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Issue 105 - January 2018

and Town



In this issue The Big Garden

Birdwatch Sign Up for

Race for Life Win £25

in our Prize Crossword

Bringing Local Business to Local People

20,000 copies delivered to Buckden, Brampton,

Godmanchester, The Hemingfords, Eaton Socon, Grantchester and all surrounding villages every month To advertise in The Villager and Town Life please call 01767 261122

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Contents Going to the Moon and Back


Foundy’s Trip to Sierra Leone and back to St. Neots....................4 Welcoming in the Old New Year.................................................6 Win Tickets to see Made in Dagenham.....................................10 Win a Golf Lesson and 9 Holes at Henlow Golf Club..................12 The Train Now arriving: The Northern Belle..............................15 Fun Quiz...................................................................................17 Kick Start 2018 - Sign up for Race for Life.................................18 Wordsearch..............................................................................21 New Year, New Look with Colour and Style...............................22 Charity on the Search for Local Dog Lovers...............................25 The January Blues....................................................................27 The French Ardennes................................................................30 New Year Revolutions...............................................................33 Do I Need a Consent Order?......................................................34 Is £1 Million Enough.................................................................35 Choosing the Best Mobile Phone Plan in 2018.........................37 When Do Doorstep Sales Become Harassment?.......................39 Going to the Moon and Back in 2018.......................................40


Issue 105 - January 2018

and Town



In this issue The Big Garden

Birdwatch Sign Up for

Race for Life Win £25

in our Prize Crossword

Bringing Local Business to Local People

20,000 copies delivered to Buckden, Brampton,

Godmanchester, The Hemingfords, Eaton Socon, Grantchester and all surrounding villages every month To advertise in The Villager and Town Life please call 01767 261122

ur Yo EE FRco1 py

Gardener’s Resolve...................................................................43 Count the Wildlife Counting on you..........................................44 Animal Heroes..........................................................................46 Children’s Page.........................................................................49 McLaren 720S..........................................................................50 Fit not Thin in 2018..................................................................52 Nick Coffer’s Weekend Recipe...................................................55 Sniff.........................................................................................56 Forget Brain Training, Learn an Instrument..............................59 Puzzle Page..............................................................................60 What’s On.................................................................................62 R.A.T.S. Re-Homing Appeal......................................................64 RNLI SOS..................................................................................66 Burns Night..............................................................................69 Growing Up in a Digital World..................................................71 Prize Crossword........................................................................74 World Braille Day.....................................................................77 Book Review............................................................................78

Sign Up to Race for Life


20,000 copies delivered free of charge in the following areas: Hinchingbrooke, Hinchingbrooke Park, Brampton, Buckden, Offord Cluny, Offord D’arcy, Godmanchester, Hemingford Abbots and Hemingford Grey, Cambourne, Chawston, Croxton, Duloe, Graveley, Great Paxton, Hail Weston, Honeydon, Little Barford, Little Paxton, Eaton Socon, Bourn, Grantchester, Roxton, Southoe, Staploe, Tempsford, Toseland, Upper Staploe, Wintringham, Wyboston, Yelling. (Further bulk drops are made to local shops and busineses in Huntingdon, St Neots, Eaton Ford, Eaton Socon and Eynesbury)

Editorial - Peter Ibbett, Catherine Rose, Trevor Langley, Jennie Billings, Centre for Complementary Health, Solange Hando, Hannah Byatt, Tony Larkins, Pippa Greenwood, RSPCA, Simon Davis, Sarah Davey, Nick Coffer, Rachael Leverton, Louise Addison, Tom Hancock, Tracey Anderson and Kate Duggan Advertising Sales/Local Editorial Nigel Frost - 01767 261122 Photography - Dmitry Maslov Design and Artwork - Design 9 Tel 07762 969460

Publishers Villager Publications Ltd 24 Market Square, Potton, Bedfordshire SG19 2NP Tel: 01767 261122

Disclaimer - All adverts and editorial are printed in good faith, however, Villager Publications Ltd can not take any responsibility for the content of the adverts, the services provided by the advertisers or any statements given in the editorial. No part of this publication may be reproduced or stored without the express permission of the publisher.

Advert Booking andand Artwork Deadline: Thursday January for our FEBRUARY edition To advertise in The Villager Town Life please call 01767 11th 261122


History By Peter Ibbett

Foundy’s trip to Sierra Leone and back to St. Neots There is much to enjoy about the architecture of towns such as St. Neots. The view from the Church Tower gives a different perspective to that at ground level where the group of houses opposite the churchyard are one of the town’s architectural gems. Back in 2011 Brookside still had some business activity with the ATS Tyre and exhaust company a backyard neighbour. If the bricks surrounding the black front door of Church House could talk they would remind you of the colourful band of folk who had used the building over the last couple of centuries. The current house probably replaced a couple of older ones when in 1770 John Waller sold to Mr A.Triston for £45. The building was sold to Thomas Chandler in 1809, tailor of St. Neots, for £240. His son Peter ‘conducted a drapery business and hat manufactory in premises facing the south side of the Churchyard in the retired neighbourhood of Brookside. He was an active man of business and a zealous Wesleyan’. In 1827 William Peppercorn, an attorney, used the building for offices and was probably responsible for rebuilding the


house in the form we see it today. By 1830 part of the property was leased to intriguingly named Foundy Maddox as a ladies’ boarding school. She was born at Southoe in 1772 and after the family moved to St Neots she went into domestic service. At the age of fifteen she became servant to Mr. Phipps, an engineer and surveyor who had obtained a post with the government of Sierra Leone. After a voyage, which included being detained in the Channel for three months by ‘contrary winds’, she arrived in the new colony for freed slaves, then notorious as the ‘white man’s grave’, where her master soon died. Foundy became housekeeper at Government House, returning to St. Neots and is recorded as a ‘legal inhabitant’ in 1802. She returned to the records as owner of the school. It seems to have lasted for only a short time as the property was sold to George Squire in 1838 for £800. If you have any stories that bring a building to life do pass them on to the Museum or to the Local History Society. My Acknowledgements to Mr Tebbutts 1978 St. Neots book.

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Welcoming in the

Old New Year As we bring in 2018 with toasts, fireworks and a rousing rendition of Auld Lang Syne, it’s perhaps worth remembering that New Year has been a bit of a moveable feast. It is not written in stone that New Year be celebrated on 1st January. With the now wellknown and colourful carnival that takes place in London, most of us are familiar with the Chinese New Year that takes place a few weeks after our own. But did you know that some people in Europe also mark the start of New Year a little later than we do? The 2018 Chinese New Year will take place on 16th February, which is the 23rd day of the twelfth month in the Chinese lunar calendar. A national holiday in China, celebrations feature processions with drums, Chinese dragons, firecrackers to ward off evil spirits, and decorations in signature red for good luck, including banners and Chinese lanterns. The Chinese New Year is also known as the Spring Festival, and celebrations which mark the end of winter and the start of a new crop year have been common since the pagan era, when New Year was traditionally observed on 22nd March at the time of the vernal equinox.


Today, in common with the rest of Europe and most of the world, we all use the Gregorian calendar originally set up by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582. Europe universally adopted this calendar in the 18th century, although Russia was behind, changing over to it in 1918 after the Bolshevik Revolution. Previously, the older Julian calendar, introduced by Julius Caesar in 46BC, had been observed. According to this calendar, New Year’s Day falls in the middle of January, after the end of the Advent fast. The Russian Orthodox Church continues to abide by the Julian calendar and although it is not recognised as a national holiday, the ‘Old New Year’ is still celebrated by Orthodox Christians in central and eastern Europe on 13th and 14th January. These countries include Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Uzbekistan, Montenegro, Azerbaijan, Moldova, Macedonia, and Serbia (as well as in Greece), comprising Orthodox Christians across countries that together once formed the USSR, where celebrating the Old New Year had previously been banned by the Communist regime. 14th January also coincides with St Basil’s Day, and

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the festival is marked with feasting, bonfires and fireworks. In Macedonia, people gather outside their houses to share food and drink and to sing traditional songs. It is customary to eat unleavened (pita) bread with a coin inside (or dumplings with a hidden charm in Russia). Much like our Christmas pudding tradition, whoever finds the coin will have good luck for the New Year. And in Serbia, the Church puts on firework displays. The customary feast includes a range of pork dishes in the hope of securing a good farming year, the traditional St Basil celebratory dinner being a whole roasted pig. Another St Basil’s day morning tradition has been to eat ceremonial porridge that has been cooked overnight by the oldest woman in the house. The porridge would be prepared and put into the oven in the early hours of New Year’s Eve (13th), and the condition of the porridge the following morning would signify whether the year was to be a good one or not. Thick crusted porridge was auspicious, but thin pale porridge or a cracked pot spelled disaster for the household. Observing New Year in the middle of January is not uncommon and other countries across the world have their equivalents. Berber tribes in North Africa (Morocco and Libya) mark New Year according to the Berber calendar, which roughly coincides with the Julian one. India also celebrates at this time, following the perceived change in the sun’s path from south to north, in a festival known as Makar Sankranti. And parts of Switzerland see in New Year under the umbrella of St Sylvester’s Day. It can be said that no one knows how to welcome in New Year like the Scots but although Scottish


Hogmanay on the eve of 31st December is perhaps the most famous revelry of the New Year, the old Gaelic custom was to welcome New Year on 12th January. In Wales, this is still known as Hen Galan, and there are traditional Welsh songs associated with it that are sung today. The Gaelic year was broken up into quarters: earrach (spring), samhradh (summer), foghar (autumn) and geamhradh (winter), each marked by its own feast day. A few parts of Scotland continue to celebrate the Old New Year, known as Oidhche Chullaig or Oidhche Challainn where children would traditionally visit each home in their village reciting a Gaelic New Year blessing while carrying a caisein-uchd – a torch made from the breast bone of a sheep dipped in tallow. Used to light the householder’s fire, it was then handed around to each member of the family who had to circle it above their head three times for luck. Unfortunately for some, if the flame died, it meant that the person would not live to see the New Year out! In Burghead in the Moray Firth, residents continue to celebrate Old New Year with the ‘burning of the clavie’ – a torch made of barrel staves, which is lit on the evening of 11th January. January can often be a cold and dispiriting month following on from our Christmas and New Year festivities, so perhaps celebrating the ‘Old New Year’ in the middle of it isn’t such a bad idea after all.

By Catherine Rose

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Business School

AAT Level 2 Certificate in Bookkeeping This course will give you a solid introduction to bookkeeping and basic accounting practices to give you the confidence to manage books effectively.

AAT Level 2 Foundation Certificate in Accounting Learn a range of basic accounting principles and techniques, from costing and double-entry bookkeeping to computerised accounting.


Enrol now to start in January 2018: Half-day release: (Wednesday, 9:15am-1pm) March 2018: Evenings (Thursdays, 5:30-8:30pm) CAW Business School, Headland House, Chord Business Park, London Road, Godmanchester, Cambs PE29 2BQ 01480 422060

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Win two free tickets to see

Made in Dagenham at the

Hinchingbrooke Performing Arts Centre This February The Musical Theatre Company is transporting you back to groovy Sixties for the rousing musical comedy “Made in Dagenham”. Based on the critically acclaimed 2010 film of the same name, the musical tells the true story of the women’s strikes at a car manufacturing plant in Dagenham. A journey filled with strength, friendship and large helpings of humour, “Made in Dagenham” is an unmissable ride into the past with a message that has never been more relevant in the present. Complete with an uplifting and catchy soundtrack this is one Huntingdon show not to be missed.

Dates: Wednesday 14th February, 7:30pm, Thursday 15th February, 7:30pm Friday 16th February, 7:30pm, Saturday 17th February, 2:30pm & 7:30pm Box Office: 01480 223331

MADE IN DAGENHAM COMPETITION ENTRY To win two free tickets to see Made in Dagenham at the Hinchingbrooke Performing Arts Centre this February, answer the following question: What was the name of the car manufacturer involved in the 1968 women’s strikes in Dagenham?

To enter, simply answer the question and complete the form below. Send your entry to: Dagenham Competition, Villager Publications Ltd, 24 Market Square, Potton, Bedfordshire SG19 2NP The winner will be randomly selected from all correct entries. Deadline: 16th January 2018

Name: Address: Tel: Answer: 10

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COMPETITION Win a golf lesson and 9 holes

with Pete Blanch at Henlow Golf Club for 3 people each month for 3 months

HENLOW GOLF CLUB COMPETITION ENTRY To win a golf lesson with Pete Blanch, answer this golf related question: Who was the top English finisher at the 1985 British Open held at royal St. Georges Golf Club?

Pete Blanch is the Golf Club Manager & PGA Professional at Henlow Golf Club in Bedfordshire. Henlow Golf Club and Pete, in association with, offer everything a golfer needs. Please visit to see how Pete can help you with your game, from coaching, club repairs, and advice on your equipment. Henlow is a quiet private golf club offering you a challenging but calm golf course, practice to your heart’s content, take your time, we really are a friendly relaxed place to play golf. If you wish to pay a green fee you will need to contact Pete on 07739 759116 and he will meet you and arrange your pass to enter the R.A.F. Base. Memberships are available for as little as £380 a year + EGU fee when 2 people join together, this gives you ‘millionaires golf at budget prices’ just a little over £1 a day for unlimited 7 day membership has to be seen as great value. There is a winter coaching promotion on right now, check out Pete Blanch Golf on Facebook or call Pete directly. We have senior roll ups every Monday, Wednesday and Friday (over 55’s but not strict). We have roll ups every Sunday for all members. Active competitions diary. Websites: Tel: 07739 759116 / 07824 516348 Simply answer the question and send your entry by 16th January 2018 to: Villager Publications Ltd, 24 Market Square, Potton, Beds SG19 2NP

Name: Address: Tel: Answer: 12

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Jordans Mill, Holme Mills, Langford Road, Broom, Nr Biggleswade SG18 9JY

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For more information or for your free quotation simply call us or complete the form on our website.

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Food and Drink

The Train Now Arriving: The Northern Belle Orient Express services have been recognised for fine dining and luxury travel for over 100 years. The Belmond British Pullman and Belmond Northern Belle continue these experiences, with travel from a lot of UK cities, including London, plus many regional stations. Lunch and/or dinner is served on board the trains. The Belle trains are famous from the glamorous 1930’s era. Each elegant carriage is exquisite and has magnificent, hand-crafted, ornate veneered marquetry. All guests are offered complimentary perfectly chilled champagne and canapés, at tables with pristine settings. The Spirit of Travel Lunch (5 courses) includes half a bottle of wine per person and is just one of the many dining occasions that can be enjoyed for an exceptional half or full day out. On this occasion the journey was from Nottingham to Derbyshire and the Peak District, via Derby, Chesterfield and Sheffield, picking passengers up en route and to return through Stockport and Macclesfield. Two class 57 diesel locomotives provided the power. The sumptuous luncheon commenced with a Trio of Fish, followed by Brown Windsor Soup. Both were very flavoursome and presented with various breads. Mains of Pan-Fried Duck Breast and Duck Leg Ballotine or Chicken or Fish, complete with vegetables, came next. All perfectly cooked and presented, with complementing flavours, it was truly, compliments to the chef! A selection of British Cheeses, with chutney and biscuits followed – a very good range and plentiful. Desserts of Sticky Toffee Pudding with butterscotch sauce and ice cream or Fresh Fruit Salad Presentation, were, again, perfect and flavoursome. Coffee and Tea, with handmade petits fours, finished the occasion. With the pleasures of the table magician (amazing!), plus the excellent strolling musicians, playing and singing throughout the carriages – all was complete. Whether a (romantic) special occasion, short break, festive or fine dining, including Celebrity Chef Dinners appeal, Belmond offers a range of services that include luxury hotels, trains (some steam-hauled) and river cruises, plus safaris, worldwide. Many trips are fully booked well in advance. Special gifts are available, with a small gift card and personal message, if you wish, to keep the wonderful experiences ‘alive’. For all details and more information: Tel: 0845 077 2222 Tel: 44 (0) 20 3117 1300 Email:

As always, Enjoy!

ey Trevor Langl

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AFTERNOON TEA AT THE HOUSE Enjoy a freshly baked afternoon tea in the delightful setting of The House at Shuttleworth, with a chance to explore its grand rooms. £20.95 per adult and £10.95 per child (additional charge for Valentines and Father’s Day Afternoon Teas). For more information call 01767 627965 or email

2018 Dates Sunday Sunday Sunday Sunday Sunday

11 February (Valentine’s) 11 March (Mother’s Day) 1 April (Easter) 22 April 27 May

Sunday Sunday Sunday Sunday Sunday

17 June (Father’s Day) 29 July 19 August 30 September 28 October

Additional dates may be added, see website for details.

Pre-book only - The House, Old Warden Park, Biggleswade SG18 9EA The House, Old Warden Park, Biggleswade SG18 9EA

16Villager - Afternoon tea advert FP January 18.inddPlease mention The Villager and Town Life when responding adverts 1 23/11/2017 to 14:28:32

Fun Quiz - Review of the Year 1. Along with a portrait of Jane Austen, the new Bank of England ten pound note features a foil image of which cathedral? 2. Beginning with the letters “I” and “M”, what were the names of the two category five hurricanes of the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season? 3. 14 years after being voted first in a 2003 book called Crap Towns: The 50 Worst Places To Live In The UK, which city was the UK City of Culture for 2017? 4. An international football match in October saw three players with what first name playing for England despite no one of that name playing for them anytime from 1955 to 2014? 5. First used in the 14th century and used by Kim Jong-un in September to describe Donald Trump, what six-letter word is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as “an old person, especially one who has become weak or senile”? 6. Of the three acts to headline the Pyramid Stage at the 2017 Glastonbury Festival, name the only one not to have won a Brit award. 7. Which city hosted the 2017 Invictus Games? 8. Name the two parties who won more seats in the 2017 general election than they did in 2015, but with fewer votes overall. 9. In April, which boxer became WBA World Heavyweight Champion after beating Ukraine’s Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley Stadium? 10. Who said in July that she was “moved and honoured” after councillors unanimously agreed to make her Manchester’s first honorary citizen?

1. Winchester Cathedral (where Jane Austen is buried) 2. Irma and Maria 3. Hull 4. Harry 5. Dotard 6. Radiohead 7. Toronto 8. The Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru 9. Anthony Joshua 10. Ariana Grande (honoured due to her response to the terror attack at the Manchester Arena)

Bring the countryside into your home with our new Limited Edition fabric designs, each with its own certificate of authentication signed by East Anglian artist, Mandy Clarke. Book your in-home appointment today by calling or visiting our website. Limited


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Local News

Kick-Start 2018

Sign Up to Race For Life Women are being invited to kick-start the New Year by signing up to Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life. Every day, 90 people are diagnosed with cancer in the East of England*. That’s why the charity is urging women of all shapes, sizes, ages and abilities to enter local Race for Life 5k, 10k, Pretty Muddy or Half Marathon events. The following events will be taking place in 2018: • Peterborough Race for Life 5k & 10k – Ferry Meadows on Sunday 24 June • Bedford Pretty Muddy 5k & 10k – Priory Park on Saturday 30 June • Bedford Race for Life 5k & 10k – Priory Park on Sunday 1 July • Bedford Race for Life Half Marathon – Priory Park on Sunday 1 July • Stevenage Race for Life 5k & 10k – Fairlands Valley Park on Sunday 8 July • Cambridge Race for Life 5k & 10k – Jesus Green on Sunday 8 July By signing up to Race for Life, you can make a real difference in the fight against cancer. Money raised will help Cancer Research UK scientists find new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat the disease, helping save more lives. Courtney Culverhouse, Cancer Research UK’s Event Manager, said: “January is the perfect time for women to commit to getting a little more active in 2018 by signing up for Race for Life and taking on a new fitness challenge. Whether it’s a 5k or 10k, or our brand new Half Marathon; there is something for everyone. “For those who need some extra encouragement to get moving, Race for Life offers the ultimate motivation. That’s because by taking part and raising money, participants will be helping to fund vital cancer research. By joining like-minded ladies committed to the cause, local women can unite against a disease that affects us all in some way.”

Courtney added: “Taking part in Race for Life is a hugely moving experience. It’s a special opportunity for people to come together to remember loved ones lost to cancer or celebrate the lives of those dear to them who have survived.” One in two people in the UK will be diagnosed with cancer at some stage in their lives, but the good news is more people are surviving the disease now than ever before. Cancer survival in the UK has doubled since the early 1970s and Cancer Research UK’s work has been at the heart of that progress. Courtney continued: “Race for Life events are noncompetitive and participants can choose to walk, jog or run around the course. Whether they plan to pound the pavements or stroll to the finish, every step women take will help to support life-saving research.” Dr Áine McCarthy, Cancer Research UK’s Senior Science Communications Officer, said: “Signing up to Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life is a great opportunity for women looking to kick-start a healthier lifestyle. Being regularly active has long-term health benefits, as research shows that even moderate physical activity can help reduce the risk of cancer. Brisk walking counts - anything that gets you warm and a little out of breath.” “By taking part and raising money, women will also be supporting our scientists and researchers to make vital strides forward in research. There are over 200 types of cancer and we need continued investment in research to help us find new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat them all.” This January, women are being offered 30% off entry fees for Race for Life 5k, 10k, Pretty Muddy, Pretty Muddy Kids, Half Marathon and Hike events. To enter Race for Life today visit or call 0300 123 0770.

THE YEAR TO VOLUNTEER – VOLUNTEER AT CANCER RESEARCH UK’S RACE FOR LIFE By signing up to Race for Life’s volunteer team, and joining the fight against cancer, men and women will be playing a crucial part in beating this devastating disease. As the countdown starts to events across Beds, Herts and Cambs, organisers are calling on people to sign up at


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Roasts advert artwork 12-17_ppl.pdf




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your secret haven of relaxation…

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21 07/02/2017 15:54

House of Colour

New Year, New Look with Colour & Style Ok so it may be a cliché, but the start of the new year is a great time for change. Redefining your look and having a select wardrobe of clothes that comprises styles and colours that truly suit you and make you look radiant may give you the 2018 boost of confidence you need to start the new year. 1. Prune your wardrobe by removing all the things you never wear because they don’t fit properly or are the wrong colour or style. You will probably find that you end up having more outfit combinations from your existing wardrobe than you realised. 2. Embrace the colours that really suit you. Knowing the palette of colours that work with the pigments in your skin could mean you go from a drained look to one that is healthy and radiant. We have had clients going through chemotherapy that are told they look incredible because they wear the colours that help lift their complexion and make them look (and consequently feel) healthy and fabulous. 3. Is your New Year’s resolution to be more organised? Start by trying your clothes on and planning outfits ahead for work and any important occasions. Some clients plan their work outfits for the week ahead and just choose which they feel like wearing on the day thereby saving a lot of time and energy each morning. 4. Remember confidence is the best accessory you can have. Whether we have a small waist or long legs, showing off our best assets boosts confidence as long as it is appropriate for the occasion. 5. Research into the psychology of colour has proven we feel different emotions with different colours. The neutral and balancing colours for our season - whether that be oatmeal, stone, white or cream, or blacks, greys, navy or brown - can have a calming effect. If it suits your style then pair your neutrals with comforting textures like satin, suede and cashmere for a tranquil and luxurious effect. Not only will you look good, your minimalism is pure chic.


6. Psychologists say that we have a natural desire to progress – this can extend to our wardrobe choices too! Don’t be afraid to try different shops and experiment with different fabrics and textures and find out what is authentically you. Understand which trouser and skirt lengths make you feel and look good. If it feels wrong it is wrong. 7. Feel bold and youthful with reds. As the hottest colour for the winter and the only colour (primary red) that suits everyone, reds make us feel brave and playful. In winter, choose a colourful red coat to brighten neutral outfits, or opt for a red accessory like a handbag if you’re wanting to introduce bold colours into your wardrobe more gradually. 8. Feel good by actually doing good! Clear your conscience and wear clothes that create social change. You can make a difference by making ethical choices to wear fair trade items where possible, recycling clothes you’re done with or raising money through clothes like Jeans for Genes Day! 9. Get your year off to a good start with a fresh palette of make-up. We often forget that taking care of our outfit, extends to hair and make-up too. Now could be the time to invest in some fresh make up – most products especially mascaras should be thrown out after six months to a year. Try a different shade of lippy – look here to see what suits your season. www.houseofcolour. 10. Don’t wear restricting fabrics. Squeezing your body into tight clothes won’t make you look or feel good – no matter how much you want to fit into those jeans! There is a big difference between fitted vs tight clothes, and loose vs baggy outfits. And one more for good luck…. 11. Fill yourself with happy hormones by treating yourself to something luxe as a special investment that will last for years come but that is within your budget. Think winter coat, handbag, pair of boots, or a gorgeous piece of jewellery.

By Jennie Billings

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HBK Leisure Get your New Year’s Resolution in early.

For a limited time only we have a ‘Buy One, Get One Free’* on our Annual Membership Join with a friend before 8th January, 2018 and only pay £250 (£125 each) for a whole years membership! *Offer is limited to the first 50 people, so don’t delay, join today

Hinchingbrooke School’s Community Sports Facilities Phone: 01480 420531 Email: To advertise in The Villager and Town Life please call 01767 261122



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Local News

Charity on the search for local dog-lovers Hearing Dogs for Deaf People - the sole organisation which trains clever dogs to alert deaf people to important sounds - is actively recruiting dog lovers who would like to take care of their adorable puppies and dogs in Bedfordshire. Hayley Walker, Puppy Socialising volunteer from Bedford, says: “I am a full-time carer for my son, Luke, who has a chronic gastro condition, alongside a number of behavioural learning issues and has been a patient of Great Ormond Street for many years. In 2014 I had no choice but to leave my job and business I had worked so hard to build over the previous 12 years. This period was dreadful for us all, as Luke’s struggles were very real, destroying his quality of life as well as my own. From the moment we were introduced to ‘Wilber’ our gorgeous cocker spaniel puppy, Luke and I were smitten! Luke instantly wanted to help and enjoyed helping me take this gorgeous puppy into shops and different environments. To anybody thinking of becoming a Hearing Dog volunteer, I would say without hesitation to do it! It has changed our life so dramatically from where we were. Luke is now studying Animal Science at a local college. I know 100% this would not have happened if I hadn’t made that phone call to Hearing Dogs.” Volunteers should be over 18, have enough time to care for and socialise a puppy on a daily basis, own a car and have access to a secure garden. Puppy socialising volunteers receive full support from Hearing Dogs, as well as regular home visits

and puppy training classes. To find out more about volunteer dog training opportunities, please contact the volunteering team:, 01844 348122 or visit

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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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Complementary Health

The January Blues

During the festive season we eat much richer food, drink more alcohol and are generally less active. This period can be a stressful from many perspectives, financial, time management and socially. The results often leave people feeling tired, grumpy, bloated, sluggish and stressed. Once Christmas has gone we head into the dreary long month of January, long nights, dark mornings, cold days and New Year’s resolutions are hard to keep. However, there are some simple things that help those January blues…. Exercise improves mood through increasing brain serotonin (an important neurotransmitter). You don’t necessarily need to sign up to the gym, or enter a marathon instead just start walking, getting out in the fresh air will help. Put on a few more layers and a good supportive and grippy pair of shoes or walking boots (depending on the terrain) and get outside. Thirty minutes of brisk walking a day could also help tackle the January bulge. If you want to pick up the pace you can always use Nordic walking poles. They’ll not only support you and make walking easier, but it will allow you to pick up the pace and work that cardiovascular system a little harder. If you want to strengthen your core then why not try a Pilate’s class which is gentle yet effective. Before you start any new exercise get yourself an MOT on those joints before you start

exercising, you can see your local osteopath or physiotherapist to make sure everything is working well. If your feet are sensitive or you have known problems with your feet then before you start walking or any other new exercise activity then check with your local podiatrist, they can advise you on appropriate footwear for any new activity and if you require any specific modifications or styles of footwear. The use of traditional acupuncture is well known to help with mood swings and enhance that sense of well-being, so January is a good time to have a treatment to pick you up for the start of the season. Mindfulness meditation is also great for helping beat those January blues. Mindfulness has been prescribed by the NHS as a treatment for depression since 2004, and has benefits for everyone. The practise, which stems from Buddhism, uses meditative techniques to help you focus on the present moment and gain perspective on other anxieties that are bogging you down. So, don’t let the January blues hit you this year, tackle them head on by being prepared. If you would like any information on anything mentioned above give us a call on 01480 455221 or see for more details.

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OUR REFERENCE: 4180A / 49935 (Please quote at

Head Office: Melbourn, Royston SG8 6DS Tel: 01763 661334 Showroom: Coton Orchard Garden Centre, Cambridge CB23 7PJ Tel: 01954 211662

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) 28

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Leeds Day Solicitors

Leeds Day announce exciting expansion plans reflecting the growth and development of the Firm Leeds Day is delighted to announce its exciting expansion plans reflecting the growth and development of the Firm. On Monday 25th September 2017, our St Neots Office relocated to Xenus House, Sandpiper Court, Eaton Socon, St. Neots PE19 8EP. The move is due to the Firm outgrowing the current St Neots Office and needing a larger, more modern office with car parking facilities for our clients. We believe clients will benefit from more spacious ground floor meeting rooms, parking facilities and much improved access for clients generally. Our new St Neots office is more convenient for many of our clients as the location is just off the A428/A1 junction at Eaton Socon. Bob Dewdney, Senior Partner said “In the last few years, we have grown and developed the Firm, including sponsoring events such as the St Neots Business Awards 2017. We have also invested in high caliber lawyers and have built a superb team for our clients. That same approach to continually improving the way we offer services to our clients will continue in the years to come”. Contacting Us All our telephone numbers, fax numbers and email addresses remain the same. If there are any queries

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

regarding the St Neots Office move, please feel free to contact us on 0844 567 2222 or email Please note that the address and contact details for the firm’s Huntingdon and St Ives offices remain unchanged. Our new St Neots Office address: Xenus House, Sandpiper Court, Eaton Socon, St Neots, Cambridgeshire PE19 8EP Car Parking Designated visitor parking can be located in front of reception (closest to the building) along with designated disabled parking. Bruce Elam (past Senior Partner and St. Neots office Partner) officially opened the office by cutting the official ribbon in style.

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 29


By Solange Hando

The French Ardennes In north-eastern France, the Regional Nature Park of the Ardennes rises towards the Belgian border, festooned in hills and vales, fast-flowing rivers, dramatic rocks, lush hedgerows and deep forests home to wild boar and deer. Haunted by ancient legends, laced with trails and glorious views, it is largely undiscovered and a haven for nature lovers, covering 117,000 hectares. Trekking, cycling, horse riding, kayaking or sailing on the rivers, there are myriad ways to explore and maybe spot the beavers at work, a black stork or a peregrine falcon, a black woodpecker or a hazel grouse sitting on a branch. Wild orchids and carnivorous sundews peep here and there and golden broom and purple heather splash colour on the higher slopes. The scenery is forever changing but most endearing is the green finger of land pointing north and the valleys of the Meuse and its tributary the Semoy. Tumbling down from the Belgium uplands, the Semoy meanders through verdant countryside on its way to the Nature Park across the border. There, from the village of Hautes-Rivières to the confluence with the Meuse, a 20km long cycle path follows every bend of the river, punctuated by rocky outcrops and viewpoints such as the ‘Cross of Hell’, a name which leaves plenty to the imagination. By clear weather, you might just see the Croix Scaille, at 503 metres the highest point in the French Ardennes. The Meuse meanders on and on, revealing its most stunning panoramas when you follow the trails along the crest. For many visitors, the true icon of the valley is Monthermé, nestling crescent-shaped

at the tip of a peninsula, stretching out like a green dragon’s tongue as the river almost closes a perfect loop. The water glistens as blue as the sky and densely wooded hills roll as far as you can see in all shades of green. A path climbs through the forest to a series of precipitous rocks where you can look down on Monthermé and one of the most spectacular river loops in France. In the distance the silhouettes of the ‘Four Sons of Aymon’ rise on a rocky ridge above the village of Bogny. According to legend, the knights escaped from Charles the Great on a magic horse, taking refuge in the Ardennes where they were turned into rocks. In this fantastic landscape legends abound, from the Devil’s Castle to the Spinner’s Bench or the rocks of the Ladies of the Meuse, petrified for being unfaithful during the crusades. In the spring, Monthermé comes into its own with a popular festival dedicated to the legends of the Ardennes and the ‘little people’ who hide among the rocks. Festival over, it is time to ramble along the trails, 47 of them from easy strolls to more demanding climbs, criss-crossing the park all the way to Givet at the northern tip, taking in the star-shaped citadel of Rocroi, the lakes, the laurel forest and the slate route around Fumay. The people of the valley are proud of their heritage and that includes the industry which remains a valuable source of income. Just like the wartime memories, it is part of the Ardennes but in this little corner of France, off the beaten track, you’ll discover sleepy villages of yellow or blue-tinged stone, fortified churches, castles, abbeys or isolated farms with a beautiful backdrop of verdant hills and valleys.

Image: French Ardennes, Meuse valley, Monthermé Montherme©D.Truillard


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COPLEYS Solicitors

Excellence through Experience

BUYING & SELLING A BUSINESS BUYING & SELLING YOUR HOME COMMERCIAL PROPERTY DIVORCE AND FAMILY EMPLOYMENT LANDLORD AND TENANT WILLS, TRUST & ESTATES PLANNING Call our approachable team to discuss your issue. Our offices are located in the centre of Huntingdon and St. Ives to make your visit as easy as possible.

HUNTINGDON OFFICE: 28 High Street • Huntingdon • Cambs PE29 3TH t: 01480 456191 email: ST. IVES OFFICE: Red House • 10 Market Hill • St Ives • Cambs PE27 5AW t: 01480 464515 email: 32

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New Year Revolutions

The gadgets that’ll help you keep your promises in 2018 It’s that time of year again. The gyms will soon be full of New Year’s resolutions, running like mad on treadmills. People will be signing up for all kinds of selfimprovement, but within a few months many of them will have changed their minds. So how can you make sure you stick to the promises you made yourself about 2018? Technology is here to help. There’s been an explosion in fitness technology over the last few years. The most attractive fitness gadget is Apple’s Watch Series 3 (£329), which you can keep on while you swim as well as when you run, and thanks to apps it can help motivate you in all kinds of ways: it can deliver workouts or track your everyday fitness, and it can even turn ordinary activity into a game with its steps, distance and calorie tracking. Third party apps can deliver punishing 7, 4 or even 1-minute workouts if you’re short of time, and there’s a whole host of apps for tracking your food intake and other health factors too. Some of the best fitness gadgets are designed for specific

activities, such as TomTom’s Runner 3 (£220). As you’ve probably guessed from the name it’s for runners, with built-in GPS, heart rate tracking and music playback to make your efforts more bearable. It’s suitable for weight training and swimming too, and the battery lasts for about 3 weeks between charges. If your resolutions were more about mental wellbeing, there are plenty of phone apps to help you. The free Mindfulness App (available for Apple and Android) can help you meditate to escape everyday stress, while Headspace (iPhone and Android, free with in-app subscriptions) has attracted millions of users with its newcomer-focused approach, rewards system and a clever buddy feature that enables you to share progress and motivation with your friends. Apps can be great for fitness and healthy eating too. One of the world’s favourite such apps is MyFitnessPal’s Calorie Counter and Diet Tracker. Available for Apple and Google devices, it’s free, with a £7.99 prosubscription offer. The big plus here is its database of more than 6 million foods and a barcode scanner: scan your ingredients or

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the menu and it’ll automatically calculate and record the calories. If you promised to eat more healthily and/or to waste less food in 2018, we’d love to introduce you to our very favourite gadget: the Instant Pot. There’s a whole community of Instant Pot fans online including popular food blogs such as The Kitchn, and that’s because it’s brilliant: it’s an electric pressure cooker that sautes, boils, steams, slow cooks, pressure cooks… if the idea of cooking a whole chicken or pulled pork in half an hour appeals you’ll love it, and it’s great for minimising waste: chuck the leftovers in with some vegetables and water and you’ve got effortless stock or soup. It’s a fantastic time saver too: again and again we’ve gone from can’t-be-bothered-to-cook to eating a healthy and nutritious meal in less time than it takes to order a takeaway. It pays to shop around, though: Amazon in particular frequently offers huge discounts on the Instant Pot, as you can see from sites such as you don’t want to be the person who buys it for £155 when it’s usually on sale for less than £95.



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Choosing the Best Mobile Phone Plans

in 2018

Choosing the right mobile phone plan can be quite daunting, especially if you don’t understand how they work. Perhaps you have always bought a contract with a phone included, but you might find that choosing a SIM-only contract is better thanks to its flexibility. With so many different plans available these days, here’s an idea of what to look out for. Mobile phone plans explained There are essentially three types of mobile phone deal: Pay monthly contract - Pay monthly contracts are the most cost-effective if your phone bills are high or you want a top-of-the-range handset. Contracts generally last for 12 or 24 months and you pay a fixed minimum monthly amount by direct debit. This is for your inclusive calls, texts and data allowance. Pay monthly contracts incorporate a free or subsidised handset. SIM-only deal - When you already own a phone and don’t want to change it, or are happy to buy your own new handset, a SIM-only deal can offer flexibility and cost-savings if you make a significant number of calls. You can choose between a rolling one-month deal and a fixed 12-month contract. Pay-as-you-go (PAYG) - If you don’t use your mobile phone very much, pay-as-you-go helps to avoid spending money when you do not really need to. You simply top up your phone using a credit card or top-up card when you run out of minutes, texts or data, and you don’t need to be credit-checked as you do when you take out a contract. Data rollover - If you don’t use your full data allowance each month, you can buy a plan that lets you rollover what is left, and use it the following month. So which networks offer this facility? At the time of writing, iD Mobile, O2, Virgin Media, Vodafone, Freedompop and Sky Mobile all offer plans with data rollover. It isn’t a new concept, but until recently providers have only allowed you to rollover your data from the previous month.

Now, however, Sky Mobile has come up with a very useful online ‘piggybank’ facility that lets you store your unused data at no additional cost for up to three years. You’ll need to have a minimum of 1GB saved in the piggybank before it can be accessed, and Sky let you roll back data in 1GB volumes. Flexible SIM-only deals Giffgaff - Giffgaff’s ‘goodybags’ offer flexibility and choice if you are looking for a SIM-only deal. A goodybag is basically your allowance of minutes, texts and data, and it lasts for one month. This means you can change your goodybag if it doesn’t offer quite enough minutes, for example, or you need more data that month. Three’s ‘Go Binge’ - The Three network offers a useful ‘Go Binge’ facility with some of their mobile phone deals. This allows you to stream music and films from Netflix, Deezer, SoundCloud and TVPlayer without using up your monthly allowance, as long as you have some of your data allowance left. (If adverts are shown on these apps, they may use up your allowance, however.) Pay-as-you-go (PAYG) - If you’re not a heavy mobile phone user, or are worried about being credit-checked, a pay-as-you-go deal may be the best choice. You can opt for ‘traditional’ PAYG or a bundle of data, minutes and texts. As you can see, there’s a wealth of choice when looking for mobile phone deals – it just takes a little time to compare them and decide on the best option.

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Home Safety

When do doorstep sales become harassment? If you have ever felt besieged on your own doorstep then take heart, you are not alone. An increasing number of residents, especially the elderly, vulnerable and single people, are finding that they are being plagued on a weekly, sometimes daily basis by persistent nuisance door step opportunist sales people and workmen. You may have been asked if you want to sell your vehicle with a cash offer being put forward there and then - perhaps you refused only to have the same request days later. Maybe you have even experienced vehicle theft from your drive way, or a burglary where only your car keys were taken along with your car. If you have been offered home improvement and maintenance services such as tree cutting or block paving without being offered a written quote, politely refuse. There are many local reputable businesses which can be found on one of the many internet search sites such as Trust a Trader or local publications or seek a recommendation from someone who has been happy with a service they have used themselves. On no account let anyone into your home, or even round the back of your property unless you are happy and confident that they have checked out as trustworthy and reputable trades people. One off door step work enquiries are the perfect opportunity for unknown strangers to assess your security and whether you live alone, in which case, try to make sure you have a relative, friend or neighbour with you when the arranged visit takes place. Many opportunist knockers are not local and only offer mobile numbers without permanent office address details with no way of tracing them if needed. Once you have paid these

people you may have little or no comeback if things go wrong. If any suspicious behaviour has been witnessed in your road please report it to the police as they really do want to know about it. I found Biggleswade local officers very helpful, they responded quickly to my phone call following continual door knocking by the same person who would not take no for an answer. Extra police car patrols were also implemented which helped both myself and my neighbours to feel more secure. Asking neighbours to make a note of registration numbers of vehicles used by door knockers will also be a huge help to the police if the need arises. This shows that talking to your neighbours and getting to know a little about their circumstances or even just noticing when something isn’t right can really help. Perhaps they are unwell, haven’t taken their dog out for a few days or their post has piled up. No-one is suggesting intrusiveness, just a friendly ear and eye and a willingness to look out for each other. It really can make a difference and like me, you may even make some new friends along the way. Another idea that my neighbours and I adopted is to let known family and/or visitors park on each others’ driveways when any of us are away so that the vacant house looks occupied for that period. On the security front, anything

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you can do to raise the level of protection around your home will help, no matter how small. From lighting to burglar alarms (real or fake), pet dog signs (whether you own a dog or not), gravel pathways around your home perimeter and simple stick up window/door alarms which can be purchased in multi packs for less than £10 without the need for any drilling or screws for those without DIY skills. ‘No Cold Calling’ signs are another deterrent worth considering and your local Neighbourhood Watch group can also offer useful advice on all of the above. Always take your car keys, laptop, phone, jewellery, handbags and wallets into your bedroom at night. Remember that the average household insurance excess is £200 plus, meaning that you may not be able to claim for that one off treasured item if it gets stolen. It’s the information held about you on your laptop/phone that they want, as much as the item itself. Last but by no means least, Christmas is coming and while we all want to enjoy it without worry, presents these days are becoming ever more valuable. As aforementioned, items such as mobile phones and laptops are major targets and while putting gifts under the tree is a much loved tradition but the best and safest option would be to store them away until the big day arrives.



Going to the

Moon and Back in 2018 Ninety children are removed from their families each day and taken in to care. We ask you to consider fostering because children need us to ask. Regardless of their age, children come in to care through no fault of their own. Sometimes this is for a short time whilst their families have the opportunity to make adjustments, sometimes the children are permanently removed from their families and need long term foster care. The children are often affected by neglect or abuse.


Across England and Wales the numbers of children being taken in to care is the highest it has ever been and looks set to further increase. Many children from Cambridgeshire in care are forced to move outside of Cambridgeshire because there are very few foster carers available for them. This means that they may be unable to remain at their school, adding further to the anxiety and a sense of loss they feel as a result of being removed from their family. To the Moon and Back is a local fostering agency based in Cambridge. The founders are Angela Hunt and Alison Kindred-Byrne. Having worked in fostering services for many years they offer a different approach to fostering. It’s a very personal and individual approach that supports individuals to feel empowered and involved in decision making. They are totally dedicated to improving outcomes for local children in care. They believe that the ability to enable positive change in a young person’s life, lies within many people. They are keen to talk to anyone who may be considering a complete change for 2018 and think fostering might be for them. There are different types of fostering. Children have unique lives. It is important to match foster carers well with children so their combined unique needs can be met as a family.

Fostering a Parent and Child Often a young person is trying to resolve their own past experiences whilst juggling the needs of their baby. This can make parenting to the standard required a struggle and warrant the support of a foster carer. The support of a skilled foster carer can make a huge difference to two generations and may break old and longstanding family patterns of parenting. This is an incredibly rewarding role. Foster Carers offer young parents like Sophie the chance to build a better and safer life for their own baby providing vital skills that will stay with the young parents for life.


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Fostering Siblings The relationship between siblings is often considered to be the longest and most important family connection for any child. Keeping siblings like Luke and Maddie together can often aide their feelings of stability, as well as helping their personal development and ability to settle into their new lives.

The demand for foster carers to provide a loving home for teenagers is very high There’s a perception that teenagers are more difficult to care for than younger children. Teenager’s present similar challenges as any child coming in to care, however teenagers are more likely to have difficulty with trust, especially if like Aida they have been in care for a while or have been through previous foster placements. Their feelings arise as a result of the hurt, loss and separation they may have experienced. Sometimes older children have had to protect their younger siblings taking on

Luke and Maddie a role of parent from a young age and as such not had anyone focus on their needs. Fostering a teenager is a very rewarding experience. Carers have the opportunity to show young people who have experienced so much in their young lives, a range of new experiences that broaden their outlook for the future. A foster carer may be the first person to take time to find their talents, interests or give them the chance to think big about their own potential.


Why Choose Us? To the Moon and Back Foster Care is an organisation intending to leave a legacy. We go to the moon and back for our foster carers as well as our children. When foster carers feel empowered, supported, happy and confident about their abilities we know that they achieve great things with young people. We provide great information and support when it is needed most. Our development programmes include conferences and workshops for our whole team as we learn and improve together. Fostering a child brings many rewards. Financial allowances support the costs of providing a home and rewards foster carers for their care, dedication and ability to make a difference. The team at Moon and Back are friendly and focused on getting the best outcomes for everyone. Feel free to contact us by telephone 01223 800420 or via our website for an informal chat about how you might help a child in 2018. We think you will be surprised by how far we can go to achieve great things together. facebook @moonandbackfostering

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All Seasons


Garden & Property Maintenance

We use a revolutionary industrial pressure rotary cleaning system to restore exterior hard surfaces to as new condition.

Some Services We Provide

Block Paving, Pathways, Patios Garden Wall and Stone Ornaments Ponds and Pools Also Re-sanding and Sealing

Grass/Hedge-cutting, Turfing, Patios, Fencing Ground Preparation, Sheds/Conservatory Bases Repair Work - Internal/External Painting - Internal/External Clearances, Cleaning/pressure cleaning

Local Company

01480 468965/07870 338074

No job too small

Certified Waste Carriers Fully Insured. Free estimates

Please call Nick

Mob: 07896668976 / Home: 01480 383605 Email: Find us on Facebook Located:St Neots


All Types of Fencing, Gates & Railings, SUPPLIED & INSTALLED

Call for a FREE Survey & Quotation Visit our Display Area at:

Gilks Fencing

Drove Road, Gamlingay, Sandy, Beds SG19 2HX Tel:

01767 650 615

Email: 42

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By Pippa Greenwood

Gardener’s Resolve… Happy New Year! Now that 2018 is here, what are your garden resolutions for the year ahead? Here are my suggestions… Re-cycle pots Save all the pots and trays you get when buying plants and rinse them out to use next time you need one. Store the pots away from sunlight to prevent the plastic disintegrating. Cover it up! Make a resolution to dry off and cover up garden furniture once the summer is over, to protect it from rain, cold, ice or even fungi! Buy furniture covers or, better still, store the furniture in a shed or garage if you have one. Stored properly, it will last much longer. Grow your own Aim to grow more of your own fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs. This could be buying a couple of tomato plants for the first time, or creating a small herb planter, or it could be larger scale and more complex plans if you’re already big on grow-yourown. Don’t forget that there’s a great choice of UK-grown vegetable plants plus my weekly advice and tips emails at grow-your-own. Compost more Once you get in the swing of it, composting becomes second nature. Make sure you include kitchen waste such as vegetable peelings, apple cores. The amount of extra compost you’ll generate will be well worthwhile. Many local councils offer a good deal on basic plastic composters. Use that space! If you have a cold frame, porch, conservatory or greenhouse, put it to use! Any sort of protected growing area has the ability to increase what you can grow and when you can grow it. So raise your

own summer flowers in it, force some bulbs in it in the winter or make off-season sowings of salad crops…make it work, but whatever you do, don’t use it as the family rubbish dump! Mulch more Make use of any organic matter that is bulky – mulch with it. Whether it is well-rotted manure, garden compost, the used compost from a seasonal bedding display or growing bag, or leaf mould, make it into mulch! Applied a couple of inches or more deep over the soil surface, a mulch like this will improve the soil’s ability to conserve moisture (so saving you both watering time and water) and may also help to keep weeds at bay. A win-win situation. Pause before you buy When you’re looking through the seed, plant and bulb catalogues, browsing online or wandering around a garden centre, pause before you buy. I know I’m not alone in having eyes that are much bigger than my plot! It is very easy to order more seeds than you’ll ever be able to sow and plants that you’ll never be able to squeeze into your garden. Seasonal saver Make sure you recycle your Christmas tree. Real trees can be recycled at locations up and down the country – many garden centres and councils offer the service. The trees will be shredded and added to other green materials to make a great soil conditioner and planting mix. Visit Pippa’s website www.pippagreenwood. com and you’ll find some great gardening things: ‘Grow Your Own with Pippa Greenwood’ (where you receive your chosen garden-ready vegetable plants in the spring accompanied by weekly advice and tips from Pippa) plus gardening tools, raised bed kits, Grower Frames, signed books and more!

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Local News

Count the Wildlife that’s counting on you Photo: David Tipling

Have you got any New Year resolutions for 2018? Maybe you’re planning to be more active, change your lifestyle, or you’re simply going to make time for yourself? Why not add taking part in the 2018 RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch to your list? Unlike other New Year’s resolutions, this one only requires an hour of your time, on either 27, 28, or 29 January. You can sit down with a cup of tea, a slice of cake (or carrot sticks for the ‘new you’ approach) and just watch and record the birds in your garden. Last year, over 11,000 people across Cambridgeshire, and close to half-a-million people nationally joined in the world’s largest garden wildlife survey, counting more than eight million birds. From all of the incredible information that was accumulated we were able to find out how your garden birds are doing. In 2017, we learnt that house sparrows, starlings, and blackbirds are the most regular avian garden visitors across Cambridgeshire. Each of these birds held on to their spot in the top three for a second year running. However, the Big Garden Birdwatch allows us to see the bigger picture by reviewing long-term trends. Over time, it has highlighted a long-term decline in all of our top three species. Nationally,


since 1979, house sparrows numbers are down by 57%, starlings a shocking 79%, and blackbird numbers have dropped by 27%. These results highlight why we need to monitor our bird species, and why it is so important to feed garden birds, especially during the winter months. It isn’t all bad news though! The average number of robins seen visiting gardens was at its highest level since 1986, helping it climb from number ten to number eight in Cambridgeshire. As well as counting birds, we want to know about some of the other wildlife you’ve seen throughout the year, so look out for badgers, foxes, grey squirrels, red squirrels, muntjacs deer, roe deer, frogs and toads. All of the data you send in from your Big Garden Birdwatch is really important for building a picture of wildlife in gardens throughout the UK, including Cambridgeshire. For your free Big Garden Birdwatch pack, which includes a bird identification chart, plus RSPB shop voucher and advice to help you attract wildlife to your garden, text BIRD to 70030 or visit Registration for Big Garden Birdwatch 2018 opens 13 December 2017

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Animal Heroes

Spread the joy Even if you’re not a hoarder, you might describe yourself as slightly disorganised – or even a bit untidy at times? You’re not alone. The ‘average’ person owns a surprising amount of unnecessary stuff – particularly just after Christmas. If you’ve got jumpers that just don’t fit or DVDs that are already gathering dust – let us take them off your hands. It really is a ‘no brainer’ – your home will be tidier and we’ll be able to help more unwanted animals in Bedfordshire. You’ll be an animal hero. If you need any more persuasion to de-clutter, consider if you’re guilty of any of the following: • The ‘average’ woman has about 22 garments in her wardrobe that she will never wear, but absolutely refuses to throw out. • Jeans are the most common item of unworn clothes, with 88 per cent of the population saying they own at least one pair that they would never be seen out in. • One in five people hoard up to six pairs of shoes that will never be worn. • Men have 19 items of unworn clothing lurking in their wardrobes. • Two thirds of Brits dislike their junk and a quarter say it makes them stressed. • One in five homes have enough unwanted items to fill an average bathroom and a similar number enough to fill an entire bedroom. If you find yourself guilty of any of the above… we are here to help. You can donate any unwanted


clothing, bric-a-brac, books, DVDs, CDs, toys, jewelry, electrical goods or small furniture to the RSPCA Bedfordshire North Branch. We can sell it at our charity shop – in Thurlow Street, Bedford – and use the money to help local abandoned and neglected animals in need of a new home. Don’t worry if the clothing is tatty, or if you have odd, or scuffed shoes – we can still sell these for rag. The RSPCA Bedfordshire North Branch is a small local charity that is entirely responsible for raising its own funds and supporting itself. The number of animals being abandoned is, unfortunately, still on the increase. So, if you’re guilty of any of the above, why not sort through your junk, bring it into our shop – and be an animal hero? That would be a great start to everyone’s New Year. Call 01234 266965 or email donate@ with any enquiries

ANIMAL HEROES is one of a series of articles brought to you by the RSPCA Bedfordshire North Branch

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Can I go to the Paddocks for my Holiday please?

Paddocks Boarding Cattery Peaceful location. No dogs boarded. Spacious, individual, heated chalets with large covered runs. Inspection welcome. Boarding from ÂŁ7.30/day. Rabbits/guinea pigs also boarded. 64 Meadow Road, Great Gransden

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McLaren 720S

By Simon Davis

I’ve just exited a roundabout – one I’ve left many times before in a variety of cars – and I’m heading down a familiar straight; I know it leads to a 90 degree right and yet more well-sighted, beautifullysurfaced road, but this time it’s different. I’m sat behind an exquisitely-crafted steering wheel, in a plum pudding purple leather cabin, and things are happening faster than they’ve ever happened before. Behind me, a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 is converting 710bhp into forward thrust that has to be experienced to be believed. Just a look at the numbers gives an indication of what the new darling of Woking has in its arsenal: 60mph in 2.8 seconds, 124mph in 7.8 seconds and 186mph in 21.4 seconds. While those figures give you some reference, what they can’t explain is the feeling that translates to when you’re sat behind the wheel. The g-force such explosive acceleration exerts on your body under foot-to-the-floor power is like a roller coaster, and braking is sharp, shockingly sudden and painfully precise. The McLaren takes countryside sweepers, motorway miles and quick changes in direction and road surface in its stride. It’s incredibly

capable and a huge step on from the 650S it replaces. Steering is pinpoint direct and well weighted. The seven-speed automatic gearbox rifles through gears like a sharp shooter and at speed it’s rapid, slick and enjoyable. The rocker mechanism to the paddles is a joy too. Unfortunately it’s not all good news. The electronics are better and easier to use but are still buggy. Our test car incorrectly warned us of impending suspension failure and power steering problems unforgiveable on a car costing almost a quarter of a million pounds. The second disappointment is the noise. It’s all sucking, blowing and wind roar - there’s no start up, high speed thrum, or deep bellowing exhaust note. OK, it’s no Tesla, all silent propulsion, but it’s also no rival for Ferrari’s much better 488 soundtrack. Thankfully, the out-of-this-world looks make up for some of those foibles. The dramatic doors stop petrol station punters in their tracks as you arch them skyward. It can feel like you’ve live-paused passersby in a TV show, their mouths slowly drifting towards the floor as they wake back up. Rarely does a car send pedestrians into a dreamlike state quite like this McLaren.


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Huge air scoops, slits and slants in the bodywork add to the visual drama, while also playing an important part in directing the huge gulps of air the revised power plant needs to keep it cool. Sadly McLaren still has a lot of work to do in wiggling its way into the public consciousness - few of those we encountered knew what brand it belonged to, let alone which model it was. But back to what the McLaren does best. I’ve got dials turned to slippery sport mode, and Wales to cross. The rain is just starting to cover the road with a glistening dew-like coating and the 720S is twitching in the bends, squirming as it hunts for traction. It’s palm-dampening, but exciting, and about to create a journey that’ll be indelibly marked on my memory. This McLaren may not be quite perfect, but my word is it getting incredibly close. The Knowledge McLaren 720S Price: £218,020 Engine: 4.0-litre, twin turbo V8 Power: 710bhp, 770Nm 0-60mph: 2.8 seconds Top speed: 212mph Economy: 26.4mpg Emissions: 249g/km

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Time of Year

By Sarah Davey

Fit not Thin in 2018 Many people will make a resolution to lose weight in 2018. To be fair lots of us made the same resolution on January 1st 2017...and 2016... What if we’re looking at it all wrong? What if a better resolution was to get fit in 2018? Fit not thin. I’m not saying you shouldn’t aim to lose weight. If your knees buckle when you try to stand up and you have a family history of cardiovascular disease maybe you should. But maybe that family history of cardiovascular disease should prompt you to think more strategically. Obesity is linked to cardiovascular disease but that’s not the whole story. Lack of fitness also plays a role. Tackle the fitness and a side effect may be that you also tackle the obesity. And seriously, getting fit is way more fun than dieting. A friend once told me about the shift in her mindset when she decided to focus on fit not thin. “As I got fitter I became more than I was before. Whenever I’d tried to lose weight in the past I’d focussed on being less. That was the main difference for me.” Personally I think that if society paid more attention to fitness rather than weight loss, we’d actually have less obesity. If we (especially women) focussed on how far we could run or cycle, or how many push-ups we can do, we would naturally be more active and less obese because focussing on fitness actually makes weight loss easier. The


fitter you get the more you view food as fuel and the more you want to eat high quality nutritious food because it helps you get fitter. It’s positive reinforcement. And let’s be honest, society is horribly biased against fat people. But if fitness was the Holy Grail we wouldn’t automatically assume that not-thin equates to not-healthy. We need to stop being obsessed with weight-loss and thinness. If we get involved in more conversations about fitness rather than how to lose extra pounds, our fat-bias would diminish and maybe more overweight people would feel comfortable joining the gym or that exercise class they always fancied. Both fat and thin people would be healthier if they aimed for fitness rather than thinness. Even if overweight people stay overweight weight, they still get all the protective benefits of exercise. And there are many thin people who are terribly unfit and are at risk of cardiovascular disease. Thin does not always or even often equate to healthy, in spite of popular myth. It’s not an either-or situation but if you only aim to end 2018 thinner you might succeed, you might not, but you’ll still be unfit. If you aim for fitness you will probably lose weight, gain confidence, friends, a new skill or two, and in the words of my friend be more than you were by the end of the year. I know which route I’m going to take.

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ABOVE ALL Autocentre Unit 1, Sand Road Ind. Est., Great Gransden SG19 3AH

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Three Counties Radio

Gluten-free / Dairy-free Chocolate Raspbery Cake When we were served this on my Weekend Kitchen programme, none of us could tell that this wonderful cake was both gluten-free and dairy-free. It was that good. Sometimes glutenfree cakes can be too dry. And sometimes dairy-free cakes can be too bland. Not in this case. This cake is the creation of a very clever cake maker. Charlotte Woodbridge runs Charlotte’s Organic Home Baking in Biggleswade and all her products are gluten and dairy free. One day I’d like to get my hands on her gluten and dairy free scones recipe too - but I don’t think she will be sharing the secret for her pride and joy for quite a while yet! Makes 2 x 7” round cakes or 12 cupcakes

Cake 1. Preheat the oven to 160C fan/ 180C conventional and line your cake tins or 12 whole muffin tins with cases. 2. Weigh the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and xanthan gum into a bowl and set aside. 3. Beat the butter and sugar together in a bowl until very light and creamy, about 2 or 3 minutes. 4. Beat in the eggs one at a time. If you notice the mix is curdling, you can add a spoonful of the flour mix. However it won’t affect your cake if you don’t. 5. Sift in the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and xanthan gum and fold in until all combined. Add the raspberries and rice milk and stir until the berries are evenly distributed.


6. Pour the mix into the prepared tins or cupcake cases and place in a preheated oven for 22-25 minutes for the cupcakes and 25-30 minutes for the large cakes until well risen and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. 7. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in tin for a few minutes before turning out to cool completely on a wire rack. Icing 1. Place the sunflower spread, icing sugar and cocoa powder in a bowl and beat well adding the milk once the two have just combined. 2. Continue to beat for a few minutes until the icing is nice and fluffy. 3. Ice the cakes however you wish and top them with some piped whipped cream and more fresh raspberries.

175g dairy free sunflower spread 175g caster sugar 3 eggs 175g gluten free flour 2tsp baking powder 3⁄4 tsp xanthan gum 30ml rice milk 150g frozen raspberries Icing 300g icing sugar 50g cocoa powder 100g dairy free sunflower spread 20ml rice milk

Hear wonderful recipes on Nick Coffer’s Weekend Kitchen every Sunday morning on BBC Three Counties radio at 11am. You can also join Nick every weekday afternoon at midday for brilliant local guests with great stories to tell and all the music you want for your early afternoon.

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Garden View


No I don’t have a cold but this month I will be sniffing a lot. Mainly because of my winter-flowering shrubs. Every garden should have a couple of plants which bravely open their petals while winter is doing its worst. Viburnum farreri or Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Dawn’ or ‘Deben’ are upright shrubs which bear pretty clusters of pink-buds on their bare branches, that open into honey-scented white flowers. They are incredibly tough, withstanding all but the harshest of frost. It’s lovely to cut a few sprigs to stand in a jam jar indoors. My favourite winter flowering shrub is the witch hazel plant Hamamelis mollis. It’s a delightful shuttlecock-shaped bush that explodes with citrus-scented spidery flowers right about now. I have the orange ‘Jelena’ in my garden but the pale yellow ‘Pallida’ and the deep red ‘Ruby Glow’ are equally lovely.


By Rachael Leverton

My dad had a wonderful winter-flowering honeysuckle in his garden: Lonicera fragrantissima, which I adored. A few years ago I discovered Lonicera x purpussi and fell in love. It has creamy white flowers and a really strong scent. Even if you have a tiny garden you’ll have room for a Christmas Box Sarcococca confusa. It produces white whiskery flowers from among its dark shiny evergreen foliage. I have two in pots on either side of my path and I’ve had people stop in their tracks and return back towards the house sniffing, in search of the source of the amazing sweet, heady scent. And don’t forget that there are scented snowdrops and tiny Iris reticulata which are deliciously perfumed too. Time to get sniffing.

Happy Gardening

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Forget Brain-Training Learn an Instrument We are told we need to keep our brains active as we age, to help stave off cognitive decline and the risk of dementia. A whole industry has grown up around this, and we are urged to buy the latest brain-training apps and books. Yet research has thrown doubt on a lot of the hype surrounding these, with many now dismissed as useless gimmicks. But there is robust scientific evidence which shows that learning to play a musical instrument is not just beneficial to children: adults benefit too and it may even be helpful to patients recovering from brain injuries. Playing a musical instrument is a rich and complex experience that involves integrating information from the senses of vision, hearing, and touch, as well as fine movements. Musical training can induce long-lasting changes in the brain. Professional musicians are highly skilled individuals who spend years training, so they provide a natural laboratory in which neuroscientists can study how such changes – called experience-dependent plasticity – occur across their lifespan. Early brain scanning studies revealed significant differences in brain structure between musicians and non-musicians of the same age. For example, the corpus callosum, a massive bundle of nerve fibres connecting the two sides of the brain, is significantly larger in musicians, and the brain areas involved in movement, hearing, and visuospatial abilities also appear to be larger. Longitudinal studies (which track people over time) have shown that young children who undertake 14 months musical training exhibit significant structural and functional brain changes compared to those who do not. Learning to play a musical instrument not only increases grey matter volume in various brain regions, but also strengthens the long-range connections between those regions. Other research shows that musical training enhances verbal memory, spatial reasoning, and literacy skills: professional musicians usually outperform non-musicians in these areas.

By Louise Addison

More recently, it has become clear that musical training facilitates the rehabilitation of patients recovering from stroke and other forms of brain damage. It also seems to have a protective effect against the onset of dementia. One problem with commercial brain training products is that they only improve performance on the skills involved; musical training on the other hand has what psychologists refer to as transfer effects; in other words, learning to play a musical instrument seems to have a far broader effect on the brain and mental function, and improves other abilities that are seemingly unrelated, such as working memory and language. Learning to play an instrument strengthens the brain in a way that nothing else does, so put down the Sudoku and pick up your ukulele. You know it makes sense.

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Codeword 1



























Easy Suduko

Hard Suduko

Fill in the grid so that each row, column and 3x3 box, contains the digits 1 through to 9 with no repetition. Use your logic to solve the puzzles. 60

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New Decorations Interior and Exterior Painting Wallpapering

Mark Newman

Painting & Decorating

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n O s ’ t Wha In January

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

2, 9, 16, 23 & 30 January Roxton Bridge Circle 7.15-10pm Roxton Parish Hall Small friendly group playing Bridge every Tuesday evening. Just come along or call/email Tel: Phyllis 01480 374327 Email:

7, 14, 21 & 28 January Kingfisher Church 10.30am Little Paxton Primary School Every Sunday - all welcome! Services include children’s groups and a crèche. Refreshments served. Tel: 01480 476811 Web:

3 January Godmanchester Senior Citizens Club Coffee Morning 10am-12 noon Godmanchester Town Hall Monthly coffee morning and raffle. Annual membership fee is £10. Tel: Geoff 01480 434697 or 07515 881209

8, 15, 22 & 29 January Godmanchester Senior Citizens Club 1.30pm Afternoon Bingo 6.30pm Whist Drive Godmanchester Town Hall £1 for Whist drive inc. tea & biscuits If you are feeling lonely and over 55 years of age, then you will find a warm welcome waiting for you in the Senior Citizens Club. The club has a lively atmosphere and a wide range of activities. Friday afternoons is another opportunity to play Whist. Members also meet on a Saturday morning for games, chat, tea and biscuits for 50p. Non-members are welcome to visit on Saturday mornings. Tel: Geoff 01480 434697 or 07515 881209

3 January Black Cat WI 7.30pm Wyboston Village Hall The group meets on the first Wednesday of each month. Tel: Susie Woodman 01234 376098 3, 10, 17, 24 & 31 January St Neots Choral Society 7.30-9.30pm Eynesbury C of E Primary School, Montagu Street, Eynesbury St Neots Choral Society is in its 46th season. 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. Tel: 01480 212298 Web: 3, 8, 10, 15, 17, 22, 24, 29 & 31 January St Neots Badminton Club 8-10pm One Leisure, St Neots Play badminton to a good standard and interested in joining a club? St Neots badminton club play at One Leisure Mondays and Wednesdays. Email: Web: 5 January St Neots Local History Society 7.30pm Eynesbury Junior School Michael Knight will talk about ‘Milestones and Turnpike Roads’. 6 January Cambs and Beds Hardy Plant Society 2pm Weatherley Centre, Eagle Farm Road, Biggleswade Andrew Sankey, well-known garden lecturer and consultant, will talk about ‘Gertrude JekyIl’. Web:


8, 15, 22 & 29 January Comrades Chess Club 7.30pm Comrades Club, Godmanchester Keep your mind active and play chess. Over 18s only as it’s a licensed premises. Every Monday except Bank Holidays. Seeking new members – novice or experienced. Ozzie: 01480 414623 Email: 9 January St Ives Sugarcraft Guild 7.30-9pm Reading Room, Hemingford Grey Visitors £6 Monthly meetings where you can learn, hands-on, various cake decorating techniques and/or sugarcraft. The group meets on the second Tuesday of the month. Tel: Shirley 01480 454616 10 January Cambridgeshire Rural M.E. Tea & Chat Second Wednesday of every month. Monthly meet-up for adults with M.E. and partners/friends. All details and latest meet-up information available on website. Web: 10 January Kimbolton Flower Club 10.30am-12 noon Bythorn Visitors £5 Coffee morning raising funds for the club. Tel: Carol 01832 710339 or Mo 01480 860202

10 January Hedge Laying at Wandlebury 10am-3pm Wandlebury Country Park, Cambridge Free event. Car parking £3 per vehicle Cambridge Past, Present and Future. Join this volunteer work party to help us care for the park and its wildlife. Learn the ancient, rural practice of hedge laying to produce a thick living barrier and wildlife ‘corridor’. Wear warm, waterproof clothing and tough shoes, and bring a packed lunch and drink. All welcome. No need to book. Meet at car park notice board. All instruction, equipment and tools provided. Wandlebury Country Park is on the A1307, 2.5km south of the Addenbrooke’s roundabout. CB22 3AE. Tel: 01223 243830 extension 207 Email, Web: 10 January Wildlife Trust Christmas Miscellany 7.30pm Brampton Memorial Centre, Thrapston Road, Brampton Entry £2.50, Accompanied children free Speaker will be Professor Tim Sparks who is Professor of Environmental Change at Coventry University and his topic today is Phenology – the study of seasonal changes in plants and animals. Everyone most welcome to attend. Booking is not necessary. Tel: Tim Fryer 01480 457795 10, 17, 24 & 31 January Little Fishes 10am-11.20am Grafham Village Hall Stay and Play Tots Session during term-time. Babies welcome too. Just turn up. Sessions include free play and craft activities, bible story and sing along. Tel: Jean Clark 01480 890033 for more information Email: 12 January Free English Lessons 9.30am Chesterton Community College Contact Sarah Adams to book your free place. Email: Web: 12 January Film Night 7.30pm Offord Village Hall Tickets £5 Casablanca. Tickets available from Offord Village Stores or by telephone. All proceeds towards Offord Village Hall new floor project. Tel: Alan 01480 811126 or John 01480 810049

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n O s ’ t Wha In January

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

12 January Gifted (12A) Food 6.15 for 6.30pm, Film only 7 for 7.30pm Mandeville Hall, Kimbolton Tickets available from Oliver’s, The Swan Pharmacy, Kimbolton Courtyard Kitchen, Bytes Café, and on the door if available. Tel: 01480 860297 Email: Web: themandevillehallkimbolton/community-cinema

17 January Carers Coffee Club 2.30-4pm The Royal Oak, Hail Weston Are you caring for a loved one with a memory loss? Then come along and enjoy a cup of tea or coffee whilst chatting with others in a similar situation. Our informal group meets on every third Wednesday of the month. No need to book, just turn up. Tel: Neil Silby 07889 319888 for further details Email:

13 January Keeping Cambridge Special: Cambridge’s Spaces and Streets 9am-1pm Centre for Mathematical Sciences, Wilberforce Road, Cambridge CB3 0WA Come and tell us how Cambridge can address the challenge of having more people moving around the city, in ways that enhance the quality of life and preserve the city’s heritage. This workshop will include four thought-provoking presentations. There will be an opportunity to give your views. Advance booking required. Email: Web: more information & detailed agenda

17 January Huntingdonshire Family History Society 7.30pm Women’s Institute Centre, Waldon Road, Huntingdon Huntingdonshire Family History Society talk by David Edwards on ‘In a Fen Country Churchyard’. Non-members most welcome – contact the Secretary to attend. £1 donation at the door appreciated. Please check website for any last minute changes to programme. Tel: Caroline Kesseler 01480 390476 for more details Email: Website:

13 January Simply Saturday! 12 noon-2pm St James Church, Little Paxton Would you welcome some company on a Saturday lunchtime? The first meeting of a new venture for adults of all ages with lunch and various activities. Leisa Hunt 01480 474697 for more information Email: Helen at 14 January Family & Friends Volunteering 10am-12 noon Ferry Meadows Country Park Free event – suggested donation £2 Make a difference by helping the Rangers out in the Park. All tools and training will be provided. Free car parking for all participants. This is an outdoor event so dress for the weather. Booking essential. This event includes walking on uneven ground and/ or crossing stiles. Tel: 01733 234193 for further info 15 January St Neots Royal Naval Association 8pm The RAFA Club, 44 Huntingdon Street, St Neots St Neots & District Branch of the Royal Naval Association meet on the third Monday of every month. For further details contact the Secretary Tel: Tony Webley 01480 215218 Email:

18 January Love’s Farm Women’s Institute 8-10pm St Neots Football Club The Love’s Farm Ladies is Love’s Farm’s new WI group, meeting on the third Thursday of the month. Come to make friends. Tel: Nikki Jackson 07563 715043 Email: 19 January Things To Come Doors open 7.30pm, film starts 8pm Corn Exchange, St Ives Tickets £5 + booking fee Screen St Ives. Directed by Mia Hansen-Løve. France/Germany 2016 102mins. PG “What does it mean to create a life of one’s own, to make the best of adversity and to be happy? Isabelle Huppert stars in this gripping drama.” Web: 19 January Wildlife Trust talk - Overlooked Invertebrates 7.45 – 9.45pm, Ely Museum, Ely Cambs Join Wildlife Trust BCN Chief Executive Brian Eversham to discover the fascinating invertebrate life to be found in gravel pits. From delicate damselflies to voracious diving beetles, there is a fascinating world to be discovered. invertebrates-pits?instance=0

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23 January Hemingford Grey Flower Club 10am Entrance £4 inc. refreshments Hemingford Grey Reading Rooms, High Street, Hemingford Grey Flower demonstration by Barbara Collins. 25 January St Neots & District Gardening Club 8pm St Mary’s Church Hall, St Neots Members £2, Non-members £2.50 inc. refreshments & raffle ticket ‘Tales from a Dairy Farmers Wife’ by Jane Barnes. 26 January The Hinchingbrooke Bösendorfer Piano Concert Matthew Trusler, violin; Ashley Wass, piano 7.30pm Hinchingbrooke Performing Arts Centre, Hinchingbrooke Park Road, Huntingdon Tickets £15, all 5 concerts £60, under 21s £5, groups of 20+ £10 each The eleventh series of Hinchingbrooke Bösendorfer Piano Concerts brings an impressive array of artists using the Bösendorfer concert grand piano donated to Hinchingbrooke School by grateful pupils of former music master, Kenneth Brown. The programme will include Beethoven, ‘Spring’ Sonata; Franck, Sonata; music by Vaughan Williams and Prokofiev. Tel: Box Office 01480 375678 (Monday to Friday 9am-3pm) Web: 27 January Campfire Cooking for Kids 10.30am-12 noon & 1.30pm-3pm Ferry Meadows Country Park £5 Participants will be shown how to use basic bushcraft techniques to light a fire without using matches and will then have a go at cooking and eating some simple campfire recipes. Suitable for 7yrs old + only. Meet at Lakeside car park. This event includes walking on uneven ground and/or crossing stiles and therefore may not be suitable for all abilities. Booking essential. Tel: 01733 234193 31 January Wildlife Trust Wildlife on Walls Talk 7.30-8.30pm Join Wildlife Trust BCN Chief Executive Brian Eversham for introduction to the fascinating wildlife that makes use of walls - from mosses, lichens and ferns, to molluscs, beetles and the occasional bird or reptile.


Local News

Rehoming Appeal This month’s rescue animal looking for their forever home is Leo

Leo is 2 years old. He is a very special boy with quite distinctive looks as he has a very short tail. He is extremely affectionate and playful, he just wants someone to love him. He is neutered and fully vaccinated and will make a great family pet but he does need to be the only cat in the home. If you would like to find out more about Leo, please contact Liz on 01767 681157. Alternatively, please email Philippa at who will be pleased to forward your enquiry onto the team. View other small mammals, dogs and cats currently in our care for re-homing on our website: or facebook :


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For more information ring Tim on 01480 218998

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Coastal Safety


Fundraising for coastal safety Last year while holidaying near Salcombe I witnessed real-life lifeboat rescue. I was humbled by the professionalism of the crew and realised that living inland I had never really thought about lifeboats before. Afterwards I spoke to a crew member. He told me that countrywide on average there are 24 call-outs per day so there is a good chance that while you are reading this a lifeboat crew is in action somewhere on our coast. British and Irish coastal waters can be treacherous. During the 18th century around 1,800 ships were wrecked around the coasts of Britain and Ireland – everyone who put to sea accepted the risk and assumed there was little anybody could do to save lives. A London coachbuilder, Lionel Lukin, paved the way for the first purpose-built lifeboat when he designed the world’s first unsinkable boat in 1785. Lukin wanted to improve boat-safety and experimented with a Norwegian yawl (a sailing dinghy) on the River Thames. Lukin incorporated pockets of air in watertight bulkheads, used cork and other lightweight materials in the structure, and included a false iron keel for additional weight to help keep the boat upright.

In 1786 Lukin was commissioned to convert a coble - a type of fishing boat - into an ‘unimmergible’ lifeboat for Bamburgh. The result was the first known ‘lifeboat’, and Bamburgh Castle thus became the first lifeboat station. In 1789 a ship named Adventure ran aground at the mouth of The River Tyne during a violent storm. The sea was too rough for the local men and their boats, so people had to stand by helplessly as Adventure’s crew drowned. South Shield’s private Law House committee launched a lifeboat design competition with a reward of 2 guineas (around £2.10) for the best design. A parish clerk called William Wouldhave and a boat-builder called Henry Francis Greathead both entered. Wouldhave’s design was for a boat made out of copper and cork that would right itself in stormy seas. Greathead’s model was built out of wood and was an excellent design, though it didn’t self-right. As neither design was an outright winner the committee blended ideas from both to produce a final lifeboat design. The entrants were offered half the prize money each. William Wouldhave took offence and rejected the offer. So Henry Greathead was asked to build the lifeboat from the final design and went on to become known as the inventor of the first lifeboat. It was called The Original, measured 9m by 3m (around 29 feet by 10 feet) and could carry 20 people including a crew of 12. Henry Greathead went on to build 31 Original type lifeboats over the next 2 decades for communities around the British coasts, and also abroad. He never took out a patent on his invention, preferring to share his plans for the good of others and lifesaving at sea.

By Tom Hancock 66

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Burns Night Robert Burns was a Scottish bard, born in 1759 who wrote many poems and lyrics during his life. His most famous work is probably Auld Lang Syne, sang at New Year and which translates as ‘times long past’. Burns is one of Scotland’s most important cultural icons as many of his works addressed the political and civil issues of the time. Robert Burns’ friends and acquaintances held the first Burns supper on July 21, the anniversary of his death, in the late 1700s. This date was later changed to January 25th, which marks his birthday. Burns suppers gradually became a tradition and are now held by people and organizations with Scottish origins worldwide. At Burns Night events, many men and women wear kilts or other clothes made from their family tartan. At the centre of the supper is the haggis, which brought to the table to the tune of bagpipes. For the uninitiated haggis is a savoury pudding containing ‘sheep’s pluck’ (the heart, liver, and lungs of the animal) which are minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, stock and salt,

Time of Year By Tracey Anderson

then encased in the animal’s stomach - though artificial casings are more commonly used now. It can be baked or boiled and although it sounds quite revolting is surprisingly delicious, at least to this author! It’s served with a whisky sauce and some neeps and tatties - a mixture of swede and potato which works beautifully with the rough, oaty haggis. Cranachan is the traditional desert of cream, raspberries and oatmeal. It should all be washed down with a good whisky. Have a great Burns night. Gun cuireadh do chupa thairis le slainte agus sonas. (Translation: May your cup overflow with health and happiness)

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Growing up in a

Digital World

Like it or loathe it, we’re living in a digital age, and many children have learnt to swipe long before they’ve mastered riding a bike. Screen time - If you’re worried that your child is spending too much time staring at a tablet or smartphone, you might need to agree a daily time allowance. Most devices come with parental controls that you can activate. Alternatively, you can download software such as Qustodio (www. to restrict usage and block inappropriate content. Apps such as Habyts (www.habyts. com) allow you to offer extra screen time as a reward for chores and good behaviour. Teenagers need to learn how to manage their own time, and how to protect themselves online. So you may want to loosen the reins as your child gets older, and discuss what to do if they stumble across anything that makes them feel uncomfortable.

Social media/instant messaging One in five 13-18 year olds say they’ve been the victim of cyber bullying . However, social media can also be a way for your child to connect with their peers, and they may feel ostracised if they end up missing out on conversations. If you do decide to let your teen have their own social media account, set some boundaries. You’ll also need to talk to your child about why they should never share their address or personal details on social media, and what to do if they’re being bullied or harassed. Be aware that teens often set up separate social media accounts to chat to their friends, and will block you from finding them. And instant messaging apps are even harder to monitor. No safeguards you put in place will bypass the need to talk to your child about online safety. Online learning - There are some really fun, educational sites and

apps that might help to tear your child away from YouTube: Scratch helps you child learn basic coding. Users can create simple games, animations and stories. Cbeebies has a huge number of online games, puzzles and other activities. You can organise games by their educational focus, such as maths, communicating and emotions. Comics in the Classroom are a range of digital comics that teach children about history. They support the Key Stage 3 and GCSE syllabus and are interactive. Sand:box by SmellyMoo (search the Google Play store) is an android phone app that teaches older children about physics and chemistry. The user can ‘play’ with different materials and see how they react with each other. For more advice about keeping children safe online, visit It offers a wealth of free guides and advice.

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December’s Puzzle Solutions and Winners Last Month’s Crossword Winner Mrs T Little from Hitchin Easy



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The Villager Prize Crossword



Across 7 Vegetable (6) 8 Not including (6) 9 Set of two (4) 10 Marvellous (8) 11 Mumbles (7) 13 Type of lizard (5) 15 Concerning (5) 17 Fortress (7) 20 Garden visitor (8) 21 Egg shaped (4) 24 Getting older (6) Down 1 Couch (4) 2 Colourful bird (6)


23 Venus for example (6)

3 G.P.s (7) 4 Passenger boat (5)

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

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

5 Sporty (6) 6 Scatter (8) 12 Keeps you dry (8) 14 Checked cloth (7) 16 Emergency (6) 18 Worshipped (6) 19 Closes (5) 22 Female relative (4)

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Time of Year

World Braille Day January 4th

Louis Braille was born in France on January 4th, 1809. When he was three he lost the sight in one eye due to an accident. Unfortunately the damaged eye became infected and this spread to the other eye, leaving him without sight. Louis worked hard to master his disability and despite being unable to see he excelled in his education and received a scholarship to France’s Royal Institute for Blind Youth. During his studies he was inspired by the military cryptography of Charles Barbier of the French Army. As a result of this Louis developed a system of tactile code that allowed the blind to read and write as efficiently as their sighted counterparts. Braille presented the results of his hard work to his peers when he was just fifteen

By Sarah Davey years old in 1824. Five years later he published his first book about the system he had created, called “Method of Writing Words, Music, and Plain Songs by Means of Dots, for Use by the Blind and Arranged for Them”. The Braille system works by representing the alphabet letters (and numbers) in a series of 6 dots paired up in 3 rows. The idea was simple, yet genius and allowed books to be produced on a large scale in a format that thousands of blind people could read by running their fingertips over the dots. It is thanks to Louis Braille that blind students have the opportunity to be educated and work alongside their sighted peers, as well as read for pleasure just as easily as any seeing person can.

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Book Review By Kate Duggan Into the New Year Books about awakenings and new beginnings to see you into 2018.

The Power

by Naomi Alderman Not a new release this one, but well worth a read if you missed it back in 2016. Teenage girls across the world discover they have the power to hurt, and even kill, with just their bare hands. And they have the ability to awaken that same power in other women. Now that men are the weak ones, how will the gender balance shift? An engaging read that twists modern day happenings and examines the dark side of power. Gripping, thought-provoking and a real conversation starter, The Power is ideal for book clubs.


History of Wolves


by Emily Fridlund

14 year old Linda lives in an ex-commune out in the woods. Lonely, sociallyinexperienced and left to her own devices by her parents, Linda craves friends and a sense of belonging. When a new family moves nearby, she befriends the young mother and regularly babysits the four year old child. But she soon discovers that all is not right. The choices Linda has to make to keep her new found family could have tragic consequences. Compelling reading.

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Cambs jan 18  

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