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January 2019

and Town



In this issue Corsica Discover the Alta Rocca


4 x Classical Pilates Sessions at The Pilates Pod

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in our Prize Crossword

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Inside this issue... Great Gardening Books..................................................26 RSPCA Animal Stories.....................................................28 R.A.T.S.. Rehoming Appeal.............................................31 Nick Coffer’s Weekend Recipe.........................................33 Puzzle page....................................................................36 What’s On.......................................................................38 £25 Prize Crossword...............................................42 Useful Numbers.............................................................47


Spot the Pension Scammers

Win 4 x Classical Pilates Sessions

The History of Coco...........................................................4 Dining - South Bank Style................................................8 Win 4 x Classical Pilates Sessions at the Pilates Pod.10 Win £100 to spend on ‘Real Deals For You’.............12 Corsica - Discover the Alta Rocca....................................14 Upping your Style Game in 2019....................................17 Beat the January Blues...................................................19 Banish the Monday Blues with a Samaritans Brew........20 Spot the Pension Scammers...........................................23


Get your business off to a flying start this year

Advertise with the Villager Magazine... prices start from just £30.00 +VAT per month Editorial Catherine Rose, Trevor Langley, Solange Hando, Helen Venables, Tom Hancock, Rachael Leverton, RSPCA and Nick Coffer.

Advertising Sales/Local Editorial Nigel Frost • Tel 01767 261122 Photography - Romolo Tavani Design and Artwork Design 9 • Tel 07762 969460 •

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

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.

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The History of Coco

By Catherine Rose

Chanel is one of the most iconic names in haute couture and its founder, Coco, was a legend in her own lifetime. Said to be responsible for making the tan fashionable, she is equally famous for her sayings that included “A woman can never be too rich or too thin”. This month we look back at the inventor of the LBD and Chanel No. 5. Coco Chanel’s story is a classic rags-to-riches tale. Born in 1883 at a charity hospital to unmarried parents Eugénie Devolle (Jeanne) and peddlar Albert Chanel, Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel rose above her humble start to become


one of the most influential people of the 20th century – not only for her fashion design, dressmaking and millinery skills but also for the way in which she revolutionised how women dressed. Chanel grew up with two brothers and three sisters in a one-room lodging house until her mother died of TB when she was 12. She was then sent to an orphanage in Aubazine. It was here that she learned to sew. Her early aspirations were to be a performer, however, and after she left the orphanage, Gabrielle got a job singing between acts at

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La Rotonde, a popular cabaret venue. It was here she earned the nickname Coco. Her voice, however, was not good enough to propel her onto the main stage. At the age of 23, she met the rich textile heir Etienne Balsan at La Rotonde and became his mistress, moving into his chateau near Compiègne. Balsan showed her a life of luxury and she started designing hats. Two years later she attracted the attention of a friend of Balsan’s, an Englishman called Arthur ‘Boy’ Capel. After she became a licensed milliner in 1910, it was Capel who installed her in Paris and set her up with her first shop – Chanel Modes. She quickly earned the patronage of actress Gabrielle Dorziat and her hats became sought after. In 1913, Capel helped finance her second shop – a clothing boutique in Deauville which sold casual outfits for leisure and sport in fabrics like jersey and tricot, which had previously only ever been used to make men’s underwear. She conceived her popular sailor blouse here and was helped by her sister Antoinette and her Aunt Adrienne, who would model and promote her designs. In 1915, with World War One underway, Coco opened another shop, this time in Biarritz where many wealthy Spaniards had been exiled. The shop was so successful that Coco was able to pay back all the money that Capel had given her. Capel’s elegance and taste in clothing influenced Coco greatly and although she loved him, he went on to marry an English aristocrat, Lady Diana Wyndham, in 1918. It was a terrible blow to Coco when he was killed in a car crash a year later and she never truly recovered from it. By now a qualified couturière, she set up her own fashion house in the prestigious Rue Cambon in Paris, selling hats, clothing and her Chanel No. 5 perfume. Women adored her boyish look and modern easy-to-wear style. Her eponymous little black dress was nicknamed Le Garçonne (the boy) and was revolutionary for using a colour previously only worn for mourning. Her famous straight-lined Chanel suit, which was released in 1925, bore many hallmarks of men’s tailoring and didn’t


require a corset. She would say: “Luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury.” The business grew and in 1920 Coco was helping to both finance and design dance costumes for the famous Ballet Russes, inviting the exiled Russian composer Igor Stravinksy and his family to share her home Bel Respiro. Theophile Bader, the founder of Galleries Lafayette, was keen to sell Chanel No. 5 with its signature square bottle (said to have been modelled on Capel’s aftershave), and persuaded Coco to part with all but a 10% share in ‘Parfums Chanel’ that he set up with the Wertheimer brothers, owners of the perfume and jewellery firm Bourjois. Coco was to regret her decision for the next twenty years and after the war, took the men to court and had the terms re-negotiated with back payments that made her a millionaire. Known for her cutting wit, Chanel moved in the most fashionable circles in Paris and was friends and lovers with the talented, famous and elite, including Pablo Picasso and the Prince of Wales. The Duke of Westminster, a long-time lover, gave her the land on which she built her villa La Pausa and even proposed to her, but she never married, saying: “I never wanted to weigh more heavily on a man than a bird”. During the 1930s, popularity with her clothes waned and she decided to shut her Maison de Chanel at the start of the war – 4,000 people lost their jobs. Her anti-Semitic views and subsequent affair with a German soldier caused scandal and following the war, Coco went into hiding in Switzerland. In the 1950s, Coco Chanel re-emerged on the fashion scene to become as popular as she ever was. She was 70. Marilyn Monroe famously said that Chanel No. 5 was the only thing she wore in bed. Coco spent her last 30 years in the Paris Ritz and died there in January 1971. Designer Karl Lagerfield took over her mantle in 1983 and still works out of her original premises. Today her famous Chanel brand, with the interlocking C logo she designed, is owned by the Wertheimer family and generates millions. As Coco once said: “Fashion fades but style remains.”

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Food and Drink

Dining South Bank Style

London’s South Bank has a lot to offer all ages. World-class attractions provide interest and fascination for the whole family. The London Eye, Royal Festival Hall, London Dungeon, Sea Life London Aquarium and much, much more are all extremely popular. Restaurants on the South Bank offer everything from a light snack, through brasserie-style grills, to full, top restaurant experiences.

The London Marriott Hotel County Hall boasts Gillray’s Steakhouse and Bar. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, to both residents and non-residents, this restaurant has fine views of the River Thames, Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, the London Eye and surrounding area. The Library serves awardwinning Afternoon Teas, plus Dinners. An exceptional range of wines/drinks and handcrafted cocktails, including a magnificent selection of over 100 gins and more than 50 whiskies are available. Starters, in Gillray’s restaurant, can include Cornish Oysters, champagne dressing, spring onion, chilli and Pan-Fried Scallops, black pudding purée, apple salad, hazelnut dressing. Beetroot-Cured Salmon and Hand-Chopped Steak Tartare, all with accompaniments, are further very popular options. Main courses have a splendid range of 35 Day Dry-Aged Aberdeen Angus hand-selected Steaks (choose your preferred design and style of steak knife, from the boxed selections that are offered), all served with bone marrow and confit vine cherry tomatoes. Whether ‘bone-in’ or ‘bone-out’ is favoured, sizes include 150g Fillet, through 500g Prime Rib, to Gillray’s Bulls Head 1kg Bone-In Rib-Eye and their outstanding ‘Meat Feast’ (Compliments to Chef ). Other dishes include Spatchcock Chicken, Fish and more, which are further often-selected choices. The very talented brigade of chefs and kitchen personnel ensure all cuisine is cooked and presented, perfectly. The tender succulent steaks have regular ‘devotees’. Sunday roast is always popular, too. The complementing flavours of the dishes of cuisine are superb. Desserts include Chocolate & Hazelnut Bar and Adult Ice Cream with gin, brandy and rum – another popular selection. All dietary requirements can be catered for, plus parties, events and occasions accommodated easily. Many thanks to Yara and Alexandra for impeccable service, throughout. Gillray’s Steakhouse & Bar London County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7PB Tel: 44(0) 20 7902 8000 Email:

As always, Enjoy!

ey Trevor Langl


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Win 4 Classical Pilates Sessions at The Pilates Pod Founded in 2011, The Pilates Pod is a multi award winning company and are the only Classically certificated Pilates studio in Hertfordshire. Owned by Michelle Smith, teacher of the Pilates method for over 15 years and trainer to many professional sports players, stars of stage, screen and music, and broadcasters. Michelle and her team of highly skilled teachers welcomes you and every BODY to come and experience what Classical Pilates has to offer. At The Pilates Pod, they believe that one size doesn’t fit all! They’re passionate about giving you a truly authentic Pilates experience to ensure you get the most out of your training. Working and following the principles created by Joseph Pilates, you can dramatically transform the way your body looks, feels and performs. His exercises take you through all ranges of movement and, as you develop, you are continually challenged with new exercises, new apparatus and new experiences. You will develop both in mind and body; making the Pilates benefits far reaching and available to everybody. Offering both a range of classes and 1:1 Personal Training, the Pilates Pod has something for everyone. To give you a taste of Classical Pilates and experience what The Pilates Pod has to offer, we’re offering ONE lucky reader the chance to win: 1 x 55min private 1:1 session with a Pilates Pod instructor, * 1 x 55min Tower class * 1 x 55min Mat based class and * 1 x 55min studio work class *Pilates sessions must be used within four weeks of your private 1:1 session


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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 Stephen Moon and he services Stevenage and surrounding villages. So, if your windows are steamed up, broken or damaged give Stephen a call for a free quotation on 0800 61 21 118.

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With 40% of the land protected by a Regional Nature Park, Corsica is often called the ‘Isle of Beauty’, a worthy epithet as beyond the fabulous coastline, the hinterland has its own spectacular scenery. Down in the south, just inland from the popular resorts, the Alta Rocca is one of these lovely mountain regions laced in walking trails with only a couple of minor roads winding their way across the land. Up there time seems to stand still. Forests rich in oak and chestnut trees, lofty Laricio pines, pastures, tumbling streams and dramatic rocks, this is a paradise for all nature lovers. Red kites soar in the thermals and there are peregrine falcons, golden eagles and bearded vultures with a mighty wingspan. Nuthatches splash colour in the trees, lizards and salamanders scamper along the tracks, wild cats and boars forage here and there. Meanwhile deer graze in the shade but the mouflons with long horns like to perch on the most inaccessible rocks, basking in the bright Mediterranean sun. Flowers and plants vary with the altitude but favourites include myrtle and thyme, the delicate blue ancoli peeping out of rocky crags and the wild sweet-scented immortelle. The Alta Rocca starts in Ospedale, the first mountain village at 900 metres, then stretches north towards the Bavella pass where at 1,218 metres one enjoys superb views of the pink rocky ‘needles’ by the same name. This is on the old transhumance route and the nearby trails invite


By Solange Hando

Discover the Alta Rocca you to explore further. It’s an awesome spot protected by the statue of Our Lady of the Snows, installed with great difficulty by local monks. It may feel like the roof of the world but besides its natural wonders, the Alta Rocca is a land of hilltop villages where traditions survive on the ‘heritage trail’. On the western edge, Sainte Lucie de Tallano is a lively little place, all granite houses and cobbled lanes with convent and church, old bread ovens, oil mill and nearby thermal springs in their natural settings. Then there’s Levie and its Alta Rocca museum and the ‘coutellerie’ where traditional Corsican knives are still made in various shapes and sizes. Yet this pretty village has other claims to fame for if you feel like a walk, a trail can lead you to the archaeological site of Cucuruzzu dating back to the Bronze Age. It’s quiet and atmospheric, dotted with remnants of walls, tower and storing areas. According to historians however, the Alta Rocca has 9,000 years of history, making it one of the oldest inhabited districts in Corsica. At just over 300 metres, the village of Sartène can vouch for that, with a museum of prehistory, nearby dolmens and menhirs and gateway to the highlands, once known as the Land of the Lords. Enjoy the local wine then, as you wander through stepped alleyways and narrow lanes framed by granite hills, you may well agree that as the locals say, Sartène is ‘the most Corsican of all Corsican villages’.

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House of Colour

A cold and gloomy January is the perfect time to gain style kudos by balancing warmth and comfort with sumptuous fabrics to create an altogether chic look. Even wearing the right winter wrap can mean you ooze layered style, especially if it is in one of your wow colours; whilst wearing the right or wrong type of boots for your body shape could make or break your outfit. Here’s how to up your style game in the colder months of 2019. 1. The new year is often a time for self-reinvention. Do you know what you like and like what you know? Why not dare to try something a little different? Quite often we rule out wearing a different colour or style because we find its easy and safe to wear the same type of things. Find your fashion groove by mixing different neutrals and wow colours from your colour palette or choose an on-trend pattern you haven’t tried before. 2. Now is the time to declutter. Evaluate whether you love each item of clothing in your wardrobe or whether its just ok. You don’t need a jam-packed wardrobe to look good, but you should love everything in it. Keep your loved clothes and give away anything that doesn’t suit you, giving you space to start afresh and organise your style. It also makes getting dressed in the morning a lot easier. Cleared wardrobe, clear mind. 3. On the back of the growing drive towards more ecological dressing, this new year choose carefully from shops you know support your ethics and only buy the items you love and will be able to wear again and again. Think carefully but don’t be afraid to spend if it is an investment and a much-needed piece. Quality speaks! 4. The new year is often a time for us to focus on giving our health a boost. Have you considered that what you wear when you exercise can really affect how you feel about taking part? If you look and feel good in your leggings, swimsuit or running shorts, then you are more likely to drag yourself out of bed to the gym. Invest in some quality sports gear to give yourself the oomph you might need to get out of bed. 5. Try some new accessories. We all have our daily favourites but try wearing a necklace or earrings

Upping Your Style Game in 2019

that makes a statement that’s all about you. You will be amazed how many compliments you get when you wear jewellery that’s perfect for your style personality and colour palette. 6. Don’t turn yourself into a walking rainbow but try mixing up to three colours in your colour palette including the neutrals that suit your season. Everyone gets a form of white in their season, Autumn colour palettes suit rich, warm earthy colours such as oyster, whilst Springs suit a warm beige or cream. Winters look gorgeous in a cool bright white and stone. Summers suit cool, subtle neutrals such as soft white and pink beige. Add a pop of colour to your neutrals with a vibrant bag, hat/ scarf and gloves set, or a pair of red boots as seen in all the shops this winter. 7. Love your body and shape. Cinch in your waist or elongate your mid-section, draw attention to your best parts and wear the right length hemline, trouser length and sleeves. Style is the detail. 8. If you are planning to hit the sales just make sure that you choose items not because they are a great bargain but because they are perfect for you. A great rule of thumb is never to buy something you wouldn’t be happy to pay full price for. It is all about quality over quantity. 9. Winter is an amazing time to wear gorgeous prints whether it’s this season’s hot checks, gorgeous floral or animal prints. Winter is also a great time to try different materials that suit your body type whether that be leather, tweed, velvet or silk just to name a few. Try pairing a chunky knit sweater with a leather skirt for a smart casual look if you love a bit of drama. Alternatively, a neutral colour wool dress worn under a tweed jacket will create a sophisticated yet chic vibe for anyone who loves a classic look. 10. Not everyone suits high necks but if they look good on you then pair a high neck with long boots to create an elongated silhouette or opt for a high neck worn underneath a circle neck jumper or tunic dress for a layered and more casual look.

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By Helen Venables, MD at House of Colour



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Time of Year

Beat the January Blues

By Tom Hancock

It’s hard not to feel a little deflated after all the festive fun. Here are five ways to beat the January blue Exercise! I can hear your groans but one of the best ways to fight the blues and improve wellbeing is exercise. January is a great time to join a gym... motivation for change is high and there are lots of introductory deals and taster sessions on offer. But if the gym doesn’t appeal then try walking. A brisk walk in the open air is guaranteed to get your endorphins racing Eat well! I know we’ve all eaten rather too well over Christmas but now is the time to sort out your diet. In a post-festive slump, we are far more likely to continue the cycle of eating junk food for a quick high – only to spiral downwards into feelings of guilt and self-loathing as the sugar rush subsides. Stock up on fruit and veg, lean meat, nuts and grains, and watch your energy levels rise. Sleep more - Most of us don’t sleep enough over Christmas, and sleep-deprivation is known to contribute to feeling blue. Over the Christmas period our sleep patterns tend to be more irregular, due to late nights, sleeping in unfamiliar surroundings at relatives’ houses, and the consumption of more than usual quantities of alcohol. Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, and ensure you get at least eight-hours sleep for a couple of weeks. See how much your mood and performance increases.

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 19

Local News

Banish the Monday Blues with a Samaritans Brew Samaritans of North Herts and Stevenage are encouraging people to beat Blue Monday by getting together for a cuppa on Monday 21 January 2019 for Brew Monday. Dubbed ‘the most difficult day of the year’, the charity is turning third Monday in January on its head and is hoping to banish the January blues by encouraging friends, family and work mates to have a chat over a brew. Volunteers from Samaritans of North Herts and Stevenage will be at local stations*, chatting to commuters and handing out free tea bags for an essential cuppa. Located on Nuns Close in Hitchin, Samaritans of North Herts and Stevenage currently has just under 100 volunteers helping to answer some of the 5 million calls for help that Samaritans responds to every year from people going through a difficult time. The branch also provides other support within the community through awareness talks and displays at Lister Hospital, local schools and community events.


Gill McLearnon, Director of Samaritans of North Herts and Stevenage said: “Isolation and loneliness are one of the main reasons people contact Samaritans, so getting together for a brew with friends can provide a lift on what is meant to be one of the most difficult days of the year.” Ian Stevens, Network Rail’s Suicide Prevention program manager said: “Brew Monday is a great opportunity for the rail industry to show its support for Samaritans and the great work they do in helping people up and down the country. Millions of people use the rail network every day and if through this campaign we can encourage them to talk about their problems over a cup of tea, we will have made a significant contribution to their lives and to the lives of those around them.” Find out how you can get involved with Brew Monday here media-centre/our-campaigns/brew-monday. You can join the conversation on social media using #BrewMonday and why not make a donation while you’re there, you could help save a life.

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By Ann Haldon

Spot the Pension Scammers

Since new regulations were introduced in 2015 allowing greater pension freedoms, criminals have been targeting retirees, and those approaching retirement, in an attempt to fraudulently exploit the system. Figures published by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) show that victims of pension scams lost £91,000 each on average in 2017, with more than 30% of pension holders aged 45-65 being unaware of how to check that they’re dealing with a legitimate pension adviser.¹ So how do you know if you’re being targeted by pension scammers? Unexpected contact Unsolicited contact by someone offering advice on your pension is likely to be a scam. They may claim to be backed by the government, but no legitimate pension-related organisation or adviser would cold-call you. This type of contact could also be made by email, text, post or in person. Free pension review A common tactic used by scammers, and one that gives them access to a considerable amount of personal and financial information, is offering a free pension review. If you’re under 55 they may try to persuade you to take your pension early; otherwise

it could be with a view to transferring your pension into a fraudulent or unregulated scheme. Releasing pension monies early If you’re under the age of 55, pension scammers may tell you it’s possible to access your pension early. This isn’t the case unless you meet certain, very limited, criteria regarding your health. Withdrawing your pension below the age of 55 will trigger a tax liability of 55% of the amount withdrawn. You may also lose your pension entirely if the proposed new scheme/investment plan is fraudulent or unregulated, and still face this tax charge. Higher/guaranteed returns One of the fundamental aspects of investing is that there are no firm guarantees. Scammers may tell you guaranteed returns at a certain percentage are available, or perhaps that you’ll receive higher returns from the investment product they’re offering, but this is not the case. They may also say their investment strategy is low risk, but a low-risk strategy is not associated with high returns. Time-limited offers Scammers sometimes pressurise their victims into signing quickly, saying it’s a time-limited offer. They may even arrange for a courier to deliver their documents and then wait until you sign them. This gives you little time to go through the documents properly, and to carefully consider what you’re doing. Tax loopholes Pension fraudsters might say they know of tax loopholes, or ways in which you could make extra savings on tax. There are no tax loopholes with legitimate pension arrangements. Withholding contact details If they don’t want you to call them back, have limited contact information available, only a mobile phone number or a PO Box address, for example, you should cease communications with them straight away. Hopefully, being aware of the common tactics used by pension scammers, and when they’re likely to be used, will offer some protection, and help you avoid becoming one of the unfortunate and startling statistics. ¹

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07/12/2018 09:34:5

Garden View

By Rachael Leverton

Great Gardening Books

If you didn’t get what you wanted for Christmas now is the perfect time to curl up in front of the fire with a gardening book you’ve brought for yourself. We have a few to recommend. RHS Great British Village Show by Matthew Biggs and Thane Prince - The village show is a quintessential British tradition, and for many gardeners it represents the pinnacle of their sowing and growing year. This charming and informative book takes you behind the scenes of this very British institution, offering insights into the worlds of judges and contestants. It’s beautifully illustrated with photographs, and offers wonderful gems of insider information, including how to stage your produce, and what the judges are really looking for. There are even recipes for prize-worthy jams and preserves. If you’ve never attended a village show this book will make you yearn for a summer of tents and teas; you might even be tempted to become a competitor. One Magic Square by Lolo Hubein – Following on from the previous book, have you ever wanted to have a go at growing your own vegetables and fruit but feel completely clueless? We’re always hearing that the best and cheapest food is the food you grow in your own garden, but it all seems rather complicated to a total novice. In One Magic Square, Lolo Hubein shows how you can start your own productive food garden in ten minutes a day on a single square metre. She provides simple plot designs starting with salads, and gradually expanding to include beans, tomatoes, corn, roots and much more. She also stresses the benefits of companion planting and provides ideas. The bite-sized designs (pun totally intended!) allow you to extend by one square metre each season, or to pick your favourites. The magic of square-metre gardening is in allowing your project to grow in a manageable way, from simple to more complex. There are even designs catering for different tastes and specific diets. RSPB Gardening for Wildlife by Adrian Thomas - If you long to have butterflies and bees in your flowerbeds, birds singing in your trees, and hedgehogs bustling about under your bushes then look no further than this wonderful guide to wildlife gardening Adrian Thomas explains the intricacies of attracting wildlife to your garden whether you have a small plot or more than an acre. His style is accessible, but rich in detail. He draws on the latest wildlife research to explain the ecological principles, and to dispel some of the myths which have traditionally prevented gardeners from pursuing a wildlife-friendly approach. There are practical projects to help you create entire habitats, and long lists of suitable plants and trees, and it’s packed to brim with helpful photographs. If you love wildlife and want to encourage more to visit your garden, this inspirational book will help you sow the seeds and reap the rewards.


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Animal Stories Our small RSPCA Branch covers a large area including the whole of North Bedfordshire, taking care of cats, kittens and small animals in need before finding them happy, forever homes. A large majority of these animals come into our care via National RSPCA Inspectors, sadly not all coming from very nice situations. However this isn’t always the case. Once in a while due to various reasons and circumstances a truly beloved pet can simply no longer be kept. It can be a heartbreaking decision, but one made in the best interest of the animals. In this instance it was these two, Tarquin and Millie-Mollie. The pair had lived together with a lovely lady since they were kittens. Unfortunately their owner was moving into sheltered housing where she was unable to take them with her. She made the devastating decision to sign the cats into our care, to find them new homes. Tarquin, 6 years old and Millie-Mollie, 8 years were much loved, well fed and truly pampered pets. Although their previous owner has said they didn’t particularly get on, more tolerating each other’s company than actual companions but since coming arriving at our cattery they seem to be glad to have each other close by. We would love them to go to a new home together, somewhere quiet with plenty of company during the day. Handsome boy Tarquin has a beautifully marked


ginger coat. His little bent over ear adds to his charm and good looks and suits his cheeky chappy personality. Millie-Mollie is your typically pretty girl next door tuxedo cat who is definitely the more timid of the two. She is very sweet, but also very shy. They both like their food and come running when ‘dinner time’ is announced. Although a sad start to the story, we are hoping to give this lovely duo a happy ending, where they can become someone else’s pride and joy. If you would like to give Millie-Mollie and Tarquin a loving home, or would like to find out more about them, please do not hesitate to contact us by telephone on 01234 266965 or via email at We have lots of older cats in our care needing homes which are sadly notoriously more difficult to rehomed compared to kittens, but are not without their benefits! Older cats already have their personalities developed, so you can find the perfect fit for your family. They are also usually well trained, easy to fit into routines and are more content, happy to relax in your company rather than getting into mischief. If you would like to find out about the other cats in our care needing homes, please feel free to contact us or visit our website

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29 20/02/2017 16:40

Wishing all customers a very Happy New Year

Safe and Secure Doggy Day Care For dogs up to 8 kilos A home from home for your 4 legged friend Wonderful Hertfordshire countryside walks Structured Play Activities

Puppy and Dog Training Classes various locations around Hertfordshire 07774 374 686 @dogschoolhertfordshire


Maximum of 4 dogs at any one time Day Care, Nightly, Weekend or Long Vacation stays available Fully training in Dog CPR, First Aid and Safety Fully Insured and licensed from SBC Please visit website for further details

Tel: 01438 725551 / 07535 990 384 Email: Web:

Four Paws

Henry Cook

Dog Walker / Handler

07943 159918 Hertfordshire 30

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Rehoming Appeal Cookie & Crumble

Cookie and Crumble are two indoor Abyssinian female Guinea Pigs. They are just over a year old and came from a home where they had not been handled and it has taken time to get them used to being picked up and stroked. They are improving and looking for an experienced home to bring them on. They love being fed treats, pieces of carrot etc and do not bite, they just need someone who can be patient with them. If you could offer Cookie and Crumble a home, please call Hazel on 01234 357788. Any potential home will be vetted by one of our volunteers. Alternatively, please e-mail Philippa at who will be pleased to forward your enquiry on to the team View other small mammals, dogs and cats currently in our care for re-homing on our website: or facebook: You can also see photographs and details of the animals in our care in our charity shop in Hitchin Street, Biggleswade SG18 8AX. Open Monday to Saturday from 10.00 am until 4.00 pm.

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Visit our beautiful

Bathroom Showroom ...With more than 50 displays of bathrooms, furniture & fittings Free in-house 3D design service Quality products from leading manufacturers Experienced staff offering impartial advice Free delivery within a 20 mile radius of our showroom

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Caxton House, Caxton Way, Stevenage, Herts. SG1 2XS

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. 32

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Three Counties Radio

Chocolate Custard, Chocolate Crumble, Salted Caramel Sauce Having made this dish myself, you have my word that it’s wonderful. It should come with a health warning though, as the dusty chocolate crumble is utterly addictive. I found myself eating it off the spoon, and that was before I’d made the set custard! This dish is the creation of chef Steve Barringer, a former Masterchef The Professionals runner up. He’s just taken the leap and opened his own relaxed fine dining restaurant, Eileen’s, in the beautiful market town of Ampthill. This dessert enables you to serve food at home which looks like fine dining, but with a method which is very much open to all levels of cooking confidence. Set custard 375ml double cream 60ml egg yolk 113g sugar 190g milk chocolate 1.5 leaves gelatine (soaked in water) Caramel Sauce 200g sugar 200ml double cream Chocolate crumble 100g sugar 125g ground almonds 75g plain flour 50g cocoa powder 3g salt 65g melted butter Whole hazelnuts, coarsely chopped to serve Chocolate Custard Whisk the egg yolk and sugar, bring the cream to the boil. Pour this on to the egg and sugar mix, place it all back into the pan and cook on a low heat until the mixture coats the back of a spoon.

Whisk in the soaked gelatine. Pop the chocolate into a bowl, pour the mixture on to the chocolate and mix until the chocolate has melted. Place into container and leave to set for around 2 hours, or until set. You can also just pour it into individual ramekins. Caramel sauce Place the sugar into cold plan and put on the heat. Cook it until it has reached a light caramel stage, add the cream and then whisk until the sugar has disappeared. Add salt and place into container to cool. Chocolate crumble Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl, melt the butter, add it to the dry ingredients, stir with a wooden spoon and then place it on a tray. Bake at 180C/ Gas Mark 4 for around 10 minutes, stirring a few times. It’ll come out dusty and powdery. Pipe the custard into your serving bowls, top with the caramel and finish with the crumble and hazelnuts.

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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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:


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Stevenage airport taxiS

Stevenage Airport Taxis offer the most reliable and professional airport transfer service in and around the Stevenage area. We have several licensed vehicles that can cater for up to 8 passengers. We also provide a transport service for weddings, long distance journeys and any occasion day or night leisure trips. Please visit our website for any bookings or quotations or call

01438 420420 Online Bookings • Credit Cards Accepted

I D Decorating Painting & Decorating Services Painting – Interior & Exterior Decorating Coving No Job Too Big Or Too Small Fully Insured & Free Estimates Telephone: Ian Dunklin 0790 508 3799 To advertise in The Villager and Town Life please call 01767 261122


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. 36

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Before After

0800 046 1080 UP TO 40% OFF IN JANUARY To advertise in The Villager and Town Life please call 01767 261122


n O s ’ t Wha In January 2 January North Herts Association of the National Trust 7.30pm Christchurch, Bedford Road, Hitchin Visitors £2 on the door ‘Realising a Dream - a trip to the Galapagos Islands’ by Stephen Marshall, a committee member of Royston & Saffron Walden NHANT. Non-members welcome. Membership of the National Trust not necessary. Tea and coffee served during the evening. Second-hand books and homemade preserves are on sale at every meeting. Tel: Secretary Mrs Colette House 01462 815585 or 07831 111062 Email: 3, 10, 17, 24 & 31 January The Hitchin Thursday Club 9.30am-12 noon St John’s Community Hall, Hitchin A friendly group which meets every Thursday morning for recreational painting, drawing, etc.. The group is very easy going in its attitude to art – only doing your own thing. Still Life and raffle every month. No qualifications required – just come along with your drawing gear and you’ll receive a very warm welcome. Tel: Pauline 01767 315553 3, 10, 17, 24 & 31 January Roundabouters Country Dance Club 8-10pm Friends Meeting House, Cuttys Lane, Stevenage Friendly club for English country dancing. We welcome new members, both beginners and experienced. All dances walked through; club and guest callers ensure a varied programme. Tel: 01438 727239 Email: Web: 3, 10, 17, 24 & 31 January Stevenage Plus Social Group 8.15pm for 8.30pm Holiday Inn Express (opposite Matalan), Stevenage £2 - first night free Stevenage Plus Social Group is a fun and friendly social group with members in their 30s and 40s from Stevenage, North Herts and surrounding areas. We have a varied programme of events on Thursday and Saturday evenings as well as day trips and weekends away. New members are always welcome. Tel: 01438 231550. Email: Web:


3, 10, 17, 24 & 31 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 and the opportunity to meet and make new friends. 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 for info Web: 4 January RSPB Hitchin & Letchworth Local Group 7.30pm ‘The Settlement’, Nevells Road, Letchworth Garden City Local group members free, Visitors £3 ‘Hen Harriers, the Inglorious 12th’ with Dr Mark Avery. Mark will update us on his campaign to ban driven grouse shooting and the ecological and economic effects it brings to the countryside. Tel: 01763 249459 Email: 4, 11, 18 & 25 January Springfield House Friday Bridge Club 1.30pm Springfield House (the home of the Old Stevenage Community Centre) To play cut-in Chicago Bridge. Play is informal and friendly. Tel: Richard Bean 01438 221517 7, 14, 21 & 28 January Staplers Country Dance Club 8-10pm St John’s Community Hall, Hitchin Staplers is a social folk dance club. If you don’t know what that means come along one Monday evening and meet us. It’s easy to start as all the dances are walked through first then called and you don’t need to come with a partner; lots of us come on our own. We are a friendly group and you will be made very welcome. Car parking is available next to the hall. We meet every Monday apart from Bank Holidays and the school summer holidays. Tel. 01462 895567 or 01462 624144 Web:

7, 14, 21 & 28 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. It was formed in 1995 to bring together single, divorced, widowed and separated people, aged 40 upwards, from the Herts, Beds and Bucks area, to socialise and enjoy one another’s company. 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 Web: 8, 15, 22 & 29 January Stevenage Bridge Club 7.30pm Priory Nursery, Stanmore Road, Old Stevenage To play Duplicate Bridge. A host system is run to find partners, if required. A wide level of ability play at the club. Tel: Phil Cooper 07957 813434 8 & 22 January Hitchin & District Probus Club 12 noon for 1pm Priory Hotel, Hitchin Social club for retired and semi-retired professional and business-men which meets on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month for lunch. Organised visits and events throughout the year. New members welcome. Tel: Roger Burt 01438 351891 Email: 9 January Letchworth Chamber Music Concert 7.45 pm Howgills Friends Meeting House, 42 South View Tickets £15, Students & Under 18s £7 Concert by The English Piano Trio - Jane Faulkner (violin), Pal Banda (cello) and Timothy Ravenscroft (piano) - playing works by Haydn (Trio in E flat minor Hob. XV 31), Beethoven (Trio in E flat op.70 no.2) and Scxhumann (Trio in F major op.80). Tickets available on the door. Web:

Deadline for What’s On entries is the 12th of the previous month. What’s on entries to Please mention The Villager and Town Life when responding to adverts

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

15 January Stevenage RSPB Local Group 7.30pm The Friends Meeting House, Cutty’s Lane, Stevenage RSPB Members £3, Non-members £3.50, Juniors 50p. Ian Nightingale will give a talk about his holiday to The Cevenne - Butterflies, plants and landscapes. 19 January Charity Quiz Night 7.30-10pm Hampson Park Community Centre, Hampson Park, Webb Rise, Stevenage £5 per person. Stevenage Plus Social Club 40th Anniversary. Individuals and teams welcome. Over 18s only. Fish, sausage or veggie burger & chips £7 per person - bookable in advance. Bring your own drinks. Raffle. All profits to local charity Supported Activities for all. Tel: 01438 231550 Email:

20 January Hitchin & Letchworth Local Group RSPB Trip Coach fares Adults £15.50 Under 18s £7.75 Breckland and the Thetford Forest area, along the border between Norfolk and Suffolk. We visit two Breckland reserves, with the Lackford Suffolk Wildlife Trust reserve providing (amongst other things) a good variety of water birds and Lynford hosting woodland birds including (hopefully) hawfinch. Coach Pick-up points Hitchin 7.45am; Letchworth 8.00am and Royston 8.20am. Recommended donation of £2.00 at Lackford. Tel: 01763 249459 Email: Web:

20 January Stevenage RSPB Local Group trip to Woburn Park 9.30am Meet in the Park Street car park opposite St. Mary’s Church MK17 9PG. Map ref: 153/SP 951332 for a morning walk round the parklands, woodlands and lakes that surround Woburn Abbey. Possible sightings of Mandarin duck, Goosander, Hawfinch and woodland birds, plus plenty of deer. Tel: Leader Graham Beevor 01438 232055 Hitchin Bridge Club Hitchin Bridge Club plays duplicate bridge several times each week. All levels of experience welcomed, hosts are available at some sessions for players without a partner. Workshops each month on topics for improving players. Beginners courses are run every year starting in October. For further information please contact Margaret or visit the website Tel: Margaret 01462 623447 Email: Web:

n i t l ham F e o J Plasterers

Female Plasterer specialising in: Plastering, Plasterboarding, Making Good and Painting


Tel. 07951 362335 / 07836 768670 Email:

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December’s Puzzle Solutions and Winners Last Month’s Crossword Winner Mr John Morley from Letchworth Christmas Competition Winner Sue Sandford from St Neots Easy



WINDOWS & DOORS • • • • • • • •


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The Villager Prize Crossword

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

16th January 2019 Prize Crossword, Villager Publications Ltd 24 Market Square, Potton, Beds SG19 2NP



Across 1. Small town (7) 5. Hot chocolate (5) 8. Pant leg (7) 9. Estate, farm (5) 10. Defeated side (5) 11. Computer software (7) 12. Basement (6) 14. Removed skin (6) 17. Anglophone (7) 19. Vagrant (5) 22. Ran (5) 23. Changing (7) 24. Ease off, put feet up (5) 25. Snakes and ____, game (7) Down 1. Absolutely necessary (5) 2. Appears, seems (5) 3. Mozart’s home (7) 4. Our continent (6) 5. Ship’s freight (5) 6. Manage, direct (7) 7. Repentant (7) 12. More obvious (7) 13. Well reasoned (7) 15. Went into (7) 16. Large spade (6) 18. List of words at back of book (5) 20. Similar (5) 21. Sheets (5)

Name: Tel:



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Emergency Call Outs Full & Partial Rewires Electrical Safety Reports CCTV Installation Security Lights Garden Lighting

Tel: 07854 738740 Email: Web: Find us on Facebook - Dot Electrical Dot ElectricalJune 16.indd 1

25/05/2016 22:11:12



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24 Hour Emergency Repairs

Full to Partial Re-wires

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Electric Shower Installations

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Locksmith Services


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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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and Town


Alcoholics Anonymous..............................0845 769 7555 Anglian Water............................................08457 145 145 Bedford Hospital........................................ 01234 355122 Lister Hospital............................................ 01438 314333 Benefits for people with Disabilities...........0800 882 200 Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue................... 01438 729041 Carers Line..................................................0808 808 7777 ChildLine...........................................................0800 1111 Citizens Advice...........................................0344 245 1292 Cocaine Anonymous..................................0800 689 4732 Crimestoppers..............................................0800 555 111

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

Cruse Bereavement Care............................0333 252 9152 Floodline....................................................0845 988 1188 Frank-Drug Advisory....................................0800 776 600 National Debt Line.....................................0808 808 4000 Gas Emergency............................................0800 111 999 NHS Direct.........................................................0845 4647 National Rail Enquiries..............................03457 48 49 50 Non Emergency Police Line.........................................101 NSPCC.........................................................0808 800 5000 Relate..........................................................0845 48 49 50 RSPCA Cruelty Line....................................0300 1234 999 Samaritans............................................................116 123 Tax Credit Helpline.....................................0345 300 3900 Victim Support............................................845 30 30 900

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... another completed project near you

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

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Great Ashby Jan 2019  
Great Ashby Jan 2019