Sunday, 9 September 2018

Cirencester Hypnotherapy & Health Centre Article Sept 2018: On the Other Side of the Fence

On the other side of the fence! 

The vast majority of people reading this article will be members of the public rather than therapists, which is the world I work within. Then there will be those who are employed, those who don’t work for one reason or another and then those who are self-employed. My, what a varied world we live in!

For the last 11-12 years I’ve been self-employed within the therapeutic world and it is indeed a diverse and interesting one at that. With my lecturer’s hat on, I come across therapists starting out in that career and with my clinic owner’s hat on I come across those who are more established.

Occasionally I come across therapists who, like me, have celebrated ten years or more in the industry. Like any self-employed person, this is an achievement worth celebrating and for more than one reason:

1. It takes time to build up a loyal client base in order to get that repeat business, so you have to endure those early days.

2. Then you have to be very good to survive as a self-employed person – people won’t come back to
Nicola Griffiths
you if you’re no good at what you do.

3. You have to be brave and continue onwards and upwards (sometimes downwards or sideways) when the going gets tough i.e. clients tend to go off on summer holidays and business slows or if there’s a slow-down in the economy due to that thing called Brexit – it was amazing how the phone stopped ringing the day after that vote happened!

4. As a self-employed person, if you go on holiday or you’re ill, then the bills keep rolling in but the pay stops in its tracks.

5. You survive (or not) by your own business decisions.

I’m used to greeting new therapists to the clinic who are fresh from their training and new to being self-employed. My job is to sit them down at that stage and explain that it’ll probably take two years to get established and what they need to do from a marketing perspective to let you the public know of their existence! And then
Get in touch!
there are the established therapists who join the clinic, such as Sue Drew who moved her beauty & holistic therapy to the centre last year and is celebrating her 10th anniversary and Louise Morris, our physiotherapist, who’s been in business longer than I care to remember!

So to anyone such as Sue and Louise who’ve been self-employed for the long haul, I take my hat off to you, it’s a huge achievement as you don’t have to just be good at what you do, you have to be good at business too.

Nicola Griffiths runs the Cirencester Hypnotherapy & Health Centre in Dyer Street with a host of experienced therapists for the benefit of your mind and body:

The Best of the Edinburgh Fringe at the Barn




12 September – 15 September 2018

In our continued pursuit to provide inspiring, challenging and vibrant entertainment, The Barn can announce another first for the Cirencester Theatre scene.

Back to school for Potter
Hot foot from their scouting mission to the world-famous Edinburgh Fringe Festival, our creative team have secured four of the best acts who will perform for four nights only, providing theatregoers with an eclectic mix of this year’s newest and most exciting talent, including magic, stand-up comedy and more! Something for everyone.

“It’s encouraging to see the reputation that the Barn Theatre has already built in such a short time, and we’re very excited by the diverse talent that we’ve managed to secure to launch our second season. It’s essential for us to continue building on our vision of making the Theatre accessible to as wide an audience as possible and I’m confident that these gifted performers will provide brilliant entertainment for all ages. There will be something for everyone in ‘Fringe at The Barn’.” – Iwan Lewis - Artistic Director, Barn Theatre

Magic man Tom Brace coming to Cirencester
Fringe At The Barn will take place from 12th September through to the 15th September (18.30/19.30). Tickets are £15 per show or £50
for all four nights.

Fringe at the Barn Line-Up

Tom Brace Wednesday 12th September.
Hold on to your raincoats! Tom Brace brings a jam-packed show of laughs and magic that you simply won't believe! Expect the unexpected in this mind-boggling variety show. Suitable for the entire family. This brand-new show promises to bamboozle the brain and fool even the sharpest of minds!
Tom Neenan Thursday 13th September 
Tamar Broadbent
Tom’s girlfriend has vanished, so he has done what any right-minded man would do and turned his search for her into an "important" piece of multi-character multimedia theatre. A narrative-driven character comedy show about toxic masculinity and the questionable role of the male creator
Tamar Broadbent Friday 14th September 
'Is it too much to ask for everything?!' she shouted drunkenly at a bin.  Overwhelmed by options and in a complicated relationship with Netflix. Award-winning musical comedy about ambition, anxiety and avocados that asks, how do you know if you are living your best life?
Spontaneous Potter Saturday 15th September
An entirely improvised Harry Potter play, based on a suggestion of a fan fiction title. With live musical accompaniment! Brought to you by the comedy improvisers behind the critically acclaimed and award-winning Spontaneous Sherlock. 'Unbeatably clever'

THE BARN THEATRE, 5 Beeches Road, Cirencester GL7 1BN.
Tickets £15 a night or £50 for all four. Post-Show Beer Offer £17.
Téatro Bar & Restaurant: 01285 648238 or

Saturday, 8 September 2018

Rotary Club Active in Community with Radio Station Move

Community teamwork.

Rotary Help Corinium Radio Move Studio

Cirencester’s own community radio station is on the move – but we’re not going far and we’re certainly not leaving town!

Corinium Radio is moving from its studio on the top floor of Bingham House to a brand new home on the ground floor of the town centre building.

And to make sure our new studio was ready to launch we had a helping hand from members of Cirencester Rotary Club.

When Corinium Radio asked for help to make sure the new studio was bright and clean it was overwhelmed when Rotary answered the call.

Some 11 willing volunteers spent three days painting and decorating for us.

Chair of Corinium Radio Carole Boydell said, “We are all so grateful to Cirencester Rotary Club for helping to make our new home look so inviting.

“They have done a tremendous job. We are really looking forward to welcoming all our guests to our new studio.”

Added Carole, “We also want to thank Cirencester’s Bingham Library Trust and the town council, who have been so helpful in facilitating our move. We can’t wait to open our doors during September.”

Being a community group ourselves, Corinium Radio is always grateful when people like Rotary volunteer to help us out.

By the way, after the great success of last year’s whiskey and chocolate tasting evening, Geoff Carr is planning another event to help with station funds.

This time it’s all about sherry!

You can join Corinium Radio on the evening of Friday 12th October for this fantastic chance to ‘taste the sun’ and support the ‘Best Community Radio Station’ in the Cotswolds.

If you want to get involved with the station just contact Carole Boydell on 07776 144033 for more details.

Friends of City Bank Nature Reserve Opening

The launch of the new bridge Hare’s Leap in 2017.
City Bank Nature Reserve 
It’s very exciting that Cirencester is about to launch its first local nature reserve in the City Bank area of Watermoor on 5 September. The local Friends of City Bank group has been working with the Town Council over the past five years to develop a vision for the area that meets the needs of the wildlife and people alike.

Natural England supports local communities to create Local Nature Reserves which are fit for both people and wildlife and are of special interest locally. A key requirement is they must be publicly accessible where visitors will not damage or disturb wildlife.

Our vision is for City Bank area to be a great space which we all can enjoy and which is a safe sanctuary for our fantastic local wildlife. City Bank is a very special area with wild orchids, a wide range of birds and other creatures, and a fantastic open space for families to enjoy. Although the Town Council will oversee the management plan of the reserve, the Cirencester Wildlife Group (as part of the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust), Friends of City Bank and the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG) will help the Council manage the site.

If you are interested in helping to manage this great space, contact for more information.

Melanie Knetsch – Chair of Friends of City Bank

Corinium Vets September 2018: Flea Facts

Pet Talk With
Corinium Vets: 
Facts about Fleas

The cat flea is extremely common on cats and dogs. It will live on cats, dogs, rats and rabbits will quite happily feed on humans too. Cat fleas represent the great majority of fleas in human homes. The dog flea is closely related to the cat flea and is very similar to it in appearance and biology. Despite its name it is actually less common on dogs than cat fleas.

Recent studies have shown that 5-17% of dogs and 12-23% of cats carry fleas throughout the year in Europe. And this is only the tip of the iceberg - only 5% of the flea population is found on the animal – i.e. 95% is in the environment. Damp summers and warmer winters - coupled with improvements in household insulation which provide warm, humid conditions all year round - allow the flea population to thrive throughout the year.

Fleas can cause flea bite dermatitis by irritating the skin of animals. Flea allergic dermatitis is caused by an allergy to flea saliva. Fleas feed on the blood of their host and a heavy infestation particularly in smaller animals can lead to anaemia. Fleas can be responsible for the transmission of viral and bacterial disease and other parasites to animals and humans. They are a vector for tape worms. Fleas are known to harbour and sometimes transmit cat scratch disease which can be a serious health hazard to people.

Flea infestations can be prevented. Please speak to our team at Corinium Vets about a combination of environmental and on-pet control measures. We can prescribe safe and effective flea treatments such as Spot-On Solutions, palatable tablets and collars. Your pet’s bedding should be hot-washed frequently. Treat the whole house with a veterinary recommended spray, vacuum daily and empty vacuum contents daily and outside. Don’t forget to spray your car if your animal has been in it.
For more top tips please make an appointment with our vets (Bettina and Judith) or nurses (Nicki and Alison) at Corinium Vets.

Country Matters by the Hodge Sept 2019 Harvest

Beautiful harvest produce! What's would you pick?
Country Matters
By The Hodge
“Thank heavens, the sun has gone in, and I don’t have to go out and enjoy it.”
Logan Pearsall Smith – Afterthoughts 1931

Oh, how quickly time passes as you get older! It seems no time ago I was photographing the beautiful local landscapes in the snow of winter and here we are on the threshold of autumn already. And what is worse, the uncharacteristic long hot spell has interfered with nature so much that flowers have passed all too quickly and all the fruits are ripening early. Does this mean that winter will be longer still?

Blackberries have been ready to harvest for weeks and ripe apples are falling off the trees. Those migratory birds who rely on such fruit for their winter fodder – the redwings and the fieldfares – how will they survive if it has all been and gone before they arrive? The squirrels are already plundering the hazel nuts and as I write September is still a while away.

Leaves are falling from trees prematurely as the trees themselves have been distressed by the heat and the drought. Even if it remains mild in the autumn, it will seem like winter if all the trees are bare before their due time. So, if you enjoyed the hot spell, be prepared for the after-effects for it’s bound to impact on the coming months!

* * * * *Farmers too have been badly affected by that hot, dry spell. With the lack of rain, most cereal crops just stopped growing but began ripening prematurely with the result that, while the harvest has been gathered in early, the crop is much lighter than expected. Prices will be higher and this will impact on the price you pay in due course, but not favourably!

Similarly, vegetable and fruit crops have also been affected and there are likely to be shortages and price rises. A hint perhaps to fulfilling your dream of growing your own – now’s the time to start!

And for livestock farmers, the situation is truly dire. There is very little grazing for cattle and sheep and as a consequence, preserved fodder – hay and silage being kept for winter feed – has had to be fed during the last couple of months to compensate. The harvest of that was adversely affected, firstly by a wet, cold spring which delayed the first cut and the hot weather stopped the regrowth so few farmers even had enough put by for the winter. As a consequence, the markets are full of stock as farmers try and reduce the pressure but buyers faced with the same difficulties are few and far between. And pig keepers are no better off either. Pigs rely on a cereal-based diet and with the wheat and barley shortages itemised above, feed prices are already rising but not the prices paid by the supermarkets. As usual, it is the risk-taker – the farmer – who gets squeezed by the big boys.

So, one way or another, getting hotter and drier, even for a matter of weeks, is likely to impact of all of us adversely. The climate change brigade will say it’s all the fault of global warming and they may well be right but adverse weather – hot, cold, dry, excessively wet – has been going on in our fair islands for centuries. As recently as 1814, the Thames in London was frozen over to the extent that one of the Frost Fairs was held on the river. Hopefully, it won’t be as cold as that this coming winter!

Saturday, 25 August 2018

Announcing The Leon Daye Band and 'The Gift' Review

L to R standing: Jason Hughes, keyboard; Ian Keats, bass; Mike Herbert, lead. Seated: Brendan Downes-Hall, drums; Leon Daye, guitar and vocals. Pictured in garden of The Vaults @ Golden Farm Inn

by Carlo Vuolo

Cirencester singer/songwriter Leon Daye is well known on the local pub, club and festival circuit and has been performing for a number of years as a solo artist. Leon’s first CD, ‘Bird on a Wire’, released in 2016, was very well received and this has been followed up by his latest collection of his own songs ‘The Gift’ which was produced in collaboration with multi-instrumentalist and producer Aron Attwood at the Buffalo Deluxe studios in Stroud.

Leon has now teamed up with local musicians Jason Mark Hughes (keyboards), Ian Keates (bass), Mike Herbert (lead guitar) and Brendan Downes-Hall (drums) to form The Leon Daye Band with Leon on guitar and lead vocals. The band made their debut at The Vaults at the Golden Farm at the end of July to launch ‘The Gift’ to great critical acclaim and feel honoured to be performing on the main Cosy Powell stage at this year’s Phoenix Festival (Sunday). Then it’s onto the Goatfest festival in early September before returning to the Vaults in November.

Leon is very excited about this new direction for his music as he will be no longer working alone and has already seen some of his songs evolve as each band member brings their own ideas and interpretations to the mix. Whilst he will still be working the circuit as a solo artist, the band’s development will be Leon’s major focus from now on and work has already started on the band’s first CD. All the band members are very optimistic about the future and there is a real sense of purpose and commitment to the venture. As guitarist Mike says ‘It’s gonna be big’.

The Gift
Review by Evan Burgess

Leon Daye is back with a new record available on Spotify and no doubt in hard copy from the man himself. “The Gift” is a 6-track offering from the local songwriter known for playing both covers and originals with the same quality. This record makes an impression with a very well recorded musical ensemble. The vocals are crisp and recall Paul Heaton, with a similar strong enunciation that will allow people to sing along after only a few plays.

The record has some major key songs such as “Building a Life”, but also some ballads and lush major/minor modulations, such as “A Reason to Live” that recalls “Wichita Lineman” by Glen Campbell. This clarity is great and in my opinion is a testament to an ever-developing recording artist. There will be a lot of gems that come up in repeated listening such as subtle harmonies and counterpoint melodies.

Leon’s voice is a stamp of quality throughout the record, which will please fans who have known for years how it cuts through crowded bars. But here it finds a unique space in the mix that must be largely down to the high quality of recording and production. If you have the chance to see Leon perform don’t miss it!

Check out the following live dates!

The Lower Lode , Forthampton Sun 26th Aug
Check out forthcoming dates.
Rising Sun ,Chelt
Friday 31st Aug
Nottingham Arms, Tewkesbury , Sun 2nd Sept
The Merryfellow , Charlton Kings
Friday 7th Sept The Royal Exchange, Hartpury, Friday 14th Sept

With Band:
The Phoenix festival Ciren , Sunday 26th 3.35

Goatfest, Goatacre wilts , Saturday 8th Sept 1pm

Thursday, 23 August 2018

Leon Daye-The Gift Review

Leon Daye Band at the Vaults, where the record can be bought!
Evan Burgess reviews Leon Daye's latest release...
Leon Daye is back with a new record available digitally on Spotify, iTunes and others. Meanwhile the hard copy is on sale at the Vaults Cirencester and from the man himself at shows. “The Gift” is a 6-track offering from the local songwriter known for playing both covers and originals with the same quality. This record makes an impression with a very well recorded musical ensemble. The vocals are crisp and recall Paul Heaton, with a similar strong enunciation that will allow people to sing along after only a few plays.
The record has an abundance of major key songs such as “Building a Life”, but also some ballads and lush major/minor modulations, such as “A Reason to Live” that recalls “Wichita Lineman” by Glen Campbell. This clarity is great and in my opinion is a testament to an ever-developing recording artist. There will be a lot of gems that come up in repeated listening such as subtle harmonies and counterpoint melodies.
Leon’s voice is a stamp of quality throughout the record, which will please fans who have known for years how it cuts through crowded bars. But here it finds a unique space in the mix that must be largely down to the high quality of recording and production. If you have the chance to see Leon perform don’t miss it!
Check out the following live dates.
 The Lower Lode , Forthampton Sun 26th Aug
Check out forthcoming dates.

Rising Sun ,Chelt
Friday 31st Aug
Nottingham Arms, Tewkesbury , Sun 2nd Sept
The Merryfellow , Charlton Kings
Friday 7th Sept
The Royal Exchange, Hartpury, Friday 14th Sept

With Band:
The Phoenix festival Ciren , Sunday 26th 3.35

Goatfest, Goatacre wilts , Saturday 8th Sept 1pm

Saturday, 18 August 2018

Cirencester Hypnotherapy & Health Centre August 2018

Nicola Griffiths

Keeping my brain in tip top condition!
I was recently reading an article by Harvard Health - they do tend to send out some rather useful e-newsletters. This one was on Cognitive Health, rather a hot topic recently.  This is something I take a keen interest in given we see a lot of people at the clinic suffering with anxiety and depression.  The Harvard report didn’t come up with anything new, but sometimes a reminder can be useful.  So what did this report say?
Well, basically, it said to eat a plant-based diet; exercise regularly; get enough sleep; manage stress; nurture social contacts and, finally, continue to challenge your brain. Easy then!!
Together, the above can yield real results, leading to changes in both your brain's structure and function. I have to say, when I read how easily we can change the structure of our brain it always fills me with awe, and it’s true, we can.  But the key word to watch out for in the above is the first word of this paragraph: "Together."
None of the actions listed works that well in isolation. Simply eating more fibre or adding a morning walk to your routine isn't enough to forestall mental decline. Instead, exercise, diet, sleep, stress management, social interaction, and mental stimulation work in concert to yield results. 
I’m on a bit of a mission at the moment to get fitter.  So I’m spending more time in the fruit & veg shop, I’ve given hubby our elderly lab to walk as she’s very slow and I’ve taken over with the lurcher (which could seriously end in tears the way she takes off sometimes), I’m going to bed earlier, I’ve reduced my work load, I’ve booked in cups of tea with friends and I’ve got the jigsaw out to challenge the brain.
In fact, I’ve surprised myself at how well I’m doing.  How have I managed to change some bad decades-old habits?  Well, funnily enough, the hypnotherapist is having hypnotherapy! Yep, I actually practice what I preach.  A good hypnotherapist knows they have to look after themselves in order to look after others.  
Hypnotic trance is a normal thing that everyone experiences on a daily basis, i.e. whilst driving along a route you know very well and you think “how did I get here”?  In this trance state the brain comes out of defence mode and can see things from a different perspective, this allows us to change templates in the brain and come up with alternative solutions. Not quite magic as we don’t have magic wands, but it is incredible what we see clients achieve.
As I’m always saying, you don’t actually have to believe that you can change, the belief process kicks in once you see the change happening.  All you need is to ‘want’ to change.
Oh, and by the way, we’re all about neuroscience, not swinging fob watches!
For those people wanting to change, get in touch with the clinic on 01285 652449 or visit

Corinium Vets August 2018: Swimming for Dogs

Milo and Nala enjoy the river.

Swimming for Dogs

Swimming is a great activity in the summer and can help your dog to stay cool while exercising. As long as you are cautious and sensible you and your pet should be able to have fun and stay safe in the water.

While rivers, streams and seas have the benefit of being clearer of infectious agents, running water can be misleadingly fast. Favour slow-moving rivers or streams. On the beach be aware of jelly fish and strong tides. Some dogs will swallow enough sea water to get salt poisoning which can be very serious.

Some dogs can’t swim or can’t hold their heads above water, this is true for most bulldogs and other brachycephalics (flat nosed breeds). If your dog is very old, very young, or gets tired easily it is important to monitor their swimming to make sure they aren’t getting out of their depth. Don’t let your dog swim too far from the bank or shore.

All natural bodies of water, particularly stagnant water, can contain a wide range of different types of bacteria, parasites and toxins. The majority of waterborne illnesses are transmitted by ingestion or skin contact, often causing diarrhoea and vomiting. Generally these illnesses are not life threatening as long as they are caught and treated appropriately in a timely manner.

Leptospirosis is a serious bacterial infection which can be passed on through water, for example from canals, streams, ponds and lakes contaminated with the urine of rats or other small rodents. Leptospirosis can spread to liver and kidney. It is a zoonotic infection, meaning they can be passed on to humans too.

Dogs should be vaccinated against leptospirosis annually.

Blue-green algae are not always obvious as algae bloom. Dogs can suffer from acute toxicity if they drink contaminated water. Fatalities have been reported.

Always have water on hand for your pet to drink so they won’t feel the need to drink stagnant water. If your pet shows signs of being unwell, seek veterinary advice quickly and remember to state that your pet has been swimming.

Dr Bettina Gruninger (Veterinary Surgeon), Alison Cuss and Nichola Wray (Veterinary nurses), Corinium Veterinary Surgery.

Alison Fielden & Co: Auctions

Get advice at a local law firm.

Buying or selling at auction: some benefits and potential disadvantages.
Whether it’s a modest one bedroom flat or a major city centre site with commercial tenants in occupation, auctions are now seen as a useful option for those looking to buy or sell a property, and have recently seen increasing activity from ‘ordinary’ buyers and sellers in addition to the usual activity of lenders wanting to quickly resell properties repossessed from defaulting borrowers.
Provided that one is aware of, and makes allowances for, some potential drawbacks, an auction is something which can have considerable advantages for a buyer or seller. Perhaps the most obvious of these is that by using an auction, one can avoid all the issues to do with potential delays involved in chain transactions, and that a buyer or seller can achieve some certainty in that a deal is either secured on the day or not.
At auction, a sale becomes binding when an offer is accepted by the auctioneer and the hammer comes down to close the deal. The buyer will then have to sign a contract or memorandum of sale and immediately put down a non-refundable deposit of approximately 10% of the price.  A definite date is fixed for completion at this point, which is typically 4 - 6 weeks after the date of the auction which is when the change of ownership of the property takes place, and the balance of the money is paid over.
Although many auction sales and purchases may proceed to a smooth and satisfactory conclusion, there are risks and drawbacks involved which may unseat those who are not aware of the potential pitfalls, and this is why proper professional advice from a legal advisor is highly recommended.
For the seller, it is vital that a proper, comprehensive legal pack for the property is put together by a property professional, who will make sure that the pack provides for the buyers to reimburse the seller for all searches supplied and may, if the seller so wishes, also make provision for the buyer to contribute towards the sellers legal fees.  This is important as failure to supply a properly prepared legal pack may jeopardise the whole transaction, even after the auction itself, if issues subsequently come to light which affect the property but which have not been dealt with in the sales pack.
There are significant risks also for the buyer. Once a bid has been accepted by the auctioneer and the hammer comes down to close the deal, a binding contract comes into existence between the seller and the buyer which cannot be avoided by the buyer on the grounds that he or she does not have the finance in place to complete the transaction, or that there has been insufficient time to organise a proper survey or inspection of the property.
These and many other matters need to be addressed before the auction. A buyer may, for example, need to take in consideration such issues as Stamp Duty Land Tax, VAT, Capital Allowances and insurance, which may be the buyer’s responsibility from the date of the auction onwards, and therefore would be wise to seek advice on these matters before committing him or herself to a purchase.
In addition, a buyer will clearly need to ensure that the property which is being purchased is not affected by any adverse legal interests. This requires the legal pack to be properly checked by somebody who is professionally qualified to do so, and again, that is where the services of a legal advisor will be indispensable.
This is particularly important where the buyer is looking to buy a property with an existing tenant in place, whether this should be a tenant of a shop, factory, office block, house or flat. The buyer will be bound by the terms of the existing lease or tenancy agreement of the property and it is vital therefore that proper legal advice is sought on the terms of such legally binding agreements so that the buyer is fully informed as to his or her obligations before proceeding to make a bid for the property.
Another important issue which may need to be addressed is where buyers may want to borrow against the property that they are hoping to purchase, as all existing leases or tenancies of the property must be acceptable to the lender. This again is where a buyer would be wise to seek proper legal advice on the matter before proceeding.
Further, the role of a legal advisor will continue after the auction to deal with such matters as paying any Stamp Duty Land Tax due on the transaction, giving notices of change of ownership to tenants, and of course dealing with the buyer’s registration of title to the property at Land Registry.
One final point to mention is the complex area of guide prices and reserve prices. A property may have a guide price of a certain figure but it does not necessarily mean that this is what it will sell for, or indeed that it is the minimum price that is acceptable to the seller.  This is evidenced by the commonly seen practice of properties attracting offers at auctions but not being sold because the reserve price has not been reached.  Such practices may make it difficult to secure real bargains but, with proper advice, there are still good deals to be secured for buyers who are properly organised, and are fully aware of the legal implications of a successful bid. Building up experience and expertise can be a great help with auctions, particularly when backed up with the right legal advice.
Both Graeme Gaston and Alison Fielden have many years experience in acting for both buyers and sellers, at auction and in other forms of sale.
For a professional legal service please contact Alison Fielden & Co on 01285 653261.

Monday, 13 August 2018

Citizens Advice Bureau Activities in August

The CAB team.
Citizens Advice and Friends get busy

The last two weekends of August are promising to be busy ones for Citizens Advice Cotswold District and the Friends of Cirencester CAB.

On Sunday 19th August, Citizens Advice Cotswold District will be helping with car parking at the very popular BRIMPSFIELD POSH CAR BOOT SALE, run by the Brimpsfield Music Society, which will be held at the Longdole Polo Club near Brimpsfield from 11 am to 3 pm. The event organisers have generously nominated Citizens Advice Cotswold District to be their event partners. Quality caterers will be on site so you can make a day of it. Further details can be seen on

The following weekend, on Saturday and Sunday 25th and 26th August, Citizens Advice and Friends will once again have their tent up at the Phoenix Festival, held in the Cirencester Abbey grounds just to the rear of the Parish Church. Entrance is free. This event is hugely popular with both local families and visitors, with great live music and caterers and entertainment for all ages. So come along and look out for the Citizens Advice tent, and learn more about how Citizens Advice is helping many people in the local community to find the best solution to their problems by providing free and confidential advice that is open to all.  By the tent there will be the ever popular “climb the wall” game that many youngsters and grownups alike find they can’t get enough of, so come and have a go!

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Country Matters by the Hodge August 2018 Using Local Water Resources

A Crayfish

Country Matters 
By The Hodge 
“In nature there is nothing melancholy.” 
Samuel Taylor Coleridge 1172-1834 – The Nightingale 

It may not seem like it when we’re sweltering in humid sunshine and the rivers drop to a trickle but here around Cirencester we are surrounded by water. There’s the Thames and the Churn and the Windrush and, of course, the old gravel pits now grandly rebranded The Cotswold Water Park, an area of water greater than the Norfolk Broads, apparently.

And lurking within all these freshwaters is a foreign invader every bit as a pest as the American grey squirrel which has almost single-handedly driven out the native red squirrel from practically all of England, most of Wales and large parts of Scotland. But despite reports that the grey squirrel, which also consumes large volumes of songbird eggs and chicks, is edible which I personally cannot vouch for, (looks too much like a rat for my liking), I can assure you that the American signal crayfish is quite delicious and should be consumed by a wider audience for very good conservation reasons.

The signal crayfish – Pacifastacus leniusculus – was imported to be farmed as a food source but the little critters are no respecters of boundaries and, once ensconced in a nice lake in the Water Park, they decide to go exploring in someone else’s lake or river and soon the whole area is infested with them. Looking like miniature lobsters, they attack and eat the smaller native white-clawed crayfish – Austropotamobius pallipes – resulting in that little fellow now being endangered. It also attacks small fish and consumes huge quantities of fish eggs so they are not ideal companions to conservationists or anglers.

In Scandinavia they are highly regarded as a treat and there they hold kräftpremiär parties where crayfish and aquavit are consumed in great joy whereas in Louisiana, similar celebrations are known as ‘crawfish boils’ or ‘mudpuppies’. They really are delicious although you will need quite a few before you cry “enough!”

As I said earlier, they are widespread around the area and easily caught but you do need an official permit in order to hunt them as well as the water-owner’s permission. In the days of my youth – no ribald comments, please – village lads would collect a sheep’s head from the butcher, tie it to a length of string and toss it in the water. Retrieving it several days later, the greedy little carnivores would have eaten their way through flesh and brain and with any luck when it was hauled out up to a dozen would be found hanging on to their dinner.

Today, you need a trap and its specification is to be found at the same website where you can apply for a permit to catch them between May and September - The traps must be constructed so as not to accidently catch or injure water voles or otters.

When you begin trapping them, using a meat- or fish-based bait, you will usually trap the larger, more aggressive males. These big fellas – as well as eating almost everything else they can find – will happily consume their own offspring so in conservation terms you may think that by getting rid of these you will cause a population explosion. Fear not! Keep trapping and as the males become fewer, you will start catching some of the smaller females or less mature males, emboldened by the decline of the big bulls and numbers will decrease.

Set yourself up properly and you may be able to get sufficient on a regular basis to supply a local pub or restaurant and thereby secure an income as well as getting rid of a pest.

Once caught, like prawns, the crayfish will need either purging in aerated freshwater, (with a lid to prevent further escapes) or by removal of the digestive tract.

So, what could be better? Get out in the fresh air, catch a delicious supper almost free of charge and help rid us a vicious pest that should never have reached our wild waters. Good fishing!

Friday, 13 July 2018


By Carlo Vuolo, Cirencester Scene Magazine

Following the resounding successes of the first two productions at The Barn Theatre, the brilliant musical ‘The Secret Garden’ and the stark realism of ‘One Minute’, the last show of the current season is an uplifting and engaging tragi-comedy. ‘The Rise and Fall of Little Voice’ by Jim Cartwright, which has been named one of the 50 best plays in the history of theatre, opened on July 7th.  

Sarah Louise Hughes as Little Voice

It is the tale of a shy, reclusive northern girl, nicknamed Little Voice (LV), living with Mari, her domineering, alcoholic mother. LV’s only comfort is listening to her late father’s collection of old vinyl records, from which she learns to impersonate famous singers, including Shirley Bassey, Edith Piaf and Marylin Monroe.

Sarah Louise Hughes, making her professional debut, excelled as the title character, Little Voice, and blew the audience away with the sheer power of her ‘Massive Voice’ after she has been persuaded - or rather coerced, into performing at the local nightclub. We really thought we were listening to the great stars themselves as she finally opened up and released all her inner tensions and frustrations, albeit temporarily. Mari’s long-suffering neighbour, Sadie, mercilessly teased and ‘fat-shamed’ by Mari, was played with appropriate resigned pathos by Larissa Hunter.

Failed talent scout, the scheming Ray Say, is played menacingly by Gary Richards as the latest in a long line of Mari’s useless boyfriends. He hears LV sing and sees her as his big chance of fame and fortune. Her mother, mistakenly thinking her daughter’s success would secure her own relationship with Ray, persuades her to comply against her will when he ruthlessly coerces Little Voice into singing at his friend Mr Boo’s seedy nightclub. It ends badly for all.

There was some welcome light relief with the sweet, gentle friendship LV struck up with the equally shy Billy (Hadley Brown), an apprentice telephone engineer with his own hidden talent, as well as the entertaining comedic interaction between the telephone fitter (Stephen Omer) and Mari.

Gillian Cafferty as Mari and Sarah Louise Hughes as Little Voice

The glue which held the whole story together was, however, undoubtedly the superb performance of Gillian McCafferty as Mari. Her performance was brilliant, and her comic timing accurate to the nanosecond. She even kept in character during the interval, drinking ‘vodka and Malibu’ in the theatre bar with Sadie and bantering with the audience as they passed by.

With the cleverly designed set, The Barn Theatre backstage team used their technological wizardry to recreate a convincing representation of Northern back-to-back gloom and deprivation.

This production is guaranteed to raise laughs and lift your spirits. It is a delight from start to finish and is another ‘must see’ offering from the Barn Theatre team. Cirencester is so, so lucky to have this wonderful facility. 

The rise and fall of Little Voice runs until August 4th.   
Tickets can be booked on or 01285 648255.

Please be aware that mature language, smoking and adult themes are used throughout the show.

Cirencester Ramblers Walks July 18

Lechlade Bridge

Sun 15 Jul  Cockleford to Cowley returning through woods.  6.5 miles. Donation to travel £3.  Meet at Waterloo Car Park at 9.15 07502 281184am for a 9.30am start.  R A Dogs Only. Visitors welcome. Marian Preston 01285 654904OTD 07854 179541 Details  

CIRENCESTER RAMBLERS Tues 17 Jul Bishopstone up the Coombe to The Ridgeway.  3.5 miles. Donation to travel £3. Meet at Waterloo Car Park at 6.15pm for a 6.30pm start.  R A Dogs Only. Visitors welcome.  John Bookwood 01285 860407OTD 07803 707843 Details 


Lacock to Reybridge and along the River Avon.  Bewley Comon, Bowden Park & Nocketts Hill.  6.5 miles. Donation to travel £4. Meet at Waterloo Car Park at 9.15am for a 9.30am start.  R A Dogs Only. Visitors welcome.  Mike Bailey 01666 577755/otd 07870976315 Details   

CIRENCESTER RAMBLERS Sun 29 Jul  The Ridgeway, Barbury Castle and Draycot Foliat. 6 miles.  Donation to travel £4. Meet at Waterloo Car Park at 9.15am for a 9.30am start.  R A Dogs Only. Visitors welcome.   Gerry Swallowe 01285 862116OTD 07985941784 Details

Cirencester Hypnotherapy Centre: Phobia Anyone? July 18

Phobia anyone? 

Did you know that everything would be okay if we only had one mind each? But in actual fact I’m frequently heard saying “We have one brain, with two minds”. The conscious mind and the subconscious mind.

The conscious mind is your intellectual mind, it likes fact and it comes up with the correct assessment of any given situation.  The other mind, your subconscious mind, is emotionally driven and is powerfully focused on your survival.  It’s there to keep you safe.  Therefore it can frequently come up with the opposite response to the conscious mind.  Whereas the conscious mind might think ‘Flying is the safest form of transport’, the subconscious will be looking for the nearest exit to flea if you’re fearful of flying.

Remember when that plane was magnificently landed in the Hudson River by Chesley Sullenberger? At the time I had a fear of flying, so when someone said “Isn’t that fantastic”, I responded “That’s another darned good reason not to get on a plane”!  We’re looking at the same situation, but from two totally different perspectives.

So how do we deal with phobias using hypnotherapy?  Well it depends on the phobia as there are two types of phobia.  There is the simple specific phobia where a person reacts negatively when they come into contact with the thing that causes fear, i.e. dentists, needles, flying, spiders, etc.  Then there’s the more complex non-specific phobia which causes fear and anxiety continually.  An example is Emetophobia - a fear of being sick, considered to be one of the most common phobias in the world.  It can affect the sufferer in ways such as not wanting to collect their children from school in case that child is feeling ill. This phobia can even stop someone having chemotherapy because of the fear of sickness, they’d prefer to take their chances with the cancer!

Another non-specific phobia is a fear of driving, unless there’s been a specific incident that triggered the fear, such as an accident.  But rarely do people understand the difference between specific and non-specific fears and that’s important in order to choose the right hypnotherapy treatment.

One of the basic features of any phobia is a conflict between the conscious and the subconscious.  I say “Conversation talks to the conscious minds, whilst hypnosis talks to the subconscious”.  This means we can filter through to the client’s subconscious about how they want to be rather than how they currently are.

If a phobia is a specific phobia, i.e. spider or flying, then it’s usually a pretty quick fix of 4 sessions.  If it’s a non-specific phobia, then it may take quite a few more sessions depending on what life is throwing at that person at that time.

The good news is either sort can be fixed!  So you can enjoy wondering how it would be to get on that plane looking forward to the flight (as I do now every month when going to lecture in Belfast), or to pick up that spider and throw it out of the window, or whatever phobia you have, wondering how good it would be if you didn’t have it anymore!

Nicola Griffiths runs the Cirencester Hypnotherapy Centre in Dyer Street which has a choice of six solution focused hypnotherapists who have specialist training in helping people overcome phobias.  Visit