Monday, 20 February 2017

Open Mic at Starbucks Thurs 23rd

A celebration of life, for a local
Don't miss this Thursday's tribute to Ryan Rogers. Starting at 18:00 the stage is open in a warm environment to share your talent for a great cause. 

Cotswold Councelling will benefit from this evening as friends and strangers alike unite at Starbucks' monthly open mic. Ryan himself volunteered with them, and was also a regular performer at open mics.

Don't hesitate to come along whether you want to perform or spectate! 

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Abbey 900 Opening Ceremony

Is a Festival for the whole community and everyone is invited to the Official Opening and Closing Ceremonies. 

The Opening ceremony (which is in 2 x parts) is on Wednesday 22 February 2017 and the Closing Ceremony and Community Supper will be on Sunday 24 September 2017. 

Details of the Opening Ceremony are below and details of the Closing Ceremony will be released nearer the time. 


OFFICIAL OPENING On Wednesday 22 February 2017

By Our Patron: The Rt. Revd. Rachel Treweek, Bishop of Gloucester

You are invited to a Tree Planting Ceremony at 3pm in the Abbey Grounds

Please gather in the Parish Church by 2.30pm

And A Service in the Parish Church of St John Baptist 

Market Place, Cirencester, GL7 2NX at 6.30pm 
followed by a drinks and canap├ęs reception

Country Matters February 2017

Country Matters
By The Hodge

“Or shear swine, all cry and no wool.”
Samuel Butler 1600-1680 Hudibras

Wool. One of the most ancient and natural products known to man. Ever since sheep were first domesticated thousands of years before the birth of Christ, man has been using the fibre off the animal’s back to provide warmth and comfort. Indeed, much of the beauty of the Cotswolds that we so admire today was developed by the wool trade which provided so much wealth and industry hereabouts for centuries before the Industrial Revolution.

Wool is a little less important today than it was in times past since we have developed a strange taste for using materials from the oil industry as a substitute – things like polyester, nylon etc. – which are not nearly so efficient and instead we turn up our thermostats and use more oil to keep us warm. Someone’s been very clever here but wool is still available if you want to enjoy the real thing!

So, knowing my point of view about wool and sheep, which do extraordinarily well in our British climate and topography, you would not be startled to learn that I was hugely surprised to see and advertisement before Christmas with the headline I’D RATHER GO NAKED THAN WEAR WOOL.

In fairness I must admit that it wasn’t the headline or the rest of the words that attracted my attention. Instead it was the large photograph of a young blond woman standing naked in a wooded glade clutching a plastic sheep mask. Well, I am human and the advertising people banked on that when planning their campaign.

Having got my attention, I then read on: WEAR YOUR OWN SKIN. LET ANIMALS KEEP THEIRS. WEAR VEGAN. Alicia Silverstone for PETA.

This struck me as very odd. Not the young lady’s name – I’d never heard of her but she’s now achieved her 30 seconds of fame so good luck to her. No, it was the concept by PETA, an animal rights organisation, that shearing wool was the equivalent of skinning a sheep. This is ludicrous! Wool is grown by 99% of sheep – there a few small breeds like the Wiltshire Horn that have been developed not to grow wool – and if they are not shorn in the spring then the wool keeps growing causing serious welfare issues for the animals themselves. A few years ago there was a story in the media about a Merino sheep in Australia that had escaped its field and disappeared into the bush. Having been found again after several years, the creature was almost unrecognisable under a massive coat of wool and could neither see nor hear until it was shorn of its fleece.

Yes, there are some accidents during shearing and some sheep may experience nicks and cuts but generally shearers are pretty good and such minor injuries and never life threatening. Indeed, shaving every day induces occasional nicks and cuts about my person but I’m not aware of PETA campaigning for me to be allowed to grow a bushy beard.

So wool is a natural product which will help keep you warm and may even reduce your heating bills. Its production is a necessary means of keeping sheep comfortable and healthy and maintaining their welfare. It is relatively cheap and plentiful and can be used for clothing, carpets, blankets, insulation and much else.

What are PETA on about and do they really think we’re all so very stupid? I hope that the people of the Cotswolds, an area so imbued with the benefits of wool, are not so easily fooled. By all means look at the advertisement if so inclined, but please don’t believe everything you read.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Watershed RDA at Coates

I confess to having borrowed this headline from a therapeutic equestrian centre in the USA which is run by a distant cousin of mine. They are using it to head up their capital campaign to raise funds improve their facilities. So why have I borrowed it? Well we are also launching a capital campaign to raise the money to build our new mess room.

Where are we with our new mess room? We have now signed the new 25 year lease with the Diocese of Gloucester; this is significant as it gives us a secure future and a basis on which to raise money from grant giving bodies. We are grateful to Earl Bathurst, Bishop Robert Springett, Benjamin Preece-Smith and Tanners Solicitors for their help in securing the lease. Thanks to all for their perseverance. We have received competitive tenders and now know what our target is for fundraising. The total cost of the project is in the region of £110k and we have raised £25k already. Our plan is to stage the work so that we make a start during the Easter holiday and do the main works in the summer holiday. This will enable us to complete the building with the minimum of disruption to our riding schedule.

So this year will be an exciting one which will see us finally getting what we don’t have – a dry facility with disabled toilet, kitchen area, utilities independent from the Rectory and a changing room. What a change that will make to the quality of our riders’ experience; you can see what we have to cope with at the moment in the pictures below!

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Action and Adventure with the Air Cadets

ATC kids can work towards a BTEC!
Cirencester Air Cadets, (No 1245 (Cirencester) Squadron, Air Training Corps) was re-established in Cirencester nearly 6 years ago. The unit caters for both boys and girls from School Year 8 up to the age of 20 and meets every Tuesday and Friday evenings between 7.00 and 9.30pm at the Army Reserve Centre in Somerford Road.

Sponsored by the Royal Air Force, todays ATC is a vibrant and active youth organisation aimed at turning out well balanced, good citizens through the medium of an air minded programme, living up to the Corps motto ‘Venture Adventure’.

2016 was the seventy-fifth anniversary of the ATC and the year was full of activities that give a flavour of what is on offer to the Cadets. From flying in the Tutor, a light aircraft used for air experience, to the Chinook helicopter, our cadets achieved what is our main aim, that is to get airborne They took part in several Camps at RAF Stations across the
Wing Activity Day 2016
country where they were able to see first-hand the workings of a modern service for the present century. They also were able to shoot, gain swimming proficiencies and take part in field-craft exercises. Several attended the Royal International Air Tattoo helping with its organisation and the public’s safety.

Cadets have supported the local Community from Parades on ANZAC and Remembrance Days, helped with the Town Heritage Day, Race for life in the Park and collected for the RAF Association ‘Wings Appeal’.

Add to all of this, the Classification Scheme leading to a BTEC in aviation studies, the opportunity to undertake the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, Museum Visits and the general comradeship of mixing with new people, the ATC is never boring.

If interested in joining as either a Cadet or Adult Volunteer please contact the Officer Commanding on 07720436343.

Green Waste Service

Sign up now for Green Waste service - still only £30 per year!
Cotswold District Council is encouraging residents to contribute to the authority’s excellent waste recycling record by subscribing to the weekly chargeable garden waste service.
The tenth year of service starts on Monday 3 April and CDC is urging existing subscribers to sign up again while hoping that even more householders will follow suit. Everyone who participates will help contribute to the Council’s impressive recycling/composting rate of almost 60% - the best in Gloucestershire.
To sign up for this service, please visit or contact the Council’s waste hotline on 01285 623123.
Subscribers to the service for 2017-18 will pay £30 for a licence, enabling them to place garden waste in a green wheeled bin which is emptied every week by crews from Ubico Ltd, the Council’s waste service provider. Residents paying the fee will also be able to empty their unwanted food waste into the green bin. Additional licences can be purchased for a further £30. 
Alternatively, those who cannot accommodate a green wheeled bin at their property, can purchase 50 compostable brown paper garden waste bags for £30 (available from the Council’s Trinity Road offices or at the Moreton Area Centre) and they will be picked up weekly.
Residents who receive Council Tax or Housing Benefit are entitled to a 50% discount on the price of a green waste licence.
Cllr Sue Coakley, Cotswold District Council’s Cabinet Member for the Environment, hopes that there will be a good take-up of licences: 
"People in the Cotswolds take a real pride in the District and this is borne out by their positive attitude towards recycling. The green waste service has always been very well supported and it would be excellent if even more residents could sign up this year.  We have frozen the price at £30 yet again and this is really good value for money. 
All the food and green waste we collect in the Cotswolds is converted to over 242,000 bags of soil enhancer every year!
Garden and food waste, collected through the green bin scheme, is composted on a farm in the north west of the county, and is used to manufacture commercially available soil enhancer.  This is available to purchase from all Household Recycling Centres, including Fosse Cross, at £3.50 for a 40 litre sack. The quality of the material is so good that it should not be used directly as compost, but rather as a conditioner to be dug in with existing soil.

PET TALK with Corinium Vets
Reducing the risk of road traffic accidents in cats
Many people allow their cats freedom to go outside to enjoy natural behaviours such as hunting and territory patrolling. For some, it is important that their cats can have this freedom. For others the dangers of the environment are too great and they are kept indoors. RTAs are a common cause of serious injury or death in cats.
What can we do to reduce the risk of our cat being in an accident on the road?

Neuter your cat. Unneutered (entire) cats, especially males, are more likely to roam for large distances and may cross roads, putting themselves in danger. They are also more likely to be involved in fights with other cats, which brings additional health risks.
Keeping cats indoors at night. Most RTAs occur at night (fights with other cats and wildlife are also more likely at night).
Using reflective cat collars. Always ensure a collar is ‘quick release’.
Keeping your cat in the garden. This can be achieved by using types of fencing. Owners should play with their cats to make sure they get enough exercise and  stimulation. 
Walking a cat on a harness and lead. Reward based training to accept the harness in kittenhood is easiest.
Keeping a cat indoors only. In some parts of the world the majority of cats are kept indoors. Indoor cats need extra attention to meet their exercise and stimulation needs. Alternatives for outdoor activities must be sought indoors and owners need to think carefully whether they have the time and ability to provide these.


We all want to prevent RTAs and keep our cats happy and healthy. Every cat is different and there are pros and cons of all the solutions discussed in this article.
For more info, call us at Corinium 01285 653008 or e-mail

Ciren Belles

Ciren Belles
Ciren Belles, the recently-launched women's group in the town, welcomed their first speaker at their January meeting.  Hannah Maundrell, Editor in Chief of which is based at The Castle at Cecily Hill, was truly inspiring. She told how a book about saying yes to the opportunities that come our way prompted her to apply for the job that lead her to Cirencester and a successful career in price comparisons and money advice. 
Getting some money saving tips, Ciren Belles.

Engaging and warm, Hannah's story of making the most of life, even when something  feels daunting and out of your comfort zone, has lead her where she is now - overseeing all of's editorial, content and communications, and make regular appearances in  the national media.   Much of what Hannah said really resonated with the ladies there – and she even gave us a few welcome money-saving tips, as well.
We really look forward to our next speaker on February 16, who is Corinne Lamus, Chair of Abbey 900.  Corinne will be telling us about why celebrating the founding of the Augustinian Abbey nice centuries ago matters to Cirencester today, and what has motivated her to be such a key part of the year-long festival in the town.

Ciren Belles is open women of all ages and backgrounds in Cirencester.  It is a chance to get together once a month to meet with each other, grow friendships and hear speakers or enjoy informal social events.  Meetings are every third
 Thursday upstairs at Somewhere Else, with a 7.30 for 8pm start.  For further information, contact Rev Katie Richardson ( or Vikki O’Keeffe ( or ring 01285 650317.
Located in Cricklade St


Money Worries – Claiming Benefits – Disputes at Work
Housing – Divorce and Separation – Complaints about Shops and Services- Other Services

Make A Difference with Cotswold Citizens Advice

Local charity, Citizens Advice Stroud & Cotswold Districts is calling for new recruits to join its reception team in Cirencester to help make a difference in their local community.

Last year the local charity which relies on volunteers helped over 2,300 Cotswold households resolve over 6,000 problems. The most common enquiries are about money, benefits and tax credits,
housing, relationship breakdown and employment. 

Chief Officer, Sally Pickering said: ‘Our advice service in the Cotswolds simply couldn’t function without the time and dedication of our volunteers. Our volunteers are our most valuable asset, and they get a lot out of working with us too. The receptionists are a vital part of making our team work and if you are think you might want to move on into an advising role, this role is also a very good starting point within our team.

Volunteer receptionists in Cirencester need to be able to spare 5 hours a week.

If you would like more information about volunteering for our team, contact Mandy by email

FEBRUARY by Virginia Stourton, Rekindle

FEBRUARY by Virginia Stourton, Rekindle for networking in Cirencester!

What’s to say about February?

2017 does not give us a Leap Year but of course there is Valentine’s Day. So who is going to be your Valentine?

I expect some of you will say ‘have been there and done that’ some will say it with joy and some with disappointment.

Valentine’s Day is actually the Feast of two Saints of the same name who were martyred in Rome in c270

There is no connection to the way we celebrate except perhaps the expression Eat your Heart out (my interpretation!)

So what do I want from February and indeed 2017?

I am not banking on someone sending me their heart and although sometimes in business one can feel a bit of a martyr I am not letting that dash my hopes either.

I think what I want is to succeed at something enduring.

In a hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank balance was. The sort of house I lived in or the kind of car I drove, but the world maybe a different place because I left a business for a future generation or I was important in the life of a child.

So with that in mind I shall endeavour to:

Work diligently.

Win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children.

Earn the approbation of honest critics.

Endure the betrayal of false friends.

Find the best in others.

Give of myself.

Leave the world a better place whether by a healthy child, a garden path or a good business.

Play and laugh with enthusiasm.

Sing with exultation because the world is, despite everything, still a wondrous place of opportunities.

If I can do justice to my aims then this I will call To Succeed.

Creation of a decked parking site in Cirencester reaches critical milestone.

Members of Cotswold District Council’s Parking Demand Project Board have agreed unanimously to seek funding from the Cabinet and Council for decked parking at the current location of the Waterloo Car Park in Cirencester. 
The Board, which was established to find parking solutions for Cirencester, met on 12 January and agreed that sufficient progress had been made to support a detailed business case and funding request for decked parking at the site.
Commenting on the decision, the Board Chairman Cllr Mark Harris, said:
“We have now reached the point where we can provide an overwhelming case for this proposal, so we believe that the time is right to apply formally for the funding which will enable us to move forward with the procurement stage and also engage the services of an architect. 
“This landmark development would signal a significant step forward for Cirencester’s future prosperity, but we are also aware that there are a range of sensitivities that must be addressed.  For this reason, we will continue to consult with local stakeholders, and also residents in the vicinity of the site, to achieve the most sympathetic solutions regarding the look, feel and impact of the site.”
The Cabinet Member tasked with oversight of the Board, Cllr Mark MacKenzie-Charrington, added:
“We are pressing to gain the approval of the Council for this project as soon as possible, and I am confident that we can then move as quickly as possible to deliver a new car parkwhich will contribute to meeting present and future demand for parking spaces in the town. We are aware that people want us to get on with this work and I can assure everyone that the Board is fully committed to this aim.”
His views were echoed by Cabinet Member for Enterprise and Partnerships, Cllr Chris Hancock, who is responsible for car parking and enforcement across the District:
“I am very pleased that we are now at the ‘light the blue touch paper’ stage of this project.  Providing a decked car park at the Waterloo is just one of many options we are exploring to ease demand for parking in the town.  These include: developing other car parking sites; establishing park and ride schemes; creating decant arrangements while existing spaces are out of commission during construction work; and encouraging the public to use healthy transport options such as walking and cycling.”
For more information about the Cirencester Parking Demand Project please go to the CDC website.
Free after three parking to continue until the end of March
"During the winter months of 2016 many retail businesses welcomed the boost in footfall. We will ensure that signs are in place to stress that parking is free at the selected car parks AFTER 3pm. Anyone who pays inadvertently after 3pm will be reimbursed providing they contact our parking team at"

Monday, 13 February 2017

Are you Fearless & Negative? Or Fearless & Positive?


We can all easily fall into the vicious cycle of negative thinking, which can affect us on so many levels. This trap of focusing on the negative leaves us feeling tired, overwrought, with a sense of being out of control and finally interferes with out sleep patterns. In effect it is the cycle of anxiety!

It starts with a trigger, followed by our thoughts, then emotions and finally our behaviour. By working collaboratively we find the triggers, and evaluate your response. These triggers create negative or unhelpful thoughts which become negative emotions, and then your behaviour changes and begins impacting on your life.

Change or behaviour can include factors like becoming withdrawn, agruing with your partner, excessively drinking alcohol, or becoming aggressive or irritable. These behaviours have a massive impact on your health!

How does your body react to stress or anxiety? Do your muscles ache? Sweat profusely? Get headaches? Shake uncontrollably? Or do you get lethargic, tired and have no energy? The long term impact on these physical symptoms can have a long term negative effect.

In order to break the cycle, first recognise and acknowledge that you are in the cycle, second admit to yourself that you do need help and are ready and willing to make changes. Changing the way we think may sound hard however it is the one thing that we do have control over! Some call it positive thinking- I call it a "reframe"!! My coaching helps you make these changes by:

First I teach you some simple tools to help you regain control of your thoughts and emotions. Next we look at what causes the triggers and look at any other issues that lie underneath the surface and deal with those and then with...

To help give you clarity of mind, we look at what is important to you in your life and how it is shaping up, learning something about yourself along the way. Next building a more "resilient you" to ensure that you can deal with any future triggers before they become an issue for you. Finally build a compelling future looking at how and where you would like to take your life moving forward.



17th February

At Cirencester Chiropractic Centre
Tetbury Road, Cirencester, GL7 6PY
*Subject to availability

Tel: 07964 290933

Geoff Carr Garden Designs, Corinium Ales and New Brewery Arts Share a Festival Hare

L-R: Geoff Carr, artist Stephanie Cole, NBA manager Tracey Burgoyne and
Corinium Ales' Lucy Cordrey.
Two small independent local businesses have joined forces with the New Brewery Arts to sponsor one of the large festival hares. The hare, yet to be given a name, is part of the 2017 Cotswold Hare Trail, seemingly a natural extension of the original Cirencester Hare Festival.

This inevitable spread of model hares throughout the Cotswolds is the latest brainchild from the award winning Hare Festival's founder and director, Florence Beetlestone, who launched the first in Cirencester in early 2014, three years ago.

The New Brewery Arts, Corinium Ales and Geoffrey Carr Garden Design decided to jointly sponsor one of the hares because of the common theme of hops that's shared by both brewing and horticulture.

Stephanie's beautiful hand painted illustrations depict the heritage of New Brewery Arts, the paraphernalia of brewing and the use of horticulture in the ale brewing business.

All-in-all a perfect combination of businesses to be represented together in a partnership whose ethos, quality and values reflect those of the much loved Cotswolds Hare Trail.

Hectic Year Ahead for Corinium Radio

Corinium Radio Chair Caroyle with artist
Laurie. The painting is now displayed
at the CDC offices.
Hectic Year Ahead for Corinium Radio
No sooner did the door close on Corinium Radio’s busiest year ever than another opened on an equally hectic twelve months to come. Now the busy bees who volunteer to keep Cirencester’s own community radio station up and running are getting in gear to match the challenge. 

The radio station has only recently launched a number of new programmes but there are even more in the pipeline. Corinium Radio is going on a health kick this New Year, no doubt just like many of its listeners.

Coming up is a new monthly programme called Word on Health, which will get to grips with important current health issues such as obesity and sexual health matters. Not only that but there is also another new programme coming along aimed at helping us stay fit.
It’s being put together by Mac from Cirencester’s Elite Health and Fitness and is sure to keep you on your toes. Another chapter in Corinium Radio’s year is an adaptation of a new work from local author Simon May. Simon has published the second book in his Siege of the Hares Series and Corinium Radio hopes to bring it to listeners later in the year.
In addition we have new recruits to find and train, some of them with very specific skills. Plus the station is heavily involved in a whole host of community projects. Corinium Radio is proud to be a media partner of the Cirencester Abbey 900 project.  It’s also supporting the Hare Festival and backing Cirencester garden designer Geoff Carr as he grows his Front Garden Competition from last year into something blooming amazing.

So there’s lots to look forward to. But let’s look back for a moment at a news story Corinium Radio was recently involved with. The station has played a leading role in bringing a work of art to the public of Cirencester. The artwork in question was a painting by Cirencester artist Laurie Plant.
Laurie was the first creative in residence appointed by Corinium Radio after the station was named ‘Creatives Champion’ in last year’s Cirencester Chamber of Commerce business awards.
Laurie donated the painting to Corinium Radio to be auctioned to raise funds for the station. The buyer wanted to remain anonymous but also expressed a wish for the painting to go on public display.
So the local radio station was asked to try and find it a suitable home.
Councillor David Fowles of Cotswold District Council suggested that it could be displayed in the Council Chamber in Cirencester.
A handover ceremony took place recently at which Councillor Mark Annett chairman of the council, said, “We are honoured to display this painting by one of our most talented local artists and we believe that many members of the public will now be able to see it and appreciate its beauty.”

So you can see there’s never a dull moment.  If you would like to get involved contact Carole Boydell on 07776 144033

Gardening in Cirencester: Edible Ornamentals by Geoff Carr

Edible Ornamental Plants
by Geoff Carr
If you want to try a different approach to growing veg and don’t want to settle for plain old greens you can give your veg garden some colour and style. The following list of edible ornamental plants will look and taste great.

Red Russian Kale
Brassica oleracea 'Red Russian’
This relative of cabbages, broccoli, swede, cauliflower and sprouts has velvety, greyish-green, 2- to 3-foot-tall leaves with purple stems. They look a lot like huge, ruffled oak leaves, darkening to purple after a frost as well as turning sweeter in flavour. Direct-sow four to five weeks before the last frost and continue to sow seeds every couple of weeks to produce a continuous harvest. You also can sow them in summer and harvest in autumn.
There are lots of tempting Red Russian Kale recipes to be found on-line, just type ‘Red Russian Kale’ into a search engine.

Cherokee Chocolate Tomato
Lycopersicon esculentum 'Cherokee Chocolate’
These red-and-brown tomatoes, named for their chocolate colour, grow up to 4 inches wide and weigh in anywhere from 10 ounces to a pound. Their firm, juicy, tart-sweet flesh is great for slicing. Start seeds indoors six to eight weeks before the last frost date; plant transplants outdoors after the last frost.

Papaya Pear Squash
Cucurbita pepo 'Papaya Pear’
This plant produces pear-shaped, yellow squash on semi-bushy plants throughout the growing season. Pick the squash when they measure 3 inches long and wide to encourage plants to set more squash. Direct-sow after the last frost.

Ornamental Strawberry
Fragaria x ananassa 'Pink Panda’
This sprawling ground cover bears bright-pink flowers and an occasional crop of edible berries. Evergreen to semi-evergreen plants grow 5 inches high and spread to 24 inches wide. Sold in small pots rather than as seeds, they can be planted in sunny to partly shady sites. Plants can be trained to trail from window boxes and hanging baskets. The flowers retain their strawberry fragrance as well as a milder strawberry flavour. Float petals in drinks, add to salads or add to desserts for decoration.

*  ‘Bright Lights’ Swiss Chard
Beta vulgaris subsp. cicla var. flavescens 'Bright Lights’
This exciting RHS AGM Swiss Chard, produces a rainbow of coloured stems that are crowned with large leaves of green or bronze. The flavour is deliciously mild and packed with nutritional content. Swiss Chard 'Bright Lights' can be harvested from mid-summer to late autumn, and if soils are not excessively wet, overwinter, it will re-emerge to give an unbelievably early spring crop! Guaranteed lo brighten the vegetable patch, or why not grow this colourful Swiss chard in ornamental borders or in a patio container?

Gretel Eggplant
Solanum melongena 'Gretel’
This plant produces clusters of white eggplants on 3-foot-high plants. Harvest the mild-flavoured fruits when they're 3 to 4 inches long. Start seeds indoors eight to nine weeks before planting outdoors. Eggplants are susceptible to cold, so don't plant outdoors until the soil is warm and there's no more danger of frost. Indeed, eggplants benefit from being cosseted with warmth all through their lives including watering seedlings with luke-warm water.

Purple Ruffles Basil
Ocimum basilicum 'Purple Ruffles’
Sporting frilly, flavourful purple leaves, this herb grows about 18 inches high and wide and is a good choice for containers, to edge vegetable gardens or to mix in a sunny perennial or annual ­border. Start seeds early indoors; basil is very cold-tender, so wait until after the last frost to put plants (or direct-sow seed) in the garden. The colourful leaves are full of flavour, strongly aromatic when crushed and are especially fine for herb vinegars, for garnishing or for throwing onto the bbq.

Freckles Lettuce
Lactuca sativa 'Freckles’
This lettuce features bright-green leaves splashed with crimson speckles. Crisp, buttery-flavoured leaves grow 6 to 12 inches high but can be harvested as baby leaves, too. A cool-weather veggie, its seeds and transplants can be placed in gardens as soon as soil is workable in early spring. Start seeds indoors four weeks before transplanting outside. Sow seeds every two weeks through summer for successive harvests. High in anti-oxidants, folic acid and vitamin C.

Scarlet Runner Bean
Phaseolus coccineus
Lovely scarlet flowers on plants that can grow very tall given enough sun and watering; they attract both bees and butterflies. Plants bear 6- to 12-inch pods that hold scarlet-black beans. You can eat the tender young pods straight from the plant or cook them. Direct-sow into garden after frost.

Chilli Peppers
Compact ornamental chilli’s, growing 6 to 20 inches high and 6 to 18 inches wide, are ideal for small gardens, hanging baskets and containers. Unlike peppers, which hang beneath foliage, ornamental chilli plants produce upright clusters of fruit that face the sky. Sow seeds in fertile, well-draining soil and full-sun location about 1/4 inch deep and 1 inch apart. As fruits ripen, a single plant may sport three or four different colours from yellow to orange, red, purple or brown. Pick often; the more you harvest, the more fruit the plants will produce.

For a FREE, no obligation meetings call Geoff Carr now on 07719 896039. Visit 

Small Claims Court – easier than you think!
by Alison Fielden & Co
Each Court (the closest Courts to Cirencester are Swindon and Gloucester/Cheltenham) handles claims of a value under £10,000, being what is termed a “small claim” although this is a significant sum for most people. The “value” of a claim is the amount you seek to recover (perhaps the cost of services received or product you bought).
Before issuing a Claim in the Court, we suggest you write to the business or person you wish to claim against and clearly state that you are going to issue a County Court Claim unless you receive full payment of the sum you consider owed to you within 14 days of the date of your letter (always give a deadline).
If you do not receive payment, then prepare to issue a Claim. However, before you issue the Claim, satisfy yourself that your claim is reasonable: was the product you purchased faulty or not working as described? Were the services not of the expected standard or not what you had agreed? There are many reasons for a Court Claim however these are the common reasons.
You can issue the Claim on-line through the “Money Claim Online” website. You will pay a fee to issue the Claim, starting at £25.00 for a claim value of up to £300. When you issue the Claim, you become the “Claimant” and the person/business you issue the Claim against is the “Defendant”. The Court will issue the Claim, sending the Claim forms to the Defendant. Often receipt of the Claim forms results in the Defendant making immediate payment to you! No one wants to go to Court and receipt of a Claim forms will show the Defendant that you are serious and payment often results. Furthermore, a business does not want the publicity (through word of mouth at the very least!) that it has had a Court Claim made against it.
If the Defendant disagrees with the Claim, they might give a Defence, stating why they disagree. The Claim will then proceed to a “Final Hearing” where you and the Defendant will meet before a District Judge who will listen to both of you and make a decision. You and the Defendant can “settle” the Claim at any time before the Final Hearing (and most claims do settle without going to a Final Hearing) meaning that you reach an agreement satisfactory to both of you to end the dispute.

If you consider that you have a valid claim and you have tried to settle the matter direct with the person or business concerned, then consider issuing a Court Claim to settle the matter. If you feel you have a claim but it is worth more than £10,000, you will need to discuss such claim with us as different “rules” apply. Regardless of the value of your claim, please contact us and we will advise you as to the best way forward. We look forward to hearing from you.
For advice about Litigation Matters, please contact Andrew Stokes at Alison Fielden & Co on 01285 653261 or The Gatehouse, Dollar Street, Cirencester, GL7 2AN.