Sunday, 24 June 2018

Country Matters By the Hodge July 2018 The Need for Rare Breeds

Country Matters
By The Hodge

“…our pedigree farm livestock is just as much a part of Britain’s heritage as is her castles, her art collections or her historic churches.”
HRH The Prince of Wales, 1996 writing in The Ark

So, I got into trouble last month. Well, it’s not so unusual, it happens quite frequently. Part of life’s rich tapestry – one shrugs and move on. What else can you do?
My crime? Inducing you, dear readers, to eat rare breeds of livestock. Hang him! Flog him! Send him to the colonies!
You may recall that I discussed farm shops, real and phony, and suggested you give up the convenience of the mega-emporiums, (supermarkets to you), and shop instead for real tasty, delicious, healthy food at either of the two real farm shops, one of which specialises in rare breeds.
So what are rare breeds? Rare breeds as defined no only here in Britain but within the confines of the UN and all its members, are pedigree, native animals whose populations have fallen into decline so that they’ve become…. rare. Native? Doesn’t mean they wander about in a loincloth and with a spear in their hoof but that they were developed in this country.
But, and this was the viewpoint of the big commercial farmer back in the 1970s when such breeds were first recognised and steps began to be taken to rescue them, if they’re rare they can’t be much good can they?
There’s many reasons for their rarity. For a start, many don’t suit intensive factory farming. Stick a Gloucestershire Old Spots pig in an intensive indoor pig unit and it’ll soon turn up its trotters and snuff it.
Others are not specialist enough at what they do. Most milk is derived nowadays from mega-producing black and white Holstein cattle. The output by comparison of a rare Red Poll cow is minute so it’s fallen on the wayside despite its hardiness, the high quality of its milk and the fact that surplus male offspring make excellent beef. Specialist dairy farms just want mega-producers as it’s the only way they can survive with the stupid prices they receive for milk.
Little primitive black sheep like Hebrideans are a total anathema to a commercial shepherd with his flock of hundreds of Dutch Texel sheep with their huge rumps and rapid growth from compound feeds, but put them both on the side of a mountain where food has to be searched for and the wind and the rain blows hard and the Hebridean will be in his element and the Texel will be pushing up daisies.
And farming is a fashion industry. If Old MacDonald imports a flock of Rouge de l’Ouest sheep from France and sends his Southdowns off to market in disgust, sure as eggs is eggs, Farmer Giles next door and all his other neighbours will soon be following suit. Just like sheep.
So these rare breeds should really just be allowed to die out, shouldn’t they. They can’t hack it compared with the Limousins and the Belgian Blues (beef cattle), the Beltex and the Bleu de Maines (sheep) or the Pietrains and the Durocs (pigs) so let them go. We don’t need dodos and dinosaurs.
Or maybe we do need to conserve them after all in which case, the last thing you should be doing is telling people to go and eat them! Stupid boy!
Well, no actually. We must conserve them because they all have attributes that differ from the modern breeds big commercial farmers rely on. And we must eat them too. Many animals are, for one reason or another, not suitable to breed from. For a start, most males are surplus to the needs of the breeder. One ram can look after the needs of 30 or 40 ewes and bulls and boars are similar. If there’s no market for the surplus – i.e. if we don’t eat them – then farmers struggle to keep them. So having a healthy market for the non-breeding stock is essential for the health of any of these breeds. So go and buy the meat!
Am I forgiven? 

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Guided Bird Walk in Amphitheatre Ciren Wildlife Group

Walk through Cirencester and see it with fresh eyes.

On an uncharacteristically hot and sunny bank holiday weekend, Cirencester Wildlife Group met in the Roman Amphitheatre for a guided bird walk, hosted by Andy Lewis from the North Cotswold Ornithological Society. With temperatures predicted to reach into the low 20’s for both Friday and Saturday the conditions were perfect, and true to form our feathered friends didn’t disappoint.
Friday’s walk began with an unexpected arrival, an Australian couple who had recently arrived in the UK and were looking for somewhere to stretch their legs.
“Aye, you’ll never guess what they are!” – Upon spying Andy’s binoculars.
Strangely enough they were both keen bird spotters from Adelaide and lucky for us they must’ve packed some Aussie sunshine! After a quick trip back to the car they soon returned, binoculars in hand.
After listening to a few songs and calls, and Andy interpreting the morning chorus - “twiit, twiit” nuthatch, “teecha-teecha-teecha” great tit, “tser err-err-err” blue tit – we began our walk.
It wasn’t long before we had our first guest, a great stotted woodpecker, which was heard calling long before it was spotted “tchick…tchick…tchick”. After sitting in the tree for a few minutes, no doubt wondering what we were all staring at, accommodatingly it glided down to a nearby bird feeder so we could all get a closer look – Beautiful!
As we continued on around the amphitheatre we heard and saw many different woodland birds: blackcaps, chiffchaffs and gold crest. We also heard lots of wrens, with their characteristic trill, as well as a few different stories about the birds of Australia. Apparently their robins really do have a red breast, unlike the dusky orange of their British equivalent! But their magpies aren’t actually magpies, think that makes us even.
All kinds of birds inhabit Cirencester!
Strangely enough, for such a warm morning, we didn’t see any birds of prey – that would have to wait until the following morning.
Saturday’s walk started in the same way, the only difference being it was a little warmer and there were no antipodean additions! "pink, pink” chaffinch, “oo-OO-oo” woodpigeon and of course the, by now, unmistakable trill of the wren.
It looked like this walk would also end without any birds of prey but just as Andy was drawing things to a close a sparrow hawk circled overhead and shortly after a long tailed tit flew across in front of us carrying a feather in its beak – a lovely late flourish to end two very enjoyable walks.
Thank you to everyone who came along, we hope you enjoyed it. And thank you to Andy Lewis for volunteering his time to support the Group. If anyone is interested in receiving notifications about upcoming events please email for details.
Mel, Huw and Scott
Cirencester Wildlife Group

P.S. there’s an open invitation to attend an Adelaide Bird Society field meeting, if anyone is looking for an excuse to stretch their legs (or spread their wings)!

Friday, 15 June 2018

Minety Music Festival 2018 29th June-1st July

Minety Music Festival is now in its second year, following on from the fabulous success of 2017, when it was shortlisted in the UK Music Festival Awards ‘Best New Festival’ category.
It is a community ‘not for profit’ 3-day summer music event (run entirely by volunteers) & in 2018 aims to raise funds for the Wiltshire Air Ambulance, Combat Stress and Naomi House & Jacksplace Hospice.
Over 40 bands on 2 stages showcasing local music talent and covering a wide spectrum of music styles with plenty to do and see for the whole family.
Get in the crowd!
There will also be a range of FREE activities in the Kidzone, including slacklining, an inflatable side and assault course, bouncy castles, circus skills workshops and a mobile caving experience. Although the festival hopes for hot weather, it will be fully prepared for all eventualities!
Chesney Hawkes
The main stage will be undercover, so whatever happens, you can stay dry and enjoy a superb weekend of music. You are guaranteed excellent music, a superb wide range of food and a well stocked house bar, Gin & Prosecco Bar and Coktail Bar! Free camping means that you can really embrace the festival atmosphere!
On the “Regent Building” Main Stage
Friday 29th June: Bon Giovi Saturday 30th June: Neville Staple Band Sunday 1st July: Chesney Hawkes

Saturday, 9 June 2018

Cirencester Hypnotherapy Centre: One for the Ladies

Nicola Griffiths hypnotherapist.
One for the ladies…or is it?
I recently found myself in a situation where I absolutely knew I had to take more time for myself.  I run a busy clinic, I have my hypnotherapy clients and I lecture at two schools of hypnotherapy training.  I don’t make life easy for myself as one of those schools is in Belfast and the other in Manchester, so not exactly on my doorstep.  Oh, and that doesn’t include the new school I’m taking on in completely the opposite direction of Southampton!
So considering all this, I found myself smiling to myself as I said to a client the other day “If we run ourselves ragged, we can damage our health and our ability to concentrate.  Our focus can become foggy and we lose sight of what we want to achieve”.  Mmmm, Nicola, you might want to listen to yourself a bit more!
But then I relaxed, as I know I do look after myself in between all the work.  I take time out for things like facials and spa days.  I have regular reflexology and acupuncture which I love.  And I know that we don’t have to put everything down in order to regain that focus, you don’t have to have a week’s holiday to recharge (although I’ve nothing against that obviously).  Even 50 minutes of proper time out can do the brain one heck of a lot of good.  It allows the thought processes to calm and for clarity to emerge.
Sue Drew, the holistic beauty therapist at my clinic calls it ‘Investing in Yourself’.  She says “People get facials for different reasons, and with our busy lifestyles it is not easy to find time for yourself. However in my many years of experience in the beauty industry, without a doubt my clients who have a regular facial look younger and have a lovely complexion”.   Now if that happens, it’s certainly going to do people a power of good!
People incorrectly think of massage, whether a facial massage or a body massage, as a pamper session.  In fact massage is very beneficial for stress and various other symptomology. Even the NHS recognises it has benefits!  
I originally entitled this snippet ‘One for the Ladies’, but then I thought that was wrong.  Because in these modern times, we see more and more men coming in for facials and massages – not just because they need distressing but these days they tend to look after themselves more than they’ve ever done before.  Now there’s a nice topic for my next little article!!
Nicola runs the Cirencester Hypnotherapy & Health Centre in Dyer Street.  Their massage therapists include Sue Drew, Maggie Godden, Sally Peachey, Karen Benbow (Indian Head Massage) and Cheryl Webster. More details at:

What's on at Corinium Museum

Exhibitions and Events
Roman Soldier on a Stick
Family Drop-in
Friday 1 June, 10-11am

Create a Roman soldier on a stick inspired by the Roman army and the kit they carried.

Cost: £2.50 per child, £1.50 for members

Early Man
Family Film Friday
Friday 1 June, 11am

Set at the dawn of time, when dinosaurs and woolly mammoths roamed the earth, Early Man tells the story of how one plucky caveman unites his tribe against a mighty enemy and saves the day!

Cost: £5.60 per adult, £2.70 children
Booking recommended

‘Inside Out’
Exhibition by Anne Boning
7 June – 1 July

Artist and Sculptor, Anne Boning, presents a series of paintings exploring light, shade and colour.

The exhibition comprises a series of more than fifty small watercolour paintings.
The images are an expression of the artist’s innermost thoughts and were painted over a particular period of time.

Free entry

Discover the Archaeology of the Cotswolds
Afternoon Talk with Dr Alison Brookes
Thursday 7 June, 2.30-4pm

The Prehistory galleries of the Corinium Museums are to be transformed during the Stone Age to Corinium Project. Join Dr. Alison Brookes, Collections Development Officer, to explore how the new space will inspire and engage visitors with the archaeology of the Cotswolds.
The talk will offer the opportunity to see a selection of objects which are currently in storage including rare stone tools, the earliest pottery vessels and an array of Bronze and Iron Age metalwork. During this new series of talks Alison will reveal how the objects were discovered and what they tell us about the earliest human occupation of the Cotswolds.

Cost: £7 per adult, £6 members

Battle of the Sexes
Corinium Cinema
Thursday 14 June, 7pm

The electrifying 1973 tennis match between World number one Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) and ex-champ and Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell) was billed as the Battle of the Sexes and became the most watched televised sports event of all time.

Cost: £6.50 per adult, £5.50 concession

The Post
Rural Cinema
Saturday 23 & Sunday 24 June, 2.15pm

In June 1971 The New York Times, the Washington Post and the nation's major newspapers took a brave stand for freedom of speech and reported on the Pentagon Papers, the massive cover-up of government secrets that spanned four decades and four Presidents.

Cost: £5.60 per adult, £4.80 concession
Booking recommended

Dr Valija Evalds – What Are They Wearing?
Evening Lecture
Thursday 28 June, 7-8.30pm

What Are They Wearing? Dr. Valija Evalds explores images of cloth and clothing on medieval and renaissance artefacts in the Corinium Museum Collection. Abbot’s mitres and renaissance ruffs often look exaggerated to the modern eye, as do the shapes of medieval and renaissance bodies. And why would a merchant like John Coxwell wear so much black? Dr Evalds asks what the artists meant to convey when they depicted garments, and what the contemporary audience understood when they saw it.

Valija Evalds has a PhD in art history from Yale University. She has lectured in medieval art history, the history of costume and textiles, the development of illustrated children's books and the history of the home. She has published articles on medieval sculpture and the history of dress. 

Cost: £7 per adult, £6 members
Booking recommended

Please contact us if you would like any further details or images for any of the events that we are holding.

Cirencester Open Air Pool in 148th Year!

No reason not to enjoy the open air pool!

Cirencester Open Air Swimming Pool opens for its 148th Year

Fingers crossed for a gloriously sunny summer in the Cotswolds this year as Cirencester Open Air Swimming Pool gets ready to open its doors for its 2018 season on the 24th May.

The 28 metre pool is now reaching its 148th year and offers swimmers of all ages a chance to swim in natural spring water heated to 27°C. The facility also includes a tuck shop serving a number of hot and cold refreshments, a sunbathing patio area and a smaller paddling pool for children. 

It has been run by a community of lovely and enthusiastic volunteers for a number of years now and they have been working hard ready for the grand opening on the 24th May

This year will see the return of two of the open air pool’s most popular events, the 24 hour charity swim on the 1st - 2nd of September to raise money for the pool and Splash day, a big themed party with burgers and fun activities taking place thorough-out the day – keep an eye on the COASP website for the date.

The pool will also be hosting a Summer Solstice swim on the 21st June at 4:30 am until 6:30am for early risers and two night swims from 10pm to midnight on the 30th June and 4th August for night owls. 

There will be a weekly youth evening every Friday up to 21st July from 7 - 8:30pm for children aged 10 - 17 to enjoy a swim and a splash with their friends.

There will also be parent and toddler sessions available from 10am – 11am during term time including free tea and coffee.

Season tickets will be available to purchase from the pool for: 

Adults £85
Child / Students £50 
Concession £60
Family (2+2) £180
1A & 2C £150 / 1A & 1C £120
(3rd & extra child £30 each) 

Be sure to get yours early to make the most of your summer at the pool.

Thanks to our lovely heated spring water, swimming feels great no matter the weather!

The open air pool will be available for party bookings once again this year on Tuesdays, Thursdays (7 - 9pm) or on Saturday and Sunday (6 - 9pm). Fridays (7 -9pm) available during school holidays. Make sure to book early to get your first choice of date for that special event.

More information can be found online at or call the pool on 01285 653947 from 24th May.  The Pool can also be contacted via facebook

Scores of People Descend on Bathurst Estate in Mass Trespass calling for Land Justice

Protesting on the estate
On Sunday April 22nd about 75 protesters travelled to the Bathurst Estate in Cirencester to participate in a mass trespass, calling for land Justice.

Organised by groups including RisingUp and the Land Justice Network the protest included speeches, songs and a marching band. The protesters marched down the main avenue into the estate and then went to a field marked private and climbed the fence to encircle a tree on the land. A banner also appeared over the main road leading into Cirencester saying “No Justice Without Land Justice”. Lord Bathurst and some of his family and wardens watched the peaceful protests unfold.

The organisers said that Land is an essential resource that our society, culture and economy depend uponHowever, land ownership in Britain is still one of the most unequal in the world. 0.6% of the population owns 69% of the land. More than a third is still owned by the aristocracy whose ancestors seized it during the Norman Conquest and through the use of land trusts they are avoiding paying inheritance tax while maintaining the concentration of ownership to this day. During the enclosures our ancestors were violently thrown off the land and much of our current common land is being privatised.

RisingUp, who helped organise the action, claim that peaceful civil disobedience is an essential tool in changing things for the better. Mass trespasses have achieved successes in the past, such as at Kinder Scout, which helped to provide bring about the right to roam.

The Land Justice Network had called a week of action from April 14th to 22nd to highlight issues of land injustice calling for land rights.

Simon Bramwell, from Rising Up! In Stroud, said “It's especially relevant to undertake a civil disobedience on the Bathurst Estate, much of which is owned offshore while the owner receives vast subsidies from taxpayers. Some of the land is being sold off for mostly unaffordable housing.”

Katharine Hallewell of the Land Justice Network added “Everything flows from the land, our well being, our freedom and our equality. We are still living under a system of landownership handed down from the Norman conquests.” 

Bingham Gallery Made in Cirencester Exhibitition

Art over 200 years

Cirencester Artists - 200 Years of Art Made in Cirencester
This new exhibition, from the collections of the Bingham Library Trust, looks at the work of Cirencester artists who have lived and worked in the town over the last 200 years. It includes some of the very earliest depictions of Cirencester - painted by John Burden and John Evans - both drawing masters.
The exhibition also excitingly presents some works by lesser-known, and rarely displayed, artists in the collection. These include both art-school trained and amateur artists working in the town: the Gibbons family of three brothers who all trained at Cirencester School of Art in the 1860s and 1870s and from the 20th century the Flexen family of painters.
Stunning new acquisitions to the collection will also be on display: a work by 20th century painter Anthony Klitz, known for his often red-clothed figures painted against a misty atmospheric backdrop; a contemporary painting by local artist Tracey Elphick; as well as a large watercolour of the Market Square, dated 1794.
The Trust is also inviting visitors to the exhibition to have their say by adding details of other Cirencester artists.
Shepherds Place, Gloucester Street, Cirencester 1914
by Frank Gibbons
The exhibition is free to visit and will be open on the following times:
Open: alternate Saturdays 26 May – 6 October, 2018, 10.00 to 2.00 (9 & 23 June, 14 & 28 July, 11 & 25 August, 8 & 22 September) and 5 - 7 Sept 11.00 to 4.00 for Heritage Open Days
Bingham Gallery
Bingham House
1 Dyer Street
01285 655646

Alison Fielden & Co: What is No Fault Divorce

No Fault Divorce – The Future of Divorce Law?
Our divorce law is now over 50 years old.  Couples seeking a divorce in England and Wales must either spend a minimum of two years separated or one must blame the other for the marriage breakdown, citing adultery or unreasonable behaviour. Even if both partners mutually agree the relationship is over, they still must apportion blame if they wish to waive the two year waiting period.
In 2015 60% of divorces in England and Wales were granted on adultery or unreasonable behaviour. By contrast in Scotland where divorce is different, this percentage was only 6%.
Divorce and separation is often a time of conflict and distress. There are a lot of potential crises and issues to resolve for couples even where they have mutually agreed that their marriage is over, and many working in Family Law believe that the present divorce law can create further conflict, and can make reaching agreement about arrangements for the children and financial matters more difficult.
The Law Society’s Family Law Protocol encourages Solicitors drafting divorce petitions based on unreasonable behaviour to include brief particulars that are sufficient to satisfy the Court.  When drafting the particulars, the Family Procedure Rules 2010 provide that they must evidence the Applicant is entitled to a divorce but should be as concise as possible. As part of the Protocol, Solicitors are also asked to provide the other party with a draft copy of the petition wherever possible, with a view to agreeing the allegations of behaviour and minimising any conflict between the parties.  Even where that does occur, there can still be a feeling of unfairness by one party.
On the 17th March 2018 the Supreme Court heard an appeal by a Mrs Owens against the refusal of a Judge to grant her a divorce on the basis of the unreasonable behaviour of her husband.  The couple had been married for nearly 40 years and it was Mrs Owens’ position that she had been left feeling ‘unloved, isolated and alone’.  She stated that she had moved into rented accommodation in early 2015 and that she and Mr Owens had been living separate and apart since then and had lived separate lives under the same roof for many years previously. The Judge dealing with the case ruled against Mrs Owens, concluding that her allegations were ‘of the kind to be expected in marriage’. The Court of Appeal dismissed her appeal, acknowledging that their ruling left her ‘trapped in a loveless marriage’. Explaining the ruling, Sir James Munby, President of the Family Division, hearing the appeal, said ‘ It is not a ground for divorce if you find yourself in a wretchedly unhappy marriage – people may say it should be’.
The above case has led to concerns about the drafting of Divorce Petitions based on unreasonable behaviour, and the need to ensure that the particulars are sufficient to satisfy a Court.
Resolution, the organisation who represent many Solicitors practising in Family Law in England and Wales have proposed a new divorce procedure where one or both partners can give notice that their marriage has broken down irretrievably. The divorce could then proceed and after a period of six months, if either or both parties still thought they were making the right decision, the divorce would be finalised.
The decision of the Supreme Court in the Owens case is awaited, and whether the publicity surrounding the case leads to Parliament amending the law remains to be seen.
For advice about family law matters, please contact Steven Barratt or Heather Weavill at Alison Fielden & Co on 01285 653261,

Thursday, 7 June 2018

Pet Talk with Corinium Vets June 18

How are your dog's ears?
Grass seeds in dogs

Injuries caused by grass seeds are an extremely common seasonal problem in the summer months. Breeds with hairy ears and hairy feet are more at risk.  Keeping the hair short and avoiding walks in long grass may help preventing this problem.  Grass seeds have a unique design. Dry Foxtail grass seeds resemble tiny arrowheads. This enables them to attach themselves easily to an animal's fur and burrow into the skin.

The two most common places where grass seeds enter a dog’s body are the foot and the ear. Grass seeds commonly attach to the surrounding soft feathery fur between the toes, before penetrating the skin and burrowing deeper into the highly sensitive tissues of the foot resulting in extreme pain, discomfort, infection and sudden onset (acute) lameness.

In the ear, their unique shape allows the grass seed to work its way down the ear canal, where they generally come to rest right up against the delicate ear drum.

How can I tell that my dog has been affected by grass seeds?

Your dog may shake its head and vigorously lick its paws. They may also look uncomfortable, lethargic and in pain. If you notice any of the above signs - then call your vet straightaway for the most successful treatment outcomes.

What treatment is available for dogs that have been affected by grass seeds?

Your vet may try looking for the grass seed with a specially designed pair of tweezers. Grass seeds are made from vegetable matter and they are invisible on x-ray (unlike bone or metal) so their exact location within the paw is usually a mystery.

Your vet will need to examine the ear canal if a grass seed is suspected there. Most dogs need sedation or general anesthetic as they are in too much pain to allow examination and safe removal.

Corinium Radio June 18: Fleece Fayre

Corinium Radio Volunteers Flock to the Fleece Fayre
Volunteers at Corinium Radio enjoy spinning a good yarn or two so they were never going to be sheepish about covering Cirencester’s annual Fleece Fayre.

We had a team of reporters out and about on May 7th to capture the event and one of the station’s long-standing volunteers, Cameron MacGregor, was the official MC.

A whole flock of helpers offered their services in a variety of ways and the result was an in-depth programme, including music, telling the story of this fun-filled community festival.

The sun got his hat on and residents and visitors alike turned out in their droves to enjoy a host of activities aimed at pleasing all ages.

Cirencester’s own community radio station interviewed the trio of VIP openers as well as many other personalities who helped make the day the success it was.

Our Fleece Fayre Special will have been broadcast by the time you read this but you can catch it on our listen again facility. Just visit and enjoy the day.

Station spokesman Tony Coleman said, “It was a brilliant day in every way. The weather was great and the community spirit couldn’t have been better.”

As you read this the station will have already held a very special event at which we hosted a visit by Dame Janet Trotter, the Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire, to our studio.

Added Tony, “At the time of writing we were putting the final touches to this very special day. We’ll bring you up-to-date with all that went on in the near future.
Meanwhile if you feel you would like to be part of our ‘family’ here at Corinium Radio just ring Carole Boydell on 07776 144033 and find out what we’re all about.

Country Matters by the Hodge June 2018 Farm Shops

Do you buy from the farm shops?
“"When I wear a pair of Armani trousers
they do not become part of me.
But when I eat a slice of ham it does.
That’s why I spend money on food.”

Carlo Petrini, President of Slow Food

So, what is a farm shop? It’s obviously not a supermarket. Nor is it a butchery where cuts and joints of meat are bought in and resold after refining and processing. A farm shop is associated with a farm and logically sells the produce of that farm. That’s straightforward then.

Except of course when a butchery decides to jump on the bandwagon and call their new enterprise a farm shop even though there is no connection with a farm, so we’ll ignore that one for now!

There are two real farm shops in the area around Cirencester competing with a huge number of supermarkets, convenience stores and specialist butchers and greengrocers. This means that you, the consumer, have a wide choice of produce based on price, quality and variety.

Most choose to go to the supermarkets for convenience and cheapness. When it’s cheap and convenient, it’s unlikely to be high quality. Take meat. We all love to think of farm animals enjoying the good life with space and freedom, companionship and warm shelter; the sort of thing you see week in, week out on BBC 1’s Countryfile. But I’m afraid you’re deluding yourself if you think this is the environment supermarkets source from. Their suppliers are mainly large scale, super-efficient, industrial type units that farm intensively – they are the only sort that can survive the meagre prices paid by their supersize customers.

Convenience stores source from the same well. They are supplied by huge wholesalers – the largest just having been taken over by Tesco – so you shouldn’t expect much difference there.

Some butchers will try and differentiate themselves by buying locally but most will just source whatever their wholesalers offer so that then brings us to the two specialist farm shops.

Abbey Home Farm Shop and The Butts Farm Shop both sell their own produce. The former is an organic farm and you can see their stock in the surrounding fields. The Butts Farm specialises in native rare breeds and their conservation and is open to the public throughout the summer months.

Judy Hancox runs both The Butts Farm and the farm shop. She is passionate about everything associated with the farm but especially the animals. Whenever a visitor expresses concern that the lambs they have just bottle fed will end up on the butcher’s slab, she responds immediately that she is much happier cooking and eating something she knows has had a good life from birth rather than an anonymous piece of meat with no provenance and probably no quality of life from the mass market. If an animal is kept for meat, we owe it to that animal to eat every part of it and not waste an ounce of it. Thus stock from the farm goes to a local abattoir and is delivered back as a carcase and then carefully butchered. Those parts that are not sold as fresh or cured meats are converted into sausages, burgers, pies etc., all of the highest quality. Food miles are as low as they could ever be.

Of course you will pay more for the experience. Buying produce from a supermarket is like buying the cheapest, most basic east European car that smokes and rattles and shakes as it plods along. Going to one of the two genuine farm shops is opening you up to the sleekest, fastest Italian supercars. But it’s not just for the ultra-rich – the price difference isn’t that great. Wouldn’t you rather pay a bit more, see openly how the animals are kept, how comfortable they are, how naturally they live with their cohorts - than save a few pounds buying anonymous produce, not always from this country – or continent even! – whose likely miserable existence is hidden away so that no one can know how they were produced?

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Alison Fielden & Co: Mailing lists and GDPR

GDPR: What Do We Need To Know?


Advances in electronic data systems have come at the price of heightened risks for data security. There have been some widely publicised cases where personal data has not been sufficiently safeguarded. Talk Talk recently lost the data of 150,000 customers, including the sensitive financial information of 15,000 of them. An employee of Morrisons recently stole the personal data of 100,000 of Morrisons’ employees. There has been an alarming increase in cyber fraud, malware and ransomware.

Most countries have taken steps to safeguard personal data. The GDPR is a piece of direct legislation from the EU which is already part of English law and comes into effect on 25th May 2018.

Some provisions, including the definition of personal data, are much the same as in the 1998 Data Protection Act, but there are some new definitions and provisions.

What do we need to know as data subjects?

As individuals we are entitled to expect the six principles set out in Article 5 of the GDPR to be adhered to by anyone who processes our data. These provide that personal data shall be:

a) Processed lawfully, fairly and transparently

b) Collected for specified, explicit and legitimate purposes

c) Adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary in relation to the purposes for which they are processed

d) Accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date

e) Kept in a form which permits identification of data subjects for no longer than is necessary for the purposes for which the data are processed

f) Processed in a manner that ensures appropriate security of the data

As data subjects, we have the following rights (subject to certain conditions):

a) Right of access to personal data.

b) Right to rectification of incorrect or incomplete data.

c) Right to erasure (right to be forgotten).

d) Right to restriction of processing.

e) Right to data portability i.e. the right to receive the personal data which has been provided in a structured, commonly used and machine readable format, and transmit those data to another data controller.

f) Right to object to the processing of personal data.

What do we need to know as data processors?

Anyone who processes data, not just data controllers can be liable for a breach. In the Morrisons case mentioned above, the employee who stole the data was liable as well as Morrisons themselves.

As data processors we need to be aware of the principles mentioned above and also the bases on which we are permitted to process personal data. There are six lawful general bases of data processing, as well as some specific ones. These are:

a) Consent – this must be “opt-in” rather than “opt-out”.

b) Contract

c) Legal obligation

d) Vital interests of data subject or a third party.

e) Processing is necessary for the performance of a task carried out the public interest.

f) The processing is necessary for the purposes of legitimate interests pursued by the data controller or a third party.

As data processors/controllers we will need to consider the use of a Privacy Notice to individual data subjects, setting out the purpose for which their data will be processed and the legal basis on which this is done. It is advisable to have these in place by 25th May 2018.

Penalties under the GDPR are much heavier than under the Data Protection Act 1998. If there is a breach of data security, we must now report this to the ICO and the data subject within 72 hours.

For more information, the ICO website ( is strongly recommended. There are some very useful and readable guides and a simple ten step procedure.

Alternatively, please feel free to contact Alison Fielden at Alison Fielden & Co, The Gatehouse, Dollar Street, Cirencester, Glos, GL7 2AN on 01285 653261 or

Saturday, 2 June 2018

Cirencester Hypnotherapy & Health Centre: The Tide is Turning

Nicola Griffiths, hypnotherapist 

The Tide is Turning by Nicola Griffith
A few years ago I took myself off to a ‘serviced apartment’ for a couple of days as I had to finish some significant work that wasn’t getting done with all the distractions of home and the clinic I run. Someone had suggested that if you get writer’s block, then it’s good to put yourself into a different place – so I did.  On arriving at this lovely place, overlooking the sea, I walked in thinking to myself “Nicola Griffiths, you have arrived” with a big grin over my face.  It was rather nice.
The next day, at approximately 7.42am, I was stood daydreaming looking out at the sea trying to get inspiration on what to write.  I was stood there a good 5-10 minutes when I noticed that a rock had become visible on the shore line.  I’d noticed the tide was coming in when I first stood watching and during my daydream state the tide had turned. 
Nothing unusual in that I hear you say.  I agree.  But it brought something home to me.  In that 10 minute space of time, the little waves had started retreating rather than coming higher up the shore – a small change.  Yet as I looked out over that vast ocean, it struck me that the whole ocean was now moving in a different direction.  And that’s one heck of a lot of water to start shifting in the opposite direction!
When working with hypnotherapy clients, you’ll hear us say “It’s the small steps that count”.  The small steps lead to big changes.  But do we take notice of the small changes?  I suspect the answer may be no!  Yet the small changes signal a potential big change around the corner, in the same way the small waves aren’t lapping quite so far up the beach is signalling a whole ocean is changing direction.  Can we see that ocean moving? No.  Not all changes are visible immediately.
So if you want to change something about yourself, don’t look at the whole big picture expecting it to change overnight. Certainly you need to have a goal or know how you want to be and then look at the first individual step you can make towards that change.  It might be to pick up the phone to our lovely clinic or maybe email us to ask if we can help.
I once worked with a client who climbed Everest.  I remember them saying they looked down at their boots when on a vertical incline, in the pitch black of the early hours of the morning, and thought of my words “Just one small step”. So they took the next small step. That client went on to reach the summit of a rather large mountain, so don’t ever let the size of a problem put you off. 

Vets4Pets: The Importance of Puppy Parties

Socialise Your Puppy with Vets4Pets!

Veterinary Nurse Lydia Chappell RVN talks to the Cirencester Scene about the importance of socialisation for puppies.
At Vets4Pets Cirencester we encourage owners to bring along their puppies to one of our puppy parties.   Socialisation at young age is crucial for puppies to grow into happy, well behaved dogs.
As Lydia says “It is very important for your puppy to learn social skills in their early stages of life with positive experiences.   Doing this in a safe and controlled way at a puppy party maximises a puppy’s chance of successful interaction with other dogs.
This helps prepare your puppy for the big wide world where they will meet other dogs and people."
At Vets4Pets Cirencester, we are proud to offer our own puppy classes and talks, tailored to meet all basic training needs for you and your new addition!
Get in touch for more information!
Our training sessions are based upon positive reinforcement, with lots of rewards and praise, covering a range of commands, loose lead walking, clicker training, and much more. Your puppy will play and socialise in a controlled environment, with classes kept to a maximum of 5 puppies aged between 10-20 weeks.
Places are limited, so call now to reserve your place at our next puppy party on 01285 886360 or find our event on Facebook at