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VILLAGER The

January 2018

and Town

Life

LOCAL NEWS • LOCAL PEOPLE • LOCAL SERVICES • LOCAL CHARITIES • LOCAL PRODUCTS

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 in the Stevenage Area every month

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Contents Going to the Moon and Back

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VILLAGER The

January 2018

and Town

Life

LOCAL NEWS • LOCAL PEOPLE • LOCAL SERVICES • LOCAL CHARITIES • LOCAL PRODUCTS

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 in the Stevenage Area every month

ur Yo EE FRco1 py

Brand New Care Home in Welwyn Garden City...............24 Gardener’s Resolve.........................................................27 Count the Wildlife Counting on You................................28 Animal Heroes................................................................30 McLaren 720S................................................................33 Nick Coffer’s Weekend Recipe.........................................34 Puzzle Page....................................................................36 What’s On.......................................................................39 Prize Crossword..............................................................42

New Care Home in Welwyn

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Welcoming in the Old New Year.......................................4 The Train Now Arriving: The Northern Belle......................8 Win Tickets to see Made in Dagenham...........................10 Win a Golf Lesson and 9 Holes at Henlow Golf Club........12 Going to the Moon and Back in 2018.............................14 Charity on the Search for Local Dog Lovers.....................17 New Year, New Look with Colour and Style.....................18 When do Doorstep Sales become Harassment...............23

Editorial: Catherine Rose, Trevor Langley, Jennie Billings, Pippa Greenwood, RSPCA, Simon Davis and Nick Coffer. Advertising Sales/Local Editorial Nigel Frost - 01767 261122 nigel@villagermag.com Photography Ellen Wallace and Darren Harbar Photography Design and Artwork Design 9 - Tel 07762 969460

Publishers Villager Publications Ltd 24 Market Square, Potton, Bedfordshire SG19 2NP Tel: 01767 261122 nigel@villagermag.com www.villagermag.com 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 and Artwork Deadline: Thursday 11th January for our FEBRUARY edition

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History

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.

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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

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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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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: reservations.uk@belmond.com www.belmond.com

As always, Enjoy!

ey Trevor Langl

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CE LEBRATE OUR

5TH BIRHTHDAY WIT US

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COMPETITION

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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advertorial

Has Your Double Glazing Steamed Up? Established for over a decade Cloudy2Clear windows have become a leading company for glass replacement. Issues with double glazing can often be gradual and may only be noticed during a clear sunny day or during the winter. A failed glass unit may no longer provide you with the protection you need or be energy efficient. Why not spend a few minutes checking your home to see if you have any failed double glazing? If you act now you can avoid these problems. Now, you may think you need to replace the whole window including

the frames and all the hardware, however Cloudy2Clear have come up with a simple and cost saving solution‌ Just replace the glass!! If you see condensation in your windows just visit our website or give us a call on 0800 61 21 118. We will send out our highly experienced engineers for a free no obligation quote. A Cloudy2Clear quote takes on average no longer than 20 minutes. Once the quote is completed, we will sit down with you and explain the problem and tell you how we can fix it.

With years of experience Cloudy2Clear have a wealth of knowledge and are recognised as a Which Trusted Trader, plus our work is backed by an industry leading 25 year guarantee. Cloudy2Clear also replace faulty locks handles and hinges on all windows and doors. Your friendly local Cloudy2Clear specialist is Tom Bliss and he services the Luton, Stevenage, Letchworth, Dunstable & surrounding areas. So, if your windows are steamed up, broken or damaged give Tom a call for a free quotation on 0800 61 21 118.

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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 centralgolf.co.uk, offer everything a golfer needs. Please visit centralgolf.co.uk 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: henlowgolfclub.co.uk centralgolf.co.uk 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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Fostering

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.

Sophie

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 in care from Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire are forced to move outside of their counties 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 fostering agency for Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire. The founders are Angela Hunt and Alison KindredByrne. 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.

Aida

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. www.tothemoonandbackfostering.com facebook @moonandbackfostering

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104 Ampthill Road, Shefford, Beds SG17 5BB 16

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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: volunteer@hearingdogs.org.uk, 01844 348122 or visit www.hearingdogs.org.uk/volunteer

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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.

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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. co.uk/shop. 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 www.houseofcolour.co.uk/jenniebillings

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BLADES BARBERS REDUCED WAITING TIMES NOW With seven team members at BLADES BARBERS Price List -

No appointment necessary Wet cut & blow dry........................£10.50 Wash cut & blow dry ....................£13.50 Clipper cuts 1-4 .............................. £8.50 Senior citizens (Over 65 yrs mon-thurs) ................ £8.00 Children (up to 11 yrs).....................£9.50 Beard trim........................................ £3.50 Beard trim (with cut throat shape up)..............£5.00 Shape ups, lines & patterns (from).... £1.00 Skin fades ..................................... £11.50

OPENING TIMES

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday

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Tel: 01438 317 482

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NEW BABY? NEW GRANDCHILD?

A Naming Day celebration is the perfect, non-religious alternative, to celebrate little one’s entry to the family, and to appoint their Guide Parents. And Your Naming Day can help you organise the event from start to finish. How to run the day? We can help. Writing a script? That’s our job. Where to hold the event? We have a list of tried and trusted venues. Your Naming Day takes the stress out of organising your baby’s big event.

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There’s a range of packages to choose from, plus individual services to help you build a bespoke event that’s as individual as you are: Invitation design Venue-finding Scriptwriting Celebration host Wish jar and wish cards or candles Professional photographer Flowers Cake Ofsted registered childminder

For a friendly, no-obligation chat, call 07388 537 435 or visit www.yournamingday.com

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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.

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Brand new Care Home opening this month in Welwyn Garden City A brand new luxury care facility situated in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire is opening this month. Oakview Lodge will showcase how style and elegance can be incorporated in to the development of a Care Home, whilst incorporating state of the art design and functionality. However, it will come at a cost that is affordable to the local community. Oakview Lodge Care Home has a public open day already planned for Sunday 21st of January 2018, for local people to come in and see the home, meet the team and enjoy some refreshments. Built on the old site of the Queen Elizabeth ll Hospital, Oakview Lodge will be spread over three floors, and will boast 48 en-suite bedrooms as well as 6 double bedrooms for couples, a hair salon,

a café/bistro, a relaxation spa, a shop, a cinema room, a family room and numerous lounges/ communal areas. Oakview Lodge will be part of the family owned business Country Court Care, who have been established since 1983 and has its headquarters in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire. Their belief is that all older people deserve the best quality of life and this sits at the heart of their family ethos. Country Court Care delivers award winning care through its care homes, which are located across the UK. Oakview Lodge Care Home will form an integral part of Country Court Cares of care facilities, and will take the group’s total number of care facilities to 28.

If you’d like more information about Oakview Lodge, we’d love to hear from you! Please email info@countrycourtcare.com, or call Robb Shingles on 0843 506 9452.

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Our Pride - Your Joy • Conservatories • Orangeries • Sunrooms • Porches • Composite Entrance Doors • Bi-Folding Doors • Energy Rated Glazing • Garage Conversions • Tiled Roof Garden Rooms • Re-Furbish Your Existing Conservatory Your specialist local company, who build with care and dedication from design to completion

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Garden

By Pippa Greenwood www.pippagreenwood.com

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 www.pippagreenwood.com/ 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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27


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,

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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 www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch Registration for Big Garden Birdwatch 2018 opens 13 December 2017

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29


Pets

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

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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@ rspcabedsnorth.org.uk with any enquiries

ANIMAL HEROES is one of a series of articles brought to you by the RSPCA Bedfordshire North Branch www.rspca-bedfordshirenorth.org.uk

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25/05/2016 22:11:12

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Motoring

McLaren 720S 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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By Simon Davis 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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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

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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HERTS OVEN CLEAN Herts Oven Clean is a domestic oven cleaning specialist in Hertfordshire. Non-caustic, fume-free solution individually prepared for each customer. Ovens, Hobs, Grills, Extractors, Agas, Microwaves and Gas Barbeques. Call Richard on 01438 813492 Bring a sparkle to your kitchen today. To advertise in The Villager and Town Life please call 01767 261122

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ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ

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. 36

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Premier

Property Maintenance Premier Property Maintenance is a multiple trade company operating in and around Hertfordshire and north London. We are a well organized management team with a professional approach to Client Liaison, Supervision and Health and Safety. We operate with a versatile in-house work force with various specialist trades, which results in our ability to provide our Client’s with an ‘all-trades’ service. We pride ourselves on delivering a competitive quality service to new and existing Clients.

Premier Property Maintenance offers a comprehensive range of services including;  Fully managed bathroom and kitchen installation  Electrical and plumbing certificates for landlords  All aspects of electrical work covered by NIC installers  Plumbing and heating engineer  All aspects of carpentry work covered  Wall and floor tiling  Plastering and cornice work

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n O s ’ t Wha In January 2, 9, 16, 23 & 30 January Stevenage Bridge Club 7.30pm Priory Nursery, Stanmore Road, Stevenage To play Duplicate Bridge. A host system is run to find partners, if required. Tel: Phil Cooper 07957 813434 3 January North Herts Association of the National Trust 7.30pmChristchurch, Bedford Road, Hitchin £2 on the door inc. mince pie & non-alcoholic punch ‘The Vanishing Maidservant’ a talk by Ian Keable. Membership of the National Trust not necessary. Tel: Colin Cropley 01462 713391 3, 10, 17, 24 & 31 January Baby Rhyme Time 10.30-11am Baldock Library Free event 3, 10, 17, 24 & 31 January Toddler Tales 2.15-2.45pm Letchworth Library Free event 3, 10, 17, 24 & 31 January IT Sessions 3.30-4.30pm Baldock Library If you have an IT issue come and see the IT Champion or book a Taster session; one-to-one with a member of staff. Tel: 0300 123 4049 3, 10, 17, 24 & 31 January Vivace Choir 7.30-9.30pm Edgeworth House, 121 High Street, Arlesey We are looking for keen singers to join our fun and friendly choir. Find out more about the choir and its concerts online. Web: www.vivacechoir.co.uk 4, 11, 18 & 25 January Toddler Tales 2.15-2.45pm Baldock Library Free event 4, 11, 18 & 25 January Sapphire Social Club 8.30pm The Orange Tree, Hitchin We are a small and friendly group for single people generally aged 50 and above. We offer a variety of social events during the month. Potential new members are warmly welcome to come along and meet us with no joining fee for the first two months. Tel: Joyce 07952 678021 or Ian 07900 890583 Web: www.sapphiresocialsinglesclub.co.uk

5, 12, 19 & 26 January Springfield House Friday Bridge Club 1.30pm Old Stevenage Community Centre To play cut-in Chicago Bridge. Play is informal and friendly.Tel: Richard Bean 01438 221517 8 January Icknield Quilters Baldock Community Centre £4 Speaker will be Marion Maule giving a talk entitled ‘Tape Measures’. Visitors welcome. Web: www.icknieldquilters.co.uk for more info 8, 15, 22 & 29 January Branch Out Social Club for Single People 8.30-11pm Cromwell Bar, The Sun Hotel, Hitchin Branch Out meets every Monday night and is a medium-sized Social Club for single people. The club organises regular events, such as dinners, discos, meals, parties, Sunday walks, theatre and concert visits, day and weekend trips and holidays. Tel: Lorna 01438 233657 www.branch-out.org.uk 10 January Henlow Branch R N A 7.30pm Community Centre, The Gardens, Henlow The Henlow Branch of The Royal Naval Association meets on the second Wednesday of each month. Tel: Jack Stafford 01462 850618 for further info 11 January Baldock & Clothall WI 7.30pm United Reformed Church, Whitehorse Street, Baldock Visitors £3 including refreshment and raffle ticket Facebook: www.facebook.com/baldockclothallwi 15 January Folk Dancing in Hitchin Taster Evening 8pm St John’s Community Hall, Hitchin Looking for something new in the New Year? Something to help you keep fit - mentally and physically, that’s sociable and good fun and where you don’t need a partner? Staplers is a social folk dance club which meets every Monday at 8pm in Hitchin. On 15 January we are holding a free special Taster Evening. Come along and see what it’s all about. You will be made very welcome. Car parking available next to the hall. Tel: 01462 895567 or 01462 624144 Web: www.staplers.org.uk

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16 January Stevenage RSPB 7.30pm Friends’ Meeting House, Cutty’s Lane, Stevenage Members £3, Non-members £4, Under 16s 50p Dr Peter Warne will talk about the Wildlife of Epping Forest and Copped Hall. 21 January RSPB Stevenage Walk 9.30am Kingsmead. A morning walk between Hertford and Ware, through mixed habitat of canal, river, scrub and meadows. Meet in the Hartham Common car park off the B158 Port Hill at 9.30 am. Leader Trevor Storey. Ref 166/TL325130. Postcode SG14 1QS. Tel: 01438 861547 26 January-3 February Camelot The Panto Various times Henlow Theatre, Hitchin Road, Henlow Camp, SG16 6DN Adults £9, Children £7, family tickets (2 Adults + 2 Children) £28, Group tickets on request Henlow Amateur Theatrical Society presents Camelot The Panto by Ben Crocker. A festive romp through the legend of King Arthur with all the fun of the pantomime thrown in. Tel: Box Office 01462 700785 or 07876 353677 Web: www.henlowtheatre.org.uk Hitchin & Surrounding Areas Fun & Social Stuff A Social Group based in Hitchin, but also aimed at the surrounding areas. The groups arranges drinks, socials, going to Live Music events, charity events, Pub Quizzes, etc.. The aim of the group is to enable a variety of people who are over 18 years old (with no upper age limit) to get to know each other in a social and friendly setting whilst also enjoying a variety of events & activities. Web: www.meetup.com/meetup-group-HVrvZZiQ

This is a small selection of the What’s On for the full listing please go to our website www.villagermag.com Deadline for What’s On entries is the 12th of the previous month. What’s on entries to whatson@villagermag.com

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n i t l h F e o J Plasterersam

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

Hard

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The Villager Prize Crossword

Prize

ÂŁ25

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)

Name: Tel: Address:

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SHIRON

Domestic Appliances

Electrician

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Washing Machines Tumble Dryers Dishwashers Electric Ovens Electric Cookers Microwaves Vacuum Cleaners and all domestic appliances. VAT Registered. Specialist in Hotpoint, Indesit, Ariston, Creda and Whirlpool appliances.

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Premier Painters and Decorators

Premier Painters and Decorators are a professional, punctual and hard working company delivering outstanding quality of work to our clients in and around Stevenage From wallpaper hanging, feature walls, coving and cornice work. We even clean facias, soffits and guttering. (PVC or Wood) If you would like to take advantage of our services, require a quote or advise please do not hesitate to contact us. Be assured when Premier quote a job there are NO HIDDEN EXTRAS. Private and commercial, exterior and interior painting services.

For a free quotation please contact Gary on Tel: 01438 353793 Mob: 07733 227961 Email: info@premierpd.co.uk

www.premierpd.co.uk

Herts Gas.

Central heating specialists Caring local professional service by British Gas trained technician, 35 years experience.

Servicing New boilers installed Breakdowns Inspections Fault finding Please contact Iris or Peter on 01462 790342 office, 07971 958942 mobile E mail Hertsgas@live.co.uk 46Herts Gas HP.indd

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06/12/2017 11:36 Please mention The Villager and Town Life when responding to adverts


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

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Kitchen | Bedroom | Home Study For all your design, supply and installation needs Family run business Visit our showroom: Unit E, Gateway 1000, Whittle Way, Arlington Business Park, Stevenage SG1 2FP Monday to Friday 10.00am to 5.00pm, Saturday 10.00am to 4.00pm

Tel: 01438 222929

www.kitchenergonomics.co.uk

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