Page 1


June 2018

and Town



In this issue Win a family pass to

Folk by the Oak This Girl Can In Herts Week

Win £25

in our Prize Crossword

Bringing Local Business to Local People in the Stevenage Area every month

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Inside this issue... 12

Win a 1 Year Memberhip at Beadlow Manor How we fell in live with perfume.....................................4 Give Blood........................................................................8 Win a Family Pass to Folk by the Oak..............................10 Win a 1 Year Membership at Beadlow Manor.................12 Hitchin Festival 2018......................................................14 National Volunteers Week..............................................17 Teddy Bear Festival Returns to Woburn Abbey...............18 Wines: Gems of Austria..................................................20 WW1 Centenary Cycle Challenge....................................23 Countdown to ‘This Girl Can in Herts Week 2018............24 How to Look Effortlessly Stylish at a Wedding................27 I don’t want to be with my partner any more.................29 Understanding Travel Insurance.....................................30 Totally Tropical...............................................................34

Milan Cathedral..............................................................36 R.A.T.S. Rehoming Appeal..............................................39 Animal Heroes................................................................40 10 Electric Vehicle Myths Busted....................................42 Nick Coffer’s Weekend Recipe.........................................45 Wordsearch....................................................................47 Puzzle Page....................................................................48 What’s On.......................................................................50 It’s dark outside, so pick up your paddle.........................52 Stevenage Plus Social Club.............................................55 Prize Crossword..............................................................58 Book review...................................................................60

Milan Cathedral


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Editorial Catherine Rose, Louise Addison, Sarah Davey, Trevor Langley, Jennie Billings, Suzanne Roynon, Tom Hancock, Rachael Leverton, Solange Hando, RSPCA, James Baggott, Nick Coffer and Kate Duggan

Advertising Sales/Local Editorial Nigel Frost • Tel 01767 261122 Photography - Jose Ignacio Soto 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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How We Fell in Love with Perfume By Catherine Rose

The word perfume is derived from the Latin per fumum, meaning ‘through smoke’. This is possibly because the perfumes of ancient civilisations were often incense-based – a dried paste made from herbs, spices, essential oils and fragrant tree resins (including the biblical frankincense and myrrh), which was made to be burned. Today, true perfumes are a distillation of a certain percentage of oils in alcohol, with eau de toilette and eau de cologne being diluted versions. The perfume-making process was described by Pliny the Elder, a well-known Roman philosopher who was born around twenty years after the death of Christ. But although the Romans were well-known to be very fastidious in their toilet habits, perfume very much pre-dates them. Used significantly across Asian cultures, it is believed perfume may have originated in Arabia – still sometimes described as ‘the land of perfumes’. Iraq, Kuwait, northern Saudi Arabia, parts of

eastern Syria and south-east Turkey were once known as Mesopotamia. The perfume formulas of a female Mesopotamian chemist known as Tapputi-Bellatekalim have been translated from a three-thousand-year-old tablet written in ancient cuneiform script. In the ancient world, perfumes were much more than just pleasant smells – they were also revered. The Bible refers to a sacred perfume, only allowed to be used by priests, that was made from myrrh, cinnamon, cassia and sweet cane. The ancient Egyptians believed perfume was ‘the sweat of the gods’ and used it in death rituals. They would burn kyphi in their temples, a devotional incense made from sixteen ingredients: myrrh and other resins, sweet rush, juniper, cypress grass, wine, honey and raisins. They also anointed their dead with perfumes whose scent could still be detected when tombs were re-opened. But perfume is even older than this. Ancient Hindu Ayurvedic texts dating

By Catherine Rose


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back to 3000 BC refer to its distillation. In India, different fragrances were used in tantric rituals where women would be spiritually anointed with spikenard for their hair, patchouli on their cheeks and neck, jasmine on their hands, amber on the breasts, musk for the abdomen, sandalwood on the thighs and, finally, saffron for their feet. Then, in 2004, the oldest evidence of perfume was discovered with the remains of a Bronze Age perfume ‘factory’ unearthed in Cyprus. It is thought that 13th century Crusaders brought back perfume from Palestine, and its use was eagerly taken up by Europe’s nobility (Queen Elizabeth I became a fan). The Sun King Louis XIV, who ruled France from 1643-1715, loved perfume so much that his palace became known as ‘the perfume court’. This might have had something to do with the fact that, like most of the nobility at that time, he was loathe to take baths, believing (quite understandably) that water made you ill. King Louis had a different perfume for every day and installed a pavilion that he kept filled with flowers and would visit with his mistresses. He insisted on dousing every palace visitor with scent and the most important had their own signature perfumes. One of his favourite perfumes, used to fragrance his shirts, was called Aqua Angeli (‘water of angels’) and consisted of, amongst other ingredients, nutmeg, cloves, jasmine, orange flowers, musk and aloe wood, all boiled in rose petal water. During this time, France became a force in Europe for the manufacture and supply of fine perfumes, and Grasse in southern France, renowned for its natural variety of flowers, was a leading supplier. In England, where sanitation was also abysmal and disease rife, perfumes were not only worn; they were also kept inside jewellery and the heads of canes to be inhaled by the wearer for health-giving properties and to ward off illness. As well as essential oils from flowers and plants, ingredients for perfume were also derived from animal excretions. Castor was extracted from beavers, musk from male deer and ambergris from the sperm whale. In the 1800s, synthetic fragrances made an appearance, their less expensive ingredients allowing for the first mass marketing of


perfumes, thus launching famous companies that are still around today such as Coty and Guerlain. It was discovered, for example, that a mixture of nitric acid and benzene gave off a scent like almonds, so this was consequently used in soap. It is not possible to obtain essential oils from some flowers, lily of the valley for instance, so the development of synthetic scents proved ideal to replicate them. With mass marketing, perfume bottle design became increasingly important and the Art Nouveau period saw the launch of many beautiful styles, some of them designed by the artisans of the era such as Rene Lalique. Then in 1921, Chanel created her signature scent, Chanel No. 5, with the help of Grasse parfumier Ernest Beaux who had made perfumes for the Russian royal family. Under her direction, he gave her numbered samples to choose from – the rest is history. Today our love of perfume remains undiminished and fragrances are popular with both men and women. But one thing hasn’t changed in that, even used daily, perfume is still viewed as a gloriously indulgent and luxury item – pure olfactory pleasure in a bottle.

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Time of Year

By Louise Addison

Give Blood!

World Blood Donor Day is June 14th

Most of us have had or know someone who has had a blood transfusion. Blood donation is vital to help treat thousands of seriously ill patients every day and new donors are desperately needed. Currently only 4% of the eligible population are active blood donors. Here are 10 reasons to consider giving blood: Life-saver - You change lives each time you give blood. Every blood donation can save or improve the lives of up to three adults or six children. Desperate need - NHS Blood and Transplant needs many more donors to come forward to make sure the nation’s blood stocks remain at a safe level for the future. Day-to-day needs - You may think blood is only used for massive blood loss in A&E patients, but your blood could help many different people. Donated blood is also used for patients having surgery, maternity emergencies, and for people with cancer or blood disorders. 6000 donations are needed per DAY! - It’s true that changes in medical practices mean demand for donated blood has reduced. But hospitals across England and North Wales still need around 6,000 blood donations every day to treat patients. A quick pint - If you book an appointment, the whole process takes less than an hour. One hour, every three to six months. Just a short amount of time to do something wonderful for another human being. You’re probably eligible - You need to be in general good health and weigh over 50kg to


donate blood. If you are looking to donate for the first time you need to start on or before your 66th birthday. To check if you are eligible go to You might be a missing type - Blood from all groups is needed but some blood groups are particularly vulnerable to shortfall such as O negative – which can be given to all patients in an emergency: think of those episodes of Casualty or ER where the doctor in charge yells ‘Where’s the O-NEG’! You might be young - We need more young donors. Around half of current donors are aged over 45. The more young people get involved the better future blood stocks will be safeguarded. You can start donating at 17. You might be BAME - Are you black, Asian or from an ethnic minority? Please consider becoming a donor as some rare blood types are more common among these communities. Conditions such as sickle cell and thalassemia are also more likely to affect these groups and patients require regular blood transfusions, ideally from donors from a similar ethnic background. There are biscuits - Free food! Around 6 million biscuits are eaten by donors every year. Aren’t we a greedy bunch? But the post donation biscuit and cuppa are important because sitting quietly while eating and drinking something helps the body to recover. If I’ve inspired you to become a donor go to or call 0300 123 23 23.

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Win a Family Pass to the Folk by the Oak Festival in Hatfield Sunday 15 July

Folk by the Oak is the UK’s largest one day folk festival, and promises all the open air buzz of a 3 day festival packed into one joyous day of music, fun and bunting, without the need to camp! As well as bringing together an exceptional line- up of folk, roots and acoustic talent, which this year includes international festival favourite Amy MacDonald, the legendary Billy Bragg, and critically acclaimed Eliza Carthy, Folk by the Oak is a festival designed with fun for all the family in mind. The Main Stage with its outdoor arena means that children can freely dance about in the parkland and the smaller, covered Acorn Stage attracts a little gathering of children right at the front singing along to favourite songs. As well as programming a day of back to back sublime music across these 2 stages, the organisers have lovingly gathered together many magical, unique and imaginative activities for children of all ages to enjoy, either in our dedicated family area or dotted around the festival site. Unusually in the festival world, you can even bring your own picnic to Folk by the Oak, so feeding kids doesn’t mean spending a fortune or leaving the auditorium and missing out on the action. Should supplies run low there’s a carefully selected and plentiful array of tasty food stalls available too, as well as that festival essential for the grown-ups, the Real Ale Bar! To be in with a chance to win a family pass (2 adults and 2 children) simply send your entry by 16th June 2018 to: Folk by the Oak, Villager Publications Ltd, 24 Market Square, Potton, Beds SG19 2NP. The winner will be drawn randomly.


For a chance to win a family pass simply complete your details below and post your response by 16th June 2018 to: Folk by the Oak Competition, Villager Publications Ltd, 24 Market Square, Potton, Beds SG19 2NP. Name:

Don’t want to leave it to chance? For the full line-up and to book tickets go to


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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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Win a 1 Year Membership at Beadlow Manor Hotel and Golf Club

Beadlow Manor Hotel and Golf Club is a golf club set in 307 acres of Bedfordshire Countryside and is one of only two golf courses in the county with 36 holes and a 25 bay flood lit driving range. The Baroness golf course measures 6,098 yards. The Baron course is the more challenging golf course and measures 6,611. When you finish playing you are assured a warm welcome in our clubhouse where you can relax with a beverage and try food from our new bar menu. Room hire available for parties and corporate meetings too.

Membership Types

Contact Sean for details:- Tel: 01525 860800 Email: Seven Day Membership £540 Full seven day playing rights on two 18-hole golf courses, 14-day advance tee booking rights, access to all Club competitions, 10% discount off Food and Beverage purchase free 30 minute lesson with our resident golf professional.

Junior Memberships from £49 Corporate Memberships tailored to suit you Military memberships discounted fee 999 memberships discounted fee WWW.BEADLOWMANOR.CO.UK

The Villager Magazine has partnered with Beadlow Manor to offer its readers the chance to win a 1 year membership at Beadlow Manor Hotel and Golf Club (worth £540). The prize includes the use of two 18 hole golf courses, 7 day playing rights, exclusive member discounts and excellent practice facilities.


For a chance to win a 1 year membership simply complete your details below and post your response by 16th June 2018 to: Beadlow Manor Competition, Villager Publications Ltd, 24 Market Square, Potton, Beds SG19 2NP. Name:

The winner will be drawn at random.

Address: Tel: Email: All entries will be passed to Beadlow Manor.


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Local News

Hitchin Festival 2018 This year’s programme is now available from many outlets including the Hitchin Information Shop at 1A Churchyard where the Box Office is also situated and local village stores. Festival begins on the 29th June and runs throughout July and there are well over 100 listings for music of all genres, drama, walks, talks, poetry, films, comedy and events. There are 7 Lunchtime concerts this year which take place in St Mary’s Church at 1.05pm and last about 50 minutes. Admission is free with a retiring collection at the end, the proceeds divided between the performers, the church and Hitchin Festival. Performances include Masa Tayama on piano, Quintessimo Wind Quintet, the Gaillard Trio, Caroline Owen with her ‘Fearless’ violin show, Joanna Lam – pianist, Songs from shows and musicals and a presentation of songs and anecdotes from Noel Coward, Tom Lehrer, Flanders & Swann et al. Evening music features classical at Benslow, folk at The Victoria, Pop-Up Opera in St Marys, Jacqui Dankworth, Caritas Harmony, North Herts Guild of Singers, Orpheus Choir, Vivace, Hitchin Band, Hitchin Symphony Orchestra, Hitchin Light Orchestra and a Legend of Elvis Show!

There’s a featured comedy week of artistes pre-Edinburgh Shows including Harry Hill, Simon Brodkin, David Ephgrave, Glen Davies. Also, a week of films from the awardwinning 3 Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri to the classic Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and including another episode in the series of Old Hitchin on Film and a superb presentation of the silent version of Phantom of the Opera with live music accompaniment from Minima. Priory Picnic makes a welcome return when the talented young musicians from North Herts Music School entertain al- fresco in the beautiful grounds of Hitchin Priory; another favourite making a comeback is the Art Trail where local artistes display around the town throughout the month. An eclectic range of talks includes a double bill of Dickens; Victorians & Their Art; Lutyens in India; Ethel Smyth – Suffragette, composer & writer; Lady Constance Lytton; Cambridge Colleges & their Gardens; James Rennie – Hitchin’s Travelling Bookkeeper; Antony Slinn on Van Gogh; Ulster Conflict Resolution; Historic Royal Palaces – Restoration of Kew’s Pagoda; Zoe Folbigg – bestselling novelist; Monet; The Middle East; Women,


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Science & the First World War plus Shakespeare’s Midsummer Nights Dream at The Queen Mother Theatre and local history play ‘Smell of Lavender’ at The Market Theatre. Historic walks, Ghost Walks, Lavender Farm tours, the Railway Walk, Blue Plaques Walk and Priory Park walk are all guided information tours. The food offer features Afternoon Teas, Street Food, a ‘Beer Mile’, Cider & Cheese Festival, Pasta Masterclass, Cheese & Wine, BBQ, Jazz & Blues Brunch finale, and a Coffee Festival. For the children, there’s a Sunday of festivities at Hitchin Priory with the Humanitas ‘Diddy Rascals Festival and later in the month children’s television favourites Rebecca Keatley and Sid Sloane from CBeebies hit show Let’s Play bring their live stage show ‘It’s Time to Play’ to the Town Hall. Bucklersbury Day, Independents Day, North Herts Beekeepers, Flower Festival, Art & Craft Fairs, Buskers Day and Festival Dog Show ensure that there is plenty of activity out on the streets at the weekends. Once again, Hitchin Festival makes Hitchin the place to visit in July with so much going on. Full details can be found via the website

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Time of Year

By Sarah Davey

National Volunteers Week 1st – 7th June

This year, Volunteers’ Week is about volunteering for all – celebrating the huge range of people who give their time in so many ways. Could you volunteer, and why should you bother? Studies have found that taking time out to help others reduces stress levels, improves immunity and increases life-satisfaction. This is because helping someone else interrupts tensionproducing patterns and replaces it with a sense of purpose, which leads positive emotions. Whether you’re looking for a change in career or advancement in your current one volunteering is an excellent way to boost your prospects. Volunteers tend to create a positive impression, appearing more innovative, creative and skilful. In an Adweek article on the state of recruitment in 2015, they found that recruiters rank volunteer participation higher than personal presentation, political affiliations and spelling and grammar errors when looking at a candidate’s potential. This is probably because employers value transferable soft skills and volunteering gives you plenty of those, particularly problem-solving, teamwork, leadership and people skills. Candidates with realworld experience also tend to be more insightful and ready to be more hands-on in projects. Away from the corporate world many people look around their community and long to make a difference but don’t know how. Look for community volunteering projects and get involved. It gives you the

chance to think about the kind of community and world you want to live in, and to be part of something bigger than yourself. If you’re still not sure where to start your volunteering journey think about where your passions lie. Maybe you love animals, are passionate about butterflies, or you want to share music, or life experience, or gardening skills. Look on the web, there will probably be some volunteer group where your passion or knowledge will be useful. If you are feeling adventurous volunteering abroad allows you to travel with a purpose. Before deciding on a programme it’s advisable to ask: • How will it benefit the local community? • Does the organisation respect the local culture? • What is the reason behind your volunteering trip? • What problem will the end-product help solve? Volunteering abroad changes how you see the world as you meet people daily from different countries, backgrounds and quality of life. Many of us are lonely in our modern lives. Maybe we moved away from our families for work, or we’re divorced, or widowed, or the children have left home. Volunteering introduces you to people from all walks of life and provides a means of making real friends who can have a lasting impact on you. Volunteering can shake you out of old routines and help you figure out where you want to head next. You might come up with ideas on how to improve your own community, or even discover a new life calling.

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17 17

Local News

Teddy Bear Festival Returns to Woburn Abbey

Following the success of last year’s inaugural event, the Teddy Bear Festival is returning to Woburn Abbey on Sunday 10th June. The festival, which is a homage to all things teddy bear, will take place from 10am to 3.30pm in the Sculpture Gallery and Grounds. There will be over 150 stalls, where visitors will be able to browse and buy the finest examples of Artist bears and animals, antique and vintage teddy bears and soft toys. In addition, there will be an opportunity to meet experts and get free teddy bear valuations from Daniel Agnew of Special Auction Services. Other highlights include an exhibition of rare and famous teddy bears kindly on loan from collectors. The famous Bristol Bear, a 1910


German antique bear lost at Bristol airport that was only found thanks to a public appeal, will also be on display. There’ll be a hospital for bears in need of repair too. Visitors can make a day of it; there will be refreshments in the central courtyard and tickets can be upgraded to include a visit to the Abbey itself. Entry tickets to the Festival are £12 and include entry to the Festival and fair and the historic gardens and grounds of the Abbey all day. To purchase tickets, visit Follow us on Facebook @ Woburnteddybearfestival

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Food and Drink

Wines: Gems of Austria Austria attracts many visitors, from global origins, constantly. From pretty alpine villages, through cities, boasting beautiful architecture, to stunning landscapes, with lakes, mountains, glaciers and so much more, there is something for everyone. Vienna is the capital city and home to Strauss, the renowned family that is famous for numerous musical scores, including much-loved and well-known waltzes. The Vienna Boys Choir has many followers, worldwide. Locating Mozart’s birthplace, cathedrals and a lot of other locations, including some of the world’s finest museums and art galleries, hold much interest. The high-quality wines, produced in Austria, many of which are multi award-winning, have become recognised for their distinctive, superb attributes.

Domäne Baumgartner is currently reputed to be the largest wine estate in Austria. Having centuries of experience and, now, combining tradition with innovation, Domäne Baumgartner produces outstanding wines. Indeed, Grüner Veltliner Rosenprinzessin (Rose Princess) is, truly, ‘Music in the Bottle’. This wine is ‘treated’ with/to music, having frequencies ‘encouraging’ the eventual outcome. The resulting wine is elegant and has a very good, full body. Taste the music – absolutely! Their ranges include classic, dry Grüner Veltliner wines, which are medium-bodied and full of character, through Zweigelt and Pinot Noir Grande Reserve productions, displaying most impressive fruit depths. All are great pairings with many dishes, complementing cuisine to an exceptional standard. Hauermandl is a family-owned winery in the Langenlois area. Several grape varieties are grown, including Riesling, Chardonnay, Muskateller, Pinot Noir, Zweigelt and, of course, Grüner Veltliner. Their Steiner wine ranges include Grüner Veltliner Sommeliers and Privat Riede Neuberg. On, through Grüner Veltliner Riede Dechant Reserve, to others, that include Riesling Riede Steinhaus and Muskateller, to Zweigelt Reserve. These productions prove to be very popular. Each to their own, the Zweigelt is often selected to impress – and impress it certainly does! This production has many ‘devotees’ and is regularly chosen to grace numerous dining occasions. This red, fruited wine, is both delicate and elegant. The silk-red conveys throughout, from the appearance, through the bouquet, to the superb pleasures, on the mouth and palate, with a memorable finish. Wonderfully delicious.

As always, Enjoy!

ey Trevor Langl


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

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Sunday 19 August Sunday 28 October

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Hertfordshire based hospice launches

WW1 Centenary Cycle Challenge Garden House Hospice Care, in North Hertfordshire, has set a unique and memorable cycle challenge in September to commemorate 100 years since the end of the Great War. Setting off from the UK’s first hospice, St Christopher’s Hospice in South London, cyclists will follow the Pilgrims Way to Folkestone. Over the next three days they will follow the old front line from the historic Belgium town of Ypres, travelling south over the battlefields at Loos, Vimy Ridge and the Somme. The ride will finish at the site of the signing of the Armistice in the Forest of Compiegne. Richard Harbon, Community Fundraiser at Garden House Hospice Care, commented: “The WW1 Centenary Cycle Challenge is a unique opportunity to be part of something that will provide life-long memories whilst enabling cyclists to raise vital funds for Garden House Hospice Care, which serves the communities of North Herts and Stevenage. “During the ride the Great War will be brought to life with visits to sites synonymous to the ‘War to end all wars’ such as Thiepval Memorial to the missing, Lochnagar Crater and Vimy Ridge. You will also have time to pay tribute to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.” Places on this once in a lifetime trip, scheduled for

14 – 17 September, are limited. The cost of the ride is £490 and riders are expected to raise over £1000 for Garden House Hospice Care. Riders are expected to be at least moderate cyclists with moderate level of fitness to ride approximately 275 miles in total; there will be a few groups to offer varied routes and distances each day. To find out more about this challenge, including cost and fundraising requirements nd tips, please visit:

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23 23

Countdown to

‘This Girl Can in Herts’ week 2018 Have you been inspired by the success of Team England at the 2018 Commonwealth Games? What captivated your attention the most? The list of female English successes on the Gold Coast is phenomenal, making the games breath taking, nail biting and inspirational on all accounts. The Herts Sports Partnership, based at the University of Hertfordshire, are looking to build on this success with the return of ‘This Girl Can in Herts’ week from Monday 18 to Sunday 24 June 2018. Once again the Herts Sports Partnership are running a seven day campaign focusing on women and girls getting active through sport and physical active, no matter what their size, age or ability. Working with various partners, the Herts Sports Partnership team are excited to relaunch the This Girl Can in Herts campaign, particularly as 2018 has been designated as the Hertfordshire Year of Physical Activity. This years’ campaign focuses on four key themes; leadership, inactivity, confidence and the social side of sport and physical activity. During this week, could you run a female activity session at your club, take a friend along to a class, go on a walk after the school drop off with other mums, or volunteer at your local parkrun to help motivate others? Alex Varran, Women and Girls Project


Officer at the Partnership commented that, “Last year’s campaign, which saw over 3000 women and girls inspired to take part during the week was a huge success, and so we are delighted to be encouraging more women and girls to get active this June.” A whole host of female-friendly activities and sessions will be promoted including Back to Netball, Pickleball, ladies only swimming, yoga and Clubbercise, proving that there is something for everyone to have a go at. How will you get involved? For more information contact Alex Varran at or call 01707 281173.

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House of Colour

How to Look Effortlessly Stylish at a Wedding The English weather doesn’t exactly make it easy for you to decide what to wear to a wedding. Add to that the pressure of looking chic, yet comfortable with potentially many hours on your feet, and some of us wedding guests have a major dilemma on our hands! Here are tips on how to look effortlessly stylish at a wedding:1. Tried and tested. Unless you are the bride, never wear a new outfit for the first time to an important event such as a wedding. You don’t know whether it will be comfortable or whether it might let you down. I recall watching a beautifully dressed woman having to be carried onto a coach to get her to the wedding she was attending as her dress was too tight to climb the steps! 2. Stand out. Many wedding guests will still wear a traditional shift dress with a matching fascinator but if it suits your personality style - why not try wearing a gorgeous jumpsuit with heels instead? Be true to yourself to look and feel your best! 3. Not the time for business. Gentlemen choose a statement tie in a beautiful silk or add an interesting colour in a detail of your outfit to avoid looking like you are at a business meeting. 4. Stay warm. If you worried about staying warm and stylish in the evening try a faux fur stole, a beautiful cashmere cardigan or a statement shawl as long as it still makes you feel like a million dollars. A warm million dollars! 5. Flats Are In. There is nothing worse than watching someone struggle through a wedding in a pair of killer high heels. Have some spare flats in your bag for dancing in but make sure they still work with your outfit. 6. Don’t wear a white wedding-esque dress - Its essential to differentiate yourself from the bride and not to be in any way in competition with her. True red is the only colour that everyone can wear successfully, and it is a great colour to use as a pop if you don’t want to go all out with a block colour. 7. Natural Party Look. Wear natural looking

make up during the day but have a mineral foundation compact and a killer lipstick in one of your wow colours to re-apply before facing the photographer! Even if you don’t usually wear much make up, a gentle touch of make up in the right colours will make you look amazing for the pics. 8. Vintage – wearing something vintage can help avoid the problem of guests wearing identical outfits. Just be sure it fits well and is in your colours and style. 9. Accessorise…Accessorise! Dress up your outfit with stunning jewellery but make sure the whole look is balanced including size of hat, jewellery and bag. 10. Versatility is key. If you can’t resist buying a new outfit for that important event, then think about the future cost per wear before blowing your budget. It is tempting when invited to a wedding to rush out and buy a new outfit, but before purchasing think about how many times you are likely to wear it in the future. Alternatively have you already got a great dress that can be accessorised differently? Or buy a more versatile dress in a block colour that you could wear again and again by teaming it with other items in your wardrobe and the good news is Colour blocking is back on trend right now!

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By Jennie Billings jenniebillings 27


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Life Coaching

I don’t want to be with my partner any more...

Hang on! You chose to be with this person originally. He or she had something really special which made you want to match your life with theirs. Did they change or did you? NB: If your partner is abusive, controlling, unstable, violent or unfaithful, unless you have made a conscious decision to stay with them, your desire to leave is entirely understandable. However, if you have children together, a successful business or maybe know deep inside there is a really strong bond worth saving, then read on…….. How often do you moan about your partner? Does it make you feel better? No! Actually, it makes you feel a lot worse, but more significantly, your attitude injects negativity into the relationship. When you groan to your friends or gripe to your mother about your partner, you actively damage the bond between you. It’s time to re-frame your thinking. Part of the life coaching process involves turning negative statements into positive intentions. These are just a few

of the transforming phrases my clients have shared; I want my partner: • To be more affectionate • To acknowledge my needs • To be kind in the words they use to me • To share responsibility for our home • To try my hobbies and interests News flash: Your partner probably wants all of those things from you too! Ouch! That stung didn’t it? Another way to damage your relationship is blaming your partner for making you feel bad. Get honest with yourself and stop believing your partner is to blame for your emotions. They aren’t! By acknowledging you have sole responsibility for your feelings you take control of your response to the situation you are in. No one can make you feel anything. You choose to allow your emotions to react in a positive or negative way. Once you get the hang of that little gem, every part of life becomes a whole lot better. When you take responsibility for

your thoughts, words, and feelings and cancel your subscription to the blame game, you may realise your partner still has that special something! This is a great time to assess what you are putting into the relationship and restore the balance you’ve been missing. If you want them to be affectionate, show them some affection. If you want a better sex life, be a considerate and caring lover to them. If you want your partner to listen to you, start by paying attention to them. By changing your perspective you allow the energy in the relationship to shift into a more positive place and give your partner space to be the person you fell in love with. Keep it up and you might just realise the relationship really does matter to you both. Even if ultimately the relationship ends, you will have learned a valuable lesson about taking personal responsibility for your words, thoughts and emotions which will help all areas of your life.

Suzanne Roynon is a personal performance life coach.

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29 29



By Tom Hancock

Travel Insurance It can seem like just one more extra cost you could do without, but travel without it and you could be in trouble. Crippling costs - You risk footing a very large bill should you need healthcare or have your baggage lost or stolen. something as simple as a stomach bug in California with a stomach bug, which requires treatment and later flights home, could cost in the tens of thousands of pounds. A broken hip in a European destination could lead to a bill of £15,000 Don’t forget - If you are planning any sports or other activities, mention it. Skiing and extreme sports are obvious examples, but scuba diving and other activities you may not think of as “extreme” may still need extra cover. Know how much it would cost to replace baggage, from suitcases to clothes, to jewellery, including wedding rings. Why it matters where you’re going - EU countries tend to be less expensive while Canada, the US and the Caribbean are much more so due to the


incredibly high cost of medical care in those regions. Declare pre-existing conditions - certain medical conditions will add to the cost of your insurance, because insurance is about risk and certain ailments make it more likely that you might require medical attention. It may be worth looking at insurers which specialise in providing this type of insurance. Tell them everything - Even if it feels like you are hiking up the cost of your insurance policy. You don’t want your insurance to be invalid if you need to make a claim. Read! - When you get your policy, make sure you read the full terms and conditions and the medical declaration carefully, so you understand exactly what you’re covered for.

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DO YOU NEED TO MAKE A WILL OR REVISE YOUR EXISTING WILL? If so, please take advantage of our reduced rate wills offer. Please note that reduced rate wills will be available every week day from 8.00am until 6.00pm, and on Tuesday evenings until 8.00pm, by appointment only. Also on the Saturday mornings of 2nd and 16th JUNE, again by appointment only: Reduced rates are:Double Wills - £280.00 plus VAT Single Will - £150.00 plus VAT HOME VISITS ARE ALSO AVAILABLE AT NO EXTRA CHARGE WITHIN A 20 MILE RADIUS OF ROYSTON. For more information please contact:THE WALKERS PARTNERSHIP Fish Hill Chambers, 2-3 Fish Hill, Royston SG8 9JY Tel: 01763 241121 Email:

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Garden View

Totally Tropical The ‘greenhouse effect’ is an environmental hot topic. And it’s true that despite the grim winter of 2017-18 we’ve generally been experiencing milder conditions in recent years. I’ve certainly started to experiment with more exotic plants. It’s a little risky; one hard winter can wipe out a tender specimen. But between now and September there’s every chance that many tropical plants will survive if planted out in our gardens. They need a sunny sheltered spot, like the one you would choose for petunias, tobacco plants and rose beds. Try Cannas. They have luxuriant broad spearshaped leaves, which can be deep green, purple or even striped with orange or yellow. They produce vibrant flowers which look like gladioli but better! Or how about planting scarlet dahlias like ‘Bishop of Llandaff’, which also sports attractive bronze foliage. A big clump of African marigolds provides a blaze of fiery colour. Or try tender perennial salvias in colours which range from magenta through to scarlet and deep purples and blues. They won’t survive the first winter frosts but they an easy to propagate from shoot-cuttings which can be over-wintered in a cool greenhouse ready for the following spring.

Verbena bonariensis produces tall wands of dainty lilac flowers. They self-seed freely, which is great if you consider that a bonus in a plant (I do) but maybe avoid this one if self-seeding bothers you. You could even try a banana plant. The variety “Musa Banjo” is wonderfully architectural, and though it does not produce fruit it will create impact. Plant in a large pot and let its fan-like leaves create fabulous shadows on the patio. It hails from Japan originally and loves sunshine, but it is hardy to -6C so perfect for the suburban UK climate. Do note that in winter the leaves naturally die back and turn brown. I thought I’d killed mine the first year, but the leaves grow back quickly in the spring. The Honey Bush (Melianthus major) is a terrific half-hardy foliage specimen with its 50cm long grey-green deeply serrated leaves, which look as though they’ve been cut with pinking shears. Some of these plants will survive a British Winter with protection but it’s probably best to treat your ‘tropical’ border as a temporary display. Experiment and have fun creating your very own suburban rainforest.

By Rachael Leverton

Happy Gardening


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By Solange Hando

Milan Cathedral Among the largest churches in the world, the Duomo rises on a magnificent square at the heart of Milan. It is dedicated to St Mary of the Nativity, an iconic landmark which took almost 600 years to complete. The last gate was inaugurated in 1965. Work began in the late 14th century by the church of St Maria Maggiore. Foundations were laid for three naves, soon increased to five as both the local bishop and duke aimed to raise the city to new heights. A canal network was designed to transport material. Gothic architecture would rival the great cathedrals in northern Europe but flexibility and innovations were welcome. Marble was used, foreign architects, artists and craftsmen joined the Italian team, and on this ancient pagan site building progressed unusually, from back to front. It started with the apse while the façade of St Maria Maggiore remained in use until 1682. The new one was only completed in the 1800s by order of Napoleon. Elegant buildings line the vast panoramic square but all lead the eye to the Duomo, stretching 92 x 158 metres. Inside are 98 gargoyles, 135 spires and over 3,400 statues which found their niche around the cathedral. The pink-hued marble of Candoglia cleverly hides the brickwork, playing all day long with light and shade to take your breath away. The main bronze door greets visitors with stunning bas-reliefs, while the 18th century sundial is still used to set the clocks around town. Large enough for 40,000 people, the interior is striking, with five broad naves supported by 40 columns. At 45 metres, the central aisle is the highest in a finished Gothic church and is


decorated with impressive stained glass windows. Up above the apse, a small red light marks the holy place where a nail from the cross is kept. On the Feast of the Holy Cross in mid-September, the archbishop of Milan is slowly hoisted up in an angel-decorated basket to bring the relic down for display. Statues, frescoes, sarcophagi, pulpits and the largest organ in Italy, but most famous is the 16th century statue of St Bartholomew Flayed, a sad disturbing figure by Marco d’Agrate. More enticing are the three superb altars by Pelligrino Tibaldi, who was appointed by archbishop Borromeo to lighten up the old Gothic style with the flourishing Italian Renaissance. Visitors could easily spend an hour or more in the cathedral but most exciting of all is the rooftop walk. Beyond the first terrace accessed by a lift are narrow passageways and slippery steps up to the wide open space of a safe but steeply-slanted roof. Up there, above pinnacles, flying buttresses and statues, the golden Madonna rises on the very top to bless the city at her feet. Views are superb and in clear weather the Alps are visible. It’s the perfect place to reflect on this unique building and the work of so many architects and artists over the centuries. Mark Twain described it as ‘so grand, so solemn, so vast’ and across the square, on the equestrian statue flanked by lions, Victor Emmanuel II, first king of the newly united Italy, seems to approve.

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Rehoming Appeal

Local News


Buddy is a 2 year old neutered male cat who, as a tiny kitten in Spain, was ferociously attached by feral cats. He was rescued by a kind lady who brought him back to England to live with her and her two other rescue cats. Unfortunately, although her other cats were friendly, Buddy could not get over his fear of other cats in the house and was very unhappy. Reluctantly the lady thought Buddy would be happier if he had a home of his own with no other pets. He is very friendly towards people and loves to play have a cuddle on someone’s lap. He is vaccinated, microchipped and has his pet passport and is just waiting for someone to give him that special home where he will feel safe and have lots of love. If you would like to find out more about this lovely boy, please contact Liz on 01767 681157. Alternatively, please e-mail Philippa at who will be pleased to forward your enquiry on to the team. View other cats, dogs and small mammals 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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39 20/02/2017 16:40


Animal Heroes Shocking cruelty – happening on your doorstep

Our RSPCA Inspectors, Animal Welfare Officers and Animal Collection Officers do amazing work in Bedfordshire. In 2017 alone, they visited and investigated 1,470 complaints! That’s four new animal welfare concerns every day. This shocking figure makes Bedfordshire the 10th cruelest county in the South East. Such information has been released as part of the RSPCA’s annual Cruelty Statistics. These show that, nationally, 143,760 complaints about animal welfare were investigated in 2017 alone. Among the cases, investigated by the RSPCA in Bedfordshire last year, were four dogs who sadly died after they were shut away in a room for four weeks without food and water. The most calls received in Bedfordshire related to dogs (870), cats (392) and equines (130). The scale of the problem is worth repeating. That’s in just one year. The RSPCA’s staff are constantly stretched to their limits as they try and help all the suffering, sick and dying animals in the county. Many readers will be surprised to read this. We are in 2018 – yet the awful incidents of cruelty still, sadly, continue. Although this is clearly emotionally draining work, the staff and volunteers at the RSPCA keep focused on the fact that they are rescuing these animals from horrific neglect or brutal cruelty – and giving them a second chance. The RSPCA North Bedfordshire Branch is a small,


local animal charity – which helps to transform the lives of thousands of animals in Bedfordshire each year. However, the public also plays a vital role too – by reporting cruelty and supporting our efforts to raise funds. Much needed funds are created by donating to the charity shop in Bedford, buying from it, leaving a legacy in your will, Gift Aiding donations or donating to street collections. Additional volunteers are always welcome too – whether it’s helping in the shop, fostering cats or helping on a stall at a local fete. If you feel uncomfortable or shocked reading this – we are sorry. But, please think about how you can help prevent, and ease, the horrific cruelty that may be happening closer than you think. If you are concerned about an animal’s welfare, you can report this to the RSPCA’s cruelty line on 0300 1234 999 (24-hours) or online on More information, and fundraising packs, can be also be found on Call 01234 266965 or email with any enquiries.

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

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10 electric vehicle myths busted Confusion surrounds the running and operation of an electric car. Here, we try to clear that up. 1. You can’t boil the kettle while charging an electric car A National Grid report warned that home networks might struggle to cope with high-capacity car charging. However, EV owners with a lowcapacity home network wouldn’t have a high-capacity charger, so there’s little chance of the network being overloaded. 2. EVs are more expensive than petrol and diesel cars Generally, the base price of an EV will be slightly more expensive, but manufacturers compensate by offering a generous specification so that with the government’s £4,500 zero-emission vehicle grant taken into account, they’re a pretty good deal, plus have low running costs. What’s more, as EV technology becomes more prevalent, costs will reduce – the new Nissan Leaf starts at £1,500 less than the old one. 3. They’re more likely to catch fire in a crash Concerns about crash safety are

largely driven by a couple of highprofile Tesla Model S fires in 2013. The EV maker upgraded its underbody battery pack protection in 2014 but also noted that the odds of fires in its cars were “five times lower than those of an average gasoline car”. 4. You can’t drive them in car washes or when it’s raining Water and electricity don’t mix, so manufacturers carefully seal all of the electrified components to make sure there aren’t any problems using car washes, or driving or charging in the rain. 5. You can’t go very far Most electric vehicles now have a range in excess of 150 miles, with 200 miles becoming the norm – and the average journey is less than nine miles. 6. There’s nowhere to charge them Long trips require a bit more planning, but charge point locator Zap Map indicates there are almost 15,000 connectors at more than 5,000 locations in the UK, with more added all the time. Plus, rapid chargers can provide 80 per cent of charge in about 30 minutes.

7. The batteries don’t last very long Batteries do have a finite life but most manufacturers offer battery leasing for a monthly fee and will replace it for free when needed. Others offer replacement warranties, with five- to eight-year cover the norm. 8. EVs are less environmentally friendly across their life cycle The energy required to build an electric car can make it less environmentally friendly to produce than a traditionally fuelled car. However, a Norwegian study quoted by the BBC estimates an EV is about 10 per cent better over its life cycle, and that will continue to improve. 9. Battery disposal poses a huge environmental issue It does, but the EV boom has encouraged lateral thinking to improve recycling rates, with companies taking used EV batteries for use elsewhere, such as home energy storage. 10. They’re boring to drive Modern electric cars can be genuinely fun to drive, particularly thanks to the high-torque motors, which make acceleration brisk. Tesla takes this to extremes with its Model S, which reaches 60mph in less than three seconds – comparable to the new McLaren Senna supercar, with its petrolpowered twin-turbo V8.

By James Baggott 42

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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.

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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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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

 Painting and decorating including wallpaper  Roofing - slate and tiled  Brickwork  Laying of laminate and wooden flooring  Conservatory project manage and installation  Fully project managed garden landscaping  Window and conservatory cleaning 01438 353793 / 07531 229067

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Three Counties Radio

CHERRY BAKEWELL TART I cannot resist a sweet treat, and luckily we have them every week on the Weekend Kitchen. This sumptuous Bakewell Tart was created by a highly talented young local cake maker and pastry chef called Victoria Chidgey. She set up her business, Little Tring Cakes, after several stints in top London businesses – and the pastry recipe here was given to her by a chef at the Savoy Hotel when she was 16 years old. She swears by it, and it creates an incredibly light, flaky and moreish tart. You’ll need 1 x 9” Pie Mould / Tart Ring or a 12 whole bun tray with round pastry cutter. Pastry: 340g Flour 225g Butter 110g Golden Caster Sugar 1 Egg Frangipane: 120g Butter 120g Golden Caster Sugar 120g Ground Almonds 2 Eggs 1 teaspoon Almond Essence 25ml Brandy (if you have it knocking about) Filling: 125g Black Cherry Compote Topping: Flaked Almonds Icing Sugar (Golden is best but it doesn’t matter too much)

1. Preheat the oven to 160C, 140C Fan, Gas Mark 3. 2. Beat the butter with the sugar until it is well incorporated and has lightened in colour. 3. Scrape the bowl and add the flour. Beat on a low speed and, when the flour is just incorporated, add the egg. Keep mixing until it all comes together. 4. Wrap the pastry in clingfilm and leave in the fridge for an hour or so, or in the freezer for 15-25 minutes. The recipe is enough pastry for two tarts so you can freeze whatever you don’t use. 5. For the frangipane, melt the butter in the microwave until it is very soft but still holds its shape. 6. Mix in the sugar with a wooden spoon and lightly beat for around 3 minutes. 7. Add the ground almonds and brandy and mix until incorporated. Add the egg and beat for 1-2 minutes. 8. Roll out the pastry to approximately 3mm thick. 9. Line the tart case. Push the pastry into the corners and then use your fingers in an upward motion. If you have opted to do smaller individual tartlets, use a round cutter to cut a disk of pastry and line the bun holes. 10. Trim away any excess pastry with a sharp paring knife, leaving a slight lip if possible. Prick the bottom of the tart with a fork. Patch up any imperfections with pastry using your thumb. 11. Spread the cherry compote on the bottom of the tart case and place in the fridge or freezer. This prevents any of the filling bleeding through the frangipane. 12. Using a piping bag or the back of a hot spoon, spread the frangipane on top of the compote to just below the rim of the pastry. Scatter flaked almonds on top and bake for approximately 35-40 minutes. Once out of the oven dust the top with icing sugar while still warm. 13. Serve with brandy cream or crème fraiche mixed with some lemon zest.

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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Colours Amber Apricot Azure Beige Black Blue Blush Bronze Brown Cerise Copper Crimson Cyan Emerald

Green Taupe Grey Teal Indigo Violet Ivory White Jade Yellow Orange Peach Pink Plum Puce Raspberry Red Rose Ruby

Find the names of colours in the grid and the remaining letters will spell out a related phrase

n i t l ham F e o J Plasterers

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Codeword 1



























Easy Suduko

Hard Suduko

Fill in the grid so that each row, column and 3x3 box, contains the digits 1 through to 9 with no repetition. Use your logic to solve the puzzles. 48

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n O s ’ t Wha 1, 8, 15, 22 & 29 June 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 2 June The Signals Museum Open Day 10am-4pm The Signals Museum at RAF Henlow is open to the public. Entry is free but official photo ID is required to get an entry ticket from the Guardroom. 2-3 June St Albans Steam & Country Show 2018 10am Oaklands College (Smallford Campus), St. Albans Adults £8, Under 16s £5, Senior Citizens £5, Family £20. Our annual event showcases Steam Engines, Vintage Vehicles, Classic Cars and more. Ring events and parades will enable all the mobile exhibits to be moved on the field. For youngsters these steaming monsters provide both entertainment and education. Many of the older generation may remember steam rollers at work, while before the last world war steam wagons regularly pounded through St. Albans carrying long distance loads. Steam threshing was carried out at local farms, while steam tractors were used to carry stone, farm produce and even house contents within the area. Web: 3 June A Day Retreat for Body and Soul 10am-4.30pm Letchworth Centre for Healthy Living £65 inc. lunch. A Day Retreat for Body and Soul with Judy Hammond, dancer and teacher of the Alexander Technique. Experience exquisite relaxation and learn secrets of grounding, centering and strengthening. Tel: 01462 678804 Web:


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

In June

4 June Hitchin & Letchworth RSPB Evening Visit 7.15pm RSPB Fowlmere Nature Reserve, near Fowlmere, South Cambs Spring is the best time of year to visit this South Cambridgeshire reserve. Fowlmere supports up to nine species of warbler and is one of the best places in the UK to see the fast-declining turtle dove (at least two purring males present in 2017), whilst we will also look out for water rail in the reedbeds and kingfisher along the stream (where water voles might be seen) and on the main lake. Marsh harriers are possible and the resident barn owls should become active as dusk approaches. Meet at the reserve car park (O/S 154: TL 408 458). See the website for other trips and visits. Tel: 01763249459 Email: Web: hitchinandletchworth

5, 7, 12, 14, 19, 21, 26 & 28 June “Come and Try Bowls” Days Tues 2pm, Thurs 6pm Willian Bowls Club, Lower Green, Norton Common, Letchworth Every Tuesday and Thursday. New for our 2018 Outdoor season. Free tuition and all equipment provided. Any new bowler wanting to join after a session, will be offered free 2018 Membership. Tel: 01462 642790 Web:

4, 11, 18 & 25 June Staplers Country Dance Club 8-10pm St John’s Community Hall, Hitchin Staplers is your local social folk dance club. It’s easy to start as all the dances are walked through first then called and you don’t need to bring a partner, lots of people go on their own. It is a friendly group and you will be made very welcome. Car parking available next to the hall. Tel. 01462 895567 or 01462 624144 Web:

7-9 June Hitchin Beer Festival 2018 Thurs 5-11pm, Fri & Sat 12-11pm Hitchin Rugby Club, Old Hale Way Entry £3, CAMRA members and OAPs free Over 100 real ales, 45 ciders, and over 100 international beers from across the world. Food from Hitchin Street Food Monthly.

4, 11, 18 & 25 June 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. The club organises regular events, such as dinners, meals, theatre and concert visits, day and weekend trips and holidays. Tel: Lorna 01438 233657 Web:

5, 12, 19 & 26 June 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

7, 14, 21 & 28 June Roundabouters Country Dance Club 8-10pm Friends Meeting House, Cuttys Lane, Stevenage £3 per week inc. refreshments, Annual subscription £5 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. First week free. Tel. 01438 727239 Email: Web:

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n O s ’ t Wha In June

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

7, 14, 21 & 28 June 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: 9, 16, 23 & 30 June Mummy and Me Classes For children from 18 months to 2½yrs 8.35-9am Letchworth Centre for Healthy Living £35 for 7 weeks A lovely opportunity for you to help introduce your toddler to basic ballet movements and rhythm in a fun way. Sessions will use toys, instruments and other props to enhance marching, clapping, spatial awareness and changing direction. Continues until 21 July. Tel: 01462 678804 Web: 17 June Stevenage RSPB Coach Trip 7.40am Adults £15, Under 18s £7.50 Coach Trip with Hitchin/Letchworth group initially to NNR Stodmarsh before moving on to RSPB Blean Woods. Coach leaves from the rear of Waitrose store on Primett Road at 7.40am. Booking essential. Tel: 01438 861547 Web:

17 June Biggleswade Antiques Fair 9.30am-4pm The Weatherley Centre, Eagle Farm Road, Biggleswade Entrance £1.50. This antiques fair offers a diverse range of antiques and collectables so whether you are a professional dealer, an avid collector or just looking for something special, this monthly fair is the place to visit. Café serving breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea. Tel: 01480 382432 or 07906 647346 Web: 17 June Stotfold Art Group Summer Exhibition 10am-4pm Roecroft Centre, Church Road, Stotfold Free admission. Summer Exhibition for Festival Week. All welcome. Reasonable prices. Parking nearby. 21 June Letchworth District Gardeners Association Doors open 7pm for 7.30pm Central Methodist Church, 109 Pixmore Way, Letchworth Garden City Advance tickets £10, on the door £12 A talk by Christine Walkden on ‘The life and times of a gardener’. Tickets available from LDGA Trading Store, Tapps Garden Centre, Letchworth Local & Tourist Information Centre, David’s Bookshop or telephone to reserve. Tel: 01462 621691 24 June 7 Mindfulness Practices to Calm an Active Mind 9.30am for 10am-1pm Letchworth Centre for Healthy Living £40 inc. refreshments. 7 Mindfulness Practices to Calm an Active Mind with Dr Neelam Taneja PhD, Member IAYT, Life Fellow RSM. For “do-ers” and those with active minds, having a quiet space within the nervous system and in the body can be especially beneficial. This workshop will introduce strategies to help you to find oases of stillness in your life. Tel: 01462 678804 Web:

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28 June North Herts Association of the National Trust Coach Outing Pickup points in Hitchin & Letchworth. A day in Oxford, including an optional visit to the Botanical Gardens. Tel: Adam Kuzminski 01462 620317 Email: 29 & 30 June, 1 July Flower Festival & Photographic Exhibition Fri & Sat 11am-4pm, Sun morning service 9-11.30am & 12-3pm St Nicholas Church, Rectory Lane, Stevenage Flower festival with the theme of “I am” and photographic exhibition with theme of Creation with individuals and organisation from the local community taking part. Refreshments available on all days. Concert on 30 June. Tel: Chris 07543 734207 30 June Letchworth Armed Forces Day 10am-4pm Broadway Gardens, Letchworth Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of RAF and Armistice. 2 July North Herts Association of the National Trust Coach Outing Pickup points in Hitchin & Letchworth Visit to the Swiss Garden, Shuttleworth. Tel: Adam Kuzminski 01462 620317 Email: 8 July The Adventures of Dr Dolittle by Illyria Entry from 5pm, Show 6pm RSPB, The Lodge, Potton Road, Sandy Adults £15, Children (4-16) £8, Family (2+2) £42. Outdoor theatre show by Illyria. A funny, much-loved and exciting adventure, with a strong message about responsibility towards animals and the environment. Suitable for aged 4+. Tickets available online. Web: https://illyria. dolittleatrspbthelodgenaturereserve


Quirky Britain

It’s dark outside, so pick up your paddle

“I’m in the centre of London ... No traffic, no street beer din, no synched steps of business folk rushing for the train… I can breathe. The air here has rarely felt so clean; I’ve never seen the city with so much sky.” So writes blogger Sam Haddad on the website mpora. com, describing his night-time journey along the Thames in – of all things – a kayak. Sam is just one of a growing number of outdoor adventurers who like to explore the UK’s rivers, lakes and coastal waters by kayak as night falls. It’s one of those off-the-wall activities that have recently grown in popularity and are particularly favoured by social media users looking for quirky and unusual experiences to post on Facebook or Instagram. The Oxford Dictionary defines a ‘kayak’ as “a canoe of a type used originally by the Inuit, made of a light frame with a watertight covering having a small opening in the top to sit in”. Kayaks are light, manoeuvrable and hard to capsize, but to the average landlubber a kayak may not seem the obvious choice for a nocturnal adventure in a busy waterway. It’s hard to understand the attraction of this type of transport until you hear the first-hand accounts of people who have actually experienced night kayaking: “It was like a dream” …“We couldn’t stop talking about our experience for days” … “Outstanding and magical.” (Comments left by firsttime night kayakers on the travel site Trip Advisor.) Don’t underrate the risks Despite being an enthusiastic proponent of nightkayaking, experienced sea kayaker Duncan Smith is aware of the dangers: “On nights where the moon is not providing natural light you are more reliant


on your night vision. This can be cut dramatically by the glare from any head-torch or deck light you carry and whilst you can see into the distance … it can be difficult to see/read the water in front of you.” He adds: “Sound seems amplified in the dark, to the point when tiny waves breaking on the pebbled shore can sound like huge, dumping surf.” Dipping your toe in the water If you’re keen to try kayaking by night but have never used a kayak before, you should take your first trip under the guidance of an experienced leader. Organised excursions are available across the UK, with many different experiences to choose from. Most excursions include instructions on how to handle a kayak, but if you’re in any doubt about whether the route is suitable for you, you should check with the operator prior to booking. Join a club If you are already familiar with kayaks but have never ventured out at night, you could join a club for support, companionship and advice. There are numerous kayak clubs throughout Britain – contact the British Canoeing Union ( to find your nearest group, but be aware that not all clubs practice kayaking after dark. When you read the testimonials of people who have experienced night-kayaking, it’s easy to understand why it creates such a sense of awe and wonder. Noisy daytime environments become peaceful, skies become bigger and familiar landscapes take on an eerie new beauty. But most seasoned kayakers will also admit to enjoying the moment when they reach dry land, looking forward to the chance to warm up over a pint in a cosy local pub.

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Local News

Stevenage Plus Social Club

Stevenage Plus Social Club are a friendly group who meet on Thursday and Saturday evenings and organise a varied of programme of events such as meals out, countryside walks, picnics, BBQs, quiz nights, day trips, weekends away and more. New members are always welcome. To find out more, please telephone 01438 231550 or visit Support Activities Programme Supported Activities Programme (formerly Leisure Direct) is an independent charity for adults with learning disabilities who live in the North Hertfordshire and Stevenage areas. The wide range of activities, offered with volunteer support for a safe environment, enable members to have fun, learn new skills, improve their self-esteem, build a social network and access community life they may otherwise not experience. We welcome new members as well as new volunteers, with various exciting roles available. For more information, please call us on 01462 485534 or visit

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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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May’s Puzzle Solutions and Winners Last Month’s Crossword Winner Mr E Hathway from Letchworth Winner of the Battle Proms Competition Gary Gunn from Langford

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The Villager Prize Crossword



Across 7 Type of fruit (6) 8 Astute (6) 9 Encounter (4) 10 Fluttering (8) 11 Diary (7) 13 Honestly (5) 15 Regularly (5) 17 Nearest (7) 20 Pupils (8) 21 Encourage (4) 23 Chortles (6) 24 Four score (6)

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

Down 1 Very unusual (4) 2 Repartee (6) 3 Central (7) 4 Customary (5) 5 Correct (6) 6 Diminishes (8) 12 Formal (8) 14 Clutched (7) 16 Sufficient (6) 18 Smear (6) 19 Fake (5) 22 Barrier (4)

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e l h Fest v l in





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Traditional Village Green & Games Jazz & Folk Sessions Pony Riding Wellbeing Area Food Stalls


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Great Ashby Directory June 18  
Great Ashby Directory June 18