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Vale Life

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Your free magazine for Aylesbury, Thame and the surrounding area

Take me home


Sept/Oct 2011

The parade ring, Bucks County Show photographed at Bucks Showground by Danny Higgins:


Going the distance: Coaching with Motts Family affairs: Rights and relationships Vive la différence What’s under your feet? Matt, Penny, Ruby, and much, much more... w £250 CC shopping spree w An Aromatherapy Associates Skincare set w w A Meal for Two at the Crown, Sydenham w Earth Now book w


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Telephone: 01844 353388 l Bosch Car Service Centre l MOTs including Class VII (3.5 tonnes) l Servicing, repairs, tyres, exhausts and air conditioning for cars and light commercials l Diagnostics: we have the most up to date workshops and equipment in the area l High ceilings and long ramps enable us to service long wheelbase vans, campers and trucks Executive Cars - Chauffeur Service Airport Transfer - Special Occasion Hire Competitive Prices


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

Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011

Spread the word across The Vale: see: for details


Going the Distance


Arts and Crafts


It’s Good to Talk


It takes Two

Family Affairs


Are you a Good Cause?

What a Find!


Moving on Up


Get the Buzz!

Seasoned in the Sun


Come Rain or Shine

Shop Til You Drop!


Feast of Delights

Poetry in Motion


The Real Deal

Autumn Gold


Ringing True

All Change


Quite a Spread

Harvest Moon


Food and Drink

Reaping the Benefits


Barrels of Fun

Scissors, Paper, Glue...


In The Pink

Read all about it


Win Win Situation

12 14

Motts - school trips to continental holidays Sensory stimulation - something to chat about What are your rights? Old pine’s a chip off the Eastern Bloc

16 Vive La Différence 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 26 28

Laying down the floor

The art of staining windows Don’t miss this booty-full bonanza Naomi MacKay gets inspired by words It’s lovely in the garden says Cherry Nurse Alisha Johnson plays the layering game Homeware bound at the White Hart Gallery Penny Harper brings in the sheaves Five years and still making memories Thame Arts and Literary Festival

Singing in the rain


s that it? Once again I am left wondering how I managed to miss Summer. I know we had the occasional glimmer of sunshine and I did consider donning shorts at least twice, but it never really happened, did it?! Those brave souls huddled in tents for the Towersey Festival got a good soaking once again, although fortunately there were plenty of sunny moments to dry them out


ongratulations to the following Aug/Sept 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 competitions inside this edition, including

Fair promises quite a show Scott Cole takes lead in new classes Getting physical with Lynda Bellingham Vintage attractions at classic car event High-flying Hornets are kings of the court Boycott Farm, Ruby McLee and Matt Brown A Guide to Thame Food Festival Cornfield Bakery turns up the heat Thame’s Six Bells transformed Hotel offers foodie heaven Win a meal for two at The Crown, Sydenham Drinking for charity at Aylesbury Beer Festival Lillies, pinks, poets and pints Win Earth Now book and Skincare sets

too. The Bank Holiday weekend is generally doubtful weatherwise, we should all know that by now, and yet we plug on hopefully and stage our outdoor events with fingers crossed! Towersey’s Phoenix Studio has it right. Their sculpture garden is open to the elements but they have plenty of indoor space for their arty activities and courses and have just opened a brand new custom built teaching studio. TV presenter Fiona Bruce, right, braved the showers to open the new

facility earlier this month. The Phoenix is a private studio running art classes for all abilities, in a range of mediums. See for details - no need for an umbrella! Keep it local, support our independent businesses and read Vale Life whenever things look grey outside, it’ll brighten your day! Best wishes and happy reading

the chance to win: dinner for two with a bottle of house wine at The Crown, Sydenham; £250 to spend at CC (Country Casuals); a copy of the Earth Now book; and Aromatherapy Associates travel sets! Last issue’s prizewinners were: Dinner, bed & breakfast at The Spread Eagle Hotel, Thame:

Lucy Bennett, Chilton. Family ticket to Whipsnade: Helena Pringle, Wendover. Beautiful Bride book: Tracey Russell, Thame. Chilterns Craft Show tickets: Sam Phillips, Aylesbury; Brian Seymour, Bierton; Carol Wade, Waddesdon;


Charlie Trott: Editor

Fiona Bruce cuts the ribbon to officially open Phoenix Studio’s new teaching studio Eleanor Humphries, Stone; Jane Hiscox, Wendover. A stripey hammock: Amy Starsmore, Aylesbury; Carol Nutkins, Tring Tickets to the Horse of the Year Show: Emma Pilley, Kingston Blount; Judy Keen, Chinnor; Phyllis Quernby, Chearsley

Front cover picture: Photograph taken at Bucks County Show by Danny Higgins ( 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 : Sept / Oct 2011


Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011

Buses and coaches bearing the Motts livery have been a common sight on Vale roads over the last half century. The company has expanded from a single coach to a fleet of around fifty vehicles and offers a diverse range of services from coach hire to continental holidays...


o those of us who have grown up locally a Motts coach may well bring back fond memories of school trips, away matches and works outings - exciting, fun times with groups of friends or colleagues. The company supplies an amazing range of services though and it is this flexibility which managing director Roger Mott feels has been key to the firm’s survival and expansion. “You’ve got to have fingers in every pie these days,” says Roger. “In addition to our private hire and schools work we have a touring arm, ‘Motts Leisure Ltd’, organising holidays and trips and we’ve an excellent stateof-the-art workshop facility which enables us to take on projects like the Coach Trip TV series coach conversion, (which involved fitting a studio into the back of a coach and wiring in a lot of high spec electronics), as well as general maintenance and vehicle testing, commercial repairs and servicing and driver training.” The coach company has grown and diversified since Roger’s father, Sidney ‘John’ Mott, first founded the firm back in 1951. A local family from the Stone/Upton area, Roger’s great grandfather was a local policeman, while his grandfather worked for Loaders in Aylesbury, where the recently demolished Civic Centre was built, supplying Bucks farmers with animal feed. John Mott, pictured right, started the business with a single coach taking staff to work at a firm in Oxford. His real love was cars though and he went back to selling cars in the late 50s, returning to coaching in 1962, doing school contracts and seaside trips. It was a small operation but grew in size and reputation and by 1973 there was room


Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011

Roger and Val Mott

John Mott with one of his early coaches for both Roger and brother Chris to join the company. Up to that point following school at the Vale, Prebendal and Long Crendon, Roger had been gaining experience in a variety of non coaching activities, including a stint as a waiter in the merchant navy! “I wasn’t particularly interested in coaches at the time,” he says, “but I’ve always enjoyed a challenge!” Motts was on the move - Ian Scutt joined in 1977 and now heads the engineering side and in 1978 the coach tour business was launched. Roger rose to his challenges and was appointed managing director in 1982 while brother Chris became operations director. Motts original base, just outside Aylesbury on the Oxford Road at Upton, had its limitations and the firm purchased the old Oxford Bus Garage in Bell Lane, Thame as a new headquarters. The site, just around the corner

from Waitrose, has now been redeveloped. In 1985 Motts bought fellow coach conpany Dicksons of Stoke Mandeville and their depot which meant the company could boast a 40 vehicle operation with two sites. The further acquisition, in 1989, of J&K Coaches yard at Bicester provided a satellite depot which was later sold for redevelopment in 2005 helping fund Motts current premises. It was difficult running a big fleet in cramped facilities across three depots though and for many years Roger’s dream was to find suitable premises in which to centralise operations, until, in 2002, the perfect spot came up behind a bakery at Stocklake on the Eastern edge of Aylesbury. After much negotiation and a myriad of planning issues Motts was able to construct a purpose built depot with modern offices,

Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011

Motts Ad 210mmx280mm:Layout 1

modern workshops and a huge paved parking area. In 2005 the company moved in and is now licenced to operate 60 vehicles. Despite the current state of the economy the company is busier than ever: “We’ve been flat out through the summer, but the margins are constantly being squeezed,” says Roger “It’s very tough at the moment. This year’s petrol price increases alone are costing us another £4 per every £100.” Roger’s wife Val runs Motts Leisure Ltd, the tours side of the business from a travel office on Buckingham Street, Aylesbury, where you can book a trip or pick up a brochure showing the numerous holidays and outings on offer. “We run an extensive programme of day trips, throughout the year,” says Val. “We go everywhere! To the Christmas markets, to the seaside, to the theatre, to Disneyland. We do two and three day holiday trips, perhaps staying at a hotel with entertainment or a tribute show, weekends away and continental tours, with our partner firm Crusader, to destinations like the Italian lakes, Vienna, Paris, the Austrian Tyrol, Amsterdam and Brugge. “Many of the hotels we’ve used for years, we know they offer good quality accommodation and look after our customers. “We put many of the packages together ourselves, choosing a good hotel and then adding an interesting itinerary, say castles and gardens, or historic houses. “We pick up locally and our drivers will

ensure you are looked after. We run courses in customer care for coach drivers and they are very aware that some customers need more help than others. “We have four staff in our travel shop in Aylesbury and a team at head office which deals with group trips. We’ve recently organised bespoke trips to Vienna for U3A and to Lille for a Rotary Club group.” Coach trips are great for older people as you are taken door to door and looked after but they are also becoming more popular with younger customers. Many have seen The Coach Trip TV show which has shown how travelling in a group can be fun for all ages. Although a family firm Motts is now the largest coach operator in the area. But in coming this far the company hasn’t lost its personal touch and you can tell a lot of effort goes in to making sure that things are done well and that Motts continues to be a well respected brand. The investment in new facilities and equipment is an indication that although it may already have been quite a ride for Motts the journey isn’t over yet! l Motts Travel Shop, 4 Buckingham Street, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP20 2LD Tel: 01296 336666 Head Office: Unit 7, Garside Way, Stocklake, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP20 1BH Tel: 01296 398300 Fax: 01296 398386 Email: Website:

The depot at Bell Lane, Thame



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Sun 2 Medieval Brugge £35 Sun 2 Bowood House & Gardens + Carvery Lunch £38 Wed 5 Cité Europe & Belgium £35 Thur 6 Knitting & Stitching Alex. Palace £26 Sat 8 Knitting & Stitching £27 Tue 11 Lakeside Resort + Lunch £30 Wed 12 Canterbury £19 Thu 13 Milestones Living History Museum £19 Motts Holidays Sat 15 Salisbury Sightseeing £19 4 Buckingham Street, Aylesbury, HP20 2LD BOOKING HOTLINE: 01296Guided 336666 Sat 15 Salisbury Cathedral Tour & Sightseeing £25 Sun 16 Cream of Kent, Vineyard, Railway & Cream Tea £39 Tue 18 Hampton Court Palace & Gardens £29

Motts Ad 210mmx280mm:Layout 1



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

Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011


Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011

Home Farm Day Nursery has a new Sensory Room. It’s part of a government backed initiative to get children communicating. But it’s not the only thing worth talking about, says Vale Life...


ome Farm Day Nursery recently celebrated its fourth birthday. The event was particularly exciting as the nursery also opened its brand new Sensory Room, pictured top left. Over the past two years the nursery has been participating in the national Every Child a Talker (ECAT) programme, designed to help create supportive and stimulating environments in which children can enjoy experimenting with and learning language. The idea is to encourage early language development through fun and interesting activities so that children are confident and skilled communicators by the time they start school. As part of the project, the nursery received funding from Bucks County Council which helped to support the development of a brand new Sensory Room designed to provide a stimulating space for staff to work with small groups of children. It is filled with resources which encourage the development of communication, language and literacy skills. The nursery, described in its last Ofsted inspection report as one where ‘children are happy, confident and have fun’, is popular with families commuting between Milton Keynes, Aylesbury, Buckingham and Leighton Buzzard, as well as those living in surrounding villages. Affiliated to Swanbourne House School, Home Farm Nursery is a small and homely place in a purposely designed barn conversion, which enjoys delightfully light and airy spaces full of old beams and picture windows.


Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011

It’s situated a few miles North of Aylesbury within Swanbourne Estate and aims to provide the highest quality of care and education within the calm and secure atmosphere of four classrooms: ‘Ducklings’ 3-15 months, ‘Lambs’ 16-23 months, ‘Kittens’ 2-3 years and ‘Foals’ 3-5 years. Nursery Manager Carolyn Laird, pictured opposite, has been in charge since six months before the nursery opened, when she began her role by overseeing the fitting out of the barn, stables and cart shed conversions. “It’s a home away from home,” says Carolyn. “The children really love being here. They get to explore their interests and learn through play. We’re very individual-based, the children choose what they like to do and each has key staff members to look after their interests and encourage them in their activities and development. We do some fun group activities but we also focus on individual learning and how each child prefers to learn. “We also teach baby signing to help the very young express themselves before they can communicate with words. Parents are encouraged to learn the basic signs too. “We started with 15 children and seven

staff and by the end of the first year were already catering for 45-50 children. “We now have 17 permanent staff, six support staff (cleaning, cooking, admin) and five relief staff - we can cater for up to 58. “Some children start at three months, some at three years, some come for a few sessions a week, say two mornings and some are here five days a week. “We’re open 51 weeks a year from 7.30am to 6.30pm and children are booked in for whole or half days (to, or after, 1pm). Parents can drop off and pick up at anytime though. “We have kitchens on site with our own chef, so all meals are home prepared and freshly cooked. Meat is from the farm, bread from the local bakery and fresh vegetables from local suppliers. We provide three meals a day: a morning snack, a hot lunch with pudding and tea with pudding, or, for the babies breakfast and their milks as required. Nappies, wipes and creams are all provided too.” The sensory room is full of interesting and stimulating lights, textures and sounds. It’s a quiet, relaxing space, a good place for quieter children who are still developing their speech to go in small groups and be given the chance

Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011

Carolyn Laird

Class sing-song

Tea break at Home Farm to express themselves away from the hustle and bustle of the main classroom. “The babies absolutely love the lights and the bubbles,” says Carolyn. “The one and two year olds enjoy pressing the big buttons to change the bubble lamp colours and playing with the light cords and soft toys, while the older children can explore and enjoy too and benefit from our small discussion groups. “A lot of the equipment comes from special educational needs suppliers and is designed to be used by children, it’s all safe and fun to touch and hold. “We have a range of families who come here - some may be working full-time, so need childcare, others may be at home but would like their child to benefit from the social interaction. “We have an open day twice a year and parents evenings twice a year when we can discuss how a child is progressing and if there are any concerns. “If a new parent is interested in the nursery a phone call or email enquiry will enable us to arrange an appointment for them to come and have a look round. I’ll meet them and then hand over to the room leader of their child’s

age group so the bonding process starts straight away. “If the parents decide to enroll their child we’ll organise three ‘settle’ visits. The first is for an hour when they’ll come in to the nursery with their child, fill in the paperwork and the child and parent will begin to get to know the staff and the surroundings together. It’s a chance for the child to get familiar to the new surroundings with the security of having their parents alongside and a chance for the parents to meet the staff while the staff also get to know the parents. “The second ‘settle’ visit is for two hours and the parent will leave the child with staff for a while - if they wish they can watch from the staff room which has a good view of the main barn building and we’ll have a coffee and keep an eye on how things are going. The child is usually fine, it’s more likely to be the parent who needs comforting,” laughs Carolyn. “The third time will be three hours. Usually that’s enough but sometimes a child will need a little more time to get used to new surroundings and we’ll continue the visits until they are settled.

“We have an open door policy, so parents can come in and speak to us at any time or phone up and check all is well. Sometimes a child will appear upset when dropped off and the parent may wish to phone later to check they have settled down. We’ll put them through to the relevant class and they’ll be reassured to find out their child was happily playing minutes after they left!” Being located on a farm in a village not only means Home Farm enjoys a pleasant environment in inspiring countryside but that there are some exciting opportunities for walks in the fields, or to see some farm animals. Whether that’s what gets the youngsters talking or it’s the bubbles and lights of the sensory room, something’s working, as when Vale Life visited, the children seemed to have plenty to chat about! l Home Farm Day Nursery, Winslow Road, Swanbourne, Milton Keynes, Bucks, MK17 0SW Tel: 01296 720835 Email: Website: Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011


Ashfold School 3-13 years: Prep and Pre-Prep

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Kingshall solid wood furniture

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Unit 4C, Drakes Drive, Long Crendon Industrial Estate Long Crendon, Buckinghamshire HP18 9BA

Tel: 01844 202418

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Peter John 250 High Street, Berkhamsted, HP4 1AQ Tel: 01442 873093 for more information and inspiration

Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011

Most of us hope to avoid family law issues - emotional, relationship-related situations pertaining to marriage, partnerships and children. Should advice and help be needed though it’s comforting to know that one specialist firm not only offers high quality legal advice but employs a supportive, holistic and compassionate approach at what can be a difficult time...


hose who know Temple Street in Aylesbury’s quaint old town may have noticed a flurry of activity at Number 26. Signage was yet to indicate the fact when Vale Life visited, but a new branch of Family Law specialists Adams Moore has recently taken residence in the attractive Edwardian premises. Solicitor Deepa Patel and assistant Rebecca Wells make up the team offering help and advice on all aspects of the law relating to the family or relationship breakdowns. This includes domestic abuse, divorce, child care proceedings, separation, pre-nuptial agreements, child abduction, domestic violence, civil partnerships, forced marriages, mediation, counselling and many other family and relationship related issues. “Adams Moore specialises in family law,” says Deepa, pictured right. “Toni Moore our managing director set up the company about six years ago in Milton Keynes and it has grown from there. We now have branches in six towns, this being the most recent. “We do a lot of work with domestic violence agencies and about a year ago we started providing a service for Aylesbury Women’s Care proceedings Aid from our office in Milton Keynes - we hold free legal surgeries to give advice and explain rights and options. “It seemed there was a need in the Aylesbury area for our services, so we have now opened this branch and I’ve moved from Milton Keynes to run the new office. I really like it here and I am enjoying being more involved in the local community. “For those needing help, we offer a free 30 minute consultation to assess their situation and what their options are. We also offer Legal Aid and can help assess eligibility. In some cases relating to domestic violence you may qualify automatically. There is information about this on our 12

Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011

Deepa Patel website ( “We run a 24 hour emergency department, which I am part of and if someone is in need of emergency protection, or there is the threat of abduction, I, or a colleague, can see them very quickly, at short notice and act swiftly if necessary. We may go to court that day or the next day if required. “One of the reasons Adams Moore was originally set up is to help in domestic violence situations and this requires a 24 hour service and the ability to act quickly. We may also act urgently if someone has received notice of a child care order or there is a risk of child abduction. There have been occasions when we have had to put in outof-hours court applications in such cases.” These are the more extreme situations of course and usually people will make appointments to see Deepa for advice and to find out their rights. Often it is with regard to an estranged partner having a set routine for contact with children following a breakup or, if Social Services are involved, the parents will want to know what rights they have and what support they can get to help them deal with the situation. There may be happier situations too, say an application to adopt a child or an enquiry to find out more about pre-nuptial agreements, or civil partnerships.

Rebecca Wells “I’ve wanted to be a lawyer since I was 15,” says Deepa, “and family law particularly appeals to me. I enjoy the face to face contact and the fact it is an area in which I can directly help people. This is also why I work for our emergency department and I am keen to provide a Legal Aid service. “I think it’s important that all people, whatever their status, income, gender or race, should be able to benefit from good legal advice and representation and having worked in the Aylesbury area over the last year I have detected a real need for this type of service.” In addition to her free surgeries at Aylesbury Women’s Aid (Tel: 01296 436827) Deepa also holds the same free sessions at the Sure Start Children’s Centre at Aylesbury Healthy Living Centre, Walton Court ( and is starting a monthly surgery at Barnardo’s Wendover Children’s Centre opposite John Hampden School on Wharf Road. “These children’s centres are quite a way from our office in Aylesbury,” says Deepa, “and it is easier for me to go to the centres than it would be for some of the people I am aiming to help to travel here to see me.” Deepa is from London and gained an honours degree in Law at the University of Westminster in 2002 before taking her legal practice course at the College of Law.

Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011

Needs background extended

26 Temple Street

She trained at a London based firm before joining Adams Moore at Milton Keynes in January 2008. She specialises in all aspects of relationship breakdown and is experienced in advocacy, often representing clients at Court. “Adams Moore as a firm has principles extended that appeal to me,” says Deepa. “We offer specialised expertise in family law but our core values are accessibility and empathy, warmth and compassion. It is a modern firm, not at all stuffy and is keen to give back to the community through initiatives such as our free legal surgeries and talks at local prisons, providing advice on the family rights and responsibilities that those inside have.” Deepa grew up in London and still lives in the city as her husband needs to be there for his work as a surgeon: “I’ve got to know the Aylesbury area a little over the past year,” she says. “I’ve been looking forward to setting up a base here, it’s such a beautiful area with lovely countryside.” “Everything you do has legal implications,” says Deepa. “Getting married is a contract really and there are legal implications if you then separate. If you are not married but decide to live with your partner and buy a property together you will become legally tied and it is sensible to find out what your rights are: What happens to the house if you split? What if you have children? It’s good to know

these things before rather than after the event. “No one enters a relationship planning to end it, but if you are unsure of the implications of a decision you are making, it’s a good idea to find out about your rights and options before deciding. “If a man has a child with a woman but is not married to her, his name being on the birth certificate, or not, will affect his rights and responsibilities with regard to that child. “When we become involved with a client it is usually because their relationship has broken down. It’s a very traumatic time for them, a horrible time and we try to provide a sympathetic approach and compassionate solution to their problems. We are looking to provide an efficient service keeping stress and cost to a minimum. “In a divorce situation it is much better if the two parties come to an agreement without having to go to court and we would always encourage this. It is less costly, less stressful and the parties are more likely to adhere to the terms if they have both agreed them. An application to go to court would be a last resort and made only if it was in the best interests of our client and they had instructed us to do so. “The financial side of a divorce agreement can be quite complex, involving pensions, foreign property, investments and much more and we have the specialist expertise to deal with the most complicated of settlements.” Deepa finds helping to make a positive difference particularly rewarding: “I’ve recently worked for a client,” says Deepa, “who with our support and through his own efforts was able to turn around a situation where his children were taken into care and were to be removed permanently. It’s taken a lot of effort but the family have resolved their issues and are back together now. “It’s important in care proceedings that parents have legal representation because they need someone to fight their corner. “There is more awareness of domestic violence today and less stigma involved in coming out and saying ‘I need help’. That means more need for legal representation and more demand on solicitors to provide that representation. Families and parents deserve to have a solicitor that has the relevant expertise to act in their best interests.” As specialists, a number of Adams Moore solicitors are accredited mediators and collaborative lawyers. Deepa herself is a trained civil law mediator and an accredited Law Society Children Panel Member and Family Law Panel member, which means she has been assessed as having relevant experience and expertise in these specialist fields. Vale Life wishes Deepa, Rebecca and Adams Moore a warm welcome to Aylesbury. It sounds like their specialist expertise and enthusiasm is already appreciated in the area

putting on another brave face? you don’t have to mask the pain of a relationship breakdown, child contact or domestic abuse. Call us now and quote reference ‘Adams FREE 30’ to arrange 15. £60 your FREE half hour chat.

+ 15

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26 Temple St, Aylesbury HP20 2RQ

and Number 26 is in for a busy time! l Adams Moore, 26 Temple Street, Aylesbury, HP20 2RQ. Tel: 01296 392000 Email: Website: Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011


Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011

Today’s disposable flat-pack furniture may claim to come in antique shades but there’s nothing like the chunky, rustic charm of real solid wood - especially when it’s over 200 years old...


ho ya gonna call? Pinefinders! OK it might not have quite the hit potential of Ghostbusters but if you are looking for a solid piece of authentic, antique pine furniture, possibly handcrafted some 200 years ago, you could be singing the right tune. Pinefinders is run by Ken Gibbins who boasts a warehouse full of old, rustic charm - that’s the furniture not Ken - although Mr Gibbins is indeed a helpful and engaging chap: “I did originally offer a furniture finding service, hence the name of the company,” says Ken, “but it proved impossible to consistently come up with items to match an exact specification. I now stock a wide selection of quality furniture at reasonable prices, all of which is displayed on our website. As it sometimes takes a couple of days to put all of a new delivery onto the website, I can also email customers looking for specific pieces a proofsheet of new arrivals, so they get an early look.” Ken’s suppliers are based in Holland and spend their time scouring Germany and Eastern Europe for old pine furniture. “Some of the wardrobes are really old,” says Ken, showing me a stunning East German solid pine wardrobe from the mid 1700s with a heavy, brass lock. Amazingly it looks in pristine condition and comes with a receipt showing it was bought in 1993 from an antique shop in Holland! The furniture comes mostly from Germany


Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011

Ken Gibbins and Eastern Europe and is often German in origin and extremely well made: “The big wardrobes usually come apart so they can be transported and then reassembled in their new home,” says Ken. “We can deliver such items and put them together for you if you wish. They are so well made, you just need wedges to put them back together. It’s a lot easier than assembling an Ikea flatpack!” The furniture all arrives at Pinefinders stripped back to the bare wood, although many of the pieces will have previously been painted or varnished. “I have three different prices for each piece,” says Ken, “depending on whether customers would like to buy it as is and do it up themselves, or whether they would like me to do it up, ease the doors and drawers etc and make sure all is in good order before finishing with a good polish. I also offer a painting service if they would like a painted finish.” Ken, who is originally from Tiddington grew up in Thame and admits he stumbled into his trade: “My dad used to buy and sell timber at one point,” he says, “but I don’t think that was an influence! When I left

Wheatley Park School I was interested in cars and did a Youth Training Scheme course in car mechanics. I enjoyed tinkering with cars and machinery. I worked for Highfield Motors in Wheatley while at college and then moved next door to work at Potters Grass machinery, an agricultural engineering firm and then for City Motors Car Spraying. “I don’t think I was a very good employee though,” laughs Ken. “I’m too stubborn! I am definitely best suited to working for myself.” “I became interested in computer programming and took myself off to Aylesbury College for a course in computer studies, which I really enjoyed, but having done the access course I couldn’t face another three years of study without earning.” It was while Ken was working for a local paint-stripping and graffiti-cleaning business he met David Smith owner of Thame Pine. David had traded in Thame for about 14 years both with his mother Delia in Smith’s Sons and Daughters, a gift and homeware shop where Zen Hairdressing is now situated and with his own pine furniture business from a unit opposite the new library - now the home of Kew Bookbinding:

Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011

“David wanted to move into other things,” says Ken. “I started helping him out and began running my own business alongside. He let me open Thame Pine on a Sunday and I’d sell pieces through Henley Antiques Centre. “About six years ago he moved on and left me to take over. I rented his warehouse from near Thame Town’s old football ground and when he sold it for redevelopment I relocated to Haddenham, which being in Bucks has cheaper business rates!” The Pinefinders warehouse is on Haddenham’s Thame Road Industrial Estate. It’s about half a mile along from the station on the opposite side of Thame Road. It has an impressive amount of furniture crammed into a 2,000ft warehouse, and is not the easiest room to get around. There’s pine wardrobes, dressers, chests of drawers, tables, cupboards, bookcases, beds, boxes, dresser bases, desks and even a pair of skis! “The website shows what we are all about,” says Ken. “Every piece I stock is on there and items are added or taken away daily as they sell or new ones come in.” In addition to the antique furniture Ken also stocks new furniture, made in the same rustic fashion from old reclaimed timber and the company does a popular

range of their own farmhouse kitchen tables, dining tables and benches, handmade in Daventry from old floorboards, which have quite a unique look. There are also some beautiful ‘shabby chic’ painted antique pine items and if you would like one of the other items finished in a shabby chic style, Ken knows a local expert who does special paint finishes to your specifications. “Fashions change but people will always appreciate good solid furniture,” says Ken. “The Victorians used to paint their furniture and now we are seeing the trend once again. A few years ago everyone was stripping and polishing. “The old furniture we stock is really well made, it’s got lots of character and it looks great, not only in cottages and farmhouses but when teamed with modern furnishings in contemporary homes as well.” It’s hard to find out much about the history of the pieces as most were made by local carpenters and the only clue will be the maker’s name pencilled in a corner. “I’ve a wardrobe here at the moment,” says Ken, “which must have been a wedding gift and had the bride’s name painted across the front. You can just make out the wording ‘Anna Marie Sophie Amalon 1912’ where the paint has protected the wood from fading in the light. I googled the name and I think I’ve actually found her family tree on the internet!” Pinefinders has been in Haddenham for five years now. The business has been recommended in the ‘Bargain Britain’ section of the Saturday Telegraph and has had furniture featured twice on ITV’s 60 Minute Makeover programme. “Pine furniture is very reasonably priced,” says Ken. “It’s not too heavy and it has a rustic look which is very good at hiding knocks and scuffs, so can be ideal for a home with youngsters! “The old items here are mostly unique pieces and are all available

immediately. Although they are technically antiques, being more than 80 years old some 250 years old, I describe it as old pine furniture. That’s not to be confused with new ‘antique pine’ furniture sold in some places, which is often just modern furniture made to look old!” Although Pinefinders does a roaring trade on the internet, Ken is considering opening a store locally to bring in more local trade: “I’m thinking about taking shop premises,” says Ken “but I would probably be looking to share a unit and split the costs as I’d need a big increase in sales to cover the outgoings on my own.” If you are searching for beautifully restored old pine furniture it could be well worth checking out the Pinefinders website at: www. - Ken may no longer hunt for items to order but you may be able to spot your perfect piece and then track it down in Haddenham! l Pinefinders, Thame Rd Industrial Est, Haddenham, Bucks HP17 8BZ Tel: 01844 291231 Mobile: 07956 862934 Email: Website:

Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011


Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011

We all like to be different but when it comes to flooring the options can seem a bit similar. In Aylesbury one connoisseur of carpeting has sourced a fabulous combination of patterns, colours, materials and textures though and is only too happy to share his more individual selection...


avid Castellano loves the unusual. The owner of Charles Huntington Flooring has been in the carpet business for 24 years and having personally laid pretty well every flooring going, it is not surprising that it takes something special to impress him now. Amid the stunning range of beautifully displayed carpet, sisal, seagrass, coir, jute, wood, vinyl and synthetic flooring in his Aylesbury showroom, he is quick to show me his delight at an unconventionally textured carpet sample while being positively over-excited at a selection of stunning designer stripes - he has not lost his enthusiasm yet! “I thought there was a need for a company that stocked some different lines,” says David. “Designer carpets and flooring that is a little different and which you don’t find at larger suppliers. We offer a wide range of standard styles as well of course, something for all tastes and budgets, but we’ve made an effort to source some extraordinary alternatives too. “I’ve got carpets here from budget weaves for a few pounds to tufted silk at over £200 a square metre!” David is originally from Spain. His father is Spanish and his mother English, so when he came to England at the age of six to live in Beaconsfield it was under the name David Carlos Castellano Huntington. He dropped the Huntington but has resurrected it alongside the English version of his middle name as the title of his business. “My grandfather was a Huntington,” says


Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011

David Castellano David, “and at one time held quite a senior position in Sandersons. So I thought it would be nice to continue his name in the world of furnishings!” When he left school David took an apprenticeship with a local carpet firm, learnt the ropes and gradually became a skilled fitter. He worked for firms in Amersham, Hazlemere and Chesham, often abroad, laying all sorts of complicated patterns in hotels and commercial premises, as well as in private homes. “The highlight of my career was probably laying the carpet at the Hindu Temple in Neasden,” he laughs. “It nearly killed me! It was a huge job, very complicated with numerous panels of carpet to be matched up. It looked stunning when it was finished though. “I’ve been to Belgium and Albania, all over really, laying huge conference rooms at Intercontinental hotels, bedrooms at the Savoy in London, and to all sorts of private homes, big and small, it was pretty varied work.” David set up his own business in 2001 as a flooring contractor and continued to work at home and abroad in homes and hotels and for a variety of companies including John Lewis. “I’ve done it all,” he laughs, “Panel work,

Emma Goddard stitching, seaming, panel repeats...” “At Charles Huntington I now supply and advise on carpet and floorings as well but I still enjoy going out and personally ensuring the job is laid down correctly. If I am supplying carpet that costs several hundred pounds a metre I want to be sure it is fitted perfectly! ‘A carpet’s only as good as the person who fitted it’ they say in the trade! “Stair runners have come back into fashion recently and striped carpet is very popular, right now. We are experienced in templating stair runners with turns and half landings and offer a variety of finishes: binding tape, blind stitching, or whipping - we’ve also a good selection of stair rods and stair clips. “I’ve been into a lot of carpet shops over the years and most of them aren’t very elegant. Here we’ve taken great care to display our range in a customer friendly manner, so you can easily compare and contrast different makes, styles and colours without having to deal with those huge sample books or unwieldy tombolas!” The Charles Huntington showroom is cosy and stylish and handily located at Duck Farm Court, Aylesbury, near Morrisons, with free parking right outside.

Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011

“People are welcome to bring their paint samples down and have a look around,” says Emma Goddard, David’s assistant. “We can have a coffee and explore the possibilities!” “We stock quite a range of makes: Hartley Tissier, Weston Hammer, Jacaranda, Wool Classics Crucial Trading, something to suit all pockets and tastes. “We do a good range of sisal too,” says David. “A lot of companies won’t touch it, as it can be tricky to lay, but I’ve handled it for over 20 years, so it’s no problem for us.

“Crucial Trading have a great selection. It gives you a nice crisp clean look, it’s a bit different. We can make rugs with it too. Quite often a customer will have us put wood down in the hall and then we’ll make a sisal rug with bound edges to go on top. We can make rugs with any carpet and to any size, all neatly finished with stitched edging. “We’re doing a lot of Project Floors flooring at the moment, it’s like Karndean - synthetic flooring that looks exactly like wood, tiles or stone. Being waterproof it’s ideal for kitchens and bathrooms as is

Bolon woven vinyl flooring, which is from Sweden and comes in some fabulous colours and stripes, quite unusual.” For those looking for something completely different David even supplies a range of leather flooring which comes in panels with solid brass or chrome trims! “We’ve got a website which will give you an idea of what we’re about,” says David, “but it’s best to come in and have a browse around - so you can feel the samples! We’re happy to visit customers at home though if preferred. “We’re open 10am-5pm Monday to Friday and 10am-4pm on a Saturday and if you call ahead we can make sure someone is available to show you round.” David now lives in Aylesbury and finds the firm’s Duck Farm Court location an ideal base: “It’s great having parking right outside and not being on the High Street means we get less impulse shoppers and more serious customers,” says David. “I love the business, there’s so much job satisfaction. Especially when I get to stand back and survey

a finished job. I enjoy the variety too. I get to meet lots of different people and travel around a bit and when a customer sees their new carpeting and is just bowled over by it, I feel very proud.” Charles Huntington is a small firm offering a personal service backed with David’s experience and expertise from 24 years in the business. His fitting service is top quality and the unusual range of carpets and floorings he supplies and the user-friendly display at the showroom is a refreshing alternative for those on the hunt for flooring. Perhaps it is David’s Spanish roots that have inspired his fresh approach or maybe during those years working abroad he’s picked up a little french influence - ‘Vive La Différence’ we say! 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

Charles Huntington Flooring •Expert Advice •Professional Fitting •Very Competitive for Residential and Commercial work •Carpets to suit all Budgets •Free Quotes •No Obligation •Free Parking CARPETS • VINYLS • SISAL • STAIR RODS SAFETY FLOORING • WOOD • BINDING TAPES Opening Times: Monday to Friday 10am until 5pm Saturday 10am until 4pm. Any other time by appointment

Tel: 01296 337181 Mob: 07767370067 Web: 23 DUCK FARM COURT, STATION WAY, AYLESBURY, HP20 2SQ WE WILL NOT BE BEATEN ON QUALITY OR SERVICE Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011


Layton Timber Sawmills Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011

It’s the time of year when those of us with open fires, or multi-fuel stoves, are thinking of replenishing our wood piles. ‘Don’t just buy any old logs though’, says Laura Morgan of North Mill Stoves... “


any of our customers are moving from an open fire to an appliance such as a multi-fuel stove” says Laura Morgan of North Mill Stoves. “Although they are aware that a stove is far more efficient than an open fire - you don’t lose most of the heat up the chimney - they are often surprised by how much easier life is with a wood burner. “A stove burns so efficiently, the ash pan many only need emptying once a week, possibly once a fortnight, depending on usage, whereas an open fire is generally cleaned out after every burn.

“Also, because of the much slower burn rate, a stove requires less reloading, so you can sit and enjoy it without having to get out of your seat as often! “But the major difference between open fires and stoves is fuel! An open fire may happily gobble up any wood or coal that you put on it, albeit with a bit of ‘pop and crackle’, a multi-fuel or wood burning stove, like any machine, needs the correct fuel to work efficiently. Wood must be properly seasoned and ideally from a reputable source.” For the Vale area North Mill Stoves recommends family run Layton Timber, a sawmill at Pyrton

w w w. n o r t h m i l l st o v e s . c o . u k

Call now for a free home survey...

Stoves Limited

Tel: 01844 342400

E: North Mill Road, Bledlow, Bucks HP27 9QP 18

Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011

North Mill Stoves offers wood and multi-fuel stoves from British manufactures Charnwood and Clearview Stoves. For a demonstration at their showroom near Bledlow call to book on 01844 342400.

near Lewknor cutting sustainable “We’ve plenty of space and it’ll timber from local woodland dry outside and then go into the between Watlington and Christmas barns to be finished off.” Common. “We use mostly larch but also Owner David Layton and his beech, oak, cherry and my favourite, family have been logging the area ash - it’s a nice kind wood, you can for over 40 years. His do anything with ash!” father opened a sawmill Layton Timber also in Stokenchurch back does tree surgery but in 1949 when the Dave doesn’t use the Wycombe furniture offcuts for firewood: business was buoyant: “You never know “There would be 20-30 what’s in it,” says Dave, lorry loads of timber a “it’s often full of nails!” day going into Wycombe The firm is very then,” says Dave. “Now David Layton aware of the natural you won’t see one. It landscape, they’ll hold more or less stopped overnight.” off felling a tree if they spot a bird The mill moved to its current site nesting and the odd sapling that on Pyrton Field Farm, taking over seeds itself in the yard is left to an old plant hire yard, some 33 years grow! ago and now employs around eight The Sawmill supplies logs in staff, including Dave’s wife, Mary netted bags or cubic metre ‘dumpy’ who runs the office. bags starting at £60 for softwood. “Most of our timber is grown for Kindling is also available. They the firewood trade and the trees are deliver the dumpys with a grab lorry: harvested young while the trunks are “Our customers seem to like it that the ideal size for logs,” says Dave. way,” says Dave. “It’s tidier in a bag “We also handle a fair bit of oak, and there’s less mess. machining beams and boards for “We sell a lot of unseasoned restoration work. wood too, which is fine for an open “We’re very busy with firewood at fire with a bit of coal, but if you’ve the moment, we’re not the cheapgot a wood burning stove, it’s got to est but we make sure our timber is be properly seasoned logs.” properly sourced and seasoned for a l Layton Timber, Pyrton Hill, Station couple of years, which you need for Road, Watlington , OX49 5DF. wood burners. Tel: 01491 613222

Shopoholics unite!

Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011

Shop Til You Drop! 2010

Shop Til You Drop! is now in its 10th year and boasts a fabulous array of gifts, goods and produce to solve your Christmas gift problems, while boosting two worthy causes. Purses at the ready please...


o many it’s an annual event - luxury shopping in aid of Thames Valley & Chiltern Air Ambulance Trust and Kids Kidney Research - with all sorts of tempting goodies under one roof, at just the time of year a little shopping inspiration is needed. This year’s charity shopping days are: Thursday, November 10, (128pm) and Friday, November, 11, (9am-4pm) at The Spread Eagle Hotel, in Thame. Matt Brown, Heart FM’s dishy breakfast DJ, will be opening the 10th Anniversary event at 12noon on the Thursday and will then be auctioned off at 1pm, for an afternoon tea date at 2.30pm the same day! Bidding closes at 1pm but you can place your bids beforehand with Jane on 07711 043199. Door entry is £3 which includes a

chance to win a 32” HD-ready LCD TV generously donated by Sharp, a Bicester Village VIP shopping day and lots of other fabulous prizes. All proceeds go to the charities. There will be around 30 stall holders not found on the High Street, selling items such as infused olive oils, balsamics and condiments, delicious Christmas cakes, women’s clothing and accessories, beautiful homeware, leather goods, menswear and accessories, books, children’s toys and lots of lovely Christmas gifts and decorations. Breakfast, lunch and refreshments will be available in The Spread Eagle’s restaurant and bar. Shop ‘Til You Drop! is organised by Christine Proctor and friends Karen Kent and Jane Morris. “This is our 10th year,” says

Christine, “and we are still keen to support our local charities and are very grateful to our loyal supporters and lovely friends who help us run the event on the day. “Last year we raised over £6,000 for our charities and although times are tough, we would love to do even better this year. “This would not be possible without the support of The Spread Eagle Hotel in kindly hosting the event and our sponsors, CPM , Ivan Cammack Opticians, David Wilson Homes and Reaston Brown, who help cover production costs so all proceeds can go to our charities. “This year we have lots of fabulous new stalls for gift ideas and pure indulgence and we are hoping that people will again come and support us and these very worthwhile charities.”


So whether you are a shopoholic or not and fancy day out Christmas shopping, afternoon tea with Matt Brown, or just to catch up with friends over coffee, put Thursday 10th and Friday 11th November in your diary. Further details are on the website at: For further information contact Christine Proctor on: 07733 418117.

charity event     in  aid  of:  

Ôtil you drop! Thu 10  Nov:  12oo-­‐8pm    

(our 10th  Anniversary  is  being  opened  by  Ma:  Brown,  Heart  FM’s  breakfast  DJ,   who  is  being  aucDoned  off  as  an  aFernoon  tea  date  –  last  bids  @  1pm,  Thursday   10  November,  aFernoon  tea  @  2.30pm  same  day  –  place  bids  beforehand  with   Jane  on  07711  043199)  

sponsored by:  

Fri 11  Nov:  9am-­‐4pm   Spread  Eagle  Hotel,  Thame   £3  entrance  fee

Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011


l Column: In the Garden with Naomi MacKay - Poetry in Motion


ardening is a real art form, so it’s no surprise that the other arts – such as literature – can be combined with gardening to produce some startling results. While a poet uses words as building blocks to evoke images and feelings, so the gardener uses plants, the earth and landscaping to convey the inner emotions. Both are good for the soul – while some turn to favourite words when troubled, or want to take some time out, many of us can feel recharged by taking a simple stroll through the garden at the beginning of the day, doing a bit of weeding among the dew-heavy plants, or simply watching the birds. At this year’s RHS Hampton Court Flower Show a group of garden designers created gardens based on poems written by some of the nation’s best-loved poets – from the quirky world of Jabberwocky to the mournful lost love of Byron. Barry Chambers, for instance, drew on Keats’ ‘On The Sea’ to create a garden that symbolised the sea and its wild unbound nature

Youngsters love helping in the garden

through a clever use of planting, a simple colour palette and a cliff-like archway (see above). Jayne Thomas, meanwhile, took Shelley’s ‘Mont Blanc’ as her theme, using a swirl of blue planting to represent the glacier and a witch’s knot pattern to represent Shelley’s fascination with folklore and witchcraft. The inspiration for Yvonne

Matthews’ garden was Byron’s ‘Loves Last Adieu’, and she represented his romanticised loss using a range of plants such as black petunias, with creeping roses and Myrtle, which are mentioned in the poem. As we head into autumn (I know, I know, what happened to summer?) and the nights begin to draw in, why not revisit a favourite poem, piece of writing – or painting, play,

Vale Life : Sept/Oct 2011

or theatrical production – and see if it inspires you to create something new in your own garden. There will be much to inspire at this year’s Thame Art and Literature Festival (see page 28). Maybe a whole new design, a border scheme or even a plan for a series of pots and containers. Be as creative as you like – whether you represent a ‘feeling’ or are more literal in your translation. Me? I’m off to create a Roald Dahl character for our village Scarecrow Festival – I can’t tell you any more, the competition is hot this year and I don’t want to give anything away! Naomi MacKay is a freelance writer and editor who has worked on Garden Answers, Garden News and Garden Trade News and writes about her Buckinghamshire garden at http://diggingthedirt.wordpress. com. She also helps businesses to create or improve their websites, run social media campaigns, and produce business publications. Naomi is offering a 10% discount to Vale Life readers who quote the code VLSEPT. Call 07802 426594, email or log on to

Stanbridge Road, Haddenham, Bucks, HP17 8HN Tel: 01844 290395

the Gardener’s Retreat Coffee Shop

Autumn Magic Collection Autumn is a beautiful season full of rich colours from foliage, berries & flowers. Planting in Autumn gives you much better shrubs for the following year as they can put down roots before spring. Come and take a look at our collection. 20

Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011

Spring Flowering Bulbs Plant them now!

Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011

Cherry Nurse

Autumn is a beautiful time of year in the garden and a good moment to plan ahead, perhaps with a quick visit to Cherry’s...


always feel that September/October is the start of the gardening year,” says the aptly named Cherry Nurse of Cherry’s Nursery. “Whatever you want to achieve in your garden can be greatly influenced by what you do in the autumn. “Now is the time to think ahead and plant some bulbs. Imagine the thrill of those first beautiful snowdrops come late January/February - Elwesii is s giant snowdrop which flowers really early, as do winter flowering crocus. “These could be followed by Narcissi. The small Tête À Tête and February Gold, flower for long periods during March, when the larger King Alfred and Golden Harvest Daffodils start to appear. For a more natural look Frittilaria and Blue Bells do a great job. “Hyacinths, Muscari and Iris all add colour and scent. Whether you plant up a pot with ten bulbs or spread dozens in your border they will all bring a hopeful hint of Spring. But only if

bought and planted now! “If you are interested in growing food then Autumn is the time to plant Rhubarb, Strawberries, Gooseberries, Red and Black currants and best of all Raspberry Canes. Blueberries give a good crop and are an attractive bush but they need an acidic soil, so plant them in a pot with ericaceous compost. “In the ornamental garden, shrubs, perennials, Alliums and bare root Roses will all do well if given time to settle in. Planting soon will allow them to become established before they are required to start growing and flowering next year when the soil warms up and the daylight hours lengthen again. “Tulips however are best planted in November, as if they are put into warm soil any earlier they may develop tulip fire. “In the veg beds it’s time for Autumn Onions, Broad Beans and Garlic to go in. Garlic is an easy crop which gives good results even in the


Cherry’s Nursery coldest of winters like last year’s. “Autumn is a beautiful time of year in the garden, the light comes in at a different angle and colours are rich and strong. “Every moment outside is precious now, as we know that winter is closing in. A few hours spent planting bulbs, shrubs, or even a new hedge or fruit tree now, will make your garden even more beautiful and productive next year.” Cherry is always available at Cherry’s Nursery in Towersey with help or advice. She is open everyday except Tuesday when you can find her at the top end of Thame Market. She sells lots of good plants at very competitive prices so get there early and get planting! l Cherry’s Nursery, Oak Cottage, Church Road, Towersey, Oxon. OX9 3QW. Tel: 01844 427276. Email:

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


A refreshing approach to gardens, with so many of us enjoying the outdoor life we offer a full range of garden services. RHS trained with the knowledge and experience of a traditional gardener through to the complete garden design and build service. We have a friendly Chelsea awarding winning designer we work with who has exhibited at this years Chelsea Flower Show.

The professional design and build service for residential and commercial property From fence panels and back door steps, to complete garden redesigns with paving, turfing, excavations, retaining walls and planting, driveways, patios, decking, water features, ponds...

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or 07771 813558

Avoid the Spring rush! Call now for details of our Early Bird Discount - contact Rodney on: 07732 329118 Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011


l Column: Alisha Johnson

Vale Life : Sept/Oct 2011

Ted Baker coat ASOS contrast knit jumper

“Autumn approaches,” says Alisha Johnson, “but don’t throw out your summer wardrobe, try a clothes conversion...


The change in seasons is hard for everyone, as the days get shorter and the air gets chillier and we feel the need to invest in a new wardrobe of snugly clothes. Why not convert your existing wardrobe for winter though and you’ll save a bundle before the snow settles.

Summer dresses Printed tea dresses and barely-there mini dresses were perfect during our brief but brilliant heatwave. Yet now we find ourselves wishing the thin fabric was a Sandwich Cardigan lot thicker, and havby Muse of Thame ing a dilemma over

whether the short hemlines should feel the winds of change. But don’t relegate your favourite dresses to the back of the wardrobe, invest in some transitional pieces and keep them durable through the winter. Layer your summer dress with a plain long sleeve t-shirt underneath, or even a white shirt and thick tights for extra layers of warmth. Then belt a woollen coat (Ted Baker coat, £270, available from ASOS) or chunky knitted cardigan (Sandwich S-Sleeve cardigan, £103, left, available from Muse) over the top. Maxi skirt Thin and floaty, often pleated, they were the perfect cover up for a stroll on the beach or a busy day shopping. But now as it gets colder the chills will be felt all the way through the chiffon skirts. To

combat the cold, swap the miniscule vest tops for polo necks (Reiss Harlow roll neck, £79) and add in tights if you’re still not convinced. Keep the maxi People Tree skirt looking Amelia blazer from boho cool by wearing Freerange, Thame a leather biker jacket (Topshop double layer jacket, £80, jeans looked great with a contrastavailable at Topshop) and add in a ing top and 70s style floppy hat, but pair of wedge boots (Aldo Spitak prepare them for winter by adding boots, £90) to boost your height. in a block coloured jumper (ASOS contrast knit jumper, £35) and Coloured jeans a smart pair of loafers, or make Adored by celebrities, coloured them perfect for work by teaming jeans gave us all a colour pop this with a dark blazer (People Tree summer. And whilst most of us will Amelia blazer, £85, available from be looking towards the black hues FreeRange) or bright contrasting for some winter warmth, there cardigan. are ways to keep the brightness of So no matter what winter brings, coloured jeans in our wardrobes make sure you’re ready and suitably with a few simple additions in the stylish for the rain, cold and snow way of comfy jumpers. Coloured that is sure to settle soon enough!

Autumn Wedding Rings Event 12-17 October 2011 Bicester and Thame, Oxfordshire A date for the diary...Biagio invites Brides and Grooms to be, to his Autumn Wedding Rings Event. The perfect chance to see the best in wedding rings, talk about the finer details and made to measure ring service. Biagio brings together beautiful wedding ring collections, bridal jewellery and grooms accessories for this exclusive event and gives you an experience to remember. “It is my passion to create the ‘dream ring’ for our couples. Our long established couture service is celebrated with couples returning to capture further moments in their lives” Don’t miss out on up to 50% off your wedding rings only at this event. Choose your wedding rings and your golden ticket, open it to reveal from 10% to 50% off your chosen wedding rings ordered or purchased at this event. Molto Felicita


Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011

RSVP To book your champagne wedding rings viewing today, call 01869 252323, 19 crown walk bicester OX26 6HY 01844 217001, 2 greyhound walk thame OX9 3DY Book online at or email Rings shown are from the Biagio Wedding Collection

Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011


eptember and October - names based on the Latin for seven and eight - but surely they are the ninth and tenth months of the year, you bright sparks are thinking! Could those Romans not count! They could of course, but when Julius Caesar reorganised the calendar he started his year in March and so September was his seventh month! No matter what you call it, now is the season of mellow fruitfulness. It’s harvest time: berries and plums, apples, pears, barley and corn...bring it in and fill your larder for leaner times. Wicker baskets, corn dollys, our thoughts turn to the home - should we begin to feather our nests for the winter? Perhaps a beautiful fruit bowl or a stylish vase, a comfortable cushion or some pretty ornaments, you deserve these nice things - they will give you a warm glow as the nights draw in... l White Hart Studio, 15 Churchway, Haddenham, HP17 8AB Telephone: 01844 292308 Open Tuesday to Saturday 10am-5pm Sundays: 11am-4pm

Vale ValeLife Life: :Sept Sept/Oct / Oct 2011


l Column: Penny Harper - thoughts of a small town girl

Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011

Penny Harper


have a friend who is a writer and she has recently taken over a gardening column. This amuses me greatly because - as far as I know - she kills everything she comes into contact with! By that I mean plant-life; let it be clear that there should be no questions asked as to the whereabouts of her last boyfriend. ‘So you’re like the ‘Un-Constant Gardener’ then’, I quipped. There was a pause, followed by a glower and I knew I needed a different approach. I tried to console her over her horticultural failings by pointing out that this year has been pretty bad generally. I know this because my Dad told me, and he’s a world authority on everything. Apparently his sweetcorn is ‘embarrassingly small’. I told him I didn’t really need to

know that. There’s been very cold weather followed by very wet weather, so I asked my friend what she’d been struggling with most recently. ‘Cress’. ‘Sorry, that sounded like you just said ‘cress’’. ‘I did. I tried to grow some cress’. Now, as far as I’m aware, you only have to look at an empty eggshell for some cress to start growing. Even the pre-schoolers

are doing it. I didn’t know what to say except ‘I’m sorry for your loss’. I guess not everyone’s going to be reaping the benefits of a bumper crop this harvest. First comes harvest, and then come the harvest festivals. It’s that once-a-year chance to off-load the can of watercress soup that no one can quite remember buying. There are always some questionable beans and usually bread in the form of a wheatsheaf that looks good from a distance but dusty and inedible up close. The food gets donated and I always wonder if they eat that bread, or simply give it another coat of varnish and stick it back in the cupboard… next to the watercress soup. I told my writer friend that if she had any sense whatsoever she would do what I do: closely

Small Town


observe and write about the planting, listen to the wails about the weather and then wait for the glut of autumn fruits. They’ll start off-loading stuff on you faster than you can say ‘thanks for the ten jars of chutney’. There’s a limit to how many crumbles anyone can make. I warned her though that I draw the line at gooseberries. That’s what evil tastes like.

Ruby Moon 4-5A Buttermarket, Thame, OX9 3EW Tel: 01844 212561 Just because your summer holiday is becoming a distant memory don’t despair, we have lots of lovely treats in store for family, friends and of course yourself this autumn. For a little touch of luxury, look no further than our British designed and handmade designer jewellery and toiletries. Tune the mood of your home to the season by adding a beautiful handmade cushion or home fragrance. For that new arrival we have a wonderful array of gifts and cards to delight and amuse. Looking for a wedding gift? See Wallaces fantastic range of gift ideas from traditional to unique. Visit us in Thame to see for yourself or for a taste of Wallace goodies visit our website and Facebook page. However you find your way to us we look forward to welcoming you soon..

Jewellery, Handbags, Hair Ornaments, Fascinators ,Masks, Fashion, Mirrors, Lamps, Chandeliers, Candles, Scottish Fine Soaps, Unusual Gifts, Gift Packaging 24

Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011

Wallaces Home Boutique, 2 Cornmarket, Thame, Oxon, OX9 3DX Tel: 01844 217123 Email: Website:

Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011

Win a £250 shopping spree! The new season collection from CC is in store now! Be in with a chance of winning £250 to spend on the exciting new collection by entering our competition. Simply complete this voucher and hand into your nearest CC store by 20th October 2011

113 high street |Thame | oxfordshire oX9 3DZ

Win a £250 shopping spree Title....................... Forename....................................... Surname........................................... Email Address...................................................................................................................... CC & Viyella would like to keep you updated from time to time with details of offers or promotions that may be of interest to you. Please tick this box if you do not wish this to happen. [ ] T&C’s: Competition is open until 20th October 2011 entries posted after this date will not be counted. Winner will be picked at random and notified by 31st October 2011.

Body & Soul

59 Westmorland Avenue Aylesbury HP21 7HS 01296 434216


Half price check ups,

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Book any of the 3 Advanced Anti-Ageing Facials (Procollagen Quartz Lift Facial (normally £65), Visible Brilliance Facial (normally £65) or the Tri-Enzyme Resurfacing Facial (normally £60) and PAY ONLY £50 and also get 15% OFF any Elemis products purchased that same day (does not include any products on offer already).

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Register the family and we’ll see children under 7 free Evening and Saturday appts available Gift vouchers available Getting married? Look on our website for our special ‘wedding package’ Fairford Leys Smile Centre, 8 Hampden Square, Fairford Leys, Aylesbury, Bucks, HP19 7HT 01296 398 180 /

Think Pink Beauty Kit

50ml Pro-Collagen Marine Cream, a 15ml pro-collagen neck and bust lifting treatment and a 50ml skin nourishing shower cream. This fantastic Think Pink Beauty Kit has been created exclusively by Elemis for Breast Cancer Awareness month this October.



A Pro-radiance Cream Cleanser, an Absolute Eye Serum and a Pro-collagen Eye Renewal

For more treatment and product special offers please see our website:

Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011


Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011

Scrapbooking was invented in the 15th century and has developed over the years into a fun, creative and often skilled range of activities. A Maze of Memories craft centre specialises in scrapbooking and card making workshops and is currently celebrating its fifth anniversary... “


e grew slowly at first,” says Christina Doré of A Maze of Memories. “But since the two year mark, when we expanded our premises, things have really taken off!” Christina’s scrapbooking enterprise is celebrating its fifth anniversary and she is as enthusiastic about the past-time as ever. “It’s a lot of fun,” she beams, “creative and relaxing and so popular! I’ve been amazed. We have regular customers who come out from London and crafters even travel from Devon to enjoy the facilities here.” A Maze of Memories is off Bicester Road, just outside Long Crendon on Woodway Farm Industrial Estate. It’s a lovely quiet spot with plenty of free parking and the airy craft room boasts a fabulous shop bursting with everything you could possibly need for a creative session of cardmaking or scrapbooking. “A lot of our customers are more local and regular, which is nice as we get to know them,” says Christina. “We’re very sociable here and our staff are all crafters, so they are happy to help or chat over ideas. “We get all types of people, from chefs to scientists, nurses and teachers, old and young, mostly female - men come in more to buy presents for their partners!” Christina runs regular tutorials and classes on different aspects of card making and scrapbooking and has regular group sessions for her Card Club and Scrap Club. “The Card Club is in its third year,” says Christina. “Each month we offer seven different sessions and have around 90 people taking part. It’s so popular we now run a Scrap Club too and we’ve been getting similar numbers coming to that as well. “Everyone is welcome and we get a complete mixture of abilities from beginners 26

Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011

Christina Doré (third from left) with helpers: Megan, Susanne and Jenny at A Maze of Memories

to experienced crafters.” “People use their creativity in all sorts of ways here, whether it’s decorating a canvas or a picture for the wall, calendars, cards, clocks, whatever they like. “We have hen party and birthday party crafting sessions too! We’re happy if people wish to bring a bottle of wine to help the celebrations along. We supply the tea, coffee and biscuits!” Christina runs regular classes and has well-known craft industry designers come in to take sessions too. Lindsay Mason, a designer for wholesalers ‘Personal Impressions’ will be there on Saturday, September 17 and Francoise Reed a designer for Woodware will demonstrate on Saturday, October 15. Details are on the website at: “They are real experts,” says Christina, “and provide lots of inspiration for the rest of us and usually some nice free samples too!” Christina keeps up to date with all the latest

ideas and developments in the world of scrapbooking. Wholesalers run sessions on new products and she has recently returned from a weekend in Amsterdam having done a class with Tim Holtz, Creative Director of Ranger Industries and writer of ‘A Compendium of Curiosities’ which is filled with creative and inspiring ideas for paper crafters. Later this month she is attending a Woodware event in Skipton, so it’s all go! If you’ve heard about scrapbooking and would like to give it a try, A Maze of Memories offers an Introduction to Scrapbooking Class, during the day or on crop nights, for £12, at which you create your first page, using your own photos. You don’t have to take a class to shop though, anyone is welcome to drop by to have a look around their amazing stock of paper, inks, glues and accessories and to find out more about the creative activities. l A Maze of Memories, Unit 2e, Woodway Farm, Long Crendon, Bucks, HP18 9EP Tel: 01844 208996. Email: Web:

Chiltern Fireplaces

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Fan powered or balanced flue fires l Chiltern Fireplaces will install your fire if required, or supply only if preferred. l HETAS registered, GAS SAFE registered 47 Frogmore Street, Tring, Herts. HP23 5AU Tel: 01442 822595 Website: Email: Open: Tuesday-Saturday: 10am to 5pm

Studio 4, Fleet Marston Farm, Aylesbury, HP18 0PZ Telephone: 01296 651777 Mobile: 07703 536931 Website: Email:

New windows & doors

Energy efficient windows Choice of designs Composite doors, various colours Bi-folding & French doors Back doors Insurance backed guarantees

Window & door repairs Misty or broken windows? New sealed units fitted Secondary Glazing Add Georgian bars or lead Handles & hinges replaced Patio doors repaired We also fit dog & cat flaps

Sadly - Winter is on its way! Have you thought about…... Secondary Glazing - keeps the warmth in …..and the noise out ! Energy saving glass …..we can replace your existing ! Check your window hinges are OK …..keep out those draughts !

For a free estimate call 01296 630650

Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011


9.00pm     £4 per  ticket                 

TEL : 0871 288 3420 or email to book     tickets 

Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011

with the COULL Quartet

Fantastic music...  Good beer... 

oh yes, and some surprises   courtesy of the   Thame Food Festival.  

This will  be a great night  From Sex & Stravinsky to Rough Guides and War Poets, music, poetry, cake andALONG THE WAY—PRE‐FESTIVAL EVENT  a quiz there’s Don’t miss it  something for everyone, young and old at this year’s Thame Arts and Literary festival...


ast year the inaugural and publishers, talked about books, Thame Arts and Literajoined in debates and enjoyed writ-

over 25 events and more than 30 visiting speakers follow us on Twitter @TAL_Festival   ture Festival took place ing and creative workshops. The 2011 event takes place in towards the end of June. It includedFestival Book Seller  two art exhibitions, October over the weekend of the The Book House  Festival Office  93 High Street, Thame,          Park Meadow, 28 Wycombe Road  The three day celebration was guided walks into Thame’s literary 14th, 15th and 16th, once again in Oxfordshire. OX9 3HJ  Princes Risborough, Bucks. HP27 0DH  ParticipateEnjoyInspire  phone: 01844 213032   Tel : 0871 288 3420   a phenomenal success as festivalpast, a brand new musical, a classivarious venues around Thame and goers listened to and met authors cal concert and a children’s festival.- promises even more. Authors attending include: Sophie Dahl, novelist Barbara Trapido, Guardian columnist John Thursday, Oct 13th, 11.30am: Fiona Harper 10.30am: Word for Word Crace, romantic fiction 7.30pm: Pre Festival Players Theatre, £5 Poetry Workshop writer Fiona Harper, biogConcert featuring Christchurch Memorial Hall, 12.30pm: Motoring rapher Claire Tomalin, auThe Coull Quartet £20 Journalists thor and adventurer Mick St Marys Church, £12/£10 Christchurch, £5 11am: Michael Rosen Conefrey, garden expert Friday, Oct 14th, Players Theatre, £5 1pm: Sophie Dahl Anna Pavord, travel writer 1.30pm: Towersey Manor Barn, 12.30pm: War Matthew Teller, Children’s Genealogy Workshop £7.50 Correspondents Guide HQ, £20 writer Michael Rosen, war 2pm: Creating Cartoons - Barns Centre, £5 correspondent Jill 2pm: Barbara Trapido Robert Duncan 1pm: Helen Peacocke McGivering, travel writer Christchurch, £5 Christchurch Gallery, £5 Museum, £5 John Oldale, Paws For 4pm: Tea Concert 2.30pm: Crace & Bradshaw Thought compiler Helen Rumseys, £10 2pm: Anna Pavord Players Theatre, £5 Rycote Manor Barn, £7.50 Peacocke and many more...

TAL Festival Programme

10am: Humour Writing Workshop Guide HQ, £20 10am: Creating Cartoons - Robert Duncan Christchurch Gallery, £5 10.30am: Crace & Sutherland Christchurch, £5

2pm: John Oldale Christchurch, £5 3.30pm: Rebecca Hunt Christchurch, £5 3.30pm: Jazz Domino Holly, Barns Centre, £5

5pm: ‘Remember 7.30pm: Crendon Chamber Tomorrow’ Players Theatre, £5 Orchestra St Marys Church, £15/£12 5.30pm: Thame 7.45pm: Great Expectations Players Theatre, £8/£7 Sunday, Oct 16th 10am: Matthew Teller Barns Centre, £5

Chamber Choir: Lord Williams Upper School, £10/£8

7.30pm: Festival Finale Spread Eagle Hotel


follow us on 

Meet Barney... Festival Office  Park Meadow, 28 Wycombe Road  Princes Risborough, Bucks. HP27 0DH   Tel : 0871 288 3420  


… who’ll introduce you to Mrs Smith from down the road. And Dave, the neighbour you’ve not managed to speak to yet. And Jenny who’s been doing this for three years.

Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011

Registered charity number 293358 (England) Registered as a charity in Scotland No SC040486

T 01844 348129 E W

The Grange, Wycombe Rd, Princes Risborough HP27 9NS



This w

l TAL FESTIVAL Ltd, Park Meadow, 28 Wycombe Road, Princes Risborough, Bucks. HP27 0DH Tel: 0871 288 3420 email : Website:

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Professional event caterers for weddings, parties & corporate events. Our chefs source the highest quality local produce and create fantastic seasonal menus which are fresh and delicious, for any occasion.

Wait g Da da We done hav

Photo: Millie Smith

6pm: Founder’s Lecture 3pm: Claire Tomalin Prof. Jon Stallworthy on Christchurch, £5 Wilfred Owen:Town Hall, £5 4.30pm: Richard Smith 8pm: Festival Quiz Barns Museum, £5 Centre, £8 7.30pm: ‘Hollow Crown’ Saturday, Oct 15th Festival Players 10am: Mick Conefrey Towersey Manor Barn, Players Theatre, £5 £8/£6

There’s an evening of Dvorak, Beethoven and Shostakovich with The Coull Quartet, a tea concert at Rumseys with Rose Redgrave (viola), Rozzy Gladstone (cello) and poet Richard Cutler and workshops on geneology, writing humour (Sandra Smith) and writing poetry (Patrick Collins). For those who can’t wait until October there’s a Beer and Beethoven pre-festival concert evening with the Coull Quartet with the bar COULL at The James Figg Stables on Friday, September 23rd. (9pm, £4, tickets from TAL or The Book House, Thame.

Arts, crafts and literature in Thame

Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011

This year, in a fortuitous coincidence, Thame Arts and Literature Festival takes place the same weekend as a Sally Evans Art and Craft market at Thame Town Hall, giving art lovers even more to explore... Thame Museum, left & Town Hall, right, by Kim Osborne


Sally Evans Art and Craft market means quality, diversity and a great opportunity to find that unique, handcrafted special something for a gift, or to treasure in your own home! Vale Life has been tempted on several occasions and is the proud owner of a David Shepherdson handcrafted wooden pen (www. they are all unique, absolutely lovely and very reasonably priced!

In preview, a print by Janice Hume (www.thiswouldlooknice, see pic top right, appeals at the moment, although Jazzy Lily ( glass jewellery, right, is always alluring and handmade books by Ros

Long ( are simply gorgeous. Ros explores the structural form, function and tactile qualities of books and produces some stunning work.

South Oxfordshire Landscape by Janice Hume

Orme & Hall

Talking of paper, for something completely different, a conversation piece for sure Graham Lester’s website (www.woodcarve. shows you some of his amazing paper sculptures - see his black high heels bottom right! Exhibitors at Thame include: printmaker Laura Boswell (www. see image left, Mick Randall Woodcraft (www., Jeremy White Ceramics (www. and local artist Kim Osborne (www. who has

Art and Craft Market 15th October 10-4 pm Town Hall, Thame Meet local artists and makers and buy their beautiful work For more information A proportion of the £1 visitor charge will be donated to The Heart Centre, John Radcliffe Hospital

some fantastic images of Thame in her gallery. Until recently Heather Hunter ( was chairman of Bucks Visual Images Group. She uses paper, digital printwork, collagraphs and various binding methods to produce amazing work, see right.

Jazzy Lily jewellery

Orme and Hall ( produce fascinating recycled silver and mixed media metal jewellery, made using materials from damaged antiques (see above), and small sculptural pieces in mixed metals. Terry Castle, wood turner; Elspeth Hector, luxury knitted items and curious creatures; Zillah Moore, strawsilk covered glassware, candles and plates; Anna Franklin, creative illustrations and designs (, Sue Davies, patchwork textile artist, Andrew Scoggins, fine art photography (, Elaine Nipper, stationery, prints ( The next local events are at Thame Town Hall on Saturday, October 15 and at The Memorial Hall in Wendover on Saturday,

November 12, so put them in your diary now! They run from 10am to 4pm and profits from the £1 entrance at Thame will go to the Heart Centre at

John Radcliffe Hospital. There is plenty of parking close to the Town Hall in the centre of Thame. l For more information please contact Sally on 01296 696747 or Email: Web: www.sallyevansevents.

Black High Heels by Graham Lester

Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011


Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011

As the glamorous world of Strictly Come Dancing graces our screens once again and brother Brendan trades steps with his celebrity partners, Scott Cole is in the Vale offering us mere mortals the chance to improve our moves and acquire some hot steps for those special occasions...


y mother made us go dancing,” says three times undefeated New Zealand Ballroom champion Scott Cole. “She took us to dance lessons from the age of six. We didn’t want to go and often tried to run away but eventually we started to enjoy it.” Scott grew up in Christchurch, New Zealand with his brother Brendan and sister Vanessa and all three proved to be exceptionally talented dancers. Scott and his sister developed a successful dancing partnership and were three times winners of the New Zealand Latin American Championship in 1994, 1995 and 1996. They moved to Australia to dance at a higher level but after competing at the 1997 British Open Championships, the partnership broke up. Scott later returned to England and teamed up with former Amateur World Champion Inga Haas. Together they gained good results in both the British and UK Championships and Scott was judged Scottish number one two years running (Scott’s father was originally from Glasgow) and ranked 19th in the world. “My sister was finding it difficult as a grown woman to express herself freely while


Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011

dancing with her brother,” says Scott. “We’d made it into the New South Wales top three and were moving up the all Australian rankings but it was time for a change. She is a dance instructor too now.” Scott followed Brendan to the UK about ten years ago where his brother was struggling to make a name for himself. “In competing as an amateur you’re not allowed to teach or earn any money from dance,” says Scott. “So it’s very hard financially to keep going. The cost of lessons, outfits and travel soon mounts up. You need a job but then you’ve only got limited time to practise. “Until Strictly came along there wasn’t really an outlet for ballroom but the series has really captured people’s imaginations and proved there is an audience and a demand for dance shows.” Scott decided to have a complete break from competition in 2002 and worked for several years organising training for a telecommunications company. In 2004 Brendan featured on Strictly Come Dancing. It was an amazing success and he became a household name. Dancing is in Scott’s blood and although his alternative career was going well he knew he would rather be involved with dance. In 2008 he gave up his job and started teaching ballroom. Now he does a mixture of private lessons, school teaching, dance classes, corporate work and shows. Scott lives in London but when his brother got married and moved out to Buckinghamshire last year he visited and discovered the beautiful Vale countryside. “Brendan showed me The Barns Centre at Thame and I thought it looked a nice place to run some dance classes,” he says. He is now teaching weekly in Aylesbury and Thame and is due to start in Wycombe soon: “i have a 7.30pm Solo Latin Class, for those without a partner, who want to learn but don’t want to dance with someone they don’t know. We do steps as a class, it’s like line dancing sometimes and we can attempt some really interesting choreography as dancers aren’t restricted by a partner! “At 8.30pm it’s a Beginners Combined

Ballroom/Latin Class which is partnered, but you can come along without and pair up with someone there. “I’m at Queens Park Arts Centre, in Aylesbury ( on Wednesday evenings with the same two classes but from 8-8.40pm and then 8.45-9.30pm. “I’m also in Aylesbury at The Grange School, Wendover Way, on Thursday nights when the Solo Class is at 7.30pm and the partnered class at 8.30pm. “Classes are £10 per person, per class, apart from Wednesdays which is £8. “We get a mixture of abilities as people who aren’t complete beginners may come along just to have a dance and I am happy to give them tips or something more challenging to work on.” Scott will soon be touring with Brendan again in his popular ‘Live and Unjudged’ show: “It’s like ‘an audience with’ really,” says Scott. “We have a few dance demonstrations and a bit of chat. There’s three couples dancing and a 14 piece band with a couple of singers - it’s a good show. We’re on tour again from January and will be appearing at Aylesbury Waterside on Sunday 22nd. “I love the show side, I think I’m performing better now than when I was competing so I’m really pleased but I also enjoy seeing pupils develop their dancing skills too, it’s very rewarding. “I’ve choreographed and coached quite a few wedding dances which is fun. I also do one on one lessons and I’m teaching at a couple of schools - seeing the pupils get a routine together is very rewarding. “The ballroom classes are great as there’s always a mixture of people. I try and keep things light and make it fun. I don’t make people swap partners like some classes do. I like a bit of fun and banter and hopefully people go away having had a good time as well as having learnt some dance steps.” More information about Scott and his dance classes can be found on his website at: l Scott Cole Dance Tel: 07912 362235 Email: Web:

North, West & East Aylesbury, Halton, Ivinghoe, Pitstone, Tring & Winslow Keri Donnellan 07900 987230 South & East Aylesbury, Haddenham Princes Risborough & Thame Sue Morris 07752 448026

Free class with this ad offers for new customers in class

New! New! New! NEW range of wide-fitting footwear for men and women l NEW Stairsteady and Stairlift l Mobility scooters and powerchairs sales and servicing l Walk-in baths and bathlifts l Riser/recline/lift chairs and posture chairs l Adjustable beds l Lightweight wheelchairs, rollators and walking frames l Special terms on larger items/long term hire on mobility scooters l

Zoomania is launching a Kidz Club! That’s a Breakfast, After School and Holiday Club! Details are being finalised at the moment so to register your interest please email Chris: call us for a registration form on: 01296 481333, or pop in and enquire at reception.

3 Kempson Place, Gatehouse Way, Aylesbury, HP19 8UQ Tel: 01296 481555 Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011


Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011 01296 585215

At 60 actress Lynda Bellingham is living life to the full. She has a full work diary and keeps fit and healthy by eating well and exercising. ‘Age is just a state of mind’ she says...


urning 60 can be the time many of us think of taking it easy – but not actress Lynda Bellingham. In recent years her work has kept her as busy as ever with appearances on Strictly Come Dancing and ITV’s Loose Women and she will shortly be returning to her home town of Aylesbury to star in the theatre production of Calendar Girls. So what’s her secret and how does she stay looking so good? “I can’t starve myself – I’m too busy” laughs Lynda. “I wouldn’t be able to get through a day’s work. So, I eat well and exercise.” One of Lynda’s favourite activities is Pilates which keeps her supple, and she’s regularly seen taking part in charity events including Memory Walks ( which she launched last year in her role as ambassador for the Alzheimer’s Society. Now she’s encouraging others to take up exercise and live a healthy life for longer by supporting Reactivate, the campaign that connects local people to sport and physical activities right on their doorsteps. As Lynda says: ‘Age is much more a state of mind these days.’ Michaela Smith, Interim Director of Bucks Sport (the local organisation co-ordinating Reactivate), agrees. “Your body reacts to exercise in much the same way as when you’re younger but what’s important is putting the appropriate demands on your body.” So, if you once enjoyed high adrenalin sports such as squash why not consider alternatives such as racket ball? For those who enjoy a party atmosphere, Aqua Zumba has arrived at Stoke Mandeville Stadium in Aylesbury and offers a safe, water-based workout. If you like running why not try Nordic Walking which gives your whole body a work-out and is softer on your joints? A four week course will be starting in October at Waddesdon Manor costing just £20 and includes free admission to the beautiful grounds. If getting fit in style appeals pop along 32

Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011

Lynda, right, and the cast of Calendar Girls

to another local National Trust property, Hughenden Manor near High Wycombe, on September 26th, or to Waddesdon Manor on October 1st, to try out a range of free taster sessions taking place each afternoon. Or, if you fancy team sports, why not enjoy a kickabout at the “Just Play” football sessions (including women’s football) starting this year? Whatever you choose to do, you’ll have the chance to develop new skills, meet new people and have fun. As Lynda says: “Do give it a go. Think of it as doing something in aid of a

good cause. With that good cause being you!” There are hundreds of ways to get fit, feel healthier and have fun with Reactivate Bucks. See or call a member of the Reactivate Bucks team on 01296 585215 for details. And don’t worry if it’s been a while since you donned your trainers - Lynda, who has been stepping out of her comfort zone as well as her clothes for her latest role in Calendar Girls, says: “It’s good to give things a go. It keeps you feeling young!”

Follow Bucks Sport on

Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011

Facebook and Twitter

Give it a Go Week Lynda Bellingham

Nordic Walking works the whole body

Register online and win great prizes!


ake a moment to register with Reactivate Bucks online at: and you’ll be updated with opportunities throughout the year. Plus you can win great prizes including: l Tickets for Calendar Girls, starring Lynda Bellingham, at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, from November 14th to 19th.


eactivate can connect you to sports and physical activities on your doorstep, all year round - but why not take part in its forthcoming Give it a Go Week (Sept 26th to Oct 2nd) when many activities will be free or subsidised? These include lots of water-based activities as part of the national Big Splash campaign. Here’s just a flavour of what’s on offer. l FREE Nordic Walking taster session at Waddesdon Manor on Sept 29th at 10am. Places are limited so please book in advance. Includes free entry to the grounds on the day. l Stoke Mandeville Stadium are offering 2 for the price of 1 on general adult swimming plus lots more. l Get cycling by joining one of the free organised Skyrides ( every Sunday in September including a ride on the Phoenix Trail. l Free taster sessions for those 50+ at Aqua Vale Swimming & Fitness Centre and Swan Pool. Visit on 30th Sept to join in with fun and fundraising on behalf of Age UK. Call Kirsty on 01296 585249 for details. For details of these activities & hundreds more, plus booking options, call 01296 585215, or see

l Lynda’s autobiography, Lost and Found, an inspiring story of heartache and determination on the road to wisdom and maturity. l Peta Bee’s book, Integrated Exercise, showing how everyday activity can get you fit. For details, including Peta’s inspirational work for Save the Children, see: l A picnic basket filled with goodies from the Waddesdon Manor Gift Shop near Aylesbury:

Why not try Tai Chi or Pilates?

Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011


Feature sponsored by Crendon Motors Ltd

Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011

Last year at Kop Hill over 350 historic vehicles took on the climb, a further 300 displayed in the paddock and over 8000 spectators enjoyed two fabulous days while helping to raise £30,000 for local charities. This year’s event promises to be even bigger...


ow a firm fixture on the historic motorsport calendar, The Kop Hill Climb retuns to a hill near Princes Risborough this September on Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th September. The entry lists are now full and boast an amazing array of veteran, vintage and classic cars and bikes from 1904 to 1973. This year Jaguar’s E Type is celebrating its 50th anniversary and some 20 E-Types representing the model range from 1962 to 1972, with later models in the paddock displays will be featured at this year’s event. Look out for the Dick Skipworth collection of Ecurie Ecosse racing Jaguars from the 1950s and the oldest surviving Aston Martin A3 prototype, which was driven by the designer Lionel Martin on Kop Hill in 1924. Notable entrants include the veteran 1903 Humberette, 1904 Wolseley Racer, and the 1905 De Dion Bouton. Two aero-engined cars, the 1907 8 litre Berliet/Curtiss and the mighty 1913 12 litre Vauxhall Viper Special are also on the ‘must see’ list. Model T Fords of all styles will mingle with Sunbeams, Vauxhalls, Alvis and Talbots of the inter-war years, plus at least 6 Bugattis from Type 13 to Type 51. Motorcycles are well represented, with many examples of types, which would have run in the heyday of Kop Hill.


Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011

Paddy Hopkirk in Mini Cooper The 1913 Rudge, 1914 Sun Villiers and the little 1919 Levis Popular, just 2 ¾ hp, plus all the well known marques of the pre and post-war periods. To celebrate the breadth of motoring, alternative energy vehicles will provide an additional feature ranging from a 1901 Waverley Electric Automobile to today’s models. Skidz Motor Project will be exhibiting the Mercedes GP PETRONAS Formula One Team Car and the Pirelli Classic Marathon winning Mini 6 EMO loaned by Paddy Hopkirk. Paddy, who now lives in Bucks, won the Monte Carlo Rally in 1964, in his Mini Cooper. He is a well known spokesperson for the motor industry being a Vice President of the British Racing Drivers Club and is also a Patron of the youth motor charity SKIDZ in High Wycombe, which is one of the local charities supported by the Kop Hill Climb.. A collection of present day supercars will also make demonstration runs during the event. Attractions for all the family this year include the amazing Haurel & Lardy who recreate the legendary comedy double act, while the Society Jazz Band will entertain with

live music and there will be a selection of trade stands and food and drink outlets for all. Entry tickets are available at tourist and information centres in Aylesbury, High Wycombe, Marlow, Princes Risborough and Wendover and at the lain Rennie Hospice shop in Princes Risborough, as well as online via the website. On the day prices: £10 for first ticket (including Souvenir Programme), £5 for other tickets in party; children under 12 free. Gates open at 9am. Runs up Kop Hill from 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm.

l The Kop Hill Climb Email Website:

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Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011

As Bucks Hornets Basketball enters it’s fourth season it has already become one of the top junior clubs in the country and is now looking for partners to help ensure all youngsters can have the opportunity to join their ranks...


xciting, energetic of Hornets players have and playable at a represented their region or street level with joined the National Training a minimum of Squads, with one player, Mo equipment, Basketball is Soluade, top right, leading currently the second most England’s U16 Boys to the popular team sport in the European Finals and to gain world and the third in promotion, for the first time, England. to the European A-Division. Here in the Vale, Bucks Mo also gained a sports Hornets are a National scholarship to one of Spain’s League Basketball Club, best Academies. based in Aylesbury, which in With the new National Lee McCarthy only four years has become League season due to start one of the top junior elite at the beginning of October, clubs in the country. This season the club matches each weekend till Easter and can boast six teams (U13, U14, U16 and training two evenings a week, there is a U18 Boys, and U14 and U16 Girls) and large commitment required from players, some 80 players. coaches and parent volunteers. “The primary aim of the club,” says Hornets has now gone into partnership head coach and former Professional with three Aylesbury Secondary Schools: Basketball Player Lee McCarthy, above, Aylesbury Grammar School, Aylesbury “is to enable young people, from across High School and The Grange and formed the community, to enjoy, develop and an Academy for 6th Form students, allowmaximise their potential in this fast ing them to develop their game further growing and exciting team sport. whilst completing their studies. “Apart from the game itself, players Hornets coaches are also now working learn valuable life skills that will serve with many local schools. them into adulthood: confidence, team“We received a lot of requests to work, responsibility, the value of effort and provide development opportunities for hardwork and experiencing both success younger children (9 and 10 year olds),” and disappointment!” says Lee. “So we have started a fortnightly Over the last four years a large number Saturday morning Junior Academy, with the focus on individual development and understanding of the game through fun.” For a club that is only in its 4th season Hornets have achieved a great deal. It is run by a committed group of seven coaches and many parents, but although the coaches and parents give their time for free, running a club that uses indoor sports facilities and functions at an elite level, does not come cheap. Club Secretary Steve Sharpe explains: “All the training, three home games a week and the cost of fully qualified officials would cost the club over £40,000 a year and we are very thankful for the

support we receive from our partnership schools and local grant organisations which help keep these costs down. “We wish to remain accessible in the long term to all young people from across the community, whatever their social or economic background and we are inviting local businesses to partner us in this aim. “Support from businesses such as John Dennis 4x4 and Elite Physical Medicine have helped us ensure that training equipment and kit have been available.” Hornets would like to hear from any organisations or businesses keen to be more involved in the community, and who would like to join the club to bring out the best in young people through basketball. For more information about the Hornets and to keep up with match results see:, or find them on Facebook. l Bucks Hornets c/o Aylesbury Grammar School, Walton Road, Aylesbury, HP21 7RP Email: clubadministrator@ Website: www.bucks Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011


Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011

l Column: Ruby McLee

Aylesbury’s own American foodie

Our farm diary from Richard and Rosemary Hilsdon who run Boycott Farm, near Stowe, with its popular farm shop and restaurant.


ack to Blighty after a whirlwind road tour of France, Italy and Switzerland. You may not believe me, but I’m happy to be home. Now, ‘home’ may sound strange coming from a ‘foreigner’ to these parts, but as a global nomad I’ve found that home is where my kitchen is. Yet, as pleased as I am to once again be queen of my own castle, I’d be lying if I said I don’t already miss the tastes and smells of the Mediterranean. My way of bringing them home? Cooking up the produce of the region. Wine, almonds, olives, herbes de Provence and lavender honey all came home with me and are guest-starring at our table. But my favourites are the fresh figs. They’re falling off the trees now all around the Med and some will even find their way to your local fruit seller. They’re fabulous raw, but here is another idea, a bit fancier, for when you have a group gathered around the grill. .



t the beginning of September we had our second visit to Bucks County Show. It was lovely to meet so many people who enjoy reading our diary and we hope to see some of our new friends up at the farm soon. Everyone enjoyed sampling the best bacon and bangers in Buckinghamshire. We took a refrigerated trailer full of sausages and came home with nothing but tired feet! We had a surprise arrival on the farm in the summer. Richard found an orphaned calf in one of the fields, which we named Bambi because of her big brown eyes. He contacted the neighbouring farms to see if they had lost her, but to no avail, so he spoke to various authorities for advice on how he could keep the calf at Boycott until someone claimed her. All animals need a passport but without knowing her mother, the calf could not be registered. Sadly, she came close to being slaughtered because she didn’t fit into any of the bureaucratic boxes! However, Richard did not give up and thankfully, the story does have a happy ending. Bambi now has a passport and is happily snuggled up in a pen in our courtyard. She will eventually join the rest of our cattle in the fields and hopefully live a long and happy life on Boycott Farm. Our new flock of chickens are now fully qualified in egg laying and were let loose at the end of August to run free on the farm. The daily ritual has begun once again, of Rosemary, Richard and Dasher the dog, chasing all 6000 of them back into Cluckingham Palace at night before the fox comes around for a light chicken supper! We don’t like to mention Christmas too early but following the success of our Christmas Menu last year, we have already had several enquiries from customers about this year’s festive meal. Our menu will be available soon and we will take bookings throughout December. We will also open in the evenings in December for parties of 20 or more so do give us a call if you are planning a Christmas “get together”. l Boycott Farm, Welsh Lane, Stowe, Buckinghamshire, MK18 5DJ. Telephone: 01280 821286. Email: shop@ Website:


Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011

Late Summer Stacks (makes 12) What You Need: 6 fresh figs, washed (but not peeled) and halved along their length 1 packet halloumi cheese 6 strips of prosciutto (Parma ham), cut in half across their width 12 large fresh mint leaves 2 Tbsp honey, warmed 12 cocktail sticks What You Do: 1. Brush the open faces of the figs with the warmed honey. 2. Grill face up for a few minutes, until they start to shrivel. If you want grill lines on the tops, turn them over for a minute before removing from the grill and setting aside. 3. Assemble your stacks by skewering one fig half (face up), then one mint leaf, then a folded piece of prosciutto. Repeat with all 12 and set aside. 4. Cut the halloumi into 6 slices across its width and place the slices on the grill. Turn over after 5 minutes and grill the other side. Remove from the grill, cut each slice in half to make near-squares and use one as the base of each stack. Notes: 1. The prosciutto is optional. It adds nice flavour, but may be too salty for some. 2. Figs are in season from late August through October. Choose figs that are slightly soft but not shriveled. 3. Grilled halloumi hardens as it cools, so serve your stacks immediately. Once the cheese is hard, they’re still presentable, just not quite as nice.

l Ruby McLee is a local writer, photographer and author of popular food blog Tomayto Tomaaahto, which you can read online at

l Column: Matt Brown - One Hungry Man


n my eighth birthday I had an epiphany so vivid that even now, 30 years later, I am able to bring it to my mind with crystal clear, Betamax clarity. It was the heady summer of 1980 and David Bowie and Randy Crawford were vying for my affections with Ashes to Ashes and One Day I’ll Fly Away. For weeks I had pestered my mum and dad for a tent and finally I was granted my wish. The tent was a small, twoperson vision in red and green manmade fibres. It took six grown men four hours to assemble and that night, the night of my birthday, I was allowed to take a friend and sleep out until morning. Needless to say it was a sobering early lesson in how disappointing life can be. There really is nothing in the world like being woken up dry mouthed and sweaty, zipped inside a nylon sleeping bag that is itself locked within another much larger sheet of nylon. At that tender and impressionable age the names Mr. & Mrs. Smith meant a slightly dotty old couple who lived down the road but it was definitely within the confines of my first tent that my lifelong love of luxurious

Matt Brown

ONE Hungry Man

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

boutique hotels was formed. My parents must have been very disappointed by my reluctance to ever use my birthday tent again but in that early morning sunrise, among the ants and spiders and biscuit crumbs and the terrible, terrible smells, I made a solemn vow that I would never go camping again. That was a vow I kept until two weeks ago when under relentless pressure from my two sons we bought a tent and went with friends to a campsite in the Vale

Of The White Horse. In order to minimise the pain, I decided that I would turn to nature in the form of old mother alcohol to see me through. A good deal of column inches has been devoted to the rise in real ale sales, so being a conscientious food writer I thought I’d merge my need for booze and my approaching deadline by arranging a local beer tasting for my fellow campers. The rules were simple. I wanted Bucks and Oxfordshire beers that I could get from a supermarket. The tasting itself would be done blind with no one knowing what the beers were while they tasted. The Oxford beers were easy, Waitrose in Thame has a good selection and I picked up a bottle of Pride Of Oxford (£2) and a bottle of Hook Norton Twelve Days (£2.05). They even had a Bucks beer from Marlow so I grabbed a bottle of Rebellion (£2.15). I knew I wanted to include a bottle of my fave, John Hampden from the Chiltern Brewery, so I picked one up from the brewery shop at Butler’s Cross, for the princely sum of £2.40. So, after a most unscientific but extremely pleasant two hour tasting here are the observations

Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011

we made. The most expensive beer, John Hampden, fared the worst getting 19 marks out of 40. One comment was that it was ‘flat and unimpeding just like Lincolnshire’. Pride of Oxford fared a little better, though not much, getting 24 marks out of 40. This beer was compared to the liquid waste excreted by the kidneys of both the gnat and a cat - how the ladies in question knew of this flavour was something of a mystery! The Hook Norton scored 26 out of 40. It was generally liked by everyone but scored better with the gents, one of whom described it rather beautifully as being ‘bitter and sweet, just like life’. The runaway winner was the Rebellion with a whopping 33 out of 40. The notes at this stage are frankly unintelligible but it got great marks from everyone. I would add that in this writer’s eyes all the beers were delicious and an excellent way of alleviating the awfulness of the camping. I slept soundly and woke refreshed and ready for what the new day had in store. l Hear the latest story from The Creepy Valley here...http://

47 Bicester Road, Long Crendon, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP18 9EE Tel: 01844 208268

Restaurant open: For Lunch, Monday - Saturday: 12-2.30pm, Sunday: 12-3pm For Dinner, Monday - Saturday: 7-9.30pm, Sunday Evenings: Closed. Bank Holidays open as usual. Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011


Thame Food Festival

Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011

Thame Food Festival is a fabulous, free, fun-filled, family day out celebrating the very best of our region’s food and drink. Soak up the aromatic atmosphere while enjoying celebrity chef demos, cookery workshops, food sampling and entertainment and take a few goodies home for later...


hame Food Festival takes place on September 24th and promises to be the most exciting yet, lead by patron Lotte Duncan cooking in the main kitchen and demo-ing in the Aga shop, while celebrity guest Raymond Blanc is in attendance signing copies of his new book ‘Kitchen Secrets’. The main demonstration kitchen moves to the Upper High Street car park this year near Rumseys and celebrity guest chefs include Mark Peregrine and Adam Johnson from Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Mr X from the Great British Menu, Steve Love and Ian Craddock from head sponsors McCormick Schwartz, Giancarlo and Katie Caldesi, Cavendish Events, Lotte Duncan, Nigel Rumsey and Cornfield Bakery. There are some fantastic culinary prizes for the raffle, to be held on the day, including a voucher for a one day cookery course worth £375 at the Ducros Freshness 228x300 GB.qxd



Raymond Blanc Cookery School, a dinner party for 8 people in a David Wilson Windmill Place show home and a sophisticated Fortnum & Mason hamper, kindly donated by Harrison catering. Additional attractions include music from Jack & Glide FM, live music, a beer tent run by The Thatch, a town crier, face painting, a barber shop choir, brewer tours, a hog roast, a chance to ‘make a Dough Tortoise with Cornfield bakery, cookie decoration, making the perfect cup of tea, sausage making and specialist food talks. You can bring along your own freshly cooked Thame Tart (see web site for recipe details), and compete against all-comers - with the winner

Page 1

judged by Lotte Duncan in The Spread Eagle at high noon. Headline sponsors McCormick Schwartz and sponsors David Wilson Homes, SODC, The Thatch, Sainsbury’s and The Spread Eagle Hotel along with many generous partners and supporters are welcoming an incredible line up of stallholders including The Chiltern Brewery, Tim’s Dairy, Daws Hill Vineyard, Merchants of Vino, Mortimer Chocolate, the Oxford Cheese Co, the Good Biscuit Co, Bucksum, Cherry Tree Preserves, The Granary Deli, Meah’s Flavours of India and Sandy Lane Farm. Read on for more about some of the individual exhibitors... l Website:

Spice it up with Schwartz


A masterpiece of flavour demands the freshest colours. Cooking is an art in which taste and presentation are everything. Standard flip-top caps allow air to reach herbs and spices, so they start to lose their colour and flavour even before you buy them. At Schwartz, we use an exclusive foil fresh seal to lock in the taste and colour, and enhance your next creation.



edicated to supplying the very finest quality herbs and spices from around the globe, McCormick’s leading UK herbs and spices brand, Schwartz, has now been in the business for more than 100 years. First established in 1889 by William Schwartz, in Halifax, Canada, Schwartz has developed an extensive product portfolio which today includes dry herbs and spices, recipe mixes, wet sauces, gravies and seasonings. McCormick & Company Inc, whose European Headquarters and factory are at Haddenham, just outside Thame, is a global leader in the manufacture, marketing and distribution of spices, herbs, seasonings and flavours to the food industry with customers ranging from retail outlets and food service providers to food processing businesses. The company is proud to support the local community and to sponsor this year’s Thame Food Festival where Schwartz’s in-house culinary team will be cooking up some delicious local and in-season produce and a Schwartz stall will offer information on their products. All the recipes you will see being demonstrated can be found, together with hundreds more at: Thame Food page_Layout 1 02/08/2011 11:13 You can follow Schwartz’s Cooking Club page on Facebook too and join in the fun as they share recipes, ideas, hints and tips, and give away great prizes every week!.

l McCormick (UK) Ltd, Haddenham Business Park, Pegasus Way, Haddenham, Bucks, HP17 8LB Tel: 0800 030 4209 Email: general.enquiries@mccormick. Web: 38

Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011

[06 déc 2007, 14H52] DucrosFresh_001.92LYRP.pdf

C About Schwartz With more than 100 years

Thame Food Festival

Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011

Swan Supping

Swan S




Taste matters more than image!

Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011


Don’t miss! JAMS DAVIES COMEDIAN CHEF COMPERE 10.00 - 4.00pm in Chef Demo Th eatre

ING BOOK SIGNbe signing

will Raymond Blanc crets’ book his ‘Kitchen Se tween on his stand be 11.30 - 12.30pm



including Lotte DEMO Dunc 10.00 - 4.00pm an The Aga Shop , Upper High St

ON COMPETITI THAME TART JUDGING at 12.00 noon by Lotte Duncan d Eagle at The Sprea RAFFLE PRIZ E DRAW See page 8 for wh your raffle ticket ere to buy s. 4.15pm at Chef Prize draw at Demo Theatre

CORATION COOKIE DE cuit Company Bis with The Good lder Area stall in Stallho on 10.00 - 12.00 no TALK ON FISH SUSTAI by M&J Seafood NABILITY s, 10.30 - 11.15 am at Stables at Th e James Figg Pu b RFECT MAKE THE PE CUP OF TEA . Co by The Real Tea Eagle Spread 3.00pm at The

Thame Food Festival Event Guide

Thame Food Festival

BUILD UP EVENTS 22nd Sept Foodie Quiz Night with Raffle 7.30pm for 8.00pm 23rd Sept TAL Beer & Beethoven Night 7.30pm

The James Figg Pub The Stables at The James Figg Pub

ON THE DAY - 24TH SEPTEMBER LOCAL FOOD MARKET 9.00 - 4.00 Local Food Market Stalls (see pages 9 - 11 for list)

Town Centre & Thame Town Hall Upper Chamber

£10 for 4


STREET ENTERTAINMENT 10.00 - 4.00 Live Music by Local Musicians Thame Town Centre from Crash Records 10.00 - 4.00 Thame Town Crier announcing events Thame Town Centre 10.00 - 4.00 Jams Davies Comedian Chef Compere Chef Demo Theatre 10.00 - 4.00 Face Painting for Children Outside Free Range Clothes Shop 10.00 - 4.00 Music from the Jack & Glide FM Tent Stallholder Area Midday Barber Shop Choir (The Spread Eagle - outside) Flash Barber Shop Choir (around Town)


TOWN CENTRE EVENTS 11.30 - 12.30 Book Signing ‘Kitchen Secrets’ by Raymond Blanc 10.00 - 4.00 Aga Cookery Demos including Lotte Duncan 10.00 - 4.00 Celebrity Chef Demonstrations 10.00 - 5.00 10 minute Brewery Tours for 4 (no booking) 11.00 - 4.00 Beer Tent by The Thatch & James Figg Midday Judging of Thame Tart Competition by Lotte Duncan 12.00 - 4.00 Make a Dough Tortoise with the Cottage Bakery 4.15 RAFFLE PRIZE DRAW

Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons Stall The Aga Shop, Upper High Street Chef Demo Theatre The Cross Keys Pub Stallholder Area, Lower High Street The Spread Eagle Cottage Bakery, Upper High Street Chef Demo Theatre

COOKERY WORKSHOPS FOR CHILDREN 10.00 - 12.00 Cookie Decoration with The Good Biscuit Company 12.00 - 3.20 Make a Dough Tortoise with the Cottage Bakery

The Good Biscuit Company Stall in Stallholder Area £3 Cottage Bakery, Upper High Street (every 30 mins) FREE

EVENTS AT THE STABLES, JAMES FIGG PUB 10.30 - 11.15 Talk on Fish Sustainability by M&J Seafoods 11.45 - 1.00 Sausage Making - ‘Make Your Own to Take Home’ 1.30 - 2.30 Wine Tasting (over 18s only) from Frazer Sutherland

The Stables at The James Figg Pub The Stables at The James Figg Pub The Stables at The James Figg Pub


EVENTS AT THE SPREAD EAGLE HOTEL 10.00 - 4.00 Hog Roast Midday Judging of Thame Tart Competition by Lotte Duncan Midday Barber Shop Choir 12.00 - 3.00 Rebellion Beer Sampling (over 18s only) 12.00 - 3.00 Chase Vodka Tasting (over 18s only) 3.00 Make the Perfect Cup of Tea, The Real Tea Co.

The Spread Eagle The Spread Eagle The Spread Eagle - outside The Spread Eagle The Spread Eagle The Spread Eagle


FREE See page 23 See page 13, 14, 15 FREE FREE Every 30 mins FREE

THAME FOOD FESTIVAL FILM in association with THAME CINEMA 8.00 Foodie Film - title tba Thame Cinema, Thame Players Theatre, Nelson Street



Pressing engagement


ommunity group, Haddenham in Transition is working towards a more sustainable lifestyle. To this end members have purchased an apple press to ensure none of the local crop is wasted. The group loans it out in return for a donation and have produced a ‘how to use the press’ brochure and a booking form. The equipment must be returned clean and on time. They will be doing apple pressing again at this year’s Thame Food Festival and are also holding an event in Haddenham on October 1st, called ‘Home Made in Haddenham’ pressing apples and highlighting the best of local produce such


Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011

Farm shop and tea rooms specialising in home produced and locally sourced produce We stock a wide variety of local food including our own beef and lamb, local sausages and cured bacon. Local pickles and preserves and quality fresh fruit and vegetables are always popular as is our Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Rapeseed Oil as jams, jewellery, bags, an organic pig roast, cakes and so on. It takes place from 11:30am to 4pm at the Scout and Guide Hut, Banks Park, Haddenham. At Thame Food Festival, dustbins full of donated apples will be washed, chopped, milled, pressed, bottled and sold, right before your very eyes. You can even donate some of your own surplus if you so wish. For further information contact: Kirsten Shaw on: 01844 291586, or email: Website: http://www.transition

We sell Calor Gas, pre-packed coal, charcoal, kindling and seasoned logs, prepared on the farm, plus pet food and Heygates Animal Feeds for all farm livestock including: poultry, cattle, pigs, goats, sheep & horses Tea room and gift shop: Enjoy a tea, coffee or juice with a light lunch, homemade cake, or pastries PE Mead & Sons Farm Shop, Wilstone Green, Wilstone, Nr Tring, Herts, HP23 4PA Tel: 01442 828478 We Are Located On The B489 Just Outside Of Wilstone

Website: Open from 9am-5.30pm Mon-Sat and Sundays: 9.30am-4.30pm

Thame Food Festival

Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011

Try bread from the Cornfield Bakery at this year’s festival and you may be surprised to find that it not only tastes fantastic but is more easily digested than most supermarket loaves...


he Cornfield Bakery is a familyrun, independent, wholesale and retail craft bakery, originally from Wheatley. The company makes Real Bread in the traditional way, without additives and is a partner in the Oxford Bread Group, a co-operative growing ancient wheat and making true Oxford local bread. At Thame Food Festival the Cornfield Bakery stall will be showing a range of speciality breads and sour dough products while their bakery shop in the Buttermarket offers the chance to make a dough tortoise, see left. Founded by Wheatley baker Derek Coleman in 1972 the firm grew out of a small shop and coffee room supplied with goods from the bakery where he worked. Derek realised they would be better off baking their own produce and so the coffee room was converted into a bakery. Derek’s son Geoff took over in 1985 with help from wife Rachel and developed their snack food lines and wholesale operations. The firm took over the bakers shop and tea rooms in Thame’s Buttermarket about five years ago and last year expanded to take on baking premises at Long Crendon where Geoff ’s sons Joe and Brandon now oversee bread production. Cakes and pastries are made by Geoff ’s cousin in the shop at Wheatley, which has recently been refitted

Top right: Brandon and Joe Left: Joe

with a café area once again. Cornfield make bread the traditional, or ‘slow’ way. Modern plant bakeries making supermarket bread don’t wish to wait for the gluten in the flour to ferment naturally and so add chemicals to speed up the process. Geoff believes this is behind the rise in wheat intolerance problems today, as gluten is indigestible if not processed properly. “For most of our bread we make a sponge dough,” says Joe, “with wheat flour, water, salt and yeast and bulk ferment 50% of the dough for six to eight hours, allowing the gluten in the flour to get working naturally. “We then add more flour, water, salt, yeast and vegetable fat (non-hydrogenated) and once mixed divide into portions and leave to rest some more before moulding, proving and baking - good things can’t be rushed!” The bread only actually takes 40 minutes at most in the oven, it’s the preparation that is time consuming. The bakery also makes sour dough bread, using a process that involves keeping a starter or leaven: “The sour dough is a living organism,” says Joe. “You have to treat it like a pet! It needs to be fed every day with flour and water - we use our own special Oxford Ancient Heritage Flour, grown specifically for us from a strain of ancient grain by John Letts - and it must be kept at the right temperature. If we ran out it would take months to make a new one! This one is at least eight years old.” The natural yeasts ferment continuously in the leaven culture and the bread is made by mixing some of the leaven with more ancient flour, water and salt - nothing else. The dough is then left to ferment before being scaled,

shaped and placed into proving baskets, until ready for the oven. With only three ingredient, one being Cornfield’s own unique flour, the bread is about as natural as bread can be. “There’s a lot more patience involved working with sour doughs and long ferments,” says Joe. “You have to keep an eye on the dough, it takes experience to tell when it’s ready. A lot of care and attention is needed but that’s the way bread is supposed to be made.” A rye sour dough is used in a similar way to make a range of rye based products which include a 100% Rye Sourdough. “We’re a 22 hour operation at the bakery,” says Joe. “We come in at 6am and work until 2pm. Another team does 1pm to 9pm and the night staff work until 4am, when the vans go delivering. We do a wide range of speciality breads for the farmers markets from onion and herb, to cheese, date and walnut, olive and cornbread, ciabatta, sundried tomato and basil, pumpkin and many more. “My favourite at the moment is a special sour dough rye and beer bread that we’re making for Matthew and Kate at the Clifden Arms, Worminghall. It’s not on general release yet though!” Brandon’s favourite is the Oxford Local Sour Leavened Bread made with ancient flour, which both brothers agree has superb flavour. Follow your nose to their fresh bread stall at Thame Food festival and see what you think. l The Cornfield Bakery, 11 Buttermarket Thame, Oxon, OX9 3EW Tel: 01844 260933 Email: Web: Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011


Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011

Since Sam Snook took over as manager last Summer The Six Bells has been ringing the changes. A refurb and redecoration has stylishly updated the pub’s traditional appeal and the new garden makeover is quite simply, stunning...



Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011

he Six Bells on Thame’s Lower High Street is thought to date back to the late 16th century. It had a refront in the 1700s, at some point swallowed up next door’s cottage and there’s been several additions and extensions since. The result is a charming, higgledy-piggledy delight of nooks, crannies, snugs and cosy corners. The name, inspired by the bells at St Mary’s Church opposite, may confuse - there have been eight bells at the church since 1876, but originally in 1448, there was a ring of five large bells and another smaller bell in the tower, possibly a sanctus bell not part of the ring, which Sam Snook made six. Despite it’s fabulous history I would wager that the pub is at its best by far at this very moment. It is owned by Fuller’s and the company invested, earlier this year, in a tasteful and sympathetic refurbishment and redecoration - reviving the traditional features of the pub while adding a nod in the direction of Sam’s passion for cycling - and then again, more recently, on the garden. It now sports stylish, outdoor seating, paving, decking, umbrellas, heaters and chimineas and will no doubt be in use through the winter months, whatever the weather! Sam has been at the pub for just over a year now. She is an experienced pub manager and a trained chef and pastry chef. She has tempted ex-manager Richard Walker back as head chef and is pleased with her food team, revamped kitchen and ice-cream maker: “We’re enjoying making our own icecreams,” Sam laughs. “We’ve created some gorgeous flavours from raspberry to aniseed, and strawberry with black pepper. “We’re not a gastro pub,” says Sam. “But we do really good quality food, using fresh local ingredients where we can. Mains such as pork tenderloin, duck breast and pub faves like burger, sausage and mash, fish and chips, and individual pies baked in their own Le Creuset pot. Our menu is seasonal and changes each quarter while the specials change daily. We try to keep it interesting - we’ve a chilled sweet risotto as dessert at the moment, served with a compote of apples and pears and some 70s classics like our homemade Arctic Roll and fruity Knicker-

bocker Glory! Our chocolate fondant seems to be the most popular though. “There’s table service in the restaurant areas and bar ordering in the bar, but if you are eating we serve drinks at your table too.” Sam grew up in Pudsey near Leeds. Her father was a baker and after school she trained as a chef at the Thomas Danby college in Leeds, with a year specialising in patisserie. Since then she has worked for all sorts of hotels, restaurants and pubs from the five star Edinburgh Sheraton to the Ravenhall Hotel in Scarborough and for the last 14 years has run a variety of pub-restaurants and inns. “I thought Thame was really nice,” says Sam. “I’ve worked in market towns before and enjoyed the quirkiness. Fuller’s have been brilliant investing so much faith and money in me. It gives me added confidence and motivation to know they are sure I can do a good job here. “The garden is amazing. The chairs are really comfortable and the sofas are popular. We’ve got seating for 90 out there now. “We get an eclectic mix in here: young and old, cyclists, students, families - we’ve got games, books and magazines, many live locally and some come from further afield. “Fuller’s beers are very popular. We have an ale trail board to show how the beer is brought in, tapped, and vented before being served. It has to be cask conditioned in the cellar and then it’s only ever sold for three days at most, to ensure it’s at its best. We’ve got master cellarman status now, so everything has to be perfect in the cellar!” The Six Bells will be at Thame Food Festival on September 24th, demonstrating beer and food matching and some of their homemade ice-cream and the pub is hosting a beer festival on October 14/15/16th featuring 13 ales, (nine from local micro breweries) including one brewed especially for the occasion by Thame Brewery. Seems like a spot of tasting on the 24th might stand one in good stead for choosing the right food during the beer fest. Although at the moment you can’t really go wrong at The Six Bells. l The Six Bells, 44 Lower High Street, Thame, Oxfordshire OX9 2AD Tel: 01844 212088 Website:

Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011

Thame’s annual food festival on September 24th is a great opportunity to check out the new look Spread Eagle Hotel and sample a few goodies into the bargain...

Afternoon tea at The Spread Eagle


he Spread Eagle hotel has stood imposingly in the historic heart of Thame since the 16th century. During its colourful history the hotel has played host to Charles II, French prisoners from the Napoleonic wars, famous politicians and writers such as Evelyn Waugh. The Georgian facade is highlighted by an unmissable 30ft inn sign, originally designed by Dora Carrington which has welcomed guests for nearly a century. The hotel’s reputation for a warm welcome, attentive but discreet service and excellent food and wine is as deserved now as in the days of John Fothergill, the hotel’s pioneer innkeeper. Having undergone an extensive and gradual makeover the hotel now sparkles with a contemporary flourish and the recently refurbished bar and restaurant exhibits a true mix of tradition and style, as befits the hotel’s

history and its literary past. The Spread Eagle is very much involved with the local community and is playing a role in both the forthcoming Thame Food Festival and Thame Arts and Literary Festival. Several Food Festival events are to be staged at The Spread Eagle on Saturday, September 24th. Of particular note is the Thame Tart competition. John Fothergill invented the Thame Tart back in the 1930s. It consisted of a pre-baked pastry case containing a thick layer of raspberry jam, topped by a layer of lemon curd and finished with a layer of thick cream. The full recipe is on the Thame Food Festival site ( If you’d like to make one and enter the festival competition, take it to The Spread Eagle by 10am on Sept 24th and return at midday for Lotte Duncan’s judging! Also at The Spread Eagle on the day will be

demonstrations by Kay’s Cupcakes (9.30am12pm), a barbershop quartet (12noon), A Rebellion Beer Sampling Session (12noon-3pm), Chase Vodka Tasting (12noon-3pm), and a Making The Perfect Cup of Tea demonstration with The Real Tea Company (3pm). In addition there will be a hog roast running from 10am to 4pm. The Spread Eagle is to follow the festival up with a special Wine and Seafood Evening on September 29th with Plantagenet Wines. It’s a chance to taste some of Australia’s best wines matched with English seafood for only £15 per person. In addition to lunch and dinner, the Spread Eagle serves brunch from 8am until 11.30am and sumptuous afternoon teas, daily. l The Spread Eagle Hotel, Cornmarket, Thame, Oxfordshire, OX9 2BW Tel: 01844 213 661 Email: Web: www.

Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011


Food & Drink

Your guide to the best local venues

To feature your pub or restaurant call the editor on 01844 261579 email: Listings from £15 per issue The Akeman, Akeman Street, Tring Herts HP23 6AA. 01442 826027 The Angel, 47 Bicester Road, Long Crendon, Bucks HP17 9EE. 01844 208268. The Bell, The Green, Chearsley Bucks HP18 0DJ. 01844 208077 The Chequers, 35 Church Lane, Weston Turville, Bucks HP22 5SJ. 01296 613298 The Crown, Aylesbury Rd, Cuddington Bucks HP18 0BB. 01844 292222 The Crown, Sydenham, Oxon OX39 4NB 01844 351634 The Farmers Bar, Kings Head Passage Market Square, Aylesbury, Bucks, HP20 2RW. 01296 718812 Five Elms, Stockaway, Weedon Aylesbury, Bucks HP22 4NL 01296 641439. 222

Bucks Advertiser,Friday, Friday, May 27th, 2011 Bucks Bucks Advertiser, Advertiser, Friday, May May 27th, 27th, 2011 2011

The George and Dragon The Green, Quainton Aylesbury, Bucks HP22 4AR 01296 655436 The Dinton Hermit, Water Lane, Ford Aylesbury, Bucks HP17 8XH 01296 747473. The Hop Pole, 83 Bicester Road, Aylesbury, Bucks HP19 9AZ 01296 482129. Le Bistro, 4 Pound Street, Wendover Bucks HP22 6EJ. 01296 622092 Lions of Bledlow, Church End, Bledlow Princes Risborough, Bucks HP27 9PE 01844 343345.

Olive Limes, 60 High Street, Tring, Herts HP23 5AG . 01442 828444

Shoulder of Mutton, 20 Pound St, Wendover, Bucks, HP22 6 EJ. 01296 623223

The Peacock Country Inn, Henton, Oxon OX39 4AH. 01844 353519

Spice Cottage, 57 Tring Road, Wendover Aylesbury, Bucks HP22 6NU. 01296 625202

The Pheasant Inn, 39 Windmill Street Brill, Bucks HP18 9TG. 01844 239370

The Thatch, 29-30 Lower High Street, Thame, Oxon OX9 2AA. 01844 214346

The Red Lion Hotel, 9 High Street, Wendover, Bucks HP22 6DU. 01296 622266

The Six Bells, 43-44 High Street, Thame , Oxon, OX9 2AD. 01844 212088

The Rockwood, 32 Kingsbury, Aylesbury, Bucks HP20 2JE. 01296 423849

Mia Capri, 87 High Street, Thame Oxon OX9 3EH. 01844 213016

Rose and Crown, 2 Oxford Road, Stone, Bucks HP17 8PB 01296 748388

The Millwrights, 83 Walton Street Aylesbury, Bucks HP21 7SN 01296 393711

Rose and Thistle, 6 Station Road, Haddenham, Bucks HP17 8AJ. 01844 291451

Mole and Chicken, Easington, Bucks HP18 9EY. 01844 208387

Seven Stars, Stars Lane, Dinton, Bucks HP17 8UL. 01296 749000

The Valient Trooper, Trooper Rd, Aldbury, Tring, Herts, HP23 5RW. 01442 851203 The Village Gate, 225 Aylesbury Road, Wendover, Bucks HP22 6BA. 01296 623884 The White Swan, 18 High Street, Wendover, Bucks HP22 6EA. 01296 622271 The Woolpack, Risborough Road, Stoke Mandeville, Bucks HP22 5UP 01296 615970

Win a meal for two at The Crown, Sydenham


he Crown Inn is a cosy, traditional, 16th century ale house, tucked away in the pretty hamlet of Sydenham, a short distance from Thame. The pub is run by Max and Louise and offers the most fabulous hospitality, whether you are dropping in for a thirst-quenching pint or staying a while to sample some of the mouthwatering fare on offer. Max, an accomplished chef of some renown, serves delicious and inventive dishes combining simple well-matched ingredients. An Australian with Italian ancestry and a way with pasta, Max is not afraid to adapt influences from around the world, keeping his monthly menu interesting and accessible for all. Lighter bites are available at lunchtimes but don’t miss out on the to die for desserts! Everything is cooked fresh and Max is happy to take individual preferences and dietary requirements into account. If you’d like to be in with a chance 44

Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011

of winning dinner for two with a bottle of house wine at The Crown, simply email your name, address and telephone number, along with the answer to the following question to: What’s the capital of Australia? a) Sydney b) Melbourne c) Canberra Winner to be drawn at random and notified by email by Oct 25th. Prize to be taken before end of November. l The Crown Inn, Sydenham, Oxon, OX39 4NB Tel: 01844 351634. Web:

Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011

Preparations are underway for Aylesbury’s 18th ‘Coming of Age’ Beer Festival. Run in association with CAMRA, it’s a fabulous opportunity to sample the most excellent ales and raise money for Florence Nightingale...


ylesbury’s 18th, or including Chiltern Brewery, the Vale ‘Coming of Age’ Beer Brewery and Dayla, and give scores for your favourites. Tickets cost £6 Festival takes place on Friday, October 28th in advance, or £7 on-the-door and include £2.50 worth of beer tokens! from 6pm-11pm and on Saturday, October 29th, from First 20 to sign David Roe, of the 11am-11pm, at Bucks CC up for CAMRA Aylesbury Vale and Wycombe Branch of Sports and Social Club, membership CAMRA and Editor of Lower Road, Stoke Maneach night the branch magazine deville - with all moneys Swan Supping, together raised going to support the receive £5 worth of Florence Nightingale with branch Chairman, Hospice Charity (FNHC). beer tokens! Alexander Wright, anticipate the event will build on The festival is a refreshing its previous success in this, its 18th chance to sample a variety of ales, year: “This is a marvellous event ciders and beers from across the Country and from local breweries if you like traditional real ale, cider

18th Vale of Aylesbury Charity


assisted by CAMRA

Friday 28th October 2011 6.00pm - 11.00pm NEW



& Saturday 29th October 2011 11.00am - 11.00pm at Bucks County Council Sports & Social Club, Lower Road, Stoke Mandeville

Live music on Saturday night REFRESHMENTS AVAILABLE

Tickets £6 in advance or £7 on the door (which includes £2.50 in beer vouchers) on sale at: The Fundraising Office (address below), Aylesbury Tourist Information and the hospice shops in Aylesbury, Chinnor, Wendover, Leighton Buzzard and Winslow or ring 01296 429975 to pay by debit/credit card. Unit 4, Aylesbury Business Centre, Chamberlain Road, Aylesbury HP19 8DY Tel: 01296 429975 Registered Charity Number 1119499


and perry,” says David. “We will be stocking beers from relatively far afield, as well as some special Picture by Alexander Wright ales from our local breweries and alcoholic ginger beer, all those non-ale drinkers, New Venue! served by our volunteer so you don’t have to miss Bucks CC Sports out on this fun-packed staff. With a live band on Saturday night and & Social Club, event. The Arriva Red food available too, it’s Lower Road, Route 300 and Number 9 well worth a visit and buses will provide a Stoke all profits go to support regular service to the Mandeville. the Florence Nightingale event so you may even Hospice Charity - a very worthy be able to leave the car at home. local cause.” If you are over 18 and would The Charity is calling on local like to purchase a ticket for the businesses to show support by 18th Aylesbury ‘Coming of Age’ sponsoring a barrel on the night: Beer Festival, please contact: 01296 “The Aylesbury Beer Festival is 429975, visit any Florence Nightinone of the most important events gale Hospice Charity shop, or their in our fundraising calendar,” says Furniture Warehouse on ChamberLindsey Fealey, head of fundraising lain Road, Aylesbury, or see their for FNHC, “and we are appealing website: to local companies to help support Alternatively go to Aylesbury the event by sponsoring a barrel of Tourist Information Office, based beer for £100. No need to drive. at the King’s Head pub, “It’s a great way for just off Market Square Get the Arriva a local company to get in Aylesbury town Red Route 300 or centre. some publicity and Number 9 bus in turn help our local For further to the festival! information about Hospice.” Last year’s festival attracted sponsoring a barrel at the event, more than 400 visitors and raised please contact Karen Shardlow on over £5,000 towards the Florence 01296 429975 or email: Nightingale Hospice Charity, which needs half a million pounds each l FNHC festival contact Karen year to keep essential local services Shardlow on: 01296 429975 running - including its in-patient Email: karenshardlow@ unit, Day Hospice and Florrie’s Website: Children’s Team. Drinking beer to raise funds for a deserving cause is just the sort of charity work Vale Life enjoys, so why not pop along and join us at what promises to be a fantastic evening, complete with a beerthemed raffle! If you are the unlucky one chosen to be designated driver for the night - don’t worry, non-alcoholic soft drinks will also be available, along with wines and spirits for Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011


High above Princes Risborough, at the top of Wardrobes Lane, stands the intriguingly named Pink & Lily. New owner Steve Worrall was attracted by the pub’s interesting heritage and explains why there’s some corner of his front Brooke bar that is forever Rupert...


nitially a family home, built in the 1700s, The Pink and Lily became a pub in the early 1800s. Apparently a butler at nearby Hampden House, Mr Pink, had become romantically involved with a chambermaid, Miss Lillie, who fell pregnant, out of wedlock. The couple were dismissed by the Hampden family and set up a local hostelry. Miss Lillie gave birth to a son in 1833, who went on to become the first registered landlord of the Pink & Lily, naming the pub after his parents. A popular spot with cyclists, riders and walkers The Pink has recently changed hands and is looking rather smart after a substantial refurbishment. New owner Steve Worrall took over at the end of April: “I’ve been in the pub trade for many years,” says Steve. “This is my first independent business though. I’ve been looking for the right place for nine months. It’s a lovely spot here and I like the history of the place. “First World War poet Rupert Brooke (1887-1915) used to drink here with his friend, painter Jacques Raverat and the two immortalised the pub in verse one day. You can see a version of the poem in our snug, which is called the Brooke Bar in his honour.” Steve is originally from Brighton and did a degree in Environmental Health when he left school: “I’d met a particularly enthusiastic environmental health officer who persuaded me it might be an interesting career,” says Steve. “After qualifying he worked in local government for two years then joined Scottish and Newcastle in the early 90s as an advisor. He switched into pub management and over the years has overseen numerous pubs, as an


Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011

Steve Worrall

area manager, in marketing, as an operations director and as a commercial director. “I live in Hertford with my family at the moment, but I’ll be here running things with my assistant manager, David Poynton, who is an experienced publican and will live on site. “I think the key elements for any pub are great beer, great food, great wine and great coffee,” says Steve, “coupled with friendly, efficient service. You shouldn’t be in this business if you don’t like people and enjoy being sociable! “Our head chef Chris Cheah is very talented - he’s worked in some top kitchens: at The Notting Hill Brasserie, The Inn at Woburn, the Auberge du Lac - this is his first place without an AA Rosette, but I think he’ll be working on that! “We are a pub first and foremost but we’ll offer really good food - fresh, locally sourced and served in a traditional pub environment. Our second chef Fiona, is a pastry chef by profession, so our desserts are excellent too - her double chocolate brownie served with chocolate sauce and vanilla pod ice-cream is a personal favourite! “Our menu is mainly traditional British cuisine with some options for the more adventurous, for example: Southern Fried Rabbit with Dipping Sauce and House Chips;

or Sautéed Spicy Tiger Prawns with a Thai and Coconut Risotto. “We have table service for diners, so you don’t have to queue at the bar. If you have any special requirements, or would like your dish cooked in a specific way just let us know. “We’ve got plenty of space and can cater for up to 120 covers. We’ve done weddings, wakes, christenings, anything is possible. There’s also a nice garden and a good sized car park too. “We’ve a good team here, the bar and waiting staff are fantastic, all local, enthusiastic, helpful and friendly and I hope they will be as proud of what we are doing here as I am.” Here at Vale Life we wish Steve and his team every success. Apparently the new landlord has no plans, to pen a poem of his own about the Pink but his customers are already waxing lyrical about the redec and fabulous food. Surely it’s just a matter of time... l The Pink & Lily, Pink Road, Lacey Green Princes Risborough, HP27 0RJ. Tel: 01494 488308 Email: Web: Food: Mon-Sat: 12-3pm and 6-9.30pm and Sundays from 12-4.30pm

Win a copy of Earth Now



ince its invention, photography has been used to document and interpret the landscape and to influence attitudes toward wilderness and conservation. Earth Now: American Photographers and the Environment, by Katherine Ware, traces the development of environmental photography. It’s a weighty tomb full of stunning and thoughtprovoking images, which touch on topics such as land and water use, the human place in the landscape, mounting consumer waste, industrial pollution, energy consumption and the effects of industry on humans and animals. Katherine Ware’s text offers insightful commentary on photography and the ways that environmental issues have been framed and advanced through the medium of photography. This powerful commentary on

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Unit 5, The Barn, Manor Farm, Risborough Road, Kingsey, Bucks, HP17 8LU Visa debit and all major credit cards accepted Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011


The Vale Life Christmas Party

Live music from Planet Funk 70s soul, funk and disco tribute

Friday, December 2nd

Stables Bar, The James Figg, Cornmarket, Thame, 8pm-1am, £10, Tickets from The James Figg or Vale Life Magazine 01844 261579 / 07702 006218

Are you worried about your weight? Dare Hairdressing, 3 Railway Street, Aylesbury, Bucks, HP20 1QX. Tel: 01296 427074

Special Offer: 20% off all colour services booked with Jo, right, during October! Also 10% off ghd gold stylers bought before end of October

If you are Cambridge Weight Plan could be the answer. Together with your Consultant, you will work out a plan that suits your lifestyle – helping you achieve your goals.

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New barbershop - Walter’s Ash

Please bring this advert with you to claim your discount.

Open Mon, Tue, Wed, Fri: 9.30am to 5pm Saturdays: 7.30am to 4pm

(NB new clients require a sensitivity test 48 hours prior to colour appointment).

Shear Madness, 245 Main Road, Walter’s Ash, Bucks, HP14 4HT. Tel: 07742 361711

Open: Mon-Wed: 8.30am-5.30pm, Thur: 9.30am-8pm, Fri: 8.30am-6pm, Sat: 8.30am-5pm



Vale Life : Sept / Oct 2011

Fly Fishing with Jim

The gift that gives a lifetime of memories For Grandma, Grandpa, Dad, Mum, Brother, Sister, Boyfriend... For an anniversary, birthday, Christmas, or just to say thanks

One-to-one Fly Fishing Tuition on a private lake Includes Breakfast & Lunch l Bank, Boat and River fishing for Trout l Take a couple home and/or catch and release l Age 11+ welcome - Jim is CRB cleared l l

Win an Aromatherapy Associates Skincare set


romatherapy Associates has launched two new Skincare Sets containing miniature sizes of their popular natural skincare collections. The Anti Age Introductory Set contains the complete collection of natural, award-winning anti age skincare in a versatile size. Presented in a classic cosmetics bag, the set includes the renowned Overnight Repair Mask (5ml), Instant Skin Firming Serum (5ml), Fine Line Face Oil (3ml), Intensive Skin Treatment Oil (3ml), Rich Repair NourishingCream (5ml) and Rich Repair Eye Cream (3ml). The Essential Skincare introductory Set is a collection of natural skincare essentials for all skin types in a chic, metallic case.

Telephone: 01296 770214 Mobile: 07898 637810 Website: Email:

Perfect for the handbag, the collection includes the Renewing Rose Cleanser (30ml),Rose Skin Tonic (30ml), Revitalising Face Oil 3ml, TripleRose Renewing Moisturiser (5ml) andRose Hydrating FaceMask (5ml). If you’d like to be in with a chance of winning a set, simply email your name, address and telephone number, along with the answer to the following question to: Q: How many items are there in each set? Winner to be drawn at random and notified by email by Oct 25th. Aromatherapy Associates Skincare Kits (£30 each) can be ordered direct from Aromatherapy Associates on 0208 569 7030, or purchase online at www.



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Professional bookbinding by Malcolm Kew British Museum trained craftsman High quality leather binding, gold tooling, paperback binding, thesis binding, short run biographies, library binding, journal or magazine binding, repairs and restoration. 61A North Street, Thame, Oxon, OX9 3BH Tel: 01844 212035. Mob: 07859 880087 Email: Open Monday to Saturday

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Vale Life Magazine Sept/Oct 2011  

Lifestyle magazine for Aylesbury Vale area of UK

Vale Life Magazine Sept/Oct 2011  

Lifestyle magazine for Aylesbury Vale area of UK