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Issue 116 - December 2018

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In this issue Why we hang

Stockings Ski Wear Style Bringing Local Business to Local People in

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Inside this issue... Why We Hang Stockings


A Happy 1865 Butcher's Christmas to You!.......................................4 The History of Playing Cards.............................................................6 Why we hang stockings and other odd Christmas Traditions..........10 £100 Christmas Quiz....................................................... 12 A Calmer Christmas........................................................................15 Top Toys for Christmas....................................................................17 Champagne: Discovering Hidden Gems..........................................18 Feeding a Crowd at Christmas........................................................21 Gifted Inspiration...........................................................................24 Ski Wear Style................................................................................27 Does Hi-Tec Cause Hi-Stress?..........................................................29 Great Health, Wellbeing and Fitness Gifts......................................30 Planning for a Future with Dementia.............................................33 Don't let Christmas Costs Ruin your New Year................................34 The Perfect Cheeseboard................................................................38

P&R Interiors..................................................................................40 Get Fit and Garden!........................................................................43 Dogs Trust Dogs School..................................................................45 Fun Quiz.........................................................................................45 RSPCA New Charity Shop...............................................................46 What foods should you avoid feeding dogs at Christmas?..............48 Twinwoods Adventure....................................................................50 The Wackiest Editions.....................................................................53 Christmas with Autism...................................................................55 Baking: Christmas Mincemeat Slice................................................56 Xmas Technology Survival Guide....................................................59 Puzzle Page....................................................................................60 Tokyo - A City of Contrasts..............................................................62 What's On......................................................................................64 Lost in Austen................................................................................67 Create a Comfortable Guest Room..................................................68 £25 Prize Crossword....................................................... 74 Book Review..................................................................................77

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A Happy 1865 Butcher’s Christmas to You!

By Peter Ibbett

Christmas is a time when towns like St. Neots like to dress themselves up and put on a street decoration display to attract visitors to the Market Square and High Street. Back in 1865 the St. Neots Chronicle (‘The oldest established paper published in Huntingdonshire’) provides us with a description of the town’s Christmas shop displays:- “Intensive preparations are everywhere visible for the proper celebration of Christmas, and everything seems, as it were, stamped with “ The Compliments of the Season!” or a “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year !” The shopkeepers of Saint Neots are not behind many other small towns in their display of good things, the windows being literally crammed with luxuries usually in demand at this festive season of the year. When we take into consideration the difficulties with which the butchers have had to contend in consequence of the Cattle Plague, the show of meat was truly surprising, being nearly equal to any of previous years.” The article listed several local butchers, including:“Mr. G. Abraham, High Street. Four bullocks:- 2 from Mr. Christopher Hall, Cross Hall; and 2 from Mr Rampley, Boughton, Southoe. 12 Old


Down sheep, and 28 Leicesters. (The picture (c1895) shows the shop which was demolished in the 1950’s) Mr. T. Plum exhibited an immense quantity of game and poultry, whilst his show of sweetmeats, foreign fruits, &c. could not fail to cheer the hearts of the juveniles. Christmas comes but once a year, says the old adage, but, thank God, it does once a year for it is a time of family reunion, of festive gatherings, of mercantile well as social amenities. Many an old breach is healed at Christmas, “so hallowed and so gracious is the time. Many a friendship cemented:- many a love-match formed. The poor in our workhouses and alms-houses are feasted; the widow and orphan are sought out by their richer neighbours, and their distress is relieved; and clothing and blanket societies make a special effort to relieve the painful distress which at this season is peculiarly urgent. We heartily and sincerely wish our readers every enjoyment they could desire in the approaching festival, and a prosperous and happy New Year.” Do visit St. Neots museum, which has its own Christmas display and festive offerings to help bring warmth into your 21sr Century celebrations.

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17th Century painting of card players by Theodoor Rombouts

By Catherine Rose

The History of Playing Cards Traditionally, family board and card games are often enjoyed over the Christmas period. There are many variations of board game, both old and new, but the pack of cards, played for pleasure, prediction and profit, is now a global phenomenon that has endured for centuries. It is believed that our modern day playing cards originated in China, where games were played using numerical cards based on strings of coins. Old Chinese coins had a hole in the middle so that they could be strung together, and the four card suits were called coins, strings of coins, myriads of strings and tens of myriads. The forerunner of this game, known as the Game of Leaves, was played as early as the 9th century AD. These Chinese cards can be traced back to at least the 1200s. From there, the concept of playing cards began spreading to India and Persia, and then through Egypt into southern Spain and the rest of Europe by the end of the 14th century.


In Spain, card playing was known as the Moorish ‘Saracen’s Game’ and cards had a distinctly Islamic design, with motifs consisting of figures and numerals illustrated by the corresponding number of symbols, known as pips. The Islamic influence can still be seen in the tradition of often having richly decorated back patterns on playing cards. Until cards began to be printed and mass-produced, they were handpainted and must have truly been works of art. The Arab deck did not have a queen. Instead, it had the king (malik), prince or viceroy (naib malik) and a servant or deputy (thaim naib). The four original suits were cups, swords, coins and batons (or wands) which link in with the tarot deck. (Although better known for fortune-telling, tarot or ‘tarock’ was also popular for playing games.) One theory is that the apparently random symbols were interpreted from pictorial representations

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of the written Chinese symbols for its coins suits. Known as the Latin deck, these original suits are still used in parts of the world. These four suits were subsequently adapted and changed by other European countries, notably Germany and France. The early German suits consisted of hearts (or sometimes roses), bells, acorns and shields. It is believed that the hearts suit evolved from cups. Bells may have been used in place of swords because they were more culturally significant. At that time, hunting with a hawk was popular amongst German nobility, with the customary small bells being tied onto the birds. As with the Arab or Latin deck, there was no queen. Instead the Germans had a könig (king), obermann (higher man), and untermann (lower man). It was the French who changed the suits to the more well-known and enduring hearts, diamonds, clubs (or clovers) and spades. It is thought that spades may have been derived from swords used in the Latin deck, as the Spanish word for swords is espadas. According to some sources, the French assigned classes to each suit, so that spades represented the nobility, hearts were the clergy, diamonds were the merchant classes and clubs were a symbol of the peasants. And then there is the case of the ace, which appears to have come to prominence as an important card in the deck during the late 18th century. It has been suggested that it was once again the French who elevated the importance and value of the ace, as they made it a symbol to represent the people following the French Revolution between 1789 and 1799. However,


another theory is that when Britain began to tax playing cards in 1765, the ace was stamped to show the tax had been paid. From then on, the ace was considered a more valuable card, comparable with the king, queen and jack, and its design became increasingly ornate as a result. There have been many variations of playing card over the centuries in terms of: number of cards in a deck; pictorial representation of the courtly figures (known as ‘courtesan’ or ‘face cards’); and the interpretation of suits that have also included throughout their chequered history crowns, leaves, knights on horseback and even dragons, depending on geographical, cultural and social influences. Playing cards were imported into England in around 1480, but 150 years later imports of playing cards were banned and so the country began manufacturing its own. During the 1800s, the traditional French picture cards were re-designed by Charles Goodall & Sons to become the iconic symbols we know so well today. The British also introduced the ‘British Rule’ which renders the queen of a higher value to the king if the reigning monarch is a woman. The jokers or court jesters were two wild or trump cards that were introduced by the Americans in the mid-1800s and, although taken up as an integral part of the modern deck, are rarely used in card games. Playing cards have long been a symbol of decadence, mysticism and magic. A form of currency and conjuring, they can be a harmless pastime or a dangerous addiction that can win and lose fortunes as easily as the rise and fall of a house of cards.

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Time of Year

Why we hang Stockings?

By Tracey Anderson

And other odd Christmas traditions… Christmas is all about traditions, but why do we hang stockings, eat chocolate logs and drink eggnog (why would anyone drink eggnog?!) Stockings – Noddy Holder belting out, ‘Are you hanging up your stocking on the wall?’ is a Christmas tradition in itself. There’s no official explanation of why we hang socks up for Santa though. It probably derives from a tradition of leaving out hay-filled shoes on December 5, the eve of St. Nicholas’ feast day. Children would wake to discover that the hay they left for St. Nick’s donkey had been replaced with treats or coins. Snacks for Santa – Whether it’s milk and a chocolate digestive or sherry and mince pie, when we leave goodies for Father Christmas we’re possibly participating in a tradition that some scholars date back to ancient Norse mythology! According to legend, Odin had an eight-legged horse named Sleipnir. Kids would leave treats for Sleipnir, hoping that Odin would favour them with gifts in return. Carolling – You might suppose this is a centuriesold tradition but although the songs go back hundreds of years, visiting neighbours to bid them good luck and good cheer by singing for them didn’t happen until the Victorian era. Evergreen decorations – Before Christianity people decorated their homes with evergreens in the winter as a reminder that spring would return. Christians adopted the tradition and decorated evergreen trees with apples to represent the Garden of Eden. The practice really took off when the public learned that Queen Victoria had a decorated Christmas tree as a nod to her German husband’s heritage. The Yule Log – Yule logs also predate Christianity. As part of winter solstice celebrations, Gaels and Celts burned logs decorated with holly, ivy, and pinecones to cleanse themselves of the past year and welcome the next one. The practice changed over time and eventually edible representations of the log appeared, which is why we eat chocolate logs today! Eggnog – Surely the most revolting of traditions.


However, historians agree that ‘nog’ was probably inspired by a medieval drink called ‘posset’, a milky drink made with eggs, milk, and sometimes figs or sherry. These were all pricey ingredients, so it was a bit of status symbol to offer it to guests. No-one seems to know for sure why it’s called ‘nog’, but it maybe from the old word ‘noggin’ which was slang for a wooden cup. Mistletoe - This was associated with fertility and vitality by Celtic Druids because it blossomed even during the most frigid winters. Quite how we got from that kissing under the mistletoe is a mystery, but we do know that it began in the 18th Century and started with guests kissing the hand of their host under the mistletoe, then became progressively more personal over the decades that followed! Advent calendars - The modern advent calendar, with its little doors containing sweets or small gifts, began with Gerhard Lang in the early 1900s. His inspiration was a calendar that his mother made for him when he was a child, featuring 24 coloured pictures attached to a piece of cardboard. Christmas Cards – In these days of high postage costs, texts and emails, plus more environmental awareness this tradition may be at risk of dying out. Christmas cards are a surprisingly recent tradition anyway, with the first formal card only hitting shelves in 1843.

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1. What did my true love give me on the sixth day of Christmas? 2. The story goes that the German and English soldiers of World War One did what in No Man’s Land on Christmas Day 1914? 3. Who was Ebenezer Scrooge’s business partner in Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol? 4. Who sings the solo in Kate Bush’s song Snowflake? 5. On what day of Christmas is the ‘Feast of Stephen’? 6. Which Dr Seuss children’s character hates Christmas? 7. What is the colour of a mistletoe berry? 8. Which country gives the UK the Christmas tree that is put on display in Trafalgar Square, London every year? 9. What was the name of the monster in the 2017 John Lewis Christmas advert? 10. Name three of Santa’s reindeer 11. What does the holly bear in the Christmas carol The Holly and the Ivy? 12. What is traditionally hidden inside a Christmas pudding?

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A Calmer Christmas The season of goodwill can sometimes feel more like the season of discontent. If you’re hoping to avoid the tantrums, sugar crashes and slamming doors this year (or some of them at least), keep reading… Family time It can be incredibly difficult to fit everything in around Christmas. Kids often seem to demand the most of you when you have the least to give. If you’re time-poor, think quality over quantity. Half an hour spent on a family activity now might well avoid a lengthy meltdown later on. Arts and crafts with the kids can be fun, but you might want to leave the messier aspects until the new year. (Unless you really enjoy cleaning out paint pots, scrubbing slime out of the carpet and hoovering up glitter.) Paper craft is a good alternative. Paper snowflakes are cheap, easy and not too time-consuming. Cut them out at the table so you can sweep most of the scraps straight into the recycling bin. Paper chains are even easier. Or pick up a paper craft book. Christmas Paper Play by Lydia

Crook (£9.99) is packed with things to cut out and make, including decorations, mini crackers and games. Jigsaw puzzles can be a good way to unwind and de-stress. If your children are older and you have the space, buy a Christmas-themed 1,000 piece puzzle and leave it out so family members can do a few pieces of it when they need some quiet time. Charity gifts If Christmas is starting to feel a bit too commercial, how about choosing charitable gifts? Wild animal adoptions tend to prove popular with kids and adults alike. You can adopt King the lion from Born Free for just £3 a month. The adoption pack includes King’s story (he was rescued from a Parisian apartment), a glossy photo, cuddly toy, personalised certificate and window sticker. You’ll also be sent Born Free’s biannual magazine. Other animals to adopt include elephants, polar bears and monkeys. See uk/adopt. Or why not do a good deed as

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Parenting a family, for someone closer to home? You could make a meal together for an elderly neighbour, take a busy friend’s dog for a walk, or donate a gift to a homeless shelter. Setting limits It’s easy to let the usual rules slip at Christmas. While it’s good to have some flexibility, you might want to set some boundaries. Try to agree rules as a family for the Christmas holidays, whether it’s no screentime after 5pm, no more than two sweet treats a day, or a set bedtime. Agreeing a few chores for the kids to do can help to keep them occupied and you from getting too frazzled. Even young children can make a bed, feed the pets or swish a duster around. Forget perfect Above all, try to accept that perfection is impossible. There will be sulks, fallings-out, spills and arguments. When you look back at this Christmas, you won’t remember whether the sprouts were perfectly cooked or your child wrote their thank you cards, but you might remember the time you spent doing a jigsaw together or hunting the Gruffalo through the woods.

By Kate Duggan


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Time of Year

Top Toys for Christmas In these days of iPads and online gaming do kids still play with toys? Yes of course they do. Toys have always changed to keep up with trends and technology and 2018 is no exception. Here we have six of the best. Fingerlings Untamed Dinos (under £20) Fingerlings are popular robotic friends which cling to your child’s finger and respond to motion and sound. This year is all about the dinosaurs. There are several different Raptors, and word was out at time of printing that there may be a T-Rex one released just before Christmas LEGO Harry Potter Hogwarts Express (around £75) The Harry Potter books remain perennially popular, and LEGO is always a hit so combine the two and you have a winning Christmas gift. There is a Hogwarts Hall available but its super-expensive, so this is a good compromise with a nice solid train, five minifigures plus Dementors. Elasti Plasti (under £15) So many kids love slime and this stuff is great. It’s superexpandable and you can make giant bubbles with it. As a bonus it’s non-sticky so parents will love it too, or at least not hate it! Monopoly ‘Cheaters ‘edition or Fortnite Edition (£20-£25) Almost everyone has at least one game of Monopoly at Christmas so ring the changes with the Cheaters edition. It encourages players to fake a dice roll, steal money and even skip rent. Ok…maybe it’s not in the spirit of Christmas but it sounds more fun than normal Monopoly. And if you want to prise your youngsters away from the computer this festive season, try tempting them with the Fortnite edition!

Ricky the Trick-Lovin Pet (£134.99) Ok this one is pricey, but real pups are NOT for Christmas as we know, and when you factor in the cost and ongoing responsibility of a real puppy, including vet bills, and food, suddenly Ricky looks very good value indeed for a dog-loving child. He is soft and cuddly and has more than 100 sound and motion combinations. He can balance a biscuit on his nose and even give you a paw-shake! Frankly he makes my terrier look like a bit of a dunce. Ricky is perfect if your child is pestering you for a dog but you’re not sure about the long-term commitment, and as a bonus, he doesn’t shed hair! GraviTrax Starter Set (around £50) I love marble runs, never mind my kids, and GraviTrax is a super-cool marble run for the 21st Century. It encourages the use of imagination in creating tracks and is educational too. It’s great for teaching kids (and adults) about gravity, magnetism, and kinetic energy and it’s so much fun. You can use the tasks and blueprints included to help you to get started but you’ll soon be designing your own tracks. This is trickier than it might appear and is great for encouraging problem-solving skills. There’s even a GraviTrax app to allow you build and test a track before building it in the real word.

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By Alison Foster 17

Food and Drink


Discovering Hidden Gems

Champagne has been very much recognised as THE sparkling wine for celebrations, special occasions and events, for many, many years. Non-vintage champagne is very popular too, with numerous followers and devotees. Non-vintage is equally enjoyable, wonderful and respected.

The I Love Bubbly company is UK based and was created to discover splendid champagnes, that are not widely known. Founded during 1952, the Charles Collin Champagne Company produces a range, including awardwining champagnes, with grapes being selected carefully and harvested by hand, complying with strict guidelines. Champagne Charles Collin Cuvée Charles Brut (80% Chardonnay 20% Pinot Noir) I found superb, with the bouquet of citrus fruits being much appreciated by the nasal senses. The mouthfeel and palate sensations continue through, for this elegant production. Champagne Charles Collin Cuvée Charles Rosé Brut (80% Chardonnay 20% Pinot Noir) is a further excellent champagne from this company. Light fruits of the forest enhance an impressive bouquet and entice, splendidly, to the experience awaiting the mouth and palate. Again, the elegance is outstanding and the production is well-balanced. A particular pleasure also for al fresco dining, adding colour to the occasion. Champagne Royal Riviera Brut Suprême (70% Pinot Noir 30% Chardonnay) celebrates the Principality of Monaco and the French Riviera, most proudly. The presentation has an attractive turquoise blue label and packaging, which caught my eye. Champagne Royal Riviera Brut Suprême is rich and elegant. The pale gold colour, plus the elegance, throughout the bouquet and tasting, is very impressive, with the pinot noir grapes adding to the expression of this champagne. www. These refreshing champagnes, with wonderful perlages, are ideal as apéritifs and also to be enjoyed with a lot of cuisine. White meats, poultry, cured meats, rich fish, shellfish and many other dishes pair perfectly with these well-balanced productions. I located these champagnes, plus luxury hampers, culinary concepts, one of a kind Wearing Memories jewellery and gifts, within the ranges available from the I Love Bubbly Company. The events section, on the website, has information about their personalised services, including Mobile Champagne Bars and private events arrangements. Tel: 44(0)7539 391 452 Email:

As always, Enjoy!

ey Trevor Langl


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Time of Year By Tracey Anderson

Feeding a Crowd at Christmas Whether it’s the gradual increase in food prices over the past year, or your desire to cut back on food waste, there has never been more incentive not to over cater at Christmas. But just how do you work out how much food and drink you need when you’re feeding far more people than usual? We’ve come to the rescue. Turkey - Allow approximately 500g per person. This doesn’t mean that you’ll get 500g of meat each, simply that to get a good portion size you need to allow this much turkey-weight per person. So, if you want to feed 8 adults your turkey should be at least 4Kg, more if you want leftovers. Roast beef or pork - If the joint is off the bone, allow 250g per serving – so 2kg for eight people. Allow 350g per serving for roasts on the bone – so around 3kg for eight. Roasties - Everyone loves roasties! Allow 250g of potatoes per person, so 2kg for eight people. Stuffing - You need to allow 100g of stuffing per person, so that’s at least 800g for eight people! With stuffing it’s better to have more than run-out, and it’s great on turkey sandwiches later! Sprouts - Unless you are a sprout-lover allow 80g per person – or 650g for eight people. If you do

have any leftover they go great in bubble and squeak for boxing day brunch. Carrots and other roast or steamed veg - 80g-100g is about right for any serving of vegetables, so you need 800g combined for eight people. I allow more because lots my family are vegetarian. Gravy - 125ml per person is enough for a normal family, but if your relatives are like mine and treat gravy as a food group then allow double. You can always freeze leftovers for an easy addition to midweek suppers. Cranberry Sauce - At least 50g per person. I’m sure I eat more than that though! Bread Sauce - 75ml seems to suffice because not everyone likes it, but those that do LOVE it. Around 600-700ml is usually enough. Christmas Pudding - A 900g pudding will be plenty to feed eight. Custard - Treat it like gravy. 125ml per person unless your family are the type that can’t stop pouring! Unfortunately, there isn’t one shopping list to suit all families, but this is a good basic guide; adapt it to suit your own catering preferences.

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Local News

Treat yourself to delicious luncheons and luxury fashion shows to help the NSPCC in Cambridgeshire Do you like to be wined and dined? Is boutique fashion your (designer) bag? Well, you’re in luck, because you can help local children simply by treating yourself. Huntingdon Dining Club is a friendly fundraising group which raises vital funds for the national children’s charity the NSPCC in Cambridgeshire through a programme of luxury luncheons, fashion shows and talks. Past speakers have given members a fascinating insight into the worlds of global fragrance profilers and prison chaplaincy. Money raised by the club’s events and membership fee will help NSPCC projects such as Speak Out Stay Safe, which reached 19,149 primary school children in Cambridgeshire in the last academic year (2017-18), empowering them to stay safe from abuse. The scheme educates pupils about how to recognise all forms of abuse and helps children identify trusted adults they can talk to, while highlighting that Childline is there for young people to help them with any problems. Huntingdon Dining Club’s 2019 calendar is already shaping up: Award-winning Buckden womenswear boutique, Anne Furbank Fashions, will provide two exclusive fashion shows. The programme of luncheon events starts with an Exclusive Spring fashion show on February 11 and ends with the Exclusive Autumn fashion show on October 7. The fashion shows start at 11am with a glass of fizz, and you will have the opportunity to shop the looks you’ve seen on the catwalk before the luncheon starts at 1pm in The George Hotel and Brasserie. Guest speakers will give talks at the two other planned luncheons. The first one on March 25, will feature a talk by a professional florist about the art of flower-arranging. She will create seasonal arrangements while she talks, which will be raffled off to members and their guests. And on July 1, the Detective Inspector of Bedfordshire Police will give an insight into the issues surrounding child protection and safeguarding. Organiser Kate Armstrong said: “As a club, we are motivated to help the NSPCC to continue its good


work, delivering services and support to children and young people locally. In the two years that it has been running, Huntingdon Dining Club has raised over £4,000 for the NSPCC – a great result that we are really proud of. Being part of Huntingdon Dining Club is such an enjoyable and civilised way to raise funds for this wonderful charity, and we would like more people to join us.” Kate added: “We are very grateful for the generous support of Rebecca and Anne Furbank and the team at Anne Furbank Fashions, and The George Hotel & Brasserie’s General Manager Richard O’Leary.” Rebecca Furbank, Managing Director of Anne Furbank Group Ltd, said: “It is a delight to support the NSPCC Huntingdon Dining Club; such a simple, fun concept that raises money for a worthy charity.” Richard O’Leary, Manager at The George, said: “We are so pleased to support this incredibly important fundraising venture for the charity. Judging by the upbeat atmosphere, the members of this dining club appreciate the seasonal menus we put together for them to enjoy at The George Brasserie. Long may the relationship continue.” Huntingdon Dining Club welcomes men and women of all ages, and members are welcome to bring guests. Annual membership costs just £30, which is donated directly to the NSPCC. Luncheons cost £25 for a delicious two-course meal with coffee at the Two AA Rosette Awardwinning The George Hotel & Brasserie. Kate is currently looking for more volunteers to join the organising team behind Huntingdon Dining Club, to be part of planning future events for 2020 and beyond. To become a member of the club or volunteer to join the organising team, email Kate at or telephone 01954 719745.

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Health & Beauty

By Kate Duggan

Gifted Inspiration For your best friend Origins’ Best of the Best collection is a celebration of their most popular products. There’s the Mega-Mushroom™ Skin Relief Soothing Treatment Lotion, Ginzing Refreshing Eye Cream, Ginzing EnergyBoosting Gel Moisturizer, Modern Friction™ Nature’s Gentle Dermabrasion, Clear Improvement™ Active Charcoal Mask, Checks and Balances™ Frothy Face Wash and Spot Remover Blemish Treatment Gel. Most are travelsized. You’re getting over £58 worth of products for £32 so it’s fantastic value for money. For fragrance fans If you’re looking to surprise someone with a new fragrance, Angel Muse could be a good choice. It might be Angel’s little sister, but it’s lighter, warmer and a bit more grown-up. The freshness of grapefruit and pink berries is combined with the warmth of hazelnut and the earthiness of patchouli and vetiver. The giftset is priced at £65, which gets you the full 50ml eau de parfum plus a handbag-friendly 9ml bottle. For a Secret Santa gift Clarins Festive Treats crackers are just £10 each. The Eyes & Lips one is particularly good value for money as its contents (a mini Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector and Supra Volume Mascara) are worth a total of £17.33. For stockings Some giftsets are just made for splitting up and adding to stockings. Korres’ The Greatest Mini Shower Collection is a case in point. Six gorgeous smelling 40ml shower gels are just waiting to be popped into individual stockings. Add Kneipp’s Herbal Bath Collection (£9.95) to your basket for another six stocking fillers. Both sets are available from


For crackers Planning to swap the plastic fish and silver keyrings for luxe cracker gifts? Bobbi Brown’s Lip Crush Kit (£39.50) might be the answer. There are five mini lipsticks in a range of wearable shades. They’re pretty generously sized so are good value if you consider that one full-size lippy is £24.50. For chocoholics Chocolate lovers will adore Akamuti’s Chocolate Marshmallow Face Mask. Organic cacao, crushed rose petals, gentle marshmallow, warming vanilla and detoxifying pink clay combine to make this mask a real treat for skin and senses. Add a bar of Green & Blacks to the gift and you’ll really make their day. £7.96 from For teachers Teachers often need to wash their hands several times a day, so a soothing hand cream is likely to be gratefully received. Dr. Organic’s Shea Butter Hand & Nail Cream is full of natural ingredients, including shea butter, aloe vera, coconut oil and rose oil. It provides instant relief for sore hands and feels lovely and rich. £7.99 from Holland and Barratt. For you! Green People’s Green Regime Beauty Box contains £125 worth of full-sized and mini goodies for £75. There are two exfoliators, three moisturisers, a lipstick, mascara, eyeshadow duo, shampoo, shower gel, night cream, cleanser, facial oil, reusable cleansing pad and organic cotton bandeau. All products are organic and cruelty-free. Treat yourself or add it to your Christmas wish list.

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Jill Dighton BSc (Hons) MBACP (Accred)., UKCP Reg.

Counselling Service Depressed? Anxious? Relationship Issues? Low Self Esteem? Have you considered Counselling sessions? Based in Grafham village, I offer a professionally qualified Counselling Service to individuals and couples in a secure, confidential & non-judgemental atmosphere. Ample parking. Concessionary rates available. For further details: Visit: Email: Tel: 07925 852 985 (Voicemail available)


Judy obtained her Licentiate in Acupuncture, and B.A (Hons) degree in Traditional Acupuncture, from the College of Traditional Acupuncture, Warwickshire. Judy is a passionate believer in the positive benefits, on both physical and emotional levels, that may be obtained from receiving acupuncture treatment. Acupuncture originated in China and other far eastern cultures where it still features in mainstream healthcare, both as a stand-alone therapy and in combination with conventional western medicine. Judy has been trained as a classical Five Element Acupuncturist; treatment is aimed at the root cause of your condition as well as your main symptoms. This approach helps with resolving your problem and enhancing your feelings of wellbeing. You may notice other niggling problems resolve as your main health complaint improves. Judy continues to pursue her belief in excellence of care for her patients in her role as a dedicated acupuncture practitioner, and is a member of the British Acupuncture Council. Please contact Judy for a free 20 minute consultation to discuss how acupuncture treatment can help you.


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House of Colour By Jennie Billings Style and Colour Consultant at House of Colour

Ski Wear Style When skiing you want to tick all the boxes: warmth, comfort, visibility and of course, style. Here are a few top tips to help you dress with style on the slopes (without looking like a giant marshmallow). 1. Some of us may choose separate salopettes and a jacket but others suit jumpsuits that bring you in at the waist, giving more shape to your outfit. Whichever you choose ensure it is in a colour from your palette that makes you look energetic and vibrant rather than a colour that doesn’t suit making you look drained and unhealthy. There are a huge range of colours available these days. Metallics are all the rage this season, but it’s not for everyone. 2. If you are unsure about wearing a bold coloured outfit but still want to include your wow colours, choose chic accessories in gorgeous colours whether that be boots, gloves, hats, a scarf or even your helmet! There is always a way to incorporate a pop of colour and team these with an outfit in a neutral from your seasonal palette 3. These days there is no need to sacrifice comfort for style. Try different shapes and don’t be afraid to wear patterns or more than one colour from your palette. Experiment with styles that suit your body shape and personality but do choose quality skiattire since you may wear it for years to come and you don’t want your outfit to unravel on the slopes. As this will be an investment, consider discovering your best colours and style with a professional personal stylist. 4. A soft set of long johns or base layers is essential! The best materials are ones that are breathable and moisture wicking. Choose full-length leggings and long sleeves. Always try them on first because they shouldn’t be restrictive anywhere, but you don’t want empty space between the fabric and your skin






making you feel cold. Most base layers are synthetic but merino wool is a great alternative. Choose the colour of your ski goggles carefully rather than just going for the obvious black or white. Mirrored lenses are very fashion-forward but if that feels a little much then choose a colour that works well with your ski jacket and hat. Don’t hide your curves if you have them! Unshaped jackets can make you look bulky so opt for jackets that are brought in at the waist, either with a belt or one that has stretch or different coloured panels at the side. Alternatively, find a jacket with diagonal baffles that compliment your figure as they create less bulk. Baffles ensures the insulation materials in a jacket are evenly distributed rather than gathering in one place. Straight, skinny or slim silhouette salopettes will look better on straighter body shapes, whereas, straight, contouring bootcut or slightly wider leg salopettes will look better on curvy body shapes. Its law in most places to wear a helmet but if you suffer from helmet hair either wear your hair up or use a bandana in one of your best colours to push your hair back with. Braiding is otherwise a great alternative to make you look wind-kissed rather than wind-battered. Après ski is the perfect opportunity to show you know your own style whether that be a touch of animal print and or a little bit of check in your outfit – both very on-trend this season. Cashmere may be too warm for the slopes, but it is perfect for a stylish jumper and a great way to wear one of your wow colours. Pair with a faux fur jacket if that fits with your style personality or a fur hat to keep you warm whilst you sip your vin chaud!

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Complementary Health

Does Hi-Tec Cause Hi-Stress?

If there's one thing we've lost in our high-tech way of life, it's rhythm. And I don't mean whether you can bust a move (I'm sure you can). I'm talking about cortisol rhythm. Cortisol is a hormone, and one of the main stress response chemicals produced by the adrenal glands. It is responsible for maintaining the health of and proper communication between every cell in your body. When it is in a healthy rhythm, cortisol is highest in the morning to give us energy and kick start our day. It is naturally lowest before bed allowing us to wind down into a rest-and-repair phase. Exposure to digital devices at night that emit high levels of blue light, lowers Melatonin production a hormone that controls the sleep-wake cycle and can raise Cortisol levels associated with stress so we can end up with: • Sleep problems • Hormonal imbalances • Anxiety and depression • Blood sugar and metabolic problems • Weight challenges • Decreased memory, focus, and willpower • Immune system imbalances leading to more frequent infections, reactivation of old viruses, allergies and inflammation

More info: Website: Email: Phone: 01480 455221

Disruption to Our Natural Circadian Rhythm Before the invention of the light bulb, our Circadian Rhythms (also known as your sleep/ wake cycle) were well in sync with the sun, because nighttime light disruption was minimal. Exposure to artificial blue light in the evening can really disrupt the Circadian Rhythm which likely leads to a lower quality and quantity of sleep - which can result in major depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety and other mood disorders. What You Can Do to Help Lower Your Cortisol Levels • Turn off digital devices two hours before bed and you should start sleeping better immediately. • Wear Blue Light Glasses which work by blocking a portion of the blue light wavelength from reaching your eyes. • Expose yourself to sunlight during the day which will send a signal to your body and help regulate your circadian systems. • Lower your screen’s brightness during the evening can help minimize light pollution in your home. • Many energy saving light bulbs contain LEDs, which tend to produce higher amounts of blue light. By switching your light bulbs to a warmer hue, you can reduce your exposure.

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Alison Runham

Great Health, Wellbeing and Fitness Gifts Festive treats are everywhere long before Christmas and it’s very easy to start the New Year a few pounds heavier and feeling far from fit. But the alternative isn’t avoiding treats altogether: it’s choosing the swaps you can live with. Better Breakfasts Skipping breakfast to ‘leave room’ for Christmas dinner? Bad idea. You’ll have the munchies long before dinner, making snacks and chocolates even more tempting. Have a light, low-fat, lowsugar breakfast to keep hunger at bay. SWAP a full English fried breakfast for the healthy version. Grill mushrooms, a tomato or two and a single slice of bacon, poach an egg or two, and choose low-sugar baked beans and a slice of wholemeal toast rather than hash browns. SWAP sugary cereals for a small portion of healthier cereals and add fresh berries and/or a dollop of low fat yogurt. Start as You Mean to Go On Eating a huge three-course meal is likely to make you feel uncomfortable and/or sleepy, so if you


do have a starter, keep it small and light. SWAP creamy soups or cheese-laden dishes for: • A small prawn cocktail with fresh lettuce and a little low-fat dressing (if you must add bread, stick to half a slice of wholemeal). • A small fresh fruit cocktail. It’s Christmas, so treat yourself to favourite or special fruits, whether that’s berries or a tropical mix. • A small bowl of cream-free soup with wholemeal croutons. The Main Event For dinner, choose turkey (lower in fat than duck or goose) or a low-fat cut of meat. Remove visible fat (before cooking, where possible) and remember that on a bird, most of the fat is under the skin. Removing the skin and avoiding butter-basting reduces a turkey’s calories by nearly a third and its fat by more than half. If you’ve concerned about it getting dry, baste it with a little oil and cover it. Can’t bear to remove the skin? Then cook your bird on a rack so that escaping fat drains away.

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Be sensible about portion sizes and ensure at least a third of your plate is veg and that carbs – like potatoes, sweet potatoes or Yorkshire puddings – make up no more than a third of your plate. Go easy on sweet or creamy sauces and stop eating just as you start to feel full, as it takes times for the ‘full’ message to reach you brain. SWAP: • Sausage meat for vegetarian sausage mix when making stuffing. • Standard gravy mixes for low-salt versions. • Goose fat, lard or anything equally unhealthy for a low-fat vegetable-based oil or spray oil to roast meat and vegetables. • Some or all of your roast potatoes for crispy jacket potatoes (mashed potato can be just as fatty, if not more fatty, than roast potatoes, once you’ve added milk and butter). • Roasted vegetables for steamed or microwaved ones. Your Just Desserts SWAP high-sugar Christmas puds for healthier options. Some luxury Christmas puddings are lower in calories than classic puds, although higher in sugar, so check the label. 113g (a quarter) of a standard Christmas pud usually has 375-400 calories and 40-50g of sugar, although they are high in fibre and relatively low in fat. Fancy something healthier? Try 113g of: • Morrison’s Very Berry Strudel (287 calories, 13g fat, 18g sugar) • Asda Raspberry Tiramisu (257 calories, 10g fat, 25g sugar) • Sainsbury’s Mixed Berry Trifle Desert (171 calories, 7g fat, 21g sugar) SWAP your sauces too. Say goodbye to • Ambrosia custard (98 calories, 11g sugar, 3g fat per 100g) • Elmlea double cream (351 calories, 4g sugar, 36g fat per 100ml) And hello to • Sainsbury’s low-fat yogurt (62 calories, 7g of sugar, 1g fat per 100g) Time for Tea Christmas tea can do more damage than dinner! SWAP traditional, pastry-heavy mince pies for lattices, filo parcels or open-top versions. SWAP breaded or battered snacks for marinated savouries or home-made herby snacks. SWAP rich, creamy dips for low-fat or tomatobased versions. Consider making your own with low-fat yogurt. SWAP crisps, salted nuts and chocolate for plain


popcorn, rice cakes, pretzels, unsalted nuts and homemade chocolate-covered fruit (dark chocolate is healthier). Raise Your Glass – Not Your Blood Pressure or Blood Sugar Not only is alcohol usually laden with sugar and calories, but recent research has shown there’s no ‘safe’ consumption limit. The Government has reduced men’s ‘recommended’ limit to 14 units a week (the same as the recommendation for women). If you are going to indulge, think about the size of your glass and your consumption through the day, week and month! Consider swapping some alcoholic drinks for these delicious alternatives. For 175ml glasses: SWAP Bollinger champagne (133 calories) for • Shloer Sparkling White Grape Juice (53 calories) • J2O Spritz watermelon (35 calories) SWAP Dry River Pinot Grigio (158 calories) for: • Kedem Natural Grape Juice (88 calories) • Welch’s White Grape, Pear and Apple Juice (35 calories) SWAP Echo Falls Merlot (125 calories) for: • Asda Grape, Apple and Raspberry Juice (100 calories) Choose your swaps wisely and you could save pounds of both kinds. Merry Christmas!

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Leeds Day Solicitors

Planning for a future with Dementia If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with dementia it is important to review your legal affairs to ensure they are in order. Dementia is one of many conditions that can affect a person’s capacity to deal with their own affairs. The most common form of Dementia is Alzheimer’s. Other types of Dementia include vascular dementia and Pick’s disease. Symptoms often include memory loss, mood changes and problems with reasoning and communication skills. Whilst a diagnosis may be life changing it is certainly not life ending and many people living with dementia lead an active and fulfilling life for many years after diagnosis. However, symptoms may gradually become worse and so making plans for the future will ensure that your finances are in order and you receive the care and support that you want. Lasting Powers of Attorney can be put in place to manage your property and financial affairs and health and welfare. Under the Lasting Power of Attorney for property and financial affairs, your attorney(s) can deal with financial matters including managing bank accounts, paying bills, making investments and selling and purchasing property. Under the Lasting Power of Attorney for health and welfare your attorney(s) can make decisions about your medical treatment, what type of care you receive and where you live if you become unable to make these decisions yourself due to mental

incapacity. Without these documents in place your wishes may not be followed. Many people assume that their spouse or children will have the legal right to deal with their affairs in any event but this is not the case. It is also important to make a Will and keep it up to date. A Will ensures that your loved ones are looked after and well provided for, avoids disputes after your death, saves your loved ones the worry at an already stressful time, details your funeral wishes and can deal with inheritance tax planning. Even if you believe that your wishes are very simple it is better to seek legal advice to avoid unforeseen problems. An individual living with dementia may require some level of care and this can be expensive. Attorneys can ensure that the correct assessment is carried out by the local authority as to how much you should contribute towards your care. It may be that the local authority will pay some or all of the fees and you may qualify for full funding by the NHS. Additionally, it may be possible to safeguard part of the value of jointly held property against care fees by setting up life interest trusts under your Will. Similarly, if you wish to leave a gift to someone under your Will who has been diagnosed with dementia you should consider setting up a trust so that the assets are used in the best interests of the person with dementia and do not interfere with any means tested benefits that they receive. We offer a personal, friendly and sympathetic approach to assist in dealing with estate planning, Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney. If you need any advice then contact Leeds Day on 0844 567 2222 or email

Our offices: Huntingdon Godwin House, George Street, Huntingdon, PE29 3BD T: 01480 454301

St. Ives 11 Station Road, St. Ives, Cambridgeshire PE27 5BH T: 01480 464600

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St. Neots Xenus House, Sandpiper Court, Eaton Socon, St. Neots PE19 8EP T: 01480 474661



By Ann Haldon

Don’t let Christmas costs ruin your New Year: 3 ways to stay in control of spending this December If you’re wondering how to manage your Christmas spending more effectively, saving, budgeting, and making a list is just the start. Here are three other ways you might not have considered to start the New Year with a healthy bank balance and reduced financial stress. Pre-arranged overdraft facility Intended to be a temporary and controlled use of credit in line with your Christmas budget, an arranged overdraft facility that’s repaid over a few months helps gets you back on track financially. How do overdrafts work? An overdraft that’s pre-arranged with your bank means you can withdraw more money than is in your current account, up to an agreed limit. There is generally a set period of time that the facility is available, and typically a charge for each day you’re overdrawn. Overdraft fees vary between banks, but generally include a charge for setting up the facility, a fee for each day it’s used and a renewal fee if you need to extend it. Some providers offer fee-free amounts, whilst others base their daily charge on the level of your overdrawn balance. Daily deals websites Take advantage of the growing number of daily deals websites and you can save a significant amount at Christmas. Wowcher, Groupon, and Living Social are just a few of the sites where you’ll find great deals on gifts, experiences, fitness products and lots more. It’s straightforward to sign up, and you can receive emails with the latest deals. It’s easy to get carried


away when you have access to so many discounts, but if you do your research and stick to your list, it should save you money overall. How do deals websites work? You simply sign up with your email address and you can get targeted gift ideas, often with a significant discount. Key in the home town of people you’re buying for and you’ll receive ideas that are local to them – meals out, afternoon teas or experience days, tailored to your family and friends. Prepaid debit cards Prepaid debit cards are an alternative to bank debit cards and credit cards. You don’t have access to your entire bank balance, or the credit limit on your credit card – it’s preloaded with a specific sum of cash, and you can only spend up to this amount. How do prepaid debit cards work? You won’t be credit-checked when you apply for a prepaid card, but a number of different fees may apply, including application and transaction fees. Some providers charge monthly fees and top-up fees, whilst a renewal charge may apply as these types of card expire after three years. It’s easy to be swept up in the spirit of giving at Christmas, but it can take months to recover from overspending. Whether arranging an overdraft with your bank, applying for a prepaid card, or taking advantage of a few daily deals works for you, they could all help you take control of your Christmas spending and enjoy a peaceful and financially harmonious New Year.

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CALL JACKIE 07764 589161 To advertise in The Villager and Town Life please call 01767 261122



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To advertise in The Villager and Town Life please call 01767 261122


Food & Drink

The Perfect Cheeseboard

By Tom Hancock

How much cheese? - Allow about 100g-125g (3½-4oz) cheese per person if your cheeseboard is being served after a meal, or slightly more - 150g (5oz) per person if you’re serving it as a snack/light meal. Which cheese? - Three or four cheeses is enough – more than that and there’s too much for the palate to enjoy. The cheeses should be different styles, textures and flavours. Cheddar, Stilton and Brie is a classic combination, as it mixes a hard, soft and a blue. Why not go totally British with a traditional West Country Farmhouse Cheddar matched with Cropwell Bishop, a wonderful robust blue, and maybe Bath Soft Cheese, which is gorgeously gooey and mushroomy in flavour. It’s nice to put one wildcard cheese on the board like a citrussy goat’s cheese or meaty smoked cheese like St James. Crackers - A good oat biscuit, cracker or artisan bread will complement the cheese. Add a chutney - look for unusual brands at farmers’ markets, and some apples or grapes. Drinks - After a meal a sweet fortified white wine is always good. You could even try a whiskey, or a gin and tonic. If the board is going to serve as a light meal, then beer or cider is a good choice. A note on storage - Store in a cold room or the bottom of the fridge, wrapped in waxed paper if possible This allows the cheese to breathe. Let the cheese to come up to room temperature for about 20 minutes before serving for maximum flavour.


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With a spacious working showroom in the heart of Bedford, P & R Interiors is a local family-run firm that provides inspirational modern design and cost-effective solutions for both kitchens and bathrooms.

A stylish bathroom to suit your current needs….

With our ageing population, an increasing number of us are less mobile. P & R Interiors can design, supply and fit an up-to-the-minute bath or shower room which also discretely incorporates function and practicality for the less able. The best news is that many of these features are currently right on trend - from flush-to-floor shower trays and wet rooms, to walk-in showers with fixed glass screens – and built using the latest materials. Managing Director Paul Kynoch, who has decades of experience in the trade, explains: “We believe that simplicity and ease of use are key. Less mobile people may need a higher-level toilet or a lower access bath. Our basins and toilets can be hung at a custom height to suit every need. We have baths with a door, or showers with screens that open outwards to help prevent falls. “There are 54 working bays in our showroom that are constantly being updated. So, you can come in, see


exactly what you are buying and experience firsthand how it works. We supply, and can fit, your entire bathroom.” P & R Interior’s own dedicated installation team can work on the supervised installation of your bathroom while adhering to local authority guidelines. Safety is paramount, and designs incorporate safety glass, thermostatically safe showers and non-slip floors. Such is the design quality of the bathrooms, that accessories for the less able such as a wall-mounted fold-down shower seat, work seamlessly with the installation to be barely noticeable. Fold-down grab bars beside the toilet and sturdy shower rails that double up as supports all help make daily bathing the hassle-free pleasure it should be. It’s worlds away from the disabled bathrooms found in hospitals and care homes. It is also now possible to install low level lighting under the bath that comes on automatically when you enter the bathroom at night. Hidden behind a two-way mirror that gives the illusion of flooring stretching beneath a ‘floating’ bath, the effect is as stunning as it is practical. This is the beauty of these safety and mobility features - they are so unobtrusively stylish, no one will notice you need that bit of extra help as they will simply be admiring your bathroom! Materials have moved on apace since the era of acrylic baths in ‘avocado’. Now there are high quality

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resins that produce super thin shower trays and beautiful ‘tapless’ baths. Towel rails can be colour matched to cabinets for as little as £100 extra. If you’re not a fan of wall tiles (although P & R Interiors carries a vast range), you can have waterproof panels instead. And if you have a smaller bathroom - as many of us do - then you will find P & R Interior’s wide but shallow depth basin units fit perfectly and provide spaciousness.

…and a kitchen to meet your future ones

Following customer demand, the fitted kitchen displays are now an integral part of the business meaning that when you visit P & R Interiors, you are only a step away from having your dream kitchen. Top quality German and English-style kitchens are available to suit every budget and the company offers a free 3D software design package that Paul describes as ‘photographic’. Specialising in high-tech German designed kitchens from Pronorm alongside more traditional-style English kitchens from JJO Plc, far from being out of most people’s pockets, P & R Interiors can often match trade prices and will always work to your budget. “It’s really unusual for us not be able to come up with

a solution for you” says Andrew Groom who has 20 years’ experience under his belt. Germany is the industry trendsetter in kitchen colours and design - and high street retailers eventually follow suit. Pronorm epitomises the elegance of a true ‘handleless’ kitchen. With its expansive, sleek cupboard fronts and modern electrically-operated doors - including ‘glass climbers’ that magically fold up like Venetian blinds - their kitchens are state-of-the-art. In years to come, we will all have convenient pull-down shelves and smart, hygienic ceramic or glass inserts on our cupboard fronts, but for now, Pronorm sets the bar. As with bathrooms, kitchen materials are better and more durable than ever. You can have traditional granite in a gloss or leathered finish, quartz or Corian worktops, and now there are other finishes to choose from including Hi-Macs, and Staron. One of the latest worktop materials is Dekton. Described as ‘bomb proof’, it doesn’t stain or mark, is 100% hygienic, and heat resistant. It has been described as the ‘most scratch resistant surface on the market’. Finish off your design with mood enhancing, colourchanging lights and you really will have a kitchen of the future. P & R Bathrooms provides design and full installation or supply only. There is a five-year guarantee on all AEG Premier Partner exclusive products and a 10year guarantee on all kitchens. Both trade and retail are welcome.

P & R Interiors, 9 Lurke Street, Bedford MK40 3HZ Monday to Friday 9.00am to 5.00 pm Saturdays 10.00am to 4.00pm Tel: 0845 434 8401 Email: To advertise in The Villager and Town Life please call 01767 261122


FOUR SEASONS TREE SERVICES Qualified & Professional Tree and Client Care



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huntingdon_95_128.indd 1

Please mention The Villager and Town Life when responding to adverts 09/03/2018 11:06


Get Fit And

Garden! By Pippa Greenwood

There’s nothing like some time in the garden to clear your head and get the blood moving. Fresh, cool air will wake you up and get you thinking positively, and your garden will benefit. Removing damp, clogged up leaves from the lawn with a spring-tined rake will prevent patches of faded grass and is good for upper arm muscles! Collect and bag up the leaves and rot them down to make leaf mould, a brilliant and free soil conditioner. If the soil in cleared areas is sufficiently dry, fork it over to help the frosts break up heavier clay soils. Any exposed grubs and other soil pests will feed the birds and minimise pest problems next year. Get some digging done if the soil is not too wet, but limber up first. Keeping your back straight and your knees bent helps to reduce the risk of injury. Winter is a good time to prune apple and pear trees. Use sharp secateurs to remove dead, dying and diseased branches, as well as branches causing the tree’s crown to be too congested. Re-set any loose brick or similar edging around paths, beds or steps, and replace any damaged stones, pavers or bricks. Carefully clear debris, dead foliage and stems from flower beds, but leave some dry foliage and stems over the bases or crowns of plants, especially those of the more tender perennials such as penstemons. Smooth, hard garden surfaces such as patios, paths and steps become dangerously slippery if algae and debris builds up on them over the winter, especially when wet. A stiff brush or yard broom and plenty of elbow grease is the best solution I know. Wet and very windy weather can cause shrubs and trees to become loosened in the soil, so re-firm the soil around the root area and make sure the plant is still in the soil at the right level. You’re bound to feel better after all that air and exercise, so reward yourself with a cuppa and admire your handiwork before heading inside for a nice hot bath! Limber Up! After too much time inside, and in cold weather, take care before you spring into action: • Wear plenty of clothing when you go outside and remove layers gradually as you warm up. • Limber up gently to slowly loosen up your arms, legs and back. • Don’t do any single task for too long – rotate the jobs for perhaps ten minutes at a time, so you don’t put any one area of your body under too much strain. • Give yourself regular, short breaks and don’t forget to drink enough. • Bend your knees when lifting and if in doubt call on a friend, relative or neighbour to give you a hand.

Visit Pippa’s website and you’ll find some great gardening items and perfect Christmas gifts for gardeners: a ‘Grow Your Own with Pippa Greenwood’ gift card (great vegetable plants and weekly advice from Pippa), stylish cloches, the fantastic SpeedHoe, raised bed kits, gardening tools, Grower Frames, signed books and more! Or why not book Pippa for a gardening talk at your gardening club?

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Local News

Dogs Trust Dogs School It’s the most wonderful time of the year for many, but the sights, sounds and smells of Christmas can be a sensory overload for your dog. Want to help make Christmas fun for your whole family – fourlegged friends included? Introducing Dogs Trust Dog School, a national network of experienced trainers providing fun, educational courses for all dog owners based on up-to-date scientific research. Using reward-based training methods, we teach the key skills your dog needs to thrive in everyday situations. From calmly greeting unexpected visitors, to resisting tasty temptations and coping with a more crowded-than-usual household, our expert knowledge will help Christmas become a walk in the park for you and your dog. Courses are five weeks long, with a free introductory session. To find your nearest dog school visit and take your first step towards making the most of your relationship with your four-legged friend now.

Fun Quiz - Shops 1. The final episode of which TV show was the most-watched TV show in the UK on Christmas Day 2015? 2. In a 1992 Christmas special, who fails to give his girlfriend, Irma Gobb, the engagement ring she wanted when he didn’t realise what she was pointing to, and instead gives her a picture of an engaged couple that was next to it in the shop? 3. Screened on Christmas Day in 2003, Sleepless In Peckham was the final episode of which long-running TV sitcom? 4. On Christmas Day of what year did a Doctor Who episode called The Time Of The Doctor see Peter Capaldi take over from Matt Smith as the Doctor? 5. Which TV series features a robot Santa Claus who, due to a programming error, judges almost everyone to be naughty and every Christmas, goes on a murderous rampage? 6. The title character in which TV show lived at 52 Festive Road? 7. Broadcast on Boxing Day 2015, The Farmer’s Llamas was a Christmas special of which TV show? 8. Which character from EastEnders was murdered on Christmas Day in 2009? 9. Introduced in the first episode of The Simpsons, what breed of dog is Santa’s Little Helper? 10. On the TV show South Park, who brings presents to boys and girls whose diets have been high in fibre? 1. Downton Abbey 2. Mr Bean 3. Only Fools And Horses 4. 2013 5. Futurama 6. Mr Benn 7. Shaun The Sheep 8. Archie Mitchell (accept Archie) 9. Greyhound 10. Mr Hankey the Christmas Poo

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New Charity Shop Our new charity shop has now been open for two months and we have been incredibly lucky with the amount of donations we have received. Unlike some charity shops, whose shops can request stock from a central warehouse, our shop is stocked purely from what comes through our front door. We are always grateful for all the donations we receive, no matter how big or small and are constantly amazed by the generosity of the public. Once the donated goods come in, a lot of work goes into them before they appear on the shop floor. Each item is individually sorted, cleaned or steamed and then priced according to its worth. None of this can be achieved without the fantastic work of our volunteers. Whether they pop in for an hour, half a day or all day every day, our shop couldn’t run without them. Unfortunately we are desperately short of volunteers, meaning we are struggling to sort out the amazing amount of donations we are receiving, as well as manning the shop. There are many different roles a volunteer can carry out whilst working at the charity shop, and it is guaranteed no day or shift is ever the same! We have positions available in the shop where staff serve on the till, take in donations, rotate and replenish stock, as well as doing window and shop displays. There are also positions in the stockroom, where all our stock gets sorted, cleaned or steamed and


organised ready to sell in the shop. This is a vital position within the shop that ensures there is a steady flow of new stock, keeping the shop full, meaning we are able to raise as much money as we can which all goes towards the care and rehabilitation of local animals. One of our longer serving volunteers, Maureen, had this to say about working in our shop… “I have worked in the RSPCA shop in Bedford for over three years. I work as a volunteer for two mornings a week, sometimes more. I started when I retired from full time work. I love it! I work on the shop floor but there are all sorts of things that need doing. It is very rewarding and it’s lovely to know you are helping animals and keep in touch with people in general. I like sorting out the books and as I used to be a jeweller, I also sort out the jewellery and display cabinet. We all have different interests and knowledge and it is good to be able to put our different skills to good use. Please visit our shop; you never know what you might find!” If you would like to support our local Branch and help out at our little charity shop, we would love to hear from you. Any help at all is always appreciated and everyone is made to feel part of the team, no matter the skill set there is always something to do. 01234 930304 Hopefully we will see you soon!

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What foods should you avoid feeding your dog this Christmas? As tempting as it is to share your favourite festive treats with your dog, there are certain foods they shouldn’t eat – and some are potentially deadly. So which ones should you avoid giving to your dog this Christmas? Turkey Turkey is a rich meat that can disturb a dog’s digestive system, potentially to the point of serious illness. Some dogs may be fine with a tiny amount of white boneless turkey meat, but the skin is very fatty and the bones are a choking hazard. Chocolate Chocolate is one Christmas treat that needs to be avoided at all costs, unless you buy doggy chocs for your pet. Chocolate contains a compound that’s poisonous to dogs – in fact, chocolate poisoning is so serious that if they eat too much they’ll need to have their stomach pumped.

Mince pies, Christmas pudding, and Christmas cake Raisins are severely toxic to dogs, with grape and raisin poisoning being a common problem often requiring veterinary intervention to prevent further serious health issues – one of these being kidney failure. Nuts Nuts can cause severe gastro-intestinal problems for your dog, with obstruction of the bowel being a particular issue. Some varieties of nut, including pecans and walnuts, can bring on seizures and should be avoided at all costs. Clearly there’s a case for watching your dog very carefully over Christmas. It’s all too easy to leave chocolate or nuts lying around, and they’re only too quick to take advantage of the fact. digestive/e_dg_grape_raisin_toxicity

By Ann Haldon bad-nuts-for-dogs/


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Local News

Twinwoods Adventure Based in Milton Ernest, Twinwoods Adventure is the home of indoor Adventure, easily accessible from the A6. Now under new management, changes are already under way to improve the facilities and bring new, exciting Adventures to the people of Bedford, all under one roof. We’ve always been known for our incredible Indoor Skydiving and Indoor Surfing, but did you know we offer much, much more? How about our relaxing spa with pool, sauna and steam room, or our adult and family salt caves which can help promote a range of health benefits. Looking for more excitement? Try the climbing wall, archery, our gas gun range, or the ultimate adrenaline rush, jumping 125ft from the top of our wind tunnel! For the really little people, we have the Playhouse, an incredible adventure soft play, which offers regular mini-Adventures, as well as open play sessions. Let them play, while you enjoy a great tasting coffee and generous slice of homemade cake. Whatever the weather, Twinwoods Adventure is the perfect place

to have a great time as a family. Enjoy all the Adventures, fill up in our restaurant, and if you want to make a weekend of it, stay in our comfortable on-site accommodation. We’re extremely proud of our location, our heritage and being a part of the local community, and core to that is charity. If your charity has a story and needs help, we’d love to hear from you to see if there’s a way that we can work with you. We’ll be picking a number of charities over the next year to work with, and support as best we can. To find out more, please email: To find out more about the Adventures you can have with us, check out our website www. or call us on 01234 816350. If you’re on social media, make sure you add us to stay up-to-date with all the latest news and special offers. You can find us at /twinwoodsuk Want to see what we’re about in person? All our activities are free to spectate, though be warned, you’ll want to give it a go once you’ve seen the fun people are having! You can find us at: Twinwoods Adventure, Twinwoods Business


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Park, 36 Thurleigh Road, Milton Ernest, Bedford, MK44 1FD. There’s plenty of free, on-site, parking - just look for the big blue building. Roy Castleman, part of the new ownership team, comments: “It’s great to be a part of this historic site’s next chapter. We’re looking forward to making things even better here, and adding some incredible new Adventures. Charity is really important to us, which is why we’re looking for local charities that we can help support. We would love to hear your story, and we’ll be picking a number of charities to work with.”

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The Wackiest Special Editions Manufacturers love making special editions, weird and wonderful creations that showcase what car makers can do when they let their imaginations run wild. Here, we’ve picked out eight of the wackiest. Bentley Bentayga by Mulliner Fly Fishing The Bentley Bentayga is a decent combination of luxurious craftsmanship and go-anywhere all-wheel-drive capability. However, the Fly Fishing by Mulliner edition is fitted with bespoke rod tubes trimmed in saddle leather and a central storage station to give specific storage for rods, reels and flies, as well as a waterproof wader stowage trunk. Volkswagen Golf Harlequin The Golf is one of the best-selling cars of all time and comes in a variety of colours, specifications and body styles. The Harlequin, however, was slightly out of the ordinary. Produced for just one year from 1996, just 264 colourful Golf Harlequins were produced, made as a result of the popularity of the Polo Harlequin. Ssangyong Korando Sports DMZ The ‘regular’ Korando Sports pickup was a success for South Koreanbased SsangYong; it was impressive off-road and had a generous amount of standard equipment. The special DMZ edition, however, came with camouflage paint and either stood out from or blended into the crowd – whichever you preferred – giving the Korando Sports a beefy, military edge. Bentley Bentayga Falconry Another Bentayga catering for a very niche pastime, the Bentayga Falconry by Mulliner features a removable ‘transportation perch’ and has a variety of trim pieces crafted from cork.

A veneer inlaid with a falcon graphic features on the car’s passenger-side trim piece and is made up of 430 separate handplaced pieces. Skoda Felicia Fun The Skoda Felicia Fun came with a bright yellow exterior matched by an equally jazzy interior, with yellow accents on the steering wheel, gearstick and main dials. The trick up its sleeve was a rear bulkhead that could be extended to reveal two rear seats with a convertible section above, meaning four people could come along for the ride. Rolls-Royce Wraith ‘Luminary Collection’ Rolls-Royce is noted for staggeringly impressive – and staggeringly expensive – special editions. The Wraith ‘Luminary Collection’ was limited to just 55 examples and uses a speciallydeveloped ‘Sunburst Grey’ exterior paint. Inside, the main dashboard is fitted with 176 individual LEDs, designed to resemble ‘the trailing light of a shooting star’. Nice.

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DS3 Black Lezard The DS3 is a car built on the ability to customise its every aspect, and the Black Lezard edition is a more luxurious version. For instance, the Lezard design, mimicking the look of lizard skin, is hand applied, taking two hours per vehicle. The interior of the car is finished in high-quality leather, and gloss black trim is used to help lift the overall look of the cabin. Range Rover Evoque Special Edition with Victoria Beckham In 2012, Range Rover revealed a special edition version of its Evoque SUV made in partnership with Victoria Beckham. The exterior is hand-finished in matte grey paint, while the alloy wheels feature gloss black paint and rose gold detailing. Inside, the four seats are finished in high-quality leather with contrasting white ‘baseball’ stitching. Prices were impressively high, coming in at a weighty £79,995.

By James Baggott



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Autism By Alison Foster

Christmas with Autism

My oldest son has a diagnosis of High Functioning Autism (what used to be called Asperger Syndrome). When he was younger Christmas nearly tipped both of us over the edge. Even without autism Christmas can be a special kind of hell, but if you’re the parent of an autistic child, or a child with sensory issues, Christmas can come with a super-sized side-serving of stress and meltdowns. Autistic kids often find comfort in routine. Christmas means change: decorations, Christmas music, crowds, balloons, pop-up markets and parades, disruption to the normal school timetable. There’s a lot of potential for upset. Identify possible changes and pre-warn your child. It can be helpful to show them photos or create a social story to help them understand the sequence of events and what will be expected of them. If your autistic child is old enough and / or verbal enough, involve them in planning which events they want to be part of, and which events they’d prefer to skip. For events they can’t avoid, what will help? A fidget toy? Noise-cancelling headphones? This approach encourages them to develop their own coping strategies as they get older. A visual method for counting down to Christmas is useful. My son found a chocolate advent calendar too stressful, so we found a fabric one where a Christmas-themed item is added each day with the use of Velcro. Simple but effective. Many ASD kids don’t like surprises so it might be better to pre-discuss gifts. When our son was

younger he didn’t like wrapped gifts, even ours. We left his unwrapped, but my husband and I explained that wrapping was part of our Christmas to each other and it was important for us. We felt it was good for him to see that sometimes he needed to compromise too. Discuss the Christmas Day schedule in advance. Who will arrive, when and how they should be greeted. Some kids (even those without ASD) hate hugging relatives so prewarn guests if this is an issue. It might be prudent to go through the etiquette for receiving a gift too. We explained to our son that if we don’t like a gift we should still say thank you to show our appreciation of the thought. Be prepared for the odd slip-up! On receiving a scratchy woollen scarf from his Aunty one year he glanced at me and asked, “Do I thank her for the thought even if it was about how to make my neck as itchy as possible?” which left me smiling weakly at my bemused sister-in-law. Finally, if they don’t want to eat the Christmas food and would rather have a sandwich, or a pizza, let them. It’s a small thing, don’t sweat it. In the grand scheme of things it’s not important. And things change. My fifteen-year-old autistic son now tucks in with the rest of us but for three years between the ages of four and seven he ate cheese on toast for Christmas lunch (because that’s what he ate for lunch every day!). We look back now and smile fondly at the memory.

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Merry Christmas


Food and Drink

Baking Christmas Mincemeat Slice

Makes 12-14 slices Ready in 1 hour 15 minutes, plus chilling and cooling This delicious festive slice can be served warm as a pud with custard, thick cream or brandy butter or simply cool completely and serve instead of mince pies. INGREDIENTS 225g plain flour 165g unsalted butter, chilled and diced 1 egg yolk blended with 1 tbsp cold water 75g caster sugar 300g good quality mincemeat 50g ground almonds 2 tbsp flaked almonds 1. Sift the flour into a large bowl and rub in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture resembles very fine breadcrumbs (alternatively pulse in a food processor until fine breadcrumbs). 2. Remove 100g of the breadcrumb mixture and cover and chill in the fridge. Stir 25g of the sugar into the remaining mixture, then stir in the egg and water and mix to a firm dough (adding a little more water if needed). Knead lightly then wrap in cling film and chill for 30 minutes. 3. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas mark 6. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface


and use to line a 23cm square tart tin. Prick the pastry all over with a fork. Line the pastry case with baking paper and baking beans and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the lining paper and beans and bake for a further 5-7 minutes until the pastry is crisp and pale golden. Cool slightly. Reduce the oven temperature to 180C/160C fan/gas mark 4. 4. Spread the mincemeat in the pastry case. Mix the rest of the sugar and the ground almonds into the reserved pastry crumb mixture and scatter over the mincemeat to cover completely. 5. Return the tin to the oven and bake for a further 25-30 minutes or until the crumble topping is pale golden. Scatter over the flaked almonds and leave to cool before removing from the tin and cutting into 12-14 thin slices.


Add some finely chopped toasted hazelnuts or walnuts to the crumble topping for an extra nutty flavour.

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Please mention The Villager and Town Life when responding to adverts 09/04/2018 15:24


The Xmas Technology Survival Guide

How to have ho ho ho, not oh no no

It used to be so simple. The only technology you needed to think about at Christmas was a bunch of AA batteries, and setting the video for Die Hard. Now, though, things are a bit more complicated. Even the humblest toys are packing processors, using obscure batteries or demanding an overnight charge before you can use them. Investing in stacks of AA batteries is still a good idea – go for rechargeable ones; they’ll cost more to begin with but they’ll save you a fortune in the long term and they’re better for the environment too – but we’d also recommend having some smaller AAAs and a square 9V battery to hand too. That latter one’s for the smoke detector that’ll start beeping incessantly on Christmas Eve just after all the shops have shut. It’s worth checking individual gifts before you wrap them to see if they need particular batteries: while AA and AAA are the most common, some require LR44s or CR2032s – easy enough to get from the nearest shop, but

unlikely to be sitting in your second drawer. If they’re gifts, providing the right batteries too will make you very popular. It’s wise to have a small toolkit handy, or at least a small crosshead screwdriver. Children’s toys, especially big plastic ones, are often screwed to the packaging. Even worse, some use cable ties so you’ll need scissors handy too. Don’t worry if devices such as Pay As You Go phones or handheld devices don’t come with chargers: most such devices use the same micro-USB chargers as Android tablets, Kindle e-book readers and other common bits of kit, so there’s no need to get more. If Santa’s bringing preowned Apple devices you might need to provide a lightning cable to charge them: not all preowned devices come with the original cables. One of the biggest technology pains at Christmas is the big download: from new tablets to games consoles, it seems that everything requires a software update before you can do

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anything. That’s a particular pain with Xboxes and PlayStations: games often won’t let you play online without the most recent version of the system software. Naturally, the worst possible time to download that is on Christmas morning when everybody in your street is doing the same – if you can, it’s a great idea to install the updates in advance so everything’s ready to go on Christmas Day. It’s also a good idea to prepare for the worst: make sure you have a note of and receipts for any expensive tech items that will be in your home over the Christmas period (some insurance policies automatically increase contents cover over Christmas, but not all do), and if younger children are being given anything droppable it’s a very good idea to invest in a protective case. That’s a lesson we’ve learnt the hard way – even a cheap case can protect an expensive iPad. If you thought the speed of light was fast, you haven’t seen how quickly a fouryear-old can accidentally crack an iPad or smartphone screen.


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By Solange Hando

Tokyo A City of Contrasts Once again in 2018, Tokyo has been ranked among the ‘most liveable cities in the world’ (Monocle), an impressive achievement for the biggest metropolis on the planet. Rebuilt after the war, the capital has few remnants from the past, at least at first sight, but today’s lofty architecture keeps you spellbound, from the elegant skyscrapers to the panoramic Sky Tower or the Rainbow Bridge gracefully stretching across the bay. A million trees have been planted to clean the air along the roads, lawns and flowers beckon in open parkland and Tokyo is safe, efficient and highly colourful with bright posters and lights, museums, theatres and immaculate restaurants with more Michelin stars than any other city. But this 21st century icon has a few surprises in store, especially around the lively Shibuya district where alongside shopping malls and super-sized zebra crossings, animal lovers head for the pet cafés to cuddle rabbits or cats they can’t keep at home, or stroke the auspicious statue of Hachiko, the dog who waited nine years for a master who never returned. Then the nearby Harajuku area is all about fun and creativity, with street art and parades in the most playful costumes you have ever seen. Yet these excited youngsters with quirky clothes and fancy hair may turn up another day, beautifully dressed in kimonos for a traditional tea ceremony or a trip to Senso-ji, the most visited Buddhist temple in town. This is the Tokyo of the


past with lanterns and prayers, fortune telling and lots of stalls around a bright red shrine and a five-tiered pagoda. According to legend, the temple was first built in the 7th century when two fishermen brothers found in their net a small statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy. Meanwhile in the Chiyoda ward, visitors look across the moat to the imperial palace, still home to the family and former site of the Edo castle, the seat of the shoguns whose power ended in 1868. Emperor Meiji then moved the capital from Kyoto to Edo which he renamed Tokyo, the ‘Eastern Capital’. Remembered as the ‘enlightened ruler’ who brought the country into the modern world, he is revered in Tokyo’s Meiji-jingu, the atmospheric Shinto shrine where locals come to pray or get wed in traditional style. The Shinto religion is based on respect for nature and is home to thousands of gods, but when the shrine was built in the 1920s the surrounding district had no natural world. So right at the heart of the capital, 100,000 trees were planted in seven years, followed by many more and it is now a botanists’ paradise claiming hundreds of different species. Meiji would be pleased. Looking forward to the 2020 Olympics, his capital is now one of the world’s most dynamic cities but traditions linger and nature is part of the picture. From the nearby mountains to the outlying islands, 36% of the land in the Tokyo prefecture is protected by nature reserves and national parks.

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n O s ’ t Wha In December

Deadline for What’s On entries is the 12th of the previous month. What’s on entries to

1 December Art & Craft Fair 9.30am-4pm Free Church Hall, St Ives Free admission Quality handmade art and craft stalls. Tombola.

1 December Adult Learning & Skills Saturday Workshops 10am St Ivo School, St Ives A wide range of one day workshops, including Christmas Flower Ring, Christmas Designs in Watercolour, Christmas Cake Decorating, Chocoholics, Festive Family Workshops, Make-up Revamp, Indian Dance and more. Tel: 01480 495717 Web: 1 December Great Fen Christmas Magic 12 noon-3.30pm Wildlife Trust Countryside Classroom, Ramsey Heights £4 per child. Wildlife crafts and activities; festive refreshments and stocking fillers. Tel: 01480 815524 Web: events/2018-12-01-feeling-frosty-fens 1 December Simply Saturday 12.30-2.30pm St James Church, Little Paxton Carols with Southonian Singers. For adults of all ages with lunch and various activities available. Tel: Leisa Hunt 01480 471748 Email: 1 December Singing for Scotty’s 7.30pm The Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin, St Neots Tickets £15, Concessions £10. A charity concert of male choirs featuring Huntingdon Male Voice Choir and formed especially for this event Sing2Help plus special guests Seer Green Singers. Tel: Stewart 07771 616113 Web: 1 December BRAHMS - A German Requiem 7.30pm St Mary's Church, Eaton Socon St Neots Choral Society Concert. 1 December Big Deal Comedy Night 7.30pm St Andrews Centre, School Hill, Histon £7 per person. Bringing some of the best new and experienced comedians on the circuit to a comedy night near you. On behalf of The Homeless Support Stand Up Project our Histon gig will be in aid of Jimmy’s Night Shelter. For every ticket sold, we will donate £2 to the Charity. Advance booking advised. Email: Web: 1 & 2 December Christmas Tree Festival Sat 11am-5pm, Sun 12-4pm Alconbury Parish Church Vote for your favourite tree. Refreshments, chocolate tombola, craft stalls and children’s crafts.


3 December Wandlebury Adventures 6-8pm £14 per child CambridgePPF event. For unaccompanied children aged 8-12 years. Activity is Christmas Decorations. Tel: 01223 243830 for more info & booking Email: Web:

5 December Godmanchester Senior Citizens Club Coffee Morning & Raffle 10am-12 noon Godmanchester Town Hall Monthly coffee morning and raffle. Annual membership fee is £10. Tel: Geoff 01480 434697 5 December St Mary's Afternoon WI St Neots 2pm St Mary's Church Room, St Neots First Wednesday of the month. Christmas Celebrations with festive food, entertainment and Secret Santa. Tel: May Parker 07724 043941 Email: Facebook: 5 December Brampton Flower Club 7.30pm Community Centre, High Street, Brampton Visitors £6. Lesley Beeton presenting 'Christmas Raffle'. Raffle, refreshments and sales table. Tel: Jan Dobie 01480 531822 Email: Web: 5 December Huntingdonshire Family History Society 7.30pm Women's Institute Centre, Waldon Road, Huntingdon Speaker will be Liz Davies on ‘A Nineteenth Century Peterborough Family Christmas'. Non-members most welcome - contact the Secretary to attend. £1 donation at the door appreciated. Tel: Caroline Kesseler 01480 390476 for more details Email: Website: 5 December Huntingdon and District Branch of the Royal Air Force Association 7.30pm for 8pm First Wednesday of the month. Tel: Tony Perryman, Secretary 01480 465395 Email: 5 December Black Cat WI 7.30pm Wyboston Village Hall Meets on the first Wednesday of each month. Tel: Susie Woodman 01234 376098 5, 12 & 19 December Kimbolton Bridge Club 9.30am-12 noon Mandeville Hall, Kimbolton Meets every Wednesday morning to play friendly, social bridge. No partner needed. Just come along or call Vanessa. Tel: Vanessa 01480 453929

5, 12 & 19 December St Neots Choral Society 7.30-9.30pm Eynesbury Junior School, Montagu Street, Eynesbury New members are very welcome to join and there are no auditions to frighten you but an ability to read a little music is helpful! There is an annual subscription once you decide to join the Society. New members are welcome in all voices. Tel: 01480 212298 Web: 6, 13, 20 & 27 December Healthy Walking 10am or 10.30am-11am Wandlebury Country Park, Cambridge Free event. CambridgePPF event. Every Thursday. Meet at the Stable Rooms at 10am for a longer walk or 10.30am for a shorter stroll. No need to book. Please arrive 10 minutes early to register. 7 December Manor House Christmas Shopping Event 3-7pm The Manor House, Broad Street, Cambourne The Wildlife Trust BCN's Annual Christmas Fair. Join the Trust for a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie while browsing a lovely array of Christmas gifts. Web: 7 December The Greatest Showman Meal 6 for 6.30pm, Film 7 for 7.30pm Mandeville Hall, Kimbolton Kimbolton Community Cinema. Starring Hugh Jackman and Zac Efron. Tickets available from Oliver’s, Swan Pharmacy, Courtyard Kitchens, Bytes Café or by email. Email: Web: themandevillehallkimbolton/community-cinema 7 December St Neots Local History Society 7.30pm Guest Hall, Priory Centre, St Neots Tickets £5. Traditional Christmas Songs and Humorous Readings with St Neots Folk Club. Members of the St Neots Local History Society meet monthly for talks of local and historical interest but this talk is open to all who would like to come. Tickets available from St Neots Museum. Tel: Tickets 01480 217492 7 & 8 December Theatre at the Leper Chapel 7.30-8.30pm Tickets £12, Under 18s & Students £8 Leper Chapel, Newmarket Road, Cambridge Theatre at the Leper Chapel: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. A Christmas Carol, the way Dickens told it himself: one man, one stage. Playing over 20 characters, Martin Prest brings Charles Dickens’ timeless story of redemption to life. As popular now as when it was first published in 1843, this captivating seasonal tale has the feel-good factor of a roast Christmas dinner with presents under the tree. Dress warmly.

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n O s ’ t Wha In December

This is a small selection of the What’s On for the full listing please go to our website

7-9 December Christmas Tree Festival Fri 11am-4pm, Sat 10am-4pm, Sun 12.30-3pm Free admission. The United Reformed Church, High St, St Neots 40 trees decorated by local organisations. Saturday includes St Neots Singers and Black Cat Radio LIVE. Sunday 11am Worship Service among the trees. Seasonal Refreshments, Luxury Prize Raffle, Light Lunches and Craft Stalls.

7, 14 & 21 December Friday Night Lights 7.30-8.30pm Longsands Academy Astro, Longsands Road, St Neots St Neots Hockey Club. Friday Night Lights aims to provide the local community of St Neots with the opportunity to experience hockey in a casual, relaxed and family orientated environment. Tel: Chris (Club Development Officer) 07792 044878 Email: 8 December Big Deal Comedy Night 7.30pm Upper Cambourne Cricket Pavilion, Cambourne £7 per person. Bringing some of the best new and experienced comedians on the circuit to a comedy night near you. Returning after a sell-out show in September. Make sure you get your tickets ASAP as half sold out within 12 hours previously. Further details, including booking information, is online. Email: Web: 8 & 9 December Christmas Tree Festival Sat 1-5pm, Sun 2-5pm St James’ Church, Little Paxton Free admission. Come along and see stunning Christmas trees decorated by local village groups and organisations. Stalls and raffles. Refreshments available. A great community event for all ages. 8, 15 & 22 December Meet Father Christmas at the museum 11.30am-1.30pm & 2-3.30pm St Neots Museum, The Old Court, 8 New Street, St Neots £4 per child. Father Christmas will be making some special stop-offs at St Neots Museum during the festive season. So add a little extra bit of magic to the festive season for little ones (and the young at heart). A wrapped gift and card from Father Christmas for every child. Web: 12 December St Neots Museum Ghost Walk 7.30pm The Old Court, 8 New Street, St Neots Tickets £5. Discover the haunted buildings, ghostly secrets and spooky stories of St Neots on our ghost walk. Join our 90 minute walk through the town centre to find out more. Meet at the museum, walks go ahead in all weathers. Please book by email. Email: Web:

14 December Charity Christmas Carols at Island Hall 7.30-9.30pm Island Hall, Godmanchester £25 per person inc. refreshments In aid of the Pepys House Trust (Registered Charity No: 262261). Please email with your name and address so a booking form may be sent to you. Email: Web:

15 December Huntingdonshire Philharmonic Family Christmas Concert 4pm Hinchingbrooke Performing Arts Centre, Huntingdon Tickets: £14/£12, Student Concession £7/£6 A Family Christmas Concert including Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite, Bob Chilcott’s On Christmas Night, and lots of your favourite carols. Conductor: Bjorn Bantock. Tickets available by telephone, online or on the door. Tel: Box office 01480 375678 (Mon-Fri 9am-3pm) Web: 15 December The Aragon Singers of Buckden 7.30pm St Ives Methodist Church Tickets £10 inc. refreshments. Entertainment of beautiful Christmas Music and Carols with audience participation. Proceeds in aid of Project 200 and The Toilet Twinning Charity. Tickets available in advance or on the door. Tel: Tickets 01480 494133 16 December Carols by Candlelight 4pm St James’ Church, Little Paxton Come and join us in singing a variety of traditional carols in a lovely candlelit setting. Bring a torch! 19 December Christmas Trail 10am-3pm £1 per child Ferry Meadows, Peterborough Collect a trail sheet from the Visitor Centre and then hunt for clues as you walk around. Return to the Visitor Centre to claim your prize. Open to any age. Web: Until 21 December Escape Room: Jail Break Conscription 1916 1.30-9pm St Neots Museum, The Old Court, 8 New Street, St Neots Large teams (5-8 people) £80, Small teams (4 people or less) £60 in partnership with Mystery in History, are proud to present the second season of Jailbreak, set in the Victorian cells of the Old Police Station, more commonly known these days as St Neots Museum. Our first season in Spring this year saw 574 people locked in our cells and we now return with a brand new challenge involving different skills and challenges. Tel: 01480 214163 Web:

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21 December Christmas Holiday Bushcraft 8.30am-4pm Wandlebury Country Park, Cambridge Holiday Bushcraft at Wandlebury is designed for children ages 5-12 and is run by experienced, qualified teachers from the outdoor learning experience group, Wild Thyme & Embers, who will inspire children and share their knowledge and skills of surviving in the wild. Booking essential. Web: 22 December A Calm, Creative Christmas at Wandlebury 10am-11am & 11.30am-12.30pm £6 per child (age 2+) Wandlebury Country Park, Cambridge Join Vital Spark for some calm creativity with craft, storytelling and nature - all the magic of the season with a natural and mindful slant to the activities. We’re not at all ‘bah humbug’, we just enjoy a little quality family time away from the more commercial side of Christmas! For ages 3-7 years. Children to remain accompanied throughout. Booking essential. Email: 22 December Children’s Christmas Party 2-4pm St James’ Church, Little Paxton Come and join us in celebrating Christmas with crafts, songs and a film, all with a Snowman theme. Please telephone to leave a message or email to book a place. Tel: Nicci Jones 01480 877215 Email: 22 December Carol Concert 6pm St Mary's Church, Eaton Socon Joint concert with St Neots Choral Society and St Neots Sinfonia. 24 December Christingle with Carols 2pm St James’ Church, Little Paxton Other Christmas services being held on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. 29 & 30 December St Ives Antiques Fair 10am-4pm Burgess Hall (One Leisure Centre), Westwood Road, St Ives Adults £2.50, Concessions £2 Around 50 dealers offering affordable quality antiques and vintage pieces including ceramics, glass, maps, small items of furniture, silver, china, jewellery, paperweights, postcards and other interesting treasures of yesteryear at prices to suit all pockets. Ample free parking, wheelchair access from street level, on-site catering and licensed bar. Dealers welcome from 9am upon production of business card. Tel: 01480 896866 Email: Web: Facebook: www/ Twitter:



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Lost in Austen

Quirky Britain

Why Jane’s superfans are still going strong Around the middle of the 19th century, one of Winchester Cathedral’s vergers asked why so many people were asking to see the grave of Jane Austen. “Was there”, he enquired, “anything particular about the lady?” These days Jane Austen is such a household name it’s hard to imagine anyone having to ask what was special about her. However, when Jane died in Winchester on 18th July 1817, she was far from being famous. It wasn’t until 1870 – when her nephew wrote a “Memoir of Jane Austen” – that the wider public was introduced to her work. Everything Austen The genteel world of bonnets, barouches and blushing heroines that Austen conjured up so effectively in her novels continues to attract new fans all the time, and now a niche industry has grown up to support those who want to take part in Austen-themed events. One of the key dates in the Austen calendar is the Jane Austen Festival, which takes place in Bath every September. Here you can take part in more than 70 activities over ten days, including writing workshops, city tours, dramatised readings and Regency dance lessons. Talks offered this year included “Rummaging through the reticule” and “Underwear in Georgian England”, and, as usual, the Regency Costumed Masked Ball held at Bath’s historic Pump Rooms offered “a marvellous opportunity to wear your very best Regency gown or breeches, complete with glittering accessories and a mask in the Venetian style.” The Grand Regency Costumed Charity Parade provided a further opportunity for over 500 costumed participants to parade their finery.

Meet the superfans Sometimes referred to as ‘Janeites’, Austen superfans love to embrace the whole sweep of Regency culture and history. ClareViolet Hanley from Southampton enjoys linking up with other fans to immerse herself completely in Austen’s world. “We talk to each other and write letters in Regency-style language [and] bake traditional Regency food for our picnics by the river,” she told the Daily Echo. “Though sometimes I do cheat and just stick something from M&S on a Regency plate and hide the bag”. Finance Director Roland Anderson, now in his midforties, has been an Austen fan for over twenty years. “After I started posting at the Austen messageboard, I met other fans”, he told the Guardian newspaper. “We visited Bath and other locations, and spent the afternoons drinking tea and talking about Austen.” One of Jane Austen’s youngest superfans is Sophie Andrews, who started her blog ‘Laughing with Lizzie’ – inspired by Elizabeth Bennet’s line “I dearly love a laugh” in Pride and Prejudice – when she was just 16. Sophie, who has suffered from ill-health, is frank about the way Jane Austen’s novels have helped her: “The books have been my lifeline; when things are tough in the real world, I can just dive into hers. It sounds melodramatic but, in a way, she’s saved me.” Over 150 years on, there’s no doubt that there was something ‘particular’ about Jane Austen. And thanks to the enduring popularity of her work, it seems that her novels will go on attracting superfans for centuries to come.

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By Kate McLelland


Interiors By Katherine Sorrell

Create a comfortable guest room Is your spare room ready for Christmas? Our guide to setting up a cosy and welcoming space will help you ensure your guests feel completely at home. Hosting family or friends during the festive season can be as stressful as it is heart-warming. The best way to make sure everyone is relaxed is to start preparations well in advance. Your first task is to check the spare bedroom. Is it full of the clutter that inevitably accumulates over time? This is a good opportunity to have a clear-out and to sell, give or tidy away as much as possible. Create enough space in wardrobes and drawers for guests to unpack their clothes – or at least store your stuff neatly and leave them a few hangers on a hook on the back of the door. In general, is the room too


hot or too cold? Address issues such as windows that are stuck or radiators that don’t work – if necessary, plug in a small standalone heater, which may be a welcome boost during a cold December evening. Another task, while checking out the room, is to draw the curtains during daylight hours to check whether they will adequately block early-morning light. Given enough planning time, you may even wish to upgrade your spare room window treatments by adding blackout lining for curtains or fitted blackout blinds. While it goes without saying that the room should be sparklingly clean and as clutter-free as possible, there are some key elements that will really enhance your guests’ comfort. First, test out the bed. How is the mattress? If it has seen better days, a topper or enhancer will probably help, at least in the short term. Now is also the time to have duvets and pillows dry cleaned, and to check that you have the necessary bed linen at the ready. Small tables either side of the bed are incredibly useful for guests to store a book, a glass of water, a phone and a pair of glasses. They need not be expensive – a folding tray table, a small chair, a stool or just an upturned wooden crate will all be fine (since this is not a full-time bedroom, a great deal of bedside storage space is not necessary). Though not essential, soft rugs beside the bed and some pretty prints on the walls are a lovely enhancement if you can manage it.

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LESTER O’DRISCOLL CARPENTRY Door Hanging, Skirting, Flooring, Fitted Kitchens, Fencing, Decking, General Carpentry, Bespoke Timber Garden Offices, Workshops & Garden Sheds

07842 195152 01480 811629

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Some additional pillows and a snuggly blanket or two will always be welcome, as will a hair dryer, a full-length mirror and a waste paper basket. You could hang a spare dressing gown on the back of the door, too – especially useful if the room doesn’t have an en suite bathroom. Older bedrooms are often lacking in plug sockets, so add an extension lead or an adaptor, just in case. After all, everyone needs to charge their phone regularly, and some guests might also bring a tablet, laptop or other device. Speaking of which, another thoughtful touch would be to write out your router’s name and password on a small card and leave it somewhere obvious. Not all of us are fortunate enough to have a spare bedroom, but no problem – a sofa bed, day bed, futon, bed-in-a-box or good quality airbed in the living room will all be fine, provided there is enough space to set them up without colliding with other items of furniture. If your living room is acting as a temporary bedroom, clear away as much as possible so your guests have room to put down their luggage, and place a small lamp near the head of their ‘bed’ and a spare throw or blanket nearby. A box, bag or basket into which they can stow bedding during the day will also help keep things tidy, while a note on the door will make sure

they are not interrupted before they get up in the morning. Finally, think about the little extras that will make your guests’ stay a five-star experience. You might leave out for them a small alarm clock, a pen and paper, a carafe of water with matching glass, a few books or magazines, a hot water bottle, a sprig of flowers in a bud vase and a scented candle or diffuser. With such care and forethought, your guests are sure to be delighted – and will soon be back to stay again.


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• Wood Burning Stoves • Multi Fuel Stoves • Chimney Lining • Twin Wall Flue Systems • Installation and Supply • Fireplace Renovations • Stove Accessories • Trade sales welcome


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November’s Puzzle Solutions and Winners Last Month’s Crossword Winner Mrs G Trigg from Potton Overtones Competition Pat King from Buckden

Champneys Competition K. Hurren from Stevenage



Seasoned Firewood Locally sourced hardwood Split and fully seasoned

£65 a Dumpy Bag Including delivery (Builders Bag)

Simon Gurry 07734 159501 Don’t shiver, we deliver To advertise in The Villager and Town Life please call 01767 261122


The Villager Prize Crossword

Complete the crossword, fill in your details below, cut out this page and send to the address below before

16th December 2018 Prize Crossword, Villager Publications Ltd 24 Market Square, Potton, Beds SG19 2NP



Across 1. Connect to another (6) 4. Yarn, twine (6) 9. Mature (7) 10. Problem, concern (5) 11. Bend (5) 12. Places of work (7) 13. Differentiate (11) 18. Identical (7) 20. Fang (5) 22. Having had water removed (5) 23. Hammering (7) 24. Leaders, monarchs (6) 25. Business, company (6) Down 1. Diminish (6) 2. Sweetheart, paramour (5) 3. Most statuesque (7) 5. Robber (5) 6. Bugs (7) 7. 1978 musical set in 50s (6) 8. Meeting with doctor (11) 14. First letter (7) 15. Unfastening, removing knots (7) 16. Kill (6) 17. Long-haired, unkempt (6) 19. More advanced in age (5) 21. Pungent vegetable (5)

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Book Review By Kate Duggan Stuck for the perfect present this Christmas? Or need some inspiration for your own wish list? Read on…

For Harry Potter Fans

The Crimes of Grindelwald By J.K. Rowling

Albus Dumbledore enlists Newt Scamander to recapture Gellert Grindelwald, who’s recently escaped and is gathering followers. This is the second in the Fantastic Beasts series. It’s a screenplay of the recently released film, rather than a traditional novel, so it’s quicker to read but no less enjoyable.

For Romantic Fiction Fans A Miracle on Hope Street by Emma Heatherington


01480 495408 OR 07887887319

When she learns that one act of kindness has transformed a man’s life, Ruth decides to put her own loneliness aside and create a Christmas to remember for people in need. A heart-warming tale that’s perfect for fans of JoJo Moyes and Marian Keyes.

For Historical Fiction Fans Washington Black by Esi Edugyan

11-year-old slave Washington Black is taken from the sugar fields and lent to his tyrannical master’s brother, Titch, to work on a ‘cloudcutter’ hot air balloon. The duo form an unlikely friendship that, coupled with Washington’s artistic talent, could provide a way out of slavery.

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Classifieds Electrician

Pet Services


Over 20 years’ experience in all electrical installation work Extensions, rewires, Sockets, lighting, fuse board replacement. Part P registered. Call for an estimate Please contact Chris on 01480 810133 or 07717 172100 Email:

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and Town


Alcoholics Anonymous..............................0845 769 7555 Anglian Water............................................08457 145 145 Addenbrooks Hospital............................... 01223 245151 Papworth Hospital..................................... 01480 830541 Benefits for people with Disabilities...........0800 882 200 Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue............... 01480 444500 Carers Line..................................................0808 808 7777 ChildLine...........................................................0800 1111 Citizens Advice...........................................0344 245 1292 Cocaine Anonymous..................................0800 689 4732 Crimestoppers..............................................0800 555 111

Bringing Local Business to Local People Your local full colour A5 monthly magazine delivered free of charge to 1000s of homes and businesses in your local area. The Villager and Town Life is dedicated to promoting local businesses, charities, community groups and everything else in your local area.

Cruse Bereavement Care............................0333 252 9152 Floodline....................................................0845 988 1188 Frank—Drug Advisory................................0800 776 600 National Debt Line.....................................0808 808 4000 Gas Emergency............................................0800 111 999 NHS Direct.........................................................0845 4647 National Rail Enquiries..............................03457 48 49 50 Non Emergency Police Line.........................................101 NSPCC.........................................................0808 800 5000 Relate..........................................................0845 48 49 50 RSPCA Cruelty Line....................................0300 1234 999 Samaritans............................................................116 123 Tax Credit Helpline.....................................0345 300 3900 Victim Support..........................................0845 30 30 900

For more information or to reserve your space please contact Nigel on:

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Garden Centre

Fresh Cut Christmas Trees Top quality Nordmann Fir and Norway Spruce Wreaths, Table Arrangements, Holly and Mistletoe


A warm welcome awaits you in our Café with hot food, sandwiches, cakes, hot & cold drinks and seasonal specials

Now taking

Turkey Orders

for Christmas OPENING TIMES: Monday to Saturday 9am to 5pm & Sunday 10:30am to 4:30pm CHRISTMAS OPENING TIMES Christmas Eve - Monday 24th December 9am to 4pm Saturday 29th December 10am to 3pm Sunday 30th December 10:30am to 3pm New Years Eve - Monday 31st December 10am to 3pm CLOSED Christmas Day, Boxing Day, 27th & 28th December and New Year’s Day

Located directly off the A1198 near Arrington, SG8 0AG | Open 7 days a week 01223 208194

f Arrington Garden Centre

Cambridge December 2018  
Cambridge December 2018