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Vale Life

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Your free magazine for Aylesbury, Thame and the surrounding area

Take me home


June/July 2011


Commonwealth Gold medal winner Natalie Melmore photographed at Thame Bowls Club by Paul Wilkinson: See inside, page 24.

Stagging in Sydenham: Is murder on the menu? Bees Knees: Saving the humble bumble Student savvy: Cheap summer chic Guys and grooming: Could you be a UK Man? Matt, Penny, Ruby, and much, much more...

w pants for heroes w HOrse of the year show tickets w lush stuff w w Meal for Two at the peacock w Canal Walks DVD w Festival camping w

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

Vale Life : June / July 2011

Spread the word across The Vale: see: for details

6 8

Gardener’s delight


Fight club

Grow your own pick’n’mix


Snapped up

The Oxfordshire Gardener is diggin’ your scene Gardening advice from Naomi McKay

10 Simply the bees knees 11

Saving the humble bumble

Hive talkin’

15 17 18


Roll up! Roll up!

Student savvy


Food & Drink Guide

Here comes summer


Murder on menu

Moving on up


The food section

Man thing

38 Any day Angel

There’s a real buzz about the Bee Whisperer Building a rep for professional paving Cheap chic for the summer season Inside and out at The White Hart Studio Top to toe treats for body and soul Guys, grooming and the UK Male How a chiropractor can ease the pain

Gem of an idea

Stepping out with Florence Nightingale

24 From gold to green

Golden girl bowls them over in Thame

The clock is ticking...


ime flies they say and it is certainly whizzing through the Vale Life offices at the moment! The six weeks between our editions blur into a matter of days and the effect is even reaching some of our advertisers who have struggled to meet their artwork deadlines... shame on you! Time does pass more quickly the older I get though - others have confirmed this phenomena, so it’s not just me! I have a theory though that explains why this may


Keeping mum while the kids have fun

Taking control

20 Safe hands 22

Photographic firm puts you in the picture

30 Playtime 32

12 Word on the street 14

Aylesbury’s centre for fitness and fun

ongratulations to the following May/June 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 the chance to win: a meal

All fired up over new AGA Why you should hoof it to Thame’s County show Just the best places for drinking or dining Lights, camera, action - Crown hosts a Stag party Matt Brown, Boycott Farm and Ruby McLee Join Trevor and celebrate fine food

40 All hail the ale

Raising a glass to the Haddenham Beer Festival


World at your door


Summer of love

Festival fun in a field near you Penny Harper’s so over Andre

be. We think of time as a constant, to be measured in minutes and hours. But what if our perception of time is based on experience. A one day old baby has only experienced one day and on Tempus Fuji its second day will live its whole life over again. By the third day however it will have experienced two

for two at The Peacock Inn, Henton, a Lush little green bag, a Canal Walks DVD, plus tickets for the Horse of the Year Show and the Larmer Tree Festival. Last issue’s prizewinners were: Bushbaby backpack: Laura Morgan, Little Milton; Charlene Caine, Watermead; Helen Steward, Beaconsfield.

days and so the third day will only be half of its life so far and the fourth day only a third. In this way every extra day, or hour, or second is an ever decreasing proportion of the time we have spent enjoying life and thus will appear to be over more quickly and the passing of time to speed up for us. You may think I have too much time on my hands - but this theory came to me years ago when things were moving much more slowly! Happy reading

Meal for two at Woolpack, Stoke Mandeville: Beckie Nixey, Chinnor. Melvita beauty hamper: Alison Parker, Stoke Mandeville. £200 to spend at Stately Interiors: Sue Smithson, Haddenham. Treasuredays pack: Calina Kemp, Quainton; Sally Blackman, Aylesbury; Penny Rae, Fairford Leys; Polly


Charlie Trott: Editor

Randall, Aylesbury; Jenny Bathurst, Dorton; Margaret Adams, Chinnor; Barbara Stolp, Aylesbury; Sue Parker, Thame; Michelle Bye, Bierton; Sandra Davison, Thame. Cocorose London ballet pumps: Victoria Connick, Westcott; Janet Hodgkinson, Towersey; Emily Miller, Wingrave.

Front cover picture: Photograph of Commonwealth Games Gold Medallist Natalie Melmore at Thame Bowls Club taken by Paul Wilkinson ( Turn to page 24 to read about Natalie’s visit. 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 : June / July 2011


Vale Life : June / July 2011

It is said that ‘gardening requires lots of water - most of it in the form of perspiration’, but luckily a local firm is ready to dig in, providing a traditional gardening service and a whole lot more...


he Oxfordshire Gardener sounds a bit like a magazine title. You can imagine the publication - glossy, stylish and full of fabulous photographs of Cotswold cottages with articles on how to keep slugs off your lettuces or which plants encourage bees. It is in fact the name of a Great Milton based gardening firm and appropriate in that head gardener Simon Murfitt is an experienced and knowledgable horticulturalist who is offering to share his knowhow and efforts with local garden owners - on site rather than through the pages of a magazine though. “I’ve always been interested in gardens and horticulture,” says Simon, “and I detected a demand for what I would call a ‘traditional gardening service’ - someone who knows how to tend a garden properly. There’s a right way to dig over a vegetable patch or prune roses, trim a hedge or build a raised bed. It’s good to have experienced help to get the best from your garden.” Simon grew up on the family farm near Ely, in the Cambridgeshire Fens. He went to agricultural college and worked with his father and grandfather for about eight years.


Vale Life : June / July 2011

Simon Murfitt with wife Sam in their garden at Great Milton It was a difficult time for farming though and Simon decided to pursue a new career with BP selling tractor diesel and fuel to farms and commercial companies. After six years with the company he was promoted to project manager which meant moving with his wife Sam, to the Oxford area. They settled in Great Milton about 12 years ago where Simon has created a delightful, pretty and functional garden around their family home. He worked to a design created by Chelsea award-winning garden designer Ian Shooter who is Simon’s designer for Oxfordshire Gardener landscaping projects. Simon had been nursing a desire to work outdoors again for some time: “I felt there was a gap in the market,” he says. “I wanted to offer a full gardening service, everything from general maintenance to a complete redesign, or creation from scratch.” Simon added to his farming and gardening knowledge by studying with the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and three years ago launched his Oxfordshire Gardener business. “I’m happy to help with tidying up or take Left, Oxfordshire Gardener complete garden redesign and build (design by Ian)

on specific tasks,” he says. “It is very much dependent on what the client wants. We offer a prune, preen and plant service and can tidy beds and borders, which includes trimming and deadheading established plants. If there are gaps in beds we can suggest suitable plants either for the customer to buy or which we can source, usually from local nurseries. “If there is an area or corner that needs an overhaul or redesign we are happy to work with the customer to create something new to complement the surrounding garden. “We will do as little or as much as is wanted. We are respectful of the fact it is your garden and you have your own ideas and may not want advice, just an extra pair of hands! “People book a gardening service for many reasons: they may wish to ease their workload while keeping the garden looking lush and healthy, or may relish having a regular RHS trained gardener to work with in making the most of their garden. “This can include dividing and propagating plants, identifying plants to be pruned, rejuvenating old established plants and advising on

Vale Life : June / July 2011

Bee-friendly alliums new planting, according to soil and aspect.” other animals and insects help keep pests Simon has built a team of RHS qualified down in a natural way. gardeners and craftsmen to call in for specific “We’ve worked on interesting projects for tasks like stone-walling or joinery. families recently, making their gardens more “We’re currently working on the landscapchild-friendly or creating easy-to-use growing ing of four gardens at a luxury barn developareas where youngsters can get involved with ment in North Oxfordshire,” he says. “I’ll be growing their own vegetables.” working with Ian to develop a design which Simon is also experienced in the prunwill include a combination of landscaping, ing and care of fruit trees and can plant and fencing, hedging, paving, paths and planting. maintain small orchards or beds of trained “It’s nice when you work with a client fruit trees. He is also happy to create, maintain on their garden over a period of time. You and restore ponds and water features. build a relationship and get to see the garden An innovative new idea offered by The through the yearly cycle.” Oxfordshire Gardener is the ‘Event Gardener “We’re called the Oxfordshire Gardener service’ - if you are having a special event or but being based in Great Milton we work anyfamily party at your home and would like your where in the Vale Life garden spruced up spearea, so don’t worry if cially for the day, Simon your garden is in Bucks will organise an instant or Herts, we’re happy makeover, everything to help! from cutting the lawn to “We also work on tidying hedges, borders, commercial premises. pots and plants so eveWe rejuvenated the rything looks fabulous! garden at the Book When Vale Life met House in Thame earlier Simon in May he had in the year, clearing the just returned from this garden, removing green year’s Chelsea Flower waste, pruning climbers Show where Ian had deand shrubs and weedTravertine paving with box hedge and pleached signed his 15th Chelsea ing and tidying paving garden, winning a Silverhornbeam to left - (close up centre top). and shingle areas. It was a bit of a Spring Gilt award. It was an interesting project for makeover, set off with pots and containers Scott’s Miracle-Gro which involved youngsters displaying spring flowers from schools up and down the country grow“Our logo is a bee because we are keen to ing vegetables in modules which combined to encourage wildlife, from bees and birds to make the a show allotment garden at Chelsea. frogs, toads, ladybirds and hedgehogs into The Oxfordshire Gardener may sound gardens. Bees are important as they help like a magazine title but Simon and Ian both cross-pollination - growing certain plants like believe a beautiful garden that adds richness alliums and lavender can attract them. The to life and perfectly suits your lifestyle, is not

to be reserved for the pages of a magazine but should be, regardless of budget and space, something everybody can have. The Oxfordshire Gardener offers a full range of garden services, contact Simon for details. Regular garden maintenance can be booked weekly, fortnightly or monthly by the half day or day. Read more about The Oxfordshire Gardener online at www.theoxfordshiregardener. including gardening tips and ideas, project news and Simon’s blog. l The Oxfordshire Gardener, Great Milton, Oxfordshire, OX44 7NY Tel: 01844 279748 Mobile: 07771 813558 Email: Website:

Simon The Oxfordshire Gardener Vale Life : June / July 2011


l Column: Naomi MacKay - Grow Your Own pick’n’mix


o you grow your own? Do you enjoy being self-sufficient? Whether you limit yourself to some tomato plants in tubs on the patio and a few strawberry plants in a strawberry pot, or go the whole hog and have a garden or allotment bursting with potatoes, carrots, courgettes, beans of all shapes and sizes as well as soft fruit, you’ll know the satisfaction of growing your own produce from seed, nurturing the plants and then enjoying the fruits (and veg) of your labours on the dinner table. But you don’t need to stop there. If you enjoy having fresh flowers in your home – especially if you’re expecting visitors or planning a dinner party – how about growing your own cut flowers? It’s simpler than you might think. Have a think about the flowers you might like to grow. If you have spare space, you could dedicate a whole patch in the garden or allotment to growing plants solely for cutting. But otherwise, grow the plants among your borders – or even in containers – and you’ll

Vale Life : June / July 2011

Dianthus Doris

Alstroemeria Ince Ice always have beautiful fresh flowers to hand - in the summer and late autumn at any rate. To get good results this year, think about buying some perennials. Bransford Webbs has made the process easy for you, by compiling a collection of plants that are perfect as cut flowers – they include white and blue scabious and Canterbury Bells, stunning Alstroemeria, sunny gold Rudbeckia and can be found at Haddenham Garden Centre. Look out for the Grow Your Own label. And for any smartphone owners out there the label can be scanned

Scabiosa Perfecta Blue by your phone and will take you straight to the Grow Your Own section of the Bransford Webbs Plant Company website, where you’ll be able to get more information on growing, cutting and caring for your flowers. I’m growing some at the moment, and they’re doing really well – I’m looking forward to enjoying some fresh cut flowers indoors later in the summer. You can also plan ahead for the following seasons. Biennials such as Wallflowers, Sweet William and Dianthus can be sown now either where they’re to flower or in trays,

ready to flower the next year. For the spring, plant extra bulbs this autumn – pop them into containers and put them out of the way somewhere and you’ll have lovely Daffodils, Tulips and Alliums to brighten up your rooms before summer. And once spring arrives, choose some summer bulbs to plant – Lilies have fantastic fragrances and are quite pricey to buy as cut flowers, so they’re a good choice. Like so much in gardening, a little forward planning now can see some great results in quite a short time. Happy growing and flower arranging. 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 VLJULY. Call 07802 426594, email or log on to

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

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Vale Life : June / July 2011

the Gardener’s Retreat Coffee Shop

Win a copy of Julia Bradbury’s Canal Walks


ritain’s favourite Countryfiler and keen walker Julia Bradbury has been exploring Britain’s waterways in the brand new BBC series Canal Walks. Following her successful Wainwright Walks and Railway Walks series and most recently German Wanderlust, Acorn Media released Canal Walks with Julia Bradbury on DVD and Blu-ray earlier this month. Seasoned stomper Julia dons

her walking boots once again to explore the canals of Britain and the delights of their towpath trails. Four walks unveil a network of locks, bridges, aqueducts and tunnels, perfect for exploring on foot. Julia’s reputation as an outdoors champion began when she presented the hugely successful Wainwright Walks, which sold over 70,000 copies on DVD. She is perhaps best known for her TV partnership with Matt Baker on the popular Countryfile

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programme which is regularly watched by more than 7 million viewers! On the DVD Julia explores some of Britain’s most beautiful canals including Llangollen Canal in North Wales, the Highlands Caledonian Canal, the Worcester and Birmingham Canal and the Bath Kennet and Avon Canal. She has not included local favourite The Grand Union as yet... Canal Walks with Julia Bradbury gives an insight into Britain’s industrial heritage, cutting a sedate path through some of the country’s finest scenery. DVD extras include a Julia Bradbury biography, an impressive picture gallery and subtitles. The Canal Walks book by Julia Bradbury is also available published by Frances Lincoln. If you’d like to be in with a chance of winning one of three Julia Bradbury Canal Walks DVDs, simply email your name, address and telephone number, along with

the answer to the following question to: What is the popular canal boat called? a) Longboat, b) Narrowboat, or c) Tugboat Winner to be drawn at random and notified by email on July 22nd.

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Vale Life : June / July 2011

A local pest control firm is helping bees by re-homing unwanted colonies and is offering us the chance to learn about our busy buddies and maybe even create a bee sanctuary of our own...


any of us probably give little thought to the humble bumble bee. It’s nice to see them flitting merrily from flower to flower on a sunny day but generally they are out of sight - out of mind. If nothing is done though, the bee population might be wiped out within 10 years. Three species of bumble bee have already become extinct in the past 70 years and a loss of habitat and changes in farming methods has meant that the number of species found in lowland Britain has halved since 1950. Bees are vital for the pollination of around 90 flower, fruit and vegetable crops worldwide and campaigns to make our gardens more welcoming to bumble bees are appearing, encouraging the planting of flowers that produce the pollen and nectar which the insect thrives on. The Bees Knees Bumble Bee Conservation Programme is headed by Jim Webster of Bees Knees Pest Control and Prevention. Jim is based in Kingswood just north of Waddesdon from where, with wife Denise and son James, 22, he co-ordinates his compassionate pest control and specialist cleaning services and a bumble bee sanctuary and re-homing programme. “Some years ago we realised that pest control didn’t have to be about killing things,” says Jim. “We can work with nature and prevent pest infestations happening in the first place. We also discovered that bees nests could be moved rather than destroyed and started our bumble bee conservation programme. We asked people to volunteer land to relocate bumble bees to and now have 2,300 acres across Buckinghamshire! We relocated over 40 colonies last year. “We encourage others to build bumble beds at their workplace or in public areas,” says Jim. “Chiltern Railways is one of our clients and supports the project by allowing us to put bumble beds in network stations which are sponsored by local firms. It will usually be a barren piece of unused land which is turned into a bumble bee friendly area and information centre.” Bumble bees love wild flowers, chives, 10

Vale Life : June / July 2011

Bumble bee nest in one of Jim’s boxes

Jim Webster Bumble bee nest

Jim checks one of his bee nests

Bumble bee sanctuary and information centre at Plant & Harvest, West Wycombe rosemary, comfreys, clover and lavender, the pollen feeds the young bumble bees in the nest, whilst nectar keeps the adults going. You can encourage bumble bees to nest by leaving a suitable container in your garden - an upside down flower pot may do the trick. “Garden centres such as Plant and Harvest at West Wycombe are also joining in,” says Jim. “They have created bumble beds or sanctuaries with information posts, (see above). “We’re encouraging schools to join the project. They can create bumble beds and we’ll go along and give a talk. They can become a member of the programme, classes can join up and if pupils create bumble beds at home they get a special certificate. “We’re being sponsored by Chevrolet UK - the Chevrolet Camero in the Transformers film is called ‘Bumble Bee’!” Of course sometimes bumble bees will nest where they are not wanted and Jim will be called upon to remove the colony. “We charge £10 for an on-site assessment,” says Jim. “and between £50 and £85 to remove the bees, depending on how difficult the job is. It’s usually done after dark using red

light, which bees can’t see in, to find them in the dark. We’ll remove the nest and as many of the colony as possible and take them to a sanctuary site, or back to Kingswood ready for rehoming. Advice over the phone is free.” When he’s not chasing bees Jim could be removing all sorts of other unwanted guests from bedbugs to squirrels, mice, rats, or glis-glis: “We’re a small, independent family company,”says Jim, “we really care about what we do - we’re only as good as our last job.” Jim is originally from Acton and got into pest control some 20 years ago after trying to remove a wasps nest from a garage he was working at and getting severely stung! He went on a course to find out how it should have been done and has never looked back. His company Metal and Stone Cleaning Ltd also specialises in ‘critical and sensitive cleaning’ often for county councils and local authorities. l Bees Knees, The Bee Hive, Bicester Road, Kingswood, HP18 0RA Tel: 01296 770214 Mob: 07898 637810 Email: Website:

Vale Life : June / July 2011

Bryan with beeswax

Bee whisperer Bryan Pilbeam waxes lyrical about soap, honey and teaming up with his sons Dan and Sam to get youngsters involved in helping to save our honey bees...


hile bumble bees might bumble around in colonies of about 200, slowly making just enough honey for their brood, honey bees operate collectively as a finely oiled machine! The highly organised honey hive could contain up to 100,000 bees, who will pollinate entire fields of crops in a few hours and make enough honey and beeswax to have more than a little over for us sweet-toothed humans to enjoy too. They are potentially in just as much of a pickle environmentally though. So says beekeeper Bryan Pilbeam who has been dubbed ‘The Bee Whisperer’ on account of his uncanny ability to relate to his charges. Bryan can tell the mood of a hive by the tone of the buzzing and not only talks to his bees but plays them classical music to increase productivity - apparently they like Wagner but not Mozart! He can even tell if the queen has died by the murmur from the colony and the smell of the pheromones. To his knowledge he is at least the fourth generation of his family to be involved in bee keeping and was recently featured on BBC Radio 2 and interviewed on Mix96 as interest in beekeeping booms amid fears for their future. Bryan was brought up in Long Crendon and went to Lord Williams’s school in Thame. For years he worked for a local firm producing modular timber buildings but recently has been devoting himself to the plight of the bee: “Bee keeping is thought of as an older person’s pass-time,” says Bryan. “It’s often done as a hobby in this country - we don’t seem to take it seriously and we import an awful lot of bee products we could easily produce here. “I want to get young people farming bees across Buckinghamshire. My twin sons Sam and Dan, 8, have already shown how much fun it can be. They’ve been producing honey and beeswax soap, the sale of which raises money for the International Bee Research Association (IBRA) and The Bumble Bee Conservation Trust (BBCT). “We’ve also launched a fun and informative website to raise aware-

Dan and Sam and Bryan off to the hives

ness of the bee’s impending demise and the consequent global pollination crisis. “The website offers lively, factual bee keeping advice and an opportunity to buy our handmade British beeswax soap. “Although beekeeping is a gentle and relaxing past-time it also requires a certain amount of dedication,” says Bryan, “especially at this time of year when you have to check the hives every five days to prevent the bees swarming, at which point they might fly off to never return!” Bryan and the boys have several hives on an estate near Aylesbury. “It’s an ideal spot,” says Bryan, “quiet but with an excellent variety of flowers and fruit trees for the bees.” Bryan is interested in breeding bees and is especially keen on the Buckfast bee whose lineage goes back to bees bred by Brother Adam at Buckfast Abbey in the early 1900s: “The Buckfast produces exceptionally fine wax cappings,” says Bryan, “which the good brother liked for his church candles.” It now provides the base for Bryan’s soap and soon, he hopes, a whole cosmetic range of creams, lip balms and liquid soaps too. Support your local bees and find out more about Bryan and the twins at:

Dan and Sam bottling honey

Sam breeding queens

l Big B little b Ltd, PO Box 988, Aylesbury, Bucks, HP20 9HN Contact the beekeepers on: / Tel: 07557 375172. Vale Life : June / July 2011


Vale Life : June / July 2011

Impressed with a neighbour’s new kitchen, or their recent garden makeover? No doubt when considering something similar you’ll call up the firm responsible. Personal recommendation is a most effective marketing tool as one Aylesbury paving firm has been discovering...



hat’s one of ours, and that one, and across the road there,” says Warren Iqbal of Haydon Hill Paving, Aylesbury’s self-professed ‘Number One Driveway and Patio Company’. Warren is giving me a quick tour of Bedgrove, where it seems almost every other home has a stylish block drive, paved patio, or gravelled pathway courtesy of his local firm. If you’ve driven through Aylesbury in the last few years you will probably have seen one of Haydon Hill’s A-boards at the side of the road. In an industry notorious for chancers and fly-by-nights who knock on your door and offer to resurface your drive ‘cheaply’ as they are ‘in the area’, Warren has built a reputation for good quality work with one job leading to another and another, now some of Aylesbury’s roads are a virtual a showcase for his workmanship, demonstrating an impressive range of materials and finishes, paths, patios and driveways.


Vale Life : June / July 2011

After “There are a lot of cowboys about who don’t do a proper job,” says Warren. “They don’t bother to dig down and lay proper foundations or install adequate drainage. You can’t just repair these problems either, you’ve usually got to take it all up and start again from scratch.” Warren lives in Haydon Hill, Aylesbury, hence the company name, but is originally from Hemel Hempstead. His family have lived there since the 50s and he was born in the town’s St Paul’s hospital. When he left school he trained as a jeweller and joined his father in the family pawnbroking business: “I ran it for about five years,” says Warren, “but I was bored with it really, I wanted to do something more active, so we sold it and I started working for a local Marshall approved landscaping firm. I went on various courses in hard landscaping and learnt all about drainage and building regulations. We have to keep up to date with the regulations, they changed significantly in 2008, so I went on a refresher course to get updates on the latest laws - it’s all about sustainable urban drainage systems (SUDS), everyone’s concerned with flooding issues at the moment and you’ve got to ensure adequate soakaways now, you can’t just drain into the road system. Warren moved to Aylesbury four years ago with his wife Emma, to set up his own business. “We fancied a total change,” says Warren, “I didn’t want to be competing with

Warren Iqbal my old firm and I’d lived in Hemel all my life so we thought we’d make a fresh start, a new home in a new area with a new business. The couple have been married seven years and have a three-year-old son Jacob. “When we first came to Aylesbury I did a lot of leafleting to get the business going,” says Warren. “But, once we’d done a few jobs, word spread that people liked our work and it’s gone really well. “I was brought up to be honest and reliable and that’s the way I run the business. If you do a good job people talk about you and that’s how it’s worked round here. “I’ve a team of six at the moment. My brother Imran, who lives in Hemel Hempstead, works with me and I’ve four additional, experienced labourers. All my lads have been on the latest courses and we’ve just been approved as an installer by Natural Paving, who supply some lovely Indian stone - I think we’re their only approved installer in Bucks at

Vale Life : June / July 2011

the moment. “Marshall and Brett are our two main suppliers. They are the best two manufacturers of paving in the UK and their 10-year-guarantees apply if their products have been installed by an approved contractor like us. We had to prove we could do a first class job before they would accept us as approved installers though and they sent inspectors down to examine the workmanship on a selection of our past jobs. “We are also approved by Interlay: The Association of Block Paving Contractors - we’re one of only 80 Interlay approved contractors in the whole country. “If you’re having paving laid, it’s not just about the cost, you want to be sure it is done properly. You may get a very cheap quote but that could be because they are not going to spend the time digging out properly. If you just scrape the top 6 inches off there’s not going to be a solid base or room for drainage. We go down at least 14 inches and put a

proper base layer in. Cars weigh a fair bit so, if it’s a driveway, you have to ensure there’s adequate support for your vehicles. “If people would like to see examples of our work we have lots of customers in the area who have said they are happy to show off the drives or patios we have done. “A prospective client is even welcome to come down and see us in action on a current job if they like.” Warren and his team seem to be particularly prolific in the Bedgrove area of Aylesbury where customers have seen him at work and been impressed with the results. “We’re a driveway and patio specialist,” says Warren, “which involves all the associated groundwork and drainage. We do sometimes help clear a site, say if there is an existing garage to take down and we can also help with landscaping, fencing and gates, or turfing and decking. We offer a driveway cleaning and sealing service too and as we have a waste carrier licence you can be sure any waste cleared will be legally disposed of. “I’m very happy with the volume of work at the moment. We work in two teams, we’ve two trucks and I can oversee everything. It works well. We do two jobs at once, stay on the job till it’s done and then move on to the next one. We have everything organised and booked so waste and excavated soil is removed quickly and not left in a pile at the side of the road for days.

“I enjoy being outside and interacting with people, I meet so many interesting people, we cover quite a wide area, we’ve worked all over Aylesbury in Leighton Buzzard, Linslade, Beaconsfield, Oxford, Wendover and in many of the villages in and around, it’s a lovely area to be living and working in. “We’ve been going for four years and I think we are considered the number one paving firm in Aylesbury. We’re already getting repeat business from old customers. “We have a saying in the trade, ‘You can tell a good job if the lines are straight’, and our lines are always straight!” l Haydon Hill Paving, Goya Place, Haydon Hill, Aylesbury, Bucks, HP19 8SJ Tel: 01296 336641. Mobile: 07853 698168 Email: Website:

Vale Life : June / July 2011


l Column: Alisha Johnson

Vale Life : June / July 2011

Many students look forward to a long summer of festivals and holidays but worry if a tight budget will stretch to a summer wardrobe too! Vale Life’s Alisha Johnson says ‘fear not - cheap can be chic!’


hilst most of us students would love to be able to splash out on the latest catwalk designs, our bank accounts and purses just don’t stretch far enough for a pair of Louboutins or a Mulberry bag! There are many ways to get the newest trends and still have money left over for accessories though! Here’s a guide to the best places to shop, both on the highstreet and online, and the key items to invest in this Asos

season. New Look: A great student haven, New Look has many of the designs that Topshop holds, but with a much cheaper price tag! Their recent campaign ‘100 New Look days of Summer’ has shown how bright and beautiful their clothes are. And when fashion changes as quickly as the British weather, it’s not worth spending a fortune on plazzo pants or a satchel bag. Instead take a trip to New Look and pick up some great items and get 10% student discount! Top buys: Parisian wide leg trousers (£25), Cavas fabric

wedge, £20) Butterfly kimono top (£18) Asos (online): Asos (As Seen On Screen) just gets bigger and bigger as high-street brands flock to join the online site. With own brand collections such as Asos Black, Salon and Africa, this online site has every item you could ever want. If some seem a bit too steep, then consider an NUS extra card which gives 10% (20% at times) off most items. Also worth splashing out on is the Asos Premier service which costs £14.95 and gives H&M you unlimited next day delivery for a year. As it’s normally £6.95 a time, it could save you a fortune!

Unit 4A, Hale Leys Shopping Centre Aylesbury Buckinghamshire HP20 1ST Tel: 01296 436499

Sterling Silver & Real Diamonds 14

Vale Life : June / July 2011

Top buys: Floral print dress (£30), Canvas flower gladiator sandals (£25), Paisley print silk headscarf (£12) H&M: Swedish brand H&M has become popular through its collaborations with designers such as Lanvin and Jimmy Choo. With collections such as the ecofriendly Conscious Collection, the brand has something for every taste. Their cardigans come in a variety of shades and are a must for cool summer nights. Or if a night on the town is more your style, try out their vast array of floaty dresses from mini to maxi. Top buys: Chiffon maxi dress (£35), Flower print one shoulder blouse (£8), Floral flared skirt (£8)

Vale Life : June / July 2011




ummer is upon us, but will it be a glorious outdoorsy summer of clear blue skies, long hot days and balmy evenings Pimms on the terrace and young girls in floaty dresses chasing butterflies in the cornfield, or a grey, cloudy apology for a summer, which turns the barbecue rusty and suggests a hot cup of tea, or a drop of scotch will be needed, to fortify those who venture out?! We can but wait and see, but while we wait, why not hedge our bets and saunter along to the White Hart Studio in Haddenham. The White Hart girls always have a sunny disposition and you’ll be able to peruse the delightful selection of indoor and outdoor items, from garden chairs and planters, to cushions and vases, gifts and jewellery and some rather stylish outfits for ladies. “This gorgeous summer dress madam? Why not take a warm, pretty cardigan too and we’ve umbrellas in the corner... l White Hart Studio, 15 Churchway, Haddenham, HP17 8AB Telephone: 01844 292308 Open Tuesday to Saturday 10am-5pm Sundays: 11am-4pm

Vale Life : June / July 2011


Style your windows beautifully with

Silhouette®, Facette® and Duette® Shades Create your own individual look from a wealth of delightful window styling possibilities that will transform your home. You can use these innovative designs to adjust and control the light, create a variety of moods or add character to every room of your home. Peter John Barclays House, Gatehouse Way Aylesbury, HP19 8DB. Tel: 01296 398301

Peter John 250 High Street, Berkhamsted, HP4 1AQ Tel: 01442 873093 for more information and inspiration 16

Vale Life : June / July 2011

Vale Life : June / July 2011

Salon owner Laura Gilbey has transferred her business from Fairford Leys to Bedgrove where extra space means a whole range of fab new treatments...


he lucky residents of Bedgrove, Aylesbury already have a pleasant local shopping centre and now a new beauty salon and tanning centre, Body and Soul has opened just around the corner on Westmorland Avenue. It’s a quiet spot, with free parking outside, run by beauty therapist Laura Gilbey. She previously had tanning and nail centre Sands, at Fairford Leys but in her new salon, Body and Soul is also offering a complete range of top to toe beauty treatmets and therapies. Originally from Chesham Laura trained as a beauty therapist at Aylesbury College. One of her mum’s friends was a therapist and

as a youngster Laura had found it fascinating watching her. “It may seem strange that I’m running a beauty salon,” admits Laura, “as I’ve never worn much makeup myself, but I really enjoy doing beauty treatments and therapies on others. It’s lovely to be able help customers feel good about themselves. I like people to leave the salon feeling wonderful having had a luxury manicure or a relaxing facial. “I did a National Diploma in Beauty Therapy at Aylesbury, a two year course which I really enjoyed. It was very good, I learnt so much. “When I finished I worked in a couple of salons and then tried a couple of alternative careers.” Laura worked in customer care,

Body & Soul Special Offer:

59 Westmorland Avenue Aylesbury HP21 7HS 01296 434216



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advertising sales and for Ergoline a sunbed company where she trained staff how to use the sunbeds gaining an expert knowledge of tanning treatments in the process and in 2005 opened her own nail and tanning franchise in Fairford Leys. “I think my time in customer care and sales was good experience,” says Laura. “I learnt how to look after each customer’s individual requirements and the sales is useful when dealing with my suppliers and for marketing products and the salon.” 2005 was a big year for Laura as she got married to her partner Alan and started her own business. “Alan is an excellent carpenter,” says Laura, “which is lucky as he has done a brilliant job of fitting out the new salon! We’ve totally transformed the interior, which used to be a Blockbuster video store, and now we have two Elemis treatment rooms, a spray tanning room, two sunbeds and the nail bar” It’s a calming space with a muted brown and blue colour scheme and a seating area with cosy sofas and chairs where herbal teas are served. It’s cool, stylish and relaxing. “We offer Elemis facials and body treatments, DermaCo microdermabrasion and non surgical facelifts, Bio Sculpture gel nails, Minx Nails, hot stone massage, Nouveau Contour Semi Permanent Makeup and botox and collagen filler procedures,” says Laura. “Minx Nails is a popular trend for hands and feet - fashionable designs, like leopard skin, flowers, polka dots or a mirrored effect are foil transferred onto the nails using an infra red light. “Another new product popular for nails is shellac,” says Laura. “It’s been used in art and the motor trade for years and gives nails a really deep shine.” Must-haves for the summer season include an Elemis body treatment to ensure super-soft beach-

Karen on reception. Below: Laura, right, attends to a client’s nails

ready skin. The holistic menu includes chakra balancing, reiki, reflexology and aromatherapy massage, all of which take place in the salon’s relaxing atmosphere. Laura is a member of the Sunbed Association and particularly knowledgable about how to tan safely and not end up with an orange glow or worse. “Being a beauty therapist I really care about my clients’ skin,” she says. “We are careful to tan in a responsible way. It’s all part of our customer care and people seem to appreciate that. Laura is assisted by Karen, June and Sarah on reception and Champneys trained therapist Emily who previously worked at The Grove. “Emily’s an amazing therapist,” says Laura, “very holistic in her approach, very therapeutic and relaxing. She does reiki healing and reflexology as well as massage and a range of other treatments. “We do Elemis facials and retail and we’ll be doing monthly special offers for treatments and products so keep an eye on our website and on Vale Life magazine for details. “We’re called Body and Soul as the two are linked - when you look good on the outside, in body, you’ll feel good on the inside, in soul and when you feel good in soul, you’ll look good in body - here we aim to give you a boost both ways, Body and Soul! l Body and Soul, 59 Westmorland Avenue, Aylesbury, Bucks HP21 7HS Tel: 01296 434216. Website: www. Vale Life : June / July 2011


Vale Life : June / July 2011

Sales of male grooming products are at an all time high and yet most men have still to experience salon treatments like a manicure, pedicure or waxing. There’s no time like the present!


t’s not easy being a guy! These days you’ve to be manly but in touch with your feminine side, masculine but with a sensitive streak and thanks to the likes of David Beckham super-stylish and perfectly groomed at all times. We know where to go for a haircut but when it comes to getting toenails sorted for the summer, a facial, or the removal of some unsightly shoulder hair, the idea of venturing into a beauty salon can raise serious concerns for the macho among us. Fear not fellas for a stylish new barbers and male grooming salon has just opened on Aylesbury High Street offering guys all they need grooming-wise in a very cool and masculine environment. UK Man, a ‘new generation’ barbers and male grooming salon, is the brainchild of hairstylist Jamie Woodford. “I’ve been mulling over the concept for about five years,” says Jamie. “I’m a 32-yearold guy and I like to look good and feel good. It’s not vain to take a pride in your appearance and make the best of yourself. When I look back at pictures of my dad in the 60s and my granddad in the 40s they looked very smart - immaculate hair, clean shaven, well-dressed and now that sense of style seems to have resurfaced. Guys today are taking much better care of themselves, it’s about hair, facial hair clothes, scent... women are happy to enjoy a massage or facial because it does them good and it makes them feel good. Now guys are starting to realise it can work for them too. “At UK Man we’ve taken traditional barbershop techniques and tools and added


Vale Life : June / July 2011

the option of modern products, colouring and styling along with male grooming services such as a manicure, waxing or massage, it’s a one-stop grooming shop!” Jamie has certainly done a great job on the salon’s interior. Bare brick and old boards are complemented by big backlit mirrors and huge chunky chairs. Retro touches like the 70s trill phone and a large black and white photograph of Michael Caine add to the cool, manly vibe. Upstairs a comfy leather sofa allows gents to relax and admire a black and white Sean Connery in James Bond mode while awaiting Katie in the grooming room which is smart and spacious - a masculine and relaxing mix of wood, brick and retro green. “I was lucky in finding the ideal premises here on the High Street.” says Jamie. “It’s just the right size, spacious, but not too big and it’s got these amazing old brick walls and some great floorboards which really go with the kind of atmosphere I’m trying to create.” Jamie grew up in Haddenham and went to Mandeville School in Aylesbury. Afterwards he got into sales and eventually found himself working for a hair product company called America Crew. “I spent a lot of time visiting hair salons and barbers,” says Jamie. “They all seemed to really enjoy their jobs and had a passion for their trade. I thought I’d give it a go! I wanted a change from sales and was able to train at American Crew as they ran courses for barbers and hairdressers. I learnt how to

Jamie Woodford cut traditional and contemporary styles and really enjoyed it. I continued my training at a barbers in Watford and then worked in Oxford for a while before joining a barber in Aylesbury, where I was living, to cut my journey to work. “I’ve been hairdressing for about eight years and I’m now married with a baby daughter, so it seemed time to get my own business going and look to the future. “UK Man is a barbers but it’s more than that, it’s a grooming salon. It’s principally for guys - you can come in and have a treatment or a haircut, or both. I hope we’ve created an environment in which men can feel comfortable booking a treatment. “Our therapist, Katie, is from Tring and trained at Champneys College. She offers massage, waxing, facials, Therapist manicures, pedicures, and Katie Steers Indian Head Massage and the feedback has been fantastic. “She is friendly and very professional and quickly makes customers feel relaxed and at ease.” Jamie believes his UK Man concept is just what modern guys are looking for and he could well be right. To entice you chaps who have yet to try some of the experiences available, Jamie is offering Vale Life readers 25% off all UK Man salon treatments until the end of July. Just mention Vale Life Magazine when booking, relax and enjoy! l UK Man, 73 High Street, Aylesbury, Bucks. Tel: 01296 334444 Web: Email: Opening Hours: Mon/Tue/Wed/Fri 9am-5.30pm, Thur 9am-7pm, Sat: 8.30am-4pm.

Win a Lush Little Green Bag


ush make cosmetic products from fresh organic fruit and vegetables, the finest essential oils and safe synthetics and believe in buying ingredients only from companies that do not commission tests on animals instead testing their products on humans. Products and fragrances are made by hand with vegetarian ingredients and little or no preservatives or packaging. Lush’s Little Green Bag (£16.95), is a great packaging free gift idea, containing a selection of Lush’s greenest, most environmentally friendly products all wrapped up in a Knot-Wrap, which can be re-used again and again. What could be greener? There’s five solid, naked, preservative free and vegan products: Squeaky Green shampoo bar, which lasts as long as three bottles of 250g bottle of liquid shampoo – so that’s 3 less bottles heading to landfill; a solid conditioner, Jungle; a mini Sugar Scrub, made with fair trade

Dare Hairdressing, 3 Railway Street, Aylesbury, Bucks, HP20 1QX. Tel: 01296 427074

Special reader offer sugar to exfoliate; 100g of Sea Vegetable soap, made with a palm oil free soap base; and an Each Peach solid massage bar. You can re-use the scarf to carry all your lovely products, or as a fetching head scarf for the festival season… the options are endless! If you’d like to be in with a chance of winning one of three Lush Little Green Bags, simply email your name, address and telephone number, along with the answer to the following question to: What is Lush’s solid conditioner called? a) Jungle, b) Forest, or c) Swamp ? Winner to be drawn at random and notified by email on July 22nd.

Book any colour service with Caroline, left, and get a free cut and blow dry!

Valid until end of July (NB new clients require a sensitivity test 48 hours prior to appointment).

products offer: 10% off one Tigi product, 20% off any two Tigi products and 30% off when you buy three or more Tigi products. Includes Bedhead and Catwalk ranges valid till end of July. Open: Mon-Wed: 8.30am-5.30pm, Thur: 9.30am-8pm, Fri: 8.30am-6pm, Sat: 8.30am-5pm

New barbershop - Walter’s Ash

Summer’s here and it’s time for outdoor fun!!

At Wallaces we have everything you need bistro sets, vintage style picnic baskets, bunting, candles and tea-light holders. For the gardener, handy ‘growyour-own-summer-veg’ bags and for a pampering treat, the Gardener’s Gift Hamper – full of goodies to relax and revive.

Ask about hosting one of our newly-launched ‘Wallaces-at-home’ parties.

Lynn and Mandy welcome customers old and new to Shear Madness - their new barbershop in Walter’s Ash

During the summer Wallaces take the shop on the road, check our website & Facebook page to see which events we’ll be calling in at.

Open Tuesday/Wednesday/Friday: 9am to 5pm Saturdays: 7.30am to 4pm

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

Shear Madness, 245 Main Road, Walter’s Ash, Bucks, HP14 4HT. Tel: 07742 361711 Email: Vale Life : June / July 2011


Vale Life : June / July 2011

Summer is coming and we’re out of hibernation, tending the garden, taking part in sports and activities, or decorating our homes. A sudden increase in physical activity can result in aches and strains, or even acute pain though. It may be time to call on ISIS...


hen Jatinder Benepal left school she was going to train as a doctor. She lived in Bournemouth though - home of The Anglo-European College of Chiropractic, the oldest and largest chiropractic college in Europe - and a friend who was studying there was so convinced that Jatinder would make a brilliant Chiropractor, she enrolled her as a student too! “I’m glad she did” laughs Jatinder, who is now owner and clinical director of ISIS Chiropractic Centres, with clinics in Aylesbury, Milton Keynes and Northampton, “I loved it from day one!” Most of us have heard of chiropractic but, unless you come from Bournemouth, may be uncertain what it actually involves and which health issues it can treat. Chiropractic is actually the third largest primary health care profession in the world after medicine and dentistry. Chiropractors carry out both diagnosis and treatment, so you don’t need to be referred by a doctor. A chiropractor is trained to diagnose your

ISIS Aylesbury chiropractors, from left: Jeff Bond, James Noble, Camilla Birch and seated, clinical director Jatinder Benepal


Vale Life : June / July 2011

Jatinder explains a patients x-ray results

problem and will refer you to another healthcare practitioner if necessary. Chiropractic specialises in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of conditions or problems with joints, muscles and the nervous system in all parts of the body. Chiropractors will aim to treat the cause of your problem in addition to alleviating the symptoms. Working on all the joints of the body and concentrating particularly on the spine, chiropractors use their hands to manipulate, making gentle, specific adjustments to improve the efficiency of the nervous system and help the body’s natural healing abilities to function. It is often recommended for lower back pain but can also be used to treat neck pain, whiplash, knee, ankle and foot pains, headaches and migraine, sports injuries, frozen joints and a lot of the everyday aches and pains that make life such a misery for so many. “If you irritate a joint, maybe through overuse, or over-stretching, then the muscle can go into spasm to stop the joint moving and by manipulating it we overcome that spasm and the joint starts working again,” says Jatinder. “Each of the joints in the spine has to be able to move individually otherwise you won’t be able to move.

“We’ve become a very sedentary society but we’re not designed to just sit, it puts a lot of pressure on the spine. We don’t move around enough. If someone sits at a desk all day and then goes home and sits watching TV all evening, it’s not good for them. “We see people with mechanical problems of the spine and of the joints. By applying basic principles about how joints work we can work out why a joint is not working and put it right manually. There may be no actual cure for chronic back problems or neck problems but we can teach people to manage their condition. “When I see a patient who’s had neck pain for ten years, I can’t wave a magic wand but I can help them manage their condition so they spend most of the time pain free. “I teach them what they can and can’t do and when they’ve got to stop. Of course you can go in the garden, but if you go in the garden for two days and do the same activity you’re going to get pain. Even if you’ve never had a problem before you’re probably going to get pain!” Jatinder first came to Aylesbury in 1985. After qualifying she had worked in London and then heard a practice was for sale in Aylesbury. It had been run by an Australian

Vale Life : June / July 2011

X-rays being taken

Laser therapy Chiropractor who had decided to return home. “I bought his equipment and started in a podiatry clinic on Buckingham Road,” says Jatinder “and then moved to Market Square. “We did really well from day one. One of the local GPs came and visited and wanted to know a bit about me. She started referring patients to me and word of mouth did the rest.” Jatinder gradually built her practice and soon had two chiropractors working in Aylesbury was opening a second clinic in Northampton. “I began looking for a building in Aylesbury that could be turned into a proper clinic,” says Jatinder, “somewhere with carparking as patients can’t walk far if they’re in agony.” Andrew Smith of accountants Seddon Smith was an old friend from Bournemouth and the two firms linked up to buy new premises together. They found Milton House, on Gatehouse Road in 1993 and it seemed ideal. It had previously housed a branch of Barclays Bank though and needed a complete refurbishment. ISIS is on the ground floor with a smart modern reception and waiting area plus three treatment rooms

and x-ray facilities. “In addition to our clinic in Northampton we now have a new purpose-built clinic in Milton Keynes,” says Jatinder. “It’s enormous, we moved in about two years ago and have a dentist, an acupuncturist, a psychologist and various other people working there alongside our chiropractors.” In addition to manipulation techniques ISIS chiropractors utilise laser therapy. Cold laser, or Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) has been proven safe, painless and effective in treating both acute injuries and chronic pain of various kinds. Laser and LED beams of light are used on injuries to stimulate the cells in the body that repair tissue, reduce inflammation and reduce pain. It is a highly effective treatment for acute soft tissue injuries, chronic pain syndromes and slow healing wounds. “The laser is therapeutic,” says Jatinder, “it’s like ultra-sound but a lot more effective. It’s brilliant for healing areas of inflammation or degenerative change. “We also use dry-needling. It’s acupuncture on muscle points but based on muscle tightness not acupuncture principles and we use rehabilitation exercise programs. “When they come to us people are often quite worried about what’s going on with them. They may have seen their doctor, taken some pills and even had physio but it hasn’t worked. They’ve had pain relief and exercise, but they need to understand why they have pain. If you know why you have pain then it’s easier to deal with and easier to get rid of. It’s often about changing people’s behaviour as they may be causing the problem by the things they do or the way they sit or walk.. “If people have a health issue and would like to find out if chiropractic can help, they are welcome to call us, have a look at our website or come in for a chat - you won’t be

Chiropractic manipulation to ease neck problems

charged for that. If we can help we’ll say and if not refer you on to someone who can. “If you come in for treatment we do a fairly comprehensive initial consultation - there’s a health questionnaire to fill out and we’ll look at the current problem and past medical history. If the patient’s had scans and x-rays before we request copies of those and then we’ll work out a treatment plan. “We’ll do a full orthopaedic and neurological examination as well as checking the movement of the joints so we can rule out any non-mechanical problem.” Amazingly Jatinder finds the time to run her busy practice and treat her patients while bringing up an eight-year-old daughter. She lives in Milton Keynes and when Vale Life spoke to her had just returned from presenting at a conference in Rio in her capacity as a director of the College of Chiropractors, a post graduate organisation based in Reading. With 30 staff including four full time chiropractors at Aylesbury Jatinder has an increasing amount of paperwork to deal with but she’s determined to continue as a handson member of the chiropractic team. “ISIS is the Egyptian goddess of love and health,” she says. “She seems an appropriate symbol for what we do here. There’s a huge amount of people out there who could benefit a lot from chiropractic care and the really enjoyable part of being a chiropractor comes from meeting and helping them.” ISIS is offering Vale Life readers £10 off a first appointment. Just mention Vale Life Magazine when you call to make your booking. l ISIS Chiropractic Clinic, Milton House, Gatehouse Road, Aylesbury, Bucks, HP19 8EL Tel. 01296 489231. Website: Vale Life : June / July 2011


Vale Life : June / July 2011

Last year 500 ladies stepped out on the first ever Aylesbury midnight walk raising a sensational £60,000 for the Florence Nightingale Hospice. They’re doing it again this year on July 16th and you could join them on a 6 or 12 mile route along the town’s Gemstone cycleways.


ctress and TV presenter, Lynda Bellingham, right, has added her support to Aylesbury’s Midnight Walk in aid of the Florence Nightingale Hospice Charity. Lynda, who lived in Aston Abbots for 40 years and attended Aylesbury High School, donned pink bunny ears and a special Florence Nightingale Midnight Walk T-shirt in support of the event, taking place in Aylesbury on Saturday, July 16th. Over 400 walkers have already signed up to take part in the six or 12-mile walk across Aylesbury, starting from Aylesbury College. They will help raise vital funds for the Florence Nightingale Hospice, which needs half a million pounds each year from the Charity to keep essential services running. Commenting on the event Lynda said: “As a local lass, I am proud to be supporting Aylesbury’s very own Midnight Walk – a fantastic event for ladies to get involved in, with all money raised going to support the work of the Florence Nightingale Hospice Charity – a very worthwhile local cause. I am urging women to sign up now and get behind the local Hospice. It promises to be a wonderful night – and the flashing pink bunny ears will go down a treat!” “We are thrilled to have Lynda on board,” said Pat Dodge, CEO of the Florence

What does the Florence Nightingale Hospice Charity do?

Lynda Bellingham Nightingale Hospice Charity, “She is a wellknown face both locally and nationally, and with her added support and encouragement we hope many more ladies will sign-up, for what promises to be a fantastic night for everyone involved.” Lynda joins health and fitness guru Rosemary Conley CBE, who is also backing the event. Registration for the Midnight Walk is £15. Places are limited so to register now visit:, email info@ or pop into a Florence Nightingale Hospice Charity shop in Aylesbury, Wendover, Winslow or Chinnor and pick up a registration form. For more information about the Florence Nightingale Hospice Charity visit: l Florence Nightingale Hospice, Stoke Mandeville Hospital, Aylesbury, Bucks, HP21 8AL Telephone: 01296 332600 Website:


Vale Life : June / July 2011

l Florence Nightingale Hospice Charity, Unit 4 Aylesbury Business Centre, Chamberlain Road, Aylesbury, Bucks, HP19 8DY Telephone: 01296 429975

The Florence Nightingale Hospice Charity (FNHC) provides comprehensive care and support through in-patient and at-home services to families affected by life-limiting illness. Last year this meant over 5,700 people. The Charity has to pledge half a million pounds each year to keep the Hospice and its services running. The specialist services at the Florence Nightingale Hospice include: · An In-patient Unit · The Day Hospice · Florrie’s Children’s Team · Specialist Community Nurses · The Lymphoedema Clinic · Complementary Therapies · Bereavement Support

How can you help?

There are street collections and events during this summer’s Sunny Sunflower Appeal including a Midsummer Memory Walk in Winslow on June 19th. Fundraising events can be fun, challenging and rewarding to everyone who takes part. Florrie’s Fun Day and the Teddy Bears’ Picnic on July 3rd is great for a family day out (12noon, Bucks County Council Sports and Social Club - entrance opposite Ambulance Station, Lower Road, Stoke Mandeville). Support the hospice shops in Aylesbury, Winslow, Wendover and Chinnor, and visit their upmarket dress agency, Labels of Amersham, if you need a perfect outfit for a special occasion. The hospice also has a furniture warehouse in Chamberlain Road, Aylesbury where they accept donated items of furniture that are also available for sale (Tel: 01296 393963). Legacies, the Hospice Lottery and Gift Aid donations all play a vital part in raising funds for your local hospice. Contact the fundraising team for details on: 01296 429975 or visit the website to find out more:

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- some of which are cleverly camoflaged for those late night undercover manoeuvres! Not only does the underwear look good, but when you buy a pair 12% of the RRP goes to support a fantastic cause. The launch earlier this month was accompanied by The Quest to Sell a Million campaign which has the target of raising at least £1.5 million for the cause in the first 12 months. Help for Heroes launched in 2007 to provide direct practical support to men and women wounded in the service of our country. The charity has been phenomenally successful raising £92 million to date and has funded a variety of projects including the £8m Rehabilitation Complex at Headley Court, a new £3.5m treatment centre for Combat Stress, adaptive adventure training through the Battle Back programme and the creation of a £6m Quick Reaction Fund to support individuals in need. Selection Branded Clothing hopes that Help for Heroes Underwear will create a bridge for consumers who want to give to the charity but may not have extra disposable income to make a donation and will raise crucial funds and awareness for the work of this amazing charity. For a chance to win a large pair of these trendy briefs (32-34 inch waist only available we’re afraid) simply email your name, address and telephone number, along with the answer to the following question to: Which action hero played the part of John J Rambo in First Blood? Winner to be drawn at random and notified by email on July 22nd. l

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Vale Life : June / July 2011

Lawn bowls may appear a sedate activity engaged in by retired couples but in reality it’s a popular competitive sport and our national team’s average age is lower than the England cricket team’s!


hen Vale Life heard that the BBC was in Thame filming a Commonwealth Games gold medal winner at a local sports club, we were surprised to discover that 22-year-old Natalie Melmore, pictured in action on our front cover, was the medallist and her sport was bowls. Natalie, who last year, at 21, became the youngest woman ever to win the national lawn bowls singles title, won the Commonwealth singles gold medal at the Jawarharlal Nehru Stadium, India in October. As bowls is not yet an Olympic sport this is the current pinnacle of bowling achievement. Natalie, who is from Torquay, was visiting Thame Bowls Club to

promote her sport and met up with some youngsters from Lord Williams’s School who were keen to try out her bowling tips. BBC Sport’s ‘have-a-go’ presenter Mike Bushell was on hand to interview Natalie for the Saturday morning show and with Natalie’s encouragement, he was soon having a go himself. Bowls is billed as ‘a young person’s game that old people can play’ and it’s said to be a game that ‘takes seconds to learn but a lifetime to master’. All ages and abilities do play though and thoroughly enjoy themselves. Thame Bowls Club was established in 1924 and has over 115 members, male and female but they are always ready to welcome new

Morning, Evening & Weekend classes in Aylesbury, Bierton, Halton, Ivinghoe, Pitstone, Tring, Wendover, Wilstone & Winslow

Natalie talks bowls with Mike Bushell recruits and those interested in finding out more about the sport. The outdoor season is currently in full swing having bowled off around mid April and will roll on well into September. During that time some 40 to 50 matches will be played against other clubs usually on Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays and bowlers of all abilities can take part. It’s a social game and matches are often followed by a light meal and a drink in the pleasant clubhouse bar. Most afternoons and evenings in the week members are welcome to ‘roll up’ and play bowls socially, for fun or to practice and improve. As with many sports clubs Thame Bowls Club observes a dress code and flat soled shoes must be worn on the green. The playing surface at Thame is professionally maintained and arguably the finest in Oxfordshire.

Mike has a try

During the summer the club is open for play every weekday from 12pm and from 10am on Saturday and Sunday. In the winter a short mat bowls programme takes place within the clubhouse on Wednesday and Friday evenings. l Thame Bowls Club, Chiltern Grove, Queen’s Road, Thame, OX9 3NH. Clubhouse: 01844 212401

Watching the expert

All fitness levels welcome, please come along for your FREE, no obligation class 07900 987230 24

Vale Life : June / July 2011

Photographs by Paul Wilkinson:

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Cliff will perform a selection of his greatest hits, as well as duets with his ‘soul partners’ Percy Sledge Candi Staton, Freda Payne, plus many more. NEC Birmingham – Evening Performance. Luxury Coach Travel & Ticket £99.

Tue 28th Bourton on the Water & Moreton Market £18 Wed 29th Swanage £19 Thur 30th Royal Opera House Backstage Tour & Covent Garden £25

July Fri 1st Fri 1st Sat 2nd Sun 3rd Sun 3rd Mon 4th Tue 5th Wed 6th Thur 7th Sat 9th Sat 9th Sun 10th Sun 10th Sun 10th

The Savill Garden & Windsor £24 Windsor Leisure Day £15 New Forest Drive & Christchurch £19 Eastbourne £19 Margate £19 Windsor Castle & Full Afternoon Tea £48 Bournemouth £19 Brighton £19 Hampton Court Flower Show £49 London Theatre – Phantom £86, Jersey Boys £65 & Love Never Dies £69 London Shopping £15 Isle of Wight, Sandown & Shanklin £29 Hampton Court Flower Show £49 Flying Legends Airshow Duxford £49

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

Vale Life : June / July 2011

Steven Cook

From chubby kid to champion kickboxer Steven Cook is proof that an interest in martial arts can turn your life around. Now, at 22, he’s running Pegasus, an impressive new sports and dance facility that could keep us all fit, healthy and off the streets...


was quite a chubby kid,” says champion kick boxer Steven Cook. “I was getting picked on at school, so my dad took me to Tae Kwon Do classes. He’s always been into fitness and wanted to make sure I could stick up for myself. I kept at it and then changed to Kick Boxing about 10 years ago.” Steve grew up in Aylesbury and went to Quarrendon School. He attended Tae Kwon Do classes at Aylesbury multi-cultural centre and then Pegasus kick boxing classes run by Mike Zilles at the Guttman Centre in Stoke Mandeville: “I was 12 when I started kick boxing, says Steve. “I liked Mike and the style of fighting which is hands and legs based, whereas Tae Kwon Do is more legs.” When Mike closed his Aylesbury classes Steve travelled to Chesham three times a week to continue his training. He started fighting in amateur competitions and won four light contact titles including intercontinental champion, for which he defeated the Italian world champion. Steve is now a black belt amateur and professional full-contact kickboxing champion, a certified personal trainer, a fighter’s conditioning coach, a boxercise coach and a qualified first aider! He has just won the British Kick Boxing Southern Area title and will compete for the British title at the end of the year. He has also now opened his own Pegasus Kickboxing Fitness and Martial Arts Centre which could be his biggest challenge yet! “I applied to join the army but was turned down as my medical records showed I’d had eczema”, says Steve. “Mike is an ex-paratrooper and he suggested I join him teaching at his Pegasus martial arts school. I worked up to black belt and started taking classes. Mike still teaches in Chesham, but he’s partly retired now so I’ve relaunched Pegasus in Aylesbury.” Mike ran classes in public halls but Steve has installed a purpose built exercise studio complete with punchbags a full-size boxing ring, monkey bars, gymnastic rings, kettle bells, free weights, matted areas and a mirrored dance studio in an industrial unit behind Lucas World of Furniture in Rabans Lane. “As a professional fighter I need somewhere to train with punchbags and a ring,” 26

Vale Life : June / July 2011

Anita Renee says Steve, “and having grown up around here I know that local teenagers have very little to do, so I wanted to create a place they could come and have fun doing something worthwhile instead of getting into trouble. “I was working for Lucas and got on well with the MD, Dave Lucas who is also into kickboxing. I’ve coached him and he was open to the idea of setting up a martial arts centre in one of his units.” Steve now offers a whole range of activities at Pegasus. “I’d like Pegasus to become the martial arts and dance facility for the area,” he says. “We already offer kick boxing, boxing, karate, mixed martial arts, grappling, street dance, zumba, urban ballet, MTV workouts, tai chi, pole fitness, jazz dance and aerobics, a bikini body workout, boxercise and more... “We’ve got a great atmosphere here, I’m really hoping people will come down and make use of the facilities. We’re aiming to expand the classes on offer and develop the gym facilities but our core activities will always be martial arts and dance.” Pegasus is certainly an impressive facility the only one in the area at the moment and in Steven and boxer Nathan Graham, Pegasus have two of the best coaches available. Instructor Greg Oliver is an ex world points kickboxing champion and Martin Fitzgerald is a certified personal trainer and boxing coach who also kick boxes competitively. There’s a

high level of dance instruction too including Street Dance coach Anita Renée and Jazz Fit instructor Vicky Baker. “We’ve tried to make our prices affordable,” says Steve. “It’s £3.50 for casual training, classes are £5 for youngsters, £6 for adults and we have a £35 a month unlimited class membership - take three a week and that’s under £3 per session!” “We have classes for everyone from beginners to advanced. If anyone feels they’d like to try a class, the first session is free. We also do a £20 weekly pass which allows you to try as many classes as you like. Mix 96 listeners may have heard our promotion offering the chance to buy one of these £20 passes for only £10 from the Mix 96 shop - which is amazing value at the moment! l Pegasus Fitness & Martial Arts, Rabans Lane, Aylesbury, BUCKS, HP19 8RE Tel: 01296 482 610 Email: Website: Opening Times: Mon-Fri 4:30pm-10pm Sat/Sun 10am-3pm

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Vale Life : June / July 2011

Last year Geoff Hamilton, Vale Life supporter and head honcho at Snappy Snaps Aylesbury retired and the Snappy baton was seamlessly transferred to new owner Umar Khan. Six months on and Umar is enjoying life on the High Street, although he claims he’s ‘never worked so hard!’


year ago we featured an article on Aylesbury’s Snappy Snaps photographic shop. The store has since been kindly sponsoring our photography competition and presenting each issue’s winners with a fabulous canvas print of their entry. Regulars may have noticed a couple of changes at the High Street store though. Keen to keep abreast of new technology Snappy Snaps now has handy ipod docks attached to their photo kiosks which means you can pop in and instantly print off pictures from your ipod or iphone. The second change is behind the counter where new owner Umar Khan has taken over from original franchisee Geoff Hamilton. Umar seems to be enjoying his new position too, for despite the hectic nature of life on the Snappy Snaps frontline he is always smiley, friendly, calm and helpful. Is he perhaps a student of Zen or heavily into meditation? It seems not! Originally from Peshawar in Northern Pakistan, a couple of hours from Islamabad, Umar came to England on his own at the age of 18 to study A levels and then hopefully a law degree. “I had some relatives in England,” says, Umar, “but I was basically living on my own in London, it was very different and quite hard to start with. Before I knew it I’d been her eight years though and it felt more like home than Pakistan!” Umar passed his A Levels and then gained a first class honours degree in law at Middlesex University. He joined a law firm to continue his training but began to realise that it might not be his ideal career: “It just wasn’t for me,” says Umar, “I found it really boring! I was working in London for a firm specialising in employment law and then tried another company in Maidenhead but I really wanted to do something more practical, more handson. It was 28

Vale Life : June / July 2011

Umar, Andy and Neil at the Snappy Snaps service desk a difficult decision as I’d put so much time and effort in but I started looking at different business options and the Snappy Snaps franchise at Aylesbury came up. “I’d heard of Aylesbury,” laughs Umar, “I knew it was in Buckinghamshire. “I’d lived in Wandsworth and Wimbledon for about 11 years and felt like a Londoner! I wanted to move out though, it’s so stressful there: the traffic, the parking, the price of everything, I was definitely ready to move out of London to a more pleasant and relaxing environment. “My wife Naila works for a law firm in Kings Cross, so we’re currently living near Milton Keynes for the rail connection. She’s expecting our second baby at the moment though and may give up her job in which case a move to Aylesbury would be ideal for me!” Umar and Nayla were married in 2007 and had their first baby, a boy, a year later. Umar took over Snappy Snaps from Geoff in December: “I’ve retained all the staff as they’ve been here for a long time,” says Umar. “They’re knowledgable, fully-trained and know the business and they are nice people

to work with. Neil’s been here six years and Andy and Molly both a couple of years. I’m also in the store six days a week. “Their expertise is important as people come in with all sorts of questions and they want to talk to an expert not a part-time shelf stacker! “There’s lots of places you can get cheap prints done nowadays but we offer a superior service in quality terms and it’s done on site so it’s very fast. We can print pictures and canvases, do enlargements and reprints from old photographs, restore old photographs, back up photographs onto DVD or transfer videos onto DVD, take a studio portrait or a specialist passport, visa or driving licence photograph. “We can develop pictures here within an hour, whether digital or on film, we have a proper minilab which is almost £100,000 of sophisticated developing technology, not an inkjet printer which many stores use. We can vary the size, change to black and white or sepia, remove red eye - we have complete control of the output of individual images,

Vale Life : June / July 2011

The minilab

Snappy Snaps is at the top end of Aylesbury High Street

Upstairs is a studio where high quality portraits can be taken In-store kiosks now have ipod docks A passport photograph being taken with the Snappy Snaps’ special Sony camera it’s not an automated service like many stores which can result in disappointing results.” “We may not always be the cheapest option but we are the specialists. You will get better results here. How many times have you had photographs printed in a supermarket and not been happy - it happens all the time. “We check the images as they go through, we look out for scratches and dirt, we won’t let bits get cropped off, if the head is near the edge we’ll make sure it gets in if possible. If there’s uncertainty as to how best to crop, we’ll consult the customer. We are offering a different kind of service, higher quality with attention to detail. “We also have an amazing range of products you can print on for presents or for fun: mugs, cushions, mousemats, T-shirts, jigsaws, clocks, calendars, we can do photo-collages, arty effects and interesting frames. “Passport and visa pictures can be a real headache for people these days as there are different requirements - different sizes and backgrounds for different countries. Photobooths are only meant for British passports

and even then the images you get are not guaranteed to be accepted under the new biometric passport regulations. We regularly have customers say their booth photos have been rejected by the passport agency and can we take the photos so they can renew their passports in time for their holiday. “Here we can take an instant passport picture and make sure we comply with the correct regulations. For example for an American or Indian visa you will need a 2in x 2in print on a white background and a digital version as well, which we’ll give you on a CD. “If you don’t like the picture we can take a few more shots and for very particular customer we can even go upstairs to our studio and take a portrait shot. “Using our specialist software, we carefully check every passport/visa photo to ensure that the dimensions are correct and that it complies with the passport agency/embassy requirements. “It’s quite strict now, you can’t have shadows in the background, eyes shut or even hair over your eyebrows or ears. Even babies have

to conform - they have to be looking straight at the camera and not crying! Your head has to be a particular size on the print, 29-34mm from chin to crown. If it’s out by even 1mm it will be rejected!” Snappy Snaps seems to excel at individual service. If you take your memory card in a member of staff will stand with you at the kiosk, if you so wish, and help you select sizes and finishes and even adjust cropping and zooming. The images then download to the minilab in the basement where they are individually processed and checked. If you’d like your image on a mug or T-shirt they can do it in-house straight away, it won’t have to be sent away which could be handy if it’s a last minute gift idea. “Because we are a franchise and I am the owner of the business we have the flexibility to be adaptable,” says Umar. “We aren’t tied by company regulations that don’t work for you. We work hard to build on the goodwill that Geoff and the staff have built up here over the years, so if there is a problem we will do our best to make sure it is put right to your satisfaction.” ‘So how is Umar enjoying life in the glamourous world of photography?’ we ask: “The last six months have been very busy, I’ve never worked as hard in my life,” he laughs. “I’ve been working six or seven days a week as when the shop is closed there’s still paperwork to do, maintenance of equipment to organise, staff holidays, more paperwork... it’s constant, stressful, but worth it. There’s a lot of job satisfaction, when you hand someone their prints or an old picture you’ve restored, even a baby passport picture - you get to see the joy on people’s faces. It’s much more enjoyable than previous jobs where I worked for someone else and had all sorts of different worries plus an hour and a half to commute! No two days are the same here and it’s certainly not boring!” l Snappy Snaps, 7 High Street, Aylesbury, Bucks, HP20 1SH. Tel: 01296 330003. Email: Website: Vale Life : June / July 2011


Vale Life : June / July 2011

Watching his kids at play centres Rob Scott thought he might like to plan a play venture of his own. Now a year after taking over Aylesbury’s Zoomania his plans are becoming a reality...


ob Scott took over the running of Aylesbury’s huge indoor play centre, Zoomania, last May: “A year in I feel I’ve finally got to grips with what’s going on!” he laughs. “I’ve been able to find out what people want and to identify areas for improvement. We’ve just opened a secure outside area - ideal for enjoying the sunshine and we’ve worked on the catering. A lot of the food is freshly made now and in response to a customer survey we’ve moved away from chips and fry-ups to salads, sandwiches and paninis. We do really good coffee now too, fresh pastries and some lovely homemade cupcakes!” Rob grew up in the Lancashire town of Ormskirk and started his working life in the catering industry. He toiled in hotels, bars and as a waiter, eventually ending up on a hotel management course at the Moathouse in Bourne End, near Berkhamsted. He didn’t fancy the industry’s antisocial hours though and went on to take a job as an office junior working for a personal injury firm in Watford. “It suited me really well and I advanced through the ranks, ending up as claims manager,” says Rob. “I was into motorbikes and used to race a bit, I wasn’t quite good enough to make a career of it though! I’ve a daughter: Roxy, who is four and a half now and a son, Zack, who is two and I’ve spent many hours in indoor play centres thinking what I’d do differently if I ran my own place. I was looking to set up my own centre when I noticed Zoomania was on the market. I liked the name and the animal theme and characters, so here we are!” Rob took over last year and closed for a couple of weeks in June for a general refurb and tidy up. He has put in new flooring, new sofas and changed the servery area. There’s a new fridge for drinks and sandwiches and a proper coffee machine.


Vale Life : June / July 2011

Rob Scott “I’ve been on a coffee making course, a hygiene course and a first aid course,” says Rob, “so I’m more than qualified to make a cracking cappucino!” Rob has also extended the baby area and given all the play frames a good clean. He is now turning his attention to the lighting. “I’ve always enjoyed cooking and with my background in catering I thought I could do a good job on the food side,” says Rob. “The changes we’ve made are proving popular and we’re bringing in sharing platters too - nachos, indian nibbles, oils and dips, which I think some of the mums will like.” Rob’s wife Sam comes from Oxford and works for a London fashion retailer. The family live in Berkhamsted but Roxy and Zack like nothing more than to visit dad at work! “They love it here,” says Rob, “Roxy in particular is very proud her dad is in charge!” Rob has two team leaders who assist him in the running of Zoomania: Donna who has

been at the centre for nearly seven years - it was called ‘Kids At Play’ when she started and Gary who has been there three years. Zoomania is on a retail park off Gatehouse Way. It’s a sizeable unit with a twos-and-under area containing spongy slides and rockers where babies can crawl around safely. There’s a two-to-four-year-old area with a larger slide and padded steps to climb, a bouncy castle and a ball-pit and then the larger frame which can be used up to the age of 11. It’s got a long slide, a twirly slide, a bouncy island and lots of fun places to run, crawl, play and hide. There’s also a mini sports court with football and basketball nets. “We’ve got plenty of comfy sofas and café-style seating areas for mums and dads to relax in,” says Rob, “There’s magazines and newspapers to read, free WIFI and the new outdoor area is a nice spot to soak up the sun, with a small play area for fours and unders.” Zoomania also has party rooms - parties last for two hours, during which the youngsters can play on the frame and then go up to their party room and have some food. “We often have deals and offers on,” says Rob, “so it’s worth asking or checking our website. During the school summer holidays, from July 21st on, there’s a 15% discount on all weekday parties booked. “We have Toddler Time from 9.30am to 3pm - it’s £4.75 per toddler including juice and biscuits and a free hot drink for mum and School’s Out from 3pm to 5.30pm which is £5.95 entry and includes juice and a choice from the kids menu. So how is Rob finding his new career as head zookeeper?! “I’m really pleased with the way things are going,” laughs Rob, “it’s child’s play really and it’s a lot of fun!” l Zoomania, 3 Kempson Close, Gatehouse Way, Aylesbury, Bucks, HP19 8UQ. Tel: 01296 481555. Website:


A week of the holidays where stars will shine!

NOW BOOKING IN AYLESBURY! The Pied Piper Of Hamleys: Age 4-8 Musical Madness: Age 8 -18

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 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


! AC ! E C N SING! DA Tel: 01296 747758

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


  

      

  



  


Vale Life : June / July 2011


Vale Life : June / July 2011

Ladies debate many things but most would agree on George Clooney and an AGA as the most desirable items to complete any home. George remains charming enough but he’s not getting any younger, the AGA however is enjoying a new lease of life with the eco-friendly AGA Total Control...


hile the AGA Total Control (TC) has the same cast-iron good looks for which both Clooney and the classic AGA heat-storage cooker are famous, the Total Control incorporates new state-of-the-art technology with which to programme your AGA. It can now come on when you want to cook and be off when you don’t. Each hotplate and oven operates independently and the company hopes to roll out a smartphone app by Christmas, so you can warm the oven up while travelling back from work! As with all AGA cookers, cooking on the Total Control is a pleasure and produces amazing results. Its cast-iron ovens are gentle on food and lock in moisture, flavour, texture and importantly, goodness - ensuring that the food you serve tastes delicious while you get the very best out of your ingredients. You can still enjoy that indefinable ambient AGA warmth while managing the amount of energy used. And in the summer months, you can choose to turn the AGA cooker off when not needed. “Once you’ve lived with an AGA you’ll always want one,” says Julie Smith, manager of Thame’s AGA Shop. “It’s the amazing way they cook. The cast iron radiates stored heat which is unlike any other cooker. Food isn’t exposed to elements or blasted with hot air. “The AGA creates a cosy atmosphere too, it’s subtle but they can change the feel in a room. A big plus for me is never having to clean an oven again, the heat carbonises spills

Julie Smith at the AGA Shop Thame


Vale Life : June / July 2011

The AGA Total Control with touch screen control panel - see insert below

and you simply brush out the dust.” Julie has been at the Thame AGA shop for five years. She’s an AGA fan through and through, having grown up with a solid fuel AGA at the family home in Great Hampden. “I had a gas AGA installed when I got married and we’ve an electric one in our current home at Butlers Cross,” she laughs. “It’s a different way of cooking, you do 80% in the oven and 20% on top, which is the reverse of a standard cooker. We use stacking saucepans and would bring vegetables to boil on the hotplate and then drain off all the water before stacking in the simmer oven to continue steaming. They come out beautifully done and the nutrients haven’t been boiled away. We do regular demonstrations here in the shop. You can find details on our website and book in if you’d like to come along.” AGA Thame will be manning a stand at the Oxfordshire and Thame Show again this year on July 30th. AGA are in Block G opposite the bandstand. Demonstrator Simon Brown

AGA fans at AGA Thame for the Total Control launch will do 20-30 minute demos on a live 13amp AGA. There will be limited seating for six to eight, plus standing room for these slots. With the new TC, AGA has recognised that homes are often empty much of the time these days. The traditional AGA cooking qualities are still revered but the constant heat and warmth may not be required. While George may not be such hot stuff at the box office now, the AGA is turning up the heat and then turning it down again and then up again - it’s entirely up to you, with the new TC you really do have total control. l The AGA Shop, 10 Upper High Street, Thame, Oxfordshire, OX9 3ER Tel: 01844 214214 Email: Website:

The Oxfordshire County and Thame Show is billed as The Greatest One Day Agricultural Show in the country and attracts around 20,000 visitors each year. It’s packed with things to see and sample, from the main ring to the food hall, the events ring and the animal shows, the craft hall, stalls, beer tent and children’s rides, there really is something for all ages. . .


lthough the first official Thame Agricultural Association show was held in October 1888, its origins were some thirty years before in a ploughing match on Thursday October 25th, 1855. This event was a huge success with twenty-six teams competing for eight prizes and it was decided to repeat the event and combine it with the Thame Horticultural Society Show. The event has developed over the years and now show classes are held for: cattle, sheep, goats, horses, dogs, caged birds, floral art, flowers, fruit, vegetables, cakes, jams, chutneys, handicrafts, art, photography... and of course the show has expanded to also include all sorts of entertainment and spectacle! An Oxfordshire Show was held on Kidlington Airfield up until 1977 and in 2006 the Thame show was renamed The Oxfordshire County and Thame Show in recognition of the important role the event now plays in the agricultural calendar. This year’s show takes place at Thame Showground on Saturday, July 30th.

Main Ring Attractions Imps Motorcycle Display Team Pipes & Drums RAF Halton Band The Sheep Show The Festival Circus Displays : falconry, gundog & sheepdog plus vintage tractors & classic cars Family entertainments area Scurry driving


h July 2011

Show jumping with some of the UK’s finest riders Competitions for cattle, sheep, horses & donkeys, goats, dogs, cage birds & pigeons, rabbits & domestic section Area floral arts show Craft & shopping marquees, Trade stands & food hall

Gates Open: 8am - 6:30pm. Tickets: Pre-Show - Adults £13 Junior & Senior Citizens £8 Family £40 Show Day - Adults £15 Junior & Senior Citizens £10 Family £50 Tickets available on line or from: Thame Show Office; Tickets Anywhere, Thame; The Kennel Shop, Stokenchurch; Thame Town Hall; CH Browns, The Covered Market, Oxford; Aylesbury, Wendover & Princes Risborough tourist information centres. Visit our Website -

ay Agricultural Show In thein mainthe ring The UK Imps Mo-


torcycle Display Team will have you mesmerised with a dynamic demonstration of discipline and skill, from the revving engines to the awesome fire jump and the suspense of a multiple motorcycle combination ‘cross-over’ routine. You will be amazed to learn that the youngest performer is only five years old! The Pipes and Drums band from RAF Halton will add further spectacle with their stirring squeal of bagpipes and swirl of kilts. Halton is considered to be the home of

Pipes & Drums RAF Band - Halton

piping in the Royal Air Force. The Festival Circus, (right) the first ever to perform at Buckingham Palace for the Queen, is housed in a colourful 90ft diameter circus tent, with seating for 500 people. In addition to the fantastic performers the circus provides two hours of ‘have-a-go’ circus skills workshops for children and adults. Richard Savory’s Sheepshow (see top pic), Bob Hogg’s Sheepdog Display, Cyril the Squirrel’s Terrier Racing, Ye Olde Redtailed Falconry and Gamegoer’s dog, hawk and ferret displays all add to the fun. There really is something for everyone at The Oxfordshire County and Thame Show and at only £40 for a family ticket it’s great value the cost of a trip to the cinema for a whole day out - so why not get up early, like the farmers do and make a day of it!?

Imps Motorcycle Display Team The Festival Circus

l The Oxfordshire County & Thame Show, Thame Showground, Tythrop Way, Thame, Oxon, OX9 3JL.

RAF Halton Pipes & Drums

Vale Life : June / July 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.

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 Henley-on-Thames Tel: 01491 579929 34

Vale Life : June / July 2011

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 Peacock Inn


Gorgeous weddings and very special occasions

The Valient Trooper, Trooper Rd, Aldbury, Tring, Herts, HP23 5RW. 01442 851203

he Peacock Country Inn at Henton near Chinnor is owned and run by Martin Roberts, who came across it whilst walking the Ridgeway in 2004. Martin has spent the last few years completely refurbishing the hidden gem which has 25 bedrooms, a bar/ restaurant and a light and spacious meeting room with lovely views over the Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire countryside. The Peacock restaurant serves delicious traditional pub food. Martin says: “Whether you’ve been working up an appetite walking, cycling, or simply relaxing – we think you’ll appreciate the great service here and our honest, fresh pub food at

affordable prices. Pub favourites such as lasagne and fish and chips and sticky toffee pudding are always on our menu.” If you’d like to be in with a chance of winning a meal for two at The Peacock Inn with a complimentary bottle of house wine, simply email your name, address and telephone number, along with the answer to the following question to: Which northern football team is nicknamed The Peacocks? Winner to be drawn at random and notified by email on July 22nd. l The Peacock Inn, Henton, Thame, Oxfordshire OX39 4AH Tel: 01844 353519 Web:

l Food & Drink

Vale Life : June / July 2011

Last year Vale Life discovered The Crown at Sydenham, the pretty, 16th century village pub and restaurant run by superchef Max Pettini and wife Louise. It seems word has since spread...


he tiny hamlet, of Sydenham, just off the Thame/Chinnor road, is usually a peaceful place. It is also home of The Crown one of Vale Life’s very favourite pub/restaurants. On a visit in May though, not only did we find the hamlet a hive of murderous intent but The Crown was no longer! Weep not dear readers, for the disappearance was only temporary. The Crown had been turned into The Stag, for the filming of a Midsomer Murders TV episode and once the chauffeur driven limos had whisked the stars away and the extras had boarded their minibus, The Crown was restored to its former glory. The pictures here show how the TV company changed the pub’s signage and inside added a huge Stag’s head and various accessories to suit their storyline. It is thought the story will be broadcast next year. “It’s the first time we’ve had filming since we’ve been here,” says Louise. “The episode will be called ‘The Night of The Stag’ so watch out for that in the next series!” A syndicate of local couples bought the ancient hostelry a cou-

Filming for Midsomer Murders at The Crown, Sydenham. The pub signage was changed and a stags head, right, hung in the bar!

Max and Louise

Filming also took place in the churchyard opposite The Crown

ple of years back when the brewery had closed it for redevelopment and Max and Louise took on the running of the business. Max is a first class chef who produces the most delicious meals with simple well matched ingredients, while Louise is a charming, friendly and attentive host. Originally from Australia Max was a trained chef when he arrived in England and has since honed his talents in the kitchens of several top notch hotels including Pennyhill Park in Surrey, The Compleat Angler at Marlow and Frimley Hall. Max likes to offer a lighter menu in January after the Christmas excesses, often drawing on his Italian

heritage to produce some delicious pasta. It went down so well this year that he’s now offering a choice of pasta dishes and a pudding for £15 from Tuesday to Thursdays in addition to the regular menu. It’s a great value alternative although at Vale Life we’d find it hard not to be tempted by his Moroccan spiced lamb shank cobbler, or the Grilled Cornish Pollack with Pancetta and Avocado Salsa. “I like to use really good ingredients and keep things simple,” says Max. “I’ll put a couple of elements together and source fresh, local products where possible.” “The Tuna Carpaccio has been popular,” says Louise, “It’s a lovely summer starter.” From experience Vale Life can vouch for Max’s West Coast

Left: Guest star Warren Clarke takes a break from filming Inset: Cheerypicker for lighting churchyard - filming went on until 2am!

Scallops with black pudding and Granny Smith Apple Salad, which is a delicate, perfectly executed starter, bursting with flavour and the King Prawn, Chorizo and Smoked Chicken Risotto; rich, warming and smokey, with a hint of tomato and flaked parmesan - tangy, but not overpowering. Desserts at the Crown are always superb too, so it’s worth taking your time and making sure you’ve room for a treat! At lunchtimes the pub is open every day except Monday and for those grabbing a quick bite there’s swiftly prepared options like an Aberdeen Angus rib-eye steak ciabatta with sun-dried tomato and onions, or club sandwich of free range chicken, bacon, eggs and tomato. Max may be keeping things ‘simple’, but he is serving simple food that has been beautifully cooked. At the bar there are three real ales: Brakspear, London Pride and a guest beer that changes monthly. The pub is open for food Tuesday-Saturday and Sunday lunch. They are closed Sunday night and Monday. l The Crown, Sydenham, Oxfordshire, OX39 4NB. Tel: 01844 351634. Web: Vale Life : June / July 2011


Vale Life : June / July 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.


ne thing I love about living in the English countryside is the widespread awareness of seasonality. British asparagus season is as eagerly-anticipated here as the summer’s first Pimm’s, and I have been gorging myself on the lovelies for the past month. The asparagus, obviously, not the Pimm’s. Ahem. But what to do when it all comes to a screeching halt? Two things actually: 1. Find creative ways of using up the dredges of the crop, and 2. Console yourself that it’s now barbecue season. Yes, I know the sun won’t always cooperate, but another great thing about England is the ‘keep calm and carry on’ mantra that prevails. Rain? What rain?! To these ends I offer up a creamy, minty potato salad, using what’s left of the asparagus as well as seasonal peas and new potatoes. It works well as a vegetarian main, or as a side with grilled meats, especially lamb. The fact that, unlike traditional potato salads, there is no mayonnaise means it won’t spoil as quickly if left out. That makes it ideal for all those barbecues you’ll be having this summer (whether outdoors or in)!

Creamy Potato Salad (Serves 6-8)


ur new summer menu, for The Hayloft, was launched in May and has proved very popular with customers old and new. The only complaint is that there’s too much to choose from! Our fresh bagels from the local bakery have been a real hit. We have a selection of fillings from Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese to Free Range Scrambled Eggs and Gloucester Old Spot Bacon, fresh from the farm. Add a frothy cappuccino and there really is no better way to start the day! Another new addition to The Hayloft and the Farm Shop are these gorgeous cup cakes made by Julie in the Farm Kitchen. They taste as delicious as they look. Out on the farm Richard and his son Philip have been busy making a few urgent repairs. The cattle were so excited at being out in the open again that they decided to go and pay their neighbours, the chickens, a visit. Over 20 metres of fencing was damaged by their stampede which has taken nearly a day to repair. Let’s hope they enjoyed themselves! We have a lovely story about a calf we fondly named Dave. He was unable to stand when he was born, so he couldn’t feed from his mother. We hand fed him from a bottle and then he started munching the grass surrounding him. Because the poor thing couldn’t get up, we had to keep moving him so he continuously had fresh grass available. This went on for 3 weeks and as his strength grew he finally managed to stand. Amazingly his mother took him back and was happy to start feeding him as if nothing had happened, which is extremely rare in these cases. Lucky Dave is now living happily out in the fields with his mum and the rest of the cattle. As we continue to move with the times, we have now registered ourselves on Facebook. There is always something new happening on the farm and in the shop, so we’re having fun sharing our news and photos. Take a look at Boycott Farm Shop. We’d love you to become our friend! l Boycott Farm, Welsh Lane, Stowe, Buckinghamshire, MK18 5DJ. Telephone: 01280 821286. Email: shop@ Website: 36

Vale Life : June / July 2011

What You Need: 1 kg new potatoes, scrubbed and quartered 500 g asparagus, rinsed, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces 125 g fresh peas, shelled 100 g (1/2 cup) light cream cheese 125 ml (1/2 cup) light crème fraîche 1 clove garlic, minced 1 handful fresh mint, chopped Salt/pepper to taste What You Do: Boil the potatoes in salted water for about 10 minutes, or until they are just soft enough to pierce with a fork. Before you drain them, throw in the asparagus and peas and let them boil for a few more minutes, until the peas are tender, then drain everything together and let cool in a collander. In a large bowl, mix the crème fraîche, cream cheese and garlic together until smooth, then add the potatoes, vegetables and mint. Toss gently, to coat completely, and season to taste. Notes: Fresh peas and new potatoes (first and second-crop) should be available all summer. If using later potatoes, you may need to increase the boiling time slightly. Once the asparagus is well and truly gone for the year, leave out the peas and replace them with cubes of cucumber and feta cheese for a Greekinspired variation. Opa!

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


hen I was a young man the world seemed a strange and bewildering place. I was an awkward kid and, like many others, I found growing up a lonely and difficult experience. I lacked self-confidence with girls and only had my first girlfriend when I was nearly thirteen. Looking back though the reason for this might have had something to do with my sassy teenage styling. I had a pair of grey-flecked glasses with thick milk bottle lenses. I wore black trousers with a white fleck after seeing Nick Berry wear them on Eastenders. I even spent all of my paper round wages for a whole month on two pink flecked jumpers from Burtons. Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve used the word ‘fleck’ for the last twenty-five years and yet it clearly played an important role in my formative years. Never before or since has so much flecking been worn by one person. It was during this time that I began to formulate my views

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

about life and the world around me. My schoolmates, who were going through the same agonies, would turn to poetry for stimulation and quote Blake, Shelly and Wilde. I, on the other hand found my inspiration in the lyrics of 80s American rock classics. When you think about it, there is rarely a situation when the words of Toto, ZZ Top, or Journey don’t help out. Try it out. Has there

Vale Life : June / July 2011

ever been a time in your life just about perfect. It’s close to when these words wouldn’t have my house, it has great beers, a helped you out? good wine list and wonderful ‘An I’m gonna hold on for food (when you go make sure the rest of my days, ‘cos I know you have the treacle tart). But what it means, to walk along the the Five Elms is more than this lonely street of dreams’ - thank because of the people who run it, you David Coverdale. work in it and use it, it is in all I found myself drinking from senses a pub of the community. the Rock Goblet Every year at of Wisdom a couChristmas there’s Christmas carols at ple of weeks ago a carol singthe Five Elms, Weedon whilst passing a a-long outside pub I used to love with friends that no longer and strangers exists. The pub huddled together was The Old Jug drinking mulled in Hardwick and wine and eatthe song was You ing homemade Don’t Know What sausage rolls. You’ve Got ‘Til I can honestly It’s Gone by Cinderella. say that some of my happiest With pubs up and down the times in recent years have been country closing by the hundred, I spent next to the fire in the small thought I’d use this opportunity snug of the Five Elms or lolling to help out and extol the virtues around outside after a long hot of my favourite pub in the Vale, summer’s day. The Five Elms in Weedon. So, if you love your pub then If I ever got on to Desert heed the advice of Motley Crue Island Discs, this pub would be from their 1985 album Theatre my luxury item because it is Of Pain, ‘Use It Or Lose It’!


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Vale Life : June / July 2011


Vale Life : June / July 2011

Trevor Bosch has run The Angel at Long Crendon for 14 years. His restaurant is known as one of the area’s best and is on most people’s shortlists for a special occasion dinner or celebration. With its relaxed pubby ambience and inclusive prices, dining at The Angel is value for money though and something to consider even when you’ve nothing to celebrate but good food...


here’s no pomp and ceremony here,” says Trevor Bosch, head chef and owner of The Angel at Long Crendon. “We’ve a relaxed dress code, an easy-going ambience, reasonably priced menus and some nice wines. We’ll often get locals stopping in for a few pints or a group of ladies whiling away the afternoon with a bottle of wine and they’re very welcome.” The Angel Restaurant began life as a 16th century coaching inn and is still a sanctuary for the weary traveller today. It stands on the main Bicester Road at the end of a pretty terrace of cottages and on entering all is as it should be: great oak beams, solid floorboards


Vale Life : June / July 2011

a large Inglenook fireplace, sumptuous leather sofas and comfy cushions adorn the bar/ reception area. It’s the ideal place to peruse the menu while relaxing with a drink and complimentary selection of olives and fresh, local Cornfield Bakery breads. There’s several rooms in which you might dine, on the scrubbed pine table in the back parlour or in the stylish front bar, by the exposed wattle and daub or in the elegant conservatory - all swagged chairs and white tablecloths... it’s a higgledy piggledy mix but it works very nicely. Trevor is originally from Surrey. He used to spend much of his school holidays with an aunt in Epsom while his parents were

Trevor Bosch

working: “She used to get me cooking simple dishes,” he says, “Just to keep me entertained, I think, but I enjoyed it and when I left school I went to Brooklands Catering College in Weybridge to become a chef.” Trevor continued his training with the Sheraton Hotel Group working at the Skyline, in Belgravia and at The Inn on the Park: “I worked in Cambridge at The Garden House for a couple of years,” says Trevor, “ and then in Australia for a year at the Sheraton Mirage and The Lakeside Hotel in Canberra. When I came back I did a stint at The RAC Club in London and then at Oakley Court in Windsor where they filmed a lot of the Hammer Horror movies! I was there for about five years

Vale Life : June / July 2011

working as a sous chef under the legendary Scottish Master Chef Murdo McSween who was awarded a Michelin star at only 21! I was then head chef at Studley Priory, just up the road in Horton-Cum-Studley. “A friend of the family, Steve Good, who ran a local company called Good Fabrications,

suggested going into partnership and we took over the Angel from Mark and Ruth the previous owners in 1997. It was run as a pub restaurant at the time. “We opened up the reception area a bit, extended the kitchen and added some more bedrooms - we’ve four now and are hoping for another this year!” “We’re trying to offer a relaxed, quality experience. We want people to feel at home while enjoying excellent service. In the kitchen we use as many local ingredients as possible: fruit and veg from Bucksum Salads, just around the corner, and Rectory Farm at Stanton St John, meat from Ickford, local lamb, beef from Scotsgrove Farm at Thame. Luckily there’s a lot of very good local producers. We’re also fortunate in that although we’re a fair way from the sea we get fresh fish and seafood daily from Brixham market in Cornwall. There’s a handful of restaurants around here being supplied regularly and it’s couriered up. “We change the specials weekly depending on what is available at market. If I’ve picked up some nice fresh squid or sardines they’ll go straight on the menu. The a la carte menu changes seasonally: New Zealand lamb is strong now, French Guinea Fowls are good at the moment too and we do at least three vegetarian options. All our dishes are complete,

so you shouldn’t need to spend extra on side orders. “We run a tasting menu from Monday to Thursday, which gives a choice of five of our best dishes, say: English Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce, Roast Chump of Lamb, maybe a Cheese Soufflé... “People say they love the Angel and enjoy themselves when they come here but tend to think of it as somewhere to save for a special occasion. I want The Angel to be more inclusive than that so we’ve priced competitively and we try to offer value for money. “We’ve introduced a two course light lunch menu for £15, for which we’ve chosen some of our most popular lunchtime specials and are doing them as starters or main course portions: Crispy Duck and Bacon Salad, Thai Spiced Tiger Prawn Risotto, Traditional Sausage and Mash with Onion Gravy, Liver and Bacon... and there’s a sandwich menu for those who are tight for time.” All food is prepared and cooked fresh from srcatch in the Angel kitchens by a team of up to five. If you have a food allergy or special preference, let them know and they can cater for it. “We make everything,” says Trevor, “from stocks and sauces to pastries and deserts. I’ve a great team, we’ve been together a while which means we get a level of consistency. We don’t really follow trends we just aim to get the best out of our ingredients and we’re always looking for what’s new and fresh at the market, the very best seasonal produce. “We collaborate with local celebrity cook, Lotte Duncan who hosts our ladies lunches several times a year. She’ll come up with a menu which we interpret in the kitchen! Lotte will give a talk and Long Crendon wine expert Marcia Waters ( comes in to discuss the wine and offer tasting tips. “A couple of times a year we’ll collaborate with our wine suppliers on a themed dinner, say ‘Australian Wines’ or ‘Rioja’ and stage a meal with a wine expert or a grower to talk about the wines we’ve selected to complement the menu.” The Angel can cater for up to 65 in one sitting. “We’ve held a few weddings here,” says Trevor. “We can only seat up to 35 in any one area but people often hire the whole place.” Front of house there’s a team of four

Justin, from Aylesbury is restaurant manager, then there’s Christian, an Italian from Waddesdon, Abi, who is also from Aylesbury and Martine who’s from Cambridge, they are charming and helpful and nothing is too much trouble. “Our clientelle comes from far and wide,” says Trevor, “and we are well supported locally. We’ve just had a couple from Luxembourg staying, who found us in the Michelin Good Food Guide - we’re a ‘recommended restaurant with rooms’. We’re in The AA Restaurant Guide, The Good Food Guide and Hardens Guide. We’ve had a few good write ups in the Sunday papers and The Time Out Guide recommended us as one of the best places to dine out of London, so word gets around!” Trevor lives a few doors from The Angel, with his wife of 19 years, Annie and their three daughters. Annie, was a pastry chef when she met Trevor and now combines being a mum with running the housekeeping side at the Angel. His two older daughters Heidi and Isabella also help out at weekends. For a busy man Trevor seems remarkably relaxed and easy going. He obviously loves being a chef and thoroughly enjoys creating the most delicious dishes for his diners. There’s no pretension involved though, just a desire to give people a lovely time and some excellent food. As Trevor says, ‘don’t wait for a special occasion,’ you can celebrate good food anytime at the Angel. l The Angel Restaurant, 47 Bicester Road, Long Crendon, Bucks, HP18 9EE Tel: 01844 208 268 Web: www.

Vale Life : June / July 2011


Vale Life : June / July 2011

When Haddenham Parish Council challenged their villagers to think of ways to put Haddenham on the map they never dreamt they’d soon be hosting one of the most successful charity events in the Vale...


he first Haddenham Real Ale Festival, in 2004, provided a day of entertainment for villagers and raised sufficient funds to start a village tree-nursery at the local allotments. Each year the content and attendance has increased until now it is one of the largest one-day beer festivals in the country. The Summer Festival attracts over 2,000 visitors and has evolved into an all-round family day. In 2007 a second festival, Haddenham Winterfest, was introduced. At both events the atmosphere is enhanced by seasonal music, dance and traditional plays and plenty of appropriate


Vale Life : June / July 2011

food. It’s not just about beer, it’s a family outing and many visitors arrive with tables and chairs ready to enjoy the whole day. Last year The Haddenham Beer Festivals Trust received official charitable status. The festivals are organized by a voluntary committee of seven who rely upon a great deal of

willingly-given help from the community. Funds raised from these events allow the Trustees of the Charity to distribute cash grants to a large number of local initiatives and charities which serve the community. Donations to date are in excess of £95,000. This year’s Summer Festival takes place on Saturday, July 2nd from 11am to 9pm at Haddenham Youth & Community Centre, Woodways with a choice of 60 Real Ales, 25 ciders and 3 lagers. In the ‘tented village’ will be a wine bar, a Pimms bar and a bar offering bottled beers from around the world. To satisfy the hunger pangs, there will be the ever popular barbecue and curry tent and a range of traditional hot and cold bar snacks, plus an olive and delicatessen bar. Entertainment will be provided

all day, with the Ian English Jazz Band taking Centre stage through the afternoon with breaks for Morris Dancing and the Haddenham Hoofers Appalachian dancing team. A welcome innovation for families will be bouncy castles, both for toddlers and for youngsters, professionally supervised, and fully insured. This will be complemented by a kids’ bar serving soft drinks and snacks. As evening approaches, there will be groups playing pop music and a hog roast. The beer festival will have evolved into a family picnic and then a mini pop festival. Tickets are £5 in advance, £6 on the gate. They are available from a variety of outlets in Haddenham and Thame. See the website: for details.

Vale Life : June / July 2011

The world at your door Give your ipod a break and download music direct to your mind! Give YouTube a miss and see real music up close and personal, and live - and do it right on your doorstep this summer. Towersey Festival is now in its 47th year and delivers real festival atmosphere but in a way that keeps people of all ages coming back year after year...


his year Towersey boasts a truly international line up lead by the legendary Billy Bragg, who opens the Festival. From Scotland and Canada The Burns Unit are something of a supergroup. Recently featured on ‘Later with Jools Holland’ they represent a coming together of musical styles that really works: indie queen Emma Pollock; Indo‐Caledonian pop artist Future Pilot AKA; award‐winning folk singer Karine Polwart; alt‐folk royalty King Creosote; elegant multi‐instrumentalist Kim Edgar; drummer/producer Mattie Foulds and energetic piano‐man Michael Johnston along with virtuoso rapper MC Soom T. Last August they released their stunning debut, ‘Side Show’. If the Jools performance is anything to go by, they are even better live! If you like things a bit calmer Cara Dillon is one of those rare talents you only come across a handful of times in your whole life. Her staggeringly beautiful voice has the ability to reach inside the soul of a song and imbue material with not only profound sweetness but also poignancy and depth. Then from Germany, 17 Hippies. A truly big band (17 would you believe) who really do have to be seen to be believed. Their history reads like a chronicle of the Berlin music scene. From Krautrock to Punk, and Jazz to Classical Music they’ve played more than 1500 gigs around the world and now they’re coming to Towersey. Wave goodbye to choirs as you know them and say hello to the Spooky Men’s Chorale.

Circus skills workshop Cara Dillon

Billy Bragg 17 Hippys

Spooky Men’s Chorale Hailing from New South Wales in Australia this one is a macho juggernaut! - zany, black-clad, big as a behemoth and showstoppingly good. Sounding as sacred as a high church choir one minute; wickedly off the wall the next. This is the kind of thing you only see at festivals! And that’s just the tip of a very big Iceberg - Towersey has over 80 acts booked across 8 stages over four days and five nights. A huge Beer Festival with over 20 Real Ales and Ciders, World Class Street Theatre, Poetry and Literature, four dedicated Children’s Venues and stunning world cuisine. The world really is coming to your door. Towersey is Your Local Festival - make the most of it! For further information see:

Do the whole thing... Get stuck in for the whole festival and you will soon find yourself part of a very special group. Festival goers become like family; your campsite neighbours become lifelong friends and you come away with a sense of fulfilment and wish it was next year already. Adult tickets from £112 for the whole 4 days. Youth £80, under 12: £56. Join in for a day.... Pop down for the day and immerse yourself in everything a festival has to offer.

How to DO Towersey

Just like being there for the whole thing but you have to drag yourself away at the end of the day! Day tickets available from £35, Youth from £24, U12: £18 A night out for just one gig...

An evening ticket also gives you access to the festival experience site. Each night gives you a warm up, headline artist and a late night dance. It’s like a mini festival in one night. Or just get a taste... The ‘Festival Experience’ ticket is available on the day and gives you access to The Showground. Here you will find all the great atmosphere of the festival, a real ale bar, loads of great food, music, street theatre and surprises round every corner. All yours from Sat – Mon. Vale Life : June / July 2011


Music, Dance, Street Theatre, Huge Real Ale Bar, Array of Festival Food, Poetry, Storytelling, Workshops, Craft and Music Fairs, Visual Art & Sculpture and surprises around every corner!

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

Vale Life : June / July 2011

Penny Harper


n 1992, my best friend Amy handed me a note during French class; it read ‘I wish I’d been that ball-girl who got to rub the sweat off Andre Agassi with the towel during the match yesterday’. I swiftly wrote a reply and sent it three desks back again. Amy laughed out loud and immediately drew a scowl from Madame Bouton. My reply had simply said ‘I wish I’d been the towel’. In those halcyon days we cultivated a huge crush on the then long-maned tennis star, Agassi. I’m sure he was the subject of many a schoolgirl dream, that glorious Wimbledon year. I don’t think I’ve had such palpitations since, and I don’t even like long hair! I was never hot for Henman

Andre checks Steff’s nose for cream but where did all that hair go?!

nor did I blush over Boris ‘where are your eyebrows’ Becker. Murray’s still just too much like a moody teenager for my liking. The height difference would also be ridiculous and I’m quite certain his scary coach-mum would punch my lights out. Don’t even get me started with fuzzy-haired Pete Sampras. Why do I get the feeling that with him, it would all be over too fast? I’m always glued to the screen for the last two weeks of June. I love everything about Wimble-

don. I love the fashion, I love the epic battles (who can forget that Agassi went on to beat Goran Ivanisevic in the 1992 men’s final?) not to mention Murray’s insightful comments: ‘I think we both played like women in the first set’ and ‘the stuff that I was doing in matches is similar to what I’d be doing if I was training this week’. Despite loving it so much, I’ve never actually been to Wimbledon and it’s become an ambition of mine. It’s mostly because I want one of those giant tennis balls that you see people walking round with, and I want to go on a Womble hunt. Of course, in my ultimate Wimbledon fantasy I get a little tiddly on champagne and then, whilst eating strawberries, I accidentally get a smudge of

Small Town


cream on my nose (if you’ve seen my nose you’ll know why this is a certainty) and I turn around to see sex-God Agassi himself. He’ll lean over, rub the cream off with a little green Wimbledon towel, look lovingly into my eyes and say ‘I haven’t seen a schnoz like that since Steffi’. Game, Set and Match to Miss Harper!

Win tickets to the Horse of the Year Show


Jayne Webber on The Humdinger, Coloured Champion at HOYS 2010 for the 2nd year running. Picture by Trudy Traffrd Guy Williams on Richi Rich III in last year’s Puissance


Vale Life : June / July 2011

his year’s Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) takes place from Tuesday, October 4th to Sunday, October 9th, at NEC Birmingham’s LG Arena. It promises to be another exceptional equestrian event and will host the finals of the most highly regarded showing and show jumping championships, alongside an exciting line-up of equestrian entertainment - from spectacular displays to tense competition, Horse of the Year Show is not to be missed. Vale Life has teamed up with HOYS to offer you the chance to win tickets so you can experience the incredible atmosphere first hand. As well as featuring the finals of the most prestigious national showing and show jumping championships, HOYS also runs a full programme of international show jumping classes, three of which offer world ranking points. The crowd favourite Puissance class returns during Saturday’s evening performance, with the audience on the edge of their seats as riders tackle the infamous red wall. New for 2011: HOYS presents the 2011 Express Eventing Final! This promises to be an exciting new addition to HOYS on Tuesday, October 4th, when visitors can witness the compact thrill-a-minute version of eventing inside the NEC. In addition, HOYS will also play host to the Household Cavalry. A spectacular military tradition which leaves a lump in your throat as a

wave of ‘Rule Britannia!’ washes over the arena - it is a real highlight of the show. 4th – 9th October 2011 The high speed Osborne Refrigerators Scurry Racing, Think Like a Pony Interactive Feature Area and the thrilling Pony Club Mounted Games, for the prestigious Prince Philip Cup, also return to the Show alongside the HOYS Dressage Special. With two arenas, 1,500 horses, 1,400 competitors and a huge variety of shopping at over 250 stands, The NEC is transformed into an equestrian extravaganza with something to excite every visitor. Tickets are on sale now. For show information and ticket prices see:

If you’d like to be in with a chance of winning one of three pairs of tickets for the Gala Evening performances on Sunday, October 9th, 2011, simply email your name, address and telephone number, along with the answer to the following question to: Which military display will feature at this years HOYS?

Terms and Conditions: Winner to be drawn at random and notified by email on July 31st, 2011. The editor’s decision is final. Open to UK residents only, excludes employees of Grandstand Group, Vale Life Magazine and associated agencies. Prizes are non-refundable and non-exchangeable. No prize alternative available.

Vale Life : June / July 2011

Win tickets to Imelda May


eld at the Larmer Tree Gardens, near Salisbury on the Wiltshire/Dorset border the Larmer Tree festival was established in 1990 to celebrate traditional folk music. Since then the net has broadened slightly and this year’s line-up features a folk, roots and world mix including: Seasick Steve, Jools Holland (with guest vocalist Sandie Shaw), Imelda May, Ozomatli, Asian Dub Foundation, Bellowhead, Seth Lakeman, Show of Hands, Caitlin Rose, Three Daft Monkeys and many more. Comedy acts include: Russell Kane, Arthur Smith, Phil Nichol and Andi Osho. Larmer Tree 2011 takes place from Wednesday, July 13th to Sunday, July 17th but only has a 4,000 capacity so a decent view of the stages is guaranteed. Larmer Tree is a small festival that delivers high quality with a buzzing atmosphere and eccentric antics. Over 80 acts will be showcased on six stages, with 150 free workshops, on offer and award-winning international comedians, quirky and unique street

theatre, an onsite night club and late night jam sessions, all in one of the most beautiful festival sites in the country. See the festival website at: for further details and ticket information: If you’d like to be in with a chance of winning a pair of four-day camping tickets for Larmer Tree simply email your name, address and telephone number, along with the answer to the following question to: Which female vocalist is guesting with Jools Holland at Larmer Tree? Winner to be drawn at random and notified by email on June 30th. l Larmer Tree Festival Office PO Box 1790, Salisbury, SP5 5WA Tel: 01725 552300 Email: Web:

Seasick Steve

Vale Life : June / July 2011


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Vale Life : June / July 2011

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Vale Life : June / July 2011

Not to be confused with Henley Regatta, which takes place the previous week and revolves around rowing, Henley Festival is about food, drink, music and JONES art, butTOM most of all it’s a chance to put on your gladrags and join the beautiful people partying under the stars...


JOOLS HOLLAND egendary voice of the

valleys Tom Jones opens this year’s unmissable Henley Festival (July, 6th10th), an extraordinary and elegant mix of music, art, culture, dining and location – and probably the most magical summer event in the UK. This 2011 line-up is brimming with stars and offers a unique range of styles from Tom to classical pop quartet Blake, Jools Holland, Rumer and Alexandra Burke, all performing on the venue’s unique floating stage against the backdrop of the River Thames and Henley’s impressive skyline. The festival follows the regatta and is a clever way of making double use of the marquees and stands at this fabulous setting on the edge of Henley. The riverside is the perfect place to experience a magical summer night and each evening festival-goers don their DJs and ballgowns to wine, dine and be entertained by over twenty acts, from international stars through to the Festival’s Roving Company of Eccentrica street artists. Art galleries and sculpture lawns are open, while performances from leading jazz, opera, classical, theatre and comedy stars take place. Every night features a spectacular

BLAKE with TASMIN LITTLE ABBA SYMPHONIC RUMER/ALEXANDRA BURKE and so much more ... firework display, while Chinawhite

nightclub, new this year, enables revellers to party into the night. Music and performances are complemented by Albert and Michel Roux’s Riverside Restaurant, the largest a la carte restaurant in Europe, and seven other riverside bars and restaurants. “There’s nothing like the Henley Festival, the beautiful setting and the intimate performances make it the best summer party you can imagine,” says Tom Jones. It’s a festival for both the connoisseur and the party-goer. The only problem is deciding which evening

you would like to attend, which stars you’d like to see and whether you could afford, or cope with all five evenings in a row! Gates open at 6pm, when you can rub shoulders with well known faces, fellow culture seekers and artists, sipping champagne, viewing sculpture (including the iconic Alice in Wonderland by Salvador Dali) live ice sculpting and works by artists ranging from Peter Blake to John Piper. Many will have booked restaurant places in advance, some picnic in the car park, while others will see what takes their fancy on the night. Then there’s the main acts to watch and after, fireworks and dancing into the wee hours. It really is as good as it sounds! All net proceeds from the Henley Festival go directly to its parent charity, the Henley Festival Trust, for their vital work in the community, including providing music therapy for the brain injured at Headway and other educational projects such as its own 50-strong children’s orchestra. ETickets V E Nranging T S from £35 – £110 are on sale now via the festival website: or from Henley Festival Box Office: 01491 843404.


01491 843404

Vale Life : June / July 2011



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Chiltern Court Care Home offers Residential, Nursing and Dementia care for the elderly, as well as care for young individuals with learning and physical disabilities. We provide a wide range of activities to suit all interests and abilities, from quizzes to flower arranging. Our landscaped garden, with patio and gazebo, is a great place for Residents to relax and socialise in the summer months. Pets are welcome at Chiltern Court Care Home.

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A purpose built home situated in Wendover, Coombe Lodge Care Home specialises in caring for those with Dementia Nursing needs. One-to-one activity sessions ensure that our Residents maintain key life skills and our secure garden, with patio and summer house, allow Residents the freedom to enjoy the outdoors in a safe environment.

With stunning views of Watermead lake, Lakeside Care Home offers Nursing care in a tranquil setting. Many of our en-suite bedrooms boast views of the lake and larger rooms are available for couples to share. Our spacious lounges provide ample space for socialising with family and friends and our gardens and patios are very popular, especially in the summer months.

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Vale Life Magazine June July 2011  
Vale Life Magazine June July 2011  

Lifestyle publication for Aylesbury Vale area of UK