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Issue 111 - February 2018

and Town



In this issue Win tickets to see

Phil Beer ‘String Theory’ Classic Films for

Valentine’s Day Win £25 in our Prize Crossword

Bringing Local Business to Local People in

Langford, Henlow, Shefford, Stanford, Hinxworth, Ickleford, Caldecote, Radwell, Fairfield Park, Shillington, Pirton, Upper and Lower Stondon, Gravenhurst, ur Holwell, Meppershall, Baldock, Stotfold, Arlesey, Hitchin & Letchworth Yo EE To advertise in The Villager and Town Life please call 01767 261122



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Inside this issue... 28

How to get a good night’s sleep Forgotten Foods.........................................................................4 Wordsearch................................................................................6 Classic Films for Valentine’s Day..................................................8 Win tickets to see Phil Beer......................................................12 Fostering for Adoption Scheme................................................15 Wine: Convenience Matters......................................................16 Safer Internet Day....................................................................19 What to do if your sight and hearing worsen...........................20 How to effortlessly wear ultra violet........................................23 Hertfordshire Year of Physical Activity......................................25 How to get a good night’s sleep...............................................28 Chinese New Year.....................................................................32 Gadgets your beloved will love................................................35 Beijing Temple of Heaven.........................................................36 How do you like your pancakes?...............................................39

Time to get Pruning.................................................................40 The Joy of a Greenhouse...........................................................42 New Brand to put Greensand Country on the Map...................47 Not you bog-standard kind of sport.........................................48 R.A.T.S. Rehoming Appeal........................................................50 Animal Heroes..........................................................................52 Honda Civic Type R...................................................................54 Nick Coffer’s Weekend Recipe...................................................57 Puzzle Page..............................................................................60 What’s On.................................................................................62 Alternative Ways to Invest in Property......................................66 What Crochet Taught my Son...................................................69 Fun Quiz...................................................................................73 Prize Crossword........................................................................74 Book Review............................................................................77

The joy of a greenhouse


Get your business off to a flying start this year Advertise with the Villager Magazine... prices start from just £37.50 +VAT per month 9,500 copies delivered free of charge in the following areas: Henlow, Langford, Astwick, Edworth, Hinxworth, Caldecote, Newnham, Radwell, Bygrave, Shillington, Holwell, Pirton, Upper and Lower Stondon, Shefford, Ashwell End and Stanford (Further bulk drops are made to local shops and busineses in Arlesey, Upper and Lower Stondon, Shefford, Baldock, Letchworth, Hitchin and Stotfold) Editorial - Catherine Rose, Sarah Davey, Trevor Langley, Ian McMullan, Jennie Billings, Alison Runham, Solange Hando, Pippa Greenwood, Rachael Leverton, Kate McLelland, RSPCA, James Baggott, Nick Coffer, Tracey Anderson and Kate Duggan Advertising Sales/Local Editorial Nigel Frost • Tel 01767 261122 • Photography Paul Grecaud Design and Artwork Design 9 • Tel 07762 969460 •

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

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

Advert Booking and Artwork Deadline: Thursday 8th February for our MARCH edition

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Forgotten Foods In the era of supermarkets, ready meals and worldwide food imports, it is difficult to appreciate a time when people would not only have had to be thrifty with what they ate but creative too, cooking using the ingredients they had available. This month we look at some of the more unusual British dishes that were once common but have now disappeared from our everyday tables. There is no doubt that although many of our staples have remained, the dishes we eat daily have changed drastically over the centuries. Who would now enjoy a bowl of garum? Yet this fermented fish soup was a favourite of the Romans. We tend to think of the medieval era as being typified by banquets overflowing with roast meat and washed down with endless tankards of mead.


In fact, there were many cookery books kept at this time and dishes were often surprisingly complex, served with a great deal of visual wit. Take for example the cockentryce. A capon, or castrated cockerel, was boiled, cut in half and sewn to the rump of a piglet. This was then stuffed and spit-roasted before being ‘gilded’ using egg yolk, saffron and (edible) gold leaf! The cockentryce was by no means unusual as rich and royal households loved nothing better than a chimera - combining the cooked meat of different animals and presenting the whole complete with head, tail and feet! Possibly the closest we get to this kind of combination today is our three-bird roast sometimes enjoyed at Christmas. In those days, if you were offered custarde, you couldn’t assume it was the stuff we regularly pour over our apple pie. Custarde was a type of 15th century quiche made with eggs, veal and prunes. Medieval foodies loved nothing better than to combine fruit with their meat dishes. For example, fish sausage made from a mixture of fish, currants, cloves, mace and salt, all squeezed into the traditional sausage skin of an animal intestine, was another favourite. Puddings were equally creative, and some had wonderfully poetic names like ‘a dish of snow’ which was a concoction of whipped egg whites and apple purée. A Tudor recipe from The Proper Newe Booke of Cookerye describes how to make ‘Egges in Moneshyne’ (eggs in moonlight) by poaching them in a syrup of rose water and sugar to resemble moons. Some of the dishes that were routinely served would probably not be considered very palatable today. For example, in the 1700s, cows’ udder was a norm, either roasted or boiled with spices and served cold in slices coated with sugar or ‘white bread crum’. In his famous diary, it

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is mentioned as being much enjoyed by Samuel Pepys. No native animal was spared in the days before intensive farming limited our regular choice to poultry, lamb, beef or pork. You would not go into a supermarket today and scour the meat counter for a cut of snake, but this was also a popular dish in the sixteenth century. Published in 1736, Richard Bradley’s The Country Housewife and Lady’s Director in the Management of a House and the Delights and Profits of a Farm (a title which is a mouthful in itself ) contains a recipe for boiled vipers which it states should have their heads cut off while still alive, the body cut into chunks and boiled along with their hearts. In rural areas, both badger and hedgehog were eaten. Considered a delicacy, Bradley’s cookery book has instructions on how to prepare cooked badger by cutting off its ‘gammons’ (hind legs), stripping them and then soaking them in brine for a week to ten days, after which they should be boiled for four or five hours and finally roasted. The hedgehog was a Romany favourite and would have been widely eaten in mid-Bedfordshire where there was once a thriving Romany gypsy population. The hedgehog would be caught, packed in clay and baked on the open fire. Once


the clay had hardened it was broken away, which took the skin and spines with it, to uncover a meat said to look and taste like roast pork (hence the ‘hog’ perhaps). Beestings (or beastings) pudding was another rural dish that was certainly eaten in this area and one that, post pasteurisation, most people will never have heard of. A milk pudding, it was made at home from the rich colostrum of a cow that had recently given birth. The Victorians were adept at using every part of a slaughtered animal for food, from the brains to the hooves. Calves’ ears would be shaved, boiled and fried; offal made into various patés; and calves’ feet boiled to extract the natural gelatine, which was then used to make jelly and preserve foods in aspic. Bone marrow would not be wasted either and bones were stewed to make broth and gravy. We could probably learn a lot from the Victorians in managing our food wastage today. And although there are undoubtedly still many people who have a passion for creative cooking, perhaps generations of future centuries will look back on our love of Super Noodles and tinned baked beans with both horror and amusement.

By Catherine Rose

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Time of Year

By Sarah Davey

Classic Films for Valentine’s You could go out for an expensive meal, or buy a bunch of overpriced red roses…or you could curl up with a glass of wine in front of a classic romantic film. There’s something for everyone, whether coupled-up or happily single. Annie Hall – This was probably the father of all romantic comedies. Alvy (Allen) is a cynical pessimist while Annie (Diane Keaton) is a ditsy, clumsy talented singer and photographer. If you’ve never seen it, don’t expect a neat ending (this is Woody Allen) but it showcases love in all its messy absurdness, and is sharp, funny and never cheesy. Ghost – This was 1990’s second highest grossing movie (Home Alone came out top). Patrick Swayze plays Sam, murdered in the opening scenes. His spirit tries to warn his grieving lover (Demi Moore) that her life too is in danger. To do this he enlists the help of a reluctant psychic played by Whoopie Goldberg. The result is by turns tender, funny, and bittersweet. You will never hear Unchained Melody again without shedding a tear. Pretty Woman – This is rather cheesy but has survived the test of time (mostly). It’s a Cinderella story really as Vivian (played by Julie Roberts), a prostitute with a heart of gold, is hired by a businessman (Richard Gere) as an escort and turns his life upside down. As Good as It Gets – No cheese here, just dry wit


and snarky humour, delivered perfectly by Jack Nicholson playing Melvin Udall, a misanthropic author with OCD who falls for Carol (Helen Hunt), a waitress who can’t stand him. It’s a story of redemption. Moonstruck – If you like your romances complex then this is the film for you. Italian-American widow Loretta (played by Cher) accepts a marriage proposal from her doltish boyfriend, Johnny, but then finds herself falling for his younger brother, Ronny (Nick Cage). She resists, but Ronny blames his brother for the accident in which he lost his hand and has no scruples about pursuing her in Johnny’s absence. As Loretta falls further in love she learns that she’s not the only one in her family with a secret romance. Cher is a surprisingly good actor and the chemistry between the leads is great. The Wedding Singer – This engaging film is actually a parody of all things eighties. But the leads play their roles sincerely and that’s what makes this work. Robbie (Adam Sandler sporting a fabulous mullet) is a singer, while Julia (Drew Barrymore) is a waitress. They are both in relationships with the wrong people but fortune intervenes to help them discover each other. This is pure romantic cheese, but it’s top quality cheese so serve with only the best crackers.

Happy Valentine’s Day

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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.

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COMPETITION Win 2 tickets

to see Phil Beer ‘String Theory’ 2018 Tour The Junction in Cambridge on Thursday 15th February


2018 looks set to be a different, yet very special year for Phil as he announces his solo tour ‘String Theory’ in February and March. The tour will feature material old and new, and showcase his exceptional skill on all-things-stringed. With the return of ‘Folkboat’ this summer, there are limited chances to catch Phil in 2018, so grab your tickets while you can! When a musician’s CV drops names like Mike Oldfield, the Rolling Stones and Steve Harley, you know you’re dealing with a man at the top of his game. Phil Beer is one-half of the multi-award-winning acoustic folk and roots powerhouse Show of Hands, and he’s also in demand in his own right as a captivating solo performer. So, what does a man as talented as Phil Beer do when he’s not selling out the Royal Albert Hall with Show of Hands? He embarks on an eagerly awaited solo tour, visiting a string of carefully selected venues throughout the UK. He’ll be delivering his unique recipe of rich vocals and flawless musicianship across a range of stringed instruments (slide, Spanish and tenor guitar, mandocello, viola, mandolin and South American Cuatro). Alongside some Show of Hands classics, Phil will deliver his signature interpretation of much-loved folk and rock songs alongside a wealth of brand-new material, and there’ll be the odd laugh thrown in for good measure. Phil says, “2017 was such a busy year with the Albert Hall show, festivals and band tours. This year I’m looking forward to something a bit different. There’s something about a solo tour which makes me feel really connected with the audience. I’m also planning the release of a very special 8-disc boxset and am looking forward to sharing new material from that.” Following the tour, Phil will be focusing on ‘Folkboat’: a project which brilliantly combines his two greatest passions – music and sailing. Then in September he’ll return to the stage as Show of Hands prepare for a busy autumn. “A Phil Beer gig is one spent in the company of a true craftsman, a master musician and consummate performer” Spiral Earth. Simply send your entry by 12th February 2018 to: Phil Beer Competition, Villager Publications Ltd, 24 Market Square, Potton, Beds SG19 2NP Winner will be drawn ramdomly.

Address: Tel: 12

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Local News

Local family supported Fostering for Adoption scheme and have never looked back

Sarah and Neil felt Fostering for Adoption was right for them despite the uncertainties they faced. “We were aware the baby might be returned to their birth family and we knew we would be sad if this happened. But right from the start we felt really positive about Fostering for Adoption because we feel it is the right thing for the babies and children involved, as they do not have to move often. Paul was 36 hours old when we collected him from hospital. At this stage, we were his foster carers and attended regular contact visits with his birth parents. I would think to myself, ‘They’re his parents. I’m helping with the baby while they’re sorting themselves out’. We are pleased that we had the chance to meet his birth parents and see how much they loved him. As he grows up we can give her a much clearer picture of them because we met them ourselves. Paul is now six months old and we couldn’t be happier that he is a permanent member of our family.”

There was one moment, when Paul wasn’t sleeping and we were lying on the bed and I was pretending to sleep to try and get him off. He reached out and touched my face. And I thought, “Who are you kidding, you love this baby so much”. In some cases children are placed with families who can foster them while the court decides whether they can be returned to their birth families or whether they should be adopted. If they cannot return home they will then stay with their foster to adopt family which means that they will benefit from continuity of care. To find out more visit or call us on 0300 123 1093. We are looking forward to hearing from you.

A chance to play again “Since adopting Amy and Jason our home has become a much more exciting place. There’s been a farm in the kitchen, a fairy castle in the living room and pirate ships have captured the bathroom! I wouldn’t change it for the world.” We find forever families for children who need permanent, loving homes. If you think you’ve got what it takes to adopt a child or siblings, we’d love to hear from you… Visit or call 0300 123 1093 today.

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Food and Drink


Convenience Matters Convenience stores have to be - well, convenient. Spar has several thousand, spread over 40+ countries and was founded during 1932. Communities matter to Spar and, when planning these stores, considerations include location, opening times and stock, etc. Spar not only provides essential daily needs, such as food, including fresh fruit and vegetables, as I found out, but numerous items, required frequently, have a place in the stores, along with offers and other services, also. Whether an electrical socket extension lead, dog food or anti-bacterial cat litter, to plugs and devices for modern technology are required, Spar has stocks of many, many readily available supplies. The stores and Spar’s own-brand ranges have gained a good number of awards and constantly continue to do so. I searched for easy-drinking, fresh, smooth and elegant wines, of very good quality and value. Licensed Spar stores have something for all tastes and palates, having long-term, award-winning suppliers of wines. The single grape variety, ‘Letter Press’-labelled wines, I found to be excellent and very able to accompany numerous dishes of cuisine or to be enjoyed on their own, pleasing the wine lover that prefers a particular style and /or grape variety. Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc are always very popular. These pair with fish dishes, seafoods and white meats, wonderfully. Pinot Grigio is often chosen and is really great and satisfying. Tempranillo is a regular favourite and Pinot Noir, plus Merlot are other red wines, often selected. These are impressive accompaniments to red meats, etc. Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Shiraz add fabulous, further choices, of reds. Medium and full-bodied, and selected on many occasions, these wines will not disappoint. Garnacha is a powerful red and has numerous connoisseurs and wine lovers choosing this, a lot. All have excellent fruit bouquets, plus splendid mouthfeels and palate sensations. If sparkling wines are a favourite, then Spar’s champagne and prosecco choices will most definitely satisfy, adding an extra ‘something’ to a dining occasion or event. These are just some of the wines available within the Spar ranges. I found it most worthwhile checking out my local Spar shop. You could be surprised, too.

As always, Enjoy!

ey Trevor Langl


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St. Ippolyts Stores

HOME MADE SCOTCH EGGS Available in variety of flavours EXCLUSIVE TO ST IPPOLYTS STORE Store made scotch eggs exclusive to St Ippolyts Store in a variety of flavours, free range eggs, Cumberland sausage meat, homemade breadcrumbs. Hot & Cold Food: Bacon, sausages, egg, home of the big breaky roll. Paninis, toasties, pies & pastries, burgers, homemade soup. Deep filled chilled rolls and sandwiches. Hot & Cold drinks: tea, coffee, Bovril, hot chocolate, posh coffee £1.50 Pastries: Pies, sausage rolls, hand crafted pies, homemade pies and meat tarts, pork pies, Extensive Cake Counter: from slabs of millionaire, rocky road, granola and more to lemon drizzle, fruit loaf, traditional Victoria sponge, banoffee, and store made cakes and cheesecakes and krispykreme doughnuts. Convenience Goods: groceries, soft drinks, household goods, gifts, confectionary, fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, local produce, quality produce at reasonable prices. Newspapers & Magazines • Cigarettes & Off Licence • Cash Point Machine Pay Point • Hermes parcels • Health lottery OPENING TIMES: Weekdays 6. 00am - 6.30pm, Saturday 7.00 - 4pm, Sunday 8.00am - 2.00pm

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Time of Year

Safer Internet Day By Ian McMullan

Safer Internet Day is now celebrated globally in February each year to promote the safe and positive use of digital technology. The day helps to highlight positive uses of technology and to explore how we create a better and safer online community. This year’s slogan is Create, Connect and Share Respect: A better internet starts with you. Here are some steps we can all take to stay safe online: Create complex passwords - Create strong, unique passwords for all your critical accounts. Corporate hacks are commonplace now. One database breach can reveal tens of thousands of user passwords. If you reuse your passwords, a hacker can take the leaked data from one attack and use it to login to your other accounts. The best advice is to use a password manager to help you create and store strong passwords for all of your accounts. Boost your network security - Now that your logins are safer, make sure that your connections are secure. When you are at home or at work a password-protected router will encrypt your data. When you are out and about you might be tempted to use free, public Wi-Fi. But this is often unsecured, which means it’s relatively easy for a hacker to access your device or information. If you access the internet a lot when you are away from home it’s worth investing in a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN is a piece of software that creates a secure connection over the internet, so you can safely connect from anywhere. Use a firewall - This is an electronic barrier that blocks unauthorized access to your computers and devices. It is often included with comprehensive security software. A firewall ensures that all of the devices connected to your network are secured, including Internet of Things (IoT) devices like smart thermostats and webcams. This is important since many IoT devices aren’t equipped with their own security

measures, giving hackers a vulnerable point of entry to your entire network. Watch what you click - Many of today’s online threats are based on phishing or social engineering, when you are tricked into revealing personal or sensitive information for fraudulent purposes. Spam emails, phony “free” offers, online quizzes all use these tactics to entice you to click on dangerous links or give up your personal information. Share selectively - Be cautious about what you share, particularly when it comes to your identity information. Information could be used to impersonate you, or guess your passwords and logins. Think mobile! - Mobile devices face new risks: dangerous apps and fraudulent links sent by text message. Don’t respond to messages from strangers, and only download apps from official app stores after reading reviews first. Make sure that your security software is enabled on your mobile, just like your computers and other devices.

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What to do if you notice your sight and hearing are getting worse

Thousands of people in the UK are living with combined sight and hearing loss. But how can you tell whether you or someone you know has sight and hearing loss and what you should do about it. Christine Hardy, Advocacy, Rights and Awareness Manager at Deafblind UK said: “Early signs of sight and hearing loss are not always as obvious as you think. Sometimes people may leave post unopened or become more hesitant to go out and about. You may also notice they adopt an unusual head position or even have burnt fingers from misuse of the oven or hot water. “It is vitally important to have regular eye tests to check for changes in your sight. These will also detect any eye conditions such as macular degeneration or glaucoma before you notice symptoms yourself. If you are over 60, eye tests are free on the NHS and there are services that can do an NHS sight tests in your own home.

“Someone whose hearing is deteriorating may have difficulty following conversations or become uncomfortable in noisy situations like restaurants and shopping centres. They may struggle to hear women and children and think that other people are mumbling. “If you notice a drop in hearing, visit your GP who may refer you to an audiologist. If you need a hearing test, this will happen in a sound-proofed room where you will be asked to respond to different sounds. From this test the audiologist will determine whether hearing aids will be appropriate.” If you recognise any of these signs in people you know, there are lots of small things you can do to make a big difference to their lives; from adjusting room lighting to using 3D stickers around the house. For more details visit or contact Deafblind UK on 01733 358100 or

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I believe in keeping an open mind Open Morning Wednesday 7th March, 10am Telephone: 01234 361918 Bedford Girls’ School is part of The Harpur Trust

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Welcome to your new look Letchworth Dental Surgery

We have been extremely busy over the last few months, transforming the Letchworth practice to bring the very best in new technology and comfort to all our patients. Added to this we have also introduced new treatments including a hygienist as well as several cosmetic dentistry options.


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House of Colour

How to Effortlessly Wear Ultra Violet The Colour of 2018

The Pantone Colour Institute announced their colour of 2018 is the gorgeous Ultra Violet - Pantone 18 – 3838 but can we all wear this very futuristic colour? Here are some tips on how to do it with style:1. The colour purple has been associated with wealth and royalty for centuries. There are a huge range of purples so everyone can find the right one for them. Autumns and Winters will look gorgeous in ultra violet, but summers and springs need to take care! Springs should try a warmer, lighter violet and summers will look their best in plum and amethyst. 2. A great way to wear violet or purple is with your nail colour or eye liner. The bruised look is not a good one so use a steady hand but brown eyes are always enhanced by

By Jennie Billings





violet liner. For most of us less is more when it comes to violet and purple make up. Violet or purple are amazing colours to create a statement. A pop of purple packs a punch so try a violet or purple bag paired with neutrals from your colour palette. For maximum style points, team your outfit with flats, heel or boots in a violet or purple from your season’s palette to give an exciting pop of colour to your outfit. Create a regal look with a scarf or necklace that combines violet or purple with some of the other accent colours from your colour palette to make you stand out from the crowd. Dare to wear violet in head to toe or in colour block dress. There are plenty of purple and violet coats in the shops right now and watch out for blouses, capri trousers and skirts making an appearance in THE colour of the year this spring or summer.

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Local News

Hertfordshire Year of Physical Activity 2018 One in five adults in Hertfordshire currently does less than thirty minutes of activity a week, which means they are missing out on a wide range of physical, mental and social benefits. In response to this, Hertfordshire Sports Partnership (HSP), Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) and the ten Hertfordshire Districts and Boroughs have teamed up to launch Hertfordshire’s first Year of Physical Activity in 2018. The Year of Physical Activity, which aims to make Hertfordshire the most active county, was launched at the ‘Fit for the Future’ conference hosted by HSP at the Fielder Centre, University of Hertfordshire on Thursday 23 November. Hertfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health, Richard Roberts, said: “Regular activity can significantly improve our health, for example reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and depression. “It is also a great way to meet new people, improve your social life, put you in a good mood and help you sleep better.

“We know it can be a daunting prospect to take up physical activity when you’re not very active but our Year of Physical Activity will help throw a spotlight on some of the fantastic opportunities available across the county so we’d really urge everyone to take part.” The Fit for Future conference brought together representatives from a myriad of voluntary and community sector organisations who wanted to show their support of the Year of Physical Activity. Jane Parker, Hertfordshire Year of Physical Activity co-ordinator, said: “We would encourage everyone to get involved in this fantastic opportunity and would love to hear from anyone interested in running an activity during one of the twelve themed months. “You could be a parish or town council, leisure provider, lunch club leader, sports club, group exercise leader, University of Third Age group, Rotary club, or group of mums who want to get involved. “You may be someone who provides sport and physical activity

opportunities who can promote what you offer under the HertsYOPA18 umbrella to encourage new people to join your group. “Or you could even be someone who runs a group that has no link to sport and physical activity but would like to encourage your group to go for a walk together or try new activities throughout the year. “Whoever you are, we want to hear from you!” For more information, or to get involved in the campaign, contact Jane Parker at


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Is an exercise program which involves STRETCHING and SMALL PULSING movements. Working deep into the muscles. This creates effective and quick results with TONING - Re-SHAPING and STRENTHENING the BODY.Improves FIGURE and POSTURE Suitable for all abilities and age. Class taken with fully Qualified Instructor Just come along. pay weekly or in a block. Please bring water and exercise mat. Class held Henlow Methodist Church Hall. Henlow High Street. Tuesday evening 7pm - 8.15pm

Contact Cathy on 01462 811568 or 07790 994953. 26

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Give Time. Change a Life. (It might even be yours!)

It’s great that something as simple as volunteering a little time each week can change a life. In fact, lives. The wonderful thing is, volunteering is incredibly rewarding... it can change your life for the better too! The Herts MS Therapy Centre in Letchworth helps anyone with a long term or neurological condition. This year is our 30th birthday! Since 1988, we’ve helped as many people as we can, in any way we can, providing over 14,800 treatments during 2017. The therapies available at our Centre are designed to fight pain and fatigue and improve quality of lives. Our 30th birthday plans are exciting and ambitious – we need some help to bring them to life! We need help to run more exercise classes for small groups of people with serious medical conditions or

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disabilities at our Letchworth Centre ... and in three new locations across Herts and Beds. With your help we could start a class in a town near you! Can you suggest a local venue which would host and/or promote our classes? Could you deliver our leaflets to your local GP surgery? Who can you recommend to offer Pilates, Tai Chi or another exercise and movement class? Or are you interested in taking part in a class like Pilates? We’d love to hear from you! Paul Farenden is one of our volunteers. He says: “I volunteer every Tuesday morning, running two sessions alongside a fellow volunteer. The process is structured, training is given and very clear direction and support provided. If you have the time and want to give something back to your community, please support our Centre.” Can you help us launch specialist exercise classes near you? Please call Claire on 01462 684 214 or email her at Thank you.

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Health Alison Runham

How to get a

Good Night’s Sleep You may view a poor night’s sleep as just an inconvenience. But research has shown that insufficient or poor-quality sleep can contribute to serious health problems, including: • Weight gain and obesity. • Weakened immunity. • Increased risk of diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease, heart disease, heart attack and stroke (over 45s who sleep less than six hours a night are 200% more likely to have a heart attack or stroke). • Reduced fertility and libido. • Reduced memory, concentration and reaction times. • Increased risk of depression, anxiety, paranoia, hallucinations and psychotic episodes. This means it’s vital that we all get enough good quality sleep, which for most of us means at least seven hours. However, it’s not always that easy. The Enemies of Sleep • Burning the candle at both ends, trying to fit in work, domestic or family duties and that


TV programme we don’t want to miss. Sleep disorders: night terrors, sleep walking, sleep talking, sleep paralysis, teeth grinding, restless limb syndrome and sleep apnoea. • Needing the toilet. • Pain e.g. from arthritis. • An uncomfortable or unsuitable bed, mattress or pillow. • Hormonal changes: temperature control and production of melatonin (a ‘body clock’ hormone) are affected by hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle, and pain or heavy bleeding can disrupt sleep too. • Stress or depression. • Snoring. • Too much blue light. • Smoking and alcohol. • GORD (Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease) or LPR (laryngopharyngeal or ‘silent’ reflux, in which stomach acid damages the airways rather than, or as well as, the oesophagus, causing asthma-like symptoms). •

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Your ONE ST OP for bathroom or kitchen design and installation with over 27 years of experience

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Ten Tips to Help You Sleep: 1. Stop snoring. Maintaining a healthy weight can help to prevent snoring. You can try sleeping on your side, nasal strips, sprays or mandibular adjustment devices, but if these don’t work, consult your doctor. Not all snoring is harmless; you may be spending part of each night receiving a reduced oxygen supply, which can have serious health consequences. 2. Don’t go to bed hungry - but don’t eat late. Try to leave at least two hours between your last meal or snack and your bedtime. If you feel hungry in the evenings, choose something light and easily digestible. Milk can make you feel full and contains tryptophan, which can help sleep - but it’s absorbed poorly (eating a carbohydrate-rich snack at the same time may help). 3. Stop smoking and eliminate or reduce evening alcohol and caffeine. Both nicotine and alcohol can affect the quality and length of our sleep and caffeine is a stimulant. All three can also contribute to GORD and LPR, two of our ‘sleep enemies’. 4. Look after your body and your body clock. Our bodies are designed for, and need, exercise and daylight during the day and a more relaxed, dim environment in the evening. The hormones that regulate our body clock are responsive to these conditions. Try to make your environment as peaceful as possible during the evening. 5. Avoid blue light within two hours of bedtime. Blue light, more than any other type, interferes with production of the sleepinducing hormone melatonin. That means no TV, no tablets, no computers and no Smartphones. While blue light filters on these devices help, most reduce the blue light rather than eliminate it entirely. 6. Declutter your brain. Try talking your worries through regularly with a sympathetic friend or family member, or write them down before bed - if you can write a possible positive action beside your worries, even better. If your mind is full of todo lists, write them down too; knowing you don’t have to try to hold those ‘must-dos’ in your head should help you relax.


7. Have a night-time routine. When bed time is just an hour or two away, choose relaxing activities like reading (titles that get your adrenaline pumping are best avoided). Try having a warm (not hot) bath and/or a massage, using relaxing aromatherapy oils. 8. Make your bedroom a haven. Try to avoid using your bedroom as a work space or dumping ground; being surrounded by work to be done or clutter to be cleared isn’t relaxing. Ensure your bedroom is well ventilated and not too hot or cold and keep the lighting low, using lamps and a blackout blind or lined curtains. Earplugs are useful if you have noisy housemates or neighbours. Try to invest in a comfortable, supportive mattress and pillows. Adjustable beds can help if a fully horizontal sleeping position isn’t right for you, and orthopaedic pillows or memory foam pillows will ensure your head and neck are well supported. 9. Try not to worry about it. Lying there worrying about not sleeping isn’t helpful. If it’s just not happening, try to do something relaxing, such as reading a magazine or doing a jigsaw, until you feel sleepy. 10. Finally, see your doctor. If hormonal problems, night time toilet trips, mental health issues, GORD, LPR or pain are the problem, or these tips don’t work, visit your GP. They may be able to find an underlying cause you’re unaware of, and can recommend treatments and lifestyle changes to help.

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Time of Year

Chinese New Year 16th February

By Sarah Davey 2018 is the Chinese Year of the Dog. Dog is the symbol of loyalty and honesty. People born in the Year of the Dog are said to be honest, friendly, faithful, loyal, smart, straightforward, and have a strong sense of responsibility. There are twelve signs of the Chinese Zodiac: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and boar. Here is the folk tale behind them. Long ago in China the Emperor decided to invent a way to measure time. On his birthday he gathered all the animals by a great river and told them that there would be a swimming race. The first twelve animals to cross the fast-flowing river would be declared the winners and each would be named one of the twelve signs of the zodiac. The animals lined up along the river bank. The rat and the cat were best friends and they were worried because they were poor swimmers. So they asked the ox if he would carry them across and the kind ox agreed. He told the cat and the rat to climb on to his back then carried them across the river. They were excited to see that he was leading the race. But before he reached the bank the rat pushed the cat into the water so he could jump on to the ox’s head and leap to the bank claiming first place.


The Emperor did not see the rat’s dirty trick so named him the first sign of the zodiac. The poor ox was tricked into second place. The tiger wasn’t a natural swimmer but fought the current all the way across the river to arrive third. The emperor was so impressed he named the tiger the third sign. The rabbit knew he couldn’t beat the river so hopped across on some stepping stones, then jumped on to a log which carried him downstream until he was close enough to jump ashore. ‘Bravo!’ shouted the emperor, ‘I shall call the fourth sign after you.’ Then a dragon swooped down to the shore. ‘Why didn’t you win the race when you can fly?’ asked the emperor. ‘First I needed to make some rain because the people needed water for their crops. Then I saw a little rabbit sitting on a log in the river so I blew him to shore.’ ‘That is kind,’ said the emperor. ‘You are a worthy winner of the fifth sign.’ He heard the sound of horse hooves. ‘Ah the sixth sign,’ said the emperor, but then a snake, which had wrapped itself around one of the horse’s legs wriggled out ahead and the horse jumped back. So the snake was named the sixth sign and the horse had to be satisfied with seventh. Then a raft arrived at the bank and a goat, a monkey and rooster climbed ashore. They explained how the rooster had found the raft, the monkey and goat had helped clear the weeds and then the goat and monkey had pushed the raft to shore. The emperor was very pleased at their co-operation and named the goat the eighth, the monkey the ninth, and the rooster the tenth sign of the zodiac. The dog arrived in eleventh place in spite of being one of the strongest swimmers. He said he had paused to take a bath because the river was so clean. The last animal to arrive was the boar. He had stopped for a snack then fell asleep. ‘You have still done well,’ said the emperor, ‘The final sign of the zodiac will be named after you. But do you remember the poor cat? By the time he had managed to climb ashore, soaked and shivering he had missed his chance of being a winner. This made him very angry and is the reason why cats have hated rats and try to kill them ever since!

Happy Chinese New Year

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We take time to listen and find the best way forward Contact us to arrange your free initial 30 minute visit (We are happy to come to you for a small extra charge)

Wills Our staff have successfully drafted Wills for many years; truly we are experts.

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Helping you prove a Will after death.

£545 inc. Plus Court fees [unless it is a huge estate] to obtain a Grant of Probate from the Court

Lasting Power of Attorney Arranging for a relative/friend to act on your behalf if you lose mental capacity.

£350 inc. Plus Court fees to draft & register with Public Guardian Office Contact us for some friendly advice: 01462 674767 Abbeyhill 507 Broadway Letchworth SG6 3PT


A Naming Day celebration is the perfect, non-religious alternative, to celebrate little one’s entry to the family, and to appoint their Guide Parents.

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

And Your Naming Day can help you organise the event from start to finish. How to run the day? We can help. Writing a script? That’s our job. Where to hold the event? We have a list of tried and trusted venues. Your Naming Day takes the stress out of organising your baby’s big event.

For a friendly, no-obligation chat, call 07388 537 435 or visit

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We build our mortgages around you All homes are different. The same applies to the need for home financing. Therefore we offer individual and flexible solutions for all your mortgage needs and requirements. We can find a financial solution to suit your needs whether buying a new home or remortgaging. Julie Donnelly - Individual Banking Manager Tel: 01462 441488, email:

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage. Handelsbanken is the trading name of Svenska Handelsbanken AB (publ). Registered Office: Svenska Handelsbanken AB (publ), 3 Thomas More Square, London, E1W 1WY. Registered in England and Wales No, BR 000589. Incorporated in Sweden with limited liability. Registered in Sweden No, 502007-7862. Head Office in Stockholm. Authorised by the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority (Finansinspektionen) and the Prudential Regulation Authority and subject to limited regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority. Details about the extent of our authorisation and regulation by the Prudential Regulation Authority, and regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority are available from us on request.


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Gadgets your beloved will love

How to choose gifts that’ll last much longer than flowers. It’s that time of year again: mountains of chocolate and teddy bears in every shop, toobusy restaurants churning out tenuously-themed Valentines meals, awful romantic comedies at the cinema, supermarkets full of really horrible cards and garages licking their lips in anticipation of panicking guys who forgot to place an Interflora order. Why not show your love for your partner by giving them the gift of gadgets instead? Let’s start with the basics: pinkified, prettified versions of ordinary things such as MP3 players or power tools are a no-no unless your partner genuinely loves pink products, and you should steer well clear of anything that could be misinterpreted no matter how clever it may be. Leave the fitness watch (subtext: you’re fat!), the Wi-Fi scales (you’re fat!) and the cordless vacuum cleaner (I don’t think of you in a sexy way any more!) for another day. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get something practical. Quite the opposite: a thoughtful, well chosen present is much better than something useless with a love heart and

a teddy bear on it. Think noise cancelling headphones for their travels (£159 for a set of BOSE QuietComfort 2, or £59.95 for in-ear ones that won’t give them headphone hair; other manufacturers such as Sony can be even cheaper) or a nicer case for their laptop. Barbour does a particularly luxurious leather one for £249, but there are plenty of options in all kinds of fabrics ranging from the fashionable to the fully functional. Watch out for fake leather, though: “bonded leather” is synthetic leather, aka pleather. If you’re struggling for ideas it’s always worth looking at their existing gadgets to see if they’re worth upgrading or replacing. An old Kindle is a great device, but the newest versions have much sharper screens and much better backlighting. The midrange Paperwhite is currently £109.99, rising to £229 for the top-end Oasis, but Amazon discounts Kindles regularly so it pays to plan ahead and try to nab an early bargain. Just be careful if you’re browsing eBay or other sites for used devices: older Paperwhite models don’t have the same hi-res screen as the 2017 model, so read the specifications carefully. If

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the gadget itself is still current then accessories can be worth considering: for example NotOnTheHighStreet does some lovely leather Kindle cases for around £23, and iPad cases from as little as £13 to £360 for a personalised leather case that comes with power bank, travel adaptor and a Moleskin notebook. If you think that’s expensive, the RRP is even higher: £450. Once again there’s a huge range of products from various manufacturers at all kinds of prices. Of course, there’s another kind of gadget for the one you love: what used to be described euphemistically as “marital aids”. The Amazon of that market is Britain’s, which takes a cheerful and down-toearth approach to a potentially embarrassing subject and provides straightforward advice and reviews from real people. We’re no prudes but we’d offer some well-intentioned advice: don’t order anything if you’re not sure your partner would appreciate the sentiment let alone the product, and maybe leave the most expensive and faintly frightening products for when you’re window shopping together.



By Solange Hando

Beijing Temple of Heaven All glistening blue and gold, the magnificent Temple of Heaven rises, almost defiantly, in modern Beijing, no longer a place of worship but still recalling the religious faith of the great emperors. It was built in the early 15th century by Emperor Yongle, at the same time as the Forbidden City but much larger to befit a celestial abode. Come the winter solstice, the Emperor, or ‘Son of Heaven’, would venture out of his secluded palace and make his way to the temple in a most splendid procession no commoner was allowed to watch. There he prayed for guidance and good harvests, worshipping Heaven in an ancient tradition which continued to blossom for many more centuries. The complex was extended and protected by inner and outer walls. Step through one of the gates marking the compass points and in the cool oasis of ‘Tiantan’, you are greeted by Chinese gardens, pine woods and over 90 buildings sprinkled like magic among white marble steps and balustrades. Yet nothing here is left to chance as symbolism flows everywhere, from the use of numbers - 9 representing the Emperor, to the choice of shapes - circular for heaven, square for the earth, or colours - yellow for the Emperor, blue for the sky. The three main groups are on a north-south axis, starting at the very top with the Temple of Prayer for Good Harvests.


Topped by a triple-eaved umbrella roof, this is a lovely circular structure, made of wood without nails. It was destroyed by lightning in 1889 but rebuilt in the original Ming style. According to Feng Shui experts, it stands on the spot where Heaven meets Earth. Just east of the hall, the Seven Stars recall the Taishan peaks, also dedicated to Heaven worship. From this norther point, a Sacred Way leads to the second group, the Imperial Vault of Heaven where imperial ancestors were invoked during the winter solstice. The surrounding Echo Wall carried prayers from end to end and even today the slightest whisper will travel around and amaze visitors. To the south, you reach the awesome Circular Mound Altar, a five-metre high marble structure which makes full use of the imperial number, with 81 (9x9) stones on the 9th ring. Balustrades were designed to amplify the sound from the upper terrace, while in the centre the ‘Heart of Heaven’ is a round slate where animals were offered in sacrifice. After the ceremony, the Emperor would retire to the Palace of Abstinence and fast to complete his mediation between Heaven and Earth. His life depended on it. Only bountiful harvests would ensure continued respect from the Court and common people.

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Is it your New Year’s Resolution to make a Will or revise your existing Will? If so, please take advantage of our Special New Year reduced rate Wills offer. Reduced rate wills will be available every week day from 8.00am until 6.00pm (Tuesdays until 8.00 pm) by appointment only. Also on the Saturday mornings of 3rd and 17th FEBRUARY, again by appointment only. Reduced rates are:Double Wills - £250.00 plus VAT Single Will - £130.00 plus VAT HOME VISITS ARE ALSO AVAILABLE AT NO EXTRA CHARGE WITHIN A 20 MILE RADIUS OF ROYSTON. For more information please contact:Fish Hill Chambers, 2-3 Fish Hill, Royston, Herts, SG8 9JY Tel: 01763 241121

Extensions & newbuilds Design & Planning Approvals Building Regulations Project Management Professional service Fully insured as featured in Channel 4’s The Best Laid Plans Tel 01462 790808

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Tel: 07970 162753

Email: or North Road, Baldock, Hertfordshire SG7 5DN


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Time of Year

How do you like your pancakes? February 13th is Shrove Tuesday and I will be tossing pancakes with the best of them. Usually I am a traditionalist and favour lemon and sugar topping but this year in the interests of research I canvassed my friends for their favourite sweet and savoury pancake fillings, and tried them out. Here are my top seven. Nutty chocolate spread and banana - This tasty filling bulks the pancakes out, and makes the batter go further. Perfect if there are lots of people at your pancake supper. Fresh mango and Greek yoghurt with a splash of Cointreau - Very sophisticated and utterly delicious Fruits of the forest with vanilla ice cream and a splash of Amaretto liqueur - This one was a revelation. The liqueur works brilliantly with the fruit, and the hot pancakes with cold ice cream is a

sublime combination. Clearly I have classy friends! Blueberries and maple syrup – This contribution from an American friend goes well with thick or thin pancakes. She tops hers with bacon, but you can leave that out. If you like. Mushrooms, tomatoes and bacon - for a British brunchstyle pancake, or maybe a

savoury supper. Wilted spinach and Ricotta cheese - Sprinkle with a little fresh nutmeg and this makes a very tasty vegetarian supper. Stewed rhubarb and crème fraîche - You can prepare your rhubarb as tart or sweet as you like. I liked mine tart. The creme fraiche works really well with it. I scraped some vanilla seeds into mine and beat them in before serving. This is officially my new favourite way to eat pancakes.

By Sarah Davey

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Garden By Pippa Greenwood

Time to Get


At this time of year the weather is often perfect for pruning and cutting back woody plants, so take advantage of the fact that deciduous trees, shrubs, hedges and climbers are now devoid of leaves and get stuck in. Here’s how to make sure your pruning will really benefit your plants: • For a small hedge or to roughly reshape a shrub, a good, sharp pair of well-oiled shears should do the job. Angle the blades to make a level trimmed surface. To make a neat and level surface when cutting the top of a hedge, use a taut string as a guide line. For large hedges consider using a powered hedge cutter or hedge trimmer, but make sure you can use it safely! • When removing stems at various heights and of varying thicknesses, use ‘loppers’, which are much better at cutting through relatively thick stems than shears or secateurs and yet also allow for accurate positioning of the cut. When cutting back branches above your head, wear protective headgear and goggles. • Secateurs are used for the most precise pruning of smaller woody stems. Provided they are good and sharp, you can make a perfectly clean and accurate cut. Always cut to an outward-facing bud (so that the new growth produced from that bud grows outwards). Secateurs are good for removing dead and dying stems as well as for formative pruning (where you are helping to ensure the plant grows in the direction you want it to), and for pruning to encourage flowering. • To remove larger tree branches or if you have fruit trees to prune, then a pruning saw is the perfect tool. Use a sawing action for best results and make the cut a few millimetres from the main


• •

stem to which the branch you are removing is joined. A cut like this will heal quickly and the wound will be smaller and less prone to fungal rotting. Check the best pruning time for the plants you have in mind. Although most hedges and many shrubs can be cut back now, there are exceptions. Some trees - mainly those in the Prunus family such as cherries, plums, apricots, damsons, peaches and nectarines - are very prone to a potentially fatal fungal infection known as ‘silver leaf’. To reduce the likelihood of this, prune these trees in the summer unless there is no alternative. Pruning tools should be really sharp; if blunt, the job will need more effort and may result in damage to the plant from a jagged cut or crushed stems. Create sloping cuts whenever you can so that rain and moisture runs off (wetness encourages wood rotting), and cut close to but not on top of a bud to allow new growth without dieback - you will need to use secateurs, loppers or a saw to do this. Stand back from time to time when pruning to check the overall appearance of the plant and judge which part to tackle next, as close up it is harder to see how your pruning is affecting the overall shape of the plant.

Visit Pippa’s website www.pippagreenwood. com and you’ll find some great gardening things: ‘Grow Your Own with Pippa Greenwood’ (where you receive your chosen garden-ready vegetable plants in the spring accompanied by weekly advice and tips from Pippa) plus Nemaslug, biocontrols, gardening tools, raised bed kits, Grower Frames, signed books and more!

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Garden View

The Joy of a

Greenhouse By Rachael Leverton I am an impatient gardener. By February I am always eager to get started and my greenhouse means that I can do just that. A greenhouse means that I don’t fear the weather, I can potter in my garden all year round and I can grow a range of plants that would not survive without protection. Most gardens have room for at least a tiny greenhouse and its well worth trying to incorporate one into your space. Before choosing a greenhouse, check whether your local planning authority places any restrictions in terms of size or position. Usually there are no problems. Ideally a greenhouse should be placed in a bright spot because poor light and heavy shade will mean sickly spindly plants. Buy as big a greenhouse as you can accommodate because I guarantee that no matter how big it seems at first you will fill it. You can make a greenhouse from poles and polythene but it won’t last more than a couple of years and won’t be pretty to look at. Fully glazed aluminium greenhouses are good value, and if you like wood then go for western red cedar, which ages well and lasts a long time. It’s important to have level foundations You don’t have to heat a greenhouse but I like


to because it lets me get an early start in spring, and keeps my tender pot plants alive through the winter. When I had an unheated greenhouse my frost-tender plants rarely survived. I prefer electric heating, which doesn’t smell and doesn’t produce the excessive amounts of water vapour associated with paraffin. Make sure you use a qualified electrician and that all the sockets are rated for outdoor use. Fit a thermostat and the heat will only come on when necessary, making it very economical. At the other end of the year make sure you have ventilation, or your plants will cook. If you can afford it go for the automatic arms which open ventilators if the greenhouse reaches a certain temperature. Also consider blinds to help prevent sun-scorch. I arrange my greenhouse with staging on one side and a soil bed on the other for my tomatoes to grow in, and I’ve attached some guttering and a downpipe to a water butt so I can collect rainwater. It’s my little haven in February; where I plant seeds and imagine what my garden will look like in a three months’ time.

Happy Gardening

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

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Local News

New Brand to put Greensand Country on the Map News from Greensand Country Landscape Partnership

A new destination brand for the distinctive, beautiful and loved countryside, which stretches from Leighton Buzzard to Gamlingay, looks set to raise the profile and popularity of the lesser known Greensand Country. The vision is for Greensand Country to be recognised as a highly attractive landscape with a unique history, wildlife and culture that will encourage people to visit, enjoy, understand, value and look after for the long term. The new Greensand Country brand creates a single identity, telling a joined up story of this distinctive landscape. Local tourist operators, businesses and other organisations will feel connected to the area and its identity and will use it to help promote the area as well as furthering their own objectives. The brand, which was officially launched by the Greensand Country Landscape Partnership at a celebratory event attended by many of the partners involved in supporting the vision for the future of Greensand Country, depicts the unique Greensand Ridge that rises

from the clay vales on either side. The heart shaped logo represents that this is a cherished landscape, with colours of the parkland, heathland and, most importantly, greensand running through it. Jon Boswell, Chief Executive of Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity, explains: “The new brand signifies a huge step forward in the future of Greensand Country, making it a destination that local people are proud to be a part of and those further afield are excited to visit.” Ciara Harper, Communications & Marketing Manager for The Shuttleworth Collection, attended the recent launch event and commented on her enthusiasm for the new brand: “We are excited to be a part of a wider partnership that brings together the fantastic work of many local partners across Greensand Country and promotes the fascinating history and heritage of our impressive landscape. “We are proud to be a part of Greensand Country and look forward to promoting it as a destination of importance and interest.”

Jon Balaam and Jon Boswell Launch Greensand Country Brand

Are you an organisation or business based within Greensand Country? We would love to hear from you about what you’re doing and how we can work together to promote and enhance the future of this landscape. Email or telephone the Greensand Country team on 01234 838774. For further information about Greensand Country visit, Tweet us @greensandsocial or find us on Facebook. The Greensand Country Landscape Partnership is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. It is made possible by National Lottery players. Without them we couldn’t fund the project.

The Lakes, Clophill Photography: Lisa King

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Quirky Britain

Not your bog-standard kind of sport Fancy navigating your way along a cold, muddy bog, wearing a snorkel and flippers? If your answer is an emphatic “No!” you may be surprised to hear that there are hundreds of people – not just in Britain, but across the globe – who would be happy to take your place. Bog snorkelling is a slippery, slimy sport popular in the UK, Australia, Ireland and Sweden, and in 2014 the travel publication Lonely Planet included it in a list of the world’s top fifty ‘must do’ activities. Competitors are required to travel two consecutive lengths along a 60 yard (55 metre) trench cut into a peat bog, completing the journey in the shortest possible time. Conventional swimming strokes are not allowed and competitors must rely on flipper power to propel themselves forward. Dressing for the bog Donning goggles, a snorkel and flippers is compulsory, but there are no rules when it comes to the clothes competitors wear. This has resulted in some wonderfully eclectic costumes, with snorkellers appearing as sharks and other sea creatures as well as fairies, superheroes and spacemen. Comic wigs and hats abound – in fact there’s a prize for the

‘Best Dressed Helmet’ for people taking part in the Triathlon, which combines bog snorkelling with bike riding and running. Looks familiar? Bog snorkelling’s profile received a boost last year thanks to the BBC’s Oneness campaign, which featured active community groups from across the UK. Amongst the skaters, cavers and bhangra dancers included in the campaign, you may have spotted a small gathering of snorkellers clad in fancy dress, posing on a grassy bank before plunging, fullyclothed, into the water below. Appropriately, this short ‘ident’ was used to flag up the BBC’s comedy and light entertainment shows. It was filmed in Llanwrtyd Wells in Wales, where the World Bog Snorkelling Championships are held in August each year. This sleepy Welsh town lays claim to the title ‘The home of bog snorkelling’, as the sport was invented there in 1976, following a pub conversation between a few locals intent on finding a new tourist attraction. And that’s not all … Llanwrtyd Wells’ ambition to become a national hub for quirky sporting events took another step forward in 2012, with the creation of the World Alternative Games.

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Although the Games were inspired by the London 2012 Olympics and claim to uphold the ‘Corinthian spirit’ in all their events, the activities on offer at Llanwrtyd Wells are about as far removed from the Olympic programme as it’s possible to get. As well as bog snorkelling, medals are awarded for bathtubbing, belly-flopping, worm charming, wife carrying and husband dragging. Last year’s events even included a category entitled ‘Saving Donald Trump’, which featured an inflatable version of the US president. Although it is a relatively new ‘sport’, bog snorkelling has all the good humour and anarchic energy of other quintessentially British events such as pancake racing, tar barrel racing and cheese rolling, and just like those activities it requires a certain amount of skill and effort to compete successfully. Bog snorkelling may not be up there with the classic Olympic sports, but it more than makes up for that in terms of the enjoyment it generates, not to mention the good causes it helps through fundraising. You can find out more about bog snorkelling and related events at

By Kate McLelland 49

Local News

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

Annie has come into us as her owner is in hospital long term and can no longer care for her. She is 5 years old and a very friendly girl who loves to be fussed and she is very playful. She is a very bright and lively cat and is longing for a new home where she can get lots of attention. Annie will make a lovely family pet and companion. If you would like to find out more about Annie, please contact Liz on 01767 681157. Alternatively, please email Philippa at who will be pleased to forward your enquiry onto the team. View other small mammals, dogs and cats currently in our care for re-homing on our website: or facebook :










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Animal Heroes

New Year, New You?

Last year, across the country, 129,602 animals were rescued and collected by the RSPCA. The cost of doing this was primarily provided by people like you. Our work relies on an army of wonderful volunteers and supporters. So, if you’re looking for a new focus in 2018, why not get involved? There are many ways you can help, but here are a few simple fundraising ideas to get you started: My Big Walkies – could you walk 10,000 steps a day for a whole month? Join us in October and you can even get your dog involved! You can walk at your own pace, in your own time, and we’ll help you with your fundraising. Run – apply for one of our charity places to run high profile events like the Brighton, Yorkshire or London Marathons – or you can register to run for us at your own pace at a run of your choice! Great Big Picnic – why not host an RSPCA Great Big Picnic and invite your friends and family round to enjoy the weather and have some fun? Cake sale – the key to a great bake sale is to recruit your bakers early and ask them to bring variety to the table. You could even raise the stakes by selecting a winner at the end, Great British Bake Off style! Give something up – we’ve all got that habit or thing that we “couldn’t live without”, so why not put it to the test? Instead of spending the money you normally would on chocolate, coffee or whatever your “thing” is – you could donate it instead – and get people to sponsor you. Or, give something away and donate to our charity shop in Bedford? Raffle – simply charge a fee for tickets and the winners get a prize. You could use unwanted presents as raffle prizes or ask your friends and local businesses if they’re willing to give you prizes. Auction – if you have a collection of interesting


items that you’re willing to let go of, an auction could be perfect. However, if you couldn’t possibly part with your most treasured possessions you could hold a promise auction, where you can auction off your time or skills. Charity game – organise a charity game of your sport of choice such as football, Minecraft or even a Monopoly tournament. Invite friends and family to take part and ask them for a donation per entry. Quiz night – all you need is a suitable venue and then ask your guests to pay to play. Look online for example questions, or if you’re feeling creative you could write your own quiz. Sponsored event – there are countless things that you could do and get sponsored. You could go down the extreme route and ask for sponsorship for things like skydiving. Or you could go down the slightly safer route – like a sponsored silence. The possibilities are endless! Fundraising does wonders for rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming thousands of animals every year. By raising money for us, you’ll join animal lovers from across the nation, determined to stop animal cruelty and neglect. Together, our voice will be stronger and more powerful than ever. This is your chance to feel great, get fit, have fun and be creative. Why not be an animal Hero this year? More information, and fundraising packs, can be found on Call 01234 266965 or email donate@ with any enquiries.

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

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 Fencing Services  Security Fences  Garden Fences  Gates  Repair & Restoration Call 01767 316901 or 07927 748460

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Honda Civic Type R In the look-at-me stakes, Honda’s new Civic Type R screams attentionseeker with its trying-too-hard fins, wings and ice-white paintwork. Honda appears to have added needless frippery to its new Type R, though they’ll tell you it’s about aerodynamics and downforce – but does that really matter on the A34? Inside, it’s much more traditional Honda formula. It’s a combination of harder plastics, an infotainment system that isn’t up to the standards of rivals and a seating position you’ll either love or hate. However, this is a machine that’s utterly fabulous on the road. Fast, grippy and with a gearbox that delights, it’s a hot hatch to take the fight to the very best in its class. The large, winged bucket seats are comfortable, and the driving position suits us. When started, the cackle from the exhaust sounds exactly how every hot hatch should. Moving off on smooth asphalt, the Type R feels well set up. The ride is firm but a small amount of jostling is part and parcel of a hot hatch – particularly a fast Honda. Though the Civic Type R feels quick, the real surprise is just how much speed you can carry through corners. The body is 38 per cent stiffer than the car it replaces, and this added rigidity makes itself known almost everywhere.

The turn-in is quick, but the limitedslip differential means that you can fire the R into bends and it’ll just grip. The experience is helped by the car’s seating position, which is now 50mm lower than the older model and completely transforms the entire drive. There’s next to no body roll, and the front two wheels cope admirably with the 316bhp being sent through them. You won’t torque steer either – the steering stays unaffected even when accelerating hard, and this gives you a huge amount of confidence. Arguably, the test location played into the hands of the Type R – the green, rolling hills and mountains of south Wales coupled with tight, technical roads contributed heavily to the hot hatch experience. It’s a match made in driving heaven. However, the Type R has always been slightly tarred by that ‘boy racer’ brush. But this car has real character, something lacking in quite a few others on sale today. Even the 2.0-litre turbocharged engine has its own personality, popping and growling as you push it through the bends. In the rain, the R got better. Despite some scrabble from the front tyres on soaked tarmac, the Civic continues to impress. Everything about it feels alive,

particularly along the wide open sections of the A4059 north of Penderyn. The short, notchy sixspeed manual is a joy to use, while the characterful engine provides more than enough shove to keep things interesting. Put simply, it’s a far more involving car to drive than you’d expect. On these roads, the Type R seems perfect. Yes, the interior foibles could make it a difficult one to live with day-to-day and you’ll have to get used to the strange looks from passers-by, but on Welsh A-roads when the sun is (occasionally) shining, there are few cars quite like it. The Knowledge Model: Honda Civic Type R Model as tested: Honda Civic Type R GT Base price: £32,995 Price as tested: £33,520 Engine tested: 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol Power (bhp): 316bhp Torque (Nm): 400 Max speed (mph): 169 0-60mph: 5.5 MPG: 36.7 Emissions (g/km): 176

By James Baggott


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HERTS OVEN CLEAN Herts Oven Clean is a domestic oven cleaning specialist in Hertfordshire. Non-caustic, fume-free solution individually prepared for each customer. Ovens, Hobs, Grills, Extractors, Agas, Microwaves and Gas Barbeques. Call Richard on 01438 813492 Bring a sparkle to your kitchen today. 56

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Beef Gulasz

Three Counties Radio

with Cracked Barley Groats, Sour Cream and Dill We are lucky in the Three Counties to have a wonderful variety of food available and I love featuring different cuisines on the Weekend Kitchen. Back in 2010, I welcomed Ren Behan from St Albans on to the show. She had given up a career as a lawyer and was looking to build a new career as a food stylist and writer. I strongly encouraged her to write a book on Polish food and, 7 years later, she fulfilled her dream and her book was published. Ren is passionate about her Polish roots and is keen to show that Polish food is imaginative, vibrant and delicious. This gorgeous and simple recipe comes from her book, Wild Honey and Rye, and is a perfect winter warmer.

1. Heat the oil in a large cast-iron pan, add the onions and cook for 10 minutes on a low heat until golden and soft. Add the celery and carrots and continue to cook for 5 minutes. 2. In a large bowl, coat the beef in the flour, season well with salt and pepper. Add a drop more oil to the pan with the onions, turn up the heat and brown the meat all over. Add the mushrooms, tomatoes, tomato puree, stir and then pour in the beef stock, add the bay leaf and stir again. 3. Cover the pan with a lid and simmer for 1 ½- 2 hours over a low heat, stirring occasionally. Or, transfer to a slow cooker and cook for 4-5 hours. 4. Cook the barley or buckwheat according to the instructions on the packet. Serve the barley with the beef gulasz, drizzle over the sour cream and garnish with fresh dill. Ingredients 2 tbsp vegetable oil 2 onions, peeled, chopped 1 stick celery, washed, chopped 2 carrots, peeled, chopped 2 tbsp plain flour 500g beef braising steak or feather steak, cubed Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 250g mixed or chestnut mushrooms 2 ripe tomatoes, peeled, de-seeded and chopped 2 tbsp tomato puree 500ml beef stock, made up 1 bay leaf To serve: 200g crushed barley groats/pearl barley or buckwheat cooked according to the packed instructions (Kasza Jęczmienna). Fresh dill and Sour cream

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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COUNTRY STOVES & SWEEPS STOVE/GAS FIRE INSTALLATION • Wood Burning/Multi Fuel Stove & Gas Fire Installation


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I’m Not Sure I Did the Right Thing As I drove through town, it was sitting three cars behind me: an ANPR-equipped police car. I knew I had nothing to worry about as I had stuck to the speed limits, and my car and I were both road-legal. So I just clocked it in my rear view mirror as another road user. Approaching the red lights I pulled up next to a driver who was chatting away on their phone. Even though the car was stationary, this is an offence that now carries 6 penalty points, a £200 fine and, if incurred in the first two years of gaining your licence, a disqualification too. (I assume this caveat was added as the statistics show that those aged 18-24 are three times more likely to commit this offence.) Yet, a survey by KwikFit revealed that an astonishing 43% of those questioned still fail to realise this. More worryingly 17% of those


surveyed admitted to texting and 34% to taking calls when driving! It seems the message is slow to get through. When the driver next to me glanced across, I motioned behind me. Their startled look and dropping of the phone said it all. Whether the police saw them on the phone I don’t know as, at that point, the traffic moved off. On reflection I’m not sure I did the right thing was I a Good Samaritan? Or perhaps I shouldn’t have intervened, let the law take its course and a driver learn a hard lesson that using a mobile phone behind the wheel is illegal. You decide.

Paul Donald

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Easy Suduko

Hard Suduko

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

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n O s ’ t Wha In February

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

1 February Lecture on Charles Rennie Mackintosh 11am or 2pm Spirella Ballroom, Bridge Road, Letchworth Visitors £7 - pay on the door The Arts Society North Hertfordshire presents a lecture tracing Mackintosh’s career and looking at his major architectural commissions and interiors. Lecturer is Anthea Streeter. Visitors welcome. Free parking. Email: 1, 8, 15 & 22 February Toddler Tales 2.15-2.45pm Letchworth Library Free event 1, 8, 15 & 22 February Toddler Tales 2.15-2.45pm Baldock Library Free event 1, 8, 15 & 22 February Sapphire Social Club 8.30pm The Orange Tree, Hitchin A small and friendly group for single people aged 50 and above. We offer a variety of social events during the month and the opportunity to meet and make new friends. Tel: Joyce 07952 678021 or Ian 07900 890583 Web: 1, 8 & 22 February Baldock Community Orchestra 7.15pm Knights Templar School (Room CS1), Baldock £7 per week or 10 week term £50 A friendly group of musicians... Come and give us a try, first session free! Tel: Rachel Dawson 07818 480332 2, 9, 16 & 23 February Springfield House Friday Bridge Club 1.30pm Old Stevenage Community Centre To play cut-in Chicago Bridge. Play is informal and friendly. Tel: Richard Bean 01438 221517


3 February 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 such as a driving licence, passport or over 60s Bus Pass is required to get an entry ticket from the Guardroom. See website for full information. Web: 3 February Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire Hardy Plant Society 2pm Weatherley Centre, Eagle Farm Road, Biggleswade Andrew Humphries, a well-known head gardener, talks about ‘Creating Beautiful Gardens from Scratch’. Plants for sale. Andrew is a new speaker for the group. Web: 5, 12, 19 & 26 February 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 dances are walked through first. 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. Tel. 01462 895567 or 01462 624144 Web: 5, 12, 19 & 26 February 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, discos, meals, parties, Sunday walks, theatre and concert visits, day and weekend trips and holidays. Tel: Lorna 01438 233657 Web:

6 February Tree Tops Talk: An Introduction to Herons 11.30am Rushmere Country Park, Herons’ View Visitor Centre, Linslade Road, Heath and Reach Tickets £4 (inc. £2 to spend in the café) Our 2018 season of Tree Tops Talks kicks off with a subject very close to our hearts - an introduction to herons. Our highly knowledgeable volunteer Judith will take a look at the heron family with a little heron history, their breeding, biology and eating habits and a closer look at the herons of Rushmere, as we await their imminent return here to nest. Web: introduction-to-herons 6, 13, 20 & 27 February Stevenage Bridge Club 7.30pm Priory Nursery, Stanmore Road, Stevenage To play Duplicate Bridge. A host system is run to find partners, if required. Tel: Phil Cooper 07957 813434 7 February North Herts Association of the National Trust 7.30pm Christchurch, Bedford Road, Hitchin Non-members £2 on the door Talk on ‘The Work of The Historic Houses Association’ which supports around 1600 privately owned historic houses, stately homes and castles, such as Blenheim Palace, Knebworth House and Leeds Castle- and helps visitors to enjoy them. Non-members welcome. Membership of the National Trust not necessary. Second-hand books and homemade preserves on sale. Tel: Colin Cropley 01462 713391 Email: 7, 14, 21 & 28 February Baby Rhyme Time 10.30-11am Baldock Library Free event

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n O s ’ t Wha In February

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

7, 14, 21 & 28 February Vivace Choir 7.30-9.30pm Edgeworth House, 121 High Street, Arlesey We are looking for keen singers to join our fun and friendly choir. Find out more about the choir and its concerts online. Web:

14 February Henlow Branch R N A 7.30pm Community Centre, The Gardens, Henlow The Henlow Branch of The Royal Naval Association meets on the second Wednesday of each month. Tel: Jack Stafford 01462 850618

8 February RSPB Stevenage Walk 9.30am A morning visit to Fisher’s Green in the Lea Valley. Meet at 9.30am in the car park off Stubbin’s Hall Lane. Grid Ref TL 377 033. Postcode EN9 2EF. Tel: 01438 861547

14 February Letchworth Music Club 7.45pm Howgills Friends Meeting House, 42 South View, Letchworth Tickets: £12, Under 18s & Students £6 The Club’s New Year series of Chamber Music concerts continues in the warm, welcoming atmosphere of its unique building, a replica of the oldest such Meeting House in Cumbria. Toby Turton (cello) and Rebecca Holt (piano) offer a wonderfully varied programme including works by Schubert (Arpeggione Sonata), Schumann (Adagio and Allegro and Stűcke om Volkston), Mendelssohn (Song without Words op.109), Glűck (Melodie) and Sibelius (Romance op.78 no.2). Tickets available on the door. Web:

8 February Baldock & Clothall WI 7.30pm United Reformed Church, Whitehorse Street, Baldock Visitors £3 including refreshment and raffle ticket Facebook: baldockclothallwi 9 February Unicorn Ceilidh 8-11pm St Mary’s Church Hall, Church Street, Baldock Adults £10, Seniors £9, Students/unwaged £7, Children £6, Family (2a + 3c) £28 Dance the night away with top ceilidh band The Oxford Nags and caller Sheena Masson; interval entertainment from Rockhopper Morris. All the dances are walked through beforehand, and the emphasis is very much on enjoying yourself, rather than getting everything step perfect. Real ale, cider, wine and soft drinks bar. Tickets available online or on the door. Web: 12 February Icknield Quilters 7.30pm for 7.45pm start Baldock Community Centre £3. Sewing evening. Visitors welcome. Web:

18 February 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: 20 February Stevenage RSPB 7.30pm Friends’ Meeting House, Cutty’s Lane, Stevenage Members £3, Non-members £4, Under 16s 50p Martin Davies will present a talk entitled ‘Wild Canadian Rockies’.

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23rd Feb from 6pm An evening of Rat Pack classics with Ryan Beange Food available 6pm, Performance 7.30pm Tree Tops Café, Rushmere Country Park, Linslade Road, Heath and Reach Tickets £15 per head (18+ only) inc. a drink (wine or orange juice) and parking Making his first appearance at the Tree Tops Café, we welcome Ryan Beange who will perform songs from the Rat Pack era with classic big band hits from Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr, Dean Martin, Michael Bublé and more. Web: 24 March, 21 April, 19 May Weston Music Society Spring Season Special offer 3 for 2. Buy a season ticket for all three concerts for only £30 and it’s transferable - if you can’t come, invite a friend to take your place. Email: Web: 3 March Jumble Sale 1.30pm Clifton Community Centre Adults 50p Biggleswade Sandy Lions Jumble Sale. Any donations of jumble gratefully received and can be dropped off at 13 Fairfax, Clifton. Hitchin & Surrounding Areas Fun & Social Stuff A Social Group based in Hitchin, but also aimed at the surrounding areas. The groups arranges drinks, socials, going to Live Music events, charity events, Pub Quizzes, etc.. The aim of the group is to enable a variety of people who are over 18 years old (with no upper age limit) to get to know each other in a social and friendly setting whilst also enjoying a variety of events & activities. Web:


Taylor Made Joinery Ltd Traditional Bespoke Joinery

Products and Services Windows | Doors | Staircases | Conservatories | Furniture Oak | Hardwoods | Softwoods | AccoyaÂŽ Specialising in Grade listed Heritage joinery T: 01462 338 313 M: 07855 834 424 Unit C1 Manor Farm, Upper Stondon, Beds, SG16 6LJ

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We are proud to be a member of the Guild of Master Craftsmen

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Scaffolding for small extensions, garages, front and back of house. All types of fencing supplied and erected. Concrete bases for garden sheds. No job too big or small. For a free quote call Andy on: Friendly Local Reliable Lad

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Ian O’Neil Bespoke Furniture Cabinet making Joinery Sash window repair Antique furniture repair & restoration French polishing Antique and modern upholstery No job too small Free quotes Established 1995

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Alternative Ways to Invest In Property Although property remains a popular long-term investment, lending restrictions make it difficult for first-time buyers to secure a foothold on the property ladder. Furthermore, the introduction of a buy-tolet stamp duty surcharge, and reduction of mortgage interest tax relief, have made buy-to-let less lucrative. So are there any other options that could be suitable if you’re interested in property investing? Here are a few alternatives that might appeal, but as with any other form of investment, it’s crucial to carry out plenty of research. Property crowdfunding involves investing in property itself, as opposed to peer-to-peer lending where you invest in the mortgages provided to buy-to-let landlords and property developers. So how do these systems work? Property equity crowdfunding Each property is held within its own limited company - you purchase a share of the company and own a small part of the property along with fellow investors. After registering on a property crowdfunding website, you can search for properties of interest and then make the investment online. • You receive a return on your investment via rental payments and also, potentially, capital gains. • You can spread your investment across a number of different properties. • Fees include a fundraising/finder’s fee, along with property management fees. • A share of the profits is also deducted by the crowdfunding platform at the end of each investment term. Peer-to-peer lending Rather than investing in the property itself, you and other investors provide the money for loans and mortgages that buy-to-let landlords and property developers use. • Return on investment comes from interest paid on the loan. • Platforms provide details of any payment defaults by borrowers, so you can make a more


informed decision on whether to lend. • Investments may be made over a shorter term than property crowdfunding, which is important if you don’t want to tie up your money for too long. Direct commercial property funds You can invest in commercial property via unit trusts or open-ended investment companies (OEICs), but you should seek professional advice on the best investments for your particular circumstances. Your money is combined with that of other investors and fund managers decide on the best investments. These could be solely in the UK or internationally, depending on the property fund you’ve chosen, and may be in retail, office or industrial property. • You’ll pay a fee for the fund to be managed. • Capital gains tax and tax on dividends received will need to be taken into account. • You may be able to hold a property fund within a stocks and shares ISA. • You can either pay a monthly amount or a oneoff investment sum. The concept of small investments spread over a diverse property or loan portfolio runs through these options, but what if you do want to purchase an entire property rather than use these ‘hands-off’ alternatives? Furnished holiday lets Buying a property as a furnished holiday let avoids some of the drawbacks of buy-to-let investment. It offers specific tax advantages and can bring a higher overall return than buy-to-let. Holiday let mortgage providers generally require a deposit of 25%-40%. The amount they’ll lend depends on the existing rental income, or the income as estimated by an experienced local holiday letting agent. Furnished holiday lets haven’t been affected by the clampdown on tax relief faced by buy-to-let investors. Although they require more work in terms of regular marketing, they’ve become a popular way to earn money from property.

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Painting & Decorating Property Maintenance Quality Workmanship Papering, Coving etc. Interior and Exterior Work Free Quotations Call W Firkins & Partners Ltd 01462 814117 or 07939 267083 Est 1981 20 Clifton Road, Shefford, Beds

Alan George Painter & Decorator Interior and Exterior Work Wallpapering and Coving Reliable and Local Specialist City & Guilds trained with 30 years experience Sole trader No VAT Free estimates Call Alan on 01582 454604 Mob:07760198256 or E-Mail: To advertise in The Villager and Town Life please call 01767 261122



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What Crochet Taught my Son Two years ago my mother decided to teach my son (aged eight at the time) how to crochet and recently it occurred to me just how much more it taught him. Intergenerational communication skills - My mother is clueless about Minecraft, Manga, and mobile phone technology, so conversing with Lucas could be stilted and awkward, but crocheting gives them a task in common and makes talking easier. By teaching him in small steps like a game, she made it seem achievable. That you don’t always need to be ‘plugged in’ A ball of wool and a crochet pin are the only tools required. He no longer asks for ‘computer time’ or complains that he’s bored when we visit Grandma. That failure is ok - Of course he dropped stitches and tangled his wool but Grandma told him it was ok to stop, and start again, and encouraged him not to give up at the hurdles. The sense of achievement - When he presented me with his first little coaster he was proud and

thrilled. He loved that I put it on my desk and that my coffee cup sits on it while I write. Every time he comes in, even two years later he mentions it. For the Christmas just gone I received a lovely crocheted hat made by him, with help from his Grandma. When I wore it out on Christmas Day he nearly burst with pride. I don’t know if he will continue to crochet but even if stops he will retain the other life skills his Grandmother has imparted, and I may well have another natty hat by then too.

By Tracey Anderson

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Caxton House, Caxton Way, Stevenage, Herts. SG1 2XS To advertise in The Villager and Town Life please call 01767 261122


Up to 50% Off With our all inclusive priced deals. Ranges and prices on Facebook Ken Seaby Carpets FURNITURE MOVED, OLD CARPETS REMOVED IF REQUIRED

FREE ESTIMATES We call with samples and measure Carpets fitted in about a week

01462 733203 / 07748 532632 CARPET CLEANING SPECIAL OFFER 2 rooms cleaned for £40 Small carpet re-fitting work undertaken

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Serving all of Herts - Based in Stevenage Specialising in replacing misted units

BEFORE AFTER email: website: 07977 911 926 / 01438 906300 • Misted/broken double glazed units • Sticking doors or windows adjusted • Broken/loose handles • Leaded or Georgian units replaced • Hinges for gapping windows • Leaks fixed • All types of locks replaced • Energy saving Planitherm glass • Cat/dog flaps in glass or panels • Door re-alignments Visit our website for over 30 customer reviews 72

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January’s Puzzle Solutions and Winners Last Month’s Crossword Winner Mrs P Anderson from Biggleswade Made In Dagenham Helen Burr from Meppershall

Golf Competition Mr Christopher Glover from Flitwick Easy


Fun Quiz - Nicknames

1. On which TV show might you come across people nicknamed the Beast, the Governess, the Dark Destroyer, the Sinnerman and the Vixen? 2. Taken from the small red flower he would draw on his messages, what is the nickname of the literary character of Sir Percy Blakeney? 3. In January 2009, it was revealed that Prince Charles referred to an Asian member of his polo club by what nickname - a nickname that a number of people deemed to be racist? 4. Qualifying for the World Cup for the first time in 2006, which national football team are nicknamed the Soca Warriors? 5. Completed in 2003, the London skyscraper called 30 St Mary Axe is commonly known by what food-related nickname? 6. Which 1997 film has a two-word title that is a nickname for the US government agency called the Justice Prisoner and Alien Transportation System? 7. Which snooker player is nicknamed 00-147? 8. Gripper, Gonch and Zammo were all nicknames of characters in which BBC TV series? 9. In which district of London would you find Aorangi Terrace, a grassed banked area that has been known by a number of different nicknames in recent years? 10. Which blues musician was born McKinley Morganfield in 1913, but took his stage name from a childhood nickname he got given due his habit of playing in a local creek? 1. The Chase 2. The Scarlet Pimpernel 3. Sooty 4. Trinidad and Tobago 5. The Gherkin 6. Con Air 7. Nigel Bond 8. Grange Hill 9. Wimbledon (it has been known by nicknames such as Henman Hill, Rusedski Ridge and Murray Mound) 10. Muddy Waters

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The Villager Prize Crossword



Across 7 Red fruit (6) 8 An agreement (6) 9 Water activity (4) 10 Pieces (8) 11 Non-attendance (7) 13 Slightly inebriated (5) 15 Quarrel (5) 17 Brine (7) 20 Holding tightly (8) 21 Pain (4) 22 Customer (6) 23 Soak up (6)

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

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

Down 1 Spider’s trap (6) 2 Tepid (4) 3 Neat (7) 4 Begin (5) 5 Determined (8) 6 Smells badly (6) 12 Supplied with (8) 14 Line drawing (7) 16 Infrequently (6) 18 Cling to (6) 19 Unclean (5) 21 Plus (4)

Name: Tel: Address:


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INSTALLATION Boiler installation with 7 - 10 year warranty Boiler breakdown & power flushing Frozen condense pipe rectified Boiler service and landlord certification

PLUMBING Bathroom installation Wetroom installation Mains pressure upgrade General plumbing work & maintenance

BOILER INSTALLATION Combi and system boiler’s upgrade Underfloor heating Warm air and powermax upgrade Boiler breakdown repair


CALL: 01462 292247 / 07753 817469 Email:

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Book Review By Kate Duggan Hidden Gems

This month we’ve scoured the back catalogues for a few gems you might have missed.


Why Mummy Drinks by Gill Sims

Gill Sims is the author of a hugely successful Facebook blog – Peter and Jane’s Mummy. Why Mummy Drinks was released last autumn and quickly became a bestseller. Written in diary format, it tells the story of Ellen, a 39 year old mum of two, who’s trying to balance work and children, while navigating playground politics, irritating in-laws and an exboyfriend. The ensuing drama is extremely funny and very relatable if you’re a parent who isn’t quite ready to hang up her dancing shoes.

For all your appliance and equipment requirements. Shops, offices, factories, nurseries, musicians, care homes and more. Fully qualified and insured Flexible and reliable service Free quotations

Tel: 01462 757326 Email:

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The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie

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

If last year’s hit film Murder on the Orient Express has tempted you to dip into the works of Agatha Christie, why not start with her very first novel? Published in 1920 and set during World War I, it introduces readers to the brilliant mind of Belgian refugee Hercule Poirot. The murder of a woman has everyone pointing the finger at one man. It’s down to Poirot to find out the real culprit before it’s too late. While The Mysterious Affair at Styles is not considered Christie’s finest work, there are still plenty of twists and turns to keep you hooked.


Monday & Wednesday to Saturday – 10am – 5pm Other Days/Out of hours by prior arrangement

Unit 2 Home Farm Court, The Street, Diddington, St Neots, PE19 5XT 01480 812281 To advertise in The Villager and Town Life please call 01767 261122


Classifieds Accountants

Carpentry and Joinery

Tim Jordon

Carpentry and Joinery Made to measure quality timber products supply and fit. Doors, Windows, Stairs, Gates, Kitchen Worktops, Wood staining, painting and varnishing Station Road, Lower Stondon, Beds. Tel: 01462 850363 or 07544 790071

Aerials and Satellites AERIALS & SATELLITES


T/A Broadband Communications Established 1993

Aerials & Satellites • Digital Aerials Freesat & Satellite Installations Commercial IRS Systems All Work Guaranteed • CAI Approved C.1616 Based in Stotfold

Tel: 01462 732 628 • Mob: 07860 436 217


Wobbly legs on chairs and tables remedied Jammed and broken doors fixed Tired and marked surfaces brightened up Rejuvenate your wooden furniture both antique and modern Call Jamie Robinson on 01462 835619/07940 400742

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From just £35.00 per month plus VAT

Call Nigel on 01767 261122 for more information 78

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Classifieds Property Maintenance

Plastering Services


Home & Garden Services

Œ Patio’s Œ Driveways Œ Fencing Œ Brickwork Œ Painting & Decorating Œ Tiling 20 Years Experience - No Job Too Small!

01462 850575 or 07950 311881

Plastering Services


James Geekie Plastering All types of plastering - big or small Interior/Exterior Work Undertaken Re-skim Rooms, Walls, Artex & Ceilings Dry Lining and Screeding Tel: 07792 415356 or 01462 490598 Email:

Plumbing and Heating


Jumbo van with up to 3 men. Helpful, efficient and friendly service for all your moving, carrying, and domestic disposal needs, including house and garage clearance.

Call Richard on: 01767 317387 or 07968 787496 Email:

Removals and Storage removals, storage, archive and shipping • House and office moves • Large and small vehicles • Local/long distance and overseas removals • Containerised storage • Extremely high quality customer service Call for a no obligation quotation

01582 572967

Property Maintenance


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lutetinoannces o S e m DIY Ho perty main General


All jobs undertaken Call Darren on 01462 850786 or 07710 462544

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The Old White Horse • 1 High Street • Biggleswade • SG18 0JE Tel: 01767 314344 e:

Profile for Villager Mag

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Henlow feb 18