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Issue 5 - August 2018

and Town



In this issue Win a family ticket to

Herrings Green Activity Farm

Fairground Attraction

Win £25

in our Prize Crossword

Bringing Local Business to Local People Your FREE local magazine covering Hitchin, Great and Little Wymondley, St Ippolyts, Charlton and surrounding areas every month To advertise in The Villager and Town Life please call 01767 261122

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The Old White Horse • 1 High Street • Biggleswade • SG18 0JE Tel: 01767 314344 e: 2

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Inside this issue... 12

Win a Family Ticket to Herrings Green Activity Farm

P&R Interiors............................................................................32 Daisy Daisy...............................................................................34 Wordsearch..............................................................................37 9th Annual Bedfordshire Walking Festival................................38 Guinea Pig Rescue....................................................................41 Best Convertibles for under £2000...........................................43 The Roaming Empire................................................................45 Nick Coffer’s Weekend Recipe...................................................46 Puzzle Page..............................................................................48 What’s On.................................................................................50 Back to Stay.............................................................................52 The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials.......................................55 Prize Crossword........................................................................58 Strictly Come Jive and Swing....................................................61 Book Review............................................................................62

What on Earth? The History of Surrealism..................................4 Sigiriya: The Lion Rock of Sri Lanka..........................................10 Win a family ticket to Herrings Green Activity Farm.................12 Fairground Attraction...............................................................15 Eat to Boost your Mood............................................................16 Wines: A Good Choice - Rosé....................................................18 Staying Safe in the Sun............................................................21 Use style to blow away negativity during menopause.............23 Celebrating the well-dressed well............................................25 Summer Sunscreen Tips...........................................................26 Managing the cost of entertaining the kids this summer.........29 Gadgets for Summer Living......................................................30

P&R Interiors


Get your business off to a flying start this year

Advertise with the Villager Magazine... prices start from just £25.00 +VAT per month Editorial - Catherine Rose, Solange Hando, Tom Hancock, Louise Addison, Trevor Langley, Kate Duggan, Jennie Billings, Kate McLelland, Ann Haldon, Rachael Leverton, Berry House Vets, James Baggott, Nick Cofferand Kate Duggan

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

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

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

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By Catherine Rose

What on Earth?

The History of Surrealism Surrealism was a radical philosophical movement that was born, seemingly out of nowhere, around a century ago. Famously led by artists such as Salvador Dali and André Breton, it had an enormous impact on our modern culture, encompassing not only art and literature but film, photography, music, political thought and even everyday objects. Surrealism evolved in the 1920s from Dadaism – a politically-based art movement that was a reaction to the First World War. With a Marxist bias, Dadaism rejected logic, reasoning and the status quo that its artists blamed for causing the war, and challenged traditional concepts of art. With its foundations in Dadaism, Surrealism also reflected the development of psychology which was bringing the concepts of psychoanalysis and exploration of the subconscious to the fore. Surrealist art and literature consequently used


dream-like states and seemingly out-of-place but symbolic images to give new interpretation to the world. Despite the fact it is often thought of as purely an art form, Surrealism was first and foremost a literary movement and there were some incredible but now mostly forgotten Surrealist writers during the 1920s and 30s – for example the Polish Jewish writer Bruno Schulz who in 1934 wrote The Street of Crocodiles, a book of Surrealist short stories. (Tragically, he was shot by the Gestapo in 1942.) The word ‘surrealism’ was invented by the writer Guillaume Apollinaire in 1917 when describing a new ballet Parade written by Jean Cocteau and Erik Satie. The term was subsequently taken up by the founder of the Surrealist movement, the French poet André Breton (1896-1966).

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A writer and scientist, Breton had trained in medicine and psychiatry, working in a neurological hospital during the war where he used Freud’s theories to treat soldiers suffering from shell shock. From his experiences Breton developed a method of artistic expression called ‘automatism’, which involved writing automatically from the subconscious, enabling the artist to tap into the furthest reaches of the imagination. In his first Manifesto of Surrealism, published in 1924, Breton outlined the idea that Surrealism was a way for the arts to encourage political change as it forced people to ‘think outside the box’. His theories subsequently attracted many followers including Dali (1904-1989), the Spanish painter Joan Miro (1894-1983), German artist Max Ernst (1891-1976), filmmaker Luis Bunuel (1900-1983), American photographer Man Ray (1890-1976) and the Belgian artist Rene Magritte (1898-1967). Surrealist artworks are often disturbing and filled with strange and symbolic images, juxtaposing objects which would not be found together in real life. For example, Dali’s well-known painting The Persistence of Time shows giant clocks melting in an imaginary landscape. Perhaps less familiar but equally striking is German artist Meret Oppenheim’s Object painted in 1936, which depicts a cup, saucer and spoon made of fur. The technique of trompe l’oeil (trick of the eye) also featured in Surrealist art, as in Dali’s clever Swans Reflecting Elephants which shows swans swimming on a lake and the swans’ reflections as elephants below it. As with the Art Nouveau and Art Deco movements before it, Surrealism spread its imaginative tendrils into other creative areas. Surrealist photography was taken up with enthusiasm by photographers including Man Ray, who took the memorable shot of a naked woman with two scroll-like ‘F holes’ painted on either side of the small of her back so that her body resembled a violin. Surrealist films made an appearance, the most famous and controversial at the time being the 1929 Un Chien Andalou (An Andalusian Dog) by


Luis Bunuel and Dali, which features hands coming out of a wall and a woman having her eyeball cut open with a razorblade! (Dali was later asked by Alfred Hitchcock to create a dream sequence for his film Spellbound in 1945.) Dali, along with other artists, conceived Surrealist everyday objects such as the lobster telephone, a woman’s hat in the shape of a stiletto shoe in a collaboration with the fashion designer Elsa Schiparelli, and a sofa that was built to resemble actress Mae West’s lips. Although Surrealism was declared a dead movement by the Second World War, artists continued to produce paintings in its style, such as Magritte’s famous The Son of Man painted in 1966 (the year of André Breton’s death) where a man (Magritte himself ), wearing a 1960s suit and bowler hat, stands with his face obscured by a floating apple. The ‘realism’ of the image makes it all the more striking and is a typical technique of Surrealist art which is often three-dimensional in its appearance. Since the deaths of the original Surrealist artists, Surrealism’s legacy has lived on, heavily shaping the creative arts and thinking of today. Artists who did not consider themselves Surrealists but were clearly influenced by it include Frida Kahlo and Jackson Pollock. Surrealism freed writers and artists to work directly from their imaginations and to express their thoughts, rather than what they could see in front of them, in ways that had never before been achieved, except perhaps by the innovative 16th century artist Hieronymus Bosch – but that’s another article!

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Truly Independent

OPEN MORNING Saturday 22 September 2018 Excellent independent education for girls and boys aged 3 to 18 Forward-thinking, creative and supportive environment where children are treated as individuals Green and spacious campus with top class facilities for sport, music, art and design Extensive school bus network and shuttle bus to Letchworth Garden City train station

To find out more call 01462 650 947 or email

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By Solange Hando

Sigiriya: The Lion Rock in Sri Lanka There are no lions in Sri Lanka but when the first king arrived from India, his flag portrayed a lion symbolising hope and freedom. The Sri Lankan flag has endured ever since, except in colonial times when it was tucked away in England, in the Royal Chelsea Hospital. Today visitors come from far and wide to set eyes on Sigiriya, the Lion Rock rising in the central province, a sheer 200 metres above the plain. It’s a scenic landmark, hauntingly dramatic since patricide and usurper king Kasyapa built his palace on the very top in 477. Away from the capital, he designed this impregnable fortress to keep safe, should his half-brother, the rightful heir, return from exile. He did, in 495, and when Kasyapa foolishly came down to lead his army, the royal elephant suddenly changed direction. It was to avoid a bog, they say, but thinking this was a signal to retreat, the army deserted. Kasyapa killed himself on the spot. The palace was abandoned, Buddhist monks settled back in the caves and all was forgotten until the 19th century when the British scaled the rock and discovered the ruins. Sigiriya is now a world heritage site and whatever the crowds, the mighty copper-coloured rock takes your breath away, rugged and scarred, inaccessible, it seems, yet you can see patches of grass and lonely trees sprouting from the top. At the base of the rock, a gentle stroll takes you past the remains of outer and inner ramparts, the moats and water gardens, until you reach the


natural archway marking the start of the steep stone steps. Then it’s a climb to the fresco cave – branching up a near vertical spiral staircase – where sensuous bejewelled maidens have beckoned for over 1,500 years. With slender waists and generous bosoms, the ladies of the court appear almost unreal in soft golden colours. Over the centuries, myriad pilgrims and artists have fallen in love with these Cloud Maidens and recorded their impressions on the nearby Mirror Wall. Roughly half-way up, the open Lion Terrace is a great place to rest, enjoy the view and gaze at what was once the Lion Staircase House, the last and only gateway to the palace on the top. The lion lost its head long ago but the massive paws carved into the rock beckon the fittest up the last dizzying stairway. The summit takes everyone by surprise, a plateau stretching 1.5 hectares, glowing with red terraces and ancient walls. This is the highest point and innermost precinct of the whole complex, where a royal garden and outer and inner palaces converged on a rock-cut pool. There are very few ruins up there but no one seems to mind, for spellbinding vistas lead you from the plain and formal gardens far below to the wooded slopes, the terraced gardens and the boulder gardens where the dramatic ‘Cobra Hood Cave’ preserves fragments of ancient paintings. Mountains rise in the distance, but on this lofty perch you feel on top of the world.

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Steam & Country Fayre 14th, 15th & 16th September 2018 Old Warden Park, nr Biggleswade (SAT NAV SG18 9DX)



Steam Engines of all sizes Action Packed Arena Working Demonstrations Heavy Horses Fairground Organs Working Crafts Craft & Food Halls Trade & Market Stalls Vintage Vehicles Old Time Fairground Vintage Tractors Morris Dancing Licensed Bar & Refreshments

Saturday & Sunday

Gates Open 9am

Caravan & Camping Area Download or contact for booking form



Friday Adult


CHILDREN (Under (Under 16) 16) CHILDREN


FREE CAR PARKING Coach Parties Welcome - please contact us Free Entry to SAC Members

Book Tickets Online at Discounted Prices! Bedford Steam Engine Preservation Society

Charity no 291744


All Enquiries to: BSEPS, PO Box 346, Henlow, Beds SG6 9GP Tel: 01462 887200 Email: To advertise in The Villager and Town Life please call 01767 261122


Win a Family Ticket to visit Herrings Green Activity Farm & Bird of Prey Centre

Herrings Green Activity Farm is a family run business so we know how important it is to provide our visitors with a feel good family day out. Home to over 200 animals and birds of prey, the farm allows visitors to get close encounters with our birds and animals. Every day we have interactive displays and keeper talks going on every thirty minutes including meet and handle our owls, pat a pet, flying displays, groom our donkeys, animal and critter displays, have a go at flying an owl, shire horse talk and more. As well as all of our displays there is lots to keep the whole family entertained throughout the day: children’s play areas including our new for 2018 pirates’ cove, crazy golf, tractor and trailer rides, craft barn, pony rides (additional cost), tyre trails & barrel rides (additional cost). If you just fancy sitting back and relaxing then you can enjoy an array of delicious cakes, freshly baked baguettes, and a variety of hot drinks from our tea room, visit our traditional sweet shop for tasty treats or our ice cream parlour. With an amazing team of friendly staff we are able to give you a memorable day out for the whole family. All activities are included in the general admission prices, there’s no need to pre-book just come along and join in the fun. Adult £12.50 Senior £11.50 Child (3-15 years) £9.50 Family (2 adults & 2 children) £34.50 Children under 3 years are free. The farm also offers a variety of experience days; 2 hour, half and full day experiences for all ages. Get closer to the birds, meet, handle and free fly many different species of owls, hawks, eagles and falcons. See our website for more details. To be in with a chance to win a family ticket to Herrings Green Farm simply send your entry by 16th August 2018 to: Herrings Green Farm Competition, Villager Publications Ltd, 24 Market Square, Potton, Beds SG19 2NP. The winner will be drawn randomly.


For a chance to win a family ticket to Herrings Green Farm simply complete your details below and post your entry by 16th Aug 2018 to: Herrings Green Competition, Villager Publications Ltd, 24 Market Square, Potton, Beds SG19 2NP Name:

Herrings Green Farm, Cotton End Road, Wilstead, Bedfordshire MK45 3DT Tel: 01234 742362/01234 742766 Open 7 days a week 10.00 – 5.00


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Charles Wilson Carpets & Flooring • Quality flooring and carpets • Modern & traditional designs • Reliable, expert fitting service • 46 years of experience

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39 Hermitage Road, Hitchin



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Days Out

Fairground Attraction

Why we like to be scared

Fairs and theme parks never seem to lose their attraction. My kids love them as much as I did. The smell of candyfloss, the music and the thrills. It’s a perfect summer combination. Not everyone will agree with me though. My wife is terrified of anything more exciting than the merry-go-round. So why do I love Blackpool’s Big One, while her knuckles go white on the dodgems? According to psychologists it comes down to something he calls a “type T” personality. Type T’s are thrill-seekers who thrive on the uncertainty and intensity of activities that most people would find hair-raising. It seems some of us enjoy the physical sensations associated with fear: the adrenaline rush; the pounding heart and the sweaty palms. Scary rides make us feel alive. Terrifying experiences induce a sense of euphoria once we’re back on solid ground though we only enjoy them experts say, when we’re within a “protective frame” that assures us that deep down, we’re still safe. Recent research has pinpointed certain genes which may be responsible for those of us with type T personalities. Biochemists have isolated a gene called DRD4 which seems more common in rollercoaster-lovers like me. New technologies have allowed engineers to design coasters that change speeds

quickly, shoot up hundreds of feet into the air, and make all sorts of twists and subject the body to intense forces. Research suggests that extreme fairground rides tend to appeal particularly to those of us who lead stressful, structured or controlled lives. It’s certainly true that roller coasters are a way of breaking out of the humdrum expectations of everyday life. Theme parks allow us to act like children again; to experience true excitement and behave a little wildly. Where else as an adult can you scream at the top of your lungs and throw your arms in the air without being sent for psychological evaluation? Adventure parks are also a great way of bringing families and friends together. Riders share the thrill and adventure of having survived what feels like an extreme experience, even though the rides there are very safe. This bonds the participants more closely. It’s even been suggested because of this that theme parks and rollercoasters are good places to go on a date because in situations of high emotional intensity attraction is more likely. If you’re looking for a great day out this summer where you can get in touch with your inner risktaker, feel closer to your family and maybe even find romance...head for the nearest theme park. It’s a scream!

By Tom Hancock

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Health & Lifestyle

Eat to Boost Your Mood We all feel a bit low from time to time. Try modifying your diet. Go Mediterranean: Scientists have found that those who followed a classic Mediterranean diet were 30 per cent less likely to develop depression. It is thought that the combination of omega 3 fatty acids together with natural unsaturated fatty acids and antioxidants from olive oil and nuts, flavonoids and other phytochemicals from fruit and other plant foods and large amounts of natural folates and other B vitamins in the overall Mediterranean dietary pattern may help to protect against depression. Eat selenium: Studies have linked low mood with low levels of the mineral selenium. Eating nuts is the best way to increase your intake. Brazil nuts are the most concentrated selenium source. Just three nuts contain the recommended daily intake of selenium for a woman. Watch your blood sugar: The glycaemic index (GI) is a numerical system that indicates how quickly carbohydrates will make your blood sugar levels rise. Fluctuations in blood sugar lead to


swings in mood and energy. Choose foods that are slow to digest, and which offer a gradual, sustained energy release. Boost your serotonin: Tryptophan is an essential amino acid which is converted in our bodies into the neurotransmitter serotonin. Low serotonin levels are often associated with depression. Proteins such as lean chicken, tuna, salmon and beans are tryptophan-rich and have been proven to boost the mood. Get plenty of fish: Research suggests that omega 3, the essential fatty acids found in fish oils, can improve your mood. Regular consumption of oily fish (salmon, tuna and mackeral) has been associated with better moods and a higher selfreported mental health, even after adjustment for factors such as income, age and other eating patterns. Remember that depression is not low mood. It is a serious mental health condition. If you think you are suffering from depression please consult your GP.

By Louise Addison

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n A beautifully upgraded 18th century listed building. n 20 rooms, all with en-suite n Cosy bar and residential TV lounge. n Wireless Internet access. n Car park at rear. Reasonably priced. 1 Park Street, Hitchin, SG4 9AH Tel: +44 (0)1462 432712 Fax: +44 (0)1462 438506

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From Beginners to Proficiency In Hitchin or Letchworth 27 St. Faiths Close, Hitchin, SG4 0AX Email: Tel: 0737 737 9959

21/11/16 15:36:04

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Food and Drink


A Good Choice – Rosé

Rosé wines are very popular for drinking in the summer months. Now, with several styles being available, made utilising a wide variety of grapes, they can be enjoyed throughout the full year. Popularity speaks for itself, as many countries, worldwide, now produce these wines, which incorporate some of their colour from the grape skins. Adding colour to a dining table and al fresco, for example, as well as making fabulous apéritifs, these wines are a great choice. Indeed, sophistication comes to mind, when the pink wines are around.

La Vieille Ferme Rosé (France) is a very popular (dry) wine. I find this has pleasant, light-red fruits for the bouquet and most pleasing mouthfeel, which continues on, to the palate sensation. Pairs well with grilled meats, salads and a lot of cuisine. Coeur de Cardeline (France) is a further, often-selected, production. This Côtes de Provence pale-pink pleaser exudes a bouquet of summer fruits, which enticingly leads to the mouth’s pleasures. The excellent flavours continue to the palate, for a most satisfying finish. Grilled meats, fish, pasta and salads, match very well with this wine. Arniston Bay Rosé (South Africa) is a Fairtrade production which graces many dining tables. The name is a reference to the blue skies, wonderful beaches and the fishing village. Again, the bouquet pleases, very well and the mouthfeel follows, with red berry flavours, plus a positive, memorable finish. Great to accompany numerous dishes of cuisine. These are just a selection. Each to their own and we all have our preferences – whether red, white, sparkling or other. Take pleasure in finding your favourites. I located these wines at Co-op stores. Having been a customer of the Co-op for many years, I have noticed an increase in the variety of household goods and foods, as time progresses. With the choices of wines, spirits, beers and other beverages available, the Co-op, I consider, is most worthwhile visiting. If Co-op membership is of interest, then customesr gain rewards on selected purchases and products. The Co-op also supports Fairtrade. For more details www.

As always, Enjoy!

ey Trevor Langl


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20% OFF with this advert on orders over £11

2 for £25

THE HEALTH CONSCIOUS INDIAN RESTAURANT & TAKEAWAY FREE HOME DELIVERY on orders over £11.00 within 3 mile radius 10% DISCOUNT on collected orders over £12.00 BANQUET NIGHT £11.95 Wednesday & Sunday

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Health & Beauty

Staying safe in the sun Don’t know your UVA from your UVB? Worried about a mole? Want to be prepared in case you get sunburnt? This guide is for you… First up – the difference between UVA and UVB. Both are types of ultraviolet radiation that can increase your risk of getting skin cancer. UVA rays prematurely age skin, leading to more wrinkles and pigmentation. UVB rays are the ones that actually burn. ‘SPF’ is short for sun protection factor. The higher the number, the better the protection. The British Association of Dermatologists recommends choosing a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or over. However, the SPF only relates to UVB rays, not UVA rays. So you’ll need to look for a broad spectrum sunscreen that protects against both types of ultraviolet radiation. You then need to apply it at least 15 minutes before going outside, and reapply it at least every two hours. Weleda’s Edelweiss Sunscreen Facial Lotion protects against both UVA and UVB, has an SPF of 30 and is packed with skinfriendly ingredients, such as organic coconut and jojoba oils. It’s suitable for all skin types and smells rather lovely, with subtle notes of citrus and lavender. Priced at £13.95, the lotion can be bought online from If you do forget to slap on the sunscreen, aloe vera can help to soothe sunburnt skin. Not all aloe vera gels are created equally, however. Some contain very little actual aloe vera, so do check the ingredients list. Dr. Organic Aloe Vera Gel is a good choice. It has an instant cooling effect, is hypoallergenic and helps to restore hydration. The gel costs £5.59 from Holland & Barrett.

Do you suffer from prickly heat, or find you only have to look at the sun to go red? Trilogy’s Very Gentle Calming Serum is worth a try. It’s specially formulated to reduce inflammation and irritation. As the name suggests, it’s fragrancefree and gentle enough for even sensitive skin. Ingredients include aloe vera, green tea, chamomile, sweet almond oil and evening primrose oil. The serum costs £29.50 from Boots or If you’re worried about a mole or other changes to your skin, it’s always best to book in to see your GP. In the meantime, The British Association of Dermatologists’ ABCD-Easy guide details the main things to look for: • Asymmetry: the two halves of the area may differ in shape. • Border: the edges of the area may be irregular or blurred, and sometimes show notches. • Colour: this may be uneven. Different shades of black, brown and pink may be seen. • Diameter: most melanomas are at least 6mm in diameter. Report any change in size, shape or diameter to your doctor. • Expert: if in doubt, check it out! If your GP is concerned about your skin, make sure you see a Consultant Dermatologist. Your GP can refer you via the NHS. For more information about protecting your skin, check out

By Kate Duggan

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House of Colour

Use Style to Blow Away Negativity During Menopause Menopause is steeped in negativity, rarely talked about openly and is often associated with weight gain, mood swings and hot flushes. However, menopause is different for every woman and there are many ways we can halt the negative association of this all-important phase in life that every woman goes through. To follow are tips on how to build your confidence using style and colour during Menopause. 1. Its not always easy but try seeing this as a new phase to your life; perhaps a new chance to reinvent yourself and to celebrate your body, skin and confidence. Always highlight your body parts that you like and don’t think, just perhaps because you are on the good side of fifty, that you must fade into the background! Now is your time! 2. Oestrogen is key to building collagen in our skin, so during menopause your skin may lose elasticity, or look duller and feel thinner or drier. Being well moisturised and wearing the right coloured makeup will make you appear healthier. The right lipstick is key! 3. Black is often thought of as a slimming colour but if you are not a winter season then it is not your colour. As we age even some winters begin to struggle to carry it off! Tailoring and the art of layering is far more helpful in creating a slimmer look. 4. If you are feeling flushed, know that the right colours will bring down high colouring and if you feel your complexion needs a lift try the more vibrant colours in your colour palette. Importantly, autumns and springs suit warm tones whilst winters and summers should wear cool tones. 5. If you feel like foundation is too chalky on your skin now, try using a BB cream as it has all the benefits of hydrating like a moisturiser, providing the coverage of a light foundation and often contains a sunscreen. Try www. 6. It is important to exercise when going through menopause so keep active and choose great sportswear to keep you motivated. Get re-measured for a good fitting bra, invest in some quality sports kit including a great sports bra and choose some trainers

in a fabulous colour from your colour palette and you are ready hit the gym or pound the pavements! 7. If you are feeling flushed, know that the right colours will bring down high colouring and if you feel your complexion needs a lift try the more vibrant colours in your colour palette. Importantly, autumns and springs suit warm tones whilst winters and summers should wear cool tones. 8. Use accessories close to your face such a scarves, necklaces or earrings in one of, or an assortment of, your wow colours to highlight your complexion and to look great. 9. Comfortable dressing will be another vital consideration during menopause so wearing the right size and shape is important. Some of us may want our clothes to skim over our torso, but make sure you do not swamp your body; you can always add a belt to bring the silhouette in a little. Learning where on your body to best wear a belt is key. It is absolutely possible to prioritise style whilst still being comfortable. 10. Wearing more breathable fabrics that allows the air to flow such as linen or 100% cotton will help with hot flushes. Avoid anything labelled100% polyester. 11. Patterns are a great way to mask sweat but choose one that really suits you. Different patterns suit different style personalities. You may have something with a lovely pattern in your wardrobe right now that fits well but never feels quite right. It probably isn’t a pattern that suits YOU.

By Jennie Billings Style and Colour Consultatnt at House of Colour

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Quirky Britain


the well-dressed well If you happen to visit the Midlands region between May and September, you might be in for a big surprise. During this time intriguing temporary structures can appear almost overnight, creating a riot of colour in the middle of an ordinary town or village street. These structures can be anything up to twelve foot tall and the complex artwork at the centre will be created from natural materials such as flowers, mosses, leaves, twigs, seeds, beans and small pine cones. If you’re new to the area you might imagine that these objects have been randomly placed as part of a local art festival, but look a little closer and you’ll realise that each display has been carefully positioned so it frames a well or freshwater spring. So what exactly is going on? Welcome to the world of well-dressing (also known as ‘well-flowering’), a thriving tradition that predates the time when historical records began. According to the website welldressing. com over a hundred villages and towns in Britain still take part annually, creating artworks to celebrate their local fresh water source. The history of well-dressing It’s likely that the custom began as a pagan ritual, designed to pay tribute to the spirit that guarded the natural spring. The early Church, disapproving of such heathen traditions, reinterpreted the rites as a Christian thanksgiving ceremony. The practice remained popular until the reign of Henry VIII, when Chancellor Thomas Cromwell issued instructions for well-dressing equipment to be destroyed: presumably because ‘idolatrous’ images – forbidden by Henry’s reformed church – were being used. That must have come as a blow to rural communities like Tissington in Derbyshire. Sir Richard Fitzherbert, the ninth baronet of Tissington Hall, claims that during natural disasters the wells provided a lifeline for the people. He explains: “In times of drought they never dried up, so everyone lived from the water,

and in times of plague, the village cut itself off from the outside world and had a safe, reliable water source for survival.” A race against time The process starts when the wooden boards on which the designs will be mounted are soaked in a local river or pond for several days. Clay is then smoothed onto the wet wooden frame, ready for the design to be added. Creating the artwork can take up to a week, so after the design has been etched into the wet clay, everyone needs to work quickly to make sure the display goes up in time. There is huge competition between villages to create the best display and that competitive spirit has now been channelled into an official event. Last year the RHS Chatsworth Flower Show started a competition to recognise the artistic flair of the nation’s well-dressers and for two years running these displays have enjoyed pride of place in RHS Chatsworth’s community area. So, if you happen to visit the Midlands over the summer, look out for these spectacular boards. Nowadays the concept of ‘well-dressing’ may seem a little archaic, but these remarkable displays stand as a tribute to the skill, patience and local pride of the volunteers who work so hard to create them.

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By Kate McLelland 25


By Louise Addison

Summer Sunscreen Tips

Don’t skimp – You need to apply a shot glass-sized amount of suntan lotion in the morning, then reapply every couple of hours. Skimping means you aren’t protected! High is not necessarily best – It’s better to reapply factor 30 every couple of hours than to apply factor 70 once. Choose Broad Spectrum – These sunscreens provide the maximum protection against the widest range of UV wavelengths. Don’t forget - the eyes, the tip of the nose, the tops of the feet, the lips, and near the hairline and scalp. These are the places people most commonly suffer sun-burn. Apply even if you’re not at the beach – Incidental sun exposure from walking down the street, driving with the windows open and sitting in front of a window, account for most of our exposure to UV throughout our lives. Apply suntan lotion wherever you are! Reapply – Even water-resistant sunscreen needs regular reapplication. If it’s expired throw it out – Expired sunscreen breaks down and is less effective. Use a high SPF moisturiser – Every day, even in the winter! It really is the best thing you can do to protect your skin daily.


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By Ann Haldon

How to manage the cost

of entertaining the kids this summer

If you’re worried about the cost of entertaining your children this summer, you’re not alone. It’s been estimated the average family spends £389 on entertaining the kids during the summer holidays.¹ So in the light of this, what can you do to ease your financial situation at this time of year? Here are just a few ideas to help you manage the cost of entertaining the children and deal with the inevitable back-to-school expenditure. Prioritise your spending Prioritising essential outgoings, such as rent, mortgage payments or council tax, allows you to steer clear of serious financial trouble. You’re not risking the roof over your head and will still be able to buy the groceries to feed your family. Make a budget By carefully budgeting before the summer begins, you may find areas where you can cut back. Knowing exactly where your money goes means you can consciously reduce your outgoings wherever possible, and potentially find some extra money to spend on taking the kids for a day out. Find free or low-cost activities in your area Make full use of the internet by searching for free activities in your area. You should be able to find a few deals on days out, or coupons and vouchers for money off entry to kids’ attractions. Theme parks can be particularly expensive for families, but with a ‘2 for 1’ offer on admissions, or a meal deal when

you’re there, you’ll all enjoy a great day out without it breaking the bank. Get the children involved with money If your children are old enough you can introduce them to the realities of managing money, albeit with small amounts at first. They’ll begin to understand that money is finite, and they can’t have everything they want. What about back-to-school costs? The cost of school uniforms and all the other ancillary bits and pieces the children need for the new term can be the final straw for your finances at the end of the summer holidays, so what can you do to help yourself financially in this respect? • Buying school uniform towards the end of the summer holidays is a good idea. Children grow so quickly and this way you can also make sure they get the most wear out of their uniform. • Some schools operate second-hand uniform sales when the end of the holidays is approaching – this can offer huge savings as you don’t have to buy new items. • Giving a slightly older child some money to buy their own stationery or other school items can teach them about money management, particularly if you let them keep the change. For families on low incomes, dealing with school summer holiday costs adds stress to an already challenging financial situation. Keeping the children entertained can be expensive, but with a little planning and budgeting, hopefully it won’t impact too heavily on family finances at this time or during the rest of the year. ¹

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Time of Year

Gadgets for Summer Living Sit outside with a drink on a warm summer evening? Don’t mind if I do, but I do mind being eaten alive by mosquitoes! This year I am installing a Bug Zapper Light Bulb. The bulb provides two different modes that can be chosen with the wall switch: Antimozzie or light plus anti-mozzie. The bulb’s 360-degree LED blue-violet light band emits a wavelength of 365-420nm, which attracts mosquitoes. It’s safe for human’s though, as there is no radiation, it’s non-toxic and chemical-free. Really intense summer sun calls for a parasol. Now you can choose one with solar-powered internal lights which will also charge a small electronic device like a phone. Your teens will love you. It’s always good to have something to sit on when out and about over the summer. Whether you are going camping or for a walk on the beach a blanket is a useful item. Unfortunately, they can

be a bit bulky. Enter the Pocket Blanket, available from good camping shops. Made of water repellent, puncture resistant, lightweight nylon, they fold into a 3 x 2-inch (7.5 x 5 cm) pouch. It fits two people lying down or four people sitting, and its weighted corners will help to keep it from blowing around. It’s irritating when one party member disappears, and you have little or no phone reception to let them know you’re waiting. Try an off-grid communication device like Gotoky. It’s like a tiny modern-day walkie-talkie which connects to your phone with Bluetooth, has a range of 4 miles and lets you contact other people who have downloaded the app, bypassing the need for mobile coverage. With two per pack you can text or even share grid locations. As a bonus communications are end-to-end encrypted!



By Tom Hancock

Local & Reliable

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With a spacious working showroom in the heart of Bedford, P & R Interiors is a local family-run firm that provides inspirational modern design and cost-effective solutions for both kitchens and bathrooms.

A stylish bathroom to suit your current needs….

With our ageing population, an increasing number of us are less mobile. P & R Interiors can design, supply and fit an up-to-the-minute bath or shower room which also discretely incorporates function and practicality for the less able. The best news is that many of these features are currently right on trend - from flush-to-floor shower trays and wet rooms, to walk-in showers with fixed glass screens – and built using the latest materials. Managing Director Paul Kynoch, who has decades of experience in the trade, explains: “We believe that simplicity and ease of use are key. Less mobile people may need a higher-level toilet or a lower access bath. Our basins and toilets can be hung at a custom height to suit every need. We have baths with a door, or showers with screens that open outwards to help prevent falls. “There are 54 working bays in our showroom that are constantly being updated. So, you can come in, see


exactly what you are buying and experience firsthand how it works. We supply, and can fit, your entire bathroom.” P & R Interior’s own dedicated installation team can work on the supervised installation of your bathroom while adhering to local authority guidelines. Safety is paramount, and designs incorporate safety glass, thermostatically safe showers and non-slip floors. Such is the design quality of the bathrooms, that accessories for the less able such as a wall-mounted fold-down shower seat, work seamlessly with the installation to be barely noticeable. Fold-down grab bars beside the toilet and sturdy shower rails that double up as supports all help make daily bathing the hassle-free pleasure it should be. It’s worlds away from the disabled bathrooms found in hospitals and care homes. It is also now possible to install low level lighting under the bath that comes on automatically when you enter the bathroom at night. Hidden behind a two-way mirror that gives the illusion of flooring stretching beneath a ‘floating’ bath, the effect is as stunning as it is practical. This is the beauty of these safety and mobility features - they are so unobtrusively stylish, no one will notice you need that bit of extra help as they will simply be admiring your bathroom! Materials have moved on apace since the era of acrylic baths in ‘avocado’. Now there are high quality

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resins that produce super thin shower trays and beautiful ‘tapless’ baths. Towel rails can be colour matched to cabinets for as little as £100 extra. If you’re not a fan of wall tiles (although P & R Interiors carries a vast range), you can have waterproof panels instead. And if you have a smaller bathroom - as many of us do - then you will find P & R Interior’s wide but shallow depth basin units fit perfectly and provide spaciousness.

…and a kitchen to meet your future ones

Following customer demand, the fitted kitchen displays are now an integral part of the business meaning that when you visit P & R Interiors, you are only a step away from having your dream kitchen. Top quality German and English-style kitchens are available to suit every budget and the company offers a free 3D software design package that Paul describes as ‘photographic’. Specialising in high-tech German designed kitchens from Pronorm alongside more traditional-style English kitchens from JJO Plc, far from being out of most people’s pockets, P & R Interiors can often match trade prices and will always work to your budget. “It’s really unusual for us not be able to come up with

a solution for you” says Andrew Groom who has 20 years’ experience under his belt. Germany is the industry trendsetter in kitchen colours and design - and high street retailers eventually follow suit. Pronorm epitomises the elegance of a true ‘handleless’ kitchen. With its expansive, sleek cupboard fronts and modern electrically-operated doors - including ‘glass climbers’ that magically fold up like Venetian blinds - their kitchens are state-of-the-art. In years to come, we will all have convenient pull-down shelves and smart, hygienic ceramic or glass inserts on our cupboard fronts, but for now, Pronorm sets the bar. As with bathrooms, kitchen materials are better and more durable than ever. You can have traditional granite in a gloss or leathered finish, quartz or Corian worktops, and now there are other finishes to choose from including Hi-Macs, and Staron. One of the latest worktop materials is Dekton. Described as ‘bomb proof’, it doesn’t stain or mark, is 100% hygienic, and heat resistant. It has been described as the ‘most scratch resistant surface on the market’. Finish off your design with mood enhancing, colourchanging lights and you really will have a kitchen of the future. P & R Bathrooms provides design and full installation or supply only. There is a five-year guarantee on all AEG Premier Partner exclusive products and a 10year guarantee on all kitchens. Both trade and retail are welcome.

P & R Interiors, 9 Lurke Street, Bedford M40 3HZ Monday to Friday 9.00am to 5.00 pm Saturdays 10.00am to 4.00pm Tel: 0845 434 8401 Email: To advertise in The Villager and Town Life please call 01767 261122


Garden View

Daisy Daisy There are some flowers I love because they are show-stoppers, others because of their evocative scent, and some because they are unusual. Michaelmas daisies don’t tick any of those boxes, but I love them anyway. They are bright, cheerful, and completely undemanding - at home in the poorest, driest soils, and bees and butterflies love them! They get their common name from their flowering period, which peaks at Michaelmas, the feast of St. Michael on September 5th, though they will carry on flowering well into late autumn. This means they are great for injecting colour into borders which can start to look a little washed-out and dreary in late summer. Until the mid-nineties, Michaelmas daisies were all known scientifically as asters, but then some were reclassified. Look out for the name Symphyotrichum, as many popular varieties now carry that name instead The gardener credited with popularising the Michaelmas daisy was Ernest Ballard. Many of the varieties he cultivated are still available and bear the names of his family members. “Ada

By Rachael Leverton

Ballard” is named for his sister and is lavender blue, “Marie Ballard” is a pretty pale blue double bloom named for his wife. He is also responsible for “Prosperity” and “Peace”, rose-pink and deep mauve respectively, which he named straight after the First World War. If you want a tallish variety suitable for the middle of the border, try “Little Carlow” which grows to about 90cm and produces masses of violet-blue blooms. One of my favourites for the back of the border is “Calliope” which has striking black elegant stems that reach heights of 2m, smothered in delicate lilac flowers. A good small variety is “Beggarten” which is pale blue, compact and clump-forming. “Tonga” is also smaller and is a lovely deep purple which looks great in a container. Although they are not high-maintenance plants Michaelmas daisies benefit from being cut down to ground level in late autumn and covered in a good mulch of well-rotted organic matter. And that’s all there is to it!

Happy Gardening


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• • • • • •

Driveways For a free quotation or advice Paving call Robin on Patios 01462 815968 07785 530558 Fencing Decking Garden Design & Build

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Local News

By Barry Ingram

9th Annual Bedfordshire Walking Festival September is a great month for walking, the air is cooler, it feels fresher and colours begin advancing through the trees. In Bedfordshire the whole county begins that change and is a great place to enjoy a walk. The Bedfordshire Walking Festival 8th to 16th September offers lots of opportunities for people of almost all abilities. Whether it is one of the many walks for health of between 30-90 minutes, an informative guided walk of around two hours, a half day walk of around 3 hours, or for the really serious, full days of between 12-21 miles. For the family an evening of Trails and Tales for older children with an afternoon version for younger ones. Why not take the train with a ride on the Leighton Buzzard Narrow Gauge Railway and return on foot along the Grand Union Canal. Food lovers will enjoy first collecting food from the hedgerows then going back and transforming the goodies into Jam and more at Clophill Around this part of Bedfordshire there are informative walks around Biggleswade Yes, there is a lot more to Bigglewade than meets the eye, also from Shuttleworth, Northill and a fascinating history walk at Willington. Those who enjoy walkers walks have an option of a 13 mile day walk from Roxton or half day afternoon one from Blunham Rounding off the nine days over the weekend of 15th & 16th is the annual Greensand Ridge Challenge 40 miles across the Greensand Country.


If you can’t do both days why not come for one. On Sunday 16th is the Launch of the Sandy Green Wheel Walking Route at 2-00pm and after the opening ceremony there will be walks of 90 minutes, ideal for families and one of 6 miles approximately 2-3 hours. One of the most attractive features of the festival is that almost all the walks are free and do not require booking so you can just turn up. Some mostly the health walks it is better to phone the leader beforehand. Where booking and charges are necessary these are shown in the programme and bookings along with payment can be made via the festival web site. There isn’t space to extol all the virtues of the festival and its walks extending across the county to Luton, Dunstable and beyond in the south to Keysoe, Swineshead and Bedford in the North and East to West across the Greensand Country with plenty in the middle. Only a few have been mentioned so why not explore Bedfordshire on foot this September after picking up a programme or visiting the festival web site

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Guinea Pig Rescue My name is Kate Wright and for the past 12 years I have run a guinea pig rescue from my home in Dunstable. I work full time for the RSPCA which is how it all got started. I have always kept guinea pigs of my own and whenever we had any guinea pig calls at work, everyone always thought of me and I was often called on to help. I also fostered for my local RSPCA branch and soon realised there was a need to help these endearing little animals and also, given my love of them, wanted to do what I could to help. I called my rescue ‘Guinea Pig Rescue and Rehome’ and 12 years on I’m still going strong. It’s hard work and obviously I have to manage it around my full time job but it’s so worth it to find loving, permanent homes for rescue guinea pigs. The most common reasons I take them in is because children have lost interest and people/ children have developed allergies. I also provide holiday boarding which helps me out a bit with the day to day costs of running the rescue. I currently have 26 guinea pigs in my care so it can be a struggle to make sure they are all provided for, but I manage and they all get five star care while they are with me. It’s not always pairs that are looking for homes as I quite often get single piggies in and as guinea pigs need to have company I try to help pair them with others that have ended up on their own and for people who are looking for a friend for one

Berry House Vets they have on its own. Male guinea pigs can be harder to pair up so if it’s a struggle to pair one or they have come in due to fighting then I will get them neutered. This doesn’t change behaviour so won’t make them like another male but it does mean they can then be paired up with females, which tends to be easier. I was recently called at work to a guinea pig that had probably been dumped. ‘William’ was found near a shoe box on its side by some garages. He has a cyst on his back, lice and over grown claws. I took him to Berry House Vets, who I have always used for my guinea pigs and also my other own animals. They are very knowledgeable, especially with piggies and always able to accommodate needy guinea pigs for me. William is booked back in next week for neutering and to have the lump removed. Please see link below for William’s full story and photos of him and for more details of my rescue thank you . . Kate: 07734 329485 or

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Best Convertibles


For Under £2,000

By James Baggott

With summer in full swing, if you want a drop-top to provide that wind-in-your-hair experience we’ve picked out some of the best convertibles for under £2,000. MG TF Readily available and well-priced, most MG TF’s come with a peppy 1.8-litre engine and all have a folding cloth roof. It’s still a relatively handsome looking car that seems to have aged well, and we found a number for well under our £2,000 budget. Citroen C3 Pluriel Designed to be five cars in one, the C3 Pluriel wasn’t successful, meaning you can pick up decent used examples and, though they may not have a sports car design, you still get that drop-top experience very cheaply. Most cars get alloy wheels and air conditioning, but make sure the folding roof functions correctly. Mercedes SLK Buying a used Mercedes can mean higher repair costs and pricier parts, so choose carefully – a decent servicing history is essential. An early 2000s SLK should be well-equipped, with electronically-adjustable seats and cruise control. Toyota MR2 For no-frills, involving motoring, the little MR2 provides exciting performance from a 1.8-litre engine, and its compact size makes it feel nimble on the road. The lack of any real boot does make it impractical but there are plenty of reasonable examples available within budget.

Mazda MX-5 The MX-5 is a reliable, cheap-to-repair convertible and is a go-to choice for those who want a relatively involving drive coupled with compact dimensions. Rust is an issue, particularly on early models, but a clean example will provide miles of trouble-free motoring. Mini Convertible The ‘new’ Mini has proved to be immensely popular, and the convertible version was snapped up as a result of its cutesy styling and reasonably powerful range of engines. Available well within our £2,000 budget, make sure that the interior is straight, and listen for strange noises from the costly-to-replace power steering pump. Saab 9-3 The 9-3 convertible is a comfortable and spacious drop-top, and there are plenty of spare parts and components available should you need replacements, despite Saab’s now defunct status. Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet Most Bugs come comprehensively equipped, with air conditioning and alloy wheels just some of the extras you’ll find fitted, and the Beetle is a decent and reliable soft-top. BMW 3 Series Convertible (E46) There are many examples of 3 Series convertibles to be found at this budget. Most common are E46 models, which are sturdy and excellent to drive. A variety of engines are available too, with even the top end straight-six models well in this price bracket. Double check the arches as these are prone to rust. In addition, turn the steering lock to lock while travelling at low speed and listen out for any troubling knocking noises. Audi TT Roadster There aren’t many about in this price range, but the Audi TT Roadster is a fine option. Strong build quality, reliable engines and quirky styling mean that this soft-top still looks and feels fresh today. At this price you’ll be looking at a high-mileage example, but providing it’s got a decent service history there’s no reason why these can’t be hasslefree convertibles.

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The Roaming Empire

How to access the internet when you’re on holiday

Internet access can be really useful when you’re travelling. Map apps can help you find your way around and others can help you get better deals on tourist attractions, discover the best places to eat and drink or avoid the worst tourist traps. But how do you actually get online without spending a fortune? The cheapest way to get online is via free Wi-Fi, which is available in all kinds of places – not just the familiar cafes and transport hubs but in malls, on public transport and anywhere else tourists are likely to go. Be wary, though, especially if you’re using your device for something private such as online banking. It’s very easy to set up a convincing-looking Wi-Fi hotspot and then intercept the data people send, such as their online banking IDs. If in doubt use a security program called a Virtual Private Network (VPN) –Tunnelbear is one example – which establishes a secure, eyes-only tunnel between you and the site you’re visiting. Another option is to use your

mobile phone to create a Wi-Fi hotspot. This enables other devices to connect to your phone and use its data connection. It’s very easy to do (the relevant option will be in your phone’s settings menu) but be careful if you have a monthly data transfer limit: using multiple devices can quickly take you beyond your monthly cap. If your phone doesn’t have this feature you can buy a “dongle” or a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot; the former plugs into your laptop’s USB port to give it mobile data access and the latter is a portable device that creates a Wi-Fi hotspot your other devices can use. You should be particularly careful about using mobile data if you’re outside the UK and EU. Charges for mobile data abroad can be terrifying, so we’d strongly recommend buying a mobile data add-on that gives you a fixed amount of data for a fixed price. You can usually get more than enough mobile data for your daily needs for just a few pounds per day.

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Make sure your contract doesn’t already include roaming, though. For example, our Vodafone contract includes free roaming in 48 different countries. It doesn’t include North or South America, Africa or Asia but it covers Europe and several groups of islands. For the time being, you won’t be charged extra for using your mobile or tablet in the European Union as roaming charges within the EU were scrapped in 2017. However, when the UK leaves Europe under Brexit, operators will no longer be compelled to let their customers roam for free. It’s possible that they may decide to stick to the current arrangement, but we’re not very optimistic. Whatever you do, be careful what you’re doing. Streaming Netflix or iPlayer programmes is best kept to Wi-Fi, as the downloads can be huge, and beware apps that do things in the background when you’re not actually using your phone. We find it’s best to keep our phones off or in aeroplane mode when we’re not actually using them.


Three Counties Radio

Churros with chocolate sauce and cinnamon sugar

Churros is hands down one of my absolute favourite things. It takes me back to Spanish holidays, hot sun and chocolate all over my fingers! It’s easy to make at home though and will make you a hero with your children. This recipe was created by Haydn Groves. A former National Chef of the Year, he took on the three great cycle tour routes (Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a Espana) with former footballer Geoff Thomas to raise money for cancer research. He produced a beautiful charity cookbook called “Back In The Saddle” as a result, which mixes travel journal and photography with wonderful recipes from all the stops he made on the journey. This churros recipe comes, of course, from one of the stages he rode in Spain.

For the sauce: 100g dark chocolate (70% cocoa) 40g double cream 40g full-fat milk 20g caster sugar (or omit for a bitter sauce) For the churros: 250ml water 25g caster sugar 25g vegetable oil 1⁄2 tsp salt 125g plain flour 1 tsp baking powder 2 litres vegetable oil for frying To coat: 100g caster sugar 1 tsp ground cinnamon

1. To make the sauce, put all the ingredients into a pan and gently melt together, stirring occasionally until you have a smooth shiny sauce. Keep it warm. 2. To make the churros, in a small saucepan over a medium heat, combine the water, caster sugar, vegetable oil and salt. Bring to the boil and remove from heat. Sieve the flour and baking powder together and stir into the liquid until the mixture forms a ball. 3. Heat the oil in a deep-fat fryer, or deep frying pan, to 190°C. 4. Mix the remaining caster sugar and cinnamon and set aside. 5. Using a piping bag with a 12mm star nozzle, pipe lines of the dough, 8-10cm in length onto parchment paper. 6. Taking care not to splash yourself with hot oil, gently pick up the piped churros pieces from the paper and place into the oil and fry until golden for approximately 3 minutes. 7. Remove the churros with a slotted spoon and put onto a tray lined with kitchen paper to drain. 8. Dust with the cinnamon sugar and serve freshly cooked with the warm chocolate sauce for dipping.

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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Codeword 1



























Easy Suduko

Hard Suduko

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

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n O s ’ t Wha In August 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 23, 24, 30 & 31 August Craft & Activity Days 10am-12 noon & 1-3pm The British Schools Museum, 41/42 Queen Street, Hitchin. SG4 9TS £5 per child Every Wednesday and Thursday in August. Designed for 4-11 year-olds. Web: 2, 9, 16, 23 & 30 August Sapphire Social Club 8.30pm The Orange Tree, Hitchin We are a small and friendly group for single people generally aged 50 and above. We offer a variety of social events during the month and the opportunity to meet and make new friends. Potential new members are warmly welcome to come along and meet us with no joining fee for the first two months. Tel: Joyce 07952 678021 or Ian 07900 890583 for info Web: 3, 10, 17, 24 & 31 August Springfield House Friday Bridge Club 1.30pm Springfield House (the home of the Old Stevenage Community Centre) To play cut-in Chicago Bridge. Play is informal and friendly. Tel: Richard Bean 01438 221517 4 August Embroiderers’ Guild National Day of Stitch 10-2pm Letchworth Library, Broadway, Letchworth Garden City Exhibiting and demonstrating a variety of needlework techniques both traditional and modern, suitable for all ages, interests and skill levels.


4 August 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: 6, 13 & 20 August Staplers Country Dance Club 8-10pm St John’s Community Hall, Hitchin Staplers is your local social folk dance club. It’s easy to start as all the dances are walked through first then called and you don’t need to bring a partner, lots of people go on their own. It is a friendly group and you will be made very welcome. Car parking available next to the hall. Tel. 01462 895567 or 01462 624144 Web: 6, 13, 20 & 27 August Branch Out Social Club for Single People 8.30-11pm Cromwell Bar, The Sun Hotel, Hitchin Branch Out meets every Monday night and is a medium-sized Social Club for single people. It was formed in 1995 to bring together single, divorced, widowed and separated people, aged 40 upwards, from the Herts, Beds and Bucks area, to socialise and enjoy one another’s company. The club organises regular events, such as dinners, discos, meals, parties, Sunday walks, theatre and concert visits, day and weekend trips and holidays. Tel: Lorna 01438 233657 Web:

7, 14, 21 & 28 August Stevenage Bridge Club 7.30pm Priory Nursery, Stanmore Road, Old Stevenage To play Duplicate Bridge. A host system is run to find partners, if required. A wide level of ability play at the club. Tel: Phil Cooper 07957 813434 9 August Meeting of Vintage & Classic Vehicles 4pm Sports Ground, Pirton, Hitchin Free entry Entertainment, raffle, tombola, souvenirs, bar and refreshments. In aid of RNLI. Tel: Mike Frisby 01462 433716 Email: 16 August Letchworth District Gardeners Association 7.45pm Central Methodist Church, 109 Pixmore Way, Letchworth Garden City LDGA & LALG Members £2, Visitors £3 inc. refreshments A talk by Paul has been running his own garden consultancy business for the last 15 years and in 2004 achieved a Bronze Medal at Chelsea for his Courtyard Garden. More recently Paul set up ‘Grow Places’ to help more people enjoy the social and health benefits of gardening. Tel: Meetings Organiser 01462 621961 Web:

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

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n O s ’ t Wha In August 25 & 26 August The Pantaloons 2018 Outdoor Theatre Shows 2pm & 7pm RSPB The Lodge, Sandy Adults £15, Children (age 7-16) £8, Under 7s free, Family 2+2 £40 Saturday As You Like It. “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players…” Welcome to the Forest of Arden, a world of clowns, lovers, runaways and rebels. The critically-acclaimed Pantaloons present their innovative and hilarious open-air version of Shakespeare’s timeless comedy, with folky, foot-stomping live music and their own inimitable brand of buffoonery. Sunday “The Importance of Being Earnest”. Everybody loves Ernest. In fact, Cecily and Gwendolen are both engaged to Ernest. The only trouble is, Ernest doesn’t exist. Or does he…? This energetic and musical production from the criticallyacclaimed Pantaloons’ infuses Wilde’s witty words with snappy new songs and frantically funny physical theatre to give this perennially popular play a hilarious contemporary twist! Bring your blankets, picnics and chairs, bring a bottle of your favourite tipple and enjoy theatre in the open air. Assistance dogs only please. Tickets available to buy before each performance from the ticket yurt. Online booking fee of £1.25 per transaction applies. Web:

25-27 August Benington Chilli Festival 10am-5pm Benington Lordship Gardens, Benington Adults £8.50, Children under 16 £2.50, Under 12s free. Over 60 pitches of the nation’s best known independent chilli traders selling everything and anything you can make with chillies - chutneys, sauces, pickles, seeds, cheese and chocolate. Chilli eating competition at 4pm each day. Entertainment for all the family. Extensive selection of refreshments including Mexican burritos and tacos, Thai, Cajun, Greek and Lebanese fayre, wood oven pizza, spicy sausages, ice cream and more. Vegan and vegetarian dishes too. Sample beers, local cider, spicy ginger beer, soft drinks and the legendary Hot Mule cocktail. Many varieties of chilli plants available to buy from knowledgeable growers. Web: chilli-festival/ 26 August Hitchin & Letchworth Local Group RSPB Trip Own transport trip to Rutland Water. Start the season by visiting an excellent reserve with numerous hides, birds (including ospreys), butterflies and dragonflies. Permits £5.70/£4.50. Meet at Egleton car park (O/S 141, SK 880 072) at 9.30am. Leader Martin Johnson. Web: groups/hitchinandletchworth

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26 August Tea Afternoon 2-5pm St Marys, Graveley Free entry St Marys Graveley PCC annual Tea Afternoon. Why not visit this delightful old Church, dating back to the 11th Century, just north of Stevenage, for the best homemade cakes you’ll find, and a cup of tea (or coffee). The Maze at Crow End will be open for the public just this one day The Maze is open by courtesy of the Hogg family, and a small charge will be made with all proceeds in aid of Church funds. Free parking at Graveley Hall Farm adjacent to the church. Tel: Janet Singleton on 01438 813863 31 August-2 September Cool Britannia Festival Knebworth House Celebrate an epic era of music with headline acts including the Happy Mondays and Ocean Colour Scene. Get ready to dance your way through the nineties and noughties with an incredible supporting line-up that includes artists such as Razorlight, The Lightning Seeds and Toploader. Web:

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


Life Begins...

By Kate McLelland

Back to stay

(and not just for the weekend) When the Chancellor announced a relief on Stamp Duty payments for first time buyers in November 2017, it’s likely that millions of parents across the UK breathed a sigh of relief. It is estimated that 3.4 million parents in the UK are living with grown up children who’ve returned to the family home, and these mums and dads may have hoped this tax incentive would be the nudge their offspring needed to finally fly the nest. The phenomenon of so-called ‘Boomerang Kids’ (adults who return to the parental home after living independent lives) hit the headlines recently when the London School of Economics and Political Science carried out research with parents aged between 50 and 75 from seventeen different European countries. The study, published in the journal Social Science and Medicine, examined the effects on quality of life for older people who shared a house with a grown up child. Researchers looked at factors such as freedom to enjoy yourself, to make your own decisions and control your environment, and the results were disturbing. The

academics who authored the study pulled no punches when it came to their conclusions: “We found that parents’ experienced a decline in quality of life when one of their children returned to live with them,” they stated, adding: “Parents enjoy their independence when their children leave the home, and refilling an empty nest may be regarded as a violation of this life course stage.”


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Preparing the ground for your child’s return The biggest mistake reported by people who have been through the ‘boomerang’ experience is that they didn’t discuss the terms of the arrangement before their child moved back in. This is the time to establish the ground rules and set clear goals for the end of their stay. It may seem insensitive to talk about leaving before your child has even moved back in, but acknowledging this as a temporary arrangement will help them hold on to a sense of independence. If your child has a job, you should agree upfront on the amount they will contribute towards the

household bills. If they are not working you could ask them to help in various ways, such as cleaning, shopping or tending the garden. Discuss how things will work if your child invites friends round, and which rooms are off-limits at those times. It may be less stressful if you restrict visits to certain days or hours. Finally – and most importantly – it’s vital to treat your child as the adult they have become. In the years they have been living away from you, it’s likely they will have established a lifestyle that’s very different to the family life you shared together, so give them space and don’t be tempted to ‘parent’ them in the way you used to do. Whatever your child’s reason for returning home, it’s likely that this is just a phase, after which they will once again be able to lead an independent life. Handled carefully, this episode may even strengthen the bonds between you and your son or daughter, creating a tighter family unit that will go on providing mutual support far into the future.


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Painting and Decorating Free advice and free quotations. Give Rob a call 07866 631386 Office: 01462 700396 Mobile: 07866 631386 Email: Web:


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Coming Up....

The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials

Burghley House, near Stamford, Lincolnshire, is a most grand property of the Elizabethan period. The gardens, too, are superb. The house was built by William Cecil, Lord High Treasurer to Queen Elizabeth I, during the mid to late 16th Century. Queen Victoria visited in 1844, as many other noble visitors have, to this day, enjoying the House and the wonderful gardens. The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials take place, in the grounds of Burghley House, each year. This annual event is one of the six leading events of its kind in the world. Burghley has been holding horse trials here since 1961, when the 6th Marquess of Exeter arranged an event that proved so popular, and grew year on year, to what is now, the very best of international eventing. Thousands of visitors attend the venue, during the days of the horse trials, with much ‘retail therapy’ to be had, too. Clothing, footwear, leather goods, gifts, food and beverages, glassware, sculptures, paintings and beauty products, are just some, from the range of items available. I always allow myself time to visit these very interesting retail exhibitors. Dressage, Show Jumping and Cross Country attract a lot of interest, during the days of the event, with intense competition between those taking part. Olympic mounts of the future are judged at these events. The Stallion Parade makes quite a show and the Concours d’ Elégance is very grand. With the presentation of horses and riders, the display rings and the whole site, a lot of praise must go to the ground crew and all involved, as months of planning go into this event, to make it the success it always is. Different displays and competitions take place on each of the days. It is not necessary to be a complete equine expert to enjoy this event. There is something for everyone and every age, to be found at The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials. This year’s event is Thursday 30 August to Sunday 02 September 2018.

As always, Enjoy!

ey Trevor Langl

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07847 849202 Mas terCard


Maes tro

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July’s Puzzle Solutions and Winners Last Month’s Crossword Winner Mr D Thomas from Biggleswade Winner of the Meraki Festival Competition Anne Rowell from Brampton

Winner of the Bickerdikes Competition Maurice Leake from Stevenage



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The Villager Prize Crossword



Across 7 Corporations (13) 8 Emotions (8) 9 Poverty-stricken (4) 10 Modified (7) 12 Confess (5) 14 Incident (5) 16 Place of education (7) 19 Slice open (4) 20 Sidewalk (8) 22 Chances (13

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


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

Down 1 Complimentary (4) 2 Thump (6) 3 Innovator (7) 4 Artificial (5) 5 Torn (6) 6 Irritating (8) 11 Evolves (8) 13 Nunnery (7) 15 Country (6) 17 Boundaries (6) 18 Notices (5) 21 Require (4)

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Your perfect loft access and storage solution Loft ladders supplied and fitted from as little as ÂŁ225.00 Supply and Installation of: From as 3 Section little as Aluminium Loft Ladder ÂŁ500 Standard 560 x 760mm Insulation Hatch 50 Sq. Feet of Boarding with Riser Timbers Battery Operated LED Light Our services include: Loft Ladders Insulation Loft Hatches Balustrades Loft Boarding LED Lighting Garage Lofts We are a family run business who comply to building regulations, where our fitters are fully insured and all of our work is guaranteed.

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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 60

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Local News Strictly Come Jive & Swing is coming to a town near you! First call out for contestants!

Have you ever fancied learning the Jive, Rock n’ Roll or even the Charleston… …? If the answer is yes, then this is your opportunity. You will have six weeks of professional dance lessons with World Record holders, JiveSwing, with a chance of Lindy-Hopping your way to being crowned 2018 Strictly Champions at our Grand Finale. Garden House Hospice Care is looking for 12 couples (or 24 singles) to join its first ever Strictly competition. We have teamed up with the world record holders Jive Swing – who are currently the UK’s youngest and leading swing dance teachers and performers of authentic dances. Jessica Carter, Events and Overseas Challenges

Manager, commented: “We are looking for a 24 people within North Hertfordshire and Stevenage to take part in our first Strictly event. You do not need any experience just a ‘have a go’ attitude. Professional dance lessons will start in September, so sign up soon to guarantee your place! Please do get in touch if you want to find out more.” Our Grand Finale takes place on Saturday 17th November at The Spirella Ballroom in Letchworth. Tickets for the evening are available via our website. Come and support our fantastic dancing couples who are competing to be crowned our 2018 Strictly Come Jive & Swing Champions. For more information, please call Jessica Carter in the Fundraising team on 01462 679540 or (terms and conditions apply)

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Book Review By Kate Duggan

Painter and Decorator Lavender Marshall Painters & Decorators Internal and External Coving, Wallpaper Hanging Fully Insured. 20 years experience

Inspire your wanderlust

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Thinking about booking a last-minute holiday? These books should help to inspire your wanderlust. (Or just transport you to distant climes while you’re lounging in your garden.)

The Bean Trees

01763 288168 or 07917 877455 Email:


by Barbara Kingsolver With so many new releases Determined to avoid ending up like her Kentucky classmates – pregnant and married before she’s 18, Taylor buys a beaten up old car and a tank of petrol, and heads west. By the time her car breaks down in Arizona, she has a three-year-old Cherokee girl in tow. First published 30 years ago, The Bean Trees beautifully evokes the landscape and spirit of 1980s Southwestern America.


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Adventures of a Young Naturalist by Sir David Attenborough

In 1954, David Attenborough began his exploration of the world, seeking out rare animals for London Zoo and sharing his experiences with a captive TV audience back at home. Adventures of a Young Naturalist charts his adventures across Guyana, Indonesia and Paraguay, from coming face-to-face with Komodo dragons and giant armadillos to befriending a young male orangutan. Numerous photographs help to bring the tales to life.

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and Town


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

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

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

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Hitchin August 2018  
Hitchin August 2018