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Issue 148 - December 2018

and Town



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In this issue Why we hang

Stockings Ski Wear Style Bringing Local Business to Local People in

Biggleswade, Sandy, Potton, Gamlingay and all surrounding villages To advertise in The Villager and Town Life please call 01767 261122

ur Yo EE FRco1py


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Inside this issue... Why We Hang Stockings


The History of Playing Cards................................................................... 4 Why we hang stockings and other odd Christmas traditions.................. 8 The Perfect Cheeseboard...................................................................... 10 £100 Christmas Quiz.............................................................12 Unusual Gifts........................................................................................ 15 Being a Firefighter............................................................................... 16 Christmas Postal Dates......................................................................... 18 Champagne: Discovering Hidden Gems................................................ 30 Tokyo: A City of Contrasts..................................................................... 22 Great Health, Wellbeing and Fitness Gifts............................................ 27 Top Toys for Christmas.......................................................................... 22 Ski Wear Style...................................................................................... 34 Gifted Inspiration................................................................................. 39 Create a Comfortable Guest Room........................................................ 40 Don’t let Christmas costs ruin you New Year......................................... 44 Wordsearch.......................................................................................... 47

P&R Interiors........................................................................................ 48 Plants for Christmas............................................................................. 50 Rural Ramblings................................................................................... 52 R.A.T.S. Rehoming Appeal.................................................................... 55 Get Fit and Garden............................................................................... 57 Ask Alan - Potton Vets.......................................................................... 58 RSPCA New Charity Shop..................................................................... 61 Dogs Trust Dogs School........................................................................ 62 Twinwoods Adventure.......................................................................... 64 The Top 10 of Motoring........................................................................ 67 Baking: Christmas Mincemeat Slice...................................................... 68 Surviving Winter: Donate Now............................................................. 71 What’s On............................................................................................. 74 Fun Quiz............................................................................................... 76 Puzzle Page.......................................................................................... 80 £25 Prize Crossword............................................................................. 86 Book Review........................................................................................ 91 Useful Numbers................................................................................... 95

Twinwoods Adventure


Get your business off to a flying start this year

Advertise with the Villager Magazine... prices start from just £37.50 +VAT per month Editorial - Catherine Rose, Tracey Anderson, Tom Hancock, Louise Addison, Trevor Langley, Solange Hando, Alison Runham, Alison Foster, Jennie Billings, Kate Duggan, Katherine Sorrell, Ann Haldon, Rachael Leverton, Geoff Wharton, Pippa Greenwood, Potton Vets and RSPCA.

Advertising Sales/Local Editorial Nigel Frost • Tel 01767 261122 Photography - Luckybusiness 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.

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17th Century painting of card players by Theodoor Rombouts

By Catherine Rose

The History of Playing Cards Traditionally, family board and card games are often enjoyed over the Christmas period. There are many variations of board game, both old and new, but the pack of cards, played for pleasure, prediction and profit, is now a global phenomenon that has endured for centuries. It is believed that our modern day playing cards originated in China, where games were played using numerical cards based on strings of coins. Old Chinese coins had a hole in the middle so that they could be strung together, and the four card suits were called coins, strings of coins, myriads of strings and tens of myriads. The forerunner of this game, known as the Game of Leaves, was played as early as the 9th century AD. These Chinese cards can be traced back to at least the 1200s. From there, the concept of playing cards began spreading to India and Persia, and then through Egypt into southern Spain and the rest of Europe by the end of the 14th century.


In Spain, card playing was known as the Moorish ‘Saracen’s Game’ and cards had a distinctly Islamic design, with motifs consisting of figures and numerals illustrated by the corresponding number of symbols, known as pips. The Islamic influence can still be seen in the tradition of often having richly decorated back patterns on playing cards. Until cards began to be printed and mass-produced, they were handpainted and must have truly been works of art. The Arab deck did not have a queen. Instead, it had the king (malik), prince or viceroy (naib malik) and a servant or deputy (thaim naib). The four original suits were cups, swords, coins and batons (or wands) which link in with the tarot deck. (Although better known for fortune-telling, tarot or ‘tarock’ was also popular for playing games.) One theory is that the apparently random symbols were interpreted from pictorial representations

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of the written Chinese symbols for its coins suits. Known as the Latin deck, these original suits are still used in parts of the world. These four suits were subsequently adapted and changed by other European countries, notably Germany and France. The early German suits consisted of hearts (or sometimes roses), bells, acorns and shields. It is believed that the hearts suit evolved from cups. Bells may have been used in place of swords because they were more culturally significant. At that time, hunting with a hawk was popular amongst German nobility, with the customary small bells being tied onto the birds. As with the Arab or Latin deck, there was no queen. Instead the Germans had a könig (king), obermann (higher man), and untermann (lower man). It was the French who changed the suits to the more well-known and enduring hearts, diamonds, clubs (or clovers) and spades. It is thought that spades may have been derived from swords used in the Latin deck, as the Spanish word for swords is espadas. According to some sources, the French assigned classes to each suit, so that spades represented the nobility, hearts were the clergy, diamonds were the merchant classes and clubs were a symbol of the peasants. And then there is the case of the ace, which appears to have come to prominence as an important card in the deck during the late 18th century. It has been suggested that it was once again the French who elevated the importance and value of the ace, as they made it a symbol to represent the people following the French Revolution between 1789 and 1799. However,


another theory is that when Britain began to tax playing cards in 1765, the ace was stamped to show the tax had been paid. From then on, the ace was considered a more valuable card, comparable with the king, queen and jack, and its design became increasingly ornate as a result. There have been many variations of playing card over the centuries in terms of: number of cards in a deck; pictorial representation of the courtly figures (known as ‘courtesan’ or ‘face cards’); and the interpretation of suits that have also included throughout their chequered history crowns, leaves, knights on horseback and even dragons, depending on geographical, cultural and social influences. Playing cards were imported into England in around 1480, but 150 years later imports of playing cards were banned and so the country began manufacturing its own. During the 1800s, the traditional French picture cards were re-designed by Charles Goodall & Sons to become the iconic symbols we know so well today. The British also introduced the ‘British Rule’ which renders the queen of a higher value to the king if the reigning monarch is a woman. The jokers or court jesters were two wild or trump cards that were introduced by the Americans in the mid-1800s and, although taken up as an integral part of the modern deck, are rarely used in card games. Playing cards have long been a symbol of decadence, mysticism and magic. A form of currency and conjuring, they can be a harmless pastime or a dangerous addiction that can win and lose fortunes as easily as the rise and fall of a house of cards.

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Rooms from

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Time of Year

Why we hang Stockings?

By Tracey Anderson

And other odd Christmas traditions… Christmas is all about traditions, but why do we hang stockings, eat chocolate logs and drink eggnog (why would anyone drink eggnog?!) Stockings – Noddy Holder belting out, ‘Are you hanging up your stocking on the wall?’ is a Christmas tradition in itself. There’s no official explanation of why we hang socks up for Santa though. It probably derives from a tradition of leaving out hay-filled shoes on December 5, the eve of St. Nicholas’ feast day. Children would wake to discover that the hay they left for St. Nick’s donkey had been replaced with treats or coins. Snacks for Santa – Whether it’s milk and a chocolate digestive or sherry and mince pie, when we leave goodies for Father Christmas we’re possibly participating in a tradition that some scholars date back to ancient Norse mythology! According to legend, Odin had an eight-legged horse named Sleipnir. Kids would leave treats for Sleipnir, hoping that Odin would favour them with gifts in return. Carolling – You might suppose this is a centuriesold tradition but although the songs go back hundreds of years, visiting neighbours to bid them good luck and good cheer by singing for them didn’t happen until the Victorian era. Evergreen decorations – Before Christianity people decorated their homes with evergreens in the winter as a reminder that spring would return. Christians adopted the tradition and decorated evergreen trees with apples to represent the Garden of Eden. The practice really took off when the public learned that Queen Victoria had a decorated Christmas tree as a nod to her German husband’s heritage. The Yule Log – Yule logs also predate Christianity. As part of winter solstice celebrations, Gaels and Celts burned logs decorated with holly, ivy, and pinecones to cleanse themselves of the past year and welcome the next one. The practice changed over time and eventually edible representations of the log appeared, which is why we eat chocolate logs today! Eggnog – Surely the most revolting of traditions.


However, historians agree that ‘nog’ was probably inspired by a medieval drink called ‘posset’, a milky drink made with eggs, milk, and sometimes figs or sherry. These were all pricey ingredients, so it was a bit of status symbol to offer it to guests. No-one seems to know for sure why it’s called ‘nog’, but it maybe from the old word ‘noggin’ which was slang for a wooden cup. Mistletoe - This was associated with fertility and vitality by Celtic Druids because it blossomed even during the most frigid winters. Quite how we got from that kissing under the mistletoe is a mystery, but we do know that it began in the 18th Century and started with guests kissing the hand of their host under the mistletoe, then became progressively more personal over the decades that followed! Advent calendars - The modern advent calendar, with its little doors containing sweets or small gifts, began with Gerhard Lang in the early 1900s. His inspiration was a calendar that his mother made for him when he was a child, featuring 24 coloured pictures attached to a piece of cardboard. Christmas Cards – In these days of high postage costs, texts and emails, plus more environmental awareness this tradition may be at risk of dying out. Christmas cards are a surprisingly recent tradition anyway, with the first formal card only hitting shelves in 1843.

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Food & Drink

By Tom Hancock

The Perfect Cheeseboard

How much cheese? - Allow about 100g-125g (3½-4oz) cheese per person if your cheeseboard is being served after a meal, or slightly more - 150g (5oz) per person if you’re serving it as a snack/light meal. Which cheese? - Three or four cheeses is enough – more than that and there’s too much for the palate to enjoy. The cheeses should be different styles, textures and flavours. Cheddar, Stilton and Brie is a classic combination, as it mixes a hard, soft and a blue. Why not go totally British with a traditional West Country Farmhouse Cheddar matched with Cropwell Bishop, a wonderful robust blue, and maybe Bath Soft Cheese, which is gorgeously gooey and mushroomy in flavour. It’s nice to put one wildcard cheese on the board like a citrussy goat’s cheese or meaty smoked cheese like St James. Crackers - A good oat biscuit, cracker or artisan bread will complement the cheese. Add a chutney - look for unusual brands at farmers’ markets, and some apples or grapes. Drinks - After a meal a sweet fortified white wine is always good. You could even try a whiskey, or a gin and tonic. If the board is going to serve as a light meal, then beer or cider is a good choice. A note on storage - Store in a cold room or the bottom of the fridge, wrapped in waxed paper if possible This allows the cheese to breathe. Let the cheese to come up to room temperature for about 20 minutes before serving for maximum flavour.




Come and celebrate this festive season with us and enjoy all that we have to offer. We’ve got plenty of festive spirit to go around!



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For your chance to win £100 in our Christmas Quiz simply answer the questions below and send your entry to: Christmas Quiz, Villager Publications Ltd, 24 Market Square, Potton, Bedfordshire SG19 2NP by 16th December 2018

Win £100 in our Christmas Quiz

1. What did my true love give me on the sixth day of Christmas? 2. The story goes that the German and English soldiers of World War One did what in No Man’s Land on Christmas Day 1914? 3. Who was Ebenezer Scrooge’s business partner in Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol? 4. Who sings the solo in Kate Bush’s song Snowflake? 5. On what day of Christmas is the ‘Feast of Stephen’? 6. Which Dr Seuss children’s character hates Christmas? 7. What is the colour of a mistletoe berry? 8. Which country gives the UK the Christmas tree that is put on display in Trafalgar Square, London every year? 9. What was the name of the monster in the 2017 John Lewis Christmas advert? 10. Name three of Santa’s reindeer 11. What does the holly bear in the Christmas carol The Holly and the Ivy? 12. What is traditionally hidden inside a Christmas pudding?

The team at The Villager would like to wish readers and advertisers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

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Unusual Gifts

Time of Year

Perhaps it’s a Secret Santa. Perhaps it’s the uncle you see only once a year, or your brother who has absolutely everything. Or you may be working to a £10 or less budget. Here are some ideas; unusual, funny and a bit off-the-wall. Chocolate Covered Bacon on a stick - Yes really. This is a thing and it was hit last year when my teenage son received some from his aunt. We all tried it. So wrong...yet somehow so right! Google for suppliers. Fiddle Toys - Is your recipient a fiddler? Do they jiggle and fiddle with pens? Are they a nail-biter or finger-picker? A fiddle toy is the perfect gift. Magnetic balls which can be played with and used to sculpt shapes, or fiddle cubes which have a different activity on every face and fit into the average pocket make great gifts. Crossword Puzzle Mug - Complete the crossword while having a cuppa. Then download a brand-new set of clues from the app and try again. Unusual clock - Everyone needs to tell the time, right? From projection clocks to lightup colour-change clocks, there’s a funky time piece for almost everyone. My son bought my science-geek husband a clock last year in which every number was replaced by a scientific formula whose answer corresponded to the hour! He loved it. Gift of Time Voucher - Perhaps money is an issue this year. What skills do you have? Can you walk a dog? Clean a car or a kitchen? Put together some flat-pack furniture? Make a cake? Get creative and make a voucher promising to carry out some chore for your recipient. It’s not about the money.

By Louise Addison

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Local News

Being a Firefighter isn’t just about extinguishing fires and attending other emergency incidents. Firefighters help to educate the community to try and stop fires and other emergencies happening in the first place. Potton, Sandy, Biggleswade and Shefford are crewed by On-Call Firefighters. These are men and women who live and/or work within 6 minutes of the Fire Station and respond to incidents via a pager. There is a payment for being available, training and any incident responded to. Bedford, Kempston, Luton, Dunstable and Stopsley are crewed by Firefighters on the Wholetime duty system. They work a 24hr shift pattern with one day on, three days off, this can provide a good work/ life balance especially for men and women with children of school age. People think of Firefighting as being dangerous, but careful training, constant preparation and supervision minimises the risks. Only a small percentage of a Wholetime Firefighter’s time is spent at incidents, they also carry out Fire Safety Inspections on businesses, safe and well visits, school visits, practice procedures for high risk buildings, train, and maintain equipment, complete refresher online learning whilst maintaining their fitness. To be a Firefighter you need to be able to work as part of a team. The strongest teams are made up of highly motivated people from a wide variety of cultures, backgrounds and ethnicities with everyone bringing different strengths to the team. More women are becoming Firefighters as they enjoy the team work, keeping fit, job satisfaction and having a career. For those with children, it fits in nicely. There are no height restrictions but you need to be at least 18 on appointment and have a good level of fitness, be able


to swim and hold a full UK driving licence. The wage for a Wholetime Firefighter starts at £22,908 whilst training going up to £30,533 once competent (approximately 3 years) with a pension provided. We will be advertising for Wholetime Firefighters in the New Year and we are always looking for Firefighters on the On-call duty system. Why not consider applying? We are holding a drop in session for anyone who wants to find out more at Potton Fire Station, Bury Hill, SG19 2RS on Tuesday 11th December From 9am–5pm and 7pm–9pm. Either Lorraine, Marion, Joanne or Kate will be on station to answer any questions, why not come along for a coffee and chat and find out more about becoming a Firefighter.

Firefighters from Potton Fire Station with Station Commander Lorraine Moore Left to Right: Lorraine, Colin, Joanne, Carlton, Marion, Neville, Kate, Paul, Jason Lorraine started her career at Potton Fire Station 29 years ago and is a Wholetime Station Commander covering the area when on duty. Colin is an Airport Firefighter, Jo is a Public Protection Officer as well as being a mum. Carlton is a mechanic running his own business. Marion is a Crew Manager and full time mum. Neville is a technician for a small IT business and Kate started at Potton and is now a Wholetime Firefighter still covering On-call. Paul is an Airport Firefighter and Jason is a Horologist. For more information visit

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This could be you...


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Food and Drink


Discovering Hidden Gems

Champagne has been very much recognised as THE sparkling wine for celebrations, special occasions and events, for many, many years. Non-vintage champagne is very popular too, with numerous followers and devotees. Non-vintage is equally enjoyable, wonderful and respected.

The I Love Bubbly company is UK based and was created to discover splendid champagnes, that are not widely known. Founded during 1952, the Charles Collin Champagne Company produces a range, including awardwining champagnes, with grapes being selected carefully and harvested by hand, complying with strict guidelines. Champagne Charles Collin Cuvée Charles Brut (80% Chardonnay 20% Pinot Noir) I found superb, with the bouquet of citrus fruits being much appreciated by the nasal senses. The mouthfeel and palate sensations continue through, for this elegant production. Champagne Charles Collin Cuvée Charles Rosé Brut (80% Chardonnay 20% Pinot Noir) is a further excellent champagne from this company. Light fruits of the forest enhance an impressive bouquet and entice, splendidly, to the experience awaiting the mouth and palate. Again, the elegance is outstanding and the production is well-balanced. A particular pleasure also for al fresco dining, adding colour to the occasion. Champagne Royal Riviera Brut Suprême (70% Pinot Noir 30% Chardonnay) celebrates the Principality of Monaco and the French Riviera, most proudly. The presentation has an attractive turquoise blue label and packaging, which caught my eye. Champagne Royal Riviera Brut Suprême is rich and elegant. The pale gold colour, plus the elegance, throughout the bouquet and tasting, is very impressive, with the pinot noir grapes adding to the expression of this champagne. www. These refreshing champagnes, with wonderful perlages, are ideal as apéritifs and also to be enjoyed with a lot of cuisine. White meats, poultry, cured meats, rich fish, shellfish and many other dishes pair perfectly with these well-balanced productions. I located these champagnes, plus luxury hampers, culinary concepts, one of a kind Wearing Memories jewellery and gifts, within the ranges available from the I Love Bubbly Company. The events section, on the website, has information about their personalised services, including Mobile Champagne Bars and private events arrangements. Tel: 44(0)7539 391 452 Email:

As always, Enjoy!

ey Trevor Langl


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By Solange Hando

Tokyo A City of Contrasts Once again in 2018, Tokyo has been ranked among the ‘most liveable cities in the world’ (Monocle), an impressive achievement for the biggest metropolis on the planet. Rebuilt after the war, the capital has few remnants from the past, at least at first sight, but today’s lofty architecture keeps you spellbound, from the elegant skyscrapers to the panoramic Sky Tower or the Rainbow Bridge gracefully stretching across the bay. A million trees have been planted to clean the air along the roads, lawns and flowers beckon in open parkland and Tokyo is safe, efficient and highly colourful with bright posters and lights, museums, theatres and immaculate restaurants with more Michelin stars than any other city. But this 21st century icon has a few surprises in store, especially around the lively Shibuya district where alongside shopping malls and super-sized zebra crossings, animal lovers head for the pet cafés to cuddle rabbits or cats they can’t keep at home, or stroke the auspicious statue of Hachiko, the dog who waited nine years for a master who never returned. Then the nearby Harajuku area is all about fun and creativity, with street art and parades in the most playful costumes you have ever seen. Yet these excited youngsters with quirky clothes and fancy hair may turn up another day, beautifully dressed in kimonos for a traditional tea ceremony or a trip to Senso-ji, the most visited Buddhist temple in town. This is the Tokyo of the


past with lanterns and prayers, fortune telling and lots of stalls around a bright red shrine and a five-tiered pagoda. According to legend, the temple was first built in the 7th century when two fishermen brothers found in their net a small statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy. Meanwhile in the Chiyoda ward, visitors look across the moat to the imperial palace, still home to the family and former site of the Edo castle, the seat of the shoguns whose power ended in 1868. Emperor Meiji then moved the capital from Kyoto to Edo which he renamed Tokyo, the ‘Eastern Capital’. Remembered as the ‘enlightened ruler’ who brought the country into the modern world, he is revered in Tokyo’s Meiji-jingu, the atmospheric Shinto shrine where locals come to pray or get wed in traditional style. The Shinto religion is based on respect for nature and is home to thousands of gods, but when the shrine was built in the 1920s the surrounding district had no natural world. So right at the heart of the capital, 100,000 trees were planted in seven years, followed by many more and it is now a botanists’ paradise claiming hundreds of different species. Meiji would be pleased. Looking forward to the 2020 Olympics, his capital is now one of the world’s most dynamic cities but traditions linger and nature is part of the picture. From the nearby mountains to the outlying islands, 36% of the land in the Tokyo prefecture is protected by nature reserves and national parks.

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Alison Runham

Great Health, Wellbeing and Fitness Gifts Festive treats are everywhere long before Christmas and it’s very easy to start the New Year a few pounds heavier and feeling far from fit. But the alternative isn’t avoiding treats altogether: it’s choosing the swaps you can live with. Better Breakfasts Skipping breakfast to ‘leave room’ for Christmas dinner? Bad idea. You’ll have the munchies long before dinner, making snacks and chocolates even more tempting. Have a light, low-fat, lowsugar breakfast to keep hunger at bay. SWAP a full English fried breakfast for the healthy version. Grill mushrooms, a tomato or two and a single slice of bacon, poach an egg or two, and choose low-sugar baked beans and a slice of wholemeal toast rather than hash browns. SWAP sugary cereals for a small portion of healthier cereals and add fresh berries and/or a dollop of low fat yogurt. Start as You Mean to Go On Eating a huge three-course meal is likely to make you feel uncomfortable and/or sleepy, so if you

do have a starter, keep it small and light. SWAP creamy soups or cheese-laden dishes for: • A small prawn cocktail with fresh lettuce and a little low-fat dressing (if you must add bread, stick to half a slice of wholemeal). • A small fresh fruit cocktail. It’s Christmas, so treat yourself to favourite or special fruits, whether that’s berries or a tropical mix. • A small bowl of cream-free soup with wholemeal croutons. The Main Event For dinner, choose turkey (lower in fat than duck or goose) or a low-fat cut of meat. Remove visible fat (before cooking, where possible) and remember that on a bird, most of the fat is under the skin. Removing the skin and avoiding butter-basting reduces a turkey’s calories by nearly a third and its fat by more than half. If you’ve concerned about it getting dry, baste it with a little oil and cover it. Can’t bear to remove the skin? Then cook your bird on a rack so that escaping fat drains away.

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Be sensible about portion sizes and ensure at least a third of your plate is veg and that carbs – like potatoes, sweet potatoes or Yorkshire puddings – make up no more than a third of your plate. Go easy on sweet or creamy sauces and stop eating just as you start to feel full, as it takes times for the ‘full’ message to reach you brain. SWAP: • Sausage meat for vegetarian sausage mix when making stuffing. • Standard gravy mixes for low-salt versions. • Goose fat, lard or anything equally unhealthy for a low-fat vegetable-based oil or spray oil to roast meat and vegetables. • Some or all of your roast potatoes for crispy jacket potatoes (mashed potato can be just as fatty, if not more fatty, than roast potatoes, once you’ve added milk and butter). • Roasted vegetables for steamed or microwaved ones. Your Just Desserts SWAP high-sugar Christmas puds for healthier options. Some luxury Christmas puddings are lower in calories than classic puds, although higher in sugar, so check the label. 113g (a quarter) of a standard Christmas pud usually has 375-400 calories and 40-50g of sugar, although they are high in fibre and relatively low in fat. Fancy something healthier? Try 113g of: • Morrison’s Very Berry Strudel (287 calories, 13g fat, 18g sugar) • Asda Raspberry Tiramisu (257 calories, 10g fat, 25g sugar) • Sainsbury’s Mixed Berry Trifle Desert (171 calories, 7g fat, 21g sugar) SWAP your sauces too. Say goodbye to • Ambrosia custard (98 calories, 11g sugar, 3g fat per 100g) • Elmlea double cream (351 calories, 4g sugar, 36g fat per 100ml) And hello to • Sainsbury’s low-fat yogurt (62 calories, 7g of sugar, 1g fat per 100g) Time for Tea Christmas tea can do more damage than dinner! SWAP traditional, pastry-heavy mince pies for lattices, filo parcels or open-top versions. SWAP breaded or battered snacks for marinated savouries or home-made herby snacks. SWAP rich, creamy dips for low-fat or tomatobased versions. Consider making your own with low-fat yogurt. SWAP crisps, salted nuts and chocolate for plain


popcorn, rice cakes, pretzels, unsalted nuts and homemade chocolate-covered fruit (dark chocolate is healthier). Raise Your Glass – Not Your Blood Pressure or Blood Sugar Not only is alcohol usually laden with sugar and calories, but recent research has shown there’s no ‘safe’ consumption limit. The Government has reduced men’s ‘recommended’ limit to 14 units a week (the same as the recommendation for women). If you are going to indulge, think about the size of your glass and your consumption through the day, week and month! Consider swapping some alcoholic drinks for these delicious alternatives. For 175ml glasses: SWAP Bollinger champagne (133 calories) for • Shloer Sparkling White Grape Juice (53 calories) • J2O Spritz watermelon (35 calories) SWAP Dry River Pinot Grigio (158 calories) for: • Kedem Natural Grape Juice (88 calories) • Welch’s White Grape, Pear and Apple Juice (35 calories) SWAP Echo Falls Merlot (125 calories) for: • Asda Grape, Apple and Raspberry Juice (100 calories) Choose your swaps wisely and you could save pounds of both kinds. Merry Christmas!

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Time of Year

Top Toys for Christmas In these days of iPads and online gaming do kids still play with toys? Yes of course they do. Toys have always changed to keep up with trends and technology and 2018 is no exception. Here we have six of the best. Fingerlings Untamed Dinos (under £20) Fingerlings are popular robotic friends which cling to your child’s finger and respond to motion and sound. This year is all about the dinosaurs. There are several different Raptors, and word was out at time of printing that there may be a T-Rex one released just before Christmas LEGO Harry Potter Hogwarts Express (around £75) The Harry Potter books remain perennially popular, and LEGO is always a hit so combine the two and you have a winning Christmas gift. There is a Hogwarts Hall available but its super-expensive, so this is a good compromise with a nice solid train, five minifigures plus Dementors. Elasti Plasti (under £15) So many kids love slime and this stuff is great. It’s superexpandable and you can make giant bubbles with it. As a bonus it’s non-sticky so parents will love it too, or at least not hate it! Monopoly ‘Cheaters ‘edition or Fortnite Edition (£20-£25) Almost everyone has at least one game of Monopoly at Christmas so ring the changes with the Cheaters edition. It encourages players to fake a dice roll, steal money and even skip rent. Ok…maybe it’s not in the spirit of Christmas but it sounds more fun than normal Monopoly. And if you want to prise your youngsters away from the computer this festive season, try tempting them with the Fortnite edition!


Ricky the Trick-Lovin Pet (£134.99) Ok this one is pricey, but real pups are NOT for Christmas as we know, and when you factor in the cost and ongoing responsibility of a real puppy, including vet bills, and food, suddenly Ricky looks very good value indeed for a dog-loving child. He is soft and cuddly and has more than 100 sound and motion combinations. He can balance a biscuit on his nose and even give you a paw-shake! Frankly he makes my terrier look like a bit of a dunce. Ricky is perfect if your child is pestering you for a dog but you’re not sure about the long-term commitment, and as a bonus, he doesn’t shed hair! GraviTrax Starter Set (around £50) I love marble runs, never mind my kids, and GraviTrax is a super-cool marble run for the 21st Century. It encourages the use of imagination in creating tracks and is educational too. It’s great for teaching kids (and adults) about gravity, magnetism, and kinetic energy and it’s so much fun. You can use the tasks and blueprints included to help you to get started but you’ll soon be designing your own tracks. This is trickier than it might appear and is great for encouraging problem-solving skills. There’s even a GraviTrax app to allow you build and test a track before building it in the real word.

By Alison Foster

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House of Colour By Jennie Billings Style and Colour Consultant at House of Colour

Ski Wear Style When skiing you want to tick all the boxes: warmth, comfort, visibility and of course, style. Here are a few top tips to help you dress with style on the slopes (without looking like a giant marshmallow). 1. Some of us may choose separate salopettes and a jacket but others suit jumpsuits that bring you in at the waist, giving more shape to your outfit. Whichever you choose ensure it is in a colour from your palette that makes you look energetic and vibrant rather than a colour that doesn’t suit making you look drained and unhealthy. There are a huge range of colours available these days. Metallics are all the rage this season, but it’s not for everyone. 2. If you are unsure about wearing a bold coloured outfit but still want to include your wow colours, choose chic accessories in gorgeous colours whether that be boots, gloves, hats, a scarf or even your helmet! There is always a way to incorporate a pop of colour and team these with an outfit in a neutral from your seasonal palette 3. These days there is no need to sacrifice comfort for style. Try different shapes and don’t be afraid to wear patterns or more than one colour from your palette. Experiment with styles that suit your body shape and personality but do choose quality skiattire since you may wear it for years to come and you don’t want your outfit to unravel on the slopes. As this will be an investment, consider discovering your best colours and style with a professional personal stylist. 4. A soft set of long johns or base layers is essential! The best materials are ones that are breathable and moisture wicking. Choose full-length leggings and long sleeves. Always try them on first because they shouldn’t be restrictive anywhere, but you don’t want empty space between the fabric and your skin







making you feel cold. Most base layers are synthetic but merino wool is a great alternative. Choose the colour of your ski goggles carefully rather than just going for the obvious black or white. Mirrored lenses are very fashion-forward but if that feels a little much then choose a colour that works well with your ski jacket and hat. Don’t hide your curves if you have them! Unshaped jackets can make you look bulky so opt for jackets that are brought in at the waist, either with a belt or one that has stretch or different coloured panels at the side. Alternatively, find a jacket with diagonal baffles that compliment your figure as they create less bulk. Baffles ensures the insulation materials in a jacket are evenly distributed rather than gathering in one place. Straight, skinny or slim silhouette salopettes will look better on straighter body shapes, whereas, straight, contouring bootcut or slightly wider leg salopettes will look better on curvy body shapes. Its law in most places to wear a helmet but if you suffer from helmet hair either wear your hair up or use a bandana in one of your best colours to push your hair back with. Braiding is otherwise a great alternative to make you look wind-kissed rather than wind-battered. Après ski is the perfect opportunity to show you know your own style whether that be a touch of animal print and or a little bit of check in your outfit – both very on-trend this season. Cashmere may be too warm for the slopes, but it is perfect for a stylish jumper and a great way to wear one of your wow colours. Pair with a faux fur jacket if that fits with your style personality or a fur hat to keep you warm whilst you sip your vin chaud!

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Local News

Are You Feeling Frazzled By The Festive Season? Would you like an energy boost to power through to 2019? The season’s festivities can be great fun but tiring too! Recent stories in the national press have highlighted how Oxygen Therapy can help people to feel more energised – the sessions give them a bit of ‘me time’ too! This can be so important during this hectic time of year. For many, tiredness and/or an abundance of flashing lights can lead to headaches and migraine. Migraine is so much more than simply a headache and affects more than one in six people in the UK. 190,000 migraine attacks are experienced every day in England alone. Oxygen Therapy and Migraine In Oxygen Therapy, pure oxygen is breathed through a mask under pressure in a specially constructed hyperbaric chamber. It is very safe with almost no side effects, unlike much medication. In the treatment of patients with migraine, Oxygen Therapy has been shown to often: • Stop acute attacks of migraine • Reduce intensity of migraine pain • Prevent cluster headache (one-sided pain, usually centred over one eye, one temple or the forehead) (Source: Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment Trust) To find out more, visit –our website ( and watch our short video about Oxygen Therapy. Do you suffer with migraines? How would less pain affect your life? Try Oxygen Therapy for free! Treat yourself – or a friend – to extra energy this Christmas! You are welcome to visit our Centre and try Oxygen Therapy for free. Simply email or call us on 01462 684214.


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1 Station Road, Biggleswade, SG18 8AH Tel: 01767 600510 Web: Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for our current offers To advertise in The Villager and Town Life please call 01767 261122



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Health & Beauty

By Kate Duggan

Gifted Inspiration For your best friend Origins’ Best of the Best collection is a celebration of their most popular products. There’s the Mega-Mushroom™ Skin Relief Soothing Treatment Lotion, Ginzing Refreshing Eye Cream, Ginzing EnergyBoosting Gel Moisturizer, Modern Friction™ Nature’s Gentle Dermabrasion, Clear Improvement™ Active Charcoal Mask, Checks and Balances™ Frothy Face Wash and Spot Remover Blemish Treatment Gel. Most are travelsized. You’re getting over £58 worth of products for £32 so it’s fantastic value for money. For fragrance fans If you’re looking to surprise someone with a new fragrance, Angel Muse could be a good choice. It might be Angel’s little sister, but it’s lighter, warmer and a bit more grown-up. The freshness of grapefruit and pink berries is combined with the warmth of hazelnut and the earthiness of patchouli and vetiver. The giftset is priced at £65, which gets you the full 50ml eau de parfum plus a handbag-friendly 9ml bottle. For a Secret Santa gift Clarins Festive Treats crackers are just £10 each. The Eyes & Lips one is particularly good value for money as its contents (a mini Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector and Supra Volume Mascara) are worth a total of £17.33. For stockings Some giftsets are just made for splitting up and adding to stockings. Korres’ The Greatest Mini Shower Collection is a case in point. Six gorgeous smelling 40ml shower gels are just waiting to be popped into individual stockings. Add Kneipp’s Herbal Bath Collection (£9.95) to your basket for another six stocking fillers. Both sets are available from

For crackers Planning to swap the plastic fish and silver keyrings for luxe cracker gifts? Bobbi Brown’s Lip Crush Kit (£39.50) might be the answer. There are five mini lipsticks in a range of wearable shades. They’re pretty generously sized so are good value if you consider that one full-size lippy is £24.50. For chocoholics Chocolate lovers will adore Akamuti’s Chocolate Marshmallow Face Mask. Organic cacao, crushed rose petals, gentle marshmallow, warming vanilla and detoxifying pink clay combine to make this mask a real treat for skin and senses. Add a bar of Green & Blacks to the gift and you’ll really make their day. £7.96 from For teachers Teachers often need to wash their hands several times a day, so a soothing hand cream is likely to be gratefully received. Dr. Organic’s Shea Butter Hand & Nail Cream is full of natural ingredients, including shea butter, aloe vera, coconut oil and rose oil. It provides instant relief for sore hands and feels lovely and rich. £7.99 from Holland and Barratt. For you! Green People’s Green Regime Beauty Box contains £125 worth of full-sized and mini goodies for £75. There are two exfoliators, three moisturisers, a lipstick, mascara, eyeshadow duo, shampoo, shower gel, night cream, cleanser, facial oil, reusable cleansing pad and organic cotton bandeau. All products are organic and cruelty-free. Treat yourself or add it to your Christmas wish list.

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Interiors By Katherine Sorrell

Create a comfortable guest room Is your spare room ready for Christmas? Our guide to setting up a cosy and welcoming space will help you ensure your guests feel completely at home. Hosting family or friends during the festive season can be as stressful as it is heart-warming. The best way to make sure everyone is relaxed is to start preparations well in advance. Your first task is to check the spare bedroom. Is it full of the clutter that inevitably accumulates over time? This is a good opportunity to have a clear-out and to sell, give or tidy away as much as possible. Create enough space in wardrobes and drawers for guests to unpack their clothes – or at least store your stuff neatly and leave them a few hangers on a hook on the back of the door. In general, is the room too


hot or too cold? Address issues such as windows that are stuck or radiators that don’t work – if necessary, plug in a small standalone heater, which may be a welcome boost during a cold December evening. Another task, while checking out the room, is to draw the curtains during daylight hours to check whether they will adequately block early-morning light. Given enough planning time, you may even wish to upgrade your spare room window treatments by adding blackout lining for curtains or fitted blackout blinds. While it goes without saying that the room should be sparklingly clean and as clutter-free as possible, there are some key elements that will really enhance your guests’ comfort. First, test out the bed. How is the mattress? If it has seen better days, a topper or enhancer will probably help, at least in the short term. Now is also the time to have duvets and pillows dry cleaned, and to check that you have the necessary bed linen at the ready. Small tables either side of the bed are incredibly useful for guests to store a book, a glass of water, a phone and a pair of glasses. They need not be expensive – a folding tray table, a small chair, a stool or just an upturned wooden crate will all be fine (since this is not a full-time bedroom, a great deal of bedside storage space is not necessary). Though not essential, soft rugs beside the bed and some pretty prints on the walls are a lovely enhancement if you can manage it.

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Some additional pillows and a snuggly blanket or two will always be welcome, as will a hair dryer, a full-length mirror and a waste paper basket. You could hang a spare dressing gown on the back of the door, too – especially useful if the room doesn’t have an en suite bathroom. Older bedrooms are often lacking in plug sockets, so add an extension lead or an adaptor, just in case. After all, everyone needs to charge their phone regularly, and some guests might also bring a tablet, laptop or other device. Speaking of which, another thoughtful touch would be to write out your router’s name and password on a small card and leave it somewhere obvious. Not all of us are fortunate enough to have a spare bedroom, but no problem – a sofa bed, day bed, futon, bed-in-a-box or good quality airbed in the living room will all be fine, provided there is enough space to set them up without colliding with other items of furniture. If your living room is acting as a temporary bedroom, clear away as much as possible so your guests have room to put down their luggage, and place a small lamp near the head of their ‘bed’ and a spare throw or blanket nearby. A box, bag or basket into which they can stow bedding during the day will also help keep things tidy, while a note on the door will make sure


they are not interrupted before they get up in the morning. Finally, think about the little extras that will make your guests’ stay a five-star experience. You might leave out for them a small alarm clock, a pen and paper, a carafe of water with matching glass, a few books or magazines, a hot water bottle, a sprig of flowers in a bud vase and a scented candle or diffuser. With such care and forethought, your guests are sure to be delighted – and will soon be back to stay again.

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Discover the true value of your home. For tips on how to present your home and improvements that may enhance its value, call your local property expert to book your free market appraisal.

Biggleswade: 01767 313256 49 High Street, Biggleswade, Bedfordshire, SG18 0JH email: Lettings, commercial property, mortgages and conveyancing arranged.

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By Ann Haldon

Don’t let Christmas costs ruin your New Year: 3 ways to stay in control of spending this December If you’re wondering how to manage your Christmas spending more effectively, saving, budgeting, and making a list is just the start. Here are three other ways you might not have considered to start the New Year with a healthy bank balance and reduced financial stress. Pre-arranged overdraft facility Intended to be a temporary and controlled use of credit in line with your Christmas budget, an arranged overdraft facility that’s repaid over a few months helps gets you back on track financially. How do overdrafts work? An overdraft that’s pre-arranged with your bank means you can withdraw more money than is in your current account, up to an agreed limit. There is generally a set period of time that the facility is available, and typically a charge for each day you’re overdrawn. Overdraft fees vary between banks, but generally include a charge for setting up the facility, a fee for each day it’s used and a renewal fee if you need to extend it. Some providers offer fee-free amounts, whilst others base their daily charge on the level of your overdrawn balance. Daily deals websites Take advantage of the growing number of daily deals websites and you can save a significant amount at Christmas. Wowcher, Groupon, and Living Social are just a few of the sites where you’ll find great deals on gifts, experiences, fitness products and lots more. It’s straightforward to sign up, and you can receive emails with the latest deals. It’s easy to get carried


away when you have access to so many discounts, but if you do your research and stick to your list, it should save you money overall. How do deals websites work? You simply sign up with your email address and you can get targeted gift ideas, often with a significant discount. Key in the home town of people you’re buying for and you’ll receive ideas that are local to them – meals out, afternoon teas or experience days, tailored to your family and friends. Prepaid debit cards Prepaid debit cards are an alternative to bank debit cards and credit cards. You don’t have access to your entire bank balance, or the credit limit on your credit card – it’s preloaded with a specific sum of cash, and you can only spend up to this amount. How do prepaid debit cards work? You won’t be credit-checked when you apply for a prepaid card, but a number of different fees may apply, including application and transaction fees. Some providers charge monthly fees and top-up fees, whilst a renewal charge may apply as these types of card expire after three years. It’s easy to be swept up in the spirit of giving at Christmas, but it can take months to recover from overspending. Whether arranging an overdraft with your bank, applying for a prepaid card, or taking advantage of a few daily deals works for you, they could all help you take control of your Christmas spending and enjoy a peaceful and financially harmonious New Year.

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For all your personal and commercial insurance needs: • Motor


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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 MK40 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

By Rachael Leverton

Plants for Christmas With Christmas just around the corner I’m often asked what houseplants plants I recommend as gifts. Here are my top five. Hippeastrum / Amaryllis - is a remarkable bulb, which produces 60cm / 2ft tall, fleshy drainpipe stems and flamboyant trumpet flowers up to 20cm /8in across. ‘Red Lion’ with deep scarlet flowers; ‘Apple Blossom’ with pink-tinged white flowers, and ‘Christmas Gift’ with plain white flowers, are readily available. You can buy them as DIY plant-ityourself kits, or as ready-planted gifts. Citrus bushes make interesting presents. Sold at this time of year with both flowers and developing fruit, they are deliciously scented. Lemon varieties ‘Meyer’ and ‘Four Seasons ‘are lovely but also consider calamondin oranges. The plant should be kept in a light, frost-free spot over the winter with a minimum night temperature of 5C, then in the summer the pot can be moved outside. Cyclamen persicum is wonderfully decorative. The flowers range from white, through pink, to red. This is probably a gift for a more experienced gardener as persuading it to flower again can be a challenge, but it can be done. Keep it in full light in winter, at a steady 13C-16C. Give it a liquid feed fortnightly while it is in flower. Water less as the stems start to bend and collapse, then keep it

completely dry for three months during its dormant period. Gently introduce water again as new leaves appear. Schlumbergera x buckleyi, the Christmas cactus is a perennial favourite. It has protruding stamens at the end of succulent, flattened leaves, and pretty flowers. It likes high humidity while flowering so mist it regularly it with a fine spray of clean water, and feed it monthly with a high-potash feed. When it’s finished flowering put the plant in a light spot and keep the compost just moist. Hyacinthus orientalis ‘Ostara’ is a stunning hyacinth with deep-blue flowers, powerfully scented and particularly nice when planted as a trio in a bowl or basket. Christmas hyacinths are ‘forced’ to flower earlier than they would naturally. They need a cool spot, preferably no more than 13C, so that they do not flop. No-one wants a floppy hyacinth! The bulbs can be planted in the garden afterwards so will continue to provide pleasure in future years. Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Dawn’ is not a houseplant but it makes a fabulous gift. It flowers from November, while the leaves are still on, through the winter. The pink flowers are scented and a few sprigs in a small vase at this time of year are just joyous. Even better it is totally hardy so is great for the non-green-fingered, and can be planted out of a pot at any time, if the ground isn’t frozen. Don’t wrap plants, just tie a big bow around the pot. It’s a thoughtful touch to provide printed or handwritten instructions for aftercare. Make sure any living plant is well watered before you hand it over. They will probably be a bit neglected over the festive period, but a good watering should make sure that they last past New Year.

Happy Garrdening


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Garden Centre

Fresh Cut Christmas Trees Top quality Nordmann Fir and Norway Spruce Wreaths, Table Arrangements, Holly and Mistletoe


A warm welcome awaits you in our Café with hot food, sandwiches, cakes, hot & cold drinks and seasonal specials

Now taking

Turkey Orders

for Christmas OPENING TIMES: Monday to Saturday 9am to 5pm & Sunday 10:30am to 4:30pm CHRISTMAS OPENING TIMES Christmas Eve - Monday 24th December 9am to 4pm Saturday 29th December 10am to 3pm Sunday 30th December 10:30am to 3pm New Years Eve - Monday 31st December 10am to 3pm CLOSED Christmas Day, Boxing Day, 27th & 28th December and New Year’s Day

Located directly off the A1198 near Arrington, SG8 0AG | Open 7 days a week 01223 208194

f Arrington Garden Centre

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Gardening & Wildlife

Rural Ramblings The Choice is Ours

Summer is definitely the best season but the others have their attractions. Even winter can be anticipated with relish with the thought of being warmed in front of a roaring open fire when the weather is particularly harsh. It is even better with a glass of wine to add a rosy glow. It all starts off with energy in the form of sunlight. Green plants have managed to develop the miracle of being able to trap this into sugars which some plants cunningly store in their fruits in order to tempt us to pick them, consume them and inadvertently spread their seeds. Of course we can also collect up the most squishy fruits and press all that lovely sweet juice out, drink it all or maybe even better, leave it a little while and by another miracle it may start to bubble away and start to turn into wine! A lowly mouldy microscopic creature consisting of a mere single cell will be thinking that it is in heaven as it has so much food and now is the time to reproduce big time. It’s numbers are almost insignificant in the early days, but as time passes it’s powers grow exponentially and it’s liquid home turns into a seething, cloudy and bubbling froth. It seems to have no other purpose apart from increasing it’s numbers and in order to do this it consumes the sugar and produces two waste products, one of which will ultimately see to it’s downfall. The surface froth is due to carbon dioxide and the liquid waste is alcohol – good for us but unfortunately not for the yeast (the fungus which is bringing about the fermentation). The interesting thing is that if left to it’s own


devices, the yeast will either use up all of it’s food or kill itself by alcohol poisoning. The liquid slowly starts to clear as the dead yeast cells form a sludgy layer on the bottom. Of course we are happy because we can now syphon off the clear stuff and call it wine……. Any similarity between yeast and humans is rather distant although some people do say that we seem to be following a similar trend. Let us hope that we start to use the brain that we have rather than ending up like the doomed yeast.

By Geoff Wharton

Geoff Wharton Gardening Services Reliable, experienced, well qualified. General and specialist garden work: Jungle clearing, Pruning, Hedge and grass cutting, Regular maintenance, Licensed waste disposal. Full public liability cover. Geoff Wharton - BSC honours Hort.Science

Tel: 01767 261727

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 Personal customer service, collection and delivery available.  Assessment of individual requirements.  Full after sales backup and parts service.  NEW Oregon, the world's only unique battery operated, self-sharpening s In stock. chain saw.  Ride-on and pedestrian mowers, chainsaws, strimmers, hedge trimmers, cultivators, estate and equestrian equipment. Trailers - sales, hire, service.  Accessories, oils, Aspen fuel, batteries, spares, security locks for garden/ horticultural machinery and trailers. horticultu

Appointed dealers for:

 Main dealer for Briggs & Stratton, Honda, Kohler, Kawasaki & Mountfield engines.

Honeydon Road, Colmworth, Bedfordshire MK44 2LY

01234 376513

Open Monday to Friday 8am to 5pm and Saturday 9am to 12pm

Pottons Specialist Welding and Fabricating Company

For further information please call Trevor on Tel: 01767 261845 Mobile: 07941 187689 Email: Web:

ton for a ll yo Wrought iron work, ur w elding needs made to order, including

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Suppliers of manual and automated gates Security doors and grills Fire escapes All welding projects

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Professional Paving & Landscaping Groundwork • Driveways • Concreting • Patios Turfing • Fencing • Re-pointing • Brickwork All work guaranteed and finished to a very high standard Free quotations

Tel: 07802 355122 Email:


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

Call for a FREE Survey & Quotation Visit our Display Area at:

Gilks Fencing

Drove Road, Gamlingay, Sandy, Beds SG19 2HX Tel:

01767 650 615

Email: 54

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Rehoming Appeal



Sooty is 3 years old and an all-black, long-haired male. He is a big boy but quite shy when you first meet him. Once he gets to know you, he is very friendly, loves to be fussed and have his tummy rubbed. He is neutered, vaccinated and micro-chipped. He will make someone a fantastic pet. If you would like to find out more about this lovely boy, please contact Liz on 01767 681157. Alternatively, please e-mail Philippa at who will be pleased to forward your enquiry on to the team View other cats, dogs and small mammals currently in our care for rehoming on our website: or facebook: ratscharity You can also see photographs and details of the animals in our care in our charity shop in Hitchin Street, Biggleswade SG18 8AX. T&G131x93AdvertReady.pdf 07/06/2015 13:34:43 Open Monday to Saturday from 10.00 am until 4.00 pm.









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No call out charges • Pre-fixed price 24/7 • 365 days a year

Call your local plumber today Biggleswade, Sandy & Surrounding Areas

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Tim Brown 01767 627532

BARTLETT TREE EXPERTS A Very Brown Hedge Indeed Aphids are one of the most common and troublesome of all garden insect pests. They attack a large number of garden plants throughout the country and are recently causing much disfigurement to ornamental conifer hedges. Commonly known as Greenfly and Blackfly, these aphids feed on hedges, sucking the sap of the plant and can spread several viruses, causing severe dieback. Cypress Aphid is currently troublesome and pre-dominantly affects conifer hedging. Damage inflicted on conifer hedges by the aphid Cinara cupressi is severe and can lead to large brown patches on the hedge. This leads to localised foliage death, reducing the aesthetic look of the hedge. As the aphid is active from May to October it is important to catch this problem early and apply treatments to stop its spread. At the first sign of brown patches call us for a free consultation and professional advice.

Tree & Shrub Pruning l Planting l Tree Removal l Stump Grinding l Hedge Cutting Health & Safety Reports l Disease & Insect Control


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Get Fit And

Garden! By Pippa Greenwood

There’s nothing like some time in the garden to clear your head and get the blood moving. Fresh, cool air will wake you up and get you thinking positively, and your garden will benefit. Removing damp, clogged up leaves from the lawn with a spring-tined rake will prevent patches of faded grass and is good for upper arm muscles! Collect and bag up the leaves and rot them down to make leaf mould, a brilliant and free soil conditioner. If the soil in cleared areas is sufficiently dry, fork it over to help the frosts break up heavier clay soils. Any exposed grubs and other soil pests will feed the birds and minimise pest problems next year. Get some digging done if the soil is not too wet, but limber up first. Keeping your back straight and your knees bent helps to reduce the risk of injury. Winter is a good time to prune apple and pear trees. Use sharp secateurs to remove dead, dying and diseased branches, as well as branches causing the tree’s crown to be too congested. Re-set any loose brick or similar edging around paths, beds or steps, and replace any damaged stones, pavers or bricks. Carefully clear debris, dead foliage and stems from flower beds, but leave some dry foliage and stems over the bases or crowns of plants, especially those of the more tender perennials such as penstemons. Smooth, hard garden surfaces such as patios, paths and steps become dangerously slippery if algae and debris builds up on them over the winter, especially when wet. A stiff brush or yard broom and plenty of elbow grease is the best solution I know. Wet and very windy weather can cause shrubs and trees to become loosened in the soil, so re-firm the soil around the root area and make sure the plant is still in the soil at the right level. You’re bound to feel better after all that air and exercise, so reward yourself with a cuppa and admire your handiwork before heading inside for a nice hot bath! Limber Up! After too much time inside, and in cold weather, take care before you spring into action: • Wear plenty of clothing when you go outside and remove layers gradually as you warm up. • Limber up gently to slowly loosen up your arms, legs and back. • Don’t do any single task for too long – rotate the jobs for perhaps ten minutes at a time, so you don’t put any one area of your body under too much strain. • Give yourself regular, short breaks and don’t forget to drink enough. • Bend your knees when lifting and if in doubt call on a friend, relative or neighbour to give you a hand.

Visit Pippa’s website and you’ll find some great gardening items and perfect Christmas gifts for gardeners: a ‘Grow Your Own with Pippa Greenwood’ gift card (great vegetable plants and weekly advice from Pippa), stylish cloches, the fantastic SpeedHoe, raised bed kits, gardening tools, Grower Frames, signed books and more! Or why not book Pippa for a gardening talk at your gardening club?

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Ask Alan

I have a holiday booked in France in April. Will I still be able to travel with my pet after Brexit? Nothing is certain at the moment, it all depends on whether or not a Brexit deal is reached. If a deal is reached, it is possible that the Pet Passport scheme will continue in its current form, making movement around Europe as easy as it is now. If no deal is agreed free movement with a pet may be possible, but with some additional requirements. The government is sending vets briefing notes to guide us in the event of a no deal Brexit. Their current advice is: - Travel until 30th March will continue via the Pet Passport Scheme. - Travel after the 30th March requires that pets are vaccinated for rabies, have a blood test to confirm adequate immunity to rabies, and have a valid Pet Passport. - The blood test must be done a minimum of 1 month after the vaccination and a minimum of 3 months before travel. This means that preparation for travel must start 4-6 months before travel. - If anyone wants to travel with a pet in the few months after 30th March, the process of vaccination and blood testing should start before the 28th November (4 months). There are no guarantees as to what will happen on 30th March, but getting the vaccination and blood test is your best chance of being able to travel after Brexit. Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas from all at Potton Vets. If you have any questions you would like answered, please email them to For more information visit or pop into the clinic in Potton Market Square.



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

Email: Web:

Our services extend across Beds, Herts and Cambs from RS Fencing To advertise in The Villager and Town Life please call 01767 261122



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New Charity Shop

Our new charity shop has now been open for two months and we have been incredibly lucky with the amount of donations we have received. Unlike some charity shops, whose shops can request stock from a central warehouse, our shop is stocked purely from what comes through our front door. We are always grateful for all the donations we receive, no matter how big or small and are constantly amazed by the generosity of the public. Once the donated goods come in, a lot of work goes into them before they appear on the shop floor. Each item is individually sorted, cleaned or steamed and then priced according to its worth. None of this can be achieved without the fantastic work of our volunteers. Whether they pop in for an hour, half a day or all day every day, our shop couldn’t run without them. Unfortunately we are desperately short of volunteers, meaning we are struggling to sort out the amazing amount of donations we are receiving, as well as manning the shop. There are many different roles a volunteer can carry out whilst working at the charity shop, and it is guaranteed no day or shift is ever the same! We have positions available in the shop where staff serve on the till, take in donations, rotate and replenish stock, as well as doing window and shop displays. There are also positions in the stockroom, where all our stock gets sorted, cleaned or steamed and

organised ready to sell in the shop. This is a vital position within the shop that ensures there is a steady flow of new stock, keeping the shop full, meaning we are able to raise as much money as we can which all goes towards the care and rehabilitation of local animals. One of our longer serving volunteers, Maureen, had this to say about working in our shop… “I have worked in the RSPCA shop in Bedford for over three years. I work as a volunteer for two mornings a week, sometimes more. I started when I retired from full time work. I love it! I work on the shop floor but there are all sorts of things that need doing. It is very rewarding and it’s lovely to know you are helping animals and keep in touch with people in general. I like sorting out the books and as I used to be a jeweller, I also sort out the jewellery and display cabinet. We all have different interests and knowledge and it is good to be able to put our different skills to good use. Please visit our shop; you never know what you might find!” If you would like to support our local Branch and help out at our little charity shop, we would love to hear from you. Any help at all is always appreciated and everyone is made to feel part of the team, no matter the skill set there is always something to do. 01234 930304 Hopefully we will see you soon!

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Local News

Dogs Trust Dogs School It’s the most wonderful time of the year for many, but the sights, sounds and smells of Christmas can be a sensory overload for your dog. Want to help make Christmas fun for your whole family – fourlegged friends included? Introducing Dogs Trust Dog School, a national network of experienced trainers providing fun, educational courses for all dog owners based on up-to-date scientific research. Using reward-based training methods, we teach the key skills your dog needs to thrive in everyday situations. From calmly greeting unexpected visitors, to resisting tasty temptations and coping with a more crowded-than-usual household, our expert knowledge will help Christmas become a walk in the park for you and your dog. Courses are five weeks long, with a free introductory session. To find your nearest dog school visit and take your first step towards making the most of your relationship with your four-legged friend now.

Can I go to the Paddocks for my Holiday please?

Paddocks Boarding Cattery Peaceful location. No dogs boarded. Spacious, individual, heated chalets with large covered runs. Inspection welcome. Boarding from £7.50/day. Rabbits/guinea pigs also boarded. 64 Meadow Road, Great Gransden

Telephone 01767 677 759 Open all year.

The cattery for caring owners. Comfort and security for your pet. 62

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Puppy and Dog Training Classes

in Bedford and Cambridgeshire

07388 377371

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Local News

Twinwoods Adventure Based in Milton Ernest, Twinwoods Adventure is the home of indoor Adventure, easily accessible from the A6. Now under new management, changes are already under way to improve the facilities and bring new, exciting Adventures to the people of Bedford, all under one roof. We’ve always been known for our incredible Indoor Skydiving and Indoor Surfing, but did you know we offer much, much more? How about our relaxing spa with pool, sauna and steam room, or our adult and family salt caves which can help promote a range of health benefits. Looking for more excitement? Try the climbing wall, archery, our gas gun range, or the ultimate adrenaline rush, jumping 125ft from the top of our wind tunnel! For the really little people, we have the Playhouse, an incredible adventure soft play, which offers regular mini-Adventures, as well as open play sessions. Let them play, while you enjoy a great tasting coffee and generous slice of homemade cake. Whatever the weather, Twinwoods Adventure is the perfect place

to have a great time as a family. Enjoy all the Adventures, fill up in our restaurant, and if you want to make a weekend of it, stay in our comfortable on-site accommodation. We’re extremely proud of our location, our heritage and being a part of the local community, and core to that is charity. If your charity has a story and needs help, we’d love to hear from you to see if there’s a way that we can work with you. We’ll be picking a number of charities over the next year to work with, and support as best we can. To find out more, please email: To find out more about the Adventures you can have with us, check out our website www. or call us on 01234 816350. If you’re on social media, make sure you add us to stay up-to-date with all the latest news and special offers. You can find us at /twinwoodsuk Want to see what we’re about in person? All our activities are free to spectate, though be warned, you’ll want to give it a go once you’ve seen the fun people are having! You can find us at: Twinwoods Adventure, Twinwoods Business


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Park, 36 Thurleigh Road, Milton Ernest, Bedford, MK44 1FD. There’s plenty of free, on-site, parking - just look for the big blue building. Roy Castleman, part of the new ownership team, comments: “It’s great to be a part of this historic site’s next chapter. We’re looking forward to making things even better here, and adding some incredible new Adventures. Charity is really important to us, which is why we’re looking for local charities that we can help support. We would love to hear your story, and we’ll be picking a number of charities to work with.”

Children aged between 0 - 5 years

After School Care and Holiday Club for 5 - 12 year olds

• • • • • • • • • •

OFSTED rating - GOOD Qualified Nursery Practitioners A Sing & Sign nursery All staff paediatric first aid trained Freshly prepared meals by our in-house cook Kitchen hygiene rated '5' Fun French lessons for children Yoga for Babies and Toddlers Close to Sandy mainline station and the A1M A loving, home from home Follow us on Facebook

54 High St, Sandy Bedfordshire, SG19 1AJ

T: 01767 689688 E: W:

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For further details please visit


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The Top 10 of Motoring The top 10 most expensive motors, according to Luxhabitat: 1. Koenigsegg CCXR Trevita: £3.6m 2. Lamborghini Veneno Roadster: £3.4m 3. Lykan Hypersport: £2.6m 4. Bugatti Veyron by Mansory Vivere: £2.5m 5. Aston Martin Valkryie: £2.4m 6. Ferrari Pininfarina Sergio: £2.3m 7. Pagani Huraya BC: £2.1m 8. Ferrari Laferrari Aperta: £1.7m 9. Zenvo TS1: £1.5m 10. Mazzanti Evantra Millcavalli: £900K’s top 10 most stolen cars: 1. Mercedes C-class 2. BMW X5 3. Range Rover Sport 4. Mercedes-Benz E-class 5. BMW 3 Series 6. Land Rover Discovery 7. Range Rover Autobiography 8. BMW M3 9. VW Golf 10. Audi RS4


From the Honest John website, we come to a rogue’s gallery top 10 of cars that gave the least overall owner satisfaction. 1. Ford Ka 2. Citroen C1 3. VW Touran 4. Fiat 500 5. Renault Laguna 6. Renault Megane 7. Peugeot 407 8. BMW Z4 9. Citroen C3 10. Vauxhall Vectra So, where does that leave us? Just that buying a far-Eastern made, mid-priced, security equipped car, won’t get you onto any of these top-10s. Happy Motoring!

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Food and Drink

Baking Christmas Mincemeat Slice

Makes 12-14 slices Ready in 1 hour 15 minutes, plus chilling and cooling This delicious festive slice can be served warm as a pud with custard, thick cream or brandy butter or simply cool completely and serve instead of mince pies. INGREDIENTS 225g plain flour 165g unsalted butter, chilled and diced 1 egg yolk blended with 1 tbsp cold water 75g caster sugar 300g good quality mincemeat 50g ground almonds 2 tbsp flaked almonds 1. Sift the flour into a large bowl and rub in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture resembles very fine breadcrumbs (alternatively pulse in a food processor until fine breadcrumbs). 2. Remove 100g of the breadcrumb mixture and cover and chill in the fridge. Stir 25g of the sugar into the remaining mixture, then stir in the egg and water and mix to a firm dough (adding a little more water if needed). Knead lightly then wrap in cling film and chill for 30 minutes. 3. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas mark 6. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface


and use to line a 23cm square tart tin. Prick the pastry all over with a fork. Line the pastry case with baking paper and baking beans and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the lining paper and beans and bake for a further 5-7 minutes until the pastry is crisp and pale golden. Cool slightly. Reduce the oven temperature to 180C/160C fan/gas mark 4. 4. Spread the mincemeat in the pastry case. Mix the rest of the sugar and the ground almonds into the reserved pastry crumb mixture and scatter over the mincemeat to cover completely. 5. Return the tin to the oven and bake for a further 25-30 minutes or until the crumble topping is pale golden. Scatter over the flaked almonds and leave to cool before removing from the tin and cutting into 12-14 thin slices.


Add some finely chopped toasted hazelnuts or walnuts to the crumble topping for an extra nutty flavour.

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Local News

Fundraising appeal launches to support vulnerable people in Bedfordshire this winter, it shouldn’t be a choice between eating or heating. Bedfordshire and Luton Community Foundation (BLCF) are an independent registered charity, providing support to local community groups and charities, many of whom are working with some of the county’s most vulnerable and in need. BLCF are launching their Surviving Winter appeal to support those who may struggle with food or fuel poverty during the winter months by providing essential items such as blankets, food or even helping people pay their energy bills. Francesca Johnstone, Head of Grantmaking at BLCF says “We are asking the people and businesses of Bedfordshire to come together to support those in need and help them survive the winter months. For many people it can sometimes be a choice between heating or eating, this isn’t just something that affects old people, but also families and others in need. All donations raised will support those most vulnerable in the community, together we can make a difference.” Statistics suggest that around 700 older or

vulnerable people in Bedfordshire die from illnesses related to or exacerbated by the cold each year. Older people or those suffering with illnesses such as cancer are at particular risk as they can find it more difficult to keep warm, but for many the rising energy prices means they can’t afford to keep warm. On average 1 in 6 children in Bedfordshire are living in poverty, which is estimated to affect around 41,753 households. These families, with the additional costs associated with the cold weather can mean many parents having to make a choice between heating and eating. BLCF have launched their Surviving Winter appeal to raise vital funds within the community which will be used in several ways; including giving small grants to not-for-profit groups working with disadvantaged people, provide winter survival packs to individuals and families living in poverty across Bedfordshire and also help vulnerable people pay their energy bills. BLCF is partnering with key organisations who work at grassroots level to ensure the support is reaching those most in need, the appeal is running between November and March and aims to raise £20,000 to support individuals and families across the county. To donate to this appeal, you can go online at or, by texting ‘BLCF10’ £10

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The original oven cleaning specialists

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Do you find it difficult to get someone to come and do a small job? Fault finding/repairs Extra lights and sockets New fuse boards Electrical testing and certificates Qualified electrician  Fully insured Reliable service  Tidy work Free quote  Satisfaction guaranteed

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n O s ’ t Wha In December

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

1 December Coffee Morning 10-11.30am Potton Salvation Army, Chapel Street Coffee, tea, bacon butties, homemade cakes, cards, Bric-a-Brac, books, jigsaws etc.. Coffee Mornings are held on the first Saturday of every month except January. Weekly “Open Door” (tea/coffee, chat and browse various stalls) on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays 10-11.30am. Everyone welcome. Tel: 01767 261138 for further info 1, 8, 15, 22 & 29 December Lego & K’NEX Club 1.45-3.30pm Potton Library Love Lego and K’NEX? Come along and get building! 1 December Woo and the Fuel 9pm-12am The Roundabout Club, Sandy Woo and the Fuel are a dynamic four piece band that are renowned for creating a great party atmosphere. They have a real sense of fun about them, guaranteed to get you dancing all night long with some of the greatest club classics, new and old school funk, and electronica! Woo and the Fuel have a set list that you might expect to hear from a nightclub DJ, playing tracks by artists such as Rihanna, Calvin Harris, David Guetta, Bruno Mars, Pharrell Williams and many more! 1 December 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: 1 December Winter Concert 6.30pm Stratton Upper School, Biggleswade Adults £10, Children £5 East Beds Concert Band annual winter concert. Featuring a wide repertoire from classical to the swinging 60s and of course traditional Christmas tunes. The Band we will be joined by the fabulous East Beds Youth Choir. Tickets available on the door and include a glass of wine (or soft drink for our drivers and younger audience members) and a mince pie!


1 & 2 December Christmas Tree & Wreath Festival 12-4pm All Saints Church, Southill Admission £1 Once again All Saints Church invites you to attend their Tree and Wreath Festival. The church will have many Christmas Trees and Wreaths on display decorated by local organisations, children, adults and families. Please come along and get in the mood for the festive season. Hot drinks and mince pies available. If you would like to enter a display yourself email Maureen. Email: 2 December Christmas Craft Fair 11am-3pm The Wetherley Centre, Biggleswade Free admission Quality stalls, refreshments and raffle. In aid of a trip to support children living in a deprived environment in Nakuru, Kenya. Tel: 07709 446480 Email: 3, 10 & 17 December 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: 4 December Hatley Coffee Morning 10am-1pm Hatley Village Hall Come along for a chat, coffee/tea and a slice of cake. Everyone welcome. Donations on the day. All donations split between Hatley Village Hall and Hatley St George Church. First Tuesday of the every month. 4, 11 & 18 December Phoenix Chorus 7.45-10.15pm Potton Lower School Have you loved the a capella singing shows on TV? Could you be pitch perfect with us? Phoenix A Capella Chorus meets every Tuesday. Visitors always welcome. Tel: Sarah 07842 101799 Email: Web:

4, 11 & 18 December Biggleswade Ivel Badminton Club 8-10.30pm Biggleswade Recreation Centre (Stratton Leisure Centre) £3 per night. Seeking competitive badminton players wishing to play in local leagues. Visitors welcome. Email: Facebook: 5 December Aircraft Enthusiasts’ Group 1pm Princess Charlotte Room, Shuttleworth Visitors £7 inc. raffle ticket The Group meets on the first Wednesday of every month. Ken Ellis will talk about Test Pilots. Enjoy lunch in the Shuttleworth restaurant before the meeting. Lots of free parking. Email: Web: 5, 12 & 19 December Mums and Dads Coffee Morning 9-10am Moggerhanger Church Bring your pre-school children with you. Toys available in the church. Tea/coffee, juice, biscuits £1 with fruit juice for your pre-school children. This can be a good time to meet friends, have impromptu meetings, plan your next commitments, etc.. 5, 12 & 19 December Ivel Bereavement Support Centre 10am-12 noon The Community Rooms, Baptist Church, 24 London Road, Biggleswade Has a loved one died? Are you struggling coming to terms with it? Perhaps we can help you at our drop in centre on Wednesdays. Tel: Carole or Jill 07704734225 for more information 6 December Christmas Concert 7pm St Swithun’s Church, Sandy Tickets £4, Under 16s free Christmas Concert with the Stotfold Salvation Army Band. Also taking part will be St Swithun’s Primary School Choir, Sandy Methodist Church Girls’ Brigade, Soloists Alison Eames and Doreen Lawrence. Tickets available from Sandy Town Council Reception Office, Colin Osborne or on the door. Proceeds in aid of The Leprosy Mission. Tel: Colin Osborne 01767 682032 6 December Potton History Society Meeting 8pm Potton Community Centre, Brook End Members free, Visitors £3 inc. refreshments Pictorial Entertainment. Finish the year with Christmas refreshments and enjoy a dip into our photographic and video archives of past and present Potton. Web: Facebook: pottonhistorysociety

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n O s ’ t Wha In December

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

6, 13 & 20 December Amici Singers 7.30-9.45pm Trinity Methodist Church, Shortmead Street, Biggleswade Membership £15 per term (£45 per year) The Amici Singers are a non-auditioning female ensemble with a focus on fun! We do lots of tours, rehearse once a week and work hard/play hard. No auditions, just come along to a session to hear us, or if you want to join in then your first session is FREE! We only ask three things, that you love to sing, love to make friends (which is what Amici stands for) and like new opportunities. Anyone is welcome to come along and listen at any time. Tel: Ann 01767 650630 or Carole 01767 260815 for further info 7 December Craft and Chatter 7.30-10pm St Marys Church Hall, Potton £2.50 inc. refreshments Bring your own project. Cross stitch, sewing, knitting, crochet, embroidery or something else. Meet like-minded people and make new friends, help each other out with tips and advice and chat at the same time. Web: 7, 14, 21 & 28 December Lego Club 3.45-5.00pm Potton Library Love Lego? Come along and get building! Every Friday afternoon. 7, 14 & 21 December Sandy Ukulele Group 7-9pm Baptist Chapel Hall, Bedford Road, Sandy Meets every Friday. Please email for more information on joining the group. Visitors welcome. Email: Web: 8 December Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire Hardy Plant Society 2pm Weatherley Centre, Eagle Farm Road, Biggleswade Helen Picton with ‘It’s not time for bed yet – Rethinking Autumn in the Garden’. Helen is a nursery owner. Plants for sale. Christmas tea follows talk. Web:

8 December Ivelflix Community Cinema: Paddington 2 Doors open 2.30pm, Film starts 3pm Canada Block, Biggleswade Academy, Mead End Admission £4 on the door A friendly community activity that is run “not for profit”. All welcome. Plenty of easy, free parking on site and disabled access. Tel: Alan 01767 310163 for more info Web: 8 December 100 Foot Drop 9-11.45pm The Rose, Biggleswade 100 Foot Drop are an exhilarating band who will get the audience captivated, dancing and singing along with the hits and anthems from artists The Killers, The Who, Kings of Leon, Fleetwood Mac, U2, Mumford & Sons, and many more. The band have a reputation for their tight musicianship and expressive frontman. 9 December Annual Christmas Wine Sale 11am-4pm The Stable Yard, Southill Park Southill SG18 9LJ Free entry White and sparkling wines and Christmas Gift Boxes from the award-winning Warden Abbey vineyard. Ideal for Christmas gifts or your own festive celebrations. Free parking and mince pies (whilst stocks last). Tel: 07981 113714 Email: Web: 9 December Brass Bells & Tinsel Doors open 2.30pm, Concert starts 3pm Trinity Methodist Church, Shortmead Street, Biggleswade Adults £5, Children free Bedford Brass Christmas Concert. 11 December Sutton WI 7.30pm Sutton Village Hall The group meets on the second Tuesday of every month. Please feel free to come and join us! 13 December Biggleswade Evening Women’s Institute 7.45pm Weatherley Centre, Biggleswade A new group which meets on the second Thursday of each month (except August). Guests welcome.

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13 December Biggleswade Ladies Circle Christmas present wrapping evening. A membership club for women aged between 18-45 who want to make new friends have fun and raise money for charity. We have now been established for over 55 years. Members are from all walks of life and are supported by various Honorary Members and some PIGS (Permanently Invited Guests). We are really keen to expand our membership to include lots more lovely local ladies! We all come from very different backgrounds and have different things going on in our lives and vary in age. We meet twice a month, usually on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month in or around Biggleswade. There are also many weekend events throughout the circling year. Most of our meetings are social meetings where we try out new things or just meet for a chat. We also have meetings where we discuss current things going on with circle such as upcoming fundraisers or any other business that needs to be discussed. Contact us to find out more about how you can get involved and for more details of our next events, what have you got to lose? Tel: Lindsay 07811122212 Email: Facebook: Biggleswade Ladies Circle Twitter: @BwadeCircle 15 December Shannon Express Chorus Concert 7pm Bedford Modern School, Manton Lane, Bedford Tickets £10. One of the eastern region’s leading male a cappella chorus groups will perform festive songs and timeless classics. It’s sure to get you in the festive spirit. Refreshments and raffle. All proceeds to Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice. Tel: Leigh 01767 642445 Email: 16 December Biggleswade Antiques Fair 9.30am-4pm The Weatherley Centre, Eagle Farm Road, Biggleswade Entrance £2, Under 16s free if accompanied by an adult. 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: 19 December ‘Poetry Table’ Club 8pm The Courtyard Centre in Biggleswade We’re a group of locals who meet around a table once a month to share and hear poetry. The Poetry Table is on the third Wednesday of every month at The Courtyard Centre in Biggleswade. Get your invite at or search ‘Biggleswade Poetry Table’ for more.


Fun Quiz - Shops 1. The final episode of which TV show was the most-watched TV show in the UK on Christmas Day 2015? 2. In a 1992 Christmas special, who fails to give his girlfriend, Irma Gobb, the engagement ring she wanted when he didn’t realise what she was pointing to, and instead gives her a picture of an engaged couple that was next to it in the shop? 3. Screened on Christmas Day in 2003, Sleepless In Peckham was the final episode of which long-running TV sitcom? 4. On Christmas Day of what year did a Doctor Who episode called The Time Of The Doctor see Peter Capaldi take over from Matt Smith as the Doctor? 5. Which TV series features a robot Santa Claus who, due to a programming error, judges almost everyone to be naughty and every Christmas, goes on a murderous rampage? 6. The title character in which TV show lived at 52 Festive Road? 7. Broadcast on Boxing Day 2015, The Farmer’s Llamas was a Christmas special of which TV show? 8. Which character from EastEnders was murdered on Christmas Day in 2009? 9. Introduced in the first episode of The Simpsons, what breed of dog is Santa’s Little Helper? 10. On the TV show South Park, who brings presents to boys and girls whose diets have been high in fibre? 1. Downton Abbey 2. Mr Bean 3. Only Fools And Horses 4. 2013 5. Futurama 6. Mr Benn 7. Shaun The Sheep 8. Archie Mitchell (accept Archie) 9. Greyhound 10. Mr Hankey the Christmas Poo


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B urtenshaw D ecorating S ervices All Domestic Work Undertaken Painting, Decorating, Wallpapering Interior and Exterior Work Over 30 years experience Fully Insured Quality Workmanship City and Guilds Qualified Insurance Work

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COUNTRY STOVES & SWEEPS STOVE/GAS FIRE INSTALLATION • Wood Burning/Multi Fuel Stove & Gas Fire Installation • Chimney Lining • Twin Wall Flue Systems • Free Survey & Quotation



• Brush & Vacuum Sweep • Smoke Test


• Clean & Tidy • Insurance Certificate • Bird Guards Fitted

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£ T:

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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. 80

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CJ Property Maintenance Interior and Exterior Painting Gutter Cleaning & Repairs uPVC Fascia Board Cleaning Fencing, Gates and all Repairs Patios and all Garden Work Double Glazing & Repairs Concrete Bases, Paths & Steps Chimney & Wall Pointing Brick Work & Repairs Driveway Cleaning Broken Roof Tiles & Pots

All jobs undertaken

Extensions New builds Rewires Smoke alarms Landlord certificates Fault finding and repairs Consumer unit replacements Lighting and power (internal & external) Boiler controls Inspection and testing Free quotations Part P approved All types of electrical work undertaken

Free Estimates

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We can professionally clean... Carpets Upholstery Fascias Soffits Gutters Conservatories Patios Driveways 01767 222 822 07812 335 860 Find us on

W.G.Thirkell & Sons 1-4 page_ppl.pdf




W.G.THIRKELL & SONS LTD Quality Painting, Decorating, General Building Maintenance and Repairs. Renovations, Alterations, Plastering & Ceramic Tiling.




Established 1948


Fully Insured for all works including Commercial and Listed Buildings. Free Estimates and advice.



Telephone: 01767 682570 07966 389212 (Mobile) Email



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3 Windows 3 Doors 3 Conservatories 3 Orangeries 3 Bi folds 3 Repairs T: 01767 765440


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W: 83

Window Doctor Repairs to Windows, Doors & Conservatories • • • • • • •

Misty Units New Locks Draughty Windows Dropped Doors Broken Hinges/Handles Extra Security Installation of New Windows, Doors and Conservatories

25 Years Experience Contact Stewart Gyles on T: 0798 444 1638 or

01767 221 057

E: 84

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November’s Puzzle Solutions and Winners Last Month’s Crossword Winner Mrs G Trigg from Potton Overtones Competition Pat King from Buckden

Champneys Competition K. Hurren from Stevenage



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The Villager Prize Crossword

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

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



Across 1. Connect to another (6) 4. Yarn, twine (6) 9. Mature (7) 10. Problem, concern (5) 11. Bend (5) 12. Places of work (7) 13. Differentiate (11) 18. Identical (7) 20. Fang (5) 22. Having had water removed (5) 23. Hammering (7) 24. Leaders, monarchs (6) 25. Business, company (6) Down 1. Diminish (6) 2. Sweetheart, paramour (5) 3. Most statuesque (7) 5. Robber (5) 6. Bugs (7) 7. 1978 musical set in 50s (6) 8. Meeting with doctor (11) 14. First letter (7) 15. Unfastening, removing knots (7) 16. Kill (6) 17. Long-haired, unkempt (6) 19. More advanced in age (5) 21. Pungent vegetable (5)

Name: Tel:




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KEMP GARAGE DOORS SALES • INSTALLATION • REPAIRS • Family Run Business • 25 Years Experience • Up and Over • Sectional and Roller Doors • Security Shutters

• Remote Control Door

SANDY • POTTON • All Major Brands

Supplied and Serviced



• OAP Rates Available

01767 260165 Sandy

01480 210410 Eaton Socon To advertise in The Villager and Town Life please call 01767 261122


T&R Roofing Ltd

Family Business Est. 1985

• Felt Roofing Specialists (10 year & 15 year guarantee on high performance felts) • Tiling, Slating, Guttering • UPVC Facia/Soffits • Chimney Work

All NEW work guaranteed Fully insured for employer & Public Liability Call Tony Simpson for a FREE estimate on:

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DRIFTWOOD JOINERY LTD Specialists in Bespoke Joinery

Conservatories • Doors • Windows Staircases Handmade Kitchens Handmade Bedroom Furniture

Unit 12, Gracious Farm, Southill, Beds SG18 9JB T: 01462 816695 F: 01462 850915 E: 88

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Seasoned Firewood Locally sourced hardwood Split and fully seasoned

ÂŁ65 a Dumpy Bag Including delivery (Builders Bag)

Simon Gurry 07734 159501 Don’t shiver, we deliver To advertise in The Villager and Town Life please call 01767 261122


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Cromwell stoves 1/4 page.indd 1


09/03/2017 15:40

Undertaking all aspects of: building work • Extensions • Renovations • Conversions • New Builds.


carpentry • Kitchens • Timber flooring • Bespoke cupboards • Joinery work.

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Ltd Old delivery trolleys and paper delivery bags bought for cash. Please contact Nigel on

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Book Review By Kate Duggan Stuck for the perfect present this Christmas? Or need some inspiration for your own wish list? Read on…

For Harry Potter Fans

The Crimes of Grindelwald By J.K. Rowling

Albus Dumbledore enlists Newt Scamander to recapture Gellert Grindelwald, who’s recently escaped and is gathering followers. This is the second in the Fantastic Beasts series. It’s a screenplay of the recently released film, rather than a traditional novel, so it’s quicker to read but no less enjoyable.

For Romantic Fiction Fans A Miracle on Hope Street by Emma Heatherington

When she learns that one act of kindness has transformed a man’s life, Ruth decides to put her own loneliness aside and create a Christmas to remember for people in need. A heart-warming tale that’s perfect for fans of JoJo Moyes and Marian Keyes.





A RELIABLE, QUALITY SERVICE YOU CAN TRUST - Gas Boiler Servicing and Maintenance - High Efficiency Gas Boiler Replacements - Full System Installations and Updates - Unvented Hot Water Installations - Landlord Gas Safety Certificates - All General Plumbing and Bathrooms - Radiator Flushing Based in St. Neots Covering All Surrounding Areas

FREE QUOTES ALL WORK GUARANTEED FULLY INSURED Tel: 07502 253276 Web: Email: meltonplumbingandheating

For Historical Fiction Fans Washington Black by Esi Edugyan

11-year-old slave Washington Black is taken from the sugar fields and lent to his tyrannical master’s brother, Titch, to work on a ‘cloudcutter’ hot air balloon. The duo form an unlikely friendship that, coupled with Washington’s artistic talent, could provide a way out of slavery.

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Classifieds Domestic Repairs


JB Domestic Guaranteed Repairs To: Washing Machines Tumble Dryers Electric Ovens/Cookers Dishwashers No Call Out Charge! Tel: 01767 680621 Mobile: 07778 891490

Aerials and Satellites AERIALS & SATELLITES


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Garden Specialist


Hillier Garden Services


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Handy Man

HGS Classified advert.indd 1

14/04/2015 21:23

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Classifieds Locksmith Services

Plastering Services

Painter & Decorator



DECOR LTD Richard Bawden - City and Guilds Qualified Mobile: 07757 013796 Home: 01767 835008 Email:

M. Philmore (Phil) - General Plumber Now semi retired but still available for general plumbing. 57 Green Acres, Gamlingay, Beds. SG19 3LR Tel: 01767 650619 Mobile: 07870366414

Painting Services

Plumbing and Heating

Pet Services

Private Car Hire

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Classifieds Property Improvements


Property Improvements by

A professional property maintenance service

Gary Hare Carpentry • Kitchens • Bedrooms Decorating • Flooring Bathrooms •Tiling • and more...

Tel: 01767 651821 Mob: 07773 973420


Property Improvements


GARY BERRIDGE Plasterer & General Maintenance Including UPVC Doors and Windows Tiling, Painting and Decorating Free Quotes

T: 01767 316485 M: 07582 485155 E:


MARK CURRELL CERAMIC TILER All tiling undertaken Kitchens, Bathrooms and Conservatories Free Quotations • All Areas Covered Telephone: 01767 680081 / 07952 499002 Email:

Will Writers

MUSCLE & MOTOR 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:

Riding School

Wood Suppliers


Lessons, Hacks - Pony Club Centre Christmas gift vouchers available 07875 192662 You can also find us on facebook 94

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and Town


Alcoholics Anonymous..............................0845 769 7555 Anglian Water............................................08457 145 145 Bedford Hospital........................................ 01234 355122 Lister Hospital............................................ 01438 314333 Addenbrooks Hospital............................... 01223 245151 Benefits for people with Disabilities...........0800 882 200 Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue.................... 01234 351081 Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue................... 01438 729041 Carers Line..................................................0808 808 7777 ChildLine...........................................................0800 1111 Citizens Advice...........................................0344 245 1292 Cocaine Anonymous..................................0800 689 4732

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.

Crimestoppers..............................................0800 555 111 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..........................................0845 30 30 900

For more information or to reserve your space please contact Nigel on:

Tel: 01767 261122

Email: Web:

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Get ready for the December Celebrations with these combined hair and beauty packages, introducing the Katherine Daniels Instant Eye Effect Masks, which are amazing. These are perfect for pre-special occasions, eyes look instantly hydrated, feel hydrated and firm, finished off with amazing hair and nails, all under one roof.

Xmas Eve & New Years Eve Special £10 Blowdrys or £15 Curly Blowdrys or Hair Up Check out our Facebook page for all our special offers on hair and beauty

Package 1 Instant effect eye mask Hair up or Blow dry £25 Package 2 Instant effect eye mask Hair up/Blow-dry Shellac on hands £45 Package 3 Instant effect eye mask Intensive mask treatment Blow-dry Shellac on hands £50

Call us on 01767 682789 Opening Hours: Monday, Tuesday & Friday 9.30am - 6.00pm Wednesday & Thursday 9.30 - 9.00pm, Saturday 8.30 - 4.00pm

Friends Five Star Hairdressing 1 Market Square, Sandy, Beds SG19 1HT

Potton December 2018  
Potton December 2018