Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Sam and Kelly Keen to Take Over the Golden Farm

The well loved Golden Farm

Sam and Kelly are Keeping Music Live at the Vaults
by Carlo Vuolo, photos by John Spreadbury

Sam and Kelly Keen

Popular Cirencester couple, Sam and Kelly Keen, will take over The Golden Farm pub from Andy and Manda Brown on the 1st November.

While Kelly concentrates on their two Cricklade Street businesses, The Old CafĂ© and Everlasting Impressions, Sam, who also runs a security company, will become landlord of the pub. The couple are very excited about this new venture although they admit that, whilst it was always a long-term plan, the Browns’ decision back in April to retire from the pub much sooner, took them by surprise. However, after a hectic few months of preparation, the couple are now ready to rise to the new challenge.

Sam and Kelly have some very exciting ideas for The Golden Farm, although to start with they don’t plan any major changes except to have longer opening hours on Sundays giving more opportunity for customers to enjoy Sunday lunch. There will also be food served from Wednesday to Saturday with a keenly priced menu, featuring steaks, curries, basket meals and vegetarian dishes.

Living and working in the heart of the community themselves, and actively supporting many local causes, there can’t be many people in Cirencester that Sam and Kelly don’t know already, and the general consensus is that they’re the perfect people for the job!

A major drive of theirs is to further the theme of ‘Keeping Music Live’ which Andy and Manda so passionately supported when they opened the Hideaway, which was later renamed ‘The Vaults’ beneath Ingleside House over 20 years ago. As Ciren music lovers know, it was reincarnated at the Golden Farm Inn a couple of years ago. It quickly established itself in its new premises with a lot of local support, and even recognition from the business world by scooping ‘The Creatives’ Champion’ trophy at the Cirencester Chamber’s Annual Awards this year! 

The cool local bar is familiar to many a reveller
The Wednesday night ‘Open Mic’ sessions will continue in The Vaults with plans to have live bands performing on Saturdays twice a month. Kelly, who volunteers at the Phoenix Festival and also runs the Phoenix Mini-Festival fund-raiser each year, will be in charge of the events and the bookings. In the not-too-distant future the couple plan to introduce other regular monthly events such as quizzes, bingo, the ever-popular karaoke nights and comedy nights. Ever supportive of local projects, Kelly also plans to let community groups and charities hold raffles at the Farm in aid of good causes. Sam would also like to run two darts teams alongside the very successful skittles teams already based at the pub.

In the longer term, upgrading the children’s play area and erecting a marquee in the extensive garden for parties, including weddings and anniversary celebrations, are also planned. If they can get the necessary licence it may even be possible for couples to have the wedding ceremony itself in The Vaults!

Sam and Kelly’s long term plans include utilising the large upstairs areas, with a conference room for up to twenty people and six bedrooms allowing them to offer bed and breakfast facilities.

After only a few days to settle in and find their feet, the couple will be holding a launch party to celebrate their new venture on Saturday November 10th. Popular local singer Pavo will be performing from 9 pm and a ‘happy hour’ with nibbles, will run from 7 – 9.

Come down to lend your support and wish Sam and Kelly every success in continuing the great work done by Andy and Manda in keeping this genuine local pub alive and rocking.

The Barn Theatre: Hound of the Baskervilles Review

Hound of the Baskervilles Cast

A Comedic Romp over Dartmoor!
Review of The Hound of the Baskervilles, Barn Theatre till 24th November
by Carlo Vuolo

John Nicholson and Steven Canny’s adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s best- known Sherlock Holmes mystery ‘The hound of the Baskervilles’, directed by Joseph O’Malley, opened at The Barn Theatre to great audience acclaim on October 24th.

Just three actors take on multiple roles in this side-splitting mixture of comedy, farce, slapstick and dreadful puns. The main characters, Sherlock Holmes (Herb Cuanalo), Dr Watson (Hywel Dowsell) and Sir Henry Baskerville (Dominic Brewer) provide the backbone of the story, both in character and in conversation with the audience as themselves. Other characters, both incidental and pivotal to the developing plotline, are introduced via quick costume changes which leads to much mirth throughout. Indeed, the characters of Stapleton and his supposed Brazilian wife, Cecile, both played by Herb Cuanalo, provide the most memorable comedy moments, with the former meeting his deserved end when he is swallowed whole by the Dartmoor swamp, complete with realistic 'bog-sucking' effects.

Indeed, all the sound and lighting effects, courtesy of the Barn Theatre’s state-of-the-art technical wizardry, mean that the whole performance moves at such a fast pace that there is barely time to pause for breath as the laughs just keep coming in this comic romp across Dartmoor. Don’t miss the start of the second half, when the cast relive the whole of the first half in a matter of a few minutes, with the inevitable hilarious consequences of mixed-up costumes, props and characters.

This is a far cry from the famous film starring Basil Rathbone. Another triumph for Iwan Lewis and the team at The Barn Theatre, and another show that really should not be missed.

***Be aware that strobe lighting is used from time to time throughout the performance.***

Tickets from or call 01285 648255 or

Get your tickets now!

Friday, 5 October 2018

The Barn Theatre Presents: Hound of the Baskervilles and Just So - The Musical

The Barn Theatre has earned a reputation as the place to go for top-class regional theatre and entertainment, and the upcoming season is no exception!

Following on from the Barn’s acclaimed recent productions The Secret Garden, One Minute and The Rise and Fall of Little Voice. Here’s what’s coming up next:

HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES (24th October – 24th November) Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s most celebrated Sherlock Holmes story gets a gloriously funny makeover with a talented cast of three actors playing multiple roles.

Those seeing the show on 31st October are invited to celebrate Halloween in style with a post-show HallowTweed Party in partnership with local bespoke tailors Barrington Ayre. There will be Sherlock themed cocktails, an opportunity to meet the cast, and a prize for the best dressed! Entry to the party is included with every ticket booked for 31st October.

JUST SO – THE MUSICAL (5th December – 13th January) Five of Kipling’s Just So Stories are woven together into a wondrous tale of personal courage, individuality and friendship. Set to an eclectic, upbeat score; you’ll be taken on a song-filled journey through the jungle. A perfect show for all the family! With an underlying message that one determined individual can make a real
difference in this world, Just So is a fitting production to round off the Barn Theatre’s second season.

Tickets: Available from £15 + booking fees. Group bookings are available.

Book tickets online at, or contact box office on 01285 648255. For group deal enquiries contact box office or email

THE BODY WORKSHOP: Instructor Spotlight - Morven Parfitt

Develop yourself from the inside out with Pilates.

Why did I change careers from Finance to Pilates? It’s something I’m often asked. The simplest answer is, ‘To help people feel good’. You might have a friend who raves about their Pilates class, or have heard how fantastic it is to help with back ache etc, but will have simply have put it to the back of your mind. I admit that I did the same…numerous times! I had been recommended Pilates by fellow runners, riders and mothers, but had always been too busy, and quite happy with my exercise routine to try anything new, thank you very much. 
After a suggestion from a medical professional I began private sessions. Once able to understand the exercises and my body, I moved on from there to group classes and enjoyed the camaraderie that came with regularly attending a welcoming studio. Eventually I became aware that I wasn’t simply improving my physicality, I was improving in all aspects of my life. I was being taught to use my breath to help rein in my emotions. My stress levels fell as tension that had built up in muscles was released through gradual conditioning. My concentration also benefited…you can’t autopilot your way through a Pilates class no matter if it’s your first or fiftieth! 
After experiencing these changes to mind and body, I wanted to learn more, study more and teach more. I wanted to pass on the happiness torch…As Joseph Pilates said, ‘Physical Fitness is the first requisite of Happiness.

To find out more visit our website: or call our dedicated Pilates studios  01285 6554466

Play Bridge in Somerford Keynes: Open Evening 31st October

Get playing locally!


You may have learned to play bridge some time ago, but gave it up when work, finding a partner, raising a family and all of the other priorities of life took precedence and left you no time to play. However, you might remember the twin attractions of this challenging game – it challenges the brain whilst providing an opportunity to socialise.

If you would now like to rekindle your interest in bridge, you will be sure of a warm welcome at
 Somerford Keynes Bridge Club. We play in the Village Hall in Somerford Keynes each Wednesday at 7.00pm for a 7.15 start. There is ample free parking on site. Our aim is to play serious bridge but also to ensure some social time by having a mid-evening break for a chat over a cup of tea or coffee.

We would love to offer you the opportunity to renew your interest in bridge. So, please come along to an Open Evening on Wednesday 31 October at 7.00 pm in Somerford Keynes Village Hall.  We will explain more about the Club and you will have the opportunity to meet us. Our members are drawn from a wide area, so distance is no object!

If you are interested, please contact the Chairman, Clive Froggatt by phone (01285 860557) or email (

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Alison Fielden & Co: De Facto Relationships

Are the rights of unmarried couples changing?
For many years many have been under the impression that, after a certain amount of time in a cohabiting relationship, they accrue rights as a result of a "common law marriage". These include rights to a share of their partner's assets as well as on-going financial support following separation. This, unfortunately, is a complete myth.
If an unmarried couple breaks up, they are not both automatically entitled to share in what they may have thought were their joint assets, such as the house they lived in together, even if they both contributed to the payment of household bills and the upkeep of the property, if one of them isn’t named as an owner on the deeds. This applies regardless of how long they have been together or whether they have children. Although parents have financial obligations towards their children, there are no equivalent responsibilities towards a former partner.
In fact, under the law in England and Wales as it currently stands, such a couple would have no rights whatsoever to the assets or income of the other party following separation. Property would be divided in accordance with the strict legal ownership, regardless of the respective contribution of the parties. So if one party puts the house into his sole name, even though his partner may contribute to the majority of the household outgoings over the next 10 years, she will be entitled to absolutely no share of the property following their split.
Last month, the Supreme Court took a step towards recognising that the rights of long term unmarried couples should be commensurate with the rights of married couples; at least in relation to the receipt of state benefits for their children.  A mother won her appeal against the decision of the Court of Appeal that she was not entitled to widowed parent benefits following the death of her partner of 23 years. The Supreme Court, declared the current law "incompatible" with Human Rights legislation, making the point that whether parents are married or not their responsibilities towards their children is the same. Whilst this is undoubtedly a positive step for the rights of unmarried couples, especially in cases of bereavement such as this one, it does not change the law as stated above.
It is, therefore, vital to highlight that this recent drive by the courts in England and Wales to recognise the rights of unmarried couples on death does not extend to recognition of their rights on separation. Yet, this ruling is the latest in a growing number of steps taken by the courts to extend the rights of unmarried couples as much as current legislation will allow. For example in January this year, the Court of Appeal ordered unmarried Ms Smith bereavement damages (a fixed amount paid to the spouse or civil partner of a person who dies following medical negligence) despite earlier court rulings that she should not be entitled to such award as she was unmarried following the death of her long-term partner.
These recent rulings are inevitably leading some to question whether this is part of a continued erosion of the inviolability of marriage. Alternatively, is this a case of the courts having to create - rather than simply to clarify - the law because of a vacuum of legislative clarity being provided by parliament, in spite of the persistent calls for such reform by the family law community over many years?
The Supreme Court indicated that it was now up to government to decide whether or how to change the law in this area. Surely it must now be time for parliament finally to take this issue in hand and consider whether it is now time to give unmarried couples, and the children of such relationships, the proper recognition and protection that they deserve?
However until such time as the law is changed unmarried couples should consider documenting any agreements reached over property and future rights. Here at Alison Fielden and Co we have the necessary expertise to assist with a “ Living Together Agreement” or a “Deed of Trust” in relation to land. Agreements in respect of property and what should happen in the event of future relationship breakdown are best reached when property is to be purchased but an agreement can be reached and documented at any time.
Both our Family Law Solicitors, Heather Weavill and Steven Barratt have many years of experience and can help guide you through the process.  Please contact them on 01285 653261 for an appointment.  Alison Fielden herself deals with property matters and can draw up any necessary Deed of Trust.

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Country Matters by The Hodge October 2018

Spectacular agriculture.
Country Matters
By The Hodge

"There is more beauty in the plough than in any other farm implement..."
A G Street  Country Calendar (October) 1935

October… the season of mellow fruitfulness when the chill returns and we face the prospect of turning the clocks back and acknowledging that winter is well and truly on its way. And what is happening on the farm? We’re used to hearing about how busy spring can be and the mad rush that is summer when the harvest must be gathered so many outside the industry consider that autumn must be a time of leisure. Sadly for the agrarian, not!
‘Tis the time to harvest the potatoes and other root crops whether for human or for stock feed. Most of the potatoes will be stored in frost-free buildings in mountainous piles ready for sorting and bagging for sale throughout the winter months.
Those fields that have been harvested must be ploughed and cultivated ready for the next crop – rarely the same as has just been grown due to the understanding of the need for crop rotation to preserve soil fertility – and many of the seeds for such must be planted too although some will go in in the spring. So expect to see lots of tractors in the fields busy turning the earth followed by flocks of gulls and rooks being fed on the worms and insects and seeds that suddenly appear.
In the livestock world, the farmer will now be counting the days until his outside stock has to come inside to be housed for the winter because there is nothing worthwhile left to eat in the green fields. As explained last month, this year’s weather pattern means that he’s already had to break into the winter feed store to supplement the grass that didn’t grow so he’ll be hoping that his cattle and sheep can stay out for as long as possible.
Sex is being actively encouraged too as the rams or tups are put with the ewes to perform their duties. Each one will have a raddle – a form of giant crayon – strapped to his chest so that when he mounts the ewe he leaves a tell-tale colour mark showing the shepherd that a particular female has been covered and – if there’s more than one tup on duty each with a different colour – which one is the perpetrator.
An iron horse.
There may also be time to do some essential repairs and maintenance that simply had to be left while more important jobs were done. Fences to be repaired, gates rehung, buildings maintained, machinery overhauled, potholes filled, ditches cleared, hedges flailed and a hundred more chores besides.
And if there’s any leisure time then maybe a trip to the local ploughing match, to compete or spectate at all the teams in the various categories – modern high-tech machines, vintage tractors and ploughs and the ever-popular horse ploughing competitions. To the general public, watching a tractor chugging up and down a field ploughing is maybe not the most riveting spectator sport but to those who understand the intricacies and the skill involved, a few hours chatting to neighbours and watching the fresh brown earth appearing under the plough shares can be as satisfying as an afternoon on the terraces. Everyone to their own.