulous new colours to brighten each and every day. “Sandwich is our new label,” says Jo Louis of Chocolate Boutique in Princes Risborough. “It’s a label you can wear every day. Lovely clothes to suit your busy modern lifestyle: comfortable, stylish, wearable but with fabulous detail, beauty layered within and the occasional surprise - just like life, which Spring brings anew! “You could describe our Sandwich range as ‘everyday delights’ - put them on and they’ll pick you up with their fresh styles and lively colours - it’s what Spring is all about at Chocolate Boutique, that and our down to earth prices! Our aim is affordable fashion and Sandwich is an ideal addition to our established, exclusive and exciting collection of everyday labels which includes Desigual, Anna Scott, Fransa and many more.” Of course Chocolate Boutique’s clothes

are complemented by a gorgeous range of accessories, bags, jewellery and even a new skin care range from ‘Greenland’, another fresh introduction for this season. “If you are looking to Spring clean your wardrobe, de-clutter those winter blues and brighten up your everyday,” says Jo, “we look forward to seeing you soon. We have just what you need to put that spring back in your step!”

Trina and Shamus

l Chocolate Boutique, 19 High Street, Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire, HP27 0AE Tel: 01844 346688 Website: Open 9.30am-5pm, Monday-Saturday.

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013


Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013

with Katy Dyer

Personal stylist and fashion expert Katy scours our local boutiques and passes on tips and tricks for looking your best, plus the latest news on the high street trends...


f you are thinking about revamping your wardrobe this Spring, taking a bit of time to review what you currently have and what you need to add can really pay dividends. You don’t need to splurge on a brand new wardrobe to get yourself set for the new season – once you know what works you can really make a difference by adding carefully chosen accessories which reflect the current trends. But how to start. Cup of tea is normally the best way plus your favourite inspirational playlist. Then follow these three easy steps: 1) Have a look in your wardrobe and pick out the items that you really feel most confident and happy wearing. These are your ‘keepers’. 2) Next, pick out the items that you really like, but haven’t worn as they need altering, mending or dry-cleaning. Put these in a separate pile or bag - if this pile hasn’t moved in two weeks, relegate it to step 3 - will you ever get round to getting that zip fixed?! 3) Everything else - these are the items that will never be worn again because they don’t fit, are out of date or you never really liked them anyway! These can be bagged to sell on (if they are good quality, high-end high street or designer, Recollections in Chinnor is a great place to sell items that are nearly new), pass on, recycle via a charity shop, or eBay. So now you have the elements of your wardrobe that look and feel great! Give the inside of your wardrobe a dust and a vac

Earrings - above and right £12 White Hart Studio, Haddenham 14

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013

and then treat your clothes to some sturdy wooden hangers that look good and will keep them in great shape. Next step is to have a look at what is missing - do you need a couple of cardigans or are you short on skirts? Make yourself a list so that you are already prepared for your next shopping trip. Now to add a bit of zing to your current wardrobe using accessories. Jewellery and scarves can make a real statement - and can easily be changed to make your daytime outfit shine for the evening. I love these great statement earrings from White Hart Studio in Haddenham with bright and vibrant colours that are right on trend for Spring. Add a bit of gloss with your shoes and accessories – you won’t go wrong with a gorgeous pair of ballet pumps or a statement clutch bag. If all that sounds like too much hard work - enlist your local stylist for a bit of a helping hand! l Katy Dyer is an award-winning personal stylist and image consultant. From her home studio in Thame, she can help you discover the confidence to change or develop your personal or professional style and image - whether it’s a new career, a new stage in your life, finding Fransa Stripe Top the right outfit for a £29.99, Pia Rossini special occasion or to Apricot Scarf £15 Chocolate Boutique, completely reinvent Princes Risborough your look and make the most of you. For more details, visit or email:

Lamb1887 clutch bags from £99 Gallivant, Thame

New ‘Gretchen Mini’ clutch bag by Miller & Jeeves £49.99 Also Merino & Angora mix wrist-warmers and scarves by Nicola Levy : FROM, Thame

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013

Currently nominated for best men’s fashion boutique in our Muddy Stilettos awards, Gallant has been supplying a quality contemporary range of beautifully styled menswear for some 23 years now. It’s not just about the clothes though...


allant is the perfect name for Thame’s stylish menswear boutique, on Greyhound Walk, for it not only describes the elegant and spirited nature of their clothing but also the attentive, thoughtful and considerate service given. A luxury boutique, Gallant stocks an impressive range of superb quality contemporary styles from sharp suits to casual wear, evening wear, footwear and accessories. Owners Carol and Lucy head a small team and exhibit a real passion for their brands and customers: “Excellent service for our customers is important,” says Carol. “We can help customers put an outfit together, for a personal shopping feel and are able to advise on our stock, with information about how and where something is made, the fabric and the fit. We aim for shopping at Gallant to be a pleasant and effortless experience. Customers are welcome to browse and take their time.” Gallant’s new season stock is causing much excitement. In particular new Italian tailoring brand Mabro, is already proving a popular addition, with suits, jackets and formal trousers all made in Tuscany from the highest quality fabrics from the best Italian mills, while Gallant’s casual wear is really easy going, interesting and subtle. “New brand Circle of Gentlemen has gone more lifestyle,” says Lucy, “with jackets and knitwear to compliment their iconic shirts. We also have premium LA jeans by Hudson; lightweight shirts, jackets, trousers and jeans from Gant, Sand and Florentino; and a lovely selection of smart casual Lagerfeld and Circle of Gentlemen for really versatile pieces you can wear to several types of occasion, with smarter polo T-shirts and more structured jackets.” For those who like to be ‘on trend’ at all times, Lucy tells me the move is towards a crisp and clean look, but with an injection of colour through a trim in a shirt collar or a pocket square in a jacket pocket: “It’s about upgrading,” she says. “The trend is to be

sophisticated and smart, even with casuals. Jeans for example are losing the fading - go for a much more solid wash, but perhaps with a coloured stitch to keep them unique. Simplify your look to be more streamlined and use subtle details to give personality, rather than an ‘in your face’ print. “A solid colour suit in a stunning quality fabric, is the way to go every time. Wear a solid colour shirt with a heavily patterned tie and later remove the tie and relax the collar to reveal a contrasting fabric in the collar. It’s about looking like you’ve made an effort but not like you are trying too hard. “Our jackets this season are all much cleaner looking, but might feature a coloured buttonhole detail or a really ‘out there’ lining. Fabrics on shirting from the likes of Eton, Paul & Shark and Circle of Gentlemen are the best we’ve seen for a long time. Suits, likewise, use exquisite fabrics in subtle designs to give total versatility.” “We can help you find the perfect look for any occasion,” says Carol, “whether it’s a suit, for the most glamorous of weddings or for business, a flattering and individual dinner jacket for a ball, or a pair of shorts and a linen shirt for a barbecue. We can bring together the best pieces from each collection and add a choice of quirky accessories, such as pocket squares and tie pins. “Menswear companies are really upping their game with very wearable fashion forward collections. After all, there is a balance between wearing trends and feeling comfortable with what you have on. We can offer our advice but ultimately the customer has to feel comfortable in themselves, while looking their very best.” l Gallant, 10 Greyhound Walk Thame, Oxfordshire OX9 3DY Tel: 01844 218400 Email: Website:

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013


Maria Bray

Nutritional Therapy

The Science of Health and Vitality l

Eat Well l Live Well l Feel Well


l Column:

Hero Brown

The urban guide

Call for free half hour consultation Boost your energy Lower ‘bad’cholesterol/blood pressure l Lose weight without starving l Brighten your skin, hair and nails l Take charge of your health l Help your child deal with growth/development or food issues l l

Living with bloating, PMS, bad breath, poor skin condition, headaches, poor weight management etc. is not inevitable or a natural consequence of life. Nutritional Therapy will help you to recognise your individual symptoms, and provide you with an individually tailored plan of action to address them. I will assist you to achieve your desired health improvements with a mutually agreed and appropriate stepped programme of dietary and lifestyle changes. Nutritional Therapy can be effective in the treatment of: • Allergies • Digestive and bowel disorders • Hormonal imbalances • Fatigue • Depression or stress • Auto-immune conditions • Migraine and headaches • Skin disorders • Weight issues • Learning and behavioural difficulties

Tel: Maria on 0771 5414719 / 01296 581561

Set within the beautiful Swanbourne Estate, Home Farm Day Nursery is a small and homely Nursery. Our aim is to provide the highest quality of care and education within a calm and secure atmosphere, allowing the children to flourish. Come and visit; you can be assured of a warm welcome!

Special features of Home Farm Day Nursery include: • Beautiful countryside location • Home cooked food • Baby sign • New Sensory Room • Convenient location for commuters • Close to Swanbourne House and many village schools For details call 01296 720 835, email or visit 15 minutes from: Milton Keynes, Buckingham, Leighton Buzzard, Aylesbury


Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013

Hero Brown has swapped the bright lights of the big city for fresh air and farmers markets. The ex-glossy magazine editor now blogs about life in the sticks at and is here to share her urban take on country living with Vale Life Magazine


ell, I’m happy to report that ‘localism’ is alive and kicking in Aylesbury Vale. My first Muddy Stilettos Awards are in full swing and I’ve been absolutely amazed at the reaction. Over 10,000 nominations of businesses so far, all local favourites that you’ve wanted to thank and support. I guess it shows that if there’s anything good to come out of double dip recessions, horse meat scandals, job insecurities and all that depressing stuff, it’s the sense that we find the best of ourselves and others in our local communities. Actually, no, I’m not wearing my sandals, hair shirt and hook-on beard as I write that - I only bring them out for school plays and Sunday lunches with my grandmother - I do actually mean it! There’s been an absolute explosion of joyfully local businesses in the last year. Moi, of course, focusing on the brilliant things you can find to do in your villages, towns and countryside. But also local producer’s markets such as Vale Harvest in Haddenham, now into its third month and a massive hit with villagers who appreciate truly local food (in some cases, literally up the road) by people who care about

the quality of their produce and the ethics of what they do. Then there’s Ten Mile Menu which offers a ‘farmer’s market supermarket’ with all producers from within 10 miles of Speen and FROM concept store in Thame, offering brilliant products from local artisans and craftspeople within a 15 mile radius. Large faceless cities are all very well, and I confess to still having a bit of a soft spot for London when the madness calls, but I think we’ve all decided that, out here, there’s plenty to celebrate. Gastropub gluttony at The Crown in Cuddington, or The Clifden Arms in Worminghall. Special dinners at Le Manoir or The Charles Napier. Amazing heritage sites like Waddesdon and Cliveden, slick fashion at Curve in Wendover and Muse in Thame. Fantastic walking in the Chilterns. Tapas and cocktails I’m still struggling on (will someone hurry up and open a cool Spanish bar please?) but you know – we’ve near-as-dammit got it all. Now pass me my guitar, and don’t forget to join in when I get to the chorus of Kum Ba Yah. l Follow Hero’s free blogazine Muddy Stilettos for the very best unmissable bits of Oxfordshire and Bucks:

Sara Allen Cakes Eye popping, jaw dropping, mouthwatering works of art for your celebration. You imagine it - we create it ! Tel: 01844 347555 Mobile: 07740 486868 Email: Saraallen Facebook: Sara Allen cakes

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013


pring is a time of renewal. The world awakens from the gloom of Winter, bright-eyed and bushy tailed, full of hopes and aspirations for the months ahead. It’s time to freshen up the home with some gorgeous Spring flowers, perhaps a pot of hyacinths in a gorgeous cracked lacquer vase, or stone pot, there’s a lovely collection at White Hart Studio from those stylish people at Nordal. The company is Dutch and has a fabulous range of homeware and furniture, all with a hint of shabby chic or vintage charm. A fabulous grandad rocking chair à la Val Doonican would be fun and a bit of a conversation piece, while their little cupboards and storage shelves are just cute with a capital Q. A vintage framed magnetic message board is a clever idea as are a set of filing boxes disguised as old books. There’s some lovely gift ideas, like the stylish Skeen scented candles and matches and more loveliness from Tokyo Milk. Spring fashions are in too, lots of layers still and some sexy silk tops, the Summer dresses will be out when the sun shines! Spring is here for sure - time to wake up, smell the flowers and get shopping! l White Hart Studio, 15 Churchway, Haddenham, HP17 8AB Tel: 01844 292308 Open Tue-Sat 10am-5pm, Sun: 11am-4pm Website:

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013


Spring Special Vale Life Reader Offer


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Servicing of Rolex, Tag, Omega, Raymond Weil, Gucci etc. Batteries fitted and waterproof testing carried out on the premises. Top prices paid in cash for antique and modern jewellery, watches (especially Rolex), coins, gold, silver, platinum and scrap precious metals. Part exchange available.

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Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013

Bored with that Blu-ray or buying a new laptop? Recycle your unwanted digitals at CEX and you can exchange them for something you do want - or walk away with a fistful of cash...


EX Aylesbury is celebrating it’s third birthday in April. The store has been a popular addition to the town’s High Street but in 2010, when it first opened, many local shoppers had not heard of the company and had no idea what they were offering. CEX (Complete Entertainment Exchange) buys, sells and exchanges a range of technology and entertainment products from DVDs and video games to mobile phones, Blu-ray movies, sat navs, computers, digital electronics, TVs and monitors, headphones, you name it, the store is an Aladdin’s cave of digital fun. You can take in unwanted items and in most cases the staff will be able to give you an instant valuation. You can then choose between having cash for your item or getting a slightly higher amount in CEX in-store credit to spend on something else from the shop. You can of course just go in, browse and buy without trading anything in, there’s plenty of bargains to be had. If you can’t see what you want, it’s always worth asking at the counter as they can order stock in from one of the other 180 UK CEX outlets. “We’ve noticed quite an increase in cameras since Jessops closed,” says store owner Omar Razaq. “We’ve got some really nice lenses, cameras and photographic accessories now and there’s new

items coming in all the time.” The items traded through CEX are an interesting indication of what is currently in demand and what isn’t. CEX prices are determined by a computerised system that links all their stores and assesses supply and demand for a given item at a particular time. If the for sale price of an item goes up then the price CEX pay customers for their tradeins goes up too. Omar tells me that quite often when a new iPhone comes out they may be in such short supply that the CEX price actually goes above the phone store price. If someone has just bought a brand new iPhone they will want more than they paid to part with it, so both CEX and the new owner will be paying a higher price but everyone is happy! Conversely many items are incredibly cheap and others, CDs being a prime example, have so little value now - demand has all but disappeared - that the store has stopped trading them! “Blu-ray is getting more popular so we’ve increased the size of that section,” says Omar, “and new consols like the handheld PS Vita and the Nintendo 3DS are quite sought after. We have a massive DVD selection, at any one time there will be around 2,500 different titles, that’s probably a lot more titles than the average HMV store would have stocked. “The latest iPhones always sell quickly as do games consols. We give a 12 month warranty on electrical goods, after 30 days that’s repair or replace with a like for like product.

Trina and Shamus

“The last three years have gone really well for us. It was good from the start and has just got busier. Weekends are particularly hectic. We get queues stretching right outside sometimes, so we’ve engaged a local magician, Sylar, to come and keep people amused while they are waiting - he’s been doing a great job! “CEX has over 200 stores worldwide now, when we started we were number 101. There’s stores in India, Australia, America and Spain, the company is doing really well. “I think it’s all down to the fact that we offer a fair price for people’s trade-ins. We’ve certainly been giving better value on video game trade-ins than some of the specialist game shops!” Why not take CEX a pressie to celebrate their birthday?! Perhaps something you don’t want - and you can walk away with something you do! l CEX, Unit 1, Crown Buildings, High Street, Aylesbury HP20 1SL Website:

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013


Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013

Amanda Trott

Micropigmentation involves a tattoo-style application of colour pigments just under the surface of the skin. The technique can be used to cleverly camouflage scars and burns, or add colour and definition to eyebrows and lips - it’s much more than an alternative to make-up...


had always been told that I had perfect eyebrows. I have never been guilty of over-plucking and had been blessed with an abundance of dark glossy strands, until now! A combination of hypothyroidism (a condition which oddly causes you to lose the last 3rd of your eyebrow) and maturity (something the editor has always claimed I lack!!), meant that my eyebrows had become a shadow of their former selves, it was time to take action! Caron Vetter is a director of Whitethorn Fields MediClinic in Stoke Mandeville, near Aylesbury. She is a leader in medical micropigmentation in the UK, is professionally trained and has more than 20 years experience carrying out procedures in support of surgeons, both private and within the NHS. After she successfully completed Paramedical Tattoo training in the USA, Caron became one of the first specialists in this country to provide areola restoration to patients who had undergone breast reconstruction following breast cancer. Caron now uses her training to also create permanent eyebrows, eyeliner and lip liner, all of which, when performed by a trained medical professional, appear extremely natural. Although great for women on the run who have little time to keep their make up tip-top, it is also very useful for women who do lots of sport. Caron explained to me that a lot of the patients she performs eyebrow tattooing on have suffered hair loss due to alopecia or chemotherapy and that some of her patients have their eyebrows tattooed before they start their treatment, so that should they lose their hair, they still have ‘eyebrows’. Micropigmentation is often called Permanent Make-up or Cosmetic Tattooing, both of which are terms used to describe the process of using needles to implant small particles of pigment, (not ink as used in traditional tattoos), under the dermal layer of the skin. To thicken and define my eyebrows Caron would 20

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013

Caron Vetter Marianne applies pre-cleanse toapplies Amanda’s face the pigment in hairline strokes to give the appearance of real eyebrow hair

Above: measuring up. Top right: applying the hair strokes. Right: when finished the eyebrow looks very dark and the skin is a little red - this will quickly fade though.

skin at the start, but the colour softened within a few days, as a result of the healing process, during which the upper layers of epidermis flaked away and were replaced by new cells. Caron asks that you return to the clinic around a month later to touch up any areas that may need a little more colour or definition. applying numerous fine strokes to create a The cost of the treatment is £300 and if natural ‘hair’ finish. you return to the clinic within 3 years, Caron During my consultation, Caron, (above) who will do your touch up for £150. Very good, instantly makes you feel as though you have considering a full set of eyelash extensions that known her for years, measured my eyebrows only last for a few weeks will usually set you and created a template to back somewhere between guide her. She explained £50 and £70 and for that eyebrows should women who have lost their be sisters and not twins! brows due to health issues it She then chose the shade can be the boost they need of pigment closest to to help them feel more my natural colour and confident about their over used a gel to numb my all appearance. eyebrows. The tattoo I am thrilled with my machine was then traced new eyebrows and have had over the ‘pre-drawn several people comment on template’ allowing the just how lovely they look. colour pigments to be When I tell them I’ve had precisely infused into them enhanced with micro my skin. The whole process lasted around an pigmentation they are astounded, remarking hour and didn’t feel dissimilar to having my on just how natural they look and that they eyebrows plucked. I had expected to walk would never have guessed. away with scarlet brows and have to hide in a l Features, Whitethorn Fields MediClinic, dark room until the following day but I looked Old Risborough Road, Stoke Mandeville, perfectly normal and was able to go straight Buckinghamshire, HP22 5XJ back to work. At first, my brows looked a little Tel: 01296 614441 heavier and darker, which was due to colour Email: remaining in the outermost epidermal layers of Website:

Providing the ultimate salon experience

Dare to be different! rebel a la young Elvis. Eclipse Hair Design’s Jade Best of all, this mix of no nonsense, Martin demonstrates how to look groomed hair with clean partings sharp and keep the day job and sharp outlines, needs minimal Model: Kenny Botting Hair: Jade Martin Styling: Jade Martin Photographer: Jordan Groves Clothes & accessories : Model’s own Jade Martin’s model Kenny Botting rocks this year’s hot new look in our latest style demonstration from Eclipse Hair Design. “Character and individuality is the inspiration for this modern cut that dares to be different,” says Jade. Blending the old with the new is very popular this season and Jade’s streetwise look takes old school inspiration from the cropped, military styling of the 30s and 40s, adds a daub of gritty, greasy East End glamour, circa the Kray twins and a splash of rockabilly

maintenance, ‘fearless grooming’ they call it and can be worn slicked back smoothly, or raw and ruffled. “I’ve used scissor over comb technique,” says Jade, “and created a bold disconnection between long and short hair for maximum impact. The result is sharp and cool but would not be out of place in the modern workplace. The hair can be left to fall naturally, but for this daring, polished and dashing look, styling products add shine and support.” Jade used Acrylic Shape 15 styling gel to achieve the slicked back East End Elvis look with Control Addict 28 hair spray applied after, to hold in place without being rigid. The shoot took place in the basement

of Eclipse Hair Design, where the old brick-lined cellar offered an atmospheric backdrop for this urban look. Other news at Eclipse: * REDKEN have now brought out their new ‘Beyond Cover’ range, the ammonia free colour to cover 100% white hair * Philip Kingsley will soon be ending their jet set packs, which hold travel sized shampoo/conditioner and an Elasticizer treatment, the treatment is virtually free (which is why they are stopping this) so stock up while you still can! * A Philip Kingsley spa treatment is from only £35 with Kelly * Try our walk-in blowdry bar See our website for full details of all our products and promotion.

Eclipse Hair Design, 56 North Street, Thame, OX9 3BH Tel: 01844 260062 Web: Email: Follow us on Twitter: @eclipsethame and Facebook Eclipse Hair design

STOP PRESS... Please like our Facebook page to keep up to date with all our current promotions Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013



Column: Chris Gallagher ‘Fitness Focus’

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013

It’s good to get out I

’ve been out running all through the cold, wet and uncomfortable winter months. Sometimes alone, sometimes with personal training clients, always with several layers of clothing, long sleeves, gloves... often returning with a nice layer of mud up my legs and back too! So it was a nice change to be able to go out for a jog recently and enjoy it in relatively sunny comfort, wearing just a pair of shorts and a T-Shirt. Spring is upon us bringing with it warmer weather and clear, blue skies. So many of us are affected by the winter blues and lack the motivation and energy to get active. The warmer temperatures and gradually increasing hours of daylight should help renew your enthusiasm for daily activity. Not everyone enjoys the gym. Some find the super-fit, uber-keen

gym regulars intimidating. You might feel you are not fit enough to join a gym class, or be seen puffing in the cardio and weights areas. The better weather provides an opportunity to engage in many other forms of physical activity over the coming months. Living in Aylesbury Vale we are fortunate to be situated in a picturesque part of the country with many outdoor pursuits available to us. We have the opportunity to enjoy countryside walks in some idyllic locations or attempt more athletic endeavours. If exercising indoors is not your cup of tea then you can ramble through acres of beautiful countryside, along the Grand Union canal or the estates of grand manors like Waddesdon and Ashridge. For the more adventurous a run around Wendover Woods incorporating the fitness trail might

provide the perfect outdoor pursuit. With the vast number of playing surfaces in the county you can also look to have fun playing a variety of sports including football, rugby, hockey, basketball, cricket and many more. There are a number of tennis and squash clubs too, where you can receive coaching or play friendly and competitive matches if you prefer the challenge of individual sports - Wimbledon will soon be upon us, get in before everyone decides to give it a go! Spirit Bikes, Aylesbury Cycling Club and VC 10 are all locally based cycling clubs that may provide you with the opportunity to see more of the surrounding countryside in the company of likeminded enthusiasts. Alternatively a bike, a map and a puncture repair kit will allow you to do the same at your own pace. If you would like to undertake some outdoor activity but would feel more confident in the company of a trained professional, you are more than welcome to contact Personal Training Results to

Chris Gallagher

Fitness Focus discover the delights of training in our local countryside. We’ve been pushing, prodding and encouraging clients to keep moving forward through biting winds, stabbing rains and squelching mud and puddles throughout the cold winter. Training with clients in the relative warmth and sunlight of Spring should be a breeze! Get out and discover what Aylesbury Vale has to offer you. l Chris Gallagher is Fitness Director of PT-Results, Aylesbury Web: TrainingResults, Twitter: @ PT_Results


Jazzercise blends Aerobics, Yoga, Pilates & Kickboxing movements into fun dance routines set to fresh new music, meaning you never get bored with your workout! Aylesbury, Halton, Tring, Wilstone Ivinghoe Buckingham & Winslow

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Keri Donnellan 07900 987230

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Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013

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Do you suffer with unsightly, cracked & painful hard skin on your feet? We have the answer for you... Callus Peel will help to remove the hard skin (more than one treatment may be needed) and leave your skin feeling soft and renewed. We are doing a special offer throughout March and April of £18 for one area on both feet and £22 for two areas on both feet. Add on to any of our pedicures for only £10 for one area or £13 for two areas on both feet.

Revitalise & rejuvenate your skin after this cold winter with either the Modern Skin Facial or Microdermabrasion (normal rrp £47)

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Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013

With local classes for young and old, KaSo fun back into dance and fitness. Turn up


ince moving from London, KaSo Studios has developed a reputation for a unique style of teaching which offers the chance for budding dancers of all ages to learn new skills and a great deal about themselves - all with a smile on their face. After enduring many years of sometimes dull professional training, KaSo cofounder Sophie was determined to pass on her extensive skills and knowledge in a fun, exciting and less intimidating way. In response to a demand for quality adult dance classes with skilled and experienced teachers, KaSo Studios has created a programme of lessons that anyone can attend. Classes are kept small so that everyone gets maximum guidance and support. And KaSo doesn’t ask people to commit to a whole term, so you can pay-as-yougo and turn up when you can. If you are worried that you won’t be good enough, KaSo’s teaching style will immediately put you at ease. There is no competition, just an emphasis on learning at your own pace in a fun and relaxed environment. Kate, KaSo’s other co-founder, says teachers make a point of getting to know everyone at each class, so their clients’ needs can be met in each session. As well as existing classes for adults and children in Brill, Berryfields,

Buckingham Park, Haydon Hill, Oakley, Chinnor, Longwick, Stoke Mandeville, Aldbury, Ivinghoe, Long Crendon and Prestwood, KaSo is to launch daytime classes at Wilstone and Wingrave Village Halls on Tuesday April 9th, and at Thame Snooker Club on Thursday evenings from April 11th. Tap is great for a cardiovascular workout, to strengthen muscles and develop rhythm. You learn as part of a group so no partner is necessary. Class member Gavin Williams says: “I’ve always wanted to try tap, and to find a class on my doorstep was fantastic. It gives my brain and body a great workout. I get to be Gene Kelly for an hour.” Contemporary Dance uses familiar and accessible music to develop expressive skills and musicality as well as strengthening muscles, improving co-ordination

Studios puts the and have a go...

and self-confidence. It is a fun way to get some exercise, learn movement skills and forget the stresses of the day. Student Jade Colston says: “I really look forward to my Tuesday night Contemporary class. I can feel the tension leaving my shoulders after the first exercise.” Experienced teachers make classes a fun and unique way into Ballet. Known to strengthen and build muscles, develop coordination and improve posture, ballet is enjoying a renaissance. Classes are open to everyone regardless of age or experience. We don’t need to be told that regular physical activity is vital for a long, healthy life and KaSo Studios has developed Fine Vintage Fitness, a class designed specifically for those who no longer have the flexibility or energy to take

part in something like Zumba. KaSo has used its extensive experience and the advice of health experts to develop an exercise programme that provides all the benefits of a regular workout without the risk of injury through high-impact or over-complicated movements not meant for vulnerable joints. The heart, joints and muscle groups - not to mention the grey matter - are all still worked, just at a slightly gentler pace. Rather than techno, garage or hip hop, KaSo set its Fine Vintage class to lovely music that is recognisable and pleasant to exercise to. The class gives people the chance to meet with other members of the community, not only to exercise but to talk and laugh. This regular mental and physical stimulation can make a significant difference in anyone’s life, but most importantly it has been shown to have a real impact on slowing the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s. Regular Fine Vintage clients have claimed relief from arthritis, back pain and weight loss as just some of the tangible benefits. They also have a jolly good laugh to boot, which has its own great health benefits. l For the full timetable, see For more info, email:, or call Sophie on 07989 205498, or Kate on 07985 048880

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013


Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013

The road to well Our beloved editor describes his attempts to get out of the office for some regular exercise, before he can no longer reach the keyboard past an ever expanding belly...


hey say ‘the road to hell is paved with good intentions’ and coincidentally the road to well seems to be as well. My intended new and healthy regime has not got off to an impressive start. In fact it hasn’t really got off to much of a start at all. I won’t bore you with excuses but suffice to say that following a tour of Racquets Fitness Centre at Thame and an initial spinning class with the delightful and encouraging Emma in early February, I have only just got round to going back for my initial health assessment, introduction to the equipment and personalised fitness routine, courtesy of Racquets fitness instructor and part-time fireman Jack.

It was all painless enough and I’m glad to say that Jack could barely disguise his surprise at discovering that despite doing very little exercise for about two years my heart and lungs are working fine. “We often start new clients on a very Heart rate check gentle regime,” he smiled, “but you will be able to cope with something a bit more challenging!” Oh dear! Jack measured my height and weight, blood pressure, flexibility and heart rate - before and after a five minute jog and then with a pair of rather frightening pincers proceeded to pinch and measure bits of skin from various locations about my person. All these figures are to be entered into a special fitness programme that then calculates my Body Mass Index (BMI) and other useful statistics to show how things are improving as the weeks go by and I follow the personal fitness plan that Jack is to draw up for me. So far so good, but I fear that may have been the easy bit. I aim to attempt a couple of sessions a week, whether in Racquets gym or Poster.pdf



haam! Bam! Pow! Pop Art is having a style moment. From restaurants, hotels and shops to merchandise such as chairs, telephones and towels, the bold, bright and retro imagery seems to be popping up everywhere. Even The Tate Modern has a Roy Lichtenstein retrospective on until May 27. And now LUSH Cosmetics’ have launched their KA-POW gift (£40.95) - a pop art hat box crammed with invigorating, refreshing and ka-powerful products. Inspired by comic book flashes and the work of pop art artist Roy Lichtenstein, Lush have chosen a selection of products they feel are punchy and powerful including; the revitalising Whoosh shower jelly, the zesty grapefruit fragranced Happy Hippy shower gel and the minty, spearmint soap Dirty. Plus a selection of body products including the super skin priming, fennel and ginger 24

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013




Sugar Scrub, the warming Wiccy Magic Muscles massage bar and the mint and wasabi flavoured Toothy Tabs solid tooth paste - this gift is perfect for those superheroes who are always on the go! If you’d like a chance to win a KA-POW box, simply email your name, address and telephone number, along with the answer to the following question to: What kind of box does KA-POW come in? Winner to be drawn at random and notified by email by April 25th. l









Can you pinch an inch? Jack with his pincers checking shoulder blade flab

Flexibility test at one of their numerous fitness classes and report back on progress. Every journey starts with but a single step... l Racquets Fitness Centre, North Street, Thame, Oxon, OX9 3TH Tel: 01844 261754 Email: Website:


Column: Penny Harper ‘Thoughts of a small town girl’


t’s a rare sight to see a hummingbird in Thame, and even rarer to see ‘Hummingbird Tattoo’. Mr P and I shared a knowing look as we passed the sign on the High Street last week. ‘Want to?’ he winked. Now, the last time someone asked me that, it was 1999 and I’d just come out of a pub in Aberystwyth. I’d always wanted a tattoo, but it took my younger brother James and a couple of pints to convince me that a seahorse on my hip was the way to go. It was followed by a fantastic night on the pier in a fuzzy Welsh haze, during which, most of Aber got to see the seahorse beside the seaside. However, in the dawn light of the morning after the night before, everything looked very, VERY different. I got the train back to Brum and spent the next three days sobbing in my bedroom, followed by a trip to the doctor to

A seahorse - tattoo of choice for the independent lady: male seahorses carry the babies and take care of the kids! see if removal was a possibility. Not really. I’d branded myself, a drunken fool. I told my Mum I’d done ‘something really stupid’ and her mind went into overdrive. She laughed her head off when I showed her my newly-tattooed hip. The relief was immense, and I vowed never again to visit my brother in Wales. Over the coming weeks and months though, I began to look at

the seahorse in a different light. It was a permanent reminder of a moment in time; the end of my university years; the end of a really bad relationship and the beginning of a new, independent life. If I’m being honest, I forget it’s there… until a newly acquired friend spots it and starts a conversation. People are very vocal about tattoos and very keen to share an opinion. ‘I don’t like them’ they say; ‘then don’t get one’ comes my reply. It’s as simple as that. Mr P waited until he was 25 to get an eagle tattooed all across his upper arm. I sat with him and prayed he wouldn’t cry in his bedroom. He didn’t. Then there’s my 60-something-year-old friend in Oz, Barney, who always reckoned he was going to get one if he made it to 70. So there we were, Mr P and I, stood on the High Street and both wondering whether we were going

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013

Penny Harper

Small Town


to have another session under the needle. The million dollar question was, and still remains…‘what?’ If I leave it as long as Barney, it might have to be my address.

Musical theme for Carnival 2013


Parade through the Town Centre from noon Fete 1pm - 5pm at Southern Road Recreation Ground

dedicated positive inspired

hame Carnival Committee has revealed the theme for the 2013 Carnival, which takes place on Saturday 15th June, as ‘Musicals’. Thame Carnival is not only a fabulous spectacle and a fun day out for all the family but raises vital funds for local causes. Over the last two years £4,500 has been collected and three local charities: Share Life, Thomley Hall and Safari-Wombles, each received £1500. This year funds will go towards the Thame Youth Café project: the establishment of a youth centre, open and available seven days a week, which is currently lacking in Thame. The Carnival is open to all local businesses, schools and groups to take part in whatever way they can. It’s a great way of giving back to the community and raising your profile with local people. Whether it’s a float, a walking parade, a stall at the fete, an advertisement in the Carnival programme, or taking part in one of the many arena events, your participation would be very welcome.

Thame Carnival 2012 - ‘disco’ theme!

Extra volunteers are also needed to help out before and on the day. If you can help organise or would like to take part in some way: have a stall or float, advertise in the brochure, volunteer, etc. please email: Thamecarnival2013@ For updates and news ‘like’ the Carnival Facebook page www. From midday the streets of Thame will be filled with excitement, creativity, fantastic costumes and performance as the procession parades through the town centre to the Southern Road Recreation Ground where the party carries on into the evening. Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013


Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013

Our House by Melanie Parr

From pretty florals and retro prints, to bold geometrics and vibrant colour clashes, fall in love with wallpaper once again...

Shiraz (W6494-06) by Osborne & Little


t’s spring, and the wallpaper houses are brimming with stunning new designs. This season is all about experimenting with vibrant colours and designs, and you can be brave and make a real statement with a full-room covering, or stick to the fail-safe feature wall if

you don’t want to overdo it, or bust the budget. The interiors palette is definitely more colourful this season, with plenty of designs featuring daring colour combinations, from Orla Kiely’s midcentury-inspired future design classic Multi Stem for Harlequin to Romo’s bold floral Beatrix in lime, Piet Hein Eek’s red and mustard Scrapwood, At Home colourways. Wallpaper houses have also raided their archives and brought retro designs bang up to date with new colours. For a flash of Fifties chic,


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www. the


Tel: 01296 415035


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8 Duck Farm Court, Station Way, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP20 2SQ

Be au

Tamaki (in Vintage Mauve colourway), Romo


w Wall art w Clocks w Candles w Lamps w Mirrors w Vases w Ornaments w Homeware w Prints w w Fireplace sets w Signs w Furniture w Kitchen & Dining w Gifts w Cards w Mats w Handcrafted Fairtrade Products w 26

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013

Multi Stem by Orla Kiely for Harlequin

Fifi (in blackcurrant and lime), Sanderson

Picture courtesy of John Lewis

the Momentum Wallcoverings Volume 2 range. try Sanderson’s Christian Dior-inspired Fifi Strong botanic designs come courtesy of wallpaper, or its Mary Poppins-esque Jubilee Square design. Other original Fifties designs at PiP Studio (particular stand-outs are Birds Sanderson include Atomic, Mobiles and the ever- in Paradise and Flowers in the Mix) and Designers Guild, both available at John popular Dandelion Clocks. Further Fifties inspiration can Lewis; while Harlequin has the bold Leaf design and be found at John Lewis, with For a flash of Fifties colourful florals in the Missprint’s Mountains, chic, try Sanderson’s Dandelions and Muscat prints. Extravagance collection. Christian Dior-inspired If graphic simplicity is your For subtle florals, Fifi wallpaper thing, geometrics are proving Sanderson, Osborne & Little and Harlequin have delicate designs, popular at the moment, according to while Romo has beautiful Eastern-inspired Cromptons Interiors; Romo’s Octa combines strong lines with luxury glamour, or follow the designs such as Tamaki (opposite page). lines of Harlequin’s almost 3D Maze design. Also, head to TillyNilly for Clarke & Clarke’s For a toned-down, geometric look, try Wild Garden range. Harlequin’s subtle but sparkling Trellis, part of Continued overleaf

MissPrint Mountains wallpaper, John Lewis

Where to get the look... Tillynilly 01844 220035;; At Home 1 Well Street, Buckingham, MK18 1EW; 01280 430148; These local interiors specialists stock the major wallpaper houses:

Brooklyn Tins (No 04), At Home

Peter John Barclays House, Gatehouse Way, Aylesbury, HP19 3DB; 01296 398301;

John Lewis Home Holmers Farm Way, Cressex Centre, High Wycombe, HP12 4NW; 01494 462666; Greens of Thame 5 Upper High Street, Thame, OX9 3ES; 01494 462666; www.

What a Hoot, Harlequin

Jubilee Square by Sanderson

Beatrix (Acacia) by Romo

Clarke & Clarke’s Wild Garden at TillyNilly

Cromptons Interiors 2 Kings Head Parade, Wendover, HP22 6DX; 01296 623575;

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013


Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013

Our House by Melanie Parr

Eden, Xanthina collection, Romo Black Edition

Leaf, Momentum Volume 2 collection, Harlequin

Wallpaper houses are employing increasingly What a Hoot (a perfect gender-neutral choice for sophisticated techniques such as digital printing a nursery), the hand-drawn Brighton townscape, to create photo-realistic effects. Romo’s new and the Far Far Away range featuring everything Black Edition features the eye-popping Eden from flags and hand-drawn ballet pumps to design in a choice of Verbena, dragonflies and a Jungle Jamboree. If graphic simplicity is your Daffodil and Amaranth. John Lewis also has bold and thing, geometrics are proving colourful stripes and the fun Meanwhile, At Home in popular at the moment Panorama design by Prestigious Buckingham has just started stocking Piet Hein Eek’s charmingly Textiles. realistic Scrapwood range (picture page 27) and l Melanie Parr is a home interiors journalist with Merci’s Brooklyn Tins, a wallpaper range made to many years’ experience on a range of well-known look like antique tin tiles (picture page 27). homes magazines. If you have a features idea, or Children’s rooms can also be transformed with would like your business featured, please email fun but sophisticated designs: Harlequin has

PiP Studio Birds in Paradise at John Lewis

Octa by Romo

Butterflies, John Lewis

Audited, Vetted & Approved by Buckinghamshire County Council Trading Standards

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We pride ourselves on being one of the best in the business. Expertise in wallpaper hanging with a full in-house carpentry and repairs service. Established for over 35 years No decorating sub-contractors used Trading Standards Approved We cover Aylesbury Vale, Chilterns, Home Counties and beyond ✔ Complete repair & refurbishment service ✔ We take care of the worrying, so you don't have to ✔ ‘No Quibble’ Full After Sales Service ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔

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Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013

Win a signed copy of author’s first novel


aughan Humphries was born in Lower Hutt, New Zealand, and has spent the better half of his life to date staying as far away from the place as possible. He currently lives in Thame and has developed a taste for Guinness and old cars. After a string of successful columns in local newspapers, he has recently had his first feature-length book published. Entitled ‘Like a Shag on a Rock’ Vaughan’s debut describes the lives of two Southern-Hemisphere drinking buddies who decide to house-share in the United Kingdom. Tom is a New Zealander living in Oxford with his girlfriend Janice. But he finds her increasingly domineering and hard to live with. One evening he goes out with his friends, against her wishes, and comes home to find she has dumped his belongings in bin bags outside the house. He decides to make a fresh start rather than try to work things out. This leads him to house share with his Australian drinking buddy John, who works from home as a web developer. John is uncouth and inconsiderate and Tom has other concerns too, as the

previous tenant seems to have left in mysterious circumstances. Tom is also puzzled by John having several expensive tools, which are hardly used as John doesn’t do any DIY. A particularly sinister aspect to John is that he doesn’t allow anyone to go into the attic, although Tom hears him go up there when he thinks no one else is around. Despite all this, Tom

and John have some laughs and Tom hopes to change John into a better person. Life for the protagonists isn’t plain sailing and from fierce practical jokes to their desperate attempts at attracting women, this is a whimsical and alarmingly realistic novel which Vaughan confesses depended more than a little on his own experiences. “It’s a story written for everyone who has had to house-share,” he says. “As well as a reflection of my own experience sharing accommodation with my friends from down under. “Those who have been there will no doubt relate to Tom and his situation. Sharing a home with another isn’t easy and you may have to be pretty laid back to make the arrangement work.” Since its release in early November, the book has enjoyed critical acclaim and became one of the top 350 books for sale on Amazon UK.

Vaughan is delighted that so many people are enjoying his work: “I have a background in journalism and reporting, but this is my first piece of fiction,” he says. “The response I am getting has been overwhelming.” Following its online success, Vaughan’s book is now available as a hard copy from all good book stores. Quote ISBN number: 978178035-546-7 to order. You can also buy directly from the publisher directly: www. or download in ebook format for Kindle, iBook or Kobo. If you’d like a chance to win one of three signed copies of ‘Like a Shag on a Rock’, simply email your name, address and telephone number, along with the answer to the following question to: Which country is Vaughan originally from? Winner to be drawn at random and notified by email by April 25th.

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013


Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013

If you’ve ever admired the kitchen sets at the range store in Princes Risborough, or in Thame’s AGA shop, you were looking at the work of one of the UK’s top bespoke kitchen and furniture designers. They are based in Long Crendon where they have been quietly hand-crafting beautiful designs for 28 years now...


stablished by two Michaels: Mike Storr and Mick Merry in 1985, Woodcrafts of Oxford provides a professional and personal design and build service for bespoke kitchens and furniture. Originally from Lincolnshire, Mike Storr enjoyed woodwork at school and afterwards came south to attend Rycote College, at the time considered to be the ultimate training for a maker of furniture, with an international reputation as a centre of excellence for innovative furniture design and making. After completing a two year course Mike worked making furniture and kitchens for firms in Windsor and Oxford and met Mick Merry, who was a joiner at the time. The two set up in business together in 1979 working out of the back of a van! Business was good and they decided to take on premises, their current workshops at Long Crendon, in 1985 - Woodcrafts of Oxford was born.


Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013

Mick Merry, in the workshop

Mike Merry and Mike Storr Mike Storr, right, with Dave Smith who has been with Woodcrafts for 24 years “Most of our work has come from personal recommendation,” says Mike. “We’d do one job and it would lead to another. Over the years we’ve built a skilled team of tried and trusted craftsmen: cabinet makers, builders, tilers, electricians and plumbers and now offer a complete service, from inspiration to installation.” Kitchen, bedroom and bathroom furniture, (free-standing or fitted), alcove units, display cabinets, wardrobes and multi-media rooms can all be individually designed and crafted to your own specifications. “All our units and drawers are handmade to order,” says Mike, “so we can

mould and incorporate pieces into existing furniture, if required, or take inspiration from existing features and mouldings, so there is a continuity in the new design.” Woodcrafts’ complete service includes consultation on everything from work surfaces and flooring to the best appliances to compliment your project. Should you need building works or alterations they will also be organised and project managed, if required. It’s a very personal service and Mike himself will liase with clients, do the site survey, discuss requirements, draught the working drawings and price up the job. If it goes ahead Mick manages the construction and installation, with Mike project managing overall and keeping the client informed of progress. “People appreciate the personal

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013

touch,” says Mike. “They like having one person managing the whole process, rather than having to deal with several different people. Clients can ring up and speak to me and I will know just what stage we are at. They can even come to the workshop and see their cabinets in production. We always pre-assemble a new kitchen in the workshop to check everything fits together and works properly. “If the units are to have a painted finish, which is quite popular at the moment, we have a specialist who comes in and does it by hand, although lacquer, spray painting and a variety of special effects are all options.

“We provide an individual one-to-one service from the first meeting to handing over the finished product and a full aftercare package. All our joinery is manufactured to the highest standard of craftsmanship and carries our unconditional guarantee of quality. The installation of our units is carried out by our own craftsmen, not sub-contractors and also carries our unconditional guarantee. Even if there have been no problems we will check after six months to see all is working smoothly as sometimes, after drawers and units have been loaded up and used for a while, there may be adjustments to be made.” Mike’s wife Shelley is also a partner in the business. She comes from a family of designers and is involved in admin and design. “It’s good to have some female input,” says Mike, “she has a good eye and being a keen cook, great ideas with regard to both functional design and aesthetics. Woodcrafts of Oxford kitchens are all

unique, one-off designs but the company is always aware of changing fashions and new innovations: “Oak and maple are popular, at the moment,” says Mike, “although oak is timeless really. Fashions do change though, we did a lot of limed oak kitchens in the 80s, and recently we’ve been back to paint over one for a client. She’s thrilled now, as it looks like a new kitchen again!” To find out more about Woodcrafts of Oxford see their website, (www. or call Mike on 01844 201670. l Woodcrafts of Oxford, Unit 4a, Woodway Farm, Bicester Road, Long Crendon, Buckinghamshire, HP18 9EP Tel: 01844 201670 Email: mike@woodcraftsofoxford. Website: www.woodcraftsofoxford. Displays at: Cast Iron Range Cookers, Princes Risborough and the AGA Shop, Thame.

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013


Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013

Life is full of ups and downs, especially if you are a carpet fitter, but with stylish stair runners like these in your home, every step will put a smile on your face...


avid Castellano, owner of Charles Huntington Flooring, is celebrating 25 years in the carpet business. His company operates from a small but stylish showroom in Duck Farm Court, Aylesbury, where David delights in demonstrating a stunning selection of smartly displayed carpet, sisal, seagrass, coir, jute, wood, vinyl and synthetic flooring. There’s not much David doesn’t know about flooring but he’s a carpet enthusiast and expert fitter rather than a salesman, so you won’t get pressured into buying anything, just lots of ideas and expert advice. He is assisted by Emma Goddard who is equally helpful. “A lot of bigger suppliers go for the same styles,” says David. “Here we have a wide


Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013

selection including designer carpets and flooring that are a little unusual, some of which have a real wow factor. We are not expensive though, we carry a full range of products, from budget weaves to tufted silk and will always try and match any quotes you have, while still providing an exceptional fitting service. This applies to all areas, we work across the Vale area and in London.” David supplies and advises on carpet and floorings but also enjoys going out and personally ensuring the job is laid correctly. “If I am supplying carpet, I want to be sure it is fitted perfectly,” he says. “A carpet’s only as good as the person who fitted it!” One tricky area in which David is particularly adept is stair runners. “They are very much back in fashion at the moment,” says David, “but are tricky to get right, especially if the pattern is a striking stripe. We are experienced in laying stair runners with turns and half landings,” says David, “and we offer a variety of finishes: binding tape, blind stitching which is like a bit of piping down the side, or whipping - we’ve also a good selection of stair rods and stair clips David uses templating to get the runners exactly right and the results look really impressive set against natural wood or painted stairs. The right hand pictures are jobs he has recently completed. “Some people like to continue the runner along the landing,” says David, “while others prefer a contrast, in which case we’ll finish the stair runner just under the top nose. “The Roger Oates stripes top and left are simply gorgeous, while sisal is extremely hard wearing and can give a crisp, clean look. It comes in a variety of colours and designs now too, as well as natural shades. Give David and Emma a call, whatever your flooring requirements. They offer a friendly, personal service, free quotes, help and guidance and are full of ideas and advice. The Charles Huntington range boasts flooring to suit all pockets and tastes - just ask for a smile with every step! l Charles Huntington Carpet and Flooring Specialists, 23 Duck Farm Court, Station Way, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP20 2SQ. Tel: 01296 337181. Mobile: 07767 370067 Email: Web: All major debit and credit cards accepted

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013

Do you suffer from ‘lawn envy’? Is your putting green below par, or your brown and patchy plot letting down this green and pleasant land? If it’s time to call in an expert, you’re in luck - there’s a leading authority right here in the Vale and if you’ve got lawn problems, he’s got lawn solutions...


t is said an Englishman’s home is his castle and interestingly, our lawns have their roots in the grasslands around the medieval castles of France and Britain. These ‘Laundes’ were kept clear of trees so guards had an unobstructed view of any approaching, potentially hostile, visitors. Sheep and cattle were the early mowers of course, until shorn grass lawns emerged in 17th century England at the homes of large, wealthy landowners. Sheep still grazed on these estates, but landowners increasingly depended on human labour to tend the grass closest to their homes, so before lawnmowers, only the rich could afford to hire the many hands needed to scythe and weed the grass and a lawn was a mark of wealth and status. Today we all covet our own perfect swathe of green and most homes have some sort of lawned area, which is not only pleasing to look at but a practical and pleasant carpet for outdoor activities. Cultivating the perfect lawn is not an easy task though and many of us despair at our tatty, balding attempts to emulate the lush, stripey elegance of a healthy lawn. But help is at hand, for lawn expert, David Hedges-Gower lives locally and with his independent lawn care company Lawn Solutions is available to advise and tend your problem pasture. David is no ordinary lawn carer though. He is the UK’s leading expert on grass and can often be heard offering advice on local radio stations BBC Oxford and BBC Essex, or giving RHS lectures at Waterperry Gardens and is currently writing a book on lawn care. David developed his expertise greenkeeping and was course manager at The Oxfordshire, where he tailored conditions for golfers such as Nick Faldo, Ernie Els and Colin Montgomerie, who was heard to proclaim him ‘the best course manager in Britain’ on one memorable night, during the British Open! He now uses his expertise and experience to produce fabulous lawns. David grew up in Long Crendon and went to Lord Williams’s School. He was a talented golfer and was taken on as assistant

David Hedges-Gower pro at Weston Turville Golf Club. He was aiming to join the touring circuit but unfortunately developed a ‘golf elbow’ injury and was forced to give up the game. It was a frustrating time but David continued to work at the golf club and started helping look after the course. Within a few years he had become Head Green Keeper, probably the youngest one in the country, and a few years later when The Oxfordshire opened and was hailed as one of the most prestigious clubs in the South of England, he applied for a position and was taken on. He worked there for some 12 years during which time the course hosted several major tournaments and his work keeping the greens and fairways in championship condition was recognised as being exceptional by club and players alike. “The greens were probably the best in Europe at the time,” says David. “It takes a phenomenal amount of effort and money to maintain that sort of standard though.” By this time David had been a greenkeeper for some 25 years and had accumulated a wealth of knowledge and expertise in grass growing and care: “Grass is my passion,” laughs David. “I’ve lived, slept and breathed it for so many years!” It was time for a new challenge and in 2003

David left The Oxfordshire to set up Lawn Solutions: “I’d noticed lawn care franchises were popping up manned by people with little or no specialist knowledge and I knew I could offer a much more professional service,” says David. “No two lawns are the same, so you can’t just apply a one-size-fits-all solution. It is a very specialist area and even gardening experts can be a bit sketchy when it comes to grass. Lawn Solutions is a small, specialist company. We address any type of grass needs from croquet lawns to garden lawns, country estates, cricket pitches or golf greens. We are the most technically proficient lawn company and treat every lawn as an individual case. I personally design a tailor-made programme for each and I oversee all our projects. “Lawns are so different, there are so many variables and our environment is constantly changing: dry spells, wet spells, they both produce their own problems and there are all sorts of pests and diseases which are becoming more common. We have some incredible products though to deal with any problems, we even have herbicides that can take out a specific strain of grass from a lawn. “When people get in touch we do a free site visit and take the opportunity to discuss how the customer maintains their lawn. It has a big effect on what we do, and they will need to play their part as lawn care is an ongoing process and a team effort - lawns need to be fed and mowed, but one bad cut at the wrong time of year can undo months of hard work. We are proactive not just when improving a lawn but in maintaining what we’ve got once the lawn is up to scratch.” According to David, if you do the right things at the right time, weather dependent, you can turn an awful looking lawn into a good one in a matter of weeks. There are key times of year it’s best to start though and one of them is now! So don’t delay, he’s the expert. l Lawn Solutions, The Gables, Lower Chilworth Farm, Milton Common, Thame, Oxon. OX9 2JS Tel: 01844 278284 Email: Website: Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013




2, y from 00 0*

A collection of 1 and 2 bed apartments & 2 bed houses

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n e p o e m o H w o h


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*Represents a 35% share in a one bed property value at £120,000. Prices are correct at the time of print and are subject to change. A monthly rent & service charge is applicable. Priority will be given to those who live or work in the Aylesbury Vale District Council area. Terms & conditions apply. Catalyst Housing is a charitable housing association.



Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013

Win tickets to Grand Designs


roperty and Design guru Kevin McCloud is heading back to London this spring to host the ninth consecutive Grand Designs Live show. To celebrate its return, Vale Life Magazine is offering readers the chance to win one of five pairs of tickets to this award winning contemporary home show. Grand Designs Live 2013 will play host to over 500 exhibitors at London’s ExCeL Centre from May 4th to 12th May and is the perfect show for those seeking inspiration and expert advice on home redecoration, renovations or even full scale self-build projects. You will find everything you need under one roof in one of the show’s six dedicated sections - Grand Build sponsored by VELUX, Grand Interiors, Grand Kitchens sponsored by Miele, Grand Bathrooms, Grand Gardens and Grand Technology. Visitors can try their hand at sustainable build techniques, get FREE consultations as well as shop from 100s of unique products that can’t be found on the high street. You will see fantastic ideas brought to life

in the Interiors Theatre, live cooking demonstrations by top chefs in the Live Kitchen Experience and even be able to explore Kevin McCloud’s Green Heroes - an annual exhibition showcasing his very favourite eco innovations of the year. You can also join Kevin in debates on topical issues surrounding homes and design with renowned TV and industry experts at the Grand Theatre. If you’d like a chance to win one of five pairs of tickets, simply email your name, address and telephone number, along with the answer to the

following question to: What anniversary is GDL celebrating at the Excel this year? A) Sixth B) Ninth C) Thirteenth For those not lucky enough to win, you can book two for one tickets by quoting GDL241 online at www. or call the

Ticket Hotline on 0844 854 1348. Kids go free.* l Follow the latest Grand Designs Live show news on Twitter @ GDLive_UK

*Terms and conditions apply, 1. This offer is only open to UK residents 2. Competition winners tickets are valid for any one day of the show between the 4th & 12th May to Grand Designs Live at Excel London 3. Tickets are non transferable - one pair of tickets per winner only. 4. Complimentary tickets obtained through this offer may not be duplicated. 5. All tickets will be scanned on entry to the show 6. Winners will be chosen & notified by April 25th, 2013. *Transaction fee applies, saving is off the door rate (£16/£19), must be booked in advance, offer ends 12/5/13

from design to build The Loggia Conservatory Modern Glass Extensions Cross Over Extensions Traditional Conservatories

01844 208605 The Loggia

Visit our showroom. Open Mon-Sat.

New Stables, Notley Farm, Long Crendon, Buckinghamshire, HP18 9ER | Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013


l Column ‘In the Garden’ with


ake a note of these dates: Monday 15 to Sunday 21 April 2013. It’s National Gardening Week, and there will be plenty of opportunities to get involved. One theme this year is wild flowers and there’s a chance to grab free wildflower seeds to create your own mini meadow by registering at the National Gardening Week website: www. This is also the place to find out what events are on. Nearer the time have a search for local events or check out what’s on at the four RHS gardens - RHS Wisley in Surrey is our closest. To create your own mini meadow, you’ll need a square metre of bare earth, a window box or large container, or an area of lawn. Choose a spot that gets at least four hours of sun a day, is well drained and weed free and is reasonably sheltered pollinating insects aren’t so keen on windy spots! Try to sow the seed evenly – and if the soil is very dry (unlikely at the moment but in a month or so things could be very different!)

Naomi MacKay

This plant originates from South America, and boasts large double and semi-double flowers in intense colours all summer long. This is a creeping plant that acts as great ground cover. water the area before sowing. Rake Finally here’s something a bit the seeds into the soil. If the ground different if you like ornamental dries out before germination grasses - Wangenheimia Vulcan occurs, water the area with a fine has long wiry stems topped with spray from a hose or watering can tactile, flat, fan-shaped seed heads, rose. Your meadow should need no which develop with age into a feeding or watering, but keep an herringbone fashion. Good for eye out for weeds and pull them out cutting and drying. Both are from before they become invasive. Dobies ( and can As well as wildflowers, you can be sown from March. start to think about sowing a whole garden full of flowers from a few packets of seeds - a really costeffective way to fill your garden with colour! Some new varieties to keep an eye out for this year include Aquilegia ‘Rhubarb and Custard’ from Suttons Seeds (www., top right. This is an easy-to-grow perennial, which can be sown from March, with masses of delicate pinkish-red, yellowtipped flowers on slender red stems. Great for containers and cutting, Sweet Pea ‘Theresa Maureen’ as is the sweet pea ‘Theresa Maureen’, right, which is a semidwarf sweet pea with delicate l Naomi Mackay is a freelance mauve and pink blush flowers and journalist who works on national medium scent. Sow outdoors from consumer magazines, newspapers April. and websites. She is running a Bring a touch of the exotic series of workshops for local by growing Portulaca ‘Tapas’. businesses on writing for the web,

Telephone: 01844 208401 Mobile: 07732 329118 Email: Website:

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013

Aquilegia ‘Rhubarb & Custard’ social media and learning about the mysteries of SEO. Prices start at just £30 a delegate if you quote code VLMar13. Email for details.

Garden events in April

Various dates: A number of gardens around the Bucks/ Aylesbury area are open in aid of the Scannappeal, including cottage gardens, formal gardens with views over the Chilterns, and the gardens of Bledlow Manor. Details at www. open-gardens/ April 13/14: De Jager Tulip festival and Rare Plants and Spring Food Festival, Waddesdon Manor April 20: Get growing hanging baskets workshop Clivden, Taplow, Maidenhead, Cost: £30

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Inspired Designs

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Vacancies for hard landscaper and skilled labourers - contact Rodney on: 07732 329118 36

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013

C o n t a c t To m S p a r k e s T: 0 7 7 1 0 4 2 4 9 4 0 E:

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013

“There’s confusion as to whether it’s worth taking advantage of The Government’s solar energy feed-in tariff scheme,” says Chiltern Solar’s Steve Gamston, “but with the price of equipment at an all-time low, this clean and efficient form of renewable energy is a great investment...


purred into action by the rapidly increasing cost of electricity and a desire to cut his family’s energy consumption for environmental reasons, Nick Turner has been investigating alternative and sustainable forms of energy production. The Turners’ home near Long Crendon was built in 2011 and benefits from modern materials, high standards of insulation and an Energy Performance Rating of B. Yet the family of four were hit with a £350 bill for electricity last Summer quarter. “We considered wind turbines,” says Nick, “but it seemed they would not be as reliable a source of power as Solar PV panels. We had read about Chiltern Solar in Vale Life Magazine and spoke to director Steve Gamston about our options.” Nick was concerned about how the panels would look, as the house is an attractive property built of traditional materials. It had been designed with a set of built-in Solar Thermal Collector panels to help heat the water supply and Steve suggested they consider the new high performance matt black PV panels, which look more like a Velux window than a solar panel and would be in keeping with the existing built-in panels. “From April to October our old Solar Thermal panels were giving us most of our hot water for washing and showers and the last electricity bill was still £350,” says Nick. “With the new panels installed we’ve just had our Winter quarter bill and it’s down to £139. I’ve been following our children around turning lights off as well though!” “In addition to generating electricity for power and heating, any excess from the panels is fed into the National Grid and we are paid a ‘feed-in tariff ’ of 15.44p per kwh. In the last three months this has credited us with £50. As some of our panels are on a westerly facing roof I expect them to perform even better in the Summer, when the sun is higher in the sky. “Chiltern Solar were great. They fitted the panels in a matter of days. The scaffolding went up on day one, the panels went up on day two and by the end of day three it was all wired in. The whole project went very smoothly and caused minimal disruption. The scaffolding stayed up for another week just in

The Turners’ home in Easington. The central panels are the original solar thermal built-in panels. The panels at each end are the new Chiltern Solar PV panels

Above: the South elevation. Below & top right: the West elevation with new panels Left: the new panels Right the original built-in panels

case there were any teething problems. “I think the solution Chiltern Solar has provided looks fine and is performing well. It seems it will more than halve our electricity bills and have paid for itself in eight years.” “We enjoyed working on Nick’s project,” says Chiltern Solar director Steve Gamston. “We sourced panels to fit in with his existing thermal panels and because there wasn’t enough room to put all the new PV panels on the south elevation, installed some on the West facing elevation. The panels will not all be getting the same sunlight and if in series, the overall performance would drop, so we also installed microinverters connecting each panel to the system individually. The panels then operate independently, and don’t effect the power output of the others. You get maximum output and you can monitor the

performance of each panel online as they are connected via wifi and your broadband to an internet portal. “Nick’s figures already show that generating his own power will not only save him money but will be a sound investment with a return of between 10% and 12% over the next 25 years. There aren’t many other investments that can guarantee that today!” If you are interested in finding out more about the benefits of investing in solar panels, or how you can qualify for a free Energy Performance Certificate, Steve is happy to answer your questions. Chiltern Solar Ltd, Chesham, Bucks Phone 01494 773400 Email: Website:


Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013


Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013

Guitar legend returns to revisit Genesis & Friars


fter a two year break the legendary Friars Club returns to Aylesbury Waterside Theatre with two shows billed as the Friars Spring Festival. On May 3rd it’s The Specials, which has sold out already and on May 9th Steve Hackett with his Genesis Revisited show. Friars Aylesbury was founded in 1969 as a rock club and built a massive following. It is now staging concerts in it’s fourth and largest venue, the fabulous Waterside Theatre. Over the years the club has hosted more than 500 gigs by many of the greatest artists and bands in popular music history. David Bowie debuted songs from Ziggy Stardust in January 1972 while artists as diverse as Pink Floyd, Genesis, The Clash, U2 , Dire Straits, Queen, The Jam, Kraftwerk, Mott the Hoople, Fleetwood Mac, Black Sabbath and The Kinks all performed at the club in their heyday. The Specials played their first ever gig at Friars in 1978, supporting The Clash and returned in 1980. They are back again on May 3rd and even though tickets were


Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013

limited to a maximum of two per person, this year’s show sold out instantly, with 800 people queuing for tickets, some from 1am in the morning! Steve Hackett joined Genesis in 1971. The band were already Friars favourites and were paid the princely sum of £10 for their first Friars show in April 1970. Steve’s first Friars gig was in June 1971, a famous one during which Peter Gabriel jumped off the stage and broke his ankle! Steve will be playing classic Genesis material at this special concert and include tracks from ‘Foxtrot’, ‘Selling England By The Pound’, ‘The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway’, ‘A Trick Of The Tail’ and ‘Wind And Wuthering’ all of which featured him on guitar: “I’m really looking forward to playing Friars again,” says Steve. “I have lots of good memories of Aylesbury - it felt like home. It was the sure-fire gig that was always going to work for us and it was such a great feeling.” More Friars shows are being planned for the Autumn. l Tickets: 0844 8717607 Website:


Column: Emma Ward‘Country Girl’

Loving living local


s Spring approaches (well, sort of) I have been tempted from my winterinduced hibernation to venture out about in the Vale considerably more this month. For me, there is nothing better than spending a long Sunday afternoon catching up with a friend over a cup of tea and a slice of cake, and I revel in the thrill of finding a new little coffee shop where I can be tantalized by plenty of calorie-laden goodies! However, in the current economic climate it is a sad fact that a startling amount of small, independent businesses are struggling to survive and small local pubs and eateries have been hit particularly hard, leaving a dedicated foodie like me weeping into my Victoria sponge and Earl Grey, but... there may be light at the end of the tunnel. After the recent horse meat scandal people have been left wondering where the food they eat

comes from, leading to an increase in the popularity of establishments selling high quality, local products with, most importantly, provenance. This is good news and as I have always been keen to support these local suppliers, I decided to visit a few this month. My first port of call was the Winslow Handmade and Vintage Fair, held in Winslow Public Hall, a Mecca for any woman who likes to adorn her abode with beautiful things. I was greeted, as expected, by swathes of bunting, kitsch antiques and very tempting cupcakes decorated in an array of coloured icing and sprinkles. The fairs are organised by Lisa Wright AKA ‘Miss Dottie’, owner of the Polka Dot Gallery on Winslow’s market square. Her stand was easily recognisable being festooned with

Horsewyse CIC

her own pastel-coloured pottery, fun wooden signs and handmade treasures for the home. The rest of the hall was delightfully full of other enthusiastic local crafters and antiques and vintage traders, selling wonderful one-off and unique pieces that simply can’t be picked off the shelf in John Lewis. The price tags are also very ‘non-department store’; my mum picked up a beautiful tea cup and saucer for the bargain price of £1 (see picture left)! Lisa tells me the fairs are to take place every month now, as they have become so popular. My next stop was The Cook and Fillet, a stylish farm shop, café and restaurant newly opened near Westcott on the A41 between Aylesbury and Bicester. I visited with a nanny friend, plus small, loud and messy child

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013

Emma Ward

Country Girl and found the staff extremely accommodating and friendly and the food locally sourced and delicious. The attached farm shop has a butchery and deli counter, as well as treats such as luxury chocolate, ice cream (try the honeycomb!) and a selection of wines. What’s even better is that they have a lounge area, with comfy armchairs where, to my delight, you can sit down with a cup of tea and a homemade treat. So now I can have my cake, and eat it... actually make that a chocolate brownie please!

Your Local Mobility Shop Independent Living Consultants

Horsewyse Kids Easter & Summer Activity Days

Days full of the great outdoors, including riding and other horsey activities, nature walks and arts projects. Suitable for riders and non-riders alike. Builds confidence and team-building skills. Special Art Days and a Riding Academy week will be held during the summer. For more information, visit the Horsewyse website or email Tickets: £25, available from Horsewyse

Get out and about this spring!

scooters • wheelchairs • walkers • rollators Tel: 01844 202966

Horsewyse CIC is a not-for-profit company providing equine facilitated learning for children and young people with learning and behavioural difficulties.

Can’t get to us? Call us to arrange a home assessment.

Call us 0845 6011933

Woodway, Princes Risborough, HP27 0NN Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013


Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013

A modern photographer needs more than a good eye to succeed. Flexibility is key - the knowhow, ability and experience to capture great images whatever the subject matter. V is also for Veronica...


eronica Stewart has always loved photography. She snapped her way through childhood and was given her first proper SLR camera for her 21st birthday. Raised in Argyll on the West coast of Scotland, she spent several years living and working overseas with husband Graham, a geologist, who travels extensively on business, returning from Hungary in 1999 to settle in the Vale with their two children. Veronica worked in Management Development and Training but, on having her family, felt photography would fit better with being a mum. She worked in Little Acorns Kindergarten in Wendover for a year and spent a couple of years as a teaching assistant in John Hampden First School: “I love working with small children,” says Veronica “and I wanted to somehow combine my love of photography with that.” She had already studied photography at night school in Hungary but returned to college and completed an HND in Photography and Digital Imaging at Bucks New University. She followed this with a BA (Hons) degree in the same discipline, while building her studio experience working with Venture Studios. She now works from a purpose built studio at her home in Buckland Village near Aston Clinton, where her clients can visit for family shoots, teenage parties, product photography and more: “It’s great to be able to focus on photography alone now,” says Veronica. “I’m primarily a portrait photographer: families, babies, tots, teens, pets, model portfolios


Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013


School portrait Teen birthday party

but I also do school and event photography, commercial photography and product shots. “I like taking pictures of people most. I prefer a casual, relaxed sitting to a formal portrait, especially with children. I think my years as a mum and a TA help, as I get on well with kids and capture some gorgeous images! “Mostly people come to me and are photographed in the studio but for large groups I have mobile equipment and can work on Veronica Stewart location if required. “New born baby photography is becoming increasingly popular and I have some lovely props which can make them look even more cute. I also do Teen Photo Parties, which are fun. It’s mostly girls - they can bring friends (up to eight in a party) and we have the music up loud, lots of sweets and drinks and a professional make-up artist and the girls get to preen and pose like top models. The birthday girl receives her favourite 10 images in a mini album and each guest gets her favourite group image as a mounted 6ins x 4ins. Any other prints they wish to purchase are at a special promotional price. The party lasts about two hours and

afterwards I upload the images to a private online gallery, so the models can have a look and share them on Facebook.” Veronica keeps herself busy in the week with a spot of commercial work, taking photographs for company websites and images for illustration or marketing purposes. She also volunteers as a photographer for Iain Rennie Hospice and takes pictures at many of their events. “Hopefully my work speaks for itself,” says Veronica. “I have a website where people can see some of my photographs. I have low overheads so my prices are very competitive and I am properly qualified, which a lot of photographers aren’t. All my prices are listed on the website too there are no hidden extras!” Veronica’s work has appeared in The British Journal of Photography and she has been a contributor to two fine art exhibitions in London. Call her for a chat if you would like a picture taken, or to book a party, or commercial shoot. Whatever your image ideas they are worth mentioning, as when it comes to photography Veronica is very versatile. l Veronica Stewart Photography Tel: 01296 630527 / 07947162953 Email: Website:

Charity number 265498

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013

You don’t have to be Bradley Wiggins to enter the Mix96 Tour de Vale Bike Ride. Take part and you’ll have great fun while raising valuable funds to transform the lives of wheelchair users

Trina and Shamus


housands of men, women and children become disabled due to an accident or illness every year and like many people who are born with a disability, they need to use a wheelchair. Sport really has the power to transform lives and has tremendous benefits for people with disabilities: improved health and physical strength; increased self esteem and confidence and improved social opportunities, all of I enclos e a cheq which result in a better quality of life and ue/pos tal orde Please r (payab debit m le to W y Access independence. heelPow /Visa/Sw ............ er) ............ itch num ............ ber: ... ... St ... art Date ............ Based at Stoke Mandeville, the birthplace ............ ............ ............ ............ ............ Expiry Da ........ Se ...... curity N te ......... of the Paralympic Movement, WheelPower o ......... ............ ............ ........ Is Cardhold ........ sue No er’s Nam ............ e ...perfect ............ ... helps disabled people play sport through ... - 15 miles is for families more information, view the Signed ... ............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ............ te ...miles ......for a range of sports programmes and events. ............ ... - Da35 is ideal the leisure cyclist but routes and enter. Or go to ... . ... ... ............ ............ ............ ............ ............ WheelPower helps: beware of the hills!...... or call Entry Fe e: • increase the number of disabled people - ul55 miles is the ‘challenge route’ WheelPower on Ad ts £1 0, Unde r 16 FR Entry Fe EE e oninclude leading healthy and active lives Villages Ford, Stone, Weston Turville, 01296 395995. th e day £2 I enclos 0 Each e paym Thousa ent for nd Entry fe • increase the number of sporting Wiggington, Cheddington, Aston Abbotts, an accid s of men, wom e. Adult £1 ent or ill en and 0 (£20 ch born w ness ev on day) ith ery year ildren becom £ ...and opportunities for disabled people e disa Whitchurch, Oving Entry Fee: Adults £10 the natio a disabilit and Additio ............Eythrope. y, they nal Dona ............ na need to like many peop bled due to ............ and deve l charity for tion £ ... use a w le who w ... he lo ............ de heelchai are elchair recreatio ps opportu • raise awareness of wheelchair sport ............ sp r. (must The three routes will be fully signed and Under 16 FREE be or WheelPo ni t provid ties for nal and ............ Total £ wer, es di , co sa ... pr ............ m bl om ed petitive Disabled ............ wheelch people to pa otes pe ............ • build on the legacy of the London 2012 air spor by rtian cipateadult) have safety marshals and mechanics in case of peop ofople are faaccompanied ...... t. r in less likel le y to be the gene with a disabilit physica y regula ral popu lly activ £20 rly play on lationEntry Olympic and Paralympic Games to inspire emergency. There are friendly water stops plus e - only (Sport En Fee WheelPo sport co day 6.1% m gland’s wer he lps active pe pared to 16.6 Bike Ri % increase ople su more disabled people to play sport rvey 20 of refreshments and changing facilities at •the the num 09) de active liv ber of di es sabled people • increa leading The Mix96 Tour de Vale Charity Bike start and finish. Start Times: se the nu he althy an mber of d • raise sporting opportu Ride, which takes place on Sunday 9th June, Why not get together with friends, • build onawareness of whe55 mile -ni9am ties for elchair disabled sport the lega people Games to inspire cy of th35 e Londmile is now into its 10th year. It starts and finishes colleagues and enter a team? There will be on 2012 - 10am more di Sport re Ol sa ym bled pe pic and al ople to Pa benefit ly has the pow ra lympic play sp s fo er 15 at Stoke Mandeville Stadium and raises prizes for the best fancy dress and highest ort transmile - 10.30am strength r people with to ; disabilit form lives and ies: impr social op increased self has trem es ov po thousands of pounds for WheelPower. Last fundraisers. and inde rtunities, all teem and confi ed health an endous d physica of which de penden ce. l result in nce and impr Please ed tter qualinovthe take pa year over 1,000 registered riders took part in The London 2012 Paralympic Games Takea bepart rt in the ity of lif transform were e Mix96 To lives th ur de Va rough sp the ride raising an awesome £28,000. ke Ride de truly inspirational and WheelPower is hoping ort. Mix96le BiTour and he lp us RETURN For 2013 three routes will take you through build on the increased awareness and desire Vale Bike Ride and WITto H YOUR REGISTRA WheelPo TION FE E TO: , Stoksupport beautiful countryside and villages and offer Stoke Manwdeerto disabled people to achieve their help WheelPower e Mande ville St ville, Bu or ente adiu ck r onlin e at ww inghamshire m, Guttmann something for everyone: , HP21 By taking Road, w.tourde goals. sporting part in this ride and transform lives 9PP m Sunday th raising sponsorship, you will be helping to through sport. Stoke M 9 June 201 transform the lives of many disabled people. 3 l WheelPower, andevil le Stad You can raise funds securely online at: Stoke Mandeville iu m Suppor ted by Stadium,

6 Tic k here if you are UK tax a pa WheelPo yer and wish wer to re the tax on your claim do (at no co st to yo nation u)



Car Park ing 6 Fo r health exclusiv and safety rea e use of so disabled ns parking at Conditi the ons participa nts. Tick stadium will I acknow be if disab ledge tha led parki restricted for and I ple the t the Mi ng is req dge to x96 Tour uired. rai se de Vale as much The ride Bike Rid sponso is not a e is rship as to wear race an possible a sponsored ch d all rid a helm . ers mu et. I un arity rid medical st obey derst e co the approva ndition that co and that if I am in do highway code l before uld be affected an ub participa Cycling by exerc t about my he d are advised ting in ca the Mix9 alth or ise respons n be dangerous have a 6 Tour de , I should ob ible for tai an n my do d I acce Vale Bik persona as a res pt that e Ride. ctor’s l inj ult WheelPo of my participa ury, accident, the organise rs cann loss or wer for tion. I ag ot be he da accomp pa ld anied by rticipating sa ree that I will mage caused or susta fely in thi abide by an adult I underst ined . s the ev en rul an t. Riders es event an d that Whee under 16 set out by lPower d perm must be ma it them to use the y take photogra ph images for promo s of me taking part in tional pu this rposes.

6 Wh eelPowe informati r will contact you by on abou to email po t you our the Tour de Va st and email to work if you pre newsletter wh le Bike Ride. We provide furthe ich r fer NOT wo to receiv contains inform uld also like e this ple ation on ase tick ou this box. r


Reg No . 265498


ted by


To enter please come and visit us at the Hale Leys Shopping Centre, Aylesbury on Saturday 27th April when you can find out

Guttmann Rd, Stoke Mandeville, Buckinghamshire, HP21 9PP Tel: 01296 395995 Website:

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013


draising is the backbone of the and Chiltern Air Ambulance’s utes considerable funds to our and bonds the people we serve Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013 e provide.

Air Ambulance The Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance, otherwise known as Air Ambulance BOB, ‘BOB’ being an acronym for the counties the service represents: Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire, is an independent charitable trust that is saving lives across the three counties it serves.

Do you have a passion for gardening and want to support the Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance?

Community fundraising is the backbone of the Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance’s work. It contributes considerable funds to our financial targets andValley bonds the people we serve Since establishment in 1999, the Thames andgardening Chiltern Air and Ambulance has been taskedsave to local lives, why not support the If you have a passion for would like to help to the service we provide. over 14,000 missions, operating 12 hours a The Charity’s aim is to bring rapid medical attention when and where it is needed and to transport patients to hospital in the quickest possible time.

Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance by taking day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. part On in their Open Garden Scheme?


average, BOB is called out to 3-4 missions a day with each mission costing over £2,500. he Thames Valley and Chiltern ley and Chiltern Air The Thames Valley & Chiltern Air first Ambulance (TVACAA) is en Garden Scheme was Air Ambulance in action Being an independent charitable trust, the an independent charitable trust 002 and has since become a Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance providing a lifesaving service receives no funding from central Government or for the counties of Berkshire, Oxfordshire the National Lottery and relies entirely on Buckinghamshire, s continued toand bloom year on including Milton charitable donations, sponsorship and Keynes. The distinctive red and yellow nerated thousands of pounds fundraising activities to keep the service helicopter, ‘BOB’ (pictured right), 2012 markedEC135 the 10th operational. is affectionately named after these three Open Gardens and also proved counties.. successful year to date, raising Formedical information on how you can support the The Charity’s aim is to bring rapid ,000! Thames attention when and where it is needed and toValley and Chiltern Air Ambulance please visit: transport patients to hospital in the quickest s developing in its success, the possible time. Air Ambulance BOB is manned and Chiltern Air Ambulance by avolunteers regular doctor-led m are asking for to crew, who are highly trained in pre-hospital inate this fantastic initiative ire and Buckinghamshire. emergency medical care and deliver the highest level medical eme co-ordinators are attention to now those who need it. or new coordinators and As wellinasOxon carrying a full range arity looks toof develop the life-saving equipment to and make Open Gardens evenintervention enable swift medical ss in the future. on the ground, BOB also has an additional seat to carry a parent assion for gardening and want toa sick or or carer to accompany mes Valley and Chiltern injured child. Air se feel free to contact Sarah Based at RAF Benson in or Oxfordshire, the Thames Valley 999 0135. and Chiltern Air Ambulance As a charity, the TVACAA receives no operates 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 funding from Central Government or days a year. Since establishment in 1999, BOB the National Lottery and relies entirely has been tasked to over 14,000 missions and on charitable donations, sponsorship and is called out, on average, 2-3 times a day on fundraising activities to keep the service emergency missions involving road traffic operational. collisions, equestrian and sporting accidents Community fundraising is the backbone and the onset of acute illnesses such as heart of the Thames Valley and Chiltern Air attacks and strokes, with each mission costing Ambulance’s work. It contributes considerable over £2,500. BOB is frequently scrambled to funds towards the meeting of financial targets areas that a land ambulance could not access, and bonds the people the TVACAA serves. such as remote rural “We rely on you,” says TVACAA, so you can areas, railways, rivers, rely on us.” golf courses and A very important fundraising activity for sporting fields. the Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance is their Open Gardens Scheme, which was first established in 2002. Thanks to the support from ning the people who have opened their

s ce?

gardens and the work put in by volunteers, the scheme has continued to bloom year on year and has generated thousands of pounds for the charity. 2012 not only marked the 10th Anniversary of Open Gardens but also proved to be the most successful year to date, raising in excess of £48,000! As the scheme and its success grows, the TVACAA fundraising team need volunteers to help them co-ordinate the expansion of this fantastic initiative across Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire. The current scheme co-ordinators are now looking to mentor new co-ordinators in Oxon and Bucks and make Open Gardens even more of a success in the future. If you have a passion for gardening and want to support the Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance please feel free to contact Sarah Williamson on: or telephone: 0300 999 0135. For information on how you can support the Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance, please visit::

The Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance’s Open Garden Scheme was first established in 2002 and has since become a huge success.

The Scheme has continued to bloom year on year and has generated thousands of pounds for the Charity. 2012 marked the 10th Anniversary for Open Gardens and also proved to be the most successful year to date, raising in excess of £48,000!

l Thames Chiltern Air Ambulance As the scheme is developing in Valley its &success, the Trust, Artisan, Hillbottom Road, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, HP12 4HJ Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance Telephone: 0300 999 0135 E-mail: fundraising team are asking for volunteers to Website: help them coordinate this fantastic initiative About the Thames Valley and Chiltern across Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire. Air Ambulance

of the nce’s 42 Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013 The Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance, to our

Images courtesy of Richard Williams

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013

Do 13, On 13, In 13

The Nightingale Gemstone Midnight Walk is back for a fourth year in aid Of Florence Nightingale Hospice - Saturday 13th July

Be part of something extra special and support your local hospice For more information or to register online, please visit: or call: 01296 429975 (Choice of 6 or 13 mile route available. Entrants aged 11-17 must be accompanied by an adult)

l Column:


Ruby Moukli ‘Tomayto Tomaaahto’

y the time you read this, chances are good that your house, like mine, will be bursting at the seams with chocolate. In fact, to make room for the Easter Bunny’s annual visitation, I just finished clearing the house of last year’s leftovers, as well as remnants from Halloween, Christmas and Valentine’s Day. Some of it wasn’t worth saving but other bits, like the dismembered body parts of a dark chocolate rabbit, seemed too good to throw out. So I threw them into a bain-marie instead. All those various scraps came together in a literal melting pot and were reborn into something new. Something surprisingly elegant. Something you could, in fact, give away as a gift or serve at a party. It may seem counterintuitive to make chocolate as a way of ridding yourself of it, but you’ll be glad you did.

Mexican Chocolate Block (serves 12)

What You Need: 500g chocolate (solid form) 500g nuts 250ml double cream 1 tsp vanilla extract 1/2 Tbsp ground cinnamon Pinch of chili powder Pinch of sea salt

For one thing, this dessert, inspired by a Julian Graves recipe, is a grown-up confection, with its balance of salt and spice offsetting the sweetness of the dark stuff. Then there are all those healthy nuts. I could even push my luck and say this is good for you. But the best reason to make it, is so that while the children are gorging themselves on this year’s bunny droppings, you’ll have something lovely of your own to nibble on.

What You Do: 1. Grease a large bread tin and line with cling film. 2. In a bain-marie, melt the chocolate and mix in the vanilla, spices and salt. 3. Warm the cream slightly in the microwave then stir into the chocolate mixture. 4. Spread a layer of nuts over the bottom of the baking tin and pour chocolate over, then layer with more nuts and more chocolate. 5. Refrigerate a few hours or until firm. 6. De-mould, remove cling film and slice gently to serve.

Win dinner for two at The Mole & Chicken


he Mole & Chicken pub and restaurant in the tiny hamlet of Easington, near Long Crendon was voted one of The Times newspaper’s top three ‘pubs in the country with gardens and views’ last year. It is a cracking traditional country pub - open fires, oak beams, cosy armchairs with the added attractions of excellent food and five beautiful letting rooms, for overnight stays. The building was constructed in 1831 as part of a workers estate which later became the village store and pub. From 1918 it was named The Rising Sun and remained that way until 1992 when refurbished and relaunched as The Mole & Chicken,

a combination of the then-owners’ names. Chef Steve Bush and wife Suzanne took over the independent freehouse in November 2008 and have since gained an enviable reputation for their blend of British and world cuisine, cooked using classical cooking techniques and fresh, where possible local, produce, in a mouth-watering menu. Dishes include: Aged Beef Flank & Kidney Pudding, Cabbage & Creamed Potatoes; Norwegian Skrei Cod Fillet, Herring Roes, Mash, Capers & Parsley; Pan Fried Sea Bream, Tiger Prawns, Bok Choy, Thai Curry & Jasmin Rice or for dessert: Hazelnut & Banana Pavlova, Hot Toffee Sauce; Blood Orange Posset; or Caramelised

Apple Tart, Cinnamon Ice Cream. If you’d like to be in with a chance of winning dinner for two, with a bottle of house wine, at The Mole and Chicken, simply email your name, address and telephone number, along with the answer to the following question to: Which hamlet is The Mole and Chicken in? Winner to be drawn at random from correct entries and notified by email by April 20th, 2013. l The Mole & Chicken, Easington, Nr Long Crendon, Buckinghamshire HP18 9EY Telephone: 01844 208 387 Web:


Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013

Notes: 1. Although you can use any leftover chocolate, I think this recipe works best with dark. 2. Almost any nut would be wonderful, but hazelnuts, almonds and macadamias are the most obvious choices. Also try adding in dried fruits such as raisins or cherries. 3. Keep the block in the fridge between servings and eat within a week or two.

l Ruby is a local freelance writer/photographer

l Column: Matt

Brown ‘One Hungry Gent’

Simply stewing

Matt Brown


aybe it’s my tired, aching bones, as the tentacles of a heavy cold slowly wrap themselves around me. Or perhaps it is the deception I feel the weather has pulled off, these first few delicate days of spring. To begin with such brightness and hope, only to return us to our seemingly never-ending winter, is a cruelty that even Simon Cowell would wince about televising. Well, whatever the reason, my brow is set, my heart is heavy and I have some things to get off my mucous-filled chest. When we last spoke news was of horsey value burgers. Maybe, like me, you had a little chuckle at the time. Jokes abounded in butchers up and down the land: ‘Would you like something on that burger sir? Yes, a fiver each way please’ and ‘What’s the fuss? For years we’ve been told that supermarket burgers use too much salt and Shergar!’. Many butchers, my own included, used the scandal to good effect and hung signs up proudly proclaiming

ONE Hungry Gent

l Listen to Matt Brown on Heart Breakfast With Matt and Michelle (weekdays 6-9am 102.6FM). Tweet Matt at

the absence of nag in their homemade burgers. It was just a bit of fun. But the news kept coming. Each day a new mass-processed meaty foodstuff was found to contain traces of horse DNA. Swedish meatballs, ready meal lasagnas and assorted fast food products were all removed from the shelves as the extent of the contamination was revealed. Now supermarkets have taken out full page newspaper ads

with grovelling apologies and a promise that something like this will never happen again. Apportioning blame is difficult with a scandal like this and already suppliers have blamed supermarkets and supermarkets have blamed local councils - it’s almost impossible to work out who we should be angry at and with whom the fault ultimately lies. However, here’s a radical idea and one that might incense a few people. Ready..? Perhaps we should be looking a little closer to home to blame someone. Perhaps you and I should go over to our bathroom mirrors and take a long hard look. It may seem like we’re powerless but we are absolutely not. We’re the ones buying two chickens for a fiver or a bag of frozen mince for a quid. This is a market and it operates very simply through the laws of supply and demand. Sure, create as many inquiry panels as you like and give more power to regulators but how about we take some goddam responsibility for ourselves? So, here are two easy things we can do to try and influence the status quo, because if we don’t

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013

care then why should we expect anyone else to..? 1. Learn more about cheaper cuts of meat and how to cook them or how to make meat go a little bit further. Learn to make a stock with a chicken or how about gammon for Sunday lunch? Any butcher worth his trotters (supermarket or not) will gladly advise you on cheaper cuts and how to cook them. 2. Reduce our meat intake every week and add a couple of veggie meals to our repertoire. If you have access to the internet then just start googling some recipes. That way you can make some delicious food, spend more on the meat you do eat and feel like you are making a difference. Remember, every little helps. If we care a jot about the food that we put into our own mouths or the mouths of our kids, then let’s take a stand, right here, right now. We’re as mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore! OK, I’m off to get some night nurse and have a lie down, a fever is setting in... l Follow Matt at:

April: Pie and a pint £10 (sausage and mash and fish pie and chips ) Easter Sunday Easter Egg Hunt 12.30pm - 4.30pm, £1 entry. Collect 6 different colours and win an Easter Egg 23rd April: Proud To Be British (St George’s Day) Traditional British fayre Tues 30th April: Quiz Night £9 entry (includes supper). Teams of six. 7.30pm for 8pm start

225 Aylesbury Road, Wendover, Buckinghamshire HP22 6BA Tel: 01296 623884 Email: Website: Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013


Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013

He may have missed Masterchef glory but at Scott’s Restaurant chef Scott Sandle is proving a real winner with diners, as his Mediterrannean twists add new life to classic British dishes...



he Chiltern Hotel at Saunderton near Princes Risborough has been refurbished and relaunched in recent years and boasts fourteen stylish, well-appointed, en suite bedrooms, pleasant gardens, a function suite, conference and meeting rooms and a spacious lounge bar. Best of all though is an exciting new freshfood restaurant, Scott’s Restaurant at The Chiltern Hotel, which has just opened, run by talented chef Scott Sandle, 33, (right). Scott is originally from London and was brought up in Stevenage. “I’m not sure what got me into food,” he says. “I’ve always worked in pubs and restaurants. I started as a kitchen porter washing up in a pub and developed a real passion for the food side.” Aged 16 Scott did an evening catering course while still at school and then went to college for two years gaining a BTec National Diploma in Hotel Management and Catering. “I just threw myself into it,” says Scott, “and after got a job at Hanbury Manor in Ware. That was really good experience, Hanbury had a 3 AA Rosette restaurant, a one AA Rosette bistro and a PGA Championship golf course, which hosted the British Open while I was there.” Scott was keen to try different styles of cooking and different catering environments and in the years since has chalked up an impressive variety of jobs and experiences. “I spent six months in Spain,” says Scott. “I really enjoyed the Spanish way of doing things and I have continued that Spanish influence in my cooking, especially in the use of balsamic vinegars and oils.” Scott returned to the UK and continued to broaden his knowledge. At Pendley Manor near Tring he found head chef Simon

Green, particularly inspiring: “He encouraged me to enter competitions,” says Scott, Scott Sandle “and we enjoyed success at the Salon Culinaire competition Whitebait & Tartar Sauce; awards at Hotel Olympia two Olives; Crispy Crushed years running. Working with New Potatoes & Aioli; Simon really brought on my Welsh Rarebit Soldiers; Pan Roasted Gressingham Duck management skills too. It was a Spiced Pork Mince in a Breast, Fondant Potato, Marmalade great experience, we catered for a Sprouts, Baby Carrots & Red Wine Jus Toasted Brioche Roll, lot of large functions and banquets. that sort of thing. The Restaurant Menu Next was a stint as Head Chef for De Vere is good gastro-pub style grub, presented Venues at one of their premier hotel and in exciting and interesting ways and the À conference centres, Hunton Park House. “It La Carte Menu is Rosette standard - good was very picturesque,” says Scott, “We catered food done really well and served in a relaxed for a lot of weddings and functions, I think atmosphere, without any pretentiousness. We we did 89 one year!” offer ‘affordable elegance’, good portions at Knowing he enjoyed competitive cooking reasonable prices and of consistently high Scott’s wife entered him for Masterchef the standard.” Professionals, series 2 in 2009. “There was There is plenty to inspire on Scott’s menus quite a lot involved in the preliminary stages,” from a 28 Day Dry Aged British Beef says Scott, “writing menus, pieces to camera... Carpaccio starter with Horseradish, Beetroot, but I managed to get through to the final Parmesan Crackling and Micro Herbs, rounds. Unfortunately I had a bad first round! through a main course of Pan Seared Scottish In the second round I came out on top, but Salmon Fillet with Crab, Leeks & Sweet Pea I’d already lost too many points to win. It was Fricassee, Basil Infused Oil and New Potatoes a great experience though. I really enjoyed it.” to one of his amazing ‘de-constructed’ A series of chef come manager roles desserts, say the ‘Snickers Bar’- Peanut Butter followed at The Market Place restaurant in Delice, Salted Peanut Brittle, Toffee Sauce and Winslow, The Old Mill at Berkhamsted, The Milk Chocolate Ice Cream, delicious! Boot in Sarratt and at Tewin Bury Farm’s 2 Scott’s Restaurant will initially be open AA Rosette restaurant, before his journey evenings only, from 5.30pm-11pm (food brought him to Saunderton. orders taken from 6pm-9.30pm and on “We have an elegant restaurant and a Sundays from 6pm-9pm). comfortable bar and lounge area at the l Scott’s Restaurant at The Chiltern Hotel, Chiltern,” says Scott. “The food is Classic Wycombe Road, Saunderton, Princes British with a Mediterranean twist and split Risborough, Buckinghamshire HP27 9NP. into an À La Carte Menu, a Restaurant Menu Tel: 01844 345299 and a Bar Snacks Menu, which are small plates Email: Website: designed to be nibbled with a drink: Fried

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013

Butter Basted Pollock, Chorizo Salsa, Confit Fennel, Saffron & White Wine Dressing

Love Food l Love Food l Love Food l Love Food

Tucker up!

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013


f you like food - eating, cooking, tasting, trying, experimenting, buying... then this year’s Great Missenden Easter Festival of Food & Drink has even more to offer than last year’s delicious event. There will be over 80 exhibitors including more local producers than ever before at the showground in Great Missenden on Easter weekend, from March 29th to April 1st (10am-5pm)! The Masterclass Area will be free of charge, featuring various workshops including knife skills, burger making and cupcake decorating, plus, new for 2013, cheese making and home smoking. Visitors will have the chance to have a go, learn new skills and take home their creations, and most workshops include spaces for children to have a go too. The children’s cookery school is also free of charge! There are limited spaces available at these workshops though, so it is advisable to reserve

Trina and Shamus

your space in advance. Also new for 2013 is the Mini Chilli Festival. The Festival will feature more chilli exhibitors than ever before and introduce the Chilli Liquid Bar, Cooking with Chilli demonstrations and the Chilli Lovers Competition. A Chilli Liquid Bar...??! This serves a variety of alcoholic chilli flavoured drinks from beer to mojitos, (don’t worry, a traditional bar will be available for

those who prefer ale, cider or wine). Do you make your own chilli sauces, jams or chutneys? Why not enter them into the Chilli Lovers Competition for a chance to win £50 worth of chilli based goodies. The competition will take place on Saturday 30th March and if you pre-enter you will receive free entry to the Festival on Saturday. Further information on festival features, as well as a list of

exhibitors is available at: Visit: lovefoodfestivals for exclusive offers, news and recipes and a monthly prize draw. l Love Food Easter Festival of Food & Drink, Buryfields, Gt Missenden, Buckinghamshire, HP16 9AE Advance tickets from website: Email:

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013


Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013

Live Music: Friday, March 29 - Caroline King; Friday, April 26 - The Secret Drummer

In ten years The Broad Leys has been transformed from a disreputable dive into one of Aylesbury’s top pub restaurants. It took vision and hard work, but, says owner Helen: ‘It’s been well worth it’...


hen Helen Wood took over Aylesbury pub, The Broad Leys, some ten years ago it didn’t have the best of reputations. Since then she has worked wonders, investing time, money and care into the building and the business and today it is one of the best pub and restaurants in the Vale. It also boasts some rather lovely, boutique-hotelstyle accommodation. The Broad Leys was originally The New Inn, a 16th century coaching inn at Walton, a parish on the main route into Aylesbury from London, (now Wendover Road). The back bar was a blacksmith’s forge and the restaurant a barn/stables for Helen Wood the coach horses. Walton, now part of Aylesbury, was quite rural in those days and a centre for breeding the now famous Aylesbury ducks. The pub looked out across the road to wide open fields, or broad leys, where housing now infills all the way to Walton Court and Stoke Mandeville. The name changed in the 70s as there was no longer accommodation and ‘New Inn’ was thought confusing. When Helen took on the pub lease in 2002, she knew there was a lot of work to do. She could see potential though and has worked steadily to realise her vision, buying the freehold along the way. It started with a lick of paint to get things up and running and continued with a refurbishment and extension of the bar area, the fitting of some much talked about, very stylish and contemporary, designer toilets The restaurant


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and the conversion of the adjacent barn, to provide restaurant space and room to extend and renew the pub’s kitchens. “We’ve tried to make it quirky and unusual,” says Helen, “while keeping the character of the old coaching inn. There’s a splash of glamour here and there but it’s comfortable too. We have just introduced two luxury boutique style rooms for overnight stays and have another five on the way. We’ve also refurbished a small nearby cottage, with a pretty walled garden, to offer lovely deluxe, self-contained accommodation.” Helen is originally from Kings Langley. She went to catering college and worked for Trust House Forte and Whitbread and managed The Crows Nest, Tring Hill and The Plough on Tring Road, Aylesbury. “The pub side of things is just as important to us as the restaurant,” she says. “A lovely crowd of regulars has built up over the years for both. We also cater for functions, parties and family dos - we have a marquee for larger events and there’s comfortable, covered, outdoor seating and a pleasant garden for when the weather’s warmer.” The Broad Leys restaurant is open all day serving a full menu of modern English pub food. You can choose from a restaurant menu, a bar menu, sandwiches and snacks, or, from 4pm to 6pm, a pre-theatre menu designed for those on their way to Waterside Theatre, which is only a short walk from the pub. “We have two excellent chefs,” says Helen, “who have been with us for several New boutique bedrooms

The Broad Leys

years. They are hard working, reliable and enthusiastic and have done a great job of developing the menu. We source ingredients from local suppliers where possible, meat from farms at Bicester, Brill, Ludgershall and Kirklington. We also have Aylesbury Duck on the menu, which is quite rare now, there’s only one genuine, original flock left. A meal could include: Ham Hock Terrine with Crusty Bread and pub’s own Piccalilli, followed by Aylesbury Duck, with Fondant Potato, Parsnip Purée, Pak Choi and Cherry Jus and a Blueberry Pannacotta for dessert. There’s also a fabulous brunch menu, served from 9.30-11.30am at weekends and Sunday roasts from 12-8.30pm. “We are an independent business,” says Helen, “and we’ve tried to add some personality and a sense of fun, so coming to the Broad Leys is a bit more interesting than your regular chain At the beginning it was a dream, a vision, but now, ten years on, it really is the kind of place I’d like to come to. l The Broad Leys, 8 Wendover Road, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP21 9LB Tel; 01296 399979 Email: Website

Whether you are getting together with business colleagues, friends or family, The Hub Aston Clinton is the perfect place to eat, drink and relax...

A warm and friendly environment for all the family, located in 32 acres of pristine parkland • Coffee shop • Restaurant • Sports bar • Free parking • Free wifi • Private function bookings

Come & Visit Us

Today! For opening times and more information please check out our website: The Hub Aston Clinton London Road, Aston Clinton, Bucks HP22 5HL

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013

Things are looking bright for Waddesdon Manor this year. 2013 is all about light, a celebration in fact, with displays, installations and artworks shining spectacularly in these historic surroundings

©National Trust, Waddesdon Manor photo : Alistair Maclaren


elebrate light at Waddesdon Manor this year, with displays that range from Bruce Munro’s dazzling light artworks, to garden installations inspired by Rothschild textiles - while in the Manor visitors can discover spectacular three-dimensional designs in folded linen and ecclesiastical textiles turned into exquisite furnishings. Once the country home of the Rothschilds, Waddesdon Manor is a Renaissance-style château housing one of the finest collections of French 18th century decorative arts in the world. The Victorian garden has a parterre and an aviary, and with shops, restaurants, woodland playground and a plant centre Waddesdon has a lot to offer its visitors. The 2013 main opening season begins on Wednesday 27th March, with some interesting new exhibitions and events, both outside and in. occupying the Coach House floor. Light will Treasures from the ecclesiastical textiles cascade from above each piece, casting collection will be on display, and Spanish soft pools that change colour in response to artist Joan Sallas is producing some Rautavaara’s music, which will be playing in astonishing recreations of 17th and 18th the space. century table sculptures using only folded In front of the Manor, linen, (see below) for Light sculpture a new permanent piece display in the Dining for the collection will Room from late May also be unveiled this onwards. year: Xavier Veilhan’s Due to popular striking red horses and demand, the Fantasy carriage, Le Carrosse. from the Fire Maiolica Inside the Manor, exhibition will also Sacred Stitches reveals remain in place for Computer Generated Image of Cantus Arcticus by Bruce an intriguing and another season. Munro, Waddesdon Manor 2013 ©Stephen Weeks little-seen collection The contemporary of medieval and later theme continues in the embroideries and textiles made for use in gardens for 2013 with some striking outdoor the cathedrals, churches and monasteries light installations by artist Bruce Munro. of Europe (see below). These were the His work Cantus Arcticus will be situated particular interest of Baron Ferdinand in the Coach House at the Stables. Inspired (1839-1898), his sister Miss Alice (1847by a piece of music of the same name, by 1922) and their niece, Baroness Edmond de Rautavaara, Cantus Arcticus is 15 abstract Rothschild (1853-1935) who appropriated bird forms rendered in slender glass tubes and transformed them into unique interior furnishings. The exhibition will examine Napkin art ©Cardwell techniques, original uses and the

transformation of the textiles once they entered Rothschild collections. From mid-April the de Jager Tulip Festival will again see the parterre filled with a dazzling array of tulips, and on the weekend of 13th and 14th April, Waddesdon Plant Centre offers a new event, a Rare Plant and Spring Food Festival. Also new for 2013, Waddesdon is to host a photography event, happening on Friday 19th April. Learn how to get the best out of your camera, taking outdoor shots using the beautiful setting of the gardens and under the guidance of professional local photographer Stuart Bebb. For more information about events and opening times please see www.waddesdon. or call 01296 653226 (Mondays to Fridays 10am to 3pm). l Waddesdon Manor, Waddesdon, Nr Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP18 0JH Tel: 01296 653226 Website:

Sacred Stitches

Photography: Mike Fear © The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor 50

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Artists and Makers Fair at Waddesdon Plant Centre

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Jeremy White Ceramics


ally Evans Artists and Makers Fair returns to Waddesdon Manor Plant Centre this May to once again showcase some of our most talented local artists. From 11-12th May at The Glass House, the Artists and Makers Fair will bring together an exciting collection of painters, printmakers, photographers, ceramicists, jewellers, textile and glassmakers and many more, to fascinate with their inspiring artworks and amazing techniques. The Fair is one of the largest visual arts events in the area and visitors will be able to see local artists in action giving live demonstrations of their work. Organiser Sally Evans, says: “After highly successful events last year we are delighted to be returning to the Glass House. There is an abundance of local artistic talent and I am delighted that we can showcase and demonstrate some of the incredible work that they do.” “We hope that people will enjoy visiting the event, supporting our local artists and marvelling at their skills. There will be plenty of work on sale too, for visitors who wish to take home some of the handcrafted pieces of art which you can’t find on the high street.” The event is open from 10am4pm each day and entry costs £3 per adult, with a significant proportion of the proceeds going to local charities Helen and Douglas House, Action Medical Research and Young Carers Bucks. To find out more about the event and artists visit the website: www.


l Artists & Makers Fair, 10am to 4pm, May 11th & 12th, 2013 Waddesdon Plant Centre, Queen Street, Waddesdon, Nr Aylesbury Buckinghamshire, HP18 0JW. For more information contact Sally on 01296 696747, or Email: Web:

Waddesdon glasshouse will once again buzz with creativity as artists and makers exhibit and demonstrate their unique work... Featured Artist: Katie Wright (Blacksmith Munro) Tel: 07791552699 www.blacksmithmunro. Katie lives in Aston Clinton but is currently using a forge in Brackley (Northants) “My passion and fascination for blacksmithing is what drives me. Using technical forging processes combined with

Featured Artist: Karen Turner (Hodegepodgarts) Tel: 01280 705994 “I make decorative ceramics, framed, mixed media pieces and unique ceramic buttons and jewellery. I use fine porcelain to create decorative pieces that hold a sense of nostalgia and romance. Each unique piece incorporates a combination of vintage lace textures, text or my

Katie Wright contemporary, feminine and fluid forms I make various items from steel for home and garden.

Decorative ceramics by Karen Turner

own drawings with a soft neutral colour pallet as a background.” (Karen will be at Thame in April and at Waddesdon in May)

Featured Artist: Kate Wilkinson Tel: 07720 291521 www.katewilkinson katewilkinsonjewellery@ “I make mixed media jewellery, focusing on texture and colour. I use embossed silver and an interesting range of semi-precious and non-precious materials in what I hope is a striking collection, that includes necklaces, bracelets and earrings.” (Kate will be at Thame in April and Waddesdon in May)

I create birdcages, hooks, mirrors, sculptures, fire pokers, napkin rings and garden accessories. I also have a collection of forged steel jewellery, which combines silver. This collection includes hair combs, lapel pins, neckpieces with pearls, cufflinks, tie pins and hair and scarf pins. I am passionate about all forms of crafts and the idea of bringing quality handmade items into people’s homes.” (Katie will be exhibiting at Waddesdon only)


April 20th Thame Town Hall May 11/12th: Waddesdon Plant Centre Oct 5/6th: Kate Wilkinson jewellery

Waddesdon Plant Centre Oct 26th: Thame Town Hall Nov 23rd: Wendover Memorial Hall Nov 30th: Thame Town Hall

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013


Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013

Michelle Magorian’s modern classic, Goodnight Mister Tom, has been gloriously brought to life in a stage adaptation by David Wood, and plays Aylesbury Waterside Theatre for one week only this Easter, from March 26th to 30th


uthor Michelle Magorian was inspired to write Goodnight Mister Tom after hearing her mother’s tales about her time as a nurse in the Second World War. Published in 1981, it has been translated into 11 languages and has won awards in the UK, America and Australia. In September 1939, as Britain stands on the brink of war, young children from the cities are evacuated to the countryside to escape an imminent Nazi bombardment. William Beech, an unhappy boy from London who is physically and emotionally abused by his mother, arrives at the home of Mr Thomas Oakley, a widower in his sixties who lives in the village of Little Weirwold. The boy is thinly clad, underfed and covered with painful bruises. ‘Mister Tom’, as Willie christens his new guardian, is reclusive and bad-tempered, but although initially distant, he is touched when he learns about William’s home life and treats him with kindness


Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013

Tom Oakley (Oliver Ford Davies) & Sammy (puppeteer Elisa De Grey) in Goodnight Mister Tom. Photo by Catherine Ashmore and understanding, helping to educate him. Under his care, William begins to progress, and as William is changed by Tom, so is Tom transformed by William’s presence. Goodnight Mister Tom won the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize and was commended for the Carnegie Medal. Now a worldwide literary favourite and BAFTA-winning TV film (starring John Thaw), it continues to inspire audiences and bring generations together. Olivier award winner Oliver Ford Davies (The RSC, Star Wars, Game of Thrones) here reprises his role as Mister Tom in this Chichester Festival Theatre production. The actor boasts a varied career as a performer and has enjoyed many challenging roles: “I’d say my role in The Murder of Roger Ackroy was my most challenging,” he says. “It was a Poirot mystery and as the murderer I had to lie throughout. “Also playing the Archbishop of Canterbury in Johnny English was tricky because for six hours Rowan Atkinson kept trying to pull my nose off, leaving deep purple bruises.” Ford Davies enjoys theatre work most, saying “it beats TV and film. It’s because, out there on stage, I’m in control - no one can edit me out.” Joining Ford-Davies on-stage are others from the celebrated original cast

Left: Ginnie (Louise Collins), William Beech (Ewan Harris) and George (Bradley Hall) in Goodnight Mister Tom. Photo by Catherine Ashmore

of Goodnight Mister Tom, including Louise Collins (Mirror Teeth, Finborough Theatre), Joanne Howarth (Bingo, Chichester Festival Theatre/ Young Vic), Aoife McMahon (Translations, Abbey Theatre), Freya Parker (Six Characters In Search Of An Author, Headlong), Georgina Sutton (The Importance of Being Earnest, Lincoln Theatre Royal), Alan Vicary (The Power of Yes, National Theatre), Jonathan Warde (Danton’s Death, National Theatre) and Emma Drysdale (That Face, Tara Arts). They are be joined by Elisa de Grey (Brilliant, Fevered Sleep), Bradley Hall (South Downs, West End) and Osmund Bullock (Autumn & Winter, Orange Tree). Six talented young performers play the roles of William and his friend Zach. Arthur Gledhill Franks, Jamie Goldberg and Ewan Harris will alternate the role of William, while Joseph Holgate, Thiago Los and William Price share the role of Zach. Heading into April, Agatha Christie’s legendary The Mousetrap is appearing for one week from April 8th to 13th. The world’s longest-running stage production, it has now notched up more than 50 years. The cast includes Steven France (EastEnders, The Bill), Karl Howman (Brush Strokes), Bruno Langley (Coronation Street, Doctor Who), Graham Seed (Yes, Prime Minister UK Tour,

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Spring at the Waterside Your at-a-glance guide to what’s on... Goodnight Mister Tom

Isthmus 1: dancer Elly Braund from Richard Alston Dance Company Photo by Tony Nandi

BBC Radio 4’s The Archers),Jemma Walker (Family Affairs, EastEnders), Elizabeth Power (EastEnders) and Clare Wilkie (EastEnders). This classic murder mystery play showcases Christie’s inimitable style in creating an atmosphere of shuddering suspense and a brilliantly intricate plot where murder lurks around every corner. Younger audiences are invited to the ball on April 20th and 21st. My First Cinderella tells everyone’s favourite rags-to-riches story in a beautifully adapted version for young audiences. Produced by English National Ballet with captivating music and beautiful dance, the productions tells the popular fairytale of Cinderella, her spiteful stepsisters and the glamorous Prince’s Ball. Will Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother be able to free her from a life of drudgery and transform her into a glittering princess? Making its Waterside debut, the Richard Alston Dance Company will bring a brand new quartet of diverse dance pieces for one night only on April 5th. Buzzing Round the Hunisuccle, is inspired by Alston’s fascination with the music of Jo Kondo and celebrates the contrasting nature of two Kondo compositions, the rapid light rhythms of Isthmus (left) and the calm-hushed chords of Hunisuccle in a dance of nimble and breathtaking precision. Shimmer is danced to the sun-drenched music of Ravel played live, with fashion designer Julien Macdonald’s fabulous, jewelencrusted cobweb costumes illuminating dazzling streaks of limpid choreography in a ravishingly beautiful piece of theatre. Finally Alston’s effervescent The Devil in the Detail is set to the music of Scott Joplin. Irresistible classics such as Maple Leaf Rag and The Entertainer are blended with the lightness and finesse of Alston’s choreography for an evening of the finest dance – a must-see.

March 26th-30th

LiveScreen: Royal Opera House’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

March 28th

Richard Alston Dance Company The Mousetrap

April 5th April 8th-13th

Comedy Club

April 12th

One Night of Elvis

April 18th

English National Ballet’s My First Cinderella

April 20th-21st

Ifs, Buts and Babies

April 26th

Friars Club: Steve Hackett - Genesis Revisited

May 9th

Reflections of a Rock & Roll Tour Birds of a Feather

May 10th May 13th-18th

NT Live: This House

May 16th

Street Life’s 30 Year Party

May 18th

Jimmy Carr: Gagging Order

May 19th

Nicola Benedetti and Oxford Philomusica

May 24th

Jack Dee

May 30th

Don’t forget the theatre’s exciting Second Space events. Aylesbury’s hottest Comedy Club takes place once a month and features the best up-and-coming comedians from the UK’s prestigious comedy circuit. The space also holds regular live screenings of opera, ballet and theatre from around the globe. Book well in advance as these events sell fast. l Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, Exchange Street, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP20 1UG Telephone Booking: 0844 871 7607 Website:

The Devil in the Detail, Richard Alston Dance Company. Photo by Tony Nandi

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013



Music Column:


The Factor with Carol Jenkins

Vale Life : Feb/Mar 2013

Just count me in! T

Carol Jenkins


The Factor Carol is a journalist and and an ardent music fan She is also a presenter at Stoke Mandeville Hospital Radio. Listen to her live at Email: with all your gig news and comments she’d love to hear from you. Add gigs to our website: click ‘what’s on, add an event’

he days when singing in your local pub meant a beer-sozzled evening crooning your way through the first three verses of Please Release Me or Delilah, to a badly wired karaoke machine are over I’m pleased to say. The new Aylesbury scene centres around open mic nights aimed at luring our local musical talent away from the hairbrush and the mirror and into the limelight. It is fuelled by the proliferation of reality TV music shows such as the X-Factor and the Voice which are encouraging a new generation of singers and musicians to try their luck at making the big time by performing live. At the centre of this new round of open mics is Aylesbury-based singer and guitarist Glyn Devey who hosts two of the best events. Both are in Market Square, at Stars Bar every Tuesday from 9.30am till 1am and at The Green Man, on Wednesdays from 9.30pm till 1am. Paul Adams also hosts an open mic night on Thursdays at Shoot Pool in Hale Leys from 9pm till 1am. Already an established musician in his own right as well as fronting covers band Devestation, natural showman Glyn wastes no time in encouraging singers and musicians of all ages and abilities onto the stage. His aim is to provide a

Glyn Devey supportive environment in which local talent can flourish, but don’t rugby tackle him to the floor if he shoots a wry smile at your best Christina Aguilera impression, as he’s also a martial arts expert! ‘It’s important for young musicians to cut their teeth in front of a live audience and to get the support and encouragement of established musicians,’ he explains. “The Aylesbury music scene is very vibrant at the moment,” says Glyn “and I see the open mic nights as an integral part of that scene, in that we are providing quality music to local fans who might want an

alternative to the more established chart acts.” Glyn admits to being suitably impressed with the standard of local talent which has ranged from teens, who are just starting out, to a seasoned 70 year old and they might play anything from bass or drums to sax, violin and keyboards. He takes his role as host seriously as he knows only too well the importance of providing a guiding hand to help conduct the raw talent. Glyn’s own original music is well worth checking out if, like me, you are a big fan of polished, 80s-inspired pop/rock. Glyn recently played live for my radio show on Stoke Mandeville Hospital Radio and since then his original studio album, ‘Sounds Like This’ has been a regular in my car CD player. Check him out at: www. or or for more details on the open mic nights go to: openmicwithglyndevey If you’d like to be in with the chance of WINNING a copy of Glyn Devey’s ‘Sounds Like This’ CD, simply email your name, address and telephone number along with the answer to the following question to: Q. In which Market Square pubs does Glyn host his open mic night. Winner to be drawn April 20th.

Spotlight on: The Aristocrat

One to Y watch


ance/Electro act Nickita Starck, from Aylesbury is no stranger to the local music scene and we’re tipping her to be the next big thing. The flame haired chanteuse is featured on the newly released single ‘Unforgettable’ by Specimen A who are brothers Phil and Mo Jones - nephews of 80s singer Howard Jones and DJ Smart. Unforgettable is now available for download on iTunes. For more news on Nickita go to


Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013

ou’ve probably driven past the Aristocrat on the Aylesbury gyratory Wendover Road on numerous occasions and not given a second thought to its significance to the local music scene. Nestled a stone’s throw away from a tattoo parlour and the local police station, the Aristocrat is a real gem for live music fans especially fans of 60s, 70s and 80s

Gary Pease

music. Who like yours truly can’t quite accept that the golden three decades of music are over. You don’t need to if you fancy a night out in April as the Aristocrat has an impressive line-up of acts to tempt you retro fans out of hiding and into your leopard skin tights! Topping the bill on April 11th is Rod Stewart tribute act Gary Pease, who is making another triumphant return to the venue. He regularly packs out the joint to the sound of Rod The Mod’s classic hits including Do ya think I’m sexy, Baby Jane and Sailing. Rock covers band Yellow House will be testing the integrity of the pub’s foundations and brickwork when they play a live set on April 19th. The Egham-based band aim to raise the roof with their unique set of covers-that-rock by the likes of Thin Lizzy, Def Leppard and

Kings of Leon. Self proclaimed ‘ultimate party band’ Bustin Loose will be delighting their army of ardent local fans with a night to remember on April 26th. For ticket details and availability contact Gary or Valerie on: 01296 415366 or go to the facebook page at: The.Aristocrat#!/pages/ The-Aristocrat/10951790247537 1?fref=ts l The Aristocrat, Wendover Road,

Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP21 7SZ Email: aristocrat-aylesbury@

Thame Town Hall


ou cannot miss the imposing Town Hall that dominates the centre of Thame but compared to many of the other buildings on the High Street it is relatively modern, having been built in 1887 to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. It is actually the third building on the site, replacing an old Market Hall. Markets have been held in Thame since the 12th century. Originally there would have been few buildings in the centre of the High Street and it is thought that

the Bird Cage Inn served as the first Market House. Its main frontage originally faced west and would have been the first building seen by travellers as they entered the town from the Lower High Street. By 1509 a new Market Hall had been built on the site of the Town Hall with shops underneath and rooms above for meetings and administration. By the late 1600s it was in poor condition though and in 1684 was replaced with a new brick built Market Hall with a similar layout. This Market Hall served its

Win an original Town Hall print


im Osborne has been running her own Thamebased company called Knockout since 2010: “I work primarily as a printmaker and illustrator,” she says “creating prints, cards and gifts, which I sell online through my own website and through Not on the High Street, as well as undertaking graphic design and illustrations for commercial projects.” Kim created this linoprint of Thame Town Hall at Waddesdon Manor Artists and Makers Fair last September, taking the image from an earlier illustration and cutting the lino at the event. Kim’s strong, bold style reflects her graphic design background - she studied art A-level at Lord Williams’s School and did a degree in Communication Design at the University of Portsmouth. “Most of my work stems from a quick sketch or a photograph, which I then manipulate, scan, colour, cut, print, whatever takes my fancy really. I really like to get my teeth into a linocut, but also love working on-screen too. You can see Kim in action at the next Waddesdon Artists and Makers Fair on May 11 and 12 (see page 51 for details) with her sister, Sam, who also works as a

designer maker: “We have great plans for a very exciting and interactive demonstration this year so I can’t wait!” she says. Copies of Kim’s Town Hall linoprint are available to buy through her website, priced £20. If you’d like a chance to win a framed, or mounted copy of the print, simply email your name, address and telephone number, along with the answer to the following question to: When was Thame Town hall first built? Winner to be drawn at random and notified by email by April 25th. l Kim Osborne, Thame

Email: Web:

Left: cutting the linoprint

by Cathy Soughton

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013

Trina and Shamus Thame Town Hall circa 1900 (© Thame Museum) and below, today purpose for 200 years but by 1887 it was far too cramped for meetings and a larger building was required. A good opportunity to replace it was presented by Queen Victoria’s Jubilee. At a meeting held on April 5, 1887, attended by many local inhabitants, it was agreed that a new hall was the most beneficial memorial for the community and a Town Hall Committee was established to oversee its construction. Money was raised mainly from public subscriptions. Time was limited as the Committee originally wanted the Hall to be completed by the end of 1887 and only one design for the building was considered. The architect was Henry James Tollit from Oxford who chose a loose Jacobean revival style which was popular in the Victorian period. It was built by local builder John Wells using red bricks from Christmas Hill Brickworks together with Bath Stone dressings. On the ground floor there was a Council Chamber and other rooms and on the 1st floor a large public hall and gallery. On September 20, 1887 the inscription stone was laid by Mrs P J D Wykeham of Tythrop House in a ceremony attended by a large crowd. Building was completed in early 1888 and the Town Hall was formerly opened on Easter Monday on April 2, 1888 by Mrs Reynolds, one of the major subscribers, although heavy rain prevented the ceremony taking place outside as had been planned. A public luncheon attended by dozens of people was held in the new chamber with food provided by the Spread Eagle. Following its opening, the Town Hall came under the control of the

District Council and was used by many local groups including the Literary Institute who originally occupied two rooms in the Hall, whilst an annual dinner for the town poor was held there until 1900. On March 21, 1906 a bad fire broke out in the Council Chamber caused by a large ceiling oil lamp crashing to the floor during an auction. It caused considerable damage but fortunately no one was injured. It was feared at first that the building would have to be destroyed but it was repaired and a number of internal alterations made. Externally the building has changed little since it was built. Now run by the Town Council, Thame Information Centre is located inside whilst the Upper Chamber is available for hire. Recently Thame made history when the first ever Public Hearing on a Neighbourhood Plan took place in the Town Hall. l This article was written by local genealogist and house historian Cathy Soughton Email Tel: 01296 624845 Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013


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Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013

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l Motoring column: On

The Road with Rob Auchterlonie

Join the club... VW Golf Mk7


OR some 38 years now, people have been flocking to join the Golf club. You could say Volkswagen’s finest has gone a fairway to taking its place in motoring folklore! There aren’t many cars that have had that long a shelf life. So a round of applause, then, for the seventh incarnation of the Volkswagen Golf. No ordinary car, this. With over 29 million sold worldwide since 1974 it’s been the benchmark for more than the lifetime of many of the people who now drive it. It’s grown in size over the years, and even though the latest model is new from the ground up - literally every component has changed - that distinctive profile that has been the Golf’s hallmark over the years, remains. Comfortable, practical, safe and efficient have been its bywords and in 2013 that’s not about to change.

Rob Auchterlonie

ON The Road What you will notice, though, is a definite step upwards in terms of quality, to a level that puts much more expensive cars to shame, a leap upwards, to almost Audi-esque standard of fit and finish. The new Golf has grown a bit more, but it’s also become a highly adaptable car. It’s built on the VW Group’s new MQB platform (Modularer Querbaukasten, if you speak German), which briefly has the same engine and gearbox mounting points for a wide variety of engines from 1.2 through to 2.0 litre.

‘a definite step up in quality’

It helps to make the car something like 20 per cent cheaper to produce, which means that every new Golf now has a lot more standard equipment on board, like stop-start technology and a 5.8 inch colour touch screen in every model. Even with the extra kit, there’s still a cost saving over the outgoing variants. Prices kick off at £16,785 for the entry level S 1.2 85ps, and rise to £24,880 for the current range topper – the GT 2.0 TDI 150ps with DSG six speed and five doors. First impressions are of a roomier cabin, with better legroom

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013

for tall drivers. There’s more room for your luggage too, with a low 665mm sill to make loading it a bit easier. The 1.6 diesel powered five door is expected to be the best seller in SE guise, and the performance is more than acceptable. It’s remarkably serene and unflustered, its 105ps engine with 250Nm of torque a willing worker without encroaching on the peace of the interior. And its 10.7 second 0-62mph time and 119mph top speed is more than adequate for everyday use around the UK. The steering is in the main pin sharp, the car always feeling well planted on the road, and the gearbox itself is a precision piece of smooth shifting. Surely the classiest family car you can buy. And you will. FASTFACTS: VW Golf S 1.6 TDI 105ps five door; £19,565; 1598cc, 250Nm torque; top speed 119mph, 0-62mph 10.7 secs; CO2 99g/ km; fuel - urban 61.4, extra urban 85.6, combined 74.3; warranty three years/60,000 miles. l Follow Rob Auchterlonie Twitter: @robauchy

More spec. More technology. More efficiency. Less tax. Less CO2. Less than you’d think. The new Golf. From £199 a month. More spec includes more room inside, more boot space and electronic parking brake with auto-hold. More tech includes post-collision braking system, optional automatic distance control, lane assist and fatigue detection. More efficiency means up to a 23% gain across the range. If you take the 1.6 TDI model, it delivers up to 74.3 mpg on the combined cycle, with just 99g/km resulting in nil road tax. Solutions representative example based on 10,000 miles per annum for a Golf S 1.2 85PS 3-door with metallic paint. Duration

3 years

Optional final payment


Amount of credit


35 monthly payments


Option to purchase fee**


Total amount payable


Customer deposit


Excess mileage (per mile)


Representative APR

6.4% APR

Acceptance fee†


Retail cash price


Rate of interest

5.7% Fixed

Wayside Aylesbury Bicester Road, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP19 8AL. Telephone: 01296 317000.

6.4% APR representative

Model shown includes metallic paint: £16,785. *Payable within first payment. †Payable with optional final payment. Further charges may be payable if vehicle is returned. Indemnities may be required. Subject to status. Available to over 18s. Terms and conditions apply. Retail sales only. Volkswagen Finance, Freepost VWFS. Offer available on orders before March 31st, 2013. Subject to availability. Offers are not available in conjunction with any other offer and may be varied or withdrawn at any time. Certain vehicles excluded. Ask for details. Official fuel consumption in mpg (litre/100km) for the new Golf range: urban 41.5 (6.8) – 61.4 (4.6); extra urban 62.8 (4.5) – 85.6 (3.3); combined 53.3 (5.3) – 74.3 (3.8). CO2 emissions 123 – 99g/km.

Vale Life : Mar/Apr 2013


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Watermark, Worminghall Road, Oakley, HP18 9U Handmade Bespoke Kitchens now on display

Vale Life Magazine Mar/Apr 2013  

Lifestyle magazine for Aylesbury Vale area of UK

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