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Issue 139 - March 2018

and Town



In this issue Win tickets to see

The Blockheads How to Ace a

Job Interview Win £25

in our Prize Crossword

Bringing Local Business to Local People

in Biggleswade, Sandy, Potton, Gamlingay and all surrounding villages 16,000 copies delivered to over 30 towns and villages every month To advertise in The Villager and Town Life please call 01767 261122

ur Yo EE FRco1py


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Inside this issue... 10

Win Tickets to see Twelfth Day The History of Alice................................................................................ 4 March is National Bed Month................................................................. 8 Win Tickets to see Twelfth Day.............................................................. 10 Win Tickets to see The Blockheads........................................................ 12 Dine in Style: Searcys St Pancras Restaurant........................................ 14 National Apprenticeship Week............................................................. 17 The Pain of Mothers Day....................................................................... 21 How to Ace a Job Interview.................................................................. 22 Top 5 Honeymoon Destinations............................................................ 25 World Bipolar Day................................................................................ 27 Gorgeous Gifts and Tempting Treats..................................................... 23 Let’s Fight Fatigue, Pain and Brain Fog!................................................ 35 Style Tips for Spring/Summer 2018...................................................... 36 The Great British Spring Clean.............................................................. 38 Your Clutter Free Life............................................................................ 40 Has Your Local Bank Closed Down?....................................................... 43 Make a Will and Help Transform Patient Care....................................... 45 Madagascar - The Eighth Continent...................................................... 46 Solutions 4 Gardens............................................................................. 48 Get Your Soil Into Shape....................................................................... 51 Rural Ramblings................................................................................... 52

Fertiliser............................................................................................... 54 What Should You Feed Your New Puppy?............................................. 57 Ask Alan - Potton Vets.......................................................................... 58 R.A.T.S. Rehoming Appeal.................................................................... 59 Animal Know-How............................................................................... 60 Children’s Page..................................................................................... 63 Moving House with Children................................................................ 65 Six Things People Hate About the Lamborghini Urus............................ 67 Don’t Have Mad March Hair.................................................................. 68 Nick Coffer’s Weekend Recipe............................................................... 70 Local Charities Matter.......................................................................... 72 What’s On............................................................................................. 74 A Wrose By Any Other Name................................................................ 78 Puzzle Page.......................................................................................... 80 New Year, New Challenge..................................................................... 82 Prize Crossword.................................................................................... 86 Fun Quiz............................................................................................... 89 Is Your Friend a Short-Trip Show-Off..................................................... 90 Book Review........................................................................................ 92

Solutions 4 Gardens


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, Louise Addison, Trevor Langley, Tracey Anderson, Helen Jones, Louise Addison, Kirstie Timmins, Alison Runham, Kate Duggan, Jennie Billings, Suzanne Roynon, Solange Hando, Pippa Greenwood, Geoff Wharton, Rachael Leverton, Ann Haldon, Potton Vets, RSPCA, Kate Duggan, James Baggott, Nick Coffer and Kate McLelland.

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

Advertising Sales/Local Editorial Nigel Frost • 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.

Photography: László Szelenczey and Darren Harbar Design and Artwork Design 9 • Tel 07762 969460 •

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History By Catherine Rose

The History of Alice The Mad March Hare is a character from folklore that was forever immortalised by the Reverend Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, also known as author Lewis Carroll, in his classic children’s novel Alice in Wonderland. It was written for Alice Liddell, a friend’s daughter who looked nothing like Sir John Tenniel’s famous illustrations. So, who was the real Alice? Alice Pleasance Liddell, who later became Hargreaves when she married the Hampshire cricketer Reginald Hargreaves, was born on 4th May 1852 in Westminster, London. She was the fourth child of ten (two died in infancy) and close to her older and younger sisters Lorina (known as Ina) and Edith, who both went on to feature in Dodgson’s photographs and writing. Soon after she was born, Alice’s father Henry


Liddell became Dean of Christ Church College and the family moved to Oxford in 1856 - the same year that Alice met Dodgson, a keen photographer and college librarian. Dodgson took many photos of Alice during their acquaintance, some of them hauntingly beautiful. They show a pretty elfin girl with a dark bob and soulful eyes pictured in various poses, costumes and guises from Oriental girl to beggar maid. By the time she was 20, Alice had become so wellknown that the famous Victorian photographer Julia Margaret Cameron also took her portrait. Remarkable for capturing the personality of her subjects, Cameron’s photograph shows Alice, by then an attractive young woman, staring defiantly into the lens.

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The original Alice’s Adventures Underground was conceived on a boat trip that the ten-year-old Alice and her sisters made with Dodgson and his friend Canon Duckworth. Entertaining them with one of his imaginative stories, the author invented a fabulous tale about Alice falling down a rabbit hole and meeting all sorts of curious characters on the way. After being begged by Alice to write it down, he presented it to her as a bound handwritten manuscript in November 1864. Encouraged by his friends Henry Kingsley and author George MacDonald, Dodgson decided to commercially publish the story a year later. It was illustrated by the artist Sir John Tenniel and proved so popular that it was followed up in 1872 by Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There, later to become simply Alice Through the Looking Glass. However, around the same time that Lewis Carroll’s famous novel was being born, there was a huge falling out between Dodgson and the Liddells. It is still not known what caused the rift as Dodgson’s diary entries for this time were removed. As a result, there has been much speculation over the years as to what happened. One theory is that Dodgson (aged 31) wanted to marry Alice (then 11) but the family were against it. Although times have changed and we would find this both shocking and unacceptable today, Victorian morality was very different and it wasn’t uncommon for an older man to choose a child bride. Up until 1885, when it was raised to 16, the age of consent for a girl was 12. Other theories have suggested Henry Liddell was put out by Charles Dodgson’s criticisms of his deanery or that there was a scandal when, following visits to see the children while their parents were away, Dodgson was accused of having an affair with their governess. It has also been suggested that Alice’s mother believed Dodgson’s visits and photo sessions had become too intrusive. Whatever the reason, it was clearly a bad enough rift for her to take the step of burning all his previous letters to Alice. Imaginative and creative, Dodgson loved the company of children and as a result, his sexuality has later been scrutinised. Alice herself never accused him of any wrongdoing and it was even suggested that her only surviving son Caryl (her other two sons died in the First World War) was named in honour of the author.


Following the fall out with Dodgson, as a young woman it is said that Alice had an affair with Queen Victoria’s youngest son Prince Leopold after he came to study at Christ Church, but that the pair were forbidden to marry by the queen because Alice was a commoner. Fast forward just over a century and the same scenario between a Prince and another ‘commoner’ who also met at university had a very different outcome! Perhaps a clue to their feelings is that Prince Leopold named his daughter Alice, and in turn, Alice named one of her sons Leopold. Because the illustrated Alice bears no resemblance to Alice Liddell and the original story was markedly changed for publication, some critics believe the fictional Alice isn’t based on the real Alice at all. However, it can’t be denied that Dodgson made strong references to her throughout the text. Perhaps the strongest is an acrostic poem epilogue to Alice Through the Looking Glass. A poignant and nostalgic verse about that original boat trip, it spells out her name and begins: A boat beneath a sunny sky, Lingering onward dreamily, In an evening of July…. There is a perhaps even sadder ending to this story as after Alice’s husband died, she sold her original manuscript of Alice’s Adventures Underground in 1928. It fetched the considerable sum of £15,400 at Sotheby’s and today is kept in the British Museum. Alice died in 1934 and her ashes are interred at Lyndhurst.

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Time of Year

March is

National Bed Month We spend about a third of our lives in bed so if we live until 75 we’ll have been asleep for 25 years! We all know that a good night’s sleep is important but how much sleep do we really need and why do we do it? The question of why we sleep is actually quite mysterious. In simple terms it’s a daily extended bout of rest where we lay down with our eyes closed. But there’s more to sleep than meets the eye. During this time, our bodies replenish energy stores and make vital repairs, while our minds organise and store the memories of from day before. The amount of sleep we need depends on our age, sex, health and other factors, and our sleep cycles change as we grow older. Most of us know (or think we do) that we should get ‘8 hours sleep a night’ but in fact there is no magic number for how much sleep we should get because we’re all different. Providing you’re not regularly trying to get through your life on two or three hours a night (unless you’re a new mother in which case you have my sympathy) it’s important not to get too hung up on the quantity of your sleep but instead focus on the quality. When we first fall asleep we enter non-rapid eye movement sleep (NREM). This is divided into three stages, with each becoming progressively deeper. NREM1 and NREM2 are light phases of sleep, from which we can be easily roused. NREM3 becomes deeper, and if woken up, we can feel disorientated.


Following on from this is rapid eye movement sleep (REM), the stage at which we dream. When scientists study brainwaves during REM sleep they find that the brain behaves similar to when we’re awake, but our muscles are more-or-less inactive. Each sleep cycle lasts around 90 minutes, and in order to feel fully rested and refreshed when we wake up, we must experience all four stages. A full night’s sleep will include of five or six cycles, while a disturbed, restless night consists of fewer. The perfect sleep environment Comfortable temperature (16-18°C) Fresh air circulating but no draughts. Dark - try using blackout blinds or an eye mask. A large bed - Buy the largest you can accommodate A quality mattress - try out lots and buy the best you can afford. Ban technology - The blue light emitted by screens is hazardous to good quality sleep. Quiet - you can buy soft earplugs if noise is a problem though some people sleep better with white noise in the background. Routine - A regular bedtime routine is an important cue to help us fall asleep. Think about the bath, book, bed routine we often establish for our children. You can use essential oils, a good book and a warm milky drink. Avoid caffeine, alcohol and screen use too close to bedtime, and never go to bed on an argument!

By Louise Addison

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COMPETITION Win 2 tickets to see

Twelfth Day At Junction 2 in Cambridge on 27th March

Scottish duo, Twelfth Day, to tour UK-wide with five star album Following the release of their long awaited new studio album Cracks In The Room in 2017, Twelfth Day embark on a UK-wide tour throughout March 2018. Catriona Price, (Orcadian fiddler), & Esther Swift, (Peebles harpist), are a ‘two person quartet’, who’s new album, produced by Chris Wood, and mixed by Oz Fritz (Tom Waits), has delighted fans and critics alike. With five and four star reviews from The Guardian and fRoots amongst others, and an appearance on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour which moved Jenni Murray to tears, music fans across the UK will have a chance to hear this critically acclaimed, innovative music live this spring, with shows spanning the UK, from Aberdeen to Cambridge, Orkney to London. In the wordless communication that passes between Catriona Price and Esther Swift as they perform, the strength of their decade-long musical partnership, friendship and shared humour is evident. It’s this depth of connection, and tangible desire to have fun, that gives Twelfth Day its extra edge. This is not so much a duo, but a two person quartet. Their two distinctly different voices, the fiddle, and the pedal harp, build layer upon layer of a complex and ever-evolving sound, rich with rhythm, harmony and texture. Twelfth Day are happy to be hard to define. Classically trained, they bring outstanding technical ability as well as an adventurous mix of folk, jazz and classical influences to their compositions and arrangements blended with the folklore and inspirations of their respective Scottish Highland and Lowland upbringings.


Simply send your entry by 16th March 2018 to: Twelfth Day Competition, Villager Publications Ltd, 24 Market Square, Potton, Beds SG19 2NP. The winner will be drawn ramdomly.

Address: Tel: 10

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COMPETITION Win 2 tickets

to see The Blockheads + The Reformers Sat 24th March 2018, doors at 8pm, Bedford Esquires We are very pleased to bring living legends The Blockheads back to our main stage for the first time in two years on Saturday 24th March, having been the first band to grace the venue since it changed hands in February 2016. Formed in 1977 to promote Ian Dury’s album New Boots and Panties on the first Stiff Records tour of the UK, the Blockheads are now fronted by one of Ian’s best friends Derek ‘The Draw’, the band’s vocalist and wordsmith. Chaz Jankel, Norman Watt-Roy, John Turnbull and Mick Gallagher still remain from the original band and the current line-up is augmented by John Roberts on drums and a rolling line up of saxophonists including Gilad Atzmon, Terry Edwards or Dave Lewis. These legendary Brit-Funkers will be playing all the old favourites and new material. In 1978 Chaz composed ‘Hit me with your Rhythm Stick’ with Ian and in 1979 had a number one hit record. In 1982 Ian Dury & The Blockheads disbanded and were not to play together again until 1987 when they went out to Japan to play three shows, disbanding again until 1990 when the death of Charlie Charles in September of that year re-united them to play two Benefit gigs at The Forum, Camden Town in aid of Charlie’s family. The last performance by Ian Dury & The Blockheads was Feb 6th 2000 at The London Palladium, Ian died at 9am on 27th March 2000. At this point the band had to make a decision to either stop or continue. The choice was made and the band has continued making albums and touring the world. Now after almost 15 years since Ian passed away, The Blockheads still perform to packed out venues around the world. Support on the night comes from the very excellent The Reformers - These guys blew the crowd away supporting Dr Feelgood on the main stage in 2017 and guarantee to get the crowd going. Tickets are £20 in advance on sale now from seetickets and locally from Esquires bar, Slide Record Shop and Mario’s Hair Design Kempston.


Simply send your entry by 16th March 2018 to: Blockheads/Reformers Competition, Villager Publications Ltd, 24 Market Square, Potton, Beds SG19 2NP. The winner will be drawn ramdomly.

Address: Tel: 12

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Is your conservatory too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer? Nu-Look’s conservatory roof conversions can give you back your perfect living space, regardless of the weather. Nu-Look Conservatory Roof Solutions can solve these problems with low cost conservatory roof conversion systems that will give you back the room and space you wanted in the first place We have over 40 years combined experience in the conservatory and roofing business. Customer satisfaction is at the heart of everything we do and we pride ourselves on the quality of workmanship and service that we provide.

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Food and Drink

Dine in Style:

Searcys St Pancras Restaurant St Pancras International is an iconic venue. ‘Meet me at the Champagne Bar at St Pancras’, certainly says, “I have arrived!” This is where Eurostar trains arrive and depart. The shopping is quality retail therapy. Searcys St Pancras Restaurant is very impressive and their adjacent Champagne Bar, with heated leather seating and ‘press for champagne’ buttons, has 98m of serving space and is reputed to be Europe’s longest. Elegance and splendour is all around. Regular train services from the Midlands and elsewhere, including south east England, arrive here. London underground and Thameslink services are fast and frequent, too. The upper level at St Pancras International has a 9m high statue titled ‘The Meeting Place’, depicting a couple embracing-celebrating romance and travel. Also, a statue of Sir John Betjeman commemorates the poet’s successful campaign to save the station, from demolition, during the 1960’s. The Searcys St Pancras Restaurant is very stylish, with pristine table settings and is located on the upper level at St Pancras International. Starters include Smoked Salmon, Scallops and Wild Venison Salami, amongst an array. Chicken Caesar and Gressingham Duck Salads are very popular. Shellfish choices include various, different Oyster selections, plus Crab and Lobster, for example. Mains of Lake District Beef Cheek and Loin of Lakeland Venison, along with Cornish Bream and Brixham Fish Pie, have regular ‘devotees’. Succulent, tender Steaks are further options and Sirloin, Rib-Eye, plus the House-Aged, Lake District Beef, are very much enjoyed, by many. The complementing flavours of the dishes are, truly, a genuine credit to the talented team of chefs and kitchen personnel. Desserts include Norfolk Treacle Tart with Devonshire clotted cream, and Warm Chocolate Cake accompanied by whisky ice cream. A most impressive wines/drinks list has something for all palates. Tasting events include champagnes and happen regularly. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, plus pre-theatre dining, are all available here, and, if time is of the essence, ‘express’ is no problem. All dietary requirements can be catered for, also private dining, parties and occasions, accommodated. Gift vouchers are available – perhaps surprise someone special? Searcys St Pancras Restaurant & Champagne Bar Upper Concourse, St Pancras International Station, 58 Euston Road, London N1C 4QL Tel: 020 7870 9900 Email:

As always, Enjoy!

ey Trevor Langl


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The Woburn Hotel has something to make the whole family smile this Easter

This Easter, get together with family and friends for a traditional snack, delicious lunch or bespoke afternoon tea. Hot Cross Buns and Simnel cake will be available between 10am-3pm from Friday 30th March to Easter Monday. Our popular traditional Sunday Lunch will be served in Olivier’s Restaurant on Easter Sunday. Enjoy our bespoke Easter Afternoon Tea that will be available in the Lounge and Repton Room from Fri 30th March - Mon 9th April.

To book or for further information, please call 01525 292292 or email The Woburn Hotel, 1 George Street, Woburn, Bedfordshire, MK17 9PX

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Good food + loved ones washing up = mum heaven -


Mothers Day



Sunday 11th March



Full menu, plus Sunday roasts, 12 noon – 4.30pm Book early!



Market Square, Potton, SG19 2NP 01767 260221


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Time of Year

National Apprenticeship Week March 5th-9th

Are you taking your GCSEs or A levels this year? Have you decided what to do afterwards? Many schools champion university or further education colleges but have you considered an apprenticeship? The 11th National Apprenticeship Week runs from 5th to 9th March 2018. During the week employers and apprentices from across England will come together to celebrate the success of apprenticeships whilst encouraging even more people to choose apprenticeships as a pathway to a great career. An apprenticeship is a chance to earn and learn. It allows you to mix working full-time and learning on the job with gaining a qualification. Anyone over 16 can be an apprentice. Courses last at least a year, and are available in a huge range of industries – there are apprenticeships in everything from accountancy to social media. It’s not just small companies who offer them; many of the big players such as Google, IBM, Barclays and Nestle offer excellent apprenticeships with good longterm prospects. In terms of learning styles, apprenticeships are best-suited to those people who want to get into the workplace straight away, or those who prefer a hands-on approach to learning. Some people (some teachers even) worry that an apprenticeship might limit a more able student’s options. This isn’t the case at all, if anything it opens them up. Thanks to the in-depth industry experience apprenticeships provide, many apprentices progress further and faster in their chosen fields. There are also higher-level apprenticeships and some people choose to move into further education at a later stage, either at a conventional university or through a body like the Open University.

Spending time in workplace as part of your apprenticeship means that you naturally develop important ‘soft skills’, such as communication and team work. These skills are transferrable whatever path your career ultimately takes. One major benefit of an apprenticeship is that you won’t have a student loan to pay off, and on top of this you are earning a salary and building a network of contacts. About 70% of apprentices are offered a permanent position at the end of their apprenticeship, and 90% remain in employment. To decide whether or not an apprenticeship is right in your case you need to do your research. Think about what your career ambitions are and look at potential pathways. Talk to employers at careers fairs and ask what they are looking for, and talk to people who have done an apprenticeship. Apprenticeships are not right for everyone but they shouldn’t be viewed as a lesser option. Modern apprenticeships are a dynamic, flexible way to launch a career and one might be perfect for you.

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By Tracey Anderson 17


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Time of Year

The Pain of

Mothers Day My mother left home when I was seven. It always struck me as particularly cruel that teachers insisted we made Mother’s Day cards. I pointed out once that my mother had left us. “Do you know her address?” teacher asked. When I nodded she told me I could post it. The irony of posting a card to ‘The World’s Best Mother’ notable mainly by her absence seemed lost on Miss Marriot. Three years ago my friend’s mother died from bowel cancer, and she said she would punch the next shop assistant who enquired whether she needed a Mother’s Day card. Don’t get me wrong, I think Mother’s Day is a lovely tradition but many of us may not realise that Mother’s Day is an emotional time of year for those who have lost their mother; those who can’t conceive, or those who have lost a child Perhaps Mother’s Day needs a make-over. Currently it seems to be about wish-lists, hints to spouses about booking the perfect restaurant and a barrage of adverts featuring the perfect family. Our children, and maybe the rest of us need to understand that Mother’s Day isn’t about spending lots of money or being pressured into meeting crazy expectations. In the UK it originated when children, mainly daughters (often as young as ten), who had gone to work as domestic servants were given a day off to visit their mother and family. This grew from the centuries-old tradition of people to returning to their home or ‘mother’ church once a year. The return to the ‘mother’ church became an occasion for family reunions.

By Helen Jones

As there is no tradition of gift-giving on Mother’s Day we are free to invent our own traditions and I think it’s the perfect chance to inspire kindness, compassion and giving of time rather than possessions. I would love to see an ‘alternative’ Mother’s Day focussed on less material things. I want to talk to my children about what Motherhood means to me and what having a mother means to them. I want all of us to think about the people around us, at school, or work, in our social circle and community who might be having a hard time in the midst of Mother’s Day celebrations? How can we reach out and share a little kindness or hope? With a card? A note? A phone call? Last year my kids and I chose to sponsor a child at an orphanage in Uganda. It gives us pleasure to know that someone who has no mother of her own is receiving care and education. This year my friend and her children made a food parcel for their local food bank and donated it in her mother’s name. Her mother volunteered at a foodbank before she became ill so this seemed a fitting way to remember her. If you are struggling with Mother’s Day this year, please know that you are not alone. Reach out and talk to a friend; look for others with whom to share. Be kind to yourself, and if there is no-one you feel you can share your thoughts with consider starting with you and reach out to others who might need support.

To advertise in The Villager and Town Life please call 01767 261122



How to Ace a

Job Interview

You’ve had the letter offering you an interview. Great! Now how do you maximise your chances of landing the job? Know what to say - Use the company’s own words to describe yourself. If the job advert asked for a self-motivated, energetic individual then talk about yourself in words which make it obvious you satisfy those requirements. Remember to say please and thank you - it’s easy to forget basic manners when we’re nervous. If a question does catch you off guard don’t say, ‘I don’t know.’ Instead, depending on the type of question say something like, ‘I would need some time to consider that...’, or ‘I wouldn’t want to answer that too hastily, I’d prefer to do some research first...’ Make sure the interviewer knows that you want to work for the company. It sounds obvious but is often overlooked. Know what not to say – It’s best not to open with, ‘What does your company do?’ or anything which could be answered with a simple Google search. Make sure you’ve done your homework! Don’t ask anything which makes you sound lazy or entitled: avoid enquiries about having your own office, making personal calls, or how soon you can take your holiday. You can ask about salary, just make sure it’s not too early in the interview. Know how to answer *that* question - Someone always asks ‘What is your biggest weakness?’ or


a something similar. Don’t pretend you don’t have any weaknesses because we all do. But avoid the whole, ‘I work too hard,’ humble brag, i.e. ‘My weakness is really my strength’, because it’s a very corny answer which lots of people will give. Instead use this question as a chance to differentiate yourself form the competition. Prepare an answer authentic to you, one where you show you recognised your weakness in a situation. Explain how you recognised it, what you did or are doing to overcome it, and how you have turned it to your advantage. Watch your body language - Shake hands at the start to show confidence and be more memorable. Sit straight and slightly forward in your seat (to indicate interest), and maintain regular eye contact throughout the interview. Smile a few times but try not to grin like a Cheshire cat throughout! Follow up - Email a thank-you note after the interview. You can get your interviewer’s contact info simply by asking for his or her business card. If you get a second interview or job offer, respond as quickly as possible. If you don’t get the job, accept it with grace and send a follow-up message thanking the interviewer for their time anyway. They may remember you favourably the next time a position becomes available.

By Louise Addison

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Greensands Medical Practice Brook End Surgery, Potton and The Medical Centre, Gamlingay Announcement We wish to inform our patients that Dr Diana Taine and Dr Laurence Drake will be retiring from Greensands Medical Practice on 30th June 2018, after nearly 30 years and 26 years’ service at the Practice respectively.

See ou rw eb s

We will have message books in the Reception foyers in Potton and Gamlingay from 1st May 2018, for any farewell messages.


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Potton & District Club Keeping LIVE MUSIC live! every week!

New members welcome to apply for membership. Call in for an easy to complete membership form. Guests and visitors always welcome.


Saturday 3rd - Undercovered Saturday 10th - Summerland Saturday 17th - Demoniser Saturday 24th - Simon Bakers Soul Show

EASTER WEEKEND SPECIALS Easter Saturday - The TWO TONES (Ska*) Easter Sunday - Family karaoke/Disco


Saturday 7th - The 88s Saturday 14th - 7twenty7 Saturday 21st - Woo & The Fuel Saturday 28th - Easy Livin (John’s retirement party) All info is provided in good faith, always check the web page for changes. When you see this * an ENTRY FEE will apply. SLOT CAR CLUB COMING SOON

Potton CIU Club, Charities Hall, Station Road, Potton Tel: 01767 261465 (Evenings) Website: 24

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Top 5 Honeymoon Destinations Trying to figure out where to go on your muchdeserved post wedding getaway? Whether you’re looking for some R & R with your new spouse or an adventure in an exciting locale, we’ve got you covered in our list of the top 5 places to honeymoon. 1. Romantic: Bora Bora WHY GO: It’s the stuff honeymoon fantasies are made of: crystal-clear waters, picturesque mountains and a coral reef swirling with colourful fish. No wonder it was recently voted one of the best islands in the world by US News and World Report. 2. Romantic: Bali WHY GO: There’s a reason its nickname is the “Isle of the Gods.” Even before the hit book and movie Eat, Pray, Love, the island had been a magnet for romance seekers for its mist-shrouded temples, beautiful mountain vistas and vivid arts scene. 3. Budget: Tulum WHY GO: The city of Tulum has a lot going for it: It’s an hour and a half from the airport in Cancun, it’s home to an ancient Mayan village, and it won’t break a budget already strained from paying for a wedding. Oh, and did we mention the amazing beaches?


4. Exotic: Maldives WHY GO: This remote Indian Ocean archipelago greets honeymooners with whir sands beaches, crystal clear water atolls and secluded resorts 5. Adventurous: Galapagos Islands WHY GO: The bucolic Galapagos Islands provide an unparalleled wildlife experience and are home to animals and plants found nowhere else on earth. If you have any questions for our resident travel expert call Kirstie on 01767 654890 or email

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Bipolar Day Alison Runham

The goal of World Bipolar Day is to educate the world about bipolar disorder and improve sensitivity towards the illness. It’s marked each year on March 30th, the birthday of Vincent van Gogh, who is believed to have suffered from bipolar disorder. What is Bipolar Disorder? Bipolar disorder, once known as manic depression, is a condition that causes your mood and behaviour to go from one extreme to the other – low and lethargic to euphoric and overlyenergetic (‘manic’). Depending on the type of bipolar, these swings can be frequent or may only occur every few weeks or months. Some people only have a few episodes in their lifetime. Depressive episodes are more frequent in some sufferers, while for others manic phases predominate. There may or may not be periods of mood stability in between.

‘Mixed state’ bipolar refers to a type where symptoms of depression and mania are experienced together; for example, overactivity with a depressed mood. ‘Rapid cycling’ involves repeated, rapid swings from a high to low phase without any stable period in between. It is estimated that bipolar disorder affects between 1 and 2% of the world’s population and the World Health Organization ranks it as the 6th leading case of disability in the world. What causes bipolar disorder? Experts don’t believe there is a single cause. Chemical imbalances in the brain, genetic factors, extreme stress and trauma can all play a part. Long-term cannabis use also seems to trigger bipolar in genetically vulnerable individuals, but the link is not fully understood. Bipolar disorder affects people of all genders, ages and backgrounds. However, it more

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commonly develops between the ages of 15 and 19, and rarely develops after 40. What are the Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder? Unfortunately, the very nature of bipolar means sufferers can find their symptoms hard to recognise and acknowledge, and make it hard for them to accept the concerns or help of others. In the depressive phase, symptoms include: • irritability • lacking energy • memory and concentration difficulties • lethargy and a loss of interest in everyday activities • feelings of worthlessness, self-doubt, guilt or despair • pervasive pessimism • hallucinations (seeing, hearing or smelling things that aren’t there) and illogical or delusional thinking • lack of appetite • difficulty sleeping • suicidal thoughts In the manic phase, symptoms may include: • feeling very happy, elated and energetic • talking very quickly • feeling full of self-importance • having impulsive, important new plans and ideas • being easily distracted, irritated or agitated • hallucinations, delusions and illogical thinking • not feeling like sleeping or eating • doing things that often have disastrous consequences (e.g. excessive spending sprees) • making uncharacteristic decisions or statements that cause concern in others Bipolar symptoms may affect your driving and you must inform the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) once you are diagnosed. How is Bipolar Disorder Diagnosed? If you or those around you are worried about your symptoms, your GP can refer you to a psychiatrist. It’s not uncommon for sufferers to be initially diagnosed with clinical depression, and only diagnosed with bipolar later when a manic episode occurs. Your GP or psychiatrist may also send you for some tests to rule out physical conditions that can cause similar symptoms, such as thyroid problems.

How is Bipolar Disorder Treated? Treatments for bipolar disorder aim to lessen its effects and help with symptoms. • Lifestyle changes. As with most conditions, getting the right nutrients, exercise and sleep can help, as well as planning to avoid stress and focus on activities that provide comfort, calm or a sense of achievement. • Medication. Depending on your symptoms, you may be given mood stabilisers, antipsychotics, antidepressants, anxiolytics (to treat anxiety) and sleeping tablets. • Self-awareness and self-help. With the help of a medical professional, you can be given guidance on how to recognise the signs and triggers of your depressive or manic episodes, helping you prepare for and prevent them. • Talking therapies/counselling. This can help you manage your depression and get perspective on troubling thoughts and relationships. If you have severe bipolar/severe episodes: Sometimes, bipolar can be severe and hard to treat. In this case, ECT (electro-convulsive therapy) is used. The modern ECT performed in today’s hospitals is tightly regulated and can be a highly effective treatment. If your symptoms are severe, you may not be in the best position to make judgements about your treatment or to look after yourself safely. In this case, you may need a stay in hospital. It’s also worth considering an ‘advanced directive/ decision’ – a set of written instructions about what treatments you want (or don’t want), in case you can’t communicate this later. Your GP or psychiatrist can help you with this. Useful Information The Samaritans; email; Tel: 116 123 from any phone. You can talk confidentially to the Samaritans 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, free of charge. Bipolar UK A national charity dedicated to supporting individuals with bipolar, and their families and carers.; Tel: 0333 323 3880 (local rate). Mind A national charity giving advice and support to anyone experiencing a mental health problem.; email:; Tel: 0300 123 3393.


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Picture Framing By

Nesan Arts

Fine Art Picture Framing Choose Picture Framing in the comfort of your own home Consultation, collection and delivery included in the service Established 19 years Please call Sue on: 01954 719467 For a no obligation appointment To advertise in The Villager and Town Life please call 01767 261122



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APampering ROM ATICS & Beauty Holistics Welcome to Aromatics – a haven of peace, pampering and relaxation in the heart of Potton. Bespoke packages to suit all pockets. Treat mum this Mother’s Day Or buy a £30 voucher for Mother’s Day and get an extra £5 Free!

Check out our marvellous March deals

Treatments include: • • • • • • •

• • • • •

Facial & Body Treatments Holistic Treatments Waxing Eye Care Lash Perfect Eyelash Extensions • Teen treatments

Manicures & Pedicures Pregnancy Massage Spa Packages Hen & Bridal Packages Bio-Sculpture Sports Massage Pedicures

Tel: 07711 204409 Market Square, Potton, Beds, SG19 2NP

matics Villager advert Mar18.indd 1

09/02/2018 16:02

Yvonne Siudak

BSc (Hons.) in Podiatry, MChs, HCPC Reg

Podiatrist / Chiropodist Private Podiatry / Chiropody Care in Sandy, Bedfordshire, UK A comprehensive service for all your Foot Care needs Hard Skin • Corns • Nail Cutting • Ingrown Toe Nails • Fungal Nail Infections • General Foot Care • Verrucae Treatment • Laser Treatment • Diabetic Assessments • Biomechanical Assessments

Full details of our specialist treatments are available, call Yvonne for an appointment: 2 Belfry Court, Sandy, Bedfordshire SG19 1JR M: 07841 033 014 E:

T: 01767 692 822 32

Also Cambridge Foot Clinic Tel: 01223 358 431

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Health & Beauty

Gorgeous Gifts and Tempting Treats Whether you’re looking for the perfect Mother’s Day gift, or just fancy treating yourself, we have plenty of goodies to tempt you this month. Jo Malone has released a collection of five limitededition fragrances, called English Fields. Unusually, several of the scents are based around cereals and grains, such as wheat, barley and oats, giving them a warm, fresh aroma. Choose from Poppy & Barley, Primrose & Rye, Oat & Cornflower, Honey & Crocus or Green Wheat & Meadowsweet. Each 30ml cologne is priced at £47 and is available from The NHS’s My Trusty skincare range is now available to buy from supermarkets and pharmacists. The range is based around skin-loving sunflower oil. Clinical scientist Dr Mark Brewin says, “Although originally developed to treat patients with burns and scars, My Trusty is gentle enough for the whole family to use every day. Our users have reported significant benefits on problematic skin conditions.” There are body lotions, hand creams, body butters and a face oil. Each one is lightly scented with essential oils, such as bergamot and neroli, and fragrancefree versions are also available. The best part is that prices start at just £4, and every product that’s bought helps to fund the NHS, see www. Natural skincare brand Odylique has ventured into makeup for the first time. Every product is packed with organic and fairly-traded natural ingredients and is palm oil-free. If you’re just venturing into natural cosmetics, lipstick is a great place to start. Odylique’s Organic Mineral Lipsticks (£18) are made with nourishing ingredients, such as jojoba oil and shea butter. Created without synthetic silicones they have a matte finish and may feel different to your usual brand, but the colours are great, and they really do soften and protect lips. Available from

Time Bomb’s Peace & Quiet Coconut Cleansing Oil is a real multi-tasker. It works hard to remove makeup and excess oil, but is really gentle and very nourishing. Coconut oil has antioxidant, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. The cleanser also includes other skinloving, natural ingredients, such as grape seed, sunflower and safflower oils. The result is smoother, softer, clean skin. On its own, the cleansing oil costs £25 from www.timebombco. com, but do check for giftset offers on QVC. At the time of writing, the oil was being offered with the Flashback Nightly Treatment and H2Omega Complexion Cocktail for £54, which is a saving of more than £20 in comparison to buying the products separately. Looking for the perfect gift for Mother’s Day? Green People’s Divine Treat gift box is sure to earn you some brownie points. Featuring the Orange Blossom Cleanser, Exfoliator and Moisturiser, it’s perfect for combination and oily skin. The trio works together to balance skin, unblock pores, hydrate, remove impurities and soften skin. It’s also a real treat for the senses, as each product is scented with orange blossom, spicy black pepper and warming cypress. As with all Green People products, they’re organic and free from SLS, parabens, alcohol, lanolin and artificial fragrances. £50, from

By Kate Duggan

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Local News

Let’s Fight Fatigue, Pain… and Brain Fog!

Letchworth-based charity The Herts MS Therapy Centre helps people to fight chronic pain and the exhausting tiredness that often accompanies it. We understand how debilitating pain and fatigue can be. We know all about brain fog too. We aim to help as many people as we can, with any long term or neurological condition. Increasingly, we help people who have Fibromyalgia. Do you, or someone you know, have Fibromyalgia? We host a free drop-in support group at our Centre in Letchworth, and offer two therapies that help many people with Fibromyalgia: Oxygen Therapy – involves breathing in pure oxygen under gentle pressure. It helps many people via pain reduction, energy boosts and accelerated healing. Steve N has Fibromyalgia. He says: “Hyperbaric oxygen has made a significant difference, helping with my chronic tiredness and alleviating some of the joint and muscle pain, generally making life a whole lot more pleasant.” Pain Reduction Therapy - is an effective, drug free treatment for less pain, more energy and faster

healing. Research shows beneficial results in around 80% of people with chronic pain. Brian H says: “I did the six week Pain Reduction Programme. It worked well for me. I have had pain free mobility for the first time in nine months.” Give it a go! Try Oxygen Therapy or Pain Reduction Therapy for free. Call Claire on 01462 684 214 – or visit for more details. Let’s fight fatigue and pain!

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House of Colour

Style Tips for Spring/Summer 2018 1. Throw black and other dark colours to the back of the wardrobe this Spring. Fashionistas are choosing to mix and match shades to make different, stand out combinations by colour blocking, but do stick to the colours within your season’s palette. 2. Florals continue to be a popular style to lookout for this season including garden, tropical, bright vintage and ditsy florals. Ensure you get your scale right when wearing patterns, those big, statement florals are best for romantics while ditsy florals are especially good for ingenues. 3. An overtly feminine trend means layered sheers, florals and frothy frills in abundance. Pretty pastel dresses for spring colour palettes are also making a mark this season but be sure to choose a dress that works well with your body type. Prom dresses and maxi dresses do not suit all! 4. If pastels aren’t your thing, be a ray of sunshine with playful bright colours from your seasons colour palette. Colours like cherry tomato, emerald green and of course 2018’s pantone colour of the year, ultra violet, were colours seen across all the fashion runways. Use colour blocking this Spring to add a bit of sass to your wardrobe and to feel uplifted in the warmer weather. 5. This season also features exotic tropical prints teamed with safari jackets which can be worn from top to bottom, or more selectively as a jumpsuit, dress or as a camisole. If you are not feeling quite so brave accessorise with a light-weight scarf or safari sunglasses. Sartorial dressing continues with unexpected shapes, some curvilinear, others asymmetric, with folding, twisting and draping for the dramatics amongst us. 6. Thank goodness for hybrid sportswear! Being comfy and on trend is a powerful mix. Sportswear continues to be popular especially with here to stay hi-lo styling, but confidence and the right shoes are especially important for this look. 7. Some of you may be glad to hear that skirts are getting longer this spring with popular midi to midcalf lengths, a versatile

By Jennie Billings 36

hemline that can be styled with heels if you want to dress to impress, or flats for comfort. Shorts on the other hand are getting shorter! Trousers are more tailored, but many designers chose roomier fits and wider legs. 8. Handbag arm-candy comes in a variety of shapes this season, from circles to squares so this is an easy way to experiment and try something new. Ditch your darker handbags this spring and choose a gorgeous neutral, coral, green or tan. 9. Make up this season falls into two categories – “no make up” make up for a positively healthy and fresh look versus escapism. Experiment freely and embrace new ideas. Make sure you know which colours suit you best and remember that the right lipstick will always take your outfit to the next level. 10. Knowing what reds suits you means you can use this primary colour to liven up your look in your signature style this Spring. As for the other primary colours, summer and winter season palettes will be hard pushed to find a cool yellow that suits, and autumns and springs need to stick to the warm blues that lift their complexion.

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Welcome to the New You! Wouldn’t it be nice to turn back the years? Well, now you can.

My exciting range of non-surgical treatments may be just the answer. I offer the very latest dermal fillers and wrinkle removing treatments that will leave you feeling revitalised with a new air of confidence. Simply phone me to arrange a free and no-obligation discreet consultation at my private clinic in the rural Bedfordshire village of Cople to discuss your personal requirements.

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Call me on either or email or visit my website at where you can see my before and after pictures along with testimonials from very satisfied customers. To advertise in The Villager and Town Life please call 01767 261122




Great British Spring Clean The Great British Spring Clean campaign, which is taking place on 2 - 4th March, has a simple aim: to bring people across the country together to clear up the litter that blights our towns, villages, countryside and beaches. The campaign is organised by Keep Britain Tidy, an independent charity working towards eliminating litter, ending waste by creating sustainable practices, and improving our beaches, parks and streets. Places to be Proud of - The goal of the Great British Spring Clean is to inspire 500,000 people to get outdoors, get active and help clear up the rubbish around them, so that they can ‘live and work in places that they can be proud of and prosper in.’ The campaign works with individuals, businesses, organisations and public bodies, and has some big-name supporters including Coca-Cola Great Britain, Lidl, McDonalds, Wrigley, Costa, Iceland, KFC, Greggs, Stagecoach, the RSPCA, the RSPB and the Marine Conservation Society. Get Involved - ‘Join our growing army of #LitterHeroes who have had enough of other people’s litter

and are willing to do something about it,’ urges the campaign’s statement. ‘Together we can make a difference and clean up the environment on our doorstep.’ You can do some litter-picking by yourself or with friends and family, although make sure you stay safe, particularly if you’re litter-picking near roads. If you prefer to join an organised event or group, the campaign page has a handy map of what’s on – and you can also enter your postcode to discover events taking place near you. Visit great-british-spring-clean. At Killingbeck in Leeds, for instance, the plan is to clean up the local nature reserve, making ‘the green space on their doorstep’ a nicer, safer place for both people and wildlife. There are also plans to do a litter pick-up in the areas covered by Leeds Health Walks. Meanwhile, Belper claims to be planning its biggest litter-pick ever on the 3rd March, with several sites targeted for clean ups. There are lots of events on the map already – just click on a virtual map pin to see a snippet appear, then click the snippet heading to find out exactly where and when


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the event is taking place. Feeling Adventurous? The more adventurous of you may like to combine litter-picking with sightseeing, exercise or both. Wayne Dixon, whose adventures can be tracked by following @ WayneKoda on Twitter, is walking and litter-picking his way around the 7,500 miles of Britain’s coastline accompanied by his dog, Koda. He is raising money for Mind and North Inuit Dogs while also supporting Keep Britain Tidy and their Great British Spring Clean campaign. It’s a cause dear to his heart and Koda’s, as Koda nearly lost a leg when he was injured by a discarded can. You may not have a few years to spare to follow in Wayne’s footsteps, but a shorter coastal excursion could be fun. If you like to be on the water rather than walking beside it, you could join the Plastic Patrol, as featured on The Russell Howard Hour. The group paddleboard the waterways of Britain removing discarded plastic. ‘We’ll supply the litter pickers, refuse sacks and we’ll even dispose of everything you find – just come along, do your bit and have fun.’ Visit www.plasticpatrol. and click on ‘clean-up events’ to find one near you.



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Time of Year By Suzanne Roynon

Your Clutter Free Life It’s spring! Throw the windows open and invite clean air to access every part of your home to cleanse away the winter fustiness. But what happens if your home is full of ‘stuff’ and the air is always stagnant? I’m not referring to the things you use, love and need. I’m talking about piles in the corners, junk rooms, crammed cupboards and the chair you use to dump things on. Have you ever noticed that people with very minimal houses seem slimmer, healthier and more energetic than the occupants of cluttered houses? When someone clears the clutter from their home, they often lose weight without trying. By offloading ‘stuff’, their body feels safe to ditch the safety layer of accumulated fat. One lady cleared her clutter in December then feasted all Christmas. She was astonished to weigh less at the beginning of January than she had for ten years. If you need a greater incentive, do you pay a mortgage or rent your home? Calculate the amount of space your clutter takes, it’s not unusual to find it takes the equivalent of an entire room, then do a quick sum to see just how much your ‘stuff’ costs you each month. So where to begin? Taking ten minutes to sort out a drawer is a good place to start. Break yourself in gently with an easy win! As your confidence grows, move on to cupboards – if you stockpile plastic containers, endless mugs, the accessories for a long dead vacuum cleaner or random things which might come in handy (but


never do), get ruthless! If you haven’t used an item in the last year and don’t love it or genuinely need it, it is clogging your space. Wardrobes and cupboards can be daunting, but when you get the hang of keeping only the items you use and love, they are incredibly satisfying to reclaim. Next month The Villager offers hints to make your wardrobe user friendly, but if you can’t wait, visit Once you’ve decided to get rid of something, remove it from the house straight away. Always aim to recycle or use Freecycle ( wherever possible. One client donated a vanload of furniture, clothes and bric-a-brac to a charity which came to collect the lot. They were delighted and so was she! The interesting thing about relieving the constipation of material stuff is people around you start doing it too. Without prompting kids clear their rooms, partners tackle the shed, I’ve even known neighbours spontaneously tidy an eyesore garden. You never know where the process will take you...... When all the bags and boxes of clutter have gone, spring cleaning is a breeze. You will sleep better, feel more energetic and might even lose a few pounds! Enjoy the space you have created and welcome new and exciting opportunities into your life. If you want to know more, Clear your Clutter with Feng Shui by Karen Kingston is an easy read. Suzanne Roynon is a personal performance life coach.

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Local & Reliable



REQUIRED for lovely private residence in Eltisley.

Flexible hours and days to suit the right person. General housework, cooking, shopping, dog walking and feeding, admin, ironing, washing and collecting children from school. Applicants must have Full UK driving licence, EU passport, Police / DBS check, NI number and references.

Please send a C.V. to


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Has Your Local Bank Closed Down? An increase in the number of customers using online, telephone, and mobile banking, in conjunction with a drive to reduce costs, led to hundreds of local bank branches closing their doors in 2017. According to market research company, Statista, “In 2016, 64 percent of all individuals used the internet for online banking ...”¹ So how do you sign up for this if you’re not ‘tech-savvy,’ and are there any alternatives if you live in a remote area, have limited access to the internet, or simply don’t want to use online banking? Telephone, internet, and mobile banking Bank systems and requirements vary in terms of registration, but in essence you’ll provide your personal details, decide on a password, and choose some security questions or memorable information that can be used as an added layer of security. When you register online, you’ll also be prompted to download the bank’s mobile app to your smartphone, where you can sign in using the same information as for internet banking. Banks may send part of your login information through the post for security purposes, and in some cases you may have to use a small device to log in or transfer larger sums of money. Some new banks are expanding their branch network It’s not all bad news with regard to in-person banking, however. A few banks are expanding their networks in the UK, bucking the trend of high street branch closures. Handelsbanken Established Swedish bank Handelsbanken has a network of more than 200 branches in Great Britain, with further expansion plans being reported in the press. Its business model means

that branches are located away from the high street, in order to reduce their operational costs. Metro Bank Metro Bank branches, or ‘stores,’ are open seven days a week, 362 days a year. You can carry out all the usual banking transactions at Metro, and they have your cheque book and bank card printed in the branch on the same day that you open an account. Day-to-day banking at Post Office branches A further development that will help if you’re missing your local bank branch is the new partnership between the banking industry and the Post Office. You can now carry out day-to-day banking transactions at your local Post Office, such as depositing and withdrawing cash, paying in cheques, and checking your balance. Although some of these services were previously available to a limited number of customers, the new arrangement allows 99% of personal high street banking customers, and 95% of small businesses, to use Post Office branches for their day-to-day banking needs. Mobile branch banking One new initiative is helping customers to access vital banking services once or twice every week. Lloyds Banking Group has partnered with security firm G4S to provide ‘banks on wheels. ’ In other words, armoured vans that travel to locations where smaller branches have been closed. Third party authorisation It’s also possible to authorise a trusted friend or member of your family to carry out certain bank transactions on your behalf. They won’t be able to control your account, but could pay in, withdraw money, and obtain a balance for you if you provide the necessary written authority. Branch closures are a significant issue, particularly for older people living in rural areas of the UK, but with alternative methods such as the mobile branch banking service, access will hopefully be improved for those who need it.

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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.

44Satchells Biggleswade Ad PPSJ11676.indd Please mention The Villager and Town Life when responding to adverts 1 04/08/2017 13:26

Make a Will

Time of Year

and help transform patient care

Making or updating your will can seem like a big challenge. However, it can be a lot more affordable and straightforward than you may think. Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust’s annual Make a Will Week takes place this year from 23rd to 27th April. A group of local solicitors and will-writers have kindly agreed to waive their usual fees and write or update a simple will, in return for you making a donation to change patients’ lives at Addenbrooke’s and the Rosie hospitals. To find out more, simply call Alice on 01223 254841, email or visit

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Madagascar is the world’s oldest island: it first split from Africa and then from India around 70 million years ago. In the Indian Ocean, between the Mozambique mainland to the west and Reunion and Mauritius to the east, it is the fourth largest island on earth, almost 1,000 miles long, 360 across, best known for the unique flora and fauna which evolved in isolation for a surprisingly long time. According to experts, the first settlers arrived from Borneo in 500 AD and since then, 90% of the original forest has been lost, and deforestation is still ongoing. Most affected are the more densely populated central highlands, laced with paddies and barren hills, but Madagascar still claims over 40 special reserves and national parks – several of them listed as UNESCO World Heritage – with a rich diversity of habitats. Ecosystems range from dry spiny forest in the south, dotted with baobabs and octopus trees, to mangroves and lakes, deciduous trees and dramatic pinnacles in the west and tropical rainforest in the east, where some of the most popular national parks can be accessed from Antananarivo. Ranomafana is a good 10 hour drive south of the capital, the route winding past colourful villages and hills with spectacular views. But one can overnight in Antsirabe, a pretty place bustling with rickshaws and craft shops, then continue the next day. Driving down at dusk in the final stages, it feels almost like the end of the world as the seemingly impenetrable cloud forest rises all around above the Namorona river and waterfall. Morning is the best time to explore the park, when animals are more active. This is where golden bamboo lemurs were first discovered in 1986 and, along the steep trails, nature lovers may be


By Solange Hando

The Eighth Continent

rewarded with wonderful sights as they and other lemurs leap through the trees, playing with their young or swinging from branches. Guides imitate the call to locate them and also point out spiders, frogs, red giraffe-necked beetles and tropical birds such as pastel-hued cuckoo rollers or magpie robins. Mossy memorial stones recall ‘ancient people of the forest’ among tall tree and bird’s nest ferns, traveller’s palms, orchids and lobelia. Chameleons can also be spotted, perfectly camouflaged day or night. East of the capital, the Andasibe-Mantadia national park is an easier option, just a four hour drive with a choice of walking circuits and gentle paths. Palm and dragon trees mingle with eucalyptus, blue tea plants, bird’s nectar, berries and much more. There are birds and butterflies, reptiles, geckos and several species of lemurs, including indris, the largest of them all, whose melancholy ‘singing’ can be heard at dawn. On the nearby river islands, now a sanctuary for rescued lemurs, black and white ruffed lemurs, playful ringtails and lovely diademed sifaka, or ‘dancing lemur’, happily pose for wide-eyed visitors paddling in canoes around the reed beds. Fauna or flora, around 90% of species are found nowhere else on earth and one can barely imagine 14,000 species of plants, many with medicinal properties, 170 species of palms, thousands of orchids, hundreds of birds, fish and over 100 species of lemurs, many endangered or rare. It is the world’s top biodiversity hotspot, ‘the eighth continent’, say some ecologists, and in this impoverished but beautiful ‘red island’, one hopes the goverment will bring greater stability and progress to benefit both the people and their incredible natural world.

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If you want your garden to be the ultimate outdoor space this summer, it’s time to start planning now. From classic to contemporary design, Solutions4Gardens have unrivalled experience in gardening services within Bedfordshire. Based near Biggleswade, Solutions4Gardens is owned by Mark Woodman and Peter Phillips. With a wide range of services from general maintenance including hedge trimming and lawn care through to bespoke design packages for a total makeover, Solutions4Gardens continues to increase their customer-base through recommendations and repeat business, with positive referrals noting the high quality customer service and flawless results. Since its creation in 2012, the shared expertise of Mark and Peter has led to significant growth, with the company increasing their staff base and dividing into two teams to tackle additional projects throughout the area. Mark is passionate about landscaping and design, he has studied Level 2 Horticulture with the RHS as well as Garden Design, whilst Peter has qualifications in agriculture, garden

design, bricklaying and joinery with a strong interest in wildlife gardening. Peter comments: “Our clientele are conscious of the importance of a high quality garden design. Not only is it an extension of the home, but it also adds value to the property. Many clients have a good idea about what they want from their outside space, but want help realising their design. We use our technical knowledge and experience to bring their ideas to life”. With a wealth of knowledge on products, Peter is always happy to advise customers on the best solutions. He adds: “There are so many innovative new products that really add a special touch to a garden. For example, I like to recommend Trex decking, it is a composite material and is made to look like a natural wood. Trex is low maintenance and can be pressure washed where needed”.

Solutions 4


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Solutions4Gardens have a broad spectrum of clients including private homeowners, corporate customers, schools and nurseries and increasingly commonbusy families looking for a low maintenance garden. Peter adds: “For some of our senior clients our services can offer better quality of life, it provides them with an aesthetically- pleasing view and gives them an opportunity to get outside and enjoy their surroundings”. Solution4Gardens offer maintenance such as hedge trimming and lawn care to clearing up overgrown spaces (or ‘jungles’ as they are affectionately referred to.) They also have the tools to turn garden waste into compost which can be left or transported away to be legally disposed of. For all jobs, Solutions4Gardens use state-of-the-art equipment, including cordless equipment which is significantly quieter (ergo a less disruptive job) and are free from emissions. A quality design is important for larger or more complex garden projects and overhauls which

is where Mark steps in, providing a complete bespoke package from conception to completion, determining a brief and producing realistic 2D and 3D models for clients to visualise the finished result. He comments: “I will always listen to the client’s brief and provide realistic solutions for a wide range of garden designs, both small or large. There are so many factors to consider before approaching a full garden makeover. Increasingly, customers are looking for low-maintenance, functional gardens. This is where a contemporary design comes in useful; artificial grass which is both attractive and has no ongoing maintenance- we are proud suppliers of Grono which looks and feels real and has a ten year guarantee”. Mark comments: “I feel that we are artisans of the gardening trade, everyday we are delivering dreams and are passionate about what we do”. Solutions4Gardens are always offering premium advice, with case studies and features online. For more information visit

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Pottons Specialist Welding and Fabricating Company

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

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Garden By Pippa Greenwood

Get your soil

Into Shape

A fundamental garden need is good quality soil; it is key to bigger flowers and heavier crops. And there is still time to shape up your soil before the gardening season really begins in earnest. Frosty weather can be useful, as it can save work with heavy clay soil. If you roughly dig or fork it over, the frost will act on the large lumps of clay and break them down somewhat, making them more manageable. Most soils can become badly compacted if you walk or stand on them when they are very wet, especially if the soil is clay or slightly heavy loam. If you can’t avoid walking on wet soil, use a few boards or planks as walkways to spread the load and reduce damage. Forking a heavy soil rather than digging with a spade will reduce compaction, but either way the soil surface usually ends up pretty lumpy. Re-forking, breaking up the large lumps, followed by a final raking will help you get closer to that ‘fine tilth’ often described in gardening books. Adding bulky organic matter such as leaf mould, well-rotted manure or garden compost helps feed the soil naturally and improves its texture, so that it holds the right amount of moisture for as long as possible – and there is still time to fork this in now. Create free organic matter by making a compost heap or bin, and turn autumn leaves into lead mould, a wonderful soil conditioner. Incorporating some horticultural grade grit or gravel will also help to improve the texture and performance of a heavy clay soil. Avoid builders’ gravel or grit – it can damage or kill garden plants. If you have lots of small stones or larger lumps of flint in your soil, remove them before planting your flowers and vegetables. Some stones are good,

but even a lightly stony soil can result in forked or deformed root vegetables. Alternatively, invest in raised beds and fill them with stone-free soil. Manure adds both texture and food for your plants. It should be good quality, with few additives, and free from weeds, especially troublesome ones like nettles, docks and couch grass. In recent years, manure contaminated by the weedkiller used to control weeds in pastureland has devastated plants. Try to buy from someone local who you can trust to tell you what chemicals have been used. Manure must be well-rotted – ideally it should have sat in a heap for about two years. Green manures are a great way to feed and condition your soil, and help suppress weeds and protect the soil from wind erosion. They work especially well on parts of the garden where plants are not grown year round – as when you use a green manure, you sow seed, allow the plants to grow and then incorporate them into the soil to rot down. Sow seeds later this year – there are lots to choose from, including red clover, mustard, field beans, phaecelia and field lupins. Yes, there’s potentially a fair bit of work involved, but you don’t have to do everything suggested and anything you do will make a huge difference! Visit Pippa’s website www.pippagreenwood. com and you’ll find some great gardening things: ‘Grow Your Own with Pippa Greenwood’ (where you receive your chosen garden-ready vegetable plants in the spring accompanied by weekly advice and tips from Pippa) plus Nemaslug, biocontrols, gardening tools, raised bed kits, Grower Frames, signed books and more!

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Gardening & Wildlife

Rural Ramblings Of Serious Concern

The words “honey fungus” sound like some form of sweet and pleasant innocuous mushroom which would be growing happily in the garden, causing no harm and adding to the wonderful display of Autumn mushrooms and toadstools. However, this is most definitely NOT the case and any sighting of the yellow fruiting bodies of this fungus must be taken seriously as it can be a real killer to many garden plants including fully grown, seemingly healthy trees. This fungus grows by infecting both living and non-living plant material through the soil using it’s black root-like rhizomorphs and there is no approved chemical control. The way of stopping it spreading is to remove all infected material, including tree stumps and roots and burning them. Alternatively, physical barriers such as polythene strips can be inserted into the soil to isolate infected material from any potential new hosts. All this work is of course extremely time – consuming and difficult and of course a lot of the damage has already been done, as mature trees can readily be infected. Even the smallest amount of the fungus can remain in the soil (I do not know for how long) with the potential to spread. Trees may display signs of infection without necessarily having the fruiting bodies growing on them in autumn. Such early infection may be shown by early death or even just yellowing of


the leaves, stunted growth or barksplitting. Honey fungus is a serious parasitic disease which can be spread in the soil or the air (spores) and can be devastating to trees and shrubs. It is difficult to control and must be one of the most potentially damaging diseases in gardens. I do not want to make us excessively worried about all these diseases which surround us as, most of the time, trees and shrubs grow happily and healthily, but I think that it is worth knowing the enemy and the potential for problems.

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.

We use a revolutionary industrial pressure rotary cleaning system to restore exterior hard surfaces to as new condition.

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Garden View

By Rachael Leverton

Fertiliser This month the days get longer and the sun gets stronger...we hope! However March is famously temperamental and if the soil where you are is still wet and cold then it’s wise to delay planting and sowing until the temperature rises. Plant nutrient reserves are low at this time of year so, as the soil warms up, it’s time to think about fertiliser. Many gardeners are a bit frightened of fertiliser. All those chemical symbols on the side of the packet are rather reminiscent of school chemistry lessons. In fact the basics are quite simple. NPK - This can be observed on the side of most fertiliser packages. The letters stand for: N - Nitrogen P - Phosphorous K - Potassium Together these are known as the macro-nutrients and each of them has its own use. Nitrogen primarily feeds the leafy above-the-ground parts of the plants. Phosphorous promotes strong roots. Potassium makes grass hardier, promotes germination and improves vegetable and fruit yields.


The proportions of each macro-nutrient will be printed on the packet. Equal amounts of each nutrient make for a good general purpose fertiliser. A lawn will need a good balance of nitrogen and phosphorus to guarantee lush green grass with a healthy root system capable of withstanding dry spells. Fruiting plants need higher proportions of potassium. There are other macro-nutrients: Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen, which plants obtain freely from the air and water; and calcium, magnesium and sulphur, which should be present in any good general purpose fertiliser. Plants also need micro-nutrients: Iron, Manganese, Zinc, Boron and Molybdenum. Plants take all these nutrients and build everything they need from scratch, including vitamins. What plants cannot do is absorb vitamins directly from things such as pet food, milk or so-called fertilisers which contain vitamins, proteins and fats. So don’t be intimidated by fertiliser. Decide what your plants need then read the label. It’s easy as ABC..or rather NPK!

Happy Gardening

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J.R. Bibby Turf Supplies Quality Turf with a Quality Service

• Professional Turf Laying Service • Weed Treated & Fertilized • Fast Delivery • Commercial and Domestic • Free Estimates • All Areas Covered • Hard Landscaping Large or Small Jobs Undertaken

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What Should You Feed

? y p p u P w e N r You

Puppies require a special diet with extra calories and nutrients to help them develop strong muscles and bones. It’s easy to overfeed them when they’re young, as their stomachs are very small, so regular feeding throughout the day is better than giving them one or two larger meals. But what types of food should you offer your puppy, and how do you know how much to feed them? Complete dry foods Dry food can provide complete nourishment for your puppy, but you should buy the best you can afford. Although ‘premium’ brands are more expensive, you don’t need to use as much per meal as with the cheaper brands, due to their enhanced nutritional content. If your puppy

doesn’t like dry food because it’s too hard, you can soak the biscuits in warm water for a few minutes to make them easier to chew.

Wet foods Tinned or pouched puppy foods are available in a wide range of flavours, but it’s advisable to choose one that your pet can easily digest, such as chicken and rice. As with the dry food, you can also buy ‘complete’ wet foods for your puppy, which are nutritionally balanced and highly beneficial for their development. Whether you feed your puppy wet food, dry biscuits, or a combination of the two, portion size is extremely important whilst they’re developing. Always check the instructions on the packet or tin, or ask your vet for guidance – they’ll also be able to keep a regular check on your puppy’s growth.

By Ann Haldon

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Ask Alan

My cat vomits a lot of fur balls. My friends tell me this is normal but I am worried. What can I do? Regular vomiting is not normal in cats (or dogs). Most healthy cats manage to pass the hair they take in while grooming with no problems. Very long coated cats may need a little help (laxative paste) at high shedding times of year. Generally, if a cat vomits regularly (often hair balls), it is because there is an underlying problem that makes their stomachs sensitive. Sometimes, it is just that they are on the wrong type of food so they have difficulty digesting it properly, especially if the food is high in carbohydrates. Another reasonably common cause is Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Chronic Pancreatitis - caused by inflammation of the intestines and pancreas due to intolerance to one of the proteins in their food (similar to people having wheat or dairy intolerance). This can be quite easily diagnosed (special blood tests and ultrasound) and is usually very treatable with special diets. Sometimes there is a need for medicines but very often just the change to a specific diet is effective. Please come and see us to find out more at Potton Vets in the Market Square. We are happy to answer any questions you may have. Best wishes,


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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Rehoming Appeal

This month’s rescue animal looking for their forever home is Johnny

This lovely boy is Johnny a 4 year old retired Greyhound. He is a very calm dog who walks well on the lead and is very affectionate. He gets on well with other dogs and will make someone a great friend and companion. Greyhounds make wonderful pets and like most greyhounds he only needs a couple of walks a day to keep him happy. If you can offer this lovely, lively boy a home please contact Julie on 01763 289827 Alternatively, please email Philippa at who will be pleased to forward your enquiry onto the team. View other small mammals, dogs and cats currently in our care for re-homing on our website: or facebook: You can also see photographs and details of the animals in our care in our charity shop in Hitchin Street, Biggleswade SG18 8AX. Open Monday to Saturday from 10.00 am until 4.00 pm.

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 ÂŁ7.30/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. To advertise in The Villager and Town Life please call 01767 261122



Animal Know-How Tackling the cat crisis

The cat population in the UK has reached crisis point. Despite subsidised neutering schemes from some rescue organisations, more and more cats are coming into our care and less families are re-homing cats. This puts on a huge financial strain on small local animal charities like us. Many people support the idea of neutering. However, there is a widely held mistaken belief that a cat should have a litter of kittens before she is spayed. So, spaying is often delayed until after a first litter. The ‘one litter’ myth is further reinforced by owners applying human emotions to their cats, e.g. “she’ll make a great mum/I don’t think it’s fair to deny her the right to motherhood”. With the reality of having to look after, pay for the care of, and part with the kittens – not living up to what cat owners had imagined – having a litter does serve as a trigger for many people to consider neutering their pet. However, despite this, 21 percent of cats that had a first litter will have a second litter and seven percent have a third litter or more. The more litters a cat has, the greater the chances of her – and the kittens – ending up being abandoned. The reason that the ‘one litter’ trigger is not always enough to prompt action is due to the considerable confusion that exists about when to neuter. Finding a window to neuter becomes increasingly difficult after a cat has had a litter of kittens because of the need to wait until the kittens have been weaned – by which time the cat may be pregnant again. The probability of an unneutered female cat getting pregnant is higher than 80 percent. This adds up to an awful lot of kittens, growing up into cats, that not enough people want to re-home. So, what can you do? To protect your female cat from getting pregnant, she will need to go the vet to have a simple operation called spaying (also known as ‘fixing’, ‘neutering’ or ‘being done’).


When your girl cat is about four-months-old, she will start to attract the attention of tomcats (even her brothers) who’ll want to have sex with her. This is why it’s important to have her spayed before she is four-months-old to protect her from getting pregnant while she’s still a kitten herself. Once she has been spayed your kitten will be able to do all the things cats enjoy doing, like going outdoors, climbing trees and playing. Your boy cat will also need to have a simple operation, called ‘the snip’. This can stop him from spraying in your house to mark his territory, which can be very smelly, and getting nasty injuries from fights. He’ll also be less likely to wander off and get run over, as cats that are snipped tend to stay closer to home. Having your cat snipped will protect him from a nasty disease called FIV – which is the same as HIV in people, but for cats. It’s spread through cat bites, often between males fighting over a female. It can’t be caught by people. To have this operation, your cat will need to be dropped off at the vets, and picked up again later that same day. Unfortunately, there are far more cats in this country, than there are loving owners. As a result, unacceptably high numbers of cats end up in rescue organisations – like the RSPCA Bedfordshire North Branch. This can be detrimental to cats’ welfare and it also comes at a considerable cost to animal charities. Please do not add to this terrible problem. If you love cats enough to have one, or more, as a pet – please also accept the responsibility that comes with being a pet owner and have them neutered.

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

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A flexible day nursery for children from 6 weeks to 5 years with extensive and well resourced grounds. ur o y f f o Excellent links to s onth’ 1st m es the A1, St Neots and fe Sandy railway station.


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Fiddle Daemons Violins, Violas, Cellos, Bass

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Moving House The thought of leaving friends and going to a new school, coupled with the anxiety of the unknown, can make moving house very unsettling for children. Kate Duggan recently moved house with ten days’ notice. (She wouldn’t recommend it.) Here are some of her top tips for helping children to cope with a big move. Involving your child If possible, take your child to see the new house before the move, and explore the area together. Involve them in small decisions: “Where do you think this should go?” “What colour shall we paint your room?” You could also let your child choose some wall decals for their bedroom and a new duvet cover or rug. That being said, they will want familiar items around them. The day before you move, help them to pack a suitcase with everything they’ll need for the next couple of days, including a favourite teddy, a book, a game and so on. Don’t stress about decluttering While you may be desperate to declutter ahead of the


with Children

move, your child may not cope with the extra pressure of giving up toys and clothes, even those that have been languishing in a cupboard for months. Don’t force them into getting rid of things if they don’t want to. You could suggest packing items that they’re not sure about into a box for the loft, with the agreement that you’ll both open it and sort through everything a few months after the move. Making family time When your to-do list is three feet long, it’s really difficult to carve out any quality time to spend with your family, but do try. Leaving the boxes for 20 minutes so you can play a board game can help to avoid a potential meltdown later on. All of you will benefit from getting away from the house for a couple of hours now and then, ideally for some fresh air and time to focus on each other. Talk to your child Explain why you’re moving house,

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whether it’s due to needing to pay less rent or because you’ve found a better area to live in. Talk about how your child is feeling about the move. What are they worried about, and what can you do to alleviate those worries? So, for example, if they’re worried about a new school, could you ask their teacher to help you arrange a playdate before your child starts at the school? If they’re upset about leaving friends, can you arrange meet-ups or Skype calls? Make time for yourself Moving is stressful. And when you’re stressed, it’s very easy to lose your temper with the kids when they’re being particularly whingy or difficult. So try to take some time out to recharge your own batteries. You might find relaxation techniques useful, or just kicking back with a glass of wine and a film now and then may help.

By Kate Duggan



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Six things people hate about the Lamborghini Urus Lamborghini has taken the wraps off its controversial Urus 4x4 – but not everyone thinks it looks bellissimo. While an off-roader from a traditional sports car manufacturer is always going to raise eyebrows, it seems the internet is aghast at everything from the door handles to the new Italian car’s name. On the plus side, the Urus has a 4.0-litre turbocharged V8 under the bonnet packing 641bhp, allowing the SUV to reach a top speed of 186mph – that’s quicker than the Bentley Bentayga. It also gets all manner of off-road tech designed to make it capable in all conditions, not just on the road. However, despite the incredible technology, a lot of people don’t like the way the Urus looks. So what exactly has got up people’s noses? The rear door handles - Once you’ve spotted them, they’re hard to un-see. For some reason, Lamborghini placed the handles on the rear wheel arch and they look like ugly barnacles. With many manufacturers working hard to

integrate handles into creases and curves of bodywork so they don’t ruin lines, it appears Lamborghini’s designers forgot it needed them and stuck them on at the last minute. The name - Roughly translated, the name Urus refers to extinct wild relations of domestic cattle. We get the association with bulls – there’s one on the Lamborghini crest, after all – but this one seems just a little tenuous. The Urus moniker sounds clunky and it’s far from the sleek Lambo names of old – evocative names like Miura, Diablo and Countach. Even Gallardo has more panache than the new 4x4. The interior - It’s hard to ignore the influence that Lamborghini parent Audi has had over the Urus’ interior. The large infotainment screen looks good, but unfortunately that’s where the design appeal stops. Lower down, the switchgear, steering settings and drive mode controllers have all been lumped together. It all looks just a little clumsy – and not particularly userfriendly. Front sensor - In order to top the latest safety tests, manufacturers

have to incorporate the semiautonomous technology in their cars. This relies on sensors at the front of the car. Most car makers tuck them away neatly in the front of the grille, but Lamborghini seems to have chosen to make it a ‘feature’. Unfortunately, it does stick out a fair bit and makes the front end of the car look less finished than it should – we’d have liked to have seen it fit flusher with the front bumper. Rear styling - The back of the Urus hasn’t gone down well with some internet commentators – most labelling it fussy and over-styled. The quad exhaust pipes appear to be angled out, rather than pointing directly rearward – a strange styling touch that will also take some getting used to. Side profile - You’d expect a Lamborghini-made SUV to incorporate a little sleekness in its design, but unfortunately that doesn’t seem to be the case with the Urus. The windscreen is very upright, while the rear three-quarters has a rather unfortunate hint of a Hyundai Veloster in it. Just don’t say that too loudly – it will upset the Italians.

By James Baggott

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Don’t Have Mad March Hair

The gadgets for trimming, taming, styling and straightening. In the old days, we had combs, brushes and curling tongs – and that was about it. Now there’s more tech than you can shake a GHD straightener at, all of it promising to deliver luscious locks or silky-smooth skin. So which technology is actually worth having for your hair? There are two kinds of gadgets: gadgets for getting rid of hair you don’t want, and gadgets for making the hair you do want look better. In the first camp we’ve long had electric razors, epilators and little personal trimmers, but lately they’ve been joined by lasers — well, light treatment anyway. Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) is one of the gentlest hair removal methods around, but you can’t do it if you’re about to go somewhere sunny, and it doesn’t work on lighter hair or very dark skin. Beware of any firm claiming to offer laser treatment from home devices: laser is a more powerful IPL and it’s the preserve of salon machines costing five figures. The best known IPL system is probably Philips’ Lumea, whose

products are around the £250 £350 mark. That’s a lot of money for a gadget, but if you have the right skin tone and hair colour it means no ingrowing hairs, waxing or other unpleasantness. It’s safe everywhere, too. What about the hair you do want? The same pseudo-science that infests beauty products is in hair care too, with lots of big and clever-sounding nonsense trying to convince us that a hairdryer is more than just a hairdryer. Sometimes a hairdryer is all you need. The biggest name in high-tech hairdryer technology is Dyson, whose unlovely (is it just us? It looks like, well, a Dyson) but very effective Supersonic costs £299. It’s very powerful, very quiet and stays cool to the touch, although we can’t help thinking we’re basically holding a hand dryer next to our heads. More modest technologies can make a big difference too. Straighteners with adjustable temperatures can help prevent too much frizz, especially with hair you’ve coloured, and straightening brushes such as BaByliss’s £50 2440BDU put the heat inside the hairbrush to


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great effect. The same firm has embraced the other big trend in haircare: straighteners that also style. The Smooth & Wave Secret isn’t cheap – at £129.99 it’s up there with the luxury brands such as GHD – and it looks like a weapon, but it’s enormously clever: hair is drawn into its ceramic chamber, held and preheated, and then it either uses Smooth Mode to straighten or Wave Mode for waves and curls. It goes up to 230 degrees for even the most untamed hair and takes just 15 seconds to warm up. That’s important: some rivals don’t like to point out that by the time their straighteners reach peak temperature, you could probably have grown a beard. It’s very important to shop around for products like the ones we’ve mentioned, as — with the exception of Dyson, which keeps a firm hold on its prices — they’re subject to constant aggressive discounting by supermarkets, beauty shops and online sellers. And it pays to be flexible when it comes to specific brands: the difference in price between Brand A with nice packaging and the slightly less cute Brand B can be staggering.

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Three Counties Radio

Sugar-Free Chocolate cake with date and chocolate frosting “Free From” recipes are increasingly popular on the Weekend Kitchen. Dairy-free, gluten-free, fat-free… but can a cake, a proper tasty cake, be sugar-free? With no added sugar, sweeteners or honey? Well, it turns out it can. Cynthia Stroud, who runs a cake shop in Hertford, is a sugar free baker ( She started to make sugar free cakes to help her young daughter, who doesn’t do too well on sugar. And this chocolate cake is a firm favourite at home. As well as providing sweetness to cakes, sugar also acts to help make a sponge fluffy and aerated. So, without the sugar, this cake is a little heavier than usual, perhaps with a consistency more akin to a fruit cake. But it tastes wonderful, and with the only sweetness coming from the dates, is very suitable for anyone who has to carefully watch their sugar intake. If you prefer, you can simply replace the coconut oil with butter. To make the cake: 250 g dates (stoned, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes, drained and pureed) 150g coconut oil, melted 4 eggs 100g self-raising flour 50g ground almonds 50g corn flour 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence 1. Pre-heat your oven to 180°C/ Gas Mark 4 (160°C for fan-assisted ovens) and line 2 x 6 inch tins. 2. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients together with a hand whisk, scrape down the sides, whisk again until smooth, and pour equally into the two tins. 3. Bake for 45 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean, and leave to cool on a wire rack. To make the frosting: 150g dates (stoned, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes, drained and pureed) 100g softened (but not liquid) coconut oil 2 tablespoons evaporated milk 2 tablespoons cocoa powder 1. Mix all of these ingredients with a hand mixer until they go light and fluffy. 2. Spread the frosting between the two fully cooled cake layers and then spread it on the top layer. Decorate with berries of your choice (and a little edible gold spray for added effect if you wish).

Hear wonderful recipes on Nick Coffer’s Weekend Kitchen every Sunday morning on BBC Three Counties radio at 11am. You can also join Nick every weekday afternoon at midday for brilliant local guests with great stories to tell and all the music you want for your early afternoon.


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Local News

Local Charities Matter! Small Charities Forum Launch

Local charities are the lifeblood of the communities they serve, playing a vital role in supporting the daily lives of thousands of people, right here in Bedfordshire. But the reality is that small and local charities are struggling to get their voices heard. Which is why the Bedfordshire and Luton Community Foundation have set up a Small Charities Forum to support them and they held their first very successful event on Local Charities Day. Over 30 small charities came together to talk about the challenges they face. Mandy Johnson, CEO of the national organisation, the Small Charities Coalition explained that it was critical for everyone to recognise the valuable work that local charities do, much of which is done by volunteers. Only by working together, sharing ideas and problems, could small charities begin to shout collectively about what an impact they make. Fozia irfan, CEO of the Foundation stated ‘As a local funder, we are fortunate to work with many charities


and community groups in the county and we understand that they are facing challenging times. It is our responsibility as a funder to go beyond giving grants and providing extra support they need, otherwise these organisations could potentially be at risk. The Small Charities Forum, which we developed provides a valuable resource to help organisations thrive and sustain their excellent work in the community. ‘ If you would like to find out more about the Small Charities Forum or to make a donation to the Community Foundation please visit our website on All donations will help us to continue our work in the community.

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n O s ’ t Wha In March

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

1 March Cancer Support Group Biggleswade and Area 1-3pm The Weatherley Centre, Eagle Farm Road, Biggleswade The group meets on the 1st Thursday of the month. Has cancer touched your life? All are welcome to attend this support group - recently diagnosed, undergoing treatment, cancer survivors, caregivers, family and friends. Please note new venue. For additional information or to chat before attending, please call Gina. Tel: Gina 07812 796581 Web:

2, 9, 16 & 23 March 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:

3, 10, 17, 24 & 31 March KNex Club 1.45-3.30pm Potton Library

5, 12, 19 & 26 March 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 3 Henlow formed in 1995 to bring together single, The Signals Museum Open Day divorced, widowed and separated people, aged 10am-4pm 40 upwards, from the Herts, Beds and Bucks area. The Signals Museum at RAF Henlow is open to The club organises regular events. the public. Entry is free but official photo ID such Tel: Lorna 01438 233657 as a driving licence, passport or over 60s Bus Web: 1, 8, 15 & 22 March Pass is required to get an entry ticket from the Amici Singers Guardroom. See website for full information. 6 March 7.30-9.45pm Trinity Methodist Church, Web: Hatley Coffee Morning Shortmead Street, Biggleswade 10am-1pm Hatley Village Hall Membership £15 per term (£45 per year) 3 March Come along for a chat, coffee/tea and a slice of The Amici Singers are a non-auditioning female Jumble Sale cake. Everyone welcome. Donations on the day. ensemble with a focus on fun! We do lots of 1.30pm Clifton Community Centre All donations split between Hatley Village Hall tours, rehearse once a week and work hard/ Adults 50p. Biggleswade Sandy Lions Jumble and Hatley St George Church. First Tuesday of the play hard. No auditions, just come along to a Sale. Any donations of jumble gratefully received every month. session to hear us, or if you want to join in then and can be dropped off at 13 Fairfax, Clifton. your first session is FREE! We only ask three 6 March things, that you love to sing, love to make friends 3 March Potton Ladies Club (which is what Amici stands for) and like new Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire Mill Lane Pavilion, Mill Lane, Potton opportunities. Anyone is welcome to come along Hardy Plant Society Visitors £5 inc. light refreshments. and listen at any time. Tel: Ann 01767 650630 or 2pm Weatherley Centre, Eagle Farm Road, Meets on the first Tuesday of the month. Carole 01767 260815 for further information Biggleswade Tel: Sarah Burgoine 01767 631415 Garden writer and broadcaster, Val Bourne, will Email: 2 March be talking about ‘Spring Cottage Gardening with Hitchin & Letchworth RSPB the Dearly Beloved’ Val is a new speaker for the 6, 13, 20 & 27 March 7.30pm The Settlement, society. Plants for sale from Swines Meadow Story Time 9.30-10am Potton Library Letchworth, SG6 4UB Farm Nursery. Talk by Claire Stringer on the work of the RSPB 6, 13, 20 & 27 March in UK Overseas Territories, including albatross 3 March Phoenix Chorus conservation on Tristan da Cuhna. Performers & Pints 7.45-10.15pm Potton Lower School 8.30pm for 9pm start - 11.30pm Have you loved the a capella singing shows on 2, 9, 16 & 23 March The Rising Sun, 11 Everton Road, Potton TV? Could you be pitch perfect with us? Phoenix Lego Club A great community night out of fresh live music A Capella Chorus meets every Tuesday. Visitors 3.45-5.00pm Potton Library for all. Three singer songwriter music acts = one always welcome. In 2018 Phoenix Chorus will Every Friday afternoon. incredible evening of quality & diversity. be representing the UK in the Sweet Adelines Web: International Convention in St Louis, Missouri. Twitter: @PerformersPints Tel: Sarah 07842 101799 Email: This is a small selection of the What’s On for the full listing Web: to watch us please go to our website perform


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n O s ’ t Wha In March 6, 13, 20 & 27 March 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. Email:

10 March Coffee Morning 10am-12 noon Everton Village Hall Coffee morning with stalls including homemade cakes, sweets, preserves and jams, plants, produce and books. Raffle and refreshments. Proceeds to St Mary’s Church, Everton.

7 March Gamlingay & District Gardening Club 7.30pm Kier Suite, Gamlingay Visitors £3. Talk by Susan Young on ‘A Banquet for Pollinators’. Visitors welcome.

10 March Magic of Gilbert & Sullivan comes to Biggleswade 7.30pm Trinity Methodist Church, Shortmead Street, Biggleswade Tickets £10. By popular demand ‘The Wandering 7, 14, 21 & 28 March Minstrels’ return to Biggleswade to present a Mums and Dads Coffee Morning superb light-hearted evening of songs and scenes 9-10am Moggerhanger Church from the Gilbert and Sullivan comic operas. They Bring your pre-school children with you. will give a concert of Savoy favourites, presented Toys available in the church. in period costume and performed in traditional style combining the biting wit of W.S. Gilbert 7, 14, 21 & 28 March and the enchanting music of Sir Arthur Sullivan. Ivel Bereavement Support Centre Tickets available from the Biggleswade Express 10am-12 noon The Community Rooms, Shop in Shortmead Street. All proceeds to the Baptist Church, 24 London Road, Biggleswade local charity ‘Opening Doors for the Community’. Has a loved one died? Are you struggling coming to terms with it? Perhaps we can help you at our 12 March drop in centre on Wednesdays. Sandy Flower Club Tel: Carole or Jill 07704734225 7.30pm Visitors £5 – on the door Conservative Bowls Club Pavilion 9 March (rear of the Conservative Club, Bedford Road) Argentine Tango Evening Floral demonstration by Barbara Collins. Raffle 7.30pm Sutton Village Hall Tickets £12 and tea and coffee. The Flower Club meets every Your chance to try dancing the Argentine Tango second Monday in the month at 7.30pm. and to see experienced dancers performing it. Tel: Sue Alexander 01767 699729 Email: 13 March 9 March Sandy Historical Research Group Spring Quiz Evening 7.30pm Beeston Methodist Church Hall, 7.30pm St. Swithun’s Church Rooms, Sandy The Baulk, Beeston £2.50 per person. In aid of The Leprosy Mission. Members free, Visitors £4. “The Great Northern & Teams can consist of up to 6 persons. London North Western Railways through Sandy”; Tel: Colin Osborne 01767 682032 a talk by George Howe of the Potton History Society. Refreshments available. Ample parking 9 & 23 March is available next to the church. Craft and Chatter 7.30-10pm St Marys Church Hall, Potton 17 March £2.50 inc. refreshments. Bring your own project. East Beds Concert Band Spring Concert Meet like-minded people and make new friends. 7.30pm Stratton Upper School Adults £8, Children £4, Family £18

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Ably conducted by Liz Schofield, the band will play a wide variety of music. The theme this year is Star-Spangled and will feature music from Star Wars, Star Trek (New Gen), ET, The Planets, and Dr Who amongst other things. There will be a prize for the best star-theme-related ‘Cosplay’ member of the audience! Tickets available on the door. 18 March Biggleswade Antiques Fair 9.30am-4pm The Weatherley Centre, Eagle Farm Road, Biggleswade Entrance £1.50. This antiques fair offers a diverse range of antiques and collectables. Tel: 01480 382432 or 07906 647346 Web: 21 March Astronomy Talk 7.30pm Sandy Conservative Bowls Pavilion Members £2.50, Visitors £3.50. Organised by Sandy Horticultural Association. Meal available afterwards at an additional charge. Tel: 01767 681457 to book meal Web: 21 March ‘Poetry Table’ Club 8pm The Pembroke Arms, Biggleswade A monthly evening get together on the third Wednesday of the month for any and all locals who wish to share and hear poems in the fabulous Pembroke Arms pub. Tel: Leah 07954 708988 Web: 23 & 24 March Bedroom Farce 7.45pm Gamlingay Eco Hub, Stocks Lane Tickets £9, Concessions £7.50 Gamlingay Players present Alan Ayckbourne’s brilliant play ‘Bedroom Farce’. Aa hilarious evening with all the usual farcical comedy situations which Alan Ayckbourne includes in his work. Tickets available online or from the Eco Hub. Web: 27 March Knit & Natter 10am-12 noon Moggerhanger Church



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Quirky Britain


(Essex), while Thursley in Sussex was originally a sacred spot for the worship of the god Thunor (the name means ‘Thunor’s Grove’). Throughout the UK you’ll also find ancient villages linked to church names. This often occurs when a settlement becomes large enough to warrant the development of a second church. The village is then divided by its church name, for example, Chalfont St Giles and Chalfont St Peter. If you live in an oddly-named place you’ll probably have learned to put up with outsiders poking fun, but for some the teasing can get a little too much. In 2012 the town of Staines – much derided by Sacha Baron-Cohen’s comic invention Ali G – voted to change its name to ‘Staines-upon-Thames’ in an effort to improve its image. So why don’t residents of our more oddly titled towns and villages do the same? We can only conclude that they love their quirky designations and don’t want to alter them. After all, these colourful names provide an insight into the earliest origins of our cities, towns and villages and it would be a sad day for all of us if they disappeared. Anyone fancy a trip to Great Snoring? By Kate McLelland

If British towns and villages lived up to their names, you could visit Coat or Matching Tye to buy a new outfit then pop along to Fryup to satisfy your Greedy Gut, before heading to the pub to Guzzle Down a pint of Beer. You may think these are all places invented by the late Sir Terry Pratchett, but in fact the names mentioned here belong to real villages in Devon, Essex, Norfolk, Somerset and Yorkshire. The UK’s roads are littered with signposts pointing out destinations that sound funny, rude or – let’s face it – utterly weird. But if you’ve ever wondered why the original residents chose to burden their home town or village with such a name, the answer is, they probably didn’t. Since the name first appeared hundreds or even thousands of years ago, it will have undergone a gradual transformation, being mispronounced or added to by each new group of settlers. Location, location, location Our place names originally combined different pieces of information, including the geographical characteristics of the land, residents’ names or occupations and the religion they followed.

The Anglo Saxons were practical in their approach to naming, describing geographical features or the size or type of settlement a traveller could expect to find. The Dorset village of Scratchy Bottom (voted second in a 2012 poll to discover Britain’s worst place name) refers to a hollow place in the landscape where the soil is rough, while the modern city name Birmingham is made up of three different elements: the given name Beorma, the word ‘inga’ (meaning family or tribe) and ‘ham’, meaning homestead. The Normans, who invaded in 1066, were known to rename places to suit their own tastes. For example a village in Essex known as Fulepet (‘foul pit’ in Anglo Saxon) was renamed as Beaumont (‘fair hill’), while Beaulieu (‘fine place’) in Hampshire was given its name by a Norman French landowner who loved the local landscape. Gods and saints Our town and village names also reflect the country’s religious history, acknowledging the worship of pagan gods and goddesses as well as Christian saints. The war god Woden is reflected in the name Wednesfield (West Midlands) and Wodnesfeld


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Easy Suduko

Hard Suduko

Fill in the grid so that each row, column and 3x3 box, contains the digits 1 through to 9 with no repetition. Use your logic to solve the puzzles. 80

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BARTON SCAFFOLDING 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

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Local News

New Year, New Challenge! Fancy doing something new and meeting some amazing people this year? A local befriending charity is looking for volunteers to help make a real difference in the community! Respite at Home Volunteers are currently recruiting befriending volunteers in Sandy, Biggleswade and the surrounding area. This is your chance to make a positive and immediate difference to the lives of people living with life limiting illnesses and their carers in your local community. If you have a couple of hours to spare each week or fortnight, enjoy spending time chatting and listening, have a sense of humour and want to meet some genuinely interesting and inspiring people then this an opportunity for you. As part of our befriending team you’ll receive full training and support as we match you with one of our families who are looking for a little extra companionship and help to live well with illnesses. As a volunteer you don’t have to have prior experience of a life limiting illness, but you do have to have warmth, reliability, empathy, common sense and a ready smile. For more information about how to join our team contact Nicola Mills 01234 743063 or email:

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February’s Puzzle Solutions and Winners Last Month’s Crossword Winner Mr Andrew Lever from Buckden Winner of the Phil Beer Competition Mr David Robinson from Biggleswade Easy


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The Villager Prize Crossword



Across 8 To be on a ship (6) 9 Not new (4) 10 Outside (8) 11 Angry (7) 13 Funeral fires (5) 15 Almost two pints (5) 17 Below (7) 20 Observing (8) 21 Story (4) 23 Educational establishment (6) 24 Required (6)

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


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

Down 1 Female sheep (4) 2 Recording room (6) 3 Burglars (7) 4 Belief (5) 5 Every sixty minutes (6) 6 Widest (8) 12 Inconvenience (8) 14 Combining (7) 16 Calculate (6) 18 Respect (6) 19 Foolish (5) 22 Vegetable (4)

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Fun Quiz - Trilogies

1. Who wrote the Tilly Trotter trilogy, consisting of novels called Tilly Trotter, Tilly Trotter Wed and Tilly Trotter Widowed? 2. What was the first film trilogy to have all three of its films nominated for a Best Picture Oscar? 3. Inspiring the name of the oldest daily newspaper in France, what is the name of the main character in a trilogy of 18th century plays by Pierre Beaumarchais? 4. In the 1980s, which British author wrote Berlin Game, Mexico Set and London Match, a trilogy of spy novels known as the Game, Set and Match trilogy? 5. In the 1970s, who collaborated with Brian Eno to record the albums Low, Heroes and Lodger, which became known collectively as the Berlin Trilogy? 6. Which trilogy of novels by Suzanne Collins is set in a nation called Panem? 7. Written by Eoin Colfer and published in 2009 on the thirtieth anniversary of the first book, And Another Thing is the sixth novel in which other author’s so-called “trilogy of five parts”? 8. Which 2013 film was advertised as “the epic conclusion to the trilogy of mayhem and bad decisions”? 9. Published in 2002, what was the title of the first in a trilogy of books by Jennifer Worth that was centred around her work in the East End of London in the 1950s? 10. Dad’s Army was the first of what is regarded as writer David Croft’s trilogy of TV sitcoms set

1. Catherine Cookson 2. The Godfather trilogy 3. Figaro (the French newspaper is called Le Figaro) 4. Len Deighton 5. David Bowie 6. The Hunger Games 7. Douglas Adams’ (The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy novels) 8. The Hangover Part III 9. Call The Midwife 10. It Ain’t Half Hot Mum and ‘Allo ‘Allo

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Life Begins...

By Kate McLelland

Is your friend a short-trip show-off? “Keeping up with the Joneses” used to mean upgrading your car to the same expensive model as your neighbour’s, or installing a fancy garden water feature to match their solar-powered crystal rock cascade with LED lights. But in these days of social media sharing the focus is less on what you have, and more about what you do. Taking short breaks abroad has become the latest way to demonstrate to your social media connections that you have a richer, more varied and exciting lifestyle than they do. “Off to Rome for the weekend!” chirped one Facebook friend of mine recently, seemingly oblivious to the fact that some of the others in our circle would be hard pushed to afford a weekend in Bridlington. The plane engine had barely cooled after her return flight when she posted a link to a Scandinavian mini-cruise that she and her husband had just booked. Tackle short break envy with technology If you’re comfortably off like my friend, these short trips are a great way to enjoy your leisure time, but if you’re on a limited budget it may feel as though the only choice is to sit at home, staring at your screen in envy. So what’s the answer, if you’re longing for a short break experience but simply can’t afford an expensive trip abroad? There are plenty of short break options available in the UK that won’t break the bank, and the internetsavvy can reap rewards by visiting price comparison sites and installing some useful apps. The hotel price comparison site Trivago ( lists excellent deals on hotels, with some rooms offered at less


than £30 per person per night. Before you start out on your trip, create a list of things to see and do while you’re away: entering an online search for “free things to do in…” will give you an idea of what’s available in your chosen location at no cost. Thrifty travellers can avoid paying out for expensive guided walks and tours by downloading Trip Advisor’s city apps ( Each free app contains self-guided city tours, together with masses of information about restaurants and tourist attractions, plus a function that lets you search for places and activities within a particular budget range. Vouchercloud ( is another handy app which helps you save money in restaurants, pubs and bars, as well as offering discounts on cinema visits, days out and activities in leisure and entertainment venues across the UK. Finally, you can save even more money by booking your rail tickets in advance (and don’t forget that if you are 60 or over, a Senior Railcard costing just £30 will allow you to claim 1/3 off rail fares for a whole year). As a Senior Railcard holder you’ll also be eligible for discounts on days out, theatre trips and holiday cottages. So if you’re tired of the kind of short-break oneupmanship described above, you can try some of the pennywise tips described here. As for my globe-trotting acquaintance, I suspect she’s out there somewhere right now, painting landscapes in Provence or jumping on a reindeer sleigh in Finland. I don’t know exactly where she is because – tired of her constant boasting – I finally decided to unfriend her on Facebook.

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CJ Book Review Property Maintenance By Kate Duggan March Medley The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale

It’s 1917 and pregnant teenager Cathy Wray seeks sanctuary at a London toy store. She soon discovers that these toys are unlike any she’s ever seen before. There’s a clockwork dog that’s devoted to his master, paper trees that grow from seed, and toy soldiers that wage battles on their own. Cathy learns to call The Emporium home, and the people who own it her family. But then the First World War breaks out, and nothing will ever be quite as magical again. The Toymakers is a must for fans of Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus.

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White Chrysanthemum by Mary Lynn Bracht

Approximately 200,000 young Korean women and girls were enslaved by the Japanese army in the Second World War. Thousands of these ‘comfort women’ died from the abuse they experienced. White Chrysanthemum tells the fictional story of 15 year old Hana, who is kidnapped after stepping in to rescue her little sister, Emi. Several decades later, we meet Emi in her desperate last attempt to find out what happened to Hana all those years ago. While White Chrysanthemum is, at times, painful to read, it’s impossible to put down and a mustread for lovers of historical fiction.


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01767 699252 07901 985123

HGS Classified advert.indd 1

14/04/2015 21:2

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


To advertise in The Villager and Town Life please call 01767 261122


Classifieds Handy Man

Plastering Services

Painting Services


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

Pet Services

Plumbing and Heating

Pet Services

Private Car Hire


Experienced mature reliable house/dog sitter. Leave your dogs happy and calm in their own homes while away. Lots of walks & cuddles. Tel: 01767261670 Mob: 07765116384 Email:


Please mention The Villager and Town Life when responding to adverts

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


Riding School MANOR FARM RIDING SCHOOL Sutton, Beds - SG19 2ND

Lessons, Hacks - Pony Club Centre Pre-school rides - £12 Schooling livery available 07875 192662 You can also find us on facebook


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

T: 01767 316485 M: 07582 485155 E:



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:

Removals & Storage

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

Wood Suppliers

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

01767 313230

To advertise in The Villager and Town Life please call 01767 261122


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

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